Filling the Empty Corner

Before the announcement that Alex Rodriguez would–again–need hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, the Yankees’ roster situation was dire enough. Perhaps “dire” is overselling it a bit, but going into yesterday, the Yankees were without a legitimate catcher, right fielder, and designated hitter. Now, they find themselves without a wholly viable third baseman. With A-Rod’s absence looming, the Yankees will have to patch up the hot corner for an extended period of time.

Internally, they’ve got options, even if they’re not great. First on the list would be Eduardo Nunez by default. Though the team is committed to him at shortstop, he’s seen a good deal of time at third. Brian Cashman seemed to dispel the idea on Monday, but I don’t think it’s possible to rule it out completely. The organization does see something in him, even if I don’t. He’s been able to hit for an empty average (though he’s been better against lefty pitching). As for his defense, well…The other option, however much a long shot, could be David Adams.… Click here to read the rest

What’s up with Eric Chavez?

If you had told me that the Yankees were going to play Eric Chavez for 82 games and counting this season, I’d have told you that it was a great idea … in 2002. If you had then told me that Chavez would hit .300/.357/.536 I’d have thought you were talking about 2002. Of course, that gaudy line is not Chavez’s line from 2002. In 2002 Chavez hit .275/.348/.513. The first set of numbers I’ve thrown up there is what Chavez has hit this season for the Yankees. In case you’re wondering, the man he replaced at third, Alex Rodriguez, was hitting just .276/.358/.449 when he went down with a broken hand after 94 games. Over roughly the same period of time Chavez has been the better hitter. What’s going on?

The first thing to point out is that Chavez may simply be playing to his god given abilities. Before his name became synonymous with the disabled list Chavez was a perennial 4 or 5 fWAR player for the Athletics.… Click here to read the rest

The Replacements

All five AL East teams have lost significant pieces, many for a majority of the season. On paper, the Red Sox were supposed to be neck and neck with the Yankees in August. I’ve heard an innumerable amount of injury excuses for teams this year, but 12.5 games now stand between the first place Yankees and the fourth place Red Sox.

At this point, it’s obvious that organizational depth set the two teams apart. As fans joked about the Yankees signing and trading for old players, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Eric Chavez, and Andy Pettitte stepped up and became integral parts of the team. This might be one of the most injured Yankee teams in some time, but thanks to the front office, the team was well prepared. In some cases, the replacements have been better than the allstars they’ve covered.

CL Rafael Soriano (1.71 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 9.13 K/9, 29 SV)– In to replace the almighty Mariano Rivera, and then the injured David Robertson, Soriano didn’t miss a beat.… Click here to read the rest

Eric Chavez appreciation post

Let’s all take a minute to appreciate Eric Chavez. He’s been nothing short of great for the Yankees this year. After yesterday’s 2-4 performance, which included the game-winning homer, Chavez’s season line sits at .289/.347/.526, good for a .366 wOBA and a 129 wRC+, and that’s NOT split adjusted. He’s done that in 216 PA, more than he had all of last season. Why is that significant? It’s the most PA he’s had since 2007 when he had 379 for Oakland.

Here are some other bests in a long time for Chavez:

BB%: 8.4, best since 9.0 in 2007
K%: 15.7, best since 13.6 in 2003
Iso: .237, best since .252 in 2001
HR: 12, best since 15 in 2007
wOBA/wRC+: .366/129, best since .383/133 in 2004

Chavez has been a near perfect back up for Alex Rodriguez for the last two seasons and he just finished an awesome four game set in Detroit. Keeping him healthy for the stretch run will be a challenge given Eric’s spotty health history, but if it can be done, he should continue to be productive.… Click here to read the rest

Hughes, Cano and Chavez power Yankees past White Sox, 4-2

"Hey buddy! You're awesome!" "You're right Mark. I am awesome."

Yankee fans should be happy with this split of the four game set with the White Sox. Apart from their 14-7 drubbing Friday night the Yankees won two of the four games at least solidly and should have won three of them. Phil Hughes was the main star of today’s game, while the stars of the offense were Eric Chavez and Robinson Cano.

Phil continued his solid pitching. He tossed eight strong innings on just 106 pitches, allowing only six hits and one walk while striking out eight. That is dominance. Hughes only encountered a bit of trouble in the first inning when he allowed two runs to score on RBI singles from Kevin Youkilis and Alex Rios. After that he shut the door. The White Sox didn’t get a lick of offense the rest of the game.

The Yankee bats took it from there. The Bombers loaded the bases with no outs against Gavin Floyd in the first, and came away with nothing.… Click here to read the rest

Nova’s Curveball Key To Third Win

As the Highlanders squared off against the Red Sox this afternoon, Ivan Nova did his best impression of Smoky Joe Wood. His final line was 6.0 innings, 7 hits, 2 runs, and 5 strikeouts. Out of 3 starts, he has now won 3 games, thanks to a continuous barrage of run support for the pitcher. Let’s take a look at the PITCHF/x numbers to see how he went about one of the most potent offenses in baseball.

Nova threw the four-seamer, two-seamer, changeup, slider, and curveball tonight. The four-seamer sat at the new standard 92.6 mph, and topped out at 95.6. Compared to the last start against the Angels, Nova’s fastball was right around the same speed, but it had more than 2 inches of less horizontal movement in to right handed batters and about an inch more “rising” action. In the last PITCHF/x piece on Ivan Nova, I wrote about how he has regained strength from last year, and throwing the ball harder but with some ridiculously high “rise”.… Click here to read the rest

Spring Training Stock Market: Stock Down

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

We covered the guys off to good starts on Tuesday.  Today it’s the other side of the coin.  Here are the guys who aren’t exactly lighting the world on fire in camp over the first 2+ weeks.

Raul Ibanez– Ibanez was the Yankees’ lefty DH option of choice this offseason, and so far they are giving him a serious test drive to see what they can get out of him.  Ibanez has been in the lineup at DH, LF, and RF, and currently leads the team with 24 plate appearances.  Unfortunately, he only has 2 hits in those 24 PA (1-17 vs. RHP), with no walks and 5 strikeouts to boot (4 of them vs. RHP).  He’s also looked shaky in the outfield, making one error already and reminding us to not take Gardner and Swisher’s defensive value in the corners for granted.  As a 39-year-old player, it’s reasonable to expect Ibanez to need a little more time to get into a groove, and he certainly shouldn’t be written off based on 20ish PA. … Click here to read the rest

Eric Chavez is back. Why?

Last night, news we all knew would probably break broke. Eric Chavez re-signed with the Yankees for the 2012 season, agreeing to a small, incentive-laden deal to backup Alex Rodriguez and DH on occasion. In doing so, he unofficially closed the book on an exciting 2012 off-season. Per MLB Trade Rumors:

The Yankees have agreed to terms with third baseman Eric Chavez on a one-year, Major League contract, pending a physical, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The deal is worth $900K and also includes incentives, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

The deal isn’t bad. A number of us here at TYA, myself included, have expressed varying degrees of contempt towards Eric Chavez’s future with the team. Chavez is an injury prone, weak hitting, average fielding corner infielder on a team with Eduardo Nunez. His presence is somewhat redundant, even at his present best. Fortunately, like another recent signee in Raul Ibanez, Chavez was signed to a small contract for next season.… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Chavez, Martin, Burnett

“If there’s any guys in more shape than me, I’d be surprised. If there are, I’d be happy, because I’m coming ready this year.”

  • Mike Axisa wrote about the upcoming free agent market and how the Yankees can avoid some very high priced contracts if they extend Martin now.
  • Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York collected a few quotes from A.J. Burnett following his trade to Pittsburgh. Burnett appears far from bitter, and astonishingly understanding about the situation. His pitching might not have stood up to take the New York market, but his personality did.
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