Thoughts on a random Wednesday

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

We’re now only six days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, the most exciting non-news day of the year. Almost nothing happens that day, all the guys have to do is inform the team they are physically in Florida. Everyone shows up for the first workout the next day. That’s all, it’s symbolic more than anything. But still, hooray baseball.

1. I think that this season, moreso than any other season over the last few years, it will be extremely important for the Yankees to have a strong bench. They’ll need a) a right-handed hitting outfielder, b) a competent pinch-hitter (preferably a lefty), and c) a speedy pinch-runner. They need (a) because everyone in the starting outfield is a lefty, that’s easy enough. They need (b) because the catching tandem is terrible and those guys shouldn’t be allowed to bat in the late innings of close games. Finally, they need (c) because Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Travis Hafner are crazy slow and will need to be replaced if they reach base late in close games. The Yankees lost a lot of offense this winter and figure to play many more close games in 2013, so Joe Girardi is going to need weapons on the bench. Not just warm bodies to fill-in during emergency situations, weapons he can deploy strategically.

2. I have this strange feeling Chase Utley will be a Yankee within the next 12 months. There’s a few different ways this could happen too. The Phillies showed last year that if they’re out of it at the trade deadline, they’re willing to move established players for prospects. Utley, 34, will be a free agent next winter as well. Given Travis Hafner’s affinity for the disabled list, I suppose the Yankees could look to acquire the second baseman from Philadelphia to serve as their left-handed DH. If he’s healthy enough at the end of the season — a big if given the last few years — he could be a second base candidate for 2014 should Robinson Cano sign some mammoth contract with the Dodgers next winter. He could also be a DH candidate as well. I dunno, just feels inevitable to me for some reason.

(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

(Mike McGinnis/Getty)

3. Obviously a ton is going to change between now and then, but one players scheduled to hit free agency next winter who really catches my eye is outfielder Carlos Gomez. He just turned 27 in December and hit .260/.305/.463 (105 wRC+) with 19 homers and 37 steals last season. The strikeouts (career 22.3%) and walks (career 5.0%) are a concern, though his defense grades out as well-above-average in center. A player that young with that kind of power-speed combination is very attractive even if his on-base skills stink. I could see him getting B.J. Upton money with another strong year, which probably makes him too pricey for the Yankees. But man, I would love to have him for ages 28-32.

4. All of the prospect rankings come out this time of year and it’s a nice reminder that the Yankees need to knock it out of the park in the draft this summer. They own three of the top 35 picks — all three carry seven-figure slot recommendations as well — and really need to add some quality, high-ceiling players to the system. Grabbing more Cito Culvers and Dante Bichette Juniors ain’t gonna cut it if they truly plan to remain under the luxury tax. They’ve got to max out on those three picks and take the best players possible, forget about trying to save a little draft pool room to use for overslot bonuses later in the draft. The new spending restrictions suck, but the Yankees have what amounts to three first round picks this year and need to capitalize.

Categories : Musings


  1. Gonzo says:

    KLaw called DBJr almost a NP at this point.

    I am aware that some people are going to trash that sentence and maybe me. I’m just sharing information. You can say I’m trolling. Whatever you think is fine with me.

    • Mike says:

      whats does NP mean ?

    • I am not the droids you're looking for... says:

      I think Lee Harvey Oswold acted alone.

      Re DBJr I think this year will determine that with some certainty. A bounce back and he’s back on track. Another down year….ugh.

      • trr says:

        Matter of fact he did act alone, and the facts (as opposed to opinions) bear this out…Bichette? not on the radar…

        • Mrs. Mattingly says:

          Re: JFK

          “The Assassinations” by DiEugenio is a must read that uses official de-classified documents (i.e. facts). Debunks the lone gunman theory.

          Re: Bichette


          • trr says:

            Thank you for your reply Mrs M, but DiEugenio is not a credible source, nor is anyone who uses Mark Lane as a reference. Please read this:


            The most authoratative writing about the assaination is Posner’s “Case Closed” It is meticulously written and thoroughly discredits all (and ask yourself, why are there so many?)conspiracy theories

            • Mrs. Mattingly says:

              JFK is such a hot-button issue that we should probably agree to disagree. The number of anti-conspiracy theories points to an obvious, and successful, attempt at obfuscation.

              Your link is just to Gus Russo, a known DiEugenio-basher.

              As for Posner, Mr. Got-fired-for-plagiarism-and-fabricated-interviews-with-JFK witnesses, he actually hired Mark Lane for legal counsel, so by your own definition, he, himself isn’t a credible source.

              Moving on to more important conspiracies, did Seattle know something about Pineda or not?

              • trr says:

                Sorry, Mrs, but DeEugenio theories are just more of the same nonsense where EVERYBODY from the Dallas Police to Soviet Union was involved in this. He doesn’t even beleive Oswald shot Officer Tippet! Let me be blunt and say that he is pretty much at the “kook” level. Greald Posner hired Lane to defend himself against plagerism charges leveled by (of all papers) the Miami New Times, same paper that “broke” the latest A-rod story…or is that part of a conspiracy too?

                This is not the right forum to discuss this any further, if you wish you may contact me privately.
                I will not mention this topic again on this blog.

                Yes, Seattle had reson to beleive Pineda was injured.
                His performance in the second half of 2011 was dreadful.

      • Gonzo says:

        Not sure what that first sentence means, but thanks boss. Whatever you think is fine with me.

      • Improbable Island's Sirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR) says:

        While I agree with you, I have to ask: Why the first sentence?

    • LK says:

      I was actually just about to post the same thing. I think the focus on makeup the team seems to have had in the draft may be misguided. Many kids that young are very immature, so if he’s not a great kid there’s plenty of time for that to change.

      Obviously the sample size is very small, but of the Yankees recent first round picks you have one guy who was oozing with tools but had huge makeup questions in Heathcott, and two kids who people said didn’t have the talent but everyone raved about the makeup in DBJ and Culver.

      • Gonzo says:

        There’s also a decent difference in bonuses between Slade and the other two. That’s opening a can of worms I don’t want to tackle on this board though.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        The Yankees did actually draft and sign Heathcott, so clearly his make-up wasn’t that much of a concern for them.

        I think you are making a big assumption to say that they are looking for nice guys or mature guys. They could just as easily be looking for guys who will bust their butts to get to MLB and make the most of their tools: work ethic. I have no idea, but it might be their experience that some guys without strong work ethics or just a strong love for the game pocket a fat 7 figure bonus and then coast for a few years. Maybe head back to college to play basketball or to the NFL to play football. They actually deal with these guys on a regular basis and get to see how hard they work.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I know you’ll come up with some nasty, defensive response because I dared to reply to your comment, but I don’t think Law is a particularly objective judge on DBJ. Law didn’t seem to even know who Bichette was when he was drafted, which made him look really foolish when DBJ went on to be rated as the #1 prospect in the GCL that year (he was a BA top 200 prospect, it’s not like he wasn’t on scouts radars to be a high draft pick). I would say that Law has a rooting interest against DBJ after the outlandish comments he made when he was drafted. He’s going to lose credibility if Bichette is a top prospect/player, and he gains some credibility if Bichette bombs. His job sort of depends on not being massively wrong about prospects on a regular basis.

      In actuality, it’s hard to call any guy who was rated the best prospect in his league and subsequently skipped a level a non-prospect after one bad season. You can certainly say that he played like a non-prospect last season, and I think most people would agree. He stunk. You can’t really say what adjustments he has/hasn’t made unless you’ve seen him over the off-season, though, and only a psychic can say how he’ll do in 2013.

      • All Praise Be To Mo says:

        He was on the DBJ bandwagon after the short season he had after 2011. After this horrible year he had, he went into detail about how DBJ went back into bad habits from high school and the fact he’s a 3B who only hit 3 hrs in about 450 ab’s lends credence to those thoughts.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          From what I remember he got on the band-wagon with his tail between his legs because people were calling him out for his negative draft day comments.

          I’m not disagreeing that he stunk last year. I’m saying that he has the talent to possibly improve going forward.

      • thenamestsam says:

        I think this is a little over the top. Not sure where you’re getting that he didn’t know who DBJ was when he was picked. From what I saw at the time he just didn’t think he worthy of being a top 100 player and gave specific reasons why he felt that way (didn’t like the swing, didn’t think he could stick at third). Not sure which of those comments are outlandish or would make him really nervous that DBJ would succeed and make him “look really foolish”, but I don’t see much evidence of a vendetta. At the end of last year he pointed out that DBJ showed some improvement in the GCL and ranked him 7th in the Yankees system going into this year. He merely pointed out that his stats should be taken with a grain of salt because the competition wasn’t much due to lots of prospects signing late. Seems reasonable enough.

        Anyone who evaluates prospects for a living is obviously going to get used to being wrong pretty quickly. It comes with the territory. Law has credibility because he’s right more than he’s wrong, not because he’s never wrong. He’s not going to lose credibility in any major way if DBJ turns out to be a star. That’s silly. Did BA lose credibility because they ranked DBJ the best prospect in the GCL and then he bombed this year?

        Is DBJ a non-propsect? No, I don’t think so, but he’s not much of a prospect. He’s not one of the 15 best Yankee prospects by my estimation, and a non-top 15 prospect in a 10-15th ranked organization isn’t much of a prospect. He can get it back on track, but he has a ways to go.

        • Gonzo says:

          Thanks for responding. I agree with all of this.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          It’s my perception. You can disagree with it, but I think it’s solidly grounded in the facts of what happened. You can pretend it’s over the top, but I think it’s a perfectly defensible position (not that I know it’s right or can’t see the other side).

          He said that the Yankees thought they were drafting Dante Bichette Sr. Obviously a bit tongue-in-cheek, but DBJ was the #108 prospect on BA’s top 200 that year. Not exactly some out of LF nepotism pick. Law made it seem like one of the dumbest draft moves in history (or at least that draft) during his coverage.

          He then jumped on the bandwagon after people called him out for being way off base on DBJ after he crushed GCL.

          “Law has credibility because he’s right more than he’s wrong, not because he’s never wrong. ”

          Yeah, I never said otherwise. In fact, I said exactly that. If he’s consistently way off base, he loses credibility. He went out of his way to slam the DBJ pick. That’s the kind of thing that sticks in people’s minds, and the reason he was getting so much shit at the end of the 2011 season for DBJ’s success.

          Do you have any evidence of how often he’s right and how often he’s wrong, by the way?

          “Is DBJ a non-propsect? No”

          Great. So you agree with me.

          • thenamestsam says:

            I’m not disagreeing Ted, not everything has to be an argument. You can discuss baseball without there being a winner or a loser.

            I just think you’re going a little over the top because you don’t like Law (not sure why I’m “pretending” that it’s over the top). If you want to make a case that something is “strongly grounded in the facts” it helps to present those facts. The facts as I see them are:

            Keith Law made a joke about the Yankees pick. He didn’t like the pick and he’s notoriously snarky. Not sure how you’re getting from him making a crack about the Yankees thinking they picked Sr. to “Law made it seem like one of the dumbest draft moves in history (or at least that draft) during his coverage.” If that’s the only comment that generated that feeling, that seems like quite a leap of logic. If not, I’d like to see other evidence that Law though that way.

            Here’s some evidence to the contrary: In his recap of the first day of the draft the move didn’t make his list of “Moves I question” (first link below). In his recap of the 1st 10 rounds of the draft (second link below) Law doesn’t even mention that pick under “interesting or noteworthy” Yankee picks except maybe indirectly when he says “I always expect them [Yankees] to shoot more for upside than they do”. It seems to me that if he really thought a pick was one of the worst decisions in draft history he might have found space for it in a piece in which he listed five moves he questioned, or maybe have mentioned it directly as a noteworthy pic. If he really did give you the impression that he thought that I’d like to know what it was based on.

            Basically, I don’t think he was really any harder on the pick than he is on dozens of picks every year. So he made a joke on twitter. In his published work he didn’t even question the pick directly, let alone “go out of his way to slam the pick”. I really don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to be objective about DBJ unless you think he’s incapable of being objective about every player he takes a stance on (that’s a different issue, and no I have no evidence that Law is right more than he’s wrong, but again, different issue).


            • Ted Nelson says:

              I decided not to renew my insider subscription, because I don’t find any of their analysis particularly insightful. So, I can’t give you any evidence. I just remember him being pretty outspoken that DBJ was a bad pick who would not hit pro pitching, then jumping to the opposite side when he got slammed for his initial analysis, now jumping back to a very extreme position (non-prospect… he could say that he stunk last year and has a ton to prove without saying he’s a non-prospect, which implies no hope for the future… he has no prospects of being an MLB player, basically).

              I don’t think he’s objective because he has a huge incentive not to be. I think he’s a journalist paid to sell clicks and views and subscriptions and whatever else, not an objective analyst. I think that his job depends on his readers thinking he’s much smarter than them, and is an expert on projecting prospects.

              • thenamestsam says:

                So basically all of the evidence is based on your memories of what you think he might have said. Having actually looked back through it and examined the evidence, I think your perspective on it has clearly mutated beyond what was actually said. I already showed you how he actually reacted to the pick above, which was much less outspoken than your recollections.

                Here’s a sample of the chat right after his rankings last year where Keith got “slammed” for his initial analysis and “got on the band-wagon with his tail between his legs”:

                Mike (Westchester, NY):

                “Interested that Dante Bichette Jr. is now ahead of Austin Romine of your Yankees prospect list. Is this a reassessment of Bichette since his signing, or is it more a sign that Romine is dropping?”


                “Bichette made some changes to his swing and approach after signing that have me more optimistic. He’s more balanced now, with a more solid base, and uses the whole field more, especially with two strikes. He used to be all clean-and-jerk all the time, and you can’t hit like that in pro ball. I’m still not fully sold, but he’s got a chance now that he didn’t have with his pre-draft approach.”

                If you’re reading that and seeing Law getting crushed and making some sort of dramatic reversal from his (mild, as we’ve seen) dislike of the initial pick (where again, he specifically pointed out that he didn’t like his swing), I really think that you’re seeing what you want to see, not what’s actually there in the record.

                As for whether Law is unbiased, that’s a much larger issue, but I don’t see any reason to think he’s more biased than anyone else in the industry. All prospect raters subsist on clicks. Still not sure I see what incentive this gives Law specifically to bash Bichette.

      • LK says:

        So let me get this straight.

        Your contention is that Law didn’t do his homework on DBJ, and so he disparaged him on draft day much more so than he should have. To cover up this mistake, he’s now disparaging him much more so than he should have. If Law wanted to cover up the fact that he was wrong on DBJ on draft day, wouldn’t he be preaching patience on him now? Why would he cover up his mistake by making the exact same mistake again?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          It’s not that tough to follow.

          My contention is that he went out of his way to slam the pick, then got publicly humiliated by his readers when DBJ sparkled in his debut to the point where he went on the record retracting his initial position. Now, I think that he’s taken an overly extreme position (non-prospect… no prospects of being an MLB player) in sort of a “hah, I told you so… I am vindicated” fashion. I do think that he’s very much opening himself to looking foolish again down the road, as one generally is when making extreme statements about prospects who can’t even legally consume alcohol in this country.

          • LK says:

            He didn’t say non-prospect, he said something to the effect that he was almost a non-prospect and that he wouldn’t have made the Yankees’ top 15…which I’m guessing Mike will agree with when his list comes out.

            If he’s really that worried about being humiliated like you say, he’d just take less extreme positions. It’s not that hard to figure out what happened. Law didn’t like the pick (not nearly to the extent that you portray, he just through it was an overdraft…which was also the consensus at the time, so not exactly an extreme position), then DBJ had a fantastic debut. Law relented on the basis of that debut while giving caveats that we’d have to wait for DBJ to face better competition to really know how good he is. Then DBJ had a disaster season against said better competition in which he didn’t hit for any power, which was supposed to be his calling card, and Law went back to his original assessment. What is disingenuous about that? I get that there are reasons to dislike Law, he’s very opinionated and dismissive of those who don’t agree with him, but there’s really nothing about his treatment of DBJ that suggests what you’re saying.

            • Manny's BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte's Fibula) says:

              Ted spoke out of his ass because he doesn’t like Keith Law and thinks he picks on the Yankee since Ted fancies himself as the defender of all that is Yankee.

              Even though you and thenamestsam have presented irrefutable evidence that he’s completely wrong, he still choose to stand behind his ridiculous argument of some fantasy agenda that Law has.

              Not being able to admit when he’s wrong clearly isn’t one of TNs strengths.

  2. LK says:

    I think it’s pretty hard to trust Utley’s health at this point with all the knee trouble. I’d only want him replacing Cano if the Yankees are very confident Joseph or Adams can handle 2B if (when) Chase goes down.

    • jjyank says:

      Yeah, I’d be really wary of signing him to take over 2B. If he agrees to be a lefty DH/back up 2B on occasion…that might be cool.

  3. austinmac says:

    Character is improtant if combined with talent. Culver and Bichette were easy signs, and that is likely why they were picked by the gun shy Yankees after the Cole fiasco.

    • All Praise Be To Mo says:

      Bichette looked great his first year, Culver over Castellanos was a mistake from the start that we all knew.

  4. Vern Sneaker says:

    I don’t know, Mike, Gomez? Have to wait to see what he does this year. Last year was the first time he showed any power (and it wasn’t all that much), he strikes out a ton, under .300 career OBP and .247 career BA, yes good speed and D but we’ve got Gardner for CF and can get a LF with a better bat for way less $$ for those years starting in 2014 or 2015 (Austin, et. al?).

  5. trr says:

    Hi Mike,
    Good points all….I’m especially concerned over the lack of team speed; It locks us into the station-to-station, wait for a 3 run homer type of offense that’s hindered us recently. Hopefully, the coming influx of younger, presumably faster players will address this concern.

    • LK says:

      The Yankees scored the 2nd most runs in baseball last season, and were only 4 behind Texas. They finished first in wRC+. The offense didn’t hinder the Yankees last season, other than a slump in the playoffs, which can happen to fast teams as well. Team speed just isn’t that important on offense.

      • jjyank says:

        This, this this. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday who said he was excited for the season because he was looking forward to the Yankees “producing” more runs instead of being reliant on the homer. To which I pretty much responded with this exact comment. Speed is nice and all, but home runs are better. I don’t understand why people don’t like them. It is the single best outcome of any plate appearance.

        I guess I kinda see the logic, but I don’t agree with it at all.

        • LK says:

          Yeah, like when you get home from a game, are you talking with your friends about the single, single, sac fly sequence or the bomb into the second deck? One of my favorite things about the recent Yankees teams is how basically the whole lineup had power so you felt like they could score at any moment.

          Still, I’d totally sacrifice homers to have a *better* offense. I just don’t think that’s what they did.

          • jjyank says:

            Oh absolutely. If you sacrifice homers to get a guys who get on base a ton, have speed, and maybe some gap power, that might make the offense better. But agreed that this isn’t what happened. It’s certainly possible to have a better offense that doesn’t have as much power, but having a ton of power guys isn’t as bad as the “too many homers” crowd believes.

            • LK says:

              Yeah. It all goes back to that “homers kill the rally” mentality that McCarver spews sometimes. It appears the Twins have taken that philosophy to the other side of the ball with their “strikeouts make the defense bored” strategy.

  6. Montgomery! says:

    Chase Utley huh? First time I’ve heard that.

  7. Hoss says:

    Mike, I think your piece is spot on. Where I believe that the Yankees are extremely vulnerable is the age and related injury area. The depth that got them through the last several years is gone, absent some key performances from minor league talent that is unknown at this point. Giving up Chris Dickerson (for Canzler then) for Travis Hafner, who is both injury-prone and unable to play the field hurts that depth. Guys like Jed Lowrie, Jeff Keppinger and (our own) Eric Chavez would have been great to have.

    The catching situation is (obviously) atrocious. Even Eli Whiteside would be an upgrade here. Romine and Sanchez are not the answer this season. They missed out on some rentals, and must now look to the post-ST scrap heap for help, I’m afraid.

    Given the team’s inability to make meaningful early round draft picks, I’d prefer signing Michael Bourn, giving up the pick, and trading Gardner to fill needs. They are the same age (within less than a year), and Bourn is a better player.

    I recognize that the team has talent, but a few key injuries, which are more likely given the team’s ‘seniority,’ and there are some real problems. I cannot see them finishing much above .500 with this roster. Unlike other teams in the division, they have lost more than they have added this winter, which is most disappointing.

    • jjyank says:

      Funny that two of the guys you want as depth for injury prone guys are also very injury prone. Lowrie hasn’t eclipsed 100 games since 2008. And we all know Chavez’s story. Also, regarding Chavez, I recall him preferring to be in the warm weather and closer to home as well. Free agency is a two way street. And Keppinger isn’t as injury prone as those two, but he is coming off a broken leg and still got a 3 year deal. Really? I pass on that too.

      I also do a big fat pass on Bourn. The answer to getting under budget is not to sign one dimensional guys like Bourn to big money contracts. Once his legs go, his entire game goes. I’m not taking that gamble. Also, just because DBJ and Culver look bad now doesn’t mean the Yankees should forfeit future picks because they were automatically terrible too. Heathcott was a first round pick, and he is one of our best prospects. What if that pick you forfeit is another Heathcott? Or another Cole (who actually signs)?

      • LK says:

        The new draft rules have also made forfeiting the first round pick a MUCH bigger penalty. You can’t spend in the later rounds to make up for it anymore. It’s still easily worth it if you’re getting a stud, but for a guy relying on defense in his 30s? No thanks. Bourn would have to take a pretty big discount before I’d be interested.

        • Gonzo says:

          This brings up an interesting question. Where does Bourn go and for how much?

          I don’t know if I can see the Mets breaking the bank.

          • LK says:

            It’s funny, everything seems to point to Boras overplaying his hand on Bourn and Lohse, but I just can’t bet against Scott Boras. Somebody’s giving Bourn like 5/75 out of freaking nowhere.

            • jjyank says:

              I won’t bet against Boras either, but maybe Bourn or Lohse is this years 2012 Edwin Jackson (in that they could sign a one year deal and try again).

              • LK says:

                Yeah Madson would be another example. Thing is though, it seems like on a one-year deal the draft pick thing is even more of an issue. Maybe a team picking in the top 10 would be willing to sign a one-year deal and then try to flip them at the deadline.

                • jjyank says:

                  Agreed. That’s why I stopped short of saying that I would be pro-signing Bourn if that were the case. They’d still have to give up the draft pick, and unless they trade someone, there’s not really room for him. Room could be made, but there are other teams that offer a clearer playing time set up right now. And if the Yankees trade Gardner to do it (as Hoss suggested) that’s an even bigger issue for a 1 year deal.

        • jjyank says:

          Yeah. In my opinion, given the budget, the last thing they should be doing is giving up draft picks. We all know that draft prospects are the most unknown of unknown quantities, but to me, that means they should stockpile as many as possible. The more draft picks you have in the early rounds, the more likely that one or more will pan out.

          Just imagine the uproar if the Yankees sign Bourn and miss out on the next Mike Trout. It was bad enough with Teixeira and the real Trout, and that wasn’t even factually accurate.

  8. My random thoughts: Melkey, Cervelli, Montero…three young Yankees that sat at the feet of the MIGHTY A-ROD. They would follow his example. Thus, PED’s. I am worried that we might find another devotee come to the front. I hope Cano is smarter than that! PS: After hearing that Joe Madden has two rules: 1) Play defense 2) RUN TO FIRST BASE….would Cano make a good Ray? Also, sorry to see Canzler go to the O’s in the musical chairs game known as the Yankees 40 man roster.

  9. Mike HC says:

    Definitely an interesting thought on Utley. I can definitely see that happening.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    IE locked up all morning and gotta run to some meetings.

    1) Not sharing the hunch on Utley, Mike. It may just be gas. What did you have for breakfast today? Watch them breakfast burritos.

    2) Agreed on the draft. I don’t fault the team for some cutesy overreaches, but an adjusting philosophy would be best here, and I hope Ty Hensley was already part of that.

    3) We’ll see on Gomez, but nice thought. I look forward to him becoming a “thing” here.

  11. Jim Is Bored says:

    For what it’s worth, which is nothing, I’ve always thought Utley looked like a Yankee. I don’t know why.

  12. mt says:

    Assuming 9 starters with Hafner as DH starter and 12 pichers (5 starters, bullpen of Rivera, Logan, Robertson, Aardsma, Chamberlain, Rapada, and loser of Nova/Phelps starter battle) there are 4 bench spots left.

    Assuming Nunez, the loser of Cervelli/Stewart starting catcher battle, and the winner of the Rivera/Diaz/Canzler/Mustelier etc. right handed outfielder battle fill 3 of those 4 bench spots, I cannot even think of candidates, whether internal or external, for the “pinch-hitter (preferably lefty)”. I assume they would want someone external who is experienced. I do not see this as Nix.

    Last year Chavez was perfect in this role and performed well (during regualr season, of course) and of course covered the defense in field too.

    With the loss of Chavez and the fact that Hafner can only DH (as opposed to Ibanez playing field, albeit not great), the margin for error for Yanks is much lower. On the other hand, if the Yank “stars” play well without major holes in their game – such as Tex improves his BA (especially from left side), Granderson makes better contact, Cano clears up his bad lefty/lefty rate and his RBI weakness (his last 2 weeks last year when Cano was red hot obscured what was a pretty bad performance from him all year of converting runners on base to runs.), CC can actually up his innings to be in position to win 18-20 and Youklis is above average at 3rd (not spectacular but above average) we should be OK. The only “new” player we can look to is a full year of Gardner (I assume Youk replaces Arod).

    I see the Yanks the last couple of years covering for weaknesses of Tex, Arod and Grandy (and to a much lesser extent in 2012, Cano) with the performances of Chavez, Ibanez with his critical RBIs (who played a lot more than was originally thought), steadiness of Swisher (if you look at his four years remarkably consistent in regular season) and ability of Martin to hit one out occassionally.

    If Yank stars do not perform, someone unexpected will have to step up who does not have the prior pedigree of an Ibanez, Chavez or Freddy Garcia. Of course it can happen but will be even more unexpected.

  13. blake says:

    Utley as a LH DH would be pretty awesome….still think he could hit if he could just stay duck taped together long enough and DHing might help him do that…..man he was a good player before the injuries….HOF caliber player just not a HOF career

  14. Ted Nelson says:

    1. Lost in the RH bat hoopla is that Ichiro has a reverse split on his career (and as recently as 2011), Gardner has a relatively small split, and Granderson isn’t usually unusable against LHP. I do think a RH who crushes LHP is both a nice fit and relatively easy to find, but I think that the need is overstated.

    4. Getting high end, expensive talent early vs. depth throughout the draft is a trade-off, and there isn’t a right answer. A lot of it depends on who is available. Throwing a ton of money at a Josh Bell or Stetson Allie (or Brackman) just because they’re demanding it and highly ranked is not necessarily a good plan. You’re wasting a ton of resources you could use to improve the quality of your draft later.

    I know Mike and others love to grab onto Culver and Bichette’s struggles as an indictment for not taking the consensus picks, but the actual consensus picks when those guys were taken have been even worse for far more money invested. We could just as easily come to the conclusion that they should never draft the big money guys by looking at a tiny sample of Brackman and, say, Drew Henson. There isn’t a right answer to your general draft strategy. Just getting the best players is the right answer, whether it’s an underrated, cheap guy or a highly touted expensive guy.

    • thenamestsam says:

      Couldn’t agree more with your 2nd point. Bichette and Culver weren’t bad picks because they were low money picks or whatever. They were bad picks because they (so far) have turned out to be bad players. There is no one draft strategy that guarantees success.

      Mike is right that this draft is a big opportunity for the Yankees, but that doesn’t mean they need to go big money with every one of their early picks. I could easily see them hitting a home run in this draft by grabbing 2 or 3 guys in those slots that are signable but turn out to be pretty good prospects and then using all the extra pool room that leaves them to grab some great guys later.

      For example, I’d clearly rather have Castellanos than Culver at this point, but the Yankees strategy of spreading the money between Culver and Mason Williams (combined 2.5M bonus) and a few other guys instead of Castellanos (3.5M bonus) doesn’t look so bad and would look even better if Culver had become even a decent prospect.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Another point on the Castellanos example, which I tried to hint at earlier, is that there were other guys ranked equally as high or higher available who have not panned out as well to date. Stetson Allie being the prime counter-example. If the Yankees had just looked at the media rankings and bonus demands, they could have ended up with Allie as easily as Castellanos (and of course other guys who have had varying levels of success).

  15. trr says:

    I understand your points, and respect your opinions, but look what happened in the playoffs. We couldn’t buy a run… It’s one thing to bash your way into the playoffs by beating up on lousy pitching, quite another to prosper against the superior pitching you face there. Basically, I think we all want a balanced offense that is built to win during the regular season and the playoffs as well. Youth, with it’s speed, intensity, and energy should be a part of this. It’s hard to build a winner out of 35 – 40 year olds who are nearing the end of thier carreers. I’m not saying these type of players don’t have a role to play, but they shouldn’t be the focus.

    • LK says:

      I think 2009 proves that you can do exactly what you say you can’t do. Hideki Matsui was the WS MVP while being painfully slow and old. The fact that the Yankees team didn’t hit in the playoffs last year doesn’t mean that team *can’t* hit in the playoffs, it means they didn’t.

      Balance is great and preferable, but I would never sacrifice quality for the sake of it. Build the best offense you can, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s based on speed, power, walks, or anything else.

      • thenamestsam says:

        “The fact that the Yankees team didn’t hit in the playoffs last year doesn’t mean that team *can’t* hit in the playoffs, it means they didn’t.”

        I wish more people would understand this point, not only as it applies to this specific situation, but to every situation.

    • jjyank says:

      This idea of “beating up on lousy pitching” has been debunked on here so, so many times. They got cold in the playoffs. As LK said above, they won in 2009 with a home run happy team, right? There is no formula that says “home run teams = no World Series”. The idea is ludicrous.

      We all want a young, energetic, and talented team. That’s pretty freaking hard to do though, and that’s seems to be what the Yankees are trying to accomplish in the future by letting the farm grow. It seems to me that this is the whole point(besides the budget, of course) behind not signing guys like Hamilton, Bourn, etc.

      Home run hitting teams can win in the playoffs. Period.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Any data to back up your point that the Yankees crushed bad pitching only in the regular season? Subjectively they crushed some of the best SPs in baseball in their starts against the team. Last season they also went into the playoffs with some major injuries/cold streaks for key contributors like A-Rod and Granderson.

      I don’t see where you’re coming from on the age thing at all.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        I spent roughly an hour compiling the yankees stats against poor starters vs good starters at some point in the past, and I have no idea where I put it, and don’t want to do it again.

        They were exactly as good as you would think, and exactly as good as every other team is.

        Good starters are good starters for a reason, as are bad starters. It’d be really, really weird for a team to hit good pitching better than they hit bad pitching. This whole line of complaining is just so bizarre to me.

  16. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    Mike, I just told my Phillies-fan girlfriend about your Chase Utley feeling and I think she’s crying now.

    • Havok9120 says:

      I remember when everyone couldn’t stop telling me how the Philies were going to have a running dynasty for 15-20 years just like the Yanks had and blah blah blah.


  17. Holy Ghost says:

    Chase Utley?

    When do we rename Yankee Stadium “Jurassic Park”?

  18. dkidd says:

    nationals sign micah owings (he of the career .510 slugging pct) as a first baseman

    very interesting

  19. Bartolo's Colon says:

    i so hope that utley becomes a yankee (assuming the yanks don’t have to give up too much)just so i could buy an utley shirsey and piss off all phillies fans

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