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


Random thoughts on a Wednesday morning

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 27, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The Yankees are meeting with the MLBPA this morning, which means the clubhouse won’t be open to media for a few hours. A few random thoughts while we wait…

• There’s a chance Johnny Damon could actually help the Yankees in the month of April, and I’m usually all for low-risk contracts with guys like that. But the Yankees need to get younger, and they need to be open to giving some of their own players at least a chance to fill short-term openings like this. They’re great opportunities to find out who can play and who can’t. If none of the guys in camp prove worthy of the temporary left field job, then the Yankees can surely find a waiver claim or minor trade acquisition that’s just as reliable as Damon.  

• Jose Ramirez can pitch. Probably won’t be in the big league pitcher this year, but middle of next season isn’t out of the question. He looked good against legitimate big leaguers yesterday.

• A handful of at-bats mean nothing, but it’s interesting that Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki have been the best hitters in camp so far. I honestly have no idea which one will hit leadoff on Opening Day. If I had to guess right now, I’d probably say Gardner, but that’s a complete guess and very, very subject to change.

• The fact Joba Chamberlain became a reliever can’t be blamed on one thing or one person. The Joba Rules were actually working before that 2008 shoulder injury. Even after the injury, the Yankees let Chamberlain spend all of 2009 as a starter, but  his 4.75 ERA was a pretty good indication that he wasn’t the same overwhelming pitcher who’d burst onto the scene two years earlier. Injury, performance and organizational decision making all contributed to putting Chamberlain in his current situation. Very little about the past three years suggests he would have been a great starter, but you never know, and so it will always be a question.

• By the way, the idea of some other team giving Chamberlain a chance to be a starter might seem far fetched, but I don’t think it’s totally out of the question if a team is willing to take a chance (and if Chamberlain is willing to take some sort of low guarantee contract). C.J. Wilson hadn’t started a big league game in four years when the Rangers put him in their 2010 rotation. He threw more than 200 innings that year, and a year later he was an All-Star and Cy Young candidate.

• I keep thinking about the fact that, early in camp, Girardi mentioned the idea of a left-handed bench player. The benefit is obvious — someone to hit for the catcher late in the game — but the options are minimal. It’s pretty much Dan Johnson, Corban Joseph and switch-hitter Zoilo Almonte. Wouldn’t have picked any of those three to make the Opening Day roster.

• Jayson Nix has gotten all of his playing time at second and third. Even during infield drills he’s been at second and third. Are the Yankees basically handing Eduardo Nunez that platoon SS/DH job? Sure seems like it’s almost a given that he’ll be on the roster, doesn’t it?

• Guys who have played with Melky Mesa in the minors seem to love him. Always smiling, always happy. He’s got the tools to be an interesting option for this open outfield spot.

• How much are we really going to learn once Mariano Rivera actually gets in a game? Unless he’s a complete mess — and his batting practice sessions suggest he’s not — he’s going to be the Yankees closer no matter what the spring stats suggest. I’m actually more curious to see Ivan Nova and David Aardsma get in a game.

Associated Press photos

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42 Responses to “Random thoughts on a Wednesday morning”

  1. blake February 27th, 2013 at 8:01 am

    • Jose Ramirez can pitch. Probably won’t be in the big league pitcher this year, but middle of next season isn’t out of the question. He looked good against legitimate big leaguers yesterday.”

    he certainly looks the part out there and the way the ball comes out of his hand looks like a big leaguer……they just have to get that kid some healthy innings….refine his slider and command and he should be about ready.

  2. MTU February 27th, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Blake-

    Good morning.

    Our MiLB scout, YF, has been all over Mr. Ramirez.

    Another guy w. a really big arm is DePaula.

    Not as far along but he could move quickly if all goes well.

    :)

  3. Doreen February 27th, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Chad, thank you for your reasoned take on Joba. Who knows what the future will hold for him. It is understandable though to go back to what-ifs and what might have beens. Had he never had his injury in 2008, Joba’s story would be different today. Also, had he never pitched that incredible game against Boston, it would probably be easier for fans to accept the trajectory.

  4. Doreen February 27th, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Good morning, BTW. :)

    And I agree that Grandy being out should be an opportunity to give your farmhands a chance. signing any vet at this point would be a mistake. If at the end of camp no one comes across as a clear choice, then, maybe you go the vet route. I certainly hope that is a last resort. How much worse can one of the minor league options do than whatever vet is leftover and available at the end of spring training? And even if hitting is the weak link, they’ve got a few guys who can play the field well, and haven’t they said defense is going to be super important this season?

  5. 86w183 February 27th, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I think Joba could be the closer in 2014 once he gets his mojo back.

    Would not mind seeing Corban Joseph win a job either. Enough with the re-treads.

  6. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Good morning-
    I’d like to see one of the Baby Bombers earn the outfield job and go north with the team.

    “There are some spots that are open,” Girardi said. “There’s competition to fill [Curtis Granderson's] spot, competition for the fifth spot in the rotation — and really some competition in our bullpen as well.”

    How about the bench?

  7. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I think Joba could be the closer in 2014 once he gets his mojo back.
    ———
    Wouldn’t mind seeing that near 100 mph fastball again!

  8. MTU February 27th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    YT-

    I’ll take 95 w. command.

    ;)

  9. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I’d rather see him leave than be the closer.

    I like the names Chip brought up last night in regards to possible LF options. Definitely not the biggest names in the game but some decent candidates.

  10. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:36 am

    OK 95 with command and Movement! :)
    He and Aardsma were clocked at 101 in games before-Aardsma when he was a Cub in 2006.

  11. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Odds-
    Good morning. Who were some of those OF options?

  12. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Justin Maxwell
    Travis Snider
    John Mayberry Jr
    Jose Tabata

    as opposed to Diaz/Rivera

  13. blake February 27th, 2013 at 8:41 am

    MTU,

    I had never seen Ramierez pitch and frankly I wasnt expecting to be impressed as much as I was…..no radar guns but you could tell he was throwing hard and I love his arm slot and action on the ball………

    At 23 they can move quicker with him if he can just stay healthy…..hopefully he can actually have a full season at AA and set himself up to compete for a big league job next year. Good stuff doesn’t help much if you’re hurt though…..

    I think the Yanks have some serious arms in the system now….maybe the most quantity of high upside guys they have had in a long time……Patterson’s job is to get some of them to the big leagues…….they have 5 or 6 guys with the potential…..gotta get 1 or 2 at least to fullfill it.

  14. blake February 27th, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Joba’s slider was downright nasty yesterday…..it looked like a split almost it had so much downward movement. When Joba is healthy and on top of the ball he can be almost unhittable.

  15. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 8:46 am

    Patterson’s job is to get some of them to the big leagues

    ———————-

    But the question is is Patterson implementing his philosophy in the organization?

  16. blake February 27th, 2013 at 8:47 am

    “But the question is is Patterson implementing his philosophy in the organization?”

    i dunno….I don’t even really know what his philosophy is…..I just know that whatever they were doing in Oakland was working

  17. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 8:49 am

    That’s the question we need answered because if he’s not then we can expect similar results to what happened under Nardi

  18. The Genius Maker February 27th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    It is absurd that we let Maxwell and Chris Dickerson go so we could get older guys on the roster who cost a ton more and mostly have produced less? Makes zero sense that we don’t give a younger and cheaper guy a chance even if younger is 28. I will say this now because Ichiro finished well and is off to a good start; his contract is not a valuable one when we are looking to cut and Dickerson would have put up better numbers for 5+ mil less. I am most concerned that Ichiro’s low OBP will be at the top of the order and it was a huge mistake to sign him for the 2nd year.

  19. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Odds-
    Maxwell might not become available, but I could see the other 3 possibly be crowded out and waived and/ or traded. I believe the Phillies have something like 7 candidates vying for OF positions.

  20. austinmac February 27th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    The Yankees are in severe need of power. Almonte his 21 last year in AA. He has to be the first in-house option, IMO.

  21. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    I’m hoping Gardner earns the lead off spot. He can work the count. Ichiro belongs at the bottom of the order.

  22. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:51 am
    Odds-
    Maxwell might not become available, but I could see the other 3 possibly be crowded out and waived and/ or traded. I believe the Phillies have something like 7 candidates vying for OF positions.

    ———————–

    With 7 guys there will definitely be some cuts. I’d take Mayberry and he wouldn’t cost a lot.

  23. The Genius Maker February 27th, 2013 at 9:08 am

    YT, I agree. In the same way Gardner was at the bottom for Jeter. The odds are Ichiro will not be very productive, but I hope I am wrong

  24. blake February 27th, 2013 at 9:09 am

    “I will say this now because Ichiro finished well and is off to a good start; his contract is not a valuable one when we are looking to cut and Dickerson would have put up better numbers for 5+ mil less. ”

    given that Dickerson has never really played in the big leagues…..we really don’t know this

  25. Shame Spencer February 27th, 2013 at 9:09 am

    I know I’m late but I don’t understand the debate over who will eventually be our closer when Mo leaves… you know if Girardi is still around that’s going to be a platoon position right?

  26. blake February 27th, 2013 at 9:12 am

    The ichiro decision was made for financial reasons I’m sure in addition to his play on the field….and clearly the Yanks think he has some baseball left in him and he very well might…….

    If he does…..then 6.5 million AAV for his play and leadership etc isn’t bad.

  27. 86w183 February 27th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Considering the lack of power I’d go Gardner, Jeter, Ichiro at the top of the lineup versus RHP.

    I was also opposed to keeping Andruw Jones over Maxwell… can’t gnash teeth over that, though cuz andruw was pretty good in 2011…. pretty awful in 2012.

    Might Drew Stubbs be available now? Price tag shouldn’t be too high.

  28. Tackelberry February 27th, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Zach Nuding could be expendable after yesterday’s outing.

  29. blake February 27th, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Tackelberry February 27th, 2013 at 9:16 am
    Zach Nuding could be expendable after yesterday’s outing.

    maybe they could tell teams hes Joba and trade him?

  30. blake February 27th, 2013 at 9:18 am

    “Might Drew Stubbs be available now? Price tag shouldn’t be too high.”

    they are saying he’s not going to be traded….if he was available then they should have been on that before Granderson got hurt even because he’s a lot better than Diaz and Rivera

  31. Shame Spencer February 27th, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I heard there was another shooting at Coastal Carolina University.. sad. Sounds like the gunman hasn’t been caught yet.

  32. Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Drew Stubbs
    I thought about the Indians making him available, but I believe he, Brantley and Bourn are their OF and Swisher is at 1st.

    Mayberry- would be a platoon vs lefties as his OPS the last 3 seasons vs righties is .687.

    Versus a righty, I’d go Gardner, Jeter, Cano, and pray that Tex doesn’t hit into the shift for an inning ending DP with men on base and in scoring position.

  33. Tackelberry February 27th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    If Joba has a great year then he has to be considered for the closer role if Rivera does retire. Robertson has had a couple of opportunities and not done well closing, so he is not automatically the heir apparent. Otherwise, Joba’s Yankee future could depend on the develeopment of Montgomery, Chase Whitley and Brandon Pinder. Any of those 3 could fill JOba’s role, especially Montgomery.

  34. Shame Spencer February 27th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    @KenDavidoff

    Alex Rodriguez has a role in an upcoming animated movie about the #Yankees, and the organization is OK with it. http://bit.ly/XaGyQT

  35. Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 9:29 am

    How many opportunities has Drob had? He pitched a game or 2 after Mo went down. got hurt, and when he came back Sori was closing

  36. Shame Spencer February 27th, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Tackelberry February 27th, 2013 at 9:26 am

    If Joba has a great year then he has to be considered for the closer role if Rivera does retire. Robertson has had a couple of opportunities and not done well closing, so he is not automatically the heir apparent

    ——————

    If they retain both… I see a platoon.

  37. Chip February 27th, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Yankee Trader February 27th, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Odds-
    Maxwell might not become available, but I could see the other 3 possibly be crowded out and waived and/ or traded. I believe the Phillies have something like 7 candidates vying for OF positions.
    ——————-

    Speaking of the Phillies – Lance Nix is a guy that could shake loose, so could non-roster invitees like Chris Dickerson (O’s), Jeremy Hermida (Tribe)

  38. Tackelberry February 27th, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Against All Odds February 27th, 2013 at 9:29 am
    How many opportunities has Drob had? He pitched a game or 2 after Mo went down. got hurt, and when he came back Sori was closing

    ____________________________________________

    And WHY exactly was Sori handed the closer job? Becuase Robertson failed to seize the opportunity.

  39. Shame Spencer February 27th, 2013 at 9:36 am

    :arrow:

  40. The Genius Maker February 27th, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Dickerson did very well last year in the majors and also did very well in the minors and we just ignored it for much more older and expensive options. Same thing happened to Maxwell. It is illogical when you are trying to save money and your upside is so limited as well with the option that has been chosen. People on this board said the same thing about Maxwell when I went crazy and now Maxwell and his very good OPS against lefties walked for nothing. Dickerson is a valuable cheap 4th OF’r and is way better than some of the options we have been looking at and also could start and perform. We simply don’t develop fully the bodies needed. Unless a guy is obscene in the minors the chances are slim.

  41. Ys Guy February 27th, 2013 at 9:42 am

    damon could have saved himself some embarasment by having his agent quietly call cashman instead of lobbying for a job through the media.

    he’s made that same mistake several times before.

  42. SabathiaWouldBeGoodAtTheEighthToo February 27th, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Joba was a pretty awesome starter in 2009 through August or so. Tired? Injured? Typical young pitcher learning curve? Who knows, but he did nothing to disprove his viability as a starter that year. He has better SP credentials than many guys who are doing it, and he amassed all of his starting experience before he was 25 years old. I hope he gets his shot somewhere.

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