Monday, January 28, 2013

Juan Rivera comes home

Somewhere out there, in a Yankiverse far far away - actually, a happier one - we never traded Juan Rivera.

The fulcrum point to this Yankiverse is balanced on an event nine years ago: Dec. 16, 2003.  On the day before, Rivera is a highly regarded OF prospect - once ranked No. 1 in the organization by Baseball America - who missed much of the previous season after getting hurt while catching fungos in practice, a la Mariano. He is 24, and he hit 7 HRs in 174 ABs for the Yankees.

On the day after, Cashman trades him to Montreal for Javier Vazquez.

Allow me to speak freely here: UGH.

We traded Rivera, Randy Choate and Nick Johnson for Vazquez. UGHHHH.

It was one of Cashman's signature fantasy deals: Give up position prospects and a spare part for that stud pitcher entering his prime, the future superstar who will surely flourish in New York. The Jeff Weaver! The Denny Neagle! The Michael Pineda!

Ugh.

Vazquez goes down as the two-time Yankee disappointment, the pariah who surrendered the grand slam to Johnny Damon, which ended the so-called Curse of the Bambino and basically made the Yankees and Redsocks equals over the entire last decade. For the Yankees, there is a "Before 2004" and an "After 2004" image. Since losing to Boston, we have never had our Yankee pride fully restored. We probably never will. And it starts with the trade of Juan Rivera.

Rivera goes down in the books as a lifetime .274 hitter with a string of decent seasons between 2004 and 2009. Damn, he could have helped us. In the 2005 AL post-season, he lead the Angels in crushing us, hitting .353. Of course, by then, Vazquez was gone.

Choate is still in baseball. Here's a trivia question: Name all the bullpen lefty specialists we have auditioned over the years? He could have solved that problem. And Nick Johnson still has a career on base percentage of nearly .400.

Well, we're in the wrong Yankiverse. We're in the one where Rivera got dealt, and there's nothing we can do about it. Or maybe there is. Today, the Yankees signed him as a free agent, another RH possibility in the outfield. To be honest, he's probably got the RH DH job no matter what happens in spring training, because - for better or worse - that's generally how the Yankees work. Hey, Ronnier Mustelier, start looking for a home in Scranton.

Juan Rivera has come home. He's 34. Jeez. On this team, that's young.

30 comments:

SanJoseKid said...

The obsession with selecting (and obtaining) the "stud pitcher entering his prime" goes back to the 1950s if not earlier. Don Larsen had pitched two horrible seasons (with an ERA over 4.00 both years) before the Yanks got him in 1955. But his total innings pitched in those years indicated he was a horse. And he clicked in NYC. What remains mysterious is the formula of the secret ingredient, that inscrutable catalyst, that brings some players to fulfillment in the Bronx while others are stillborn. Javier Vasquez should have won 20 games for several consecutive seasons. A. J. Burnett should have the been the ace of the staff, just look at his stats against Boston and the Yankees before they brought him to the Bronx. Both these guys, and Jeff Weaver, and Kyle Farnsworth, had good stuff. Really good stuff PHYSICALLY. But that catalyst was never activiated. Then again other pitchers who seem to be little more than journeymen sometimes blossom when they don the pinstripes, i.e. Dick Tidrow. If baseball is becoming increasingly scientific, then let the nerds figure out how the success equation works in the Bronx. On paper, those trades you mentioned looked good at the time (if awful in retrospect).

Anonymous said...

Old Testement young. Rivera . But will he end up on the DL trying to lace up a shoe ?
Is this the reason the mad Melky is in his Georgia clay bunker with his Russian army gear ???

Anonymous said...

At the rate the Breck Boy in Oakland is signing Cubans- there should be a big sign on the outfield wall for Cuban
Vintage cigars.
Oh that's right you can't smoke in the state of California
Unless your doctor gave you RX weed!!

Anonymous said...

You think Copa Cashman was dancing like a gigolo in brazil recently ?!

Anonymous said...

One thing forgotten about the Vasquez deal which should end up in Into the Montreal Mystic which Donald Sutherland would agree- you acquire a too of the end
Rotation stud

Anonymous said...

Without giving up a potential one. That is a Bud Selig edict trade. No wonder the pitching depth dried up in Montreal especially after Tony Armas, Jr and Carl Spleen!
Pavano swooned in Quebec
History should be looked at to make sure it's not repeated
Hank is not like his dad.
Would NickJohnson have accepted a bench job in Bronx?

Anonymous said...

Javey Vasquez will be remembered for leaving the Montreal Mystic and his trusted confidante - Randy
St Claire. The protege to Buck Rodgers, who George
Bamberger hired in Montreal.
Say. All those Birdland heroes forgot mention Bamby
As the force behing Baltimore winning and a dandy
Managerial guy off the Weaver tree branch.
Harry Dalton canned his ass in 1982. Why?

Anonymous said...

I think this is a think tank blog site for a new course at the Regents University history dept. the American male and baseball addiction or else somebody is trying to prove that baseball is thought of more during the day than why
Kate Mara is passé in Hollywood ushering in her sister or whether Steven Siderb

Anonymous said...

Whether Steven Soderberg is related to Rob

Anonymous said...

Robert script guy for Dragnet and Jack Webb. Virus
On my smart phone typing here or just Hardware Hank
Bad luck.
Lars Anderson future Yankee??

Anonymous said...

All the whining this winter by Yanx fans was a real concern or la j if faith of Copa Cashman bridging today to the youth movement on the Trenton / Tampa.
Some of us are old enough to recall when Tampa was known for churning out cigars and Reds blue chip players!!!

Anonymous said...

No Doug Drabek was in Vasquez deal.

Anonymous said...

Bamby never hired buck in MTL - Milwaukee
Spellcheck shot @ dawn with the 4 th estaters

John M said...

From the Daily News, 2005:
Michael Kay and Bobby Murcer got their Riveras mixed up yesterday and it led to an embarrassing moment on the YES broadcast of the Yankees-Angels game.



With L.A.’s Juan Rivera batting in the second yesterday, Kay brought up the incident in spring training of 2002 when, he said, Juan Rivera was caught stealing a glove out of Derek Jeter’s locker and selling it to a Seattle memorabilia dealer.

Murcer chimed in by calling it one of the “unforgivable sins” in baseball, and when Rivera grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, Kay said, “There’s a little payback for Jeter.”

A few minutes later, with the Angels still batting, a highly humbled Kay admitted he had goofed.

“I just made a terrible mistake, Bobby,” Kay said. “It’s Ruben Rivera who took the glove, not Juan. Ruben was the guy who took it, I apologize to Juan, that’s awful. I just got my Riveras all mixed up.”

Murcer said nothing.

Anonymous said...

Does this whole silly soda mandate in America mean that the fancy 44 ounce soda more expensive

Anonymous said...

Outfield depth chart?
Gardner. Curtis Blow. I harp
Rivera. Melky. Cantzler
Neal. Cuban RonnieM. Zoile A
Dan Johnson. Flores.
Williams. Austin. Heathcutt

Anonymous said...

Matt Dampn played Breck Boy
Harrison Ford playing Branch Rickey ?!!!
Why does Hollywood always over cast a role??
Branch was shorter right? Griffey looking??
Will 42 come out during the Bud Selig Civil Rights
Game?? Should bud change the title if the game
Something to encircle the hip hop generation ??
Especially if Chris Brown tosses out the first pitch ??

Anonymous said...

Yeah man! And play the game in Palo Alto @ Sunken Diamond!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Hardware Hank should underwrite Bud's game since Yanx need to farm out of the Bay areas
Look at the Cardinal. Big Texan RF up for draft and the
Son of the Forgettable Felix Jose!

Anonymous said...

The Miami New Times??
Pushing clouds to get their name out there ?
A few laptops and many pizza boxes??

Anonymous said...

That Tampa dash to dublin doughnuts us looking better
For Derek 2: Youk , Hafner. , Dan Johnson, Juan Rivera
Thomas Neal, Cantzler. posada in as a guest instructor
Why not have zimmer join in?? !!!
Lol
Bring over a couple stereotypical LH batting mules from aaa / as- Derek has a new youthful speed suddenly!

joe de pastry said...

Who gave the greenies to Anonymous?

Anonymous said...

RIP. Stan Muscial. Paul Hornung and two Baltimore chip
Earls. Weaver and Williams.

Anonymous said...

Aries snake blood!
No meds. That I'd A Rod!

Anonymous said...

Greenies. The era of. CBS Yanx. Swinging Kekich and
Peterson ....Thurman. Thinking he was a pilot...

Anonymous said...

This begins the Cashman spending assets from the farm depth.
Almonte for Shawn Kelly. St Pattys day a month away
Get a Mic!

Anonymous said...

BLOG stands for brother, leave overloaded gab!
Amonte. Not a big loss. It took a trade to Seattle / Siberia
With good coffee and outdoors ! To play the shot @ the
Bigs
Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera , Thomas Neal, Melky Mesa
Ronnie M..... Heck even a converted infielder could beat
Amonte to the bigs !

Anonymous said...

Greenies?? Who needs greenies After. Few days in Uruguay where the women take you bAck to 1970s chi
.
Yanx fans should be pumped
Camp competition for AAA SS slots- Ibarra , Marusek and Jose Priela. Many kids pushing the envelope @ Trenton
I guess the OTHER Almonte OF was traded to Seattle. Not the one on the 40 man roster. An Irish reliever in time
For St Paddys day in Tampa
Looks like Almonte, Melky, RonnierM, Flores and Neal in OF for SWB unless Diaz does not make cut and Neal splits 1b with Dan Johnson . Or unless The Trenton 1 b
Makes a push. Even the farm hands not in plans seem intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Whose hip is in better condition !? Mike Napoli or Melky
Cuban Romeo Rodrieguez from Sam Hose Ca????
Delmon Young not ready for start of battery throwing season in Philly!! Or is it leaking battery throwing season
- maybe even auto size batteries like the Scottish rock tossing contest. ???? Yanx fans love DY as much as
Chuck Knoublouch on a ground ball day to 2b!!!!!
The kids are alright. That will be the 2014 moniker!

Anonymous said...

I would laugh @ SJC kid if the Yanx doubled up on
Stanford grads in June draft- Appel and the Texas outfielder Austin......