Yanks fall to fourth as Moose’s quest for 20 hits a speed bump

Hughes shoves it up PawSox's Colon; Shelley sends 'em packin'
Yanks set to beef up stadium security for final homestand

This afternoon’s game started out so promising. Derek Jeter homered; Xavier Nady homered; and Moose was rolling. It was then that I went to the gym.

When I returned home, the Mariners had a 4-2 lead, Phil Coke was in the game and the New York Yankees with their $208-million payroll were staring at the inevitability of fourth place. The last 2.5 innings of the game today seemed like a mere formality. The Yanks, after their pair of early-game home runs, couldn’t do much of anything against the Mariners, and they limped out of Seattle losers of two of three and three of four, overall.

The dual stories today focus around Mike Mussina and the AL East standings. In losing today, Mike Mussina fell to 17-8, but he didn’t really pitch poorly. In six innings, Mussina showed great command of the strike zone, throwing 73 or 107 pitches for strikes, but two of those pitches — one to Adrian Beltre with a runner on and another to Jose Lopez — were too good. Seven hits — two home runs — and one walk resulted in four Mariners runs. Moose struck out seven, but he didn’t get the win.

With four starts left, Mussina is going to have to earn 20 wins. He’s going to face the Rays, the White Sox, the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Three of those teams are bound for the playoffs, and all four, as of this writing, have better records than the Yankees. The magic number 20 won’t come easy for Mussina.

Meanwhile, the Yankees, whose bats were silent against the likes of Ryan Feierabend, have to face the reality of fourth place right now as they journey south from Seattle to Anaheim, a city in which they haven’t enjoyed much success. In stark contrast to the Yanks’ fortunes, the papers in south California tomorrow will be filled with stories about Joe Torre’s first-place Dodgers. How ironic.

At some point soon, we’ll talk about injuries and an under-performing offense. We’ll talk about trades that weren’t, couldn’t and shouldn’t have been made. We’ll talk about where the Yankees are going, where they should go and where they shouldn’t go. For now, we just have to know that, on September 8, for the first time since Danny Tartabull drove in nine runs against the Orioles, the Yankees will start the day in fourth place. I don’t think anyone really saw that one coming.

Hughes shoves it up PawSox's Colon; Shelley sends 'em packin'
Yanks set to beef up stadium security for final homestand
  • eVizions

    Since we are pretty much looking towards 2009 at this point, I’d like to throw my offseason to-do list if I were Cashman and see what everyone thinks. I wasn’t trying to think up a dream scenario where we land Pujols for Igawa and a bunch of balls, but rather a reasonable, cost-effective strategy that would put us in a good situation for next year…

    Rotation:

    1. Sabathia/Sheets/Burnett
    2. Wang
    3. Moose/Pettitte
    4. Pavano
    5. Hughes/IPK/Joba

    a. You sign one of the 3 likely free-agents, in the order listed above.
    b. Wang makes an excellent number 2 starter.
    c. Offer both Moose and Pettite arbitration and hope 1 accepts and 1 declines (My choice would be to keep Moose, but if I was a betting man, I would guess Moose would look for a multi-year deal, while Pettitte would be more likely to go the Yankees-or-retire route)
    d. If both Mussina and Pettitte return, they would be 3/4. Otherwise, pick up Pavano’s option and slot him in at number 4. Remember, he hasn’t been ineffective in New York, he just hasn’t been able to remain healty. If he can stay healty (yes, that’s a big IF), he is in a full contract year and should produce well, especially as a number 4.
    e. If Joba doesn’t pitch in the AFL, he’ll start the year in the bullpen. Let Hughes and IPK fight it out for the fifth spot, with the loser starting the year in AAA (don’t trade either in the offseason, they both should still end up productive major league pitchers).

    The loser of the IPK/Hughes battle will tandem with Aceves as immediate insurance. By the time Joba is ready to return to the rotation, there is likely to be 1 (or more) guys that are injured/ineffective, so Joba can step in to his slot. If everyone is performing and healthy, well… that’s a good problem to have, I guess.

    Bullpen:

    Rivera
    Ramirez
    Marte
    Veras
    Bruney
    Melancon/Coke/Britton/Cox/Patterson/Robertson/Kroenke

    To me, Marte’s option is a no-brainer. Despite having a rough start as a Yankee, he is a premium reliever that is both a lefty and content with not being a closer. To me, that’s worth $6M. The rest of the bullpen was excellent this year and it only looks to get stronger with the young guys arriving. They might want to start the year with 12 guys in the pen, either using 2 of the 6 mentioned or adding a long-reliever such as Chase Wright or Aceves. I don’t think there’s any need to add a free agent to this mix.

    Lineup:

    C – Offer Pudge arbitration or bring him back on a 2-3 year deal at $6-8M/year. If he declines, Posada is your guy. Molina is your one constant here.
    1B – If Pudge stays, move Posada to first. He will have an easier time making the transition than Matsui or Damon and his bat will actually be decent for first. This will also allow us to get the most out of Posada’s current contract and not clog up first for the next 8-10 years with a guy like Texiera. In the next few years, it has been speculated that Jeter will move over to first. ARod could do the same in the twilight of his Yankee career. By signing a long-term investment at first, you are removing that possibility and adding the “Deja-Vu” factor of Giambi. I’m a big proponent of not giving big contracts, in years or dollars, to a guy to play first base (Pujols would be the obvious exception to the rule). If Pudge leaves, bring up Miranda as a back-up/platoon and give him a shot to win the job.
    2B/SS/3B – Cano/Jeter/ARod go nowhere, under any circumstances.
    OF – Offer Abreu arbitration and hope he declines for a 2-3 year deal somewhere else, at which point we have 2 more draft picks.

    If Abreu stays:
    LF – Nady
    CF – Damon
    RF – Abreu

    If Abreu leaves:
    LF – Damon
    CF – Gardner/Melky
    RF – Nady

    With Gardner and Melky on the roster, you will have have solid 4th/5th outfielders at worst, with the possibility that either Melky can recover offensively or Gardner can be the catalyst the Yanks hope he can be. Regardless, it would be foolish to sign/trade for a CF with Austin Jackson starting out the year in AAA next year. If, by July, Gardner and Melky are obviously not the guys and AJax isn’t ready yet, you can look to find a mid-season acquisition in his contract year. This strategy leaves us a little thin depth-wise, but otherwise it gives a solid mix of hitting/fielding/bench.

    DH – Matsui has very little value in the field, but he is still a clutch bat for us, so DHing him may be the only way to keep him in the lineup enough to make a difference.

    Bench – While Betemit is good offensive utility infielder to have on the roster, I would add another glove. As for the outfield, if Abreu stays, Melky and Gardner would be excellent back-ups. If he goes, maybe adding another bat to the mix would make sense.

    Goodbye:
    Sidney Ponson
    Darrell Rasner
    Kei Igawa
    Jason Giambi (the only one I’ll miss)

    Summary
    As you can see, I added only 1 major free agent, a starting pitcher. Despite the lack of clutch hitting this year, I think the lineup will produce what it needs to in 2009 – somewhere between 2008 and 2007 numbers. If the rotation performs anywhere near what it is capable of, this team will win 95 games. There is a good balance of veterans and youth, as well. There is good, quality depth (especially at SP) that there should be no need for emergency band-aids like Ponson or Rasner, while also providing opportunity-without-priviledge for the young guns – if they want it, they’ll have to earn it.

    • mustang

      eVizions tells us what you really think of 2009.
      LOL

      • RustyJohn

        I find this analysis to be incomplete and has not taken into consideration a number of factors such as 1) whether there is any truth to the rumor that Jeter has herpes and 2) what this team would look like if they signed EVERY Molina brother during the off-season. If both are in the affirmative, then might I propose this line-up….

        1) Damon
        2) Jeter
        3) ARod
        4) Molina
        5) Molina
        6) Molina
        7) Matsui
        8) Cano
        9) Gardner

        • radnom

          I think its totally appropriate that Cano’s spot in the lineup turned into that smilie face.

        • mustang

          LMAO

  • Mike R.

    Uhhhh…20 hits?

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

      “Hits” is a verb, in this case.

      The quest is hitting a speed bump.

  • stuart

    Offer arbitration to Pudge!!!

    he stinks and is done no thanks…

    Abreu adios…Rasner, ponson, pettitte, betemit, Giambi, say goodbye to them all… I go young and athletic and look into trading Cano and if they get back a CF or a few other players I may do it, his act is old and not a nice act……

    This team needs drastic changes not minor changes…..I let them all go; moose, pettite, abreu, pudge, and on and on..

    This team needs a cleanisng…I do keep Marte, the pen will be good .. They need CC and then need to get some professional players who know how to take good AB’s and limit the K’s…

    This team needs a total root canal…..

    • Ivan

      Do you think you are overreacting?

      • mustang

        Maybe just a bit.
        LOL

        • RustyJohn

          I tell you what you need to do- just whack one of them and the rest will fall in line- have Hank Steinbrenner dress up like Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now, tie Cano up to one of the foul poles, and have Hank cut off Melky’s head and drop it in Cano’s lap.

          “Where are you from, Cano?”

          “I’m from the Dominican, Sir.”

          “I went to the Dominican once when I was a kid…must have been a gardenia plantation or a flower plantation but for five miles you would think that heaven just fell on the earth….”

          • RustyJohn

            “in the form of gardenias.”

    • eVizions

      I think Pudge still has some life left. If nothing else, he’s in between Posada and Molina – he’ll hit better than Molina with less defense, while he’d hit less than Posada with a little more defense. Plus, we need to keep Matsui and Posada healthy and in the lineup – bringing Pudge back and moving Posada to first will keep Jorge fresh the entire season.

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

        For the cost and the duration he’ll get on the open market, I see no reason to bring back Pudge. Plus, his offensive line as a Yankee, in a small sample, is offensive: .224/.263/.342 in 80 PAs. That’s worse than Molina.

        • eVizions

          He did hit .295 this year before coming to New York. I imagine, given a full season in the Bronx, he would put up similar numbers to what he did in Detroit.

          If someone wants to overbid for him, let him go. If we can get him on the cheap I think he’d be a solid investment for 2 or 3 years.

  • Axl

    This team is a laughing stock. 208 million dollars for a 4th place team??

    They shouldn’t have focussed on a new stadium…what’s a stadium with a shitty team??

    We dug this hole ourselves…we overpaid everybody and gave them too many years…now we’re stuck with cocky youngsters who don’t care about anything…to accompany our very old and extremely overpaid veterans who certainly don’t care after they lose a game and go home and take a bath in their gold bathtubs in their mansions.

    They are disgrace. They should get rid of more than just who are coming off the books…and start from scratch possibly. We’re not going to get any better next year. 4th place seems about where we’ll be again if we keep the same squad.

    • RustyJohn

      Back in my day, before guaranteed contracts and free agency, you didn’t have any of these high priced very old, cocky veteran youngsters. And we didn’t have these “safe toys for kids”. In my day a child would open up a gift and within seconds either burst into flames or lose a limb.

      • steve (different one)

        They shouldn’t have focussed on a new stadium…what’s a stadium with a shitty team??

        this makes total sense.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          He’s got a point.

          Instead of pouring 1.2 Billion into some boring ass stadium what if we’d invested that in player contracts instead? There’s no way in hell a Yankees team with a 1.4 BILLION DOLLAR PAYROLL would fail to make the playoffs.

          With money like that, we could have had Usain Bolt as a pinch-runner, bought the head of Ted Williams and surgically implanted his brain inside Melky’s skull, and paid off UCLA to buy out Gerrit Cole’s committment.

          • eVizions

            Do you realize that the new stadium will generate upwards of $300M/year MORE than the current stadium? That means that a) the stadium itself will be paid off in less time than other new stadiums, and b) we will have a lot more money to play with. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

              Dude, I’m just being stupid. It’s my thing, it’s what I do.

  • Axl

    Trade Kennedy and Cano for Adrian Gonzalez. Trade Hughes for Dan Uggla.

    Sign Sabathia and whoever else.

    This Yankees team STINKS bad.

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

      Funny thing about this is that Dan Uggla might actually be on the market this off-season. He’s arb-eligible and due for a very substantial raise.

      • JG

        Uggla’s stats qren’t that much better than Giambi’s? .258 average – you’d be crying your eyes out for all the games he left runners on.
        Anyways, we already have a 2nd baseman. Cano will straighten out.

    • eVizions

      I wouldn’t do either of those trades. I like Cano better than Uggla and, while Gonzalez would be a nice addition at first, Hughes is too valuable to let go in either scenario.

      • http://www.3KidsTix.com Scott from 3 Kids Tickets

        Did you watch the All Star game? Is this how Uggla performs under the NY pressure. NO THANX!

        -Scott

        • yankeemonkey

          Yup. Because 3 ABs in an exhibition game is the best way to evaluate a player.

          • Rich

            3 ABs in an exhibition might not be significant but his actual history shows him to be a terrible, terrible fielding 2B regardless of the stadium he was playing in.

      • RustyJohn

        Hank will straighten him out.

        • RustyJohn

          “Are my methods unsound?”

  • BigBlueAL

    Most of you know how much of a Torre fan I am and how disappointed Ive been with Girardi this season. All Im saying is, wouldnt it be great if the Dodgers somehow won the WS!!!!!

    • JG

      Absolutely – though I think on this site we are in small company.

    • mustang

      I like Torre, but not that much. I like to see the Cubs win it’s enough already those fans really would enjoy it.

      What’s up with people wanting to trade Cano? Why?

  • http://www.3KidsTix.com Scott from 3 Kids Tickets

    I’m personally rooting for the Dodgers or the Phillies.

    Does this team need to have all the post-steroid users? Bye Pudge. It was a great idea that didn’t pan out.

    Marte is a keeper.

    I don’t think you can make a descision on 1st base until we find out about Posada. I would assue Posada will insist on catching, but whether he’ll be phyically able to is a whole other story. The problem is we might not know the answer until spring training, and by then it will be too late to get a Texiera.

    Getting 2 of these guys (Sabathia/Sheets/Burnett) is more important than any position player (or a similar type of pitcher thru a trade). Position players can be had for prospects in most cases. Front line pitchers can’t usually. Then you have 2 from the A list, Wang, Pettite/Moose (keep whichever one will go year to year), and hopefully Jaba – if not Hughes or IPK. Hughes pitched a gem tonight. Hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.

    2nd and center field need addressing. Cano is the tough one. Can you put up with the HUGE potential of his while sifting thru the lazyness? Damon in CF shouldn’t even be a thought. He was too old to play there this year. He’ll be nothing but older and more injury prone next year. Melky should be trade bait for anyone who will take him along with fat toad #2 (Igawa). I’m hoping Gardner can be groomed for the position. I’d love his speed at the top of the order.

    Is that the fat lady singing? Goodbye old friend, Yankee stadium. This season has left me anxiously awaiting next season and the new Stadium. It almost sickens me.

    -Scott

    • eVizions

      I’m with you for most of it. I doubt we would sign 2 of the A-list pitchers and, to be honest, I don’t think we need to. If Wang stays healthy and we bring back one of Moose/Pettite, that leaves 2 open slots. Joba will take 1 eventually and the other can be Hughes/IPK. That’s a hell of a starting rotation. If we need more insurance than we have there, Pavano’s option gives us a young free-agent-to-be with something to prove. Or a lower-level free agent could also make sense, but I still love our farm system and think that we should build from within where possible.

      Also, signing or trading for a CF will block AJax. If you do that, you’re better off trading AJax in the offseason while his value is as high as it is, but only if you think whoever you bring in will be better than AJax 3-5 years down the road, not just in 2009.

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

        It blocks AJax only in center field. The Yanks have two other OF positions that need filling sooner rather than later.

        • TurnTwo

          unless the CF you trade for is a better defensive CF than AJackson projects to be.

          then you slide Jackson to LF, where he spent some time during this past season, if i remember correctly.

          it wouldnt be an awful thing to have two plus defenders in LF and CF, considering the expansive real estate out there anyway.

        • eVizions

          I have a feeling that, while AJax will profile as an above-average center fielder, his bat probably won’t play as well in left. Why not go after a big bat in left and throw Nady in at right?

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

            I’m with that… Here’s a list of the big OF bats that should be available, with 2008 tripleslash and in order of age:

            .283/.326/.448 – Rocco Baldelli (27) (those are career numbers)
            .242/.392/.528 – Adam Dunn (29)
            .327/.446/.583 – Milton Bradley (31)
            .253/.370/.513 – Pat Burrell (32)
            .287/.337/.423 – Mark Kotsay (33)
            .255/.343/.523 – Mike Cameron (36)
            .278/.355/.478 – Cliff Floyd (36)
            .326/.426/.585 – Manny Ramirez (37)
            .306/.371/.514 – Raul Ibanez (37)
            .282/.317/.427 – Garrett Anderson (37)
            .299/.391/.442 – Brian Giles (38)
            .234/.343/.468 – Jim Edmonds (39)

            I didn’t include Carl Crawford or Vlad the Impaler, as I’d be shocked if they actually hit the market.

            Thoughts?

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

              Mark Kotsay has a grit-beard, I’d go with him.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                Can we just name it a Faustino, for brevity’s sake?

  • ortforshort

    This team is toast and, if I were the Yankees, I wouldn’t be looking for patching up the club for 2009. The team will sell out the season with the new stadium, so its an opportunity to get things right. With that in mind, forget about all of the old guys. Sign them or don’t sign them just to keep things afloat next year, but don’t make any long term decisions based on them. An example – don’t let Posada possibly playing first base next year affect a decision to go after Teixeira full throttle this offseason. Teixeira is a young stud that you build around – the Yankees don’t have any of these. Who cares whether Posada plays or not next year and where. He’s the past, not the future. You can go down the line with the rest of them – I-Rod, Giambi, Matsui, Damon, Abreu, Mussina, Pettitte. For better or for worse, A-Rod, Cano, Nady and Wang are really the only ones you can count on building around from the current roster. Rivera and Jeter probably have a few good years left in them. You can’t count on Chamberlain (he’s an injury waiting to happen as a starter), Hughes or Kennedy. Just go after quality young players like Sabathia, Teixeira and Sheets and wait ’til the farm system starts producing in a couple of years (A-Jax, Montero, etc.) Until then, the Yankees are a fourth place team. Tampa, Toronto and Boston all have more talent and much younger talent than the Yankees and you won’t be able to change that over night.

    • steve (different one)

      is there a clearer indication of a stupid post than calling Cano “lazy”?

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

        Same old semi-racist trope we’ve been hearing for a while.

      • http://www.3KidsTix.com Scott from 3 Kids Tickets

        Is there a clearer indication of a stupid post than calling a post stupid? Try expanding your vocabulary and write something constructive if you feel differently.

        -Scott

  • RustyJohn

    During the off season, Hank should convene a meeting of all players, staff, and Yankee employees. During this meeting he should randomly claim that he has discovered “spies and saboteurs” in the organization and begin reading off their names one by one. As each name is read, they should be taken out to the “New Monument Park” where they will be summarily executed before all the others. After several of the malcontents are gone, he should then congratulate those remaining for their past and future loyalty and leave the room.

    • RustyJohn

      This should supply sufficient motivation throughout the 2009 season.

  • Steve

    Looks like the Padres are going to hold a fire sale of cheap, young players this off season. Now they’re putting Kevin Kouzmanoff on the market, who’s is making nothing and only has about 3 years of service time.

    Seems to me like Towers wants to sell high ‘Dan Haren’ style on all of his assets, with an eye toward winning in 2010 or 2011. I have to believe Adrian Gonzalez will be available, but won’t be cheap. 4-1 with two of them being premium prospects.

    According to MLBTR they’re looking for pitching, not just position players. But I think were a match either way.

    • TurnTwo

      despite being an All-Star caliber player, Adrian Gonzalez is scheduled to make $3 million next year, $4+ million in 2010, and $5+ million in 2011… according to Cot’s anyway.

      his contract is hardly a burden for a team wanting to rid veteran contracts and large salaries. he’s not going anywhere.

      i would imagine Peavy is much more likely to move in a Padres firesale, especially considering his contract will pay him $48 million over the next 3 years, and an existing $22 million option for 2013… but he’s got a full no trade apparently. so he’d be a salary dump, but Towers would want a ridiculous amount of talent in return, unless he agrees to eat about half that $$.

      So put everything together, and its hard to imagine Peavy going anywhere either.

  • Mark B

    No one is mentioning Ryan Dempster among the possiblities in our rotation next year…..if Ben Sheets is being bantered around, surely Dempster needs to be considered as well – both can be sonidered health risks, though Dempster has been a rock in the Cubs rotation this year.

    • TurnTwo

      Dempster should not be a consideration.

    • eVizions

      I wouldn’t consider Dempster much of an option either. Sheets may be injury prone, but the guy has top notch stuff. Dempster is a good innings eater, but I doubt he’ll be an anchor in anyone’s rotation.

  • Brad Kraus

    Life is funny huh? The Yank’s are in 4th place, Santana is going to put the Met’s in the playoff’s, and Joe Torre has the Dodgers in first place and he is doing it with the help of Manny.

    • eVizions

      In 3 or 4 years, we’ll be looking at Hughes in his prime and Santana in decline and saying “Damn, I’m glad we didn’t let this guy go”… everyone knew this move wasn’t done for 2008, so it’s kinda unfair to judge it as if it was.

    • Ivan

      You know when the lakers traded shaq it looked bad at first, now it looks like the best move for the lakers. You make decisions for long term value. Not short term stuff unless you are inpatient.

    • radnom

      Also, if the Yankees traded divisions with either of those teams for the whole year, they would be in first as well…even playing as inconsistently as they’ve done all year.

  • Mickey Rivers Rules

    ortforshort makes an excellent point. If the original suggestion was signing Sabathia & Sheets (or Burnett) then you might have the basis of a good starting rotation for 2009 & beyond. Pavano & Kennedy should not even be part of the discussion. And the jury is unfortunately still out on Wang, Joba, Hughes. As of now I imagine Cashman would gladly exchange Wang, Joba & Hughes for Kazmir, Shields & Garza.

    • yankeemonkey

      And the jury is unfortunately still out on Wang

      Um, why, exactly? Because they can’t agree on whether he’s a #1 or a #1a, or #2? Silliness.

      As of now I imagine Cashman would gladly exchange Wang, Joba & Hughes for Kazmir, Shields & Garza.

      Sure, but let’s revisit this again a year or two from now, shall we? Kazmir, Shields, and Garza all needed time to blossom. God, why can’t you people have just a little patience? Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know!

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING THIS LONG TO COOK IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!?!?!?!?!

    • A-Point

      I seriously doubt that Cash would exchange Wang, Joba and Hughes even for a haul like Kazmir, Shields and Garza.

    • eVizions

      I would take Kazmir over Wang (although only slightly), but I would take Joba and Hughes over Shields and Garza so, no, I don’t agree that Cashman would make that trade.

  • Mickey Rivers Rules

    Time will tell – I hope it’s in the Yanks favor.

  • Stryker

    abreu’s more valuable to this team than you all think..

    • eVizions

      He’s also more replaceable than you think…