Brian Cashman likes to say the Mike Lowell trade was his career-worst blunder, and - yes sir - that's one tough booger to top. But if you think of the little ones that got away, the specialty tools that smarter teams like the Cardinals and Redsocks always seem to be stashing (David Roberts, Quintin Berry?), then it's time to ponder Randy Choate.
For 13 years, Choate has been throwing almost exclusively to LH mashers, and throughout that period, the Yankees have gone through practically the entire population of Rhode Island in search of a LH specialist. We signed Pedro Feliciano for two years; he never pitched an inning. The roll call of delusions includes Billy Traber, Damaso Marte, Ron Villone, Sean Henn, oh, God, why am I doing this to myself? If I start compiling these names, I won't make it: I WILL JUMP OFF A BRIDGE.
Choate pitched his first four years with us. We traded him with Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera to Montreal for Javier Vazquez, the man who will forever be remembered for serving Johnny Damon's grand slam gopher ball in game seven of the Series That Shall Not Be Mentioned. Yes, the moment that officially ended the Curse of the Bambino. What is it they say about a bad penny? It just keeps spinning bad juju? Well, the career of Randy Choate has certainly done it's share to us.
Frankly, he was no world-beater for the Yankees. I remember him getting pummeled in the 2001 World Series against Arizona. Excruciating to watch. But that was about 500 major league appearances ago. After 2007, he's been a solid LH specialist. He's been the guy who could have solved our lefty woes, the guy who would've pitched 100 times to David Ortiz and Josh Hamilton and Prince Fielder and - oh, god, where is the nearest bridge?
Last December, the Cardinals gave him a three year contact for $7.5 million. A pittance compared to the money we've shot through fire hoses at scrap heap outfield reclamation fiascoes. Last month, in the height of our "Wild Card" race, we were still auditioning for a lefty specialist. Cesar Somethingorother? Talk all you want about the Curse of the Bambino having been smashed into a million pieces. But the balls all started bumping into each other when we traded Randy Choate. And today, we're still facing the Curse of Choate.
Think of that tonight, when he strikes out Papi.