Mailbag: Swisher, Posey, Pitching, VerasBy
I figured I’d grab the reins from Mike this week and answer a few reader questions.
Mark asks: Given Swisher’s morbid .170 avg and .578 OPS against righties through yesterday, how much longer before we start talking about a platoon of Swisher and Dickerson in RF? Swish’s .302 avg & .714 OPS against lefties combined with Dickerson’s .273 avg & .697 OPS against righties sure looks better than Swish’s combined stats!
Given Swisher’s performances during his first two years as a Yankee (.270/.365/.505), I have to believe that they’ll give him more time, perhaps until the All-Star Break, to turn things around. If this is just a prolonged slump, then the Yanks will reap the benefits when he comes out of it — much more so than they would from a Dickerson/Swisher platoon.
If Swisher continues to struggle, we could certainly see more of Dickerson. In 461 career PA he is .273/.362/.419 against right-handed pitching. That’s more ideal for center field platoon, but it’s better than what Swisher is currently producing. Again, I think he’ll break out of this and have a fine second half. But if he’s not hitting when the second half starts, I’m sure we’ll see more Dickerson with perhaps an eye on a trade.
Nick asks: Hey I was wondering what your thoughts on this Buster Posey injury are? I mean them calling for a rule change and whining about it is a joke. It was a clean play. I liken it to Jeter getting hurt in 2003, it was a clean heads up play. What do you want runners to stop before home plate if the catcher has the ball? What a farce.
Your definition of clean play is different than others’. It was clean, in that no umpire would do anything about it. It’s an accepted play and has been for decades upon decades. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right, though. Baseball is decidedly not a contact sport, and Cousins went into Posey in the same way a safety would go into a wide receiver (except, of course, the wide receiver would be standing).
That said, no, I don’t think there should be a rule change. Do I think that runners should try to find a clear path to the plate, rather than just gunning for the catcher, wherever he may be in relation to the plate? Yes. Do I think that catchers should get the hell out of the way until they get the ball ? Yes. Do I think that catchers shouldn’t go to their knees when receiving a throw? Again, yes. That sounds more like a training issue than a rules issue to me.
To the last question, “do you want runners to stop before home plate,” obviously that’s a red herring. If there were to be a no collisions rule, catchers would be barred from blocking the plate.
In essence, I think that properly training players will go further than a rules change. If it’s a runner barreling down the line at a guy covered in the equipment, and holding the ball, I can see why a collision works. But the Posey play had more to do with him being on the ground without the ball. Of course, training only goes so far when you’re in the heat of the moment.
Jeff asks: With the way that Russell Martin is playing and now that Buster Posey is out for the season do the Yankees match up with the Giants for a Jesus Montero trade for one of Sanchez/Bumgarner/Cain? Would you be open to trading Montero for one of their young pitchers? The Giant’s can catch Montero this year and then shift him to first base next year.
The Giants certainly aren’t shifting him to first base next year, since 1) they have Aubrey Huff under contract for another year, and 2) their top prospect, Brandon Belt, is a first baseman. Without a DH spot, and with their top two young players covering first and catcher, the Giants have no real use for Montero. It’s a nice idea to consider, especially since the Yanks need pitching and the Giants have plenty of it. But this is an unfortunate instance where the Yanks just don’t have much to give in return.
Joe asks: Jose Veras is in Japan? How is he doing??
Jose Veras actually caught on with the Pirates, and he’s pitching fairly well. He has thrown 20.2 innings in 22 appearances, striking out 30 to just nine walks (one intentional). His 2.61 ERA is all nice and sparkly. Of course, we’ve seen this from Veras before. In 2008 he had some stellar stretches. From June 5 through July 9, a span of 17.1 innings, he allowed just one run, striking out 18 while walking eight. Then he allowed just four runs in 16.1 innings from July 12 through August 24. That is to say, we know he’s capable of this. I’m just keeping my mouth shut so that Pirates fans can appreciate him while he lasts.