The Mets and Reyes, Tampa Bay as buyers or sellers?

Pardon me a break from the Yankees specifically for a moment, but there’s a couple of items that are perplexing/interesting me I’d like to pick your brains on.

First, the question that’s been annoying me for a couple of months; is there actually a good reason for the Mets to spend a bunch of money signing Jose Reyes to a new contract? I’ve read an awful lot of columns like this one in the New York media over the last 2 months, and frankly, I’m just not seeing what the case is supposed to be. It seems to boil down to “the Mets need to spend money to show their fans [something,” but that doesn’t really make much sense. The Mets problem is that they don’t really have much cash, and their payroll is already absurdly top heavy, so dumping the money truck for Reyes would just show me that you weren’t disciplined enough to fix your problems if I were a Mets fan.

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Is Gardner getting help at the plate?

Gardner is not the usual left fielder. He plays great defense, and contributes offensively through speed and plate discipline. Most corner outfielder are the polar opposite; players that were driven into their position due to lumbering around on defense, but usually had some pop. Of course this is not a bad thing for Gardner, in fact quite the contrary. He’s been very valuable in his brief career, and at this point there is a strong argument to be made that he may be the best player on the Yankees.

But that’s an astonishing reflection. This is the New York Yankees, after all. Home to big paychecks and bigger names, Gardner sticks out like a sore thumb. He makes little cash and often goes unrecognized by the main stream media, compared to his teammates anyway. One could even make the claim that he’s vastly underrated, an unusual descriptor for Yankee players. Through elite defense and above average offense, he provides incredible production. He may very well be the best defensive outfielder in the MLB, and he doesn’t even play the most demanding outfield position. Defensive metrics like UZR love him as well.

His approach at the plate is particularly strange. He is extremely passive, usually allowing the pitcher to work himself into trouble. Since his debut he has consistently had one of the lowest swing rates in the majors. Earlier in his career, many derided this approach, claiming that pitchers would adjust and pound him with strikes. At this point it’s fair to say that it’s not an issue. He has been thrown a lot of strikes, but the performance has not declined. His approach does seem odd though. If he’s so successful just taking pitches, why don’t other players try it out? Perhaps it’s a strategy that only works for Gardner. He is a small player, so I was interested in looking at his strikezone compared to his peers.

Analysis after the break.

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Grandy, Nuney, Freddy help Yanks top Rays 4-0

First Bartolo Colon. Then Freddy Garcia. Less than a week after putting together back-to-back mediocre starts against the Blue Jays and prompting a fresh round of questioning as to whether the Yankees will be able to continue to count on their improbable contributions, Garcia followed Colon’s lead with a beauty of his own against the Rays, throwing 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball and striking out seven. David Robertson came on and did what K-Rob does, adding two more Ks to his AL reliever-leading total, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with two Ks of his own as the Yankees Continue reading Grandy, Nuney, Freddy help Yanks top Rays 4-0

Game 95: Yankees 4, Rays 0

Having split the first two games of this week’s series against the Rays, the Yankees had to find a way to beat the tough David Price.  The Bombers got on the board early and added some insurance late, while their pitchers kept the Rays from scoring and New York won 4-0.

Derek Jeter started the game with a single to left.  He stole second and Curtis Granderson drove a homer over the wall in right.  Price seemed to find his rhythm, however, and the Yankees were held to a 2-0 lead.

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Ubaldo probably not going anywhere, Yankees still fine

Jayson Stark tweets:

An official of team that checked in on Ubaldo Jimenez says we should stop talking about him b/c Rockies never had serious intent to deal him.

There’s nothing really surprising about that. There’s basically no reason for the Rockies to deal Ubaldo at the moment, and all along I was pretty sure they were just dangling him in an attempt to see what they might get offered. So ultimately an interesting exercise in debating the relative value of prospects and major leaguers, but nothing more than that.

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The Farm Report: 7/20/11 – Lots of wins and Chavez continues his rehab

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre beat Columbus 6-1:
The Yankees scored a run in the first, giving them an early lead they wouldn’t relinquish.  Scoring four runs in the third sealed their victory, as Columbus managed just one run in the eighth.  Kevin Russo went 3-4 with a run scored and a walk.  Jesus Montero went 1-4 with a run scored and three RBIs.  Ivan Nova was put on the DL today, but is expected to return fairly soon.

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7/20: Yankees vs. Rays

Good evening, Yankee fans! Hope you all had a good day and are settling in for the night to watch the Bombers take on David Price (3.73/3.11/2.95 E/F/x) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I’ll be enjoying one of these while I watch this lineup try and back up starting pitcher Freddy Garcia (3.43/3.94/4.23 E/F/x): 1. Derek Jeter, SS. .401 wOBA vs. LHP this year. 2. Curtis Granderson, CF. .108 IsoD and .268 IsoP for July. 3. Mark Teixeira, 1B. .381 wOBA vs. LHP, .361 vs. RHP 4. Robinson Cano, 2B. .402 wOBA vs. LHP, .346 vs. RHP. Holy reverse Continue reading 7/20: Yankees vs. Rays

Phil Hughes and the Case of the Curiously Effective Curveball

As those of you who read my game recap know, a funny thing happened on the way to Phil Hughes delivering his first strong outing of the season on Sunday. Following the game, I noticed that his curveball — the one that he told everyone he was going to revert back to utilizing his original grip on, an admission that I was admittedly pretty skeptical of — had racked up -1.1172 linear weights*. A quick check of the spreadsheet I pulled together this past offseason that contains ridiculous amounts of data from every start Hughes made in 2010 for a Continue reading Phil Hughes and the Case of the Curiously Effective Curveball

As Yanks’ Offense Starts to Lag, What, not Who, Is Biggest Question at the Deadline

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). The Yankees offense currently ranks second among American League teams in just about every meaningful category, including wOBA, OPS+ and runs per game. However, the lineup has seemed to lack consistency as well as a definitive positive trend. As a result, the aggregate numbers look good, but to the naked eye, something seems to be missing. Most recently, that “something” has been Alex Rodriguez. In the eight games played during his absence, the Yankees has posted a line of .244/.307/.333 along with a wOBA of .294 and per game output of four Continue reading As Yanks’ Offense Starts to Lag, What, not Who, Is Biggest Question at the Deadline