Not a huge milestone, but today is the day teams and players exchange arbitration figures. Wilson Betemit, Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Bruney, and Robinson Cano are due raises. Teams and players can negotiate contacts up until the hearing, so today is just a formality. As PeteAbe notes, the Yanks never give out long-term contracts to arbitration guys. They even went to a hearing with Derek Jeter before the ’99 season — and lost.
The Yankees have asked Robinson Cano to pull out of his winter league team in the DR. They don’t want their second baseman to reaggrevate an old calf injury. Can’t say I blame them on this one.
Mark Loretta signings asides, based on reports this morning, it sounds like the Yanks aren’t even considering trading Robinson Canó. Jack Curry at The Times writes that the latest trade offer includes “pitcher Ian Kennedy, center fielder Melky Cabrera and at least one minor league prospect, perhaps outfielder José Tabata.” The Yanks feel they could have Santana if they offered up Hughes, but they are rightfully reluctant to part with the youngster. Canó’s name is not at all mentioned. Just say no to trading Canó.
I was surprised to read though the game comments from last night and find only one remark on Eric Wedge’s decision to intentionally walk Hideki Matsui in the sixth last night. I was further surprised to see no mention of it in a handful of Cleveland papers. So I’ll keep this brief, since most people either didn’t think it was important, or didn’t think it was a bad move.
With runners on second and third with one out and two lefties coming up, conventional strategy would dictate that you walk the first one and pitch to the second, with the hopes of him hitting into a double play. This is one area where I think conventional wisdom needs to be tossed out the window. Hideki Matsui hasn’t looked comfortable at the plate since early September. Yes, he was 2 for 2 at that point, and his second hit looked pretty. But walking him to get to Cano, in my opinion, was a terrible call, situation or not. Any of my friends watching the game with me can attest to my first-guessing of Wedge on that one.
I do like Eric Wedge, but he demonstrated a lack of critical thinking by walking Matsui; it was based entirely on a static situation: second and third, one out, down by two. You don’t want to play the infield in, because a flare would then be two runs. You don’t want to play back, because then a groundball or a long fly makes it a three-run game. But at some point, you have to consider the players involved. Cano has murdered lefties this year — .328/.374/.490 — and those numbers were surely inflated by bullpen arms like Fultz.
Anyone else feel strongly about this one way or another? I’m guessing not, but I really think the decision itself was an understated moment in the game.
Oh, and just for another talking point, here’s an excerpt from the AP game story:
Alex Rodriguez stopped his postseason hitless streak at 18 at-bats with a second-inning single and also beat out an infield single. But he remained in a 6-for-54 (.111) playoff funk with no RBIs dating to his Game 4 home run against Boston three years ago.
He could have gone 4 for 4 and he still would have had poor numbers in the long haul. Why the media continues to harp on A-Rod, even when he has a quality game, is beyond me. He went 2 for 4 and started the inning that blew the game open. Hopefully he can go 10 for 4 tonight and really break out of this slump.
Anyone else think that Robinson Cano is totally sleeping with Kim Jones? That post-game interview today pretty much sealed the deal for me.
Update by Joe: Don’t worry. Once Robbie signs a seven-figure deal, he won’t have to sleep with the Kim Jones’s of the world.
If you want to see for yourself, here’s the link. Stupid YES won’t let you embed their YouTube videos.
After going 0 for 5 with 2 K and 7 LOB against the best pitching team in the AL (by a helluva margin I might add), Robbie Cano was dropped from third to ninth in the lineup by Joe “Look, I already told you, I have people skills; what the hell is wrong with you people!!!” Torre. Way to instill a little confidence in the kid Joe; god forbid you give him more than…I dunno…one frickin’ game to prove himself.
If it was calling the shots, I’d have given Robbie at least 2 or 3 more games to show me whether or not he can cut it in the 3-hole. Day-night splits be damned, you don’t hit .340+ over a full season in the major leagues by accident. If Joe’s not going give Robbie a fair shake, then he’s got to do either one of two things: a) move Jeter to the 3-hole full-time, or b) go old school and bump everyone in the lineup up a notch (A-Rod bats 3rd, Posada 4th, Matsui 5th, and so on).
It’s July 2nd and the team’s 11 GB in the division (9 GB in the Wildcard), it’s time to stop fuckin’ around with the lineup and get the best players the most AB’s possible.
Back in May of 2005, we saw the debut of Robinson Cano. He wasn’t exactly a highly regarded prospect — the Diamondbacks rejected him as part of a trade-deadline Randy Johnson trade in 2004. But he tore up AAA in April, and was given the call once the Yanks realized that Tony Womack wasn’t going to cut it (which was about four and a half months after the rest of the league knew it). He ended up being an enormous upgrade, hitting .297/.320/.458 for the season, with 14 homers and 34 doubles on his way to placing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He also struck out only 68 times in 551 plate appearances, a more than respectable 12% rate (which went along with his minor league numbers post-2002). However, one bit of criticism prevailed: the dude swings at everything.