The left field conundrum continues…
Maybe GM Brian Cashman has the perfect solution already set in motion, but then again, maybe not. I am not quite sure how you could spend $200 million on salaries and then suddenly become very frugal over $3 or $4 million as an insurance policy to protect your investment. From the sounds of it, the Yankees are willing to go to camp with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann as a projected platoon in left. I know that it’s a bluff, designed to await the lowered salary expectations of free agent options in January.
But if you have a left fielder who has proven that he can handle New York, thrive atop the Yankees’ batting order and carries the intangibles necessary to bring a championship to New York, why can’t you work out a deal for a few pennies more? It just doesn’t make any sense. I agree with the logic that the Yankees don’t need a superstar in left, but they need something better than a fourth outfielder looking for his fifteen minutes of fame.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If the Yankees successfully cause Johnny Damon to sign elsewhere, and are left to be scrounging through the bargain bin, they’ll regret it in July when they attempt to make a trade for an upgrade at the high cost of key prospects. Again, I’d rather pay more now and protect the farm system now and later.
John M. Setzler, Jr.
I was disappointed to see the San Francisco Giants successfully sign one solid option in Mark DeRosa. With DeRosa, the Giants get a very versatile player who will fit well into their lineup. His ability to play third base allows them to slide Pablo Sandoval to first which fills a big need. Had the Yankees been successful in luring DeRosa to the Bronx, he could have been the primary option for left field with the potential to back up Alex Rodriguez from time to time. Isn’t that worth a few dollars more? Congrats to Giants GM Brian Sabean…he scored one over his former team.
If Johnny Damon is my first choice, Xavier Nady would be the remaining option in my eyes. Another guy who has proven he can handle New York albeit not the injury bug. If healthy, Nady would be a great fit for the Yankees. Prior to his injury last season, he was slated to be the starter in right field.
Cataffo/New York Daily News
Outside of the organization, there just isn’t much to be excited about on the free agent market. I really don’t want a ‘past his prime’ player like Brian Giles or Garret Anderson. I’d rather take a chance on a sleeper like Cleveland’s Shin Soo Choo or Atlanta’s Matt Diaz, although I doubt either team would be willing to let either player go cheaply. In a blast from the past, the Angels’ Juan Rivera is another attractive option. But I seriously doubt that Cashman would be able to pry any of these options from their respective teams.
Los Angeles Times
Hopefully, the left field question is answered sooner rather than later. The Yankees still need to replenish their bullpen options for 2010 after several key departures this off-season. Plus, bench strength is another area that needs attention before the Yankees head for Tampa.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the Greater Boston Area, a Red Sox fan is gleefully enjoying the Yankees’ indecision and financial constraint…and listening to Toby Keith singing “Whiskey Girl”…
In a departure from baseball, I’d like to weigh in on the decision by Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell to rest his key starters like Peyton Manning in the second half. Everyone knows that the result was a New York Jets’ 29-15 victory over the Colts to end their pursuit of perfection. Of course, the company line is the decision was made to protect the health of their key performers and ensure going deeper into the play-offs with the Super Bowl as the key objective.
I’ve heard both sides of the argument, but I am inclined to believe that Caldwell blew it. He had a chance to do something that no team has done before (19-0, capped by a championship). The 1972 Miami Dolphins were 17-0 since the regular season consisted of only 14 games. Had they accomplished what the New England Patriots could not, the Colts would have gone down in history as one of the greatest teams ever. Now, they’ll just be another Super Bowl champion if they happen to win it all. Sure, a championship is great, but to be among legends is immortal. The Colts missed a great opportunity…
All things considered, I am glad that University of Florida coach Urban Meyer made the decision to take a leave of absence rather than step down as the Gators coach. College football needs guys like Meyer, but he needs time to repair his health. If a year from now, Meyer decides that it’s time to hang it up, so be it. But I’d rather see Florida go a year with an interim coach to make sure that Meyer makes a decision that he’ll never regret. I am not a Gators fan, but Meyer has been great for college football and the Florida job is clearly one of the best. It’ll be strange seeing new coaches patrolling the sidelines at both Florida and Florida State next season.
One final thought…if the Chicago Cubs can successfully trade Milton Bradley, why can’t the Yankees unload Kei Igawa? I still think the guy could thrive in a low-pressure environment like San Diego or Pittsburgh…
I hope everyone has a great new year! I have enjoyed your friendship and support in 2009 and I look forward to be being a part of the great MLB Bloggers in 2010. It’s a very talented and impressive group of writers, and the sum total of all makes MLB.com the best blogging environment on the internet! Keep up the great work everyone!
The Boston Red Sox lost…
Life is good.
Justin Verlander was throwing smoke today. Not just in the 1st inning, but he was still hitting 100 mph with a couple of pitches to “future Yankee” Jason Bay in the 8th inning. The Detroit Tigers were victorious in the game against the Red Sox that saw Verlander go 8 innings while giving up only 4 hits and no runs. It was a very impressive performance and it couldn’t happen against a better team! Right, Julia? 😉
To the Red Sox’ defense, Clay Buchholz pitched a great game in a losing effort, and is a notable improvement over the departed John Smoltz (much to my chagrin). Theo, can you bring Smoltzie back?
The Yankees closed out a very successful home stand against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays. They could have (should have) won the first game against the Jays, but I think they were still coming down from the high of sweeping the Red Sox. Nevertheless, they came back to win the next two games to take the series so all is good.
On the downside, the last victory against the Jays was a costly win. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada all suffered severe bruises. DJ and A-Rod were hit by pitches, while Posada took a foul ball on his right hand. Like Posada said, “I got hit everywhere. It was like a boxing match.”
And, oh yeah, Mariano Rivera had a “cranky” shoulder and was unavailable.
It wasn’t a great way to start the road trip in Seattle. Both A-Rod and Posada were out of the starting lineup for the opening game against the Mariners, however, Jeter was back in the lineup at the top of the order.
I didn’t think that the acquisition of Jerry Hairston, Jr. at the trading deadline was significant, but I’d have to say that I was wrong. In a short amount of time, he has proven to be an invaluable commodity and he’s playing third base tonight. He’s a quality player, and has performed better than I had expected. Even though he isn’t used as much, I’d also have to say that I am impressed with Eric Hinske. The Yankees’ bench is definitely much stronger today than it was on June 1st.
Nam Y. Huh/AP
As I finish this post, the Yankees have just beaten the Mariners 11-1 so they didn’t seem to be missing A-Rod and Posada too much. Jeter and Matsui have home runs (Godzilla had 2), and Hairston had 2 RBI’s. Hey, Julia, I wasn’t a math major in college, but I’d call it a 6 ½ game lead! J
CC Sabathia picked up his 13th win while surrendering only three hits and one run in 8 innings, while striking out 10. CC is definitely locked and loaded, and this is why Hal Steinbrenner signed off on the huge deal in the offseason despite budget constraints. The pitcher the Yanks blew out was former Pirate Ian Snell. Before the trading deadline, the Yanks had been scouting Snell, who was then with the Pirates’ AAA affiliate. As the saying goes, sometimes the best trade is the one never made.
The Yankees still need to do something about the #5 slot in the starting rotation. There are plans to insert Chad Gaudin for a start this week in order to skip Joba Chamberlain and limit his season innings. But I am not expecting great things from Gaudin, who was 4-10 for the Padres this season. In other words, note to Brian Cashman, try again…
The Tampa Tribune has settled on a name for the new Jeter mansion in Davis Islands, FL. By way of an online poll, the winning name was St. Jetersburg. I don’t even have to hear the other choices to know that they made the right selection. The name is perfect.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on this subject even though it’s off topic. I can’t believe the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick. I was listening to the guys on San Francisco’s sports talk radio station, KNBR, and they felt that Vick couldn’t have landed in a “softer” spot. Personally, I think it was a bad decision for Eagles management. I know that Donovan McNabb has had his share of critics, but he remains in the upper tier of NFL QB’s. I know, it’s not like Vick is going to beat out McNabb, but his mere presence on the field shows that the Eagles will accept victories over moral responsibility. Granted, I wasn’t an Eagles fan to begin with, but suffice to say that I am glad (and proud) that my team didn’t sign the morally corrupt Vick. The only reason that Vick is asking for a second chance is because he got caught. Good luck with that, Philly…
I know Julia, I saw that Tom Brady threw 2 TD’s…blah, blah, blah… Go Vikings!
A disappointing trade deadline day…
Leading up to the trade deadline, I felt that the Yankees needed to do something to plug the hole in the rotation. As great as it was to think about Roy Halladay in pinstripes, I was realistic in my thinking that Jarrod Washburn would have been a good fit.
Yankee interest in Washburn has been rumored for several years so it seemed liked he was destined for the Bronx. Apparently, the Seattle Mariners desired center field prospect Austin Jackson in return and it was a deal-killer. I agree with the decision, as I would have not given up Ajax either, but it was tough to see Washburn go to the Detroit Tigers for a couple of minor league pitchers that I’ve never heard of.
I know that GM Brian Cashman feels that there will be quality pitchers who slip through waivers in August because teams will be fearful of incurring additional salaries. But it’s not like Roy Halladay will clear waivers. The quality of the available talent will be limited, and a good fit for the Yankees will be even narrower.
Of course, on Deadline Day, the Yankees #5 starter, Sergio Mitre, gets pummeled in Chicago and lasts only three innings in a 10-5 loss to the White Sox. This only added salt to the wound of the day’s earlier inactivity. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were very active and acquired the Cleveland Indians’ Victor Martinez. Martinez, a good friend of CC Sabathia, was a solid pickup for Boston. I didn’t fully understand the trade of recently acquired Adam LaRoche to Atlanta for first baseman Casey Kotchman. It was mentioned that LaRoche was no longer a fit with the addition of Martinez, but I do not know what Kotchman brings that LaRoche didn’t other than an additional year on his contract. I guess GM Theo Epstein decided that if he couldn’t have Mark Teixeira, he’d take the guy who was once trade for Tex. Seriously, I wonder if the Kotchman trade is a precursor to another deal this month. Knowing Theo, there is a method to the madness and of course that concerns me…
The Yankees have now dropped two straight games to the White Sox, which has allowed the Boston Red Sox to close the gap to 1 ½ games in the AL East.
The Yankees did pick up one player yesterday, when they found a centerfield solution in Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Kirby Lee/US Presswire
To acquire Hairston from the Cincinnati Reds, the Yanks gave up minor league catching prospect Chase Weems. Hairston will take the super utility role that is currently occupied by Cody Ransom upon Brett Gardner’s return from the DL. Hairston has joined the Yankees in Chicago, and is starting in left field. It is ironic that his first game will be against his father’s long-time team.
I saw a quote where Brian Cashman mentioned that Hairston is a better version of Clay Bellinger. Somehow it’s hard to get enthused about that, but I will admit that Bellinger did play in a World Series so perhaps there’s a silver lining to the Hairston pickup…
Hopefully, the Yankees will get back on track today. A.J. Burnett will be on the hill and he has proven to be the cure for stopping Yankee losing streaks so far this season.
As for the Yankees #5 rotation spot, the sooner the Yankees replace Mitre, the better. Unfortunately, the only in-house possibility appears to be…yikes!…Kei Igawa. So, I trust that Brian Cashman knows what he is doing, and he’ll find a solution sooner rather than later. Meanwhile, the fate of the AL East hangs in the balance. No worries…
Poor Shelley Duncan. He has had a very good season for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. He had started to wonder if he’d ever return to the big leagues, and was very excited when the Yanks finally called yesterday. Today, he was tapped on the shoulder and told to head back to Scranton-Wilkes Barre to make room for Hairston. I feel bad for Shelley as he has definitely deserved an opportunity. Hopefully, he will find his way back soon.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Well, it is almost time for Julia and I to resume our battle when the Yankees and Red Sox resume their rivalry on Thursday for a four-game set. We are still working out the terms of latest wager and are open to any suggestions. But I feel that the Yankees are much improved and will be ready to end the eight game skid against the Red Sox. I may be down, but I am definitely not out. The rotation has lined up for Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the Boston series. Hey Julia, Game On!
Great autograph of Shelley Duncan! 🙂