How’s this for irony, if not chutzpah and denial? Here’s what the Devil Rays’ overpaid, over-the-hill Greg Vaughn said this week to a reporter: “I had a couple of bad years there, and nobody feels worse about it than I do. Things didn’t work out. Why? I wish I knew. But I think my track record is better than Chuck’s (LaMar) track record.”
*”Nobody feels worse about it” than Vaughn?
Say what? Vaughn’s feelings were amply assuaged by a guaranteed $34-million, four-year contract. The Rays have gotten little (an average .226, 20 home runs and 61 RBI’s a year for the first three years) for a lot, which helped hamstring the organization’s flexibility to improve the on-field product. This year included. Had Vaughn, say, given back what he didn’t earn, he would be entitled to a spate of melancholy — as well as a chorus of thank you’s from the Rays and their frustrated fans.
*”I wish I knew” why things “didn’t work out.”
Vaughn need only ask all those around him. They see a player past his prime who has lost bat speed — and never was a good defensive player. A series of nagging injuries certainly hurt. The reality is that older players — such as the 37-year-old Vaughn — are more prone to injuries and less likely to recover in timely fashion, if at all.