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Wild Card: Classic Underachievers
Since my look at underachieving teams was such a hit, I thought I'd zoom in to take a look at some of the players that have been underachieving thus far. The following are players that have produced at far below their expected levels. In most cases that means they're due to break out, though in some cases their lack of production could represent the dying embers of a long, lustrous career, or the fast fizzling of a brief, but bright, flame. We'll take them by position (as always, the slash stats are AVG/OBP/SLG):
1B Carlos Delgado (.216/.293/.317)
Delgado is a career .281/.388/.551 hitter who hasn't had an OPS below .900 since 1997 when he hit "just" .262/.350/.528. He'll turn 35 next month, but his combination of power and patience is usually the sort of skill set that ages well. He's been a bit better in May (.254/.342/.413), but historically April is actually one of his strongest months (.287/.402/.552 career). Delgado claims he’s not hiding an injury, but he was dropped to sixth in the batting order from his customary cleanup spot on Wednesday.
2B Robinson Cano (.254/.293/.373)
Unlike Delgado, Cano is a historically slow starter, the only problem is there's not much history to base that on. Cano's major league debut was on May 3, 2005, so he's only had one April before this one. Still, he's now a career .270/.299/.381 hitter in April and May compared to .333/.353/.528 over the remainder of the season. With that in mind, he's not so much underperforming as following his established pattern, but he's the brightest star in the second base bunch that also includes Tadahito Iguchi (.217/.313/.333) and batting champ Freddy Sanchez (.286/.316/.342).
SS Michael Young (.240/.284/.385)
Believe it or not, as recently as 2002, Young hit .262/.308/.383 over 573 at-bats as the Rangers' starting second baseman. He was 25 that season and, though he had hit consistently in the minors, at that point he looked like a bust. A closer look at that 2002 season reveals that Young was wildly streaky, posting an OPS above .800 in April, June and August and an OPS below .650 in May, July and September. The next year he smoothed things out, and from 2004 to 2006 he was a perennial All-Star and MVP vote-getter. Indeed, Young appears to be back on track this year, hitting .319/.395/.514 since May 4, which just goes to show how awful he was in April.
3B Scott Rolen (.215/.303/.319)
Unlike Young, Rolen has only gotten worse this May, hitting .169/.301/.220 on the month. The best split one can find on him is his .267/.368/.367 over the past 10 days, but that's still awful for a potential Hall of Famer who's just turned 32. Then again, given Rolen's injury history, it could be that his body is a lot older than 32. If that were true, one would expect to have seen some decrease in his defensive play. The early statistical returns do suggest a reduction in his range at the hot corner, but small sample fielding stats are about as sketchy as you can get, and Rolen has not made a single error all year. Maybe he's still sulking over being benched in the playoffs.
C Jason Kendall (.192/.235/.205)
Far and away the worst performer on this list, Kendall astonishingly appears to be in no danger of losing his job as Mike Piazza has yet to catch an inning for the A's and backup Adam Melhuse was sent down briefly at the end of April to solve a roster crunch. Meanwhile, Moneyball draftee Jeremy Brown was just taken off the 40-man roster to clear room for an extra relief pitcher. Given their laundry list of injuries, Kendall would seem to be low on the A's list of priorities, but for an organization that values its outs as highly as Oakland, his .235 on-base percentage, which is dead last among the 185 qualifiers in the major leagues, can't be sitting (or squatting in this case) well with management. Catching prospect Kurt Suzuki hasn't really found his groove in Triple-A, but he couldn't be worse than this, and, while Kendall is owed $13 million this year, it's the last year of his contract. Kendall hasn't shown any signs of snapping out of his funk. It might be time for the A's to cut him loose.
RF Bobby Abreu (.239/.315/.306)
Getting out of Philadelphia looked like it had done wonders for Abreu at the end of last season, as his .330/.419/.507 performance in pinstripes helped lead the Yankees to another AL East title, but after a solid, if power-free 15-game start to the 2007 season, Abreu has hit a Kendall-like .186/.265/.254 over his past 30 contests. Manager Joe Torre briefly tried to kickstart Abreu by flipping him up to second in the order and even leading him off in a couple of games, but when that failed to take, he dropped Abreu down to sixth. Most alarming for the Yankees was a stretch in which the notoriously finicky Abreu walked just once in 77 plate appearances. He looked to be breaking out of it last weekend with four walks and four hits in three games against the rival Mets and Red Sox, but has reached base just once in the two games since then.
CF Jim Edmonds (.222/.298/.302)
Edmonds missed time last year due to post-concussion syndrome and had shoulder and toe surgery in the offseason, which not only caused him to miss most of spring training but caused his left leg to atrophy as he was in a walking cast for six weeks following the toe surgery. The usual aches and pains have followed him into this season as he's missed a handful of games, but there's some cause for hope as he's hit .308/.364/.410 over his past 11 games. There's still not much power there, but it seems a minor miracle that Edmonds, who turns 37 in about a month, is still playing at all given the way he’s mistreated his body over his 15-year-career.
LF Manny Ramirez (.250/.332/.407)
Historically, April is Manny's worst month, but "worst" in the context of his career means .312/.398/.573. That's why Manny's underachieving line is the best of the nine in my starting lineup, he's set a standard that's nearly impossible to live up to, though he does it, year after year. Manny's least productive since becoming a full-time starter with the Indians in 1995 at age 23 came in 1997: .328/.415/.538. Manny's hitting .301/.352/.506 in May, but even that is way below his established standard. For all the Manny Being Manny cracks, its worth remembering that simply being Manny is an incredible thing.
DH Frank Thomas (.224/.343/.362)
In each of his first eight seasons, Frank Thomas hit over .300, reached base more than 40 percent of the time, and slugged over .500. When he hit .265/.381/.480 at age 30 in 1998 people had the audacity to think he was washed up. He rebounded with two strong seasons, hitting .328/.436/.625 with 43 homers and 143 RBIs in 2000 and finishing second in the MVP voting, but then missed all but 20 games in 2001. Since then, injuries have scattered Thomas's playing time (an average of 150 games the next two seasons, but an average of just 54 games the two seasons after that), but his production has largely held steady. Even when he hit just .219 in a season limited to 34 games in 2006, he still cracked 12 homers and slugged .590. Last year was his third and perhaps most unexpected comeback as he hit .270/.381/.545 for Oakland and finished fourth in the MVP voting in his first season outside of Chicago, but there was no guarantee he could repeat it in Toronto. One of these years he's not going to come back. Five years after that, he'll find a permanent home in Cooperstown.
We'll do a lightning round on the pitchers:
The Starting Five:
The injured Chris Carpenter (7.50 ERA), Carlos Zambrano (5.61 ERA) looking like the last victim of Dusty Baker's disregard for pitch counts just in time for his walk year, Mike Mussina (6.52 ERA) looking washed up once again, groundballer Jake Westbrook (7.90 ERA) who's allowing almost twice as many fly balls as in past years, and teammate Jeremy Sowers (7.90) a top prospect whose low strikeout rate defied explanation and who's now being asked to explain himself.
The next five: Kevin Millwood (6.62) who has struggled with hamstring trouble, Barry Zito (4.70) who everyone and their mother knew was overrated, but still shouldn't have seen his ERA increase that much moving to a pitchers' park in a pitchers' park division in the easier league, Tony Armas Jr. (8.16) who is always hurt but never this terrible, ditto John Patterson (7.47), and Jeff Weaver (14.32, 0-6 in six starts) who is a perpetual disappointment, but never that terrible and is now injured, which he also never is. Dishonorable mention to Brett Tomko (6.28 ERA), who can usually eat innings without doing that much harm, and Dave Bush (5.56 ERA), who looked like a find last year but needs to find something this year.
Mariano Rivera (6.32 ERA, 3 saves)
Rivera allowed just two baserunners in his first four appearances this season, but has had just one one-two-three inning in his 13 appearances since. Mo's low save total is largely a byproduct of the Yankees' winning big on the odd occasion that they actually do win, but he has also blown two of his five chances and has an 8.49 ERA over those last 13 appearances. Rivera has gotten off to slow starts before, but now that he's 37 years old one has to wonder if this time there's more to this. Rivera's home run and runs-allowed totals after less than a third of the season don't look out of place next to his full-season totals from the last five years. He has allowed three home runs already, a total he has only surpassed thrice since 1995, with a single-season high of five. He has also allowed 11 runs thus far. He's surpassed 20 just thrice since 1995 as well, topping out at 26 in 2000.
Labels: Wild Card
NL East: Can Jimmy Get Rollin'?
Twenty-seven days ago, on April 27, Jimmy Rollins blasted his NL-leading ninth home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off Marlins' reliever Taylor Tankersley. After that swing of the bat, which came in the season's 22nd game, the Phillies shortstop was hitting .289 with an OPS 1.016 to go with 23 runs scored and 17 RBIs. J-Roll, quite simply, was rolling.
I happen to have been in the Phillies clubhouse on April 27, hours before that ninth homer, and Rollins attributed his hot start to changes he made in his diet over the offseason. "I went from eating white rice to brown rice," he explained, "and my portions were a lot smaller. I ate more fish and chicken, rather than beef -- and I love beef." Rollins said that in the past he's begun the season weighing between 178 and 185 pounds, but wouldn't really hit his stride until he'd whittled himself down to between 170 and 173. "If I get outside of that, my stomach gets in the way, my legs feel heavy," he said. "Right now I'm 172, and I feel great."
I doubt that Rollins has since then been loading up his rice-cooker with the white stuff, or been making daily trips down to Geno's Steaks, but since that day, something has changed. Rollins remains stuck on nine homers -- he's driven in only 10 more runs, scored 12, and, after a 1 for 6 performance last night, his average has dipped to .265. What happened?
It now seems clear that the Phillies panicked after their rough start and began to hope that Rollins -- who had never hit more than 14 homers in a season before last year's 25 -- had suddenly become the slugger that his April indicated. In fact, on May 9, the day after Ryan Howard was hobbled by a strained quadriceps, Rollins, who had taken 1,339 of his 1,366 at-bats the previous two seasons from the leadoff spot, became their regular three-hole hitter. The results speak for themselves. Rollins is now 10 of 52 (.192), with one extra-base hit (a double) when batting third.
While Rollins' struggles began before he was shifted down the lineup, he may have just been naturally regressing to the mean. As fine a hitter as he is, he wasn't going to hit 50 homers (in fact, I can't name a 172-pounder who's come close). That regression been exacerbated by his new position in the batting order. At the time of the switch, Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel explained, "I liked his bat there. Ryan's not playing. [Rollins] can go right in that three-hole." Manuel's intimation that Rollins' bat could in some way replace Howard's gets to the heart of the problem. While the homers were nice, Rollins' game is to get on base, to go from first to third, to make his teammates' jobs easier by disrupting opposing pitchers‚ rhythms, and, most importantly, to score runs. He's ranked in baseball's top seven run-scorers in each of the past three seasons, the only player besides Albert Pujols to have done so. Suddenly, though, the Phillies are expecting him not to just score runs, but to produce them. It's not working.
The irony in all this is that the Phillies have been playing slightly better baseball since Rollins began to scuffle: they were 10-12 through April 27, and 13-11 since then. But while Aaron Rowand is hitting .327 with a .398 OBP overall, he's at .263 and .293 as the new regular leadoff man, and Rollins is struggling even worse in the three-hole.
Now that Howard seems as if he'll return any day (he hit a three-run bomb yesterday with Class A Lakewood), the Phillies would be wise to let Rollins roll once again where he can maximize his contributions. In an NL East that features what are likely the two best teams in the league in the Mets and the Braves, the Phillies' only hope for a playoff berth may rest with once again allowing Rollins to do what he does best: bat leadoff.
Labels: NL East
AL West: Ichiro Ichiban
On the Gregorian calendar, May is one of seven months with 31 days, and nobody's happier about that than Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro boasts the highest career average among active players in the year's fifth month (.370), so the more days in May, the merrier for him. After a slow start this season, he's hitting .348 in May (and .429 during his current 16-game hitting streak). But Ichiro, who was the first Japanese position player in MLB history, has done far more than produce for just one month.
In Thursday's series finale against the Devil Rays, Ichiro's expected to play his 1,000th major league game. As he reaches the millennium mark, one question comes to mind: Is Ichiro a Hall of Famer?
Over his nine seasons in Japan, Ichiro hit .353, winning three MVP awards, seven batting titles and seven Gold Gloves. But when it comes to Hall of Fame consideration, the only stats that will truly be weighed are those that Ichiro compiles on this side of the Pacific.
No matter. In six and a half years as a Mariner, Ichiro's achievements are nothing short of spectacular:
Ichiro, who is a free agent in the coming offseason, needs to play at least three more seasons to reach the Hall's requirement of 10 years. In very good shape at the age of 33, Ichiro should easily meet this prerequisite. But even if he does serve the mandatory decade, some folks still doubt his accomplishments will be plaque-worthy. Here are the two most common knocks to Ichiro's Hall of Fame resume:
1. Power outage: Although he has switched over to center field this season, Ichiro has spent the majority of his career in right field. Traditionally, corner outfielders are run producers, something Ichiro definitely is not. A career singles hitter, Ichiro has never eclipsed 70 RBIs. He has compiled just 63 career homers and a pedestrian .813 OPS.
2 Mariners' mediocrity:. Ichiro has led the Mariners to just one postseason, in 2001 when the Mariners set the record for regular season wins (116).
Personally, I think Ichiro's well on his way to Cooperstown, and these two criticisms are not as damning as some may think. First, there's no Hall of Fame rule that says every member must boast five-tool talent. Although Ichiro doesn't hit for power, he may have the best combination of four tools of any outfielder in the aughts (Vlad Guerrero must be considered as well). And it's hard to blame Seattle's current five-year playoff drought on Ichiro. The Mariners won 93 games in both 2002 and '03 but missed the cut because of the loaded AL West. Over the last three campaigns, management has constantly surrounded Ichiro with mediocre (at best) pitching and minimal lineup support, including overpriced underachievers like Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson.
Barring an extreme drop-off over the next few seasons, Ichiro should become the first Mariner in the Hall of Fame. (Unless, of course, Edgar Martinez beats him to the punch.)
Labels: AL West
NL Central: Milwaukee's Brittle Brew
Is it all unraveling? If you're a Brew Crew fan, that's probably the question you're asking right now. A few weeks ago, I was in Milwaukee working on a story for the magazine on Prince Fielder, and the ball club was hotter than Al Gore's worst nightmare. The offense was the highest scoring in the majors, the bullpen was invincible.
Standing in the Brewers clubhouse, though, you were kind of waiting for Jack Nicholson to stumble in and bellow, "Is this is as good as it gets?" It was obvious to anyone with a Brewers schedule magnet that the Beer City Boys would cool off. After a month of beating up on NL softies, an East Coast swing through New York and Philly awaited them, followed by a sojourn out west.
The Brewers are 4-8 since their trip to Gotham began. J.J. Hardy is starting to resemble something closer to human. Derrick Turnbow has looked more like the miserable 2006 version of himself of late. On Tuesday night, Fabergé-fragile Ben Sheets left the game early. And it's not a good thing when your fans say you're starting to look "like the Crew of old."
Is it all unraveling? Bottom line is this: Are the Brewers the best team in the National League? No. The Mets and Braves are better. Even the Cubs have a better run differential, as do the Padres. Milwaukee, however, is good enough to win 85 games (maybe 88 or 89), which still means they could win the NL Central, and win it comfortably. With the team stumbling, you have to wonder if the organization has revised its thinking on prospects Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo and their arrival in The Show.
Around the Division
Labels: NL Central
AL Central: Old Foes
Forget the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals, the real battle between Cleveland and Detroit will happen on the baseball diamond. The two are separated by a mere half-game in the American League Central and will play each other seven times in 10 days, starting with three this weekend in Detroit and finishing with four next weekend in Cleveland.
While the Cavaliers-Pistons series will undoubtedly be a defensive struggle, if Game 1's 79-76 score is any indication, the Indians and Tigers sport the league's two best scoring offenses (both are averaging 5.5 runs per contest, with the Indians edging out the Tigers at the second decimal place).
Best of all, both teams' rotations are lined up to feature their best starters (of late) this weekend, headlined by the middle contest: Nate Robertson vs. Paul Byrd, Justin Verlander vs. C.C. Sabathia and Mike Maroth vs. Fausto Carmona. And Jeremy Bonderman may well return from the DL in time to pitch Friday, making the series even juicier.
Perhaps this is the start of a new twist in the division. As Tigers beat writer Danny Knobler points out, these two franchisers arerarely good in the same season. The highlight:
"The Tigers and Indians have been playing for 107 years now. Just twice -- in 1908 and 1940 -- has there been a pennant race where one of the teams won it and the other finished second (with the Tigers winning both times).
There's more. Only twice in all those years have both the Tigers and Indians finished with 90 or more wins (that would be 1908 and 1950). And just in case you think it's because they've both been bad, only once in all that time (in 2003) have the Tigers and Indians both lost 90 games in the same year."
Just think back to the last two seasons: while the Tigers were a woeful 71-91 in 2005, the Indians should have made the postseason. They held a 1.5-game lead for the wild card at the close of play on Sept. 24 before losing six of its last seven and falling out of the postseason. Still, they finished 93-69.
In 2006, Cleveland was a hip preseason pick but struggled to a 78-84 mark, while Detroit emerged out of nowhere to go 95-67 and reach the World Series. Of course, the Tigers had their own late-season collapse, losing their last five -- and the division -- and settling for the wild card.
This season, however, Cleveland and Detroit are winning the all-important one-run games (Indians are 8-4; Tigers 10-6) and they're winning divisional games (Indians 9-2, Tigers 12-7).
Just a three-hour drive -- or a swim across Lake Erie -- apart, a rejuvenated Indians-Tigers rivalry would make for a great divisional race.
Labels: AL Central
NL West: The Plague of Pierre
Ever since their team hired Billy Beane disciple Paul DePodesta as GM, traded Paul Lo Duca and acquired Hee Seop Choi and J.D. Drew in 2004, Dodger fans have been split in two camps: Those who believe that statistics predominantly tell the story of a player’s value, and those who believe stats undervalue hustle and team chemistry.
Here in 2007, Juan Pierre can serve as the uniter.
After 44 games, Pierre has met the low expectations of those who thought he would be an offensive Three Mile Island, producing a .305 on-base percentage and .314 slugging percentage. The man with the five-year, $44 million contract entered Sunday’s games with the 11th-worst OPS among qualified batters in the National League, and neither his 10 net stolen bases (15 stolen bases, five caught stealing) nor his reputation for friendliness do much to boost his value. How often can you race from first to third on a single when you’re barely on first base to begin with?
But distaste for Pierre has been bipartisan. Even many of those who might have been swayed by his conventionally laudable .277 batting average and 100-run pace (the latter fed by his never sitting out a game) have shielded their eyes from his feeble swings, bad routes to fly balls and dental floss throwing arm.
Even if both sides were to concede that they haven’t seen the best Pierre might offer this season -- that the career .302 hitter will get it in gear once he stops hitting the ball in the air so much (his ratio of ground outs to air outs is 1.33 according to MLB.com, which would be by far the worst of his career) and that his defense will improve as he gets used to picking up the ball in Dodger Stadium -- the signing has every chance to be the first true albatross of GM Ned Colletti, who took over for DePodesta after the 2005 season.
Though the team was embarrassed by the Angels over the weekend in a three-game sweep -- its power and clutch-hitting vulnerabilities exposed for all to see -- the Dodgers still have much going for them. Russell Martin has arguably been the NL’s best catcher, the Takashi Saito- and Jonathan Broxton-led bullpen has scintillated, shortstop Rafael Furcal snapped out of his per-usual early season slump by going 14 for 16 in one stretch, and the starting pitching has for the most part held together while waiting for Jason Schmidt to return from the disabled list -- which may be soon, after an encouraging side session Sunday.
On the other hand, Pierre, who hasn’t missed a major league game since 2002, has been a constant -- that is, a constant problem. The suggestion that he has been a net positive does not withstand scrutiny, no matter which side of the stats vs. scouts fence you set up camp.
Colletti has cut his losses before. Last July, he sent one of his first pickups, reliever Danys Baez, to Atlanta after a miserable attempt as Eric Gagne’s understudy, and this month, he tacitly welcomed the benching of one of the players he picked up in that trade, Wilson Betemit, when he called up third baseman Andy LaRoche from AAA Las Vegas.
And it wouldn’t be fair to say that Colletti is uninterested in improving the Dodgers’ power. He always intended to get a slugger this past offseason, then settled for Pierre and left fielder Luis Gonzalez when none would come his way. The unsurprising result is that Los Angeles is 28th in baseball in home runs and 27th in slugging percentage. (It isn’t helping that first baseman Nomar Garciaparra has one home run and a .361 slugging percentage.) Colletti likes his pitching staff, but he doesn’t like it that much, and rumors have already started that he has renewed his power pursuit.
Still, nothing in the tea leaves currently suggests he would endorse even a periodic benching of Pierre. Even with the slow start, Pierre is on target to get 191 hits and 60 stolen bases, which may be all Colletti wanted out of him.
Should Colletti part with one or more of the Dodgers highly regarded prospects in a trade for a power hitter, some will be left wondering whether what stopped him from the easiest solution to the Dodgers’ biggest offensive problem was that it was a problem of its own making? The offseason knock on 22-year-old farmhand Matt Kemp was that he was too vulnerable offensively and defensively to hold center field, but his potential compares too favorably against Pierre’s stagnation to be ignored. One is left feeling that Kemp could hardly do worse than Pierre’s .619 OPS or hard-on-the-eyes defense -- and has much more of a chance to keep the Dodgers in first place.
The bottom line is that Dodger fans will grumble quietly as long as the team remains atop the division. But if this weekend’s slide were to continue, the grumblings against Colletti and Pierre will grow louder -- from all sides.
“Because team officials didn't want to release Callaspo -- ‘That would have gone against our belief in second chances,’ Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said -- they agreed to abide by the recommendation of an independent counselor," Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reported.
“Hall said the Employee Assistance Program counselor concluded that Callaspo was ‘fit for work’ and recommended he undergo counseling, which Callaspo agreed to do."
Labels: NL West
Al East: Lackluster League
Well, so much for the Big, Bad American League East. Right now, it's the Red Sox and a collection of mediocrities. The Blue Jays have been killed by injuries, as have the Yankees, who have to be considered the biggest collective disappointment of the year so far. The Orioles, those perennial mediocrities from the mid-Atlantic, are right on schedule for another long, frustrating season, and in spite of the fact that they've got some talented and exciting young players, the Devil Rays find themselves in a familiar place at the bottom of the division. Only two-and-a-half games separate the second place and last place teams, while Boston is cruising, 10 1/2 in front. But the East can't compare with the Central as the class of the League.
Here's a question: Which manager will get fired first, Sam Perlozzo, John Gibbons or Joe Torre? The heat as been on all three men. Yesterday, it just got a little hotter for Perlozzo when his decision to pull Eric Bedard, who pitched a fantastic game, back-fired and the Orioles 'pen coughed up the game.
Boston arrives in New York today for a three-game set. Steve Buckley says the rivalry is lacking pizzazz. The Red Sox are 5-1 against the Yankees this season. "We're playing well. We're doing our thing right now," David Ortiz said. "They need to figure out what they're going to do to beat us. We don't have to worry about it. I've been here for five years and we don't need to worry about nobody right now. Everybody needs to worry about us."
The Yankees, who salvaged the final game of their first meeting with the Mets on Sunday night thanks to a nifty debut performance by Tyler Clippard, have their own problems to worry about. On Saturday, they lost yet another pitcher to injury when Darrell Rasner broke his finger in the first inning. He'll be out for three months. Robinson Cano has been terrible, and so has Bobby Abreu. Alex Rodriguez is hitting .254/.361./.408 in May. Johnny Damon has been playing hurt all year and Jason Giambi, 1-for-his-last-26, may have unwittingly opened up a can of worms for himself.
Mike Lupica suggests that the reason Torre still has his job is because Steinbrenner is not the same man he once was:
I constantly hear about how tough and demanding the Yankee owner still is, and what kind of pressure Brian Cashman and Joe Torre are constantly under to win. Except. Except the Yankees constantly tell us their mission statement is to win it all every year and they haven't done that since 2000. And they have lost in the first round three times out of the last five years. And Cashman is still here and Torre is still here. And so what I'm trying to figure out is this: Where are all the demands from the owner? Where is all the urgency? You know who's the kind of boss that Steinbrenner is still supposed to be and so clearly isn't?Bill Madden adds:
There is no question, with the old Boss, heads would be rolling today, players would be traded, front office and other staff would be fired or demoted. Someone would be the scapegoat, and usually it would be the manager. But the old Boss also always had another manager warming up in the bullpen, be it Billy Martin, Lou Piniella or Gene Michael. While Steinbrenner has told his people he wants Don Mattingly to succeed Torre, this is hardly the time. Maybe Steinbrenner's silence and inaction is his way of saying Cashman and Torre deserve this team and deserve to wallow in the misery of it the rest of the season. On the other hand, maybe it means there's nobody home anymore where once a mouth roared and Yankees minions cowered in fear.
Labels: AL East
AL East blog (Monday)
NL West blog (Monday)
AL Central blog (Tuesday)
NL Central blog (Wednesday)
AL West blog (Thursday)
NL East blog (Thursday)
Wild Card (Friday)