Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Losing their minds -- the NY Press

More Yankees post-mortem, this time some idiocies from the NY press:

Exhibit 1 = George King of the NY Post saying that Mel Stottlemyre is viewed by many as the best pitching coach in baseball. WHO? George King only.

Here is the list of players who Stottlemyre failed in the past 5 years: Denny Neagle, Jeff Weaver, Jose Contreras, Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, Javy Vazquez, Carl Pavano. The clincher that gets Stottlemyre run out of town is Contreras' 15-7 record this year, 7-0 down the stretch and two fine starts as the game 1 starter for the Chisax in the playoffs (15.1 IP, 5 ER). The game 1 starter ability is what the Yanks thought they'd get, but the Chisax brought out those qualities in him.

Exhibit 2 = Jon Heyman of Newsday. His prescription for fixing the Yanks is here. It is chock full of the same types of idiocies that have plagued Yankee decisionmaking for the past five years: trading youth for older and more expensive players, signing free agents just BECAUSE they are available, getting weirdo personalities because they have big-time reputations, etc. I'd like to see Torii Hunter on the Yanks, but not whackjob Manny Ramirez or part-time mental case Barry Zito. Heyman's urging the Yanks to sign Johnny Damon is ridiculous -- he has a worse arm than Bernie, is on the decline and has a high price tag. And I do NOT want to cough up Cano or Wang.

Instead, Mike Lupica has it right: the Yanks are old, overpaid, impatient and basically a preposterous amalgamation of all-star parts that cannot make a complete whole. Look at the 1998-99 Yanks and compare them to this season's squad:

1998/99 -- 2005
Posada/Girardi -- Posada
Tino -- Giambi
Knoblauch -- Cano (Womack)
Jeter -- Jeter
Brosius -- Arod
Curtis/Strawberry/Spencer -- Matsui
Bernie -- Bernie
O'Neill -- Sheff

Those teams had LESS firepower, but scored more runs (the Yanks haven't hit 900 runs since 1999). Those teams had a legit leadoff hitter who could set the table for the others, instead of congesting the big boppers at slots 2-5. Those teams had fewer big hitters but better clutch hitters. And those teams had much better defensive play (Bernie had an extra step, O'Neill and Curtis were superior to Matsui and Sheff). But the only players in the top 5 in the majors at their positions were Jeter and Bernie. The 2005 team has Matsui, Sheff, Arod, Jeter and Posada but cannot hit when it counts, cannot field and ultimately cannot win.

Back to the drawing board. Follow Joel Sherman's plan, Boss Stein, not Heyman's. At least Joel's on the right track: go young, go hungry, go for defense.

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