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August 6, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Greetings from Topsail Island, North Carolina! It's either gorgeous or thunderstorms down here, we've got no moderation!

Just sending out an update from my sister's laptop this evening to comment on the trade the Yankees made with the Mariners this afternoon, which I guess can be characterized as a "Fucking A" trade. The Yanks sent Armando Benitez and cash to the M's in a blatant attempt to dejinxify themselves, accquiring Jeff Nelson, who pitched for the Bombers from 1996-2000.

I don't know if I really like this trade. Nelson has pitched fairly well for the Mariners this season, but hasn't been that effective at getting the team out of jams, as shown by his poor rating in Michael Wolverton's report, in which Benitez ranks better. There's also the fact that Nelson isn't going to be a Type A Free Agent, so the Yankees are more or less sending two draft picks along to the Mariners with this deal (though I doubt the M's will risk offering Benitez arbitration). This really looks to me like it's an attempt to reconstruct the bullpen that dominated the postseasons in the late 90's, which would be nice to have, but it's probably a better idea to do it with younger, cheaper pitchers.

I think this is more or less a horizontal movement for the Yankees' bullpen, Nelly should pitch fine, and Torre will probably be more comfortable giving him the ball in a tight spot. And while Nelly has had some of the same problems as Benitez in the past in finding the plate, he's also death on right-handers--a ROOGY, if you will. That should be VERY valuable against Nomar Garciaparra and Manny Ramirez at month's end.

This trade ends one of the more short-lived features on the RLYW, the Armando Benitez Game Ratings. The final tally for Armando was 1 Great game (last night), 2 Very Good games, 2 Good games, 1½ Okay games, and 2½ Poor Games. More often than not, he was effective, had no major meltdowns, and was at times exceptionally good. His brief addition to the bullpen was a positive one. However, he did carry with him a sense of impending doom every time he took the mound that probably would have taken a full dominanting postseason to shake, so I feel a little better inside now that he's off the team.

The other RLYW feature effected by the trade is the counter clock: The Curse of Jeff Nelson. Well, since the Yankees have traded for Nelson, the curse is over! Right? Well, not really, because they haven't won the World Series yet. So, I have to look for another scapegoat, someone from the 2000 team who isn't on the team now. Taking a look at the roster, I think we'll go with... oh, let's say, Clay Bellinger. He works, even though he was on the team in 2001. But, they did make it to seven games, so it's close enough. Plus, he played for a brief period last season on the Angels. Must be some magic pixie dust working with him. So there you go. Until the Yankees can make up for letting Clay Bellinger go, they will never win the World Series again. Until they do.

* * *

I've been able to follow the Yankee games on an AM station in Wilmington, so I was able to listen to the game last night. Sunday, though, I had to watch the ticker on ESPN2. Top of the 8th, 1-0 Yanks...Bottom of the 8th, 1-0 Yanks...Top of the 9th, 1-0 Yanks...Bottom of the 9th, 1-0 Yanks...Bottom of the 9th, 1-0 Yanks...Bottom of the 9th, 1-0 Yanks...Bottom of the 9th...2-1 A's. DAMMIT! If it wasn't for my parents' large deposit on the beachhouse, I probably would have broken something. Well, at least I get to go out and look at the ocean, and look up and see more stars than I have seen in years. It's not all bad.

See ya all later.

Oh yeah, APNY. Colter Bean says come back to Primer. We miss you. :-)