Thoughts on a random Tuesday morning

Heyman: Yankees open to two-year deal for Soriano
What Went Right: Eric Chavez
(Elsa/Getty)

Yeah, I think I’m ready for the offseason to be over with. This no baseball thing kinda stinks. Unfortunately, pitchers and catchers still don’t report for three months…

1. I was looking through some transactions logs yesterday when I noticed that since the CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira spending spree in December 2009, the Yankees have signed just four free agents to multi-year contracts. Mariano Rivera (two years) and Derek Jeter (three years) are two of ‘em and they were never really threats to sign elsewhere. The other two went to Pedro Feliciano (two years) and, on ownership’s orders, Rafael Soriano (three years). Furthermore, the Yankees have only signed five free agents to deals worth $10M+ regardless of contract length during that time. Mo ($30M), Jeter ($51M), and Soriano ($35M) got three of them while the other two went to Andy Pettitte ($11.75M prior to 2010) and Hiroki Kuroda ($10M). They did re-sign Sabathia, but he was never actually a free agent and they didn’t have to get in a bidding war to retain him. Four multi-year deals and five eight-figure deals for free agents in the last three years, that’s it*.

* Obviously they went after Cliff Lee during the 2010-2011 offseason, but there really haven’t been many other free agents who fit their needs in recent years. Matt Holliday, Yoenis Cespedes (no MLB track record), and Yu Darvish (no MLB track record) are the only ones that really stand out as players who fit what the Yankees needed at the time.

2. I still have no idea what the Yankees will do behind the plate if Russell Martin signs elsewhere. Yesterday we heard that they are in on Mike Napoli, but again that strikes as me driving up the price for the Red Sox more than actually pursuing him. The free agent catcher market is a wasteland outside of Martin and A.J. Pierzynski, and I hope the Yankees don’t sign the latter for numerous reasons. Soon-to-be 36-year-old catchers with over 13,000 career innings behind the plate who are coming off career years offensively (118 wRC+) are a very safe bet to perform worse the next year. Plus he’s a jerk. The trade market has little to offer as well, which is why I think they’ll make a strong push to re-sign Martin. I just can’t see the Yankees opening the season with a catching tandem featuring two of Chris Stewart, Austin Romine, Frankie Cervelli, and Eli Whiteside.

3. The Yankees have taken two relievers (one right-handed and one left-handed) in each of the last two Rule 5 Drafts, but I wonder if they’ll grab an outfielder this time around. Not necessarily someone who they’ll just hand the right field job, but someone to compete in Spring Training. It doesn’t even have to be a kid, remember they took the veteran Josh Phelps to be the backup first baseman/platoon DH back in 2007. Taking a Rule 5 outfielder wouldn’t stop them from signing an established big leaguer at some point either, it would just given them extra depth in case things don’t break right with Plans A through like, E. It wouldn’t be an ideal way to replace Nick Swisher, but it would be interesting. Rule 5 Draft success stories are very rare these days, especially on the position player side.

4. I’ve been thinking about the Yankees’ renewed focus on makeup and character lately and there’s a chance I’ll write a longer post on it at some point this offseason, but I do wonder if they overdo it a bit. Not necessarily at the big league level, but when it comes to amateur players. They clearly valued Cito Culver’s makeup in 2010 and Dante Bichette Jr.’s in 2011, but those two have done little as professionals. Meanwhile, the club’s three best prospects according to Baseball America (Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, and Gary Sanchez) all have had some kind of makeup concern in the recent past. Given the new draft restrictions, I feel that the Yankees have to focus on talent and put makeup on the back-burner with their top picks. They’re not just drafting for themselves, they’re drafting for other teams (by virtue of trading prospects) as well. If you can get a talented kid with strong makeup, great, but talent should never take a backseat to makeup though, not in my opinion. The Yankees figure to have some extra first round draft picks next year and I’m curious to see how they handle them given Culver’s and DBJ’s disappointing career so far.

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Heyman: Yankees open to two-year deal for Soriano
What Went Right: Eric Chavez
  • The Real Eddard

    1. That’s the 2014 austerity budget. Fans don’t think it’s real but it is. They’re willing to sign Soriano to 2 years because this is Mo’s last year.

    2. Being a jerk has nothing to do with being a good baseball player. Pierzynski, even at 36, is better than Martin. As long as they don’t give him more than 2 years it would be a good signing.

    3. Why sign a nobody when you can sign a hall of famer for peanuts? Ichiro will play for less in NY for a chance to win a ring. He’s a contact hitter, above average defender, can steal bases and maybe that’s why they don’t like him.

    4. Which is why Pierzynski being a jerk shouldn’t be a factor. He’s not in trouble off the field. He’s not trying to get phone numbers instead of hits in a crucial playoff game. If the Yankees cared about character and morals ARod would have been gone by now.

    • Louis

      If you’ve ever been a part of a team, you realize how important it is to get along with teammates in order to be successful. Being a jerk, Pierzynski would most likely be unliked by his teammates, interrupting how the team itself functioned. This Yankee team has been carefully crafted to not only look good on paper, but to gel as a group. There are countless teams who looked good on paper but didn’t succeed for reasons that probably include their lack of ability to function as a team (Pierzynski’s White Sox the past couple of years come to mind). And A-Rod, despite his off the field issues (which have considerably calmed down as of late), is by many accounts, a hard- working baseball player with a personality that is not cancerous to the team. As a younger player, there were never any real questions about his makeup. As for Ichiro, there are plenty of reasons to avoid him, although I don’t neccesarily agree with them. For one, he’d probably cost upwards of $5 million a year (I’m not sure- I’m terrible with these kind of guesstimates), which the Yankees could spend on something like an established starter, or even Mike Napoli. I’m also a huge fan of Napoli because of his ability to play both catcher and 1st base, two positions that the Yankees are targeting this winter. Ideal offseason in my opinion: 1. Target an outfielder in a trade that either is young, or only on contract for a year or two (until Heatchott or Williams can take the reigns). Ideal target would be Justin Upton, but in the likely event we don’t have the peices, someone less expensive could work.
      2. Sign Napoli
      3. Resign Soriano (Soria as a plan B)
      4. Inquire on and possibly trade for either a young starter or a solid veteran with few years of contract control (ala Javier Vasquez/ Hiroki Kiroda).

  • J6takish

    Makeup and character are great but like mike said, never choose it over talent. Sheff, Bonds, Clemens were all world class assholes but teams tolerated them because they have HoF talent. Frenchy is looking for work, I hear he’s a real nice guy

  • CountryClub

    They were very much in their “good guy” phase when they drafted Williams and Slade. It’s not like they’re looking for choir boys. They realize that these are kids and they aren’t perfect. If not, they never would have drafted Slade (for example).

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I think Slade is the reason why they’re looking for makeup first. He was the talent pick but since he had that fight against the minor league Red Sox they went for the good character guys. I don’t think Williams had any issues before the draft but I could be mistaken.

      • Mike HC

        I thought the word on Williams was that he started to get a big head after he got touted as a top prospect, not necessarily before the draft. But like you, I can definitely be wrong.

  • Jersey Joe

    Some ideas for next season:

    George Kottaras: If they go with a righty hitting, catch/throw catcher for next season, maybe Chris Stewart, maybe Gerald Laird, Kottaras could be a good pickup. He could play against tougher righties with the other catcher getting ABs vs. the rhp 4/5 starters. Not likely, but a nontender like him could cost maybe 1.5-3.5 M.

    Carlos Pena: With Tex’s recent injuries, we know that we need a backup 1B. We also need a DH, and with Pena coming off a down year, we could sign him cheap. Play him at DH against righties, then use a righty 2B/3B vs. lefties. YS3 is his heaven, and I doubt he gets over 4.5M.

    Placido Polanco: Could spell ARod and Cano by moving them to DH, only against lefties and against a few righties. Hell, if Nix could play SS, I bet GG’er Polanco could fake it there too. In this role, he could have a bounce back year.

    Kelly Johnson: This plan would remove Pena/Polanco, but let’s see. He has experience at second, third, and left field. With Grandy moving to right, KJ could play left. He could play second and third to send starters to DH for the day. He makes sense as a supersub and could come cheap. I know everybody is begging for high average hitters, but YS3 could benefit him and won’t cost over 2 years/9M.

    Thoughts?

    • Mike HC

      I can definitely see the Yanks grabbing Pena on the cheap. I think they had interest in him last year too before the Rays scooped him up.

    • Preston

      I want Martin back and unless the Indians make Carlos Santana available there aren’t any other options out there I really want to think about too much. I would almost rather just give the job to Romine at that point.
      I would like Pena, but a lot of his value comes with his glove at 1b, which would be lost by him DHing most of the time. I would rather get Hafner, although Pena might fit the mold better as a guy who can play defense and has the “leadership” qualities the Yanks love so much. But the team is pretty adamant about having the rotating DH, so it’s probably not going to happen.
      I liked the idea of Polanco at first as a replacement to Chavez, but the thing is, he isn’t a clear upgrade over Nix. He’s probably no more capable of playing SS and he has only posted one offensive season (2010) in the last four that was substantially better than Nix’s 2012 (which to be fair was probably his best offensive performance so we should expect a little regression). At his age Polanco seems like an upgrade in name only right now, if he were willing to except a one year 1 million dollar deal and we kept Nix around to compete for the job I’d do it, otherwise pass.
      I have no problem rolling the dice on Kelly Johnson, he hasn’t played OF since 2005, so that seems like it could be a disaster, but it is a move down the defensive spectrum, so I think he could do it. I just don’t know that he’s going to be any good. I also wouldn’t give him a guaranteed two year deal, maybe one year with an option (if he works out we can exercise it and really help the 2014 budget). But again Kelly Johnson hasn’t really been good. He’s been a below league average hitter three of the last four years, and his K rate has been climbing to an alarming rate. So he definitely shouldn’t be option A or even B and C for the Yankees OF void.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Pena would be a hell of a backup 1B, but I’d rather have someone who can fill in at either corner. Can you imagine the reaction to his strikeouts on here? It’d make the reaction t Curtis Granderson feel like a quiet stroll in the park.

        • Preston

          Yeah, Pena and Kelly Johnson too, what if that was our line-up Pena 30%ks, Granderson 28%, Johnson 27%. At that point it wouldn’t be trolling, our line-up would have a contact problem.

    • Jim_M

      Is there a reason why the Yankees could not over-pay for some one year deals this off-season – for instance, if they think Torii Hunter is being offered $25M for 2 years – offer him $17M for 1 year? This would not impact next year’s cieling, correct? They could certainly afford to do it. A little out-of-the box thinking to get to 2014 without endangering 2013…

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      No way I want Carlos Pena. He’s exactly the type of player last year’s lineup had too much of: Strikes out a ton, hits for (really) low average but hits home runs. Everyone spent all season last year complaining that the lineup was too one-dimensional and now you want to add yet another player in that same dimension?

      Oh, I know he walks a lot and is an above average defender. That’s still not enough. I hope they use their money far more wisely.

  • Robert

    With no major free agents signed since 2009, It looks like Hal is banking on the farm to come through.

    • Mike HC

      With no major free agents signed since 2009, It looks like Hal is banking. (period) … (on the farm to come through) – if I knew how to do the cross out thing on here, this is where I would do it.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        * Obviously they went after Cliff Lee during the 2010-2011 offseason, but there really haven’t been many other free agents who fit their needs in recent years. Matt Holliday, Yoenis Cespedes (no MLB track record), and Yu Darvish (no MLB track record) are the only ones that really stand out as players who fit what the Yankees needed at the time. *

        This was actually italicized by Mike for emphasis.

        • Mike HC

          And what does that have to do with Hal “banking” more money because he didn’t end up signing any of them?

        • Preston

          Matt Holliday is the one FA of the past few years I really regret the Yankees not going after. The guy is a beast and is absolutely what our line-up needs, the Cardinals got a steal of a deal on his contract.

  • Mike HC

    I think it is smart for the Yanks to focus on good makeup, but as you note, it doesn’t prevent the team from taking talented players with a red flag or two if the opportunity is right.

  • Dave

    “They clearly valued Cito Culver’s makeup in 2010 and Dante Bichette Jr.’s in 2011, but those two have done little as professionals.”

    So I guess DBJ’s .947 OPS he put up in his first year as a pro didn’t count? Where he was named the GCL’s MVP. And Baseball American’s top ranked prospect in the GCL for 2011. None of that ever happened, eh?

    It’s like you wanted to call DBJ’s career a failure after two years(one of which was amazing) to make your point about drafting headcases, and were going to ignore all the facts to do it. Bad Mike.

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      DBJ tore up the GCL because he signed early and was playing before most of the higher level prospects signed.

      Keith Law warned against paying too much attention to those stats since the competition he was playing against was weak.

    • Preston

      Yeah I don’t think that’s what Mike did, nobody’s calling DBJ’s career. I think his amazing debut caused them to rush him, he should have been at SI last year not full season low A. Culver is pretty much a washout. He needs to try to scrap switch hitting to see if that helps, and after that we should probably just see if he can be a useful bull-pen arm (he threw 92+ as a high-school pitcher)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      It’s the GCL, I don’t put much stock into performance that far down the level. The fact that he didn’t hit a lick in a full season league, while admittedly being young for the level, is much more of a concern to me.

    • Dave M

      “So I guess DBJ’s .947 OPS he put up in his first year as a pro didn’t count? Where he was named the GCL’s MVP. And Baseball American’s top ranked prospect in the GCL for 2011. None of that ever happened, eh?

      It’s like you wanted to call DBJ’s career a failure after two years(one of which was amazing) to make your point about drafting headcases, and were going to ignore all the facts to do it. Bad Mike.”

      AGREED!!

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I don’t put much stock into Culver and Bichette. There are a million reasons why prospects fail, and there’s still plenty of baseball to be played by both these guys.

    “Makeup” is a pretty broad term, isn’t it? Just even look at how it’s been utilized in the comments above. In EddardWorld, it was referred both to Alex’s phone number drama AND AJ Pierzynski’s loud, dirty play. It’s been used to describe Clemens AND Sheffield here. I’m sure names like Brett Myers, Delmon Young, and Luke Scott will come up as well, all for different reasons. “Makeup” can also refer to work ethic. Do they think a guy like Cito Culver is more likely to exceed his scouting report because he’ll be the first guy on the field, or whatnot? It can mean a lot of things.

    Me? I don’t care about Slade’s Twitter crap as long as it does not become a real team distraction. I absolutely care about the play of a guy like Pierzynski putting his teammates in harm’s way. Delmon Young’s just got issues, yo. My own biases would prevent from rooting for a Luke Scott, but I’d rather not have him because he’s not very good than because he’s a birther or whatnot. I think there’s a “paid his debt to society” thing with a guy like Myers in which you can’t hang your hat on spousal abuse forever as a reason why you don’t want him on your team, especially if he’s made real personal changes we don’t know about. I also will gladly take a chance on the kid who doesn’t project all that well, but will be the first guy in the batting cage every morning…..just in moderation.

    • MP

      Concerning Slade and maybe the ego issue that’s being discussed, it’s not always a bad thing for a player to have a little attitude. I agree with the Mike in the original post that the Yanks have done very well with team chemistry, probably better than most teams, but there are impact players that can have a little attitude and be just fine. The Yanks would be justified in having a player or two with a lot of talent and see if just the general presence of Jeter, Arod and CC, cool them out a bit. Sometimes these issues can work themselves out once a young player has a little more clarity of their future. Not every player has to have the disposition of Mark Teixeria, which I like him a lot, but he’s the guy you want your sister to marry. Not Slade for example, but doesn’t mean he’s not a good ball player. It appears he is. And I agree with your assessment of Pierzynski likely doing more harm than good.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Completely agree with both your take on Slade, as well as taking on a player with whom the team believes would be able to function well when surrounded by the veterans on this team.

        I certainly don’t want everyone to have Tex’s disposition. A little Jorge Posada does the heart a lot of good.

  • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

    I’d be shocked if the Yankees go after AJ Pierzynski since he’s a weak defensive catcher and his offense is surely going to regress significantly.

    Drafting for character in baseball is BS. Baseball is an individualistic sport in a team context. As long as a player does his job, who gives a crap about whether his teammates like him. The 77-78 Yankees had all kinds of issues that never stopped them. As long as they’re not drafting outright criminals, give me the guy with talent every time.

  • MP

    I’m probably in the severe minority here (maybe even the only person), but I wouldn’t have an issue with the Yanks breaking camp with just Stewart, Romine, Whiteside and Cervelli (in that order) as our catching depth. Romine was, and still is, regarded as a solid prospect. Outside of his injury and getting some playing time to rehab (which he is essentially doing this winter), he is pretty much ready for the big leagues. At least in terms of baseball maturity. Stewart is a solid defensive back stop (like Martin) and while the offensive numbers are not as good, Martin hasn’t been Ruth-like. I’m all for resigning Martin, on a 2 yr deal, but for no more than $18m or so and it pretty much stops there for me. I’d rather see the Yanks use a little more caution with their catching situation this offseason and plan for the future. I agree, Pierzynski doesn’t sound like the answer for this team in particular. We all moan and groan about “giving the kids a chance” so here is a perfect opportunity to get Romine on the team next season. I liked what I saw last September in those few games.

    • MP

      ..and no, to Mike Napoli also. I’d rather put a premium on actual catching talent and defensive ability, which, by all accounts, Stewart and Whiteside, along with Romine are very good at. Why go with a guy like Pierzynski who as Mike stated is absolutely poised for a regression year, especially at his age or Napoli, who is basically an older version of Jesus Montero. Or a Victor Martinez. I’d rather wait and see is someone like Santana (Indians) or Montero on the D-Backs becomes available mid-season or after next year. Both teams could be horrible (or not) this season, so who knows if these guys (although Miguel is a bit pricey) will become available at a later date. I say wait. Who knows, Gary Sanchez could make huge strides this season, get bumped to AAA mid/late season and maybe, just maybe be a candidate out of Spring next year. Wishful thinking, maybe, but out of all the offseason moves the Yanks can possibly make, I think catcher is the one where they can be a little more conservative, especially considering where some other dollars need to be spent.

      • MP

        ..and when I say next year for Sanchez, I mean best case scenario is Spring 2014, not 13.

        • Preston

          I don’t know about 2014, depends on where they start him this year. If they are agressive and put him at AA, then maybe. But if he starts the season back at A+ (which Mike has predicted they will) then it would be hard for him to get to AAA by then end of next year and I don’t think they’d break camp with a catcher with zero AB’s at AAA. His K rates are pretty high and he needs to work on his defense, I think moving slow with him wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Romines the best bet for a cheap C in 2014.

          • MP

            I agree with most of this. Probably a bit too wishful of thinking 2014 for Sanchez.

    • Preston

      I agree about Romine, if we don’t sign Martin, I’d rather they just let him play and hit 9th. He’s a good defender and I think he could hit .260/.330./.380 if given the chance. If not, we could target Jaso at mid-season when the M’s are out of it and Zunino is ready to be their starter.

      • MP

        Yep. I think we’re all putting a lot of emphasis on the catching “now,” but I do believe there will be more options mid season and beyond. Plus it bodes well when your ace pitcher who you’re paying $25mm a year prefers the back-up in Stewart. If it were the other way around (Martin) then maybe I’d be a little more concerned. Romine has good baseball acumen. I say go for it. I don’t think his back issue will be prolonged.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    I think it is a little contradictory Mike that you say that Yankees should draft the player with best talent and put make up aside, but tell them to avoid AJ like the plague. There are plenty of other reasons to stay away from AJ, but I don’t think that you can say because of his character if you want the Yankees to get the best talent available.

    • jjyank

      I think there’s a sizeable difference between an 18 year old with an attittude problem and a 36 year old with an attitude problem. Besides, it’s not like that’s the only knock on Pierzynski.

      • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew
  • greg

    i like the idea of napoli more then most maybe its because i see him as more of a dh who can catch then a hitting catcher, if he were to sign him i could see us having him be our everyday dh and when jeter or arod need the spot he catches. maybe a total of 60-70 games behind the plate. but we really need a good backup infielder for that idea to work.

    • MP

      These are fair points to make with Napoli. He does have that DH/Catcher/1st flexibility, but much of me is resigned to the fact that he is due for a bad year. Yeah, it’s a silly assumption, but the Angels (Scioscia of all people – who knows catchers better than most) sold this guy 2 years ago. I think at the time they felt he peeked, which he didn’t, but I think now, he could be do for regression. He is the poster boy in my opinion for guys that will probably be paid too much, after career years. Something isn’t right about him for me and I hope the Yanks pass. If they want to extend a 1 yr $7.5m offer, sure, why not. But I don’t see that happening. With regards to the DH/fielding tandem, I rather see the Yanks put some serious chips on the table for a young guy like Anthony Rendon and have that be your DH (Arod) fielding solution. Arod plays btw 40-60 games at 3rd (Dh’s the rest) with Rendon taking over the rest of the time in the field. Those 40-60 other games when Arod is in the field will give Jeter, Tex and others days off. Also, part of me feels Nunez is on his way out. Not because of production, in fact he’s quite valuable offensively, and I do believe his defensive issues are correctable. I don’t see the Yanks going another year with no were to put him, even if they trade him now and Jeter can only play 50 games in 13, its just the way the chips are going to fall. I suppose Nunez could be a bench player, but something tells me that he might be part of a trade soon. We’ll see.

  • JU

    ” I just can’t see the Yankees opening the season with a catching tandem featuring two of Chris Stewart, Austin Romine, Frankie Cervelli, and Eli Whiteside.”

    But can you see a catching tandem of one of those guys (preferably Romine) and Napoli? In which Napoli only catches about 80 games and DHs/1Bs the others?

    • jjyank

      The problem with that, is the Yankees still need a third catcher. If Romine is catching, for example, and Napoli is DHing, what happens if Romine gets hurt in the 2nd inning? The idea that the BUC can play at the same time as the regular catcher means that the team will require a third catcher, which just seems like a waste of a bench spot to me.

      • MP

        You make a very valid point, however, I’d rather see the Yanks perhaps “waste” a bench spot for a few months instead of possibly committing elsewhere when the options in front of us aren’t that great. On paper would opening the season with Stewart/Romine and Whiteside on the bench make sense? No probably not, which I think is the point you’re making. But I’d actually be ok with it, at least for a little while.

        • jjyank

          Really, I’d just like Martin back. On a reasonable contract, of course. I like Romine, but I would like him to get a bit more seasoning in AAA after his relatively lost season.

        • Real MP

          Im not an extremely regular commenter, but I have been using this handle for a while now, and particularly in chats, so if you wouldn’t mind taking something else I’d be most grateful.

      • greg

        i get this argument but i dont see that situation as the be all and end all, so for one game you have to play like every national team does all the time. there also the argument for what happens if both catchers get hurt, then your planning roster around for a problem that is very unlikely to happen.

        • JU

          Exactly right, greg. Would it be ideal if you they had a guy like Ryan Doumit (who I’ve wanted for years) on the team, who can play 1b/RF/C? Yea, of course. But to have to play 4 innings without a DH isn’t going to cripple a season. If someone is legitimately hurt, they would be DL’ed the next day anyway.

          Another thought – too bad Brandon Inge is a zero – another guy who can catch, play OF, and play corner IF (3B).

      • Ted Nelson

        It a really marginal concern. You have to look at the value of the 3rd C vs. the value of another guy having that roster spot. It’s possible that the 3rd C is actually more valuable than the alternative, but hopefully you can put a more valuable guy on the bench or in the pen.

        • bpdelia

          pet peeve of mine. its a wasted spot to have a 3rd catcher but the mop up RP isn’t? roster construction is an area I think needs some outside the box thinking. there shouldn’t be 13 pitchers on a roster. and the ONE game that a catcher injury happens is one game. I think having a base stealing defensive whiz (regardless of position) is a better use of a roster spot than having a low leverage roogy. or a second long man who pitches 3 times a month.

          long story short a napoli/Stewart cervelli or prominent tandem seems like the best option outside of resigning martin (which they should do) also Martin has been abusively overworked his whole career so martin and napoli. would be awesome too. 105 starts for martin 57 for napoli with 60 games at DH and 25ish at first. I’d be very pleased with a buy low on a guy who just destroys DESTROYS Lefties and has been a productive hitter his entire. career

          • Ted Nelson

            Sorry. I meant to say that I don’t think they should have a 3rd C, but there’s a small chance it might be the right thing. I worded my comment poorly.

  • Tags

    I was listening to MLB on XM this morning. Jeff Nelson was talking about the catching situation with the Yanks and felt they would be better off with Napoli. He said he didn’t think Martin called a good game, and had to many passed balls. He thinks Napoli would be adequate and provide much more with the bat. He felt his hitting problems stemmed from getting beaned and he start bailing on pitches.

    • JU

      How dare Jeff Nelson question the Russell Martin propaganda!!! Russell Martin can hit .180 and play average defense and he will still be “better than any other option that is out there.”

      • Ted Nelson

        Educate yourself a little bit on the game of baseball.

        • bpdelia

          I think the best option is both. martin is always over worked and the Yankees truly need more right handed power. this roster is set. there are very few places for it to improve and napoli is a guy who fits in perfectly with his (admittedly dreadful) defensive versatility and right handed power one year removed from a fantastic season. I hate the martin bashing. he is what he is. a pretty good avg to slightly above avg starting major league catcher. but napoli would be a perfect backup. with a defense first starting catcher an offense first backup catcher first baseman and DJ is quite welcome. plus there is no shortage of glove first BUC out there. worst case is napoli gets 450 plate appearances mainly at DJ and first while still faking it behind the plate for 30 games

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    If the Yanks start the year with Stewart and Cervelli, do they let CC bat for himself and DH for the catcher?

    • Andy Pettitte’s Fibula (formerly Manny’s BanWagon)

      I don’t think it’s allowed but it it were, I’d strongly consider it against righties at least

      • Dave M

        That would be interesting. :-)

  • Ted Nelson

    I still disagree with your interpretation of their focus on character. I don’t think they are looking for nice guys for the sake of having nice guys or some sort of team spirit. I think that with amateurs in particular they are looking for guys whose character indicates that they have the work ethic to make the most of their talent. I don’t think they are ignoring talent for character, either. Culver hasn’t worked out and it so happened that BA and co were lower on him, yet if you look back at historical data those rankings have limited value once you get to the end of the first round.
    Your interpretation of their recent personnel moves is not necessarily a definitive organizational philosophy. It’s a convenient narrative that ignores guys like Andruw Jones, AJ Burnett, Pineda, Slade… who are generally seen as somehow flawed character-wise.

    If it’s not a credible threat they’ll sign Napoli, it does nothing to drive up his price. It has to be a credible threat for the Red Sox to respond in any way. I think it is a credible threat, because they have limited options at C and Napoli would fit pretty well with their rotating DH ambitions. I believe people are wrong in thinking the Yankees “prefer” a defensive C. I think that they (and several other teams) value Cs differently than WAR. So in a sense they are going to prefer a good defensive C compared to his WAR. However, this is still an organization that targets offensive Cs in amateur acquisitions year after year after year… be it Montero or Sanchez or Bird or Austin or O’Brien or Breen… They’ve moved a couple of those guys from behind the plate, but they just keep acquiring more. It doesn’t seem they have anything against offensive Cs.

    • bpdelia

      exactly. that’s exactly what I think. the Yankees are looking at the end of round one where there is always a massive glut of guys with similar talent and are picking guys they think have the best bet to maximize those gifts. by character I’m pretty sure the Yankees mean work ethic and coachability. not who they want to hang out with. and in fact when top of the draft talent has slipped to them as a truly of makeup when the player was clearly a top half of round one talent they pounced regardless of makeup. I.e. joba and heathcott