Monday, March 15, 2010

When You're Wrong, You're Wrong...

However, when I am wrong, I tend to be WAYYYYYYYYYYYY fucking wrong.  Case in point, last year, December 13th, my comments on the Yankees potentially signing Ben Sheets:

"Why the hell not? The guy is a walking DL-stint, but he also was one of the most dominant pitchers in his league for a stretch of years when he was healthy and the combination of his injury-prone status and long time away from the mound means he's going to come cheap.

Cash has already been talking to his agent and Sheets is expected to be ready for Spring Training. NL pitchers traditionally don't translate well to moving up to the Big League, but with Sheets' lack of history with AL teams it's more than likely that there isn't a very thick book on him in anybody's clubhouse.

The back end of the rotation is still a question mark and Sheets does pose a big question mark himself. But he is a proven commodity and if his stuff is half of what it was at his peak, then he's just as viable an option for the back end of the rotation than Joba, Gaudin, or anybody. Depending on how the Damon/Matsui situations play out, I don't think it would be too big of a risk to throw a $3-5mil, 1-year deal at Sheets (AKA "The Boston Red Sox-John Smoltz Special), and see what happens."

Fast forward to today, when Sheets put up the following line: 0 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 0 K.  That's right folks, Ben Sheets put up the elusive and horrifically special infinite ERA today as he didn't retire one batter before being lifted.  If you're keeping score at home, that's now 18 runs allowed by Sheets in 4 1/3 innings of work.  Not exactly the type of numbers the sabermetric-obsessed Billy Beane was looking for, especially when Sheets came to him at a not-so-cheap $10 million for this season.  And not exactly the numbers I foresaw when I thought signing Sheets was a good idea.

Clearly I was way off in my assessment of Sheets and even further off in thinking it would have been a good idea for the Yanks to bring him in as competition for the 5th spot in the rotation.  I would rather have Joba go out there and give up 6 runs in 2+ innings every single time he's on the mound than watch Sheets give up a 10-spot before even getting a guy out.  That kind of shit would have me heaving my remote through the screen of my TV, and I've got a nice damn TV.  So in this case, I'm glad I experienced a temporary lapse in my usual dead-on Yankee-related aim and with all the other times I've been right on the money, I think it's OK if we let this one slide.  When you're as good as I am, sometimes you have to be able to step back and poke some fun at yourself.

P.S.- It's obvious that Sheets' stuff isn't half of what is used to be, but at least I got the "Sheets does pose a big question mark" part right.  Sort of.

Did Adeinis Hechavarria Make A Mistake Going To Toronto?

The saddest news yesterday was the story that prized Cuban SS prospect Adeinis Hechavarria decided to go to Toronto over the Yanks because of concerns about PT due to Jeter's looming contract extension.  Clearly this means that the Yankees should cut ties with Jeter now since he is a black cloud hanging over the future of the organization, but does it also mean that Adeinis Hechavarria is a moron?

I mean, think about it.  However long Jeter signs for, logic would dictate he isn't going to spend all that time at shortstop.  Shit, it's still a miracle the guy is playing the position as well as he is at this age.  I was as happy as anybody to see him rebound defensively last season and finally earn a Gold Glove, but I certainly don't expect him to repeat or improve upon this numbers this year and in the next few.  The Yankees know this and Jeter knows this, so it's sure to be discussed this offseason when his contract negotiations start and a plan will begin to be put in place for Jeter to transition to another spot in the field as his ability to play shortstop well finally dwindles.

And as good as this kid may be, I find it hard to believe Hechavarria is going to come in and play out of this world right off the bat at shortstop.  As good as Cuban baseball is, it still isn't the Major Leagues; the kid is going to have to get used to the Major League game and to Major League pitching.  Shortstop isn't exactly a position where you just slide in seemlessly and light the world on fire, and not for nothing, but I don't hear anybody comparing Hechavarria to Hanley Ramirez or even Jeter himself.  Those 2 are arguably the top 2 shortstops in the game and even they had to pay their dues and spend time working their way up through the Minors before they were ready to be full-time Major League shortstops. So you have to expect there will be a learning curve associated with Hechavarria becoming a quality Major League shortstop, even if it is an accelerated one.

Now he could have signed with the Yankees for $8.5 million, by far the most they've ever shelled out for what equates to a rookie player, spent some time in the Minors learning the ins and outs of the game, taken over at age 24 when Jeter gracefully moved to the outfield, and become the NEW JETER!!!  He would have been the most talked about player on the most widely recognized, successful team in the history of American sports in the biggest media market in the world.  After his rookie year he would have made up the extra $1.5 million that the Blue Jays offered him in endorsements!  And then some!!  It's a story so good that Disney would be jumping all over it after he hit his first game-winning home run.

Now I fucking suck at baseball, but if you told me that was my future in 3 years I would walk into my office tomorrow, squat on my boss' desk, and drop a hot one right in his coffee cup.  But little Hech was too worried about playing right away and so he took more money and the earlier guaranteed starting spot.  I applaud the kid's confidence, I really do.  But to give up a shot at playing for the greatest team in the history of baseball at a position that has been manned by one of the 3 greatest members of that team in its history just doesn't make sense to me.

Maybe he likes the Toronto night life, I don't know.  Maybe he's seen the problems that past Cuban defector Jose Contreras had in the Big Apple and doesn't think he can handle the pressure.  But whatever the case may be, I hope Hechavarria does well in the Majors and then comes to his senses by the time his first Blue Jay contract is up.  Because by then the Yankees will definitely need a shortstop.