Injured Vets On The Comeback Are Doing Fine
Jorge Posada was mostly missing from the Yankee lineup last year, and Hideki Matsui was hampered by a knee problem for the better part of 2/3rds of the season. They’ve both had surgery – as has Mariano Rivera – but so far they’re doing well in spring training.
If Posada can healthily catch 120 or so games, then he’s certainly going to contribute to the offense. I’m bullish on Posada, in as much as his problem ilast year was his shoulder and not his knees, ankles and hips. His lower body still seems to have juice, an that’s important for a catcher.
Mastui is designated to DH duty and is unlikely to take the field this year until the Inter-league games begin, but his bat is going to help greatly. While it is often discussed as if he is now a spare part, his OBP and OPS still projects to be better than Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Nick Swisher. Declarations that Matsui is passed his use-by-date for the Yankees are just a little premature. If he doesn’t have to field, he can surely offer more than enough value over replacement level than the OF who will.
Mo? He’s Still Mo from all indications. Mariano Rivera is coming from surgery to remove some calcified tissue in his shoulder. Apparently he played the whole season with the pain last year. Goodness know how good he’s going to be this season without the pain. 🙂
So yeah, I’m bullish on all three.
The Predicted Demise Of Derek Jeter, Shortstop
Derek Jeter is 35. He’s at the point where most players who play shortstop get moved off. Watching him in the USA-Puerto Rico game where he let 2 critical grounders go by sort of made me cringe. He never could get those, but now it’s pretty obvious he can’t get those.
“Past a diving Jeter!” – *Cringe!*
Still, his projection sits at about an .800 OPS, and that’s pretty darn good for a shortstop. He probably will stumble to the end of his contract as a shortstop and with the addition of Sabathia and Burnett, the Yankees are going to have to worry a lot less about balls in play than at any time in the last 6 seasons, so it just might not matter this season. When you do the maths, even in the recent past, his deficiency in Zone Rating has been worth 2 singles up the middle in a fortnight of games.
The future beyond this season is a lot more cloudy. It may come to pass that the Yankees do sign a real shortstop, but at that point they’re going to have to figure out where to play Derek Jeter, and live with the fact that new Shortstop is not likely to post an .800 OPS.
Aaron Boone Headed For Heart Surgery
Aaron Boone – that’s Aaron Fucking Boone in Boston – is going under the knife to correct an aortic valve.
Boone, 36, has known about his heart condition since the early 1990s, when he played for the University of Southern California. A recent physical and follow-up exam revealed that he needs an operation soon, and Boone will schedule it in the coming days.
“I’ve monitored it all these years,” Boone said in an interview after the news conference. “I knew this day was out there. I just didn’t know it was now.”
For Boone, the news was another unexpected turn in an eventful career. In January 2004, three months after propelling the Yankees to the World Series with a homer in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, Boone tore a knee ligament playing pickup basketball. He forfeited most of a $5.75 million salary and cleared a path for Alex Rodriguez to join the Yankees.
He’s not even in my Top 100 Yankees of all time, I’d imagine. He was only around for 3months, displacing Robin Ventura. Now Robin Ventura, I liked – he just never had a big moment for the Yankees, but he was a 3B who could hit for an .780-.820. OPS, and therefore a better bat than Scott Brosius who had retired at the end of 2001. I know Ventura was struggling at the time but Boone hardly seemed like an improvement at the time. He had about the same ISO as a declining Ventura, but Boone gave up 40 points in OBP for not even a marginally better glove.
But all that is mere detail. His resume has that one blast, and together with Bucky Dent – That’s Bucky Fucking Dent in Boston – I’ll never forget Aaron Boone. That, and the fact that he got himself foolishly injured in a game of basketball which paved the way for A-Rod to land in the Bronx. My goodness, the Yankees have been soap opera this decade, and Aaron Boone was more than a bit player in that production.
So, here’s wishing the operation is a success and to many happy years for Aaron Boone.
That Brings Us Up To The Weirdness of A-Rod
I really don’t know what to make of A-Rod when he goes and gets pieces done on him like this.
The night before his life changes forever, Alex Rodriguez calls from Miami with an urgent request. A-Rod is worried about something he said during our interview last night. I’ve been hearing mysterious warnings all afternoon: Alex needs to talk. Alex wants to clarify something. Can’t say what. Alex will call you from his car.
“Listen,” Rodriguez says. “I was thinking about one thing that I spoke about—it’s something that’s kind of trivial but will give me a hard time for no reason.” He pauses. “The song.”
Aha. Last night, he let slip his favorite Madonna song. The curious relationship between A-Rod and the pop icon makes for delicious gossip, of course. Is Rodriguez terrified that Madonna will resent the tongue-wagging? Or, better still, has he picked the wrong song as his favorite, and fears that an offended Madge might march her stilettos over his back? No: Rodriguez believes that revealing the song would lead to its being played every time he stepped to the plate during an away game. “The last thing I want to do is go to every stadium and have them play that song,” he says. Fine—to be honest, it’s not even a great Madonna song (if it had been something juicy like “Justify My Love,” forget it).
Looking back, his preoccupation seems surreal. Just the day before, Selena Roberts, a reporter from Sports Illustrated, had confronted Rodriguez at a Miami gym, asking for his reaction to evidence that he’d tested positive for illegal steroids in 2003. And now here he was, sweating a Madonna song. It’s like worrying about the in-flight movie as your plane is belly flopping on the Hudson River.
At least he seems to be recovering nicely from surgery.