"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Fight, Fight

There was no brawl in Baltimore last night, but the signs for one were there. Carl Pavano initiated the bad feelings when he plunked Brian Roberts in the back following Larry Bigbie’s solo home run. Several innings later, Daniel Cabrera retaliated by throwing behind Alex Rodriguez. Both teams were issued a warning by home plate umpire Marty Foster and that was that. But Orioles’ reliever Steve Kline–who looks like Mike Stanton’s disheveled kid brother–provided some theatrics in the seventh inning when he was called for a balk. With the game tied at four and Jorge Posada on first base, Jason Giambi was at the plate with the count 3-0 in his favor. On the YES broadcast you could hear someone shout “Balk!” The announcers later speculated that the Orioles believed that the Yankee bench had convinced the ump to make the call. Either way, Kline absolutely lost it, and was quickly run from the game.

He later told reporters:

“I just think they favor the Yankees all the time,” he said. “I’m getting [upset] at that. They suck up to them. They’re the cream of the crop.”

…”I didn’t do anything to deceive the runner. It was a bull … call,” Kline said. “I’ve played nine years and only had like one balk call my whole life. Now I have three [this season]. Once you get hit once, they look at you real hard.”

…”I just asked [Foster] what I did and he tossed me right away,” Kline said. “I used a couple of bad words, but you have to understand we’re in the middle of a game. I said, ‘Hell, if I’m going to be gone, I might as well get my money’s worth.’ I was debating if I wanted to put him in the cobra clutch.”
(Baltimore Sun)

Jorge Julio replaced Kline, intentionally walked Giambi, and then got Ruben Sierra to hit a ground ball to first base. But Sierra hustled all the way down the line, and beat the relay throw, avoiding the double play. YES showed the replay several times, and it was a lot of fun to see two beefy guys like Julio and Sierra in a mad dash for first base. Ruben still has some speed in him yet. Pinch-hitter, Bernie Williams followed, and launched a line drive to center field for a sacrifice fly, giving the Yanks the lead for good. (Gary Sheffield added an RBI single in the ninth, making the final score, 6-4.) Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth and the Yanks gained a game on the Red Sox who lost to Cleveland at Fenway Park. New York trials Boston by five-and-a-half games, while Baltimore remains two-and-a-half out.

It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was nice to see the Yankees come from behind again (they trailed 4-1 at one point). Pavano was not brilliant, and Hideki Matsui looked rusty in his return to left field, but the Yankees turned three double plays, earned nine walks, got a big night out of Ruben Sierra, and saw the bullpen shut the home team down over the last three innings.


Yankee executives will meet with George Steinbrenner in Tampa today to discuss what direction the team should take moving forward:

“My patience is a little short, because the team isn’t performing up to its great capability,” Steinbrenner said Monday through his spokesman, Howard Rubenstein. “The players have to want to win as much as I do.”

Wonder if George will order his team through the paddy-whack machine if they continue to disapoint him.

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1 rbj   ~  Jun 28, 2005 6:03 am

1.  The Os' broadcasters didn't see Kline balk. FWIW, it was real hard for me to see one either. They also ripped Lugo for not hustling immediately to first on Sierra's groundball.

2 Yanks in NH   ~  Jun 28, 2005 6:17 am

2.  I'm of the same mind as Cashman that there really is not much that can be done to improve this team dramatically - the talent is there, they just need to play to that level and definitely are not doing that this season. With the exception of maybe Tony Womack that is, but who would be interested in him with the very unimpressive stats he is posting!

Trading Cano or Wang would be the worst thing they could do as they have both been very impressive to date, especially compared to the rest of the team. Wang has been great if you throw out the 2 games against the Devil Rays which for some reason is a team that none of our pitchers seem to be able to handle. Someone else on this blog recently commented that Cano is just mediocre and I strongly disagree. Look at what he has done in just a short time here as a rookie - he's here to stay in the Majors and has some excellent production coming out of a second baseman.

Interested to hear other's thoughts...

3 22Ryan   ~  Jun 28, 2005 6:17 am

3.  That would be Jorge Julio, not Julio Logo. Also, the O's broadcasters are hardly impartial. Have noticed a difference this year with Palmer, who seems more into it iwth the team doing well.

4 Dan M   ~  Jun 28, 2005 6:25 am

4.  rbj, Giambi reacted to the balk immediately, so I don't think the bench had anything to do with it. And even if they did, Kline/O's announcers should have no beef, because Pavano was called for one earlier - which led to an O's run - that the "impartial" Yanks radio announcers couldn't see. Comes around, goes around.

5 Ryan   ~  Jun 28, 2005 7:13 am

5.  RE: Cano

7 BB in 179 ABs should be some cause for concern. But, he is still young and hopefully this will improve..

6 murphy   ~  Jun 28, 2005 7:29 am

6.  re: cano, wang

wang has had a couple of so-so starts, so i would not be as inclined to fight for him to stay. there's a big part of me that LOVES the idea of bringing an arm up from the farm system and giving him a shot to develop (which, in my mind, means bye-bye mel), but right now it's a question of how much he's worth to the yanks vs. how much he's worth to other teams.

now, as per cano: this kid is great. he will have no choice but to learn plate discipline in this lineup (and if we hit him in the 2 spot, he would see more pitches). right across town, jose reyes took eleventeen at-bats to get his first walk of the year and no one talked about benching/trading him - and he's had a bit more time in the bigs. he has had (save the one boot on sunday) a good couple of weeks in the field and he's also been hitting well AND at the right times. on saturday, he was responsible for ALL of the team's runs, and on sunday, when they walked matsui and i assumed giambi was an automatic out (hehehe), i was excited to put the game in cano's hands. this guys is here to stay!

7 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 28, 2005 7:36 am

7.  Thanks. Fixed it.

8 STONER   ~  Jun 28, 2005 7:46 am

8.  On the YES broadcast, they had a closeup of Kline when he balked...I was watching it and said to myself - hey, he just balked and then, well, all hell broke loose - funny stuff! Yes, good win last night, man, I hope they get on a roll.

9 debris   ~  Jun 28, 2005 7:51 am

9.  Cano's numbers are certainly mediocre. His on base percentage is lousy, his slugging is good. His defense is par. However, mediocre major league play from a 22 year old portends great things for the future. The big questions remains will the Yankees endure mediocre play from this 22 year old who stands to become a fabulous 25 year old around about the next time the Yankees are likely to contend, assuming they don't dump him along the way.

As for Cashman's contention that they have enough talent right now, the man is on crack. Johnson is solid, not fabulous, and in decline. Let's hope the back and knee hold up for the three years of this foolish contract. Mussina is still solid, but not the Mussina of old. Brown is creaky and washed up. Pavano is mediocre at best. Wang is a mid-level prospect at best whose numbers have been fattened by his having made most of his appearances against weak hitting teams. Wright is gone for a long, long time.

The defense, as we know, is horrid.

What Cashman is really saying is that he doesn't have the chips to deal to improve this club. If I were Cashman, I'd throw in the towel on this dismal crew and deal Wang for prospects before his value goes in the toilet.

10 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:05 am

10.  With regards to Cano, his splits are enlightening:

May: .253/.273/.398 (.222)
June: .302/.337/.490 (.274)

11 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:21 am

11.  If they're willing to deal Posada, Sheffield, and Gordon for young impact players and free-agents-in-waiting, they may actually turn this season around. Although I'm still dubious about Torre and Stottlemyre handling a younger roster with any sort of facility. Moves like that would shake up and invigorate the team, for this season and future ones to come.

12 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:22 am

12.  Sheffield to Marlins for Pierre and Burnett, anyone?

13 vockins   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:24 am

13.  re: Cano and BB

One of his ABs vs. Glavine was fantastic. I can't say for certain, but I want to believe that it was at least seven pitches and he earned the walk.

Any rookie that can pull that off against a potential HOFer is bound to start getting his BB count up.

14 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:29 am

14.  Posada and Gordon to Dodgers for Navarro, Brazoban, and Chad Billingsley or Edwin Jackson (RHPs). Jackson's been demoted to AA recently so Dodgers may be willing to give him up.

15 Jen   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:46 am

15.  "Posada and Gordon to Dodgers for Navarro, Brazoban, and Chad Billingsley or Edwin Jackson"

You get rid of Posada and who's going to catch everyday? Navarro?

As for the Sheff to Marlins proposition, doesn't Pierre have an arm comparable to Bernie, or at best, Damon?

16 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:52 am

16.  JohnnyC, both those trades aren't that appealing. Pierre is pretty sub-par and Burnett is always a throw away from season-ending surgery. If Posada leaves, the Yanks fall off a cliff. The Dodger trade is interesting for the future, but it certainly wouldn't help this year.

17 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2005 8:59 am

17.  Jackson's in AA because the Dodgers have given up on him, because he's given them every reason to do so.

Jen and Nick are dead on about Posada, he's irreplaceable. Also, I can't see this team getting by without Sheff's bat. Gordon, however, is a good chip, provided they replace him in the pen with the best arms out of Columbus (Anderson, Bean, heck, Sean Henn in a short relief role) rather than getting another reliever in return in the trade.

18 murphy   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:04 am

18.  ok - i am not so great at this, but i will give it a go. while i don't have all the tricked out SABR stuff, here's the straight dope on three major leaguers first 50 games (or so) as a starting/regular player.

player A: 48GP, 27R, 25RBI, 25:7 K:BB, 0:0 SB:CS, .279 BA, .754 OPS

player B: 48GP, 26R, 21RBI, 39:25 K:BB, 4:2 SB:CS, .265 BA, .726 OPS

player C: 50GP, 26R, 18RBI, 42:3 K:BB, 15:4 SB:CS, .272 BA, .662 OPS

19 murphy   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:04 am

19.  oh yeah... almost forgot :)

player A = Cano
player B = Jeter's first year 50 AB as a starter
player C = ditto on Soriano

i like my chances...

keep cano above all else.

20 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:14 am

20.  Anderson's supposedly coming up after they release Quantrill this week. I'd prefer the Yankees adopt the policy of bringing up the hot arm or bat instead of adhering to the "most advanced" prospect rule. Other teams have noticed that certain AA players are closer to the majors than AAA players and promote them, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Sean Henn didn't work out but it doesn't disprove the concept. Trenton hurlers like Justin Pope and Ben Julianel are having very good seasons out of the pen.

21 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:15 am

21.  Which reminds me, if I haven't said it elsewhere (and I'll be sure to say it again). I was very very wrong about Cano this spring. I should be so wrong more often.

22 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:25 am

22.  Many sources discounted Cano as a real prospect, bolstered by the assumption that Arizona wasn't interested in him (and how they knew this we'll never be told...tricks of the journalism trade?). What they were most wrong about...and the dead giveaway that they never saw the guy play...is that they declared him a subpar fielder with a minus arm (?). Say what you will about his glove but Cano's got a strong, accurate arm. The increase in DPs turned by the Yankees attests to that. Within the Yankees camp, as Kaat has voiced several times, Cano made his biggest impression in Spring Training with his defense. So much so that, contrary to the way it was portrayed in the media, Kaat et al. saw his promotion as a defensive move not an offensive one. Since then, of course, he's also been impressive with his Rod Carew-like swing and more than occasional power. His major drawback, really, is lack of base-stealing speed although he's a good baserunner.

23 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:33 am

23.  This has no real value but to my eyes Cano is a very good 2b. It seems that less balls are getting through the middle, that he sets himself up well to make strong throws from the hole. Offensively, he hits a lot of balls hard. And his swing is oh so nice. I hope they have patience with him.

24 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:33 am

24.  Actually, his major drawback is his low walk rate, which points to why I was down on him in the spring. I didn't think he could hit in the majors (or at least wouldn't be able to this year). Again, I was wrong.

25 rsmith51   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:35 am

25.  Cliff,

What were you wrong about? Cano could use another year of seasoning, but anybody could have predicted he would be at least equal to Womack. Except for the Yankee brain trust apparently, and I use the word "brain" loosely.

26 Jen   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:41 am

26.  I like his swagger too. There was a quote by ARod (I think) saying that he's the cockiest rookie he's seen. But not in a bad way, he's just self-assured.

Cano better watch out. Tim McCarver could develop a man crush on him too.

27 Nick from Washington Heights   ~  Jun 28, 2005 9:49 am

27.  rsmith, so true. that is the most puzzling thing about signing womack to be a starter. Actually, the most puzzling thing about signing Woemack is signing him.

But, I think Cano has outperformed a lot of bloggers expectations. His game has seemed to jumped to another level from last year.

28 JohnnyC   ~  Jun 28, 2005 10:12 am

28.  Cano was supposed to be in the Randy Johnson deal and thus was not in their plans for 2005 or 2006 or any year at that point. Cashman has already admitted that not re-signing Cairo was his idea due to what he considered an unreasonable salary demand by Miguel's former agent. For whatever reason, Cashman AND the Tampa contingent considered Womack a better, more economical alternative to either Cairo or Polanco. And, let's remember, it was Cashman's express order to Torre to start Cano not a request from Torre. As usual, Torre hates rookies, hates having to teach, and can't "trust" them. It's a minor miracle Wang and Cano have succeeded as well they have DESPITE Torre and Mel. Same can't be said for Henn, who'll probably end up winning games in the National League as soon as August.

29 Schteeve   ~  Jun 28, 2005 10:15 am

29.  Kline balked, end of story. And trading Posada has to be out of the question, you can't replace the guy as others have mentioned. I also don't think trading Sheffield would be anything but a give up move.

As for Cano. All the people who are calling him mediocre and expendable are showing the same exact myopia that got this team in the mess it's in.

Cano isn't rookie of the year material but he has shown that he has the tools to be a very solid major leaguer. Of course there are no guarantees, but if you only kept rookies with .900+ OPS's and called the rest of them mediocre failures and traded them for "proven veterans" after half a season in the bigs, you'd be well, the Yankees.

30 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 28, 2005 10:35 am

30.  I agree with not trading Sheff or Georgie. I think they could replace Gordon or Matsui though. I like both of those guys, but I'm just sayin...

31 rbj   ~  Jun 28, 2005 10:54 am

31.  The Orioles' broadcast was using a poor angle on Kline's balk:
From the CF camera it was hard to see it.
Also an interesting item over at Baseball Crank:
Cano is +3 over replacement level, Bernie is -3.
Pavano is -3, Wright is -4, Brown is -2, Q is -3

32 jalexei   ~  Jun 28, 2005 11:13 am

32.  Thanks for the link re the balk - was getting the Baltimore feed last night and was a bit mystified by the call.

33 K9walker   ~  Jun 28, 2005 11:46 am

33.  cool nive story i was gettin the baltimore feed yesterday was a bit mystified by the call

34 Peter   ~  Jun 28, 2005 11:47 am

34.  Cano's a keeper but I wouldn't mind seeing what the Yankees could get for Wang. His low strikeout rate is worrisome and I'm not particularly confident in his effectiveness once the other teams become more familiar with him.

35 Oscar Azocar   ~  Jun 28, 2005 12:03 pm

35.  Does anybody have advanced stats on Cano's fielding, such as Fielding Rate, or Fielding Runs Above Average Replacement?

Here are the only tidbits I've found about Cano's fielding. His zone rating is .846. He's not qualified (probably not enough games yet), but if he were, he would rank 5th among the 16 other MLB second basemen that are qualified. His fielding pct of .973 would put him near the bottom (right above Soriano) if he were qualified. Don't know if this link works:


The zone rating stat does have its limitations, but it does show that Cano does have good range. I'm sure he can improve on the errors, but range is something that you can't teach. Just from observation, he also has a very quick release on his throws. I'd like to see him stay and develop as a Yankee, but please...learn to take a few more walks!

36 joe in boston   ~  Jun 28, 2005 12:50 pm

36.  Not to oversimplify or anything...but in my eyes, a win is a win. Let's keep it going.

By the way, those eyebrows of Woemacks are very disturbing to say the least.

37 Bob B   ~  Jun 28, 2005 12:58 pm

37.  Go along with what you haveand let the chips fall. Don't forget next season there is no Bernie, no Brown which frees up a lot of salary and you have a dynamite infield with A-rod, Jeter and Cano (don't even think of trading him.) Interesting to think about where the team would be this year if they stood pat on the pitchers they had last year.Probably no better than this years model but maybe better. Interesting tothink where they would be if they had Omar as GM........(Pedro and Beltran.........definitely first place)

38 singledd   ~  Jun 28, 2005 6:20 pm

38.  Either shoot Woemack or shoot me!

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