Every time things get particularly slow in the winter, I tend to look back to make sure this is a normal phenomenon. I go to the far right side of the blog, scroll to the monthly archive, and click back toward the Ghosts of Offseasons Past. It’s no surprise that I usually find more of the same, just quiet days of more speculation than action.
But clicking back to my first winter on the beat, I found this post from 2009. It’s premise is simple: Asking whether Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain would be a better fit in the 2010 rotation.
It’s thoroughly irrelevant at this point — neither one is even in the organization any longer — but it’s interesting to look back at moments like this that seemed to have long-term consequences. Heading into that 2010 spring training, the choice of Hughes vs. Chamberlain to round out the rotation wasn’t simply a one-year decision, it seemed to be the kind of decision that might carry through an entire decade when one of the two might become irreplaceable in the rotation while the other secured a spot as a potential replacement for Mariano Rivera. These were high-end talents with long-term significance, and now they’re gone with no fanfare or sadness.
How many things this winter are going to feel the same way in four years?
Is all of this nail biting over Masahiro Tanaka going to look foolish? Is some solution going to arrive to make all of the infield uncertainty seem unnecessary? Is Dave Robertson or Derek Jeter or Michael Pineda going to make us wonder why we ever doubted them; or is Brian McCann or Jacoby Ellsbury or Carlos Beltran going to make us wonder why they ever got such a contract in the first place?
Every winter is full of quiet moments that spark endless debate and conversation. Time will tell which ones matter in the long run.
Associated Press photo