26 Jan 2011
Personally, I feel a bit sorry for Cashman. Francesca, or the “Sports Pope” as he has been nicknamed by Bob Raismann, has become a bombastic ass on the radio since Mad Dog left. Cashman after having to sit through a Francesca soliloquy about how he should move A-Rod to DH and Jeter to third probably just snapped. He probably just wanted to shut Mike up and didn’t think about the impact his comments about Jeter moving to the outfield would have. It’s unfortunate and should not have happened. Cashman should have just said that Jeter is our shortstop and there are no plans for that to change.
Instead he talked about the outfield, specifically centerfield and created a ruckus. The problem is, Jeter isn’t going to be the centerfielder of the Yankees. He could have been, before the Curtis Granderson trade, but now the Yankees have a centerfielder, in fact they have two of them and Granderson is under contract through 2012 with a team option for 2013. Assuming they exercise that, and unless Curtis gets hurt, they will, Jeter doesn’t have a spot to play in the outfield until 2014. That’s the season he turns 40 and the Yankees would be committing a crime against baseball if they asked Jeter to play centerfield at that point. Cashman referenced Robin Yount in his Jeter example, but Yount started in center when he was 29 and his career was over at 37. Jeter is 36 right now.
In reality, the time to move Jeter to center was before the Granderson trade. However, we all know that wasn’t going to happen and now the Yankees and Jeter are stuck with him at short. The Yankees made a bet that he would remain at least an average shortstop offensively for the next three years when they brought him back. If he isn’t, the answer isn’t a position change, it is a seat on the bench.
The other nugget that Cashman dropped is that Joba Chamberlain hasn’t been the same pitcher since he injured his shoulder in 2008. That’s the reason du jour for not using him as a starter. This comment ignores two facts.
1- The Yankees still went with Joba as a starter in 2009. Why would they do this if they were concerned with his injury?
2- Joba went 7-2 with a 3.58 ERA in his first 20 starts of 2009. Doesn’t that qualify as pretty good evidence that he could succeed as a starter?
I speculated in December that the Yankees just don’t think Joba has the mental makeup for the rotation. But, with Soriano now in the fold are the Yankees seriously going to use Joba as a middle reliever? It seems more and more likely.
UPDATE- As I pressed “publish” on this post I saw a tweet from Joel Sherman saying the Yankees have signed Bartolo Colon and given him an invite to camp. They really will do anything to avoid Joba pitching in the rotation.