The Heart and Soul of the Yankees?
Since the Mets game was going nowhere fast on Monday I decided to check out the Yankee game as it was on its way to becoming the worst shut out in the history of their storied franchise on the road or some shit like that. There were a few things of note that jumped out at me while I was watching the game.
1) Michael Kaye is still an utter and complete douchebag.
2) Al Leiter does color commentary with a smattering of anger. You really get the feeling he hates Kaye, hates being there, or hates someone in his general vicinity. I am not sure if his sarcasm is an attempt to be funny, but I much preferred his early days of broadcasting as a guest on FOX.
3) Methinks Alex Rodriguez getting away from the Yankees in 2008 will have much greater consequences than a lot of people think.
Though seemingly innocuous and possibly an attempt to build up a Yankee player, Kaye was talking about how Cano and Melky are usually following A-Rod around. They get with him and work out before the game and are always talking to him trying to pick his brain.
While this discussion was going on, the cameras were on the dugout where Melky and A-Rod were talking. Sure enough, Robinson Cano comes into the screen and joins them where the remained talking for a while. Despite all the things we have read about Rodriguez and the young guys in Texas, it seems that A-Rod has become a role model for these two and someone they could impart knowledge from.
I have not exactly been studying the Yankees over the last few years and the dearth of young guys makes this harder to actually evaluate, but it does not seem like there are many leaders on the team. Sure Jeter goes out there and does his thing and is media darling, but you get the feeling not everyone is behind everyone and it has been kind of a loner atmosphere where everyone does their job on the field and that is where it ends.
Maybe things have changed and they are more team oriented, but I am not sure I see that. As for A-Rod, not only has he possibly emerged as the leader of the Yankees, but A-Rod is 1st in the AL in homers (has 28% of the team's homers), runs (15% of team's runs), OPS, RBIs (17% of the team's RBIs), and SLG, 3rd in OBP, and 5th in walks. He has carried this team for long stretches this year and without him, the Yankees would have no shot at the wild card this season.
The Yankees now have three guys on their roster in Matsui, Damon, and Giambi that are borderline useless in the field and are making about $50 million between each other in '08. I think Pettitte will be back, but Mussina, who is signed through 2008, is baked and Clemens has been OK. Even if Clemens does come back, it will not be until mid-season. Hughes has not been dominant nor appears to be able to be that difference maker just yet which leaves them with a potential rotation of Pettitte, Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes, and Mussina/Igawa/Clippard/Kennedy. Not a bad rotation, but nothing amazing.
Throw all of that on top of A-Rod's possible lost production that they simply will not be able to replace if the lose him compounded with the possible loss in leadership and the Yankees could be headed for a few years of struggling. They will not be battling it out for last place anytime soon, but seeing them not in the playoffs in 2007, 2008, and 2009 is not out of the question until they have more time to retool.
That is not a bad thing mind you. Rebuilding a team the right way can pay big dividends, but even if they wanted to do it faster, the free agents just are not there to fill in their needs and their mentality has seemingly changed anyway. Imagine the Mets opening their new stadium after three straight playoff appearances and charging to the playoffs in their stadium's inaugural season while the Yankees come off three straight seasons in which they fail to make the playoffs? Times could be a changing and it is pretty clear the Yankees need to bring back A-Rod at all costs or else things could get very interesting.
He threw 88 pitches and seems to have his arm strength, but as they were saying on the broadcast on Monday night, you never know where your stuff is until you use it at the higher levels. The young guys will swing at everything whereas the AA and AAA guys will be more adept at laying off some off-speed or breaking pitches not in the zone. It stands to reason that he should of moved up to face a tougher challenge instead of taking on kids again.
I know I should never question Pedro being he is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but jumping from A-ball to the bigs is a big jump after not having pitched competitively for long time.
"They can have our number all they want," Milledge said. "If they don't win the division they're not going to get into the playoffs, and we don't have to worry about it."
I think it is important to not let the Braves or the Phillies get the best of the Mets again so this thing is not closer than it needs to be and Tuesday's game outlines that. The Mets let an important game get away that opens the door for the Phillies and gives them some unnecessary momentum. The Phillies and Braves can certainly make things more interesting this week and I am sure the Mets are not taking that lightly.
Really...if the Mets are looking for bullpen help, they should give him a hard look in September out of the bullpen.
Nothing gross at all...
The hipster olympics...
Labels: alex rodriguez