- Nick Swisher will bounce back. Despite a career high percentage of line drives hit, Swisher’s BABIP was a career low .251. Compared to a career BABIP of .279, he seems like a safe bet to bounce back. Now whether that’s in a Yankees uniform or not…
- And on the other side of the spectrum, there’s Xavier Nady. His line drive rate was also a career high, but so was his BABIP. .337 versus .316 career. If the Yankees do decide to move a corner outfielder in a trade, they should focus their efforts on moving Nady, not Swisher.
- Joba Chamberlain should be in the rotation. Enough said.
I feel kind of cheated because items one and two kind of go together, but whatever.
Anywho, I made note of Swisher’s career low BABIP vs. his career high line drive percentage back when I originally lobbied for his acquisition, and I even explained why it would make sense to keep Swish over Nady during a pinch hitting appearance at Newsday. That said, the three of us here have gone on record numerous times saying that we’d like to see the team keep both players for depth purposes, unless of course they get blown away with an offer.
As far as the third bullet point goes … duh.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Bobby Abreu. The dude has put up solid numbers his whole career, and when he finally hits free agency he’s faced not only with a declining market, but also with a glut of free agents who play his position. His stock has plummeted over the course of the winter; that three-year, $48 million contract is nothing but a dream. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo even said that the “feeling is that he may have to sign for about $3 million.” This for a guy who has put up an OPS+ of 120 or better every season since 1998 (except for 2007, when his horrid May brought his OPS+ down to 114).
Word came late Tuesday that Abreu is in serious talks with the Angels, a team that is quite an obvious fit. The Angels have an OBP problem: They have just three returning players who posted an OBP better than .340 in 2008, and two of them are 33 years old. Despite the money owed to outfielders, the Angels could sure use another one. Sure, they have Vlad Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Gary Matthews, and Reggie Willits, but they don’t combine for a very good outfield. Adding Abreu not only gives them another bat, but it affords them an OF/DH rotation which could put up some decent numbers.
In fact, by the time you read this, Abreu could unofficially be an Angel. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Angels have asked for outright waivers on Nick Green — no, not the former Yank — which would give them a roster spot for a free agent signing. They’re said to prefer Abreu to Dunn, and given the rumors of the past few hours it seems that it’s only a matter of time before Bobby ditches his pinstripes for a halo.
As Rosenthal notes: “Two general managers with interest in Abreu said Tuesday that they were told he was headed to an American League team.” That could, of course, mean the Mariners, who are also reportedly interested in Abreu, and with good reason. They lost Raul Ibanez this winter, and Wladimir Balentin hasn’t been exactly what they’d hoped…yet. Abreu on a one-year deal would make sense for them, but as Ryan Divish notes, the team “has yet to put together a trade of Jarrod Washburn or Miguel Batista (Carlos Silva is untradeable) to free up some money to sign Abreu to a one-year deal.” So all signs point to the Halos.
What does this mean for our Baseball Between the Numbers contest? Here are the people who had the Angels:
Jake H: 2 years, $14 mil
Nath Yanks: 2 years, $15.5 mil
Nikhil R.: 1 year, $9 mil
Spaceman Spiff: 2 years, 16.5 million
Zach Sanders: 1 year, $6.5 million
Looks like it will be a runoff between Nath and Zach.
Following up on my Congressionally inspired rant, we learn that Congress will not summon A-Rod to D.C. Edolphus Towns, Henry Waxman’s replacement atop the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, put his rank-and-file members back in their places today when he said that his staff will continue to work on the economic recovery plan and will not ask A-Rod to talk about six-year-old PED tests.
In other PED-related news, Marvin Miller, the godfather of the Players Association, criticized, well, everyone today. He says that the PED revelations are part of a modern-day witch hunt and that the union caved in accepting the stringent drug tests a few years ago. Finally, Miguel Tejada will plead guilty to a perjury charge. · (38) ·
Over at The Hardball Times, Josh Kalk used PITCHf/x data to take a look at pitch sequencing and tries to figure out why guys with great stuff might not get the results a guy with fringy stuff does. That data reinforces the old adage that everything in baseball revolves around the fastball, and shows just how devastating the splitter can be. Make sure you check it out, very interesting stuff. · (10) ·
Baseball Prospectus released their 2009 projected rankings yesterday, and sees the Yanks finishing second in the AL East behind the BoSox. PECOTA has the Yanks finishing 97-65, just one game back of the Sawx, but more importantly it projects the Yanks to have the best pitching in the majors. Their 674 projected runs allowed is ten runs better than Boston’s, but what scares me is that the four best pitching staffs in the AL – and four of the five best staffs in the bigs – reside in the AL East. That’s kinda crazy.
Based on these projections, the Yanks would finish with the second best record is baseball, although they’d have to settle for a Wildcard spot for the second time in the last three years. That’s fine with me. Get in however you can, and I’ll take my chances with a rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain in a short series. You can see the NL projections here.
Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Islanders and Nets are playing at home tonight, and the Knicks are out in Oaktown. Anything goes, just be be nice.
It’s a beautiful thing, ain’t it? Yankees’ players on the field, taking batting practice, playing catch, getting work in … it’s exactly what we need to see right now. Pitchers and catchers aren’t due to report for another four days, position players not for another seven days, yet there’s still a nice group of players in camp early and working out.
Mike Rose of Newsday noted that two of the players out playing catch in the outfield were Mark Melancon and Phil Hughes. Man, how much are you looking forward to seeing Melancon nail down wins for Hughes for the next decade? Rose also noted that Brett Gardner (who you can see in the pic above), Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher were taking BP. Joe mentioned earlier that Posada’s rehab from shoulder surgery is going well, though he won’t be ready to catch when exhibition games begin. Good to see he’s healthy enough to at least take some hacks.
Getting back to Swisher, PeteAbe has a shot of him taking BP, although it’s not the best picture in the world and we’ll have to take Pete’s word for it. Last I heard Swisher lives out in Arizona (where the A’s and ChiSox hold ST), so it’s awesome to see him at camp early. As you may remember, Swisher lost some weight this winter. Pete also noted that Chien-Ming Wang is in healthy and in the house. That’s UUUGE.
Over on the minor league side, Chad Jennings touched based with Mark Newman and got a bunch of info about the Triple-A rotation, veterans on minor league deals, Eric Fryer, JB Cox, Colin Curtis, Alan Horne, and lots more. Make sure you check it out.
Other than Gardner pledging his undying support, no one really bothered to comment on A-Rod. Can you blame them?
Oh boy, baseball’s almost back.
Photo Credit: Pete Abraham, Journal News
The crew over at Camden Depot (an O’s blog, obviously) posted their list of the Yanks’ top twenty prospects, starting with Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero on the 1-2 spots. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to ranking prospects, and it’s pretty easy to see that the guys at C-Dep like upside. I’m putting the finishing touches on my Top 30 list (which will be posted Friday), and just for comparison’s sake, there’s four players in their Top 20 that didn’t crack my Top 30. Check it out. (h/t MJ for the email) · (50) ·
One of the keys to the Yankees offense in 2009 will be the recovery of Jorge Posada. We saw last year just how much the team misses him when he’s out of the lineup, and adding even the 2006 version of his bat to the already powerful lineup can make a huge difference in how the season plays out. He’s coming back from major shoulder surgery, so his ability to stick behind the plate all season, or even for 100 games, has come into question. Thankfully, it appears he’s progressing nicely.
He made 140 throws yesterday, backing up to incrementally increase the distance. That sounds like a good number of tosses for a guy who had his labrum repaired in late July. It might not give us an indication of whether he’ll be ready to squat behind the plate on Opening Day, but at least we know he’s making these throws with few, if any, complications.
“I feel good,” he said about an hour after completing the exercise and taking batting practice with fellow early campers Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. “I’m coming along. Every time I throw, I feel good. I’m improving every time I throw, so that’s always good.”
As Jorge notes, improvement is certainly the key here. Brian Cashman has already said that Posada won’t be available to catch at the start of Spring Training, which is fine so long as he’s building up strength in the shoulder. As he gets better he’ll get closer to being game-ready. That’s all we can really ask at this point in his rehab. His answer to the question of being ready for April 6, “I think so,” might not inspire a ton of confidence, but news on his progress does, at least for me. It can’t be easy to come back from shoulder surgery, so I’m just glad Jorge’s on the field.
Over at Fack Youk, a young blog which in some roundabout way covers the Yankees, they’re counting down the days to Spring Training by the numbers. Sunday’s, #5, was obviously Joe DiMaggio. You can also check out the entire countdown, which includes some pretty nice write-ups. It’s definitely something to keep our minds off this whole A-Rod fiasco. · (9) ·
Who didn’t see this one coming? Per Jim Baumbach:
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) plans to recommend to the head of the congressional committee that has previously hosted baseball players that A-Rod receive an invite to testify about his steroid use, Cummings told Newsday last night.
“I think we’re going to have to see what Rodriguez will tell us,” Cummings said in a phone interview.
“He is in a confessing mode, so maybe he needs to put his apology into some meaningful action by cooperating with the committee so we can see if there are things we need to reopen to make sure baseball is doing all that it can to rid itself of this kind of practice.”
Cummings said last night that he is pleased Rodriguez admitted his steroid use in the wake of the Sports Illustrated report that he failed a steroid test in 2003. But Cummings said he was troubled when he heard Rodriguez’s reasoning for taking illegal performance-enhancing drugs beginning in 2001.
“When he says in his admission that he knew he was viewed as a top player making all this money but he needed basically some backup so he can make sure he reached his goals, it sounded like somebody who was trying to catch up with a reputation that had preceded him,” Cummings said.
“When I heard that, I could not help but think of the scrawny kid who doesn’t have a reputation. What about them? Or the kids that are very talented. They see a Rodriguez who commits a crime — it is illegal to do what he did — and who basically violates policies of the game and gets rich.”
Oh, please. Talk about a self-serving politician. Elijah Cummings is sooooo concerned about the kids that he wants to get on TV when A-Rod comes to Washington. Think of
his reputation the children.
Remember: Cummings would be quizzing A-Rod on a failed drug test from 2003 and PED use from 2001-2003. If Congress gets to revisit baseball’s bad decisions from seven years ago, can we revisit Congress’ bad decisions from the same time period?
This is grandstanding at its finest, and while A-Rod will appear before a House committee if he is subpoenaed, it will simply allow a bunch of politicians to have their day in the A-Rod spotlight and nothing more. Are we done now that Congress has yet again poked its nose unnecessarily into baseball’s business?