Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some Last Links

Predictably, since Thursday there has been much ink spilled over the Yankees' signing of Mr. Kevin Youkilis. We would be remiss if we didn't gather some of these clippings here for posterity. 

First and foremost, Marc Carig, formerly the beat writer for the Yankees at the Newark Star Ledger and currently chronicler of the Mets for Newsday, wrote a piece about Yankees fans feelings towards their new third baseman and was kind enough to ask for my opinion. 

It's human nature to inflate the importance of recent events, so right now it seems as though signing Youk is the most egregious example of a hated Red Sox player coming to the Yanks, but in reality there are several acquisitions that were of similar magnitude at the time like Boggs, Clemens and Damon.

In Carig's article, Youk said that he consulted with Johnny Damon before accepting the Yanks' offer, who I think is probably the closest comparison. Both were signed as free agents in the modern (post-2004) rivalry era, both players had appearances defined by ridiculous hair on the Sox (facial or otherwise) that they had to remove before coming to New York, and both had irritating on-field behaviors (Youk's batting stance and Damon's baby arm in the outfield). 

The blogfather Joe Posnanski probably bested us with his headline "Youk Can't Be Serious", and goes on to explain why this signing is different than Damon, Boggs or Clemens.
The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is as hot as it has ever been, maybe hotter than ever. Youkilis was probably the most hated player on the Red Sox, which is saying something. He is also 33 years old and coming off a pretty dreadful year -- the guy hit .235 and only posted a league-average on-base percentage because he was hit by pitch a league-leading 17 times (Youkilis: The Greek God of Plunk). And it's not even like the Yankees get the joy of taking him away from Boston … the Red Sox gave up on Youkilis in the middle of last season and dumped him on the White Sox.  
In other words: There is nothing good about this acquisition from a Yankee fan's perspective. The Yankees are essentially demanding that fans root for a guy they've so thoroughly enjoyed clemenating for so many years AND a guy who probably won't be the hitter he was in his prime. Talk about your lose-lose. 
Ouch. All good points, but there's something to be said for choosing the best option available, even if you are choosing between a giant douche and a turd sandwich

Over at Big League Stew, David Brown suggested that Youk could be "Wade Boggs all over again" for the Bombers. If it ends up with a ride on a horse after a World Series win in the Bronx, I'm all for it. 

Jack Curry over at the YES Network's website likened Youk to Paul O'Neill
Before some of the O’Neill acolytes explode, relax. This doesn’t mean Youkilis and O’Neill are exactly the same player with the exact accomplishments. Of course, they’re not. What it means is that Youkilis and O’Neill share the same style for playing baseball with an intensity that’s visible to everyone and with an approach that chases perfection.
Clearly Youk wasn't the perfect option for the Yankees and Eno Sarris displays that statistically at FanGraphs. The silver lining, he concludes, is that it's only a one year deal. 

That's all for now, Fackers. It remains to be seen whether or not the Ghosts of Fack Youk Past will continue to haunt this site. In the meantime, stay strong. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The New Youk Yankees

When Matt and I abandoned this humble weblog over two years ago, we didn't have any intention of coming back for it. For a variety of reasons the site had run its course and both of us were content to dig a shallow grave for it just off the shoulder of the information superhighway, to be visited only by spam bots and via obscure Google searches.

However, recent developments have caused this collection of semi-coherent ramblings and black and white pictures to roll over in said grave. Pending a physical, the Fackin' Youkstah himself will be donning pinstripes and manning the hot corner in the Bronx this season.

Before December 3rd, it didn't even seem within the realm of possibility that the Yankees would require Youkilis's services. Leaving aside the fact that Youk is universally despised by Yankee fans, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira occupy his natural defensive positions and are signed through the years 2017 and 2016, respectively. The Yankees also seemed to have little or no need for a league average DH who is on the downside of his career and looks like he's bouncing on the world's smallest trampoline when he's at the plate, so there seemed to be no path for such a travesty to occur.

However, since A-Rod's contract is not enough of an albatross around the franchise's neck when he's fully healthy, he must undergo yet another hip surgery which should prevent him from playing in at least the first half of the 2013 season (thereby cementing the fact that I was hilariously and spectacularly wrong about this) and lo and behold the Yanks were in the market for a third baseman.

Of course, their options were limited. Limited in the kind of way that everyone in your school has already found a date for the prom and the only members of the opposite sex that are still available, the very thought of causes you to begin dry heaving.

The organization decided that they couldn't risk giving the job to Eduardo Nunez (who would likely lead the league in balls thrown into the dugout and routine grounders fielded unsuccessfully), Jayson Nix (who could at best be a functioning part of a platoon - in the military), or David Adams (who is currently a second baseman and has never played above AA). Nor did they want to troll the trade market like a drunk gazing cross-eyed down the bar at 3AM. Other teams knew they were desperate which obviously lowers their leverage in any negotiations.

Last Thursday, the Yankees made Youk an offer for $12M, and the other dominoes started to fall into place. Mark Reynolds (the epitome of an all or nothing hitter, which the Yanks already have too many of) signed with Cleveland, which eliminated an obvious destination for Youk since Terry Francona is their manager.

The feeling of inevitability grew stronger.

Today, Ken Rosenthal confirmed the some of our worst nightmares. Yes, come springtime, we will have to see a clean shaven Kevin Youkilis on a near-daily basis if we wish to continue watching Yankees baseball. We may experience perverse feelings of satisfaction when he succeeds, something that was antithetical to everything this blog stood for during its existence.

Perhaps, at some point this season, he might do something productive and the fans at the Stadium may even yell "YOOOOOOOUUUUUK". Let that possibility roll around in your minds for just a moment.

This is the darkest of days, Fackers. Maybe the Mayans were right.