The Yankees will celebrate Mariano Rivera‘s career prior to tomorrow afternoon’s series finale against the Giants, and the team has already announced that Monument Park will be closed before the game. That’s a pretty good indication they’ll be doing something out there for Mo, probably giving him a plaque and re-retiring #42. That’s my guess, anyway. I can’t wait. Should be a blast even though it’s heartbreaking Rivera’s career will be over in a matter of days and not weeks.
Anyway, here is your open thread for the evening. The Mets and Phillies are playing (Gee vs. Cloyd), plus MLB Network will air a game as well. Who you see depends on where you live, but the game will have some kind of relevance to the various postseason races. There’s also college football on as well. Talk about any of those games or anything else right here.
I wish every game would be that easy. Ivan Nova and some early runs helped the Yankees to a stress-free shutout win over the defending World Champion Giants on Saturday afternoon, a game that took a tidy two hours and 32 minutes. Pretty awesome. Let’s recap the 6-0 win:
- Ivan Rebounds: The last few weeks have been tough for Nova, and not coincidentally, he has been battling some triceps soreness. He rebounded to throw his best game of the month on Saturday, chucking his second complete-game shutout in his last five starts. Nova threw only 108 pitches while striking out seven and limiting the Giants to six hits. Twenty-one of his 27 outs came on the infield, including 14 ground ball outs. San Francisco did not have a batter reach third base and only two made it as far as second base. Nova was dominant. Great to see him bounce back after a few tough starts.
- Keep The Line Moving: This was like, the most textbook and cliched offensive game ever. The Yankees scored their first couple runs with an extended rally before pulling away late with homers. I’m sure you’ve heard more than a few announcers say that’s the right way to win. Anyway, the 7-8-9 hitters loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning before the 1-2-3 hitters drove them all in. Ichiro Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to plate Mark Reynolds (single), Alex Rodriguez drove in Brendan Ryan (single) with a ground out, then Robinson Cano plated Chris Stewart (walk) with a single through the hole on the left side of the infield. Textbook. Or so I’m told.
- Pull Away: Like I said, the Yankees went to long ball to put the game to bed in the middle innings. Eduardo Nunez swatted a two-run dinger off Ryan Vogelsong in the fourth inning — it was a bomb, gone off the bat — before Alfonso Soriano tacked on a solo shot in the sixth. He said his sore thumb was sapping his power last week, but that’s now two homers in two games for him. Guess the thumb is feeling fine.
- Leftovers: Am I the only one who is still surprised any time Ryan fields a ball to his left? We haven’t seen too many Yankees shortstops make those plays in recent years, so it’s a shock to the system … Cano was the only Yankee with multiple hits but only Ichiro and A-Rod failed to reach base. They each drove in a run with a productive out … Cano is three doubles away from his fifth straight 40+ double season and seventh of his career. That would tie Lou Gehrig for the most such seasons in franchise history.
- Winning Season: The win was the team’s 82nd of the year, clinching their 21st consecutive winning season. That is the second longest such streak in history, trailing only the 1926-1964 Yankees. Thirty-nine straight years. Yeah, the current squad still has a long way to go to match that. Geez.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the rest of the day’s games, the Yankees will be either three games (Rangers or Indians win) or two games (Rangers and Indians both lose) back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column with seven to play. Andy Pettitte and Yusmeiro Petit (!!!) is your pitching matchup for the series finale on Sunday afternoon, which is Mariano Rivera day at Yankee Stadium. If you want to catch the game and festivities live, head to RAB Tickets.
The final homestand of the season opened last night with a win that was straight out of the 2009 playbook: CC Sabathia pitched well and Alex Rodriguez hit a key homerun. Those were the days. The Yankees are trying to stave off elimination — their tragic number is seven with eight games to play — for another day this afternoon, and I suppose they want to do whatever they can to get back into the race until they are mathematically eliminated. Here’s the lineup Joe Girardi is running out there against righty Ryan Vogelsong:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- DH Alex Rodriguez
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- CF Curtis Granderson
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Mark Reynolds
- SS Brendan Ryan
- C Chris Strewart
And on the mound is right-hander Ivan Nova. He’s been dealing with a nagging triceps problem for a few weeks now and has a 4.25 ERA (4.96 FIP) with the same number of walks (17) as strikeouts in his last six starts. Yuck. That needs to stop.
It is cool and cloudy in New York but there doesn’t appear to be any threat of rain. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm ET and can be seen on FOX. Unless they sneak into the playoffs and make a nice run, this will be the last time Tim McCarver ever calls a Yankees game. He’s retiring after the season. Enjoy the game.
Via Andy McCullough: Austin Romine is still dealing with concussion symptoms and isn’t ready to return to the team. He has been given the okay for light workouts, but those aren’t going well. “I think (the ball is) going to be one place and it’s another place, or I’ll do something I’m always used to doing and I won’t catch it,” he said. “I know my body. I know what I can do. So when I do stuff I’m not used to doing, I’m like ‘What the heck?’ I don’t want that to happen in a game.”
Romine, who missed time with a much more serious concussion suffered during a home plate collision in 2011, added: “Mainly, it’s my health. I’m not going to go out there and risk permanent damage, a worse concussion, possibly die. It’s a pretty serious injury. And two, I’m not going to go out there and screw my team. I’m not going to miss a ball with a guy on third, because I’m trying to suck it up and go out there. I’m better for the team if I don’t go out there.”
The 24-year-old Romine has been sidelined for eleven days after taking a foul tip to the mask in Baltimore. He has hit .207/.255/.296 (47 wRC+) in 60 games overall this season, but he was far more productive after the All-Star break and before the injury (105 wRC+ in 23 games). With only eight games left in the year and a microscopic chance of making the postseason, the Yankees should just shut Romine down. Brain injuries are nothing to screw around with. · (6) ·
It’s too bad the Yankees are so far out of the playoff race, otherwise this game would have been all kinds of awesome. They got big performances from two important players and rallied late for a 5-1 win over the defending World Series champs. Let’s recap:
- Record-Setting: The Yankees were poised to blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning of a tie game before the totally unclutch Alex Rodriguez saved the day. He clubbed his 24th career grand slam off former Yankee George Kontos with two outs in the inning, turning a 1-1 game into a much more comfortable 5-1 game. It also broke a tie with Lou Gehrig atop the all-time grand slam list, meaning A-Rod has now hit more bases loaded homers than anyone in history. Pretty cool. And a big hit too.
- Stepped Up: There’s a good chance New York would be sitting in a playoff spot right now if CC Sabathia had a typical CC Sabathia season. He’s been awful this year, but he did turn in one of his best outings of the year on Friday night. Sabathia held the Giants to one run in seven innings (and one batter), striking out seven and allowing ten base-runners total. Just two of the final 12 men he faced reached base. It wasn’t a vintage dominant Sabathia outing, but he was effective and that’s something we hadn’t seen in a long time.
- Leftovers: Alfonso Soriano got the Yankees on the board with a Yankee Stadium cheapie solo homer in second. He had two hits and a walk … props to Eduardo Nunez for two stellar defensive plays at third base (no seriously), one charging a ball and another fielding a tough hop … Brendan Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki had singles while Ichiro also drew a walk … David Robertson and Mariano Rivera combined to retire five of the six batters they faced. The only blemish was a Robertson walk.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. Depending on the outcomes of the other games, the Yankees will be either three games (Rays and/or Rangers lose) or four games (Rays and Rangers both win) back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column with eight to play. Cool Standings has their postseason odds at 4.4%. Ivan Nova and Ryan Vogelsong is your pitching matchup Saturday afternoon. Check out RAB Tickets if you watch to catch the fourth-to-last home game of the season (and Rivera’s career) in person.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Yankees have a 1% chance to make the postseason following their loss to the Blue Jays last night. They’re four games back in the loss column with only nine to play, meaning even if they go a perfect 9-0, either the Rangers or Rays would need to go 5-4 just to force a tiebreaker game. That doesn’t even factor in the Orioles, Royals, and Indians, all of whom are sandwiched between the Yankees and a wildcard spot. The postseason outlook is indeed grim, but the Yankees have not yet been mathematically eliminated. Until that happens, there will still be some shred of hope. Here’s the lineup Joe Girardi will send out there against two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum:
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- DH Alex Rodriguez
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Alfonso Soriano
- CF Curtis Granderson
- 3B Eduardo Nunez
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- SS Brendan Ryan
- C J.R. Murphy
And on the mound is another former Cy Young Award winner, CC Sabathia. Two or three years ago, a Sabathia-Lincecum pitching matchup would have been one of the best and most exciting in baseball. They were two of the five or ten best pitchers in the world as recently as 2011.
It’s a lovely day in New York, perfect for baseball. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.
Injury Update: Boone Logan (elbow) is available for tonight’s game. He’s missed about two weeks with a bone spur.
I have to think more than a few people (and television networks) were expecting this late-season interleague matchup to be more meaningful and interesting than it really is. Both the Yankees and Giants are big disappointments this year. Fun Fact: The Giants will be only the second defending World Series winner to play in the New Yankee Stadium, joining the Phillies in 2009. That isn’t counting the 2010 Yankees, obviously.
What Have They Done Lately?
Despite the down year, the Giants have actually played pretty well of late. They just took two of three from the Mets in Flushing and three of four from the Dodgers before coming East. San Francisco has won five of their last six games and sit in fourth place in the NL West at 71-84 with a -54 run differential. They’ve already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
For some reason the Giants are generally considered a poor offensive team — it’s a stigma that has stuck over the years — but they’re almost perfectly league average this year at 3.9 runs per game with a team 98 wRC+. That’s not great but it’s average, and average is … well … average. Could be worse, they could be the Yankees (86 wRC+). San Francisco is without 2B Marco Scutaro (111 wRC+) and OF Andres Torres (83 wRC+) due to injury. Scutaro (finger) is expected back at some this season but probably not this weekend. Torres (Achilles) is done for the year.
Manager Bruce Bochy’s lineup revolves around three guys: reigning NL MVP Buster Posey (137 wRC+), 1B Brandon Belt (138 wRC+), and OF Hunter Pence (137 wRC+). Posey has been dealing with a finger injury and comes into the series relatively slumping (99 wRC+ last 14 days) while Pence is currently on an insane contract drive (202 wRC+ last 30 days). 3B Pablo Sandoval (110 wRC+) is having a good but not great year and OF Angel Pagan (114 wRC+ in limited time) has been solid when not injured.
The rest of Bochy’s regular lineup includes SS Brandon Crawford (96 wRC+) and OF Gregor Blanco (97 wRC+). Backup C Hector Sanchez (103 wRC+ in limited time) figures to get some at-bats this weekend thanks to the DH. OF Juan Perez (70 wRC+ in limited time), OF Roger Kieschnick (53 wRC+ in very limited time), 1B/OF Brett Pill (82 wRC+), IF Tony Abreu (80 wRC+ in limited time), and former Yankees prospect/IF Joaquin Arias (77 wRC+) are the regular bench players. The crop of September call-ups includes C Johnny Monell, IF Ehire Adrianza, IF Nick Noonan, and OF Francisco Peguero.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Friday: LHP CC Sabathia vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
Boy would this have been a fun matchup as recently as 2011. Instead, we have too former Cy Young Award winners who are trying to figure out why they suddenly transformed into back-end starters. Lincecum, 29, has a 4.40 ERA (3.75 FIP) in 30 starts this season, so he’s been considerably better than last year (5.18 ERA and 4.18 FIP) but still much worse than his heyday from 2008-2011 (2.81 ERA and 2.81 FIP). His strikeout rate (8.85 K/9 and 23.1 K%) is excellent and his ground ball rate (45.2%) is very good, but he walks a few too many (3.52 BB/9 and 9.2 BB%) and is really homer prone (0.98 HR/9 and 12.4% HR/FB), especially considering his home park. Lincecum’s two and four-seam fastballs have tapered off in recent years and sit right around 90 mph these days. His best pitch is a low-to-mid-80s changeup with crazy movement down and away from lefties, but he’ll also throw low-80s sliders and mid-70s curveballs. That wide arsenal is why he has a tiny platoon split. Lincecum has never faced the Yankees in his career, and in fact only former NLers Mark Reynolds and Alfonso Soriano have seen him more than a handful of times.
Saturday: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
The 36-year-old Vogelsong missed almost three months earlier this season when he needed surgery to repair a fracture in his pitching hand after being hit by a pitch — at least the NL has all that strategy amirite? — and overall this has been his worst big league season since resurfacing two years ago. He’s pitched to a 5.73 ERA (4.91 FIP) in 17 starts after putting up a 3.05 ERA (3.68 FIP) from 2011-2012. Vogelsong spent 2006-2010 bouncing around Japan and minors after flaming out with the Pirates in the early-2000s. His peripherals are mediocre across the board this year: 6.12 K/9 (15.0 K%), 3.21 BB/9 (7.9 BB%), 1.36 HR/9 (14.3% HR/FB), and 41.7% grounders. Vogelsong is a true five-pitch pitcher with two fastballs (upper-80s two and four-seamers), two breaking balls (mid-80s slider and mid-70s curveball), and one offspeed pitch (low-80s changeup). Right-handers have destroyed him this season (.410 wOBA) and lefties haven’t had a hard time either (.329 wOBA), but that split is the reverse of the last two years. Lefties usually gave him a harder time than righties. Vogelsong made two relief appearances against the Yankees back in 2005 and they mean nothing right now.
Sunday: LHP Andy Pettitte vs. RHP Yusmeiro Petit
The Yankees probably aren’t going to make the playoffs, but at least we’ll get to see a Pettitte vs. Petit pitching matchup. John Sterling will have a field day. The 29-year-old Petit has a 3.08 ERA (2.10 FIP) in five starts and one relief appearance for San Francisco this year, and two weeks ago he got to within one out of a perfect game. Former Yankee Eric Chavez broke it up with a single with two outs in the ninth. Petit, who the Mets traded to the Marlins for Carlos Delgado back in the day, lives in the mid-to-upper-80s with his cutter and four-seam fastball. A low-80s slider headlines his array of offspeed offerings, which also includes a low-80s changeup and a mid-70s curveball. Like Lincecum and (for all intents and purposes) Vogelsong, Petit has never faced the Yankees in his career.
The Mets and Dodgers did the Yankees a solid these last few days and really worked Bochy’s bullpen hard. Closer RHP Sergio Romo (2.91 FIP) has pitched three of the last five and four of the last seven days. Setup men RHP
Jairo Garcia Santiago Casilla (3.68 FIP) and LHP Javier Lopez (2.21 FIP) have both pitched each of the last three days. Casilla has pitched four of the last five and six of the last eight (!) days as well. Even if those guys do pitch this weekend, they’ll probably be out of gas.
With those three having been worked hard, RHP Jean Machi (2.51 FIP) and former Yankee RHP George Kontos (3.98 FIP) figure to pick up the late-inning slack. LHP Jeremy Affeldt (4.44 FIP) is done for the year with a groin problem, so Bochy’s only other veteran lefty aside from Lopez is LHP Jose Mijares (3.13 FIP). RHP Guillermo Moscoso (4.94 FIP) is the regular long man. The Giants are carrying a 13-man bullpen that includes September call-ups RHP Jake Dunning, RHP Heath Hembree, LHP Mike Kickham, and RHP Sandy Rosario. LHP Barry Zito (5.02 FIP) is technically in the bullpen, but he hasn’t pitched since September 2nd and has made just one appearance since August 26th. He’s just kinda there as the team waits for his contract to expire after the season.
The Yankees bullpen is in decent shape coming into the series, and rumor has it Boone Logan (elbow) will be available for the opener tonight. That is still subject to change, however. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for exact reliever usage details, then check out McCovey Chronicles for the latest and greatest on the Giants. It’s one of the very best and most entertaining team blogs you’ll find.
For the second time in three years, Andy Pettitte is retiring from baseball. The veteran left-hander announced his intention to retire following the season on Friday afternoon, prior to the start of the team’s final homestand of 2013. Both Joel Sherman and Ken Rosenthal reported the news earlier in the day. Here is Pettitte’s full statement:
“I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now—while I’m still wearing this uniform—how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.
“I’ve reached the point where I know that I’ve left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I’ve exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that’s exactly how I want to leave this game.
“One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano’s day on Sunday. It is his day. He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him.”
Pettitte, 41, first announced his retirement following the 2010 season. He sat out the entire 2011 season before making a comeback in 2012, citing the itch to compete. The comeback was a successful one — 2.87 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 12 starts — aside from the fluke broken leg he suffered on a hard-hit comeback ground ball. That cost him close to three months.
The injury drove Andy to continue pitching in 2013. The Yankees re-signed him to a one-year contract worth $12M last November and he was in their rotation right from Opening Day. Pettitte has pitched to a 3.93 ERA (3.76 FIP) in 28 starts while missing time with back and lat problems this year. He had a real rough patch in the middle of the summer that made him look very much like the oldest starting pitcher in baseball, but Andy rebounded and has been the team’s best starter for a good month now.
Pettitte owns a career 255-152 record with a 3.86 ERA (3.74 FIP) in parts of 18 big league seasons, all but three with the Yankees. He has gone 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA (4.09 FIP) in 44 career postseason starts and was an integral part of five World Championships. Andy is the Yankees all-time leader in strikeouts (2,009) while ranking second in starts (436), third in wins (218), innings (2780.1), and WAR (50.9), and fifth in games pitched (445). He’s a borderline Hall of Famer andsimply the greatest Yankees starter many of us have ever seen pitch.
Andy is scheduled to start two more games this season — in Yankee Stadium this Sunday and one in Houston next weekend. It’s fitting his final two games will come in the two cities he called home during his career. Mariano Rivera is retiring after the season as well, and it’s kinda neat that he and Pettitte are going out together. The two have teamed up for 72 win-save combinations over the years, by far the most in baseball history. It’s bittersweet to see Andy retire (again), and no, I definitely don’t expect another comeback attempt down the line.
Five questions for you this week and they’re all good ones. Might be biased, but I this is a quality mailbag. Send us any questions or comments or whatever through the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar.
Many people asked: What about signing Brian McCann this offseason?
Not sure what sparked it, but we got a ton of McCann questions this week. I guess people are just sick of watching the team’s current catchers on a daily basis.
Anyway, the 29-year-old McCann is scheduled to become a free agent this winter for first time in his career. A right shoulder injury really hampered him last season (87 wRC+), but he’s rebounded very well from offseason surgery to produce a .258/.333/.472 (125 wRC+) line that is right in line with his career norms (117 wRC+). Surgery on the front shoulder is a scary thing for a hitter, but McCann has come back very well and hasn’t seen a slip in his performance. It’s encouraging if nothing else.
Elite catchers — if McCann isn’t considered elite, then he’s damn close — almost never hit the open market, so McCann will be one of the hottest commodities out there this winter. Yadier Molina signed a five-year, $75M extension last year and I think that’s the baseline for McCann. Yes, we’re comparing an extension to a free agent, but Molina is also the better player. I think 5/75 is in the ballpark at least. Seems reasonable enough to me.
Now, the problem with signing a soon-to-be 30-year-old catcher to a five-year contract is that you can’t expect him to catch full-time all five years. It could happen, but McCann would be the exception and not the rule. I think you have to go into the deal thinking he can catch full-time for the first two years, split the third year at catcher and first base, then split the fourth and fifth years at first base and DH. Maybe you get lucky and you get three years as a full-time catcher instead of two.
McCann makes a ton of sense for the Yankees for many reasons. First and foremost, he’s a massive upgrade over their current catchers. He’s better than all of them put together. Secondly, he’s a left-handed hitter who should see his production tick up with the move into Yankee Stadium. Third, he has plenty of experience with division and playoff races and all that stuff. And fourth, the timeframe works well. A young catcher like Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy could be broken in slowly these next few years a la late-1990s Jorge Posada, and if things break right down the line, Gary Sanchez will be able to step in right when McCann is turning into a pumpkin. He’s a great, great fit for New York.
Nick asks: Who is Rule 5 Draft eligible this offseason?
For all intents and purposes — there are some exceptions, players drafted particularly young or old — it’s high school players from the 2009 draft and college players from the 2010 draft this year. International players who signed at 18 or younger prior to 2008 or signed at 19 or older prior to 2009 are eligible as well. It’s always tough to pin down the international guys because we usually don’t know the exact date they signed.
The Yankees already took care of one piece of Rule 5 Draft business by adding Murphy to the 40-man roster this month. He would have been eligible this year and obviously would have been protected. As best I can tell, the following players are also Rule 5 Draft eligible this winter: CF Slade Heathcott, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Bryan Mitchell, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Chase Whitley, and RHP Zach Nuding. That appears to be it among the legitimate prospects. Sanchez has at least one and possibly two more years to go before becoming eligible..
Heathcott is obviously going to be protected since he is one of the team’s top prospects. Greene, Kahnle, Burawa, and Whitley are all damn near MLB ready and would be prime Rule 5 Draft bait. All four would get picked if left unprotected. The Yankees floated Kahnle’s name in trade talks before the deadline (for both Alfonso Soriano and Michael Young), which leads me to believe they are leaning against not protecting him. They were trying to get something before losing him for nothing. Greene had the best year of those four and is the only one with a realistic chance of starting.
Mitchell has a great arm but it’s hard to believe he could stick on a 25-man roster all of next season. He’s someone who would get a look in Spring Training and be offered back, more than likely. Nuding too. That said, Jose Ramirez was in the same boat last year and he wound up being protected. The Yankees have been rather aggressive when it comes to protecting Rule 5 Draft guys in recent years — I feel like almost losing Ivan Nova to the Padres in 2008 scared them into protecting everyone — so I wouldn’t be surprised if they added Heathcott, Greene, Burawa, Whitley, and Mitchell to the 40-man this winter. Greene, Burawa, and Whitley would be up-and-down bullpen options as soon as next summer, if nothing else.
Kevin asks: As bad as the farm system was this year, doesn’t it seem just as likely next year could be a bounceback season? Say two of Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Heathcott bounce back, Sanchez stays steady, and Greg Bird and Rafael DePaula continue to progress, can’t you see next year we’re talking about a Top 10 system? This stuff seems to considerably vary year-to-year.
Definitely. This was a bad year for the farm system but there is a lot of potential room for improvement. Literally every team has those “if this guy bounces back, if that guy stays healthy, etc.” prospects, but the Yankees have more than most. They’re adding what amounts to five first round talents into the system as well: 3B Eric Jagielo, OF Aaron Judge, LHP Ian Clarkin, RHP Ty Hensley, and LHP Manny Banuelos. The first three were this summer’s first rounders and will be playing in their first full pro season while Hensley (2012 first rounder) and Banuelos (2012 top prospect) will be returning from injury. Full years from SS Abi Avelino and RHP Luis Severino will help as well. A lot would have to break right — it all won’t, some of these guys will inevitably disappoint — but the farm system has a chance to take a major, major step forward in 2014.
Paul asks: When does Joe Girardi have to announce a starter for a game? Is he able to use his Phil Hughes/David Huff tandem to somehow get the opposing manager to start his lefty-heavy lineup while starting Huff instead of Hughes?
The rulebook says that the starting pitcher becomes official when the lineup cards are exchanged at home plate before the start of the game. At that point the listed starter must face at least one batter before he can be replaced like every other pitcher. So, if they wanted the other team to start their lefty-mashing lineup against Hughes and replace him with Huff, they would have to wait at least one batter.
That said, this isn’t all that practical because Huff will need some time to warm up and the other club would see him getting ready in the bullpen beforehand. There’s also a gamesmanship aspect to this. I don’t think something like this would go over well around the game. If Hughes were to get hurt? Sure. But otherwise … eh.
Justin asks: Two part Brendan Ryan question. Recently, the YES announcers have quoted Kevin Long saying he could “fix” Ryan’s swing. A) Do you think that he can bring him to respectability of maybe a .260 hitter? B) Is he a better 2014 option over Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew?
Long is just a hitting coach, not a miracle worker. Ryan has never been an adequate hitter — career .252/.303/.341 hitter … in Triple-A — and it’s hard to think Long could do anything that would suddenly transform him from a .238/.300/.321 career big league hitter into say, a .260/.320/.350 guy for even one year. It could happen, baseball is weird like that, but I don’t think there’s enough starting material here for that to happen.
As for 2014, I think Ryan would be my last resort at shortstop. Well, second to last ahead of Eduardo Nunez. (Sorry Eddie, I’m over you.) I prefer Drew — a slick defender and a Yankee Stadium-friendly lefty hitter — over Peralta by quite a bit among free agent options, but both guys would be real nice fits next year. Drew could play short while Peralta takes over at third for the presumably suspended Alex Rodriguez. I do think — and this is completely baseless, by the way, just a guess — the Yankees want to avoid Biogenesis/PED guys going forward though, so Peralta might be a non-option. Ryan’s been a nice little late-season pickup but I absolutely do not want that guy penciled in as the number one shortstop come Opening Day.