Myth: The Yankees should trade guys like Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi and start rebuilding. Maybe Josh Phelps can get something.
Reality: All three have blanket no-trade clauses in their contracts. Abreu will be a free agent after this season and has approximately $10.3 million remaining on his deal. The return on him would be marginal. There is not a large market out there for aging, underachieving expensive players. Phelps was a Rule 5 pick and can’t be traded without the team obtaining him adhering to the Rule 5 restrictions.
Myth: Fire Kevin Long, the hitting coach must be at fault.
Reality: The Yankees are fourth in runs scored in the AL, sixth in batting average, 4th in OPS and third in OBP.
Myth: Fire Ron Guidry, the pitching coach must be fault.
Reality: In 49 games, the Yankees have gotten 24 starts from Wang, Mussina and Pettitte. The rest have come from rookies or bums.
Myth: Just call up kids from the minor leagues, they have to do better.
Reality: OK, like who? The best hitter at Scranton is Shelley Duncan, who has 12 homers and 31 RBI in 44 games but also 35 strikeouts. Spring training masher Bronson Sardinha is hitting .213. Scranton’s most consistent hitter is Andy Phillips. Forget about the kids at Trenton, they’re not ready yet. The Yankees have already tried most of the pitchers. Edwar Ramirez, a 26-year-old reliever with good numbers, could get a shot soon.
Myth: Fire Brian Cashman, this is all his fault.
Reality: Cashman has made mistakes, Kei Igawa being the biggest. But everybody wanted Carl Pavano, including the Red Sox. Everybody liked the Damon signing and most everybody agreed with dumping Sheffield and Johnson. The Yankees don’t have a lot of roster flexibility and Cashman has improved that to some degree. Firing him now could drop this team into a 10-year slump. Signing a series of older, expensive players is not the way to go and that’s what Steinbrenner’s advisors will tell him to do.
Myth: Just fire Joe Torre then.
Reality: It’s tough to argue against this. But would Don Mattingly make that much a difference a third of a way through the season? I’m not convinced of that. But when teams go bad, it’s almost always the manager who pays the price.