It’s Carter

Boston.com is reporting that Chris Carter, baring a waiver claim, is going to break camp with the Red Sox.  Carter, who seems to have lost a bunch of weight since 2008’s conclusion, has had a great spring with the bat.

As expected, Nick Green will also make the club.  Having played outfield a few times this spring, Green has made Carter’s lack of defensive skills a lesser issue.

A few days back, it was announced Clay Buchholz would start the year in AAA, so the Red Sox roster seems to be set.

Albie Makes It

The Yankees have apparently decided that they will not carry a long reliever and Albie has made the team as a reliever. 

I am not in love with this idea, but I like Albie’s potential.  I suppose seven relievers should be enough to cover most contingencies, but it will be interesting to watch.   

Bad Idea Jeans

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If you don’t remember the skit, watch it here, but I immediately thought of it when I read the story this morning about selling beer again in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium.  I actually never sat in the bleachers after the beer ban went into effect, but I spent many a night in them before it did.  Let’s just say, it wasn’t an experience that gives you a lot of faith in your fellow man. 

Now I enjoy a cold one, especially at a ball game, but people can take it a little too far.  Hopefully, the Yankees will be very carefully monitoring behavior in not only the bleachers, but everywhere else throughout the new place.  Going to a ballgame shouldn’t mean having to sit through nine innings of drunken, loutish behavior.

$50 Million?

Pretty wild story from Jon Heyman about Stephen Strasburg and his reported asking price of $50 million.  The article made took me back about 18 years ago to the 1991 draft.  I still remember reading an article, I think it was in the Daily News, about the choice the Yankees had.  They were picking first and scouts were raving about two can’t-miss Hall Of Fame players- Brien Taylor and Mike Kelly.  Taylor was heralded as a left-handed Dwight Gooden, while Kelly was compared to Barry Bonds. 

Taylor of course blew out his arm in a fight while Kelly made it to the majors, but didn’t do much at all in brief stints in the bigs.  I have heard some amazing things about Strasburg and his abilties, he sounds like he would be an amazing pitcher.  But, considering the risks involved with pitching and the current state of the economy, I can’t believe he will come close to getting $50 million.  I would be amazed if he got even half that.  It should be fun to watch in June. 

Gardner Takes It

Brett Gardner has won the centerfield job.  I don’t know if Gardner is going to hit enough, but he has more potential than Cabrera and his speed is an element the Yankees haven’t had in recent years.  It should be a lot of fun to watch him play.  If Gardner hits enough the Yankees could have an outfield of Austin Jackson-Gardner and Swisher in 2010, but that is a discussion for another day.

For now, the announcement means we really only have two questions left to be answered.  First, who is the seventh arm in the bullpen and second, who is the backup infielder?  I talked about the former issue earlier today.  As for the infielder question, as much as I love Ramiro Pena’s glove, I wonder if he would be better served by playing fulltime in the minors.  One thing’s for sure, Pena has really opened some eyes this spring and his performance may finally give the Yankees a chance to talk seriously about moving Jeter off of short. 

The games count a week from tomorrow, I can’t wait.   

This is a Mistake

Word out of Tampa is that Joe Girardi is thinking of not bringing a long reliever north when the Yankees start the season.  The thinking is that Phil Coke and Albaladejo can fill that role if needed.

Now, I totally agree with this line of thinking if the long guy they select is Brett Tomko.  He may have great numbers in camp, but Tomko is 36 and has been mediocre at best in his career.  There is no way he can be expected to flourish over the 2009 season.  But, I think that Aceves has a lot of potential and I was hoping he would be the long guy out of the pen this year.  

Furthermore, they are going to have a need for a long guy most of the time Joba starts if they want to keep his innings down.  They haven’t said what Joba’s innings limit is, but logically 150 seems a good guess.  If he starts 30 times, a reasonable estimate, he would pitch an average of five innings a start.  That is going to force the bullpen to pitch four innings on most days he starts.  Also, what happens when a starter gets shelled and has to be pulled in the second or third inning?  You can pitch Coke and Albe two innings each and then use some other relievers, but that will burn out the pen quickly.  

Far better to have a guy built to go four or five innings available in the pen in my mind.  We will find out soon if the Yankees agree with me.   

Something Is Better Than Nothing

Interesting minor move today, the Yankees got Chris Stewart back.  If the name sounds familiar, that’s because Stewart played one game for them last year. 

I still don’t think this solves the catching depth issue, but it is a step in the right direction.  Stewart has shown some life in his bat at times and is young enough to still surprise.  Defensively, he is considered a good catcher.   

Roster Round-Up

catchers (2) – Jason Varitek, George Kottaras

infield (5) – Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Lowell, Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo

outfield (4) – Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Rocco Baldelli

dh (1) – David Ortiz

starters (5) – Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Brad Penny

bullpen (7) – Jonathan Papelbon, Takashi Saito, Manny Delcarmen, Ramiro Ramirez, Javier Lopez, Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson

dl (2) – John Smoltz, Mark Kotsay

With Kotsay expected to be out through April, the Red Sox need a back-up firstbase/corner outfielder type.  The candidates are Brad Wilkerson (.111/.200/.306 in 36 ABs), Jeff Bailey (.438/.538/.750 in 32 at bats), Chris Carter (.293/.326/.537 in 41 at bats) and Paul McAnulty (.206/.229/.324 in 34 at bats).

Wilkerson is the best defender of the 4, but he hasn’t hit this spring and really has hit in 2 years.  Bailey is probably the most deserving if perseverance counts for anything.  He can hit, but he can’t really field.  Tough choice for Boston, but thankfully it is for a reserve position, not a starting position.

There is a chance Lugo isn’t healthy to start the season (actually it’s likely he won’t be ready after knee surgery), so Nick Green (.333/.404/.548) might make the team.

When Smoltz is ready, the Red Sox might have a big decision to make.  While there is a good chance injuries will solve the problem, the Red Sox might have to demote or cut a player upon Smoltz’s return.  Masterson has options, but I’m not sure who else does (and who else would make sense to demote).  If Wakefield doesn’t pick it up, he might be at risk too.

About 2 1/2 weeks away from opening day.

Huh?

Apparently Plan B in the event of an injury to Rivera is Joba.  I just don’t get it.

Ok, I agree with the argument that Joba is probably right for the job, both makeup-wise and stuff-wise, but what about all the other arms the Yankees have?  If Joba is really going to be a starter, he needs to be left there on a permanent basis.  Marte has 36 saves in his career, Bruney has been impressive in pressure situations, everyone says Melancon is the next Yankees closer.  What about Phil Coke?  

The Yankees keep touting Joba as a frontline starter and they are going to kill that potential if they keep jerking him around.  Joba keeps talking about how happy he is to enter 2009 with a defined role.  The Yankees need to avoid changing that role.  If Mo gets hurt they need to find someone else to replace him, that’s the bottom line.   

Youk Too?

ESPN and Boston.com are both reporting that Kevin Youkilis will miss the rest of the WBC because of an ankle sprain.  He has been sent to Ft. Myers for an MRI.

Just great.  I love the WBC.  Remember how I commented that the WBC was a bit compellng?  I take it all back.

No word yet on the extent of the injury.  The reports indicate he injured the ankle 4-5 days ago and it was in such tough shape that he was barely able to walk through the clubhouse after last night’s WBC game.  We’ll probably know more tomorrow.