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


Is there reason to be concerned about Mariano Rivera?

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jul 07, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees Athletics BaseballMariano Rivera is hurt, but he might not be hurt enough to cause significant concern. When he announced on Tuesday that he would not be attending next week’s all-star game, Rivera cited two injuries.

His left side: A nagging problem since early May, the pain just hasn’t gone away completely. “I would say more than ache,” Rivera said of the severity. Then again, Rivera said he had a similar problem on his right side during the World Series, and that went pretty well.

His right knee: A problem since the Dodgers series, Rivera felt it while shagging fly balls, something he’s always done during batting practice. He said the knee is worse than the side. “It’s my pushing leg,” Rivera said. “Every time I push it’s there in the tendon, in the front.”

This is Rivera. He’s the best closer ever and he’s 40 years old, so of course these things raise some serious red flags, but Joe Girardi said Rivera has not been examined by a team doctor. Aside from a handful of games in early May when he first felt the pain in his left side, there has never been a day that Rivera should have been available but wasn’t.

“It’s always a little bit of a concern,” Girardi said. “But it’s nothing serious. Hopefully some rest and some treatment will take care of it.”

Rivera seemed to think the same thing. He said he expects to be available to the Yankees for the next four games, then he’ll take the four days of the all-star break to rest. “Hopefully this will take care of itself,” he said.

“It really hasn’t affected his effectiveness,” Girardi said. “He’s been able to pitch through it. Rib cage injuries can nag people for a while. The thing is, when it becomes too much, that’s when you worry, and it hasn’t at any point.”

Here’s Rivera’s making his all-star announcement and talking about the injuries.

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131 Responses to “Is there reason to be concerned about Mariano Rivera?”

  1. upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Mo, ever the gentleman, just wanted to give someone else the opportunity to participate in the ASG :)

  2. 86w183 July 7th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I posted criticism of both his two-inning outings this year and they need to make sure there’s no another one til post-season. Let Joba get a few two-out saves once in a while.

    The knee is a big concern because rest alone won’t necessarily solve that problem. It does help explain the fluctuations in his velocity, though.

    Would love to see him get several days off in a row… maybe evern from now till after the All-Star break.

    I assume Soriano from Tampa gets that spot on the roster.

  3. Doreen - GTLU Stuff & Photos July 7th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    The only thing that worries me is the knee.

  4. Erin July 7th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    I think the fact that he’s available for the rest of the week says that his injuries aren’t too serious. Like Girardi says, hopefully rest and treatment will do the trick.

  5. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Not really anymore concerned about him than I would be if it were spring training or earlier in the season. If the knee gives him issues, I’d suppose the doctors would give him a cortisone shot and rest him for a week to settle down the inflammation.

  6. 86w183 July 7th, 2010 at 9:05 am

    two-inning saves, that is

  7. Shame Spencer July 7th, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Just a question to get some opinions, because this is something my friends and I have wondered about for a while.. When Rivera finally stops being Rivera, do you guys think it will be a slow decline or an immediate shift in his ability?

    Three years ago, I would have leaned towards the slow decline (thinking a slow decline for Rivera would probably still mean he’s better than 3/4 of the closers in the league).. but I often wonder..

  8. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I think Rivera will coast downwards slowly, unlike Hoffmann. Rivera has more than just the cutter. He does tricks with that ball, and, he has yet to break out his change-up in a game. It’s a thing of beauty that he’s used in ST a few times. He’d made Ryan howard and Chase Utley look silly with it a few times.

  9. Bad Scooter July 7th, 2010 at 9:12 am

    The two inning saves had nothing to do with either of these injuries did they? The first injury was before the 2 inning saves and the last injury was after the 2 inning saves, unless someone isn’t telling the truth.

  10. Bad Scooter July 7th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    The way Mo has pitched the last 5 years I’m not sure there will be any decline for him. He may just go out at the top of his game and 40+ years old.

  11. Doreen - GTLU Stuff & Photos July 7th, 2010 at 9:15 am

    86w183

    The team needs to score lots of runs the next few days so Mo isn’t needed. :)

  12. Shame Spencer July 7th, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Bad Scooter July 7th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    The way Mo has pitched the last 5 years I’m not sure there will be any decline for him. He may just go out at the top of his game and 40+ years old.

    ——————

    This is what my friends and I usually settle on after arguing about how no one man can be that good for that long..

  13. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 9:19 am

    He, like everybody else this time of year, is banged up.

    Only difference is, he spoke about it publicly.

    The Yankees are always careful with Mo. If this was really serious, he wouldn’t be pitching at all.

    Nobody knows his body better than Mo. Its why when he says he needs rest, or needs to be backed off a bit, you give it to him.

    In a perfect world, he works one of the next 5 games to stay sharp and has almost a week off.

    I agree, no two inning saves in the second half. Save it for the post-season.

  14. 86w183 July 7th, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I believe Mo’s eventual “decline” will be health related, not performance related. Things hurt more and heal slower as you get older and to me that will be what convinces him to step away. He won’t allow himself to become an ordinary performer.

    One or two saves in the next five games would be great That would be no more than two appearances in 11 days heading into the second half.

  15. Joe from Long Island July 7th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Good morning – Nice win. Aren’t they all?

    Robertson’s performance last night was big. It was good for him, and showed that he is capable of going more than an inning. With the Mo story, above, that’s important. Joba needs to get into the 2 IP mode also, I think. I’d keep Marte as the lefty specialist, that seems to be where he excels. The next spot is up for grabs – Gaudin, Moseley, Mitre when he comes back, Park if he gets it going….or someone new to the mix. This will be one of the big stories for the team in the second half.

  16. Joe from Long Island July 7th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Most important thing for Mo, I think, is that it’s not his arm.

  17. Doreen - GTLU Stuff & Photos July 7th, 2010 at 9:28 am

    If DRob has turned a corner (did a good job last night), that will help a lot toward limiting Mo’s innings. Joba needs to be as consistent as possible, too (understatement of the season, I know). It seems like Mitre will be ready to come back and should be able to give the middle innings. And then we’ll see. :)

  18. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    The Bosh-Wade news must have messed up the server over at ESPN.

    According to the standings ‘The First Place Red Sox’ are 4 games back in the loss column. :???:

  19. Doreen - GTLU Stuff & Photos July 7th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    But with things hurting, you worry that favoring the knee or the side could lead to stress on the arm. :(

  20. Joe from Long Island July 7th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    He was throwing with his usual velocity, I think.

  21. JM July 7th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    It may well be that Tampa — not the “First Place Red Sox” — will be more of a threat in the second half. All those injuries are catching up to the “Third Place Red Sox.” Tampa is red hot at the moment after slumping in June.

  22. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 9:45 am

    If I had to make a bet, Rivera won’t be getting too many 3 run saves until after the AS Break. With luck, they’ll a be 4+ run leads going into the 9th inning for the next week.

  23. pat July 7th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    No serious concern…. yet.

    As Jeter has been known to say over the years, everyone plays hurt but you can’t play injured.

    If not for the All-Star game, we might have never heard about Mariano aching.

  24. blake July 7th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I don’t think Rivera would allow a slow decline personally. I think as soon as he feels himself slipping he will battle through the rest of that season and hang it up. I just can’t see him hanging around long after he’s no longer excellent….maybe I’m wrong.

    If the Yankees can continue to play well and get on a roll here going into the break then they will maybe have a chance to put some real distance between themselves and the Sox…those injuries are starting to take there toll…would be nice to make them fight a stiff uphill battle in the 2nd half.

  25. baseballfab July 7th, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I have no concern about Mo. He is THE classiest BEST player on the team. He does not rely on raw power, as long as he doesn’t have a finger cut off in a wood chipper, he will remain the preeminent player on the Yanks, and the No#1 reason for all our rings.

  26. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 9:51 am

    It’s why I’ve always felt it was 50-50 as to whether Mo retires at the end of the year.

    There is no way he’s going to put himself in the position to look like Willie Mays when he was with the Mets.

    When Mo said earlier in the year he was “open” to a year to year deal like Andy, it was clear he’s going to take it one step at a time. Smart thing to do, IMO.

    Mo knows best. Always has, always will.

  27. pat July 7th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    “Tampa is red hot at the moment after slumping in June.”

    I watched alot of the game last night and they looked to be doing enough to win more than being red hot to me.

  28. champ809 July 7th, 2010 at 9:54 am

    this is an oppurtunity for the Yanks to evaluate Joba some more as well…he was automatic in his 2 save opportunities earlier in the season maybe he gets a few more shots here and the Yanks can make observations about whether he will be the successor to Mo or not…

  29. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Rivera and Pettitte are much alike. Neither one wants to walk out in the middle of a contract, feeling they owed the team anything, except their best.

  30. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Let Joba string together more solid outings before he’s elevated.

    Pitching well 2 out of every 4 appearances doesn’t merit elevation.

    At this point, I’d prefer he just works on that.

    Cervelli, to his credit, had to almost beat him over the head the other night to keep him from throwing his slider on predictable counts.

    Until Joba gets in his head it’s all about fastball command, and not throwing 2-2 and 3-2 sliders in every outing, he’s always going to be inconsistent.

    July should be dubbed “Fastball Command Month” for Joba.

    It’s what is keeping him from realizing his potential.

  31. upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    I went to bed after the GS…figured they could win w/o me.
    Glad to hear D-rob pitched well. I liked that Girardi left him in the other day to pitch himself out of trouble.

  32. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Funny how our daily Red Sox troll has gone underground LGY.

    I’ve watched the Sox-Rays the last two nights and I agree with Pat. They are doing just enough to win.

    They are also using their pen a LOT.

    Soriano has worked four straight days and six of the last nine games. Choate had pitched in five straight days before last night.

    They are winning but, guys are really getting used a lot.

    Makes you wonder how they are going to hold up later in the year.

  33. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:09 am

    upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:04 am
    I went to bed after the GS…figured they could win w/o me.
    Glad to hear D-rob pitched well. I liked that Girardi left him in the other day to pitch himself out of trouble.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    You would have been held solely responsible for any loss doing that. Do you want that hanging over your head like a sausage in a butcher shop?

  34. pat July 7th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    YankeesPR Great voting effort by #Yankees fans, @NickSwisher back on top; let’s keep him there – #SendSwish @ yankees.com

  35. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Cervelli, to his credit, had to almost beat him over the head the other night to keep him from throwing his slider on predictable counts.

    I saw that. Cervelli put 1 down, Joba shook him off. He put 1 down again, shook off. Again, Joba steps off the rubber. Then a fourth time, after Joba gets back on the rubber, Cervelli puts 1 down, Joba finally agrees and strikes the guy out.

    Good job by Cervelli in that spot.

  36. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    If Boston had been the least bit healthy, Tampa would have gotten beat the last couple of days, because of sloppy and wreckless play. They aren’t good enough to get away with that. No team is.

  37. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Joba is a real hard head but Cervelli js just crazy enough not to care if Joba gets mad.

  38. Alex July 7th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    SEND SWISH

  39. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Looks like WYH was right about the Yankee struggles vs LHP despite having a higher OPS against them.

    On the season the Yankees have a .797 OPS vs LHP and a .783 OPS vs RHP.

    The problem comes in regard to who the Yankees are getting these numbers against.

    VS. LH starters, the Yankees have just a .759 OPS. This is down 80 points from last year’s mark of .839 vs LH starters.

    Just as a side note, the Yankees vs RH starters are at an .805 OPS, down from a .839 mark last year.

    So, while the Yankees seem to be beating up on LH relievers accounting for their higher overall OPS, they are getting beat by LH starters.

    The biggest difference between this year’s team and last offensively is that their LHB have just a .756 OPS this year vs LHP.

    This mark is down 103 points from last year which was .859.

    But, this is not all on their LHB. Their RH batters/switch hitters OPS vs LHP is down 22 points as well.

    Where things may have gone awry with Cashman’s off season plans is Nick Johnson. Despite being a LHB, his OPS vs LHP last year was 75 points higher than it was vs RHP.

  40. SabermetricRays July 7th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    The rays will serve notice to this bloated and flawed yankees team by sweeping them after ASG. Keeping beating the lights of Oakland and Seattle keep that 1st place seat warm for us, as we will slap the spoiled yankees silly just like last time.

    220 mil payroll, what a joke!

  41. upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    GB7
    these west coast trips are killer for me. I get up at 4:30 on my work days. I try to stay up until they have a lead, which luckily has been in the early innings.

    sounds like our little Cisco is growing up, good for him to keep Joba from using that slider that everyone knows is Coming.

  42. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:19 am

    One thing that doesn’t get much publicity anymore is Boston’s “deep farm system”. Lars Anderson in particular is being almost ignored. If not, he would have been on the roster, rather than Romero.

  43. Bronx Jeers July 7th, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Mo’s interview with Kim Jones at the beginning of the season was the most he’s ever talked about retirement.

    Not the biggest surprise considering he’s 40.

    I sort of thought he just might do it if there was a clear-cut candidate to replace him. Like Joba. That hasn’t happened so far.

    Another thing that may keep him coming back is Hoffman’s record which doesn’t look like it’s going to be growing anytime soon.

  44. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:24 am

    upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:16 am
    GB7
    these west coast trips are killer for me. I get up at 4:30 on my work days. I try to stay up until they have a lead, which luckily has been in the early innings.

    sounds like our little Cisco is growing up, good for him to keep Joba from using that slider that everyone knows is Coming.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    That’s no excuse. Just tell your boss that you have priorities that don’t include hanging around the office, wasting time. Tell him you don’t have time to pick up your paychecks, just use automatic deposit. That’s what I do. I don’t let my boss tell me what to do.

    Or, at least I wouldn’t if I had a job.

  45. JM July 7th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Ah, a Rays troll. Didn’t even know they existed.

    Send Swish!!

  46. mick July 7th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Get me the King!
    The King to the Apple!

  47. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Patrick,

    That’s something Cervelli wouldn’t have done earlier in the year. He would have deferred to Joba.

    It’s nice to see his growth in that regard. It’s going to embolden hold to stay on that path.

  48. upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    GB7
    hmmm…actually my boss is a Yankees fan, so he should be understanding if I have to stay up late watching the games…and I do have direct deposit…

  49. rj July 7th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    JM July 7th, 2010 at 9:38 am
    It may well be that Tampa — not the “First Place Red Sox” — will be more of a threat in the second half. All those injuries are catching up to the “Third Place Red Sox.” Tampa is red hot at the moment after slumping in June.

    ==========================================================

    Rays have won 4 straight. Before that, they went 14-21. Not exactly “red hot”.

  50. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Also, the Yankees got a .858 OPS out of the DH spot last year. This year that number is down 89 points to .769. Another major effect of NJ’s injury.

    Given the Yankees numbers vs LH starters and lack of production out of the DH spot, the logical thing would seem that they will be targeting a bat at the deadline.

    Josh Willingham as has been mentioned seems to be a perfect target. His bat is the real prize, but that he can play the OF is an added bonus given the flexibility that provides.

    For his career, Willingham has a .908 OPS vs LH pitching overall and a .947 OPS vs LH starters.

    Las season and so far this season, Willingham has absolutely destroyed LHP.

    In 2009, vs LHP he had a 1.049 OPS and vs LH starters a 1.078 OPS. So far in 2010, vs LHP he has a 1.052 OPS and vs LH starters he has a 1.020 OPS.

  51. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I don’t think Rivera cares about the saves record, one way or the other. He’ll go where he needs 1 or 100 if he’s not performing as he wants to perform. Pettitte, pretty much the same. I think that those numbers are more important to Jeter and Posada…just not as important as winning.

  52. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 10:30 am

    SJ44,

    yeah nice to see… Joba needs to learn to trust his fastball, just like Phil has learned. He has a spectacular heater.

    In 2007 and 2008 Joba blew people away with the fastball and then put them away with slider. Since 2009 it’s almost like he’s trying to fool hitters. He should just overpower them like he used to.

  53. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    one way or the other. He’ll go ***whether*** he needs

  54. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Patrick,

    Exactly. He’s also too tentative.

    Singleton called it right the other day when he blew the lead against the Jays.

    As soon as Gardner made that great catch, Joba became afraid to throw strikes and tried to trick hitters. That lead to his downfall.

    Phil Hughes came out of the bullpen throwing fastball after fastball daring hitters to beat him.

    Joba needs that same mentality. If he has it, he will succeed. If not, he will continue to be inconsistent.

    Doesn’t mean you ditch the slider. Just means you can’t be so predictable as to when you throw it.

  55. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 10:40 am

    LGY-

    If I were the Yanks and were going to trade someone like Montero or Romine, I would prefer to do it for someone like Willingham rather than someone like Lee, because Willingham would be such an upgrade over the current DH vs RHP and Granderson vs LHP.

    I don’t want to trade Montero at all, of course, but if the Yanks were thinking that way I think Willingham would be a bigger get.

    My guess is that the Yanks would be willing to trade Romine and lesser assets for Willingham, but that other teams, such as the Braves, who have even more need for him will outbid the Yanks.

  56. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    But, for Cliff Lee fans out there, the Yankees could really bolster their chances at 28 by acquiring him as well.

    The Yankees are not the only team struggling vs LHP this year.

    The Rays, a likely ALCS opponent, have a .711 OPS vs LHP. Their LHB have just a .666 OPS vs LHP.

    The Twins have a .736 OPS vs LHP.

    The Rangers have a .735 OPS vs LHP.

    The White Sox have an ugly .696 OPS vs LHP.

    The Angels have a .725 OPS vs LHP and an ugly .698 OPS vs LH starters.

    If the Yanks acquire Cliff Lee though root against the Red Sox and Tigers, because they have an .819 and .807 OPS vs LHP respectively.

  57. Alex July 7th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    SabermetricRays July 7th, 2010 at 10:16 am
    The rays will serve notice to this bloated and flawed yankees team by sweeping them after ASG. Keeping beating the lights of Oakland and Seattle keep that 1st place seat warm for us, as we will slap the spoiled yankees silly just like last time.

    220 mil payroll, what a joke!

    —————————————
    No, the Rays will slump and lose.

  58. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    LGY-

    I’ve thought about the LHP issue and the problem most teams, including the Yanks, have with LH starters is that LH starters are disproportionately very good.

    The Yanks have two very good LH starters. While adding a third good one would be benficial, I don’t think it would be as useful as upgrading the offense, especially since our current starters aren’t exactly chopped liver.

  59. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Rivera is 40 years old. So you have to be concerned that his injuries don’t get worse.

  60. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 10:46 am

    WYH,

    It depends on the package for Lee/Willingham, but I think the Yankees will target Willingham.

    I think they only get Lee if the cost is really attractive which means no Montero/Romine.

    I wouldn’t trade Montero for Willingham, but I would really consider it with Romine. It’s a tough call with how much noise Romine is making this year and the uncertainty with Montero behind the plate.

    The intruiging thing about Willingham is that he is under team control for one more season after this one, so he is not just rental.

  61. CountryClub July 7th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I think it’s safe to say that the Yanks will upgrade the pen before the trade deadline. The news about Rivera pushes the pen into the #1 priority spot ahead of the bench. Mo has been the only consistent thing in the pen all yr. If there’s even a slight chance that he will miss real time in the 2nd half, the Yanks should have a real fallback option. I don’t think the organization (or the fans) would be comfortable with Joba closing games for a month.

  62. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Nobody’s going to trade Romine or Montero for Josh Willingham, let along one of them plus more.

  63. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The other thing that concerns me is how well the Red Sox are managing with all their injuries. When they get their players back they will be tough. I had hoped to put some room between the Yanks and the Sox with all the missing Sox players but so far the Sox are hanging tough.

  64. Aaron July 7th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    with all the missing Sox players but so far the Sox are hanging tough

    They’ve dropped 3 games in 3 days. I think the distance is imminent.

  65. paul c July 7th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Joe said he wanted to split up the lefties and put Gardner as leadoff. The real reason seems to be Jeter’s 19 game drought of no Rbi’s.

    Mo needs the players to hit runs and the pen to step up so that every close game doesn’t require his services for a win. With no Ace or Mitre able to do long relief. I understand the blown save the other day now, he’s banged up.

  66. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 10:53 am

    GB7-

    I think the Yanks ultimately will trade Romine. It’s more of a question for who. The reason I like Willingham is because he’s not a rent-a-player, he’s very good, the Nationals could use a catcher closer to the majors than Norris at single A.

    Plus, there will be spirited bidding for Willingham if the Nats shop him. It will take a very good offer to land him.

  67. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    With Elijah Dukes now playing about as low in baseball as it gets, I wonder if he’ll ever grow up, or disappear forever. From Washington to Newark of the Atlantic Coast League in independent ball is one Hell of a drop at his age.

  68. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I wouldn’t trade Romine for Willingham. He’s 31 years old and wouldn’t even necessarily start everyday because the Yankees have several players that need to DH.

    I would consider trading Romine for Lee.

  69. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I think Willingham would cost more than just Romine.

    Would you give up, say, Romine and Brackman for Willingham? Tough call…

  70. upstate kate July 7th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    WYH
    the Yankees managed w/ all their injuries as well. As time went on, some of the replacements were exposed, but they came thru ok.
    that being said, Bill Hall at 2nd and Kevin Cash catching is not exactly a championship caliber team.

  71. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 10:56 am

    NYYs may end up trading Romine, but, they won’t settle for Willingham. They won’t be tossing him out for a DH/back-up outfielder.

  72. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Patrick, I would think hard about it on “the bird in the hand” theory. Willingham would solidify the OF this year and next for not much $$ and both Romine and Brackman are still questionable.

    Of course, it would be a gamble because Romine and Brackman could both turn out to be great. I think that’s not the way to think about it though.

  73. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Settling for Willingham? He has better numbers than every outfielder on the Yankees roster.

  74. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    “Would you give up, say, Romine and Brackman for Willingham? Tough call…”

    Tough? Really? I think it would be ridiculous.

  75. CountryClub July 7th, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Tonight is a key (and by key, I don’t mean must win) game for the Yanks. If they win tonight, they’ll only need to take 1 from Seattle to have a winning west coast trip. If they split with Seattle it would be a great trip. And then you could get greedy and hope they take 3 of 4. But I think a split would be more realistic.

    Plus, with Price going against the Sox tonight, they could stretch their lead in the loss column against Boston to 5 games. It would be good to put some distance between themselves and that 3rd team. At the start of their series, I didnt care if it was Boston or Tampa, but since Tampa won the 1st two, I’ll be hoping for the sweep.

  76. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    GB7-

    Willingham wouldn’t be a “back-up” OF. He’d be a full time player on the Yanks, just alternating his position. He’s a very good player.

  77. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    WYH,

    Romine is good but he doesn’t have nearly the ceiling as Montero or Sanchez. That makes him expendable, in my opinion.

    Brackman, I’m not that high on.

    So I think I’d make that deal – Brackman and Romine for Willingham. I think the Nationals would make that deal as well.

  78. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    “Tough? Really? I think it would be ridiculous.”

    Don’t let the upside blind you to the downside.

  79. CountryClub July 7th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Romine is not questionable. He is a flat out legit prospect. The only reason he gets overshadowed in the Yanks system is because of Montero. Romine has done nothing but improve at every level. This yr he’s concentrated on being more selective at the plate and he’s walking at a much higher rate. And even better, the rest of his game has not suffered at all.

  80. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    “Don’t let the upside blind you to the downside.”

    Tell me what position Willingham is guaranteed to play everyday this year and next.

    I want to be in a position to win every year for the next 5-10, not just win this year and next. If you burn prospects for non-essential needs, you put that at risk.

    The Yankees need to stockpile prospects to replace/supplement their biggest vulnerabilities due to age: SS, 3B, C.

    Overpaying for Willingham detracts from that.

  81. paul c July 7th, 2010 at 11:04 am

    wave your hat-

    sox demise is happening now, they just lost Youk, Pedroia. They stayed alive with their bats
    scoring runs early to give the pen a lead, and it worked forcing teams to always come from behind to get the win.

    The Yankees need to try this instead of waiting for the later innings, trying to surmount their deficit in runs with our shaky bull pen.

  82. CRAWDADDY (Boycott ESPN-NY) July 7th, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Cashman is not going to trade Romine and Brackman for Willingham. It ain’t happening when Cashman can acquire some other part-time DH-type for a lot cheaper price.

  83. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 11:07 am

    youk will be in the lineup tonight… he just had spasms in his foot or something

  84. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Brackman is one of the fastest rising prospects in scouts eyes in baseball.

    You don’t trade him for a Josh Willingham.

    Its also tough to trade Romine for him.

    If Gary Sanchez was in High A Ball, different story.

    Right now, there is too much distance development-wise between Romine and Sanchez to trade Romine.

    What if Montero doesn’t cut it as a catcher? That means you other “catcher of the future” is 4 years (minimum) away. Too long a time.

    Trading Brackman AND Romine for Willingham is way too much for a Non-All Star player.

  85. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 11:09 am

    “I think it’s safe to say that the Yanks will upgrade the pen before the trade deadline.”

    ————————–

    I disagree. I don’t think the Yankees do anything externally with the BP at the deadline as of right now.

    That could change, but there are no really attractive BP arms on the trade block. No one worth overpaying for and parting with prospects for.

    The best way to make the BP better is to either score more runs or have the SP give up less runs + more innings.

    So a bat or Cliff Lee.

  86. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Willingham may not be a back-up for you, but, he won’t be a Yankee, either…not at the cost you guys are stating. Romine AND Brackman? Why not see if Cashman will toss in Heathcott, Montero and Betances….just to make it an even trade.

  87. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Willingham is not a part time DH player. He has better numbers this year than any of the Yankee starting outfielders. He’s a right handed power hitter, something the Yanks don’t have many of. He’s under control this year and next for a low salary.

    I’m not saying the Yanks do that deal but it wouldn’t be crazy for them to.

  88. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I’d love to put the Sox 10 games back during this period and not have to worry about them anymore. I hope it works out that way.

    Rich in NJ-

    One of Romine or Montero will need to be traded.

    I like Willingham because he’s under control next year, has a .926 OPS this year, kills LHP and there is no reason to believe he won’t be good next year. Willingham solves the Granderson platoon problem and fixes two-thirds of the DH problem, both this year and next.

    Willingham is a valuable asset, he won’t be obtained for a couple of relief prospects.

    You can’t make omelets without breaking eggs.

  89. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    The added benefit of trading for Lee is that you can put Hughes in the pen and spot start him to control his innings this season, if you don’t trade Vazquez.

    But I wouldn’t trade Romine.

  90. Rich in NJ July 7th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Sorry, I meant Montero.

  91. SabermetricRays July 7th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Dear Alex
    1.Chan Ho Park/Nick Johnson 2010: Combined 2 years, $6.7 million
    2. Roger Clemens, 2007: 4 months, $18.7million
    3.Kei Igawa, 2007: 5 years, $46 million
    4.Kyle Farnsworth, 2006: 3 years, $17.5 million
    5.Carl Pavano, 2005: 4 years, $40 million
    6.Jaret Wright, 2005: 3 years, $21 million
    All Roid Team
    Jason Giambi 7 year 120 mil
    Alex Rodriguez 10 year 275 mil

    LMAO, keep on thinking your WS championships are legit….. when Pettite and Clemens injecting each other every post season game.

    Keep on buying your way to WS, because that’s the ONLY thing the Yankees do well! if we had 1/3 of your payroll, we have been 20 games ahead your bloated losers.

  92. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    As far as the Red Sox “downfall”, it could be this month.

    They have played more home games than any other team in the division.

    They are going to be on the road a lot.

    Missing Pedroia for two months is going to be tough.

    The other guys being banged up isn’t going to help.

    That usually shows up on the road more than at home.

    Funny thing is, they don’t have to have much of a “downfall” to put themselves in a bind in this division.

    For example, if they enter August 5-6 games out in third place, that’s trouble in this division.

    Their margin of error is very slight. Especially, with all of the injuries they have.

    In many ways, they remind me of the 2008 Yankees and that team, while a good team, didn’t make the playoffs.

  93. CountryClub July 7th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    That could change, but there are no really attractive BP arms on the trade block. No one worth overpaying for and parting with prospects for.

    ——————————

    We have no idea if this is true.

  94. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 11:14 am

    SJ44,

    So would trading Romine and Brackman be fine if we were getting Omar Infante back?

    Come on dude, putting the “Non All-Star” label on Willingham is meaningless because the All-star label is equally meaningless.

    And Brackman is a fast rising star only in your eyes. To everyone else he’s a 23 year old treading water in AA. If he ever makes it to the majors it will be as a reliever and it’s not going to be anytime soon.

    I’m not saying the Yanks make that trade or should make that trade but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It’s not even that crazy a trade proposal to suggest.

  95. SabermetricRays July 7th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    Alex, why not add Albert Puhol and Cliff Lee , Yankees could definite use little help in the bullpen and shoring up your benches.

  96. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    SJ44-

    I don’t know about both Romine and Brackman, but as promising as Romine is he is not, right now, a sure-fire can’t miss major league starting catcher. And Brackman is not a sure fire can’t miss major leaguer yet either.

    Willingham hits at an all-star level. And, more importantly, he fills a big need that the Yanks have. Sometimes it’s not just about talent, it’s about the needs a player fills.

    Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

  97. Patrick from CT July 7th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    If Mo said he needs a little break, you give him a little break. Time for Joba to step up.

    Arod is proving Joe made the right call adding him to the allstars. Look for him to have 15hrs and 70rbis by the break.

    Brett Gardner should be the lead off guy if he can handle the added pressure. Gardner has a great obp and scores lots of runs. Jeter is a good #2 and won’t have the need to steal bases. I like the move a lot.

    Can’t wait until they come home; these late nights are killing me…

  98. CRAWDADDY (Boycott ESPN-NY) July 7th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    “I’m not saying the Yanks do that deal but it wouldn’t be crazy for them to.”

    Yes, it would be crazy for Cashman to do that deal because it goes against his past history in such matters.

    Furthermore, you’re overrating Willingham and thank God, Cashman won’t make that same mistake.

  99. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    “?Furthermore, you’re overrating Willingham and thank God, Cashman won’t make that same mistake.”

    Explain why Willingham is “overrated”.

  100. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    “Yes, it would be crazy for Cashman to do that deal because it goes against his past history in such matters.”

    ———————————

    What past history?

    Just a few months ago Cash traded prospects for an OF.

    And at this point Willingham is probably the better player than Granderson.

    The one question with Willingham is the track record.

  101. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Wave Your Hat,

    I’m sorry but that is insane. You want to trade Montero for Willingham? Don’t be fooled by short-term play. Willingham is good vs. lefties, but he’s a very limited player. Low BA, decent pop. You don’t trade a stud prospect like Montero for that. I’d be annoyed if they traded Romine for him.

    The offense is and will be fine. Thames came right off the DL and got a walkoff hit. We’ll see if he can hold up, but if he does he has a great track record vs. lefties.

    The grass isn’t always greener. Jumping at the latest hot new thing is how George gave us Buhner for Phelps and assorted other terrible trades in the 80s.

  102. Erin July 7th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    New Post: Kevin Long: ?It?s just an exhausting process”

    :arrow:

  103. CRAWDADDY (Boycott ESPN-NY) July 7th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    “What past history?

    Just a few months ago Cash traded prospects for an OF.

    And at this point Willingham is probably the better player than Granderson.

    The one question with Willingham is the track record.”

    A better player according to your opinion not Cashman’s.

  104. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I disagree about Romine or Montero having to be traded right now.

    I look at prospects differently than other people….

    I think there are only a handful of guys in every organization who are truly upper level prospects.

    Everybody else, regardless of hype, are guys that are in play to improve the big league club.

    The Yankees have several upper level guys this year. Montero, Romine, Brackman, Heathcott, Sanchez, Betances, Jose Ramirez and Nunez. Not a lot of teams have 8 players in their system this good right now.

    Heathcott, Betances, Ramirez and Sanchez are too young to trade and would make zero sense for the Yankees to trade them at this time. Not unless they were getting an under 28 All Star player in return. That’s not happening.

    It looks like the Yankees are grooming Nunez to come up to the big leagues, perhaps as soon as after the ASB, to take a utility spot on this roster.

    Pat M’s scout friend called it right re: Brackman. Scouts see him as a future #1 or #2 starter. You don’t trade him for Josh Willingham.

    You have upper level prospects, you trade them for the likes of a Cliff Lee or players of that calibur. Upper level, major league talent.

    Josh Willingham is a good player. He also has a chronic back problem, is 31 years old, and could be had for less than A List prospects if the Nats decide to shop him.

    Bullpen help? Ironically, it will probably cost the Yankees more to find a relief pitcher in this market than it will finding a bat. That’s why they are going to take the month to see if their bullpen issues can be solved from within.

    I do think they will get a bat by the end of this month. Who that is, I don’t know but, I would be very surprised if there isn’t a trade for a bat made this month.

  105. CRAWDADDY (Boycott ESPN-NY) July 7th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    “Explain why Willingham is “overrated”.”

    Because I view him as a limited player.

  106. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    ML-

    I think if you look at my comments you’ll see I said I didn’t want to trade Montero. I said if the Yanks were thinking of trading Montero (for Lee), I think it would make more sense to trade Montero for Willingham, and I think I’m right about that.

  107. STL Yankee July 7th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Randy Winn cost the Cardinals a game last night big time. The Cards started the 9th with a 6 run lead, Winn misplayed a ball that allowed the game to be tied, a ball hit by Giambi of course.
    The Rockies went on to score 3 more runs winning 12-9, having scored 9 runs in the 9th inning with 2 outs, and the Cardinal closer on the mound. Larussa was apoplectic in his postgame, I loved it!

  108. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    ““Explain why Willingham is “overrated”.”

    Because I view him as a limited player.”

    But in what way is he limited? He hits very well and he’s an average corner outfielder defensively. I’m missing his limitations.

  109. Anthony Murillo July 7th, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I think the circumstances for Cliff Lee are a little bit different.

    If you guys remember, there were whispers that Johan Santana was on the decline. Throughout his years with the Mets, he’s certainly pitched well…but he doesn’t look like the Johan Santana that dominated the American League Central with the Twins. Cliff Lee, on the other hand, is dominating in a big, big way.

    If Lee gets traded to the Twins, that could come back to bite the Yankees in the ass. Why? Let’s say the Bombers and the Twins face off in another ALDS match up…there’s a possibilty that in a best of 5 series we’ll have to face Cliff Lee TWICE. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not confident that the team can beat him twice (hell they didn’t in the World Series but at least that’s a best of 7). This could mean another first round elimination and all of you would call of Cashman’s head. You know that and I know that.

    If the Yankees trade for Cliff Lee, we are the instant favorites to win the World Series. To repeat. A rotation of Lee/Sabathia/Burnett/Pettitte/Hughes is a lot more favorable than Sabathia/Burnett/Pettitte/Hughes/Vazquez. When the season is over, I don’t see any team outbidding for him anyways.

    Lee can help the Yankees this season and for seasons to come. Yankees should do it.

  110. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 11:26 am

    “A better player according to your opinion not Cashman’s.”

    ————————-

    I don’t want to bash Granderson because I really like him, but if you want to make the argument that he is a better player right now than Willingham please do.

  111. SJ44 July 7th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    That’s not true Patrick. He’s only a bad prospect in your eyes.

    He’s not “treading water” in AA. He just got called up there a few weeks ago. lol

    I talk to scouts. So does Pat M. The guy has been turning heads all year.

    His career trajectory is the same as Niemann’s was coming up in Tampa.

    Former first round pick. Huge guy, complicated mechanics, career setback from TJ Surgery.

    For guys Brackman’s size, it takes longer for all of those components to come together.

    The guy is going to be at the head of the Scranton rotation next year at 24 years old, one stop away from the majors.

    He’s a legit, top end pitching prospect and has been throwing that way all year.

    Wave,

    Most scouts see Romine as more of a sure fire, can’t miss major league catching prospect as Montero.

    He’s going to be a starting catcher in the majors, barring injury, for a long time.

    Only question is, for which team.

  112. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    WYH,

    I’m sure you do think you’re right about that, but you’re not. You’re WAY overrating Willingham. Don’t just look this year. Look at his career numbers. He’s an OK player, and he might be a good player to target. But he won’t command anywhere near the type of package you’re suggesting. And suggesting his value is even in the same galaxy as Lee is absurd.

  113. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    “Josh Willingham is a good player. He also has a chronic back problem, is 31 years old, and could be had for less than A List prospects if the Nats decide to shop him.”

    No, we’ll see but I think he’ll go for a good package IF the Nationals decide to shop him. I don’t think they’ll move him unless they do get an A list prospect. And, Willingham has had 500+ PAs in every year but one from 2006 on (he had 416 PAs in 2008). For a two year investment he is a very good risk.

  114. Doreen - GTLU Stuff & Photos July 7th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    It’s too early to trade Romine or Montero. I think most people believe that one or the other may eventually be expendable in the right trade, but the timing is the thing.

  115. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:32 am

    ML-

    I didn’t say Willingham was as good as Lee. However, given the difference in their contract status, and given what the most pressing Yank needs are right now, Willingham would be a more valuable pick-up right now than Lee. Lee can always be gotten for $$ in the off-season.

  116. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I’m more inclined to think that when Franklin allowed 6 earned runs to score in 1/3rd of an inning in the 9th inning that that may have done more to lose the game than Winn’s momentary bobble. 6 runs allowed plus 2 inherited runners. He’s the closer. Not even Chamberlain has accomplished that little feat of magic. Gonzales was going to score on that play, no matter what.

  117. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:35 am

    SJ44-

    The only reason I would hold off trading Romine now is if the Yanks haven’t made up their mind whether Montero can catch. Then I could see holding off, but I think Romine is the only prospect we could dangle (other than Montero) that would interest the Nationals enough to trade us Willingham.

    Since I think Montero will be our starting catcher of the future, I’d be willing to explore dealing Romine for someone who really helps our offense. Willingham would.

  118. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Willingham has had 500+ plate appearances exactly twice. That’s hardly every year.

  119. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    “Willingham has had 500+ plate appearances exactly twice. That’s hardly every year.”

    GB7, Nurse Karloff is distracting you. You can’t count anymore, come on man put some effort into it!

    2006: 573 PAs
    2007: 604 PAs
    2008: 416 PAs
    2009: 502 PAs
    2010: 327 PAs, certainly on target for at least 500 PAs.

  120. GreenBeret7 July 7th, 2010 at 11:41 am

    A pitcher like Ivan Nova and a middle infielder like Luis Nunez with Trenton is about what Willingham’s worth is. If the Yanks had decided on a ready to go catcher, I’d trade Luis Nunez and Cervelli.

  121. SabermetricRays July 7th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    WYH
    Meh, I would not trade our top prospects for Willingham. there are other options around, including former yankees Xavier Nady and a few others.

  122. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    WYH,

    You don’t understand how deadline deals work. Teams almost never get the top prospects they’re seeking. Only players like Lee or Sabathia command those types of packages at the deadline. Cashman uses the leverage provided by the Yankees payroll to get good players at bargain prices.

    Look at the Abreu deal. We got Abreu plus Cory Lidle, who pitched reasonably well for us, in exchange for four prospects. Of the four, only 1 was considered anything more than a middling prospect, CJ Henry. Look for him at the Final Four as he nows plays b ball for Kansas. Another player is out of baseball. A third has bounced around and is in the Dodgers pen I believe. And the fourth hit so bad he switched from catching to pitching just to try to stay in baseball. And that was for Bobby fricking Abreu!

    You just don’t need to give up a lot for a player like Willingham at the deadline. And if we do, then we should walk away.

  123. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    ML-

    There’s no reason for the Nats to trade Willingham this year unless they get something really good. You need to pay attention to contract status when discussing these possible transactions.

    Now, if you can suggest another right-hand hitting outfielder who hits as well as Willingham who is available I’ll listen.

  124. Patrick July 7th, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Abreu deal is not a good comp. That was a salary dump by the Phillies.

  125. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:51 am

    WYH,

    I don’t care how you qualify it. The gulf between Lee and Willingham is so enormous that contract status or relative value do not mitigate it. Lee has been pitching at a HOF level for 2.5 years now. Willingham is a journeyman power hitter on a hot streak, and not even much of a streak at that.

    Have you watched Willingham play much? Or is his current OPS so far this year all you need to know? Have you looked at his career numbers? He could be having a career year. But more likely he is who we thought he was.

    By the way, in baseball its not wise to make long-term decisions based on short-term results. The Yanks offense will be fine. Tex and A Rod are showing signs of coming around. And if they do, they can carry the offense for quite a while. Two of the pitchers who shut us down last week were Lee and Hernandez. Every offense has its bad stretches. But we shouldn’t compound those stretches by throwing the future away just to pick up a middling vet like Willingham.

  126. Wave Your Hat July 7th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    “Have you watched Willingham play much? Or is his current OPS so far this year all you need to know? Have you looked at his career numbers? He could be having a career year. But more likely he is who we thought he was. ”

    Oh, gee, I never thought of looking at his career numbers! .851 career OPS, .900 career OPS vs LHP. For the lest 2 years his career OPS vs LHP has been over 1.0.

  127. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Fair enough on the Abreu comp. My point was just to show that Cashman maximizes leverage in these situations and knows that he does not need to overpay. He’s done that consistently at the deadline for many years.

    I haven’t looked through every roster for trade possibilities. But I don’t need to. Even if we have no other options, I would never trade Romine or anyone near his level for Willingham. He just won’t upgrade the team enough to make it worth it.

    Furthermore, the Yanks are committed to Granderson, and they’re not giving up on him just because he’s had a poor first half. The only way your trade makes sense is if Willingham plays every day, and Grandy would be the only potential candidate for the bench. It’s just not going to happen.

    If they can pick up a RH hitter for the bench, they will. But they’re not trading Romine to do it.

  128. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 11:57 am

    :arrow:

    Come on over.

  129. ML July 7th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Well, when you talk about Willingham like he’s Babe Ruth and say the Yanks would be better off with him than Cliff Lee, it’s makes you look kind of silly.

    If you’re getting him to hit vs. lefties, that means that most of the time he’s a bench player. And you don’t trade a prospect like Romine for a bench player.

  130. LGY July 7th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Considering the Yankees deficiencies vs LHP as I outlined above and how strong their SP already is, you could easily make the argument they are better off with Willingham.

    He would be playing everyday also. He does well against RHP also.

  131. ML July 7th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    As I mentioned above, it’s just not going to happen because the only way for him to play everyday is to bench Granderson. And they’re not going to give up on Granderson this quickly.

    But seriously, you think the Yanks would be better off with Willingham over Lee! So, if I said you could add one player to this team for the rest of the year, either Willingham or Lee, you’d take Lee!!

    The offense will be fine. Don’t overreact.


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