Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
You Talking Loud But You Ain't Sayin' Nuthin
2008-05-20 05:48
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Hank continues to talk.

2008-05-20 05:56:42
1.   mehmattski
He talks about things, but nobody cares.... wearin' out things that nobody wears....
2008-05-20 05:59:12
2.   tommyl
Dear lord I wish he would just shut the fuck up. Lester throws a no hitter (and good on him, happy for the player, hate the team) and I get to wake up to this "interview." Talk about two teams going in different directions. Its clearly Cashman's fault that A-Rod and Posada got injured and that our team is currently 10th in OBP. Didn't he know this Babe Ruth guy was available? and that he played backup catcher? and how is the Yankees bench the worst its ever been? Really? Miguel Cairo and Will Nieves were better?

For the last time Hank, we're not losing because the pitching sucks. We're losing because the supposedly best offense in baseball is averaging under three runs a game. Any moron can see that, but I guess you can't. Santana would have added a couple of wins, and you'd be watching Johnny Damon patrol CF.

2008-05-20 06:04:09
3.   3rd gen yankee fan
Hank needs to plant a garden.
2008-05-20 06:07:14
4.   Bagel Boy
I think this is probably one of the most fair interviews Hank's given - probably because it was to Kepner (who didn't blow up anything said into a headline-based circus). Shoot, Hank comes across as downright reasonable. But let's not gloss over the most important point - Kepner called him.

There's also this bit from the Bats blog:

I'd like to know what role the media has in making everything said seem "loud". What's really irked me about the coverage is the NY (and even the National) media seems to pine for laziest, most basal story: The old George. What better substitute than his son! Maybe for me, the blustery act got tired when I realized the old man didn't really have it in him any more. Worse for the media portrayal of Hank (and we should all shudder at selective editing) - he has a brother that would seem to balance out his fanboy impulses.

Gotta say though I loved this recognition of recent history by Hank:

"There's been a lot of mistakes the last five to seven years that I had nothing to do with and Joe had nothing to do with — and quite a few things Brian had nothing to do with."

And that anonymous scout (worst Yankee bench he's ever seen) is a moron.

2008-05-20 06:15:55
5.   Bagel Boy
Let me note one more thing: You're only talking if someone else is listening. Why is the easiest story on an off-day a phone call to the owner? Let me guess, Hank will be talking "loud" next Thursday.

And it's hilarious that Waldman is trashing the owner when she's an utter disgrace to her profession. Hopefully this finally leads to them firing her AND Sterling. Meanwhile, Raisman is quite the revisionist if he thinks George's words had any real impact.

2008-05-20 06:20:28
6.   ChrisS
Hank can talk and talk and talk, but until he starts making poor decisions, I'm starting to see him as the organizational red herring.
2008-05-20 06:22:01
7.   Bagel Boy
2 "Your entire lineup doesn't go dead in the five months of the off-season," Steinbrenner said. "It's an impossibility, a physical impossibility. They don't all become that bad in five months.

"I don't know what the reason is. Injuries certainly are part of it, but I don't know the reason we've had so many cold bats. Eventually, I really do believe we're going to get back to at least the vicinity of where we were last year."

2008-05-20 06:25:59
8.   Shaun P
6 Or until he starts making any decisions! What was the last one, the A-Rod contract?

Let him talk. I just want to see some wins.

2008-05-20 06:37:20
9.   ChrisS
5 It's hard for me to believe that in an urban area of (what, 12 million people?) they can't find anyone with a less annoying voice for radio than Suzyn Waldman.

8 Yeah, possibly the A-Rod contract, but who really didn't think that A-Rod was going to get his money and the Yankees were going to pay him? And thankfully they did pay him (Miguel Cabrera butchered third so bad in Detroit they've already moved him to first and Betemit as the everyday 3B gives me the vapors).

2008-05-20 06:48:03
10.   Bagel Boy
That's the thing: Did anyone here disagree with anything done this off-season?
2008-05-20 06:58:48
11.   Bagel Boy
And my biggest problem right now is actually with the manager, especially with two more left-handers this week.

By the way - something I just noticed:

Brett Gardner - 2008:
vs. RHP: .245 .359 .378 (98 ABs)
vs. LHP: .375 .446 .667 (48 ABs)

2008-05-20 07:21:42
12.   Simone
I have no problem with Hank's comments. It is his team and he has every right to say what is on his mind. What exactly did Hank say that is wrong anyway? Nothing. He has it right. The Yankees' problems are a combination of cold bats and bad pitching. Unlike his father and irrational fans, Hank didn't go after the manager for what is clearly not his fault. Girardi has gotten lucky being the manager of the Yankees during this transitional period. Next year, his butt will be on the hot seat for sure.
2008-05-20 08:02:34
13.   Raf
"I think he's doing fine. It's pretty simple — he's playing the hand that he was dealt, just like I am. He's doing the best job he can. I have complete confidence in Joe."

Um, Hank? The guy you let go made the playoffs with what was pretty much the same team.

Anyway, since he threw out the "I have complete confidence in Joe" line, I may worry a bit about Girardi... Seen that line uttered too many times before to believe it.

2008-05-20 08:17:09
14.   Start Spreading the News
13 Um, Hank? The guy you let go made the playoffs with what was pretty much the same team.

No. This is not the same team. For starters, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes are not the same the mish mash that Torre worked with. Ian and Phil were giving up around 8.5+ runs a game. None of the AAA starters that the Yanks threw out there last year were that bad -- not even Igawa.

And did you see the lineup that the yanks threw out against the Mets??? Three guys batting under 600 OPS.

This is not the same team. Torre never won with a lineup this bad for this long.

2008-05-20 08:19:16
15.   williamnyy23
13 It's the same team, except for no Posada and Arod, an ineffective Andy, no Clemens on the horizon and an offense that is a year older.

If you think the interview with Hank was tough talk, go to Yahoo and see what Kevin Towers has to say about his team. I think some of it applies to the Yankees, but luckily for them, no one in the organization has been that harsh.

2008-05-20 08:27:02
16.   Shaun P
9 12 I agree, but the perception will continue to be "Hank is the new George" because that's the better story.

11 I like the numbers, but beware of small sample sizes!

2008-05-20 09:25:46
17.   Raf
14 Ian & Phil were there last year. As was a "cooked" Moose. They got 30 starts from Igawa, Clippard, Kartsens, DeSalvo & Henn among others.

Personally, I think Hughes & Ian will bounce back and will be better than what they've shown so far. At the very least they should do league average work.

15 I don't think it's tough talk, I think it's Hank talking out his @ss, which seems to be his "thing."

Anyway, the point of 13 was "second verse, same as the first." There was a slow start last year, there is a slow start this year. Girardi was supposed to cure the Yanks' ills with his fire and intensity and his preparedness. So far, it hasn't happened, for whatever reason.

So this year, instead of having the pitching staff implode (as has been the case every year since 2004), they're dealing with losing their two best hitters. And now that they're struggling, the "cards dealt" comment struck me as amusing considering that much of the cards from this year's hand were from the same hand as last year.

I have a feeling that if you read the comments from this point in the season last year, they'd be awful similar to the comments this year.

Having said that, I feel it's still early, and I refuse to panic, write off the season, or otherwise be worried with two trading deadlines left, and the Yankees' two best hitters coming back.

Last year, they won 94 games, I can see them winning as much this year.

2008-05-20 09:35:44
18.   williamnyy23
17 "Talking out of his @$$"? I don't seems like informed commentary to me. I think Hank is clearly frustrated by the way the Yankees are playing, which I think is a good thing. I know I am tired of listening to Girardi say the team's approach is good and Jeter placid comments.

I also think there is a significant difference between the two slow starts. Not only was run differential much better last year, but the offense and even the defense was pretty good. This year, the Yankees have been weak in every facet.

What's more, the Yankees had to play ridiculously well last year to overcome the slow start. You simply can not bank on that every year.

In other words, the cards dealt this year aren't the same, and I think it is a mistake to come to the conclusion.

2008-05-20 10:12:18
19.   Raf
18 What's more, the Yankees had to play ridiculously well last year to overcome the slow start. You simply can not bank on that every year.

They play ridiculously well when they play to their talent level. Once the lineup and rotation stabilizes, I believe that will be the case.

They don't need career years from everyone in the lineup, just play the way they're capable of playing.

And they're not banking on playing well to overcome a slow start. As has been the case the past few years, something happens where they have to make up ground, be it the aforementioned staff implosions from 2004-07, or losing two of your best hitters while the rest of them aren't in synch.

2008-05-20 10:47:29
20.   williamnyy23
19 The Yankees played .650 baseball after May 31 and still wound up 2 games behind the Red Sox. Since 1961, the Yankees have played .650 or better in one season (1998), so I am not sure it is fair to say they play that ridiculously well when they live up to their talent.

Whatever the reason for why they get off to slow starts, the fact that they've rebounded in the past doesn't mean they will again in the future. With most key components a year older and the early returns on the young pitchers poor, I think Hank, the fans and anyone else looking in with interest have every right to be concerned and frustrated.

2008-05-20 11:12:20
21.   ny2ca2dc
18 That's a fantastic point - wasn't the win/loss total like 7 games under what pythag predicted? There was all the talk about Torre throwing away close games, and the horrid, horrid record in 1 and 2 run games. None of that this year, just mediocrity all around.

I'd actually like to see Brett Gardner called up, just to reshuffle the chairs. Ensberg has no place, he's not even doing what I/we'd hoped (mash lefties), so cut him. Gardner is yet another lefty bat (though as BagleBoy pointed out, he has huge reverse splits this year, dunno about career), but he could at least LIDR for Abreu (who is looking worse and worse in RF every year; if Gardner doesn't have the arm for RF, slide Melky over), and add a speed element. Worth a shot, maybe he goes on a little hot streak before the league figures him out.

19 Isn't that the problem though? This isn't a team where a bunch of guys are doing well, and some tanking (at least not anymore). Cano and Giambi are coming around, but besides Matsui, it's just a lot of guys hitting their 25 percentile projection minus last years two best hitters (replaced by your and my grandmothers). Even with ARod back, it's not a stretch to think these guys will/have all aged a lot at once. As Cliff pointed out, the team is like 10th in OBP, so it's not like they're getting particularly unlucky.

2008-05-20 11:22:23
22.   williamnyy23
21 Here are the numbers:

May 19, 2008: Record 20-24 Scored 179 runs, Allowed 197 runs.

May 19, 2007 Record 18-23 Scored 221 runs, Allowed 198 runs.

If you want to be optimistic, you could argue that the difference in runs scored is solely the result of Arod/Posada. That could be true. Of course, it also means that both Arod and Posada need to return soon and at their all-time great 2007 form. In other words, the Yankees have very little margin for error going simply isn't a given that they will play .650 ball from this point forward.

2008-05-20 11:24:57
23.   williamnyy23
21 Earlier in the year, I scoffed at calling up Gardner because I thought he'd serve little use as mostly a Pinch Runner. At this point, the Yankees could sorely use the speed (even though he has gotten off to a poor SB start this year). The only problem with Gardner is that he is also a lefty. Still, Ensberg really serves no purpose, so I'd have no problem giving his roster spot to Gardner.
2008-05-20 11:40:11
24.   Raf
20 They played .650 baseball for that stretch, but wound up at .580 on the season. Which was in line with the past 3 years. It is reasonable to give them the benefit of the doubt that this year will be like the other 3 years, IMO.

The key word in your second paragraph is "early." The key componets are a year older, but hardly at an age where they can be considered washed up. The early returns on the pitchers haven't been as expected, but it's not to say that they can't pitch. Hughes did it last year, Kennedy & Chamberlain were outstanding. I understand it's unreasonable to expect ERA+ of 236 & 1192, but I don't think any of us were expecting that.

Anyway, there are two deadlines at the end of July & August so there's plenty of time to make moves, be they promotions from within, or players bought in via trade.

2008-05-20 11:44:40
25.   ny2ca2dc
23 How the hell were we so wrong about Ensberg... I guess I still think he ought to be able to be fine against LHP, but in a limited role might not ever get started. I don't think there's time dick around anymore. And he's been pretty bad in the field, so his positional flexibility is negated. I really think Garnder should just come up now, why the hell do we need so many pitchers. We were on a short bench when there were only 7 relievers! Now we have frigin 8! I'd rather Gardner now (and for the past week plus) than Veras.
2008-05-20 11:47:45
26.   ny2ca2dc
24 Joba is still a wild card in all of this. If he's moved to the rotation soon, he actually could go on a nice run. The seasoning in the BP might have helped. Maybe switch IPK to the long man to break him in there instead of the rotation. I'd like to see the transition made before the all star game, like maybe early/mid June. He's looked human in the BP lately (gasp!), so might be a good time PR-wise. I don't think it would hurt his confidence.
2008-05-20 11:59:25
27.   Raf
23 I have no problem giving Ensberg's spot to Gardner either.

We will see quite a few moves in the next few weeks with Betemit & Posada coming off the DL. Don't think Duncan & Moeller are going to stick around much longer. I anticipate another pitcher being sent down (Britton, given his luck) as a 13 man staff seems a bit much.

2008-05-20 12:09:02
28.   ChrisS
26 Joba isn't going to the rotation anytime soon. Get used to seeing him as the set-up man in 2008.

... at least, I'll wager that we'd be more likely to see Joba in the rotation if Girardi ever uses the bullpen guy with the 2nd best K/9IP and an ERA of 0.00 in a situation even resembling a tight spot.

2008-05-20 12:11:42
29.   williamnyy23
24 I think there are enough differences in the team's performance as well as the age factor to not be so generous with the benefit of doubt, but I also can't say you are wrong to do so. It's not like I really have a choice anyway. I'll be watching all the games regardless.

25 I don't know...I was very confident that Ensberg would be a useful player. You can't say he didn't have a chance either. He hasn't shown even a glimpse of usefulness. After years of killing the Astros, I have to now admit maybe they were correct in their assessment.

2008-05-20 12:35:32
30.   tommyl
Have to agree on Ensberg. If we can get Gardner some actual playing time, it might be worth it. I'd hate to see him brought up to rot though. My guess for moves is that Britton will be sent down for A-Rod today. When Posada comes off the DL, you send Moeller down and when Betemit comes back you get rid of Ensberg. Alternatively, you could DFA Ensberg now, bring up Gardner and then reassess when Betemit comes off the DL (send down either AG or Gardner).

There's also a bunch of arms moving up quite quickly threw the system. Cox, Melancon, Robertson etc. Ohlendorf better get it back together fast or he's going to end up back in AAA. That said, I'd much rather keep 'Dorf around and just DFA LaTroy at some point. Maybe trade Kyle (yeah right).

2008-05-20 12:42:06
31.   Shaun P
25 27 29 If Gardner is able to help out, then I say promote him. However, to be fair to Ensberg, while he's had 70 ABs on the year, only 28 of those has come vs LHP. And, those 28 ABs are spread across 15 games, suggesting he hasn't started vs LHP regularly. Hard for him to fill that role, with A-Rod and Betemit being out.

28 ABs is a small sample. In 560 previous career ABs vs LHP, his OPS is over .900. Even last year, he hit LHP very well (.830 OPS vs LHP in over 100 ABs, vs .661 OPS vs RHP). Maybe Ensberg is cooked, but I'm not sure we're there yet.

Shelley has options - and only a 70 AB track record of bashing MLB LHP, itself a rather small sample - so I think I'd send him down for Gardner, instead of releasing Ensberg.

2008-05-20 12:51:58
32.   Shaun P
30 That's a great point on Gardner, tommyl. Where does he play? Melky has to play CF full-time; his slump aside, how else will he develop? Matsui is the best hitter the Yanks have right now; Damon might be 2nd on the list. Abreu is hitting .304/.391/.500 in May, you can't bench him.

The interesting thing, of the 3, Abreu has the best line vs LHP - his LHP/RHP split is almost dead even. Matsui is .583 OPS vs LHP, and Damon is at .642. Matsui usually doesn't do that badly vs LHP, should Girardi really sit him for Gardner? Probably not. That means Gardner pinch runs and relieves Damon vs LHP. Are the Yanks facing a lot of LHP the next few weeks?

2008-05-20 12:57:01
33.   tommyl
31 Not a bad argument I'll admit. At any rate, with A-Rod back its fair to say the 3B problem is solved against both lefties and righties. Then its just a question of if you like Ensberg as a 1B/PH/sometimes DH against lefties. Matsui hits lefties pretty well, so you're really talking more about a 1B spot in place of Giambi. Thing is, Duncan has the added benefit of being able to spell Abreu or Damon against lefties by playing the OF, though that wouldn't be an issue with Gardner up. The one thing that worries me about that scenario is that with Gardner up and Duncan down A-Rod is basically the sole RH power threat in both the lineup and on the bench. That makes me a bit nervous.
2008-05-20 12:58:56
34.   tommyl
Well there goes that idea:

2008-05-20 13:15:37
35.   williamnyy23
31 All fair points, except sporadic ABs against left handers is precisely the role he'd have with Arod back, so if he can't handle that, it would be best to DFA him.
2008-05-20 13:17:22
36.   williamnyy23
34 Does he go into the Hall wearing a Met or Dodger hat? He spent an extra year with the Mets, but his best seasons by far were with the LA. This one is such a toss-up, I'd let Piazza make the decision.

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