Dear Santa (and the Yankees front office),
I am desperately hoping for a championship dynasty for the New York Yankees. Here is my list of wants—and demands—for the franchise. Some you’ve gotten me, others you haven’t. But I’m assuming you all are working on that as we speak. There’s absolutely no rush. Note: As long as it comes by Opening Day 2009, it still counts as a Christmas present.
1. CC Sabathia – An absolute no-brainer. He’s got the stuff, stamina, and the confidence that any team (including his past two employers the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers) would overpay for. So you did. And I applaud you. If the other owners don’t like it, then tell them to make more money. Or get donations. Or find replacements. Anything.
2. Derek Lowe – A hard-nosed, well-traveled, World Series-experienced sinker-baller. He’d be perfect right under the big fella in the rotation. Well, this didn’t happen—yet. I’m still holding out just in case you don’t get…
3. Andy Pettitte – I want to see the storied lefty do what you didn’t let Joe Torre stay long enough to do: open the new ballpark. But not at $16 million. If he didn’t falter a bit down the stretch last year and had managed to finish at least a game over .500, I really wouldn’t mind so much about having him signed at the same price of $16 million. But seeing that he closed out the Cathedral in style, hopefully something like $12 mil will do.
4. Mark Teixeira – Wow. And wow. This I didn’t see coming. With his power from both sides of the plate in this lineup AND his Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, you guys have almost made the Bombers the team to beat.
This leads me to my two newest additions to my list.
1. A.J. Burnett – Awesome stuff. Playoff and World Series experience. So why do I STILL have a problem with his five-year, $82.5 million contract? Well, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, I’ve said it thrice. And I’ll continue to say it until I see a difference. Five syllables: DU-RA-BI-LI-TY. The man has thrown over 200 innings only three times in his 10 year Major League career.
He’s also been on the disabled list 10 times in that span. And he’s getting the contract of aworkhorse. This doesn’t make sense to me, but hey, you’ve already signed the man. So tell this to Mr. Burnett: take the disabled list off of your friends list on Facebook and AIM and make damn well sure it’s not in your T-Mobile Fave Five.
Get a restraining order, move to a different town. Hell, hide in your LOCKER. Do WHATEVER you have to; AVOID the disabled list!
2. Manny Ramirez – Yes, I said it. I want the Yankee killer, the crazy one. Yes, the one who took a potty break in the Green Monster during an at-bat in the field. The one that made a nice catch, high-fived a fan and then threw out the guy trying to advance on the fly ball (Did I mention that he’s one of the worst fielders in Major League Baseball—and maybe even the Japan, Korean, AND Chinese leagues?).
And the one who said he would steal some bases—which he almost never does—and promptly stole one the following game? Yep, that one too.
Who is Manny Ramirez, really? I don’t think even his wife and kids know. And I’m pretty sure you guys don’t know either.
How do I see him? Well, before I saw him as the SOB that stole two World Series titles from me (and all of the Evil Empire). I saw him as the only hitter in a Red Sox team that scared my a hell of a lot more than David Ortiz—and that was just from watching him on TV. I saw him as the “clubhouse cancer” who literally pushed his way out of Boston—and the traveling secretary among with it. Do you realize how hard it is to do that? Boston pushes away athletes, not the other way around. Just ask Bill Buckner.
How do I see him now? As the spark-plug to a dynasty.
Think about this lineup for a second (positions neglected):
It’s pretty good and much improved from last year (with the exception of the loss of Bobby Abreu). Now, if that’s good, then imagine this lineup card:
Wow. What a difference a name makes, huh?
A heart of the order like that could really open things up for the remaining hitters like Cano, who struggled last year, Posada, Matsui, and Swisher, both coming off of injury-plagued seasons, and Nady, who still has doubters that believe he can’t keep up his torrid production after the trade deadline last year. And that could impact their careers to such an extent to make them…Hall of Famers? Maybe not, but they’ll be pretty damned good.
You want to give him incentives? Here’s some:
a) Manny gets to go back to Boston and shut the fans—and his former teammates—up on a regular seasonal basis. He gets to torment his current teammates more with derisive joking about 2004, though.
b) Money, and plenty of it.
c) A sort of homecoming for the Washington Heights native. Plus, the Yankee fans would love a chance to taunt Red Sox Nation after the Man-Ram (thanks, Jim Rome) jacks a walk-off three-run home run against them.
d) If he thought the audience was big in Boston and the pillbox that Fenway is, then in the brand-new stadium, he’ll be facing a multitude. And in New York? Man, imagine if he hits his 600th home run under the lights of the New Cathedral. The whole city will be buzzing with Manny-mania. Instead of selling “Buck Foston” t-shirts, they’ll be selling “Manny Being Manny” t-shirts and Yankees caps with dreads (or the short ‘fro if that’s what he decides to keep).
Is he in pinstripes yet? Unfortunately, no. But that’s what a Christmas list is for, listing your wants—and sometimes demands. So, Cashman and Hal (Hank, you just keep your mouth shut and stay in the corner), I am waiting. Are you really committed to winning? Complete my Christmas list and you’ll be well on your way.
Am I in a rush? Nah…
...No, but seriously, get on it.