So what’s ‘wrong’ with the Yankees?

Brackman!
Mike Ashmore sits down with Mark Newman

With 71 games left in the season, the Yankees are right in the thick of the hunt for October. They’re 6.5 games in back of the Rays in the AL East, and four and a half behind Boston in the Wild Card. Overall, just eight teams in baseball have better records than the Yankees.

But for all 49 of their wins, everyone thinks something is wrong with the Yankees. Hal Steinbrenner, while reluctant to make trades, is disappointed with the season. Hank Steinbrenner blamed the injuries. And over at Baseball Musings, David Pinto noticed a lineup with only two players sporting OBPs over .350 and blamed the lack of depth. That’s a whole lotta blame to spread.

What I want to know is what’s really going on with the Yankees. Hal fingers the kids; Hank fingers unlucky injuries; Pinto fingers depth. Where’s the truth in all of this?

As an astute observer might guess, the truth is in all three of them. We’ll start with Pinto’s observation. The Yankees these days have been sporting lineups with a bunch of guys sporting less-than-stellar OBPs. Melky Cabrera‘s is hovering around the .310 mark; Robinson Cano‘s is stuck around .290; Jose Molina and Wilson Betemit, both playing more frequently than either should be, are both at .269. With Johnny Damon out, Brett Gardner and his .194 are taking up a lineup spot too. Even Derek Jeter (.346) and Bobby Abreu (.345) are sporting on-base numbers well below their norm.

In that sense, David Pinto is right. If your every-day players aren’t getting on base, it’s that much harder to score runs. Fewer runs means fewer wins. It’s a baseball fact. In July, the Yankees are doing a great job of proving this fact; eight games into the month, the Yanks have a team OBP of around .340 and have plated 38 runners — but 18 of those were in one game. Somehow, they’ve gone 4-3 in seven games while scoring a whopping 20 runs.

The Yankees are stuck with a lineup this shallow not, as Pinto postulates, because of “a clear lack of depth.” For this, we turn to Hank Steinbrenner and his finger-pointing at the injuries. So far this season, the Yankees have seen Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon hit the DL. They’ve lost Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, Brian Bruney and Chien-Ming Wang. In this context, the fact that the Yankees are only 6.5 games with a record seven games over .500 is actually pretty remarkable.

It’s easy to fall into the “what if” trap, but had the Yankees not suffered these injuries, it’s easy to see them hanging in there two games behind the Rays or — dare I suggest? — ahead of them. But that’s baseball. Injuries happen, and well-constructed teams find ways to win. The Yankees were built to withstand a few injuries but not all of them. So in the end, it’s not really a lack of depth, as Pinto notes it, but the fact that players who shouldn’t be starting so often — Molina comes to mind — have been pressed into duty so frequently.

In the end, it’s Hal who seems to get it the most though. He expressed his disappointed over Ian Kennedy’s and Phil Hughes’ combined 0-7 record and their struggles. But Hal also speaks like a man who understands that building a better baseball team for a long run a year later can trump instant gratification. Talking of CC Sabathia and Rich Harden, Hal said, “We just felt it wasn’t best for the organization to do anything with those two at this point.”

But the real kicker was his promise of good times to come. As the Yankees hold on to their promising young pieces, they’re ready to augment those pieces as well. “Where we want to end up is a tremendous mix of young talent and veterans,” Hal said. “And the veterans, the free agents, they cost money. And we realize that. We are going to have a lot of money come off the payroll, and that’s going to give us some options. But believe me, we’re going to use a good portion of it to get this city the team it deserves.”

Injuries, disappointments, underperformances. It’s all part of the same mix.

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Brackman!
Mike Ashmore sits down with Mark Newman
  • Alan

    Lack of death, you say? That’s pretty morbid of you, Ben. :P

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

      …lack of sleep is more like it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

        Heh, you should have kept the typo. Can you think of a more interesting way to start your morning than reading that?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos

          Reporter: “So coach, what do you think of your team’s execution?”

          John McKay: “I’m all for it.”

  • Joltin’ Joe

    I hope we deserve CC. I don’t want Tex and who knows if Abreu is back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    The Yankees now have the fifth best FIP (3.90) in the A.L. I’d say the way we’ve withstood those injuries to the pitching staff have gone quite understated.

  • Joltin’ Joe

    I was reading through Raul Ibanez’ stats, wondering if he would be worth trading for, and then I looked at Bobby Abreu’s. The similarities are startling… go check it out.

  • Stephen

    Annnnnnd…. Brett Gardner should not be the everyday centerfielder. I see Melky’s shortcomings (minimal offense), but Gardner really does look overmatched so far in the Big Leagues. He has no power, not much of an arm, and it looks like his patient approach is not working as well in the majors as it did in the minors. Yes, he’s very fast and has good range, but he looks like a pinch runner/ 5th outfielder. Yea, maybe I should give him the break, as he’s been in the majors for little more than a week or so, but I just think the clamoring for him may hav been wrong and both Melky and Gardner are just keeping the position warm for Ajax’s inevitable arrival.

    • RollingWave

      but but but, RAB promised us he would be awsome! ;)

      With his current K-rate, it is highly questionable that he could even get his # up to Melkian territory. who as bad as he’s looked so far, has tied his career high mark in HR half way into the season and is suffereing from abnormally low BABIP while not particularly bad LD% or K rate (recently though.. not so much)

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

        Never said he’d be awesome, just better than Melky. He had the game winning RBI in the final two games against the Sox, so he hasn’t been a complete black hole.

      • Chip

        Seriously you guys, he’s been in the big leagues for a week, give him some time. If he ends the season batting .143 then maybe he really doesn’t have it but most guys don’t come up and hit like Ellsbury did right away. If you look through his minor league stats, he’s a notoriously slow starter at a new level. I still think he’s been better than Melky in the past week though. Yes Melky hit a homer but he’s left a ton of guys on base (with the annoying guy on third, one out strikeout above the head) and can’t even get a bunt down. At least everytime Gardner singles or walks, it’s essentially a double

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        They’ve been playing Major League Baseball since 1876. That’s 133 years. With roughly 26 weeks during each summer where they play baseball, that’s a little over 3,400 weeks in the history of the major leagues.

        Brett Gardner has currently been in the majors for only one of those 3400 weeks. GIVE THE KID A FUCKING BREAK.

        • Stephen

          The game winning RBI Sunday night was as (I think) you guys said, reminiscent of Sojo in the World Series. I said above that I’m probably being harsh because he’s barely up a week, but I think that his patient approach and On Base skills that worked throughout the minors might not work because major league pitchers have much better control than mino league pitchers. But if you look at his MLE’s they show that he should be a similar batter to melky with slightly better OBP and worse SLG%.
          Melky has looked HORRIBLE recently, I agree, but I’m not expecting much more from Brett Gardner either.

          • Chip

            Sitting there and fouling off a ton of pitches and taking your walks work at any level. Giambi is batting like .250 yet has an OBP around .400, he takes his walks. And yes pitchers are more careful with Giambi because he has power but a guy that has a good eye has a good eye whether he has power or not.

            I do recall a guy named Ricky Henderson who walked quite a lot but was never a significant power threat. The name of the game is getting on base and Gardner throughout his career has consistently found a way to do that so let’s give him a break here

            • Stephen

              Ricket Henderson had little power? Yea, he was inconsistent, but in 1990 when he won the MVP, Rickey slugged .577,and 28 homers in a season TWICE, and had a career 127 OPS+. I think to even mention Brett Gardner and Rickey Henderson in the same sentence is crazy.
              I just don’t see pitchers being scared of, or even worried about Brett Gardner enough that they won’t challenge him IN the strike zone.
              I am NOT trying to defend Melky, just challenging the love affair with Brett Gardner a lot of people seem to have. I HOPE he gets better and starts making more, and I think we’ll all be happier if he proves me wrong, but I don’t see it happening.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    At least the Steins get it. They’re not pushing the panic button and trying to buy someone major right now. At least they haven’t collapsed and folded as this year is “lost.”

    I think the offense has been crappy most of the season but Bobby Abreu (not the brightest bulb in the box) says the chemistry is coming together. Maybe he’s right.

    I think that injuries (and we’ve had more than our fair share) and the scheduling (brutal) and weather (could we have MORE rain delays?) have really impacted us but maybe it’s waking this team up that it’s not going to be easy and you have to push push push for a playoff spot.

    For all of it…all the bad luck and bad baseball…underperformance of the kids…injuries….scheduling…weather…cold bats….and individual personal (bad) patterns of some of the players (GIDP Jeter, flailing Melky, overthinking Arod) we’re not in too bad shape.

    It could be MUCH MUCH worse. Moose could be having last year’s success. Andy could be distracted by off-field stuff. Giambi could be hurt. Melky’s D could be as bad as his O. Joba could be a starting disaster. We could have a decimated farm team and not be able to bring up replacements.

    They’re finally starting to show grit and determination. I just don’t know why they always wait until the All Star break to do that.

    I don’t know if we have what it takes to get far into the playoffs with the current roster but we have a good chance.

    At some point in the last 8 years we started worrying about getting TO the playoffs and then died in the first round. One of these years we have to worry about taking it all…so that we don’t lose all our steam just by getting there.

  • Steve

    Ben, before you start getting on Brett Gardner I have a little something for you. Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but I have.

    He has 3 hits

    He has 2 walks

    . . . . and has scored FOUR runs.

    Much like Jose Reyes when he first came up, the guy seems to score every time he gets on base. I can live with him adjusting to the league and having a low BA/OBP when he’s THAT efficient. Small sample to be sure, but so are all his other numbers.

    http://www.baseball-reference......br01.shtml

  • TurnTwo

    id just like to point out the Braves/Dodgers game last night, and let it be known to Cashman that with each team mired in mediocrity, i wouldnt mind having either one of those SPs at the deadline. thank you.

    • christopher

      most people would agree, but:

      A What you have to give up to get average NL ptchers whch equals average AL ptchers and:

      B. I dont thnk those teams wll be sellers. The Braves never unload and the Dodgers, thanks to that crap division, have a chance at makng the playoffs.

      I really thnk that ths the Yanks year. Add all of the injuries, guys havng bad years, – no offesnsve playear havng a career year. Unless they can make a trade for a young guy who wll help them next year and further, than they should stay away – a reason why would lke to see them go after Bedard and Burnett (if he fnshes great you can give him an extension thus avoidng the opt-out, provded they don’t have to gve up much alla the Harden deal

      • TurnTwo

        i think the Braves could be. 5 games under .500, and 5.5 GB in the division, and 7.5 GB in the WC.

        Hudson is signed thru 2009, with an option for 2010, so if you give up a little to get him, he’s gonna be around a couple seasons.

        he eats innings, throws strikes. dependable.

        I could see the Dodgers moving a guy like Lowe, who is a FA after this season, especially to make room back on the roster for Kershaw.

        more of a wishlist for me than reality, but i think both would be welcome additions to the rotation, and could slide right in for Darrell Rasner for the 2nd half.

        • A.D.

          Braves have no interest in trading Hudson, he’s under team control, and theyre still kinda in it this year, and expect to be in it next year. With Hampton, Tex, and Smoltz a fair amount of money comes off the books for them this year too.

  • christopher

    “Where we want to end up is a tremendous mix of young talent and veterans,” Hal said. “And the veterans, the free agents, they cost money. And we realize that. We are going to have a lot of money come off the payroll, and that’s going to give us some options. But believe me, we’re going to use a good portion of it to get this city the team it deserves.”

    Finally a quote from Hank that made me smile instead of cringe. The only fear I have is that either he goes overvoard, or Cashman convnves hm that the team should have a 150 mll payroll instead of 225

    • Geno

      Ah, but look again. It’s Hal, not Hank who’s coherent.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        BIG STEIN JR. WANTS A CALZONE!

    • A.D.

      I think he’s just letting the fan base know (who are generally aware to some degree of the expiring contracts) that the yanks aren’t going to go cheap on them and hoard the cash

  • steve (different one)

    Hal fingers the kids

    uhhhh….call the cops?

    • TurnTwo

      ha! oh man.

  • JohnC

    Wonder what the Indians would want for David Delluci.

    • TurnTwo

      he’s been almost worse than Melky, and we dont need another LHB. pass.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        The last time Dellucci was here, in 2003, he had an OPS+ of 39.

        He hasn’t had an OBP higher than .350 or a SLG higher than .400 in two years. The only times he had an OPS+ north of 85 in a season of more than 200 AB’s were in the bandboxes at Texas and Citizens Bank in Philly. He’s a much, much, MUCH less talented version of Dante Bichette. And no, he is not an improvement over Melky or Gardner, he’d be a step down.

        Pass.

  • r.w.g.

    I want to say lack of depth, caused by injuries and under-performance.

    I shouldn’t just say this because who knows how effective they would be if they were playing right now, but Bruney and Wang getting hurt is the big problem. With the way Bruney was throwing, he was another “impact-ish” guy in that bullpen, and Wang was of course Wang.

    Damon and Matsui being out right now really exposes that lineup, so hopefully they come back soon and healthy. And if Matsui is going to be out for a while, they may want to go get somebody.

    Robbie needs to hit better (and has been doing so all this month). Melky and Molina REALLY need to hit better. I am not asking for the world, especially from Molina with the way he plays defense (and his knack for making his few hits XBH), but they can do better than this. It’s tough to take them out of the lineup though, because they are our only impact defensive players (for all the shit he takes, Melky is BY FAR our best outfielder — it’s not even close).

  • http://MemoToSteinbrenner.blogspot.com Mr.YankMee@MemoToSteinbrenner.blogspot.com

    They need an infusion of youth maybee Gardner is the answer? maybee not?
    A guy Like Markakis when available in free agency and Melky has to carry his weight or sit or be replaced or upgraded and stop babying Cano!!!

    VOTE 4 THE MUSTACHE
    VOTE ON MLB.com

    FOR GIAMBI OR TEXT A2 TO 36197

  • Brad K

    So who are these veterans that are going to make up this new mix? What if…dare I say it here…most of the youth doesn’t pan out? What is plan B as we sit back with our “prospects” and do nothing? Oh and give me a break on Gardner already. This is a light hitting, skinny, 5’10” kid who has career pinch runner written all over him.

    By the way take a look at the Red Sox injury report for this year. This doesn’t include nagging injuries for JD Drew, Manny, Ellsbury, and Youkilis. Perhaps it’s because the Red Sox have gotten much more production from their “kids” over the past few seasons? Of course that brings us back to Cashman…….oh wait I can’t go there because RAB is the unofficial mouth piece for Brian Cashman…and his plan. Lets face it, as painful as this is, Theo has had Brian’s number for sometime. He has done an outstanding job in Boston. He put’s Cash to shame.

    Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Bartolo Colon
    David Ortiz
    Brandon Moss
    Clay Buchholz
    Brandon Moss
    Sean Casey
    Alex Cora
    Mike Timlin
    Mike Lowell
    Josh Beckett
    Mike Timlin
    Curt Schillingin

    • whozat

      Matsuzaka and Beckett missed what, 15 days each? Buchholz missed about the same.

      You have a bunch of guys on there twice, and you can compare Ortiz to ARod/Matsui. The rest of those guys are side-pieces. They lost Cora? Oh no! We lost Betemit. They lost Mike Timlin? A) He’s horrible and B) Ok, we lost Albaladejo…for the season.

      Also, timing is an issue. Were Beckett and and Buchholz out at the same time? Beckett and Matsuzaka? Matsuzaka and Buchholz?

    • Chip

      Right now we’re without half of our opening day rotation including our number one. If the Sox lost Beckett, Matsuzaka and Wakefield for half the season, they’d be in big trouble too. Ortiz may have been a big loss but Matsui was handily out-performing him and he’s been hurt since spring training. Curt Schilling was pretty much done anyways, the guy was a rich-man’s Mussina minus the junk-ball stuff.

      BTW, you talk about how horrible Gardner is when he’s essentially Ellsbury. If he had been up all year, he’d probably have somewhere between 20-40 steals this season with a .270ish BA. How is that not Jacoby?

    • r.w.g.

      This is just ignorant.

      I think Cashman is very guilty of overvaluing Yankee prospects, but honestly after having a system filled with Alex Gramans and Brad Halseys, I can’t blame him for finally thinking some of these guys might pan out.

      I don’t know what you wanted the Yanks to do about Boston.. we couldn’t have topped the Hanley Ramirez offer. Schilling didn’t want to come here. They bid like 25-30 million on Matsuzaka and like everybody else, were blown clean out of the water.

      Look at how old the roster is. For the most part they are still productive but that well will run dry sooner or later. Then we’ll be in the same position we’ve been in and guys like you will run their mouths about NYY needs to get younger.

      We have a ton of money coming off the books and a lot of freedom to really do somethings this offseason (free agents, trades, minor league players, etc). Why would you want to gut the system? Look.. a package of guys like Marquez, Hillgoss, and Vechionacci is not going to get anything significant. I would assume if it could, it would have already been done.

      So what do you want to do? You want to trade guys like Montero and Jackson? Maybe we should trade guys like Suttle and Laird.. who the hell cares if we don’t actually know if they are any good yet or they aren’t at their highest value.

    • JohnnyC

      Ortiz – Bill Lajoie suggested Sox sign him, having liked him when he was Detroit GM.

      Moss – drafted in 2002 by Dan Duquette.

      Timlin – kidding, right? He’s been on the team since the late ’90s.

      Lowell & Beckett – deal was Lucchino’s, made during Theo’s “sabbatical” in 2005 off-season.

      Timlin – again?

      Schilling – wanted to come to the Yankees, his first choice, but Garagiola, DBacks GM, on Colangelo’s orders, asked for a 4 player package including Nick Johnson & Alfonso Soriano. Check out the garbage Sox gave Arizona.

      • steve (different one)

        and the reason that Colangelo refused to have an honest negotiation with the Yankees for Schilling was because STEINBRENNER, not Cashman, went in and signed David Wells after Wells had a handshake agreement with Arizona.

        i can’t even disagree with AZ’s stance.

        Steinbrenner stuck his nose in, pulled a BS move, and wound up getting burned for it later.

        it’s all part and parcel with Cashman and now Hal/Hank trying to clean up the mess left by George and the Tampa guys.

        that doesn’t mean i pin EVERY bad decision on George. i don’t. Cashman has made mistakes.

        but these are well documented as non-Cashman decisions:

        Sheffield over Vlad
        Mondesi
        Randy Johnson
        Tony Womack
        etc
        etc

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      The Red Sox have done better with their “kids” for two main reasons:

      1) Their kids have had more opportunity to play, because they haven’t been blocked in the system. We’ve had 2-Posada, 3-Giambi, 5-ARod, 6-Jeter, 7-Matsui, 8-Damon/Bernie, 9-Abreu/Sheffield as fixtures in the field, and had Mussina, Clemens, Pettitte, Randy Johnson, Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown, David Wells, Jeff Weaver, Jon Leiber, El Duque, Cory Lidle, etc. occupying most of the rotation, plus Mo Rivera, Tom Gordon, The Human Sandwich Pick, and Joe Torre’s revolving door of overworked veterans in the pen. Part of that is Torre’s reluctance to trust youngsters, part of it is Big Stein’s penchant for signing big names, but most of it, especially for the position players, is that we’ve had good hitters signed for big deals and they’re not going anywhere, and when they leave, instead of bringing up someone from the minors, we go get another vet. The Sox only real mainstays are Manny in right, Ortiz at DH, Varitek at C, and Beckett-Schilling in the rotation. When guys like Lowe, Pedro, Millar, and Damon left, they weren’t replaced (and the Sox suffered, btw) but the openings were created and eventually, their youngsters stepped into them.

      2) The Sox have had better chances to acquire good talent than we have. You know what happens when you win more games than one of your rivals for 11 straight years, which we did from 1996-2006? They tend to pick in front of you in the draft, that’s what. Add that to the fact that the Sox have had many more Type A and Type B free agent losses and fewer similar free agent additions than we have, and it’s clear that they’ve been able to stock and restock their farm system with more high-level prospects. Since 1999, the Sox have had 39 picks in the top 100. We’ve only had 29. That’s one extra great draft pick every year. Sure, there’s been times where we passed on Ellsbury for C.J. Henry, but those are balanced out by times where they passed on Joba Chamberlain for Daniel Bard and Jason Place. Point is, if you’ve got more bullets, you’re going to make more kills. It’s basic.

      And even with all that, I still don’t think the Sox have been “better” with their youngsters. Here’s who you can point to as a Red Sox homegrown youngster:

      Kevin Youkillis, 29
      Jon Papelbon, 27
      Dustin Pedroia, 24
      Jon Lester, 24
      Jacoby Ellsbury, 24
      Clay Buchholz, 23
      Justin Masterson, 23

      Here’s what we’ve done:

      Chien-Ming Wang, 28
      Jose Veras, 27
      Edwar Ramirez, 27
      Robinson Cano, 25
      Brett Gardner, 24
      Melky Cabrera, 23
      Ian Kennedy, 23
      Joba Chamberlain, 22
      Phil Hughes, 22

      So, even though we’ve been pretty disadvantaged in the draft and had to supplement with international signings, which was the only thing putting talent in our system for a while (note the ages), AND we’ve given our youngsters less ML service time, we’ve still got Wang/Cano/Joba as unquestionable ML studs, which is equal to Youkillis/Papelbon/Pedroia/Lester. And while Ellsbury and Buchholz could eventually be an everyday leadoff man and frontline starter, the same can be said for Gardner and Hughes, and we still haven’t mentioned Melky or Kennedy or Veras or Edwar.

      The only way you can really characterize the Sox youngsters as being better is that they’ve been in the majors longer, and that’s mainly a factor of them being older being in their organization longer, and having more chances to succeed or fail.

  • Count Zero

    Agree with the post — it’s a combination of a lot of factors, and injuries have played a prominent role. That being said…

    We cannot continue to post a starting lineup with Melky, Gardner and Molina in it and hope to catch the Rays or Sox. (I could quote the combined numbers, but I’m sure we are all aware of them.) I could live with one of them…maybe even two. But all three of them in the lineup day after day? It’s fugly.

    Personally, I don’t mind seeing Molina as the primary catcher because I really do believe he calls a far, far better game than Posada — the CS aspect is a bonus. (This is why I had mixed feelings about re-signing Jorge in the off-season — I think he’s the wrong guy to call games for all these young pitchers. It was less important when he had mostly veterans in the rotation.) It’s impossible to quantify but I would guess Molina’s worth at least 0.20 of ERA decrease across the board. And I can live with either Melky or Gardner in CF for the time being. But we can’t give up LF as well.

    I really don’t know if we can afford to wait for Damon to get healthy…I guess that depends on how long that will take.

    • Chip

      If Damon and Matsui were healthy, Melky and Gardner would not both be starting. Damon is supposed to be back in a few days, no reason to trade for another outfielder when we have plenty of those already. Let’s see if there’s something on the market this offseason when Bobby leaves

  • Dylan

    Betemit caught a hard line drive with runners on during Tuesday night’s game, which Giambi would not have had a shot at. Similarly, Molina threw out some important runners against the Sox and generally kept the insanely good running game of the Rays a non-factor. Even Gardner threw out (Elsbury or Pedroia, can’t remember) at 2nd base. Plays like these erase runs, and combining a tight Defense with our strong (gulp..) bullpen and adequate starting pitching is why we are winning these games without racking up 8 runs a game. Jeter, Robbie, Abreu, etc. are gonna bring their OBP up, but pitching and defense wins championships and I have no problem with marching out lineups containing Betemit and Molina.

    • http://2009 Haggs

      Betemit stinks. The only thing he does better than Giambi defensively is throw.

      The line drive you refer to was right at him. Giambi, or the ballboy, or whoever happened to standing there would have caught it.

  • BillyBall

    Lots of cry babies on here that want want want and are willing to sell the farm 1 season away from shedding 84 million and really putting a long term product out there. Than 8 years from now they will be the ones who will say, I was patient and I loved what the Yankees were doing with Cashman and I was writing all these blogs stressing patience. Stephen and Ben, you guys need to relax! Gardner is no superstar in the making. What he brings is defensive range in the outfield to take away doubles. He brings amazing speed on the base paths to cause havoc for the opposing pitchers. I said this before he came up and Chad Jennings also covered this in article on Gardner. If he gets on 1x a game, the likelihood of him scoring a run is pretty high based on his speed factor. If he gives you 1 run scored a game. Isn’t that better than what Melky is doing? I also agree with Chip, he stated lets wait and get Damon back next week and than Gardner becomes a platoon with Melky. And in late inning situations you bring in a Gardner or Melky to replace Abreau. Its a win win. Gardner projects to hit at best right now 260-280 with 40-60 SB and 500 plus at bats. His arm i pretty accurate and a hell of allot better than Damons as well. I will take that.
    We need to stop being glass half empty and think if we do not win this season, it’s the end of the Yankees. This plan is the best laid out plan in the last 8 years and it is one that most intelligent Yankee fans will agree with. Patience!

    • Count Zero

      I don’t disagree with your basic premise on sticking with the plan. (Which is why I think signing Bonds is a good interim solution — he doesn’t cost us any prospects.)

      But stealing 40-60 bases (projected over 500 ABs) on a .260 BA is highly unlikely unless he can post an OBP of .340 or better while hitting .260 — which would be pretty impressive. He would have to be one hell of a base stealer. To put that in perspective, Jose Reyes stole 78 bases on a .354 OBP (.280 BA + 77 BB). He was 16th in the MVP voting.

      It’s definitely too early to make a call on Gardner, but I think you’re being a bit optimistic. First he has to hit .260 — watching him at the plate I wouldn’t put my money on that happening just yet.

      I think you guys are overrating Betemit at 1B defensively too. His defense is far (light years far) from good enough to carry his 84 OPS+ at what is primarily an offensive position. Tony Clark is far better than Betemit defensively, has an OPS+ of 95 and I wouldn’t want him as my starting 1B either.

      • Chip

        How is Gardner looking so bad at the plate? He’s hit the ball hard a lot of times right at guys. Add to that the fact that he runs a pitcher’s pitch count up (one of the most important aspects of that 96-01 teams). You people are looking WAY too much at small sample sizes. If he hits .260-.280 with a .340-.350 OBP then I’m perfectly happy with him.

        You meationed that Jose Reyes stole 78 bases with an .354 OBP and placed 16th in the MVP voting. If Gardner were to place in the top 20 in MVP voting next year, I guarantee everybody in Yankee land would be more than happy to have him.

        I know nobody wants Pedroia at the All-Star game but you have to accept the fact that he’s a damn good baseball player. When you really look at it, Gardner has about his skill-set (minus the swinging from the heels), he gets on base (in his minor league career), gets a lot of hits, steals bases (much better actually), plays great defense and takes his walks. What’s wrong with being optimistic with the guy?

  • Sam P.

    Anyone else getting more comfortable seeing Girardi start to use Veras more as the 7th inning guy? If he can continue to be effective and really help keep the bullpen stable, I have to think the playoff push will be greatly enhanced. Would be nice to see the Yanks continue to win these close games on a regular basis.

  • Axl

    I guess so…but everybody is failing to read between the lines.

    The Yankees are currently the only team with a road record over .500. Although, every other teams home record is absolutely ridiculous while the Yankees home record isn’t anywhere close (to that of the Rays or Sox).

    I don’t believe the Red Sox AND Rays will be under .500 on the road the entire season…so these were the time where we could have picked up some slack…and also explain why we are only 6.5 back after all that has happened to us.

    That being said, we’re going to have to pick up the pace regardless. If Molina and Betemit have to play everyday, they have to find a way to be better. Melky and Cano have no excuse.

    We’ve been hit hard with injuries and underachieving this season and we’re still in the thick of things…imagine if we only had HALF the injuries and we actually TRIED HARDER? Possibilities are endless.

    Now you can’t help the injuries sometimes…but you CAN help by trying harder. Which is what they need to do.

    We’re doing a bit above average on the road while we’re very below average at home…especially for the AL East.

    Also a note: Not only do we have Molina and Betemit in there too much…but we have 2 starting pitchers in Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner that shoudn’t be there either. Now they have had a handful of good starts between them…but they aren’t at all consistent…and they shouldn’t be expected to be either…

    People need to step it up NOW

    • Axl

      “Only team in the AL East” with a road record over .500 I meant to say…forgot to add that in there…

    • steve (different one)

      yes, the yankees aren’t trying hard enough. this is clearly the problem.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      So, you’re confident that the Rays and Sox won’t remain crappy on the road, but it’s inconcievable that we won’t improve at home? Or that the Rays and Sox won’t cool off at home?

  • Adrian-Retire21

    I like to keep the pieces of Mark Melchon,Hughhes,and Jackson.But the Yankees should have traded Kennedy,Melky and Tabatha when there stock was high.

    Yes injuries are too blame.But remember Gardner,Molina are playing too much which is right.But remember Rasner,Ponson,LaTroy,Edwar Ramirez also are playing too much.The pitching staff has been good for now.

    Matsui and Damon will be back and Posada will get healthy.But if anybody here thinks our starting staff will keep us in the streach to the post season you are crazy.

    And trade “will” not maybe…will happen.

  • Rob_in_CT

    “But the Yankees should have traded Kennedy,Melky and Tabatha when there stock was high.”

    This assumes that the Yanks knew their stocks would drop. Melky… I can see the argument, yes. And I think theyd’ have parted with him in the right trade. Kennedy… I’m not sold yet. I still think he can be useful, but again, I think the Yanks would’ve traded him too, in the right deal (for instance, Santana for IPK+Melky+? I think gets done). Tabata… is 19.

  • Axl

    I’ve always thought the past few years the Yankees have been having terrible luck (was the curse actually reversed??)…

    In the past 3 years, we’ve had several “Iron Men” who have never seen the DL go onto the DL. Now this COULD be attributed to the fact that nobody is using steroids or HGH anymore (which is why injuries are all over the place everywhere these days) but still…

    Matsui with his wrist, Damon and Posada this year…never been on the DL before, etc. Hughes MAY be another Rich Harden with his injuries…but I think he’s just trying too much…which is probably why he suffered another injury (ankle) while rehabbing from another (hamstring). Ian Kennedy needs to find location…he doesn’t have the overpowering stuff that others have…but look at Justin Duscherer on the A’s! He doesn’t have hard stuff either…but he has incredible location…and he has the lowest ERA in the game due to that….we can also look at our own Mussina as well…he should be giving the kid some tips.

    Jeter is getting older and after playing almost 181 games (playoffs every year) in every year of his career…it takes a toll as you get older, Abreu is afraid of the outfield wall and always has been…he’s a liability, Matsui and Damon are older and bogging down as well, Cano and Melky are the youth to take us further but are underachieving for no reason. Molina is great defensively but his offense is an automatic out…

    I’m not worried about the injuries and veterans getting older as much as I’m worried about these “young” guys of ours not playing with heart. Because this is our future. Like I said above…you can’t do much about the injuries and the age…but you can do everything about the amount of effort you put in.