Thoughts following Monday’s rainout

(Ed Zurga/Getty)

(Ed Zurga/Getty)

The Yankees were able to get to Seattle a few hours early last night thanks to the rainout in Kansas City. I’m not gonna lie, getting a night away from the struggling offense was pretty nice. It can get mighty frustrating when you have to watch it game after game. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts a few hours before the series opener against the Mariners.

1. The Diamondbacks surprisingly designated Trevor Cahill for assignment yesterday, and I say surprisingly because there is still roughly $18M (!) left on his contract through next year. Teams are usually reluctant to eat that kind of money, but bravo to Arizona for recognizing a sunk cost and being willing to improve their team. Cahill is only 26 and he was good as recently as last year (3.99 ERA and 4.26 FIP in 146.2 innings), so someone will surely give him a job once he clears waivers and becomes available for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum. The Yankees should be looking to replace Vidal Nuno, though it’s worth noting Cahill lives and dies by the ground ball. (He had a 17.1% strikeout rate and a 57.8% ground ball rate from 2011-13.) As you’ve surely noticed, ground balls and the Yankees’ infield do not mix well. That said, he’s almost certainly better than Wade LeBlanc — Cahill had a 3.04 ERA (2.87 FIP) with 26.5% strikeout rate and a 47.5% ground ball rate in 23.2 relief innings for the D-Backs after being demoted to the bullpen a few weeks ago — and if the Bombers can convince him to come to New York, they should do it. Pitchers usually don’t come to the AL East and Yankee Stadium to rebuild value unless it’s a last resort though. (For what it’s worth, Nick Piecoro says GM Kevin Towers made it sound like Cahill agreed to go to the minors when he clears waivers.)

2. Shawn Kelley‘s second rehab game went fine last night by all accounts, so he is expected to be activated off the 15-day DL in time for tomorrow’s game. I assume either Matt Daley or Jose Ramirez will be sent to Triple-A Scranton to clear a roster spot. Doesn’t really matter either way. The important thing is that the back-end of the bullpen is getting some much needed help, so Joe Girardi will be able to take it a bit easier on Dellin Betances and Adam Warren in front of David Robertson. We’re in mid-June now and Betances and Warren are still on pace for 94 and 89 innings this season, respectively, and it seems like all that work has started to catch up to them of late. Girardi has already indicated he won’t necessarily stick Kelley in the eighth inning right away — did you realize he’s been out for a month already? time flies — which makes sense. I love Betances in his current fireman role and both Kelley and Warren seem to be at their best when they start an inning clean and only throw exactly one inning. The bullpen’s about to get a pretty big boost and it is definitely needed right now.

3. Speaking of bullpens, just about every reliever I wanted the Yankees to sign this past offseason has flopped, namely Jose Veras, Grant Balfour, and Brian Wilson. Others like Eric O’Flaherty, Joel Hanrahan, and Jesse Crain have yet to pitch this year. Boone Logan has been on the disabled list twice and Joe Nathan has completely melted down for the Tigers. Like, spectacularly. The only two free agent relievers who signed biggish contracts and have been good so far this season are Joaquin Benoit and Joe Smith. I thought the Yankees needed to sign a pretty good reliever this winter after losing Mariano Rivera to retirement, but instead Betances has stepped up to fill the void. The Yankees replaced an elite reliever with another elite reliever from within. Obviously Betances is not Mo, he’s got a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as Rivera, but the relief crew hasn’t missed a beat this year. It’s been pretty impressive to watch. Every year Girardi & Co. seem to unearth a new weapon.

4. You’ve probably seen it by now, but if not, Manny Machado had a little meltdown against the Athletics this weekend. Two meltdowns, really. First he got in Josh Donaldson’s face because he felt he was tagged too hard (really?), then he threw his bat at … someone on the other team. It looked like he tried to throw it at the pitcher but it wound up going towards the third baseman, who was not Donaldson at the time. Here’s the video of the tag play and here’s the video of the bat throwing. The Orioles threw up and in at Donaldson twice in the series, and the Athletics threw inside at Machado right before he threw the bat. I’m guessing Machado and Fernando Abad (who threw at Machado) will both be suspended some length of time this week. Anyway, this an unnecessarily long way of pointing out Machado is hitting .254/.288/.381 (81 wRC+) over the last calendar year. The fans at Camden Yards booed him following each one of his at-bats during last night’s 0-for-4. Boy that honeymoon sure is over, huh? Machado got lumped in with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as part of the next wave of superstars, but he was always a notch below those two because of his general lack of plate discipline. Now the kid is throwing fits because he didn’t like the way he was tagged. Maybe it’s time for a little wake up call stint in the minors? Don’t get me wrong, I’d take Machado on the Yankees in a heartbeat, but he’s part of the problem right now for Baltimore, not part of the solution.

Categories : Musings
  • kenthadley

    If we like Cahill that much, just claim him. So we pay 12 mil for a starter next year…that’s the going rate anyway for anyone decent. If we wait until he clears wavers, he’ll stay with Arizona.

    • BronxBombers987

      I kind of agree. If they really think they can fix him and turn him back to who he was, getting him for nothing but his salary would be a steal. Let’s face it they paid worse players before during hard times (see Wells, Vernon).

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Wells isn’t really a comparison here.

        • Wolfgang’s Fault

          Machado’s a punk; I’d pass.

          • Daniel

            As much as I do like Machado. During all of this nonsense this weekend all I can think of is the talk of he and A-Rod being close, and him being like a mentor to Machado. That’s bad news no matter how you look at it.

      • qwerty

        When have the yankees ever fixed anyone? If they get him they’ll take him as is.

  • fred robbins

    a game not played is a game not lost. I think that’s the only way to look at it right about now.

    I wonder if anyone in Yankee Front office is really looking at this team as assembled and has concerns that are strong enough to make some changes. Do they see an infield that puts fear into a ground ball pitcher’s heart? Do they see the few players who could be released at no real cost other than the remaining dollars and use this as an opportunity to bring up young players from AA or AAA?

    or is this a year for the fans to be hopeless because they DO know what is going on and have no intention to fix it during the farewell tour and possibly irk anyone’s sensibilities?

    I take my hat off to Ichiro, who was one of the biggest stars of all times both here and even more so in Japan, who has never said a word about his playing time or place in the lineup… He is the classiest of stars and I think the Yankees should be honored to have him.

    I just hope Cashman is in the discussions of what is wrong with this team and how an old and stale philosophy of team building is just not working. And I can only hope that the continued riches from all their TV contracts has left upper management with the attitude- just put name brands on the field and not to worry-

    • Kenny

      Ahhh, prose, old-time, good, real prose. No “lol’s,” fake sarcasms (the “oh-wait” construction), lower case throughout (the dumb-phone disease), etc.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        I’m not sure you read the same comment the rest of us did.

    • emac2

      I’ve come to the conclusion that while Cash gets to make most of the decisions, he keeps building one way and ownership keeps dropping bombs on his plan. When ownership wants Jeter starting every game for top dollar it isn’t Cashman building a team.

      When they trade for Wells or sign Soriano RP and commit 15+ million a year on multiple players who are then expected to play, but who Cash didn’t want, he ends up with a job of filling in around legacy contracts and annual ownership overrides. Bad contracts can be worked around but when you have several and you are forced to play them on a daily basis you’re screwed.

      • TWTR

        He said he wanted Wells.

        • TWTR

          From RAB:

          Here’s a pretty interesting read from Andy Martino, who spoke to Brian Cashman about the decision to trade for Vernon Wells (among a number of other topics). “We had thought (Wells) would be a fit here, at the very least, in that role that Andruw Jones had been playing for the past two years,” said the GM. “But no, there was no magic, unearthed data point. The fact that he was having a tremendous spring didn’t really move us … Our needs grew and we were able to come up a little bit more on the what we were willing to take on.”

          • qwerty

            I remember reading that. Brian Cashman specifically went out and got Wells for the bench and was happy to pay him 14 million just to sit and play backup. That’s perfect Cashman logic for you.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            He also was supposed to fill the “Andruw Jones” role, not be a starter. If we had his April spread out over the year as a bench player, we’re probably not complaining this much.

            • TWTR

              I just think it’s a poor use of resources to seek declining veterans who are at risk of getting even worse, instead of younger players who have a chance to get better.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                We know.

      • JoeyA

        And whose fault is it that this organizations farm system didnt have the players to plug into those holes, requiring we acquire outside talent?

        Ownership may drop occassional bombs, some of which work ( Soriano) other of which dont (Wells), but the failure of this organization to develop even average league talent is solely on the shoulders of Cashman and his team

        • qwerty

          Wells had zero to do with ownership. Ownership forced the Alfonso trade because of Wells. I do agree with the last part of your statement though.

  • TWTR

    Ramirez should remain in NY. He can be an important part of the pen.

  • pat

    You forgot to mention Machado also knocked Norris out of the game after “accidentally” hitting him in the head during his backswing…. twice.

    • BronxBombers987

      And then how he was smirking when he watched Norris be removed from the game after the second one.

  • Donny

    To be fair, you left out one free agent releiever that has done pretty well (until his blow-up against Boston on Sunday night): Joba. I think, before that meltdown, he had not allowed a run since May 11th. I know he wasn’t on Mike’s short list of free agent targets, but I also know guys generally take a full year to get their control back after having Tommy John (something Mike has often preached).

    Mike – aside from the obvious “he needed a fresh start”, any second guessing on your part that maybe he should have been re-upped for a year? I can’t say I was enthusiastic about bringin him back, but I can say that I have a little (non-)buyer’s remorse at this point.

    • Donny

      Also, two more points about Joba: 1) He gave up those three runs as part of his third straight day of work and 2) He has only given up a run in 5 of his 29 appearances and two of those appearances were games 1 and 2 for him; so he has given up a run in 3 of past 27 appearances.

      Again, I thought he and the Yankees needed to separate, but, in hindsight, did the team give up on him as a representable releiever too soon?

      • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

        No way. He wore out his welcome in NY. It ended the day he told Mo never to shush him. He was too immature. His hot streak won’t last with Detroit, I’d put money on it.

        • Mike HC

          Mo shushed him in a baseball dugout while Joba was talking to his family. You are probably right that was a mark against him, but it was Mo who was in the wrong. Just like Mo was in the wrong to talk trash about Cano in his book. I love Mo, but he is not perfect either.

          • TWTR

            Tex made similar comments about Cano’s failure to always run hard to 1B. Why is it wrong? Why can’t players speak their minds about what they think?

            • Mike HC

              They should have said it publicly while he was here. Because we all know everyone was mum at best, and supportive at worst of Cano’s style of play. All of sudden he decides to leave for money, and everyone starts talking all the shit they didn’t have the guts to say while he was still here.

              • TWTR

                I understand your perspective, but we don’t know what was said to Cano privately. I think Jeter once said that a few years ago.

          • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

            Mo shushed him because he was being interviewed as part of his fairwell tour. Joba was clowning with his family. Mo could have been more tactful about it, but Joba needed to be aware of his surroundings.

            Mo wasn’t the only one to make comments about Cano – Tex, Long, even Girardi said he had spoken to Cano.

            Mo isn’t perfect, no one is. I just think in the instance with Joba, Joba messed up.

            • Mike HC

              Fair enough. I believe if you didn’t have the guts to speak up while he was here, you should keep your mouth shut when he decides to leave. That goes for all of them.

              We will just have the agree to disagree about the Mo, Joba thing. We both are on the same page about what happened, and just have different opinions of who was in the right.

              • WhittakerWalt

                Nobody ever trashes their teammates publicly, though. Especially not in baseball.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      We gave him…….six years of our lives? I’d say watching him do a bit better somewhere else is just fine.

    • mt

      Point well taken about Joba but also don’t know how much the “fresh start” and lack of expectations based on Joba’s minor league and initial Yankee career helped cement Joba’s comfort (and the result of better performance) of going to Detroit anyway if offers were comparable (did Yanks even make an offer to Joba?.

      I also notice Joba went for the full lion beard, for example, as soon as he could.

      I do agree with you that the one real factor where Yanks may have tried an offer for one more year was the upside from getting to his second year after Tommy John.

      Who knows? – maybe Joba was a major ass that Yanks couldn’t wait to be gone.

      Yankee fans may also have to face the fact that players now may not always want to come here for what is no longer an “automatic chance at rings” – Detroit is a better team than Yankees and even the Mariners, whose higher contract offer to Cano was supposed to be offset by all this downside in giving up his chance for competing in postseason, also have done pretty well so far this year (without any significant external offensive upgardes beyond Cano – in fact, Corey Hart got hurt and they did not sign Cruz or Morales – and without the anticipated contributions from the Hultzens and Walkers of the world as top prospect starters.) In other words, Mariners have much more room to get better and some relatively easy moves are out there for them to make, whether this year or next.

      • Niko

        I think you’ve hit on something in that last paragraph that I’m not seeing much discussion about. By accident or design, NY isn’t competing with those smaller markets and it clearly isn’t the draw it once was. The last few years with Soriano, Youk, Wells, and even the Beltran disaster, NY looks more like a retirement home for fading stars. Them and their monster immovable contracts also don’t leave a lot of room for young guys. Who was the last late-career guy who really contributed? Ichiro? Kerry Woods?

        It’s not that its just weak now, I don’t see a whole lot of light in the next five years…

        • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

          A few points to both of your posts. While I don’t necessarily disagree with FAs having many more options, the reason isn’t because the Yanks changed their philosophy. The league forced the changes for parody’s sake.
          First they instituted the payroll tax. This gives these small market teams a chance to use NY’s money to buy these FAs whereas before they had no shot.
          Second, they created the silly draft rules to protect horrible teams (even if they sign a top tier FA they get to keep their top 10 pick), and created the draft slot recommended signing, and a penalty on going over that too. And now they have IFA penalty too.
          Now they changed the rules for negotiating with NPBL in Japan and are working on an international draft.

          All these rules from MLB are to help make the Yanks less meaningful and to thwart the one true advantage they had: cold hard cash. In addition many teams, even some small market ones, have TV deals now a days. So while the Yanks are still the best team in baseball historically the reason for going to them: you can get paid, and be part of a historic franchise with a chance to get to the playoffs, has been ruined by baseball’s rules.

          Detroit is better right now, as is Oakland. Even though Seattle is 5 games above .500 right now, I’m not ready to say they are suddenly a team worth going to. Their front office is an absolute mess regardless of Cano and Felix being there.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            The other side of this is these rules have really had an impact the last 3-4 years. After the Jeter and A-Rod deals. A lot of the current status of the Yankee payroll was put into place beforehand. It’s hard to adapt to a rule change that happens after you’ve made the decisions.

            I believe the Yankees will get there. It’s just a tough transition period after the Core Four(tm) era. We knew it was coming.

      • Mike HC

        Joba is part Native American if I remember correctly. Him growing out his hair and getting his mojo back reminds me of this interesting article I read a little while ago:


  • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

    First time I saw the videos of Machado, what a baby. That tag was nowhere near his surgically repaired knee, which was his complaint. It hit him in the ribs.
    He clearly threw the bat, no doubt. If he doesn’t get suspended, Buck should sit him for 3 games. He needs to grow up before he truly hurts someone. Of course, he might have just put a target on his back. Not just with Oakland, but other teams. There are always pitchers out there looking for an excuse to hit someone.

    I’m glad the yanks didn’t play last night. It was good not having to shield my eyes from the screen as the Yanks left men on base.

    • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

      He is such a baby. For the tag play by donaldson it was entirely his fault. He jumps away from the baseline, and then jumps backwards. He fell over because his weight was carrying him backwards. What do you think the fielder is going to do? You are going way out of the baseline. And you see the expression on Donaldson’s face, “What the fuck is this kid’s problem”.

      • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

        Even the 3B ump had a strange look on his face like: “WTH, that’s very odd”

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadgeek Roadgeek Adam

          Angel Hernandez always has a strange look on his face.

  • emac2

    Whenever I get pissed at your attitude I remind myself that the site is called Blues and that if I was forced to follow every game I would have even more significant mental problems.

    I just wanted to remind you that I think you and your site are awesome and that I really enjoy and appreciate everything you do even when I disagree with what you say.

    Well Done Mike!

  • mt

    Grant Balfour has been absolutely atrocious – I guess the Orioles are also happy that they reneged on signing him. It’s a good thing that Rays have no big media following them – they have the worst record in baseball.

    In the offseason my personal preference was for more of an 8th inning guy – Jesse Crain (still has not pitched) or Joe Smith (has subsequently done well this year).

  • Mike HC

    I was watching Sportscenter maybe a few weeks ago, and they were counting down the best baseball brawls of all time. One of the brawls was when some guy threw his bat at the pitcher, pretending it slipped out of his hand. It definitely stuck with me, as I hadn’t seen it before that, and after seeing how hard it can be to charge the mound when the catcher gets in your face before you can even flinch, the bat “slip” struck me as a “good” idea.

    Sure enough, just a few weeks later, Machado pulls that same shit. I have a feeling I know where he got that hairbrained idea from.

  • Jacoby Eddardsbury

    1. Pick him up. Just about any pickup is an upgrade at this point.

    2. They need that 4th guy. Still need to pick up a lefty as Thorton is just awful. Should have kept Boone. Should have kept a lot of ballplayers. Grandy and Nuney both had HR’s the other night and we can’t buy one of those. Nuney hitting .291 , Hughes 6-2.

    3. Which is why bullpens should be built within the farm and not through big FA signings. Mariano was a farm hand, Robertson, Delin, Warren, all farm hands. The one place they do develop well is the pen.

    4. He’s still a kid. I like the passion but Buck needs to harness it. Machado will be just fine. Wish the Yanks could develop everyday ballplayers like him. Outside of Robbie Cano they haven’t developed any like him in the past 20 years.

    • Kosmo

      Posada was a pretty good player.

      • Jacoby Eddardsbury

        I’m talking since the Core 4. They haven’t developed a damn thing except in the pen. Not one long lasting ace and not one everyday ballplayer that you can build a club around. The one they did have they let go to Seattle and he has his M’s flying high.

        • Kosmo

          I love your passion.

        • That Escalated Quick. Brick you killed a man with a trident

          A little over passionate in your comments. The M’s aren’t “flying high”. They just got to 5 games over .500 and Cano isn’t the one leading them.

          Hughes would not have been 6-2 in NY. He can’t pitch in YS, even with the recent win he had here. That had way more to do with the Yanks terrible offense than with Hughes good pitching. The Yanks had runners on in most innings, like always they couldn’t plate them.

          Nunez sucks, one HR isn’t going to change my opinion of him. He was given more than enough chances.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner


        • JAG

          Brett Gardner says hi.

          Toronto hasn’t developed a single superstar player either. Neither has Houston, Kansas City, Cleveland, the Cubs, or San Diego. Several other teams have managed to develop one, like Pittsburgh, Miami, or Colorado, but largely thanks to early-first-round draft picks that the Yankees have simply not had due to winning too much.

        • mustang

          Looks like the Troll Master has been having a good day.

        • WhittakerWalt

          And developing quality relievers doesn’t count, because REASONS.

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      I disagree–I do not think the Yankees AT ALL develop relievers well. I think they, by and large, fail at developing starters, and those failed starters make very good relievers.

      • Mike HC

        Well that is apparently the best way to develop relievers. So maybe they are Mr Magooing their way into it, but whatever works.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        David Robertson was never going to be a starter. Neither was Shawn Kelley.

        Plus, if it’s so easy, why do other teams who can’t develop starters either, not turn them into successful relievers like the Yankees do?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          They traded for Shawn Kelley.

          • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

            Damn it.

    • AndrewYF

      You wish the Yankees could develop players like him? He was an early first-rounder. Do you also wish the Yankees would finish in the cellar for more than a decade to allow them to pick players like that?

      And even then, he’s not exactly lighting up the world. Him, Wieters, all their ‘future aces’…Baltimore has a far, far worse record of developing talent than the Yankees. Like, it’s not even remotely close. They just seem to have a knack at minimizing player performance. The amount of pure potential that has been wasted down at Camden Yards over the last 5 years is simply staggering.

    • Wolfgang’s Fault

      Yeah, right, hitting a guy in the head w/his bat TWICE was just some adolescent boys will be boys thing. He showed himself for what he is, & it won’t be forgotten for a long, long, time. For the time being at least, he’s the Orioles problem. I can only hope the Yankees stay away & look elsewhere when looking for help.

  • Ed

    I wouldn’t bet on Cahill leaving Arizona. If they ask him to go to the minors, he’s going. He’d have to give up the rest of his contract if he turned down the minor league assignment.

    • zach

      Cahill loses nothing.

    • pat

      Baseball contracts are guaranteed. Arizona is paying the full amount no matter where he plays.

  • Kosmo

    Cahill could be the beginning of a salary dump on the part of the D-Backs.
    I´m sure other teams will be clamoring for his services.

  • Dan

    Forget about being happy about the rain out so we don’t have to watch them . . . this is a team that needs a rain out. They’re in the middle of a long stretch of games without a day off, and clearly they’re lost at the plate. Hopefully yesterday helps them.

  • Looser trader droids FotD™

    Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes…it rains.

  • hogsmog

    I don’t really understand that DFA. The Dbacks are in dead last, and it’s not like Cahill seems completely unsalvagable. Yeah, he’s walking way too many people, but his FIP still seems in order, he’s relatively young, and there’s a lot of money left to pay him. It’s odd that they seem to think he’s worthless; just look at the contract Hughes got.

    • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

      I know. The only way it works though is if he consents. Nobody will take on that contract as it is, but if he denies going to the minors, then they would probably release him, or trade him for cheap.

  • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

    I think Machado could be out for awhile. Remember Delmon Young got 50 games for throwing a bat at an umpire. I hope he gets suspended for awhile. Both those plays really deserve it. He is being a baby. He purposely jumps out of the baseline and backwards, and then he starts shit because he got tagged hard?

  • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ
    • zach

      So he is the worst hitter in the MLB for his age range?

      • http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/ ALZ

        He is also the oldest mlb everyday player.

  • Jason

    “…ground balls and the Yankees’ infield do not mix well.” And in a park where fly-ball pitchers suffer. Nice roster construction.

    • the Other Steve S.

      Don’t like fly ball pitchers, or ground ball pitchers, I guess that leaves pop-ups and strikeouts. Not sure who to recruit for that metric.

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead


  • FIPster Doofus

    “I’m not gonna lie, getting a night away from the struggling offense was pretty nice.”

    You’re a Rangers fan, Mike, so there was no break. You just watched another struggling offense instead.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Hey, at least mach manny is no aaron hernandez

  • mustang

    “3. Speaking of bullpens, just about every reliever I wanted the Yankees to sign this past offseason has flopped,”

    Not surprised at all. The one thing Cashman has learned is that spending big money on relievers is a waste. The Yankees have become rather good at developing those guys from within. Not bad for a team that can’t develop anything and has no farm system.

    We all know why those guys flopped because Jeter has not been move down in the batting order. His greed knows no end.

    • FIPster Doofus

      He’s a menace. We need to start having some serious Jeter control discussions in this country. Otherwise it’s just gonna keep getting worse.