How Much Longer Do You Stick With Melky?

The Yankees have been taking advantage of their soft schedule and racking up some wins (this weekend being an exception) but there are still some storm clouds on the horizon.  Robinson Cano has an OPS under .600 and Melky Cabrera is hitting .227 in June with an OPS under .600. 

You can’t do much with Cano, he is signed to a big deal and he has enough of a track record to warrant patience.  (Even if it is really hard to be patient as he hacks at every first pitch.)  The same cannot be said of Melky.  Cabrera is approaching 1300 AB’s in the bigs and his career line of .271/.335/.384 is starting to look like his true value.  Yes, he can play great defense and he can run, but the Yankees need more than that, especially with Wang on the DL.  And, as luck would have it, the Yankees have someone at AAA who might be able to help out.  Brett Gardner is currently producing at a clip of .292/.392/.432 in Scranton.  He also has 29 steals and plays great defense.  At what point do the Yankees bring him up, stick him in center and see what happens? 

I am not sure Gardner or Melky is a long term answer.  I think the Yankees long term solution in center is Austin Jackson, but we won’t see Jackson until 2010 in the Bronx.  So, the Yankees have a gap to bridge and I am not sure how much longer they will let Melky try and fill it.  Melky is still only 23 and he is actually younger than Gardner, but the Yankees may realize that they are ultimately choosing between fourth outfielders here and go with the hotter hand.  With almost half the season gone, you couldn’t blame them.   

This Was Pretty Cool

I have followed Pat Venditte since last year when the Yankees drafted him in the 45th round and I was happy to see that they selected him again this year after he returned to school.  He is an ambidextrous pitcher, like Greg Harris, but unlie Harris, the Yankees appear willing to let him throw from both sides as evidenced by this story.  (They actually showed this on the news the other night and it was hysterical to watch)

It’s a long way from Staten Island to the majors, but Venditte will be fun to follow.  Note to self, time to go to a SI Yankees game. 

Sir Sidney Returns?

Is this how bad things have gotten?  The Yankees just signed Sidney Ponson!  Seriously, the guy bombed here in 2006 and just got released by Texas for getting drunk in a bar among other things.  I know the Yankees need some pitching depth right now and they need a starter for June 27th, but this is plain stupid.  What’s the point of this move?  Why bother with this guy?

On a side note, what does this signing mean in terms of Kei Igawa?  I don’t want Igawa pitching for the Yankees either, but the fact that the Yankees would pull Ponson off the scrap heap can’t be a good sign for his future prospects in New York.

And, to add to the comedy, Joe Girardi said tonight that LaTroy Hawkins is his new long reliever with Giese in the bullpen.   

Allow Me A Moment

I have nothing much to say about the Yankees at this moment, other than are we really getting Billy Traber again?  But, I do have something to say about a former Yankee, Willie Randolph, and his firing by the Mets this morning.

To force your manager to fly across the country, manage a game and then fire him when he returns to the hotel is probably (I am searching my memory here) worse than anything Steinbrenner did.  It certainly seems like the kind of move he might have made in his prime 25 years or so ago and I simply can’t believe that the Mets stooped to that level.  To further try and hide it by sending out a fax at 3-something in the AM New York time is disgusting.  

You can certainly make a compelling case that Willie deserved to be fired.  The end of 2007 was hideous, 2008 hasn’t been much better.  But, he deserved to be fired and allowed to walk out the front door.  Joel Sherman said it best in his blog post today:

"Mets ownership, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, completed the impossible: They have made Hank Steinbrenner appear the level-headed baseball owner in town." 

Wow 

Hank Is Priceless

You have to love Hank, check out this quote that the AP is reporting.

“My only message is simple. The National League needs to join the 21st century.  They need to grow up and join the 21st century. Am I (mad) about it? Yes. I’ve got my pitchers running the bases, and one of them gets hurt. He’s going to be out. I don’t like that, and it’s about time they address it. That was a rule from the 1800s.

This is always a concern of American League teams when their pitchers have to run the bases and they’re not used to doing it. It’s not just us. It’s everybody. It probably should be a concern for National League owners, general managers and managers when their pitchers run the bases. Pitchers have enough to do without having to do that.”

Now as an AL guy, I agree with him, watching pitchers hit is like watching paint dry.  And, since the leagues got rid of their respective Presidents and the All-Star Game is now a farce, why keep the difference?   I wonder if the price of pitchers might convince the NL owners to change the rule? 

It’s The Lisfranc

The worst fears of the Yankees came true today, Wang has a Lisfranc and some other problems with his foot.  Best case and I stress best case, is he is out of a boot in six weeks.  That would be July 28th and then you have to build up his strength because he hasn’t done much for that time period.  So figure a minimum of a month for rehab and you probably can say September 1st is the best case scenario. 

You can read all about the Lisfranc injury here.  The injury is more common in football which makes sense and being a Giants fan, I remember Michael Strahan hurting his a few seasons ago.  I just wonder, what are the odds that the Yankees would have two of there (Bruney) in one season?

They can’t be good, much like the odds of the Yankees getting to the playoffs right now.  It’s amazing, 60% of the rotation at the start of the season is on the DL.  If I had told you at the start of the season that Mussina and Pettitte would be the Yankees two healthiest starters, how quickly would you have laughed me out of the room?

I am not sure what plan D is right now, I imagine the Yankees don’t either.  I would guess it is to rehab Kennedy as quickly as possible and get him back in the rotation.  In the interim, Dan Giese I guess?  One things for sure, the Yankees are very fortunate to have Joba in the rotation right now.   

Great Trip But….

All the good feelings about this road trip went up in smoke in the sixth innning when Chien-Ming Wang pulled up lame.  He is going for a MRI tomorrow, but so far they just say that he has sprained the top of his foot.  Kim Jones speculated it was a lisfranc injury, but Girardi wouldn’t bite.

If it is a lisfranc, you can probably kiss Wang goodbye for the year.  That’s what Bruney hurt in April and while he avoided surgery, if he comes back in July, he still missed three three months.  The Yankees will have to hope that it is just a sprain, but a trip to the DL seems highly likely.  

What a way for Wang to score the first run of his career.  Ugh. 

Duncan Down/Gonzalez Up

The Yankees sent Duncan to the minors today which is a long-overdue move.  Duncan wasn’t doing the team any good and maybe he can find his stroke again back in Scranton.

In other news, Albie is out for the season which is too bad and Phil Hughes won’t be back until August at the earliest. I know it is getting ahead of the game, but the 2009 Yankees rotation currently has Joba and Wang in it and then three big question marks.  Even if Hughes comes back in August, he is going to not come close to 100 innings pitched this year.  That means he is going to be capped next year and depending on when Kennedy gets back, he may be too.  

Lastly, RIP Tim Russert.  You brought class and dignity to an ugly arena and you will be sorely missed. 

The Yankees Pick Up Another Fan

Seems like the Yankees are developing quite a following in the NBA.  You may remember that last year it was LeBron James, now it is Kobe Bryant.  To be fair, Kobe was only responding to comments that Curt Schilling wrote on his blog,  (sidebar: can you think of a bigger attention whore than Curt Schilling in recent history?  The guy makes Reggie Jackson look like a wallflower.) but it is a good get.  Now if only one of them could pitch….

Good News

Scroll way down in this piece, but according to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are aggressively shopping LaTroy Hawkins with the idea of bringing up Cox.

I know everyone who reads this blog will be excited to hear that news.