By Ernie Palladino
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Necessity made for some weird pairings this week.
Yankees need a third baseman? Sure, go out and get Kevin Youkilis.
Jets need a receiver? Why, Braylon Edwards is available.
Too bad the 49ers decided to suspend instead of trade Brandon Jacobs. The Giants probably could have used him, too.
If the names don’t sound familiar, perhaps the circumstances of their careers will. Youkilis, of course, played for the Red Sox and has — (had?) — an ongoing feud with Joba Chamberlain over those head-hunting incidents. Edwards called the Jets’ front office and coaching staff “idiots” for surrounding his past and present buddy, Mark Sanchez, with basically nothing in the pass-catching department.
And even though Jacobs doesn’t figure into this whole scenario, let’s remember just for the heck of it that the former Giants starter-turned-backup couldn’t wait to get out of New York for the supposedly greener pastures of San Francisco, where Jim Harbaugh relegated him to a spot just below the guy who manures the Candlestick Park field.
So what causes these odd alliances?
Like politics, a mutual need. When boxed into a corner, natural enemies become the best of friends. Old hatchets get buried for the mutual good.
In the end, it’s just business.
And it’s stuff we’ve seen before. Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon all came over from the hated Red Sox, though only Boggs and Damon arrived without an intermediate stop. Clemens, of course, came from Toronto.
Let’s not forget, either, that Youk had the better part of a season with the White Sox with which to fumigate himself from that Boston stink. Really, though, it has mattered little whether they came directly or indirectly. Once here, if they succeeded, they all became fan favorites.
The question with Youkilis, besides the fact that at 33 he’s another oldster in an already aged collection, is whether he can get along with Chamberlain. That’s all locker room stuff, though. When Youkilis patrols third base, we can assume that any communication between the two will be strictly baseball. If there are any untoward emotions, his friend from Team USA, Derek Jeter, undoubtedly will step in to calm the waters.
Now to Edwards. Despite his wayward opinions while a member of the Seahawks, there is little doubt about Edwards’ production during his short Jets career. One of Sanchez’s prized targets, the hope is that Edwards will contribute immediately to a corps that is not only battered, but shy on talent.
Sanchez should have no problems putting Edwards’ criticism of him vis-à-vis Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson — “It’s his approach,” Edwards said of Wilson. “It’s very veteran-like. He doesn’t approach it like a rookie, and he’s not looking for excuses.” — in the rear-view mirror. He needs receivers right now, and short of Edwards burning down his house, Sanchez should welcome him at least as warmly as he welcomed back Santonio Holmes after that now-injured star destroyed the locker room last season.
See, it’s like the old WWII alliance between the US and Russia. We never really, truly liked each other. But when the enemy is at the gates, expediency wins out over emotion.
It has to.
Did you have an issue with either move? Think they’ll work out? Be heard in the comments!