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October 10, 2006

N.Y. Post: Torre To Stay With Yanks

The New York Post is reporting that the Yankees will allow Joe Torre to return as manager in 2007.

If the Yankees feel that a 67-year old man making $7 million a year has enough fire left to lead their team, I'm sure they have their reasons.

But, this Yankees team still has issues.

Two days ago, I wrote:

If the Yankees do nothing, then nothing will happen.

I still stand by that statement. Somehow, the Yankees need to do something to turn this thing around. If it's not a change in manager, then it's time to look at the team.

The only parts that are movable are Mussina, Sheffield, Wright, Lidle, Rodriguez. (I wish Giambi was movable - but that's going to be a hard one.)

A-Rod is the only one listed above where the Yankees could possibly make a trade. But, they would need his approval to do it.

Alex has said that he wants to stay in New York. However, I'm pretty sure he's said in the past that he would love to stay in Seattle and loved playing in Texas. He's always going to say that he wants to be where he is at that time.

Therefore, if the Yankees could work out a deal that would favor Alex, I expect him to approve it.

The question is: If you allow Mussina and Sheffield to walk - and then trade A-Rod - is that enough to correct the Yankees issues?

It probably depends on who replaces them. Brian Cashman has his work cut out for him.

Thinking this through...it might have been easier to try a new manager.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at October 10, 2006 09:39 AM

Comments

New manager or not, I'm not following your logic. If the Yanks can only move Sheffield, Wright, Lidle, Mussina, and ARod and everything else stays as is, then how would this team be better or worse for having a fresh voice. We can assume that Lidle and Sheffield are done in New York. We can assume that the Yanks will try to come to an agreement with Moose and that they will at least explore the ARod trade market.

So if it were Piniella, Girardi, or anyone else, would the situation be any different right now? The Yanks got beat because they have below-average starting pitching.

You might want to change managers for other reasons, but it won't change the outcome as long as RJ and Wright make up half of the starting rotation.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:18 AM

Maybe this team needs to take the road less traveled by.

Honestly, I'm happy Torre is staying. He has 100% support from his players, only the Daily News hates him. I agree that the team went out like bunch of panzy's, but I don't think Torre should change his style after Bonderman is shutting out the Yanks.

I thought listening to Bowa speak put a different perspective on things. He basically said, and his tone was pretty stern too, (paraphrasing here) 'if a player needs motivation to play in the playoffs then it's time to hang up the uniform. That's it, if he needs special incentive then he shouldn't even be here. I don't think any one of the guys we had on the field needed special motivation'.

Steve, the playoffs aren't that easy...even when you have a great team. That's all this proves. 162 games is a much better sample size to measure Torre. Jesus...4 games really changed everyone's tune. The Yanks played a 4 game series in July against the Tigers, we played against everyone they had on their team except Casey. The Yanks were 3 - 1. Sometimes you don't have an answer.

No doubt about it, something needs to be done....what exactly? I don't know but you are right in saying that Cashman has his work cut-out for him. I don't think Torre was the problem. Think of it this way, if you are in sales and your head sales guy has 3 magnificent quarters and matches or beats your expectations but has a lousy 4th quarter, would you fire him? Remember you know he tried to do his very best to have a great 4th quarter but the competition had a better product and did a better job showcasing their product.

Joe Torre is far from complacent, at least I didn't get that impression. Everyone was so psyched after they beat down on Boston in August, but now all of a sudden he's a bum. Our society is so used to instant gratification that sometimes we forget about the struggle. Great example here would be Tony Larussa's image in St. Louis two weeks ago vs. this week. Funny how people change their tune. It just doesn't work that way in the real world. It just doesn't. You all can choose to look at it that way, but it's just not practical. This is like trying to teach evolution to the President - some people just don't get it.

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:20 AM

They don't need heart, they don't need fire, they don't need whatever the cliche of the day is.

They need to hit and they need to pitch.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:22 AM

Here's the deal with Torre - his best gift is supposed to be his ability get people to check their egos at the door, play as a team, etc.

He's not here because he's super at handling pitchers or other in-game calls.

But, by all reports - the media and inside sources that I know - the Yankees clubhouse is a mess now.

That would be the difference in bringing in someone new - to get the players to play as a team, etc.

And, that would be the difference in getting rid of some of the ego-issues - like Sheff, Mussina, et al.

The Yankees need to do something - either get someone to get the team to play as a team, or get rid of the egos. Since they've elected to keep Joe - who has failed the last couple of years at getting the team together - they only other thing to do is to start changing the players.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:26 AM

No doubt about it, something needs to be done....what exactly?
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*nods his head towards the rotation* Start there :)

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:29 AM

Yeah the clubhouse is a mess because they just got annihilated by a team that didn't have the talent the Yanks have.

I never heard you talk about the mess in the clubhouse before. Again, Bowa addressed that too and he called that hogwash.

In NY we got a manager and a head coach that can't control their players. One is laid back, the other is General Paton. I'm talking about Torre and Coughlin.

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:31 AM

But, by all reports - the media and inside sources that I know - the Yankees clubhouse is a mess now.
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If that's the case, they're doing a hell of a job of hiding it.

2006: 97*
2005: 95
2004: 101*
2003: 101*
2002: 103*
2001: 95
2000: 87

* = Best record in the league

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:35 AM

This "clubhouse is a mess" idea is a joke. I have a hard time believing that this "mess" was able to play 163.5 games as a team and then forgot how to play as a team half way through game 2 of the ALDS. We lost because we had an injured 43 yr old pitcher starting game 3 and an over-matched Jaret Wright pitching game 4. When we were winning championships, our #3 and #4 starters were guys like Pettite, Clemens, and El Duque. That's the difference.

The people who want to fire Torre and trade A-Rod are the same people who believe in the Curse of the Bambino, the Ghosts of Yankee Stadium, and the Aura and Mystique of the Yankees. Some fans refuse to look at something as simple as a box score to see why we lost and prefer to point the finger at some supernatural force or intangible factor. We didn't lose because of heart or hunger or egos. We lost because Rogers and Bonderman were better than Johnson and Wright.

Posted by: christopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 10:50 AM

I agree - chemistry stinks right now because they got wrecked by a team everyone figured was a heavy underdog. How was the chemistry after Game 1? What about that night in Toronto when they clinched the AL East and Damon, Giambi, and Bruney were chugging Jack Daniel's?

Getting rid of Sheff is the right baseball move because he's redundant - we already have a #3 hitter who plays RF. That he's got a sometimes-unpleasant personality which will be gone is the bonus.

Bottom line, we bitch and moan about Torre's lousy bullpen management because he has to go to it so often. If the Yanks had a few more horses like Wang, we'd only be seeing Proctor, Farnsworth, and Mo a few times a week instead of every night. Don't discount how different a staff can be when 3-4 guys throw 200 IP.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:15 AM

Garcia has it about right regarding the team, but I see the Torre situation differently. We have to bear in mind we did better than pretty good...just not good enough. If you keep Moose, and replace Wright and Johnson (is there an insurance policy on his health?) with two reasonably capable pitchers (or one really good one (aka Zito) and one mediocre one), the prospects for post season success improve greatly. Add in some help in the bullpen, and I'd stop making changes right there. I know Sheff has a way of metastasizing, but if he's healthy, he's got a lethal bat. I still think he can be a competent first baseman with some work. The problem with Sheff will be if they pick-up the team option but don't extend the contract. He'll start whinning in Tampa in Feb. and it won't stop. A-Rod will be better next year; even great players sometimes have off seasons. He can't carry Jeter's shoes in terms of "clutchivity", but he's still a plus in the line up compared to any third baseman in the AL. I think Torre has about run his course. The "calm hand at the helm" method worked for a long time, but there is a need for some more spark. It's not a question of motivating the players, it's a question of playing a more adaptable style of baseball. Some small ball games, some defense dominated games, some pitching dominated games, and some games led by the 3-run homer. In short, I think Joe's just run out of gas. He's owed a lot of credit for the success he's had, but his management style has become somewhat lazy.

BTW, to all the guys that wanted Wang in game 4....I stand corrected. You were right. Win today. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Posted by: #15 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:17 AM

I wholeheartedly welcome trading Alex, if a deal that creates value for the Yankees can be found.

Simply "dumping" a player of Alex's caliber for inferior talent with the purpose of healing egos and clubhouse "rifts" is not something that Brian Cashman would do, IMO.

Posted by: Jason O. [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:19 AM

Tough times guys, tough times.

Talent can win you 90+ games out of 162 - when there's little pressure.

It's how do you react when it's do or die.

Game 6 2003 WS. Game 7 2004 ALCS. Game 5 2005 ALDS. Game 4 2006 ALDS. Did the Yankees look like a team that was ready to play on those days?

It's when the chips are down, and everything is on the line, when character shows up. A unified team fights back.

I know, I know - what about that series in Fenway this year, right?

Guess what - maybe the Red Sox just sucked.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:20 AM

I'm not sure how a unified team fights back when Kevin Brown/Javier Vazquez/Jaret Wright/Cory Lidle have their asses handed right back to them on every pitch.

Amazing how we'll now discount the 5-game sweep in Boston as the Red Sox just sucking. Jesus, that's flat nonsense. This wasn't Boston's best season but let's not be ridiculous now.

What about September 2005 when the team needed to win every one of those games just to make it to the playoffs? Did the Yanks have no chemistry then?

Does it never end with the constant revisionist history around here?

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:44 AM

I also don't follow your logic. Your sources tell you the clubhouse was a mess.

Did the mess prevent them from coming back and easily capturing the division crown?

Did the mess prevent them from winning the first game of the division series?

When did this mess become a major cause for the losses? Is it only a factor when the team loses or can the players overcome this mess to give them a chance to win?

It sounds like hindsight to me.

And now you're endorsing the move to fire Torre because it's the easier thing to do.

I thought your heros never take the easy way out.

It's just bull. The Tigers outplayed the Yankees

Did they outplay them because of Torre? I don't think so.

I'd prefer Torre stays because I don't think getting rid of him is going to make things different if the pitchers aren't improved.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:51 AM

It's how do you react when it's do or die.

Game 6 2003 WS. Game 7 2004 ALCS. Game 5 2005 ALDS. Game 4 2006 ALDS. Did the Yankees look like a team that was ready to play on those days?
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Game 6 2003 WS: Beckett threw a hell of a game (sound familiar?). Captain Clutch went 0-4 at the top of the lineup. Did he forget how to win all of a sudden? Pettitte gave up 2 runs, tagged with the loss. Did he forget how to win, all of a sudden? Glad the Yanks let him go, the good for nothing bum. Should've traded Jeter too...

Game 7 2004 ALCS: Was Kevin Brown "gutsy" by taking the ball with a bad back? Was Vazquez gutsy taking the ball with a bum elbow? Glad they got someone like Pavano, who won't pitch unless he's 100%. The only other option to start that game was Esteban Loaiza. Which would've been the equivalent of starting Cory Lidle in game 4 of the 2006 ALDS.

Game 5 2005 ALDS: Bubba hustles & collides with Sheffield. So, we don't want players to hustle anymore? Game 4 was a "do or die" game as well. They won that one. Did they forget how to win after that game?

Game 4 2006 ALDS: Bonderman pitched a hell of a game. Believe it or not, the Tigers showed up for the series. I know, I know, according to the media, they weren't even supposed to be on the same field, but yeah, the Tiggers led the league in ERA. They may have led the league in RSAA. They won two less games than the Yanks. No one did much of anything. You telling me that Damon, who was on a Series winning team two years prior, forgot what he needed to do to win? Jeter, Posada, ARod, Giambi, Williams, Matsui, Cairo, Sheffield, Fasano, Johnson, Mussina, Rivera, etc, etc, etc, etc have played in the postseason. Few of them played on championship teams, few of them have played on teams that have advanced in the playoffs. I'm sure these guys "knew what it took to win." So, what happened? Did they forget?

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:52 AM

MJ: Sox weren't doing too well before the Boston Massacre redux. Of course, that doesn't take away from what the Yanks were able to accomplish up in Fenway.

Any given place and time, a team can get hot or cool off. Same goes with players.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 11:58 AM

I tend to agree with Steve on this issue...this isn't the first time we've seen this result from the group of players they have on the team now...yes the pitching wasn't great, but even the pitching was good, the Yanks still never had a chance because the lineup just choked, and yes the Tigers have good pitching, but it's not lieke Bob Gibson and CY Young were out there, and the Yankees have an All-Star at every position, they should be at least able to muster 5 runs a game some how.

It's not Torre's fault, it's the players, is Torre perfect? No, he's not but he didn't have many options and if anything I think this team limits his managing ability because there are too many ego's, so he can't sit guys or play matchups or move guys around in the order because they can't handle it. They actually did play alot of small ball this year when they had the injuries earlier in the season, but they couldn't run on Pudge in the playoffs.

I say trade ARod if you can get a good deal, he doesn't make that big of a difference in this lineup, they will still score runs without him and you have to figure you can get a decent pitcher for him. Also, as crazy as it sounds, I'd say you could also trade Matsui, and get something decent in return for him, and free a spot for Melky. I think those are the only two tradable guys they have because Giambi makes too much money and I wouldn't move Cano. They should definitely keep Mussina, but hope to keep him as a 3 and find either a 1 or 2 starter in trades of Matsui or A-Rod and look for P, 3B and 1B/DH in trades or free agency.

Posted by: antone [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 12:04 PM

I think this team limits his managing ability because there are too many ego's, so he can't sit guys or play matchups or move guys around in the order because they can't handle it.
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He has sat guys, and he has moved guys around in the order.

In order to play matchups, you need a bench. And with the roster the way it has been, there aren't many people you'd pinch hit for.

I'm open to trading just about anyone on the roster, but the trade has to make sense.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 12:13 PM

If Torre is staying, I'm glad. He did not deserve to be run out of here 24 hours after losing to Detroit. There is a way to do things and a way not to.

If the Yanks could have come to some accommodation with Torre and then have a smooth transition to Joe Girardi that would have been acceptable. There is an argument to be made that this team needs to turn the managerial page and Girardi has the right blend of youth, talent, smarts and history with key veterans to work for everyone. He already is a great manager.

But starting a circus surrounding 63 year-old Lou Pinella is a joke. Bringing him in here will really bring us back to the mid-1980s. His hiring will be the final piece of the insane Steinbrenner puzzle that began with the Giambi signing in 2001.

Pitching, pitching and young pitching. Wang is a star. Forget 38 year-old Moose. Save the money and sign 29 year-old Barry Zito. See if you can get 43 year-old Johnson to retire and accept insurance money. One more shot with 30 year-old Pavano. Fast track Phil Hughes. Give Karstens a shot at the back of the rotation.

And yes...see if the Angels or Diamondbacks are dumb enough to dump out some of their best young arms from the major league and AAA level for the third baseman.

How does going to war with a staff of Wang, Zito, Ervin Santana, Hughes and Pavano/Karstens sound?

Posted by: Joel [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 12:20 PM

I don't like having people that all think alike, but I do like people that can reason. I really appreciate what #15, MJ, and RICH are saying.

I think you have to try and make sense of the situation before being so reactionary.

I was more pissed last year than this year, though this year I had much higher expectations. I thought they really fought against the Angels last year and, if not for ARod's DP, they would have won that game.

How much does luck play into this? Do you remember Abreu's line drive single in game 2? A little higher and that's a homerun. A hit by Matsui and Abreu scores. Sometimes a team just needs a little luck on their side and the Yanks didn't have it. Even with Weaver in 2003, he pitched one good inning and Torre went to him for another inning trying to save Mo for the save. After that we had Felix Heredia. How about Boone and Flaherty K'ing?
How about Tony Clark's ground rule double in Fenway?

I think sometimes it just comes down a little luck...we had a lot of it from 96 - 2000. Then think about 2001 - that's when our run of good luck ran out. Does anyone ever think about those things? I'm not putting 2002 and 2006 here because we just got flat out spanked.

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 12:33 PM

MJ hits it right on the head. Yankee fans are engaging in revisionist history of the worst kind -- and I'm assuming it's inspired by the reporters and TV dodo heads who say we have to "blow this thing up." People seem to have amnesia that started with the second playoff game.

Think back to the regular season. This team was great. When Bobby first got here, it looked unstoppable. It had the best lineup in the universe. All we could talk about was how "warm" and "friendly" this team was, and how the chemistry was better than ever (thanks to Damon, Cano and Melky). It's like people have totally forgotten this happened.

I think the only real "should they or shouldn't they?" question is about A-Rod. You can make the case for him staying or going. I would trade him if I could, because the guy has a knack for bringing his teams down. We all heard the rumors from Texas. Now we see the facts.

Torre SHOULD go. Time for a chance (just not Lou). Sheffield should be gone. Lidle and Wright are obvious.

I would bring Moose back, at a reduced rate and reduced role (more of the three-starter), and hope he works with the young guys coming up.

The key is pitching. If Johnson wasn't old, ineffective and hurt, who knows what happens in game three. If Wright was better than average, maybe we win game four. Both pitchers put their teams in a hole.

The two big free-agent pitchers aren't what the Yankees need (Zito would be a costly disaster). They should instead go after Matsuzaka. And probably bring up Hughes at the start or midseason.

If they can put together a good pitching staff, all of this panic will look silly next year. But if we go in again with a lot of question marks and they have to claim Sidney Ponson off of waivers, then we'll probably talk about "blowing it up" again.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 12:44 PM

To some extent, I disagree that changing the manager - and nothing else - would've made an appreciable difference on this team. Pinella or no Pinella, this team needs at least two power arms in the rotation, a Dave Roberts-type off the bench and a vocal, lead-by-example, sell-your-mother-to-win-a-playoff-game ass-kicker in the dugout who doesn't care whom he offends. Somebody needed to tell Jeter and Damon - as they were grinnning in the dugout of Game 4 - that they were about 20 minutes away from humiliating the entire franchise.

Posted by: brockdc [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:21 PM

Confirmed by Torre himself a little while ago.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:26 PM

Instead of asking why the team hasn't won from 01-06, we should be asking: how did the team win so much from 96-00. (That's a rhetorical question.)

Maybe it's pitching and luck.

Of course Arod should not be 'dumped.' But if a trade with good, young players coming back can be made (specifically pitchers), then I'd pull the trigger. Cano can always move to 3b if we don't get one in return (as he came up as a 3b).

Getting Zito and/or Matsuzaka would be very nice. Actually, Matsuzaka was officially posted today. Give Karstens a shot at the #4 or 5 spot. And I dont see Hughes starting with the big boys, but rather coming up mid-season after an injury. I wouldn't object to bringing Mussina back (for under $10 mil), just as long as that doesn't prevent the signing of Zito or Matsuzaka.

If we have to keep RJ, I say convert him into a reliever. With just 1 inning, he could let it go, and he still hits 98 sometimes. Lefties only hit .194/.252/.287 off him. Righties .259/.318/.436. So he could dominate lefties, and pitch decently against righties.

Keeping Joe would certainly be better than hiring Piniella.

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:43 PM

I would trade him if I could, because the guy has a knack for bringing his teams down.
==============
Eh?

Mariners
2000: 91 (ARod's final season)
2001: 116
2002: 93
2003: 93

Rangers
2003: 71 (ARod's final season)
2004: 89
2005: 79
2006: 82

Yankees
2003: 101 (pre ARod)
2004: 101
2005: 95
2006: 97

Too many things happen over the course of a season to blame it all on one player.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:45 PM

98Yanks, I had not heard about Matsuzaka yet. Great news. The Yankees have to go after him hard. When I look at him, I see a young Pedro -- a little guy throwing heat with sick breaking stuff (and I also see him as a guy who will break down quickly like Pedro, which means we should sign him for four years and not extend him).

Raf, you disagree about A-Rod and then show that his team have done better each year he's been away. Doesn't the prove my point? And I'm not just talking about wins -- though the Yankees have taken one step back in each year he's been here -- but more the emotional feel of a team. He drains them. He distracts them. He's such a focal point that he creates a black hole around him that he sucks everyone else into. If you don't think all the A-Rod soap operatics distracted, annoyed and hurt this team, then I disagree with you. We didn't know it at the time, but bringing A-Rod here was a huge mistake.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:53 PM

I think some of you guys are not seeing the reality of this team, they DID play alot of small ball this year, but in the playoffs they sat Melky and went back to their old ways, and why did they do this? because Joe basically has no choice but to play all the All-Stars. If he plays all those guys, he can't really play small ball, thats why you need to get rid of SOME of them(not all) and replace them with different types of players. Get rid of one or two big bats and trade them for pitching and role players to fill in. (for example someone like Brosius).

Plus, you guys are asking for more pitching but saying they shouldn't blow up the team, but trading one or two players isn't blowing up the team because your going to get pitching back and some usefull role players hopefully. And you have to give up something to get somethng of value, so why not ARod or Matsui?

Also the point is yeah Joe moved guys around and sat guys and look how they reacted. Sheffield said it messed with the team but you know what, it was the right thing to do. Giambi can't even throw the ball, and ARod wouldn't have hit if he was batting in any spot in the order, so why not move him down where he hurts you less. The guy is 4 for his last 41, you can't act like he's a 3-4-5 hitter when he's hitting worse than a pitcher in the NL. You can't just avoid the situation and hope it goes away.

You guys want Joe to make all these moves that he can't make because the roster isn't built for it, not only on the field, but the EGO's too. The ego's get in the way and Joe realizes that too I believe.

If you ask me I think Joe knew everything he needed to know about his team after game 3, just the look on his face, he almost looked beat himself.

Posted by: antone [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 01:56 PM

Great point, antone. I thought Peter Abraham had a great line on Saturday or Sunday I believe:

"They caught a bad break, in a weird way, when Sheff and Matsui got healthy enough to play."

I agree with that....having too many weapons hurt them. They had enough to win w/o messing with the dynamics too much. We can 2nd guess till the cows come home, but we don't really know how it all would have turned out the other way around.

All we can do is imagine....

Posted by: Garcia [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 02:07 PM

Raf, you disagree about A-Rod and then show that his team have done better each year he's been away. Doesn't the prove my point?
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Not necessarily, noting that despite the "ARod saga" the Yanks improved from last year. Having said that, two games really isn't that big a deal, IMO.

While I'm not up to speed on the personnel decisions of the M's and Rangers, I think the decline of the Yanks win totals may have more to do with the collection of arms the Yanks put together than the lineup assembled.

My point was that there are too many variables year to year (age, injury, career years, random flukiness) to lay the blame at one player.

The M's won 116 games after Rodriguez left. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since Bonds left. The Yanks didn't win a World Series until Mattingly left. The Yanks added Clemens, who was coming off back to back Triple Crown seasons to a team that had won 114 games, and "slumped" to 98 wins.

While the ARod soap opera may have served as a distraction, I don't think it's as big a deal as some (namely the media) has made it out to be.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 02:19 PM

Can someone explain how the A-Rod soap opera caused Wright to give up those home runs or caused Giambi to make that bad throw or caused Bernie's line drive to hook foul or caused Mussina to give up an 0-2 triple? Was A-Rod the reason Randy had to pitch with a bad back?

The media will always try to create drama that isn't there. Remember when Clemens was a cancer and wouldn't be accepted by Jeter? Remember when Canseco ruined any chance the Yanks had of winning the 2000 World Series? Remember how Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were supposed to ruin the morale of the team? Remember when Giardi and Tino were bad signings? There's always some type of soap opera going on. When/If A-Rod gets traded, another soap opera will be created.

Posted by: christopher [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 02:42 PM

Steve's timeline of the Yankees getting bowled over in the playoffs really got to me. You have to wonder, is this indicative of lack of motivation and character, or just something within the range of bad luck? Barry Bonds was so bad with the Pirates in the postseason that pitchers walked the guy in front of him to get to him. Then in 2002 he had a monster World Series, and all was forgiven. Baseball's a crazy game. Half a decade later, we still can't pin down what made the Yankees nearly invincilble 1996-01. Those were teams that if they lost the first 2 of a playoff series, never lost another game. Think '96 against Braves, 98 against Cleveland, '00, '01 against Oakland, '01 against Arizona. Two things were different then: the team was a little tighter, and the pitching was a little better.
Which leads us to look for a solution. It's not that the Yankee teams of the past five years have been bad. They're actually better in terms of wins than the 96-01 teams. The '02 team that won 103 games was certainly better than the '00 one that won 87. And these Yankees have guys who are can come through in the crunch. Remember Giambi's two early homeruns in the great comeback against Boston in 2003 ALCS, and Mussina's scoreless innings of relief in the same game. Sheffield is nothing if not a tough guy, as well. If there's one guy who's not proven himself mentally tough, of course it's A-Rod. Do you trade him and recoup 70% of his value, or do you wait for his own Bonds moment? I think the latter.
ARod did not get to be the best player in baseball without being willfull. He is stoic enough not to show it, but he has to resent not being accepted by the powers that be (Jeter, Torre). Those two need to offer him, if not a friendship, then at least an understanding. Shaq, Kobe, and Phil put it toghether for three seasons. And I don't think Torre, Arod, and Jeter are nearly as egotisical as those three.
What changes do you make? The most important thing that Yankees could do is move to a four-man rotation in '07. Keep Wang and Johnson. Decline Mussina's option then resign him for 6-7 million. Go get Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt. Then stock everyone else in the bullpen. Your quality starters will get more innings by pitching more often but at less intensity. You have a better chance of winning those short playoff series by saving runs.
Steve said that "If the Yankees do nothing, then nothing will happen." I respectivfully disagree. Billy Beane once said that the minute you feel you HAVE to make a move, you're screwed. Let's not jump the gun. Firing Torre would be doing that. The Yankees will win their 27th sooner rather than later.

Posted by: RichDank [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 03:20 PM

Can someone explain how the A-Rod soap opera caused Wright to give up those home runs or caused Giambi to make that bad throw or caused Bernie's line drive to hook foul or caused Mussina to give up an 0-2 triple? Was A-Rod the reason Randy had to pitch with a bad back?
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I get it. Arod doesn't cause those bad things to happen to OTHERS, but he is on the team. In fact, he's our cleanup hitter. Of course he didn't effect the pitching, but his 1-14 was part of the reason they lost. If he goes a modest 4-14, maybe the Yanks make it to game 5. And he DID have perhaps the most critical Yankee ab of the series: Game 2, 1st inning, bases loaded vs. Verlander, k on 3 pitches... 0 runs. If he gets a hit there, the Yanks probably get to game 5, where they can use Wang again.

Is it just a coincidence that he had the worst postseason of anyone in the lineup? 1-14! A single...

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 05:04 PM

Of course he didn't effect the pitching, but his 1-14 was part of the reason they lost. If he goes a modest 4-14, maybe the Yanks make it to game 5.
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Maybe, maybe not. It didn't help that Cano, Sheffield and the rest of the lineup didn't do much of anything after Gm. 1

And he only batted cleanup in gm 3.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 05:53 PM

But he was the cleanup hitter through most of the season.

In defense of Sheff, he only came off the DL 2 weeks prior. And Cano is not a guy expected to do what Arod does(?). He was a bottom of the order hitter. Not to mention that Arod is the highest paid player in the game. My point is that he is (rightfully) expected to do more than Sheff or Cano. He has the highest expectations on the team, and he didn't even come close to them in the PS.

That doesn't excuse the other guys, he just failed the most compared to his expectations.

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 10, 2006 06:29 PM