Nine innings from now the Yanks season will be 50% complete, and at worst they’ll be 43-38, 7 GB of the division lead and 6.5 GB of the Wildcard. After their 81st game last year, the Yanks were 40-41 and 10.5 GB of first place Boston, 7 GB of Wildcard leading Detroit. It hasn’t been smooth sailing, but it’s improvement.
De facto ace Andy Pettitte toes the rubber today, taking on Johan “WE SHOULD HAVE TRADED KENNEDY AND TEH MELKY FOR HIM!!11one!!” Santana. Andy’s been dandy of late (I hate myself for typing that), allowing only 18 baserunners and 1 run against 19 strikeouts in 21 IP since Jose Guillen owned him in that forgettable beatdown at the hands of the Royals. Johan’s allowed 19 baserunners and 10 runs in his 2 starts (13 IP), both against AL opponents. There’s only five guaranteed years and $128M (minimum) remaining on his contract.
You probably have already heard that David Robertson has been summoned from Triple-A Scranton. Check this out: Robertson was Yarmouth-Dennis’ closer during the 2006 Cape Cod League season, and in the title clinching game he threw 3 perfect innings to close out the win. He struck out the final batter of the game, some kid from Texas named Bradley Suttle. The opposing starter that day? Jeremy Bleich. See, the world does revolve around the Yanks.
1. Damon, LF
2. Jeter, SS
3. Abreu, RF
4. A-Rod, 3B
5. Giambi, 1B
6. Posada, C
7. Cano, 2B
8. Cabrera, CF
9. Pettitte, SP
Notes: LaTroy Hawkins has been designated for assigning that pink backpack the rookies take out to the bullpen to Robertson … Hah! See what I did there? But seriously, Igawa was sent back to Scranton, Oneli Perez and his six-fingered hands were DFA’ed to clear up spots on the 25-man & 40-man roster, respectively for D-Rob … Ross Ohlendorf will work out of Scranton’s rotation for the time being, but the Yanks still view him as a reliever long term … Matsui had his knee drained again, Cashman said surgery was a possibility … Cash also said that Phil Hughes is 2-3 weeks away from pitching in games, and that he might not necessarily return to the big league team this season … Brian Bruney is a week away from pitching in games
Update: The start of the game is being delayed by the threat of rain. Pete Abe says they’ve just begun to take the tarp off. I live about two miles geographically from the Stadium, and the sun’s out here.
This should make everyone happy: the Yanks have called up reliever David Robertson from Triple-A Scranton. The righty has certainly earned his chance, allowing just 48 baserunners in 51.2 IP this season. He’s struck out 187 men against just 54 in 136 career IP. Robertson last pitched on Thursday, throwing 24 pitches in 2 shutdown innings, so he should be good to go today. No word yet on a who’s going down. · (51) ·
With the trade deadline a month away, talk will inevitably heat up over which Yankee prospects should go for what type of players. As Joe noted, anything we say is pretty meaningless, but we do have some insight into how Brian Cashman will approach the trade deadline.
In a nutshell, don’t expect anything major.
Early this week, Brian Cashman spoke a dinner in Scranton, and Chad Jenning was on hand to cover this event. He relates to us an anecdote about Cashman’s grabbing the reins of the Yankee organization from those who had turned it away from player development. I’m going to quote at length:
Cashman said that he was angry in 2005. “We got away from building from within,” he said. “There were a lot of players who wound up on our roster who I wasn’t in favor of. A lot of fighting between the cities (Tampa and New York).” The Yankees got off to a bad start that season, and Cashman told Steinbrenner he’d fix it, but he wanted to do it his way — “I needed to listen to one person, not 10 at once.”
That was the year he promoted Wang and Cano at the same time, claimed Al Leiter, brought up Aaron Small, etc., and they made the playoffs. “At the end of the year,” Cashman said. “I told the Boss I was done.”
He said the draft picks were gone, they were 24th of 30 clubs in quality of the minor league system and that “this all-veteran thing was not going to work. We were headed back to where we were in the ’80s.”
“I honestly didn’t think he was going to listen to me. Why would he? He hadn’t the last few years.”
Steinbrenner asked him to stay, and he would give him full authority to do what was right. He had job offers that were “easier jobs” for more money, but he stayed with the Yankees. “It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I’d be nothing without George Steinbrenner. There was a loyalty factor here. I couldn’t leave him when he asked me to stay.”
He told Steinbrenner his plan was to do two things: Rebuild the farm system and remain a contender while doing it.
Now, why is this relevant with July nearly upon us? Well, Brian Cashman’s plan is still a work in progress. He’s watching many of his draft picks and international signings make their ways through the farm system to great acclaim. He’s not about to move some of the Yanks’ top prospects for a rent-a-player, and he won’t land that impact player — think C.C. Sabathia or the oft-injured Rich Harden — without giving up those prospects.
Think of this as you will. I know many fans are dismayed at this approach, and they would rather win now with no regard for the future. Many others are fully on board, and still others are eying this plan skeptically while subscribing to it. The media won’t like it if the Yanks don’t make a push for C.C. Sabathia in July but tough.
What Brian Cashman is doing now has a chance to benefit the Yankees as an organization for the next five to ten years. Whether the Yankee brass and their fans have the patience to see it through will determine whether or not we get to enjoy the fruits of a rich farm system in the end. It’s a risk, but it should work better than the trade-now, sign-late approach we witnessed earlier this decade.
Posted by mobile phone:
Today, in what amounted to an endless day of baseball, both Dan Giese and Sidney Ponson had something in common. Both pitchers allowed nine baserunners over four innings. In fact, Dan Giese actually pitched into the fifth before his ninth baserunner reached.
But as we know full well, the outcomes of their two efforts today were wildly divergent.
Giese probably pitched himself back to AAA – or at least the bullpen – as he emerged the loser of the 15-6 drubbing the Yanks suffered at home yesterday afternoon. Ponson, meanwhile, earned himself the win – and a largely undeserved second start – as the Yanks blanked the Mets in Shea last evening 9-0.
These two games clearly highlight the vagaries of baseball. Neither pitcher threw exceptionally well, and each were under fire for the duration of their respective starts. But when the dust settled, the breaks fell for Ponson and not for Giese. Such is the way luck in baseball works.
On a more detailed level, I have a few observations about the day’s events:
-Edwar Ramirez throws a high-pressure inning in a tight game and blows it while Jose Veras throws a scoreless frame in a blow out. Why? Joe Girardi‘s bullpen use in game one today was fairly inexplicable. He managed as though the Yanks were down by five when the game was well within reach. When the Yanks were up by nine runs, he used the better relievers. Until Edwar can get hitters out with that change up, he shouldn’t be pitching important innings.
-Ponson’s line is better than expected, and the 11-2 ground ball-to-fly ball ratio is a positive. But he threw just 56 of 96 pitches for strikes and was flirting with disaster all night. I don’t think that can last.
-Ain’t nothing like giving up two hits in the ninth inning of a 9-0 game. Way to go, Kei Igawa. Hopefully, he’ll be back in Scranton in exchange for David Robertson.
-Will anyone miss LaTroy Hawkins when he’s finally dismissed? I have to believe that move is on the horizon.
-With Jeter, Abreu and Cano emerging from their slumps at the same time, this team is on the verge of becoming an insane offensive force.
All right, folks. That’s it from me tonight. Thanks for all the comments today, and we’ll do it again tomorrow.
Triple-A Scranton had their game suspended with the batter facing an 0-2 count with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th. I know that sounds crazy, but the scored was tied at one. Chad Jennings says they’ll wrap it up tomorrow, so I’ll update the stats then.
Double-A Trenton (5-3 loss to Portland)
Ramiro Pena & Cody Ehlers: both 0 for 4, 1 K
Colin Curtis & Austin Jackson: both 1 for 5 – Curtis doubled in a run, K’ed & threw a runner out at third from LF … Ajax hit a triple
PJ Pilittere: 1 for 4
Jose Tabata: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – still just 9 for his last 39 (.231)
Chris Malec & Edwar Gonzalez: both 2 for 4, 1 R - Malec K’ed twice … Edwar doubled, drove in 2 & K’ed
Reegie Corona: 1 for 3, 1 BB
Eric Wordekemper: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 3-6 GB/FB – made his first start since 2006 … gave up 2 solo jacks, giving him 5 HR allowed this season, 5 more than last year
Mark Melancon: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1-4 GB/FB – second worst outing of the year (the first was his second appearance of the season)
Zack Kroenke: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
In a few hours, weather-permitting, Sidney Ponson will make his glorious return to the Bronx. It is a day we not long-awaited since Ponson was DFA’d by the Yankees on August 23, 2006, a whopping 40 days after they first signed him.
In Yankee-land, the Ponson start is stirring up most consternation. How did the Yankees get there? Typical of that response is an e-mail I received this morning from Steve S., a long-time RAB reader:
someone needs to say something about Cashman and this Ponson decision. Yes the Yankees have been riddled by injuries but these are the kinds of things that happen. And I cant help but think that he should have had the foresight to get a guy like Colon. I didn’t care as much at the time because I had the belief that they would focus on using young arms, but now I have to see Ponson?
Now, before launching into this subject, I believe that Ponson will, unless he blows away the Yanks (and Mets) tonight, be around for just one start. The Yanks got screwed by the schedule and even more screwed by the rain last night and needed a starter.
That being said, is it fair to lay the blame — if that’s what you want to call it — for Ponson on Brian Cashman‘s shoulders? Not really. It’s a low risk, high reward move, and if it doesn’t pan out, c’est la vie.
The Yankees are at this point right now because 3/5ths of their Opening Day starting rotation is on the DL. They’re at this point because, while they have some very promising and lively arms in their farm system, those arms aren’t quite yet ready. They’re at this point because they see Sidney Ponson as a more viable option for whatever reason than Jeff Karstens. They’re at this point basically due to dire circumstances, and it’s not the end of the world.
But what about Bartolo Colon? Should the Yanks have been higher on Colon than they were? Well, they saw the same audition the Red Sox and the other 28 teams that passed on Colon saw. They weren’t impressed with his velocity, and they didn’t see how a 35-year-old injury-plagued pitcher coming off of shoulder surgery fit in with the Yankees’ current approach toward constructing a baseball team. For a few starts, Colon made everyone look bad as he went 4-2 with a 4.09 ERA. But as is his wont, Colon went down with an injury, and Boston doesn’t really have a timetable for his return.
Now, would Colon have been a good pick-up in hindsight? Sure. But unlike the Red Sox and Curt Schilling, the Yanks weren’t facing any long-term injury prospects when Colon signed his deal. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20.
Having Ponson start tonight’s game is hardly ideal, but considering the circumstances, it’s not really worth holding Brian Cashman’s feet to the fire for it. He took someone 4-1 with a 3.88 ERA and is basically asking him to give the Yanks five innings of decent baseball once.
We’d rather see a young kid get a shot, but none of the young kids are quite ready for this. If only this game had been set for three weeks later when Alan Horne was more in his grove, Ian Kennedy had a few rehab starts under his belt and Alfredo Aceves had a chance to shine at AAA. Alas.
Right now, it’s not a stretch to say that we should be rooting for the rains that are blanket the New York arrive shortly after, oh, 5 p.m. today. If the Sidney Ponson nightcap were to be rained out, would anyone really mind? I’m sure watching Ponson, a career .143 hitter, bat would be entertaining, but still.
Anyway, for now, we’re concerned with the afternoon affair, a make-up of a game rained in May, and baring some sort of miraculous World Series, the last Yankee-Met game ever in Yankee Stadium. The Yanks are going with Melky Cabrera yet again in the lead-off spot. Melky this year has 35 lead-off plate appearances and has hit .250/.353/.321. Is this .674 OPS (albeit in a limited sample size) really the best Joe Girardi can do? I thought this guy was supposed to read Baseball Prospectus.
Johnny Damon is off this afternoon to rest his foot. He’ll play left field in Shea Stadium, and it is expected that Hideki Matsui will hit the DL after the first game. The Bonds talk swirling in this thread is growing louder.
Dan Giese is on the mound. He’s 1-2, but in 14 innings this year, the 31-year-old has allowed just one earned run. Can he keep this up? Tune in at 2:05 p.m. to find out.
Dan Giese P
Personal Seat Licenses. We’ve heard about them as this amorphous concept for which people in other cities have to pay so that their teams can draw in more revenue. We know that some football teams charge outrageously high prices for what amounts to the right to buy tickets for certain seats.
And now starting in a few seasons, PSLs are coming to New York. The Giants, Super Bowl champions, have announced that every season ticket in their new stadium will be sold via PSLs. These prices for these PSLs will run from $1000 to $20,000, and these licenses serve as lifetime guarantees for that seat. It is a one-time payment of an arm and a leg.
I write about this briefly now because of the attention I’ve paid to Yankee ticket prices. Yes, the top seats new stadium is going to be expensive, but the prices are a far, far cry from those we see in other sports. A longtime RAB regular Steve wrote in about this story this morning:
To be fair to the Yankees you should comment on this. Can a regular guy go to see a Giant game anymore, or do you need to know someone? At least you can go to the Bronx with a buddy, have a couple of beers and be under the $300 mark.
Of course, the PSL issue and the price tag for a Giants game are seemingly two separate stories. Football games are very nearly prohibitively expensive and yet most teams have waiting lists that stretch on for years for season tickets. Why? Because they are only eight home games a season, and there is a limited supply for something in high demand. It isn’t affordable — of fun — to see the Knicks anymore.
In a way, this is the great irony of baseball and our complaints about ticket prices. As relatively expensive as it can be to go a Yankee game, it’s still pretty cheap. For example, I recently bought decent Tier Reserve seats for Monday night’s sold-out Yankees-Rangers game for a few bucks over face value off of StubHub. Never would I be able to do that for a Giants game.
For a while, fans have dreaded the PSLs. They fear that baseball teams will begin to sell them for season ticket holders in new stadiums, and sports business exports have guessed that teams could draw in upwards of $40 million off the bat for PSLs. The Cubs are debating it, and rumors have swirled around the Yanks’ ticket holder plans in the new stadium. But again, I think it’s a matter of economics. There are 81 home games, and if teams start charging seat licenses, season ticket holders may opt to buy on a game-by-game basis.
The economics of sports tickets is a prickly issue. Teams set prices; secondary markets set the true value. In the end, baseball remains one of our country’s more affordable sports, and we need to look only at the new Giants Stadium rising in New Jersey to remember why.