Could it be?
Seriously… could the Yankees be finally saying to the world “WE ARE RUDDERLESS!”?
Why not just tell Andy Pettitte to stay home?
Why not tell Derek Jeter “We think the clubhouse has been too peaceful”?
Could the Yankees be reverting back to all of their awful late 1980s, early 1990s habits of bringing in people that are recognizable instead of addressing their needs?
How can they POSSIBLY spin their interest in Manny Ramirez as anything other than “Hey! We got a player fans have heard of! And a former Red Sox player to boot! Hey! How about that? We’re the Yankees and we get stars!”
The Steinbrenner Yankees have always had a mild obsession with bringing in players who have beaten them in October. From Don Gullett to Randy Johnson, the notion has always been “If you can’t beat ’em, BUY em!”
The Yankees need pitching depth. BIG TIME. Yeah they can use outfield depth, but do you know what? There are never a shortage of outfielders looking for a job. Hell, Jermaine Dye has been looking for one for over a year. He’s a former World Series MVP. And unlike Manny, he hasn’t left a series of teams in his wake saying “It’s just not worth dealing with this crap!”
But here we are. It could just be an internet rumor… but there’s something about it that doesn’t seem far fetched. That the need to make an off season splash to off set the Cliff Lee humiliation is there. And a move to counter act all of the “Red Sox have passed them” talk.
Bringing in Rafael Soriano would be a good solid move to upgrade their bullpen depth. But does bullpen depth put the Yankees on the back page?
The symbolism of taking ANOTHER 2004 Red Sox player and putting him in Pinstripes would have some allure. Alan Embree, Mark Bellhorn, Johnny Damon, Mike Myers and Doug Mientkiewicz all played with the Yankees after winning with the ’04 Red Sox. (So did Ramiro Mendoza, but who are we kidding? He was a Yankee in Red Sox clothing!)
Why not Manny?
Well, first off 2004 was six years ago.
Manny was 32 then. He’ll turn 39 in 2011. And the days of guys getting BETTER in their late 30s have ended. Manny has already been caught and guess what? His bat has slowed down.
I of course LOVED Manny when he was with the Red Sox, but as I wrote in my Dodgers piece for The Hardball Times, he is like a trip to Las Vegas. It is super fun at first but by the end you find yourself thinking “Oh God, this HAS to stop or else something terrible will happen.”
So the Yankees will get all the headaches of Manny without his amazing bat.
And remember, Manny is a spoiled little kid who gets what he wants because his butt has been kissed. It was kissed by the Indians who wanted to develop a big star and get their team back to respectability.
It was initially kissed by the Red Sox because his signing was a counter reaction to the Yankees brining in Mike Mussina. So they had a new superstar to coddle. And later his butt was kissed because they knew they had a potential championship combo if only he stayed happy.
And the Dodgers kissed his butt because they had the first real draw to Chavez Ravine since Mike Piazza was traded.
So plop him into Jeter’s clubhouse and see what happens.
You will get the symbolism of trying to erase the past while the problems of the present are left unchecked.
As I said before, it probably won’t happen. But the fact that we have to say “probably” shows how bad the off season has been for the Yankees.
How great is this for Red Sox fans?
The idea that the Yankees could be doing essentially what Isiah Thomas did with the Knicks! Just bringing in big names for the sake of getting a headline.
OK, the Knicks are a harsh example. But what if they are the Mets? Bringing in recognizable names only to see it blow up in their face!
They won’t be able to resist making a big move before spring training. And having Andy Pettitte come back isn’t a big move. That’s avoiding a loss.
Carl Pavano isn’t coming back.
But there are no more big names left… except Manny.
No other names that would get anyone’s attention… except Manny.
They may not be able to resist it.
And what a beautiful sight that would be.
It would be worth it to see if he would take a leak in Monument Park during the game. What wonderful symbolism that would be.