In reading The Yankee Years, Joe Torre's book, I've heard the word "trust" more times than I heard Obama say "change" in his whole campaign. Meaning, Torre uses "trust" in practically every sentence. Yes, the man who broke that unwritten code of trust between players, coaches, and managers not to reveal the workings of the clubhouse to the media through a tell-all book that directly violates the trust of his former player claims "trust" is what he built his whole career upon. I love Joe, but I mean has he ever heard of the word hypocrisy?
Anyways, through reading this book I keep getting reminded of poor decisions the Yankees have made in the past decade, be it the fault of Big Stein, Cash-Money, or Mr. T.
Let's take a little look...
Signing Rondell White for $10mm over 2 years after 2001 instead of Johnny Damon (who Boston signed for $31mm/4 years).
Signing Steve Karsay after 2001 for $17mm over 4 years. The last three years of the deal he pitched a total of 12 2/3 innings.
Trading Ted Lilly (with no-names Jason Arnold and John Ford Griffin) for Jeff Weaver in July 2002. Though that looked smart at the time...
Almost trading Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Chien Ming Wang in the Randy Johnson trade (thank God we didn't).
Signing Jose Contreras for $32mm over 4 years after 2002.
When Arizona wanted Alfonso Soriano or Nick Johnson as centerpieces of a package for Curt Schilling the Yanks wouldn't bite. I don't mind this much, mostly because I hate Schilling and Soriano was fun to watch, and later netted us A-Rod, who whether you like him or not has been a big part of our offense since his arrivals. But it let Boston get Schilling and win a World Series, so I guess that might be a reason why I dislike the move.
Traded Jeff Weaver,Brandon Weeden, and Yhency Brazoban for Kevin Brown. While the Yanks didn't need Weaver, Weeden is a no-name, and Brazoban has only had one strong major league season ('04), the Yanks slotted Kevin Brown into a rotation spot, and payed him much much more than he deserved. Brown blew game 4 of the '04 ALCS and had an attitude issue all year, like the time he broke his hand punching a cement column. He posted a 4.95 ERA in two years in Pinstripes, while earning about $30mm.
Signing an aging Kenny Lofton to a 2 year, $6.2mm deal before the '04 season.
Signing Gary Sheffield to a three year $39mm deal instead of signing Vlad Guerrero, who signed for 5 years and $70mm with the Angels. Both deals had options for another year. Sheff gave us two quality years, and over the three years he donned pinstripes he had a .291/.383/.515 line. Over 6 years (including this year) in LA, Guerrero has posted a .321/.385/.551 line. Better consistent performance, and for 3 more years than Sheff. We messed up that decision. Add in that Sheff used PED's and Vlad didn't, and that Vlad won the MVP in '04, and it seems like the Yanks really slipped up there.
Not taking up Carlos Beltran on his offer to take 20% less to be a Yankee (Would have been about $95-100mm over 7 years (like $14mm a year). Then we go out and spend $39.95mm for four years of Carl Pavano (Worst signing ever?), $21mm for three years of Jaret Wright (not exactly a good investment), and we trade Javy Vasquez, Brad Halsey, and Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson. We shouldn't have traded Vasquez then, as despite a poor second half he was an all-star, younger than Johnson, cheaper, and Johnson was terrible in the clubhouse, and not particularly effective on the mound.
Sheesh, can you imagine if we hadn't made some of those mistakes. What if Damon was a Yankee in '04? What if Pavano never donned the pinstripes? What If we had Beltran playing center instead of Damno? What if Vlad and A-Rod has been our 3-4 punch? What if we let Jose Contereras fail in Boston? What if we had Ted Lilly for Game 7 in 'o4, rather than Kevin Brown (we traded Lilly in the deal for Weaver, and Weaver in the deal for Brown)? You can always ask what if, but what happened is what matters more. Cash seemed to take control of the team after 2005, and since then we've seen his style a lot more. Holding on to Hughes, Kennedy, and Melky rather than trading for Johan (then signing CC a year later without having to give up top prospects). Not trading young guys, presumably those same ones, for Miguel Cabrera (signing Tex a year later to play first). Trading Scotty Proctor for Wilson Betemit (eh...). Signing Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Darrell Rasner, and Edwar Ramirez to minor league deals (worked for a while...). Who knows what we'll appreciate or regret in ten years....