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Silence Is Golden

Mike SteffanosTuesday, April 5, 2011
By Mike Steffanos

When I was a kid I was raised primarily by my grandmother, who I wrote about at some length in this piece.

No one on earth loved me more than this great woman, but on occasions when I got on her nerves she wasn't afraid to let me know that I was giving her a headache. One of her favorite expressions was, "silence is golden." It was her way of letting me know that she didn't need me to share everything that came into my sugar-buzzed little head with her and the rest of the world.

Clearly Yankees GM Brian Cashman does not subscribe to these words of wisdom. By now I'm sure you're aware of Cashman's much-ridiculed accusation of abuse by the Mets for pitching Pedro Feliciano's arm off in the past three seasons. Not that the charge itself was baseless, but it made the Yankees and their GM look silly for giving a 2-year contract to Feliciano.

Cashman did not acquit himself well in this matter; indeed there was a childish aspect to his actions. And it's not the first time he has struck me as rather immature.

I remember back to when the Mets signed Carlos Beltran when it was widely believed the Yankees would pursue the star centerfielder, but they elected to spend their money by trading for Randy Johnson, and signing Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright to join him in the rotation.

Those choices turned out to be somewhat misguided, but they were defensible at the time in that the Yankees elected to spend their money on trying to improve their rotation, but Cashman took some abuse in the press and there were even some saying that Omar Minaya had somehow outmaneuvered him.

That was silly, of course, but it obviously stung Cashman, who first let it leak out and then actually confirmed in an interview with Francesa on WFAN that Beltran wanted to sign with the Yankees so badly that he was willing to do it at a discount below what he cost the Mets.

I wasn't really hurt that the Mets weren't Beltran's first choice, but for many fans this was held against him -- indeed, it's probably the root cause of some of the animosity that still lingers against a guy who's been a good citizen here and deserves better.

For some reason Cashman didn't take any real criticism for revealing something that happened in what were supposed to be private negotiations, but I thought it was an incredibly unprofessional act by the General Manager of one of the major franchises in all of sport. Therefore, I wasn't at all surprised to see Cashman act again in a similar manor when some suggested that the Mets had somehow been smarter than he was because they let Feliciano go.

Someone else who came out of this whole deal looking a little less than completely professional in my eyes was pitching coach Dan Warthen, who was quoted that the heavy overuse of Feliciano over the last three seasons played a part in their decision not to sign Feliciano.

First of all, there was an aspect of throwing a former player under the bus reminiscent of some of Warthen's statements about John Maine. I don't know why Warthen felt the need to share that info with the press. One thing people seem to like about him is that he is blunt and plainspoken, but to my mind he has carried this too far on occasion. Dan also obviously didn't learn that silence is golden.

Warthen would have done well to remember that the worse abuse of Feliciano came on his watch, which would probably at least partly explain why Feliciano's numbers were better when Rick Peterson was pitching coach. While Jerry Manuel clearly has the most splaining to do in this matter, his pitching coach certainly isn't blameless.

This might be heresy in some quarters, but frankly I thought Rick Peterson did more with less than Warthen has. I'm not completely sold on Warthen's value nor do I find him blameless for some of the strange use of pitchers over the past couple of seasons. Again, I believe Manuel bears the brunt of the blame -- I just think Warthen has gotten too much of a free pass.

If you are just finding this blog again and wondering why I was gone for so long and what the plan is going forward, read this.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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