Mailbag: Outfield, Draft, Overbay, Sim. Games

A win at every level (except MLB)
A non-inclusive list of things George Steinbrenner hasn't done since 2010

Got seven questions and six answers this week, so the answers aren’t crazy long. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us whatever, whenever.

Paul: Kevin Youkilis to the OF? He’s played there before (albeit only 22 games and not really recently). Any chance David Adams has been shagging fly balls during BP recently?

Oh hell no on Youkilis. Aside from what will very likely be awful defense — as you can see above, he has played left field in Yankee Stadium before, rather lolingly at that —  I’m not sure I want a 34-year-old with a history of back problems running around the outfield day after day. Stick him at third base and be done with it, no need to needlessly complicate things.

Adams has zero outfield experience as a pro and from what I can tell, he never played it in college either. I’m guessing he didn’t play it in high school as well because of the unspoken “best player plays shortstop unless he throws left-handed” rule. I haven’t seen any reports of him shagging fly balls lately — he has taken ground balls at shortstop, but that’s not unusual — so I’m guessing the Yankees don’t consider him much of an option out there. I don’t see any outfield help coming until Curtis Granderson‘s pinky heals up.

Jeb asks: As unlikely as this is to happen, suppose that draft day is rather chaotic and there is a top-15 talent available for each of the Yankees’ first round picks (e.g. Ryan Stanek, Austin Meadows, etc.). Would you select each of these high-caliber guys and not worry about how to sign them, or would you perhaps take two and then go for some guys who likely would have lower demands to ensure that you can sign your top two picks?

This is very unlikely as you said, but this is where the new draft pool system would really screw a team over. The top 15 picks are all slotted at over $2.2M apiece, so those guys were expecting large bonuses. The Yankees have a touch less than $7.96M to spend this year, which probably isn’t enough to sign three top-15 guys even going super cheap with $10k senior seniors in rounds two through ten.

Given the team’s need to add impact talent to the system, I’d hope they would just blow through the draft pool number and get the three players signed. It’s an extreme circumstance and you can’t pass up a haul like that. The Yankees can spend up to $8,753,140 before forfeiting a future first round pick (that would come with a $596,805 tax) and up to $9,151,010 before forfeiting a future first and second round pick ($1,193,610 tax). If they could add three legit top-15 guys, they’d have to grab them and get them signed. It it costs a pick next year, so be it. They never have access to those guys.

Mike asks: What could the Yankees get in a trade for Lyle Overbay when Mark Teixeira returns? Who would be a potential trading partner? The draft is on my mind, what about a competitive balance pick?

Ryan asks: With Teixeira going on a rehab assignment and very close, what teams may have a need/interest in Overbay? They will likely keep him for a little bit to make sure Tex is healthy, but what might a trade look like, what kind of a return might they get?


Might as well lump these two together. I do think the Yankees will hold onto Overbay for at least a few weeks while they make sure Teixeira’s wrist is healthy and he’s in the clear. He’d be a bench bat/part-time starter at first and DH, basically.

As good as he’s been, Overbay is still just a 98 wRC+ first baseman who can’t hit lefties. There usually isn’t a huge market for those guys, but I could see clubs like the Marlins, Mets, Brewers, and Rockies having some interest. Obviously injuries could create more openings, and that includes the Yankees. If they could get one of those competitive balance picks — #34-39 and #69-73, and they are tradeable between now and the draft — I’d take it and run. Otherwise I think the Yankees would be lucky to get a C-prospect out of Overbay in a trade. He’s been better than expected but still below-average overall. The demand just isn’t that great.

Matt asks: Which Yankees FA from last offseason (Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez) would you most like to have back, given their current performances and the injuries/general awfulness of their replacements?

All of the above? If I had to pick one, I’d go Swisher over Martin even though he plays the less important position because the Yankees really need offense and he’s the better offensive player. I think the difference between Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki is greater than the difference between Martin and Chris Stewart. Chavez has quietly been awesome by the way (153 wRC+) — he did leave yesterday’s game hurt — and I didn’t think he’d do it again. Good for him.

Michael asks: Could you write a post where you explain exactly how a simulated game “plays?” For instance, are there nine fielders? Are they playing at 100% or is it simply a way for the pitcher and hitter to do their work? Are there two discrete sides playing and changing between batting and fielding? Is the pitching coach calling balls and strikes? And so on … Thanks.

It’s glorified batting practice, basically. There’s a pitcher (with no L-screen) and usually two batters (one lefty and one righty) alternating at-bats in simulated “innings.” No fielders, and a coach will call balls and strikes and declare balls in play hits or outs or whatever. The pitcher will sit down for 15 minutes after getting three “outs” before going out for the next inning. The players are supposed to play at 100%, but you can’t truly simulate the adrenaline levels of a big league game. It’s just a way to get work in.

Bernie asks: How many wins do the Yankees have when trailing in the 7th or later and how many did they have all of last year? Has to be close?

I’ve spent more time on Baseball-Reference than I care to admit over the years, yet I always seem to be finding stats and info I didn’t know they had. Win-loss records when leading after a specific inning are one of those things I discovered within the last few weeks, so I can actually this question.

The Yankees are just 3-19 (.136) when trailing after seven innings this year, which is better than the league average winning percentage (.104). Small sample size, yadda yadda yadda. Last season they went 9-58 (.134) when trailing after seven, so a negligible difference. It’s basically the same pace. This year’s team does, however, already have more wins when trailing after eight innings (two) than last year’s team (one).

A win at every level (except MLB)
A non-inclusive list of things George Steinbrenner hasn't done since 2010
  • Robinson Tilapia

    A C- minus is still much more than you’d ever expect to get for Overbay once you were done with him. That’s for sure.

    I also agree I’d rather have Swisher back. Best offensive player. End of story.

    • The Real Me

      I’d take the supplemental pick over a C- prospect. With what he’s given the team to this point, he has been well worth his cost.

  • jsbrendog

    wow, b-ref is unbelievably awesome, isn’t it?

  • Mike HC

    Definitely agreed on Youk. Keep him at third and first only. And interesting stuff on the “simulated game.” I was going to ask that same question in another thread but just never got to it.

    • Mike HC

      As for Overbay, I think he has basically zero trade value.

      • jsbrendog

        yup. why would a team give you something when they know you have no choice but to cut him loose cause you’re 25 man has no room for him and he can’t be sent down?

        • jjyank

          And if Mike is right with his proposed list of teams that could be interested, why would any of those non-contenders give up any real value for a guy like Overbay. It’s not like Overbay is the missing piece to get the Marlins back into contention.

        • TCMiller30

          By trading for him, you’re guaranteeing that he’ll play there. For example, a team like the Marlins, if they wanted Overbay, would probably have a pretty hard time getting Overbay to go over as a free agent if pretty much any other team was interested. By offering some C level prospect, a guy who’s not expected to turn a franchise around, and might have some chance of maybe contributing at the replacement player level at some point down the line, you can guarantee you get him.

          • Kosmo

            Overbay to the Brewers for Jeff Bianchi. Be-yankee. get it? he plays 3B and SS, can hit a little.

  • Eddard

    They need to keep Overbay and Adams for now. They can send down Boesch, although I think they should DFA Ichiro. And also send down El Nuno. When Andy comes back next week they can send down Nova to refine his pitching. That will still give them plenty of pitching and buy more time to figure out what to do with Overbay/Adams. They wouldn’t need to make a decision on them until Grandy returns.

    • jsbrendog

      ichiro isn’t going anywhere. at all. sadly.

      • Kosmo

        sadly you´re probably right although I´d add he´s moving closer and closer to the precipice. If .250 is all Ichiro can muster by July 1st I wouldn´t be at all surprised the Yanks cut bait.

        • jjyank

          If it was a one year deal, absolutely. However, the fact that they gave him a second year tells me that he’ll get more than just a few weeks more than the Randy Winns of the world. I would like to see Ichiro DFA’d if he continues to suck, but I would be shocked if it happened during the 2013 season.

          • Kosmo

            I dunno. Arod and Jeter this season alone are costing NY tens of millions. At this point Ichiro is owed about 10-11 million total for the rest of this year and the next. In the past the Yanks have swallowed larger chunks of change for injured players or to jettison underwhelming players. We shall see.

            • jjyank

              I could see him DFA’d in the offseason, or at any time in 2014, but I don’t really see him getting the axe this season. I’ve been wrong before, so who knows. If the Yankees had a clear alternative, I might agree with you. But with Granderson injured, he has a roster spot. Even when he comes back, Ichiro is a pretty solid 4th OF in my opinion (albeit an overpaid one). I think they’d keep him. Also, with Granderson’s impending free agency, they might want to hold onto Ichiro and see what happens with their OF situation.

              I wish Tyler Austin was hitting better and a year closer in terms of development. That would pretty much solve this problem.

  • trr

    I really don’t want the team to start hammering square pegs into round holes by shoving everybody (Adams, Youk, Overbay, Nix ) into the OF. There are hard roster decisions to be made, so be it. Signing Ichiro looks worse and worse all the time….

    Still have my fingers crossed that an impact player at a position of need (C/SS/RF) becomes available to us at the trding deadline.

    Strongly agree w/the draft analysis. Strike while the iron is hot.

    • Kosmo

      me too!
      Amarista SS
      Rios RF
      Bill Dickey C

      and of course the incumbent RF Granderson

      • jsbrendog

        rios? no thanks. $13 mill next year and what i assume from cotts is a $1 mill buyout in 15? not sure but yeah no

        • jsbrendog

          and the reason i say this isn’t because he sucks, he actually resurrected his career in Chi (kenny williams breathes a deep sigh of relief) but the white sox will want more for him than he is worth i would bet and he is not an impact player IMO

          • Kosmo

            Rios may not be ideal but given the current Yankee policy re long term contracts, a 1 year 13 million dollar contract buys NY an additional year in player development for let´s say Austin and Heathcott. BTW who plays RF next year for NY ?
            just spitballin´

            • jsbrendog

              but that’s just it, a team like the white sox will want more than rios is worth. so he isn’t worth it.

    • jjyank

      Agreed about the positional stuff. I just caught up on Matt’s chat from yesterday, and so many people seem to think that Adams and Cano can move to short, or Youk, Overbay, or Adams can play the OF. I get the idea behind it: keep as much of your depth as possible when the injured guys return. But that’s just not plausible. The only guy I would be okay trying out a new position is to see if Overbay can handle RF. And that has more to do with Ichiro being terrible than me wanting to keep Overbay long term.

      • jsbrendog

        so the new yourtradeproposalsucks is yourpositionalrealignmentsucks? haha

  • Kosmo

    me thinks a deadline deal for a Martin type catcher is more difficult to come by than a corner OF. No ? Really never been a big fan of either Martin or Swisher but I´d take Martin in a heartbeat right now.

  • Tyler

    So Youk is a “hell no” for the outfield, but you’re okay with Overbay playing out there?

    • Mike Axisa

      Overbay doesn’t have a history of back problems. Even if he did, he sucks and they wouldn’t miss him if he got hurt.

      • Tyler

        Back problems aside, they’d both suck out there.

  • LK

    I’d rather have Martin back than Swisher I think. It’s true that Swisher would help the team more right now, but I’m still not sold on Cervelli. Once Granderson is back I think they can field a competent OF.

  • Virginia Yankee

    I think should the Yanks find anything in a trade for Overbay, they should jump on it. Youk can back up Teixiera at first with Adams handling 3b.

  • entonces

    Question for Mike (Really, for Bud Selig):

    Yankee offense is pitiful, barely better than poor Astros. Shouldn’t the playing field be “levelled” for teams that can’t score runs? Bad teams get higher draft picks. Poor teams get extra picks too. Why can’t teams that can’t score runs get an extra run or two to give them a better chance? Just asking, Bud.

  • Long Lost Poster

    Hello everyone =)

    What I don’t understand and I read a lot of Yankees news from other sites as well as some forums where us posters share our opinions. Before the season even started how could some if not a lot of people not see how bad this team actually was going into the season? What did they fix after that disaster of a post season nothing? All the Yankees seem to do for the past few years is plug their holes with quick fixes and finally it bit them in the butt.

    If you think about it a team cannot fill all their holes in one off season and season after season a hole or two might open up. It seems the Yankees are full of holes and after this Year their will be even more holes and those holes are going to be on their P staff.

    When is this team going to stop thinking that Gardner is the fix to the outfield when the guy just can’t hit worth a lick. The Yankees have no power from their corner outfielders. Granderson is kinda a homerun or bust type of guy. Cano is a free agent after the season and Tex is going to come back and play a great D and hit about 250 trying to jack everything over the RF fence. This team has no catcher that’s right no catcher. Adams at 3b is doing a wonderful job and when Jeter comes back if and when what will they actually get?

    Everyone had to know that the guys currently playing where going to come back down to earth and play to their potential. I’m also sick and tired of a team that just doesn’t have a steady lineup. What about the day when you sent out your 1-9 I can’t remember the last time I seen the Yankees with a lineup like that so how could one team meld and come together?

    You remember 1998?
    These were your every day players and since Girardi took over it’s been nothing more then an erratic lineup. Now I’m not saying he’s doing a bad job but just when are the Yankees going to get younger throw a mix of vets in their and have a steady lineup instead of a bunch of replacement killers?

    Also no you don’t brush these losses off and move on. If you can’t see how bad this team is then well I don’t know what do say but I think most here would agree it’s time for some change because this team is going to come crashing and it’s already begun in 2011.

    • jjyank

      Comparing a team, any team, to a Yankee line up that won 114 regular season games does not make your point seem rational. Just a heads up.

      The Yankees have made the post season every year other than 2008 since 1995. The draft at the end of the first round. They signed players to large deals to keep them on the team. And now it’s starting to crack a bit. Did you really expect them to win ~95 games and take the division every single year for the rest of forever? It is what it is. The Yankee strategy worked quite well for almost two decades. Now they’re hitting a rough patch (and still only 2 games out of first place, by the way). It is what it is. Their success, or any team’s success, can’t be sustained forever. In my opinion, they’re doing the best they can to patch the team with short term fixes in the hopes that buying some time for a few of our prospects can make the team better in the long run.

      Also, as to your last point: yes, you can brush off these losses. The season still has a long way to go, and the Yankees are well within contention. If you choose to go all Greg on us and declare the season over during a rough patch in May, then by all means, go right ahead. I choose not to.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      “I think most here would agree it’s time for some change because this team is going to come crashing and it’s already begun in 2011.”

      This team’s struggles in the middle part of this decade could be seen much, much earlier than 2011. The core, and those who joined them last decade, were all going to approach retirement age in the middle of this decade, and building something than even grazes that sort of stature was going to be a tall order, no matter what.

      I don’t know what else to tell you. They’ve made both great and shit decisions along the way. This was going to be a time of adversity any way you slice it.

    • King George

      Began in 2011? Plug holes? I find it hard to believe that a team who has made it to the World Series and won (09), ALCS (10), ALDS (11), and ALCS (12) is just plugging holes and is unravelling. It’s a rough patch right now. I have faith in the team. The team is two, 2, TWO, DOS games back right now without their planned lineup. And now they’re getting their every day players back. This was an somewhat foolish post from someone who doesn’t post often. And by “somewhat foolish,” I mean incredibly foolish.

      • Long Lost Poster

        We’ll see where the Yankees are closer to the end of the summer. There is no way the Yankees with the current lineup are PS bound. Foolish is people who can’t see how bad the lineup really is. Foolish is people who think Tex, Ardo, & Youk will be a god send to me that’s incredible foolish. When this team doesn’t make the PS you all will be saying this team stunk we need changes. Sit back and enjoy the lineup it’s only going to get worse. Losing to the Astro & Mets is something you don’t brush off. You acknowledge the problems you have not brush them off.

        • jjyank

          This is baseball. Using absolutes will get you in trouble.

          I’m not sure how you figure that the lineup will be worse. Getting Youk and Tex back are pretty clear upgrades in the lineup.

          They’re two games out of first place. It’s not even June yet. This team could very well make the post season, so let’s stop talking like we’ve suddenly switched place with the Blue Jays.

      • Long Lost Poster

        The Yankees have gotten lucky very lucky winning those games. This has nothing to do with if the Yankees didn’t make the PS this year. They have to many things not on their side. Check the numbers on where they are in runs scored, 2-1 games etc. Yankee ratings have dropped %50 what does that tell you? BTW who are the Yankees every day players that they are getting back? Youk and Tex? Adams is playing 3rd so him a youk are a wash. Tex will be great on D would you agree? But don’t look for him to hit over 255 and be ready for a homrrun or bust attitude. Am I missing anyone else that’s everyday?

        • jjyank

          Youk and Adams are not a wash. They can rotate Youk, Adams, Cano, Tex, and Hafner between 1B, 2B, 3B, and DH. Whoever the odd man out is on a given day will provide a very nice bat off the bench. It’s entirely possible that Youk and Adams are in the same lineup many days.

          Also, Tex is better than Overbay. That’s an upgrade any way you slice it.

  • King George

    Well, let’s all remember that the $189m plan is what got us here…

  • Long Lost Poster

    Also on another note you wanna talk foolish. What are the Yankees after the 7,th 8, innings? Where are they in runs scored in the league? What about one and two runs games? You wanna talk foolish? How about you look into those stats. Keep telling yourself this team is fine.

    This has nothing to do with the Yankees making the PS every year sine 1800 it has everything to do with putting a winning team on the field and getting better not just slapping quick fixes on things.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Foolish is calling anything outside a narrow worldview foolish.