(Long Island, NY) Talk about one of your all-time busts. Fortunately for the Yankees, they have overcome it and have the money to spare. But for most major league baseball teams, a big free agent contract for a supposedly big-time starting pitcher that has blown up in their faces would set a franchise back.
When righthander Carl Pavano signed a four-year $39.95 million dollar contract with the Yankees before the 2005 season, it was looked at as a risk worth taking. Never being completely injury-free during his career, the man did play a big part in the Florida Marlins’ 2003 World Series victory over the Yanks. And when George Steinbrenner wants someone, he usually gets him. The Bronx Bombers needed to re-tool their starting rotation and get younger. Pavano seemed like a good start.
Keep in mind that this is the same pitcher that was lauded as a prospect enough to be the main piece in the Pedro Martinez trade between the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos. He never made an impact up north and was dealt to Florida, where he was basically a .500 pitcher. His last two seasons in the Sunshine state were his best, and he played that into a long-term deal.
His tenure in the Bronx reads like a laundry list of bad luck/bad pitcher. Last season, he left a lot to be desired in 17 starts before shutting himself down with shoulder pain, which was diagnosed as tendinitis. He was preparing to come back in Spring Training and once again had to curtail his work due to back pain. Two weeks later when he resumed work, he hurt his left buttock (no kidding) fielding a come-backer on the first batter he faced.
In May, he had surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow. That gave him off until last month, when he started making rehab starts in the minor leagues. In his last start, he complained of soreness under his armpit. It was later revealed that on August 15th, Pavano had a car accident in Florida that caused two fractured ribs. He attempted to keep this from the Yankees, but claimed that he had to come clean because of the pain.
In case you want to feel bad about Pavano, he also wrecked his Porsche in the car wreck. Some guys just have no luck.
There have been whispers that some of his Yankee teammates have been wondering about his desire to come back and actually earn his paycheck. Can’t say that I blame them, especially when the team is prepping for the playoffs. If you cannot get your competitive juices flowing for a post season appearance at Yankee Stadium, then you shouldn’t be playing this game.
The Yankees can look to void part of Pavano’s contract due to the fact that he hid an injury from them. But that is a long shot.
Maybe Pavano can leave his legacy in New York by being an even bigger bust than Mo Vaughn. At least Mo hit the Budweiser sign on a home run at Shea. What did Pavano ever hit accept for a truck on that rainy West Palm Beach road?