October 06, 2002
Wait 'til next year

Well, the Yankees are out of the playoffs. Not much to say other than congrats to the Angels for a job well done. Not what I expected, but anything can happen in a short series, and in this series the Angels deserved to win.

This was the best Yankees team since 1998, but there are some issues lurking beneath the surface. Derek Jeter's glove is becoming enough of a liability that the Yankees ought to give serious thought to moving him to third base, assuming that Robin Ventura doesn't return. I know Drew Henson is the anointed heir at third, but he hasn't proven that he can hit yet. The Bombers have enough pop in their lineup that they could carry a good-glove no-stick guy like Rey Ordonez. Heck, playing Enrique Wilson would be an improvement. It'll never happen, partly because it's heresy to suggest that Jeter is anything less than a stellar fielder, but it's what I'd do if I could.

Speaking of the lineup, it's time to recognize that Alfonso Soriano belongs in the five hole, not leading off. Put Jeter there, where his .370 OBA and decent power can do maximum good. Follow with Nick Johnson, Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams, Soriano, Jorge Posada, and whoever else is playing.

Finally, there's the outfield. Again, I'm risking excommunication, but it's time to think about moving Bernie Williams to left field. He has no arm, and he's starting to slow down a bit. Perhaps the rookie Juan Rivera can hack it, and if not there's probably some free agent available. This is a lesser issue, but it can't be ignored for long.

I just have one request for the rest of the playoffs: I want the Braves to lose so that at least no one can gripe about how only high-payroll teams have a chance to win. If my team can't win, I'm rooting for a big fat repudiation to Beelzebud's party line about economics. Is that so much to ask?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 06, 2002 to Baseball

Hey, watch it Chuck. Leaving aside that the Cards aren't exactly poor, and the Giants are at least middle-class, I'm sick of the Braves getting abuse for "never winning" even though they have.

Anyway, the thing with Jeter -- who was never that good defensively to begin with -- is that his bat is declining too. If he doesn't at least stop the decline, he won't hit enough to be an asset at third base or a corner outfield spot.

Posted by: Mac Thomason on October 6, 2002 3:44 PM

No offense, Mac. I'm just saying that whenever the Yankees and Braves make it to the World Series all you ever hear about is big markets and bigger payrolls. At least the remaining teams can all be described as mid-market and lower.

You're right about the Braves getting an undeserved rap for losing. By any measure they've been a great team for over a decade now. The shortage of World Series wins is mostly a quirk.

Jeter's power numbers were down this year, but he still had an OPS in the 800 range, and that's good enough for third base. He's not yet 30, so I don't think he's peaked. We'll see next year.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 6, 2002 5:07 PM

Yes, the evil, blood-sucking Yankees are gone, but my Twins are not. I'd love to see Ron Gardenhire shove the World Series trophy up Bud's...oops, sorry; I forgot this is a family show....

Posted by: Jack Cluth on October 6, 2002 7:31 PM

I saw the Yanks beating California and then losing to Oakland. Now you know why I'm not a betting woman... Actually, I blame Ronan Tynan. If the Yanks had used that cop Daniel Rodriguez to sing that Berlin song, since he can actually sing and is American to boot, they'd have pulled it off.

I'm more worried about the Yankee pitching. They need younger starters, and the bullpen just looks inconsistent. I don't know the answer, but I blogged about it anyway. I know the drill.

In the meantime, I second Jack's emotion: Go Twins! Stick it to Selig!

Posted by: Chris Quinones on October 6, 2002 9:18 PM


I'm getting a little worried, though - the prospect of rooting for Pohlad's team....

Posted by: Dancelf on October 7, 2002 9:41 AM