Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Dead Team Walking
2007-06-24 23:59
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees lost the finale of their weekend series in San Francisco before they even took the field. Following a brutal extra-inning loss on Saturday, Joe Torre posted a lineup without Jorge Posada or Bobby Abreu, with Miguel Cairo playing first and batting second, and Kevin Thompson, Wil Nieves, and Mike Mussina comprising the final third of the order. Meanwhile the Yankee bench featured Andy Phillips and Chris Basak, two men who had combined for seven major league plate appearances this season, all of them Phillips', and Johnny Damon, who has added a broken dental crown to all of the other aches and pains keeping him out of the lineup. This with the team's fourth-best starter on the mound in the person of Mike Mussina, most of the bullpen used up in that extra-inning loss, and starting shortstop Derek Jeter nursing a strained hip flexor that forced him to leave Saturday's game early.

To his credit, Mussina kept things close, but the Yankee offense just couldn't be found. Giants' starter Noah Lowry held the Yankees to one hit through five innings (though he did walk four) as the Giants took a 3-0 lead on Moose. Mussina and his personal catcher Nieves, meanwhile, were giving up stolen bases left and right (a total of five including steals by 40-somethings Barry Bonds and Omar Vizquel and first baseman Ryan Klesko), and Moose was done after having thrown 104 pitches in just five frames.

Chris Basak made his first major league plate appearance leading off the sixth for Mussina and lined out hard to Barry Bonds in left. Basak ran hard out of the box with his head down and somehow arrived at second base under the impression that he'd stroked a double into the corner. Basak stood proudly on the bag removing his batting gloves until Larry Bowa was able to signal to him to head back to the dugout.

Following Basak in the sixth, Melky walked, Cairo singled him to third, and Derek Jeter (whose hip appears to be fine) worked back from 0-2 to draw a full-count walk and load the bases for Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez fouled off Lowry's first offering, took strike two and ball one, then fouled off seven straight pitches in what would prove to be an 11-pitch at-bat only to hit a double-play grounder to short that he fortunately beat out to allow the first Yankee run to score. That exhausting at-bat drove Lowry from the game, but did little to benefit the Yankees as reliever Jonathan Sanchez got Hideki Matsui to ground out to end the threat.

Brian Bruney needed help from Luis Vizcaino to get through a scoreless sixth, so Joe Torre turned to Roger Clemens in the seventh. Torre is to be commended for his willingness to use his starters out of the pen on their throw days this year, having used Andy Pettitte for a pair of scoreless relief innings earlier in the season. Clemens didn't fair quite as well in what was just the second relief appearance of his 24-year-career, the last coming midway through his rookie season in 1984 (giving Clemens the longest gap between relief outings in major league history, shattering Steve Carlton's 16-year record). Clemens rallied from a 3-1 count to strike out leadoff man Ray Durham, but, in a dud of a legendary showdown, walked Barry Bonds on five pitches (though ball three looked like a strike to everyone including Bonds). Clemens then gave up a single to Ryan Klesko and a sac fly before getting Pedro Feliz to fly out to end the inning.

With Clemens having surrendered the Yankees' lone run back to the Giants, and the defanged top of the Yankee order having gone down in order in the top of the eighth, things got embarrassing in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kyle Farnsworth came on and got backup catcher Guillermo Rodriguez to fly out on his first pitch, but after Luis Figueroa singled, Derek Jeter booted a double play ball off the bat of Randy Winn and retired no one. Omar Vizquel then singled up the middle and Melky booted the ball allowing Figueroa to score and Winn to go to third. Ray Durham then hit a high fly to Cabrera in deep center that Melky lost in the sun for a two-run double. In Melky's defense, Winn did the same thing on an Alex Rodriguez fly in the ninth that lead to a meaningless second Yankee run. Still, that three-run San Francisco eighth just felt right in a game in which the Yankees played like the walking dead.

And so the Yanks return to the east coast having gone 1-5 in the interleague portion of their road trip to slip back below .500. One wonders how long we have to wait for Brian Cashman to pull a Kenny Williams. Not that Cash has to go make a splashy trade, but the fact that the Yankees played without the DH for six games with Damon and Basak on their bench was an act of extreme negligence and stupidity on the part of the Yankee decision makers. Getting a healthy body in for Damon (who, in his defense, delivered a pinch-hit single in the seventh, stole second and went to third on the catcher's throwing error--of course, he then failed to score from third on a groundout to first and didn't go out to play the field), swapping out Basak for a player who could add some punch to the 1B/DH situation (donde esta Josh Phelps? Or even Shelley Duncan), and replacing Wil Nieves with anyone or anything (come back Sal Fasano, all is forgiven—that Josh Phelps and Ryan Doumit are now teammates is not) are all moves that need to happen now. Damon has made just one start in the past week and only started four of the six games prior to that. His hit yesterday was also his first since the previous Sunday. Basak has appeared in three games since being called up twenty days ago, in two of them he was a defensive sub who never came to bat and in the third he was a pinch-hitter who never played the field. Nieves, meanwhile, has been on the roster all season, that's nearly three months, and is hitting .111 with a .149 on-base percentage and no extra base hits.

Even if satisfactory replacements are found for those three, the Yankees will need to add an extra bat sometime this summer. With Giambi out indefinitely, Damon consistently hurt and struggling to produce or even play, and the first base situation not only lacking entering the season, but with both halves of the unsatisfactory opening day platoon now either gone (Phelps) or out with a long term injury (Mientkiewicz), the Yankees have no one to play at first base or DH. No one. Melky Cabrera is thriving in center field (hitting .313/.358/.470 since May 30), but the Miguel Cairo joyride is over (he's 3 for his last 15), and the team doesn't have the time to wait around to see if Andy Phillips can finally deliver on his triple-A promise at the age of 30. That said, the Yankees would be better off missing the playoffs than sending the wrong pitching prospect to Texas for Mark Teixeira or, worse, sending the same hurler elsewhere for a lesser player. As things stand now, however, the Yankees aren't going to do better until they get better.

Comments (175)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-06-25 03:08:08
1.   Jim Dean
Folks seem to think that Cashman is somehow on top of things. Except things wouldn't have gotten to this point if he really was.

The GM seems to have this pathetic aversion to giving up anything he values in a trade. So he didn't deal Pavano after season 1, no youngsters of significance since the Vazquez deal, nor even a in-season deal of veteran spare bits. Thus we've seen plenty of waiver wire deals and Chacon-for-Wilson variety.

If the Yanks are going to make any upgrades now, Cashman is going to have to swallow hard and give up something to get something. I just don't see that happening.

2007-06-25 03:09:15
2.   joejoejoe
The Yankees need to do what most teams do when injuries hit - bring up the next best player on the depth chart. Miguel Cairo shouldn't be on the Yankees depth chart at 1B. For a game or two if somebody is dinged up he's adequate but beyond that level he's not a first baseman. I understand burning an option on a minor league player has a cost but when you are spending $180 million for a .500 team that cost is nominal.

And please please please bring up Omir Santos and send down Nieves. Isn't that what is supposed to happen when you are hitting .116 in late June - you get sent down? My touchstone for weak hitting major leaguers is Oriole SS Mark Belanger and he never managed worse than .158. Chone Figgins had more hits last Monday than Nieves has in 19 games. I beg of you, Brian Cashman, please try somebody new from the minor leagues. I don't care if you have to activate Rick Cerone - make a change.

Who knew the Yanks would miss Sal Fasano and Aaron Guiel? This team is...not good.

2007-06-25 04:25:06
3.   nemecizer
I have a very bad feeling about this year.
2007-06-25 04:51:31
4.   The Mick 536
Am I following a different team from everyone else. Nothing can help this team from the inside until year end. Errors and baserunning blunders aside, some coaching staff, they lack balance, pitching, and a bench. If Alex ain't on a tear, they are ordinary. Not tellin ya what ya didn't know, but the infield experiment was designed for debacle from the start. And how Nieves remains hitting half his weight disturbs me.

Like they said in the good old days, there is always next year.

Don't trade the kids. Bring them up.

2007-06-25 05:30:55
5.   AbbyNormal821
Depressing weekend series...just when I started feeling good about how well the team (or at least A-Rod!) have been playing, I have to start downing the Pepto because my nerves are shot!

It's like one step forward...SIX steps back!


2007-06-25 05:52:54
6.   Chester
If there is anyone out there who doesnt think A-Rod is yet again the Yanks MVP, please let them step forward. Also, I cant help but think that this team would be so much better with Sheffield in RF as opposed to Abreu. Bobby did a great hob in the second half of last season for the Yanks, but it is apparent that while he was never a slugger in the Sheff mold, he was dangerous last season. Now he is mediocre at best. Whats wrong with Cano? Did he read his press clippings last year when everyone compared him to Carew? Well, he better read those again and figure out whats wrong with his swing. When he goes to left, he rocks.When he tries to pull everything, he is another mediocre bat. Has Matsui seen his best days?
2007-06-25 06:03:35
7.   rbj
Even teams composed of good players can have a bad year. Yes, having Wil Nieves as BUC isn't good, nor is Cairo at first base. But I think this team is just snake bit this year. You can't expect to win the division every year, or even make the post season every year. It's just a bad luck year.
2007-06-25 06:26:08
8.   Count Zero
7 There's some truth to that. However, Cliff's points are all totally valid. Nieves doesn't belong in the ML...DFA Phelps and keeping Basak on the roster going into 6 games without the DH has to rank as one of the biggest bonehead moves I have ever seen...leaving Britton/Henn in Scranton while carrying a loogy who can't get lefties out is mystifying...the list goes on and on.

All that said...I have resigned myself to a short season. Because the alternative is worse -- i.e., we try to fix these holes in July by trading away Hughes and or Joba before the deadline. I really don't care about losing Clippard or Chase Wright. But please, please, please God -- do not trade away Hughes, Joba or Tabata!

2007-06-25 06:36:12
9.   JohnnyC
Cashman has a lot to answer for, surely, but the roster moves you just referenced, Zero, were almost certainly mandated by Torre. With an off day coming up, what manager in good conscience would have put that line-up out there? Some will claim the players choked, that they're not as good as we or they think they are, or that they don't have that bellyful of guts you need to wear pinstripes...but, simply put, the team took this west coast swing lightly, too lightly. And that starts from the top. This was the most unprepared Yankees team I've seen in, well, since last year's playoffs. Makes you wonder what exactly is being discussed in those pre-series meetings.
2007-06-25 06:51:11
10.   spufi2007
It looks more and more like the 21-29 start was the real thing....and the 9-game winning streak was the fluke.

They're done. They're not catching Cleveland in this race. Hard to tell who is more disappointing this season -- the Yanks or the White Sox (who will soon be bolstering the Red Sox even further by giving away Buehrle).

2007-06-25 07:06:49
11.   Raf
If it's any consolation, the Yanks are 2 back of the Sox in the MLB pythag division :)
2007-06-25 07:07:48
12.   Raf
11 er, 4 back...
2007-06-25 07:17:53
13.   pistolpete
11 Great - I'm still holding out hope that maybe we can win the Pythagorean World Series this year!

Who's going to the Pythagorean victory parade?

2007-06-25 07:31:19
14.   Simone
The Yankees' Wild Card hopes were always a long shot. If they are out of the playoff race by the All Star game, then Cashman will have to make some hard choices. Now is the time to trade Cano. Teams will soon figure out that he is a mess. Cano in some combination with the relievers (ideally Proctor) may be able to net the Yankees a decent 1st baseman or a young promising young pitcher.
2007-06-25 07:32:01
15.   RIYank
12 13 It's not consolation. But Raf's is still a good point if the issue is Cashman's job performance. It's ludicrous to assign responsibility for the difference between actual record and pythagorean record to the GM, that makes no sense at all.
2007-06-25 07:38:58
16.   bob34957
8Perfect post. I agree 110% verbatim. Our bench and management of the pen is embarrasing. 4Yes, bring the kids up and don't trade them away for a short term solution. I'm a hardy fan, but this is beginning to appear pathetic. I'm not sure if my last sentence is fair because injuries are in abundance. I can't stand it when Abreu and Cano act cool and don't hustle.
2007-06-25 07:40:21
17.   pistolpete
15 You gathered by my post that I was taking some sort of consolation in it?

14 I don't know what it is about Cano, but the way he plays seems to be a microcosm of what's wrong with the Yankees - he just looks completely nonchalant & lazy out there, but could probably give two sh*ts because he knows he's not going anywhere under this GM...

2007-06-25 07:44:17
18.   Jorgie Juiced One
Abreu - 22 HRs/yr - 4 HR
Cano - 15 HR last year with 6wks on DL - 3HR
Jeter - 19 HRs five times - 5 HR
Damon - 24 HR last year - 4 HR; physically unable to perform
Giambi - on DL
First Base - no power
Nieves - for reasons only known to Torre, not only on roster, but starts every 5th game.

BTW, the DH remains a great rule change. All of the "strategy" associated with not having a DH is not actually "strategy" (nor is it in any way complicated or interesting), but has to do with working around asking a particular group of players, who are specialists, to do what they are unable to do at a ML level.

2007-06-25 07:49:12
19.   Bama Yankee
Great recap as usual, Cliff. Although, didn't Clemens pitch three innings of relief during that 18 inning NLDS game 4 against the Braves back in 2005? I realize that the record you were referencing was for the regular season only (a good piece of trivia, BTW).

I was listening to the Giants broadcast on XM and they were using the gap in relief appearances in such a way to suggest that pitching in relief was something that Roger had never done since his rookie year. They were saying things like "Clemens is doing something he hasn't done in over two decades" and "Roger is taking the mound in relief for only the second time in his illustrious career". It just seemed to me that those guys should have at least mentioned the fact that he pitched in relief a couple of years ago in the playoffs.

2007-06-25 07:52:28
20.   Bama Yankee
13 Would that Pythagorean victory parade have to take a triangular route?
2007-06-25 07:52:51
21.   spufi2007
The Yankees are 7 games behind where they should be based on the Pythag standings -- a reflection of an awful record in 1-run games (4-12). This is primarily luck, specifically bad luck in this case. The Sawx are 2 games ahead of where they should be.

Looking ahead, the big decisions are going to be whether or not to keep 35-year old Posada (who will probably get a 3-year offer from a team like the Angels) and 37-year old Rivera. And, of course, do they sign A-Rod to a 7-year, $200 million extension?

Should the Yankees start playing Posada at 1B and find a catcher? Granted, Posada's defense at C has improved significantly over the past 2 or 3 years, but he can't last forever behind the plate.

Rivera is a guy who they could sign to a 1 or 2 year extension, and I think they'd have to sign him in that case. But, what if he wants 3 years?

And, finally, anyone want to see how a 39-year old A-Rod would do? Of course, he could be going for the HR record -- but not a reason to sign him to such a huge deal.

2007-06-25 07:56:04
22.   RIYank
17 Uh, no. Raf said "If it's any consolation..." 11. And he added a smiley.

I guess I'm just noting that the Pythagorean record is worth paying attention to even though it isn't any consolation, which I think was kind of Raf's point in the first place.

2007-06-25 07:56:14
23.   monkeypants
18 Jorgie, I am not entirely sure what your point is with that post, though you do highlight well that the team is hitting for much less power than last year. I would point out a couple of things. first, it's somewhat unfair to put Jeter on that list; his SLG is currently .486, higher than his career average, and higher than 4 out of the five times he hit 19+ HRs. He's hitting with similar power, only with fewer HR and more 2B.

Second, expected to get 24 HR again from Damon would be wishful thinking; his career average (last year included) is only 14/season, with four full seasons of 10 or fewer.

2007-06-25 07:57:07
24.   RIYank
20 Would the Pythagorean Play of the Week have to be a 3-4-5 double play? (I guess it would be the play of the century.)
2007-06-25 08:00:13
25.   weeping for brunnhilde
14 Ah, Simone, I just don't know. Sori part II.

I love what this kid can do, both at the bat and in the field, and would hate to let him go only to see him flourish elsewhere.

That said, I strongly suspect he's got some issues between the ears that might render him impervious to coaching.

I'm not quite sure how driven he is to become a better player.

Still, though, he's got such extraordinary talent.

I'd be inclined to stick it out with him, but I must admit, he does try my patience.

2007-06-25 08:01:35
26.   monkeypants
21 It's often suggested, but I am just not a fan of moving Posada to 1B (except maybe 20 or 30 times a season to "rest" him from C). As his bat declines as he approaches 40 y.o., he will not hit enough to warrant using him at first (though he should sill outslug our 1B fiasco from this year). Finding a C who can hit is much harder than finding a slugging 1B, so overall it is less likely (I suspect) that Catcher X + Posada 1B will outperform Posada C + Firstbaseman Y. If it were me, I would try to squeeze as many years catching out of Posada as possible and look for a better alternative at 1B (of course, using the DH and 1B to spell Posada more and more as the years go by).
2007-06-25 08:07:04
27.   monkeypants
14 25 Cano's value, it seems to me, is dependent on the rest of the team. That is, even in this frustrating 'bad' year, when he has an OPS+ of 94, he is still hitting around .720 OPS. That's not so good, but not awful for a middle infielder. So, if Cano can be a guy who hits down in the lineup, offering league average (or slighly lower) hitting in his of years, but better than average production in his good years, AND doesn't cost much, AND is only 24 y.o., then there is a lot of value in keeping.

If, on the other hand, he is expected to be a #3 or # 4 hitter, or to repeat his stellar 2006 campaign, or to carry the team, then maybe it would better to trade him while he is young and while (If?) his stock is still very high.

And of course, it would all depend on what players were offfered in return.

2007-06-25 08:07:46
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
21 I'm sold on a 39-year old Alex.

Now that I've seen the man at his worst, I'd feel good about him at 39.

The man never gets hurt (knock on wood) so I'd expect he could easily give you, say, 25 hr/.280 at that age. The rest would be gravy.

If there's anyone to take a chance on, it's him. I'm officially sold.

Jorgie and Mo need to stay because they're our guys.

Transition Jorgie into a DH/PH/1B gig and let Mo pitch until he decides he can't pitch anymore. At the very least, you sign him for what he wants and then get to work finding him an understudy during his declining years.

2007-06-25 08:09:59
29.   pistolpete
22 Yes but you referenced MY post in saying it's 'wasn't consolation'. Don't rope me into this whole theoretical feel-good fantasy victories thing... ;-)

20 It would be the first World Series victory parade in history to end where it started. Appropriate because they wouldn't have actually won1 anything, and they could just get on the team bus and go back home...

2007-06-25 08:14:35
30.   spufi2007
So, what we're saying is play (and pay) Posada, A-Rod and Rivera until they're completely through. This formula means we're overpaying them wildly in the final years of their new deals with no adequate replacements.

Sounds like a formula for going .500 for the foreseeable future to me.

2007-06-25 08:15:07
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
27 I don't know, mp.

My problem with Cano is that he seems to lose focus. To me, a winning team should be constructed of players who, whatever their individual talents may be, stay focused enough that they maximize their value each and every ab and play.

If this is the kind of player Cano is, I'd say trade him because it's hard to go all the way with guys who can't stay focused.

I don't know, I just feel uncomfortable with a guy in the lineup who might give you a quality ab, but might just give away an ab, depending on his mood, which is what I get from Robinson.

He needs someone to get through to him the way Clemens got through to Schilling, then he could be great.

2007-06-25 08:19:23
32.   Bama Yankee
24 Well played, RIYank. That 3-4-5 double play is certainly more likely than the Joe Dimaggio to Andy Phillips to A-Rod variety (as Chyll Will says, wait for it...)
2007-06-25 08:19:30
33.   weeping for brunnhilde
30 Agreed, but my idea is to pay them and then get to work on developing their replacements.

All three of these guys I think would be valuable both for their contributions (I wouldn't expect any of them to offer zero value to the team, to be "done") and for their presence.

I'd rather have young guys coming up who get to play with and learn from Jorgie, Mo and Alex than not, so if that costs something, all right.

I think the emphasis should be on transition rather than rupture.

2007-06-25 08:22:59
34.   Jim Dean
20 Well played.

The trade Cano stuff I don't understand. The kid is still just that - a kid.

Maybe last year created unreal expectations, but on a real team he's the number 9 hitter, and he'd be fantastic as that.

Besides, he followed up his uninspired first year (impervious to coaching?) with outstanding defense last year (113 RATE) and has continued it this year (112 RATE).

No doubt his stroke is off but so was A-Rod's last year. It happens. But just as those who called for trading him were foolish, so are the folks who want to get rid of a 24 yo 2B who plays outstanding defense just becuase he's not hitting .340 (again).

2007-06-25 08:24:19
35.   RIYank
29 I referenced yours and Raf's! But this has clearly reached the 'whatever' phase :)

I think trading Cano would be a serious mistake. I'm pretty confident that his stock will rise in the second half, so even if he's going to be traded it's better to do it in the off-season. And I'd rather not trade him. It's not like he's blocking some really good S-WB infielder, and it seems unlikely that he could be replaced with someone who'll give you more productivity.
His June OPS is .832, by the way.

2007-06-25 08:25:13
36.   RIYank
34 35 There ya go, I wouldn't have put in my two cents about Cano if I'd read that first.
2007-06-25 08:27:32
37.   weeping for brunnhilde
34 He is still a kid, Jim, which is why it's hard to say what will become of him.

Perhaps the problem is that I don't want him to just be some number 9 guy. I think he could be great and it would be hard for me to watch him year in and year out failing to achieve what appears to me to be his potential.

From a numbers standpoint, sure, keep him, but that's not exactly what I'm talking about.

2007-06-25 08:27:41
38.   pistolpete
Why does this whole year feel like a Yankees team from the mid-to-late 60's?

I'm looking at the rosters from 65-67, and while all the individual names jump out at you (Mantle, Maris et al), the team just couldn't get it together enough to finish above 5th or 6th on a year to year basis.

Time for a lot of new blood, I suppose. But where's the next George Steinbrenner willing to swoop in & make some real changes?

2007-06-25 08:28:36
39.   pistolpete
34 'Outstanding' defense is debatable, IMO...
2007-06-25 08:31:47
40.   weeping for brunnhilde
39 I think it's fair to say he's a guy who makes outstanding plays routinely.

I'm really just amazed how fluid he is out there.

I hate watching him go back on flyballs, however. Though he seems to make the play every time, it always looks like an adventure to me.

But his arm, his hands, his pivots, all things of beauty. His major flaw is that he botches routine plays from time to time, though actually I don't think this has happened in awhile now, so that's good.

2007-06-25 08:37:07
41.   Jim Dean
37 He's a 2B. Soriano created unreal expectations as well.

Me, I expect a .750-.800 OPS from my 2B with above average defense. Anything more is extra sweet gravy. Cano is exactly that, if not more, and extremely cheap for another three years. To use the old Goldman line, if you want to get rid of Cano you have to name guys to take his place. And looking around baseball, I see none.

39 Then debate. Name three other 2B that are better with the glove and pick one decent defensive stat to back up your argument.

2007-06-25 08:37:48
42.   monkeypants
37 This is where we often depart ways, Weeping. You seem (if I recall correctly) to dislike when a player "gives up" on ABs or "doesn't play up to potential." But how do you know that a player is doing that? How do we know what we are seeing isn't really Cano's potential, and that last year was a fluke, or he was playing over his head, or whatever? How can we tell when a player grounds out meakly or takes a called third strike that he "gave away" the AB, rather than he was trying his hardest but was just fooled, or he was simply overmatched?

I can only look at numbers and try to tease out of those numbers the past and current value of a player, and use that to predict the future worth of a player. Obviously attitude and work ethic and the like will affect a player's career, but they are pretty nebulous and hard to identify let alone quantify from our perspective. Rather, I think frustrated fans tend to ascribe moral failing to explain a failure in execution ("Dammit A-Rod, how could you strike out when all you need is a fly ball--that's just giving an AB away").

2007-06-25 08:40:55
43.   Jim Dean
42 Well said. That tendency toward moral assessments is amazing. Most shocking to me is when a professional like PeteAbe expresses it.
2007-06-25 08:46:53
44.   vockins
Alex Rodriguez is the best 3rd baseman the Yankees have ever had, far and away. He is a joy to watch. His performance has been absolutely astounding.

He needs to get traded. He ain't coming back next year. Hopefully Cashman will wait until just before the deadline and bend the Angels or the Dodgers over the barrel.

2007-06-25 08:52:15
45.   Count Zero
42 /nods enthusiastically

Cano plays how he plays -- it doesn't mean he's not giving 100%, he's just graceful and fluid. He makes it "look" easy when he's on and makes it look nonchalant when he's off.

And as has already been stated, I think some people have unfair expectations of him. If he continues to play the pivot the way he has this year, I would keep him for 10 years even if he only hits .270 -- I don't see a whole lot of better options.

2007-06-25 08:54:56
46.   dianagramr
If you don't mind the payroll jump, move A-Rod to 1st now and get Beltre from the Mariners.

You'd improve the infield defense, and boost the offense a bit.

(and no, Richie Sexson is not the answer ... and no, I don't have a clue what the Yanks could trade to get Beltre)

2007-06-25 08:57:06
47.   monkeypants
44 He is not coming back becuase he refuses to play in NY, or because the Yankees will never meet his years/$$ demands? The A-Rod calcualtiion is rather more complicated than you suggest. If there is no way he is coming back, then how exactly will NY be able to bend other teams over the barrel--they presumably would know he's not coming back. Also, he has a no trade clause--it is likely in A-Rod's interest to go on teh FA market than accept a trade to a team desperately trading for the stretch run. Also, one needs to consider how much money and what length of contract the Yankees are willing to offer him. Overall, the best strategy may be the exact opposite of what you suggest: let A-Rod pile up insane numbers this year, then give him whatever he wants in the off-season; dare the Angels or the Dodgers to outbid you.

Only if the team is strictly unwilling to make major concessions on restructuring his contract should they aggressively shop him at the deadline.

2007-06-25 09:00:04
48.   Count Zero
44 That is the dilemna isn't it? If you think we can re-sign him, then we should (at almost any price). But if you think he's already made up his mind to go elsewhere, then you should trade him next month. But it would be dangerous to expect too much in return when he will only be a rental.

Realistically speaking though, there are only about five teams that might be willing to fork over the 6x$30 million it will take to sign him at the end of this year, and the Yankees are one of them. I don't see any small-mid market team repeating the Hicks error, especially when those last two years would be a tremendous gamble/could be crippling to any team with a payroll below $100 million.

2007-06-25 09:00:13
49.   pistolpete
41 I'm not going to get into any such debate, because I can't pretend to keep up with the likes of most of you statheads here. I've watched nearly every single game Cano has played, so I'm pretty much going by memory and gut feel.

My 'gut feeling' is that he makes the plays that he gets to, but he isn't exactly getting his uniform dirty out there either. He builds up my confidence in the field for weeks at a time, but then as weeping said he'll botch an easy DP or a throw from Posada and he looks like the same guy who came up mid-season in '05.

I'm not cringing with each grounder to 2B as I might have the last few years or during the end of the Knoblauch era, but I'm also not as relaxed I as I am with Alex over at third this season.

2007-06-25 09:00:38
50.   DarrenF
I don't recall a Yankee team that was so top-heavy. Rodriguez leads the team with 28 hrs, 70+ runs, 77 rbis. Second place is approximately 9, 45, and 46. The bench is awful.

The Yankees are only paying him about $16 - $17 million and have plenty to spend, so the drag of his salary is not even a plausible explanation.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-25 09:00:46
51.   weeping for brunnhilde
42 I understand, mp. What can I say, I'm intuitive. My intuition has gotten me quite far in this world, so I do tend to rely upon it.

Doesn't mean it's unfailing, of course, but it can be hard to substantiate out of context like this.

You say you can only look at numbers in order to evaluate a player and I respect that, that's fine. But just because you can only look at numbers doesn't mean one can only look at numbers.

Being overmatched is being overmatched--what can you do?

But being fooled is actually something that a hitter has some mechanical control over--he can lessen the likelihood of being fooled by looking to react to the ball rather than drive it with authority.

But he's got to know which of the two he's looking to accomplish and which one is the better approach in a given situation.

When a player takes the wrong approach for a given situation I think it's fair to say his head's not in the game and thus there is room for improvement. A player's talent is what it is, but his ability to maximize that talent is subject to his own control.

You're right, attitude and work ethic are hard to quantify and can be nebulous, but I don't think "hard" means "impossible."

I'm trying to take a whack at it because it's how I experience the game. I can't not notice the things I notice, which (as I've mentioned) often are grounded in fundamentals I learned in little league. It's not about results for me, but process and approach.

Anyway, it's all right we disagree.

2007-06-25 09:01:30
52.   weeping for brunnhilde
43 You're pretty easily amazed, Jim. You should get out more.


2007-06-25 09:08:41
53.   monkeypants
51 "But being fooled is actually something that a hitter has some mechanical control over--he can lessen the likelihood of being fooled by looking to react to the ball rather than drive it with authority."

OK, let's take this example. Batter X has two strikes and he swings aggressively rather than looking to react, as you suggest. If he strikes out, "you" (that is, my characture of your argument) say that he gave away the AB by taking the wrong approach. But let's say Batter Y does the same thing and hits a HR--"you" would not say that he gave away the AB by using the wrong approach? You see, the whole problem I have is that what I call moralizing tends to take the result and work backwards to the approach, method and ultimately moral character of teh player. It tends toward circularity and tautology: every time a player "fails" he has taken the wrong approach.

2007-06-25 09:11:12
54.   Jim Dean
49 51 Please keep in mind that this stats vs. watching the game distinction is completely artificial. Stats are just a way of summarizing everything that been seen by a pair of eyes somewhere. Why they're nice is because they summarize a large number of events AND seldom let emotion get in the way of the numbers.

When I first started following the Yanks on the internet pipes, I was pretty committed to AVG and errors. In maybe one season I learned about about OPS. Another I learned about RATE. And this year it was EQA. The information is out there is it's not all that tough to follow. And it helps me to enjoy the game more.

2007-06-25 09:16:12
55.   RIYank
53 And please add: Batter Z shortens up and just tries to make contact, and dribbles into an easy ground-out, or worse a DP. Or because he isn't aggressive he's way behind a high heater.

It's important to hit the ball hard when you hit it. Just making contact sounds good but it produces a lot of outs. (David Ekstein, cough cough.)

2007-06-25 09:17:17
56.   weeping for brunnhilde
53 I don't know about that.

Let's say it's late innings, the team trails by 4 or 5, bases-loaded and Giambi's up, followed in the lineup by very weak hitters. If he goes down swinging trying to hit the grand slam, it's all right because the gamble is that the guys behind him won't get the job done anyway, and that he's the team's best hope to score the runs.

Now, if he goes down swinging in the same scenario but the team is down by 2 runs and he's followed by solid hitters, then yes, I get mad.

Homeruns are harder to get than singles, so anytime you try for one, you have to factor in the likelihood of not getting one.

Sometimes it's a risk worth taking, other times it's not. My problem is that it doesn't seem like players always understand the difference.

When your batter X hits that HR with two strikes, or by pulling an outside pitch, I appreciate the homerun, of course, but I still feel uneasy with the approach.

I don't know--maybe I'm being tautological, but I don't think I am.

I have seen Matsui hit some outside pitches over the fence, to be sure, but I'm not convinced that they make up for all those weak-ass grounders to second I had to suffer through previous to the homerun.

2007-06-25 09:18:38
57.   monkeypants
53 To continue, "you" may also want to consider that what makes a great (or even a very good) player great is that he has adopted a certain approach and mastered not, not because he goes to the plate and constantly adjusts his approach. My avorite quote is from Babe Ruth, who basically said: "I grip teh bat really hard and I swing as hard as I can, and when I hit, I hit big, and when I miss, I miss big." Ruth hit lots of HRs, but he also led the league in Ks multiple times. Now, according your argument, he likely failed to use the correct approach--aiming for the fences with two strikes rather than choaking up on the bat and going for the single. But my argument is that for all we know, had he changed his approach in those circumstances, he never would have slugged as well as he did, and he would have been a lesser player as a result.
2007-06-25 09:22:29
58.   Bama Yankee
54 and Joe Torree is waiting for next year when you learn about BFOG (Belly Full Of Guts) so you can understand what he is doing... ;-)
2007-06-25 09:22:29
59.   monkeypants
56 I'm not convinced many players go up "trying" to hit HRs (though sometimes they must). I suspect that most try to make the hardest contact possible, figuring that the harder they ht the ball, the more likely a good outcome will result. I suspect that it is a very rare player indeed who can, when facing the best pitchers in the world, decide in a given circumstance to "go for" a single rather than double or HR.
2007-06-25 09:22:50
60.   monkeypants
56 I'm not convinced many players go up "trying" to hit HRs (though sometimes they must). I suspect that most try to make the hardest contact possible, figuring that the harder they ht the ball, the more likely a good outcome will result. I suspect that it is a very rare player indeed who can, when facing the best pitchers in the world, decide in a given circumstance to "go for" a single rather than double or HR.
2007-06-25 09:24:28
61.   monkeypants
59 60 Sorry about that. And, you beat me to it anyway, RIYank 55.
2007-06-25 09:24:30
62.   weeping for brunnhilde
57 Sure. Of course. If I were watching Babe Ruth, and I saw him strike out with the tying run on third and the winning run on second, I'd probably be pretty aggravated, cursing his name for not putting the ball in play. No doubt.

"But my argument is that for all we know, had he changed his approach in those circumstances, he never would have slugged as well as he did, and he would have been a lesser player as a result. "

Quite possible, I couldn't say.

2007-06-25 09:25:15
63.   pistolpete
54 I certainly understand most of what goes into a lot of these modern stat equations - it just doesn't add to my personal enjoyment of the game is all.

For me baseball is a game of emotion - call me a sentimental fool, but I've always subscribed to the notion that something deeper than stats wins championships. The human element of the game (on and off the field) keeps me most interested, not simply witnessing a compilation of numbers.

Just as an example, when exactly did Rafael Palmeiro become an interesting baseball story to everyone - was it when he hit 500 home runs (which would be a lock for the HOF about 20 years ago), or rather was it when he pointed his finger at a Congressional committee and basically lied to their faces about his personal steroid use?

2007-06-25 09:26:08
64.   weeping for brunnhilde
59 It probably is a rare player who can do that, but I'm not talking about some preternatural skill, I'm talking about playing pepper.

There's a reason they're called "fundamentals," no?

2007-06-25 09:31:46
65.   dianagramr

Ichiro comes to mind ... his bat control is incredible. They say he could easily hit more homers if he wanted to, but that is not his job on the team.

As far as good 2-strike batters, I was listening to the ESPN radio broadcast of the Tigers/Braves last night, and they mentioned that Placido Polanco's .355 avg. with 2 strikes on him is the best in the majors .... by 40 (!) points. Polanco of course doesn't go up there looking for XBH .... his job is to move the leadoff guy along, foul off enough pitches to wear out the pitcher and find a good pitch to hit.

2007-06-25 09:36:30
66.   monkeypants
63 I suspect that these new-fangled stat equations (and even the old fashioned ones) contribute a lot to your enjoyment of teh human element of the game. What made Bucky Dent's HR so memorable? Of course, it helped win the game (though really, Reggie's later blast provided the difference) and thus the division title. But also because it as so unexpected. But why was it unexpected? Because Bucky had a terible SLG and hit few HRs. You see, the statistics are merely numerical measures of what we see and perceive and record when we watch the game; they describe the basic context that in turn contributes to the emptional, sentimental, human enjoyment of the game.

64 Maybe. Again, I have a hard time believing that the ol' pepper game contributes to major league success. I mean, do we really think that Matsui (or a Wade Boggs for that matter) go into the game with a runner on third and think about how to play pepper and doink the ball for a base hit? And if one could control the action of the batted ball so easily, wouldn't great hitters never get out? Would pitchers sit on teh mound sweating because they know the ol' pepper strategy is coming? I could be wrong about this--I'm wrong about a lot of things--but I have a feeling going to bat in the late innings just "trying to put the ball in play" is a lot harder than it seems, and I would rather have a batter do what he does that makes him successful, not trying to go into fungo mode.

2007-06-25 09:39:22
67.   monkeypants
65 They used to say the same thing about Ty Cobb and Wade Boggs. Maybe. I'll grant that every generation on eor two players with such exraordinary bat control come along that they can literal choose their style of play and be successful no matter what.

As for Ichiro's job, it's to help his team produce as many runs as possible. I'll leave for others to debate whether he could do that more by hitting more HRs (and probably sacrificing OBP) or continuing to slap singles around.

2007-06-25 09:42:46
68.   Shaun P
50 Great point. For all the talk about dinking and dunking . . . sorry, wrong sport - singling the opposition to death, only one Yankee has more than 10 home runs, and that's bad news. The season is almost half over, and its possible the Yanks will have only one player hit over 20 home runs. No way this team makes the playoffs with that kind of offense.

The OBP is there (for the most part), but the lineup lacks power. That's OK if the batting average is through the roof (see Angles, LA of A), but for the Yanks, its not. I'd say right now that, while the bench is a tremendous concern - and the worst bench of the Cashman-Torre years, which is saying something - its the regular offense that is the real problem.

The Yanks really need two more big bats. One could be Matsui, if he finds his power stroke. But Cashman needs to go find another one to play 1B/DH, or the Yanks are in big trouble.

And any deal that gets Krazy Kyle out of pinstripes, and Chris Britton back in them, is fine by me.

2007-06-25 09:47:04
69.   weeping for brunnhilde
66 I don't know. Here are two examples.

Luis Gonzales, when asked about his big hit, reported that he'd choked up for the first time in years and years, so determined was he not to strike out.

Tino, in that same series, when asked about the ab that yielded the homerun off Kim, said "I went up there thinking the first two swings were mine."

Both of those are legitimate, situational approaches to hitting, the one yielding a dramatic bloop (put the ball in play at all costs) the other yielding the long ball.

2007-06-25 09:55:52
70.   RIYank
69 But we need to know also: how many guys go up to the plate determined not to strike out, choking up, etc., and ground into an easy out? How many strike out anyway? And we aren't going to find out the answer to those questions, because no reporter is going to ask and even if one does it's not likely that the batter will remember it right, report it straight, and communicate well.
This is why I share the skepticism expressed by monkeypants and JD. When we watch baseball games and listen to interviews, we and the players are all subject to very powerful illusions. Big picture, large n, geeky stats are the way we check on our intuitive ideas of what's happening. Often they confirm, but surprisingly often they refute.
2007-06-25 09:56:05
71.   Zack
I think because we go about it so differently, I am still shocked when Jim Dean and I agree, which seems to be happening a lot lately. :)

Cano can't be traded for the exact reasons you all point out: he's young, cheap, and STILL one of the top 3 or so 2b's in the league. Maybe not at this exact moment, but considering he has shown, in a relatively small sample size, to be a 2nd half hitter, I suspect he will end the year over .300 with a higher obp than past seasons...

Cano might net us something, but I think the cost wouldn't be worth it.

The team should be blown up, somewhat: trade Farnsworth, Myers, either Britton or Bruney (to actually get something), a few minor leaguers along with, say, Damon/Moose (unlikely). At the end of the season, drop Bobby A., the whole bench, and try to drop Giambi's dead weight too.

It's not likely to be done with much return, but it at least free's up roster spots, dead weights, and Joe's tendancies.

Oh yeah, Torre has to go, mostly because he is not a manager for a "rebuilding" team, or even this team. His tendencies and BFOG (nice!) mentality exasperate the issues of this team...

None of this will happen until post-All-Star at least. The rest of the season can just as easily be spent with S. Duncan at 1B, Britton, Ramirez etc in the BP, Hughes in Moose's spot or whoevers when he comes back, etc...

2007-06-25 09:59:12
72.   Zack
And somewhat related/unrelated, and not that I put much into SI's Truth and Rumors, but the Chicago Tribune has Sox scouts watching Kennedy and Joba, possibly for Buehrle. What a mistake that would be. To me, anyone BUT Hughes, Kennedy, Joba, and Tabata should be fair game, but those 4 are "off-limits." I doubt Cashman would do that trade, but who knows...
2007-06-25 10:02:52
73.   Raf
63 Palmiero should've became an interesting baseball when he met up with his brother for the first time in years (the date escapes me, but IIRC, it was on TWIB), or his responses during the Cuban Nat'l Team - O's exhibitions.

65 Every batter should take the Polanco approach, fouling off pitches, wearing pitchers down and getting a good pitch to hit.

As for his job, it's like everyone else's; get on base and score.

2007-06-25 10:04:05
74.   Shaun P
72 He won't. That's totally against his plan. He might not have built a bench at all, but he wouldn't trade the 2 best pitching prospects in the system (counting Hughes as a big leaguer, of course).

70 I agree 100%. You said it better than I could, RIYank.

2007-06-25 10:04:41
75.   monkeypants
69 "reported that he'd choked up for the first time in years and years..."

Suggesting that normally he would never change his approach thus. So, a batter facing the greatest closer of all time at the height of his powers did something that he had never done in years and it worked out. Of course, it worked out because the infield was foolishly drawn in, and had it been positioned better the little flair would have been caught with the runner staying at third. But it worked out, so it was the right approach.

In any case, you're citing the margins here, not the norms.

2007-06-25 10:05:09
76.   pistolpete
66 It's possible - good point. It's probably the same reason many of us were cursing A-Rod's name last year every time he struck out in a big spot.

I happen to believe, however, that a lot of what fuels baseball players over the long haul can transcend natural ability and past performance.

Er, wait a minute - I think I could be referring to steroids with that statement... ;-)

2007-06-25 10:07:29
77.   Raf
I really need to hire a proofreader... Interesting baseball story, not an interesting baseball.

69 Kinda makes you wonder if he was giving AB's away all those times Gonzalez didn't choke up with 2 stikes and struck out :)

2007-06-25 10:08:29
78.   Zack
74 I also just read on River Ave Blues that you can't trade a player within one year of when they signed, which pushes Kennedy to late August and Joba to Sept, so I'm not too worried...
2007-06-25 10:14:16
79.   JL25and3
I don't see how you can let Posada go. As Casey said, if you don't have a catcher, you're going to have a lot of passed balls.

The Yankees simply have to re-sign or extend Rodriguez. His production is not replaceable. Without him the team will lose all credibility, and will be hard pressed to remain competitive. If they can't sign him, then they really will be a .500 team.

2007-06-25 10:14:17
80.   monkeypants
77 Or maybe he started hitting 132 to 176 OPS+ (1999-2001) instead of c. 110-120 OPS+ (earlier in his career) when he stopped giving away ABs by choking up on the bat? That would fit his testimony in 69.

Of course, he may have gotten some other "boosts" along the way as well...

2007-06-25 10:19:00
81.   spufi2007
I think Chris Britton and Brian Bruney are actually the same person.
2007-06-25 10:19:46
82.   JL25and3
54 Jim, there are stats and there are stats. SA and OBP are just quantifying events that everyone agrees on - a double is a double is a double. As I've said before, one of my problems with the new generation of fielding stats is that they don't just quantify events on the field, they interpret them. Worse, we're not told how the interpretation is done.
2007-06-25 10:20:26
83.   monkeypants
81 I've never seen them in pictures together.
2007-06-25 10:22:04
84.   weeping for brunnhilde
70 "When we watch baseball games and listen to interviews, we and the players are all subject to very powerful illusions. Big picture, large n, geeky stats are the way we check on our intuitive ideas of what's happening. Often they confirm, but surprisingly often they refute. "

Can't disagree with that.

What we're talking about is the wisdom to know the difference. How to integrate stats with intuition/direct observation. I don't have the answer because stats are not my friend, but the two do need to be integrated and the stats need to be far more precise than they seem to be right now.

For instance, it doesn't seem as if stats take into account whether a player is hurt or not, or whether he's "swinging the bat well" or not.

Like the David Justice thing in 2001. Anyone with eyes to see could tell you he had no chance of getting a hit, and that he was so far gone it was inconceivable he'd turn it around in the course of a few games, yet the stats made him the superior choice to Shane Spencer.

The point being, the stats outline the forest, to be sure, but sometimes it's the trees that matter.

Or something like that.


2007-06-25 10:26:19
85.   weeping for brunnhilde
77 It does, it does!
2007-06-25 10:30:19
86.   spufi2007
Speaking of Kyle Farnsworth, he's one of those guys that you just KNEW was going to be a disaster before he even put on the NY uniform.

Similar example: Felix Heredia.
(Note the common Cub theme here.)

What other signings/trades felt that way to you guys? "Insta-disasters".

At the time, I have to admit that I was pretty pissed off when the Yankees traded Roberto Kelly (and a Triple A pitcher who had won 19 games the year before) for Paul O'Neill. So, can't say the "ugh" feeling always works out.

2007-06-25 10:33:21
87.   pistolpete
84 And if a tree falls and no one's...

Ah, skip it.

2007-06-25 10:36:04
88.   dianagramr

"insta-disasters"???? Dave Collins ...

2007-06-25 10:37:25
89.   weeping for brunnhilde
87 Let me help you out, pete: If a tree falls in the woods and Scott Proctor's not around to hear it, then take the bird in the hand.
2007-06-25 10:39:45
90.   pistolpete
89 More like 'If a tree falls in the woods and Scott Proctor's not around to hear it, it must be mid-December sometime'
2007-06-25 10:40:09
91.   JL25and3
86 I'll admit, I had that same feeling about the Kelly-O'Neill deal. O'Neill was about to turn 30, and seemed to have reached his ceiling as a nice little platoon player with a good arm. I knew Kelly was no Junior Griffey, but he looked to have more possible upside than O'Neill.

I don't think much of anyone, except maybe Showalter and Stick, expected Paulie to become as good as he did.

2007-06-25 10:41:46
92.   weeping for brunnhilde
90 :)
2007-06-25 10:42:45
93.   JL25and3
By the way, I had a similar feeling when the Yankees traded away half their pitching staff for Chris Chambliss and Dick Tidrow.

More apropos to the subject: Ron Davis for Roy Smalley.

2007-06-25 10:43:16
94.   RIYank
84 Indeed, the wisdom to know the difference, if it exists, would be the ability that marked a truly great GM!

Maybe what the eyes of anyone with eyes told them about David Justice turned out to be true. But again, we'd have to know how many times those eyes turned out to be the victim of illusion. Since we don't know that, the rebuttal, "But I can see that he doesn't get good at bats these days," is not convincing.

To me.

Of course, anybody who says that stats will predict infallibly is nuts. Obviously sometimes the statistically betst player gets out-performed by a shocking lower-evaluated player. But once more, the important question is whether somebody's intuitive judgment is going to be more reliable in the long run than, say, PECOTA expectations. Pundits who criticized the pre-season PECOTA prediction about the White Sox, for example, are awfully quiet about it now. I'd love to see someone who doesn't trust state-of-the-are statistics put their predictions up against a geeky set of predictions, and do it for at least one whole season. Maybe there's a savant out there who can reliably beat the stat-heads. Let him step forward!

2007-06-25 10:43:52
95.   monkeypants
90 If a tree falls in the forest, Scott Proctor won't hear because he's pitching, but Sean Henn better duck.
2007-06-25 10:45:35
96.   dianagramr

I know this is gonna sound like 20-20 hindsight, but given my Baseball Prospectus leanings, I knew the Giambi signing was gonna be a huge albatross by the 4th year.

Giambi's build and "old player skills" were gonna deteriorate faster after the age of 30 than other players, and that was BEFORE we knew of his "I'm sorry for whatever I did" statements, which would lead to earlier and more dramatic breakdowns of tendons/muscles.

2007-06-25 10:49:46
97.   williamnyy23
Cashman is reportedly considering traing Joba and/or Kennedy for Buerhle and/or Dye.

Torre on Cairo: "He's doing well," Torre said. "The big part of it is now I'm seeing good things offensively from him. He's having good at-bats so I'm going to stay with him."

If either is really an accurate depiction of both men's intentions, then it would be in the best interest of the organization that they both be fired immediately.

2007-06-25 10:50:32
98.   yanster
I can't let go of this thread: If you want to deal Cano, you absolutely must show the alternative at 2B. That alternative has to combine to provide total better value.

Of course, if you get something extraordinary in another position for Cano a la A-Rod for Soriano, that counts in the math. But creating a problem at 2B to solve another problem is no improvement. By the way, he's getting $490,800 in 2007, and I've never read that he's not one of the top five 2B in the league.

And forget the stats if you want - but then you have to accurately remember the outcome (not the process) of every play and every at bat.

2007-06-25 10:54:35
99.   dianagramr

Kinda scary to see that the 2 pitchers that most resemble Buehrle at this point in his career are Teddy Higuera and Lamarr Hoyt.

2007-06-25 10:55:45
100.   williamnyy23
98 You can not trade Cano (unless the Phillies want do Utley straight up). I have been very dissapointed by his season and fear he is a lot closer to league average than batting title, but he is still a valuable commodity. If he is only good (and not great), it just means the Yankees can't afford to punt positions as they assumed they could do this season. It doesn't mean you have to discard him.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-06-25 10:56:25
101.   RIYank
I'm hoping the idea is to drive up the price for Buehrle.
2007-06-25 10:57:41
102.   monkeypants
98 OK, I'll throw this out so I can be pilloried. What would you say about trading Cano for a stud DH/1B who could be signed for three or four years, and move Cairo to 2B for the rest of the season?
2007-06-25 10:57:42
103.   dianagramr

A-Rod and Cano to the Cubs for Soriano (whom we move back to 2nd) and A. Ramirez

(I kid I kid)

2007-06-25 10:58:05
104.   cult of basebaal
97 jesus, where did you see that? those would be colossally stupid moves ...
2007-06-25 10:58:26
105.   williamnyy23
99 Also, another reason for Cashman not to aquore Buerhle is perhaps Theo will trade Buchholz for him. That would be a win-win.
2007-06-25 10:59:10
106.   williamnyy23
104 Two blurbs from
2007-06-25 11:02:47
107.   dianagramr

Good catch-all site for trade rumors

2007-06-25 11:02:53
108.   cult of basebaal
97 and of course torre's batshit nuts, cairo is a giant offensive sinkhole at first and his approach is what it's always been in his career, hack away at everything
2007-06-25 11:06:51
109.   cult of basebaal
106 also mentioned in that column ... damon's likely to avoid the dl ... oh goody, here's to another 3 months of dinged up ineffectiveness
2007-06-25 11:08:35
110.   Shaun P
97 see 78 and you'll feel a lot better. Good thing those guys waited so long to sign!

101 105 I think that makes a lot more sense, though I can't see Theo making that move. I could see Lucchino doing it, maybe.

2007-06-25 11:09:55
111.   Shaun P
109 Whatever is keeping Damon from the DL, and Shelley Duncan from the Yankee roster, is very annoying. Thompson is very capable as the 4th OF.
2007-06-25 11:16:44
112.   cult of basebaal
110 ah, thank you for that link, for others here's what mark a. wrote over there:

"And for those of you that still worry that Cash may jump at such a deal, do not fret: players can not be traded until the 1 year anniversary of when they signed, which is something in mid-to-late August for Kennedy and mid-September for Joba. All that "they can be PTBNL" garbage is just that; garbage. A guy can't be the PTBN for a deal that is retroactive to their 1-yr anniversary. Williams will get a better offer for Buehrle before those dates. Rest easy."

fingers crossed that that is accurate ...

2007-06-25 11:22:01
113.   williamnyy23
110 Unfortunately, there's the dreaded PTBNL to worry about.
2007-06-25 11:22:31
114.   cult of basebaal
from the SWB blog:

Edwar Ramirez just struck out five batters in a row, and it was the top five hitters in the Syracuse Chiefs lineup. This guy has unreal strikeout numbers this year, and it's thanks to a rediculous changeup that some scouts have confused for a split finger.

Between Double-A and Triple-A, Ramirez has 74 strikeouts in 40.1 innings. He's pitched in 23 games, and given up three runs. His changeup is filthy, his fastball sits around 91 mph and his slider is an effective pitch.

The numbers are tantalizing, but he might not be quite ready for New York just yet. Although he has just 17 walks, the Yankees want to see more consistency with his four-seamer.

"We're trying to get this guy ready for the big leagues, and do that he needs better fastball command," pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "And he knows that."

So Ramirez is working on his fastball, and his slider, to compliment that nearly unhitable change.

"He's coming along nicely," Eiland said, and he seemed to know it was an understatement


if not having command of your fastball is an impediment to being in the bigs, WTF are bruney, farnsworth, villone, vizcaino and myers doing here???

2007-06-25 11:23:36
115.   williamnyy23
112 113 Thanks for that! Now I do feel better.
2007-06-25 11:23:44
116.   monkeypants
113 Not according to 112.
2007-06-25 11:25:04
117.   cult of basebaal
115 i'll see if i can find confirmation from another source as well
2007-06-25 11:27:34
118.   Raf
114 That doesn't apply if the pitcher in question is a "proven veteran"
2007-06-25 11:32:07
119.   RIYank
118 I thought it just meant we should admire those five for hurtling such a formidable impediment.
2007-06-25 11:36:06
120.   JL25and3
114 Most of the guys on your list throw a lot harder than 91. Farnsworth can miss over the plate and still be effective (if inconsistent). I don't care how good the changeup is, if his fastball tops out at 91 he needs to have damn good command of it.
2007-06-25 11:39:38
121.   dianagramr
Some good news from Will's latest UTK column:

"Philip Hughes is out of the boot and will begin a throwing program that should put him back around August 1"

2007-06-25 11:40:24
122.   cult of basebaal
120 oh, i know, mostly i was just taking cheap shots at the arsonists in our pen ... i do love a great changeup though ... maybe my favorite pitch of all ... i'd love to see a hoffman-esque pitcher coming out in relief for us
2007-06-25 11:45:36
123.   cult of basebaal
from today's BP Monday Morning 10 Pack:

Edwar Ramirez, RHP, Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees)

The Yankees signed Ramirez out of the independent leagues last year, and he's been nothing but a strikeout machine since. The 26-year-old Dominican lasted just six weeks in the Eastern League, striking out 33 in 16.2 innings before moving up to Triple-A, where with five more strikeouts in just two innings on Sunday, he now has 41 more whiffs in 23.2 frames. That's a total of 74 punch outs in 40.1 innings with just 19 hits allowed across two levels. His game is not the pure power dominance one would assume from numbers like that. Tall, exceedingly skinny and full of deception, Ramirez has no more than average velocity, but his changeup, which features outstanding arm action, fade and heavy sinking action, is among the best in the minors. Given that the major-league bullpen that's been problematic at times, Ramirez deserves a shot.

2007-06-25 11:52:00
124.   cult of basebaal
ugh ... this isn't so good ... from kevin goldstein's chat over at BP:

cult of basebaal (City of Angels): What are the exact rules concerning when a minor league player can be traded after he signs his first contract. Chamberlain and Kennedy are both being mentioned as possible targets in trade talks with the White Sox, yet according to the River Avenue Blues blog, both signed late last summer and haven't been with the Yankees for a full year. Can they be traded before a full year has passed, even as PTBNL?

Kevin Goldstein: You define the rule well, while also finding the loophole. A player can not be traded for one year after signing, but at the same time, you CAN do a PTBNL deal and then trade that fresh draft guy once he hits a year.

2007-06-25 11:56:02
125.   Zack
The rumors that have the Sox giving up Buchholz (or whatever the spelling is which I am too lazy to look up right now) AND Ellisbury/Lester are lovely to hope for, but highly highly unlikely to happen. Theo himself seems to want to hold onto everyone (take the Abreu situation last year) and seems to be in command. The Beckett trade season had a lot to do with Lucchino and why Theo staged his power I'm leaving performance.

I can't see the Sox offering even one of those three for Buehrle, hes just not good enough. And the Sox based rumors that invovle the usual our crap for your star angle, like Wily-Mo/Coco/Hansen/Delcarmen stuff is also nonesense. Chicago can do better than that.

The Sox could really use Buehrle, but on the other hand, with Lester coming back sometime soon, they can rid themselves of Taverez (helping their BP, amazingly), and have Wake as a very good #5. The Sox and Yanks rotation for the next decade shape up to be scary for the rest of the league:
Buchholz (ok, I looked it up this time)

Someone/Roger Clemens at age 50 :)

2007-06-25 12:10:27
126.   Chyll Will
20 Bama, if you turn on HBO one day and see James Gandolfini and Robert DeNiro leading a group of guys in Yankee grays around TriBeCa on foot while somebody in an old Ford follows, blasting Journey on a cold October afternoon while people toss onion rings from the upper floors, then you know the Yankees won the Pythagorean World Series. Yummy...
2007-06-25 12:15:27
127.   pistolpete
125 No Clippard?
2007-06-25 12:17:45
128.   Chyll Will
127 Apparently he's been relegated to "someone" status. How soon we fahgeddaboudit...
2007-06-25 12:20:58
129.   bob34957
110 If cashman makes a deal trading any of the young stud pitchers and/or Tabata then we'll be head back to the late 80's/early 90's.....
2007-06-25 12:21:19
130.   pistolpete
Unless he's part of a trade for that mythical decent BUC...
2007-06-25 12:23:09
131.   monkeypants
130 You mean the one who hits better than .111/.149/.111 and can actually reach second base with a throw?
2007-06-25 12:38:18
132.   Start Spreading the News
Dioneer Navarro is atrocious this year.
BA: .180 OBP: 247 SLG: .264 OPS+: 34

But he is still better than Wil Nieves:
BA: .111 OBP: .149 SLG: .111 OPS+: -28

I didn't know that OPS+ could be negative numbers. WOW!

Makes you long for the days of John Flaherty.

2007-06-25 12:49:59
133.   williamnyy23
Some Sanity from Rotoworld:

SI's Joe Heyman says the White Sox have asked the Yankees about Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy as part of a Mark Buehrle trade, but that those are the three guys the Yankees want to keep.

2007-06-25 12:51:38
134.   Zack
127 128 Well, to me, Clippard is the perfect trade bait for a positional player. I think he could easily be that "someone" at #5, but his best value might be in a trade, which I have no problem with. We have too much minor league pitching, amazingly, so some of that needs to be swapped for positional players...

Same for Wright, White etc...Considering there is Betences, Brackman, Marquez, Horne etc all as "potential" starters too (potential b/c they are all a ways off), guys like Clippard might get bumped

2007-06-25 12:53:00
135.   williamnyy23
132 Wil Nieves is one of the most inexplicable cases in major league baseball. I've yet to encounter one good reason why this man is in the major leagues. I know the standard for BUCs are very low, but -28! Almost anyone in professional baseball would be an updgrade, so why does Cashman refuse to upgrade the team?
2007-06-25 12:57:51
136.   Start Spreading the News
Wil Nieves is playing worse than the worst case scenario projected by PECOTA which was -21.4 VORP for the full year.

Fortunately, he only has 48 plate appearances so far so his VORPr of -680 has not had too much impact.

For what it is worth, he isn't the worst backup catcher. Gustavo Molina is worse with BA: 056, OBP: 100, SLG: 056 and a VORPr of -861.

But the White Sox have the good sense to limit him to 21 plate appearances so far.

2007-06-25 12:58:28
137.   pistolpete
And to think that in April I cringed at the thought of Todd Pratt making the roster...
2007-06-25 12:59:44
138.   Bama Yankee
126 Very nice, Chyll (the TriBeCa reference is perfect).

BTW, I'm looking forward to reading "Mom & Pop Story, Part IV" over at your blog ( for those who have not seen it yet). Very good read so far...

2007-06-25 13:08:02
139.   JL25and3
136 Plus he gets some extra credit just for being a Molina.
2007-06-25 13:08:37
140.   pistolpete
135 I agree the standard should be pretty low, but that's also taking into account that most catchers in MLB couldn't be swapped into the DH slot and not hurt the team.

Posada is no ordinary starting catcher - of course we should expect a big drop off from his replacement. I'm talking Greg Zaun/Michael Barrett drop off, however, not Wil Nieves drop off.

This whole situation is the very definition of 'whistling past the graveyard', IMO. If Posada goes down, Cashman may as grab his ankles because the other 29 GMs in baseball will all be lining up for their chance to rape our farm system...

2007-06-25 13:15:44
141.   JL25and3
129 to some extent, I think we also have to be careful of overreacting to that past. In principle, I'd be willing to trade anyone - in the right deal. Hughes and Tabata for Santana and Mauer? Where do I sign?

Using minor leaguers as trading chips is a completely justifiable strategy. The trick is (a) to do your best to identify overvalued minor leaguers, and (b) don't trade them out of panic (and especially not for old guys with limited skills). Right now the Yankees have so many pitching prospects that, if they all pan out, the team simply won't have room for them. Of course, by then they won't have a catcher.

Don't forget, quite a few of those prospect-for-veteran trades worked out just fine: Chuck Knoblauch, for example.

2007-06-25 13:16:29
142.   JL25and3
140 Michael Barrett isn't a backup.
2007-06-25 13:32:42
143.   pistolpete
142 I'm strictly talking about numbers - 12-15 HR's a year, BA somewhere in the mid-to high .200's - you know, someone who actually would contribute to the offense?
2007-06-25 13:35:29
144.   pistolpete
143 Ok, maybe 15 HR's is asking a bit much. 10 would be a dream come true at this point.
2007-06-25 13:36:18
145.   Jim Dean
136 Heard in the Bronx, NY: "Cash, it's not too late to get a Molina brother! Let's make sure they include Gustavo with Buehrle when we send Kennedy and Chamberlain."
2007-06-25 13:41:00
146.   RIYank
145 Here's someone who may be available:

2007-06-25 13:44:50
147.   Chyll Will
142 He has Gregg Zaun Syndrome. Interesting as it would be to play on a potential winner, I'm no backup! (Hey, is that the DL? Hi!)

138 Ah, thank you my friend. Keep 'em wanting, I learned that over here. Part IV will come in very good time, but keep checking in on me and my team for some more stuff (I'll be there tonight >;)

141 That's assuming somebody made a marguerita in Terry Ryan's head the night before. Somebody pass the salt, please?

2007-06-25 14:46:28
148.   yankz
F'ing off days!!!
2007-06-25 14:51:11
149.   JL25and3
146 I bet she can hit better than Nieves.

For anyone who's interested, Nieves's career line now stands at .142/.180/.181. If he goes on a little tear, though, he can raise his career OPS+ to 0.

2007-06-25 14:52:10
150.   JL25and3
148 I'm with you. I hate off days. I really hate the All-Star break, three off days right in the middle of the freakin' season.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-06-25 15:02:17
151.   randym77
I don't think 112 is correct. We went through this when there was talk of trading Melky and Kennedy for Gonzo over the off-season.

The PTBNL must be named within six months of the deal. So if we were trading Kennedy as a PTBNL, the deal couldn't be done until the end of January 2007.

The Reds used this tactic recently. They traded Chris Denorfia to Oakland for Marcus McBeth and a PTBNL. Everyone wondered why it was taking so long to name the PTBNL. They found out when the player was revealed: Ben Jukich. Who was drafted last year, and couldn't be sent to the Reds until one year after he signed.

2007-06-25 15:48:49
152.   OldYanksFan
How about signing Mrs. Molina and just waiting a while?
2007-06-25 18:12:00
153.   Chyll Will
152 Was this long enough?
(cricket, cricket...)
2007-06-26 04:11:17
154.   Cru Jones

No commentary necessary....

2007-06-26 04:13:08
155.   Cru Jones
154 Oh yeah, and in case Matsuzaka's site seems like a joke, it's not:

2007-06-26 08:15:34
156.   pistolpete
154 Wow, less is more I suppose.
2007-06-26 08:24:28
157.   ny2ca2dc
So...... Anyone else going to the game in Bmore tonight? At least Andy's pitching tonight, he ought to put up a professional outing. ... And Tejeda's out, so that makes the O's even shittier... boy am I down. Though if they win this game, I'll probably get tix for tomorrow, and then if they win tomorrow, could be up for a sweep, and then, and then...
2007-06-26 08:56:49
158.   Jim Dean
Shelly Duncan went 3 for 4 last night. His line on the season?

.307 .393 .594 (254 ABs) 19 HR 58 RBI

He bats RH. He's 6'5". He's not yet 28.

What's not to love, Cashman?

2007-06-26 08:58:07
159.   Jim Dean
157 I would have but there don't seem to be many decent seats available, and I'm not paying scalpers to see a third place team.
2007-06-26 09:21:29
160.   Raf
157,159 I used to buy the SRO/Gen Admn tickets, and sit somewhere in the upper deck somewhere. Don't think Yanks - O's tickets are such a hot item anymore.
2007-06-26 10:13:56
161.   Schteeve
I'm of two minds regarding Cano. I think he sucks.

That's not a rationale opinion, it's due to his extreme offensive inconsistency. He can't be relied on in my opinion. I think we could get something for him, but I don't think we could get something great for him. And if you don't get a net gain in a transaction, what's the point of making it?

2007-06-26 10:19:05
162.   Schteeve
142 Michael Barret has a career .325 OBP. So maybe he should be a back up.
2007-06-26 10:48:52
163.   YankeeInMichigan
Just found out that I'll be in New York with my son on the 4th, and I grabbed two seats in the right-field stratosphere (section 33). Last time I sat up there was for the 1976 ALCS, and my last time in the Stadium was 1985 (against Toronto -- first of four in September -- the last victory before things began to cave in).

Looks like Moose vs. Santana. They've had a couple of good postseason duels, with Johann always coming out on top. Perhaps the Ghost of Dave Righetti will be present (was that really 24 years ago?).

2007-06-26 11:25:17
164.   Raf
163 Was that the series where the words to 'O, Canada' were forgotten?
2007-06-26 11:28:49
165.   bp1
163 Rags. Man oh man. 24 years flies by. He looks like he could pitch better than Igawa now. For that matter, so does Guidry. I say we give them both a shot.

(I'm losing my optimism, guys. Must be strong.)

2007-06-26 11:53:17
166.   JL25and3
161 I think Cano - and fans - are coming back to earth a little after the last two seasons. At the end of last year, I was reading all sorts of fan predictions (mostly at other sites) that Cano will win several batting titles. Now it seems more likely that Cano isn't going to develop into a real star.

But I still think he's likely to be a pretty good player, and that's just fine. Bat him 7th or 8th, write his name in the lineup every day, and don't expect him to be Joe Morgan (the player, not the broadcaster). I don't see him as part of the problem; I think he's a keeper.

2007-06-26 12:03:40
167.   YankeeInMichigan
163 Don't recall any mess-ups with Oh Canada, but it was a memorable evening. The Mets and Yanks were sharing a rare home date. The Mets were hosting the Cards, with whom they were tied for first, in a twilight start. The Yanks were hosting the Jays, whom they traied by 2-1/2, at 8. Mayor Koch declared a city holiday, "Baseball Thursday," and suspended alternate side of the street parking. As we stood on line to buy tickets, several people had radios with the Mets game. By the time the Mets won their game in the 9th, the Yankee game had already begun.

Guidry was matched up against Stieb. Gator didn't have his best stuff, digging the team into a 4-1 hole after 6. Stieb had given up only 2 hits, but he was wild. Finally, after the Yanks loaded the bases on 2 walks and an error with one out in the 7th, Bobby Cox turned to the bullpen and the Yanks turned up their engines. They rallied for 6 runs in the inning, capped by a 3-run homer by Ron Hassey (??!) and held on to win 7-5.

The Stadium was in euphoria. Memories of 1978 were everywhere. We were destined to sweep the Jays and move into first.

But the next night, a rare error by Mattingly in the 3rd led to the first two of three unearned runs, as Jim Clancy and the Jays thwarted Phil Neikro's first attempt for victory #300 with a 3-2 squeaker. Toronto won Saturday and Sunday as well, and the season went downhill from there.

2007-06-26 12:17:02
168.   monkeypants
167 As I recall, Yankees fans booed during Oh Canada the first night, prompting Bob Shepard to make a public announcement before the national anthemes the subsequent nights to show respect for our friends and allies to the north. Rather boorish display, unfortunately.

I live in Canada now, and I am sometimes reminded by people about that incedent. But then I remind them of various peoples booing the US national anthem (such as a group of Canadians sitting near me at a bar watching the last winter Olympics) and they get mad at me.

I (personally) really hate went nationalism and national/ethnic pride extends into sporting events. I prefer my sports as an escape of sorts from such ugliness--that's why I tend not to like such things as the modern Olympics or the World Baseball Classic or the World Cup for that matter, but I recognize that I am in the vast minority.

2007-06-26 12:37:57
169.   pistolpete
168 And how about Delgado, while he played for the Jays, refusing to stand for the US anthem in protest of the war?
2007-06-26 13:04:26
170.   RZG
169 It wasn't in protest of the war, it was in protest of the US using Vieques (near where he grew up in Puerto Rico) as a testing ground for air bombing.
2007-06-26 13:06:47
171.   Zack
169 IIRC, it was God Bless America, not the anthem that Delgado sat for...

166 See, I am not so down on Cano. He's always been streaky and a 2nd half hitter (ok, well so far, small sample size). Plus, his walks are up this year. heck, he has 13 thus far and had 18 ALL of last season. I wouldn't be surprised if he caught fire for an extended amount of time and ended up in the .310-.320 range, which is more resonable, obsiouly. The power hasn't come as I hoped, and that is the biggest problem...

My point being that with the season only half over, and a guy who has hit nearly .330 in the 2nd half, don't give up on him yet...

2007-06-26 13:24:50
172.   pistolpete
171 Right, my bad - it was for 'God Bless America', but...

170 sure was because of the war in Iraq - link-o:

2007-06-26 13:47:25
173.   OldYanksFan
169 Took a lot of balls, and turned into one of the first of many to object to this was. I like someone who stands on their principles.
2007-06-26 14:00:41
174.   Count Zero
161 166 171 I've never been a huge fan of Cano, which is probably why I'm not down on him now. I thought he was overhyped as a hitter all along. He has never been selective enough with RISP, even when he was going well.

BUT, as was argued yesterday, even if Cano's entire career looks like April, May and June '07, he is still pretty much league average as a 2B. Given his age and the fact that he's actually pretty good on the's unlikely you would get an upgrade at this position without overpaying.

And as Zack points out, he has traditionally been better late in the year -- he hit .365 post ASB last year. If he ends up anywhere near .300, he's a definite keeper until such time as a better option comes up through the farm system.

Cano falls squarely into the "least of our worries" category and if you use him as trade fodder, it is quite likely 2B will move into the "top of our worries" list as a result.

2007-06-26 14:43:08
175.   monkeypants
173 Does this cut both ways? If Curt Shilling, say, had disagreed with Canada's policy stance on the Iraq war, would you praise him for refusing to stand during the national Anthem in a Sox-Blue Jays Game?

In any case, one can stand by one's principles without performing blanket acts of disrespect. I have no problem with Delgado making a political statement--indeed, as a public figure he could have given frank interviews or led a protest in his off day. But this type of gesture is, in my opinion, inappropriate (though certainly legal) because it symbolically rejects an entire nation for the policies (or, more accurately, a single policy) of its government. And I think it would be equally inappropriate for someone who disagreed with French or Canadian or German or whatever foreign policy to do likewise during the national anthem at a sporting event.

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