Sports musings from the minds of Matt Elias and Brian Sciubba
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Attention 2008 Yankees: There Is No More Space on the DL.
I don't even know where to begin. Normally if the Yanks were 6 out at this point of the season and behind TWO teams for the division I would be throwing things at the TV, or simply refuse to watch. Honestly though, how could you be that mad about this season. I understand that when people point to injuries some see it as an excuse, but you need to draw the line somewhere. The Yankees haven't had one major injury they've had four, and as much as it pains me to say it, with Dr. Andrews in the picture it looks like that number will be five. Here's a review of what they've lost:
Wang: Winningest pitcher in the entire MLB over the last two seasons... out for season.
Posada: Coming off a career year where he finally learned how to hit an offspeed pitch. Handled that pitching staff about as well as anyone could have....out for season.
Matsui: Led the league in hitting, has been nothing but consistently productive since he has arrived despite his slumps where all he does is ground out to 2B. Was well on his way to being most productive outfielder this year.....out for season.
Hughes: Lost a no hitter last year to an injury, came back and was great down the stretch. One of only two Yankee pitchers to throw well during playoffs last year.....pitched with broken ribs and has been out for most of the year.
Joba: All I will say is that if he is seriously hurt they can pack it in for the next 5-10 years.
There is no other team in baseball who could have sustained an injury to their ace, catcher, most productive outfielder and their no. 4 starter, and still be somewhat (barely) in contention for a playoff spot. I know a lot of people will point to the payroll, but those who do that know next to nothing about baseball. Teams have won the world series with huge payrolls and with minuscule ones, so that argument can be thrown out. I don't care what your payroll is, no team can sustain those injuries.
For example let's take the Red Sox who's fans are comparing the Yankees injuries with David Ortiz's poor wrist. Pretend Ortiz was never hurt, and just for arguments sake pretend they never traded Manny. Take Beckett, Varitek (who isn't half the offensive player that Posada is, and while he might be better defensively it is not by enough to make up for his piss poor performance at the plate) and Drew off their team for the same amount of time Wang Posada and Matsui have been out for the Yanks (I didn't take another starter out for the Sox bc Schilling has missed the entire year). Taking Beckett out means Bucholz never had time to go get his hand held in Pawtucket and had to grow a pair at the Major League level. Taking Drew out means Ellsbury has to play everyday and we all know how The Nation feels about that now-a-days seeing as he has been benched for Crisp. If you take Varitek out the entire team supposedly falls apart, which is partly true and partly an excuse for the 2006 season. Now add in all the other injuries like Jeter being out for 15 days, Damon going to the DL, and Arod being on the shelf for a while, or how about Bruney (who was pitching outstanding) being out for 3 months. I know that Lowell was on the DL for a bit, but now on top of that take Youkilis and Pedroia out for two weeks a piece, along with their best relief pitcher (outside of Papelbon) at the time for 3 months, and you have yourself a sub-.500 ballclub. I took the Red Sox as an example not because I dislike them, but because they too have a high payroll. Also, being a Yankee fan I pay a lot of attention to the players on the Sox, so I know what losing those players would mean to that team.
My point isn't that Yankee fans should be content with not making the playoffs, but if that does happen to remember that this isn't the team they meant to put on the field. The team they were supposed to field can be found in the picture at the top of this post. I know that this seems to happen every year with the Yanks as they trot people back and forth from AAA to the Major Leagues in order to try and fill in spots here and there, but it hasn't happened this late in the season.
On to Joba. Simply put: if he is seriously hurt they are completely screwed for a long time. The kid can pitch, plain and simple. He is a smart pitcher who is talking about the economy of pitches at age 23. He is someone who can throw 100 mph but knows how to bring it down and save some for when he needs it (just like Rich Harden, as much as I hate the injury comparison that is begging to be made). If there is any, and I mean even the slightest bit, chance that he could injure himself in the long term if he comes back this season then shut him down. The Yankees have been so careful with Joba to this point and for them to rush him back for a playoff race they are probably going to come up short on anyway is the closest thing to completely brain dead I can fathom. That being said, I don't think there is a chance they would do that.... they're not the Mets (Ryan Church). I really hope he is okay, he is hands down the best homegrown pitcher they have had since Pettite and if he can continue to pitch like he has he will be far better than Pettite. He is a huge fan favorite and the last thing anyone wants to see is his career be plagued by injuries and then compared to Mark Prior.
On to a related, but different topic. I am completely against signing pitchers to these ridiculously long term/high money deals, because not a single one has worked out. But how nice would a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Hughes and Moose be next year (if Moose wants to come back)??? Sounds pretty good to me. If there is anyway the Yankees could get an injury discount on Ben Sheets, they should consider that too, although he will most likely get hurt. On the other hand CC is never hurt, and while he does pitch a lot of innings his body type (i.e. FAT) allows a lot of pressure to be taken off his arm. CC is a new type of free agent pitcher. What I mean by that is every knock on the other long term high money pitchers doesn't apply to CC. Santana didn't pitch deep into games, not only does CC pitch deep into games, he is routinely at the top of the league for Complete Games (usually behind Halladay). Barry Zito's velocity, actually all his numbers, were on their way down... CC's have gotten better (minus the first 8 starts of this season), plus no one should have even come . Kevin Brown signed his deal when he was 34 (the Dodgers HAD to be dropping acid), CC just turned 27. Mike Hampton, well he just caught bad luck with injuries, but he is only 5'10" and 180lbs and his name isn't Pedro Martinez so what did you think would happen? Baseball-Reference.com lists CC at 6'7" 250lbs....250lbs?????? Yeah ok, maybe with only one foot on the scale. Hopefully Brian Cashman reads this and signs CC based on all of this wonderful research. Getting CC for 7 years (ages 27-35) at 18-20 mil a year is a risk, but shouldn't be grouped with those other guys. And yes, that is him wearing a Yankees hat,
On the next post I will attempt to write about football. I am morally opposed to writing about sports you've never played at least once in your life, but no one is reading this anyway so I'll do some research and give it a shot.
One last thought on the Yankees, they make average (and below average) LHPs look like Sandy Koufax and can someone for the love of God teach Richie Sexson the proper way to swing a bat, even when he hits the ball he looks like he swings only until he makes contact and then forgets that you're supposed to keep going and come through the ball.
Oh yeah, Congrats to the Co-AL player of last week: Xavier Nady.
PS: Nolan Ryan looks like he could still kick somebody's ass.....Watch out Robin Ventura.