What Went Wrong: Starts with an M, ends with -elky

ALDS Game 4: Angels @ BoSox
As the Yankees go, so goes Wall St.

It’s no secret that we’re not fans of Melky Cabrera around here. We didn’t think the Yanks were making the right move in awarding him the center field job this year, and we thought the Yanks should have traded Cabrera last year when his stock was high.

After a hot April, we thought we were wrong, and we were happy to allow for the possibility. In fact, through the first week of May, it seemed as though Melky had arrived. After 31 games, Melky was hitting .291/.359/.505 with 6 HR and 17 RBI. It was all downhill from there.

Over his final 311 ABs, spanning 335 plate appearances, Melky was abysmal. He hit .235/.280/.286 with just 2 HR and 20 RBI. After walking 12 times in his first 118 plate appearances, he managed to draw just 17 free passes over that final 335 PAs. Melky Cabrera became an out machine.

As the season wore on and Melky’s numbers grew more and more grim, the Yankees did nothing. A mid-July Brett Gardner call-up didn’t net anything in the way of a replacement, and the Yanks were quick to send Brett packing. In August, the team had finally had enough, and after acquiring Xavier Nady, they moved Johnny Damon into center and Nady into left. Melky landed in AAA. While the Yankee defense would subsequently struggle — odd considering that Melky is largely overrated in center — the team had rid itself of blackhole in the lineup.

But the damage had been done. On the season, Melky was below average in every regard. For the third straight season, his rate stats (BA/OBP/SLG) declined, and his OPS+ hit 70, well below the league average. Melky managed to make Jason Varitek look like an offensive force at the plate this year. Sabermetrically, Melky pulled down a VORP of -4.0. Of players who had as many plate appearances, Melky was far and away the least productive. Replacement level would have been better, and once Brett Gardner found his groove in September, that replacement level player was better.

The question now though is twofold. First, what went wrong? A quick glance as Melky’s batting stats reveal that he was slightly unlucky this year. His BABIP, a mark which should hover around .290, was .271. His line drive percentage was steady, and his groundball rates decreased. By his fly ball numbers spiked. After a six-home run start to the season, Melky was trying to elevate his pitches, and he couldn’t get out of that rut. He didn’t hit all with runners in scoring position and struck out more often this year than last.

The next of course concers Melky’s future. Where does he go from here? It’s pretty clear that the Yanks have thankfully written him off. They will actively search for a center fielder this year and will probably be inclined to make Melky really earn his way onto the team next year if Melky isn’t traded. But trading Melky will be a problem too. If I were a GM, I wouldn’t be too keen to pick up a kid with a good arm who can’t hit particularly well and doesn’t take the best approach to fielding his position.

By himself, Melky wasn’t responsible for the Yankees’ lost season. But he was a part of it. An average outfielder — far above replacement level — such as Marlon Byrd or Vernon Wells would have netted a VORP in the mid-20s, and that three-win swing would have brought the Yanks that much closer to the playoffs.

In the end, I don’t like to gloat or revel in it. I would have rather seen Melky turn into a star or, at the very least, a serviceable center fielder. But for now, it looks like we were right, and the Yanks are stuck looking to fill a center field hole in a year in which the pickings are slim to say the least.

ALDS Game 4: Angels @ BoSox
As the Yankees go, so goes Wall St.
  • pat

    gardner in center, melky to the bullpen

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

      What’s he gonna do there? Sweep up the dugout after the game?

      • pat

        melky will need no secondary pitches, he will fire 200mph fastballs over the plate.

    • Mike R.

      I agree. I think Melky has what it takes to be an all star bullpen catcher.

      • RollingWave

        nah lefty with a fastball as a RP last forever no matter how bad they are, just look at Ron Villone

    • JeffG

      He could stand at the plate “batting” to give the pitchers confidence. Striking him out time after time would feel pretty good.

  • X-Man

    Melk and Brett in CF in 09…until Ajax is ready

    • Jacob


    • whozat

      So…your answer is accept an offensive hole, and expect Jackson to solidify the position before his 23rd birthday?

      No pressure, Austin.

      I gotta kick the tires on Cameron. Crappy batting average, but he still has some pop and his D, while a far cry from what it used to be, is still solid. WAAAY better than Damon.

      Here’s a thought…trade Damon, sign Dunn and Cameron. Damon is basically the only vet with trade value, and to a team looking for a Proven Veteran Leadoff Man, he fits the bill — and carries limited risk as a one-year commitment. Dunn replaces the OPS of Giambi, Cameron solidifies CF for a year, and use Melky/Gardner as a defensive replacement in LF liberally.

      • steve (different one)

        agreed, but unfortunately the Brewers hold an option on Cameron.

        • http://barackobama.com TurnTwo

          and are likely to exercise it.

  • Alberto

    how about a veteran with a lot of defense like mike cameron until A-Jax is ready or until the open market has a star centerfielder?

  • Slugger27

    before i comment…. lanny, what are your thoughts?

  • RollingWave

    i think at this point they need to risk putting Johnny D back out there for at least a good portion of the time in 09 and bring in a corner slugger (i’m leaning towards manny just for the hell of it)

    the OF is a real mess. we can’t except Johnny D to repeat 08 again, and if not he’s below average in LF, if we stick with Nady in RF then he’s probably average there too at best. if we throw in say…Mike Cameron, then our upside offesnively is average. while all 3 of them have injury concerns.

    having looked at defensive metrics over the years, I say that it’s getting overblown in a lot of ways. my self conclusions

    1. it’s unstable: Jeter is not automatically a blackhole at SS

    2. it’s effect is overblown

    3. team defense effect are not just tied to individuals. the Rays were godawful in 07 defensively, they were very good this year when the only major change in personal was Bartlett at short.

    in this sense, I’d much rather go with guys have a big bat.

    • Chris

      The Rays added Bartlett at short, improved second by moving Iwamura there and brought up Longoria for third. Basically their entire infield defense was greatly improved. They also replaced Delmon Young in right field with Gabe Gross (not sure the real impact of this). Finally, BJ Upton got about twice as much playing time in CF this year

      So the Rays improved their defense by changing 4 of the 7 defensive positions (plus some of CF).

  • Steve

    “In the end, I don’t like to gloat or revel in it. ”

    . . . . but this will be the 4 time I’ve brought up that I was right, and everyone else was wrong.

    Why make this article about you at all? Why not just talk about Melky? Looks bad, to be honest.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Because not mentioning it would be an “elephant in the room” situation? The article isn’t about the writers, he simply acknowledged what everyone knows. Anyone who reads this blog even semi-regularly knows what’s been said about Melky, it would be weird to not mention it.

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

      So we’re only supposed to own up to it when we make mistakes, Steve, is that it? We can’t talk about Kennedy and Hughes without being reminded of that mistake, but Melky’s taboo?

      • jsbrendog

        you told me so. but now i own a cabrera t shirt. My only hopes is that we can get another cabrera who wears 24 and does an awesome job.

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


      • Steve

        No Ben, now you’re trying to (once again) personalize this by making it about who I liked or didn’t like. I don’t care about your, mine, or anyone else’s personal history on the subject. Its not about me or you, its about Melky and his on the field performance.

        You could have simply discussed Melky (or Hughes or IPK) on the merits without getting into what camp everyone falls into on the subject. This could have simply been a Baseball discussion, not the “Melky Defenders VS Melky Haters” tit for tat you’re trying to turn this into.

    • Yank Crank 20

      I would definitely say “I told you so” in this situation. If every Yankee fan and member of the media fell in love with a player, and I was the only one who recognized he was actually completely overrated and playing over his head, than i’d gladly gloat when the inevitable became true.

  • Chris

    You know who else put up a 70 OPS+ in his age 23 season? Carlos Beltran.

    Just because he’s struggled doesn’t mean Melky should be thrown to the curb. Particularly since there are no better replacements right now (and don’t talk to me about Gardner with his 55 OPS+ being any better than Melky).

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Uggggggggggggggh. Look… If you like Melky, you like him, I’m not going to try to convince you to give up on the guy. But your reasoning, your argument, is crap. Carlos Beltran’s age 23 season has NOTHING to do with Melky Cabrera’s current status or his potential for the future. And there ARE better replacements right now. Quoting Ben (above): “Melky pulled down a VORP of -4.0. Of players who had as many plate appearances, Melky was far and away the least productive. Replacement level would have been better, and once Brett Gardner found his groove in September, that replacement level player was better.” Scouts/talent evaluators have never felt this guy has projectable tools and he has been terrible in the majors. So Melky provides the double-super advantage of unacceptable performance in the present and little expectation that he will improve much. If really think he’s the best available CF option for opening day 2009 then you should take off the Melky-tinted glasses, friend. To the Melky defenders out there, I ask two simple questions: What does this guy do WELL? What does he do better than other players? (I’ll go ahead and answer first – Good arm, and good arm. That’s it, and he’s terrible at hitting baseballs.)

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I guess my opening sentence was misleading. I take that part back.

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

          Heh, I was about to say that myself.

          “This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table.”

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            lol I was just going to attack the reliance on Beltran’s age-23 numbers and not Melky’s actual worth/potential but I got a little carried away. Whoops.

  • The Scout

    The answer to the CF conundrum depends upon the time horizon the organization takes. If the Yankees move to contend in 2009 with a real chance to reach the play-offs and go deep into post-season, they would certainly benefit from a significant upgrade in CF. It would make sense to explore seriously the market for a quality CF who is in his prime, such as McClouth. (Who the Yankees should consider giving up in such a deal is a matter for a different thread.) An aging fill-in such as Cameron would cost less but also carry much less assurance that he would be a difference-maker.

    If instead the team prefers a more patient approach and is less invested in winning in 2009, then it would be acceptable to try a Gardner/Damon combination. It would likely have to be for more than one year, too, because it is not realistic to expect Jackson (even with his considerable upside) to step in and perform at a high level in his first year or two.

    The Gardner/Damon option also makes sense if the team upgrades dramatically at other positions such as first base and starting pitching. You don’t have to be strong everywhere, and teams (even good ones) rarely are.

    Either way, I see little future for Melky as a key player for the Yankees. I suppose he could turn it around (as in the Beltran example) but there are far more players who never do. He will likely begin next year as a regular at AAA, to be used as a fill-in if he shows something over time.

    Afterthought: Waiting for a star center fielder to hit the free agent market is not a plan; it’s like a farmer who prays for rain.

    • Old Ranger

      I can agree with part of your post but, not all.
      Melky had the same problem as many others coming to the show; (other then no talent) the league made a book on him…done, end of story!

      Brett in AAA; OPS .836, BA .296, OBP .414…we (most) know Brett has an adjustment time moving up to another level. After his recall, Brett hit better and with his speed and clutch hitting, won a few games for us. I am not looking at Brett as the CF of the future (maybe he will be) but for 2009, a line of; OPS .790/.815, BA .265/.275, OBP .333/.370, will get the job done. 27/09.

  • steve (different one)

    While the Yankee defense would subsequently struggle — odd considering that Melky is largely overrated in center — the team had rid itself of blackhole in the lineup.

    overrated according to whom?

    i don’t want to interrupt the Melky pile-on by pointing out “facts”, but according SG over at RLYW, Melky had a VERY solid year defensively.


    now, that doesn’t mean he still can’t be overrated, of course he can. but i guess i just missed this overarching perception that Melky is a defensive wizard of some sort.

    i think the perception is that he is above average defensively. which, according to the numbers, he is.

    so i don’t think he’s overrated or underrated, he’s just “rated”.

    now, he can’t hit and shouldn’t be the CFer next year, but we don’t need to take unsubstantiated swipes at his defense either.

    that’s all. carry on.

    • Bo

      Yea. That was a ridiculous statement to make.

      You call him overrated as a defender but then say it was weird the defense tanked when he left CF.

      Ummm logic anyone???

      I know you guys need to toot your own horn after the disastrous “Big Three” season but come on.

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

        Off-topic character assassination FTW!

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Let’s break down Ben’s reasoning: 1. I think Melky is overrated. 2. Outfield defense suffered without Melky. 3. It’s odd to me that outfield defense suffered without Melky, since I think Melky’s defense is overrated.

        That reasoning seems pretty sound to me. (Disagree that his defense is overrated all you want – and even better, provide some evidence to support your opinion – but you may want to refrain from accusing people of being illogical when you don’t seem to have a grasp on the concept.)

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

          But you don’t even have to go that deep into it. The fact that the defense suffered when Melky was benched doesn’t logically substantiate any claims that Melky was or wasn’t overrated defensively, because there’s way too many factors in play there.

          Logically, any person who thinks about it logically would logically ask the logical question of “Well, who replaced Melky in center? Because, if Melky’s replacement was obviously atrocious defensively, it stands to reason, logically speaking, that the defense would suffer, even though Melky was pretty overrated himself. Logically speaking, of course.”

          If we impeached President Bush and replaced him with a poo-flinging monkey, and the erratic decisions of President Chim-Chim caused unprecedented harm to the American economy, would you then badmouth anyone who made the claim that Bush wasn’t all that great of a president?

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “But you don’t even have to go that deep into it. The fact that the defense suffered when Melky was benched doesn’t logically substantiate any claims that Melky was or wasn’t overrated defensively, because there’s way too many factors in play there

            Yeah, I was waiting for a response before going into all that. YOU BLEW IT.

            • Bo

              Melky is an overrated CF yet the bad defense in the OF got appreciably worse after he was sent.

              And you are arguing logic???

              Spare me.

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

                Clearly, you don’t understand logic. Overrated does mean bad. Overrated simply means that people think he’s better than he was.

                When he was replaced, the defenders who replaced him were worse. Hence, the defense got worse when he was replaced.

                If you have something average and you think it’s above average, it’s overrated. If you have something average, and you replace it with something worse, then that thing will be worse. It’s really basic logic actually.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

                Thank you for proving you don’t grasp the concept of logic.

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

                  Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

    • radnom

      Well it was a ridiculous statement but not necessarily because Melky isn’t overrated (I think he is a little). Just because of the fact that how Melky is rated is *completely irrelevant* to how bad the defensive outfield of Abreu/Damon/Nady is.

    • Old Ranger

      If I remember correctly, the only defensive player that was avg., (or above) was Brett Gardner…that leaves us with the fact; we need better defensive players (Johnny was bad, bad! A-Rod and Cano were close to avg.)! Melky is a better defender (all around) than Johnny, he can’t hit.
      What will happen if; working with Long over the winter, Melky and Cano come into ST knocking the cover off the ball? Would anyone change their minds? I doubt it! It’s just like the criticism people have of Pavano, everyone has their minds made up. So be it! 27/09.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi


        That seems to be what you expect people to say. If Melky were to miraculously transform into a good hitter, do you really think any Yankees fans would NOT like him and want him in the lineup? Don’t personalize this, this isn’t about who likes Melky and who doesn’t. It’s about whether the guy can perform. I’m sure many here would toss me into the “Melky hater” group, but those people miss the point. I want every player who steps on the field in pinstripes to be awesome, nobody’s rooting against Melky or will irrationally not want him in the lineup if he can perform well. The only thing people may have their mind made up about is Melky’s past performance and perceived potential (or lack thereof). Nobody’s rooting against the guy.

        • Old Ranger

          You may have missed the point altogether.
          I was trying to compare the dislike of Pavano to the same for Melky..in that; “If each player is a good fit for the team, likes or dislikes be damned.” How often has someone posted a “I hate Pavano” or “Pavano, no way”?
          I always though you were better then that. I never personalize the response of a poster nor do I say they suck…unless, someone attacks me personally. Are we having fun yet? 27/09.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “What will happen if; working with Long over the winter, Melky and Cano come into ST knocking the cover off the ball? Would anyone change their minds? I doubt it!”

            Just responding to the words on the screen, brother.

            “You may have missed the point altogether.
            I was trying to compare the dislike of Pavano to the same for Melky..in that; ‘If each player is a good fit for the team, likes or dislikes be damned.'”

            I responded to your statement that people wouldn’t change their minds about Melky even if he were to tear the cover off the ball (which I quoted above), so I fail to see how I missed the point altogether. My response was that if Melky were to play well then, to quote you, “likes or dislikes be damned” and everyone WOULD be a Melky fan. You said “even if he plays well people won’t like him,” I responded that “if he played well people would like him,” and you responded to me by saying “you misunderstood, I was saying if he plays well people should like him.” And around we go.

            • Old Ranger

              Ok, you win!
              If that’s your take on it I sure can’t get through to you…sorry, my mistake. NOW, are we having fun? 27/09.

  • cupz

    Agreed. He has an absolute rocket arm and can field the position defensively, especially considering the large expanse that is the Yankees’ OF (not as sure about the new stadium’s dimensions, but I imagine they’re similar). I have never got the opinion that he wa overrated in any respect. Not like he’s winning a Gold Glove every year, but there are definite times in his defensive career where he’s saved a game for us by making a play out there.

    • A.D.

      new stadium dimensions are exactly the same

  • Bo

    What’s the whole McLouth thing?

    The guy is an average player who is terrible defensively in CF.

    Never mind the fact that they are posturing now for a Santana type haul for him.

    I think they’d go into the yr with Gardner in CF and spend dough on Tex and 2 prime SP’s before they paid for a CF or traded guys like Cano for a CF.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Seems like a non-issue at this point. If the Pirates value him as highly as has been reported, I wouldn’t worry about the Yanks trading for him. They’re not going to give up the farm for Nate McLouth.

    • Mike Pop

      I lvoe that idea but for some reason I love the idea of Dunn or Ramirez

      • radnom

        “for some reason”


        • Casey

          STRONG drugs. On Dunn at least. I’d welcome Manny with open arms, the guy is still one of the top 5 RH hitters of all time. Dunn and his 180 Ks per 162 games can stay as far away from me as possible, thank you very much.

          • radnom

            Oddly enough I was reacting more about Manny than Dunn.

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

              And, as usual when you let raw emotion guide your critical reasoning process, you’d be wrong, radnom.

              I know every bone in your body has taught you to hate Manny because he’s a Red Sox (and probably a wildly erratic, certifiable idiot.) But he’s still a FANTASTIC player, and even at an advanced age, he was probably the MVP of baseball this year (but won’t get it since he split time in the AL and NL.)

              Adding a perennial MVP type bat, who’s practically immune to pressure, media attention, or slumps and slotting him right behind ARod in the batting order would be an amazingly smart baseball move, and you know it.

              • Old Ranger

                Do you remember the little act he pulled in Boston, and what he said about playing there? If he thinks the pressure is bad in Boston…think how he would react to the pressure in NY! God help us, if he comes to the Yanks…he would pull the same act, once he got some bad press or criticism. Love the bat, dislike the attitude.
                Tex would do much better with the team, in many ways. 27/09.

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

                  I do.

                  I also remember the Red Sox winning multiple playoff series and titles in the past decade.

                  Dislike the attitude, head-over-heels for the bat. With good reason.

                • ceciguante

                  i agree w/ old ranger on this one. manny would probably rake for us as usual, at least for a while, but don’t forget the age factor. he could break down at any time. the attitude/media factor is also a big ?. and the utter lack of defense only adds to the stable of all hit / no D players we have. no thanks.

                  if you say you know he’ll perform because of his great hitting ability, i can’t really argue with that (at least for a little while, until age catches up w/ him). if you’re saying you know the attitude/media stuff won’t cause him to take, say, 2 years off from trying at all and being a cancer on the team, i say you’re giving him too much credit and taking a big gamble.

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

          Well, how about the reasons that both Dunn and Manny are amazingly good hitters?

          There’s one…

          • Casey

            180Ks per 162 games does not an “amazingly good hitter” make. Yes his OPS and OPS+ are solid, but so are Giambi’s. And with all due respect to the ‘stache, we need more. OPS+ is a great staistic, but in many scenarios, a walk is just NOT as good as a hit, for instance with RISP. And in those instances a fly ball or a groundout is generally more useful than a K.

            I can understand what some people see in Dunn, but I completely disagree that he has a place on the Yanks.

            • Bo

              You can do a lot worse than adding 40 homers and an OBP of .400.

              • Casey

                Yes, without a doubt. My point is simply that you can do a lot better than adding 180Ks against only 135 hits and 110 walks. There is no doubting that the guy gets on base, the problem is that he either hits a homer, gets to 1st base, or strikes out. There is no 4th option. Frankly, the Yankees do not need a guy who is such an epitome of boom or bust.

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

                  While I’ll agree with you that we don’t need 9 Adam Dunns, I think one would be just fine.

                  I’m like you, he’s far, FAR from my first choice, but I won’t pull my hair out if we get him. Yeah, he K’s a lot. He also gets on base a lot and drives in runs a lot.

                • Casey

                  Fair enough. Although I think that there would be a considerable amount of times where he would cause me to pull out my hair. Like everytime he K’s with RISP and I wish that we had someone up there batting .320 with zero homers instead.

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

                  We could sign Tony Gwynn out of retirement to be a slap-hitting LIPS RISP pinch hitter…

          • radnom

            You want Manny for 4+ years? Probably at least 5.

            Because he sure as hell didn’t cause a huge fit to get out of his 2 year option with Boston to sign a 3 year deal with us.

            • Casey

              Manny opting out wasn’t about years. He switched his agent to Scott Boras, who wouldn’t get paid if the Sox or anyone else picked up Manny’s options. I don’t think 3 years at $23M or so would be a deal they’d scoff at. Especially not for him to come home to New York.

              • Casey

                Oh, and also, Dunn has gone on the record as saying he wants a $200M deal. I’ll pass on that.

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

                  I’ve gone on record as saying I want to have a four-way with Gabrielle Union, Selita Ebanks, and Zoe Saldana.

                  Doesn’t mean either of those things are even going to happen.

                • Casey

                  Sure, but as you no doubt settle for a 2 way with girls of lower caliber, or a one way with five-fingered Sally, Dunn will have to settle too. Now, I can only speak for myself, but I don’t want Dunn “settling” for $150M at the Yanks’ expense. That’s roughly 1,200 Ks over 6 years that I don’t need to see first hand.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                  I think for $200M you could pull it off.

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

                  Peter: What would you do if you had a million dollars?
                  Lawrence: I’ll tell you what I’d do, man: two chicks at the same time, man.
                  Peter: That’s it?… If you had a million dollars, you’d do… two chicks at the same time?
                  Lawrence: Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. And I think if I were a millionaire I could hook that up, too; ’cause chicks dig dudes with money.
                  Peter: Well, not all chicks.
                  Lawrence: Well, the type of chicks that’d double up on a dude like me do.
                  Peter: Good point.

    • RollingWave

      he’s white

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        So anyone who likes Nate McLouth is a racist? Fuuuuuuuck… I really wish someone had told me that earlier.

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

          No, you’re wrong. Anyone who doesn’t like Nate McLouth is a racist, because the athletic achievements of white centerfielders should be lauded for their grittiness and clutchitudiness and the achievements of black and latino centerfielders can be ignored because they’re all just dumb physically blessed lazy slackers anyway.

          If you fail to appropriately shower praise on McLouth for being a grinder and playing the game the right way, that’s when you’re a racist.

          McLouth and Darin Erstad = greatest american heroes ever

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Oh thank god, so I’m in the clear.

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

              Nope, you’re still a racist. All of us blacks and latinos are automatically racist, because we’re blacks and latinos. “Reverse” racists.

              Congressman Mondesi = evil racist America-hating terrorist

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Fuck. Well at least it’s settled, no more of this “I’m a racist”, “no I’m not (phew),” “yes I am (ugh)” confusion.

      • gg

        white black whatever, mclouths not that good

  • Yank Crank 20

    Honestly guys, I know Melky had a miserable season and Gardner wasn’t as productive as we’d like our starting center fielder to be, but with the many holes we have to fill this offseason i seriously doubt the Yankees will make a significant trade for a quality CF. First base has been a hole, defensively, ever since we let go of Nick Johnson (not counting the one year of Mientcwirufhxbxg) and our starting pitching is the biggest concern with only 2 pitchers guaranteed a rotation spot for 2009. Do you spend money or trade prospects for your big holes at 1b and starters, or do you send Cano and others off for a Kemp or McLouth when you can see if Garnder can be an avg. CF who will cover the outfield and maybe steal 40-50 bases?

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

      Agreed. As Ben intimated himself, while Melky was a black hole, he was far from the Yanks’ only problem. And with a decent CF prospect in the pipeline, we’re probably best of trying to spackle the hole temporarily with some mix of Gardner/Melky/Damon while adressing the bigger offensive problems at 1B, RF, LF, and DH and filling out the rotation.

    • A.D.

      Agreed, there isn’t anything that attractive in CF.

      With FA there’s not much, unless you count Mark Kotsay

      Trading for Kemp, 1. will cost something significant, 2. Kemp isn’t really a CF, hes just a young corner OF

      McLouth, will also cost a lot, and while he had 800+ OPS the past 2 years the numbers don’t blow you away

  • nick blasioli

    just think if the yankees had to play melky…and traded for roberts of baltimore…after they traded cano….and then sign tex for first base and posada catching…wow..four switch hitters in the lineup….(forget about melky)

  • Heidelberger

    Hey, I think I might have figured out something that could have turned the Yankee season around: what if had replaced Pitcher A (73.2 IP, 0-8 W-L, 1.82 WHIP, 7.45 ERA) with Pitcher B (234.1 IP, 16-7 W-L, 1.15 WHIP, 2.53 ERA). Considering the Yankees finished up 6 or 7 losses short of contention, that would have probably helped a lot, but of course no one would ever have been willing to trade someone as good as Pitcher B for someone as bad as Pitcher A so it’s stupid for me to even bring it up. But if someone were crazy enough to be willing to trade Pitcher B for Pitcher A and you very loudly told everyone in the world “No, we absolutely must keep Pitcher A,” I guess no one would really take your baseball advice very seriously again.

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

      Of course, that’s not allowing for the fact that team B wasn’t willing to trade Pitcher B for Pitcher(s) A, but we won’t let that inconvenient reality get in the way of that analysis.

      • Heidelberger

        Are you sure about that? I believe that they were willing to make that trade and I base my belief on a conversation I had with the assistant general manager of another AL team who seemed to know what he was talking about and had no reason to lie to me. But assuming arguendo that he was lying to me and it was never on offer, my analysis was of the evaluative abilities of a person who would argue against making such a trade, regardless of whether it was actually on offer, and therefore my analysis of that person still stands.

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

          All of that is some hot bullshit that only happened in your head.


          • Heidelberger

            Really? The RAB Gang did not argue against the (imaginary) trade that I am referring to? I just imagined that bullshit up in my dome piece, yo? I think there may be a T-shirt somewhere that is evidence to the contrary. The danger with forcefully expressing an opinion is that if you’re wrong, people get to question your judgement. Except on RAB, where people who question received wisdom need to STFU. Have fun talking to yourself.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

              We argued against it, yes. And we’re glad we did. Not me, not Ben, not Mike argued that we’d be better off in 2008 for it. Not once, not ever. Yet you’re judging this non-trade on year one of many.

    • steve (different one)

      how clever!

      i can’t believe this hasn’t been discussed.

      did you guys know that Johan Santana was available last winter and that the Yankees could have traded Hughes and Kennedy for him?

      i had no idea until someone phrased it in such a way as to convert Johan Santana into an anonymous “Pitcher B” and Hughes/Kennedy combined into one pitcher “Pitcher A”.

      i’ve just had an epiphany.

      oh wait, the non-trade wasn’t about 2008? it was about 2009-2014? oh, forget it.

      • ceciguante

        no. it was about 2008-2014. nobody, including cashman, said they were mailing in 2008 to focus on the future. to the contrary, cashman said he expected to win with hughes/kennedy in 2008, and his decision was an abject failure. for which he got a new 3 year contract. which i really hope isn’t guaranteed.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Dude you’re like the Elijah Price to my David Dunn. Shyamalanian. Fascinating.

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

      Excellent point.

      It was also excellent that you totally didn’t mention Ian Kennedy, Chien Ming Wang, Robinson Cano, Austin Jackson, Jeff Marquez, Mitch Hilligoss, Melky Cabrera, CC Sabathia’s impending free agency, Phil Hughes’s rib injury, Johan Santana’s diminished velocity, the Twins’ desire to deal Santana outside of the AL, or how the differences between pitching in the AL and NL East affect your statlines.

      All of that was also totally excellent.

    • Chip

      I have a better one!

      What if we had replaced Pitcher A (73.2 IP, 0-8 W-L, 1.82 WHIP, 7.45 ERA) not with Pitcher B but with Pitcher C (199.3 IP, 19-7 W-L, 1.294, 3.70 ERA)? Now on top of that, Pitcher C doesn’t cost us anything! All he has to do is stay healthy….o wait. Seriously if Hughes and Wang were healthy all season, we’d be in the playoffs. Now if we had traded Kennedy and Hughes (and Tabata/Ajax who they were also reportedly asking for) and Santana decided to get hurt then we’d REALLY be screwed

  • A.D.

    Figure BG probably gets the CF job barring a dismal spring, and Melk can be the 4th OF, he provides a plus arm and pretty good range, they can put him in left for Damon at the end of games to hose runners.

    If history serves someone will get hurt in the OF & DH and Melk will get some time.

  • X-Man

    No Dunn, No Ramirez!……Tex is the men!

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

      Okay, seriously… “Tex is the men”?

      You’re just doing that intentionally now.

  • Lanny

    What’s the over under on how many article RAB does patting themselves on the back for going out on that huge limb and saying Melky was a 4th outfielder??

    I don’t think many saw a future all star here.

    The uninspiring AJ will be manning CF in 2010 so don’t worry.

  • Nick

    As an actual baseball player who has actually been on a field and actually knows what its like to play baseball while looking over your shoulder to make sure you still have a job, I think that certain stats, like percentages measuring defense, are overrated. While I agree that Melky is not the most fundamentally sound outfielder, i really dont think that brett gardner is either. Unfortunately, both are the best we have right now. Melky has shown flashes of greatness at the plate and in the field, and it doesnt seem fair at all to decide that a 23 year old who has been in the majors less than 3 years has no future. Cliff Lee was sent to the minors in 07, and Nate McClouth also was said to have “no future”. If I managed the Yankees, Melky and Gardner would split time in center until one proves that they deserve the starting job.