LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Lose Series to Jays as Deadline Deal Speculation Heats Up

Friday, May 27, 2016

Yankees Lose Series to Jays as Deadline Deal Speculation Heats Up

Well, they have to be happy at John's North Star Restaurant in LaSalle, Illinois, about an hour and a half drive from Chicago.

J.A. Happ. a native of the neighboring town  of Peru, Illinois was solid in his outing Thursday afternoon against the Yankees as New York fell to the Blue Jays 3-1. It really doesn't matter that CC Sabathia actually out-pitched Happ. He only allowed two hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, both hits followed a costly error by Didi Gregorius, so both runs allowed by Sabathia were unearned. Happ gave up a two out home run to Starlin Castro in the first inning, before allowing two more hits and three walks in his seven innings of work.

The good news is Sabathia was outstanding, as the rotation is racking up quality start after quality start these days. The bad news on Thursday was  the lack of offense and one big  defensive lapse, paving the way for Sabathia to not cash in on his gem. The Yankees finally returned to .500 for the season, only to lose the short home stand/series to the Jays and fall back to two games below.

Which begs the question: Are these Yankees contenders or also-rans? More to the point, there has been a lot of chatter about the Yankees being sellers at the August 1st trade deadline. You wonder if this 2016 Yankees team is more like the Yankees of fifty years ago, in 1966. When Ralph Houk was rehired to resurrect the Yankees from a 4-16 start, he actually managed the Yankees close to the .500 mark before falling off and finishing last in the AL standings. We should be reminded that this year's Yankees have spent more days in last place than any other team in the AL East combined.

We asked in an earlier post, since the Yankees have turned a corner, what is really around it?

Seems as if we still don't know what's around that corner. Hopefully, not a repeat of 1966, but you never know. The bigger question remains is will the Yankees be sellers. Perhaps one of their bullpen aces will be on the move? Also, I came to the realization just this week that Carlos Beltran, who is best suited to be a designated hitter, has a limited no trade clause, not a full no trade clause which Mark Teixeira, Jacoby Ellsbury and Masahiro Tanaka all have. So Beltran can be dealt to fourteen teams without his consent. A couple of them might be in the market for a DH. Nothing has to be decided right now, but the Yankees are going to have to make some decisions in about nine weeks or so. Continued poor play like in Thursday's game (CC excluded from the discussion)  might open the door for the Yankees to trade for some useful pieces for their rebuilding effort, if the pennant race deserts the Bronx this summer. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, the chicken is great at John's North Star, and their big screen captures every start that hometown boy Happ makes, including his Thursday win over the Yankees. The last time I was in the restaurant, a couple of years ago, there was a glass enclosed case near the front door with pictures of Happ. But in an adjoining case ware pictures of Mickey Mantle and a Yankees jersey. I  had my picture taken in front of that display.

John's establishment doesn't forget the hometown hero and that's a good thing. They also know greatness, as evidenced by photos of the Mick. For the Yankees to return to that greatness, they may have be sellers this time around. We'll find out in about nine weeks.

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