A thought occurred to me as people have been discussing the Darrelle Revis defection. The people who are saying it is just fine for the Pats to let him go (a camp I happen to be in) sometimes point to his eventual erosion of skills (a camp I do not reside in). They say that the Jets overpaid because he is older and his skills will decline, and he won’t be worth the money by the end of his contract. I agree with that. I just wonder…when will you know?
For Revis especially. He’s an elite cornerback. Other teams know this, so they simply don’t throw to his receiver. It’s possible that they look at his guy first every play, and pick someone else when they see that he has him covered. But, I get the impression that the quarterback doesn’t even bother to look over. If that’s the case, when do you know if he doesn’t have it? Say Revis loses a step this summer and shows up as an average cornerback. Isn’t the team that first week still going to avoid him all game? They don’t know he’s lost a step. Then the second game, isn’t the team still going to avoid him? Even if the first team completer the only pass it threw at his receiver? Then you get to the third game. Maybe he’s sitting at two targets, 2 completions. Or three and two. Still going to be avoiding him, right? How much film does it take before the other teams decide, “Hey…you know what? He’s not actually covering that other guy very well. We should start targeting him.” Two games? Four? Eight? How long can he live off just his name?
Which leads me to the Red Sox and some of their aging players. How long is David Ortiz, David Ortiz, just because he’s David Ortiz? How long does he get to be pitched around just because other teams are still scared of him? So, if you sign an older player, how much of his time can you assume is going to be just fine, even if he’s not?
In Steve Ketteman’s landmark book One Day at Fenway, he mentioned the game where Manny Ramirez was out with a sore throat. I’ve mentioned this segment before. Joe Torre wanted to make a pitching change, but was reluctant to. He feared that, even though he was out sick, Manny might come in to pinch hit. Even though Manny was sick and definitely not the real Manny, Joe Torre feared the name. The name was enough to dictate decisions.
How long would that last?
We got a taste of that, of course, when Ortiz started slowly a few years ago. I know it took the Red Sox a lot longer than fans though it should to admit he wasn’t Ortiz and sit him down. Or pinch hit for him. A lot of that had to do with respect for a player though.
When did other teams start treating him like Daniel Nava. If the game is on the line, how long will he have before other teams start pitching to him?
How long will he still be David Ortiz?