Yesterday Brian Cashman said that he’d feel better if he signed a starter. He also said that the Yankees are a starter away from being a World Series contender.
Today he signed Bartolo Colon. Really.
It’s a minor league deal. Colon probably doesn’t even make the team. It’s not going to prevent the Yankees from doing anything they would have otherwise done. But really, the optics of it are not good, as they say.
It’s the Yankees. Everyone overanalyzes what they do. Because of that — and because absolutely nothing else is going on right now — you have to wonder if this could have waited until the questions about their rotation had been resolved. Because coming as it does now, many people are going to presume that this is Cashman’s answer to those questions, and the media calliope is going to start rum-pum-pumming about it. Bartolo Colon would have still been waiting around in a couple of weeks. And if he wasn’t, some other tomato can starter like him would have been. People are now going to bombard Cashman with questions about how the Yankees rotation plans went from Cliff Lee to Bartolo Colon in the space of two months.
I had resisted this line of thinking as it has become more and more popular in recent days, but really, I am now prepared to admit that Cashman is trying to get himself run out of town on a rail. Or, at any rate, signing Bartolo Colon is something I’d do if I wanted such a thing.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: