Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

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NY Post: Yankees eliminated from East, wild-card hopes all but over
(9 Comments - 9/16/2014 11:22:43 am)

Yankees (76-72) @ Rays (72-78), Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:10pm
(33 Comments - 9/16/2014 8:10:27 am)

NY Times: Yankees Grab Lead in the Ninth, but Then It Slips Through Their Hands
(10 Comments - 9/15/2014 3:45:15 pm)

Yankees (76-71) @ Orioles (88-60), Sunday, September 14, 2014, 8:00pm
(55 Comments - 9/15/2014 2:55:10 am) Yankees’ Derek Jeter has bad stats, good at-bats, Joe Girardi says
(9 Comments - 9/14/2014 4:08:46 pm)

Yankees (75-71) @ Orioles (88-59), Saturday, September 13, 2014, 1:05pm
(16 Comments - 9/13/2014 7:43:16 pm)

Yankees (75-69) @ Orioles (86-59), Friday, September 12, 2014, Doubleheader
(79 Comments - 9/13/2014 11:34:03 am)

NY Post: Yankees’ VP of baseball operations Mark Newman retiring: sources
(3 Comments - 9/12/2014 1:41:00 pm) Young’s late heroics rescue Yankees
(23 Comments - 9/12/2014 12:05:43 pm)

Rays (70-76) @ Yankees (74-69), Thursday, September 11, 2014, 7:05pm
(47 Comments - 9/11/2014 11:10:03 pm)

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Yankees (67-61) @ Royals (72-57), Monday, August 25, 2014, 7:10pm

NYY: Michael Pineda (#35, 25, RHP, 2-2, 2.05) vs. KCR: James Shields (#33, 32, RHP, 12-6, 3.28)

1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Derek Jeter (R) SS
3. Brian McCann (L) C
4. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
5. Stephen Drew (L) 2B
6. Martin Prado (R) LF
7. Chase Headley (S) 1B
8. Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
9. Zelous Wheeler (R) 3B

Kansas City
1. Jarrod Dyson (L) CF
2. Omar Infante (R) 2B
3. Alex Gordon (L) LF
4. Billy Butler (R) 1B
5. Salvador Perez (R) C
6. Raul Ibanez (L) DH
7. Lorenzo Cain (R) RF
8. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
9. Alcides Escobar (R) SS

No Gardner = No chance.

We know just how hot Kansas City can be around this time of the year.  Forecast for 94 degrees at first pitch.  Hopefully Pineda’s pine tar doesn’t melt.

--Posted at 3:27 pm by SG / 77 Comments | - (0)

NYDN: Masahiro Tanaka makes for meaningful September for Yankees

Nothing comes easy for the Yankees these days, certainly not scoring runs, and so even after they scratched out a 4-3 walk-off win against the White Sox on Friday night, their chances of playing meaningful baseball deep into September seem to be iffy at best.

And in that case it’s only natural to ask if it makes sense to pitch Masahiro Tanaka regardless.

The Yankees say it does and I tend to agree. They need to find out if his elbow will hold up under game conditions rather than waiting until spring training, because if he winds up needing Tommy John surgery, obviously the earlier the better.

In other words, the last thing they should do is bring the 2016 season into question, in addition to 2015.

But are they putting Tanaka at greater risk by pitching him in the coming weeks, after he was diagnosed in July with a small tear in his elbow ligament?

“We’ve asked the doctors that same question like three times,” GM Brian Cashman said by phone on Friday. “Should we slow him down? Should we sit him down? And they say no, he’s doing all the right things.

“So we’re following their instructions. A small tear can repair itself with rehab, and that’s why the doctors have recommended this course of action. So we’re going to let him pitch. It’s in our best interests for him to declare himself healthy.”

So far so good on Tanaka’s rehab.  If he’s back in the rotation in September it still may not be enough for the Yankees to get into the postseason, but it will make things more interesting and make me more optimistic about his 2015 availability.  I’ll still worry about every pitch being “the one”, but I suppose that is the case for every pitcher.

--Posted at 8:27 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, August 24, 2014 McCann’s three-run HR extends Yanks’ streak

NEW YORK—Pumping his right fist, Brian McCann screamed as he bounced off first base, tracking the flight of his deep drive into the right-field seats. He made three hard left turns and charged toward a waiting mob of celebrating teammates, having just watched the ink dry on his new Yankees signature moment.

McCann came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, three-run home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday, lifting the Yankees to a 7-4 victory over the White Sox. The winning rally keeps momentum on the Bombers’ side as they prepare to embark on a crucial road trip.

“It was awesome,” said McCann, who was doused with two icy showers while he spoke in front of the home dugout. “Pinch-hitting is not the easiest thing to do, so to lay off some tough pitches and get a pitch up in the zone, then not miss it with the game on the line—it’s really, really special.”

I was out all day and figured there was no way in hell the Yankees would win a game started by Chris Sale, so catching what happened on MLB network was a pretty nice surprise.

If only the Yankees hadn’t shit the bed against Houston in the first two games of this homestand…

--Posted at 6:44 pm by SG / 9 Comments | - (0)

White Sox (59-69) @ Yankees (65-61), Sunday, August 24, 2014, 1:05pm

CHW: Chris Sale (#49, 25, LHP, 10-3, 2.12) vs. NYY: Hiroki Kuroda Chris Capuano (#, 35, LHP, 1-3, 4.35)

White Sox
1. Alexei Ramirez (R) SS
2. Carlos Sanchez (S) 2B
3. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
4. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
5. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
6. Paul Konerko (R) DH
7. Dayan Viciedo (R) LF
8. Tyler Flowers (R) C
9. Jordan Danks (L) CF

1. Derek Jeter (R) SS
2. Martin Prado (R) LF
3. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
4. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B
6. Francisco Cervelli (R) C
7. Zelous Wheeler (R) RF
8. Ichiro Suzuki (L) CF
9. Brendan Ryan (R) 2B

Here’s the list of qualified starting pitchers that have a better ERA+ than Chris Sale 2014.

Clayton Kershaw

What happens when a pitcher as good as Sale faces a lineup as anemic as the Yankees?  I’m guessing nothing good for the Yankees.

--Posted at 8:27 am by SG / 85 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, August 23, 2014 Yanks punctuate Torre’s day with third straight win

NEW YORK—Over the last several days, manager Joe Girardi has insisted that his players’ effort has been there and that he still believed the team’s lackluster offense will turn around. Even position players initiated a midweek meeting, hoping to ignite their underachieving bats.

Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 victory over the White Sox wasn’t a giant offensive leap in the right direction, but marked some noticeable progress. The win was the Yankees’ third in a row and first time since Aug. 8 that they scored more than four runs in a game.

“I’ve said all along this offense has the ability to score more runs and they’ve worked really hard at it,” said Girardi. “Today, we put together some good at-bats and some walks in there and took advantage of a miscue on their part and did a nice job.”

I had no idea this team could actually score more than four runs in a game.  What’s next, beating Chris Sale tomorrow?

--Posted at 6:01 pm by SG / 5 Comments | - (0)

White Sox (59-69) @ Yankees (65-61), Saturday, August 23, 2014, 1:05pm

CHW: Scott Carroll (#67, 29, RHP, 5-7, 4.99) vs. NYY: Hiroki Kuroda (#18, 39, RHP, 8-8, 3.97)

White Sox
1. Alejandro De Aza (L) LF
2. Carlos Sanchez (S) 2B
3. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
4. Adam Dunn (L) DH
5. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
6. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
7. Alexei Ramirez (R) SS
8. Jordan Danks (L) CF
9. Adrian Nieto (S) C

1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Brett Gardner (L) LF
3. Brian McCann (L) C
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
6. Martin Prado (R) 2B
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B
8. Stephen Drew (L) SS
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF

If the Yankees win today and Baltimore loses, the Orioles’ division lead will shrink to a mere seven games! #Season2Watch!

--Posted at 10:08 am by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)

Friday, August 22, 2014 Prado homers, delivers walk-off winner for Yanks

NEW YORK—Martin Prado connected for a game-winning single to center field in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the White Sox on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

The decisive hit came off Daniel Webb. Ichiro Suzuki started the ninth with a single to center field and advanced on a Brett Gardner sacrifice bunt. Derek Jeter lined softly to center, and after an intentional walk, Webb walked Mark Teixeira to load the bases.

Prado worked the count full, then hit a ground ball up the middle and was mobbed between first and second as the Yankees celebrated their second straight win.

Martin Prado, True Yankee™.

--Posted at 10:51 pm by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)

White Sox (59-68) @ Yankees (64-61), Friday, August 22, 2014, 7:05pm

CHW: John Danks (#50, 29, LHP, 9-8, 4.94) vs. NYY: Shane Greene (#61, 25, RHP, 3-1, 2.91)

White Sox
1. Alejandro De Aza (L) LF
2. Carlos Sanchez (S) 2B
3. Jose Abreu (R) 1B
4. Adam Dunn (L) DH
5. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
6. Conor Gillaspie (L) 3B
7. Alexei Ramirez (R) SS
8. Jordan Danks (L) CF
9. Tyler Flowers (R) C

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Derek Jeter (R) SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Martin Prado (R) 2B
6. Brian McCann (L) DH
7. Chase Headley (S) 3B
8. Francisco Cervelli (R) C
9. Zelous Wheeler (R) RF

Yay, Zelous is back!

Boo, he’s on the Yankees.

--Posted at 3:09 pm by SG / 26 Comments | - (0) Yankees’ Brandon McCarthy explains adjustment that’s helped him dominate

NEW YORK — It’s still unclear whether some of Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s midseason gambles will pay off. Chase Headley had been solid. Stephen Drew hasn’t. Martin Prado has been OK. So has Chris Capuano.

One that’s obviously paid off? Brandon McCarthy. After throwing a complete-game shutout in a 3-0 win over the Astros Thursday, the tall righty improved to 5-2 with a 1.90 ERA since coming to the Yankees in an early-July trade with the Diamondbacks in exchange for lefty starter Vidal Nuno.

But things weren’t going so well for McCarthy before the deal. The 31-year-old was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA before donning pinstripes for the first time.

On Thursday, McCarthy said the biggest difference between his time in Arizona and in New York has been that the Yankees have encouraged him to reincorporate his four-seamer and cutter into his regular repertoire.

Here’s how McCarthy said the change went down.

It’s fairly apparent the Yankees have a budget under Hal Steinbrenner.  They will have about $30M coming off the books next season, and I doubt they will spend much more than that in the offseason given the less than dazzling array of available talent.  Missing the playoffs again and losing the #Season2ScratchMyAss thing may entice them to go above budget, but I’d be surprised if they go significantly higher than that.

I’m convinced they will make a strong push for Jon Lester, which I am not crazy about.  I think they’ll make a decent effort at keeping David Robertson.  If both of those things are true, they likely can’t keep McCarthy.  McCarthy has been great with the Yankees, and his peripherals with Arizona indicated that he was likely pitching better than his raw data indicated. 

Should the Yankees try and bring McCarthy back next year?  He’s not without risk given his past health record, but he could probably be re-signed on a shorter-term deal than the more marquee free agents.  His average fastball velocity this season is the highest of his career, and 2 mph faster than his career average. 

Frankly, I think they’d be better off with McCarthy, Robertson and some other mid-tier free agent position player.  Lester is not as good as CC Sabathia was when he was signed, and he’ll be a couple of years older than Sabathia was.  The back-end of a Lester contract could be every bit as bad as Sabathia’s looks right now.

McCarthy could make four to six more starts this year.  If he continues doing what he’s done as a Yankee to this point, I think they will try and bring him back.

--Posted at 9:33 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

FanGraphs: Brian McCann Probably Couldn’t Be Given Away For Free

Well, there’s a few things. First, here’s an incredibly depressing list of numbers:

13.1 — 10.8 — 9.0 — 9.7 — 6.4

You don’t know what those are. I’ll tell you what they are. They’re McCann’s walk rate, declining pretty steadily from 2010 until now, where it’s less than half what it was, and this is sort of the thing: McCann’s lousy year isn’t any one thing. It’s a few small things, adding up. Giving back 30 or so free trips to first base isn’t fatal by itself, but it certainly isn’t helping. It’s not why his batting average is lousy, obviously; it is a part of why his OBP is below .300.

There’s also this: McCann’s power, which everyone figured would translate well to the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, hasn’t come with him. It’s actually less that he’s failed to take advantage of right field in the Bronx, and more that it’s been the only thing making his homer totals look even respectable.

It seems like almost any free agent contract seems like a bad one as soon as it’s signed.  I doubt anyone would trade for the Robinson Cano contract as well as he’s played this year, for example.

In the non-injury division, McCann is probably the biggest disappointment on this year’s Yankees team, at least for me.  I liked his signing, figured a year removed from shoulder surgery he’d hit better than he did in 2013 and also figured it was a massive upgrade over what the Yankees got out of catcher in 2013.  I didn’t expect Beltran to do much this year or over the life of his contract, and as much crap as I give the Ellsbury signing he’s been the Yankees’ second best position player this year.  Granted, that’s sort of like being the best-groomed Red Sock or the healthiest member of the Yankees rotation, but he hasn’t been a problem.  He’s been an asset, albeit an overpaid one.

CAIRO had McCann pegged at around 3 WAR, without incorporating pitch framing where he has rated well again this year.  Instead he’s a bit over 1 WAR and not likely to get much past that at this point.

I’d like to think he’ll be better next year, but I wouldn’t bet a penny on it.

It’s particularly frustrating given the fact that the Yankees have organizational depth at catcher and could’ve potentially used the money spent on McCann elsewhere.  But what’s done is done, and now I’ll just hope he hits well over the rest of the season and gives us some reason to think 2015 will be better.

--Posted at 6:41 pm by SG / 27 Comments | - (0) McCarthy masters Astros in four-hit shutout

NEW YORK—The Yankees enjoyed yet another strong outing from Brandon McCarthy, this one a dominating four-hit shutout that helped his club to a 3-0 victory over the Astros on Thursday afternoon, salvaging the finale of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

McCarthy has been terrific since being acquired in a midseason trade, and the right-hander flashed that form in a 107-pitch outing, walking none and striking out eight.

Chase Headley connected for a two-run double to highlight a three-run second inning, giving McCarthy an early lead and accounting for the Yankees’ scoring off Houston lefty Dallas Keuchel.

New York had been 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position in losing the first two games of the series against Houston, but Headley capitalized on the team’s first chance of the afternoon after hits by Mark Teixeira and Martin Prado, banging a ball down the right-field line.

If two crappy teams play a meaningless day game, does it make a sound?

Good for the Yankees salvaging an impressive 2-4 record against Houston this year.  It’s not likely to end up mattering, but if they do end up missing the postseason by a game or two, this can be pointed to as one of the reasons.

As could the decision to let Robinson Cano go and replace with him about 30% of his value at around 300% of his cost*.

But I digress.

*Estimated, may not be completely accurate

--Posted at 3:23 pm by SG / 7 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Joe Girardi out of options as Yankees’ ship sinks

The end comes slowly, one painful injury, one telling loss after another.

That is what is happening to the Yankees.

On a night Carlos Beltran was scratched from the lineup with more elbow pain, the Yankees dropped their second straight game to the lowly Astros, 5-2, Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, the fourth loss in five games to Houston this season.

Manager Joe Girardi didn’t do himself any favors, bringing in David Huff and Esmil Rogers in the seventh inning as the Yankees blew a 2-1 lead. The 42,102 fans at the Stadium let loose with the loudest boos of the season as the bullpen surrendered five singles and four runs in the inning, ruining Michael Pineda’s effort.

Girardi’s offense continues to be stuck in reverse.

Yes, the Yankees’ STARTING ROTATION has been hurt by injuries.  Their offense has not, unless they really thought Carlos Beltran was going to hit at the level he hit at back when they should have signed him 10 years ago.

Their offense hasn’t really been hurt by injuries.  They are just a bad offense. 

It makes for boring baseball and I don’t see how it’s going to change in the near future..

--Posted at 11:43 am by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 Yankees Stink

NEW YORK—The Yankees’ fading postseason hopes were dealt another major blow on Wednesday. Relievers David Huff and Esmil Rogers were knocked around in a four-run seventh inning as the Astros rallied for a 5-2 victory at Yankee Stadium.

Houston rapped out five straight hits, all singles, as they batted around to spoil a solid second start off the disabled list by Michael Pineda, who held the Astros to one run over the first six innings before issuing a walk to start the seventh.

With manager Joe Girardi’s bullpen choices limited after the recent barrage of close games, Huff faced two batters and allowed a hit. Rogers gave up hits to the next four; Jake Marisnick had an RBI single, Robbie Grossman knocked home two and Jose Altuve collected an RBI single before Rogers escaped with two strikeouts.

The loss, the Yankees’ seventh in their last nine games, will further dent New York’s chances of keeping the lights on in October. New York dropped five games behind the Tigers for the second American League Wild Card slot, and have lost four of five to the Astros this season.

Houston’s a really good team, so there’s no shame in losing to them at home.

I think you can consider the Yankees’ season effectively over now.

--Posted at 11:22 pm by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)

Astros (53-73) @ Yankees (63-60), Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 7:05pm

HOU: Scott Feldman (#46, 31, RHP, 6-9, 4.45) vs. NYY: Michael Pineda (#35, 25, RHP, 2-2, 1.82)

1. Robbie Grossman (S) RF
2. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
3. Chris Carter (R) DH
4. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
5. Jason Castro (L) C
6. Jon Singleton (L) 1B
7. Marwin Gonzalez (S) SS
8. Matt Dominguez (R) 3B
9. Jake Marisnick (R) LF

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Derek Jeter (R) DH
3. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Brian McCann (L) C
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B
7. Stephen Drew (L) SS
8. Martin Prado (R) 2B
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF

Wake me up when the season’s over.

--Posted at 3:48 pm by SG / 51 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


NEW YORK—Chris Carter was having about the worst kind of night at the plate as you could imagine through four at-bats Tuesday night, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in his first game since being named the American League Player of the Week.

He made up for it with one mighty swing in the ninth inning.

Carter broke a tie by launching a no-doubt, three-run home run to left field on a 3-0 pitch off David Robertson with one out—his career-high 30th homer of the season—to send the Astros to a 7-4 win over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

--Posted at 10:12 pm by SG / 18 Comments | - (0)

Astros (52-73) @ Yankees (63-59), Tuesday, August 19, 2014,  7:05pm

HOU: Brett Oberholtzer (#39, 24, LHP, 4-8, 3.87) vs. NYY: Chris Capuano (#26, 35, LHP, 1-3, 4.13)

1. Robbie Grossman (S) RF
2. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
3. Chris Carter (R) DH
4. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
5. Jason Castro (L) C
6. Matt Dominguez (R) 3B
7. Jon Singleton (L) 1B
8. Jake Marisnick (R) LF
9. Gregorio Petit (R) SS

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Derek Jeter (R) SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
4. Mark Teixeira (S) 1B
5. Carlos Beltran (S) DH
6. Martin Prado (R) 2B
7. Brian McCann (L) C
8. Chase Headley (S) 3B
9. Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF

The Yankees pretty much have to sweep this homestand if they want to keep their laughably small postseason odds from dwindling to imperceptible levels.  They play arguably the hardest schedule of any of the postseason contenders over the remainder of the season, and that includes the upcoming three home games against the Astros and three more home games against the White Sox.

--Posted at 4:10 pm by SG / 94 Comments | - (0)

North Jersey: Out on Castillo

NEW YORK – The Yankees won’t be signing Cuban outfielder/second baseman Rusney Castillo, according to an industry source.

It’s tempting to get mad about this as another indicator of the Yankees’ tightening purse strings, but Castillo wasn’t really a great fit for the roster the Yankees have now and for the foreseeable future.  I’d rather see what Refsnyder can do at 2B at a fraction of the cost of Castillo anyway, and if Castillo’s best position is CF, that doesn’t really work on a team that has a brilliant CF in LF and a mediocre one in CF.

--Posted at 7:51 am by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)

Newsday: Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Venditte Hoping for His Call to the Majors

Yankees minor-leaguer Pat Venditte is one phone call away from his dream of making it to the major leagues. But there are two sides to this pitcher’s story. If that call comes, Venditte will become the first man in major-league history to be promoted as an ambidextrous pitcher.

There have been countless switch hitters in the game’s history, of course, but there has never been a pitcher to make it to the majors who could routinely throw with both arms. And Venditte is determined to prove that his pitching style is not a gimmick. He believes he can get big-league hitters out—with either hand—if given the chance.

“Any time you’re different in this game, there’s a level of doubt that comes along with it,” he said. “You overcome that with good performance.”

Venditte’s performance in the minor leagues shows he could be ready for the call. He has a 2.65 ERA and has held opposing hitters to a .217 batting average while playing in Double-A and Triple-A this season.

Still, the injury-depleted Yankees have reached into the minor leagues for a pitcher 25 times this season but have never called on the 29-year-old switch pitcher.

General manager Brian Cashman said last week that Venditte’s name has come up lately in the team’s conversations when a reliever was needed.

“I visualize myself coming out of that bullpen in New York every day,” Venditte said. “It’s a thought that crosses my mind, and it would be crazy if it didn’t.’‘

It seems unlikely to me that we’ll ever see Venditte, but boy would it be a blast. They already have a special rule written for him (the pitcher must indicate which arm he is going to use when he comes to the mound. Once he has done so, he cannot switch during an at-bat except for rare exceptions like the pitcher injuring himself and being unable to pitch from that side) so I’d love to see it actually used!

--Posted at 12:55 am by Brian Cronin / 6 Comments | - (0)

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