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 (Twitter links). The deal is worth $900K and also includes incentives, tweets Ken Rosenthal of

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

A Little Bit of a Big Problem

I’m going to come right out and say it: the Yankees have a glaring hole on their big league roster and have for quite some time. No, this is not a new weakness, but it is a weakness that has become increasingly noticeable and yet one this organization does not appear ready to deal with. There have been whispers. Inquiries into availability. They even made a run at a Japanese import. But as we stand on Friday the 13th of January it looks like Brian Cashman is perfectly willing to head into this season with the same flawed group as he did last season. He’s perfectly willing to trust his guys, the team’s fortunes be damned.

I’m talking of course about the infield bench.

Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez are all former All-Stars. All four are signed through the 2013 season and it is practically impossible to imagine any of them losing their starting jobs in the intervening two seasons.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Mailbag: Mike Aviles and Adam Kennedy

Happy Tuesday morning, everyone. Glad you all survived Monday and are joining us bright and early here at TYA. Today’s mailbag question comes courtesy of Travis:

Matt mentioned Casey Blake as a potential backup infielder. What about if the Red Sox non-tender Mike Aviles? I know his 2011 wasnt stellar, but his 2010 seemed a bit more interesting. What is the real Aviles and would the younger player be an option for the backup spot? And what about Adam Kennedy or even bringing up a youngster, like David Adams (if he’s healthy)?

Let’s start with David Adams. Adams definitely has shown a nice bat, but he hasn’t exactly been a model of health since he joined the Yankee organization. With the exception of a .325 wOBA this year in A+ ball, Adams has hit well everywhere. The problem is that he’s only played in 68 games since the start of 2010, while only racking up 294 plate appearances in that time.… Click here to read the rest

Weekend Thoughts

Hope everyone’s enjoying the Fourth of July safely! Anyway, onto the events of the weekend.

1. Way to go, Bartolo Colon! I didn’t get to watch any of this because I was with friends for the day, but everything about the start just sounds fantastic. 6 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K? Yes, please! It looks like Bartolo picked up EXACTLY where he left off and that’s just fantastic. Of his 80 pitches, 69 were fastballs (four seamers or two seamers, per Brooks) and he managed those six strikeouts despite just two total swings and misses. If you told me at the beginning of the year that Colon would be racking up all these strikeouts despite throwing almost all fastballs, I would’ve told you that you were nuts. I’m so glad that I’ve been proven wrong.

2. In a similar vein, Freddy Garcia continues to somehow get it done. He may not have had many strikeouts yesterday, just one, but he didn’t walk anyone and that’ll get the job done every time.… Click here to read the rest

Upon Jeter’s arrival

Right now, Derek Jeter is on pace to rejoin the Yankees on Monday. The Yankees will have a choice, though I’m not sure they’ll consider it so, on whom to option back to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Jeter will obviously take his spot back at shortstop (and atop the Yankee lineup) leaving one of Ramiro Pena or Eduardo Nunez without a spot on the team. If I had to place a bet on who’s going to be taking the bus back to Scranton, I’d put it my bet on Pena, but is that the best move?

Eduardo Nunez has been with the big league club all year and the results have been mixed at best. He’s shown flashes of the ability to be a regular shortstop, but he’s also been downright awful at times, both at the plate and in the field. Still, there’s some upside there and the organization clearly has faith in him. Ramiro Pena, on the other hand, pretty much is what he is, and that’s an all field/no hit infielder who can play the non-1B positions.… Click here to read the rest

BP’s Injury Projections, Batters

Last week, Baseball Prospectus came out with their injury projections so I’ll offer some brief commentary on what they could mean for each player and the team. When I have some more free time, I’ll go more deeply into this issue, using WAR projections and all, but for now, with my mind still at least partially on those lesson plans for A Tale of Two Cities, here’s what I think.

Just about everyone is projected to miss one day so that’s not worth going into too much. There are a few guys who are red-flagged for 15-day DL trips: Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner, and Andruw Jones. This makes sense for Rodriguez, Posada, and Jones given their respective ages and injury histories. Call me optimistic, but I think the chance of injury is less significant for each guy. Rodriguez’s hip is apparently finally healed, Posada will be DHing full time rather than catching, and Jones will be a back up.… Click here to read the rest

EduardOF and the Bench

Yesterday afternoon, we learned that the Yankees were going to try Eduardo Nunez in the outfield. The game wasn’t on TV so I obviously didn’t catch how he looked, but I can’t blame the Yankees for trying. Nunez can play a decent enough shortstop so we can reasonably infer that he could at least hold his own in left field and not embarrass himself out there.

When a player like Nunez–one who has little upside–can increase his versatility, it can only help the team for which he plays and, obviously, him. I have little faith in Nunez ever becoming a viable Major League starter, but he’s definitely a good be to be a good bench option. After all, he can play shortstop, second, third, and doesn’t strike out much. There’s not much on-base skill present in his game and he’s not going to hit for power any time soon…nor will he later. By at least attempting to play the outfield, Nunez is expanding his horizons in a small, but at least somewhat meaningful way.… Click here to read the rest

CAIRO on the Bench

CAIRO is the projection system set up by SG, the man behind the curtain over at Replacement Level Yankee Weblog. Since it’s pretty dead out there right now, I figured we could take a look at some bench candidates and how they might project in 2011.

Now to be fair, projecting players who have yet to play in the majors is extremely difficult. In the past I have tried to take a “rolling average” concept to these projections and come up with a ballpark number for each prospect. It’s just too difficult to tell exactly how someone will transition to the major leagues. So keep that in mind as we look ahead.

Montero C 508 1 18 .261 .326 .446 .337 24
Adams 2B 386 6 6 .240 .314 .373 .306 6
Nunez SS 528 19 7 .257 .296 .350 .286 6
Romine C 502 4 10 .238 .281 .362 .283 6
Pena SS/3B 324 7 3 .244 .290 .324 .274 1
Cervelli C 292 3 2 .255 .326 .347 .303 5
Russo 2B 419 9 4 .243 .305 .328 .286 0
Curtis OF 483 4 9 .242 .303 .361 .295 -1

BRAR- Position adjusted Batting Runs Above Replacement

Much to the chagrin of Yankee fans everywhere, we know Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena will probably make the team out of spring training.… Click here to read the rest

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