Update: Not so fast on that Luis Hernandez-is-the-Mets-second baseman stuff

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UPDATE: Andy Martino asked around and he says that Collins has not named Hernandez his second baseman. He’s merely in the mix, as they say.  We could parse this I suppose — Martino is reporting peoples’ “sense” of the matter while Mike Puma says he got it from someone who has “direct knowledge” of the matter, but at some point the news is so small that if you parse the crap out of it you don’t have anything left to parse. It’s a job battle in which the established favorite is Luis Castillo. That is, by definition, small potatoes.

8:43 AMMike Puma of the New York Post reports that Terry Collins has settled on a starting second baseman for the Mets. And it’s not Luis Castillo. Or Daniel Murphy. Or even Brad Emaus. No, it’s Luis Hernandez:

Disenchanted with what he has seen from Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus and Justin Turner this spring, manager Terry Collins is preparing to name Luis Hernandez the starter at second base, a source with direct knowledge of Collins’ plans told The Post yesterday. The move will be contingent upon Collins convincing the front office to find roster space for Hernandez.

Hernandez has only had 12 plate appearances this spring, so it seems that Collins has made his choice by default rather than on the merits of Hernandez himself.

Not that Hernandez has much of a track record to begin with. He’ll be 27 this year and has spent parts of four seasons in the bigs, but has never had more than 91 plate appearances.  His highest OBP was an even .300 in 2007 with the Orioles.  He has 3,324 plate appearances in the minors, however, where his career OBP is … .302. And his career high in home runs was six, which he did back in 2004 while bopping around the Braves system. One hopes that with such a demonstrated inability to hit that he’s a whiz with the glove, but if he was all that you’d think he’d be a shortstop or something.

Baffling move if true.

The day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee”

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Personally, I would’ve assumed that the day Giancarlo Stanton became a “True Yankee” was when the Yankees traded for him, thereby willingly incurring a legal obligation to pay him hundreds of millions of dollars and pencil him in the lineup until his knees fell off and, probably, for some time after. That, however, is not how things go with the New York Yankees.

The Yankees can trade for you, but that does not make you a “True Yankee.” They can sign you to a nine-figure deal in free agency, but your signature on the contract is not your “signature Yankee moment.” They can draft you, develop you for six years and play you for another three and you still may not have enough time and accomplishments under your belt to be anything other than, more or less, a probationary employee.

No, to be a “True Yankee” you have to be declared so by the media after doing something neat like hitting a big home run like Stanton did last night to lead the Yankees to victory over the Mariners. Until then — until you become the hero of a Wednesday night game in June, I guess — you’re suspect. After that, well . . .

And:


And:

Seeing these headlines and the many other stories and tweets with references to Stanton’s newfound “True Yankee”-dom makes me wonder when, say, Jonathan Villar, became a “True Brewer” or when Daniel Descalso will deliver his “Signature Diamondback Moment.” I’m sure someone will tell us.

Haha, just kidding. No other team does that. Probably because no other team likes to stoke its own mystique like the Yankees do. They have always done this to some degree — and given the franchise’s success, they are allowed a bit more leeway to boast than other ones are — but I blame George Steinbrenner for taking this to silly levels.

Big Stein was the first owner to really take advantage of free agency, but that also made him the first owner to stigmatize the players he signed as somehow owing the team more than any other player for their having accepted a big paycheck. For having to prove themselves in ways other players didn’t. He famously did this with Dave Winfield, contrasting him poorly with Reggie Jackson, who had proven himself in ways that made Steinbrenner happy. He never really did this with homegrown Yankees players. It was like a parent being partial to their natural child and cold to the adopted one.

Steinbrenner also built up the level of expectations for Yankees players — all of them — beyond reason. I think it was in the late 90s that he started up with that “anything less than a World Series title is failure” jazz. I question whether that was motivational to highly-trained and already motivated baseball players, but it was certainly good for building the Yankees brand. The idea that you’re not a “True Yankee” — which I seem to first remember being a sticking point with Jason Giambi — is a logical extension of that. While it may not be the best way to run an organization it is, as a matter of brand-building, pretty effective to portray your team as having higher expectations and something of an initiation period for its players. It’s a way of making fans feel like the club and the players they root for are a level above everyone else.

Of course, George Steinbrenner was George Steinbrenner, and being sorta crazy and sorta unfair and working overtime to build the Yankees brand was what made him The Boss. It was literally his job to do that kind of thing, so let’s not be too hard on him. I get why he did it that way.

I do wonder why, however, the media tasked with covering the Yankees has so eagerly taken up the job of Yankees brand-building like that. Wherever Big Stein is today, he’s likely beyond caring about things like money, but I bet he’s still probably pretty happy with all of the free P.R. work his team continues to get, long after he shuffled off this planet and became an immortal Yankee.

Wait. I’ve gotta talk to a trademark lawyer, stat.