It was interesting to see the reaction to the Aaron Boone trade yesterday. Around my office, the Mets fans rolled their eyes with envy and said, 'The Yankees get whatever they want.' The fact that the Bombers had to part with their top pitching prospect didn't seem to faze them in the slightest. Meanwhile, many Yankee fans seemed to react with anger and frustration. 'Why did we need to get rid of Claussen for a third baseman? What about a right fielder?'
Then there was some sadness surrounding Robin Ventura's departure. Ventura, the laconic team comedian, was very well-liked with the fans, and his personality will be missed.
"I'd say I'm disappointed," Ventura said. "It's a great place to play, the guys are great, Joe and his staff are great . . . It's a special place."
I've always liked Ventura more as a person---though I've never met him, of course---than as a ballplayer, though he was a solid defender with a good hitting-eye. His best days are clearly behind him. But it was hard to break the news to my friend Mindy, who simply adores him.
I was exhausted by the time the deal was finally announced yesterday. Following the trade rumors since Tuesday, I felt like a kid on a junk-food high. By 4:00 pm, I crashed. I was bemused when I first heard the Boone rumor, and then melancholy. I understand the anger that Jay Jaffe (who has another impressive critique this morning at Futility Infielder) and others feel towards the deal, but after rooting for the Yankees for 25-some odd years, I've developed a thick skin for this kind of move. They make me feel weary more than anything else. I'm resigned to the fact that George makes moves like this in his sleep, and that he's made far worse trades in the past.
If this is the cross Yankee fans have to bear---gluttony and stupidity---so be it. It's the kind of problem most fans would love to have. Of course, I would have liked to see Claussen develop in a Yankee uniform. It's a nice fantasy.
Still, the New York media almost uniformly agrees this was a superfluous and panicky deal by Boss George and co. A reaction to the nifty trades Boston has made all season. Here is what some of the heavy-hitters have to say about it: Sherman, Madden, Lupica, and Jack Curry.
Here are some of Rob Neyer's impressions on the deal, which were posted in his chat session yesterday:
"As for what the Yankees gave up to get Boone, 1) they never give young pitchers a chance, anyway, and 2) Claussen has a great arm, but he's coming off Tommy John surgery and has just 39 K's in 69 innings this season.
...I don't think they're thinking about the long haul. If [Jeff] Weaver works out, great. If he doesn't, they can always sign a free agent or trade for somebody's high-priced veteran. When your budget is unlimited, you don't have to worry about next year
...They're a tad soft in right field, but essentially the Yankees are now without a single weakness. Which doesn't mean the Sox are sunk, of course. They have to beat out either the Yankees or the A's/M's. And I think they will."
Aaron Boone is no Brian Giles, but from what I've heard he's an animated and spirited player; a younger, more powerful Scott Brosius. (According to The Post, the Yanks could have had Giles for Claussen, Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and minor-league pitcher, Chien-Ming Wang. The asking price was too steep for New York, but which trade would you have made?)
If Boone's a true gamer, he won't have any troubles with the New York fans. I want to like him, even if the trade does leave me feeling hung-over.