In case any Yankees fan wasn’t feeling adequately angry after staying up past 1:00 AM to watch the Aroldis Chapman lighter fluid session to end a game that should’ve been bagged hours prior, Michael Kay was here for you on Thursday afternoon.
And after a long evening of ripping your own face off piece by piece, who doesn’t love a good mid-afternoon face rip?
The roster put together by Hal Steinbrenner and Co. this offseason was littered with the remnants of money-saving decisions: backup to the backup catcher Robinson Chirinos, retired lefty Jay Bruce, Justin Wilson and Darren O’Day in Adam Ottavino’s place, and Jameson Taillon mid-rehab. Other than Corey Kluber’s kickback to Eric Cressey, nobody’s services were purchased at a premium rate and with winning in mind.
In case you needed more proof, Kay outright admitted on the air on Thursday (likely in response to Hal’s press conference about shattering the CBT barrier he created) that two marquee free agents sold the Yankees on playing here, but the team refused to make the budget work.
Yes, according to Kay, both Kyle Schwarber and Michael Brantley, two lefties who’d look pretty good in this lineup right about now, were interested in joining the Yankees. They pitched themselves to the franchise and tried to make the money make sense.
Nah. We said nah. Now we have Miguel Andújar starting in left. Thanks, though.
The Yankees could’ve had Michael Brantley and/or Kyle Schwarber but … don’t.
That’s just awesome stuff, actually. Either Schwarber, who’s the new Barry Bonds, or Brantley, who never makes an easy out and leads the AL in batting average, would’ve been nice fits in the Bronx between $10 and $16 million. Those aren’t exactly prohibitive salaries. They’re below what All-Stars typically take in.
Financial flexibility is one thing, too. We know the Yankees pride themselves on being embarrassingly rigid. We’re not shocked they avoided the conversation and chose not to make the numbers work. “Roster” flexibility, though?! One injury to Aaron Hicks and you have Brett Gardner in center every day. There’s a third baseman playing left field on a regular basis. For the love of all that is holy, find a way to get flexible.
Schwarber’s record-setting month of June could’ve carried the Yankees through a lot of dark times. Brantley’s steadiness and clubhouse leadership could’ve set the ship on a straighter course.
No. Instead we have the Jay Bruce retirement tour and the worst 80-game group of Yankees potentially ever. Maybe someday we’ll pass that threshold.