Joe Needs To Keep Lengthening The Leash On His Young Starters

Joe-Nuno vs CHW

Courtesy of Getty Images

A funny thing happened this last turn through the rotation.  Joe showed a little more faith in his trio of young replacement starters, allowing all of them to work deeper into the game than they have since taking spots in the rotation, and the world didn’t collapse in on itself.  In fact, the Yankees won 2 of the 3 games pitched by David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, and Chase Whitley, and may have snuck out a win in the other game if Joe had put a competitive lineup on the field.

The Yankees have had a ton of problems in their rotation already this year, almost all of them due to injury.  The latest issue has been not getting enough length from the starters and it was an issue partially perpetuated by Joe and his quick hook with these 3.  He knows who his bullpen aces are and he’s leaned heavily on them to carry the burden of holding leads rather than leave it in the hands of pitchers in which he doesn’t have as much confidence.  …

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Big Al Reintroduces Himself To Yankeeland

Aceves vs TB

Courtesy of the AP

The easy headlines from yesterday afternoon’s stinker were CC’s horrific performance and the offense’s continued non-existence.  About the only positive one, which Kenny wisely covered in the IIATMS/TYA recap of the game, was the successful re-debut of Alfredo Aceves in the Yankee bullpen.  Called up after the bulk of the ‘pen got worked hard in Friday night’s 14-inning loss, Aceves got the call when CC failed to get out of the 4th.  Although initially brought in to be more of a sacrificial lamb to save the rest of the bullpen for the road trip, Aceves made Joe look doubly smart by tossing 5.1 shutout innings and keeping the Yankees in the game.

It was a pretty unexpected outcome if you’ve followed Aceves’ career since he left the Yankees after 2010.  He joined the Red Sox in 2011 after being non-tendered and put up a season reminiscent of his career best 2009 season in pinstripes, pitching 114.0 innings of mostly relief work with a few spot starts and posting a 2.61 ERA.  …

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The Implications Of The Murphy And Canzler Call-Ups

Bryan Hoch tweeted that out last night, after it was reported that John Ryan Murphy, and not Austin Romine, would get called up to replace Francisco Cervelli as the Major League backup catcher.  It has yet to be reported by any other beat guy or confirmed by the team itself, but I have to imagine this is the decision that will be made.  When the Yankees take the field tonight against the Cubs, they will be back to full strength.  Well, at least in terms of number of healthy bodies on the active roster.  That’s better than where they were at on Sunday night.

While these moves provide the obvious benefit of getting the Yanks back to a standard 5-man bench/7-man ‘pen roster breakdown and filling in the cracks on their injured infield, it’s what’s between the lines that is the real story here.  …

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Yanks Limping (Literally) Into Their First Off-Day

Cervelli Injury vs BOS

Very often in sports, commentators or writers like to say that something “couldn’t have come at a better time” to help a struggling team.  In the Yankees’ case, this first scheduled off-day of the year really could not have come at a better time after last night’s injury casualties.  If the Yankees had to play a game tonight, it’s doubtful they’d have enough healthy bodies to fill out the starting infield.

They were already short-handed heading into the game last night when it was revealed that Derek Jeter has a tight right quad and Joe was keeping him out of the lineup to steal a few more days of rest.  Once the game started, we found out that Brian Roberts was out not to get a simple day of rest, but because his lower back was bothering him and he went for a precautionary MRI earlier in the day.  We also found out that Francisco Cervelli still can’t escape his crappy injury luck when he appeared to seriously pull his hamstring trying to beat out a play at first base in the 4th.  …

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Joe’s Lineup Decisions Suggest Lessons Learned From Last Year

Joe vs HOU II

When you’re coming off 2 straight losses to what was the worst team in MLB by a wide margin last year and you decide to sit your leadoff hitter, cleanup hitter, and starting third baseman in the 3rd game of the season, that’s normally a decision that will draw some questions.  I certainly had a few in my head when I got a look at the lineup before last night’s game.  I didn’t understand why Joe would want to rest Brian McCann already when he’s got a Friday night/Saturday afternoon setup this weekend in Toronto, and I really didn’t understand why he felt the need to play the platoon matchup game with Kelly Johnson and a guy making his MLB debut in Yangervis Solarte when Johnson has a higher career OPS against lefties than righties.

As it turns out, Joe knew exactly what he was doing.  Solarate and Ichiro Suzuki combined for 5 hits and 4 runs scored from the bottom of the order subbing for Johnson and Jacoby Ellsbury, leading the offensive charge in the team’s first win.  …

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Now The Real Utility Bench Competition Begins

Dean Anna

The move to designate Eduardo Nunez for assignment was a long time coming.  After spending a few years earlier in his career as the media-anointed heir to Derek Jeter‘s starting shortstop spot, Nunez came to be seen for what he truly was over the last few seasons: a below-average hitter with a swing-happy approach and an almost unfathomably bad defensive player at any position.  The Yankees gave him plenty of chances to show signs of improvement and he didn’t show them, so even though there does exist the slight possibility of him sticking with the organization, it’s far more likely that we’ve seen the last of Eduardo Scissorhands in a Yankee uniform.

With the book closed on Nunez’s time in pinstripes, the Yanks will turn to a pair of lifetime MiLers to see if they can do what Nunez couldn’t and adequately fill the utility bench role.  The Spring Training competition was just the knockout round.  Nunez was eliminated, Scott Sizemore was eliminated, and now it’s down to Dean Anna and Yangervis Solarte to see who is the better man for the job.  …

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Lots Of Sound Logic In Joe’s Opening Day Roster Decisions

Joe ST 2014

As the Yankees were coming down the home stretch of Spring Training last week, I thought I had Joe’s final roster selections all figured out.  I thought he was going to go with the experience/performance combo and take Matt Daley for the final bullpen spot, which also would have allowed Vidal Nuno to stay stretched out as a starter in Triple-A and be ready to come up and spot start in case of an emergency.  When it came to the final bench spot, I thought Eduardo Nunez‘s tenure as a Yankee and familiarity with their system would give him the advantage over Yangervis Solarte and Joe would give him the nod based on loyalty.

In another shining example of why Joe and Cash have the jobs they have and I’m a cube monkey who blogs in his spare time, I was wrong on both accounts.  Joe didn’t go on experience and he didn’t go on loyalty.  He thought about what his team was going to need the most in the first few weeks of the season and made the 2 most logical choices to meet those needs.…

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The Yankees’ last roster spot is a real puzzle

Wallace Matthews of reported on the last roster spot and what he reported is mind-blowing. We already know that Dean Anna has made the team and that Joe Girardi hates tweets. But if Matthews is on top of the last roster spot situation, the Yankees have a very...

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With 4 Open Spots, Roster Decisions Are Coming

With 5 days until opening day, the Yankees are making their final Spring Training cuts, and the roster is beginning to take shape. In recent days, we’ve learned that Michael Pineda will be the fifth starter, sending Adam Warren and David Phelps to the bullpen. We’ve also learned that Francisco Cervelli will be the backup catcher over John Ryan Murphy and Austin Romine. Here’s what the current 25-man roster looks like.

1. C Brian McCann
2. 1B Mark Teixeira
3. 2B Brian Roberts
4. SS Derek Jeter
5. 3B Kelly Johnson
6. LF Brett Gardner
7. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
8. RF Carlos Beltran
9. DH Alfonso Soriano
10. OF Ichiro Suzuki
11. C Francisco Cervelli
12. IF
13. IF
14. SP1 CC Sabathia
15. SP2 Hiroki Kuroda
16. SP3 Ivan Nova
17. SP4 Masahiro Tanaka
18. SP5 Michael Pineda
19. CL David Robertson
20. RHRP Shawn Kelley
21. RHRP David Phelps
22. RHRP Adam Warren
23. LHRP Matt Thornton

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