Monday, January 5, 2009

Larry Bird isn't walking thru that door...

...and neither is Tino, Brosius and Paulie, but that doesn't stop unnamed former Yankees for pining for the 90's heyday.

"I still don't have a good feel about their club," one former Yankees player said. "They'll have a great statistical club, but I still think they're so away from what made them great. They don't have enough down-and-dirty guys like (Scott) Brosius, Tino (Martinez) and (Paul) O'Neill."
Look, I loved that era as much as anyone; it was a wonderful time in my life. I got married a month and a half before the first WS title of that run. My first was born Opening Day of the 2000 season, the last year the Yanks would capture that title. My second was born in the Spring of 2003, the year of their last visit to the WS. But that era is gone, we've all gotten older and moved different directions. It's time to stop genuflecting on the "gritty/gutty" guys who won a decade ago and worry about where the team is going over the next decade.

And Tim Kurkjian, the author of the linked-to article got this wonderful quote from an unnamed executive, a quote I just love:

"It will be fun to watch," one baseball executive said. "All the Yankee lovers will love them even more because they're really good. The Yankee haters will hate them even more for just buying all the best players. I'd have done the same thing if I were them. We'll see if it works."
Truer words were never spoken.

Kurkjian summarizes the moves for Teix, CC and Burnett logically, as the Yanks likely have viewed them: "The moves they made had to be made."

On Teixeira:
Teixeira is a major upgrade at first base over Giambi, who was one of 12 guys to play the position for the Yankees last season...
Teixeira was just as productive after being acquired by the Angels last year: in 54 games, he slugged .632 (172 points higher than the Yankees' first basemen last year) and had an on-base percentage of .449 (100 points higher than the Yankees' first basemen).

And he is so much better defensively than any first baseman the Yankees threw out there last year," one scout said. "The Yankees weren't a good defensive team last year, especially in the infield."

Teixeira likely will fit in well in the clubhouse because he always plays, he always plays hard and he always works at improving his game.
On Sabathia:
Sabathia arguably has been the game's best pitcher the past two years. He won the American League Cy Young in 2007, and, after April, he was equally good last year -- when he pitched the Brewers to the playoffs for the first time since 1982. He is strong, durable and talented. Plenty of pitchers have flopped in New York because they couldn't handle the heat, but most of them weren't nearly as good or as young as Sabathia.

If he doesn't win 20 games for them, I would be very surprised," one GM said. "He is the real deal. He is, by far, the biggest move that they made in this offseason."
Sabathia has no clubhouse issues to worry about. He is a fun, affable guy, who loved playing in Cleveland and loved playing in Milwaukee. He volunteered to pitch on short rest four times down the stretch to get the Brewers to the playoffs, even though it was clear he would not be playing for them in 2009. He, like Teixeira, has never played under the stress of New York, or under the stress of that contract, but all indications are that he can handle it.
The Yankees used 27 pitchers; 13 started at least one game, including
Kei Igawa and Brian Bruney. It is remarkable that the Yankees won as many games as they did with such a patchwork pitching staff, which included Sidney Ponson, who started 15 games.
Timmy's right: Every part of the Yankees will be fascinating.

1 comment:

Jeff J. Snider said...

"Teixeira likely will fit in well in the clubhouse because he always plays, he always plays hard and he always works at improving his game."

Of course, considering that you could replace "Teixeira" with "A-Rod" in that sentence, perhaps there ought to be more to the sentence, like, "unless he struggles a little bit at the wrong time of the season or isn't named Jeter."