• Cashman: Nunez Is “Not A Great Offensive Player”

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (8)

    Via the Post

    Brian Cashman wants Yankees fans to temper their expectations when it comes to Eduardo Nunez.

    The Yankees general manager, speaking on Thursday’s Post-Cast with Mike Vaccaro and Mark Hale, said he believes Nunez projects well at shortstop, but doesn’t think he could be an every day player at third base, left field or center field because of his limitations offensively. Cashman cited Nunez’s .678 minor league on-base plus slugging percentage as an indicator.

    “That’s not a great offensive player,” Cashman said.

    The GM said there are misconceptions that “come and go with our fan base regarding certain players” and he includes the 25-year-old Nunez in that category.

    “There’s a lot of opinions on him and what he could or couldn’t do,” Cashman said. “It’s interesting to me. I’ve had a lot of people say, you’ve gotta get 500 at bats for this guy, find a position for him as if he’s some sort of offensive juggernaut.”

    The Yankees are looking for an every day left fielder short-term with Curtis Granderson out until mid-May with a fractured forearm. Nunez is unlikely to enter that competition, though.

    Cashman says the Yankees “have no problem” grooming him as a potential shortstop of the future after Derek Jeter retires. He’s athletically able to effectively play different positions defensively, the GM said, but would not be enough of a threat offensively to warrant that. Nunez hit .292 with one home run and 11 RBIs in 89 at bats last season.

    “That’s not something that any organization is going to try and make room for in left field or center field or third base,” Cashman said. “That’s something that does not profile.”

    Ah, notice he didn’t say anything about second base…

    David Edward Phelps

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (3)

    I’m calling it now. Phelps will make at least 20 starts for the Yankees in 2013. And, he’ll have at least 10 wins this year. (Maybe as many as 13.)

    Spring Training Stats

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (0)


    The “OppQual” stat is awesome!

    It’s WAR!

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    When is a player who hits .194 with a .277 on-base percentage and three homeruns just as good as a player who 50 homers?

    Read on.

    Oddibe Young Again…

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    And, no, this is not my kid’s team. Just found this randomly today.

    Kicking It

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    This never gets old.


    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Great story.

    Elston Howard would be proud.


    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    J.P. Arencibia spent the offseason learning to catch R.A. Dickey — without a cup.

    Actually, I don’t see the big deal here. Most times, when catchers get their bell rung, it’s on a foul tip. And, even with a knuckleball, the odds of the ball hitting that spot, straight and clean, have to be kind of remote.

    Deep Thoughts

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Bob Klap writes about Ichrio’s power displays in BP and how he could hit homers if he wanted to, etc.

    We used to hear the same thing about Wade Boggs back in the day. And, I imagine that they said the same about Rod Carew before Boggs.

    In any event, on-base percentage is 80% more valuable than slugging percentage. So, they are smart to do what they do…or so I think. What are your thoughts?


    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Never, ever, under any circumstances, do business with this firm. And, if you do, hey, don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

    Josh Pettitte

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    The no-no is cool.

    But, I find it more interesting that father and son attended the same High School. Given Pettitte’s financial profile, he could have sent his kid somewhere else.

    Booty Call Not So Easy

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Via CBS

    The Marlins have the rights to Josh Booty, according to Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.

    Booty is currently in camp with the Diamondbacks, after winning MLB Network’s The Next Knuckler competition. The 37-year-old Booty has the fifth overall pick by the Marlins in the 1994 draft. He came up as an infielder with the team, playing in 13 games over three seasons. Booty left the team in order to pursue a career in football.

    The Marlins released Booty from their retired list, but would still be able to claim him if he performs well, according to Rosenthal. If the Marlins want to claim Booty, they could do so without giving any compensation to the Diamondbacks. The chance of that happening is probably slim, given Booty’s lack of experience as a pitcher.

    Never assume anything when it comes to Loria.

    Martin’s WBC Snub Of Canada Miffs Morneau

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Oh, those crazy Canucks.

    Curtis Granderson Is Not Gritty

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    That’s what the numbers say…

    But, not everyone can be a GGBG.

    Jalapeno Peppers On A Sizzle Platter

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Last night, I met some very old friends for dinner at a pub. At one point, we all started coughing.

    Not just us – it was everyone. It was the people sitting in tables around us. And, it was the entire wait staff.

    It was out of control. No one could stop.

    But, while it was painful, we were all laughing because the whole place was coughing and it was uncontrollable. It was like a scene from a funny movie.

    The source? Turns out that it was jalapeno peppers on a sizzle platter. (I asked and that’s what I was told.)

    Anyone else ever experience something like this?

    Fordham Alum & Yankees Coverage

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (5)

    Ryan Ruocco, Kyle Kesses…

    ..what is it about the Fordham guys that the Yankees love so much? Or, is it Michael Kay opening the doors for them?

    Meet Your New Yankees!

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Still weird to think of Youk being a Yankee…

    Yankees ’13: Pick Two

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Given the recent injury to Curtis Granderson, I suspect that two of the following players will make the Yankees 2013 Opening Day roster – barring a late Spring pick-up where some other club releases/waives a player (and the Yankees pick him up):

    Matt Diaz
    Adonis Garcia
    Ronnier Mustelier
    Thomas Neal
    Juan Rivera

    Conventional wisdom would suggest the two vets: Diaz and Rivera. But, if one of them should have a terrible Spring, then it could be one “experienced” guy backed up by a rookie (either Garcia, Mustelier or Neal). And, in that case, unless Garcia knocks the socks off Spring Training games, I guess it’s between Mustelier and Neal.

    What do you think?

    Mike Silva & Joba Chamberlain

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (3)

    They got into it a bit last night on Twitter.

    Joba’s ERA from 2009 through 2012 is 4.43. And, his ERA+ during that time is 101 (in 278.3 IP).

    That said, when healthy, Chamberlain is a league average relief pitcher. Basically, he’s a right-handed version of Marc Rzepczynski. Guys like that should not get themselves into squabbles on Twitter. Geesh…

    The Bronx Is Burning?

    Posted by on February 27th, 2013 · Comments (10)

    It really is open season on the Yankees these days…

    Via J.R. Gamble

    The new, more fiscally responsible Yankee approach is sure to hit Yankee fans like the fire at Happy Land, when it sinks in on Opening Day and everyone’s scrambling to find information on the less-than-stellar names littering the Yankees lineup card.

    The fans aren’t the only disgruntled party heading into this Yankee season. A source close to the Yankees told the Shadow League that the Yankees are tiring of Granderson’s feast-or-famine hitting and would trade him for the right deal. Also, if Robinson Cano is truly the Yankees’ future, the source says, then the Steinbrenners aren’t doing a good job with making him feel wanted. And unless the Yankees offer him some mega-deal before he hits free agency at season’s end, there is a possibility that Cano could bounce to a younger, fresher team like the Washington Nationals—a legit rumor confirmed by ESPN’s Buster Olney.

    This year is critical for the Yankees and the future of the franchise. It’s been a great run for the old legendary gang of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte (and Posada who retired before last season), but the changing face of baseball is turning towards new MLB ambassadors like Price.

    You can’t stay fresh forever, but this much is clear: the old school, old-timer Yankees need to get their cool back.

    The Granderson thing is interesting. Someone mentioned to me recently that the Yankees looked to move him just about everyday this off-season with no luck. Let’s see how he does on the free agent market after this season. He may be shocked to see he cannot get a deal like Swisher got from the Indians.

    Dan Duquette

    Posted by on February 26th, 2013 · Comments (8)

    Why was this guy out of baseball from 2003 to 2011?  Man, somebody missed the boat, didn’t they?

    So, You Want To Be A G.M. When You Grow Up?

    Posted by on February 26th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Great stuff from Tim Dierkes.

    More Off-Field Issues For A-Rod

    Posted by on February 26th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Via CBS

    There’s yet another headache surrounding Yankees star Alex Rodriguez — and this one has nothing do to with allegations of doping.

    Rodriguez and rapper Jay-Z raised $403,862 in a 2006 celebrity poker tournament to benefit the A-Rod Family Foundation and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund, but only $5,090 made its way to various charities, according to the Boston Globe.

    Citing Internal Revenue Service records, the Globe reported that Rodriguez’s foundation “gave only 1 percent of proceeds to charity during its first year of operation in 2006, then stopped submitting mandatory financial reports to the IRS and was stripped of its tax-exempt status.”

    The foundation still has a website hosted on MLB.com, touting itself as “a non-profit organization dedicated to positively impacting families in distress.” The news section hasn’t been updated since Sept. 5, 2007.

    A-Rod’s reportedly mismanaged and not-so-charitable charity was exposed in the Globe’s sweeping review of 50 non-profits run by professional athletes. The Globe also questioned the efficiency of foundations set up by Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, Baltimore Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin, and others.

    Non-profit experts say at least 65 to 75 percent of proceeds should directly benefit the organization’s stated mission, according to the Globe.

    “Athletes’ charities are subject to many pitfalls because most of them are not trained in how to raise and distribute money, and it’s difficult,” Sports Philanthropy Project executive director Greg Johnson told the Globe. “A lot of them get into expensive golf tournaments and that kind of crap. They can be self-serving as hell.”

    It’s all Yuri Sucart’s fault. It’s always his fault…

    The Bronx Not-Bombers?

    Posted by on February 26th, 2013 · Comments (7)

    Tyler Kepner writes this about the Yankees today:

    Really, though, things keep happening to the Yankees, with discouraging regularity. Derek Jeter’s ankle. C. C. Sabathia’s elbow. Alex Rodriguez’s hip. Phil Hughes’s back. And now Curtis Granderson’s forearm, fractured by a pitch Sunday in his first plate appearance of the spring.

    Granderson has flaws. Last season he set a team record for strikeouts, with 195, and a career low for batting average, at .232. But his value comes from his power, the one element the Yankees sacrificed most in their lackluster winter. They lost Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez to free agency.

    No other major leaguer can come within 10 home runs of Granderson’s total for the last two seasons. He has hit 84 homers since the start of 2011. The next two players on the list, Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera, have 74 apiece.

    So the premier power hitter in the game, by that measure, will be missing from the lineup until early May. And Rodriguez, of course, will be gone even longer. Including Jeter, who has not yet been cleared for exhibition games, the Yankees are missing seven of their top nine home run hitters from last season.

    “I believe they’ll find a way to get it done,” Manager Joe Girardi said Monday. “I know people talk a lot about how we’ve lost home runs from last year. They try to put a number on it. But when they put a number on it, they don’t put a number on the home runs the guys we did add this year are going to hit.”

    Girardi named Gardner, who was hurt for most of last season; Ichiro Suzuki, who joined the team in July; and the veteran imports Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis. He did not mention any catchers or replacements for Granderson.

    “For one month, we’re going to be without Grandy,” Girardi said. “We’ll find a way to score runs.”

    The short-term loss of Granderson alone is not much to overcome. On average, he hits about seven home runs a month. Whoever gets the bulk of the playing time in his absence — Matt Diaz, Melky Mesa, Juan Rivera — might hit two or three.

    So the Yankees, if they do nothing, probably lose four or five home runs a month. Those four or five homers, in some abstract form, could add up to one win. Maybe.

    Funny, I was just reading in Baseball Prospectus yesterday that Granderson’s 2012 season was among the 25 least valuable 40-HR seasons since 1950 because of his poor batting average, fielding, etc. And, he was the only “up the middle” player in the “Worst 25” (as all the others were DH or corner OF/INF guys).

    Losing Curtis Granderson for 6 weeks of the regular season may not be the reason why the Yankees do poorly this year. If fact, the reason why they do poorly may be the result of having Curtis Granderson play for them from May through September.

    Tuna Hearts Hardball

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    Via MLB.com

    The Astros may not be expected to contend this year, but they had some championship-level talent at batting practice on Monday.

    Two-time Super Bowl champion and soon-to-be Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells attended the Astros-Cardinals game in Jupiter, where he lives seven months out of the year, on Monday watching batting practice and talking to Astros manager Bo Porter and his players.

    “This here was my favorite sport. I love baseball, I love it to this day, I watch all the time,” Parcells said. “And I know just enough to be dangerous.”

    Parcells said he met Porter a few years ago when Porter was a coach with the Marlins. Parcells, who has Texas ties from coaching at Texas Tech and later with the Dallas Cowboys, was an executive with the Miami Dolphins at the time.

    “It’s great that Bo has contacts like that,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “I think any time you can learn from somebody who’s had that kind of success, even if it’s in another sport, and has been that inspirational and that successful, that it can only help.”

    Porter and Parcells spoke again about a month ago when Porter arrived in Florida, and Parcells offered him some advice about being a young coach in the league.

    “I know he wants it bad,” Parcells said. “That inspires me to give him everything I’ve got.”

    Porter inherits an Astros team that’s coming off a 107-loss season and moving to one of baseball’s most challenging divisions, the American League West. Parcells is widely considered one of the all-time best football minds, but even he went 3-12 in his first year with the Giants in 1983.

    “My first year, I almost got fired,” Parcells said. “Sometimes the situation won’t let you win. …If you start to make progress, you start to get some credibility and things can move forward and the organization gets confident in you and the direction you’re trying to take the team.”

    Former football Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi is also a big baseball fan.

    Funny, Joe Girardi is a huge football fan (Da’ Bears!). It’s interesting how these guys get their sports crossed sometimes…

    A Hole In The Yankees…

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (5)

    It’s an A-Hole, for Cash-Man!

    Via Jonah Keri today –

    The New York Yankees have carried some truly miserable benches over the years. Which makes sense, if you think about it. When you trot out rosters stuffed with superstars, no self-respecting part-time player is going to sign with you, given how little playing time he’s likely to get. Every time Clay Bellinger pulls out his two World Series rings, he should thank George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman for building teams that were so loaded, the Yankees couldn’t do any better for a backup.

    This year’s Yankees team isn’t stuffed with superstars. At this point, they have two: Robinson Cano (who’s eligible for free agency at year’s end unless the Yankees can convince him to re-sign by offering the GDP of São Tomé and Principe) and CC Sabathia. But now, instead of playing time being the problem, it’s money. The 2013 Yanks are so committed to holding the line on salaries, and have so much tied up in thirtysomething former stars like A-Rod, Jeter, hell, even A.J. F’ing Burnett, that they can’t, or at least won’t, outbid other teams for quality part-time players. Which is why, after Curtis Granderson suffered a broken forearm that will keep him out 10 weeks, the projected Opening Day left fielder for the Yankees — the mighty New York Yankees — is Juan Rivera.

    Granderson’s injury is just the latest setback for a Yankees team that has major collapse potential. Nick Swisher bolted for the Indians, while the Pirates (the Pirates!) outbid New York for Russell Martin. In Swisher’s stead, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner, a once-devastating hitter who’s still a plus bat when healthy, which is a bit like saying Rick Ankiel was a plus pitcher when his fastball wasn’t drilling people in the 14th row. Swisher’s actual vacated right-field job falls to Ichiro, who we’re supposed to believe is now reborn at age 39, because he found a few holes in the defense in 67 games for New York. A full year of Brett Gardner could be a big upgrade … but Jeter’s a gigantic regression risk coming off ankle surgery and following an out-of-the-blue 216-hit season. Mr. Glass Alex Rodriguez has been replaced by the nearly-as-gimpy Kevin Youkilis. Replacing Martin at catcher are Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli, whose collective offensive impact projects to be dead ball–ian. As good as the starting rotation might be with everyone back, the starting nine could make this the worst Yankees season in more than two decades.

    Given all those holes and potential holes, Rivera’s presence in the lineup bodes ill for the Yankees’ chances of repeating as AL East champions, even if he doesn’t play more than the five weeks or so that Granderson would be projected to miss after Opening Day. Rivera’s essentially been a replacement-level player in five of the past six seasons, with no significant contributions since 2009.

    I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction.

    Worst Yankees Lineup Since 1991?

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (10)

    Dan Szymborski says maybe.

    On the bright side, it could be worse. He didn’t say since 1990.

    Warrior Hits The Half Century Mark

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Happy 50th Birthday Paul O’Neill.

    I only have him beat by three months.  Yet, I look like I’m seventy and he looks like he could still play today.

    He must have a deal with the devil! (Yes, I am kidding.)

    Yankees Exposed?

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (10)

    Via Jon Paul Morosi today –

    The New York Yankees haven’t looked this vulnerable during spring training in a very long time. Having lost Nick Swisher and Russell Martin to free agency, planning around a rehabilitating Alex Rodriguez, the 2013 Yankees needed a healthy camp while hoping legends Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera make full recoveries from major surgeries.

    Season-ruining? No. Devastating? Absolutely.

    Given the Yankees’ current structure, Granderson was one of their most indispensable players. He led the Yankees with 43 home runs last season, a career high. The other projected outfielders — Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki — supplied a grand total of nine in 2012.

    In fact, with Granderson out until sometime in May, the Yankees are expected to begin the season with only two of their top eight home-run hitters from last season: Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira. Granderson and Rodriguez are injured; Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibañez and Eric Chavez signed elsewhere as free agents.

    The Yankees have one of baseball’s oldest rosters, so wear-and-tear on their eldest position players was expected during the year. But not Granderson — and certainly not now. Granderson, 31, projected to be the third- or fourth-youngest member of the Opening Day lineup.

    The timing of Granderson’s absence was particularly damaging on a number of levels: Granderson surely hoped to get off to a strong start entering his final season before free agency, and the Yankees planned for him to work on playing left field this spring, with Gardner shifting to center.

    Toronto Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ hit Granderson with a pitch during the first inning of the Yankees’ Grapefruit League home opener Sunday afternoon. However unlucky it was, the incident has exposed the Yankees’ flawed roster construction.

    The Yankees didn’t sign Swisher — or Josh Hamilton, or Michael Bourn — at least in part because of a desire to keep their payroll beneath $189 million beginning next year. They didn’t trade for Justin Upton — an ideal acquisition, due to his reasonable contract — because they lacked the high-ceiling, close-to-the-majors prospects Arizona wanted.

    Now, only two days into spring training, the Yankees have discovered what happens to organizations that decline to spend on free agents and fail to successfully develop their best prospects: They are forced to hope their top players stay healthy because they lack the depth to withstand significant injuries. With Granderson out, the mighty Yankees could be forced to open the season with Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera — each a non-roster invitee — as the everyday left fielder.

    While I don’t necessarily agree that losing Curtis Granderson for the start of the season is going to make or break the Yankees, I do agree with this statement:

    …the Yankees have discovered what happens to organizations that decline to spend on free agents and fail to successfully develop their best prospects: They are forced to hope their top players stay healthy because they lack the depth to withstand significant injuries…

    Cano, Teixeira, Jeter, Kuroda, Sabathia, Pettitte, Rivera…those are the guys that the Yankees really need to come through this season. And, then comes Granderson, Gardner, Ichiro, Youkilis and Hughes. Granderson is close to that first group; but, I think the Yankees can live without a guy like him for a month and survive.

    Justice: Cashman Smart & Efficient

    Posted by on February 25th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Another puff piece on Brian Cashman from Richard Justice

    No to Alfonso Soriano. No to Vernon Wells as well. Unless both come gift-wrapped at hugely discounted prices, the Yankees should take a pass. This is a time to stay the course.

    General manager Brian Cashman has come too far to turn back now. His vision of the Yankees is one built on player development, on being smart and efficient, and on not overreacting to every crisis.

    He’s succeeding. The Yankees are respected throughout the industry for the quality of their scouts and the talent of their instructors. There’s a bounty of young talent coming, some of it possibly later this season.

    Will this next generation of Yankees be as good as Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera? No, probably not. That’s OK, too.

    If the Yankees have a productive farm system, they’ll always have the cash to fill other needs through free agency. Or maybe that farm system will give them the chips they need to trade for an impact bat or a 200-inning starter.

    For two offseasons, Cashman has stocked his roster with free-agent bargains in an attempt to steer the payroll down as baseball approaches a tough luxury tax on Opening Day 2014.

    But there are reasons for doing this beyond money. Big-ticket free agents are for adding that final piece to a roster. Every organization must produce its own core of talent. That’s true for such smaller-market teams as the Royals and Rays, but it’s also true for the Red Sox and Yankees.

    Curtis Granderson’s broken right forearm is a test for Cashman — because Granderson’s absence, regardless of whether it’s for eight weeks or 10 weeks or whatever, has the potential to hurt.

    With the departures of Nick Swisher, Raul Ibanez, et al, with Alex Rodriguez’s future uncertain and with the best prospects perhaps a year away, the Yankees have no idea how good they’re going to be in 2013.

    The Yankees were already dealing with a smaller margin for error. They’re counting on certain guys — Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Ichiro Suzuki — to be healthy and productive. Cashman filled in nicely around the edges with one-year deals for Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Matt Diaz and others.

    Another franchise might call it a transitional year, another step back toward a different way of doing business. That’s what it may end up being, but that would be bitterly disappointing.

    The Yankees are judged not by progress or getting close, but by how many championships they win. Anything less makes the season a failure, and no other team has these expectations every single season.

    Cashman understands and accepts how life in charge of the Yankees works. He also understands the economics. Unlike the days when he used a sledgehammer — $100 million here, $80 million there — to construct his roster, he has shopped for bargains, getting guys who he believes have the makeup and the productivity to get the Yankees back to the postseason.

    But they have less than $100 million in salary commitments for 2014, so Cashman’s dream scenario would be that his best kids — among them Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez — take steps forward and that his 2014 roster will have more clarity. And if he needs to throw millions at a Tim Lincecum, he’ll have the cash to do it.

    For now, though, he ought to hang in there with what he has unless a young star — Chase Headley? Homer Bailey? — becomes available. Even with all the losses, the Yankees are good enough to make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 seasons. They’re also more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, but there just are no other answers.

    This isn’t the time to surrender a bunch of prospects for an older player. Regardless of what happens in 2013, Cashman’s plan makes sense. Sometimes the money obscures how good his baseball operation is. It’s good enough that the Yankees will not be diminished by this new blueprint. They’ll just be succeeding a different way.

    Justice is banging one of these out every three weeks now. At this rate, pretty soon, Cashman is going to start buying his clothes from here.

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