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End of an era - happy trails NY Yankees
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Posted by jaygross
Comments: 1

My coworker Steve is a huge Yankee fan from Buffalo who constantly talks trash about my Sox. When I told him that I was a Sox fan when he was driving me to the airport, and he immediately told me to get out of his car. Somehow I convinced him to let me stay in the car.

Below was an actual IM message I sent it to Steve during the Red Sox beatdown of the Angels in Game 3 of AL division series:

I hope you are not missing the Sox show how a team is supposed to play in the playoffs. Now my trash talking is a little rusty, but I am pretty sure it can round into form if the yanks lose tonight

Boy does it finally feel good to talk some smack, as I have had to hear so much coming my way living in NY after that darned Aaron Boone home run (I'm not bitter or anything). It took all of my strength not to wear my Ortiz or Papelbon tee shirt to work on Tuesday after the Yanks lost to Cleveland.

Another one of my coworkers Candice is even more rabid, and sits in the Yankee fan section of my office. She watches just about every game, and was at Games 3 and 4 at Yankee Stadium. The Joba picture in her cube makes my stomach turn whenever I pass by it. I saw her on Wednesday (two days after the game), and she was bummed out of her mind while still in denial. I just didn't have the heart to taunt her (as tempting as it was), even though I knew she would have destroyed me had the fortunes been reversed. Who knew I had such will power???

When I think of the great Yankee teams on this current playoff run, there are five players I associate as true Yankees - Jeter, Posada, Bernie Williams, Pettite, and Rivera. These guys were there for all or almost all of the Joe Torre era. And now it is very possible only Jeter may be back next year. 

This offseason the Yanks have Jorge Posada, A-Rod (opt out), Andy Pettite (player option), Bobby Abreu, Mariano Rivera, Roger Clemens, and manager Joe Torre all potentially being free agents.

They have some tough decisions coming up this offseason. It's almost as bad as tonight's TV choices than I am currently flipping between- the "I Love New York 2" season premier, TNA wrestling, Rockies-DBacks NLCS Game 1, and the finale of "Celeberity Rap Susperstar". I, of course, had to watch Kendra Wilkinson's train wreck rapping on "Celeberity Rap Susperstar" - although her rendition of Sir Mixalot's I Like Big Butts was surprisingly entertaining.

So Brian Cashman needs to decide his priorities, as I doubt it makes sense to try to bring back all these guys. So who is the priority?

1) Jorge Posada

The Yanks offseason reminds me of the 2004 Red Sox offseason, only the Sox won the World Series that season and we know that isn't happening for the Yanks. Dan Duquette was fired as GM after 2002, but did a wonderful job leaving a mess with Trot, Pedro, Nomar, Derek Lowe, Varitek, Timlin, and David Ortiz scheduled to be free agents at the 2004 season's end. Theo and the new ownership had some tough priorities and decisions to make.

In 2004, Varitek sold his soul to the devil (Scott Boras was his agent) and was the only really good catcher on the market. After quickly tying up Timlin and Ortiz (before Ortiz became a folk hero super masher), the Sox made it publicly known Tek was the #1 priority. There were rumors the Mets were going to make a run at Varitek to replace the often injurred Mike Piazza.  They gave him 5 years (very long deal for his age), big money, a no trade clause, and named him team captain. After the collapse in 2006 after Tek's injury, there is no doubt he is worth every penny just for his ability to handle pitchers.

Now the 2007 Yanks situation looks scarily familiar with Posada being free (especially with Ivan Rodriguez' $13 million option getting picked up and taking him off the market). The Yanks have a slew of young arms ready for prime time (Joba, Hughes, Kennedy, etc.) and need a really good catcher/leader to break them in. If I was Brian Cashman, I'd have a check ready for 3 years at $13-15 million per year on Jorge's doorstep tomorrow. The falloff from Posada to let's say Paul Lo Duca is enough to scare me into a terrible signing of an older catcher who hit .133 in the playoffs (after a career regular season).

2) Andy Pettite

Hands down, he's their best starter - and has been for so many years. He's tough as nails, and you have to hope he isn't leaning toward retirning. 

3) Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod also sold his soul to the devil (Boras) and will be opting out - meaning the Yanks will lose the Rangers payout. So it looks like the Wilson Betimint era begins at third base in NY.

4) Mariano Rivera

Mariano has terrified all non-Yankee fans for so long, and has been the biggest reason to confident that they can just keep winning. Although he is obviously important, Joba showed he could fill that role pretty well - as long there is bug spray on hand. I know Torre has depended on Mariano for 12 years (and I am in shock Mariano can still lift his arm), but they can still be a winning team without him. My gawd, Todd Jones and Joe Borowski are effective closers.... My guess is that Mo winds up coming back.

5) Joe Torre

The Boss talks big, but there really is no better candidate. I have always thought Torre (like Terry Francona) is fantastic at managing personalities, but only average as an in game manager. I think no one noticed how important Don Zimmer's presence and insight was as the bench coach during the late 90's.

Personally I think Joe Girardi has a chance to be the next really big time manager, and it's no brainer to hire him. He is in the Mike Scioscia mold, and Scioscia is the top game manager in baseball. They were both really good catchers and leaders for winning teams, and have both shown they get productivity out of teams filled with younger guys.

Nothing would be more interesting than if the Boss put Don Mattingly in the big boy seat. Mattingly was good player with a few huge seasons, but I just don't see him leading a team in the pressure cooker of New York.

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