Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sportwriters... Agreeing With Me?

What is the world coming to?

I posted some thoughts on the Proctor deal last night, and today I am warmly greeted during my morning perusals by two articles saying seemingly the same thing.

First, Tyler Kepner of the NY Times:
On July 8, the day before the All-Star Game break, the Yankees led the Angels by 10 runs when Scott Proctor was sent in to pitch the eighth inning. To the Yankees’ decision makers, this was an obvious sign that Manager Joe Torre would probably always favor Proctor over a pitcher just up from the minors, no matter how promising that pitcher seemed.

So when the trading deadline arrived at 4 p.m. yesterday, the Yankees took away Torre’s go-to reliever, shipping Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the utility infielder Wilson Betemit.

The Proctor trade cleared the way for two converted starters, Joba Chamberlain and Ross Ohlendorf, or for Edwar Ramírez to assume an important role in the Yankees’ bullpen. Ramírez, who went two weeks without pitching when he was with the Yankees in July, will probably be recalled today.
Throw in this gem from Dan Graziano from the Star-Ledger (thanks to Steve Lombardi for the link).
Joe Torre had better use (Chamberlain). Because if he doesn't, it could be one of Torre's last mistakes as Yankees manager.

The impending promotion of Chamberlain is a huge test for Torre at a time when his position in the organization is as tenuous as it's ever been. He is not, traditionally, good at trusting young relief pitchers. And the Yankees front office wouldn't be promoting Chamberlain if they didn't want him to be used in key spots. Their hope is that Chamberlain's 98-mile-per-hour fastball and vanishing slider will be good enough -- and strange enough to opponents -- to overcome his youth and lack of experience. But if Torre doesn't put the front office's plan into action, he could find himself without any backers in the organization when this year is over and his contract is up.

But some in the organization are skeptical. Torre has frustrated people in the front office with his loyalty to slumping veterans and his refusal to use the players (Shelley Duncan, Edwar Ramirez, Andy Phillips when he first came up) they have promoted from their system. He voiced strong opposition to proposed deals for outfielder Milton Bradley and infielder Morgan Ensberg -- deals the Yankees eventually turned down in part because they believed those players would just rot on the bench. Duncan, who was a budding cult hero at Yankee Stadium a week and a half ago, played in just two games on the road trip that followed his big-splash debut weekend.

So as the Yankees mulled different available bench players in advance of the deadline, the common off-the-record refrain from Yankees officials was "our manager won't play him anyway."

It's just about impossible to find somebody in the Yankee organization who thinks Torre will be managing the team in 2008. He's a sure bet to finish out this season, but plans are in the works to replace him with Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, Bobby Valentine or somebody else when it's over. And that feeling has made complaining about Torre a popular pastime around the team.

Given Torre's track record with pitchers who've never helped him win playoff games, Chamberlain's season is likely to go one of two ways. If he pitches well in his first couple of games, Torre will overuse him. And if he doesn't, Torre will never call his number again. That's the manager's pattern with young, untested players, though he insists he'd make an exception if the kid is all they say he is.

"I've always said I make an exception if you have someone who has extraordinary ability," Torre said.

In this case, if he doesn't, it could be bad news for the Yankees, bad news for Chamberlain and the end of the road for Torre as Yankees manager.

.. an exception to what? Did Torre admit to that pattern? I kinda wish Graziano had posted the question or preceeding statement, but nonetheless, an interesting read.

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:35 AM   0 comments


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