Jun
30

On the composition of the bench

By

With Xavier Nady out for the rest of the season, the Yankees’ roster picture has become clearer. Whereas before they were awaiting the return of a player who would add depth, now they know that player is not coming. The Yankees have a number of options moving forward, both for the immediate future and in preparation for the July 31st trade deadline.

Starting in the present, PeteAbe reports that Jose Molina will return in about a week. The Yankees could do one of three things:

  1. Carry three catchers and option Ramiro Pena to Scranton
  2. Option Cervelli to Scranton
  3. DFA Jose Molina

Let’s rule out the third option, since it’s not at all likely. If they release Molina and Posada gets hurt, they’d be stuck with Cervelli and Cash instead of Cervelli and Molina. The latter is preferable. Cervelli isn’t that much better than Molina, anyway — if he’s better at all, which at this point I’m not about to declare.

Carrying three catchers would mean Jorge Posada is the de facto DH. Pete says that Jorge isn’t “going to be the DH because the Yankees aren’t releasing or trading Hideki Matsui.” Yet this scenario would allow them to start one of Cervelli and Molina, use Matsui as a pinch hitter, and then substitute the other, with Posada still available as an emergency. It’s certainly not the most efficient use of roster space. This option is also unlikely, unless the Yankees are more concerned about Jorge’s health than they let on.

This leaves optioning Cervelli to Scranton. By all appearances, this is what will happen. He’ll get regular reps at AAA in preparation of taking over for Molina in 2010. Meanwhile, he serves as an insurance policy in case either Molina or Posada go down again. Yes, it’s nice to have him around, and I can see why everyone is high on him, but let’s not let his personality overshadow his ability. Right now, there’s no harm in having him in AAA.

Pete also brings up another notion: option both Cervelli and Pena, and opt to bring up a better bat off the bench. Once Molina returns, the bench will be him, Cody Ransom, Gardner/Cabrera, and Ramiro Pena. There’s not exactly a bopper in there. True, Pena can serve as a late-inning pinch-runner, especially if Gardner starts. Pete suggests recalling Shelley Duncan or John Rodriguez. I’m not so sure.

Over whom in the starting lineup would Shelley Duncan be an upgrade? In other words, for whom would he pinch-hit? Maybe Gardner or Carbera, but even that’s debatable. The league seemingly figured out Shelley after 32 plate appearances — he started his career .321/.406/.857 in 32 PA and finished the season with a .217/.280/.370 run in 51 PA, plus his .175/.262/.281 in 65 PA last year. In theory it would be nice to have Shelley Duncan on the bench — if Shelley Duncan would actually represent an upgrade. Maybe he can provide a short-term burst of production, but he’s not someone who should be on the roster August 31.

As it stands, the Yankees might just be better off keeping both Cody Ransom and Ramiro Pena on the bench. Pena can play multiple positions and has some wheels. Ransom also plays many positions. They have four outfielders, and Matsui in an emergency situation. Since they don’t have someone on the farm who can provide an upgrade in a pinch-hitting situation, it’s tough to call on such a move. Again, since the team has some flexibility with Pena they could give it a shot, but they shouldn’t expect much from either Shelley or J-Rod.

This leads to the longer-term lookout, i.e., the rest of the season. Could the Yanks pull a trade for an outfield bat? Someone who could, perhaps, provide a platoon partner for Matsui against tough lefties and buy some days or half-days off for the other outfielders? Perhaps. Steve Lombardi wants a more consistent alternative to Nick Swisher. Says he:

Don’t get me wrong. I know that Swisher works counts and gets walks. And, when he’s hot, Swisher can hit the ball out of the park. But, when he’s cold, he’s beyond ice cold. And, at times, Swisher takes some curious routes on fly balls. Basically, when he’s bad, the Swish Hawk is “T-Long Like.”

While I’m an unabashed Swisher fan, I’m not going to stick my fingers in my ears and ignore his shortcomings. He does have some pretty bad cold streaks, and it would be nice to have someone to give him some time off during them. What’s that worth, though? Can the Yankees get the import (because the answer is not in the system currently) at a reasonable enough price? Can they get him enough playing time to justify the price? Those questions will be clearer as the Xs mount in July and we get closer to the 31st.

For right now, the Yanks can afford to stand pat. There is no pressing need to make a roster move. If the Yankees want to give it a whirl with Shelley or J-Rod, they can do so with minimal risk. If they want to keep things how they are and have two multi-position players, one who can run, on the bench, they can do that. It just goes to show that when you have a solid starting nine, a bench becomes far less important.

Categories : Musings
  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    Gotta disagree with you (and Steve) on Swisher here. If you sit a streaky player consistently when cold, he may never get hot again. (Also, he had one awful month, but that doesn’t neccesarily mean that he is streaky. Is there anything else to suggest that he is typically a red hot vs. ice cold type player? One month doesnt make a pattern. Just asking). If you just want someone to give a day off here and there, I would be more amenable to that.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Agreed. The 127 OPS+ makes me a-ok with a few cold streaks. Happens to everyone.

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

        And the fact that he draws walks even when he’s not hitting makes me disagree with Lombardi’s statement that “when he’s cold, he’s beyond ice cold.”

        When Swisher’s ice cold, he’s still actually getting on base and driving up pitchcounts. He’s still useful even when he’s hitting .190 for a week and a half.

    • Stu H

      Also, it’s not like the Yankees don’t already have four outfielders. Cabrera and Gardner have both played well enough to deserve to be regulars this year, and Cabrera is well-suited to right field.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    While I’m not at all high on Shelley — he’s going to be 30 in September — I wouldn’t mind flipping him for Ramiro Peña for a few weeks. First, Peña: Prior to Jeter’s bout with the flu this weekend, Peña had 13 plate appearances over 30 calendar days. Even with his appearance this weekend, he’s at just 30 PAs over the Yanks’ last 35 games. Unless the team feels that he’s not going to be more than a glorified back up/25th man, they should really be getting him some more ABs. He’s still just a few weeks shy of 24 after all.

    Second, Shelly: He’s got some pop, and while it didn’t look as though he could handle MLB breaking pitches, if he gets a hold off a fastball, it goes far. He’s basically maxed out his Minor League development. If he’s not traded by July 31st or with the Big League club, why bother even keeping him around?

    With Cody Ransom clearly ahead of Peña on the backup IF depth charts, I would have no problem flipping Peña and Shelley. If it doesn’t work out in ten days or two weeks, DFA Shelley and bring Peña back.

    Either way, Cervelli should go down when Molina’s back. No doubt about that one.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      +1.

    • Salty Buggah

      Maybe he can mash a bit until he gets dead cold again like in 2007

      • whozat

        Was it that he went cold, or that pitchers stopped challenging him with fastballs and realized that he couldn’t come close to a big-league breaking pitch?

    • Chip

      I completely agree. I’d love to see Shelley up here and taking some hacks. While I’ve loved seeing Pena up here, he seems somewhat redundant right now and it wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing for him to get some regular time at AAA. Many people think he could be a starting shortstop (I’m not one of them) and I think they should give him a chance to at least work on his bat consistently.

      As for Shelley, he’s been good and he’s been bad for the MLB club but he’s just destroying AAA. I’d like to at least give him a crack at the job. He could at least DH against lefties. If he comes up and the league crushes him, well it was nice knowing you.

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

      Wouldn’t even need to DFA Shelley. Not like he’s out of options.

    • Chip

      Agreed, I’d love to see Shelley come up and get a chance to prove he can play in the big leagues. Pena could definitely use the time in AAA to develop his bat a bit more and he’s largely redundant now that Ransom is back.

      Shelley has been good and bad for the MLB club but there’s no doubt he’s just tearing the cover off the ball in AAA. Give him a chance to come up, DH him against lefties and if he can’t do it, well then it was nice knowing you.

      • Chip

        Urg, stupid thing didn’t show up at first

        Me = Fail

    • Bo

      They have shown they will go with two infielders. I mean they had Berroa here for months doing nothing. And you figure they will have to give A-Rod rests.

    • JimM

      Given that the replacement for Nady being on the roster on Opening Day is essentially Pena, the Yanks are missing a power bat from the right side they thought they would have all season. Trying Duncan out in the show now would allow them to decide if they need to explore finding a more productive alternative by the end of July (or August). Plus, since he is up from the minors, there won’t be a need to force him into the lineup like they would have to do with Nady or with an established Major League bat they traded for.

  • Dela G

    How about bringing up AJAX

    • whozat

      Come one, Dela. Seriously?

      • whozat

        *on

    • whozat

      Nothing good could come from that.

      1) He’s not ready for the big leagues. Go read the article Chad Jennings just wrote about him, and read the comments from his hitting coach.

      2) He’d be sitting most of the time. How would that be good for his development?

      So, he’d suck AND it’d be bad for his development. Bad for everyone.

      • Dela G

        I hope he comes up next year though, and we can shed some dead weight salary (damon, matsui) and replace them with young guys.

        Gardner, cano and melkey are the beginning on a resurgence of the yankees infusing youth on offense.

        • whozat

          Gardner and Melky are fringy guys, nice to have while they’re cheap.

          Jackson is the next _potential_ addition, as long as they develop him right and don’t rush him just for the sake of appearances. Handing him a starting big-league job in a corner OF position next year would be a terrible idea, since he doesn’t even PROJECT as a corner bat, much less show signs of being one in 2010.

          The Yanks need to acquire one OFer for next year, whether that’s a corner guy, or someone more flexible. It should probably be someone on a short deal, or someone who’s 28-31 and under control for a couple years.

          • Salty Buggah

            Crawford would be the best case scenario.

            Holliday: http://blog.internetnews.com/a.....nt-dog.jpg

            • whozat

              And one of the least likely :-)

              There is literally no reason for the Rays to avoid picking up the option. There is DEFINITELY a team out there who will trade for Carl Crawford on a 1/10 deal.

              • RollingWave

                I’d sign up for it, Crawford’s a very underrated guy, if the Matt Holliday we’re seein now is the Matt Holliday we get going foward (I.E, the high .800 OPS guy he was over the last 2 month) then Crawford’s actually a little more valuable than Holliday and he’s 2 years younger, but will not be viewed that way)

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

            Gardner and Melky are fringy guys, nice to have while they’re cheap.

            And slightly less nice to have when they hit arb and run out of options.

            If Gardner keeps hitting and puts up a decent line on the year, I’d love to trade Melky in the offseason for something of value and turn the Gardner/Melky CF duo into a Gardner/AJax CF duo.

            • Bo

              They wouldn’t bring up AJ next yr to platoon him.

              If hes up hes playing everyday. That’s why you cant bring him up now.

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

                I agree. That’s why Gardner would likely be the 4th outfielder in that scenario.

          • JP

            Handing him a starting big-league job in a corner OF position next year would be a terrible idea, since he doesn’t even PROJECT as a corner bat, much less show signs of being one in 2010.

            Is it ever ok to deviate from this kind of roster management thinking? Yeah, you want offense from corner OF positions. But if you already have great offense, because you have lots of offensive upgrades from SS, 2b, C, and you have mega-star 1b and 3b, isn’t it ok to, say, have a speedy, hit-for-average, great glove guys in both CV and in one of the corner positions?

            By the way, I agree that it’s probably too early to bring up AJax. But I think it’s a development issue, not a roster management/composition issue.

  • Dela G

    eh, i guess its because he is from texas and i just want to see a tejas guy succeed.

    • whozat

      Then why do you want him in the bigs before he’s ready?

      • Dela G

        i want to see what he can do in august. Even though his hitting coach may say he isn’t ready, you never know what the guy could do in august.

        • whozat

          ???

          What? August? What does August have to do with anything? You mean September, after the minor league season is over?

          • Dela G

            haha yeah i meant september

            • Dela G

              I am going to read this in the morning and think i am crazy

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

                Dela G, are you just looking around the office at things and saying that you love them?

  • Dela G

    eh maybe its the grey goose that i am drinking that makes me feel this way.

    I guess i can’t be like jamie and blame it on the alcohol..

    • Salty Buggah

      says who?

    • whozat

      Go to sleep :-)

      • Dela G

        yeah its almost 1am

        i got school in 7 hours

        i’ll have more clear thoughts tomorrow

  • http://thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    Steve doesn’t seem to like Swisher all that much.

    I don’t get those comments at all. Swisher can obviously hit—despite a few rough spells—and while he’s not the best fielder out there, he’s certainly not terrible (Nady would have been the same, if not worse). Just because he has cold streaks and “looks bad,” at times, in the OF doesn’t mean the Yankees should go out of their way to trade for another RF. I think Steve makes a lot of good points, but there’s really no objective reason for such a proposal.

    • whozat

      Steve really doesn’t make that many good points. He mostly criticizes moves with the benefit of hindsight, assumes the worst will happen, and then — when it does — looks smart.

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

        “looks smart”

        That’s debatable.

        I just thought it was a good idea on Swisher because trading for a fringe starter would give the Yank someone they can plug in for Swisher for a day or two while he’s cold (not, as Moshe seemed to presume, for weeks on end during cold spells), give Damon some half days of, and give Girardi an alternative to Matsui — who is also having a streaky year — in certain situations. The idea isn’t Matt Holliday. The idea is…I don’t know who the idea is.

        The idea really is that I expect the Yanks to stand pat.

        • MattG

          the 2007 version of Matt Murton. I don’t know who that is either.

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

            The 2009 version of 2007 Matt Murton would be 2009 Matt Murton.

            • MattG

              Looking at his slash stats, I think that the rumor of his resurgence might be greatly exaggerated.

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

                Heh. True.

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          Sorry bout that. I made that presumption because that was Steve’s point- he wants to replace Swisher.

    • cult of basebaal

      Uh, what’s there to get?

      It’s Steve Lombardi, I have more respect for the crazy guy who hangs out by the park swings and talks to himself than I do for anything Lombardi writes.

      He’s the
      Old Gregg of Yankees bloggers …

      • Anonymous

        >He’s the Old Gregg of Yankees bloggers…

        What in the fuck did I just watch!?!?

    • Chip

      Thing is, it’s not like Swisher is up there giving away at-bats. Even when he’s in a cold spell it seems like he works nothing but 3-2 counts and still takes his walks.

  • Andrew

    1) Why would we bring up Shelley? Where’s he going to play? DH? Girardi is going to be trying to get Matsui as many AB’s as possible after these past 2 weeks. 1B? Tex. OF? We already have a logjam out there. Don’t understand the “bring up Shelley” sentiment one bit.

    2) I’d love to keep Cervelli around, as it’s depressing watching Molina swing a bat, but I know it’s not going to happen. And yes, Cervelli has been exponentially better than Molina has ever been for us. The HR in Atlanta sparked this team. RBI single off Johan which opened the flood gates. Big RBI double in Boston to tie the game. Plus, he’s not getting dusty on the bench or anything. He’s still catching 2 games a week, and his playing time will only increase as the heat of the summer takes its toll on Posada.

    • Manimal

      1.Pinch hitter.
      2.Molina is the best defensive catcher in the league, you can’t ignore his 44% caught stealing percentage from last year. Cervelli also has a great percentage but way too small of a sample size to tell. Your spark plug theory on Cervelli also relates to Shelly. In 2007 he was forearm smashing everyone in sight and the yanks fed off of his energy.

    • Chip

      Cervelli’s OPS+ this season is 66, Molina’s career OPS+ is 62. It was 51 last year but he was severely overexposed.

      Molina and Cervelli are essentially the same catcher except that Cervelli has options left and that’s why you send him down.

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

        Molina and Cervelli are essentially the same catcher except that Cervelli has options left and that’s why you send him down.

        But Molina isn’t Italian with dreamy eyes that we’ve all fallen in love with.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          But Molina isn’t Italian with dreamy eyes that we’ve all Rebecca’s fallen in love with.

          Fixed.

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

            Oh, Rebecca’s not the only one. Several RAB regulars have nice, healthy cases of man-love for the Pasta Fagiole.

  • DreDog

    If what I am reading is correct, Shelley Duncan = Pedro Serrano.

    Quick someone get Long & Girardi a copy of Major League. The answer to all our problems is in that movie.

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

      Heh. I just said that in the previous thread.

      Great minds think alike.

  • RollingWave

    Shelley should pinch hit for Cano everytime he’s up with runners on 1st and second or bases juiced.

    • Salty Buggah

      So he could he could strikeout? Robbie is more likely to put in play. Yes, he has struggled a bit with RISP but the last game against the Mets, he smoked the balls, only they were right at people.

      • JP

        From Fackyouk: Cano’s 3 DPs and 4th almost-DP equated to an in-game WPA of -.304, meaning his performance in the game singlehandedly decreased the team’s chance of winning by 30%.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/wins......eason=2009

  • http://www.conservationvaluenotes.com Jon G

    It will be interesting to see what Sept allows us to look at for the bench. I am really curious to see what Jorge Vasquez does in AAA, where I expect him to land soon. Could he be this year’s Aceves — but with a bat..?

    • http://deleted RollingWave

      Acevas with a bat isn’t particularly intriguing ;)

      • Trapped In El Duque’s Glove

        Depends who he’s chasing with it.

    • Chip

      I don’t expect him to see MLB action this year as it would require a 40-man move. One would think Shelley would get promoted first.

      • Andy In Sunny Daytona

        Shelley would require a 40-man move also. But the 40-man move is extremely easy, you put Christian Garcia on the 60 day DL.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          The Yanks have an open 40-man spot after DFAing Jose Veras.

          Anyway, at this point, you could probably just remove Chris Garcia from the 40-man. He’s fast approaching a Darren Driefort level of surgery.

          • Andy In Sunny Daytona

            Agreed. He has been injured way too much, but this last elbow surgery didn’t sound too bad. I think the Yanks should give him one more year. He pitches so well when healthy. Bullpen guy next year? Maybe he just can’t handle 80+ pitches an outing, but 20-30 wouldn’t be a problem?

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

              I does kinda suck, though, that our 40-man roster is basically a 38-man roster since Garcia and Brackman are the equivalent of wasted spots.

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

          Can’t put Garcia on the 60-day DL. A player has to be on the 25-man roster to be able to do that. That’s why they didn’t/couldn’t stick Ian Kennedy on the 60-day after his surgery.

          • JGS

            not true–I asked that exact question to Bart Given at Inside the Majors. He said he would write about it later in the season and still hasn’t, so I don’t have the full answer yet on how it is done, but it can be.

            http://www.insidethemajors.com/?p=1752

  • Nick

    If a better bat is needed off the bench (which I don’t necessarily agree is true) why not demote a pitcher? I don’t believe 12 pitchers are a necessity, especially with three long relievers in the pen (Hughes, Tomko, Aceves).

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

      I contemplated adding a bit on that, but there’s just no way they’d go with 11 pitchers. I think it’s more about having that guy around to pitch some shit innings, saving the other guys for more meaningful situations.

      • Bo

        So thats what Tomko is here for. Ohhhh

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

          I know you’re being sarcastic, but yeah, it’s true, that’s what having a seven man bullpen is for. Because 6 man bullpens tend to leave guys overworked.

          • James A.

            If they’re going to keep a 7-man pen, they should at least call up melancon and DFA tomko

            2 long men (aceves and hughes if he needs to) should be enough, especially with the starting pitching rounding into form

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

              I agree.

              I’d demote Hughes and promote Melancon, though. Tomko can get DFA’d if one of Claggett, WLDR, Dunn, Nova, or Kontos pitches their way into an big-league bullpen spot.

  • pat

    Miranda is probably the most well rounded bat we could bring up. Unfortunately his positional versatility is nil.

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

      He wouldn’t require a 40-man move, though, and now that the NL park trip is over and the DH is back, it’s easier to hide his lack of position. He can PH and DH.

      I’d give him a couple of weeks.

      • pat

        WELL SHIT FROM YOUR MOTH TO CASHMANS EARS BRAH

        • pat

          Because you have an extensive moth collection that also has a vast wealth of baseball knowledge.

  • Trapped In El Duque’s Glove

    Would bringing up Russo represent an upgrade over Ransom or Pena? His AAA numbers are impressive and I’d be intrigued to see whether he can make the step up to MLB level.

  • dan

    Wait a sec here, since when is Molina better than Cervelli? I’d say it’s a wash defensively as both are TREMENDOUS upgrades over old Jorgie, but Molina, when he does actually get on base, is such a slow, plodding, station-to-station guy. He’ll no doubt bat 9th and prove to be little more than DP fodder for Jeets.

    Needless to say, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Cervelli thus far and am not ready to see him go. Scranton is only intriguing because of all the playing time he’s sure to get.

    Solution: Create a rotating DH position with Posada, A-Rod, Jeter, Matsui, and Damon sharing it equally, about one game a week. Then sit another one from that list at least one game a week as well. You could even add Swisher in the mix as well as I’m sure he’d be served by being used as more of a back-up, seeing as that’s really what he became once we signed Tex.

    I see it like this, Matsui and Damon are both gone after this season and as it stands, few teams will be interested in either which rules out any sort of trade. You’ve already spent the money, no one says you have to play them everyday. A-Rod, Jeter, and Posada all need at least a day off a week anyway to keep them fresh. This way you can juggle the older set, rest them, and still give them their AB’s while transitioning the younger, and better, defensively speaking, players in. You also set yourself up for lat-innning pinch-hit situations when giving one of the above 5 a complete day off. Plus you are actually using the 25 man roster in a proactive and intelligent way. There’s more than enough offense here guys, about 206 million dollars worth.

    While were at it, lose Tomko (has there ever been a situation that warrants a call to Tomkko?) and call up a position player like Duncan (for righty pop) or A-Jax for energy, speed, and D. For once, forget about the offensive numbers and think of an OF of A-Jax LF, Gardner CF, and Melky RF. That OF will be the place where xtra base hits go to die.

    To me, the runs you don’t surrender are more important than the runs you score.

    • YankeeScribe

      I agree. Cervelli is better all-around than Molina. He’s developed fast though some folks around here act like he’s not going to get any better at age 23. The Yanks have had 3 catchers on the roster before. It can work…

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        The Yanks had three catchers at one point last year because it wasn’t clear who was physically able to catch and throw. Teams rarely carry three catchers, and when they do, it’s for a very limited time. That is, simply put, a waste of a roster space.

        There’s no real reason to keep two back-up catchers around, and there’s no real reason to keep Cervelli, who has options, up over Molina.

      • pat

        Cervelli can most definitely get better. The best place for that however, would be playing fulltime in Scranton, not splitting backup duties with Molina.Molina and Cervelli are basically the same person right now, there’s no sense having two of them on the roster.

      • ChrisS

        Cervelli had a career .370 OBP in the minors and has never even seen AAA pitching. I’d like to think that he can improve his .270 ML OBP with daily play in AAA for next year. A back-up catcher with good D and a .330 OBP would be pretty sweet.

      • JP

        I like Cervelli as much as anyone, but I don’t think we’ve seen enough of him to be sure he’s better than Molina, defensively or offensively. Running? Obviously.

        I like either keeping 3 catchers and optioning Pena, or optioning Cervelli and keeping 2 reserve infielders. I think they are essentially equivalent options; players with defensive skills and limited hitting.

        I think having more defensive options will overall be more useful to Girardi than having a better bat who can only play OF/DH/1b (Duncan). Since Cervelli might get alot of playing time next season (assuming Molina is not re-signed), it’s probably better for him to play full time at AAA and improve his hitting.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

          Why do you like keeping 3 catchers? That severely limits roster flexibility in my opinion.

          Having two defensive options is not overall more useful than having another bat on the bench would be.

          • JP

            It limits flexibility yes, but not nearly so much with Jorge as it would be with “ordinary” offensive catchers. You DH Jorge and he’s an upgrade over Matsui as DH. So you can rest his legs but keep him in the lineup, get the defensive upgrade with Molina or Cervelli, and still pinch hit for Cerv/Mol without losing your DH.

            But yeah, it’s more flexible to keep another infielder than a 3rd catcher.

    • MattG

      He’ll no doubt bat 9th and prove to be little more than DP fodder for Jeets.

      Clogging the bases, ey? It’s not the runner on first base that creates the GiDPs, its the batter.

      On another topic, Cano cannot bat 5 anymore. You can’t have a GiDP machine behind the most attractive iBB candidate in the lineup.

  • ChrisS

    Eh, I can’t find the article, but recently Duncan said that he spent most of last year in pain from his shoulder surgery and during the first few weeks of the season he couldn’t swing a bat well at all. I wouldn’t put too much stock in those 65 ABs from last year.

    I don’t see a need to trade for another fringe OFer, which is what you’re looking for if it’s not a player better than Swisher. Lombardi is off his rocker more than not. Swisher is a ML starter and border-line all-star.

  • MattG

    I can’t believe I read this whole thread, and no one has challenged the “Ransom and Pena are redundant” assumption:

    1. There is a 34-year old infielder playing in apparent pain, coming off an invasive surgery to a pretty important hip joint, and he needs to sit–completely sit, not DH–once per week.

    2. There is a 35-year-old shortstop with no apparent injury problems, but a thick head that will reject the idea to come out of the lineup, to his team’s detriment.

    In a nice, neat box, you choose the days you want to sit them–but there is no chance that Jeter and Rodriguez will go the next three months without having to miss a game on the same day. Jeter is one inside pitch from 2-3 days on the bench with a sore wrist, and Rodriguez is one awkward, over-tired lunge or swing from major surgery.

    Pena and Ransom are both necessary–far more necessary than Shelley Duncan. Even if Shelley OPSs 1.000, he’s going to get 15 PAs a month. I’d rather see those 15 go to the starters or Pena, with an OPS of .600, and know I can field a team and keep my starters from big-time injuries.

    I do think you guys missed option 4, which the Yankees can really contemplate: DFA Tomko and go with 11 pitchers. Wang is good for 5+ and getting stronger, so I think it is time to unshackle Hughes, and get him 6 innings a week for all the pitchers. With Hughes and Aceves both capable of 6 innings a week, and the other 4 guys capable of 3+, you’ve got enough innings in your bullpen for the average week. If the bullpen gets a little over used, you can option out Cervelli then. If you get lucky, you can get through the next two months without optioning Cervelli at all, saving that option for another year.

    • JP

      That’s a fantastic analysis. You win the thread debate.

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

      They’ve already used an option on Cervelli this year, so that point is moot.

      They’re not going with 11 pitchers. As I said above, it’s clear that they’re keeping a guy around to eat shit innings. You may thing Wang is in the clear, but it’s not clear to me and many others. With him and Andy in the rotation, I can see why the Yanks will continue to carry 12 pitchers.

  • Bo

    This is a team that carried Berroa for 2 months so all the choices and decisions here are probably better and more intelligent. If they dont do the easiest thing which is send down Cervelli and bring up Molina I’d be shocked.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Joe has already addressed option 4 right here. In a nutshell: Not gonna happen.

      • MattG

        Alright, but if the decision is to option Cervelli, which is 80% probable, you could simply delay that decision by DFAing Tomko, and seeing what happens. I don’t think it’s likely that the Yankees will get through July and August without needing a 7th reliever–but it could happen.

        The only thing lost in this gamble is Tomko, and the option of placing Hughes back in the AAA rotation. That last one is a significant concern, but I would be committed to using Hughes in the majors all year. They need him to make the playoffs.

  • MattG

    An interesting target might be Austin Kearns. He has some intriguing ability, and he is in a bad situation. A change of scenery might serve him very well. He is being paid $8m this season, with an option for $10m and a $1m buyout for ’10. WAS would probably do a total salary dump to save the $5. I could even see a scenario where they would be tempted by Igawa and a grade-B prospect.

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

      The funny thing about the Nationals is, while they seem to be out of it and would be sellers, they’re not selling. And the guys they are willing to sell, like Nick Johnson, they’re not interested in ANY kind of discounts due to salary constraints.

      People have floated the idea of buying Dunn for a low-level prospect in exchange for taking that contract off their hands… The Nats seem perfectly content to leave all those contracts on their hands. I don’t know if you really can get anyone from Washington “on the cheap”. Maybe not even Kearns.

      • pat

        Not to mention kearns hasn’t hit in like 2 years.

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

          That too.

      • jsbrendog

        which is weird cause dont they have like 30 outfielders?

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

          They’re trying to corner the market.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I’d say, as everyone else has, that the logical choice would be to send Frankie down to SWB, call up Jose Molina, and keep Pena and Ransom around for the time being. If it becomes apparent that the bench isn’t cutting it at the plate or the team’s power goes in the tank for a little bit, then you can option Pena down and call up one of Shelly/J-Rod/Miranda.

  • Bill

    what about doing a deal for hawpe and street? Lefty power, young closer/middle relief. Not sure what we would have to give up but it could be something to consider.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Not, it wouldn’t. First off, Colorado’s in the race so they’re not going to be sellers just yet like everyone assumes they will. Second, Hawpe is still pretty cheap, only owed $5.5MM this year, 7.5MM next year so it’s not exactly a salary dump. Third, where’s Hawpe going to play? Unless the Yankees want to give up on Gardbrera and go great offense, bad defense in the OF (Swisher or Damon to center, Hawpe to whatever corner is unoccupied), there’s no room for him. Fourth, it would probably cost way too much in terms of prospects, especially if it’s for two solid MLers like Hawpe and Street.

      For the record, Brad Hawpe has an .860 OPS away from Coors Field for his career. If there was a spot open, or it was painfully obvious that Johnny Damon or Nick Swisher couldn’t hit anymore, which it’s not, I wouldn’t mind trading for Hawpe (at the right price), considering he’s signed through 2010.

    • pat

      Trying to pry away Street alone would take alot. Throw in Hawpe too and you’re talking a boatload. More than our farm system could accommodate.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        He said what I said in much simpler terms. Thanks pat.

        • pat

          I’m not capable of in depth analysis. I keeps it simple.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            You do what you can with what you’ve got, huh?

            • pat

              In all facets of life, my friend.

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

        Not to mention,

        Brad Hawpe = Bobby Abreu. (That’s not a compliment.)

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

    One thing that’s getting overlooked is that Cervelli has just 633 at-bats in the minors leagues. For his career. That’s a little more than a full season’s worth. And just 131 of those at-bats have come above A-ball.

    I don’t even see the debate here. When Molina comes back, send Cervelli to AAA and let him play every day for the rest of the year. He’ll be back in September, don’t worry.

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

      send Cervelli to AAA and let him play every day for the rest of the year. He’ll be back in September, don’t worry.

      Agreed. Also, I can say the same thing about Phil Hughes.

  • Andy

    I love Cervelli as much as the next guy, but he was hitting .190 in AA at the time of his callup (I know sample size), had less than 100 ABs in AA last year, and has never played AAA. For a 23 year old guy most evaluators project as a backup, those facts suggest his current success (which is modest, though people seem to think he is all-star worthy) is a bit of a fluke – the idea he is better than the proven Molina is overhype, to say the least. I think he can be a starter, but he needs ABs to develope. Sending him to AAA is a no brainer.

    As for Pena, same thing with him – he has yet to play AAA. Unless you are content with leaving him as a forever bench guy, get the man some regular ABs at AAA, and if you really need someone to spell ARod, bring up Russo, who is 24 and clearly ready. Looking at career and this years numbers, he represents an upgrade over Pena offensively, and can give you the defense you need. At least give him a shot, he’s been crushing AAA.

    As for Shelley, as one of his biggest detractors, I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing him up, because he gives the bench something it is sorely lacking – power. Situations do arise where you want a power bat late in the game, and since Shelley has crushed lefties, he could get a start or two against lefties to give guys rest.

    Or, bring up Eric Duncan, just for fun….

    • Chip

      Thank you, couldn’t have said it any better.

      Give me a bench of Melky, Molina, Ransom and Duncan and I’d be thrilled. Right there you have two pinch runners, a backup catcher and a guy who can hit it out of any ballpark. I don’t think you plan on a situation where both Jeter and ARod are out. If it were to happen mid-game(Mo forbid), you could put Tex at third, Shelley at first and Ransom at short. Obviously that’s not a good defensive squad but nobody is going to have great defensive infields if they lose their shortstop and third baseman. Just ask the Mets

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  • Jones

    I disagree concerning Russo. Maybe the bat, but I think Ramiro Peña is better defensively. Peña has also had some nice hits so its not like he’s striking out every time he gets to the plate. His defense is special, and hes got some speed which is a plus. Hes made some outstanding plays. While I’d rather see Peña, come in for Jeter if he needs a day off, I understand why they have to do this. Its probably best for him right now. They can experiment with him in the outfield, which if that works out will be another major plus. A far as Cervelli, I’m on the fence with that one. Would it be better for him to be in AAA and play more? Or stay up in the majors? Thats a tough call. Its going to be interesting to see what they’ll do.

  • Jones

    “Agreed. Also, I can say the same thing about Phil Hughes.”

    Hughes doesn’t belong in in the minors. He has nothing there to prove. He needs to be in the Majors