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

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Lohud: Murphy and Sizemore called up; Cervelli placed on 60-day
(23 Comments - 4/16/2014 9:00:36 am)

NY Post: Cervelli going to DL as Yankees continue to jumble roster
(23 Comments - 4/15/2014 7:29:53 pm) Nova, Beltran lead Yanks to series win over Red Sox
(78 Comments - 4/15/2014 9:44:48 am)

Q&A with the Replacement Level Red Sox Blog, Part 2
(4 Comments - 4/14/2014 10:52:43 am)

Red Sox (5-7) @ The Championship Caliber Yankees (6-6), Sunday, April 13, 2014, 8:05pm
(217 Comments - 4/13/2014 11:21:36 pm) Comforts of homers: McCann powers win over Sox
(28 Comments - 4/13/2014 6:58:38 pm)

Red Sox (5-6) @ The Championship Caliber Yankees (5-6), Saturday, April 12, 1:05pm
(83 Comments - 4/13/2014 3:40:06 pm)

Red Sox (4-6) @ Yankees (5-5),Friday, April 11, 2014, 7:05pm
(85 Comments - 4/11/2014 11:26:02 pm)

Boston Globe: Questions swirl over substance on Yankees pitcher’s hand
(38 Comments - 4/11/2014 5:13:34 pm) Pineda shines under bright lights of the Bronx
(24 Comments - 4/11/2014 12:17:22 pm)

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

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

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

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

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

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Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NY Post: Why the Yankees are using the shift more than ever

With just two weeks down in this baseball season — if we were at a football game, there would be roughly 11:11 left in the first quarter — the Yankees are on pace to win two more games than last year. Hit 18 more home runs.
And save 22 more runs via the defensive shift.

Yes, the Yankees have become hard-core believers in the shift. If the quality of their infield has dropped precipitously, with a new guy expected in time for Tuesday night’s game against the Cubs at Yankee Stadium, then they are getting far more bang for their buck.
“You’re going to be burned on it,” Billy Eppler, the Yankees’ assistant general manager/pro personnel, said Monday in a telephone interview. “You just want to have more instances of run-saving circumstances than run-yielding circumstances.”

Smart shifting can help cover for up some of the limitations of the Yankees’ infield defense, so I applaud this shift (get it?) in thinking.  The Yankees did shift quite a bit last year, they just did it poorly as their BABIP against with the shift was around .030 higher than it was without.  So far this year they appear to be doing it better.

--Posted at 7:45 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lohud: Murphy and Sizemore called up; Cervelli placed on 60-day

The Yankees have announced their anticipated roster moves.

1. Francisco Cervelli was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. The injury is serious enough that he’s going directly to the 60-day DL.

2. John Ryan Murphy was called up to replace Cervelli as the backup catcher. The Yankees have already had four different catchers on their roster this year.

3. Infielder Scott Sizemore was called up to give the Yankees a full bench. He’ll take the roster spot opened when Shane Greene was optioned to Triple-A. Sizemore gives the Yankees a second reserve infielder, which they haven’t had since Mark Teixeira landed on the disabled list. Sizemore has major-league experience at second and third.

Mel Hall can rejoice, as Sizemore has been freed!

Poor Cervelli.  He just can’t catch a break…

Seems like the right moves, particularly if they plan to play Murphy as opposed to running McCann into the ground.

--Posted at 6:05 pm by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: Cervelli going to DL as Yankees continue to jumble roster

Move over Mark Teixeira, David Robertson and Brendan Ryan, make room for Francisco Cervelli on the disabled list. And you might want to make room for others.

As expected, the Yankees put Cervelli on the 15-day DL Monday with a Grade 2 right hamstring strain. A Grade 1 strain is the slightest; Grade 3 the most severe. But, eventually, Cervelli could be headed to the 60-day DL.
The Yankees are likely to promote catcher John Ryan Murphy from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre instead of Austin Romine, who was with the club briefly last week and was Chris Stewart’s backup last season.

While the Yankees lost Cervelli they were fortunate frontline catcher Brian McCann didn’t suffer a broken index finger Sunday night when he was hit on the hand while catching. X-rays Sunday evening were negative. His status for Tuesday night wasn’t addressed by the club.

You get the sense Cervelli is jinxed.

The Yankees could probably use another infielder, but they’ll have to make a 40 man roster move to get one onto the team.  They could 60 day DL Brendan Ryan if they don’t think he will be ready before the end of May, which is what I guess they will do.  They could also DFA someone like Preston Claiborne.  If the Yankees are deep in one thing, it’s right-handed relievers.

--Posted at 9:57 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)

Sunday, April 13, 2014 Nova, Beltran lead Yanks to series win over Red Sox

NEW YORK—Carlos Beltran homered as part of a three-hit performance, and Ivan Nova pitched solidly into the eighth inning as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 3-2, in an eventful contest on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

Beltran hit his third homer as a Bomber, a two-run shot in the third inning off Boston starter Felix Doubront, as the Yankees secured their third victory in the four-game series against their American League East rivals.

Coming off two inconsistent outings to open the season, Nova found his groove and was able to limit Boston to two runs and eight hits over 7 1/3 innings, keeping the ball down more reliably.

Allowing Jonathan Herrera’s second-inning RBI single and a long Mike Napoli home run in the sixth, Napoli’s third of the year, Nova walked none and struck out four to log his second victory of the year.

Perhaps Beltran’s remains are not as tattered as I believed.

I am shocked the Yankees won this series.  But I’m happy they did.

--Posted at 10:19 pm by SG / 78 Comments | - (0)

Red Sox (5-7) @ The Championship Caliber Yankees (6-6), Sunday, April 13, 2014, 8:05pm

BOS:Felix Doubront (#22, 26, LHP, 1-1, 9.00) vs. NYY:Ivan Nova (#47, 27, RHP, 1-1, 8.68)

Red Sox
1. Grady Sizemore (L) LF
2. Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
3. David Ortiz (L) DH
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Daniel Nava (S) RF
6. A.J. Pierzynski (L) C
7. Ryan Roberts (R) 3B
8. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
9. Jonathan Herrera (S) 2B

1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. The Tattered Remains of Carlos Beltran (S) RF
3. The Guy who got the money that would have been better spent on Robinson Cano (L) CF
4. Alfonso Soriano (R) DH
5. Brian “Bust” McCann (L) C
6. Yangervis Solarte (S) 2B
7. Kelly Johnson (L) 3B
8. Francisco Cervelli (R) 1B
9. Dean Anna (L) SS

Hmm, no Jeter with a lefty on the mound after a day off?

Ivan Nova is really testing my belief in him.  His first two starts of the season have not been good.  He’s probably not in any danger of losing his spot in the rotation yet, but you wonder if that will happen at some point if he keeps pitching like he has to this point.

In his career, he’s allowed the Red Sox a line of .303/.390/.465 and has an ERA of 5.03 and a WHIP of 1.699 against them.  Hopefully all those go down after tonight.

--Posted at 3:55 pm by SG / 217 Comments | - (0)

Saturday, April 12, 2014 Comforts of homers: McCann powers win over Sox

NEW YORK—It was a cold winter afternoon when Brian McCann took on a private tour of Yankee Stadium, hearing a sales pitch from team executives who wanted to fit him for pinstripes. As McCann walked the hallways that day, he couldn’t help but think about what the cozy right-field dimensions might do for his power numbers.

It took a little longer than McCann might have anticipated, but the slugging catcher is on the board with his first home runs as a Yankee. McCann homered twice, going back-to-back with Alfonso Soriano once, and Carlos Beltran also cleared the wall as the Yankees thumped the Red Sox, 7-4, on a sunny Saturday in the Bronx.

The homers were part of a six-run pounding that the Yankees unloaded on Boston starter John Lackey, who permitted 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, giving Hiroki Kuroda some welcome run support as the Yankees right-hander improved to 2-1 this season.

Mo bless DNYS.

The Yankees have already won two more games in this series than I thought they would.

--Posted at 6:21 pm by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)

Red Sox (5-6) @ The Championship Caliber Yankees (5-6), Saturday, April 12, 1:05pm

BOS: John Lackey (#41, 35, RHP, 2-0, 1.38) vs. NYY: Hiroki Kuroda (#18, 39, RHP, 1-1, 2.92)

Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Daniel Nava RF
David Ortiz DH
Mike Napoli 1B
Mike Carp LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
A.J. Pierzynski C
Jonathan Herrera 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

The Championship Caliber Yankees
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS Brian Roberts 2B
The Obscenely Overpaid Jacoby Ellsbury CF
The Tattered Remains of Carlos Beltran RF
Brian “Bust” McCann C
Alfonso Soriano DH
Kelly Johnson 1B
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Dean Anna SS

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 83 Comments | - (0)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Red Sox (4-6) @ Yankees (5-5),Friday, April 11, 2014, 7:05pm

BOS: Jon Lester (#31, 30, LHP, 0-2, 2.51) vs. NYY: CC Sabathia (#52, 33, LHP, 1-1, 7.50)

Red Sox
Jonny Gomes, RF: .174/.321/.217
Dustin Pedroia, 2B: .261/.261/.304
David Ortiz, DH: .275/.310/.500
Mike Napoli, 1B: .308/.400/.487
Grady Sizemore, LF: .308/.379/.500
Xander Bogaerts, SS: .314/.415/.371
Ryan Roberts, 3B: .000/.286/.000
David Ross, C: .222/.300/.222
Jackie Bradley, CF: .364/.462/.455
Total: .278/.354/.392

Derek Jeter, SS: .290/.389/.355
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: .351/.400/.432
Carlos Beltran, RF: .273/.324/.455
Alfonso Soriano, DH: .182/.250/.333
Francisco Cervelli, C: .273/.333/.364
Yangervis Solarte, 3B: .387/.441/.581
Ichiro Suzuki, LF: .429/.429/.500
Brian Roberts, 2B: .160/.333/.160
Kelly Johnson, 1B: .250/.323/.607
Total: .284/.355/.424

I would be shocked if the Yankees won even one of the six remaining games these two teams will play over the next two weeks. 

Shocked, I tell you.

--Posted at 3:21 pm by SG / 85 Comments | - (0)

Boston Globe: Questions swirl over substance on Yankees pitcher’s hand

NEW YORK — Michael Pineda had retired 10 of 11 Red Sox batters by the time anyone spotted the sticky, brown stain on his right hand.

As soon as Pineda fired a 93-mile-per-hour fastball by David Ortiz in the fourth inning, NESN announcers Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy started asking questions.

“What is on the hand of Michael Pineda?” Orsillo said.

Remy’s first assumption was pine tar.

“Could be Stickum,” Remy said.

When Pineda rubbed his hand into his glove after getting A.J. Pierzynski to fly out in the fifth inning, Remy surmised that it was to create a better grip.

We better see the same thing on CC’s hand tonight then.

--Posted at 9:00 am by SG / 38 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2014 Pineda shines under bright lights of the Bronx

NEW YORK—The Yankees patiently waited more than two years to see Michael Pineda wearing their uniform in a home game. Finally presented with his first opportunity under the bright lights in the Bronx, the hard-throwing right-hander did not disappoint.

Making his Yankee Stadium debut, Pineda pitched into the seventh inning in a commanding seven-strikeout performance, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox in the first meeting between the division rivals this season.

That was unexpected.  And awesome.  Pineda has looked good to great in his first two starts of the season and hopefully he can continue to pitch well.

--Posted at 9:34 pm by SG / 24 Comments | - (0)

Red Sox (4-5) @ Yankees (4-5),Thursday, April 10, 2014, 7:05pm

BOS: Clay Buchholz (#11, 29, RHP, 0-0, 12.46) vs. NYY: Michael Pineda (#35, 25, RHP, 0-1, 1.50)

Red Sox
Grady Sizemore, LF: .364/.440/.591
Dustin Pedroia, 2B: .286/.286/.333
David Ortiz, DH: .278/.316/.500
Mike Napoli, 1B: .333/.415/.528
Daniel Nava, RF: .125/.200/.156
Xander Bogaerts, SS: .290/.405/.355
A.J. Pierzynski, C: .360/.360/.360
Jackie Bradle, CF: .400/.478/.500
Jonathan Herrera, 3B: .300/.417/.300
Total: .295/.356/.402

Brett Gardner, LF: .300/.400/.433
Derek Jeter, SS: .259/.375/.296
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF: .364/.417/.455
Carlos Beltran, RF: .267/.324/.467
Brian McCann, C: .152/.176/.152
Alfonso Soriano, DH: .200/.273/.367
Kelly Johnson, 1B: .280/.357/.680
Yangervis Solarte, 3B: .429/.484/.643
Dean Anna, 2B: .143/.250/.143
Total: .276/.347/.420

Oh great, one of these.

I would be shocked if the Yankees won even one of the seven games these two teams will play over the next two weeks.  Their bullpen is missing their best reliever, their shortstop has the range of a tree stump, and their number three hitter has played professional baseball for 13 seasons and has cleared double-digit home runs exactly once in all that time.  Oh, and their catcher makes Chris Stewart looks like Barry Bonds circa 2002.  And their “ace” can’t dent bread with his fastball any more.  And their best CF is playing LF.

Other than that, I think the Yankees are looking great.

--Posted at 2:57 pm by SG / 152 Comments | - (0)

Q&A with the Replacement Level Red Sox Blog, Part 2

I just realized I never posted the second part of the Q&A with the Replacement Level Red Sox blog so here it is.  You can go read the second part of our answers to their questions here.

How excited are you by the player tracking technology that MLBAM previewed recently?

(Jose) More data is better than less.  I really like the idea of being able to track how quickly a player reacts and how efficient he is and running his route to the ball.  I think that can be really instructive, if a guy is good at those things he will adjust as he ages better than a guy (like Ellsbury in my opinion) who often just outruns his mistakes.

(MCoA) I’m kind of getting tired of baseball producing all these new important data sets I don’t have time to understand. Back in my day we had Runs Created and OPS+ and it was good enough for us. These fancy new statistics just detract from my enjoyment of the game.

Derek Jeter looks you straight in the eyes with his calm captainy gaze. Do you A) swoon B) wake-up because you are dreaming C) Wake up several days later with a gift basket D) YEAH JEETS!

(MCoA) Is this choose your own adventure? A -> D -> C -> B.

Would you rather have a) Jacoby Ellsbury or b) Grady Sizemore and $152 million?  Asked in another way, what is your opinion of the Yankees FO?

(MCoA) It took me a while to get over Ellsbury signing with the Yankees. I love Ellsbury. He provides all the joys of a pure speed player—get ready for some straight steals of home—with almost none of the frustrations (reasonable plate discipline, power, and contact skills). If you can look past your analyses of the contract, I think you’re going to have a terribly fun time rooting for him.

I am confused by the Yankees offseason. Cano is obviously better than Ellsbury and seems a better bet to age well. If they’d just sucked up that second round pick, they could have had the solidly above average Stephen Drew locked in for third base, backing up shortstop, with whichever of Brian Roberts or Kelly Johnson is most healthy and effective at second. The lack of depth on the infield boggles. I know these guys project to 1 WAR or whatever, but the risk of full-on below replacement Wilton Veras style disasters seems way too high for a contending team. A Masahiro Tanaka can cover for all manner of sins, I guess.

With AJ Pierzynski on the team now, has there ever been a Red Sox free agent signing that you hated so much when he played for another team that you couldn’t get past rooting for him as a Red Sox? Like, if Joba Chamberlain suddenly started pitching for the Red Sox, would it be hard to root for him?

(Jose) I’m a pretty simple root for the laundry guy.  Jarome Iginla was booed every time he touched the puck for the Penguins last year and now he’s one of the most popular Bruins.  I think it is most impactful where a player struggles.  I’m going to give a guy I like a little more rope than a guy like AJ.

(MCoA) I’m a sucker. I’ve completely talked myself into A.J. based on his appearances on the postseason teevee. He’s just a tough competitor, you guys.

Now that Cano is gone, is there a player worth fearing on the Yankees?

(MCoA) Masahiro Tanaka. That dude looks every inch a Cy Young contender and playoff ace. The Yankees are all about the pitching now, it seems. Behind Tanaka, Hiroki Kuroda will never age and Ivan Nova is probably pretty good. I dunno. If enough breaks right in the rotation, if Tanaka is a Cy Young contender, Nova is as good as his component stats, Sabathia figures out how to get results with diminished velocity, that’s a rotation that could carry a merely ok lineup to an easy division title. I’m probably being too optimistic—this is what I do every spring—but I see more potential for this Yankees team to underplay their ~85 win projection than to outperform.

How many home runs do you think Pedroia will hit in 2014 now that he appears fully recovered from his thumb injury?

(MCoA) Dustin Pedroia doesn’t recover from injuries. He just develops a new injury which sediments over the old one. I’m amazed Pedroia remains effective given what he’s inevitably playing through. He’ll have another Dustin Pedroia season complete with a month-long slump where the pain gets to be too much.

What do you think is a fair extension number for Jon Lester?

(MCoA) Lester’s a strange case. He’s actually been no more than average for going on two seasons. He has a 101 ERA- over 2012 and 2013. Lester is better than that, based on his component stats and pre-2012 performance, but the projection systems generally peg him around 2.5 WAR. That’s a nice pitcher, but it’s not a guy you’d give $100M to. That’s maybe a 4/65 kind of pitcher, and obviously Jon Lester ain’t signing for no sixty million dollars.

At the same time, Lester was an ace from 2008 to 2011, and he found that same stuff and command last year in the postseason. One thing we had noticed about Lester during his weaker outings was that he would get locked in to pounding the inner half of the zone with his fastball to RHB, and when his command wasn’t good enough, he’d get pounded. Lester needs to work inside with the fastball to get hitters to swing and miss on the cutter, but he seemed too stubborn to make adjustments when it wasn’t working. In the postseason, Lester mixed up his repertoire and showed real improvement. Is that sustainable? Who knows. This is all by way of saying that I could totally justify a 5/110 contract extension, and I can see the case for letting him walk. If Lester wants more than five years or significantly more than $20M per season, I’d probably say it’s better to start working in the kids. It kind of feels like whichever choice the Sox make, it’ll be the wrong one.

Which of the Red Sox starting pitchers are you most worried about?

(Jose) Lackey easily.  I think he’s the X factor in the rotation.  If he’s right then Lester/Buchholz are your aces, Peavy/Doubront are depth and Lackey is the guy that rounds it out.  He was kind of “eh” in the spring and he’s a mid-30s pitcher who isn’t that far from being historically craptacular.

How weird is this Jerry Remy thing? Should there be anything less meaningful to a baseball fan than an announcer’s private life.

(Jose) I’ll start with a disclaimer that I’m a huge Remy fan.  I attended a baseball camp he ran in the early 80s (real live MLB player Roger LaFrancois taught me how to block pitches!) and I still remember the way he used to bounce at the plate as he waited for pitches.  Earlier in the off-season I wrote on our site that I was glad he was coming back and that he shouldn’t be punished for his adult son’s misdeeds.

But (saw that comin’ didn’t you?) having listened to a few games this spring it is awkward.  I think it is terribly unfair for him to lose his job over the behavior of his adult child but right now listening to Jerry Remy announce baseball games makes the experience less enjoyable, not more enjoyable like it used to.

(MCoA) There’s a lot of evidence that Jerry Remy and his wife were effectively enablers for their monster of a son. Jared was arrested many, many times but never actually punished for his serial abuse of women in part because of the legal and material support of the Remys. I can’t get past it, and I am going to be watching the other feed on MLBtv for Red Sox games until Remy is out of the booth.

--Posted at 12:15 pm by SG / 4 Comments | - (0) Tanaka fans 10 in Yanks’ loss to Orioles

The game was supposed to showcase Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees’ prized new starter pitching in front of his new fans in the Bronx for the first time, but even his dazzling debut and major offensive support from fellow newcomer Carlos Beltran weren’t enough, as the Orioles prevailed, 5-4, following a four-hit, two-run ninth-inning surge.

Hailed by opposing manager Buck Showalter as “the best acquisition of the offseason” before the game, Tanaka showed those in attendance why the franchise made such a financial investment in him. The $155 million man went seven innings, yielding three runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out 10. Orioles hitters whiffed at 22 of his 101 offerings, with half the misses induced by his splitter.

Honestly, I am on the whole relatively pleased with the Yankee season so far. I mean, a losing record is not good, of course, and I might be singing a different tune after the Yankees are finished with the Rays and the Red Sox, but 4-5 while mostly keeping pace with every other team in the American League East is not awful to me. Tanaka has looked great despite the fact that it looks like he’ll give up a home run per game. Pineda and Kuroda look good. CC doesn’t look awful. Of the starting pitchers, only Nova has been outright awful. They have a pretty good looking starting rotation and I expect them to keep the team competitive all year. And this is all while being supported by an offense that has a key player, Brian McCann, not hitting at all. If McCann even kind of sort of produced the Yankees would likely be 5-4 or better right now. And you have to figure a guy like McCann won’t hit this poorly all season. So I am not feeling bad about this team at all…yet.

--Posted at 3:06 am by Brian Cronin / 12 Comments | - (0)

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