Jul
04

Mailbag: Cashman, Gardner, IFAs, Run Support

By

Only six questions this week, but some of the answers are kinda long. The Submit A Tip box in the sidebar is the best way to send us anything through the week.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Several people asked: What happens with Brian Cashman when his contract expires after the season?

A bunch of people sent in some variation of this question. Some nice (is it time for a change?), some not so nice (fire that idiot!). Needless to say, when you commit over $500M to free agents in an offseason only to get worse and potentially to miss the postseason for the second straight year, it’s only natural to wonder if a change in leadership is needed.

I’ve been a Cashman supporter over the years but I do think it’s time for the Yankees to make a change. He’s been the GM for 16 years now. That’s an eternity in GM years. The Yankees are still trying to win by almost exclusively signing free agents and that’s not just going to work in the game these days. The best players are not hitting the open market until their post-prime years. Baseball has changed but the Yankees have not. They’re still trying to build a team the same way they did 10-15 years ago and it’s not working.

I feel the Yankees have reached the point where bringing in a new GM with a different voice would really benefit the club. I think the same applies to managers and coaches too — eventually they get stale and it’s time for a new voice to shake things up. That’s human nature. It happens. The club’s way of doing business needs an overhaul, not one or two minor tweaks. I mean, given their payroll, other teams rely on the Yankees to make mistakes to contend, and there have been a lot of mistakes in recent years.

Who should replace Cashman? That’s a hard part. Assistant GM Billy Eppler is the obvious in-house candidate but he is being given serious consideration for the Padres GM job (he interviewed for the position yesterday, the team announced). He might not be a long-term option. Hiring someone from outside the organization is tricky because the New York market is so unique. Money doesn’t guarantee success and the expectations are through the roof. Experience in this kind of market is not required but it would preferred.

If Eppler gets the Padres job, I have no idea who the Yankees could replace Cashman with. Ex-Cubs GM Jim Hendry is in the front office as an advisor but no thanks. Advisor and ex-GM Gene Michael has made it pretty clear he’s out of the GM game at age 76. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer? Eh, maybe. Hiring Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman away from their teams is totally unrealistic. There figures to be a few GM openings this winter (Phillies? Diamondbacks?), so the Yankees would have competition for the top candidates.

I do think it’s time for the Yankees to bring in a new GM — I’ve been saying they could move Cashman to a high-level advisor role when the time comes for years now, similar to Kenny Williams and Mark Shapiro, and I still think that. He’s worth keeping around, especially if they bring in a GM from outside the organization — because there needs to be some change. The team-building strategies are too outdated to continue. Going from Point A (Cashman) to Point B (new GM) will be very difficult and my biggest fear is Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine hiring some figurehead GM they can walk all over.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Joe asks: Why don’t the Yankees switch Gardner and Ellsbury in the lineup? Why bat Ellsbury third when Gardner has shown more power this year?

I agree completely. (I said this earlier this week.) Jacoby Ellsbury‘s batting third because he’s the big name and he’s the guy with the huge contract, but he is totally miscast in that lineup spot in my opinion. Brett Gardner would be as well, don’t get me wrong, but when you look at their skills, I think Ellsbury makes more sense in the leadoff spot and Gardner third. To wit:

  • Their batting averages (.288 vs. .284) and on-base percentages (.358 vs. .352) are essentially identical. It’s not like one guy has a big 25 or 40-point advantage or something.
  • Ellsbury is quicker to steal than Gardner. I don’t have any stats to back that up (I don’t even know if that stuff is available) but I think we can all agree that’s the case.
  • Gardner has shown more usable power this year (.144 ISO vs .106 ISO, 8 HR vs. 4 HR) and does a better job of taking advantage of the short porch. Every Ellsbury hit looks exactly the same — line drive to center or left-center. Hard to hit for power and clear the bases like that.

Since they get on base at almost the exact same rate, the Yankees would be better off using Gardner’s slight edge in power — remember, he has more power than Ellsbury but is still no better than an average power hitter overall — a little lower in the lineup, with potentially more men on base. It wouldn’t make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re struggling to score runs like the Yankees have been, I see very little downside to making the swap.

Daniel asks: Why is it that when you’re showing the rankings of different international prospects and you give MLB.com and BA’s, the rankings are so vastly different? It doesn’t seem like it’s quite as stark a difference with US prospects. Why the big gaps, and who do you trust more anyway?

I listed each player’s ranking in our massive International Free Agency Open Thread the other day — the unofficial final tally was 22 players and $26.8M in bonuses plus penalties, by the way, and there are still some more signings to come — and in some cases the rankings are very different. Venezuelan OF Jonathan Amundaray was ranked seventh by MLB.com and 22nd by Baseball America, for example. Dominican OF Antonio Arias was ninth by MLB.com and 28th by Baseball America. A two or three spot difference is nothing, but 15-20?

I think this stems from the general lack of reliable information about international prospects. MLB.com and Baseball America do a really awesome job of digging up info on these kids, but it’s still tough to find a consensus. Remember, these are 16-year-old kids who have a lot of development left. They are even more unpredictable than high schoolers, so the opinions very wildly. It comes down to the difference in sources, I guess. I trust Baseball America (Ben Balder) the most because he’s been on the international free agent beat for a while now and always seems to have the most information and the best projections (about who is signing where, etc.). I think it’s important to consider all possible sources through. The more info, the better.

Joe asks: Hiroki Kuroda gets terrible run support, it seems.  What Yankees starter has gotten the worst?

Kuroda has never gotten run support in the big leagues. The Dodgers never scored for him back in the day and even in 2012, when the Yankees had a good offense, they still never scored for him. Here is the where the team’s starters rank among the 157 starting pitchers who have thrown at least 40 innings this season (only Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka have qualified for the batting title):

Juan Nicasio of the Rockies has received the most run support this year (6.79 runs per game) by almost a full run (Jesse Chavez and Matt Shoemaker are tied for second at 5.88). Andrew Cashner has received the least run support at 2.17 runs per game. Yikes. How in the world can someone pitch like that, knowing that if they give up two runs, they’ll probably lose? The Padres, man.

Maxwell. (Jason Miller/Getty)

Maxwell. (Jason Miller/Getty)

Dustin asks: Chris Capuano is now a free agent. Should the Yanks give him a minor league deal? Same for Jerome Williams and Justin Maxwell if they clear waivers. And would Nolan Reimold even be worth claiming on waivers and giving up something of minor value?

I’d take all four of those guys a minor league contract at this point, especially Maxwell, who might be a better option for the right-handed half of the right field platoon than Alfonso Soriano. He stunk this year (11 wRC+ in limited time), but Maxwell has hit .230/.344/.407 (105 wRC+) against lefties in his career. It’s not like the Triple-A Scranton outfield is full either. Reimold is hurt all the time (56 games from 2012-14) but has kinda shown he can hit southpaws (career 98 wRC+). Capuano has a knack for underperforming his peripherals and I consider both him and Williams as replacement level arms at this point of their careers. The Red Sox were nice enough to audition Capuano in the AL East for the Yankees. Of these four guys, Maxwell seems most likely to be useful.

TomH asks: RAB and others have recently noted a kind of creeping mediocrity among MLB teams, probably resulting from the Bud Selig era leveling moves. How do you think this pretty obvious general mediocrity will affect baseball’s popularity?

It’s probably a net win for the game. More teams are in the race and that means more fans are excited and paying attention (and going to games and buying merchandise). I joke all the time that the Yankees are unwatchable these days, but I watch a ton of non-Yankees baseball too, and I think the level of play around the league is very low right now. Most of MLB is Yankees-esque unwatchable. Is that because of Selig’s competitive balance? I’m sure that’s part of it. I think it’s good for the game overall to have more teams in the race and more fans interested, but I do think baseball is at its absolute best when there are two or three superpowers fans can hate. Maybe I’m just biased as a Yankees fan.

  • TWTR

    They do need fresh eyes with no in-house biases or loyalties to assess what has gone wrong as well as what has gone right, along with a demonstrated track record of development. So definitely not Eppler.

    • viridiana

      Thr problem is that when you have one guy in place too long (ie Cashman) all his tendencies, biases and errors tend to get extended and multiplied throughout the organization. And if a guy has a blind spot – – Lord help you because that blind spot is enlarged to pathological proportions over time.

      Yanks really do need new eyes and new judgment in the front office. But I also think they need to keep focus on internal development. That’s the only way out of this mess as they will inevitably overpay in the trade market.

      • Deep Thoughts

        They have brought in Towers, Hendry, Wakamatsu, Trey Hillman, etc. They have shaken up their scouting and minor-league staff. Prying Nardi Contreras out of his former stranglehold was overdue, granted. But there are fresh eyes coming in and out all the time.

  • Yan Solo

    I feel like stuff like “the shift” is also part of the equation. I find myself too often watching games saying, “That one’s not going through.” It’s definitely not decreasing the unwatchable factor. It is increasing the boring factor. I find myself more engaged when I’m listening to O’Neill, Cone, Singleton or, god help us all, Flaherty talk about the game in the past tense as opposed to the actual game being played. Baseball feels like it’s on life support, from a watchable perspective, right now. Could also just be the dog days of summer. Either way a whole lot of alternatives to watch or do are way more attractive at this moment.

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

      But they need to find a way around it, I don’t like the declining offense numbers, but I also don’t want MLB to tell teams where their infielders must be placed.

      • edb

        Could move in all the CF fences. Make it easier to go yard without pulling. That might help

  • wilcymoore27

    I am not so sure that overall mediocrity is a net positive for the game of baseball. Frankly, baseball is pretty boring this year, and it’s not just the Yankees. There is not a single very good – forget “great” – team in MLB. Oakland A’s? Best record, but largely a cast of unknowns. Detroit Tigers? LA Angels? LA Dodgers? Those teams have superstar players, but the teams have “blah” records.

    By my measure, an exceptional team is one that can maintain a .667 winning percentage for the course of the regular season – win 2 out of 3 games (108 for a full season). That hasn’t occurred since the Mariners in 2001. Even if it’s not the Yankees, I think it helps baseball to have a great team out there. There just isn’t one, and baseball’s push to make everyone even means it’s not likely we’ll see such a team for a long time.

  • Bats

    Replacing Brian Cashman is not going to work, especially when you have a fan base who largely SUPPORTS and ENCOURAGES what he does, but doesn’t know it…like Mike Axisa.

    What do I mean?

    The “new” GM will always be required by Mike Axisa and Yankee fans to sign the biggest and best free agents. LOL..that’s a fact. When that free agent does and turns out to be a bust, what are you gonna do? Cry for his GM head?

    Cashman cannot be replaced without good reason and right now there absolutely isn’t ready. I know Cashman has heard the voices of the Yankee Universe. The radio talk shows challenge him often, and have always been truthful and in some ways discreet. Discreet, for the purposes of stealth because he knows GM’s around the League use the Yankees and their high standards when it comes to making deals. That’s something I know, Yankee fans (like AXISA) MUST know because this is the reality the Yankees face.

    Cashman is a master dealsman. That’s a fact. His deals have almost always been great. The one area Cashman needs to improve on, is the willingness to let a player go, when he obviously cannot help any longer, like Hughes and Chamberlain. That’s because he saw and remembers their potential just like we do and his patience is obviously very forgiving, unlike George Steinbrenner who led us through the hapless 80’s.

    If this issue is based on the recent Yankees performance, then the first change that needs to happen is Kevin Long. That’s because the Yankees OBVIOUSLY have the OFFENSIVE FIRE POWER in the lineup (Ellsbury, Jeter, Gardner, Teixeira, McCann, Beltran) with 6 everyday All Star caliber players, and they are not hitting. You either tell Kevin Long he’s gone or you tell Joe Girardi to bench those players. Girardi most likely won’t because those players are the best chance to winning.

    The next issue to fix the Yankees is the payroll. Salaries for players are rising. The Yankees have shown to have no problem keeping up to salaries for starting players, but look bargains when it comes to depth. The Yankees have to increase their payroll or develop better players better at the minor league level. Do fans actually want the Yankee payroll increased? The stupid ones, YES. The smart ones know that there is a correlation between Yankee salaries and other expenses with ticket & tv sales. Yankee fans can’t have it both ways. Not even George Steinbrenner would do that.

    Just because the Yankees (not specifically Cashman) spent $500 mil, doesn’t mean new leadership is needed. But let say it did,…at the GM level, new leadership is needed? REALLY? Is Cashman supposed to go to every game and give Douglas MaCarthur speech every single time? What leadership at the GM level is Axisa talking about?

    When a high profile person like Cashman has been around for nearly 20 years, it’s easy to see and remember the mistakes. However, when you put it all into context, the number of mistakes have been small. Perhaps of all transactions he has made, 5% have been very bad decisions, to which he tries to fix immediately.

    Cashman’s work as Assistant GM and GM have produced World Championships, Pennants, and double digit division titles. He has brought in All Star caliber players that Mike Axisa and Yankee fans have LUSTED for in the offseason…and Axisa wants to replace him with someone who is untested in the Yankee waters. Hey, that’s fine with me, but don’t go crying to me when he can’t make a deal for so and so, just because he doesn’t know how or because Hal won’t allow him to. I would do that, only if Cashman were working side by side by him, almost the same way former Nets President Rod Thorn did with his GM. However, if that’s the case,….then why replace Cashman then?

    • Alkaline

      Is this an excerpt from your manifesto?

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Do fans actually want the Yankee payroll increased? The stupid ones, YES. The smart ones know that there is a correlation between Yankee salaries and other expenses with ticket & tv sales.

      The smart ones know ticket prices (like any other prices) are driven by market demand and maximizing revenue, not by costs.

      • Now Batting

        Ehh not if you operate as a monopoly/oligopoly.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Still driven by demand and maximizing revenue for a non-essential product.

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

          A monopoly is all about maximizing profit, and when each additional unit(seats) don’t cost any more, then it’s close to revenue.

          The price tickets to maximize revenue. If they cut payroll in half they aren’t going to cut ticket prices that much, unless they also saw a drop in demand.

        • edb

          Not a monopoly when there are two teams in town. Prices too high? Go to a Mets game. Economics would state if things got out of control there would be a new generation of Mets fans regardless of how bad their organizations is.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Our founding fathers died for this.

      You have such a crush on Mike, it’s not even funny.

      • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

        Our founding fathers were overrated, in the same vein as Steve Garvey and Jim Rice and Mike Flanagan.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          That’s disrespectful….

    • n0exit

      This is pretty ranty, but most of it is spot on. The yanks will always sign big free agents (who by definition will always be around 30), cashman does make great trades, he has biult a lot of winners over the last ~20 years. Everything else is rubbish. Also, its clear to see a major philosophy change happening and while that plan is being implemented cashman won’t be fired.

    • Kyle

      **first change that needs to happen is Kevin Long**

      Kevin Long can give them all the pointers in the world. It’s up to the batter to use it.

      • WhittakerWalt

        I guess Brett Gardner must ignore everything KLong says to him, because GGBG is having a career year with the bat. Just like Curtis Granderson did when KLong got a hold of him.
        Oh, yeah. We only attribute negative stuff to the hitting coach.

    • qwerty

      Cashman’s work as an assistant GM was to sit back and let Gene Michael and Bob Watson do all the smart decision making. In 6 years Michael developed 2 hall of famers, two borderline hall of famers in Posada and Pettitte, an all star centerfielder, and a traded for one of the better right fielders in baseball, not to mention traded for Jack McDowell, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, Jim Abbott, Terry Mulholland and John Wetteland without having given up anything of real value. Michael built a long running dynasty in 6 years. Cashman has built absolutely nothing in 16 years. Where are the homegrown marquee players, like Bernie, Posada, Pettitte, and Rivera, where are the great trades like Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Jim Abbott, Jack McDowell, David Cone or John Wetteland? In all the trades Cashman has been involved he has overall given up more value than he’s gotten back, by FAR. Heck, he almost traded Wang and Cano, but none of the nearly 10 teams he spoke to wanted them. All those gms have long ago since been fired. Cashman has the benefit of the yankee checkbook, nothing more, nothing less. I give him full credit for Soriano, Godzilla and maybe one or two other transations, outside of this most of his trades and signings have been complete disasters.

      • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

        I’m not going to bother trying to refute all of your points, but while I’m at it, I’ll just say that Michael almost traded Bernie and Mo. Multiple times.

        • qwerty

          It’s not that you can’t be bothered to, it’s that you can’t. Michael saved Bernie from being traded when Steinbrenner wanted him gone. He told George that no one wanted him, which was most decidedly false. Michael did consider trading Rivera, but that was when he was still throwing 88mph. Once he saw his increased velocity any passing thoughts of trading him were long gone. It’s good to know you got all your facts in order. It’s no wonder your assessment of Cashman is completely contrary to what he’s done his entire career.

          • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

            As John Wayne said to Laurence Harvey in The Alamo, “Get off your high horse, mister.”

            All I was pointing out was that Michael almost did the same thing you accuse Cashman of almost doing. Considering that it was something that almost happened, but didn’t actually happen, that’s like saying that Jim Rice was so feared that opposing managers thought about intentionally walking him with the bases loaded. That, you know, never happened.

            It’s actually that I have too much other shit going on that I don’t feel like getting into a pointless fucking argument where neither of us will really care what the other has to say.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              This was not the 4th of July party I expected to still be rockin’ at this hour.

              It’s a little known fact that it was actually the hotel maid, Luis Sojo, and a subway rat, not Brian Cashman, who were truly responsible for the Swisher trade, Matsui signing, and 2009 championship, although not in that order. Brian Cashman was actually sitting a corner trying to figure out which finger stuck better in his ass at the time. True story. No lies here.

            • qwerty

              It is only pointless when the other debater has no point to begin with. There is quite literally zero correlation between Michael having thoughts of trading Rivera when he was still throwing 88mph, and Cashman actually putting Cano on the trade block but was largely ignored by the teams he contacted. Where precisely is the argument you were attempting to make here? If Michael had attempted to trade Rivera when he was throwing 95mph you might have had a point worth arguing. Not only do you have all your facts wrong, but even your analogies are terribly illogical.

              • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

                Curse me for being an idiot, but I’d still love you to defend this statement: “In all the trades Cashman has been involved he has overall given up more value than he’s gotten back, by FAR.”

                Honestly, I’d love to see you prove that.

  • hornblower

    Cash is fine. He will rebuild this. Unfortunately because of these prices he has to fake contention while he is doing it. To be accurate the Yanks didn’t spend 500 mil. If all the signed players end their contracts with the team that will be the case but some older players are breaking down and may not make it.

    • viridiana

      Every time some nitwit mentions that the Yankees spent $500 million without also mentioning the fact that they shed even more in expiring contracts and that (with elimination of A-Rod, of course) their payroll is actually lower this year — i suspect that this is basically a get-a-life Yankee hater getting their digs in. There are plenty of those. But they should be held to the facts.

  • Chris K

    The Yankees need to clean house in the front office and scouting areas. There are few areas where the Yankees can use their financial advantage without being punished. The front office and scouting personnel are one. The Yankees should pay 3x market rates for a talent like Billy Beane. We should hire Bill James away from the Red Sox. We should hire the best front office people and the best scouts. This is an area where we can use our muscle and have it make a difference.

    • Eric Duncan Fan]

      Scouting .. no
      Development in terms of coaching Absofuckinglutley

      Yankees can find the talent they always have , its a matter of developing it.

    • Alkaline

      Maybe more of a rhetorical question, but when people point towards small market teams (and I doubt it’ll be easy to get James from the RS), how do we know they’ll perform the same when they come to the Yankees?

      • jjyank

        Yeah, that’s the thing. I don’t think it’s so black and white that you can just say “imagine what Beane could do with $200 million!!” The Yankee franchise and it’s market is fairly unique. I don’t see a guy out there who is a slam dunk to improve the Front Office in a positive way.

      • edb

        Glen Sather was a Hockey God in Montreal then got a blank checkbook in NY and everybody hated him for a long time.

        • edb

          I mean edmonton

    • n0exit

      Ever since the Yankees got bill Rowland back for international scouting they have made some great pickups. Andujar, Severino, Avelino, Torrens, Mateo, Molina the list goes on. They’re all in low minors because Rowland hasn’t been around long but he does a great job. Domestically they also scout well and pick the players they want but until recently the emphasis wasn’t on mid level impact players but high risk high ceiling players. People don’t realize that are 2010 the Yankees had terrible IFAs because of the kickback scandle it takes time to recover from that.

      As for player development? Let’s see what they do with proper talent. There have already been some changes but results can’t change instantly.

  • Eric Duncan Fan]

    ^^^

    That Post by Bats was one of the better posts ive read on the interwebs in quite sometime.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You impress far too easily.

  • Kosmo

    “ According to the league, only 8.3 percent of players on 2014 opening day rosters identified themselves as African-American or black. The highest percentage of African-Americans in the majors, according to research by Mark Armour of the Society of American Baseball Research, was 19 percent in 1986.“
    that´s one huge problem.

    talent pool is lacking, more than ever MLB has turned to Asia and the Carribean for players. Now here in Europe(where I live) more and more baseball fields are popping up. European baseball clinics, scouts from the states are now making the rounds looking for talent. Annual tournaments.

    I have not proof to back this up but my suspicion is the baseball itself has been changed. Not as much compression.

    To many teams.
    far less PEDS

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

      And umpires are 10% less likely to expand the zone for African American pitchers compared to Caucasians. – NY Times

      • Deep Thoughts

        Sidebar whine: That sure didn’t apply to David Price the other night. That dude was getting calls on pitches in the batter’s boxes.

    • toad

      “Huge problem?”

      African-Americans are about 12% of the population of the US. Once you allow for the number of foreign players in MLB, it doesn’t seem that 8.3% is wildly low.

  • Wayne

    How old is Jerome Williams? may be he can be a fourth or fifth starter for us.

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

    The thing with Cash though is how much is ownership messing him up. Didn’t ownership go for Soriano, they signed arod’s mega extension, etc.

    Did they sign Ellsbury? etc….

    • n0exit

      Soriano was a great deal. Corey Black for him was brriliant especially given that the yanks don’t owe him much. There was no sign he would fall off a cliff like this except when the idiot told buster olney that he would retire of he didn’t hit well this season.

      • Yanks

        Not really. Soriano only wanted to go to the Yankees. They held all the leverage in the world since Chicago wanted him off the team, and they gave up a decent piece for him.

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

        They paid him $6.8MM to be good for half a season. And the piece they gave up has a 2.83 era in 70 AA innings this year.

        • The Lime

          I wasn’t a fan of that trade, but it’s worth mentioning that in addition to a 2.83 ERA, Corey Black is walking over 5 per nine with the lowest BABIP and HR rate of his career.

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

        Not to mention he is 38, and has no plate discipline.

    • jjyank

      That’s part of the problem for us fans evaluating all of this. It’s impossible for us to know the full extent of the working relationship between Cashman, the rest of the FO, and ownership. Sure, there are snippets that we get (Cashman didn’t want to give up Black for Soriano, he didn’t want to sign Rafael Soriano a few years ago, etc.) but we get such a small idea of the whole picture.

    • qwerty

      Soriano saved their season last year, and that trade was only forced on Cashman because he idiotically chose Vernon Wells over Soriano during the winter.

  • Now Batting

    If your reasoning for firing Cashman is to shake things up and get fresh ideas, why the hell would you replace him with Eppler?

    • jjyank

      I somewhat agree. Such a move is probably akin to letting Torre walk and hiring Mattingly to be the manager.

      That said, a new voice is a new voice. No two people are the same, and maybe Eppler has some ideas that he would implement if he had full control. Who knows.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      If you replaced your boss right now, would you do things exactly as they do?

      This is one of the stranger lines of thinking I read on him. He works under him. My assumption is that he sits and both goes “this is how I’d do things” and “this is how I’d do things differently.”

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

    I think they should pick up Capuano. He isn’t elite, but I think he could put up a high 4’s era, better than Hughes last year, better than Nuno this year.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Signed with the Rockies.

    • Kosmo

      he signed. Capuano has a reverse split vs. LHH are hitting something like .330, the main reason the Sox released him.

  • http://www.Iamplinythewelder.blogspot.com bpdelia

    I’ve been discussing this with people lately.

    I’ve watched a ridiculous amount of baseball over the last 30 years. The game o is quickly approaching a late sixties to mid seventies scoring crisis.

    The casual gab does not want to watch a 2-1 have featuring a ton of strikeouts.

    And The games are taking just as long as the steroid era game because of all the k’s. And it’s a lot less fun.
    I’ve got three ideas.

    A) the ball needs to be juiced up.
    B) the infield playing surfaces need to be faster. Harder clay and golf green style infield grass. Would Willie McGee or those 80s cardinals teams even be viable in today’s games? And this were FUN teams to watch.

    C) a very strict pitch clock needs to be enforced. This is the one change that might work against the others since I think it favors the pitcher but it’s needed either way.

    There are some more radical ideas I’ve had to disincentivize strike outs.

    And obviously changes could be made in bats.

    But it’s not just the mediocrity. It’s the lack of offense.

    Baseballs greatest eras of casual fan interest have been eras of huge offense.

    The playing surfaces and juiced balls are changes that can be installed in short order and will be relatively opaque to the average fan.

    • http://www.Iamplinythewelder.blogspot.com bpdelia

      And thank you auto correct. Where would I be without you? Oh, that’s right. Intelligible land!

    • Leg-End

      I absolutely agree about the pitch clock thing, maybe not an actual clock but some sort of rule enforcement for slow pitchers. It’s infuriating to watch certain guys stroll around the mound slowing the game down.

      • jjyank

        From the MLB Official rules:

        “When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call ?Ball.? The 12-second timing starts when the pitcher is in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher. The timing stops when the pitcher releases the ball.
        The intent of this rule is to avoid unnecessary delays. The umpire shall insist that the catcher return the ball promptly to the pitcher, and that the pitcher take his position on the rubber promptly. Obvious delay by the pitcher should instantly be penalized by the umpire.”

        I’ve never seen this enforced, but enforcing an existing rule seems like a pretty easy transition.

        • n0exit

          1 ball and I swear they’d all hurry it up. Also should have a strike called if you’re not in the box 12 seconds after a pitch. 1 strikeout and their gloves won’t need so much adjusting.

    • Deep Thoughts

      +1 for proper enforcement of C).

  • Wayne

    Its crazy to let cashman go because our farm system is very strong this year and its because of what he has built over the last few years. Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Dustin Fowler, Ian Clarkin, Brady Lail, David Palladino, Gosuke Katoh and in majors Dellin Betances.
    Four starters pitching prospects in a rotation that has two future aces eventually whether its ours or someonelse’s depending on what Hal does who knows, a catcher to replace McCann in three years , Centerfielder who is 19 years old and hit for power and can play defense relatively well in centerfield , another outfielder who can hit for power and is fast for a Big dude and can play any outfield position probably because of his athleticism including centerfield, a second baseman who is young and can play his position well and hit well enough for second baseman 19 years or 20 years old. Plus our closer of the future hopefully in majors already. Our minors relievers are plenty you know that and one who we drafted this year could be in majors this year helping us in a playoffs run hopefully.
    Lets hope Hal does not go crazy and ruin what Cashman has built these last few years because it be a damn shame!!!!!

    • toad

      “Two future aces?”

      How many future aces end up as aces?

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    I do think a change of approach is needed at the top.

    I’m not sure changing the GM will accomplish that.

    • jjyank

      Agreed. I honestly don’t know what exactly should be done, but I don’t think it’s as clear cut as just lopping off the head and attaching a new one. There are a lot of moving parts there.

      • Deep Thoughts

        My general feeling is that The End of the Dynasty, which everyone knew would come someday, has coincided with Selig’s leveling/parity campaign.

        No doubt the front office has to continue to improve how it adapts to the latter. But I feel like after the run of the past 20 years, Cashman has earned the right to guide the roster through the post-dynasty transition.

        Tanaka and Ellsbury are good foundational pieces. They had the right idea with Pineda; hopefully he’ll pay dividends as well. Locking in Gardner was a small gamble but a) it seems to be a good value early on, and b) doing the extension signals a big shift from the old “business as usual.” I think these guys get it.

        I also think knee-jerk calls for a change for change’s sake, “just to mix things up,” suggest a need to look more deeply at what’s going on now, and to more carefully consider how those changes might shape up, and what consequences they might engender.

        tl;dr – please don’t let mick taylor answer Mailbag questions anymore.

        • jjyank

          I pretty much agree with all of this.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Couldn’t have said it any better. Nailed it here. Thank you.

  • Rob

    “The Yankees are still trying to win by almost exclusively signing free agents”.

    I’m sorry but you couldn’t be more off here.

    The Yankees & Cashman have made big changes to their approach. They aren’t trading away prospects anymore to rent post prime players for one year. (like you keep suggesting they do this year when they are way more than a player or two away from being a championship team).

    The current roster has 7 pitchers alone that are from the farm system, and 4 more on offense.

    Cashman is doing exactly what the Yankees need to do and can do to maximize their assets:

    1. Sign and keep as many young prospects as possible – they are lottery tickets – the more you keep the more winners you will have.
    Don’t trade away they next Cano to get a past his prime player for one year.

    2. Supplement the team with quality free agents – they have the money to do it and should.

    3. Spend big internationally – see #1.

    The Yankees are getting the best of both worlds right now and they aren’t trading away young talent at Cashman’s request. The Yankees are starting to reap the benefits now (Bentances, Robertson, Phelps, Warren) with the best yet to come. We have talent up and down the system.

  • hornblower

    Some of these players need to practice hitting the ball the other way. That will end the shifting quickly. As soon as an organization puts a premium on it it will happen.

  • Tom K

    The best thing for the Yankees to do is kick Levine to the curb, let Cash become a team president or Vice President, and hire a fresh GM. Cashman is still an organizational asset that I wouldn’t want to lose. He has been here forever and understands the ins and outs of the baseball operations. I also don’t think Cashman would get in the way of a new GM doing his job…meanwhile, i fear a new GM without Cash overseeing him may just be nothing but a pushover for ownership.

  • emac2

    I like the direction the team is going in terms of player development and think we are about to see serious dividends.

    I also think that ownership and marketing are who decided to keep “going for it” instead of rebuilding. I don’t think Cashman was the one that decided to extend CC, Arod or Jeter and those deals are the reason we’re where we are.

    The complaints about planning for this year are a lot like complaints about the economy. This was a bad team that signed the best players they could get. It’s going to take more than one year to rebuild. I don’t think any team loses 3 top starters without missing a beat.

    I don’t think Cashman has done anything to earn a right to stay but I wouldn’t replace him with an average retread. If ownership is going to make the expensive calls I don’t know that it really matters.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      It’s going to take more than one year to rebuild.

      Absolutely true, but this makes the Beltran signing (and to some extent the McCann signing) all the more baffling. He only made any remote sense at all if they thought 2014 was their year to win, which was extremely unlikely to begin with given all of the substantial needs going into the offseason, and especially unlikely once they passed on Cano, considering the substantial need in the IF and lack of remaining quality in the IF market.

      • emac2

        I disagree. This isn’t a sport where playing bad allows you to get better. Playing better, if the only cost is money, doesn’t hurt you unless you are taking player development money or holding back prospects that are ready.

        McCann isn’t a concern or hurting the team in any way. He is teaching the pitchers and teaching the young catchers.

        Beltran cost money and isn’t holding anyone back.

        Wasting money to allow the team to be competitive during a rebuild isn’t a problem to me. You are basically complaining that they are wasting money to make the team a little better.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Beltran cost money AND a draft pick.
          And his contract likely means he’s going to get a ton of playing time over the 3 years whether he deserves it or not, and prevent the Yankees from potentially acquiring a better player to fill that spot going forward.

          The problem with the Beltran signing wasn’t for 2014. It was for beyond 2014 (although that hasn’t exactly gone well either), and if they weren’t going to go all-in for 2014, it really wasn’t worth the tradeoff.

          I didn’t have a problem with McCann necessarily. I only brought him up because if you aren’t all-in for 2014, you can certainly make a case for keeping that extra draft pick and seeing what Murphy/Cervelli can do in regular playing time instead.

      • hornblower

        These signings are not “baffling”. The fans and media demand a top club every year. Most posters can’t resist the easy trade or the big free-agent signing. When we no longer push for the next day solution they will rebuild the club.
        Admit it. The push for that free agent we just had to have took the club out of the first couple of rounds of the draft almost every year. Fortunately there are good players coming so be patient. GS is not coming back. It takes time to shake off the ghost of that fellow.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          The signing of Beltran is definitely baffling.
          The fans and media do (mostly) demand a top club. The Yankees didn’t deliver that.
          What’s baffling is that they took the middle road. They made some decisions made with the idea of going all-in now (like Beltran), while at the same time going with an awful IF.

          If they are going all-in every year – fine – but 2 of 3 starting IF’s coming from Roberts/Solarte/Johnson – with several other question marks on the roster already, isn’t going all-in.

          If they decide to take a longer view and now go all-in, fine, but then why on earth would you sign an already declining, already old, player to a 3-year contract?

    • edb

      I don’t know if any of those deals really have much to do with the status of this year’s team. They’ve spent money whenever they really wanted to. The reason we’re here is that stars in their prime don’t hit the market anymore. The fact the team has been this good for this long is more impressive given the economic climate of the game. That and the Dodgers bailed out the Sox bigtime a couple of years ago.

      • emac2

        You don’t think that the contracts of CC, Jeter and Arod are hurting the team this year?

        If we didn’t sign the last extension for each player the impact would be far greater than suddenly having extra cash right now. It would have meant that cash would have been invested in younger replacements that would be in their primes now.

        It might have prevented the need for Beltran as well.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          “It would have meant that cash would have been invested in younger replacements that would be in their primes now.”

          Probably not. It probably would have meant some other veteran taking their place.

  • edb

    You are a biased Yankee fan Mike—but that doesn’t make you wrong.

  • Zach

    I really don’t care for GM boycotting. As long as the Streinbrenner envision is in a play we won’t get what we want.

    Overpaid and aging players fail to help Yankees win a double majority of a season.

    Young and inexperienced fail to fire Yankees up into a playoff in no time.

    Same indifference.

    • Deep Thoughts

      What.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    My thoughts have always been that you maintain a good management structure by not having the person in the same position for too long. That’s independent of what I think Cashman has done, or is doing. I, as Dick M. would say, am a DCA. :)

  • Farewell Mo

    I think a new voice is needed at GM. I think the Yankees decline into mediocrity was 2 fold.

    Even though Cashman proclaimed he was gonna rebuild the farm, they’ve done a miserable job doing so over the last 6-8 years. Only now do they have some interesting prospects though nearly all are a ways off and far from certainties.
    He also turned his back on the bigger ticket IFAs and missed out on players like Darvish, Cespedes, Puig, Chapman, Soler, Iwakuma etc.

  • EndlessJose

    Damon Oppenheimer as GM.Well that makes sense as he and Cashman destroyed the farm.Cashman should be fired as he wanted more control and the farm has no one over High A that’s great.

    The Yankees until 2013 got help from farm guys like Nova,Chamberlain,Hughes etc.Now they got no one.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      Gardner, Warren, Robertson, Betances, Phelps

      • WhittakerWalt

        Haven’t you heard? The new rule is you can’t mention any successful pitchers who came through our farm system, because REASONS.

    • Deep Thoughts

      What, is it “Let your pet post on RAB” Day?

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Losing does this. Happens every time.

  • bobmac

    You know,maybe change is warranted. For instance,RAB has had the same old writers for years and after awhile they keep repeating the same old stuff. Why not bring in new guys. Sure,I have no idea who to bring in but let’s just bring in someone new. You know,just because……

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    Seems like the Yankees are really bad at turning double plays.

  • Wayne

    You are guys are not giving Cashman credit. You give up on him just when the system is At it’s strongest.
    Lets just Make a change for the sake of it.
    Pay attention to the farm alot more before passing judgement on cashman.
    You are all stuck on joba hughes and Kennedy not working Out . It takes time to develope a farm system.
    Adam Warren Dellin Betances Have worked Out .
    The rays went through two eras of drafting number ones before getting it right.
    If you get rid of cashman the farm will suffer.
    If you pay attention to alot of the ball clubs they usually Go through two eras of develope meant before getting it right.
    He gave us a World series before in 2009 by buying players.
    But you can not win every World series that way.
    Now let cashman win by developing players.
    Cashman deserves the shot. But Hal has got to show some damn patience for once. Otherwise we are screwed.
    Cashman has Delivered in the past.
    Again guys who want to get rid of him need to pay attention to the farm and what he has done.
    You Have to be spoiled fans to want to get rid of cashman.
    You Have no idea what you are talking about.
    You think it is so easy to develope.
    Spoiled !!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!

  • Bronx Boy

    We’re halfway through the season and nobody has missed the playoffs yet. Maybe hold off a sec on the ‘let’s fire Cashman’ meme?

  • ClayDavis

    Would love a complete FO overhaul. Starting with Levine and Trost .

  • Nathan

    How would Billy Beane operate with the Yankee payroll?