August 28, 2008
Many, Many People To Blame, Before We Blame A-Rod (STEVEN GOLDMAN | August 28, 2008, NY Sun)
[T]he $200 million Yankees, playing for their lives, are calling not on Red Ruffing, Whitey Ford, or Ron Guidry, but on Ponson, or that their stretch-run starting rotation also includes Darrell "Five-Run" Rasner and Carl "You Break It, You Bought It" Pavano. Rodriguez didn't design the pitching staff. He did not fail to do what other teams do every season, and have done for years while the Yankees have spent their millions on Roger Clemens, David Wells, Mike Mussina, and other veteran imports — that is, take talented pitching prospects such as Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy and teach them how to succeed in the majors.
Rodriguez didn't force Melky Cabrera to stop hitting, then demand that the Yankees ignore the problem for months. He didn't trigger the decline phase of Derek Jeter's career. It seems unlikely that he encouraged Robinson Cano to phone in major parts of his season. Nor did he make the call to open the season with Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen — or Ross Ohlendorf, or Billy Traber. or LaTroy Hawkins. He didn't require Joe Girardi to pursue his answer to the famous Gene Woodling and Hank Bauer platoon, "Jason Giambi and Nonentity du Jour." [...]
Unless he's moonlighting as some kind of bizarro batting coach, he didn't prevent Shelly Duncan from carrying his fluke 2007 hot streak into 2008, or prevent Morgan Ensberg from contributing off the bench. He didn't run the last half-dozen Yankees drafts, the ones that left the farm system without ready upper-level position players of any stripe, and it's improbable that Brian Cashman asked for his input on a Johan Santana deal.
In short, due to a very typical combination of errors, oversights, injuries, bad luck, and those random developments that can unmake any team's season, the Yankees failed to field a championship team, something that's been apparent going back to May, which they finished with a season record of 28-27. Still, it's all Alex Rodriguez's fault because he had a lousy game against the Red Sox in a game that had a million-to-one chance of meaning anything anyway.
If it took you until May to realize how bad their defense was, that they'd wildly overestimated their young guys (other than Hughes), and that the combination of Joe Girardi and Joba the Hutt was a visit to Dr. Andrews waiting to happen then you can't follow baseball very closely. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 28, 2008 11:21 AM