Mariners Analysis

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Crazy rookies and the playoffs

The post season is full of cliches that can drive you kind of crazy if you let them. Pitching and defense wins championships. Jeter is Mr. Clutch. A-Rod sucks in the playoffs. The list is endless.

Let's just say if the Yankees win the championship it will NOT be a result of their defense!

A big topic the Mariner fan base discussed at length all season is the value of rookies. To some, rookies are an unknown quantity that should only be used at the beginning of the season. Geoff Baker of the Times has argued this point, and takes a lot of heat for it because he is the only prominent blogger who actually defends this position. We are told Adam Jones should start next spring, but he cannot play now when we have sure-fire proven veterans like Vidro and Ibanez who will take us to the playoffs. We have Bavasi who says Adam Jones is "in play" after the trade deadline to join the club, but apparently not in May when it was obvious he could help the team earlier than anyone expected.

Educated fans understand the game has changed. Rookies and prospects carry far more weight today than ever in baseball. The annual trading of prospects for veterans has changed significantly- young pitching is valued far more than it was even 10 years ago. The evidence is indisputable.

Consider this minor note in the NY Times today:

"The Yankees gave the last two bullpen spots to the rookie right-handers José Veras and Ross Ohlendorf, leaving the left-hander Ron Villone off the roster. “I don’t understand, I didn’t get an explanation, and I don’t want one,” Villone said. “I’m supporting the guys they chose because I want to win, but I’m allowed to feel the way I feel.” Both pitchers were September call-ups who have never faced the Indians. They limited hitters to a combined .190 average."

Here go those crazy Yankees again! Keeping two rookies over the "proven" veteran Ron Villone. Does anyone seriously wonder how John McLaren would have handled this situation? The Yankees, the biggest spenders in all of baseball charged into the playoffs and have rookies to thank for it. Ask any Yankee fan if they are excited to see Joba, Hughes etc... on the team. Do you think they are more worried about the kids, or more worried how the veterans like Mussina will do in the playoffs?

Or is it just possible the fans understand talent is what will likely decide who is the post season hero and who is the goat for the Yankees this month? They have no idea if Mussina will blow up or if Joba will melt under the heat, but it is clear Cashman and company are letting talent make the decisions and not cliches like "rookies don't know how to pitch in October."

We'll see lots of kids this October. We just won't see them in a Mariners uniform.

While you watch Jeter at the plate, keep in mind Adam Jones is packing his bags on his way to Winter ball...