Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Living in the Future
2008-03-26 18:51
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Brett Myers and 22-year-old righty Andrew Carpenter shut out the Yanks 4-0.


L - Brett Gardner (CF)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
S - Wilson Betemit (SS)
R - Jason Lane (LF)
R - Chien-Ming Wang (P)

Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Ohlendorf, Joba Chamberlain, Billy Traber, Brian Bruney

Subs: Morgan Ensberg (1B), Chris Woodward (SS), Cody Ransom (3B), Jose Molina (C), Bernie Castro (PH/CF), Nick Green (PH), Greg Porter (PR), Carlos Mendoza (PR)

Opponent: The Phillies' starters.

Big Hits: Robinson Cano went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles. Bobby Abreu walked twice in four trips. The rest of the Yankee hitters reached base just four times on two other singles and two other walks.

Who Pitched Well: Billy Traber retired the only two men he faced. Those two men happened to be lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the latter of whom struck out. Ross Ohlendorf pitched around a Geoff Jenkins double, striking out two in the sixth. Joba Chamberlain faced three batters, walking one, striking out one, and getting the third to ground out.

Who Didn't: A bad second inning ruined Chien-Ming Wang's outing. Wang allowed four runs on six singles and two walks in his five innings, but all four runs, four of those singles, and one of the walks came in the second inning. Things were worse than they should have been in that frame as Wang induced two double-play balls, but due to misplays by Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez (the latter Alex Rodriguez's third error of the spring) only got one out from them. Brian Bruney only retired half of the four men he faced, allowing a double to So Taguchi and a single.

Ouchies: Andy Pettitte threw 36 pitches in the bullpen and said he felt good. He's on target to make a minor league start on Saturday and start Game 3 of the regular season, though he'll have to throw another bullpen today to stay on target. Brett Gardner fouled a ball off his face. Bloodied, he came out of the game immediately and headed to the dentist for x-rays. Johnny Damon missed the game as he continues to struggle with the flu. Don't be surprised if you start hearing about other players battling the flu in the coming days (Pete Abe reports Shelley Duncan and Jeff Karstens aren't feeling so hot . . . easy fix on the latter: send him to minor league camp).

Minor Work: Pitching for Tampa, Mariano Rivera tossed a perfect inning and Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless one, but allowed two hits.

Roster Moves: As predicted by Chad Jennings, Sean Henn has been placed on the 15-day DL with tendonitis. Nick Green chose not to opt out of his Yankee contract, but the Yanks did reduce their futility-man glut by releasing Chris Woodward. Analyzing the battle for the final bench spot two weeks ago, I wrote, "We'll get our first big lesson on Joe Girardi's decision making when he's forced to choose between Chris Woodward and Morgan Ensberg, a choice which should be obvious." Well, with four days left in camp, Ensberg's on the 40-man roster and Chris Woodward is looking for a new team. I couldn't be more impressed.

More: Gardner got the start because Damon was sick and Melky Cabrera stayed behind in Tampa for some sliding practice. Legends Field becomes George M. Steinbrenner Field today. Porn enthusiast Hideki Matsui is getting married.

On a more serious note, Bob Sheppard, the Yankees legendary public address announcer, will not be on the mic for Opening Day. In fact, the Yankees don't expect Sheppard to return to work until at least June. I've long suspected that Sheppard's tremendous career might end with the closing of Yankee Stadium. Hearing this news, I just hope he's able to return to the old park at least one more time to say goodbye and to hear the ovation the fans so desperately want to give him.

Comments (89)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-03-26 20:51:37
1.   JL25and3
I thought the same thing about Sheppard, Cliff, but it looks like we were both wrong - at least, that's not anyone's intention. According to George Vecsey in the times, Sheppard just signed a two-year contract.

2008-03-26 21:41:09
2.   OldYanksFan
A nice little tidbit c/o SG at RLYW:

"If Rivera pitches 47 innings this season he reaches 1000 innings for his career. Why is that important? Because it would put him on Baseball Reference's ERA+ career leaderboard. If he gets there while piching as well as projected, he'll be the all-time leader in ERA+, which makes him the single best run preventer relative to his era and ballpark ever. Granted, relieving is easier than starting, but no one has done it any better on a pure batter by batter basis for as long as Rivera has."

2008-03-26 22:14:18
3.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
2 Will be interesting to see where Rivera does end up when his career ends. Surely a first-ballot HOFer?

Matsui's porn collection..forgot about that, and his visits to the "no pantie shabu-shabu" restaurants! Guess that's all over now that he's hitched..

2008-03-27 02:18:57
4.   Yu-Hsing Chen
3 if HOF voters were all logical, intellectual human beings (which is a pretty big IF as shown in the past) then yes. first ballot hall of famer.
2008-03-27 05:51:14
5.   murphy
was that bruce springsteen headline?

is this the lohud blog?

(no disrespect to pete abe or bruce springsteen)

2008-03-27 06:10:01
6.   Sliced Bread
5 c'mon that's a great tune, (love the na-na, nah-na chorus at the end) and a fitting headline.

re: Ensberg. It's great that sanity prevailed and all, but Cliff, don't you think Ensberg also would have made Torre's team over Woodward?

So far, I don't believe we've seen a roster move that wouldn't have been made or supported by Mr. Tea.

2008-03-27 06:17:16
7.   RIYank
I thought it was the John Prine song!

We are living in the future
I'll tell you how I know
I read it in the paper
Fifteen years ago
We're all driving rocket ships
And talking with our minds
And wearing turquoise jewelry
And standing in soup lines

2008-03-27 06:18:48
8.   murphy
6 , no doubt. i dig that tune as well as the rest of magic.

agreed, torre would have made the same mover re: Ensberg. the impressive part is that girardi appeared to allow for legit battle for bench spots where ensberg would have beeen all but guranteed a roster spot with torre by virute of his experience.

not gonna lie: i have a bad feeling about CMW this year.

2008-03-27 06:28:17
9.   mehmattski
Robinson Cano- still en fuego.

As for the flu... is it really possible that the players didn't get flu shots? In addition, the younger players on the team, including Duncan and Karstens, are still eligible to get the nasal anti-flu spray, which protects against more than one strain of the flu. I'm just a lowly graduate student and I paid the extra $9 for the spray. I can't imagine that professional athletes would avoid some simple preventative medicine.

2008-03-27 06:50:00
10.   Chyll Will
8 Two words concerning Mr. Torre: Juan Pierre.

3 "Guess that's all over now that he's hitched.. "

Where's Weeping when you need him? That's a good one >;)

2008-03-27 06:52:36
11.   ny2ca2dc
6 8 Wow. Lets recast this with a bit more realism; what if for Torre the decision was between Ensberg & Cairo. NOW, who would've made the team? Cairo by a mile methinks. Don't I recall rumblings that Torre was opposed to an Ensberg signing last spring/winter?

This ought to be a much more dynamic roster. Assuming these are the regulars:

C: JoPo fo sho

2B: Cano
3B: ARod
SS: Jeter
LF: Damon
CF: Melky

DH: Matsui

Then Shelly & Abreu can platoon in right.

First base could be a split offensive/defensive platoon. Against all lefties, Ensberg plays. Against righties, you have a defensive platoon of Giambi for the K/flyball pitchers and Betemit for the groundballers (can always pinch hit using Giambi after the groundballer leaves if we're behind, or LIDR Betemit).

Another thing this roster prevents are the House Money lineups. Even if all the replacements are in, a lineup of


Ain't half bad. It's probably an averageish, maybe even possibly better than average, lineup. Plenty of options for giving guys rest days, and hiding slumps. If only Betemit was a base stealer, but really, who cares - with speed from Damon, Jeter, Abreu, ARod, and Melky (granted none earth shattering), it ain't a horribly slow team.

2008-03-27 06:57:26
12.   Chyll Will
Oh yeah, am I wrong or has Wang always had trouble in the second inning? It seems that his biggest problem throughout has been some sort of letdown in the second inning, then he cruises afterwards. What could be the issue here?
2008-03-27 06:58:40
13.   OldYanksFan
I need some Quaaludes Dept:
Anyone see Canseco on Nightline?
The guy refuses to produce evidence or the real name of trainer 'Max' until 'ARod denies' his allegations.

Is Jose full of shit and lying through his teeth? That would be incredibly ballsy. Or, does he really have something on ARod, and he is setting a trap?

I mean, I really believe ARod is clean, but if he's not, it would make the Clemens/Pettite mess tiny by comparison. It would literally rock the Yankee world.

Help me. Comfort me. What's the story?

2008-03-27 07:01:12
14.   murphy
10 , ugh. i drafted ethier in my fantasy draft last weekend. if torre chooses pierre, that's yet another reason mr. tea is on my sh1tlist.
2008-03-27 07:06:43
15.   Mattpat11
Yesterday I heard my first official

aynkees and red socks beter wtch out for tronto

of the year from Gary Thorne. It truly is baseball season.

2008-03-27 07:23:04
16.   Chyll Will
13 Not to be centrist, but if A-Rod were to somehow be "dirty", that would not just hurt the Yanks, it would hurt baseball in general. Baseball is banking on him breaking Bonds' record and so-called "cleaning up" its image; it would be a very big blow to such hopes and likely prove to casual or non-fans that everyone in baseball was not just indifferent about it, but also perhaps complicit.

That said, I think Canseco is simply desperate for money and vindictive towards baseball for his career petering out and the celebrity status evaporating with it. It was his main source of income, and when baseball ended, endorsements dried up and friends/former teammates turned their backs on him, he became bitter and has been throwing a post-celebrity tantrum ever since.

Then again, he exhibits a personality of a junkie; the type of person that would rat out people regardless of whether he knew them or not, or whether they did anything or not just to get another hit. Even if half his allegations are true, his conduct is more disgraceful than a hyena eating something that's been dead for weeks. He hasn't been vindicated of being a self-serving royal douchebag, that's for sure.

2008-03-27 07:29:30
17.   Chyll Will
15 Does Gary Thorne really speak that way? Guess that would explain the superfluous 'e'...
2008-03-27 07:47:21
18.   Just fair
If anyone is interested in reading a Moby Dick-esque article about Conseco's credibilty, have at.
I did not have time to read the whole thing but it started off kind of funny.
2008-03-27 07:48:47
19.   Just fair
[18} Hat tip to Deadspin is how I guess they say it in the business.
2008-03-27 07:48:53
20.   Mattpat11
17 I don't remember the exact wording, but it was said in a manner that suggests he doesn't think Toronto will be in a dog fight for third with Tampa.
2008-03-27 07:55:36
21.   wsporter
Canseco is a pig and a bitch. He hasn't actually "accused" A-Rod of anything, he's made a set of allegations which appear to reflect on his character if true but nothing more. There is usually a grain of truth in this kind of garbage. He probably did introduce A-Rod to someone who distributed PEDs. Does that mean A-Rod purchased any or used any or even spoke to the person for more than 5 seconds? No. Hitting on his wife? I hope that doesn't consign him to hell, if it does he'll have a lot of unexpected company.

Nothing that Canseco appears to have said about A-Rod is a problem in and of itself, it's the imputation of what those things appear to mean that may be a problem. For that to continue and escalate A-Rod at this point would have to engage in conversation about this crap.

As my friend one T. Reagan might have opined: "Canseco's a sick twist, just let the flunky dangle then he'll drift"

2008-03-27 08:05:33
22.   tommyl
3 Rivera is a first ballot HOFer, there is no question. Besides being arguably the greatest relief pitcher ever, he's the best postseason pitcher in the history of the game. He has a flashy ERA, postseason ERA and he's legendary in NY. The writers will vote him in, because he logically and to them deserves to be there.

Re: Ensberg making the team. I seem to recall Joe Torre blocking an Ensberg signing last year, but perhaps I am remembering wrong? Cliff?

2008-03-27 08:12:48
23.   Bama Yankee
17 I thought maybe Gary Thorne was a member of the "Bad Spelrs Untie" movement... ;-)
2008-03-27 08:30:33
24.   Chyll Will
21 It's way too easy to impugn on someone's reputation and generate negativity in the press and among less informed fans, of which there are millions. The press hungers for negativity regardless of fact or merit, and most people are conditioned to accept it. Canseco, being what he is, can only get by at this point by playing on this. Enough people with an axe to grind will connect with each other to profit on this conditioning.

I have no other reason to rant about this except that I hate the traditional press for its hypocrisy, being overexposed to the likes of Gollum and E@#$.

2008-03-27 08:33:30
25.   Chyll Will
22 Not looking forward to the asinine explanations from the idiots who don't give him a first ballot vote. If only I had a brick...
2008-03-27 08:36:52
26.   standuptriple
11 The "House $ lineup" is the first thing I would love to see gone this year under the "New Joe". It looks like the dead weight on the roster has been removed. Finally.
I'm really excited for this season. AS Game. Last year in the House. Let's party!
2008-03-27 08:45:19
27.   Shaun P
25 Let's say Mo does retire after 2010, and so he's eligible for the HoF in 2015. Maybe the "I won't give Mays/Seaver/Ripken Jr/etc my vote, not even the Babe/Cobb/Gehrig/Johnson got in unanimously" crowd will have moved on. Or maybe someone new will take their place(s).

I think, of the guys currently playing, Mo has the best shot at being a unanimous first ballot guy, with Maddux is a very close second. If he passes Warren Spahn's wins total, and retires first, Mad Dog might be the one.

2008-03-27 08:46:44
28.   tommyl
25 Well weren't there some guys last year who didn't vote for A-Rod for MVP? There should be a test:

If player A hits over .300, over 50 HRs and plays excellent corner infield defense for a contender this player is?

(a) The MVP
(b) Well, he seems good, but I watch player B day in and day out and player B is a really nice guy and can beat me in Wii sports baseball, so, Player B is the MVP
(c) Yes, well how many of those 50 HRs came in the second inning of a scoreless game? That's low pressure

Anyone who pauses before answering should be stripped of their press credentials immediately and forced to cover bass fishing or something.

2008-03-27 09:01:23
29.   Bagel Boy
11 "Then Shelly & Abreu can platoon in right."

That's not going to happen. If we're lucky, Duncan will start against LHP and one of Damon or Abreu sits.

The only reason it makes sense to have both Ensberg and Duncan on the team is if they both start against lefties. Maybe I've been beaten down by Torre logic for too long, but I can't see that happening. That to me is the real test of Girardi - if he starts both Duncan and Ensberg against all lefties out of the gate.

More realistic, to me, is seeing both Duncan and Ensberg start against "tough" lefties. But there are so few, especially with Kazmir on the shelf, that it makes having both on the roster almost pointless.

The other aspect is would Girardi ever pinch hit Duncan or Ensberg in the late innings? I can't see it.

That's the problem: If the manager isn't going to be a slave to matchups, and always start Duncan and Ensberg against lefties, then there's really no point to having both. Call me skeptical (or greatly abused) until Girardi shows otherwise.

2008-03-27 09:33:44
30.   wsporter
24 Rant on Chyll. This is a load. I just hope no one is dopey enough to purchase that swine's so called book for their hard earned coin of the realm. I'd never wish ill to anyone but he does tempt me.

Mo's on my ballot. Of course they haven't wised up and gotten around to giving me a vote. Come the revolution though things will be different.

2008-03-27 09:41:14
31.   Shaun P
28 I wonder how much attention those 2 Detroit-area writers who voted for Ordonez generated for themselves and (especially) their respective publications? Is there any way to track something like that?

29 On a team as lefty-heavy as the Yanks, I think have two righty-slugging options available off the bench is damned useful. Especially when Duncan is no sure thing.

We never discuss this, but before last year, here was Shelley's average minor league season: .251/.325/.452, 17 HR

Then he destroyed the ball at AAA in his age-27 season. Uh-oh. That's the season where almost every hitter who's ever lived peaks.

(By comparison, Andy Phillips' average minor league season looks like this: .296/.362/.513, 16 HR)

So, I don't think Ensberg is redundant. I think he's excellent insurance in case Shelley turns into a pumpkin. And it really hurts to type this, but there's some pretty good evidence that Shelley might turn back into a pumpkin. (FWIW, his PECOTA weighted mean projection is .239/.309/.439, though with 21 HR. That's a VORP of 3.1 in 460 PAs, BTW.)

2008-03-27 10:06:01
32.   Bagel Boy
31 They still don't need to carry both. They could option Duncan all year (and next year too) without the possibility of losing him. That's my only point - unless they're using Ensberg and Duncan simultaneously, there's no reason to carry both. Like others here, I can write down the scenarios when that might happen, but I just don't see it.

I can't see any MLB manager regularly starting both Ensberg and Duncan and sitting two of Abreu, Matsui, Giambi, or Damon. Sure, it might happen for the occasional "tough" lefty but how many of those are in the AL right now? Five?

And I can't see any MLB manager pinch hitting Ensberg or Duncan for Abreu, Matsui, Giambi, or Damon.

Call me abused if it helps.

That all said, let's look at the schedule. With Bedard gone and Kazmir hurt, they face maybe one lefty starting pitching in the first 20 games - Lester. Is Girardi really going to sit two of Abreu, Matsui, Giambi, or Damon against him? I'm very skeptical. And that's once in the first twenty games. After that, sure they'll face Sabathia and Rogers and Willis, but nothing says they couldn't call up Duncan for that stretch to join Ensberg.

That's my point: If they're not starting Ensberg and Duncan together, they're completely redundant.

2008-03-27 10:07:58
33.   Bagel Boy
P.s. I don't have much faith in Ensberg. I have more in Duncan exactly because he's younger and at his peak. But I understand the argument to keep Ensberg as insurance. In that case, option Duncan and add another skill set to the bench, and one that addresses a real and every day need.
2008-03-27 10:23:32
34.   Shaun P
33 But what is that need? And who fills it?

I think you mean that the need is on the offense side. I don't think the Yanks really need a 13th pitcher. But, even if you option Duncan, of the 15 guys on the 40-man, but not the 25-man, there are only 3 position players: Miranda, the AG, and Cervelli (on the minor league DL). I don't see Miranda or the AG filling any need at the big league level.

The only guy who might make sense is Gardner, because of his speed. But he's not on the 40-man; his development might be best served by playing full-time in AAA; and who do you take off the 40-man to get Gardner on? Henn might be the answer, but first he has to get off the DL, and that's a month away.

Though we disagree, I think you have a valid point about Duncan and Ensberg - I just don't see any better available options than those two.

2008-03-27 10:30:02
35.   tommyl
33 You can't see a scenario where one of them starts and the other PHs later in the game (for someone else)? I can think up quite a few. Who else would you take? Ransom? Green? Gardner's not an option because they want him to play everyday. As for taking a futility IF, I don't see the point. In a pinch Betemit can back up any of the infield positions. If one of the three important IFs go down for any stretch of time (Cano, Jeter, A-Rod) so they have to go on the DL you can easily call someone up from AAA. Hell, with Scranton being so close they can be in the game that day.

Carrying an all glove UIF is useless. He's never going to play unless someone goes down for a significant period of time, in which case you can just call him up from AAA. Ensberg and Duncan on the other hand can be used in a variety of situations and to cover several positions without being a black hole at the plate.

2008-03-27 10:34:21
36.   wsporter
For anyone watching, that Igawa sure is hell on those minor leaguers, not so much on major leaguers.
2008-03-27 10:38:15
37.   Bagel Boy
Yeah, I'm thinking specifically of Gardner. I really think he can help them a few times each week. It's one thing to send in a righty pinch hitter for one of the big boys, it's quite another to send in a pinch runner (and one with a 85% SB ratio). And if he gets to bat in the late innings, his OBP is a great protector of losing that slot in the lineup.

As for who to option, I'd start with Steven White. Then Chase Wright. It's going to happen eventually any ways.

2008-03-27 10:39:37
38.   Sliced Bread
36 yeah, and Big Stein is in the house today. Back in the day Igawa would have been demoted or traded after that inning -- just for ruining Steinbrenner's day at the park.
2008-03-27 10:40:17
39.   YankeeInMichigan
35 In the emergency situations where a second replacement infielder is needed (e.g. Cano has the flu and Jeter gets hit on the hands -- or dives into the seats), I'll feel a lot better with Morgan Ensberg at 3rd than with Gary Sheffield.
2008-03-27 10:41:52
40.   Bagel Boy
35 "You can't see a scenario where one of them starts and the other PHs later in the game (for someone else)?"

No, specifically because I can't see any MLB manager pulling Giambi, Abreu, Matsui, or even Damon for one late inning AB from Duncan or Ensberg. It's one thing to pull them after they've already gotten on base. It's quite another to take the bat out of their hands (both in managing the players' heads and the results).

I agree on the futility infielder. I was thinking of Gardner. His skills translate very well to this team.

2008-03-27 10:42:04
41.   tommyl
37 Fair enough on Gardner but I can't argue with Cash and Girardi wanting him to get regular ABs. I think he'll be up at some point this year anyways, he's surely next in line when Damon breaks down at some point.

Betemit gives them coverage at every IF position and having two guys off the bench who can literally change a game with one swing is nice to have. I think this is the best bench we've had since Darryl Strawberry was on the team.

2008-03-27 10:42:42
42.   wsporter
38 Slice, in the old days I don't think he would have been tossed out there. The times they sure are a changin'.
2008-03-27 10:44:57
43.   Bagel Boy
39 Bah! That's managing a roster for one game!
2008-03-27 10:46:48
44.   tommyl
40 You mean Giambi can't get a sore foot later on in game? Or how about they pull Giambi for a defensive replacement while Duncan is starting that day in RF?

I agree there aren't many scenarios where they are both in the starting lineup, but for a strategic AB to play a matchup late in a game I could see it. As I said above, Gardner would have been nice, but he's not really an option due to their philosophy on him. Without Gardner I see no one else compelling at all.

2008-03-27 10:48:29
45.   Bagel Boy
41 "having two guys off the bench who can literally change a game with one swing is nice to have"

That's exactly my problem. It's not like the current Yankee lineup features Bubba Crosby in CF or Chad Curtis in LF or even Miguel Cairo at 1B. One guy, fine. Two? That's poor planning.

That said, if Girardi starts all of the righties against every LHSP, I'll happily eat my words.

2008-03-27 10:49:57
46.   tommyl
43 No, its not. The point is that both Duncan and Ensberg can hit and between those two you in principle have 3B, 1B and both corner OFs slots covered. Damon is your backup CF, Betemit is the UIF (except he hits like a starting 3B). The only thing lacking is a pinch runner, but I'd gladly take someone who can hit a HR and take a walk over someone who runs kinda fast. Its not like Ransom and Woodward were speed demons anyways and Gonzo needs more time at AAA. This is not a team based on speed and how often will a PR be brought in, fail to score and then have to be replaced next inning anyways?
2008-03-27 10:52:36
47.   YankeeInMichigan
36 It looks like he got Mientkiewicz out. Is he a major leaguer?
2008-03-27 10:53:44
48.   Bagel Boy
44 Betemit can play 1B. As could Jorge or Damon in a pinch.

"but for a strategic AB to play a matchup late in a game I could see it."

Again, I can't see any current MLB manager taking the bat away from Giambi, Abreu, Matsui, or even Damon for Duncan or Ensberg. I just can't see it happening. But if Girardi pulls Damon for Duncan against Okajima, I'll be happily surprised. I just can't see it happening.

2008-03-27 10:56:09
49.   tommyl
48 Really? I saw even Torre doing things like that last year. Abreu and Giambi would often be pulled against tough lefties.
2008-03-27 10:59:05
50.   Sliced Bread
perhaps something was lost in translation.
Igawa should understand he's auditioning right now to be the long man... not the loooong inning man.
4-1 Pirates in the 2nd.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-03-27 10:59:34
51.   Bagel Boy
46 "This is not a team based on speed and how often will a PR be brought in, fail to score and then have to be replaced next inning anyways?"

Gardner isn't that guy. With his OBP, he can stay in the game and be productive.

With a bench of Gardner, Duncan or Ensberg, and Betemit you have every OF and IF position still covered. If two of Jeter, Cano, and A-Rod get hurt in the same game, you suck it up for that game. You don't construct a roster to mitigate that against that instance That's what I meant.

2008-03-27 11:04:03
52.   Bagel Boy
49 "Abreu and Giambi would often be pulled against tough lefties"

Yes, a few times to start games but I can't remember a time he pinch hit Gimabi or Abreu late. He often took out Giambi for a pinch runner, but that's exactly my point.

Meanwhile, how many tough lefties are in the AL East? I count one - Kazmir - and he's hurt.

50 I don't understand - why aren't they looking at Ohlendorf as a long man? It would be silly to keep one of Karstens, Rasner, or Igawa just because.

2008-03-27 11:07:44
53.   Sliced Bread
50 I think 'Dorf will eventually get long man consideration if he isn't already. Definitely has better stuff than the guys you listed, and he's been throwing strikes, so he's off to a good start.
2008-03-27 11:08:19
54.   Sliced Bread
53 for 52 that is
2008-03-27 11:09:39
55.   Bagel Boy
54 I hope so. And Dorf - I like that nickname!
2008-03-27 11:10:41
56.   Shaun P
I'm late to this game, it seems. Work always gets in the way . . .

36 MFD, it seems more and more like Igawa is the definition of a AAAA pitcher, doesn't it?

37 In the abstract, I could see putting White or Wright on waivers. But I think Gardner needs that development time at AAA, and so I wouldn't do it. Would his speed be useful? Maybe. But for now I'll take Duncan/Ensberg's power over that speed. Useful bench bat >>> pinch runner.

2008-03-27 11:18:31
57.   tommyl
51 This is a straw man argument. I have already acknowledged that Gardner would be an asset. However, its also clear he needs more development time in the minors. So if Gardner is off the table (for long term, non-tactical reasons) I don't see anyone else to bring north besides Ensberg. I say it again, without Gardner being an option, who would you take instead of Ensberg?
2008-03-27 11:19:26
58.   Bagel Boy
56 "Useful bench bat >>> pinch runner."

Sure, but only if that bat IS useful. My point has been to show that both will rarely be useful. Again, maybe I've been abused for the last 11 years, but if Girardi does use both as the match ups dictate, I'll be happily surprised.

2008-03-27 11:22:48
59.   tommyl
52 How many LOOGYs are there in the AL East? The point is to have something available for a late game matchup. I'd also add Sabathia to that list btw. If you restrict the discussion to how many really nasty LH starters there are that's a bit of a specious argument. How many truly nasty RH starters are there in the AL? Not too many, because truly nasty starters are rare commodities.

Now, how many weird or effective lefty relievers are in the AL? A hell of a lot more.

2008-03-27 11:25:10
60.   Bagel Boy
57 "This is a straw man argument."

Sorry, but that's the lamest criticism of any argument exactly because it itself is meaningless.

You called Gardner a typical no-bat PR. He's not that.

"Gardner is off the table"

I don't see why. The Yanks have never worried about the option clock, Gardner has already developed the needed skills, and really what would be lost in his development? He's a fringe guy. No amount of AAA time will change that. Nor will it change his OBP, speed, or defense. He is what he is at this point.

2008-03-27 11:30:27
61.   Bagel Boy
59 The point again is the next time I see a manager pinch hit a Duncan or Ensberg for Giambi or Abreu or Damon or Matsui will be the first. I just can't see that happening - not in April or May any ways.

I mentioned Sabathia (and Rogers and Willis). But the Yanks won't see them until the last week of April. They could have easily optioned Duncan and brought him back for that week. That's the point - it's not how many "nasty" lefty starters they'll see, it's how many lefties they'll see. It's not enough (once every 7-10 games) to carry essentially two of the same player.

2008-03-27 11:35:47
62.   horace-clarke-era
61 (and many other similar notes) Bagel Lad, I don't think it is necessarily wrong to prefer Gardner as a bench dude for the 'best team mix' but that requires a decision that he's done as a starting major leaguer, even for some other team in a trade. If you agree his role on this Yankee team would be highly limited, you must also decide that he can't benefit from regular ab's at AAA with a view to offering more later. I don't think this is about the clock (though I could be wrong) I think it is about the player.

And honestly, 25th man discussions are kind of a waste. The situation can and will change. Often. No?

2008-03-27 11:40:25
63.   Bagel Boy
By the way, Ensberg just committed his third error of the Spring at 1B. By contrast, in roughly the same playing time, Giambi has committed none and Duncan has committed one. As a further example - Giambi has turned 9 double plays, Duncan - three, and Ensberg - zero. Same story with assists: Giambi - 8, Duncan - 6, Ensberg - 1. Range factor - same deal.

And have I mentioned that Ensberg's OPSing .662 this Spring?

2008-03-27 11:47:14
64.   Bagel Boy
62 "you must also decide that he can't benefit from regular ab's at AAA"

I have and I don't think he will. He's already got great discipline and great speed. That's helpful for this team.

"The situation can and will change. Often. No?"

Sure thing. I'd just like the Yanks to start thinking about the 26th and 27th men. That's really Gardner and Duncan. They can bring them up and down as needed. For the first 20 games, if they're goign to give Ensberg a real shot, then Gardner is a better fit.

That said, I'm just bitching because I'm jonesing for real baseball. I woke up early both days and cheered against the Sox it's that bad!

2008-03-27 12:00:39
65.   wsporter
My sense is Ensberg may become this season's designated Miguel Cairo.

Who ever he is.

2008-03-27 12:05:22
66.   YankeeInMichigan
65 Does he pass the BFOG test?
2008-03-27 12:06:38
67.   tommyl
60 At no point did I call Gardner a no bat PR. I called Ransom, Gonzo and Woodward that.

I'll say this again, I agree with you that I'd rather have Gardner than Ensberg except for the fact that Gardner as a player needs to play everyday. If you disagree with that, and the point hce made in 62 that's fine, but then you've given up on Gardner being a MLB starter for the most part.

Now, if the choice is between Ensberg and Ransom/Green etc. then it is a choice between him and a no hit PR, in which case I take Ensberg.

2008-03-27 12:07:18
68.   YankeeInMichigan
Karstens pitches 1.1 strong innings, and then Girardi lifts him for Patterson. Kind of funny if Karstens is auditioning for the long spot. Wonder if he's hurt?
2008-03-27 12:07:31
69.   Shaun P
63 IMO, spring stats are useless, but to each their own.

64 I think you might be reading too much into Gardner having a reasonably good OBP in the minors (mL career: .381). OBP is not necessarily an accurate measure of discipline, especially in the minor leagues. I don't think its a sure thing at all that Gardner's .381 OBP in the minors translates to a .370+ OBP in the majors - which is what he'd need to do to have any value with the bat.

In fact, based entirely on his minor league stats, PECOTA's weighted mean projection of Gardner's OBP is .310. That's not enough to justify using him as anything other than a pinch runner; Girardi shouldn't ever let him come to bat. And pinch runner who does nothing else is a waste of a roster spot.

2008-03-27 12:09:12
70.   tommyl
68 He is
2008-03-27 12:11:21
71.   YankeeInMichigan
67 I think the Yankees need to see how far they can develop Gardner because they will have opening in right field next year. They'd probably rather not re-sign Abreu to a 4-year contract at age 35 with AJax and Tabata around the corner.
2008-03-27 12:11:25
72.   Bagel Boy
65 Well, they're paying him almost 2 million for what? To be a platoon 1B? Except that his bat and defense has sucked so far? There's been absolutely nothing to suggest, so far, that he's better than Duncan in any way.

To be clear: I'd be fine with them carrying him, instead of Duncan, and only if they were quick to pull the plug if necessary exactly because they have Duncan.

2008-03-27 12:11:33
73.   wsporter
66 I'm almost afraid to ask, BFOG? "something Friend Of Giambi?"

The contrast between Igawa and Patterson is astounding: two guys with similar stuff, completely different deliveries and polar opposite mind sets. I hope they take this guy with them. I loved watching him last year the few times I was able to. I think he may provide a decent 6th/7th option who may be able to handle some high leverage stuff as the season moves along.

2008-03-27 12:14:57
74.   tommyl
73 Belly Full of Guts. Something Miguel Cairo and Enrique Wilson had in spades.
2008-03-27 12:18:23
75.   Bagel Boy
67 I'm sorry. I misunderstood you.

69 Well, they're useful enough to decide who makes the team when there's a competition.

"In fact, based entirely on his minor league stats, PECOTA's weighted mean projection of Gardner's OBP is .310."

That's a good point, but unfortunately their projection is based strictly on the MLE which I don't think factors in speed in any way. It remains to be seen what Gardner would do in the majors. I think he'd be well above .350, at least. There's no way to know without him actually facing MLB pitching. The sooner the better, IMO.

2008-03-27 12:19:51
76.   ny2ca2dc
Bagel Boy, I think you're projecting a little... The evidence we actually have shows that Girardi values both Duncan and Ensberg above a Gardner type. Jumping to the conclusion that it's a stupid idea because they'll never both play & are therefore redundant is quite a leap, Torre-PTSD or no. I think it's much more reasonable to assume that Girardi is a smart guy and will use the bench per 11 or something like it, than to just jump all over the decision as stupid because Torre "would never" platoon an Abreu, so neither would Girardi. Hell even Torre wasn't afraid to platoon in the early years, where he would platoon Tino and Pauly.

Further, if you've got a 4 man bench, those guys are going to get plenty of playing time just giving regulars a rest - and having Ensberg over a Gardner-type avoids finding yourself in a House Money Lineup situation.

If Girardi does end up failing to leverage the platoon split and is beholden to the contracts of Abreu, Giambi, Damon, etc, then perhaps you'll be proved right and Duncan and Ensberg may indeed be redundant (maybe). But Girardi has, as Cliff points out, made the first decision correctly.

2008-03-27 12:19:54
77.   wsporter
74 I see. I didn't so much mean Miggy's characteristics so much as his position as a lightning rod for extreme or divergent opinion as expressed across the bloggosphere.
2008-03-27 12:21:35
78.   Bama Yankee
73 & 74 I actually prefer to use BFOG+ (since it is adjusted for different size bellies).
2008-03-27 12:30:29
79.   wsporter
78 Ah Belly Factor, always a meaningful adjustment.

I was reading today that there is an apparent correlation between the amount of belly fat and the "early" onset of dementia. That explains a lot given D. Wells adjustment score of 140.

2008-03-27 12:33:19
80.   Bagel Boy
"Jumping to the conclusion that it's a stupid idea because they'll never both play & are therefore redundant is quite a leap, Torre-PTSD or no."

Maybe, maybe not. I did say I can't see any manager pinch hitting Duncan or Ensberg for Abreu or Giambi or Matsui or even Damon. Neither Duncan nor Ensberg are late stage Strawberry nor are they coming in for a Chad Curtis.

"just jump all over the decision as stupid"

No where have I called anything stupid. I'll happily eat my words if:

a) Duncan and Ensberg start five games together in the first 20 games.

b) Duncan and Ensberg are regularly used as pinch hitters against lefty relievers.

Again, I simply can't see either a or b happening. But I'll happily admit I'm wrong, especially if Ensberg produces.

By the way, the one guy I can see getting pinch hit for is Melky. But then Damon plays CF!? And Duncan goes into LF? Um, that's not exactly a great scenario in a close game.


What's his type? Seriously, how do you even know? If he is what he seems to be, he has a place on this team right now even if his only skill is speed.

Like I've said multiple times now, I'd rather the guy that's going to help more often than another less used guy. I see a very realistic role for Gardner and one that won't be produced by any other player on the bench.

2008-03-27 12:34:07
81.   ny2ca2dc
78 Bama, get your stats straight. BFOG+ is adjusted relative to league and era, it's eqBFOG that is adjusted for belly size.
2008-03-27 12:44:15
82.   Bama Yankee
79 Good one. David Wells is one of the reasons why BFOG+ was invented...
2008-03-27 13:14:23
83.   Bama Yankee
81 Thanks for the correction. I can never keep those new-fangled SaberBelly (or is it BellyMetric) Stats straight.
2008-03-27 13:24:32
84.   Bagel Boy
One more thing to bitch about:

Abraham says:
Bruney or Ohlendorf.

I say:
Bruney and Ohlendorf.

They can call up Patterson when they DFA Bruney in June.

2008-03-27 13:25:41
85.   wsporter
83 A lot of good work on the all lipid team can be found over at Softball Times. Their mealshares stat is very revealing.
2008-03-27 13:26:34
86.   Shaun P
75 "That's a good point, but unfortunately their projection is based strictly on the MLE which I don't think factors in speed in any way."

Actually, PECOTA very much incorporates speed into its projections (see; FWIW, Gardner's Speed Score is 10, which is just sick).

So far Gardner has just 181 ABs above AA. In that brief time in AAA, he struck out twice as often as he walked (43 K vs 21 BB). You'd live with that K:BB if he was a power hitter. But for a speed guy with no power? That's pretty poor. Imagine what MLB-level pitchers could do to him, especially with the knowledge that, if they make a mistake, its not going over the fence.

I actually think Gardner could (and will) develop into a decent hitter (an OBP in the .370 realm, or higher). But I don't think he's there yet, and he'll never get there if he rides the pine in the bigs as a pinch runner this year.

2008-03-27 13:28:51
87.   Shaun P
84 And Ohlendorf as the "long man"? The problem is, the whole reason they made Ohlendorf a reliever is that his stuff wasn't cutting it when he started. I think he can pitch two innings at a time, if needed. But more than that? No. And I get the feeling the long man is going to be pitching more than 2 innings.
2008-03-27 13:37:24
88.   tommyl
87 Ditto, the case with Dorf highlights perfectly why Joba needs to be a starter. Dorf just doesn't seem to have the stuff to be a consistent ML starter, but stick him in the bullpen and that so so sinker turns into a 97 mph bowling ball and voila power reliever, possibly a dominant one.

Joba on the other hand has the stuff to start. Just another example of why your relievers should always come from failed starters. Doesn't anyone else (by that I mean the morons in the MSM clamoring for Joba to relieve forever) remember that Mariano was a failed starter?

2008-03-27 13:50:04
89.   wsporter
87 MFD spot on. Dorf's stuff jumped last year when he was removed from his starting role and put in the pen as a shortman. He did pitch a number of two inning stints last year and one or two 3 inning jobs as I recall where he was able to maintain and carry his velocity step-up into both innings. I'm not sure he would maintain the stuff jump as a swing man out of the pen. Right now he might be a decent 6/7th inning option who like Patterson could be integrated to higher leverage innings as the season progresses. I don't see him in the old Mendoza start/longman/shortman swing role at this point. That's not to say he couldn't do it it's just that he hasn't in the past and he has struggled as recently as last season with a greater in-game innings load in our system.

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