In the meantime, let’s take a look at elements of the Yankees landscape that are going to change regardless of any future Hot Stove developments.
On their way out
Javier Vazquez | Yikes. There aren’t many positives to be drawn from Javy’s season. As Mike discussed in his post regarding Cashman’s preseason decisions, this move seemed like a solid idea in theory. In practice, it was a nightmare. Over 157.1 IP, Javy recorded a 5.32 ERA, 1.398 WHIP, surrendered 32(!) HR (1.8 HR/9), and 8.9 H/9. After accepting an $11.5M paycheck, he delivered a 0.0 bWAR, literally the same level of effectiveness as your run-of-the-mill AAA player. If that weren’t enough, we all “enjoyed” watching his ability seemingly deteriorate before our very eyes one year after almost winning a Cy Young award.Verdict: Get out. Zero chance the Yankees offer arbitration.
Nick Johnson | Yeah, this signing didn’t quite pan out either. Initially, I found myself conflicted about the Yankees decision to sign Nick. On one hand, my statistically-oriented sensibilities were delighted. In theory, this was a brilliant move with huge upside. On the other hand, there wasn’t a fiber of my being that didn’t anticipate further injury. What I didn’t expect was just how fruitless Johnson would ultimately end up being. He made it through April with a triple slash of .138/.383/.224 before getting permanently sidelined with a wrist injury (he would later go on to get re-injured during his recovery). Larry managed to find some silver lining in that the Yankees were able to get Lance Berkman later on. Verdict: Get out. No 2011 option for you!
Lance Berkman | This one’s a bit tricky. Berkman arrived in New York at the trade deadline. He didn’t exactly put himself in position for a warm reception after making a few careless mistakes at first along with accidentally injuring Alex Rodriguez during warm-ups. Production-wise, he batted .255/.358/.349 with 1 HR. However (and this is a big however), he did capitalize on his postseason opportunities (.313/.368/.688 with a .427 wOBA). In all fairness, if Berkman hadn’t been recovering from injury for most of the 2010 season, I think he would have probably lived up to his reputation as a very professional hitter. Next season, he’s bound to head elsewhere given his contractual expectations. If I had to guess, he’ll probably end up doing quite well, too. Verdict: Thanks for your services. Time to part ways. No 2011 option for you!
Kerry Wood | Acquiring Wood ended up being one of Cashman’s finer decisions during the 2010 season. Wood also joined the Yankees at the trade deadline and instantly bolstered the bullpen (ultimately earning the setup role). Over 26 IP, he had a 0.69 ERA / 1.231 WHIP / 31 SO and allowed just 1 long ball (good for a 1.6 bWAR during his brief stint). Unfortunately the two knocks against Wood are his price tag and his durability. He’s going to be an expensive signing for another team next season and his arm could literally fall off at any point. I really enjoyed watching him pitch, though. Verdict: Thanks for your services. Time to part ways. No 2011 option for you!
Austin Kearns | Kearns was a guy that neither my father nor I were ever especially fond of. The Yankees didn’t lose much in terms of valuable prospects in acquiring him, surrendering one-time semi-hyped-up prospect Zach McAllister. During Kearns’ tenure, he batted .235/.345/.324. Though Kearns did deliver a handful of memorable hits, down the stretch it seemed like he struck out in almost every single plate appearance, ultimately rendering him useless as a potential postseason weapon. Ultimately, Kearns is eminently disposable, having fulfilled his role as a semi-useful spare part. Verdict: Time to part ways.
As a bonus I’ve added in three others players who may find their days numbered in NY.
Marcus Thames | I’ll be the first to admit how stunned I was by Marcus’ season this year. He outperformed everyone’s expectations. A good buddy of mine (who’s a devout Detroit Tiger fan) once told me something to the effect of “Marcus is awesome when he makes contact with the ball, but he’ll eventually break your heart.” Well, 2010 brought 0% heartbreak. Instead, Marcus delivered a .288/.350/.491 line and his splits were more than acceptable. He also provided some epic walk-off moments, all for the reasonable price of $800K. The guy looks like he’s always having fun on the field and I definitely enjoyed watching him. However, it’s probably fool’s gold to expect two seasons worth of this type of production. There’s a chance the Yankees will keep him, but if he does leave, don’t be overly distraught. Verdict: I’m okay with taking a chance on him next season. Otherwise, not the end of the world.
Damaso Marte | Just how much is one excellent postseason worth? In 2009, he had a 0.00 ERA (0.00 WHIP) over 8 games (3.3 IP). He averaged 16.9 SO/9 in the World Series and was one of the reasons why the Yankees were able to bring a championship home to NY. That’s about it. During the regular season, he’s found himself on the DL for large portions of the season. When he’s not unavailable, he’s been ineffective. Verdict: Get out. Quality future contribution just isn’t likely to happen.
Francisco Cervelli | Those w
ho know me know of my dislike of Cervelli. I can’t stand his pseudo-offense and his blatantly poor defense. I went into greater detail about Cervelli’s contributions (or really, lack thereof) in my post from this morning, and I just don’t see any value that he adds to the team. Verdict: Get out. Quality future contribution just isn’t likely to happen.