Saturday, January 11, 2014

All's well that ends Wells

I came to like Vernon Wells. All last season, he never whined. He never Sheffielded – which is to say, he never not hit and then complained, because he wasn’t getting a chance to not hit some more. He took his miserable over-swings, and when they didn’t work, he walked back to the dugout and took his medicine. It hurts to see a great player in the dregs of his career, and nobody knows that experience more than Yankee fans. It’s nearly a foregone conclusion that every great hitter or pitcher, from Enos to Ozzie, from Sheff to Randy, gets an inconsequential whack at pinstripes before hanging it up.

Which brings me to Brian Roberts. Don’t get me wrong: I hope I’m completely missing something here. But Roberts is a classic reincarnation of Vernon Wells, except that he plays 2B instead of RF. He’ll do well in April and part of May. We’ll be congratulating ourselves – or at least the YES courtiers will be congratulating Brian Cashman – for his work in picking Roberts off the scrap metal heap. Around June, the floor will sag. It won’t be Roberts' fault. It will be some nickel and dime injury, something that hitches his swing. He’ll soldier through it, because that’s what tough guys do – and he did it in the past, when he was young. But now, it won’t work. He’ll bat .180 for six weeks, and then we’ll go through the angst of telling a classy veteran he is done. And by then, we might just have faded from the Division race – although that wonderful one-game playoff will remain in sight. It always remains in sight. That’s why it’s there.

Vernon Wells was just the latest Yankee incarnation of Andruw Jones, the Pronks, the Tony Clarks, the --  – good grief, I don’t want to list them anymore. Will the Yankees ever wake up to the notion that a young guy hitting .240 without power is actually better than an old guy doing the same? Because the young guy might improve. The old guys... they just end.

Which brings me to Zolio Almonte, who is likely to play another season at Scranton. Almonte can run, field, he switch hits, and who knows: He might bat .270 with 15 HR, if given the opportunity. Will Ichiro do that? On any other team in baseball, the GM would know exactly what to do. Will the Yankees ever learn?


Ben Dover said...

too bad they never used this song for vernon: Ring My Bells Vernon Wells

KD said...

You were once a favored player with decent lifetime numbers. Home fans wore your jersey. You’re now closer to 40 than 35. Wondering where you'll play next season, the phone rings. It's Cashman. It's then you realize it's over. You call a realtor in Florida. You've heard that The Villages is a fine place to grow old and die.

KD said...

Holy shit! A-Rod out for all of 2014!!!

John M said...

The Yankees are the new Japan. Where this puts Japan..and Andruw..I'm not sure.

John M said...

"I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me."

John M said...

The Steinboys are taking Horowitz out for a steak tonight.