First, sorry for being away for the past few days. I’ve been very busy at work and had very little time to get any blogging done. I’ll be posting sporadically over the next few weeks and should be back to a normal schedule in early February. With that out of the way, I wanted to comment on a recent YES blog piece by Quakerman. He writes:
As I skimmed over www.MLBTradeRumors.com , I noticed the following spat of information:
“Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez spoke to Puerto Rican newspaper La Perla del Sur. MLBTR’s translator Nick Collias supplies this interesting quote: “I don’t have much playing time left…I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I’m definitely not going to play until 40.” Vazquez is eligible for free agency after the season.”
Now this has given me my first “Uh-Oh” moment of the year, which has caused me to wonder about the Vazquez-Melky trade. I am worrying over a stupid little quote because of a few things.
Vazquez is 33, turning 34 in July, and coming off arguably the best season of his career, being traded to a World Series favorite, and will be Free-Agent after next season; which, if he has a decent season, should cash in pretty good next year. So, WHY would you state you might only have 1 year left?
My answer to this question is very simple, DESIRE. Does he really love the game, or is he just amazingly talented (I.E. Keith Foulke’s comments a few years ago)?
Folks, don’t take this stuff too seriously. Athletes talk about retiring all the time. Competing on a professional level in most sports requires long hours in the gym and spending half the year traveling from city to city. A highly paid athlete will quickly earn enough money where he doesn’t have to work ever again, and will begin to wonder how long he wants to do this. It often has nothing to do with your competitiveness or love of the game, but more to do with all the BS involved with playing it professionally. Vasquez has been much-traveled in recent years, having played in 6 different cities from 2003-2010. Chances are he’s sick of bouncing around, and would like to settle in somewhere. Even if he’s serious about this, the Yanks are only locked into him for just one year and I doubt he’ll retire mid-season. The Keith Foulke reference is especially silly. Foulke was a walking MASH unit when he suddenly retired in 2007 and he attempted a comeback with the Oakland A’s the very next season. He was so serious about retirement that he played for the Newark Bears in 2009.
Andy Pettitte has talked about retiring going back to his first run with the Yankees, then talked about it some more when he hurt his elbow playing with his hometown Astros, then discussed it again each time his contract has come up during his current run with the Yankees. Does anyone question Andy’s “desire” to pitch in a big game? Roger Clemens retired and unretired so often it became a running joke. Michael Jordan retired at age 29, played Baseball for a few years, came back to the Bulls, retired again at age 34 while still at the top of his game, then came back again to play for (and run) the Washington Bullets at age 38. He’s only thought of as one of the top 2-3 Basketball players who’ve ever lived. Whenever I hear an athlete discussing retirement, it goes in one ear and out the other.
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