Monday, February 25, 2013
No Vernon Wells, no Alphonso Soriano, no Juan Rivera: Please, Mr. Girardi, don't turn left field into the Antiques Road Show
Posted by el duque at 7:46 AM
The franchise response was to install two statues - Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez - in left field and hope that fly balls hit them. As June became July, they rusted into the ground like Jay Leno's car collection. Ibanez practically went 0 for August, and the only solid hits Jones has recorded since last fall got him arrested. By September, the Yankees' 10 game lead had shrunken to the size of Chris Brown's conscience, and if not for a miracle resurgence by Rauuuuuul, we wouldn't have had the chance to be humiliated in the post-season, because it would have happened in the reg.
Well, comrades, here we frickin' go again. Grandy is out for 20 to 40 games, depending on who is counting. And if the Pronkees stay their regular course, we can expect another 50 shades of gray in 2012. That means Joe Girardi will install Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz in left field, or work a deal for Vernon Wells or Alphonso Soriano, or some aging rusted lugnut - and banish all the newcomers to Scranton because - well - because they can. That's all. If you have options, you're gone. Nothing else matters. The Yankees will stash you somewhere and wait until your out of options, usually around age 34.
If we follow the broken policies of 2012, we'll not only have a LF glove that goes clank, but we'll watch the RH-DH spot crumble, because some poor slob is running around all day. And finally, let's face it: We'll play guys with diamond-hard ceilings, who offer no hope for a breakout year.
Do the math. If at the end of May, Travis Hafner is batting .320 with 15 home runs, we'll know what's coming. It simply means he'll bat .190 the rest of the season. In a good year, Hafner will hit .260 with 25. So there are no magic beans. A lifetime .250 hitter always manages to go 1-4 on the season. The only player on this team who might breakout is Brett Gardner. Everybody else is just a number waiting to be filled in - and considering the ages, we might be seriously disappointed.
That's why it still hurts to think of Jesus Montero in Seattle. Last year he hit about 15 HRs. This year, 25? Next year, 30? Who knows? Seattle gets to enjoy the ride. The players most fun to watch are those without pre-established limits. We have - what? - meager prospects, the likes of which would rank in the top 250, if anybody ranked that far down: Zolio Almonte, Adonis Garcia and Ronnier Mustellier - how good are they? Will we ever know? If not now, good grief, why should we ever bother caring?