Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

Author Archives: Domenic Lanza

Sizing Up the Market: Right Field & DH

Over the last several years, the Yankees have garnered a reputation for not using a true designated hitter. Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, and others have stated on more than one occasion that they view the position as a means to give a player a half-day, so as to rest his legs without removing his bat from the lineup. And, as is the nature of the beast, the team has taken flack for not going out and signing a traditional thumper to be the full-time (or a full-time-ish) DH. However … that is not necessarily true. Or, it is not true over the last couple of seasons.

Prior to the 2013 season, the Yankees signed Travis Hafner and Ben Francisco to platoon at designated hitter, and supplemented that platoon by acquiring Vernon Wells. It was ineffectiveness and injury that doomed the platoon, as the trifecta of Hafner, Francisco, and Wells started 89 of the team’s first 95 games at DH – and 67 of those were started by Hafner.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Giving Props to Larry Rothschild

The Yankees pitching staff this season felt as if it was cobbled together from rubbish and assorted cadavers, and held together by Scotch tape and some good ol’ fashioned Elmer’s glue. A total of thirty-three players threw a pitch for the team this year (and I say ‘players’ and not ‘pitchers’ because of Dean Anna), and thirteen pitchers started at least one game. The Yankees Opening Day rotation – CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda – combined to make only seventy-seven starts. Twenty-seven games were started by pitchers in their first taste of the Majors (Shane Greene, Chase Whitley, and Bryan Mitchell), and another twenty-seven went to folk that were on another team when the season kicked off (Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano, and the immortal Esmil Rogers). And, finally, the team used twenty-six different players out of the bullpen. To call it a staff in flux may be the understatement of the year.…

Read more

Sizing Up the Market: Shortstop

This off-season will represent the first time since 1995 that the Yankees will be looking for a full-time solution at shortstop. That may even be selling the transition for Derek Jeter to whomever a bit short, too, as Tony Fernandez was signed to be the team’s everyday shortstop in December of 1994, and he was pretty freaking good – at that time, he was still a strong defender with a league-average bat, which most teams would kill for at shortstop nowadays. Of course, that goes to show just how long it has been since the Yankees were faced with this sort of dilemma. To add a bit more context, in 1995 (the last of pre-Jeterian days):

Read more

Sizing Up the Market: Third Base

Alex Rodriguez?

Alex Rodriguez.

Alex Rodriguez?!

Alex. Rodriguez.

With that out of the way, it does seem as if the Yankees are already planning on going in another direction at third. And, to be perfectly blunt, it would be patently idiotic to count on a 39-year-old coming off of two hip surgeries and a calendar year-plus away from organized baseball to do much of anything, let alone man the hot corner for a would be contender. As much as it would be fun, and perhaps even deserved if we sat down and assumed that the Yankees would be so inept as to head into the season with that sort of player penciled into the Opening Day lineup, I simply cannot see that happening as of this moment – at least not at third base, or barring some sort of calamitous Spring Training injury.

The Yankees head into the off-season with a compelling free agent third baseman of their own in Chase Headley.…

Read more

Sizing Up the Market: Second Base

In 2013, Yankees second basemen – which may be more accurately referred to as “Robinson Cano & Friends” – batted .318/.385/.521, with 43 2B, 27 HR, and a 154 sOPS+ (meaning that the team’s production at the position was roughly 54% better than the average). For comparison’s sake, the average second baseman hit .263/.323/.387 in 2013 and, yes, that includes Cano’s robust production.

This past season, the much less catchy “Brian Roberts & the Infinite Sadness” combined for a slash line of .246/.303/.390, with 34 2B, 13 HR, and a 101 sOPS+. All things considered, that isn’t too shabby when compared to the MLB-average of .256/.313/.373. Of course, that line is probably a bit skewed by Martin Prado slashing .403/.413/.661 in 63 PA as the second baseman – but, on the whole, the disappointing production at the position may well have been a result of Cano’s offensive dominance of the position for the previous half decade or so. The defense of Messrs Roberts and Kelly Johnson is a story for another day.…

Read more

The Yankees Off-Season Shopping List

Last week, I opined on what the Yankees should do with their free agents to be. As a result of injuries and poor performance, there was a great deal of roster flux this season, The team ended 2014 with in-season acquisitions seeing the majority of the at-bats at second base and third base, as well as a significant amount of playing time between right field and left field (as Brett Gardner slumped and Jacoby Ellsbury got hurt). The Yankees best position players in the second half were Chase Headley and Martin Prado (by fWAR), for example, and Brandon McCarthy may well have been the team’s best starting pitcher over that time. While that sort of performance is more than welcome, it does not change the fact that a team full of disappointments will see the return of the most egregious offenders.

As Cashman and co. create their gameplan for the off-season, it seems wise to tend to the team’s own free agents before delving into the marketplace.…

Read more

The Yankees Free Agents to Be

As of Sunday evening, the Yankees season was over, yet several weeks of baseball remain on the slate. Free agency will not begin until November, and so the Yankees are in a holding pattern, left to reorganize cupboard until holiday shopping season officially commences. While the front office waits to touch base with players currently occupying other uniforms, they will have to determine the best course of action for those players that ended the season in pinstripes – players with whom the Yankees will have an exclusive negotiating period after the World Series ends.

The following are the players that are eligible to head for greener pastures this off-season – an asterisk denotes that the player is eligible for a qualifying offer.

The name that jumps out here is, of course, Heath Bell. Remember when the Yankees signed the Heath Bell Experience in June and released him a scant eleven days later?…

Read more

Game 162: The End.

There is a sense of finality to today’s action that I have not felt in … well … ever. Some of that is certainly due to the fact that this is only the second time since my adolescence that the team has failed to make the playoffs, and even more stems from the fact that this is the last stop of Derek Jeter‘s brilliant career. Beyond that, though, this season simply feels disconnected from the Yankees reality. Looking at today’s lineup, it is quite likely that only two of the nine players in the starting lineup will be with the team next season – and one of them will be playing a different position.

Suzuki, Headley, Drew, and Young are free agents at year’s end, and Cervelli has been bandied about as a trade candidate for what feels like forever. I would certainly welcome back all but Suzuki in at least a platoon or back-up role, but who knows how the market will look for Headley and Drew?…

Read more

Game 160: Capuano v. Wright

Six months ago, how many people would have thought that this game would have been all but meaningless? Or that the Red Sox would be trotting out seven rookies at this point in the season, including a 30-year-old knuckleballer (which is only one more than the Yankees tonight)? Or that the Yankees two best hitters in down the stretch would be a Mets cast-off and a guy that had a 97 wRC+ in his previous 800+ PA?

Ain’t baseball grand?

New York Yankees Boston Red Sox
Jose Pirela, 2B Mookie Betts, 2B
Eury Perez, CF Xander Bogaerts, SS
Francisco Cervelli, 1B Yoenis Cespedes, DH
Chris Young, LF Allen Craig, RF
John Ryan Murphy, C Garin Cecchini, 3B
Austin Romine, DH Rusney Castillo, CF
Brendan Ryan, SS Bryce Brentz, LF
Zelous Wheeler, 3B Ryan Lavarnway, 1B
Antoan Richardson, RF Dan Butler, C
Chris Capuano, SP Steven Wright, SP
Read more