First random thought is that we’re going to do a chat today at 3 p.m. ET. Stop by if you can. There’s obviously quite a bit to talk about, but be warned: I drove down to San Diego after the game last night and got in just a few hours ago, so if I seem a little out of it during the chat, please forgive me. West Coast trips are draining enough without dealing with the trade deadline and looming suspensions.
• I have no idea whether Major League Baseball could actually get away with a lifetime ban for Alex Rodriguez, but I’m also not entirely sure they couldn’t make one stick. And in the course of announcing such a suspension, it seems the league would have to go public with basically all of its evidence to build a compelling case and explain such an extreme decision. I can’t imagine Rodriguez wants any part of that. Despite all the bluster about appealing, I find it hard to be surprised that we’re suddenly hearing reports about him being interested in some sort of negotiation. Maybe he ultimately decides against a settlement, but makes sense that he’d at least consider it.
• Derek Jeter hits the ball on the ground quite a bit, and this jogging out of the box thing is clearly driving him crazy. I understand the need to do it, but I’ll be stunned if he’s still doing it in Chicago. He might have the patience to stick with it through the weekend, but at some point he’s got to just be a ballplayer.
• The Padres traded for Ian Kennedy yesterday, and announced that he’ll make his first start on Sunday against the Yankees. It will be a matchup of Kennedy vs. Phil Hughes. If you’ve followed the Yankees farm system at all the past six years or so, that’s a fascinating matchup of what might have been.
• Where does Curtis Granderson best fit in the lineup? Might as well bat him fourth, right? Go with two sets of back-to-back lefties — Cano and Granderson; Overbay and Ichiro — with Alfonso Soriano in between in the fifth spot? Would you rather keep Soriano batting cleanup and go with three straight left-handed bats?
• There might be absolutely no evidence that makes me think he could do it, but is it crazy to think Soriano could learn first base fairly quickly and play there against lefties? He’s pretty tall, so he wouldn’t be a bad target, and he’s spent significant time in the infield during his career. Maybe he’d be awful at it and it wouldn’t work at all, but is it worth a try with Granderson coming back and Derek Jeter needing some DH days against left-handers?
• In Triple-A, Dellin Betances has gone 14 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. He hasn’t been charged with one since June 16, and most of those outings have been at least two innings. He’s still walking a handful of guys, but he’s been terrific since moving into the bullpen. If the Yankees had been able to find anything worthwhile in a Chamberlain trade, a Betances call-up might have made sense. Also worth noticing in that Triple-A bullpen: Chase Whitley. He’s allowed six hits and no runs in his past nine appearances, a total of 17.1 innings.
• If Rodriguez is about to be suspended, and Michael Young is staying in Philadelphia and Kevin Youkilis is a late September option at best, the Yankees might owe it to themselves to give Eduardo Nunez another look at third base. His offensive best-case scenario is probably better than either Jayson Nix or Brent Lillibridge, and he said yesterday that his new throwing technique should carry over from shortstop to third. If it’s a disaster, or his bat never gets going, go back to Nix.
• As an alternative at third, I suppose you could consider Ronnier Mustelier, but he’s hitting just .164/.220/.236 since returning from his most recent stint on the Triple-A disabled list.
• I understand the vague idea that David Phelps should replace Phil Hughes in the Yankees rotation, but Phelps has a higher ERA, a higher WHIP and has shown some of the same inconsistency. When he’s ready, it would seem a more natural fit to put him in the bullpen in place of Adam Warren (or Joba Chamberlain). Or, given how little some of the Yankees relievers have been used, it might make sense to have Phelps stay stretched out in the minors. If Hughes gets knocked around in a park like Petco this weekend, maybe that’s a different story, but I’m not necessarily expecting a rotation change now that Phelps is healthy.
• The Yankees don’t really have a place for him right now, but Adonis Garcia is really hitting in Triple-A. He’s had three straight multi-hit games, and he’s batting .337/.389/.494 since recovering from that spring hand injury and joining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kind of an interesting player. The Yankees have even dabbled in using him at second base.
• While making some trade calls this week, I had one executive predictably rave about the potential trade value of Dave Robertson. Also seemed really high on Ivan Nova after his recent run of starts. But after last night, can you imagine the value Hiroki Kuroda would have if the Yankees were able to trade him? He’s a legitimate ace right now, one of the best pitchers in the league.
Associated Press photos