Tag Archives: Schneider

Yanks sign Mo, but now need a catcher

The Yanks and Mariano Rivera reached agreement on a one-year contract worth $10 MM + incentives on Mo’s 43rd birthday yesterday.

It’s expected that the 2013 season will be Mo’s swan song.

But the Yanks now need a catcher. Russell Martin, who hit .211-21-53, OPS+ 92, has signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh, leaving the Yanks with Francisco Cervelli (who spent almost all of last year in AAA), untested Austin Romine, who missed most of last year with a back injury, and Chris Stewart, Martin’s backup last year.

Stewart hit .241-1-13, OPS+ 67 in 55 games last year. Romine, 24, was 3 for 19 in 2011 in a brief callup with the Yanks, but got into just 31 minor league games last year due to his back injury, hitting .243-4-15. It’d be a stretch to suggest he is ready.

Cervelli, who’ll be 27 next year, hit .246-2-39 at AAA last year. In 490 MLB at bats, Cervelli is .271-5-71, OPS+ 84.

Martin only hit .211 last year (and spent most of the year in the .180’s), but it’s still a dropoff.

Gary Sanchez, who’ll be 20 soon, is far from ready. He hit .290-18-85, and could be the catcher of the future, but he hasn’t played any games at all above High-A.

So do the Yanks trade for a catcher?

The two free agent catchers out there are Mike Napoli, 31, who is more of a hitter than a catcher. Napoli hit .227-24-56 last year for Texas, OPS+ 110 (but wags (like me?) would say his low average/high HR would fit in with the Yanks’ lineup). He had 30 HR for Texas in 2011, has postseason experience (10 RBI in the 2011 WS). But his defense isn’t good. He is a .259 career hitter with a very good OPS+ of 126. However he doesn’t seem to fit defensively, as Girardi, a former catcher known for his defense, would want someone in the same defensive mold as himself.

The other free agent catcher is A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski hit a career high 27 HR his past season, .278-27-77. OPS+ 118. His average year is more like .284-13-60, OPS+ 96. He, like Napoli, has postseason experience (and, in his case, a WS ring from 2005), but I don’t see his personality (he can be grating) fitting in with the Yanks.

The Yanks said that they didn’t have the money to compete with Pittsburgh on Martin’s deal. Like one friend stated on his blog, read that again.

It’s too bad Brian Schneider isn’t five years younger. Schneider comes from my hometown, and is a lefty bat. But he hasn’t played regularly since 2008. Since then he hasn’t played in more than 59 games in a season, and has hit just .214. Schneider, a fine defensive catcher, if he were 31 instead of 36, could have platooned with Cervelli until Romine is ready. But even if he were in his prime, and gave you 100 games, the best you would expect from Schneider would be .247-8-40 or so.

Maybe the Yanks force-feed Romine now into the starting role, but I doubt it. But instead of getting the year in AAA he needs, Romine could be force-fed into the backup role. But as of now, I see Cervelli #1 and Stewart #2.

That could change over the next few months. It most likely will, but who would be the new catcher? In any case, it appears that that new catcher would just be a stopgap. But you never know.

No, I don’t see Posada (41) coming out of retirement. Remember that Jorge hasn’t caught regularly since 2010, and his defense in the last few years of his career was highly suspect.

But considering the age of this team, with Jeter, Mo, Pettitte, A-Rod, Kuroda, and possibly Chavez and Ichiro, Jorge would fit right in, wouldn’t he?

Kershaw wins NL CYA

Clayton Kershaw won the National League Cy Young Award after going 21-5, 2.28. As with Verlander in the AL, he won the “Triple Crown” of pitching for his league, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Roy Halladay was second, Cliff Lee third and one-time Yankee Ian Kennedy fourth.

Could Bobby V be the next manager of Boston? Rumors are they’ve chatted.

Meanwhile, Dale Sveum is the new Cubs manager. Sveum played for Milwaukee 1986-1988, 1990-91, the Phils 1992, White Sox 1992, A’s 1993, Mariners 1994, Pirates 1996-1997, Yankees 1998 and Pirates II 1999. He hit .236, OPS+ 82 in his career. His best year was 1987, when he had 25 HR and 95 RBI.

As an interim manager, Sveum took over the Brewers for the last twelve games of the 2008 season and went 7-5. The Brewers were the wild card, and Sveum managed them in the NLDS, losing to the Phils three games to one.

Brian Schneider, who graduated from my hometown’s high school, re-signed with the Phils today.

Game 85. Yanks win 6th straight behind Andy and Alex. The Value of the bunt.

Six in a row for the Yanks, but it wasn’t easy. Quite frustrating, actually in the 3-1 win.

The Yanks blew numerous scoring opportunities. The M’s scored in the 6th to go up 1-0. More on that later on how and why they scored.

The Yanks tied it in the 8th when A-Rod walked, Cano singled, only A-Rod advanced on a WP (why didn’t Cano advance?) and Alex scored when Jorge GIDP.

In the 9th, with one out Jeter walked. Swisher doubled. You have to say this for Swishalicious. On the day he was voted into the All-Star Game (and no matter what you think about ballot stuffing, deservability, etc. , consider this:) he went 4 for 4 with 2 doubles and a walk to raise his BA to .307. I cursed as Teix popped up to the catcher. But Alex came through with a 2-run single to put the Yanks up 3-1.

Exit Andy who would go to 11-2, ERA 2.70 and he passes Wells on the all-time wins list. #240 ties him with Frank Tanana.

Mo for the 9th for save #546 (20 this year) but it wasn’t easy. How tough? He struck out the first batter, Casey Kotchman, but it took 12 pitches as Kotchman fouled off everything. Mo is skipping the ASG claiming rib and knee injuries, but save #20 lowers his ERA (he had a 1-2-3) to 1.05.

The power of the bunt: Before the Yanks game started, I caught the end of the Phillies game, in which Brian “Hoops” Schneider hit a walk-off HR to win it. Brian graduated from my hometown’s high school and I knew (and know) his grandparents and uncle well.

But the Reds could have won it in the 9th. Down 3-2 and with no one out in the top of the 9th, the Reds had 1st and 2nd with no one out. I mentioned to friends at the bar that I was at that the Reds needed to bunt the runners over. Stay out of the DP. Get 2nd and 3rd, one out. A SF ties the game, a hit puts Cincy in the lead. The only problem was, the guy at the plate, Jay Bruce, can’t bunt, while the guy in the on-deck circle, our old buddy Miguel Cairo, can. Sure enough, fears were realized as Bruce GIDP. Runner at 3rd, two out, whereas if Bruce could have laid one down, it would have been second and third, one out. Cairo, the guy who CAN bunt, doubled to tie the game. Had Bruce been able to sac, Cairo’s double would have put Cincy INTO the lead instead of just tying it. Cincy could have won in 9. Instead they lost in 12.

Let’s take this further. As mentioned above, the Yanks won, but how did Seattle score its only run? Two singles to lead off the 6th, then Ichiro laid one down for a hit. Andy threw it away and the runner on 2nd scored. The ability and speed of Ichiro to bunt for a hit.

Not only that, the inability (once again) of Pettitte to field a bunt. He had the same problem with the Dodgers, remember?

The ability to lay down a bunt (or field it) is a lost art. How many of you remember Pettitte’s exquisite play on a bunt in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series that preserved the Yanks’ 1-0 win? How many remember the bad throw Mo (a GREAT athlete and fielder) made in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 WS? How many of you remember the poor job Detroit pitchers did on the bunts on them in the 2006 WS? Now Andy in LA and Seattle. Granted the Yanks are in the DH-less AL, but the little things DO matter. The ability to lay down—and field—a bunt could determine a championship. 

King James is Miami bound to join Bosh and Wade. Miami has to be the favorites in the East come 2010/2011. As for Cleveland, the wait for another title (last one, late December, 1964) will continue for quite some time.        

                     

Halladay news.

That’s Halladay, not Holiday (season’s greetings).

Heard on the Mike and Mike show that apparently Roy Halladay is trying to force the issue. Says he’ll exercise his no-trade once S.T. starts.

Of course, being that Doc is a free agent after 2010, whoever he would go to would want to lock him into an extension.

…and here we go. Let the rumors begin (if they haven’t already…)   

 

Update, 12-1, pm: As Joe P. points out in the comments, the Phils signed Brian Schneider to a contract to backup Carlos Ruiz. Schneider graduated from the same high school I attended. I’ve known his uncle Mike for quite some time. Brian, or “Hoops” as he’s known by, started his career with Montreal and moved with the franchise to Washington before being dealt to the Mets. A fine defensive catcher, Schneider is a .251 career hitter, OPS+ 82. Being in Philly means a lot of his family and friends will be able to see him—a homecoming if you will, since his hometown high school is about 60 miles from Philadelphia. Granted NY wasn’t that far away either. Schneider had a very tough 2009 with the Mets, hitting just .218, and I’ve heard some things about the Mets chemistry and clubhouse dysfunctionality through the grapevine that aren’t too flattering. In other words, spell that team M-E-S-S. The Phils might be glad they don’t have to face him anymore. “Hoops” drove in more runs against the Phils than any other opponent he has faced.

Next year? OF could be the priority

Tim Dierkes of MLBTR has a list of free agents after the 2009 season. In looking at the list, here are my thoughts. Dierkes bolded the Boras agents and put the 2010 age of the free agents on his list.

Jose Molina will become a free agent, and he’d turn 35 in 2010. Posada will be 38 by then already, meaning the Yanks would have to re-sign Jose, hope Cervelli is ready or get another backup C. Victor Martinez has a $7M club option with a $250K buyout. I’d expect Cleveland to pick that up. However Brian Schneider, at 33, could be a free agent after 2009. Schneider is from my hometown, having graduated from my town’s high school (my alma mater). Should the Yanks not get Jose back, Schneider could be a decent backup, and a backup in 2010 may be used more due to Posada’s age. Schneider doesn’t hit much (.253, OPS+ 83) but is known as a fine defensive catcher who calls a good game. He is a lefty bat. By contrast, Jose is a righty bat, .237 and an OPS+ of 61.

I don’t see the Yanks doing much around the infield, even with the advanced ages of A-Rod (35, July 2010) and Jeter (36 in June 2010). Nick Johnson could be a FA after 2009, but his repeated injuries diminish his worth greatly. He’d be 31 but a huge risk. Brian Roberts, who I always have liked (but who had Mitchell Report issues) would be 32, and who knows if those Cubs/Orioles talks get renewed. There is no need for him unless you are moving Cano however.

Chone Figgins is listed at 3B, where the Yanks have no need for him, but Figgins, as we know, could play CF. The Yanks could be losing Damon, Matsui AND Nady after 2009. Would A-Jax be ready for 2010? Various factors come into play here. Would Damon bolt, leaving the Yanks needing a leadoff hitter? How will Melky, A-Jax or Gardner’s 2009 seasons be? Figgins would be 32. 96 OPS+ but good for a nice number of steals when healthy. Worth a look depending on various factors.

The outfield is the biggest question after 2009. As stated, Damon, Nady and Matsui become free agents, with Damon and Matsui 36 in 2010. Possible replacements include Jason Bay (probably re-signed by Boston?), Carl Crawford ($10M club option with a $1.25M buyout by Tampa), Matt Holliday, Rick Ankiel, Jermaine Dye, Bad Vlad, Magglio Ordonez and Jayson Werth. DH types are for the most part too old. Sheff and Thome. We’ve gone through Sheff before. Thome would be 39. Ah, to have had that lefty power bat in his prime. Also bringing the age factor into them are Damon and Matsui, Dye and Ordonez (all 36 in 2010). Vlad would be 34. As for re-signing Nady or chasing Werth, both would be 31 in 2010. 

Suppose you want Miguel Tejada with the intent of using the DH/SS spot for him and Jeter. Both would be the same age, 36 in 2010. Tejada has some baggage and is fading however.

Now for pitching. Beckett has a $12M club option with a $2M buyout. Expect Boston to pick up that option. Lackey could be available. But if Pettitte is signed to a one-year deal and wants to retire after 2009, would Hughes or Kennedy then be ready? Lackey would be 31. Brett Myers would be available also, but I’m not a Myers fan for various reasons. Brandon Webb would be 31 but has a $8.5M option with a $500K buyout.

As for relief, Putz would have a $8.6M option with a $1M buyout from the Mets. Wagner would be 38 and coming off a missed year. The only relief pitcher on the list that looks interesting to me is Ryan Madson of the Phils, who would be 29.

No one else really excites me right now. It doesn’t look like a major class. I’m looking at need, who I’d like, and who is available. So I see backup C with maybe Schneider, and OF with the emphasis then being on Matt Holliday, maybe Ankiel, Vlad or Crawford if available or maybe even Figgins depending on the CF situation (Melky, A-Jax, Gardner). A lot depends on who, if any, the Yanks would want to bring back from the trio of Damon, Matsui and Nady.

So if you are looking at a big ticket free agent signing for the Yanks a year from now, I’d guess Holliday. We” see how he adjusts in 2009 to the AL and being out of Colorado. We’ve seen with CC how the “recruiting phase”, like college football, starts early. You can’t tamper, but how do the Yanks start the “recruitment phase” with Holliday now to lay the seeds for a successful free agent signing a year from now?

Looking at the list from the link, what thoughts do you have?  

 

Interest in some and not in others…

Good article by Pete Abraham today regarding the total lack of interest in Igawa (or, as Pete correctly puts it, the #1 waste of money now that Pavano is gone). No one wants him, and he is not on the 40 man. He’ll go back to SWB and being (as I’ve written before) the most expensive AAA first base coach in history.

According to Mike Puma in the Post, Cashman at least has an idea about the landscape, and there is interest in some players in order to make a trade. There are others that there is no interest in and the Yanks are stuck with (like Igawa). The Post is sticking to (see the duelling sportswriters post) its report on Cameron in a deal that would include Melky. Cashman states that all the way down to Charleston, people have asked about players.  (Say no to Montero, Cash!)

All summer, I put up the minor league report, right down to Charleston. Here is one reason why. You could follow the players on the way up, but also see who gets dealt in the offseason. That way the name being dealt is someone you may know a little about through the minor league reports I posted this summer.

Peavy looks to be going to the Cubs or Braves, Braves being a frontrunner. Good point by Joel Sherman. Peavy, Dempster (if re-signed), Lilly, Carlos Zambrano and Harden could break that 101 year drought.

Sherman reports that Boras wants Posada-like money and years for Varitek. Not that he has leverage after Varitek’s bad year. Boston may go for two years. But Sherman reports that the Mets could be interested. Some Met officials believe they need better than Brian Schneider (“Hoops” as Brian is known by, is from my hometown). Sherman reports that if that happens, the Reds could be interested in Schneider. 

In another Post article, Mo says he’s coming along fine and insisted he’ll be ready for spring training. I read where Posada should start throwing in the beginning of December. While both say they are coming along fine, their ages are still a concern when it comes to recovering from surgery.

Love this from Phil Mushnick: The Big 10 Network had the 1984 PSU/BC game on as one of the “Big Ten’s Greatest Games.” What a laugh. Boston College has never been in the Big Ten, and PSU didn’t join until 1990 (I was at the first PSU Big 10 game. At home vs. Minnesota. PSU won, but I forget the final score. My youngest sister (15 at the time) was with me.)

UPDATE, the following day, 11/8/08: Hmm… it was later than I thought. In checking it out, it was 1993 when PSU joined the Big Ten. Meaning my sis was 18. The final was 38-20 PSU over Minnesota.

That 1984 game between PSU and BC was up in New England and BC won. That was the year Flutie won the Heisman. I think the final was 27-17, but can’t recall. UPDATE 11/8/08: It was 37-30). The 1982 game was something else. That was the year PSU won the national championship. Flutie threw for 520 in that game but lost to PSU 52-17. PSU had exactly 309 yards passing and 309 rushing in that game.

Here are two photos from Sliding Into Home (link at right). This site is excellent for keeping track of the construction of the new Stadium. For more photos, click the link and check out the site.

Old & New Stadiums, Oct. 2008
The New Stadium is on the right. You can see the frieze.

How much for this seat?
How much for this seat?