Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Change We Need

Good morning. It’s time for riddle Saturday, which is a new event that I just made up and will probably never be repeated. Here goes:

What’s perpetually injured and useless and never going to get signed to a major league contract by anyone with half a brain for the rest of his sorry life?

Too easy? Let’s try another:

What’s old and tacky and has a gold thong that will hopefully never again be mentioned by a New York-based media outlet?

It’s the weekend. I don’t want you to overexert yourselves.

The point is that it’s been quite a week. A week of change and progress. New hope for a better, brighter future. No, sillies. I’m not talking about the election. I’m talking about the Yankees, who have taken a look at their options for next year and boldly decided: Out with the old, in with…well, probably the old, if I know the Yankees. But, still, it’s an exciting time. Without Pavano and Giambi and Marte we have positions that need filling, millions of dollars that need spending, and the world at our feet. It’s that rare but wondrous in-between time after you get rid of all the crappy overpaid players you don’t need anymore and before you do something stupid like, say, sign Manny Ramirez. A time when you can still be crazy enough to hope that maybe, just maybe, this year, it’s not gonna happen. And who knows? Maybe it won’t. Assuming we end up with Teixeira, we might be able to avoid degrading ourselves by engaging in that whole conversation.

Leaving aside the fact that he may serve as the one barrier that stands between the Bombers and Manny Ramirez, I feel good about Teixeira for a lot of reasons. First of all, he’s clearly a man of good judgment. How do we know this? He chose college over the Chowdas. Admittedly, college is awesome. But I like to think it had a little something to do with the fact that he thought anything—even playing for the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets—was preferable to playing for a team in Boston. I guess we’ll see how that theory of mine pans out in the next few weeks since the Chowdas will certainly be among his suitors.

Then, of course, there are all of the substantive reasons to like him—like the switch-hitting, Gold Glove first baseman reasons. But that goes without saying. It’s why GM’s across the country are going to be working their blackberries into overdrive in the coming weeks to get him on their rosters. Cashman says that, first and foremost, the Yanks are looking to shore up their defense, and Teixeira certainly helps on that score. And, while it may not be our priority, Lord knows no one’s going to kick that power hitting out of the lineup. So he’s a perfect candidate in every way.

My grievances are two. The first being the succubus that is his agent Scott Boras—an indication of maybe not-so-impeccable judgment. The second? To those of you who know me by now, this one should be obvious.

What the hell is going on with that last name?

In ways very different from Farvil’s, the spelling and pronunciation of this name bear little relation to each other. In fact, I would be hard pressed to think of any pronunciation that made sense for a name that was spelled that way. But the dude is Portuguese, so I am sort of prepared to let it slide. If you begin to chip away at the way they spell things in Portugal, you will eventually just wear away at the whole language. And that hardly seems right.

All this is nice of course, but I was never one to avoid pointing out the elephant in the room. In this case it is that, above all, what we need is pitching. In a way that is desperate, we need pitching. In a way that you need pitching if you only have two pitchers in your lineup, we need pitching. Which means, what? Which means that we probably pay an obscene amount of money for a multiyear contract in order to acquire Sabathia and pray that he doesn’t get hurt, go Pavano or lose his witch powers in the next few years. It wouldn’t be the first time. But, while I am always dubious about big money, multiyear contracts, the one thing Sabathia has going for him is youth—a refreshing change. We all knew that after the Kennedy-Hughes experiment failed so miserably, no one in the Steinbrenner family would ever be persuaded that the way to win pennants was to home grow talent. So, if we’re going to be buying an overpaid pitching staff, I’d rather not invest in goods that are like five thousand years old in baseball years.

Speaking of over-aged pitchers, we have also to wonder whether Mussina decides to hang up the old Gold Glove or try for one last good season. If you want my humble opinion, he just had a last good season. If I were Moose, I’d probably feel compelled to retire on top of my game, coach high school football, spend more time playing with my tractors. (No, that’s not a euphemism.) Of course, if I were Moose, I would also live in Montoursville, PA, so I can’t presume to totally understand how his mind works. Should Moose want back in the game, Cash has all but promised him a spot on the rotation should he want it, saying, "We just obviously have needs...”

Note to Cash: Try to avoid talking about gaps in your pitching lineup the way men who have affairs talk about sex.

Who else? Lowe, Burnett, Peavy, Sheets. Possibilities abound. Peavy’s probably a long shot for a number of reasons, but the Yanks are very persuasive when it comes to convincing players to part with their souls. As for Sheets, awesome as he is, I have a feeling we might be looking at the Second Coming of Pavano, so I say stay away. And, Lowe, well… You know what? I’m not going to make myself nuts. I’ve made a deal with Cash (about which he is unaware): He doesn’t go near Manny, I don’t give him too much grief about who he acquires or cuts loose this winter. Just no Manny. To prove that some things are sacred. That the Yanks know when to say when. That they’re capable of a little self-restraint. Not to mention the fact that Manny and Fav-ruh all in one year might be more than my fragile constitution can abide. Talk about a perfect storm. Slash the end of the world. Slash the seventh circle of hell. We would just need Mark Cuban to buy the Knicks and then we’d have a New York sports trifecta horrifying enough to send me fleeing to the Midwest never to be seen or heard from again

But, then again, maybe Manny will surprise us all and just accept the Dodgers’ offer and not force his contract negotiations into a media circus bidding war that brings us to the Super Bowl. It’s unlikely, but crazier, more awesome things have happened.

Which reminds me. Here’s one last riddle, just for fun:

What’s black and white and President all over?


Josh said...

Don't forget Rham Emmanuel. And they said Obama would abandon Israel...

Willie said...

Just to note, you have finally fund something on which, you and Michael Kay agree. THe cold war is over!