Since we’re all feeling a little impatient/perplexed/downright angry about the Yankees’ off-season thus far, I figured I’d lighten the mood with a bulletin: It’s almost spring training, which means it’s almost Opening Day. I know, I know. I’m not the only one with a calendar, but I just might be one of the only ones with a preview of the new Yankee Stadium E-Guide, which is the fantastic creation of Kurt Smith as part of his BallparkE-Guides series.
Each e-guide is a detailed, PDF-formatted booklet that takes us through our favorite parks in a way that teams’ official programs and web sites don’t. For example, at Yankee Stadium you can’t get back into the ballpark once you leave, right? Wrong. Thanks to a tip in the Yankee Stadium E-Guide, I learned that if you enter via the Hard Rock Cafe and have your ticket punched there, you can come and go as often as you want. The E-Guide has insider info about buying tickets, paying less for tickets, figuring out what and where the best food is, not to mention getting to the Bronx without stress. It’s all here and it’s only five bucks, downloadable from Kurt’s site. I’ll definitely consult the Yankee Stadium E-Guide before my next visit to the Stadium.
Speaking of which, I predict that the Yanks will, indeed, end up signing Rafael Soriano.
Why? Because there’s precedent for bringing in a proven closer as our setup guy. Does the name Tom Gordon ring a bell? He worked out pretty well setting up for Mo even though he’d been a closer for the Red Sox. Despite Cashman’s comments about staying “in-house” for the eighth inning and trying to avoid an expensive LaTroy Hawkins/Kyle Farnsworth-type flop, Soriano is no Hawkins/Farnsworth. He’d fit the bill just fine.
Yesterday, I suggested – strongly – that A-Rod be given a day off or two, and – lo and behold – he sat out the opener of the series against the Marlins.
He’ll probably be on the bench for Saturday’s game too. It’s about time he got time off. I had my tonsils out when I was in second grade, and I didn’t go to gym class right after the surgery.
While A-Rod was taking the night off, the Yankees were beating the Marlins the way they should have beaten the Nationals. The 5-1 victory could have been 10-1, given all the runners left on base, but I won’t quibble. We got a very good bounce-back outing from Pettitte.
He went seven innings, gave up a measly three hits and walked nobody. Was he really, really excellent or were the Marlins really, really bad? It was probably both. I mean, we were playing “the fish,” for God’s sake.
I know Hanley Ramirez is supposed to be so terrific, but did you see that ball hit to his right that he couldn’t grab? Angel Berroa, tonight’s surprising replacement for A-Rod, made a better play on Paulino’s grounder in the seventh. Of course, he also popped up with bases loaded. Grrrr.
Jeter was in the lineup and, despite a nice offensive night, he was clearly hampered by the stiff ankle. I guess that’s why Girardi didn’t use Pena at third, in case Derek had to come out during the game. He was definitely limping.
In addition to the effective job by Pettitte, the Yanks got another strong eighth-inning outing from Bruney. Is he the one who will finally grab the slot most recently held by this guy?
And before him, this guy?
I’d like to see some stability in the pen, but the jury’s still out on Brew. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not into his ‘stache. Nobody can do ‘staches like Giambino.
So what if he had to use a little bit of this now and then?
Bottom line? It was a positive game for the Yanks. I hope they’re enjoying the Miami nightlife, but not too much.
They need to sweep here. Are you reading this, Yankees? I said: SWEEP.
O.K. Don’t kill me, anybody. He’ll probably sign with the Red Sox within the next six seconds. I’m just saying that he’s still out there and maybe he’s getting a little antsy.
And let’s face it. There’s a history of Boston players crossing over into enemy territory, most of whom felt unappreciated and/or underpaid.
There was, of course, Babe Ruth. He crossed over and became, well, The Babe.
Sparky Lyle crossed over and won three straight AL pennants and two World Series and was the first reliever to win the Cy Young award.
Wade Boggs crossed over and had four straight .300+ seasons, earned two Gold Gloves and helped the Yankees win their first World Series in 18 years.
Roger Clemens crossed over after taking a detour through Toronto. He won two World Series and notched his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout as a Yankee. (Go ahead. Put an asterisk next to him if you must.)
Flash Gordon crossed over. He was a terrific set-up man for Mo and led the AL in holds in ’04 with 36.
The list wouldn’t be complete without Johnny Damon, who swore he’d never leave Boston but took the extra year the Yanks offered (and the extra millions). He batted .303 last season and was one of the most consistent hitters on an underachieving team.
Back to Varitek. Why in the world would he sign with the Yankees and why in the world would the Yankees want him?
1) Scott Boras. The guy lives for this stuff.
2) Jorge Posada. What if he can’t throw?
3) Jose Molina. What if he can’t catch every day?
4) Chad Moeller. Gone.
5) Ivan Rodriguez. Gone.
6) Francisco Cervelli. A prospect from Triple A.
7) Kevin Cash. Another crossover, but a lowly one on the order of Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Mark “the strikeout king” Bellhorn.
Are there obstacles to a deal? Absolutely. Varitek hates #13.
But they’d work it out. That’s what being a big leaguer is all about.
There’s also the money. Do the Yankees have any left? I’m not their accountant, but probably.
And there’s the issue of Varitek’s batting average; it hovered near the Mendoza line last season. But it just beat out Nick Swisher’s and the Yankees took him. We take lots of players who look like they’re ready for the glue factory. Sometimes they revive. Sometimes they don’t. Nothing is for sure in this game, not even Jason Varitek’s next address.