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McClout or Take Two and Call Me When They're Scoring
2008-07-10 22:00
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

In a post-script to my wrap-up of Wednesday afternoon's walk-off win against the Tampa Bay Rays, I expressed concern about the Yankees' continued lack of offense, even through their recent four-game winning streak:

While the Yankees have won four games in a row, they have only averaged 3.5 runs scored over those four games and 3.63 runs per game over their last 11 contests. Setting aside their 18-run outburst against the Rangers a week ago, they've averaged 2.4 runs per game in ten of their last 11 games. Take out their two game-winning runs in extra innings, and they've scored just 2.2 runs per game during regulation in those ten games.

All of those numbers have gone down as a result of another weak showing last night, this one against Paul Maholm and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Bucs got on the board first when ninth-place hitter Jack Wilson led of the third inning by doubling off Mike Mussina and was later plated by a Freddy Sanchez single. Mussina would later single himself with two outs in the fifth inning and be moved to second by a Derek Jeter single before being stranded by a Bobby Abreu strikeout. Moose's four-year-old son told him he'd hit better if he cuffed his pants high, and Mussina obliged on both accounts, but as always seems to be the case, the inning after the pitcher ran the bases, he gave up another run, though this one was hardly his fault.

In the bottom of the fifth, Wilson again led off with a hit. Nate McLouth then hit a double-play ball to second, but Derek Jeter's relay throw tailed down and up the line, tipping off first baseman Jorge Posada's outstretched glove to allow McLouth to reach safely. Posada was playing first in order to get his bat in the lineup against a lefty in a National League park (he went 1 for 4) while also allowing Mussina to pitch to his personal catcher, Jose Molina (Mussina allowed two runs in six innings). Posada didn't make the most impressive stretch for the ball, which a more experienced infielder likely would have come up with. Still, a better throw from Jeter, who was in no way threatened by the charging baserunner, would have avoided that problem. Two pitches later, McLouth stole second and moved to third when Jose Molina's throw skipped into center field. On the next pitch, Freddy Sanchez lifted a sac fly to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees, meanwhile, had nothing going against Maholm. Derek Jeter led off the game with a single and the Yankees had men on the corners with two outs in the first, but Robinson Cano struck out on four pitches. Bobby Abreu walked and stole second with two outs in the third, but Alex Rodriguez flew out to strand him. Mussina and Jeter singled with two outs in the fifth, but Abreu struck out on three pitches.

That was it until the Yankees finally broke through, again with two outs, in the seventh. Justin Christian and pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit singled. Derek Jeter took a 2-2 pitch off the left foot to load the bases, and Wednesday's hero Bobby Abreu tied the game with a single to right that plated Christian and Betemit. Alex Rodriguez ground out to end the inning, but the two-out rally seemed to signal a shift in the game.

Jose Veras shifted it back with just six pitches. Again Jack Wilson led off the inning by reaching base, this time walking on five pitches (though ball four looked like strike two). Nate McLouth followed by bunting a ball foul and then, like Carlos Peña the day before, crushing a home run to right field on a pitch in on his hands.

Christian drew a full-count walk against Pirates closer Damaso Marte in the ninth to bring Jason Giambi to the plate representing the tying run, but Giambi flew out at the end of a strong seven-pitch battle and Derek Jeter grounded out weakly to end the game and give the Pirates both a 4-2 win and a 2-1 series victory.

Tonight, the Yankees face Roy Halladay. Here's hoping Joba Chamberlain has no-hit stuff. He may need it.

Comments
2008-07-11 03:55:43
1.   Dimelo
0 Frustrating game. Veras had a bad day, but still...that's something the Yanks offense should take care of. I can't believe how happy I've been with the pitching.

Mussina has been our co-MVP, along with Mo'.

2008-07-11 04:59:59
2.   OldYanksFan
We have scored 2 runs or less in 10 of the last 20 games. With great pitching, we managed 3 wins of those 10.
2008-07-11 05:14:44
3.   Sliced Bread
1 word. Moose has been probably the best surprise of the season. shame when the hitters can't muster a win behind him.

2 yuck.

2008-07-11 05:19:58
4.   Raf
3 Seems that has been the case for most of Moose's career, that his offense doesn't score when he pitches.
2008-07-11 05:22:19
5.   Sliced Bread
Posada understandably peeved about not catching.

ARod adrift from his wife and kids.

The 'stache scorned.

Here's hoping a little adversity and strife awakens these bats... and soon!

Time's a wastin'.

2008-07-11 05:42:06
6.   OldYanksFan
Of 14 AL teams, we are 5th in OPS but only 8th in RS. In pitching, 7th in both ERA and BAA. Tampa Bay is 5 in OPS and 7th in RS. In pitching, 3rd ERA and 2nd in BAA.

While TB's pitching is better then ours, a lot of the 0.50 runs in ERA (that they are better) can probably be attributed to our poor D.

Posada gave up an (earned) run last night, Jeter gave up one the night before. It would be interesting to go through our games and see how many 'earned' runs our defense has given up.

While TB leads Boston by 1.5 games, their RS/RA is only 58 compared to Boston's 91. Ours is at 27.

So.... it looks like TB has played well/clutch/lucky in terms of their pathag. Boston looks like they SHOULD win the division, and that TB has played a bit 'over their head', while we have lost a number of games with both poor D and terrible RISP.

Boston has 6 MORE home games remaining.
TB has 9 LESS home games remaining.
We have 6 LESS home games remaining.

We have 9 games remaining with Boston, 6 with TB. Both teams are catchable, but TB looks like the team that we are in competition with for the WC.

I don't expect Wang back this year. JD should be back. I don't know about Mats. He has a bum knee which seems like it could flair up at anytime.

It seems nuts, but considering our injuries, especially to Wang (Geise/Razner combined are 5 and 10), having Molina's bat in the lineup because Po can't throw, and an underperforming offense (especially in RIPS), we aren't actually in as bad a shape as we could be.

I expect some upgrades from the Farm in the 2nd half. I don't know who, but I have to believe Cashman will do something in terms of an impact player. It's been a very frustrating year so far, we we are FAR from out of it.

2008-07-11 06:12:22
7.   monkeypants
Since June 17 (when Wang went on the DL)
24 Says, 22 Games

Traber:

4 G, 2.67 INN, .12 INN/G (one batter every three games)

Moeller:

5 G, 2 PA, .09 PA/G

2008-07-11 06:19:06
8.   OldYanksFan
It's time for Cashman to make a FAIR trade to get some talent. This means GIVING UP SOME talent.

Jason Bay, 29, LFer, bats R, $7.5m in 2009 (contract year), 0.894 career OPS. He is not only a great fit now, but for our future, as we probably need 2 impact OFers by 2010.

Bay for Melky, IPK, Betances + PBNL.
Pay Melky's and IPKs salary through 2009 (cheap).
In 2009, Bay is 15% of Pittsburg's payroll. He is a FA after 2009, so he is probably gone, one way or the other.

We have a LOT of pitching talent on the farm. We are VERY short of impact position players. Bay is a guy for BOTH the present and future.

CC is a FA after this year. Cash only. He is ours if we want him. God knows if Mats will ever play the OF again. JD has been great and is signed for another year. Abreu will NOT be worth signing for more then 1 year, and I don't think he will sign for one year. 2009 will be Bobby's LAST contract. He's a very nice player, but poor on D, and makes $16m. We can (maybe) get Tex. We CAN have Giambi at 1B for one more year if we want him. It's only money... and at $17m, not a horrible deal.

BUT LOOK AT OUR OUTFIELD!!!!!!!!!
IT MIGHT BE WORSE IN 2009!!!!!!

Cashman loves a steal, but can we count on a steal appearing for THIS year? I say MAKE SOMETHING happen. Target Bay, or a guy like Bay who will probably be lost as a FA in 2009 anyway.

The fans may cry, but Pittsburg doesn't need a star this/next year. They are going nowhere. 4 players, all cheap, all with potential, is much netter for their future then ONE MORE YEAR of Jason Bay.

Beckett/Lowell, Satana, Bedard, Miggy Cabrera... these guys all cost farm talent. It is time for US to make a trade to upgrade our team.

I say Cashman.... MAKE IT HAPPEN

2008-07-11 06:33:43
9.   Shaun P
6 OYF (and anyone else who's interested), go look at how each hitter has performed in terms of VORP, and then compare it to their projected VORP. I did it last night. I left the spreadsheet at home (sorry), so you'll have to trust me. But the short version is that everyone who is hitting well has to keep hitting well, and everyone who isn't hitting well has to hit significantly better, in order for the Yanks to think about get near their projected VORP (and presumably score 900+ runs and contend).

What are the odds of that happening when 6 out of the 9 key components of the offense are 34 or older?

Too much improvement is needed from too many places, and I don't see where it will come from. Even signing Bonds - assuming he could be ready in 10 days and will hit like Barry Bonds - is probably not be enough.

(BTW, try not to retch when you see just what the "bench" (i.e., everyone outside of the 9 regulars) has "hit" so far this year, collectively, in over 600 PA. Add in Melky and Cano, and I feel grateful the Yanks' offense hasn't been worse.)

2008-07-11 06:43:37
10.   Ken P
8 That might have been a fair deal at the beginning of the season, but the value of Melky and Kennedy has dropped so much as to be laughable now. I'm also not convinced that Bay will be the impact player we think he is. I'd much rather have Dunn, who is not only a better hitter, but will probably command less in trade due to his contract status.
2008-07-11 06:45:52
11.   Shaun P
8 OYF, if the Yanks want to make a fair trade, as you've described it, they are going to have to give up one guy who is close to ready and is a highly likely future star - just like all the teams you mention did. No matter who else they add in, the old quantity over quality package doesn't get the job done anymore.

The problem is that I see the Yanks having only 2 guys right now who fit those criteria: Hughes and Austin Jackson. (If you think there's someone else, please tell me who. Of course there's also Montero, but he's farther away. And the only big bat the Yanks have in the system right now.) How, exactly, are the Yanks supposed to give one of those guys up?

2008-07-11 07:43:49
12.   ms october
11 i agree with your assessment shaun - that's why i would prefer to go the other route.
i know this is not that popular a position - and i fully understand others' perspectives - but i would rather make this a true transition year (especially with wang out for most of the rest of the year)and be in a better position next year and more likely the following year.

admittedly this won't be easy as well - but it looks like the cubs and brewers and maybe a few others are going all out this year (hopefully there is something in these two systems or the others who feel this year is their best chance to make some noise)- IF a trade can be struck with one of these teams for a good bat (prefferably rh; corner of/1b) for someone like abreu say i would do it.
i think we see what the yankee offense will be like as the older guys continue to decline and there are no impact bats in the system that will be ready next year.
this offense will have to be rebuilt via trade and/or free agency.

i am well aware that the yanks can come back and win the divsion or more realistically the wild card - my preference is a great team in the next few years rather than a good team this year and next (i realize that the sacrifice may not pay off - but to me it is worth it to try)

2008-07-11 07:46:37
13.   ChrisS
Yes, the offense is scuffling, but I think they'll come around again. Coming into this season, I didn't expect a whole lot from this team. Personally, I'd sacrifice this season for a better chance at being dominant for the next 5. OYF brings a good point about the OF, though.

Abreu is likely gone next year, especially if he continues to be a .700 OPS RFer with no defense. Cashman's hands, I think, are kinda tied with regards to this year's payroll and I think they've been targeting 2009 as the year while paying lip service to this year.

There needs to be some changes though. Ajax isn't saving anything for another couple of years, if at all.

2008-07-11 07:49:54
14.   Raf
7 Very annoying, considering the shorthandedness of the bench.
2008-07-11 07:50:47
15.   JL25and3
10 , 11 I agree, Melky + IPK doesn't fetch much these days. Kennedy has to demonstrate that he's more than a AAAA pitcher, and Melky's strictly a throw-in at this point.

Melky's three good games last week gave some hope that he might be setting off on a hot streak. No such luck; he's 2-for-16 since then.

2008-07-11 07:52:31
16.   Raf
12 To a team with the Yankees' financial resources, they are always in a good position. I'd be willing to wager that if the Yanks miss the playoffs this year, that they will go all out on the FA market.
2008-07-11 08:05:21
17.   ChrisS
15 While I don't think any team will clamor to get Melky, I think he's still got a lot of value. A 23 yo CFer with at least some skill? There's a lot of teams that'd take a shot he'd break out with them.

I don't think they'd pay much, but they'd be happy to take him.

IPK, I think has a lot of value, still. People here are awfully quick to write off young prospects. Especially ones with a little more than a full year of professional baseball under their belt.

16 "they will go all out on the FA market."

I think the only other statement that would scare me more is that the Yankees are looking to abandon a youth movement and trade for quality gritty veterans.

2008-07-11 08:06:14
18.   ny2ca2dc
12 I'm with you, actually. I think this team can make a run only if Matsui and Damon come back soon, like this month. Otherwise, I don't see it happening with Brett Gardner and Jose Molina in the lineup every day. I'd rather sell now and shoot for next year, because next year is looking mighty tough - with all that payroll coming off comes 2 of the best performers on the team (Stash and Moose), and a mediocre Abreu. Jeter ARod and Po (hopefully plus Cano as an asset) can't cover up that many holes. Getting a young OFer seems pretty critical, even if AJax is the real deal. Next years team, assuming Po can catch:

C JoPo, who should be healthier
1B ? Tex? Dunn?
2B Cano, who should bounce back some
SS Jeter, who will decline from this year
3B ARod
LF Damon, who will decline from this year
CF ? Melky? Then AJax?
RF ?
DH Matsui, who will decline from this year

Expecting Damon to be an average LF is probably reasonable, so that's a tough looking OF.

Giambi and Abreu look like the most tradable assets, due to the injuries to Mats and JD, sadly. I just don't see the FA market as salvation, even if you get CC and Dunn/Tex.

2008-07-11 08:09:26
19.   ny2ca2dc
17 I'd be quite happy if they signed CC, Tex and Dunn. Wouldn't you? What's the problem?

I don't think the problem in the 2000's has been signing FAs, the problem was ignoring the draft and farm. The two poster boys for FA contracts, Giambi and Musina actually ended up pretty reasonable. Only one guy traded for a vet (Navaro) ended up a regret. Lets not swing too far to the 'build only from within' side.

2008-07-11 08:14:07
20.   ny2ca2dc
Just saw Sexon got cut. Per rotoworld: "He's hit .344/.423/.623 against southpaws in 71 plate appearances this season after batting .258/.374/.507 against them from 2005-2007"

Go get him Cash. He's free, even cheaper than a Millar, and fills a gaping hole.

2008-07-11 08:23:40
21.   Shaun P
20 Sexson has a lot more value than the unused Moeller or Traber.

18 Giambi has a full no-trade clause. Abreu might too; he had one in Philly and had to waive it to come to NY, I'm guessing he still has it since that contract isn't done yet.

Given how reluctant most teams are to trade anything of value for older, overpriced 3-month rentals, the Yanks might be better off with the draft picks they'll get from letting Giambi and Abreu go next year.

2008-07-11 08:34:47
22.   ny2ca2dc
21 If you think they'll be Type-A's, hell ya. I wasn't even thinking they could possibly be, but maybe you're right
2008-07-11 08:46:16
23.   Shaun P
22 I'm pretty sure Abreu was listed as a Type A last year (even though he wasn't a free agent), and I'll bet Giambi's big comeback year (as long as he keeps it up) might have him as a Type A as well.

The best part would be if Farnsworth was a Type A, because while there's a chance Abreu and Giambi both come back, there's no way Kyle does.

Any of these guys leaving as Type A free agents would offset the pick the Yanks would lose for signing CC.

19 That depends on what the length of the deal and the money look like. The other problem, of course, is that other teams with cash to spend will be going after CC (everyone) and Tex (Baltimore, Mets, Angels maybe, Dodgers maybe, perhaps Boston and Atlanta, and who knows what Toronto will do when JP gets canned).

2008-07-11 09:11:49
24.   tommyl
Sexson was released? Yeah, Cash, go get him. Its worth a look and he kills lefties. You know those guys we can't hit and score 1 run against. Our pitching has been way above expectation the last few weeks, that will not continue. Veras is not the second coming of Mariano Rivera, he's a good middle reliever. Andy and Moose can't keep putting up shutouts and Ponson definitely cannot. If the offense doesn't pick up significantly this team is in real trouble.
2008-07-11 09:16:58
25.   Travis08
7 14 Don't forgot Hawkins, who since June 17 has appeared in only 5 games, all in extremely low-leverage situations. I know he can't be optioned to the minors, but I see no reason why they should keep him as the 13th member of the pitching staff at the expense of the bench.

Gamelog:
http://tinyurl.com/latroy

2008-07-11 09:39:31
26.   OldYanksFan
I agree, if Sexson is cheap, there is little to lose, and he fits out bench/RH bat well. About Melky's trade value.

RLYW showed Melky at jusssssst slightly below average in dRS/oRS. This from a guy who:
... is still 23.
... is cheap, cheap, cheap.
... is having his WORST year
I mention him in the 'Bay Trade' because Pittsburg would be losing an OFer, so Melky could plug that gap immediately.

We watch Melky everyday. We are tremendously frustrated with him. But that doesn't mean he has NO value. By definition, anyone who is league average and getting paid league minimum is valuable, especially to a small market team.

Looking at it, Melky is very much the type of guy you want to to take a chance on.
... undervalued because of a poor year
... odds are he will get better
... young, cheap, healthy

And with IPK, while he has been very bad this year, is STILL a decent prospect. He was rushed to the major too soon. He HAS had some very good outings mixed in with the poor. Most of his runs were given up in a big inning. The majors is loaded with good pitchers who struggled in their first year. A league average #5 who gets paid the league minimum has value.

With Melky and IPK, we Banterers are TOO CLOSE. We had expectations they would help us win. But I don't think our disappointment renders them with 'hardly any value' to professionals outside of our circle.

If they were a decent catch 3 months ago, they may be slightly diminished, but they still have value.

How about
Melky/Chauncey/Tabata
IPK/Horne
Betances/Cox/Sanchez
Pick one from a list.

Whatever Bay is worth, we can supply it.

My question to you Banterers is:
1) Is Bay the type of guy we want?
(4 yrs of 5 over .900 OPS, less then .100 pts difference between LHP/RHP, has posted BETTER numbers away [last 3 years])
2) Are YOU WILLING to trade equitable talent from the farm?

2008-07-11 10:01:35
27.   Chyll Will
24 "It's worth a look and he kills lefties"

In 71 PA this season he is .344/.423/.623 with an OPS of 1.045 vs. lefties. Yes he kills and is a RH bat that could be rather useful in that respect.

The risk is whether he will adapt to being a platoon/bench player who will see very little playing time batting strictly against lefties. He didn't want to do that in Seattle (he was replaced as a starter by Miggy Cairo!) and sulked the whole time, so they released him and are eating $6+ million. Does any of that change when he hits the Bronx, especially for a team that doesn't have a soothsayer managing anymore? How does this compare to trading for Dunn (or do you do both?)

The other thing is, do you trust Girardi and the health of the starting lineup to be able to keep him on the bench for strict lefty platoons?
(vs. RH: 191 PA, .178/.281/.304 OPS - .584)

I'm not saying no to picking him up, but only under strict conditions.

2008-07-11 10:03:51
28.   Shaun P
Who is Chauncey?
2008-07-11 10:08:21
29.   Shaun P
27 My guess is, getting out of the awful Seattle environment, and onto a team that could go to the playoffs, would be fine with Sexson.

I think Girardi would use Sexson appropriately. I hope.

Dunn has a limited no-trade clause, BTW, so take that into account. One of the many problems with him (another lefty bat who can't play the field well!) is he's a rental, unless the Yanks get a window to work out an extension with him.

Wouldn't it be better to wait until the offseason to sign Dunn, when it only costs money (and maybe draft picks)?

2008-07-11 10:10:55
30.   cult of basebaal
26 but he's not average or slightly below average. he's on the short list of worst regulars at his position. he's at -5 total runs and that's only because his defense has propped up his value.

he's -11 pBRAA, only carlos gonzalez and joey gathright are worse.

he's got about as much value as a flaming paper bag of dogshit.

2008-07-11 10:12:38
31.   cult of basebaal
30 carlos gomez, not gonzalez ...
2008-07-11 10:17:01
32.   cult of basebaal
27 that's a good point and something which i was thinking about last night. we have no idea if sexson will retain his effectiveness in a strict platoon role. his is the type of swing i might see not being very conducive to getting the occasional start.
2008-07-11 10:18:54
33.   JL25and3
26 I agree with 30 . Melky's not league average, not even close.

And the odds of him getting substantially better diminish with every year that he fails to improve. In 3 major league seasons, his OPS+ has gone from 95 to 89 to 77.

It's not a question of being too close. I always thought he was going to be a nice little fourth outfielder, nothing more. He hasn't shown a single thing that suggests otherwise.

Merely being young and bad doesn't constitute potential.

2008-07-11 10:26:03
34.   JL25and3
I also have my serious doubts about IPK. I'm afraid he's the sort of pitcher who has to be perfect in order to be any good.
2008-07-11 12:11:01
35.   Rob Middletown CT
I like the idea of picking up Sexson as a role player (Ensberg/Duncan's role). This team desperately needs help against LHP, and that's Richie's last remaining skill.
2008-07-11 12:48:13
36.   horace-clarke-era
I looked at the RLYB numbers and reached a very different conclusion. Melky's the 3rd best defensive CF in the league. He is batting about as badly as he ever has. All he has to do is get back to batting something like -2 (!!), or even his earlier levels and he contributes in CF beyond people like Torii, Vernon Wells and (amazingly!) Ichiro. (I admit when I see where Ichiro is here I wonder about the stat.)

It would be perfectly splendid if a stellar CF showed up in the off-season (Angels thought they GOT one ... any of you want Torii's -2 rating for what they pay him? Or Vernon Well's -4?)

I'm going glass half full. Excellent CF being played by a #9 batter dirt cheap and only 23 with room to get better. The $90 million men are offering not a hell of a lot more. To repeat (and I haven't heard anyone deny this) if the rest of the offense performs adequately, and is healthy, the Yankees can easily carry a defensively focused CF. Frankly, they can even (though perhaps not ALSO) do it at C, as well.

2008-07-11 14:02:24
37.   nick
Melky's down side is probably platoon player from the left side/4th outfielder, which isn't that bad. His similar batters through age 22 are pretty nice--

1. Sixto Lezcano (974)
2. Max Carey (973) *
3. Tim Raines (969)
4. Harry Heilmann (967) *
5. Roberto Clemente (966) *
6. Chet Lemon (964)
7. Rick Manning (964)
8. Cliff Heathcote (963)
9. Les Mann (962)
10. Jimmy Sebring (961)

--three HOF (four w/Raines), three other very good players....but at the end of this season, his comps after age-23 will be a LOT less impressive, unless he starts hitting like a madman after the break....

2008-07-11 15:07:04
38.   horace-clarke-era
Just saw this, from everyone's favorite agent:

"Scott Boras has already sent signals that the free-agent asking price on Teixeira this winter will start at $23 million a year (theoretically for eight to 10 years)."

2008-07-11 15:43:51
39.   JL25and3
37 Carey and Heilmann don't really count, because they compiled those similar stats in the deadball era.

Lezcano, Raines and Lemon all had breakout years at age 23.

That leaves Clemente, who Melky definitely is not, and Rick Manning, who maybe Melky might turn into, if he's lucky. Rick Manning wasn't very good at all.

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