Jun
30

Revisiting an almost-trade of Mariano Rivera

By

I can’t imagine the New York Yankees without Mariano Rivera for the last 15 seasons. Since he came up as a 25-year-old and wowed the crowd during the 1995 ALCS, he has always been there. In 1996, he helped shorten the games, and in 1997, he closed them. Five hundred saves later, he’s still going strong.

But what if? What if the Yankees had traded Mariano in 1995? Don’t laugh; it almost happened.

Today, as part of the Week of Rivera coverage in the New York papers, John Harper of the Daily News checked in with current Yankee adviser and one-time GM Gene Michael. The Stick was heading up the Yankee Front Office when Rivera first made his Bronx debut, and Michael reminisced about the time he almost traded Mo. Harper writes:

Michael had his own ‘What if?’ moment a few years later, in 1995, when he considered trading Rivera to the Tigers for David Wells. At the time Rivera was still trying to make it as a starter, still throwing in the low 90s, and when Michael asked the Tigers what they would want in a deal for Wells, Rivera was one of the names they put on a list.

“I never said yes,” Michael said with a chuckle Monday. “And right about that time, Mariano’s velocity in the minors jumped to 95-96. I didn’t believe it when I saw our report, but I checked it out with scouts from other teams who were there, and it was true. At that point there was no way I was trading him.”

As Gene says, after Rivera’s velocity jumped, there was no way he would trade him, but that would not be the end of the Mariano Rivera trade rumors. In the hunt for some confirmation from 1995, I stumbled across a Hot Stove article from December of that season. The Yanks had wanted to acquire Wells for the 1996 season, and while he landed in Baltimore following a stint in Cincinnati, the Bombers came close. Murray Chass reported then:

The Yankees, who last Thursday beat Baltimore to David Cone, wanted Wells for their rotation, but a weekend bid by George Steinbrenner fell short. Given this latest turn of events, the Yankees may feel compelled to become serious about signing one of two free-agent left-handers, Kenny Rogers or Chuck Finley.

[GM Bob] Watson acknowledged that he and Gene Michael, his predecessor, who remains active in personnel matters, had spoken with the Reds, most recently the middle of last week. “The asking price was too high,” he said. “They wanted two of our top minor leaguers. That’s why we backed off. We couldn’t do that.”

Jim Bowden, the Reds’ general manager, declined to discuss the Yankees’ involvement, but an official familiar with the Wells talks said Steinbrenner called Bowden Saturday night and offered pitcher Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada.

Bowden, looking to cut his payroll, obviously decided he preferred [Curtis] Goodwin, a 23-year-old left-handed hitter, who in 87 games with the Orioles last season batted .263 and had 22 stolen bases in 26 attempts.

Curtis Goodwin would go on to become a very forgettable baseball player with a career OPS of .609. The story, meanwhile, begs a question: Do we believe Watson on the record or Chass’ anonymous sources? The Yankees’ baseball people didn’t want to trade Jorge and Mo while George was reportedly willing to offer them up for David Wells, a player he had long coveted. Considering the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Steinbrenner was a hair’s breadth away from sending Posada and Rivera to Cincinnati.

As we reflect on the Hall of Fame career of Rivera, we should appreciate it for happening in the Bronx. Imagine how different life would have been with Rivera in a Reds or Tigers uniform for the last 14 seasons.

Categories : Days of Yore
  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    Being without Jorge’s bat and Mo’s consistency for the last 14 years would make Yankee-land look a lot different…

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    Jim Bowden, the Reds’ general manager, declined to discuss the Yankees’ involvement, but an official familiar with the Wells talks said Steinbrenner called Bowden Saturday night and offered pitcher Mariano Rivera and catcher Jorge Posada.

    Great googily moogily…

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Ha, totally. I got a little nauseous just reading those words.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Exhibit A as to why you should be patient with trades for starting pitchers who will hit free agency soon:

        We didn’t trade Mo and Jorge for Wells in 1995, and we still ended up with Wells when he hit the market in 1996.

        A lesson we learned, apparently, as evidenced by Cashman’s patient handling of the Santana/Sabathia question.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          But….He could’ve had Santana AND Sabathia!!11!!!11

          • RAB poster

            I’m very glad that we kept Hughes and let the Mets take Santana.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            But without Hughes, who would have been the bridge to Mo?!?! What a conundrum for the fanboys….

            • Jesus

              This proves Jim Bowden has to be one of the worst GMs to ever live.

  • A.D.

    Yikes Imagine no Mo or Posada, for a guy we’d sign in the not too distant future.

    That would have been up there (but nowhere near as bad) as the Tek & D-Lowe for Slocumb deal.

    Too bad they didn’t sign Finley instead of Rodgers

    • Bo

      Are Lowe and Varitek Hall of Famers???

      • jsbrendog

        no, and neither is posada

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Yes he probably is. We’ve gone over this before.

          • Angry Yankee Fan

            If posada is a HOFer Than the system sucks. His numbers for his position is above avg . but what the hell..he is far and beyond a notch or 2 lower than HOF standards…Cmon. How can you say he is one with a straight face….I love him as a yankee fan but PUUULEEAASEE

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Just above average for his position? Are you serious? Posada has been the best hitting catcher in baseball aside from Mike Piazza of the last twenty years.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Man, that guy was angry.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          I beg to differ.

        • radnom

          He could be borderline depending how he closes out. Tek is definitely not.

          Mariano is all but certainly. Lowe is not even close.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            Tek could be just like how Jim Rice has ended up a HOFer. The Red Sox Propaganda Machine will fire itself up, and their legions of disciples, I mean sportswriters, will spread the gospel of how great a catcher/teammate/leader that Varitek was. His clutch and grit will carry the day. You just watch, that SOB will end up in the Hall.

            • radnom

              If that happens I will assassinate him.

              You have my word.

              • jsbrendog

                adding to favorites for reference……

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  Good call. I’m gonna hold you to that radnom!

                  I really think that the Sawx Propaganda Machine is an unstoppable force.

                  But maybe if more of us would pick up the Bernie Williams most feared hitter meme, the Yankees could get our version of Jim Rice in there….

                  • http://n/a Matt

                    I think the better comparison would be Bernie to Kirby Puckett. They have virtually the same numbers in their careers and Bernie has 2 more World Series rings.

                • radnom

                  I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t plan on following through….but I don’t think I’m going to have to.

                  I can just hear it now though,
                  “Varitek caught more no hitters than any other catcher in ML history!! He made pitchers so much better he deserves to be in on that alone!”.

                • RAB poster

                  Varitek is not even close to a HOF’er. Posada is at least borderline. Mo might as well be put in there now while he’s still playing, that’s how much of a shoe in he is.

                • RAB poster

                  And Jim Rice in the HOF is a joke.

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  Jim Rice in the HOF is proof the that Propaganda Machine is a effective vehicle.

                  Varitek shouldn’t be close, but you just and wait and see what them bastards from Boston do 5 years after Tek has hung ‘em up….

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Well, when Bernie actually hangs ‘em up, we’ll run the propaganda machine for him!

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  Most feared since Ty Cobb….Bernie didn’t even have to stab a guy to be that feared….that’s how good a hitter he was!

                • JP

                  Jorge is a definite HOF’er by the “comparison to the list of idiotic HOF’ers” method…he’s better than lots of guys in there.

                  Does he make it on his own merit, as a catcher? I say if he stays productive, with appropriate age-related decline, but nothing drastic, and catches at least some for another 2-3 seasons, yes.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Yes, he does hold up on his own, IMO. He’s been the best hitting catcher not named “Piazza” in the last twenty years and his longevity has to count for something as well. He compares relatively favorably to other HOF catchers and is better than all his contemporaries, save for the aforementioned Piazza and Ivan Rodriguez.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  his longevity has to count for something as well.

                  Carlton Fisk caught games into his mid 40′s.

                  Posada doesn’t have “longevity” yet.

                • RAB poster

                  Fisk is like one of the only ones. Posada has longevity.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  This list looks to be a year or two old, but Posada’s currently 41st on the Career Games Caught list. Behind guys like Jason Kendall and Sherm Lollar and and Lance Parrish.

                  http://bb_catchers.tripod.com/.....listgc.htm

                  He’s still a long way from longevity.

                • RAB poster

                  41st is pretty good, actually. Anyway, Posada is still a really good player.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  That’s fair enough, but there are only three active players ahead of him on that list. Even longevity is a relative term in today’s baseball culture.

                • RAB poster

                  My point in still a really good player is that there aren’t many 39 year old catchers putting up this type of production.

        • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

          Eh, I don’t know about that one if for nothing else than the position that he plays. He will finish his career as one of the top 10 hitting catchers ever maybe? He will get votes…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Jason Varitek has a career OPS+ of 100.

            He won’t be one of the top 10 hitting catchers of all time. That list is longer than you think it is.

            • radnom

              I think, based on who he is replying to, that he refers to Posada and not Veritek.

            • JP

              As a reference, playing in a lesser-hitting time, Willie McGee has a career OPS+ of 100. McGee spent most of his career in St. Louis, San Fran, and Oakland, while Tek was in Fenway. I think McGee had a comparable beard for a few years, even if he was skinnier and not as menacing looking.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

                That’s not a reference. OPS+ on its own is a reference. It calculates a player’s OPS relative to the season or time frame in question. McGee’s is 100 because he was average for his entire career. Same with Varitek.

                • JP

                  Why can’t it be a reference? I know what OPS+ means. I’m saying that Tek has the same offensive value in his day as McGee did in his (as reflected in OPS).

                  I think it’s interesting that a guy who most people would say has “a little power” (Tek), was no better by OPS than someone most people would consider being a slap-type hitter (McGee).

                  God, this is a tough room.

        • Evan NYC

          With Jim Rice getting into the HoF, how can you count Posada out?

          • JP

            Do you think Rice is a borderline HOF’er, or a definite non-HOF’er.

            I thought he was borderline.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              IMO, he’s borderline-out. He should get some votes because he was a quality player, but not enough for enshrinement.

              He’s close to the bar, but below it.

            • Evan NYC

              I think Rice is borderline. I don’t think he hits any of the typical criteria (500 HR, 3000 hits, .300 BA). His SO/BB ratio is terrible. He may have been “the most feared hitter of his generation” but is that enough to get him in the HoF? Apparently it is. I think the HoF voting has become laughable. Ricky Henderson did not get 100% of the votes. Wow.

              • jsbrendog

                when asked why he didnt vote for rickey henderson:

                “i’m just not a rickey guy”

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  He’s a Matt Williams guy, though.

                  No, I’m not kidding. He didn’t vote for Rickey, but he voted for Matt Williams.

                  What. A. Tool.

                • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                  Matt Williams was a stand-up American.

                  (AKA: white guy)

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  That.

                  Also, the next time Pedro Gomez from ESPN says something, remind yourself that he voted for Jay Bell in their mock HoF ballot.

                  Just keep that in the back of your mind.

                • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                  Jay Bell ladies and gents.

      • Bill R

        No but apparently Tek is going to be an All Star again! What a crock of shit!

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          No, he’s not. What are you talking about? Varitek is 1.5 million votes behind Joe Mauer.

      • A.D.

        I didn’t think of it from the HOF angle, but more that David Wells was pretty good starting pitcher, who had his best years after this trade, while Slocumb was a league avg reliever.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Are Lowe and Varitek Hall of Famers??

        Thanks for missing the point as usual, Bo.

        The point is, the Mo and Posada for Wells deal would have been bad, but not as bad as Tek and Lowe for Slocumb, because at least David Wells was an excellent player.

        Heathcliff Slocumb was a meh player.

        • radnom

          True, but I think it stings more to trade away two HOF players for a pretty good player than it would to trade two pretty good players for a meh player.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Agreed. However, the fact that Mariano is a hall of fame player doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s as valuable as the other guys in this equation. That oversimplification makes that deal seem worse than it actually was.

            Trading a HoF reliever and a borderline HoF catcher for an elite (but not borderline HoF) starter is still less boneheaded than trading an elite (but not borderline HoF) catcher and an elite (but not borderline HoF) starter for a slightly above average reliever.

            The diminished utility of relievers makes the Slocumb trade worse. Think about relievers as half a starting player. Even if you give Mo twice the value of a regular reliever since he’s so excellent, the Yankees would have been trading two starting players for 1 starting player. The Sox traded two starting players for half a starting player.

            • radnom

              Good point, but I think this is still an over simplification.

              The Yankees would have dealt a young reliever and catcher for two years of an excellent starting pitcher. The Mariners dealt a young starter and a young catcher for about two years of a meh starting pitcher.

              Sure, Wells >>>> Slocumb, but over only two years it is not as big of a difference in value.

              Over 10+ years the difference between MoPo and LoTek is much greater.

              Plus, a lot of Lowe’s best years came after he left Boston. He was very up and down early in his career.
              I would take Mo’s Yankee career over Lowe’s Boston career any day.

              • jsbrendog

                plus didnt lowe close for them one year after beig ousted from the rotation? or am i completely teh suck fail?

                • jsbrendog

                  ha backwards. he was the closer from 99-01 then moved to the rotation.

                • radnom

                  I don’t know if he closed for them, but he was removed from the rotation one year. 2004?

                • jsbrendog

                  15 saves in 99
                  42 saves in 2000
                  24 saves in 2001
                  21-8 record starting in 2002
                  17-7 record starting in 2003
                  14-12 record starting in 04

                  his era doubled from o2-03 and then went to 5 and a half in 04. but it seems once he went to the rotation he never pitched for them out of the pen again

                • radnom

                  Yeah.

                  No question this would have been a worse deal than the Mariner/Sox one.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Yes, but the mid-90′s modus operandi of the Yankees was to trade for the impending free agent and then sign him to a lucrative extension.

                See also: Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, David Cone, etc.

                • Frederick

                  Posada is a HOF.

                • radnom

                  Ok, but how does that change anything?

                  They still had just as much opportunity to sign him to a lucrative contract at the end of those two years, unless you are claiming that trading for him gave them some kind of discount/advantage while negotiating an extension that they would not have had otherwise.
                  This may be true, maybe not, but regardless I don’t think that tiny sort of advantage really has any impact whatsoever in this discussion, when weighed against the value of Posada/Teks/Lowes entire career.

  • JackISBACK

    And the hits just keep on coming for Jim Bowedan.

    • Will (the other one)

      Good Lord, seriously. Regardless of whether the deal was as imminent as Chass’s sources make it seem, how the hell did this guy ever become a major-league GM in the first place?

  • Jake H

    That is pretty crazy to think about. Prospects can boom or bust. Both of them boomed while the guy they got busted.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Curtis was hardly a prospect either. Prior to this trade, he had a career MiLB OPS under .700. Bowden fail.

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        That begs the question, HOW THE HELL WAS BOWDEN A GM FOR SO LONG?!?!?!

        Because if you ask me, I think my wife could do a better job, and she doesn’t know whether to call the scoring measures runs or points….

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    Wow. That is very interesting and terrifying. Thank Mo that didn’t happen.

    But for every Mo and Posada, there are hundreds of guys with what seemed like more talent that turned into nothing. So I can see why this may have been a tough decision at the time.

    I wonder if Mo intervened with his divine power to make sure that his run to greatness would be with the Yankees instead of with the Reds….

    • RAB poster

      No, he said, “I need to prove I’m better than whoever thy want to trade me for”, and then magically started throwing an unhittable cutter.

      You need to realize that if Mo truly wants something, it is done. That is his power. In 01′ and 04′ he just didn’t wish hard enough.

  • BklynJT

    The media love to exaggerate on fallacy that the Yankees jeopardized their young prospects in 90s by trading away their prospects for big named players, destroying our farm system. For the most part, I can’t remember a good farm player that the Yankees have given up. We had a bad farm system because we didn’t draft well, not because we traded them away. Now if this Mo/Posada deal went through, that would completely change my stance. Hard to imagine Yankee history without those championship years in the late 90s.

    • radnom

      This.

      Who is the best prospect they traded away in the mid-late nineties? Milton and Guzman? It isn’t like the farm system was producing tons of gems that they traded for old washed up players.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “The media love to exaggerate on fallacy that the Yankees jeopardized their young prospects in 90s by trading away their prospects for big named players, destroying our farm system.”

      I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment of the media’s narrative. I think there’s plenty of talk about how the Yankees traded away prospects in the 80s, and that criticism is fair and accurate (see Drabek, Doug; Rijo, Jose; Buhner, Jay; and others), but I don’t think the media narrative has ever been about the Yankees trading away prospects in the 90s. The media narrative has been, pretty accurately, that the Yankees traded away prospects in ill-fated deals in the 80s and then in the 90s, primarily thanks to George Steinbrenner’s suspension and the influence of Stick Michael and others during George’s absence, the Yankees held onto and developed the young core of their championship teams.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        This is true.

        The narrative that emerged in the late 1990s and early 2000s was that the Yankees could not develop from within. Outside of Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera, not much from the post-Jeter/Posada farm system amounted to much before Wang and Cano arrived.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The media narrative has been, pretty accurately, that the Yankees traded away prospects in ill-fated deals in the 80s and then in the 90s, primarily thanks to George Steinbrenner’s suspension and the influence of Stick Michael and others during George’s absence, the Yankees held onto and developed the young core of their championship teams.

          And, as I’ve said repeatedly, much of this concept that the core of the championship team was built during George’s absence is also false. The core of championship team was largely built after George returned and assembled with his full input and influence.

          George is being unfairly demonized (and Stick Michael is being overly lionized). Steinbrenner built the championship teams.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            I agree with that. But at the same time, this is some evidence (though not solid evidence, I’ll grant you that it’s 15 year old trade rumors), that when the championship teams were built by George, there was considerable input from Stick and the baseball operations team. Stick didn’t build the championship teams while George was out of the picture, but George didn’t build those teams by himself either. It was the baseball operations department and George working together, the way the damn thing is supposed to be done.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Yes. I’ll agree to that.

              I’m just tired of the “the title teams were built while George was suspended” schtick. It’s false.

              • Sweet Dick Willie

                Mo, Jorge and Andy were all drafted BEFORE George was suspended. Only Jeter was drafted during his absence.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Sweet Dick Willie: “Mo, Jorge and Andy were all drafted BEFORE George was suspended. Only Jeter was drafted during his absence.”

                  But just because they were drafted under George doesn’t mean that his absence in the early 90s wasn’t a good thing. Nobody’s claiming the Yankee-developed core of the championship teams was drafted while Steinbrenner was out, but rather that they were developed and held onto while Steinbrenner was out.

                  TSJC:“http://riveraveblues.com/2009/05/looking-at-an-inaccuate-steinbrenner-biography-11880/#comment-390298″

                  I’m not going to bother going through that post line by line, but I’ll point out that you are attributing every move made after Steinbrenner was reinstated to “STEINBRENNER,” as if he personally was responsible for each of those moves, and I think that’s inaccurate. The argument of people who say that the table was set for the championship teams partly (or primarily, as I hyperbolically said above) thanks to George’s suspension includes the idea that even when George returned he returned with a different management style, that he came back and saw the good that was being done and took more of a back-seat than he had before his suspension. So, moves that were made in the couple of years following his reinstatement are not a rebuttal of that argument, nor is it even fair to give all the credit for every one of those moves to George.

              • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

                But the quoted article had him almost trading Mo and Po? And if it were any other competent GM they would have been gone.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Well… I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever said the teams were completely assembled during the three years that George was suspended. And, even if that was your interpretation of my words, I would appeal to reason that clearly I’m not saying George wasn’t involved in any way with the building of the championship teams. I mean, that would just be silly. The man owned the team, it would be unreasonable to assert he didn’t play a role.

                So I’ll stipulate that, yes, of course George had a hand in building the late 90s championship teams. But I’ll also continue to argue, at the same time, that his absence in the early 90s played an important role in the change in direction of the organization. The stability that was established during that time, as well as the transactions that were made (and, just as importantly I’m sure, those that weren’t made), were certainly a change in direction from the George-dominated days of the mid to late 80s. You may see that as a coincidence, and that’s fair. I just disagree with that assessment.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  The stability that was established during that time, as well as the transactions that were made (and, just as importantly I’m sure, those that weren’t made), were certainly a change in direction from the George-dominated days of the mid to late 80s. You may see that as a coincidence, and that’s fair. I just disagree with that assessment.

                  Here’s the reason I see it as a coincidence: Our strategy pre-suspension and our strategy post suspension was basically identical: We signed big free agents and we traded prospects for established vets.

                  What happened post-suspension is, we lucked out more in that the prospects we traded happened to pan out less and the ones we kept panned out more. But people tend to forget that guys like J.T. Snow, Bob Wickman, Russ Davis, Sterling Hitchcock, etc. these were guys who were thought of highly throughout the league.

                  We lucked out in that we traded the bad guys and kept the good guys. But Stein really still had essentially the same philosophy. If there was a difference, it’s a way more subtle difference than people often claim.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Dude, like I said above, if you see it as coincidence, that’s totally fair. I think what I’m trying to get at, at this point, is just that it’s not fair to say that there’sclear historical evidence that “Steinbrenner built the championship teams” as a rebuttal to those who think Steinbrenner’s absence in the early 90s was a substantial contributing factor to the construction of those teams and the direction of the organization. I’m not saying you have to agree with that latter assessment, I’m not trying to convince you of anything other than the idea that either assessment is a subjective analysis and is perfectly reasonable reading of the events of those years and their effect on the later success of the organization.

          • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “George is being unfairly demonized (and Stick Michael is being overly lionized). Steinbrenner built the championship teams.”

            Ok… As far as the original point being discussed, whether the media has “exaggerated a fallacy” that the Yankees traded away all their young players in the 90s… I’ll just point to wikipedia (“Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993. Unlike past years, he was somewhat less inclined to interfere in the Yankees’ baseball operations. He left day-to-day baseball matters in the hands of Gene Michael and other executives, and to let promising farm-system players such as Bernie Williams develop instead of trading them for established players. Steinbrenner’s having “got religion” (in the words of New York Daily News reporter Bill Madden) paid off. After contending briefly two years earlier, the ’93 Yankees were in the American League East race with the eventual champion Toronto Blue Jays until September.”) and point out that the regime in place during Steinbrenner’s suspension was thought to be relatively hands-off and amenable to letting the more experienced baseball and player development people make the decisions. see: http://www.nytimes.com/1990/08.....nkees.html

            Now, as far as whether George is unfairly demonized… I think that’s a little generous to George. You may disagree with the idea that the Yankees were better off in the early 90s without George and built the core of their championship teams during that period, but I don’t think it’s unfair to demonize George for what he did to the organization in the years prior to his suspension in 1990. I’m also not sure how you’re so sure that George is unfairly demonized and Michael overly lionized and that Steinbrenner “built the championship teams.” Do you know that George was making decisions in the early 90s? Is there credit that should go to George that doesn’t, for some reason?

            I’m not trying to be snarky, I’m completely open to the idea that the established narrative might be inaccurate. I’ve just never heard this argument.

            • RAB poster

              George did lead the Yanks to champonships in 77 and 78.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                He did, but I’m sorry, I’m not sure how that’s relevant to this conversation.

                • jsbrendog

                  my name is hennifer hlopez. i like tacos and burritos.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                George did lead the Yanks to champonships in 77 and 78.

                No he didn’t, Gabe Paul and Cedric Tallis did. George had NOTHING to do with it, those teams were assembled in spite of him.

                /MSM’d

                • RAB poster

                  Really? He had nothing to do with the signings of Reggie and Goose?

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Really? He had nothing to do with the signings of Reggie and Goose?”

                  Turn up the sarcasm meter.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              See my above link.

              • RAB poster

                Wow, you put some serious work into that one.

              • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                I did, and I responded above: http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-457715

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
                • RAB poster

                  Holy crap, where do you guys find the time for this?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Live sports at work? That’s much better than work at work!

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWPwrIVk6v4
                  (R.I.P.)

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-457737

                  I think we all really have to make a pact to stop with this linking to other comments in the same conversation thing unless it’s really the only way to make a point. It gets kinda obnoxious.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  This is turning into a comment vortex. I feel like I’m at First and First, the nexus of the universe.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  That doesn’t make any sense. How can the same street intersect itself?

                • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

                  Where you don’t recognize your surroundings.

                • jsbrendog
                • RAB poster

                  Vooooooom….The blaack hole of comments is sucking us in…Voooooom.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  I just want to know what Januz JP thinks about that.

                  (Ok, I’m done with the JP vs. jsb jokes now, I promise.)

                • jsbrendog

                  where is janusz? its been awhile since we’ve had a long punctuationless one paragraph opinion piece from dat guy

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Punctuationless? You’re crazy.

                  I wouldn’t call six nested sets of parentheses “punctuationless”.

                • jsbrendog

                  touche. at least i got the one long paragraph part right. not gonna lie, i usually his comments until the i wonder what januz thinks about this meme cause of the lack of formatting ha

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  touche. at least i got the one long paragraph part right. not gonna lie, i usually his comments until the i wonder what januz thinks about this meme cause of the lack of formatting ha

                  Umm…. jsb, who the f$%# do you think you are to criticize Januz for his punctuation and formatting?

                  Seriously? The irony is off the freaking charts there. What’s your address, I’m FedExing you a copy of Eats Shoots and Leaves.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Actually, on the “where is that guy” topic… Where has steve (different one) been?

                • jsbrendog

                  tommie its not criticizing. i almost always try to make paragraphs cause no one will read it otherwise. as for my punctuation and misspelling i could care less since i know i know how to spell and write and have written many leatherbound books.

                  ok not really, but im lazy and dont give a shit cause if it mattered i could due to my coughcoughenglishdegreecoughcough.

                  it was not criticism, just observation. and seriously, who cares what the itnernet folk think of one’s formatting/spelling/punctuation?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Okay. Let’s get your pj’s on then. Into bed.

                • jsbrendog

                  are they assless?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Pat, is that you?

                • http://ryanhandt.blogspot.com/ handtius

                  I, for one, love assless chaps. get a nice breeze in the summer.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              I believe the problem lies in trying to give one side credit over the other.

              It was both working together that built those teams.

              Yes George wasn’t around to trade away the prospects in the early 90s. But once he came back he worked with the player development people to trade the expendable (Roberto Kelly) and hold on to the ones with futures (the most feared Bernie Williams).

              The player development side had been successful in the 80s, they just had most of their players traded to other teams (and may have poorly identified which were expendable and which had higher upside futures). Once the late 90s came around, the draft picks were lower, and the player development stalled a bit. Then free agency caused the team to have less top draft picks. Eventually the team ran out of quality prospects….

              At least all of that is my version of how the last 20-30 years went down….

        • radnom

          There was still some of this in the 90′s. I certainly was not cognitive when any of those trades HCM mentioned went down, but in the early 2000′s i’ve heard plenty about how the Yankees sold their future for a “win now” mentality and were too old.

          Outside of Johnson and Rivera? How about outside of Soriano?

        • jsbrendog

          marcus thames?

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            never met a fastball he didn’t like!

        • RAB poster

          Johnson, Mo, Juan Rivera, Jeter, and Posada are pretty good. Anddon’t forget El Duque.

          • A.D.

            El Duque was a bidding war on a veteran IFA, not any type of development

            • RAB poster

              Ah. I didn’t know that.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Jay Buhner. Doug Drabek. Al Leiter. Crime Dog.

      Need I go on?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        My baseball people kept talking about Ken Phelps’s bat. They kept saying, “Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps!”

      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        Yes please.

      • BklynJT

        The only one I remember was Jay Buhner, and thats because of the damn Seinfeld epsiodes. I guess the 80′s were beyond my time.

      • JP

        Didn’t the Yankees have Willie McGee, too? Not in the McGriff class, but a pretty fine ballplayer…

        • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yup. Drafted in ’77, traded in ’81.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Traded for Bob Sykes.

            Who never made an appearance with the big league club. What a turd sandwich that was.

  • Chris

    I think an interesting thing to consider is what may have become of Mo if he had been dealt. You have to consider the possibility that if he were shipped to Detroit, or anywhere else, that they may have kept him as a starter. As a starter, I think you have to assume he never puts up anything close to his incomparable career in the Yanks’ pen.

    That’s one way I read all of this though; that Mo could have just been another name added to the list of prospects the Yanks traded but never materialized into a big league star.

    • radnom

      You have a point, but I like to think that just about any organization would, looking at a struggling starter throwing 96mph gas and only having one pitch, decide to move him to the bullpen sooner or later.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yup. As much as I love Mo, I can’t imagine him succeeding in turning over a lineup 4 times every game.

      • JP

        Hershiser said some cool things about Mo last night. We keep hearing the “one pitch” thing, but as Hershiser points out, it isn’t really “one” pitch. According to what Hershisher said, Mo modified his cutter through the years, coming up with slightly different variations to throw to righties and lefties, and he changed how he used the pitch, throwing it in different locations, etc.

        The party line has been Mo “failed” as a starter, which is why he ended up in the bullpen. I wonder about that, though. I think an athlete as good as Mo, and as resourceful, would have found a way to be a pretty good starting pitcher, if that was what he was asked to do. Having the talent to miss bats like that would translate to a starter, and it’s not like you have to be a pitching savant to develop a secondary or tertiary pitch that’s decent enough to use to pitch 7-8 innings in a game. He has impeccable control, and as we saw with Mussina last year you can throw 88 and still be very effective with great control.

        I’d love to play the Bill James “can we have this career over again” and see what Mo would have done as a starter.

        • Jesus

          If we mail your post to francesa his head may explode.

          • JP

            It would be worth it to see that happen.

            (Aside: I’m not saying I think he would have been a great starter…I’m saying I’d like to have the chance to see what kinda starter he would have been. He’s so smart, and with such great control, I could see him late in his career beating teams a la Maddux.)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I think an athlete as good as Mo, and as resourceful, would have found a way to be a pretty good starting pitcher, if that was what he was asked to do.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

          • JP

            No. Not confirmation bias. It’s a statement of opinion about Rivera’s skill. Accusing me of confirmation bias suggests I’m ignoring facts. Which facts? He had a good minor league record as a starter. He had a poor record in 10 starts as a rookie pitcher, but does that mean he was incapable of being a good starter? Aren’t we being patient with Joba and Hughes, who had mixed results early in their MLB starting careers?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Accusing me of confirmation bias suggests I’m ignoring facts. Which facts?

              The facts that he doesn’t have the diversity of quality pitches that virtually every other starter has.

              He had a poor record in 10 starts as a rookie pitcher, but does that mean he was incapable of being a good starter?

              No. What makes him incapable of being a good starter is the fact that he doesn’t have a diversity of quality pitches that virtually every other starter has.

              Aren’t we being patient with Joba and Hughes, who had mixed results early in their MLB starting careers?

              Yes. Because they each have three or four good pitches. Mo has one. 4 pitch pitchers you give patience to and keep in the rotation. One pitch pitchers you move to the bullpen.

              Accusing you of confirmation bias may have been a bit much. I was more accusing you of rose-colored glasses. We see what we want to see. Mo is awesome, so we say statements like “I bet he could have been a good starter too.” But statements like that aren’t really supported by anything but our overeager optimism.

              • JP

                There is a chicken-egg argument. Mo doesn’t have the diversity of pitches becasue he doesn’t need them for his role. There was never an impetus to develop them. He has a changeup, he has two different fastballs he can throw. Wisely, he uses what he knows works and this ends up being a theme and variations on the cutter method.

                I don’t think it’s a “fact” that he didn’t have enough pitch diversity to function as a starter. He wasn’t successful in a few starts in his first season at the MLB level, perhaps in part because his secondary pitches weren’t good enough. There’s nothing saying he couldn’t have improved them.

                Opinion. Not confirmation bias. We’re not talking about a controlled lab experiment. We’re talking about a hypothetical situation with a gillion possible outcomes…I am sure there are dozens of pitchers in MLB history who learned to improve their secondary pitches in the first few seasons of their careers.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Sure, but the fact remains that he didn’t have enough pitch diversity at that time. Sure, maybe he could have developed it, but it’s not like it existed. But by the same logic, maybe David Robertson would develop some dynamite secondary pitches next year if he were in the rotation. You can say that kind of thing about anyone or anything, but you have to draw the line somewhere and deal with reality at some point. We can only go on the facts as they exist, or existed, and the fact is Mo did not have the necessary pitch diversity. Fact. Not opinion.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  I know I said above that it can be obnoxious when people link to their own comments in the same thread, but I’m linking to TSJC’s comment so I think I barely escape being guilty of hypocrisy here… And his comment below is a good response to what I assume your response to me would be:

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-457821

                • JP

                  I wasn’t going to respond. Since you are alleging that you know, for a fact, that Rivera didn’t have enough “pitch diversity” to function as a MLB starter, there’s nothing more I can say. How anyone can know that – since he didn’t pitch as a starter long enough to find out – is beyond me. You can think it, you can have strong suspicion, but you can’t “know” a hypothetical. Rivera once said he learned his cutter “by accident,” playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza. By accident, he developed one of the most dominant pitches in history, continually refining it through the years, yet he was totally incapable of ever learning to throw a decent changeup or breaking pitch.

                • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  “I wasn’t going to respond. Since you are alleging that you know, for a fact, that Rivera didn’t have enough “pitch diversity” to function as a MLB starter, there’s nothing more I can say. “

                  Dude, seriously? We know that he lacked the necessary secondary pitches, early in his career, to be a successful MLB starting pitcher. That is why he was converted into a reliever, a role in which his arsenal was effective. We do know that he lacked the secondary pitches, because it happened.

                  “How anyone can know that – since he didn’t pitch as a starter long enough to find out – is beyond me.”

                  He pitched for long enough for the Yankees to make the assessment that he lacked the proper secondary pitches to be an effective MLB starter and, subsequently, to convert him into a reliever for that reason. We know this because it happened.

                  “You can think it, you can have strong suspicion, but you can’t “know” a hypothetical. “

                  It’s not a hypothetical, because it happened.

                  “Rivera once said he learned his cutter “by accident,” playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza. By accident, he developed one of the most dominant pitches in history, continually refining it through the years, yet he was totally incapable of ever learning to throw a decent changeup or breaking pitch.”

                  And he’s made an amazing career out of, primarily, throwing that one pitch, as a reliever. The point is, was, and always will be the same – at the time, when he was a young starter, he lacked the necessary secondary pitches to be an effective MLB starting pitcher. This was not a Phil Hughes or a Joba Chamberlain with a starter’s arsenal that just needs time to mature and be refined, this was a pitcher who just didn’t have the secondary pitches necessary to be an effective MLB starting pitcher. You need to stop acting like this is some hypothetical situation, it’s not. He lacked the pitches, so he was moved to the bullpen. Might he have magically discovered a plus curve and changeup had he been allowed to languish in the rotation in Columbus for 5 more years? Yeah, sure, maybe. And maybe Shelly Duncan will fashion a bat out of a lightning-struck tree and start hitting homers in MLB and banging Kim Basinger. Anything might have happened if he’d been sent to AAA to continue working as a starter, but, like I said above, you have to draw the line somewhere and deal with reality at some point.

                  Also… So you think he would have developed secondary pitches because he accidentally developed the cutter? I mean, I think you’d have a better case if he worked on developing the cutter and did it on purpose. Then, maybe, you could say “well look at how he decided to learn the cutter and was successful, I think he could also have developed other pitches the same way.” But to look at an accident and say that?

                • JP

                  I swear, I find your answer to be really, really arrogant. You know, you made your point. You believe that since they converted him to a reliever, this is de fact evidence that he was completely incapable of being an effective starting pitcher. Fine. Maybe you’re right. But I don’t know how you can say it’s a “fact.” It’s your opinion. It was the opinion of the pitching coaches, or the manager, or even Mo, at the time. But you can’t ever know what might have happened when you didn’t go down that road.

                  And no, it’s not a silly, ridiculous hypothetical like banging Kim Basinger or whatever. It isn’t. He’s an athlete, a world class athlete. A world class pitcher. People develop skills as major leaguers that they don’t have perfected as minor leaguers. It happens. The skills required to throw one pitch are not entirely foreign to throwing another. It’s not like I’m suggesting he could have remained a pitcher, and developed into a homerun HITTER in the same career.

                  But you know, you guys know baseball so flawlessly, and are so versed in every detail of everything that’s ever happened to the Yankees, I hereby cave. You are right. It is physically impossible that Mariano Rivera could have ever been an effective starting pitcher. I’ll never bring it up again.

            • jsbrendog

              yes. you are correct. but joba’s 1 yr in the minors blows mariano’s entire minor league career away. 135 k in 88 and a third ip. 9-2 in 18 games with a 1.008 WHIP. and that is spread across 3 levels in 1 year. wow.

              hughes numbers are also pretty impressive. in 6 season in the minros hughes is 31-8 with 367 k in 330 inning and a whip[ under 1.

              both of those blow rivera away. mariano was a fringe international player with slightly above average starting stats in the minors who was probably sent to the bullpen too quickly, but he was nowhere near as good as these guys

        • RAB poster

          I wouldn’t want to risk it. I wouldn’t take a redo on a career that was as good as his the first time around. What if he was only an avg. or slightly above avg. starter? Too risky. I’m quite happy with the Mo we have now, thank you.

          • JP

            I mean in the hypothetical…would I like to actually relive the last 15 years, changing him to a starter? Nooooooooooo. Would I like to see it play out, on a crystal ball? Hell yeah.

            For the record, I agree with jsb that, by the numbers, he doesn’t project to have been a great starter. I’m just saying that it was a pretty small sample…he had TJS and had some mixed results in the minors but had some incredible years there, too. He’s such a tremendous athlete that it’s hard to imagine him not succeeding as a starting pitchah.

            • RAB poster

              Well in that case, sur I’d love to see what would have happened.

              • RAB poster

                sur is sure.

        • jsbrendog

          now granted it was only 10 games but still:

          3-3 with a 5.94 ERA, 64 htis in 50 ip, a 1.68 WHIP, and a .304 baa.

          his aaa career numbers as a starter:

          6-4 3.98 era, 59 hits in 61 ip, 1.18 WHIP, 2.31 so/bb ratio

          meh, yeah he couldve put together some sort of career as a starter but his numbers trend slightly down each level he moved up, although they still look good….

          its possible. i doubt he wouldve been anywhere near as good starting as he is closing, but he couldve been serviceable i feel

  • Frederick

    I bet the RAB boys and most here would have pitched a fit all thru 95 and 96 if they made Mo a bullpen guy.

    Goes to show that you may not know and let the baseball people decide the best course for young pitchers.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      No, they wouldn’t have.

      The RAB boys recognize the difference between a one-pitch pitcher who’s one single solitary pitch suddenly got faster at the age of 24, and who wasn’t much of a prospect before then, and a multiple-pitch pitcher who’s been an elite starting pitching prospect for a long time.

      • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

        And plus the ‘baseball people’ believe that Joba and Phil are starters…Mike Francesa thinks differently…

      • JP

        With respect, Tommie, have you ever caught Mo? How can you be so sure he had absolutely nothing in terms of secondary pitches? I recognize that he throws a cutter the majority of the time, with rare “4 seam” fastballs mixed in. But that’s his genius – he has a really good pitch and sticks with what works. If for some reason it stopped working for him, or if he needed it to pitch as a starter, you don’t think he could have perfected a decent, MLB level changeup or breaking pitch? Ok, sorry, I’m done.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          With respect, Tommie, have you ever caught Mo?

          No.

          How can you be so sure he had absolutely nothing in terms of secondary pitches?

          http://www.google.com

          I recognize that he throws a cutter the majority of the time, with rare “4 seam” fastballs mixed in. But that’s his genius – he has a really good pitch and sticks with what works.

          Which is why he’s an awesome reliever.

          If for some reason it stopped working for him, or if he needed it to pitch as a starter, you don’t think he could have perfected a decent, MLB level changeup or breaking pitch?

          No.

          Ok, sorry, I’m done.

          Thanks!

          • jsbrendog

            ::golf clap::

    • Observer283

      Frederick, Mo really struggled with his secondary pitches back then. If he had great secondary stuff but was going through the usual growing pains, then it would have been wrong for the Yankees to move him to the pen. But, Mo had a great fastball with even better command of it, and…little else. Recipe for a great reliever, but a mediocre starter at best.

      Joba and Phil are different because they have very good secondary pitches that with a little more work might become great. Guys with that kind of repertoire should start until its proven that they can’t.

    • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

      Not a fair comparison.

      Mo was not at the level of prospect in ’95 as Joba and Phil are now.

      A better comparison would be making Aceves a reliever (which nobody here complained about).

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        A better comparison would be making Aceves a reliever (which nobody here complained about).

        Excellent point.

        Nobody protested Aceves or Coke moving to the pen. Numerous anti-B-Jobbers have called for WLDR or Garcia to move to the pen. Not every minor league starting pitcher should remain a starter indefinitely, just the really good ones.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “Goes to show that you may not know and let the baseball people decide the best course for young pitchers.”

      But hold on… I assume you’re referring to discussions of the use of young pitchers (i.e. should they be in the rotation, bullpen, etc.) and in particular of the use of one pitcher who I’m not going to refer to by name because I loathe that conversation (starts with “J” and ends with “oba”)… But, in that case, the “RAB Boys” agree with the Yankees “baseball people” to whom you seem to be swearing a slavish devotion and deference.

      So, by your logic, I think you just told yourself to STFU.

      • jsbrendog

        iet “stop hitting yourself” moment

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        So, by your logic, I think you just told yourself to STFU.

        http://pwnedvideo.com/wp-conte...../pwned.jpg

    • RAB poster

      Um.. the baseball people think Joba should start moron.

  • Mister Delaware

    Wasn’t there a Rivera for Fermin rumor as well?

  • MikeD

    It’s hard to imagine the Yankees trading Rivera and Posada, but Steinbrenner would have because that’s what he always did. At various points, he tried trading away Posada and Bernie, and eventually let Pettitte leave, and almost let Bernie leave, even after they had both proved themselves countless times. Not only did he not appreciate his own farm players, he always seem to envy other players more than his own. I’m not sure why sanity prevailed in the mid-90s when it didn’t in the 70s or 80s, but we should be thankful.

    There’s a reason for the big gap between the ’76-’81 champtionship teams and the ’96-’03 teams. Steinbrenner traded away the 1980s, home-grown talent that would have supplemented his free-agent signings and trades. Those trades probably cost the Yankees a chance at another two or three World Championships. There’s really no way of knowing.

    Imagine, if you will, if the Yankees hadn’t traded away Fred McGriff? I know, McGriff would have had to DH since we had Mattingly, or perhaps he would have moved to the OF for the early part of his career, or Mattingly (gasp) could have played the OF, where he originally played. McGriff hit 493 career HRs. Now put that LH’d bat in Yankee Stadium. 550? 560? The dude’s retired # would be in Momument Park.

    Add in your lead-off hitter, starting CFer, and future MVP Willie McGee. Eventually, a power-hitter RFer by the name of Jay Buhner would show up.

    One of greatest weaknesses of the 1980s teams was starting pitching. Our farm could have helped address that. Jose Rijo and Doug Drabek could have joined Dave Righetti (no way he should have been turned into a closer and no way he’d be a closer today) to anchor the Yankee staff. Perhaps Al Leiter would have joined in once the 1990s rolled around.

    I know, this assumes none of our prospects were traded, and that’s not resonable. Problem is, the Yankees traded them away way too early and got nothing back before they even knew what they had. And, of course, if the Yankees were a better team in the late 80s and early 90s, we never would have had the opportunity to draft Derek Jeter. There is a ripple effect. I am sure, though, we traded a way a championship or two in the 1980s to early 90s, so let’s be thankful we (meaning Steinbrenner) didn’t do it again with Mo, Jorge, Bernie, Jeter and Pettite. It could very easily have happened as it did once before.

    • jsbrendog

      that’s a bold strategy cotton, let’s see if it pays off

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I stopped reading MikeD’s long ass comment, but this reply?

        GOLD, JERRY! IT’S GOLD!

        I have no idea to what you’re referring, but I did actually laugh out loud.

      • MikeD

        I didn’t even want to mention the Seinfeld impact!

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  • john

    No way Posada is a HOF’er, No MVPs, No Gold Gloves, he never had 180 hits in a season, in fact he had more than 150 ONCE! Hit 30 homers ONCE! 100 RBI ONCE! career B.A of .276, Batted over .300 ONCE! Dosnt even have 250 career homers or 1,000 RBI, in fact he never lead the league in ANY offensive catergorie except for GIDP and he did that TWICE! Deff not a hall of famer and if he makes it Baseball is stupid just cuz he is a yankee

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  • jsbrendog

    meh who cares

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    The funny thing is, with Bartlett’s recent good play at SS, while I’m utterly confident that the Yankees will be the best team in the AL at season’s end, I don’t think I’d vote for any Yankee to start any position in the ASG. Even though our team is super-good, the only Yankee who’s been the best at his position thus far is Mo.

    My ballot would be:
    C-Mauer
    1B-Youkilis
    2B-Hill
    3B-Longoria
    SS-Bartlett
    LF-Bay
    CF-Hunter
    RF-Zobrist

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    But jsb, THIS TIME IT COUNTS!!!!!!

  • jsbrendog

    it counted the last 5 years and i think i care less each year. id rather every red sock start. that way the yanks get to stay home and relax and ortiz is waving his towel at some idiot in the hr derby, and youkilis is wearing hsi assless leather chaps to the blue oyster. and theyre getting worn down more for the stretch run

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    The sneakiness of the Youkilis comment was awesome. Golf clap.

  • RAB poster

    You’d vote Bartlett over Jeet and Youk over Tex?

    Granted I could care less (if anything the more Red Sox the more chance of injury), but still.

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I was just looking at Tex’s and Youk’s stats because I was curious if, with Youk’s numbers dropping lately and Tex’s power advantage, Tex had maybe caught him, stats-wise… and it’s close… but I found something even more fun.

    Kevin Youkilis has 67 hits and 60 strikeouts. In May and June combined, he has more strikeouts than hits. And thus, like Nick Swisher, he clearly sucks.