Aug
30

September call-up candidates

By

The immortal Shane Spencer. (AP Photo/John Dunn)

In just two short days, the calendar will flip to September and teams will be able to add extra players to their roster for a little extra help in the season’s final month. We already know that the Yankees will recall Jon Albaladejo and Juan Miranda on that day, and the same would have happened to Romulo Sanchez if he had not gotten hurt last week. For all intents and purposes, we can consider Lance Berkman a September call-up as well.

Historically, the first wave of September call-ups are just the essentials, no luxuries. Some help for the pitching staff, a third catcher, maybe another bench player. That’s pretty much it.  Last year the Yanks recalled three pitchers (Mark Melancon, Edwar Ramirez, Mike Dunn), an infielder (Ramiro Pena), and a third catcher (Frankie Cervelli) on the 1st, with more trickling in throughout the month. The year before that it was just Chad Moeller and Phil Coke on the 1st. One year before that it was Ian Kennedy and Alberto Gonzalez with Doug Mientkiewicz and Jose Veras coming off the disabled list.

The easiest calls are the guys we’ve already seen this year. The Yanks already have their extra backup infielder on the big league roster in Eduardo Nunez because Alex Rodriguez is on the disabled list. The scorching hot Colin Curtis (14 for his last 39 with seven doubles and a homer) will certainly get the call once the Triple-A playoffs are over, ditto Chad Huffman (would be nice to have another righty bat) and Kevin Russo (yay versatility). Greg Golson‘s close to a shoo-in for the Freddy Guzman late season pinch-runner role. Just think, if the Yanks manage to pull ahead in the division, those late-September blow-outs will feature an outfield of Huffman-Golson-Curtis in the late innings.

Those are the easy ones. It’s not a matter of if, just when with those four. The real question marks surround the pitching and the third catcher.

Starting on the mound, the only pitchers on the 40-man roster and not in the big leagues at the moment are Albaladejo, Sanchez, Wilkin DeLaRosa, Hector Noesi, and Andrew Brackman. The first two we’ve already addressed. DeLaRosa isn’t a call-up candidate because frankly he’s holding onto his Double-A Trenton and 40-man roster spots by the skin of his teeth. This season he has 4.83 FIP with a rather atrocious 54/41 K/BB ratio in 69.2 innings, and the southpaw isn’t even doing the job against lefthanded batters (4.56 FIP, 25-15 K/B in 23.1 IP). All of this comes after he posted a 4.58 FIP with Trenton last season, so it’s basically been two years of the now-25-year-old spinning his wheels and making no progress. If the Yanks removed him from the 40-man roster and gave the spot to someone else, chances are they would retain him anyway.

Noesi was just promoted to Scranton and has made all of one start there, so I can’t imagine he’s a realistic call-up option. The kid was pitching in the High-A Florida State League less than four months ago, too much too soon can be counter-productive. Brackman is an interesting call-up candidate, but not to make a start or pitch key innings or anything. Perhaps just to give him a taste of the big leagues and let him see what he’s on the cusp of enjoying if he continues to progress next year. I’m not saying I recommend it, but it would be interesting.

So, the bad news is that of the five pitchers on the 40-man and not in the bigs, three of them aren’t call-up candidates (at the moment) and the fourth is just a question mark. They could cut DeLaRosa and add someone like lefty Royce Ring (holding lefties to a .181 average against) or righty Zack Segovia (3.87 FIP and capable of throwing upwards of 45 pitches per outing). Those two would be far more useful than WDLR, and are easy to let go of in the winter to free up the roster spot. Jason Hirsh might have been a candidate as well, but he’s dealing with more shoulder soreness and his status is uncertain. So from the looks of things, the pitching staff might only be getting help from Albaladejo, Ring/Segovia, and possibly Sanchez if he gets healthy before long. With any luck, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, and Al Aceves will be coming off the DL next month to further fortify the staff down the stretch.

Now, about that third catcher situation. There’s just two candidates for the job, and neither is on the 40-man: Chad Moeller and Jesus Montero. Moeller was up earlier this year and is the obvious candidate because he’s familiar with being a backup and there is no concern about running him out there four days in a row late in the season to help Jorge Posada and Frankie Cervelli rest up for October. Like Ring and Segovia, Moeller’s 40-man roster spot would easily be reclaimed after the season when he’s designated for assignment.

Montero’s a different story all together. He’s clearly a better offensive option (.363 wOBA) than Moeller (.267) right now even though he has yet to see a big league pitch, but adding him to the 40-man roster has some long-term ramifications. First of all, it ties up a spot over the winter, meaning that’s one less player the Yanks will be able to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. Montero himself wouldn’t be Rule 5 eligible until after next season, so you’d be adding him and starting his option clock before it was absolutely necessary. Basically, it limits roster flexibility going forward. Then there’s also the issue of playing time; how much would he really play down the stretch if it’s a tight race with the Rays like we all expect?

The Yanks could also have Montero join the team but not activate him; they’ve done this a few times over the year with guys like Phil Hughes, Jeff Marquez, Tyler Clippard, J.B. Cox, and others. They basically do everything with the team – workout, taking batting practice, throw bullpens, etc. – but watch the game from the stands instead of in the dugout with the uniform on. It gives them a taste of the big league life without compromising the 40-man roster. I think that’s the best thing to do with Montero so Moeller can be the sacrificial lamb down the stretch if needed.

I would like to see Montero in September as much as the next guy, but I don’t think it’s the right time for him. Let him help Scranton in the playoffs, then let him come up and hang out with the big league team without actually being on the roster. Next year is when he gets unleashed on unsuspecting America League pitchers. Regardless of who the Yanks call up to be the third catcher, they’re going to have to clear a 40-man spot, which might mean the end for someone like Huffman, or they could just use WDLR’s spot and not call up Ring or Segovia. They have some options.

Beyond Albaladejo and Miranda (and Berkman), most of the call-ups won’t arrive until the middle of the month when Scranton finishes their playoff run. The third catcher could come up sooner with Rene Rivera and Jose Gil moving up a level to fill the empty spots in Double- and Triple-A, and frankly the sooner the better. It’ll allow Joe Girardi to pinch hit for Cervelli late in a game without having to remove Posada from the designated hitter spot or something like that.

Very rarely do September call-ups come up and have an impact, save for the occasional Shane Spencer or Francisco Rodriguez. Their real value lies in resting the regulars and giving the kids some experience in low-leverage spots. September is where Coke earned himself a big league job for the following season, ditto Ian Kennedy. For a team dealing some injuries and needing to rest some older players after 130+ games, having the extra bodies around is going to be a big help.

Categories : Musings
  • tbord

    Call Nick Johnson up from Club Med.

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

    Romulo not being available to add to the pen immediately does put a crimp on depth. I like the Ring/Segovia suggestion (more Ring, who’s got a .184 BA against lefties this year and has been a solid LOOGY throughout his career).

    I’m trying to count 40-man spots, though. We’re currently full, and if we add Moeller for 3rd catcher, one of Ring/Segovia for another bullpen pitcher, and Aceves when he’s ready to come back from the 60-day, that’s three additions, and we only have two natural DFAs in WDLR and the injured Reegie Corona. Who’s the third man whacked?

    Huffman?

    • A.D.

      Gaudin for Aceves?

      else can 60-Day Mitre to buy time till if he’s slower than others.

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

        That’s just robbing Peter to pay Paul, though.

        I’d rather have an nth pitcher than an nth outfielder. Gaudin’s more valuable than Huffman, I’d say.

        • A.D.

          Yeah. I’d probably go Huffman also, else thought would be:

          60 day Marte, bring up Ring for 2 LOOGYs, if/when Marte returns you DFA Ring (or if he’s amazing worry about it then with Huffman/Gaudin)

          Reegie gone for Moeller

          WDLR gone for Aceves return

          if you wan Segovia, then he’s its basically he replaces Gaudin, and Gaudin is gone, or you want more pitching and get rid of Huffman

          • larryf

            Huffman looks so good wearing #7 in pinstripes in the outfield for Scranton….

  • A.D.

    Personally I’d hope WDLR is DFA for a 3rd catcher, and figure Reegie Corona .660 AAA OPS can prob go for a picher

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      Could they call Reegie up on Sept. 1st, 60 day DL him, then add another player?

      • A.D.

        Technically they should be able to, but do you care about protecting him that much?

        • A.D.

          Also figure depending on Sanchez’s injury could do the same with him

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          Why get rid of him when you can just 60-day DL him?

          • A.D.

            Give him ML service time and a larger salary, and he’s really nothing special.

            • Andy In Sunny Daytona

              Who cares about his service time? He’s not going to be a guy you worry about arbitration with.

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

                If I don’t care about his service time or his arbitration, do I really care about his being a part of the Yankee organization at all?

                Corona is the very definition of a guy you DFA at a moment’s notice when you have a roster pinch. This might be that pinch.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                  My point is you can 60-day DL him, and then at the end of the year try to trade him.
                  If you can’t find a trade partner, then you DFA him.

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

                    Meh. Reegie Corona’s not going to net you anything in a trade.

                    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                      A Venezuelan middle-infielder? Someone tell Ozzie, then call Kenny Williams.

                    • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

                      Heh.

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

                      Touché.

                      Maybe we can still get Manny Ramirez and have the Pale Hoes pick up some of the salary.

              • Chris

                The real issue would be what are the chances that you lose him if you cut him? I would guess very little, but if the Yankees don’t think he will be taken then they’ll probably just cut him.

                Also, are there any rules about cutting a player that is injured?

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona

                  Ask Christian Garcia.

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

                    You raise a good point: Corona being injured is all the more reason to DFA him now. We can get him off the roster and probably still sign him back to a minor league deal, because there won’t be much of a clamor to sign a no-hit middle infielder who can’t play short and is injured.

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

          Personally, I don’t. What can he do that Peña and Nuñez don’t already do? He probably shouldn’t have been protected in the first place.

  • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

    So Michael Kay is going to bitch about September call-ups at least once, correct?

    • A.D.

      Gotta love tradition

  • Chris

    In that picture, Montero looks like the anti-Cervelli. Instead of a helmet that looks way too big, that helmet looks like its a few sizes too small.

    • Thomas

      The helmet almost looks like the one he would wear when he is catching, not batting.

    • larryf

      better looking than the Posada helmet. What’s up with that thing??

      • Jobu

        Well . . . Jorge has been know to urinate on things.

  • Commentor

    I understand what your saying with the roster flexibility, but if he gives the team a better chance at winning #28, don’t you have to go for it? I suppose if a Berkman/ Thames platoon is enough, its a moot point, but whose really confident about that?

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t be confident about a Thames/Berkman platoon.

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

        Even moreso with a Thames/Berkman/Miranda/Kearns/Tex/ARod/Jeter/Posada hydra of doom.

  • nsalem

    I feel that Moeller is a must. An injury to Posada would leave us naked with Cervelli which may have horrible ramifications.

    • A.D.

      If Posada (or Cervelli) were to get called up, Moeller would be up immediately

      • V

        If Posada or Cervelli were to get called up to the new MLB-Plus league?

        • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

          Yeah, have you watched any of the MLB-Plus games? They totally out perform the MLB games. Yankees are in last place in the league, though.

        • Accent Shallow

          Which is where Mariano should be pitching, per Tom Kelly.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I agree w/ Mike about not calling up Montero, but if Posada gets injured, then I think the Yanks have to call him up.

      No way can they go down the stretch and into the post season with Cervelli and Moeller as the only two catchers.

      • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

        This is interesting. I wouldn’t call him up for the reason that he won’t be playoff elgible and it’d require a 40 Man spot.

        • Chris

          They can select someone to take NJ’s spot, so if they want him on the roster then they could have him.

          With A-Rod, Berkman, Pettitte, Aceves, and Marte on the DL and coming back (plus NJ), there is enough flexibility with the playoff roster that it wouldn’t really be an issue.

          • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

            Duh, I’ve repeatedly talked about this. Even then, I’m not sure the Yankees would press Montero into a World Series race. I could see them going Cervelli/Moeller for the playoffs.

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

              Even then, I’m not sure the Yankees would press Montero into a World Series race.

              That too. Having a defensively challenged 20 year old catcher catch postseason games with some of our “effectively wild” hurlers on the hill — guys he’s never caught before, no less — seems like a colossally bad idea.

              I can’t see the wisdom of having Montero get postseason PAs from the catcher spot (because it means he has to catch), and there’s no need for him to do it from the DH spot, we already have plenty of DHs.

              As much as I hate Cervelli and Moeller’s noodlebats, I want one of those two big league veterans catching every game that Posada doesn’t. Compared to what Montero would look like, they’re both Pudge Rodriguez in his prime.

              • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

                Well said. Nothing to add, all bases are covered.

              • larryf

                We would have to get rid of AJ if Montero was catching. Not such a bad idea!

        • Sweet Dick Willie

          I thought there was a rule that you can replace an injured player and that replacement would be post season eligible.

          • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

            Yeah, there is. I wasn’t even thinking about that before the comment.

    • Chris

      A third catcher is a must, but Montero would probably be a better choice if you only consider performance this year.

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

        Montero would probably be a better choice if you only consider performance this year.

        Agreed. We’re the Yankees, though, we don’t consider only this year, we have to always consider next year as well.

        That’s why we shouldn’t add Montero unless Posada gets injured and it becomes critically necessary to have an elite bat in the catcher rotation this fall, because adding Montero means we lose the chance to protect another prospect from the R5 this winter and thus have a little less material to compete for #29 in 2011 (after we win #28 this October, of course).

        • Chris

          There’s very very little benefit in protecting an extra prospect. The chances of Montero remaining in the minors all season next year are between slim and none, so whatever player you protect would have to be exposed at some point next season.

          If they’re short on 40 man spots, then the Yankees will dump some players in the off season and pick up either a major league player (2 or 3 for 1 deal) or a prospect that does not need to be on the 40 man roster.

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

            The chances of Montero remaining in the minors all season next year are between slim and none, so whatever player you protect would have to be exposed at some point next season.

            But Montero can replace whatever Chan Ho Park/Randy Winn veteran depth player we will inevitably sign and then dump when he doesn’t work out.

            Or whatever prospect we protect can be used in a trade for someone next year.

            The fact that we’re going to need a 40-man spot for Montero by next May/June doesn’t mean we shouldn’t delay giving that spot to him as long as possible. We should.

            • https://twitter.com/SteeeeveO Steve O.

              This. Also, Montero will probably not break with the Yankees out of spring training next season, so an option will be burnt. Don’t underestimate the value of options even with top prospects.

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

                Also, Montero will probably not break with the Yankees out of spring training next season, so an option will be burnt. Don’t underestimate the value of options even with top prospects.

                Repeated for emphasis.

                • Chris

                  If they put him on the 40-man this fall (and obviously call him up), then he probably would break with the club.

                  • JD

                    Montero is not nearly ready. This kid is 20 years old. He is not an option and would likely struggle horribly. Yankee fans should take a look at Dan Johnson, the leader of the International League in virtually every important category from walks, ops, hrs, rbis, hits etc. He has 30 HRs to Montero’s 18 with fewer strikeouts. However, he was called up and batted .160 in 50 at bats. I am not saying that Montero would struggle the same way but I am saying that the jumb between AAA to MLB is enormous and could end an otherwise brilliant year on a sour note and lose and 40 man spot to boot. Lance Berkman has a far better shot at helping with the bat and Montero’s glove will be a liability.

            • Chris

              But you can’t sign a Chan Ho Park/Randy Winn unless there is a 40 man spot available. So who do you cut (or trade) so you can sign them? It will be the guy that you just added instead of Montero.

              I think the concerns of the rule 5 draft are over blown. The chances of a player being selected and sticking to a roster all season are relatively slim, and that doesn’t even count the fact that the Yankees probably wouldn’t miss that player even if he were gone (see Texeira).

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                With regards to the Rule V draft you don’t take a risk if you don’t have to though. It’s rare that players stick, but it does happen. If the Yankees could do it over they never would have left Nova unprotected if they knew what they knew now. They got lucky. The Astros, in leaving Johan Santana unprotected didn’t get lucky.

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

                  That.

                  Delaying the decision as long as possible is always the smartest policy.

                  • Chris

                    Not if you compromise today’s team at the possibility of protecting a player that probably won’t be any good and even if he does turn out to be good, he probably won’t be good enough to stick with the team that takes him.

                    As for the Santana comp, wasn’t the rule 5 draft changed since then so that it’s basically a pick of players on the trash heap? The only notable player selected in the current format of the rule 5 is (I believe) Josh Hamilton, and that was a special case.

        • nsalem

          Wouldn’t we have some extreme defensive liabilities (in the post season) if Posada was injured and we were relying on Montero and Cervelli. Do you think the need for defense outweighs the need for offense? I have less confidence in Cervelli defensively than offensively. That is saying a lot
          (or is it saying a little?)

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

            Agreed.

            While I firmly believe Jesus Montero is the truth and will be a dynamite major leaguer oneday, for the rest of 2010, Chad Moeller’s knowledge of the staff and ability to play passably good defense is worth more than Jesus Montero’s bat (that probably won’t be good initially anyway).

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

              If Posada is out for the playoffs I’d rather go Montero/Moeller.

              I think with Posada and Cervelli we already are extremely limited defensively.

            • nsalem

              Well the Truth be a lion stone cold messiah
              it’s time to watch the cash roll in
              This ain’t the man I want to defend
              It’s the year 2010

              No one likes to lose
              No one likes to lose

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Agree on Montero. Only scenario in which I would bring him up is if Posada is injured (and will be out for the playoffs). At that point it’s worth the downside, rather than have Cervelli and Moeller be the primary catchers in October.

    The countdown on the microwave for Jesus is getting close to 0:00, but isn’t quite there yet.

  • Guest

    I am starting to flip on the Montero call-up situation. I, like many here, have been pro not calling up the Jesus. I think that I might still come out that way.

    But.

    First, if we let him play out the string in the AAA season, the “slowing his development” argument flies out the window. (He can’t miss the opportunity to play in AAA games if there are no more AAA games on the calender).

    Second, his bat is so far and away above Cervelli/Moeller, its ridiculous. Like, right now. Not two years from now, not two months from now–right now. And granted, there might not be enough at bats left in September for this to make a marginal difference. But, on the other hand, the at-bats that are left just might be extremely important (you know being tied with the Rays, and all). Furthermore, if he hits well during these at-bats, sufficient that we want him on the post-season roster, there are enough people on the DL (or might mysteriously strain a lower back)that we can get him on the post-season roster.

    Which leads me to my third point: I can’t get one of his biggest comprables–let us be so lucky that he even approaches production anywhere near the guy I’m about to mention–Miggy Cabrera. I just can’t get the image of that 20 year old kid who looked like a tall 16 year old just wrecking things in the ’03 playoffs. FWIW, I have similar memories of this kid named Andruw Jones crushing the ball in the ’96 World Series.

    What if we can catch lightning in a bottle like that with Montero? He’s been scorching hot in AAA for the past two months and has consistently been considered one of the best minor league hitting talents in the game for the past 3-4 years. A Miggy ’03/Jones ’96 redux is not guaranteed to happen, its highly unlikely to be happen, but, you know what, it COULD happen. And I’m not talking about Cervelli going yard ever again “could happen,” I’m talking actually, realistically, wouldn’t shock me if it did happen “Could happen.”

    Is protecting the Golsons, WDLRs, and Huffmans of the world really worth not trying to find out? Maybe it is, but I don’t know.

    Of course, the biggest counter I can think of is even if he’s on fire in September, Cerv will still be the back up in October and Thames/Berkman will still DH, so, what’s the point? I’m not 100% sure we wouldn’t find some October starts for him if hits well in Sept, but even if we don’t, wouldn’t his be a nice bat to have off the bench?

    • vin

      I think the biggest problem with your comparables is that the Marlins were able to hide Cabrera in the outfield, and Jones had the skills to play center. Montero would be either catching guys for the first time in September (as mentioned above) or DHing. I don’t know if he’s enough of an upgrade over Berkman/Thames/Miranda. However, the catching issue is key. I think if the Yanks felt he could fake it enough at catcher, then they would bite the bullet and call him up.

      Calling up Moeller makes the most sense… even though we all want to see Jesus.

      • A.D.

        Yup, if Montero was ML ready defensively and just about continuing with the bat then this would make sense, but the question mark on defense hold him where he is. That and not needing a DH

      • Guest

        Very strong counter.

        I keep hearing conflicting reports on his defensive progress. Some say “no where close, he can’t even fake it.” Others say “strong progress, not awesome at blocking pitches, but his throws to second aren’t a traveshomockery anymore.”

        Personally, given the, um, lack of skill we have seen with Cerv/Posada at blocking pitches, if he can approach anywhere near a decent caught stealing rate, I seriously doubt he would be that much of a fall off from Cervelli defensively that his bat wouldn’t more than make up for any marginal defensive difference. And I don’t worry about the calling the game issue. He’s a rookie on a team with Girardi and Pena as coaches. For each pitch, he will look to them and he’ll put down the fingers he’s told to put down and that’s it.

        Of course, maybe he wouldn’t be able to approach a decent CS rate, and maybe he really is THAT MUCH worse at blocking pitches than Posada/Cerv. In which case, yes, don’t bring him up.

        • A.D.

          Of course, maybe he wouldn’t be able to approach a decent CS rate, and maybe he really is THAT MUCH worse at blocking pitches than Posada/Cerv. In which case, yes, don’t bring him up.

          Basically comes down this, how bad is he compared to some catchers playing below avg defensively

  • Ross in Jersey

    I realize the catching situation is being discussed right above me but I feel this is a separate issue.

    And yes, you guessed it, it’s about how Cervelli does not belong on this team.

    Look, I get it, we’re talking about a backup catcher. It shouldn’t matter, a backup catcher shouldn’t decide games. But when your backup catcher is catching roughly 3 out of every 5 games, he’s more than relevant and more than capable of swinging a game one way or the other.

    More and more people, even – finally – the YES network, have acknowledged that Cervelli is (putting it nicely) playing below replacement level since June. Whether it’s due to inexperience, or lack of rest, or lack of skill is irrelevant. The point is, this man cannot be the primary catcher in any crucial games. Passed balls and bonehead plays can decide games. Cervelli does nothing well as a catcher. It’s my hope that Girardi doesn’t suffer from blind allegiance and uses Moeller as his primary backup for Posada as soon as he can. Let him use Cervelli as a pinch-runner or to hit for Moeller once he’s lifted for a pinch-hitter. To me, that makes a TON more sense than having it the other way around.

    • Chris

      Cervelli is (putting it nicely) playing below replacement level since June. Whether it’s due to inexperience, or lack of rest, or lack of skill is irrelevant.

      But he was well above replacement level before then, so the reason for his struggles does matter. If it’s simply because this is his true talent level and the first part of the season was bad luck, then you’re right to say cut him. If the last couple months of sucking was just bad luck/inexperience/etc, then he should stay on the team. Since June 1 he’s played in 46 games and had 149 PA, so it’s not like either the good or the bad is a huge same size (he had 120 PA that were good in April/May).

      • Ross in Jersey

        That’s assuming we’re talking strictly about offense, which sadly isn’t the case. If Cervelli were hitting at a .450 OPS clip while playing stellar defense, I don’t think any of us would have a problem, because there’s no way Moeller could be expected to hit any better.

        We’re not, though. Cervelli’s defense has been almost as bad as his offense. And we do know that Moeller can provide adequate defense, because he’s done it before and is doing it again at AAA this year.

        So yes, it’s possible that Cervelli has suffered from some bad luck on the offensive side. His defense has suffered too though, and I have trouble attributing that to luck, too.

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

          His defense has suffered too though, and I have trouble attributing that to luck, too.

          Out of genuine curiosity, why? Why would offense be prone to luck variations but not defense?

          I’d warrant that luck and random chance plays a big role defensively as well.

          • Ross in Jersey

            Because I don’t see how luck could factor into allowing so many passed balls. Or when he stares at a runner instead of picking up the ball. Or when he throws the ball into center field. Those are signs of laziness, or just a genuine lack of skill.

            And obviously offense is more prone to luck because once you hit the ball you have little control over what happens. You could line into an out or pop fly a ground rule double. On defense you have direct control over getting in front of a bounced slider, or making an accurate throw, or what have you.

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

              Frankie Cervelli has allowed two career passed balls in the big leagues.

              Two.

              Yes, he’s had a shitload of errors recently, but most of those are poor throws (7 of his 10), and poor throws can most definitely be bad luck. He didn’t get a good grip on the ball, or rushed a throw because a runner got a great jump or the pitch was in the dirt, etc.

              And maybe it’s in his head. He’s had some bad throws and now he’s overthrowing. Meaning it’s not luck, per se, but a defensive slump, similar to an offensive one. He’s pressing and needs to clear his head and get back in the right defensive mindset.

              I’m not trying to tell you that Frankie Cervelli is a good defensive catcher, I’m just saying that his current spate of subpar defense is a bit of an aberration for him, and he’s probably not truly this bad.

              You say it’s clearly a lack of skill or laziness, and I’m telling you that skill was there before and we have no reason to suspect him of being lazy, so there might be another rationale.

              • Ross in Jersey

                If you think rushing a throw is bad luck, then I guess we have different definitions of what the word “luck” actually means.

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

                  Yeah, that’s more “slump” than “luck”. I’m muddying the waters between those two concepts, my bad.

            • Chris

              One thing to consider is Cano in 2008. He had his worst season both offensively and defensively. I don’t think there was a significant change in his work ethic or approach since then, but it seems that when one turned around so did the other.

              • Ross in Jersey

                Agreed on principal, though obviously Cervelli doesn’t have Cano’s skill-set.

                And again, I’m not saying that Cervelli shouldn’t be looked at in the future. Just that if the goal is to win the division, we need to put the best team on the field during crunch time. And if that doesn’t include Posada catching, it should be Moeller.

                • Chris

                  I agree about Cervelli and Cano, but that also means that Cervelli’s slump is not as far from a reasonable projection of his actual performance as Cano’s was. In fact, if he can maintain his current season line then I’d be happy with that out of a backup catcher.

                  As for Moeller vs Cervelli, Moeller has a .291 wOBA in AAA this year and Cervelli has a .290 wOBA in the majors (although he’s been about .240 for the last 3 months). I’m not convinced that the grass would be greener on the other side.

        • Chris

          So maybe there’s an injury. From what I remember, he looked pretty good defensively last season (he’s played about twice as much this year as compared to last year), so it’s possible that he’s just having a bad year.

          I’m not necessarily saying that this isn’t the real Cervelli that we’re seeing now. I’m just saying that the reason for his struggles does matter, and there needs to be a determination of whether he will continue at his current level of production or improve.

          • Ross in Jersey

            Isn’t that a question for next year, then? Sure, let’s find out what he really is. But let’s do it in winter ball, or in spring training. Not in the middle of a pennant race.

    • Don W

      I can’t help but think Joe sees himself in Cerv. Joe came up @ 24 which is Cerv’ age this season. Their OPS’s are almost identical, (.638/.635).
      I hope Cash takes the decision out of his hands at some point.

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

        I can’t help but think Joe sees himself in Cerv. Joe came up @ 24 which is Cerv’ age this season. Their OPS’s are almost identical, (.638/.635).

        Is that really the “evidence” you’re basing the claim that Joe “sees himself” in Cervelli?

        • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

          They are also both of Italian decent. Clearly the same player.

          • Hughesus Christo

            They’re both terrible baseball players. That’s enough similarity for me.

            • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

              Ouch, man. Ouch.

            • Chris

              Oooh… if he’s just like Joe G, can we line him up to manage after Girardi retires?

              • Don W

                Another 8-10 years of sucktitude and he may be ready.

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

            Joe’s middle name is “Elliot”. Cervelli and Elliot both have “E-L-L-I” in them.

            In 1988, while in the Cubs organization, Girardi played winter ball in Venezuela. In 1988, Cervelli was a two year old “cub” of his parents in Venezuela.

            Girardi is a Libra, which is represented by the twin scales of justice. Cervelli is a Pisces, represented by twin fish.

            Girardi’s secretary’s name was Lincoln. Cervelli’s mother drove a Ford.

            We’re through the f#$%ing looking glass here, people.

            • Don W

              Actually, that was pretty funny!

            • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath
              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                Who the hell is interrupting my Kung Fu?

        • Don W

          Really? They’re practically the same player.

          Two young catchers known for their defense, can’t hit a lick yet continue to get trotted out there because of unseen intangibles that may or may not exist and certainly are evident. I used to pull my hair out when Joe Torre wouldn’t hand the starting job over to Posada and make Girardi the backup. I did the same thing last year when many were calling for Cerv to me our starting catcher for all of the same reasons.

          Girardi some how managed to play his lack of talent into over 4500 career plate appearances. If Cerv gets that many I hope to hell not many more are with the Yanks.

          OBTW – Girardi’s career OPS is .666 with an OPS+ of 72. Cervelli stands at .641 and 76. Figuring Cev’s most, “productive”, years are ahead of him Girardi’s marks look like exactly what would be projected for Cerv. Fangraphs has Girardi @ 7.4 career WAR while BP projects Cerv for 10. Yep, TOTALLY dis-similar players.

          • Chris

            yet continue to get trotted out there because of unseen intangible

            I think the intangible you’re referring to is that all backup catchers suck.

            • Don W

              Backup being the key word. Cevelli is essentially our starter now. How did that happen and was it a priority to remedy it at the deadline? I hope it was but Girardi seems at least OK with Cerv getting the majority of the starts at catcher. Maybe it’s because they don’t have any better options but I think we’ve all seen instances where a young player seemingly gets playing time due to simply being a similar type of player and/or personality as his coach/manager. I’m sure Joe thinks he was a pretty valuable player so he probably thinks Cerv is as well.

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

                Girardi seems at least OK with Cerv getting the majority of the starts at catcher.

                What other option does he have? Our putative starting catcher is 38 years old.

                Let me repeat that, a little louder:

                Our putative starting catcher is 38 years old.

                • Chris

                  I was going to agree with you, and then I checked the actual game logs.

                  Cervelli has started 75 games this year at catcher and Posada 62.

                  In August, Posada has started 17 games at catcher and Cervelli has started 10.

                  Cervelli was getting more playing time when Posada was injured (late May) and before the Yankees picked up other DH options (Kearns/Berkman). It seems like he plays all the time, and he probably plays more than a typical backup, but when everyone’s healthy Posada is the starting catcher.

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

                    That.

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

              That.

              I don’t think Girardi truly has some dastardly soft spot in his heart for Frankie Cervelli. Girardi just needs a backup catcher to play a lot because his starting catcher is 38 years old. That’s all.

              What’s funny is, not even a year ago at this time, people were upset that Girardi was playing Jose Molina too much and Frankie not enough. Keep that in mind before you craft conspiracy theories about how Girardi has a mancrush on Cervelli and plays him more than some mythical superior backup catcher option that exists in the ether somewhere.

              • Don W

                His name is Montero.

                Seriously though, it’s a concern not a conspiracy theory. However, it is entirely possible that Joe sees Cerv as another Girardi because they are so similar. He didn’t think of himself as a backup, left as free agent to start for Cubs, so why would he not think of Cerv as capable of being the starter?

                BTW, how in the hell did Joe G make the AS team in 2000? Piazza, I-Rod, Posada, Liberthal and GIRARDI??!??!

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

                  “His name is Montero Too Soon.

                  Fixed.

                  • Don W

                    Missed the, “Seriously though…”, I guess.

      • nsalem

        oy

        • nsalem

          sorry mama mia

  • Zach

    I’m eager to see the return of Colin Curtis. I felt he got the shaft with the Berkeman trade (easily the dumbest move this year) and has performed well enough in the Triple AAA since then to be called up.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Berkman>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Curtis

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

        Yes, but what about Berkeman? That guy sucks balls, Curtis is way better than he is.

        • http://twitter.com/simmonsclass Sam

          Dammit why did Cashman give up Mark Melancon for sandals?
          http://www.zscheile.de/berkema.....lepper.JPG

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

            AUS LEIBE ZUM FUB!

            • http://twitter.com/simmonsclass Sam

              Fun fact: the Austrian wood sandals have a higher OPS than Kevin Cash

            • Chris

              AUS LIEBE ZUM FUB FUSS!

              /German Class’d

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

                Danke.

        • nsalem

          are you referring to baseballs?

    • Don W

      It really shows us how long it’s been since the Yankees were cranking out real hitting prospects when we see people excited about guys like Curtis, Cervelli & Pena the last couple of years. These guys never hit in the minors and they’re never going to hit in the majors. They’re bench players…at best. They’re bench players at best.

      When Berkman’s 40 he’ll still be a better hitter than Curtis ever will be. Curtis is a 5th or 6th outfielder who’s OPS’ing .803 @ AAA. That’s a MLE OPS of under .650!

      • Rob H.

        Gardner and Cano say hello.

        • Don W

          Point being?

          Because we brought up a great player 5 years ago and brought up another one a couple of years ago, (that 75% of the people on this forum described as a 4th or 5th outfielder), it means that Curtis, Pena and Cervelli are actually good?

    • nsalem

      You may very well be right, but the year must end before it can be labeled the dumbest move of the year.
      a) There still is a chance that Berkman can contribute.
      b) The Yankees may make dumber moves.
      I see your point though.

  • JD

    Montero is not nearly ready. This kid is 20 years old. He is not an option and would likely struggle horribly. Yankee fans should take a look at Dan Johnson, the leader of the International League in virtually every important category from walks, ops, hrs, rbis, hits etc. He has 30 HRs to Montero’s 18 with fewer strikeouts. However, he was called up and batted .160 in 50 at bats. I am not saying that Montero would struggle the same way but I am saying that the jumb between AAA to MLB is enormous and could end an otherwise brilliant year on a sour note and lose and 40 man spot to boot. Lance Berkman has a far better shot at helping with the bat and Montero’s glove will be a liability.

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      I don’t see the comparison. Johnson is a player with 1,153 career MAJOR LEAGUE at-bats over 5 MLB seasons and is 30-years old. He’s also had a couple of OK, almost full seasons with Oakland. He’s shown he had some ability and the .160 is probably a fluke or just a guy whose best days have gone by.

      But, if you want to invoke comparisons like that, why not with another more closely comparable player in age and experience…Buster Posey. I don’t think anyone is questioning whether or not he’s been rushed.

      I’m not arguing whether Montero should or shouldn’t be called up. I just don’t believe in the idea that he can’t be “rushed” to the majors. I think if a guy can hit, he can hit…period. The difference is he’ll hit even better with some more experience under his belt at any level. The Yanks could use some punch in the lineup. Maybe he’d be worth a shot. I can’t imagine him being worse than Lance Berkman was prior to his injury.

      • JD

        Johnson is not a comp but an illustration that success at AAA (even great success) does not necessarilly translate. People who think Montero will hit well in the MLB simply because he is raking in AAA are overstating the case. And Berkman is far more likely to excel.