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January 4, 2004

Hack hack cough cough cough hack cough hack hack cough
by Larry Mahnken

What a crappy couple of weeks it’s been for me. I won’t bother you too much with the details, but to sum it all up, I’ve been very ill since before Christmas, missed more work than I could afford to, and then had to work ill just before Christmas, because, after all, I work retail, and you can’t call in on Christmas Eve. So, I’m exhausted, having serious financial problems, and feeling a little depressed for no good reason.

Now, you think being ill would be great for a sports nut like me, I’d get to watch all the NFL games and bowl games and catch up on hockey, but I’ve been really too sick to do anything. I didn’t watch much TV, didn’t read much, didn’t go on the Internet. For all intents and purposes, for two weeks I’ve been living in a cave, and now I’m trying to get my bearings, and see what’s changed since I’ve been gone.

Well, David Wells is gone, there’s one thing. Now the Yankees are left without a lefty starter, and will be forced to use Jon Lieber in the rotation right from the start, and should he struggle--not an difficult scenario to imagine, the Yankees will be forced to call up Jorge DePaula from the Minors to start, and ultimately, I suppose, some enterprising GM will take Dioneer Navarro off of the Yankees’ hands for some mediocre starter in mid-summer, who will be of little help in the pennant race, and irrelevant in the playoffs. Wells was unlikely to be a crucial element for the Yankees in 2004, but he would probably have given the Yankees a couple dozen good starts if he was healthy.

As you can see, I didn’t resolve to be more optimistic this year. ;-)

Well, on the bright side, they do get a sandwich pick and a second-round pick for Wells, which will probably be ultimately of more use to the Bombers than Boomer. After picking up a couple of picks for Pettitte and losing a couple for Quantrill and Gordon, the Yankees will have four picks in the first two rounds next season, which is certainly a positive development. If the Yankees make wise picks, the farm system could look a lot healthier in a couple of years.

And then there’s Steven Goldman’s throwaway comment about bringing in Greg Maddux to fill out the rotation. Maddux is hardly the pitcher he was a decade ago--he’s now not unlike a right-handed David Wells, without the extra baggage (in more ways than one), but he’s still a quality pitcher. Of course, Scott Boras probably thinks he can still get $15 million for him, so cost is certainly a concern, along with age and health. It’s not likely to be an issue anyway, I doubt that George Steinbrenner is shedding any tears over losing Wells, and doesn’t see any reason to make a blockbuster response more like he did with Pettitte. They’re fine as they are. If they just stay healthy, they’ll be playing in October, and they’re more than good enough to win three straight series. I highly doubt that Jon Lieber or Miguel Cairo is going to cost the Yankees dearly in the playoffs, and while the Yankees could have done much better in filling those spots, I’m really only complaining because there’s nothing else to write about.

Which is really a pain in the ass. I’m not a professional writer, either in terms of my profession or my skill, and the most frustrating thing about this offseason is that I have no idea what to write about. Should I talk about steroids? Nobody really cares, though the media apparently thought for a while that we would, or at least should. Pete Rose? I don’t want to even write about him, any more than you want to read about him, and I think we’d all be a little happier if they just put him in the Hall of Fame already without lifting his ban. I mean, I don’t think he should be in until he’s six feet under, but I’d rather everybody just shutup, and I’d much rather see him in the Hall than being reinstated.

Oh crap, I just wrote about Pete Rose. Sorry about that, everybody.

So, that’s all from here, until, well, who knows when? Maybe I’ll think of something worth saying tomorrow, and pop it up, or maybe it’ll be another week or two. I’ll be back on a regular basis eventually, but I’m really hating the offseason. I’d much prefer if they played most of the year, and started Spring Training a couple of weeks after the World Series. You know, like hockey.