It would have been tough for Carl Pavano’s four-year stay in New York to go any worse and he’s one of the most hated players in Yankees history, yet after missing out on Cliff Lee general manager Brian Cashman offered him a one-year deal to return.
Even more surprising? Pavano told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he gave serious thought to another stint in New York.
Ultimately there wasn’t much of a decision to be made, as the Twins offered him a two-year, $16.5 million deal while the Yankees’ offer was reportedly for one season and $10 million, but had Minnesota not stepped up their pursuit Pavano seems to think he would have been fine in New York and New York would have been fine with him. Well, maybe:
I don’t think [the past] would be a hindrance, but there would have definitely been obstacles. I’m not naïve enough to think that there wouldn’t have been things I would have had to overcome, especially the trust of the fans and maybe some of the guys that were there [when I was]. That’s reality.
I’m sure Yankees fans would eventually have warmed up to Pavano, at least somewhat, had he come out of the gates with a 2.50 ERA through two months or something, but short of that it likely wouldn’t have been pretty. He’d have been booed by the home crowd from the moment he stepped on the mound at Yankee Stadium, every bad inning would have been treated like a disaster, any injury would have been endlessly lampooned, and the “American Idle” nickname would have been constantly plastered all over newspapers.
Could he have overcome all that to have a solid season? Maybe, but I can’t imagine the Yankees or Pavano actually wanting to find out.