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All Jays
2008-07-13 21:28
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Blue Jays scored four runs off Andy Pettitte in the second inning yesterday, which was more than enough for Yankee-killer A.J. Burnett. The Yanks got a man as far as second just twice through the first eight innings and didn't break through until Jason Giambi's opposite-field solo homer off a tiring Burnett in the ninth inning. Jorge Posada followed Giambi with a single to bounce Burnett, but facing closer B.J. Ryan, Robinson Cano bounced into a double play to give Toronto a 4-1 victory in the game and a 2-1 victory in the series.

The Jays got their breakout inning going when Bobby Abreu completely misjudged a would-by fly out to right into a double. Abreu then spent the rest of the game making up for his blunder, but to no avail. Abreu led off the top of the fourth with a double, but the middle of the Yankee order couldn't even get him to third base. With men on the corners in the bottom of the fourth inning, Marco Scutaro, whose three-run homer capped the Jay's four-run second inning, lifted a foul ball to shallow right field. Abreu made an impressive ranging catch, whirled, and fired a strike to Posada to nail Scott Rolen attempting to score for an inning-saving double play. In his next at-bat, Abreu reached on an infield single and got to second on an Alex Rodriguez single, but was again stranded at the keystone.

Abreu was the only Yankee to reach second base all day other than Giambi on his ninth-inning home run. Peter Abraham reports that all but seven of the Yankees 32 plate appearances against Burnett were over within three pitches, four of them being three-pitch strike outs. Scutaro was the third opposing in the last week who failed to get down a bunt and then homered in the same at-bat.

The Yankees enter the break having scored 3.67 runs per game in their last 15 contests and 2.15 runs per game in 13 of those 15 games. They are six games behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East and 5.5 games behind the second-place Tampa Bay Rays. They're in fourth place in the Wild Card race behind the Rays, Twins (3 GB), and A's (1 GB), the last of whom they will face in their first series after the break.

Meanwhile, the Futures Game was played back at the Stadium. For all of the promotion the All-Star Game and associated events have received in the past week or so, the Futures Game seemed to go completely unmentioned. The Tino Martinez-managed World team beat the U.S. squad 3-0. Yankee catching prospect Jesus Montero contributed a single in two at-bats.

Comments
2008-07-14 04:10:00
1.   monkeypants
I posted this question late last night on the last thread. What does everyone think:

Buyers or sellers?

If buyers, whom should they get? If sellers, whom would you trade?

2008-07-14 05:56:13
2.   ChrisS
1 Sellers. But within reason. There's no reason to attempt a firesale.

However, they need positional prospect help and badly. The bullpen has gone from a weakness to a strength with the addition of Geise, Veras, Edwar, and Robertson. In the minors, Bruney is ready to come back, Britton sits in exile, and Melancon looks like the real deal. Starting pitching looks good for 09. Wang, Joba, possibly Sabathia, Moose or Pettitte for another year as a 4th starter with the kids fighting it out for the 5th spot. It never hurts to have more starters, but I like the rotation.

That said, the offense is old and getting older. Abreu makes right an adventure and is rapidly trending downward as a hitter that neither gets on base or slugs. Jeter, though showing resurgent signs is not the hitter he was three years ago and a touchy subject (who's going to be the one to tell the captain that he's not contributing positively anymore). Posada, despite his excellent throw yesterday, is getting long in the tooth and is touchy about his position. Giambi could be gone and, at 38, is no lock to replicate even his numbers from this season. Melky, instead of showing improvement in his third season, continues a downward trend. Damon and Matsui, when not fighting for the trainer's table, are fighting over LF. Mats, while a competent DH, isn't an ideal DH.

With their best OF prospect a full year away at best, the Yankees need help. Cashman has a pile of young arms he can throw around for mid-priced offensive OF help. However, few teams are ready to move near-ready or ready position players for A and/or AA pitchers. IPK could be moved, Horne is getting on in years, and none of the other AAA starters have shown much in the way of ML-readiness this season. Cashman is kind caught in a tough spot. But I think bringing over Jason Bay to replace Abreu would be a solid move towards the future and wouldn't be a straight punt for this season.

I'm sure he could move Abreu to an NL contender, but Cash would have to just about pick up Bobby's entire salary. Bay could likely be had for pitching and a couple of young bats, or Matt Holliday. Matsui, I think, could still garner interest from some teams. And Melky can still draw some interest as a side chip.

2008-07-14 06:15:28
3.   ms october
2 nice analysis chris.

i think cashman should target teams that want to make a run this year; teams that are wanting to get rid of players who will start making too much; and teams that have a surplus/blocking (the way the diamondbacks had with quentin).
just see what younger of/1b he can pick-up.

2010 is a big year to me - with some of the minor league guys being ready; we will have a better idea what the young pitchers are turning out to be; and several more high profile contracts expiring then (jeter et al)

2008-07-14 06:59:01
4.   Shaun P
1 Neither. Unless they can swap some potential impact arms for a potential impact bat, I think the Yanks will sit tight. I just don't see any of the "veteran" talent bringing back enough value, especially since many of them could turn into draft picks.

2 Abreu also has a full no-trade clause, so he's not going anywhere if he doesn't want to. And outside of Jackson and Montero, the Yanks don't have any young bats. At least, none who have set the world on fire yet.

2008-07-14 07:59:08
5.   ChrisS
4 re: young bats; meaning exactly that. A or low-A kids that have at least shown an aptitude. Montero and Ajax are well-known prospects and aren't going anywhere without a fight. There's a few other prospects that could be dealt. Hell, even Eric Duncan is showing signs of life, and he's only 23.

If I had a more specific remedy, I'd be working for the Yankees.

It's easy to point out their problems, to solve them, Cashman gets paid decent money and has a fleet of underlings.

2008-07-14 08:41:19
6.   JL25and3
2 Oooh, don't tell monkeypants that Jeter isn't contributing anymore.

As I said the other day, I agree with monkeypants. Jeter's days of being a great player are probably over, but he's still a good one, or even very good. We've been spoiled for so long that it's sometimes hard to realize that 80% of Jeter is still pretty good.

My top priority for this team is finding a center fielder. It's time to stop sitting around with fingers crossed, hoping that Melky suddenly turns into a different ballplayer. There's no guarantee that Jackson will be ready a year from now, and we don't know how good he'll be when he gets to the show.

The only way they're going to get a real center fielder is through a trade. I have no idea who they might be able to get, but they'll definitely have to give up something that hurts. Do it.

That bullpen strength should also be considered in terms of trade value. Effective middle relief tends to be overvalued in trades; it also tends to be inconsistent, so this year's strength doesn't necessarily mean much for next year.

2008-07-14 09:13:51
7.   ChrisS
6 True, he's still a very good offensive SS, and Bernie was still a decent offensive CF, and we know how that turned out. The same with Posada. Derek and Jorge are, rightfully, protective of their positions, and the point is that they make the Yankees inflexible. The Yankees can't succeed in the future with holes in their lineup and two guys that have to be handled with kid gloves, thinking that they're just a hot streak away from recapturing their glory years.

And as for a CF, it's ugly out there, which makes Melky almost acceptable. As bad as he's been with the bat, he's still a heckuva defender. And I think it comes back to not getting Beltran when they had a chance.

2008-07-14 09:20:42
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
6 Yes, Melky must go.
2008-07-14 12:16:06
9.   monkeypants
6 Funny. I let that one slide...it is the All Star*Break* after all!

Seriously, when Jeter finishes the season batting .800 OPS, and around 115 OPS+, my defense will be vindicated. And when he puts up the same numbers until his contract runs out, my vindication will be more so.

2008-07-14 14:20:39
10.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ok, I have a question about Derek. Are we talking about his decline with the stick, or just with the glove?

Because while I see the latter, I really don't see the former.

Sure, he's hitting .280 or whatever it is, but he's had a couple of off-years (i.e., sub-.300) in the past and for Christ's sake, he's still on pace for 4000 hits, isn't he?

And certainly 3000, factoring in serious decline, injuries, etc.

Since when is a player on pace for 3000 hits an offensive liability?

2008-07-14 16:52:11
11.   ChrisS
10 Frankly, with regards to career numbers, "on pace for" and $2.75 will get you a large Joba iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts. It's not so much about Jetes this season, he's still one of the better offensive SSs.

But you don't have look far past Bernie Williams to see what a pain in the ass a rapidly fading star can be. And as for excellent hitters fading, look at Robin Yount's career after 34 or Robbie Alomar, Jeter's best comparison as a hitter, or Craig Biggio who has 3,000 hits. For every Lou Whitaker that maintained excellent offensive production after 34, there's 3 Bret Boones. Derek's SLG is waaay down this year, which makes his low OBP even more alarming. If the season ends today, this will be his lowest OPS+, and second lowest was when he was 23 and on the uphill climb.

So with regards to rebuilding or being buyers or sellers, hypothetically, next year could have an offensive hole at CF, a 38 year old catcher that can't throw and won't play another position, an offensive hole at SS who won't move, an aging LFer, and question marks in RF and at 1B.

So the Yankees having $65-80 million coming off the books, the FA market is ugly. I just don't see the offensive improving next year without some serious overhauling. And having two entitled fading stars makes overhauling more difficult.

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