Thoughts after another win over the Rangers

Yankees beat Rangers again, win 3-2
Game 118: Clean Sweep
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Yankees have won three straight over the Rangers and seven of their last eight overall, restoring some order to the universe after playing sub-.500 ball for about three weeks. They’re on the verge of sweeping Texas in a four-game series, something that was honestly unthinkable when the week began. The Yankees are playing so well and with the quick turn-around for the afternoon game today, there’s no use for a focused post this morning. Instead, here is a collection of some random thoughts. Feel free to expand or add to the discussion in the comments…

1. I think that we, as a fanbase, don’t give Freddy Garcia enough credit. He had that brutal April and it seems to have lingered in everyone’s minds, but he’s been rock solid ever since regardless of role (starter or reliever). Part of the problem is that he doesn’t fit the profile of the type of pitcher that usually succeeds in the AL East. He’s not a hard-thrower and he doesn’t miss bats, but he generates lots of weak contact and simply outsmarts hitters. When I saw the weather prior to the game last night, my thought was that the Yankees were in pretty good shape because Garcia’s a veteran starter who has pitched through everything. A little rain wouldn’t bother him. Freddy really does deserve a lot of credit for stepping up once Andy Pettitte went down.

2. He isn’t going to continue hitting this well through the end of the season and into the playoffs, but don’t the Yankees have to find a way to keep Eric Chavez in the lineup once Alex Rodriguez comes off the DL? They could get him three or four starts a week at third base and/or DH, but to do so they would have to take some playing time away from Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez. I suppose they could platoon those two and use Ichiro in left for the fly ball pitchers (Phil Hughes and Garcia) while Ibanez gets the call for the ground-ballers (CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova). Either way, Chavez has been far too productive to turn him back into a once-a-week type player. Someone’s going to lose at-bats when A-Rod comes back and it shouldn’t be him.

(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

3. Isn’t this Melky Cabrera stuff just sad? You know I’m not the biggest Melky fan in the world, but it’s sad because he was so close to a life-changing contract. We have no idea how much the added testosterone helped his performance, but the story about him getting into shape and taking his career seriously after getting released by the Braves seemed completely plausible. Melky always had some skills, he makes lots of contact and he has a pretty good idea of the strike zone, so it’s not completely unexpected that he turned into a BABIP machine during his peak years. Now his free agent value is destroyed — I was thinking something along the lines of six years and $80-90M this offseason, but he might have to settle for a one-year, prove yourself contract now. He was staring at money that would put his great great great grandkids through college, now he has to do it all over again to land that kind of payday. Rough.

4. On the heels of his perfect game yesterday — which was just absolutely brilliant, I can’t tell you how filthy he was if you didn’t see it — would you take Felix Hernandez over any other pitcher if you had one game to win? I’m pretty sure I would. The top three names that immediately jumped to mind for me were Felix, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw, but I’d rather have Hernandez over the other two. MLB Network joked (or maybe it wasn’t a joke) yesterday that the ninth inning of the perfect game were the three biggest outs of his career, and that kinda bummed me out. Felix has never pitched in the postseason and only once have the Mariners finished above third place during his career, but he just seems to give off that vibe that he would be untouchable on the big stage. Maybe I’m completely off the mark here, but he always seems to perform his best when facing top teams like the Yankees or Red Sox or Rangers or the Rays yesterday.

5. Is this not the most likable Yankees team in quite some time? At least since the 2009 squad, and I think you might even be able to go back farther than that. The mid-aughts teams were just awful in that regard, full of grumpy and unlikeable players that came off as far too corporate (Gary Sheffield and Kevin Brown stand out as notable examples). This team has likeable players all over the place, from Chavez to Sabathia to Kuroda to Curtis Granderson to Robinson Cano to many others. They’re all just very easy to root for and it makes the whole baseball fan experience that much better. The Yankees placed a renewed emphasis on makeup and character a few years ago, and I think this is a byproduct.

Yankees beat Rangers again, win 3-2
Game 118: Clean Sweep
  • Eddard

    1. Agreed. And people wanted Freddy out of the rotation as recently as last week. He’s been exceptional for a 5th starter.

    2. Agreed, but Ibanez/Jones should play LF in October and Chavez DH. When Alex returns Chavez and A-Rod can alternate DH and 3B most days. You just can’t keep Chavy’s bat out of the lineup in October. Ichiro can PR and play LF in the late innings.

    3. It’s not sad at all, the guy is an idiot. He cost himself millions and should get 100 games for first offense and kicked out of the league for second offense.

    4. I would take Felix closely followed by Hiroki Kuroda.

    5. This is a great bunch of ballplayers. All of the cheap pickups Cashman made have worked out brilliantly. Look at the Boston club- a bunch of whiny babies who tanked last season, got their manager fired and now are crying about it. They got what they deserved. That would never happen here with the leadership on this team.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      4. Kuroda has been really good this year and solid in his MLB career, but I’d take Verlander or Kershaw over him any day of the week.

      Yes, Melky made a mistake, but saying that he’s an idiot is going overboard. There was an opportunity to make millions of dollars by cheating and seeing if he could get away with it. It was clearly wrong, but I understand why he might try. I don’t agree with the tactic, but that doesn’t make him an idiot.

      • Eddard

        To get caught in this day and age, yes you are an idiot. You know they’re testing and what they’re testing. Manny was an idiot for getting caught not once but twice. They need to up the penalties to deter this behavior in the future. I think 100 games for 1st offense, 2nd time you’re gone would be a good penalty structure.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          We can agree to disagree. Not sure of the % of players that are tested by MLB each year, but I know it was low in the past. I do agree that anyone using PEDs should realize that if they perform well above career norms, they will be looked at. However, the risk/reward is so great, I understand why someone would be tempted.

          • Ed

            Everyone is tested in spring training and at least once every season. MLB is allowed to do up to 1,400 additional random tests. That’s a minimum of two tests per season. I don’t know if there are any limits to how many times a player may be randomly tested. 40 man rosters for 30 teams totals 1,200 players, so I would assume you can potentially be randomly tested 2 or more times, leading to a 4+ tests per season possibility.

            • Laz

              Yea but that really isn’t often enough. The steroids that are currently being used get out of your system really fast. Melky probably took the steroids the morning of testing. He was careless or extremely unlucky.

    • CP

      3. It’s not sad at all, the guy is an idiot.

      Melky is actually quite smart in this regard. He almost go away with it. Another 2-3 months and he could have cashed in. He was faced with a pretty easy choice – huge upside if he’s not caught, and relatively small downside if he is caught (relative to what he would have gotten based on his Atlanta performance).

      • DM

        Victor Conte of Balco didn’t think he was so smart. He said Melky could have easily passed the test. And I agree with his commentary about the rest of the league (and the rest of sports actually; the NFL is a joke). A chunk may have been spooked by the new testing — but the drugs and techniques are always a step ahead. When big bucks are involved, players still take the risk.

      • rek4gehrig

        “He was faced with a pretty easy choice – huge upside if he’s not caught, and relatively small downside if he is caught”

        Isnt that what all thieves/cheaters think until they are caught?

    • Jim Is Bored

      3. No, because that’s not how the system is set up right now, why in the world should Melky be a special case?

      4. You’re crazy.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    You left Swisher off the list of “likeable” players. He is certainly one of the players most fans enjoy seeing out there, but there are certainly quite a few of them on the team now.

    I agree that Chavez & ARod should split some time at 3rd. He’s been on fire and I hope he holds on for a few more months. It may help keep ARod fresh, and although Ibanez has been a great value for the team, right now, I’m in favor of Chavez if there’s a choice between the 2 at DH.

    • jjyank

      Agreed on Swish, I love that guy.

  • blake

    Agree really on all 5 points….nice post

  • Cuso

    Felix is awesome, but yesterday’s performance deeming him as the “one-game-to-win” champion is reactionary.

    Top 3 certainly are Verlander, Kershaw and Felix.

    But Verlander is still your “one-game-to-win” guy. And Kershaw is probably just a smidge ahead of Felix on that list.

    I’ve watched every single Felix start for the last 2 years, FYI.

    • CP

      Why does Verlander have this reputation as a ‘one game to win’ guy? When he’s had to win one game (i.e. in the playoffs) he hasn’t pitched well.

    • pat

      For what it’s worth, Verlander has a 5.57 ERA in 8 postseason starts. I know it’s a small sample size, but those are as close to “must wins” as you’re gonna get. Kershaw has been bad in 2 starts and pretty good in another and of course Felix has none. What does all this mean? I dunno. Probably nothing.

    • jjyank

      Felix didn’t earn that in one game, he’s been one of the best pitchers on the planet for awhile now.

      • Jim Is Bored

        This this this. Watching Felix is the only reason I occasionally tune into M’s games on Extra Innings.

  • blake

    Felix’s best is better than anybody in baseball…..if you watched yesterday the Rays had absolutely no chance at getting a hit when it got late and he smelled that perfect game… I think Felix is really building himself for sustained dominance if he can stay healthy….hes not relying on 95 anymore though he can still hump it up there when he needs to…..

    • Mister D

      That first sentence is dead on. Can look just like peak Gooden when peak Gooden was the most amazing thing people my age have ever seen.

  • pat

    Lol, sounds like Mike’s been drinking this morning. He’s usually never this cheerful, hah.

  • Professor Longnose

    Granderson is hitting .235. What’s wrong with him?

    • Rich in NJ

      Cone said during last night’s broadcast that he thought he was rolling over his top hand too quickly.

  • DERP

    If Swisher leaves, Melky on a one year deal sounds pretty good.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      While I’m not against that (as he would be quite a bit cheaper than Swisher), he really is a crap shoot at this point. There’s no way to know how much the additional testosterone helped him, either physically or psychologically. You’d need to have an alternate plan in place in case he reverts back to the player he was with the Braves.

  • Rich in NJ

    I like this team, but I would like it even more if there were some more young players with upside making critical contributions.

    Yes, I feel some compassion for Melky, and would not be opposed to the Yankees giving him a one year, low money contract.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Axisafail. This should have been a guest column by Big Member.

    I would love for Melky to re-build his rep on a cheap contract in pinstripes.

    Agreed on the mid-aughts teams, as well as liking a team where role players get the chance to shine.

    The problem with commebters’ over reliance on stats on here is that we often to get too locked in to them indicating future performance. Of course you shouldn’t ignore them, but it just ain’t that easy sometimes.

    • Jim Is Bored

      This seems like an out of character post for you. What was the stats comment a reply to?

    • Cris Pengiucci

      “I would love for Melky to re-build his rep on a cheap contract in pinstripes.”

      Would there be any benefits at home if this were to occur? :-)

  • 28 this year

    Eric Chavez = AL MVP, not really but that batting line is star level production out of a backup CI. Thats amazing and just what the Yankees need.

  • Tony

    I agree that we don’t give Freddie enough credit. But I will say this – he is a painful pitcher to watch. Not so much last night, when everything seemed to be working (except vs. Hamilton), but in general. He’s slow, we wanders around the mound between pitches, the game takes forever and always seems to be one batter away from disaster. But yes, he’s done a nice job.

    • 28 this year

      Honestly, part of the slowness in wandering around I would think is part of his style. Restlessness is something he wants the hitter to feel because psychologically, he feels it makes the hitter want to swing to move the game along. I mean, its highly possible that its part of his game to take his time because he wants to lull the batter to sleep.

      • jjyank

        I think there’s some truth to that. Freddy’s game is to keep hitters off balance.

  • YanksFanInBeantown

    They would have to take some playing time away from Ichiro and Ibanez to keep playing Chavy?

    Oh no! We wouldn’t want that!

    • Steve (different one)

      Both of those guys have been great of late.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        There’s great, and then there’s what Chavy’s been doing the last few weeks.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          Although I didn’t realize how ridiculously hot Raul’s been in August.

        • Steve (different one)

          Agree 100%, I wasnt trying to take anything away from Chavez. Just wanted to point out that those guys have stepped up as well.

  • Vinny Scafuto

    The AL Cy Young Vote is going to be ridiculous. Price, Weaver, Sale, Felix, and Verlander could all win in any year given their performances this season… it’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

  • Broll The American

    What’s with the pitty party for Melky? He’s a cheater. By many accounts he was often lazy in his preparations during his Yankees tenure. Now he cheats in his contract year and gets caught and this is somehow sad? The major league minimum salary is multiples of the average US worker’s salary (if they’re not unemployed). I shed no tear of his potential lost income. He’s busted and now he has to deal with the consequences of his actions.

    • Rich in NJ

      To want to offer someone a second chance because you think that the Yankees might benefit from a player who might out-produce a low money contract is pity? PEDs don’t benefit you unless you bust your butt in gym, so even if he was lazy, he has shown he isn’t now.

      • Scully

        Thank you. I’m glad someone finally brings up the point that you can’t take PEDs and sit on your ass, the only thing they help is to push you to the next level. Of course, when you do take PEDs you have so much energy and testosterone gushing through you that the gym is the perfect outlet for it (not speaking from personal experience just from being around dudes on the sauce).

      • Steve (different one)

        Well, I kindof agree with this. Obviously you have to work out to get the benefits, but on the other hand you are taking a shortcut using the PEDs. In a way, that can be called “lazy”. You have to work out, but the drugs give you more results than working out clean.

        That said, I’d take him back on a one year deal. He’s going to sustain some of the benefits he got from getting into shape, and he’s served his suspension.

        It would be hypocritical for Yankee fans to not accept Melky after cheering for Pettitte all these years.

      • DM

        You’re right about the PEDs. It’s not like chubby Melky rubs some AndroGel on his armpits and traps then suddenly hits .350. I’m sure he followed the usual sequence of getting into some serious working out — then making some dietary adjustments — then taking supplements as well as working on improving his baseball skills. But in that environment you inevitably come across the “should I try…” debate in your mind. Being in and around that stuff for years myself, I’d say the greatest benefit he’d derive from what he was caught using is expedited recovery from the rigors of playing every day. There’s more options and effects than the stereotypical mass gain and increased power.

      • Broll The American

        You missed the point of my post entirely. The original article seemed sympathetic to the fact that Melky would potentially lose millions of dollars because he got caught (millions that he only would have earned because he was cheating). Even his former Yankees teammates all feel “bad” or “sad” for him. He didn’t get injured or become afflicted with a disease. He got caught cheating.

        Melky has already earned much more than the average person ever will in their lifetimes… and even if he doesn’t land a 5yr $50 mil contract, he still will continue to earn VERY nice money by all normal standards. I’ll sign up for 10 years of major league minimum salary anytime.

        Your response seems to excuse the use of PEDs because they require working out to make them effective. Becoming motivated to enhance your cheating production is not a virtue.

  • Matt Imbrogno

    Really don’t blame Melky at all.

    • Slugger27

      you dont? why not? he knowingly cheated.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        I don’t blame him, he probably figured it was the only way he could stay in the league after 2010.

        • Slugger27

          just so we’re clear, you’re saying you’re ok with people cheating as long as it benefits them (assuming they get away with it)? so if your coworker was doing something to circumvent the rules because otherwise he wouldn’t get the promotion he wanted, you’d be fine with that?

          • .zip file

            Frankly, I don’t care what players put in their bodies. Never have cared, never will care.

            • Slugger27

              its cheating, and he knew it was cheating and did it anyway. whether it should be against the rules is a different question, but right now, its cheating.

              • YanksFanInBeantown

                I wouldn’t have a problem with my co-worker circumventing the rules to avoid getting fired.
                That’s why I think it’s forgivable, he was a fringy guy just trying to hang on.

                • Slugger27

                  fair enough. i dont share the same stance.

  • Boomer’s Boy

    Is it just me or does it always seem like whenever a Perfect Game or No Hitter is pitched in the AL it’s against the Rays???

    • Mike HC

      haha … definitely

    • Rick in Philly

      Third time since 2009 that they have been on the losing end of a perfect game.

  • Dan

    I agree that Felix’s performance yesterday was dominant, and I am not trying to belittle it. However, shouldn’t the caliber of the opposing team’s offense matter. In my opinion Kuroda’s two-hit shutout of the Rangers is as impressive as what Felix did. It seems like the Rays have been no-hit a number of times over the last few years. I believe over the last four years they have been averaging being no-hit once per year. Kuroda held the best offense in baseball to two weak hits.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      That’s tough. Kuroda did have a couple of walks on top of the 2 hits, but yes, it was against a much better offensive team. I do rank Felix’s performance ahead of Humber’s (vs. M’s) and Cain’s (v.s Houston). Not so sure about Kuroda’s being ahead of Felix.

      • Dan

        Yeah, I wasn’t saying it was better, but on par with it… I agree the walks also lessen his outing a little, but the Rays are a high-strikeout team and I just wonder if Kuroda was going against the Rays offense on that day instead of the Rangers, how dominant would his start have been?

    • Tcmiller30

      You have to look at the way it happened, not just the results. Felix’s stuff probably could have no hit anybody yesterday. It just so happened he got to do it against the Rays who are always getting no-hit or coming close to it.

      • Dan

        I agree that you have to look at the stuff, which is why I was mentioning Kuroda’s stuff. He barely gave up any balls hit into play that were hard hit. I don’t think Felix would have no-hit the Rangers or the Yankees, and I think his line might look somewhat similar to what Kuroda did to the Rangers.

        • Tcmiller30

          Well Felix did two hit us not that long ago, and from what I was able to catch of that game yesterday he was even more dominant yesterday. There was just too much life to everything he was throwing and he was putting it right where he wanted every time.

          They were both impressive starts, but I’ve still gotta give the nod to Felix on this one by no small margin.

  • Mike HC

    Nice article. Agree with every point. Some of my own random thoughts after this series:

    Josh Hamilton is absurdly good. He really makes it look effortless. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him on the Yanks next year, although the odds on that are clearly not very good.

    Boston Red Sox: You can have all the team meetings, and finger pointing you want, but when your starting pitching fails, nothing else matters. End of last year and now continuing into this year, put the blame where it belongs, on Beckett and Lester.

  • Reggie C.

    Garcia has really provided a streak of quality performances since Pettitte’s injury which is really one of the unlauded stories this past month. The veteran additions of Garcia and Kuroda have been instrumental in keeping the Yanks’s lead largely intact. The younger rotation mates would do well talking to the vets and learn how to pitch out of jams.

    I’m saddened by Melky’s attempt to circumvent the rules, and a tad relieved that the fallout from the suspension will likely keep the Yanks from kicking the tires on Melky. I highly doubt Cashman would want to add another known PED player to the roster.

  • jjyank

    Agreed on all points, especially Freddy. The whole “let the kids start” can get out of hands sometimes, especially since Freddy’s actually been pretty good.

    • gc

      That can’t be right. The nerd from MIT insisted that Garcia was “horrid.”

    • Steve (different one)

      Yes, it’s out of hand because it’s gotten to the point where ANYONE from AAA is treated like a prospect and people bitch if someone from outside the organization is brought in instead.

      For example:
      Ortiz or Maine should get the nod over Lowe.
      Why not Fukudome/Dickerson over Ichiro?
      Melky Mesa can do Andruw Jones’ job
      Why not play Laird at 3B?
      Jorge Vazquez…

      I don’t mind clamoring for real prospects like Phelps, but it is out of hand sometimes.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        “Jorge Vazquez…”

        ‘Nuff said

      • Slugger27

        blame mike. his extensive coverage/knowledge/insight of prospects, the draft and DOTF in general created a monster. nobody used to give a shit about giving up the 30th overall pick (typically no big deal) to sign a good free agent.

  • Tcmiller30

    I honestly don’t feel bad for Melky at all. How dumb to you have to be to put yourself in that position? It’s like when Palmiero got caught after adamantly pleading to congress he was clean.

    And with regards to setting up his great great grand kids with college tuitions.. If you’re dumb enough to get caught juicing in a contract year there’s no way you’re smart enough to set aside money for tuitions generations down the line.

    I agree on all other points.

  • JohnC

    No way yanks should go after Hamilton. Don’t see him being able to handle the pressure of playing in NY. He’d be back on the bottle after the first slump and in rehab soon after between the fans calling for his head and the NY media eating him up

    • Billion$Bullpen

      I think you mean vial, and not bottle.

      • YanksFanInBeantown

        Either and/or both apply.

  • DM

    1. Not everyone in the fanbase gave Garcia less credit than he deserved. Some thought he should have a slot in the rotation out of ST based on what he did in 2011 (not just b/c Pineda got hurt). Some thought it was absurd to cut him b/c of his bad start. Some believed he would be useful if given a chance to pitch on more regular basis. When some were calling for his release, I thought that this is the exact type of guy Cashman would pounce on if another team dumped him (like Lowe). Battle tested veteran who can get outs even without great stuff. Like Chavez and Ibanez, not every fan here thought these guys wouldn’t — or couldn’t — contribute.

    2. Good problem to have — but not much of one at that. Mix and match and rest guys. You’ll still need them all in the end.

    3. The Melky situation is sad for the SF fans. He rolled the dice and got nailed, so I don’t feel sorry for him. I’m glad he got caught before being able to sign a big deal.

    4. Felix is as good a choice for one game as most — but I’d probably take someone who was already in do or die post-season situation before.

    5. The “grumpy” players are re-labeled as hard-nosed competitors when they win. Mr. Dour is now our clutch closer.

    • gc

      Good point on #4.

  • captain kiwi

    felix just KILLS the al east. 5 hit the sox recently, 2 hit us last time he was in town, now perfecto on the rays. he also 3 hit the rangers recently. i’d take him over verlander any day.

  • Frank

    Garcia was bashed and unappreciated by many posters here. Glad to see him get some love. Nix also desrves some recognition. Many people wanted to cast him aside as well, but the guy is a good, solid player who can play anywhere and seems to always do something positive when he plays, be it, get a big hit, play solid defense, lay down a bunt, run the bases well, or whatever.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      Jayson Nix is a BASEBALL PLAYER

  • Brian S.

    Since coming back to the rotation has Freddy been our second best starter by ERA?

  • vin

    Chavez is hitting so well he might just win himself a gold glove.

    I enjoy the final point quite a bit… Especially with the perpetual circus in Boston.

    I only saw the highlights, but Felix was beyond filthy. Wonder what the Yanks would have traded for him If the M’s were willing to move him instead of Pineda? Montero, Williams, Phelps and Betances? Almost certainly a better strategy for a rebuilding team, but I guess they have to still sell tickets this year.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      I hope it would be that cheap

      • vin

        I think people (fans) get carried away with asking prices… it’s either:
        1) here’s a whole lot of our junk for your all-star
        2) here’s our 4 best prospects, plus 2 back-end starters, plus another lottery ticket… AND CASH for your all-star

        I don’t think a talent like Felix would come cheap… but I think his trade value has been overstated ever since he signed his extension. Not saying my (sucky) trade proposal would work… all the guys are major league ready, but then Mason was miles away from the big leagues at the start of this year. It probably doesn’t make sense for that reason alone.

        All I know is, if I was Jack Z., I would have gotten all the top teams into a bidding war for Felix prior to this season, with hopes of landing multiple major leaguers with impact potential. Instead he traded a stud young pitcher for a stud young hitter. A good move, but an incremental one at that.

        • YanksFanInBeantown

          Your proposal is probably what Felix is actually worth, but, like you said, if he was placed on the market there would be a bidding war.

          How much Felix would cost in a trade is much more than he’s worth.

    • Steve (different one)

      I believe the Pineda deal came from discussions with Cashman constantly pestering the M’s about Felix.

  • wow

    It really is sad about Felix and the postseason. A pitcher that great deserves to be in the postseason more often than not. In the very least, he deserves a team that has a decent shot at the playoffs. On the other hand, it says a lot about his character that he wants to stick it out in Seattle. I just don’t think that opportunity is going to present itself for him there.

    In other news, boy is Russel Martin bad.

    • Brian S.

      Russell Martin is bad if batting average is the sole criteria you judge him on. Our rotation has surpassed expectations two years in a row now, partially because of his ability to frame pitches.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      He has a .750 OPS since the All-Star Break. That’s more than solid for a catcher.

  • Guest

    I wonder if age is the new market inefficiency? I think many missed the true message of the moneyball revelution. It was not just about the importance of getting on-base, the stupidity of giving up outs, and that BA/RBI are overrated.

    It was primarily about finding undervalued assets. And I think in everyone’s increased emphasis on young cheap talent and the impact of age related decline, teams went from overvaluing big names who were past their prime to undervaluing those very same players.

    The Yankees have Ibanez, Chavez, Garcia, and Jones for essentially peanuts. And Kuruda. Wow. Sweet merciful.

    When you think of what mediocre young starters are making, 1 yr 10 mill for Kuroda was highway robbery on par with Swisher for Betemit. But he was “old” and likely to “decline.” Both true, of course — and the Yanks are beyond lucky that he’s exceeded experctiations.

    But I think people erroneously presumed that a “likelihood of decline” = “a guarantee of decline”, and valued him accordingly.

    • Mike HC

      Definitely agreed those guys are probably a little undervalued, but the Yanks also have the luxury to pay these guys a couple million a piece to play bench roles.

      • Mike HC

        Other than Kuroda.

    • toad

      Excellent point.

  • Brian S.

    Eric Chavez leads the team in ISO.

    • ultimate913

      Not if Melo has something to say about that…

  • Billion$Bullpen

    I do not feel bad for Melky he tried to get his $ up by cheating and he got caught. With that said I think at least half of the guys in MLB are doing something fishy and at least he did not try to pretend he drank a diet coke and somebody mixed in some PED’s. I would sign Melky to a one year cheap, make good contract for next year.

    Our front office needs to really get creative to get under that 2014 number. Hopefully Alex comes back strong and we can figure out a way to get him to Miami (never going to happen but one can dream)

  • PFOJ

    I think the 2009 team was the most likable I’ve ever followed. Not only were they crazy successful and full of good guys like Swisher in our first taste of him, but they seemed to get a walk-off win every homestand and the pie that came with it. The bullpen was great and the hitters seemed to get clutch hits whenever they needed it, so it felt like if a game was tied after seven they had a 95% chance of winning it. On top of that, I got to make a ton of “Girardi’s addicted to Coke” jokes that I managed to find funny into October, and YES ran that awesome Biz Markie Heineken commercial between every innings. I can’t imagine enjoying a baseball season more than that one.

    • vin

      Agreed. The ’09 was the most fun since ’98. Least favorite team since the Jeter dynasty had to be ’08. Funny how that works, huh?

  • Steve (different one)

    The Yankees are 13.5 games up on Boston. Without looking I have to think this is the widest gap in about a decade, no?

    • Get Phelps Up

      Widest gap on this date since 1998.

  • Ro

    Agreed on all points. I’ve definitely got my foot in the mouth about Freddy who I was pinning to see released earlier in the year, however this was after I was all in supporting the Yanks resigning him. Mighty quick on my part to sell him off. As it was said last year by Girardi, Freddy’s junk is really actually a good thing since it breaks up the Yanks style, as you said, which primarily focus on swing and miss stuff. Having him in the rotation really does give the team another dynamic. Good for him though. He’s a good guy, wants to be here and has a great thing with the team.

    As for the team character, I agreed entirely. I say it every night that this team is such a great group of guys to root for. I’ve never seen a greater contrast between two teams the Yanks and Sox. I mean they don’t even like their best player and “heart of the team” anymore (Pedroia), for example.

    Chavez really is great. What a true and natural talent to the game. Remember his days with the A’s. Good grief. I find myself wondering however if this is it for. He would only play for the Yank at this point, mainly for the reason the management knows how to use him, which I think Chavez appeciates. But does he factor into the Yanks plans next season? Probably not and I say that because Arod is essentially becoming Chavez. I think the Yanks put an emphasis on a young high level talent for 3rd at this point. I’ve been promoting Rendon from the Nat’s since 3rd is blocked there and the Yanks could pull off a deal. Maybe even Olt from the Rangers. Seems like he is redundant there as well. All in all, I think Chavez hangs up the jersey this winter.

    Melky – Good gried. No comment.

    Felix – What can one say. I think we’re all past the Felix should be with a contender talk, but just imagine what he could contribute to a consistent contender. He’s good for the M’s, but are the M’s are good him? What happens at the end of 2014 when he’s a free agent? I think a lot of people are going to look back 3 or 4 years from now and really think about Felix and his contract and his situation in Seattle if he signs elsewhere and if the M’s should have done something different.

    Lastly, f*ck the Red Sox and I have no idea why, but the enjoyment I am getting from that shitshow is unbelievable? Anyone else? Maybe because I called this 2 and 3 years ago. (I know crystal ball) but the writing was on the wall, their management and front office continued to make one horrific decision after another. If I still had an MLBTR account you’ve be able to go back and see that myself and a few others completely saw this coming. It was actually clear as a day like today. Maybe I’m just happy about what’s going on now as it validates the points I tried to make then.

    • j

      Can’t blame Melky for cheating – he was literally the worst player in baseball and on his way out of the league. There was no downside to him cheating – in fact, even though he got caught, it probably still paid off for him.

      Can blame him for getting caught / not picking a safer way to cheat.

      • j

        Don’t know why this was a reply, meant it to be a comment.

    • YanksFanInBeantown

      Someone called into WEEI yesterday making fun of the Sox and saying that this kind of crap would never happen with the Yanks.

      Ordway just replied “I can’t argue with that. Good luck in the playoffs”

  • Nathan

    1. Sure, Freddy has pitched good enough to keep the Yankees in some games and has provided the pitching needed once Andy went down. That said, watching him pitch isn’t relaxing. But I’ll take it.

    2. Chavez is still a good player. When they signed him, I was happy since I’ve seen so much of him being in the A’s market. When healthy, he’s one of the better 3B in the league. I do feel like every time he goes out there that he’s on borrowed time though.

    3. Melky is a grown man and made that decision on his own. Nobody put a gun to his head and made him take them. What’s sad is that it was a real Cinderella story but now it’s shown to all be a case of fraud. What is funny though is that a lot of Giants fans around me were Melky crazy. A few said to me “Melky just needed out of Yankee Stadium. AT&T Park is a better hitter’s park”. Yeah, OK.

    4. It’s a virtual tie for me between those three, maybe even add in Weaver and Price.

    5. I think 2009 had more character and was able to come back from games but this team is pretty likable. Sheffield was OK…Brown/Big Unic were terrible.

  • j

    Can’t blame Melky for cheating – he was literally the worst player in baseball and on his way out of the league. There was no downside to him cheating – in fact, even though he got caught, it probably still paid off for him.

    Can blame him for getting caught / not picking a safer way to cheat.

  • tommy cassella

    if the yanks sign melky next year, he will fit right in.

  • roadrider

    It’s nice that Garcia has done reasonably well since rejoining the rotation but let’s not get carried away. In his last 9 starts he’s gone beyond the fifth inning about half the time and past the sixth only three times. His game scores in that period have ranged from 39-64 and have exceeded 60 only three times. I’m not really that impressed either by those numbers or the eye test.

    As far as grieving about Melky missing out on “life-changing” money, that’s a ridiculous sentiment. He’s 28 years old and has already earned $6.6 million dollars excluding this season. Unless you have a need to change your life into the Wall St titan, Russian oligarch or Latin American drug cartel boss category that should be plenty. Plus, he will still make tons of money compared to most people even if he doesn’t get a huge multi-year contract next season.

  • Deep Thoughts
  • Sayid

    We get caught up in numbers a lot around here, and rightfully so most of the time, but I really enjoyed this “musing” article, Mike. Sometimes it’s nice to hear some thoughts with a more emotional viewpoint rather than analytical.

  • The DonSlaught

    Melky cheating is not surprising. For all of us who saw him on a day-to-day basis and then watch him now – something seemed awry.

    I mean, if he was a .280 hitter, that’s one thing. To be one of the best hitters in the Majors – I mean come on.