Game Thread: Yankees at Tigers, 5/5/2011

The Yankees and Tigers are both 3-3 against each other this season. The winner of tonight’s game owns the season series.

BFFs Jeter and Arod are out of the lineup tonight:

Brett Gardner LF
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Jorge Posada DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

RHP A.J. Burnett

For the Tigers, no Action Jackson today:

Don Kelly, CF
Scott Sizemore, 2b
Brennan Boesch, RF
Miguel Cabrera, 1b
Victor Martinez, C
Magglio Ordonez, DH
Ryan Raburn, LF
Brandon Inge, 3b
Ramon Santiago, SS

RHP Seton Hall Prep’s own Rick Porcello

About EJ Fagan

E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

15 thoughts on “Game Thread: Yankees at Tigers, 5/5/2011

  1. What a shame. This game is a classic illustration of how Jeter’s glove and defensive presence gets overlooked in the midst of debates over his declining bat. I don’t care how well Nunez is hitting the ball lately — he’s directly responsible for three positively dumb runs scoring in this game so far. Whatever he brings to the table as a pinch-hitter and pinch runner is absolutely negated by his chokes whenever the ball is hit to him. Honestly, if you can’t throw across a diamond within three yards of Mark friggin’ Teixeira’s glove you have no business being on a major league diamond. Inexcusable. I know Joe G loves the guy’s bat and speed on the basepaths so it’s not likely, but I sorely wish they’d send him down now, bring back Pena and make Nunez available as a throw-in trade chip when they make their move for a SP. …Sheesh, what a bonehead choker! Arghggh. Another great pitching effort blown to hell.

    • How is Nunez being in the major league make him no longer tradeable?

      • I didn’t say keeping him on the roster made him untradeable. I said he shouldn’t be on the ML roster and there’s proven better gloves down on the farm than his, and we should get him and his horrible defense out of the big stadium pronto and keep him on the shelf down in Scranton until we can move him.

        Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear.

  2. Jeter may not make a lot of errors, but his lack of range and offensive woes make him more of a liability than an asset. Finding SS that don’t make errors and have better range isn’t really all that difficult. Jeter’s ability to hit better than most SS throughout his career is what made him valuable.

    Posada may look more comfortable at the plate, but he’s still making a lot of outs. Even if he turns it around a bit, at age 40 he’s not likely to be even a replacement level DH.

    Jeter is still difficult to replace right away because there aren’t a lot of good SS available right away. Posada is another story.

    • Well, I diagree with all the chatter about his limited range being such a big liability. I’m not a sabermetric guy at all but someone here posted his defensive metrics in the field the other day and he still ranks above league average. What he does — and still does better than anyone in the league, as far as I’m concerned — is catch virtually everything that comes his way and make the throw to the proper bag perfectly going in any direction, and his knack for positioning himself for each hitter’s tendencies and current count are outstanding. I know it’s a minority opinion, but he really still anchors that infield when he’s out there, I think.

      As for Posada, I hear you and I wouldn’t cry if they could deal him away and bring up Montero maybe, but I’m afraid they’re determined to make a catcher out of him by hook or crook so I guess he’ll stay down on the farm so he keeps getting his reps, and we’ll have to ride Jorge to the bitter end.

      • Addendum to last comment: My dream scenario is that they scrap the Montero catching experiment, bring him up to make him a full-time DH and sign Martin long-term as our catcher of the future. We have an option on him for another year but I’d love to see them lock him up. We caught lightning in a bottle with him. He’s the real deal, a stud in every aspect of the game and I wouldn’t trade him straight up for any other catcher in the league including Mauer. We don’t need Montero behind the plate. But we need his bat sooner than later…badly. And I’d rather have Pena’s glove than Nunez’s bat when Jeter has days off.

        • Singing Martin long term would be a major mistake. He is still under contract next season, so if he remains strong this year, and much more importantly healthy we can bring him back on basically another 1 year deal. Taking one month of the season and singing him to any kind of deal for multiple years is asking for trouble. As good as he has been this far it is only 1 month, and he is magnet for injuries.

          I was one of the few pounding the table to sign Martin in the first place but honestly if we get two fully healthy seasons out of him it’s going to beat the odds. That isn’t a knock on Martin at all, but his recent history says we should wait.

          Also we shouldn’t just give up on Montero as a catcher, if he proves at some point he just can’t do it then you cross that bridge then. Having a potential 30-100-.300 DH isn’t a bad fall back option, but having a catcher with those numbers is 10 times more valuable. Besides I imagine Montero is more likely to be traded than not, and if they are going to do that you don’t want to announce to the world even you don’t believe in his catching ability.

          • Of course signing him long term right now isn’t a good idea since as I mentioned we control him for two years, not to mention the fact the Yankees have a strict policy of not negotiating contracts until the old one’s expiring. And as for his injury issues, his last surgery was actually performed to correct his prior recurring physical problems which went undiagnosed and untreated in LA. He’s caught more innings than any other catcher in MLB thus far this season with no ill effects.

            This is an evolutionary process. I was talking “dream scenario” long term down the road is all. This guy is a proven All-Star and is playing back to form thus far. Just saying that a still-young proven five-tool All-Star caliber catcher is worth 10 Romines and Monteros. And btw, the reason I said that I understand and believe they are hell-bent on keeping Montero catching and aren’t likely to DH him is because I fully recognize he’s our main trade bait for a SP. I also recognize that he had the backup catching job owned in ST and he blew it. If you believe we shouldn’t give up on JM as a catcher because it keeps up his value as a trade chip I agree with you. But if you believe he is ever going to be a better option than Martin behind the dish, now or any time in the future, I strongly and respectfully disagree with that assessment and apparently so do the Yankees.

          • Regarding your statement: “Having a potential 30-100-.300 DH isn’t a bad fall back option, but having a catcher with those numbers is 10 times more valuable.”

            I agree with you a thousand percent. Thank you for making my point. Wouldn’t having something approximating BOTH in our lineup be even better still, not to mention prolonging the longevity, productivity and maximize the likelhood of success for the DH (Montero) in my dream scenario?

            For the impact of catching on 30-100-.300 hitters, see Joe Mauer.

    • Oldpep you are completely right, Elvis Andrus and Alexi Ramirez made many more errors than Jeter last year and both are far ahead of him on the defensive side of the field. errors for SS equate almost directly with ability to reach the ball, if you have limited range you can’t get to a lot of balls to flub them, then when you do make an error it’s usually on a play a regular SS makes with ease.

  3. How much longer do they go with Posada? Not only are his triple slash numbers awful, but he already has 3 gidps, and he’s a very slow and very bad baserunner.

    • Posada’s gone at the end of the year for sure, Old Pep. Not too worried about him anymore as a DH as he seems to be displaying a lot more comfort at the plate, having good at bats, making good hard contact more often lately and — most importantly — is no longer a liability defensively. Nunez is the one I want to dump, as you can see from my comment below. Grrr.

  4. I agree 100% with not signing Martin long term. We have to believe at least one of Montero et al are going to become viable MLB catchers at some point, and Martin’s health history has been anything but encouraging.

    regarding DJ, the likelihood of an upgrade becoming available any time this season is fairly remote-finding a solid everyday SS

    • Let me ask you this question Pep, if Jose Reyes became available at a reasonable cost prospect wise would you make that move if you were the Yankees GM?

      I understand it 100% won’t happen, but I would just be very interested to hear your thought on the subject. Reyes is an automatic upgrade on both defense and offense, and he satisfies our needs for a leadoff man. The obvious downside is that we end up with nothing to do with Derek Jeter, and he has 3 and 3/4 years of a hilariously overpaid contract left.

      • I apologize for intruding, but Reyes’s injury history dwarfs Martin’s, who has been healthy for far more games the past three seasons than Jose. …That said, I would love to see Reyes swapped out for Jeter, even if the Yanks had to eat the remainder of Derek’s contract. Unfortunately, Reyes presents a scenario very similar to the Cliff Lee conundrum — current production vs future health risk; the longer the contract the worse the odds get with his health. (…Now if only the Marlins would go into the tank and dangle Hanley…..ahh wishful thinking again) ….Ok I’ll butt out now.