Austin Kearns in 2011?

Will we see this in 2011? (AP Photo/Wagner)

I know I’m getting ahead of myself this year, but should the Yankees try to resign Austin Kearns in the offseason?  Assuming  they are sold on Brett Gardner and will not be signing Carl Crawford, I think Kearns might have a role for this team beyond 2010.

Kearns has had a solid year after signing for 1 year/$750k with the Indians in the offseason, but has he done enough to either make significantly more money and get signed to be a full time player?  On point #1, I’d say the answer is no.  I don’t see him getting a multi-year deal in the offseason for very much money.  On point #2, I can see him getting a chance to start full time, but likely on a bottom feeding team.  Maybe he’d rather do that than sign on as a 4th outfielder, but if he’s willing to become a part time player next year at the age of 31, I think he’s a great fit for the Yankees.

Kearns would become a great 4th OF for this team, filling the role many had hoped of Randy Winn.  He can play the corners well defensively, and could probably still handle in CF in a pinch(though Mo forbid it ever got to that).  He also shows no drastic splits vs. lefties or righties, which can be viewed as both a positive and a negative for a bench player.  The negative is that he doesn’t provide any great skills(like Marcus Thames vs. LHP) but I think the positive that he isn’t completely inept against either RHP or LHP outweighs the lack of a great skill.  And anyway, if Kearns was great against either hand while being adequate against the other he would certainly be a starter elsewhere.

I have no idea what Kearns has in mind for 2011 and at this point maybe he doesn’t either. He’s played in almost 1000 games without ever reaching the playoffs.  Maybe a deep run this season and he realizes he’d rather get 300 AB’s for a contender than 600 for a bottom feeder.  Maybe he knows that next huge contract isn’t coming and is content with the $20+ million he’s made so far (assuming he hasn’t gone Antoine Walker or Mark Brunell on us).  It truly comes down to Kearns’ desires, but I would love to see him back in the pinstripes in 2011.

Offense comes up big in 9-5 win

Javy Vazquez with diminished velocity can survive. Javy Vazquez with no command is like any pitcher with a high 80s fastball and no command. Seattle hit him hard at times, leading to his exit before recording an out in the fourth. The Yanks have Ivan Nova to help give the rotation a rest. It could mean more than just a day for Vazquez.

Biggest Hits: Breaking the tie

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Twice in this game the Yankees broke ties. The Mariners got out to a quick lead on homers by Ichiro and Russell Branyan, but the Yanks came back with a quick two of their own on a Robinson Cano double. Two batters later, Jorge Posada crushed an outside pitch over the wall in left to put the Yankees ahead. It granted Javier Vazquez a reprieve, but he’d give back those runs in due order.

Neither the Yankees nor the Mariners mustered a run from the bottom of the third through the top of the seventh. After a rough first inning Jason Vargas settled in, at one point retiring 14 straight. He came out for the seventh, and three batters in had runners on the corners with one out. That brought up the rookie, Eduardo Nunez. Vargas dealt him a 1-1 fastball up and away, and Nunez slapped it through the hole and into right, driving home Austin Kearns for the go-ahead run.

The middle innings might have been slow, but when the Yanks put on base they did a good job of driving them home. Nine of their 13 base runners scored, and the team was 4 for 8 with runners in scoring position.

It could have been worse for Vazquez

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Joe Girardi had the definitive take on the Yankees’ decision to recall Ivan Nova and declare him Monday’s starter: “The greatest problem would be that he pitches extremely well Monday.” Confidence in Nova could afford the Yankees the flexibility to give Javier Vazquez some time off in an attempt to straighten himself out. He had a rough outing right from the start, and it lasted just three innings and a batter. It might have been shorter still if not for a break in the third.

The Yanks went on a tear in the first to undo the two home runs Vazquez surrendered, and with two outs in the third it looked like he might be back on track. Ichiro had homered for for the second time to lead off the inning, but Vazquez then got two outs, including a strikeout. At the plate was Jose Lopez, who has the lowest OBP, by 10 points, of any qualified MLB player. So it came as no surprise when he came up with a two-out single.

Franklin Gutierrez followed with a single of his own, and then Casey Kotchman hit one to Cano’s right, tying the game. Matters got a bit worse when he walked Josh Bard to load the bases for Michael Saunders, who had homered off Vazquez when the Mariners played at the Stadium on June 30. Vazquez threw him a fastball low and then a curveball high for two called strikes before getting Saunders to chase a changeup high and away. He flied it right to Swisher, ending the threat.

Vazquez would last just one more batter. It doesn’t take a scout to see that something’s wrong with him on the mound. Perhaps a little rest will help.

Three cheers for Guadin

(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

Chad Gaudin hasn’t had the greatest time with the Yankees this season. He’s been decent at times, but most of our prevailing memories involve him giving up runs. He was in danger of being DFA’d earlier, but now with roster expansion on the horizon the Yankees will certainly hang onto him through the end of the year. Yesterday he came through in a big way.

Last night he pitched two perfect garbage time innings in relief of A.J. Burnett. Joe Girardi called on him again today with on outs in the third. Gaudin inherited a runner, but stranded him. He then pitched two more scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. That let the Yanks get to the tougher part of their bullpen and hold onto a win.


(AP Photo/Henry Ray Abrams)

From August 1 through August 16 Robinson Cano hit .231/.333/.288 in 60 PA. On the 17th he hit his first homer of the month. Since then he’s 7 for 19 (.368) with four walks (.478 OBP) and four extra base hits (.895 SLG).

Russell Branyan has 11 hits at the new ballpark. Seven of them are home runs. Whenever he accepts his future role as bench bat, I hope it’s with the Yanks.

Via Chad Jennings: Boone Logan has retired 30 of his last 36 batters faced. That includes 23 of the last 25 lefties he’s faced.

After his 1 for 3 day Austin Kearns is now 13 for 37 (.351) with three walks (.415 OBP) and four extra base hits (.514 SLG) since joining the Yankees on August 1.

Graph and box

More at FanGraphs. Also the box score.

Up Next

CC Sabathia and Luke French end this homestand at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

Wins at every level

Mikey O’Brien is done for the season with an injury described as “nothing serious.” An MRI will reveal the truth tomorrow.

  • Triple-A Scranton won. Jesus Montero picked up a pair of hits, including a three run homer. He also threw out a pair of basestealers. Eric Bruntlett also had three hits. The Ghost of Kei Igawa allowed two runs and struck out five in 6.2 innings of work.
  • Double-A Trenton won. Both Dan Brewer and Austin Romine had a pair of base knocks, with one of Romine’s being a long ball. Al Aceves allowed a solo homer in a rehab start, going 2.1 innings. Hector Noesi followed him with six scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing just four hits.
  • High-A Tampa won. Bradley Suttle’s hot stretch continues, with three hits including a double. Melky Mesa failed to do anything productive in five trips to the plate. Graham Stoneburner struck out five in six scoreless innings.
  • Low-A Charleston won. Slade Heathcott drew a walk and J.R. Murphy doubled. Luke Murton went deep. Nothing exciting on the bump.
  • Short Season Staten Island won. Rob Segedin singled and walked while both Gary Sanchez and Cito Culver drew free passes of their own. Garrison Lassiter also walked twice, so apparently they were handing them out for free. Tommy Kahnle struck out three and walked one in a pair of scoreless innings.
  • Rookie GCL Yanks won. Mason Williams and Angelo Gumbs both went 0-for-4, but Ben Gamel picked up a pair of hits including a double. Ramon Flores singled and walked. Some guy named David Triplet made his pro debut, but he doesn’t appear to be anything special on the surface. He’s already 23, so he’s probably an undrafted free agent.

A-Rod to the DL, Nova recalled

It looks like the Yanks’ decision to play A-Rod on Friday night was the worst one possible. He has been placed on the 15-day DL, meaning he won’t be eligible for return until after rosters expand on August 31. To take his place on the roster RHP Ivan Nova has been recalled from AAA Scranton. He’ll start Monday in Toronto and push everyone in the rotation back a day.

Oppenheimer, Eppler in Japan to watch Darvish

Via NPB Tracker on Twitter, we learn that the Yankees have sent Director of Professional Scouting Billy Eppler and VP of Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer, two of their top player evaluators, to Japan to check out the 24-year-old Yu Darvish. The right-handed Iranian Japanese pitcher is 10-6 on the season for the Nippon Ham Fighters with a 2.05 ERA. In 20 starts spanning 158 innings, he’s struck out 174 while allowing just 5 home runs and 40 walks. He reportedly features an array of pitches including an upper 90s fastball, a slider, a change, a curve and what the Japanese call a shuuto, and this isn’t the first time the Yanks have expressed interest in him. They sent scouts to watch him earlier in the season, in 2009 and 2008 as well.

Darvish’s situation will present an interesting test case for Japanese pitchers coming to America. He isn’t eligible to be an international free agent until after 2014 when he will be, at just 28 years old, entering his prime, and so far his numbers dictate a big payday. He has a career ERA of 2.18 with a career K/9 of 8.4 and a career K/BB of 3.2. In March, Jeff Passan speculated that Nippon Ham could get upwards of $75 million if they posted Darvish sooner rather than later and that Darvish’s arrival in the U.S. isn’t a matter of if but when, and when that day arrives, the Yankees will be in on him.

Yanks’ Killer Bs movin’ on up

We heard the rumblings late last night, and now it’s official: Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances have been promoted to AA Trenton. The two young phenoms, both subjects of recent glowing scouting reports by Frankie Piliere, join Andrew Brackman, Hector Noesi and Adam Warren in a power-packed rotation just a train ride away from New York City. Here’s to hoping the Yanks’ pitching future is now one step closer.