Lost Weekend: Ramblings

I was awol this past weekend, wandering through the dry foothills of Sonoma County, playing pretend connoisseur at wineries along the road, splashing like a toddler in my future parents’-in-law pool. I was the protagonist of John Cheever’s "The Swimmer": drunk, at peace, and totally in denial of the grave reality around me. But since I’ve returned to the world, or rather, the taxi-cab of absolute reality has crashed back into me, I have to face the facts as they are. Things aren’t as pretty as they seem when it’s sunny and you’re gargling red wine like it’s mouth wash. Here are the cold hard facts as I see them now:

  • The Yankees have three starters that are above replacement-level. Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang have been great. Randy Johnson has been awful then brilliant then awful then brilliant. He seems to have turned it around this past month. However, the Yanks’ 4th and 5th starters are terrible. I didn’t believe in the idea that Jaret Wright was pitching well at the beginning of the season. He was logging in 5-inning 2-run "masterpieces" which featured a lot of baserunners and very few strike-outs. He was lucky. His last start is more likely the real Wright. As far as the fifth starter situation: Turns out, Sidney Ponson is Sidney Ponson.
  • In case you haven’t heard, A-Rod is under-performing. Great players struggle. It happens. But since this is A-Rod and Alex Rodriguez is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, let’s psychoanalyze him, scream loudly that he should be traded when his value is lowest, and boo him so that he indeed plays even worse. Makes sense if you’re a Sox fan since, after all, a Sox fan doesn’t want the Yankees to win. For a Yankees fan, it’s masochism, the kind that hurts.
  • Jason Giambi has not hit well in a while. He’s not getting booed by Yanks fans because he’s lived up to his expensive contract, and has brought nothing but integrity to the Yankees franchise. I’m not advocating booing Giambi because I want him to do well but it seems odd that one player gets so much crap and another not so much. Yanks fan booers, please explain the double-standard.
  • Brian Cashman reportedly has shot down any idea of trading Phillip Hughes before the trade deadline. This is good news, and, if it means that we don’t make it to the post-season for the first time since dirt was invented, then I think Yanks fan should be okay with it. The team needs to restock its farm system and develop from within. In the long-run we’ll be thankful.
  • This is YFSF, so I’ll turn my thoughts to those bastards in Boston. If you had to do over again, would you still trade Bronson Arroyo for Wily Mo Pena? Another thing, are people still excited about Coco Crisp? Anyone of you guys want to admit to being a little disappointed? Or is it "In Theo We Trust" all the time in RSN? Forgive me my jerkiness, after all, it’s the beginning of the working week and I’ve got a headache.   
15 comments… add one
  • Álex in July:
    19 games, 73 ABs, 11R, 21h, (3 2b, 5 hr), 16 RBI, 6BB, 19k:
    .288/.350/.534 avg/obp/slg
    Compare those numbers to other players on the roster. Jeter is hitting a torrid .387 in July; no one else is having a truly exceptional month in any statistic. ARod leads the team in RBIs and Slugging for the month. (Nick Green has a higher slg, but it’s a very small sample set).
    NY scored 108 runs in July. Opponents scored 103 runs. I wonder far behind Boston we would right now without his contribution. His “under-performance” looks quite respectable on this roster, and I do not think there are many teams who woudn´t mind having that “problem” in their lineup. Yankees very real, very troublesome problems elsewhere. Stop scapegoating Álex and start looking at the rotation.

    attackgerbil July 24, 2006, 3:04 pm
  • Amen.

    walein July 24, 2006, 3:07 pm
  • Double negative mangled a point there, should have read: …and I think there are many teams who would not mind having that “problem”… (strike do not), but you probably understood what I meant despite my horrific grammar.

    attackgerbil July 24, 2006, 3:17 pm
  • Well said, AG. Well bloody said.

    Sam July 24, 2006, 3:20 pm
  • As far as Coco goes, as a Sox fan, I still think he’ll come around. He refuses to use the finger as an excuse, but I think he still looks tentative about it at the plate. His speed has been there, for sure, though I am definitely glad he’s not batting leadoff. But a guy who hit 42 doubles last year, has the speed to get several triples a season, and has enough pop for 15-20 HRs definitely has a lot of value batting 6th or 7th in the lineup, and that’s where he should be. Is he the center fielder that Johnny Damon was? No. The instincts aren’t there. Slightly better arm, but not by much. Next year will be the time to start really looking at whether he’s been a “bust” or not. The only regret I have about Coco is the possibility of him blocking Ellsbury in a couple years. And Yankee fans…do you honestly believe Damon will still be the same player the last two years of his contract?
    As far as Wily Mo vs. Bronson? Seriously. Can any Yankee fan honestly say that they would believe he’d have this kind of success with another year in the American League? I’m glad he’s doing well, but to expect he’d be having this same kind of success in Boston this year is ridiculous. I didn’t like the trade at the time, still don’t to a point, but to call it a mistake or to want it back is to assume that he could accomplish a sub-4.00 ERA with double digit wins in the AL too, and that would not be a safe assumption. I think the only safe assumption is that Cincinatti should be glad that their nightlife is not as extensive as a place like Boston or New York…

    Quo July 24, 2006, 3:52 pm
  • It’s important to keep in mind that Crisp has thus far played in only 55 games this season, so his bad (but not out of the ordinary) slump effects his numbers moreso than other players. He had a bad July; it happens.

    airk July 24, 2006, 4:11 pm
  • No, I do not regret getting Coco. He’ll be fine. Injury-shortened year and still with plenty of time to turn in a good season. I have so much faith in him getting better that he’s on my fantasy team (though I had to trade Sizemore for good pitching, otherwise he wouldn’t be). And especially two years from now, that deal’s going to look great.
    Pena. Well, if I’d known that every pitcher not named Schilling or Beckett was going to go down for weeks and/or months, no I wouldn’t have traded Bronson. But given the beginning of the year, yes, I would have. And wait two years to evaluate that one too.

    Devine July 24, 2006, 4:46 pm
  • You traded Sizemore?! Are you crazy? I hope it’s not a keeper league.

    Nick-YF July 24, 2006, 4:50 pm
  • Regarding Coco’s speed, my favorite quote from the 2005 Baseball Prospectus is: “On the bases, he’s a hazard to himself and others. Kids: Friends don’t let friends run the bases like Covelli Crisp… should really be greeted with a permanent stop sign, if not flat out tackled by the coach as soon as he reaches first base. He showed surprisingly little instinct for center field and more aptitude for hitting lefties than righties…”
    My second favorite from BP 2005 is: “(Kevin) Brown has the worst constitution this side of Ukraine, and the personality of a menstrual hippopotamus…”

    MoForPresident July 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • Ah, but I’m way below my projected innings and needed a very good starter to eat some of them effectively. And I got him. Schilling, actually. (He, Manny, and Coco are the Sox contingent on my team now.)

    Devine July 24, 2006, 5:03 pm
  • A pretty daring move, Devine, and it looks like it paid off (for the 2006 run), but I wonder if you sacrificed too much of your future for the now, and if you’re putting a little too much faith in Covelli. The press in this town is unforgiving. They do not forget the mistakes…

    Nick-YF July 24, 2006, 5:06 pm
  • ~.300 hitter the past couple years. That’s not faith to me, just the belief that he’ll head back to the mean (though he might be around .285 or something at year’s end…I just don’t think he’ll be anywhere near as bad as his current numbers). But he is a pretty crappy defender and baserunner, that’s for sure.
    Did a Yankees fan just accuse me of selling the future for the present? (PS I just did the trade a week ago)

    Devine July 24, 2006, 5:15 pm
  • Bronson for Wily Mo: Evaluate in two years. Twasn’t made for this year. And Arroyo’s numbers on ANY AL team would not be so stellar. So, yes, I still would have made that deal.

    I'm Bill McNeal July 24, 2006, 7:00 pm
  • And I think Covelli’s honeymoon is about over, even if that Damon-Crisp swap was more abouot 2007, 2008 and beyond.

    I'm Bill McNeal July 24, 2006, 7:02 pm
  • I never liked the Coco deal, I hated losing Marte. I still at this moment think Boston would have been better off with Stern penciled in for CF this season and having Marte as a corner infield star for years to come.
    Thus far Crisp has been Awful at the plate, and I have to turn the channel when he bats cause his between pitch thing is annoying as is his chin tucked into the shoulder bit. JUST DAMN ANNOYING

    TJ July 24, 2006, 9:49 pm

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