Pete Paguaga, Sports Editor-
Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Eric Chavez, Ronnie Belliard, Andrew Jones and Russell Martin; sounds like the all-star team from 2003, right? Wrong, it’s the new part of the rotation, bullpen and bench for the 2011 New York Yankees.
I know you’re all saying, “Wait Pete, you’re not serious, they’re all has-beens,” and yes, you are right, but you are also wrong.
You are right in saying that they are all possibly washed up and that Brian Cashman has lost his mind. Mark Prior hasn’t pitched in the MLB since ‘06, I was still going to Sweet 16s at that point, and Bartolo Colon is still pitching in the majors, where have I been? Freddy Garcia hasn’t made an all-star team since ‘02; Eric Chavez hasn’t played in over 100 games since ‘06, and who is Ronnie Belliard? Andrew Jones, the same Jones that left the Atlanta Braves for a huge contract and then batted under .200, and Russell Martin, who went from top tier catcher in baseball to sitting on the bench in Los Angeles. What is Cashman thinking?
Depth is what he is thinking. One thing the Yankees lacked last year was depth on the bench and in the bullpen. Last season the Yankees had Marcus Thames as their fourth outfielder. For those of you who don’t know, Thames should never own a baseball glove ever again. Ramiro Pena was their extra infielder, great glove, but it looks like he is swinging a stickball bat when he’s up at the plate. And who could forget Nick Johnson, the man with the third best OBP in baseball in 2009? He batted lower then my weight and I weigh 170 lbs.
Let us not forget about their bullpen. With the exception of Mariano Rivera, Kerry Wood and Boone Logan no one had lower then a 3.00 era, no one was close. Our go-to guy before we got Wood was Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson, who both sported over 3.80 era. That’s not good at all for guys whom we expect to get big out late in games.
Adding these so-called “has-beens” gives the Yankees options, more options then they had all of last season. They are all low-risk, high-reward players, all of them except Martin received major league contracts. These players will have to earn their money. So if they don’t make the major league roster out of spring training they are gone, no money involved, and if they do make the team and play well, then they are steals.
In 2009, when the Yankees won their last championship, they had players like Brett Gardner, Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston, Jr. coming off the bench. Their bullpen had guys like Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke and late in the playoffs, Damaso Marte.
If Yankees fans want their team to get back to winning championships, this is the route to go.