If there is a sore spot among New York Yankees fans as it relates to the glory years at the end of the 20th century, it is that so many of the players from those World Series teams of 1996 and 1998-2000 were linked to performance-enhancing drugs, either in the Mitchell Report (per ESPN) or subsequent revelations or investigations.
So perhaps it wasn’t wise for general manager Brian Cashman to tell ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s Michael Kay Show on Tuesday (via ESPN, including audio clip) that he wasn’t “surprised” that former Yankees Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon failed drug tests and were suspended for 50 games each under Major League Baseball’s drug-testing protocols.
“You see some spike in performance,” Cashman said in the interview. “You hope it’s not the case, but you scratch your head and you wonder at the same time. But then you sit there and get a comfort level: Tests are taking place, so if people are passing their tests… . ”
Cabrera was a regular on the 2009 Yankee team that won the World Series, then was traded to the Atlanta Braves that offseason. Since then, Cabrera has played for the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants and has gone from being a marginal third outfielder or a very good fourth one to being named the Most Valuable Player in this year’s All-Star Game.
Colon, meanwhile, who didn’t pitch at all in 2010, had thrown just 257 innings from 2006-09. Then he came to Yankee camp last spring with a fastball clocked in the low 90s at age 38 and was 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA and 135 strikeouts in 164.1 innings in 2011. He was 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA for Oakland at the time of his suspension.
The Mitchell Report implicated former Yankees Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Randy Velarde, Josias Manzanillo, Hal Morris, Rondell White, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Chuck Knoblauch, Jason Grimsley, David Justice, Glenallen Hill, Denny Neagle, Ron Villone, Mike Stanton, Kevin Brown, Jose Canseco and Darren Holmes.
So there’s not just a skeleton in the Yankees’ closet when it comes to PED use, rather there is an entire cemetery full of them.
The smartest thing for Cashman to say would have been something along the lines of “no comment” or “I have no comment to make on players who are no longer with our organization.”
But as we’ve seen before during Cashman’s 15 years running the front office in the Bronx, he doesn’t always say or do the smartest things.
Do the names Carl Pavano or Jeff Weaver ring any bells?