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Around the Yankee Universe, 02.19.09

To put it mildly, New York Yankee Captain Derek Jeter was not very happy about spending a bunch of time Wednesday answering steroid questions. Listen for yourself.

Pretty obvious that Jeter didn't enjoy being being dragged through this conversation again. Especially since it involves A-Rod.

-- Hat tip to Bronx Banter.

Now, let's move beyond the A-Rod mess -- or try to -- with a look at a couple of other Yankee stories found floating around the Inter-Google.

  • WFAN's Sweeny Murti is really fired up about watching young Mark Melancon as he bids for a spot in the Yankee bullpen this spring.

The pitcher I am most looking forward to watching this spring is Mark Melancon. Across 3 levels last year (A, AA, AAA) Melancon was 8-1, 2.27 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, 22 walks and 89 strikeouts in 95 innings pitched. I asked a Yankee exec, “What if I said Mark Melancon was the future closer for the New York Yankees?” The exec replied, “That wouldn’t be a stretch.” Melancon is listed at 6-2, 215 pounds, a redhead with a brush-cut who turns 24 in March. A scout told me he was the best pitcher he saw in the minors all last season. A good look at Melancon this spring and maybe all you guys will stop begging the Yankees to put Joba back in the bullpen.

  • Even the Boston Red Sox are beginning to moan about baseball maybe needing an "enlightened salary cap" to control the Evil Empire in the Bronx. Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan wonders why the Red Sox are complaining.

OK. The Yankees have a lot of money. But shouldn't the question be, "What good has it done them?" Last time I looked, they had not won the World Series since 2000. Their payroll has continually escalated in the past decade, finally exceeding the once unimaginable $200 million level, and last year they wound up further away from a championship than in any year since 1993, which was the last full season they did not make the playoffs.

Perhaps they needed some better judgments. Perhaps they need to start developing their own players, rather than poaching everyone else's. While the Red Sox and Rays have benefited greatly of late from home-grown talent, the Yankees have not developed a star player since their system bubbled up Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada, circa 1995. That, by the way, was the Gene Michael era. ...

The Rockies were in the World Series in 2007. The Astros were there in '05. The Tigers made it in '06, before they became big spenders. Since the Yankees last won the World Series, 12 other teams have made Series appearances. And it's not like the Yankees weren't trying: Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Carl Pavano, Randy Johnson, Bobby Abreu, and Roger Clemens all came to New York at great expense.

Oops, almost forgot A-Rod.

Put me down as a judgment guy. The Rays are proof that a perennial loser can become a winner if put in the hands of the right people.