Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beltran and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year

Two days ago, Carlos Beltran left the team because his wife suffered a miscarriage - a real life tragedy - and if there is one upside to the bleak 2014 season, it is that Beltran needn't rush back to the Yankees.

Why bother? The team is divoting through the back nine holes of Derek Jeter's farewell tour, a sad and surprisingly tiresome period, when Beltran could play no meaningful role other than to remind the Yankiverse of its disillusionment with the current regime.

Seriously, folks, if we had the chance, wouldn't we rather follow Extreme Frisbee?

Or Ramon Flores! Wait a minute. Who TF is Ramon Flores? Well, he just happens to be a 22-year-old OF who hit .247 at Scranton this year. His numbers (7 HR) won't inscribe him into Jesus Montero Cooperstown Club, but Ramon was the official Yankee emissary to youth at Triple A - our youngest player. He healed from an injury and came on at the end of the season. Not a future CF monument, maybe. But Ramon was one of four - yep, just four - at Scranton under the age of 25 (2B Rob Refsnyder, P Nick Rumbelow and P Manny Banuelos), the rest of the team being a scrap-heap assortment of Steinbrenner Collectibles. You know - the Yangervises, the Zelouses, the Antoans, the Adonises, the Ronniers... the list goes on.

But wait, this is about Beltran, who last year at this time was leading St. Louis into the post-season. Last year, he looked like an actual lithe National League outfielder. This year, from Day One, he resembled another slow-footed, pulled-pork, AL designated hitter.

Last year, he played the outfield with grace and experience. This year, he bull-charged a right field foul line, did a full flip, landed on his ample butt, and never was quite the same. He didn't hit for power. He didn't hit for average. Then one day, he announced that he couldn't throw, due to a bone spur. He could have had an operation, but he would miss six to eight weeks.

Looking back, he should have had the operation. Instead, he stayed, and did a four month impersonation of a large stone going through a long snake. He and Mark Teixeira became the Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells of 2014 - and the last thing you wanted to see was those two coming up with a runner on base. The LOB Machine. That's what they should call the 2014 Yankees.

So... it's over for Beltran. If you check his last four years, he's been up and down, up and down. That means he could rebound in 2015. Of course, he'll be 38 - and he never had such a terrible, horrible, no good very bad year as this. Even if he comes back, what are we talking about? A .270 average and 20 HRs? Is that what we want from a DH? And then there is 2016, when his biorhythms would call for - dear God - he'll make Hafner look like Babe Ruth.

Surely, everyone wishes the best for Beltran's family. But we're stuck with him. And because of him, Ramon Flores might spend the next two years at Scranton. Hey, what's happening in Extreme Frisbee?

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