Category Archives: Media

If you were Cashman….

If I were Cashman….

 

Ok. There are a lot of thoughts out there as to what someone would do if they were the GM of the Yanks. If they were Cashman. Here is what I would do. Here is what some think will happen. Feel free to add what you would do.

Remember, you don’t have an unlimited budget. You have to work within the constraints and budget that Hal Steinbrenner gives you.

Also, realize that you are stuck with some ballplayers. McCann has four years left on his deal. A-Rod and Teix two, CC a couple, two for Beltran, six for Ellsbury and Tanaka, etc.

So, I’ll take this position by position, and check into free agents and upgrades.

 

Catcher: McCann has four years left. He led the Yanks in HR and RBI in 2014 with 23 and 75. He only hit .232. The OPS+ was just 93. I’ll take the power numbers, but the average has to increase. Now, as for Cervelli, Romine, Murphy and Sanchez, you now have five catchers (inc. McCann) for the majors and AAA. That is too many. Someone (or two) has to go. McCann will get most of the playing time in the majors. Someone has to get most of the time at AAA (Sanchez?). That means you have to choose on backups. There isn’t enough playing time to go around. The Yanks have to decide who will back up McCann on the MLB level, and who will be the top starter (prospect) at AAA. Someone, or two, have to go. The Yanks have to decide who stays, and who gets included in a package deal. They also need to know what the market would bring for a Cervelli, Romine, Murphy…

So… if I were Cashman, I move one or two of these catchers in a package deal.

 

Infield/DH: You are stuck with Teixeira at 1B. You are stuck with A-Rod as probably the DH (with some time at 3B and maybe backup to the fragile Teix at 1B). Martin Prado fits in here somewhere at 2B or 3B. Ok, do you bring back Chase Headley for 3B/1B? Apparently the Yanks are talking to him about doing so. If they bring him back, does that mean Prado will be at 2B in 2015 and Headley at 3B (with A-Rod mostly DH-ing and playing 3B or 1B only when Headley or Teix need a breather?)

What about Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder? Both hit .300 at AAA in 2014. Pirela is more versatile than Refsnyder. Do you give one, or both, a chance?

And what about SS? Brendan Ryan has a good glove, but couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Hanley Ramirez is a free agent, but he has been injured recently and some think he is better suited for 3B now than SS. That doesn’t help the Yanks. Ramirez, 31 next year, if healthy, can give .290-20-95 with 20 SB. If the Yanks don’t get him, they could go after a lower-tier SS like bringing back Stephen Drew, or going after Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie.

What I would do is something different. Last year at the trade deadline, the Cubs picked up a top SS prospect from the A’s in the Samadzija/Hammel deal. Now, do they want the young prospect at SS, or do they want to keep Starlin Castro there? Is Castro available now that they have that young top prospect? Castro is 25, a 3x All-Star. Eventually the Yanks have to get younger. A 3x All-Star who is only 25 is a nice way to go. The only thing is, will the Cubs trade and who will they trade? They have a lot of money and some indications are they will go “full Steinbrenner” mode and spend a lot on free agents this offseason. So are they open to a trade?

Another trade possibility could be with the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo, like Ramirez, would come with injury questions. Great players, but they have to stay on the field. Ramirez is a free agent, while you would have to work out a trade for Tulo.

My first option: with the young prospect that the Cubs have for SS, see about a deal (and include one of the catchers listed above—Cervelli, Romine or Murphy) in a package deal for Castro. Maybe include Sanchez if necessary (after all, you have McCann for four more years). Tulo and Ramirez are some five to six years older than Castro. Maybe the Cubs don’t go for the package deal. Maybe they are fixed on free agent Russell Martin for catcher. See about a trade first for Castro. Then see about one for Tulo. Then go after Ramirez if the trades are not there. There is less talk about Castro or Tulo not cutting it at SS any more than there is with Ramirez.

Of course if Castro, Tulo, Ramirez fail, then there is plan B—-Drew, Lowrie, Cabrera.

I also let Headley go. I go with the kids Refsnyder and Pirela, and play Prado at 3B. I don’t think the Yanks will do that. I think they will go full in for Headley at 3B, want Prado at 2B and want to give Refsnyder more time at AAA. What they do with Pirela, I don’t know. Maybe a backup. But I give Refsnyder the job at 2B. I make Pirela (who can play five positions) a utility guy and I let Headley go.

Outfield: You have Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran. If A-Rod Dh’s, Beltran has to be able to play RF. They could use a righty bat to compliment these players. Soriano is gone. Chris Young was there late last year.

My choice: sign Michael Morse as a free agent. His defense isn’t the best, but the dude can hit. He can play LF/RF and back up Teix at 1B.

 

So if I had 13 position players to start 2015 with, here are my choices.

C: McCann 1B: Teixeira 2B: Refsnyder (give the rookie a shot) SS: Castro (or Ramirez or Tulo) 3B: Prado. LF: Gardner CF: Ellsbury RF: Beltran DH: A-Rod.

Ok, that is 9. Now, four backups.

My choices: Backup C: Cervelli (or Murphy, whoever isn’t dealt). Sanchez at AAA with Murphy or Romine, whoever is still here.

Jose Pirela: He can play 1B, 2B. 3B, LF or RF. Versatile. Give the kid a shot, along with Refsnyder.

Mike Morse. Can fill in at LF/RF/1B and DH.

Brendan Ryan. Last guy on the bench. Glove man. All infield positions. Mostly backup at 2B and SS.

Pitchers. Assuming Kuroda is retiring.

Let McCarthy go via free agency.

Go full bore after Max Scherzer. Lester and Shields are available as Plan B if you don’t get Scherzer. Apparently the Cubs want Lester, Boston wants Shields. The Cubs could go for Scherzer AND Lester. But Scherzer, 30, 39-8 in the past two years, is priority #1.

The rotation could then be Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, CC (aging and coming off a knee injury, he drops to #4) and Shane Greene. It’s nice to have two aces at the top. Even three.

If Greene fails at #5, Ivan Nova comes back from TJ surgery next year, probably at mid-season.

You also could fill the #5 slot with Phelps, Manny Banuelos (if he isn’t dealt in a package deal), Bryan Mitchell (package deal?), or Jaron Long (same thing).

 

Go full out in keeping Robertson (the Yanks made him a qualifying offer, will he accept?). That way, Betances can stay as a setup guy (and you could use him two innings at a time). Phelps, Warren and Kelley make five relief guys, with Phelps and Warren able to give more than one inning and being available to spot start if needed. This leaves room for two lefties. Give Jacob Lindgren a shot. Maybe bring back David Huff, who can give innings also.

 

There are still problems with the team. I’m not sold on Beltran, A-Rod, McCann and Teix being the 4-7 hitters (in whatever order). There is still some age.

But I try to bring in some youth in Lindgren, Refsnyder, and Pirela. I try to have a two or three-ace pitching rotation with Scherzer and Tanaka. It’s three if Pineda (1.89 ERA in 2014) can stay healthy. Four if CC can be CC again (I don’t think it’ll happen).

I look for some versatility in Prado (mostly 3B, but can play 2B, LF, RF), Morse (LF/RF/1B) and Pirela (1B/2B/3B/LF/RF). Look for A-Rod to mostly DH but fill in at 1B/3B.

Anyway, for me, I go one big free agent splash (Scherzer), one minor one (Morse) and then see about acquisition #3… either big free agent splash (Ramirez) or big trade (Tulo or Castro).

That is what I’d do… as for others….

MLB Trade Rumors and SI have the Yanks getting Scherzer and Ramirez.

However, in the NY Post, Ken Davidoff has them getting neither, but getting cheaper alternatives.

So here is my team, with the crossouts from my team with a line through them, and then the Davidoff replacements following in italic.

McCann, Cervelli or Murphy, Teixeira, Refsnyder, Headley , Prado, Ramirez (or Tulo or Castro), Drew, A-Rod, Ryan, Pirela. So it would look like the infield would be Headley at 3B, Prado at 2B with Drew at SS. No offense to Drew, but a big comedown from my hoping for Castro, Ramirez or Tulowitzki.

Outfield: Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, Morse. (maybe the Yanks go cheap and instead of Morse, keep Chris Young. Again, a comedown?)

 

Pitching: Scherzer, McCarthy, Tanaka, Pineda, CC and Greene. (with Nova coming back mid-season if someone falters/gets hurt)

Robertson, Betances, Warren, Phelps, Kelley, Lindgren and Huff. Andrew Miller. Not sure who would be scratched, Huff or the rookie Lindgren.

But with Davidoff’s team, it appears like Refsnyder and Lindgren get more minor league time. Also, the Yanks go with cheaper alternatives (McCarthy and Drew) than the big play Scherzer/Ramirez types.

If the Yanks are able to get Miller and retain Robertson, that bullpen could be lights out.

But the offense really worries me, esp. if they go on the cheap and hope for a rebound from Drew instead of going in the direction I am going in.

 

Ok, you’ve seen some scenarios.

 

Now if YOU were Cashman, what would YOU do?

Dynasty? SF wins 3rd title in 5 years.

When you think of baseball dynasties, you think of the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle Yankees of 1921-1964. The Big Red Machine. The Bronx Zoo. The Torre Yankees of 1996-2003. When you look at the makeup of the San Francisco Giants, you don’t see dynasty. But after winning their third title in the last five years, maybe that qualifies them as one now. At the very least, with the decade half-over, they can already call themselves the team of the decade (unless someone else runs off three or four titles over the next five years). The Giants became the first road team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 when they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 last night.

Madison Bumgarner joined a very select group of pitchers to win three WS games in the same Series. Bumgarner got the save. For his efforts, Bumgarner was named WS MVP. 2012 WS MVP Pedro “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval went 3 for 3, Mike Morse drove in two runs, and all the damage was done by the 4-7 hitters. Neither starting pitcher went four innings. Both managers had quick hooks. SF starter Tim Hudson went just 1 2/3, and KC starter Jeremy Guthrie 3 1/3. With neither starter going five innings, the decision on who got the win came down to an official scorer’s decision. Usually, they just hand the win to the pitcher who was on the mound when the eventual game-winning run was scored. That was Jeremy Affeldt, who was credited with the win. But the official scorer did not get it right. He handed the win to Affeldt. He did not have to. This was “official scorer’s discretion” and the guy who should have been given the win was Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen on two days rest to pitch five innings of scoreless relief and preserve a 3-2 lead. Bumgarner thus wound up winning Games 1, 5 and saving Game 7 of this WS. No guts by the official scorer there. He went “formula.”

The difference in the series turned out to be one run, and one man. And perhaps, one slip. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Sandoval reached on an infield single. KC 2B Omar Infante made a nice play getting to the ball, but his right leg slipped out from under him as he tried to throw out Sandoval at first. Had he not slipped, who knows? That’s baseball. Sandoval eventually scored the eventual WS-winning run later that inning on a single by Morse. SF manager Bruce Bochy showed guts in going to Bumgarner. 3 titles in 5 years should put him into the HOF one day. Funny how he did go to Bumgarner after some “experts” I heard on ESPN radio said that there was no way Bumgarner should pitch, and no more than one inning. What pansies. To me, it was refreshing seeing Game 7 the way it should be. You manage that game differently than other games. The players have all offseason to rest, and although he didn’t start, Bumgarner winning pitching in a third WS game reminded me of Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2001 WS (a painful memory for us Yankees fans), or Lew Burdette starting on two days rest in 1957 (another painful memory for Yankees fans),  Sandy Koufax in 1965 pitching a CG shutout on two days rest, Bob Gibson going 1-4-7 in 1967 or Mickey Lolich going 1-5-7 in 1968 (and facing and beating 1-4-7 Gibson in that 1968 Game 7). You go with your best in Game 7. You manage differently.

Bochy managed it brilliantly. If Bumgarner would have been too tired after only two days of rest, Bochy would have heard it from here to eternity. But Bochy played his trump card. He went with, and stayed with, his best. That’s one thing I’ll take out of this WS. One run, and one man (Bumgarner) made the difference. KC has nothing to be ashamed of.

So the offseason begins… with free agency, trades, etc. and oh yeah,….. A-Rod is now officially back. (Crying.).

In other news, it looks like a few moves are coming soon. Joe Maddon, who just left the Rays, is expected to take the manager job with the Cubs, and there are rumors that the Yanks are after Raul Ibanez to be their next hitting coach.

NLDS: Nats stay alive, St. Louis goes 1-up.

The San Francisco Giants didn’t get the sweep they were hoping for, as their pitcher, Madison Baumgarner, made an error that let in two runs and set up a third for the Washington Nationals, enabling the Nats to stay alive in their postseason series. Washington won 4-1 and kept hopes alive for a Beltway Series between them and the Baltimore Orioles. Game 4 is today.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals got homers from Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong in defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 to take a 2 games to 1 lead in that NLDS. For Carpenter, it was his third straight game with a HR and a double. Wong’s 2-run HR in the 7th broke a 1-1 tie. Game 4 is tonight, and Midwesterners are hoping for a redux of the 1985 Cardinals-Kansas City Royals series (and now, with instant replay and challenges, there won’t be a Don Denkinger moment, as what happened in Game 6 of the 1985 WS).

I really wish the media would stop comparing postseason stats as if all were the same. It’s unfair to the pre-1969 players like Ruth, Gehrig, Berra and Mantle who had WS only to compare their stats to the Jeters, Bernie Williams, etc. who have had LDSs, LCSs and WS.

Division Series/Jeter’s new venture.

Derek Jeter didn’t waste any time opening up a new venture. The Players’ Tribune will be a digital media site in which players take stories directly to the people, eliminating the middle man (or woman) of the media.

The ALDS started yesterday. Baltimore destroyed Detroit 12-3, while Kardiac KC did it in extra innings again, defeating the Angels 3-2 in 11.

The NLDS starts today. The two Game 1’s of the NLDS, combined with two Game 2’s of the ALDS mean wall to wall baseball today, weather permitting.

You were saying?

In 2012, a certain NY beat writer arrogantly dismissed me when I mentioned that the Yanks should call up Steve Pearce, who that year in AAA hit .318-11-30 in 53 games for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At the time I advocated for his call up, the Yanks had some injuries/slumping players, I forget which. It was probably a combination of the two.

Now this reporter usually dismisses minor leaguers. I don’t know why he doesn’t like to give them chances. After all, he was a rookie in his job at one time. Someone had to give HIM a chance at one time. Often, he has no clue who is doing well in the minors or at what level. He’d rather bring in a washed up veteran than give a kid a chance.

I remember Suzyn Waldman once urging the Yanks to bring a 45-year-old David Wells out of retirement rather than bring up and see what a promising minor league prospect had. Really? You couldn’t give a youngster a chance to establish himself but want to bring a faded, retired veteran out of retirement? But then, we remember her going way over the top when the Yanks brought Roger Clemens out of retirement in 2007.

For all the praise heaped on the Core Five (and yes, I include Bernie Williams along with the “Core Four” of Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada), someone had to give them that first chance. Now, a quintet that that coming along at about the same time (Bernie came up four years before the others) doesn’t happen but once in a generation, and the Yanks’ minor league talent isn’t as deep as it was 20-25 years ago with those players, but people, especially youngsters, need chances.

But I digress. In 2012, Pearce played for three different major league teams at the age of 29. He wasn’t a prospect, but someone who bounced back and forth from the majors to the minors for Pittsburgh from 2007-2011. In that timeframe he hit .232-9-52 in 185 games. His OPS+ was 79. Nothing to write home about.

In 2012, for three teams (Balt/Hou/NYY) Pearce hit .239-4-26 in 61 games. OPS+ 92. He was 4 for 25, 1 HR, 4 RBI for the Yankees in 12 games. Nothing to write home about, and probably a good cause for the one reporter’s arrogant dismissal.

But sometimes all it takes is a player to get a chance and to be used right and managed correctly, which is what I hoped the Yanks could do with Pearce in 2012.

In 2013, Pearce only played in 44 games with Baltimore, but put up an OPS+ of 114. Solid. .261-4-13.

This year, the 1B/OF has an OPS+ of an excellent 146. .284-16-39 as a platoon player. Now, Pearce is a righty batter and LF at Camden Yards is as much of a short porch—-with a short wall—as RF is at Yankee Stadium. After all, it’s just 364 to LCF there (most places have it 370-390, and Yankee Stadium has a 399). That short LCF may have helped Pearce.

But look at those numbers. Pearce could have fit right into this Yankees team as a legitimate 1B backup to Teixeira (rather than using the players the Yanks HAVE used this year there). He also could have been a legitimate righty-hitting backup to Gardner and platoon partner for the power-challenged Ichiro in RF.

In 2013-2014 combined, Pearce has hit .278-20-52 in 136 games, 425 at bats. The OPS+ is a superb 136.

Take a look at those numbers. You think they wouldn’t fit in well with these offensively challenged Yankees?

Sometimes, all it takes is an opportunity, and a manager who gives you that opportunity. Someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and who maximizes those strengths and minimizes those weaknesses by platooning you —playing you and sitting you at the appropriate times. It appears Buck has done that with Pearce down in Baltimore.

We have no idea whether Pearce’s recent success will continue. After all, he is 31 now. But his 2013 and 2014 seasons have me doing a few things.

One is to shake my head and wonder what might have been. Could Girardi have utilized Pearce as Buck has? His numbers match anything any current Yankee has done this year. As I wrote above, he would have been a fine fit on this team as a backup 1B/sometimes DH/RF platoon/backup OF.

Besides shaking my head, there is also the satisfaction of having the last laugh.

Sometimes, all one needs is a chance.

The Minors, 7-11-14.

AAA: SWB won 5-1. RF Jose Pirela 3 hits, rbi. (.324). How I wish the Yanks would call him and Refsnyder up. Of course, you’d have to determine who they would replace. C Austin Romine 3 H, 2 RBI. Up to .244 after a brutal start to this season.

AA: Trenton lost 5-4 in 10. I really am down on Manny Banuelos, once considered a pitching star of the future. Banuelos has not gone more than three innings in any start this year as the Yanks are bringing him along slowly after his recovery from surgery. But he has an ERA of 5.79 at Trenton this year. Last night 3 R in 2 2/3. Until I see him going six-plus innings and getting that ERA down, how can I be encouraged? 1B Zach Wilson solo HR. 3B Rob Segedin 2 doubles, 2 rbi.

High A: Tampa lost 2-1. Three players with two hits each.

Low A: Charleston’s game was postponed, but here is an interesting announcement the Charleston Riverdogs put on Twitter:

Charleston RiverDogs ‏@ChasRiverDogs · 21m
Thirty five years ago today our Pres Mike Veeck blew up disco records, on July 19 we will give @MileyCyrus & @justinbieber similar treatment

Game 83. Yanks fall below .500 with 6-3 loss.

Not the way to end a homestand, losing five in a row.

Maybe the road will do them some good.

The Yanks lost to the Rays today 6-3. Tampa sweeps the three game set at the Stadium.

Vidal Nuno was, well, Vidal Nuno. He drops to 2-5, 5.42 after going 5 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 8 H, 2 walks and 5 K. He faced one batter in the sixth after giving up 3 R, 2 earned.

Shawn Kelley, struggling since coming off the DL, let that inherited runner score, and another, by giving up a HR. 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 2 K. 4.63.

The game got off on a good foot, when Brett Gardner led off the bottom of the first with a HR (8). He tied his career high with that HR.

The Rays got a run in the third to tie it up, but Brian McCann Hit a HR in the bottom of the third (10) to put the Yanks up 2-1.

Tampa Bay tied it in the top of the fourth off of Nuno, then the Yanks went up 3-2 in the bottom half of the inning on a Gardner single. Gardner had 3 hits and 2 rbi in the game. He also threw a runner out at the plate.

But then Nuno gave up a run in the fifth and Kelley the 2-run HR in the sixth. Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the ninth.

Warren 1 1/3, 0 R, 2 H, 1 walk, 1 K. 2.82.

Huff 1 2/3, 1 R, unearned, 0 hits, 2 walks and 1 K. 4.73.

The Yanks were 1 for 9 with RISP.

The loss drops the Yanks under .500 to 41-42 and 4 1/2 behind Toronto in the AL East. They are still in 3rd, but 3 back of the 2nd place Orioles. They are five out of the last wild card spot.

Some A-Rod news coming from SI. Apparently he was approved by MLB to take some testosterone and some other strong PEDs in various years, including his MVP year of 2007. Rumors are he’s been using PEDs since his junior year in high school.

The Yanks are going big in the international market. Apparently five of the top 10 young international stars will be signing contracts with the Yanks and as many as 11 of the top 18. Now if just half pan out…