The art of piss-poor managing

A four-run lead, even with 8 innings left to play, felt pretty good with Joba on the mound. It’s a shame that erratic Joba showed up, in a game that was very winnable. I gave up at 10-5 — as good as the Yankees have been at coming from behind this year, five runs seemed like a pretty tall order.

Little did I know they’d come awfully close in the bottom of the 9th. It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t watching at that point, because if I had seen Nick Swisher squaring up to bunt with no outs and two on in the 9th down by one I probably would’ve chucked my remote through my television set.

Also, apparently no one likes beating the Red Sox. Come on Chicago, time to man the hell up. Six game up or not, these leads can shrink quickly, so the Yanks better get their acts together and win this damn series.
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Minors Recap, 8/25

Scranton blanked by Buffalo, 4-0

  • Ivan Nova took the loss despite pitching well, giving up a run on 6 hits and a walk in 7 innings, with 5 strikeouts.
  • Mark Melancon gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in 2 innings of work, with 2 strikeouts.  Not a typical outing for Mark, but he’ll rebound.
  • Kevin Russo, Austin Jackson, and Shelley duncan were 1 for 4.
  • Ramiro Pena was 1 for 3.
  • Francisco Cervelli was 1 for 3 with a double.

Trenton defeated by Altoona, 4-3

  • Ryan Pope was out-dueled by Tim Alderson, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk in 5 innings, with 3 strikeouts.
  • Eduardo Nunez was 2 for 4 with 2 doubles, but was caught stealing.
  • Noah Hall and James Cooper were 1 for 4.
  • Chris Malec was 2 for 4.
  • PJ Pilittere was 1 for 4 with a double.

Tampa defeats Dunedin, 7-4

  • Hector Noesi started, giving up a run on a walk in 2 innings of work, with 2 strikeouts. 
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8/25-8/27 series preview vs. Texas

Hitting:

Team wOBA: .337. T-8th in MLB, T-6th in the AL.

The Rangers feature a good, but not great offensive team. Michael Young is mashing, leading all Ranger regulars with a .395 wOBA. Something really clicked for Young this season, as he’s on pace for career highs in home runs, slugging percentage, OPS, and wOBA. While he’s arguably the number one threat for Yankee pitchers, he’s far being the only run producer. Nelson Cruz has come out of nowhere to pop twenty-six home runs. He’s also a threat on the bases, having stolen seventeen times in twenty attempts. Ian Kinsler has slowed down since his torrid start, but he’s still been productive. He has as many homers as Cruz, and, like Cruz, is a threat on the bases. Josh Hamilton is in the midst of a down year, wOBAing (if that’s a word) of only .315. He’s battled some injuries and has looked totally lost at the plate lately; he has homered only twice since the Bombers visited Texas in late May.… Click here to read the rest

When Is It Too Much?

A really interesting debate came up this morning when I wrote about our newest minor league catcher, J.R. Murphy, that I believe deserves its own thread. I wrote:

Do we have too many catchers in the system? The typical answer is “You can never have too many catchers.” While I agree to a point, there is something here that the Yankees need to consider. Teams need a balanced minor league system. They need players at all positions to fill holes and move up the ranks. The best way to do this is to find players who will actually develop into major league players – to pick right. The Yankees have selected and paid big money to Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, J.R. Murphy, Kyle Higashioka, and Gary Sanchez to all possibly fill one position. Only Montero and maybe Murphy have a chance of moving to another position. At some point, the Yankees need to have the confidence to feel happy at catcher and try to fill other important positions.

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Pondering Phil’s role

Dave Allen (FanGraphs) has a nice writeup on Phil Hughes’ transition from the rotation to the ‘pen. Here’s Allen’s final take on Hughes’ future:

Phil Hughes will be the Yankee’s 8th inning man for his year and the playoffs, but next year it will be interesting to see what they do. Using the FanGraphs WAR valuation an elite reliever is worth about the same as a just slightly above average starter (this year Joe Nathan is worth about as much as Tim Wakefield and Mariano Rivera is worth the same as Gil Meche). So the Yankees would have to think the difference in his performance as a starter and reliever is much larger than that of the average stater to justify keeping him in the pen next year.

Essentially, Allen seems to indicate that Hughes would have to be an above average starter—albeit barely—in order to be given a rotation spot, since his value as an elite reliever is already as much as a Tim Wakefield or a Gil Meche.… Click here to read the rest

Is Jose Molina CC’s personal catcher?

From Jon Heyman (SI):

It’s become obvious that Jose Molina is CC Sabathia‘s personal catcher, though no one’s admitted it yet. Sabathia, by the way, hit 98 on the gun Sunday night. He gets better as he goes, it seems. While he’s supposedly not having a great year, he leads the AL in wins with 15.

Earlier today, I was asked why it was a problem to have A.J. Burnett and Jose Molina work together from now on. My initial response was exactly what Heyman has written here—that Molina is already someone’s everyday catcher and that someone is CC Sabathia. Since the calendar flipped to August, CC and Molina have worked together more often than Jorge and CC have worked together. In 5 games this month, Molina has caught CC 4 times, while Jorge has caught CC once. Based on the sheer number of times the two—CC and Molina—have worked together, it’s easy to say that CC and Molina are battery mates for the rest of the season.… Click here to read the rest

Six more starts for Joba?

Well, I guess it’s 5 starts after today’s game against Texas.

From George King III (NY Post):

Joba Chamberlain isn’t wild about the innings limit on his right arm and how it has led to long stretches of inactivity in the second half. But he admits his arm is in very good shape.

“I feel great,” said Chamberlain, who starts tomorrow night against the Rangers at Yankee Stadium. “I feel a lot better at the beginning of the year. It’s a win-win situation for everybody.”

Chamberlain last worked Aug. 16 at Seattle and will be going on eight days rest tomorrow. Chamberlain says he will get six more starts this year and if he averages the 5 2/3innings per start he has in 23 games so far that will get him to 160 2/3 innings for the season. That’s more than the 140-innings set in spring training but a total the Yankees wouldn’t be uncomfortable with.

If the Yankees truly cement their AL East lead as the regular season comes to a close, maybe Joba’s final few starts can be given to someone else so that the team can limit his innings total as much as possible, prior to the playoffs.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks want Damon back

From Jon Heyman (SI):

The Yankees intend to try to bring back Johnny Damon, probably for about $6-8 million a year (that’ll be the first offer, anyway), and might be willing to give him a second year. Damon’s been saying in the papers all year that he wants to be back, which is quite a departure from the usual free-agent script and could mean he’s that rare player amenable to a below-market contract. Yankees management loves Damon personally, too, and that doesn’t hurt.

With Hideki Matsui also a free agent (not to mention Xavier Nady), the Yankees could use Damon, who’s having a fine offensive season, especially for power (.286, 22 HRs, 68 RBIs and 87 runs). Yankees people also love Matsui (four home runs this weekend at Fenway) but his knees are in bad shape and the current thinking is that they’ll need more DH at-bats in coming years for Jorge Posada and other aging stars. Damon, though, remains passable in the outfield.

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Post-Signing Period Impressions: 2009 Draft

I never judge a draft class until we know which players have signed or not. The Yankees brought in some expected and some unexpected talent at the signing deadline this year, and now we can finally step back and take a look at what happened in the beginning of the June.

The Top Guys[image title=”rise_slade_heathcott1_300″ size=”full” id=”6875″ align=”right” ]

Slade Heathcott is a fairly typical late first round high school position player. Scouts didn’t see him at full strength during his senior year due to an ACL injury. He’s got all the tools, and particularly strong arm. With a late first round pick, the Yankees could do a lot worse than Slade Heathcott. He’s no sure bet, but he’s no Brackman-like gamble either.

J.R. Murphy was a curious signing. The Yankees paid nearly a million dollars over slot for the catcher. While Murphy had a lot of leverage, the Yankees still paid more than ever expected. Damon Oppenheimer must have really wanted his 2nd round pick.… Click here to read the rest