Friday, February 4, 2011

Wallace Matthews Should Probably Stop Talking

Another day, another disgrace of a column from ESPNNY's comedy duo of Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews.  This time, it's Matthews grabbing the spotlight as he tries to turn Andy Pettitte's retirement into the end of the world for the 2011 Yankee season, all the while ignoring facts and basic logic and making counterpoints against his own points that he thinks he's trying to make so that the rest of us in the Yankee blogosphere don't have to.  But I will anyway.  Let's FJM, shall we?

"Four months ago, Andy Pettitte walked out of the visitors clubhouse in Arlington, Texas, after letting everyone know he probably wouldn't be back.
Now, we are 10 days away from pitchers and catchers and he still hasn't been replaced.
That is the real story today, not that Pettitte will hold a news conference on Friday morning to make official what everyone around the Yankees should have accepted back on Oct. 22."

No, Wally.  That story has been beaten into the ground for a few weeks now.  You're just late to the party and have nothing to write about today.  Today the story was Pettitte officially announcing his retirement and all of us getting a chance to reflect on his wonderful career.

"It may seem as if the winter got a little colder and the upcoming baseball season a little bleaker for Yankees fans with the confirmation that Pettitte will, indeed, announce his retirement... "

Did the children get a little older too, Stevie Nicks?  Jesus Christ with the melodrama!  Have you looked at the Yankee roster right now?  It's still one of the best in baseball without Pettitte.  Having him for 2011 would have been the difference between Top 5 and World Series front runner, not World Series winners and Double-A Trenton.

"... but really, nothing has changed."

And right here is where this article should have just stopped.  Matthews suggests that doom and gloom has swept through Yankeeland because Andy is gone, but then states that nothing has changed.  Good for you, Wally.  It's good to know you aren't planning on jumping off a bridge with Bill Madden.

"At the same time, everything has gotten a little more urgent, verging on desperate."

Wait, what??  I thought nothing had changed.  MAKE UP YOUR MIND, MAN!!!

"How is it possible for the New York Yankees, the richest, most successful franchise in the history of professional sports, with a ton of cash to spend, a huge and insatiable fan base to please, and a behemoth of a ballpark to fill on a nightly basis, to have let this problem go unattended for so long?"

Ahh yes, here comes the classic argument that comes out any time the MSM thinks the Yankees had a bad offseason.  All the money!  All the fans!  The glory of The Stadium!  Nevermind the fact that the Yankees started their push to sign Cliff Lee almost the minute the World Series ended.  Matthews makes it sound like Cash and Levine and Co. have been kicking it in the Caribbean drinking Mai Tais and smoking weed all winter.

"Were they that sure of snagging Cliff Lee?"

Ummmmm, yeah.  They were the first time to contact him, the first team to visit him, and they made him the biggest offer.  EVERYBODY was sure that the Yankees were going to get Cliff Lee.  The RANGERS were sure the Yankees were going to get Cliff Lee!!  He was their only FA target this offseason and they did everything in their power to get him.

And Lee would have been a more than suitable replacement for Andy, but he chose not to come here.  There's nothing that you or I or Cash could have done about that.  So don't take something that happened months ago and try to make it a story again.  Do what the rest of the organization has done and MOVE ON.

"Or did they just think that a starting pitcher would fall from the sky into their laps precisely when they needed one?"

Yes.  You hit it on the head, Wally.  That was their contingency plan.  In fact, Hank and Hal have been sitting outside in lawn chairs at the team facility in Tampa waiting for that pitcher to fall since Lee's press conference in Philly.

"Whatever the answer to those questions is, Brian Cashman better come up with a solution, and fast, or the next time he goes down the side of a building it may be without a rope."

Is Wallace Matthews suggesting that he, or somebody else, is going to murder Brian Cashman in cold blood because Cliff Lee didn't sign with the Yankees and Andy Pettite decided to retire?  I swear that's what he's saying, but maybe this bottle of water I'm drinking is tainted with something.

"No matter how you spin it, the Yankees' GM hasn't had much of an offseason. So far, his biggest free-agent acquisition in terms of expenditure is Derek Jeter. That will not be nearly enough."

You're right.  It won't be.  And so knowing that there aren't any good pitching options available through trade or the FA market, what the Yankees should do is focus on spending that extra money to improve the other weak areas of the team, namely the catcher position, a 4th OF to replace Marcus Thames, and probably the bullpen too to help shorten games on days when they have the weak back end of their rotation starting.

Oh wait!...

"Truly, the Yankees' rotation is no more of a mess today than it was on the night they were eliminated from the ALCS."

So then why are you writing this column again?

"And it is no less of a mess."

Dude, make up your fucking mind!

"The official announcement of Pettitte's retirement doesn't change a thing in that respect."

What respect?  You mentioned 2 respects.  Pick one.  Is it a mess or not?  Is it more of one or less of one?  Take a side and stick with it!!  I feel like I'm reading a Peter King column with all the vagueness. 

"The fact that the Yankees whiffed on Lee is not Cashman's fault. Once the Phillies entered the picture, no amount of Boss Bucks was going to lure him to the Bronx."


"And after Lee, there really wasn't anyone on the free-agent market worth splurging on, unless you saw the comedic value in American Idle II, the return of Carl Pavano."

Yes!  Exactly!  See, I knew you weren't a complete idiot, Wally.  You're starting to get it now.  There's really no reason to be threatening to hurl Cash off a building because there was nothing better he could have done.

BTW, nice on the "American Idle II" line.  Rick Reilly would be proud.

/attempts to choke self to death with a shoelace.

"But surely something might have been done on the trade market... "

GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!  Forget what I just said, Wally.  You're a moron.  Who are the Yankees going to trade for?  Who?  The Rockies aren't giving up Jimenez, the Marlins aren't giving up Johnson, the Mariners aren't giving up King Felix, and the Royals wanted way too much for Greinke.  Entertaining a trade offer for anybody other than 4 guys is a net loss for the Yankees considering what they would have to give up to get that guy.

But I'll indulge you.  Go ahead, what was your trade proposal?

"Pay a ransom of young talent -- say Joba Chamberlain and someone previously considered untouchable, like Jesus Montero or Austin Romine or Eduardo Nunez -- for a second-tier pitcher to plug the hole."


Please tell me Matthews didn't just refer to Austin Romine and Eduardo Nunez as "someone previously considered untouchable."  If the Yankees called up Jack Zduriencik and were going to offer Seattle Joba, Montero, and Nunez for Felix Hernandez, Cash would get hung up on before he could even finish saying "Eduardo Nunez."

If you're going to suggest putting together a big-time prospect package in a trade, at least know who the hell you're talking about in terms of "untouchable."

"Or, take the chance of waiting until the trade deadline to try to pluck a quality starter from a team that has dropped out of contention... "

Now that's a much better idea.  The Yankees have plenty of talent spread around the 25-man roster to play playoff-caliber baseball until the trade deadline.  Now you're thinking again, Wally.

"... by which time the Red Sox may have run so far off with the division that Cashman will be back tending bar, only this time for the benefit of no charity other than his own."

Dude, come on.  Who cares about the division?  Hasn't history shown us that being the division winner vs. the wild card has next to nothing to do with playoff success?  This just in, the Yankees don't give a crap about division titles.  They gave a crap about World Series titles.  And they don't give a crap if the Red Sox go 162-0 in the regular season as long as they beat the Sox when it counts, in the playoffs.

"Maybe that's the way it has to be this year, that the combination of a paper-thin free-agent market and a dearth of available starting pitchers for trade will leave the Yankees scuffling for quality pitching all season long."

Yes.  That's how it has to be because that's what the situation is.  And there's nothing the Yankees could have done to change that.  Cash is good, but he's not that good.

"And maybe what happened last year will happen again in 2011, that the Red Sox will fail to live up to the preseason hype and guys in the Yankees' clubhouse will overachieve, and everything will turn out OK."

YES!!  That is also a possibility.  Why can't you just see the logic in these points and not freak out because Andy Pettitte is retiring.  Why are you so afraid to be a realistic, logical, calm Yankee journalist, Wally?

"But that doesn't change the fact that it never should have come down to this, especially when four months ago, Pettitte told the Yankees exactly what he was going to do, and the Yankees knew exactly where that would leave them."

/bashes self in face with keyboard.

I don't know what to say.  There's nothing to say.  Either Wallace Matthews is a complete jackass or he's trying to take a page out of the Bill Madden/Mike Lupica "Write a Stupid Column to Rile Up Yankee Fans" playbook.  Either way, this column is a waste of space on the ESPNNY page and a waste of time to read.  I honestly don't know why I even linked it in this post because I don't really want anyone to read it and fall victim to this idiotic line of thinking.

FYI, Wally, leave the "end of the world" Yankee columns to Madden and Lupica.

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