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Stumbling Into Something?

Don’t mistake this post for contentment about the state of the Yankees. I don’t think any fan who takes a hard look at the team can feel great right now. But, I think the anger over the Lyle Overbay signing is obscuring the fact that the Yankees may have improved a lousy situation.

It’s not a pretty solution, but the idea of using Overbay at first against RHP and Nix at 3b against LHP with Youkilis shuttling between the two spots maximizes the Yankees chances to win. Overbay had a pretty solid year with Arizona in 2012 and although the Red Sox cut him loose if he can hit RHP like he did in ’12 he will be a positive addition. Nix can hit lefties a bit, so this three-headed platoon just might work. Besides, what was the real alternative? Would Juan Rivera have been an upgrade? I don’t think so.

The Yankees have done the best they can to cobble together patches for Granderson and Teixeira. Francisco could provide some protection against LHP and Neal is in the minors if he stumbles. Bosch will give them some protection against an injury to Hafner and maybe Wells will be rejuvenated by a move to New York. And, considering all the roster changes over the past two weeks it is very possible that the Yankees have a new face joining the team before the More

Evaluating The Offseason

With pitchers and catchers reporting , we can look back and evaluate the moves the Yankees have made to prepare for the 2013 season. For me, the frustration of this offseason is that the Yankees seemed to try and thread the needle between two different goals. The first goal is the desire to get to a payroll of $189 million in 2014. The second goal is to win the World Series. Now, I don’t believe those two goals are mutually exclusive, but there is not a lot of overlap between the two of them because of the way the Yankees are currently constructed.

The Yankees made some curious choices in their approach to achieving both goals. They let Russell Martin leave for Pittsburgh because they didn’t want to give him a two-year deal and then turned around and gave a two-year deal to a 39-year old outfielder. They let Eric Chavez sign with Arizona for a paltry $3 million and then gave Kevin Youkilis $12 million to play third. Without breaking down each deal, I think it is fair to say the Yankees aren’t better than they were at the end of 2012, but I am not sure that they are as bad as a lot of people think. (A healthy Brett Gardner is a very under-appreciated asset.)

The problem is, they will be very hard to project. If they stay healthy (a big if) and find reasonable solutions to their catching and right-handed outfield needs, I could see them winning 90 games. But, if the older guys show their age and they don’t figure out how to plug those holes, I could see things going the other way and a sub.500 finish being the result.

So what are the big questions heading into camp? Here are my top-3.

1- Who is the starting catcher? From everything I read, Yankee decision makers think Romine is ready for the bigs from a glove standpoint. If that is true, I would make him the starter because the other options have very little upside offensively and Romine just might hit. One thing to keep in mind, Francisco Cervelli still has an option, so he can be sent to the minors.

2- Who is the 5th starter? Barring injury, we know that the Yankees’ rotation will be Sabathia, Kuroda, Pettitte and Hughes, but the fifth starter is probably a two-man race between Nova and Phelps. Based on 2012, Phelps should win this in a laugher, but I think the Yankees will give Nova every chance to win the job.

3- What is the bench? This is a really easy one to predict by role, but very hard to predict by name. We know there will be a backup catcher, right-handed outfielder, backup infielder and one other player on the bench. My early guesses would be Stewart, Diaz, Nix and Nunez, but I think this is a wide-open competition. Stewart makes sense, assuming he is not the starting catcher, as he did it in 2012. Diaz is my early pick over Juan Rivera, but I am hoping the Yankees find some other players for this competition. I think Nix’s versatility earns him a role as the Yankees will need someone who can fill multiple positions. Nunez is an utter guess because I just don’t understand what the Yankees are doing with him. Is he really only a shortstop? Even if he is, there would be value is carrying him on the roster as a SS/DH/PH. He could play a fair amount of short against LHP, moving Jeter to DH. He could also provide a runner off the bench.

These next seven weeks will answer a lot of questions.

 

The Sad Truth

The names continue to drip out of the Miami clinic and there are rumors that the newspaper that broke the story is going to cooperate with MLB , so expect more names to appear soon. But, none of this will solve the basic problem which the originally story outlined, the drugs are just too cheap.

Lost in the hype over the names in the original story was this little nugget:

On a 2009 client list, near A-Rod’s name, is that of Yuri Sucart, who paid Bosch $500 for a weeklong supply of HGH.

$500 a week means a yearlong supply of HGH is $26,000. MLB players who are in the majors make a minimum of $490,000 this year. And remember, up until now there has been no way to test for HGH. When you consider the millions handed out to players with even average stats, I think you would have to agree that the temptation to cheat and start using HGH must be very, very high for a lot of players.

And that’s the sad reality of all of this. There will always be new drugs developed that athletes will find out about. With millions of dollars on the line, the temptations to cheat will always be there. MLB can trumpet its drug policies all it wants, but its hard to see how we will ever have a truly clean game in the 21st Century.

We’re Back!

Welcome to the new YankeesRedsox.com. We are really excited about the improvements we have made to the site. We hope you will enjoy them too.

For those of you interested, let me take you through the changes we have made-

We have changed from a Moveable Type to a WordPress blog. We did this for two reasons.

1- Moveable Type is not supported to the extent it was when we started using it in 2005. This has caused us all sorts of headaches from tremendous volumes of spam to wade through to a very bland site layout. WordPress fixes those two concerns.

2- Commenting will be much, much easier for you (no more Type Key) and you can now reply directly to a comment left on your comment. In addition, Andy and I, as authors of posts, will be notified when you leave a comment.

We would like to give a shout out to Cord Blomquist and his team at ReadyMadeWeb that held our hand throughout this process. Thanks to them we have a much more stable platform to operate on.

2013 marks the 10th anniversary of YankeesRedsox.com. Andy and I have loved the first ten years and we are looking forward to the next 10. Thanks to all of you for your support, we wouldn’t keep doing this without you.

What Do You Do With Martin?

Arbitration figures are in and Russell Martin has asked for $8.2 million and the Yankees have offered $7 million. It seems like there would be common ground around $7.5 million or so, but should the Yankees try and lock him up for longer than that?

The case for doing so is obvious. Martin was was good as a Yankee. He was streaky with the bat, but solid on defense. Fangraphs had him at 3.1 wins above replacement, which ties him for 10th in MLB. He will turn 29 before the season starts, so his age is not a factor in the immediate future. And, with Montero in Seattle, the Yankees don’t have an obvious replacement in their system. Cervelli seems to be a backup at best and Romine should be allowed to get more than 15 AB’s at AAA.

But, he has been brittle in the past and while he hit 18 homers, his overall line of .237/.324/.408 isn’t something to get too excited about. Yes, his defense is very good, but will it be that much better than Romine’s could be in 2013? The Yankees could simply settle their arbitration case with him this year and then let him go to free agency after the season and make their decision then.

It seems to me that the best course of action is to try and lock Martin in for a two-year deal now. The Yankees could offer two years and $17 million or so. That keeps Martin off the 2014 payroll, but also allows Austin Romine a chance to break into the bigs slowly. Now that he is the catcher of the future, Romine should get a full season at AAA with a promotion to the bigs in September. The Yankees could move Cervelli next offseason, when he is arbitration eligible, and use Romine as Martin’s backup for one season like they did with Jorge and Girardi all those years ago.

The question is, would Martin accept that offer?

The Motown Miracle

Let’s get this out of the way. The last time AJ Burnett allowed only one earned run or less in a start was June 13th. So, yeah this was a miracle and please don’t expect it to happen again this postseason. That being said, thanks AJ.

There were a lot of positive things that happened tonight. From AJ’s pitching to the offense finally awakening. The Yankees won a game they had to have and now they head home and face another do-or-die game. You have to feel good right now as a Yankees’ fan, but there are plenty of pitfalls ahead. Can Nova pitch well in a pivotal game? Will the Yankees be able to hit Fister the second time around?

It’s great we have to worry about all of this. Much more tomorrow and Thursday, enjoy this one!

Yanks Add Garcia

Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Yankees have signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league deal. Garcia is an upgrade over Sergio Mitre in the fifth spot and if he can replicate his 2010 performance (4.64 ERA over 157 innings) in 2011 they would be thrilled.

An area of concern is the drop in his strikeout rate and the increase in his walk rate, but overall this is a solid move. Nothing really risked and a definite upgrade over the current alternatives for the rotation.

Now It Makes Some Sense

Here’s a little detail, via LoHud, that helps the Chan Ho Park signing make sense.  Both Mitre and Gaudin have non-guaranteed deals. So, the Yankees could release them from their contracts and not have to pay them.  That’s a big deal considering Gaudin is due almost $3 million and Mitre $1 million if they make the team.  

 

Hairston Gone

Jerry Hairston just signed a one-year/$2.15 million deal with the Padres. It’s not that shocking that the Yankees let him go, he just doesn’t have the bat to play the outfield and Ramiro Pena can do almost exactly the same things Hairston does.

His signing means that of the seven free agents the Yankees had at the end of 2009, four have found homes.  Hinske (Atl), Matsui (Ana) and Hairston (SD) all went elsewhere with Pettitte coming back to NY.  It leaves Nady, Damon and Molina still looking for a team to play on next year and we are less than a month from pitchers and catchers. 

Love It

I’m on vacation so this is being type on my cellphone. I think Cashman did a great job with today’s deal. Yes, we remember Vazquez from 2004 but he has consistently struck out 150 and won 10 games a year this decade. He will be asked to be the fourth starter and is a great bet to throw 200 innings. Losing Melky is not something I am upset about and Dunn is a raw talent who could be replaced by Logan. The prospect had a great year in Staten Island but is years away from the Bronx. The Yankees are built to win now and this gives them an excellent shot. Great move for 2010