|Torre and Cash look like 2 teenagers embarrassed to be seen with their dad
Much like life in general, when things go wrong in baseball it seems a scapegoat needs to be decided upon as soon as possible in order to assuage peoples' collective worry - it is much easier to deal with a bad situation once there is someone to blame. While this tactic might work in one's personal life (just blame your parents for everything wrong in your adult life.... who doesn't?), I have trouble going along with the fingers being pointed at Torre and the Cash Man in the wake of the Yankees continued failures this season.
There is no denying the fact that there are myriad problems in Yankees-ville right now, from injuries to slumps to blatant implosions on multiple fronts, but is Torre and/or Cash at fault? Despite the picture much of the media is painting, it seems to me that 99% of the troubles plaguing the team have little or nothing to do with either of them. Let's examine:
Injuries: The injuries to the pitching staff (Wang, Moose, PAVANO, Karstens, Hughes, Rasner...) have obviously caused huge problems for the Yanks, since the offense has been saddled with the task of trying to score 5+ runs every game to make up for the 4 the starters give up, and the bullpen has simply been overused because the starters can't seem to make it out of the 5th or 6th inning. Some responsibility for the injuries lies with the players, particularly if they were not doing enough to prevent strains with stretching and training, but most of the trauma endured by the pitchers can be attributed to simple bad luck - like in the cases of Karstens and Rasner. The only other injury causing serious trouble for the Yanks is the great Giambi Bone Spur Caper, which, since he doesn't have to play defense anymore, does not necessarily spell tragedy for the team. I would pinpoint the injuries as the number one cause of the Yankees' overall failures, and I certainly see no way that Torre or Cash could be to blame for that.
Slumps: Damon, Cano, Abreu, and now Giambi are enduring a discomforting collective slump right now (I'm leaving Mietkicantspellhisname off that slump list because sadly how he's hitting is exactly right for his career numbers). All 4 of those guys have proven their talent, though, so while it is frustrating I see no reason to believe that they will continue on this way all season. I suppose there could be an argument for Torre to take a small portion of the fall for the slumps, if he has not been encouraging and motivating them enough, but with the exception of Cano, those guys are experienced players that should not require coddling.
Blatant Implosions: Mariano has had a mini-implosion, blowing 2 saves and losing 3 games already - he only blew 3 and lost 5 over the entire season last year. Much like the aforementioned offensive slumpers, though, I really do not fret much about Mo. He is getting older, which could be contributing to his slowdown, but I have a feeling he just hasn't hit his stride yet. The biggest implosion is without a doubt Kei Igawa, who in the 6 games he pitched managed to rack up a 7.63 ERA and give up EIGHT home runs. This one could possibly be blamed on Cashman, since he obviously is partially responsible for signing him (although I'm guessing this one was mostly Big Stein's idea, in a knee-jerk response to Boston's Dice-K acquisition), but Igawa was relatively cheap and was never intended to be an ace in the first place. He was signed as a 5th starter, and although he was a disappointment the first time around he could certainly improve in the minors enough to come back as a #5 man at some point next year. Even if we never see him again, it is not as if the deal would have cost the Yankees an arm and a leg (with Stein's fortune, more like a small toenail), and Igawa's bad performances this year are surely not solely to blame for the Yanks' horrid April-May record.
Of course, Big Stein can fire and hire whomever his old heart desires, but he has shown no sign of making a move like that any time soon. Hopefully Stein is able to see that the Yankees' failures this year cannot be pinned on any fatal errors made by Torre or Cashman and will continue to play the waiting game with the rest of us, hoping that things come together for the team. After the season is another story - if things don't go his way in the post-season, Stein is always quick with the ax!
Labels: front office, injuries, pavano must die, rumors, you make me sick