Aug
30

Thoughts following the series loss to the Jays

By

(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

These last nine games have been just brutal. The Yankees have lost six of the nine, including three to the lowly Indians and Blue Jays. Those games should be gimme’s — I probably would have been a little bummed out if they had only won four of the six. Instead, they got just three. The injuries have been piling up and their impact is starting to catch up with the club, particularly offensively. There’s only so many platoon players you can sandwich into one lineup. Anyway…

1. This goes without saying, but the next ten games are enormous. Three at home against the Orioles, three at the Rays, then four at the Orioles. That’s make or break type stuff for New York and Baltimore. If one of them wins seven or eight of ten, they’ll probably be sitting atop the AL East in two weeks. On the other side of the coin, seven or eight losses will really bury someone. If all three clubs kinda tread water these next two weeks, it’s good for the Yankees since they’re already in first place. Obviously I would like to see them increase their division lead during that time, but staying in first place is most important thing.

(Jeff Gross/Getty)

2. The Angels are a ways back (with a lot of teams ahead of them) in the Wild Card chase and I wonder if (hope?) they’d be willing to trade Torii Hunter to the Yankees like, today. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez aren’t coming back anytime soon and the Bombers need the extra bat for these upcoming games. Hunter is having a decent year (.294/.347/.430) and he’d give the Yankees someone capable of hitting both lefties and righties (splits), which I consider a glaring need. They could continue to play Nick Swisher at first and not have to deal with Raul Ibanez/Andruw Jones-level defense in right as well. Hunter has expressed interest in playing for the Yankees recently, though I have no idea if he’s been passed through trade waivers yet. He’s due to become a free agent after the season and the Angels could save about $3M by dumping him on New York for September. The only problem is time: they would have to swing a trade by midnight tomorrow for Hunter to be eligible for the playoff roster. I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

3. Since the start of August, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano have combined for a 2.22 ERA (2.64 FIP) with a 7.67 K/BB in 24.1 innings. The rest of the bullpen? They’ve combined for a 4.97 ERA (3.45 FIP) with a 2.92 K/BB in 41.2 innings. I actually thought the second batch of numbers would be much worse than that. Boone Logan has been the team’s third best reliever all season, and Joe Girardi really doesn’t have another reliable right-hander in the bullpen other than his two top guys. Derek Lowe and Cody Eppley are far too hittable while Joba Chamberlain has zero control (nevermind command) coming off Tommy John surgery. Maybe Cory Wade will be effective when he rejoins the team next month, but otherwise the only other right-handed relief help on the way is David Phelps when Andy Pettitte gets healthy and returns to the rotation. I shouldn’t even say “when,” I should say “if.”

4. Be honest, did you really think Derek Jeter would be hitting .321/.363/.448 through the team’s first 130 games when the season started? Even if you completely bought into his second half last summer and felt that the mechanical fix he made while on the DL cured him of all his ills, this still feels like 90th-percentile outcome stuff. Thirty-eight-year-old middle infielders just aren’t supposed to hit like this. In fact, Jeter’s 118 OPS+ is the sixth highest by the full-time shortstop that age behind two guys: Luke Appling (1947 and 1949) and Honus Wagner (1912, 1915, 1916). The only other middle infielders in the last 50 years with a 117 OPS+ at age 38 (or older) are second baseman Jeff Kent (123 in 2007) and Joe Morgan (136 in 1982). This is historic stuff from the Cap’n. Shortstops this age just aren’t supposed to be this productive.

Categories : Musings

53 Comments»

  1. jjyank says:

    This wasn’t as depressing as I though. I agree with all points. Getting Hunter is an interesting thought, never really considered it. I’d be down for that.

    Jeter’s season has been a real pleasure to see. Love it.

  2. JoeyA says:

    Axisa clearly using these postw to save $$ on a therapist, as I’m sure we all are at this point. Commenting on RAB has become therapy since the ASB.

    I havent stayed abreast re: Tex, when do we expect him back?

  3. Bartolo's Colon says:

    the yankees just suck right now, not much better of a way to put it. they are 18-21 since the start of the a’s 4 game sweep. they need to get healthy, i thought a-rod was only about a week away? i hope tex comes back soon. hopefully they can get a little lucky as well.

  4. blake says:

    Nice post and good thought on Hunter…..though if he were placed on waivers I would bet the Giants claim him

  5. JoeyA says:

    At this point, all we as NYY fans can hope is they put together 2-3 weeks of hot baseball going into Oct. bc even with this talent, if they play like this thru Sept. and we are lucky enought o make the playoffs, it won’t be a pretty appearance.\

    I’ve always said every talented team plays World Series winning baseball at some point in the season. Every year, the top teams tput together a run where they seem unbeatable. Some put that run together in April, others in August, and, much like the ’05 & ’12 StL Card’s, sometimes heading into Oct.

    Hopefully, for the NYY sake, they can put together than run, but it’s looking more and more likely this team played it’s best baseball in the month leading into the ASB and have essentially fallen apart since.

  6. kevin w. says:

    No chance. The Angels are only 3.5 back of a WC spot and are a well built team to not only win a one-game playoff but make an extended run if they get in. It’d be a great move, but the Angels aren’t selling.

  7. Better off Eddard says:

    1. I’ve been saying this same thing since yesterday. These next 3 series must be won and won decisively or it’s over. As bad as the past 9 games were we’re still up by 4 and get a reset on Friday with our ace on the mound.

    2. Nope. Scocia is managing for his job and the comebacks last year show that a team can still come back at the beginning of September. The Angels won’t blow things up as they’ve invested too much into this season.

    3. There’s nothing we can do. The starters will have to pitch deeper. When, not if, Andy returns we’ll have 3 starters who can go 7 so it won’t be as big of an issue. Phil has been more economical lately as well.

    4. I did and I’ve been saying all along that Derek Jeter is the MVP of this season. Trout won’t be able to get his team into an expanded playoff so how valuable is he? It’s between Jeter and Cano if the Yanks win the AL East.

    • Slugger27 says:

      while trading torii hunter certainly cant be called “blowing things up” (cmon, really?)…. i do agree the idea of the angels selling a useful part to the yankees in the middle of a wild card chase is hard to take seriously.

    • thenamestsam says:

      1. Mike saying all three teams treading water would be good for the Yankees is the same thing as you saying that the next 3 series “must be won and won decisively or it’s over”? That’s weird because they don’t seem the same at all.

      4. Derek’s amazing numbers have been my favorite part of this season, but he’s not even worthy of being mentioned in MVP talks. Defense counts too remember, and the way Derek plays defense now he needs to hit like this to be even an above-average major league player. The fact that he’s doing that is a huge achievement given his age and position, but there are no handicaps in MVP voting.

    • jjyank says:

      Very flawed MVP rational, IMO.

      • gc says:

        You seem surprised. After all, Eddard has been “saying this same thing since yesterday.” That should be engraved on his tombstone. And of course only a couple weeks ago he was insisting that the division was already won. And people wonder why I don’t get too high or low about the standings during the course of a season. So much can happen in 162 games.

        • jjyank says:

          You’re right, I shouldn’t be surprised. I’m the same way as you with the standings. A baseball season is always a roller coaster. Getting freaked out by the lows and overly excited by the highs just ignores the reality of how seasons actually play out.

    • Bo Knows says:

      Trout is the best player in baseball right now, the Angels might not make the playoffs but they have played so well since he’s been up, that they will have an over .500 record after such a terrible start to the year

      • CUYanks says:

        I really think the only other possibility is Miguel Cabrera winning the MVP if he leads his team into the playoffs and the Angels really fall flat. Even a finish within, say, 3 or 4 games of a playoff spot and I see Mike Trout as a mortal lock for MVP. Just look at his numbers, and he didn’t come up to the bigs for almost a month.

    • Steve says:

      Derek Jeter is 25th in just the AL in WAR. If he wins the MVP it would be a crime.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;players=0

      • Yankee Fan 1 says:

        I don’t think he deserves it this year because Trout has been outstanding, but it was an absolute crime he lost in 2006 ( and maybe even 1999). Hope he finishes in the Top 5.

  8. Pounder says:

    Rick Ankiel ?

  9. thenamestsam says:

    The Hunter idea is intriguing at first glance, but I’m not sure the cost would be worth it. In the short term an OF and bat seems like a big need, but in two weeks with ARod and Tex back both needs should be considerably lessened. If it’s just the 3M I say what the hell, it isn’t my money. But I wouldn’t give up any significant prospects for a band-aid.

  10. Slugger27 says:

    the 2nd paragraph is kinda…. out there, isnt it? how are the angels “a ways back”? and why would they want to give up torii hunter to the yankees?

  11. Bavarian Yankee says:

    Jeter isn’t your average 38 year old SS. He’s a legend. Best SS ever. The baseball gods sent Jeter and he’s here to stay.

    He’ll record his 5000th hit by hitting a walk off grand slam on September 27th, 2024 against the Red Sox, eliminating the Red Sox in the pennant race and making them the only team aside of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Angels of Anaheim to never reach the playoffs since 2009. A month later Jeter will win his 10th World Series ring and retire as the greatest player ever. He’ll be the first 50 year old player to be named the regular season MVP and World Series MVP.

    oh, btw: 49 year old A-Rod retires too after hitting a 5 year low 20 homeruns and admitting that it’s time to say goodbye. 60 year old Barry Bonds announces his return to baseball 1 day later to chase A-Rod’s homer record of 932, signing a record breaking 10 year 350 million dollar deal with the Red Sox. Roger Clemens, closer of the Red Sox, praises the deal. Meanwhile Josh Beckett took over KFC and was elected president of Red Sox Nation, formerly known as North Korea.

    If you need any further information: rent my crystal ball for $100.000 at icanpredictbaseball.com ;)

  12. chuck says:

    Jeter doesnt surprise me. Im pretty biased though because my first season paying attention to baseball was 96 and I was 8. I dont think this team if very good this year and I hope they hold on. I feel bad for Jeter.

  13. Al in Houston says:

    This line-up looks like Spring Training….4-5 regulars and the rest, fill-ins. Steve Pearce batting clean-up…WOW!

    Key is always starting pitchers……if they dont go deep into a game, we get the bad-bullpen for a few innings, that puts the game out of reach. Cant wait for Sat new faces…… the good first half of Eppley/Rapada has been forgotten + demote Joba until control returns and cut Lowe.

  14. blake says:

    If the Twinkies would kick in enough to make Mauer’s AAV closer to 15 million would you trade for him?

  15. Billy says:

    even if this team makes the play offs they are screwed….only the 1-3 hitters are hitting, the rest are automatic outs…you know your team is trouble when you have Pearce hitting clean up with a .198 AVG Martin as your number 5 hitter…what a joke.

    • gc says:

      And you think this lineup will be the same one that possibly takes the field for game one of the ALDS which takes place on October 6th?? Including today, that’s THIRTY-EIGHT DAYS away.

      Do me a favor since you’re out on that ledge…JUMP!

      • thenamestsam says:

        Not only that, but you’d think a bunch of fans who just watched the Yankees lose 2 out of 3 to Toronto would be in prime position to realize that anything can happen in 3 baseball games. Even if the Yankees are playing the same lineup they are not and the same shit baseball they are now, it’s still just a 5 game series. Any team can beat any team.

        • jjyank says:

          This, to both of you. If the playoffs started today, I would be concerned more. But they don’t, so I’m not.

        • Billy says:

          yankees have been playing like shit lately, its not just the 5 games. the sample size is big enough. 18-21 since the Oakland series. this team as it is right now will be lucky to make the playoffs

          • gc says:

            “As it is right now” has nothing to do with “as it will be tomorrow” or the next day or next week or thirty-eight days from now when the playoffs begin. Like I said, jump off the ledge if you want. Or you could wait to see what happens when some of these injured players come back. Or to see if perhaps other teams go into a season ending funk, because that sort of stuff happens all the time. Those teams are still the ones doing the chasing, you know. And maybe THEIR season gets spoiled by some crap team already out of the race who they overlook.

  16. Pinstripes In Cali says:

    Axisa,
    I’m loving the “thoughts…” posts. A nice addition. What they may lack in formal literary coherence, they make up for in insight and quick turnaround.

  17. Kramerica Industries says:

    In regards to that last point – imagine where this team would be without Jeter’s unreal season?

    Like I said last night – I stubbornly expect 6-4 in the next 10. Not because I have confidence in this bunch right now, but because they better show their worth now, since they couldn’t be bothered to show it these past six games.

  18. TomH says:

    I’m surprised that Jeter has done so well and pleased that he has (so far) resisted some of those silly projections that were offered back in the spring for his season.

    On the other side, I’m not surprised by the Yankees’ difficulties generally. Take away ARod and Pettitte from the team that had been performing well before the ASB and that’s bad enough. Then take away CC for 2 stints on the DL, Nova, and add Teixeira and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Elderly gents like Ibanez (who certainly earned his keep earlier) and Andruw (who should be pensioned off), can’t do the work. Ichiro is a bit disappointing (I know his average with the Yankees). Martin is engaged in a titanic battle with the Mendoza line. You might think Granderson, Cano, Jeter, and Swish would be able to carry the ball, but some percentage of any 4 guys are likely to slump and that was recently the case with Cano. I don’t know what’s happened with Granderson. Let’s hope Jeter and Cano don’t go into one now. They need FOUR serious hitters working constantly until Tex and ARod return–if….

    They recently acquired some guy I had never heard of to bat clean-up against the Jays: Peirce? Pierce? Pearson? Parson? I forget. You knew right away this was bad news.

    Pitching staff? down to 3. Phelps hasn’t the experience to be counted on against the O’s and Rays (maybe he’ll full me). I’m hoping Freddy can handle the less than intimidating Rays’ bats, but I dunno.

    A good chunk of the bullpen has finally lost it.

    If the Yankees finished September out of the playoff hunt, I would be surprised, but after their play since the ASB, who could be shocked?

    They had better put it all together before their next encounter with the Jays. That AAAA lineup smelled Yankee blood in the water this week and overachieved. They’d love to knock the Yankees right out of everything: it would make an otherwise catastrophic season almost (almost!) successful.

    But if the Yanks pull themselves together they’ve got a good chance to end the season, i.e., the last week, very strong. IF IF IF.

    • RetroRob says:

      …true, and which places them in the same bucket as all the other postseason teams. There is not great team in baseball to worry about, yet that also includes the Yankees, so health and a little bit of luck will be required.

  19. LiterallyFigurative says:

    Robbie Cano is second in WAR in the AL, yet I feel like he’s underachieved big time this year.

    The starting pitching more often than not has been good. They are the least of my worries on a game by game basis.

    The bullpen is an issue, but you can’t predict when scrap-heap bullpen arms are going to go bust. It’s the nature of the beast. We’ve got a closer, set-up man and 7th inning/LOOGY. It’s hard to really bank on other guys after that.

    The offense frustrates the shit out of me to no end. We start innings with doubles, and the runner doesn’t even move off of second base. Bad situational hitting. Lack of speed and ability to “create runs”.

    Andruw Jones/Raul Ibanez have done nothing since the break. Catcher is a black-hole. Granderson is a strikeout or grounder to first waiting to happen. Cano looks lost Vs. LHP. Chavez couldn’t possibly stay that hot for long. You’ve gotta hope A-Rod comes back and hits to offset the inevitable Swisher/Jeter regression to the norm.

  20. mick taylor says:

    andruw jones should be released and cashman needs to get someone else. he is a joke. a 200 platoon hitter who cannot field

  21. RetroRob says:

    Regarding, Jeter, no, I don’t remember anyone projecting this type of season. I had him pegged for a .290/.340/.390 year, which I would have been more than happy with at his age, and would have been more than more productive enough getting the Yankees to within one to two years of figuring out life post Jeter.

    That said, I also never bought the comparison to past middle infielder arguments. Jeter is a first-ballot HOFer who has been an outlier in a number of ways for more than a couple seasons now. The fact that he’s in a list with Appling, Wagner, Morgan and Kent is more appropriate, because he has far more in common with that list of three HOFers (and probably a 4th eventually) than he does with a list of other 38-year-old middle infielders. He is greater than all but a few of the greatest SS’s ever, so comparing him to a list of lesser beings and also rans isn’t necessarily telling.

  22. Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW) says:

    Yanks will probably be fine.
    CC takes a while to get rolling, Pettitte might be back soon, Kuroda is fine, Hughes is putting it together (I know…Charlie Brown/football).
    A-Rod will be back soon. Teix will be back. Both will be rested.
    Grandy Man will tweak something with KLong just in time for late September.

    • Big Members Only (formerly RI$P FTW) says:

      Swisher will fall off a cliff just in time for the playoffs, but everyone else should be fine.

  23. Dennis v says:

    I wish Cashman would admit a mistake and don’t compound it by signing Curtis Granderson long-term and thanks Robinson Cano for stepping up when we the team really needs you

  24. Dennis v says:

    I wish Cashman would admit a mistake and don’t compound it by signing Curtis Granderson long-term and thanks Robinson Cano for stepping up when the team really needs you

  25. Dennis v says:

    I wish Cashman would admit a mistake and don’t compound it by signing Curtis Granderson long-term and thanks Robinson Cano for stepping up when the team really need you

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