• Hello Newman!

    Posted by on March 3rd, 2011 · Comments (10)

    John Sickels talks to Mark Newman. Good stuff. Here’s a snip -

    SICKELS: Most experts see the Yankees farm system as above-average right now, not as robust as Kansas City or Tampa Bay, but in good shape with talent on the way up. You have a lot of strength in pitching and at least a couple of impact bats. What do you see as the strengths of the system. And what are your weaknesses, areas you want to improve?

    NEWMAN: Our strength is clearly in upper-level pitching. We have several high-ceiling arms who will be at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this year and will be in the majors within a year or two. We have pitchers who can be high-end rotation members, it is our obvious strength. Our second strength is behind the plate. We like the catching, we have depth there as well as high-ceiling options, great depth at a premium position. I also like our group of center fielders. Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Melky Mesa all have the tools to play center and we think they all have a good chance to hit. Angelo Gums may end up there too. So, I would say pitching, catching, and center field are our strengths.

    SICKELS: What about your weaknesses?

    NEWMAN: Corner players with power. We have (Brandon) Laird who is a solid prospect, but we are thin for corner bats otherwise in the system. We always try to take the best players available in the draft and on the international market, and doing that can result in positional imbalance. We’re aware of it, but we would rather get as many high-end athletes as we can and worry about the rest of it later. In a perfect world you get both, of course, high-end guys who fill up the slots you need to fill.

    “High-ceiling arms” translates to “Haven’t established that they can pitch at the higher levels yet” to me. But, that’s the way I roll…

    Comments on Hello Newman!

    1. March 3rd, 2011 | 11:42 am

      Some time between 7:30 am today and 11:30 am, the site got funky. Sorry about that. I disabled the mobile version plugin and it was fine after that. Probably need to update that one.

    2. MJ Recanati
      March 3rd, 2011 | 11:51 am

      My only criticism of the interview is why Sickels didn’t mix in a tough question in there along with his softballs. I’d want Newman (or Oppenheimer or Cashman) to be asked point blank, “Why didn’t the Yankees draft Nick Castellanos?”

      If the team is concerned about a lack of impact corner bats, there was no better corner bat last year than Castellanos.

    3. Scout
      March 3rd, 2011 | 1:49 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      If the team is concerned about a lack of impact corner bats, there was no better corner bat last year than Castellanos

      Yes, that was my argument at the time. I thought it made no sense then, and reading now that Newman recognizes the weakness makes the decision more puzzling

    4. #15
      March 3rd, 2011 | 3:27 pm

      A little to much “half empty” thinking on this.

      No minor league org is perfect with studs all around and more at every spot on the back of the train. I’d rather be strong up the middle (where we are arguably several decent prospects deep) than loaded with corner guys. Contracts being what they are at 1st and 3rd base on the Yanks, what we are really talking about are corner outfielders. Ours are pretty good, and others are always available. I just wish the current set of pitchers & catchers was one year further along. If that were the case, I think we’d actually be sitting pretty good right now. It might have spared us the mental damage caused by having to see Buffet Colon stuff himself into a Yankee uniform. Shudder.

    5. MJ Recanati
      March 3rd, 2011 | 4:54 pm

      @ #15:
      A team can’t approach the draft based on what it already has at the major league level. A team’s goal, as Newman said, is to draft the best available talent.

      Just because the Yankees have Teixeira and Rodriguez at the corners now doesn’t mean the team should’ve passed up on an impact bat like Nick Castellanos in last year’s draft.

      Drafting on logic such as that would lead teams to draft for need instead of talent which is the fastest way to screw up a draft.

      A sub-plot of this conversation is the Yankees’ unwillingness to offer arbitration to their own free agents. While I agree in some cases it’s not prudent to risk overpaying a player (Bobby Abreu, for example), I do think that the Yankees’ intransigence on this point is costing them opportunities to accumulate a few extra draft picks. For instance, had they offered Johnny Damon arbitration — where he likely would’ve declined because he believed he’d get a multi-year contract elsewhere — the Yankees could’ve drafted Culver AND Castellanos last year.

    6. Scout
      March 3rd, 2011 | 5:15 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      For instance, had they offered Johnny Damon arbitration — where he likely would’ve declined because he believed he’d get a multi-year contract elsewhere — the Yankees could’ve drafted Culver AND Castellanos last year

      My day just got even worse….

    7. #15
      March 3rd, 2011 | 10:37 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:

      I think you missed my point.
      The column read…

      SICKELS: What about your weaknesses?

      NEWMAN: Corner players with power.

      My comment was aimed at the concept that given the players and contracts of our 1st and 3rd basemen, the fact that we don’t have minor league depth at those spots isn’t too troubling. So, the corner guys he was talking about are the corner outfielders. And those types can be had in the trade and free agent markets.

    8. MJ Recanati
      March 4th, 2011 | 7:47 am

      #15 wrote:

      My comment was aimed at the concept that given the players and contracts of our 1st and 3rd basemen, the fact that we don’t have minor league depth at those spots isn’t too troubling

      I guess I’m still missing your point because, again, the fact that the Yankees have A-Rod and Teixeira at the MLB corners doesn’t mean that the Yankees shouldn’t be targeting corner infielders in the draft.

      Keep in mind that by drafting the best available talent — Nick Castellanos, for example — you not only develop a candidate to replace Rodriguez at 3B in a few years, you also add a valuable player to the farm system that can be used to acquire other players. Even if Cito Culver (or corner outfielders) fill greater needs for the organization, you shouldn’t be drafting anything but the best available players, especially in the first few rounds where the majority of the known talent resides.

      The 25-man MLB roster and the Rule IV draft really should have nothing to do with one another.

    9. MJ Recanati
      March 4th, 2011 | 7:48 am

      @ Scout:
      Sorry Scout! :-(

      PS – Can we chat via email for a moment? I want to pick your brain about something.

    10. Raf
      March 4th, 2011 | 8:43 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      The 25-man MLB roster and the Rule IV draft really should have nothing to do with one another.

      Exactly.

      Besides, Rodriguez and Teix may be there now, but a lot can happen in a couple of years.

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