The ‘…and left field’ gap

Why it's Duchscherer, Sheets, or stand pat with the pitching staff
Biz Notes: Winter Classic, sponsorships, schedule changes

When Brian Cashman spoke on Day One of the Winter Meetings, he stressed the team’s priorities this off-season. “Pitching, pitching, pitching — and left field,” he said.

So far, it’s been a winter of mixed results. He re-signed Andy Pettitte to shore up one of those pitching spots, and he could still explore Ben Sheets or Justin Duchscherer. Either would be a good fit for the Yanks, but even without them, they have a stellar staff.

CC Sabathia summed up those feelings. “They don’t give us enough credit, I don’t think,” Sabathia said. “Everybody keeps talking about Boston now, Seattle now with Cliff and Felix [Hernandez], but I think we’ve got some pretty good guys in our clubhouse that can match up with anybody. They never talk about me or A.J. or Pettitte. I guess we like it like that. We’ll just keep sneaking up on people.”

With a front line of veterans, a back end of youngsters and many other potential fill-ins, the Yanks do not suffer from a lack of pitching. But what about Cashman’s final piece? What about that left field hole? With Johnny Damon on the way out — he and the Yankees remained approximately $6 million apart on a two-year deal — the Yankees’ left field situation is somewhat blurry.

In a way, as Tyler Kepner explores, the Yanks have plugged in some of their more glaring holes. Writes The Times scribe:

In the big picture, the Yankees are swapping two older left-handed hitters who made $26 million in 2009 (Damon and Hideki Matsui) for two younger left-handed hitters whose contracts average about $14 million in 2010 (Curtis Granderson and Johnson). They are replacing a speed guy and a slow guy with another speed guy and another slow guy.

The Yankees ultimately decided that Matsui was more of a health risk than Johnson. That notion would have been laughable a few years ago, when Matsui was an iron man and Johnson was brittle. But the Yankees feared that Matsui’s surgically repaired knees would only get worse, while Johnson seems to have no pre-existing injuries.

Johnson works the count well, a trait the Yankees value, and like Matsui, he excels against left-handers. Granderson does not, but he appealed to the Yankees for his defense, power and youth.

The Yankees had to contend with a budget this year, and so far, they’ve done a good job of finding younger and cheaper replacements for two of their stalwarts. Yet, left field remains a hole. If the season were to start tomorrow, Melky Cabrera would be the Yanks’ starting left fielder, and that is an inadequate solution. As a center fielder, Melky turned in an sOPS+ of 104. In other words, he was slightly better than the league average center fielder. As a left fielder, though, his .752 OPS would have been .028 below the league average for the position and would have ranked the Yanks 12th in the league at left field.

The Yanks could hide Melky’s bat in center over the last few years, and maybe they can do the same in left. His arm will play well there. But the team can’t expect Melky — or Brett Gardner, the more productive offensive player so far — to hold down left field. Chris over at iYankees thinks the team could find the money for Matt Holliday, and I have to image Cashman and Steinbrenner are considering it. After all, that “and left field” need isn’t going to fill itself.

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Why it's Duchscherer, Sheets, or stand pat with the pitching staff
Biz Notes: Winter Classic, sponsorships, schedule changes
  • Mike Pop

    Right now, the Yankees have an above average bat at every position except LF with Melky.

    I think they’ll be okay and can live with Melky in LF.

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

      The dirty secret though is that Brett Gardner should be considered the left fielder over Melky right now. He’s more valuable to the Yanks in that role and would be a very serviceable left fielder. The team seems to prefer Melky though.

      I’d like someone better than both of those guys.

      • Chris

        If they have Gardner and Granderson in the OF, then they should slide Granderson to LF and play Gardner in CF. Most of Garder’s value comes from his defense which will be more valuable in CF than in LF.

        • Steve H

          But if Granderson is better in CF, you keep Granderson in CF. While Brett’s UZR is great, it’s still a very SSS. If Gardner is going to be in the lineup, it really doesn’t matter at that point if it’s LF or CF, unless he’s truly an upgrade in CF over Grandy.

          • SteveD Fla

            keep granderson in cf. Gardners bat is horrible. If his defense is not that much better then Melky then Melky should play left.

          • 2

            gardner has crappy bat control. the guy just flails at pitches. no thanks.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        That is one hell of a dirty secret.
        I know if the Yankees need someone to popout weakly to leftfield, Brett is that man.

        • Steve H

          Popout to leftfield? Has he been juicing? Or do you mean the SS going on the lip of the LF grass to catch it?

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            He is good at finding the no man’s land between the LFer and the SS. Can’t really rely on that though.

          • http://aol Rob

            You mean Strike out!! Hell, the guy can’t even use his speed and bunt to get on. He is a career minors guy.

            • 2

              he also doesn’t seem to have good baserunning instincts.

        • Pablo

          Andy,
          Did you get your Cubbies tickets yet?

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            I’m not sure if I’m buying season tickets this year or not. I have a buddy that works for them, so I’m hoping to get into the park early for batting practice when the Tampa Yankees are in town.

        • Chris

          Gardner wOBP in 2009: .337
          Melky wOBP in 2009: .331

          Not sure that the difference is meaningful, but they’re basically equal.

      • pete

        not sure about that. Defensively, sure, but I think the best solution is a combination of the two, a la first half of 2009. If both remain healthy, a think JoeG can micromanage 3 WAR out of Gardbrera.

      • OldYanksFan

        If you play Gardner, shouldn’t he be in CF and move Grandy to LF?

      • Mac1

        I preferred Mike’s analysis of Gardy’s 580 ops after the Met game where he went 5-5.

        If the Yanks can find a clear upgrade in LF that’s great, personally I think Melk made some big inroads this year (esp. the 763 ops vs. LHP).

        Melk’s play is acceptable on this team, and if he comes into the spring in shape and plays well, I’d like to see if he can improve on his 752 ops – the difference you mentioned of .028 is less than 4% – its not that big a deal.

      • Tom Trudeau

        Agreed re: Gardy, Ben. However both of them should be average to above average thanks to their defense. Run prevention, baby. “Bat doesn’t play in left” is only relevant if defense isn’t good enough to make up for it. It will be.

  • kenthadley

    Cash said “pitching pitching pitching” first….so far only Andy….seems like more “pitching pitching” to come…..I think this happens before anything in LF, since they can live with Melky there until it becomes a glaring need, at which time I’m sure something becomes available by July……if the defense and pitching is sound, a LF bat is probably one of the easiest things to acquire in mid-year……

    • Mustang

      agree
      +1

  • Abe

    I’m comfortable with Melky starting the year in left. Yes, upgrading that spot would always be a good thing – after all, any good organization should always be looking to improve. But it seems that there simply aren’t any other reasonable options out there on the free-agent market.
    Also, I really don’t understand the sentiment that his bat doesn’t play in LF. Last year we got very good production from JD in left and average production from Melky in center. Swapping Damon’s bat for Granderson’s should produce similar levels of output, and then Melky is still Melky. Where they play on defense does not affect the Yankees offensive productivity.

  • Steve H

    What if Jason Bay’s market develops, he’s pissed at the way the Red Sox refused to negotiate with him, and wants to stick it to them.

    Would you take Bay at 4/$65?

    • kenthadley

      no……not worth it to us…besides, Mets need him more, and they can have him……

    • Zack

      why not just sign Damon for 2/20m instead?

      • Steve H

        I probably would sign Damon 1st, but at 2/20 you may just be negotiating against yourself. Bay, we know, had at least 4/60 out there, so that’s the starting point of his market. Personally, I’d rather give Bay 3/55 than 4/65, but wouldn’t want to do either. I’m firmly in the Gardbrerra can handle LF camp, and our offense is set. I just wanted to see what the opinion on Bay at that contract would be. I wouldn’t do it, I’d rather give Sheets 1 year, even at a high base salary than give Bay several years.

        • Zack

          Oh my fault, I thought you meant that’s who you wanted.
          Not really interested in Bay for the reasons given by many over the offseason: Horrible defense, cant hit offspeed pitches, streaky hitter, and if Cash is real about a budget then it blocks other moves he can make.

      • OldYanksFan

        JD could help us this year, but we do NOT need a DH next year. You have to figure 50-60 DH games for Po… maybe more. NL/Interleague takes up 10-ish? ARod and Jeter and Teix are good for at least 20. Miranda could be up and hopefully/more specifically, Montero would be up as BUC, learning from Posada in his last year. Not to mention a mutual option with NJ. JD is dead weight for 2011.

        If Cashman likes JD for this year, How about 1/$12? Yeah… it’s overpaying a bit, but 1 yr contracts/flexibility are worth a little extra. Whaddayathink?

    • vin

      Isn’t that better than the other deals he has on the table? Hardly sticking it to anybody.

      There seems to be too many red flags around Bay. I think they’d try to get Holliday before Bay.

      • jonathan c.

        Bay just seems like he has “Mets disaster” written all over him.

        • kenthadley

          Flushing….where big bats go to die………

          • Camilo Gerardo

            careers*

  • Paul

    I really have no problem with Melky in left, but of course I’d prefer someone else. However, if they are considering Matt Holliday, why not just bring Damon? Damon is a lot cheaper than Holliday (at most you’d have to pay 20 million for 2 years of Damon, and maybe the Yankees could negotiate that even lower). Plus Damon is less of a commitment than Holliday. And sure Damon’s defense is a minus, but it’s not like Holliday is a gold glover. It’s clear Damon would like to return, so if Holliday is an option why not just sign Damon?

    • Chris

      However, if they are considering Matt Holliday, why not just bring Damon?

      Because Holliday is much better than Damon. Obviously the contract is an issue, but Holliday is worth a longer and higher AAV contract than Damon.

      • Paul

        Sure Holliday is better, but I think he’s a bit overrated. I guess I just feel that the contract is more important is this case. Not that I wouldn’t love to see the Yankees get Holliday.

        • OldYanksFan

          If you compare Holliday’s stats to Teixeira’s, they are very close. But yeah, because of Coors, Holliday is NOT as good as Teix. But he is in the neighborhood… say… ‘Teix Light’. His bat plays VERY well in YSIII, as he had reverse splits AND hits twice as many flyballs to RF as LF. HR wise, he might be Jeter on Steroids, poking lots of 340′ shots into the RF porch.

          Here’s the main issue:
          Is Melky, or a cheap/average type LFer our 3-4 yr future?
          If the Yanks are willing to let LF be our weakest spot and just make due over the next 3-4 years, then Holliday is a luxury that is too rich for our blood.

          BUT….
          If the Yankees do want an impact player there…
          Why wait for Werth or someone like that and pay $13m-$15m?
          To save some payroll money for 2010 only?

          My feeling is IF they play to upgrade LF ‘soon’, then bite the 2010 bullet and get Holliday… as he is a PERFECT FIT in many ways.. ala Teix last year.

          The economy will get a little better in ’11 and ’12. At 5/$85 considering his WAR and wRC, $17m/AAV is a great price.

          I can live with a 1996-2000 type LF.
          But if they do play on upgrading it significanty…
          Do it now, with Holliday.

          • Chris

            While I agree that his bat is not as good as Tex, he plays a more premium defensive position and plays it very well. What people miss about Holliday is that he was worth the 9th most runs defensively over the last 3 years. Those defensive numbers shouldn’t be skewed by Coors.

          • Paul

            I completely agree.

        • Chris

          I actually think Holliday is underrated. In the last 3 years, here are the players that have accumulated a total of 20 WAR:

          1. Albert Pujols 25.1
          2. Chase Utley 23.6
          3. CC Sabathia 20.6
          4. Hanley Ramirez 20.4
          5. Roy Halladay 20.4
          6. Alex Rodriguez 20.0
          7. Matt Holliday 20.0

          In 2009 (playing outside of Coors), he was worth 5.7 WAR. If you discount his 2007 and 2008 to match what he did in 2009, then he would have 17.1 WAR – good for 12th best in baseball.

          • http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090810&content_id=6355462&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy JobaWockeeZ

            FanGraphs even said themselves not to look much into Matt Holliday’s WAR when comparing to other players near him in WAR like Teix.

            • ledavidisrael

              No they said if you compare the differences in league and the fact that Tex is more of a power hitter instead of an average hitter. That tex is a better investment going forward. HE also mentioned that tex’s defense is slightly underrated by WAR.

              What he did mention was that in one less season Matt has compiled the same amount of wins as tex.

              Also is Matt going to get the same type of deal that tex got? I really doubt it. The less years and couple million dollars less more than make up the difference in the two players. If their is one.

            • Chris

              I am generally skeptical whenever a site (like fangraphs) that is very good at statistical analysis suggests that we should ignore the stats.

              Is Holliday better than Tex, as the WAR suggests? I don’t know, but it would make for a good debate.

              Is Holliday in a class of players below Chone Figgins, as Rob Neyer suggests? No. Not even close.

              If you were to offer Holliday a 6/$120 contract now, I think you’d have a press conference before Christmas. With that being said, I think Holliday is worth at least 2/3 of what Tex is worth and thus would probably make a good acquisition. I don’t know that his contract would fit well with the Yankees (because of their existing commitments), but I believe that whoever signs him will be making a good deal.

              • ledavidisrael

                The stat site did not say to ignore the stat just look at it in context of where these players played

                AND FACTOR IN

                that tex’s defining skill as a better (power)

                ages better ( and is their for a better investment)

                than Matts ability to hit with more contact and rely on a high BAIP

                I think Matt and Tex are perfectly comparable players. “Equals” if you will. Both play + defense. Both are quality hitters left handed hitters.

                Fangraphs also talks about how much more valuable added wins are when your already a playoff team.

                Jeter
                Holiday
                Tex
                Arod
                Johnson
                Granderson
                Posada
                Cano
                Swisher

                This is really scary to look at.

                • sciorsci

                  Both are quality hitters left handed hitters.

                  Oddly, neither one of them is a left handed hitter. Holliday is right handed, Teixeira is a switch hitter.

                • sciorsci

                  Also, I think it would probably make more sense to flip-flop Johnson and Holliday in your proposed lineup. Not that it would matter too much, given the quality of the lineup overall, but I think it would make more sense to have Holliday’s SLG in the middle of the lineup, whereas Johnson, whose primary value is in OBP, provides more value at the top of the lineup than he does anywhere else (particularly in the middle of the order).

                • ledavidisrael

                  Very true. Let me correct myself.

                  I think Matt and Tex are perfectly comparable players. “Equals” if you will. Both play + defense. Both are quality hitters who are above average at each facet of hitting, while both excelling in one different facet.

                  Thanks

  • jonathan c.

    If the team were somehow able to find the money to get Holliday, we’d have Swisher and his .869 OPS as our #9 hitter. Which would be fairly incredible.

    • Steve H

      As it is we’ll have Swisher and his .869 OPS as our #8 hitter, still fairly incredible. I think our offense is set, though I do see Holliday as an option (for the right price), but not as importantly for 2010, but more for the future.

  • JSquared

    They think they could “find” the money for Holliday if the contract was shorter. 3-4 years at 18 per year sounds like something reasonable, but if he wants 6+ years, i don’t think it’s something the Yankees are ready to do.

    • jonathan c.

      5 years would be a good compromise if they backloaded it, I think. He’d be 34 and have a shot at another 4-5 year deal.

      • Zack

        No player wants to take that gamble. They want that 6-8 deal that GUARANTEES them an additional 50m over a 5year deal, not wait 5 years and hope at 34 they still have a market for their services.

      • OldYanksFan

        You have to look at our future commitments to ARod, CC and Teix. Backloading a big contract for Holliday is a terrible idea. The Yankees SMARTLY did not backload the 3 contracts above, and actually front loaded ARod’s.

        If 2010 is the issue, go $9m, $19m, $19m, $19m, $19m. (5/$85).
        Or better yet, $9m, $19m, $21m, $19m, $17m as Mo and Po ($28m) are off the books by 2012.
        Actually, I wouldn’t expect Holliday to be regressing much at age 34, but we can’t cripple the future any more then it already is. By 2014, $17m won’t be a terrible salary for an impact LFer.

        • mf

          From a financial standpoint, isn’t it almost always worse for the team to frontload a contract? Basically with the possibility of compound interest, money now is worth more than money later. One exception would be if it kept you under the tax threshold later in the contract, but that isn’t going to happen.

          • Mike bk

            not when the interest rate is basically 0 as it is now.

          • OldYanksFan

            You are correct. However, depending on the exact numbers and the interest rate, the difference (loss) in the interest between frontloading and backloading might be around 1-2% of the total contract amount.

            However, lets say you have 5 backloaded 5 yr contracts of: $10m, $11m, $12m, $13m and $14m (5/$60m)
            So…. in year 5, those 5 players are costing you 40% more then the first year. Meanwhile, the players are 5 years older, past their prime, and probably producing less then their first year.

            It could be a way to kill a team’s future, and why the Yankees do NOT it… because the Yankees are just as concerned about winning it all in the 5th year as they were in the first.

            It also makes these guys very hard to trade without eating part of their salary. Think Vernon Wells.

            • mf

              Yeah that sounds right. But of course, eating part of the salary to make a trade wouldn’t be so bad if they had made up the difference by wisely investing the money they otherwise would have been spending at the beginning of the contract.

              And the problem with paying so much in future years could similarly be averted with decent planning – that is, you would invest with the idea that it would allow you to add payroll later. But they may have good PR reasons not to want to do that, not to mention the fact that a new CBA could upset that plan.

            • toad

              But you don’t have to pay it that way if you’re worried about the cash.

              Take your example, and assume even that interest rates are zero (which they won’t be in five years, by the way).

              First yr pay the guy $10 mil and put $4 mil aside. Then in yr 2 pay $11 mil and set $2 mil aside. In yr 3 just pay the $12 mil. Yr 4 pay $11 plus $2 of what you’ve saved, and yr 5 pay $10 plus the $ you have left.

              So the contract is now “front-loaded” from the team’s point of view, even though it looks “back-loaded.”

              mf is correct that front-loading is better than back-loading, unless the interestrate iz=s zero, and then there’s no difference.

  • Pablo

    No one know which Holliday will show up Oakland or St Louis. Bay is the same as Nady. I like Gardy in LF because with his speed he can make thing happen,with Melky what you see is as good as it’s going to get.

    • Zack

      Why is Bay the same as Nady?
      Holliday had 1 bad month in Oakland, lets not make decisions based on 90 AB.

  • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “After all, that “and left field” need isn’t going to fill itself.”

    Ben – What if you, on paper, put “LF” next to Curtis Granderson’s name and “CF” next to Gardbrera’s name on your scorecard? Would you be ok with that alignment, since Granderson’s stats would play just fine (compared to the mythical prototypical corner outfielder) in left field, while Gardbrera would probably, based on 2009 performance and both of them gaining a year of development, give you above-average offensive production (with good defense, btw) in center field? If so, then what’s the problem with just swapping their defensive positions? It’s the same offensive lineup no matter which defensive nomenclature you write next to their names on the scorecard.

    The typical team, if you’re starting a team from scratch, would go after a big bat for left field because there are more big bats available at that position, typically, than at certain other defensive positions, like C, 2B, SS, etc. But this Yankees team isn’t built like that typical team, they have big bats at the non-premium offensive positions like C, 2B and SS. This idea that you need the prototypical big bat in left field is only relevant if you’re starting a team from scratch or have a team that happens to look like the typical hypothetical team would look (big bats in the corners, less offense from the typically poor offensive positions, etc.). The reality of this situation isn’t the same as the fantasy team drawn up on the chalkboard, though, so why are we trying to shoehorn these guys into these roles that aren’t necessarily applicable?

    One more quick point… Coming into the offseason, per Cashman, the Yankees had a hole in LF and a hole at DH. Instead of looking at it like they had a hole in LF that had to be filled, let’s look at it as if they had a hole in the OF in general. They acquired a very good outfielder to play center field in 2010, thus moving the guys they already had penciled in for center field over to left field. The one outfield hole was filled, they didn’t create another hole by filling the already-existing hole. We can look for the Yankees to upgrade the LF situation, as they should always be looking to upgrade the weaker links in the lineup if possible, but LF is not a hole right now. As the roster currently stands LF is being filled by a duo of players who were already penciled into the 2010 lineup before Granderson was acquired. You’re putting too much weight into what letters are written after their names on the scorecard to note their defensive positions.

    There is no “… and left field” gap right now. There’s a position that could be upgraded, but it’s not a position that needs to be filled.

    • Steve H

      I agreed after the first sentence.

      Again, if an outfield of Grandy/Gardbrera/Swisher is suffice, and outfield of Gardbrerra/Grandy/Swisher is suffice. #27 came with similar offensive production, and much weaker defense.

    • 5th Starter

      Great post. No one needs to be Rosenthal and think that the Yanks HAVE to get a better LF. This is a well-rounded team as it is.

      • pete

        dammit. there were no comments when i started writing my 9 paragraph version of this below, and now all of my points have already been said. I feel dumb and sad. (lopes off with his head down, vince guaraldi’s “Christmastime” playing in the background).

        • Abe

          Yea same here. Made similar points early in the comments.

    • Bob Stone

      I thought we pretty much beat his dead horse to death in yesterday’s thread. I’ve had enough already about which leters appear after a player’s name on the line-up card.

      We lost two guys and picked up two guys that play as well.

      I really don’t care what the “proto-typical” numbers we Should have at each position.

      But I guess you really like this discussion topic Congressman, so you are keeping it going.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re referring to the conversation about whether Granderson and Johnson replace Damon and Matsui (about which guy each new guy replaces), which is actually a different discussion than this one.

        I’d also like to point out that the dead horse you’re referring to here is the topic of this post, so it’s not like I brought this stuff up out of nowhere.

        I’m not keeping this topic going, Bob. Ben wrote a post about it, and I responded. I don’t really get why you have a problem with me expressing the opinions expressed in my comment. If you don’t like this topic, perhaps you should move on past this post/thread to one that’s more to your liking instead of being an asshole about it.

        • Bob Stone

          Congressman . . . you are aboslutely right on several counts. It IS the topic at hand (perhaps we are so desperate for tpoics that we keep rehasing the same tired old ones with new titles). And, yes, I was referring to the “who relaces whom” post yesterday and the long debate that ensued. To me it is the same topic/issue and obviously I am tired of it.

          You have every right to post whatever you like. And, if I might add, you are one of the best posters on this site. I always enjoy your thoughts and insights.

          Perhaps I over-reacted because I am tired of this issue.

          Hopefully, you take this as an apology and “no harm – no foul”.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Your response is much appreciated, we’re good. I totally should have left out that last little bard in my comment, and that’s my bad.

        • Bob Stone

          P.S. – I was expressing frustration with the topic, but I don’t think I was being an “asshole”. Just expressing my opinion.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Like I said above, I shouldn’t have used that word or gone there. I do think you were being a little jerky… “But I guess you really like this discussion topic Congressman, so you are keeping it going” is kind of a ‘why don’t you shut up about this annoying topic’ directed squarely at me. So I’m sorry for going a bit overboard with the language, but I guess the spirit of my response stands. I appreciate your response and hope we’re cool, whether I think you were being jerky or not. You got annoyed with the topic, directed that annoyance in my direction, and I got annoyed in response. I’m cool with just calling it what it was and moving on, it’s no biggie to me.

            • Bob Stone

              We’re good. Sorry to be a little jerky. It was directed at the topic more than you. But all is good.

              • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Cool.

                [Internet handshake]

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      I very much agree with all of that. One thing I’d like to add: If the Yankees want to upgrade from Gardbrera during the season, it’s easier to find a leftfielder than a centerfielder.

      • Abe

        Very true and good point that I had previously overlooked. For this season CF Granderson + LF Melky is similiar to last year’s CF Melky + LF Damon. But, going forward in the next couple of years it is much easier to find a good LF than a good CF. Another reason to love Cashmoney.

      • Mike HC

        This is what makes Melky in LF almost unacceptable. In center you can accept the average offense because there are not a plethora of replacements and defense is the most important thing. In LF, there are far more options and offense is more important than D in left. So, while the team may be equal offensively from last year, and even better defensively, the potential for improvement is much greater than last year. In other words, not looking to replace Melky this year is far more unacceptable than it was last year.

        • Stuckey

          I don’t think even the most strident Cabrera supporter is arguing that there aren’t candidates out there that would be an upgrade, just the he should be evaluated with a “9” next to his name (his position in the OFFENSIVE line-up, by which is is not only better than league average, but probably near league leading) rather than “LF”.

          I, like some others, respond to the notion that they have a “hole” in LF (I;m sorry Ben, that was weak), and that the urgency to fill it is so great, they need to either spend $80 to $100 to fill it (which I don’t think some Yankees fans are skilled at seeing in perspective) AND occupy budget that could be applied to other areas, or they should trade some valuable assets to “fill” it.

          Can LF be “upgraded”? Absolutely, at a smart price. Is there any urgency to? Not in the least.

          And I believe some of us also believe Cabrera may not be done improving.

          • Mike HC

            I can see Melky starting the year in LF, maybe, but I don’t see him finishing the year as our starting LF. I can understand though fans that don’t mind Melky in LF. I just think it is too easy to find a better LF to stick with Melky for the entire season. Just my preference.

            • Stuckey

              What are the candidates that don’t require a 5+ year/$80m commitment?

        • sciorsci

          It’s a fair point that the number of potential replacements/upgrades should lend itself to not just settling for Melky (or some Cabrera/Gardner combination) in LF. However, the fact that the Yankees have quality bats at positions that typically do not carry as much offense also means that they have large contracts at some of those positions. The team’s budget is very real and shouldn’t be ignored in the conversation about whether to replace Melky. It’s not so much whether upgrades exist – we know that they do – it’s more a question of whether any affordable upgrades can fit within the team’s budgetary restrictions.

  • aj

    I like Matt Holliday, but getting him would put us in a tight position for next year and getting a big starter. Sticking it out with Melky gives us some flexibility now that Yanks have a tighter budget. I think the Yanks should look for cheaper alternatives.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      we don’t need a big starter… I’d rather grow old with Holliday this year than Lee next year. over crawford as well

  • pete

    Here’s my solution:
    Stick with what you have in LF, as in Melky, only call him a CF and Granderson a LF! That way you get adequate production from CF and good production from LF! Non-existent “problem” based on the arbitrary notion that each defensive position should correlate to a particular level of offensive production, even in team-specific contexts, solved!

    Look we need to stop thinking of Melky as a LFer under normal constitution of the term. Most teams do not have elite production coming from SS, 3B, and 1B + good-great production coming from DH, C, CF, 2B, and RF. In other words, Melky is not our “Left Fielder” as much as our “ninth-best hitter”. If your ninth best hitter hits around league average AND gives you good to very good defense from left field, there really is no issue. I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable to say that melky is either the best 9th hitter in baseball, or very close to it.

    Here’s how I view our present situation: In 2009 we got very good offensive years from Damon and Matsui. Considering park factors and progression to career norms (for granderson), we should be able to come close to replicating, if not exceeding that with Johnson and Granderson. That leaves us with the same situation as last year – Cabrera and Gardner – for the ninth spot in the order, the only difference being that they would be moving to left. By most accounts, Granderson is a defensive upgrade of about 5 runs from gardbrera in center, and gardbrera is an upgrade of about 25 runs from damon in left. So from defense alone, if the offense only remains the same, there is a 3 win improvement with the current situation.

    Now I know that with posada’s age, we are going to have days where somebody who truly sucks on offense, like Pena or Cervelli, is in the lineup. Here, having melkner in there is frustrating because it means that instead of 8 good hitters and one bad one, you have 7 good hitters, one average one, and one bad one. But wasn’t it this way last year? On days when pena/cervelli/molina was in the lineup, it wasn’t like we suddenly had bernie playing center. And that team still pushed its way through that unbearable adversity of having only seven good hitters to offset one bad one towards 103 wins.

    Obviously, per 2010 team needs, financial issues aside, Matt Holliday fits perfectly. He plugs in nicely as a #5 hitter, he plays good defense, and gives us on “full-lineup” days a robust team OPS+ of about 130, which is insane. Not to mention, having a good to elite hitter at every single position in the lineup. But the fact is, there are financial issues. Having a lineup where not only is every single hitter an excellent hitter but the team as a whole plays average to above average defense would be incredible, but it is NOT a need. Right now, there are no glaring needs on this team – I personally would put adding Holliday (I consider him the only real option at LF, as any others would mean shitty defense (bay) or trading people for a marginal upgrade when there isn’t a need for it) behind adding another starter, which I also consider less a necessity than a highly useful luxury.

    But adding Matt Holliday would be purely a luxury. As I (and the 2009 yankees) have already detailed, you can live with having your 9th best hitter put up an OPS+ of around 100, and you can also live with having some days where that hitter is your 8th best hitter, and your 9th best has an OPS+ of maybe 75, because you then have a guy with a 125 or better OPS+ on the bench, and your defensive upgrades are going to offset to a certain degree the occasional offensive downgrade at ONE spot in the order. If the ’09 yanks could do it, so could the 2010 yanks.

    Obviously, if you could have Matt Holliday but chose not to for no other reason than that you could get by with what you had, when what you had was way worse than holliday, you would be an idiot. But to make a long-term, big-money commitment (and go over budget in doing so) to a player that represents nothing more than an upgrade at a position (9th hitter, not LF) of prior adequacy, you are being foolish. If by some miracle Holliday comes down into the $10-12 mil AAV range, then that’s too good to pass up, for sure. But there’s almost no chance of that.

    Committing to Holliday would give the Yankees no financial flexibility this year to add pitching depth, and it would compress the budget of the future, when a TON of money will be tied up in a small number of players whose production may be beginning to fall under their salaries. When those players are producing the way they are now, there’s really no issue – having 3/4 of your salary tied up in 6 or 7 dominant players is a perfectly fine strategy, as long as you’re smart about it. But if they made the Holliday move now, they’d be committing at least that much to several good players, but there would be a good chance that none of them would be elite producers, especially when defense is considered.

    Having a 100 OPS+ in LF doesn’t sound good, but having a 100 OPS+ batting 9th and occasionally 8th while contributing around a +5 UZR, when the rest of your team is OPS+ing between 115 and 145, there truly is no issue. Signing Matt Holliday because our 9th hitter isn’t good enough would be potentially dumb for 2010 (the offense and defense would be undoubtedly terrific, but the lack of options in the event of long-term injury or suckitude in the rotation could hurt us more than melky not hitting would help), and deffinitely dumb for 2012 and beyond. Like it or not, the yankees DO have a budget. My guess is that when the 2010 yanks win despite playing Melkner in left and then go on to use the money saved on Holliday to sign King Felix or even Chapman, or whomever else they (presumably rightly) consider to be more worth the money than Holliday, you will like it.

    • Abe

      Does this come with cliff notes?

      I keed, I keed.

      • pete

        yah. see congressman’s shorter but still ratha lengthy comment above mine, or like, the last nine threads that have either started or ended up on this subject. I think most of the people on here have rightly concluded that offensive production weighted to position doesn’t really work on a team-specific level. if our offense is the same as last year, and our defense is better, we’ve already improved a 103 win, WS champion team. Thus there is no need to ruin our payroll flexibility by committing a long-term deal to a player over 30 whose defense will likely start to decline soon.

  • JeffG

    I listened to the Michael Kay interview with Cash yesterday (posted on TYU) and it did not sound like Holliday was in the plan. I think that if they want to go after a Lee or a Beckett next year plus Holliday would make it very difficult.

    My hope is they still have not closed the door on Damon. If they can secure a pitcher first (hopefully Sheets) and Damon realizes his market is not that good, perhaps we bring back Johnny and roll him into the DH role next year. That would allow us to go after Crawford and a front line starter for 2011.

    I’d be pretty happy if they could agree a 6/11 type deal for Damon. My feeling is that Damon might not find better once things shake out.

    • JSquared

      Lee or Beckett? They will both probably sign an extension before next year is over. The targets are more like Josh Johnson or Felix Hernandez, too bad that’s not next off-season…

      • JeffG

        Lee just went to Seattle and more than likely will hit the market next year. Beckett may be another story. You also have Webb.

        Josh Johnson sound more likely to sign an extension than Lee. As for Felix (everyones favorite pipe dream) don’t count on that any time soon.

        In any case I just don’t see Cash blowing up payroll flexibility this year to lock up Holliday. You should listen to the Kay interview – he pretty much said in a round about way that they were out on him. I believe they are.

        • JSquared

          Why would Seattle trade away prospects for one year of Cliff Lee? they already said they’re looking to extend him.

          Seattle and Felix are about $100 million away from an extension… it might happen, it might not.

          • Mike bk

            they didnt trade any top prospects to get him and they will get 2 picks if he walks and with the way Jack Z drafts those are huge.

          • whozat

            Seattle can try all they want, but I’m pretty sure the reason the Phils traded for Halladay was because Lee is hell-bent on going to free agency and they wanted to lock an ace down for a couple years. The prospects that Seattle traded are good, but not amazing, and Lee makes them a serious contender in their division, so I could see them making that move even knowing he won’t sign an extension.

            Given those assumptions, the moves mostly make sense.

    • OldYanksFan

      Look… haven’t we all followed this team long enough to KNOW what Cashman says publicly has zero bearing on what will happen?
      Remember: “Bubba is our center fielder”.

      In the same way that Boris’s outrageous initial demands DO actually change the perception of the market for a player…
      So does what Cashman says change what other GMs think.
      You want him to tell St. Louis: “Yeah… we are looking hard at Holliday”?

      We are talking about Brian “Stealth” Cashman.
      It’s what he doesn’t say that you have to listen to.

      • JeffG

        Listen close to what people say, or in this case Cashman, and you have a better idea of what to believe. When he says both Joba and Hughes are prepared to go in as starters and he mentions that he is looking… well you have the idea that they might not both be starters this year.

        When he says Bubba is our center fielder… or he is “prepared for that” and you know he’s looking then you know that there probably will not be a move.

        Listen to the interview and it seems clear that he is not going to bid a big contract this year… anyways I could be wrong, but that was my strong impression.

        Did you listen to the interview? He tells Kay in two ways that he is not doing it.

        • OldYanksFan

          Last year, after signing CC and AJ, Cashman publically stated there is no way they would get Teix. Again, to some extend, these Winter dealing are a poker game… and bluffing is a big part of the game.

          Mind you, saying you won’t give a player ARB a month before it happens (when you actually don’t give them ARB) isn’t really revealing anything citical. So he does say lots of things that are true, because they don’t effect his bargaining stance or the actions of other teams.

          Think JD four years ago.
          Boras says the bargaining starts at 7/$100m.
          Cashman shows no interest at all.
          Then… within 24 hrs of the first rumor, Cashman signs him for 4/%52.

          STEALTH!

  • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

    2010 Melky will be better than 2009 Melky. That should be an average to above average player. He won’t be an above average left fielder because he won’t have have the power just yet, that will come in a few years.

    Heh, look at Grandy’s yr 24 and 25 season. Melky’s 24 yr old season(2009) was arguably slightly better than C-Grand’s 25 yr old season.

    Folks, the dude turned 25 a couple months ago! Let Melk play!

    Also, the fact that he is going to be hitting 9 in front of Jetes will mean good things for him.

    • Steve H

      +1

    • Zack

      I agree you with the point that players at 25 are going to be better than they were at 24, but I think Granderson is irrelevant to Melky.

      • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

        He is pretty much irrelevant towards Melk. They are different players, have different frames and one is a switch hitter.

        The problem with making comps is that here aren’t that many players that have four full-ish seasons under their belt as they turn 25. Melky is still about 3 years away from his prime but because he rushed up so quickly we might be viewing that prime from a far while he is in a different uniform.

        My point remains. As hard as it is for some to have patience towards a guy who has seemingly been around forever, people really should try.

    • Mike HC

      Every situation is obviously different, but I would not take the ages of Dominican, Venezuelan, etc … players very seriously. Just me personally, but all those ages are bullshit.

      • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

        True, but 4-5 yrs ago when he came up he looked to be about 18-22. So how much could his age really be off?

        • Mike HC

          I know. He has a baby face. But the baby face stays no matter what the age. He has a young look. I am clearly more skeptical than most in this area, but I think almost all of the ages are 2-4 years off. I just think that that is how it works down there. They got a process, and they stick to it. Part of that process is making everybody younger.

          • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

            True. I still say Vlad is 57.

            • Mike HC

              I think El Duque turns 32 this year.

    • emac2

      The 24 year old argument is weakened by the extensive major league track record.

      It still matters but isn’t something I would bet on.

      I would use it to increase his trade value though I probably like him off the bench more then Hoffman.

      • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

        I don’t see how the age argument is weakened.

        He’s learned things in the MLB that most players get to learn as they spend a full year in every MiLB stop. In some ways that has been a disadvantage which has drawn ire from Yankee fans.

        MOst players don’t develop their power and enter their prime until 25-27, that doesn’t change just because he’s been around for a while.

        • emac2

          It’s weakened because he had a strong 3 year decline trend until last years move to Yankee stadiom.

          The fact that the trend reversal leads to a below average result in his 5th major league season is even worse.

          • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

            3 year decline?? What?

            His first year was good. The league adjusted to him and his obp and avg declined in 07. Slugging remained the same while K rates improved.

            So that’s one “decline” year.

            Then 2008 happened, down year, it got away from him. He was bad. Now is that a decline year or is that just a bad season? Some of the best players in the game have had down years and we don’t consider it a decline.

            Even still, if you include 2007 and 2008, that’s two years. Don’t oversell it by saying 3 year decline trend.

            Now if you’re arguing he only had a rebound year because of the stadium then I visit the triple slash splits.

            Home: 271/336/424
            Away: 278/336/409

            As expected, his slugging was a bit higher at home but it is in no way egregious like Damon’s was.

        • OldYanksFan

          Are we hoping Melky develops more power?
          Or just that he stops swinging at balls over his head, or sliding head-first into first base, or taking wild hacks at outside 2-0 pitches, or learns to bunt, or steal an occasional base.

          Melky’s problem is not ‘undeveloped talent’.
          It’s undeveloped braincells.
          They guy is baseball stupid.
          Jeter’s head on Melky’s body gives you a decent player.

          • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

            “They guy is baseball stupid.”

            I love it.

  • Tony

    I think the Yankees should stay with Melky in LF, they will be fine with him and Gardner……don’t go after Holliday, there is someone named Crawford that plays LF and is on the market next year at the age of 29……..defense, speed and youth….stick with the Milk man this year. Get pitching.

    • Steve H

      Ehh, not totally sold on Crawford. He has a great reputation, but when you start looking into it, he’s not nearly as good as people believe. Also, you’d likely be paying for a year or 2 of his prime, then his decline years, and decline years for speedsteers aren’t pretty.

      • The Three Amigos

        He doesnt have the best power, but Craqford’s the best defensive LF in baseball, which would play well in our large LF. And, he is the type of player the Yanks haven’t had in a long type. He could hit #2 behind Jeter, and is very tough to double up. The guy steals 50 bags a year easy and his power numbers would increase in YS.

        With him on 1st distracting the hell out of the pitcher, Tex and Arod would get mistakes all day.

        • pete

          there’s no way anyone hitting in front of tex and alex is stealing 50 bags, ever, unless he has like a 95% success rate. otherwise, not worth it.

  • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

    Ben, how has Grit been more productive offensively than Melk? ..Talk about a small sample size. He only had 55 AB’s against lefties in all of last year. He only had 69 plate appearances in the entire second half.

  • Hobbes

    What about Melky in RF and Swish in LF to take advantage of Melky’s arm in Right?

    • Mike HC

      LF is the tougher defensive position to play in Yankee Stadium, so you probably want the better defender in left. I think Melky is probably better defensively.

      • Abe

        UZR would disagree, but my eyes agree. Going to have to go with UZR on this one.

        • Mike HC

          Yea, it is probably closer than I think. I still go Melky though. Maybe I’m stupid.

          • Abe

            No! Don’t say that Mike HC! If you were Matt Damon and I Robin Williams, I would hug you and repeat that over and over again until you broke down and started to cry.

  • Mike HC

    I don’t love the idea of Melky in left, but the team is so good it could obviously get by doing that. If the team does not add another starter, it might be smart to bring in an extra bullpen arm or two. Not the most expensive guys, but just some more arms to compete.

  • Stan Van Jeremy

    Conceptually speaking, here’s the thing about Matt Holliday right now.

    He has NO market for him. St. Louis is the only team that’s offered him anything, and that’s not an offer I anticipate Matt and Boras accepting anytime soon. Outside of St. Louis, there doesn’t appear to be any market that will develop for him either. Every other team in the league either:

    a) doesn’t have the need
    b) couldn’t afford him
    c) have already invested in other free agents from this year
    d) all or some of the above

    The Mets would’ve been a fit, but they want Bay instead (good luck with that, to both parties, btw. I have a feeling that deal will bite the Mets in the ass, in a way only the Mets could endure).

    The Yankees can downplay their interest in Holliday all they want, it’s somewhat understandable, but fact of the matter is is that at the present time, Holliday has no market, Yankees have no LF, and Holliday, one of (if not the) best LFers in the game today possibly being available at a rate less than what was expected, and one has to expect the Yankees to at least do their due diligence, and take a good, long look at Holliday.

    It’s either Damon or Holliday at this point. In some ways, I prefer Damon. In others, I prefer Matt. One I certainly DON’T prefer, however, is Melky in left on Opening Day. I like Melky more than most, but that is not an ideal situation. I want Melky doing the 4th OF duties to start off next year.

    • pete

      “It’s either damon or holliday at this point”
      or melky. which is most likely what it is.

    • OldYanksFan

      Red Sox offered Holliday 5/$82.5m
      He turned it down, so they got Lackey instead.
      At 6/$120, the is ZERO market for Holliday.
      At 5/$85, a few teams would be interested.

      • Stan Van Jeremy

        All I said is that 6/120 is where I would max out at.

        Of course there’s no market at that price. No need to bid that high yet.

  • manimal529

    I’d rather see the yanks get a low-end free agent or keep gardbrera in left and get chapman than shell out a lot for holliday/bay

  • E-ROC

    Just put Melky/Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF. I think that alignment is the best solution barring some unforeseen trade or signing of Matt Holiday. I like the idea of trading for a young left fielder like Elijah Dukes.

    • jonathan

      Elijah has talent but he couldn’t handle NY. no chance.

      • Mike HC

        Dukes is a Met waiting to happen. He has future Met written all over him.

    • pete

      granderson is a better defensive CF than melky, and is on par with gardner only according to gardner’s ridiculously small sample. Grandy in center and Melkner in left is the best defensive alignment, and therefore the best alignment.

  • jonathan

    Here’s something nobody has talked about (for good reason, totally hypothetical and a lot has to fall in place for it to happen) but if we finalize Johnson for 1 year and he picks up his option, plus add damon at 2 years that’d be fine. But obviously the best potential FA out there next year is Mauer. He’d be a perfect fit on our team since Jorge’s best days are behind him. Clearly Boston would die for him to hit in that park and all our best prospect depth is at catcher, but would we be playing ourselves out of a possible Mauer signing? If you have Damon for 2 years and Johnson for potentially 2 years, then if you signed Mauer you’d have a 13 million backup catcher DH in Jorge, a 10 million DH in Johnny and a 5.5 million DH in NJ. Say Nick doesn’t pick up his option or he does and we just trade him, we still have Johnny/Jorge. And the only other position Johnny or possibly Mauer could play would be LF which would keep us from getting Crawford. A lot of speculation but what do you think we should do this year, keeping in mind we’d be in on Crawford and Mauer next year? It’s a pretty big gamble to play this offseason with next offseason in mind and then potentially not having your targets hit the market, through extensions ect. Also, i forgot, but Montero would probably be up by then too….what to do what to do?

    • pete

      “what to do what to do?”
      use the remaining payroll flexibility to either get another starter now, or later in the season, and keep melkner in left, and johnson at DH.

    • OldYanksFan

      Mauer is a perfect fit?
      Have you given up on Montero?
      4 of the Yankees top 10 prospects we Catchers.
      Catcher is the LAST place we need to spend big money on.
      Catcher is where we SAVE money… money to spend in other places.

      • jonathan

        so if you read the post it says that. Nobody outside of the yankees organization thinks Montero is going to make it as a catcher. You’re telling me a top 3 player is available on the market and you aren’t interested in him because of austin romine? When we got Arod it blocked super prospect Eric Duncan…howd that work out?

        • OldYanksFan

          By the time we got ARod, Duncan was already failed.
          Plus, ARod was a trade (not a FA) and Texas threw in a ton of cash.

          You think the Yankees can afford every Top 5 player that comes onto the market?
          No… they can’t.
          But they can afford a number of them.
          They have tons of Catching and no shortstops on the farm.
          Wouldn’t Hanley be a better ‘fit’ then Mauer?

          And you are wrong on:
          “Nobody outside of the yankees organization thinks Montero is going to make it as a catcher.”

          It has been reported he made great strides on D this year.
          I mean, he only has to be as good on D as Piazza… who sucked.
          But was Piazza being a Catcher an advantage to his team?
          He was at one point, the highest paid player in MLB.

          The other thing is Montero is already 6’4 at 20 years old.
          If he grows another 3 inches, Catching will indeed be much more difficult. So on that issue, it is a wait and see.
          Also, Posada is a below average defensive Catcher.
          How did that work out for us?

          Even he he Catches for only 4 years and then is moved, it is still a great benefit.

          • sciorsci

            If he grows another three inches? After his 20th birthday? Maybe it’s just me, but the only growing most men do from age 20 on is around their waistline. Bad jokes aside, his height is likely static.

      • Camilo Gerardo

        other places like matt holliday?

  • NCpinstripes

    A platoon of Melky and Gardner would be fine for a year in LF. Let’s not forget that Carl Crawford will be a FA after the 2010 season. That is who the Yankees should make a serious run at after next season to fill the LF spot. With the short RF porch, and Crawford’s developing power, he could hit 20-25 HR’s, and steal 50 bases playing for the Yankees.

    I also think the Yanks will go hard after Beckett or Cliff Lee next off-season. Andy Pettitte will more than likely retire after next season, which will free up almost 12 million dollars to apply towards signing one of these two.

    Matt Holliday is more of a NL type of hitter, and I would much rather see the Yankees pass on him, and make a serious push for Crawford next year.

    • emac2

      Good stuff and I agree with everything.

      PLaying devils advocate…is Crawford to old to give big money as a speed guy? I do worry about that a bit.

      • OldYanksFan

        Gotta ask. What kind of Contract/what is the FA market value of Crawford?

        • emac2

          I think everyones fear of age and it’s impact will be the limiting factor but he is a Tex quality player not counting the age issue.

          I would guess 17-20 per if he takes a shorter deal.

          • OldYanksFan

            Are you speaking of Carl Crawford?
            “a Tex quality player”
            SAY WHAT?????????
            (runs for medication)

            Teixeira career: 136 OPS+, .391 wOBA
            Crawford career: 103 OPS+, .343 wOBA (includes SBs)
            Holliday career: 133 OPS+, .400 wOBA

    • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Will

      Don’t the Rays have an option on Crawford?

      • The Three Amigos

        This year.

    • sciorsci

      Matt Holliday is more of a NL type of hitter

      WTF does that even mean? If you’re trying to say that Holliday has been more successful in his extended time in the NL vs. his SSS in the AL, I’d have to agree, but with the SSS caveat. But “NL type of hitter”? He hits for power and average, he gets on base, he plays good defense. That’s not an “NL type of hitter”; that’s a very good to great type of hitter.

      As far as I’m concerned, if the goal is to avoid giving money to Holliday this year only to wind up giving it to Crawford next year, that’s a mistake. If the idea is more to keep LF open so that they retain flexibility in case a trade falls into their lap, or in case Jeter’s defensive improvement this past season was an aberration, or to see if Melky does make that leap (count me with the skeptics on that), that’s fine. But to avoid spending money this year on the superior player that they’ll ultimately spend next year on the inferior player? I’m not saying I’ll root any less for the team, but I’ll certainly disagree with the move and the underlying logic.

  • http://deleted RollingWave

    I’d think they will probably check in on Holliday but the year could be a real issue. and also, if you can only get one guy. I’m guess this has part to do with that they feel if they lock up another big contract now they will virtually have no shot at next year’s market.

    This seems to be a trend, they often take one year off in between spending sprees and . (after 04 they signed Pavano / Wright and traded for Johnson , after 05 they didn’t really sign anyone major. after 06 they didn’t sign anyone major but did add Clemens in the middle of the season that cost a ton, and after 07 they didn’t sign much, but after 08 they really unloaded. this of course discounts all the guys they extended, which included Matsui / Abreu / Posada / Mo / A-rod and more during this span)

    From this perspective, it seems likely that they won’t go house money this off season. it’s part of a trend

  • emac2

    “for two younger left-handed hitters whose contracts average about $14 million in 2010″

    Don’t they combine for 11 mil plus 1-1.2 total in possible incentives?

    “But the team can’t expect Melky — or Brett Gardner, the more productive offensive player so far — to hold down left field.”

    Or what?

    We all die?

    You have a fit?

    We only win the division by 5 games?

    I find it distastful that so many of my fellow Yankee fans are the most fearful fans in the world. If we don’t have an overpaid player at every position we might risk a close season long fight and …gasp…losing!!!???!!!

    Even more amazing is the idea that Swisher at 8 mil is a god of hitting with his 245 career average while Gardner hits 270 in his first half season has 80 speed and plays elite defense but is just a scrub and unworthy of a spot in the lineup.

    Some real confused folks out here.

    • Abe

      Just differing opinions. And it’s part of being a fan – to look at ways to upgrade an already great team. If not what else would we all be doing? Working? It’s good to have a forum where people don’t share the same views.

      I do agree that the team is good to go and any other upgrades are just icing on the cake.

      And BTW, Swisher is a very productive player with a career wRC+ of 117. His batting average does mean that much. The jury is still out on Gardner but those are some awful small samples sizes that you are using.

      • Abe

        *his batting average does not mean that much.

        • emac2

          Why is that?

          I honestly don’t understand why batting average is so completely dismissed.

          I understand it isn’t the end all but I think we are really overcompensating from a time when it was terribly overweighted.

          The fact that a player can make contact 10-20% more (assuming 250 vs 275) has real value as does elite speed.

          As far as the sample size…Swisher has proven over a long history that hitting 250 is beyond his ability on a career basis.

          Gardiner has shown steady progression at every level.

          You can choose to ignore that until it is proven but you can’t expect a team to build and maintain itself without projecting anything for young players until they prove it somewhere else.

          I think the fundamental difference people have with Swisher is that some people say they include salary in their evaluation but they really don’t.

          I’m also guessing a lot of folks punt stolen bases in fantasy.

          • OldYanksFan

            OBP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> BA
            Hitting, above all else, is about NOT making outs.

            • emac2

              Who told ou that?

              Hitting is the art of taking a bat and swinging it in order to MAKE CONTACT wih a small white ball.

              Have you heard about plays like hit an runs where you don’t actually get a hit but the whole team makes a play based on your abiliy to make contact?

              OBP is not more important then the ability to hit the ball.

              It’s a valuable compensating factor but a walk is not as good as a hit nor the added value of the ability to make contact.

              • r.w.g.

                emac2,

                I actually agree with you that too many baseball fans these days dismiss batting average or don’t take enough stock in it. Making more contact is a better thing because balls put into play more often turn into hits than balls not put into play.

                However, the reason why you want more hits is because hits get the batter ON BASE. OBP is the single most important offensive stat there is. The only way to score a run is to be on base or hit a homer. A team is not going to hit 700, 800, 900 solo home runs over the course of a season.

                • emac2

                  I disagree.

                  The reason you want the hit instead of the wlk is absolutely not tht you want someon on base.

                  Reasons a hit is better;

                  1. It advances runners who aren’t on 1s.
                  2. It shows an improved ability to make contact and thus shws you can bunt and hit and run better.
                  3. It shows you can ake contact with better pitches an thus allows a reasonable assumption that the player will be more effectve against btter pitchers.

                  I’m sure there is more but.

                • r.w.g.

                  No one is arguing that walks are better than hits. No one.

                  OBP is not “walking percentage”. It is the amount of time, in relation to plate appearances, that a batter reaches base. It includes hits and walks and HBP, all that.

                  What matters most is the percentage of plate appearances that the batter is NOT making an out.

                  Obviously you can cherry pick situations and players to argue it any way you want, but the idea that batting average is more important to scoring runs than on-base percentage is incorrect. It is just not accurate.

    • Mike HC

      Do you honestly think Gardner is better than Swisher?

      • emac2

        When you factor in salary and what you can get with the money going to swisher?

        yes.

        • emac2

          Though in fairness…

          I’m not prepared to say Swisher is better even at the same price….I’m just taking the easily defensible position.

        • Abe

          I think you might be confused. There is no way that Gardner is equal in value to Swisher on a dollar for dollar basis. In fact, Swisher contract is quite reasonable if he continues to produce like he did last year.

          • emac2

            I’m confused how you think a 245 hitter is a value at over 8 million a year.

            • Abe

              Who cares about his BA? Swisher does many things well and gets out less often than Gardner does. This is not an argument I want to have at 4:30 in the morning (Melbourne), and it doesn’t seem like your amenable to changing your view. So I’m not going to bite.

    • jonathan

      When you have the chance to upgrade a position why not do it? Should we just shrug away a chance to upgrade our team because it would make too many good players on the team? And by the way AVG is very overrated as a stat. Gardner hits a completely empty 270 while swisher has a ton of power and OBP. Swisher is twice the player. Gardner has maybe the worst swing in baseball and it shows. He’s nothing more than a 4th or 5th OF with decent defense and great speed. If you think Gardner could hit his weight in a full season having to face lefties you’re the confused one.

      • emac2

        Gardiner hits an e,pty .270???

        Do you have any concept of speed or are fantasy point the limit?

        You do upgrade your team whenever possible but doing it without thought of money and the future is like playing with yourself.

        • pete

          speed and batting average are highly overrated. If you had nine guys who hit .250 with power and each of them had an OBP over .375, you would have the best lineup in baseball. It’s not that contact ability doesn’t matter, nor is it that speed doesn’t matter. It’s just that not making outs is SOOOO much more important. Stealing bases, much like bunting, is a useful tool when your offense isn’t working, or it was shitty to begin with. But it’s a terrible thing to rely on when constructing a team. Build around OBP, Pitching, and Defense. Make the most outs in the field, the fewest at the plate, and you will be the best team. Good teams are never built around speed because speed that doesn’t get on base doesn’t score runs.

          Personally, I agree with you that a combination of gardner and melky should play left field next year. They are excellent defensively, cheap, and the other 8 hitters in our lineup (including swisher) range from good to elite. I wouldn’t call swish an elite hitter, but I would say that he’s fairly close.

          • pete

            think of it this way (the math on this isn’t exactly accurate as far as translating into run-scoring, but it actually favors SB in that department, so you shouldn’t complain):
            1 SB = 1 base = 1/4 of a run.
            1 HR = 4 bases = 1 run
            by that logic, you need 4 SB to equal a single home run. therefore, if swisher hits just 25 hrs next year, which he almost certainly will, gardner will need to steal 100 bases just to match that, IF the two of them got on base at the same rate, which they don’t.

            Now, let’s take a more in-depth hypothetical route. Let’s say Gardner steals bases at a 100% success rate (he won’t). In 150 career games (roughly equal to a season), brett gardner has hit for 132 total bases, walked 34 times, and stolen 39 bases. Let’s say he plays a full year and improves on all of those and hits for 150 total bases, 50 walks, and 50 stolen bases (at 100%). That means that he gave the team 250 bases worth of offense. Now lets say Nick Swisher has an average year for his career. That would put him at around 225 TB (248 last year), 95 walks (97 last year), and 0 SB. That would mean that he gave the team 320 bases worth of production.

            That of course is highly flawed, but the flaws in there favor gardner, since speed is weighted equally against SLG, which it shouldn’t be. But if we were to be exact, and use, say, wRC+, then we would see that the difference between the two is even more enormous.

            • emac2

              The problem with your math is that you are calling a curve a straight line.

              The effect of speed is not limited to net bases.

              An improvement in batting average is not limited to the number of extra bases you acheive.

              Each added skill translates into other areas of the game to provide additional advantages that are completely ignored in your analysis.

              Lets also not ignore using the first 375 at bats of gardners career is also a cheap shot.

          • emac2

            So you are telling me that a team, of Swishers would have won the world series?

            They MIGHT have made the playoffs as a wild card but they would be out in the first round after facing good starting pitching with lots of time to prepare for specific weaknesses.

            NO way do I accept this as a given!

            Speed and average was overrated and still is by some people but it is significantly underrated here. Were any of you arounf when Ricky Henderson was around. Do you remember what 80 speed on the bases does?

            Swisher doesn’t have better on base skills then Gardner anyway.

            • pete

              not a team of specifically nick swishers. that would mean only one hitter for the pitcher to prepare for, which would give any good pitcher a huge advantage. But a team of guys with OBPs north of .375, all of whom hit 25-30 HRs? yes. Every mistake that pitcher throws is gonna be a HR or a double, and there are always going to be guys on base.

              • emac2

                which is great until you face good ptchers in the playoffs.

                My theory is that a team with as much money as the Yanks counts on making the playoffs and builds a team to win those tough games.

                Swisher doesn’t fit that blueprint.

              • emac2

                and don’t forget the sub 250 averages.

                • sciorsci

                  and don’t forget the sub 250 averages.

                  Specifically, for the purpose of advancing this discussion and intelligent discourse on baseball statistics, it would be MUCH more helpful if you WOULD forget the sub .250 averages when they’re accompanied by very good to great OBP. You truly seem to ignore how valuable it is to NOT make an out when batting. Call it the “hole in your swing,” if you will.

            • sciorsci

              Were any of you arounf when Ricky Henderson was around.

              Rickey Henderson was a dynamic player not only because of his speed, but because of his ability to get on base (you can’t steal first base, after all) as well as his power. His was an unique set of skills and any attempt to compare him to Gardner is ridiculous.

              And this is coming from someone who appreciates what Gardner brings to the table.

    • Bob Stone

      Some fans here get “a little over the top” but most here don’t.

      The regulars are having a lively hot stove debate about possible moves and which of those they like best.

      A lot of conversation is focused on Melky because, next to all of our all-stars, he is one of the weaker links. I don’t think most are in panic mode over it though. They are merely asking the question: “Can we do better” either through acquisition, trade or promotion of a minor leaguer.

      As far as Swisher vs. Gardner, it has been well documented on this site and elsewhere that measuring a ball player purely on batting average is very misleading. You can’t ignore OPB, OPS, OPS+ and others to really gauge the true value of a player.

      So some folks here might be confused, but not as many as you posit.

      • emac2

        It wasn’t directed at everyone.

        It was actually directed at Ben who I was quoting and others who agree with him.

        I totally agree BA is a small part of comparison.

        I get shocked when 40 points in career average is dismissed because of 6 points in slugging percentage.

        I get shocked when 80 SB speed is dismissed for an extra 15 home runs.

        • Jake K.

          Gardner will never get the chance to steal 80 bases unless he significantly upgrades his ability to get on base. Give me the 15 home runs.

          • emac2

            How is Swisher an OBP god at 350 and Gardner would need to improve at 345?

      • OldYanksFan

        Actally, OPS (or OPS+) is not the greatest stat, as it undervalues Walks and doesn’t include Stolen bases (which in effect, turn a single into a double).

        I would suggest using wOBA for comparing offensive impact.

    • Steve H

      You lost me at batting average.

  • r.w.g.

    Hasn’t the budget been reported as something like $195 million? The team is at what.. $191 MM, $192 MM with the (possible? official?) signing of Nick Johnson?

    You figure that’s the optimal budget. The team and its brass would like that to be a hard ceiling and will try to make it the hard ceiling.. but the payroll was around $205 MM (? i think anyway) for 2009.

    I don’t know if arbitration raises have even occurred yet, so factor that in. Maybe ten-ish million (with a swing of a few million in either direction possible) dollars to work with for Holliday? STL already offered $16 MM per.

    It would be nice, I’m sure there are discussions going on, but I don’t think the 2010 Yankees can make a better offer for this particular player than the St. Louis Cardinals.

    • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

      Yeah I think that with the signing we’re around 186 and arb raises should bring us near 190-194.

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

        Nah. Arb raises bring the team to round 198. Cot’s has them at 187.5, minus 5.3 for Igawa, Brackman, and Miranda (figuring they’re not going to count those against the OD payroll), plus 5.5 for Nick Johnson. So it pretty much cancels out.

        Then Gaudin and Melky will probably make 5.5 million combined in arb, plus another million for Mitre means they’re at 193. That’s for 14 players. Nine players at an average half-million per player is another 4.5 million. so 197.5.

        • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

          Ah shit. Thanks.

      • r.w.g.

        The Cardinals also have money. Rumors of the $80 MM over 5, I’m sure if they need to they can guarantee another year or two, or throw an extra $10 MM onto those 5 years.

        I don’t believe the Cardinals when they act like they are a middle-revenue team. They have enough money to throw a ton at Holliday and Albert.

  • aj

    Imagine if Melky or Gardner really develop into something this year! That would be exciting! And not very likely though..

    • Bob Stone

      I think improevement is possbile. Remember that Melky just turned 25 years old.

      • aj

        Yeah improvement, but I remember three years ago people were losing their collective minds saying that he’s the next Bernie. I don’t see that.

        • Bob Stone

          Sadly, I agree. I think there is potential for a very small amount of improvement but that won’t make him the next Bernie.

        • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Will

          Well that’s natural. Everyone overvalues the prospects at some point. It’s still incredibly difficult to actually know how high a players ceiling will be.

  • Rose

    Comparisons to positions are meaningless. They are even less arbitrary than Golden Glove awards. Granderson is a better CF than Melky, so he should stay there…just because Granderson’s BAT is more comparable to other LF’s and Melky’s is more comparable to CF is meaningless. The Yankees everywhere else in the field have bats that are far more productive than other teams at those positions…so that should cover it if it’s really an issue people are concerned with.

    A replacement LF isn’t necessary. If we do get a new one that would be great…and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Damon crawl back with that 2yr/$14 deal in hand…but by that point he might need to go even lower.

    • Bob Stone

      Totally agree.

    • Hey ZZ

      You are taking the argument out of context.

      Curtis Granderson was brought here to upgrade CF. He was not brought here to upgrade LF. Now that CF is taken care of, the question is, do we upgrade LF?

  • SM

    They do not need to ‘hide’ anyone in left field. Melky will hit the same weather he is in lf or cf. Last year you had Melky/Damon this year you have Granderson/Melky – do you really expect an offense dropoff? Hopefully you get better outfield defense so we are already ahead. with the yankees outfield they should aim to have the best at each position play. If this is Granderson in CF and Melky in LF so be it. Against righties to you go Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF, sure. If Melky can save runs by playing LF this could ‘make up’ for his below avg run production on offense. Having one league average bat does not matter to much. Even if melky is the worst hitting LF in the game the yankees offense as a whole will still be league tops.

    • Mike HC

      Everybody is going back to last year to argue that Melky in left is ok. But Melky played Centerfield last year. It is very tough to find a better replacement CF. But in LF, it is far easier to find a better player than Melky. Which makes not attempting to replace Melky this year, as opposed to last year, far worse.

      • r.w.g.

        Yeah.. but positional value and production cannot be looked at in a vacuum.

        Is it easier to find someone who can handle LF and hit better than Melky? Sure. This isn’t 1937, however. When the Yankees find this guy, they have to pay for him. In free agent dollars or prospects or major league players.

        So.. yeah, everybody can find Matt Holliday. He’s not hiding. Do you have $16 MM per over 6+ to pay him? I don’t. The Yankees are indicating that they don’t either.

        • emac2

          Please tell me you don’t think Holliday is the only option to replace Melky.

          • r.w.g.

            Oh, no. Of course not, emac2.

            We could overpay for Marlon Byrd. We could voluntarily allow Jack Cust to field a position. We can guarantee Mark DeRosa multiple years after he tore the sheath tendon in his wrist. We could send WASH two top 20 prospects for Adam Dunn even though he’ll be a free agent next year. We could give Nady another shot after his second Tommy John surgery.

            Maybe the Orioles will give Luke Scott away to a division rival. Maybe we won’t have to overpay for David DeJesus (.281/.347/.434, 51 BB in ’09 vs .274/.336/.416, 43 BB in ’09 for Melky Cabrera).

            Maybe my ex-girlfriend wasn’t the devil, etc.

            • emac2

              So you really do consider Holliday the only viable option to upgrade from Melky?

              I think you said yes but it was hard to be sure.

              • r.w.g.

                emac2,

                How do you want to upgrade LF? Who do you want to play in the grass-covered area behind third base?

                There isn’t any free agent other than Holliday who is worth it. There just isn’t. Unless you want to just piss all over defense. Do you want to piss all over defense?

                • emac2

                  I would play Gardiner in left (assuming Granderson is better in Center)

                  I’ll save the money for next year when there are better players and because lumping my signings into alternate years allows me to get some first round draft picks.

                • r.w.g.

                  Brett Gardner would have to be a better player than Melky Cabrera for that to be worthwhile.

                • Camilo Gerardo

                  amen, the only thing gardner has over the melk is speed

      • SM

        Not really. First, once you take into account defense it is very likely that melky will be a avg player (so over 1 WAR) so he is not really hurting your team in any way. Of course you can always find a better player but this comes at a cost.

        • Mike HC

          I guess I just disagree with you guys. Yes, it will obviously cost money. And I’m not talking Holliday money. Prob like 6-7 million or lower. Or we can start the year with Melky, and trade for someone mid year. I just would prefer a better a player in LF, and I don’t think it is that hard to find an upgrade there that would not be Holliday. If you guys prefer Melky, that is cool too. He is not terrible, just replacement level. It would not mean the end of the dynasty.

          • pete

            he is not replacement level, he is league average. replacement level is basically a wRC+ of 80.

  • sabes

    Don’t look at this as a weak LF. Look at it as “who is the worst hitter on the team”. Compare Melky with every other team’s worst hitter. I’ll bet he’s one of the best 9th best hitters in the majors. Yeah, we can upgrade him a little by spending a little bit more money, but how much is that going to really improve the team? Half a win? Spend the money somewhere else (i.e., pitching).

  • cj

    Yanks should offer Holliday a six year deal. He will add youth, athleticism and protection for ARod. Especially, if the Sox are serious about getting Adrian Gonzalez. I don’t believe that is just speculation since Theo is Hoyer’s friend and mentor.

    • Pasqua

      While wanting to see Holliday become a Yankee is fine, I really think that we, as fans, need to let go of the “tit for tat” mentality. If the Sox get Gonzalez, good for them. I don’t think it means that Cashman HAS to do something big in response. It’s not a war, even though it feels like one sometimes. Cashman won’t make a move just because Theo does. Know what I mean?

      • cj

        If Sox land AGon they are better. Much better than the defending champs.

        • Pasqua

          And while it may come to pass that you are right, just be aware that everyone said the same thing during LAST season’s offseason, too.

          And the “who’s better?” argument doesn’t have any bearing on the belief that it’s probably bad business to give a guy lots of money because another team makes a move.

          • cj

            Holliday for 6 years/90 Million is not bad business. He will only be 35 at the end of that contract.

            • Pasqua

              Fair enough. My point was only that I don’t like the idea of signing Holliday BECAUSE the Sox (hypothetically) get A. Gonzalez. That would strike me as doing it for the wrong reason. If Holliday is who the Yanks actually WANT, go get ‘em.

        • pete

          if the sox land agon and the yanks don’t get holliday, they still have the better offense, and probably equal defense. sox will have better pitching sure, but not necessarily if the yanks use the money that you’re proposing they spend on holliday (and they do not have even close to enough for that in their budget) and spend it on somebody like Sheets, then they’re still the better team.

    • SM

      Fact: Replacing Melky with Holliday will increase the average age of the OF.

      • cj

        But replacing Damon with HOlliday and keeping Melky as fourth reduces the average age of the 2010 Yanks compared to 2009

  • ledavidisrael

    Does anyone else agree that this year we not only need to replace Matsui and Damon but also nady?

    It took 3 Outfielders in their 30s (with health problems/risk) to get the production we got out of Matsui and Damon.

    What im trying to say is that their are no guarantees and you should build a roster that can absorb damage to core players.

    Thats why im always so big on sheets and another player like harden/bedard.

    Two high end risks are better than 1.

    • Tank the Frank

      I think those pieces will be available at the trade deadline. I also think the Yankees will bring back Hinske…or should.

  • Tank the Frank

    I’m sure this has been expressed already, but I’m not sure why we all of a sudden want Matt Holliday so badly. Sure he’s a great player and the lineup looks great with him batting behind A-Rod. But there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind…it’s the quote from Cashman about next year’s free agent class being substantially better.

    I’m with Cashman on this. I will gladly forgo Holliday this season for another top starting pitcher or Carl Crawford next season. Yes….I know Holliday is better than Crawford, but he’s just a personal favorite of mine. With Granderson and Crawford we would have one hell of an athletic outfield.

    I happen to think we have one hell of a team the way it is right now all things being equal. Some pitching depth is needed and we’ll have to see how the bullpen shakes out. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m more than happy having Gardbrera playing and competing for left field.

    • Pasqua

      I’m with you on this. I just feel that Cashman is envisioning a bigger picture than most of “us” (fans). There’s a method to the maneuvering and it’s in no way, shape, or form, an indication that Cash is dropping the ball.

  • Pasqua

    It’s probably been mentioned before, but I see the decision to not re-sign Matsui or Damon as an early indication that Cashman has something up his sleeve for 2011, and I believe that “something” is Carl Crawford.

    I’m sure we remember that, after signing CC, Cashman was pretty straightforward about the fact that the big man was the reason he HADN’T traded for Santana a year earlier. I can easily foresee the same scenario with Crawford. If / when the Yanks sign him, we will be reminded that he is the reason that Cashman was willing to watch Matsui / Damon walk, and why he didn’t make a move on Holliday or Bay.

    Considering this, then, I would not be at all surprised to see Melky or Gardner playing LF, in anticipation of 2011.

    • NCpinstripes

      I agree with you 100%. Holliday would be nice, but I would rather have Crawford long-term than I would Holliday. I am not a big fan of Jason Bay, and apparently the only team that feels he’s worth the money he’s loooking for is the Mets. I think CC is the guy Cashman is looking at in the 2011 class to fill our LF spot. I think he will come cheaper than what Holliday will.

      If he wasn’t going to take a run at CC next year, he wouldn’t have signed NJ for one year, and would’ve given Damon his two years @ 13 million per. I think CC is on top of Cashman’s 2011 shopping list. I think we make a serious run at Cliff Lee as well.

  • cj

    Damon, Matusui, Wang, Nady, Bruney, Molina, HInksey and Hairston amount to $42 million off the books. That’s not counting the $5m buyout of the Giambino’s contract. Yanks have added 11 in Grandy & NJ. They should still have approximately $30 million to spend.

    I expect the Yanks brain-trust calculates payroll on average annual salary spent when creating a budget so the raises in place for the elite Yanks are already factored in the budget.
    Andy’s contract is more a less a push with the incentives he received last season.

    I still like lesser names Cust, Capps and Duchscherer should the Yanks pass on Holliday.

    • Pasqua

      I don’t see a role for Cust at this point. With Johnson and Swisher around (as well as Gard/Melk), he doesn’t seem to fit a need anymore.

  • cj

    Don’t wait for Crawford. Speed players not named Rickey don’t age well.
    As for Gardner in LF, I’ve read KC is interested. Gardner to KC for Callapso?

    • Andrew S.

      pff i wish. callaspo is the next brian roberts.

      • cj

        Would you deal Gardner and Pena for Callapso? I would

        • pete

          would KC deal callaspo for gardner and pena? absolutely not
          although they are the royals…

  • cj

    I like Cust as a cheap source of power, replacing Hinske/early season Nady. Cust is a poor man’s swisher high OBP, pitches seen, and he should easily pop 30. Cust can also play LF, RF even though he is not great out there. I’m talking 2 years 5.5 or 3 at 7.

  • Mustang

    “Ben Sheets or Justin Duchscherer. Either would be a good fit for the Yanks, but even without them, they have a stellar staff.”

    I think “stellar” is a bit strong they platoon Gardner and Melky in center last year and that worked out fine they can do the same in left this year.

    “Pitching, pitching, pitching”

    • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Will

      so you’re agreeing with him or diasgreeing with him?

      • Mustang

        I think they need to worry more about pitching then left field.

        • pete

          agree.

  • Andrew

    carl crawford next season. nuff said.

    • http://thebronxbloggers.wordpress.com Will

      the Rays could even trade him mid-way through the year if they fall out of the race early enough…

      • cj

        Don’t plan on Rays falling out of the race early, not with a legit closer and Price a year older and more mature. Oh, and a bounce back year from a healthy BJ Upton.

        • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

          They should move Price back to the pen.

          /Joba’d

    • sciorsci

      ‘Nuff said, absolutely. Let’s save the money that could be spent on the superior player now so that we can spend it on the inferior player that will probably age more dramatically, later.

      Seems like a solid plan. I like it.

      /sarcasm

  • cj

    Sheets is high risk high reward. He is looking for too much. Even Penny’s deal is too much risk for Sheets at this point. A low guarantee with incentives for Duchscherer is a better value. As well as a 26 year old Matt Capps.

    • Pasqua

      I see that logic, but I’ve gotta tell you, I am freaked out about bringing a guy who has battled depression to a market like NY. I don’t want to sound like I’m psych evaluating J.D., but if any of his issues are lingering, NY could eat him alive. It might come down to the lesser of evils when considering the risk of him vs. the risk of Sheets.

      • cj

        I’m assuming JD would be a fraction of the cost of Sheets

  • Mike bk

    let’s just sell the farm for justin upton and be done with it.

  • cj

    given cost, ability, fit, future, chemistry, age, durability I have created a list for signings or trades.

    INTERESTED
    Holliday
    Duchscherer
    Capps
    Cust
    Conor Jackson (trade)
    Chase Headley (trade)
    Damon
    Alberto Callapso (trade)

    NOT INTERESTED
    Bay
    Sheets
    Marquis
    Piniero
    Bedard
    Delgado(even though there is no place for him I have to add him here)
    Ankiel
    Lowe (trade)

    • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

      Am I missing something? Callaspo and his 13 games in the OF?

      Also, if there is no room for Delgado how is there room for Cust?

      Finally, we already have Headley, his name is Melky.

      • cj

        I really like Cust as a cheap 4th OF and back up/DH. 350 -400 ABS.
        Callapso can play of, 2b, SS, 3B
        Headley also plays 3B, check out his road splits, Pecto is killing him

        and yes I like Melky

        • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

          I’m not sure how cheap Cust is going to be and as a 4th OF it doesn’t make much sense. We’ll rarely pinch hit and he provides nothing off the bench except for a bat against righties. TBH, I think our backup DH is Miranda then Vasquez.
          Callaspo has only played 13 games in the OF of a ML Park. As far as his infield ability, he’s a starter not a bench player.

          Petco shouldn’t affect his OBP that egregiously. Something is up with that.

          • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

            Petco shouldn’t affect Headley’s OBP that egregiously. Something is up with that.

            • Camilo Gerardo

              ISOD?

    • pete

      funny, to me the only guy on that list that makes any sense other than duchscherer (who still has tons of ?s) is Sheets. I’m starting to think he might be too expensive though – i had no idea the yankees were already around 198 mil. they might actually be done.

      • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

        Just Aroldy plz.

  • steve (different one)

    The Yanks could hide Melky’s bat in center over the last few years, and maybe they can do the same in left. His arm will play well there. But the team can’t expect Melky — or Brett Gardner, the more productive offensive player so far — to hold down left field.

    gotta disagree with this sentiment. Granderson, provided he simply reverts to his career averages, has a bat that plays fine in LF. Melky’s bat plays in CF.

    now close your eyes and pretend that’s where each of them will play.

    viola!

    if something reveals itself that makes sense for LF, of course they should try to upgrade.

    but the idea that Melky’s bat is now inadequate just b/c he’s physically playing a few yeard to the left of his old position is not something i agree with.

    the yankee offense, RIGHT NOW, is excellent. even with Melky. we shouldn’t get too hung up on positional value, we should look at the overall offense of the 9 players in the batting order. and in that POV, Melky can absolutely “hold down” the 9th spot in the order. doesn’t matter where he stands in the OF.

  • http://leutbneot.wordpress.com Sam

    I know that it seems like the Damon situation is over, but really, $6M is nothing over two years, and where the hell else will he go? I went over literally every other team and I can’t find a viable contender for his services, especially not at the price he wants. The only way I think Damon and the Yankees don’t meet halfway is if Holliday goes to the Mets and Damon goes to STL. Other than that, I still think he’s coming back.

  • dkidd

    i actually think gardbrera should play left and bat ninth in 2010 and beyond, for the simple reason that $ spent on holliday/bay/crawford would be better spent on pitching

    next year will go a long way towards telling us what we have in joba and phil. if, at the end of 2010 they look like back-of-the-rotation or (god forbid) bullpen options, we’ll need money to go after cliff lee at a minimum

    even if joba and phil dominate, andy likely retires and we’ll need another starter for 2011

    i just can’t imagine a situation where upgrading our #9 hitter is more important than the rotation

    to me, 8 mashers & gardrera + deep rotation >>>>>>> 9 mashers + fragile rotation ( i.e. one injury away from needing mitre)

    • dkidd

      this is assuming our budget actually has a limit and we can’t just go out and get crawford, mauer, and lee

  • Bucksky619

    I don’t see the Yankees signing Holliday or any other long term solution in left field. I believe they are waiting for Carl Crawford next off season and as well they should. They will either go with Melky or an affordable stop gap such as Xavier Nady (on a cheap incentive laden deal) or maybe sign Mark Derosa if his price comes down. I really feel that Melky is fine as they have enough thunder throughout the rest of the lineup.

  • Gaug

    Real easy. Void in LF. Best fa? Plays LF. Sign Holliday. A Rod needs protection

    • Camilo Gerardo

      hellz yea!

      You could probably get holliday for a better value than Crawford for all of you penny-pinchers which may include $man

  • NCpinstripes

    I just don’t understand some that think unless we are paying a guy 15 mil.+ at every position that we are in a doom and gloom situation. I’ve seen some that were appalled that Cash didn’t sign Lackey. They can’t sign every big money FA on the market, nor should they. I’m surprised there aren’t some calling for the Yanks to give Jose Valverde a 3yr.-25 million dollar deal to set up Mo.

    Remember folks, once upon a time we won WS titles with people like Scott Brosius manning 3rd, and Chad Curtis and Karim Garcia playing in the OF. How spoiled some have become expecting an AS at every position. Melky and Gardner were good enough to get us a WS title this year, why all of the sudden are they not good enough now?

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