Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
The Yankees, the Phillies and Robin Ventura
I'm hoping this'll be my last "Catch up" blog post for a while.
With that in mind, let's catch up:
1) The Tigers eliminate the Yankees in the ALDS. I've barely looked at the yakosphere (trademark Neil Best) since Thursday night, but just from first-hand conversations with people and some peaks at competitors' backpages, it appears that there's the usual panic in the streets.
I find it a bit maddening.
The Yankees lost a five-game series by one run to a really good team. It happens. They couldn't get one big hit against a good group of pitchers. It happens.
It's one thing if you want to get heartbroken. Sure, go ahead. But to declare that any drastic moves need to be made based on five games against a really good team? Ay yi yi.
The Yankees were eliminated due primarily to the failures of their offense, the same offense that finished second in the major leagues with 867 runs this season. It doesn't mean they're colossal chokers. It means they had a bad five games.
Sometimes, to borrow from Freud - or at least something Freud allegedly said - you lose a five-game series becaues the other team outplays you for five games.
Alex Rodriguez? Sure, go ahead and be nervous about his physical decline. At this point, the Yankees might have to hope they get 100 decent games from him next year. But this is why they have Eduardo Nunez, and you can expect Brian Cashman to bring in next yerar's version of Eric Chavez to help out at third base, also.
Cashman? It sure seems like he'll be back. As he deserves to be.
Nick Swisher? Yup, it sure looks like he gets ultra-nervous during the postseason, and it matches his excitable personality. Not much to do besides bring him back for another regular season - there's no one better available on the free-agent market, and his $10.25 million team option is very reasonable for his production - and try to help him relax next October.
CC Sabathia? The Yankees pretty much need to bring him back. They had three years (from when they first signed him and knew about the post-2011 opt-out) to create a situation in which they didn't need to pay Sabathia more, and they couldn't get it done.
Here's a feature story I wrote on Sabathia's involvement with, and love of, New York.
There'll be plenty of Yankees discussion in the coming months, of course. At the moment, though, all the talk of "failure," including by Yankees officials themselves, comes off as very silly to me. I guess you could say that they failed in their ultimate mission, but that doesn't mean their season is a failure.
2. The Cardinals eliminate the Phillies in the NLDS. This should help provide some perspective on the Yankees' downfall.
The Phillies were more favored to win the NL than the Yankees were the AL. But stuff happens in small sample sizes.
Again: It doesn't mean the Phillies are poorly run, or that they're a bunch of chokers. It just means that they lost a five-game series.
Ryan Howard's injury is interesting when you think about his parallels to A-Rod. While he played in far more games (152) than A-Rod did (99) this year, Howard is also a guy who is trending downward. And he's also a guy with bundles full of money coming to him - $125 million through the next five years.
You'd say that A-Rod is the worse investment at this point. But Howard isn't looking like much of a bargain, either, especially when his immediate future is in more doubt.
3. The White Sox hire Robin Ventura as manager. Yup, this was a stunner.
I got to know Ventura during his season and a half with the Yankees, and he's universally loved and respected. He exudes confidence with each shrug and smile. Maybe he'll be a natural as this, as the White Sox seem to think.
Maybe, furthermore, this'll be the case of anyone but Ozzie Guillen causing the White Sox to improve, the same way Willie Randolph's dismissal from the Mets in 2008 made Jerry Manuel look like Tony La Russa. Although the White Sox appear committed to a rebuilding season in 2012, so perhaps that won't be as much of a factor.
In any case, it's of course an immense risk to hire someone with absolutely zero experience not only as a manager, but as a coach. For the rest of us covering it, it should be fun.
4. Andy MacPhail leaves the Orioles. This was expected, and while MacPhail leaves the Baltimore organization in better shape than when he arrived, the team needed more from him to succeed in the ultra-competitive AL East.
Buck Showalter will have a say in the next GM, and it's essential that Showalter allow someone who will complement him (and occasionally disagree with him), rather than someone who will serve as a puppet.
5. The Rangers defeat the Tigers in ALCS Game 1. Crazy weather, again. The Rangers are very good. I'll catch up with the ALCS when it heads to Detroit for Games 3, 4 and 5.
6. Self-promotion alert: I'll be on "Sports Extra" with Duke Castiglione on Fox 5 in New York, tonight following ALCS Game 2 (and the local news).
Have a great day.