In Monday’s column, I picked on Keith Foulke a bit, expressing the opinion that I didn’t think he’d sustain his performance throughout the life of his new four-year contract. Buried in that criticism was the following: I haven’t looked too deeply at this yet, but I don’t think you can find a lot of relievers who stayed at Foulke’s recent level for a seven- or eight-year period. I think the best relievers in the modern era have short, high peaks before slipping. Mariano Rivera is the exception to this, but when you look around at the best relievers in baseball, by any standard, there just aren’t guys who are worth five or more WARP a year for most of a decade.
It seems there’s one case like this every year, but I can’t remember one that had the potential to be as significant. With Aaron Boone down and likely out for the season due to a significant tear to his left ACL, the Yankees are scrambling to not end up with Drew Henson at the hot corner. The Yanks will be calling all the usual suspects looking for some help, but Brian Cashman seems ready to play hardball to get some financial recompense. According to the AP, Cashman is ready to invoke a clause in the standard player contract that specifically cites basketball as a prohibited activity. The Yankees are reportedly waiting for final results, but since Boone damaged his knee nearly two weeks ago, this sounds like a stall.
While I’ll leave the fallout to the Yankees lineup to others in this site, I’ll look to the injury itself. The most similar injury I could find was the near complete tear of the ACL suffered by B.J. Surhoff in the early days of 2002. Surhoff missed the entire season, but was able to return for spring training 2003. Expect a similar timeframe for Boone.
The Yankees got better news on Steve Karsay. After shoulder surgery last year, Karsay was able to throw from a mound over the winter, but won’t throw breaking balls until pitchers and catchers report. That will be his big test and will determine whether Karsay will be immediately penciled in as one of the Yanks top set-up men or whether he’ll miss the start of spring training. Even if healthy now, Karsay remains one of the bigger risks in pitching.
Sometimes I’m easily confused. Watching Jane Campion films makes me feel like a monkey trying to open a coconut. I’m puzzled as to how Napster hopes to achieve substantive market penetration without having Ratt’s “Way Cool Junior” on its play list. Oh, and I’m also perplexed by what the Rockies are doing this winter–which is what this little piece of bandwidth is all about.
I’ve never met Roockies GM Dan O’Dowd, but I know people who have. By all accounts, he’s a heady, intellectually curious guy with an open mind. That’s why his club’s off-season machinations are especially troubling. The Rockies have–rightly, I think–perceived the NL West to be on a down cycle and, ergo, in a winnable condition. But how they’ve gone about positioning themselves as a contender makes no sense to me.
To wit, Colorado has gone out and signed Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, and Royce Clayton. What’s more is that they apparently have starting jobs in mind for each member of this nefarious troika.