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If At First You Don't Succeed . . .
2007-06-19 21:24
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Figures I'd predict a slugfest and the Yanks would lose a pitchers duel. Figures as well that the guy I said sucked would hold the Yanks to one run on four hits over seven innings and strike out Alex Rodriguez with junk low and away twice, skipping off the mound after one of them. Figures as well that Mike Mussina, who I said was cooked a few weeks ago, would hold up his end of things by limiting the Rockies to three runs over six innings. Yeah, he got fed up with Lance Barksdale's umpiring in his final inning and served up a homer to eighth-place hitter Yorvit Torrealba on an 85-mile-per-hour "fastball," but he was also keeping the Rocks off balance with a change-up in the high 60s.

So the Yanks dropped the Colorado opener 3-1 in a game that felt a lot like their 2-0 loss to the Mets in the last series opener. What's far more compelling about yesterday's action was the Yankees' developing first base situation.

Before the game, the Yankees called up Andy Phillips, a move that was overdue seeing as they've been carrying both Chris Basak and Miguel Cairo on the roster and starting Cairo at first while avoiding Basak like the plague. Phillips, who has been playing second base at Scranton and crushing International League pitching as is his way (.301/.382/.494, 11 HR), gives them a superior defensive first base option who actually represents something of a threat at the plate. After all, Cairo has hit .342/.350/.421 as the Yankee first baseman, which is great, but it's all singles and won't last. Last year, in similar playing time, Cairo hit .239/.280/.320 and Phillips hit .240/.281/.394. Cairo might be a smidge better than that. Phillips, who was already a smidge better than Cairo, is definitely a lot better than that.

There's one catch. Rather than demoting Basak, the Yankees designated Josh Phelps for assignment. Sure, Phelps and Phillips are a tad redundant, but facing six games without the designated hitter, having Phelps, who's a career .294 pinch-hitter, rather than Basak, who's still never come to the plate in the major leagues, seems like a no-brainer. Seems. Instead the Yankees will have to offer Rule 5 pick Phelps back to Baltimore, where current YES broadcaster and prospective Oriole manager Joe Girardi could very well be the man deciding Phelps' fate.

Meanwhile, both Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon saw action at first base last night, Posada starting there to allow Wil Nieves to catch Mussina. Jorge made one nice play leaping for a high throw from Derek Jeter and coming down on the bag in time to make the out. Otherwise, neither was challenged, and neither had to play a ball off the bat. Most likely Phillips will start against the lefty Jeff Francis tonight, with Damon starting against righty Rodrigo Lopez on Thursday. Chris Basak will continue to do little more than cheer on his teammates.

For anyone looking for a comparison between Phillips and Phelps, I think I covered that plenty in spring training.

For yucks, here's an update on a few other first-base candidates I mentioned this winter:

Craig Wilson Was awful as the right-handed half of the Braves first-base platoon (.172/.304/.259), earning his release. He has since caught on with the White Sox triple-A team and has struggled just as much there (.180/.275/.262).

Carlos Peña Made the Devil Rays as a non-roster invitee and became the starting first baseman when an April injury to Akinori Iwamura allowed the Rays to move Ty Wigginton off first. Since then, he's gone absolutely nuts and is currently fourth in the AL with 16 homers, hitting .314/.404/.669.

Hee-Seop Choi Failed to beat out Peña in Rays camp and has since returned to South Korea where he's playing for the last-place Kia Tigers in the Korea Baseball Organization.

Ryan Klesko Splitting first base with Rich Aurilia in San Francisco (where the Yankees will be on Friday), Klesko is hitting .299/.389/.460 despite missing all but six games last year due to shoulder surgery.

Comments (62)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-06-20 04:42:12
1.   Shaun P
Love the title, Cliff. It summarizes the situation perfectly.

The current bench might be the worst of the Torre-Cashman years. My hope is that Andy hits well enough to justify the move, and that Cashman comes up with something to improve the roster.

2007-06-20 05:06:34
2.   Sliced Bread
1 Cliff's headline certainly nails it, and we've been spared a Fogg pun.

George King floats Dmitri Young's name in the NY Post today as a possible Yankee DH -- just as USA Today is out with a feel good piece about Dmitri's personal and professional turnaround:

http://tinyurl.com/yq73en

Go get 'em, Cash.

2007-06-20 05:07:55
3.   monkeypants
I never understood why Choi never caught on anywhere. He's still under 30, and his career numbers aren't all that bad--especially against RHP. Mind you, his numbers aren't particularly good, but he would probably be an upgrade for some teams (especially a certain pinstriped organization).
2007-06-20 05:16:19
4.   rbj
The thing I liked about Phelps was having an emergency backup catcher. Sure, he doesn't have an arm, but is Nieves really a better BUC than Phelps overall? Aside from Moose wanting to pitch to Wil, that is.

Feh, Yanks lose, RS win. But maybe Schill will be down for a while.

2007-06-20 05:20:54
5.   monkeypants
4 And if Nieves is your backup, it's already an emergency!
2007-06-20 05:31:58
6.   AbbyNormal821
2 "and we've been spared a Fogg pun"

...for now (insert evil laugh here!)

2007-06-20 06:29:31
7.   Chyll Will
2,6 "...and we've been spared a Fogg pun."

Don't look at me, I ain't sayin' nuthin... (whistle, whistle...)

2007-06-20 07:03:54
8.   Yankee Fan In Boston
supposedly michael barrett was traded to the padres... there goes that daydream...
2007-06-20 07:09:09
9.   Jorgie Juiced One
Last night, while in the car, when I heard a pregame interview with Mussina's "personal catcher" Will Nieves, I felt safe because I knew Nieves would be there to show Mussina the way. After somehow holding on for 16 years in the Majors, Nieves had finally arrived to bring out of Mussina that which no one else could.

Sure, I thought, Posada puts down hand signals and positions his glove too, but Nieves' doing it somehow must give Mussina "more life" on his fastball and improve his pitch location.

Then I started to wonder how it was with Posada catching, and not Nieves, Mussina could have come within one strike of pitching a perfect game against Boston; or how he could have pitched those seven shutout innings against Oakland in 01 with the Yankees facing elimination; or how he could have come out of the bullpen in game seven in 03 against Boston to pitch 3 shutout innings; or he could have had all those other utterly dominating peformances and even outstanding whole seasons.

Once the game started, I started to get confused when Mussina started allowing baserunners and basehits and runs with Nieves behind the plate. But then I consoled myself knowing that the damage would have been so much worse without Nieves behind the plate.

Then I started to get concerned wondering what Mussina would do once the Yankees are compelled to release Nieves due to his utter inability to hit major league pitching and given the fact he has no business whatsoever being on a major league roster.

Then I was glad knowing the Yankees have a manager like Joe Torre who sees connections where no one else possibly could, even in the absence of any evidence or any possible apparent justification. It comforted me to know that Torre was willing to act on his unique insights to the point of giving the Yankees a lineup of only seven hitters and taking one of his best players and playing him out of position, risking injury. I was sure that it was because of Torre's undeniable brilliance that not one person in the "tough" NY media (or any blogger for that matter) dared to question his decisions.

Then I went to sleep.

2007-06-20 07:09:32
10.   AbbyNormal821
7 LOL! I figured you or Bama...
2007-06-20 07:23:55
11.   51cq24
9 i agree with you completely except that i don't think playing posada at 1b once in a while is a bad idea, or an injury risk. catching every game is an injury risk. but i've always thought this personal catcher thing was absurd. in the end (in the playoffs), they're all gonna be pitching to jorge. and if he needs a day off it should be when he needs it, not a regularly scheduled day. if he can play 1b, why not let him do it every once in a while, so that he doesn't have to catch but can later in the game (without losing the dh). it would be nice if the backup could get a hit, but we all know that already.
2007-06-20 07:39:11
12.   C2Coke
9 After all that wonders, no wonder you went to sleep.

11 It was "fun" watching different players getting a shot at 1B. Though, I, too, thought it was a good semi-break for Jorge.

2007-06-20 07:51:46
13.   Mike from Hoboken
9 I got a chuckle out of your post. But I don't think the "personal catcher" thing is really about the ideal pairing of pitcher and receiver. I think in many cases, it's just an easy way for a manager to make sure his backup gets regular work. Skip says, "Nieves, you catch Moose," and Nieves knows when he'll be playing and Mussina knows who'll be putting the fingers down and Joe doesn't have to remember to get his second catcher into a game once in a while.
2007-06-20 07:57:20
14.   rbj
13 Good point, Mike.
And following up on all the Jorge-love posts, a few games at 1B now will help him transition there in a couple of years. Keeps that productive switch-hitting bat in the lineup once his catching days are over.
2007-06-20 08:01:37
15.   Bama Yankee
10 Yeah, I tried to come up with a pun. But after staying up late last night watching the game, my mind has been in kind of a... what's the word I'm looking for... uh, you know it's like a smoky mist... I just can't think of it... I need a nap.
2007-06-20 08:07:37
16.   Mattpat11
I know I can't wait for Andy Phillips to show me that he's "much better" than the horrific major league hitter than can't hit a breaking pitch.

Honestly, I have no problem with being proven wrong. I hope I am. I doubt it.

2007-06-20 08:23:21
17.   51cq24
why cant we drop myers if we have to make room for another 1b? having no bench is absurd, especially for these interleague games
2007-06-20 08:28:24
18.   AbbyNormal821
15 I rest my case!
;-)
2007-06-20 08:36:53
19.   pistolpete
So what's wrong with saying the hitters were 'in a fogg' last night?
2007-06-20 08:38:15
20.   pistolpete
19 Sorry I had to be the one to do it, fellas.
2007-06-20 08:39:33
21.   Jorgie Juiced One
11, I actually agree with you re the prospects of injury at 1B. In the future (or maybe even the present given his comfort level), playing Jorge at 1B once in a while is OK, especially since the Yankees don't have one at the moment. It's just the thinking that bothers me.

13 (Mike from Hoboken), the primary motivation for last night, as Torre has articulated, was because Torre perceives Nieves as "working well" with Mussina. Torre's thinking for last night seemed to be: 1. Nieves must catch Mussina; 2. getting Posada into the lineup anyway. The fact of the matter is playing Nieves once every five games is playing him way too often. Actually, as a hitter, Nieves is not competitive against major league pitching.

2007-06-20 08:49:33
22.   monkeypants
16 All he's gotta be is better than Cairo, which he was last year, so I am at least confident in that. But little more.
2007-06-20 08:57:05
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
22 See, here's what I don't get about the replacement level/upgrading issue.

How come all he's got to be is better than Cairo? And how much better? And say he's a little better, how long is he allowed to be a little better before it's time to find someone just a little better still?

This is what I don't quite get--what's the low end of acceptable productivity and why isn't Cairo it?

Is there a formula or something you guys are using to establish what's absolutely unacceptable productivity for our lineup and what acceptable?

I'd like to be clued in.

2007-06-20 08:59:15
24.   weeping for brunnhilde
22 I know we've been talking about this, mp, I'm not looking to you for answers, but just putting out the general question.
2007-06-20 09:02:16
25.   Mattpat11
22 I'm not positive he's going to be better than Cairo.
2007-06-20 09:08:26
26.   51cq24
23 i think that's a good question, because just better than cairo is clearly not going to cut it. but if the choice is between cairo and phillips, then you have to go with whoever you think will be better between the two. personally, i'd keep starting cairo until he stops hitting. i know he doesn't hit with power, but he is playing pretty well right now, so why take him out for someone who could very well be worse?
2007-06-20 09:10:28
27.   weeping for brunnhilde
25 It's hard to be positive about these things, I would think, especiall on the margins.

It's one thing to replace Cairo with a clearly superior player (i.e., one with a major league track record), but another to pluck up another player in the same ballpark and hope he gives you a little something extra, especially as Cairo is actually hitting as well as I would ever expect a backup guy to hit and playing a really fine 1B.

Anyway, I'm not trying to open up the debate, just trying to get a sense of how the lines are drawn re: unacceptable and acceptable.

2007-06-20 09:12:27
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
26 I'd keep starting CAiro until he stops hitting to while continuing to look for the first baseman of the future.

If such a guy comes along, great, let's talk, but I can't see the reason to replace one scrub with another and hope scrub two gives you something extra.

2007-06-20 09:13:49
29.   monkeypants
23 My point is that any personnel decision should be made with the goal of imroving the team. Thus, it is not relevant whether Phillips (or Phelps before him) is "good" in some absolute sense. Right now, the weakest spot in the starting line up is 1B, becausse the starter is Cairo. Phillips will be competing with Cairo for the 1B spot. If Phillips is better than Cairo, then the team is improved, even if it is a marginal improvement. So, any debate about Phillips' worthiness to be on the roster should be framed in these terms. Mattpat11 25 does not agree that Phillips will be better than Cairo, and thus does not believe he will improve the team. I disagree.

23 As to you second questions (how much better, for how long, etc)--in my opinion, the GM should always be looking to improve the team at every position, within whatever budgetary restrictions (both money and prospects) are imposed upon him. And if another 1B is brought in, at that point all he will have to be is better than Phillips.

2007-06-20 09:21:30
30.   RIYank
29 Good answer.

So the point about 'Replacement Level', in this context, is that you should in principle always be able to make your team better by dumping a sub-RL player, since there's going to be a RL player in the wings somewhere you can bring in and thereby make the team better. Even when that's not literally true, it should be possible to get a RL player with minimal trouble. (Sal Fasano, for instance.)

2007-06-20 09:22:16
31.   monkeypants
28 There are secondary benefits to adding Phillips. As I have posted before, this should move Cairo back to his BUIF role, but also frees him up to PR (which he is very good at). I know Thompson in theory can PR, but with Damon hobbled (and now talking about the DL because of his ribs?!), he is the primary BUOF. Also, since both Phillips and Cairo can back up 2B and 3B, and since three players on the roster (Cairo, Jeter, A-Rod) can play SS, the team is free to dump the inexplicable Basak and replace his spot on teh bench with, oh I don't know, a slugging PH who can't really play defense.

On the other hand, 26 27 there is something to riding the hot hand as long as it lasts, because even I am not convinced that average Andy out-performs hot Cairo. Still, I would rather have Phillips on the bench (ready to take over when the real Cairo returns), than Basak. But that's me.

2007-06-20 09:25:13
32.   51cq24
28 i agree, as i said, but the problem i have is that if you keep starting cairo, what is the value of having phillips? he can't really hit so he isn't a good pinch hit candidate. he's a good defensive 1b but cairo has been very impressive also, so i wouldn't necessarily put phillips in for defensive reasons. he isn't particularly fast, so why pinch run with him? that's why i don't really understand this roster move, especially since they dropped the guy who might actually be able to get a hit off the bench, and play emergency catcher. they should have at least waited for cairo to stop hitting.
2007-06-20 09:28:02
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
29 Thanks, mp. I get it. I guess my point is there's always going to be a weakest member of the team, but that doesn't mean that guy should be targeted for upgrade.

Maybe it's a facile point, but Brosius had two very poor years with that bat, hitting like .232 and .240 or whatever it was, but I never thought about upgrading there because he was a part of the team and sure enough, he had a much better year his last year, not to mention his postseason heroics.

I guess my point is that if you're talking about a serious and long-term upgrade, fine, but since CAiro's whole role in life is to come in and play in just such situations as this, let him do his job.

2007-06-20 09:28:53
34.   Chyll Will
26 Just to play along with your theory, would you pinch-hit Cairo with Phillips in any inning past the fourth if the Yanks are down and there are runner/s in scoring position, even if Miggy is swinging a pretty hot bat? Because if not, what's the point in having him/Basak? (unless that is your point...)
2007-06-20 09:29:18
35.   Cliff Corcoran
23 It's all about the economy of talent, what you can get and how easily. You want to fill every position with the best available player. Albert Pujols is not available, so you move down to the next best. How about Mark Teixeira? He might be available, but if the Rangers want Phil Hughes, he's not worth the cost. So you move down again. The players I list below the fold above (Wilson, Peña, Choi, Klesko, you can add in Dmitri Young) were, along with Phelps and Mientkiewicz, some of the available and affordable talent this winter, but maybe Klesko didn't want to leave the West coast. Maybe Young's off-field issues in Detroit scared the Yankees away. Maybe having tried Wilson and Peña last year they'd decided to try something else. Apparently no one wanted to give Choi another shot as he's back in Korea.

At any rate, the replacement level concept is that it is a bottom limit to this search. Replacement level is, by definition, the level of production that can be readily obtained for little to no cost (waiver wire pickup, triple-A promotion, etc.) at any given point. Obviously you want to have the best available/affordable player at every position, but sometimes you have to wait for a Phelps, Phillips, or, on the other end of the spectrum, Alex Gordon, to find his groove before that player produces up to his ability. The problem is when those players slip below replacement level. If there's hope for improvement, how long a team tolerates sub-replacement level play while waiting for that improvement is a key aspect of roster management. When there's no hope for improvement, as in Cairo's case, the team needs to make an upgrade immediately. Miguel Cairo has established the fact that he is a replacement-level player (proof positive is Chris Basak, who could do what Cairo is doing--play good defense and have a flukey run of singles at the plate--if given the chance). Andy Phillips might be one as well, but there's at least some remaining hope that he might be more than that. Ditto Phelps. Thus Phelps and Phillips deserve a longer leash than Cairo. There's no harm letting Cairo ride out his hot streak, but the Yankees have to identify when it's over as soon as it's over and make a change.

To answer your questions more directly. Cairo is the low end of acceptable production, but a team needs to be better than that. As to when to make a switch, that's the skill of team management. When to give up hope of improvement. As to how much better, you can only get what's available/affordable. As for the forumla for replacement level. I refer you to Baseball Prospectus and their like for the proper definition.

2007-06-20 09:30:26
36.   Chyll Will
34 Naturally, right after I post that, I see 32, so never mind; at least I understood what you were talking about >;)
2007-06-20 09:35:06
37.   51cq24
36 it happens. i would actually be fine with the move because i don't expect cairo to hit at all, if they had sent down basak or one of the useless relievers (myers) instead of phelps, who was never given a real chance to hit consistently, and actually wasn't all that bad in his limited appearances.
2007-06-20 09:38:20
38.   weeping for brunnhilde
35 Thanks, Cliff, that's pretty lucid.

I guess the Chris Basak thing begs the question a little though: could he, indeed, do what Cairo is doing on a major league level? Is that a sure bet or just a likelihood?

Cairo did have that good year for us, so I guess it's not clear to me why it's so implausible he could do it again, especially seeing as how he's actually doing it and we're seeing him do it right now.

Everyone presumes he'll get worse, which of course he might, but given the fact that he had that year for us, I'm not sure why it's such a foregone conclusion, especially seeing as how the proposed replacements have less major league experience.

But I think I'm starting to understand the basic premises at work here, so thanks to you, Cliff, and everyone for the patient explanations.

2007-06-20 09:40:25
39.   51cq24
35 i think the funniest thing is how everybody kept talking about cairo "almost" hitting that grand slam last week. that is, he hit a fly ball to the warning track with his biggest possible swing. to be fair, he did hit a double on sunday. and i do think you have to ride out the hot streak, fluke or not. but like you say, we know what we're (not) gonna get from cairo.
2007-06-20 09:45:05
40.   51cq24
38 he could have a decent year, just like mariano duncan could hit .340 one year. but the chances are very slim, based on his career. that's why no one expects him to keep this up.
2007-06-20 09:46:22
41.   weeping for brunnhilde
Flukes. What is a fluke, I wonder?

To me, Cairo playing as he is right now doesn't seem like a fluke; he's not doing things you wouldn't expect him to do like hitting lots of homeruns or anything, but he's playing solid, decent baseball.

His talent is what it is and right now he seems to be playing to the outer limits of his talent.

But so is Alex; is this year a fluke for him?
He's bringing his A-game on a more consistent basis, but it's still what you'd expect out of his A-game.

Same with Cairo, his A-game is at a lower level than that of most, but it's still his A-game he's bringing. It doesn't seem fluky to me the way it does when some unknown guy with no record at all suddenly starts doing things you'd never in a million years expect him to do.

Shane Spencer in 1998 seemed like a fluke whereas Cairo's just having a good year.

2007-06-20 09:48:43
42.   51cq24
41 if arod keeps hitting at this pace, it's definitely a fluke. that is, a career year. but even if he goes back to his career averages, he's an extremely valuable player.

i could play 1b for the yankees and bring my a game, but i don't think anyone would be very happy with that.

2007-06-20 09:49:32
43.   weeping for brunnhilde
40 Sure, I get it, but these things do happen in baseball. Brosius hit .300 and knocked in 98 runs his first year.

If it's happening, take it and be happy rather than just waiting around for what you're sure is the inevitable decline.

I wouldn't expect Cairo to be the first-baseman of the future, which is why if we can find such person, fine, but right now, he's all right.

2007-06-20 09:51:54
44.   51cq24
43 i agree with you there, as long as he's playing well he should be starting. but he's not gonna hit 300 or knock in 98 runs. and he's not even gonna hit 292 and knock in 42 runs.
2007-06-20 09:55:53
45.   RIYank
There aren't any "sure things". It's baseball. Why even bring that up?
The smart thing to do is to go with what has the best chance of helping you win, balancing the present with the long term. That's true about every move -- every move is risky, every decision not to make a move is risky. It's all risky.
2007-06-20 09:57:06
46.   Yankee Fan In Boston
42 there have been several points during this season where i'd have been tempted to take you up on that.
2007-06-20 10:12:16
47.   weeping for brunnhilde
45 Of course, there are no sure things, but there are decisions widely recognized as "no-brainers." I guess in this context the only point is that replacing Cairo right now doesn't seem as much as a no-brainer to me as to others who focus their attention on upgrading 1B.
2007-06-20 10:21:03
48.   RIYank
47 Okay. (But cf. 38, "Is that a sure bet or just a likelihood?")
2007-06-20 10:34:24
49.   51cq24
45 i think that was the point of 38, that there are no sure things. and i doubt you had to reference it again (48), it was pretty clear what you were referring to.
2007-06-20 10:38:02
50.   51cq24
and as little faith as i have in cairo, i think the actual question in 38 is totally legitimate, especially since basak has 0 career mlb at bats
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-20 10:48:13
51.   RIYank
Uh.
I have no idea what 49 50 you're talking about. You think the "actual question" in 38 was rhetorical, or that it was posed as a genuine question? You think it was "legitimate" to ask whether Chris Basak is a sure thing, even though it is completely obvious to everyone reading that there are no sure things in baseball?

What is the point of all this? That it is possible that Basak will be worse than Cairo? You think maybe Cliff was not aware of this possibility??

2007-06-20 10:57:43
52.   51cq24
51 the question, it seems to me, was whether it's fair to say that basak could perform at the same level as cairo. i'm no cairo fan, but basak has never had a major league at bat. isn't it a fair question?

why are you so hostile? you don't need to be. weeping is just asking questions about the whole idea, and you're jumping on him/her for asking if it's a sure thing that basak could do what cairo is doing. and then pointing out that the language was "sure thing" when it was probably "obvious to everyone reading" that the question was not whether it is a truly sure thing that basak would be the same player as cairo, but instead whether it's even fair to assume he could be.

2007-06-20 11:00:52
53.   weeping for brunnhilde
Now, now, children, no need for rancour.

For the record, I wasn't really thinking of Basak so much as Phelps, but I guess that's yesterday's question anyway.

RI's hostile because he knows deep down that the best offense is a good defense and a team filled with little-ballers, but can't bring himself to admit it so he blames me, the messenger. One day he'll see the light.

;)

Anyway, let's all try to play nice, shall we?

2007-06-20 11:04:07
54.   51cq24
53 we shall.

for the record, i think phelps could definitely have a better offensive season than cairo.

2007-06-20 11:09:40
55.   RIYank
52 You must be projecting. There was no hostility in 45 at all. I've never had an even remotely hostile exchange with Weeping.

Even when he psychoanalyzes me, that's his passive-aggressive way of getting under my skin. I find it... amusing.

2007-06-20 11:11:54
56.   51cq24
55 i was looking more at 48 and 51 for the hostility. not to mention the posts from last night on damon's arm.
2007-06-20 11:23:26
57.   weeping for brunnhilde
55 :)
2007-06-20 11:28:47
58.   monkeypants
38 Regarding Basak. According to Baseball Cube he has a crerr minor league OPS of .730, but they do not provide OPS+ or EqA, so it is hard to put those in context. He has hit a little better the last couple years (2005, 2006) at AAA, but those were his year 26 and 27 seasons, and he was repeating the same level for the third time. he does seem to have a little speed, with ~160 SB (though ~60 CS). We can compare these to Cairo's major league career numbers: OPS .674 (worse the last three years), 118 SB, 33 CS.

So, with Basak you get a younger player, who may hit a tad better (but there is always risk when trying to transate MiLB stats), maybe a little worse baserunner. In this case I would call it a wash. Had I ben GM, I would not have resigned Cairo (mainly because Torre can't be trusted with certain toys), but now that he is on the team and appears to be riding a little streak, I see no point in carrying his doppleganger (who will never play anyway) on the bench.

2007-06-20 11:38:05
59.   weeping for brunnhilde
58 Very nicely articulated, mp, thank you.

Nice and clear.

2007-06-20 13:12:18
60.   Raf
I'm still trying to figure out why both Basak and Villone are on the team.
2007-06-20 13:55:40
61.   cult of basebaal
23 you upgrade until your perceived opportunity costs of the next upgrade outweight the benefits of the upgrade

from a nyjournal news article:

The Yankees would prefer to use Cairo off the bench.

"We've certainly been pleased with Cairo's contribution. But we also understand we don't want to push the envelope with him," Joe Torre said. "I'd rather have him as that role player for us."

Now Phillips gets another chance.

"I think we're going to put him out there regularly," Torre said. "I hate to nail myself down saying it's going to be every single day. Let's see what we see. But he's going to get an opportunity."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

and therein lies the rub, will phillips get an actual opportunity (wherein he gets a meaningful number of at-bats in consistent playing time as well as the willingness to forgive the occasional non-veteran mistake or bad performance), or the joe torre non-veteran special (where the player gets jerked around in playing time and sent to the doghouse if they have a really bad game or make a silly mistake)?

i don't know whether andy phillips can be an adequate stopgap at firstbase (say 15-20 hrs 70-80 rbi) but i'd rather see if he can get hot (like last june, when he had a .970 ops in 69 abs) than piss away more at bats on miguel cairo, "hot streak" or not

2007-06-20 18:09:31
62.   OldYanksFan
35 Very logical, as usual. My only beef is that 'production' is heavily weighted towards offense. There's also defense, baserunning and flexibility.

Cairo is an 'A' baserunner, 'A' in flexibility, and a 'C+' in defense, depending on where he plays.

I dont know how Phelps rates as a baserunner, but was very poor in defense, and had zero flexibility.

AAAAndy offers some flexibility, (hopefully) slightly above average D at 1st, and might be a .750-.800 OPS guy.

I believe Phelps could be a .850 OPS guy if played regularly. But he rated very low in all the other criteria.

Honestly, while I'm a rabid supporter of Torre/Cashman, I also can't fathom these recent moves. I have to hope Cash has something up his sleeve, and is just getting by until he can pull another rabbit, or Abreu, out of his hat.

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