Thursday, August 02, 2007

An Open Letter to Our Young Arms

Dear Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy,

I just got back to the United States after 3 1/2 years living in Japan. I'll be back in the Bronx soon to do graduate work and I hope you'll be joining me there as well. This season has been at times a less then enjoyable roller coaster for fans of the New York Yankees and more than one blogger has come close to writing off the team for dead. There's a lot of work to be done before we can pencil our names into the playoffs, but there is also more room for optimism on August 2nd than there has been all year long. We are 2 games in back of Cleveland for the Wild Card and the hottest team in baseball exiting the All Star Break. That's where the three of you come in.

The trade deadline passed with very minimal activity for the Yankees. We didn't add a single pitcher at a time of year when most contending ball clubs are looking to shore up the rotation or bolster the pen for the stretch run. Thanks to some very smart drafting and development, the organization is in a position to bring two or three of you fellas into the race. The Red Sox added Eric Gagne and look very strong to close out ballgames. There aren't many teams in recent memory that have been able to boast a threesome like Okajima, Gagne, and Papelbon. The thing is, we don't have to worry about the Red Sox if we can get that Wild Card and go into the playoffs as the hottest club in the sport. In order to make that dream a reality you will be our trade deadline keys.

Mr. Hughes, you will be back for good this weekend. Just stay within yourself and put us in the game. You don't have to do too much. Just remember that your talent rivals any of the young arms in the sport and we've already seen many of those guys contribute over the last 2-3 years. It's your turn. Stay close to Roger Clemens and stretch that hamstring. Your mission is to fine tune yourself to the point where you can be a major force in the playoffs when we give you the ball.

Mr. Chamberlain, it looks like you will be up with the big boys in Toronto. You'll be contributing out of the pen, but fear not. You will be a frontline starter as soon as next year. Your father is worried about your health this season. Working out of the pen is not what you are designed to do. I say, "Don't fret." You're a bull and you aren't alone out there. This isn't a call up to save the pen or come to the rescue. This is a strengthening and dominating strategic move that is designed to shut the door rather than hold the fort. Just do what you do. Throw hard. Throw strikes. Keep it strong and steady and show why you belong. You could get some big innings in a historic stretch run.

Mr. Kennedy, your time may or may not come. Rest assured that 2008 will see you in the mix. This year you need to be ready at any moment to come to the Bigs and pitch a big game. With Hughes and Chamberlain in the Bronx, it's up to you to be the emergency guy. If one of our guys misses a turn, it could be you that gets a game in the hunt for the playoffs. Karstens is capable, but I'd rather have you in a September game against a contender than JK. Be ready. You might win a game or two that turns our season. We believe in you.

Here we are guys. On the verge of a very happy Summer stretch where we could go from double digit deficits in the division and wild card to a playoff berth and maybe a championship. You are our late summer bonanza. Do your best and stick close to the veterans. They know how to do this. See you in the Bronx.



Jim said...

Right on, Mike.
Good advice all around. Personally, I won't be surprised if (when?) the RedSox collapse after a sweep by the Yankees gets them to only three or four games down in the AL East.
Gagne will be a malcontent who'll probably injure himself (yet again) by overthrowing in an attempt to show he's better than Papelbon.
All due respect to Youkilis, Papi, Varitek & Mike Lowell, but the rest of the Sox range from whiner to quitter and they don't have Dave Roberts this year. I'll take Clemens even now over Schilling, Wang over Beckett and Pettite over Matsuzaka, and that's before Phi Hughes shows up.
Bottom line: Yankees win division unless the rest of the AL bends over for the Sox and the Yanks get hit by freak injuries (again).

RollingWave said...

Chances of catching the Red Sox is too slim to rest our hopes on, their not without faults, and Gagne 07 is not Gagne pre 04, while Okajima is surely due for at least some corerction down the line at some point. (hoping that it's either in the playoffs or at least against the yankees though) but we need to realistic and get in the playoffs first.

I think the Wilson Betemit trade made sense, it's something that won't really hurt us now and might turn out huge down the road, the guy does have crazy power potential and is only 25, he's mostly a miscasted defender and havn't gotten his shot in the REAL win now team call the Braves and pure moronic player evalutation of the Dodgers (they REALLY should have benched Nomar ) there was someone like that back on the 02-03 Twins called David Arias, he sucked at defense, and the manager dissed him for his strikeouts. I heard he was pretty good after changing his name to Ortiz and signing with the Red Sox.

I'm not saying Betemit is Ortiz 03, but they do profile similarly in many ways. (awsome power from the left side, mis casted defensively, wasn't given enough chances and credites by their team ) there's clearly enough talent there to gamble on him as a project that could pan out REALLY fast, espically with our 1B still a gapping hole (no Phillips will not cut it unless he start translating his power and walk rates from the minors RIGHT NOW. ) and our RF might vacant next year (I say might, because despite Abreu's terrible streakiness this year, he's still by far the best RF out there this year, and using his option have no long term risk ) and no sure fired solutions from the farm, he's very nice to have around. and i truely hope they at least give him a shot.

BTW Mike, what you think of Melky and Cano now ;) particularly Cano.

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