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Random thoughts on the way home

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 16, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Heading home after a week and a half on the road. Here are a few random thoughts as I board this plane and make my way east…

Carlos Beltran• Maybe last night’s home run was a sign that Carlos Beltran is starting to come around with the bat. The Yankees certainly have to hope that’s the case. With Beltran, Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano each struggling to live up to expectations — and Jacoby Ellsbury really hitting out of position as the No. 3 hitter — the Yankees lineup looked awfully thin on Saturday night when Mark Teixeira was scratched. Right now he’s the only meat-of-the-order guy who seems capable of big-time production, and that’s a big-time problem because: 1. Teixeira’s going to have to rest occasionally (that much is crystal clear); and 2. Surely no team can win with only one reliable power threat.

• How long does Yangervis Solarte get the benefit of the doubt? He’s hitless in his past five games, which certainly doesn’t mean he’s finished hitting, but it will be interesting to see how long the Yankees stick with him if this slump continues. It seems like every other time Solarte has slumped, he’s has turned things around and made people believe in him again. But he’s looked pretty bad this past week or so, and Kelly Johnson has been hitting a little bit. I don’t think it’s time to give up on Solarte, but I am curious to see how long of a leash these first two and a half months have bought him.

• During this road trip, Joe Girardi said this about Jacoby Ellsbury: “I think you appreciate him more because you do see him every day and you can see all of the things that he can do as opposed to, sometimes you run into a guy and he’s hot for a series or his cold for a series and you don’t see everything that he has in his bag. But he’s a really, really good player.” I kind of agree. Ellsbury’s contract could be a mess, and he really wasn’t an ideal free agent fit on this team, but on his best days, I think Ellsbury is better than I thought he would be. I guess his day-to-day ceiling is higher than I realized. Hits the ball hard, covers a ton of ground, willing and able to steal a base against anyone. Still not sure the Yankees should have given him that deal, but he can be a legitimate game-changer.

Shawn Kelley• Shawn Kelley’s come into the fifth inning the past two days, but I can’t imagine that’s the way he’ll be regularly used going forward. Situations just kind of presented themselves, and getting Kelley some innings made some sense. Not sure what Girardi has in mind for Kelley’s role, but if he gets going again, I think I’d put him back in the eighth inning, keep using Dellin Betances for multiple innings and to get out of jams, and I’d use Adam Warren as a kind of floating piece who takes the eighth when Kelley’s not available and does the fireman thing when Betances isn’t available. Really, though, the way Kelley’s been used the past two days kind of points out how good this bullpen could be. Four really good relievers, a lefty, a long man and a kid being tested at this level. Need Matt Thornton to get out lefties and need Jose Ramirez to throw strikes, though.

• If the Yankees had a viable alternative to Vidal Nuno, I’m guessing he’d be on his way to the Bronx right now. But I’m not sure the system has anyone for the job. Chase Whitley is already up, Shane Greene has struggled in Triple-A and Manny Banuelos is still dealing with an innings limit (and some Double-A inconsistencies). Not that this should come as a shock. I’m not sure there are many teams prepared to go seven deep in the rotation without running into some less-than-ideal options, and right now Nuno is certainly a less-than-ideal option.

• Ellsbury and Brett Gardner have each played in 66 games. Ellsbury has 252 at-bats, Gardner has 253. Ellsbury’s season stats: .757 OPS, 71 hits, 4 homers, 30 RBI, 102 total bases, 28 walks, 50 strikeouts, 18 steals. Brett Gardner’s season stats: .739 OPS, 71 hits, 5 homers, 26 RBI, 22 walks, 59 strikeouts, 14 steals. Ellsbury’s been better, but it’s awfully close.

• The Derek Jeter retirement tour is very different from the Mariano Rivera retirement tour. When Rivera came into road games, it was in the ninth inning with the home team losing by a fairly narrow margin. Fans weren’t going to give him a standing ovation in that situation. With Rivera, the farewell was all about the pregame ceremonies and those meetings he had with fans and stadium workers in each city. With Jeter, it’s all about the at-bats. He has to get ready pregame, so Jeter can’t really meet with people an hour before first pitch, and his gifts and video tributes have been secondary to the ovations he’s received each time he’s come to the plate. That’s been amazing to witness city after city. He seriously gets a better ovation on the road than at home.

Derek Jeter• A little more than a week ago, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre began using Jose Pirela at first base, and Brian Cashman said it was an effort to add another backup option at the position. Since then, Pirela’s played strictly left field and first base. But I’m not sure that’s great news for him. Playing second base and third base might be an easier path to New York right now, and Pirela hasn’t played third at all this year, and his chances to play second basically vanished with the Rob Refsnyder call-up. Given the way Scott Sizemore and Zelous Wheeler have hit lefties — and the fact they’re still getting time in the infield — I would be they’re ahead of Pirela for a call-up in most situations.

• Two other thoughts on potential call-ups: 1. Kyle Roller is still hitting, but six of his past seven starts have come at designated hitter. If he were the top choice to be a first base replacement, wouldn’t he be playing the field more regularly? 2. Adonis Garcia has hit really well lately. I have no idea what it would take for the Yankees to give up on Alfonso Soriano — his numbers against lefties would have to significantly worse — but Garcia’s doing what he can to be the best right-handed outfield alternative. 3. I don’t think the Yankees have to open a 40-man spot for Francisco Cervelli, but once he’s healthy, wouldn’t Austin Romine have to be a DFA candidate whenever a 40-man spot is needed?

• Chase Whitley was left exposed and went unselected in the Rule 5 draft this winter. Brett Gardner had to walk-on with his college team. Matt Daley was undrafted. Yangervis Solarte was a minor league free agent who I’d literally never heard of before he signed with the Yankees (and when I confirmed the move, I joked with a team official that I first needed to confirm that such a person even existed before asking whether he’d signed with the Yankees). I mention these things mostly because short season leagues got started a few days ago, and it’s hard to know much about those guys right now. Kind of have to let careers play out before we know who can be a big league role player and who cannot.

Associated Press photos

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34 Responses to “Random thoughts on the way home”

  1. 86w183 June 16th, 2014 at 9:20 am

    This road trip kind of reinforces my attitude that no one in the AL East is going to top 90 wins.

    Beltran needs to hit… McCann needs to hit and Teixeira needs to hit. I’ve sorta given up the idea that Soriano is going to hit.

  2. Giuseppe Franco June 16th, 2014 at 9:28 am

    I think it’s funny that a couple of posters started the “order is restored” mantra after the Yanks won the Fri game.

    Yayyyyyy, the first 60 games of the season don’t matter and Hal and Cashman were right about everything and the farm system is bearing all the fruit we can handle!!!!

    Woooooooo!!!!

  3. David in Cal June 16th, 2014 at 9:29 am

    With Kelley back and Nuno struggling, why not try stretching out Warren to be a starter?

  4. alabamayankee June 16th, 2014 at 9:29 am

    Were The Boss still alive, Nuno wouldn’t even have been allowed back on the team’s plane. He needs to be dumped immediately, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that this type of performance won’t be tolerated. It doesn’t matter who is called up to fill in. They can’t be any worse than this.

  5. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Beltran needs to hit… McCann needs to hit and Teixeira needs to hit. I’ve sorta given up the idea that Soriano is going to hit.

    ————-

    The issue is more that they need to hit at the same time…

  6. 86w183 June 16th, 2014 at 9:35 am

    If they were to each hit every third day as opposed to once ina while it would help.

    Yeah…. we need the boss back for all those impulse buys that undermined building a team from 1982-94. We need the boss’ damn the budget approach with sensible decision-making.

    Most agree one starting pitcher and one bat would make a world of difference. How much would we have to surrender to add Headley and Samardija for example?

  7. DONNYBROOK June 16th, 2014 at 9:38 am

    - MONDAY MORNING MUSINGS -

    (1) Sure, Beltran should Know how many outs there are. But where was His 1B Coach when he meandered off the 1B bag and started heading for the dugout?

    (2) JR Murphy either was Told he was going down, Smelled he was going down, or had something else on his mind this past weekend. His heart was not in San Francisco/Oakland.

    (3) Solarte’s numbers are beginning to amazingly resemble Nunez’s over in Minn.

    (4) Johnson continues to turn in Boners on offense and defense. Should have scored a run the other night on that single up the middle where he initially headed Back to the 2B bag, and then fielded that bunt rolling along the 3B chalk. And the Yanks passed on Reynolds?

    (5) If the Yanks are going to continue to throw games away by starting Nuno, they may as well also designate that day to rest as many regulars that need routine “maintenance” days off. Between TEX, Beltran, and Jeet at least 2 of those guys should be out of the lineup on Nuno starts.

    (6) Ryan continues to Butcher what little playing time he sees.

    (7) So Kay avoids West Coast trips? He ain’t good enough to get Prima Donna treatment

  8. austinmac June 16th, 2014 at 9:41 am

    There is no one to replace Nuno except one of our existing relievers. The upper level pitchers have been pretty bad. I had hopes for Mitchell, but he has had one good game all year, as I recall. Stretching out a reliever seems the only option.

  9. austinmac June 16th, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Ryan sure does look great. The worst hitter in the league and now he makes an error every game. Two years with an option(credit for that info to Shame). Another brilliant move. Maybe we can extend Roberts.

    It is almost unheard of for a career minor leaguer to have good major league success. The odds that Solarte will have always been slim. He has saved the team. But, relying on him to continue to produce is as foolish as believing Roberts will find the fountain of youth on the next trip to Florida.

  10. pkyankfan69 June 16th, 2014 at 9:56 am

    ” Another brilliant move. Maybe we can extend Roberts”
    —————
    Why stop there… Life time contract!

  11. pkyankfan69 June 16th, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Looking on the bright side of things…. Usually when we are entertaining at my house and there is a game on my GF will get all pissed me and for watching the game and not being social… Wasn’t a problem after the 2nd – 3 run bomb Nuno gave up. Coco “The Garden Gnome” Crisp really put a charge into that one.

  12. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Nuno is just a mediocre pitcher. He can deliver gems now and again, but mostly he’s not going to give you much length and will battle through every inning. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you, on a team with a stronger SP unit, but we don’t have that luxury right now. I’ve never been enamored with his stuff, personally, but there have to be teams interested in a back end LHP that can probably pitch .500 ball, right?

    mac – People penciling in Ryan at SS in 2015 and pretending that’s a better option than Jeter is the most laughable thing I’ve read on this blog in a long time lol. He’s so bad it makes you yearn for Nunez’s bat.

  13. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I’d take a 50 year old Jeter over Brendan Ryan in 2015! Is Cal Ripken available?!

  14. Russell Munson June 16th, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I thought Nuno was the best prospect in the Yankee organization and the prospect people were fools for ignoring him?

  15. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I dunno who you replace Nuno with really… I bet they wait until CC gets back (and the deadline is subsequently up).

  16. luis June 16th, 2014 at 10:14 am

    Good morning guys or should I say buenos dias? I am back home.. So I will be posting more frequently from here on out.

    Mac,

    You can always come to Italy with me ;)

    Hey 86,

    I agree with all you said about Italy.

    Please excuse the belated response, I really had little time.

    Back to baseball:

    Chad’s comparison between Ells and Gardner are the main reason I never liked the contract of the former… One outlier season didn’t warrant an anchor type kind of contract… He is good but not that good… It would be fine if we had some power output from the IF and the other COF… But having two table setters on the OF with our current IF is a big drawback.

    As for the pitching.. I think we have plenty of BP arms so we could stretch someone from the pen.

  17. austinmac June 16th, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Luis,

    When do we leave?

  18. Chip June 16th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    On call-ups and 40 man roster spots:

    Chad – I disagree with you on Pirela. I think the move off 2b was strictly to open up a spot for Refsnyder and they want to see if Pirela can do what Eduardo Nunez never could and that’s play multiple positions.

    As for Roller – until Beltran’s able to play the OF there’s no point in calling Roller up. If Tex is able to play he’s going to play 1b and Beltran’s going to DH. They’re not going to call up Roller just to sit on the bench. If Tex has to sit for a game they’ll go with McCann at 1b it seems, if he has to go on the DL that’s another story.

    Yes – Romine has zero purpose in this organization once Cervelli is off the DL – wasting a 40 man roster spot on the back up AAA catcher is silly.

  19. luis June 16th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Mac,

    :lol: I have to go back in November.. So maybe we can work something out?

  20. bbb51 June 16th, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 10:10 am

    mac – People penciling in Ryan at SS in 2015 and pretending that’s a better option than Jeter is the most laughable thing I’ve read on this blog in a long time lol. He’s so bad it makes you yearn for Nunez’s bat.

    Better than a hitting well Jeter? No. Better than a retired Jeter? Yes.

    2010-2012 Ryan put up 1.2, 2.8, 1.4 WAR, due to his defense of course. Interestingly in 2013 his defense slipped, maybe because of inconsistent playing time.

  21. Chip June 16th, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Luis,

    You have to look beyond this one season.

    Next year the Yankees will have Ellsbury and Gardner hitting 1-2 in the lineup. That kind of dynamic top of the order isn’t something to be minimized. Nor is having that kind of defensive ability in the OF.

  22. Chip June 16th, 2014 at 10:26 am

    As to Solarte –

    He’s earned the right to have a slump. I’m not particularly worried about it.

  23. Chip June 16th, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Back to Pirela and Roller for a second. Chad may be right in that the Yankees aren’t giving serious consideration to either player. That doesn’t mean they’re right. As I said last week, this is an organization that talks about wanting to promote from within but has absolutely zero actual desire to do so.

    Would Pirela, Roller, Garcia, Almonte play at the levels they’re enjoying in Scranton? Probably not. Are they likely to be any worse than the players they would replace? Nope. But this is an organization that loves its veterans and so rather than promote a Pirela or Roller I fully anticipate that they will trade for a guy like Luis Valbuena or Emilio Bonifacio instead.

  24. mick June 16th, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Yayyyyyy, the first 60 games of the season don’t matter and Hal and Cashman were right about everything and the farm system is bearing all the fruit we can handle!!!!
    ===============================
    If the Yanks can stay healthy and keep a lineup intact, they will hit.
    You don’t want to address that other than say they are old and you told us this 3-4 months ago.

    As far as the farm goes, you need more patience.
    We never played small market before Hal and it would follow his philosophy to develop the minors and that is clearly what they are doing.

  25. mick June 16th, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Luis-
    Was it a business or pleasure trip?

  26. Hankflorida June 16th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Luis, like you, I cannot adjust to two table setters in the outfield, but adding three with Ichiro really frustrates me, and my hope is that Toronto and Baltimore do not feast on Whitley, Phelps and Nuno pitching in our band box. This band of banjos cannot overcome what they faced yesterday like the Murder’s Row and Cano teams did when they had to deal with the likes of Burnett.

  27. Chip June 16th, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Hankflorida June 16th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Luis, like you, I cannot adjust to two table setters in the outfield, but adding three with Ichiro really frustrates me, and my hope is that Toronto and Baltimore do not feast on Whitley, Phelps and Nuno pitching in our band box. This band of banjos cannot overcome what they faced yesterday like the Murder’s Row and Cano teams did when they had to deal with the likes of Burnett.
    —————————

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with having two guys in the OF who can get on base, run from 1st to 3rd on a single, put pressure on a defense and steal 30+ bases while playing terrific defense?

    Clearly it’s not ideal to have zero power from the OF – but the plan was never for Ichiro to play this much this year.

    If you look at what the lineup was supposed to be there was plenty of power in it with Tex, McCann, Beltran, Soriano and even Johnson. Roberts, Ellsbury and Gardner were supposed to make sure that the HRs those guys hit were not solo shots.

  28. Hankflorida June 16th, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Chip, that was Cashman plan, but as Luis said, not having power in the outfield means that you have to make it up in the infield where it is muchharder to get.

  29. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with having two guys in the OF who can get on base, run from 1st to 3rd on a single, put pressure on a defense and steal 30+ bases while playing terrific defense?

    —————

    I don’t take issue with it either.. the problem is the lack of pop in every other spot in the line up. I’m really not trying to jump start yet another Cano debate, but the plus of keeping him was he provided a lot of power from a non-traditional power position. It allowed you, if you wanted to, create a less power heavy OF while not losing run production.

    They were very dependent on McCann, Tex, and Beltran bringing a lot of pop – but everything had to break right for them to carry the club. We’re seeing the other side of the coin in the first 60 games – this is what happens when you’re getting spotty production from any of those slots in the order. All of those guys would have needed to stay healthy and productive this season to keep this offense on track.

  30. 86w183 June 16th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    It matters now where the power comes from as long as it comes.

    The Yanks have had great power at 2B (relatively speaking) and 3B for most of the last decade. The absence of power at those spots exacerbates the lack of pop from the OF. Beltran in RF and Soriano producing at DH would go a long toward solving the problem.

    Nuno is a long reliever and needs to be replaced. I’m not a fan of “stretching out” relievers once the season begins, which means a deal or a call up. since the AAA and AA starters aren’t wowing anyone it looks like some has to be acquired.

    I asked earlier and go no response — what price would you pay for Jason Hammel? Jeff Samardija? any other realistic target(s)??

  31. Jerkface June 16th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with having two guys in the OF who can get on base, run from 1st to 3rd on a single, put pressure on a defense and steal 30+ bases while playing terrific defense?

    I don’t mind it that much because Gardner & Ellsbury bring a lot to the table offensively without homers, but I definitely see Hank’s frustration with it. The problem is you kind of need to hit HRs to win in this era and the Yankees are forgoing HRs at 1 position where you are most easily able to acquire them.

    This outfield would have been less of a problem with a Cano/A-rod led infield with Jeter even in his post prime being a double digit HR hitter and then throwing in Tex. However, with cano being let go and A-rod being injured/uncertain and Jeter having 0 power and Tex being injured all the time the lack of power is a huge issue on the Yankees.

    It also hurts that 2 of the Yankees primary power threats have huge weaknesses and may not even be very good at all.

  32. Shame Spencer June 16th, 2014 at 11:15 am

    :arrow:

  33. Brad paisley concert August 6th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

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  34. Tashia Ammann August 22nd, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Wonderful collection, Eric, appreciate it. Bookmarked and shared :)

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