• Bye-Bye Ectomorphic-Balboni

    Posted by on June 20th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    So, Josh Phelps is gone and Andy Phillips is back.

    And, it’s big news in Yankeeland – if you do a google search of blogs or look at the e-mails that I’m getting from Yankees fans.

    I don’t get it.

    Both Phelps and Phillips are “Four-A” hitters. Give them a mistake fastball, and they can crush it. But, against major league pitchers, they’re over-matched. As hitters, compared against each other, they’re six of one and a half-dozen of the other.

    Now, in the field, Phillips is good leather at first and he can play second or third in a pinch too. Phelps was a stiff at first. But, Phelps could serve as the third catcher – - which comes in handy when your second catcher hits like Wil Nieves.

    I guess having another back-up in the infield that won’t kill you with the glove is more important than a decent third catcher, to the Yankees, right now.

    But, in terms of this roster move being big news, well, again, I just don’t get it.

    Comments on Bye-Bye Ectomorphic-Balboni

    1. Mike Z
      June 20th, 2007 | 9:12 am

      Maybe its a sign that something’s in the works for a new backup catcher?

    2. Raf
      June 20th, 2007 | 9:31 am

      Maybe its a sign that something’s in the works for a new backup catcher?
      ============
      I would hope so. No matter how well Nieves works with pitchers, he’s near an automatic out. Yanks can’t afford that at this time, especially with the pitcher in the lineup.

      As for Phelps catching, I think it has been a while since he last caught a game. If that is the case, I suspect there’s a reason for that

      Phillips is a bit more versatile that Phelps, which has been noted. What I don’t understand is why the Yanks are carrying both Basak & Cairo

    3. dereksTeam
      June 20th, 2007 | 9:37 am

      OK. Reasons why we love Andy:

      1. In his first major league AB in 2004, Andy hit a home run over the Green Monster in Fenway Park. He is one of four players to homer in his first AB as a Yankee, joining Marcus Thames, Bubba Crosby, and Todd Zeile. AND He became the 21st player in Major League history to hit a home run on the first pitch of his Major League career.

      2. With Giambi’s bad knees, and his sub-par defense in the field, he became the primary DH IN 2006. Phillips took over at first base and played well. This proved Torre correct when he said all Phillips needed was more at bats. He led the team with a .333 AVG in June but cooled off immensely in July, where he batted .165. His poor play triggered Cashman to go out and trade for Craig Wilson. Thereafter he really never played full time again. His time had passed.

      Some might say the wife with cancer, the mother with car accident are pretty good excuses for a business that doesn’t take excuses.

      Throughout all of that Andy has pretty much played his heart out. Pun and more intended.

      3. which brings me to a favorite post of a few days back:

      “People fail to realize that Cano’s start is almost indenetical to last year, more strike out but better ISOD (amazingly) and ISOP so far. and with some of the Yankee fans, it seems unless you throw a complete no brainer HOFer in there face they still might not recongnize. and with their patience, no wonder the team hasn’t had good youngsters for awhile . would these fans endure two+ years of a overmatched young lefty in the bullpen called Johan Santana? or a teenager getting pounded in the majors call Jeremy Bonderman? nope. it seems that it might actually do the Yankees a favor in the long term to just lose a season and dump all these bandwagon fans who don’t apprieciate the game.

      If Cano’s overall skill is anything close to last year, he’s a hall of famer. it’s that simple. so you give up on a potential hall of famer over 2 bad month and chasing some bad pitches? good for you. you deserve to watch the Pirates, not the Yankees.”

      From a Mr. Yu Hsing Chen.

      Ouch, you say. Well I think what he says is true.

      Look at Melky. Do you think he would have lasted that long last year with a couple of months of sub .250 hitting? In June he’s 18 for 60, FINALLY. One of the reasons I no longer check in at Bronx Banter was the unrelenting anti Melky rants.

      Does everyone have to be a fucking all-star? Whatever happened to future all-stars?

      Not everyone is as quick with the hook as you are, Steve.

    4. Garcia
      June 20th, 2007 | 10:10 am

      ~~~Does everyone have to be a fucking all-star? Whatever happened to future all-stars?~~~

      Some people just don’t get that concept. I hate the way people rip some of these guys for no reason whatsoever. I’m with you, Derek…..believe me.

    5. Raf
      June 20th, 2007 | 10:37 am

      Does everyone have to be a fucking all-star? Whatever happened to future all-stars?
      ===============
      You don’t have to be a “fucking all-star,” which doesn’t mean as much as you think it does (Tony Womack was an all-star, for instance). I’m willing to take league average.

      Who cares what the fans think? It’s the organization’s call on player acquistion and development, not the fans.

    6. June 20th, 2007 | 10:55 am

      ~~~Maybe its a sign that something’s in the works for a new backup catcher?~~~

      And, what, take away Mussina’s personal catcher? Cashman/Torre would never do that.

    7. June 20th, 2007 | 10:59 am

      ~~~Not everyone is as quick with the hook as you are, Steve.~~~

      Hey, I love the Andy Phillips story:

      http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2007/03/time_to_celebra.html

      And, I’ve liked the guy for a long time, and have rooted for him:

      http://www.waswatching.com/archives/2005/04/april_24th_vs_t.html

      But, the fact of the matter is that he cannot hit major league pitching – he’s proven that. So, it’s time to look at options outside of him, IMHO.

    8. snowball003
      June 20th, 2007 | 11:14 am

      Phelps hadn’t caught a full game in a while, but my seats at the Stadium are right by the bullpen, and on games where he wasn’t in the line up, which is almost every day, I saw him out in the bullpen catching the pitchers warming up. I realize this isn’t the same as catching a game, but I kind of thought they were letting the pitchers get used to him.

      Oh well. No more back-up back-up catcher.

    9. June 20th, 2007 | 11:45 am

      FWIW, Phelps was OK behind the plate this season in the one game where I saw him pressed into duty. It’s not like he looked like Varitek trying to catch Wakefield. He caught the pitches that were thrown. What more do you want from an emergency catcher?

    10. Raf
      June 20th, 2007 | 12:36 pm

      And, what, take away Mussina’s personal catcher? Cashman/Torre would never do that.
      ===========
      Why not? Posada has caught an overwhelming majority of his games as a Yankee.

    11. baileywalk
      June 20th, 2007 | 12:59 pm

      Phelps isn’t a GOOD hitter, but he’s better than Andy Phillips is. Phillips can mash AAA pitching, but he is most certainly overmatched (and waaaaay too eager) in the bigs. Phelps was actually doing well against lefties. I don’t think there’s any doubt that if you gave Phillips and Phelps the same amount of at-bats in the majors, Phelps would be the one who put up better numbers (he’s not just a “mistake fastball hitter,” which is exactly what Phillips is).

      But Phillips is definitely the better first baseman and fielder, and we all know the oodles and oodles of love his teammates have for him, so I guess the move makes sense from that point of view. I still think that if your options at first are Phillips and Cairo, you need to make a trade.

      The idea that “every player doesn’t have to be an All Star” only works if the non-All Star can help the team.


      Why not? Posada has caught an overwhelming majority of his games as a Yankee.

      I’m glad you bring that up, Raf. People act as if Posada DIDN’T catch Mussina for SIX YEARS. They have an established relationship. The idea that Posada can’t catch Mussina is ridiculous. Posada was behind the plate for his near-perfect game.

    12. June 20th, 2007 | 1:00 pm

      Then why is Nieves catching all of Moose’s starts now?

    13. Lee Sinins
      June 20th, 2007 | 1:07 pm

      There is just 1 thing worse than a hitter as bad as Andy Phillips–one who is as bad as Phillips, but the manager likes to put into the lineup. And the latter is what we’ve got here.

    14. rbj
      June 20th, 2007 | 1:10 pm

      ~Then why is Nieves catching all of Moose’s starts now?~

      To ensure that Jorge gets regular rest from catching? He is 35, and the Yanks will need for him to be rested for the post-season. I dunno, maybe it’s easier for a pitcher to develop a rapport & be on the same page when he deals with only one catcher for that season. And we all know just how much a creature of habit Moose is.

    15. Raf
      June 20th, 2007 | 1:59 pm

      I dunno, maybe it’s easier for a pitcher to develop a rapport & be on the same page when he deals with only one catcher for that season.
      =================
      In that context, having Nieves as Mussina’s personal catcher makes even less sense.

    16. baileywalk
      June 20th, 2007 | 2:08 pm

      Then why is Nieves catching all of Moose’s starts now?

    17. June 20th, 2007 | 3:02 pm

      Sure, Mussina always does well when you change his routine.

    18. baileywalk
      June 20th, 2007 | 3:52 pm

      Steve, clear away the Mussina hate-mist for one second and think about it: working with Nieves was breaking the routine. A routine of six years. Nieves is the new guy; Posada has been here for a decade.

      Do you really think Cashman would keep Nieves over a potentially better option because of Mussina? And do you really think Mussina would object?

    19. Raf
      June 20th, 2007 | 4:10 pm

      Working with Nieves was breaking the routine. A routine of six years. Nieves is the new guy; Posada has been here for a decade.
      ================
      2001: Posada (30), Joe Oliver (3), Todd Greene (2)
      2002: Posada (30), Chris Widger (3)
      2003: Posada (27), Flash (5)
      2004: Posada (24), Flash (3)
      2005: Posada (27), Flash (3)
      2006: Posada (30), Stinnett (2)
      2007: Posada (4), Nieves (7)

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