You know J, I wanted to like you. I was one of the few Yankee fans that openly rejoiced when the news hit that you took the fat 3 year deal Brian Cashman offered
. I hoped you failed that physical prior to signing because of incompetent doctors, the same way amateurish docs told Roger Maris it was okay for him to play through the wrist injury that ultimately led to his premature retirement. I was part of the minority that thought you had turned the corner for good in 2004, that whatever Leo Mazzone taught you in Atlanta was here to stay.
But I see now that I was wrong. I was so naive, I remember thinking you had a legit shot at winning 18 games. You were going to be at the back of the rotation for a team with a dominant offense and a dominant end game bullpen, what wasn't there to like about that situation? Just about a month ago I thought you could be a very good reliever, after all you did earn your spot in Atlanta after serving as John Smoltz's primary set-up man down the stretch in 2003. But now, I think you'd most benefit the team by pitching BP, you know, helping the hitters gain confidence. You seem to be good at that.
You've certainly had your moments in the sun; how could I forget you twice outdueling Andy Pettitte as a rookie in the 1997 ALDS? Heck, you even started Game 7 of the series that year! It wasn't your fault Jose Mesa couldn't hold the lead in the 9th, or that Charles Nagy threw something that resembled a curveball to Edgar Renteria. Let's not forget how lights out you were against the Cubbies in the 2003 NLDS, hurling 4 hitless, shutout innings. Dude, you even have a Fan Club
Now, I know it's not really your fault your right shoulder is softer than pudding, and I applaud the dedication you showed coming back from the DL ahead of schedule last year. You certainly had your share of bad luck in 2005, turning into a moving target on the mound. You're a fierce competitor and everyone associated with the organization knows you'll pitch until your arm falls off, but so would I and about 300 other pitchers in the bigs.
I'm mean, come on, you gave up 11 hits and 8 runs to the Pirates on Monday. In 3 innings! I'm sure I don't need to remind you they had guys named Stansberry and Chiaffredo in the lineup. Your aggregate spring line is 7.2 IP, 18 H, 11 R (all earned), 3 BB, 2 K, 12.91 ERA, which means if you were about 10 years younger, you'd have earned yourself a trip to instructional league already.
Let's face facts here, excluding the fluke season you had in 2004, you're a .500 pitcher (42-42) with a career ERA of 5.72. You've racked up only 37 Win Shares during your career, which is the same number of WS perennial doormat Ryan Franklin has piled up...in 35 fewer starts. Your "Stuff
" is a 5. A 5! For chrissakes that fat toad Hideki Irabu's was a 10!
To steal a line from Van Wilder
: there comes a time in everyman's life when he has to realize a bad investment, and simply cut his losses. It just might be best for both of us if you packed up your locker and left. Sorry things had to turn out like this, but I want you to know it's not me, it's you.
Mike of IGWT
PS - Give Omar Minaya a ring at 718-507-METS, I don't think he has enough overpaid, injury prone average starters as it is...Update
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