Klapisch: Are the Yanks deadline buyers or sellers?

As the trade deadline fast approaches, speculation over the Yanks’ approach to the deadline this year mounts. Over at ESPN.com, Bob Klapisch kicked things off with an interesting, if obvious, take on the Yankees. With the team’s flaws out in the open and the team itself underachieving, Klapisch notes that the Yanks’ play over the next few weeks will determine whether or not the Yanks are buyers or sellers. He runs through the usual topics — Kyle Farnsworth’s consistently terrible pitching, Bobby Abreu’s hot and cold hitting and A-Rod‘s opt-out clause — while offering no concrete conclusions. My take: Farnsworth is gone, but the Yanks are buyers as they try to stage a great comeback. What do you think? Will the Yanks be buyers or sellers come July 31st?

At least the Red Sox lost too…

So the Yanks have started the second half going 6-2, and I would be lying if I said I was okay with Thursday’s lost. Up 2-0 after the first inning and facing a crappy pitcher, the Yanks’ bats were silenced for 8 innings. Chien-Ming Wang had one stretch of ineffectiveness, and that was all.

So while the Red Sox lost again, the Yanks couldn’t quite close the gap to six. Heading into another four-game weekend series against the Devil Rays, the Yanks still sit seven out in the division.

Looking back at today’s game, it’s tough to really blame anyone for the loss. The Yanks, with Wil Nieves in the lineup (a prospect akin to pitchers hitting in the NL), simply could not muster much offense. They hit into some bad double plays. I do however wonder about the 9th inning strategy.

Alex Rodriguez singles to lead off the inning, and two days after the Yanks tied the game in the 9th on aggressive baserunning, A-Rod stayed put at first. Maybe a steal was in order. Maybe Torre should have managed for the tie instead of a win. But no matter. If the Yanks play .750 ball for a few more weeks, we’ll have a pennant race yet.

More alarming to me is the black hole of suck coming out of the DH space in the Yanks’ lineup. Johnny Damon, no longer the team’s center fielder, is hitting .158/.338/.175 in July after hitting .226/.286/.333 in June. He’s managed three extra-base hits since June 6th, his last coming on July 1st. He’s also 0 for his last 17.

Down on the farm, Shelley Duncan went 2-for-3 with his 25th home run. His total is second highest only to A-Rod in the Yankee organization, and I have to wonder how much longer the Yanks can stick with Damon in the lineup. He’s just not a viable lead-off hitter right now and has lost his outfield job. The Yanks need production from the DH spot if they’re going to make a run for October. With Giambi out indefinitely, Damon has to step up or sit down.

For the rest of your Yankee farm system needs, check out the Yankees Prospect daily report. It’ll have Thursday’s numbers up for a bit, and again, feel free to produce your own version of DotF in the comments. (In fact, if any of you would be interested in taking on this feature on a daily basis while Mike is away, e-mail me at ben at riveraveblues dot com.)

Update by Mike: Hola all – just wanted to mention that with that homer, Shelley is now the single season homerun record holder for the SWB franchise, and that includes all those years they were affiliated with the Phils. Shelley has 44 games left in the season to add to that total. Redonkulous.

A three-man no-no in Tampa

While the Yanks won another game in the late innings due to Alex Rodriguez and Andy Phillips heroics, the Yankees’ farm system provided plenty of fodder for us today. Joe did a fantastic job covering the Phil Hughes Rehab Extravaganza, but the other big story of the day for the Yankees came out of Tampa.

Tonight, Kevin Whelan, David Robertson and Joshua Schmidt combined for a no-hitter against the Jupiter Hammerheads. Whelan, in Tampa working to become a starting pitcher, threw 5 innings of near-perfect baseball. He surrendered 1 walk and struck out 4 to start the no-hit bid. Robertson threw 2 innings, giving up 2 walks and striking out 3. Schmidt closed out the last two innings, also giving up 2 walks and striking out 3.

Offensively, Jose Tabata went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Francisco Cervelli‘s double drove in the other two runs.

In other Yankees Minor League news, Jairo Heredia went 5 innings for the GCL Yanks. He gave up 2 hits and 1 run while walking a pair and striking out 8. Sounds like a good day overall for the Yanks’ farm system.

Meanwhile, in Mike’s absence, you all should feel free to add any other stand-out performances to the comments. I didn’t have time to do a full DotF post tonight.

Cashman: we have a plan

Cashman just spoke to the media on hand. He basically said what we expected: they have a strict plan for Phil, and they’re not going to deviate from it.

He didn’t say it specifically, but this is definitely what he meant: Phil will have two starts in Scranton. He said they’re going to get him to 100 pitches before they even consider sending him up, so the 75 he’ll throw Monday won’t be enough.

He also seemed quite elated at a Juan Miranda question. Don’t rule him out being the starting first baseman next year.

The full report on Hughes’s start today

Update: How could I forget this? During the mini press conference with Billy Connors, Reggie Jackson dropped in. He came in, changed his shorts, checked out his junk, and left. Crazy.

We’re in an 8th inning rain delay with the Thunder up 5-1, so I figured I’d throw this together real quick while we wait.

Okay, so we all know Phil’s final line: 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. He ran into some trouble in the first and fourth innings, where he had his walks, but in the end he pitched well. He tossed 49 pitches — I think — (I was wrong, it was 59) and another 15 in the bullpen afterwards, so 75 total.

Afterwards, Phil mentioned that his fastball command isn’t quite there yet. While that’s certainly true, don’t take it as his command being way off at this point. He was definitely hitting his corners, especially in the middle two innings. He even hit a low and outside spot to get Wilson Batista in the bottom of the fourth on a 3-2 count. So while the command might not be all there, it’s not like he has miles to go.

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Live fron the Thunder press box

What up, y’all? Betcha never thought I’d be up in the press box, huh?

Got here a lil late, but got to see some Phil. We just got out of a press conference with him, and then a quick one with Billy Connors. We’ll see what I can find after the game.

Sitting next to Tony Gicas of The Bronx Block, so at least I’m not the only blogger here.