May
23

Thoughts on the off-day

By
(Rob Carr/Getty)

(Rob Carr/Getty)

The Yankees are off today, their first scheduled off-day since before the Rockies series 16 days and 16 games ago. Yeah, they were rained out on Sunday, but they still had to show up to the park and stuff. It’s not really a day off. So, as the team heads to Tampa in advance of their three-game weekend series against the Rays, here are some miscellaneous thoughts.

1. During the first 38 games of the season, the Yankees used six different outfield alignments. During the last eight games, since Curtis Granderson returned, they’ve used four. We all knew they would rotate their four outfielders — Brett Gardner in center has been the only real constant since Granderson returned — but I do think having a different alignment everyday can be problematic. Players are human, and no one likes showing up to work everyday not knowing their task for the day. Some continuity would be a good thing, but the Yankees aren’t prepared to flat-out bench Ichiro Suzuki and his Womackian 57 wRC+. For what it’s worth, Granderson told Dan Martin the constant bouncing between left and right fields was not a reason for his slow start with the bat, but I can’t imagine it helped.

2. As RLYW pointed out yesterday, the Yankees are at the bottom of the league when it comes to pitches seen per plate appearance this year. They’ve been at or near the top for the last 15 years or so. Not coincidentally, the team also has its worst walk rate (7.5%) since 1990 (7.0%). They haven’t been below a 9% walk rate since 2008, and only once in the last two decades did the team have a sub-8.5% walk rate. The league average walk rate this year is 8.4%, and sitting nearly a full percentage point below that is not Yankees baseball. With a few exceptions, they lack patience and the ability to grind out long at-bats. Replacing Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Russell Martin, and Derek Jeter with Ichiro Suzuki, Lyle Overbay, Frankie Cervelli/Chris Stewart, and Replacement Level Shortstops ‘R Us is a big reason why. Two of the team’s middle of the order bats — Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells — aren’t exactly patient either. Travis Hafner leads the team with a .386 OBP at the moment. That would have ranked third on the 2009 Yankees. The Yankees have a 93 wRC+ as a team this year — again, worst since the last place 1990 team (85 wRC+) — and that inability to work deep counts and grind out at-bats is a big reason why. Obviously injuries are a major factor here.

(Rob Carr/Getty)

(Rob Carr/Getty)

3. Prior to last night’s beatdown, Brian Costa argued Hiroki Kuroda may be the greatest free agent signing in Yankees history. I don’t necessarily disagree, but I think it’s a question that will require an awful lot of research to answer. It certainly helps that Kuroda is signing one-year deals because one-year deals rarely go horribly wrong. If the player is bad, he’s gone the next year. If he’s good, he usually winds up a multi-year deal. Kuroda’s willingness to go year-to-year makes his signing look that much more amazing. Just consider that in his two years as a starter, he’s been worth 7.1 bWAR in 43 starts. Mike Mussina pulled down 7.1 bWAR in 34 starts during his first season in pinstripes alone. I love Kuroda — I was pining for the Yankees to acquire him as far back as the 2010 trade deadline — and think he could very well go down as one of the two or three best free agent pickups in team history, but that’s as much a function of his willingness to take one-year deal after one-year deal as it is his great performance. The Yankees won’t be saddled with any decline years at the end of the multi-year pact that drag down the overall value.

4. With Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez not particularly close to rejoining the team, David Adams‘ job as the everyday third baseman is pretty safe for the time being. He’s played well on both sides of the ball — his defense has been better than advertised even if his over-the-top throwing motion makes me think every ball is going to sail into the dugout — and in his week on the roster, he’s shored up a nice-sized roster hole. Adams could always hit, and if he continues to hit, I think he’ll stay on the roster even after Youkilis or A-Rod returns. He could take the place of Ben Francisco, the designated lefty-pitching masher who has done anything but. Francisco has played in 21 total games but has only started four in the outfield, instead spending most of his time at DH. Adams can fill that role. The Yankees would only be carrying four true outfielders in that scenario, but Jayson Nix has left field experience and could step in in a pinch. It’s only been a week, but Adams has played well enough to stick around and the team owes it to themselves to give him as much time as possible to see if he can help them both this year and into the future.

5. I’ve never really bought into the whole “you can’t lose your job due to injury” stuff you hear from time to time. If you get hurt and your replacement performs considerably better, he deserves the job. With that in mind, I think Ivan Nova has lost his rotation spot to David Phelps. Nova’s been dreadful since last year’s All-Star break — 6.93 ERA and ~4.50 FIP in 76.2 innings — and Phelps has been rock solid in his four-start cameo, pitching to a 2.84 ERA and ~3.42 FIP in 25.1 innings. Phelps doesn’t have much of a track record as a big league starter, but I’ve seen enough to know he should keep his spot over Nova. I think the Yankees should send Nova down to Triple-A once he come off the DL so he can work on things in an environment where results don’t matter. I wouldn’t give up on him as a starter yet, but he needs fixin’ and Phelps is a more than capable replacement.

Categories : Musings

142 Comments»

  1. trr says:

    Must agree, the declining walk ratios and OBP (along with the ever popular RISP fail) is a big reason why we’re not scoring enough runs.
    Whatever happened to working the count? There have been too many quick innings, especially quick 1st innings this year. As Mike said, I don’t really see the trend changing until some of the veteran’s return.

    • WhittakerWalt says:

      Because whenever people ask questions like that Girardi will give some pat “I don’t want them to lose their aggressiveness” BS.

    • RetroRob says:

      Unfortunately, working the count is not something that just happens. It’s a skill. When Gene Michael began his rebuild of the team, he jettisoned players like Mel Hall and went for a playerz like Wade Boggs, or traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neil, insterting Bernie in center. Players who wither have high OBP, or at the least drive up pitch counts, allowing the Yankees to get to the bullpen. That’s driven the team for twenty years.

      Letting Swisher and Martin leave was an issue from the start, especially knowing A-Rod was injured. Fortunately, they’ve held it together so far with pitching, but it won’t last the whole season. They will need Jeter and Tex to join Granderson and help on this front.

  2. Frank says:

    Phelps should not only start over Nova, he should also be the 4th starter with Hughes sliding to the 5 hole.

    • Bavarian Yankee says:

      this. I really wonder what they’d do once Pineda returns and everybody is healthy. I hope they have the balls to put Hughes in the pen.

    • Slugger27 says:

      if theyre both pitching every 5 days, does it matter?

      • jjyank says:

        Exactly. It doesn’t matter at all. Right now Hughes is pitching in between CC and Kuroda right now anyway, and we all know he’s not really the #2. It’s a meaningless distinction. Helpful for us fans in discussing and labeling a pitcher’s abilities and ceiling, but ultimately pretty meaningless.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Of course it doesn’t matter that he just out-pitched both CC and Hirok in the series against the O’s. I was going to suggest that we move CC to the pen. But I quickly realized that would be an asinine suggestion.

  3. BeanTooth says:

    You could argue Mussina is the most underrated free agent pick-up by the Yankees. Had the team managed to win the WS during his tenure, he’d be hailed as a lynchpin of a championship. But because his time in NY coincided with some “lean” years, I don’t think he’s truly appreciated for how awesome he was. Also, Adams definitely looks like a major leaguer now. Team needs to keep him in the lineup even after everyone returns.

  4. Mike says:

    Does anyone have an update on Youk or a timetable for his return?

    • CountryClub says:

      He’s gotten ABs in extended ST for a couple days in a row now. I think Girardi said before yesterday’s game that if he comes through healthy after a couple of more that he’ll start a rehab assignment. They want to test him before the rehab games to make sure his back is really ready to go.

  5. Eddard says:

    1. They need a consistent 3, which is their best 3- Gardner in CF, Wells in LF and Grandy in RF. Wells doesn’t need a day off after a rain out and Gardner doesn’t need a day off before a scheduled day off. Give them a chance to get on a roll. Ichiro is a PR and defensive replacement.

    2. Youk was their most patient hitter and he’s been out. Younger players, replacement players aren’t as patient.

    3. Kuroda was a better signing than Moose because Moose was at the top of his game. There was no doubt that was a good signing. With Kuroda we weren’t sure if an NL West pitcher could pitch in the AL East but he’s been our ace.

    4. Adams is proof that these kids should get a shot to prove themselves. I hope Adams/Youk are our guys at 3rd going forward. This should give the FO the ammo it needs to encourage A-Rod to retire. They can tell him if he comes back he’ll be on the bench.

    5. BGDP deserves to stay in the rotation. Nova didn’t lose his job because of injury, he lost it because of ineffectiveness. And not just this year, last year as well. Last time he went down to AAA to refine his game it worked wonders for him. Pineda is waiting in the wings with more potential as well. There’s nothing wrong with having starting pitching depth.

    • CountryClub says:

      Girardi said yesterday that he’ll soon settle on a regular outfield. The rotation won’t last uch longer.

    • Cuso says:

      I am thrilled with Adams.

      But because we’re thrilled with what he’s done in two weeks somehow gives the Front Office “ammunition” to “encourage” A-Rod to retire?

      What??

      If Adams was batting 1.000 in 50 at-bats with 16 homers, the effect would be the same. There is no ammunition. A-Rod doesn’t give a shit about what the kid is doing. And the Front Office wouldn’t waste their breath “encouraging” A-Rod to retire when 1.) they know he’ll say no, 2.) it’ll cause another headache/idiotic year-long story because that story leaked that they actually DID have such a conversation, and 3.) they’ll have to pay him the full amount of his contract the next five years anyways.

      • MannyGeee says:

        In EddardWorld, “ammo to encourage to retire” loosely translates to “I wonder how many dead hookers you can fit in the trunk of an S-Class with Florida Plates “Centaur-13″…

  6. Bill says:

    Well I think a big reason as you pointed out Mike is that the lineup isn’t as intimidating as it usually is. Less intentional walks, and pitchers are more inclined to just say here it is hit it to a Lyle Overbay than a Tex/Arod etc etc

  7. BeanTooth says:

    Not sure how the FO will encourage someone with over $100 million still coming to him to retire. Incentives don’t seemed lined-up for that, especially considering he can still probably be above league average and has career milestones he still wants to chase. Don’t forget this is a guy with a painting of himself as a centaur. He’s not going to go quietly.

    • kenthadley says:

      Maybe after the dust settles from the Florida Lab “find”, Bud Selig will help encourage him. Probably not…..

    • Slugger27 says:

      i just wish everyone would drop the whole “somehow get arod to retire” thing. its just such a waste of time discussing it.

      • trr says:

        Correct, this particular albatross will hang around our necks until we have the wherewithal to cut it loose. My estimation is about 3.5 years

      • The Real Me says:

        +1. But in fairness to most of the posters, it’s primarily Eddard that keeps bringing it up. I’d love to see A-Rod retire too if he can’t perform well. However, I realize it’s extremely unlikely to happen, so why bring it up as if it’s a real possibility?

      • jjyank says:

        Yup. Also, we don’t know exactly how A-Rod will come back from the surgery, but too many people are forgetting that A-Rod was still above average offensively in 2012. There is a very real possibility that he can be an upgrade for the team, and yet “fans” want him to retire instead.

    • Dr. TJ Eckelberg says:

      Since when is having a painting of oneself of a centaur weird? I have a picture of myself as a unicorn, and it’s awesome.

  8. LarryM Fl says:

    Mike the article was very good. I enjoyed the points which make for some interesting banter.

    The points that I found interesting were patience at the plate and Adams. I can understand Cano, Hafner and Wells not wasting good pitches especially with men on base. These three guys are the whole ball of wax. Maybe if the other players were more league average with walk percentages then some more runs would be driven in.

    Adams has looked marvelous at third and at the plate just invison Billy Crystal pronouncing marvelous. He makes solid contact and does not look over-matched at the plate. He needs opportunity (playing time) and should be kept on the roster even with Youklis’s return. He has no more to prove at AAA and will be an inexpensive third baseman next year as Arod’s caddy and Cano’s part-time replacement.

    Another guy who has impressed is Romine. His catching ability is major league ready. His batting average is below sea level but subtle hints of improvement are occurring with more playing time. I don’t miss Mr. Stewart at or behind the plate.

    • jsbrendog says:

      the only thing i have to say is i agree adams should play but once everyone is healthy, if it comes to it, I feel he should be playing everyday in aaa as opposed to once a week and as a rare ph. nothing to do with him but after everyone is healthy then if/when someone goes down again i’d rather he have had continuous at bats in aaa and be in a groove ready to step in as opposed to ok well you had 3 abs a week for a month or 2, now have 15-20 and step n cold.

      i have not had coffee so if this doesnt make sense or is written in nonsensical terms i swear it made sense in my head

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Eh. 25-26 years old. I’d be fine with him getting some extra work at first and sliding into a corners reserve and DH option who gets 300-350 at-bats until he shows he’s got a role doing more.

        Hey, it worked for Nuney. Oh, wait…

        • Mscott says:

          And fill in at second — his natural position — on the rare days that Cano gets a day or half a day off (rather than subject us to even more Nix at bats).

  9. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I haven’t a clue as to how changing outfield alignment would be positively or negatively affecting things. Sounds like something that, in theory, would make sense, I guess.

    ….and yet there will be some reactionary on here who worry about Teixeira returning and Overbay not playing first because of chemistry or whatnot. Of course, the reason the team lost last night was because 3-3 Curtis Granderson came back and killed the chemistry, right?

    Calling Kuroda the best signing does seem a bit of a copout with the one-year nature of his deals. Even without stats, I’ll easily put Mussina’s deal way above his any day, any time. That was a hell of a victory lap as well.

    Ivan Who? BGDP FOREVER, BABY!

    Somewhat tangential, but I tried to commenting in the recap thread to Eddard via my phone, which has about a 50% chance of actually leading to an actual posted comment. I’m not taking such a stark stance on Austin Romine. He hasn’t looked god overall, but I feel this is more the classic Yankee conundrum, and that’s do they allow the young player to take his time acclimating to playing every day at the next level as a perrenial contender? Romine has climbed the ladder. I’m not quite sure there’s much more for him at AAA.

    • Dr. TJ Eckelberg says:

      I’m with you on Lettuce. I refuse to believe that Stewart is THAT much better than Romaine. I’d rather let a kid figure it out then continue to employ that waste of space Chris Stewart.

      They keep saying ‘he can catch in an emergency, but won’t be able to hit’. That’s like…what he is anyway.

  10. mt says:

    If Yanks never played Arod again as a starter, would Arod retire? Derek Jeter would retire (Yanks would not do that to Jeter but let’s just play along in this scenario) but why would Arod? There were already rumblings from his camp that Yanks were a little too interested in hoping Biogenesis findings become proven – as long as he sees himself as healthy I am not sure he will retire and forfeit all that money – he will feel Yanks are screwing him over and will be more than happy to take Yankees’ money to sit on his ass.

    Only scenario I may see in terms of him deciding to retire is if he feels he cannot physically get back on field.

    • trr says:

      If he retires, he doesn’t paid.

      “The End”

      • The Real Me says:

        I could see him hanging on a couple of years even if he really can’t play. Try to make it work for a year or 2, collect as much as possible, run into the occasional pitch and hit a home run, and then call it quits after collecting as much salary as possible. Who would blame him? Wouldn’t you do that? I would.

        I tend to think he’ll be serviceable but not great upon his return. Which, of course, means he’s likely to play out his contract.

        • JohnnyC says:

          FWIW, ARod just sold his Miami “mansion” for a cool $15 million profit. Beats looking for loose change under your mattress but, hey, who knows what ARod might do?

          • MannyGeee says:

            HE blows $15M in the off season on muscular strippers and Coconut Water… Lets not get carried away here.

        • mitch says:

          He’s not retiring. Don’t waste time trying to talk yourself into it. Nobody would voluntarily give up 25 million dollars per year.

          I’m sort of hoping he doesn’t come back at all this year. He can come back in 2014 completely healthy with rock bottom expectations. Maybe some of the venom towards him will have washed away as well. But probably not.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            If I had his money, and I was getting injured year after year, I wouldn’t even think twice as to leaving the money on the table. He has enough money.

            This isn’t really continuing the conversation as much as its challenging the notion that no one would give up the money. I’m raising my hand and saying I would. I don’t need hypothecial billions on top of the hypothetical billions I already don’t hypothetically know what to do with.

            • jjyank says:

              Fair enough. Everyone is different though, and even if some people might leave money on the table, I have a hard time begrudging someone who wouldn’t leave guaranteed money ont he table. I also think it’s a lot easier for us to say that when we don’t actually have tens of millions staring at us from that proverbial table.

            • mitch says:

              Fair enough. In all honestly, i’d walk away too. Hell, if i somehow won a few millions dollars i’d probably retire right now and live a modest life without working again.

            • LK says:

              I’m not going to say that you wouldn’t in fact give up the money, but I will say I don’t think you can know for sure what you’d do until you actually face the situation. Hypothetical millions are WAY easier to turn down than real ones.

              • jsbrendog says:

                this. i agree with RT and you. I would like to think id walk away. it honestly depends on the wear and tear. if you’re injured every yr and not only not able to play but rehabbing each time just to come up short, man, one man can only take so much failure and it comes toa point where quality of life >>> millions on top o my millions

              • Darren says:

                I doubt there’s even one person that posts on RAB that would retire if it meant losing out $100k, let alone $100mm. It’s funny, people can be so spiritual when it comes to other people’s money.

                I am hopeful Alex can come back from this injury and be a .290 hitter 25 homeruns, good but not great defense., 475 ABs per year. If nothing else, we know he is going to work incredibly hard to reestablish himself.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  You missed the point entirely.

                  Combined, my wife and make a bit upwards of the 100k you’re speaking of. If someone were to offer me 100k to stay at my job for a few more years, even if I wasn’t performing as I used to, yes, I wouldn’t walk away. The motivation there is different, though. Hell, I’m currently riding it out somewhere I’m not entirely happy with because of the salary, and because my sights are set on moving out of the area in a year anyway, right now.

                  If I’d made, in my life, the amount of money Alex Rodriguez has made, though, I’m not quite sure what more money would do.

                  To take this further into absurdity myself, how much money would you feel like you needed before you said “this is enough?” Fun question…I think.

            • The Real Me says:

              Depends what his goals/ambitions are after he stops playing. If he’s like Jeter and wants to own a team (or something similarly expensive), he may want every dollar.

              On the other hand, if his goals aren’t quite as lofty and he finds his rehab extremely demanding, it’s possible he could say “No more”. I doubt it, but it could happen. As I said before, if he’s unable to perform at an adequate level, I see him hanging on a few years, then retiring. I’m still betting on him returning, being league average or better, and playing out his contract.

            • MannyGeee says:

              In knowing you a little better on a personal level than I know Alex Rodriguez, I would agree that you would walk away from the money.

              That said, I think A Rod is a COLOSSAL egomaniac. And colossal egomaniacs would have a hard time walking away until he’s stroked every last bit of his ego with the limelight (and the giant paychecks that come with it..)

              For more information on colossal egomaniacs not wanteing to leave the spotlight, I present to you the player-coach for your Ft Worth Cats…

              http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/.....one-series

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Did you see how he tweeted the name and number of a woman accusing him of sexual assault? I never want to hear anyone defending that asshole again.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      We don’t know if Jeter would be fine sliding into a bench role at the end of his contract if he couldn’t play everyday anymore. Who knows…..we may find out soon enough.

      • LK says:

        Yeah, I don’t think we have any idea how Jeter would react in this scenario, we only know that however he reacted, the media would portray him as the hero of the situation.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’d take it even farther. I don’t even think anything Jeter has SAID (if he’s said anything) can be taken as an indication of future behavior.

    • Cuso says:

      Sorry, but I can’t let this slide.

      “There were already rumblings from his camp that Yanks were a little too interested in hoping Biogenesis findings become proven..”

      Why? Because certain beat-writers make comments that “you gotta believe the Yankees Front Office would rather be rid of the headache?”

      There were no official rumblings. Not Cashman, not Levine, not Steinbrenner. Not a single one of them would have even gone “off-the-record” with a reporter to say “Yeah, gee, I really hope Biogenesis tags A-Rod so he’s not on our team anymore.”

      The rumblings/rumors shit gets me pissed because there’s no real level to which qualify as legitimate and what’s not.

      Beat writers can be as simple as hearing two fans talk near George Steinbrenner field and say they wish A-Rod is gone and all of the sudden it’s rumored that “there’s talk around Steinbrenner Field that certain people close to the complex wouldn’t be so sad to see A-Rod gone.”

      It’s all supposition. We may “think” that’s what the Front Office feels, but they would NEVER verbalize an actual “rumbling” or “rumor” like that on OR off the record.

      • TomH says:

        This debate is like hearing a bunch of professors debate what the correct price of a sandwich will be in the cafeteria.

        I’ll just wait to see which ARod comes back.

  11. pat says:

    I too find Adams throwing motion to be weird to look at. Reminds me of Mark Melancon’s way over the top arm angle.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Brett Lawrie throws overhand as well. And yet we don’t think that’s weird. Although, everything else about him is.

  12. emcee says:

    You can’t lose your job due to injury, Mr. Pipp.

  13. viridiana says:

    “…but Adams has played well enough to stick around and the team owes it to themselves to give him as much time as possible to see if he can help them both this year and into the future.”

    Very well said.

    BTW, it would be interesting to see some scouting analysis of Ichiro. He’s old, certainly, but guys of his caliber (and he is one of the greatest singles hitters of all time) must fall off sharply for a reason. Perhaps if the reason can be identified it can be addressed too. Maybe just wishful thinking though….

    • JohnnyC says:

      Al Leiter said on a recent YES telecast that Ichiro has lost significant bat speed. So much so that he’s unable to do what he mostly does: hit behind the ball, flicking the bat at the last possible instant and placing it where he wants. This is why he leads the league in infield hits year after year. How many infield hits has he gotten with the Yankees?

      • Mike Axisa says:

        His IF hit rate hasn’t changed at all with NYY. It was 13-15% during his heyday, dropped to 10% in 2011 and has stayed there.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Exactly. Many of those hits are just routine grounders now. As to “why,” the answer, of course, is that getting old is a bitch.

        I’m not on the Ichiro-hate wagon. I still think he has something to offer in a diminished role. Just like people are speculating with Jeter or Rodriguez above, it’s more about whether the franchise, right now, is willing to put a legendary name into that diminished role.

        #whichtheydamnwellshould

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          And, of course, Axisa has stats that say otherwise. :)

        • Cuso says:

          Agree. But to the point of putting an aging star in the part-time role part. I think if he was on a one year contract instead of two, this wouldn’t be an issue and he’d be riding the pin a helluva lot more.

          • trr says:

            I’m sure we all wish A-rod would be altruistic and just walk away from the money, but that’s not realistic. I understand that, we agreed to pay him, and are obligated to do so. We may even be able to squeeze some productivity from him this year, maybe next year. But after that? Does anyone here really think he’ll have any value at all at 40? 41?? 42???
            Also, at best he’ll be a DH type on a roster that will be loaded with them the 2nd have of the season
            Never mind the 4 outfielder logjam everyone’s scratching their heads over now; Wait’ll you see the DH logjam in August!

  14. Mike HC says:

    Phelps over Nova. Adams over Francisco. Done and done.

  15. Get Phelps Up says:

    I hope ARod comes back and rakes because it will make the team better…
    And to stick it to dalelama.

  16. Yanksalot says:

    Just heard Jesus Montero was sent down to minors
    And do u guys think Adams is gonna be a good player for us or just a flash in the pan

  17. Buddy says:

    I think the main reason for the theory behind not losing your starting job b/c of injury, is so people actually admit they’re hurt.

    If I’m David Adams right now and I have a strained hamstring, I’m not telling anyone. I don’t wanna lose my starting job…

    • Mike HC says:

      I don’t even think Nova falls into the category of losing his job because of injury. If he does in fact lose his job when he is healthy, it will be because of how terrible he had been before he got injured.

  18. Mighty Casey says:

    Cano should be optioned to a team that will be willing to pay him what JZ asks for…after all, he is the best .295 hitter of all time of all the .295 hitters that ever lived…he DID hit .342 in 2006

    • jjyank says:

      What are you blabbering about exactly?

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      I very rarely say this but: lolwut?

    • Dr. TJ Eckelberg says:

      That’s a clown comment, bro.

    • Get Phelps Up says:

      Even more important than that is how Pedroia is doing.

      • Mighty Casey says:

        That’s right, that’s right, I said Cano is not worth outrageous money. He’s a .290-.295 guy and if he wasn’t on the Yankees, we’d be pointing at his decline like we point to Pedroia’s decline

        • jjyank says:

          Cano hasn’t finished a season hitting below .300 since 2008. What makes you think 2013 will be any different than the four seasons before? Stop cherry picking a single statistic in May and extrapolating it though the end of the season.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          You must have the wrong number. This isn’t the Mike Francesa Show.

        • Mighty Casey says:

          You don’t have me convinced, and stop trying to confuse me with words like extrapolated. I’m not cherry picking squat. I’m stating that his cold streaks are getting longer and they dampen the good that comes from his hot streaks. I would prefer a team, of guys who hit a flat .265 all year vs. guys who hit .200 for four weeks then .320 the next 3 weeks and so on. To me, that’s not worth breaking the bank.

          • Dr. TJ Eckelberg says:

            “and stop trying to confuse me with words like extrapolated”

            Mind=blown

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              And just think that, only a couple of days ago, we were throwing down advanced degrees like they were going out of style.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Your opinion, although you did just reply to yourself.

            You are entirely entitled to think he’s not worth a big contract. Now quit yelling at everyone else about it.

          • jjyank says:

            Um, alright then.

            Let me use words that you can understand.

            Cano has not hit under .300 since 2008. Why are you picking a single statistic (this is call “cherry picking”) this early in the season and assuming it will remain the same for the next 4+ months (this is called “extrapolating”)? You’re making a giant, baseless assumption based on a single statistic before the season is even 1/3 over.

            If you don’t think there should be such a thing as hot streaks and cold streaks, you’re clearly new to baseball.

        • Dalek Jeter says:

          Cano’s wRC+ 2009-(early) 2013
          2009: 124
          2010: 143
          2011: 134
          2012: 150
          2013: 134

          That doesn’t look like a decline to me, it looks like a player who has very good odd years and MVP caliber even years.

  19. nsalem says:

    My question is not how long before our injured stars will return, but how long should we expect them to stay healthy. All four have come with legitimate question marks. Youk’s back and recent injury history seems to be a chronic situation. Tex’s wrist injury from what I have read is highly susceptible to re-injury and at best it will be awhile before he regains his power.. The chances of Jeter’s return to his already limited mobility is unlikely and offensively I would imagine he has also lost a step due to the severity of his injury. A-Rod is a wild card from which we can expect anything from all ends of the spectrum. Not to sound so pessimistic, but I’m not expecting much from the returning stars. Hope I’m wrong. On the brighter side I believe if this teams pitching remains healthy and we can somehow add a productive right handed bat to replace Francisco we are as constituted a team that would make the lay-offs.

  20. Cuso says:

    Unfortunately, the reality is that Nova has probably just been only slightly worse than what he was projected to be in the first place.

    I loved what he did in 2011, obviously. It was exciting to see an actual Yankee farmhand come up and go 16-4.

    We all loved the attitude he showed when he got sent back down, took like a man (or so we decided to believe) and come right back up and continue winning.

    16-4? Hell yeah! The season ended and we all reveled in the probability that we had this diamond in the rough and all he could do was get better! Or maybe some of us believed, “Well, slight regression probably. But he can bounce back after that!”

    The truth is, 2011 was an outlier. He was never projected to be a front-end guy. Hell, he was never projected to be a “good number 5″ for that matter.

    This next part is just my opinion. Facts stop here. Nova is a headcase. I don’t know if it’s immaturity. I don’t know if it’s arrogance because he has a 16-4 season in the can. I don’t know if it’s obstinance because he thinks he’s earned more credibility than to be on a short leash. I don’t know if it’s bitterness because of actually being sent down in 2011 when he WAS actually doing well. I get the feeling though, that it’s a complete lack of commitment to adapting, changing, listening and understanding that hitters make adjustments to YOU, just as you make adjustments to them.\

    Whatever the reason, he needs to get the 2012 Frankie Cervelli treatment, in my opinion.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I absolutely agree you option him down when he’s ready. Guys are doing a better job than he was at the moment. Get back in line.

      Don’t know about the headcase stuff, or if he’s just playing to the ass-end of his scouting report.

    • jsbrendog says:

      mighty casey is confused by your use of big words and would like to demarcate you to the minor blogging leagues

    • BeanTooth says:

      Isn’t a big problem with Nova that while he has a big fastball, it’s both flat and easy to pick up? There’s no deception or movement, so hitters aren’t afraid of it. When his off-speed stuff isn’t really sharp, he’s in big trouble.

    • WSAnalyst says:

      I don’t really think that’s an accuarate assessment. He was a solid back-end starting prospect.

      Several people, including scouts and former players, have voiced the opinion that he’s still not healthy.

  21. Bob Buttons says:

    Frankly I think Goose Gossage, Catfish Hunter and Dave Winfield are better signings, and these are just names off the top of my head. So no, not a knock on Kuroda, but I think these guys deserve more recognition. Kuroda may not be top 5 or even top 10 if we dug deeper. Though he probably is one of the best signing in the Cashman era.

    • Pat D says:

      Hunter’s signing was worth more in propaganda than in actual on-field results. Kinda like how the Key/Abbott/Boggs signings ended up being.

      Winfield ends up being the batting equivalent of Mussina.

      • Kosmo says:

        I disagree on Hunter check out 1975,76 and 78 seasons.

        Reggie
        Tommy John
        Phil Niekro
        David Wells

        A few more for the list.

        • Pat D says:

          Hunter was great in ’75, but was only really league average in ’76 and ’78 (98 and 102 ERA+, combined 2.7 bWAR).

          • Kosmo says:

            You didn´t watch him pitch did you? Yanks don´t make it to the WS in either year without Hunter. 10-3 2nd half of 1978 winning the 6th game of the WS. 1976 he pitched in pain the later part of the season and still tossed close to 300 innings.

            • Pat D says:

              No, it was before my time. I just think you’re giving him a little more credit than he deserves.

            • RetroRob says:

              It’s an interesting debate.

              Hunter was great in ’75, but the years of use, and especially how hard he was ridden down the stretch in ’75 (go look at the pitching logs that year, just insane, even for that time) pretty much pushed him past being a top pitcher by 1976. I remember comments in Spring Training ’76 about his velocity being down and his arm a little sore. They cut back on his innings to a “reasonable” 298, sore arm and all! Yet ERA+ is not always the best way to judge. His WAR in ’76 was 3.8, and yes he was a critical part of the great comeback in 1978 and helping the Yankees win a World Series.

              Similar to my Jackson comment, I certainly would not choose Kuroda over Hunter. I’ll live with the other 2 1/2 years of Hunter’s contract. Oh, btw. Kuroda is making 15M this year. Hunter’s inflation adjusted contract comes to 2.8M per year in today’s dollars.

              • Pat D says:

                Wow, such a vast difference between fWAR and bWAR for that year. fWAR has him at 3.7 and bWAR at only 1.5. I guess Fangraphs views all the innings as a bonus?

              • Mike says:

                Hunter was also a leader, and his presence allowed the Yanks to have a “gamer” at the top of a young rotation (Guidry, Figueroa, Clay, Beattie all played key roles as young pitchers) when the vets like Gullet, Alexander, May and Stottlmeyer all were unreliable for one reason or another.

                The Yanks were a very good team when Hunter signed, and his signing showed the league that the Yanks were not going to be satisfied finishing second to Baltimore. This was critical, since the Yanks had not made any major trades for some time (the contributions of Nettles and Lyle were more luck than design, especially when looking back at the time) and the fan base really needed a jolt as well.

                • Pat D says:

                  That’s why I said the Hunter signing, to me, parallels the Key/Abbott/Boggs signings. The Yankees signed those three guys after striking out on Bonds/Maddux/Drabek, but those three guys contributed greatly to the team returning to a winning record in ’93 and then going forward showed that the Yankees were ready to contend again. They helped buoy the team that had a lot of young players that emerged over the next few years.

    • Ghost of Joe Dugan says:

      Exactly, 1 1/3 seasons of excellent pitching doesn’t shoot you past the three you mentioned as well as a few you didn’t like Reggie Jackson & CC FA contract #1,(before opt-out).

  22. WhittakerWalt says:

    Bad hitters don’t work the count. We’ve got a lot of bad hitters in the starting lineup right now. Some are bad because of youth and inexperience (Romine), some are bad because they’re old and washed up (Ichiro), some are just terrible (Brignac), and some are slumping really bad (Cano).
    None of these are good ingredients for plate discipline.

  23. fin says:

    I can actually see A-Rod retiring long before his contract is up. Not because he will be humiliated into it by a reduced role. Not because he wants to help the Yankees out and give them financial relief, but because his body may simply not be able to do it any longer. He is sustaining serious injuries that could significantly reduce his quality of life as he gets older. He has to do serious rehab after these injuries, probably knowing that every time he returns he will be a lesser version of what he was. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if his next injury he decided the rehab and potential for another injury just isn’t worth it.

  24. trr says:

    Again, if he retires, he doesn’t get paid. I don’t think the Player’s Union allows negotiated buy outs, so we are on the hook for the full amount. IMO, at some point, not anytime soon, the team will just release him and eat the remainder of his contract.

  25. MannyGeee says:

    OK follow me on this… Of the three glass men that man the Hot Corner:

    Adams, of the three has the best chance of staying healthy (if for no other reason, age). So with this in mind, when Youk comes back, I could actually be talked into cutting Francisco and keeping Adams on 3rd more with Youk serving as a RHDH/Backup 1B on those days. (lets say 4x a week, based on schedule) I would NOT sit Adams for Youk full time, for that, send him back to Scranton to play every day.

    • RetroRob says:

      I would keep Adams playing reguarly, but he doesn’t have to go back to the minors if he’s not playing every day. He’s not a young prospect who needs playing time. He’s 26 and has been held back due to injury. Keep him on the team, even if he’s playing part time. It’s not going to hurt his development. His time is now.

  26. RetroRob says:

    The most successful free agents need to be judged on production. Would I say Kuroda was a better free-agent signing than Reggie Jackson. No. Kuroda has been excellent, but a year and a few months on the team does not rocket him to number one.

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