Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yankeetorial: Andruw Jones is the new Gary Ward

In 1987, the Yankees - almost halfway through the Great 13-Year Barf - signed slugging LF lugnut  Gary Ward. He started the season molten hot and through early June was being touted by the Yankee propaganda mills for the all-star team. For three months, you couldn't watch or listen to a Yankee game without hearing someone congratulate the team brain trust for signing Gary Ward.

Well, Gary fell apart and, by the year's end was hitting about .255 - which was what anybody would have expected, considering his age - 33 (young by today's standards!) and the fact that he hadn't hit well for a couple years. The following season, he fell into the .220s, but - hey, that's what you get in a 13-Year Barf.

But here's my point. (I do have one.) Throughout those delightful three months when Gary Ward was hitting about .340, the law of probability always dictated that a correction was coming. The more he hit at the start of the season, the less likely he would hit at the end.

Which brings us to Andruw. It's easy to take potshots. But it's actually unfair to judge Andruw (and Raul Ibanez) too harshly. They were supposed to be DHs this year. Left field was Brett Gardner's position. But Gards broke a nad making a catch, and we waited through three false-returns before punting and trading for Ichio. In the meantime, Andruw and Raul chased fly balls that they never expected to be seeing.

And now, neither of them can hit. But the question is, was it ever viable to think Andruw Jones was going to have a good year? Let me list his batting averages since 2007, when he turned 30: .222, .158, .214, .230, .247 - and now .200. Early in the year, he went on a mini-tear. And the Yankee propanganda mills congratulated us for being so clever in signing him.

Last night, Andruw went 0-3. Again. It's a killer 0-3, because he bats in the middle of the order, and right now, every left-handed pitcher in baseball dreams of pitching against the Yankees, because the two guys who bat fifth and six (Russell Martin and Andruw) can't hit their weights.

We spent a lot of money in 1987 to sign Gary Ward. We did the same last winter with Andruw and Raul. In fact, we gave AJ Burnett to Pittsburgh so we could free up money to make those signings. And we spent the first three months congratulating ourselves.

This is how you end up in a 13-Year Barf.

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