Matt’s thoughts on a random Wednesday

A-Rod singles in latest minor league rehab game
Ticket Market Says Jeter Will Return Sunday Versus Twins
(Mike Stobe/Getty)
(Mike Stobe/Getty)

1. Last night, when the Royals took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh off a Billy Butler no-doubter, I sarcastically tweeted that the game was over.  Well, as it turns out, my cynical sentiments weren’t far from the truth.  The Yankees are averaging a measly 3.89 runs per game and have now managed to score only one (!) run in each of the last three matches.  This has resulted in a negative-six run differential, and according to their Pythagorean record, the team should officially be two games under .500 at this point.  Collectively, the team has garnered a 83 wRC+ which is third worst in the majors.  It’s painful to watch.  It’s also really unfair to the pitching.  You could march a rotation of Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, and Matt Harvey out there every night and it wouldn’t be enough to win if the team only scores a single run.  Ugly, really ugly.

2. Call it selective memory, but I feel like Mike has claimed that each series is very important for the Yankees over the past few weeks. Unfortunately, I kind of agree.  It’s beginning to feel as though each game is a “must win.”  The team sits six games out of first place in the AL East, which is by no means insurmountable at this point in the season.  It’s not that these games are weighted differently from other season games.  It’s just that the team needs to capitalize on its opportunities – particularly against some of the weaker opponents, like the Royals, if they hope to make the playoffs despite a failing offense.  Yesterday, James Shields looked as shaky as I’ve ever seen him early on.  The team simply needs to do better if they hope to remain in contention.  On the plus side, the Yankees are only a game or so back from the Rays and Orioles in the standings, so a Wild Card berth is still very plausible even if a division title is looking less likely.  Also, the Yankees have a bunch of games against Texas, Tampa Bay, Boston and Baltimore remaining which helps (or hurts) their cause depending on how you look at it.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty)

3. Doug Mittler wrote a quick blurb about Brian McCann on ESPN yesterday (Insider required).  It noted how McCann will likely be one of the top free agents available in the offseason and could demand a contract comparable to Yadier Molina – that is to say, a five year, $75M agreement.  I don’t know if the Yankees have the goods to acquire McCann from the Braves before the trade deadline, nor do I know if the Braves have any interest in trading him, let alone to the Yankees.  I also don’t know if the Yankees would be interested in him in the offseason given some of his prior injuries (including his most recent shoulder surgery) and their pending austerity budget concerns.  I’ll tell you what though, right about now he’d look awfully good in pinstripes.  Then again, so would Russell Martin (but that’s another point for another day).

4. So it looks like Robinson Cano has finally locked in his roster for the Home Run Derby.  To be honest, I generally don’t spend much time watching the All-Star break activities.  I’ll generally watch the first couple innings of the game itself (along with the last inning if I can to see Mariano Rivera pitch), and occasionally I’ll watch the first round of the Derby.  Still, I have to hand it to Cano for picking a really solid group.  Fielder, Davis, and Cespedes can all hit the long ball with the best of them.  It’ll also be nice not having the Kansas locals bitch and moan about Billy Butler getting snubbed this year.  I have to assume Robbie will have his father pitch to him again.  Hopefully he can knock a couple into the stands this go around.  On the other hand, I don’t quite get David Wright’s decision to invite Michael Cuddyer even though they’re apparently good friends.  I’m guessing Carlos Gonzalez and Bryce Harper will be shouldering most of the load for the National League squad.  It should also be interesting to see how many home runs get swallowed up by the vast dimensions of CitiField.

A-Rod singles in latest minor league rehab game
Ticket Market Says Jeter Will Return Sunday Versus Twins
  • Oy

    Both Cuddyer and Cespedes have an equal number of HR this year. Both are terrible picks.

    • Gonzo

      Cespedes is there for the 2nd part of the HR Derby, the box jumping competition.

      • vicki

        i’d like to see him advance to the goat roasting round.

        but seriously, in a derby situation, not a bad pick at all. it’d be so studly if he took his turn with the bat weight on.

    • Bo Knows

      Cespedes is having a bad year, but the guy is strong as an ox

    • LK

      Ability to hit homers in games is less important than batting practice power for the derby, which I think Cespedes has plenty of. Not sure about Cuddyer on that front.

  • Barfalemu

    McCann, Lucroy …anyone …. Cervi may be out a while between the hand/elbow thing and the looming BioGen stuff. Stewart is a very nice backup but not more.

    • Gonzo

      I would love Lucroy, but that pricetag has got to be very high.

    • Cliff

      Stewart has the second-highest OBP on the team…

      • vicki

        jesus christ.

        • Jesus Christ

          Yes, my child?

          • vicki

            sorry for all that stuff i said about yer mom.

            • Preston

              I’m a fan of Mary, that story was only going to work once, but major kudos for originality.

  • jay destro

    i don’t agree with this wednesday being that random

    • Gonzo

      Not according to his Monte Carlo Calendar.

  • JackIn VT

    This one run business reminds me of a story from the days of the great pitch/no hit Mets. Seaver was the starting pitcher. The Mets scored the first run. In the dugout Koosman turns to Seaver and says “There’s your run.” They both laugh. The Mets win the game 1-0.

    • vicki

      thurman used to ask guidry “how many you need today?” gator’s reply, “gimme two.”

      real greg will love that story.

  • http:/ Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    Yes Matt, please tell me what Matt thinks about these pressing issues according to Matt.

  • Mikhel

    /rant ON

    After more than 30 years watching the Yankees (HEY I am only in my mid 30s!), I can more or less know what will happen when the dreaded trade deadline ends:

    The Yankees will acquire… nobody.

    That’s it, they will not acquire a good player come next july 31st.

    Since Ca$hman has been the GM of the team, they mostly go for players in the recycle bin of other teams, players who were deemed non apt to keep playing on a daily basis but Ca$hman believes are good enough to play everyday in pinstripes.

    But HEY! Ownership wants to lower the payroll without having to trade our players (kind of a dumb move), so their only move is to acquire cheap discarded players.

    It is the equivalent of a firesale but refusing to sell anything.

    What went wrong?

    Granderson and Swisher were expected to fetch the same amount of money THIS year, KKKKKurtis Granderson via his actual contract, Swisher by negotiating a new contract.

    Granderson had trade value in november/december with a control year still intact (which translates onto a draft pick compensation to anybody who acquires him).

    Swisher’s value for the Yankees was via draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere.

    So, the Yankees needed to evaluate what was more important:

    a) to get a MLB ready player by trading Granderson and signing swisher to a contract extension by the same amount owed to Granderson (which would ensure at least 4 years of him in NYY playing OF and 1B);


    b) to get a draft pick compensation off Swisher, draft a high school player, wait 5 years “developing him” and then never promoting him to the big league team, and holding on to Granderson only to receive draft compensation off of him after 2013.

    We know the NYYs have a bad history of “developing” MLB caliber rookies: Jeter was the last player in Yankees history to remain with the MLB team for a full season after he was considered by Baseball America and MLB the best hitting prospect in the organization.

    Not Alfonso Soriano, not Canó, nobody, Jeter.

    With that track record, it was clear they were not betting on the future but merely cleaning the house, but it is a subtle cleaning, mind you, so as to not arise suspicions on their plan to lower the payroll while they keep on racking the dollars spent on merchandise, tickets and tv.

    Why didn’t they “clean the house” like any other team? they feared they were not good enough to build a competing team?

    Either they were over-confident or overly stupid to think old players were going to be able to play a full season (and they already knew Jeter would be coming back in mid-july).

    Alex Rodríguez was already injuried and they knew it, they knew Teixeira was a question mark after missing a lot of time last year in the last months of the season (though his current injury is new), Hughes has been on the DL every season before 2013 because of “fatigue”, same for ‘Jabba The Hutt’ Chamberlain and Pettitte, they knew Gardner is made of crystal.

    By resigning Swisher they already had a DH and a replacement for 1B (forget about that stupid “rotating DH”, we need a constant DH not somebody who plays two days per week, that bench space is a valuable place, it shouldn’t have to be wasted on a player who can’t field).

    By trading Granderson you could get something good (non pitcher, Ca$hboy has a horrible track record acquiring pitchers) in return, and even better if they included either Hughes or Joba.

    The hole left by swisher in RF was easily filled by Ichiro, he doesn’t bat 20+ HR nor has 100+ RBI, because his job is to field and stop the running game (whenever a hit dropped in front of Granderson/Swisher the runners got an extra base, whenever a hit drops in front of Ichiro, rival runners stop, which is one of the reasons they have a lower ERA: less runs scored when hits are fielded by Ichiro and his cannon arm).

    What we can expect come the trade deadline?

    NOT Michael Young, NOT Carlos Ruíz, nothing.

    The Yankees front office every year does a great job on releasing rumours so the Yankees fanbase swells up on hopes, and at the end they only say “damn!! we couldn’t get X and X and X player!!!” when in reality their negotiations only went as far as window shopping.

    /rant OFF

    • LK

      This is sort of a mixed bag here, so let’s just zero in on this – you really think the pitching has been better this year primarily because of Ichiro’s arm?

      • trr

        That’s a bit of hyperbole, but hey, Swisher was an awful OF

        • Preston

          Nick Swisher is a plus defender in RF both for his career and as a Yankee.

          • WhittakerWalt

            Get yer facts outta here! He did a barrel roll in the outfield that one time.

    • pat

      Bobby Abreu was awesome.

    • Pat D

      Using the letters “KKK” in front of Granderson’s name is probably not the best idea in the world.

      Also, nobody cares how long you’ve been watching the Yankees.

      • trr

        Actually, Pat, I find it interesting to see how long a poster has been a fan. It’s not that I care, per se, but there seems to a generational divide on many topics. I find it interesting to see how one’s experience following the team informs their opinions.

        • vicki

          i agree. and in the case of mikhel, from whom we get an international perspective, it’s particularly interesting that he didn’t become a dodgers fan.

    • trr

      I respect your opinion Mikhel, but hope you are wrong!

  • bpdelia

    alright you can all feel free to start calling me a spoiled Yankees fan but… .if the Yankees don’t make a serious 4 year offer to McCann this winter I’m going to be pissed. He probably makes more sense for this particular team of any free agent since Sabathia. A four year (hell even 5 year) deal fits so perfectly with the organizations time line its crazy.

    Around year 4 McCann will be getting old. At that point Murphy will be 26 and Sanchez will be 24. Sanchez is a very minimum of two full years from being even remotely major league ready and under 24 year old starting big league catchers are quite rare.

    Murphy is a nice prospect who may be ready at some point next year if everything goes perfectly. Still Murphy is not the kind of prospect you pass up on McCann for.

    So they are saving money on the bullpen, the rotation will be cheaper, Granderson will be gone etc. McCann is absolutely ideal.

    • Pat D

      Sorry, not in favor of giving a 4 year deal to a will-be 30 year old catcher who had an operation on his throwing shoulder recently and has been below average at throwing out base stealers his entire career, no matter how solid his offense is.

      Two years OK, three years absolute maximum.

      • LK

        Throwing out base stealers is only one part of catcher defense, and supposedly McCann is pretty awesome at framing. Not sure about blocking balls in the dirt though.

      • bpdelia

        honestly it’s not 1984. the Yankees don’t have to worry about Vince Coleman or Willie McGhee or r Rickey or Otis Nixon etc. a catcher who can throw stop the running game is really nice and rare. McCann is so much more valuable than Chris Stewart or Austin t romine or a 23 year old rookie Murphy.

        also 30 isn’t the end man. he’s got 3 full years left and what’s the point of having a financial advantage?

        the benefit is you can afford to carry a declining McCann for two years on the back end (remember jeter will be gone. Rivera will be gone. Arod will be winding down. Tex will be finishing.

        The payroll is coming way down over the next five years consistently as the absurd look legacy contracts are finally winding down over that time span.

        there has been this insane backlash about giving any contact to a player who won’t be worth it at the end.

        Fine. But understand that means you will never ever sign another meaningful free agent. you can ovrerpay McCann by 5 or 6 million for two years with no problems.

        You can’t overpay guys by 15 to 20 million for 5 or 6 years.

        People need to stop conflating disastrous organization killing contacts with every single multi year contract for players over 29.

        the only players who become free agents before 29 are the greatest of the great. Most of them get extended and those that don’t command universe shattering commitments.

        Brian McCann being over paid in year four is a rounding error for the Yankees revenue.

      • WhittakerWalt

        So you wouldn’t have been in favor of acquiring Mike Piazza?

        • Pat D

          McCann was nowhere close to Piazza offensively, and Piazza didn’t have injury concerns.

    • trr

      I like McCann a lot ‘delia, but I just don’t see this happening

  • nycsportzfan

    The funny part is many of us thought we should trade Joba and/or Hughes for a season or 2. Sometimes you have to go on what you see, and its a risk, but it was obvious to me, that neither Joba or Hughes was gonna live up to there billing for some time now. And I know many others who also felt that way.

  • mac1

    I’m glad they didn’t commit a potential 70 mil to Swish for 5 years out of his prime.

    I’m not happy that they intentionally downgraded at C, RF and DH – and the bench – can’t remember the Yanks ever doing that.

    If Grandy and Tex were healthy I think this team would be a whole lot more palatable.

    I think the farm took another step back this year, that sucks most of all.

    • trr

      I agree about the farm system, that really hurts when players don’t progress as expected.

  • vicki

    83 wrc+. i don’t think we can catch the marlins (who at 71 are making a run for all time worst offense), even with ty wigginton!, but we have a shot at tying the ’62 mets’ 80.

    • LK

      The Marlins are insanely bad, but they’re not that far above the White Sox (who are 29th in MLB, last in AL). The Yanks and Sox are actually only a point apart in wOBA but CHI plays in a more hitter-friendly park.

      On the positive side of the ledger, they can definitely pass the Astros (13th in AL) and Royals (12th), though the Twins (11th and 12 points of wRC+ ahead of the Yankees) are probably out of reach. So yeah, best case scenario the offense could wind up 12th in the AL. Dear God, it’s even worse than I thought.

  • Duh Injuries

    2014 Yankees

    Starting Nine

    C – Cervelli
    1B – Adams
    2B – Joseph
    3B – Eric Jagielo
    SS – Ramiro Pena reacquired
    LF – Almonte
    CF – Gardner (the only everyday player who will be older than 29 as of next 8/24 when he turns only 30)
    RF – Melky Cabrera reacquired
    DH – Mustelier


    J.R. Murphy – Backup (really dual) catcher
    Jeter – Backup baseman who shares DH with Mustelier
    Nunez – Shares SS with Pena, third-string 2B/3B/RF/LF
    Melky Mesa – Backup outfielder

    Let go of Cano who has clearly shown he cannot carry a team despite his numbers and get draft picks for him. Leading the team in most major offensive categories is great but he has yet to carry the team (something entirely different.)

    Buy out A-Rod for $71M ($43M his remaining guaranteed salary + $28M collected from insurance from not playing him in 2013) so he loses only $15M in guaranteed salary ($86M he’s owed – 71M buyout.) Big deal that he forfeits the five homerun milestone bonuses as he’s not collecting the last four of them anyway (714, 755, 762, or 763 HR) and may not even collect the first one if no one signs him (660 HR he’s 13 HR shy of.)

    Trade Teixiera and half his remaining salary to clear that ($33.75M.)
    There’s a team out there who’d take on a mid-30s veteran Gold Glove switch-hitting first baseman with power for three years at $11.25M a year. He has back to Texas to be their dual 1B/DH written all over him as Lance Berkman is too old and powerless to be Texas’s DH in 2014 (nice .355 OBP but abysmal .377 SLG.)

    Trade Ichiro and Wells to clear another $8.9M ($6.5M Ichiro + $2.4M Wells.)

    Let go of Hafner and Overbay.

    Have Boesch and Romine further develop in AAA.

    Invite Cruz and Gonzalez to spring training on minor-league contracts.

    • vicki

      this is the best thing i’ve ever read.

      • Gonzo

        Move over Faulkner, there is a new sheriff in town.

    • Joe

      I can’t tell whether your serious or not, can you clarify? Because you seem to have gotten everything in your post wrong.

    • trr

      Next Week, on “Fantasy Island”…

    • CS Yankee

      I bet you only listened to the “b” side of records growing up, huh?