The Boss has spoken, and Cashman and Torre are safe for the time being. This may be upsetting to some, but it’s a relief for others. The Yankees head to Texas in tact, in search of a few wins (with Phil Hughes’s’ first as a collateral gain).
This doesn’t mean, however, that there won’t be any shakeups. There are a few roster moves that could be made over the next few weeks that will completely alter the team’s game plan headed into the season. But that’s the beautify of baseball: the season is long, so if your initial plan fails, there’s still time to tinker with it and create something that works. And when you have a bank account like the Yanks, changing courses becomes that much easier.
Before any moves are made, questions must be asked. Is this person going to work out? Are we dealing with too small a sample size to make a decision? If we don’t unload this person now, what are the possible ramifications down the road? And on and on. We’re all pretty familiar with the team’s shortcomings right now, so let’s get down to it.
Most want him DFA’d, and I can’t disagree. Myers’s job is to get out tough lefties, but he’s been more of a mop up man this year — and there’s been tons of mopping to do. And, when he has been summoned to get a lefty out, he hasn’t been at the top of his game (though an Ortiz double and the Crawford slam are the only ones standing out in my mind).
There is little reason to carry Myers on the roster. Even though the numbers say he’s been better against righties this year, once again we’re faced with a tiny sample size. If he returns to his career norms, he’ll lose value as a mop-up man. And merely having a LOOGY on staff is a questionable practice, especially for a contenting team like the Yanks.
The solution: DFA him and call up Chris Britton. He’ll be able to work in higher leverage situations than Myers without giving the entire Stadium a heart attack. Britton handled his own in the AL East last year. He’s only pitched seven innings this year, and could definitely use the work. This is an easy to execute and smart move. In the words of California’s governor: Do it! Do it now!
Just when you’re ready to take your berating of Minky to the next level, he goes and hits a home run. That makes some people forget his shortcomings, but not us at RAB. When we see a line of .154/.241/.288, we don’t say “well, he hit a home run on Sunday.” We say, “eff the small sample size; how the hell is this guy on the team?” At the time and through right now, this was the worst move of the off-season. But there is still time to correct it.
What really irks me is the argument that the Yanks “have enough offense that they can have Minky in there.” This would be true if he was league average. But right now? Hell no. It’s like having the pitcher bat. So, basically, the Yanks are flushing away an advantage employed by every other team in the AL. You only have 27 outs per game, and Doug is eating way too many of them. Good thing that outs have no nutritional value.
The solution: Carrying three first basemen is kinda dumb, but when one is a mediocre glove and another is a terrible glove, you have to have a fielder in there somewhere. Either DFA Minky and reconfigure the first base situation, or start Phelps and let Minky come in as a defensive replacement. Then again, that leads to situations where Phelps bat may be needed later in the game, and…ah, eff it. Y’all know where I’m going with this.
He’s walking a ton of guys, which is never a good thing. He can probably right that ship, which would be nice, but there are further concerns with Viz.
Just check out his career numbers. Take particular notice to his numbers in the NL and his one season with Chicago. Yeah, his ERA was low in that season, but his strikeouts are abominably low. His strikeouts to walk stunk, too, which reeks of fluke. He just might not be cut out for the American League.
The solution: Plenty of NL teams need bullpen help (helooooo Phillies). Dish him. Hell, maybe we can snag a league-average first basemen out of the deal, or a backup catcher at the very least.
What to do with his bullpen spot? You can either have Colter Bean hold down the fort until something else comes along, or you can solve the mop-up man problem created by DFAing Myers by calling up Matt DeSalvo. Stick him in the bullpen and let him work multiple innings when needed. He can also spot start, which should help with this fragile rotation. Obviously, I like the latter one better.
Some may think I’m overreacting to a slump, but I think it goes beyond that. Even when Bobby was hitting well earlier in the season, his demeanor at the plate had me concerned. He was (and is) swinging at a lot more pitches than the guy we acquired last July (4.48 pitches per PA last year, 4.08 this year). On top of that, his swing looks very lazy, like he’s taking a nonviolent approach to baseball this season.
Problem is, he’s owed $15 million this year with a $16 mil player option for 2008. If he’s going anywhere (and there’s no way Cashman trades a name like Abreu mid-season), the receiving team will have to pick up that option, lest Bobby declines his no trade clause. That’s a tough spot there.
The solution: 1) Get him Jobu and some rum. 2) Failing that, you simply have to explore trade options. I’m not saying trade him for pennies on the dollar, but if you can get anything of value, it makes sense. To get around the money issue, Cashman could take Steinbrenner up on his offer to help in any way possible. The more of Abreu’s salary you pay, the more you get in return.
Unfortunately, this plan works a lot better with a 2006 version of Melky. Since we’re stuck with a flailing, lost Melky, it actually makes Abreu more valuable. Senor Hustle had better start taking pitches and hitting balls into the gaps. Either that, or get someone to make a sex tape with his girlfriend.
Everything else I’m either content with, or think change is far too impractical. I won’t call for an overhaul of the rotation, because it won’t look too bad as of this week: Wang – Pettitte – Mussina – Hughes – Igawa. And then there’s the possibility of Clemens, though that doesn’t seem likely given the way the team looks now. There is always the possibility that we see Ian Kennedy in August, a la John Lackey for the Angels in 2002.
The bullpen, given the aforementioned moves and the starters actually going six or seven innings, should be fine. And then you have possibilities for later in the season, like Chase Wright being the second lefty or Mike’s boy David Robertson getting a shot. Hell, even Robetson’s teammate, Jon Hovis, is looking dominant in the lower levels. They may not be up until later on, and they might not make a significant impact, but they’re things to think about.
See, that wasn’t so bad. Just some jettisoning of your not-so-favorite players in order to benefit the team. Yeah, some of them aren’t very plausible (Abreu), but some of them are downright necessary (Myers and Mink). I guess we’ll see what the real-life Yankees will do. Goddammit — it had better be something.