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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Five Questions With Jay Jaffe

From: Rob McMillin <rlm@scareduck.com>
To: Jay Jaffe
Subject: Five Questions
Jay -- some questions for you (for publication on my blog, if you don't mind) on your favorite teams:

1) Dodgers: still in it for the division race? Or lost in the pack for the Wild Card?

Happy to oblige, especially given that some of these answers are pretty fresh in mind given my latest hit list and blog entires.

Yes, most definitely still in it. The Padres have two good starting pitchers and a bunch of dreck in the rotation; beyond Jake Peavy (the best pitcher in the division) and Adam Eaton, the starters have a 5.63 ERA through Sunday. The Diamondbacks are working with smoke and mirrors, having allowed 37 more runs than they've scored. Javy Vazquez and Brad Halsey are making them look pretty smart compared to the Yankees, though. The Giants have more troubles than the return of Barry Bonds would solve; Jason Schmidt isn't right, Noah Lowry stinks, and their most reliable pitchers right now are Brett Tomko and Kirk Reuter -- good luck with that. There are no favorites here, and health and upgrades could make or break the division race for any of these teams.

2) Dodgers: buyers, sellers, or neither at the trade deadline? Who, and for what? (Keep in mind DePo's already said he's looking for starting pitching.)

Buyers, unless they really stink up the joint for the next six weeks. They really need another starting pitcher, they probably need to find a competent fielder for third base, and it wouldn't kill them to have another fresh arm in the bullpen. They have plenty of arms in the minors to bargain with, and they should trade Edwin Jackson the moment he starts to turn things around (he's currently got an 8+ERA at Vegas).

3) Yankees: Any guesses about their final record now?

With the rose-colored glasses on, the Yanks look like an 85-90 win team right now at best. I just don't see them breaking out beyond that, which means they're in Wild Card territory at best. I'd almost rather see them call off the dogs before doing something stupid and adding another $20 million to the payroll at the expense of, say, Chien-Ming Wang and Eric Duncan (who's not hitting right now).

4) Yankees: George Steinbrenner has a conference call with a Jamaican psychic who saw your face appear on the side of a chalupa.  After firing Brian Cashman, the Boss suitably perfumes his office, and convinces you to hire on as Yankees GM. What horribly unpopular move do you make first?

I don't think there are any moves that would be horribly unpopular given the state of the Yankees. Filling a ditch with Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Tony Womack, Ruben Sierra, Paul Quantrill, Mike Stanton, Buddy Groom, Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright would merit a tickertape parade even if those guys are still costing George money. I've been gunning for Mel Stottlemyre for awhile, but I think this team is already defined by things that weren't done when they needed to be.

They missed a golden opportunity to set themselves right in centerfield and in the lineup by signing Carlos Beltran, so perhaps sending in Navy Seals to storm the Mets clubhouse and kidnap him and (why not) Pedro Martinez to make them Yankees is the way to go. Guerilla GM tactics in the age of terrorism--now THAT would be unpopular. George might think it was cool, though, and pleasing the Boss is all that matters.

5) Outside of these two teams, who do you see as the most interesting club this year and why?

The Orioles are probably the most sustainable of the three surprise AL teams, moreso than the White Sox and the Rangers. They've got a great offense going, and the pitching has made great strides under Ray Miller, of whom I'm always been a big fan. I mean, Bruce Chen, he of the eight teams before his 27th birthday, looks like he's found a home. That they may upset the prevailing order of Yanks and Red Sox in the AL East is the big story.

Other teams that interest me: the Twins (with those microscopic walk rates), the Brewers (for approaching .500 thanks to a much improved rotation) and the Nationals (who could root against them after all they've been through?).

Thanks, Jay.


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