Mailbag: Sizemore, Posada, Maxwell, K-Rod

Yankee bats come alive, drop ChiSox 12-3
Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Extra long edition of the RAB Mailbag this week, so I tried to keep the answers as short as possible. I figure short answers and more questions if better than long answers and fewer questions. Anyway, if you want to send in a question, just use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.

(AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)

Mike asks: I know that starting pitching will be a priority but if Cleveland makes Grady Sizemore available this year should we go after him? What would he cost in terms of prospects?

Sizemore has been ridiculously good since coming off the disabled list (.390/.432/.878), but there are a few problems: 1) it’s a small sample, will it last?, b) Cleveland is actually good right now, I doubt they’re looking to sell right now, and c) you have to assume you’re only getting him for the rest of the year since his club option for 2012 becomes a player option if traded. He’s great and would be an upgrade over Brett Gardner in left, but the cost is likely to be greater than the return. Believe it or not, I’d rather rent Carlos Beltran than Sizemore, since the cost figures to be much lower.

Biggie asks: At what point do the Yanks turn to Jesus Montero as their DH (part-time catcher)? Posada looks awful and his age is showing. Montero could add pop to a lineup and some youth which it is lacking. If Posada forces their hand to do this (or Montero does) is there a spot on the roster for Jorge? I don’t think this is the time to be sentimental with how tough the AL East is. Do the Yanks bring up Montero and bench Jorge this year? If they do, and Montero hits at the Major League level would it be more prudent to cut ties mid-season with Jorge? Food for thought.

You can’t pull the plug on Jorge Posada after 75 or whatever plate appearances, it doesn’t tell you anything useful at all. He’s had some terrible at-bats, no doubt about it, but he had a .357 OBP just last season and is still showing some power this year. I’m certain that Jesus Montero could be productive in the big leagues right now, but they could keep him in the minors for another month to get that extra year of team control in the future while giving Posada more time to show he still has something to offer. If he’s still hitting like this on June 1st, then we can talk about making changes.

Remember, the first third of the season is for evaluation, the middle third is for making adjustments, and the final third is for acting on those adjustments and finishing the season strong and securing a playoff berth. The Yankees are 13.6% of the way through the season right now; if we think of the 162-game schedule as a nine inning game, there would be one out in the top of the second. Long way to go.

(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

mbonzo asks: If Francisco Liriano is truly on the market, what would be a realistic asking price at this point? It seems as if the Twins knew something was wrong with him starting off the season, and assuming this is non-injury related, it seems like lower prospects like Nova and Noesi might land him if he keeps struggling in May and the Twins are trying to push him out the door.

I assume everyone is staying the hell away from Liriano (6.12 FIP) right now. He’d have to show some semblance of his former self, preferably over like, two months instead of just two starts before any team should consider him a big-time rotation upgrade. The Twins would be foolish to sell low on him, and I can’t imagine offering anything more than Nova and Noesi at the moment. Even that seems a little heavy, he’s been take bad. If Minnesota is willing to deal Liriano for anything than at least one elite prospect, I’d worry. What do they know that everyone else doesn’t?

Gonzo asks: Two part question in light of the recent Big 3 talk. Is developing a pitcher a skill? A quantifiable one? Also, are avoiding pitcher injuries a skill? Obviously some injuries can’t be avoided, but can some be?

Sure, I think developing any kind of player, pitchers in particular, is a skill. I guess the best way to quantify is to look at how many productive pitchers a team produces at the big league level. Perhaps you gear the focus towards guys that weren’t considering elite prospects, so you give the Rays more credit for James Shields (16th round pick that had major shoulder surgery in the minors) than David Price (first overall pick).

Will Carroll has always said that durability is a skill and I tend to believe that. Some throwing programs are better than others, etc. Major injuries might not be avoidable, but maybe smaller stuff (obliques, hamstrings, etc.) probably is.

Ryan asks: What about calling up Maxwell for Gardner? Give Gardner a chance to catch his breathe and work things out, and reward Maxwell for straight mashing the ball (7 HR in 10 Games??) Can he split time in LF with Andruw Jones until Gardner works things out?

Justin Maxwell is killing the ball in Triple-A right now (.436 wOBA), but he’s struck in almost half his at-bats (31 K in 69 AB).   The kid does everything but make contact, which is why big leaguers crush him with offspeed stuff. Another problem: he’s right-handed, so what happens with Andruw Jones? He’d be kinda redundant. Gardner’s shown some signs of life lately (three homers in the last week, what’s up with that?), so see if he can work out of it over the next few weeks.

Changeup! (AP Photo)

JR asks: My question is what do you think of a trade with the Mets for K-Rod? We are one of the few teams that can eat his high 2011 salary, have the room in the bull pen instead of Pendleton and Carlyle, and he then slots into the 8th with Soriano hence avoiding that crazy vesting option. Plus he would most likely be a Type-A so we can get compensation when he walks. The only question is his limited no trade? Are we on it?

Nooooooooo! Two eight figure relievers is already one too many. Definitely not willing to give up talent for him, no way, no how. Are you trying to relegate David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain to mop-up duty? Those two can pitch just as well as Francisco Rodriguez in high leverage spots for a fraction of the cost.

Kurt asks: Quick question about Joba, why does it seem that no matter what he hasn’t been sent down to correct his struggles? I could be wrong but didn’t Joba only have limited time in the minors before being called up for his debut a few years ago? You’d think that someone with such ability wouldnt be rushed around. Thanks.

Yep, Joba threw just 88.1 IP in the minors total. Another like, 100-150 or so would have been so that he could have figured out how to retire batters the third time through the order in games that didn’t matter. And, you know, the whole stretching out thing could have been done in a less knuckle-headed kind of way. Joba’s “development” isn’t something the Yankees will hang on the fridge for all to see, let’s put it that way.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Jerome asks: Is there any concern that we’re riding Russell Martin a little hard for a player whose been banged up the last two seasons?  I know it’s early, he’s on fire, and Gustavo Molina is the other option but wouldn’t you rather lose his bat for a game or two per week now rather than have him worn down or hurt in September?  I’m assuming he’ll get more rest when Cervelli gets the call-up.

Yeah, I’m concerned about it, though I suspect that once Frankie Cervelli comes back, Martin’s playing time will take a step back. Joe Girardi can’t help by play Cervelli semi-regularly, he’s a mirror-image of himself as a player. The off days helped this month and Cervelli will help during the summer. I’m not overly concerned about it because he hasn’t caught more than four games in a row just yet, but whatever keeps Russ healthy and productive is fine by me.

Stephen asks:  You’ve probably heard this question 100 times (this week), but I am curious what you think the Yankees will do / can do with Jeter. Although Jeter likely will improve, let’s assume for a second he still has a wOBA below .300 in July. Are the Yankees capable of benching him (particularly with the way-to-long contract still out there)?

For better or worse, the Yankees are stuck with Derek Jeter at shortstop and leading off, at least for now. I can’t imagine they’d bench him anytime soon, definitely not before he gets his 3,000th hit. The Yankees do a lot of things well, but dealing with a franchise icon in decline really isn’t one of them.

Martin asks: Hey Guys, Who are your Top 5-10 baseball-related twitter feeds?

Assuming you don’t mean the obvious, like @RiverAveBlues, @RABFeed, @mikeaxisa, @joepawl, @bkabak, @firstheart42, @stephen_mr the various Yankees beat writers, the ESPN guys, Logan Morrison, Old Hoss Radbourn, Cyborg Tommy Hanson, all the big names basically, then I might as well start with the Orange County Register’s Sam Miller (@SamMillerOCR). He’s the rare MSM guy that’s down with sabermetrics. The You Can’t Predict Baseball gang (@cantpredictball) is great for weird baseball happenings, and Top Prospect Alert (@MinorLeagueBlog) is my go-to feed for updates from around the minors. Ben Badler of Baseball America (@BenBadler) always brings the heat, be it big leagues, minors, college, prospects, you name it.

I’ll go with Batting Stance Guy (@BattingStanceG) for the fifth spot, who’s a super nice dude and a barrel of laughs on Twitter. Did I just say barrel of laughs? Ugh, I’m getting old. Anyway, every once in a while someone in the comments will mention they just joined Twitter and are wondering who they should follow, and I always tell them to just dig through the list people I follow as a starting point. That’s easiest for all involved.

Yankee bats come alive, drop ChiSox 12-3
Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Chris

    The Yankees do a lot of things well, but dealing with a franchise icon in decline really isn’t one of them.

    I actually disagree with this. They manage to find a balance between the declining on field performance and the off the field icon status. It may not lead to the maximum wins possible, but I’ll take it over the Red Sox pattern of bashing every player on their way out.

    • mbonzo

      Just thought I’d point out that Jeter is batting .262 behind a BABIP that is 73 points lower than his career.

      • Accent Shallow

        BABIP entails some luck for hitters, but typically a low BABIP means they’re not hitting the ball hard.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        That’ll happen with a 10 percent LD rate. I hope we’re not saying he’s getting unlucky over here…

        • mbonzo

          Not unlucky… but his line drive will go up, and when that balances out he’ll probably be hitting close to .300.

          • Rockdog

            I hope that you are right, but at 36, I worry that the days of Jeter hitting close to .300 may be over …

            • Chris

              That all depends on your definition of ‘close.’ He’s at .262 now – that’s close to .300, right?

              • Ben

                Haha, I love the optimism, but .262 is closer to .225 than .300

      • Thomas

        It might be a fluke or SSS, but it also may not be. Jeter’s other stats have changed dramatically from his career numbers K% (2011: 8.3%; career 16.8%), LD% (104%; 20%), GB% (75.3%; 57.3%), FB% (14.3%; 22.7%), and IFFB% (18.2%; 2.9%).

        Additionally his swing patterns are he is swing at 29% of pitches out of the zone (20.6% for the career), swung at 66.7% of pitches in the zone (73.4%), made contact with 67.4% of pitches outside the zone and swung at (60.4%), and made contact with 94.1% of pitches in the zone and swung at (89.4%).

        • mbonzo

          Its absolutely SSS, I think the stats say that he’ll be pretty good this year.

          Last year’s numbers seem to be a problem with BABIP, and this year seems to be an issue with low line-drive rate. He’s been hitting balls on the nose lately though, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hitting very close to .300 in a week.

          • Thomas

            He is having an issue with line drive rate likely because he is swinging at a lot of pitches outside the zone and making more contact with those pitches outside the zone. Hence Jeter is swinging at and hitting bad pitches, likely a main cause of bad contact and thus a poor LD%.

          • toad

            It’s absolutely SSS?


            Contrary to what some here seem to believe, small sample results can be accurate, and are the best guess. It’s true they have wide confidence intervals, but they are no more likely to miss on the low side than on the high side.

            • Ted Nelson

              It’s not absolutely SSS and they can be accurate, but it’s absolutely inaccurate to say that they “are the best guess.” Your best guess is that Nick Swisher will hit a wOBA of .306 and Martin will hit one of .420??? Is your best guess also that Nunez is a .478 wOBA hitter? How about Jeter’s sample of being 8 for his last 20? Does that mean he’s .400 hitter? There’s a ton of variation in a SSS, which is why you can’t rely on the data… especially not for predicting the future. Perhaps Jeter has not been unlucky and been a .279 wOBA hitter so far this season, but that doesn’t mean he will continue to be that all season. He could be worse, but that’s so awful that he could easily get better. Just in the past week he’s improved his season numbers dramatically, from a wOBA in the .240s to about .280. .280 isn’t totally awful for a SS (2 playoff teams last season had SS under .300), .240 is.

        • Mister Delaware

          I was thinking we should dig a 10 foot wide, progressively deeper hole from the batters box out to where the 2B would play at the Stadium. Maybe sent it 40 feet or so below ground. Could turn a lot of Jeter groundballs in line drives.

          • Mister Delaware

            (set it)

            • James

              Couldn’t it also be that his reaction time has slowed slightly and he’s cheating… thus swinging at more pitches out of the zone…

    • Johnny O

      They’re really only screwing up with Jeter. They gave Pettitte a 67% salary cut after his subpar 2008 (then justly bumped it back up), they aren’t letting Jorge anywhere near catcher’s gear (even though they caved on going to the 4th year in the first place), they tried to limit Mariano’s years on his contract, until he provied superhuman. They let Bernie sail quietly into the night when he proved ineffective even though he wanted to stay. Overall, they’ve done ok I think except with the Captain.

      • Howie

        I agree with this completely. I expect they’ll let Jorge go without making him an offer for 2012 and hope he opts for retirement rather than do like Yogi and flail around elsewhere for one last season. Unless of course he returns to form, then maybe we’ll work something out with Jorge, Russell and Jesus splitting C/DH duties.

        • Larry

          Howie, I agree with most of what you’ve said. But That “unless he returns to form.” Posada’s days of returning to form as a catcher are over. He was just a shell of his former self last season. And, he was never more than just average defensively. He will not be behind the plate again in pinstripes.

    • Big Apple

      Red Sox are ridiculous with how they treat ex players and those that look to be on the way out. Even so called “fan favorites” are not immune to the criticism and outright hatred that they display. Amazing how they forget the contributions those players make for their team….the list is long and continues to grow..Manny, Damon, Clemens, Nomar, Bay, Lowe….

      But the character assasination begins while on the team…Ellsbury, Beckett, Papelbon…hell, even Drew – he’s been a decent player for them.

      If Youk keeps hitting like he is i wonder how long it will be before they turn on him. Some guys seems untouchable, but the history is certainly there.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    I disagree that we’re stuck with Jeter hitting lead off. Girardi can and should move him down to 8th in the lineup. There’s no reason to keep a guy at leadoff who can’t get on base. Grandy can he should be our lead off hitter, period end of story. Girardi is scared to make the big move and demote Jeter and Soriano.

    • Howie

      Like the man said, it’s still April and we don’t know for sure this is a season-long thing. Remember, traditionally Teix still sucks at this time of year and doesn’t start to heat up for another week or two.

      • Billy Mumphrey

        Teix and Jeter are not comparable. Teix is not a washed up old man who is a liability on defense. Joe can’t bench Jeter but he can move him down in the lineup, he’s just scared to make the big move.

        • Ted Nelson

          Maybe, or maybe he really thinks Jeter is likely to turn it around and Granderson and Martin are unlikely to keep up this career year crushing pace. These things can change from one game to the next at any time. One PA to the next even. Jeter is 8 for his last 20 with 3 walks… that’s a hell of a leadoff hitter over a 5 game stretch. If the hitter behind him were on, I’ll bet you a lot of people notice. The Yankees hardly scored in those games, though.

    • Chris

      Jeter’s got a .330 OBP this season compared to a league average of .317, so it’s not like he’s killing the team. Curtis Granderson is the name I hear the most as a replacement, but he’s at .329 so there’s not huge upgrade there – plus I’d rather have his power after the bigger OBP guys.

      Personally, I’d like to see Swisher set in the #2 spot, with Jeter leading off against lefties and Granderson against righties, but I don’t think it makes that big a difference.

    • SWB YAnks

      No way do you put Grandy in the lead off spot, guy is barely a #2 hitter. Grandy strikes out way too much and on his OBP has never been high enough to warrant batting in that spot. The reason Jeter is leading off is because Gardner is struggling, but if and when Gardner gets back to where he was last year then he will be back in the lead off spot.

  • Gonzo

    Waiting until June has nothing to do with years if control for Montero. It only deals with Super 2 eligibility.

    • Gonzo

      I believe Jesus can be called up today and still be under control for a year longer than if he made the opening day roster.

      • Gonzo

        I’m certain that Jesus Montero could be productive in the big leagues right now, but they could keep him in the minors for another month to get that extra year of team control in the future…

        This is what I was refering to in the article. I think we are past Jesus gaining the 172 days needed to count as a season. Therefore, his clock is pushed back one year already.

  • Howie

    Addendum on K Rod…

    You failed to mention that considering his ridiculous 2011 salary that he won’t come close to matching on the open market, he’d be highly likely to accept arbitration if he was offered. Forget about any Type A or B compensation if we were to rent him.

    Since when do we help the Mets out with their mistakes, anyway? At least Beltran would have some value to us.

    • Gonzo

      If I were the Mets, I would think about about picking up a majority of K-Rod’s $. Then trade him to a team with an established closer. That way, they don’t have to be worried about his option vesting.

  • Ted Nelson

    It’s not a matter of whether developing players is a skill. Yes. More than a skill, really it’s an organizational competency. It takes a whole bunch of individuals working in concert.

    The issue is how can you measure it? As an outsider can you measure it at all? There are a ton of confounding factors. How do you extract “development” from these other factors?
    1-Sample sizes are generally small and extremely volatile: one Felix makes people forget that your team on the whole sucks balls and you forgot to develop anyone else while you developed Felix, one bust makes people forget all the good calls you made. No mega-stars gets you hate even if you turn out a bunch of solid players, or a bunch of solid players might make people overlook that they had star talent and it wasn’t “developed.”
    2-There’s a ton of luck involved…
    A. Luck with the player himself. What’s his work ethic? His genetics? Is he a late bloomer? An early riser who never develops any further?
    B. Luck acquiring players. If Lincecum goes #8 or signs one of the first 2 times he’s drafted, the Giants can’t take him #10. If Felix decides to sign the Yankees offer, the M’s can’t develop him. If Joe Mauer/Carl Crawford decides to play football, he might never be a Twin/Ray. If Prior/Cole decides to skip college, he’s a Yankee prospect.
    C. Plain luck with unpredictable events. Brien Taylor’s bar fight. Josh Hamilton’s drug addiction. Pudge’s throw which Joba had to dive out of the way of. A drunk driver running over Adenhart. Freak occurrences that a team drafting those players would have had a hard time predicting. Maybe background checks would have revealed some character flaws with the first two, but not all successful MLB players are saints (Hamilton has gone on to make it).
    3-The inputs yield the outputs.
    A. Talent acquisition and development are almost impossible for an outsider to separate. Did the team see an undervalued talent? Did they add talent to a lesser talented player? Both? Really hard to say.
    B. High picks and big bonus guys have a higher expected yield than lower picks and smaller bonus guys.
    4-For a traded prospect, how do you divide credit for his success/failure? The team that originally acquired him as an amateur and developed him for a while, or the team that then traded for him and developed him some more?
    5-Organizational strategy.
    A. What resources has your owner bestowed you with? This determines what amateurs you can even afford to sign, whether you can afford to trade prospects for vets or have to trade vets for prospects, even how many minor league affiliates you can have to develop these guys. Moore added, I think, two affiliates as soon as he took over as KC GM. If the owner shoots that down and tells him to draft only cheap signability guys, maybe KC’s farm is weaker.
    B. Even with the same resources available, you may allocate them differently. People like to say that the amateur budget and MLB budget are separate. In a sense they are, but ultimately the organization has X resources and chooses how to divide them among things that include the MLB roster and amateur acquisition. If the Yankees have only $4 mill to get a catcher this season and have to choose between Russell Martin and Gary Sanchez… is there a right decision?

    I’m sure there are other factors that I haven’t considered.

    • Gonzo

      What if you had to make a decision and millions of $’s were riding on that decision. What would you choose as a criteria?

      • Ted Nelson

        If I had to make a decision on how to evaluate organizations? Or if I have to evaluate players for an organization? I don’t get the question.

        • Gonzo

          My bad. I was on my phone. Decision on evaluating an organization.

          • Ted Nelson

            I guess I would compare it to evaluating pitching. You want to strip out all the confounding factors like fielding behind you, relievers behind you/starters in front of you, ballpark, quality of hitters faced… get to the factors the pitcher himself controls. So far we’ve ended up with FIP. Not a bad stat compared to others, but not necessarily a good stat compared to actually accurately evaluating pitcher performance. You’re entirely missing contact that doesn’t go out of the park, and you’re not adjusting for quality of competition or ballpark as far as I know.

            The results ultimately speak for themselves, I suppose. That is, once you’ve considered all the factors you can account for. If two GMs/scouting directors had a 5+ year window in which to operate, and had 5 top 5 picks, plus top 5 picks in every other round, plus the $ to sign IFAs, maybe some comp picks for FAs he lost, plus traded some vets for prospects… I’m expecting a lot better results strictly in terms of developing prospects acquired in those 5 years he was in charge from him than someone who had no first rounders to work with that whole time, etc. That second guy faces different evaluation criteria in terms of how the FAs he signed in that time that lost him those picks worked out, etc.

            As an owner, if a guy has been employed by me for 5 years and has nothing or very little to show for 5 years that included 5 top 5 picks, etc… I’m going to have to write him off as fired unless he is seriously making up for it at the major league level in other ways: you sign all the right players and make all the right MLB trades and you might get by without developing much talent, and/or get by on the talent your predecessor acquired and developed maturing.

            The thing that might be total crap for that guy who you’re firing, though, is that luck or you as the owner might have screwed him. Maybe he did or would have made the right draft choices, but the owner was too cheap to sign them. Maybe he picked the right guys the first 3 times, but a serious of fluke bad luck rendered them poor decisions… like BABIP with three hot liners that find their way into the mits of 3 superior defenders. The last two times he’s picked the right guys, but they’re in low-A ball and as the owner you don’t really know how good they are.

            In that luck sense, I guess you have to hope to be involved enough to agree with the decisions he made and figure that they were just bad luck. Just like you don’t take ARod/Pujols out of the line-up just because he’s in an 0-fer slump. You feel like the results will come in a large enough sample. I sort of feel that way with the Big 3… They were possibly over-hyped in the first place, the results are already good compared to their draft slots on average, and it’s still early in their careers (or those of Hughes and Joba… IPK already yeilded part of Garnderson) to be passing final judgement. There are dozens of more guys right behind them, and next to them at the time who are working out to varying levels to date. To just say, Phil Hughes hasn’t contended for a Cy Young by 24 and Joba is a reliever, they failed and cannot develop prospects on the whole? That’s ludicrous to me. Even more ludicrous to say that IPK they got it right with and traded… that would disprove that they can’t get it right if it were true. I’ve been quite impressed with the reign of Opp/Nardi in terms of results.

            • Gonzo

              Fair enough. The one thing with the draft that I would change in your thinking is strictly using where taken in the draft. Hughes was considered one of, if not the best, prep pitchers in his class but dropped because of $’s. Therefore, lumping him in with every 23rd pick is kind of odd. Joba slipped because of injury concerns, as did Brackman. You can say that DOpp is very good at pouncing on opportunities when they present themselves. However, saying Nardi did great with the 23rd or 41st pick is a little misleading. What do you think?

              • Ted Nelson

                Yeah, that’s true. It’s another factor that makes it even harder to judge these guys.

                With Hughes specifically, I’m not sure Opp drafted him. He was drafted in 2004 and Opp took over in 2005, though Opp was already in the org at the time and I have no idea who made what decision. Also, Hughes apparently would have signed for $1 mill and the Yankees offered $1.4 mill… Mark Rogers was another HS arm that the Brewers drafted #5 and apparently gave a $3.6 mill bonus and MLB deal. Again I don’t think that one example proves anything about the Brewers or Yankees overall ability to draft and develop talent, but I think it’s a bit of a false narrative to say Hughes would have gone too high for less money. Scott Elbert is a lefty, but he was a HS pitcher that went 6 spots higher and signed for slightly more at $1.575 mill. Hughes’ bonus seems about right for that spot, even if it was above the MLB recommendation (which I don’t know what that was).

                And Nardi’s job is probably even harder to evaluate. What are these guys “supposed” to do? That’s a really tough question, and you can only really accurately measure Nardi’s performance if you can measure it: how much better/worse they are compared to that is how Nardi is doing. Overall, though, the Yankees have a bunch of strong pitching prospects, and I think that speaks to the job Nardi is doing in terms of results. I don’t know what or how he’s actually doing. My point was more that with Nardi and Opp, the results aren’t half as bad as some make them out to be. The farm looks really good. If we’re going to judge on results alone, we have to look outside the Big 3.

                • Gonzo

                  I totally agree. However, the Big 3 are the only ones that have gotten to the MLB level as starting pitchers thus far. It’s like a marathon, you don’t get a medal for leading after 80% of the race.

                  Of course, I don’t know how someone, or anyone, could account for that.

                  • Ted Nelson

                    That’s part of the sample size problem… 5 years into a GM/scouting directors term… an 18 year old he draft year one is all of 23, a 16 year old Dominican he signed is only 21, and a lot of the other guys he drafted/signed since might be in the minors. There are definitely instances where that guy is fired for not producing and the next guy reaps the benefits of the talent he brought it.

                    You need a lot of players and a fair number of years to really judge. If after 5 years you think the guy is crap, though, you might not want to wait 5 more years just to confirm what you already knew and lose a bunch more games and time in the process.

                    It’s also an issue related to the pushing/coddling thing… A guy you push might have relatively weaker numbers because he’s adjusting to higher level competition on the fly in MLB, while the exact same guy being coddled might look amazing in a short season league or low-A.

                    • Gonzo

                      Sure, that’s when a GM, owner, or whoever wil look at actual decisions made. Right or wrong, they’ll assign a value to some of those decisions. Some of them, we know like Joba rules, taking away Phil’s slider, but a lot of them we don’t.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Yeah, that we don’t know the decisions made and why they were made is the reason I don’t see why people put so much stock into their own evaluations of team’s “ability to develop talent.” Or go around claiming that the Yankees “can’t develop talent.”

                      Most of those people totally ignore the other contextual factors I mention, but one of the ones I mention is that talent acquisition and development are very hard to differentiate in our (fan) eyes. Especially since most people criticize the Yankees specifically for being “unable” to develop super-mega-elite talents like Felix or Albert freaking Pujols. The Yankees turn out a 2B like Cano, OFs like AJax and Gardner and Tabata, a bunch of solid arms… and people bash them. Guys like A-Rod, Pujols, Felix, Lincecum are usually born and not made as far as their MLB teams are concerned. These guys sky-rocket through the minor league system often crushing every thing in their way. It’s not usually that their org takes years to slowly groom them. Lincecum threw 62 MiLB IP. Verlander threw 118. Felix threw 300, 2/3 of them before turning 19… Josh Johnson also 300. Pujols had 544 MiLB PAs at 20. A-Rod had 719 MiLB PAs, 712 of them before he turned 20.

                      I’m just not sure how you decide how much of Josh Johnson becoming Josh Johnson at the feet of the org vs. the player after 300 MiLB innings, Felix becoming Felix after 300 innings, and Hughes becoming Hughes. Certainly there are organizational factors in play, but I believe the individual player had more to do with it.

                      Also bugs me that people applaud the Red Sox for “developing” Paps and Bard, while criticizing the Yankees for turning Joba into a reliever.

                    • Gonzo

                      Totally understand. We don’t have to make that decision even though some feel that they must. I think those that have to would probably weigh the Big 3 against the Yankees in a vacuum.

                      As for the Red Sox, I think there’s a fairly simple explanation. They spend more in the draft than any other team not in the 1st half of the draft year after year. I mean Coyle, Cechhini, and Ranaudo after their first 2 picks is not bad at all.

                      Combine that with a good IFA presence, and you have a good farm even with me handling the development.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      In terms of weighting the Big 3… depends what part of the equation. Talent acquisition, I think that was a big win. 3 1sts on pitchers in 3 years (23 in 2004, 21 and 41 in 2006 I think) and 3 above replacement MLB pitchers? That’s a ridiculous rate. In terms of their development you’d have to consider a lot of the factors we don’t have access to. And the players… why did Felix and JJ go from HS to the pros in 300 MiLB innings with so much more success than Hughes after his 300? Is that on the Yankees? Why did Lincecum come up after 62 MiLB IP and dominate, while Joba got 88 and has been up and down? How much does luck in terms of Hughes’ TOC possibly starting last season and Joba’s knock-down incident play in? Was IPK worth getting Granderson?

                      Red Sox have done well, but I think people unfairly spread their overall success to every example. Paps and Bard were starters they turned into relievers… How can you praise that while bashing the Joba decision?

                    • Gonzo

                      To their credit, they did try to put Paps in the rotation. Paps was also a reliever in college. Paps, according to him, couldn’t sleep well and wanted to close.

                      Dan Bard had a 7.08 ERA at A- and A+ in 22 starts for the Sox. It wasn’t until he was converted to reliever that he showed promise in the minors. A college pitcher struggling that bad in A- and A+ is not a good sign.

                      I think comparing Paps and Bard to Joba is unfair. Joba was always a starter, and showed great succes starting in the minors.

              • Gonzo

                To put things in perspective, if Phil Hughes had signed as part of the 2010 draft, he would have had the 7th highest signing bonus that year. He was taken in 2004, but I couldn’t find those bonus $’s.

                • Gonzo

                  Oops, I had the wrong #’s for Phil. Disregard.

  • Ted Nelson

    “Two eight figure relievers is already one too many.”

    I really don’t get this rationale. Prove it with the number of high leverage innings. It seems to me like there have been plenty of high leverage innings for Mo, Soriano, and Joba so far this season, with plenty of leftovers for Robertson.

    If one isn’t too many, how it two? If you had a strict budget, ok. When you’re spending four times as much as some teams with an eight figure reliever… why is two too many?

    • Gonzo

      My rationale is that wouldn’t the Mets be inclined to eat a good chunk of the $ so that his option doesn’t vest?

      The Mets would owe him $17.5M next year if he finishes 55 games. That should be plenty of incentive to trade him and avoid a MLBPA complaint if they don’t allow him to finish games late in the season. Hell, that might be incentive enought to pick up a huge chunk of his salary this year.

      • Ted Nelson

        Good point. Seems logical.

        I didn’t really mean in terms of getting K-Rod, though. I meant having the first two 8 figure guys: Mo and Soriano. If you think it’s ok to pay one reliever 8 figures, then the only three reasons I can see not to pay the second just as much are: 1. scarce $, scarce high leverage innings, or the second pitcher being an inferior pitcher. Soriano is doing his best to prove me wrong on the third count, but I don’t see any of those being true in this case. (To clarify, of course I don’t think Soriano is as good as Mo… just that he’s one of the better relievers out there and has been consistently for years. If any relievers are worth 8 figures, I think Soriano was a solid candidate.)

        If you say no reliever is worth 8 figures and show your work behind drawing that conclusion… I can respect that. I honestly don’t know if it’s true or not (haven’t done the work to really draw my own conclusions there), but I can respect it. I just can’t see saying only one per team under all circumstances, unless you show that there are only enough high leverage innings to justify one good reliever. I have not done the work, but experience tells be that there are innings to go around.

        • Gonzo

          Oh, I see your point, and I agree.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Joe Girardi can’t help by play Cervelli semi-regularly, he’s a mirror-image of himself as a player.

    I’m growing tired of this baseless narrative that isn’t grounded in any tangible evidence of any sort (and is also conveniently both unprovable and un-disprovable).

    Girardi might just play Cervelli because at various points over the past three years Cervelli has his best option, not because he has some sort of mancrush on him borne out of a kinship of similarity.

    • Ted Nelson

      Yeah, agreed. Last season it was Cervelli or Moeller at times.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        There’s plenty of non-former-catchers turned managers, and they all play their flawed, no-hit backup catchers just as much as the Girardis and Scoscias and Wedges of the world.

    • Jared

      I don’t want to speak for Mike, but I took that comment to be said in jest. As we’re all aware, RAB is usually pretty good about avoiding anecdotal MSM crap.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I hope so; I was looking for more obvious indicators of sarcasm, satire, or snark, and didn’t find any.

      • Mike Axisa

        Oh no, I absolutely believe it. I probably worded it wrong because it’s not just Cervelli, he did the same thing with Molina and in Florida. The backup catcher always played more often than you’d normally expect.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          How much more? I didn’t follow him that closely in Florida to notice the backups playing more than average.

          Here in NYC, I can’t begrudge a guy too much for wanting to not have Jorge Posada behind the plate a ton, not when he’s not only a bad defensive backstop but also old and injury prone.

          • Rick in Boston

            Looking at B-Ref, Girardi wasn’t graced with great catching with the Marlins: Miguel Olivo got most of the playing time (452 PA’s), while Matt Treanor was the primary back up (185 PA’s).

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              That’s practically a coinflip of fairly equal non-production.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t see how this proves Joe sees himself in these guys. Could be, but if that were even true it could just as easily be that he believes the optimal amount of rest for a C is X games out of every Y games… or Z games a year. You don’t have to be a former C to have a theory like that.

          It’s pretty ludicrous and lacking context anyway… Jose Molina played 100 games in 2008 because Posada missed 2/3 the season, not because Girardi wanted to play Molina over Jorge. In 2009 Jorge was 37 years old… that age could have just as easily been why he didn’t play a ton of games at C as Girardi’s preference for crappy hitting Cs like Molina and Cervelli. He probably moves Posada off C earlier if he really believed defense/no-offense Cs are superior. Girardi managed the Marlins for all of one season… and Olivo caught 127 games that year. That was good for 13th among MLB Cs that season, and it’s not like Olivo is an offensive dynamo anyway (.303 wOBA that season, .302 career).

          Where are you even coming from here?

          • Ross in Jersey

            Moeller had all of 14 at-bats last year despite Cervelli’s summer struggles on both offense and defense.

            • Ted Nelson

              That only serves to defeat Mike’s point that Girardi leans more on his back-ups than other managers.

              I’m not sure exactly what Mike’s point is, but basically he’s said that Girardi sees himself in his back-up Cs whether they be Franky Cervelli, Jose Molina, or Matt Treanor (why he doesn’t see himself in Chad Moeller Gustavo Molina but those other three… I don’t know… my guess is that they’re below replacement and the guys he’s leaned on are above…). Then he said that he’s always leaned an unexpected amount on back-ups. Ignoring totally that this is what you’d expect in the circumstances. Olivo was hardly a franchise cornerstone, and Treanor really isn’t much worse. Olivo alos played 127 games, which isn’t really any less than you’d expect. Treanor topped his 2006 PAs 3 times since, while Olivo has topped his . The reliance on Molina and Cervelli… you know… happened to correspond to his 37+ year old C being injured and/or injury-prone. Let’s ignore that, though, and just assume it’s a subjective reason that can’t be proven or disproven… makes sense.

              Moeller has a career .277 wOBA and is below replacement level for his career, so there’s no guarantee you’d get better production even with Franky’s wOBAs being .245, .240, and .235 June-Aug. Franky started the season hot, so it’s not crazy to think he’d break out of the slump. And he did break out of the slump with a monster .460 wOBA in Sep/Oct, just later than you’d expect. That he has been starting Swisher over Jones so far this season despite Swisher’s slump doesn’t mean he sees himself in Swisher more than Jones. It’s certainly possible, but people aren’t throwing that out there. It’s more likely that rightly or wrongly he just expects superior production out of Swisher.

              How any of this relates to Girardi seeing himself in his players more than just being a manager… I don’t know. It’s totally blatant speculation. Crap the MSM would throw out there. Even if you can prove with 100% certainty he overused Cervelli last season, that doesn’t mean he did it because he sees himself in Cervelli more than he sees himself in Moeller.

        • Greg C

          When did Molina really play a lot ( when there were any other/better options)? Either Posada was hurt or Molina was the personal catcher for the only decent starting pitcher on the team. None of the other options hit at all,either.

  • Phil

    Posada has 9 hits and 5 of them are homeruns. I think he remains the DH thru May and then it should tell the story if Montero is ready if Jorge is still not hitting. I don’t see a good ending with Posada and the Yankees and it is very likely he will try to play next year for someone else.

    • David, Jr.

      Agree with that. This is a chance to get younger and better at the same time, and sooner or later the Yankees will do that by cutting the cord with Posada. We all know that prospects aren’t a certainty, but a prospect that could be the best hitter in the minors at age 21 should be an exception to that.
      Posada will likely try to DH for another team, as he may have something left.

  • Kiersten

    The reason Posada isn’t hitting is because he’s obviously pissed about not catching anymore so he isn’t even trying to hit. He’s bitter and taking it out on the team.

    That sounds like a good narrative right? I should send my application to ESPN.

    • radnom

      Ok how ’bout this?
      Girardi plays Cervelli too much because he secretly wishes he were still playing and is living vicariously through Cervelli because the are similar players. Oh and Jeter should be benched, but hes too much of a me-first player to accept that (because there are so many better options this year). Where should I sent my application? (this is a joke, relax)

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        You guys both left out that all Yankees players just play for the paycheck and build mansions and buy championships and disrespect the game.

        Step your narrative up. ESPN is the big leagues, fellas. Never forget to mention the lack of heart.

        • Kiersten

          And they’re old. Don’t forget how old they are.

      • Ted Nelson

        I’m not sure that Nunez is any worse an option than Jeter at this point, or at least not that much worse. Hopefully Jeter proves me wrong.

  • hmmm

    After yesterdays Chavez at 1b there is a need for a better backup for Tex. Let me suggest someone who everyone suggests may help, but there doesn’t seem to be a place for. This makes even more sense given the struggles Posada is having. Maybe it’s time for an addition at DH also. I know all the usual rebuttals, e.g., small sample size, etc.
    Shouldn’t Vasquez be in this discussion and given a chance? Is he worse than Chavez at 1b- I’m not talking about 3b? Is he worse than Posada at DH?

    • Ted Nelson

      Who do you bump off the roster for Vazquez? They’ve only got one back-up MI and one back-up OF… so those guys aren’t easily expendable. It’s a numbers game as much as it’s about them not thinking he’ll produce. Chavez is not on the roster to back up 1B or 3B, he’s there to back-up 3B AND 1B AND DH AND PH. All from one roster spot. The Yankees probably think they’ll get better production out of Chavez and Posada than Vazquez anyway, but if they think it would be the exact same production they are still justified keeping Chavez and Posada with Vazquez still in AAA to back them up. As soon as they cut Chavez or Posada, they can’t get them back. This way, if one of them gets injured or Posada never turns it around they’ve got Vazquez in AAA (and Montero too as a DH back-up). If they go to Vazquez and he gets injured or can’t hit MLB pitching… they’re down to Laird as the back-up plan and he still needs to prove he can hit AAA pitching.

      • hmmm


        Thanks for a reasoned, coherent response. How about freeing up Buddy Carlyle’s spot?

        • Ted Nelson

          It’s possible, but I would assume that until they do differently the Yankees feel that extra bullpen arm is more valuable–even if it’s not a particularly good arm–than an extra bat who will get limited PAs behind A-Rod, Tex, Posada, Chavez, AND Jones (at DH). If Tex gets hurt that’ll open a spot right there, but otherwise he’s played at least 156 games 5 of the last 6 seasons… there just aren’t many games for a back-up 1B to take, and it’s unlikely Vazquez would outproduce Tex and his .914 career OPS if you started stealing games from him for Vazquez. Plus at 1B Swisher and Jorge are also options if Chavez can’t go. You might expect A-Rod to miss more like 25 games, but that’s a total of 31 games between 6 at 1B and 25 at 3B for Chavez all season.

          That last pitcher, on the other hand, can mop up meaningless innings in blowouts and pitch the occasional meaningful inning in an extra innings affair or when everyone else is out of commission… thus theoretically saving the arms on the rest of the staff from needless wear and tear. I assume Millwood might take Carlyle’s spot this weekend, but with that last AAA start… who knows. Best case would be if the Yankees can negotiate an extension on Millwood’s opt-out with him so that he can get a couple of more AAA brush ups before he has to decide.