Thursday Ramblings

As we wind down Spring Training and approach Opening Day, we’re really just going through motions. At this point, we’re just hoping that no one else gets hurt. And, of course, there is a chance that Derek Jeter will miss Opening Day. Great. Let’s officially start the rambling there.

If Jeter is out for Opening Day, that is going to be one hell of a lineup in a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad way. What could it look like? Let’s assume they’re facing Boston’s lefty, Jon Lester.

1. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
2. Eduardo Nunez, SS
3. Melky Mesa, CF/LF (justification here)
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Juan Rivera, 1B
6. Ben Francisco, DH
7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
8. Francisco Cervelli
9. Brett Gardner, LF/CF

Um….yikes? That is…not desirable. It could shake out differently and we could end up with Ronnier Mustelier in the fold, likely at third. If that happens, the lineup could be:

1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
2. Eduardo Nunez, SS
3. Ronnier Mustelier, 3B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Juan Rivera, DH
6. Melky Mesa, CF/LF
7. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Brett Gardner, CF/LF

Honestly, I can’t tell which one is better/less worse. Your thoughts?

Earlier yesterday, I read this piece from the New York Times about Hal Steinbrenner and the “new course” he’s plotting for the Yanks. In defense of Plan 189, Hal broke out one of his favorite justifications:

“My firmly held belief is that you don’t have to have a $200 million payroll to be world champion,” he said last week in the team’s plush conference room at the spring training complex here. “And the historical data that led me to that conclusion is rock solid.”

My first response is: “Duh.” Of course you don’t need to spend money to win and of course spending doesn’t automatically mean wins. But the way Hal spins this is shallow and disingenuous. Trying to stick to a budget and getting some luxury tax rebates are noble goals and not bad on their own. However, it’s hard for the team to appear financially disciplined when three of it’s players will combine to make more than $60MM next year. And, if we assume that Robinson Cano will be retained, it’ll be four players making over $80MM. That doesn’t leave much leftover for the rest of the team. This is probably alarmist, but it’s possible that the newly “thrifty” Yankees will not be competing for a championship for a little while.

This was an annoyance that I, unfortunately, predicted in a chat with Larry Koestler during the day yesterday. To that moronic assumption, I present this. While we’re on the subject, congrats to Robbie (MVP!) and the rest of the team from La Republica Dominicana for winning the third World Baseball Classic. I definitely got more of a kick out of it this year than I did during the previous two contests. Any time I can wake up and watch baseball is just fine with me.

About Matt Imbrogno

A native and resident of the Mean Streets of Southwestern Connecticut, Matt is a narcissistic, misanthropic 20something English teacher who lives by a simple creed: Yankees Only.

9 thoughts on “Thursday Ramblings

  1. if jeter's not starting, then why not just put gardener leading off? then youk can bat 2nd nunez 3 robbie cleanup, etc. Heck even with jeter starting Im not sure that the lineup is better with him batting leadoff over gardner, whether its a lefty or a righty starter.

  2. I can't see this happening. Ichiro has been hitting third a lot in the lineup during spring and i see it carrying over. The way i think Girardi will go about it is…

    Gardner CF
    Nunez SS
    Ichiro RF
    Cano 2B
    Youk 1B
    Rivera LF
    Boesch DH
    Mustelier 3B
    Cervelli C

    I don't like having Boesch in the lineup, ESPECIALLY against a talented lefty such as Lester. But what other option will allow Girardi to work his lefty/righty magic? His splits last year weren't too different and he's better at this point than Hafner. Despite all this, i imagine Jeter will be in the lineup in some capacity on opening day, which will certainly make the lineup all the more formidable.

    • Boesch actually has reverse platoon splits for his career so far: 110 wRC+ vs L and 92 wRC+ vs R (though in 2012 he was a little better against R than L).

  3. How has Ronnier been doing at 3rd? I haven't had the chance to see him field there yet but from what I hear it seems like he's been OK but not great. Has any thought been given to trying him at 1st? I don't think he's ever played there and he's probably more "valuable" as a 3B or corner outfielder, but 1st is generally considered one of the easier positions to field and as a 28 year old "rookie" whose bat is pretty much the only thing moving him through the system I don't think his value would take much of a hit. I ask because I love his name and would love to see him make the team, especially because his bat seems to be the real deal. Plus, if you're going with Youk and Ronnier as your corner infielders I would think you would want the better fielder at 3rd which I'm assuming would be Youk, but like I said I haven't seen Ronnier play 3rd. Thoughts?

    • He hustles, has a better arm than Nunez, and has some power in his bat. In other words, he's capable of fielding the position and looks like he has more heart than anybody else out there. That's all they can basically ask for from anybody playing 3rd at this point.

  4. Someone should tell Hal that while he doesn't necessarily need a $200 million payroll to win the WS he doesn't need to charge $10/beer to turn a profit either.

  5. I can't see a manager as conventional as Girardi leading off someone as gimpy and slow as Youkilis. I think you're looking at something like:

    CF Gardner
    RF Ichiro!
    2B Cano
    3B Youkilis
    1B Rivera
    DH Boesch
    SS Nunez
    LF Mesa
    C Stewart

    …now, mind you, that's still pretty horrifying.

    • But is someone as conventional as Girardi going to bat three lefties in a row against a lefty pitcher? He hates stacking lefties even against RHP, so I doubt he'd do it against an LHP.

  6. Without Rodriguez, Teixeira and Granderson and a diminished Jeter, this is an atrocious offensive team. Not mediocre, not even bad. Atrocious. This team might rival the 1967 and 1968 clubs in terms of offensive ineptitude. Just spent a week on the annual Spring Training visit and there is nothing on the offensive side of things that can even remotely give one cause for optimism. Now, they'll get three of the four names mentioned above within the first five weeks. Question is, how far out will they be and will their return make any difference. We're looking at probably two very lean years for this club. This would make Hal's salary target imperative in order to improve this team long term. I think all Yankee fans have to look longer term here, because the short term absolutely stinks.