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Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

 

HatGuy!

Mike Celizic, the Chairman and Executive Vice President of the Committee to Write About Only the Yankees and Red Sox No Matter What is Going On Anywhere Else in the League, has written a column about the Yankees.

When the tabloids start pushing Alfonso Soriano as the man who can save the Yankees, you know there’s trouble in the Bronx.

I do?

What makes [losing Hideki Matsui to a broken wrist] a disaster of epic proportions is that the Yankees are not built to win low-scoring games. Their game plan is to roll out slugger after slugger after slugger, throw up six runs or more a game, and hope their pitching can make it stand up. Without two major sluggers, that plan isn’t going to work.

He's totally right. What are the Yankees going to do without Matsui and Sheffield (for like 10 more days)? I mean, yes, they've still got Jason Giambi and his 1.209 OPS. Fine. But they need more. Okay, I mean, yes, they have Alex Rodriguez, the best or second-best player in baseball, but, I mean, come on. That guy barely hit 48 HR last year. He didn't even unanimously win the MVP award. And, okay, Derek Jeter is still there, but the guy doesn't even have a 1.000 OPS (it's .956, although he just homered, so it's a little closer.) I mean, where is this offense going to come from? Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada? Gary Sheffield when he comes back in like a week?

I am with Mike on this. Hideki Matsui had an .807 OPS through 119 AB this year. Eight Oh Seven! That is almost forty points higher than second baseman Robby Cano. There are only 37 other OF in MLB (barely even one per team!!!) that have a higher OPS this year. This kind of production is absolutely, positively irreplaceable! (Unless you can trade for someone like Curtis Granderson, who has an .809 OPS so far.)

Other teams call up whatever they have on the farm and hope for the best. The Yankees have done the farm thing — Melky Cabrera and Kevin Reese have taken the shuttle from Columbus. But they’re not into the hope thing. Instead of throwing wishes at the schedule, the Yankees go shopping.

"Instead of throwing wishes at the schedule?" You know you can edit these things before you send them in, right Mike?

[Soriano is] the reluctant left fielder for the Nationals, who are already waving the white flag of surrender and talking about next season. He’s a free-agent-to-be and he’s got a fat contract. The Nats don’t want his salary or his whining, and are willing to move him right now. Unlike a lot of other teams with outfielders to trade, they don’t need anyone who can help right now.

So the Yankees could conceivably dip down into their system for some prospects in Double-A, toss in Cabrera, Reese, Bubba Crosby or any combination thereof, and get themselves a deal.


"Hi, it's Brian Cashman calling. I'm great, how are you? Great. Hey...I'm interested in Soriano. Uh huh. Well, I understand, but how about this: first off, you can choose any of our excellent AA prospects. And believe me, there are a lot of great players down there. Wait -- you didn't let me finish. Plus, we will throw in Melky Cabrera. Melky -- with an "M." Oh, right -- from "Perfect Strangers." I think that's "Balky." Uh huh. Yes, I did see him drop that pop-up against the Sox the other day, but he's really...uh huh. Okay, forget him. How about Kevin Reese. No, Kevin. Kevin Reese. We just called him up. He's great -- he has a .712 OPS at AAA this year. And here's the best thing -- he's only 28 years old! Uh huh. Okay. No, of course I am not trying to insult your intelligence, I just...no, wait. Before you hang up, let me tell you about a little guy we like to call Bubba Crosby, and his lifetime .311 SLG. This 29 year-old phenom has really established himself -- hello? Hello?"

Soriano doesn’t enjoy left field, but he’ll play it willingly if it gets him back to the Yankees. He can hit (currently batting .271 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs), although he has as much discipline at the plate as a glutton has at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Again, you are allowed to change the very first thing you write down if it's not good.

Soriano also can steal bases and play second.

That will come in handy when trying to replace their LFer.

Soriano already has worn the pinstripes, which helps. Plus, the fans sort of like him, but, then again, Yankees fans, like fans everywhere, like anyone who hits the ball out of the park 30 or 40 times a season and drive in a bunch of runs.

Why get this guy? Because he has already played for you, which means you thought little enough of him to trade him, and your fans sort of like him. Also, "drive" should read "drives," if you want to use verbs correctly.

I doubt there’s anyone in New York who thought there was any way Soriano ever would return to the Bronx. As much as the team enjoyed his hitting, his inability to take a pitch and his erratic defense didn’t fit in with the Yankees’ way of doing business. He’s been a bit of a whiner and sometimes a malcontent since then in Texas and Washington.

So get him back already! It sounds like a perfect fit!

But Soriano might be the best player the Yankees can get. If he is, you can bet George Steinbrenner will order GM Brian Cashman to get it done. And if it’s not Soriano, it will be somebody, even if it’s just Jeromy Burnitz.

Burnitz this year: .188/.235/.352. Salary: $6m.

The Yankees are suddenly without two thirds of their outfield. The offense is hobbled. Something’s got to be done.

And Mike Celizic has the answer: trade players nobody wants for Soriano, and failing that, get Burnitz.

Labels: , , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 2:24 PM
Comments:
A couple of people have e-mailed and asked me to speculate on what Jim Bowden's side of the Brian Cashman phone conversation was. I have checked the transcripts, and will transcribe the complete recording here:

"Hello?"
"Hi, it's Brian Cashman calling."
"Hey, Brian. How are you?"
"I'm great, how are you?"
"Been better, actually. I had that DUI thing, and the team is barely--"
"Great. Hey...I'm interested in Soriano."
"Oh. Well, he's kind of our best player right now, except for Nick Johnson, so I doubt we'd be interested in trading him. (mumbled) Although, what the hell do I care?"
"Uh huh. Well, I understand, but how about this: first off, you can choose any of our excellent AA prospects. And believe me, there are a lot of great players down there."
"Heh heh heh. Nice one, man. (pause) Oh, sorry. You were serious. Um, no, thanks."
"Wait -- you didn't let me finish. Plus, we will throw in Melky Cabrera."
"Belky Cabrera?"
"Melky -- with an 'M.'"
"Oh. I though you said 'Belky.' Like that Bronson Pinchot guy."
"Oh, right -- from 'Perfect Strangers.' I think that's 'Balky.'"
"Whatever. (sound of ice cubes rattling around martini glass heard in background) Have you been watching your own team, BriGuy? Did you see Belky blow that game at the Stadium the other day?"
"Uh huh. Yes, I did see him drop that pop-up against the Sox the other day, but he's really..."
"We don't need Belky, man. We need like...everything else. But Belky...he's not going to do it for us."
"Uh huh. Okay, forget him. How about Kevin Reese."
"Who? Devlin Cheese?"
"No, Kevin. Kevin Reese. We just called him up. He's great -- he has a .712 OPS at AAA this year.”
(Long slurping noises can be heard. Pause. ) “You know, I used to think it was impossible to make a good martini with French vodka.”
“Uh huh. Okay.”
(More slurping noises) “But Grey Goose – I gotsta give it up.”
“And here's the best thing -- he's only 28 years old!"
“He’s 28, huh? Listen, Brian – I’m not very good at my job, so I rarely get to say this, and I’m going to take the opportunity. Ahem. Are you trying to insult my intelligence? Man, it feels good to say that, just once.”
“No, of course I am not trying to insult your intelligence, I just...”
“I gotta go, man. I have a meeting with the new owners, and I only have twenty minutes to get drunk enough to dull the pain of my imminent firing.”
“No, wait. Before you hang up, let me tell you about a little guy we like to call Bubba Crosby, and his lifetime .311 SLG.”
“What’s Slugging Percentage?”
“This 29 year-old phenom has really established himself -- "
(Dial tone)
"Hello? Hello?
 
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