Fan Confidence Poll: March 26th, 2012

Open Thread: 3/25 Camp Notes
2012 Season Preview: Farm System

Record Last Week: 5-0-2 (35 RS, 19 RA)
Spring Training Record: 13-9-2 (102 RS, 91 RA)
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Blue Jays (Tues. on YES/MLBN), @ Braves (Weds. on ESPN), vs. Orioles (Thurs. on YES), vs. Phillies (Fri. on YES/MLBN), @ Astros (Sat.), @ Marlins (Sun. on YES/MLBN)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Open Thread: 3/25 Camp Notes
2012 Season Preview: Farm System
  • Plank

    7 again. New CBA hurting future prospect acquisition, aging players on long contracts (Left side of IF), and the plan to slash payroll all lose a point.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Agree on all points.

      I think they’ll be fine after 2014 and 2015 but they’re pretty much gonna have to go with what they have in the system until then to have a chance to get under $189.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think it’s most likely that they do just re-sign 2 or 3 of Cano, Granderson, Martin, and Swisher while letting prospects fill in their pitching staff. They don’t have to do that, though. They can get creative if they want and make trades/sign free agents. If they wanted to sign Hamels, for example, they could trade a P prospect or package for a cost controlled OF/2B/C and let someone from the Cano, Granderson, Martin group walk. They could sign 3 guys to $10 mill per deals rather than Cano and Martin to a combined $30 mill. Not saying they will or should do these things, just that I disagree they’re locked into any one way to get to $189.

        • Robinson Tilapia


        • Manny’s BanWagon

          There are several different ways to get to $189 obviously but for those 2 years, they’re going to lose pretty much all payroll flexibility which is going to hinder their ability to acquire free agents.

          They do have plenty of pitching depth but there’s no position players in the system other maybe Romine who can be counted on over the next few years and with Arod and Jeter declining and Grandy, Cano and Swisher coming up on free agency, that’s a problem if they’re handcuffed by a $189 payroll.

          • Ted Nelson

            Every other team in MLB is “handcuffed” by a payroll budget and most of them are way, way below $189 million, so I’m not seeing this as particularly abnormal.

            I still think you are exaggerating their lack of flexibility. Even if they’re right up against their budget, they can still make trades. Deal a guy at a position where they’re set for someone at a position of need, for example. Deal a veteran on a reasonable deal for cap relief and cost controlled players. Even just dealing a guy getting towards the end of his arb clock who you think is getting a little overpaid and is replaceable at a lower cost. Or trade multiple low/mid minors prospects for one MLB ready prospect or cost controlled MLB player.

            They can still sign some smaller free agents, especially if they decide to let Cano or Granderson walk. I think they’ll re-sign both provided continued productivity, but they’re both getting to an age and potentially asking for $ where it’s not a no-brainer.

            You can’t count on many prospects, but they’ve got some guys other than Romine. (And while prospects will usually flake out… it can occasionally work in the opposite way where you’re suddenly surprised by the performance an unheralded prospects too.) Nunez, for starters, has the potential to be a solid starting SS or strong UTL if he figures out the throwing thing and progresses a little at the plate. Zoilo Almonte, David Adams, Corban Joseph, Brandon Laird… all have potential to contribute in some way. JR Murphy and Slade Heathcott are pretty close to the high minors at this point and certainly could contribute by 2015 if they’re ever going to contribute. They’re not loaded with position players in the high minors by any means, but they have some guys who could contribute or at least make decent injury replacements in a pinch.

            Heck, by 2015 there’s a chance some low minors guys will be contributing. There are three full seasons between now and then. Strong prospects hit two levels in one year or skip levels altogether all the time. Certainly no guarantees, but lots of potential.

            • Manny’s BanWagon

              Who is exaggerating?

              I didn’t say the Yankees are going to turn into the Orioles, I said they’re gonna pretty much have to play the hand they currently have without being able to make any extravagant additions to to payroll constraints.

              • Ted Nelson

                “Who is exaggerating?”
                “for those 2 years, they’re going to lose pretty much all payroll flexibility”

                To me that is an exaggeration. They can let Cano and Granderson and Swisher and Martin and their whole pen walk, for example, sign/trade for/develop cheaper replacements, and have tons of payroll flexibility to play with.

                “I said they’re gonna pretty much have to play the hand they currently have without being able to make any extravagant additions”

                The point I am trying to make is that not being able to make extravagant additions does not mean having to play your current hand. There are lots of additions that are not extravagant.

                • Ted Nelson

                  And they can make extravagant additions if they’d like. It’s just going to come at the cost of losing guys they have.

                  • Plank

                    That seems like a good justification to deduct a point from them in terms of overall confidence.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You can deduct a point for whatever you’d like. That’s totally irrelevant to what I’m talking about.

                      I am specifically talking to Manny’s BanWagon about points like “hey’re pretty much gonna have to go with what they have in the system until then to have a chance to get under $189” and “for those 2 years, they’re going to lose pretty much all payroll flexibility.” Not about whether it’s a good or bad thing compared to spending all the money you want or spending $220 million. Just those specific points that I believe are incorrect.

            • Plank

              What other team plans to cut payroll by 30MM? Thats the yankees plan. Average payrolls go up. The Yanks are swimming against the stream. I dont think its unfair to dock them a point for this philosophy.

              • Mike Axisa

                Other teams have absolutely cut payroll by $30M in recent years. The Rays, Padres, Mets, Dodgers, Indians, and Blue Jays jump to mind.

                • Plank

                  And it hurt all of them except the Rays who are freaks of nature.

                  • Mike Axisa

                    It was also a third of their payroll or more. $30M is ~$15 of the Yanks payroll. They should have no problem contending with a $189M payroll.

                    • Plank

                      In terms of player salaries, 30M is worth the same amount in terms of free agency or player retention to the Yankees and every other team. Yes, it is a smaller percentage of their total payroll, but it will still hurt, which is my point.

                      Acting like it will have no effect doesn’t make sense to me. It’s better to be in the Yankees position than the Padres position, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees cutting payroll by 30M is good or even neutral. It’s still bad.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “In terms of player salaries, 30M is worth the same amount in terms of free agency or player retention to the Yankees and every other team.”

                      I disagree. I think the marginal value is a lot less. Over half of that difference can come from Soriano and Feliciano alone. Even if both had career years in 2011, they’re luxuries without as big an impact on the team as an everyday player or front-end starter. How many wins would it really cost the Yankees to have, say, Melancon and Rapada in their pen instead of Soriano and Feliciano?

                      “Acting like it will have no effect doesn’t make sense to me.”

                      It will obviously impact exactly who they get… the thing is that it might be a marginal change. Spending money doesn’t guarantee success, and cheaper guys can produce similarly to more expensive guys.

                      On the whole I’d rather have more money, but this is somewhat at the margins. Especially because the Yankees currently have a glut of P prospects they’d probably be bringing up even if there were no $189 million plan. This works perfectly because they can shed most of the $30 million through replacing Mo, Soriano, Feliciano, Logan, Kuroda, Garcia, Pettitte, Hughes, Joba… with league min. and early arb. guys. It might mean a Sergio Mitre or two in the pen, a below replacement 5th SP, replacing an injured guy internally, and a Chris Dickerson on the bench all year… but you can still make the playoffs with some holes and in the playoffs those marginal guys generally become meaningless.

                    • Plank


                      Over half of that difference can come from Soriano and Feliciano alone. Even if both had career years in 2011, they’re luxuries without as big an impact on the team as an everyday player or front-end starter. How many wins would it really cost the Yankees to have, say, Melancon and Rapada in their pen instead of Soriano and Feliciano?

                      You are looking at the bad contracts and assuming those are the ones they wouldn’t have signed with a smaller payroll. If this had been in effect going into 2009, they could have ended up going for AJ and skipping CC. That line of thought works both ways.

                      I said “In terms of player salaries, 30M is worth the same amount in terms of free agency or player retention to the Yankees and every other team.”

                      Players won’t sign for less or more to play for the Yankees (obviously yes there are exceptions like Pettitte, but in general free agency dictates the amount of pay per performance) than any other team. The Yankees should be willing to pay more per win since they stand to gain more money for incremental gains in terms of viewership and attendance compared to every other team, but in terms of the wins that money can buy, it’s the same as every other team.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “You are looking at the bad contracts and assuming those are the ones they wouldn’t have signed with a smaller payroll.”

                      No, I tried to make it clear that was not what I am doing at all. I specifically said something like “even if those guys both had career years, they are marginal.” They’re marginal because they’re middle relievers in a stacked BP, not because they haven’t worked out. It’s really frustrating to go all out to make a point crystal clear and have you ignore it anyway.

                      I did not say AJ… I said two guys in marginal roles. If the Yankees didn’t have Mo and DRob and Joba and Logan… maybe Soriano and Feliciano would have been more necessary signings… as it was they were not.
                      And even AJ… if you had to choose between CC and AJ in 2009… would it really be a choice?

                      “I said “In terms of player salaries, 30M is worth the same amount in terms of free agency or player retention to the Yankees and every other team.””

                      And I directly replied to that. Do you understand the concept of marginal value? This goes back to the bullpen thing above. $15 million on a 4th or 5th reliever is not the same as $15 million on a starting 1B or SS or any regular or SP.

                      I’m perplexed by your last paragraph and have no idea what you’re saying.
                      Whether or not a player will take a below market deal to sign with you, you can still find bargains in free agency.
                      Again… MARGINAL VALUE. If you have a 90+ win team with a $200 million payroll adding that $12 million surplus RP is not as valuable as being a $50 million payroll team who adds a $12 million FA at a position of real need.

                    • Plank

                      You tried to make it clear that you aren’t only using bad contracts to illustrate your point by bringing up Carl Crawford, Jason Werth, Rafael Soriano, and Pedro Feliciano as examples of what happens with a lot of money to spend and Marcus Thames, Andruw Jones, Mark Melancon, and Clay Rapada as examples of players that are signed under budget constrictions?

                      Goalposts: Moved.

                      Why do I fall for it every time?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Look up “marginal value.”

                      That you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                      And I did not bring up Soriano and Feliciano in at all the same way as Crawford and Werth. You are the one twisting the context to make things up.

                      This conversation is over.

                    • Plank

                      I understand the concept of marginal value. Do you? What does that have to do with the anecdotal examples you used? What does that have to do with whether losing 30MM in payroll with be a detriment to the Yankees or not? What does that have to do with how confident you feel about the Yankees? You can peel back the layers of the onion until the goalposts are back where they started and you still make no sense at any point along the way.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      I just can’t resist… clearly you do not understand the concept, because it has everything to do with those questions. The Yankees plan is to shed marginal salary that has been dedicated to the periphery of the roster.

                      As I have said several times now, a 4th and 5th relief pitcher do not have the same marginal value as a core everyday player. Do you disagree with that?

                    • Plank

                      The Yankees don’t have high priced players at the margins that will account for 30MM in lower salary. They have underpriced key players that are coming off the books (Swisher, Granderson, and Cano) that they will have to replace them with:

                      1. inferior production at a lower price (team gets worse, but sticks to budget)
                      2. similar production at a higher price (team stays the same, but not possible with the austerity plan)
                      3. similar production at the same price (team stays the same, but not possible because of the makeup of the farm system.)
                      4. similar or better production at a lower price (team stays the same or gets better, but not possible because of the makeup of the farm system.)

                      The only player coming off the books that would fit into your idea of replacing on the cheap and not suffering a big dropoff is Soriano (and maybe Mo). All but 3 of the relievers are already making low salaries as are the bench players and 3/5 of the starting rotation. The drop in payroll is significant enough that it will have to come by damaging the core of the team somehow.

                      Thanks for talking to me like I’m 5 by the way.

                      Let me anticipate your response as it will be just like all your others: “I wasn’t talking about that. I was talking about (insert new, previously unmentioned topic here).”

                    • Plank

                      The Yankees plan is to…

                      Also, as you are such a fan of saying, how do you know the Yankees plans? Have you talked to anyone in the front office? Where is your source?

                      No, wait. I realize this is a baseball blog and no one in their right mind would make that kind of comment. Only you.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      “The Yankees don’t have high priced players at the margins that will account for 30MM in lower salary.”

                      Do the math. They can re-sign 3/4 of Martin, Swisher, Cano, and Granderson… which I said originally: ONE hole to fill.

                      Contracts that will expire:
                      Jeter (down to 8 mill… it’s an option so tax number should adjust too)

                      That’s $76.76 million of this seasons’s payroll. Only 9 of them active to start this season (minus Jeter, assuming he stays). $4.5 million to replace that $76.76. That’s $72.26 million, not one every day player lost. All the losses are pitching, where the strength of the high minors is.

                      “Also, as you are such a fan of saying, how do you know the Yankees plans? Have you talked to anyone in the front office? Where is your source?”

                      The alternative is that the Yankees plan is to let essential players walk and sign a bunch of relievers instead till they hit $189 million… how likely do you think that is smart guy?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      Why assume they’re going to lose all these guys without going through and doing the math? What’s the point of that?

                    • Ted Nelson

                      A-Rod is tough to figure with the HR records, but…

                      3B A-Rod: $27.5
                      SS Jeter *$8
                      1B Tex $22.5
                      2B Cano *$22

                      CF Granderson *$18
                      LF Gardner *$8
                      RF ???

                      C Martin *$8

                      DH ???

                      UTL Nunez *$1.5
                      C Romine $0.5
                      OF ??? $0.5
                      UTL ??? $0.5

                      CC $23
                      Pineda $5
                      Nova $3
                      ??? $0.5
                      ??? $0.5

                      Robertson *$5
                      Wade *$1.5
                      5 relievers $2.5

                      That’s $158 million before 40 man guys, other roster expenses, RF, and DH. Of course I could be off on the arb… but I also gave Cano and Granderson a lot of money. Can’t see much more than that, though I can see less. It’s tight… but definitely some room and doable.

                    • Plank

                      Your math is right. That hypothetical team is worse than the team we currently have, though. The reason it will be worse is because of the payroll being cut.

                      What part of what I said do you disagree with?

                      You are also assuming a lot in terms of developing 2 starters, 5(?!) relievers, 2 or 3 positional backups, AND getting a RF and DH for around 10MM.

                      Why assume they’re going to lose all these guys without going through and doing the math?

                      Please show me where I’ve done this. My point is that they are going to lose someone, maybe a few people who are key contributors and will be big losses to the team, not just marginal guys.

                      You now seem to be arguing that it is mathematically possible to get below the soft cap. I know it is. Congratulations on moving the goalposts once again.

                    • Ted Nelson

                      You are such a fucking douche. I am not moving any goal posts. Stop with that bullshit. My argument has not changed one bit.

                      How is that team worse? That’s what I disagree with. It’s the same team. Two guys should be expected to decline appreciably… but those two already are and are stuck here. Otherwise guys are still in good years and some young guys should be expected to develop.
                      You have to be kidding. What was Swisher’s aav on this deal? What was Granderson’s aav on this deal? Right now their DH costs $3 million between Jones and Ibanez. Filling two spots for $10 million isn’t a terribly difficult task. Even with a limitless budget signing all their veterans to big, long deals well into their 30s might not be the move to make. That really hasn’t been their MO for building their team recently other than overpaying legacy guys. Many recent pickups have come on reasonable deals or through the minors.

                      What important contributors other than one guy are gone that wouldn’t be if they had a limitless budget? Most of those guys I mentioned are gone regardless and most of the other guys will probably stay regardless at their salaries.

                      It’s hard to develop two starters out of five MLB ready prospects… one of which would theoretically be a 5th starter? That’s effectively one starter out of five candidates. Yankees have had two downright bad starters each of the last two years and managed the playoffs fine.
                      Everyone in your bullpen doesn’t have to be a stud. Obviously better if they are, but cheap, effective relievers aren’t impossible to find. Again, it’s a marginal part of the roster once you have a couple of reliable relievers out there. Finding the occasional Wade, Logan, Cabral/Rapada isn’t too tough. Nor is developing one or two reliever out of all the Yankees depth. The Yankees absolutely have the prospects to make it work 2 years from now, and if they don’t should be able to find some cheap options for the BP like they have a thousand times before.

                      The future is uncertain. Sure, the 2014 team could be worse. It could be better. I don’t think the budget makes more than a marginal difference there. Your disagreement seems to indicate ignorance over how much current Yankees cost. Finding a RF (or LF or C) and a DH for $10 mill aav isn’t that tough. How do I know? Because they’ve been doing just that the last few years. Roster turnover is inevitable.

              • Ted Nelson

                Again, while I disagree, I am not talking about your point. I am talking about the flexibility they have in getting to and staying under $189 million. If I wanted to talk about your points, I’d respond to you.

                As far as your point… I don’t believe they’re going to have to make many sacrifices to get to $189 million, so I’m not docking them any “confidence points.” I think that they’ll be able to re-sign or replace 3 of the 4 positional FAs they’ve got coming up. I think that they have the P depth to build a cheap rotation and BP… and if the last couple of guys in your pen or your 5th starter are bad, you can still make the playoffs and it becomes irrelevant in the playoffs. So, they have to find or develop one replacement. Could be Romine, Adams, or Zoilo internally. Could be trading an “expendable” prospect for a cheap need filler. Could be pulling an Andruw Jones/Marcus Thames cheap signing off. Even if they had unlimited funds they might end up replacing Swisher, say, with a Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth level expensive bust. I’d rather have the extra money to spend, but I don’t think it makes a huge difference. And this isn’t a binding agreement. If they have bad luck between now and then to the point their team is not a strong playoff contender, I think they will break the $189 million ceiling. It’s very valuable to get there, but not necessarily valuable enough to endure one or more losing seasons.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Then again, maybe there are threats on the table from the other owners we don’t know about to the point where they’re going to stick to $189 million even if it means losing games.

      • Mike HC

        Considering Mo’s 15 million is going to be gone whether we like it or not, I don’t think it is going to be all that difficult to get under while still fielding a similarly talented team. The problem is that it will be tough to improve to dynasty level. I guess we will have to settle for merely “one of” the best teams in the league.

        • Ted Nelson

          Is it ever easy to improve to dynasty level?

          If they do, I would say it’s as likely to be through internal development and some bargains as more high priced guys.

          • Mike HC

            Wouldn’t you think having an extra 20 million or more to spend would be more likely to help the team improve than not? I know you like to chime in pointing out every possibility under the sun, but I don’t see how you have a problem with me saying having a higher payroll would only help the team.

            • Ted Nelson

              I don’t have a problem with you saying having more money to spend is generally a good thing. The comment I responded to wasn’t that, though. It was: “The problem is that it will be tough to improve to dynasty level.”

              • Mike HC

                Right. If 20-30 million is the difference between getting Hamels (while keeping all our big hitters) and not getting Hamels, that very well could be the difference between being purely dominant or just merely one of the top teams.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Could be Hamels, but could be one of their SP prospects. Or could be Hamels and trading a P prospect for a 2B/CF prospect rather than committing megabucks to an aging guy at an up-the-middle position.

                  The Yankees have spent ~$200+ million for a long time. They’ve been a playoff dynasty, but not a championship dynasty. What are the chances that suddenly these are the two seasons where spending the same amount they’ve been spending for a long time finally brings them not only their 2nd WS in 12 seasons, but a string of WSs?

                  • Mike HC

                    The chances are better than if they stick to the 189 million plan, which was my only point.

                    • Robinson Tilapia

                      …..but it’s peppered with references to “Cole Hamels” and reaching “dynasty level,” which are beyond high bars to set for any franchise at any point in time, no matter what their payroll is.

                      They’d do better at getting whoever they want with a payroll limit of $289 million, $389 million, or $489 million. We know that. We also know that team may still lose to the Rays or Rangers in the playoffs.

                      They will have to compete at $189 million and, warts aside, fielding a contending team at that level is absolutely attainable.

                • Ted Nelson

                  Robinson Tilapia expresses my sentiment above, but my point is just that “dynasty level” is ALWAYS “tough” to reach. No matter your payroll. An extra $20 million hasn’t made it easy to be a dynasty the last 11 seasons, and I don’t see how it will make it less than “tough” going forward.

                  The other point I was getting at is that most of the pro sports championship dynasties I can think of have been built through internal player development… across sports. Whether it’s the Yankees, the Bulls, or FC Barcelona. Teams buying veterans at the top of the game are, generally speaking, going to be overpaying or paying fair value. Developing talent is usually the more efficient way to do it. Obviously every team is a balance of the two, just saying internal development is usually huge in these dynasties.

                  Finally, I was commenting on your point that the marginal guy they don’t sign could make all the difference in the world. He could, he could not. What % of $15-20+ mill aav FAs work out? I can think of a whole lot who have not worked out. Even if they do work out, how many elevate their team to become a championship dynasty?

  • Beamish

    Has anyone actually reduced their confidence score because of the Joba injury? It seems to me that the team cannot really miss what they did not have but someone might feel different.

    I am still at my usual 8 since I think they have put together the best roster they can – and it is an objectively very good one – the rest will be about results for me.

    • BK2ATL

      No. I stuck with my 9.

      I didn’t assume that Joba would make much more of a difference, since we have ample arms in the MLB bullpen and in AAA to provide basically the same time of contribution that he would’ve provided. Plus, Cashman thinking ahead went out and signed Aardsma to a MiLB deal, and is due to be ready at some point in the 2nd half, same as would have been Joba. We’re covered.

      I think the more we get to see Pineda “pitch,” the more people will change their tune on his ST velocity. I think we’ll see, along with the command of his changeup and slider, that 98 mph fastball will be there too. We won’t be talking about Montero, once Pineda starts racking up those electric 10+K games, shutting down opponents.

      Hughes looked pretty good in ST. I like the LOOGY battle going on right now. I like how this team is built right now.

  • JohnC

    When is DePaula supposed to arrive? Can’t wait to get him in minor league camp

    • jsbrendog

      i’m very excited foir this as well

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I’m pretty sure he arrived Saturday, took his physical and finalized his contract yesterday, and should be in camp today…….unless MLB suspends him for another 3 years.

      • CP

        The delay wasn’t from MLB, right?

        • JohnC

          NO, that was the US Consulate. MLB had no control over that

    • Cesar “Stairs” Cabral

      Arrived Saturday. RIP Sunday.

  • Esteban

    Won’t know until Fangraphs adds up the WARs and tells me their Org rankings

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Still at 9, pitching has improved with additions of Pineda and a second lefty in the bullpen. Girardi usage of Jeter and Arod at a max of 125/130 games and a better bench. Hitting should be productive enough to win 95-97 games.

    The only negative could be the injury bug a boo that pops up on every contender and renders the team incapable of winning enough games to make the playoffs but we have no control over this issue. So at this point no reason to believe the plan to win can’t succeed.

    • CJ

      Second lefty sounds like rapada with cabral being traded. Cashman was on with Jon and Suzyn yesterday said rapada is responsible for knocking out Boston last year with several big lefty outs and cabral “won’t be going back he’s generated too much buzz around baseball”

  • Mike HC

    Didn’t take long for some of the shine to come off this 2012 team. But I’m still holding at a 9, while thinking I might be a little too optimistic with the talent in the AL.

  • Steve

    “The Triple-A stadium situation could linger into 2013, and Jorge Vazquez is getting sick of playing there.”

    I was all set to vote 9, but dropped it to 8 after reading this^^^

    • Mike HC

      If Jorge Vazquez is not happy, no one is.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        The Dow dropped 600 points and the President’s approval dropped below 50 percent, all because of Jorge Vazquez.

        In contrast, Brian Gordon’s leaving hed to the Arab Spring. FACT.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    9. Yawn.

  • STONE COLD Austin Romine

    I was at a 8 (I feel confident with this org in the near future and after 2014) but now I’m at a 7.

    Ibanez went 2 for 10 with 1k (braden braboy struck him out) and 1hr. Even against AA pitchers he can’t buy a hit. I’m starting to hope that his contract isn’t guaranteed.

    Also .. I’m impressed with Pineda moreso now than I was his last few starts. Dude knows how to pitch.

  • Guest

    I’m at a 9. Excited about the young position players with upside (Williams, Sanchez, Bichette, pumped about all the thisclose to major league ready pitching depth (Betances, Banuelos, Phelps, Mitchell, Warren), but most thrilled about the 25 man roster for the big club.

    Playoffs are a crapshoot, but I feel fairly confident the Yanks will get there, and if they do, this is the most confident I have felt about the pitching staff’s playoff potential since the early aughts.

    CC’s still CC, really like Kuroda, Hughes may be bouncing back, one of the most decorated playoff performers in baseball history is still lurking, and I LOVE Pineda.

    Question: If you have a choice between

    (1) a young power pitcher with good control, a sick hard slider, who sat 94 and hit 97, but had no third offering, and

    (2) a young pitcher with great command, a sick hard slider that he could take something off of to produce a great slurve, the pitchability to know how to work both sides of the plate, take a little off and add a little back on to all of his offerings, a solid changeup, who sat 89-91 and hit 93-94 IN SPRING TRAINING…who would you choose?

    I’d choose pitcher 2 everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. The hard throwing righty might be more fun to dream on, but MLB bullpens are filled with two pitch pitchers who throw heat and have a sick slider. I’ll take the guy with three offerings, command of his pitches on both sides of the plate, the ability to think through when to add a little something and when to take off a little something, and still has a fastball thats good enough to keep people honest.

    Frankly, I love the Pineda we’ve seen so far much more than the Pineda I thought we were getting. And let’s not forget, it’s Spring Training. There is the very strong possibility that Pineda will be throwing harder in June than he is throwing currently (many pitchers do).

    • Ted Nelson

      I agree with everything you’re saying, but I would just point out that the (legitimate) concerns about Pineda’s velocity were more about Cashman’s comments on conditioning and whether it was a sign of an underlying injury (warming up in ST is normal, but occasionally it’s more than that like Hughes in 2011… which is certainly in the forefront of Yankees fans’ minds).

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Point taken, but I think he’s referring to the…..illegitimate concern just as much.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, plenty of those.

      • Guest

        Like Cash’s ex-wife, I now take nothing that comes out of his mouth at face value.

        I love Cash and think he has done spectacular work in one of the most stressful jobs in all of sports. But you don’t get the nickname “Ninja” by being straight forward in your public statements.

        Everything he’s said about Pineda, from the day he made the trade, seems designed to keep expectations low and to “test” Pineda’s mettle in spring training rather than when the lights get REALLY bright.

        I understand that we can never KNOW if he’s injured, and velocity drops are usually a sign of injury, but he says he feels really good. I don’t remember Hughes saying he felt good. It was more “I’m not hurt, I’m just not totally comfortable/where I want to be it.”

        And as long as he’s not hurt, continues to display great gommand, the changeup continue to be a solid pitch, the slider (and his variations on the slider) continue to be nasty, and he continues to be be in the 89-92 range while hitting 93-94, I’m still happy.

        That combo has worked pretty well for a lot of great pitchers…

        • Mike HC

          Agreed. Something about Cashman’s comments about Pineda seem very calculated.

        • Ted Nelson

          Cashman’s comments were pretty straight forward… the guy showed up 20 lbs heavier and out of shape, so he probably didn’t do a ton of conditioning work in the offseason. Seems like a logical conclusion we didn’t need Cashman to make for us. And he specifically said he probably didn’t pick up a ball… which isn’t that weird if you want to let your shoulder rest after an workload increase. Could have been in great shape without picking up a ball. The troubling part was only that he wasn’t in good shape.

          I think the wording of how you feel is pretty much semantics and tough to draw conclusions from. Different people will express themselves differently.

          I’m not saying anything negative about Pineda (other than that he showed up 20 lbs. out of shape… which we have first hand reports of).

          • Guest

            I haven’t been paying really close attention, so correct me if I am wrong, but Cash was the first place I heard that he was 20 lbs. heavier. Cash is also the only place where I heard speculation that he didn’t pick up a ball all winter.

            I could be wrong, but those statements reak of calculated imprecision. The message he wants to get across is Pineda didn’t come in to camp ready to go gangbusters, so he chose two highly quotable ways to express that sentiment. Neither seems to be the product of rigorous fact gathering and/or analysis. Also, the statement came in a sports radio interview, which is a pretty convenient environment for loose proclamations.

            I could be wrong, but something about those statements feels more calculated than a guileless exposition of the gospel truth.

            • Ted Nelson

              You agree that he’s right, but you don’t take what he’s saying at face value?

              • Guest

                I think I have been a bit unclear. I’m not saying that Pineda didn’t report at a higher weight nor am I saying that he didn’t take it easy this winter.

                What I am trying to say is Cashman’s comments seem calculated to paint a particularly intense picture. Everyone else, including Pineda, says he came in 7-10lbs over his mid-season weight, Cash says he was 20 lbs over his prior spring training weight. Everyone else says he didn’t go as hard as he did last year when he pitched winter ball, Cash says he doesn’t think he picked up a ball all winter.

                Now, I’ll concede that everything Cash said may be true, and everything else was wrong. But to me, it looks like Cash took a tempest in a teapot, and purposefully turned it into a full fledge monsoon.

                I respect Cash enough, especially his ability to play the media like a fiddle, to believe that he did this purpose…and I think he thought a little exaggeration couldn’t hurt.

    • CS Yankee


      I could care less if he doesn’t throw a pitch above 95 until September. Use 3-4 different pitches with command and save the 98 until he is in a 8-pitch battle against Hamilton in the ALCS…then smoke him low-and-inside.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Well said, guest. Feel free to give yourself a name for that. “Stairs,” every variant on “Monteroisdinero,” and “Ted Nelson” are taken.

      • jsbrendog

        ::golf clap::

  • CS Yankee

    9 (again)

    SP seems to be beyond an all-time high in terms of depth, plus their core (3-4 SP) have to be considered top 5. RP appears to be the best in the pros.

    Aging left IF. Gardner, Jones & Ibanez all look sad at the plate & Swish (hasn’t played much yet) seem to be the big concerns. I still expect a 5+ run average per game though with Nunez, Teix, Arod & Jeet producing, but might not lead the majors.

    AAA seems to have no depth with the sticks & with AA not much better. There might be a 2-3 year void on studs arriving to the bigs is a decent concern unless they lock-in some (Cano/Grandy) talent.

  • JohnC

    I wonder if Pineda had been acquired for Austin ROmine instead of Montero would there be as muich wide spread panic and scrutiny over his lack of velocity

    • Chen Meng Wang

      If we had acquired Pineda for Romine I think I’d still be laughing. Like legitimately laughing out loud constantly since I had heard about the deal.

  • Joe

    Jeter homered on the 5th pitch of the game.