Thoughts following Tuesday’s blowout win

Culver homers twice in extra innings win
Sherman: "Top of the Yankees hierarchy" was behind Ichiro re-signing
Nothing says baseball like a little casual racism. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak))
Nothing says baseball like a little casual racism. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The Yankees have bludgeoned the Indians the past two days with two more games left to play in the series. I’m greedy and would like two more laughers before they head home for a three-game weekend set with the Orioles. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.

1. I don’t think it is at all a coincidence the bats finally got going after an extended stretch against right-handed starters. The Yankees have seen seven straight righties after facing Jon Lester on Opening Day, which means the guys have been able to get into a bit of a routine and groove. Sure, it stinks for the Ben Franciscos of the world, but he’s not all that important in the grand scheme of things. It’s unclear what the Indians will do the next two days after using Brett Myers in relief last night, but the Yankees are scheduled to see at least three and possibly four (depending on what the Tribe do) more right-handers in the five games prior to Monday’s off-day. Wei-Yin Chen on Friday is the line exception. That’s very good news for the offense.

2. I think the Yankees should consider splitting up Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes in the rotation. I know Hughes averaged a very solid ~6.1 innings per start in his final 18 starts of last season, but those two back-to-back could create some bullpen headaches even with two long-man types on the roster. If they want, they could use Monday’s off-day to push Phil back one day to Thursday and start CC Sabathia on Wednesday on normal rest. That way the two youngsters would have the big bullpen-saving workhorse between them going forward. Not a huge deal at this point in the season, but I think it is something the they should strongly consider.

3. This is not Yankees-related, but it is a bit of a bummer to see what Roy Halladay (14.37 ERA and 7.94 FIP so far) and Tim Lincecum (4.91 and 5.21) are going through right now, which dates back to last year as well. Those two were on the very top of their game as recently as 2011, but now they could be confused for journeymen. Halladay’s stuff is lifeless and his command has taken a step back while Lincecum has simply lost about five miles an hour off the fastball in recent years. Here, look:

Tim Lincecum Velocity

I do think there is some merit to the idea that someone Lincecum’s size with that wild, twisting delivery wasn’t built for the long haul, but who knows. Either way, both guys are a harsh reminder about just how quickly it can go south in this game, even when talking about elite players. Really a bummer.

4. Yes the season is a week old, but it’s never too early to start thinking about possible trade deadline pick-ups. Just kinda spit-balling the obvious needs right now, I’d say a backup catcher, a right-handed hitting outfielder, a utility infielder, and general pitching depth are on the agenda at the moment. Obviously things could change depending how well the Yankees play and how well some of the injured guys return in the coming weeks, but those four needs stand out eight games into the season. We knew they could all potentially be a problem coming into the year and I haven’t seen anything that makes me feel any differently.

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Culver homers twice in extra innings win
Sherman: "Top of the Yankees hierarchy" was behind Ichiro re-signing
  • Laz

    Once Grandy gets healthy Wells will be the RH outfielder.

    • mitch

      I’d still like to see another righty with pop on the roster. It doesn’t necessary have to be an outfielder. Once Grandy comes back, Wells should still play the field against LHP. It’d be nice to have another righty to DH. I guess that could be Jeter when he’s back though.

      • The Real Me

        Yes, Jeter. A-Rod will be added to the mix when he returns as well. While another RH hitter with some pop would be nice, it’s probably the least important on the list.

  • Kid

    Was that the guy who ran on the field and delayed the game? Or is that scheduled Indian entertainment?
    I look at the Indian name as a reminder of our American originals.. Ask joba what he thinks, maybe he will give the Post a headline…

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

      It’s the guy who ran on the field the other night.

  • LennonJames

    Are you still down on Wells Mike? You think they need another right handed OF?

    It seems maybe you are buying into Cervelli though. That’s a plus for positivity.

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

      I think Wells might end up playing fairly regularly even when Grandy returns. Granderson starts, Boesch goes to Triple-A, Ichiro becomes a glorified Boesch, and then find a RHB to replace Francisco.

      • LennonJames

        Makes sense. For all the Cashman hating, it seems the Boesch pickup might have had small traces of genius in it (just because he can be sent down.) The Ichiro signing probably negates all that though.

        Thanks for the clarification.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Ichiro is still a solid defender and baserunner. We definitely overpaid and shouldn’t have signed on for year 2, but there are worse options than him and wells for our 3a/3b outfielders.

          • LK

            As I’ve said before, Ichiro/Wells should be a fine platoon, but my worry is that for 2014 they go from the 3a/3b OFs to the 2/3 OFs.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Yeah, that wouldn’t be ideal, and I can definitely see that happening with Boesh as the backup.

              Still though, we can live with that offensively if(and i may be dreaming) we have a productive ARod and Tex around.

              • LK

                I’m actually fairly optimistic that A-Rod will be solid in 2014 when he’s fully recovered from surgery. Whether he can still play 3B is another question, though.

      • LK

        I’d say a RH bat is a desire but not a necessity. Grandy and Gardner don’t need to be platooned in my opinion, and Jeter/Youk/A-Rod will occupy the DH spot against LHP later in the season. I think an upgrade on the backup infield spot is far more crucial (though much harder to find) since Jeter probably can’t man SS on an everyday basis.

  • CapitalT

    Lincecum needs to take a little bit off his change to create a bigger gap in pitch speed. Moose and Moyer should open up a clinic to teach how to pitch with declining velocity

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

      Remember, it took Moose a while to learn how to pitch with diminished velocity. He got pounded in 2007.

      • LK

        Mussina also had a .340 BABIP and 66% LOB% in 2007. He definitely made an adjustment in 2008 and was much better by any metric, but he was still worth 2.9fWAR in 2007, so I don’t know that it’s fair to say he struggled as bad as Lincecum is now.

        Moose also graduated from Stanford in 3 years, so expecting others to adjust to diminished stuff as well as he did is probably a stretch.

        • Rick

          I love comments like these. He may have graduated Stanford in three years, but it’s so easy for an athlete to do so. They just take classes in the summer while they’re on campus for practice/games. Voila, graduated in three years.

          • LK

            Fair enough. Regardless, graduating from Stanford at all is enough to separate him from most MLB players.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Fair enough. Regardless, graduating from Stanford at all is enough to separate him from most MLB players.

              FTFY

              • Tom from England

                HA! Spit out me pork and rice on that one…

      • CapitalT

        That is why he needs to open the clinic to help these guys on the learning curve. It took Moyer years. Frank Tanana would be another good one (if he is still alive)

    • hogsmog

      Lincecum also isn’t the control artist Moose was. It seems like his troubles aren’t just velocity related, but that he can’t find the plate, either.

  • Pseudoyanks

    UIF for sure. Grandy returns Francisco gone. Tex returns Overbay gone. BB sticks around for a while, no?

  • Eddard

    1. Right, they just needed to get settled. And I’m high on Wells. I think when Granderson returns they should put him in LF, Gardner in CF, Wells in RF. If Wells is going to outplay Ichiro then Wells should play and Ichiro should be benched.

    2. I agree. Phelps can shadow one for now. I think when Phil gets settled in he’ll be a 6 inning guy so it won’t be as big a deal. Tonight’s start will be a good one for Nova to get back on track against a bad lineup. Let’s remember that these two have only had one start.

    3. Lincecum should go to the pen where he was successful in the postseason. Then he can let it fly for an inning or two. If you want to stay at the top you have to reform your style like Andy.

    4. I think we need to give it a month or two and then see what we need. Right now it seems middle relief, LH reliever are needs. When the injured stars come back we’ll have one hell of a bench so we might not need too many upgrades there. Cervelli looks like he can be as good a C as Martin was.

    • Slugger27

      granderson will be in CF. theyve said so multiple times.

      • Eddard

        Then that’s unfortunate because Gardner is so much better in CF. If Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones can pretend to play LF for a whole season then I’m sure Curtis Granderson could too.

        • Slugger27

          gardner is obviously the better CF, and i wish theyd keep him there and put grandy in LF, but its not going to happen.

          its the same thing we were saying in 2010 about jeter hitting leadoff. most of us dont agree, i just dont see the point in continuing to bring it up. the decision has been made.

          • OldYanksFan

            I agree, but Wins wise, I’m not sure there is that much of a difference.

            The truth is, we don’t know what we need until we know about Teix and Grandy.

            I consider ARod out for the season. If he comes back and hits, it’s just a bonus. Let’s hope Youk can stay healthy.

            Jeter is the biggest question mark. He went from MAYBE opening the Season, to MAYBE being back by the middle of May. That ankle had absolutely no activity over the winter. It is going to need some time with mild stress, to build up strength to the point where stress doesn’t cause swelling.

            There are SO MANY question marks, I hate to see any moves (unless something lucky falls in our lap) until they know more about Jeter, Teix and Grandy.

            I think we have about a 10 Win swing between thing going well (all three back by May… Maybe June for Teix) and things going badly (Jeter and Teix out for the year, and Grandy dimished.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Why just assume ARod is out for the year? No one’s given any indication that’s going to be the case.

              • Kosmo

                even if Arod makes it back on let´s say August 1st what should we expect from him ? Youk could post good numbers for the entire season plus the pending logjam at DH puts Arod on the bench. What happens to Nix an OK utility player ?

                • Jim Is Bored

                  I’m not too worried about what happens to Nix.

                  I was really just curious why we’d count ARod out for the whole year.

                  If he’s back I expect a ~110 wrc+, which is terrible relative to his past but still a useful addition to the lineup, and more depth.

                  • Kosmo

                    NY still needs to have utility players on a 25 man roster. Nix or some other scrub to rest the starters. Arod is a 3b/DH. Nix can play 3 IF positions and the OF.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      Of course we need utility guys. I’m not worried about Nix, specifically. I’m sure Girardi will keep a utility guy around, whether it’s him or some other defense-first guy.

                      Girardi loves micromanaging; the idea that he’d ignore the utility spot is something no one should worry about.

  • CP

    Just kinda spit-balling the obvious needs right now, I’d say a backup catcher

    They already have two, why would they need a third?

    • Slugger27

      to upgrade one of them….?

    • LK

      I’m not sure I consider Stewart a viable MLB backup.

    • MannyGeee

      Yeah, this is kinda funny but true.

  • Kramerica Industries

    I’ve been surprised at just how good the retreads have been, especially Wells, who I expected to flat out suck. Early returns are good right now.

    Hope they manage to squeeze at least one of the remaining two here. Don’t want to split after taking the first two. That would be disappointing.

  • http://unclemikesmusings.blogspot.com Uncle Mike

    It’s not just Halladay and Lincecum. Look at those pitchers the pesky Blue Jays picked up, leading so many people to think they were going to win the AL East: They’re getting creamed.

    I guess they didn’t learn the lesson the Yankees got with Javier Vazquez (twice), Carl Pavano and Kevin Brown: NL pitchers can’t pitch in the AL East. Welcome to real baseball, R.A. Dickey.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Hiroki Kuroda must be a mirage, as well as the other obvious reasons those guys didn’t do well.

      If I could create my own irresponsible meme, though, I couldn’t think of two more perfect names for which GS3 would have gutted the farm for this offseason than Dickey and Lincecum.

      #rollin

      • MannyGeee

        so so SOOOO true.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Kuroda disagrees. So does Jason Hammel. And Buerhle was not an NL pitcher. Josh Beckett was fine for the first few years until he fell off the table.

      The AL East isn’t the offensive juggernaut of old. One of Dickey’s starts was against Cleveland, not an AL East team. He pitched fantastically against Baltimore and TB last year(18 innings, 1 run).

      Pavano couldn’t pitch because he was hurt. Same for Kevin Brown.

      The idea that NL pitchers can’t pitch in the AL East is a myth.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Javy 1.0 was doing well until he hid an injury. Pavano rode a season and a half’s work into a bidding war he never deserved. Brown, not only had success in Texas, but was on the decline when he became a Yankee

        Awful examples. I’m glad he’s not my uncle..

        • Jim Is Bored

          My favorite part was using “those pitchers the pesky blue jays picked up”, when one of them was from the AL Central.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Classic Boversimplifcation. We can easily point out the individual reasons those guys wouldn’t succeed.

        • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

          You know, I’ve heard for years that Javy hid an injury but a) Never heard anyone other than fans or Javy suggest it and b)never heard what the injury supposedly was.

          Maybe I’ve just completely missed the revelation of the injury when he had his physical in Arizona or a Gene Monahan interview or something, but I always regarded that as BS.

          Also, Brown struggled to stay on the field in 2004, but when he pitched, he wasn’t so bad.

          • MannyGeee

            I thought Javy admitted to hiding an injury back in 2004.

    • Slugger27

      kevin brown was a billion years old and off the juice. pavano was never that good in the NL except for the year before he came over. javy… well javy doesnt help the point im trying to make.

      pitching in the AL east is harder than pitching in the national league. nobody would argue it isnt. i just dont think the transformation is impossible. kuroda is 1 example.

      • Jim Is Bored

        There aren’t any lineups in the AL that resemble the Nats or the Braves this year. I don’t know whether having the pitcher in the 9 hole negates that, but this is the first year in a while you could argue the NL East offenses are comparable to the AL East.

        • Slugger27

          top to bottom i favor the al east for sure. all 5 teams have an average or better lineup in my opinion. nats and braves are good, but not enough for me to say the division as a whole is a better hitting division. just my opinion.

          i was speaking more generally anyway. for quite some time now, the al east has been tougher on a pitcher.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Yeah I mean I’d still put the AL East ahead overall; but I think a pitcher on the Marlins who only gets to face the other 4 teams is facing a very similar uphill battle to the pitchers in the AL East this year.

            • Rick

              Oh yea, those Mets and Phillies lineups are reallllllllyyyyy scary. Christ, the three highest paid OF’s on the Mets don’t even play for them. That’s probably the worst assembled OF in the history of baseball. Outside of the Braves and Nationals, that division is horrendous.

              • Jim Is Bored

                But the Braves and Nats are better than the AL East equivalents.

                My only point was that it’s closer this year than it’s been before, mostly because the AL East offenses are down.

                And my REAL point was that pitching well in the NL doesn’t mean you’ll suck in the AL.

                • Rick

                  Certainly agree on the last part.

    • LK

      I wouldn’t pay that Kershaw scrub a dime.

  • theyankeewarrior

    I think an obvious way to upgrade the team at the deadline is to acquire a legit, starting catcher. A half-year rental. Candidates?

  • Bo Knows

    I despise that size “argument”, why does it always boil down to that? Jered Weaver’s velocity has been tanking for years to the point that its in the mid 80’s yet I hear very little talk about him. Talk about the delivery, its violence, the sheer amount of milage Lincecum has on his arm despite being only 29 (it has been noted that he has pitched deep in both games of Dbl headers, consecutive days growing up and in college) etc but that size argument is such BS.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Seriously? Everywhere I’ve turned I’ve heard about Weaver’s diminished velocity and whether he can maintain his performance, or whether he’s hurt, or aging, etc.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Classic Boversimplification.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Reply fail.

          • TomH

            Are you criticizing your own reply (i.e., “Classic Boversimplification”)? It could start a whole new board routine.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Troll yourself….before others do!!!

      • Bo Knows

        The only thing, I’ve seen is one fangraphs article

        • Jim Is Bored

          I probably watch too much ESPN.

  • Michael

    I was curious as to everybody’s opinion on where Cano should bat in the lineup. So far, he doesn’t seem to mind batting in the 2 hole and some people do believe that a team’s best player should bat second. Where do you think Cano should bat? 2,3,4…?

    • Kosmo

      If and when Jeter returns Girardi will slot Jeter in the 2 hole with Cano 3rd. It keeps the right/lefty thing intact.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    With the scenario in which Curtis returns, Wells fills in holes, Boesch goes down (all sorts of TWSS here), and Francisco goes, I also think we’re probably seeing the beginning of the end of Melky Mesa as a Yankee. Can’t imagine he gets a callup over Boesch, if needed, and I can’t imagine the team won’t begin to look Zoilo’s way more when thinking about who should get a try out for a potential spot next year. Mesa is looking a lot like DFA fodder right now.

    • Vern Sneaker

      Agree about Mesa, which saddens me because with those other tools I always hoped he’d learn to make contact. Maybe Boesch as a fifth outfielder/back-up guy at 1B, and bench lefty — with Overbay leaving? Not sure myself.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Under the 189 plan, I think Boesch is, like Wells, as much about 2014 as he is about 2013.

    • Pat D

      But we must play teh kidz!! Noez DFA Mesa!!!

  • Vern Sneaker

    Putting aside the current hot streaks: Lots of observers commented on Wells’ improved bat speed in ST and it certainly looks better so far. If this keeps up he’s certainly an upgrade over Ichiro. Hafner could always hit, but will he stay healthy? For me, Youk is as good as we could have hoped for and like Hafner just needs to stay healthy. As long as Cervelli keeps this up and Girardi plays him most days, I don’t think we need to upgrade Stewart, though I sure don’t love him. The utility guy upgrade is also a maybe. How much better than Nix can you find on the market and at what price? I would bring Monty up now. Why not, he’s an upgrade over Kelley. Why they’re intending to put Grandy in center is beyond me. Jeter’s a big big question mark and hopefully Nunez will continue to be adequate defensively. It’s very early and no doubt there will be lots of ups and downs this season.

    • mitch

      I think Mustelier could be an upgrade over Nix. Obviously that can’t happen until Jeter comes back, but I don’t think it’s necessary that the utility guy plays short or second. Cano plays everyday, and they’re clearly fine with Nunez playing short.

      • Vern Sneaker

        I wanted Mustelier to make the team out of ST over Boesch, but not as the utility guy. More like an occasional 3B against certain lefty starters with Youk moving to 1B that day and for right-handed bench strength. I don’t agree that the utility guy doesn’t have to play second or short; Musty can’t. Anyway, once his injuries heal have to see if he’s back completely during a minor league stint, then re-evaluate.

        • MannyGeee

          Yup. The time for Mustelier has come and gone, I am afraid. His prime chance was coming up for opening day and trying to stick past the Franciscos and Boesches of the world.

          Making the move now would be change for the sake of change.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            He’s hurt. I also don’t think he could even the average job Nix can do defensively. It’s not the role I’d want him in.

            Of course, I’d take Boesch over him for an OF spot.

            He’s going to have to continue to hit his way into the team’s figuring out sketching for him. What that is, I have no clue.

  • Kosmo

    IMO splitting Hughes and Nova up doesn´t make a whole lot of sense. I think Nova is on a short leash. If he stinks up the place he´ll be optioned or dealt. I´m wondering a bit if Hughes can pick up where he left off in 2012. He spoke about wanting to be more consistent going forward so let´s see if it works out for him.

    • Jim Is Bored

      If Nova stinks up the place, there won’t be any value to be gained in a trade.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    Also, seeing how we like to cherry pick Phil Hughes’ stats to make him seem better than he probably is (Where we throw out his first six weeks and last month because, oh hell, I don’t know), I imagine without even looking I can take a stab at what kind of performance he gave before the seemingly completely arbitrary “last eight starts” milestone.

    • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

      That should, of course, be “eighteen”

      • Jim Is Bored

        He’s been between 2.3-2.5 WAR in his 3 healthy years(2 as a starter, 1 as a reliever).

        I think we know what we’re getting from him at this point.

        ~4.2 era, too many HRs and extra base hits but not that many baserunners via walks or HBPs. 7-8 k/9, 2-3 k:bb ratio.

    • Havok9120

      We get it: you really don’t like Hughes. And yes, some of that is done to his stats….just like it’s done to almost every player ever by every analyst ever now that time-chopping stats is so easy to do.

      It’s a valid complaint, but it’d be just as valid when discussing when CC struggles, or Kuroda’s on-again-off-again start to last season, or almost any reliever I can name. It can be annoying but it’s not something done only by Hughes advocates for the benefit of Their Guy.

      • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

        I don’t dislike Phil Hughes. I want him to be better than this. And *legitimately* better than this, not “if you don’t count [x] [y] and [z] he was great!” Because you sort of have to count x y and z. Its not even like he finished up strong.

        I mean, yeah, you can do it with Kuroda’s and Sabathia’s 2012 too. But you don’t have to. Their seasons stand on their own. You can make them look better if you erase all the bad stuff, but its not necessary.

        I feel like I’ve now dedicated almost my entire adult life to waiting for Phil Hughes to get better, and its not happening, and its depressing.

  • JLC 776

    Wow. That picture.

    Bonus points for the fact that it’s taken right in front of the PROGRESSIVE Field logo.

    • WhittakerWalt

      They really are attached to their racist caricatures.

  • Mouse

    Does anybody know who goes when Jeter comes back?

    Will it be Boesch?

    I know Francisco will go for Granderson and Overbay for Tex.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    You know, I’m really wishing Cash had made the Wells trade early in the offseason and we had let Ichiro go.

    • MannyGeee

      The Ichiro move was 50% riding the hot streak he ended 2012 on and 50% signing a guy cheap that can play CF past 2013, and 50% insurance policy for a guy who played 20 games last season….

      Shit… too many %s. Oh well, you all do the math, I’m done here.

  • mt

    I agree that both Wells and Ichiro (gambling on turnarounds of older players) may be a little much when we are also gambling on turnaround of the yoinger Boesch.

    Actually I read something that Gonzalez has been pushed back to Friday at Stadium for Orioles and Chen starts Saturday. I am really looking forward to how offense looks in that Gonzalez game – he held us down three times last year at YS3 including in playoffs. Hopefully we can get to him (one thing that I have liked so far in Yankee approach which may help against a pitcher like M Gonazalez – with Youkilis and Hafner and to some extenet Wells – their ABs seem to always be at least four pitches – refreshing to see some working of the pitcher; of course every day I also think is whether this is the day either Youkilis or Hafner gets hurt so there’s that angle)