Thursday, June 02, 2005

From a Disgruntled Yankees Fan

Any Yankees fan can tell you that there hasn't been much to grow frustrated over in the past decade. This season, however, has managed to highlight the one thing that drives any New York aficionado off the wall- big name players or young success stories coming to the Bronx and, for lack of a harsher, more captivating term, crapping out. Whether they have fluke injuries that nag and annoy or they simply cannot handle the increased pressure to win in NY, many solid players or even superstars put on the pinstripes and do not succeed.

Don't get me wrong, there are successes like Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, and A-Rod (keep in mind that while A-Rod was called a bust last year, he still hit .286 with 36 HR, 106 RBI, & 28 SB). For every success, however, there are several failures. Here is a list of these players George sought to buy for the Yanks still on the roster*, and a comparison of their pre-pinstripe seasons to their performances in the Bronx:

SP Kevin Brown: (2003 w/ LAD) 211.0 IP, 14-9, 2.39 ERA, .236 BAA
(2004 w/ NYY) 132.0 IP, 10-6, 4.09 ERA, .262 BAA
(2005 w/ NYY) 56.0 IP (thru Wednesday) 4-5 5.14 ERA, .325 BAA
Explanations/Excuses- Back injury? Age? I'd like to think a veteran like Brown wouldn't be phased by the pressure of NY, but that might also be a possibility.

SP Carl Pavano: (2004 w/ FLA) 222.1 IP, 18-8, 3.00 ERA, .253 BAA
(2005 w/ NYY) 64.2 IP (thru Wed.), 4-3, 4.18 ERA, .310 BAA
Explanations/Excuses- Young pitcher who had a breakout season last year. He never pitched consistently or started more than 30 games before 2003, and he pitched for small-market teams with little media attention (Montreal and Florida). Unlike with Brown, the opponents' average of .310 doesn't bother me (yet)- this guy can retool and figure things out (hopefully).

RP Paul Quantril: (2003 w/ LAD) 77.1 IP, 61 H, 1.75 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, .227 BAA
(2004 w/ NYY) 95.1 IP, 124 H, 4.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, .316 BAA
(2005 w/ NYY) 20.2 IP (thru Wed.), 30 H, 6.53 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, .353 BAA
Explanations/Excuses- He was a bit injured...last year...emphasis on a bit. This guy was lights out in LA, and opponents are hitting like Hall of Famers against him. The high walks and hits per inning pitched are terrible signs for a reliever that needs to pitch in big games for the Yankees as a second option to Tom Gordon.

SP Randy Johnson: (2004 w/ ARI) 245.2 IP, 16-14, 2.60 ERA, .197 BAA
(2005 w/ NYY) 78.0 IP (thru Wed.) , 5-4, 3.92 ERA, .260 BAA
Explanations/Excuses- Rumors of a nagging knee problem are circulating sports talk radio in NY, but the Big Unit has been a complete disappointment. His numbers are still decent (for most pitchers), but that's not good enough. NY brought him in to be unhittable, no questions asked. For a future first-ballot Hall of Famer with a career 3.09 ERA and a World Series MVP to collapse under the microscope that is NY would be outrageous.

*Jason Giambi is not included due to his success as a first-year Yankee (.314, 41 HR, 122 RBI). The players above all faltered in their very first years.