Tagged: Jose Contreras

I Drank The Kool-Aid

At first, I was upset about the Vazquez-Melky deal. (Yes, I know. We got Boone Logan too. I can’t wait for the crowd at the Stadium to go, “Boooooone,” if he should happen to strike out a batter.) I had nightmarish visions of Javy’s 2004 meltdown. I remembered how glad I was when we unloaded him. And, of course, I thought about the memorable moments Melky brought to the team. But then I read the comments here and on other blogs and realized maybe Cashman knew what he was doing.
The pros on trading for Javy:
* He strikes people out.
* He eats innings.
* He regressed in ’04 because he had arm trouble.
* He’ll be the #4 starter, not an ace, so expectations won’t be as high.
* He has a one-year deal.
The pros on trading away Melky:
* He’s a streaky hitter.
* He’s got a decent but not always accurate arm.
* He’s a below-average base runner.
* He was never going to be the next Bernie Williams.
So now that Cashman has taken two trips down memory lane, given the signings of Nick Johnson as well as Vazquez, I wondered who else he might be looking at from the old days. We don’t need another starter, but these guys are available for a return engagement if necessary:
Jeff Weaver.jpg
Oh, and Brad Halsey, another one of Vazquez’s former teammates, has been playing for the Long Island Ducks. He’d probably be willing to come back. Unfortunately, Esteban Loiaiza, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Felix Heredia and Steve Karsay are off the radar.
What the Yankees really need, however, is a left fielder – now more than ever with the loss of Melky. Cashman told the beat writers today that he would continue to look for the missing piece but that it wouldn’t be “a big piece.” Was he ruling out expensive types like Holliday, Bay and Damon? If so, we might be taking another trip down memory lane.
Bubba Crosby, Tony Womack, Terrence Long and Kenny Lofton are all retired. So is Ruben Sierra. Bronson Sardinha is around. And Kevin Thompson would surely give up his stint with the Fort Worth Cats to return to the Bronx. But here’s the guy I’ve targeted for a comeback. 
Well? He never officially retired. He’d probably sign for whatever Cashman is willing to pay him. And he can play the outfield AND the National Anthem. Talk about a deal.

Dreaming of El Duque

According to this story on MLB.com, Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman, the 21-year-old free agent who throws 100 miles an hour, is auditioning for the Yankees and other interested teams in Houston on Tuesday. Will he live up to the hype? Or will he underwhelm everybody, as he did in his last stint with the Cuban team in the WBC?
One thing is certain: he’s not ready for the majors. He’ll need seasoning and won’t be slotted into anybody’s starting rotation right away. He’s got the obligatory diamond stud earrings though, ready or not.
Obviously, I don’t have a clue whether the Yankees will sign Chapman or for how much. We’ve had mixed results with Cuban pitchers. Contreras was an expensive flop. I still get nightmares whenever I think of him walking batters, serving up bombs, and looking distraught in the process.
I also remember him sweating more profusely than any ballplayer alive. I always wanted to reach through the TV and towel him off.
Thinking the problem might be loneliness, Cashman and the Yankees finagled a way for him to be reunited with his family here in the States.
It didn’t do any good, and before long Jose was shipped off to the White Sox. He won a World Series with Chicago but has since been traded to the Rockies. He and New York weren’t a match – unlike Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who owned the city for awhile.
I remember vividly when El Duque defected from Cuba and arrived in the Bronx. I’d never seen anybody like him.
I mean, can you contort into that position? Only if you’re a pretzel.
Sure, he was hot tempered, and he and Jorge got into it on occasion. And sure, no one really knew how old he was.
But there was a time when he was pure magic for the Yankees – the toast of the town. It’s saying something when a major sporting goods company produces a TV commercial in your honor starring David Cone. (Love the cameo by Luis Sojo).
Does Chapman have the potential to be an El Duque? Or will he follow the trajectory of Contreras? This is why GMs, not bloggers, make the big bucks.