Musing About The Bench

The Yankees are on the cusp of signing veteran outfielder Andruw Jones to be the team’s first OF off of the bench. They signed Russell Martin to be the starting catcher for now, with Francisco Cervelli as the back up, and Jesus Montero on the way up. Jorge Posada will be the primary DH and could probably catch every once in a while. The team will also (likely) have Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez to man the extra infield spots. Just so we can see it lined up:

OF–Andruw Jones
C–Francisco Cervelli
IF–Eduardo Nunez
IF–Ramiro Pena

Having two back up infielders may seem excessive, but the way the Yankees’ OF will be structured, I think it’s okay. All three starters are good enough both offensively and defensively that they won’t need many days off. Jones can spell one of Curtis Granderson or Brett Gardner against tough lefties and is also a balanced enough player that he wouldn’t need a replacement fielder after batting for one of those guys.… Click here to read the rest

Second-guessing the manager

Less than a day after writing a post absolving Joe Girardi of any wrongdoing in the Yankees’ 8-7 win, last night came another tough one-run loss featuring a handful of moves — or really, non-moves — by Girardi that were questionable.

This time the primary issue revolved around pinch-hitting, or the lack thereof. In the eighth, Girardi elected to pinch-hit for Lance Berkman, who would’ve been forced to turn around and bat from his far inferior right side, for Marcus Thames. As bad as Berkman is from the right side (.247 wOBA), and as unexpectedly good as Thames has been against righties (.398 wOBA), lifting Berkman in this situation made zero sense considering that the utterly useless Austin Kearns and Colin Curtis — who, as noted in the recap, combined to go 3-21 against Tampa, including 1-8 last night with five stranded baserunners (and in reality it was actually 10 when you add up their cumulative stranded baserunner total) — would each be coming to the plate one hitter later.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks acquire Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns

New set of pinstripes for Fat Elvis

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Yanks have acquired 1B/RF Lance Berkman from the Houston Astros and OF Austin Kearns from the Cleveland Indians. Kearns was traded for a PBTNL, Berkman (aka Big Puma and Fat Elvis) will head to New York in exchange for AAA reliever Mark Melancon and low-A second baseman Jimmy Paredes. The 5 mil remaining on Berkman’s 2010 salary will be picked up by the Astros, along with the 2 mil buyout of his 2011 option.

Berkman’s having a down year, but has maintained relatively good production (123 wRC+) and has been better of late (.925 OPS since July 1st.). Power’s down a bit, his .191 ISO is the lowest mark of any full season in the bigs. But power numbers can fluctuate wildly in small samples, and I hate comparing full seasons to partial for that reason. Sluggers tend to hit them in bunches, as the old line goes.… Click here to read the rest

Colin Curtis, Juan Miranda, end late inning Angels’ comeback in 10-6 Yankee victory

This one was closer than the score makes it look. Javier Vazquez came out on fire. He got through 4 scoreless innings on only 37 pitches. Then, it all fell apart. He gave up 3 runs in the 5th and then 2 more in the 6th, including a 2 run blast to Hideki Matsui, who desperately misses Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi handed things over to the bullpen after that.

Joel Pineiro made sure that this was not a pitchers duel. As bad as Javy was, Pineiro was worse. He gave up 6 runs in 6 innings of work. He left his team in a hole they couldn’t dig out of.

The Yankee main stays put the runs on the board early in the game. Jeter got 3 hits. So did Mark Teixeira, including 2 doubles and 2 RBI. Robinson Cano hit a 2 run homer to right center. It was 6-0 at the end of the 4th, but Javy didn’t have enough to keep the Angels off the board.… Click here to read the rest

Winn Must Improve

Perhaps this is unfair to him because I’m writing this right after Winn’s infield fly ball in the 8th inning was the biggest WPA swing of the game, but Winn needs to step it up. Quickly.

With the injury to Curtis Granderson, Winn is going to be seeing a lot more playing time. As of right now, his line sits at .190/.250/.308. If this doesn’t start trending upwards in a timely manner, left field will become a black hole for the Bombers. Granted, they have the offense to make up for a bad bat.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Winn’s BABIP sits at .222 right now, and his career mark is .100 points higher than that. So, we should expect a correction soon. I should also mention that Randy’s line drive percentage is at a solid 21.1%, so maybe the hits will begin to fall. He is hitting a lot of balls on the ground at this point (57.9%), so that could show us that maybe he’s not hitting the ball as hard as his LD% suggests.… Click here to read the rest

10/14 AFL Action

Surprise defeats Peoria, 6-4

  • Mike Dunn closed for the  Rafters, giving up 2 hits and a walk in 1 shutout inning, and striking out 1.
  • Austin Romine batted 5th, going 3 for 4.  He also threw out 1 of 3 runners attempting to steal on him and allowed a passed ball.
  • Colin Curtis, batting 8th and playing centerfield, was 1 for 4.
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