Tag Archives: Shelley Duncan

A JD return? I argue against it.

Various blogs report via Ken Davidoff that the Yanks have talked to Johnny Damon.

I like JD. I also think the Yanks made the right move in moving from him last year. JD is now 37 and to be truthful, can’t play the OF anymore. I don’t want his lack of an arm out there.

Besides, he is a lefty bat. I thought the Yanks were looking for a righty (speaking of, Kearns is back to Cleveland. Cleveland has Shelley Duncan. Could Shelley now be available? Shelley’s numbers against lefties aren’t shabby, he can play LF, RF and 1B, and is popular among Yankee fans. He’s 31 and although he is just a .227 career hitter (OPS+ 96), he is a .264 hitter vs. lefties with an .823 OPS. Against righties the OPS is just .641. As a guy who is used solely vs. lefty pitching, could Shelley be a good return? Hmmm….).

Ok, here is what I really would rather have. Brandon Laird, who could be a better option than Duncan or Damon. This winter, Laird went to the Arizona Fall League to learn the corner OF spots. In the minors, Laird (brother of Gerald) played 1B and 3B. He’s just 23, perfect for a move away from age (Damon) to youth. You already have a SS about to be 37, a 41 year old closer, a DH that will be 40 in 2011 and a 3B who will be 36. You also are praying that a pitcher who will be 39 in 2011 will return. Now do you really want a 37 year old who will struggle to get DH at bats (against the soon to be 40 year old) and who can’t play the OF anymore because of a weak arm? Laird hit .281-25-102 between AA/AAA last year. Granted .246-2-12 at AAA, so you don’t know if he needs more AAA at bats. But he a) is younger than Damon, b) would be less expensive, c) has more pop and d) if he took or takes to the corner OF could possibly fill in at 1B/3B/LF and RF as well as DH if needed; hence he’d be more versatile.

All things considered, I’d pass on JD and go with Laird. The kids need a shot sometime.      

Hairston to SD becomes reality

Since the WS, OF’s (and OF/DHs) Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon (it appears), Melky Cabrera and Eric Hinske have departed the Yankees. Not to mention minor leaguer Austin Jackson and Shelley Duncan.

Add Jerry Hairston to that list today, as he signed with the Padres.

As of now, it’s Gardner, Granderson, Swisher…and…who else? Jamie Hoffmann? 

Who else will there be?

Free agent signings.

It’s looking like Holliday will be going back to the Cards on a possible 7-year deal. What this means for JD? Who knows.

…and the Red Sox get a 3B, as they reach a one-year deal with Beltre. Of course now they have to flip Mike Lowell somewhere. You may recall that the trade of Lowell to Texas fell through due to Lowell needing surgery. Beltre had an off-year in 2009 due to missing 50 games or so. He has had some nice years in his career, but that 2004 really looks out of place doesn’t it? He does have two Gold Gloves, so Boston will have some D (he and Youkilis) at the corners.     

Update, 1/5/10: Chad Jennings over at LoHud reports that Shelley Duncan has signed with the Indians.

Goodbye Charlie? Steelers in trouble?

Once again, ND’s defense let them down and they lost another close one. You can’t say their games this year haven’t been thrillers. But from 6-2 to 6-6 (and you know what I think about 6-6 teams going to bowl games…they shouldn’t). It looks like ND is now searching for a new coach…with a LOT of money still to be paid out to the one being exiled.

…and after getting whupped by Tim Tebow and Florida, you wonder if Bobby Bowden at Fla. St (6-6) is on his way out.

My favorite NFL team, the Steelers go against the Ravens tonight in a “must-win” game. Should they lose, they’ll drop to 6-5. Only thing is, Big Ben is out with post-concussive syndromes. Backup QB Charlie Batch is out. It falls to 3rd-stringer Dennis Dixon—making his first NFL start. Ouch.  

…and you still wonder what’s up with the Tiger accident…

Wait, someone in the Post wants Shelley Duncan in the OF for the Mets? Don’t they know that Citi Field has a huge OF? Have they seen Shelley play the OF? Sheesh.

Update: The Steelers lost in OT, 20-17, falling to 6-5. They are still in the hunt for the WC, but in a scramble. They’ve lost a bunch of close ones this year (KC, Chicago, Cincy, now the Ravens). They should beat Oakland at home next week. But then, they should have beaten KC in KC. It doesn’t look like their year.

Indy stays undefeated. Great game tonight (Monday) as the Patriots take on undefeated New Orleans.

Thanksgiving Thoughts and a look ahead.

The one and only “Yankee Truth”, Josh, sent me a gift this week. It’s a Yankee Trivia Teaser book first printed in 2007. While appreciative (you know the saying about not looking a gift horse in the mouth?), I do NOT recommend the book.

It has more errors in it than the gloves of the 1962 Mets. Let’s see, if I call the publisher (that is, if it is still in print) and get paid X amount of dollars for each error I caught, I’d make…

Here’s one. When discussing Vic Raschi, the book states that he gave up Hank Aaron’s first MLB HR in August of 1953. There is a problem. Hammerin’ Henry did touch Vic for #1 of his 755, but Aaron didn’t come up to the majors until 1954 (1st HR, April 23, 1954). Raschi was still with the Yanks in 1953 (as part of a killer quartet of Reynolds, Raschi, Lopat and Ford—Reynolds was used mostly in relief, though).

I picked up Baseball Insider this week, which I usually don’t do. I did it because they have a feature where they analyze projected 2012 lineups. Interesting, since who in 2006 had CC, AJ or Teixeira on the Yankees? Who in 2006 would have predicted the decline of Wang due to injury? Who would have predicted Swisher? You don’t know about free agency, injuries or trades.

Nonetheless, here is what they had (lineup order from me, as to where I’d put them if their prediction becomes true).

Gardner CF
Jeter SS (at 37 on Opening Day 2012, with some 3140 hits in tow?)
Teixeira 1B
Alex 3B (at 36 Opening Day 2012, which makes you wonder about the D on the left side of the infield; in the spring of 2012, A-Rod shouldn’t be too far behind Mays’ 660 HR and should have about 2830 hits himself as he hopes to end 2012 with #3000).
Cano 2B
Montero DH (at the age of 22)
Jackson RF (that’s Austin at age 25, not Reggie!)
Cabrera LF (ummm…Melky, not Miggy).
Cervelli C (but as Baseball Insider points out, possibly Austin Romine at 23).

Young with A-Jax, Montero and Romine. You wonder about some power, which Montero is expected to provide (.325, 37 HR in 257 minor league games so far and still not 20 yet—a few days away). Austin Jackson hit .300 at AAA this year at age 22, but had just 4 HR. 24 SB. You hope the power starts to develop.

No Damon (38), Matsui (37), Swisher, or Posada (40). But as I’ve noted, this doesn’t take into account any free agent signings or trades from now until 2012.

Now for the pitchers.

CC, AJ, Hughes, McAllister and Brackman as the starters with Joba closing.

Ok, Pettitte would be 39 and most likely retired. Mo would be 42, and who knows about him?

Hughes would still be just 25 on Opening Day 2012. Joba would be 26.

As for Zach McAllister, he would be 24 at that time. This year the 21 year old went 7-5, 2.23 for AA Trenton in 22 starts. He is 30-22, 2.81 in his minor league career. He and CC could be power forwards for the 0-14 Nets (maybe they should be). McAllister is 6’6″ and weighs 230.

I can’t figure out how Brackman made this list. Granted Baseball Insider (USA TODAY) states that Brackman was slowed by TJ surgery, but his 2009 numbers were horrendous. He will be 24 on December 4th (meaning 26 on Opening Day 2012) but has a LONG way to go after a 2009 which saw these numbers:

2-12, 5.91 at LOW A Charleston. 19 starts out of his 29 games. 106 2/3 IP.
103 K, but 76 walks. 10 HBP and 26 wild pitches.

But hey, he is 6’10″ and 270…there’s always the Nets…(BTW, my local newspaper’s NBA coverage is so poor you need a magnifying glass to see it).

Interesting signings. This year the Chisox let Jim Thome go (right after he passed Reggie on the HR list with #564). The 39 year old’s chances of hitting 600 don’t look good unless he can find an AL team. After going to the Dodgers at the end of August, he was just 4 for 17, all as a PH. He hasn’t played in the field since 2007. With the White Sox in 2009 he was .249-23-74, OPS+ still a good 122 (Overall .249-23-77, 118). He does still whiff a lot, 123 times, but the OPS+ numbers show something may be left. The White Sox let him go in August…presumably to get younger??? (Trade for a minor leaguer).

But who do they sign this week? Andruw Jones. Yup. Andruw Jones, who will still (believe it or not) is just 32 but whose last couple years have been like this:

2007 .222-26-94 OPS+ 87 Atlanta
2008 .158-  3-14 OPS+ 35 (you read that right; pitcher’s stats) 75 games. Dodgers 
2009 .214-17-43 OPS+ 100 (league average; 82 games in the hitter’s park in Texas).

You may talk about Andruw’s defense (10 GG) , but consider this…he only played 17 games in the OF for the Rangers this past season. The rest of the time, it was DH… 

Before that signing this week, the Pale Hose signed Omar Vizquel, who is 42. Omar did decently enough this past year, .266-1-14 as a backup for Texas. Vizquel’s career OPS+ is just 83. He’ll be an interesting HOF case. Over 2700 hits, .273 (same as Rizzuto), 389 SB. 11 GG.

I don’t see the upside in Andruw, and wonder how much Vizquel has left.

Heck, Ozzie Guillen is just 39 months older than Vizquel. Ozzie will be 46 in January.

Guillen’s last full year came at the age of 33 in 1997. His last year was in 2000. The ROY in 1985 and Manager of the Year in 2005 (when the White Sox won their only WS since 1917) hit .264 as a player (3x AS, 1 GG). The OPS+ was only 68 because he NEVER walked. His 162 game average was .264-2-50 with 14 SB but just 19 walks. AN OBP of … ugh…. .287.

Alex Gonzalez (of Game 4 2003 WS Jeff Weaver infamy) left Boston to go to Toronto. MLBTR states that Boston has interest in Scutaro.

Shelley Duncan, taken off the 40-man, refused an assignment back to AAA SWB and is now a free agent.

 

     

Girls aren’t the only ones who just wanna have fun

According to the NY Post, The Yanks denied a published report that they have let teams know that Swishalicious is available.

I commented on Swisher a bit in yesterday’s post. The Post states that Swish isn’t expensive (well, baseball-wise). $6.75M in 2010, $9 M in 2011.

More importantly, the Post says that Swish’s personality is a big hit with Girardi and Cashman.

Between Swish and AJ, the Yanks did seem to lighten up a lot this year. They seemed to have fun again. You saw the change in A-Rod when he decided to make baseball his focus and to have fun doing so. How many times did he tense up in past postseasons? 

For many years, the Yankees corporate on-the-field image (the off-the-field corporate image, with the megabucks, will ALWAYS be there) was used to ridicule them. Who can forget the phrase that “rooting for the Yanks was like rooting for GM”? (That is, when GM was kicking ass instead of what the auto industry has become today)…

That phrase really irked Tony Kubek. Kubek once remarked about that phrase by stating something like this, “Do you think we just throw our gloves on the field and win? A phrase like that makes us seem like robots. We all worked hard to become as good and consistent as we have been.” Well, not in those exact words, but you understand what I am getting at. It seemed like all the hard work was being pooh-poohed with no credit given to that.

But that corporate image could be suffocating. The pressures of the Northeast (I use Northeast because NYC isn’t alone; try Boston or Philly pressure) can suck the life and joy out of a player, especially when the team is EXPECTED to win every year.

It’s still a game, although one with major implications money-wise. But by having a little levity in the locker room, be it Swisher’s joy or AJ’s pies, the Yanks finally breathed this year, and it paid off.

In other news, LoHud has an article about the Yankees prospects in the Arizona Fall League now that the AFL short season has ended.   

If the allegations against Kansas football coach Mark Mangino are true, he should be canned immediately. By the way (and not to be cruel), how can players be motivated to stay in shape when Mangino, Andy Reid, Charlie Weis… well, you get the point.

Our friend Mike F. has a post up on going after Halladay. I comment a bit over there. Frankly, I’d like Andy back, and would like a nice solid #4 (Lackey?) with Gaudin #5. A killer bullpen of Aceves/Joba/Robertson/Hughes and Mo? Goodness for the LOOGY. I do wonder if the Yanks have interest in Mike Gonzalez. They did have interest in him a few years back but Gonzalez may command $4 to $5M a year. He did have a good season (5-4, 10 saves, 2.42) for the Braves and has only had one real “blip” year in his career (2008 Braves). 

I don’t feel as if the Yanks will make a big free agent splash this year however. Maybe I just feel as if they went for broke last year. Maybe if they lose $13M in Matsui or Damon they will re-allocate the money towards someone. Randy Wolf went through the Phillie wars so he is used to the northeast. Just average, though but good for a #4 spot? 12-10, 4.13  162g average. ERA+ 103. All NL though, and you wonder how he’d translate to the AL East. Would probably cost only half of what it would take for Lackey, though.

Goodbye, Shelley? Chad Jennings of LoHud reports the additions (and one subtraction) to the 40-man roster. No surprise in protecting A-Jax. Shelley Duncan didn’t make the cut.    

Update: Jennings has more on Duncan.

Shelley Duncan was outrighted to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but that doesn’t mean he’ll end up there.

The first time a player clears waivers and is sent outright to the minor leagues, he has no choice but to accept the assignment. The second time, he has the right to refuse the assignment. Duncan was outrighted off the 40-man last winter and went to Triple-A. If Duncan clears this time, he will refuse the assignment.

“I’ll wait and see,” Duncan said. “I might clear on Monday or something, and if do, then I’ll become a free agent.”   

Some “Minor” news.

Congrats to Tampa, who won the FSL title (High A). Tampa’s manager is a familiar face—Luis Sojo.   

Key contibutors: C/DH Jesus Montero was .356-8-37 before he was called up to Trenton this year; C Austin Romine .276-13-72. Lance Pendleton 11-5, 2.58. 3B Brandon Laird .266-13-75. D. J. MItchell 8-6, 2.87. Jeremy Bleich 6-4, 3.40 before he went up to AA Trenton. Jonathan Hovis 2-2, 22 saves, 3.38. Pat Venditte was 2-0, 2.21, 2 saves after his callup from low A Charleston. You can check the stats here. On the other hand, Dellin Betances was a disappointing 2-5, 5.48.

Venditte was 4-2, 1.87 with 22 saves (A-/A+) for the year.

SWB (AAA) however, lost to Durham for the International League title as they were swept 3 games to 0. Durham gets revenge for losing in the championship to SWB in 2008. The final game was a 3-2 loss in 12 IP. The first two games were both 4-1 losses. After losing the IL title, 1B Juan Miranda was called up to the Yankees.

Here are stats for the SWB Yankees.  I don’t know how versatile Kevin Russo is, since he is stuck behind Cano, but Russo did hit .326-5-31 in 90 games. Last year Russo hit .307 for AA Trenton. A-Jax finished at .300-4-65 with 24 SB. He’ll probably start at AAA next year as the Yanks hope he develops some pop. We would hope to see him sometime with the Yanks in 2010. He turns 23 next February. Juan Miranda appears to be trade bait. .290-19-82 isn’t bad, but stuck behind Teix. Shelley Duncan was the IL MVP, .277-30-99. Igawa (who must really be homesick for Japan. Hope he enjoys the Poconos) was 10-8, 4.15 and seemingly stuck in SWB like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Zach Kroenke was 7-1, 1.99.

AA Trenton just missed out on the playoffs. Click on the link for their stats. SS Eduardo Nunez hit .322. Montero went .317-9-33 at AA after his callup. His combined stats were .337-17-70 and he won’t be 20 until November. It’ll be interesting to see where he begins 2010. 20 and in AAA already? Should he come to SWB, I may have to take some more runs up to SWB or over to Coca-Cola Park in the LV. Zach McAllister was 7-5, 2.23 for Trenton. Kanekoa Texeira 9-6, 2.84. Kevin Whelan 4-0, 2.63. Bleich struggled at AA (3-6, 6.65) after his callup.

I see where Pete Abraham, who I read and mention a lot on this blog due to the lineups, insight and commentary he provides, is moving on and apparently up. He is leaving the Lower Hudson Journal and Yankees coverage for the Boston Globe and (ugh) the Red Sox. Opinions can always differ, and no one agrees with columnists or broadcasters all the time. Heck, I’m sure you readers don’t agree with me all the time. When I differed with Pete, I wrote my opinions on this blog, and when Pete made a really good point, I stated so and gave credit. Most importantly, Pete’s blog for Lohud was always informative and you could always tell that the guy hustled. If there was a story, he was on it. Being a Yankees’ beat writer, he had the lockerroom access that we don’t and he shared it constantly with readers. Best of luck to him, but we do have to be honest here….that best of luck comes with a caveat. Since he’ll now be switching over to the “dark side,” let’s hope that there isn’t too much home paper WS coverage in his future, but “Guest” coverage instead.

Speaking of… always feel free to register and comment on the posts. Just keep it clean. Would love to hear from you!

Entering tonight’s game, the Yanks’ magic # for a playoff spot is 4. For the AL East and AL best record, it is 10.