Mike’s thoughts following the latest losing streak

Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)

Future Yankee Ty Wigginton. (Jeff Curry/Getty)

The Yankees lost their third straight game last night, scoring exactly one run in each loss. They’ve scored more than three runs against a non-Twins team just once in their last nine games and seven times in their last 22 games. Thank goodness Minnesota is coming town for another three games this weekend, eh? Here are some miscellaneous thoughts:

1. I had no problem whatsoever with letting Raul Ibanez walk this past winter because he was mostly terrible before he started hitting those monumentally clutch homers late in last year, but he went into last night’s game hitting .260/.306/.563 (140 wRC+) with 22 (!) homers for the Mariners. The AVG and OBP aren’t anything special, but holy crap could the Yankees use that kind of power bat in their lineup. He can even fake an outfield spot if need be. The so-called Bombers are on pace for 153 homers this season — they had 145 through the same number of games last year — which would be their lowest total in a non-strike season since 1991. Travis Hafner stopped hitting when the calendar flipped to May, making the decision to let Ibanez walk look even more egregious. I was totally cool with it like I said, but this is one I and probably team wishes they could redo.

2. Ty Wigginton is going to be a Yankee, isn’t he? It’s inevitable. The Cardinals cut him loose yesterday, just 87 games into his two-year, $5M contact. That’s what happens when you hit .158/.238/.193 (19 wRC+) in 63 plate appearances with awful defense. Wigginton, a right-handed bat, hit .234/.360/.411 (111 wRC+) against southpaws just last year, which is the kind of performance the Yankees will try to unlock when they inevitably sign him. The freely available Russ Canzler is almost certainly the better part-time first base/third base/left field/DH righty platoon bat at this point, but New York always seems to go for the proven veteran over the inexperienced guy. As soon as Wigginton clears waivers and is available to sign for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum, he’ll be fitted for pinstripes. The Cardinals are extremely well-run team though; if they cut bait, he probably doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

3. Wanna see a cool graph? Here:

Robinson Cano walks

That is Robinson Cano‘s walk rate on a day-by-day basis, and it’s going nowhere but up of late. In fact, Cano has drawn eight walks compared to just one strikeout this month. Since June 1st it’s 26 walks and 13 strikeouts (!). There are eight intentional walks mixed in there, but that is to be expected given the state of the offense. Robbie had about a 30-game stretch a few weeks ago where he wasn’t being all that productive, in part because he was chasing stuff out of the zone and not making quality contact. Nowadays he’s willing to take the walk and pass the baton. That maturation as a hitter is great, but at some point someone hitting behind him has to make the other team pay. Lineup protection doesn’t really exist in the sense that putting a good hitter behind Cano will get him better pitchers to hit — no one is going to pitch to him no matter who hits behind him — but it does exist in that someone can make the other team pay for their willingness to pitch around Robbie. The Yankees don’t have that guy right now, not at all.

4. Ivan Nova will make his first start since officially rejoining the rotation tonight — the last two were spot starts, the first due to a rain out and the second because of Hiroki Kuroda‘s sore hip — but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was sent back to Triple-A after the game, especially if the Yankees are planning to activate Derek Jeter tomorrow. Based on Joe Girardi‘s comments to Brian Heyman prior to yesterday’s game, it sure seems like the Cap’n’s return is imminent as long as the ankle stays in one piece. Since Nova isn’t scheduled to start again before the All-Star break, they could send him down for the minimum ten days without him missing a start. That gives them the roster spot for Jeter and would allow Nova to stay sharp and on schedule with a Triple-A spot start. The Yankees haven’t manipulated their roster around the All-Star break at all in recent years, but this actually seems feasible if Jeter is ready to be activated. No sense in carrying a starter who won’t be available when you can add an extra position player for a few days without throwing the rotation out of whack.

Categories : Musings


  1. Speaking in the 3rd person Mike? Please Mike, tell me more of Mikes thoughts.

  2. Robinson Tilapia says:

    You went there with Ibanez. Somewhere, Greg just had an erection.

    They’re probably already sneaking Wigginton through the back door for veteran poker games, or whatever they do. Nah, they’re all old. Bridge.

    I’m fine with Nova riding the shuttle for now, especially around ASB. Better to keep the extra halves of left-side infielders around until Jeter is back and get rid of one of them once the ten days are up.

  3. trr says:

    I applaud Cano for being selective, but with little behind him in the lineup (especially the ape-like Hafner, discerning opponents will be pitching around him to feast on the easy pickin’s in the rest of the line up. We need more quality bats deep in the lineup. Like Now.

  4. Pseudoyanks says:

    Great suggestion on Nova. I can recall over the last few years there have been a few times where I thought you had a really good roster idea that seemed like a no-brainer (like this one) where for whatever reason, the Yankees didn’t do it. I guess that is attributed to the fact that there are people involved (emotions, psychology, etc.) Would be nice for him to get that start in AAA in 5 days and stay sharp.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I understand the emotionality of it, but that should be minimized by the fact that the player understands that this is all part of bigger plan that benefits both them and the franchise.

      Also, they’re making a big league salary. Fuck ‘em.

      • Pseudoyanks says:

        Steinbrenner used to say he liked his Horses more than his ballplayers. A horse doesn’t realize he’s being sent to Monmouth Park because the competition is lesser there than at Saratoga…

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          What an entitled rich white guy thing to say.

          I do think you get my point, though. Yeah, the amenities aren’t as nice in Scranton but, if we’re telling you in advance we’re bringing you back up, this is because of a roster crunch, and you know you haven’t exactly locked in that rotation spot in your heart, that should mitigate some of the disappointment.

          • Pseudoyanks says:

            Oh, I totally get your point…and yeah “entitled rich white guy” seems to fit like a glove, no?

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I actually do remember him saying that, but had forgotten.

              Lest we forget what an absolute dickhead pre-suspension Steinbrenner was (or, rather, what shittier handlers he had around him). Hey, though, he’d have made all of this never happen by trading Gary Sanchez for Raul Ibanez, or some bullshit like that.

              Anyone who actually believes that needs their head examined.

              • Pseudoyanks says:

                The thing about the shittier handlers is, he was such a loose cannon and would fire anyone for just about anything, that he ended up with Yes Men. The exceptions were, of course, Billy Martin and Gene Michael (and guys he chased away like Piniella and even Showalter.) Somehow, Stick just waited him out and ultimately became the most important guy to this team over the last 2 decades especially when he was leading from behind the scenes.

          • jsbrendog says:

            fuck disappointment, you are a paid employee, do what they say or quit.

  5. Robert says:

    The ship has sailed on the 2013 season and 2014 looks worse.The 5 Steinbrenner owners do not share there George’s passion to put a quality product on the field.
    By next April when the crowds get below 20,000 and YES ratings continue to plummet they will put probably sell the team….

  6. mick taylor says:

    bring back johnny damon

  7. brian says:

    Agree on Ibanez.. I was ok with letting him walk so you can’t turn around and kill the team for doing exactly that, he would have helped though

    Ty Wiggington… ummm, ok… i liked him as a player years ago, now? let’s just move on

    Cano needs to take his walks… gotta figure someone will get hot behind him, chasing out of the zone doesn’t help anyone

    Yeh, could see that happening with Nova, but let’s be honest he might be better than Pettitte right now, heck there are probly a handful of guys in AA and AAA better than Andy right now

  8. hey now says:

    Not only will Wigginton be a Yankee, he’ll immediately be installed in the cleanup spot.

  9. KD says:

    Watch the Steinspawn give Cano an A-Rod-esque contract. If that happens, we’ll be in the toilet for YEARS.

    • brian says:

      i wouldn’t give him tooo big a deal but they gotta offer something substantial, the team needs him, period

    • Brian S. says:

      Meh. When Cano sucks in four years Teixiera will be off the books and A-Rod and CC will soon follow. The Yankees can have one albatross on the team with a 200 mil payroll and we do need Cano the next couple of years if we want to compete.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        That was the most un-Brian thing I’ve ever heard you say. You didn’t even say Walt Ibarra could fill in just fine.

  10. pat says:

    Petition to change the title of these articles to Mike’s Musings.

  11. Kosmo says:

    according to Rosenthal Yanks are aggressively shopping Hughes and Joba.

  12. brian says:

    The Yankees are in a tough spot with Jeter.. He’s both the face of the franchise and the leader of the baseball team.. his absence is hurting the lineup and attendance, and KILLING tv ratings, and they had their first playoff sweep last year in the ALCS during the “Jeter era” when he got hurt in game 1

    The Yankees are clearly trying to move away from Jeter, they aren’t going to want him back after 2014 even if he remains healthy and productive between now and then, there is plenty of bad blood that goes both ways… but here’s the thing.. THEY NEED HIM

    They really, really need him… they need his bat, they need his confidence, they need his never-say-die attitude, they need him to inject some positivity and life into the stadium and broadcasts.. they need him in the worst way, even as they try to move away from him being as he’s a 39 year old with a busted ankle who ain’t getting any younger.. in a word, “awkward”

    • jsbrendog says:


      • LK says:

        This is the only appropriate response.

        • brian says:

          I’m saying that it’s very awkward that the Yankees are in the position where they need Jeter more than ever before (both from a business AND baseball standpoint) at a time when he was supposed to be fading out or retired already

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Let’s worry about what their mutual situation when his contract is up looks like then.

            • jjyank says:

              Right. There’s no indication that the Yankees are moving away from Jeter at the moment. He was injured. And now he’s coming back. It’s not like the Yankees are trying to keep him in the minors or something. I’m not getting the logic.

              • brian says:

                Fair enough, we’ll see what happens if/when his current contract is up…

                Still doesn’t change the overall point… he’s more important than ever at an age where, ideally, he’d be less important than ever…

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  I could agree with that. Let’s see where we both stand on that statement at this time next season.

                • jjyank says:

                  I don’t disagree at all with that last sentence. I guess the wording of your original post made it seem like your overall point was something different.

                  Yes, unfortunately, Jeter is going to be a crucial part of the team. All we can do is hope that balls are hit right to him and he can still hit.

          • jsbrendog says:

            nope, they don’t. and that nonsense about attendance and ratings having absolutely anything to do with jeter….

            plus, i dont know what the ratings are and I doubt you do either…

            and bad blood? like, tainted, like jeter has an std?

            positivity? can do attitude?


            • brian says:

              Dude, it’s called google… ratings are down nearly 40%… that ain’t all Jeter (it’s Arod, too, and people drifting from baseball).. but he’s a big factor

              Also, it’s true that the new Yankee stadium isn’t exactly hopping when Jeter’s around, but without him its a straight up morgue, I know, I go to a lot of games

              By no means is Jeter’s return a cure-all.. it might not cure much of anything, but it will at least make it fun to be a Yankees fan again, for however long he’s still around. I, for one, and going to stop taking him for granted and appreciate every inning of it, cuz it might be over in 1.5 years

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                Again, there’s a general statement I agree with there. I can buy that the New York Generic White Guys (TM Axisa) wouldn’t generate as much excitement even if they were half a game out.

                I don’t really think it’s specifically Jeter, though.

              • jsbrendog says:

                you’re projecting your love on jeter on an entire fanbase and looking for things that aren’t there. but, you’re reasonable otherwise so carry on.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  Yeah, I don’t think he’s being unreasonable. This is just a bit too focused on the effect of one player.

                  You can make the gift basket joke. Brian looks like a nice guy.

                • brian says:

                  I do “love” Jeter, and always have, as 99% of all Yankee fans do… but I also realize that I’ve taken him for granted the bulk of his career… never too late to change

              • WhittakerWalt says:

                I think ratings are down because this team is unwatchable. You can’t expect people to tune in and watch the unwatchable. At least, you can’t expect the fair weather fans to do it. The FWFs have always been a big part of Yankee revenue.

    • I'm One says:

      Not sure why you believe they’re trying to move away from him. Remember, he’s a 39 year old that’s recovering from 2 breaks of his ankle. That’s the reason he isn’t playing right now. They haven’t traded for or signed a free agent to replace him. He’s movig through rehab more agressively than A-Rod, Granderson or Cervelli.

      I do agree, though, that the team needs him this year. They also need others that are currently on the DL (or need to make trades to adequately replace them).

  13. Hear me out bro says:

    Hopefully the insurance payouts on Tex and A-Rod will allow the yanks to pick up some solid hitters.

  14. steves says:

    Gotta laugh about Ty Wigginton. He is Casey McGehee revisited. Cashman is running out of dumpsters to dive into.

  15. Mickey Scheister says:

    Campos for Ibanez.
    Joba, Slade and Hughes for Ruiz and Young.
    DFA or option Alberto Del Rio or Cruz for Russ Canzler when Jeter comes back.

    If ya SMELLLLLLL….

    • jsbrendog says:

      campos for ibanez? drugs are bad mmmmkay

      • jjyank says:

        Also have no idea why the Phils would give up both Young and Ruiz for what amounts to one injury prone, underperforming (so far) prospect, a reliever who’s been pretty bad and a FA after the season, and a starter who is somewhere between a mid-rotation and a back end guy who is also going to be a FA. Seems like they could get more than Heathcott, and I really don’t know why a team in their position would want two rentals.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Ricardo Rodriguez WAS already suspended, so DFAing Del Rio makes some sense. I’d rather DFA Sin Cara, though.

      Fuck no on trading Slade for either of those guys, or Campos for Ibanez. Mikey O’Brien and Rookie Davis are already in a box waiting.

  16. jjyank says:

    Maybe Jeter’s return to the line up creates a spark? That’d sure be a nice narrative. Regardless of the odds, it’s a nice thing for me to think about right now.

  17. A.D. says:

    Ty Wigginton is going to be a Yankee, isn’t he? It’s inevitable.

    My hope is that since the Yanks claimed Canzler once they’d be willing to again. Either one makes a ton more sense than Ishikawa

  18. brian says:

    All I know is it really hasn’t been much fun to be a Yankees fan since pretty much the moment Jeter broke his ankle last October.. April was good but that’s about it

    Jeter’s return is going to spark our joy and enthusiasm… maybe it won’t spark the baseball team but it sure will be fun to actually enjoy going to the ballpark and watching the games on TV again

    • jsbrendog says:

      this is your opinion because you love derek jeter and i can appreciate that.

      however, his return will do nothing of the sort unless he hits the crap out of the ball.

      • jsbrendog says:

        in my opinion

      • brian says:

        No, it’s the TRUTH… you can choose to be more “lukewarm” on Jeter and still recognize that the Yankee fan experience is wayyyyyyy better when he’s around

        True, sometimes the Michel Kay stuff waxing poetic with Jeter during telecasts can be offputting, I’ll give you that… that’s probably the reason why he’s merely loved by 99% of the fanbase instead of the full 100.. but it’s a small price to pay

        • WhittakerWalt says:

          Um, you mean “Jeter ALWAYS makes the routine play” and “Jeter NEVER makes a bad baserunning play” stuff?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      It’d be more fun if they weren’t scoring a run a game three games straight, no matter how generic the white guys are.

      And attendance would still be slightly down.

    • jjyank says:

      I will say this about Jeter. People have bet against him before, and have been proved wrong. People are betting against him now. And yes, they have a lot of reasons to do so. But some guys are just special. Guys like Jeter, sure-fire first ballot hall of famers, are special and don’t always follow the general historical trends. So we’ll see. Given the way the team is constructed, we have to hope Jeter can prove his doubters wrong again.

  19. LarryM Fl says:

    Ty Wigginton has two at bats to turn this team around as poor Travis was given. These guys are not elite replacement players as Hafner and Overbay. Even Cruz is playing with some spirit. He sees the handwriting on the wall. There will be a roster spot for someone as utility player when Jeter comes back.

    My concern with Hafner is the current batting the last few months. Its steadily heading down toward.200. Also he does not own a glove which means he has no value to the club except for hitting. .210 is no value in my estimation.

  20. trr says:

    Offense is in the toilet, we need whatever upgrades we can get.
    It’s been repeated here ad nauseam, even a diminished Jeter, A-Rod, Granderson should be productive well beyond what we’re seing now. At this point, no one’s ” moving away” from anything. Frankly, I don’t even know WTF that means. It’s not desperation time yet, but what happens in the next 3 weeks could well dictate what happens the rest of the season. Front Office, let’s get busy, and I don’t mean Ty Wiggington. Time to show your stuff and earn your pay. We’re watching and waiting….

  21. Eric says:

    Yankees are probably not good enough to win the World Series in the next few years at least– I think they should shop Cano. The Cardinals seem to be a good match up with them (contender, have need for 2b,potential to sign long term)

    Yankees send: Cano, Hughes

    Yankees get: OF Oscar Tavaras (BA #3), RHP Carlos Martinez (BA #38), RHP Michael Wacha (BA #76)

    • LK says:

      Hughes is pretty much worthless, and the Cardinals aren’t the type of team to sign Cano to a massive contract, so basically you’re offering them half a season of an elite 2B for one of the best prospects in the game along with 2 other very good prospects. The Cardinals would probably be insulted if Cashman called with this proposal.

      • Eric says:

        Yes– that is exactly right.

        A superstar 2B who fills a glaring need should only be exchanged for an elite level prospect and one or two top level pitching prospects.

        I am saying they should explore these kinds of deals for him. If there are any reservations about signing him I don’t know why you wouldn’t look into it.

        The team as built is not going to realistically contend for the World Series in the short term. Last year was probably the end of the window – it runs counter to the culture of “win now” but the jig seems to be up on this era.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      The Cardinals definitely do not need a second baseman. They did six months ago, but not anymore.

      • Eric says:

        I think my comment got eaten– but Cano > Carpenter — but the broader point being that these are the deals they should explore for him. Cano for Elite level position prospect, top pitching prospect

  22. Batsman says:

    Ibanez may be hitting well with Seattle now, but no way would he be hitting .260/.306/.563 (140 wRC+) with 22 (!) homers for the Yankees. Without question, he would be pitched differently if he were wearing the Yankee pinstripes.

    • brian says:

      actually, wouldn’t he be hitting BETTER in Yankee stadium than Safeco?

      Like I said up top, we were all in favor of letting him walk so u can’t hindsight and kill Cashman now, but as it turns out, bad move letting him walk

  23. WhittakerWalt says:

    Look. There was simply NO WAY to predict Ibanez would be hitting like this. There was just as good a chance he’d be retired right now than that he’d have 22 homers. And he was awful in the regular season for us last year. Just awful. Letting him go was perfectly justifiable, at the time. Now, of course we could use that kind of production.
    The road not taken…
    Now, was it just as wise to let Russ and Swisher go? That’s another debate.

    • Fin says:

      I was fine with letting Martin and Swish walk. I don’t think Martin was taking the same deal the Pirates gave him from the Yankees. I also don’t that Swish was worth the commitment. That being said, I thought they would put that money to possibly better use, even if it wasn’t until next year. When they turn around and sign Ichiro for 2 years, Youklis for 13m, and take on Wells, not signing Martin and Swish looks incredibly stupid or makes the team look like it has no idea what its doing.

      In the end its all short term contracts and seems part of the 189 plan/rebuilding, neither of which is going to be pretty.

      • The Real Greg says:

        Swisher has not done well for Cleveland this year so that may have been the right decision. Martin is another story

  24. The Real Greg says:

    As Mike said, the offense that Ibanez has brought this season could not be predicted.

    But the fact that he is a versatile piece who play defense (doesn’t have to be well) and DH is very important to a team with a short bench and a ton of injuries.

    Hafner is not versatile and the Yankees need versatility right now

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