Sunday, May 16, 2010

Father Time is gaining on us

Alright, I get it. The New York Yankees are old. The vast majority of their roster is past their prime. I know, all their off-season acquisitions have sucked/gotten hurt. I am aware of the standings and how freaking good Tampa Bay is. I understand. But I'm not worried. The Yankees are in good shape.

Yes, they are a group of old vets, but hasn't that been their MO for at least a decade now? (I have no idea what MO stands for but I am almost positive I used it correctly.) Being experienced and knowledgeable didn't stop them from winning the title last year. And, yes, they had a busy off-season which, on first glance, does not seem to have paid off. But we have time to look closer and see that this isn't time to panic.

I would make the Austin Jackson - Curtis Granderson trade again.
Now let me stop you before you get up on your soap box. That was still a good trade. Granderson will be back by June and he doesn't have a history of injuries. He should be fine and will produce as expected. As for Jackson, if his BABIP was any higher, he'd get suspended for 50 games just on pure principal that he must be cheating.

(For the uninitiated, BABIP stands for batting average on balls in play. It essentially means how often a batted ball is a hit, rather than an out. The normal rate is around .300. Austin Jackson's BABIP, last time I checked, was over .500. That means, when he puts a ball in play, more often than not, he gets a hit. That also means he has to be the luckiest person in Detroit, but to be fair, he didn't have much competition for that crown.)

(Also for the uninitiated, why don't you know what BABIP is? This is 2010. You better get your act together.)

I would make the Melky Cabrera for Javier Vazquez trade again.
Stop yelling profanities and throwing bottles at me. Now, flashing back, I don't see how anyone could have possibly killed that trade at the time unless they were Melky's mother or close relative. Cabrera was, at best, a fourth outfielder. He was an okay fielder, with a slightly better than okay arm. He was slightly worse than an okay hitter. He was traded for a top five finisher in the 2009 NL Cy Young award. Now, with hindsight, Vazquez having lots of bad starts and only one good start, and now being yanked around in the rotation, and sent to the bullpen for the immediate future, I can understand someone killing the trade, but barely. I still would make the same deal. He's our fifth starter. He has talent. Perhaps I am in the minority of not overreacting to anything that happens before Memorial Day, but I am fine to wait on Javy. He already started to turn the corner his last outing.

I would still not mind having Nick Johnson on roster over Hideki Matsui as the token guy-who-cannot-play-any-position-in-the-field.
Everyone who decided not to kill GM Brian Cashman for the Melky trade, certainly got on him for acquiring Nick Johnson at the expense of Hideki Matsui. I didn't mind the decision at the time. I was ready for the Matsui era to end. I also like Nick Johnson. Of course, he is made of glass. Samuel L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable was actually based off of Nick Johnson. Not many people know that. So, of course Johnson got hurt again this season. He is now out indefinitely. It is going to be a while. But didn't Joe Girardi want to use the DH spot in the lineup as a semi-revolving door anyways? He wanted to give Alex Rodriguez a half-day off once a week. He wanted to let Jeter play DH every once in a while. He needed a spot to put Jorge Posada knowing Posada wouldn't be able to catch 150 games. The Nick Johnson experiment was not making or breaking the lineup anyways. It just so happens that Granderson and Posada got dinged up at the same time as Nick, so it seems like more of a burden than it really is. If Johnson comes back for the second half, he can still get on base with the best of them, and he's not going to bat under .200 for the rest of the year. I can live with this move, but mostly because I don't see it mattering all that much.

Perhaps I am just a closet optimist. But I am not worried. I don't go crazy for April and May events. The immortal Mariano Rivera was unavailable for a few days and he came back to give up a grand slam in his first save chance in a couple weeks. That bothered me, but it doesn't worry me going forward. Nick Swisher is aching and needed the day off. He will probably miss a series or two. I'm not bent out of shape about it though. Let everyone get hurt in May. Let's get it out of the way and be healthy going into the All-Star break. Let Javy get all his terrible starts out of the way before it gets too hot outside. Let the Rays run away with the AL East. What do we care? We'll take the wild card and play the Twins in the first round of the playoffs. When is the last time the Twins beat the Yankees in a series? 1894?

Maybe I'm not even a closest optimist. Maybe I am an obvious optimist. Or maybe, I'm a realist. I didn't go crazy last year, when the Yankees got off to a slow start. I actually wasn't worried the year before either, even though they ended up missing the playoffs. I'm just not one to overreact.

And oh by the way, with all the talk of the sky falling on this Yankees team, and their age catching up with them, I forgot to mention that they have the second best record in the Majors. Maybe that's why I am not too worried.

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