I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t actually know how to successfully pronounce his name, but Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is well on his way to cementing himself as one of the best general managers in the game because of his prescience and boldness. The Mariners ended up yesterday with one of the best pitchers in baseball, whoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll make just 9 million dollars this year, and all they gave up were prospects that arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t among the top players in their system.
But while the Phillies finally landed Roy Halladay, losing Cliff Lee seemingly unnecessarily cast a pallor over their end of the deal.
The Yankees are one of the most talented teams IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen in a long time Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as well they should be. They already had the best leadoff hitter, closer, and arguably the best hitter in baseball, and they spent a cool $425 mil to add the top two free-agent starters and the best free-agent position player on the market. That is what you call economy in motion.
What IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been surprised about is their ability to come together as a cohesive unit. Their chemistry appears better than IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen from a Yankees team in years. I doubt Jeter truly likes personalities like Nick Swisher and A.J. Burnett, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s learned to love the loosening-up affect theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had on the clubhouse, what with all the pies in the face and whatnot.
But theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re about to run into a Phillies team that is even more cohesive, that makes more sense, that has more of an identity. And that has just as much talent. Here are the factors I see affecting the World Series, which I believe will be a very close affair.
I sold the Phillies short this year mainly because I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s so hard to repeat in baseball. It hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happened since the Torre Yankees about 10 years ago, and then before that the Blue Jays of the early Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ90s. Three separate teams repeated in the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ70s, but thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back in the early stages of free agency when it was far easier to hold onto a good team once youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve built one.
But I underestimated the Phillies Ã¢â‚¬â€œ anticipating their demise at the hands of the red-hot Rockies in the divisional round Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and I really shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have.