Tag Archives: Showalter

Managers of the Year: Buck, Matt Williams

Buck Showalter and Matt Williams were named the AL and NL Managers of the year today, respectively.

For Buck, it is the third time he has won the award, following the 1994 Yankees (who had the best record in the AL at the time of the strike) and the 2004 Texas Rangers.

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.

More awards, a signing, and a huge trade.

Manager of the Year Awards went out last night. Davey Johnson of Washington won for the N.L., and the A.L. award went to Bob Melvin of Oakland.

I thought Buck Showalter of Baltimore would win in the A.L., but he lost 16 first-place votes to 12. I’m not saying Melvin wasn’t deserving, but I thought Buck would get it.

Today, the CYA winners were announced. David Price of Tampa Bay edged out Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the A.L. award by just four points. The N.L.  award went to R. A. Dickey of the Mets, who became the first knuckleballer to ever win the award.

Tomorrow, the MVPs.

Torii Hunter signed a 2-yr. deal with Detroit. You would think that Hunter, winner of 9 Gold Glove awards, will help the Tiger defense, what with being next to Austin Jackson in that big outfield in Detroit. Hunter wanted 2 years, and the Yanks wouldn’t go for that, even if Swisher goes. Hunter got those 2 years, along with $26MM, from the Tigers. Hunter, who will be 38 next June (and it may be a good thing the Yanks DID NOT get him, what with their present age concerns), hit .313-16-92, OPS+ 132 for the Angels this past year. Yes, an excellent year, but you have to ask how many players 35+ you want on the Yankees.

As for the Yankees, they better watch out. Toronto made a huge trade. If the old players on the Yankees show their age, then the Yanks could very well slip to 3rd or 4th place in the A.L. East. The Blue Jays picked up a #1 AND a #2 starter from the Marlins in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, as well as an All-Star SS in Jose Reyes. They also got C John Buck and speedy utility man Emilio Bonifacio in the deal. (Reyes and Bonifacio combined for 70 SB, and Bonifacio only played in 64 games).

There is rumors that Miami isn’t done. I see on the BBD blog that the Yanks are thinking about bringing back Ibanez (I’m against it, he’ll be 41 next June) and thinking about Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins. I also see a rumor that Miami may shop Logan Morrison.

Nolasco, 29, was 12-13, 4.48, ERA+ 88 last year. I don’t want that. For his career, he is 76-64, 4.49. His 162 g. average is 14-12, 4.49. Figure in the DH league he goes something like 13-13, 4.80. That’s not good enough in my book.

I’d rather let Ibanez go and go after Morrison if the Marlins have him on the block. I appreciate what Ibanez did last year (esp. in the postseason), but he will be 41 next June. How many old players do you want on the Yankees (think Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, A-Rod, maybe Kuroda, maybe Ichiro… Jones is most likely gone, if Chavez comes back, he is 35, Ichiro…). Morrison is 25, LF/1B. With Gardner maybe moving to CF and Granderson to LF, Morrison can DH, play RF and fill in at 1B once in a while (he seems better suited for DH, his defense isn’t good). He hit just .230-11-36 (OPS+ 91) last year, but is young, a lefty hitter, 6’3″ 240 and hopefully can use that to take advantage of the porch. He hasn’t done badly vs. lefties (.247 vs. righties and .259 vs. lefties). He hit 23 HR in 2011. His 162 g. average is .250-21-73. OPS+ 110. Younger than Ibanez, more potential, can probably put up better numbers in 2013 than Raul.

But getting back to Toronto. This is a big deal for them. Let’s face it. The Yanks have an OLD team. If the Yanks don’t watch it, they can fall to fourth place in a hurry, maybe even last. God forbid. But look at the division. Good young players in Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and now Toronto made a big move. Goodness knows how Boston will rebuild.

Yes, I know the Yanks had the best record in the league last year. But they were exposed in the playoffs.

There is a fine line between experienced, and old.

Will the Yanks inject some youth in 2013?

ROY to Trout, Harper

Mike Trout won the A.L. Rookie of the Year Award in a unanimous vote. The Angels’ OF hit .326-30-83, led the majors with 49 SB, led the majors in runs scored, and led the A.L. in adjusted OPS (OPS+) with a 171.

In the N.L., Washington OF Bryce Harper won a close vote over Arizona pitcher Wade Miley, 112-105. Harper received 16 first place votes to Miley’s 12. Harper hit .270-22-59 with 18 SB. OPS+ 119. Miley was 16-11, 3.33, ERA+ of 125.

The Managers of the Year will be announced today (Tuesday). I’d expect Buck Showalter of Baltimore to be the A.L. mgr. of the year.

Yankees in rough waters.

Yes, they still have a 3 1/2 game lead over the Orioles, four over the Rays. But a big stretch looms. A stretch in which the Yankees play 13 games in 17 days against the Rays and Orioles.

How much of that will be without Mark Teixeira?

Teixeira strained a calf muscle last night. He will be out at least a week, perhaps two.

Meanwhile, the Yanks look like they will be facing a lot of lefty pitching in the next couple of weeks. Price and Moore for the Rays, Lester up in Boston. Heck, the Orioles went out and got Joe Saunders.  You can bet he and Chen will be matched up to go against the Yanks. Teix’s bat will be missed, esp. from the right side. Heck, A-Rod isn’t due back for a few weeks. Who knew that just acquired Steve Pearce may have to give them key hits and a righty bat?

That’s the way the season has gone for the Yankees. Mo for only five saves. Gardner for only nine games. D-Rob out a month. Joba still trying to get back to where he was. A-Rod out six weeks. Pettitte surprisingly coming back, then out six weeks. No Pineda. Missed starts from CC and Nova…

No one will feel sorry for you. They have problems of their own.

But Andy and Alex won’t be back for a couple weeks, now Teix.

Can the Yanks hold on?

The Orioles are 11 games better than their Pythagorean record. 11. Buck for mgr. of the year? It seems like it should be a lock.

Meanwhile, Rafael Soriano’s bad side showed up after he blew it last night. You don’t need that down the stretch. Learn from Mo, Sori. Be accountable. Grow up.

Game 23. Yanks lose 7-1. Buck’s 1000th win.

I respect Buck Showalter for bringing the Yanks back to respectability when he was Yankees manager. When he managed the Yanks to a 1995 playoff berth, it was the first playoff appearance for the Yanks in 14 years.

I also congratulate him on his 1000th win as a manager. I only wish it wasn’t against the Yankees.

The good news on Hughes: He pitched into the sixth and lowered his ERA. The bad news: He lost, his ERA only dropped from 7.88 to 7.48 and he’s now 1-4.

The Yanks only got one run, on Granderson’s 9th HR of the year. Of the seven hits the Yanks got tonight, all of them were by the first three hitters in the order. Jeter with 3 (taking him to 3128 and a .400 average), 2 by Granderson and 2 by A-Rod. Nothing from anyone else.

With all the talk about the starters stinking out the joint recently, why is there NO criticism yet of Robbie Cano? We are 23 games (1/7) into the season, and Cano is at .255-1-4. 1 Homer, 4 RBI from someone supposed to be a middle of the order presence—in 1/7th of the season! .255, or about fifty points LOWER than expected? How about someone writing about Teixeira’s .233 besides me? Or Martin’s .158? How about making Kevin Long accountable? (Isn’t this the same Kevin Long who wanted to change Jeter’s swing last year and bleeped Jeter up until Jeter got hurt and consulted his own hitting guru?)

1 run, on seven hits, against someone who hadn’t won in 11 months. Sheesh.

As for Hughes, 5 2/3, 4 R, 4 H, 1 walk, 6 K. 2 HRs hurt his line.

You put an infielder in the outfield, eventually it hurts you. Remember when the Yanks did that with Enrique Wilson (he f/d up and the Boss wasted no time in trading for Mondesi)? Nunez misplayed a ball tonight and it led to unearned runs.

Logan 3 batters. No outs, two hits, An E-7 by Nunez. Two unearned runs. 0.96 ERA

Wade 1 1/3, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk, 2 K. 1.50

Sorian0 1 IP, 1 R, 2 h, 0 walks 1 K. 2.25.

D.J. Mitchell his MLB debut. 0 r, 2 h, 0 walks, 1 K.

A better outing by Hughes, but probably not enough to keep his rotation spot.

Game 5. Yanks win excruciating game 5-4 in 12

Sometimes, you win ugly.

VERY UGLY.

On a night where Freddy Garcia threw FIVE wild pitches and the bats were 1 for 16 with RISP before the eventual game-winning hit, the Yanks pulled out a 5-4 win in 12 innings.

Derek Jeter led off the game with a HR, #241 of his career. Swisher then doubled, but was left stranded—a recurring theme on this night. (While the Yanks wound up 2 for 18 w/risp tonight—making them 10 for 53 for the season [yuk]—the Orioles were 0 for 8 w/risp themselves.)

In the bottom of the first, Garcia gave up a game-tying run. With two out and men on first and second, Garcia threw a WP—then another—and the O’s were up 2-1.

The O’s went up 3-1 in the fourth with help of .., yes, another WP and an E-2 by Martin.

In the fifth, a double, sac bunt and groundout for the O’s, then the run scores on … ready for it? Another wild pitch.

Garcia went just 4 2/3, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 3 walks, 3 K. … and FIVE wild pitches.

Not even A.J. Burnett did that.

The Yankees bullpen saved the Yanks’ ass tonight. 7 1/3 innings, no runs, just 2 hits.

….and it started with the rookie, David Phelps. 2 1/3, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 4 K.

The Yanks tied it in the sixth. With the bases loaded, Andruw Jones got a SF, and the Yanks caught a break when Mark Reynolds made an E-5 with two out to enable the Yanks to cut the score to 4-3. Gardner then singled in the tying run. Reynolds’ error meant two unearned runs.

After that, it was a war of attrition.

Robertson the 8th. 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk, 1 K.

The 9th– Logan 1 batter, a hit.

Cory Wade with a great effort. 2 1/3, IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk and 4 K, and an escape in the 9th worthy of Houdini (or David Robertson). See below.

Clay Rapada (W 1-0) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 1 K.

In the seventh, a bad decision by 3b Coach Rob Thomson.  Swisher led off the inning with a HBP off his ankle. When Cano doubled, Thomson sent Swisher. He was thrown out at the plate. Forget the ankle, didn’t Swisher have groin trouble the last week of spring training? Sure enough, the Yanks don’t score that inning.

Even after this game, Cano, A-Rod, Teixeira and Granderson (who hit 3-4-5-6 tonight) have a combined total of ONE rbi.

Jeter’s two hits put him now at 3097.

In the bottom of the 9th, the Orioles loaded the bases with two out, but Wade got J.J. Hardy to pop up.

After all the LOB and futileness of offense on both sides, the Yanks finally pushed across a run in the top of the 12th. Cano doubled, Alex grounded out, Cano moving up to third, and Teixeira popped up. Showalter then walked Granderson to set up a force at second and to face Ibanez.

As Ken Singleton pointed out so well on My9, they should have walked Ibanez as well to load the bases, set up the force at any base, and pitch to the weak-hitting new Yankee, backup C Chris Stewart, who replaced Martin at catcher mid-game.

Instead, Ibanez laced a ground-rule double into RCF.

In the bottom of the 12th, the Rivera we know and love was back. Save #604 for the G(reatest) O(f) A(ll) T(ime). a 1-2-3 with 2 K.

It was a win the Yanks didn’t deserve… but will take.

But the clutch hitting has to start coming along… and soon.