Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Say It Ain't So, Cash

I love browsing the Internet for sports news and opinions as much as the next guy, but sometimes I think it may be getting me into more trouble than I need. Take, for instance, today’s "find of the day," an article at ChicagoSports.com that danced around the subject of Brian Cashman’s interest in ex-Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.

Say it ain’t so, Cash. Say it’s just some hack writer trying to make something up to fuel the fire of us New Yorkers. Here’s the excerpt:

Other teams, possibly including the Yankees, are watching to see what happens with Sosa and the Nationals. Hoy newspaper in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, reported that Alex Rodriguez visited Sosa in Miami last weekend. It's unclear whether Rodriguez was being social or doing legwork for Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who could use Sosa as part of a DH platoon with switch-hitter Bernie Williams (always stronger batting left-handed than right-handed).


The first sign that this is all made up is that it’s one paragraph in a rather drab column. Second, the writer purports that Bernie has been stronger batting left-handed than right-handed. Jigga-what? Okay, so maybe that was the case in 2005, but every other year of Bernie’s career he hit better batting righty than lefty. If the writer put this little effort into such a simple research endeavor, how can we say he’s credible when it comes to rumors like the Sosa one?

This rumor is further discredited when you go back to Cashman’s main idea: roster flexibility. Sosa would actually be worse than Gary Sheffield in right field, making him a permanent DH. Too bad Bernie was signed for that role back in December. By adding Sosa, the Yankees lineup would be as inflexible as ever, especially considering Joe Torre has been on the record lately saying that the team will carry 12 pitchers.

Who would be the odd-man out, then? We’ve established that the 12 pitchers will most likely be Randy, Moose, Pavano, Chacon, Wang, Wright, Small, Sturtze, Villone, Farnsworth, Rivera, and Myers. Add eight starters to that, and you have five bench roles, which will be occupied by Miguel Cairo, Kelly Stinnett, Bernie, Andy Phillips, and Bubba. What, is Cashman going to decide that having Sosa on the team as a DH is more important than having a fourth outfielder? Or a backup first baseman? Or a utility infielder?

The Yankees are absolutely set with their roster, barring injuries. Adding a player like Sosa – or really any player for that matter – will only complicate the issue further. When he re-signed Bernie in December, Cashman made a commitment to sign no more players who could only play one role. Sosa defines a player who can play only one role.

So, just in case you see an article mentioning this ridiculous idea, please just disregard it. I think I’ve proven that it’s absurd to even ponder the possibility of Sosa in pinstripes. Stupid Chicago-ans.