The ugly truth of the last three half-seasons

Roberts delays inevitable with game-tying homer in ninth, Yanks fall 4-3 to Rays in 12 innings
Kelley's shakiness, bullpen workload could push Yankees into reliever market

The Yankees officially wrapped up the first half of the 2014 season last night with a 4-3 extra innings loss to the Rays. They currently own a decidedly mediocre 41-40 record with an awful -33 run differential that ranks ninth worst in the game. It feels like this team loses nothing but blowouts and wins nothing but close games, last night notwithstanding. Nothing comes easy.

Now that the season is halfway complete, I want to look back and compare the team’s current position to where they were last year at this point. Last year’s squad, as you know, was decimated by injuries (especially on the position player side) and only the second Yankees team to miss the postseason in 19 years. Here is a quick nuts and bolts comparison of the last three half-seasons:

W-L RS RA Run Diff. AVG OBP SLG ERA FIP Def. Efficiency
’13 1st Half 42-39 310 326 -16 .239 .302 .379 3.87 3.68 0.692
’13 2nd Half 43-38 340 345 -5 .246 .312 .372 4.00 3.90 0.692
’14 1st Half 41-40 326 359 -33 .252 .316 .382 4.00 3.82 0.697

Right now, this year’s club is marginally better than the team the Yankees trotted out there in the second half last season despite a worse record. They’ve performed slightly better at the plate — the difference is basically a few points of batting average, which hasn’t translated to more runs — and in the field and almost identically on the mound. The first half of this year has gone much better offensively and much worse run prevention-wise than the first half of last season.

The difference between this season’s team and the one that closed out last season is very small, which is a big problem. The 2013 Yankees were hit hard by injuries and scrambled for replacements all summer. This year’s team added over $500M worth of contracts to the roster and have not benefited from them in the standings at all. Masahiro Tanaka‘s been outstanding, Jacoby Ellsbury‘s been very good, and just about every other offseason addition has been terrible. Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran have truly been $30M+ worth of dead weight through 81 games.

The problem is two-fold. Not only is like, half the roster underperforming, but now the Yankees are locked into even more big money contracts with even less roster flexibility. They drew a lot of criticism for having an old, expensive, declining, veteran-based roster a year ago, yet they doubled down on that over the winter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, I don’t think. It only looks really bad when those guys underperform, which is something young players are certainly capable of doing as well. The Yankees needed better players this past offseason, not necessarily younger players. That got neither (in terms of actual, on-field performance).

The Yankees are only 2.5 games out of a playoff spot with half-a-season to play and I think the best thing that can happen to them right now is some kind of streak. Either win a whole bunch of games or lose a whole bunch of games. They have 13 games remaining before the All-Star break and either winning or losing about eleven of them would provide some clarity before the trade deadline. The standings say this team is still in contention, but man, watching them day after day does not inspire confidence. Going on some kind of run, either good or bad, puts the front office in a better position to make decisions before July 31st.

Of course, I fully expect the Yankees to go about 7-6 in these next 13 games and be in just about the same position they are right now. That’s what they’ve been doing all season. Whenever they’ve had a chance to beat up on some direct competition or take advantage of a soft part of the schedule, they’ve broken even. If they continue to do that, they’ll look to add pieces at the deadline, perhaps aggressively so because missing the postseason a second straight year will really take a bite out of the bottom line. There is bound to be some desperation setting in and I have a hard time seeing how that can be good.

The Yankees have been wholly underwhelming this season and the numbers bear that out, especially compared to last year. Outside of about five players (Tanaka, Gardner, Ellsbury, Dellin Betances, David Robertson), I don’t find this team to be particularly enjoyable to watch either. That’s just my opinion. They took steps to improve on last year’s performance over the winter and by and large those moves have backfired. The shape of the production may be different, but overall the team is simply not any better than last year’s mess.

Roberts delays inevitable with game-tying homer in ninth, Yanks fall 4-3 to Rays in 12 innings
Kelley's shakiness, bullpen workload could push Yankees into reliever market
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    It took me a while to figure out what you were getting at with “last three half-seasons.” For some reason, I thought you were referring to second halfs and thought you just handed us half a post. I get it now.

    Sure, that streak would be great, but I don’t exactly see what a losing streak really accomplishes other than stop them from buying. We don’t really think they’re going to be sellers, or that the pieces they even have put them in strong position to be sellers, do we?

    In all probability, yes, Mike, they’re going to go 6-7 in their next 13 games and tread water. I’d love to see more and see little advantage in seeing less.

    I guess the question is whether treading .500 leads the org to be more glass half-full or more glass half-empty. Half-full means they buy now. Half-empty doesn’t mean they sell, which they won’t, but may mean they hold off on buying big, begin to work in other in-house solutions (The Refsavior is here! The Refsavior is here! Repent your sins!), and that we’re headed for another off-season of further re-tooling and spending to cover those areas not covered, or that just plain broke, this season.

    • Darren

      Yup. No way in hell the Yanks sell in Jeter’s last season so why root for a losing streak?? I’d rather tread water and maintain some hope that they can scratch their way to a wild card in a shitty division. There’s nothing more depression than meaningless baseball in August and September.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I don’t think the Yankees sell in the way others view “selling” ANY season.

      • Mike Axisa

        I think the NYY version of selling is simply doing nothing and not trading prospects.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Well put.

        • I’m One

          And not trading prospects could bring other opportunities as well. Maybe a couple of prospects pan out and are productive members of the organization for some period of time. Maybe a better peice becomes available during the off season. Not being buyers could be what this team needs.

          Then again, I’d rather see a hot streak and see what they can obtain to help them the rest of this season.

    • dave

      The UGLY truth? Try the PATHETIC hitting since 2010 which has knocked them out of the playoffs and will once again keep them from making the playoffs this year.
      While other teams FIRE there hitting coach the Yanks continue to praise this clown.
      The stats and the facts speak for themselves!

      • WhittakerWalt

        2010-2012 Yankees scored a TON of runs. The stats and the facts speak for themselves.

      • CMJ

        Kevin Long has been employed waaaay too long.

  • Scott

    I agree that this team isn’t exciting to watch. In years past if the Yanks were down by 1 run in the 8th, especially at home, I never doubted their ability to win the game. But last year, and this one more specifically, I’m like a RedSox fan, in that, I expect them to find a way to lose or just go from being down by one, to being down by 4 in the blink of an eye. After Roberts tied it last night, I figured the BP would lose that game somehow.

    Other than when Tanaka or Betances pitches, or when Solarte was hot (that seems like 2 years ago now), this team isn’t exciting. I thought I would be on the edge of my seat with this being DJ’s last year, hoping to catch a glimpse of him doing something great in his final season. Instead, I keep waiting for him to hit into a DP and ruin a rally. (To be fair, he has been better the past 6-8 games).

    Last year’s team had no super stars due to the injuries, but I enjoyed watching the games because I felt like one of the replacements would make something happen and it changed every night.

    Having said all that, I still have hope they can turn it around. They need to add a bat and one quality starter, then get CC back. That will allow Whitley or Nuno in the pen to serve as a long man, giving some relief to the Warren, Betances, Robertson trio.

    Wouldn’t hurt at all if McCann and Beltran got it going and Soriano was replaced.

    Mike what are your thoughts on Headley? Is he finished because of hte injuries, should the Yanks buy low, or is he going to be a waste or prospects?

    • graywv

      The yankees have always been my love, but the last two years have really worn be down, I just can’t stand to watch them fail, and so often! I now find myself turning the tv off after the yankees fall behind, their is no come back in this team, if the do pull a miracle off once in awhile, they tend to give it right back and loose in extra innings. I would rather watch good minor league’s players, instead these over the hill former stars play with no excitement, or energy, just going through the motion! I sure hope they can turn it around, I am to the point I am thinking to cancel my mlb baseball package. Its way too depressing and ruins my day to watch them!

  • JLC 776

    What’s tough for me is what you hit upon in the second half of this post. This team does not pass the eye-test – they are tough to watch defensively and offensively and when our pitching gives up even a single run it feels like 10. There’s never a feeling that they can come back in a game they’re losing and that just makes this team feel decidedly un-Yankee like.

    But at the same time, they are horrifyingly close to a playoff spot. They look and feel awful, but they’re undeniably in contention from a position standpoint. So ignoring the on-field product, it would be the very height of insanity for the front office to pack it all up and go into ‘next year’ mode.

    I think the whole mediocrity affect of the second wild card is very, very real. And it kind of sucks when it feels like your team is perpetually treading water this year.

  • trr

    I feel fairly certain they will win 6 – 8 of these games leaving us right where we are now. The overall mediocrity of the AL East could insure we stay in contention all season long. I see them buying at the deadline, becuase that is what this team does. And a second straight year missing the playoffs could cause a few heads to roll….

    Fasten your seatbelts. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

    • JLC 776

      If they miss the playoffs – and it certainly feels like they will based on the 50% sample – it will be very interesting to see if heads do indeed roll. We haven’t really seen how leadership will deal with mediocrity given that they were fully willing to use the injury excuse last year.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I don’t think many heads will roll, FWIW, nor should they, really.

        If Cashman leaves, I think it will be independent of performance.

        • JLC 776

          Yeah, I pretty much completely agree! I’m not saying everyone is blameless, but it’s easy to armchair fire coaches, managers, and assistant traveling secretaries without any real knowledge of the inner workings of the organization.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            People seem to think firing Kevin Long or whatnot will create some sort of change. I don’t buy that in the least.

            I don’t see where someone hung their reputation here separate from everyone else. If there was some major disagreement over direction, then perhaps there’d be a fall guy. I don’t see proof of that, nor do I see proof that this is tied into Joe’s performance at all. The modern-day Yankees don’t switch managers because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do.

            Some of the direction may have been faulty, but they were all in this together. Can’t fire all of them, as much some think that’s possible.

            • JLC 776

              I almost mentioned Kevin by name because offensive woes with late-30s veterans must mean he’s not doing his job (at least that seems to be the popular consensus). I don’t buy it either…

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                One of my favorite Norm McDonald jokes is that there’s really two types of cliff jumpers. There’s “Grand Champion” and there’s “stuff on a rock.”

                What does an average hitting coach really look like?

              • Jeff G

                Then why do they have hitting or pitching coaches at all?

                Its been 5 years since they won, they have spent a TON of $ with limited results. Someone somewhere should be held accountable. I do think Joe has done a reasonable job (except for seemingly forgetting what the signal is for “sac bunt” in late innings) so he gets a pass. (Honestly, he is in prob the top 5 of all current managers, who would you replace him with anyway?)

                Old or not, these guys are not hitting, their fielding is lazy and their baserunning hardly crisp. “Staying the course” has not worked, and I do think it is time for some kind of shakeup.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  There is a difference between how the fan off the street defines “accountability” and how those actually in charge of doing things define “accountability.” Their criteria is going to be much tighter than your sniff test and righteous anger, as it should be.

                  • Jeff G

                    Maybe I am a little lost then. Is the assumption that finishing 3rd around .500, or making the playoffs and getting knocked out in the first round is considered a success in the team’s eyes?

                    I am no fan of “they did the best they could with what they had” year in and year out. I am ok with a team like last year that played with heart thru some terrible injuries and played entertaining games. The 2014 Yankees are just a mess. If it’s all about the $s, thats fine, but just like the final year of the old stad and Mo’s last year put bums in the seats, Jeter will do that for them in the 2nd half.

                    Losing 5 straight years must require some accountability somewhere. And I’m not angry, I am just bored.

                    (btw, you have by far my fav name on this or ANY site!!)

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      Thanks. :)

                      It’s certainly a pretty high standard you’re holding the team to when you consider the last five seasons “losing.” I understand the place that comes from, but I will continue to maintain that “championship or bust” is a great t-shirt slogan and little else. This is a 30-team league. You’re going to lose more often than you win even if you’re the bestest franchise on the planet.

                      The data you’re looking at, and the data they’re looking at, are going to be very different from one another. That’s all I’m saying.

                      Ever work with a guy for which you ask, “how does that guy still work here?!?!” but he seems to be in very good standing?

                • JLC 776

                  For some reason, there’s a popular belief that good (bad) hitting/pitching coaches will lead to better (worse) hitters/pitchers. It just doesn’t work that way. If they did, the before/after BA/ERA of a team when getting a new coach would be tracked on Baseball Reference and open to incredible scrutiny and debate. These guys would be making millions and millions of dollars as opposed to the six figures that most of them make.

                  I am not by any means an expert, but mostly I hear that good hitting and pitching coaches are good at communicating what they see from a mechanics standpoint to the players. They might help a younger player get out of a slump a little bit faster by pointing out subtle flaws in the tape (veterans usually don’t need this). They might help a pitcher transition from the pen to the rotation or vice versa. But they aren’t miracle workers that make bad players good and good players better.

                  So, long post short, what we see is hardly what Kevin Long is held accountable for.

        • trr

          I’m not advocating for any mass firings; it’s especially meaningless to fire the position coaches, though they’re often the first to go. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Cashman leave over the off-season. I’ve always said that (on balance) he’s done a good job, but being GM isn’t like being the Pope. Sooner or later you leave/get forced out.

          This may be Cashman’s time.

          • JLC 776

            I didn’t think you were advocating mass firings, either. But I do think the offseason could be fascinating. I have to think the FO is smart enough to really know what’s going on and to have a long-term plan that they are working towards. I mean, these are really smart guys, right?

            So let’s say they do have a solid plan with, I’ll make up a year, 2016 circled as the expected return to consistent contention. You can’t say that out loud and turn away the fans, so you throw money at the band-aid veterans in the meantime to keep butts in the seats and hope maybe you get lucky and make the playoffs (hell, a .509 record could do it this year). If everything is aligned internally, at least at the higher levels, than maybe Cashman doesn’t leave the organization.

            Hey, I can dream. I like the idea that the ship is heading in a direction and isn’t rudderless. It’s much better than thinking the organization is a financial cash-cow regardless of record or playoff hopes.

            • trr

              Oh, it’s not rudderless, but the F/O has painted the team into a corner with some bad contracts handed out (seemingly)for commercial purpose,i.e. putting fannies into seats. I don’t find the current situation hopeless at all; I’ve been around long enough to remember the late ’60’s teams when ALL we had was hope. This team, this organization, will bounce back; and the next World Championship will taste all the sweeter for it.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I don’t think anyone should be an executive anywhere for too long. You need to cycle in new voices.

            This is honestly the sole reason why I think it’s fine for him to move up somewhere else in the FO, and why I think he will. I also think it’d be so if they won 110 games this season.

  • 13yankee

    The front office is going to be desperate if they don’t make the playoffs.

    Look at the team’s ticket sales and stadium suite licenses revenues:

    2010: $384 million
    2011: $377 million
    2012: $353 million
    2013: $295 million

    This year should drop to around $250 million, huge drop from the $384 million in 2010….

    • JLC 776

      Attendance last year ended at about 80%. Right now they are at about 86%, so everything else being equal (and I have no idea if that’s true), they might make more money.

      • Mike Axisa

        There will be a big attendance bump later in the season because of Jeter too.

        • trr

          But lost revenue if they don’t make the post season.

      • 13yankee

        I meant $280 Million not $250, sorry.

        • 13yankee

          Do you think the bump could be more than 5% vis a vis sept 13?

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        They will have to at least worry about the revenue impact for next season though, especially if they completely miss the playoffs.

        They have a superstar farewell tour to blunt the fan disinterest this year, as well as being buoyed early on by the signing of a lot of shiny new toys for this year.

        Another missed playoffs (or maybe even making the playoffs with an early exit) will likely either force them to spend big on a bunch of shiny new toys for next season (and the market isn’t all that great in that regard) or deal with likely very substantial revenue fall off.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          They’re getting new toys next season no matter. We all know it. :)

          • JLC 776

            Not only new toys, but ARod comes back to deliver us to 28! He also has to play 20% of his home games shirtless for various contractual reasons.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            But will they be SHINY new toys? (maybe)

            Or SHINY enough new toys to generate excitement in the fan base? (possibly)

            Or ENOUGH SHINY new toys to make Yankee fans believe it could be a great team? (not likely)

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              It never is.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting

                Not true.
                The pre-2009 splurge excited most.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  Yet some of them actually suggest taking it back now because we only won one championship.

  • Keddard Johnson

    I think you’ve got to sell what veterans you can and try to rebuild for the future. I know the Yankees don’t rebuild but they need to. They did in the mid 90s and a dynasty transpired.

    Fire Klong today and see if that lights a spark. If they miss the playoffs this season fire Cashman and get some fresh eyes on this mess.

    Bring up the kids we do have and play them over Ichiro, Roberts, Soriano, Kelly Johnson. Like I said yesterday, half of our roster is either an albatross contract, a flash in the pan or a 38+ year old at the end of his career. Play the kids and see what you have.

    Cashman clearly needs to go. So many busts and he has the most resources of any GM. A team with a $200 million payroll should not be trotting out a lineup with Ichiro, Roberts, Kelly Johnson, Solarte, Soriano. Remember that 09 club when guys like Swisher, Cano and Melky batted 7-8-9? Those were the types of teams we had when George was running things.

    • Slugger27
      • lightSABR

        Eddard likes being a troll. Support for particular players – Solarte, Nunez, Big Game David Phelps, whoever – is only a means to that end.

    • Jobu

      Exactly, we need things to be like when George was running things. George would inspire them to do better. They would eat fear and crap lighting. George would have bought things that would be helpful and never traded things that were helpful. Nothing ever went wrong when George was above ground and smelling fresh.

      • vicki


  • mick taylor

    the main goat of this team is mccann. cashman was predicting before the season he might hit 40 home runs this season. that was idiotic. he was at best a mediocre hitter in atlanta the past 5 seasons. to give him 85 million at 30 for those ststs. was ridiculous. i stand by my prediction of 2 weeks ago that he will finish the season as shitty as he started. he will also never drive in 100 runs any season of his contract. he was counted on to be the big power bat along with beltran and they have been awful. but beltran has the excuse he has an injured elbow. before beltran injured his elbow in tampa he was on his way to a good season.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “He could” does not a prediction make.

    • nyyankfan_7

      You mean those past 5 “mediocre” seasons when he had a WAR of 12.5?

  • Jeter’srange

    I don’t understand why they haven’t shaken things up yet. Get rid of all these useless fringe players and call up Ref and Pirela and roller and sizemore. Give your fanbase something to watch.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Get rid of those useless fringe players. Call up three more fringe players.

      I get the point, but the overvaluing of some of these guys is…..nah, it’s expected.

      • mitch

        There’s no obvious upgrade sitting in AAA, but I think change just for the sake of change could help. I don’t think Pirela or Zoilo Almonte are going to turn the season around, but they might spark the team for a few games.

      • Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew) RIP Egon


        For the 100000000000 time, the Yankees don’t have 2010 Robinson Cano sitting in the minor leagues and are afraid to call him up. They have a 2B who has a little over 60 AB in AAA for his career! Roberts hasn’t been great but he is far from the reason the Yankees are not winning right now. You can’t just dump Beltran, or McCann. They are a major reason why this team isn’t hitting, unfortunately these guys were brought in to help anchor the lineup and haven’t done much (outside of McCann’s power) So yern for Zolio Almonte and Refsnyder all you want, it doesn’t mean they are much of an upgrade at all, they are just different names and faces.

        • Mandy Stankiewicz

          THANK YOU!

      • Jobu

        I think the interesting question is at what point do you call up Murphy and have him catch at least half the games moving forward. I am not a McCann hater, but he is not delivering in what is becoming a large sample size and there is a player in AAA who has a legitimate shot at performing at a higher level.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          You have to get McCann going. He’s here for four more seasons. You’re not hiding him anywhere.

          I’d love for Murphy to get at-bats, but easier said than done.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          Murphy had an 85 wRC+ while here, is a weaker defender than McCann, and is hitting just 233/246/383 in AAA.

          Not exactly making a case for a call up, much less getting half of the playing time.

  • Bronx Boy

    As you say, not a fun team to watch and I’ve watched some dogs over the years. There’s rarely a compete line-up on the field, more like a half line-up on good days, and only a very rare game when all cylinders are hitting. The pitching is a crap shoot every game, but really, I’ve seen some very good pitching performances go down in flames because of the lack of runs. The pitchers get a pass. That line-up is the worst, and all I hear is Cashman is looking for a starter.

  • Jetersrange

    This team needs a shake up badly. Call up ref,pirela,roller,sizemore already. Give us something to watch. And stop collecting pull hitters who are “perfect for Yankee stadium”. Half your games are played outside of the yankee stadium. This logic is so stupid. What you need is guys who get on base at a higher clip. When we were winning championships in the late 90s, we had guys who got on base. We didn’t build a team full of pull hitters.

  • Jason

    That Beltran would struggle / get hurt was somewhat predictable. The McCann thing is frustrating because nobody saw this coming. Also, this team has no margin for error. Can’t forget how many outs there are when fielding a ground ball or when running bases. Can’t bat your 7/8th bast hitter second. There. Just about aired my grievances. For the week.

    • kenthadley

      Apparently Russell Martin saw it coming….

  • kenthadley

    The performance reflects the leader. I’ve said for years that Cashman is a very average GM…better than some, not as good as others. The team performance reflects that. A weak minor league system and questionable player moves are on his watch. Signing vets with big contracts is his strength. This isn’t Cashmanfailed bashing, it’s putting the accountability where it belongs. If he leaves, it won’t be tragic unless they hire someone worse. But I’d like to see what a Billy Beane or Sabean, or a Mozeliak would do with about 220mil/year to spend.

  • Matt DiBari

    I’m also really beginning to wonder if it might be time to say goodbye to Kevin Long.

  • Robert

    Addition Refsynder,Almonte,Pirela,Wheeler,Garcia

    Subtraction Soriano,Ichiro,Johnson,Roberts,Solarte

    And if your not gonna use Brenden Ryan in the 7/8 inn. as a defensive replacement whats his role?

    • TWTR

      They signed Ryan (who is guaranteed $3m beyond this year) around the time that Hal told Jeter that they would be looking for a starting SS. Once Jeter retired that issue became moot.

  • TWTR

    It sounds like they are going to be buyers no matter what. The only thing that losing more games now would do is raise the price of their desperation and the cost to their future.

  • Robert

    Oh and Cervelli goes call up Murphy!

  • Deep Thoughts

    A game over .500 and 2.5 games out of first with 81 to play, and the blog has dialed it up from River Avenue Blues to River Avenue Bi-Polar Disorder.

    This team projected for 87 wins before one starter went down with TJ and two others ended up on the DL for months. There is garbage on the waiver wire and the trade market. If there were minor-league reinforcements ready for this level, they’d be here already.

    What some call “The Yankees’ version of selling” might be better called “not panicking.”

  • MB923

    In the end everyone should realize that the Yankees are not a bad team, they are actually around an average team. Right now they have the 16th best record in baseball. I’m sure before the weekend they probably were in top 10-15, possibly better.

    To win 90 games in a season, you need a winning $ of .556 or higher

    # of teams each season that won 90+ games in recent years
    2009 – 7
    2010 – 9
    2011 – 9
    2012 – 9
    2013 – 11
    2014 – Only 6 teams are on pace

    The Yankees could go 2-9 in their next 11 games and still probably be only 5 games out of 1st place. I just can’t see the Yankees being sellers unless they lose series after series after series.

  • JKatlak

    I always wonder how come coaches don’t yell at players once in a while when they get back to the dugout if they don’t do something productive. I don’t care if this is baseball or not, coaches allow hitters to get off easy. You do realize that if there was a hitting coach in baseball that had a baseball mind and disposition alas Gregg Popovich, hitters would never hear the end of it. I thought about this.

    What if every coach in sports was as hard on his players as Gregg Popovich? I can tell you this, expect a lot of hitting coaches being red in the face if you don’t approach an at bat exactly the way he wants you to. There’s a reason I consider the Spurs the best run franchise in sports and it’s because there’s a coach that won’t tolerate minimum effort and in facts demands more out of what you are capable of like Patty Mills or Danny Green who you wouldn’t even know were alive if they played for any other franchise. Being mean to players in many instances is the only way you’ll extract every ounce bit of juice out of them. This is exactly why I admire someone like Lou Pinella. He gets red in the face at players not just umpires.

    • TWTR

      Without knocking Popovich, a large part of the reason they are the best run franchise is the presence of Tim Duncan over the last 17 years. When you have a top five player in the NBA over that period time who is unselfish on the court and with his contract, it’s a lot easier for any coach to lead.

    • scott

      that would be great if baseball weren’t a sport built around failure. A .300 batting average is considered excellent. But .300 is 3 out of 10, or 30 out of a 100. Do that on a test in school and you wind up working as a fry cook in McDonald’s. A position coach can you until he’s red-faced, blue faced, llama faced, it won’t change the fact that a round stick has to hit a round ball. About a decade ago USAtoday did a poll of the hardest thing to do in all sports, hitting a 90 MPH pitch was the toughest.
      As for being mean to players get the most out of them, how do you explain Joe Torre’s success as a manager? What about Peter Caroll in Seattle, he is known as a players coach, you see him yell at refs, but no his players.

      Baseball isn’t a rah-rah sport like football, or a bruising sport like hockey. Momentum in baseball lasts as long as the next days starting pitcher. And do you really think K-Long yelling at Cano last year or Jeter this year would change they way they bat?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      The NBA calls for a completely different style of management than MLB. Same with the NFL. The pace is completely different, and the opportunities to communicate with players looks completely different. You are cycling guys in and out constantly. Someone doing what, say, Popovich or Belichek or whatnot, do in an MLB dugout would look like a complete lunatic.

  • emac2

    My problem has been with the moves , or lack thereof, to address injuries and problems as well as the refusal to move people around in the lineup to reflect their current production.

    McCann is still a plus as a catcher and is helping the pitchers. IF he wasn’t stuck in the middle of the lineup and asked to carry the offense as well it would all be good.

    Riding players for extended periods that are old and were close to replacement level before they were old is just stupid and can’t be sustained on a winning team. You either need to be good now or have upside. No production and no upside means shouldn’t be playing. I can’t understand how that isn’t obvious. It’s like a longshot bet that pays 1-1

    It feels like the team is being run by a committee that doesn’t agree on direction.

  • Eric Scheinkopf

    I still enjoy watching Derek in his last season but I hear you.

  • willie w

    I don’t see any of the fire in the belly of Mccann that we were promised

    he seems kind of out of it almost

    maybe the Yankees are not the legend stuff he expected ??

  • Frank

    The Yankees are an organizaiton that vasilate between wanting to win and wanting to make money, sometimes forgetting that the two are not mutually exclusive to one another.

    Signing ichiro was a disaster. Passing on martin was a disaster. Signing beltran, while not panned at the time, was a questionable move given the fact that soriano was on the team and he was basically a DH himself. Extending sabathia…I never understood it at the time. Let him walk and re-evaluate the market. Extending arod…nothing more needs ot be said on that. Giving jeter a final year gift of 12MM…whatever.

    They don’t trade their players when they can, and they draft terribly, so they have a farm system that doesn’t produce. They hold the line on Cano (Which I agreed with) but then turn around and overpay ellsbury and beltran. It’s like a split personality. I can’t give cano 10 years, but I’m ok giving the injury prone ellsbury 7 despite his game being about speed?? Oh, and then I’ll re-sign his poor man’s twin gardner? Makes no sense.

    • Jeff G

      The Yankees are an organization that vacillate between wanting to win and wanting to make money

      Well said!! Wait til they have no Jeter next year. Then there is no Final Season, no First Season, no Mo’s farewell, no Jeter’s exit. They have “remortgaged” to pay off their credit cards for the last time. The permit to print money has just about expired and unless they go back to winning, there will be no cure for a 1/2 empty ballpark and miserable YES ratings.

      • Old Man Time

        “Well said!!” – LOL

    • Old Man Time

      Frank thinks he’s so smart because of hindsight.

  • JoeyA

    Ask yourself this:

    Of the issues with this team, how many of them were completely unforseen and could not be predicted:

    1. McCann suckiness
    2. Ivan Nova TJ surgery
    3. Kuroda being so-so

    Every other facet of this team (Jeter being at the end, having shit production from 2B/3B, CC being largely ineffective, Beltran being old and injury prone, not having an adequate back-up for RF or 1B, Pineda having lingering issues) was a foreseen issue heading into this season.

    Now, who is that on? IMO, it’s 100% on Cashman.

    He had no plan for 3/4 of the infield, with 2 ?s @ 2B & 3B and a 40yr old SS coming off a major leg injury
    CC was a disaster last year and he nor Pineda should have been counted on to be anything above a 3-4 starter.

    He chose to rely on old players at many positions, which isnt bad in and of itself, but when you have 0 back-up plans for those positions and a farm system that has been a unmitigated disaster for over a year now in producing ML ready talent, there’s only so many excuses one can offer.

    Instead of dwelling on the pleasant surprises of the year:

    1. Tanak
    2. Texeira being not terrible
    3. 2 months of Solarte
    4. back-end of BP

    They are after-thoughts bc the areas we all saw as weaknesses, were, shockingly, weaknesses.

    More than anything else, the lack of honesty this organization had about their team is what makes this year a very frustrating one.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      You were there last off-season. What were the options for the infield Cashman missed?

      • JGYank

        Don’t you know Robbie Cano?

        Plus I’ll admit, panicking, I did want Infante or even Ellis for a minute there.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Look how well those have turned out, though. I had Infante fever for a couple of minutes as well.

          I think that, when answering that question, we need to look at the landscape beyond Cano.

  • JGYank

    Well said. What boggles my mind is looking at the stats in the 3 halves the offense has barely improved statistically and even with a slightly better offense this year and about the same pitching at last year, this year’s team has an even worse run differential than last year. Might be from RISP fails, but otherwise it doesn’t make any sense.

    Yanks are on pace to score 652 runs (4.02 p/G) and give up 718 (4.43 p/G). That’s a pretty bad offense and below average pitching. Terrible.

  • Bats

    HUH? Axisa, last year YOU advocated the re-signing of Swisher, Martin, and Eric Chavez. YOU advocated the additional SPENDING equating SPENDING to SUCCESS! NOW…NOW…you find this team unenjoyable? LOL.

    Last season you emphasized POWER…homerun hitting power,…that the Yankees needed more homerun hitting batters in the lineup. THIS SEASON, they added just that. The difference between this season team’s and last season’s injury decimated team is +3 homerun.

    I’ve said this time and time again, your measurement of wRC in terms of measuring players’ skill-set is unreliable. That’s because you never know how the player is going to perform tomorrow.

    The reason why the Yankees’ offense is under-performing is because the batting average and the .OBP has slipped to (almost) 2013 levels. That’s ashame being that the Yankees drastically improved their player personnel from last year’s injury riddled squad.

    Also, what you have failed to mention…is the team’s pitching. This team is missing CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and the 2013 version of Kuroda.

    All in all, the hitting is there. They need just one upgrade…a consistent hitter, with at least a .270 BA and .340 OBP. This hitter can come in the form of an aging rental player to say the least. They also need one quality starter.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      I’ve said this time and time again, your measurement of wRC in terms of measuring players’ skill-set is unreliable. That’s because you never know how the player is going to perform tomorrow.

      That’s true of any stat. wRC+ just happens to be one of the best measures of overall hitting value.

      And they didn’t particularly add power.
      Most of the power they added just served to replace the power they lost from last years team.

  • George

    This 2014 Yankees version is the most frustrating, disappointing and least enjoyable in 20 years. Last year, my expectations were very low with all the injuries to major players. This year, with the expensive signings in the off-season my expectations were raised to hope for a competitive and winning team. I’ve been a Yankees fan for nearly 70 years, subscribe to MLB Network in order to follow my team and I’m beginning to think about finding a different summer past-time. Night after night, I say goodnight to my two Yankees-fans brothers, after suffering through another excruciating loss, with stress and frustration. Not what I watch Yankee baseball for!

  • Joe C

    Here is the thing.I’m not sure every Yankee fan wanted to double down on veteran players. I know I didn’t. I wanted them to rebuild. I wanted them to rebuild the farmsystem and start developing talent from within, which seems to be the only way a team can sustain any kind of sucess nowadays. I actually wanted to be sellers last year because the needed to get younger. But they seemed to double down on what clearly hasn’t been working. How crazy is that?

    • JLC 776

      To be fair, and if RAB is to be believed, they’re about to bring in a cash crop of international players with the start of tomorrow’s (I think) draft.

      Seriously, how awesome is that? I’m a pro-rebuilder, too, and I can’t think of a better way for the Yankees to do that than buying some of the best international talent to throw into their system.

      As long as they don’t trade all of those guys in the next month for veteran talent, our ‘Top 10 Prospects’ list might become a lot of fun.

      • JLC 776

        (correction – not the international draft but the international free agent signing period)

  • Bill

    As most of the long term fans like myself (since 1964, so I’ve got a half century invested), you find that the game runs in cycles. Unfortunately for Yankee fans, we’re in a down cycle. Now, with smart management and performances that match the back of some of these players’ baseball cards, this stretch of mediocrity could turn itself around and on August 1 we could be wondering what we were thinking about. Problem here is, there’s no realistic expectation of that happening, so it may be a couple of years before the Yanks are back to being contenders. So, instead of bailing out, I’m going to sit back and wait for the renaissance to come. And it will. It always does. For people like me and people like George who have been at it even longer, we’ll likely be rewarded for our loyalty as we have been before. The 1965-75 and 1982-92 stretches have more than been offset by the 1976-81 and 1993-2012 runs, which, while not always culminating in postseason appearances, certainly were exciting rides, which in this day and age is all we can ask for.

    • Joe C

      Here’s the thing. REbuilding doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to suck for a long time. It really doesn’t. The last time the Yankees underwent a rebuilding effort it only took three years to get back into contention. If you do your homework and make the right decisions, you can rebuild in hurry.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Hold on there, Sparky.

        When did this “three-year period” occur?

      • JKatlak


        I realize what you are saying, but this isn’t a test, this is baseball a competitive sport. I realize it’s hard to hit a baseball since I can attest to it since I could never make contact as a player playing baseball for so many years but that doesn’t mean my coaches were afraid to get in my face for it.

        I think you missed one point of my argument here about yelling though. Yelling is never a guarantee to get a guy to change or be want you want him to be, but the point of yelling is to send a message declaring that I have zero tolerance for your approach to a specific situation. For example, when Brian McCann pops up with a runner at 3rd and 1 out, that’s a situation where you need to be in McCann’s face yelling at him letting him know that’s an unacceptable at bat. Sure you look like a lunatic, but in my opinion that’s how you try and get hitters to pay attention to detail. If you’re nice all the time, who is to say they are more likely to adhere to that message the next time they are in that situation if you tell them nicely that wasn’t a good at bat? You have to be tough, because hitting a baseball is tough.

        And Joe Torre was successful because he fielded the greatest Yankees teams of all time. What reason did he have to yell? The players performed about as good as even the person with the highest of expectations could have hoped they perform. They didn’t need to be yelled at and rightfully shouldn’t have.

        And Pete Carol has yelled at players, that is not true at all. He yelled at them in the Saints/Seahawks playoff game this year for daydreaming thinking he was giving coaching instructions to a football. He does yell at his players, just not every week.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          It is nowhere near as simple as you make it out to be.

      • Old Man Time

        I think you get more delusional each day.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I don’t know you, Bill, but I think I love you.

      Perfectly said.

    • JLC 776

      Amen, one hundred times over.

      I haven’t been around as long as you, but I did go through the 80’s and early 90’s and managed to stay intensely loyal while all of my friends were puffing out their chests about the Mets. In the end, the prize was incredibly worth it.

      If you’re tempted to stop watching the games because you think there’s no point when a World Series doesn’t appear to be coming, you’re missing the bigger point. I won’t lecture about being a good fan and all that. I won’t even try to look you in the eye and say we’re only 2.5 games out. Just watch the games and set realistic expectations. Watch the games hoping to see good progress from some of the younger players. Go crazy for Tanaka starts. Root against the Sox or whoever else you hate. Hell, even watch just for Jeter (who slowly is getting better and better at the plate).

      When all is said and done and the next parade is held, you’re going to feel so much better having stuck it out through the dark period. You’ll be able to joke about players like Nunez, Nuno, and Solarte the same way those who made it through the last drought joke about Alvaro Espinoza, Matt Nokes, and the timeless Steve Balboni.

      Trust me; it’ll be fun.

      • RetroRob

        I totally agree with Bill as I lived through those down years too, although I came of age fan-wise in the early 70s, toward the end of the first dark age period. I like to think I was a smart child, since the Mets were all the rage back then and for whatever reason I rejected them. Somehow my mind made the choice, “no, I’m going with these guys over here.”

        My fandom always remained strong, even when they had a losing record for four consecutive seasons, and were basically just about the worst team in the game for two years. It took about six years for the team to truly rebound, where they were not only winning, but they clearly were heading in the right direction. It’s that period, even when they were losing, why Yankee fans of my generation still love Buck Showalter.

        I can do that again because I like so many aspects of the game. I’ve always followed the farm, and do so even more now. Jeter was easy to follow, but I knew Pettitte and Rivera and Bernie before they showed up.

        The concern I have is if the current management would ever take a step back and acknowledge today’s market might not allow them to rebuild as easily as they did even five or six years back.

  • RetroRob

    I agree completely. It not an enjoyable team to watch outside of a few players, and at times is frustrating because the offense is anemic.

    It’s not just Beltran and McCann, it’s Beltran, McCann and Soriano. Those are three players who were expected to provide a certain level of offense. All three have greatly underperformed. It would have been fine even if they produced at the lower end of their expected ranges. They are all having the worst years of their careers. They could have absorbed one of the three having a collapse year, but not all three.

    The good news, though, is for the most part players do eventually approach the back of their baseball cards. Soriano may be done, but I think Beltran (elbow hopefully not an issue) and McCann will rebound.

    Other than that, they have to do something about RF. Ichiro has once again become a regular, and that’s not a good thing. Pirela, Almonte are worth a shot, and I suspect that Refsnyder will be here sooner rather than later.

  • PunkPitch

    There is no master plan. Rather, the plan has a bunch of dotted lines, and names crossed out, arod being the most prominent right now. But hey, they had their run. I miss George – Gulp, there I said it.