Monday, March 22, 2010

Half way through

So we are now a little more than half way through spring training. Just 13 days left before the Yanks open the season (against Boston of all teams) defending title #27 and in pursuit of #28.

Looks like Gardner will be the starting LF, I think his average is up to about .280 for the spring. Randy Winn, Marcus Thames and Jamie Hoffman have all struggled so far and really have not provided any competition for the starting job.

The #5 starter should be announced this week. While I still feel Joba has the inside track due to the time invested over the last season, if solely going by the #'s this spring I think it's Hughes, Mitre, Aceves, then Joba...the only one Joba has arguably been better than is Chad Gaudin.

Refreshing to see the Twins sign Joe Mauer to an extension, 8 years at $184 ($23MM per). Hard to say the Twins got a deal by signing him to "only $23MM", but I think Mauer and his agent definitely gave a hometown discount to the Twins as he would have easily received 8-10 years at $25 per on the open market. He could have just walked away from $50-$70MM by signing that deal.

Syracuse is still in the hunt for the National Championship in basketball as they move into the Sweet 16. Butler should be a tough game for them especially if the big man Arinze Onuaku is out.There has been some major upsets in the tourney this year so far, and the games have been pretty exciting to watch. I've also caught a couple Syracuse lacrosse games, I believe they are ranked in the Top 5, they're 4-1...the one being a 1 goal loss at #2 Virginia...they could repeat as National Champs.


Crash said...

Missed that the Yankees have reassigned Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, and Colin Curtis yesterday. Montero will begin the year at AAA S/WB, while Romine will be in AA Trenton. Believe Curtis is in S/WB. I would be shocked if Montero doesn't get a call up sometime this year. It could be due to injury needs or it could just be a September call up, but we will see him in the Bronx, barring injury.

Crash said...

The Yankees Rule 5 pick Jamie Hoffmann cleared waivers and was returned to the Dodgers. Well that was a wasted Rule 5 pick. Essentially the Yankees just gave Brian Bruney to the Nationals for nothing.

old professor said...

Too bad about Curtis, he has had a great spring and for all his work he gets sent back down. Agreed with the Hoffman deal. Nationals got Bruney for nothing, which may give you an idea on how much the Yankees soured on him.

I am not convinced the Yankees will go with Thames or Winn as a fourth outfielder. Here is some food for thought - Dukes was recently released and he was targeted as the Nationals (?) starting rightfielder. He would give the Yankees a more athletic and younger #4 though he does have a history of bad behavior.

Crash said...

History of bad behavior...he was dumb enough to threaten his girlfriend's life on a voice mail...the Nationals actually had hired a former cop to babysit him to keep him out of trouble. He couldn't handle the big leagues in places like Tampa and DC where baseball is an afterthought and you want him NY??? No thanks.

Crash said...

So the big decision regarding #5 will be announced Friday.

Yankees have waived Chad Gaudin. He's had an awful spring, but he was serviceable last year. I think if he put up decent numbers this spring he would have made the club and possibly even been considered for the #5 spot. Wouldn't be surprised to see Thames get waived this week either.

Also scheduled for Friday is A-Rod's visit with the Feds about the Canadian doctor.

old professor said...

Regarding Gaudin, you had to think the Yankees were not serious about keeping him. He was the only pitcher on the active post-season roster that did not get into the series that is pretty telling regarding the team's outlook on him. By putting him on waivers, they could (a) find a team to trade him to, (b) release him, or (c)outright him to the minor leagues. I believe the final decision has to be made in 10 days.

Crash said...

Joel Sherman is making some big claims...he is reporting that the Yankees will start the season with Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF.

To me this makes sense...if you recall I mentioned at the time of the trade that Granderson had better defeinsive stats in LF vs. CF and his CF defense was one reason for the trade. Complimenting that was Gardner's defense in CF was superior than in his LF play. This gives the team the optimal defense in the OF. Additionally it sets the team up next year to acquire Crawford. If Gardner is anything close to successful it increases his trade value as a quality CF is hard to come by. Or Swisher may be the odd man out, his contract begins to escalate in value the next couple of years and his defense in RF isn't all that impressive.

Now in addition to that "bombshell", Joel Sherman is also reporting that Phil Hughes will be named the 5th starter. To me this makes sense, as I have always stated that Joba belongs in the pen, but it is somewhat a surprise as I thought time invested in Joba last season would way heavily on the decision.

It's like Cashman & Girardi are reading this blog. When are they going to hire me?!?!?

old professor said...

When you think about the choices for the Yankee outfield what other choices do they have other than Granderson and Gardner. The biggest issue I have will be the lack of defense. Gardner has not been consistent. Last year if I am not wrong, he had a decent spring and was given the starting job - only to see his bat go cold in addition to breaking a finger. Melky ended up the starting centerfielder with gardner religated to defensive substitution. Granderson has new contact lenses, but it has not helped his offense at all this spring. Any game where the Yankees top five hitters go cold will mean a real bad game because they will not get any offense at the bottom of the order.

Hughes should be the #5 starter (by default - he just was not as bad as all of the other candidates). Joba is just to tentative in a starting role and does not exhibit the bulldog mentality he does when he comes out of the pen.

If Hughes goes to the rotation, I really hope they don't adopt special rules for him. (For example, five innings and bring in Aceves). It will also be interesting to see who sticks in the pen. Ring, Logan and Melanchan have all had very good springs, as has Mitre. I cannot see all four of those guys going north with the team. Unfortunately, the Yankees are saddled with Marte's contract.

Too bad that Mid, Scooter an 57 have not been involved this year. though 57 is probably hyping the Mets (that will last until the end of April).

Crash said...

Correcting my earlier post...Sherman is reporting Granderson is the starting CF not Gardner. To me this a non-story as Cashman had all along stated Granderson would be the starting CF.

Sorry for the mistake.

Crash said...

Yankees beat the Nats yesterday. Yankees spring record is 9-11...Javier Vazquez looked pretty good. Cano and Swisher are hitting well. Yankees have a game today against the Orioles. Think Aceves gets the start, which should be his last chance to impress for the starting job...if the competition is still open. Yankees have 11 more spring training games, and 1 exhibition game which is against the "Yankees Future Stars".

Couple of notes that I saw with 3 former Yankees:

1. Edwar Ramirez has been traded again this spring. He's now with the A's.

2. Daniel McCutchen has been named the #5 starter for the Pirates.

3. Doc Gooden, arrested, drugs...think we've seen that one before.

Non-Yankee news...the Mets are already looking to trade Gary Matthews Jr. I'm surprised it took this long.

old professor said...

Regarding Gooden - it was another DUI not drugs. Isn't McCutchen an outfielder?? The Pirates could be in for another long season. Their pitching other than 1 and 2 are really shakey - Olendorpf gave up 9 runs in four innings the other day and Karstens has been getting hit as well.

In yesterday's game there was a slight surprise - Cervelli played third base. That would be a somewhat of a surprise if he suddenly becomes a backup infielder.

Pitching yesterday looked good (okay it was the Nationals) Mate pitched a scoreless inning and lowered his Spring ERA to 27.00.

Crash said...

They have 2 McCutchen, Andrew is the OF, Daniel the 5th starter.

Gooden was a DUI...but he was under the influence of an "undetermined" drug not alcohol.

So much for waiving Gaudin, the Yankees just gave him his unconditional release.

old professor said...

I cannot believe the Yankees could not have traded Gaudin. I mean even it if were for some guy in singe A, instead, the let him go and get nothing for him, plus they now must pay 25% of his salary.

old professor said...

Well, its now official, Hughes has been given the 5th spot in the rotation (earned the spot). The question is whether he remains with the team or goes to the minors to pitch. The Team will only need a fifth starter twice in the month of April as they have most Mondays off. If they want to begin a modified innings count that may be where they have to start him. Give him three or four games at AAA during April. Let him throw four or five innings each game and then bring him up in May.

On a sad not, Aceves got lit up again against Baltimore. He gave up six runs in four innings. He is either hurt or mentally down.

old professor said...

After yesterday's showing, one has to wonder whether Aceves will be on the 25 man opening day roster. He has not pitched well over the last couple of weeks and yesterday could not get out of the third inning. Park has looked sharp and could actually become the eighth inning guy if Joba can't handle the pressure. I have not been impressed with the individuals the Yankees were counting on to solidify the bullpen this season: Robertson, Aceves, Marte have all had pretty weak springs. Joba is carrying an ERA of over 6.00. They better hope the starters are stretched out and ready to go deep into the games because the bullpen looks like an impending train wreck.

Crash said...

I saw one speculation that Boon Logan will actually be the setup guy and Girardi will send Joba down to AAA to keep his innings up and work on command. That would be a hard pill to swallow for Joba, he's been in the big leagues for 2 full seasons now and to be sent down now could crush him.

Now if the Yankees are going to put an innings limit on this kid I would say keep in Florida for the 1st month then bring him up. This way you don't have to juggle your rotation in a pennant race. The Yankees wouldn't need a #5 starter until April 17th anyways. Give Aceves a start in April, give Mitre a start in April, then you can bring Hughes up the first of May and not have to worry about innings the rest of the year.

And before we bash Joba (or Hughes for that matter) lets keep in mind they are both still very young. Joba is 24 Hughes is 23. They have a taste of the big leagues and now a Championship, they know what it takes, this is when it should come together for them.

old professor said...

Crash, you talk about Joba being in the Majors for two full seasons and still being only 24. After two full seasons, he should know what is expected and how to perform at the high levels. Sometimes he acts as if he doesn't have to worry because he is some kind of cult hero - his "cult" status if that is what you can call it died a long time ago and it is time he stands and delivers.

Hughes has a greater upside than Joba and may actually be more game savy than Joba.

Cashman made a statement regarding carrying two lefties in the pen to start the season, but does not want them to be simply situational pitchers - I am not sure but that would pretty much rule out Logan and Ring (both who have pitched effectively this spring). What other lefties do they have that can work out of the pen??

Oh and so much for Syracuse making a run for the National Title. Butler is a solid team, but should not have been even close to the Orange. It would appear they really missed their senior big guy considering his replacement could not catch and hold anything.

Crash said...

Syracuse lost that game, Butler didn't win it...Butler did not impress me at all. Syracuse shot less than 30% in the first half and played very sloppy basketball the entire game leading to a lot of turnovers.

Crash said...

Less than a week and only a handful of meaningless games to be played before the season actually starts.

The Joba debate has been in full swing since the announcement of Hughes won the #5 spot. I think everyone except for the Yankees front office is on board that this guy belongs in the pen.

As I see it the Yankees really have 2 options. 1. They can really begin to prep and pump up Joba by telling him he is next in line if/when Mo retires to assume the closing responsibilities.

2. If the Yankees want to try this failed starter experiemnt all over again next season, they need to keep his innings up. They can do this by having him pitch 2 innings in the setup role, a la 1996 with Mo and Wettland. This would put him around 120-140 innings by seasons end, depending on # of appearances. This would allow the Yankees to go into next season with out a new set of Joba rules with inning limits, etc. If he pitches just one inning a night then you're looking at between 60-70 IP and they will need to stretch him out again in 2011.

I've never seen a team look so bad at trying to do the right thing. They have really messed this up.

Later this week I will put up a new post for predictions!

old professor said...

Okay let's start with the Joba thing. Chamberlain will not be the next closer. You may remember they have been forecasting and prognosticating that Mark Melachon will be the heir apparentl. I do agree that Joba could pitch the seventh and eighth innings and build his innings that way. I do not believe the guy has the stuff to translate into a starter. When he has to pace himself, his fastball becomes flat, people know when he si going to throw the slider and he has no faith in his change-up. Mentality wise I do not believe he has the makeup to be a starter either. He tries to be too fine and nibble versus going right after the hitters.

Hughes has both a variety of pitches and the mentaility to be a starter.

Amazing that both young players Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson will make the 25 man roster with their new teams. Kennedy has made the Diamondbacks rotation and Jackson will be the starting centerfielder for the Tigers. The Yankees will regret trading both of these young guys who will eventually blossom into better than average ballplayers.

old professor said... did a nice piece on some of the Yankee Prospects. They list Jeremy Bleich, Zach McAllister, Marck Melancon, Jesus Montero and Austin Roamine as the top five prospects to watch. Ivan Nova and Edward Nuenez also made the list.

old professor said...

There will be a lot of coverage of one of the Yankees split squad games today against the Braves. Girardi is bringing Pat Vandetti with the major leaguers to get him some action. Vandetti is the switch-pitcher that had 22 saves last season in the minors. After some issues with hitters and pitchers being able to constantly switch around from side to side, the major league rules committee issued a rules change that will allow a hitter and pitcher to switch only once during a hitters plate appearance.

Crash said...

So yesterday at 10AM I post something about Joba going 2 innings to keep his innings up...even made the referrence to '96...then on another Yankees blog (that I will not mention by name, because they didn't mention us)5 hours later this shows up...

"Could Joba Chamberlain pitch multiple innings – two at the most, the seventh and the eighth – out of the bullpen this season? According to Joe Girardi, it remains a possibility. “I think it’s something that you can look at,” noted Girardi on Saturday, after Joba’s first “official” appearance as a reliever, in which he tossed a single scoreless inning against Detroit. “A lot of that would depend on the group as a whole, and how they’re doing,” Girardi added. “Mo did it very well in ’96–probably as good as it’s ever been done. Because [Joba] is stretched out, he has the ability to do that.”

If the Yankees actually view Joba as a future starter, allowing the young righty to throw two innings in certain outings – not all, but some – would provide valuable opportunities to work on his secondary pitches. However, as Girardi outlined, that decision will depend on how the bullpen, which Joba is again a part of, is performing collectively.

I didn't even get a mention or cited...probably the most blatant form of plagiarism I've ever seen...

Old Prof I think you're kind of right...Austin Jackson is going to be a stud OF and the Yankees were foolish to trade him. The Yankees didn't want to go into this season with an OF of Melky, Swisher, Gardner and Jackson. There would be too many questions and not enough power. Gardner's speed made him too valuable, Swisher is a good clubhouse guy. Jackson was the prospect. He loses out. I think the Yankees caught a break with Melky, he put up a decent year and brought his trade value back up, that made perfect sense to me. Jackson is the starting CF and will do well, his power #'s won't be great right away (partly because of CoAmerica Park), but he will be very good.

Ian Kennedy will also do well, he could be a legit #2 or #3 starter on any rotation. That being said, I think the Yankees were right in trading him though as he didn't have the right make up for NY.

old professor said...

I am beginning to think the Yankees may have to decide if Marte is going to make the team. He has not pitched well - yesterday one inning and one run his ERA is now 9.00. Logan was solid again and has a 2.00 ERA this spring.

It will also be interesting to see what they do with John Weber, he was a late signing, can play first and some dh. He hits left handed and is batting .485 this spring. He may be the surprise bat of the bench because he can go deep. (The drawback may be that he is lefthanded and the Yankees will need something of the bench righthanded.)

Crash said...

Weber was cut last night (saw a tweet from Mark Feinsand confirming). Weber handled well, saying it was "Best time in my life and my career that I've ever had. I made it to the final week with the NY Yankees." He batted .483 this spring.

Marte will make the team, they really have no choice. He's signed to a multi-year contract and it's all guaranteed money. He can't be sent down, he wouldn't clear waivers, if they cut him they still have to pay him $8.25MM. Hopefully he gets straight in the season or the Yankees can trade him...I would imagine tons of teams would be lining up for a lefty reliever/former closer.

Pat Venditte got a little national attention last night on ESPN, that's the ambidextrous pitcher. He hasn't had a great spring but so far his minor league numbers are impressive. I would guess he gets to start the season at AA Trenton.

Mitre pitched real well yesterday. 2 ER in 6IP. He's earned a spot on the club this spring and will most likely be the long man/emergency starter.

I think Posada will have a very good season this year. Read somewhere that the Yankees were upset that Jesus Montero came to camp out of shape this year, though he did take his conditioning seriously once in camp. I think that will be a lesson learned. I still think we see him this year sometime.

old professor said...

Too bad about Weber, while not as quick as Winn or Golston, he would have given them a reliable outfielder who could dh and play first and HIT. Hopefully they moved him to AAA and can be useful in the near future.

Read recently that Wang has been throwing in the pen for the Nationals and is up to 45 pitches and apparently is feeling good and his stuff is returning. He too could have been servieable for the Yankees.

old professor said...

Crash, has Weber been released or has he been reassigned to AAA?

Crash said...

The initial tweet from Feinsand said "cut". said he has been reassigned to minor league camp, he'll be at AAA SWB. He's 32 years old, and has never made it to the big leagues. He probably deserved a call up last year but never got it. I would bet he gets it this year after this performance at spring camp.

Also read the first start for Phil Hughes will be April 15th against LA Angels.

Support the Troops