Sunday, October 16, 2011

Joel Sherman's fix doesn't factor in the Back Page

I love Joel Sherman. In an alternative universe, one where we have six toes and stubby tails, I'd same-sex marry the guy. Yeah, he works for Satan, but the guy always makes sense. You can read his bluster at the breakfast table without having Cheerios shoot out your nose.

Today, he ponders the Yankees plan for the 2012 Yankees: Stay in-house, don't chase a big free agent, let Montero evolve, grok our fullness. It's a playbook that would put a smile on the face of old "Stand Pat" Gillick. And it does make sense. Sherman's probably right. The Steinboys and Cashmachine have become penny conscious and poundwise.

But what about the Back Page? Sherman acts as if it doesn't exist. (He probably tries not to think about it.) Old George knew its value: Now and then, you take a bat to the bee hive, just to let the colony know you're there. You rip a star, be it Mattingly or even Jeet. You sign a name, even if you don't need him (Gary Sheffield.) You fire somebody, just to see what happens.

Trust me, I'm not advocating the old ways. We don't need Prince Sheffielder. We don't need heads to roll. If the home plate ump in game two against Detroit hadn't squeezed our strike zones with a vice, we'd still be playing. Next year, if three young players show the improvements that Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, Dave Robertson and Ivan Nova made last year, we'll win the division by eight games.

But what about the Back Page? We aren't George's Yankees if we're not chasing it.

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