The Good News Is Killing Me

By the way, Randy’s probably hurt, too. I was going to put this up yesterday before Hideki went down, Damon crashed into another wall, and Sheff took a turn for the worse, but, alas, I didn’t have the time. Anyway, let’s get all of the bad news out of the way this week. Next week, we’ll have stories about the great play of the most glorious outfield in the history of Yankees baseball. Bubba’s presence on this roster will be justified…(sound of Nick weeping in front of computer)

It seems that Randy might be having issues with his knee. Just a theory, but Will Carroll knows a thing or two about injuries and pitching mechanics. In yesterday’s "Under the Knife" column at Baseball Prospectus, Carroll takes note of a curious change in Randy’s delivery:

"From the very first pitch, Johnson was not extending, appearing instead to shorten his stride to reduce stress on that damaged front knee…The key here is the knee. Johnson isn’t complaining about it, but it seems that Johnson is either due for a refill on his Synvisc, or the treatment is no longer effective enough to keep him effective. He’s too crafty and talented to write off without another couple of starts, but you don’t have to be an expert to see when Johnson’s on."

If Carroll is indeed diagnosing the injury correctly, I’m hoping it’s just a matter of the Unit needing a refill like a printer needing an ink cartridge change (that’s how the human body works, right?). Otherwise, what to do about an injured ineffective ace? Do you DL him? And then who slots in his role? Do you trade for a top-of-the-rotation guy (Zito, Willis)? And is that even possible now, given the outfield situation? Do you pray that Pavano picks ups some of the slack when/if he comes back and that a Matt Smith at the farm can act as insurance? So many questions. Anyone have any ideas?

15 comments… add one
  • Those are valid questions, Nick. I have zero answers, but I do have one suggestion. Let’s stop calling Randy the “ace of the staff.”
    He lost that title (if he ever really had it) on April 19th, when Mussina took the mound in Toronto.

    Tommy Himself May 12, 2006, 1:52 pm
  • If this is true, you absolutely DL him. It’s May 12. Maybe you run the risk of losing an insurmountable lead to the Sox in the East, but it’s worth the short-term risk because without a healthy RJ for the stretch run, you’re probably a goner anyway. By no means is it a given that the Sox will run away with the division (though some us certainly wish that would happen), and even if they did, there’s still the Wild Card. Do we really think the Tigers are going to be around in four months? The Yankees need Randy Johnson to get healthy.

    MJL in L.A. May 12, 2006, 1:52 pm
  • re: Ace moniker. Good point, Tommy, good point. I just don’t want to jinx Mussina right now. I keep on calling him the aging over-the-hill pitcher to motivate him.

    NickYF May 12, 2006, 1:54 pm
  • Even better… let’s pretend Moose is hurt, too! Then we can just pray for mediocrity every fifth day, and be pleasantly “surprised” by quality starts and wins.

    Tommy Himself May 12, 2006, 2:00 pm
  • ” Do you trade for a top-of-the-rotation guy (Zito, Willis)?”
    Again, similar to Bobby Abreu:
    The yankers are not in an ideal position to trade for all-star caliber players. Picture more of a bending over with pants around the ankles.
    Even if the yankers did find a gullible enough trading partner, who do they have to trade? Hughes? Cano? Wang?
    The spendspendspend attitude of the MFY (and MFYFs) does not apply during the season. You can’t just “go get” top tier players. I’m thinking you’re stuck with Melky/ Bubba/ Bernie (until Sheffield returns).

    Mayday Malone May 12, 2006, 2:06 pm
  • Mayday, would you admit that Hughes is a very attractive prospect, and that the Yanks have a lot of money, and that finding a trading partner for Zito, for instance, is going to be based on the availability of prospects and the wealth of the team? The Yanks obviously are at an advantage regarding the issue of money. They won’t be scared away by the prospect of Zito’s impending free agency and his desire to be re-signed at a high price. Hughes is a big-time prospect His comps are pitchers like Prior. It’s possible that he could be packaged in a deal for Zito. Whether that’s a good idea for the Yanks is another thing.

    NickYF May 12, 2006, 2:14 pm
  • I absolutely agree that Hughes is a good prospect, and would net you quite a return in any trade that he might be included in. My point, though, is that with sheff and matsui out of comission (soon to be followed by Damon and the big eunuch?), any player that the FO pick out as ably stepping in to the NY lineup is gonna cost you a lot more than just Hughes. An opposing GM would be a fool to not take full advantage of the yanker’s less-than-desireable situation.

    Mayday Malone May 12, 2006, 2:34 pm
  • Wow, sucks to be a Yankee fan right now.
    Ouch.
    (knocking on wood)

    LocklandSF May 12, 2006, 2:58 pm
  • One other problem the Yankees face…just because they have identified a player as potentially healthy, and have identified what you consider to be equitable compensation, what makes you think the A’s are looking to deal Zito?; or the Phillies to deal Abreu?
    The A’s have to feel that they have a shot to go deep in the playoffs this year, so I doubt they are sellers. I don’t know much about Abreu’s situation in Philly (other than the $13 mil he is due this year and the $15 mill next year). But even there, the Phillies are only 3 games behind the Mets.

    Vic May 12, 2006, 3:56 pm
  • Probably a bad time to pull out the told-ya-so card, but, well. What can I say?
    I have a great friend who’s a Yankee fan, and every year he’s criticized the FO for signing older players, fearing their inevitable collapse. It seems the Yanks have dodged that bullet for at least three years. This year might not be the fourth.
    But then, I thought something similar last year, when Johnson was losing early, so who knows?
    All I know is what I said in the other post, and what Mayday said up above: The Yankees have limited prospects, and certainly not enough to plug the holes they have right now. They can use their prospects and get a Zito or a Willis, but they won’t be able to get the outfielder. Or they can get Abreu, but forget picking up that trade-deadline pitcher.
    If Moose returns to last year’s form (he has nowhere to go but down), or if Damon’s injuries cause the same drastic drop in production they caused last year with the Sox (30-point drop in batting average and zero power), I’d be concerned — well, OK, I’d be running through the streets screaming.
    As it stands now, however, I’d go for Zito (because Willis is looking awful) and hope the outfield situation will work itself out. You know, if I were a Yankee fan. Which I’m not. Just had to make that clear.

    Paul A. May 12, 2006, 5:03 pm
  • amazing that the “c” word has shown up in this post. clemens can make up a figure at this point. i can hear it now, “how about 30 bagillion dollars, i pitch every second wednesday, you fly half the state of texas in for every game wether i play or not. and my kids want….”. does george still want that hummer back?

    sf rod May 12, 2006, 5:09 pm
  • From ESPN.com:
    “The Yankees are not planning to make any moves at the moment in the wake of left fielder Hideki Matsui breaking his left wrist in Thursday night’s loss to the Red Sox.
    General manager Brian Cashman said Friday the Yankees will go with their young players and monitor the progress of recently recalled outfield prospect Melky Cabrera.”

    Mayday Malone May 12, 2006, 5:23 pm
  • Because if the Yankees were planning any moves, Cashman would immediately tell ESPN — right after he text-messaged Theo to give him the heads-up.

    Paul A. May 12, 2006, 5:32 pm
  • Cashman is right. Why give up a guy like Hughes when you don’t even know the differential between Matsui and a guy like Cabrera yet? It’s not like they can’t take a two or three week look at the guys before panicking – there’s just no way the Yankees lose that many games in such a short period as to be rendered out of the division or playoff race. Did people in Boston propose offloading John Lester for an outfielder when Crisp and Nixon both went down early in the season? I know that Matsui is out for a long time (though Crisp will end up having missed 40+ games, which isn’t minor), and I know that Sheffield is also out, but why can’t Cabrera and Crosby be counted on for anything? It’s a downgrade, but is it a downgrade of such a major differential worth dumping your best prospect to avoid?
    If Cashman can get Abreu for less than Hughes or Cano, then that’s different. But why would the Phillies just give away a guy like Abreu when contending for the division with Aaron Rowand now on the DL? The Phils are in a seller’s market now, in a position of strength, so how can anyone expect the Yankees to obtain him for cents on the dollar? Standing pat is the smartest short-term (and possibly long-term) decision for the Yankees, at least with regards to giving up stud prospects for a Matsui substitute.

    SF May 12, 2006, 7:31 pm
  • That’s all talk from Cashman. You can bet he’s working the phones. My guess is Hughes is off the table, and Cano is probably not going anywhere either. But the analogy to Lester is a poor one. Lester is a legit blue-chip prospect. As Jay Jaffe and Cliff Corcoran have duly noted, there’s really nothing in the history of Cabrera or Crosby to indicate that they are all of a sudden going to blossom into brilliant major leaguers. The Yanks have enough talent to tread water or better, so they may not need to press the panic button, but this is a time to shop, and it’s a time to take advantage of their financial muscle.

    YF May 12, 2006, 7:42 pm

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