The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


Pregame notes: Yankees expect Teixiera decision tomorrow07.24.14

Mark Teixeira

Joe Girardi said the Yankees will to make a decision tomorrow regarding Mark Teixiera. He’s either healthy enough to rejoin the lineup in a few days, or he’s hurt enough to go on the disabled list.

“It’s just seeing how he feels after three or four days (of rest),” Girardi said. “And then we’ll decide if we think it’s going to be in the near future that he would play, or if we’re going to need the 15 days. If it’s going to be 12, 13, 14 days, it probably make sense to get a player.”

This is Teixeira’s fourth day off after getting that injection for his strained lat. Without him, the Yankees really don’t have a first baseman. Kelly Johnson was the backup, but now he’s on the disabled list, and Brian McCann has become the first base regular, but at some point Francisco Cervelli’s going to need a day off behind the plate.

“I’ve got like 11 other guys I can run out there,” Girardi said, either joking or making a fair statement about the fact one inexperienced guy is just as good as another. “I talked to Chase (Headley) about it. Chase said he would feel comfortable going over there. I would not be afraid to put Brendan Ryan there. I would not be afraid to put (Zelous) Wheeler there.”

But if Teixeira is going to be out much longer, the Yankees might as well add someone who gives more flexibility at first base. That could be bringing up a first baseman — I assume either Kyle Roller or Jose Pirela — or bringing up a catcher so that McCann can play first base full time for the time being.

“We’ll get through today,” Girardi said. “And we’ll probably have something tomorrow and we’ll make a decision.”

Derek Jeter• Michael Pineda’s scheduled simulated game was rained out, so he pitched inside and threw the equivalent of two innings. Not ideal, but the Yankees will move forward with his rehab schedule. In five days he’ll go three innings or 45-50 pitches. Girardi said he wasn’t sure whether that would be a sim game or an actual rehab assignment.

• Regular day off for Derek Jeter, and Girardi said it has nothing to do with ground ball pitcher Brandon McCarthy being on the mound. “It’s just kind of the way it goes,” Girardi said. “Day game (after a night game). If it was a night game, he probably would’ve played.”

• Would Girardi consider swapping roles by putting Cervelli at first base and using McCann behind the plate? “I could do that, (but) I’m not sure I would,” Girardi said. “Cervy’s next thing might be a day off. But right now he’s extremely energetic still and he has that in him.”

• Girardi wouldn’t go into detail about why he preferred Jacoby Ellsbury leading off and Brett Gardner batting second today, but he was also asked if he’s ever considered — given Ellsbury’s steals and Gardner’s surprising power — batting Ellsbury leadoff and Gardner third when the Yankees have a full lineup. “That I wouldn’t do,” Girardi said. “It’s just that Gardy’s really never hit in that spot. Jake is a guy that I feel I can move around because he has moved around, in a sense. I’ve toyed with different ideas. I won’t say the other day that I didn’t think about hitting Gardy (third). I thought that Jake might not be available to me that one day, maybe I do hit Gardy third, but I probably wouldn’t do it. But I said probably.”

• Just to be clear, the Yankees don’t expect Teixeira to play tomorrow, only that they’ll have a better idea about his health tomorrow. “I don’t think tomorrow’s the day,” Girardi said. “But obviously you want to feel that there’s progress and that he feels better and that he can start doing some stuff. We felt that we’d give him three days not doing much with treatment and we’d see where we’re at.”

• The Yankees are keeping their extra pitcher for today. Could lose a pitcher tomorrow to add a position player. Likely want to know what’s going on with Teixeira before making that decision.

• McCarthy has pitched well since coming to the Yankees, and he’s given some credit to the fact the Yankees are having him throw his cutter again. “I think guys want to feel like they have all their weapons,” Girardi said. “That was a big pitch for him. I know that when we faced him that was a huge pitch for him, and for him to get that back and feel comfortable with it would be really important.”

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees pregame: Haven’t we seen this before?07.20.14

Carlos BeltranJoe Girardi is going with the same lineup for the third straight day out of the break.

“This next week I’ll get some of the other guys into games here to keep everyone going,” Girardi said. “But you like to try to run the same lineup out there as much as you can.”

Will there come a day when Carlos Beltran will be in the lineup as the right fielder again instead of as the DH? He would need to start throwing again first.

“We’ve talked about that,” Girardi said. “That could probably start happening pretty soon here.”

With Beltran’s bone spur in the right elbow and the struggles and departure of Alfonso Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki has taken on a larger role in right. This will be the 40-year-old’s 49th start out there. Ichiro is batting. 286 with no homers and 11 RBI in 83 games. He’s 0 for his last 16.

“He’s had a pretty decent year for us,” Girardi said. “He’s played a lot as of late. I know that I have to give him a day off every once in a while to keep him fresh. Even though he won’t say that, I think it’s important that that happens. But he’s been an everyday player for us.”

Michael Pineda has thrown one live batting practice session and Girardi thinks he will do that again.

“And then you might start seeing him, in a sense, throw a couple of innings, three innings, that sort of thing, depending on how that goes,” Girardi said.

“Sometimes we like to do sim games because it’s easier to build them up. It’s more controlled.”

This has been substandard home team this year. After beating the Reds in the first two games of this series, the Yankees are still only 20-23 at home.

“It’s going to take everyone in that clubhouse for us to play better at home,” Girardi said.

Photo by The Associated Press

 

 

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith Comments Off

Yankees pregame: Cervelli back, Murphy down06.17.14

John Ryan MurphyJohn Ryan Murphy has been sent down to Triple-A and Francisco Cervelli has been activated from the DL, not just to be the backup catcher, but again to possibly be one of the backups for Mark Teixeira. When Cervelli hurt his hamstring back in mid-April, it was a game in which he started at first base. Two of his five starts in April were at first.

Joe Girardi said a choice between Kelly Johnson and Cervelli would come down to matchups.

“I think I’m comfortable there,” Cervelli said. “But I don’t want to forget about catching. That’s what I like, but I want to help any way I can.”

This has been the second straight season Cervelli has missed a huge chunk of time. He said he stayed positive these last two months.

“It’s frustrating,” Cervelli said. “But this time I took it differently. … I spent time with my dad. I recovered so fast before the 60 days.”

John Ryan Murphy got sent down to Triple-A to make room. He hit .286 with one homer and eight RBI in 24 games.

“He played extremely well,” Girardi said. “Obviously we were pleased with what he did. … We think it’s important for him to go play every day.”

CC Sabathia threw a 25-pitch bullpen yesterday and will have another session out there tomorrow. Joe Girardi compared this to the beginning of spring training for him.

Michael Pineda, who was shut down after his setback, is scheduled to play catch Saturday.

Rotation fill-in Vidal Nuno is 1-3 with a 5.90 ERA. Adam Warren has been mentioned as a possible replacement. But the reliever would have to be stretched out. Girardi said Warren could probably only go up to about 50 pitches now.

“We’ll continue to evaluate our staff and decide what we’re going to do,” Girardi said.

Tonight it appears the ball is in good hands. It’s Masahiro Tanaka time.

“Obviously Tanaka is the best pitcher on the planet,” Sabathia said.

Photo by The Associated Press

 

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 52 Comments →

Yankees pregame: “He’s down. He’s frustrated.”05.01.14

Derek Jeter, Michael PinedaFirst the suspension, now the injury.

Michael Pineda strained that upper back muscle — it looked like it was near the right shoulder from where he was pointing this afternoon — and he did it throwing a pitch in a simulated game Tuesday.

“When I threw it … it was tight,” Pineda said in his first comments since the injury. “I threw two more pitches. I felt a little tight.”

He also said: “I’m coming back soon.”

But he has been shut down for 10 days. Joe Girardi said three or four weeks was a fair estimate of when he should be back pitching for the Yankees. The manager has spoken to Pineda.

“He’s down,” Girardi said. “He’s frustrated. But the good part of it is, if you’re going to have an injury as a pitcher, a lot of times it’s your elbow or your shoulder. It’s really neither. This will heal and he’ll get back out there.”

But between the 10-game suspension for pine tar use and the injury, it lessens concern over Pineda’s innings limit for the season.

“It’s not the way we wanted to do it, but it’s another way you can look at it,” Girardi said.

David Phelps will take Pineda’s place in the rotation. Phelps said he was frustrated that last night’s rainout KO’d his scheduled start and caused him to get skipped. He likes being a starter. The Yankees tried to stretch him out Wednesday, having him throw a simulated game inside of about 80 pitches.

“I think he did a pretty good job as a starter when he’s filled in,” Girardi said. “That’s what I expect him to do, do a good job.”

Two-fifths of the rotation is injured, with Pineda and Ivan Nova, who made an appearance in the clubhouse before the game in the wake of Tuesday’s Tommy John surgery.

In light of those injuries, Girardi said about the starters: “We need everyone to carry their own weight. That’s the big thing.”

Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Tuesday night’s series opener with a sore left hand, then got a day off thanks to the rain. Now he’s back in the lineup for this series finale against the Mariners.

“It was a little swollen,” Ellsbury said. “I iced it up. I was ready to go the day before. … I’m not really concerned about it.”

Robinson Cano is batting .387 in his current eight-game hitting streak. He went 1 for 5 with an RBI in Tuesday night’s boo-fest.

“It’s kind of strange to see him come up in a different uniform,” Girardi said. “It’s probably going to be that way for a little bit of time. Usually the only time I would see him coming toward me is when he was scoring a run, coming around third base. But to see him walk from the on-deck circle on the other side was really strange.

“I have a lot of respect for what Robbie’s done in this game. We know he’s a very dangerous hitter. So we need to make our pitches on him or he’s going to hurt us.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 34 Comments →

Yankees pregame: Pineda not getting suspended (Updated)04.11.14

Michael PinedaMichael Pineda is still sticking to his dirt story to explain that shiny spot on the palm of his hand during Thursday night’s brilliant start against the Red Sox. The picture above is from the first inning. Joe Torre plans on speaking to the Yankees about it, though, since the speculation was that it was pine tar to improve his grip on the ball, a foreign substance that’s supposed to be a no-no.

Pineda said he put dirt on his hand because it was sweaty. But even if it were pine tar, Pineda doesn’t have to worry about some sort of suspension coming down.

Here’s MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre’s statement to the AP:

“The umpires did not observe an application of a foreign substance during the game and the issue was not raised by the Red Sox.  Given those circumstances, there are no plans to issue a suspension, but we intend to talk to the Yankees regarding what occurred.”

(Torre did talk to Brian Cashman and Cashman said it’s now “a resolved issue.”)

Joe Girardi said he’s focusing on managing tonight’s game. “As far as the other thing, I have not heard from Joe Torre, and I’m not worried about it,” he said.

Girardi said he did speak to Pineda, but not about this situation.

“I don’t talk to pitchers about that, like, ‘Do you use or don’t you use?’ ” Girardi said. “I mean, this is not a recreational drug. So I don’t talk to people about that.

“I’m aware. I’ve been on teams where I’ve seen it. I’m 99 percent sure that I know of guys on other teams that use it, and I just haven’t said anything. So will we talk to Michael? If we did, I wouldn’t tell you anyway.”

But if using pine tar just helps the grip but doesn’t have an impact on pitch movement, and some believe it doesn’t, should the rule be changed?

“The way we’re addressing rules now, I think we could address that and get some clarity on it,” Girardi said. “It would probably be helpful.”

Red Sox manager John Farrell said the substance was gone from Pineda’s hand for the fifth inning.

“I’m sure every pitcher does it for purposes of getting a better grip or whatever, but last night was flat-out blatant,” Shane Victorino said.

On another topic, Girardi said he expects Mark Teixeira back by May 1, but Cashman wouldn’t commit to that timetable. Cashman said Brendan Ryan wouldn’t be back this month. Ryan has been doing some light baseball activities on the way back from his back problem.

“It’s improving,” Girardi said, “but he’s still a ways away from games.”

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 64 Comments →

Yankees postgame: Nova deserves old job back07.05.13

Ivan NovaThere’s no room at the moment for Ivan Nova, and yet doesn’t it seem like it’s time to make room again in the rotation? He has been excellent since he has been back from the minors, especially in this 3-2 win over the Orioles, his first career complete game. And it came with just three hits and one walk allowed, plus 11 strikeouts.

Nova would seem to have more of an upside than David Phelps, especially if the 26-year-old righty has indeed found his old consistency that abandoned him a year ago.

The Yankees could give him a start again with just nine games to go until the All-Star break. Eventually, though, they may have to make a decision. Plus, they have such a short bench with 13 pitchers here.

Joe Girardi said: “I’m not sure exactly how we’ll do it, but he’ll probably start again.”

Nova said he had everything working, including that mid-90s fastball, some changeups and again that great curveball.

“His curveball was about as good as I’ve seen a curveball from anyone,” Vernon Wells said.

Nova was told along the way by a couple of teammates that the Yankees were going to win this game, and he believed it, too.

“I never thought we were going to lose,” Nova said. “I was positive the whole night.”

It took Baltimore’s shaky closer to help shake out a couple of runs in the ninth. Jim Johnson blew his sixth save in 35 chances and dropped to 2-7. His ERA rose to 4.02. One of the two runs in the ninth was unearned thanks to Johnson’s error on Brett Gardner’s bunt. But David Adams helped as well, opening the ninth with a single. And Wells helped with his ground single to left to touch off the celebration.

The Yankees not only won their season-high-tying fifth straight despite struggling offensively again, but they snapped their five-game losing streak against the Orioles, improving to 4-6 against them.

“That team over there has had our number,” Wells said. “They’ve played well against us even in the games that we’ve won. … We were just able to come through late (tonight). But we need to win games like that. We haven’t done it enough. We were doing it early in the season. Hopefully we can get back to doing that.”

Hiroki Kuroda felt good after his bullpen session and will be slotted back into the rotation if his hip flexor feels the same Saturday.

Eduardo Nunez went 3 for 3 with a walk and an RBI in his rehab game with Trenton against Reading. Besides Derek Jeter and Michael Pineda being scheduled for rehab work Saturday night with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against visiting Lehigh Valley, Alex Rodriguez is scheduled for a rehab game Saturday night with Single-A Tampa against the Brevard County Manatees at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla.

Photo by The Associated Press.

Posted by: Brian Heyman - Posted in Miscwith 136 Comments →

Tuesday notes: Another opportunity for Nunez02.19.13

It’s going to be a while before Derek Jeter is ready to play in games, and that means playing time for someone else. Most notably, it means playing time for Eduardo Nunez.

“I can’t kill him,” Joe Girardi said. “I can’t play him nine innings every day, but he’s going to play a substantial amount.”

Nunez and Jeter went through shortstop drills together again today, and the Yankees plan to keep Nunez at short this spring, and there’s little doubt that the Yankees idea of letting Jeter DH against lefties in the regular season leaves a legitimate opportunity for Nunez to get big league playing time again.

“I want Jeter to be healthy again and play how he plays,” Nunez said. “But for now, it’s my opportunity to show I can play every day and show I can play defense. I can do different things than people think I can do. … I feel great right now. My confidence is (high). I know what I can do. I know what kind of player I can be, and that I can be right now.”

Girardi said the Yankees will look for consistency out of Nunez, and that should come as little surprise. Nunez has shown flashes of being a valuable big leaguer — most recently, he played well during his short time playing in Jeter’s place during the ALCS — but his defensive lapses are well documented.

“He has to earn it,” Girardi said. “We’ve got to toy with some different options, but we liked what he did at the end of last year. We know he provides a lot of excitement. Our plans are probably to keep him at short for the most part — we did talk about that — but he does have to earn it.”

Girardi said there’s a chance the Yankees could carry both Nunez and Jayson Nix, but it would leave the Yankees without a left-handed pinch hitter, which they’d like to have. Ultimately, Girardi repeated his familiar promise to carry the best players to make up the best team. Nunez will have a chance to put himself in that group.

“Jeter’s a Gold Glove,” Nunez said. “Cano’s a Gold Glove. (So are) Teixeira and A-Rod. You don’t see too many errors from these guys. When they come to me, I make an error, it’s a big thing. … It was a little bit in my mind, frustration for that, but I thank Jeter, thank A-Rod (and) thank Cano. They talked to me a lot and teach me how to fix that.”

• Here’s Girardi explaining the Phil Hughes injury: “It’s upper back, up here by his shoulder blades, so we’ll see how he is in a couple of days. The good thing is he was ahead of where he probably would normally be at this time, which helps. … You’re usually more concerned about the lower lingering. But until it’s gone, it’s going to linger. That’s like a Yogi-ism.”

• Despite being ahead of most of the other big league pitchers, Hughes was not in consideration to start Saturday’s spring opener even before the injury.

• Austin Romine said he’s more or less stopped thinking about his back. He doesn’t really notice it any more. Bascially a week into spring training and Romine’s had no problems so far. He’s very optimistic that he’s gotten past the problem.

• Haven’t heard much about Michael Pineda lately. He said today that his shoulder still feels good, but he’s not scheduled for another bullpen until Friday.

• David Phelps gets the opening start on Saturday, and although Girardi didn’t talk about it today, he’s always made it clear in the past that early spring outings don’t carry a lot of weight. I can’t imagine Phelps is going to feel that way. This is what he said earlier in camp: “I pushed myself a little more in the offseason so my arm is ready a little quicker during spring training because I’m trying to make an impression.”

• Speaking of making an impression, I didn’t see it, but there was some buzz today about Ichiro Suzuki’s behind-the-back catch during outfield drills. I asked Brett Gardner to describe it and Gardner started laughing. “That’s my fault,” he said. “I told him to do it.” Gardner said that Ichiro has a variety of behind-the-back catches that he’ll do every once in while when the team is shagging fly balls. Gardner wanted to see a few today, and Ichiro was up to the task. Girardi said he didn’t see Ichiro do it today, but “I’ve seen him do it before,” Girardi said.

• Mark Teixeira’s last day in Yankees camp is March 2. Robinson Cano’s last day is March 3. After that, those two will join their World Baseball Classic teams to prepare for the tournament.

• Random conversation of the day was with new outfielder Thomas Neal. If a handshake is any indication of a man’s strength, Neal just might be a 40-homer guy. I’m not sure how he uses a cell phone without crushing it. Seriously, Neal said he got some interest from the Yankees pretty soon after being designated for assignment, but he took some time making his decision on where to sign. He decided the Yankees were the best fit, with the potential for a real opportunity.

• Matt Diaz tried to convince me to write a story about his son’s tee-ball team. Seriously. He thinks that group has a real shot this year.

Associated Press photos

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 8 Comments →

Pineda: “My mechanics and my motion, everything is the same”02.14.13

Michael Pineda believes that eventually he will be everything he was supposed to be 12 months ago. He believes the fastball velocity will come back, the slider will be sharp, and he’ll be back in the big leagues to finally help the Yankees.

“One hundred percent,” Pineda said. “I saw the video when I threw my bullpen, and my mechanics and my motion, everything is the same.”

Still working his way back from last year’s shoulder surgery, Pineda has thrown one bullpen off a full mound. He said his throwing program has him scheduled to face hitters at some point in March. He could be throwing changeups off the mound as early as next week.

“He looks good,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s unfortunate – and it’s not his fault – that he’s not further along so we can see him pitch in (spring training) games. He’s right where he’s supposed to be. He’s throwing off a mound. We’re happy about that. I think he looks good. It’s a long haul when you go through what he went through.”

Pineda said he talked to another pitcher — a low-level guys in the Mariners organization — who went through the same injury and same surgery.

“He said he come back stronger and the same pitcher,” Pineda said. “The only thing you need is work hard every day and focus on the things you have. That’s what I’m doing. Be in perfect shape and you’ll be great. I’m working all year here in Tampa, and I’ll be ready for this year.”

Pineda looks thinner than he did last spring. He said he reported to camp at 260 pounds, a full 20 pounds lighter than last spring. He said he recognizes now that he wasn’t in adequate shape last spring. Girardi said he doesn’t believe the weight caused the injury, but he takes Pineda’s improved conditioning as a good sign of his dedication to the rehab process.

“The strength is coming,” Girardi said. “He’s thrown off a full mound, I believe, one time. It’s too early (to know exactly how strong the shoulder will be), and you don’t want to put (expectations) like we want to see more. It’s a slow progression, but it’s a lot further than when we saw him when he left.”

Associated Press photo

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 83 Comments →

The good, the bad and the mixed reviews01.21.13

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

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 103 Comments →

Pinch hitting: Daniel Burch01.21.13

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.

This has been an off season to remember, or forget, depending on how you want to look at it.

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

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 81 Comments →

Sponsored by:
 

Search

    Advertisement

    Follow

    Mobile

    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.

Advertisement

Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581