During the course of the afternoon today, I came to grips with the fact that the Yankees will likely play the entire season without the services of one Derek Jeter. Erick Almonte and Enrique Wilson are all good and fine in a pinch, but this is George Steinbrenner's universe, and they are not the type of players who start for a long stretch of time---like a full season, for this kind of Yankee team. This is not Horace Clarke's Yankees.
Who is out there? Freakin' Rey Sanchez is playing in Queens for cryin out loud. Mike Bordick? Gulp. Melvin Mora? It would be the end for my cousin Gabe. Nah, fuck all that shit, what about Omar Vizquel? He's the last man standing in Cleveland, and his contract is up next year.
Wouldn't Vizquel be the perfect fit?
I called my cousin Gabe and told him what I was thinking.
"You Yankee fans have to learn how to control your id somehow," he said.
But that's the thing about being a Yankee fan. We do live in a universe where we know the owner to going to spend the money and grab the 'name' player; it's only natural when our fantasies are greedy too. We know they can come true. You can't help being greedy. (You just have to balance it out with humility and respect.)
So why not Vizquel?
I wasn't the only guy thinking about the Tribe's most controversial author/player today either. I wrote to Aaron Gleeman, and asked him if he had John Sickels' scouting report on Erick Almonte. I also asked him what he made of Almonte.
Here is Gleeman's repsonse:
I got my Sickels book out and was all set to tell you what Sickels said about Almonte when I realized that Almonte isn't in the book! Which should tell you all you need to know about him (there are like 800+ guys in the book).
As for my take...
He's young (25 in Feb) and I actually think he could be a decent starting shortstop. However, he isn't the type of guy that could start for the Yankees and keep his job for very long. I'd say his true level of performance in the majors, in a good year, would be something like .260/.315/.410, which would put him as a pretty much "average" shortstop (shortstops hit .265/.324/.398 as a group last year).
I really think the best fit would be Vizquel, who would make a nice 1 year replacement and who the Indians are almost certainly willing to give up pretty cheaply.
If the Yankees improve defensively at short with Jeter out---which is entirely likely, they will be hard pressed to duplicate Jeter's offense. The man from Cleveland is as good a fit as you can imagine. The Yankees need a defensive short stop more than they need an offensive one. The Yankees offense can take the hit. But Omar has a little bit of O and a whole lot of D...
Boy, Jeter is going to drive himself mad rehabing all summer. He's never had to deal with anything remotely like this before. In a couple of days, when he knows for sure what's going to happen, some of his fear will subside and then that kid is going to start getting pissed. And he's going to be pissed all summer too. Yeeeesh.