Thoughts following Monday’s off-day

DotF: Bird, Calderon have big days in Tampa's win
6/17-6/19 Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty)

The Yankees are back home in the Bronx following their five-win, nine-game trip west of the Mississippi. It felt a lot longer than that for whatever reason. Here are some scattered thoughts before tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays.

1. I know it’s only June, but the Yankees are entering a crucial stretch of the schedule right now. After putzing around with the other AL divisions and interleague play for the last few weeks, they’ll play their next nine games against the Blue Jays (six games) and Orioles (three games), who have become their primary competition in the AL East. The Rays are completely out of it already and the Red Sox have quite a bit of ground to make up before being a real concern. The Yankees come into this nine-game stretch 4.5 games back of Toronto and a half-game up on Baltimore. It’s very simple: if they play well during these nine games, it’ll leave them right near the top of the division. If they don’t, they end up buried in the standings. These next three series will go a long way towards determining whether the Yankees can actually win the AL East. These head-to-head matchups are of paramount importance and even though there are still 90-something games left in the season, these games need to be treated with a sense of urgency. Kinda like playoff games.

2. Frankie Cervelli is expected to be activated off the disabled list tonight, meaning John Ryan Murphy will go back to Triple-A Scranton and play everyday. Whatever. I’d rather see Murphy stick around as Brian McCann‘s backup but it doesn’t really make much of a difference. I guess there’s a chance Murphy has already played his final game for the Yankees since the trade deadline is coming up in a few weeks, which would suck. I really like him and think he’s someone the team should keep going forward. McCann won’t be able to catch forever, Cervelli can’t stay healthy, Austin Romine is an afterthought, Gary Sanchez is being benched for disciplinary reasons in Double-A, and Peter O’Brien flat out can’t catch. Murphy is the only non-McCann guy at the upper levels the Yankees could legitimately run out there as an everyday catcher if need be. He is their top trade chip though, and the team has so many needs (infield, right field, rotation) that it’s tough to think Murphy will remain in the organization much longer. I am usually all in favor of trading prospects for MLB help, especially non-elite prospects, but he’s the one guy I think the Yankees would be wise to keep. Quality catching is too hard to find.

3. The Yankees are basically out of rotation depth at this point. CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are still weeks away and I’m not even sure who would be next in line if another starter gets hurt. I guess David Huff? Either him or Alfredo Aceves again. Neither Shane Greene nor Bruce Billings has pitched all that well in Triple-A, and Manny Banuelos isn’t stretched out enough to be an MLB option. Maybe the Yankees have reached the point where pulling Adam Warren out of the bullpen and stretching him out is their best rotation option. Shawn Kelley just returned from his back injury, so the bullpen would more easily be able to absorb the loss. The problem with converting Warren back into a starter is a) it’ll take several weeks to stretch him back out at this point, and b) how much of an upgrade would he really be over Vidal Nuno? Warren’s excelled in short relief because he can air it out and not have to worry about facing a lineup multiple times. We saw last year that being asked the turn a lineup over wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing for him. I would prefer to leave Warren in his current role and not mess around, but if push comes to shove and more rotation help is needed, isn’t he the best option right now?

(Steve Mitchell/Getty)
(Steve Mitchell/Getty)

4. Since we’re already talking about pitching depth, I want to mention the Marlins designated the slightly interesting Kevin Slowey for assignment yesterday, clearing a roster spot for top prospect Andrew Heaney. (They also designated Randy Wolf for assignment, but there’s nothing to see there.) Slowey, 30, missed a month with shoulder inflammation in 2011 and a bunch more time from 2011-12 with non-arm injuries (abdominal strain, broken rib), and over the last two years he’s pitched to a 4.45 ERA (3.79 FIP) in 129.1 innings as a swingman for Miami. You might remember him from his time with the Twins, and he’s a classic low strikeout (17.7 K%), low walk (4.8%) Twins pitcher. There’s nothing sexy about Slowey at all, but he might be better than Vidal Nuno (5.24 ERA and 4.88 FIP since moving into the rotation). If nothing else, he’s better than Huff. The Yankees could pluck him off waivers, stick him in the bullpen in a long relief role for a few weeks, and see what happens. Even if they have to send Jose Ramirez down for a few weeks to make it happen, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I like Ramirez as much as anyone, but his big league opportunity can wait a few more weeks if it means potentially upgrading the rotation.

5. Following the news of Tony Gwynn’s death yesterday, there were all sorts of fun information and hard-to-believe stats floating around the internet. My favorite (by far) comes from Chris Jaffe, who pointed out Gwynn has the highest batting average in two-strike counts in baseball history by 40 (!) points. Here’s the full list. Gwynn hit an absurd .302 in two-strike counts in his career. Fellow Hall of Famer and totally awesome hitter Wade Boggs is second with a .262 lifetime average in two-strike counts. Former Yankee Luis Polonia is third at .261. (Luis Polonia, huh? Alrighty.) Derek Jeter is tied for 67th all-time with a .228 average with two strikes. During Gwynn’s career, from 1988-2001, all of baseball hit a combined .187 in two-strike counts. He was 115 points better than everyone else. We’re talking thousands of plate appearances too, so this isn’t some small sample noise. Hitting .300+ in general is hard. Doing it in two-strike counts over a 20-year career blows my freaking mind.

DotF: Bird, Calderon have big days in Tampa's win
6/17-6/19 Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays
  • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

    Not that he’s ready for the show right now anyway, but is ManBan going to be on a 3ish inning limit all year? I get that he’s coming back from major surgery but at some point they have to start letting him pitch more innings, right?

    • TWTR

      They are moving him up to 75 pitches next week.

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

        Hmm, sounds like progress. Thanks for the info!

  • Frankie Cerveddardi

    1. I’ve been saying since yesterday that this is the make or break stretch for the Yanks. After the Jays, Os, Sox, Rays we’ll know if this club should go for broke and swing a deal for Lee/Utley or if they should trade away all the veterans they can.

    2. I’d just carry 3 catchers and have Frankie be backup 1B. The Johnston/Roberts experiment hasn’t worked and we all saw it coming.

    3. I like Huffer but he’s not the answer. The answer is stretching out Adam Warren and making him the 5th starter. Take Nuno out of the rotation. He’s just awful and he can’t pitch in YS. CC ain’t back for a month and Pineda ain’t back for 2, if at all. They need another starter or Nuno is an automatic loss every 5 days.

    4. They could use anybody they can get their hands on right now. If the club is desperate enough to sign Heath Bell they’ll sign anyone. Mitre, Ponson and Rasner are licking their chops right now.

    5. Gwynn was a professional ballplayer. They should have a moment of silence for him at the stadium tonight before the game. I like the stats about striking out so few times against the best pitchers of his era. You just don’t see that anymore.

    • JLC 776

      Stop looking at players on the Phillies. Ruben Amaro Jr isn’t going to trade away Lee or Utley, let alone both. They are a terrible franchise right now that will never admit defeat and go into sell mode. They really are the NL Yankees.

      • AndrewYF

        Except, you know, actually really terrible.

  • TWTR

    Another reason to keep Murphy is that we can’t be sure what McCann will be. Yes, he has a big financial commitment, but that doesn’t win games. An organization that wants to be pitching-centric has to be catching-centric as well. So unless they are getting a massive, consensus overpay for Murphy, which seems highly unlikely, move on to trading someone else.

  • Craig

    Could the thought be to stretch Warren out to take Nuno’s spot and then replace him with some of the BP arms in AAA like Ramirez, Burawa and/or Banuelos?

    They could also then bring up a couple of the hi-end relievers that were just drafted in a couple of months…thoughts?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Replacing arguable your second-best reliever with guys making their MLB debuts, in the second half of the season, doesn’t sound very sound.

      • Craig

        I don’t disagree. It is just a difficult position to be in if Nuno cannot get better results. They could be in a position where they have to add a starter and the available ones are either too crappy or too expensive (and probably both). I just thought this was a potential solution.

        I agree that leaving Warren in a role where he has thrived is better, but sometimes teams need to move out of that comfort zone due to injuries or bad results. I am concerned we will be a starter short.

        • TWTR

          Cashman said it too:

          The Yankees have also lost Ivan Nova for the season. Cashman said the most likely replacement in the rotation at this point is reliever Adam Warren. He intimated that the Yankees were unlikely to look to pitchers at the Triple-A level but didn’t rule out pursuing arm help on the trade market.

          “You’re in a time frame now that within the game anything can happen with any team trade wise,” Cashman said.

          The second paragraph scares me more.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          The issue with this, to me, would be replacing an ineffective guy by moving someone effective in their current role into one in which they may be less effective.

          It’s the old corporate belief of promoting someone to their level of incompetence.

          To me, you either look elsewhere or live with thesis sublimity that you can’t fix that slot right now. Some fans, understanbly, would have a major issue with the latter.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Co-sign on Slowey.

    While I guess there’s a chance that Warren’s emergence is related to actual improvement in his skills as a pitcher overall, I don’t buy it and agree wholeheartedly that, what we see, we see because his stuff is playing extremely well in short spurts. I don’t get how fans don’t see that with both him and Betances. Keep them were they are and seek pitching help elsewhere.

    • I’m One

      There’s a lot to balance here, but if Warren can be a significantly better starter than Nuno (not difficult to imagine), the team then needs to look at what the downgrade is in the bullpen. If Kelley is close to what Warren has provided, then the downgrade is really at the low end of the pen.

      Unless the Yankees can get a decent starter (I don’t think Slowey is that guy), then moving Warren to the rotation may provide the best return.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        They also need to factor in the value of continuing to run Nuno out there. To side with what is typically TWTR’s line if thinking, you have to think long term. If that means Nuno sucks it up for a while, then it means that.

        Obviously, Nuno sucking it up affects more than just Vidal Nuno, and that needs to be taken into consideration.

        I’m not for moving Warren or Betances, though.

        Not sold on Slowey, but I wasn’t sold on Whitley either, yet here we are.

  • mitch

    keep Warren in the pen. I’ll take a couple good two inning appearances a week over a mediocre start every 5th day.

  • Vern Sneaker

    The Gwynn stat floors me. Ridiculous.

    • I’m One

      Agree. I always felt Boggs was head and shoulders above the rest in 2-strike situations. Clearly Gwynn was in a league by himself.

    • John in Forest

      None of the stats go back earlier than 1988, so the table leaves off the first six years of Gwynn’s career. I mean, it’s still impressive, but it’s not comparing Gwynn against Musial, Cobb, and Hornsby.

      • mike

        I wonder if as Mr 5.5 how he would have adapted to the shift employed by everyone today….

      • Best No 4 Pitcher in MLB

        Great point. My guess is that they started tracking 2-strike counts in 1988 with earlier data not available. I’d love to know stats, as you point out, for Cobb and others, especially The Babe.

        • ChuckIt

          Probably by pulling a Cobb:Hittin’ Where they ain’t

      • RetroRob

        I noticed that, too. Nothing prior to 1988. I suspect the search was done correctly from 1914 forward as it shows at the top. I suspect also that the data doesn’t exist before 1988.

        Amazing stat, regardless, although I bet there were earlier players who hit .300+ too with two strikes. Not many, but some.

  • fred robbins

    This is one of the more depressing columns of the season and shows that this team really sucks. If they start to mess with Warren and make him another Joba I really just don’t know. The whole front office needs to be lost on a flight to the Andes like that soccer team. Warren has found his best possible place on this team that he could ever find. Leave him alone!
    And to hear talk about Huff and Nuno and Wolf even being mentioned just again tells you or makes you ask the question, what kind of possible hope is there for this team?
    Why not bring everyone up that is ready to try and keep the players who are doing good?
    Trade Murphy? Wow– get rid of the one kid who shows promise.
    Maybe they can package Murphy and Betances and get Hughes back or even A.J.

    Watching a Front Office with the most resources available to do whatever they need to do to run a team and do this is pretty pathetic. It’s like giving a kid a shelby cobra on his 16th birthday and somehow not expecting to see it driven into a tree the first week.
    Meet your New York Yankees.

    • nyyankfan_7

      “Watching a Front Office with the most resources available to do whatever they need to do to run a team and do this is pretty pathetic. It’s like giving a kid a shelby cobra on his 16th birthday and somehow not expecting to see it driven into a tree the first week.”

      I love people who blindly assume being a GM in real life is exactly like running a team on a Madden playstation game.

      • TWTR

        Is it reasonable to think that they should have been able to develop, and integrate on to the ML roster, at least one or two starting position players since Gardner, or a top of the rotation starter since Pettitte?

        If so, why is it considered blind to offer a criticism of their track record?

        • nyyankfan_7

          Here is the problem though – do you want them to integrate a starting player or integrate an above average legitmate all-star quality player like Gardner? Players like Gardner don’t come along every single year. For every Brett Gardner there is a Jackie Bradley Jr. How is that guy doing for the Red Sox this year? But let me guess, it would be better to have him batting .205 and playing CF every day just because he was brought up from the minors?

          And a top of the rotation starter? There are how many of those in MLB? 30 right? How often is their farm supposed to create one of those? Every season? Nova, Pineda and Tanaka are all young and have loads of talent – but obviously Cashman should have known Nova would need TJ. And yeah counting on Pineda was a long shot but they also didn’t think CC would be out all year too – you can’t plan on 3/5ths of the rotation being out for 4 months.

          You guys and your expectations for the farm system are unreasonable – you want a championship caliber team but you want 90% to come from the farm and it will never ever happen.

          • TWTR

            Look at the trajectory of Gardner’s career. He started slowly, putting up a below league average OPS+ (87) in his second ML season. It required patience to develop him. That is the case with most prospects not named Derek Jeter.

            Every season? Pettitte was developed 20 years ago. Top means a #1 or #2, but where is the #3?

            Cashman, like any GM, shouldn’t have to rely on one starter’s health as the only path to filling out a rotation with good in-house options in 20 years.

            I don’t understand how being able to foresee Nova’s injury has any relevance.

            Why is the standard I have laid out so unreaonable?

            The owner may think it’s possible to win the WS every single year; I think it’s goofy and a counterproductive goal.

            I am fine with taking a few steps back to have a chance at being great.

            • I’m One

              But taking a step back has it’s risks as well. How long have the Astros been rebuilding? KC? The A’s? OK, their good this year, but will it carry over and how long did it take to get there? And how many home-grown players do they have?

              What their doing doesn’t appear to be working now (things could change), but an alternate course isn’t necessarily going to produce different results.

              • TWTR

                The Astros don’t spend $200m a year. To the contrary, they currently spend $50.5m after spending $26m last year. They haven’t spent $100m since 2009. So they aren’t a particularly comparison. Neither are the Royals, who are spending $92m, after spending $81m last year, and $64m the year before.

                Money is, and probably will always be, the Yankees’ greatest weapon, but it won’t be as potent as it could be if they can’t develop talent, and they can’t spend stupidly either. As others have pointed out, adding a 37 year old Beltran to an already aging roster wasn’t smart.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  No, see, they CAN spend it stupidly, because they have a lot of it. It’s not like Beltran is preventing someone in the minors from being the next Paul O’Neill.

                  Other organizations without that advantage can’t spend it stupidly.

                  • TWTR

                    But, for example, they might be better off right now if Murphy shared time at C with McCann. That won’t happen because of the contract. IOW, they aren’t going to greatly reduce McCann’s PT until (or unless) he hits. They might have if he made less money.

                    As for Beltran, Choo was the better option because of age and their need for more SLG, especially from the left-side. Yet, according to Choo:

                    The seven-year, $140MM offer that the Yankees offered Shin-Soo Choo was only on the table for less than a day. As’s Anthony Castrovince notes, New York offered Choo the contract and then pulled it back almost as quickly in order to instead sign Carlos Beltran to a three-year, $45MM deal. “In my opinion, it takes some time to make a decision, maybe at least a couple days,” Choo said. “You want to learn a city and a team. They gave me 21 hours.” The Yankees’ withdrawal could’ve been due to Beltran simply accepting his offer first, or perhaps because Scott Boras (Choo’s agent), reportedly asked the Yankees to match the $153MM the Bombers gave to Jacoby Ellsbury. Choo didn’t end up doing too badly for himself at any rate, signing a seven-year, $130MM deal with the Rangers.

                    1) He makes a valid point of the necessity of some time for thinking about a life-changing decision; and 2) How is he not worth as much as Ellsbury?

                    Your larger point is correct. All of this spending is necessitated by an inability to develop.

                    • Old Man Time

                      When you say inability to develop, what about all those players who we traded away. They count too.

                    • Chris W.

                      If they signed Choo to that contract, he would be playing for them in his mid to late 30s and he’s slugging % so far ( early, granted) is lower than Ellsbury’s.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Money doesn’t get you out of anything alone.

                  Madoff bullshit aside, the New York Mets have a pretty sizeable amount of money themselves. How’s that worked out historically for them?

                  The Yankees have brought problems onto themselves for sure. They haven’t brought every problem they’ve got, though.

                  Also, Chien-Ming Wang.

                  • TWTR

                    No, I agree that one explanation is never sufficient for every problem.

                    As for Wang, damn, his injury sucked, not only because they needed him, but because we could never resolve the sabr “outlier” debate about whether or not he could sustain his success despite the low K rate, with his really high GB% and seeming ability to induce weak contact.

                    So, under the circumstances, I guess they deserve partial credit for his development.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      I think you could be a bit more generous with Wang there.

                    • I’m One

                      I’m as generous with my Wang as I can be whenever I have the opportunity. :-)

                  • ChrisS

                    How many of those teams are actively trying to win? The Astros? The Royals?

                    The ownership of those teams may very well have different opinions as to how to squeeze the most dollars from the franchise. Finishing last with a low payroll may just mean that they pocket a few more million every year.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      I think they’re all trying to win. They all just face different realities as to how they can get there.

                      If those Astros kids develop as they think, we’ll be singing a different tune. Sometimes, you cc and get out of second gear with rebuilding, though.

                    • Get Phelps Up

                      The Royals wouldn’t have traded for Shields if they weren’t actively trying to win.

      • fred robbins

        so I am guessing you feel it is too much to ask of a REAL GM to not continue to chase after old washed up players or old players who they feel they will be lucky to get that last bit of juice out of. I am guessing you feel happy that this GM chased after Beltran and Kuroda and Wells and Roberts while ignoring the real holes on this team that were evident to ANY GM– real or play station.
        I just love people who refuse to admit that this is a front office with no foresight and no willingness to part with people who have proven unable to move this team and organization forward. Love your rose colored glasses and ready excuses.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Look who it is!

          Stick to football, buddy.

          • fred robbins

            different Fred Robbins peckerhead:)
            i don’t watch football but am aware of an ex football player with the same name. but thanks for looking for me– try imdb movie data base:)

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              Stick to football, buddy.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Well, we’re clearly chasing after washed-up old trolls. Why stop there?

          You’d think these old guys would know better from all the years of watching baseball, but no. Or they just do know better and this brings them more attention.

        • Old Man Time

          I just love people who use hindsight over a third of the way into a season as a barometer for a club’s foresight for the same time frame.

  • Yankee Fan 1

    Can we please just chuck Cervelli? Dude has had 15 chances at this point and just can’t stay healthy. Murphy is a promising young kid and he’s earned his playing time up here.

    Still can’t believe Gwynn is gone. 54 is just way too young. Those stats are amazing.

    • Deep Thoughts

      Here’s another: Tony Gwynn had fewer strikeouts (434) in his 20 MLB seasons than Brett Gardner has had idiotic headfirst slides into first base in parts of just 7 seasons.

      • Craig Sagermetrics

        Hahahaha good one.

        Kill yourself.

  • Frank

    Another amazing Gwynn stat. He could have gone 0 for 1000 ABs and still had a .305 lifetime batting average. That’s like 2 seasons without a hit. Think about that.

    As for Yanks, they’ll be lucky to play .500 over this stetch of 15 games.

    Please don’t trade Murphy. Get rid of Sanchez instead.

  • Vern Sneaker

    Here’s an organization that claims nothing less than a championship is acceptable and has loads of money and yet has major holes at 2B, 3B, SS, in RF, and at starting pitching — with no prospects to cover for several years and limited trade assets. In my work life the floor would be filled with rolling heads.

    • nyyankfan_7

      “has loads of money and yet has major holes at 2B, 3B, SS, in RF, and at starting pitching”

      Yeah who didn’t see 3/5th of the starting rotation being on the shelf for 50% of the year by May 1? Or Soriano and Beltran combining to produce like Vernon Wells?

      Cashman failed because he needs a new crystal ball. Obviously Vern saw it coming. Let me guess Vern – you knew back in January that they shouldn’t sign Beltran but rather wait until March and sign Nelson Cruz for $5 million b/c he was going to hit 25 homers before July?

      • Vern Sneaker

        Sarcasm aside, your point would be more valid if there was just one piece of bad judgment (and yes, the Beltran signing was quite predictably problematic), but any reasonable assessment would have to admit there are way too many weaknesses short-term and long-term to chalk it off to bad luck.

        • nyyankfan_7

          No the Beltran signing was quite predictably problematic 2 years from now. He has been an above average hitter every single season and no one, not even you, saw him falling off completely right now.

          • Vern Sneaker

            I’ll try one last time: It’s the Yankees, the goal is a championship. It’s Year Five since the last one, there’s been just one World Series appearance in ten years, and we are several years away from a realistic hope at another one given the current state of the major league and AA/AAA rosters. The organization has constructed a very average team. I call that bad performance.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              That’s called “baseball.”

            • Deep Thoughts

              You’re both spoiled as a fan and ignorant about the shift toward parity and the changing economics of the game. Possibly also confused about the difference between “average” and “bad.” Not to mention the fact that the team is staying competitive during the transition away from the core of a 15-year dynasty.

              Everyone has TV money now. Revenue sharing, luxury tax, “competitive balance” draft picks, changes to the amateur draft and international free agent rules…

              Beat up the club for the 2nd A-Rod contract–I don’t think that’s defensible. But for the rest…get some perspective.

          • Vern Sneaker

            It’s not about any one move or non-move. The organization’s stated goal is a championship. It’s Year Five since the last one and that was the only World Series appearance in the last ten years. The likelihood of another one soon is small given the current state of the major league and AAA/AA rosters. I call that bad organizational (management) performance.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I don’t actually have to explain this to you, do I?

              • nyyankfan_7

                Sadly you do. This is the horrible side effect of the Yankees mid 90’s dynasty. A huge amount of spoiled young fans who don’t understand that they have ALWAYS had the “win a world series or it’s a failure attitude” since George bought the team. The horrendous teams of the 80’s had the same stated goal but these kids don’t understand that what happened in the 90’s will probably never happen again in their life time. Now every year it is bitch and moan that they aren’t on pace to win 100+ games and now Cashman has failed because he can’t develop another Jeter, Andy, Jorge, Bernie & Mo group to lead them there because apparently every single team in the MLB does it except the Yankees.

        • Taco’s Eskimo Brother

          Don’t you know Vern, sarcasm and condescension has become the response du jour on this site now. See even I’m doing it now!!

          But in all seriousness there were very real signs of issues with this team, and depending on a starter who had consecutive off season knee surgeries and another coming back from two years of not pitching and rehabbing to be anchors in the rotation was a stupid move. The Nova injury was unexpected, but those do happen and I don’t think Cashman and co. can be faulted for. The others not so much.

          It wasn’t like what’s happening now wasn’t called out by Mike and the commentators on this site before the season started. It also wasn’t like these were unexpected issues. These are the problems the front office has made for itself.

          Also I agree with Vern, the definite feeling of the Beltran signing was “umm, yea?”, only because it was for 3 years. I don’t think anyone would be having criticisms of it if it was a 1 yr or even a 2 yr deal.

          • I’m One

            Unfortunately, due to salary obligations, the Yankees had little choice but to depend “on a starter who had consecutive off season knee surgeries”. You can argue it was a bad signing (extension, really), but this would still have been part if his initial contract and I don’t think anyone complained too much when he was originally signed.

            As far as simply going out and getting good players for their positions of need, it takes 2 to tango. This isn’t a video game and no one is simply going to give the Yankees what they need.

            Yes, I would have liked if the Yankees had developed young players through their Minor League system, but since that hasn’t happened, they’re stuck where they are. Should they fire Cashman? Maybe. But don’t expect that to fix all their problems.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Sometimes, that year you don’t want to give is the price of doing business.

      • fred robbins

        You know— it is getting redundant to hear about the 3/5th of the rotation going on the DL and using that as a ready made excuse for this showing. There was NO GOOD reason to run after Kuroda with a check for 15 million dollars. They chased him like a hungry red neck after a bowl of grits. There was NO GOOD reason to keep claiming and calling CC your #1– but they did not want to hurt the big guys feelings, I guess because they figured 23 million dollars was not enough.- So there is 2/5th– I give you the NOVA excuse– but the other two were writing on the wall for anyone with open eyes–

        • I’m One

          That makes no sense. If they didn’t have Kuroda, who would replace him? And, with CC injured, what difference does it make if the called him their #1. He was on the team and expected to contribute to the starting rotation.

          • fred robbins

            I get that, and just wondering out loud, that if the only choice was Kuroda and for such a big paycheck, what does that say about what Cashman is doing and what his plan for going forward is? If they did not have anyone to replace a very old and tired and worn out pitcher to be considered a #2 and important part of the rotation, doesn’t that speak to the problem? That’s all I’m saying. If you were in a two man track race and you could pick your partner, would you pick an old, fat guy? or maybe dig and take a chance on someone else?

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              I’d have signed Kuroda ten times out of ten last off-season.

              • ChrisS

                Signing Kuroda was the least of their boneheaded off season moves.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          You know, it’s getting redundant to hear about California complaining about the drought as a reason for their water shortage.

        • sevrox

          Don’t need to be no redneck to like a hot buttery bowl of hominy grits.

        • Old Man Time

          Yes, if only they had labeled CC their number 4 starter, then everything would be better.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Just like emac2 said.

        • Deep Thoughts

          You’re seriously going to gripe about comments “getting redundant”?

          Look in the mirror dude.

          You constantly throw rocks after the fact, yet offer few feasible or sensible alternatives for what you would have done instead with the information available at that time. When presented with reasoning why your ideas are infeasible you hit Rewind and play back the same Monday-morning quarterback doomsday rant.

          Bitch and moan about re-upping CC? Which other quality lefty starters were beating down the Yankees’ door? Are you going to turn on Force Trade mode? Are you going to start bitching about how the team didn’t tank and sell off all its assets to get a top-10 pick?

          It’s your prerogative to post whiny irrational repetitive shit, but to then have the sack to complain about other people’s facts “getting redundant”–my god, you’re beyond help.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Thank you.

      • Not an ace

        I think a lot of people lamented the Beltran signing in part due to the high mean age of the Yankees even before the signing.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      No, it wouldn’t.

      You knew before the season there were holes in the infield, and you knew there were no easy solutions. Tent is is not news.

      Alfonso Soriano looks done. Carlos Beltran is recovering from injury. Ichiro has played admirably. The team has Zoilo Almonte and, when healthy, Ramon Flores to fill in. How is RF really an unaddressed problem?

      You just saw the team replace 3/5 of the rotation internally while remaining over .500 and in second place. Exactly one of the replacements has underperformed more often than not. What exactly else were you expecting?

      Heads would roll anywhere? I wouldn’t want to work for that company.

  • Kosmo

    next 15 games are within the division and then an 11 -game roadtrip ending at the ASG.

    I highly suspect Slowey will be gone before NY could claim him.

    The Gwynn stat is simply beyond words.

  • fred robbins

    Vern, I think you could pick out a handful of the sharp minds here reading this blog and have a better run organization. It’s run like kids picking names out of a hat or choosing sides for “Red Rover”– each game played with different players and each time hoping to win with someone else. It’s truly remarkable that not One Journalist who covers this team has had the nerve to SPEAK UP at a press conference and ask WHY? about everything you just mentioned.

  • Darren

    Gwynn was so good that his talent was readily apparent even by watching a few of his AB per year. The patience waiting for the ball to get deep in the box and the hand eye coordination were otherworldly to the point that you could just see it. Horrible, horrible death. Hopefully MLB makes an announcement sometime soon about an initiative in his name intended to stop the use of chew.

    And on the tangential note, I’m not surprised Luis Polonia is so high up on the list. Dude was a beast at fouling balls off with two strikes. Hell, remember the Game 5 AB in ’96 before he flied out to a gimpy O’Neill?

    • Not an ace

      Don’t ban chew. Players know the risks associated with it, allow them to make their own decisions.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Ban it ban it ban it ban it. There’s absolutely no reason why a sport should tolerating people poisoning themselves.

        They have million dollar contracts. They can deal.

  • LarryM Fl

    I will not say “this team sucks.” Injuries have played havoc with the starting rotation who knows what we really have with CC,Nova and Pineda. But the team is mediocre at best unless lightning strikes start occurring around the ballpark. With this in mind I would definetly refrain from trading Murphy. The kid can play. McCann is a good receiver but his bat has disappointed and he looks tired with little or know life in his legs. Cervelli is an injury waiting to happen. Their are so many holes on this team’s roster. A trade of Murphy will not solve. So keep your strength at catching unless someone wants Cervelli because after the next few weeks it maybe over but Jeter’s Farewell Tour.

  • wallypip

    As much as it sucks short term, demoting Murphy to hold on to Cervelli is the right move at this point. Let Murphy get some everyday reps in AAA and have him ready to be the everyday guy in NY if necessary. Catcher is such a volatile position–not to mention that Tex’s health is dubious–the Yankees could absolutely end up needing to use both Cervelli and Murphy to get through the season.

  • mustang

    Agree with you on everything and I think they will keep Murphy. I think that was the plan to see which one of Murphy, Cervelli, Sanchez, or Romine workout the best and use the others for trade.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Really hoping they hang on to murphy if they can.

  • Nathan

    This porous rotation reminds me of the ’05-’06 Yankees in that it felt like a rotating door of mediocre pitching patchwork.

    Just makes me appreciate Tanaka because without him, Yankees would be screwed right now.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      It sucks that we have a GM who left us out to dry by not signing Tanaka, then.

  • ALZ

    Have thought about Slowey, don’t think he would be great, but he might be better than Nuno. His FIP maybe suggests that he could be better than the ERA is letting on. Part of me that is hesitant though is that he is even more of a flyball pitcher than Nuno, and he is more on the level of Hughes, who got more strikeouts. He also gives up more home runs than Hughes.

    • ChuckIt

      Slowey is a “?”, But Nuno is not,in the wrong sense of the word.Grab Slowey,he comes cheap.The only down side is ,he pitches to contact,which works well for the outfield,but our infield?
      And I agree -RJ Murphy WAY to valuable to trade,keep him on the ML roster.Cervelli is the better back up at first.(Kelly isn’t lightin it up)If McCan goes down(history )We bring up Romine?

  • ALZ

    Alfonso is a career .185 hitter with 2 strikes. Bit surprised it’s that high.

  • ALZ

    Cervelli coming up is the right move. You aren’t talking about a big difference between both players in a backup role. And if your biggest gripe is that Cervelli keeps getting injured, then it’s no big deal. If it’s a free agent contract that is one thing, but as a cheap controlled player I don’t see the rush. Send Murphy down, keep him under team control longer.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      There’s really not much else for Murphy to do in AAA, and I don’t buy into this idea that Cervelli would be an offensive force if given the chance, or remaining healthy. I’d love for Murphy to stay up.

      Murphy is probably a bigger trade chip than you thought you had. Hell, who had “Dellin Betances” and “Chase Whitley” in the possible trade chip pool?

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


    • RetroRob

      It makes sense to send JRM down. I certainly like Murphy long term, but I’m not convinced there’s much difference in 2014 if Murphy or Cervelli is the back up. I’d lean toward Murphy, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all if Cervelli out produced Murphy the last few months.

      This was a good learning experience for Murphy, setting him up as the backup for 2015, and now he can catch more regularly.

      What’s the other option? Keeping JRM and trying to pass Cervelli through waivers? I’m pretty sure he’s out of options. He’d be claimed. They’d be basically cutting him. Doesn’t make sense it will reduce the team’s options with trades and back-up catchers.

      • ChuckIt

        Cervelli can back up first base.He’s ,with out a doubt,a better fielding first basement than kelly.

  • Dan G

    Favorite Gwynn trivia I’ve heard is he struck out three times in a game ONCE in his entire career. And strangely enough it was by the also recently deceased Bob Welch.

    That’s some Chuck Norris stuff right there.

  • blehmann

    I have been a Yankee fan for more than half a century but i have lived in San Diego for more than 20 years and must say that T Gwynn was everything everyone says he was. That said, i think Joe D had the best version of the Walk/K stat: 361 career strikeouts, 369 career homers, 790 career walks. Different era but still amazing.

  • Bursitis

    That Gwynn chart doesn’t look right. Despite the heading which says 1914 to present, the data only seems to go back to 1988 which means it’s missing part of his career, not to mention countless others who might be in the mix in that stat. Still pretty amazing, but would be cool to see the full chart…

    • RetroRob

      I think the consensus is they didn’t start collecting the two-strike data until 1988. That leaves off more than 100 years of MLB history. I’m sure guys like Cobb, Speaker, Hornsby, Williams, Musial, etc. would be raking better than Dustin Pedroia, who is #6 I believe on the list.

      So we don’t know who is #1 all time, but it doesn’t matter. Being a .300 hitter with two strikes is amazing, and I’m sure pretty rare even if we did have all the numbers.

  • http://riveravenueblues mississippi doc

    A few issues:(1) There is actually nothing in the medical literature showing that chewing tobacco is causative of head and neck cancer, as disgusting a habit as it may be. (2) Gwynn was only equaled in my lifetime by a very few hitters, those being Williams, Musial, Carew, Brett, to name a few. (3) I would suggest that all of the tantrums on this sight about Cashman’s failures come from the conviction of Yankees exceptionalism. He’s made some good moves and some bad moves, but developing young talent is just difficult. Look at the outcomes for all the number one draft choices. So once we get past all the complaining, the real issue is what do we do now. At the minimum, we need another starting pitcher. Nuno is an example of promotion to incompetence, not that the team had an alternative. We could get by with the infield and I wouldn’t be surprised if either Soriano or Beltran starts hitting. And, if not, Ichiro is a reasonable substitute. This is not a horrible team.

  • Not an ace

    I’d trade Sanchez before his stock falls anymore. Package him for somebody like Cliff Lee assuming he comes back healthy. Allows us to upgrade rotation this and next year without having to shell out 200 mil for Scherzer or Lester.

    • ChuckIt

      Somebody like Cliff Lee 2 years ago. Not now.He ain’t worth trading a rumor for.

  • Art Vandelay

    Gwynn was great, but when did “history” begin?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “History” begins at the cutoff point by which you can say the Yankees haven’t developed any pitchers.

  • Paco Dooley

    Gwynn with two strikes is impressive, but also how about Helton with over a thousand hits on a two strike count? Pretty amazing total. (Jeter also has over a thousand two strike hits, but on a much lower BA than Helton).

  • Wayne

    Could yankees realistically Make playoffs with current rotation but not necessarily win the World series ?

  • Wayne

    I like Shane Greene to get a shot in the rotation if nuno continúes to struggle. Unless we’re getting Hammel in a trade soon he is our best option right now over nuno. Unlike whitley he has started before this season alot more.

  • Wayne

    I would not send warren into rotation he is too much of an asset to bullpen Especially when betances has a bad game i don’t understand when people say don’t trade any guys in aa or aaa.
    Our prospects in aa or aaa are not as good as our single a prospects.
    Most teams want a guy who is ready right now anyway.
    Peter O’brien Bryan Mitchell Slade Heathcott Mason Williams and Tyler Austin. That is a whole outfield and a struggling starter who are injury prone but you could get something for since they are still young and in aa and aaa.
    Yankees should scout the other teams minors and trade them for same type of player age wise in minors aa and aaa. Maybe you get a starting pitcher in aa and aaa who another team has overlooked that is adequate enough or an outfielder who is fundamentally sound in the outfield who hits average but can hit with men in scoring position and can steal bases.

  • Wayne

    Actually think you can get both these types of players for the guys i mentioned in aa and aaa.