Monday, October 09, 2006

What's Wrong With the Yankees ... and How to Fix It.

The popular pick to win this years World Series was my New York Yankees, mostly because of the scariest line-up to step to the plate in years, if not ever. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland called this Yankee lineup “Murderer’s Row and Cano.” From top to bottom, every Yankee has been an All-Star; as many as A-Rod’s nine to Cano’s single trip – and they’ve got ex-stud Bernie Williams sitting on the bench, too. Throw in Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera and you’ve got an All-Decade team.

And that was – and will continue to be – the problem.

When the Yankees were collecting their rings in the 90’s, they had some All-Stars, and some MVP candidates and even a few Cy Young hopefuls. But not at every position. And that’s where my thinking kicks in.

Luis Sojo. Scott Brosius. Shane Spencer. Luis Polonia. Chad Curtis. Jimmy Leyritz.

The most clutch of Yankee clutch hits have come off the bats of some of the most random Yankees. Why? Possibly because the opposing pitchers were so frightened of David Justice coming up, Paul O’Neill slapping a double or a Bernie Williams home run. Pitchers aren’t that different in big situations than any other athlete. Much as an offensive lineman knows he has to play a great game to shut down Michael Strahan, or how an opposing center knows he’s got Shaq on the schedule tomorrow; so too does the pitcher know he’s got a dynamic Yankee lineup digging into that box all day. So when they can take a breather, relax for a second in the midst of the onslaught, they make mistakes. Scott Brosius is a World Series MVP because of it. Jim Leyritz will get laid and never pay for a drink every time he’s in the Bronx because of his walk-offs.

And because this New York Yankee team was even better than the last few, well, to put it bluntly, they had no shot. The Yankees should’ve seen this coming – Joe Torre should’ve realized it at the very least – when they didn’t start overtaking the Red Sox until Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui were out of the lineup. Torre stripped Melky Cabrera of his potential playoff greatness by inserting a still-injured Matsui back into left. Not only would Andy Phillips’ glove had helped at first, but he would’ve been the lethal no. 9 hitter in that lineup. In my humble opinion, Sal Fasano and Craig Wilson needed to get post-season at-bats for this team to win.

I know it doesn’t make any sense, and yet, it makes all the sense in the world. Those championship teams in the 90’s had players that knew their roles. They advanced the runners, they played stout defense and had tremendous pitching. Sort of like … the Tigers this year.

This Yankee team won’t be seeing that NY on any World Series rings until they remedy this … well, unless they buy Jason Grimsley’s 1999 one off of eBay.

You want the quick fix? In my eyes there are a few possible solutions.

The Joe Torre rumors? Make them reality. Get rid of this lump. Watching Torre in dugout, I thought I was looking at Terry Schiavo in a Yankee uniform: No physical movement, and no brain activity. The reason you’re hearing Lou Piniella’s name as a replacement is because the guy isn’t afraid to kick an All-Star in the ass once in awhile. Torre was a great manager; he won those Series’ in the 90’s with an average team. He knew when to bunt, when to make a pitching change and when to let Scott Brosius swing away. But George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman made things too easy on him. With an All-Star team on the diamond, you can’t really manage. You just sit there and wait for them to produce the numbers they’ve produced all their lives. Unfortunately, when half of them have injured wrists and the pitchers are all using “Just for Men” before their start, you have to realize they don’t make for a good team. Is it out of the question to bring back Joe Girardi? He’s actually played with a lot of these guys, and won with them and proved he can coach. I want him or Piniella on the bench. And please, please, please bring back Don Zimmer. We can’t win a big game without him!

Other things that needs to be done?

Barry Zito needs to come to town, and Randy Johnson needs to leave it. Carl Pavano needs to either step up or just go ahead and do gay porn full-time. I want Philip Hughes on the roster next season; in the bullpen or the rotation. It worked for the Red Sox with Papelbon, it worked for the Marlins with … every position player on the roster and it worked for the Tigers and Twins with Verlander and Liriano. If the guy is a big prospect, let him prove it.

Gary Sheffield never should’ve came to New York – Vlad Guerrerro should be out there. Now is the chance to let him go, giving us an outfield of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu, with Melky Cabrera giving whoever needs a day off a break.

Jason Giambi needs to, first off, discover what shampoo is, put on some non-steroid muscle, and learn to hit to the opposite field. Andy Phillips or Eric Duncan needs to be the full-time first-baseman, and whoever wins the job needs to work endlessly with Don Mattingly to become a stud, the way Nick Johnson never did. Go Nats!

Mike Myers and Scott Proctor need to be shot in the head and left in a dumpster somewhere in the Bronx. The Yankees need middle relief that isn’t cast off by our competition. They also need a set-up man not named Kyle Farnsworth. I’d say Joel Zumaya, but the thought of David Ortiz getting a hold of a 104 MPH fastball and killing a fan in the upper deck with it in a big game scares the shit out of me.

And finally … A lot of people seem to think Alex Rodriguez needs to go somewhere else. I agree completely. It’s short-stop. If Derek Jeter is so dedicated to winning another ring, he needs to go to third base and let A-Rod play SS. Something needs to get this guy back in his zone. Jeter’s got the arm for 3B.

That all happens? The 2007 World Series is the Yankees over the Mets in 5.

12 comments:

Joseph P. said...

Fasano getting at bats? That pretty much invalidates whatever else you say. That, and praising Andy Phillips's non-existent bat.

NFL Adam said...

That was well-reasoned and very objective. I am bummed because I can't lampoon you. Good job.

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