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This is the archive for April 2007

An Open Letter to Joe Torre

Dear Joe,

No, I’m not here to join the horde of Yankees fans screaming for your head right now. It’s not your fault there’s a ton of players on the DL at the moment, and for the most part, you’re dealing with the hand you’re being dealt. Besides, it’s the last year of your contract; chances are, you’ll be off to Retirement Land once the season’s done anyway. Why throw things into even more chaos by attempting a mid-season replacement?

No, I’m here to have a little chat with you about a few of the things you CAN control:

1. Why in God’s name is Johnny Damon not on the DL? It’s painfully clear (no pun intended) every time he steps up to the plate that he’s a hurting man. His ongoing back issues have also reduced his already limited throwing capacity, as Julio Lugo made embarrassingly obvious this afternoon by going from first to third on a hit Johnny fielded from maybe 20 feet away from second base. If Damon was healthy, even with his poor arm, Lugo would have been out at third by five feet (assuming he’d have even made the attempt). I understand Johnny’s never been on the DL in his career, and I’m sure he’s proud of that feat, but that pride should not take precedence over what’s good for the team. This is why you have Melky Cabrera on the roster; to give injured outfielders time to recover. You did it for Matsui; now it’s time to do it for Johnny Damon, whether he likes it or not.

2. Let’s face facts, the bullpen (except for Mariano Rivera, of course) has never been one of the Yankees’ strong points. Yes, the current state of affairs with the starting rotation requires leaning on them a little more, but the way you’re using them is clearly not helping matters. You yank some of these guys after one inning even when they’re pitching well, and the next guy promptly blows the game. It looks like you’re trying to spread the work out evenly in the hopes of reducing the possibility of injury, but all you’re doing is tiring them all out at the same time. Furthermore, all this does is show just how inconsistent this bullpen is even on a good day. You’re not going to get the same performance two days in a row out of any of them, so why don’t you try leaving someone in if they’re actually putting on a good show? If they get into trouble, then make the switch—or if worse comes to worst, leave them in. If they cough up the game, they cough up the game—maybe tomorrow’s pitcher will do better, especially with an extra day’s rest. At this point, better to use up one bullpen arm in a day than four of them.

3. I know you like to be an even-tempered kind of guy, but this year, it’s like you found the Prozac prescription Lou Piniella forgot in Tampa. When was the last time you got off the damn bench and stuck up for your players? Matsuzaka plunks your two best hitters and you don’t make a peep. Even if it wasn’t done deliberately, you didn’t even protest the fact that there was no warning issued. Jeter gets nailed by Kazmir, takes a shot to the thigh that could put him on the DL. Kazmir then nearly hits Abreu, A-Rod AND Giambi and still your ass remains on the pine. I don’t expect you to turn into Sweet Lou, Joe, but Christ almighty, would it kill you to make some kind of display once in a while to show us you actually still give a shit?

It’s too early to panic, and with any luck, the Yankees will get past this rash of injuries and well on their way again to yet another playoff spot. Joe, you haven’t missed the playoffs since you took this job, and if this year’s going to be your last, I’d like to see you go out on top. Don’t make me come looking for you with the barbed-wire covered bat in hand.


Jade :)