Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Toronto Blue Jays
2007-05-28 12:47
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The 2007 Toronto Blue Jays just can't catch a break. Their starting third baseman and hottest hitter hit the DL in mid April. Three days before he came back, their starting catcher hit the DL. Their starting left fielder is out for several months due to back surgery. Their big money closer is out for the year due to Tommy John surgery. Forty percent of their starting rotation is on the DL right now, and that doesn't even take into account John Thomson, who hasn't thrown a pitch for them yet this year, or the three lesser relievers currently resiting on their disabled list.

If that weren't enough, Frank Thomas is struggling, Vernon Wells is scuffling, and rookie slugger Adam Lind lost the replacement left field job to 39-year-old beer leaguer Matt Stairs (albeit the wildly underrated and currently hot as hellfire beer leaguer Matt Stairs).

What's left is a team that that has five hitters who are actually hitting, two more who might reasonably be expected to, and an eighth on the DL. Beyond that it's Royce Clayton, Jason Phillips, John McDonald, and Sal Fasano. Lind, if he ever finds his groove, can only play at the expense of one of the guys who's already hitting, ditto Reed Johnson upon his eventual return.

On the mound, A. J. Burnett has been healthy and effective, but he's also been lonely. Roy Halladay should return soon from an apendectomy, but will have to shake off not just the surgery, but his last two starts in which he allowed 17 runs in 10 1/3 innings. None of the other starters deserve mention. In the bullpen, Jeremy Accardo has excelled in relief of the injured B.J. Ryan, as have lefties Scott Downs and Brian Tallet and converted reliever Casey Janssen behind him, but Jason Frasor blew his shot at the closer's job at the end of April by posting a 10.13 ERA in eight appearances, blowing two saves, and losing a third game.

There's some hope here. Accardo's solidified the closer spot. Thomas and Wells could heat up. Halladay and Gregg Zaun could come back soon and produce at their expected levels. But the Jays will still be stuck with an eight-man lineup, a two-man rotation, and a four-man bullpen. That's a recipe for a .500 team if I ever heard one.

As for tonight's starter, Dustin McGowan is a 25-year-old righty that the Jays once had high hopes for, though those have slowly faded since an injury-shortened 2004 season at double-A. The Yankees saw him four times last year, including once as a starter on the final day of the season, a game in which McGowan allowed eight baserunners and three stolen bases in 2 2/3 innings, but amazingly only one run.

The Yankees enter Toronto a half game behind the Jays, a full game behind the Orioles, and a whopping 12.5 games out of first place in the real world. Personally, I prefer the fantasy world of Pythagarus:

BOS 33-16 -
NYY 26-22 6.5
TOR 24-25 9
BAL 24-26 9.5
TBD 18-30 14.5

Toronto Blue Jays

2007 Record: 22-27 (.449)
2007 Pythagorean Record: 24-25 (.480)

Manager: John Gibbons
General Manager: J. P. Riccardi

Home Ballpark (2007 Park Factors): Rogers Centre (103/103)

Who's Replacing Whom?

Troy Glaus (DL) replaces Jason Smith (DFAed)
Matt Stairs replaces Adam Lind in left field
Dustin McGowan (minors) replaces Roy Halladay (DL)
Jesse Litsch (minors) replaces Gustavo Chacin (DL)
Shawn Marcum replaces Josh Towers in the rotation
Jamie Vermilyea (minors) replaces Victor Zambranno (DL)
Jeremy Accardo has claimed the closer job which was briefly Jason Frasor's

25-man Roster:

1B – Lyle Overbay (L)
2B – Aaron Hill (R)
SS – Royce Clayton (R)
3B – Troy Glaus (R)
C – Jason Phillips (R)
RF – Alexis Rios (R)
CF – Vernon Wells (R)
LF – Matt Stairs (L)
DH – Frank Thomas (R)


L – Adam Lind (OF)
R – Ryan Roberts (IF)
R – John McDonald (IF)
R – Sal Fasano (C)


R – A. J. Burnett
R - Dustin McGowan
R – Shaun Marcum
R - Jesse Litsch
R – Tomokazu Ohka


R – Jeremy Accardo
R – Jason Frasor
L – Scott Downs
R – Casey Janssen
R – Josh Towers
L – Brian Tallet
R - Jamie Vermilyea

15-day DL: S – Gregg Zaun (C), R – Roy Halladay, L – Gustavo Chacin, R – Victor Zambrano, R – John Thomson, R – Brandon League
60-day DL: R – Reed Johnson (OF), L – B. J. Ryan, L – Davis Romero

Typical Lineup:

R – Alexis Rios (RF)
L – Lyle Overbay (1B)
R – Vernon Wells (CF)
R - Troy Glaus (3B)
R – Frank Thomas (DH)
L - Matt Stairs (LF)
R – Aaron Hill (2B)
R – Royce Clayton (SS)
R – Jason Phillips (C)

Comments (162)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-28 13:42:55
1.   Shaun P
Ummm . . . the fantasy world of Pythagarus . . . (drooling a la Homer Simpson) . . .

Off topic - I didn't read the comments on Friday night's thread, so apologies if someone else mentioned this. Extra Innings carried the My9 feed for Friday's game (much preferable to hearing Red Hudler). AFAIK that's never happened before. EI never used the 'local' (that is, non-RSN) feed before. Anyone know what's changed?

2007-05-28 13:48:02
2.   rbj
"tonight's starter, Dustin McGowan is a 25-year-old righty that the Jays once had high hopes for, . . . The Yankees saw him four times last year, including once as a starter on the final day of the season"

Well URP can't be an excuse tonight.

2007-05-28 14:02:32
3.   rbj
Roger's pitching on ESPN2
2007-05-28 14:09:11
4.   Chyll Will
3 The way things are going this year, don't be surprised if that "p" doesn't become inverted really soon...
2007-05-28 14:10:03
5.   RIYank
Picking up on one thread from the previous post:
J. C. Bradbury at Sabernomics

argues that Andruw Jones is not, in fact, overrated. This is only partly because he disagrees with J. Stark about the public perception of Andruw, and more because he thinks Andruw's defense is still very good. (J. C. explains what's wrong with Zone Rating.)

2007-05-28 14:11:02
6.   RIYank
4 He'll be pitching on ESbN2 soon?


2007-05-28 14:20:23
7.   Mike T
Damn, and I thought the Yankees had it bad with unjuries this year. The Birds might have the Yankees beat in that regard. This may be a good opportunity for the Yanks to get a few victories from a depleted Blue Jays squad.
2007-05-28 14:22:54
8.   Chyll Will
6 Come to think of it, there are plenty of them on that network, too...
2007-05-28 14:26:13
9.   RIYank
The SWB game is free on, too. Clemens looking pretty good, I wouldn't say dominating. One hit after two innings.
2007-05-28 14:48:06
10.   pistolpete
3 IP, 3 Ks - I'd say he looks good.

Get him up, get him dressed, let's make a run at this thing before it's too late...

2007-05-28 14:50:04
11.   pistolpete
Make that 4...
2007-05-28 14:53:00
12.   rbj
And now 5. Mr. Splitty looks good.
2007-05-28 14:53:16
13.   Zack
Any chance of seeing Phelps tonight, or anytime for that matter? Considering how poorly this team has been hitting overall, it boggles the mind. Hes not the answer, mind you, but he could help. Nah, who am I kidding...
2007-05-28 14:53:37
14.   RIYank
Clemens has struck out five, with one hit and one BB, after four innings. For anyone not watching.
2007-05-28 15:05:45
15.   pistolpete
Enough about the pitch count - yeesh!!
2007-05-28 15:12:14
16.   RIYank
Must be different announces on yeah, they're different. Very low key, not bad.

So, six K, 2 BB, 1 H, in five innings.
I'd like to see him get the heater up into the 90s, but aside from that I've seen enough. Plug him in against the ChiSox!

2007-05-28 15:20:30
17.   pistolpete
16 Kruk and Steve Phillips on ESPN2 - heaven forbid they actually give him a compliment...
2007-05-28 15:21:34
18.   nick
Re. the Cano discussion, here's the baseball-reference top 10 most similar through age 23 players:
1. Joe Mauer (970)
2. Bill Dickey (964) *
3. Yogi Berra (950) *
4. Tony Cuccinello (942)
5. Shanty Hogan (941)
6. Jorge Cantu (933)
7. Nomar Garciaparra (933)
8. Tony Lazzeri (930) *
9. Jimmy Williams (921)
10. Bill DeLancey (919)

more detailed explanation here-

2007-05-28 15:26:05
19.   RIYank
18 Gotta like those top three. Hey, that's weird, isn't it -- that #1, #2, #3 are all catchers.
2007-05-28 15:27:37
20.   nick
so: 3 Hall of Famers, plus Nomar and Mauer....if you want to worry, look at Cantu's career line....
2007-05-28 15:29:27
21.   nick
18 yeah--though the system factors in positional difference using the defensive spectrum on which catchers and 2b are close together (only ss is closer to catcher)....
2007-05-28 15:29:38
22.   JeremyM
9 Thanks for the tip, I would go crazy if I had to listen to Kruk again. These guys are nice and low-key.
2007-05-28 15:33:08
23.   RIYank
21 Ah, that makes sense. And yeah, 20, these 'most similar' comparisons are always kind of sobering, when you see that quite a few players were on the same track as a H of F-er for a few years, and then suddenly became "Who?" Which presumably Cantu will be 25 years from now.
2007-05-28 16:11:51
24.   mehmattski
There's a drive...
2007-05-28 16:16:41
25.   RIYank
I'm sick and tired of "Well, they did hit the ball pretty hard." Runs, runs runs! Wins!
2007-05-28 16:21:23
26.   mehmattski
Who wants to do more research than me and discover the team to most underperform their Pythagorean Record? I know that the 2006 Indians finished at -12.

The fact that the Yankees can only win one-run games if A-Rod hits a deficit-erasing walk off home run is particularly distressing...

2007-05-28 16:27:43
27.   Zack
Any reason why its DeSalvo pitching?
2007-05-28 16:36:30
28.   rbj
Quiet night? or is everyone out with their families?
2007-05-28 16:42:04
29.   mehmattski
In case anyone cares, since 1977 (as far back as I wanted to look), only seven teams have underperformed their Pythagorean record by double digits (listed with actual win%)

1993 NYM -14 .364
1986 PIT -13 .395
1984 PIT -12 .463
2006 CLE -12 .481
1999 KCR -11 .398
1980 STL -10 .457
1993 SDP -10 .377

Of these, only three teams projected to be "winning" teams, as the 2007 Yankees project to be. So I'd say that the worst case scenario has the Yankees finishing around 77-95, with the Yanks likely to be within 5 games of 85 wins...

2007-05-28 16:44:41
30.   Ramone
Damon's playing tonight? I thought he was getting some rest.
2007-05-28 16:54:34
31.   mehmattski
I wonder what the Japanese media have been saying about Matsui lately. Since he started hitting 3rd:

36 PA, .265/.306/.441

2007-05-28 17:02:42
32.   williamnyy23
From rotoworld:

Joba Chamberlain allowed two hits over eight scoreless innings and struck out nine Sunday for Single-A Tampa.

Chamberlain has a 1.69 ERA in five starts since returning from a strained hamstring. He's allowed 14 hits, walked nine and struck out 32 in 28 innings.

2007-05-28 17:05:41
33.   Yankees Brasil
32 It makes me wonder what is he still doing in Tampa..Joba and Kennedy need to be promoted to Trenton!
2007-05-28 17:05:50
34.   nick
this guy's not a lefty, right? so he can't shut us down for six...
2007-05-28 17:07:59
35.   Yankees Brasil
34 Nowadays, you dont really need to be a lefty to shut us down..
2007-05-28 17:08:57
36.   williamnyy23
34 Don't be so sure...judging by the swings and shots of the dugout, you'd never guess the team had an hour long pre-game meeting.
2007-05-28 17:10:49
37.   williamnyy23
This isn't meant as an "I told you so", but that is the reoccuring type of AB that has me so worried abiut Cano.
2007-05-28 17:13:43
38.   Yankees Brasil
Another one left on base.. Doesnt look too good.
2007-05-28 17:16:08
39.   williamnyy23
Take your time rush.
2007-05-28 17:21:25
40.   pistolpete
I am beginning to dread those studio breaks - Sox are usually winning, so why not just skip it and save us all the indigestion?
2007-05-28 17:22:13
41.   williamnyy23
40 I am rooting FOR Boston. The Yankees only chance is the WC, and Cleveland and Detroit are the favorites.
2007-05-28 17:24:30
42.   pistolpete
But does it really matter if we don't win our games?
2007-05-28 17:25:04
43.   SpoonG91
41 We might be 12.5 out, but that is just treason.
2007-05-28 17:25:47
44.   pistolpete
If I was actually playing fantasy baseball this year, a good strategy would be to pick up whomever was facing the Yanks that night, then immediately drop them & pick up the next night's starter.

Rinse and repeat.

2007-05-28 17:28:29
45.   Yankees Brasil
44 Its a lock for 7IP 6+K's
2007-05-28 17:29:09
46.   williamnyy23
43 The Yankees well being is far more important to me than the Red Sox misfortune. I am not in the "Red Sox suck" camp. If the Yankees are out of it, I don't really care much what Boston is doing.

42 You're right...I think this effort is making it clear that the team has both given up and also doesn't have enough talent. Losing to good teams is one thing, but a loss in a game such as this would be a metaphoric white flag.

2007-05-28 17:32:26
47.   RIYank
You think this game shows that the Yankees have given up????

It's another horrible hitting performance, but I don't understand comments like that at all.

2007-05-28 17:33:01
48.   williamnyy23
Pete Abe had a great bit about Aaron Guiel. Sadly, a Guiel-like player would be a huge step up from Melky. I think you can definitely lay that at Cashman's doorstep.
2007-05-28 17:33:21
49.   williamnyy23
Cano's body language on that pop up bothers me.
2007-05-28 17:34:39
50.   SpoonG91
48 Guiel could never field like Melky, though, and the Yankees fielding has been a problem.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-28 17:34:41
51.   Yankees Brasil
47 I believe what he meant was that if we can't beat a crappy pitcher/team like the one we are facing tonight we are probably not gonna win enough games this year to make it to the playoffs
2007-05-28 17:35:27
52.   williamnyy23
47 Here are some examples:

1) Abreu's pursuit of Glauss' double.
2) Arod leads off with a double and Posada doesn't hit the ball to the right side (looks like he tried to go the other way).
3) Cano's wild swinging and his clear indifference on that last pop out.
4) Every dug out shot shows every player seated and looking like someone shot their dog.

2007-05-28 17:35:34
53.   pistolpete
47 I can't listen to sports radio anymore - someone on WFAN had me convinced that Torre has to go, and I didn't like the way I felt agreeing with the guy...

Of course a Sox fan felt the urge to call in and brag about how he predicted a double-digit division margin for 2007.

I'll give them the division at this point, but no way they finish over 9 games out. I have to at least hold out hope for that much...

2007-05-28 17:36:37
54.   williamnyy23
Also, it isn't suprising to see DeSalvo run out of gas when you consider his relief outing only three days ago. In so many ways, using DeSalvo on Friday made absolutely no sense.
2007-05-28 17:36:50
55.   pistolpete
49 The way Cano struck out his last time up bothered me even more.
2007-05-28 17:40:24
56.   nick
and now Viz here!?--like the game was already over--well, maybe it is
2007-05-28 17:41:17
57.   vockins
Somebody's gonna get canned this week.
2007-05-28 17:41:51
58.   SpoonG91
I have a bad feeling about this at bat. Thomas can still get the bat around.
2007-05-28 17:42:20
59.   williamnyy23
56 If the Yankees have any hope of winning, they need an out. Vizcaino is the LAST man you'd bring in to get one. Why would Torre bring him in? It seems as if Joe is quitting on the game, so why shouldn't the players too?
2007-05-28 17:42:37
60.   nick
DeSalvo sounds like a smart kid--what if you fined him, oh, $100 for every 1-0 count? I just don't think he can be effective against big league hitters with his stuff pitching from behind...
2007-05-28 17:43:29
61.   pistolpete
Paging Felix Heredia...
2007-05-28 17:43:52
62.   williamnyy23
Speaking of Vizcaino, his existence on the roster is a sign of management "quitting" on the season. Why he hasn't been replaced with Britton is really a mystery.
2007-05-28 17:44:38
63.   Zack
Wow, just checked on the game, nothing to see here, move along...

Which is pretty much the story of the season...

These games, more so, this team, is just not interesting to watch. Period.

Aside from watching the rookies and Andy pitch and A-rod/Jeter/Posada play, there really is nothing remotely entertaining about these games. I find myself tuning in rarely these days, not b/c I am fed up with the losses etc, but that every time I do tune in, I get bored quickly.

Oh well...

2007-05-28 17:44:41
64.   Yankees Brasil
Wow.. it actually worked.. who would have thought..
2007-05-28 17:44:47
65.   williamnyy23
60 I can't kill DeSalvo...considering the way he has been used and the defene's indifference in this game, he wasn't that bad.
2007-05-28 17:45:12
66.   pistolpete
62 I would say it's a pride issue for Cashman at this point - we wanted to have something to show for shipping off the Unit.

My guess, anyway.

2007-05-28 17:45:51
67.   williamnyy23
63 I envy you...I wish I could simply tune them out.
2007-05-28 17:46:37
68.   RIYank
52 I didn't notice Abreu's chase. I find it completely incomprehensible that you think that Jorge Posada has "given up" because he didn't hit the ball to the right side of the field. Baseball is hard. Posada knows quite a lot more about hitting than we do.

I can guarantee you that Cano is not "indifferent" to popping out. And I'd be a lot more concerned if the players didn't look like their dogs were in the emergency room.

2007-05-28 17:47:07
69.   williamnyy23
Down by three...Jeter...the Captain...swings at the first pitch.
2007-05-28 17:50:09
70.   williamnyy23
68 Abreu jogged after the ball as Glauss limped into second. As for Posada's AB, I think the decision (conscious or not) to not build a run speaks to the team's lack of confidence. Finally, it was Cano's indifference with pooping out that bothered was his just standing still right behind DM as he fielded a popout. He was so close and motionless that he almost got in the way.

Finally, if the team wants to be "sad", at least wait until after the game and you've given your best effort.

2007-05-28 17:50:33
71.   Hocakes
From the Post:
By Staff
It's often said that one of the benefits of having veteran players who've won championships on a ball club is that they can teach the other players how to win. This year as a losing club, some Yanks have had to learn the opposite lesson, how to lose. Captain Derek Jeter cites first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz as one teammate who has helped him with the transition from winner to loser.
"I've never really lost before and Doug has. A LOT. I'm really going to lean on him for advice when it comes time to play meaningless games, which could be pretty soon."
GM Brian Cashman has been scouring the trade market for other players who know how to lose.
"We lost out on Craig Wilson, one of the best losers in the game. He won with us last year, but he lost for pretty much his whole career before that. We're in talks with representatives for Jose Lima and we're calling Kei Igawa up and sending down Pettitte; he doesn't know how to lose."


2007-05-28 17:50:47
72.   RIYank
69 Yes, I'm sure Jeter has quit, very good observation.
2007-05-28 17:51:04
73.   williamnyy23
70 Should read "It wasn't Cano's..."
2007-05-28 17:51:53
74.   williamnyy23
72 I'll take your sarcasm as a sign you don't want to have a civil exchange.
2007-05-28 17:53:33
75.   pistolpete
Wow, so far McGowan is doing as well against us as Clemens did against the Toledo Mudhens today...


2007-05-28 17:53:58
76.   yankz
69 So? People get way too annoyed at someone swinging at the first pitch, especially when it's a great hitter like Jeter. You often only get one hittable pitch per AB. What if that was it?
2007-05-28 17:55:11
77.   yankz
75 Don't check his ERA coming into the game.
2007-05-28 17:55:55
78.   SpoonG91
Horrible at bat by Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada, a very bad sign.
2007-05-28 17:56:28
79.   Yankees Brasil
69 It's his style, he has always been an agressive hitter..
2007-05-28 17:56:59
80.   yankz
Yanks have scored 4 runs over the last 3 games, counting tonight.
2007-05-28 17:57:14
81.   WeMissPaulie
Here's where they break it open...the Jays that is:(
2007-05-28 17:57:59
82.   Eirias
Come on. Their pitcher has MUTTONCHOPS for chrissakes!
2007-05-28 17:58:15
83.   nick
so this guy is actually dominating us; it's not just lack of close hits--hard to believe....I think I want us under .500 at the break, so there's no trading of young guys in a futile wild card chase.
2007-05-28 17:58:28
84.   Yankees Brasil
Vizcaino back to his old form..
2007-05-28 17:58:43
85.   yankz
Mo tutoring Viz!
2007-05-28 17:59:15
86.   RIYank
74 There's really nothing to say to someone who thinks there's something wrong with Derek Jeter swinging at the first pitch. I'll leave all of the pop psychologizing to you.
2007-05-28 18:00:12
87.   yankz
83 Not to mention the trading of Giambi, Abreu, and others for prospects.

Would people here trade Arod for Loney, Laroche, and Broxton?

2007-05-28 18:04:40
88.   yankz
I can't believe they took that long to figure something out about Vizcaino.
2007-05-28 18:05:08
89.   Ramone
"The 2007 Toronto Blue Jays just can't catch a break. "

Having the Yanks coming to town appears to be the exception.

2007-05-28 18:07:24
90.   RIYank
87 No, are you kidding? No way.
2007-05-28 18:08:23
91.   nick
87 probably, though if you told me there was no big free agent bat available I might rethink--who is out there?....I'd like to see A-Rod pass Bonds in a Yanks uniform, but that's sentimental and who knows how well he'll age anyway?
2007-05-28 18:08:48
92.   Yankees Brasil
87I dont think they will be able to trade Giambi, even if they want to..
2007-05-28 18:09:04
93.   yankz
Via LoHud: "Joe Torre would not directly discuss what he said. But he made it clear that what level of anger or frustration there is should not change the performance on the field. "I don't think we're as relaxed as we have to be," Torre said. "Self-confidence is a big part of this game.""

Are you kidding me? This is no f'ing time to relax.

2007-05-28 18:09:25
94.   nick
for Loney substitute Kemp and I pull the trigger--
2007-05-28 18:12:56
95.   RIYank
93 I dunno. Do players hit better when they relax, or when they are not relaxed? Whichever way they hit better, that's the way I want them to be.
2007-05-28 18:13:20
96.   yankz
90 Yeah, I'd ask for another prospect too, but that has to be the starting package. Would fill a huge hole (1B), find a legit replacement for Mo, and have a real 3B prospect.
2007-05-28 18:13:56
97.   yankz
95 I interpret relaxed as "Take it easy, we're still in this, don't start worrying yet." It's time for urgency.
2007-05-28 18:17:23
98.   SpoonG91
Glaus is a double play candidate :)
2007-05-28 18:17:24
99.   RIYank
97 No, I think Joe has this thing about players 'relaxing'. He always describes slumping players as "trying too hard", for instance.
I have no idea, none at all, whether this works, myself. But whichever works better -- getting angry and juiced up, or relaxing in some Phil Jackson-like manner -- that's what I want them to do.
2007-05-28 18:19:04
100.   yankz
OK, I know Cliff says to never turn off a game before it's over, but I'm out, and I hope to come back to a pleasant surprise. Besides, I need the computer's memory for actual work.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-28 18:19:46
101.   Ramone
I am as frustrated with this team as anyone, but people really need to get a grip. This is not a team that needs a massive overhaul.

Yes, they need an attitude adjustment. And, yes, they need a pitching ace, but there is no reason to start trading away established starters/stars for prospects.

I find Abreu's and Cano's slumps to be the most inexplicable problems the Yanks have had this year. They are also problems that can't really be laid at the feet of Cashman. Did anyone predict them sucking this much?

I thought the Yanks were way too quick to ship off a proven contributor in Sheff, but I expected Abreu to be a solid, if less spectacular, replacement for years.

2007-05-28 18:19:54
102.   yankz
99 But it seems to me that they've been preaching relaxation throughout this entire Royalsesque stretch, and that's gone, well, Royal-ly. Time for a change, IMO.
2007-05-28 18:20:11
103.   mehmattski
Ron Villone: Same as he ever was.
2007-05-28 18:20:14
104.   Yankees Brasil
damn Villone...
2007-05-28 18:20:49
105.   DarrenF
93 It worked for Torre in '96 WS down 2-0 to the Braves. Torre has not varied since. Without exception, he thinks poor performance is linked to too much pressure. Now he has a team that needs a kick in the butt and he doesn't know how to do it.

I also think that, after several years of being told that April and May don't count, the players believe it. They also believed it last year in the playoffs vs. Detroit -- when only one team came to play. For about ten years, the Yankee players have been told that the first round of the playoffs doesn't count. Last year, they seemed bored by the entire experience of being in the playoffs, even though many of the players have zero rings.

Thin line between relaxing and being "in the zone" and simply being blase.

2007-05-28 18:23:03
106.   Ramone
99 One problem with Torre is that, as you say, he ALWAYS assumes slumping players are "trying too hard." It is certainly true that, many times, players press and try to get ten hits in one at bat. But, sometimes, players seem to need a kick in the pants. Cano strikes me as needing a bit of the latter.
2007-05-28 18:23:51
107.   SpoonG91
2007-05-28 18:23:58
108.   Ramone
105 You beat me to that point.
2007-05-28 18:24:01
109.   RIYank
Yeesh. And to be honest, I was thinking I would rather have seen Villone than Viz. in the jam.

I think I'll now follow yankz out of the room.

In parting: my apologies if I've been out of line this evening. I'm irritable. I'm sure we all are.

2007-05-28 18:24:29
110.   Yankees Brasil
So we can lose
2007-05-28 18:24:30
111.   Yankees Brasil
So we can lose
2007-05-28 18:26:41
112.   tommyl
ugh, this season is like having screws slowly inserted into my thumbs. Oh well, at least we're still fans. No one can call us fair weather fans right now.
2007-05-28 18:29:38
113.   debris
The Youkilisian swing just provided an inside-the-park home run.
2007-05-28 18:34:11
114.   randym77
Holy crap. The Halos always have our number, but losing like this to the Jays really hurts.
2007-05-28 18:34:13
115.   bartap74
This has got to be rock bottom, right? At some point, it's gotta get better. This team is too good to play like this all season. Right?
2007-05-28 18:34:16
116.   Mattpat11
oh. here come the Yankees.
2007-05-28 18:34:28
117.   Paul in Boston
It was inevitable that one of these years the Yanks would be mediocre, or even worse, just bad. I've lived here in Boston for 30 years, and remember well when the Yankees were an afterthought in the AL East, esp the mid-late 80s to early 90s. That run from '94 to now has been sweet, but it will take a miracle to see it continue this year.

I say trade anyone with an expensive contract now (even if it's for a bucket of balls), with the exception of Jeter and Posada. I think Cano (not expensive) will right himself, but give up on Abreu, Giambi, Damon, Matsui, and the rest of the mediocre gang. I'm undecided about A-rod.

2007-05-28 18:35:07
118.   bartap74 soon as I typed that, Matsui hit one out. How's that for instant satisfaction?
2007-05-28 18:36:22
119.   bartap74
117 I think Abreu and Matsui will right themselves. Giambi, I'm not sure about. I keep ARod no matter what.
2007-05-28 18:36:56
120.   SpoonG91
118 I'm sorry, but Matsui has been nothing but solid, but Abreu has got to go.
2007-05-28 18:39:36
121.   williamnyy23
Everyone assumes that "quitting" means to stop trying, but I define it more as lacking belief in the team's ability to win. Guys like Abreu and Cano have flat out stopped giving a full effort at points this season, but the more subtle signs of quitting have pervaded the whole team.

In particular, I think Jeter's AB in the 6th is an example. Clearly, Jeter is still trying and he probably thought he got his pitch. Having said that, I honestly think that if the Yankees were playing well, Jeter would have had a more focused AB. Instead of simply looking for a pitch, he'd have worked the count to both get on base and tire out an effective starter. Similarly, after Arod's 2B, Posada would normally pull the ball to move him along. Instead, it seemed as if he was trying to get a hit the other way, likely thinking that if he didn't drive in the run, no one would. In both instances, "quitting" isn't an overt action, but instead a subtle acquiescence to the state of the club. (Arod's AB right there is another example).

Basically, there are two components to winning: talent and effort. Unless you think this offense has no talent, the only other explanation is they have stopped believing they can win and, as a result, stopped trying to do so.

2007-05-28 18:44:19
122.   Ramone
121 I think you make some valid points. But I have to quibble with your analysis of Posada's at-bat. Posada was clearly trying to pull the ball until he had two strikes, at which point he was forced to swing at an outside pitch and hit it the other way.

Obviously not the outcome anybody wanted, but to suggest that Posada wasn't thinking of advancing A-Rod in that situation is flat-out wrong.

2007-05-28 18:45:18
123.   williamnyy23
119 The big names are difficult because it isn't easy to move them and the Yankees have no depth. Instead, I'd start by clearing out Myers and Vizcaino and bring back Britton and Henn (or some other attractive young lefty in the system). We know what the former can do, so let's see if either of the latter fit into the long-term plans.

Then, I'd wait another 2 weeks or so and then actively start shopping the big names. I don't think the team needs to score big with prospects or bring in another big name either. If you could unload some veterans and bring in next year's back-up OF, IF and catcher, I'd be ecstatic.

2007-05-28 18:46:19
124.   williamnyy23
122 If you read the AB differently, I admit I could be wrong. I didn't seem to think he was trying to pull until 2 strikes, but could be wrong on that example.
2007-05-28 18:46:39
125.   claybeez
121 I don't agree that Cano hasn't given full effort. I think he's young and struggling. Abreu I'm not sure about. It's hard for me to determine from my living room if he's trying or dogging it. His body language certainly isn't inspiring. He's no Eric Byrnes in that regard. But, was he any different last year when we unanimously applauded him?
2007-05-28 18:50:26
126.   Paul in Boston
To get value you have to trade value. Matsui, Giambi, Damon have value; Abreu a tiny bit, if you believe that he'll get his act together for another team.

I say trade them for youngsters. Then use the freed-up money to sign Texeira, maybe Jones or Hunter as free agents. Eventually an excellent core of players will again surface.

2007-05-28 18:51:37
127.   claybeez
122 I saw Posada's AB the same way.

123 If that's our final return on unloading I'd be hugely disappointed. Great, so we'd now have a bench, but no starting position player at CF, RF, 1B and possibly 3B. Unloading just to unload is counter-productive. Teams in a pennant race will want our aging stars. If Shawn Green and Luis Gonzalez can be moved so can Abreu and Giambi.

2007-05-28 18:52:15
128.   williamnyy23
125 I think you overlook Abreu's "lack of concentration" when he is hitting like he did last year. When his production reaches the Womackian threshold, however, it becomes glaring. Just off the top of my head, he has misplayed balls in the OF, overthrown his cut off man on several occasions, been picked off on a simple toss, bunted in situations calling for extra base production, etc.

Cano is tougher to read because of his youth. Still, I don't like his body language and nonchalant play. I also don't like his inability to adjust his approach to the way he is being attacked. That might not be an effort issue, but if it isn't, the concern is more significant.

2007-05-28 18:54:01
129.   Mattpat11
126 I don't want Jacque Jones or Torii Hunter
2007-05-28 18:54:06
130.   williamnyy23
127 If the Yankees can get better players for the likes of Abreu and Gimabi, then great. All I am saying is I'd be happy with something than nothing. I can't see Abreu at $16mn and Giambi at $21mn being attractive options next season anyway.
2007-05-28 18:56:57
131.   claybeez
128 I agree he's looked awful. Even tonight playing a ball off the wall he seemed so lackadaisical. But, is that quitting, being lazy or the way he's always played? Has he always lacked spunk? Does he move gingerly because he's not nimble or injured? His defense is not inspiring I'm just not ready to call it "not giving full effort."
2007-05-28 18:57:48
132.   Paul in Boston
129 Andruw, not Jacque.

Andruw Jones is having an off year, might actually be decent low cost signing unless this is a harbinger of a steep decline for him. Of course he's a Boras' client, so forget that.

Basically what do I know, I'm just a frustrated and sad Yankee fan.

2007-05-28 19:01:11
133.   Schteeve
121 By your definition, which I very much agree with, I have quit, on the 2007 Yankees. I have no confidence in their ability to win. I won't be surprised if they only win a dozen more games for the rest of the season.
2007-05-28 19:01:45
134.   Ramone
127 Agreed on smart unloading.

In general, I like that Cashman wants to build up the farm system and lower payroll. But he seems to have a blind spot for starting pitching and leadership skills. Minky is clearly no O'Neill or Martinez in th clubhouse.

But the most important thing is starting pitching. I can't believe that any G.M. would happily go into a season with an offense that could score 1k runs but a pitching staff held together with duct tape.

2007-05-28 19:02:16
135.   williamnyy23
131 I don't I mentioned, when he is playing well, you either don't notice it, or he does give a better effort. Having played a lot of baseball, I've had many teammates who will run through a wall when they are going well, but mope on the field when they struggle. Abreu seems to fit that mold, which is ironic because when you aren't playing well is precisely when you need to do the little things.
2007-05-28 19:04:59
136.   OldYanksFan
Abreu's contract ends after this year. I don't think the Yankees will exercise their club option for $16m. If we let him leave, do we get a draft pick?

If we trade Giambi (doubtful with his no-trade clause), we will have to pick up a lot of his contract. They who do we get as a DH? What will that cost?

Without ARod next year, I think we need Giambi. A bone spur is painful. He can not stift his weight properly. I think his 'slump' in really the bone spur.

Damon is a mess. I prefer Melky in CF. If we keep Damon, we should put him at 1st base. He can't be worse then Giambi or much worse then Phelps. JD is just not healthy enough to play CF anymore.

2007-05-28 19:08:42
137.   williamnyy23
136 Giambi's slump is very likely the result of the injury, but the same thing crops up every season. He isn't getting younger, so I'd imagine 2008 would also be injury plagued. The only way to trade Giambi is for another salary (ala Helton), so the Yankees look stuck there.

I also agree that Damon is probably in a permanent decline, but Melky is not the answer. The Yankees will need to bring someone in next year. Ichiro, Hunter and Jones are free agents, so maybe that's where they turn.

Finally, if Arod leaves, 2008 has a good chance to be another rebuilding season.

2007-05-28 19:12:50
138.   randym77
Papelbon not doing so well...
2007-05-28 19:14:29
139.   williamnyy23
Maybe this is how 2008 will look?

CF – Ichiro
SS – Jeter
1B – Texiera
3B – ARod
LF – Matsui
C – Posada
DH - Giambi
RF - Damon
2B – Cano

The only problem here is all the lefties...I know it's not popular, but the Yankees could really use a guy like Sheffield. I was in favor of the trade, so I was as wrong as everyone else, but something tells me Sheff would have had some big hits during this tough stretch.

2B – Cano

2007-05-28 19:16:25
140.   williamnyy23
138 Of bigger significance to the Yankees is the Todd Jones just blew a game against the D-Rays.
2007-05-28 19:23:06
141.   weeping for brunnhilde

Omg. Damon in RF?

I'd prefer to field a fundamentally sound team.

A rightfielder with no arm is the last thing I want to see.

I have no opinion about Texiera, I've not seen enough of him.

What kind of player is he? What are his strengths and weaknesses (in non-statistical terms, if possible)?

Giambi needs to go away.

No to Ichiro.

Time to find a solid young catcher for Jorgie to tutor, as Girardi did Jorgie.

Are there any promising young catchers out there we could get for a Damon or a Giambi?

137 "Finally, if Arod leaves, 2008 has a good chance to be another rebuilding season."

I'm curious what makes you say this--what's the correlation?

2007-05-28 19:23:20
142.   pistolpete
140 So, we're tied for last now are we?


2007-05-28 19:26:44
143.   williamnyy23
141 Right now, the team has no RH power beyond Alex. Losing Arod would remove a player with 140-150 OPS+ from the lineup. It would also remove the Yankees only source of power that can be counted on to play every day. Imagine what the team would be like without Arod this season? Now, imagine next year's lineup in which all of your better players are a year older and guys like Giambi and Damon are always injured.
2007-05-28 19:46:20
144.   weeping for brunnhilde
143 Ah, I see. I misunderstood. I thought you meant that Arod is the one thing standing in the way of rebuilding and that if only he were gone, management would take rebuilding seriously.


2007-05-28 20:01:31
145.   Joe H
I think we anointed Cano a superstar too soon and it went to his head. He's not playing like a guy who fears for his job, as he should.

I think getting rid of his partner-in-suckage Melky would shake him up a little bit, get him to be a little more professional.

2007-05-28 20:49:04
146.   Mattpat11
145 Is there really any threat to Cano's spot on the team within the organization?
2007-05-28 20:56:51
147.   nick
guys, all this moving Damon is utterly misconceived--he's offensively a plus FOR A CENTERFIELDER. his bat is a BIG minus at a corner.....give him plenty of rest, play Melky to back him up, and wait the contract out. nothing else to do with him.

as for Cano, as for Melky--if they both prove to have flukes, then we're in long-term trouble.

by far our best trade commodity, unfortunately, is A-Rod as a 2nd half rental. but does Cash have the will and power to do it? doubtful....

2007-05-28 21:07:42
148.   williamnyy23
145 At this point, I would demote Melky and bench Cano for three games just to shake things up. It can not get any worse. Sure Cairo stinks, but maybe he can have a few good games and that might get Cano thinking. That same scenario kind of worked for Boston with Cora and Dusty Pedroia. Either way, things can't get worse. Unfortunately, there really isn't much in the way or major league ready talent at AAA and AA (Phillips and Shelley Duncan are both hitting well, but Torre doesn't seem interested in a right handed 1B). Still, I think Melky would benefit from 15 days in the minor and Kevin Thompson couldn't play any worse than Melky has.

147 Arod has a no-trade clause and I doubt he'd accept a deal. Also, Arod would be a huge part of the solution in 2008, so why would you simply give him away? Instead, I start on the extension process right now. I know Cashman said he was going to wait until the season was over, but, well, it's getting close now.

2007-05-28 21:13:54
149.   williamnyy23
147 I agree about Damon only being an asset as a CF, but if he CAN'T play it anymore, you are fooling yourself if you simply stick him out there just to make his offense look better relative to others at the position. It's kind of spooky how the ghost of Bernie has seemed to inhabit the body of Damon. It sure looks like we are going to see the same decline in Damon that we watched with Bernie over his last three seasons.

Also, while the Yankees really have to hope Cano will bounce back, I don't think they need to count on Melky. Cano needs a mild rebuke, but Melky needs a flat out kick in the pants. I know it probably seems that I am picking on the young guys, but they are the only ones you can really manipulate. Nothing is going to get through to a guy like Abreu, so aside from dealing him, there isn't much you can do (somewhere Phillies' fans are laughing).

2007-05-28 21:22:59
150.   seamus
149 william - i missed the game, but did Cano do something awful tonight? I ask because you seem real down on him but he has actually been hitting well lately. Even fielding wise, outside that one awful game, he has made some real nice plays and played solid. What'd I miss?
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-05-28 21:25:44
151.   weeping for brunnhilde
149 Have you noticed a particular flaw in Melky's game that might be honed in the minors?
Or do you think he just needs to be motivated?

I haven't figured out why he's not hitting, other than to notice he doesn't go back up the middle nearly as much as he did last season, which seemed to be the secret to his success.

Actually, at one point I noticed that he was being more aggressive, swinging at the first pitch quite often and not doing much with it.

But he doesn't seem to swing at that many bad pitches, the way Cano has been, so it seems like he's seeing the ball ok. He just routinely fails to get good wood on the ball.

Any thoughts?

2007-05-28 21:29:15
152.   williamnyy23
150 He had two ABs where he swung wildly at pitches well out of the zone. He also had a play in the field in which he basically just observed as DM had to range over toward 2B to catch a pop up (his body language seemed to say, you get this one).

Unfortunately, I have probably seen 99% of Cano's ABs, and his approach really troubles me. Even over the past 10 games in which the results were good, his approach was still poor. Also, it seems as if his hits have come at times when the pitcher has just served up fastballs. Ultimately, results are what counts, but I haven't seen enough good ABs in situations where pitchers are really bearing down to make me think Cano has turned the corner.

2007-05-28 21:29:54
153.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, and he did have that very good at-bat the other day--against Rodriguez, was it?

Or Shields?

He swung through the high heat, but he put up a fight and seemed fairly locked in.

That was a good sign. It reminded me of that at-bat he had against Shilling in his first game last year, where he worked the walk in a big spot.

It's at-bats like that that convince me he's got something, that he can be developed into a very fine hitter.

But it'll take patient and keen development.

I'd like to see it happen, though, and will gladly give him the time he needs because the payoff--seeing a young hitter develop, is about the sweetest thing in all of baseball.

It's a major reason to watch for me, which is why the blockbuster deals generally fail to inspire me.

2007-05-28 21:33:41
154.   williamnyy23
151 A little of both...I think he could definitely use a reality check and would also benefit from 15 games of working on his mechanics. This team doesn't have the luxury to allow him to put up a 58 OPS+.

The one thing I notice about Melky is he isn't being as patient and he isn't hitting the ball the other way, especially as a right handed batter. Of course, Melky was only a league average hitter last year anyway, so maybe the expectations are too high. Still, his performance has been so bad that if he doesn't deserve a demotion, then there really is no accountability (the same holds for why Vizcaino is still on the active roster).

2007-05-28 21:35:39
155.   weeping for brunnhilde
150 152 I saw one of those swings on espn.

Yes, Cano has been hitting much better, but that swing was an abomination. He reached down and away, practically flinging his bat at the pitch.

Needless to say, he came up empty.

It was ugly.

150 Also, seamus, he also dropped that ball at second base the other night, when Melky made a nice strong through. He looked very lackadaisical catching the ball as it popped out of his mitt before he applied the tag.

I worry about him in the field. He's just like Sori. Capable of making great plays (though Cano does this much more routinely than Sori ever did) yet also given to losing focus and bungling routine plays.

It's clear to me that his issue is focus.

I could be wrong, but that's what I see. If he could get his head straightened out, he'd be amazing.

Maybe he needs a talking to like the one Clemens purportedly gave Shilling.

2007-05-28 21:46:56
156.   williamnyy23
150 One last point on Cano...several times last season after Robbie would nail a fastball, I'd often wonder why pitchers were throwing him heat and when they'd adjust. That skepticism stayed in my mind this year and I think I expressed it early and often on these game threads. Basically, I think Robbie has all the tools to be a very good hitter IF he can learn to be patient. Nothing in his minor/major league career, however, suggests that he WILL develop plate discipline. Now that pitchers have stopped throwing him fastballs in most situations, Cano has hit a rough stretch. In order for Cano to be a long-term asset, he has to make an adjustment. I think he CAN do it, but I certainly don't think it's a given.
2007-05-28 22:47:13
157.   yankz
RLYW has a great take on the season.
2007-05-28 22:54:08
158.   joejoejoe
My quick and dirty fix.

Trade Giambi, Cano and Phelps for Figgins, Colon and Hillenbrand.
($24.5 million out in salary, $25.5M in)

SS – Jeter
RF – Abreu
3B - ARod
LF - Matsui
C - Posada
DH - Damon
CF - Melky
1B - Hillenbrand, Mienky
2B - Cairo

Figgins, Sardinha

Moose, Pettitte, Clemens, Wang, Colon

Mo, Bruney, Britton, Farns, Proctor, Henn, Clippard, anyone not named Villone or Myers

If they want to add or substract a Molina or Hillenbrand here or a Vizcaino there I wouldn't cry. Rest Jeter, Arod, and Matsui at the DH. The team gets fresher by cycling the thirtysomethings into the DH spot instead of Giambi hogging the ABs. The 1-2-3 hitters make $60 million combined. The 1-2-3 starters make another $60 million combined. If you lose, you lose. What can you do? If you out of it by the trading deadline, Fire Torre, replace him with Girardi for the rest of the season, trade ARod and Abreu for youth to the Chicago and LA teams and wait 'til next year!

The End.

2007-05-28 23:14:03
159.   Mattpat11
148 I don't blame Torre for not promoting Phillips or Duncan. Phillips was horrendous in the majors and Duncan would be yet another in the long list of 30 year old AAAA players than NO ONE CAN BELIEVE cannot hit major league pitching.
2007-05-29 04:56:06
160.   williamnyy23
158 That's both quick and dirty :)

Basically, Hillenbrand is DM without the glove (career OPS+ of 97 versus 98), Colon is an aging, overweight starter who has been well below league average of the past 4 seasons and Figgins is a rich man's Tony Womack.

While it would be nice to unload Giambi's 2008 obligation, I wouldn't throw in Cano for that privilege (even as down on him as I am). Instead, I'd rather DL Giambi for a month, let him come back healthy and build real trade value down the stretch. If healthy, he would be a valued commodity.

2007-05-29 05:41:45
161.   seamus
156 well, you have to throw him fastballs or he'll start cueing in on the change. but for now they can throw him wild stuff until he comes around. In truth, my observations differ from yours in that I feel that in this 11 game hitting streak that just ended he was laying off of that stuff a lot more. He still swung at bad pitches, but I don't believe he was doing it as frequently.

I don't see how this wouldn't be just the normal bump in the road that many talented players face. He came in, kicked ass, they adjusted, he slumped and then kicked ass, they adjusted again, he slumped, etc...

155 i've never been able to tell if cano is being lackadaisical or if that is just how he looks. It was one of the first things folks complained about when he was called up. I tend to think that he gets overconfident and unfocused.

2007-05-29 05:46:15
162.   seamus
It is human nature to overreact in down times. It is also human nature to want to believe in the team you've constructed in not make any changes. It would be bad for the Yankees to do nothing, yet it would be poorly thought out to overreact and overhaul the entire team.

For one, a general overhaul of our team and farm system has been underway since Cashman gained full control. What I worry about most is losing the focus on bringing on guys not just who can play today, but who can play tomorrow and five years from now.

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