From Bob Klapisch -
The pitcher who’s been invisible for two years (while pocketing $20 million) is being touted by club officials as the rediscovered secret weapon. Pavano has a new attitude, the Yankees say, a new workout regimen, a new agent, all of which is supposed to make fans (and teammates) forget he’s been the greatest financial disaster in the club’s history.
Whether Pavano can ever restore his reputation remains to be seen. One major league executive said this week at the general managers’ meetings, “For whatever reason, I don’t think [Pavano] can or wants to pitch in the American League.”
He seemed like a perfect fit with the Yankees: tall and handsome, a Connecticut native who grew up rooting for the Bombers, he had the physical charisma and 90-something fastball to become a modern-day Mike Torrez.
But the Yankees soon realized Pavano lived in an angry haze, emotionally separated from his teammates, disdainful of the press, not particularly fond or impressed with the energy of the Stadium.
Indeed, on the day of his first start in pinstripes, Stadium employees were shocked to hear Pavano snap at his own mother for showing up at the ballpark with an “NY” painted on her cheek.
“You’re embarrassing me,” Pavano said in front of others in the executive lobby.
Yet, to this day, the Yankees continue to publicly support Pavano. GM Brian Cashman remains one of the pitcher’s strongest advocates, insisting, “every one of his injuries has been legitimate. He’s just been unbelievably unlucky.”
Industry peers, however, say Cashman would trade Pavano in a moment — if only someone who take him. But even if the Yankees were to assume a portion of the $20 million still owed Pavano, there are many teams who still wouldn’t touch him.
The agent keeps promising that Pavano will show up in spring training so completely remade, no one will recognize him, his mechanics, or his personality. Others disagree. One person close to the pitcher said, “Anyone who can sit around [on rehab] in Tampa and watch the Yankees on TV every night for two years, get paid, and not be bothered by it, there has to be something wrong there.”
At least we now know that it is possible for Pavano to be embarrassed. It’s just too bad that it’s his mother’s actions that bring cause for it – and not his own.