Posted: Wednesday May 3, 2006 3:25PM; Updated: Wednesday May 3, 2006 5:05PM
Carl Pavano has made only 17 starts since signing with the Yankees before the 2005 season.
Tom Verducci will answer select questions from SI.com users in his Baseball Mailbag.
What's the story with Carl Pavano? When he was making his way around to different teams during his free-agency period, he made it sound like it was a dream come true to play for the Yankees, and I was gullible enough to believe this line of baloney. He has had injury after injury, including his latest and most hilarious, the dreaded "bruised left buttocks." -- Eric Bukzin, Manorville, N.Y.
Remember, teams such as the Tigers, Mariners and Red Sox also wanted Pavano badly, even indicating that they would have paid more than the $39.95 million over four years that New York did. There is no way to be delicate about this: The Yankees have come to question Pavano's toughness. Now, injuries are always sensitive subjects, because only the player knows for sure about the severity. But this is two years running where Pavano seems to be doing nothing but playing catch in Tampa. Could all of those teams have been wrong about measuring his character? So far, and until he takes regular turns in the Yankees' rotation, yes.
How long do you think it will be until we see Phillies pitching prospect Cole Hamels up in the big leagues? Here are the numbers from his first two outings at Class AAA Scranton: 26 strikeouts, 16 innings and five hits. After watching the Phillies' starters give up five runs a game, can the club afford to keep him in the minors? -- Ken, Mays Landing, N.J.
Those numbers certainly have been catching everybody's attention. The easy decision would be to either demote Gavin Floyd or put Ryan Madson back in the bullpen and promote Hamels, playing the hot hand. (Hamels would need to be added to the 40-man roster.) Phils exec Dallas Green watched Hamels throw the first shutout of his professional career in his last start -- the first time Hamels ever pitched more than seven innings. My guess is the Phillies are only a week or two away from making a move if Hamels stays this hot and the rotation continues to struggle.
It's a little too early to write off the Red Sox offense. We're missing one of the most important men in our offense in Coco Crisp. Mark Loretta, Alex Gonzalez and Jason Varitek will revert to the mean (.225, .241, and .266 BA/BIP respectively). The Sox' offense will be fine. -- Sean, Boston
Now, now, now. In no way am I writing off Boston's offense. The point was only that it clearly is a few notches below the juggernaut offense they've had the last four seasons. Sure, Crisp will help too. But I don't expect Boston to be among the five highest-scoring teams in the league when all is said and done -- but, like the White Sox last year, they don't have to be to win.
In your Red Sox column, I couldn't help but stutter when I got to the part about Jason Varitek and Trot Nixon ("noticeably trimmer and with less pop"). Short of saying "Jason and Trot sure miss that flaxseed oil and the clear," what are you insinuating? I'm not from Egypt, and don't know about da' Nile. -- John, Windsor, Conn.
Ah, yes, this is the shadowy age we live in, the one owners and players created by giving us the Steroid Era. Scouts take note all the time of players who look smaller and show less pop. They use the line "Congress got him" to explain some guys' declines. If you've been watching the past two seasons, you know what I mean. That said, I do think both players got very big, and at their age, and in Nixon's case, with his injury history, they're probably better off being a bit lighter. The question is not what happened -- everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt -- but will they suffer any decline? Pudge Rodriguez, Bobby Higginson, Scott Spiezio, Ryan Klesko, Nomar Garciaparra ... all suffered declines when they weren't as bulked.