Oct
12

DH should be far down the list of needs

By

In terms of position players, the Yankees appear set. Seven of their eight starters are essentially guaranteed to return. Only Nick Swisher remains a question, and it appears likely that the Yankees will exercise his 2012 option. That leaves only one hole in the every day lineup: DH. Yet the Yankees appear to be set here, too. That is, unless you’ve read some mainstream opinions on the matter.

Yesterday Joel Sherman tried to squeeze Carlos Beltran into the fray, opining that the Yankees could give him 50-60 games at DH. Today Ken Davidoff offered a slightly different suggestion, offering up David DeJesus as a more affordable option. Both writers peg their guy as a part-time DH and part-time corner outfielder. That would still leave room for Jesus Montero to get plenty of reps at DH, while working in as part-time catcher. I’m just not sure that signing a free agent who will spend 1/3 of the season at DH is such a hot idea, given the current roster construction.

Sherman presents the best case scenario for Montero: 80 games at catcher, 80 games at DH. That’s best case, because it 1) allows him to audition as the catcher of the future, and 2) keeps his bat in the lineup for the most possible games. Chances are, however, that Montero will catch far fewer games than that, leaving Russell Martin to handle the pitching staff. With fewer games behind the plate Montero will find more reps at DH. A more realistic scenario would have Montero behind the plate for 45 games while DHing in 105-110.

That’s where Alex Rodriguez comes into play. Joe Girardi said that they expect Rodriguez to be their third baseman, and if he remains healthy there’s no doubt he should take the majority of games out there. But keeping him healthy is certainly a priority. Giving him reps at DH could represent a means to that end. If Montero DHs in 110 games, A-Rod could then take 40, leaving him in the field for the rest. That would leave few DH reps for a potential free agent. Hence, the Yankees should look to reinforce their roster elsewhere.

A better solution, then, would be to seek a player in the mold of Eric Chavez: solid but flawed in a way that prevents him from starting full-time. They might actually have one currently on the roster in Eduardo Nunez. In fact, the Yankees have said that they want to work him out in the outfield corners to get him more playing time. If the Yankees truly do feel this strongly about Nunez’s future, then they really have no pressing needs on offense. They have the DH spot occupied between Montero and Rodriguez, and have Rodriguez’s defensive replacement ready in Nunez. If Nunez is the backup infielder and fourth outfielder, the Yankees can fill out the bench with guys such as Chris Dickerson. There’s no need to beef it up at that point.

Speculating about the DH, then, appears to be a fruitless exercise. In fact, speculating about the offense might prove fruitless. If the Yankees like Nunez as much as they let on, they have no need for any additions this off-season. Their entire offense is already on the 40-man roster. The only way this gets interesting is if the Yankees are putting up a front with Nunez in order to increase his trade value. In that case we could see the Yankees add to the bench. But given the current rhetoric and roster construction, it appears unlikely. We’ll be in for a pitching-heavy 2012 off-season.

Categories : Offense
  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Trade Tex to the Giants for Lincecum, sign Pujols for first base, make Prince the DH.

    /duh

  • YanksFan

    I think there will be a trade. You have the 40-man crunch. I expect a trade in the mold of Swisher. 3 players for 1. I also would not be surprised if they pick up Swish’s option & then trade him.

    I love what he brings to the offense & the locker room. I love how he treats the fans & is a real cool guy. That being said, I would not be surprised if he’s moved.

    That may have some trickle down effect on other moves.

    • UncleArgyle

      I do wonder what Swish would bring back in a trade. I like Swish and what he brings to the team, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and after 9 playoff series it should be clear he’s not going to be an asset in the post season. It might be time to move on and find someone who won’t be a complete liability everytime he steps to the plate in October.

      • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

        I say hold onto Swish for one more year and sign Matt Kemp for the 2013 season and beyond.

        • FIPster Doofus

          This is the best-case scenario.

        • vin

          Kemp is a .226/.284/.371/.655 hitter in the post-season. No thanks!

          (silly, right?)

          • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

            We need go after Cody Ross and his .294/.390/.686/1.076 postseason line.

            • vin

              Do you have any idea how many huge runs Craig Counsell has scored in his playoff career? You can’t teach that!

              • FIPster Doofus

                Delmon Young is obviously a big-game player. Let Swisher go and bring him in.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

        People who are actually liabilities in October = People who are likely to be liabilites the other 11 months.

        • gc

          Excatly. Go back and check out Tino Martinez’ first six Yankee playoff series numbers. They don’t look all that different than Swisher’s first six Yankee playoff series numbers.

        • vin

          Amen brother.

      • Ted Nelson

        He still only has 147 postseason PAs, spread over five years. This is similar to the # of PAs he had early in the season where he was really struggling. He subsequently turned it around and had a strong season.

        He murdered it in the 2010 ALDS and had a solid 2009 WS… so the reality of it is not nearly as neat as your narrative makes it out to be.

  • JohnC

    Did anyone read Sherman’s “3 UP” column on the NY Post website. He expressed serious dismay at how many insulting and nasty emails he was flooded with criticizing his Beltran suggestion. WOuld have loved to see some of those emails.

  • bg90027

    Don’t disagree with anything that you said but obviously things would change if Montero were included in a trade for a starting pitcher which is a possibility.

    • TwainsYankee

      This was my thought exactly. But I think Cashman likes to use the DH to give the decrepit some time off. In their ideal world how many games would they like to put AROD, Jeter and perhaps Tex at DH?

  • CS Yankee

    I’m sure i’m in the minority, but I wouldn’t mind seeing;
    1) Montero…..80 DH/40 C
    2) Arod…… 110 3B/40 DH
    3) Posada…. 40 DH/plus PH

    This would need to be at a real cheap price on ‘sada but he could also groom Montero into being a better player. Jorge is a SH who was real bad from this year from one side of the plate but career wise has been solid.

    He has already dealt with the whole “DH is different thing” that all former position players say & I would imagine when the Rookie struggles it makes sense having a proven vet. A 2M$ deal with options based upon playing time would be my approach, if he said no…move on.

    • Andy In Sunny Daytona

      I’m not on board any plan that has Montero play only 120 games.

      • nsalem

        I strongly agree

      • CS Yankee

        500 AB’s for a rookie is great, if his results are solid either he would get more or be better rested come Fall.

        Hopefully you don’t expect Ruthian numbers from the kid?

      • Brian S.

        This. Montero needs 650 PA in 2012.

    • Esteban

      I would prefer the backup DH/PH actually have some use in the field and not have a big platoon split. Posada can only play 1st base and would be limited to hitting against RHPers.

      • Bubba

        Not completely true. He’s an outstanding second baseman. I saw it in one half inning this year. ;)

    • FIPster Doofus

      Posada’s time as a Yankee is up.

      • nsalem

        I sadly and strongly agree

  • ike

    According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Pirates have decided to decline Paul Maholm’s $9.75 million club option for 2012.

    any chance the yankees go after him>?

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

      Can’t imagine that’s a guy who’d do well in the AL East, or whatever superdivision exists next year.

      • FIPster Doofus

        You never know. Maholm and Nova are pretty similar on paper.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    I reiterate what I’ve been saying in these blogs since the off season began. We have to get younger. It is more economical for the Yankees to fill the rest of the roster with players from AAA. They would lower the payroll and would not have to give all that money to the beggar millionaires in other teams. Certainly the bench can be occupied by younger, hungrier players. The bullpen can also be restocked from within. At the end of the season, if needed, you can get that vet that will help you over the next hurdle.

    • Ted Nelson

      Why do the Yankees “have” to get younger?

      Can you really complain about what Andruw Jones brought to the table this season? .371 wOBA…

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

      The catcher is under 30. The second baseman is under 30. The first baseman hovers around 30. The rest of the infield is not going anywhere but, at the very least, are complimented by a young player who can hit well and has improved defensively. The outfield is not going anywhere and has one player under 30 while the other two hover around 30. The full-time DH next year just celebrated his first drink. I’d love to see how and why you feel this team should/will get younger.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        There are places where we cannot get younger, third and short bu certainly the bench: Jones is an old man at 34. Chavez is declining an still injury prone. Younger players are hungrier and will play to prove they belong.

        • CS Yankee

          Younger players are hungrier but often times can’t provide the food to feed upon as they don’t know how to make adjustments needed to stick in the pros.

          Jones & Chavez are likely gone and having Nunez & Montero is a given but they also need to toss in a Vet (or 2) or you’ll likely end up being the Royals, Marlins or Rays.

        • Ted Nelson

          Andruw Jones had a wOBA of .371 in 2011… why is it preferable to have someone who is “hungrier” and worse?

    • CS Yankee

      Be careful or you’ll end up with Tampa-type bats.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        That proves my point. Tampa can win with good pitching, one superstar and the greatest manager in baseball. They must average about 26yrs.

        • Ted Nelson

          Your point is that you’d rather the Yankees win fewer games?

    • nsalem

      These young players have youth also must be accompanied by talent. Do you think there is anyone in our system who is capable of doing the job Jones did last year. We in system talent at catching both starting and bullpen. I agree with your premise when it comes to using Nunez as a super utility guy. I just don’t think it’s there in the outfield though

  • Jonathan

    If Montero is traded for a SP I would really love to have Jorge back. I know it’s a real long shot on both ends but I’m really not ready for Jorge to be gone. What would it take to bring Andruw back?

  • Ted Nelson

    Any word on Andruw Jones? Either on the Yankees end or his?

    • nsalem

      I do remember him making a comment back in July that he wanted to be a starter next season (but that might not be a reality for him) I haven’t heard anything since then but I would love to see him back. We know he can play here and in his limited role he fits in perfectly. I think our right handed line up would have excelled in the playoffs. I was very disappointed not seeing him and Jesus plus a right handed Derek, Tex and Swish in the playoffs.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

    DH should not be a concern at this time for the team. There will be enough of combination of Jesus Montero and giving the occasional day off to the vets to carry you through the 2016 presidential election.

    I think next season’s biggest lineup switch will involve a full-time Jesus Montero. I don’t see why there would be any other changes other than movable bench pieces.

  • caldr62np

    Right on. Let Montero catch 40-50 games and Martin can do the rest. Even if a miracle happens: Montero proves the doubters wrong and goes from horrible (which I don’t think he is) to just below average or average, he should still only be allowed to catch 45-50 games the next 2 years and no more than 70 for the rest of his career. His bat is potentially too good to have to sit him 25 games a year because of the wear and tear of catching 135 games. Better to have him DH more than catch and not wear down at the end of seasons or cut his career short.

    • Yazman

      This is a great point, often overlooked. I’ll bet the Twins are wishing they had you as an advisor…

  • Supernova

    If Jesus Montero is not a fixture in the everyday lineup then Cashman and Girardi need to be fired immediately. He is a power bat and should have been pinch hitting for Martin in the postseason.

    We should not pick up Swisher’s options. I don’t care what he does in the clubhouse or off the field. He can’t handle the pressure of the postseason under the bright lights of Yankee stadium and that’s been proven over more than just one postseason so don’t give me that sample size garbage.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher (formerly Jorge)

      More than one postseason = still a small sample size. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Wanting to replace Swisher because he doesn’t hit in the playoffs is like saying Edger Rentaria should be the 3rd baseman because he’s better than ARod in the postseason.

    • gc

      “He can’t handle the pressure of the postseason under the bright lights of Yankee stadium and that’s been proven over more than just one postseason so don’t give me that sample size garbage.”

      Neither could Tino Martinez……until he could.

    • bg90027

      Even if you don’t want Swisher back (I do), you should want Cashman to pick up the option and then trade him. A lot of teams would like Swisher for what he makes.

  • Jamey

    A-Rod is clearly breaking down physically, the 80 games at catcher for Montero is the responsible decision because like mentioned he can audition to be the catcher of the future or once & for all show that he’s not a MLB catcher. I think A-Rod is going to need a lot of games at DH & if Montero can’t slide behind the plate on those days it will be pretty worthless having Montero on the MLB roster.

    This is the 2nd straight year where A-Rod’s season was significantly hampered by injury, this past season being the worst yet, which if I’m a baseball GM & manager I have to strongly consider to be a sign of serious decline.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Pick up Swish’s option and trade him for a lefty starter. Trade Martin and Warren for Bourjous. Have Cervelli and Montero catch next year.

    Make sure that Montero bats 4x in every game he is healthy.

    • Brian S.

      Fuck yeah. Three team trade with Swisher going to a team that needs a first baseman or outfielder (Nationals? Giants?), John Danks to the Yankees, and whatever team receives Swisher giving up prospects or whatever Chicago needs to the White Sox.

    • FIPster Doofus

      You’re not getting a great starter for Swisher, and you’re not getting Bourjos for those two.

      • nsalem

        Do you think the Angels would trade Haren or Weaver and Bourjos for Montero, Swisher and Warren?

        • FIPster Doofus

          Weaver just signed a big extension with a no-trade clause, so no. Haren? Maybe. But I wouldn’t do it from a Yankees POV.

  • Karl Krawfid

    I have a great idea. Stop giving older players “DH days” and have them sit down on the bench and get some real rest.

    • Darren

      Totally agree. Having Jeter bust his ass, even if it’s just running out ground balls, does not consitute a rest day.

      Also, I think the Yankees are done with Jorge for reasons other than just he’s old, but I too would love it if they signed him. They could also agree to trade him or he would retire if it didn’t make sense to have him on the roster after a month or two.

      But if Montero starts looking terrible and you need a DH against righties, who you gonna call?

      • Jetrer

        that’s why they need a Chavez replacement: lefty corner guy to rest ARod and Tex and possibly some DH/PH AB’s

    • Ted Nelson

      These “old” players are still in their mid-30s. I think they can manage to swing a bat and run the bases.

      Also… A-Rod got TONS of rest this season. He barely played down the stretch, even when he was active. So I’m not sure what your point is.

  • Hardy

    I agree that the Yankees don’t need to look for a DH. But i also think that a good corner outfielder like Beltran should be signed for the upcoming season as 4th outfielder and DH-backup.

    • Brian S.

      Carlos Beltran isn’t going to sign anywhere to be a “good fourth outfielder and DH backup.” Andruw Jones might. Eric Hinske might too. I’d be happy with either one of those guys.

      • Hardy

        You are probably right. However, Beltran reportedly was willing to sign with the Yankees at the discount when he was a free agent in 2005. Maybe he still would make concessions to be a Yankees.

        • Sarah

          Someone is going to offer him a contract to play every day. Why would he agree to be a 4th outfielder/DH for 2 years with the Yankees when the Giants will at least be able to make him an everyday outfielder for 2 years (and someone else would probably offer more than 2 years which is what he wants)?

          • Ted Nelson

            Plus why would the Yankees pay top dollar for a 4th OF/back-up DH?

  • Grover

    Though I agree that a dh is not tops on the priority list I do believe Cashman would be wise to have a Damon or Matsui on the bench in case Montero feels the pressure and underwhelms all of you who have annointed him the next coming of…well his name is Jesus. At least we know they can hit when it counts.

    • Ted Nelson

      Damon was 4-17 in the post-season this year and Montero was 2-2…

      Having depth is a good thing, but let’s not act like signing 40 year old has beens is going to restore them to their glory because of some ridiculous notion that they are so “clutch” it doesn’t matter that they’re not good anymore.

  • Hardy

    After some deliberation, I am now totally on the sign-Beltran bandwagon.
    The Yankees than would have seven players(Beltran, Swisher, Granderson, Gardner, Teixeira, Montero and Martin) for six positions (RF, CF, LF, 1B, C and DH).
    If all seven are healthy, they could institute a rotation that would have everybody except Martin on pace for 140+ games and they could lose any of the seven players without a huge loss of production.

  • wilcymoore27

    Typically asinine suggestions from “professional” baseball writers. The Yanks don’t need to be going to the free-agent market for a DH. Spend your own money, Joel.

  • Rainbow Connection

    …until they trade Montero for a true ace (a non-obese one that won’t fall apart when the goin’ gets tough).

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    Signing a DH shouldn’t even be a consideration until well after the Winter Meetings.

    You figure out what the new core (if there is any) of the 2012 team will be first. DH is a periphery consideration. You don’t go after Fielder or Pujols just as a DH or try to shift people around.

    You get the best #2 starter you can find; maybe even a #4.

    If you trade for a position player, make it count. An athlete, please – prefererably under 28 years old with 2+ years of control.

    Heck, I wouldn’t even mind a 3B option so you can slide A-Rod to DH if need be.

    Ortiz, Beltran, Abreu are all choices that would severely hamstring this team going forward.

    • Ted Nelson

      “Ortiz, Beltran, Abreu are all choices that would severely hamstring this team going forward.”

      Not that I think the Yankees should or will sign any of those guys (maybe Abreu if he doesn’t get a deal anywhere else), but I doubt any of them would hamstring the Yankees going forward because I doubt any of them would get more than a year or two deal…

  • Bart

    In the early sixties an aging Yogi Berra moved from catching to the outfield where he succeeded. I haven’t seen any discussion of Jesus Montero possibly playing some outfied next season, after, perhaps, playing some outfield in Venezuelan winter ball. Is the 21-year old Montero significantly less athletic than the aging Berra? What is it that I don’t understand?

  • http://motorcyclist.com Harley

    Hard partying has taken it’s toll on A-Rod. It’s part of growing up I guess, thinking that we’re invincible but like “peak oil”, “peak A-Rod” may have come and gone…

  • MattG

    You know a better way to keep Rodriguez healthy? Let him have days off. What’s the difference between Rodriguez in the lineup and Montero (over 40 games)? I bet it is less than half a win, which could easily be made up by Rodriguez in the boost to his production by having days off.

    I really don’t understand the idea of the ‘half-a-day off’ strategy. Full days off are way more valuable, and in many cases, the man moving to the bench for the DH-du-jour is just as good an option.

  • cranky

    Yankees’ official off-season plan:

    1) Re-sign CC Sabathia
    2) Sign CJ Wilson
    3) Trade Phil Hughes and Austin Romine to Minnesota in a deal for Francisco Liriano
    4) Sign Wilson Betemit
    5) Trade Aj Burnett and $$$$ to an NL team for whatever they might get for him
    6) Sign Dontrelle Willis
    7) Retain Russell Martin
    8) Rest

    Rotation: Sabathia/Wilson/Nova/Liriano/Noesi
    Bullpen: Wade/Logan/Soriano/Robertson/Willis/Kontos/Rivera
    Infield: Rodriguez/Jeter/Cano/Tex
    Outfield: Gardner/Granderson/Swisher
    Catcher: Martin
    Bench: Nunez/Betemit/Montero (DH)/Dickerson/Cervelli

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