The Yankee Mentality

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When I wrote my prior posting about CC Sabathia’s pulled groin I said that Yankees’ fans were loading up the phone banks to Mike Francesa’s show to call for the team to trade for a big name starter like Zack Greinke, Matt Garza, Cliff Lee or anyone who’s an All-Star caliber starter to replace their All-Star caliber starter.

It was ironic humor because as much as we don’t want it to be true; don’t want to believe that there’s that level of entitlement anywhere in the world, it came true.

It wasn’t Sabathia’s injury that created the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction moment, but Andy Pettitte’s fractured ankle sustained in this afternoon’s game that was the catalyst for Francesa to begin speculating on which All-Star pitcher they were getting.

“Are da Yankeez gonna getta pitchuh? Will dey getta Gahrza? Will dey getta Lee?”

I’m paraphrasing, but it’s pretty much dead on.

Who came up with this game of telephone that Lee is even available?

The Phillies are getting Chase Utley back tonight; they’ve played badly but they’re still in contention in the Wild Card and are a hot streak from being right back near the top of the NL East. The Phillies are unlikely to be sellers, but if they are it’s Cole Hamels (Francesa mentioned him as well) who’s going and not Lee. Lee has a no-trade clause to 10 teams and you can bet the house that the Yankees are on it.

He didn’t want to pitch for the Yankees when he was a free agent after the 2010 season and after the stuff that was said about him following his spurning the Yankees’ advances and when he revealed that the Yankees were his third choice after the Phillies and Rangers (the last choice since they were his only serious suitors), what don’t you get? He’s not interested.

Ruben Amaro Jr, the Phillies’ GM, admitted the mistake in trading Lee by acquiring Roy Oswalt during the 2010 season and then by re-signing Lee after 2010. Do you really believe he’s going to ruin his reputation among the players and toss in the towel on the Phillies’ season by trading Lee to the Yankees for prospects? And what prospects are the Yankees giving him?

It’s just crafted nonsense that’s not going to happen even if the Phillies come apart.

This mentality lends itself to the greed that takes a 97-65 season and ALCS loss and dubs it a failure. It engenders the hatred other fans and teams have for the Yankees and their fans because no one wants to hear this garbage that they can’t possibly function without an All-Star or post-season hero pitching for them every night.

What world is this?

It’s not good enough to have a terrific bullpen and a lineup that’s leading the Major Leagues in home runs with superstars at 5 of the 8 starting positions and a very good background cast?

It’s this thought process that labeled an athlete like Mariano Rivera—who got hurt doing athletic things—something more than what he is: a baseball player. That’s how an injury to a human being who plays a sport for a living was called a “tragedy”.

It’s not a tragedy and the Yankees aren’t “supposed” to have a potential Hall of Famer, Cy Young Award winner, MVP or legend playing every single position every night.

They wonder why they’re hated and it’s a joyful event when they lose and they have to do a postmortem on the season that wasn’t; a failed plotline that didn’t result in a World Series win (as has happened every year but one for this whole century). This is why.

It’s called reality.

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The Yu Darvish Free Agency Profile

All Star Game, Cy Young Award, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Hall Of Fame, History, Hot Stove, Management, Media, MiLB, MVP, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players, Politics, Prospects, Stats

Name: Yu Darvish


Position: Right handed pitcher.

Vital Statistics: Age-25; Height-6’5″; Weight-185.

Agents: Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group and Don Nomura.

Chances of coming to North America in 2012: He might want to wait another year so the bigger money clubs like the Red Sox and Mets will definitely be involved. If I had to guess, I’d say he’s coming for 2012.

Teams that could use and pay him: Boston Red Sox; New York Yankees; Toronto Blue Jays; Baltimore Orioles; Detroit Tigers; Minnesota Twins; Kansas City Royals; Texas Rangers; Los Angeles Angels; Seattle Mariners; New York Mets; Washington Nationals; Florida Marlins; Milwaukee Brewers; St. Louis Cardinals; Chicago Cubs; San Francisco Giants; Los Angeles Dodgers.

Positives:

I went into detail—with pictures, comparisons, video and projections—on Darvish here.

He has a gregarious personality; an interesting heritage and history; and massive talent that will transfer well to the North American market.

His stuff is vicious; he doesn’t appear to have had his arm abused as Daisuke Matsuzaka did as a youth; he’s fearless and unafraid to buzz hitters—this will be imperative in the big leagues.

Darvish has a wide array of pitches including two blazing, moving fastballs, a slider, an Adam Wainwright curve and a forkball.

Negatives:

Japanese imports are always a gamble and teams like the Yankees and Red Sox have been torched by diving too enthusiastically into the market without realizing what they were getting.

The pressure and expectations on Darvish might be muted because of the prior failures of the likes of Hideki Irabu and Matsuzaka, but he’s still going to cost at least $100 million to $120 million in posting fees and for his contract. That’s a lot of money.

The market is relatively weak this season, but pitchers like C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson aren’t going to cost as much as Darvish and they’re proven MLB pitchers.

Darvish is raw and wild—on and off the field—but that could be seen as both a positive or negative. I take it as a good thing. Within reason.

What he’ll want: The posting fee for Matsuzaka was $51.1 million; it’s a blind bidding process, so the teams will have to calculate how much it’ll cost to sign Darvish.

Contractually he’ll want $75 million in guaranteed money over 5-years and the team that wins the bid will have to sign him.

What he’ll get: The posting will be around $55 million; the contract 5-years, $68 million.

Teams that might give it to him: Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners, Blue Jays, Cubs, Tigers.

If you think for one second that the Yankees aren’t interested in Darvish and aren’t preparing a massive posting bid for him, you need to stop reading this and go enjoy the work of Joel Sherman.

The Yankees aren’t interested in Darvish…just like they were only moderately interested in Mark Teixeira.

They’re going after Darvish. Hard.

Ichiro Suzuki‘s career is winding down with the Mariners and they’ll want a talented replacement for the Ichiro fanbase. They’re building their club with pitching in mind and Darvish would slide in right behind Felix Hernandez for a devastating and young 1-2 punch.

Theo Epstein was torched by the Matsuzaka signing, but the Cubs have money to spend and he might want to make a big splash upon taking over in Chicago.

Would I spend the posting money and sign Darvish if I were a GM? I’d put my job on the line to get him.

Will it be a “bad” signing for the club that does pay him? No. Darvish is the real deal and is going to be an All Star and Cy Young Award contender. He’s a megastar in waiting.

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