Saturday, December 11, 2010

Filip Bondy cluelessly touts Zack Greinke over Cliff Lee for the Yankees

Daily News columnist Filip Bondy has finally done it. He's written something even more out there than his column claiming that the Yankees would beat the Texas Rangers in the ALCS simply by "throwing their pinstriped uniforms onto the field and reading from a few pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia." (Still waiting for Bondy's mea culpa on that ridiculous article, by the way!)

Today's column shows Bondy's general cluelessness about baseball when it comes to doing anything more strenuous than writing his usual snarky whines. His great idea for the Yankees is that they should forget about Cliff Lee and go after Kansas City hurler Zack Greinke. But Bondy apparently doesn't know -- or chose not to mention -- the fact that the Kansas City pitcher has battled social anxiety disorder.

Bondy writes:
When you look at this thing calmly, without the Sox dangling above, it may turn out that the best thing for the Yanks would be Lee returning to Texas and its friendly tax code. Then the Zack Greinke stakes can begin in earnest, and Cashman can finally try to complete a big deal.

Cashman hasn't really done a lot of trading, just patchwork bartering. He didn't trade for Johan Santana, patiently and constructively waiting instead to sign CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. That worked out fine. Eventually, though, Cashman did dump prospects Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy in the deal for Curtis Granderson. That trade doesn't look all that great right now, but you know what, that's how it works. Once in a while, a GM must take the sort of chance that can backfire, or make him look like a genius.

Cashman would need to throw some real talent out there in order to get Greinke from the Royals. If he succeeds, however, he would be getting a top pitcher in his prime. Greinke is 27, and has two years left on a reasonable contract at $13.5 million per season. The Yanks would be able to renegotiate and extend it easily enough.....
Two things wrong with this idea:

* It just astonishes me that Bondy would completely leave out Greinke's issues with social anxiety disorder, and whether a pitcher with a history of anxiety and depression could handle the Bronx.

True, there was a recent Yahoo sports report saying that a source close to Greinke claimed the pitcher might waive his limited no-trade clause -- which includes the Yankees -- to play for a winner. And Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal said he's heard that Greinke is ready "to go anywhere." But Bondy doesn't mention any of those things.

Look, I think Greinke winning a Cy Young Award after dealing with social anxiety disorder is really admirable. (Read this Sports Illustrated article to see how far he once fell.) I'm rooting hard for him to succeed in his career and in his life.

But I also know what the media is like in this town, and what some Yankee fans are like (and Bondy should know, too, given how much he's written about the Bleacher Creatures.) Being able to handle New York pressure is kind of important -- look what happened with Ed Whitson and Chuck Knoblauch, just to name two examples.

I remember how Javier Vazquez got booed by Yankee fans this year in the early innings of the very first home game he pitched this year. I know that a certain segment of the fan base considers it a badge of honor to scapegoat their own players, and boo them like it's nobody's business. Would Greinke be able to handle that? I dunno, but it's a serious thing worth discussing before the Yankees try to trade for him. Yet Bondy apparently isn't even aware that it's an issue!

* As we've seen over and over, Cashman is rarely able to make good trades (Nick Swisher for Wilson Betemit was the best one in recent years. but it was also a White Sox salary dump/player dump.) Invariably, the other team's GM holds up Cash for more than the player is worth, just because they're the Yankees. Remember how much Minnesota wanted from the Yankees for Johan Santana, and how little the Mets got him for? Remember how Cashman thought he had a deal for Cliff Lee this summer, only to have the Seattle Mariners turn around and demand more at the last minute? That's why the Yankees end up doing so much on the free agent market; because other teams' asking price is always higher for the Bombers than for anybody else.

Anyhow, I don't think the Yankees will get Cliff Lee (something I will elaborate on further in a column later this morning) but I also don't think getting Zack Greinke is the slam-dunk solution, either, the way Bondy does. Guess Filip was too busy watching soccer or figure skating to pay attention to baseball.

What do you think? Tell us about it!


Unknown said...

Yankee fan: be afraid - be very afraid - the Rangers have a better shot at getting both Lee and Greinke than the Yanks do of returning to the ALCS in 2011. The days of reckoning are coming, Yankee fan.

Paul said...

I think you're spot on. Mental toughness is a much more critical requirement in places like NY and Boston and his earlier issue was the first thing I thought of when I heard it floated out there. That doesn't mean he couldn't be successful, but I'm sure it's a factor for Cashman (if it comes to that). Be thankful Daily News writers don't actually make the deals!

Cheers from Boston!

Anonymous said...

Well, here's the thing, Lisa. I wish I could cover more figure skating, but the fact is I'm lucky if I get to write more than two columns on the subject per year.

Who do you like at the U.S. championships, BTW? Rachael Flatt didn't do so hot in Beijing, as you know.

As for Greinke... You get the side out in order at the All-Star Game, strike out two, I think that's handling pressure.

Cheers, filip

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing, Lisa: I wish I could cover more figure skating, but I'm lucky if I write two columns a year.

(BTW, I'm disappointed at Rachael Flatt's performance in Beijing, as I'm sure you are.)

As for Greinke, you strike out two and get the side out in order at the All-Star Game, I think you can handle the spotlight...

cheers, filip

Uncle Mike said...

Hi, Filip, greetings from a fellow East Brunswick H.S. grad. Nice to finally beat Old Bridge again.

"It just astonishes me that Bondy would completely leave out Greinke's issues with social anxiety disorder, and whether a pitcher with a history of anxiety and depression could handle the Bronx."

David Wells did. He may never have been diagnosed with depression, but he's sure had his issues with anxieties.

Of course, if you want to talk about anxieties, Lisa, look no further than your favorite player. Yes, I went there. You still think A-Rod is worth it, but what player has had more such issues in Pinstripes? Not Reggie, he was only here 5 years and had pretty much banished those issues after 2 (World Championship) years.

And if Jim Eisenreich can make it in Philly, with much less talent as a position player than Greinke has as a pitcher, then Greinke can make it in New York, and for less money than Lee -- who isn't exactly the most stable guy out there himself.

Lisa Swan said...

"Yes, I went there. You still think A-Rod is worth it, but what player has had more such issues in Pinstripes? "

What issues? You mean two MVPs?

Uncle Mike said...

Enough with the "MVPs," Lisa. MVP voters have made many mistakes. The most valuable player (lower-case) in the American League in 2005 was Paul Konerko, and in 2007 it was David Ortiz (or Mike Lowell if you exclude steroid users) -- simply because they were the best offensive players on the teams that won the Pennant.

The only time the MVP should go to a player who did not play for the Pennant winner is when there's just no one player on said team who's obviously the most important. The '86 Mets, for example: They were so well-balanced (I'm tempted to make a joke here, but I won't) that they had no obvious MVP. So it should have gone to the top player on the league's next-best team, Mike Scott of the Astros. Instead, it went to Mike Schmidt of the Phillies -- certainly he had a great year, but his team was never in contention, so this was a mistake.

The only season when A-Rod has ever been a justifiable MVP is 2009 -- and even then, he had to compete on his own team with Jeter and Teixeira. And who got it? Joe Mauer. Great player, but not the most valuable player in the League that season.

Plenty of times, "MVP" has spelled "lie." Ask Red Sox fans -- I'd trade one of Joe DiMaggio's over Ted Williams to get Ron Guidry the MVP he deserved in 1978 by miles over Jim Rice.

Lisa Swan said...

Uncle Mike, does your hatred of A-Rod know no bounds? You would choose David Ortiz over A-Rod for the 2007 MVP? Are you flipping kidding me?

And your standards not only make ZERO sense, but they have nothing to do with reality. As most people not blinded by #13 hatred know, MLB voters wrote before the postseason. Playoffs have nothing to do with the MVP awards, something you should know better on. And no, you don't get to unilaterally decide what they should be about. They're not about October, and your guy Jeter doesn't have one, while A-Rod has three for his career. Deal with it.

By the way, Mauer had an MVP season last year when his team won the playoffs in a one-game matchoff with the Tigers. If it weren't for Mauer, his team wouldn't have made the playoffs. But for some bizarre reason, you think he's undeserving? Puh-lease.

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