The Obvious Next Step

Scouting the ChiSox
Open Thread: Hang on to the roof!

While the Yankees’ winning ways have returned a little bit, I can’t be the only one who’s still worried about their production. Even when the Yankees win, there’s places where improvement could be had. A weak outing by a starter, a fat 0-fer in the middle of lineup, a barely-avoided bullpen meltdown – it’s these kind of things that the Yankees have to knock out of their system to become the champions we all know they are. A World Series team has no weakness, never loses, and always gets strong production out of the lineup 1-9.

I think it’s safe to say that the Yankees have probably pushed as far as can without external help. It’s silly to expect recoveries out of Posada and Jeter, and equally ridiculous to believe that Ivan Nova will actually start striking people out on his own. Likewise, it’s perfectly reasonable to suspect that Bartolo Colon will keep his ERA nice and reasonable and that Curtis Granderson will hit approximately seven gazillion homers, mostly off lefties. But what they’re doing now, even if it stays the same, needs to be helped out. This is where you and I come in, noble fans.

The best way for a fan to help their team of choice is to appease the baseball gods for games to come. I’m not talking about actual god (Mariano Rivera, blessed lord of the cutter, ruler of the bullpen, etc), but rather those magical beings up in the sky who give Cliff Lee doubles and have Jay Bruce fly out with Wilson Valdez pitching in the nineteenth inning. When annoyed that a pitching duel turned out to be anything but – look at Halladay v. Lincecum in the 2010 NLCS after one thew a no-hitter and one whiffed 14 – your wrath should be pointed at the baseball gods. My sources are trying to track down why the baseball gods love Edgar Renteria (2-time WS MVP) so much, but no dice yet.

It’s time to sacrifice one of our dear Yankees to the baseball gods above. Trust me, I know it’s not easy to bring this topic up, but there’s nothing else we can do. The Yankees have reached the limit of improvement that can be gained through normal options such as talking to Kevin Long, taking extra BP, and learning extra pitches. Supernatural options are the only options left. The question becomes – and this is the most important question – who?

When picking your sacrifice to the baseball gods, you need to toe some very careful lines. On one hand, sacrificing your stumbling, scuffling and occasionally-benched DH is like laughing at them, like throwing them your trash. Here, we don’t need this! Maybe you can do something with it. The baseball gods are not the waiver wire, and they demand respect. On the other hand, you don’t want to be sacrificing your star prospects or monstrously powerful cleanup hitters. After the sacrifice happens, after all, you still need some power in your lineup. A sacrifice will improve the way the baseball gods look at your team, but they’re not going to have Eduardo Nunez slug 30 homers. Then, there’s the matter of team history: a rule five pick or a half-season rental really has no attachment to the team, whereas a pointlessly long and overpriced contract is a burden on both the team and the gods.After a long and rigorous selection period, I’ve narrowed down exactly who should be sacrificed:


In many ways, this is a totally obvious answer and required very little thought on my part. There is only one pitcher on the Yankees staff that is good (but not too good), could be replaceable (but not easily), and has the mystique and aura of the team all bundled up inside of him:  Joba Chamberlain.

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Joba’s strong numbers from this year make him a worthy candidate, and his Yankee history makes him as sentimentally valuable as any family heirloom. No one else on the current 25-man has been hailed as both the next Mariano Rivera and the next potential number one starter, all while suffering a role-changing injury. On top of that, Joba’s farm heritage and extensive history of being ripped by the New York media about everything to his performance to his weight make him a quintessentially Yankee sacrifice. In basically every way, Joba is the perfect sacrifice to make sure Bartolo Colon’s arm doesn’t fall off andhave Nova learn a strikeout pitch in a vision. Also, the baseball gods love a good fistpump.

Other alternatives: Phil Hughes (pending injury), Ivan Nova (pending effectiveness)


This one was tougher, but I made the decision and decided the best option was Brett Gardner.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

While Gardner may not seem the best option at first, a longer look at his numbers and history prove he’s the right choice. He got off to a terrible slump, he’s managed to pull himself together over the past couple of weeks and has created a slash line acceptable for a sacrifice (.262/.350/.404). Like Joba, Gardner is a product of the Yankees farm system and was part of the magical 2009 World Series team, despite his less-than-stellar numbers in the postseason. Gardner makes a prime target because he doesn’t hit home runs, and sacrificing him is an implicit agreement to forgo smallball and acknowledge that homers are the only way anyone will score this season. Additionally, Gardner wears high socks, and there’s nothing the baseball gods love more than a ballplayer in high socks.

Other alternatives: Nick Swisher (pending ability to hit the ball), Mark Teixeira (too many homers)

It’s tough when a baseball team has reached this point in its life, but with the obvious solutions looming in front of both the team and the fans, there’s nothing any of us can do but follow through. Knowing that both these players will most likely go to baseball heaven is, of course, one of the few positives. In baseball heaven, Joba truly is the number one starter we all know he can be, and Gardner never gets caught stealing.

(note: Emma Span of baseball prospectus helped formulate this idea.)

Scouting the ChiSox
Open Thread: Hang on to the roof!
  • The Fallen Phoenix

    I laughed. Great piece!

  • Mike HC

    I don’t really get it. Maybe it went over my head, I don’t know.

  • Anthony

    This one went right over my head also.

  • Ansky

    Why? Each week gets worse. I always start reading expecting a decent article them 1/4 of the way in realize who it is written by. Awful, and annoying. Ill read monday to friday from now on. I expect I am not alone. Hopefully her contract is a one year deal.

  • Steve

    Very enjoyable read! It’s refreshing to find a thought out, well written piece on an Internet blog.

  • the tenth inning stretch

    I like the idea. Let’s take it a step further and offer them Jeter.

    • Hannah Ehrlich

      Two reasons that Jeter would be a bad sacrifice:

      a) He’s just not good right now.
      b) Bloated contract.

  • nycsportzfan

    i don’t get it.

  • The BIG 3

    That was mostly enjoyable. The second paragraph I don’t get because I don’t know if Hannah is serious about the first statement, second statement, both or neither.

    I wonder though if with 2009, two sacrifices are even enough. Damn, did everything go right that year, like by the direction of the baseball gods.

  • Kevin G.

    Sacrifice Jeter!

  • iloveyoubartolo

    Jeter, sure… because gods are usually that stupid.

  • JohnnyC

    Girardi is already sacrificing too much as it is…with very unreliable results. The Aztecs sacrificed a whole lot and never won a World Series. It’s a bad strategy.

  • 42yankee

    Haven’t read any other articles by this writer, thank goodness for that. Does this writer have any idea about baseball? I’m serious!! Gardner is leading the team in most offense stats. This writer wants to throw him under the bus. WOW!!! I’ll tell you who stinks and needs to go:: Swisher, Jeter, Posada, and not in any order. Soon as Jeety gets his 3000 hit bat him 7th, 8th, or 9th. In #1 he a rally killer. There’s no excuse for how Swisher is playing,(UGH) and Posada has played his swan song and needs to ride the pines.(P.S. For the writer’s info “ride the pines” means sitting on the bench!!

    • Jerome S.

      This joke


      Your head

    • iloveyoubartolo

      This site keeps getting funnier and funnier. I love you, Hannah.

      • Yanks27rings

        This, completely. I love these articles. Nice to be a bit relaxed every now and again. I feel bad for the people trashing this. They must either be dumb, or have no sense of humor. Nice job, Hannah.

    • The BIG 3

      I think Gardner was chosen because 1) he’s super fast, yet one can safely conclude he’s not a good baserunner 2) he gets on base a ton, yet if a pitcher is determined not to walk him, he’s out 3) he’s a wonderful CFer, yet Girardi/Cash moved him to accommodate Grandy.

      He’s like a black sheep, and he’s cheap. Easily dismissed.

  • Steve

    Unless I’m missing something I think the article is meant to be tongue in cheek. If you don’t get it, you’re probably taking it too seriously. I thought it was great.

  • Stratman9652

    Still laughing over this one. Great piece. Still don’t understand why people can’t just enjoy a humorous post on the weekend.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Hannah, I liked the article. I just don’t see who we could get in return that would fill the void of the sacrifice. Our sacrifices seem all too important to me.

    Mark T. has been a bit of a disappointment to me with his inability to hit for average and not drive the ball to left side with a shift but he would be .300 hitter with another hit a week. So, I must be picky with the team in general with their less than stellar play.

  • Ansky

    Just bc we think It is moronic doesn’t mean it’s Over anyone’s head.
    We got it, it’s stupid and pointless.
    Is this where I go like
    +1 and I seem cool. Stick to analysis we can all go to the onion or tmz for poorly written satire.

    • Yanks27rings

      I think your comment is moronic. Didn’t go over my head, either. By the way, writing in text slang is not a way to get people to take you seriously.

      • Jonathan

        Obviously his comment did go over your head. I believe Ansky was referring to the fact that the “inner circle” has their own little secret “language”, for lack of a better term, that some people try to copy like high school kids desperately wanting to be in the cool crowd. The +1 comment was making fun of the way text slang is used here.