Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Brian Roberts, the new Vernon Wells?

According to the Internet, which is always right, the Retrieval Empire is signing 36-year-old former Orioles lug nut Brian Roberts to play 2B. The top Yankee web tribunalists are awaiting the details before rendering judgement, an element of wisdom usually lacking on this site. Frankly, it doesn't matter if we have Roberts for one year or three, here's what will get this season:

A month.

It'll probably be April. That's when the old guys feel young. In Florida, Kevin Youkilis last March was one of our best hitters. A few years ago, Eric Chavez carried it into June, until he inevitably got hurt. Travis Hafner lasted until May, when his shoulder started barking. The league caught up with Andruw Jones in June. And of course, the man atop this post, Vernon Wells, looked like the Comeback Player of 2013 last spring. By September, he could barely fill a RH platoon.

But a word on behalf of these players: They are fine fellows, each of them. You feel bad, ripping them. Good grief, they're just old guys looking for one last year, hoping to cheat time. They hustle out grounders. They never whine about being benched, never miss the bus. Before last season, I had the impression - wrongfully - that Vernon Wells was a selfish player. Not true. He was a good teammate. He just couldn't hit a damn fastball, that's all.

So now we turn to the man formerly known as Brian Roberts. This one has been a shell of himself for the last four years.

Brian Roberts - when healthy - will hold down 2B quite capably. This will be an exciting month! The Gammonites - in conjunction with YES - will present Brian Cashman with a verbal Certificate of Achievement for identifying this aging, but still sharp diamond and bringing him to New York. For a week or two, we won't miss Robbie Wazzisname one bit. Then, running out a grounder, Brian will tweak a gonad. He'll disappear or - worse - play for a month while injured. Then we will tout the new 2B, career minor leaguer, Dean Anna, and bestow upon Cashman a new Certificate of Achievement for his work. The wheel keeps turning, and Yankees never get younger. Brian Roberts, welcome to your retirement home.

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