Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brian Cashman Overdosed on Cough Drops

Remember going to the nurse's office every time you skinned your knee in elementary school? A paper cut might as well have been a machete wound and a bump in the head, an atomic blast. Any excuse to get out of a reading lesson that covered Ramona Quimby's "big trip to the barber shop" was one never discounted. Regardless of the ailment, however, the remedy was always the same-- a "sweet herbal mint" Halls cough drop that tasted a lot like the inside of an air conditioner.
Trip and fall? Take a Halls; Punctured with a staple? Take a Halls; Kicked in the forehead during a reenactment of yesterday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode? Grab a Halls.
Halls, Halls, Halls (and they're not even paying me for this).
Yesterday, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and the Bombers went for a routine trip to the nurse's office. What did she (or he-- can't be too careful in this crazy, mixed up world) order? You guessed it, a cough drop (a prescription powered one at that).
On Wednesday, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported that a preliminary agreement between Cashman and former Milwaukee Brewer CC Sabathia had been reached-- to the tune of $161 million over seven years (or 16,100,000,000 pennies over 2,555 days). If George Steinbrenner's wallet could talk.
My first instinct-- Awesome. My second-- sweet. My third-- Ballllllin'.
The 28-year old left-hander has a 117-73 career record over eight seasons with a 3.66 life-time earned run average. After going 19-7 in 2007 to help the Indians reach the American League Championship (beating the Yankees 3-1 in the American League Divisional Series along the way), Sabathia earned the American League Cy Young award. It should also be noted that Sabathia, who has proven capable of pitching in any any league, has dominated the AL East (more so than he has any other) with a 2.96 ERA and a 21-8 record.
But is Sabathia really the answer? Do fat kids eat salad?
So why wouldn't picking up Sabathia be a huge play for the Pin Stripes? Because they went to the nurse with a bloody nose and when they came back, it was still bleeding.
Think back to last spring when, aside from Bobby Abreu and Jonny Damon, the Bombers couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position (the Yankees finished the 2008 season batting a dismal .261 with runners in scoring position, fourth worst in the American League-- the League RISP batting average was .273).
How many times did poor Mike Mussina (who still managed to finally get 20 wins) throw a gem and still lose? Let's face it--when it came to run support, the Yanks were no sports bra. Overall, the Pin Stripes were seventh of fourteen American League teams in run production (most of those runs coming in big streaks when the game was over, one way or the other). In general, the pitching was solid, even in the absence of Yankee ace, Chien-Ming Wang. Statistically, the Bomber pitching staff gave up an average of 4.28 runs per game, an average that Cashman's billion-dollar roster should have been able to surmount.
So how much better are the Yankees, based only on the acquisition of the $161 million man?
Don't get me wrong-- adding Sabathia to the Yankee rotation will NOT harm the Yankees. How could it? But will it propel last year's underachievers back to the playoffs? Probably not. Unless of course, the Yankee batting lineup wakes up from last year's mysterious roofie nap.
The answer to last year's failure is not pitching (although once again, I was just as happy as any other Yanks fan to get Sabathia). Perhaps Cashman should have hired a $161 dollar therapist to get to the bottom of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter's inability to hit with runners on base.
While Cashman's trip to the nurses' office yesterday was undoubtedly a productive one, cough drops, as we all remember from elementary school, do not stop the bleeding.


Jon Corzine said...

Personally, back in the "old days",
we preferred Pine Brothers drops,
soft & gooey, cherry was the best flavor. Thanks for the memories!

Jon Corzine

Scott said...

I just wanted to say I love your articles Stevie. Although I am concerned about you being such a player, especially because you wear so much hair gel. Oh yea and quit tugging on your weenie so much. ~~Woolly Mammoth

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