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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Spring training preview

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 06, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Spring training is not quite here. But it’s close enough to present our annual preview. Here’s a look at some of the basic information you need to know:

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Joe Girardi meets with reporters: Thursday.

Pitchers and catchers report: Friday

First workout: Feb. 14

First full-squad workout: Feb. 18

First exhibition game: Feb. 25 vs. Toronto at Dunedin

Last exhibition game: April 4 vs. Cubs at Yankee Stadium

Opening Day: April 6 at Baltimore

THE 40-MAN ROSTER
Pitchers: Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Albaladejo, Andrew Brackman, Brian Bruney, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Anthony Claggett, Phil Coke, Wilkin De La Rosa, Michael Dunn, Christian Garcia, Dan Giese, Eric Hacker, Phil Hughes, Steven Jackson, Ian Kennedy, Damaso Marte, Andy Pettitte, Edwar Ramirez, Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, CC Sabathia, Humberto Sanchez, Jose Veras, Chien-Ming Wang.

Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada.

Infielders: Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Juan Miranda, Cody Ransom, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira.

Outfielders: Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Xavier Nady, Nick Swisher, Hideki Matsui.

NON-ROSTER PLAYERS
Pitchers:
Kei Igawa, Jason Johnson, Mark Melancon, Sergio Mitre.

Catchers: Kyle Anson, Kevin Cash, Jesus Montero, P.J. Pilittere, Austin Romine.

Infielders: Doug Bernier, Angel Berroa, Shelley Duncan, Justin Leone, Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pen, Kevin Russo.

Outfielders: Colin Curtis, Austin Jackson, Todd Linden, John Rodriguez.

More additions: The Yankees offered Andruw Jones a non-roster invite that he declined. Might that change as the season approaches? There are some potentially helpful players out there including Mark Grudzielanek, Orlando Hudson, Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Cruz and Rich Aurilia.

Changes: Tony Pena is the new bench coach, Rob Thomson went to third base and Mick Kelleher is the new first base coach. The organization also made a number of changes to the support staff.

So long from 2008: Mike Mussina, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Pudge Rodrigez, Bobby Meacham, Chad Moeller, Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, Chris Britton and, finally, Carl Pavano.

Position battles: Cabrera and Gardner will duel for center field. The Yankees do not want to use Damon or Swisher there and prefer to have Jackson stay in the minors for another season. Either Nady or Swisher will play right field. It’s quite possible of them gets traded.

Rivera, Marte and Bruney have three of the six (or seven) jobs in the bullpen. The other spots will be competed for. Veras, Ramirez, Giese, Albaladejo, Melancon, Robertson and Sanchez are among the contenders. Maybe Coke, too, unless he’s developed as a starter. Either Ransom or Berroa projects as the utility infielder.

Concerns: The bench is weak. One solution would be not trading Nady or Swisher and using them as part of a rotation with Damon and Matsui. Another solution would be signing a veteran free agent.

Breakout Prospects: Now that he has recovered from elbow surgery, it will be interesting to watch Brackman pitch. Look for him to start with Class A Tampa. The organization has a lot of faith in Melancon. Young pitchers Dunn and De La Rosa, two converted outfielders, are intriguing prospects. Austin Jackson could draw some raves.

Generation Never? With five starters established, how Hughes and Kennedy react will be story worth following. Will they come to camp ready to impress or sore that they don’t really have a chance to make the team?

The Rehab Boys: Wang, Rivera, Matsui and Posada are all coming off surgery or serious injuries. All four are expected to be ready for Opening Day but will be used cautiously. Posada’s shoulder will be a big story in camp.

The Annual A-Rod Controversy: One year he announced he wasn’t friends with Jeter. The next was all about his contract and a made-up number of drug tests he took. Now the silly story of the spring will be whether his teammates consider him a fraud, as Joe Torre suggests. Or will it be his publicity-seeking dalliances with celebrities? At this point, it’s all quite tedious. The good news is he’s due for an MVP season.

Captain Crewcut: Joe Girardi didn’t make a lot of friends in his first year as manager. Silly rules for the players, poor communication with his coaching staff and an unwillingness to demand accountability with young players like Cano resulted in some rocky times. How he adjusts in his second year will determine whether he remains as manager. A slow start could lead to a change.

The Terrific Trio: Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira have easy jobs. They merely need to justify their huge salaries by leading the Yankees back to the World Series for the first time since 2003. The first season in New York is always an interesting one for a star player. Sabathia could quickly emerge as a team leader.

WBC Absentees: Jeter, A-Rod, Cano, Cabrera, Marte and a few others are on WBC provisional rosters. So get ready to see a lot of scrubs in the infield until the big boys get back. Cabrera might be wise to stay in Tampa and try and win a job.

Trade Time: Spring training trades are fairly rare. Most teams would rather take stock of what they have at this point. But the Yankees have pieces to make a significant move. Take Nady or Swisher, Kennedy and one of the bullpen arms and that could bring back a significant return.

Starter depth: The AAA rotation could be Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves, Coke and Igawa. That’s not too bad.

I leave for Tampa on Monday morning and will be blogging often from that point on. Enjoy the weekend.

Comments

comments

 

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190 Responses to “Spring training preview”

  1. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Centerfield, etc.

    A team with an identity is almost always more cohesive than a thrown together collection of past all stars. Just look at the ‘95-’01 or so Yankee teams. It was a blend of home grown and free agent talent that accepted the Yankee way on how to go about their business. You get clamboring to sign every good free agent out there because X is better than our Y and you have a team without a base.
    Gardner and Melky are not bad players. Nor are Hughes or many others. They may be ready. We’ve already signed three huge free agents and a guy that will likely be a fine utility player. How much more tinkering does the team really need? When is enough enough?
    I will say a team is better with a mix of stars and young and hungry players than a boatload of free agent past or present all stars 99% of the time. Let the Yankees be the Yankees.
    Btw, I think we enter ST in as strong a position as I can remember of late.

    trivia question: which Yankee utility player had the most appropriate name ever?

  2. able 21 February 6th, 2009 at 8:07 am

    This and the thaw that is predicted for the weekend warms my heart.

  3. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Tampa sounds good especially this time of year.
    Enjoy and thanks, Pete.

  4. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Brad P

    HOMER Bush maybe?

    Ham-
    I agree about ST, but I wonder how the WBC is going to effect the Melkner battle? Does anybody know where Melky stands on the DR depth chart? In other words is he thier starter?

  5. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:17 am

    LOL Tarheel! Nice try but no cigar!
    Actually that might be the best name for a minor leaguer though!

  6. sunny615 February 6th, 2009 at 8:21 am

    For all you prospect guru’s out there – what’s the over/under on Matt Bush… is he worth getting?

    Padres’ designate Matt Bush

  7. sunny615 February 6th, 2009 at 8:21 am

    article link:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....38;c_id=sd

  8. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    sunny

    not much in that article to make me think he’s worth getting at any position.

  9. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:26 am

    unless of course you go for guys that can’t hit, hurt their arms after 7 innings of pitching, and have had police contact in the recent past…

  10. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:29 am

    But I think the Oakland Raiders may be on the phone with him as we speak!

  11. John in Ohio February 6th, 2009 at 8:30 am

    If they could get Grudzielanek to bite on a utility role, might be a good situation for both sides, in my opinion. He’s been on two teams which have lost a league championship series. He might be enticed by the limited role, and the possibility of post season action. He can still hit, but will be 39 in June.

  12. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    John
    I think that “utility role” thing is a catch with a lot of proven players. Maybe why Wigginton wasn’t interested. But Grudz is a nice player. Is he hungry enough to accept a utility role in exchange for a ring?
    Tarheel – or any,
    Any other guesses?

  13. Mark in Tampa February 6th, 2009 at 8:34 am

    “Tampa sounds good especially this time of year.”

    Went down to 24 degrees last night, 26 the night before. But, it is supposed to be @70 tomorrow, and this is probably our last major cold front of the year. Although, the coldest day of the year last year was the day the Yanks had their intra-squad game.

  14. Garym(Yanks and More) February 6th, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Good job Pete, Sam has been doing great but can’t wait to see you back next week. I am sure you will have fun in Tampa while we are freezing here in NY/NJ. I can’t wait to next week when we finally get real baseball stuff.

  15. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Spring, spring training, and the very beginning of beach scenery season. Lucky you, Mark. Lucky you.

  16. rbj February 6th, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Ahem, Peter,
    “So long from 2008: ”
    You forgot one person on that list, the team leader in DL.

    And I’m supposed to get 32+ degrees here, maybe even 40+ tomorrow, with rain! Given that my street is a sheet of ice I can’t wait for any hint of spring.

  17. sunny615 February 6th, 2009 at 8:40 am

    Maybe, but I thought the Yanks always take a flyer on high talent. At least sign him to a minor league contract. I wouldn’t trade for him, but if he’s released, give him a chance and see what he’s got… if anything. If nothing, then release him again.

  18. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 8:44 am

    sunny
    there are probably a thousand guys who fall into that category though.
    i’d pass.

    but you may have a future as an agent (you’re not Matt’s current agent or girlfriend or anything are you?) lol.

  19. mike February 6th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    So long from 2008: you forgot our dearly beloved PAVANO!!!

  20. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 8:51 am

    There will be 7 spots in the bullpen, not 6. The Yankees usually roll with a pitching staff of 12 or 13 (usually 12).

    Rivera, Marte, Bruney, Melancon, Veras, Ramirez, Giese seems like the best to me. I would like Coke in there but he needs a chance to prove he can start.

  21. Ham Fighters February 6th, 2009 at 8:55 am

    damn ,how badly did the padres screw up the first pick in the 2004 draft? they passed on steven drew and jered weaver b/c boras was thier client and they didnt want to pay the bonuses they would require, so they drafted bush. bush ended up getting a bonus of $3.15M. drew and weaver both got $4M.

    so they saved $850K and basically got nothing for thier first pick in the draft, while drew went 91R, 21HR, 67 RBI, .291/.333/.502 last year. this isnt a situation where they just guessed wrong, they knew the other two guys were better, but didnt want to negotiate with boras, so they took the lesser choice. nice job.

    next time the commissioner is begging teams not to go above slot for draftees, they should just ask how dave bush is doing in the minors these days.

  22. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 8:58 am

    trivia question: which Yankee utility player had the most appropriate name ever?

    ————————————————————

    Mickey Klutts. (If you had ever seen him play, you’ll know why?

  23. darkmoonfire February 6th, 2009 at 8:59 am

    When you see all those names written down it just looks fantastic.

    I can’t wait. I’m counting the days until the first ST game.

  24. Ham Fighters February 6th, 2009 at 9:01 am

    id love to see aceves as the long man. every year we say we want to have a long man/spot starter on the mlb team and it never actually works out (at least not since mendoza). this was because of the injuries and inconsistency of the past few years in pitching. but this year, barring any injuries in ST, the long man/spot starter should be a valuable piece on the roster. joba needs to be rested/skipped occaionally, and when cc or pettitte just dont have it (happens to the best of them somtimes) you dont want to strain your back end bullpen. i think this year we have a good shot at actually having and using a long man in the pen all year.

  25. roy hobbs February 6th, 2009 at 9:07 am

    T?rivia Question.

    It’s probably Klutts. But how about Alvaro ESPNoza

  26. Fran February 6th, 2009 at 9:09 am

    One week to go. Spring training is almost here.

  27. Snatchmike February 6th, 2009 at 9:10 am

    What about an NRI for Jim Edmonds? If Jones gets offered one, Edmonds should too. I don’t like heading into ST with Melky and Gardner as our only CF options. The only upside to that is that we’ll probably see A-Jax by May when they both stink up the joint.

    And BPB-LB, the whole “chemistry” argument is ridiculous for us to speculate on, since none of us have personal relationships with players. Besides, a clubhouse full of the nicest, hungriest, 80 OPS+ Mr. Congenialities is still gonna suck.

  28. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Andy Stankiewicz

  29. kill.schill(ing) February 6th, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I want Abreu. He was not THAT bad defensively and for the $8 million on a one-year contract the White Sox offered, the Yankees would be getting a steal.

    Send Nady and his career .333 OBA, 108 OPS+, and 100 SO every season back to Shea where he belongs. ((BTW, Nady isn’t a great defender either. I was at the game he lost the ball in LF and cost Pettitte a victory.)

    Could you imagine a 3-4-5 of Abreu-A-Rod-TEX? It wouldn’t matter if Posada can’t play catcher for a full season.

    With a 3-4-5 like that the Yankees could DH Posada or rest him until he’s healthy, trade Matsui and/or Nady, and rotate Swisher, Abreu, and Damon through the 2 corner positions.

    I much prefer Abreu to Matsui.

    He’s as good a hitter, healthier, more durable, more versatile, more P/PA, and fleeter on the bases.

  30. Snatchmike February 6th, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Abreu’s gone. As tough as it is to say goodbye kill.schill(ing), you will be fine with some healing time.

  31. pat February 6th, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Is Jeter’s Yankee future going to be the new A-Rod opt out story? Something for media and fans to discuss and debate years before a real resolution might come.

    Offering him a contract extension will make the story go away but is that in the best interest of the team at this point? How long? How much?

    There could be a little pressure on Jeter this year to perform to quiet the voices that say he is in decline.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/02.....153772.htm

  32. kill.schill(ing) February 6th, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Hey snatchmike, got any medicine to speed the healing process?

    How bout some of dem, “Mother’s Little Helpers”?

  33. Thomas Robust February 6th, 2009 at 9:20 am

    I have to agree about the Cabrera argument, He Should NOT play in the WBC, he’ll probably not get much playing time and the time lost will be a gain for Gardner. If Cabrera wants to be a bench player he’ll play in the WBC if he wants to play for the Yankees every day he should stay in Spring Training. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

  34. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    from reading chapters of torre’s look, i realize that one clue to what’s going to go wrong with the yankees is to look at the latest wacky idea of brian cashman.

    when you read his decision making about bernie williams and why he wanted mientkiewicz and phelps instead, you can see the seeds of coming problems in his thinking .

    it took place after torre’s time there, but cashman had another wacky idea” with hughes/kennedy being in the rotation. that ended even worse than eye chart and phelps because two rotation spots are a bigger deal.

    so what’s the wacky idea this year for brian cashman? i’m not sure yet, but it is likely hiding in what looks to be a moneyball type, younger and cheaper idea.

  35. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 9:23 am

    LOL GB !
    Actually saw the “other Mick” here in Syracuse a few years.
    No, but a great choice.
    Think 60′s Yanks.

  36. Snatchmike February 6th, 2009 at 9:28 am

    trivia question: which Yankee utility player had the most appropriate name ever?

    answer: Stucky Assplinter

  37. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Randy
    Curious on your thoughts about Bruney.
    Just another bone-head Cashman move? :D

    Brad- ok now I am searching and this may not be your choice but it,s funny anyway. Woody Held

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/heldwo01.shtml

  38. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 9:30 am

    If not a ficticious player you would be correct sir.
    but wrong again.
    the mother of the guy I am thinking of must have known he was going to be a utility baseball player some day…

  39. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 9:32 am

    LOLOLOL!

    Woody Held!
    No, that covers too many possibilities Tarheel! most not relating to baseball either…

  40. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I figured one of ther old time Yankee posters would get this one.

    Utility player with the most appropriate name ever…

  41. Mark in Tampa February 6th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    That would be Fill Ins. I mean Phil Linz!

  42. Brad Pitt's better-looking brother February 6th, 2009 at 9:42 am

    WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Good one Mark!
    Unfortunately you will need to come to the studio to pick up your prize.

  43. m February 6th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Captain Crewcut? That’s when I knew it was Pete posting! ;)

    Great preview, it’s gotten me really revved up for the season, errr, spring training.

    -Andruw Jones-What was he thinking? (no loss, there were a lot of people here who were down on him.

    -Why anyone thinks that Austin Jackson is anywhere near major league ready is beyond me. I hope he likes coffee though.

    -That’s a lot of years we jettisoned off the roster. I like how 4/5 of our starting rotation is younger than 31. Yipee!

    -Veras (the Slim Dominican!), Albaladejo, Melancon.

    -Keep Nady & Swish. That’s a lot of OF, but I would hold on to them to see how things shake out with Posada. We (hopefully not) may need the OF/Kennedy/Reliever trade option for a catcher.

    -Generation Never-Hughes will be fine. He wants to pitch so badly, to prove he can stay healthy, but he knows it better to not rush it. He turned a corner late in ’08 & in Arizona. Kennedy will be fine, too. But I can picture him getting impatient. As would probably Hughes had he been as healthy as Kennedy. Next big trade, I think Kennedy is gone. The better he pitches the more his stock rises.

    -The odd year MVP thing is silly. He plays well enough to win it every year from a statistical view. In the interest of fair play, though, they have to give it other people, too. And if it were that easy, he’d turn it on whenever he wants and top himself every year.

    -

  44. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    ” Just another bone-head Cashman move?”

    tarheel yank-

    cashman is too smart too make boneheaded moves. instead he over thinks the obvious which is characteristic of someone smart but who doesn’t really know the hands on stuff of the field they are in.
    in cashman’s case, he simply doesn’t have a great feel for the game on the field. as torre told him, he needs to remember the game has a heartbeat.

    bruney? nice pick up , but last year’s good stats are a small sample. 2007 not so small and not so good. but then he was younger then.

    my position on cashman is simply that he could be a very valuable member of the organization if he knew his place, but he’s too full of himself. he should not be in sole control of the yankees because of his limitations. that said, he’d be a valuable team member if he was part of a management team , but not the boss.

  45. Tex's New Best Friend February 6th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    I cant believe someone would rather have Andruw Jones than Melky or Gardner. Just because he has name recognition.

  46. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Randy
    Whats your take on coaches Thompson and Kelleher. I know very little regarding these two.

  47. m February 6th, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Patrick,

    We usually roll with 7, but I can see 6. We have 6 OF, we need to worry about catching, we need to have a backup IF (or 2).

    However, I can see having a long-guy like Aceves to help with Joba’s innings. The rest of the starters are all capable of averaging 7 innings. Work will be hard to find for the relievers.

  48. Sean Serritella February 6th, 2009 at 9:54 am

    That was a very thorough blog post. A lot of information I could use.

  49. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 10:00 am

    “bruney? nice pick up , but last year’s good stats are a small sample. 2007 not so small and not so good. but then he was younger then.”

    I like Bruney. Little inconsistent from year to year, but that’s the way it plays with young pitchers. One thing I’d really like to see him prove is that he can offer an actual season’s worth of innings in the 7th/8th inning role. Guy like him should be able to go 70-75 innings over the course of a year, maybe even 80. Plenty of guys his age in the game doing it now (Marmol, Delcarmen, Madson, Pena, etc). He doesn’t maximize his value til he gets regular innings in, IMO.

  50. Doreen February 6th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    So, I am watching the Bob Costas interview with Joe Torre this morning. Costas is doing a wonderful job. He is a skilled interviewer asking good questions so far.

    Torre is a skilled interviewee, but his responses have elicited some personal impressions. First, he is very emphatic that what he has written is true. I don’t doubt that the instances he talks about took place. What is subjective is the tone – he believes his tone was fair. A reader may not see that. And while something may be true, it may not be necessary to divulge.

    My impression is that Torre talked to Verducci about particular players and perhaps made blanket statements such as, perhaps, Kevin Brown was an emotional wreck. Well, Verducci can’t write that without asking Joe, how? In what way? Give me an instance. It’s easy to see how that would lead to Torre talking about the time Brown was curled up in a corner. A supporting anecdote, if you will.

    The problem with the stuff about Cash is there is not enough concomitant support for his move to embrace sabermetrics, no acknowledgment the he had the difficult job of getting the Yankees to catch up in the changing landscape of team/organization building. I believe Torre was trying to help Brian remember the “heartbeat,” but it comes off as condescending in the book. Again. Attribute that to tone.

    In the interview, all the explanations and qualifications go a long way toward making some the book’s contents more understandable. Why weren’t those in the book itself to avoid this controversy? Especially with respect to ARod. In the interview, Torre seems to really have cared about ARod and wanting to help him, but the book comes across so much more critical and harsh. And they need to clarify in the book that the A-Fraud stuff was only the first year. It was not stated that way in the book. At any point.

    With Verducci’s SWB reference for ARod, was it wrong to ARod to look to Jeter for guidance in how to handle oneself in NY? I think characterizes the situation in too negative away.

    He says he wanted only to manage one more year and only one more year, but wanted a 2-year contract to ensure against his job status coming under scrutiny on a daily basis by the media. If that is truly the case, why not offer this: Give me a 2-year contract, but I will retire after the first year and guarantee that to you in writing. I think if he had done well the first year of that contract and won the WS that guarantee could have been torn up and he could have managed the first year in the new stadium.

    Going back to Cashman, I wish Costas had asked Torre about the passage in the book where Torre talks about how Zimmer didn’t trust Cashman and after awhile, Torre started to question whether he could/should trust Cash. I’d like to have seen how Torre explained that.

    It is a good book. All the historical information is great. Overall it reads well and I didn’t get the feeling it was mired in the salacious. I think some references, some of that anecdotal support, could have been toned down and still rung true.

    I think the interview by Costas puts the book in a better perspective, and I do think Torre answered most of his questions and acquitted himself well without seeming too uncomfortable. I don’t believe he realizes, still, how those of us reading the book perceive some of the tone of the book. They are 100% correct, in my case at least, that the book is so much more than the sum of its excerpts.

  51. keith February 6th, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Abreu was one of the 5 worst defenders in MLB last season! He’s THAT bad.

  52. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 10:10 am

    “my position on cashman is simply that he could be a very valuable member of the organization if he knew his place, but he’s too full of himself. he should not be in sole control of the yankees because of his limitations.”

    Randy:

    I wonder whether it’s not so much a matter of Cashman being an incapable boss as it is surrounding himself with the right people. I don’t know the true ins and outs of Boston’s front office (don’t really know in the Yankees FO either), but it seems to me that they are chronically locking up sabergeeks, Ex-GM’s, old and new school player personnel evaluators, etc, in an effort to get informed, yet varying points of views in building their team. Epstein has final say, but apparently is not ALL of the brains behind the operation. I see no reason why Cashman can’t be the lead man in a similar operation. My question would be, is it a similar operation?

  53. Jeremy February 6th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    randy,

    I think even you’ve got to grudgingly admit that Cashman did a good job this winter. He got the best talent available at the positions where we need it. This isn’t a situation where we can second-guess a major offseason decision and say it doomed the team to failure.

    Of course, if multiple starters go down during the season and we get disappointing performances from whomever we plug into their spots, I will await your claims that we should have signed Livan and Hendrickson as contingencies :)

  54. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    tarheel yank-

    yankee coaches are kind of generic right now. rob thompson is obviously not a mattingly or bowa kind of great or good player type coach, but he has paid his dues and been with the team for a long time. i honestly don’t know much about him.

    bill kelleher? i know nothing,so i’ll look him up:
    from wikepedia:
    ” His main assignment with the Yankees will be to monitor the development of Robinson Cano, who he mentored in the minor leagues.[2]”

    the problem with that compared to having someone like bowa do that is bowa was a five time all star. i guarantee that cano looks up kelleher’s major league record before taking advice from him. what he’ll find is a lifetime .211 BA. he must have been a good fielder though.

    coaches with limited mlb success can be the best coaches sometimes, but do you want a whole staff of them. are any of these guys going to be able to relate to the stars the yankees have? or vice versa.

    i think there are too many of these kind of coaches on the yankees who went into coaching early because they weren’t very good.

  55. BD February 6th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Abreu actually WAS that bad defensively, at least by UZR. Per FanGraphs, Bobby was 25.2 runs below average defensively. Offensively, he was only 22.4 runs above average (by wRAA). Thus, overall, he was a slightly below average player (-1.8 runs). In 2009, he could be a significantly below average player as both his offense and defense continue to decline.

    By contrast, both Nady and Swisher would probably be somewhat above average RFs. They could be 6-7 runs above average as hitters and about average with the glove.

  56. no.27 February 6th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    C: Posada, Molina

    IF: Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, A-Rod, Swisher, Ransom/utility infielder

    OF: Damon, Nady, Matsui, Gardner, Melky

    Rotation: CC, Wang, Burnett, Pettitte, Joba

    Bullpen: Mo, Marte, Bruney, Ramirez, Veras, Coke, Aceves

    It would be great if Melancon or Sanchez earned a spot over Veras, but I think there’s a better chance they end up in the minors to start the year. The Yankees will still have great bullpen depth like they did last year for injuries or ineffective pitchers.

  57. RGR February 6th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I think Melky has screwed himself over by accepting the invite to the WBC. Hes not in a position like his best buddy Robinson. Cano, already has a job. Melky needs to play for his. And while hes playing for Felipe Alou, for the DR, Gardner will be playing for their real manager in Tampa.

    Stupid move by Melky, especially with how much Girardi already loves Brett..Oh well, sucks for the Melk man

  58. m February 6th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    No. 27,

    Coke! I knew I was forgetting someone. I know they SAID they were going to make him a starter, but that was when Andy was unsigned. If he did what he did last season, you’d have to be brain-dead to put him anywhere else.

    So, it’s 3 of the 4 for me:

    -Coke
    -J-Alba
    -MM
    -Veras

    I agree with GB7, Sanchez will needs to keep working on his control after TJ.

  59. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    steve b-

    i think you have it right about boston’s organization. they have a lot of people doing a lot of things. the yankees have much fewer people doing things. that said, teams don’t have to do it the way boston does it.

    the twins for example have people pretty high up that don’t know anything about sabermetrics, but they are so strong in development and coaching that they compete nicely with the red sox on 40% of the payroll.

    the red sox are making it up as they go. it is not a pryramid top down organization with theo completely in charge. i think the yankees should likewise make up their own organization as they go.

    the yankees obvious advantage is that they have so much cash from the huge revenues they pull in and also the tradition and history the twins and red sox can’t match. any management system should be built around these. the yankees aren’t the twins or the red sox. there’s things they could learn from both, but that could be said the other way too.

    i just don’t think cashman is right for the job he has.

  60. Tom February 6th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    I just hope that they carry a long man this season, so Girardi doesn’t force Marte (or another ‘pen arm) to throw 40+ pitches in a game again.

  61. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    “I think even you’ve got to grudgingly admit that Cashman did a good job this winter”

    jeremy-
    he spent the money well on sabathia and teixeira. yankee gms have money. they should spend it well. i was very happy to see that ,now that the euphoria is wearing off.

    i agree with your thought that things change when injuries happen. i said before today that i thought cashman seems to always have the yearly wacky idea that helps sink the yankees each year.

    i think the wacky idea this year is thinking too may upsides will happen instead of too many downsides. burnett, joba, and pettitte are injury risks. posada is an injury risk. centerfield has possible downside if neither melky or gardner pan out.

    all the veterans are a year older too.mariano is 40. he’s so good we don’t think of it much, but that’s old. injuries are also a possibility with someone that age.

    i think this is a team that needs a lot of luck with injuries to be the team that we see on paper.

  62. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    …” but now the euphoria is wearing off”

  63. rodg12 February 6th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    randy -

    You do know Cash played college baseball (at DIII Catholic University of America) and as far as I know still holds the career record for batting average there, right? It’s not like he’s never played the game before.

  64. rodg12 February 6th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    randy -

    What would you propose he should have done to fix the things you listed?
    “i think the wacky idea this year is thinking too may upsides will happen instead of too many downsides. burnett, joba, and pettitte are injury risks. posada is an injury risk. centerfield has possible downside if neither melky or gardner pan out.”

  65. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    RGR
    I disagree on your take about Melky and the WBC. IF- big if, he starts and does well, that will hold a lot more weight then anything Gardner could do in Tampa. It’s more of a high risk high reward deal.

    Randy-it seems you know as much about our coaches, as I do.
    I wish Thompson well, but I wish Bowa would have come back.

  66. Jeremy February 6th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    “i think this is a team that needs a lot of luck with injuries to be the team that we see on paper.”

    I agree completely. Sam correctly wrote that Posada’s health could be the key to the season. I am concerned about Matsui and Damon’s ability to stay healthy too (which is why it’s imperative we keep Swisher). And the one Cashman move prone to second-guessing is Burnett. I’m not fully convinced he has left his injury-plagued days behind him. (I would not qualify Pettitte as an injury risk though. And Joba is slotted for the 5th starter role, so the Yankees are not expecting too much from him.)

    That said, I think where we disagree is the amount of depth the Yankees can feasibly have. Cashman can only get players who are available. There’s just nothing good out there to give us an upgrade in CF or backup C. And we already discussed how, in my opinion, the Yankees just can’t get any better by tacking on veteran pitchers to be the 6th, 7th, or 8th starters.

    If and when injuries happen, we’ll how resourceful Cashman is in dealing with them.

  67. Jeremy February 6th, 2009 at 10:56 am

    we’ll see how, that is.

  68. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 10:57 am

    m
    February 6th, 2009 at 10:29 am
    No. 27,

    Coke! I knew I was forgetting someone. I know they SAID they were going to make him a starter, but that was when Andy was unsigned. If he did what he did last season, you’d have to be brain-dead to put him anywhere else.

    So, it’s 3 of the 4 for me:

    -Coke
    -J-Alba
    -MM
    -Veras

    I agree with GB7, Sanchez will needs to keep working on his control after TJ.

    ————————————————————

    Here are the best of the relief mix to chose from. My choices will be listed in order.

    1. Rivera
    2. Bruney
    3. Marte
    4. Coke
    5. Aceves
    6. Albaladejo
    7. Veras (trade)
    8. Geise
    9. Ramirez (trade)
    10. Melancon
    11. Robertson
    12. Cox
    13. Sanchez

    I wouldn’t bring Melancon up to NYY until there was an injury or more than the two trades. Geise was really good at what he did last year, with spot starts, long relief, and short relief. He doesn’t scare. He doesn’t have the best stff, but, he does seem to know what he’s doing.

  69. Fan Mail From Some Flounder February 6th, 2009 at 10:57 am

    The Annual A-Rod Controversy:

    Yawn, how utterly tabloid. You must think that if you perpetuate this sort of trashy commentary, someone will give you a real job…

  70. m February 6th, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Cashman could cure cancer, and it still wouldn’t be enough for some people.

  71. no.27 February 6th, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Randy,

    That’s a real pessimistic outlook. The team won 89 games last year with terrible injury luck. They clearly have more talent in the rotation and have a deeper, more talented lineup. Even if they have bad luck with injuries this year, they should still be better than they were last year.

    You could also argue that the Rays had really good luck with injuries. How often does a team have 5 starters with 27 or more starts?

  72. m February 6th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    GB7,

    Your list looks good. I stopped following J-alba in winter ball. How did he finish?

  73. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    CORRECTION: best ***stuff***

  74. PAT M. February 6th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Doreen, you critque of Torre’s book was excellent…I’ll be reading this weekend…..I must say however, if your comments were posted last week at this time, you would have been tarred and feathered and left somewhere in Flushing Meadows….What a difference a week makes…..Randy I, I too wonder what little tweak Mr. Cashman will be providing this season….You were so dead right about Hughes and Kennedy, and I was never so wrong …..I do think we’re safe now as the hate infectation seems to have mellowed a bit….

  75. YankeeRay February 6th, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I haven’t read the book yet and don’t know if I want to. Between Doreens critique and all of the media coverage, I think I have a pretty good idea of whats in there.
    On top of that I have watched and listened to Torre defend his writing and I’m not sure I can even read it with an open mind at this point.

    My biggest problem with this book aside for the “code” is the timing and motive behind it.

    There is not a lot of good that will come of it as Torre suggests there could be.

    When I hear the Red Sox fans chanting Afraud, it will piss me off to no end and Torre will be the one to blame for that. If that is the good that comes out of this book then we can all thank Mr T for his good nature.

    I hope the good that comes of it is that the team rallies behind Arod and along with the new players, begin a bond of a team of a new era.

    I hope Arod seriously considers switching to #6 in a sign of good will towards Mr T showing he has no remorse.
    How funny would that be?

  76. RGR February 6th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    RGR
    I disagree on your take about Melky and the WBC. IF- big if, he starts and does well, that will hold a lot more weight then anything Gardner could do in Tampa. It’s more of a high risk high reward deal.

    __________________________________________________

    I think he’ll have to do twice as good to win the spot. You have to remember, that Girardi wont be able to watch Melky play in person. He will probably take it as Melky thinking that playing for his country is more important than playing for his own team since he actually has a purpose in ST unlike most of the other players playing for the WBC. Not to mention, when is Melky actually going to play for the DR? Hes gonna ride the bench with the team they have

  77. jay destro February 6th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    safe travels pete.

  78. sevrox February 6th, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Joba as 5th starter is SICK – this is the pitcher who shut down Beckett and the Red Sox and who will now be facing ‘other’ teams’ 5th starters.

    Sheesh!

  79. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 11:23 am

    YankeeRay
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:13 am

    ***When I hear the Red Sox fans chanting Afraud*** it will piss me off to no end and Torre will be the one to blame for that. If that is the good that comes out of this book then we can all thank Mr T for his good nature.

    I hope the good that comes of it is that the team rallies behind Arod and along with the new players, begin a bond of a team of a new era.

    I hope Arod seriously considers switching to #6 in a sign of good will towards Mr T showing he has no remorse.
    How funny would that be?

    ————————————————————

    You should be more concerned about that coming from so-called Yankee “fans” at Yankee Stadium the first time Rodriguez strikes out or makes an error.

  80. sevrox February 6th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Don’t you really think the Red Sox fans have thrown their best vocals at Arod to this point, and this ‘a-fraud’ thing won’t make much difference?

    So much hate – so little time(!).

  81. Tex's New Best Friend February 6th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Joba as 5th starter is SICK – this is the pitcher who shut down Beckett and the Red Sox and who will now be facing ‘other’ teams’ 5th starters.

    It doesnt really work this way.

    He will face the 5th starters once of twice and then the order is all jumbled. Rainouts, double headers, days off. Before you know it, Joba will be facing Halladay, Kazmir, Dice-Walk and others. I still like the chances though.

  82. saucY February 6th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    as for Melky in the WBC, is he going to make their team?

  83. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 11:30 am

    “You could also argue that the Rays had really good luck with injuries. How often does a team have 5 starters with 27 or more starts?”

    #27-

    the yankees are like tiger woods in that they are playing the field rather than any one player or team.

    what i mean by that is that there will always be one team that comes out of the field through good luck. that is the team the yankees have to beat. to beat a lucky team that comes out of the field , the yankees have to be far superior to any one team, as tiger is to any one player in the field.

    for any major league team to be so superior to other teams that it will make the playoffs every year would take any team probably 225-250 million a year. it’s not just the yankees. once their goal is to beat that team that comes out of field every year and be better than that lucky team, they are setting their standards so high they have to excel to reach that goal.

    tiger does it. the yankees have in the past ,but cashman is underestimating the task and not doing enough. the team looks good on paper, but with a few injuries they won’t be beating that team that emerges from the field. the yankees i think need more to make sure they beat that team.

    i don’t think i’m being pessimistic, just realistic.

  84. Tarheelyank February 6th, 2009 at 11:32 am

    RGR we disagree. If he Plays, it will hold more weight then anything he could do at Tampa.

    As for playing, it looks like it’s a battle between him and Willy Taveras. If he cant beat Willy, he has no chance on the Yankees.

    http://www.mlb.com/wbc/2009/ro.....eason=2009

  85. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    “He was not THAT bad defensively”

    Yes he is.

    “cashman’s wacky ideas”

    I don’t see how you can complain about Cashman, randy. He assembled one of the best ever teams on paper.

    “We usually roll with 7, but I can see 6.”

    There is close to a 0 % chance the Yankees will ever have 6 guys in the bullpen. It hasn’t happened in years.

  86. BD February 6th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    “Joba as 5th starter is SICK – this is the pitcher who shut down Beckett and the Red Sox and who will now be facing ‘other’ teams’ 5th starters.”

    It doesn’t work out that way in practice. If it did, smart teams would start their “5th” starter FIRST, against the opposing teams’s ace, then keep the rest of rotation in its regular order, with pitchers 1-2-3-4 facing the other teams’ 2-3-4-5. You’d lose the first game but win the next four. .800 ball is pretty good!

    The value of Joba at #5 isn’t the matchups (at least not during the regular season); it’s the overall run prevention you get from having five starters who could average a 3.80 ERA.

  87. TKinDC February 6th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    “tiger does it. the yankees have in the past ,but cashman is underestimating the task and not doing enough. the team looks good on paper, but with a few injuries they won’t be beating that team that emerges from the field. the yankees i think need more to make sure they beat that team.”

    This sets an unreasonably high bar – any team that gets key players injured would be screwed. This isn’t like the old days when we had great players squirreled away in the farm system (aka Kansas City)

  88. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 11:39 am

    “You do know Cash played college baseball (at DIII Catholic University of America) and as far as I know still holds the career record for batting average there, righ”

    if that college went down and played sarasota high school for a seven game series this spring they’d be lucky to win a game. pat m has the same situation in so cal. most division three teams from the northeast couldn’t beat a good florida or so cal high school team.

  89. saucY February 6th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    “As for playing, it looks like it’s a battle between him and Willy Taveras. If he cant beat Willy, he has no chance on the Yankees.”

    probably right. though soriano also has some CF experience too. but Melky will probaly get the job, IMO…

    what a logjam of infielders that team has though… wonder if they pick the best and play them or try to rotate everyone in at some point.

    when do they actually decide on rosters?

  90. m February 6th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Tarheelyank,

    “As for playing, it looks like it’s a battle between him and Willy Taveras. If he cant beat Willy, he has no chance on the Yankees.”

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read here since DT’s Culpa Torre. Thanks for that.

  91. gayle February 6th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    reading this story makes me very happy. I do believe Bruney will play a big part this year and to hear about how once again he is coming in prepared is a very very good thing

    http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....pen-2.html

  92. Brad February 6th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Brooklyn born Rich Aurilia can play any infield position but at 37 is he still quick enough ?

  93. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    One game against Beckett can’t possibly what you base that idea on. Chamberlain is only going to make 22-24 starts this coming year, at best.

  94. rodg12 February 6th, 2009 at 11:42 am

    “cashman is underestimating the task and not doing enough.”

    Again, please tell me what more he could have done. He signed the 3 of the 4 best free agents (Manny being the other) on the market. Resigned a veteran number 4 proven in NY and able to eat innings. What else can he do?

  95. m February 6th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    At some point, the players have got to get it done on the field. The games are not played in the front office.

  96. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    “This sets an unreasonably high bar ”
    tkindc-

    maybe that’s the real debate. where should the bar be set the way the game is set up now.

    maybe a lot of the disagreement is based on where we are setting our standards. i admit i set a high standard for the yankees. you have to remember i grew up with mantle and maris, berra howard,and blanchard,brosius types like bauera and richardson, and even a third baseman that may have been the best fielding one ever in clete boyer.

    they yankees did it recently again from 1996-2000. should the standards be lowered?
    good question.

  97. YankeeRay February 6th, 2009 at 11:46 am

    GreenBeret7
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:23 am
    YankeeRay
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:13 am

    When I hear the Red Sox fans chanting Afraud it will piss me off to no end and Torre will be the one to blame for that. If that is the good that comes out of this book then we can all thank Mr T for his good nature.

    I hope the good that comes of it is that the team rallies behind Arod and along with the new players, begin a bond of a team of a new era.

    I hope Arod seriously considers switching to #6 in a sign of good will towards Mr T showing he has no remorse.
    How funny would that be?
    ——————————————————————————————
    You should be more concerned about that coming from so-called Yankee “fans” at Yankee Stadium the first time Rodriguez strikes out or makes an error.

    ——

    And I guess I’ll thank Joe for those moments too. He has laid the groundwork for a season of added trash that we didn’t need as we get enough on our own.

  98. m February 6th, 2009 at 11:47 am

    And the players now realize they can’t just waltz through the season and be aided by that classic second half swoon that Boston’s known for.

    I think you’ll see more effort (and hopefully less devastating injuries) and better results.

  99. Doreen February 6th, 2009 at 11:50 am

    gayle =

    Thanks for that link. No matter what the outcome, Bruney has been aggressive to do whatever he can do to conrol it. I’m truly impressed. It’s not easy to make lifestyle changes and changes in attitude. I hope he has a great season.

    rodg12 -

    In addition, there is a lot of pitching available at the minor league levels to fill in if necessary and at least to me it looks like they’ve been culling out the least of them and holding onto the best of them

    Results cannot be guaranteed.

    Pat M -

    Thanks. And enjoy the book.

  100. Gus February 6th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Ahh it is almost here i can taste it . I dont know about anybody else but i love the New York Yankees with all my heart

  101. 86w183 February 6th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Effort is not and was never the problem. BNetter starting pitching and better health are the keys for the 2009 Yankees. They did everything imaginable to address one of them and by adding young players (Teixiera, Swisher) they should improve somewhat their chances of staying healthy.

    I agree that Posada’s health might be the # 1 concern, even more than AJ; though they can finally find a replacement catcher if needed… especially with the pitching depth that has been built up.

  102. Aaron(the better Aaron)(KEEP NADY AND SWISH) February 6th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    I want to know why all of sudden everyone want’s to get rid of Veras.. He had a good year last year and has an upside.. People do NOT know talent.. Im sorry.

  103. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Randy,

    Here’s the problem with your argument re: Cashman. Its too simplistic.

    Cashman=bad, Torre=good because he played the game.

    That’s not logical.

    Theo Epstein never played the game. Nor has Pat Gillick. Nor has Kevin Towers. Nor has Silverman, the Rays GM.

    Its more than just having “played the game”.

    You rave about Bowa and he is definitely a good coach. Do you know who brought him in? Cashman, not Torre.

    Tony Pena? Another Cashman hire.

    Dave Eiland? A Cashman hire. Dave is a much better pitching coach than Ron Guidry, who was a Torre hire.

    Where was Torre when Roy White, Jose Cardenal, Chris Chambliss and Lee Mazzili were fired, (made scapegoats) due to poor post-seasons? Joe said nothing. Where was his “stand up” nature with those guys?

    It can’t be as simple as, if Cashman does something right its “luck” or “small sample size” and if Torre does something wrong (like hitting the best player in baseball #8 in an elimination) its ok because he “played the game”.

    Bernie Williams is a classic example. EVERYBODY with the Yankees, Torre included, knew Bernie was done. Yet, Torre decided he wanted him back, even going to the media before talking to Cashman about it, in a political ploy to look like the good guy.

    Its never easy to part with a legend and fan favorite. So Joe, ever the politician, made Cash out to be the bad guy.

    Put yourself in Cashman’s shoes for a minute in that situation. Would that have made you happy? Would you feel you could trust the guy who always talked about “trust” again?

    Its so easy to pick apart Cashman’s mistakes. There isn’t a GM in baseball who hasn’t make mistakes.

    Take a good look at the revolving door at SS, and the millions wasted, the Red Sox have had the last 4 years.

    How about spending almost 5 million dollars on Craig Hansen? You think Theo is proud of that one?

    However, when its just “Cashman can’t do the job” when in fact he has done the job quite well overall (especially this winter), complaining about him becomes more agenda based than fact finding.

    As far as this winter, what else is he supposed to do? He offered Andruw Jones a minor league deal. That’s all he DESERVES right now. He turned it down.

    Ty Wiggington is looking to play enough to get 400+ AB’s, and wanted to be in a hitters park. Does that fit with the Yankees?

    He’s re-tooled the team, getting younger and more athletic, kept all his A List prospects AND has a starting payroll lower than last year.

    I don’t know what else he could do to please you at this point.

  104. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    And I guess I’ll thank Joe for those moments too. He has laid the groundwork for a season of added trash that we didn’t need as we get enough on our own.

    ————————————————————

    Don’t blame that on Torre. Blame that on the stupidity of “fans” that don’t have a clue as to what baseball really is and how hard it is to play. Generally, they amount to drunken sots with the IQ of an ice cube that will believe anything the media pukes tell them to believe.

  105. Josh February 6th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    It’s not a great analogy as they’re very different sports demanding different things from coaches/managers but the word in Pittsburgh was that the players didn’t like Tomlin’s act as far as discipline goes during the first year, but he was just doing that to make it clear who was in charge and kind of relaxed this past year and the players came to like him and wanted to play for him. We know what that led to in Pittsburgh, here’s hoping the same thing happens here.

  106. Doreen February 6th, 2009 at 11:59 am

    randy l -

    The Yankees decimated their own farm system because they could always rely on getting players that other teams could no longer afford. I understand how cliche it sounds, but it is a process to replenish it. When that happens, you will see a lot more depth to the whole team. According to what I’ve read here from SJ44 and GB7, the lower levels of the farm system are already in better shape, with more promising players than in the recent past.

    You can’t go from 0 to 100 in one fell swoop. It takes time. And it takes a learning curve. And sometimes it takes a pendulum swing that over-reaches on one side or another before a balance can be struck between the “heart” and the “head” of building a team. When you’re starting the rebuilding process (of the organization) with almost nothing but money, you can’t expect overnight results. And when you’re doing that rebuilding while still trying to maintain a highly competitive major league team whose directive is to not only get to the playoffs but win the world series (unreasonable, IMO), it is doubly difficult. You cannot take a time out. You cannot put up a sign and tell people the site is under maintenance, come back later. Especially not the Yankees.

    Oh, and throw in that scenario a situation where you are contributing financially to other teams’ abilities to improve their teams, and the natural inclination of other teams to not want to help you out (asking for more in trades from you than from other teams), I think you have a better understanding of just how different and tricky running the Yankees is.

  107. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    “though they can finally find a replacement catcher if needed… especially with the pitching depth that has been built up.”

    Who??? In terms of talent, especially offensive talent, catcher is as shallow as it gets in terms of position players. Yankees do not have the depth necessary to get anything within light years of an elite catcher. Benji Molina? Ramon Hernandez? Maybe those guys if their teams fall out of it. Jeff Mathis? Miguel Montero? Maybe, but that will likely cost a Kennedy type prospect. One of the Texas guys? They’ve been asking for real prospects. Kennedy wouldn’t even be enough.

  108. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Aaron(the better Aaron)(KEEP NADY AND SWISH)
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:55 am
    I want to know why all of sudden everyone want’s to get rid of Veras.. He had a good year last year and has an upside.. People do NOT know talent.. Im sorry.

    ————————————————————

    Because NYY has better and younger in the system to replace him, because he has trade value and because, NYY has pitchers that are more consistant.

  109. m February 6th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Aaron,

    We don’t want to get rid of Veras.

    Of last year’s bullpen, Ramirez was the one I’d rather not see back. Yes, he had a good ’08, but I’d rather see Melancon there.

    Veras is the next weakest link. Has the “stuff” but also has control issues. Doesn’t mean he’s bad, just means that we’re that deep. With guys knocking on the door.

    Right now, for me, it comes down to Veras vs. Albaladejo.

    Furthermore, Veras is good enough to be attractive to other teams. So IF there’s a significant trade, he’d be a worthy trade piece. The good news for us, is that we’re deep enough IMO that there won’t be any dropoff if Veras is traded.

    So it’s not that we want to get rid of him, we’re just thinking he’s likely to go.

  110. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Apparently Bruney lost another 16 pounds. Pretty impressive… I hope he has another great year but this time without the injury.

  111. BD February 6th, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    “the yankees are like tiger woods in that they are playing the field rather than any one player or team.”

    I don’t there’s really any comparison between Tiger and the Yankees. Tiger really is, indisputably, the best player out there, and by a pretty wide margin. He’s got tremendous power, he’s a great ball striker, his putting is sublime, he has a short game to die for, he makes amazing “touble” shots, and he’s completely unflappable in the heat of competition.

    In Tiger’s case, it’s probably accurate to attribute his losses to someone else having a better week, whether that’s “luck” or simply the normal variation one sees in a golfer’s performance from day to day and week to week.

    The difference between Tiger and the NYY is this: the Yankees aren’t INHERENTLY superior to the other teams. Other teams can reconstitute themselves to become as good as or better than the Yankees.

    In fact, we’ve seen this. The Yankees roster since the dynasty years has turned over almost completely: Jeter, Mo, Po, and Pettitte* are all that remain, they’re all a decade older. The Yankees teams over the last few years haven’t “dominated” at all. They’ve generally been very, very good, but so have other teams.

    When the Yankees fail to win WS these days (or get beyond the first playoff round), it’s not because of some unworthy no-name team getting “lucky” and coming out of nowhere. It’s because those other teams had better players at those times.

    The idea that the Yankees can have the best team every year is ludicrous. It could only happen if, every year, the Yankees got to pick their entire roster from scratch, taking whatever players they wanted throughout all of baseball. Instead, they’re “stuck” with whomever is on their current roster and under contract, and whatever magic they can perform in terms of the draft and free agency.

    The only inherent advantage the Yankees have is their higher revenue and, I suppose, their willingness to put the money back into the team (which isn’t actually “inherent” but you get my point).

    You’re right in thinking that the Yankees’ roster on paper isn’t so much better than anyone else’s to ensure even a playoff spot, let alone postseason success. However, it’s equally wrong to think there’s anything Cashman can do at this point to guarantee such success.

  112. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Two other points….

    As far as bar setting, you know what the bar should be every year? Make the playoffs. You make the playoffs, you have a shot at winning the World Series.

    This “World Series or bust” mentality is stupid.

    You can have a great team, get cold for two days (which can happen to ANY baseball team) and you are out of the playoffs. Conversely, one hot week, and you are in the WS.

    How silly is it to set the bar so high (WS or bust) when in the end, luck has as much to do with it as anything?

    Take last year for example. The entire team didn’t hit in the clutch for most of the season. Injuries filled the roster. Yet, they won 89 games in the toughest division in baseball. They had a better record than the Dodgers, and had the 6th best record in baseball last year.

    You think that’s a disaster? I don’t. I think its amazing they won that many games with such a flawed team. To that end, somebody has to get some credit for this team winning that much.

    On paper, which is all we have to go on right now, this years team is MILES better than last year. That’s why there is so much optimism from the players.

    I was at a charity event in Tampa last week. I talked to three guys on the team, as well as two former players who are involved with the team, and they are RAVING about the job Cash did this off-season.

    Not just adding talent but, in adding the talent added what all of the players said were “good guys” on top of it.

    I haven’t heard these guys this pumped up about the team in the last 4 years. To me, that’s a gauge that perhaps Cash did indeed have a good off-season.

    As far as the coaching staff is concerned, let’s look at the AA and AAA staffs right now.

    The Scranton staff is outstanding. If you talk to baseball people, they will tell you Dave Miley is one of the best managers in minor league baseball. Scott Aldred (pitching coach) will not only be a major league pitching coach one day, he will be an outstanding ML pitching coach. Butch Wyneagar (hitting coach) is also highly thought of by baseball people.

    At Trenton (AA), Tony Franklin has done an excellent job there. Getting Frankie Menechino as the hitting coach was a coup. Frankie is an excellent teacher and is real passionate about hitting. When he played, all he did on the bench was talk hitting with everybody. He will bring that same passion to Trenton and that will help him with the players.

    Tommy Phelps is in his first year as pitching coach of the Thunder. He has a good rep within the game. I don’t know him so I can’t speak with certainty about him.

    I know this much, I’ll put the AAA and AA staffs of Scranton and Trenton with anybody’s in the game right now. We haven’t been able to say that about the Yankee farm system in years.

    As far as the ML staff, I like the switch of Pena and Thompson. I think both guys are in the positions they should be in to maximize their talents. Mick Kelleher is there for one reason. Robinson Cano.

    He gets Robbie’s head out of his a$$ and can tap into his talent, Mick earns his pinstripes.

    Dave Eiland did an excellent job last year. I can’t see how you can have problems with him. He is exactly what you say you like in a pitching coach.

    Kevin Long is regarded by his peers as one of the best hitting coach’s in the game.

    I’d love to have Bowa back but, that’s not happening. In the end though, the balance of the staff is quite good.

    Obviously, you have to play games. Overall though, its a solid staff.

  113. Laura - This is our year! February 6th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    “He’s re-tooled the team, getting younger and more athletic, kept all his A List prospects AND has a starting payroll lower than last year.”

    I think that Cash has done a phenomenal job this off season. Aside from not showing Andy a bit more respect, I have no complaints.

  114. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    sj-

    it just as simplistic to say my argument is cashman vs torre because my relatively minimalist organization because of his desire to have everything go through him. because of the yankees size they need a more complex management

    you point out all the gms that don’t have experience. my answer is that the more of them there are the easier it is to be a gm. in other words, if all gms are non players, how could a non player gm not win in the end ? i’m not impressed with theo. he does have to compete with cashman after all. how hard is that?

    i did think it was time for torre to move on to a senior consultant position. i also think it’s time for cashman to move on to another senior position. the yankees need a management model that keeps it’s key people. cashman doesn’t encourage that model.

    cashman has this crazy immune system that expels key people. i do not agree that this 2009 team is unconditionally loaded. they are loaded if a lot of coin flips come up the right way.

    i just do not believe that cashman will ever have the team running on all it’s cylinders. he’s never done it before , and i just don’t see it happening.

    that said, the yankees are the yankees. there are a lot of forces at work. i’m going to be watching and hoping they do well.

  115. The Mad Prince in Pinstripes February 6th, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Wow, great overview…did Sam or Peter write this?

    My question revolves around Hughes…my guess is that he would be better served to continue starting in AAA at the get-go with a possible mid season promotion for spot starts and long relief. Or does he spend the whole season in AAA with Aceves getting long relief, spot starts?

    With our starters as deep as they are, I like the idea of packaging Kennedy, Swisher/Nady, and someone else for an area of need…perhaps CF…but what CF? Then you figure Hughes takes Pettitte’s spot in teh rotation next season on a full time basis.

  116. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    sj
    sorry about sentences disappearing from my post. have a new mac book and things just disappear. i’ll rewrite it.

  117. rodg12 February 6th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    randy l -

    Your expectations have to be different for the team now than when Maris and Mantle played. The playoffs are completely different. When Maris and Mantle played they didn’t even have a league championship series. Finish with the best record in the AL and you go to the World Series. Even the late 70s teams played without the Wild Card. Now, you have to win a 5 game series and a 7 game series just to get to the World Series. Completely different. I agree with SJ. The correct expectations for the Yankees should be to make the playoffs. You do that, you always got a shot to win it all. Expecting a WS win every year, I believe, is actually debilitating to the club.

  118. m February 6th, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Am I wrong, or did Albaladejo have a great winter league?

    http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/.....pid=452293

    Good 2 walks & 18 Ks? 1 earned run? 14 saves in 20 appearances?

  119. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    1. I love Bruney from jump street. The fact that he recovered after Torre tried his best to cause him a rotator cuff injury and then jilted Bruney when he had trouble pitching for the 100th day in a row, is a total testimony to just how great Bruney is. By the way, I would say that all of us with eyes really recognized Bruney’s amazing talent even after he was jettisoned for the (then) always-present and totally-effervescent Scott Proctor!

    2. I still want Abreu back also. I just really needed to say that. I’m with you Kill Schill.

    :(

    Oh yeah, DT, if you’re around, do you mind if we play santa’s elves and also try to send out your document, albeit as an anonymous doc (unless you want to use your name.) That’s how impressed I am with that missive. And I agree with Nick in SF that only the most absolutist fans and posters (I may have chosen another adjective) won’t get it.

  120. Michael February 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Bad judgment by Melky to play in WBC instead of preparing with the team. His job status is uncertain at best. He is approaching the “fringe player” status and is choosing to spend a month on a team that offers him nothing.

  121. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    “As far as bar setting, you know what the bar should be every year? Make the playoffs. You make the playoffs, you have a shot at winning the World Series.

    This “World Series or bust” mentality is stupid. ”

    I totally agree with this, unfortunately a lot of Yankee fans don’t.

    I have a question for everyone. Why isn’t Damon more seriously considered as a CF? For most of the games at the end of the season when Girardi finally made the lineup more consistently, Damon was the full-time CF. Damon is capable of playing CF every day. His arm sucks but he can still cover a lot of ground.

    The reason I bring this up is because the best outfield the Yankees can put out there is Swisher, Damon, Nady from left to right. Gardner/Melky in CF on a regular basis is a huge risk, they could literally hit at replacement level. The loss in defense with Damon in CF is LESS than the gain in offense with both Swisher and Nady in the lineup.

    Thoughts?

  122. chiromaniac February 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Pete have a safe trip and I cannot wait to see your posts. This is my 3rd season living by your blog and I’m really eager to see what happens this spring.

  123. Jeremy February 6th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    randy,

    The “problem” I have with your Cashman critiques is that you bash him for not doing enough but don’t suggest feasible alternatives.

    Your line so far this year is that Cashman “underestimating the task and not doing enough.” All well and good, but what more should he be doing?

    He can only acquire existing players, and he can’t force anyone to sign with the team. And he can’t go the Onion route, raise the payroll to $300 million, and sign every player in baseball.

    I enjoy your comments and you obviously know your stuff. But this is an offseason where the Yankees signed the top two pitching FAs, the top position player FA, a veteran lefty reliever, and traded for Swisher (who provides the versatility they desperately need), and got a steal of a deal on Pettitte on top of all that. When you say Cashman hasn’t done enough, you beg the question, what else should he have done? (Your answer cannot include forcing Byrd to return to baseball.)

  124. m February 6th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Michael,

    He doesn’t care. He already got his raise. :)

    I can see both POVs, but if he’s competing with Gardner, he might not want to give Brett a head start. He’s pretty fast.

  125. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    “Aside from not showing Andy a bit more respect”

    When will this nonsense end? My guess is never.

  126. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    correction:
    it just as simplistic to say my argument is cashman vs torre because my position is really cashman vs a more complex management model.

    the yankees are a relatively minimalist organization because of cashman’s desire to have everything go through him. i believe the yankees because of their size need a more complex management model.

  127. rconn23 February 6th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    SJ44,

    So true about Cashman. It’s incredible the amount of flack he gets sometimes.

    He’s certainly had more hits than misses. First of all, he orchestrated a trade that essentially won the World Series in 2000 – David Justice from from the Indians. They don’t win that year without that move. His other choice was to give up the farm for Sammy Sosa, which would have cost Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson – among others. Cashman bided his time and got an impact bat and gave up almost nothing.

    He’s certainly knocked the ball out of the proverbial park with his work this winter. He’s also rebuilt the farm system to a respectbale level – while it may not be top tier as of yet.

    For all the praise Epstein gets, let’s not forget he signed Drew to an albatross of a contract, and Lugo to a bad deal as well. Their championship in 2007 kind of brushed those deals under the carpet.

    Cashman got criticized for the Contreras deal, but Epstein wanted him just as badly.

    Again, No GM is perfect. They all mistakes. But no GM in the game is under the pressure that Cashman is.

  128. m February 6th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    My guess is that Cashman will be able to focus on fielding a great team rather than worrying about saving Joe Torre’s job.

  129. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    In what way do the Yankees need to alter their management structure? Cashman makes all the major personnel decisions. What team has a GM that doesn’t do that?

  130. MoDemDown February 6th, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I could imagine the pen looking like:
    Rivera
    Bruney
    Veras
    Marte
    Albalndejo
    Ramirez
    Coke
    …My guese is Guise and Coke are going to earn a lot of frequent flyer miles this year flipping back and forth a lot.
    …looking forward to the day Melancon gets called up and it would also be nice to see Sanchez put it together.

  131. The Mad Prince in Pinstripes February 6th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Cashman is the little boy plugging up the hole in the dike.

    Because he builds the team, he is culpable, fair or not.

    By and large, he has done a good job and I find very little to criticize this offseason.

    I think a complex management team is a recipe for disaster in Yankeeland. Too many egos to worry about.

  132. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    “He’s re-tooled the team, getting younger and more athletic, kept all his A List prospects AND has a starting payroll lower than last year”

    Not a real big deal, but this “lower payroll” argument is a fairly disingenuous one. He can dress it up with bonuses to Sabathia and Teixiera all he wants, the payroll is up around $210M again. It’s a better spent $210M than last year’s, but it’s still $210M.

  133. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    “I think that Cash has done a phenomenal job this off season. Aside from not showing Andy a bit more respect, I have no complaints.”

    Laura, and since I believe that Andy was shown more respect than he deserved since his statement that it wasn’t about the money really ended up ringing hollow, I think Cash his done a phenomenal job, period!

    ;)

    Only the most absolutist of Yankee posters and fans don’t recognize that Cashman, once he was finally given control, was really between a rock and a hard place in terms of trying to please the unwashed masses since the Yankee organization had taken a ton of criticism for spending of superstars and trading away the farm. So Cashman tried to pull in the reins last season by using the prospects and trying to keep down the payroll, and what did he get?

    *WAH WAH WAH!!!!!*

    This year, Cashman, in recognition of the fact that the younger guys really weren’t ready to take over, goes out and makes PHENOMENAL off-season acquisitions, and what does he get?

    *WAH WAH WAH!!!!!*

    To which I say to the posters and fans who need the wahwahwambulance by their side constantly – “thank you” is a definitely underutilized phrase.

  134. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Randy,

    How can you not be impressed with Theo? He took a franchise that never won and turned it into a winner. That’s what good GM’s do.

    How does Cashman “expel” key people? He has Stick as a senior advisor. He brought back Bill Livesey, who is a top notch talent evaluator. He has Mark Newman, Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler overseeing pro and amateur scouting. He’s re-vamping the Latin American outpost after the kickback and Inoa debacles. He extinguished the Tampa Mafia, which did ENORMOUS damage to this organization.

    I don’t see where “key” people are being lopped off.

    Randy, when have the Yankees “run on all cylinders” under George? Really, when was there a perfect balance between the major league team and the minor league system?

    Certainly not in the 70′s and 80′s.

    The only time it even got close was the second time George got thrown out of MLB. At that time, guess who was the guy heading up the farm system under Stick? Brian Cashman.

    At some point, the major league team had to be re-tooled. When and how exactly do you do that when the owners mantra is “World Series or bust” every year?

    As far as moving Torre up, he didn’t want to be a consultant. He wanted a 2 year deal for 16 million dollars (8 million per) to continue to manage the Yankees.

    All that, “I was tired” stuff was BS. If they gave him 16 million bucks somehow, “miraculously”, Joe would have found the “energy” to take over such a dysfunctional (sarcasm added) ship as the Yankees.

    Let me ask you, would you have given him 16 million dollars to him to remain as manager of the team? Knowing, that his game day strategy was not good, his relationship with the players (at least the non-ring holders) was tenuous, and you are looking to break in younger pitching at the major league level?

    Its not that easy a call, is it?

    Plus, how exactly do you think it would go down with this guy writing a book while still managing the Yankees? Talk about clubhouse disharmony.

    At some point, all of these relationships had to end. It was almost a foregone conclusion it was going to be messy, given the egos involved.

    Now, the dust has settled. Look at the organization from top to bottom and tell me they aren’t better off than they were in 2005? They are. Its not even something that can be disputed.

    Even the most vocal Yankee haters among the baseball media will tell you the organization from top to bottom is in better shape than it was in 2005.

    Does that mean they are “guaranteed” the World Series? Of course not. It does mean though they are set up much better for the future than they were in 2005.

    As far as “things having to go right” this year, can’t you say the same thing about every team? If Josh Beckett suffers a season ending injury, how good are the Red Sox?

    You can go down the line with teams and pick out guys they can’t afford to lose over the course of the season. The Yankees are no different than anybody else in that regard.

    Going into ST however, its hard for anybody (IMO) to say this team isn’t much better than they have been the past couple of years.

    When Joba Chamberlain right now is slated as your #5 starter, I’d say you are pretty damn good.

  135. BD February 6th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    As a LF, Damon is a very good player. He’s a plus defender to go along with his very good offense. In CF, he’s a significantly below-average defender, so moving him to CF (even assuming he holds up physically) weakens you at two positions.

    Getting Swisher into the lineup isn’t enough of an upgrade offensively or defensively to justify moving Damon. Swisher may be somewhat better than average offensively, but he’s probably no better than average defensively.

    To upgrade the outfeld, trade for Mike Cameron.

  136. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    SJ, is the front office as thrilled with the job that Torre Tyson, Jeff Ware and Sherman Obando in Charleston? Tyson, I thought was an exceptional teacher. He just needs more instructors. Any word on increasing the staffs of the lower minor league teams?

  137. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    “In what way do the Yankees need to alter their management structure? Cashman makes all the major personnel decisions. What team has a GM that doesn’t do that?”

    Likely none.

  138. Betsy February 6th, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    I’m getting depressed at how many people on other boards want Jeter gone at the end of his contract and reading the Joel Sherman article made it even worse. Basically, he’s saying Jeter stinks….I feel he’s going to have a bounce back year, especially if he doesn’t suffer a nearly broken hand fairly early in the season. I understand that an aging SS is not ideal, but I can not picture the Yankees just letting him go at the end of 2010…..nor would I want them to. I think he can absolutely still be productive. Am I delusional? SJ, what are your thoughts? I realize this is a delicate situation for the Yankees.

    M, I think Albaladejo can be a very valuable asset in the pen for the Yanks. He can pitch multiple innings if needed (though he should never be used as a long man, like Joe did last year at times), which is very useful. I do think he’s underrated.

    Bruney impressed me to no end by ignoring his doctors’ advice and working incredibly to pitch again in 2008 to help the Yankees down the stretch. That’s dedication right there. He’s lost weight and looks like he’s in great shape. If his arm and his brain are finally in synch, we could have something here.

  139. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    “When you say Cashman hasn’t done enough, you beg the question, what else should he have done?”

    jeremy-

    it goes back to my post about high standards. where do we set the bar?

    when people say now there’s no one for cashman to get, they’re missing the point that the season ended in october. that’s the time to start. i agree the pickings are slim now. you and i have had a good discussion that prompted me to look to see who actually is available now who could fill the veteran 6th starter role i like. we saw it’s a very small pool.

    the problem is that we’re looking at it now and not on november first. the argument i’m having now with people is very similar to the one i was having two and three years ago. there are holes.

    you should have been around when i was going crazy with the back up catcher spot a few years ago. or the revolving first base platoons. nothing has changed. cashman has just stuck the same number of fingers in different holes in the dike.

    i’m beating a dead horse here and will back off. i’ve made my position pretty clear. we’ll have to see how it plays out to see if i’m full of crap or not. as i told sj, there are plenty of things about the yankees i like and will be watching and hoping they win.

  140. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    “He’s certainly had more hits than misses. First of all, he orchestrated a trade that essentially won the World Series in 2000 – David Justice from from the Indians. They don’t win that year without that move. His other choice was to give up the farm for Sammy Sosa, which would have cost Alfonso Soriano and Nick Johnson”

    His choice??? I’m not quite of down on Cashman as Randy, but I’m also not among the sheep who in one breath say Cashman didn’t have control til after 2005 and then give him credit for deals in 2000, when he quite clearly didn’t have control.

  141. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    “not quite AS down”

  142. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Patrick,

    The problem with Damon in CF everyday is, he can’t hold up physically for the position. His legs aren’t what they used to be.

    One of the reasons why he had such a good year last year was the way Girardi used him as well as playing LF everyday. It was not only easier on his legs, he played an above average LF.

    You can play him in CF for certain matchups. Everyday? I think that ship has sailed for that part of his career.

  143. The Mad Prince in Pinstripes February 6th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    SJ, that post was too long. Seriously.

  144. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    “Getting Swisher into the lineup isn’t enough of an upgrade offensively or defensively to justify moving Damon.”

    The numbers show otherwise, which is why I brought it up. If you look at projections and what each player has done in the past, an outfield of Swisher, Damon, Nady is better than an outfield of Damon, Melky/Brett, Nady/Swisher.

  145. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    rconn – and how about that sweetheart of a back-up catcher, Jose Molina?

    To me that was the deal of the century!

  146. The Mad Prince in Pinstripes February 6th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    BD,

    I think that the Yankees can get someone better than Cameron for CF by involving a guy like Kennedy and Nady/Swisher.

    I think that Cameron ship has sailed. The only way I trade for Cammy is if they take Melky in return.

  147. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    “The problem with Damon in CF everyday is, he can’t hold up physically for the position. His legs aren’t what they used to be.”

    That’s the only concern I would have with putting Damon in CF everyday. So how about Swisher in CF? I hate the idea but you can’t bench Swisher and play Gardner/Cabrera. Its just a terrible idea.

  148. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    GB,

    I’m prejudiced re: the guys at Charleston because, from ownership to the coaching staff, they are my friends. I think the Yankees are very happy with the work all of the guys did at Charleston last year.

    They added Greg Colbrunn to the staff this season as a hitting coach. That’s another good addition to the staff.

    Overall, the organization loved that Charleston team last year. If several of those guys can take their games to another level when they hit Tampa and/or Trenton, folks are going to be VERY excited about the talent coming through the system.

    Betances, McAllister, Dunn, Heredia, DeLaRosa, Oritz, Laird, Snyder, Romine, Montero, Angelini, Suttle, Almonte, that’s 13 guys with legitmate major league upside.

    Will every one of them pan out? Odds say no.

    However, when you have 13 guys on one team with their talent coming through the system, the odds alone say 2-3 of them will make it.

    When you possess the financial strength of the Yankees, all you need are 2-3 of those guys to make it. Just have to be the right guys to fill your needs.

  149. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    *Ours is not to question why, ours is just to do or die.*

    So I won’t question but will simply make a statement. I have no idea why Ian Kennedy is still hanging around and there is likely no answer that will suffice unless it is so content driven and specific and is chuck full of lots of advances Kennedy has made, backed up with startling stats.

    :D

  150. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    “So how about Swisher in CF?”

    Swish seems to be a pretty self aware guy. His own scouting report on him as a CF is enough to make me say no.

    Of course, watching the MLB Network recently, I saw a piece on the 1982 Brewers. I suppose if Gorman Thomas can be the regular CF for AL East division winner, maybe Swish can too.

  151. Tom February 6th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Tennyson? really, Trisha?

    that poem was nothing but imperialist propaganda.

  152. Rishi February 6th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Rob Neyer’s take:
    ____________________________________________________________

    Jeter contract situation

    Friday, February 6, 2009 | Feedback | Print Entry

    Nope. When it comes to Derek Jeter, it’s not too early to talk about Derek Jeter, whose massive contract expires at the end of the 2010 season. In the Post, here’s Joel Sherman:

    But as we learned again this week with Torre, there are not many happily-ever-afters in these situations — and the issues and potential stress points with someone as beloved as Jeter only make the ticking clock toward November 2010 hover more ominously.

    “I might not make 2011,” Cashman said. “I am dealing with 2009.”

    That is the right public answer. But know this — Yankee officials already talk privately about dreading D(erek)-Day.

    After all, what team official wants to tell Jeter he has to take a pay cut or has to move positions or — gulp — just has to move on? How would you like that on your baseball epitaph: You were the Yankee executive who told Derek Jeter thanks for the memories?

    Of course, the alternative is not too appetizing either. Because kowtowing to Jeter’s legacy by paying him lavishly and keeping him at short means tying yourself to a late-30s icon well beyond his expiration date.

    As if the matter needs complications, Jeter will conclude his current 10-year, $189 million contract on the doorstep of 3,000 hits, a total never reached by a Yankee.

    And, really, do we need complications? He is Derek Freaking Jeter. He is the very definition of Yankee. How do you explain being tied to Alex Rodriguez for 10 years, but cutting relationships with Jeter?

    But how do you decide to make this a popularity contest rather than a baseball team? How do you decide to ignore all the obvious data that screams be heartless, even with Jeter?

    Derek Jeter can’t play shortstop in 2011. Not for the Yankees, anyway. Everyone knows this. Cal Ripken was an institution, too, but he shifted to third base when he was 36. Of course, that path probably won’t be open to Jeter, because A-Rod will presumably still be good enough to play third base (and neither of them can move to first, where Mark Teixeira is locked in for many years).

    I’m sure the Steinbrothers would love to see Derek Jeter wearing pinstripes forever, but I believe they’re even more infatuated with winning, and in two years it’s going to be terribly obvious that spending $20 million on a 37-year-old shortstop who can’t play shortstop may be tantamount to losing. So I think we can dispense with the speculation, because I’m ready to tell you right now: It’s just not going to happen. The Yankees will have a younger and better shortstop in 2011.

    Where does that leave Cap’n Jetes? That’s mostly up to him. I also believe the Yankees will try to keep him in the fold, perhaps with a $10 million salary (chump change for them) and the vague promise of semi-regular playing time as a sort of utility player. And my guess is that he’ll accept. Because given his obviously diminishing skills, it’s likely to be the best offer he gets. By a lot.

  153. G. Love February 6th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    If Melky is seriously going to go play in the WBC, then ladies and gentlemen your new Yankee CF is Bret Gardner.

    Melky won’t get the playing time in the WBC to impress anyone. He’ll be a spare part on that team.

    Unless Garnder hits .150 in spring training, the job is his.

    Melky’s a fool and don’t give me the “national pride” argument.

    He’s a fool. Period.

  154. Jeremy February 6th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    randy,

    Fair enough. As for that 6th starter/swingman you want, what about Giese? He was a significant (but unheralded) contributor last season. There’s probably a good reason he didn’t crack the majors until he was 30, but as we know, when you get to 6th starter, you can’t ask for too much.

    I would love to get a backup C who can play like a starting C, but that’s also a lot for any team to ask for.

  155. GreenBeret7 February 6th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    SJ44
    February 6th, 2009 at 12:49 pm
    GB,

    I’m prejudiced re: the guys at Charleston because, from ownership to the coaching staff, they are my friends. I think the Yankees are very happy with the work all of the guys did at Charleston last year.

    ————————————————————

    Those kids were really sensational and the city loves them. All of them are great young guys and are especially good with the kids in the stands. I commend Tyson for that.
    There are three other young guys on that team that showed a lot of promise…Ryan Zink, Austin Krum and Craig Heyer. Krum is a good young outfielder. He’s not the most gifted of them, but, nobody runs harder and there isn’t a fly that he doesn’t think he can’t catch. He does get a little wild with his throws, though. Not wild, justwrong decisions. He reminds me a lot of Chad Curtis. He’s not a big guy, about 5’9″ and 175 pounds, but, hustle isn’t his problem.

  156. jennifer February 6th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Someone should pull Melky aside and tell him if he wants a job on the big league than he better be in spring training so Joe G can see him.

    Does he think cause he signed a million dollar contract that he’ll be handed the job?

  157. Boston Dave February 6th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    re: the Super Bowl

    “The NFL said Thursday there is no doubt Santonio Holmes got both feet down – the tips of his toes – on his Super Bowl-winning touchdown catch, but did admit that Kurt Warner’s fumble with 5 seconds to go should have been reviewed by the referee.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....f_sup.html

  158. DT February 6th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    trisha
    February 6th, 2009 at 12:23 pm
    Oh yeah, DT, if you’re around, do you mind if we play santa’s elves and also try to send out your document, albeit as an anonymous doc (unless you want to use your name.) That’s how impressed I am with that missive. And I agree with Nick in SF that only the most absolutist fans and posters (I may have chosen another adjective) won’t get it.

    Hey – Trisha.

    I posted about this last night.
    Lisa Swan gave me some nice pub on her blog –
    http://subwaysquawkers.blogspo.....uined.html

    I sent the post out to a few “sardonic” sports writers and bloggers – and got a couple of responses.

    Lisa Guerrero (LA Times) said it was a great letter. Very funny and right on target.

    Rick Reilly (now working for ESPN/formerly of SI) responded it was “freaking hilarious!” and wanted to know if “I could get that printed somewhere”

    I told him to run with it if he wanted to and give it some national exposure. Haven’t heard back yet – maybe it will make it into his weekly column.

    If you want to play Santa’s elf – knock yourself out. :-)

  159. m February 6th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Boston Dave,

    I heard that KFC was going to give 15 charities $25,000 each if there was a Hail Mary on the last play.

    Costly non-call in more way than one!

  160. m February 6th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    DT,

    Are you big-timing us?!

    You should’ve went straight to Bill Simmons. He loves that kind of humor, has great exposure. Always gives credit and would love to tweak a Yankee, even if he’s no longer a Yankee!

  161. DT February 6th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    m –

    I emailed Simmons too. (hey throw darts against the wall – one might stick) No response.

    I figured he was busy knelling before his Nomar poster chanting the Sweet Caroline mantra.

  162. Patrick February 6th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I agree that Swisher in CF is a stretch. I don’t like the idea because Swisher is better utilized in RF, LF or at 1B. I can’t stomach the idea of Gardner playing CF while Swisher is sitting on the bench. I’m a Gardner fan but he just isn’t a starting OF.

    Back to the issue of Damon being unable to withstand a full season at CF. He had a bad season in 2007 in large part because his legs were worn out because of too much CF time. However, I’m not sure if that’s still an issue. Damon was out of shape in 2007, he admitted it himself. In 2008 he was in much better shape and he never diminished at the plate or in the field. He played consistently in CF towards the end of 2008. I think he can handle it over a full season if Girardi gives him days off here and there.

  163. m February 6th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    DT,

    They need to send the police to check on Simmons. I don’t know what his mental state will be like after last night’s game.

    Reilly’s cool. He always sounded heavily sedated when he appeared on the DP show. Anyone else find it ironic that Reilly and Patrick basically switched employers? I don’t know the story behind it, but I’m sure there is one.

  164. Ham Fighters February 6th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    boston dave, u should have included in your quote this next piece:
    “But Pereira, speaking from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, said the call on the field was correct, the review by the replay assistant confirmed it and he is confident McAulay would not have reversed it.”

    the fact is both calls were correct.

  165. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Patrick:

    To me, along with injuries and some underperforming, below average defense in several spots was an issue with the ’08.

    Cashman has worked to address that issue and we’ll likely see notable improvements in RF and 1B, but they are still not particularly strong up the middle defensively. Damon over Melky/Gardner in center probably makes them even less though and there LF defense may be diminished as a result.

  166. randy l February 6th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    sj -
    just for fun take a look at the red sox front office link;

    http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/t.....p?c_id=bos

    did theo hire michael porter? porter is a corporate strategy heavy weight. that’s what i mean as an example of a more complex management. there is no one like porter in the yankee system. george freaking mitchell is still listed as a director though he probably isn’t officially now.

    mike port, lou gorman, allard baird former gms? young assistant gms. theo didn’t hire all these people on his own. again, i’m not saying the yankees should do it the same way as the red sox. i think they should make their own culture.

    brian cashman is not the yankees. the culture should not be brian cashman’s culture; it should be the yankees’ culture. cashman is not to the yankees what steve jobs is to apple.

    you say all relationships come to an end. what about cashman? why should he get a pass on that one if it’s true? just saying.

  167. Boston Dave February 6th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    “i’m beating a dead horse here and will back off.”

    apparently not.

  168. MYGIRLS February 6th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    “REHAB BOYS” lol Pete, make sure you incude Pavano Hughes on that list….

  169. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    DT – I’m on it!

    :D

  170. dennis-costanza(sox fan) February 6th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    SJ.

    What a great place to go visit friends and see some baseball. My wife and I lived downtown when we lived there and loved walking over to the park and watch the River Dogs (owned by TB at the time) We went to a bunch of guys that summer as Rocco Baldelli was roaming CF.

    Great place to dine as I am sure you well.

    All: Have a good weekend.

    -dennis

  171. dennis-costanza(sox fan) February 6th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    “bunch of games”

    No we did not go see the village people..

  172. Ham Fighters February 6th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    the yankees have had a plethora of ‘advisors’ throughout george’s ownership, in good time and in bad times. having them or not having them doesnt seem to make any difference.

    on top of that, if you have those advisors around, there is the possibility of them going behind cash’s back to hal or randy. this would be what happened before cash got full control. remember that theo walked for a while at one point and had to be coaxed back in. i dont pay much attention to the sock’s inner workings but im betting ‘control’ and who answers to whom was a big part of that.

    if cash wants to have 4 or 5 advisors around to help him make decisions he can, or he can pass on that, that’s his choice. more opinions dont always make for better decisions.

  173. Joey's Poodle February 6th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Just a word of thanks and heartfelt agreement to sj and others who have stood out for the ‘successful season = making the playoffs’ position.

    The nonsense about any season in which we didn’t win the WS being a failure never came up until the dynasty years, which any rational person could see were wildly exceptional. Or maybe I should say any rational person who had been a fan before the big bandwagon came along.

    In the long history of the team, making the playoffs has been considered a successful year and winning about one out of, what is it, five? World Series ever played has been the bar the team has set.

    I still see things that way and consider it the traditional Yankee way.

  174. Y's Guy February 6th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    randy has a single white female like obsession with theo.

  175. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    “In the long history of the team, making the playoffs has been considered a successful year and winning about one out of, what is it, five? World Series ever played has been the bar the team has set.”

    That was “then” and this was now? When you hear every Yankee player, including the Captain, say that anything short of winning the World Series is a failure, and you hear the same message from Gsorge Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman, then you know the expectation.

    How about this? I believe that any season that the Yankees have done their best with what they have to work is a successful season. However, I know it is foolhardy for me to expect that fans and the organization would feel the same way.

    So while I applaud your definition and have no difficulty with that concept, I would say that unfortunately the mantra from above is the one that has been embraced – and that is that anything short of a World Series win is a failure.

    There is no reason to wonder why the Yankees are seen as “all business” while other teams talk about “having fun”, and never the twain shall meet.

    By the way, don’t kid yourself into thinking that any manager who takes over for the Yankees doesn’t feel the pressure of “winning the world series” as the only acceptable goal and also the measure of success.

  176. Steve B February 6th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    “The nonsense about any season in which we didn’t win the WS being a failure never came up until the dynasty years”

    I recall The Boss issuing a public apology for losing the WORLD FREAKIN’ SERIES in 1981. Nobody fed the “World Series of Bust” notion to the world more than George has.

  177. trisha February 6th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    “I recall The Boss issuing a public apology for losing the WORLD FREAKIN’ SERIES in 1981. Nobody fed the “World Series of Bust” notion to the world more than George has.”

    Bingo.

  178. YankeeRay February 6th, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    1 foot 2 foot ???

    http://www.nowpublic.com/sport.....oot-or-two

  179. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Randy,

    Theo hired Gorman (who replaced Bill Lajoie), Port and Baird.

    John Henry hired Porter.

    Lonn Trost is basically the Yankees version of Porter.

    Randy Levine, for all his warts, got a new stadium deal done. A stadium that, even in bad economy times, will generate at least 50 million (and I’m being VERY conservative) more in profits to the team annually.

    Randy is not my favorite cat in the organization. However, you have to tip your cap to him being able to get the stadium deal done. Especially having to deal with NYC politicians. A stadium free of say, Bernie Madoff and the Citigroup debacle. No easy task.

    Those guys are the business/brains of the Yankees.

    Lou Gorman’s slot with the Red Sox is basically what Bill Livesey does now for the Yankees.

    Stick? His role as Senior Advisor is what Allard Baird does with the Red Sox. Stick has even more clout.

    There is no problem with the business side of the Yankees. Only the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins come close to making what the Yankees make on an annual basis. They are in rarified air when in comes to profitability with sports franchises.

    You can look at the Yankees list of limited partners and pick out heavyweights on that list. Both teams have “names” in the directory.

    In talking about the business side of the team, I’m not even including the YES Network money or the projected profits from the Yankees/Cowboys upcoming joint venture.

    Its more than just looking at a teams directory. Its looking at what guys do, and how they do it.

    From the business, NOBODY has made what the Yankees have made the last 35 years. Its almost unfathomable to think how much this franchise has grown in value.

    The re-tooling of the baseball side began in 2006 and continues today. Its still a work in progress.

    Sure, there have been bumps in the road. There have also been successes.

    As I said, the entire franchise, from top to bottom is in a lot better shape than it was in 2005.

    I happen to think Hal gets the need for balance (between free agency and player development) and will allocate the necessary resources to achieve such balance.

    Thing is, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the Yankees are Rome. It takes time to do what you need to do to get things done.

  180. PAT M. February 6th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    SJ44, A nice and compelling presentation….My issue is that it’s taken too long for the instructional arm or branch of this re-organizing to get in place with regards to coaching..Yes great strides have taken place, but over all it’s still deliquent in the necessaties in teaching….

  181. Nick in SF February 6th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    “cashman is underestimating the task and not doing enough”

    How do you know he’s underestimating the task?

    randy, you have real baseball experience and smarts, but you’re on firmer ground when you concede that you have a personal vendetta against Brian Cashman and that you’re unable to look at him objectively.

    Once people know that, a lot of what you say makes a lot more sense. For example, when you said you loved Torre’s book because it was part of the “struggle between those who’ve played the game and those who haven’t”, a lot of people read that and scratched their heads. But it makes more sense in the context of you hate Cashman, you assumed Torre criticized Cashman in the book, therefore you loved the book. You just took that logic to ridiculous extremes, such as saying that Larry King’s questions (“Obama… what do you think about him?”) were tough.

  182. dennis-costanza(sox fan) February 6th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Nick.

    Hope you teased down the 7 last Sunday. You usually tease down a td so I am hoping that was the case with SB.

    I am telling myself at this ten seconds that I will not be playing the pro bowl however by Sunday’s kickoff I will have 9 prop plays and the game itself. I am a weak man.

    Have a good weekend.

    -dennis

  183. pat February 6th, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Doreen

    Thank you.

  184. Nick in SF February 6th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    dennis: I did tease down the 7 and I also teased up the 7 for the Cards to create a nice middle. However, I flushed it all down the toilet with some 2H bets and came out of the game basically even give or take a few shekels. But I won’t touch the pro bowl!

  185. dennis-costanza(sox fan) February 6th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    NSF-

    Of course you won’t…

    You are better man than me, I have Nick Nolte type self control.

    Have a good weekend.

    -dennis

  186. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Pat M,

    Deconstructing the Tampa Mafia took time, money and hard work. A lot of the waste in the organization came from that end of the faction. That was a battle to get ownership to realize just how many guys were a waste on the “advisor” payroll.

    The Charleston, Trenton and Scranton staffs are stocked with high quality managers/coaches.

    Tampa? Greg Pavlick is a good pitching coach. Sojo? He’s ok, he serves the purpose, but he is the weakest link in the chain.

    Wasn’t so long ago he was a strength. That’s how far they have come along in the past few years.

    Its not perfect but, its trending upward. That’s all we can ask.

  187. Nick in SF February 6th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Well, I usually don’t even *watch* the pro bowl, so that’s a big help in staying away. Good luck and have a good weekend yourself.

  188. PAT M. February 6th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    SJ44, YOU know better than anyone here, what type of contracts are issued to roving instructors and lower division supplemtal coaches ??? One year deals I’d think…There’s so many guys that can be had with higher pay considerations……The Tampa faction set the organization back by a decade….I’d like to see a noticable increase in the support coaching staff area….Cashman has brought certain improvements no doubt, it just appears that the system is undermanned…..

  189. SJ44 February 6th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    The roving guys and lower level (GCL, DSL, and instructional league) guys make very little money.

    I heard the Pirates were paying some guys 17K a year to work in the lower levels. That’s embarrassing. Its not much more with most of the teams in the game.

    Even the Red Sox, whom baseball geeks love talking about how well they treat their personnel, I believe topped out at 30K last year for their lower level coaches.

    Its one of those ends of the game that always gets short shrift. Its like that throughout the game.

    I agree with you, those guys need to get more money. Especially since teams are entrusting them with players they have invested seven figures + on in some cases.

  190. Ralow February 6th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    THANK GOD Pete will be blogging regularly again on Monday!! No offense to the “pinch hitters” but that was getting old. And who cares about what you had for breakfast??

    I think I’m just anxious for baseball to be back.

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