Sunday Links

Terrific interview of Brian Cashman by Josh Norris of the Trentonian. The Montero quote is getting all the attention, but there’s some real good stuff in there on how the Yanks draft, valuing relievers, and how they handle their top prospects. If you’re someone who likes to follow the prospects, I’d bookmark that link for the upcoming season.

Ex-Yankee Russ Springer retires. It’s amazing how long this guy played. He was drafted by the Yanks in 7th round of the 1989 draft out of LSU, had a cup of coffee with the team in 1992 and was traded (with Jerry Nielsen and J.T. Snow) to the California Angels for Jim Abbott the following year.

-What part of these two quotes doesn’t match?

Brian Cashman from last week’s WFAN breakfast:

“He’s our DH, period.”

Jorge Posada interview yesterday on MLB.com:

“I’ll catch. I’ll catch this year,” Posada said. “You know, I’ll DH and then they’re going to want me to catch one of those days, stuff like that.Click here to read the rest

A look at Yankee minor league slugger Jorge Vazquez

Reader Mikhel asked us about Jorge Vazquez in our Brandon Laird post from the other day, and I have to admit: prior to doing the research I knew even less about Vazquez than I did about Laird.

Per B-Ref, the burly righthanded hitter broke into the Mexican League — which is at the AAA level — in 2000 at age 19, and though he started out slowly during his first few seasons, he broke out in a huge way in 2005 (his age 23 season), posting a fearsome .379/.413/.796 line in 71 games. He followed that campaign up with three more huge years in the Mexican League before signing with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season.

Here’s a graph of Vazquez’s Mexican League and Yankees minor league stats:

Even with the expected adjustment period going from the Mexican League to the American minor leagues, Vazquez really barely experienced a dropoff at Trenton, raking to a .329/.357/.578, .414 wOBA line in the Eastern League in 2009, and following that up with a .270/.313/.526 line in 316 Scranton plate appearances this past season.… Click here to read the rest

“Better than some starting catchers, defensively, in the big leagues right now”

As far as the competition status heading into Spring Training:

It’s an indicator of who’s going to be the starting catcher. It’s going to be Russell Martin, period. Then after that, the back-up situation’s going to be open for discussion between [Francisco]  Cervelli, Montero, [Austin]  Romine, we’ll see. Or all of them. … They all could split time and get a little education in the process.

A glimpse into the Yankees “process” and rationale:

The bottom line is: Take the best player on the board. Andrew Brackman, in his case, the only reason he got to us is because of the knowledge that he had a ligament issue and was going to need Tommy John surgery. Nowadays, I think it’s an 88 to 92 percent success rate, so when you compare it to losing a year waiting for him, versus the other players, we chose Brackman. I don’t necessarily think patience has anything to do with it, other than you need patience to wait on these guys.

Click here to read the rest

What’s Wrong with Derek Jeter’s Swing?

In 2010, by all measures, Derek Jeter had what was probably the worst season of his career.  His .270 batting average, .340 OBP, and .370 slugging percentage all represented career lows.  He also hit ground balls at an incredibly high rate, nearly two thirds of the time, resulting in a BABIP that was almost 50 points below his career rate.  Jeter has been such a consistent and successful player throughout his career that after posting a .390 WOBA in 2009 at age 35, many people believed that like his teammate Mariano Rivera, the aging curve was merely a suggestion.  These expectations were brought back to reality by Jeter’s mediocre 2010 at age 36, prompting questions of whether the Captain’s best days are behind him, and he will finally enter a steady decline phase.

Such a terrible (by his lofty standards) season at age 36 certainly fits into the narrative of Jeter (and the Yankee roster as a whole) aging and becoming ineffective. … Click here to read the rest

Steinbrenner's request

Courtesy of Mike Schriner, here’s a recent blog post from his mother, Mary Jane Schriner, a freelance writer for the New York Times and published author who recently wrote a story for the paper recalling her friendship with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

The post shares that Steinbrenner asked Mary Jane to burn the letters he sent her way back when.

“As soon as we finished exchanging pleasantries George offered to buy me a cup of hot chocolate. The two of us sat at a small table in the back of deli and told amusing stories about our children’s escapades. Each us of us were careful not to mention our, long ago, relationship. We kept the conversation light and friendly until we were getting ready to go. Then, from out of nowhere, I startled George by announcing, ‘I still have all the letters you sent me.’

Once George regained his composure a wonderful smile lit up his face and with a quick wink he said, ‘MJ burn them!’ And that’s what I intended to do when I got home but my day became unbelievably busy and I forgot.”… Click here to read the rest

TYU hits the MSM

Allow me to toot our collective horn here at TYU for a moment. Every so often a mainstream media outlet will pick up on something that’s said here and link to it, as Rob Neyer did earlier this month. But three in one day is pretty exceptional and worth noting. Yesterday Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News and Joe DeLessio of New York Magazine both looked at Mo’s piece alleging  censorship on the part of YES, and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports took a quote from my Cashman breakfast recap on Tuesday. Here they are, in order:

Bob Raissman of the NY Daily News

It appears Yankees suits did not want Cashman’s answers – void of company spin – to air on YES, even though they would be spread widely across various media platforms.

Further highlighting management sensitivity to “in-house” critiques of the Soriano deal was a report in TYU, a Yankee-centric blog, claiming that critical columns in two YES-affilated blogs (Pinstriped Bible and River Avenue Blues) were censored by YES operatives, perhaps under orders from a voice on high.… Click here to read the rest

NFL Players Need to Learn Lesson from MLB Counterparts: They Are at “War”

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

They have chosen to start the war. They have fired the gun.” – MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller, quoted by AP, February 20, 1981

“We are at war!” – NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, quoted by The New York Times, January 22, 2011

As the NFL and the NFLPA careen toward what seems like an inevitable work stoppage, both the commissioner and players’ representative have engaged in a bout of public relations saber rattling. Meanwhile, major league baseball is expected to quickly come to an agreement on a new CBA when the current one expires in December 2011.

Not surprisingly, the NFLPA’s acquiescence to a salary cap has not mollified the owners’ voracious appetite for a larger piece of the financial pie. As a result, the lords of the NFL now stand poised to lock the players out if they do not once again capitulate to a series of adverse demands.… Click here to read the rest