Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Ship o Fools
2008-08-12 09:27
by Alex Belth

As our friends round the way have noted, the Ship be Sinkin.  Meanwhile, Steven Goldman, writing in the New York Sun, has more:

This might have been a championship-level lineup a few years ago, when Jeter still had his speed, Abreu and Ivan Rodriguez were still .300 hitters with power, and Sexson could be counted on for 30 to 40 home runs a year. Now it represents only the compromises that injuries and a lack of vital youth can force on a team. Worse, it's not even the best lineup the Yankees can play.

The lineup represents Girardi's worst quality. An affable and intelligent manager, Girardi can be headstrong in his choices, sticking to his guns in the face of evidence that his tactics aren't working. This can be seen clearly in his decision to push Damaso Marte into a second inning of work twice in one week, resulting in losses both times. That's just two games. His wrongheaded embrace of platooning provides a more protracted example of a decision that hasn't paid off. For all his machinations, the Yankees remain a game under .500 when a left-hander starts against them.


2008-08-12 10:36:50
1.   JL25and3
I don't think I've ever seen such unanimity regarding a manager's decision. Broadcasters, reporters, columnists, bloggers, banterers (and those who post elsewhere) - every single one of them agrees that there was absolutely no excuse for last night's lineup. It was completely indefensible.

Hell, even Girardi couldn't defend it. Before the game: "I put a lineup up. Johnny's played a lot." After the game: "Justin Christian has had a lot of success off of left-handers for us and has played very well. That is why Justin Christian played."

That last comes close to a defense, but it begs another question: Melky Cabrera has had no success off of left-handers for the Yankees and has played very poorly. So why did Melky Cabrera play?

2008-08-12 10:47:56
2.   DarrenF
The only thing I could think of is that he wanted to go with his best defensive lineup, aside from catcher. That's certainly not a reasonable explanation, but the only explanation I could come up with.

The only other really reason I could come up with is that he tried to defuse the mounting pressure by putting out an "ain't no thang" lineup. Which would be really ridiculous. But I'm stretching here.

The Girardi honeymoon may be over soon. One day's lineup oddities don't concern me as much as the seeming lack of hustle. Any one who frequently watches Cano play couldn't be surprised by his terrible defensive play on Sunday. Any one who frequently watches Abreue play couldn't be surprised that he appeared scared to slide home in the first inning. I really thought that Buzz Cut Girardi would have a different effect than Nice Guy Torre.

2008-08-12 11:08:25
3.   Max
Win the next two and then take care of business at home against KC (after a much, much needed day off). That will keep hope alive for another week or so, anyway.

Then the season comes down to whether they can actually take care of teams like Toronto and Baltimore before the brutal stretch run -- or whether the likes of Cabrera, Burnett and Guthrie will continue to throttle this baffling offense, ending the season for good.

2008-08-12 11:19:51
4.   Max
Oh, and thanks for the link to YFSF, which I don't usually check. I really enjoyed the retrospective on Sugar -- some nice memories (and some sad ones, given the screw up with drugs).
2008-08-12 11:21:28
5.   Schteeve
2 I've absolutely had it with Cano. I know the are a lot of people who think this is one fluky bad season in what will be a remarkable career, but I'm not one of them. I think he is what he is. Alfonso Soriano with half the power.
2008-08-12 11:23:06
6.   JL25and3
2 I thought of the "best defensive outfield" argument, but dismissed that as well. If that's what he wanted, he would have had Nady in the OF and Abreu at DH instead of the other way around.
2008-08-12 11:30:06
7.   Alex Belth
I agree on Cano. He's a slack ballplayer. And Melky's even worse.
2008-08-12 11:51:45
8.   dianagramr

anybody remember a band called "World Party"?

2008-08-12 11:53:04
9.   Schteeve
Some interesting Cano Soriano comps:

Cano's OBP for his career is 93% comprised of batting average.

Sori's is 88% BA. I'll give Cano a break here since he started his career at a later age than Sori, but through Soriano's first three full seasons as a ML player he was at 88%.

Soriano for his career has hit a HR slightly more frequently than he has taken a walk. He hits a HR about every 19 PAs, and walks about every 20 PAs.

Cano hits a HR about every 35 PAs, but only takes a walk every 28 PAs.

2008-08-12 11:53:56
10.   Schteeve
9 CORRECTION: Third line of my comment should say "EARLIER AGE" not later.
2008-08-12 12:06:27
11.   Just fair
At least Melky is not signed for 5 years and 50 million like Gary Matthews Jr. : ) I'm always looking for silver linings.
Per Cano. As the adage goes, you don't walk your way off the Island. Apparently you don't dive either. He does not seem to lay out too often, if ever. I don't know. My heart says he can play on my team any day. But he drives my brain nuts. I can't give up on him or the season. Yet.
2008-08-12 12:27:29
12.   DarrenF
11 Torre is a player's manager to the extreme and that approach seemed to no longer be working. Melky made an error when he paused mid-play to wave to the Bleacher Creatures. We know Billy Martin may have benched him on the spot. We know Torre would have softly chided him and told him to keep his head up. I just thought Girardi would have been closer to Martin and I also think a sterner approach may have helped with Cano and Melky in particular.

Now, some players use "economy of motion" and some players always stay composed. This can be confused with slacking. Cano does not exhibity "economy of motion," he exhibits minimal motion. Even running to first base -- he pulls up at around 80 feet, so he won't have to overrun the base and exert himself for 120 feet.

2008-08-12 12:30:27
13.   ChrisS
I guess if Melk and Robbie got their uniforms dirtier they'd be gritty ball-players. Maybe Cashman can flip Cano to As for Mark Ellis or to Toronto for Eckstein and make him a 2B.

Outside of ARod, IMO Cano is the least of the problems with this team going forward.

2008-08-12 12:39:58
14.   Count Zero
In the "You Can Take Consolation From" department, I'm just glad we didn't really do anything too stupid in an attempt to win this year.

1) A lot of over-the-hill payroll hits the road at the end of the season. Hopefully, that indicates an end to the "land the biggest FA every year" strategy that got us into this aging mess.

2) The only trades we made mid-season resulted in either (a) Nady whose continued presence in 2009 actually helps us this offseason or (b) guys who will bring supplemental picks. We didn't give up anything big, and we didn't get saddled with any albatrosses.

Cano is definitely frustrating, but the flip side is that I don't see a whole ton of better (i.e., available, reasonably-priced) options at 2B right now.

Looking back in hindsight (and even at the time we did it IMO), giving Jorge a long-term deal was probably the biggest boo boo we made all year in terms of the long-term future of this ballclub. Other than that, we had an effing terrible year, loaded with unexpected injuries and a manager who seems to have lost his clubhouse. Pick up the pieces and move on...

2008-08-12 12:45:08
15.   DarrenF
13 Yes, Cano would be better if he hustled and got his uniform dirty once in a while. He'd make more plays in the field, get more hits, and score more runs. Even when he batted .342, maybe he could have batted .343 if he hustled.

That play on Sunday was one of the most amateurish plays I've ever seen. Right up there with the time Mussina fielded a ground ball and threw to second base and Soriano was standing next to the base instead of on top of the base.

2008-08-12 13:10:20
16.   ChrisS
14 "Hopefully, that indicates an end to the "land the biggest FA every year" strategy that got us into this aging mess."

Unfortunately, the calls have been sounding mighty steadily to throw gobs of money at Teixiera, Sabathia, and Dunn in order to right this ship.

2008-08-12 13:21:38
17.   JL25and3
16 Well, as you and I know, the problem is that the Plan is a long way from producing any help for the lineup. And they need help.

I think Sabathia's too good not to make a play for.

2008-08-12 13:49:07
18.   ChrisS
17 I agree on CC. Getting him gives the Yanks an age 28/29/23 top of the rotation with Moose/Pettitte rounding out the rotation with Hughes in the low slot. I like Rasner as a spot starter, emergency 5th guy. Kennedy can work on his game at AAA. And there's enough junk arms at AAA/AA to fill in as needed or trade for journeyman. that's a solid rotation.

Teixeira, I'm less sold on. Especially if Giambi is interested in a 2-year deal.

2008-08-12 14:01:56
19.   Raf
18 If Kennedy keeps throwing up sub-1 WHIPs in the minors, I don't know how long the organization plans on keeping him there.
2008-08-12 14:11:02
20.   pistolpete
7 Any way we can bribe Larry Bowa to come back here?
2008-08-12 14:51:51
21.   cult of basebaal
16 the beautiful thing about this year is that the yankees could likely sign tex, sabathia and dunn and still walk away with multiple 1st and Supplemental round picks.*


Well, because of the way that the CBA works.

When you sign rated free agents, you can only lose your own picks, and not the picks that you acquire from other teams that sign your rated free agents.

If the yankees sign the 3 guys above, that almost certainly means that the following guys will be gone:

and 1 of mussina/pettite

that's 4 likely type a free agents and potentially 4 1st round and 4 supplemental round picks (not saying that's what would happen, only what could)

the same thing could hold true next offseason, if we wanted to sign a big free agent, we're covered by the fact that damon and matsui could very well be type A players

thus it is quite possible to both sign free agents and continue to aggressively build a farm system when you are essentially exchanging them with free agents leaving your own team, because of the way that MLB draft compensation is structured.

* not saying they should, just that they could ...

2008-08-12 14:53:14
22.   ChrisS
19 True, but until that starts translating to success at the ML level, they can't bank on IPK as part of the '09 rotation.

I like the kid, and I think he'll be successful, and I'd like to see the Yankees just bring him up and let him take his lumps. He might learn something.

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