Sunday, April 7, 2013

Moneyball , Yankee Style

("Hitched to an Aging Star: Anatomy of a Deal, and Doubts")

During the halcyon years from 1995 to the present, the Yankees have always been able to outspend their mistakes. Carl Pavano and his $40 million dollar contract resulted in 9 wins over 4 seasons. Kei Igawa produced 2 victories, both in relief, for the $46 million the team paid for his services (a $26 million "posting" fee for the privilege of shelling out $20 million more to possibly the least productive pitcher, per dollar, in major league history). 44 year old Roger Clemens was brought out of retirement to great fanfare and, for his $18.7 million gave the Yankees 18 regular season starts and a total of 6 victories, 6 defeats and one desultory playoff performance.

Yet none of this really mattered for these parts were always replaceable. Throwing good money after bad was always the remedy. But that ship, at least for the moment, has sailed, and an aging, injured and diminished superstar is blocking the sun and being held responsible for bringing in some ugly looking weather.

A-Rod, in fairness, could never meet the expectations of his contract, and when he won the MVP award, was deemed to have accomplished only what his contract demanded. His personality has endeared him to few and his admitted involvement in the steroid era has diminished his stature further.

He is in many ways a convenient scapegoat for a franchise that decided to hitch its wagon to many aging superstars and is now paying the price (or more exactly not paying the price) for its failure to bring young talent through its farm system in recent years. Apart from Robby Cano and the now departed and disgraced Melky Cabrera the Yankee pool of greatness has run dry.

It is a confluence of bad timing and bad luck, with so many concurrent injuries, that makes the A-Rod signing seem such a fiasco. I hope he is able to return to his former greatness some day soon and prove all the naysayers wrong. But that possibility seems no more likely than Kei Igawa winning another game in pinstripes.

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