6. Don't make the mistake of convincing yourself that Nick Green is the answer, either. The 30-year-old journeyman has done a fine job of filling in -- his .304 average and 110 OPS+ has exceeded probably even his own hopes and expectations -- but he's become increasingly mistake-prone in the field (though not so bad as to be Lugoesque, mind you). He looks like a pretty dependable utility man, but if you're expecting much more than that going forward, you'll be wondering what you were thinking soon enough.
7. A few years ago, I got into a debate with a Yankees fan buddy (yes, I have a couple -- they make for great comedic straight men nowadays) that ended with him slamming down the phone and hanging up on me. The debate in question: Who would be a better big league pitcher, Jon Lester or Phil Hughes? After last season, during which Lester looked like a future Cy Young candidate while Hughes pitched like a one-man Hideki Irabu tribute band, I was pretty convinced I was vindicated. Now . . . well, I'm still pretty certain Lester will have the superior career, but with his sluggish start, the concerns over the Verducci Effect, and the 22-year-old Hughes's return to his previously promising form so far this season, there's a decent chance he'll be every bit as important to the Yankees over the next several seasons as Lester is to the Sox. Makes for a pretty intriguing pitching matchup tonight at the very least.
8. Matt Taibbi, one of the must-read magazine writers of this generation, has the talent to take apart his topics with a deft and subtle touch. But in this month's Men's Journal, he forgoes all nuance and basically breaks out the hatchet on Yankees GM Brian Cashman. In the piece -- which is sporadically vulgar, if not quite NSFW -- he convincingly paints Cashman as an incompetent, two-faced survivalist with a remarkable gift for pinning his mistakes on others. Oh, and did we mention greedy?
With his shameless, blatant attempt to buy a World Series with a half-billion-dollar shopping spree at a time when the rest of the country is scrounging under the couch cushions for ramen money, Cashman has laid the foundation for 2009 to be maybe the most entertaining year for non–Yankees fans in the history of baseball. We are all trailing six car lengths behind, waiting for the pinstriped truck to jackknife and explode in a giant conflagration of scandals and finger-pointing. In an age when huge, irresponsible financial bets have brought Western civilization to the edge of collapse, Cashman’s Yankees are perfectly positioned to become an object lesson in everything that has gone wrong with American society in the past eight years or so.
The piece was so vicious -- and spot-on vicious -- that even Cashman's close confidante The Headwarmer probably thought it was too rough. Yeah, I loved it.
9. As for today's Completely Random Baseball card:
The Rooster is 58 years old. And yet if Tito somehow found a way to start him over Lugo tonight, I'd be totally cool with that.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.