The End of the Carl Pavano Era?

Reading Will Carroll’s "Under the Knife" column (subscription needed) up at Baseball Prospectus, I came across this little passage about our beloved starter-in-waiting-never-to-be: "Carl Pavano is headed to Dr. Watkins for a check of his problematic back. There have been whispers from some in Yankee camp that Pavano will likely need surgery, almost certainly season-ending and perhaps career-ending. The team knows Philip Hughes is close to ready and that Pavano‚Äôs contract is insured for backs." To think, Theo offered this guy even more money than the Yanks did. I guess sometimes Theo’s brilliance is aided by luck. This is actually not the worst news in the world if it turns out true. If Pavano is done, it appears his salary will clear the books, and that means more money to throw at Zito in 2007! 

18 comments… add one
  • Theo has a gift for ruining careers, like a reverse Midas touch. Pavano’s just another in a long line of Epstein “failures” that have ended up working out for the best. Witness:
    * The Jose Contreras negotiations. Theo was dying to get him, bent over backwards for him, and Contreras still went to NY. I think it’s fair to say the Contreras Era in NY was at best a minor disaster. Especially when you factor in the Loaiza acquisition. Yuck.
    * Remember a certain blockbuster trade with Texas that fell through? So far, so good on that one… Sox 1, Yanks 0 since the A-Rod trade.
    * Granted, it’s a stretch, but you could throw in how Theo failed to lock up Nomahhhh long-term at $12 million a pop. Going into 2004, that was a disaster… now it’s a bullet they dodged.
    Nick, you should hope and pray that Theo doesn’t make an offer to Zito too…

    pstar April 5, 2006, 6:06 pm
  • I’ll have to disagree with you about the A-Rod deal being a lucky non-deal, but I guess you have historical reality as opposed to historical hypotheticals on your side.
    Another quasi-lucky thing is the absolute debacle that was the Jeremy Giambi signing. He was penciled in ahead of Ortiz in the line-up, and had he not been godawful, the Sox might not have played Ortiz. Just imagine if Giambi had been even decent.

    NickYF April 5, 2006, 6:40 pm
  • Yeah, you guys are right. Theo’s terrible. What an idiot.
    The above is sarcasm, in case that didn’t come through. What I mean to say is: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?! Name one GM in baseball who has never made a mistake. The reason you can’t do it is because there isn’t one.
    Besides, if Pavano is out for the year, I would think this would put a serious crimp in the Yankees plans. NickYF’s post makes it sound like they could just plug Phil Hughes into the rotation no problem and everything will be perfect. If thats true I have to ask why Hughes isn’t in the majors already. The answer is that he’s never pitched an inning above single A ball before. Considering the yankees almost pathological fear of their own farm system, I find this scenario doubtful at best.
    I also find it surprising that NickYF was able to take a potentially serious and career ending injury to one of his favorite team’s players and turn it into an indictment of the Red Sox GM. Pretty strange post to say the least.

    mattymatty April 5, 2006, 6:50 pm
  • Will Carroll actually wrote the part about Hughes, which to me was the most surprising revelation/speculation of the piece. I’d imagine the earliest we see Hughes will be in 2007, and that’s being optimistic.
    Also, I really wasn’t trying to turn the post into an “indictment” of Theo. He’s very good. Since you’re a frequent poster here, you know that I think he’s done a superb job for the Sox, although I’m a little reluctant to join the “In Theo we Trust” crowd of which certain members of the Nation (Gammons) and media (Gammons)are part. So, in addition to being good, he’s been very lucky. Is that so hard to admit?

    NickYF April 5, 2006, 7:06 pm
  • Not hard to admit at all. And sometimes Theo has outright goofed. Edgar Renteria anyone?
    Personally, I believe that Theo does an excellent job of synthesizing tons of information and then making decisions. He does not always get it right, and sometimes he, like other GMs, is hamstrung by circumstance. For example, take the Renteria situation. Please. Renteria was the best shortstop on the market according to all available data; scouts, stats, ect. However, when he got to Boston he began to suck. At everthing. Still, the Red Sox needed a shortstop who could show up and play every day (not Nomar) and hit a bit (not Cabrera). Renteria was the best available player who fit that description. Still, that move obviously didn’t work. And in a number of situations, which NickYF cites above, Theo’s prefered move ended up backfiring on the team which beat him to it. Still, I have to say that the good moves he’s made (Ortiz, Schilling, Mueller, Varitek) outweigh any mistakes he’s made along the way.
    So, what about Pavano, NickYF? If what Will Carrol says is true, what should the yankees do?

    mattymatty April 5, 2006, 7:16 pm
  • Perhaps, Matt DeSalvo will be this year’s Chien-Ming Wang. What will happen, of course, is that Wright will get the first crack when it turns to a 5-man rotation in mid-April. He’ll be miserable and will probably hurt himself. Small will take over, and, in all likelihood, not being very good (although, it’s possible that the new sinker Mel taught him last year, made him a new pitcher), and then the Yanks will be forced to the farm system or to trade a farm-hand for pitching help.

    NickYF April 5, 2006, 7:22 pm
  • Pavano takes a tumble and finishes his career? Well, all the talk about his butt did seem a bit strange.
    Two words: Aaron Small.

    john April 5, 2006, 7:29 pm
  • —First time posting here, although I’ve been following you guys for a while—
    Frankly, I don’t see how absence of Pavano can hurt NY any more than his presence…He pretty much stunk up the joint when he was healthy and who knows where the Yanks might have ended up had he not been replaced by Aaron “I sold my soul to the devil” Small, seeing as he was 4-6 with an obscene ERA. I just hope that Cash and Co. don’t trade away a good farmhand for a Loaiza/Weaver/Pavano redux.

    Upstatefan April 5, 2006, 7:37 pm
  • Pavano threw some today and said his derriere felt much better.
    The Yankees are obviously being very cautious with him at this point.
    Pavano has certainly been a huge disappoint thus far in his stint with the Yankees, but let’s not write him off just yet.

    whatever April 5, 2006, 7:39 pm
  • If Pavano is out (and no one else seems to have picked this story up), Wright and Small will be more than adequate for the fifth starter. The question is, How good will Johnson and Moose be at 1 and 2? Chacon is the real thing, and Wang should be too.
    Pavano contributed little to finishing first last year. Of course we would like to see the Pavano of 2004, but this year we have Chacon, Small and Cano to start the season, plus Damon, and the hitters are not going to repeat last year’s early slump.
    Re Theo: of course he’s been a very good GM (except for the bizarre Gorilla Suit Interlude). But someone at the Sox (Theo?) has the Steinbrenner disease, thinking that players are like interchangable mechanical parts.
    Cabrera was a known quantity, available for the same price as Renteria — why’d they switch? And was it really wise to have 62.5% of the starters leave this year? I can’t remember the Yankees ever doing that. Theo’s right that it’s expensive to win every year, but the Sox have the second highest payroll — was it wise to make so many changes? We’ll see at the end of the year.
    If the Yankees got rid of Bernie, A-Rod, Derek, Cano and Giambi all at once I wouldn’t be pissed at the players, I’d be mad at the Steinbrenner.

    john April 5, 2006, 8:47 pm
  • Ok, I’ll try to take these point by point:
    Small pitched well last season, but I don’t think most yankee fans share john’s optimism regarding his potential this season. The same (though less so) for Chacon. I’m certain that Small and Wright are going to be terrible this season. Or at least well below average. I’m not certain of that with Chacon, who could be good, but I have my doubts.
    As for the turnover in Boston, well, theres a number of ways to look at it. Rather than go down the list of players individually, I think you just have to refer to the Sox front office’s stated preference for younger players (Beckett and Crisp), and the idea that each player is worth a certain amount and the Sox are unwilling to go beyond that figure. Thats what happened with Damon.
    Also, theres the idea that its better to let a guy go a year too soon than a year too late. Thats essentially I think why they let Mueller, Damon and Renteria go (or got rid of them).

    mattymatty April 5, 2006, 8:57 pm
  • A sox fan says, “but I don’t think most yankee fans share john’s optimism regarding his potential this season.”
    I think you meant “but I think most sox fans hope they’ll suck this season.”
    26 WS rings has made us optimists (well, most of us). We don’t expect our players to be worse than the year before. We usually think another ring is there for the grabbing.

    john April 5, 2006, 9:56 pm
  • No, John – you only expect other team’s players to be worse than the year before. Can you explain to me how this indicates something other than simple bias?

    SF April 5, 2006, 9:59 pm
  • I read a number of great yankee blogs (Bronx Banter, Pinstriped Blog, ect.) and most of them believe that Chacon, Small and Wright won’t be as good as they were last season. This isn’t bias or pessimism that I’m spewing. Its what prominant yankee fans on the interweb are saying.

    mattymatty April 5, 2006, 10:29 pm
  • My Main Man SF —
    You seem to have a bunch of double standards. You want everyone to play nicey nicey with you but you want to act like a little Napoleon.
    John said these are QUESTIONS. He spelled out exactly why he thinks so and said all these guys might work out. So whassup with your hostility?

    Vinny from Queens April 6, 2006, 4:34 pm
  • An interesting article at BP talks about how Chacon sort of challenges some of the axioms of pitcher evaluation, namely that pitchers don’t have control over what happens to balls put in play. A lot more research is needed, but Chacon is an interesting case. I like him because he wears his cap tilted. The Yankees need more gangstas.

    tom yf April 6, 2006, 5:49 pm
  • SF –
    I don’t expect “other teams players” to be worse. Last year I expected Brown to be worse, and he was. Boomer’s last year as a Yankee I expected him to be worse, and he was. I expected his first year with the Sox to be worse, and it was.
    I said Schilling and Johnson are questions. They are. Schilling looked good, obviously.
    I said Pavano and Vasquez had bad first years with the Yanks. That’s just a fact.
    I said Wakefield has declined each year the last three years. He has.
    I said I expect Wang MIGHT have a better year than Wakefield this year. (and that he had a better era last year)

    john April 6, 2006, 5:58 pm
  • John, if you want to cite a player on the Red Sox that you have assessed as likely to do better this year than last then I will gladly eat crow. But I seem to recall that the best you can do is say “there are questions”, which in itself doesn’t mean much of anything. Considering your track record here, it really could best be summed up as a knock. I haven’t heard you say anything like “Foulke can’t be any worse than last year, so he’s likely to be better” or “Schilling was basically a lost cause last year, and this year he appears to be much healthier so the Sox should probably improve in that spot in the rotation”. You’ve also questioned Manny’s ability to continue to produce, and also questioned Beckett’s health, Lowell’s ability, and Crisp’s value as a replacement for Damon. Tell me why I should think anything other than what I posted, seriously, in all honesty, I would like to know.

    SF April 6, 2006, 6:46 pm

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