Open Thread: Melky vs. Gardner

Yanks split a series with sad Royals
Walk-offs galore

Melky Cabrera has a special place in the hearts of Yankees’ fans. We watched him (and his .322 OBP) jump from Double-A all the way to bigs as a 20 year old in 2005, then watched in horror as he looked overmatched at the plate and misplayed routine flyballs into inside-the-park homers in Fenway Park. He returned the following season because of injuries, and has since established himself as a passable everyday centerfielder. He’s one of our own; he’s paid his dues and earned a job.

This season though has been a tale of two Melky’s. His Opening Day homer gave us all hope that he was in line for the breakout season that many predicted was coming, and as recently as May 4th it looked like the breakout was legit. After hitting .291-.359-.505 with a team leading six longballs through his first 31 games, Melky has become an offensive blackhole. The numbers aren’t pretty: .257-.293-.284 with a whopping three extra base hits (all doubles) in his last 30 games. A few days ago he misplayed a potential double play ball, and if nothing else a routine line drive hit right at him, into a bunch of unearned runs. Today he weakly grounded out to first to kill the Yankees’ 9th inning rally against Royals’ closer Joakim Soria, sliding into the bag after being told for two full seasons now not to slide into first.

Enter Brett Gardner. The Yanks’ third round pick in 2005 has spend the first two-and-a-half years of his professional career terrorizing the opposition, whether it be by working counts (.387 career OBP), spraying hits to all fields (.290 BA), or running wild on the basepaths (141 SB). He’s added another much needed element to this game this year: power. Through 60 games he’s already tripled his homer total of the previous two season combined, and is slugging at a .454 clip, almost 80 points better than his career output coming into the year.

Having seen time in both left and centerfield this year, as well as a handful of pinch hit & run opportunities, Gardner is poised to take over as an extra outfielder in the big leagues this year. He’s every bit as capable as Melky when it comes to running down balls in the outfield, and while his arm isn’t as strong, his speed and on-base skills make him a much deadlier offensive player. It is worth nothing that Gardner is just about a full year older than Melky. 

While it’s hard to believe that Gardner couldn’t be a viable extra outfielder right now, we’re not here to discuss a bench job. Is it time to take Melky Cabrera and his limp noodle bat out of the lineup and replace it with Gardner’s speed demon game on a full-time basis? Could he perform any worse?

Discuss it here, and play nice.

Yanks split a series with sad Royals
Walk-offs galore
  • Brian

    Brett Gardner would achieve things on the basepaths that would surprise us, in a good way which would exclude sliding into first.

    I think Melky’s ceiling is possibly a good deal higher, but the discipline to get there isn’t as obvious. Gardner’s is and that’s perhaps why he gets more out of his talent.

  • Mark B

    Call Gardner up and see what the competition does for Melky. He obviously needs some. If Gardner plays well, I would offer up Cabrera to a contender in need of a centerfielder like the Cubs.

    • Glen L

      The Cubs want a lefty bat

      • Glen L

        Ignore that comment … i’m an idiot

  • stuart

    I think calling up Gardner might also enlighten Mr .Cano. He and Melky are buddies and sorry I think we need more from cano then we need from Melky who I think has been fairly clutch on this team…

    i think they need gardner at a minimum for a pinch runner, imagine him on 1st no outs his ability to steal bases in a close game would be huge pls from this team of cement legs…..

    • TurnTwo

      cashman has already said he will not be used in this manner.

      it’s either all or none right now, because they see him as a viable OF prospect, and want to get him regular ABs, whether it be in Scranton or NY.

      prob is that he’s basically Melky, with a little more speed.

      to give him credit, while i do think Melky has been exposed from the right side, he looks like a different hitter, and much more comfortable, from the left side.

    • mustang

      “I think calling up Gardner might also enlighten Mr .Cano. ”
      Totally agree.

      • Steve S

        In Cano’s defense, while he hasnt been on fire like Giambi, he has hit .300 since May and his OPS is hovering a little over .700, which isnt what we all expected but for a second baseman it isnt awful. I have to assume based on the three previous years he is going to turn it on. And while questioning Melky makes sense because you have a viable alternative and the results throughout his career have made it questionable whether he is an every day player. On the other hand with Cano all you have on this team is Alberto Gonzalez and Wilson Betemit. I know people are in love with the attorney general but he is nothing more than a utility player and a defensive replacement, which is important for the Yankees to have.

        I think Gardner makes sense right now. The only problem is that you just dont know how Melky will react. If you do it, it might mean closing the book on Melky for at least this year. At this point you need to do something to try and spark this team. Between Cano and Jeter’s failure to take a lot of pitches, he may be something that helps the team. And with Austin Jackson probably a year and a half away anyway, I dont think ruining Melky or experimenting with Gardner is that awful.

        • mustang

          Agree. Even if Gardner doesn’t work they still have Jackson and maybe Tabata.
          I just think it’s a good time to cut Melky loose before that big ass swing catches up with him and they can’t get anything for him.

          • Steve S

            I think Melky has proved he is ML worthy and he is a commodity but his flaws become apparent when he has to play every day. I dont think we need to dump him. Sometimes its nice to hold on to young players just to fill a need on your bench. And if everyone here is able to see his value, Im skeptical there are a ton of teams who would offer anything besides nominal value for him or if he were a complimentary part of a package. I can think of worse things (like allowing Ian Kennedy another start this year in ML) than having a switch hitting fourth outfielder who can play all three positions and has a great arm.

            • mustang

              “I can think of worse things (like allowing Ian Kennedy another start this year in ML)…”

              Making statements like that will not get you invited to any RAB parties.

  • TurnTwo

    uh oh. now youve gone and done it.

    you wont a dissenting opinion here with me.

  • Quinn

    Personally i think Gardener should be up for a pinch runner situation and defense. i dont think melky is that bad. not worse in the field than damon. but i agree with stuart.. i think cano is entirely too comfortable right now with how he is performing and its unacceptable

    • TurnTwo

      so calling up Gardner to compete with Melky is a wake-up call for Cano?

      i’m willing to listen to that kind of argument, but right now im not buyin it.

  • Travis G.

    well, we know which way you’re leaning Mike. you guys are starting to sound like steve lombardi:cashman, RAB:melky. i’m starting to think it’s a valid point that you are so quick to tear down melky (who’s just 23) yet seem to defende kennedy with your life (who’s also 23). between the two, Melky has proven a helluva lot more at the ML level. (not that i think that will continue, just saying.)

    you forgot to mention Melky beat out a bunt in the 8th that likely would’ve led to the Yanks taking the lead.

    as to this debate, i definitely want gardner to get a shot. let him be a LIDR and PR for a few days (send down Moeller) before inserting him into the lineup fulltime. if he’s doing more than melky, either demote melky or make melky the LIDR and PR. gardner’s having too good a season and we desperately need a real PR (moeller pinch-ran today for god’s sake).

    • Mike A.

      You have a valid point about me and Kennedy. In my defense, Melky has been consistently mediocre for 2+ years now, and has shown little signs of improvement. IPK has less than 50 ML innings under his belt and hasn’t had the same chance to establish himself yet.

    • Joseph P.

      I take great offense to your analogy. We tore down Melky over the off-season, true. But once he started to put up in April, we tipped our hats to those who had faith all along. I even admitted as such in April. Ever since the calendar flipped from April to May, Melky has played like shit, and we’ve dealt with it. We haven’t written our “this is why Melky will never be good” diatribes. We simply sat back, and watched him struggle.

      Now, though, it’s starting to get to us again. With an option in AAA who is playing well, it’s only natural to wonder if a change is in order.

      • mustang

        “With an option in AAA who is playing well, it’s only natural to wonder if a change is in order.”

        It’s funny when Hughes and IPK were stinking up the place and Ranser was doing well in AAA I didn’t see anyone wondering if a change was in order. To the contrary I saw very excuse use in the book to keep them in the Majors

        • Joseph P.

          Well played.

    • Ben K.

      To further defend us, if Kennedy has 2+ season of below-average performance like Melky under his belt, I’d be advocating the same thing.

      As I said in my game recap, we’re not defending Kennedy the player quite yet (although Mike is). We’re defending the idea of not trading the farm for over-paid, over-the-hill veterans. If the Yankees are going to win, they have to develop from within. A lot of those players won’t pan out, but a lot will, and we can’t go trading away every good young player just because some pitcher past his peak is available.

      • Mike A.

        Or because the young pitcher has a bad month. Or because Ryan Bradley, Randy Keisler, et al flamed out way back when.

      • Rob

        At least be fair Ben. Melky has been the definition of an *average* CF for 2+ years. The bat’s been a bit worse (OPS+). The glove’s been a bit better (RF and RATE).

      • mustang

        “if Kennedy has 2+ season of below-average performance like Melky under his belt, I’d be advocating the same thing.”

        I would love to see that.

    • mustang

      Well done and well said.
      Even though I agree with developing players lets take a good look at the championship teams from 1996 on, I did. I saw a young core, but the teams were mostly made up of free agents and trades. Lets try to put the youth movement in the right context.

    • Phil McCracken

      As much as I don’t like Melky, this is a great point regarding Kennedy.

      I don’t know why everyone can’t be honest about what Kennedy is. He’s a right hander that throws very average stuff. Those guys are a dime a dozen. There’s really nothing that puts him in the same league as Joba or Hughes for that matter except that he was drafted around the same time.

      Personally I’d dump Kennedy, because a logjam of average starters is starting to form in AAA. Cashman has to start utilizing guys like Marquez, Kennedy, Igawa, White, etc and start bringing in some pieces that will help fortify this team if it has any hope to make it to the playoffs, and advance further than the first round.

  • Ivan

    off topic but is Dontrelle Willis done?

    • E-ROC

      I don’t think Willis done. He has mechanical issues that need to be corrected and should be. The question is whether he’ll make that change or not. If not, I think he’s done.

  • Wouter

    One would also have to hope that it serves as a kick in the pants for Melky. Ever since Cashman saying in Spring Training that Melky wasn’t guaranteed the job, we haven’t seen much action on the CF front (Melky’s torrid start of course explains part of this). But the guy looks lost at the moment (although in general the last 14 days were acceptable, offensively). And frankly, my stomach turned today when Kay went on about how this lineup offers no easy outs for a pitcher. Seriously? With guys with OBP’s of .326, .273, and .238? (Granted, Kay did mention Molina as an easy out).

  • Manimal

    Melky is fine as a starting centerfielder. I like Gardner over A gonz as a speed threat on the bases/ pinch runner and 5th outfielder. I think you know my opinion on Damon right now and if he is this hot maybe we should put him on the market while hes on fire. We can’t have 3 DH’s(Damon plays left field like) We need to trade one of them. I am a big Bretty-G fan and I’m all for a call up but not by degrading melky

    • TurnTwo

      amen. i think damon needs to be on the market right now. the way he’s hitting, you could round up a serious bounty for him from a real contender.

    • Mike A.

      I don’t think Damon is that bad in the field. He’s probably better than a typical LF actually, especially with guys like Manny, Jack Cust, Garrett Anderson, Luke Scott, Raul Ibanez, etc holding down full-time LF jobs.

      • Manimal

        Every ball hit to him makes me cringe. There was one play today where the ball was hit to his left and instead of getting behind it and charging toward 3rd base, he side stepped(more like skipped) until he reached out barely enough to catch it. I thought he had Guillen’s homerun in left field but it turns out he was 8 feet away from it and had to run and try to rob the homerun.

        • steve (different one)

          the numbers don’t back this up.

          Damon is a very good LFer.

          whether or not you “cringe” is irrelevant.

          he gets to more balls than the average LFer.

          anyone who criticized Damon for not catching that HR has an agenda. sorry.

          that’s why catches like that are on highlight reels, b/c they aren’t supposed to happen.

          • NC Saint

            I think you’re right about his defense in general, but Manimal has a point on that home run. Not that he *should* have stolen the home run, not something one should ever assume, but it was definitely catchable so he should have been in position to make an attempt at catching it. Instead he badly misread it and was nowhere near making a serious attempt at it.

    • Mark B

      With Damon’s contract, he is virtually untouchable unless the Yanks give him away and possibly pay some of his salary.

      The only player among the three-headed DH that could fetch a nice player or two is Matsui.

      Giambi, could fetch a prospect or two at the deadline, though can’t see the Yanks shipping himi out with Shelly Duncan and Ben Broussard as his replacement.

      I expect we will be seeing a lot more of Gardner next year when the Yanks probably let Abreu walk…

      • Manimal

        Matsui is too valueble.

        • Mark B

          I totally agree…he is one of a few guys I really love watching

          • steve (different one)

            With Damon’s contract, he is virtually untouchable unless the Yanks give him away and possibly pay some of his salary.

            The only player among the three-headed DH that could fetch a nice player or two is Matsui.

            this is odd considering they have the exact same contract and Damon is currently the better player.

            • Glen L

              Both have no-trade clauses

    • Jamal G.

      Johnny Damon gets to the second most fly-balls in the American League. If you want to attack his arm strength then go right ahaead, hell, I’ll join you. However, when it comes to range (the most important factor in a player’s defense IMO) he is the second best in the AL.

      • Manimal

        speed=range but at this point wouldnt you think Bretty-G would have more range and probably a better arm.

        • Wouter

          Range isn’t just about speed, it’s also about routes and jumps. While I agree Damon’s route on the Guillen HR was not ideal, in general Damon gets to quite a few balls. Wasn’t part of the knock on Gardner in ST that his routes were bad?

          • Mike A.

            I’ll take an OFer who gets good jumps and takes good routes over a guy with blazing speed any day of the week.

            Speed doesn’t equal range, it equals the ability to cover up poor routes and bad jumps.

          • Phil McCracken

            Gardner’s routes are just as bad as Melky’s.

        • steve (different one)

          speed=range but at this point wouldnt you think Bretty-G would have more range and probably a better arm.

          who cares? Damon is hitting .328/.394/.513.

          i am not against supplanting Melky with Gardner for a few weeks but implying that Gardner could even sniff Damon’s jockstrap is hilarious.

          • Chip

            I’m wish you on that one, Gardner is probably faster than Damon but doesn’t have the homerun power and hasn’t proven he can hit major league pitching

            • Chip


              • Bo

                Gardner would sell his 1st born to even sniff Damon’s career. Let us take a deep breath here. Gardner isn’t the savior. He’s no Jay Bruce.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    For all the good stuff, the minor league updates, etc., here’s the kind of post that makes this site lose its credibility sometimes.

    Melky Cabrera and his weak noodle bat, eh? His weak noodle bat, his arm, and his glove, have saved this team’s ass quite a few times this year.

    Brett Gardner should be up here instead of Shelley Duncan, but the bashing of Cabrera on here is absolute asenine.

    • Manimal

      I will have to agree. As far as I’m concerned Melky has helped the yanks more than Elsbury has helped the Sox.

    • Jamal G.

      Melky Cabrera has had a OPS of .780 or more twice in his professional career, he has hit 8 or more HRs thrice in his professional career, he has had an OBP over .350 twice in his professional career, at a level where he has played 50 or more games in his career he has never slugged .450 or better, never. This is the sixth season of his professional career.

      He has a weak noodle bat.

      • BigBlueAL

        You consider his age and how young he has been at basically every stage of his professional career and i think its a bit too much to say he has a noodle bat for the time being. Now Joey Gathright who we saw play CF for the Royals this weekend, thats a noodle bat!!!!

        • Jamal G.

          You know what, you are right. That is a noodle bat. So now that you proved me wrong I charge you with the order of describing Melky Cabrera’s bat.

          • Ben K.

            Al dente noodle bat perhaps?

            • BigBlueAL

              An egg roll bat???

    • Mike A.

      I never said they should make the move. I presented the facts about Melky’s hitting and his defense, and then I did the same for Gardner. It was then left open for discussion, hence the open thread.

      Yes, I’ve bashed on Melky in the past, and calling it a limp noodle bat was probably going too far, but everything presented above is a fact.

      • Jamal G.

        I disagree with you on that, I think you were right the first time. A weak noodle bat is quite apt in describing Melky Cabrera’s offensive production thus far in his professional career. Remember, thus far.

    • Ben K.

      You do realize that it’s a discussion thread with the emphasis being on discussion? You do realize there’s a little bit of hyperbole here?

      And then you also realize that Melky’s put up a sub-.600 OPS over 120 plate appearances now too, right?

      We’re not losing credibility; you’re overreacting.

  • Ron

    Cashman has shown that he will do what is in the best long-term interest of the Yankees. I think that means A-Jax as the everyday center fielder, with Gardner or Melky as the 4th outfielder. One of them has a great arm, the other is a speed demon, and while we don’t know the offensive ceiling for either one, it is believed that Jackson’s ceiling is much higher than either one.

    So the problem is that we will ultimately have to deal one of them, and right now, neither would bring much more than a low-mid level prospect.

    I am intrigued by Stuart’s comment than demoting Melky might light a fire under Cano’s ass. If we knew it would, then it would be a no-brainer. Even now, as much as I like Melky, it might be worth a shot.

    While I believe it has the ABILITY to contend, right now, this is a .500 team. It definitely needs something, and maybe sending Melky down will send a needed message.

  • stuart

    again on the melky and cano front.. cano is too valuable to trade and is underachieving significantly.. gardner is he was 28 would be up on the team as the 4th outfielder.. cashman should reosnider his decison and bring gardner up. you never know when you will find him some playing time especially with the NL games the end of this week…

    cabrera and cano are very tight and the yanks do not have any good 2B options so adding Gardner will open the eyes of all the younger players.. the has to pinch hit Moeller for Posado today!!!how about the put gardner in and just put Moeller behind the plate the next inning..

    they need to get more athletic, will this retard Gardners growth???I have no idea but I know he is not the next Mickey Mantle so be real Cash, Garnder will get his feet wet and we will see what happens…

  • stuart

    I meant pinch run, and disregard my other mangling of the english language hopefully you get the point..

  • stuart

    BTW I did not say we should demote Melky or put Gardner in the starting lineup on a fulltime basis.. Maybe as others have said against a lefty give Gardner a shot. I think Melky is a good player, fairly clutch, and a good fielder with a great arm….

    gardner adds to the bench a ton; late inning pinch run, more D, and just another option on a team with very few bench options.

    Cashmans concern for Gardner development is nice but give him 3 weeks on the big club how much can that retard Gardners growth????

    • Jamal G.

      What is it with this defensive upgrade that Brett Gardner brings. If you have not noticed we have a pretty damn good Outfield defense as is. Bobby Abreu’s range has taken a bit of a dive but other than that we have a good overall Outfield defense. Two above-average arms in Melky Cabrera and Abreu with Abreu and Johnny Damon grading out to solid-average to plus speed, respectively.

      Where is Gardner coming in for defense? I already mentioned the great range Damon has displayed in LF and why would you replace Cabrera and Abreu’s arms in the OF with Gardner?

  • E-ROC

    Umm…..they are rioting in the streets of New York.

    A part of me says Melky will be snap out of it and get during the summer like he did last year. But then again, maybe not. He sure does look lost at the plate right now. If the Yanks can package Melky for someone like Fuentes, I wouldn’t lose sleep.

    Gardner adds an interesting dynamic: speed and OBP. Given the short porch in right field, I think he’ll hit a few homers too. Gardner should at least be up while Shelley gets demoted.

    If anything should happen, I think speed on the bench would help the team immensely or somebody better than Shelley Duncan.

    Umm….they are still rioting.

  • JerseyJohn

    Wow what part about Gardner not being called up to pr and play defense don’t you guys get. The Yankees think he may be a future starter so they are not going to put him in the Bubba Crosby role.

    That being clarified, I think Melky gets more time. Gardner probably can slap around some singles but I think his walk rate will slide in the bigs. His “power” while improved still compares to that of a utility infielders. I think he will get his time when Damon or Bobby goes down with an injury. When that day comes I think people will bitch that he doesn’t hit enough to be a starter. Gardner is the new Dave Collins, he has his uses but is probably not a starter on a good team.

    Melky to me is a league average centerfielder or a great 4th outfielder. Jackson has the talent to send Melky to the bench not Gardner, IMHO.

  • Joseph P.

    Player A has an inconsistent track record and is slumping pretty hard right now. Player B is a minor league player who is performing pretty well. How is it “asinine,” as one might say, to suggest that maybe, just maybe we should give Player B a shot?

    No one’s saying trade Melky. Hell, no one’s even saying he should be demoted. But why not bring up Gardner and give him three starts a week? To me, this seems like an opportunity to see if we can get anything out of Gardner. No one’s going to do this when Melky’s hot, and if he does heat up, you can send Gardner back to AAA, or relegate him to the bench.

    Not only do I think it’s not a bad idea, I think it’s quite a good idea, given the timing.

  • BigBlueAL

    Ive made a billion comments defending Melky in the post-game thread, so i wont bother saying all the same things. My main point about all this talk is, WHY are we debating the production coming out of the 9th place in the lineup????? Of all the problems on this team, Melky is the least of the problems. If Cano and Jeter were hitting like they should, and Posada could catch 4 out of 5 days as usual, Melky wouldnt even be a subject, considering for how much he has struggled recently, he is still in line with his career numbers. All the Yankees should need from Melky out of the 9th spot is what he is, not an automatic out who has some pop, can run a little and bunt when you need him to. He gives you very good defense which is more than acceptable, and shit he is just 23 in his 2nd season as the full-time starting CF!!!! Actually his 1st season as the opening day starting CF, so please relax with Melky!!!!

    If the Yankees need All-Star caliber production from the 9th place in the lineup, than man they are in bigger trouble than they appear to be in already. Honestly i could care less if Melky or Brett Gardner or whoever is the starting CF, as long as they do good im fine. I could care less if he is homegrown or whatever, if they help the Yankees win im rooting like crazy for them. My biggest problem, and the reason i feel compelled to defend Melky like crazy, is the way this site has not only defended someone like IPK to death (i like Hughes remember) but ripped apart the people who dared take shots at him after everyone of his embarrassing starts this season. Yet Melky for some reason is being all of a sudden crucified for not performing like the rest of his All-Star teammates when in reality if Hughes and IPK wouldve performed comparably to the way Melky has played CF this team would have a few more wins to this point than they do.

    Again im not comparing the two situations and dont want to rehash all the past stuff because its meaningless, i just dont think Melky in CF is a problem that is worth debating this much about at this point of the season.

    • Joey

      First time on RAB since the game earlier (HW) and I was reading through most of the posts, and I have to stop at this one and say I agree with BigAl the most. Without repeating the whole thing I would just like to say that yes, he is our 9th hitter in the lineup, but most people here would probably hope he would grow into a better hitter and could possibly move up in a few year which is why most are concerned and open to discussion. He has shown he has the pop, but for the most part little plate discipline. I love the energy he brings to the team much like people were saying with Joba earlier in th season and last, I guess “youthful enthusiasm” he shows sometimes.

      He’s still young and I believe he deserves (don’t know about earned) the right to finish out the season in CF because I don’t think Gardener is the answer at the moment, and I’d rather him be playing everyday in the minors instead of sitting on the bench playing 2 days a week or pinch running. Plus, would Gardeners #s translate to the majors facing the best pitchers that play the game? We wouldn’t know unless he plays, but I think they’ll take a hit, and at least Melky has shown he can be hot, he just needs to focus.

      As its been stated above, I don’t think the RAB guys have a passionate dislike of Melky and a love affair with IPK, maybe a slight unintentional bias of sorts.

      I’m gonna stop before I keep contradicting myself :-)

  • NYFan50

    There’s a pretty decent Ellsbury/Gardner comparison to be made here. I looked at the two before the season. They are very, very comparable statistically, with Ellsbury getting an edge in power and plate discipline (Gardner’s K rate is higher than Ellsbury’s by a decent margin). If Gardner can be a poor man’s Ellsbury that’s still better than what Melky is doing now.

    How’s his defense?

    My preseason outlook:

    In 3 seasons in the minors, Ellsbury put up a .313/.389/.425 line in just over 1100 at bats, and he’s 24. In 3 seasons in the minors, Gardner put up a .288/.381/.374 line in just over 1100 at bats at the same age (they were born a month apart). Ellsbury stole 105 bases to Gardner’s 114. Gardner hit 4 fewer home runs (if Ellsbury has any power, Gardner has even less). They are single digits away in doubles and triples. The biggest difference between the two is that Gardner had both more walks (52) and more strikeouts (84), with thus a significantly larger K rate.

    Brian Cashman described Gardner recently as a guy who could be (paraphrasing) “Juan Pierre that can draw a walk.” That’s seems about right, and not much different than what Ellsbury looks like. Ellsbury has about 60 points of minor league OPS to his advantage, but otherwise these are two very similar players.

    I’ve heard Ellsbury projects to hit for a little more power. I’m not sure if the same is true for Gardner.

    • steve (different one)

      true. of course if Juan Pierre could draw a walk, he’d actually be a decent player.

      i like Melky, but i admit that i am intrigued by Gardner.

      i am 80% sure he will probably suck in the majors, but that other 20% is curious as hell and very willing to prove the 80% wrong.

      i’m kindof with the RAB guys: Melky hasn’t really played well enough to NOT give Gardner a shot.

  • Christopher

    I’m sorry to the Melky-lovers, but arguments on his behalf have become more and more like apologies. “He’s bailed out the team…” etc. Baseball is a sport where numbers measure everything, and its difficult to get away with subjective arguments like that. Fact is, Melky’s numbers stink. He doesn’t hit, he doesn’t get on base, he doesn’t score runs. He can throw with the best of them, but one tool does not a major league center fielder make. Gardner deserves his chance. He has earned it. He doesn’t throw like Melky, but his arm is ML average. On the other hand, Gardner hits gap-to-gap, draws walks like it is his job (it kind of is), steals, scores runs, catches everything in the air and cuts off everything in the gaps. We’ve got to see how his game translates.

    Melky’s AB against Soria today perfectly summed up why he’s not (or shouldn’t be) an every day player. As has been noted, Soria had given up a hit, a walk and hit a batter before Melky stood in. The bases were loaded, 55,000 people were screaming, and Soria clearly hadn’t forgotten the save he blew the other day. In that situation, the hitter CANNOT swing until strike 2. When the count is 1-0, the hitter DEFINITELY cannot swing, and if the hitter insists on swinging at the 1-0 pitch, it can’t be at a pitch inside off the plate. Forget the part about Melky sliding into 1B like a fool… the approach at the plate was juvenile. High schoolers everywhere know better than that.

    • Haggs

      “The bases were loaded, 55,000 people were screaming, and Soria clearly hadn’t forgotten the save he blew the other day. In that situation, the hitter CANNOT swing until strike 2.”

      Sounds like a pretty subjective analysis of Mr. Soria, who has been dominant all year. If numbers really do measure everything, then if you give 2 strikes to Soria you might as well not come up to the plate.

      Melky should be the least of the Yankees problems. Yeah he botched that play against Toronto, but he has otherwise been very good in CF, and he has hit better the past few weeks after going into a deep funk. I think you have to give him more time.

      The way the bench is configured now, with 3 catchers, it would be difficult to carry both Melky and Gardner on the team (though Duncan is pretty useless at the moment). Sending Melky down could ruin him for good, and would make him a lot less attractive to other teams.

      I’d like to see what BG can do here, but I’m not quite ready to give up on MC.

    • xenjet

      Wow!! Think about if the Yankees keep our young guys no matter what the stats say. An outfield in a couple of years featuring 3 center fielders. If the pitching comes along and we get a 1st baseman there is not much to stop us.
      Pitching and defense win in the playoffs, remember our 125 win season, Bernie led the team in HR with 29. I really like the look of the future, there is so much pitching in the pipeline. Andy and Moose will be gone, the guys that bring it will be in the rotation, and the others will go to the bullpen. Look at the Red Sox they can rest all of their pitchers a month because of their depth. The Yankees have 2nd, 3rd, SS, and Catcher tied up for at least 4 more years. During this time if the pitching develops and the outfield defense is stellar with average offensive production we will be contenders.
      This is what I think their plan is. I have no more knowledge other than my own analysis. Personel changes in management could change everything

  • Dan

    I made these points on another site before i saw this thread, just look at these numbers:

    Hitting .300 with a .417 OBP.
    25 stolen bases in 33 attempts.
    62 hits in 60 games.
    he has been on base 105 TIMES in only 60 GAMES

    The only reason he isn’t in the bigs yet, is that he’s lefty.

    • Pablo Zevallos

      even Cashman said so

  • Adam

    major league pitchers simply will not fear gardner’s bat, so they will throw him strikes and dare him to hit it, thus it should be expected for his OBP to be considerably lower at the major league level.

    gardner also has 42 strikeouts in 53 games in AAA, and that rate will predictably increase in the majors, but regardless of how fast he is, can you give an everyday job to a guy that will strikeout 150+ times in a season with <10 homeruns?

  • DMan

    This is a great post.

    I’ve thought for awhile now that Melky hasn’t been showing the type of spark we’ve seen out of him the last couple years…

    It’s getting hard to watch him now.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    I’m reminded of the answer to the age old NFL question, who is the most popular player in the NFL (answer, the back up quarterback). Before we hand the starting centerfielder job to Gardner should we do anything to make sure, you know, he can actually play in the majors. This guy is a year older and has yet to have even one major league at bat (Melky has had over 1,200). Gardner will be 25 years old in August please don’t forget that. A few months ago some folks around here wanted to move Posada to first base so we could get Molina into the line up more often, anyone still support that idea.

    Melky is a serviceable centerfielder and they’re tougher to find than folks might think. Gardner is a very old 24 coming out of the minors don’t get to carried away.

    Melky is not the reason this team is where it is today.

    • BigBlueAL

      Amen. Couldnt have said it better myself, although ive tried. Why people keep harping on the performance of the #9 hitter on a team full of All-Stars and criticizing a player who plays pretty good defense at a position where defense is at a premium and he doesnt kill you with the bat at all (aka Joey Gaithright) is beyond me.

    • steve (different one)

      i’m not sure if melky’s 1200 AB’s help or hurt your case.

      the problem with melky is that he isn’t improving:

      2006: .280/.360/.391
      2007: .273/.327/.391
      2008: .274/.326/.392

      • Steve

        What bugs me most about that is the low OBP. I don’t think he’ll ever hit for much power, he should focus on getting on base and scoring runs. If he had an OBP of around .380-.400 I don’t think there would be much complaining going on.

        I’m growing increasingly impatient with Melky. I like his hustle but that only goes so far. If we’re going to have a CF with no pop, we might as well bring up Brett Gardner. Who with his speed will at least get to more balls in the outfield than Melky does. He could save us more runs and likely score just as many. Plus, that element of pure speed on the base paths is very intriguing, especially in tight, well pitched games.

        This is a make or break year for Melky (according to Cash) and so far I can’t imagine they like what they see.

        • BigBlueAL

          Do u know how hard it is to have an OBP around .380-.400???? .350 would be a better goal to shoot for, .380-.400 is an All-Star which again isnt necessary from the 9th place in the lineup. If the Yankees had a player hitting 9th with an OBP of .380, then either they r wasting him at such a low point in the lineup, or they are averaging 8 runs per game which is basically impossible to do.

          • Steve

            I understand, but with his career SLG of about .380 thats the only way I can see him getting up to around a .750 OPS, which I think is the absolute floor of what the Yanks will expect from an everyday player. And you’re right, its not easy to do.

            I just don’t see him keeping his job long term.

    • Joey

      Thats the perfect comparison (the NFL quote) which I was kinda beating around the bush in my post above to get at but couldn’t put it into those beautiful words, why do we think Gardener would be any better than Melky at the major league level?

  • TJyankee21

    I love the idea of bringing up Brett Garner. He adds speed on the bench and would be a catalyst in the lineup. I think Melky is close to his ceiling now and do not see him getting that much better. He has a great arm and is very good defensively but I do not see him providing much more offensively.
    I wouldn’t mind seeing Melky in right after Abreu is gone but I’m not sure if his production will be enough for right field. If Melky does continue to improve, in 2010 I would like to see Gardner in left, Austin Jackson in center, and Melky in right. That would be one of the best defensive outfields in baseball.
    Right now I see Jackson being ready in 2010 but not so sure on Jose Tabata. He is still very young and after seeing his recent struggles and attitude problems I am not sure when he will be ready.

  • Pablo Zevallos

    What is there to particularly like about Melky Cabrera? Let me tell you about a player who is a bit undersized and projects for 15HR at best. This player has below-average reads on the ball and bad range but he has above-average speed to make up for it–most of the time. His contact abilities are suspect at times, projecting to hit .270 for a career, and looks overmatched and strikes out a lot due to poor plate discipline and poor pitch recognition. He doesn’t walk much to speak of, either.

    Now let me about a prospect, about the same age, who has above-average contact abilities with gap power and the occasional homerun ball. He has an average-to-above-average arm in center but takes great reads and has all the range anyone will ever need. He is a speed demon and beats out grounders, extends hits, and steals bases like crazy. He walks quite a bit, which makes out for his tendency to strike out a bit. He has solid fundamentals and is a smart ballplayer.

    Player A is Melky Cabrera. Player B is Brett Gardner. Who do you like? Melky, because of “the catch?” People, that was two years ago. Gardner can do better.

    • pete

      who says gardner takes such great reads on the ball? i’ve heard his reads are just as basd as melky’s

  • Rich

    I think that at the very least, Gardner and Melky should alternate in CF irrespective of the handedness of the starting pitcher. But if I had to choose between the two right now, I would opt for Gardner, and I say that as someone who has supported Melky since 2005.

  • Bart

    you guys are too late – you wouldn’t allow melky and ipk to be traded for santana

    • steve (different one)

      sits back, grab popcorn.

    • Rich

      I would have traded those two for Santana, just not Hughes or A-Jack.

      • steve (different one)

        and so would the yankees.

        but that was never a possibility, no matter how many times guys like Bart come on here and say otherwise.

    • Mike A.

      Come on Bart, that was never the offer and you know it. It was either Hughes, Melky, Marquez + another minor leaguer or IPK, Melky, Wang + another MiLer.

      This horse has been beat to dead and beyond.

      • Newman

        Just a question…I know this deal (IPK, Melky) wasn’t proposed, but hypothetically, if it was, with say an Alan Horne type prospect, would you have done that deal? Clearly Hughes is a different story, but were you guys more weary of giving up on kids like Kennedy or did you just not wanna give Johan all that money? Or a combo of both? I went back and forth on the Johan thing myself for a while, and even though we would’ve had to give him a ton of money, he is the best pitcher in baseball, unlike Barry Zito was when he signed as an FA.

        • Newman

          I meant years plus money, my bad

        • Ben K.

          For me, it was part money, part prospects. I would have been more willing to do it with IPK+Melky+Horne because Horne seems to project more as a reliever. I don’t know if Mike/Joe agree with me on that one.

          I’m also a bit wary of Santana’s money. He has a history of elbow issues; he’s been trending down. I much prefer the idea of acquire C.C. Sabathia than Santana.

        • Joey

          I do believe it was a combo of both the money and the prospects, but hypothetically if they wanted IPK, Melky, and Horne then I there easily would have been a deal done. The problem was they wanted the Wanger and/or Hughes and that was a huge no, because we would end up paying $150 mill + anyway for Santana, and although he is the best pitcher in baseball, that money and that length of contract and that age for a pitcher just doesn’t make sense.

          • Seven Costanza

            is he really the best pitcher in baseball? really?

            • mustang

              Best left-handed pitcher.

            • Joey

              At the beginning of the season hell yes. Now I would probably say Webb

              • Travis G.

                and we’re only 60 games into his 6 year deal and already he’s been demoted from the top spot. imagine a few years from now.

    • Ben K.

      I love the way Yankee fans create history. Had the Twins been willing to accept just Melky and Kennedy for Santana, we would have jumped on that trade in about one second. But that was never ever ever on the table.

      • steve (different one)

        exactly, and yankee fans actually think that is a superior offer to the Mets’ offer.

        the Twins blew it, but Carlos Gomez was an actual prospect and believe it or not, the Twins didn’t really care for Melky all that much.

      • Steve

        From what I understand, the Twins didn’t like Melky all that much.

        They were looking to rebuild with defense up the middle and wanted someone who could approximate the range and fielding skills they had with Torri Hunter. Looking at Gomez’ fielding stats this year, and where he ranks in the AL, they made the right choice.

  • stuart

    why can the sux have 2 smallish defensive CF’s on the team but the yanks cannot??

    the sux can score by buntings and running and the yanks CANNOT.

    if gardner can help the team he should be up for at least a cup of coffee!!!!!!!!!!

  • raymagnetic

    Sorry, but let’s not get besides ourselves with Gardner’s so called power display in AAA.

    Melky who was 21 in AAA tore up AAA the short time he spent there.

    I have no faith in Gardner being able to be an everyday outfielder in the Bronx.

    Shelly Duncan looks like Ruth in AAA.

    Gardner is a singles hitter with speed. Nobody in the bigs is going to be afraid to pump fastball after fastball to Gardner.

    Gardner who’s been older than Melky was at every level in the minors has an OPS only .08 points higher than Melky’s was in the minors.

    • Seven Costanza

      then let them pump fastball after fastball and he can slap singles the other way and get on base.

  • raymagnetic

    “but one tool does not a major league center fielder make. Gardner deserves his chance. ”

    Gardner has one tool, he’s fast. Very fast.

  • Wiggum Fan

    Let’s get back to the topic….Is it time to take Melky Cabrera and his limp noodle bat out of the lineup and replace it with Gardner’s speed demon game on a full-time basis? Could he perform any worse?

    Let’s look at OBP since 2006:
    Gardner – .352, .360 (estimate) and .419 this year
    Melky – .360, .327 and .327 this year

    Let’s look at Runs Created, again from 2006:
    Gardner – 28, 59, 40
    Melky – 71, 71, 27

    Let’s get rid of the sample size question by looking at At Bats:
    Gardner – 217, 384, 203
    Melky – 460, 545, 212 (I couldn’t find Gardner’s Plate Appearances to I went with AB)

    Gardner – .330, .346 (estimate), .370
    Melky – .309, .295, .289

    Gardner – .670, .730 (estimate), .867
    Melky – .752, .718, .718

    Now, if I remember correctly, I believe it is expected a 10% drop when a player goes up a level.

    Just estimating the numbers, they are pretty even, using a 10% estimated drop. BUT, do you take a chance on a rookie with a small sample size or the known quality? If Gardner was the real deal, why didn’t he take the job from Melky out of spring training? And you can’t say that Melky hit going north, once the season starts spring is forgotten – remember Cano was hitting like Carew.

    There is also a personal issue – remember last year Melky said he loved working out with ARod and was stronger. Are they continuing that routine? Cano had joined them too for the daily workouts. Are they still working out and talking baseball? Did ARod’s time away hurt Melky?

    Right now it appears that Melky is on his way to another year last year. Solid, league average or below average offensively.

    A dropped ball and a game ending at-bat don’t make a season. 30 bad games and 30 great games don’t make a season – Melky is right where his career norms are.

    So people can’t (or shouldn’t) sing his praises from last year when he is doing the same thing this year.

    My opinion….
    Let Melky stay. As stated in another post, he’s the number 9 hitter. I want to see Gardner do it over a greater time period before putting him in CF.

    The issue is Wang, Pettitte, Jeter’s lack of production, Posada’s injury, ARod’s injury, what to do when Mussina & Rasner come back to earth, Cano’s horrible season and a coaching staff that lacks the experience of past years.

    Lastly, when I saw Melky slide into first, I thought he did it to avoid running into the pitcher. He was out be a few steps so sliding was the safer thing to do. Running through the bag when already out serves no purpose.

    If, at the All-Star break, the Yankees are floudering, make the change if Gardner is still hitting and getting on base. But there are bigger issues then Melky’s production and a few defensive lapses.

  • mustang

    I have to agree with the thread. Right now this team needs to address some issues and I think they can do that by trading Melky. Damon with his contract even as hot as he is will not get them back the same value and leadoff man just don’t grow on trees.
    I think Gardner can do the job and should at least be given the chance. We all know what Melky is if he can be used to fill the holes on this team I say do it.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    If we do decide it is sensible to consider a Melkman delivery away from the Stadium, who could we expect to be interested and what could we get back?

    Send him to Cubs for Sean Gallagher?

    I don’t see what we would want other than an impact reliever.

    • Bonos

      One of Abreu and Damon need to be replaced next year with younger player with power and speed.

  • daneptizl

    Gardner please.

  • vinny-b

    as another person mentioned, i have greater concern over Cano (and the contract he was given) over melky, right now. Cano doesn’t seem very intelligent. As a CF’er, melky is acceptable. And there in not a bigger Bret Gardner fan, then I. However, Gardner needs to play every day, and benching melky at this time, would be unfair.

  • Joey

    I can’t wait until this becomes a bigger issue in a while then it is now so I can hear Steve Phillips, Joe Morgans, Michael Kay, etc… opinions on this ;-)

    • Joey

      just as a disclaimer I hope it doesn’t become a bit issue and Melk-man picks it up

    • Mike A.

      Joe Morgan: “Well, we’ve seen Melky Cabrero do it before. You see, he has a track record that we can look at, and say, he’s done this before. Cobrero can be a great player, but he hasn’t been given a chance to be a great player yet. We don’t know what Gardener can do yet. He doesn’t have the track record. Milky brings a lot of energy to the team, and he’s consistent.”

      Steve Phillips: “Well you see Joe, I think that Melky has been given time to prove himself. He’s one of the best defensive players on the team, so I think he’d be best used as an 8th inning defensive replacement.”

      Michael Kay: “But I don’t understand, wouldn’t Melky be thinking ‘this guy is coming up right behind me, I’ve got to try harder.’ He has to be thinking that, it’s uuman nature. Melky could be doing badly and it could just be fortuitous. I mean, why should he have to look over his shoulder after only a month. I just don’t get it. What do you think Paul?”

      • steve (different one)

        it’s uuman nature


      • Joey

        you the best for a reason. lol

      • pete

        you forgot “any time you have…” for joe
        love it though

  • Bonos

    The only thing is, that until you bring him up and check him out you will never know what he’s like in the Majors. What if he’s serviceable, now he’s worth something, if he’s better than Melky than Melky is worth something, or you keep both. How will you know till you check. Testing, testing. If Gardner is good then either one plus IPK/Horne plus Robertson/Ohlenorff gets you a stud corner OF. If Gardner is not ready, send him back. Seems a no brainer.

  • Ramadan

    lets bring up the gritty gutty white guy who is a bootleg Jacoby Ellsbury…..this boards kills melky but cant admit that Hughes and Kennedy have been colossal disappointments….

    Damon has a stronger arm than Gardner!!!!

    • Chip

      And you know this how? All I’ve heard is that it’s a fairly good arm and this is from Chad Jennings who you know actually watches all the games. Don’t just pull things out of your ass to make an argument

    • A.D.

      Gardner has a solid arm, made some nice throws in Spring training, one to nail someone at home.

      Who had the lesser arm, Bernie or Damon?

  • A.D.

    I think Melk will still get it done, he is still hitting over .300 this season against rhp, which makes me wonder if some of the struggles started when the Yanks seemed to face an abnormal amount of LHP.

    Additionally I don’t know if sending Melky down/pulling his starting job will fire him up, I think he is a hard worker, and plays as hard as he can at all times. I’m a fan of both, I think the Yanks should give Gardner some time to start at some point this season, then let Abreu leave and start both next year. I know some people will disagree with the production by position with Melky in right, but let them play it out, you can always trade for a RF in the offseason, the market for RF isn’t exactly amazing as it’s pretty much Adam Dunn.

    2010 We see Gardner in lf, AJAX & Melk if he’s producing in RF.

    My 2 cents, like the open feed

    • Chip

      While that’d be a really really fast outfield, there’s no way either of them can hold a candle to Abreu’s offensive prowess. It would be like replacing Giambi with Alberto Gonzalez

      • A.D.

        Completly true but if Damon, Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, Matsui, Posada, and whomever is playing first hit as expected we’d have plenty of bats, couple of role players that could blossom wouldn’t be the worst

  • Chip

    I agree with the idea of calling Gardner up when Moehler is eventually DFA’d and start him every-other day in center. If he catches fire, let Melky ride the pine for awhile until he comes back down to Earth. If he doesn’t hit say, go back to AAA and figure it out. I’d imagine the idea of losing his spot will light a fire under his ass

  • Joltin’ Joe

    At this point I wonder if Molina is the one who gets DFA’d, despite having 2009 on his deal. Moehler has just been better.

    • Chip

      No way, Molina has been exposed by having to start lately but he’s one of the best backup catchers in the league and usually plays stellar defense. Moehler has done a great job filling in and I think it will get him a job with another team but Molina stays

  • Steve

    I have solved the problem my friends.

    2008 As RHB BA .206 OBP .286 SLG.324 OPS.610

    He can’t hit lefties. At least not this year.

    and despite the fact the Brett Gardner is left handed

    vs Left BA .349 OBP .440 SLG .619 OPS 1.059

    He actually hits lefties better.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a . . . . platoon. Actually, you can live with a 5th OFer considering he can be an outstanding pinch runner. We actually have a 5th OFer now, a RF named Duncan. Who has been useless all year. Send Shelly down and call up Gardner, who can be used vs Lefties.


    • Chip

      Thank you Steve!! I completely agree, give the kid a shot. He’s almost to the age where he’s no longer a prospect. You have to let him try before he gets passed up by A-Jax

      • Steve

        Since I don’t know how to edit, let me just throw in the whole “late inning defensive replacement” thing for Gardner as well.

        Can’t you just see him tracking down a ball in the gap that would have lost us a game if Melky was out there? On the scouts 20-80 scale, Gardner rates an 80. Even if he got bad jumps he could outrun his mistakes with that kind of speed.

    • steve (different one)

      extra credit for thinking outside of the box, but i don’t think any team would hand the RH half of a platoon to a LH hitter with zero major league ABs.

      the problem as i see it is that Melky is playing just badly enough to be a slight drag on the offense but just well enough to keep his job.

      that’s what is keeping Garnder in AAA. Melky is getting enough sporadic hits to keep him in the lineup. in other words, he hasn’t been Tony Pena Jr. bad.

      • Steve

        I don’t think its so radical to ask players to do what they do well. If anything, it would be kinda dumb to ask players to do something they haven’t shown an ability to do. Since he’s better at hitting lefties, go with it.

        I also wanted to add that one reason NOT to bring up kids from AAA is “They need to play every day”. Using him vs Lefthanders plus as a pinch runner/late inning defensive replacement would get him involved on just about a daily basis.


  • JeffG

    We lost a one run game given up by our closer. Mo doesn’t pitch around people and so be it. Two days ago we overcame a ten run deficite. We are seven games out with a lot of season left…
    Our main problem has been sub par pitching and we’ve got Joba comming into the rotation. Lets also not forget if we had Santana’s seven wins we’d be tied for first. But this developing team is what you guys were cheering for.
    I’m not that worried though… Our lineup is going to score runs. A-Rod is bound to really turn it on at some point. Cano can’t be this bad all year.
    But for now we have the record of a team that that had two inexperienced pitchers run into the major leagues.
    If anything we need to improve the pen but I’d say calls for Melky’s banishment or Damonds for that matter are knee jerk and off by a long shot. The thing that strikes me as funny is that people on this site are so convinced how minor leaguers come up to the bigs and simply perform. Joba is special. I have my doubts about Gardner. I have my doubts that replacing a decent number nine hitter who saves runs is your answer.
    I just think that as long as Posada gets more play, and Robbie, Pettit, and Wang work things out we’ll get some games back. If not hopefully Hughes and Kennedy learn how to pitch in the minors do a better job next year.

    • steve (different one)

      Lets also not forget if we had Santana’s seven wins we’d be tied for first.

      yeah, that’s not really how it works.

    • Matt M.

      i actually worry about this offense more than i do the pen.

      we all agree that hawkins and farnsworth are bums. but ramirez has put together a solid season. ohlendorf has been effective (when not abused/misused as a long reliever), bruney was cruising before he got hurt and there’s a chance he could come back. and ultimately i have faith that cox, robertson, and melancon can solidfy the bullpen come july/august.

      now this offense is what bothers me. they’re hot a nd streaky and rarely gel. they have the habit of leaving small armies on base and the get shut down FAR too often. now its been an injury plagued year so far, and the lineup would have a hard time gelling when girardi’s penciled in like 500 different lineups, but something’s gotta change.

      and gardner with his obp and his base stealing capabilities becomes a far superior “energy” player than melky has been.

      now by no means is gardner the be all end all answer to our offensive woes…but he’s a start and hopefully a spark

  • stuart

    I am for giving Gardner a chance(roster spot) but I a mnot for trading Melky. the guy is 24, and I believe been a good player. You do not trade a 24 yr old CF who has played fairly well in NYC for the yanks. again why can’t they have both on the roster? try it and if Gardner does not get enough action send him down. DFA Moeller(hopefully he will not get picked off) and then brign up gardner they are playing in Houston over the weekend and need more spped, a better bench, etc.

    see how it goes..

    WHy the hell would they trade Melky, at least wait until Gardner proves himself but I believe keeping Melky regardless is a better idea….

    DFA Hawkins in my lifetime and call up Melancon, try some things out…………..

    • mustang

      No disrespect. You made some great points above, but I love how so many people here can solve this team’s problems by looking to the farm. If it were that easy everyone would be doing it.

      • Rich

        It’s not easy, but it is the most cost effective solution, and it has the added benefit of possibly offering a solution for the future even if it doesn’t provide one for the present.

        • mustang

          Nicely put well done.

  • pete

    if gardner gets really hot, and melky hasn’t shown any signs of life, i’d swap the two, give melky a little bit of redeveloping time, and give gardner a challenge. However, i think both profile as exceptional 4th outfielders on any team, with melky’s arm and gardner’s speed. However, the yankee organization seems to think that gardner has the potential to be an above-average 9th hitter, and potential future leadoff man, whereas melky is looks like he is going to remain an average 9th hitter. But seriously, don’t blame melky for this season’s standings. I’d be much more concerned with the performances of Wang, Pettitte, Cano, Jeter, and even Hughes and Kennedy. You simply can’t blame a 9th hitting, good defending centerfielder for a team’s woes. Just like you can’t blame them on a derth of dominant middle and setup relief. Only really good teams can afford to have 2 truly dominant relievers in their bullpen, and just about nobody has 3. We don’t need to change anything. The guys who are supposed to hit well and the guys who are supposed to pitch well, they are the ones who need to stop underperforming.

  • Ted

    how about trying to trade melky for a bullpen arm, then once hes gone, bring gardner up, because even if he does bad you have him as a pinch runner and a fourth outfielder, and three very capable veteran players out there. i love how hard gardner plays and cant wait to see him

    • dan

      Sad thing is, a bullpen arm is about all the yankees could get for him right about now.

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  • Jamal G.

    You know what’s cool, MLB is suffering a drought of African-American players in the game but if Ken Griffey Jr. stays healthy for the next four seasons he could be one of three African-American players to hit 700HRs in a pool of four people. Amazing.

    Sorry for the interruption, just thought that would be a great stat if Griffey Jr. could do it. LoL, his rookie year was the year I was born.

    • Rich

      And if he had been healthier, he may well have hit 800 HRs.

      Of course, if health is the issue, I wonder how many HRs Mantle could have hit if he had taken better care of himself and been healthier.

      • Travis G.

        or ruth for that matter.

      • mustang

        On Mantle:
        How about not getting caught in the drain at the old Stadium outfield that injury hurt him a lot.

  • BillyBall

    I have a point of contention to make with Stevie (different guy). I sat in this chair reading all the posts and the one that bothered me the most was yours. You stated your intrigued with the prospect of Garnder getting a shot but your 80% sure he will suck. Listen guy, with out getting into a war of words, your arrogance and cockiness on this site is overbearing. Your quick to correct half of the people that log onto RAB and than you make these comments that YOU are 80% sure Gardner will suck. Well I would like to know, have you even see him play? Why don’t you ask Chad Jennings what he think’s of Gardner since he watches him daily. As it stands according to Baseball Analyst, Gardner is in the TOP 10 of fastest players in all of baseball, majors and minors. His defensive range and tracks to the ball are exceptional. His arm is avg (not Melky’s gun) but avg which is more than enough considering his outstanding range. We all witness Gathwright show off his range saving the Royals at least 4 runs this series. Can you honestly tell me Melky would have made 2 out of the 4 catches Gathwright made. Gardner has the speed to make those catches. His offense is avg but his OBP is above avg. He has game changing speed and he doesn’t need to be a better hitter than Melky to add a missing dimension to the Yankees boring base to base lineup.

    Now I don’t want to give up on Melky like many of these people on here are pushing for, but I have to agree with Mike A. in that I would have traded him in the off season in the right package. Not for Santana, I admit I’m happy we didn’t trade the farm and he is on target to become the next Mike Hampton is 3 years. But I would trade Melky right now for bullpen help or in a package to the A’s for a Street or straight up for Rich Harden (as long as he stays healthy and off the DL prior to the trading deadline). The A’s wouldn’t make this trade but it may be worth the risk.

    • dan

      I disagree with you about steve– he’s just trying to be funny. I’m 80% sure that 67% of all his comments are 91% jokes.

      But I do agree about getting help in the bullpen. Usually I’d advise against trading young guys for bullpen help, but this is an exception IMO. I’d suggest maybe Melky and McCutchen could get it done.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        60 percent of the time, it works… every time.

    • Joey

      Relax man, he’s just stating his opinion or gut feeling, whatever. But I do agree with you, how do any of us know best. It’s like when I say “MY Yankees…” you know I obviously don’t mean I own them, he’s just stating his opinion like all of us here, we’re having a discussion about a team all of us are passionate about and want to do better. We all have different opinions, and like the old saying, you can’t make everyone happy. No need to pick fights

      • steve (different one)

        is this serious?

        did you read my entire post? this is what i said:

        “i like Melky, but i admit that i am intrigued by Gardner.

        i am 80% sure he will probably suck in the majors, but that other 20% is curious as hell and very willing to prove the 80% wrong. ”

        how is that arrogant? arrogant would be if i said i was 100% he will suck. i am saying i am VERY WILLING to be proven wrong.

        the 80% was nonsense, top of the head spitballing. i am sorry you took offense.

        trust me, i have my share of obnoxious posts, but i honestly don’t think this was one of them.

        i apologize if i had a poor choice of words.

  • BillyBall

    Melky and McCutchen for whom? Street! The A’s would want a bounty for him, especially when dealing with the Yankees. They would want Melky, Horne, Cox, and maybe McCutcheon. Your talking about one of the better closers in baseball. I personally do not want to trade an arm like Horne, so if you take him out of the deal and throw in a Marquez, maybe that will get it done.

    • dan

      True, it would take more than those two for Street (and I was talking about Street although I didn’t say his name), especially with their recent struggles. The A’s can want all those guys, but they won’t get anything close to that package from any team.

    • Matt M.

      at the rate marquez is pitching this season…he wont even suffice as a throw in player

  • BillyBall

    Jamal writes

    “You know what’s cool, MLB is suffering a drought of African-American players in the game but if Ken Griffey Jr. stays healthy for the next four seasons he could be one of three African-American players to hit 700HRs in a pool of four people”.

    why does this matter Jamal? Would it be cool if 3 out of 4 Greeks were in the top 700. There’s not that many Greeks in baseball. Remember Jamal, Race only matters to the people that are racist. Griffey Jr. making it to the 700 club would be fantastic because he didn’t cheat like Barry Bonds! Period, case closed!

    • dan

      Chill…. if it doesn’t matter to you then just pass over his comment

    • Jamal G.

      It’s cool because for all that is being made of MLB going through a downward spiral of African-American players in the game, three out of the four most powerful hitters in the game are African-American.

    • Rich

      Whether or not you choose to acknowledge it,, there are multiple levels of analysis to every issue.

      • Bo

        you ever think that the lack of black players has something to do with the influx of latin players??

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Hmm, let’s take a look and see.


      Number of Greek-Americans systematically enslaved and abused during this country’s history: zero

      Number of African-Americans systematically enslaved and abused during this country’s history: millions and millions

      Number of society-changing civil wars fought over the social, economic, and legal issues related to Greek-American Slavery: zero

      Number of society-changing civil wars fought over the social, economic, and legal issues related to African-American Slavery: one pretty frickin’ big one

      Years in length, amount of social impact, and number of notable American scholars, thinkers, artists, and leaders created by the Greek-American Civil Rights Movement: minimal, negligible, and none of great noteworthiness

      Years in length, amount of social impact, and number of notable American scholars, thinkers, artists, and leaders created by the African-American Civil Rights Movement: most of the 20th century, the underpinning of modern liberalism, and too many to list here

      Amount of time of baseball’s history that Greek-Americans were banned from playing major league baseball, and number of historically significant “Greek League” teams and players: none and none

      Amount of time of baseball’s history that African-Americans were banned from playing major league baseball, and number of historically significant “Negro League” teams and players: nearly two-thirds and too many to list here

      The importance of Alex Kampouris becoming the first Greek-American to play in the major leagues in 1934: not much

      The importance of Jackie Robinson becoming the first African-American to play in the major leagues in 1947: probably one of the five or ten most societally changing events in the American 20th century

      Having three of the only four people to have hit 700 home runs be Greek-Americans: a statistical oddity and little else

      Having three of the only four people to have hit 700 home runs be Greek-Americans: full of historical and social significance


      “Remember Jamal, Race only matters to the people that are racist.” – not exactly. Race matters to lots of people, racist or not, but racists like to outwardly claim that race doesn’t matter, especially in situations where it does. Most racists deny the importance of race, because trying to pretend like racism doesn’t exist allows modern racism to continue unchecked. Let’s not be naive.

  • E-ROC

    Demote Shelley Duncan and DFA Moeller for Brett Gardner and Jason Lane. Nuff said.

    • Brandon

      I’m w/ you on Brett , but not Lane I’d rather reward Carsons or Edwar Gonzalez

  • BillyBall

    Hey Dan, I didn’t say it doesn’t matter to me, read what I wrote. I wrote why should it matter? why? If someone posts something, why, oh why can I not remark on that post? And lastly if your sooo concerned with me passing over his comment, than why didn’t you lead by example and pass over mine?

  • BillyBall


    You honestly feel the A’s will not get 3 to 4 prospects with upside for Street?

  • Alan

    I worked for Staten Island when Gardner was there and got to watch him everyday. Not only is he a great talent, but a great guy also. Quiet and subtle but can become a leader for the club for years to come.

  • claybeez

    Late to the party…I disagree that Melky is “consistently mediocre” as Mike A. wrote. I think he’s been anything but consistent. Forgive my necessary omission of advanced metrics (not a math person), but while Melky’s OPS was below .800 both in ’07 and ’08 – and so far this season – his month by month averages paint a different tale. He has posted an OPS over .800 in 6 of the 13 months he’s played in at least 19 games. Basically, that discounts this June, any October games and his brief stint in ’05.

    I interpret it as a young player demonstrating flashes of potential. He’s not a world beater like Bruce or Braun. If anything the lack of consistency is a silver lining. It illustrates that there is an average or above average ceiling to potentially be reached. He is not a proven nor a certain commodity. With patience and the right handling Melky could certainly become consistent. The hope is that once consistent his numbers would approach his better monthly averages rather than career ones. Given his age I think it is quite possible.

    If we are to believe that a former polished college pitcher is the real deal despite his lack of fastball velocity because of a partial season in the minors and a September call-up then I think we’d do well to reserve judgement of someone who at 24 has produced solid numbers in nearly half of the months he’s played. For each indictment of Melky there is equal criticism that command and control minor leaguers do not necessarily have what it takes to get big league hitters out if they lack velocity. They may overmatch AAA hitters, but not necessarily major leaguers.

    So, he’s had a good month, a bad month and a bad start to June. Is that really so different form most of our hitters? He’s certainly not the only one whose had a monthly OPS under .800 (Giambi, Jeter, Damon). His lows may be lower, but isn’t that what all that patience is for that RAB is always talking about.

    It’s certainly OK to take a look at Melky when he struggles, as it is with any player. But, please don’t be completely immune to the comparison btw RAB and WW regarding pet peeves, so to speak. Given that Hughes and Kennedy seemed to be held to one standard on here and Melky another it is worth considering. I understand Melky at 24 hasn’t proven himself in his 2+ seasons. However, he has certainly demonstrated that he can and will make both beneficial and game changing plays for this ball club.

  • mike

    If we agree that Melky is at best a slightly-below average player who should mature into a better player but has yet to do so, then I think it might be time to look at options in the minors, or using him as a tool to get better elsewhere.

    From reading other places on the Net during the Santana trade discussions, it appeared Melky was though of as a player who could start on a mediocre team and be a strong 4th outfielder on a contender. I suppose this was shared by Minnesota, who clearly was not salivating over Melky – they may have liked him, but not loved him.

    Most of his homers are not really crushed, and many of his hits are soft or excuse-me variety. I certainly do not have the complete information in front of me, but with his body type and poor plate discipline (after 3 years of starting) I do not see him doing all that much more offensively – especially with the lineup getting weaker every year where more production will be expected from him.

    In this case, I think Melky reminds me of a Jay Payton with less pop (sans time in Colorado), so I wonder with guys like that available for basically a handshake why we do not explore the market for Melky.

    Perhaps Gardiner is not the answer ( Bubba redeux), but if Melky + can bring back a reliever ( Marte? ) or another piece to the puzzle, and the downside is Gardiner with little-less-than-Melky production for the rest of the year as others in AA/AAA get ready, I think we will be a better team.

  • r.w.g.

    Melky has to hit better, but I’d really rather not take his arm out of the outfield. Melky is pretty much the only impact defensive player we have on the roster.

    I don’t know what else Gardner can do, though, to prove he deserves a shot at the majors. If it were me, I’d probably rather have Gardner take playing time from Damon to get Johnny out of the outfield. But that’s tough because Johnny is hitting .326.

    Melky needs to do something at the plate better.. I don’t care what. If he’s not going to hit for power and take walks, he needs to hit his dinky singles at a .300 clip.

    Maybe Gardner should take some PT away from Melky this year, but even if he does, I don’t think that means we should send Melky packing. We still have the guy under control, he’s not going to be setting any arbitration records. The guy busts it every night in the OF and I’d like to think that continued work with Kevin Long and A-Rod will eventually bear fruit.

    As for Gardner’s age.. the guy I believe turned 25 this year, he’s not that old. Even if he’s only good for a few seasons, his skill set is something that could add real balance to the club.

  • Bo

    What does it matter? Austin Jackson will be playing CF at this time next yr anyway

    • Travis G.

      i wouldn’t be sure of that. he’s having a nice year in AA.

      • Steve S

        Question becomes who is playing right field next year for the Yankees and you might also need a third outfielder depending on how things go with Matsui and Damon. Imagine an outfield of Johnny Damon (LF/DH), Brett gardner/Melky Cabrera (LF/RF) and AJAX (CF). That’s not pretty picture.

        Arod better have 50 homeruns in him.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    What about the following 7-day starting plan:

    Damon – 6 starts a week in LF, Melky – 5 starts a week in CF, Gardner – 3 starts a week

    Gardner gets Melky’s two days off in CF and Damon’s day off in LF. And then, if you consider that every day Matsui gets a rest in the DH spot, Damon can slide over to DH and open up another hole for Gardner to play, I don’t see how getting Gardner 15 AB’s a week is all that hard. He’s not really taking all than many AB’s away from Melky, Damon, or Matsui, he’s taking them away from Betemit and Shelly Duncan, and both of those are good things.

  • pete

    I think when melky discover’s that he’s not actually a switch hitter, his numbers will go up a fair amount – the only reason he is is because there are 34309 lefties in the lineup already, and gardner wouldn’ thelp that. However, AJAX and Tabata (I still believe) are both right handed, and if you just wait for the better of melky and gardner to emerge and have the better one play left and the worse one be 4th OF, then you’ve got an excellent young outfield with (hopefully) some pop and some speed and some onbase skills and ecellent defense.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    It bothers me that Girardi says he likes the way the team is playing.

  • Axl

    Why is it just Melky we’re getting upset with? Is it because he’s just currently in a slump? There are more things to worry about than our #9 hitter. We’re not putting hits together…besides Damon’s tear lately…if we don’t hit a home run? We don’t score. That’s basically why we’re so low in runs scored…we can’t hit with guys on base…I don’t think bringing Gardner in is going to change that. I don’t know what can change that. Also, the entire AL East has a losing record on the road I believe…but they all have pretty good home records…The Yankees don’t. Our home record is over .500 but it’s pitiful. That’s basically why we’re 7 games out. We can’t even control other teams at home. These other teams are coming in here with full confidence that they are going to win..and they do more than would at home against any other team in the AL East.
    Melky is bad right now. He still makes a lot of careless mistakes after being in the league for 3 years…and lately he looks bored out there. But I don’t think he’s the main cause of the Yankees stinking. There is something going on with the morale of this club…they just don’t seem like they want it.

  • cc

    I want to have my cake and eat it too. call up the youngins and set the old dudes to pastor. that’s what I say.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      set the old dudes to “pastor”…

      hee hee… write much?

  • RustyJohn

    Um isn’t there a way to resolve this argument with litte pain or sacrifice to the team? Demote Shelly, who hasn’t been doing anything for two weeks, bring up Gardner. Alternate the 2 as 4th oufielder and starting cf

    Question- do you demote Moehler or Molina? I belive Moehler is the better back-up.

    Question- with Giamib hitting like he is, assuming this continues, do you resign him/pick up his option?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      1) Good plan. I agree.

      2) Flip a coin. They’re the same age, both durable, and have nearly identical career stats (it’s almost creepy.) Molina’s slumping now and Moeller’s playing over his head, chances are they both slide towards the middle and end up near their career averages. Moeller’s a better blocker, Molina throws out more runners. Go with Moeller and hope he doesn’t cool off.

      3) No. I’d rather spend money on pitching.

  • andrew33

    lets take a shot, what do have to lose, does garnder have any firends who can take canos place – please

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