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The awkwardness of being Plan B

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Dec 26, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Brian CashmanWhile the Yankees wait for the Masahiro Tanaka situation to play out, and while they wait for the Alex Rodriguez suspension to be decided, they have little choice but to talk to other pitchers and infielders. Brian Cashman always talks about casting a wide net this time of year, because it’s really the only way to conduct business. The Yankees have to know their options and have a feel for the market, and so they’ve been linked to — among others — Bronson Arroyo and Stephen Drew and Mark Reynolds. But those must be awkward conversations for everyone, right?

The players know what’s going on. Arroyo knows that he’s not the Yankees top choice to round out the rotation, and Drew knows he might not get to play his normal position, and Reynolds knows he’s mostly a backup option should A-Rod be ineligible. I’m sure the Yankees would be happy to have both Arroyo and Tanaka (if the money is right), and it would be nice to have Drew filling in at second or third (while providing high-profile insurance at short), and Reynolds has the kind of right-handed power that fits the Yankees current needs. But all of these are, in one way or another, a version of Plan B.

The trick will be keeping Plan B on the board while Plan A waits for a decision. Maybe the Rodriguez decision will come very soon after the New Year, bringing clarity to the Yankees infield and payroll situations. Maybe the Tanaka bidding will move quickly, separating the contenders from the pretenders, and giving the Yankees a clear idea of whether they need to back out or go all in.

We’ve already seen the Yankees move preemptively to Plan B with the Jacoby Ellsbury signing — which came as the Yankees were realizing Robinson Cano was likely to land elsewhere — and I can’t help wondering if we might see the same, especially in the case of the pitching staff. Signing a guy like Arroyo could be a sign that the Yankees are truly willing to spend huge money this winter, or it could be a sign that Plan A is melting away and it’s time to move on to Plan B.

Associated Press photo

 
 

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79 Responses to “The awkwardness of being Plan B”

  1. Mike Ri December 26th, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Arroyo wouldn’t be the worse pickup in the world . IF Plan A fails . ……..at least he’ll give you innings

  2. Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    BTW–there are always exceptions to the rule. CC and Felix may be exceptions but there are dozens (or more) for each exception that do follow the rule.

    I don’t think there is anything concrete when it comes to pitcher health. Please find the article because I really doubt there are dozens of pitchers who were good enough to pitch an extraordinary amount before age 25 who then subsequently were burned out by age 27.

    Most of the articles regarding pitchers health before 25 are more about increasing innings workloads in a manner that makes sense.

  3. blake December 26th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    With our current infield D we need fly ball pitchers….need to sign tanaka then sign drew so he’s not ground ball hit to death

  4. yankinvegas December 26th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    We have to set a value on Tanaka and not go above it. Like we did with Cano and like Boston gets all kinds of praise for doing.
    If we get him, great. If not, at least we are holding to a plan that should yield results in the long run.
    Hopefully we will know by the end of next week about Alex and shortly thereafter where we stand with Tanaka. If it looks like we are not going to get him, sign Arroyo for 2 years plus a vesting option. Pineda will hopefully be back and if Banuelos comes back from TJ then all of a sudden, the farm system doesn’t look so bad.
    There is no way that Drew is coming here as long as Jeter is still around. Sign Reynolds if Alex has a short term suspension. If it is at least the 2014 season, look into Headley or Todd Frazier.
    Stay away from Phillips.
    So far this winter we have done well. The next 4 weeks are vital.

  5. Your Name Here December 26th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Wouldn’t this be plan C? Since plan B was Ells, McCann and Beltran?

  6. mick December 26th, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Young over Reynolds.
    More versatile, much more contact.

  7. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    mick December 26th, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    Young over Reynolds.
    More versatile, much more contact
    —————————————-
    Reynolds stinks he’s been with 4 ML teams and he’s 29…

  8. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Reynolds..make that 4 teams since 2010…no thanks

  9. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    SP Plan A: Tanaka; Plan B: AJ Burnet; Plan C: Arroyo; Invite regardless: J. Santana/Garcia

    RP Plan A: Balfour; Plan B: Rodriguez; Plan C: Rodney

    3B Plan A: Drew; Plan B: Young; Plan C: Nix/Reynolds

  10. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Yes, I typed AJ.

  11. jackamir December 26th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t think it will be easy to get Tanaka but I think the competition will fold their cards before the Yankees. If he is here to earn—–it will be Pinstripes… It’s not personal, it’s just business.

  12. Locke December 26th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    DaSaint007

    AJ was a headcase in NY. I’m glad he’s done so well in Pitt, but he isn’t coming back here. I doubt he wants to try again and the Yankees know that he can’t pitch in NY.

  13. MoRings42 December 26th, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Please look at Bronson Arroyo’s stats. Especially that HR column. He gave up 19 HR’s in that big Cincy ball park last year. Left Handed hitters would be drooling at the thought of facing this guy in Yankee Stadium.

    I’ve said it before, If not Tanaka, this entire offseason is a failure. They’re basically replacing Andy Pettitte in the rotation and that’s the only guy that would do that or come close. Everyone else is on par of Phil Hughes or an upgrade to him which isn’t saying a whole lot.

    Plan B might as well just go in house again. Give Johan Santana an invite to ST and hope for a miracle.

  14. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Locke December 26th, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    DaSaint007

    AJ was a headcase in NY. I’m glad he’s done so well in Pitt, but he isn’t coming back here. I doubt he wants to try again and the Yankees know that he can’t pitch in NY.
    ——————
    Locke, AJ wasn’t a headcase. He wasn’t as consistently productive as desired. That said, I’d feel a whole lot better if there was another lefty in the rotation. Any suggestions? I’m not so sure a reunion wouldn’t be out of the question, especially considering he hasn’t re-upped with Pittsburgh as yet.

  15. mick December 26th, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    How do we really know what Tanaka is?
    You can be sure a patient team like the RS will lay off that splitty and they can all hit a FB.
    I don’t know that Hal goes after him the way he went after Ellsbury and McCann.
    If Tanaka shops around after Hal’s initial big offer then he is gone like Cano.
    Forget about coming back to us after he shops around.
    Someone will want him more..

  16. yankfan1 December 26th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Reynolds provides a viable power option at one of the corner infield spots, and good insurance in the case the Texeira goes down, and he has had injury history recently.

  17. yankfan1 December 26th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Plan B for the Yankees should be trading Gardner for a SP

  18. mick December 26th, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    If Tex or Jeter go down we are back where we were last year.
    Young is a better hitter than Reynolds and can play any IF position, inc. 1B.

  19. Locke December 26th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    DaSaint – AJ has great stuff, but was not good in NY.

    ERA 4.04, 5.26, 5.15 in his three years of NY.
    ERA 3.51 and 3.3 in Pitt.

    Other pitchers have crumbled under the increased media spotlight of NY and I think AJ was one of those guys. I’d like another LHP, but Burnett would be better off staying in Pitt or another smaller market.

  20. Yankeeclipper December 26th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Plan A is largely complete with Tanaka.

    Plan B requires us to secure another infielder, a back end reliever. If Tanaka is not signed then we need to add a SP to the mix either a FA signing: Garza, Santana, Jimenez, or Arroyo; and if that fails then trading Gardner for a starter

  21. Locke December 26th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Plan A is largely complete with Tanaka.

    Plan B requires us to secure another infielder, a back end reliever. If Tanaka is not signed then we need to add a SP to the mix either a FA signing: Garza, Santana, Jimenez, or Arroyo; and if that fails then trading Gardner for a starter

    ——

    I agree.

  22. mick December 26th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    So are the bids in on Tanaka? Is there a deadline on the bid?
    When do we find out?
    Can they wait to post the bid after others do?

  23. jackamir December 26th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Young is a liability in the field lately and not much better than Nunez offensively… I don’t think Young offers any answers…I don’t want the expense…I would rather get a low end relief pitcher……

  24. mick December 26th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    well, young baker and reynolds have all been mentioned
    they all aren’t great fielders and all hit righty
    if they get 1, then nunez could still platoon at 3rd
    if they get 2, then he is gone

  25. Yankee Dog December 26th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Yes, I typed AJ.

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

    LMAO ! !

    There is just ‘NO WAY’ that MISTAKE will be revisited

    That is why the Yankees ate a big chunk of his contract & dumped him

    Being desperate is fine but he borderlines in just plain insanity.

  26. Yankee Dog December 26th, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Rumor (MLB Network) has it that Burnett is considering retirement now his contract is fulfilled ……….

  27. austinmac December 26th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Young would make the defense worse, and his offense is significantly declining. I would pass.

  28. mick December 26th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    So you would also pass on Reynolds and Baker?

  29. Abe Peterham December 26th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Big bold predictions
    ….. Aj Burnett will NOT come back to yankees…

    Mark Reynolds had a solid time w yanks at end of season. He will be resigned.

  30. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Yankee Dog December 26th, 2013 at 3:08 pm
    DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Yes, I typed AJ.

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

    LMAO ! !

    There is just ‘NO WAY’ that MISTAKE will be revisited

    That is why the Yankees ate a big chunk of his contract & dumped him

    Being desperate is fine but he borderlines in just plain insanity.
    —————–

    I hear you, and understand where you’re coming from…
    But if Tanaka doesn’t get signed, it’s a crapshoot after that.

    I’m not keen on paying beaucoup bucks for Ervin Santana, Matt Garza or Ubaldo Jiminez. I’d rather go cheap and try to either trade for a frontline starter – not confident there either – or go with cheap or with reclamation projects. AJ and Johan fit in those categories, both on 1 year deals, and that would still be after signing an Arroyo who can eat up innings, and yes, give up homers in YS.

    And hey, Cashman seems to like reruns.

  31. chicken little December 26th, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t think the Yanks would entertain signing AJ. After all, we recently witnessed the “Return of Javy” and saw how that one turned out.

  32. Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Tanaka is a free agent. Negotiations can be on going for 30 days. The team that signs him pays a 20 mil release fee. No more bids.

    I don’t think you can handwave away a guy’s plus pitches by saying a team will be patient and lay off it. Especially a guy that is always in the strike zone and does not walk anyone. Its one thing to be patient with a guy that lives out of the zone, but when you can throw all your offerings for strikes its much harder to lay off the good stuff. Thats the push and pull of pitcher vs hitter. I’m sure there will be days where the ball comes out of a guys hand and batters can lay off, but there are going to be those days when its indecipherable from the normal fastball until it drops off the table and even patient hitters will look silly.

    Consider that Darvish struck out 14 red sox in 1 game last year.

  33. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    chicken little December 26th, 2013 at 3:37 pm
    I don’t think the Yanks would entertain signing AJ. After all, we recently witnessed the “Return of Javy” and saw how that one turned out.
    ———————-
    chicken, you’re dashing my hopes for an entertaining rerun. Seriously, I agree, this is unlikely. I’m just stressing the need to add a lefty to the rotation, and the pickings are bleak.

  34. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Tanaka Split is ++ and he usually throws it for a strike instead of just as a chase pitch.

    Bottom line on that is you’d better not try laying off it or you might just go down looking.

    It’s nasty.

  35. Yankee Dog December 26th, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    ‘But if Tanaka doesn’t get signed’ …………….

    Saint

    I believe the Yanks will go hard after Tanaka right from the get go just like they did with CC and McCann. The rotation has holes and as is shakes only to be 3rd or 4th best in the AL East IMO

    Improvement needed = Money is no object

  36. pkyankfan69 December 26th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Did we sign Tanaka yet?

  37. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    yankfan1 December 26th, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    Reynolds provides a viable power option at one of the corner infield spots, and good insurance in the case the Texeira goes down, and he has had injury history recently.
    ——————————-
    Reynolds stinks…

  38. Teddyballgame13 December 26th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Young is better defensively, more versatile, and is a RH bat that can actually put the bat on the ball. Young>Reynolds

  39. blake December 26th, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Reynolds doesn’t hit lefties all that well and he barely can even play 3B….he’s a much better fit at 1B…..pass….get baker

  40. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    Reynolds would be a great slow pitch softball player

  41. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    and really can they get rid of Cervelli

  42. bbb51 December 26th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    Cincy a big ballpark? IIRC, 2nd highest homerun park factor for HR last year.

    That said, I don’t like Arroyo.

  43. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Stay focused on what really matters.

    Don’t worry about the bit players.

    ;)

  44. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    MTU December 26th, 2013 at 4:47 pm
    Stay focused on what really matters.

    Don’t worry about the bit players.

    ;)
    —————————
    I’m trying

  45. DaSaint007 December 26th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    MTU December 26th, 2013 at 4:47 pm
    Stay focused on what really matters.

    Don’t worry about the bit players.
    ————–
    Tanaka! Tanaka! Tanaka!

  46. mick December 26th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    There is no reason why this Tanaka deal won’t be wrapped up by tomorrow.
    At least by New Years for a presser next Friday.
    You know he wants us….
    ….And we want him.

  47. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I’m hoping the Yankee’s initial offer is a very strong one.

    That will help separate the Men from the boys.

  48. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Nothing matters more than getting another quality pitcher for our rotation.

    Be that Tanaka or whoever.

    I’ve heard it said that we are looking only for a #4 SP.

    That is not correct IMO.

    We need someone who can fill the middle and even higher should CC, Kuroda, or Nova not perform up to specs.

    We need some extra insurance. An innings eater will not accomplish that.

    We’d still be left w a big hole.

  49. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Finish the mission Hal.

    Your over the target now.

    ;)

  50. joeman December 26th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    get Tanaka &Maholm…Balfour to close or Crain to pitch the 8th and DRob to close

  51. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    I think we’re fine at #5 w what we have in house.

    Pineda/Phelps/Warren/Nuno can battle it out in ST.

    Only 150 innings required from a 5.

    Easy to piggy back.

  52. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    It will all be settled soon.

    And then we can look forward to #28.

    :)

  53. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    We’ll have on of the best SP rotations in all of baseball, and a dyn-o-mite O to go w it.

    Depth, experience, leadership.

    We’ll have it all.

    A thousand ways to cut you to pieces.

    We can out pitch you, outspeed you, overpower you, finesse you.

    Take your pick.

    Finish it Hal.

    We’ll make you even richer.

    ;)

    :)

  54. mick December 26th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Tanaka and Johan and
    Let’s get this thing goin’.

  55. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Put your boot down on the neck of your competition.

    Make them say “uncle”.

    :)

  56. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    I haven’t been this optimistic since 09.

    A little more work needed.

    Then we are ready to kick a*s.

  57. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    This team is going to have something for everyone.

  58. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Losing sobers you up in a hurry.

    Especially if you are the Yankees.

  59. J. Alfred Prufrock December 26th, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    You forgot youth.

  60. J. Alfred Prufrock December 26th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    And rather than uncle, they’re likely to say grandpa

  61. J. Alfred Prufrock December 26th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Happy Holidays :)

  62. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    JAP-

    If we wind up w Mr. T our rotation will be well established for the future w three young SP.

    I’m also betting one of those young OF types breaks out soon.

    I was hoping we would trade for a ss like Owings.

  63. RadioKev December 26th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    I’m thinking the bidding on Tanaka could put the winner in an uncomfortable place. North of $20m would definitely be in crazy land. But the Yankees could really benefit from the potential reward…

  64. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    And Happy Holidays to you.

    :)

  65. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    189 = burnt toast

    :)

  66. Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I’m thinking the bidding on Tanaka could put the winner in an uncomfortable place.

    Could put another team in an uncomfortable place, but maybe the Yankees should start acting like the Yankees. Free agent prices are not going to go down. The Tanaka today that is 30 million is the Maeda tomorrow thats 23 million or the Kershaw thats 35 million.

  67. J. Alfred Prufrock December 26th, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    MTU,

    I’ll get excited when they actually grow a
    Position Player Of note or pull off a Myers type
    Deal.

    HoPe your Xmas was sweet and that everyone is healthy/healIng.

  68. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Ellsbury, Harper, Heathcott

    Gigolo, ss X, Katoh, Tex

    McCann, Sanchez

    CC, Nova, Bailey, Tanaka, Pineda/Banuelos.

    A few years off.

    :)

  69. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    JAP-

    I believe they will.

  70. RadioKev December 26th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    Could put another team in an uncomfortable place, but maybe the Yankees should start acting like the Yankees. Free agent prices are not going to go down. The Tanaka today that is 30 million is the Maeda tomorrow thats 23 million or the Kershaw thats 35 million.
    ————–

    Yes. The Yankees can take the risk like no one else, but no one wants a $100m+ albatross. Looking at Tanaka’s stuff, he’s clearly major league ready, but you never know.

    I do think the Yankees need him the most so they have the most incentive to spend big.

  71. Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    The Yankees are already going to feel the squeeze because they could have had Darvish for cheaper than Tanaka and with 30% less tax hit.

  72. Captain Clutch December 26th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Please no Arroyo. That would be a waste of money. If they don’t get Tanaka then try for Garza otherwise stand pat. I would rather give Phelps, Warren, Pineda and Nuno a chance before I would even think about signing Arroyo.

  73. tomingeorgia December 26th, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Mister MTU,
    I share your enthusiasm, only a little more quietly. They’re in the midst of constructing a a real professional baseball team. When ARod comes back, it’ll be even better. If they get Tanaka, or somebody else who’s competent, they will win the division, and will hit on through the playoffs.

  74. RadioKev December 26th, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 5:48 pm
    The Yankees are already going to feel the squeeze because they could have had Darvish for cheaper than Tanaka and with 30% less tax hit.
    ————

    It does make you wonder, what’s the bigger folly? Signing Igawa or not going all out for Darvish?

    (OK, we all know it’s clearly the latter.)

  75. Jerkface December 26th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Speculating on Igawa wasn’t as terrible as bidding 10 million dollars less on Darvish. Though their bid for Igawa was really stupid. It was like 8 million less than they bid for Matsuzaka and he was a much worse player.

  76. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Looking back gains nothing.

    The future is all we have.

    You can be stupid at one moment and brilliant in the next.

    :)

  77. MTU December 26th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    el Nuevo ——–>

  78. BoJo December 26th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    JF–

    Follow up….

    I am having some difficulty locating the exact sites I read a few years ago about young pitchers who throw too many innings early, as I had the site on my Favorites tabm but that was several computers ago.

    I did find one of the articles that influenced my thinking, and it is an interesting read.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=4359938

    A specific quote includes:
    “I’d like to know the average age of the rotations in baseball before 2000,” said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. “It seems to me, back then, we had one guy in his 30s, a couple of guys in their prime at 29 to 31, and only one of the five in his early 20s. And those guys could all throw more than 100 pitches in a game. But now, it seems, we have three of the five in the rotation who are in their young 20s. [Former manager] Paul Richards once explained this to me, and it makes a ton of sense: As a young pitcher, the arm is growing. It is developing strength. It doesn’t have the musculature that it’s going to have in a few years. That’s how you develop arm and elbow strains, even core injuries, because a young body isn’t like a mature body, and it is just not as strong as it’s going to be.”

    Young guys today rely on stuff. They throw 100 pitches; they don’t pitch 100 pitches. They are max effort on every pitch. … They’re getting to the big leagues younger, there is maximum pressure to perform, and because of that, they are letting it fly. That’s how young pitchers develop arm injuries and fatigue.

    – Cardinals manager Tony La Russa
    La Russa added, “Young guys today rely on stuff. They throw 100 pitches; they don’t pitch 100 pitches. They are max effort on every pitch. And in the minor leagues, they’re doing whatever they can to get from Double-A to Triple-A, so the stress level is higher. They’re getting to the big leagues younger, there is maximum pressure to perform, and because of that, they are letting it fly. That’s how young pitchers develop arm injuries and fatigue. In the old days, pitchers spent time in D ball, C ball; they threw 500-600 innings, sometimes 700-800, on lower levels. There was no carrot out there like there is now to move up. Today’s young pitchers are firing 85-90 pitches, fatigue sets in, and the next 15-20 they throw, they’re still firing. A veteran at 70 pitches might have all kinds of stuff left. Clubs that have a lot of young pitchers are leery of pushing them because they know it’s smart not to push them because they are throwing, not pitching.”

    ————-
    I’ll continue to find the other article(s) that had more analysis on the link between young pitchers throwing too many innings and their subsequent breakdowns….but it may take a while.

  79. pete2 December 26th, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    “Arroyo wouldn’t be the worse pickup in the world . IF Plan A fails . ……..at least he’ll give you innings”
    ——————————————————————————-

    He won’t give you the innings he did in the NL. AL East is a different beast. Also, Hughes and AJ Burnett gave you innings too, innings like that are not needed.

    The main difference between Tanaka and Arroyo besides quality innings, is one gives you a chance to compete and make the playoffs, while the other only gives you a shot at 189.

    I don’t think they can sign Tanaka without blowing other teams away, and I don’t see that happening. Tanaka has a choice and I am pretty sure he would prefer the WC if all offers are equal. No pitcher in their right mind wants to pitch in the AL East and that park, especially a RHP’er who has a rather straight fastball and who wants to look good for the fans back in Japan.


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