Bob Klapisch on Robinson Cano:
Without the numbers to back him up, Cano’s cool becomes transparent; his flaws are more obvious today than a year ago. He doesn’t run particularly well. He doesn’t get on base enough. He doesn’t swing at enough strikes.
The Yankees, however, insist they have no problem with Cano’s future or his intensity level. Cashman says: “I know for a fact that kid cares about us winning and losing and the way he’s playing. If anything, he cares too much. He’s trying too hard.”
The numbers seem to bear out that sentiment, as he sees only 3.37 pitches per plate appearance, the fewest among the Yankees. The majority of Cano’s at-bats are over in just one or two pitches. Call it anxiety or pressure — or fear of striking out — but Cano hacks at the first good pitch he sees, a philosophy that runs counter to the Yankees’ system-wide indoctrination.
Why, exactly, does Cano become so anxious? The second baseman shook his head and said: “Because I’m trying to make things happen all at once. I know it’s a bad thing. I know I have to be more patient. I’m trying.”
Jack Curry on Derek Jeter:
“They think they know who is saying this and who is saying that,” Jeter said of the team’s critics. “They think somebody should say this or say that. In reality, people have no idea what’s going on.”
Jeter acknowledged, grudgingly, that there was something going on. There are daily discussions happening on a team that has underachieved, and Jeter initiates many of them. While Jeter, the team’s captain, did not specify whom he had spoken to or what the topics had been, he said that he spoke “to people constantly” to cajole or counsel.
Jeter has never been on a club that has been this dreadful this late in the season. Now in his 12th full season, Jeter has been in the playoffs for 11 consecutive years and has helped the Yankees win four World Series titles. But this is a different team and a different time.
When Jeter was asked if the Yankees’ malaise had caused him to be more vocal than at any time since becoming captain in 2003, he said, “Ah, umm, yeah, probably, I would think.”
Last season, Jeter and Cano became the first middle-infield teammates in modern baseball history to bat .340+ in the same season.
It’s pretty obvious that they both have baseball talent. This season is an interesting study in what happens when pressure and talent meet head-on. Some still do well – like Jeter this year. Others struggle – like Cano this year. Yogi was right – “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.”