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Friday, March 21, 2014

Is Matt Thornton the latest in the Cashman LOOGY Curse?

In the least celebrated move of the winter, the Yankees signed veteran LH bullpen lugnut Matt Thornton to a two-year contract. He was supposed to solve a problem that has haunted the team for 17 years: Finding the guy who can strike out a lefty slugger in the eighth inning of a tight game. Not since Graeme Lloyd, the super-Aussie bloke himself, arrived have the Yankees sported a fearful, lights-out lefty, or LOOGY. Thornton was supposed to remedy that issue.

Of course, so was Pedro Feliciano. So was Boone Logan. So was Clay Rapada. So was Royce Ring. So was Billy Traber. So was Mike Meyers. So was Ron Villone. So was Buddy Groom. Randy Choate. Gabe White. Felix Heredia. Chris Hammond. Randy Keisler. Allan Watson. Ed Yarnell. Dopey Dildox. Chico Escuela. John J. Fadoolzall. Emmett Kelly. Britany Spears. Wilmer Valderama. Cory Monteith and the entire cast of Glee.

The list of LOOGY bombs represents the most remarkable achievement of Brian Cashman's career. If Doppeler, the late Channel 3 Weather Cat in Syracuse - (R.I.P., friend) - had run the team since 1997, he would have found somebody. But Cash somehow - incredibly - has always managed to come up with an empty sock.

OK, we should mention his sorta success - Damaso Marte, who returned from a season on the DL to pitch well in the 2009 post-season. He helped us win a World Series. For him (and the ill-fated Xavier Nady), we gave up Jose Tabata, Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf - four future major leaguers. It wasn't cheap. And Marte only shone for about two weeks. That's it. That's all, folks!

You can love or hate Cashman's trading record. He's had successes. But the poor guy has never - never - managed to find a pure LOOGY who lasted a month. (Boone Logan lasted three years, but he was never a full-scale LOOGY.) 

Now, Thornton looks mostly like the second coming of Alan Embree, the Redsock lefty we signed after Boston won the 2007 World Series. He quickly went south. The Yankees have Thornton for two years, but thus far in camp, he looks old and battered, and it's suddenly quite apparent why the Redsocks didn't put him on their 2013 post-season roster. We have no choice but to keep Thornton. We have him for two years. Does that sound familiar? Dear God.

OK, yes, I know what you're thinking... It's wa-a-a-a-y too early to throw the guy under the bus. He can straighten out. He's a veteran. He knows what he's doing. But wait--- can you hear that distant rumbling? That, my friends, is the sound of the YANKY LOOGY TRAIN. It's coming our way. It won't be long before David Ortiz comes to bat in a one-run game, and guess who we're going to send out to stop him? The ghost of Sean Henn? Cue the theme from Glee.

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