The good, the bad and the mixed reviews • 01.21.13
When I choose Pinch Hitter posts, I try to find both sides of an argument. I look for some guest posters with a pessimistic view, and I look for some who are firm optimists. When Daniel first emailed me to suggest today’s pinch hitter topic, his proposal was built around these two sentences:
I truly believe the only way the Yankees will compete this season and next with this austerity budget looming will be via trades for young impact players like Justin Upton. I have not seen Brian Cashman, in my opinion, make a feasible trade since 2008 and the Nick Swisher trade so my confidence is at an all time low.
I was expecting an indictment of Cashman’s trade history, not a conclusion of full confidence, and my guess is that Daniel wasn’t expecting that conclusion either.
It’s tricky business trying to make an absolute, black-and-white evaluation of any team’s trade, draft and free agent history. There are going to be highs and lows, and even those highs and lows — with a few exceptions — are going to come with mixed reviews. The Nick Swisher deal was an absolute win for the Yankees. The Pedro Feliciano signing was a clear loss. But those are in the minority.
The A.J. Burnett signing depends on how much weight you put into his 2009 World Series performance.
The Jesus Montero trade depends on how well Michael Pineda comes back from shoulder surgery.
The Javier Vazquez trade depends on the development of Dante Bichette Jr., and whether you believe the Yankees would have kept Melky Cabrera long enough to see him emerge (and whether you believe his emergence would have stained the clubhouse).
The Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy draft depends on how you feel about the Joba Rules and the Curtis Granderson trade, and the Curtis Granderson trade depends on how you feel about Granderson’s soon-to-be four years with the Yankees and whether the Yankees need a younger center fielder, and whether the Yankees need a younger center fielder might depend on the development of Slade Heathcott, who was only drafted as compensation because the Yankees were unable to sign Gerrit Cole in 2008, which was the same draft that yielded David Phelps, who might not have gotten a big league chance last season had Pineda not been injured and Burnett not been traded.
Point is, it’s hard to put any of this in a vacuum and make a definitive statement. On a case-by-case basis, we can argue and deliberate and form opinions, but the collective moves of a front office rarely fit under a universal heading. There are positives and negatives, fodder for the pessimists and the optimists alike, and that’s why we can spend an entire winter — each and every winter — having the same basic debate over and over again.
Associated Press photo
Pinch hitting: Daniel Burch • 01.21.13
Up next in our Pinch Hitters series is Daniel Burch, who was born 27 years ago in Lebanon Hospital overlooking the old Yankee Stadium. Daniel has since moved to Atlanta and says that the Yankees are “easily the biggest thing that I miss from living in New York.” Daniel started his own blog, The Greedy Pinstripes, and calls himself a confessed “prospect hugger and anti austerity fan.”
Makes sense, then, that Daniel suggested a post about Brian Cashman’s trade history and whether Yankees fans should trust their general manager to make the necessary moves to keep the Yankees winning without a $200-million payroll.
For fans spoiled to grow up watching the Yankees during the dynasty years of the mid 90’s until as recently as 2009, we have all seen guys come through the system like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and a plethora of others guys that I am unintentionally forgetting. We have also seen the Yankees go out and bid against themselves to get the biggest free agent prizes like Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, David Wells, Hideki Matsui, and probably 600 other free agents that George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have gotten into pinstripes. With a seemingly infinite budget — in free agency, on the international market and in the draft — the Yankees and Cashman have not been afraid to pull off big trades involving prospects for proven veteran pieces to make another World Series run. It was fun to watch until the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its harsher penalties for repeat luxury tax offenders.
The idea to get under the $189-million threshold to save some money and restart the penalties makes sense on paper, but does it make sense in the real world? I personally have my doubts, and my question has always been whether the fiscal savings by getting under the threshold would outweigh the fiscal hit the Yankees would take if we were mediocre on the field not only in 2014 but this season as well. Can the Yankees really compete in a deep and competitive American League East AND follow through with the austerity budget in what seems to be a rebuilding project? Sure, we can, but the only way that is going to happen is if we put our faith into Cashman’s alter ego: Ninja Cashman.
Let’s not beat around the bush: Our farm system, especially in the upper levels, is depleted and barren and not going to really help us in major spots in 2013 and beyond besides for maybe a David Adams, Corban Joseph, Adam Warren, or a Mark Montgomery. While those are nice pieces for depth or in a pinch, aside from Montgomery, none of these guys is a can’t-miss type that we will need to keep the payroll down and still compete. The only way we are going to get this done is if Ninja Cashman can pull off a trade or two that brings us a young and effective piece without creating too many other holes. But can we really bank on that? I am glad that you asked…
I took it upon myself to look at the past six seasons worth of trades, no matter how minor, and evaluate each one specifically to determine whether we should really put our faith into Ninja Cash or if we should expect to miss the playoffs the next two seasons. I am just going to hit the high spots because I do not think anyone puts much weight into trades like when we acquired Justin Maxwell from the Nationals in 2011 for some guy whose name I cannot pronounce and have to copy and paste his last name (Adam Olbrychowski) to make sure the spelling is correct. Let’s look and evaluate the trade history of Ninja Cash:
On July 23, 2012 the Yankees traded minor leaguers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar for Ichiro Suzuki. This trade worked out beautifully for the Yankees because we were never going to give either of the young guys a shot for the big club, and in 67 games Ichiro gave us a 0.8 WAR, wreaked havoc on the base paths, and was one of the few Yankees to not totally disappear when the calendar changed to October. Verdict: Good Trade
On April 4, 2012 Cashman traded George Kontos to the Giants for Chris Stewart. This trade never made much sense to me because, while I can agree that relievers are a dime a dozen and Kontos was not exactly young or a “can’t miss guy,” can you not say the same thing about backup, defensive-minded, no-bat catchers? And that’s especially relevant when the Yankees already had a capable backup in Francisco Cervelli. Kontos went on to have a pretty good season for the eventual World Series champions, while we were without guys like Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain. Stewart did nothing of note for the Yankees. Granted Stewart looks more and more like our starting catcher in 2013, which I do not know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, so there is time to get some value out of this trade. Verdict: Bad Trade
On January 23, 2012 the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos from the Mariners. As much as this trade hurt because I have watched Montero come through the system and salivated at the idea of his power in Yankee Stadium, the trade made sense because Pineda was a power arm with five years left of team control and filled a need. Campos was also considered to be able to walk into camp and be listed in our Top 5 Prospects list right away. He had much more potential then Noesi ever thought of having. The trade is obviously incomplete as even after the 2013 season we will still have three years left of Pineda, and Campos is still only in Charleston. You have to wonder if Pineda will ever come back and be effective for the Yankees, and the only redeeming factor in this trade is the fact that Montero once again seems to be without a true position and did not exactly tear the cover off of the ball while Noesi got lit up in Safeco. Verdict: Fair Trade
On July 31, 2010 the Yankees acquired “Kid K” Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians for two players to be named later — who turned out to be Matt Cusik and Andrew Shive — and cash. Kerry came over and absolutely dominated out of the Yankees pen with a 0.69 ERA in the second half while, to date neither, Shive nor Cusik has done anything for the tribe. Verdict: Good Trade
On December 22, 2009 the Yankees traded Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino for Boone Logan and Javier Vazquez. While in Atlanta, Cabrera was absolutely terrible, allowed to leave as a free agent, and eventually signed with Kansas City. Dunn has not done anything to lose sleep over, and Vizcaino is going to miss the 2013 season with Tommy John surgery. While Logan has been somewhat of the LOOGY we have been searching for the last five to ten seasons, Vazquez was absolutely terrible for the Yankees. It is a lot to give up just for essentially a LOOGY, but since we did not give up anything that has come back to bite us to date this trade gets my approval. Verdict: Good Trade
On December 8, 2009 the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Tigers hooked up in a three-team trade that saw The Yankees acquire Curtis Granderson from Detroit while giving up Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Tigers and sending Ian Kennedy to Arizona with other lesser pieces moving back and forth. Granderson started out well for the Yankees and has compiled a 13.2 WAR since the trade. The pieces we gave up have compiled a 26.8 WAR in the same time period. Jackson has turned into one of the better leadoff men and center fielders in the American League, Coke has dominated us in the playoffs out of the pen, and Kennedy is one season removed from becoming a 20-game winner. Granderson has forgotten how to take routes in center field and has become an all-or-nothing kind of home run hitter that the Yankees were trying to get away from. Verdict: Bad Trade
Our final trade we are going to look at was on November 13, 2008 when the Yankees acquire Nick Swisher and reliever Kanekoa Texeira for Wilson Betemit, Jeffrey Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez. This was a classic buy low move after Swisher had the worst season of his career in Chicago and rebounded nicely in four seasons for the Yankees. We gave up nothing of note and got a fan favorite in return that the Yankees are scrambling and struggling to replace after leaving via free agency this season. Swisher has compiled a 15 WAR in his time in pinstripes where Betemit, Marquez, and Nunez combined have brought Chicago a 2 WAR. Verdict: Excellent Trade
I know that I have missed a few trades, but for the sake of space, I hit the high spots and went over the bigger of the trades. According to my tally, I have one excellent trade, three good trades, one fair trade, and two bad trades. Trades, much like the MLB draft, are a crap shoot because you never know what you are going to get, but on the bigger trades Ninja Cash seems to get the better end of the deal more often than not.
I am not the most patient Yankees fan, and I definitely hate settling for anyone less then Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton this offseason — hence the name Greedy Pinstripes. My faith in my General Manager and the team’s commitment to winning will never waiver. Ninja Cash has been fantastic at finding cheap value late in the offseason and in trades, and I have full confidence that he will again in 2013 and 2014 to keep this team in contention.
Associated Press photos
One day after announcing the Alex Rodriguez injury, Brian Cashman was approached by various trade and free agent options.
“I’ve had a few of maybe the names I wouldn’t have thought of – lesser names that I wouldn’t have an interest in – volunteer their services for that position,” Cashmans said. “I’ve had some people suggest, ‘Hey, my guy who plays second base, he can swing over to play third.’ That type if stuff. I don’t have an interest in stuff like that. … I did have one irresponsible ask (in a trade suggestion), which I assume has everything to do with yesterday’s announcement. I’m no longer talking to that club.”
Although Cashman expects the market to continue its rapid development — “It seems like this is a market flush with money, the way it’s acting,” he said — but he plans to remain patient. Cashman said he believes it’s possible he could complete a move before these meetings end on Thursday morning, but he feels no need to force the issue.
“The preference is always to get your problems solved and get them fixed,” he said. “But the realistic side of that is that it’s going to take time and you have to solve it over time. If you don’t feel comfortable with the solution, you shouldn’t solve it until you feel comfortable. I’m prepared to drag this thing out.
“Hopefully everybody else is, too.”
• Cashman admitted to speaking with the agents for five different players: Kevin Youkilis, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Ichiro Suzuki and A.J. Pierzynski. Those were the only names specifically mentioned, and Cashman confirmed that he’s had discussions about each one.
• Despite talking to Pierzynski’s camp, Cashman was as firm as ever in his belief that the Yankees will have an in-house starting catcher next season. “I think our catching will come from within, personally, as we are right now,” Cashman said. “I’d be surprised if it didn’t.”
• Cashman on whether he needs to stick with one-year deals: “Optimally that’s the best way you’d like to go, but it might not be the way I have to go. It just depends on the player and the dollar amount.”
• Earlier today, Joe Girardi said the Yankees need a third base solution that’s capable of playing the position all year because of Alex Rodriguez’s uncertainty. Cashman disagreed. Sort of. “I was just looking to someone who can get there for three months at the very least,” Cashman said. “If it’s somebody that’s good enough to go the whole way, fine, but there’s not a lot of choices out there. I’m not going to limit it by looking at it that way. I understand what he’s talking about – you need to have the protection – but it’s a very limited sandbox to play in.”
• With Ichiro and Ibanez in the mix, Cashman indicated that he’s willing to use an all-left-handed regular outfield. “Beggars can’t be choosers, so to speak,” Cashman said. “If I’m in a situation where we have equal righty or lefty bats, you can gravitate one way or the other, but it doesn’t match up that way. … If we did (sign another left-handed outfielder), we’d need two outfield bats, one from the right side, one from the left side. If we wanted to put another left handed bat in, and it’s all three left handed outfielders, I would say focus on me adding another right-handed bat too, in the Andruw Jones category.”
• To be clear, in no way did I think Cashman was talking about bringing back Andruw Jones, he was just referring to a right-handed outfielder who strictly plays against lefties.
• Will Brett Gardner be in center field next year? “I see Gardner and Granderson both as center fielders,” Cashman said. “Currently Gardner is our left fielder and Granderson is our center fielder, and if we so choose to make a change, we’ll have no problem doing so. But that’s not something we’re talking about right now.”
• By the way, forgot to mention earlier that Girardi said Granderson had his vision checked and it’s fine. There was some speculation that maybe his vision caused last year’s second-half struggles. Apparently that’s not the case.
• Cashman on Chavez: “We know him very well and he had a hell of a year. He’s put himself in a very strong position, I think, in a marketplace that is thin at that position. That will run interference with our interest level, I would think, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make something happen there. We’ll see. We’re engaged.”
Associated Press photo
Pineda watch • 11.23.12
Who knows what Michael Pineda is? He had one half of a good season with the Mariners and now he’s coming off shoulder surgery.
But he’s only going to be 24 in January and the 6-foot-7 righty did come with a price tag of Jesus Montero. It would be nice if he turned out to be something sooner or later in the Yankees’ rotation and lived up to the potential he originally showed.
Pineda went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 2011, but he was just 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA after the All-Star break that year. Then came the trade, the labrum tear and the operation May 1, forcing him to miss the entire season.
Here’s what we heard the other day about his comeback:
He came to town within the last two weeks for a routine follow-up with Dr. Chris Ahmad, the Yankees’ physician, and Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ physician who operated on Pineda. He threw at Yankee Stadium on flat ground, his program for about two months.
“He looked good,” Brian Cashman said. “He’s throwing on flat ground at 90 feet, so I don’t want to get …
“All I can report is his arm was working very well, very healthy, very loose. He had zip on it. He’s in great physical shape in terms of body weight.
“He’s not going to be a choice in game action until probably sometime in May or June. Whether it’s majors or minors, who’s to say? We’ve got him to the side. … We certainly have high hopes for him, but in terms of planning and counting on him, it’s in everybody’s interest not to do that right now and just put together as deep and strong a staff as possible and be pleasantly surprised and appreciative if we can welcome him back to the fold at some point.
“But that’s all for another day. He’s got a lot more hurdles in the rehab process to clear.”
In other news, ESPN on Thursday had the Red Sox agreeing with Jonny Gomes on a deal for two years and $10 million, contingent on a physical. The outfielder hit .262 with 18 homers and 47 RBI for the A’s last season.
Beware of the Blue Jays • 11.21.12
The Blue Jays have been loading up for a serious run, bringing in Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, among others, from Miami and signing Melky Cabrera. They just hired John Gibbons for a managing sequel. Between the Jays, the Orioles and the Rays (and the Red Sox will presumably be more competitive), it should make for a great division race with the Yankees.
I asked Brian Cashman Tuesday night about the Blue Jays’ offseason and the impact on the Yankees.
“Toronto has done a lot,” Cashman said. “They’ve been very aggressive. I’ve been obviously associated with the Yankees since ’86, so I know the sleeping giant that exists up there. It’s a great baseball town. They’ve had a huge amount of success in the past. They’re fighting from the development standpoint, from the trade standpoint, from the free-agent standpoint, to get back to that. And they’ve been doing it for quite some time.
“Last year wasn’t a true reflection of how good they could have been because they got derailed with injuries and unexpected underperformance. That happens in the sport of baseball. So last year they were better than what they showed on the field, and I think their additions are certainly going to serve them extremely well.
“They’ve been on the map as far as we’ve been concerned. They’ve been one of the best teams in the game in the first half of every season the last few years. The second half, things have gone different for them. …
“It’s just more competition. It’s not surprising. You tip your cap to them. We recognize what’s going on up there. But it doesn’t change how we go about our business. We feel we know what we need to do and we’re going to try to execute it, just like they’re trying to do the same.”
I think the kings of fourth place are going to be formidable throughout for a change, if they stay healthy. Like that Blue Jays lineup. The Yankees will surely do a few more things this offseason. Do you think they ultimately should fear Toronto?
The Nova mystery • 11.21.12
Ivan Nova obviously has ability, but as we saw in the second half, he misplaced it somewhere. He went 2-5 with a 7.05 ERA after the All-Star break, and finished 12-8 with a 5.02 ERA and a .288 opponents batting average. Plus, the Yankees didn’t let him near the mound in the postseason.
I asked Brian Cashman during Tuesday night’s conference call about his concern level about him going forward.
The GM didn’t sound too worried.
“I feel really good about Nova,” Cashman said. “He’s a good young arm. His maiden voyage a year ago was terrific, and he finished strong. He won one of our two playoff wins the previous year. And then this year, sophomore growing pains or whatever you want to call it. But at the same time, his strikeout total soared and his walk total reduced. So it was an interesting year for him.
“The stuff is there. He’s a good, young, under-control, not-even-arbitration-eligible starter with a boatload of experience, both positive and negative. I, without a doubt, consider Nova a rotation starter in the majors. It’s just, where’s he going to slot himself as we go into 2013? At the back end or toward the middle of the rotation.
“So that’s how I look at Nova. The equipment is there. His determination is there. Like anything, you get on the right side of the mountain, when you’ve got the positive things rolling, with his ability, you can take off. If you get on the wrong side of the mountain, you have to struggle through it and fight through it. That’s how he ended up in the end, where he was on the wrong side of the mountain, probably of confidence. But that’s nothing I worry about with him. He’s a very confident guy.”
This is the link to my story today for The Journal News and LoHud.com about the positive move of re-signing Hiroki Kuroda and a quick summary of Tuesday’s happenings. But I didn’t have room for Cashman’s take on the current rotation, minus Andy Pettitte, at least for the moment:
“On paper, we do have five starters. If you go through it, you’ve got CC, Kuroda, Hughes, Nova, Phelps, but we would certainly like to add to that and lengthen it and deepen it and strengthen it.”
Cashman relieved; Jeter projection • 11.20.12
Brian Cashman had a conference call tonight with reporters in conjunction with the re-signing of Hiroki Kuroda.
“It’s a relief to know that Hiroki is back,” Cashman said. “… It’s a short-term deal that provides flexibility as we move forward and gives us an important, valuable arm to our rotation.”
Cashman didn’t have any update on Andy Pettitte’s thinking as far as a return.
He did say: “The pitching is our priority and has been our priority. So we’ll continue on those efforts.”
Cashman did talk up Ivan Nova as a starter despite his second-half struggles. He said Michael Pineda looked good recently throwing on flat ground, but that the Yankees aren’t ready to count on him yet for the rotation. He said the Yankees are still in talks with Mariano Rivera, and that he had no concerns over the closer’s reconstructed knee. Cashman also had praise for the Blue Jays’ big offseason. And here’s Cashman’s view on Derek Jeter’s return following his broken ankle.
“He’ll be our Opening Day starting shortstop,” Cashman said.
Brian Cashman was just on the Dan Patrick Show, and he was asked whether C.J. Wilson is at the top of his offseason wish list.
“I’d say it’s fair to say C.J. Wilson is probably the best pitcher on the marketplace right now since Sabathia’s been taken out and retained here,” Cashman said. “I don’t think it’s a stretch to tell anybody that he’s the most attractive candidate.”
Obviously, in a public interview like this, it’s smart to take everything Cashman says with a grain of salt, but he’s also usually one to hedge on everything. He’s not necessarily a guy who makes declarative statements like that on a whim.
Cashman cautioned that putting Wilson at the top of the list is strictly because of performance and talent. It does not take into account the contract Wilson might be after.
“You have your priority list and how it looks,” Cashman said. “But then it gets rearranged by cost analysis.”
A few other highlights from Cashman’s 10 minutes or so on the show:
• Patrick asked twice about Albert Pujols. “I think he would be on anybody’s wish list,” Cashman said. “In our circumstances, our roster, he doesn’t fit… It’s not an efficient way to try to allocate your resources.”
• Cashman said he never heard from another team about becoming their general manager this offseason.
• Is is better to build a team specifically for the postseason? “I think the (regular season) long haul is a true reflection of what your team is,” Cashman said. “Our team, I don’t think, played up to its maximum potential in October, for that one week.”
• Despite the Phillies being knocked out this postseason, Cashman said his basic philosophy hasn’t changed. “I still think pitching is the key to the kingdom,” he said. “I think that’s the recipe you have to strive for. It doesn’t mean an automatic. Nothing does. But I think that’s the right way to go.”
• Cashman said bringing back CC Sabathia “was not a layup” and there were some nervous moments. “That’s never a fun process,” Cashman said. “But the resolution we’re really happy with, and we know he is.”
• Funny question from Patrick: Does Cashman believe his time with the Yankees will end when he retires or gets fired? “I would say that normally you get fired,” Cashman said, laughing. “I think it’s a healthy way to look at it. I think at some point, they usually tell you to go.”
Random bit of information: Cashman said he could most easily impress Patrick by showing him the Yankees conference room. It was built for draft preparation, and the walls are magnetic so that the Yankees can easily make lists and move names around. Right now, those walls are used to rank free agents by position. During the season, it has every team’s roster.
Cashman said there are five TVs — including one massive big screen — so the executives can watch five games at once, or they can pull up computer information on any of the screens. Cashman said his son plays X-box in there.
“That’s the wow room,” Cashman said. “When people come here, they’re going to get blown away by that.”
Associated Press photo
Yesterday’s Brian Cashman conference call didn’t start with discussion of his contract, or discussion of CC Sabathia’s contract. It started with Cashman discussing his upcoming Solidarity Sleepout with Covenant House. Cashman is on the board of direction for the foundation which works to fight homelessness among young people.
“I’ve had a chance to meet some pretty inspiring kids who are fighting for, obviously, a lot,” Cashman said. “They’re fighting homelessness. They’ve obviously had a curveball thrown their way, in many cases not by their own fault… Nobody is obviously trying to compare one night of sleeping in the streets to what a homeless child goes through, but the effort here is to try to raise up to a half million dollars to benefit the programs as we move forward.”
It sounds like a pretty powerful event with some pretty powerful people in the New York area. Here’s the bulk of a press release with details of the event.
New York — On November 17th at 6 pm, the 21st Anniversary Covenant House Candlelight Vigil in Times Square, sponsored by Aviva USA life and annuity company, will feature the first-ever Covenant House CEO Solidarity Sleepout, with over 40 influential leaders sleeping outside in the shadow of the Covenant House New York Crisis Shelter in solidarity with homeless youth.
“On November 17th and 18th, we are going to transform Times Square and our crisis shelter into centers of hope and solidarity for homeless youth,” says Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “Natalie Grant will light up Times Square with her inspirational performance. And after the vigil, we will march back to our crisis shelter with 300 of our homeless kids and an incredible group of CEOs and business leaders will sleep in cardboard boxes outside our crisis shelter.”
“These are leaders who have selflessly decided they want to walk in our kids’ shoes, and experience, if only for one night, some of what our kids go through,” said Ryan. “We will sleep out to show our support and to raise awareness that thousands of young people are struggling to survive every night on our streets.”
The vigil will also feature homeless youth from Covenant House, who will share stories of their journey through homelessness to independence. Following the Vigil, Covenant House will host the CEO Solidarity Sleepout on the concrete near the shelter at 460 West 41st St. with high-ranking executives hoping to improve this corner of the world, including Philip Andryc of Berens Capital Management; Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees; Bill Donahoe of Allegiance Retail Services/Foodtown; Gary Dubois of Crum & Forster/Seneca; Dave Eklund of Aeolus Reinsurance; Tom Glocer of Thomson Reuters; Jeff Kaplan of Deerfield Management; Geraldine Laybourne, co-founder of the Oxygen Network and chairman of Alloy Entertainment; Julio Alfonso Portalatin of Chartis Growth Economies; George P. Reeth of Companion Property and Casualty; Adam Silver of the NBA; and Strauss Zelnick of Zelnick Media.
Associated Press photo
Alex Rodriguez used two terms yesterday to describe the status of his sprained thumb. He said he thought it was a “one-day injury” and a “day-to-day” one.
At the time I considered them the same thing. How wrong I was. A-Rod is out of the lineup again today, making the thumb at least a two-day injury.
“Give him today and we’ll see how it is tomorrow,” Joe Girardi said.
He felt well enough to field ground balls and do team toss. That means he’ll at least have a glove on, which he said is the most painful part. Girardi said there was a chance, though it sounded slim, that if he feels so pain-free during those drills that he begs back into the lineup, he’d get the green light. But with the manager tending toward caution I think it’s unlikely.
Rodriguez was seen with a giant wrap on his left hand yesterday in the dugout, but Girardi said that looked scarier than it was.
“That’s Geno,” Girardi said of trainer Gene Monahan. “These are old-school medicines that Geno puts on people.”
Rodriguez suffered the injury backhanding a ball on Sunday.
• Brian Cashman said the current roster is likely going to be the one you see down the stretch and in the playoffs. He doesn’t see the club making any deals.
“I’m going to continue to scan everything, but no, I’m not optimistic that we’re going to do anything,” he said. “I think this is most likely what we’ve got.”
• Trevor Cahill, tonight’s Oakland starting pitcher, has not been bad this season. His 4.17 ERA is just a bit above average. But the Yankees have absolutely destroyed him. He’s 0-2 with a 14.54 ERA in two starts against them this year, and 0-4 with a 13.50 in four career starts.
“This is a young man that has good stuff but we seem to be able to make him work,” Girardi said. “We got some fortunate hits off him last time. We got some walks that hurt him.”
• Today is Brett Gardner’s 28th birthday. I asked him if he ever feels like he’s getting old or worries what age will eventually do to his legs, which are essentially his livelihood.
“Some days you feel young and some days you feel old,” he said. “Sometimes you get tired but for the most part, knock on wood, this season I’ve been healthy and I’ve felt really really good. Age is just a number.”
He leads the team with 36 stolen bases. He is the first Yankee since Alfonso Soriano in 2001-03 to steal 30 bags in consecutive seasons.