THE MILLERS TALE… Sir Shelby, art thou smiling therre belowe?

... the blocked paths form part of the pilgrim s way traversed by geoffrey

On Sunday, Shelby finally won his sixth game after 24 consecutive winless starts. Trying to worry out the Shelby conundrum it has occurred that perhaps Chaucer might show him and us the way to redemption, to at least a deeper understanding of what is going on.

After all, he created a Miller, a famous one, and then when one of his fellow travelers on the road to Canterbury – our ‘gentle, parfitt Knyghte’ – invited the Monk to add his tale to what had just been told…

The Miller, drunk, preempted him and told his bawdy tale of a carpenter and his young wife.(This link includes a short crib helping to translate new to old and vice versa. Here’s another, much fuller transliteration help where the original line has the modern translation immediately underneath) Had we been among the journeying throng we might have then tried to add ours, in a parody of the English of the time, addressing the issue we knew to be burning him up, his W/L record.

Have a go. The way this likely will pan out will not exactly be a thynge of beautie. see what!

now telleth thee sir Miller if that ye konne
for treweley now the game is well begonne
thine enemie confuunded by thine trickerie
they do ascribe to devill in the dickerie
zounds, why so monny battiles were they loste
so monny balles demolished at what coste
so often had his mighty archers slept
the haughtie one, Sir Shelby was he yklept,
he asked why fail to air their powerful quills
with that it was ever likely all down hills
i cannot win quoth he without thy score
as this goes on forsooth i’m pressing more
and when i presse for fear of no reprisall
my balles they feel they be made of sisal
and at the end the gods amount the score
‘y tel me there was nonne lost battiles more
to counseling will be my faite ‘a winter
but also several sessions with my vintner
a toaste a toaste to dearest sweete sir Miller
in seasonne freshe y new hande on the tiller.

89 thoughts on “THE MILLERS TALE… Sir Shelby, art thou smiling therre belowe?”

  1. coop…

    the bar has been set low, low…not from choice i might add.I do not find this easy, I suspect Alex will be along some time, he does apparently.

    Pile on guys, show how it’s done. The second of the 2 links in the post is the more helpful – read a line that’s in our english , then look immediately above -that line shows the original.

  2. Do we really have to trade for/sign any relievers? This is what I’m coming up with for relievers, as long as they sign one SP to go along with Miller, Teheran, Minor (big “if”, I know), and Wisler:


    You have some insurance policies for the rotation (Folty, Banuelos, Perez, Jenkins), some long relief candidates (Weber and the rest of the rotation rejects). Maybe you throw $1-2M at a left-handed setup man? We are very light on lefties, especially with Rodriguez out for 2016. A lot of this depends on health, but if you carry a 7-man bullpen, that’s 12 guys right there. By my count, you also have 7 guys above the age of 22 in the Braves top 30 prospects that could catch fire.

    I’m not sure you go throwing money at the bullpen.

  3. Tommy La Stella gets a surprise start tonight against Cole, playing 3rd, batting 5th!

    Strikes out on 3 pitches.

  4. Gonna do a piece over at TT on the offseason’s spending. If you’re interested in sharing your opinion on how 30 million dollars (with no trades) and 50 million (with trades of Maybin and Swisher/Bourn) can be spent, shoot me an email with your idea: cothrjr at Hotmail dot com
    The piece is just for fun and to generate some page views in a period of little to no Braves news, so bring your creativity!

  5. Fowler has scored all three times he’s been up. Looking like it’s not going to be Pittsburgh’s night.

  6. Yep. I think Chicago is in.

    I think I’m a Chicago fan for the duration. I’d love to see those guys get all the way through. I love me some Jake Arietta too. He gives me hope for what Shelby Miller could be one day. But… I just hope…

    But ya know what, Shelby Miller is still only 24 years old. That guy could be special. I trade Heyward and Walden for Miller and Jenkins all day and twice on Sunday, especially considering the contract situations.

  7. If he took Arrieta’s path, he’d have a Cy Young-caliber season the year after hitting the open market.

  8. Thought the Bucs were going to make a game of it right there. It appears the Cubbies’ heart has not yet been broken, but tomorrow is another day.

  9. @5 – Decent bullpen pieces are relatively cheap. We desperately need 2 to 3 solid relief pitchers. I’m not ready to give up on many guys on your list as starters. If the starters listed become major league ready (none of them were this year), we can either trade them or if they’re really good, put them in our rotation and demote or trade one of our current starters.

  10. Thou blazeth, blazon. And yet thy fuel consumeth not. May your bush burn on…. (Oy…that sounds painful.)

  11. Surprising and more than a little disappointing that the two Wild Card games we were looking forward to after our own miserable season failed to happen as contests…there was never tension, uncertainty, drama for the neutral observer..

    two superb pitching performances to enjoy, yes…and at least last night there was no physical imbalance, no ‘generational’ aspect evident as your eyes swept the field.

    Madden’s two brave defensive moves produced a lovely study in contrast…TLS in a team of mashers still looks as though he should be in school, Harry Potter redux…but the fat guy playing right field, now that was classic play off ball.

    Kyle Schwarber
    we knew him only as a calorie absorber
    then he attacked the moon
    His a swing for all ages hilariously hewn.

    a final memory…our friend Papelbon was put in the shade last night with an outburst from one of the Pirates bench..when they cleared after Arrieta got hit there was the usual going through the motions bit with 40 guys milling about but very quickly the eye caught something unusual – several of the Pirates detached themselves from the throng,urgently, and turned instead on one of their own. They knew something we did not. Mr Rodriguez has a reputation it became apparent.

    His subsequent cooler performance as hearty as it was hardly raised an eyebrow. Not after what had preceded it when he was still out on the field, before his teammates were able to drag him off.

    It was the eyes, did you see them, death stare, mania, wow. He tried so hard to get to Arrieta who had earlier hit two Pirates. He was like a huge compressed spring that had been fully wound in an instant and was desperately trying to hit its own release button.

    Wild Card baseball. Maybe it wasn’t quite so predictable after all.

    Now, Ye Olde English, please. Will someone kindly show us how it is done, it is clearly beyond me!

  12. Edward!

    Bravo and the presses will be held…

    no doubt Alex concurs, we’ve only just started!

    and all comers too, please, pile on

    two lines or twenty, it matters not.

  13. Julio Teheran
    we’ve wondered, say he ran
    for President
    would that be setting an unusual precedent?

  14. The Pirates didn’t field their best hitting lineup because their manager thinks good pitching beats good hitting…he said those exact words in the pregame radio interview. I guess he played the “maybe bad hitting can beat good pitching” card?

    It pains me to say this but I’d rather have Fredi than *that*

  15. @ 27

    …well, didn’t hear that radio interview but as discussed on tv -Ripken/Darling- it was rather different…he wanted to include two bats in his lineup both of which would involve a weaker defense – no Bryant at third and Schwarber in right…hard to believe Stella’s bat was considered a plus against Cole but apparently he had some numbers…the Schwarber thing turned out genius level…

    so their interpretation of what Madden was gambling was that good hitting beats good defense. And i believe he either said it last night pre-game or was quoted as saying so. Very unusual in my experience ahead of a big game which is why i used the word brave, as they did.

    So is there a contradiction there? or can both concepts coexist?

  16. Je te plumerai les Bucs
    (Je te plumerai les Bucs)
    Et les Cards
    (Et les Cards)
    Et les Mets!
    Oh oh oh oh.

  17. @29, I was talking about Clint Hurdle. Maddon playing his big bats just shows he’s smarter. Defense isn’t all that important when your ace is on the mound. Lots of weak contact and K’s.

    In the playoffs all the teams have good pitching. Someone has to win…so good pitching can’t always beat good hitting. It’s a tired cliche. The truism is that good pitching gets you there in the first place.

  18. I have clung to two major reasons that I want Fredi fired and neither of them relates to his game management skills. Just like the above with Hurdle, I don’t think you have to look very hard to find a lot of managers (successful or not) who you can question on game management. As many have said, Fredi is probably middle of the pack. Here are my two issues with Fredi:

    1) Clubhouse control – Every once in a while, it’s appeared that the team has been on the verge of trying to run the show. It was implied this year with a the horrible second half and I thought the 2012 team got a little too cocky. Overall I can’t point to this as a huge issue since we’ve taken guys who are supposed to be clubhouse cancers and they’ve seemed to behave themselves amazingly well (see Grilli, AJ, …). A further look at what happened with the Nationals this year makes me think that clubhouse control is not so bad.

    2) End of year collapses – This is my strongest argument for getting rid of Fredi, but with the 2nd reconstruction of the roster in the 2nd half this year, it’s hard for me to blame Fredi entirely for what happened. We’ve seen two other end of year collapses and I think Fredi should take a lot of the blame for those.

    In conclusion, the Braves haven’t lived up to expectations for a while and I honestly want to blame Fredi for a lot of it, however I don’t have a whole lot of ammo when compared to other managers. I don’t think Fredi can survive another end of year collapse and I think the Johns guaranteeing a .500 or better team, means Fredi will be gone if this doesn’t happen. I don’t think we gain much by hiring a new manager until 2017 anyway.

  19. @ 31

    that was delicious…but what will it have done to your self imposed day long Chaucer schedule?

  20. Someone should do an alternate history for where the Braves would be right now had they chosen not to fire Wren/ rebuild.

  21. @35-37

    I think it would be difficult to determine where the Braves would be today. We won 79 games in 2014, and many have acted like we blew up the 1927 Yankees.

    That’s where the anti-rebuild rhetoric breaks down. The 2014 Braves sucked, and then you have people sarcastically mocking the goal that we’ll be at or above .500 in 2016. Where would we have been in 2015 if we hung onto everyone? Probably more similar to 2014 and projected 2016 than 2013. And had we hung onto everyone in 2015 and let JUpton and Heyward leave in free agency, where would we be now? I’ll tell you: we won’t have Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, Mallex Smith, Jace Peterson, Max Fried, bonus money, and we’ll be out looking for a Nick Markakis equivalent for $11M per. Yippee.

  22. @38, we wouldn’t have finished near last this year, so there’s that. We didn’t break up the 27 Yankees, but we had a good nucleus of pieces that could’ve been added to for “one last push”. It’s going to be quite a while before our team has pieces that are that good again. Quite a while.

  23. I’m sure at some point this offseason, someone will look at the WAR accrued by 2014 Braves players on other teams and try to construct what this season could’ve looked like. You have to account for tricky things like sequencing and think about what kinds of teams might be more likely to outperform or underperform their base-runs.

    And of course pretend, with perfect hindsight, that we made some other offseason moves that we didn’t really make…anyhow, it seems doubtful that we’d have ended with a better record than the Mets, let alone the Pirates or Cubs. Anybody think we could’ve won 90 games this year?

  24. With the right starting pitcher acquisition I think 90 games would’ve been a lock. If we just aren’t capable of making that kind of move, then the whole point is moot. We’re never going to win, ever, if we’re not allowed to play with David-Price-like toys.

  25. @39

    With the “finished near last” narrative aside, a 13-win dip when you take your farm system from “near last” to top-5 is a small price to pay. By taking a 13-win dip, we added 13 of our top 30 prospects through trade and draft picks (the vast majority of which project to be within 2 years of having impact), international bonus pool money, and cash saved. You may not see the value in that, and maybe you would have loved to limp to a 90-win team that misses the playoffs, but that’s a you problem. It is very reasonable to argue that we would have missed the 2015 playoffs either way, we will have a better team in 2016 than we otherwise would have, and we’re set up for the future as well. Why you would mortgage all of that to have a wing and a prayer in 2015 defies logic.

  26. I think Heyward and JUpton accrued more WAR than our entire roster of position players (or close to it).

  27. @42, we had a team with legitimate stars on it. Several of them. You saying that we’d have had a bad season in 2015 with them is a “you problem”…nobody knows that. Odds are we would’ve done pretty well that those guys on the team. You just have to mix in some pitching. We were a couple of key moves away from being in serious competition for the postseason.

    Mallex Smith, Jace Peterson, Tyrell Jenkins, etc. aren’t necessarily difference makers. Shelby Miller is the only inarguable good piece from the firesale. The low prospects are a total crapshoot.

    My question is why anyone would willingly forego a chance at a special season. Even if that chance is only 20% … you don’t just punt on that and tell the fans to f’off.

    We when lose 90 games next year I don’t think you guys will be nearly as enthused about the rebuild.

  28. @43

    So then:

    1) Would that have been enough to make us a legit playoff team?
    2) What do you do when they both become free agents at the end of the year? While we have cash to play with this offseason, the non-rebuild scenario is still paying their closer $11M a year.

    Please answer those questions for me. I contend that in either scenario, we’re not watching the Braves play in October, but the rebuild scenario makes it possible to compete in 2016 and beyond.

  29. You’re absolutely right. If we lose 90 games next year, then I will not be enthused. I fail to see how we don’t improve our team by 5 wins next year, and I’d love for you to coach me up on how that’s not going to happen.

  30. Rob Cope articulated my thoughts better than I could have. We were not a good team in 2014 with the “stars,” and we got better knowing we could not afford to keep them past 2015. We took what we could get, and the return was pretty good.

  31. @45, who cares about 2016…go for it in 2015 and see what happens. Maybe the extra revenue from the good season allows us to keep some pieces around. Maybe not. If everyone leaves we’re going to suck for years and rebuild through the draft. If that starts in 2015, or 2016…does it matter?

    @46, worst offense in baseball, and no moves on the horizon that can fix it?

  32. I think the last couple years have shown how much having one of the best starters in baseball can be worth in the new format. Depth is the key to taking divisions, but I guy who will take one game makes it a lot easier to get in.

    The problem is recognizing who will be the elite pitcher for the next five years. So, I guess, nothing really changes.

  33. We scored 573 runs in 2014; traded away Justin, Jason, and Evan; and scored 573 runs in 2015.

    If they don’t think a rotation where everyone is under 25 will improve next year, then they should be busy this off-season.

  34. The team’s Pythagorean W/L was 61-101, so they’ll have to improve/outperform by 12 games to lose less than 90. The pitching might hold up its end of that bargain, but I can easily see a repeat performance from the offense as currently (or projectably) constituted. I was one game off on my preseason 66-96 prediction for this year, so I’ll put in for 69-93 next year (to be adjusted as developments warrant).

    That 573 lost 26 to the mean in the higher ’15 NL run environment.

  35. Justin, Jason, and Evan weren’t the problems though, and certainly not the reason for the 573. That’s like trading Shelby Miller because we didn’t pitch well this year…

  36. Anon ye wynterre creepes, the frigid monthes a-ſtealeyng
    The wycked Wrenne he weepes, whiles Coppie ſtrikes his ceilyng
    His proſpectes came to naught, to none arre theye appealyng
    Was Schuerholz beſot, unknowyng or unfeelyng?

  37. Ok, I’ll drop this whole topic for good (promise) because it’s not going to change anything and even I’m tired of it, but my ultimate thoughts on the subject are this:

    We had good players on the team. And we had three of the worst players in the history of baseball also on the team. Those three got way too much playing time. Instead of just, let’s say, I dunno, just spitballing here, NOT PLAYING THEM ANYMORE!, we instead chose to blow up the entire team and get rid of everyone. Sorry if there’s those of us out there that think there might have been a different/better solution.

  38. E’vann Gattiss
    yclept el osoe blancco, whatte is?
    y mettafoure
    forre one he carrie alle befour.

  39. 1) Pythag’s kind of irrelevant. I say there are four reasons why teams out-perform their pythag: good situational hitting, great bullpen, great in-game management, and luck. I don’t think we had 3 out of 4 of those, so I don’t care what Pythagoras says about the 2015 Braves.

    2) Obviously Justin, Jason, and Evan were not the problems, but we had to trade them because a) there were replaceable options on the FA market (Markakis and AJP) and b) you had to trade them to fill the other areas where “YOU HAD TO PLAY SOMEONE”, like CF and 2B.

    And remember, Gattis had more value to Houston with the DH than he did with us. He played 136 games at DH, and 11 in LF, and you know he ain’t a left fielder. He logged as many innings at catcher this year as I did. Looking back, AJP and Gattis were similar players this year (and for similar costs), and we got Folty, Ruiz, and Thurman out of the deal. That’s a win right there.

    Plus, there’s also not a marked difference between Jason Heyward and Nick Markakis, but you weren’t going to sign Heyward for 4YR/$44M, and we exploited the market inefficiency (“The Potential of Jason Heyward”, which has still not been realized) for the already-dominant Shelby Miller and the potential of Tyrell Jenkins.

    3) And we still haven’t addressed the big issue: Heyward and JUpton leave for free agency, and we have an $11M closer and no farm system. That’s the biggest issue, and there’s no easy solution to that.

  40. I’m sorry, just one more thing:

    4) I think most are in agreement that most of the individual players were received in return in the trades aren’t transcendent players (both Peterson’s, Ruiz, Thurman, Sanchez, Toussaint, and even Fried/Jenkins/Folty), but they cumulatively have significant positive value and can be slid in and out of trades with just about any team to turn into one or two big players. This is what I’m most excited about in the offseason. What do they Braves do with the 15 or so players they picked up in the past year?

  41. I still would rather have Wren in there than the Johns.

    Watch the AL wild card game on ESPN, they were gushing over how good the Astros’ offense was, that they may strike out a lot, but that doesn’t matter. You know, the thing the Johns railed against when talking about their “new way”.

  42. All the offseason moves should look pretty good, because I don’t think it’s possible for the team to get worse. Unless we trade Freeman and Shelby for a 32-yr old from North Korea that scouts are raving about…I guess that might make us worse…

  43. @57 – “There’s also not a marked difference between Jason Heyward and Nick Markakis.” That’s just absolutely not true by any measure of anything. Heyward was a way better hitter, fielder, and base-runner. Neck was below average, Heyward could reasonably get 10th place MVP votes. Just so, so wrong.

    Heyward finished with a wRC+ of 121 to Neck’s 107, phenomenal base-running (23 SB to 3 CS), and world-class defense. Neck was a negative in base-running and defense. We’re only waiting on Heyward’s potential to materialize if we’re also being willfully blind to his current performance.

  44. @51 Just pointing to a lot of small improvements.

    @57 On a tangent, I still think Gattis had more value to a team needing a catcher. I will admit that it’s fun to see a DH who takes advantage of only hitting by running hard all the time (11 triples).

  45. @57

    If you think Markakis and Heyward are in any way shape or form similar baseball players then I question whether you’ve ever watched a baseball game before.

  46. The entire narrative that the 2014 team sucked and therefore had to be blown up because that core were losers or whatever is so annoying. The biggest issue facing the Bizzaro Braves was finding 2 starting pitchers, everything else was easy fixes (upgrading the bench was a huge issue with the 2014 Braves) but finding 2 starters was apparently impossible so we got a bunch of b-list prospects and lost 95 games instead. But hey, can’t wait to see that Jace Peterson Breakout Year! Mallex Smith hit .300 in AAA must be a star! Sign me up for some Cheesecake Factory Field season tickets!

  47. You’re right; Jason Heyward should make Mike Trout money and Nick Markakis should make Nick Markakis money. Right there with you.

    Gaz, I think you need to head down to your local cinema for the next few years.

  48. Jason Heyward really should make Mike Trout money. But Mike Trout should be making A-Rod money, which is a different story.

    Thus far, Nick Markakis should be making Nick Markakis money.

  49. 2016 according to hambone:

    CF- Maybin/ Smith 8mm
    LF- Markakis 11mm
    1b- Freeman 12mm(20 starting in 17)
    RF- Heyward 16mm(rising thereafter)
    3b- Olivera 5mm
    C- AJP/ Beth 2mm
    SS- Simmons 6mm(rising thereafter)
    2b- Peterson/ Castro
    Bench- Garcia, Swish, Bourn etc.

    Miller, Teheran, Minor/other, Wisler, ManBan/other.

    Fill in the bullpen with what we have in the organization. One of our pitching prospects becomes awesome.

    Clear bad contracts. Sign a catcher in 2017.

    Easy right?

  50. Mike Trout signed a very team-friendly contract, and the Angels are lucky to have him through 2020. Six years and $144.5 million actually would not be unreasonable for Heyward.

    But I’m not weeping for Trout. He’ll still only be 29 in 2020, and he’ll probably have the opportunity to sign a $300 million contract at that point.

  51. The Angels’ leverage was they could have let Trout go through the arbitration process, where he’d likely have made marginally more year-over-year, but always been a bad injury away from never getting that payday. The Trout deal is

    1) $1 (rookie3)
    2) $6 (arb1)
    3) $16 (arb2)
    4) $20 (arb3)
    5) $34 (FA1)
    6) $34 (FA2)
    7) $34 (FA3)

    So the Trout deal isn’t really a point of comparison on its face because of the nature of the years that were bought out. If this were an alternate universe in which Trout was a FA, the deal would have been 6/$204.

    Was it team-friendly? In the sense that the Angels leveraged the fact that they had him under control for four more years when they negotiated it, yes. But from Trout’s end, he bought out his arbitration and guaranteed his first three FA seasons at $34 million each.

    Given both the personal risk of injury and the macro-risk that by six years from now, a critical mass of people might stop paying the ever-increasing cable bills that have fueled the revenue explosion of the past few years, I’d call it a smart deal for him, too.

  52. with a name like this, this guy should be playing football in the SEC, not baseball with the Rangers..

    Rougned Odor
    originally an above average decoder
    hired by Snowden
    he was then lured away by Jim Bowden

    anyone know anything of the origin/derivation of that given name? seen it before? what’s the phonetic pronunciation?

  53. coop/spike..

    i’m trying, i really am…yes, GOT and yes, i didn’t know that but…i am not asking about that name(Odor),it’s the first name that fascinates, Rougned. I even asked my (American) wife to confirm that over here first names are also called given names…so my original ask for help was aimed hard at that name…now the two of you have me psyched, referring to the!

    Good game so far, Astros 2 in the first.

    from BR…ROOG-ned oh-DORE
    did not know BR do phonetics for everyone’s name, first and last – amazin’


    Paul Janish
    your skills, did they vaanish?
    at GABP
    they were presumably there for all to see.

    Juan Francisco
    just too many nights at the disco?
    what alcohol bolstered
    we thought that exercise would leave less upholstered.

    Tyler Pastornicky
    we’ve little desire to be picky
    but for goodness sake
    what a total balls ache.

    Omar Infante
    regrettably caught in flagrante
    we traded him too fast
    it had become apparent he just couldn’t last.

    Marteen Prado
    we wished you farewell, a fond serenado
    and the vidro, invented,
    has left manifold bloggers contented.

  55. Let me clarify. Jason Heyward will command a contract similar to Trout’s (forgive me for using Trout’s name; I really just meant a 6YR/$144M contract). The way the roster was constructed at the time, the Braves couldn’t have afforded Heyward’s FA deal. And in this man’s opinion, Heyward is not a markedly better player to command a 6YR/$144M (or more) vs. Markakis’ 4YR/$44M deal. There is a significant difference in the contracts they will command, and, in my opinion, there’s not enough of a difference in the quality of the player. To tie the conversation back to Trout, my concern is that someone will end up giving Heyward an even bigger contract, a contract similar to what Trout would receive on the open market because of The Potential of Jason Heyward. Heyward has not hit more than 14 HRs in 3 seasons, hasn’t OPS’ed over .800 in 3 seasons, and while he’s been terrific defensively and on the basepaths, he plays a position where defense is not as important and he simply doesn’t hit for enough power. That’s not an arena the Braves should be playing in. They should have traded Heyward for what they did, and signed a guy like Markakis. With that said, I’d love Heyward as a centerfielder on the 2016 Braves, but only because of the moves the Braves made in 2015.

  56. You gotta wonder how different things would’ve been if they had just put Heyward in CF from the start.

  57. Just the facts that Heyward will keep doing what he’s doing (which is produce offensively 10-20% better than league average + agreed-upon stellar defense and baserunning) for the duration of his next contract and that Markakis is turning 32 next month justifies Heyward getting $100 mil+ more.

    I don’t get how Braves Journal finds fault with WAR but just can’t quit OPS.

    It’s all moot because the Braves aren’t paying for FAs like Heyward and especially not for Heyward specifically. That ship has sailed, and I can’t wait until he signs somewhere else this offseason so we can stop talking about it.

    I hate that Markakis was as good as could be hoped for this season and yet still instills dread wrt future performance. I am not looking forward to his 2017.

  58. From previous thread…


    When you get shut down by the league’s top Cy Young candidate, you’re going to look awful. Just ask the Pirates.

    I use the Vegas example to show that, coming into the season, expectations for the Yankees were the lowest since the Stump Merrill Era of the early ’90s. Many of the NY baseball writers picked the Yankees to finish 3rd in the division; few picked them to make the post-season at all. I certainly didn’t think they’d be very good.

    What happened was that they got completely unexpected levels of production from 2 very expensive veterans—-A-Rod & Tex. The team hit a lot of homers & Chris Young, a lefty masher, was out of his mind in the 1st half. The rotation was “good enough” & the bullpen was lights-out. By mid-summer, they were in first place by 7 games.

    But a mixture of injuries (Tex, Eovaldi, Tanaka & Gardner who tried to play thru it) & dramatic underperformance in the 2nd half (Gardner, Ellsbury, McCann, Shreve & every starter not named Severino) impacted them. Even the imposing Betances got nicked up here & there. Of course, Toronto went all-in on their trade-deadline deals & came up roses. Without Tex, the Yanks became even more vulnerable to LHP, so they wanted some RH power, preferably from an IF, but ultimately decided not to go all-in themselves, knowing that they didn’t want to part with up-and-comers like 1B Greg Bird & RHP Luis Severino.

    People like to talk about what George would do with this team (or any of the others since his death). But those are exactly the idiotic trades he made over & over: Trade the future for this very instant.

    Remember, he dealt away future all-stars, Cy Young Award winners, World Series MVPs & league MVPs for some pretty forgettable players: Willie McGee (for Bob Sykes), Jay Buhner (for Ken Phelps), Larry Gura (for Fran Healy), Mike Lowell (for Ed Yarnell), Fred McGriff (for Dale Murray) & Doug Drabek (for Rick Rhoden, who had 1 good year left in him). The stories of former GM Gene Michael talking George out of trading young Andy Pettitte & young Bernie Williams for established players are legendary. (Among other transgressions, George was upset that Pettitte had pitched poorly in a Yankee loss to the Mets in a spring-training game. Bernie Williams never had “enough fire” for him. The best thing that ever happened to the Yankees was when MLB suspended him, leaving Michael to develop the system with little interference.)

    Anyway, at the deadline the Yanks inquired about Ben Zobrist, for example, but the Royals wanted Severino. A power arm for a 34-year-old utility IF? I would’ve hung up on that, too.

    Cashman knows that the club must develop players & get younger. Believe it or not, he fought against the A-Rod extension. He fought against the numbers that Jeter wanted in his last contract. But management, looking at TV ratings & attendance, decided they needed marketable stars, so he was overruled. He knew that the club would be paying for that last title they won in 2009 for a while. As for Girardi, I find him a little disingenuous at times, but I think he’s a good manager, mainly on the strength of how he handles the bullpen.

    In YankeeLand, expectations can be unrealistic among the fanbase. But I think most fans were very surprised to find the club that far in 1st place this summer.

  59. ububba…

    I am indebted to you for your masterly synopsis of all things Yankee. More than anything it was a reminder of the fickleness of memory when it comes to a team you don’t ‘live’ with as we all do with the Braves.

    The seven game mid summer lead looks odd now, did ARod really perform at that level so long but not quite long enough and Tex’s revival too(and Fielder’s! and Pujols! and a few others too early in the morning to remember- the return of the eminence grises).

    Big George, yes…I was too hasty to choose his return from on high as an example of shrewd trading. I never intended to actually, it was the decisiveness I admired even, paradoxically, the Billy Martin thing, the Lite Beer ads, my only warm and fuzzy time with the Yankees. But i was in awe of them, always, and i am not in awe now. And George would, right or wrong, fire them both, now.

    You can’t put everything the other night on Keuchel. Look what the Rangers did to Price. I confess i watch a game with my eyes and my emotions and not a stats link but they really looked old and why have they been allowed to reach that level. I am on record here after the second innings saying there was no chance, no way they were going to come back and win that game. Who’s responsible for that – how many years have they been around?

    Ironically i like Girardi. I thought he did a good job in Florida, won the Manager of the Year thing before that idiot canned him. I was upset he went elsewhere and not to us. Then there was that moment in time with his father’s dementia a year or two back if i have it right, visiting him on a daily basis when the Yanks were home. Good man.

    Cashman, no, too clever by half. He should be in Washington – not the Nats, the other crowd, on a hill.

    I am too well aware, in the general, you are coming to me with facts and I you with opinion but i thank you for the exchange and your gracious and well worked summary. One last confession from me- i love the Mets which surely makes my positions above highly suspect.

    Why the Mets? Because many moons ago i paid my first visit to Shea with my ten year old and to this romantic two things quickly became evident regarding the ambiance generated. Willy McCovey was making his last appearance in New York. S-T-R-E-T-C-H they hollered in their obvious affection, every at bat, golden. Then there were the guys with the signs, much less reverence. The pitching coach comes out and is treated rudely, any walk up goes the chicken thing…lovely stuff, so funny, so warm, i think i still see some evidence of it now, i never feel it in the Bronx.

    But I did enjoy, and learn from, your post. Cheers.

  60. Evan Gattis
    nostalgia, whatever that is
    innocence lost
    to see you last night, such a cost.

  61. Edward.

    shall we see your Chaucer soon or will Alex’s guillotine descend?

    meanwhile i commend everyone to revisit your post # the tune in the post above first and then see what he did with it. First Prize.

  62. Stump Merrill
    we forget his achievements at our peril
    but, still, we’ve forgotten
    was everything in the House of Ruth then that rotten?

    Stump Merril
    married Miss Lynch, name of Cheryl
    started stock broking
    the Yankees always suspected he was joking.

    Stump Merril
    lost both legs to the Japanese peril
    was carried to the mound
    where his opinions were declared generally unsound.

  63. “April, 2017”

    Here Begynneth the Season of the Wins of the Braves

    Whan him yclept Hector with his crekkes soote
    The droghte of runnes hath perced to the roote
    And snerred every bolle in swich webbynge
    The which the corner hotte hath shewn swich ebbynge;
    Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete wynde
    Inspired hath in every stich-and-skynne
    The tendre bende and the layte breek,
    And heete hygh to wende ful wel eek,
    And digne Umpyres maken melodye
    Of “Bolle” whan oure smyter sheweth wel eye
    (So priketh hem the Braves in hir corages);
    Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages;
    And actuants-free to seken straunge strondes
    To ferne “Atlanta”, kowthe in sondry londes;
    And specially from every shires ende
    Of Georgia to Whyte Flyghte heeth they wende,
    The bolle pleyers alderbest for to seke
    That hem hath torturen, whan that they were seeke.

  64. Sir Shelbie he biddes all fareweil
    y flashes suun his mightie steele
    in Marchhe when rabbitts clustere
    y will unveyle his faste blockebuster.

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