Monday, May 14, 2007

My Favorite Mistakes

Yankee haters, let's face it. The last few years have been great for us. Sure, I'd sign up for the Junkees to lose a hundred next season, but overall, no championships is what matters. Granted, there've been many here-we-go-again moments, the '03 ALCS was a bitter pill to swallow, but again, when you look at the end results, you just have to smile.

So now I'd like to look back at my favorite bad moves from each season beginning in 2002, when things started falling apart.

2002: Raul Mondesi. Aside from being a jerk and batting a measly .241, this acquisition helped the baseball world wake up and realize the salary disparity that existed in the sport. When the Junkees plunked down $7 million for a guy they didn't really need (if only Enrique Wilson had caught that pop-up against the Mets....), and gave Toronto a minor leaguer in exchange, that got Chris Russo screaming on WFAN and perhaps somehow helped lead to revenue sharing.

2003: I'd go with Jeff Weaver, who not only stunk up the joint all season long but gave up a game-winning home run to Alex Gonzalez in the World Series, but he was acquired in '02, so I don't know if he counts. Instead, I nominate Jeff Nelson. This was ultimate PR. Bring back a guy who was so instrumental during the good years, never fully replaced, and what does he do, aside from being an idiot during the ALCS fight? Contribute a 4.58 ERA. and prove to be totally unreliable. They got him the heck out of there the following year. Runner-up: PR-pickup Jesse Orosco.

2004: Toss up between Javier Vazquez and Paul Qauntrill. Vazquez was supposed to be that solid number 1 or number 2 guy, and after his terrific first start against the White Sox, absolutely fizzled. Okay, he had a few decent starts after that, but how do you give up 33 homers in 198 innings? He was so bad that he was a goner after that one year. Quantrill wasn't as much PR as Nelson the year before, but he too, was supposed to be the middle relief savior, and was horrid. Believe it or not, Kevin Brown was not horrible in 2004. The next year, on the other hand, was a different story.

2005: Carl Pavano. Need I say more? (Honorable mention goes to Jaret Wright, Felix Rodriguez, Ramiro Mendoza, Tino, Tony Womack, Matt Lawton....)

2006: Again, so many to choose from. Ron Villone turned out to be a disaster, but that's because Snorre pitched him until his arm fell off. You had Aaron Small return to journeyman form. Octavio Dotel stopped by and laid an egg. You had the Yankee bench, with their cast of characters such as Terrence Long. Aaron Guiel. Craig Wilson, and Sal Fasano. But the one guy who sticks out in my mind is Miguel Cairo. The guy was great for the Yanks in '04, let go and picked up by the Mets for '05, which made him a perfect PR candidate - former Met AND former Junkee. Did absolutely nothing at the plate, batting .239 with a .280 OBP and .320 slugging average. A waste of 222 at bats.

I know a lot of these moves didn't make or break them during the regular season or the postseason, but it's still fun to look back and laugh at Ca$hman, Snorre, and company. Further wears away the aura and mystique.

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