Report: A-Rod Could See Time At First Base Next Season

I know I’ve been beating the point about the Yankees needing a backup plan for Teix at first base into the ground, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Via Andrew Marchand, the Yanks may look to Alex Rodriguez as one of those backup plans.  Brian Cashman confirmed to Marchand that Joe has already talked to A-Rod about learning to play the position in preparation for his return from this year’s suspension.  According to Cash, this move is primarily driven by the team’s belief that A-Rod won’t be able to stay healthy playing third base.

“I don’t think it’s safe to assume that he can play third base.  With his age and missing a full year, you have to have some perspective. This is a very difficult game. Alex is up for that challenge, but I think it’s safer to assume that might not be something that he can handle the whole year.”

With A-Rod, Teix, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, the Yankees have 4 guys who are going to need semi-regular time at DH next year.  …

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Are There Issues In The Yankee Clubhouse?

Joe Presser vs BAL

The old “rip your team after they’ve already been eliminated from postseason contention” move, eh? Courtesy of Getty Images

Aside from Derek Jeter‘s final few games and the last honorary send-off he was given by the Red Sox and their fans this past weekend, the only other bit of noteworthy Yankee news came in the form of a possible locker room controversy.  On Saturday, Wally Matthews and Andrew Marchand of ESPN NY filed a story detailing a reportedly “scathing” locker room speech given by Joe to his team before Thursday’s home finale.  You can read the full story here if you haven’t already, but the overall gist is that Joe was “angry” and called his players out for lack of effort.  Here’s the money pull-out quote:

“According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of whom spoke to ESPNNewYork.com not for attribution for fear of angering their manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight and others for not being ‘hungry’ enough.

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Quick Hit: Pineda Can’t Buy Run Support Right Now

Michael Pineda has made 9 starts this year.  He’s pitched exactly 50 innings in those 9 starts and allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in those 50 innings.  His consistency in limiting opposing lineups to 2 runs or fewer was noted by Katie earlier this morning, and his overall performance has re-inspired hope that he can become a strong #2 starter at the top of future rotations.

The only problem with Pineda’s performance this season, and it’s not even his problem really, is that it hasn’t led to very many Yankee victories.  Pineda has a 3-4 record and the team is 3-6 in his starts, mainly because the offense refuses to score runs for him.  In the 50 innings he’s pitched, the Yankees have scored 16 runs.  That number is bad enough as a standalone, but when you consider that 10 of them have come in 2 games and none have been scored in the last 2 it gets even worse.  …

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Quick Hit: How Sore Is Gardner’s Sore Ankle?

Gardner K vs TOR

Courtesy of Getty Images

Apologies in advance if this was already covered somewhere else and I missed it, but how severe is Brett Gardner‘s sore ankle?  And how long has it been a problem?  He sat out a second straight game because of it last night and told reporters he was confident he would be back in the lineup tonight, but looking at the situation from a broader perspective, it seems like this might be more than your garden variety “sore ankle”.

On August 4th, Gardner’s batting line was up to .286/.364/.468.  That .832 OPS was the highest it had been since early April.  Since then, Gardner has gone 10-62 in his last 16 games with 4 BB, 11 K, and 1 stolen base.  That stolen base came on August 22nd against the White Sox, after which Gardner played the next day and then started his 2-game rest period.  His season batting line is back down to .269/.346/.435 and his August line is a paltry .200/.294/.307.…

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Quick Hit: Starters Keep On Keepin’ On

While I stand by my comment in Wednesday morning’s rant about how it sucks that the rotation can’t ever get through 6-7 innings, I wasn’t trying to suggest that the rotation has, in any way, been part of the problem.  They haven’t.  Boland tweeted this out last night and it’s the continuation of something I pointed out a month ago.  The Yankee rotation, whoever’s been in it, has been killing it since early July.  Who honestly thought that would be happening without Tanaka, Nova, and Pineda for most of the season?

The Good News Here- The Yankees have given themselves some nice options to consider for next year’s rotation.  Nova’s out, Kuroda’s going to retire, and CC’s knee may be past the point of usability.  They’re going to need multiple arms, and cheap young guys like Greene and Phelps could be very valuable in the 4th and 5th spots, as could someone like Brandon McCarthy.…

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Slump City, USA, Population Yankee Bats

The Yankee offense was pitiful again last night.  They scored 3 runs in the first 2 innings, but really only 1 run when you consider the other 2 came as the result of comically poor Baltimore defense.  They’ve scored 15 runs in their last 5 games, 10 of them coming in 1 game, and 25 in their last 8.  The cause of this offensive blackout is, as usual, the majority of the lineup going cold at the same time.  Almost everybody is currently in the middle of some kind of SSS slump:

The only guy swinging a good bat right now is Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s 10-27 with 4 XBH, 4 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, and 2 SB in his last 8 games.  …

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Sorting Through The 30 Pitchers Used This Season

You can never have enough pitching.  Everybody who follows baseball knows that saying.  While it may ring true, it’s usually not a good thing to test how much pitching your organization has.  The Yankees have been finding that out the hard way since mid-April.  Injuries, inconsistent performance, and the constant need to shuffle roster spots has created a carousel of new arms joining, leaving, and sometimes re-joining the pitching staff.  As of yesterday, the Yankees had used an MLB-high 30 different pitchers this season.  They’ve used 11 different starters and will roll out a 12th tonight.

Over the course of 114 games and that many pitchers, it’s easy to forget 1 or 2.  There are names included in that 30 that I’m sure people never thought they’d see pitching in a Yankee uniform and a few that some people probably never heard of before they did.  As a helpful guide to the bevy of right and left hands that have flung baseballs towards home plate for the Yankees in 2014, here’s a breakdown and recap of all 30.  …

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Another Starter Bites The Dust, Now What?

Phelps vs BOS II

Courtesy of Getty Images

While him exiting the game after 2 wildly ineffective innings was the best thing for the Yankees last night, learning that David Phelps has been having elbow problems for the last few weeks was a big blow.  For a team that’s battled injuries in its rotation since early April and only recently re-established a sense of stability in that group, this was the last thing they needed to happen.  Phelps has pitched well for the better part of the last 2 months and now he’ll be out for a yet to be determined amount of time.  Once again, the Yanks will be sent into scramble mode to fill a vacated rotation spot.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s no damage to any of the ligaments in his elbow.  We found out late last night that Phelps has been feeling and pitching through discomfort in his right elbow for the last few weeks.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Dem Workload Blues

You guys know that workload concern thing I’ve been on with Adam Warren and Dellin Betances, from way back before anybody else was really thinking about it?  Yeah, I think it could be starting to surface now.

Warren’s Monthly ERA Splits: April- 1.93, May- 1.62, June- 4.97, July- 5.79

Betances’ Monthly K Rate Splits: April- 43.4%, May- 45.9%, June- 37.9%, July- 31.7%

Obviously falling to a K rate that’s still above 30% is far less severe of a drop-off than a ballooning ERA, but we’re talking about 2 very different types of pitchers.  Their level of fatigue, whatever it may be, could be manifesting itself in different ways.  Hitters are making more and better contact against Betances this month than in any other month.  He’s given up runs in consecutive appearances for the first time this year.  They’re getting to Warren both by swinging and holding the bat.  His K rate in July is the lowest of the season, his BB rate is the highest, and he’s been far more hittable since the start of June.…

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