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Sunday, December 1, 2013

M & M Boys, revolving door rosters, copy cat management and rooting for the laundry.

M & M boys:
- Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris Yankees
- Bobby Murcer and Thurman Munson Yankees
- Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau Twins.

Maris and Mantle
Baseball Digest October, 1961
Wikimedia Commons
In my formative years Mickey and Roger were the dynamic duo starting in 1960.  A decade later Murcer teamed with Munson to form a more limited version.  I'm guessing that in recent years young Minnesota Twins fans had similar views of their two home grown MVP stars.

Of the six only Maris did not start with his team of fame.  Roger had played for Cleveland and Kansas City (As in those days, not Royals) but he was American League MVP in the first two of his seven Yankee seasons before he was banished to St. Louis for no more than Charlie Smith.

Murcer was also sent packing.  His offense: he was not the second coming of Mickey Mantle.  Murcer was traded to the Giants, of San Francisco by then, for the player who was not the second coming of Willie Mays: Bobby Bonds, father of Barry Bonds.  It seemed fitting in a reverse karma sort of way.

But those were the Yankees, intent on winning.  The Yankees had used rent-a-player before, even rent-a-Hall of Famer: Joe Sewell, Johnny Mize, Enos Slaughter, Wade Boggs.  OK, not Ty Cobb or Willie Mays but Hall of Fame members nonetheless.

But now sweet Minnesota, the team that was considered for contraction but fought back, has banished one of its recent home grown stars.  Morneau was in his eleventh season with the Twins.  He had been MVP in 2006.  He struggled with terrible injuries in 2010 and 2011 but had played 134 games in 2012 and 127 in 2013 when he was sent to Pittsburgh where he played another 25 games.  After the season he became a free agent and Minnesota could have brought him back but did not.  Adding insult to injury, Minnesota is moving Mauer from catcher to first base where Morneau had played.

In recent seasons the Yankees have been anchored by players who spent their entire careers with the team: Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera.  In 2014 only Jeter will remain.  They also had long time imports: Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui.  Alex Rodriguez has now played ten seasons with the Yankees and won two of his three MVP awards as a Yankee.

Nick Swisher had played five seasons before joining the Yankees in 2009 when he helped them win their only championship since 2000.  Swisher lasted four seasons, then became a free agent and joined Cleveland in 2013.

Curtis Granderson played four seasons for the Yankees: 2010-2013.  Granderson joined Giambi as the only Yankee since Mickey Mantle to hit at least 40 homers in consecutive seasons.  Granderson is now a free agent.

As a replacement for Granderson the Yankees are considering Carlos Beltran, a free agent who played most recently for the St. Louis Cardinals.  I love Beltran and wanted the Yankees to sign him when he was a free agent the first time following the 2004 season.  Beltran would have been the perfect replacement for Bernie Williams.  The Yankees showed no interest then.  Beltran instead joined the Mets and set the team record for home runs in his second season: 41.  In his seventh season with the Mets they sent Beltran to San Francisco.  Then on to St. Louis in 2012.  Beltran will be 37 in 2014 and the Yanks want him because he might be willing to accept a short term deal.

How did we come to this?  Copy cat management.  Boston has the most recent management style to emulate.  The Red Sox are credited with signing players for more money but for short term deals, like Mike Napoli for only the 2013, although Napoli may re-sign with Boston.  Whom do the Red Sox have locked up for their fans?  Dustin Pedroia, MVP in 2007.  That's about it.

Now the other teams are supposedly considering that as the new model for success.  As a fan I'd like at least some core players to play most if not all of their careers with the team I root for.  Having supplemental players is part of the deal but I'd like at least some of them to remain for at least 4-5 years.  Despite their flaws I had gotten comfortable with Swisher and Granderson.  I understand that the team needs fresh blood but I'm very concerned that all teams are entering a period when fan interest in individuals will receive very little consideration.

I wish that Carlos Beltran had been a Yankee the last decade but I don't really want him now that he is old and injury prone, not as a rent-a-player.  I want to like the players on my team.  I don't want enemy players like Red Sox Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens or Kevin Youkilis.  Babe Ruth was OK because he had 87% of his plate appearances with the Yankees.  And he was The Babe.

Despite what the Steinbrenner Kids may think we're not rooting for the laundry.  And not for a cameo appearance.  I don't want to see just anybody in a Yankee uniform, which is one reason I oppose the pending acquisition of Brian McCann.

Monday, November 25, 2013  Brian McCann is an asshole and Yanks should not sign him.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013  Brian McCann: is he worth $17 million for each of the next five years?

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