Monday, March 16, 2015
Posted by el duque at 8:03 AM
In today's column, Madden asks a simple question, one that fans have pondered since last July:
What the hell is wrong with Jose Pirela? Does he use the wrong fork? Do his ties not match his socks? What's the problem here?
Here's a guy who wins the International League batting crown, plays several positions, most notably 2B, and yet last September, the Yankees didn't even promote him for a cup of coffee until injuries forced their hand. In the final, dreadful games of a lost season, it was none other than Suzyn Waldman who - in a gasp of exasperation - wondered why Pirela had been left behind in Scranton? (This was after Pirela deftly picked off a runner who had strayed from third base.) And despite assurances that Pirela would compete for a job in 2015, the Yankees went out this winter and signed the bobblehead doll known as Stephen Drew ("Official IT IS HIGH Whipping Mule for 2015") to play 2B. Last year, Drew hit .162. This year, we'll pay him $5 million.
Today, let us rejoice in knowing that Madden is no longer pissing outward; he has turned around to and directing his urine stream toward the fire.
[W]hat is becoming more and more mystifying is why... Jose Pirela, the 25-year-old Venezuelan infielder, who is generating a lot of buzz among the scouts that is apparently falling on deaf ears with the Yankee high command. “For me, Pirela’s got to be on their team,” said one scout for an NL team who has watched almost all of the Yankees’ games this spring.
Who is Madden's source? Don't ask. It could be any of the 150 voices screaming in his head, or the ghost of Casey Stengel, or maybe Dick Young himself. Let's not go there. Let's be thankful that Madden is writing things down. The unnamed scout continues:
"I’ll be honest, I don’t understand Drew. He was as bad a player as I’ve ever seen last year and he hasn’t looked any better this spring. He can’t hit a lick and whether they know it or not, the Yankees need offense. That’s why I’d take my chances on Pirela at second.”
Like the rest of us, Madden has seen this movie before.
Assuming Drew at second base is etched in stone — and there’s no way the Yankees are going to admit a $5 million mistake quickly — Pirela’s only hope of making the team is if Brendan Ryan’s chronic back issue keeps him on the disabled list to open the season... The good news for Yankee legions is there is a long-awaited new wave of legitimate major league prospects on the near horizon. The perplexing news is, the first one to arrive has been received better by opposing scouts than the Yankees themselves.
Small steps. That's how you climb from the abyss. A third straight year of missing the post-season - despite spending $200 million - ought to motivate the NYC media to train its guns on management, rather than A-Rod. (Or on both.)
Still... why must we annually try every retread in captivity before giving young players a chance?