Blood from a Stone, or Just What Can We Expect from Mr. Rodriguez?

The last time we saw Alex Rodriguez playing Major League Baseball, he was performing quite well, batting .244/.348/.423 with 7 HR and a 113 wRC+ across 181 PA. That is, of course, well below the lofty standards set by his career as a whole, and a rather unattractive slash line in the context of the era – but I would also suggest that it was fairly encouraging. At 38-years-old, with two surgically repaired hips and a surgically repaired right knee, Rodriguez managed to be an above-average hitter over what amounts to a quarter of a season. If you cocked your head and squinted a bit, things were looking up for Rodriguez, as he prepared for the upcoming season. But that was 2013, and ‘the upcoming season’ ended up being ‘TBA.’ And … well, you know the rest.

As of this writing, it has been 488 days since Rodriguez played professional baseball. By the time the Yankees suit-up for their first Spring Training game in March, it will have been one year, five months, one week, and three days since the last time Rodriguez donned pinstripes – and that’s assuming he plays some role in that game.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Consider These Options

Player A 2015 Steamer Projection- .274/.326/.402, 2.6 fWAR
Player B 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.328/.390, 1.7 fWAR
Player C 2015 Steamer Projection- .259/.307/.381, 0.7 fWAR
Player D 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.349/.400, 3.9 fWAR

Player A is Martin Prado, the originally scheduled programming at second base.  Players B and C are Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, the rookie tandem now tasked with replacing him.  Player D is Ben Zobrist, newly available second baseman/really, really good utility guy.  Just wanted to toss this up here to try to push my pro-Zobrist agenda a little more.

Think about it.  Prado was written into the starting second base job very lightly in pencil when the roster plans for next year starting coming together.  The safe assumption was that he’d play there as much as injuries allowed him to, with third base and right field both looking like they were going to be most in need of his services at some point.  That plan got scaled down by the signing of Chase Headley, but the opportunity was always there for Prado to be the floating everyday utility guy and for the injuries that proceeded his floating to open up a spot in the lineup for Refsnyder.…

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Is It Really is 2B Rookie Time? Will No Humdrum Vet Displace Refsnyder’s Shot?

I’m oddly excited to read, “the Yankees are not bidding on free agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera” (Bryan Hoch tweeting, then Chad Jennings re-reporting), leaving 2B likely a competition between Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, and some journeymen minor-leaguers who won’t really have a shot unless both Ref and Pirela badly tank and/or get hurt.

The lack of an Asdrubal Cabrera era for the Yankees is is good news, as is the lack of news, since the Gregorious acquisition, that Stephen Drew might still be signed for 2B. The kids are not only investments in the future, but better bets for 2015:

  • Refsnyder’s Steamer (Fangraphs) projection is .262/.328/.390 (102 wRC+)
  • Pirela’s is .259/.307/.381 (91 wRC+)
  • Cabrera’s is .251/.316/.397 (100 wRC+)
  • Drew’s is .218/.294/.352 (81 wRC+)
  • That’s offense; on defense, Steamer projects Cabrera as a clearly minus defender, but Ref as a slight plus defender. Reports are mixed on Ref’s defense, probably because 2B is new enough to him that he’s been an inconsistent work in progress in the field.…

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    Long term Max Scherzer is a big risk

    (Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

    Signing any player to a long term contract is a risk. Things rarely work out for the life of the deal. Sometimes the player is so good in the first few years of the deal that the back end evens out the worth of the investment. The risk seems even larger for Max Scherzer because, first, he is a pitcher and secondly, all you have to do is look at his teammate from Detroit as a cautionary tale.

    Scherzer famously turned down a large offer from the Tigers to test the free agent waters. And it seems he has set himself up nicely with another ace-like season. The financial rewards of his roll of the dice will pay off handsomely. Someone will give him the money. But will they be happy with the investment?

    Scherzer’s own teammate, Justin Verlander and American League rival, CC Sabathia seem to show the risks involved with signing up a talented power arm up beyond their peak seasons.…

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    Rival Roundup – The Boston Red Sox

    RedSox

    The last of a four-part series, Rival Roundup has been an overview of the Yankees’ American League East rivals. As stated throughout the series, almost half of the Yankees’ games will be against these four rivals. This last installment looks at the Boston Red Sox. Like the first three in the series, we have enlisted the thoughts of member sites of The ESPN SweetSpot Network. For this installment, my good friend, Jeff Polman, of Fire Brand of the American League will provide some insight throughout the piece.

    Of course the last installment had to be the Boston Red Sox. Cue the bad-guy organ music! Actually, a lot of steam has gone out of the antipathy between the two teams. They spend too much time respecting each other these days. Even so, the bottom line for both teams and the teams’ fans is that both ends of the “rivalry” are shooting for the same prize. Only one can win the division.…

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    Rival Roundup – The Toronto Blue Jays

    20111118-blue-jays-logo

    Part three of a four part series, Rival Roundup takes a look at the American League East rivals the New York Yankees will have to navigate for almost half of the team’s games in 2014. After visiting the Orioles on Friday and the Rays on Monday, our next stop is the Toronto Blue Jays. To offer insight and perspective of someone who covers the Jays closely, we turned to one of our fellow members of the ESPN SweetSpot Network, Matthias Koster of Mop Up Duty. Koster’s thoughts will pop up throughout.

    Imagine being told by someone close to you that you were going to get a shiny new car for a present, but when the day finally arrives, you find out the car was a Matchbox car and it wasn’t even one that was made in England. That’s what it felt like to be a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays last season when a series of moves were made after the 2012 season and everyone predicted a renaissance of Canada baseball.…

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    Rival Roundup – Tampa Bay Rays

    Rays

    The second of a four part series, Rival Roundup takes a look at each team of the American League East. The Yankees will play almost half of their games against these four clubs so it is really important to get to know their strengths and weaknesses. We have reached out to our ESPN SweetSpot Network partner sites to contribute their thoughts to the series. Today we look at the Tampa Bay Rays and Tommy Rancel of The Process Report has been kind enough to provide his thoughts that will be sprinkled throughout.

    Remember the days when the Yankees only had to worry about the Red Sox and the rest of the division was fairly incompetent? For the past several years, the Tampa Bay Rays have also been tough to beat. In fact, the entire division is strong if you were to look at one set of projections. The Rays won 92 games last year, seven more than the Yankees. Not only did the team finish ahead of the Yankees, they pretty well thrashed the Bronx team in the season series, winning 12 of the 19 games and outscoring the Yankees by 32 runs.…

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    Rival Roundup – Baltimore Orioles

    This is the first of four installments looking at the 2014 American League East rivals. After all, the New York Yankees will play close to half of their games this season against these four division rivals. As we look at each team, we have reached out to our friends in the ESPN SweetSpot Network. Throughout this look at the Orioles, we will hear from Jon Shepherd of Camden Depot. 

    The Orioles and the Yankees finished with the exact same record in 2013. But both got there by different routes. The Orioles scored a lot more runs, allowed more runs and played better defense. The Yankees pitched better but lagged behind the Orioles both offensively and defensively. Despite the differences, the rivalry has really been exciting the last two years as the two teams battled for the division title in 2012 and played to a 9-9 tie during that season. The Yankees were one game better in 2013 with a 10-9 record against the Orioles.…

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    Over/Under: 2014 Statistical Predictions

    I’ve got a pretty bad cold going right now, so I wanted to keep this as simple as possible.  There are a lot of high expectations for new players this year and just as many uncertain expectations for some of the holdovers.  I want to set an over/under line for some of the more important players on the roster to gauge what kind of seasons people are expecting from them.  Let’s get into it.

    CC Sabathia- Over/Under 4.00 ERA

    The big fella came in at 4.78 last year, a full run over his career ERA coming into the season.  It wasn’t only the first time he’d posted an ERA over 4.00 since 2005, it was the first time he’d posted an ERA over 3.50 since 2005.  The hope was that another season removed from elbow surgery would get CC back on the right track, but so far his early ST results have left some to start wringing their hands over his velocity.  …

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