"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 5/28/09

Today’s news is powered by a couple of gals out-doing that famous scene from “Big”:

New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada may be able to rejoin the team for a weekend series in Cleveland after missing more than three weeks because of a strained right hamstring.

“It’s possible as early as Friday, yeah,” New York manager Joe Girardi said before Wednesday night’s game at Texas. “He’s a big bat we’ve been missing. He’s another big bat to add to the middle of that order. We’ll wait to see how he feels and go from there. If he feels fine, there’s a good chance we’ll activate him Friday.”

Posada caught for five innings in an extended spring training intrasquad game on Wednesday.  . . .

Posada ran from first to third on a single and threw out a runner trying to steal second base in the intrasquad game.

  • Melky fought the wall and the wall won:

New York Yankees center fielder Melky Cabrera missed Wednesday night’s game against the Texas Rangers with a strained right shoulder, and could be out through the weekend.

Cabrera exited Tuesday night’s game against Texas after running into the wall while trying to make a catch in the first inning. . . .

Cabrera had an MRI exam Wednesday that was negative. Girardi said Cabrera wouldn’t be in Wednesday night’s lineup, with Gardner starting in center.

Girardi said Cabrera could be out until Monday night’s series finale against the Indians.

“We’re going to call it day to day. but it’s probably going to be more than a day or two,” Girardi said. “I don’t necessarily think it will be a DL thing — getting to the end of the weekend in Cleveland or Monday, that would be really good.”

  • When will Girardi deploy his CMW?:

Still in the unfamiliar role of a long reliever, Wang said Tuesday that manager Joe Girardi told him there are still no plans to insert him into the rotation and that he will continue with the Yankees as a reliever for now.

“He talked to me yesterday and said he doesn’t know when,” Wang said.. . .

. . . Wang has spoken in a team-first manner, but the two-time 19-game winner would clearly prefer to be starting.

As of this moment, though, there are no clear-cut opportunities with which to give him that chance. Girardi said that Hughes will make his next scheduled start on Sunday against the Indians in Cleveland, which leaves Wang as a reliever for now.

“I think he’s somewhat frustrated by it,” Girardi said. “It’s the way you’d expect anyone to be if you’d been through what he’s been through the last couple of months. I believe he understands that he’s here to help us, and we feel really strongly that he can be a big part of this club. We need to get him back to where he needs to be.”

  • George Vecsey writes about two minor league catchers helping their big league NY teams (Omir Santos and Francisco Cervelli):

The Yankees have been impressed with Cervelli’s aggressive ways behind the plate.

“You know, he reminds me of Billy Smith, the old Islanders goalie, who would hit people,” Cashman said, harking back to his childhood on Long Island, when the Islanders were winning Stanley Cups. . . .

“He’s the kind of guy who gets hit with an extra pitch because of the way he plays, but that’s all right,” Cashman said. “He knows his job is to help his pitchers.”

Santos has not yet contacted Cervelli since they were both called up early this season, but he marvels at Cervelli’s arm. In March, Cervelli played for Italy in the World Baseball Classic, courtesy of the dual citizenship from his father, who moved from Italy to Venezuela as a child. The name means “brains” in Italian. How’s that for a “Bronx Tale” nickname? Frankie Brains.

Cervelli’s progress was impeded by a broken wrist from a hard slide by a Tampa Bay player in spring training of 2008 that infuriated Manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees. He was hitting .306 for the Yankees going into Tuesday’s game in Texas, compared with the .190 he was hitting at Class AA Trenton, but Cashman noted that Cervelli will need to play somewhere when Posada and Molina are healthy.

  • Jeter shows great range at the ballot box:

. . . the first 2009 AL balloting update for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game was released Wednesday, and once again, Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees is the leading vote-getter, with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria right behind him.

Jeter, who is seeking his 10th All-Star Game berth, garnered 664,630 votes to lead the shortstop category by a healthy margin of almost 400,000 votes over second-place Marco Scutaro of the Toronto Blue Jays. The shortstops are rounded out by Texas rookie Elvis Andrus, Jason Bartlett of the Rays and Chicago White Sox second-year man Alexei Ramirez.

  • Tyler Kepner is looking forward to a pitching match-up on Sunday:

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but you’ve got to love the pitching matchup in Cleveland on Sunday. The Yankees’ Phil Hughes takes on the Indians’ Carl Pavano — who is 5-1 in May.

That’s right. Pavano has more victories this month than any Yankees pitcher has this season. Now, that doesn’t mean he has pitched better than the Yankees’ starters. His earned run average for the season is 5.50. But at 5-4, Pavano already has more wins for Cleveland than he had in any of his four seasons in New York.

[My take: And I still say Pavano gets dealt by July 31st, probably to the Mets. Fun fact:  Pavano has lowered his season ERA in each of his last nine starts.]

  • On this date in 1946, the first night game is played at Yankee Stadium as the Washington Senators beat the New York Yankees 2 – 1.
  • On this date in 2004, Mariano Rivera posted his 300th career save, in a Yankees 7 – 5 victory over Tampa Bay. He also became the first Yankee and 17th reliever in major league history to reach the milestone.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 9:53 am

...but Cashman noted that Cervelli will need to play somewhere when Posada and Molina are healthy.

I don't like the sound of that.

2 Shaun P.   ~  May 28, 2009 10:05 am

[1] Why not? The alternatives I see - drop Molina and make Cervelli the regular backup, carry Cervelli as a third catcher - are both poor, IMHO. There's no reason to drop Molina given he's already under contract, and with Posada's age, they might need the depth. Making Cervelli the 3rd string catcher guarantees he gets little regular playing time, and that's what he need to keep developing. This sounds like the right move to me.

3 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 10:12 am

[2] I think Cervelli is better than Molina. Given Posada's increasing fragility, not only should Cervelli play a large number of games behind the plate (while Posada is the DH), but it may also make sense to carry a third catcher, which is a role that fits Molina's current talent level.

4 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 10:20 am

The decisions to be made here are, let's remember (from the rarified air of a first place tie) GOOD problems. Returning players = deeper bench. I don't think we need to get upset about any of these, but it makes for good bar talk.

1. I agree that Cervelli is better in AAA right now. I like him a lot, I think he has at least a chance to be a starting, empty .270 hitting catcher. At his age, he needs the at-bats. He is not, in any obvious way to be, superior to Molina, much as we all like the new face, and getting younger. Let him develop, we can start getting REALLY younger with him, if he does.

2. Cash is meaningless once Molina and Posada are healthy. Cervelli comes back if either are not.

3. Query: is Nady just a DH when he returns? Is that confirmed? If Melky needs to be DLed I agree, I'd call up Shelley Duncan, though I admit I have no huge love for him. We know by now what we get. It is better than Berroa, yessir.

4. The pitchers. Damned if I know. I suspect the Joba to the Eighth chorus will start getting very loud, but I think the Yankees are (and should be) invested in getting him 150 innings primarily AS A STARTER - logging 30 relief innings isn't the same thing in that count. Same for Hughes, of course, though I have a vague sense there is less urgency with him, not sure why. But Wang, if healthy and on, SHOULD start. The current line seems to be Wang in middle relief. I am guessing this is a hope for a month or two, then may shift as the innings counts mount, or someone gets hurt. The negative is HE needs to be stretched out, too.

5. We are not deep enough to trade a pitcher, and it is not so bad to use good arms in the pen. (Boston may well deal a pitcher soonish, for a bat ... if so, Papi's days may be numbered. BoSox are VERY deep on the mound, and about to get deeper in two weeks.)

6. Matsui must not be used as a pinch runner.

5 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 10:25 am

[4] If the best players play the positions that they are best suited for, Cervelli will get all the ABs he needs in the MLs.

6 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 10:30 am

Cervelli, like Pena, is what he is at this point. There's nothing more for him in AAA. He's not going to start hitting for power - he never has.

Joba, again, hurt his shoulder last year with all the nonsense. Besides the obvious benefits of twice as many innings from him, I don't see why any sane person would want him to switch back.

7 rbj   ~  May 28, 2009 10:58 am

If you have Posada DHing a lot, in order to get Frankie Brains in behind the plate, then what do you do with Matsui. He cannot play the field and thus you'd have a powerful, expensive bat sitting on the bench a lot.

I'd rather Brains be starting in SWB than sitting a lot in NY.

8 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 11:07 am

[7] Then Matsui becomes a pinch hitter and the DH when Posada starts behind the plate.

Posada was already going to be limited as a catcher as a result of his shoulder. He has had two leg muscle issues in a very short portion of the season. Given that his defense was declining anyway. apart from his desire to remain at catcher, I don't think the baseball argument for him playing more than a game or two a week a catcher is particularly strong.

9 rbj   ~  May 28, 2009 11:14 am

[8] So then you'd have Matsui be nothing more than a PH 4-5 games a week, simply to get Cervelli behind the plate, which I think is a waste of Matsui's bat.

I think
DH Matsui
C Posada
is better than
DH Posada (necessitating keeping Cash or Molina around)
C Cervelli
PH Matsui.

I would like to see how much Posada can catch before limiting him to basically being the BUC/DH.

10 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 11:28 am

As I say, these are all good problems and no solution is set in stone (well, maybe Molina runs like he's set in stone). I agree with rbj in [9] and if it turns out Jorge's limited a lot, we adjust to that and call Cervelli back up. The downside of his contract was always that he might end up as a 1/2 time, or more, DH. This impacts, actually, on the idea of Damon as a DH next year, too when Matsui's gone.

I'm not making this a big argument, but I'm not sure how any of us can decide that at 23, just turned, Cervelli has nothing to learn about hitting and can't improve with steady at-bats. Guys, he's never even seen AAA! As long as Molina is under contract, offers very good D, and .240+ we aren't losing a lot going with him for 8-10 at-bats a week, and developing Cervelli. That is assuming Posada catches 5 a week. If he can't, revisit the discussion.

11 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 11:33 am

[9] No, I would reduce Matsui's role because it: 1) increases the chances that Posada will remain healthy and productive offensively (which should he the Yankees' primary goal); 2) puts the best defensive team on the field; and 3) because Matsui is showing signs of declining.

12 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 11:40 am

Molina and Matsui in a footrace around the bases ..... THAT would be depressing to watch.

13 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 11:43 am

Rich, as I said, this can all be revisited, and signs of declining is a kind phrase ... but it applies to a lot of people. Matsui was hitting very well for a bit, and has had strong games this week. Let's watch for a bit, no? The attack is stronger with Po and Matsui both batting than it is with Molina/Cervelli and Po DHing. The pinch-hit thing is improved as soon as Nady is back, as we'll have him or Swish ... not sure what happens to Gardner, actually. And a rumor site says Yankees are checking out Mark DeRosa - a great supersub option, not cheap.

I agree that other factors come into it, including keeping people healthy, and the fear that some teams (Tampa Bay, L.A.) will run wild on Posada. Indeed, I'd expect Girardi to be onto this, and add back-up catcher starts to those match-ups where the other team has an excess of burners.

Is it mean-spirited of me to be REALLY unhappy about how well Pavano is doing? So be it.

14 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 11:50 am

[13] I just do want to wait to revisit it after another stint on the DL for Posada.

Make Po the RH DH and let Cervelli catch on those days.

As Diane alluded to, I am tired of watching Molina needing three hits to score from 1B on those rare times when he gets to 1B.

DeRosa won't be worth the likely price.

15 Shaun P.   ~  May 28, 2009 11:52 am

[10] "I’m not sure how any of us can decide that at 23, just turned, Cervelli has nothing to learn about hitting and can’t improve with steady at-bats"

Right on, h-c-e, though I'd say that its not so much Cervelli has never seen AAA, its more that his nice-looking .300 AVG hides a .317 OBP (just 1 BB) and a .325 SLG (11 singles, 1 double are his 12 hits). And let's not forget this is just a small sample to begin with! I think that, even if he never slugs .400 in an MLB season, Cervelli still benefits from playing time at AAA.

I will say that your plan in [3] is intriguing to me, Rich, IF Matsui wasn't limited to DH.

To follow up on [11], if Matsui has declined so badly that all he merits is being a very expensive pinch hitter and infrequent DH, the Yanks should cut him as a sunk cost and trade for Adam Dunn haste post haste. I'm not convinced Matsui is so cooked yet, though.

Lastly, I'm already very much against the Yanks re-signing Damon, even for a single year, but especially to DH. I don't care what he's done 3 out of 4 years in pinstripes - 36-year-olds with .438 career slugging percentages are not an acceptable DH. God willing he'll keep having a career year, become a type A free agent, and some team will sign him quickly so the Yanks can get two draft picks out of him.

16 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 12:23 pm

@ 15

They need two outfielders this winter. Where do you get them?

17 RIYank   ~  May 28, 2009 12:37 pm

[16] Jason Bay? Matt Holliday?

18 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 12:43 pm

@ 17

Really? Two pricey five-year contracts for two LF/DHs? And they'll cost the draft picks the Yankees get for Damon and Nady.

Besides, if the Sox don't sign Bay, I'm sure they'll go hard after Holliday. So assume you can only get one of those guys. Who's the other OF?

19 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 12:47 pm


So assume you can only get one of those guys. Who’s the other OF?



(I can only hope)

20 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 12:52 pm

@ 19

Now that works for me! But who's the SS?

21 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 12:52 pm

[19] I could see Jeter in left or right field and Pena (?) at shortstop if Pena can actually hit decently. In that case, if Austin Jackson could come up, I'd just go Jeter, Melky, Jackson. If he's still not ready, then see if Damon will take a year. His arm is pretty bad but he still makes plays.

22 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 12:54 pm

"Jeter, Melky, Jackson."

That's an awful outfield. You could easily end up with each one of them under .800 OPS.

23 Shaun P.   ~  May 28, 2009 12:55 pm

[16] How do you figure two? I count Swisher in RF and one of Gardner/Melky/Jackson in CF. Shoot, if Melky keeps up his hitting all year, he could play LF, meaning they need zero.

If you mean they need replacements for both Damon and Matsui, I'd say that's one OF (maybe, see above) and one DH. And a DH is not too hard to find.

I also wouldn't discount the trade market. Dunn is certain to be available, and he won't be the only one.

24 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:01 pm

[22] Jeter's good, Melky's good, we'll see about Jackson.

25 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:03 pm

[23] They don't need a DH at all! They are DHed out as far as I can tell.

26 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 1:05 pm

Dunn, who never gets no love nowhere no how (and I include myself) is wrecking the ball again and playing quite decent first base, apparently.

He might also beat Matsui and Molina in that big race Diane is setting up.

I also read a kind of sad-making piece on fangraphs about Russell Branyon. Worth a look. Main point: the guy is 33 and is getting his first-ever real chance to play everyday, and doing exceptionally well, and his splits have NEVER been bad at all. Last bit: "Branyan isn’t this good, but there’s a decent argument to be made that he could have been the early decade’s version of Carlos Pena had someone been willing to give him a chance. I’m glad that he’s finally gotten one and is running with it, but unfortunately, his career legacy will probably be a giant “what if?”"


27 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 1:06 pm

[25] Agreed. Posada tilts DH very soon. Maybe VERY soon.

28 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:07 pm

Boy, all that youth isn't helping the Rays avoid injury right now.

29 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 1:13 pm

@ 23

Yup, replacing Damon and Matsui.

Again, you can easily end up with a below average outfield all the way around. You can't assume any of Melky/Gardner/Jax will hit enough. Swisher also has a lot of questions about whether he's a full-time player. He seems better suited to a secondary role.

With the question of how much Jorge and Jeter will continue to produce, they need more reliability from the outfield, not less.

Worse, why trade anything for Dunn? They could have had him for just cash this off-season. Worse, this past off-season was the one to supplement the outfield. They've gotten lucky, so far, with Melky and Swisher. If those guys were playing close to their career norms, the Yankees would be a few games worse.

@ 25

Really? Who plays catcher? Or SS? Or 3B? They have exactly zero depth at those positions if they want any production at all.

30 RIYank   ~  May 28, 2009 1:16 pm

I don't think Bay will get a five year contract. And I bet both he and Holliday have to settle for a much lower market price than we're used to seeing.
The point is that both of them are quite a bit younger than Damon and Matsui, and they're both more valuable players. I'd rather see the Yanks pay more and get more. Outfielders decline very fast in their mid-thirties (not always, but often), and I really don't want another Bernie Williams situation.

31 Shaun P.   ~  May 28, 2009 1:17 pm

[23] [25] Then they need but one OF, and maybe none if Melky is for real this time.

They should have no trouble at all at getting one OF. They'll have plenty of money to do it with, too. If the Yanks do not resign any of their upcoming free agents and drop some of the dead weight (e.g., Berroa, Cash, etc.), even with the likely increases in Melky and Hughes's salaries thanks to arbitration, and other contractual increases (CC's, e.g.), the Yanks should drop around $27M from this year's payroll.

That's more than enough to sign or trade for a competent OF. Heck, Nady might even be worth a one year deal. I'd do that before I even thought about re-signing Damon.

32 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:18 pm

If they want any production at all from Posada, they need to start limiting his days behind the plate. He's injury-prone, old, and can't play the position very well anymore. So he's the primary DH. They also have age elsewhere, so when they do put Posada at catcher - against, say, the Costa Rica Sloths - they can efficiently fill DH. And that's what utility infielders are for.

33 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 1:19 pm

Slowest runners currently in the majors:
Any Molina
Jason Giambi

other nominees?

34 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:20 pm

[31] Why would you go with Nady over Damon? I haven't seen enough of Nady to judge that myself, but Damon's been superb this season. One more year seems like a reasonable gamble.

35 randym77   ~  May 28, 2009 1:21 pm

I'm still not convinced on Melky. He's hitting well now, but I doubt he can sustain it. He never hit like this in the minors over a sustained period.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think he's due to revert to his mean.

36 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 1:22 pm

[25] ]They don’t need a DH at all! They are DHed out as far as I can tell.

Whether or not people share my view that Posada should be the primary DH now (yet? ;) ), he will almost certainly be the primary DH from 2010-11. As such, they cannot afford to sign a player who doesn't play a position well.

37 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:23 pm

If the Yanks let Damon and/or Nady go and want to get an every day outfielder, I'd like to see them make a go at the speedy Carl Crawford, if possible.

Cabrera stays, full-time outfielder. After all, in the same sense that Chamberlain is the second best starter - ie right now - Cabrera is the Yanks' best hitter. ; )

38 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 1:24 pm

[31] I don't want to resign Nady. He doesn't possess the two qualities that this team is being rebuilt around: plate discipline and good defense.

39 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:25 pm

[36] I think Matsui might still be viable, but the biggest problem is Posada himself and how he would react to that. He and Jeter will both have to be tricked out of playing "their" positions ...

40 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 1:26 pm

Diane, has Any Molina made the majors already? Thought he was still in AA.

(Yes, ducking.)

41 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 1:26 pm

[37] Carl Crawford would be yet another OFer with an OPS < .800. They need SLG.

42 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:29 pm

[41] I would like to see it go in the other direction, myself. With Teixeira, Rodriguez, and then Posada and even Cano, power will be supplied. Gardner is not a permanent fixture and they have little in the way of speed otherwise.

43 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 1:30 pm

[40] Shame on you

44 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 1:33 pm

[42] But all three OFers with an OPS that may be under .800?

Even if Melky finishes with an OPS above .800 this season, it's no lock that he will repeat it. AJack may struggle during his rookie season. That's why I think they need an OFer who can SLG to balance that out.

45 51cq24   ~  May 28, 2009 1:43 pm

i know it leaves the outfield situation more questionable, but i would seriously consider trading melky now if we can get a couple good relievers.

46 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 1:44 pm

OK .... here's the breakdown of teams since 2001 with OFers with sub .800 OPS, by # of OFers on each team:
(assuming 90% of games in OF, and qualified for batting title)

47 randym77   ~  May 28, 2009 1:46 pm

[45] I would, too. Sell high.

48 RIYank   ~  May 28, 2009 1:47 pm

Crawford has virtues that might compensate for his lack of SLUG, but I'm pretty sure there's a team option for him after this season.

49 Shaun P.   ~  May 28, 2009 1:48 pm

[34] Damon having a Pavano-in-'04-level walk-year fluke performance so far: .302/.373/.553 in '09 vs career .289/.355/.438. The odds of him doing anything like his '09 performance (to date) in 2010, when he'll be 36, are ridiculously low. Kiss him goodbye and say thanks for the memories. Let the Mets or Giants sign him, he's right up their alleys.

[38] Nady is an OK defender, and LF is pretty much the bottom of the defensive spectrum, so even if he was horrifically bad, how much would that matter? Further, next year's staff is filled with 4 strikeout pitchers (CC, AJ, Joba, Hughes) and one groundballer (Wang). LF defense is not a big concern.

I agree that Nady's OBP is sub-optimal, but the age difference (5 years) between he and Damon is too great to ignore, and outweighs the OBP issue for me. I'm not saying Nady should be their #1 priority - I think Dunn should be - but he's not a bad fallback position.

And, for me, as long as OPS doesn't account for the greater weight that OBP has over SLG in terms of scoring runs, I wouldn't worry about what someone is likely to OPS next year. What would worry me about Crawford is that his .332 career OBP is even lower than Nady's, and that makes him a terrible leadoff hitter candidate. The OBP is way up this year (.374), as is his walk rate, but Crawford is in his age-27 season.

Note too that Crawford has a club option for 2010 in his contract, and I'll bet TB exercises it.

50 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 1:55 pm

[34], [49]

I think Johnny is taking full advantage of the new Stadium:

Home 87 17 4 0 7 .322 .410 .609 1.019
Away 92 26 7 2 3 .283 .337 .500 .837

51 Bum Rush   ~  May 28, 2009 2:01 pm

@ 50

Exactly. I see no reason that can't continue for a year or two.

52 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 2:07 pm

[46] I had forgotten how much O'Neill had declined by 2001, but Bernie was awesome.

53 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 2:24 pm

[49] Yeah, that's why I said "if possible" - I figured the Yanks would have to trade for Crawford if anything.

I still think they'll be okay in the slugging dept. We'll see how Crawford holds up in OBP this year.

54 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 2:31 pm

I really wish Varitek would quit hitting HRs.

55 RIYank   ~  May 28, 2009 2:47 pm

[54] I'm happy that Ortiz hasn't quit striking out.

56 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 3:02 pm

Varitek now has 9 more homers than "Big Pop-up"

57 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 3:03 pm

TB will certainly exercise the Crawford option, but they may then trade him rather than go 4/5 years at 15 million+ a year. I can't see them trading in the division, though. Sometimes strange things happen, but the Rays can compete now (they need the pitching to come back) and it would be really dumb to boost an AL East rival.

I do agree that the odds are good our FA play in this off-season will be a serious OF bat. Lots of money coming off the books and pitching is set, with any luck. Jeter goes one more year (sorry!) at ss. I do agree that one way to go is steer him to LF after that, which affects what we do this off-season with the OF. Say, another year of Damon, then Jeter? And what we sign is a major RF bat, making Swisher our 4th OF. I agree he is best as a 350-400 at-bat role player. Nady may be, as well, actually. I think that was the idea for this year.

Me, I'm becoming, slowly, a Melky believer. Good field, pretty decent stick, that's okay for CF. I wouldn't rush to not-believe this spring. Oh, and just read that Bruney is likely to be okay, can resume his drills.

Does someone know what Robertson's pitches are? He was at 90, just, last night, with really nice location, but it is hard to live, as a righty, with a pretty flat 90 mph fastball. For some reason I thought he was faster. Gets a lot of Ks in AAA. But he isn't throwing what, say, Delcarmon throws, or Bruney, even.

58 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 3:04 pm

Big Pop-up is pretty good, Diane!

59 Diane Firstman   ~  May 28, 2009 3:07 pm


thanks ... I coined that one last night ...

2-1 BoSox .... Varitek has gone deep twice

60 Yankster   ~  May 28, 2009 4:21 pm

[19-21] It's a lot harder (and more expensive) to find an offensive SS than an offensive outfielder.

In 08 Jeter had the highest batting win shares of any AL shortstop. As an outfielder, he wouldn't even have been in the top 20! Jeter's offense is so exceptional for a SS that, for example, cumulatively, across the 06, 07, 08 seasons, Jeter had the highest win shares of any shortstop despite his defense.

So, then you say, but his defense is so BAD. Well, it turns out not to matter very much:

Because of the relatively narrow distribution of defensive skills (in win shares) versus offensive skills, his bad defense makes up a relatively small weight versus his position (for example, combining the 06, 07, and 08 seasons, the best defense versus the worst defense was only a difference of about 5 win shares, while the best offense versus the worst offense is about 20 win shares).

Clearly, getting a SS with higher total win shares that Jeter at SS is not possible, while it's probably relatively easy to get an OF with higher winshares than Jeter would have in the outfield. As I mentioned above, Jeter wouldn't even be in the top 20 offensive win shares in the outfield. Pathetic!

Most of the stats here (all from this site): http://tinyurl.com/nvbsnx

61 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 28, 2009 5:22 pm

Yankster, I'm actually one who agrees with you. The anti-DJites have been loud here at times, the whole PastaDivingJeter thing. I think it is interesting - he was overhyped for a time, now is over-attacked. He is nowhere nearly as good an ss as legend had it, even at his best, and right now he's a weak ss, period. But if he hits .290+ with some sbs and some hrs, he's - as you said - solidly upper-level ss, and not necessarily there for an OF.

Agreed. The issue becomes, AFTER next year (which is my timeline) when you are looking at a 37 year old ss, and it is a hard position to play and his numbers may be sliding. This gets political, then ... they let Bernie become a part-timer (sort of, Torre resisted) and then let him go. It'll be tricky to do that with DJ nearing 3000, so the LF option (some have said DH, I think DH requires much more pop and Jorge may be there), with finding/producing/cloning a good ss may kick in. Jeter could be, sort of, like Damon in left, two years from now.

Or not. Long way off.

62 The Hawk   ~  May 28, 2009 5:43 pm

[60] I'm sold.

63 Yankster   ~  May 28, 2009 5:54 pm

Horace, I see your point about the politics.

My guess, and that's all it is, is that it will come down to whether there is a clearly better alternative to Jeter available at SS at an appropriate cost. My suspicion is that it's quite possible that Jeter gets to 3000 while still being an average or above SS, because SS are relatively poor hitters. It sucks to have an average SS, but it's a lot better than having a below average outfielder.

64 Rich   ~  May 28, 2009 6:34 pm

It's not like the Yankees haven't had below average starting OFers in recent years.

If Jeter's defense (as measured by UZR) reamins at the level it was last season and is this season to date, he can remain at SS. If his defense reverts to where it was from 2005-07 (about 40 runs below average over that span), then he shouldn't.

The more difficult question is the term of his next contract.

65 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  May 28, 2009 9:51 pm

so late to this party...

I love Johnny D but would not resign him, unless he takes a one-year deal (unlikely)

Matsui can still mash it (and I told everyone many times, he needs to be resigned so I can see all the Yankee games on NHK here!)

Posada..why oh why did Cashman sign him to that deal????

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