Saturday, May 25, 2013
The Yankees have excelled at playing with a short-handed roster this season, but there was a belief they were about to get most of their big stars back in the picture. Instead, there’s a new problem to handle.
Curtis Granderson suffered a left hand fracture and will miss a minimum of four weeks, a loss that soured the celebratory mood of the Yankees’ 9-4 victory over the Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
“I think our team has had a lot of practice at it this year, so they’re prepared for this, unfortunately,” manager Joe Girardi said. “These guys know how to deal with it. They know you have to come out and play every day.”
The Yankees have had 13 players on the disabled list this season, and Granderson will be back on the shelf by the time the club takes the field on Saturday afternoon. Robinson Cano said that even though the Yankees are in first place, they’d still like to feel whole again at some point.
“This is something that I don’t think that you’re ever going to be used to,” Cano said. “The last thing you want is to see your teammates go down, especially a guy like Grandy. He worked back here, missed Spring Training, and then to get hurt like that—you just feel bad.”
The Yankees survived another late injury scare as starter David Phelps, pitching a career-high 7 2/3 innings, hung a curveball and was smoked by a Ben Zobrist line drive on his 98th and final pitch of the game.
It really isn’t even funny anymore (okay, I’ll admit, it is still a little funny in the sort of “Seriously? SERIOUSLY?” way). Thank goodness that David Phelps was just bruised. He’ll likely make his next start. Granderson, meanwhile, will be out for at least four weeks. The local community must have built a Granderson voodoo doll to keep Ben Francisco on the team. Can anyone believe that Ben Francisco is seriously going to make it into June (and possibly July) as a Yankee? I would imagine that there would at least be some consideration now with giving Mustelier a chance at some point with Francisco’s roster spot, now that the Yankees know that they’ll need another outfielder for another month. Or perhaps a more fungible player like Thomas Neal? Neal, by the way, is donating $20 for every hit to Oklahoma relief (until the All-Star Break). That’s a big gesture for a guy not making a ton of money.
As for tonight, the offense was on fire and Phelps picked a typical Phelpsian start (not great but good enough).
Tomorrow is Vidal Nuno against Matt Moore. Well, that’s not good.
Update(SG): I had to add this tidbit because it’s absolutely amazing. Courtesy of Chad Jennings at Lohud:
Discussing a possible call-up postgame, Girardi actually forgot that Ben Francisco is on the roster (hard to blame him). Girardi mentioned having only three outfielders and being willing to use Jayson Nix in the outfield if necessary. Reminded of Francisco, Girardi reversed course. “Oh yeah, Francisco,” he said. “Four (outfielders). So disregard what I said. I don’t know what we’ll do. We have so many roster issues, I’m not sure what we’re going to do.”
Anyway, get well soon Grandy.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It’s the day before a foul tip off the bat of Rajai Davis will fracture Francisco Cervelli’s hand, and the Yankees’ still-intact starting catcher is in excellent spirits. After spending almost all of 2012 in the minors, he’s happy to be back in the Yankees clubhouse. He’s also happy to be off to a good start with the bat, a start that’s about to get better; in a few hours, he’ll take Mark Buehrle deep for his third home run of the season. But how Cervelli hits is secondary, even to Cervelli.
“I’ve been focused on my defense, and that’s it,” Cervelli says. “And I’m going to keep doing that no matter what happens with my bat.”
A lot of eyebrows, and maybe a few middle fingers, were raised over the winter, when the Yankees — the team with the catching legacy of Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson, and Posada, not to mention the $200 million–plus payroll — entrusted their catching duties to Cervelli and backup catcher Chris Stewart, a duo that entered the season with a combined .249/.315/.332 line in the big leagues. In the past, the Yankees would have dipped into the free-agent market and signed someone with a bigger bat and a bigger name — A.J. Pierzynski, perhaps, who was coming off a 27-homer season, or another offense-first option like Mike Napoli, who signed with the rival Red Sox. Both players agreed to one-year contracts, so they wouldn’t have hampered the Yankees’ goal of getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014.1
Instead, they stuck with two players who are earning barely more than the major league minimum. And they’ll probably be better off. Cervelli and Stewart can do more to help the Yankees win with a subtle shift of the glove than Mariano Rivera can with his cutter, than Brett Gardner can in the outfield, than Ichiro can with his arm and his base-running ability combined. They have an ability that not only doesn’t show up in the box score but doesn’t show up in advanced stats like UZR and WAR. Baseball teams have always known it existed, but they haven’t known what it was worth until now. And one need only look at the lineup card to see how valuable the Yankees believe it is.
“They’re both exceptional defenders,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said of Cervelli and Stewart in a recent interview with Mike Ferrin on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. “Tremendous pitch framers. We’re big into that.”
Perhaps the Yankees are smarter than some of us give them credit for?
H/T to his highness King Jon.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
DENVER—Yankees manager Joe Girardi played for the Rockies in 1995, the year Coors Field opened. Before Tuesday night’s 2-0 loss, he recalled an abundance of 11-10 games that have become far less frequent since a humidor was installed in 2002.
Girardi cited the Rockies’ 3.86 ERA at home entering Tuesday—virtually identical to their 3.88 road ERA—as proof that Coors Field now plays differently. Hours later, Girardi had hard proof as the Rockies took the series opener.
The humidor notwithstanding, a taut pitchers’ duel is still a rarity here. But Hiroki Kuroda and Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa matched zeros in a steady rain that was hard at times until Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
Kuroda, who worked seven innings, had allowed two homers in 36 innings through his first six starts of the season. He yielded two hits and had retired nine straight batters before Josh Rutledge singled with two outs in the sixth. Gonzalez followed with his seventh home run, driving Kuroda’s 3-2 fastball into the Rockies’ bullpen in right-center. Michael Cuddyer and Todd Helton followed with singles, but Nolan Arenado lined out to right to end the inning.
This game could have gone 18 innings and the Yankees would not have scored. The lineup’s weakness is really exposed without Travis Hafner in there, but luckily there are only 5 more stupid National League games left on this trip.
Friday, April 26, 2013
All along, the New York Yankees have stated the effort to cut their 2014 payroll to $189 million is merely a goal. More and more, it’s one major league sources don’t believe they’ll reach.
In recent months, the Yankees have become far less bullish on their publicly stated austerity plan, admitting to other executives and agents that staying beneath the $189 million threshold is unlikely and impractical.
“They’re going to be over 189,” one source familiar with the Yankees’ plans said. “They know it. Everyone knows it. You can’t run a $3 billion team with the intentions of saving a few million dollars.”
The logic holds up well: The Yankees are arguably the greatest brand in American sports, and already with an injury-depleted roster this season, they could suffer a down year. To dilute the Yankee name for multiple years would necessitate a humongous monetary benefit – one sources say the Yankees no longer believe is coming to them, even if they were to dip beneath $189 million.
While the stash of money New York expected to reap was in the tens of millions, it’s not nearly as large as the Yankees had hoped, a prognosis that is pushing the team to recalibrate its plans, sources said. The Yankees expected to receive money not just from a decreased luxury tax rate but a complicated clause in the collective-bargaining agreement called the market-disqualification rebate.
It was painfully obvious that the Yankees goal of lowering their payroll without the MLB-ready prospects to do so was penny-wise and pound-foolish. So it makes sense that they may scrap the plan for now.
First order of business is probably to lock up Ben Francisco for five years. They should also probably tack on a few years onto Alex Rodriguez’s contact while they’re at it so they can ensure he breaks Barry Bonds’s home run record in pinstripes sometime around the year 2050.
Seriously though, you wonder exactly what they’ll spend the money on.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG—Ichiro Suzuki lined a two-run single to center field in the top of the ninth inning, and the Yankees toppled Fernando Rodney and posted a 4-3 victory on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
The Yankees won for just the third time in their last 15 games at the Trop, taking advantage after Rodney couldn’t keep the score tied for David Price, who started the ninth and was saddled with the loss after permitting a leadoff single to Robinson Cano.
Cano stole second base on Rodney, moving up on a strikeout, and the Rays intentionally walked Travis Hafner. Rodney lost Lyle Overbay to a full-count walk and, after jamming Chris Stewart on a foulout, allowed the deciding hit to the slumping Ichiro.
Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff homer to Evan Longoria in the ninth but recovered to log his sixth save.
David Robertson was credited with the victory in relief of Phil Hughes, who recovered from a shaky first inning to complete seven innings, picking up a no-decision after turning in his second straight solid outing.
Ichiro’s hit saved Joe Girardi from having to explain why he didn’t pinch-hit for Chris Stewart with the winning run on base and one out. No, Brennan Boesch isn’t Ted Williams, but he’s a better hitter than Stewart and would have the platoon advantage. Even if you apply the standard pinch-hitting penalty I’m fairly certain the right move there is sending up Boesch.
OK. Complaints are done, and it was a good win. This team still can’t hit lefties, although they were facing one of the best in baseball tonight. But Hughes salvaged a very good start from an ugly first inning and kept them in it until they were able to pull it out. That makes two strong starts in a row for Hughes, who probably shouldn’t have been making spring training starts in real games that count. Maybe that will make him cheaper to re-sign…
Andy Pettitte goes for the series win tomorrow. Alex Cobb’s a pretty good pitcher, but at least he’s not a lefty.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
TORONTO—The Yankees couldn’t complete a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays, relinquishing the lead in Toronto’s four-run sixth inning in an 8-4 loss in front of 45,575 at Rogers Centre on Sunday.
With the Yankees ahead, 4-2, in the sixth, manager Joe Girardi elected to play the matchups after starter Ivan Nova allowed the first two runners to reach. Girardi brought in Boone Logan for the lefty-lefty matchup against Colby Rasmus.
The skipper did the same thing in Saturday’s game and it worked—Logan punched out Rasmus on eight pitches in the ninth—but on Sunday, Rasmus delivered. He hit an RBI single that cut New York’s lead to one run before Brett Lawrie followed with a two-run double off David Phelps to give the Blue Jays a 5-4 advantage.
Phelps allowed another run on an RBI single by Melky Cabrera and the Yankees left the inning down two after starting the frame up a pair of runs.
It was not a strong relief performance by Phelps, who also allowed a two-run homer to J.P. Arencibia, his seventh of the year, in the seventh that pushed Toronto’s lead to 8-4.
Nope, it was not a strong relief performance by Phelps, who’s been pretty bad for most of his appearances this year.
Nova continues to show flashes of great stuff but he was not good today either. He allowed the lead off man to reach in all but one of his innings and again put the team in the position of needing four innings from their bullpen. There doesn’t appear to be a ton of alternative to replacing him in the rotation at this moment so I don’t think his spot is in jeopardy, but a few more bad starts and the Yankees may decide to try Phelps or Adam Warren in his spot.
I suppose if you told me before the series the Yankees would take two of three I’d have been happy with that, but any time you have a chance at a sweep and blow it it feels like a letdown. Now it’s on to Tampa Bay in a series where the Yankees will face two left-handed starters, something that’s been a serious problem for them so far this year.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
TORONTO—The Yankees withstood what manager Joe Girardi described as a hiccup in the eighth inning to win a game that should have never been as close as it was.
But a win is a win, and despite needing extra innings to finish the job, the Yankees have won five of six games and have a series sweep of Toronto on their minds.
Vernon Wells scored the go-ahead run as New York put a pair across the plate in the 11th inning on a throwing error by Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup to drop Toronto, 5-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 46,095 at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
After Wells and Francisco Cervelli started off the frame with back-to-back singles, Ichiro Suzuki laid down a sacrifice bunt that Loup fielded before throwing it away when trying to get the lead runner at third. The ball sailed into left field, allowing the Yankees to break open the tie game and take a two-run lead.
It would have been a shame to waste a brilliant outing by Kuroda, but fortunately the bullpen was able to recover from a rare David Robertson meltdown and the Jays messed up while Joe Girardi was trying to give them free outs and the Yankees pulled this one out.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
NEW YORK—Hiroki Kuroda sailed through nine scoreless innings in a masterful performance, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Orioles on Sunday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner clanged a two-run homer off the right-field foul pole to provide the biggest blast of the night and help the Yankees take the rubber game of the three-game set with the Orioles and secure their fifth victory in six games.
Kuroda erased any lingering concerns about the right finger he bruised in his first start of the season, as he was in command all night, scattering five hits and not permitting an Oriole to touch second base until the ninth.
Outstanding game by Kuroda tonight. And kudos to Joe Girardi for letting him finish it off despite having the greatest closer of all time waiting in the wings in what was a save situation.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
NEW YORK—The last thing the injury-plagued Yankees need right now is another scare, but that was what they received when starter Hiroki Kuroda was forced to exit in the second inning after taking a line drive off his pitching hand.
The team announced that Kuroda suffered a bruised right middle finger, with further examinations to come. The Yankees never recovered from the early blow, suffering a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
With Kuroda heading for X-rays, reliever Cody Eppley was charged with four runs in 1 1/3 innings of work before Adam Warren restored order, limiting Boston to a run over 5 1/3 innings of long relief.
This game was basically lost when Joe Girardi allowed Eppley to face three lefty hitters, each of whom singled. I don’t know that the Yankees would have won if Warren started the third, but they sure weren’t going to win after that top of the third. I suppose if you’re looking at getting six innings from your bullpen trying to get through one with Eppley made some sense. He probably should have been pulled after Victorino’s single, but he wasn’t.
Let’s hope Andy Pettitte can throw a shutout tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
In many ways, the topic was a moot point. Most interesting was the reaction of Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, who in separate meetings with reporters, wore pained, irritated looks when asked several questions about it, and ultimately responded with sarcasm, as if Chamberlain had expressed a fantasy akin to colonizing Mars.
“First I’ve heard of it,” Girardi said of Chamberlain expressing a desire to start. “I’d like to catch one more game, too.”
As the manager walked away and Cashman entered the media scrum, the 48-year-old Girardi said: “Cash, I told them, my answer was, I’d like to catch five innings, that’s it, one [more] time. You’ll get a kick out of it.”
Said Cashman: “We’re down an outfield bat right now, too. [We’ll] see if he can play center or not.”
Yeah, it’s the same topic as the last thread, but the Yankees’ reaction really irritates me.
Am I still a fan of the team if I hate the way they do almost everything? Perhaps I should consult with Jeter is King?
Thursday, February 21, 2013
WARNING. This link plays a video so don’t click on it if you don’t want to see it.
here is no doubt that a year ago, he was serious about trimming the payroll to $189 million, to keep his team under the new revenue-sharing threshold that kicks in for the 2014 season.
“It was an absolute mandate,’’ a source told me.
But recently, it has become obvious that the expected windfall from the payroll cut—as much as $60 million in rebates and luxury tax reductions—is likely to be a whole lot less, since three of the teams that had been expected to qualify for revenue sharing (Atlanta, Washington and Toronto) are now expected to be successful at the box office, and thus are no longer eligible for baseball’s version of corporate welfare.
And there is another, more visceral reason for Steinbrenner’s attitude adjustment. He seems to have learned what his father instinctively knew: That everyone loves a winner, but nobody likes a finance geek.
According to the proverbial insider with knowledge, Hal was “freaked out’’ by the negative reaction from Yankees fans at what they perceived to be a trend toward “cheapness’’ from a club that had always been known for wild extravagance.
This seems more like Wally Matthews reading way too much into Steinbrenner’s comments about considering an extension for Cano. There’s nothing in here directly from Steinbrenner indicating a change in his philosophy. But I do think there’s something to the fan backlash (and I’m guessing worse than expected season ticket sales) that will cause the Yankees to re-think their austerity budget.
If only there were players worth spending the money on…
Monday, February 18, 2013
The Yankees’ new lefthanded DH said he hasn’t taken part in defensive drills in roughly five years, and while he might have a couple of gloves in his locker during the season, they won’t see much action.
“Usually people that need first base mitts will usually call me because they know,” Hafner said Sunday. “I haven’t really thrown much over the last five years or so. It would be something that, I don’t know, maybe just try it out and see how it goes, but I’m not sure at this point.”
Joe Girardi ended any suspense over Hafner’s role, saying he considers the 35-year-old a DH and nothing else. Hafner is slated to play against righthanders, while Derek Jeter and others will likely rotate through the DH spot against lefties. He last played the field in 2007.
Thanks to Girardi for ending the suspense.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
IU: So you have essentially an analytic process, right?
Cashman: Big time. I’ve been with the team here about 15 years now, and going on my 16th year, and I have changed over time as a department head. One of the changes I’ve made is to take the Yankees into the 21st century. When you see things in the industry improve and change, you’ve got to keep up with the challenges. We have created a quantitative analysis department and hired a director of quantitative analysis. That department has grown to some 14 people who manage a number of different information streams. Not only do they pool that information, but then it is dissected and produced in a meaningful way about what is truly taking place on the field in present performance and then future predictable performance. That has certainly allowed us to make safer, more informed decisions.
Brian Cashman talks about some of the ways Yankees use quantitative analysis in this interview. He doesn’t say if quantitative analysis was the impetus behind signing Tony Womack and Jaret Wright and Chan Ho Park, but he does get into why they didn’t bid aggressively on Yu Darvish, indirectly.
Friday, January 25, 2013
“I think because [of] the serious nature of the surgery and the condition that he’s trying to recover from, you know, there is that chance,” Cashman said when asked if A-Rod might miss the whole season (via CBS New York).
This isn’t, however, the most likely scenario.
“Best-case scenario, yeah, he should be back,” Cashman said (via CBS New York). “Worst-case scenario is he won’t be back or there might be something between.”
I’m setting the over/under on Rodriguez’s 2013 PA at 250.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Kevin Long saw the lack of power down the stretch from Alex Rodriguez and was well aware something wasn’t right with the third baseman.
“I knew it in August,” the Yankees hitting coach said by phone Saturday. “I didn’t know exactly what it was, but his lower half was not letting him do the things he’s normally able to do.”
Long also knew there were no easy fixes.
“At that point of the season, there’s not much you can do other than keep grinding,” Long said. “So I wasn’t surprised when I heard about the hip injury. His explosion was gone.”
The option of ending Rodriguez’s season early was not discussed, but Long now concedes it might have been beneficial.
“Knowing now that it didn’t work out, maybe it would have been better to shut him down,” Long said. “But we never would have done that.”
I wonder why the Yankees didn’t run any tests at the time. I don’t think ‘keep grinding’ was the best course of action, and all they got out of that was a clearly diminished player and three fewer months of Rodriguez in 2013.
What’s interesting now is that if Rodriguez doesn’t hit the 13 HRs he needs to hit to get to 660 career HRs in 2013 then he’d add another $6M to the 2014 payroll if he gets to 660 in that season. The horror. The horror.
Monday, January 14, 2013
New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and first baseman Mark Teixeira will compete for the United States this March at the World Baseball Classic, according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. Pettitte will be reunited with Team USA manager Joe Torre, who piloted Pettitte with the Yankees from 1996 to 2003 and again in 2007.
Maybe the early start will help Teixeira, but I’m not particularly happy to see Pettitte pitching in what are essentially meaningless exhibition games given his age and his inability to stay healthy in 2010 and 2012. Add in Joe Torre who’ll probably make Pettitte throw 130 pitches a start and you have a recipe for disaster looming.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Hal Steinbrenner gave a rare press conference yesterday and it was fascinating in how his comments have been taken to mean two very different approaches from the Yankees going forward.
First, on the matter of the $189 million goal that the Yankees have set for themselves for 2014:
We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.
This suggests that they will exceed $189 million if the 2014 roster just cannot compete otherwise.
However, he also notes that the $189 goal is not a one year goal:
I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.
There’s more at the link, but it is an interesting mix between good news (the Yankees would be willing to exceed $189 million if they think that the 2014 team needs it) and bad (the Austerity 2014 plan will be an ongoing plan).
Update: Here’s my take on the interview [SG]
Question: Are you concerned about some of the things you saw in the playoffs last year – fan anger, empty seats, etc.?
Steinbrenner: “I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this off-season. Like I said, we’ve signed three or four of the top free agents on the market, because we’re going to continue to field a championship-caliber team. I’m a little surprised to hear that. The empty seats in the playoffs were due to a variety of reasons, quite frankly. The schedule, Stubhub, things like that. A lot of tickets being available shortly before the game. We didn’t know we were going to be in it. Obviously we went to Game 5 in the first series, you got the next game the day after, so it was challenging. … I’m a little surprised to hear about the anger. But look, all I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.”
Seriously? Are you going to blame Stubhub this year when attendance is even lower. You probably won’t have to worry about not selling out in the postseason at least, so that’s a non-issue.
Question: Will $189 million be less of a goal in future years once you get under in 2014, since the luxury tax rate goes down once you’re no longer a repeat offender?
Steinbrenner: “I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.”
So much for the hope that this was a short-term thing to get under the luxury tax threshold as a reset.
Question: Do you foresee reaching an extension with Robinson Cano before he hits free agency next winter?
Steinbrenner: “Again, I’m not a big believer in extensions, but there are exceptions to every rule. We’ll see what happens. There’s been no real significant dialogue as of yet.”
So he wants to maintain a $189M payroll in perpetuity, but he won’t sign players to extensions. So what’s the plan then Hal? Let everyone play their six years and leave?
I found this interview really disappointing. Steinbrenner comes off as out of touch and unaware, and he only mentions Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda as possible low-cost alternatives in 2014 while either ignoring or not realizing the offense is likely to be in pretty terrible shape as well.
I’m really hoping the idea is to get the team into the position to sell it now. I suppose the alternative could be worse, but I’m not liking what I’m seeing and hearing from this Steinbrenner.
Friday, January 4, 2013
The Yankees have increased the reach of their old-school scouting staff as well as high-tech statistical analysis over the last several seasons, and those advances have helped procure talent late in the Hot Stove game. They’re not afraid of chasing older players, some with injury histories, because they can represent good value.
“I think we’ve improved our pro scouting network, and I think we’ve improved our evaluation of statistical data streams,” Cashman said. “It puts us in a position to make informed decisions and much more comfortable knowing what is really available, and what you can expect from those players if you sign them and what you’d be comfortable paying them.”
I’m encouraged to read that the Yankees are putting more focus on scouting and statistical analysis at the major league level. The days of signing Tony Womack, Jaret Wright and Chan Ho Park appear to be a thing of the past.
Hopefully they’ll also work on improving their amateur scouting and their player development.
Monday, December 17, 2012
“We have more work to do,’’ said general manager Brian Cashman, who is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and somebody to absorb DH at-bats. “But a lot of the players who were substantial contributors over the last number of years have been January signs.’’
I’m starting to think the Yankees’ best option for a RH backup OF is Ronnier Mustelier. Then they can try and get the best available bat that will sign for one year to DH, be it the Shockmaster™ or Lance Berkman maybe? CAIRO would project Berkman to hit around .270/.383/.475 in 408 PA, which would be worth about 10 runs better than a replacement-level DH. Plus he can backup 1B and can probably play a pinch of RF if needed.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The winter meetings — and the baseball offseason in general — has normally been a place where the Yankees have reigned supreme. If there was a free agent they wanted or needed, they got that free agent, money be damned.
The times, though, they are a changing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to the winter meetings in Nashville this week lacking the authority to make any sort of deals to free agents. New York reportedly offered Kevin Youkilis a one-year deal eventually, but that was only after Cashman was able to gain approval from Yankees ownership.
Agent Scott Boras hinted earlier in the week that Cashman was being held back. “He had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority,” Boras said, according to the Journal. “He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”
Why would a GM need authority to make free agent offers anyway?
A lot of people are getting mad at Cashman, but if you are going to get mad you probably need to shift your attention to the guys who tell him what to do. Hal Steinbrenner has every right to operate his team the way he wants, and fans have the right to not support the product if they don’t like it.
So who should our new team be? I need an hour or so to change the underlying assumptions and components in CAIRO to make them look better.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
NASHVILLE — In most years, the Yankees are the team that wreaks havoc on the free-agent marketplace and makes it difficult for other teams to fill openings on their rosters. But in a surprising twist this off-season, the Yankees — fearful of luxury tax penalties in 2014 — are seeing the market price them out of the most attractive free agents, causing them to set priorities as they try to fill their many needs.
“I’m not optimistic on the catching side that this market via trade or free agency is going to produce something that I can feel comfortable with,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “To be honest, if you’re watching what we’re trying to do, you need to focus on the outfield and the left side of the infield. That’s where your priorities should be, because that’s where mine are.”
As uneventful as the Yankees’ offseason has been, the truth is that this year’s free agent class isn’t very good and they are better off not doing anything than paying more than a player is worth just to fill a hole. When Shane Victorino is getting 3 years and $37.5M and a 36 year old Marco Scutaro is getting 3 years and $24M I’m not sure I want the Yankees involved.
I do agree with Cashman that they are better off fixing RF and the left side of the infield than trying to find a catcher unless one falls into their lap via a good trade or something. You can get more offense for less money from the outfield than you can at catcher and this team really needs offense.
My guess is they’ll go with the catchers they have on hand, eventually bring back Ichiro and Eric Chavez and could end up signing Jeff Keppinger and will call it a day. While signing Keppinger will affect 2014 at the very least, it’s not a huge impact and he’s a pretty useful player.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
A Hardball Times article suggested using WPA - WPA/LI as a measure of bullpen performance that would be useful in assessing bullpen management. WPA is the acronym for Wins Probability Added. This is calculated as the difference in win expectancy before and after an event. LI is the Leverage Index. It is a measurement of how consequential a specific scenario is based on the inning, outs, score, baserunners, and baserunner position. By using the two statistics in concert, you arguably have a measure that gives you a context neutral wins added metric.
WPA WPA/LI WPA - WPA/LI
Bob Melvin 3.75 0.83 2.92
Bruce Bochy 2.98 0.13 2.84
Joe Giraldi 7.37 4.88 2.49
Joe Girardi makes the top three, which confirms my belief that he manages his bullpen about as well as anyone in baseball and has done so since he’s come to the Yankees. I mean, the man got useful innings from Jose Veras.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Boras said in the past week he has spoken to both Yankees president Randy Levine and general manager Brian Cashman, but his strong inclination is Cano will play out this contract before any serious negotiations with the Yankees ensue.
Boras’ rhetoric is already being honed. He is not going to lower his asking price based on a Yankees objective to go under the $189 million threshold; a tactic he has made publicly clear he feels is wrongheaded for a franchise he believes should use its financial advantages to the fullest.
Boras also has pointed out that franchise values and coffers have swelled as income streams have soared. His message is the contracts of the best players should climb equally.
You can guarantee Boras will say that a superb two-way middle infielder such as Cano should be paid more than first basemen such as Prince Fielder (nine years, $214 million) and Joey Votto (10 years, $225 million).
The Yankees should just counter all of Boras’s rhetoric with one word. A-Rod.
Neither the Mets nor Yankees — both in need of outfield help — has yet to express interest in Melky Cabrera. At least five teams have.
Those five teams should be banned from baseball.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Mariano Rivera will be back in pinstripes next year, The Post has learned.
The iconic closer told Yankees general manager Brian Cashman on Friday that he wants to return in 2013. Rivera missed almost the entire 2012 season with a torn ACL and, after initially saying he definitely wanted to come back, he was less sure about it in the last few weeks.
Now all speculation has ended.
“Rivera contacted us and wants to play,” Cashman told The Post.
Yay. Let’s hope Andy Pettitte feels the same way.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Earlier today we learned that the Yankees intend to exercise Curtis Granderson’s $15MM club option for 2013, and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the team is disinclined to explore a long-term extension for the slugger.
I think this is the right thing to do. They may try and trade Granderson after picking up his option, although I’m not sure what kind of trade value he has right now.
The Yankees are still planning on making a qualifying offer of about $13.5MM to free agent Nick Swisher, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. However, the club will only do so in order to receive draft pick compensation and have no expectations of Swisher accepting the deal.
We’ve pretty much known this was the planned course of action all along.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman told Heyman that he has no plans to shop Alex Rodriguez this winter.
It’s tough to see a trade that makes sense for Rodriguez given what he’s owed. Let’s hope an offseason spent making adjustments helps him continue to be a better than average 3B in 2013.
Yankees president Randy Levine confirmed to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi will return in 2013.
Also from MLB Trade Rumors, Boras Hints That Soriano Will Opt-Out Of Contract
“There is a strong chance that he would have tremendous value as a free agent,” said Boras. Sherman notes that big market clubs like the Angels, Dodgers, Nationals, Red Sox, Giants, and Tigers could all be in the market for a high-end closer this winter.
Sherman says Soriano and Boras have until three days after the end of the World Series to exercise the opt-out clause, and the Yankees would likely make him a qualifying offer to ensure they receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.
He’s owed about as much as a qualifying offer anyway, so it’s a no-brainer to offer him one.
I am starting to get the sense the 2013 Yankees are going to look a lot like the 2012 Yankees. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Friday, October 19, 2012
“We fell short of our singular and constant goal, which is a World Series Championship. However, I am proud of the accomplishments of this year’s team. We earned the best record in the American League and were one of the four teams to advance to the League Championship Series, despite having to overcome and fight through a series of .long-term injuries to a number of our key players.
Make no mistake, this was a bitter end to our year, and we fully intend to examine our season in its totality, assess all of our strengths and weaknesses and take the necessary steps needed to maintain our sole focus of winning the World Series in 2013.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
DETROIT—The Yankees’ ice cold autumn will now give way to an uncertain winter, as their season concluded on Thursday with an 8-1 loss to the Tigers in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park.
CC Sabathia was rocked for six runs in 3 2/3 innings and the Yankees were held hitless into the sixth inning by Max Scherzer, as Detroit locked up the AL pennant and will advance to the World Series against either the Cardinals or Giants.
New York was swept for the first time in 36 consecutive postseason appearances; the last one came in 1980, when the Royals wiped out the Yankees in a best-of-five ALCS that led to the dismissal of manager Dick Howser.
The positions of manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman appear to be secure, but hitting coach Kevin Long will be asked to answer for an anemic offense that hung zeros on the scoreboard in 36 of 39 innings during the ALCS.
It’s hard to win a series when you don’t lead in a single inning in any of the games. Detroit was probably the better team heading into this series, and they sure looked like it.
It was a frustrating end to a frustrating series. It shouldn’t feel like a frustrating season because of that, although I’m sure we’ll be treated to some crap from Randy Levine about how the season was a failure.
We’ll have months to think about where they go from here. The Yankees have some decisions to make on some players, and some players have decisions to make on whether or not they want to return. I’m sure we won’t see Nick Swisher in pinstripes again. I was certain we’d see Curtis Granderson back with his option picked up next year but I’m now thinking there’s a chance we won’t. The whole Alex Rodriguez situation will dictate a lot of what the team decides to do. I’m guessing Rafael Soriano will opt out, but that’s less of a concern than getting the offense shored up and stabilizing the rotation based on what happens with Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte.
Anyway, we have months to think about that.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
On the heels of a playoff weekend in which the Yankees played in front of thousands of empty seats in the Bronx, the team now appears concerned that it will be unable to sell out next weekend, either, if the Yankees do make it to Games 6 and 7 of the American League Championship Series.
I’m guessing they don’t need to be concerned about this.
The Yankees have been sending e-mails to fans inviting them to buy tickets to Games 6 and 7, which would be played on Saturday and Sunday at Yankee Stadium if the Yankees, who entered Tuesday’s Game 3 trailing by 2-0 in the series, can avoid elimination in Detroit. While it is unclear how many tickets are for sale, an online map of Yankee Stadium shows that seats are available in nearly every section of the first two decks. The lowest-priced seats in those sections are in the far reaches of the upper deck and cost $113. More seats appear available for a deciding Game 7 than for Game 6.
Should these emails be considered spam?
Prices for tickets to Games 6 and 7 have also fallen 30 percent in the past week. Yankees team officials say that online ticket resellers undercut their ability to sell tickets at the box office. They contend that many of the tickets for sale online are being sold by ticket brokers and scalpers.
Or, it could be your overcharging for a product that’s just not that compelling.
I’m not sure why a 95 win team hasn’t hasn’t captured the heart of a lot of fans. But I do know that it’s happened. I’m not as into this team as I’ve been to prior teams, and while I can’t put my finger directly on why that is, I think it has to do with the construction of the roster. I’m just not as emotionally invested in a lot of these players for whatever reason. It started for me when Mariano Rivera got hurt. While Rafael Soriano did an admirable job of replacing him, he’s not Mo. Losing Andy Pettitte for half the season didn’t help things. Losing Brett Gardner for the whole year didn’t help either.
The Yankees are really coming off like jerks with their whining about ticket resellers. Put a better product on the field and/or charge less and you’ll get your ticket sales back.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
“Adjustments. Adjustments. Adjustments.” As in this Joe Girardi quote, verbatim from the Game 2 press conference, “We have to make adjustments. You have to make adjustments. We know what they are doing to us. You have to make adjustments.”
But a couple of American League scouts, who requested anonymity so they could speak candidly about what they’ve witnessed from the Yankee hitters during the regular season and the postseason, seemed skeptical that Girardi’s team is capable of such a thing.
“Making adjustments isn’t really something this Yankee lineup does,” said Scout A, who followed the Yankees throughout the final three weeks of the season. “Even the last nine or 10 games of the season when they were hitting the ball well, what I saw was a team that was beating up bad pitching from Minnesota, Toronto and Boston. There wasn’t much to adjust to against their Triple-A pitching. They basically destroyed fastballs.”
The infamous anonymous scouts speak.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
The Yankees’ wealthiest and most coddled player was finally pushed out of Girardi’s protective cocoon, branded as a liability for the first time since coming to New York in 2004.
This is only the beginning, just watch: Rodriguez will likely be back in the lineup tonight, but only because the Orioles will start lefty Joe Saunders. But A-Rod’s hold on the No 3 spot in the lineup is over, particularly against right-handers. Rodriguez will move down in the batting order, possibly tonight, and by next year we’ll begin to see less of him – more days off, fewer at-bats, more instances of Girardi, “listening to my gut” as he did with the Division Series on the line.
Given the fact that he’s signed for the next five years I’m guessing the Yankees aren’t quite ready to pronounce Rodriguez finished just yet. If he’s really lost his ability to hit, he’s surely going to spend the offseason working on adjustments to see if he can get it back. Whether he’ll be able to do it is an uncertain proposition, but I don’t think him being pinch-hit for once is something that should be over-analyzed.
He’s still owed $114 million through 2017, although one person familiar with ownership’s thinking predicted, “there’s no way Alex is still here after 2015.).” The Yankees will have to swallow a major portion of the remaining salaries in order to trade him, but Rodriguez, already unpopular with the fans, won’t be missed. Not really.
This ownership thinks? Color me shocked.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
But the truth is, Chris Dickerson—Dickey to his manager, who has a hockey-style nickname for everyone—is likely to be in a lot of NYC conversations over the next few days as the talk turns from the AL East race, which is moving close to a settlement, and on to the Yankees’ postseason roster.
On Wednesday, Dickerson, given a rare start against the Twins, had a big day, with two hits including an impressive line-drive home run that capped off the Yankees’ 8-2 victory.
Nice to see Joltin’ Joe Girardi being creative for a change with Dickerson’s nickname.
Since the Yankees can probably afford to go with 11 pitchers in the postseason, there should be a spot for Dickerson on the bench. While he’s probably not as good defensively or on the bases as Brett Gardner, he can at least go up to the plate. Frankly, I’m not sure he’s not a better option for LF than the Shockmaster™ and/or Andruw Jones when you consider the whole package, assuming Mark Teixeira isn’t back and the Yankees are forced to play Nick Swisher at 1B. But it’s highly unlikely that he’d be starting in any scenario.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS—Never mind that Alex Rodriguez wasn’t in New York’s lineup on Wednesday. Never mind that Mark Teixeira has been out for most of the last month. And forget that Robinson Cano has struggled for most of September, because the Yankees’ lineup—no matter whom Joe Girardi seems to insert in it—continues to produce.
New York erupted for six runs in the third inning, backing up eight strong innings from CC Sabathia to secure an 8-2 series-clinching victory over Minnesota in front of 33,251 at Target Field.
The win pushes New York’s advantage over Baltimore in the American League East to two games, with the Orioles and Blue Jays playing tonight in Toronto.
The Yankees really should have swept this series. I guess we should be happy that they did the bare minimum of what they were supposed to do though.
MINNEAPOLIS – A night’s worth of Phil Hughes’ good work had disintegrated in just a handful of poorly executed pitches by Boone Logan.
And the Yankees saw a valuable chance to extend their AL East lead slip away.
Entering Tuesday night’s seventh inning with two out and the bases loaded, Logan allowed all three of Hughes’ inherited runners to score – and one of his own.
That wiped out a two-run lead and lifted the Twins to a 5-4 victory before 33,346 fans at Target Field.
Despite the Orioles’ third loss in four games Tuesday, they remained just 1½ games behind the Yankees (89-65) in the AL East, and two back in the loss column with eight to play.
It was a frustrating way to lose a very important game against a team that frankly stinks. That being said, I thought going to Logan there was the right move. Hughes had thrown 28 pitches in the bottom of the seventh and the Twins lineup was about to get their fourth look at Hughes. They also had four straight lefties stacked at the top of the lineup.
Joe Girardi made the right move. Logan just didn’t do his job.
Friday, September 21, 2012
That achievement, of course, is a pitcher recording four strikeouts in a single inning, and now they can finally say it’s happened twice after Phil Hughes struck out four straight batters in the fourth inning of their 10-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hughes’ first victim in the inning was J.P. Arencibia, whom he finished off in three pitches with a slider away. After a quick visit from the training staff and Joe Girardi, Hughes got Adeiny Hechavarria swinging on a high fastball that catcher Russell Martin couldn’t handle. Martin was charged with a passed ball because it rolled all the way to screen, allowing Hechavarria to reach and Hughes to pursue a little history.
Now working from the stretch, Hughes would fan Anthony Gose on four pitches with a swing-and-miss curveball low and in. He then completed the impressive inning by catching Brett Lawrie looking on another dandy curveball. Four up, four strikeouts. And he did it all in an economical 17 pitches.
Now, if you can believe this, the only other Yankee to strike out four in an inning was A.J. Burnett, who also did it one time with the Miami Marlins back on July 5, 2002. His four strikeout inning with the Yankees happened on June 24, 2011 when he out Chris Iannetta, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Nelson and Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies consecutively, with Nelson reaching on a wild pitch.
Hughes and Burnett, like peas in a pod.
In other assorted crap.
As part of a 15-minute powwow last Friday before the Rays series, Reilly asked: “Peyton Manning changed teams this season after 14 seasons with one team. Could you see yourself doing that?”
“Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes,” Jeter replied. “It’s a business. People forget that.”
Because the team has started annoyingly winning again, let’s manufacture some controversy!
Multiple sources confirmed to The Post that the Yankees’ Robinson Cano has not failed a test for illegal performance-enhancing drugs, contradicting a Twitter dispatch by some Charlotte, N.C., television dimwit named Dan Tordjman.
At roughly 1:00 Thursday afternoon, Tordjman — who describes himself in his Twitter page as “a keen observer of NY sports, horse racing and all things Depeche Mode” — tweeted, “Can’t confirm this but I’m hearing that Robinson Cano tested positive for PEDs. Announcement from MLB coming shortly.”
These are new steroids that don’t work when runners are in scoring position.
“Just by feeling it right now you can tell that it’s swollen and tight and sore,” Teixeira said Thursday.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has expressed hope Teixeira could return in time for the team’s trip to Toronto from Sept. 27-30. He has not resumed on-field workouts but planned to take indoor batting practice Thursday.
“I don’t want to put any timetable on it because we tried to do that last time and it kind of put unwanted pressure on everybody,” he said. “We all wanted me to be back as soon as possible and I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready. So I’m just going to take it day by day, and when the doctors tell me that I’m clear, when the trainers tell me that I’m clear, when the strength coach and the baseball people all say you look normal, you’re running fine, then I’ll be out there playing.”
The runway is getting a lot shorter for Teixeira, but I’d guess they’ll give it a shot by the last series of the year. If he gets hurt again, he’ll have the offseason to heal up. Besides, the Yankees don’t need him with Steve Pearce and Casey McGehee around.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
NEW YORK—The “Ich-i-ro” chants started at Yankee Stadium before Ichiro Suzuki recorded his seventh hit of the day, but they reached a crescendo after the veteran outfielder drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 2-1 nightcap win over the Blue Jays, giving New York victories on both ends of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Ichiro went 4-for-4 with four stolen bases in the nightcap, singling in Curtis Granderson against Aaron Loup to help the Yankees earn a win that ensured they would wake up on Thursday with at least a half-game lead in the American League East, regardless of the Orioles’ result against the Mariners at Seattle later Wednesday night.
Seven hits in one day for Ichiro. As Michael Kay pointed out during the broadcast, Andruw Jones has nine hits in two months. It was smart to start Ichiro in this game because Romero’s best pitch is a changeup, which means lefties have hit him better than righties in his career. Girardi has been loading his lineups vs. Romero with righties and Romero’s pitched better against them than he has against any other team in the league. So thankfully he tried something different tonight. In his press conference Girardi just mentioned the fact that lefties have hit better than righties against Romero, which is encouraging.
David Phelps set his MLB career high in pitches and pitched pretty well, albeit against a team that looked more like the 2012 Red Sox than the 2011 Red Sox. Still, with the doubleheader limiting the availability of the better relievers, getting into the seventh while holding the Jays to one run was really big. He probably won’t make another start this year, but he’s got a chance to be a very important part of the late inning mix and he’s surely put himself into contention for a rotation spot in 2013.
We can fret about the offense, but at this point they just need to win. The how is less important.
NEW YORK—Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in advance of Andy Pettitte’s return from nearly three months on the disabled list that he was hopeful he would receive five innings and 70 pitches from the left-hander.
In the first leg of a day-night doubleheader against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, Girardi got five scoreless frames, 75 pitches and a 4-2 win that snapped the Yankees’ tie atop the American League East with the Orioles, who will wrap up their three-game series at Seattle at 10:10 p.m. ET. The second game of New York’s doubleheader will begin at 7:05 p.m. and pit David Phelps against Ricky Romero.
Making his first appearance since a comebacker on June 27 fractured his left fibula, Pettitte appeared to be finished after four innings, with the 40-year-old at 68 pitches and Derek Lowe warming in the Yankees’ bullpen. But Pettitte returned for one more frame, retiring the side in order for the first time all day, needing only seven pitches to do so and leaving to applause from a sparse crowd a day after inclement weather forced the postponement of the lefty’s anticipated return.
Pettitte’s return went about as well as I could have hoped for. The offense in the first inning was great. The rest of the game, not so much. The pen was strong too aside from David Robertson, and the Yankees have moved back into sole possession of first place for at least the next six hours or so.
Monday, September 17, 2012
NEW YORK — Nick Swisher drew a nice cheer for his rare bunt, Eduardo Nunez energized the crowd with three steals and Russell Martin earned the biggest ovation for his home run.
The New York Yankees mixed and matched against Tampa Bay — at the plate and on the mound — and emerged with a 6-4 win Sunday that kept them ahead in the AL East and ended a most damaging road trip for the Rays.
Now, the Yankees can relax. For a bit, anyway.
“We have a day off. Guys are going to rest tomorrow,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s their last one of the year and they’d better rest because we still have a grind left.”
Martin’s three-run shot highlighted an eventful early burst as New York won with small ball and a longball.
Martin’s brutal start masks that he’s been pretty solid since the All Star break. He’s hit .246/.326/.437 since July 13. I still forget that offense is down in baseball so when I look at that line by itself I am still underwhelmed. But when I look at it in the proper context (it’s in a league where the average hitter is hitting .255/.320/.412 and the average catcher has hit .242/.310/.398) it looks better, even if you discount him some for the farcical place he plays a good chunk of his games (Fenway park of course). He’s hitting .293/.396/.561 in 48 September PA.
I thought he’d cost himself a lot of money this year, and if he cools off he probably has. But if he can continue hitting like this through the end of the season and the postseason (if by some miracle the Yankees make it) I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come reasonably close to the offer he turned down last offseason (3 years, $21M).
Baseball Reference has him at 1.1 WAR right now and he’d have to be worth somewhere in the area of 4 WAR over three years to be worth that much. If you believe his BABIP has been unluckily low this year, he’s probably got a good chance to be worth that much, but I’m not sure I like the idea of committing to him for three years. I think the Yankees will try and bring him back for one year on a make-good deal, particularly since it wouldn’t affect the 2014 payroll.
It’s tough to make a case that the Yankees should offer him a qualifying offer in the $13-14M range because it’s highly unlikely he’ll be worth it. But we can worry about all that later. He’s been a boost for an offense that hasn’t been good lately at a time when they really needed it, and after three months of being a target of our ire he deserves some credit for that.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
BOSTON—Derek Jeter grimaced and was hobbled after lunging for first base during the Yankees’ 5-4 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, unable to persuade manager Joe Girardi to keep him in the game.
The play forced the Yankees to reveal that Jeter has been quietly battling a bone bruise in his left ankle, and of course, Jeter expects to be in the lineup on Thursday. What else would you expect?
“I don’t talk about injuries,” Jeter said. “Either you play or you don’t. I’m playing, so it’s not an issue. At this point in the season, I’m sure there are a lot of guys that have some things bothering them. I’m really never one to talk about them.”
Girardi may decide to be cautious and sit Jeter out today, or he may DH him since Boston will have LHP Felix Doubront going. Might we get a rare Nun-E sighting? Either way, it thankfully doesn’t seem like a serious problem, as opposed to the multitude of serious problems this team has.
The New York Yankees pitching rotation could add some much needed depth in the upcoming days, as reports are saying Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte could possibly return to the rotation soon. According to manager Joe Girardi, Nova is going to replace veteran Freddy Garcia and will start Saturday, while Pettitte could return to the rotation next week if he gets clearance from his doctors.
For the past few weeks, Nova (11-7, 4.92 ERA) has been out because of shoulder soreness, while Pettitte (3-3, 3.22 ERA) has been recovering from a broken left ankle since June 27.
According to reports, Pettitte tossed “60, 65 pitches” in a simulated game at Fenway Park before Wednesday night’s showdown between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. After the session, Pettitte said he’d like to return and help the Yankees win the AL East.
Nova’s had a disappointing season, but the bar for him being an asset at this point is to be better than Freddy Garcia. Since Garcia’s got an RA of 7.64 and a FIP of 5.94 and has averaged 4.4 innings a game over his last four starts, that’s not a particularly high bar.
As for Pettitte, we just won’t know what’s up with him until he’s pitching full speed in a real game. With 20 games left in the regular season, his runway is short. But I’m hopeful we’ll see him back and pitching in the rotation.
Nova bumping Garcia to the pen is probably an upgrade in both areas, since I think Garcia is a better option for long relief than Derek Lowe. Then again, you could probably say that about every pitcher in the Yankee organization and Nick Swisher too. You’d assume Pettitte would move David Phelps back to the bullpen as well, which gives the Yankees a better option than Cody Eppley in those crucial sixth innings. The Yankees have gotten a lot more than I expected out of Eppley and he’s been a net plus this year, but he hasn’t been as good of late and his peripherals scream fluke.
A pen of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Phelps, Clay Rapada, Garcia, Eppley and maybe Cory Wade (I still think he can be useful) should help the Yankees push through the end of the regular season without overworking their key relievers too much.
Now if only they’d win a second game in a row for once.
Monday, September 3, 2012
“It’s not a good feeling,” the Yankees’ Robinson Cano said. “You lose some games, and you just want to win games. You don’t want to put your head down. We’ve just got to turn the page; just be ready for tomorrow.”
That may be more difficult for Cano than others; the second baseman felt discomfort in his left hip trying to flag down the go-ahead hit, Chris Gimenez’s soft eighth-inning dribbler off losing pitcher David Robertson, as it scooted through the right side of the infield.
The Yankees do not expect Cano’s injury to force him to miss more than a day, but now that they’ve seen what was once a 10-game lead in the AL East trimmed to a single contest by virtue of the Orioles’ win over the Blue Jays, off-days are a luxury the Yankees can’t afford.
“I would love to keep the lead,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When you win the division, you don’t really care what you win by. You’d just love to keep the lead. That’s important.”
Scoring runs is also important. Staying healthy too. The Yankees seem to suck at both lately.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
CLEVELAND—Rafael Soriano had only a fraction of a second to preserve his health, relying on his instincts to get a glove and bare hand in the way of a hot line drive in the ninth inning on Sunday.
The Yankees were understandably concerned about any possible injury to their fill-in closer, but Soriano quickly waved them off and finished the job, sealing New York’s 4-2 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field.
“I knew it’d be sore a little bit,” Soriano said. “I said, ‘Let me try to finish, and we’ll see the trainer after the game.’”
Soriano flagged down the threatening Jason Kipnis shot and threw a strike to first base for the second out of the ninth inning, then retired Asdrubal Cabrera and furiously untucked his jersey for his 33rd save in 35 chances this season.
The Yankees really should have swept this series given the number of chances they blew yesterday. Hopefully that doesn’t come back to haunt them.
This game had some interesting bullpen management by Joe Girardi, using Boone Logan, David Robertson and Alfonso Soriano for more than an inning. With some of the other relievers in the pen crashing back down to earth it was understandable. It’ll be interesting to see how Girardi handles the pen over the rest of the season if he no longer feels comfortable using the other relievers.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Nova was sent home Wednesday night after feeling what Joe Girardi described as “tightness” in his right shoulder. Nova, who is 1-4 with a 7.28 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break, was evaluated Thursday by team physician Christopher Ahmad, who prescribed “medicine and rest.”
David Phelps, who was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA against the Rangers and Red Sox while filling in for CC Sabathia—who is scheduled to come off the disabled list and start Friday night against the Indians—will take Nova’s rotation spot.
The Yankees have mostly responded with indifference to the slew of injuries they’ve sustained this season—“everyone goes through them” is the common refrain—and that feeling permeated the clubhouse Wednesday regarding the suddenly tight race.
Nova’s exam supposedly showed inflammation in his rotator cuff, which isn’t something you ever want to hear with a pitcher. In the short-term, it probably doesn’t hurt the team much since Nova hasn’t been pitching well. Hopefully it won’t affect Nova in the long-term.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
DETROIT—Curtis Granderson enjoyed immediate results from a drop in the batting order, homering and driving in four runs, but the Yankees still had to fight late to hold off the Tigers for a 12-8 victory on Wednesday night at Comerica Park.
Dropped to the No. 6 spot in New York’s lineup after a recent slump, Granderson responded with a run-scoring single in the first inning, a three-run homer in the third inning and also scored a run after a seventh-inning double.
The night wasn’t as breezy as the Yankees might have expected when they wielded a 7-0 lead in the fourth inning. Detroit batted around for four runs in a sloppy seventh, forcing the Yankees to sweat for just their seventh win in 19 games.
After nearly blowing a 7-0 lead with their ace on the mound, this game felt less like a win and more like a non-loss, if that makes sense. I suppose as fans of the worst team of all time we should take whatever we can get.
I didn’t have a problem with Joe GIrardi pulling CC after 93 pitches. He was laboring over the last few innings and I’ve often felt his workload should be managed a bit better to keep him fresher in October, not that it matters this year. If the Yankee defense and David Robertson had done their jobs, the game probably would have remained a laugher.
Can the Yankees do the unthinkable and split the series tomorrow?
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
“I had a bad day, but I don’t feel that way,” Nova said. “I felt really good in that inning, too. I just got hit. I left a hanging curveball, and he hit a homer. I think overall, it was a tough night for me. I feel like I had command of my pitches; I just got hit.”
Girardi didn’t mince words in analyzing the performance, in which the Yankees wasted their five-run first inning against Chris Tillman and lost for the ninth time in 12 games. It looked like the Bombers might cruise to a victory, but Nova’s second inning quickly flushed those hopes.
“He had no fastball command, inconsistent slider, inconsistent curveball,” Girardi said. “He worked his tail end off after he gave up two singles in a row in the second inning to get two outs and two strikes, then threw a slider [to Mark Reynolds] that didn’t break. It just kind of snowballed after that.”
Nova’s second inning was like a train wreck unfolding in slow motion. After allowing the first two runners to reach he got two outs and got to two strikes on Mark Reynolds and it seemed like he’d get out of the mess. Then came seven runs.
You figure when your team scores five runs in the first inning they’ll cruise to victory. I guess not.
Remember how I said yesterday that I was not concerned about the Yankees collapsing? My position on that has officially changed.
Monday, July 30, 2012
NEW YORK—The Yankees hit three home runs off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but that power display wasn’t enough to avert a 5-4 defeat on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, marking the Bronx Bombers’ third consecutive loss.
Yankees starter Freddy Garcia permitted three runs over six innings, but the Orioles added two key runs in the seventh charged to reliever Boone Logan, winning for the third time in their four games played in the Bronx this season.
Back-to-back seventh-inning homers by Eric Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki off Gonzalez—Ichiro’s first home run in pinstripes, and the 100th of his career—closed the deficit, but the Yankees couldn’t push a final run across.
Homers aren’t enough should be the theme song of the 2012 Yankees. I suppose it would help if it was a song and not a headline.
Mark Teixeira left the game with a hand injury after a fielding play and obviously that’s the bigger concern than yet another one run loss. There’s no official word on the extent of the injury, with tests planned for tomorrow.
The nice thing about losing a bunch of one run games is it generally means you’ve been a bit unlucky and aren’t really as bad as you’ve looked. While the logical part of me can use that to somewhat mollify the annoyance of the Yankees dropping eight of their last 11 games, the fan in me is pretty freaking annoyed these days.
Girardi said that the Yankees continue to expect Pettitte to return to their rotation in September, and that this recent update doesn’t constitute a change in that thinking. Doctors have been encouraged by Pettitte’s healing thus far.
“I feel like Usain Bolt right now, just not quite that fast,” said Chamberlain when asked if he sees a finish line. “Just to know it’s there and the hard work’s paid off, and to know there is an end in sight, is awesome.”
Chad Qualls is probably a bit less enthusiastic about said return.
And if you’re hoping for a magic deal coming down to save the day, according to Brian Cashman, stop hoping.
Cashman said that the trade landscape has “gotten quiet all of a sudden,” and though he wouldn’t completely rule out the chances of the Yankees making a trade before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, Cashman said he is “not at all” optimistic because prices have been too high.
“There are some very motivated buyers that you’ve seen, and some very reluctant sellers,” Cashman said. “It’s always difficult to agree on price regardless. I’m very comfortable that I know we’re getting our guys back from the DL. It’s just trying to maintain health, stay healthy and get healthy, and keep going with what you’ve got.”
Translation, I’m about to trade Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez for Brandon Beachy.
Teixeira doesn’t want to say who it was, except to say that it wasn’t hitting coach Kevin Long. Joe Girardi indicated on Sunday that it wasn’t him, saying it was a general feeling in the organization, and GM Brian Cashman said flatly that it wasn’t him.
It’s hard to imagine who else of importance would have gone to Teixeira, but the Yankee first baseman made it clear it was more than a request. And, in retrospect, he’s not happy about it.
“Hey, listen, halfway through last season I was on pace for 50 home runs and 130 RBI,’’ he said, “and I had people telling me, ‘you need to hit the ball the other way.’ I probably shouldn’t have listened to them but I try to please the people that I work for, and it didn’t work out.’’
Asked if he felt he had a choice in the matter, Teixeira was emphatic: “I was told to do something so I tried it,’’ he said.
I’m guessing it was hitting expert Randy Levine, the genius who brought us Raul Mondesi.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
SEATTLE—Jayson Nix cleared the bases with a pinch-hit three-run double off Shawn Kelley, helping the Yankees salvage the final game of a difficult West Coast road trip with a 5-2 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Nix’s clutch delivery from New York’s bench supplemented Derek Jeter’s first-inning home run as the Yankees headed for home with two victories to show for their Seattle stay, which came after the club lost four straight to the Athletics in Oakland.
Good for Nix, and good for Girardi for pinch-hitting for Raul Ibanez against a lefty after refusing to do it yesterday.
And thankfully this nightmare road trip is over. To soon be replaced by a nightmare home stand, but whatever.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
You don’t expect to win a Freddy Garcia/Felix Hernandez matchup, but the Yankees could have won this game. They blew a few chances to put some runs on the board against Hernandez, but I think the key moment in the game came in the top of the eighth. With two outs and the tying run on second base, Joe Girardi chose to stay with Raul Ibanez against the lefty Lucas Luetge despite having Andruw Jones available on the bench. That’s the Ibanez who’s hit .182/.206/.273 against LHP this season against the Luetge who’s held lefties to a line of .143/.271/.143. While it’s likely that pinch-hitting Jones would have brought a righty into the game, it’s tough to think of a worse matchup than the one Girardi willingly chose.
Girardi obviously understands the importance of platooning, or he wouldn’t have proceeded to use five different pitchers to get through the bottom of the eighth inning. So why would he ignore it on offense?
This isn’t the first time this season that Girardi has allowed Ibanez to stay in a game vs. a LHP with the predictable result of him failing to come through. Maybe it’ll finally be the last time.
As if this wasn’t enough, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and had to leave the game. No word on what the extent of the injury to his left hand was, but it did not look good.
Monday, July 23, 2012
“It’s tough. It’s tough to lose four games regardless of how it looks,” said shortstop Derek Jeter, who couldn’t handle the single that put the winning run on base with one out in the 12th. “You know, we were playing pretty good coming in here. Those guys have been playing good. They beat us four games, that’s all you can say. They’ve been playing well, they continue to play well, and they’re playing with a lot of confidence.”
Right-hander Cody Eppley was again on the mound for the Yankees when the A’s notched their 11th walk-off of the season, just like Friday night when the A’s rattled off No. 10. The Yanks on Sunday also had a rare blown save from Rafael Soriano to blame. He let up a solo home run to Seth Smith that tied the game at 4 in the ninth.
I saw maybe three innings of these four games, which is probably why this sweep doesn’t bother me as much as it should. Even the best closers blow saves, so I’m not going to crap on Rafael Soriano for last night. I guess if I was going to quibble about anything, it’d be why Cody Eppley is pitching with the game on the line. Joe Girardi used his “long” reliever (David Phelps) for 1.2 innings and 19 pitches in an extra inning game where his team had shown no interest in scoring. When you leave yourself with Eppley , Clay Rapada and Chad Qualls as your only options in a game where the first run you allow likely loses it, you’re really just waving the white flag.
I wonder how often a team loses all four games of a four game series by one run?
The luxury of building a big lead is you can handle something like this. The Yankees have lost four games to Baltimore in four days, but luckily for them the rest of the AL East contenders weren’t much better than them so the impact hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. They really need to sweep Seattle to make up for this though.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
It has been more than three months since Gardner has played a game for the Yankees, a time frame which has included a few serious setbacks. Girardi revealed before Monday night’s game against Toronto that Gardner had to be shut down again due to the elbow flaring up after a simulated game on Sunday.
At this point I think Gardner’s done for the year, at least as the starting LF. Girardi mentions him possibly playing a role on the team as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in September if they can’t get him healthy enough to hit, which I guess is better than nothing.
Girardi was asked about Mariano Rivera’s recent comments, which included the closer’s hope of returning from a torn ACL this season, and was cautiously optimistic.
“He would have to pitch in some games before the regular season ended, that’s the bottom line,” Girardi said. “He usually gets about six or seven (innings) over the course of 18-20 days (in spring training), but I don’t think you could throw him out there without having somewhat of a spring training.
I wonder how late Mo could return and still be a viable option for the postseason? I’m guessing mid-September at the latest. Two weeks would give him the chance to pitch in four or five games, which may be enough.
After another strong minor-league outing from Joba Chamberlain Monday, Girardi said he expects the reliever to rejoin the team sooner rather than later.
“We’re very encouraged by what he’s doing right now, he’ll have another couple days off, probably throw again, and then eventually we’ll have to get him to back-to-back days,” Girardi said.
I hope Chad Qualls is renting.
Monday, July 16, 2012
For now, it’s not much of a decision. The general manager contends that the Yankees already have the right pieces on hand to compete for a championship, which is why he’s hesitant to make deals for improvements he called “marginal.”
Injuries might change the Yankees’ predicament by July 31 — Cashman’s last major opportunity to improve his roster — but even then he may walk away without making a big move.
“It’s going to be difficult to improve on this roster,” Cashman said, before watching the Yankees prove his point.
I think Cashman’s probably right. They may not have the optimal 25 man roster right now, but they have the pieces in the organization to make themselves better down the stretch. Part of that will be the (hopefully) returning injured like Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain.
Another part of it may be finding a way to squeeze Russell Branyan (currently hitting .309/.438/.655 in 137 AAA PAs) or Jack Cust (.259/.400/.498 in 370 AAA PAs) onto the roster as DH options. They aren’t going to trade for a catcher who can outhit Russell Martin, so you just hope he hits closer to how he projects to hit going forward than he has so far, and you hope the rest of the team stays healthy.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
NEW YORK—Ivan Nova was hit for six runs, including three homers, in a six-plus-inning outing as the Angels defeated the Yankees, 10-8, on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Curtis Granderson had a terrific afternoon, homering and making two catches in center field to take away likely extra-base hits, but his showing wasn’t enough for the Yankees to complete a series sweep of the Halos.
You can’t help but wonder why Nova started the seventh on a day where he didn’t have his best stuff. He allowed the first two runners to reach before being pulled which got the Angels a run. Then you have to wonder why Chad Qualls was left in the game to start the eighth after getting out of the seventh. Then you wonder why it took four hits and two runs allowed by Qualls before Girardi decided to replace him. Qualls has pitched in 577 games in his career, and in only 41 of them was he asked to face 8 or more hitters. #41 was today, and as we can see it was a bad idea.
You also have to wonder why this team did such a piss poor job of running the bases on a day where they hit Jered Weaver pretty well but didn’t capitalize on it.
They should have won this game, but I guess taking two out of three from the Angels is good enough.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
2012 Yankee Relief Pitcher Projections vs. Actuals at the All Star Break
Wrapping up my All Star Break look at the Yankees performance compared to projections is the bullpen.
Freddy Garcia started the year in the rotation but had awful results and was moved to the bullpen. With CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte out of action, Garcia was moved back into the rotation where he’s had two solid starts against the teams that are probably the Yankees’ biggest rivals this year, Tampa Bay and Boston.
Garcia’s actually got a better walk rate and strike out rate than projected although that’s likely due to pitching out of the bullpen for much of the season. According to FIP, Garcia’s actually pitched about as well overall as he did last year when he was a surprisingly effective starter for most of the season. Again, the fact that the most of his 2012 innings are out of the pen means he’d probably be a bit less effective as a full-time starter, but I think I’m comfortable in saying he isn’t nearly as bad as he looked in April and can probably keep the Yankees in most games as a starter if needed. I’d assume he’ll be the one to stay in the rotation over David Phelps when CC comes back, with Phelps going back to AAA to remain stretched out as a starter. That could obviously change if he starts to pitch poorly again.
Speaking of David Phelps, here is how he’s done compared to his projections so far.
Phelps was originally projected as a starter, so I’ve done a conversion of his average 2012 projection to relief. He’s still been more effective than projected looking at that, although his FIP is a bit worse thanks to one extra HR allowed. He’s probably heading for a regression in his BABIP, but if he can keep his FIP in the 4.3-4.5 range he’s probably a viable back-end starter for the Yankees. Because of that, I’d assume he’ll go back to the minors to start regularly when CC comes back, with an eye on bringing him back whenever the rotation needs him.
Cody Eppley wasn’t expected to be part of the Yankee bullpen when the season started, but he’s now thrown 23 mostly good innings.
His peripherals are lackluster and his FIP is buoyed by pretty low HR rate. I don’t think he’s as good as his RA/ERA so far this year, but he’s fine as a middle reliever.
Much like Eppley, Clay Rapada wasn’t really expected to be a major part of the Yankee bullpen but he’s thrown 24 innings.
Regular numbers like RA/ERA/FIP for someone like Rapada aren’t all that useful because he’s more of a tactical option to use for facing a specific batter or two and his value is heavily dependent on the base/out situations he’s used in. Rapada’s faced 70 LHB and has held them to a line of .150/.246/.217. It’d be cool if he walked fewer of them, but it’s tough to quibble with that overall performance. If only he’d made that double play…
Cory Wade came out of nowhere to have a strong 2011 and he started 2012 out the same way after an ugly spring training. Then the wheels came off.
I have no idea what’s up with Wade, and I have no idea if he’s lost his ability to be an effective pitcher in MLB. His FIP is fine, his walk rate and K rate are good, but he’s getting hit hard. While we generally expect FIP to be a better predictor going forward, it’s entirely possible Wade has lost the ability to limit hits on balls in play to some extent. He’ll probably be pitching in AAA trying to figure things out and won’t be called up again if he doesn’t. I hope he does because I like watching him pitch when he’s effective.
Boone Logan’s been mostly good this year, but has struggled a bit recently.
He’s still outpitching his projections, notably the big jump in strikeout rate. He’s still a bit of an adventure at times, but I am comfortable he’ll be mostly good over the rest of the year.
Expecting a repeat of 2011 for David Robertson was not realistic. Robertson’s been fine, although we’re now hearing he doesn’t have a closer’s mentality because of two blown saves.
Robertson’s outpitched his projections, and his FIP indicates he’s actually been more effective than his RA/ERA show. I still think he’s the best reliever in the non-Mo Yankee bullpen, whether he’s the anointed closer or not.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned how I felt about the Rafael Soriano signing. Anyway, with Mariano Rivera likely out for the rest of 2012, Soriano’s become the closer.
Soriano’s been rock solid as the closer, putting up a Rivera-like ERA. He’s allowing a lot more base runners than Mo does, but so far that hasn’t hurt him. I’d prefer not to see him allowing two base runners to reach every inning, but aside from that I have no qualms with his work so far. I’d expect him to be closer to that 2.30 FIP going forward, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
A few odds calls aside, Joe Girardi’s managed his bullpen very well this year in my opinion. Just like he’s done in every year since he became the Yankee manager. Because of that, I think the bullpen will continue to be a strength going forward.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
It looked like the Rays were well on their way to making it 10 straight losses for the Yankees at The Trop when Carlos Pena launched a two-run homer off Boone Logan into the right-field stands, putting Tampa Bay ahead, 3-1, in the seventh—especially after New York missed a prime scoring opportunity in the top half of the inning.
But David Robertson pitched a clean eighth inning—a welcome experience for him after admittedly blowing Monday’s game, a 4-3 loss—and Tampa Bay relieved Price with Farnsworth, a righty.
Farnsworth walked leadoff batter Eric Chavez and struck out Derek Jeter, then issued free passes to Curtis Granderson and Teixeira to load the bases. Alex Rodriguez then walked on six pitches, bringing in Chavez and trimming the Rays’ lead to one run.
“I wasn’t getting ahead of them, first off, on strike one, which obviously was huge,” Farnsworth said. “They’re going to sit on their one pitch, and they’re not going to swing. ... It’s all on me for not throwing strikes.”
Girardi added that it’s not always easy for hitters to leave the bat on their shoulder when a pitcher is throwing so many balls, especially when they could just as easily hit their way back into the game.
“We’ve got guys who can change the complexion of the game with one swing,” Girardi said. “But they remained patient, and I give them a lot of credit.”
Robinson Cano took care of things from there, knocking a two-run single to center field off left-hander Jake McGee—who relieved Farnsworth—to give the Yankees the lead. The hit also gave Cano eight straight games with at least one RBI.
“Every win’s a big win, but it’s good to get that monkey off your back,” Cano said. “You want to be able to win one and get over it. You don’t want to go to Boston losing three games.”
No, you certainly don’t want that, Robinson.
In other somewhat odd news, the Yankees claimed Darnell McDonald off waivers. This likely means we won’t be seeing Brett Gardner before Labor Day. Of 2013.
Friday, June 29, 2012
“I did my job as a pitcher,” Rapada said. “I just didn’t do my job as a fielder. I really let my team down tonight.”
Yes, you did.
Robertson, who was initially named to replace Mariano Rivera after Rivera was injured May 3, was warming up for the ninth, thinking that with Soriano unavailable, he might start the inning.
“I thought I would,” he said, but he added that he had been summoned many times in similar situations in the past and usually escaped them. Not this time.
I still can’t understand the idea that you would be willing to use Robertson in the ninth, but wouldn’t have him start the inning.
Sure, if Rapada makes the play he should have made the outcome is probably different. It still doesn’t make sense to start the ninth with two pitchers that are inferior to Robertson when he was available. With their two best starters out, this team can’t afford to lose games they should be winning. Yes, Robertson gave up the HR, but coming into an inherited mess may have made him pitch differently than he would have if he’d started the inning.
Oh well. Maybe they’ll win today.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I’ve often said that Joe Girardi’s bullpen management is his biggest strength, but tonight he really managed it horribly. Let’s run through the transgressions.
- With the tying run on third and two outs in the 8th, he used Cody Eppley against Paul Konerko. That was a situation that really called for David Robertson.
- After Eppley got out of the inning, Robertson should have started the ninth. Instead Eppley was left in.
- Once Alex Rios singled against Eppley to start the ninth, he went to Clay Rapada with the tying run in the batter’s box. I suppose you can say Rapada made his pitches, but he threw a potential double play grounder into CF.
By the time Girardi finally decided to go to Robertson, the damage had effectively been done.
This feels like the worst loss of the year to me. Unbelievable. Really.
Monday, June 18, 2012
WASHINGTON — The work began the day after CC Sabathia’s last start.
The Yankees ace had just battled through yet another start. Without consistent command of his fastball, Sabathia pitched the Yankees to a victory, though he knew it wasn’t good enough. So, he sought out pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who took a still frame from a start in 2009 and compared it with an image taken from Sabathia’s outing the previous night. The comparison revealed a small but correctable, mechanical flaw, one that he hopes is a thing of the past when he takes the mound against the Braves Monday night.
“It makes a big difference,” Sabathia said. “That will be something that I look to correct.”
I can’t imagine fixing this “mechanical flaw” will also add 1-2 MPH to his fastball, but one can dream.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
ATLANTA — The Yankees refused to fully divulge what doctors have learned about Brett Gardner’s troublesome right elbow.
However, manager Joe Girardi offered a glimpse into the findings Tuesday, revealing that Gardner’s issues have nothing to do with his elbow ligaments. That fact alone rules out the possibility of Tommy John surgery, which would have cost the outfielder the rest of his season.
I’m not sure I like the way this story line is unfolding.
In better news, AP: Yankees’ Rivera says knee surgery ‘went perfectly’.
Girardi said the surgery clears the path for Rivera’s comeback in 2013.
“I think we’re all expecting to see Mo pitch next year,” Girardi said. “I really don’t think we’re going to see any issues.”
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
ATLANTA—Considering the way he’s had to manage the Yankees’ bullpen of late, Joe Girardi needed a deep start from ace left-hander CC Sabathia against the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night.
Girardi got just that, but not without some tense moments before Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher turned a four-run deficit into a satisfying 6-4 win. It was the Yankees’ fifth win in a row and their 10th in a span of 12 games, leaving New York alone in first place in the American League East and at 36-25, the best record in the AL.
Rodriguez hit his 23rd career grand slam with one out in the eighth inning, tying legendary Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig atop the all-time list. Rodriguez’s 10th homer of the season and 639th lifetime knotted the score at 4. Moments later, Swisher launched a two-run shot, also his 10th, off Cory Gearrin to give the Yankees a lead they would keep.
When I turned the game on the Yankees were already down 3-0 in the bottom of the first after going 0 for 2 with RISP in the top of the first. Mike Minor made the offense look horrible through seven innings, but then came the furious rally in the eighth. The Yankees’ ineptitude with the bases loaded this year has been painful to watch. In his previous 10 PA with the bases loaded this year Rodriguez had one hit and three double plays. The grand slam was better.
It’s amazing how much more fun this team has been to watch lately, isn’t it?
Monday, June 11, 2012
Ivan Nova pitched seven strong innings, holding the Braves to five singles in leading the Yanks to their fourth straight win, which followed a three-game weekend sweep of the Mets at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees scored one run in each of the first three innings against Braves starter Randall Delgado.
Instead of starting the ninth inning with Rafael Soriano, who blew a save opportunity in Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Mets, manager Joe Girardi turned to Cory Wade for the inning’s first out, then got the final two outs of the game from Boone Logan.
The Yanks have now won nine of their last 11 games and pulled into a first-place tie with the Rays in the AL East, leading Girardi to agree before the game that the defending division champs are now hitting on all cylinders, despite some notable missing parts: Brett Gardner, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.
It seems like after every Nova start this year I’ve said some variation of Nova pitching better than his final line. Today I’m going to go with the opposite sentiment. I’ll take seven shutout innings any time, but Nova didn’t look shutout great to me. His command seemed off, although he probably should have ended the game with 0 walks and 8 Ks but he caught the home plate ump napping on an 0-2 curve that cut through the center of the strike zone. The batter ended up working a walk to lead off the seventh, but Nova carved through the next three hitters to end a solid night and move his season ERA under 5.00. Nick Swisher also made a great catch earlier in the game that may have robbed Brian McCann of a two run homer that would have made Nova’s line look worse than it did. That being said, I’ve felt all year that Nova’s pitched in bad luck so he’s probably due for a bit of good luck.
Because of Nova and two perfect innings by the closer-less bullpen, we can ignore the fact that once again the Yankees were putrid with runners on base. I lost count around 27 LOB.
Despite that ineptitude continuing, the Yankees won again and with Tampa Bay idle, the Yankees have moved into a tie for first place in the AL East. They should try and stay there.
Friday, May 25, 2012
It translated into a comfortable niche Eppley has created for himself as a frustrating matchup for right-handed hitters. In the minor leagues this year, he elicited a ground ball against 82 percent of the batters he faced.
Here’s a brief look at how Cory Eppley became a side-arming reliever instead of a failed starter. With all the injuries the Yankees have had in the bullpen he’s survived a lot longer than I’d expected him to. At first I though, wow, 82% of the batters he’s faced in the minors hit ground balls against him? Then I realized he’s faced a grand total of 31 batters in the minors this year.
He does have a 66.7% GB rate in MLB this year as well though, which is a good thing in DNYS. He’s not really someone I want to see in high leverage situations, but he can probably continue to help the team in the correct spots, which plays into what I think is Joe Girardi’s biggest strength (using his middle relievers well).
Thursday, May 24, 2012
“I just read the Daily News story. It is complete fiction,” Steinbrenner, the team’s managing general partner, said in a statement. “Me and my family have no intention to sell the Yankees and expect it to be in the family for years to come.”
Rumors are flying in Major League Baseball and New York banking circles that the family that has owned Major League Baseball’s premiere franchise since Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner purchased the club for $8.8 million in 1973 is exploring the possibility of selling the Yankees.
Team for sale.
Unappetizing old team for sale.
Team that’s stale and spoiled.
Team that’s soiled.
Team for sale.
Given my thoughts on the current ownership and front office, this doesn’t bother me as much as it would have a year ago. As long as new ownership cleans house(bye bye Randy Levine) and is better suited to working within the new collective bargaining agreement this may end up being a positive.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Yankees.com: Snapping late tie, Teixeira finishes O’s
BALTIMORE—The Yankees have come to accept Mark Teixeira’s slow starts as par for the course, but the slumping switch-hitter delivered a big blow at a most opportune time.
Teixeira blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning to put his club ahead and the Yankees made it hold up, posting an 8-5 victory over the Orioles on Monday at Camden Yards.
What a bizarre night. The Yankees 3-4-5 hitters combined for 7 hits and Rafael Soriano almost pitched his first 1-2-3 inning of the year, sabotaged by an Eric Chavez error.
Ivan Nova left the game in the sixth with a bruised right foot and sprained right ankle which sounds like a crappy night for his lower right leg. He’ll probably miss a start or two, but hopefully not much more than that.
Since I complain about Joe Girardi a lot, I’ll commend him for how he managed the bullpen tonight. I much prefer choosing pitchers based on match-ups to choosing pitchers based on the inning, and Clay Rapada, David Phelps Boone Logan and Cory Wade made it work. Losing Mo is a big blow, but since Girardi became Yankee manager they’ve had the best relief ERA in the majors so I think he’ll be able to handle it about as well as anyone could.
Friday, May 4, 2012
KANSAS CITY—Eduardo Nunez’s go-ahead RBI triple opened the floodgates in a four-run seventh inning as the Yankees rallied to top the Royals, 6-2, on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter also homered as New York snapped its three-game losing skid behind eight strong innings from ace CC Sabathia, who won his fourth straight start.
That was a much needed win, more to regain sanity than anything else.
This seems like a good idea if it means using Robertson in the higher leverage situations.
Friday, April 27, 2012
When it came to legit Cashman pitching blunders, whether it be A.J. Burnett, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano or Jeff Weaver, the GM didn’t exactly skate, but his relationship with certain reporters, and the respect many others have for him, softened what could have been severe body blows.
Only now it will be fascinating to watch how Cashman’s relationship with the media evolves going forward. By normal Yankees standards, the pitching is in shambles, filled with inconsistent arms after CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova take their turns in the rotation.
I’m bringing back the complaint thread. If you don’t like them, don’t read this.
The impact of the Pineda injury is huge. If the Yankees were looking at Pineda as a 3-4 win player, it probably would have helped them move towards the $189 payroll in 2014 that they’ve been eyeing. Not having him for 2012, and possibly never having him, should possibly change the organization’s plans. I don’t know if it will, but let’s think about it logically.
- Say the Yankees were a 95 win team with Pineda, and that losing him makes them a 93 win team (assuming they get better than replacement level pitching from his replacement(s))
- In 2013, with just about every key player on the team likely to be worse since they’re past the age of the typical player’s peak, what would they be then? An 88 win team?
-Now subtract Mo, Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin from that. Say that’s 10 wins. So now what, 78 wins?
-They have $120M committed to 2013, without including arbitration salaries for Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson. Giving them a 20% raise bumps the payroll commitment to about $135M or so.
-Assume that 90 wins is the target to qualify for the second wild card in most seasons. So the Yankees need to add about 12 wins for $54M to get to 90 wins in 2013, and that really just puts them on the periphery of the wild card race.
You probably can’t buy 12 wins for $54M on the free agent market due to what’s available and how it fits your roster as well as with competition from other teams. The better free agents are probably not going to want to settle for one year contracts and anything longer than that impacts the 2014 payroll.
Maybe they can replace Pineda’s wins with someone from the farm, although at this point it sure doesn’t seem like Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos are ready and the other arms behind them are either too far away or don’t project to be much more than back-end guys. They don’t have the position player prospects to replace the hole in RF, at least not for 2013. They could use a rotating DH to fill the hole there, but then that necessitates having a backup player or two that you’re comfortable playing in the field every day. I don’t know if Eduardo Nunez is that guy given his defensive issues and the uncertainty of his offense. Martin’s not making much of a case to be retained, but the falloff from him to some combination of Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine or Chris Stewart is probably still significant.
Because of that, the only way I can see the Yankees being competitive in 2013 is going over the $189M payroll target. If they’re not going to do that, I’d suggest rebuilding, but they don’t have anyone trade-able that would help reduce their payroll. Is anyone really going to take Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira off their hands?
As of now the Yankees only have $75M commited to the 2014 payroll. However, that number only includes CC Sabathia, Rodriguez, Teixeira and a $3M Derek Jeter buyout. They’d still have arbitration rights to Gardner, Robertson, Pineda, Ivan Nova, Nunez, Cervelli, Stewart and Ramiro Pena. How many games would that team win?
I understand the benefit to getting under the salary cap limit, but if the trade-off is a crappy team that will draw fewer fans and make less revenue it may not be worth it.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Crashing the Party
I decided to make use of my field pass during Yankees' batting practice on Friday afternoon. I figured that I should make the most of it before somebody wised up and revoked it.
Trying to remain as incognito as possible, I snapped off a few pictures using my phone (hence the poor picture quality). Click on any of them to enlarge.
I took this shot just as the Red Sox were finishing up their BP - all the Yankees were still in the dugout getting ready to come out and stretch.
Papelbon is right, Mo has a great smile.
CHB asked asked A-Rod about his favorite Fenway moments. I believe A-Rod mentioned his first major league game in July of 1994.
One of the funnier moments I witnessed was when Nick Swisher came into the dugout before taking BP. Russell Martin was just about to sit down with a reporter from a Canadian news outlet, and Swisher started yelling out, "French time? Time for French!?"
Another interesting thing I caught was Swisher talking to Ibanez about the difference between Yankee Stadium's short porch and the wall in left at Fenway. He said something about how if you get jammed at Yankee Stadium, you won't be able to muscle it out; but you can get jammed and still go deep over the monster. Or maybe it was the other way around. The funny thing was that it almost looked like he got jammed in his first plate appearance on Friday and he actually took it the other way for a HR over the monster.
Kuroda sitting down for an interview with Japanese TV. I only caught one word: Ichiro.
Every time I get an assignment for a Yankee game, I hope to see Mariano Rivera take the mound. So when Cody Eppley came in with a four run lead in the bottom of the ninth, I was a bit disconcerted. However, it only took one single off the bat of Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Girardi to make the inevitable call to the bullpen, and I once again got to see my absolute favorite player in action. Two strike outs and a ground out was all the Red Sox could muster against the greatest closer in baseball history, and the Yankees took the first game of the season series 6-2.
Happy Birthday Fenway.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
NEW YORK—Joe Girardi offered up a prophecy Monday afternoon that he’d rather have not seen come true.
Just hours before his club took the field for the series opener against the visiting Twins—who have had remarkably little success at Yankee Stadium over the last 10 years—Girardi noted how formidable the heart of Minnesota’s order is again, with the resurgent health of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, and the addition of outfielder Josh Willingham.
As formidable as the heart of the Yankees’ order?
Losing to the Twins at home is not something that can be spun. They stink, and now the Yankees have to try and make up for it. Taking the next three games would be a start to that.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
BALTIMORE—Raul Ibanez provided the Yankees with the big hit that they’d been searching for all night, delivering a go-ahead ground-rule double that powered a 5-4 victory over the Orioles in 12 innings on Tuesday at Camden Yards.
I didn’t think Joe Girardi managed this game all that well, but I’m glad the team won. I didn’t really have a problem with using Boone Logan to start the ninth, particularly since he was on a short leash and got pulled as soon as the first batter reached. My primary beef was the whole sequence in the top of the 11th. After Russell Martin walked to lead off the inning, Girardi pinch-ran for him with Eduardo Nunez. The benefit to this is getting a stolen base threat into the game. Instead, Girardi had left-handed hitting Brett Gardner bunt Nunez to second against a RHP so that Derek Jeter could try to drive him in with the platoon disadvantage. This also meant that the next time Martin’s spot came up, it’d be Chris Stewart in his spot. It turned out to not matter, but I think Girardi would be better off not trying to be so active when an opportunity presents itself.
Of course if one of the Yankees #4 or #5 or #6 hitters could have gotten a hit in the fifty times they came up with a chance to drive in a runner it would have been a non-issue.
On the plus side, David Phelps was nails after a crappy outing by Freddy Garcia, as was Cory Wade. Raul Ibanez’s big hit was obviously cool, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with a perfect 12th inning, lowering his ERA to 7.71. The Yankees have a chance to head home at .500 if they can win tomorrow behind CC Sabathia, and after starting out 0-3 you can’t ask for more than that.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Was Intentionally Walking Sean Rodriguez to Pitch to Carlos Pena in the First Inning Defensible?
After sleeping off my annoyance about how the season opener went, I thought I’d look at the statistical implications of Joe Girardi’s tactical decision to walk Sean Rodriguez to get to Carlos Pena with runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the first inning yesterday.
The first thing I’ll say is that previous batter/pitcher matchup statistics are generally not predictive, as shown in The Book. So to me, the most relevant statistics are these CAIRO wOBA projections.
Rodriguez: .305 overall wOBA, .322 vs. LHP and .295 vs. RHP
Pena: .340 overall wOBA, .308 vs. LHP and .353 vs. RHP
The next thing I’d look at is run expectancy.
Using the run expectancy numbers from 1993-2010 we see that a team with two outs and runners on 2nd/3rd is expected to score 0.280 runs. With two outs and the bases loaded, they’re expected to score 0.334 runs.
So is it better to face a .322 wOBA hitter (Rodriguez vs. a lefty) with a run expectancy of .280 or a .308 wOBA hitter (Pena vs. LHP) with a run expectancy of 0.334?
Actually, forget wOBA. Let’s use linear weights instead.
Here are the linear weights values for the primary offensive events with runners on second/third and the bases loaded.
I don’t know why the RE for the HR isn’t equal to base runners plus batter, although I’m guessing Jorge Posada’s base ruining is involved in some way.
And here are the percentages of times Rodriguez and Pena would project to do each of those things vs. LHP.
|split vs. lhp||1b||2b||3b||hr||bb||out|
Multiplying those percentages times the run expectancy for that situation gives us this.
|split vs. lhp||1b x RE||2b x RE||3b x RE||hr x RE||bb x RE||out x RE||RE|
Add it all up and you see that the RE for pitching to Rodriguez with runners on second and third is lower than the RE for pitching to Pena with the bases loaded.
These REs for the values of a single, double and triple don’t factor in the outs, which means that we should probably expect a higher percentage of runners to score from second and third with two outs since they’ll be running on contact. That probably closes the gap some. But this shows me that it was likely not the right move to walk Rodriguez to get to Pena.
Friday, April 6, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG—What could well turn out to be Mariano Rivera’s final Major League season began with an Opening Day blown save, as the Rays toppled the game’s all-time saves leader to post a 7-6 victory on Friday at Tropicana Field.
Joe Girardi should get at least half of the blame for his loss. His asinine decision to intentionally walk Sean Rodriguez in the first inning probably was as big of a reason for this loss as Mo’s blown save.
Friday, March 30, 2012
“I know these guys are anxious to find out what we believe their schedules are going to be and when they’re going to pitch,” Girardi said Thursday before the Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles. “We’re just not quite there yet.”
Girardi said the issue would be discussed over the next few days in meetings with him, members of his staff and General Manager Brian Cashman and his staff. The hope, Girardi said, is to come up with a final five by Monday, but they are still collecting information as the pitchers make their final spring starts.
I’m pretty sure they’ve made their decision, and they’re just figuring out how to tell the one who’s not in it. I hope they’re not considering a six man rotation, but considering how frequently this team chooses the sub-optimal option it wouldn’t surprise me.
Monday, March 26, 2012
TAMPA - The Yankees got a brief jolt Sunday when Alex Rodriguez was drilled in the rib cage by a 95-mph fastball thrown by Detroit’s Brayan Villareal. A-Rod grimaced and crumpled to the ground, clutching his side.
He was up quickly and, neither he nor Joe Girardi was worried afterward.
“Everything good,” Rodriguez said. “Ready to go.”
“He’s OK, the doctor checked him out and he’s fine,” Girardi said. “I expect him back in there on Tuesday.”
Although it seems like Rodriguez is fine, this was a reminder of the biggest problem facing the Yankees this year. An injury to one of their starting eight position players would expose just how thin they are behind the starters.
In other assorted crap.
I only watched a couple of innings from yesterday’s game and I didn’t see anything over 91. I’m still not going to worry about Pineda’s velocity until the games start to count.
If the Yankees can put together a sixth by committee until Joba’s return, they may be able to weather this blow. Seriously though, this sounds encouraging considering where things were right after the injury. I still doubt we’ll see him back this year, but I hope he’s able to make a full recovery.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Garcia has a 2.91 ERA in four spring starts, allowing 10 hits in 12.1 innings while striking out 11 and walking four. Girardi said he probably won’t decide on the back end of the Yankee rotation until April 3 or 4, meaning there is still time for Garcia to impress.
Garcia says he doesn’t mind the competition for a job, noting that “it’s making my thinking straight you concentrate better on what you’re doing.” But he did admit, “The way I pitched (Saturday), I needed it. I’m glad I pitched good.
“I’m glad I could come back and pitch. That’s really important, because we’re in competition. I don’t want to lose any starts.”
It’s nice to see Freddy Garcia pitching well after getting hit in the hand by a comebacker a couple weeks ago. The Yankees may not have 16 aces, but Freddy and Phil have so far shown they could be in the starting rotation of almost any team outside of New England.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
When the inning was over, the Red Sox took the field but were waved off by the umpires. Valentine had righthander Clayton Mortensen warmed up and coming in from the bullpen.
“It was regretful that [Clayton] Mortensen warmed up though and then we were told that they weren’t going to play extra innings. I didn’t think that that was very courteous,’’ Valentine said.
“The umpire came over and said we couldn’t play. I don’t care about not playing. Why do I have to warm up my pitcher who’s trying to make a team? Come in in a tie game against the Yankees and maybe help him make a team, and instead he has to walk off the mound and take a shower. That’s just not very courteous.’’
According to their travel roster, the Yankees had seven pitchers available. One of them, D.J. Mitchell, threw in the bullpen during the game and could not have pitched. But the others could have.
“Usually there’s communication between the umpires and the manager and it didn’t happen tonight for whatever reason,’’ Girardi said. “I didn’t know they had another guy.’’
Valentine expected that message to come from Girardi.
“Usually you go over and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have any more.’ I don’t know. I haven’t been around in a long time,’’ he said. “Joe knows better than I. I guess you just walk off the field.
“I’m sure [Girardi] didn’t do anything deliberate. It’s just I have to answer a pitcher who’s trying to make the team. That’s why you use that bullpen.’’
If getting Mortensen in the game was so important to Valentine, perhaps he could have used him in one of the nine official innings, perhaps in one of the seven thrown by Aaron Cook and Ross Ohlendorf? And if giving Mortensen a fair chance to make the team is so important to Valentine, is there any reason he’s pitched a grand total of three times this spring?
Thursday, March 22, 2012
“Night and day,” manager Joe Girardi said, comparing this year’s Hughes to a year ago. “He looks like the guy we had two years ago ... with an improved changeup.”
Hughes hopes that’s enough to get him back to where he was when he won 18 games. His spring ERA is 2.02 after he gave up two runs — when Matt Joyce launched a cutter over the center-field fence in the second — over five innings in a 5-2 Yankees win.
“There’s always a need for good pitching and as long as I go out and pitch well and am one of those guys, there’s gonna be a spot,” Hughes said. “Andy Pettitte [coming back], I don’t think about that. Six starters for five spots, I don’t think about that.”
That’s easier this year than last, when it appeared his arm was about to fall off. And while his velocity still hasn’t returned to the pre-2011 levels, he did hit 93 mph and also featured an effective changeup, which was consistently 10 mph slower than his fastball.
“I really hadn’t gotten a chance to throw as many changeups as I wanted to,” Hughes said of this spring.
But yesterday, he finished off two of his three strikeouts with the pitch.
“I took a step forward today,” Hughes said. “I haven’t had a great feel of it, ever.”
Last year, Phil Hughes ranked in the bottom 5% in wOBA and bottom 8% in swing-and-miss percentage in two-strike counts. It’s too early to know whether his change is going to be an effective pitch in 2012. But if it is, maybe we won’t be such Negative Nancies when Phil gets to two strikes this year.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
For Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova, Pettitte’s arrival will be a wakeup call.
That’s what Joe Girardi is hoping for anyway. He’s looking for Pettitte’s return to inspire the rest of his staff.
“If you don’t want somebody to take your job, pitch that way; it’s really simple,” Girardi said. “Let’s say the job was given to you and you were struggling; they’re going to look for someone to give the job to. You have to produce. That’s the world we live in in New York. It’s not like, ‘You’re this guy and we’re going to give you 20 starts no mater what happens.’ We don’t live in that world here.”
Is that really ‘the Gauntlet?’
Monday, March 12, 2012
Jeter and Rivera have starred in New York for so long that it’s easy to forget they were prospects once, too. Between now and Opening Day, promising players in 30 camps will be summoned to managers’ offices and told that they must go back to the minor leagues.
Jeter and Rivera received the same news after the Yankees’ 10-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners on June 11, 1995. And they handled it with the traits — professionalism and class — that have defined their careers ever since.
“That wasn’t a happy day for us,” Rivera recalled Sunday before pitching a 1-2-3 fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in his spring debut. “It was tough. When you get sent down, you think about it. Your mind starts wandering. We were down. I was down. But that went away after we got where we were supposed to go, with Columbus, and started working. I needed to get my shoulder right. He worked on his stuff. A few weeks later, I was up again.
“Back then, if you had to work on something, The Boss would send you down in a heartbeat. He didn’t mess around.”
Sunday, March 11, 2012
But I spoke to one AL scout a few days ago who got out his notes from last spring training, when he watched Pineda in Arizona, and said he had clocked him from 93-96 mph in early March outings.
That’s quite a difference from 89-92.
And don’t think the Yankees aren’t at least somewhat concerned about it. Cashman said he looked back on the research the Yankees did before acquiring him, and found evidence on Fangraphs.com that Pineda’s velocity would increase significantly after the first couple of innings.
“They talked on Fangraphs about how in his first inning or two of his starts last year, that’s not unusual, him being that level,” said Cashman. “Those same games he ended up averaging 94 and change.’’
I’ll preface this by saying I’m not concerned about Pineda’s velocity. What I am concerned about is that the GM of the Yankees is making major decisions and consulting Fangraphs to do it.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Fangraphs is a great resource. But I would think the richest team in baseball should have first-hand knowledge of something as critical as how Pineda’s velocity works, particularly if they’re going to trade their best prospect for him. If they’re using a free website as critical input into a decision like the one they made trading Jesus Montero for Pineda, it doesn’t exactly fill me up with confidence that this team knew what it was doing when they made the trade.
Maybe it’s subterfuge. If it’s not, let’s at least hope Cashman never finds Bleacher Report.
Friday, March 2, 2012
“If you do well on the player development side, and you have a good farm system, you don’t need a $220 million payroll,” Steinbrenner said, in a rare public appearance Thursday. “You don’t. You can field every bit as good a team with young talent.”
In essence, the self-professed “finance geek” is betting that his front office can deliver a championship-caliber team by working smarter.
Hopefully this doesn’t mean the Yankees won’t sign Rafael Soriano to a five year extension after 2013.
The big problem I see with an edict like this is that the new CBA has made it much harder to have an advantage in signing international free agents and in drafting players who might be difficult to sign. I don’t really see much evidence that the Yankee organization as a whole is better than most other organizations when it comes to finding and developing amateur talent. So if they don’t have a financial advantage, I see no reason to think they’ll suddenly start churning out more young talent than they have to this point.
That being said, complaining about the Yankees facing a more level playing field is somewhat dubious. Yeah, it’d be awesome for us if the Yankees could buy everyone they wanted and win 120 games and the World Series every year, but it would suck for the rest of baseball. And wha’ts bad for the rest of baseball will be bad for the Yankees eventually.
However, maybe they should wait until after all their awful contracts expire before proceeding down this path.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
It wasn’t just that Brian Cashman revealed on Sunday that he arranged a sit-down with Sabathia over the winter that included Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue to talk about the lefthander’s weight. It was also that he called the undertaking of such a task “tough” and “awkward,” making it clear just how important he felt that it be done.
Matter of fact, you got the feeling that Cashman was awfully tempted by September of last season to confront Sabathia and demand to know if he was back on the Cap’n Crunch.
The picture in the article shows both CC and Phil Hughes in noticeably better shape than last year, as far as I can tell.
Monday, February 13, 2012
If his Yankee career is over after three years, a 34-35 record, and a 4.79 ERA, then we can finally assess Burnett’s place in the Yankee pantheon—of free agent busts. Before the 2009 season, the Yankees promised Burnett $82.5 million over five years. Various reports indicate that the Pirates could pick up between $10 million and $13 million of the remaining $33 million the Yankees owe Burnett—meaning the Yankees will pay Burnett roughly $70 million for a total of 3.4 Wins Above Replacement, a stat that measures a player’s total value over that of a triple-A call-up, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
How does that measure up against some of the other long-term, little-return contracts the Yankees have handed out in the Derek Jeter era? Will Burnett be remembered as poorly as big-name busts like Kenny Rogers, Kei Igawa, and Carl Pavano?
This deal seems to be taking too long to materialize, making me think Pittsburgh is starting to get wise. We need more articles written about Game Two to help sway their front office.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
The two teams haven’t agreed on the dollar figure the Yankees will eat to facilitate the trade, and they haven’t agreed on the players that the Pirates will send to the Yankees.
But they have found enough common ground that Pittsburgh is now the clear front-runner.
A source familiar with the negotiations had told ESPNNewYork’s Wallace Matthews on Saturday that the talks had “legs” and were “real.”
But Pirates right fielder Garrett Jones, a left-handed bat whom the Yankees coveted, had been taken off the table, according to the source.
With the serious trade talks going on the Yankees have paused their pursuit of a designated hitter in the free agent market.
They are doing so, a baseball official said, because they want to see if they receive someone who could DH in a possible deal for Burnett.
Friday, February 10, 2012
In a conversation with Wallace Matthews, pitching coach Larry Rothschild wouldn’t declare where Pineda will pitch in the rotation.
“He’s a young kid so I don’t know if we want him coming out second or if it’s beneficial to have somebody else do it,” Rothschild said. “[Ivan] Nova had a fine year for us, so he could be in that spot.”
Pineda, just 23, almost definitely won’t be the No. 2 starter to begin the year. The Yankees will want to temper expectations considering the pressure of being traded for Jesus Montero is on Pineda’s right shoulder. So Pineda probably won’t be on the mound that first weekend in Tampa.
They should probably just designate him as the “Sixth Inning Guy” right now.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
“I think it will be helpful,” Girardi said of potentially adding another hitter. “I think we’ve had a good offseason, [but] I think it’s important to our club that you add that other bat.”
General manager Brian Cashman is looking for a designated hitter to replace recently traded Jesus Montero. Former Yankees Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are among the free-agent possibilities.
“Johnny has been a great player for a long time,” Girardi said. “There’s been a bunch of names talked about, and they’re all good players. [Raul] Ibanez, he’s had a great career, and Matsui has had a great career. Obviously, we know what Johnny and [Matsui] have meant to this organization and Ibanez has had success wherever he’s been. ...”
Well, except when he started out in Seattle. But that was like 12 years ago - he’s just hitting his stride now.
Friday, February 3, 2012
A woman stalked and shook down New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, getting him to pay her $6,000 and demanding more by threatening to harm his reputation, prosecutors said Thursday.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that this was the impetus behind signing Rafael Soriano in some way.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The switch-hitter batted a career-worst .224 from the left side of the plate in 2011, often pulling the ball into the pronounced shift most opposing teams employ against him.
And he’s ready to try something drastic.
“When no one’s on base, if they’re playing a big shift, I might lay down some bunts this year,” Teixeira said before he was among the honorees at Tuesday night’s Thurman Munson dinner in Midtown. “I’ve been so against it my entire career. But I might lay down a few bunts. If I can beat the shift that way, that’s important.”
Joe Girardi approves. Binder™ was strangely silent when asked.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
And GM Brian Cashman reiterated that he likely isn’t done tinkering with the roster, since the Yankees have seven viable starting pitchers.
“I think we’re going to look at our excess pitching,” Cashman said when asked about acquiring a bat. Girardi is confident it will work out.
Let me see if I get this.
1) Trade your best hitting prospect for a pitcher
2) Talk about how you now have an excess of pitching and would like to trade it for a bat
Is that right?
Friday, January 20, 2012
Participating in Jeter’s annual celebrity golf tournament on a picturesque day at the Avila Golf and Country Club, Sabathia appeared to have slimmed down a bit and said he was already planning adjustments to his routine that will help him stay strong down the stretch. One of those things, he said, is constantly monitoring his diet.
Sabathia lost about 30 pounds last winter and entered Spring Training in excellent shape, but he appeared to have put that weight back on by the end of the year. After posting a 2.72 ERA and 1.160 WHIP the first half of the season, he went 6-4 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.331 WHIP the rest of the way.
A more conditioned CC is obviously a good thing. But I’m not really sold on the idea that weight gain had any significant influence on CC’s second half numbers.
$2.8 million might cover the value of Gardner’s 2012 defense . . . through May.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The representatives for Jack Cust, Vladimir Guerrero and Raul Ibañez have reached out to the Yankees, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, joining a list of applicants that also includes former Yankees Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui and former Yankees minor-leaguer Carlos Peña.
I have a feeling that it doesn’t matter much how either Cust or Guerrero project at this point as I doubt the Yankees consider them realistic options. The same probably goes for Ibanez, but maybe SG can add them to the free agency RAJ list from an earlier thread if he deems it interesting enough.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Cain is a 27-year-old right-hander, and Hamels is a 28-year-old left-hander. Otherwise, they are essentially the same pitcher. Cain has a 3.35 career earned run average, Hamels 3.39. They allow roughly the same number of base runners, and their advanced statistics (Wins Above Replacement, E.R.A.+) are close.
The Yankees played a version of this waiting game after the 2007 season, when they resisted a trade (and a subsequent long-term contract) for Johan Santana. They gambled that C. C. Sabathia would be available as a free agent the next winter, and they were right. The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2008 but signed Sabathia and won the World Series in 2009.
If we think about this winter’s relative inactivity in the way Kepner is thinking about it here, it doesn’t seem so bad. It is a gamble that either Matt Cain or Cole Hamels will even reach free agency, and yet another gamble that someone else won’t outbid the Yankees for their services, but I think after the A.J. Burnett signing went sour so quickly the Yankees will be gun shy about committing big money and years to anything less than top shelf talent. By the time Burnett’s contract is over, the Yankees will likely have paid $82.5M for maybe 4 WAR.
Not signing less than great players in free agency is a prudent approach provided they can fill out the rest of the roster with complementary players in cost-effective ways. For example, not signing middle relievers for $36M.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
“We unfortunately could not come to an agreement with Hiroyuki,” Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck during the upcoming 2012 season.”
Oh well. Not surprised, and don’t really think it’s going to affect things.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
There are two factors in play here. The first has to do with Hal Steinbrenner’s desire to save money, as opposed to his father, George, who funneled most of the Yankees’ profits back into the payroll. Peel away the layers of Yankees rhetoric, and what the younger Steinbrenner wants is to make money and win championships. In that order.
That plays into the second co-efficient: Just how much does a team have to spend to rule the world? The Yankees used to be obsessed with assembling a nuclear roster — a superstar at every position, if that’s what it took.
But what did that philosophy really yield? The Yankees have won only one World Series since 2000, nearly $2 billion in outlay for one ring in 2009. It’s a horrific return on investment, a revelation that finally hit home this past October.
The Yankees led the American League with 97 wins, spent more than anyone else with a $203 million payroll, yet were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
“And it wasn’t just us,” said a team official. “Look at the Phillies.”
Indeed, the Yankees point to Philadelphia’s failure to win the pennant in the past two years — despite adding Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay — as proof that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Not anymore.
If only they’d realized this before signing Rafael Soriano. That $12M per year plus $4-5M luxury tax hit plus first round draft pick could surely have been put to better use, no?
If you think about this logically, the Yankees have a lot of bad contracts that are tying their hands. If any team could take any one of the following players for free providing they had to pay their entire salaries would they?
I doubt it. That’s like what, $80M per year?
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Last week, FoxSports.com reported that both the Yankees and Red Sox were interested in adding righthander Hiroki Kuroda to their rotation, but on Monday morning, ESPNNewYork.com reported the Yankees aren’t likely to make a bid for the former Dodgers starter.
The Yankees have been uncharacteristically quiet this offseason after retaining the services of lefthanded ace CC Sabathia before the start of free agency, and it seems their interest in Kuroda was likely a bluff, the website reports.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Not only do the Yankees believe they are out on Darvish, but the person with knowledge also said they almost certainly will be on the sidelines during the pursuit of Cuban sensation Yeonis Cespedes.
The Yankees have scouted Cespedes and came away believing him to be an everyday major league center fielder. But even that belief won’t be enough for the Yankees to
I’d pass on Cespedes. I just don’t think we know enough about Cuban baseball to think he’ll be worth signing. At this point, given the apparent cost it would take to trade for a good young pitcher, I’d rather see the Yankees just stand pat.
I’m trying to remember the last offseason that was as uneventful as this one, and I’m drawing a blank. I am still happy that the Yankees have chosen inaction instead of stupid actions, like signing a middle reliever for $36M for three years and giving up a first round pick for it.
Monday, December 12, 2011
As news of Albert Pujols’s $254 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels circulated the winter meetings Thursday, Cashman’s initial reaction was: “Wow, that’s all. Wow.”
“I don’t know him personally,” Cashman added with a wry smile, “but I see what he does with that bat, and it’s Montero-like.”
Maybe Cashman should sign Montero long-term before making that statement.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Brian Cashman departed the Winter Meetings Thursday not optimistic about signing a free agent or making a trade to upgrade the starting rotation.
According to the general manager, progress wasn’t made yesterday, a day after he admitted, “I am ready to rock and roll. The Yankees are open for business.’’
But the Yankees believe the price on free-agent arms such as Edwin Jackson is too high and teams with hurlers to deal are asking for too much. Thus, the lack of movement.
Although there are a lot of reports that the Yankees are iffy on Yu Darvish, my guess is that it’s subterfuge and they’ll be somewhat aggressive with the bidding for him. Aside from that, I’d be cool with them going into spring training with the team they’ve got now and seeing how the kids do in an open competition. They’ve already said that Hector Noesi will be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, and I’d like to see him get a chance. Some of the other arms like David Phelps and Adam Warren are also probably close to being ready to contribute.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Last season, Hughes was supposed to graduate to become CC Sabathia’s new wingman, the No. 2 starter the Yankees could turn to in the postseason. Instead, he arrived to spring with a couple of extra pounds on his frame and a few miles per hour missing from his fastball. He finished the year 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA.
“He came him into spring training a little bit out of shape,” Cashman said. “Not grossly, not overly, but he wasn’t in optimal position when spring training opened. That is not going to happen in 2012. He had to deal with it. We have what we call ‘fat camp’ so he went into that program to do the extra work to close the gap. You are in better position if you can get that all taken care of in the wintertime.”
Joba was not invited to the fat camp seeing as how he’s just “big boned”.
“I know Yankees fans were disappointed last year, but [they] won’t be next year,” Rodriguez said.
To that end, what is going on in Miami is more vital to the Yankees than what is going on in The Bronx executive offices. Rodriguez has returned home to rebuild, refashion and rehabilitate himself. Both sickened and motivated by how 2011 played out (“There are nights I still have trouble sleeping — we could have been the St. Louis Cardinals.”), Rodriguez triggered his offseason workouts three weeks earlier than normal.
His initial program has been about strengthening and stabilizing a right knee that underwent surgery for a torn meniscus in mid-July. The knee never did seem right late in the year as Rodriguez lost his power stroke and endured the kind of pre-2009 postseason that made him again the enemy of the Yankees state. He kept refusing excuses, but it was clear that he was not 100 percent. He found the pride to get on the field, but could not revive enough of his skills to make his presence matter.
Rodriguez’s strategy is to lose at least five pounds and shake that robotic feeling that haunted him, particularly late in the 2011 campaign. The mantra is get lighter, more flexible, more agile. The term he repeats is “functional movement,” and he says this was his mindset and body condition in 2007-08, “which were the best years of my career.”
Getting that right knee healthy would go a long way towards Rodriguez regaining his swing. As a righty, that knee endures a lot of pressure and motion with every swing - even a little tweak can throw off a batter’s form.
Of course, Rodriguez will be turning 37 next year. Even if close to optimal health, he may not produce like he did in 2008 or even 2009.
But it sure would be nice to see him try.
Jesus Montero was overcome with emotion when he learned that Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos had been kidnapped in Venezuela. The Yankees’ top prospect grew up 10 minutes from Ramos, played with him there and considers him a good friend.
“He is my friend,” Montero said Saturday before an appearance at the Last Licks ice cream parlor in Scarsdale. “I felt sad because I’ve known him for a long time. I was really worried when I saw the news. I was crying a little bit. It’s not an easy situation he was living.
“Thank God everything is fine and the police, they took care of it.”
A dramatic rescue operation Friday night that included gunfire between Ramos’ captors and police in the remote mountainous region where Ramos was being held was successful. The rookie backstop was freed unharmed.
It was really great news that Ramos was freed unharmed, as situations like that can easily end very badly.
Also, this from this article:
Montero has been working with a personal trainer since the end of the season to trim down and build muscle. He will continue the training for a month in Venezuela and then return in January to join a handful of players whom Alex Rodriguez will host for workouts in Miami. Montero said he, Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano and possibly ex-Yank and current Giant Melky Cabrera could attend. They will be able to work with hitting coach Kevin Long there.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
“We have pitchers who are capable, but they’re question marks right now. They could answer the same questions in a positive way, but in fairness—and to be honest—no, obviously there are more developmental steps necessary for some of those guys.”
No one expected Ivan Nova to suddenly develop into a 16-game winner, but Cashman isn’t holding his breath waiting for another young arm to emerge that quickly.
“Are some of them capable of doing what Nova did?” Cashman said of the right-hander, whose forearm the GM said is “100 percent” healthy after seeing team doctors Tuesday. “It’s possible. Is it something you want to count on and expect? I think that’s a dangerous thing to do.”
Agreed. I still think they need a bat too though. At least a RH bat who can play the OF corners and/or 3B,
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
C.J. Wilson is considered the best pitcher on the free agent market in most circles. Yet, when it comes to fitting inside the often hectic Yankees’ universe, several major-league talent evaluators believe Mark Buehrle might be the better fit.
“If you are looking for value, it’s Buehrle because the Yankees have CC Sabathia and aren’t looking for an ace,’’ an AL Central evaluator said of 32-year-old Buehrle, who finished a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox this season.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has spoken briefly with representatives for Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson and Wilson, and plans to contact Jeff Berry, who represents Buehrle.