Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Afternoon Free-Flowing Commentary

It's Friday, it's been a long week, we're all shot.  No sense in trying to construct something clever or insightful.  I'll just let the random literary diarrhea flow.

- Is Ron Washington still secretly on coke?  Like a lot of it?  I watched the clip of him on SC last night giving his "thought" on how the 9th inning played out, and all he did was recap what happened, recite the play-by-play, and that was it.  Dude sounded completely strung out, like there wasn't a whole lot firing upstairs.  Entertaining sure, but nothing that was worthy of putting in a story about the game.

- If Cory Wade can replicate 2011's success next year (assuming he's still with the Yankees), where does Joba fit into the bullpen hierarchy when he returns?  The 7th-9th innings are locked down, Wade has flourished in the middle-innings role, and the Yankees always seem to pluck an arm from somewhere that turns into something useful (maybe Kontos a/o Ryan Pope in 2012).

- And if Joba does get stuck at the bottom of the barrel, does he automatically become the best "garbage time" mop-up man in baseball history?

- I still can't let go of the belief that Brett Gardner's swing could be tweaked a little to generate some more power, and I still can't believe Dr. Long isn't trying to work on that with him.  With his speed, Gardner could get 20-30 triples a year if he could put the ball into the gaps more.

- Who's playing RF in 2012 if the Yankees decide not to bring back Swish?  Beltran?  Vlad Guerrero?  J.D. Drew??  Blech!  Not to mention the fact that the Yankees' internal crop of OF replacements are either not that great (Golson, Maxwell, Parraz, Brewer, Melky Mesa) or too far away from the big leagues (Almonte, Heathcott, Mason Williams).

- If I'm Cash, part of the new contract negotiations with CC would involve demanding that he add a couple new styles to his stable of custom Air Jordan cleats.  I was never an Air Jordan guy (being very white and very bad at basketball), but those Jordan spikes are the shit!

- If Wallace Matthews seriously thinks the Yankees are going to target Albert Pujols this offseason, then he's even further out there than I thought.

- The whole Sawxenfreude beer saga is still just as hilarious this week as it was last week.  I actually check ESPN Bahhhhhston every day just to see if there's a new article about it.

- In fairness to Beckett, Lester, and Lackey, I would have been in the clubhouse pounding beers too if I was pitching that horribly.  Boom, roasted!

- Anybody who wears a Yankee jersey with the player's last name on it is an asshole.  Real Yankee fans know who wears/wore which numbers.  Every time I see somebody with a #2 jersey with "Jeter" on it, or #7 with "Mantle," I want to scream.

- I forget where I saw this originally, but it's just as funny now as it was then.  Kudos to whoever thought this up:

Happy Friday, everybody.

Mixed Front Office Feelings On Yu Darvish?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

I haven't gotten into talks about potential FA targets for this offseason, mainly because it's still technically the season and I don't think it's warranted yet, but then Joel Sherman tweeted this yesterday and that pretty much forced my hand.

"#Yankees scouts love Darvish, but Hal Steinbrenner/Cashman unlikely to authorize big $$ to win post #thinkIgawa"

I don't want to go way overboard on criticism here, because this is the first bit of news we've heard regarding the Yankees' plans for targeting Darvish and it very well could just be part of the Yankees' strategy to go after him.  But I will say that if there is truth to that tweet by Sherman and the Yankees really don't want to target a Japanese guy who will be arguably the best FA pitcher available if he's posted because of the previous bad experience they went through with the last Japanese pitcher they signed,

Well, not really.  I just wanted to use that clip because it's hilarious.  But it is incredibly stupid.  Kei Igawa is Kei Igawa and Yu Darvish is Yu Darvish.  And just because Igawa flamed out, that has nothing to do with Darvish's stock as a prospect.  By the same token, if Igawa HAD panned out and pitched very well for the Yankees over the life of his contract, that wouldn't automatically be a reason for the Yankees to go all in for Darvish.  The logic of evaluating any player in terms of another player's successes or failures is incredibly flawed and not fair to either of the players involved, especially in this case.  You're talking about 2 guys with different pitching styles, different makeups, different personalities, and different career paths.  For Christ's sake, they don't even pitch with the same hand!

These are the facts.  The Yankees are planning to target starting pitchers this offseason.  Yu Darvish is a starting pitcher.  The Yankees  have scouted Yu Darvish..  The general consensus on Darvish is that he is a top-flight prospect.  And from what the Yankee scouts saw, they seem to agree with that consensus.  These are the factors that the Yankees should use when determining their plan for going after Darvish.  If their scouting reports do throw up some red flags and they decide to not throw a big posting fee out there for him, that's fine.  But if the evaluation of Darvish and strategy for approaching him are both being viewed through Kei Igawa-colored glasses, that's a problem.

Again, I understand that it's way too early to speculate, and it would be equally stupid of the Yankees to come out today and tell everybody, "hey, we are sweating Yu Darvish's nuts hard and we're going to throw a boatload of money at him."  I'm sure the Yankees are playing the game and this is part of their strategy, a strategy of misdirection and half-truths regarding their intentions that we've seen before.  But we've also seen them use flawed logic when targeting FA pitchers before (think "A.J. Burnett owned us in 2008.  We should sign him to pitch FOR us" in the 2008-2009 offseason).  I'd hate to see them not go after the top available player in their biggest position of need because of more bad logic.