Mar
31

Talking Yankees baseball with The Times

By

For the second year in a row, Justin Sablich of The New York Times invited me to participate in a blogger roundtable previewing the Yanks’ upcoming 2010 campaign. He emailed me, Cliff Corcoran from Bronx Banter and Steve Lombardi from Was Watching a series of questions, and we happily obliged him with answers. The first part is available right here on the Bats blog. In it, we talk about the moves the Yankees didn’t make this winter, the team’s outfield situation, the Great Joba Debate and the aging Yankees’ health concerns. Check it out. Part Two drops tomorrow.

Update 6:10 p.m.: I forgot to mention this originally, but there’s still time. I’ll be on Blog Talk Radio’s Flushing to the Bronx at 6:15 for a 15-minute chat about the Yankees’ upcoming season. You can listen live right here.

Categories : Asides, Self-Promotion

58 Comments»

  1. dkidd says:

    if johnson goes down like so many are predicting (with reason), i’ll bet carlos delgado would enjoy hitting in ys3

  2. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Steve Lombardi: My answer to both these questions is connected. Coming into the 2010 season, I felt the Yankees’ biggest need was to get a No. 2 starter to follow C.C. Sabathia in the rotation — pushing A.J. Burnett into the third slot and Andy Pettitte into the forth slot. Instead, Brian Cashman went out and got Vazquez. As good as he was last season, Vazquez is not a No. 2 starter in the American League East. So, in my opinion, the Yankees will now have an “ace” this season (Sabathia) followed by three pitchers who are more like a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. And, that might not be enough to keep up with Boston’s and Tampa Bay’s rotations.

    So many things wrong with this. The second best starter on the staff would be Javier or at least close to it. He was always a good pitcher it’s just that he was on teams with horrendous defenses that hurt his ERA. With this team I do not believe he’ll have a problem. He won’t be 2009 good but he won’t be pitching like he was hurt in 2004.

    And honestly this rotation can’t keep up with Bostons? There is no chance all 5 of those starters will remain healthy. Their depth is suspect at best. Beckett and Lester should be fine. Lackey is a concern. Dice-BB is a concern. Wakefield is a concern. And Buchholz never pitched a full season in the majors.

    The Yanks have at least 2 horse sin CC and Vazquez. Burnett seems like he is staying healthy. Pettitte always pitches a lot despite his age but he is somewhat of a concern. And we don’t know what to expect from Hughes.

    And it’s funny why do the Yanks NEED to get a number 2 starter when they lacked one for the entire year last year?

  3. nz says:

    Jesus, is there a bigger pessimist than Lombardi?

  4. Did you guys meet at the Sistine Chapel?

  5. Corcoran:

    On a smaller scale, I thought they should have brought either Damon or Hideki Matsui back on a one-year deal (which is all either got elsewhere) to be the designated hitter. I’m very pessimistic about Johnson. I don’t believe he’ll stay healthy, and even if he does, I’m not confident in his ability to hit for power.

    We didn’t acquire him to hit for power, though, we acquired him to replace what Johnny Damon did, which is A.) get on base a pantsload and B.) hit the occasional rightfield homer.

    Do I have confidence in Nick’s ability to do those two things? Yes, I do. Do I have more confidence in his ability to do those two things than I do in Johnny Damon’s ability to do those two things? Yes, I also do. Johnny’s old. Nick, less so.

    In fact, looking at all factors in total, on the questions of:

    A.) Who will stay the healthiest and play the most?
    Damon = Johnson >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Matsui

    B.) Who will get on base the most?
    Johnson >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Damon >> Matsui

    C.) Who will hit for the most power?
    Matsui > Damon = Johnson

    I don’t see how, in totality, you don’t pick Johnson over the other two. Youth, reverse splits, far better OBP/contact skills, cheaper price.

    • Lanny says:

      Younger is relative in that hes 31 and always hurt. Cheaper price is also relative being that hes being paid 5 mil and Matsui is 6 and Damon is 8. All 1 yr deals.

      And don’t make it seem like those 2 don’t have good OBP’s and are elite hitters.

      NJ is solid but hes not a huge upgrade over Matsui and Damon.

      What they should have done was sign NJ and also sign Damon but you take your chances in some parts of your 25 man.

  6. bexarama says:

    Also some of the comments make me wanna facepalm. It’s bad when *NY TIMES* comments are that awful, right? (I’m looking at you, mikejc. OMG JERRY HAIRSTON JR. IS HITTING .450 IN ST!!!!)

  7. Lombardi:

    Considering the ultimate price tag ($8 million for one year), it may have been the prudent move to bring Damon back for a year. But, then again, there was that “budget” concern which we heard so often. It may just be conventional wisdom on my part, but it seemed like Damon was in the middle of things happening last season more times than not. For the record, his OPS in wins was over .900 and he batted .245 in games that the Yankees lost.

    A.) We don’t know that the 1/8M offer Damon took from the Tigers is one he would have taken from us. Aging, somewhat unwanted stars often take slightly less from new teams than they’d be willing to take from their incumbent teams due to pride. Damon’s price for us may have been 1/10M or the 2/14M that the reported final (non-deferred) offer was. It’s not that cut and dried.
    B.) Budgets are real, Steve. There’s no need for your unnecessary quotes. Not only are they real, they’re a good thing and you should be happy that the team you love is both willing to spend huge bucks but also has some measure of long-term financial planning and doesn’t write blank checks willy-nilly.
    C.) It is just conventional wisdom on your part. Damon was in the middle of a lot of things happening last year because a lot of things happened for us last year. Remembered eyewitness testimony is notorious for people seeing what they want to see.
    D.) We get the gaudy OPS number for the wins, but only the batting average for the losses? That seems either lazy or intentionally misleading. You can do better.

    • Lanny says:

      “Budget” was just a good excuse for being nice and not saying “we don’t want you anymore”. Because that is obv what Cashman felt. There is no doubt he could have gone 8 for 1 if he really desired him. He obv didn’t. Now we’ll see if Gardner or Winn can do the job or if hes scouring the trade market for a bat in June.

      Damon will be missed. No matter how much you want Gardner to be “Kenny Lofton”.

      • A.) I don’t think Lanny knows that I don’t actually respond to his comments anymore. Whatevs.

        B.) The funny thing about his coda (No matter how much you want Gardner to be “Kenny Lofton”), other than the Lombardian unnecessary quotes, of course, is that when the Gardner/Lofton comp was brought up the other day, I spoke out AGAINST the comp and said that Gardner wouldn’t be as good as Lofton, that Dave Roberts was a better comp for him. But, I can’t expect SBGL to remember what people said, he can’t even fucking remember what he said himself.

  8. bexarama says:

    Lombardi:
    And the Yankees’ bench? Have you seen their choices this year in terms of a fourth outfielder and backup infielder? If Swisher goes down, for the season, early, you’re looking at Winn or Gardner as a starting replacement. Basically, you’re punting 25 homers there. And, if A-Rod, Jeter or Cano is lost for the year, they will be replaced by Ramiro Pena. That’s a huge offensive loss… The biggest concern should be around Rodriguez. Yes, he says his hip is fine now. But, if it goes, then there goes your third baseman and your cleanup hitter.

    Dude this is the case for every team. I know A-Rod’s hip is at least a slightly minor concern, of course. I’m not being blase. But, like, a bench is a bench. Should we have signed Chone Figgins as backup or something? And teams losing their best players would lose production. Shocking. I really thought the Cardinals would be better off with whoever their backup 1B is, rather than Pujols.

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