May
14

Kepner rebuts Hank

By

Tyler Kepner, writing on the Bats blog, offers up his analysis of the latest Hank Steinbrenner outburst:

Attitude? Fire? Is that what’s really wrong with the Yankees? A team like the Yankees always looks old and slow when they’re losing, and here’s why — they are…

If a young Yankees pitcher went 5-15, would he keep his spot? Tom Glavine went 7-17 before becoming an ace for the Braves. Greg Maddux went 6-14 before becoming an ace for the Cubs. Among the many things Hank Steinbrenner has said is that he will be patient with young pitchers. Yet Steinbrenner also burns to win immediately.

Those can be conflicting goals, and that is why this attempt at a transformation of the Yankees’ culture is so fascinating. They may never be as young and outwardly energetic as the Rays; that’s just not the Yankees’ makeup in this era of the YES Network and the new Yankee Stadium.

But if Steinbrenner wants to be more like the Rays – and whoever thought we’d hear that? – he might have to live with a year or two of transition.

It’s spot-on analysis from Kepner, and one that win-now fans are grappling with as the 19-21 Yankees are struggling through some growing pains.

Categories : Analysis
  • MD

    Kepner is correct…..you cant have both rebuilding and championships……live with the kids for this year, dump the 80 mil of contracts at the end, and have a much more flexible roster for next year…….200 mil should get us a 500 team while retooling, but championship caliber is asking too much

    • TurnTwo

      i completely disagree.

      you can both rebuild and contend, and this team has the talent to do it. they just got caught with a bad break with injuries to Jorge and ARod at the same time.

      even with them gone, they’ve had the pitching to win more games, but the offense has been awful compared to expected production.

  • Phil McCracken

    The difference is the Rays have been collecting Top 5 #1 picks for the past 10 years.

    They’ve also got a young pitching core that has been developing for years in Kazmir, Shields, Garza, and David Price on the way.

    The Yankees don’t have that.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Having high picks guarantees you nothing, just ask the Pirates. You still have to pick the right guys and develop them properly.

    • usty

      Buster Olney said it yesterday. The Rays have pretty much thrown a perfect game in regards to draft picks and trades in the past year or so that have allowed them to develop their players according to their own plan and own time.

      As for the Yankees…I’m just waiting for one thing to make me excited this year. One thing that really gets me caring about this team again. Lately I’ve found myself to be very blah about the team and this season.

      • steve (different one)

        does watching Joba start games do anything for you?

        if nothing else, that will do it for me.

        • usty

          Yeah, I think that might do it.

  • Troy142

    It is actually the future hitters that is most troubling for the Yanks. There are plenty of pitchers worth being patient for, the Yankees future looks similar to the Rays in that respect. However, there is a much more limited pool of hitters. Jesus Montero is not enough!!!

  • barry

    Or Girardi can stop starting certain aging first baseman and give a young, fired up individual everyday play and see how he adjusts.

  • nick blasioli

    no all hank and us yankee fans want is that the players making millions start performing like their supposed to…age only effects running not hitting…..these players need to get off their asses and start playing like they are capable…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      age only effects running not hitting

      There’s no nice way to say this: You are just flat-out, 100 percent wrong. Age has a huge effect on hitting. That’s not even a debatable point.

    • Glen L

      pick any 10 random hitters who were lucky enough to play to, say, age 38 … look at their stats from age 26-30 then from 34-38 … notice anything?

  • JRVJ

    Actually, part of the problem is that the 2 young Yankee regulars (Cabrera and Cano) have had slumps (Melky IS in a slump right now, and though Cano has been ok of late – barring last night – he has been a disappointment this season).

    Those two are the ones who are supposed to light a match under the older Yankees (Abreu looks thrilled hanging out with the 2 young Dominicans), but there’s not much they can do if they’re not swinging right….

    BTW – Giambi has actually been one of the more productive players on the Yanks….

  • http://sport.newsvine.com Adam

    I think the Yankees need to learn how to leverage their farm system better. A team like the Yankees shouldn’t need to rebuild.

    Part of the purpose of a farm system is to provide the team with stars of tomorrow, and the Yankees have been good at that part with Hughes, Joba and eventually Jesus. But another part of the farm system is to use to trade for the stars of today.

    Look at all of the pitching the Yankees have in their system, particularly right handed pitching. There is no way the Yanks would ever be able to utilize all of those arms, so while those arms still have value, the Yanks should be looking use that value to acquire parts that will help the team.

    The Red Sox understand this use of the farm system, this is how they acquired Josh Becket. Would it have been nice if they had kept Hanley Ramirez (who at the time was a great prospect, but not even a stud), yea. But they won the World Series with Becket, so I think they are quite happy. They also leveraged that strategy to acquire Pedro so many years ago.

    The Yankees of the later 90’s understood this strategy as well, which is how they acquired integral keys to their Champions in David Cone, Chuck Knoblauch and David Justice. Yea they traded away Jake Westbrook, Christian Guzman and Eric Milton in the process, but I still think we’re quite happy with the results of those trades.

    So I think the Yankees need to identify a few untouchable studs, like Hughes, Joba and Jesus. I also think they should keep one of Ajax/Tabata. But every other prospect should be used to trade for players that can help us now, and hopefully also in the future. I’m not saying trade away the entire farm system, because some cheap talent is always nice in the form of a Melky or Rasner, it’s just that the Yanks shouldn’t be hording all this talent thinking that a farm system alone will build the team to win.

    Just for an example, the Yanks should have been completely willing to part with IPK, Tabata and another prospect or two for Teixiera from Texas last trading deadline. First base is still a problem, and the upgrade from below replacement level talent to a guy like Teixiera would be amazing. That trade would have helped us win then, win today, and win in the future. We have far more than enough prospect depth to replace a a guy like IPK in our future plans.

    Though I will say that I’m still happy they didn’t trade Hughes for Santana. Pitchers are far less consistent than hitters, so I’d be far more comfortable handing Teixiera a $100+ million contract than Santana.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I see your points, but I don’t think the Hanley-for-Beckett deal is a good example. My friends who are Sox fans right now rate that deal as fair-to-poor for the Red Sox. Considering that Beckett’s had one good year and one good postseason for Boston while Hanley is one of the top 3 players in the NL right now, it’s tough to evaluate that trade.

      • ceciguante

        fair to poor?? i can’t see how that’s the assessment, when beckett led them to a championship. we’re not talking a 36 year old beckett, either. although if he was 36, i’d still say: they got a RING with him. nothing tops that.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          He didn’t lead them to a championship. Their offense led them to a championship, and he pitched very well in the postseason. I’m just offering up what my friends who are Red Sox fans think. But for the fun of it:

          Beckett on the Sox: 452.1 IP, 40-21 W-L, 4.16 ER, 7.9 K/9 IP, 2.5 BB/9 IP
          Hanley on the Marlins: 1423 AB, .313/.374/.525, 174 XBH, and he’s a short stop.

          Ring or not, it’s not a clear-cut trade win for the Red Sox.

          • http://sport.newsvine.com Adam

            I’m sorry, I think the ring is the answer. The purpose of a baseball team is to win championships, not fill All Star rosters. Maybe Beckett wasn’t THE reason they won the World Series, but given how chance plays out, I doubt they would have won it without him.

            I would trade any player on the Yankees if it guaranteed a ring this year or next year. Any player, regardless of whether they go on to have a HOF career or not.

            However, that’s not how trades work, so I think there are certain players it makes sense for the team to hold onto. However, I still think it makes sense to leverage some (not all, just some) of your farm system to acquire players who can help now.

      • chris

        sox fans are even more dillusional than yankee fans. look a beckets post season stats – he is actuually one of the best post season pitchers ever

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          All two season he’s pitched in the post-season. That’s great, but you have to get there first.

  • A.D.

    If the Yankees were actually rebuilding right now then this would have merit, or if the issue was the youth not playing well, while Hughes & Kennedy have struggled this year that’s not why they’ve dropped these games to the Rays, or were swept by the Tigers at home, it’s about the hitting, they aren’t scoring runs, and of they’re hitters most are vets with a track record.

    The yankees right now went with a pitching youth movement which has worked in the pen but not the rotation as of yet, and it was suppost to be helped by a titan offense which has been far from it. Don’t make the rebuilding comparison when the team isn’t really rebuilding, but infusing some young talent, which are different.

  • Tripp

    The Yankees’ offense if hitting on all cylinders should erase a 6-14 record for Kennedy and Hughes. Make it more like 9-9 or something. I thought that was the whole idea coming into this season. Yanks would struggle at time with young pitching, but the offense would offset some of those struggles into wins. So far it hasn’t happened. But I’m fully confident that it will.

  • Tripp

    And I don’t think its Hank Steinbrenner who is going to give the Yanks the “kick in the ass.” When Girardi walks in and throws the bats on the floor and flips out then that will be the kick in the ass for the team.

    Girardi can only bottle in his emotions for so long.

    • yanks99

      That…is what I want to happen. That’s all I mean by my comment on the other thread.

    • usty

      “Good news, fans. The Yankees are showing signs of life for the first time in weeks. As a matter of fact, they appear to be beating the crap out of each other…”

      I’d even take that situation now. Hell, it’s better than them removing pieces of clothing from a Hank Steinbrenner cutout. Just give me something for signs of emotion. Even Jeter and Damon’s high five on the Matsui game tying 9th inning homerun yesterday looked boring.

  • YES

    Like someone said earlier I’m more concerned with the Yankee position players. They have very few hitting prospects of quality.
    I know you win with pitching but you have to start drafting heavy with the positional prospects starting this year.
    The system is pretty loaded with young pitching. Some of that should be packaged to a team looking for some young pitching maybe to get a good hitting prospects.
    Yankees do have a surplus of young pitching that not all are going to be used for the big club due to roster limitations.
    But I am concerned with the lack of position prospects. They can use a couple of big time college/HS hitters like Hosmer or Alverez in the draft but to get those guys you have to be bad for a couple of years.
    If this team wins like 80 games this year from that stand point just to be able to get a really good young hitter in the draft is positive.
    They don’t need to lose 10 yrs in a row like the Rays to have a good system.
    They already do and that’s with making the playoffs every year.

    • steve (different one)

      did they not draft for position players last year?

      like you said, the problem is that the elite stud position players are usually gone by the time the yankees pick.

  • chris

    cashman seems to think he can field roster of 25 pitchers. the yankees seem to be overcopensating for recent trades and free agent pitcher signings gone bad figuring that if they have 15 top pitchers in the minors – 3 will work out. that is nothow you do it -you have scouts for a reason.

    i pray that the team eventually takes a retooling stance for this season tring to trade any older vet having a good year – damon, matsui, even abeu (although i would rather have the picks if he leaves) if a team is desperate for a starter perhaps mussina would agree to go to a contender. these moves would be as much to get prospects as it would be to free up more positions and money for when the offseason comes.

    let the league know that they will field offers on any pitchers not named mariano, joba, or wang. we arent giving away any of the great young arms, but if we can get a delmon young or elijah dukes type talent (without the insanity) than you consider it.

    the more payrll they unload the more guys they can target in free agency and when making trades they need to stop getting the 35 year old seasoned vet. baseball has changed a lot in the past years with young players really taking center stage. I have said they have a poorly built roster before and i maintain that they d – too any old men who should be DHing and no good young hitters ready fo the bigs. So, trade a Phil Hughes if you coud get a guy like Longoria or ryan braun back. the brewers are perfect trade partners as they are stocked with great hitting and little pitching especially after sheets leaves – they have made it know that matt laporta is available – would they take IPK for him? Probably not enouh but this needs to be explored.

    they are in a position this year to try to better their farm system, unload salay, and most importantly take stock in what the have. come the off season you have sabathia, sheets and burnett. with the new stadium, lets piss off the rest of baseball and sign two of the three.

    offensively you have burrell, dunn, texeria, and fucal although he is 30 not in his 20s. there is 80 millin available – hpefully they can make that number 100 and then go out and spend 12o million. if this kid darvish from japan is posted they better get him – a bette vesion than dice-k and a celebrity akin to ichiro – thats as good a business move as it would be for baseball.

    p.s. you can read betwen the lines in hanks words that he is not happy with cashman and he must be absolutly fuming that the santana deal was not made. i have a feeling cashman is a goner at season’s send

    • A.D.

      I don’t really think he’s mad at Cashman, the pitching hasn’t been the problem, and don’t forget some of that 80 mil will be used to start locking up younger players. They locked up Cano, wouldn’t be suprised to see Wang sign a long term deal and maybe Joba & Melky as you can get them at a discount

  • Tim

    I have been reading about Hank’s comments and the present state of the Yankees all day and here is what it boils down to for me. Are the Yankees contending for the World Series? If the answer is no then who care what this team can accomplish while not contending. I do not care if the team makes the playoffs, actually the last few years in the playoffs have not been enjoyable at all, and I do not care how many games the team wins. I think that any fan but especially a Yankees fan should take a hard look at their team in this light.

    When I look at the current Yankees I cannot honestly say I believe that they are contending for the World Series this year. Additionally, I do not think that the team is one or two realistic moves away from contention. I am not just basing that on just the start of this season but also on the track record of this same core team over the past few years.

    Now if they are not contending what do I as a fan want from my team? For some fans I understand that they just want to make the playoffs, have a winning record, or even contend for the Division title. I don’t care about any of that stuff. If the team is not contending for a WS title this year then I would enjoy watching the team make progress towards contending in the future, the near future. I do not care if the team doesn’t win another game this year because I believe that this year is already lost by my measure of a successful season. So take whatever steps are realistically available to give the greatest possibility of contending in the near future.

    Now that is just my opinion but I would rather see a true rebuilding than another first round cup of coffee.

    • steve (different one)

      this is silly. any team that makes the playoffs is contending for the WS.

      all you have to look to is the 2006 Cardinals or the 2007 Rockies.

    • chris

      AMEN Tim

  • nick blasioli

    then why the hell did they sign all of the veterans to huge contracts if they were going to rebuild…it doesnt make sense…it seems as if they didnt know which to go..i blogged all winter on why arent they improving this team from a year ago..it never happened…i just dont understand..it is very painful to watch the yankees struggle day after day….

    • Sam

      “then why the hell did they sign all of the veterans to huge contracts if they were going to rebuild”

      I am assuming you mean in this past off-season?

      Do you not think that re-signing Mo and Georgie were good moves? Who else are “all of the veterans”? The Yankees can afford the A-Rod contract along with the Rivera / Posada deals too. Abreu had played very well the last half of the 2007 season and so the Yanks exercised his option. This season will finally see some $$ from Moose, Giambi and Farnsworth off the books, along with Hawkins. I think the line of thinking here was to look at 2008 as a chance to contend but take some lumps as hefty contracts would expire, giving some chances for UFA pieces in the offseason.

      The pitching has been a bit more steady of late, for sure, but the offense is completely bailing on the team these days. If the offense was clicking and some of these losses had been turned to wins don’t you think folks would be here saying that the team was gritty and getting the job done? Let’s see how the team is after a few weeks of A-Rod back in the lineup.

  • chris

    see the NY knicks after Ewing left. sign enough players trade away young players and picks for bad contracts to male the playoffs –its a big business.

    however i dont hink that is the case with the yankees. they are paying for all the backloaded contracts and long term deals. i dont think that they necessarily have to rebuild. i think that 1 lost year that is based on player devopment and tading away some vets to playoff contes will be enough to make them contenders again.

    they have a core of great players – AROD, Jeter, Cano. Wang, MAriano, and posada – that if supplemented with the right players this offseason, especially if the pitching gets addressed they can contend next year. the soone mangment realizes this is a lost season the better chance for title in 2009

  • YES

    This is not a rebuilding. Rebuilding is when you use multiple years to get where you want to go.
    This is a transition year. Getting rid of older players like Giambi,Farnsworth,Mussina who are in the last years of their contracts, placing them with the younger pitchers almost looking towards the future which is next year.

  • Colin

    Ben, I can’t get over your Beckett commenting. First off, you say “all two playoffs he’s been in” and then “you have to get there first.”

    He won 20 games last year with a 3.27 ERA, finishing 2nd in the Cy Young voting. He was the anchor of a world series staff who was the best team in baseball from April to October. I think he’s been pretty damn good, not just in the playoffs.

    And as for the playoffs…sure he’s “only” been in two, but he has two rings and is a career 1.73 ERA in the playoffs! That’s flat-out filthy, especially since he is 6-2 in 9 games started. I don’t think there is another pitcher in baseball right now that you could say you’d rather have pitching Game 7 of the World Series. He has proved his domiance thus far, and is clearly the best big game pitcher in the past decade.

    Plus, the trade worked out pretty wll since the Sox got Lowell too. All he’s done is won the World Series MVP..

    Clearly both teams beneofited from the trade. Sox got a lights out pitcher who is in his late 20s and a World Series MVP. Marlins got one of the best players in the NL (who should be back in the AL soon because his defense stinks) and a boatload of prospects…one of which threw a no-hitter.

    I don’t know who these Sox fans friends of yours are, but as a Sox fan myself…I’m pretty happy with the trade.