Friday, May 18, 2007

Where We Are Now....

The more things change, the more they are apparently going to stay the same. Halfway through March, about 40 games, the Bombers find themselves still a sub .500 team.

There are two guys in the daily lineup - not surprisingly, the ones with the rings, and they are the only two that got the memo that the regular season has started: Posada and Jeter are stepping it up big time. They have to be wondering what the hell is up with the rest of their teammates - are they in or are they out?

Speaking of outs, I believe Matsui is leading the league in double plays.

Pitching has improved some but still has room for improvement. It is hard to believe what Mo Rivera's numbers look like this late into the season: 1-3, 3 Saves, 8.56 ERA. Wow.

And while the overall pitching has improved from the dreadful start of the season, the bats have gone cold - I mean Ice Age cold, and has been in a steady decline since the last week of April. Damon, Abreu, Cano, and Cabrera couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat right now. Is there a more mentally weak player than Abreu - he's no superstar he doesn't have the stuff. As for A-Rod, while still leading the league in production overall, he has stepped into a deep freeze as well - so far this month we've seen his average drop by 60 points, and only hit for 1HR/5RBIs.

All is not lost - Ron Villone has looked solid in his limited work in relief since being brought up. Pettitte is doing what he can with an ERA after 8 games of 2.68. And truly, since Mike Meyers stepped it up and went 4 innings in mop-up duty a few weeks ago, I have a now found respect for this guy: 20 games, 18 innings, ERA of 1.93 - not bad.

So what's going to happen? Either we are going to see a sharp reversion to the mean from a numbers standpoint and start the climb. I'm talking about some of these players (Damon, Cano, Abreu, Matsui and Giambi) players getting their stuff back up to a career average standpoint. Which in some cases would require a 50 to 100 point climb in average and on-base %. Start winning and win often. At the end of the day though, if things do not improve, or at least start to improve, we may have to realize that 2007 is not going to be the year it was thought it could have been.

If the reversion to the mean scenario is to play out, I'd like it to start against the ladies from Queens this weekend (inter league play sucks!!).

Other Notes - Ichiro has been in the press lately - which is unusual for him. He's a free agent at the end of the season, and coincidentally enough, wears number 51 out of respect for his favorite player (Bernie Williams). Anybody else up for letting Abreu go in favor of Suzuki?? ESPN 2 is airing the Class A Tampa game tonight. Class A gets a shot on national cable. You know its going to be a circus when Clemens debuts for the Yanks in a real game if they're airing Single A ball. Outside of the attention that Clemens will get, it'll be an opportunity to see Jose Tabata play - this kid is the real deal.

Will the real Yankees please stand up?


old professor said...

The output from the current Yankee team is not going to change. Tino Martinez was asked in an interview his opinion of what was wrong with the team. He was very candid by saying it does not appear that everyone is going out to play everyday and that on any given day only one or two people are giving 100%. In essence, a majority of the team is phoning it in.

Paul O'Neill painted an even clearer picture - "these guys are not taking the field expecting to win, they are accepting the loses".

It would appear this team needs an infusion of players that are hungry and they need someone to actually be a leader on the team.

The Torre method of quiet leadership has run its course and it is questionable this team can put together the run that will be needed to contend (the Bob Lemon versus Billy Martin approach - Lemon brought quiet stability when it was needed, but it didn't work the following year and Martin lit a fire and got the team rolling). And honestly, he may be distracted by his brother's illness and that is explainable. He and Frank are very close and at Joe's age he may finally realize there are more important things in life than managing the Yankees. (He does have a very young child at home and may want to spend more time with her).

They seem incapable of doing the little things to win games (i.e. moving runners over with less than two outs).

The first shot was fired on Thursday when Torre benched Damon in favor of Cabrera. Shot number two comes tonight when Giambi sits and does not play first base in the Yankees-Mets opener (this was announced during yesterday's game).

It may now be obvious the Yankees could have gotten as much out of Bernie Williams and they have out of Abreu. Abreu may have just about played himself out of town.

The next six games will either bring the Yankees back into contention or end their season. For one of the players to say after the loss to Chicago on Thursday that the Mets series will get them fired up is ludicrous and reflects back to what Tino said. Players are phoning it in and may get excited when they play the Mets.

As for Matsui and hitting into double plays. He led the league each of the last two years. However, he is starting to make contact and hit. He has brought his average up to .280. (Which may be third on the team).

Scooter you may be right about Cashman being a below average GM. However, he did resist trading Hughes and some of the younger players to bring in aging veterans. (By the way Pete Wilson age 38 just signed a minor league contract with the Yankees and is working out in Tampa - yes the same Pete Wilson that was with the Mets and every other national league team).

He has build a strong base for the Yankee future. Next year's rotation could be: Wang, Mussina, DeSalvo, Hughes and Sanchez or Rasner or Clippard.

This could be the year where you bit the bullet allow aging veteran contracts to expire and rebuild with youth. Of which, how long before Ciaro goes down the road in favor of Basak?

Anonymous said...

Who would be the replacement of the quiet leadership? Bowa? Girardi? Pena?

Any final word on whether or not Pavano is going under the knife?

Perhaps Rivera is stressed due to it being a contract year. On the contract year front - if Posada keeps this pace up - he's getting paid some serious jack.

The Scooter said...

The signing of Clemens assures that Torre will finish out the year at the helm. Rocket made it perfectly clear that one of the big reasons that he chose the Yankees was the fact that he wanted to play for Joe again.

I found Tino's comments disturbing because they come from a guy who has no axe to grind with Torre or the Yankees and it comes from a guy who can tell whether effort is being exerted.

I think this all starts with Johnny Damon. He hasn't been right (and I'm talking mentally, not physically) all year long. He had to leave spring training for a few games for "personal reasons" and his fire has been non-existent. Maybe all the physical ailments that he has faced is starting to beat him down mentally. I think a stint on the DL may benefit him on all fronts.

I may be the eternal optimist here, but I have seen signs of Abreu snapping out of his season long slump. He seems to be making some decent contact going the other way lately. Listen, a good hitter just doesn't forget how to hit, overnight; and he's not at the age where his skills should be breaking down. I still think he will bounce back. That being said, Mid...I would replace him with Ichiro in a second.

If Giambi's bone spur calms down he will be a run producer. It is what it is. If he is hurt all year the Yankees are doomed anyway.

I can't figure out Cano. To me, his struggles are the most disappointing. Is it time to start questioning the hitting coach? Maybe moving Donnie Baseball to the Bench Coach role was a mistake.

I'm prediction: They Sweep the Mets and they Sweep the Sox....How's that for optimism.

CrashDavis said...

Cano had a fluke season last year. Face it this is the real Cano. Damon is old, Abreu hasn't been right since 2005. Farnsworth just punched his ticket out with his mouth. Giambi is hurt again which seems to happen every year now. Jeter and Posada are the only guys giving it up every day. They should keep those 2 guys and basically call everyone up from S/WB and ditch the rest. Cashman is not overrated. MANY GMs around the league consider him one of the best.

Mid said...

I watched the game last night - it was one of the shortest MLB games I've ever watched - It may have been less than 2 hours - anywaw, the problem with the offense is the types of at bats they are putting in. They are no longer working pitchers.

It was wierd, even though Giambi struck out to end the game, I thought it was a good at bat in that he battled for 8 to 9 pitches. That used to be the norm - now its the exception.

How about Clemens in his debut? Not bad, throws 50 pitches before the game starts, throws 58 during the game, and then finishes with 25 more after the game. He'll be ready after one more start hopefully.

Mid said...

As far as getting rid of everyone and bringing up the boys from S/WB, and maybe Tabata - if it means guys playing excited and trying to win - then I'd be for it I guess.

Damon is messed in the head right now. And, clearly it was a mistake to pick up Abreu - should have kept Shef for one more season - Shef, love him or hate him, he never phoned in a game while in the Stripes.

old professor said...

Watched the entire series against the Mets. The Yankee versus Mets dugout says it all. There is an enthusiasm in the Mets dugout. Randolph is always near or at the top of the dugout and pushing his players. They are aggressive on the basepaths and keep pressure on teams.

Compare that to what you see in the Yankee dugout. No enthusiasm, players appear to be talking about anything other than the game and Joe seems a million miles away.

Tino called as he sees it.

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