Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yankeetorial: With all the elder statesmen in camp, no Jeremy Lins are in sight

A long long time ago in a Yankiverse far far away, a scud manager named Joe announced that a rookie would start as his SS on opening day. This ended a period under the previous manager, who was loathe to try youngsters from the farm. The SS was named Jeter, and a wave of kids lifted Joe Torre from the scrapheap into an exalted status.

Last season, for maybe the first time since 1995, we celebrated a mini-youth wave - Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez, David Robertson, Ivan Nova. Without them, God knows where we would have finished. And the best part of this wave was that it seemed like only the tip. There was so much more to come.

Well, that was last year. With the signings (impending) of Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Raul Ibanez, Andrew Jones and Hiroki Kurado, plus the trade of Jesus Montero, we seem to have regressed into the 1980s, when the stars of Columbus might as well buy houses there and run for school board.

Most notably, consider Brandon Laird, who has "Mike Lowell" written all over him. Been in Scranton two years, won the Triple A gold glove at third, played great defense last September in his cup of coffee, and now must either return to the Traveling Wilkes Barres or get traded for an Ed Yarnell.

Then there is Ramiro Pena, who frankly, his ship has sailed. He's the slick-fielding utilitiy shortstop version of Shelley Duncan. Doesn't matter what he does at Scranton. Going nowhere. It's just a matter of playing out his required options, until the day he can sign with a team that gives him a chance. Won't be us.

Jorge Vazquez, the legendary Mexican slugger? In two years, he has hit all the homeruns anybody could at Scranton. He's the Mexican version of Shelley Duncan. But unless an asteroid hits one side of the Yankee compound, he has no future with the team. Nope. Got a hole in his swing. Forgetaboutit.

And the starting pitchers - David Phelps, DJ Mitchell, et al: Stuck in Scrantonless Scranton.

Listen: It's a long season, and injuries to anybody (Talking to you, Mr. Chavez) could vault one of these guys into the starting lineup. And it's good to deep. But the NY Giants last year won the Super Bowl in part because Victor Cruz came out of nowhere to become a star. The Knicks, for the first time in eons, have a chance - because of Jeremy Lin. To win the World Series, a team needs emerging young talent. You just can't do it with a bunch of old guys.

So who will emerge from the Yankee system this year? Bill Hall?

Betances and Baneulos look like our only hopes. Everybody else? Buy a home in Scranton and run for school board.

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