Another week rolls by, and yet another series of missed opportunites. A painful two games to one series loss at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles — when the two losses were very winnable games — have them on the cusp of sweeping the Boston Red Sox. Sitting at 11-17, the truth is… it could be a lot worse.
There was plenty of bad this week. Alex Rodriguez and C.C. Sabathia — after pitching his best game of the season none the less — hit the DL. Jacoby Ellsbury injured his hip, and is riding the pine, insisting that his injury is day-to-day. Everyone that knows anything about Ellsbury, knows that day-to-day can last until 2017.
The Yankees, in turn, called up Ben Gamel. This was very exciting news on a personal level, as I have followed Gamel’s career very closely. Last season, I discussed his breakout year with SWB’s own play-by-play guy John Sadak, who agreed that Gamel was something special. He was destined for pinstripes.
The problem is that he is simply in the big leagues as an insurance policy. He’s been used in the outfield twice, and has barely played.
Gamel isn’t a superstar. He is a scrappy player, with decent speed, fantastic contact rate and all-out play in the outfield. He is someone that could definitely benefit from playing every day. It was absolutely absurd to recall Gamel from Triple-A to watch him sit.
Earlier this week, I discussed an issue that many Yankees fans have been arguing about for weeks now: the promotion of Aaron Judge. Unlike many of the Yankees Universe who wants to see the youth rebellion begin to take over, I vehemently disagree with this assertion. Gamel is exhibiting evidence sample A.
Ever since Gene Michael left town, the Yankees have mishandled their prospects. Robinson Cano is the only one who went on to true stardom, and he wasn’t atop anyone’s top prospect leader board. You can make the argument that the complete mishandling of Joba Chamberlain — and the infamous Joba Rules — changed the way pitchers have been handled on the big league stage forever, isn’t that right Mr. Strasburg?
Anyway, Judge — like Gamel — isn’t a polished prospect yet. He has work to do, not a lot, but some. You need to throw out both of their ages, because age should never be a determinant of when a prospect or minor leaguer is ready. Let me explain something very clearly. For all of you that look to age and bring up Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Carlos Correa and Manny Machado, remember one thing. They were signed out of high school. Judge went to college. He wasn’t even drafted until he was 21 and didn’t even debut until he was 22. The fact that he is 24 is NOT a pressing issue.
Can you argue that teams like the Red Sox in terms of Jackie Bradley and Mookie Betts let their guys test the waters in the big leagues instead of Triple-A? Absolutely. But remember this. The Red Sox played them. Joe Girardi simply does not play his young talent enough to garner missing regular at bats in Triple-A. That’t the real issue. The constant mishandling of their top prospects.
Answer me this? How is it rationale to keep Gary Sanchez in the minor leagues so he gets everyday licks, but it’s wise to promote Ben Gamel to serve as a late game defensive replacement not even seeing at bats? How does it make sense that a manager makes the decision to start Aaron Hicks and Dustin Ackley in the outfield when he has the future of the Yankees sitting on the bench?
It doesn’t. And it won’t change with Girardi at the helms. He believes that his veterans will fight through their slumps and his veterans will play. If not, last season would have seen a lot more of Slade Heathcott, Jose Pirela, Jacob Lindgren and Rob Refsnyder. That’s simply not the current Yankees Way, especially under Hank and Hal. If they spent money, they are using those pieces.
I don’t hate Girardi like a lot of people do, but I also have never loved his style. His philosophy has been made very clear the past three seasons, when he has had plenty of opportunity to change the guard. The one time they did, they let Greg Bird play injured and in turn ruin his 2016.
Girardi’s philosophy — whether it has been ordered upon him from the powers that be or not — has been consistent since his first day at the helms. Veterans are the core of this team. Whether he is purposefully driving their broken bones into the ground or he truly believes it, the youth rebellion won’t begin until it is absolutely necessary.
Does that mean I agree with it? I cover Minor League Baseball, so take an educated guess how I feel. These Yankees are quickly showing their age. Yankees fans are going to get their wishes sooner than later. But for now, be patient. It will all work out for the best.