Girardi Notes: Rotation, Hughes, Nakajima, Burnett, Montero, A-Rod, Darvish

Entire coaching staff will return in 2012
Open Thread: Winter Meetings Day Three

All 30 managers meet with the media at some point during the Winter Meetings, and Joe Girardi just wrapped up his little press conference not too long ago. As expected, he was asked quite a bit about the Yankees rotation and whether or not he expects the team to acquire a starter.

“You always look to improve your club, but sometimes the asking price is too much,” said Girardi, “and if that’s the case, I do feel good about our rotation. [An acquisition] has to make sense for us. We’re not just looking for a one-year deal, we’re looking long-term as well.”

By long-term, he didn’t just mean signing a free agent for the next five years or whatever. “We feel we have some pretty good prospects in the minor leagues that are going to be able to help us this year,” he added, indicating that the club does want to have an opening for some of their prospect at some point relatively soon. Girardi didn’t mention them today, but he has brought up Hector Noesi, Manny Banuelos, and Dellin Betances as guys that could help the rotation next season earlier this winter.

Girardi went on to speak about the different look Freddy Garcia gives opposing batters compared to everyone else on the staff as well as A.J. Burnett‘s ability to occasionally dominate a game. “Part of it is Phil Hughes, how does he bounce back? Is he going to be able to be the guy we had in 2010? And if he is, to me that’s almost like going out and making another move,” said Girardi. “He can be really important to us. I do consider him a big part of our rotation.”

The skipper went on to dance around a question about concerns surrounding the conditioning of some of his pitchers, specifically Hughes and CC Sabathia. He likened Sabathia to David Wells, who used to joke that his conditioning was only a problem when he wasn’t getting outs. “I thought [Hughes] got behind the 8-ball because he got hurt, and he never really caught up last year.”

The audio file is way too big to upload at the moment, but I’ll get it up on here eventually. Update: Audio! Apologies for the sound quality, there were a ton of people there and some the questions came from far away.


Here’s the rest of the stuff Girardi spoke about, the important stuff anyway…

  • “This is about acquiring talented players to put them on our club,” said Girardi when asked about the recently kinda sorta acquired Hiroyuki Nakajima. “He’ll be asked to do a number of things, obviously, we will look at him. This is about acquiring talent, and we feel that we have a chance to sign a talented player.” He added that there’s room for both Nakajima and Eduardo Nunez on the roster, especially since they would like Nunez to become a bit more versatile.
  • As far as the report of Burnett being on the trading block, “Is there necessarily truth to the report about A.J.? I can’t tell you,” said Girardi. “As I said, we’ll always try to improve, no matter where it is, whether it’s the bullpen, a spot in the field, or in the rotation. We’ll look at every avenue.” Frankly, I’m stunned he didn’t come out and say they were trying to dump him. Stunned I tell you.
  • It’s possible the team could carry three catchers next year, namely Jesus Montero, Russell Martin, and Frankie Cervelli. Girardi made it clear that Martin is the everyday catcher, but they expect Montero to earn his spot in Spring Training and then get regular at-bats at DH. “We expect him to perform at a level where he helps us next year. We expect that.” Interestingly enough, Girardi said he’s brought up the idea of having Montero play first base, but developing him as a catcher remains the team’s goal. Brian Cashman later ruled out right field completely, so enough talking about that.
  • Robinson Cano finished the season as the regular three-hole hitter against right-handed batters, though the batting order is something they’ll continue to evaluate going forward. That includes every spot, from leadoff right down to the number nine guy.
  • “I don’t know about 150,” replied Girardi when asked about how many games he expects Alex Rodriguez to play. He did point out that Alex was playing well before the knee injury (.301/.377/.509 on July 1st), but they have to manage his DH days.
  • Girardi hasn’t seen Yu Darvish in person, but he’s heard all about him. If the Yankees need to call up a young pitcher at some point next season, they’ll have no problem doing so if they feel they’re ready.
  • As I reported earlier, the entire coaching staff will be back next season.
Entire coaching staff will return in 2012
Open Thread: Winter Meetings Day Three
  • Mickey S

    I hope A-Rod plays 150 games, I’d love to see a hefty bid on Yu and I’m not too surprised Giradi didn’t spill the beans on the dumping of Burnett. Giradi’s a good PR guy, prob bit his tongue to avoid shaking his head and screaming yes! I thought AJ has some kinda no trade protection?

    • Mickey S

      He does have “limited no trade clause”, it states he can block 10 trades per year (via sportrac). I highly doubt AJ is going anywhere anytime soon, considering that and all the drama with his wife not wanting to fly or whatever the limo clause in his deal was concerning traveling issues.

      • Dave203

        He can block 10 teams, not 10 trades — big difference. The Yanks likely already have which teams he requested blocked and simply won’t deal with them. He can’t change the teams after a deal is negotiated.

  • thenamestsam

    Interested to know whether the stuff about Montero having to earn his spot in spring training is just the usual stuff you say about young players, or if it’s actually true. Having him anywhere except the starting DH spot on opening day would be pretty darn stupid I think.

    • MannyB ace2be

      It’s pretty darn stupid to think he can’t continue to develop his non hitting skills and pigeonhole him into just a DH role he is only 22 years old!!!!

      • thenamestsam

        You don’t have to pigeonhole him. He’ll get 50 games at catcher, and another 10-20 at first base. Last year at AAA he played 88 games at catcher. By putting him in the minors, you’d be losing a whole year of his bat in the hopes that those extra 30-40 games at catcher is going to make enough of a difference developmentally to pay you back that lost production in the future. That’s a hard case to make in my mind.

        The bat is ready now. I still think he can become a passable catcher but if it’s going to happen it’s going to have to be while learning on the job as the backup catcher and DH. He’s done with the minors.

    • Jerry

      It means he has to be an acceptable defensive player, which he is not. He is one of the worst catchers I have ever seen.

  • Drew

    I like that Girardi still considers Hughes a major piece to the rotation and I would tend to agree with him. I believe he can get back to his 2010 form and be the pitcher we all expect him to be. I also believe that Hughes and Nova and the inability to move Burnett are the reasons behind the Yankees not being interested in Burhle, Wilson etc. Their price tags do not meet what they are capable of, and Hughes and Nova can give you similar production with out the 6 year 100 million contracts and are much younger than what is out there. Cashman knows exactly what he is doing. If a great starter becomes available of course the Yankees are going to explore that avenue, there just aren’t any available and Cashman will remain with what he has, he is not going to make a move just for the sake of making a move.

  • Overrated Packers

    Nunez, dellin, and romine or sanchez for Niese? Hes left handed young and under team control for a while

    • Craig Maduro

      Absolutely not. He’s not worth all of that.

      • Overrated Packers

        It seems like Nunez’s ceiling is that of a Betancourt. Dellin is hard to project and has bad mechanics.

        • Craig Maduro

          Yea, those guys aren’t without their question marks, but I still say that price is too high for Danks, let alone Jon Niese.

  • IB6 UB9

    2012: Sabathia, Darvish, Nova, Hughes, Garcia, Burnett, Noesi
    2013: Sabathia, Darvish, Nova, Hughes, Banuelos, Betances, Noesi, Warren, Phelps, Rivero

    If Cash comes through on Yu then there’s no need for anything else for a nice long while.

    Do it!

    • Overrated Packers

      You certainly would love for cash to come through on yu.
      Excuse me.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Assuming Yu isn’t a bust.

      • Sean C

        And assuming none of those AAA guys are busts. It’s probably a much safer bet to assume 3/4 won’t pan out.

  • well you know

    If Nakajima and Nunez are both on the roster and Jones is re-signed, the net as of now is that two lefty bats will be gone (Posada and Chavez) and they will be replaced by two righty bats (Montero and Nakajima).

    This on a team that was already killing LHP and relatively weak against RHP.

    Not ideal and begs for another move. Problem is the most obvious would be to move Montero, which I don’t want to happen either.

    • Spiff

      Or you could just move Nunez. Sure the Yanks say they can envision both on the roster but it’s not necessarily what they’d prefer.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Why do you see Montero as the most obvious move? You’re replacing Chavez’s 175 PAs and Posada’s PAs with righties, making up not even a full season of PAs combined, and you’re concerned with having a RH DH in Montero? Not an issue at all. The kid will get 500 PAs provided he’s not traded for a fromt line starter (which will have nothgin to do with his handedness at the plate).

      • well you know

        I’m not myself specifically concerned with Montero as a righty DH. At this point, I’m a fan, although he has a lot to prove.

        From the perspective of lineup balance, my view is that the opportunity should have been taken to dispense with Swisher and his .200 point-weaker OPS split against RHP.

        Since that wasn’t done, the most obvious way to get a lefty power bat into the 2012 lineup would be a lefty DH. I’m not in favor of that; I’m saying the current circumstance doesn’t present any easy good solution.

        Cashman and Girardi were publicly very concerned with Montero’s “handedness” in September and went out of their way to mention his “struggles” against RHP. Whether they get off that now that Posada is gone and they don’t have to justify starting Posada ahead of Montero is something we’ll have to see about.

    • Need Pitching

      Chavez only had a .298 wOBA, 81 wRC+, .687 OPS against righties, Posada was better at .353, 118, .814

      RH or LH, it’s certainly possible that Nakajima/Nunez could perform similarly (or better) to Chavez, and Montero could/should be able to replace Posada’s production vs. RHP, even though he is RH

      And the Yankees, while weaker vs. LHP, were still 3rd in wOBA vs. RHP, while 1st vs. LHP. Tex bouncing back (hopefully) vs. RHP should help even things out, but the Yankees were still good against RHP, just not as good as they were vs. LHP

  • 28 this year

    And teams always blame the Yankees for raising prices yet in a market where they are gone, crappy players are getting multi year deals and a guy like Mark Buerhle gets freakin 58MM over 4 years. Thats ridiculous. People are overpaying for crap and unwilling to pay a lot for the stars like Pujols, Fielder and to a lesser extent C.J. Wilson. Crazy market, all the Marlins and Dodgers fault. Who would hav ethought?

  • Peter

    What about turning Montero into a 3B? Maybe he could take over in a year or two.

    • Monteroisdinero

      No. Not quick enough for short bursts that are needed. Catcher/DH/1B That’s it. As for platooning him, let’s also platoon Jeter/ARod/Cano/Grandy/Gardy and everyone else who is not a switch hitter. Montero will hit righties. All 4 of his HR’s were against righties in Sept and he crushes it the other way.

      Patience friends.

  • munson78

    Does not sound like Girardi wants to see Montero catch. He still thinks a catcher should be defense first. Hope its not true.

    • thurdonpaul

      Thats because a catcher should be defense first.

    • Monteroisdinero

      As Posada was?

      Montero=Posada defensively (eventually)

      Montero>>>Posada offensively (next year)

      • forensic

        Girardi didn’t have a choice with Posada until last year (and he still played a lot of guys who only caught the ball) when they could just move him his last year and find another guys who couldn’t hit and could only catch the ball. Last year he played a guy who was called up and even added to the roster early out of AA just so he wouldn’t have to play Montero. He just won’t be back there much at all.

  • forensic

    According to Chad Jennings that trying Montero out at first was only to experience it in spring training. Both he and Steven Goldman say he said Swisher is the back-up 1B. Gold man also said Martin with catch 120 games and Cervelli will be on the roster and play, I’m sure play plenty too.

    Girardi also wouldn’t call Montero his regular DH because there will be so many times that all 4 infielders will have to be there. I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s totally convinced himself that he can’t hit righties well enough either.

    I still think they should trade him for whatever impactish player they can before they use up one of his 3 minimum salary years because i have zero faith in the organization forcing Girardi’s hand (because I don’t think they have the faith in him either) or Girardi suddenly deciding that he needs to play Monyero everyday or give him a chance in the field somewhere.

    • Adolf Oliver Nipple

      It’s going to be so annoying watching Girardi micromanage Montero. bloody shame

      • Monteroisdinero

        This. Hands off Joe. Enjoy the offensive display-as ARod declines) and the average catching.