Mar
20

Checking in on the center field battle

By

In 17 days, the Yankees will begin their inevitable march toward a 27th World Series championship. Meanwhile, they still have no set center fielder. With Grapefruit League action a-dwindlin’ in Tampa, it’s time to check in on everyone’s favorite positional battle.

We start with a Jayson Stark rumor:

GLOVE AFFAIR: The most-heard observation about the Yankees this spring: That team could have serious, and potentially fatal, defensive issues. They’re range-challenged in left, in right and at shortstop. (Ed. Note: That’s a shot at Jeter.) They have reliability issues at second. Alex Rodriguez is now a major question on every level. And nobody knows what kind of defensive catcher Jorge Posada is capable of being over the long haul. There are rumblings the Yankees are poking around again on Mike Cameron’s availability.

So basically, that paragraph boils down to blah, blah, blah, and oh, yeah, the Yanks are back on the Mike Cameron bandwagon. If Stark’s sources are telling the truth, I’m not really sure what the Yankees see in Cameron. He’s having a terrible spring for the Brewers; he’s old; and he’s not cheap. The Yanks have two center fielders in camp who could do the job, and while Cameron may still be a better defender than Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, a weaker hitter, is just as good, if not, better at getting to fly balls.

Cameron, a few months older than Johnny Damon, doesn’t fit the Yankees’ move toward younger, more versatile players either. Perhaps the Brewers are trying to stir up interest in a contractual albatross, but I just don’t see Cameron arriving in the Bronx any time soon. Meanwhile, the Brewers are denying any and all trade rumors, and this looks like a big nothing from Stark. Shocking, I know.

Back in Tampa, Bryan Hoch checked in with Melky Cabrera. The displaced starter now battling for his position feels as though he has a shot at the job, and Joe Girardi is conceding nothing. “This offseason, I worked really hard, so when the opportunity came, I’d be ready to play,” Cabrera said to Hoch. “I worked on defense and hitting and was working out every day. It’s helping a lot. I’m ready to go.”

For his part, with a few weeks of spring games left, Girardi is not giving the spot to either player. “Melky’s playing at a very high level, as well,” Girardi said. “I’m happy with the way Melky is playing. He’s really started swinging the bat, and you see him doing little things — bringing the defense in with drag attempts and shooting balls by them.”

For what it’s worth, Brett Gardner is far outhitting Melky in Spring Training. Cabrera is hitting a Melky-ian .250/.341/.361 through around 40 PAs, and Gardner is hitting .382./447/.765 in the same span.

The Yanks though are far from finished with the auditions. According to Hoch, the team likes Cabrera’s arm in center, and the decision may come down to defense, a factor that should favor Gardner’s speed and range. In the end, Hoch notes that the Yanks could carry both players, and considering that Melky is out of options, they very well might so as not to lose the youngster. I wouldn’t, however, pencil in anyone but Gardner for that Opening Day spot quite yet. Who emerges as the center fielder by game 100 is anyone’s guess.

Categories : Spring Training
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    They’re range-challenged in left, in right and at shortstop. (Ed. Note: That’s a shot at Jeter.)

    No, it’s a shot at Damon and Swisher, and it’s BS.
    Johnny Damon, career UZR/150, LF: +17.4
    Nick Swisher, career UZR/150, RF, +9.4

    Suck it, Trebek.

    • steve (different one)

      beat me to it.

      not even close to being accurate.

      he’s right that Cano COULD suck again, but he could also rebound to be the fielder he was his entire career before July 2008.

      i think A-Rod will be fine, but that’s a legitimate concern.

      still, potentially “fatal”? give me a break.

      the Yankees have the chance to have a SUPERB defensive OF.

      • Chris

        I was thinking about it and the OF defense could be bad if they play Nady in right, Matsui in left and Damon as the DH. Of course if they do that, someone should be fired.

        • steve (different one)

          well sure. but that’s not very realistic. Nady WILL see time in RF, no doubt, but he’s about average himself.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You’re right, Chris.

          In a similar vein, the infield defense could also suck if they were to play Matsui at 3B, Posada at SS, Juan Miranda at 2B and sign Jim Abbot out of retirement to play 1B.

          Thankfully, neither your nor my scenario would ever come to pass because they’re both FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

          • Chris

            Of course they’re ridiculous, but so was Stark’s comments. If you want to understand the MSM, then you have to start thinking ridiculously. If I only offered up rational explanations for these articles, then I would have nothing to say.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Oh, I got what you were doing.

              Just piling on.

    • huuz

      agreed.

      how can he state that damon’s range is subpar in left? there are things lacking in johnny’s game, but range in LF isn’t one of them…MSM idiots strike again!

    • Rich

      You saved me some typing. Stark is an fact-free idiot.

    • Brian

      In LF, Damon has some range, and his lack of an arm isn’t a big deal.

  • Chris

    With Damon in left and Swisher in right, that would give them above average defense in both corner outfield positions. I’m not sure how that equates to range challenged.

    • MattG

      NY’ed be much better off with Ibanez and Werth.

      • Chris C.

        Ibanez is a terrible outfielder.
        The Phillies just overpaid for him.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Who emerges as the center fielder by game 100 is anyone’s guess.

    Barry Bonds.

  • MattG

    Spring training stats are meaningless. How many times does a guy post a 1.000+ OPS in spring, and start the season 0-for-April? Gardner will start opening day, but spring training will be forgotten faster than a list without A-Rod’s name.

    Forget game 100. I don’t know who is starting game 10.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Based on
      A) the potential he has as a prospect (demonstrated superior defense and speed with adequate OBP skills)
      B) the improvements and adjustments he’s made at every level with increased playing time, including his second stint in the majors last year
      C) his good showing this spring

      Gardner has earned an extended shot at keeping the CF job that will rightly be handed to him on opening day.

      Pulling him after 10 games if he’s struggling would be utterly moronic.

      • MattG

        Remember, my opinion of Gardner in February was 4th outfielder. I wouldn’t be consistent if, based on a torrid spring training, I changed my opinion of him. I think he won the job when in November, when the Yankees did not make a move. So, yes, pulling him after 10 days would be moronic, but no more so now than if Gardner was hitting .110 in the spring. His job security is still very tenuous.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Whether you think he’s a 4th outfielder or the second coming of Jesus Christ, 10 games is too small a sample size.

          • Mike Pop

            This is the fucking Yankees, baby! We need results, and we need them quick, son!

            Can’t wait for A.J. and CC to have 1 bad start out of their first five and all the columns saying how the deals are bad because these two will just not live up to expectations.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

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

          • MattG

            And if he is a 4th OF, 10 games is too small a sample size to guarantee his start in game 11. That’s the point.

            It’s not where you end up. It’s where you started from. No one, ever, should win a job based on spring training (well, unless they are just proving they’re healthy or something). You can argue that Gardner deserves an extended trial, but you can’t argue that unless you’re basing it on points A & B. Point C is completely irrelevant.

            And I will knock my confidence vote down a full level if Girardi comes out and declares Gardner the ‘winner’ based on his ‘great spring.’

  • http://lennysyankees.blogspot.com Lenny Neslin

    No need to get Cameron here, Gardner’s definitely an equal if not better center fielder than Cameron. We need to be trading one of our center fielders, not adding one.

  • Bill

    As others have mentioned Damon is very good in left with Range being a big time strength for him. Swisher is also excellent in RF. Nady is about average in either corner OF position.

    Then in CF Gardner is excellent and likely better than Mike Cameron is right now defensively.

    Our OF defense unlike previous years will be a strength. I can see people knocking the INF defense as Teixeira is the only really reliable defender there. A-Rod is average, Cano is talented but error prone, Posada is below average, and we all know about Jeter at SS.

    Still when you compare to last year’s defense we’ve improved at 3 positions (RF, CF, 1B) and have regressed at only 1, C. The improvements in RF and 1B in particular are huge as Abreu and Giambi are two of the worst defensive players at their positions whereas Swisher and Teixeira are among the best defensively at those positions.

    Oh and there’s no way we’re pursuing Cameron. That makes no sense right now with the way Gardner is playing. Unless the Brewers are warming up to the idea of eating a ton of salary or are willing to take Igawa’s off our hands there’s next to no chance of that happening. Even then who knows if we’d even want Cameron.

    • Chris C.

      “Oh and there’s no way we’re pursuing Cameron. That makes no sense right now with the way Gardner is playing.”

      This seems to be a case of the Yankees not going after a targeted need, but rather trying to justify the addition of an overpaid veteran being dangled in front of their faces as trade bait.
      Cameron is the path of least resistence, because the Brewers are dying for the Yankees to take him.

  • steve (different one)

    If Stark’s sources are telling the truth, I’m not really sure what the Yankees see in Cameron. He’s having a terrible spring for the Brewers; he’s old; and he’s not cheap.

    it’s kindof like Groundhog’s day with regard to this conversation since we have the same argument every few months, but are you really saying that Cameron’s ST stats negate the legitimate case to add Cameron to the team?

    Cameron is a solid player and if the Yankees had the payroll flexibility, i would see no reason not to get him. i don’t think they do, but i could see them making a move for him at the deadline.

    i’m going to be shouted down by the Gardner supporters, and that’s fine, but there absolutely is a solid argument for Cameron. there is also an argument for giving Gardner a shot, and right now, i would be in favor of giving him an extended look and revisiting Cameron at the trade deadline.

    but you can’t ignore the fact that Cameron offers so much more certainty than Gardner does.

    if the Brewers would do something like Igawa for Cameron (they won’t), the Yankees would and should do it in a heartbeat.

    26 AB’s in Spring Training are now a reason to not trade for a guy who was worth 4 wins last year? 4 wins. that’s more than Jeter was worth last year.

    • MattG

      I think we have decided Melky does not need another chance. Possibly Cameron having a terrible spring has motivated Milwaukee to try and dump his salary. Therefore, if MIL takes Igawa and his salary, I would not mind having Cameron in Melky’s roster spot.

      But I still start Gardner on 4/6. Can Cameron play 3B?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Agreed with both of you.

        I advocated a Cameron for Melky swap or a Cameron for Melky + Igawa swap (assuming those offers were truly possibilities). I did this even though I was interested then and remain interested now in giving Gardner every chance to beat out Cameron for the starting CF spot.

        Like you said, If the Yankees are willing to add to the payroll, trying to upgrade Melky into Cameron makes sense. As Gardner insurance, Cameron is a much, much, much better option than Melky is. And, unlike most of the other Gardner insurance options, he doesn’t block the long-term development of Austin Jackson and isn’t likely to cost much of anything in prospects.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          As Gardner insurance, Cameron is a much, much, much better option than Melky is. And, unlike most of the other Gardner insurance options, he doesn’t block the long-term development of Austin Jackson and isn’t likely to cost much of anything in prospects.

          Exactly.

        • Chris C.

          “I advocated a Cameron for Melky swap or a Cameron for Melky + Igawa swap (assuming those offers were truly possibilities). I did this even though I was interested then and remain interested now in giving Gardner every chance to beat out Cameron for the starting CF spot.”

          It all sounds great, but you know it would never be a fair competition.
          I mean, Cabrera is hitting 140 points below Gardner this spring, and Girardi actually thinks the cometition between the two is tight.
          That means Cameron would have probably won the job hitting .200.

          Last spring, Gardner outhit Cabrera in spring training, and was still sent to the minors. If they do that to him two years in a row, I don’t tink that sends a great message to the prospects in the Yankee system who are trying to win jobs.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Girardi choosing to go with Cameron over Gardner is a risk I’m willing to take. If he sucks, he’ll be benched in favor of Gardner at some point midseason. Girardi may show deference to a veteran, but he’s not Joe Torre.

            Girardi having no option but to play Melky if Garnder fails is a risk I don’t want to have to take.

            There really isn’t a compelling reason to prefer Gardner + Melky over Gardner + Cameron.

            • cult of basebaal

              plus Cameron can actully act as the RH hitting portion of a platoon with Gardner, if that was desired.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Or be a decent PH option off the bench, unlike the offensive black hole that is Melky.

    • Chris C.

      “i’m going to be shouted down by the Gardner supporters, and that’s fine, but there absolutely is a solid argument for Cameron.”

      There’s a solid argument for hundreds of other guys. So why spend 10 million on a guy who plays the same position as a guy they already have who’s hitting .380 this spring, can steal bases at will, and tracks down everything in center?

      “but you can’t ignore the fact that Cameron offers so much more certainty than Gardner does.”

      What exactly does Brett Gardner have to do to impress you?
      I mean geez, Cameron is clearly on the downside of his career, and he’s overpaid. So he may hit slightly better than Gardner for one season? This Yankee staff is built fo the next few years, so why should they get older on offense and do patchwork?

      “26 AB’s in Spring Training are now a reason to not trade for a guy who was worth 4 wins last year? 4 wins. that’s more than Jeter was worth last year.”

      So you’d trade Jeter for Mike Cameron?
      And how do you know how many wins Brett Gardner is worth over the course of a season to even compare the two?
      Sorry, I just don’t get it.

      • steve (different one)

        There’s a solid argument for hundreds of other guys.

        not sure what this means.

        the list of available CF candidates is about 3 players long. Cameron (who may not even be available), Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds….anyone else?

        strawman #1.

        So why spend 10 million on a guy who plays the same position as a guy they already have who’s hitting .380 this spring, can steal bases at will, and tracks down everything in center?

        it’s Spring Training. if you can’t see that, i don’t know why i am arguing with you.

        also, maybe you should read the rest of my post where i totally address the financial issue.

        what did i write? if the Brewers would take Igawa, the Yankees should do it. meaning some of that $10M would be offset.

        another strawman by you.

        What exactly does Brett Gardner have to do to impress you?

        play well for half a season in the majors. which exactly what i wrote that i was in favor of.

        So you’d trade Jeter for Mike Cameron?

        holy shit, could you make a more dishonest argument? can we just change your name to Chris Strawman?

        And how do you know how many wins Brett Gardner is worth over the course of a season to even compare the two?

        we don’t, hence my comment about Cameron bringing more certainty.

        did you even read anything i wrote?

        • Chris C.

          “what did i write? if the Brewers would take Igawa, the Yankees should do it. meaning some of that $10M would be offset.”

          Dude, if the Brewers would take Igawa, Cameron would be wearing pinstripes by now.

          • steve (different one)

            keeeeeep reading….

            if the Brewers would do something like Igawa for Cameron (they won’t)

            my post was directed at the original post where Ben said ” I’m not really sure what the Yankees see in Cameron. He’s having a terrible spring for the Brewers; he’s old; and he’s not cheap.”

            1. he’s having a terrible spring – it’s 26 ABs in Spring Training. it couldn’t be any less relevant to me.

            2. he’s old – ok, but he is coming off a very strong season in 2008

            3. he not cheap – no, but he’s not expensive either. 1 year committment. and he was actually underpaid in 2008.

            so, to summarize: Ben said there is nothing “to see” in Cameron.

            i was saying, yes, there is, IF they could make the money work somehow.

            pretty f’ing reasonable position if you ask me. i have no idea why you decided to jump all over it.

        • wildwoodbike

          we don’t, hence my comment about Cameron bringing more certainty

          I see. So you value the certainty of a player with diminishing skills over the value of a prospect with potential? Thinking like that is what landed such notables in the Bronx as Roy Smalley and Jesse Barfield. Just imagine where this team would be had the team not pursued the value of prospects named Jeter, Posada, Rivera, Pettite, et al. None of them had “proven” themselves for a month, much less a half-season; by your logic, the Yankees would have been an abysmal bust for the late 90′s. Sometimes, you have to look at talent, and with Gardner, I see a kid with tremendous speed, quick reactions in the field and on-base, and who has improved his plate coverage at every level. Give the kid the job, let him hit .250 with a .360 OBS and steal 40 bases. It will be nice to have him in the 9 hole with Damon leading off.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Roy Smalley and Jesse Barfield were not acquired with the intention for them to serve as one year stopgaps or insurance policies again young players we plan on playing eventually. They were acquired to be permanent solutions and longterm fixtures in our lineup. They not comparable to Mike Cameron.

            [/refutation of strawman argument]

          • steve (different one)

            So you value the certainty of a player with diminishing skills over the value of a prospect with potential? Thinking like that is what landed such notables in the Bronx as Roy Smalley and Jesse Barfield

            this is a terrible analogy.

            for that analogy to work, i’d be advocating trading Hughes (Leiter) for Cameron (Barfield).

            no one is suggesting that, so just stop.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        And how do you know how many wins Brett Gardner is worth over the course of a season to even compare the two?

        FWIW, BG projects to be worth 2.27 WAR.

        -4.7 (runs above average) + 2.5 (CF position adjustment) + 5 (defensive projection) / 10.5 (approx. run value of a win) + 2 (replacement level adjustment) = 2.27

        • Chris C.

          Nice……that’s also based partly on Gardner’s first trip to the majors, when he was getting adjusted. IF the Yankees didn’t believe he’s progressed since then, he wouldn’t even be a factor right now.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Sorry, I just don’t get it.

        That’s because you keep making it a Gardner v. Cameron issue instead of a Melky v. Cameron issue, which is what it really is.

        • Chris C.

          No, it really isn’t.
          Once the trade is made, it’s then a Gardner vs. Cameron issue, and the 10 million dollar guy is NOT going to be coming off the bench as a late game defensive replacement.

          You want to tell me Cameron is better than Cabrera, well of course he is. That’s not even worth discussing.
          But the Yankees can not possibly be planning to add a 10 million dollar outfielder, and have him back someone up.

          I think you’re being blind if you don’t think this will be a Cameron vs. Gardner issue, unless they plan on putting Cameron or Gardner in right while the other plays centers. If they have a few million to spend, don’t you think there are other needs that should be addressed?

          How many teams are lining up to take Mike Cameron of Milwaukee’s hands?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            List of scenarios that are good for the Yankees:

            1) Having Brett Gardner in CF and Mike Cameron backing him up
            2) Having Mike Cameron in CF and Brett Gardner backing him up
            3) Having Mike Cameron in CF and Brett Gardner waiting in reserve in Scranton and freeing up an extra spot on the 25man for another utility infielder

            List of scenarios that are bad for the Yankees
            1) Having Brett Gardner in CF and having a sub-replacement level Melky as his backup, wasting a roster spot
            2) Having Melky Cabrera in CF if Brett Gardner struggles and regresses

            I’m fine with Gardner playing CF. He adds value. I’m fine with Cameron in CF, he adds value. I’m not fine with Hacky McHeadfirstslide in CF, he doesn’t add value. Hedging our Gardner bet with Cameron, EVEN IF IT FORCES GARDNER TO THE BENCH OR SCRANTON, is a smart baseball decision if it only costs Melky and money.

            Gardner and Cameron battling for playing time is a good problem to have. Gardner and Melky battling for playing time isn’t.

    • Chris C.

      “it’s kindof like Groundhog’s day with regard to this conversation since we have the same argument every few months, but are you really saying that Cameron’s ST stats negate the legitimate case to add Cameron to the team?”

      I think his contract would negate any improvement he would add to the team. And since the Yankees are over the tax threashold and the Brewers are looking to dump salary and don’t want Igawa, not only would the Yankees be taking on that 10 mill, they’d be paying an additional tax as well.

      Mike Cameron would probably cost them about 14 million bucks!
      You’ve got to be kidding with that.
      The Yankees haven’t already spent enough money for you?

      • steve (different one)

        I think his contract would negate any improvement he would add to the team.

        which is exactly why i wrote what i did:

        “Cameron is a solid player and if the Yankees had the payroll flexibility, i would see no reason not to get him. i don’t think they do”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          No, Steve, you’re letting Chris C. off the hook to easily there.

          The statement ”I think his contract would negate any improvement he would add to the team” is batshit insane and makes no earthly sense.

          Cameron is on a 1/10. Adding his contract to this team as is presently constructed would in no way, shape, or form “negate any improvement” that he would add to the team. There’s no long term commitment. He doesn’t alter any of our future plans. We don’t get any less credit for his doubles or his putouts just because he’s overpaid. He doesn’t cause any clubhouse tension or any of that malarkey.

          Swapping Melky out for Cameron on the 25 and 40 man rosters makes us a better club. The fact that Mike Cameron makes more money than Melky Cabrera does doesn’t change/diminish/lessen that positive addition at all.

        • Chris C.

          “Cameron is a solid player and if the Yankees had the payroll flexibility, i would see no reason not to get him. i don’t think they do”

          They’ve been dealing with this issue of Cameron since November, and he’s not here. And the Brewers are dying to get rid of him. I tink the Yankees do see reasons not to get him.

          • Mike Pop

            Ya, payroll flexibility and they probably do believe in Gardner with Melky backing him up with the improvements to the offense. But, if the offense is struggling bad in the first couple weeks, god forbid Arod didn’t make it back in time, I could see bringing him in. All in all, I think it’s just that they don’t want to add more to the payroll right now when they do believe that they probably are the best team in baseball.

  • A.D.

    Looks like Stark phoned it in on this column

    • steve (different one)

      every columnist is contractually obligated to write one doom and gloom column about the Yankees every spring.

      and last year, after 5 years of predicting it, the doom and gloom finally happened.

      89 wins. that was the great yankee “collapse”. every team should be so lucky. everything that could have gone wrong did, and they won 89 games.

      • MattG

        Didn’t they win 88 in 1999? How many did the Phillies, your 2008 World Champions, win in a division where the next best team was the Mets?

        Some collapse.

        • Chris

          In 1999 they won 98 games, but had 87 wins in 2000. Of course, that was a better team because they didn’t have much competition in their division.

      • A.D.

        I meant more that some of the stuff he says just isn’t correct, such as the range of the RF & LF the Yanks are going to be putting out there.

        The rest is looking at worst case or downside, which is fine.

  • Januz

    The media is so anti-Yankee it is not funny (I do not know what is harder, being an unappologetic Yankee fan or a Conservative Republican? (I am BOTH, so I know it is not easy)). I bet if the Yankees added Mantle in his prime in center, ESPN would call it a question mark and downgrade the team because of his knees, and Lupica would call it “Unfair” because of his salary. Of course, if Boston did the same with Williams, it would be a brilliant move bringing in a great “Homegrown Player”.
    Since I am aware of the anti-Yankee bias, I take what Jason Stark says with a grain of salt. Particularly the term “Potentially Fatal”. I wonder if he considers the Red Sox lineup without Manny “Potentially Fatal”? The Sox themselves are more objective than ESPN, about their team and their “Potentially Fatal” flaw……. Their lineup: Which is why, they wanted to sign Teixeira bad. They know need another bat to replace Manny, and because they know that Lars Anderson is not going to be the second coming of Pujois (Despite the media hype ).

    • Mike Pop

      I’m not going to lie. I love reading your posts.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Pop, I’m gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.

        • Mike Pop

          Heh, I love how we figure to work in a quote from Anchorman almost every post.

  • Stanton Social

    It’s really ESPN though… this is not about conspiracy theories, simply I know for a fact the head of ESPN is DIE HARD NO JOKE Red Sox fan… and makes no bones about it. Plus, it’s in Bristol, Ct. I mean we shouldnt expect anything less.

    If you want to question the Yanks, that’s fine. But, don’t make it seem like Boston has no issues. If anyone read Stark’s column from a week ago, it was the greatest Theo Epstein blow job I have ever seen. It was pathetic. It’s OK to be anti-Yankee… but jesus your a reporter, put your bias aside and report.

    The media as a whole is such a joke, since it’s geared around ratings now, its all about the outrage factor. Not, real reporting. The joke is since every major news outlet (sports and world) has fall to such a low level, if there ever was a station with honest and reliable reporting, it would probably do the best since they would be the only ones telling the truth and people would flock to it.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      Plus, it’s in Bristol, Ct. I mean we shouldnt expect anything less.

      Not necessarily. Bristol is west of Hartford and generally, most places give allegiance to the Yankees. However, the closer you get to Hartford, the more Sox fans you’ll see. Fairfield County (the little “nub” at the end of the state) is like 95% Yankee-territory and once you leave there, more Sox fans leak in.

      • Stanton Social

        My point was clearly it’s close enough to Red Sox territory. Out of the whole post you single out that… AHHHHHHHH

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Haha, I’m just breaking balls. I find the whole state of CT and it’s baseball fan demographic fascinating. It’s especially interesting up here at school, since it’s in Sox territory but there’s generally an equal amount of Yankees/Sox fans…with a few Mets fans thrown in for good measure.

        • Clayton

          Probably because it’s a weak argument. Writers from ESPN are brought in from all over the country.

          Gammons is from the Boston Globe, Olney worked for the Times, and Stark wrote at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Just because someone works near “red sox terrritory” doesn’t make them a fan.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            I think his point was more along the line that since the guy running the network is a Sox fan and his business is (somewhat) in Sox territory, he’d be more likely to hire people with Red Sox “sympathies.” I don’t know how true that is, but there does seem to be more Sox love than Yankee love at that network.

            • Stanton Social

              I mean I know you get a lot of “talkers” on the internet, but the head of ESPN is and Im pretty sure its in his mission statement. Just like the Mitchell report, being on the Sox Board, dictates being innately biased.

              So, Clayton you mention Gammons the biggest Sox homer on the planet, and Olney, maybe the one guy they have besides Neyer and Law (numbers guys) who isnt anti yankee crazy because he covered them. Stark, Phillips and Morgan are out of control with hate.

              • Mike Pop

                John Smoltz, Takashi Saito, and Brad Penny are much better signings than just 1 MARK CHARLES TEIXEIRA.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Bristol, CT to New York, NY: 107 mi
          Bristol, CT to New York, NY: 117 mi

          Plus, it’s in Bristol, Ct. I mean we shouldn’t expect anything less.

          No, we should expect it to lean pro-Yankee, because it is in Yankee territory. Bristol may be near Red Sox territory, but it’s not IN Red Sox territory.

          It’s not like ESPN HQ is in the Back Bay. I’ll agree that ESPN is full of Sox partisans, but it’s not because they’re in “Sox Country”. Hartford is generally seen as the dividing line. I’d call Bristol an exclave.

          (FWIW, I think the bigger reason ESPN is pro-Sox is that there’s a national preponderance of Sox sportswriters v. Yankees sportswriters, because writers love a good story and a good narrative, and quite, frankly, 86 years of losing is a more interesting and compelling narrative than 86 years of winning. I think there are more Yankee fans than Sox fans but more Sox fans driven to write books and articles and columns about the downtrodden Sox than vice versa.

          Losers get drunk and write off their hangovers. Winners get drunk and bang barsluts. Just my theory.)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Sorry:

            Bristol, CT to New York, NY: 107 mi
            Bristol, CT to New York, NY Boston, MA: 117 mi

            • Stanton Social

              The “plus” dictates its an add on not the main argument… the main argument is ESPN is run by a huge Sox fan.

              My point is ESPN has many problems… not just yankee-bias, such as Chris Mortensen blatantly making up false rumors… So much so that they are looking to hire a new Ombudsman who actually hates ESPN, just to be more partial, because they know they have inherent problems. It’s a race to the bottom with these guys trying to compete with blogs who dont have to be right for the “first” scoop.

              This all ties in with the let’s just write whatever and report whatever as long as it brings people. And that was the overall point.

    • Mattingly’s Love Child

      This seems batshit insane to me. As someone who is from CT, now lives in the South, and only gets ESPN for his sports, I don’t see the Pro-Sox bias that you guys see.

      Yes there are some people at ESPN openly rooting for the demise of the Yankees. But at the same time, there are people who don’t give a flying fuck about the Red Sox.

      TSJC is right in that they have been a better story for 86 years. The Yankees not being as good as they have been in recent memory is also a pretty big story NOW. ESPN follows the story, and right now the Yankee demise/big spending to renew themselves is a bigger story than the rejuvenation of the minor league system. No one covered the internal growth of the Red Sox until they start winning games with home-grown guys.

      No bias, its just the current MSM storyline….

      • Stanton Social

        Come talk to me after this beauty…

        http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=3967746

        • just a reader

          What is your point? Are you people upset because there is no positive yankee news beyond your rose colored glasses and your glass half full hopes aren’t reported?

          I read ESPN columns. Pretty sure there is more than just RS talk, and no… I am not a boston fan, but like what they’ve done.

          Why don’t one of you go through all of the national baseball news outlets, including MLB and read only the columns that are positive about your team, I’m sure there are.

          I bet you can find a column that states Damon is a good fielder, at getting to the ball (his only skill). But throwing skills are also a characteristic of an outfielder.

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

            If you’ve just come here to taunt and goad Yankee fans into fighting with you, you won’t be welcome to comment. Consider that a final warning.

            • just a reader

              Ok, whatever. Were meant as opinions and observations.

          • Stanton Social

            No, I could care less if it was all negative towards the Yankees, as long as they are not painting the picture rosy for a team with equally as many holes if not more. Call it even is all I am advocating.

            Ex. Yankees have holes in the line up (Arod injury, Posada, Matsui coming back from injuries) and rotation depth problems.
            Red Sox have no middle of the order problems because Lowell and Ortiz are not coming back from offseason surgery too, Drew’s back isnt fucked, Bay can reproduce what he did last year.

            You can’t take 2 teams with similar problems and say one glass half full, other empty. You cite the problems as question marks, because that’s what they are.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            I bet you can find a column that states Damon is a good fielder, at getting to the ball (his only skill). But throwing skills are also a characteristic of an outfielder.

            A largely overrated and fairly unimportant characteristic, yes.

            http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....-in-talent

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          My internet went down when I tried to write a coherent response…..

          Anyways, Stark is a moron. Has a proven track-record of harboring an anti-Yankee bias. You won’t get an argument from me on that. But the general ESPN machine is not.

          Neyery, Law, Olney, Crasnick, Kurkjian all have taken the Yankees to task, praised the Yankees, and taken the Red Sox to task.

          Right now the Red Sox are coming off their first 2 WS in 86 years, arguably the greatest draft in its history (their results from the 2005 are unreal), and have far less drama than the Yankees. Therefore, more positive stories about them. ESPN follows the storyline, and yes they do employ some writers that clearly have bias issues, but I do not think that it is something systemic.

          • Stanton Social

            fair enough…

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              BTW, google Jayson Stark ESPN Yankees….its unreal his history of anti-Yankee stuff. I knew he annoyed me, but I didn’t really see why until I saw the list of columns he’s written….the lack of balance really is startling.

              • Mike Pop

                Yankees are bad for baseball.

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  A-Rod is the worst human being since Hitler.

                • Mike Pop

                  Was it not teh A-Rod’s plan to invade Iraq? Was it not thee A-Rod’s fault for making so much money that contributed to the stocks crashing?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  ARod killed Jesus.

  • just a reader

    “…inevitable march toward a 27th World Series championship.”

    that’s so cute. Would you mind adding “in 2009″ at the end of your sentence. Unless of course you imply something else. In which case, all teams are on the inevitable march…

    2009:
    Not.
    Going.
    To.
    Happen.

  • MattG

    So Stark got all the details wrong. His concept actually has a point. Even though the Yankees have improved their fielding this off-season, and even though we can compare the fielders (in most cases) favorably to the average, rank these teams by fielding prowess:

    Yankees, Rays, Red Sox.

    One of these things is not like the others.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Rank these teams by fielding prowess: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox.

      Will do:

      1. Rays
      2. ——–
      3t. Yankees
      3t. Red Sox

      Sorry, the Sox are not demonstrably better than the Yankees are.

      C-Varitek/Kottaras: slightly below average
      1B-Youkilis: average
      2B-Pedroia: great
      SS-Lowrie: great
      3B-Lowell/Lugo: average at best
      LF-Bay: bad
      CF-Ellsbury: great
      RF- Drew: good

      C-Posada: slightly below average
      1B-Teixeira: great
      2B-Cano: average
      SS-Jeter: below average
      3B-ARod: average
      LF-Damon: good
      CF-Gardner: great
      RF- Swisher: good

      • Mattingly’s Love Child

        I think you’re understating Lowell (his UZR has been consistently good since he joined the Red Sox). But I agree with your overall point that the Yankees closed the gap this year. It’s definitely debatable at this point. In recent years it wasn’t even close.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I think you’re understating Lowell.

          Is that the “Just turned 35, fresh off major surgery to patch up a debilitating hip injury” Mike Lowell that you’re referring to?

          Pardon me while I anticipate a defensive regression. He hasn’t looked like Brooks Robinson this spring, if you know what I mean.

          • Mattingly’s Love Child

            I’m cool with that. I don’t want to argue about minutia when we both agree with the main point. But I was blown away that his UZR was a career high last year, despite playing with that same bum hip. When watching games last year he seemed to hobble around like someone needing a cane, not someone playing the best defense of their career.

      • MattG

        Lowrie, Pedroia >> Jeter, Cano. I’m betting Ellsbury > Gardner, too, but lets call it even. Red Sox win.

        Center of the diamond rules, right?

  • Mattingly’s Love Child

    Talking about Jeter’s defense…. a few years ago, without the benefit of statistical analysis, my father and I noticed he was terrible up the middle. But we had a theory that he’d been playing with Third-basemen that had little range, and therefore shaded that way. The end result would be reducing his ability to get to balls up the middle. Boggs/Hayes/Brosuis all seemed to have good hands, but little lateral mobility. Now A-Rod should have more than them, but his range scores (outside of 2004) haven’t been great. Does this idea have any merit for explaining his struggles up the middle/range score terribleness?

    Obviously he should have rectified if this was indeed his problem, but it was just an idea that you smart folks might answer for me…

    • MattG

      Brosuis could flat out field–I don’t know why you’d run his range down–and Jeter was a better SS alongside Brosius. But he was also in his prime. Defensive positioning is hugely important, but I think Jeter’s first step is obvious to the eye.

  • Mike Pop

    Who emerges as the center fielder by game 100 is anyone’s guess.

    Jordan Schafer.

    • MattG

      Austin Jackson would be huge (if he plays his way into it, that is, not if he’s the best bad option)

      • Mike Pop

        Braves will be struggling and will deal the Yankees Jordan Schafer and a pitching prospect for IPK and Nady. This will be after Dellin, Brackman, and Z-Mac make great strides in the minors and the Yankees just feel like IPK does not fit in the organization anymore.

        http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_uODh.....damus2.jpg

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Your NegroDamus graphic gets bonus points for misspelling Bryant “Gumble”.

          • Mike Pop

            “Yes. Arsenio Hall will host another show. It will be called Good Morning Black America, and it will be broadcast at noon throughout the country.”

        • Bill O

          No chance the Braves make that deal. If they’re struggling they’re not going to make a desperation move for a half season of Nady. IPK’s value is also really low. If we could get just Schafer for those two I would do it in a second, but there is no chance the Braves do that deal unless we threw in another really good prospect.