Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Posted by el duque at 6:18 AM
Two years ago, when Brian Cashman dropped nearly $8 million to make Pedro Feliciano our bullpen lefty, most of the Yankiverse exhaled. It has become a History Channel-level mystery: Why the Yankees cannot develop - and keep - a lefty-bullpen ace. We raise a Randy Choate and trade him. We raise a Phil Coke trade him. Matt Smith? Trade him. Instead, year after year, we run a Pickett's Charge of scrap heap lefties, which in 2012 evolved into the roller coaster ride known as Clay Rapada. (Who actually wasn't bad, considering that we never expected anything.)
Pedro Feliciano was supposed to end the water torture. Cashman signed him despite his huge workload with the Mets: He had appeared in 92 games - the third straight year with more than 80. In fact, the Mets brass even boasted about Scott Proctoring the guy. Cash put Feliciano through the MRIs - as he did Michael Pineda - (Note: By now, we should learn to use base deals on medical reports) - and concluded he was worth $3.75 per year.
Ouch. It still hurts. It was perfect, clean, surgical - Grandy-ose in terms of the whiff. We never got one stinking pitch from Feliciano. He pulled up lame in spring training, resisted surgery, vowing to come back, then couldn't come back, then went under the knife, then rehabbed last July and couldn't make it in time for the playoffs. It was brilliant. He was always coming back. He never did.
You don't get many opportunities to witness The Perfect Fiasco. Usually, at least some aspect of it results in a positive development. This one was engineered by the Fates. It was as if God was telling us: If thou canteth groweth them on thy own farm, thou doesn't deserve to findeth them in the temple of the market.
Listen: Once again, God is right. (He's very smart.) The failure was not Cashman's belief in X-Rays. It was our organization's absolute failure to develop pitchers. In recent months, the Yankees canned Billy Connors and Nardi Contreras, the two nerf balls most responsible for the malaise. I hope we found the right replacements, because other teams get an annual infusion of talent. Looks like we're going for Year 2 of Clay Rapada. We're still watching the scrap heap. And we're still sick from that bad clam.