With that being said, GM Brian Cashman is reaching out to fill the void. Who are the players Cashman is targeting? Derrek Lee, Chipper Jones, and Scott Rolen.
That’s a real strong list of names… If it was 2003. Does Cashman realize all these players are RETIRED (well technically Rolen isn’t)?!?!?!? Now I know Brian recently busted one of his stems skydiving, and he’s probably eating some good pills, but even in a Vicodin stupor he can’t be serious. But for shiggles, if the Yankees added any of these seasoned vets, how would it help the Bombers?
Derrek Lee – Lee missed the entire 2012 season. After drawing no interest in the 2011 offseason and into the 2012 spring, Lee hung up the cleats. In his last season between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, Lee batted .267 with 19 home runs and 59 RBI’s (prior to being traded to Pittsburgh, he was terrible). Not exactly the numbers you want out of a starting first baseman (and possible DH because you know Travis Hafner WILL spend a quarter of the season on the DL). In fact his last productive season was 2009 when he went .306/35/111. All the steroids in the world won’t help Lee repeat those numbers (DISCLAIMER – In no way am I saying the Lee was on the juice. I’m pointing out that at 37 and a year removed from baseball, even steroids wouldn’t give him a competitive edge).
If Lee were to see some time in pinstripes, I wouldn’t expect an average above .250, with minimal power. There’s a reason his phone hasn’t rang in 15 months.
Chipper Jones – 2012 was Jones’ swansong as he finished the season touring National League ballparks by shaking hands and kissing babies. While rednecks in the South revered him, fans of every other team chanted “LAAA-RRRY” anytime he stepped in the batter’s box. His season wasn’t terrible going .287/14/62, while spending some times on the DL (he was limited to 112 games).
Jones wouldn’t help the Bombers in any way, because there’s no way in hell he’d ever come out of retirement to play in the Bronx. While he might be a bit of a scumbag, he’s a Florida hillbilly who spent 19 years playing for his favorite team, doing all he can to spit on New York. Money’s not as important to him as being a white trash folk hero.
On the flip side, if the Yankees somehow conned him into coming out of retirement I’d piss my pants. It would burn Atlanta more than Sherman did in 1864 (not my piss).
Scott Rolen - Rolen is a bit different than Lee and Jones because he’s not officially retired. He’s still waiting for an offer of a starting job, or A-Rod money. He’s going to keep waiting because it’s more likely I get those offers. Between the DL and the bench the former All-Star only played 92 games last year (up from his 65 in 2010), and was less than impressive batting .245 with 8 home runs and 39 RBI’s.
Rolen would make the Yankees worse than they already are because they don’t need another broken toy.
He reminds me of the old guy at the bar. You’ve seen him. He dresses in clothes that aren’t age appropriate, always wears a leather jacket, and hits on young girls. Everyone around him knows he’s a joke, but he still think he’s got a shot. Those guys shouldn’t be pitied, but laughed at.
If anyone on Cashman’s “wish list” were to sign in the Bronx, it would be Lee, and he wouldn’t make much of an impact.
Yankees fans, these aren’t your daddy’s Bombers. It’s a new era of Yankee baseball where the blank check no longer exists, the luxury tax is a problem, and “win-now” becomes “let’s see what we can do.” While King George might be rolling over in his grave, his kids like big stacks of money, so Yankee fans better get used it.
What’s your take? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JayPlatt
Timing – Even though the Major League season takes up over six months of the year, how is having this competition during Spring Training a good idea? Players are leaving their own respective camps to represent the country of their choice (I’ll get to that). Even though a lot of these players already have their Major League roster spots locked up, they are not getting the work with the organization that their priorities should be focused on. Be it at-bats so hitters have their timing down, or the correct number of innings/pitches so pitchers can be stretched out fully for the season, by taking players away from their team to compete in an exhibition is hurting the players. Baseball players are wired to win. Without their own coaches putting on the brakes they’re going to go balls out to win a game, like they are in midseason form. This only opens up players to injury (ask Mark Teixeria and the Yankees).
Call me crazy, but wouldn’t a better timeframe for the WBC be in November after the World Series? That way players who want to rest, can choose to rest, while others still have enough gas in the tank to play a few more games can have at it. Fall and winter leagues can be pushed back a couple of weeks to accommodate this and would prolong the hangover after the World Series that so many fans go through.
Coverage – The brain surgeons who are running this show clearly want MLB to reap any proceeds for the WBC, or no other network gives a shit. I’m actually leaning toward the latter here because outside of the brawl that occurred in yesterday’s Canada/Mexico game anything that has to do with the WBC isn’t given any media coverage (SIDEBAR – That was one of the better basebrawls I’ve seen in a long time and almost ranks up with there with Nolan Ryan beating the shit out of Robin Ventura. The problem I have is with Arnold Leon. How does it take three pitches to hit intentionally hit a batter???). You can find some WBC information if you search, but don’t expect to be in the headlines of ESPN.
Then there’s actually watching the games (since it’s a bitch to read about them). If you want to watch any games, you need to have the MLB Network as they are the only network that is carrying the WBC. You can watch the games online through MLB.com, but you must prove that you have the MLB Network. So if you don’t, and you want to watch USA take on Italy, you’re shit out of luck (I’d suggest a sports bar, but with college basketball conference play, it’s a longshot). How is pigeonholing the WBC to one network that people have to pay extra to have (from their basic cable bill), actually helping promote baseball? It’s almost as if Major League Baseball is just self-gratifying themselves not really giving a shit if people are watching or not.
Teams – What exactly are the rules in choosing what country you represent in the WBC? I did some research and couldn’t find them anywhere. Whatever they are they’re pretty loose.
Look at Team Italy. After looking at their team, I’m convienced if you’re last name ends in a vowel or you’ve eaten a meatball before, you’ve met their roster requirements. Out of the 25 players on Italy’s roster, only seven were born in Italy (Alex Maestri, Luca Panerati, Alex Liddi, Alessandro Vaglio, Lorenzo Avagnina, Mario Chiarini, and Stefano Desimoni). I’m willing to bet the other 18 “Italians” on the roster have never stepped foot in Italy (thank god for Chef Boyardee).
Then there’s Puerto Rico. I’ve discussed this in bars with people and most think I’m wrong (mostly Puerto Ricans), but last time I checked Puerto Rico isn’t a country. It’s a United States Commonwealth. The good people of Puerto Rico are US Citizens, use the American dollar, and their president is Barack Obama, just like me. Can I play for team Puerto Rico (aside from having a beer belly and bum knees)? I understand why Puerto Rico has their own team, given the island’s love for baseball, but then the rules should be changed so everyone is on a level playing field. The people in Aruba and Curacao love baseball too, yet they play for the Netherlands.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against the WBC. I think it’s a great concept with a ton of potential. I just think that Major League Baseball is doing a half-assed job in the execution of it. Where do you stand? Do you even care? Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @JayPlatt.
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