So, Mussina in his Spring debut goes less than 2 and gives up 4. I'm afraid that will be par for the course with him going forward. I thought the guy was done at the end of '06, and said as much. When the Yanks exercised his option and re-signed him, I thought he was over the hill. Well, it looks as if he's at the bottom of that hill now. I foresee one of two scenarios playing out:
1 - Old Prof is right (what?!). Moose uses his Spring Training time not to win a position but to build arm strength, stamina, etc. - and will be ready to go when the regular season starts. Given that Old Prof has already filled his annual accuracy comment quota for the year (Alan Horne), I see a more likely scenario playing out:
2 - Moose has two more Spring starts with similar results. Holds a meeting with Girardi regarding the probable role he may be filling with the team in '08, promptly calls a press conference to announce his retirement.
Look, I want him to regain his '01 to '03 form for the good of the team. I really do. However, outside of a training cycle with the Rocket, I just don't see it happening with him at this stage of the game. Perhaps Girardi will be willing to give him a shot in April because they'll be rotating 6 pitchers in the opening month - I don't know. What I feel though, is that Moose is not a viable every 5th day option any longer (and haven't felt that way since he couldn't hold the two run lead at home vs. the Tigers in October '06). I think it is over for the Moose. Great career, time to move on.
After the first full week of scrimmages, I'd say that based on performance, the leading candidates for a starting appearance in April is: Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Karstens, Igawa, and Steven White.
Rumor mill: I'm hearing from baseball's version of the Drudge Report that scouts like what they see in Tabata and because of that, are warming up to the idea that Melkey can and is being shopped for a top catcher prospect and/or draft picks.