Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bruce Jenkins and the Sour Grapes of CC

I know we've been through this before - Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle is a homer and a douche. We know this.

What we didn't know before today was that he'd be the first HaT Douchebag of 2009.

Between taking potshots at the Yankees, he moans and whines about how much happier CC Sabathia would have been with the Giants. The frickin' Giants. Bruce, just enjoy your lovely

Sabathia saddled with an aging zoo

Bruce Jenkins
Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You can't help but wonder what CC Sabathia thinks of all this. He knew he was signing with a corporate bully, tossing money into the air like confetti, but he had no idea the Yankees' so-called Bronx Zoo would escalate into full-scale chaos so quickly.
Obviously, Giants owner Peter Magowan was showing fiscal restraint when he signed a completely overrated pitcher (Barry Zito) to the richest pitching contract ever (7 years/$126M). The money was not tossed into the air, it was placed gently on Zito's pillow, next to his guitar and stuffed animals. (Zito has been kind enough to repay Giants fans with ERA+ of 98 and 85 in his first two seasons).
For one thing, the Yankees' so-called powerhouse is hardly that. This is an old and terribly vulnerable team, starting with Derek Jeter, who turns 35 this summer and continues a gradual decline so evident, the stat guys are calling him the worst defensive shortstop in the American League.
I am not about to defend Jeter's defense here, and he had a down season with the stick in 2008. However, the three years prior his OPS+ were 125, 132, and 121 and he's still getting on base at an excellent rate. The Giants, on the other hand, have the youthful (34 year old) Edgar Renteria, who they just signed to a multi-year contract and who sported an OPS+ of 84 last season.
The aging catcher, Jorge Posada, is trying to recover from shoulder surgery. So is Mariano Rivera, the storied but 39-year-old closer. Hideki Matsui is coming off his second major knee surgery in two years. Center field, the position with all that Yankees history, has become a grim struggle between Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner.
Posada is aging and is recoving, this is true. The Giants counter with the spry young Bengie Molina (34) who has had one (1) offensive season with an above average OPS+ (2005) and 8 seasons with a below average one.

Mariano Rivera is older and also recovering from injury. Compare this to the fantastic Brian Wilson closing for San Francisco, whose 4.62 ERA in 2008 surely inspired hope in Giants fans. I will personally guarantee that Rivera will outpitch Wilson in every statistical category in 2009. And, hell, for every year from now on until Mo retires or Wilson gets waived.

Yep, Matsui had knee surgery. However the offense doesn't revolve around Hideki flippin' Matsui. Besides, would you rather have Randy Winn or Fred Lewis? I'm not high on Matsui but he's a hell of a lot better than those schlubs.

Centerfield is the only place I might give SF the edge, but it's not like it's a good one. Aaron Rowand and his sub-100 OPS+ in three of the last 4 years may win awards for "grit and hustle" but those would be the only awards for which he'd be considered.
Nobody knows what to expect from Johnny Damon, Nick Swisher or Robinson Cano - or, for that matter, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte in the rotation.
Nobody knows what to expect from any player, as no one can see the future. I know I would expect every single one of them to outperform their Giants counterparts.
There's no help coming from a farm system that hasn't produced an impact position player since Jeter - 14 years ago.
I could probably come up with much better examples of this, but just off the top of my head, how about Jorge Posada? Alfonso Soriano? Hell, Robinson Cano almost won a batting title. Does an "imapact" player have to be someone who's a lock for the Hall of Fame or what?
Alex Rodriguez, who has a rather fragile psyche anyway, will find that curiosity and skepticism accompany his every at-bat, now that 156 of his career home runs are officially tarnished.
Yes, this is as opposed to everyone embracing him wherever he went and treating him with kid gloves.
It's a good thing the Yanks picked up Sabathia and Mark Teixeira for $28.2 billion, or whatever it was, because this is one flawed outfit. And that's just on the field. The A-Rod circus and the residue of Joe Torre's book should make for some really fun times around the clubhouse, and that's a situation Joe Girardi, a manager who likes things nice and simple, won't be able to handle.
Any regular reader of this space knows one of my favorite things is when sportswriters make definitive statements of future events, like "Joe Girardi won't be able to handle these things" because they always wind up looking like idiots later.

Also, as we compared above, the Giants are terrible and won 72 games last year but Jenkins is still mad he didn't sign with a terrible franchise.
And to think, Sabathia's life would have been so much simpler if he'd signed with the Giants.
Yes it would, because he wouldn't have had to worry about playing in the post season or competing in a pennant race.
Don't give me this nonsense about "he had to do it" because of the money. He was either going to be an insanely rich Yankee or a ridiculously rich Giant. There are athletes who know the difference, who have settled for less in the name of lifestyle and common sense. CC just might wish he'd joined them.
Seventy-two wins.

E-mail Bruce Jenkins at
Please do!

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:22 AM   0 comments


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