Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Nice Grab
2005-05-26 05:08
by Alex Belth

Chien-Ming Wang pitched another solid game last night, greatly helped by two double plays, as the Bombers beat the Tigers, 4-2. Wang doesn't mince around. He works quickly, and puts the ball in play. He left the game with runners on first and third and one out, up by three, in the seventh inning. Mike Stanton relieved him and promptly gave up a single. Runners on first and second and in comes Taynon Sturtze.

Marcus Thames blooped a humpback fly ball to short center field. Bernie Williams came in but there was no way he was going to catch up to it. Robinson Cano got a good jump and arrived under the ball first. But he didn't notice Derek Jeter, in full-on John Stallworth post-pattern, Super Bowl XIV mode. Jeter, with his back to the plate, stretched out his glove, made the catch, and fell on top of Cano. For his part, Cano looked like a free safety that spotted an errant pass. He drifted over to the ball thinking he was going to make an easy interception. But Jeter was John Stallworth, and he forcefully snatched the ball from him, at the last minute. (Bernie looked on like any good referee would.) Just as impressive as the catch, was how quickly Jeter got to his feet and returned the ball to the infield. Jeter's spikes caught Cano, but the young second baseman appeared more startled than hurt. Add it to Jeter's highlight reel.

Sturtze got the last out of the inning, Flash Gordon--pitching much better of late--struck out two in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera threw twenty-three pitches (walking one) in a scoreless ninth. Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada drove in the Bombers' four runs, and it was enough for another series victory. The Yanks go for the sweep tonight against the Tigers' best pitcher. Kevin Brown will pitch for the home team. Which is a good thing considering that the Red Sox are up next.

2005-05-26 05:56:26
1.   singledd
I think in refering to Chien-Ming Wang, that you got in Wong.
2005-05-26 06:06:31
2.   Mike Carminati
It's got a little wang in it.
2005-05-26 06:18:44
3.   Murray
For what it's worth, I was sitting in the right field boxes last night, and I thought that if Jeter hadn't made his amazing reach, Cano would have missed the ball, which was already behind him. The crowd ate it up--the applause would have been much louder if more of us weren't wearing gloves due to the cold weather.

Plays like the one he made last night make it possible to understand how Jeter can be thought to be an outstanding defender, despite mountains of statistical evidence to the contrary. Jeter has terrible range, and yet he goes back for popups better than any middle infielder I've ever seen wearing pinstripes and is great on cutoff plays.

2005-05-26 06:25:35
4.   Alex Belth
Doh. My bad on the spelling. Hey, you know who also made a decent play on the Jeter catch? Tino Martinez, who was covering second base.
2005-05-26 06:36:22
5.   Dan M
Not to get ahead of things, but I noticed on the sidebar that the Yanks have another Saturday afternoon game on Fox, which they will clearly lose. Let the Jinx continue.
2005-05-26 06:48:22
6.   FoulTerritory
Jeter makes this play, but he's all but worthless on balls up the middle. When are they going to send this guy to center? Never, I know, but it makes way more sense than tossing Woe-mack out in left.
2005-05-26 06:58:35
7.   singledd
In the next weeks following Boston, we play:
KC, Minn, Mil, StL, Pitt, ChC, TB, Mets....
A relatively easy stretch, all in all considered. Hope we can make hay.

9 of the last 12 games are Baltimore and the Sox, with the last 6 being away games at Baltimore and Fenway. This thing could be decided in the last week.

2005-05-26 07:02:33
8.   strangeluck
To be perfectly fair, Murray, Jeter's range has actually been good this year, to such an extent that he might actually deserve a gold glove.

On a wholly different topic, what do people think of a Womack for Mike Cameron trade? I think Womack's perceived value is overblown enough that it could be doable.

2005-05-26 07:05:19
9.   singledd
Moving Jetes to CF and been in the media and all over the Blogosphere. Do you think that the Yankee Brass have even talked to Jetes about it? I know he doesn't want to move to CF (and especially does not want to be replaced by ARod at SS) but....... he IS a team guy.

My guess is if the Yanks do talk to Jetes it would be tip-top secret, as it would make a big media splash if he said no.

So... do you think ManOfCash has even brought this up to Jeter?

2005-05-26 07:16:26
10.   rbj
One thing I like about Wang is that he doesn't seem to get rattled when there are men on base, he just goes after the next hitter. Nice to see the Yankees win a close, low scoring game.
2005-05-26 07:24:20
11.   Nick from Washington Heights
Exactly how big a prospect was/is Wang? He's having the type of good year I envisioned K. Brown having when he got here last season. What's encouraging is that Gammons reported on Baseball Tonight that the Yanks are deeming him more and more an untouchable in trade talks.
2005-05-26 07:51:31
12.   Schteeve
Hey, forget moving Jetes to CF, trade him the the Cowboys for the ghost of Deion Sanders!
2005-05-26 08:16:00
13.   Jen
With it being fairly windy during these past 2 games, quite a bit of debris has been blowing onto the field. The question came up about a ball hit into play that gets caught up in a plastic bag on the field. Would it be a dead ball or would the fielder just have to deal with it?
2005-05-26 08:38:53
14.   blue
Speaking of debris on the field, was anyone at last night's game during A-Rod's at-bat in the bottom of the 8th? A ballon-like object was rolling through the infield (it looked like an inflated condom) and was a few feet in front of home plate when it popped, just as the final pitch was coming in. A-Rod swung and missed, striking out, and it looked to me like he was distracted by this...he even spoke to the home plate umpire as he walked back to the dugout (although he might have been inquiring on pitch location). It seemed like amazing timing to me, and possibly an interference call was required...
2005-05-26 08:45:22
15.   Alex Belth
What impressed me about Rodriugez is in his first or second at bat, there were runners on and the pitcher kept pounding the ball inside, eventually striking him out on a full count pitch.

In the next at bat, he came inside again, the pitch wasn't as nasty, and Rodriguez spanked it to left. Little more loft and it would have be gone.

2005-05-26 08:49:02
16.   killjoy
Jen, I saw something like that happen in Oakland during a BoSox/A's game when someone hit a ball that rolled into a cup in right field. IIRC, it was ruled a ground rule double (although looking at the rules I only see provisions for when a ball rolls under or gets stuck in a fence or vines or shrubbery, not debris).
2005-05-26 08:56:11
17.   jedi
Speaking of Bernie as returning next year as a DH on the previous post. Bernie could have been playing DH a year earlier if some things happened.

Peter Gammons made an interesting point last night on ESPN:

"If the Yankees did not trade Johnson for Vasquez/Halsey and went after Beltran with their money, they would have been a far better off team right now."

Hypothetical Lineup if Johnson trade never went through:

Beltran CF
Jeter SS
Rodriquez 3B
Sheffield RF
Matsui LF
Posada C
Giambi 1B
Williams DH
Womack 2B

Wright DL (insert Halsey)

I guess the first obvious things you can say about this statment is that we wouldn't have known about Cano and Wang this year if this happened. They would have brought up Halsey to replace Wright on the DL and brought up Wang for the stint Henn did and regardless of how well he would have done went back to Columbus. Womack would not being playing LF because Beltran would have solved any notion of a "weak" CF this year. Bernie would be playing a solid DH and not have shown how weak his arm really is this year erasing any wonder.

We can compare the numbers of Johnson and Vazquez and easily come to a quick conclusion that Vasquez is having a better year right now and solidified that he is over 10 years younger than the Unit. But, is it safe to say that the Yankees would have been better off?

My opininon...I don't think so for three simple reasons:

3) Wang
2) Cano
1) Something yet to be seen but easier to swallow. Bringing Johnson into the playoffs rather than Vazquez.

What do you think? Would the Yankees be better off?

2005-05-26 09:03:46
18.   Jen
Thanks killjoy.

blue, I saw the balloon-like object pop. My friend didn't see it and thought I was crazy. I was surprised the pitcher didn't see it and step off the rubber or that Alex didn't step out of the box. They both seemed to have had enough time.

2005-05-26 09:17:20
19.   singledd
jedi - what's a better team
1) RJ and Womack -or-
2) Vasquez and Beltran
I go with #2. And in hindsight, since RJ is underperforming and Vasquez is back to his old self, it looks like we made the wrong move.

And, even if 'undiscovered', we still have Cano and Wang... waiting for Womack to barf and Browns back to go out.

Futhermore, it might be close this year, but what about 2006 and 2007? RJ will be making 16mil in 2007. I'd MUCH rather have Beltran at 17mil. And furthermore-more, in an attempt to get an OFer that's decent, we may end up losing Wang and/or Cano.

George was simply SO fixated on getting a 'dominant' pitcher for the post season, that he ignored the entire non-pitching team.

2005-05-26 09:20:01
20.   jedi
OK...the reason I wrote that post before but didnt have the guts to reall say it is because....I am getting really really tired of Posada's base running flops. The guy looks like a fat kid caught between a chocolate cake on 1st and a salami on second. Ok so he fell asleep on the bases, thats ok. He's a catcher, he works hard behind the plate. Happens to anyone. But the throwback from the pitcher (Maroth) was high and if Posada slid back head first instead of "ducked" into first (did i see that right? ducked!? my god!!!) he would have been safe. I don't know what's more embarassing, getting caught napping at first or getting slapped on the head with a tag while standing up. Last night's pickoff let me dream about if we still had Navarro. And how he would have been like as a future catcher for the Yankees. Then that's when Peter Gammon's starting talking on TV about the Johnson trade...dammit!
2005-05-26 09:27:46
21.   Nick from Washington Heights
Javy probably would still be struggling under the tutelage of Mel, which is not to say that I think Gammons is wrong. It just is that he is simplifying things a bit when he assumes Javy would pitch the way he is with the Yanks in his hypothetical.
2005-05-26 09:48:56
22.   BFenwick
The Yankees couldn't rely on Vazquez to start game 7 against the Sox last year. Yankees/Sox is far different that Expos/Phillies or D-Backs/Padres.
2005-05-26 09:50:17
23.   singledd
Even if RJ gets better (which he will) and Javy was average (ERA 4.5), with Beltran in the lineup, on the bases, and in CF, I think we would be better off. And we won't even bring up the average AGE of the team.

In 2007, at 16mil, will RJ be what Brown is now? I mean, a 3yr - 48mil contract to a guy who is ALREADY 42??? (And don't bring up Clemens, who is a freak of nature, and tries to commit suicide by exercise daily).

And give Posada a break. Do you have any idea how banged up a catcher gets during the year? Do we REALLY want him DIVING HEAD FIRST into first base? How many catchers give you .292 / .370 / .486. He took one in the eye last year because he didn't duck!

2005-05-26 09:51:18
24.   Knuckles
Navarro gives up about 4 inches and 30 pounds to Posada, not exactly ideal at a key position in which players tend to break down over the course of a season.

He currently has a .723 OPS in Las Vegas, compared to Jorge's .847 in NY. Any regrets I ever have about the RJ trade will not be due to Navarro.

Joe needs to carve out 15 minutes with Posada and tell him to wake up a little bit, that's all.

2005-05-26 09:56:14
25.   Nick from Washington Heights
RJ's a freak too. He's Clemens age and he had a better year than him last season. People seem to forget that Clemens was never a dominant pitcher in NY. The NL, proximity to home, have all helped him become dominant again. But in NY he was a great #2, and a solid #1 type.
2005-05-26 10:05:09
26.   singledd
"The Yankees couldn't rely on Vazquez to start game 7 against the Sox last year."

D. Jeter - 2004 ALCS .200 .333 .233
A .233 SLUGGING%. Geez... maybe we should have traded Jetes.

Making decisions for the present and future of a club can't be based on a small sampling/issolated play. This is Steinbrenner-we better get Mondesi thinking.

2005-05-26 10:08:47
27.   Marcus
I think Nick has it right. Javy probably would not be having the same year in NY, although I'm pretty sure it would have been better than the second half of last year. But what if the Johnson trade didn't happen; would the Yanks have signed Wright? I think the combination of Vasquez and Halsey is better overall than Johnson (at 41) and Jaret Wright. I'm guessing they still would have signed Wright.

I just hope they don't trade for Clemens, keep Wang, sign Burnett over the winter and have this as their rotation next year:

Mussina (based on tenure)

No lefties, which is where Halsey would have come in handy. They'll need to focus on finding quality lefty relief (move along Stanton, move along). I guess Jarrod Washburn could be a possibility as a lefty starter.

2005-05-26 10:18:52
28.   murphy
speaking of old guys (clemens, RJ): i was reading about Rickey and Oil Can still playing in the minors and a half-funny "page 2" over at espn, and a thought dawned on me: maybe there should be a baseball "senior" league designed much like the senior tour in the PGA. thoughts?
2005-05-26 10:19:34
29.   murphy
oh - i forgot the :) on my post,
2005-05-26 10:25:14
30.   rbj
Murphy, isn't that what Steinbrenner is doing .
It would be a fun thing to see, maybe a 30 game season, 7 inning games. Play them on weekends before the MLB games get started.
2005-05-26 10:50:29
31.   Knuckles
There was a Senior League in the early 90's- based in Florida with all the teams decked out in hideous retirement village type colors.
I still have some cards somewhere- Hal McRae, Rollie Fingers, Mickey Rivers, etc.

Here's some logos.

2005-05-26 11:24:43
32.   JohnnyC
First of all, we should be happy that the crack(ed) management in Arizona didn't want Robinson Cano or Eric Duncan in the Johnson trade. Second of all, methinks Gammons is being too cool for school here: a dominant start by a Yankee starter in any of Games 4 through 7 would've spoiled the party for Mr. Red Sux last Fall. Just another 6 outs from El Duque would have punched their lights out for a sweep. Gammons would like his chances this year if the Yankees had Beltran (who wouldn't be hitting against the Cardinals' porous pitching staff)in CF and no RJ. He'll have his boys face Vazquez in deciding game any day of the week, baby. With Stottlemyre as the coach, you can bet the farm on it. C'mon guys, that's like Joel Sherman saying the Red Sox would have been better off trading for ARod and not acquiring Schilling. Would a Red Sox fan buy that? As for age...can you guess what team was the second oldest team in the majors last season? Yeah, the World Champion Boston Red Sox.
2005-05-26 12:10:45
33.   Simone
Rule of thumb when it comes to Peter Gammons: Take whatever he says would be good for the Yankees re: trades or moves and bet the oppossite is what is best for the Yankees. Never forget that he wears his Red Sox championship on chain around his neck (semi-serious joke).

JohnnyC is correct. Gammons desperately railed again Randy Johnson and the Yankees potentially trading him last season because he knew that meant that the Yankees' starters would have been solid match for his Red Sox in the ALCS.

Trading for Randy Johnson may have had its costs, but he can contribute more to the Yankees than Beltran in the playoffs. If RJ rounds into form by the end of the season and then all the cries for Beltran will die down.

BTW, has anyone noticed that after all the years of claiming that the Yankees have nothing in their farm system to trade or to help them out, now just about every baseball expert talks about Cano and Wang as bait in potential trades or being solid young players?

2005-05-26 12:11:29
34.   Simone
Oops meant to edit my post above.
2005-05-26 12:36:00
35.   Peter
Last night my girlfriend's brother told me he heard the Yankees already said they'd be willing to trade both Wang and Cano for Clemens. Has anyone else heard about this? As much as I'd love to see a staff of RJ, Clemens, Moose, and Pavano heading into the playoffs, I still think it would be a big mistake. Yet something the Yankees would totally do...
2005-05-26 13:08:01
36.   jedi
You would figure this clemens talk would die down after he hurt his groin last start. If clemens really wants to make amends with yankee fans, he can just retire, like he said so in the first place. At least retire before the Boss makes a regrettable trade come July. Can't make any moves if the person is retired. Right!? Maybe if he retires and unretires and signs for the league minimum. Then he would win me back! hah
2005-05-26 13:11:29
37.   Jen
Peter I haven't heard anything like that. But I did hear quotes from Torre saying that they finally have 2 guys that weren't called up to be trade bait and how they are making a big impact on the team.
2005-05-26 13:14:33
38.   killjoy
Re: the ball in the cup.

I looked it up and found this from the Boston Herald regarding the August 8, 2001 game in Oakland:

"In the third inning with one out, the A's Johnny Damon lined a ball down the right-field line that rolled into the corner and directly into the bottom of a beer cup lying in foul territory. As Nixon caught up to the ball, he looked down, paused, and then threw up his hands to indicate he could not make a play on the ball. It was the perfect non-throw ... citing rule 9.01(c) and the Oakland runner had to return to second on the dead ball . . ."

(9.01(c) basically gives the ump authority to make a ruling on something not covered by the rules)

2005-05-26 13:57:36
39.   singledd
Our pitching last year somehow managed to win us 101 games. Yes, who wouldn't want a dominator in the post season. But I ask you this.... in the 4 games we lost (but really the first 3), how many times were we ONE hit away from winning? Maybe even 1 ball from winning. The offense DIED. Has anyone bothed to work up the numbers our offense post in those 3 games?
Player..........AB H AVG
D Jeter SS 15 3 .200
A Rodriguez 3B 13 2 .153
G Sheffield RF 13 1 .076
H Matsui LF 15 3 .200
B Williams CF 17 4 .235
J Posada C 14 4 .285
R Sierra DH 14 5 .357
T Clark 1B 17 3 .176
M Cairo 2B 13 5 .384

Players 1-5 73 13 .178

So maybe if we had RJ, Clemens, Schilling and Kofax we would have won.
But when your 1 thru 5 guys AVERAGE .178 OVER 3 games, what do you expect.

By the way, the average ERA for those 3 games was 4.01. Thats 4.01 against the best offense that year in MLB.

Notice the 2 players with the highest BA for those 3 games.

On a lighter note, in the "Ain't it a Shame" category: Schill out until all-star break.

2005-05-26 23:04:27
40.   brockdc
I wouldn't trade either Cano OR Wang for Clemens at this point, much less both of them. Remember, this is the hypothetical scenario we all railed against when the Yankees were in last place just a couple of weeks ago.

This two-for-one scenario would be a horrible trade - unless you foolishly believe the Yankees are one player away from being a championship team.

I think Nick mentioned this - Clemens was very good but rarely "lights out" for the Yankees, even during his Cy Young season.

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