As we wind down Spring Training and approach Opening Day, we're really just going through motions. At this point, we're just hoping that no one else gets hurt. And, of course, there is a chance that Derek Jeter will miss Opening Day. Great. Let's officially start the rambling there. If Jeter is out for Opening Day, that is going to be one hell of a lineup in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way. What could it look like? Let's assume they're facing Boston's lefty, Jon Lester.
1. Kevin Youkilis, 3B 2. Eduardo Nunez, SS 3. Melky Mesa, CF/LF (justification here) 4. Robinson Cano, 2B 5. Juan Rivera, 1B 6. Ben Francisco, DH 7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 8. Francisco Cervelli 9. Brett Gardner, LF/CF
Um....yikes? That is...not desirable. It could shake out differently and we could end up with Ronnier Mustelier in the fold, likely at third. If that happens, the lineup could be:
1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B 2. Eduardo Nunez, SS 3. Ronnier Mustelier, 3B 4. Robinson Cano, 2B 5. Juan Rivera, DH 6. Melky Mesa, CF/LF 7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 8. Francisco Cervelli, C 9. Brett Gardner, CF/LF
Honestly, I can't tell which one is better/less worse. Your thoughts?
Earlier yesterday, I read this piece from the New York Times about Hal Steinbrenner and the "new course" he's plotting for the Yanks. In defense of Plan 189, Hal broke out one of his favorite justifications:
“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to have a $200 million payroll to be world champion,” he said last week in the team’s plush conference room at the spring training complex here. “And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”
My first response is: "Duh." Of course you don't need to spend money to win and of course spending doesn't automatically mean wins. But the way Hal spins this is shallow and disingenuous. Trying to stick to a budget and getting some luxury tax rebates are noble goals and not bad on their own. However, it's hard for the team to appear financially disciplined when three of it's players will combine to make more than $60MM next year. And, if we assume that Robinson Cano will be retained, it'll be four players making over $80MM. That doesn't leave much leftover for the rest of the team. This is probably alarmist, but it's possible that the newly "thrifty" Yankees will not be competing for a championship for a little while.
This was an annoyance that I, unfortunately, predicted in a chat with Larry Koestler during the day yesterday. To that moronic assumption, I present this. While we're on the subject, congrats to Robbie (MVP!) and the rest of the team from La Republica Dominicana for winning the third World Baseball Classic. I definitely got more of a kick out of it this year than I did during the previous two contests. Any time I can wake up and watch baseball is just fine with me.