Maybe not...

So we were up and running for like, 20 min? Unfortunately, we had additional technical difficulties, so we WILL be up soon. I promise.


Up and Running

From now on, Kevin and I will be posting on 6pound8ouncebabyjoba.com. Check back here for archives and what not. We are so excited to have our new site launched! We hope you all enjoy it.



Hey All,
I'm sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. There has been a lot of news to go over, but Kevin and I have been more focused on trying to launch a new and improved 6P8OBJ. As you can probably imagine, we are having some issues getting the new layout designed and launched. Please bear with us, as we will hopefully have a great new "version" of our blog available to you in the coming days.

Ok, so. Here's a quick recap of the last 4 days (in no particular order)...

  • Xavier Nady suffered a serious set back in his rehab from his elbow injury. Nady walked off the feild during his AAA appearance with "significant discomfort". As yankees.com said, "Nady's bid to avoid Tommy John surgery may have ended...".
  • Derek Jeter turned 35. I don't know if any of you feel the same way as I do, but I find that very very strange. I still feel like he's 25...
  • Jose Veras was traded to the Cleveland Indians for "cash considerations". Veras was having a rough season, having a 5.96 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Ugly... Kevin was calling for him to be DFA'd for a long time, and this was obviously the result of his DFA.
  • The Yankees experienced a serious power outage from the 17th to the 23rd, but have bounced back nicely with an 8-4 W over ATL, an 11-7 W over ATL, and a 9-1 W over NY.
  • Mariano Rivera recorded his 498 and 499th save
That's about all I have for now. Again, bear with us. We are very excited for the new site, and we hope that you are as well.


Technical Issues

Conor and I are working on updating the format of 6P8OBJ so the site will be under construction for the next day or two, or maybe three. Bare with us and we'll have the improved site up and running as soon as we can.



If you have any questions or concerns feel free to email me at kevinseefried (at) ymail.com


In the bottom of the 7th inning in today's game Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez sent Alejandro De Aza to pinch hit for pitcher/9 hole hitter Renyel Pinto. When the 8th inning started Gonzalez called in Leo Nunez to pitch, while being slotted for the leadoff spot. However, Chris Coghlan, the original left fielder, remained in the game for one pitch. Girardi then protested the lineup moves and de Aza was sent out to left, only to be replaced by Jeremy Hermida. The game was played under protest and the umps filed a report, so we may end up resumig the game from the top of the eighth on a return trip to Miami to replay the last two innings. This is all pending a decision by majore league baseball.

Sabathia Update

CC Sabathia left today's game in the second inning with what was originally called "biceps tightness." Later we learned via PeteAbe that CC actually has "biceps tendinitis," however CC plans to make his next start (Friday against the Mets). Apparently this has bothered CC between starts for years and he asked to remain in the game. PeteAbe says CC will recieve treatment in Atlanta on Monday, throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and start Friday. Hopefully CC will be fine and ready for Friday, otherwise the Yanks may have a big hole to fill, a hole which I don't see Phil Hughes filling on his own. If CC's out for an extended period of time I think a call to Ben Sheets would be in order.


Could use a win today

The Yanks haven't been puttin up many W's recently, we're 9-9 in June. Tonight CC takes the mound, and he'll also hit in the nine spot.

The lineup

SS The Captain
RF SuperSwisher
1B Mark Teixeira
3B A-Rod (Returning after 2 rest days)
2B Robby "I swing at everything" Cano
C "Hip Hip" Jorge Posada
LF The Melkman Cabrera
CF Brett "I wanna go fast" Gardner
P CC Sabathia

Both Damon and Matsui are available as pinch hitters off the bench (Berroa, Pena, Cervelli are there too, but who would you want as a pinch hitter?)

Update: CC Sabathia was taken out of the game in the bottom of the second inning, and very mysteriously I might add. He really didn't appear to be injured, but you know something is wrong if he comes out. Michael Kay has been discussing the heat, and how that may have been the problem. We will update you as we find out information.

Update: The Yankees are calling it "tightness in his left biceps".

The Value of Angel Berroa

Angel Berroa has a .136/.174/.182 line in 22 at bats this year. He hasn't drawn a walk, only has one extra base hit( a double), and has struck out 6 times. Obviously his bat does nothing for us. So perhaps we have him for his speed? No. Berroa hasn't even attempted to steal a base this year. Hmm. Well his value has to be with his glove then right? Nope. In Berroa's 63 innings in the field his UZR is -2.5. He's allowed 2.5 runs more than the average thirdbaseman. (Over 150 games he would lose us 34.5 runs).So Berroa has no value with his bat, his feet, or his glove. Why is he on the roster then?

Well Joe Girardi says he prefers to carry 2 backup infielders rather than a 5th outfielder. I understand that, but why not use Kevin Russo then? Russo, a 24 year old second baseman, is having a fine season in Scranton, sporting a .355/.439/.398 line. Sure he has very little power (his 4 doubles are his only extra base hits for the year). But, at least he can get on base both by hitting himself on and drawing a walk. Russo won't be called up (he should have been long ago), because Cody Ransom should be back within a week or two. Ransom has played 11 games in Scranton on his rehab assignment with a .286/.381/.571 line. He has smacked two home runs and it seems like he is back to near full health. Hopefully we shall see him in the Bronx within the next week and Angel Berroa will hopefully be DFA'd and we won't see him on a Yankees roster again.

The Last 6...

Well, the Yankees are 4-7 over their last 11, and 3-3 in their last six. They aren't the hottest of teams right now. The most frustrating thing though is the 3-3 record over the last six games. They have lost 3 games to poor teams (2 to the Nats and 1 to the Fish), and their pitching has really been stellar. The bullpen has not given up a run in the last 6 games, while the starters have given up a mere 11 runs in the same span. I suppose the Yankees just haven't been hitting. The loss to the Fish is somewhat tolerable, considering Josh Johnson has been fantastic this year. He has a 2.66 ERA and an unbelievable 1.05 WHIP through 15 starts and 105 innings. But two losses to the Nationals? They undoubtedly have the worst pitching staff in all of baseball, especially their bullpen. The offense really needs to start showing up...

5 O'Clock game today. Enjoy your Father's Day.


You have to be kidding me

AJ Burnett goes out there, pitches 6 and a third innings, allowing 2 runs, only one of which was earned, while he strikes out 8. Phil Coke gives us two straight outs and Phil Hughes pitches a perfect ninth. Sounds nice and dandy no? No. The Yankees' offense could only manage to score one run. We managed only 5 hits, one from Burnett himself. I know we were up against Josh Johnson, who is a phenomenal pitcher, but one run and five hits is unacceptable. Look at the top of the ninth inning to see why we lost.

Florida brings in closer Matt Lindstrom, the proud owner of a 5.37 ERA and Mark Teixeira singles to right. Good start. Then Jorge Posada comes up to the plate. Jorge takes a strike, swings and misses, and then pops up to Hanley Ramirez. On an 0-2 count you have to swing and he was just under it. Then Robby Cano comes up to the plate. I know Robby has been hot ever since I wrote that we should trade him. He's 11/23 with 2 homers, 6 ribbies, 5 runs scored, and only one strikeout since I posted that article. However, he also has grounded into 2 game ending double plays off of bad pitchers (MacDougal and Lindstrom). Tonight it was typical Robby Cano, swing at the first pitch no matter where it is. Lindstrom delivers a 98 mph fastball on the inside edge of the plate and Cano hits it in the dirt at second base. In a situation like that you have to get the ball out of the infield Robby, and most importantly you have to not hit it right at the second baseman. Very dissapointed with the offense and Cano tonight. You need to give AJ the win he deserves there.

Daddy Says No No Pedro

According to George King the Yanks won't sign Pedro Martinez. Thank God. Apparently we only watched him pitch out of "courtesy" to Mariano Rivera's agent Fern Cuza.

Pedro wants $3mm, a salary he most certainly does not deserve. According to King, Pedro's fastball is only in the 86-90 range, a huge decrease from his days as a flamethrower back in Boston. In '08 Pedro only made 20 starts and with a 5.61 ERA, and a 1.57 WHIP while opposing hitter walked all over him (.294 average) he was anything but impressive. Pedro's agent claims he is two weeks away from being big league ready, but big league ready Pedro won't be as effective an effective Chien-Ming Wang or Phil Hughes. Not nowadays.

For those of you that miss seeing Pedro's ugly mug, don't worry. He's pondering the idea of becoming a swimsuit model...

Note: Sports Ill, if Pedro is EVER in a swimsuit issue I will cancel my subscription immediately.


Couple of Links...

Jorge Arangue says that the Yanks most likely won't sign Miguel Angel Sano, but also says the Yanks will certainly make a big splash during the international signing period.

Hideki Matsui didn't want to discuss interest from the Hanshin Tigers, but appreciated their interest because he grew up rooting for them. He also said he'd like to finish his career in the MLB.

The Yanks aren't planning any big deadline deals.

These links via MLBTR,the best baseball rumor site on the web.

This is just an idea. Not one I necessarily love or hate, but should the Yanks think about signing Ben Sheets? I know Wang needs to pitch major league innings, and Hughes is a servicable replacement, but with Pettitte having a rough year, and Wang and Hughsie not exactly reliable would Sheets be $10mm (my guess on his cost) well spent? Thoughts in the comments.

Bad idea...or the worst idea.

Finally the Yanks have a clubhouse of guys I like to root for. Good natured guys. Talented athletes. Grinders. Good Sportsmen. Then I see this bit of news... The Yanks are going to watch Pedro Martinez work out. Now granted the Rays, Cubs, and Angels will all watch him too, and the Yanks most likely won't make a play for him, but still I don't like this. Pedro and Jorge Posada hate eachother. I mean they loathe one another. Pedro trash talks from the dugout (least he did while in Boston) and he isn't currentyl talented enough to be brought in. I'd rather have Wang or Hughsie in the rotation any day. Don't think too much of this as it most likely won't amount to anything, but if somehow he becomes a Yankee expect a rant on the site.


Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter was taken out of last night's game after his inning ending ground out in the bottom of the 6th. The injury is being called "left ankle stiffness". According to Joe Girardi, Jeter "woke up a little sore yesterday, and it was sore to run today. We noticed for the first time when he was running tonight that the had a little hitch, and it seemed to get worse and worse, and that's why we got him out of there" (yankees.com). Girardi seems to be looking to keep Jeter out of the lineup tonight, but as PeteAbe said, Jeter is a tough guy to keep out of the lineup. The strange thing is that Jeter wasn't available to talk to the media after the game. I'm no doctor, but he didn't look that injured. Then again, Jeter has downplayed rather serious injuries before so he can play. My guess is that he won't be out for more than a couple days...


The Constant Question of the 'Pen

Brian Bruney is back. Jose Veras is out. The Yankee bullpen, the 7th worst in baseball with a 4.75 ERA, has been a big issue for the team, and a major discussion topic here at 6P8OBJ. Currently our bullpen is as follows...

RHP Mariano Rivera 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
RHP Brian Bruney 3.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP
RHP Alfredo Aceves 2.70 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
RHP David Robertson 2.25 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
LHP Phil Coke 3.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
RHP Phil Hughes 5.13 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
RHP Brett Tomko 5.56 ERA, 1.59 WHIP

Bare in mind that Tomko had a horrendous two-out, four run appearance against the Mets on the 12th. Before that game is ERA was an impressive 2.53 and his WHIP was a decent 1.27. While you need to count all his stats, I don't think we should release a guy based on one very poor outing.

Hughsie has made 3 relief appearances this year (June 8th against Tampa, June 10th in Boston, June 12th against the Mets). He was pushed to the 'pen after Wang reclaimed his rotation spot, which he could lose depending on tomorrow's start. Hughes will be groomed as a starter however, and is the most likely player to take Andy Pettitte's rotation slot in 2010. In his short relief career Hughes has pitched well, striking out 8 in his 5.2 innings of work to the tune of a 3.18 ERA, walking 2 and allowing 4 hits. For those of you who say Joba should be in the 'pen, maybe you should have suggested Hughes. It is a small sample size, obviously, so don't bank on him being a huge part of the 'pen, although who knows, anything can happen in baseball. What I like about that short sample, however, is to think he pitched that well against the three teams that are arguably the Yankees' three biggest rivals. If he pitches like that against everyone, I'd love to see him stay in the 'pen for this year, if he can't perform there then he should be sent to Scranton to start. Hughes's future rests on Chien-Ming Wang's start tomorrow, because a solid start will win Wang his rotation spot until he proves he can't handle it.

That bullpen looks pretty solid now, with Jon Albaladejo, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Veras out of there and Alf Aceves, David Robertson, and Brian Bruney in the team has vastly improved itself. However things change. Bruney's health is always in question. Robertson only has 12 big league innings under his belt this year.Tomko might very well be as bad as he was against the Mets. A poor appearance by Wang tomorrow would most likely send Chien Ming to Scranton and Hughsie to the rotation. With those risks, the Yanks may need to ponder promoting Zack Kroenke or Mark Melancon, although both of them are risky as well. The Yanks' might also need to look outside of the organization...

There are any number of relievers that could be traded before July 31st including Danys Baez, George Sherrill, Takashi Saito, Huston Street, Chad Qualls, and Jose Valverde. I think Valverde is too expensive ($8mm with an ugly 4.82 ERA). Saito is unlikely, as the Red Sox won't help out their main competition. Huston Street isn't likely to be traded soon with the Rockies trying to extend their win streak to twelve and currently standing only 3 games out of the wildcard. While Sherrill and Baez play for the O's in our division, that wouldn't stop Baltimore from dealing with the Yanks. If we offer the best package, they'll take it since Sherrill and Baez would be helping our team now, while the O's have no chance at making the playoffs, and our package would most likely include prospects that could help them as they look to the future.

Baez, a 31 year old righty, has a 3.31 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, and has struck out 23 in his 32.2 innings of work this year. Baez makes $5.5mm this year, plus $500 thousand if he is traded. He'll be a free agent after the season.

Sherrill, a 32 year old lefty, sports a 2.55 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and has struck out 23 in his 24.2 innings of work. he'll make $2.75mm this year, and won't hit free agency until after the 2011 season.

Both are appealing candidates, but I prefer Baez. As Baez is more expensive, a free agent after the season, and not currently holding down the closer's role (Sherrill's job) he should cost less in terms of prospects. We've seen how Mo pitches when he isn't in a save opportunity, and perhaps moving Sherrill out of a closer's role would have the same poor effect. We have Phil Coke and once he recovers from injury Damaso Marte will be back in the 'pen, so we aren't in dire need of a lefty either. I don't think a package for Baez would have to blow anyone away. Maybe John Rodriguez and his stellar offensive season, fallen prospect Eric Duncan, and Casey Fossum to hold a rotation spot for the remainder of the year? Perhaps they'd be interested in another fallen Yankee prospect, Alan Horne? Or maybe they'd like the Yanks 26 year old righty Josh Schmidt who has torn up double A with 1.96 ERA through 33 innings. A timespan in which he has struck out 39 hitters. Some mix and match combination of Rodriguez, Duncan, Fossum, Horne, and Schmidt ought to be able to net the Yanks Baez. As an Oriole, Baez has experience pitching in the AL East, a definite benefit of acquiring him. Baez isn't one of the best in the game, but he could really help the club if we were to lose an effective reliever due to health, inconsistency, or ineffectiveness. The players I mentioned aren't very important to the future of the Yankees, but could have value to Baltimore. So a deal seems to make perfect sense.


Chien Ming Wang's first son was born today. J. J. Wang was born at 9:30 am today, 7 pounds 12 ounces. I was kind of hoping he'd be a pound 4 ounces less. Chien Ming starts tomorrow in a start that could determine his future in pinstripes. He has to be glad that its against the Nationals rather than anyone else. You might recall that in spring training Brett Gardner hit a home run while his son was at his first game; maybe Wang's newborn son will give him similar luck.

The Times is reporting that Sammy Sosa tested positive in that 2003 PED test, the same one that A-Rod tested positive in. That's 2 names out of 104. Expect the names to keep on leaking to the press over the next year or two.

The Hanshin Tigers may sign Hideki Matsui and bring him back to Japan after this year if we don't resign him. Matsui has been successful in his tenure in the Bronx, but with Melky, Gardner, and Swisher under contract for next year, Austin Jackson and Shelley Duncan on the farm, Matt Holliday and Jason Bay on the free agent market, and Matsui's inability to play the field, it seems like Hideki is destined to leave the Bronx after this year. I'd love to see him return to Japan as it's tough to root against Hideki, which we would have to do if he signed elsewhere.

Slade Heathcott took BP at the stadium, wore a Yankees uni, and set up shop at a locker next to Mariano Rivera. Let's hope our first round pick has been convinced to sign.

Jump for Joy

Jose Veras, who I've been pleading for the Yanks to rid themselves of, was designated for assignment today as Brian Bruney came off the DL. Finally! Veras was horrible all year long. His 5.96 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 5 BB/9 were all horrendous. Zack Kroenke, Mark Melancon, Edwar Ramirez, Anthony Claggett, or almost anyone from Scranton,. maybe even some folks from Trenton, could hav epitched better. Luckily returning is Brian Bruney, and while he may make some unprovoked unneccesary remarks about Francisco Rodriguez, he is fine pitcher in his own right. Alf Aceves, Bruney, and Mariano should make a reliable 7-8-9 team if Bruney can keep himself off the DL for the rest of the year. With his designation Veras will be put on irrevocable waivers, and if he passes through he can refuse to be sent to the minors, he can be released, or he can be traded. I don't think he'll pass through waivers. He is young enough and cheap enough that someone will take him at his current salary($432,975).


Big Game

The Yanks are dominating today, already boasting a 13-0 lead through 6. In case you forgot the legendary Johan Santana started for the Mets today. He got through 3 innings, and then pitched to 5 batters in the 4th with out recording an out. During that time he let in 9 runs, the most he has ever allowed in a game. He walked 2 and allowed 9 hits, including a 2 run bomb from Hideki Matsui to center. Brian Stokes then came in, allowing 4 runs before finishing the inning. He pitched another inning before Jon Switzer was brought in for the 6th. Mets' pitching has already thrown 141 pitches through 6 innings. Through one batter in the 6th, AJ Burnett has hurled a 4 hit, 3 walk shutout, and struck out 8. His pitch count is at 103 as I write while he faces Daniel Murphy. Talk about defying the odds both by the offense and Burnett. Let's keep this lead safe.
Update: The Mets have basically waived their white flag, as Carlos Beltran, David Wright, and Luis Castillo are all sitting on the bench now. Why waste injury in a game you don't think you can win?
Update: Sheffield on second, Murphy at first, Brian Schneider at the plate. Burnett has no outs in the 7th, a little double play ball here would be nice.
Update: Schneider flies out to Melky. Reed grounds into a double play. Inning over. 7 shutout innings for Burnett. 4 hits, 4 walks, 8 K's. 111 pitches, 66 for strikes. I wonder if Girardi sends him back out there for the 8th to face Alex Cora, Fernando Martinez, and Wilson Valdez. Cora and F-Mart are a combined 0-6 with 3 K's, and Valdez hasn't had an AB yet. Seems like sending AJ out for another inning wouldn't be the worst thing. Keep him out there until he reahes 125-130 or gets himself into trouble, then give the game to the 'pen.
Update: Forgot to mention, Pena came in to replace A-Rod in the 6th, then in the 7th Berroa came in, taking Jeter's lineup spot and playing third while Pena moved to short. Gardner took Tex's batting spot, playing center while Swisher moved to first. Melky moved over from center to right. This is a good day for all of them to get a rest with such a big lead.
Update: After a Frankie Cervelli fly out Angel Berroa was hit by a pitch. Johnny Damon drew a walk. Brett Gardner drew a walk. Now Ramiro Pena is at the plate...and a liner up the middle hits second base! Berroa scores and the bases are still loaded as Robby Cano steps up to the plate. After my last post suggesting we trade Robby, he has gone 3 for 4 with two doubles and a home run. I love it. The Mets are wisely calling the 'pen, and Ken Takahashi will replace Switzer.
Update: Robby Cano deep fly ball caught at the track. 15-0 as Damon scores. 2 outs. Runners on first and second. Swisher at the plate.
Update: Swisher grounds out to short. Inning over. 15-0.
Update: Over in Philly Pedro Feliz just hit a two run double to give the Phillies a four run lead over Boston. Beckett pitched terribly for six innings, but he did hit a home run to his credit.
Update: Girardi brought in Robertson for the eighth.
Update: Robertson gets Cora to pop up. Then he strikes out F-Mart and Fernando Tatis. I though Valdez was up, but miscounted the lineup.
Update: Hughes closes out the game in the ninth. Yankees win 15-0. Boston loses to Philly, 11-6, and the Yanks are now just 2 games back.

Thinking Defense and Trade

Check the Yankees UZR/150(Thanks to Fangraphs). That calculates the number of runs above average a player should save over 150 games.

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano 1.3
Derek Jeter 6.4 (Fangraphs goes back to 2002, and this is the first year Derek has a positive defensive value).
Alex Rodriguez -18.8 (A-Rod's coming back from injury, but wow is that bad! He was at -3.2 last year, 2.3 the year before, and -12.4 in 06. Hopefully he can be a positive defender rather than costing us 18.8 runs this year.
Johnny Damon -2.9 (as a leftfielder he saved had a 37.4 rating in 07 in 32 games, and last year he had a rating of 11.6 in 87 games. Hopefully he can turn back to that form).
Melky Cabrera 13.3 (That's in center. He's at 9.8 in right, 10.9 in left, and 11.9 as an outfielder in general).
Brett Gardner 21.8
Nick Swisher -2.2 (That's in right. He's -36.3 as a firstbaseman, Yikes!, and -9.1 in left.)

Basically our defense has some strong points (Gardner, Melky, and Derek Jeter (yes Derek Jeter!) Then we don't have great defense coming from a lot of other areas, although I expect Tex's UZR to improve, as well as Damon's and A-Rod's. Defense can save, or cost you, a lot of runs over the course of a season (ask Luis Castillo). However, its usually not as obvious as that play. When the Red Sox made their big mid-season trade in '04 that sent away Nomar Garciaparra and brought back Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz it was completely for defensive reasons. I think the Yanks might need to consider such a deal this year. Although I'm talking about trading Robby Cano.

Cano is a great, extremely talented player, but sometimes you have to make a sacrifice. You might not know it, but Cano's WPA is the second worst among qualified second baseman, ahead of only Felipe Lopez. WPA calculates the probability of a win added from the beginning of an at bat to the end of an at bat. This year Cano's WPA is -0.76. I found two candidates I'd like to see replace Robby.

Placido Polanco and Brian Roberts

Let's look at some stats.

While Cano only saves 1.3 runs above average over 150 games, Polanco saves 18.6 and Roberts saves 6.2.

During a Cano at-bat, the Yankees' win expectancy drops by 0.76. During Polanco's at bats win expectancy rises only 0.05 and during Roberts' at bats it lowers 0.10, leaving a better shot at winning than when Cano bats.

62.5% of the time the first pitch of a Cano at bat is a strike. The first pitch is a strike in only 57.8% of Polanco's at bats and 54.9% of Roberts' at bats.

Cano swings at pitches outside of the zone 30.5% of the time, while Polanco only swings at outside pitches 26.9% of the time, and Roberts swings 20.3% of the time.

Polanco and Roberts are better in the field, help their teams win more, and are more disciplined at the plate than Cano is. The thing is...Cano is only 26, while Polanco is 33 and Roberts is 31. Cano is also under contract through '11, with club options for '12 and '13. Polanco is a free agent after the season, while Roberts recently signed a 4 year $40mm extension, starting next year. Roberts makes $10mm in each year of the extension and Polanco is set to make $4.6mm this year. Robby Cano is making $6mm this year, but makes $9mm next year, and $10mm in 2011. His club options are for $14mm and $15mm in '12 and '13 respectively, with a $2mm buyout each year. Of the three only Roberts has no-trade protection, but I'm sure he'd waive that right to play for a contender. (These contract facts via Cot's).

Polanco's okay, but he'd just be a rental, unless the Yanks signed him to an extension. Roberts is a good pick as well, but we'd have him for his age 32, 33, 34, and 35 seasons. The years where he is very likely to start declining. Meanwhile, Cano should just be hitting his peak years. The question is which is more valuable Cano's peak, Roberts' decline, or a Polanco rental, possibly with a contract at the end.

I say we go for Roberts. Sure, Polanco is a better defender (by 12.4 runs over 150 games), but Roberts is a more patient hitter, a bigger threat on the basepaths, secured for 4 more years, and has a much better line (Roberts .296/.361/.460, Polanco .262, .312, .362, Cano .291/.325/.469). His contract matches pretty evenly with Cano's, making just $1mm more next year and having equal salaries in 2011. Cano's club options are $4mm and $5mm more in the two subsequent years however. So, how can we get B-Rob?

Well my proposed swap is this...Robinson Cano, Ramiro Pena, and George Kontos for Danys Baez, Brian Roberts, and Robert Andino.

Now before you start the "We should send Berroa not Pena!" chants, think. Would the O's want Berroa? No. No one wants Berroa. Here's why both sides make this deal...

The Yankees: Defense is upgraded at second. They get more speed and plate discipline from their secondbaseman. They drastically upgrade the defense of their backup infielder. (Pena's UZR/150 is 5.1 at third and -21.4 at short while Andino's was 49.1 at second last year, in 89 innings, compared to 5 innings of 0.00 this year, and he's at 43.5 in 159 innings at short.). They add an efficient, AL-East tested, arm to the bullpen. They win in all three exchanges.

The Orioles: They shed Danys Baez's $5.5mm salary. The young Cano will be improving as the club improves, rather than declining like Roberts will inevitably do. Kontos has a 3.00 ERA through 8 starts at triple A, holding hitters to a .215 average. With a rotation that includes Jeremy Guthrie's inflated ERA of 5.52, an average righty at best in Koji Uehara, a Brad Bergesen who is letting hitters bat .281 against him, and Rich Hill and Jason Berken who really haven't done much of anything right, Kontos would be a welcome presence trying out for a big league spot. The O's have pitchers that aren't effective in the bigs right now, but could be a presence in the next year or two, and Kontos would fit in with that group. By bringing in youth the O's set themselves up for success in future years, as they have no shot at contending this year with the Yanks, BoSox, Jays, and Tampa boasting stronger teams.

This trade would improve the Yanks as a team, and while yes, we would be trading some youthful players for older players, we need to win this year after the spending spree last winter. This trade isn't going to kill the Yankees' future, and it will help a lot this year. By replacing the free swinging Cano with Roberts the Yanks will wear down opposing starters more easily and we should reap the benefits. We can't keep seeing the bullpen be as ineffective as it has been, and a Danys Baez type, someone who is effective and knows the division, would be a nice bride to Mariano. George Kontos isn't essential to the Yankees' future rotation, while he could be an important player in Baltimore. Now will this trade happen? Probably not. Why? Because a blockbuster like this won't be accepted by division rivals. Would it be a smart move for both teams? Yes. The O's should shed Baez's salary to sign free agents at the international free agent signing period, and they need to get younger (the Roberts extension doesn't fit into their plans). What do you guys think? Is it the right move for the Yanks and the O's? Let's hear it in the comments.

Earn them Stripes

AJ Burnett v. Johan Santana. Rubber Game.

Let me tell you a story....After the 2007 season Hank Steinbrenner wanted the Yankees to trade anyone and everyone to Minnesota for Johan Santana. It appeared a package of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Melky Cabrera was requested by the Twins. Brain Cashman said no. He believed Hughes and Kennedy were essential to the future of the club, and he had another lefty in his sights. A big, jolly, talented man in Cleveland named CC Sabathia. Part of what brought CC to New York was Cash mentioning that he had been planning on signing him for over a year. Santana had a stellar season across town in Queens and is as dominant as ever. Everyone will always second guess the decision to not send Hughes, Kennedy, and Cabrera for Santana. Remember they also would have had to sign Johan to a long term contract. This offseason with Kennedy (who recently had surgery on an aneursysm) and Hughes (who hasn't lived up to expectations) not sure enough bets to put them in the rotation, the Yankees went out and signed Sabathia, extended Andy Pettitte, and brought in AJ Burnett.

Many many Yankee fans were opposed to signing Burnett, including us here at 6P8OBJ. We thought Ben Sheets was a better bet...but Sheets had surgery and still hasn't returned to the bigs. I also liked low risk signings like Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior. I was in favor of a Jake Peavy trade, when I look back the packages I talked about were ridiculous and would never be accepted. I floated an Xavier Nady-Homer Bailey swap. Conor talked about how Burnett's injury history was very dangerous. I kept insisting, and insisting that Ben Sheets was a better option. I constantly compared Burnett to Carl Pavano..my apologies AJ. That was the lowest insult of lows. It insulted you in more ways than I knew, I'm sure, and I apologize deeply. I compared Burnett to Mike Mussina, noting that Moose had been a much safer investment. So tomorrow. Tomorrow is about AJ Burnett proving he deserves to be a Yankee. Right now he's pitched 73.2 innings over 12 starts (about 6 innings per start), posted a 4.89 ERA, and has a WHIP of 1.48. He was terrible in his two starts against Boston (totaling 11 earned runs in 7.2 innings over the two starts). But he's been good decent in other starts. A big start tomorrow would be great to see out of him. He need to keep us in it and give us 7 or 8 strong. He needs to at least give us six strong innings, as the 'pen could use a break. AJ I wasn't a believer, but I am now. Tomorrow's your day. At the end of the day you want to be able to look in the mirror and say, "Hey, I'm proud of myself." So let's see a big game from you today as you take on Johan. This is your chance to shine AJ. Burn-it! (I know...cheesy as queso dip).

Brian. Cut it out!

Brian Bruney speaks his mind. He blamed the instant replay umpire meeting, during which he was throwing in the bullpen, for his elbow injury earlier this year. Then he was questioned about the "Luis Castillo" game against the Mets. He said "“Couldn’t have happened to a better guy on the mound [Francisco Rodriguez] either. He’s got a tired act[His post-game celebrations]...He gets what he deserves, man. I just don’t like watching the guy pitch. I think it’s embarrassing.” Mr. Bruney, how many save records have you broken? Look I like Brian Bruney. I hate K-Rod. But I have two issues with Bruney's comments. 1. He's not established enough to make a remark like that. Bruney you have to have a really good rep to challenge someone like K-Rod. 2. It didn't "happen" to K-Rod. It "happened" to Luis Castillo. Castillo rebounded today, and I don't have many complaints about Castillo's character. Look Brian, I love seeing K-Rod fail, but he did his job. I loved getting the win, but I'm not going to hate on Luis Castillo. It wasn't K-rod's fault, it was Castillo's and I'd love to see it happen to a guy with attitude issues, but Castillo? I loved getting the W. Don't get me wrong. It made my night. But I'm not going to say it was a good thing that it happened to him specifically.

By the way (via PeteAbe)...K-Rod responded with...

“He needs to keep his mouth shut and do his job...If he was a big guy, I’d probably pay attention. If he was somebody big like Mariano, I’d respect that. But if I don’t know who he is, I just don’t listen...Instead of sending a message through the paper, next time when he sees me at Citi Field come up to me and say it to my face. Don’t be sending a message through the media. I don’t even know who that guy is. Somewhere in Double-A? I believe he hasn’t even pitched one full season. He’s always been on the DL. That’s all I know right now.”

I'm not a K-Rod fan, but I get exactly where he's coming from. Bruney took a shot that didn't need to be fired. Now his DL return will be sprinkled with talks of these comments rather than his success in rehab.

Joba and Georgie

Jorge Posada and Joba Chamberlain didn't exactly click in Joba's start against the Mets. 100 pitches in four innings, that's not spectacular. They're trying to fix it though. It wasn't a big disagreement and there are no personal issues. Makes sense as we have the best clubhouse chemistry in recent years, and well who wouldn't love both Joba and Jorge? The best quote, from the 6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Savior...""We've been great all year. Everyone has those days...Even [Jorge] and Mo [Rivera]still have it once in a while, and they've been doing it for 100 years." Yes Joba. They have been together for about a hundred years. Great to know our veterans have that much experience and are still as effective as they are.

Fluttering Eyes?

Johnny Damon has had some eye troubles, apparently its linked to his coffee intake? Check out the article, and for you coffee drinker, beware....I guess.... Apparently its a recent thing, affecting his current slump, hopefully he's okay as Johnny's not just a good ballplayer. He's a good guy. (Corny, I know).

International News

Yankees Triple A outfielder Todd Linden has signed with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a team in Japan. That's the same team for which Darrell Rasner is playing. Linden's had a good season so far in Scranton, and the Eagles are lucky to have him.

With the international free agent signing period coming up soon (July 2nd I believe) there has been some news about the Yankees signing some Dominican prospects. They worked out Miguel Angel Sano, possibly the top prospect in the Dominican. A guy who his agent claims has
“....a Hanley Ramirez body and the possible upside of an Albert Pujols-type bat... a real short swing and hands that go right to the ball.” Sano's only 16 for thos of you wondering. So say Jeter plays 5 more years (completely guessing here), Sano might debut then as a shortstop at the age of 21. Apparently with have 50/50 odds of signing him. However, Gary Sanchez, a catcher, is our top target. The Yanks are seemingly only battling with the Angels for Sanchez, who should get $3.1-$3.4mm. Sano seems like he's going to get somewhere around $4-5mm. That's a lot of money for a young guy a long ways away from the bigs. The international market has been great for the Yanks in recent years as we've gotten guys like Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera.

(Links via MLBTR).


Don't Fret

Ok. I realize the fact that the Yankees have not won a single game against the Red Sox this year... in 8 trys... but to be honest, I'm not too worried about it. You shouldn't be either, and here's why.

The Yankees, despite being 0-8 against the Sox, are only 2 games out of the AL East. This means that the Yankees are 6 games better than the Red Sox against the rest of the league, which certainly bodes well for us, considering the whole season isn't against the Red Sox. Let's take a look at the record of the two teams, not including today. The Yankees are 35-26, while the Red Sox are 37-24. Now, if you forget about the Yankees vs. Sox games, the Yankees' record is 35-18, while the Red Sox's record would be 29- 27. This shows that we are, indeed, playing better baseball against the rest of the AL than the Sox are.

So, don't worry too much! The Yankees will undoubtedly turn it around against the hated Red Sox. If we keep playing good baseball, we will be absolutely fine.


Best of Wishes Duque

If you're a Yankee fan, you have to love Orlando Hernandez. He's the most successful Cuban ever associated with the Yankees (Fidel isn't successful in my mind, and Jose Contereras well...you know). Duque just signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers and we wish him the best of luck. Be he a reliever or a starter I hope he performs at peak performance whenever he's not up against the Yankees. Eres el hombre Duque. (You're the man Duque).

Never Fear, Joba's Here!

So we just got swept in Fenway, the last game of the series we could have and should have won. It was a tough series, we've dropped eight straight to Boston this year. We're two back in the division, but we're a game up on Toronto and four up on Tampa Bay. And I mean...we have the best team in baseball. Yeah, I said it. I know, bold. But really we do. We just have a couple of players underachieving like Melky, Robby, Wang, Hughsie, and Burnett to name a few. We have two players on the roster that are completely and utterly useless(Angel Berroa and Jose Veras). And our pitching coach, Dave Eiland, has some serious work ahead of him. If the rotation and the 'pen don't improve Eiland and bullpen coach Mike Harkey might be out of their jobs. Cash likes stats guys, and it might be smart for him to go out and find himself two new ones to coach his bullpen. That's something he should seriously discuss with Joe Girardi.

But good news! Tomorrow, our Lord the Savior Joba Chamberlain, the Big JC, Ja-BAM, The Jobster, The Jobanator, el hijo del gran padre en el cielo will take the mound for the Yanks matching up against the Mets and Livan Hernandez. He can bring us the win, the big dubya! This little losing streak rests on Joba's shoulders. Back in our city, he needs to show that we're still the Yanks and that we can still win.


Looking Back...A Little Painfully.

In reading The Yankee Years, Joe Torre's book, I've heard the word "trust" more times than I heard Obama say "change" in his whole campaign. Meaning, Torre uses "trust" in practically every sentence. Yes, the man who broke that unwritten code of trust between players, coaches, and managers not to reveal the workings of the clubhouse to the media through a tell-all book that directly violates the trust of his former player claims "trust" is what he built his whole career upon. I love Joe, but I mean has he ever heard of the word hypocrisy?

Anyways, through reading this book I keep getting reminded of poor decisions the Yankees have made in the past decade, be it the fault of Big Stein, Cash-Money, or Mr. T.

Let's take a little look...

Signing Rondell White for $10mm over 2 years after 2001 instead of Johnny Damon (who Boston signed for $31mm/4 years).

Signing Steve Karsay after 2001 for $17mm over 4 years. The last three years of the deal he pitched a total of 12 2/3 innings.

Trading Ted Lilly (with no-names Jason Arnold and John Ford Griffin) for Jeff Weaver in July 2002. Though that looked smart at the time...

Almost trading Melky Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and Chien Ming Wang in the Randy Johnson trade (thank God we didn't).

Signing Jose Contreras for $32mm over 4 years after 2002.

When Arizona wanted Alfonso Soriano or Nick Johnson as centerpieces of a package for Curt Schilling the Yanks wouldn't bite. I don't mind this much, mostly because I hate Schilling and Soriano was fun to watch, and later netted us A-Rod, who whether you like him or not has been a big part of our offense since his arrivals. But it let Boston get Schilling and win a World Series, so I guess that might be a reason why I dislike the move.

Traded Jeff Weaver,Brandon Weeden, and Yhency Brazoban for Kevin Brown. While the Yanks didn't need Weaver, Weeden is a no-name, and Brazoban has only had one strong major league season ('04), the Yanks slotted Kevin Brown into a rotation spot, and payed him much much more than he deserved. Brown blew game 4 of the '04 ALCS and had an attitude issue all year, like the time he broke his hand punching a cement column. He posted a 4.95 ERA in two years in Pinstripes, while earning about $30mm.

Signing an aging Kenny Lofton to a 2 year, $6.2mm deal before the '04 season.

Signing Gary Sheffield to a three year $39mm deal instead of signing Vlad Guerrero, who signed for 5 years and $70mm with the Angels. Both deals had options for another year. Sheff gave us two quality years, and over the three years he donned pinstripes he had a .291/.383/.515 line. Over 6 years (including this year) in LA, Guerrero has posted a .321/.385/.551 line. Better consistent performance, and for 3 more years than Sheff. We messed up that decision. Add in that Sheff used PED's and Vlad didn't, and that Vlad won the MVP in '04, and it seems like the Yanks really slipped up there.

Not taking up Carlos Beltran on his offer to take 20% less to be a Yankee (Would have been about $95-100mm over 7 years (like $14mm a year). Then we go out and spend $39.95mm for four years of Carl Pavano (Worst signing ever?), $21mm for three years of Jaret Wright (not exactly a good investment), and we trade Javy Vasquez, Brad Halsey, and Dioner Navarro for Randy Johnson. We shouldn't have traded Vasquez then, as despite a poor second half he was an all-star, younger than Johnson, cheaper, and Johnson was terrible in the clubhouse, and not particularly effective on the mound.

Sheesh, can you imagine if we hadn't made some of those mistakes. What if Damon was a Yankee in '04? What if Pavano never donned the pinstripes? What If we had Beltran playing center instead of Damno? What if Vlad and A-Rod has been our 3-4 punch? What if we let Jose Contereras fail in Boston? What if we had Ted Lilly for Game 7 in 'o4, rather than Kevin Brown (we traded Lilly in the deal for Weaver, and Weaver in the deal for Brown)? You can always ask what if, but what happened is what matters more. Cash seemed to take control of the team after 2005, and since then we've seen his style a lot more. Holding on to Hughes, Kennedy, and Melky rather than trading for Johan (then signing CC a year later without having to give up top prospects). Not trading young guys, presumably those same ones, for Miguel Cabrera (signing Tex a year later to play first). Trading Scotty Proctor for Wilson Betemit (eh...). Signing Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Darrell Rasner, and Edwar Ramirez to minor league deals (worked for a while...). Who knows what we'll appreciate or regret in ten years....


I know I sound redundant...but come on!

My mind has changed a bit on Brett Tomko, as he's made three appearances so far in June, and lowered his ERA to 2.53. With a 1.22 WHIP, an ability to go multiple innings, and opposing hitters batting .237 against him, he seems worthwhile in the 'pen.

But Jose Veras...that guy needs to go. After a streak of 6 outings from May 15th through the 24th where Veras allowed no earned runs in a total of 4 innings there was a little shimmer of hope for Veras. Although he did walk 3 and allowed 3 hits over that timespan, while only retiring 3 batters via strikeout.

But, he has been more like his typical useless self in his past 4 outings, totaling 4 and a third innings. He allowed 5 runs in that span on 5 hits and a walk while only striking out one.

For the year, Veras has a 6.46 ERA, and a 1.44 WHIP. You can try to take comfort in knowing that opposing hitters are only batting .225 against him, but when you walk as many guys as he does, and allow as many runs as he does, that number isn't much consolation.

The man who I had been begging for to be called up hasn't shined much at triple A recently. Despite a 2.92 ERA for the year, and 31 K's in 24.2 innings, Mark Melancon has been a bit of a wreck recently. In his past ten appearances Mark has pitched 12.2 innings and allowed 8 earned runs while walking 4 on 12 hits. He has struck out 14 in those 12.2 innings though. The interesting thing is that Mark hasn't been bad each time out, he's only allowed runs in 4 of those 10 outings, but he allowed 3 runs in one of those outings, 2 runs in two others, and 1 run in an outing where he didn't even record an out.

There's another guy who I want to see called up though. A guy who has a 1.08 ERA on the year, and who opposing hitters are batting .179 against. That man is Zach Kroenke. The lefty has been near lights out in his last ten appearances, allowing only 2 earned runs in 14.1 innings. The dillema with Kroenke is that he walks his fair share of batters. He's given up 15 free bases on the year over the course of 25 innings. That's 5.4 walks per nine. Since he only has 17 strikeouts (6.12 per nine) this is a bit of a concern. But if he can stop runs from scoring, and if opposing hitters can't hit him, why not call him up? It can't hurt to throw another lefty in the 'pen, and hell I'd rather have Swisher pitching than Veras, so a Kroenke call-up, with Veras being put on waivers, DFA'd, traded, etc. would be a smart move. The Yanks need to win. We can't put up with Veras's ineffectiveness any longer.

He's back...

So..you might recall when we went crazy with our support for Nick Swisher, more commonly known around here as SuperSwish. In April Nick was boasting a .312/.430/.714 line. He'd hit 7 homers, and Yankees fans everywhere were amazed at the return that Yanks had received for the Wilson Betemit package. Betemit, by the way, was recently released by Chicago.

Then it was May....Swisher could only manage 3 home runs all month as he hit .150/.311/.275 . After striking out 19 times in 77 April at bats, Swish struck out 29 times in 80 May at bats. Talk about two polar opposite months. He also only had 4 extra base hits all of May, after posting 16 in April.

Then June started. SuperSwish has ditched his May alias, threw on the cape, and has flown back into his typical ways. In 23 June at-bats Swish has a .435/.581/.870 line. Talk about superhuman ability. Sheesh. Add in that he has already eclipsed his May extra base hit total (he has 6 so far). He has two homers on the month already compared to three in May. His total bases for June are already at 20, after he only had 22 in May. Swish came into June with a season line of .229/.367/.490 and he's pumped that up to .256/.396/.539 which is a line that most anyone would like to have. (Sure, his average is low, but don't we all know that OBP and SLG are much, much, much more valuable statistics?)

We won't see this June version of Swisher all year long, but I certainly don't expect to see the May-Swisher either. Expect a line around .285/.410/.550 for the year, with 25-30 homeruns. Swisher is going to be a big part of this Yankees' offense. You can be sure of that.


So...we're 0-7 against Boston this year, and they just took first place from us in a game we could have won. But, can we look at a couple positives....

Tex went 4-5 today. Boston was dying to have him this off-season and we swooped in to sign him, so seeing him beat up on them is great.

A-Rod had a great at-bat in the ninth as he worked the walk. He didn't try to do anything fancy, only swung at one bad pitch (the first of the at-bat) and looked cool and reserved at the plate.

Girardi showed some good managerial work, pinch-running with Pena, and stealing second with Robby at the plate (preventing a possible double play).

Unfortunately though, we didn't get a W, they took first, and Wang and Hughes were both mediocre. Two nights in a row our starting pitching couldn't get through the 3rd inning. But hey, tomorrow's a new day. And we have the Jolly Giant on the mound, the nicest guy in baseball, the fewest earned runs per pound in the history of the game, Carsten Charles Sabathia, facing a fat guy who isn't particularly jolly nor particularly talented, Brad Penny. To me, CC's the modern version of what David Cone used to be for us, and I like that. Hopefully we'll see a quality outing from him tomorrow. It would be nice to see him go 7 or 8 strong after the abysmal outings by our starting pitchers the past two nights.

MLB Draft Update

So here we go...

29- The Yankees pick Slade Heathcott, an high school OF from Texas. Heathcott has "plus speed, a plus arm and plus defensive skills along with a good bat". His attitude could be a problem though...

76- The Yankees picked John Murphy, a HS catcher from Florida. He supposedly made the switch from the OF to catcher fairly recently, but scouts believe he has the talent to stay behind the dish. His bat should be a valuable asset.

135- Adam Warren- RHP from UNC Chapel Hill- SR

165- Caleb Cotham- RHP from Vanderbilt U- JR

195- Robert Lyerly- 3B from UNC Charlotte- JR

225- Sean Black- RHP from Senton Hall U- JR

255- Samual Elam LHP- Notre Dame- SR

285- Gavin Brooks- LHP from US LA- JR

315- Tyler Lyons- LHP from Oklahoma St U- JR

345- Neil Medchill- LF from Oklahoma St U- JR

375- Brett Gerritse- RHP from Pacifica HS

405- Deangelo Mack- LF from U South Carolina- JR

435- Graham Stoneburner- RHP Clemson U- JR

465- Shane Green- RHP from Daytona Beach CC

495- Bryan Mitchell- RHP form Rockingham County HS

525- Chad Tompson- RHP from El Toro HS

555- Hector Rabago- C from USC- JR

585- Luke Murton- 1B from GT- SR

615- Thomas Keeling- LHP from OSU- JR

645- Joseph Talerico- CF from Brookdale CC

675- Richard Soignier- SS from U Louisiana Monre

So we are finally up to date. The Yankees have picked a ton of pitchers through the first 29 rounds.


MLB Draft

The MLB First Year Player Draft starts tonight at 6. It's going for 3 days this year, in an attempt to boost popularity I suppose. The Yankees have 2 picks on the first day, with #29 and #76. Via PeteAbe, the Yankees are looking for the combination of talent and signability, as they failed to sign two picks last year in Gerrit Cole and Scott Bittle. PeteAbe says that Yanks have been linked to SS David Renfroe, LHP Matt Purke, and OF Donovan Tate. 

We'll update you later on...

Mark Teixeira

Via PeteAbe, Teixeira has taken over first place for 1B in the All-Star voting. He moved past Kevin Youkilis and leads by 1,209 votes at this point. He totally deserves a start in the All-Star game. He had an unbelievable month of May, hitting close to .330/.391/.748 with 13 HR. He was able to bring his dismal March/April BA from .200 up to .286 over May and the first 6 games of this month. He leads the AL with 18 HR. In addition to his stellar offensive numbers, his defense has been nothing short of spectacular. He deserves the vote 100%. 

If you haven't voted yet, I'd encourage you too. It's always nice to have representation at the ASG...

Boston Series

Ok. This is a big series for the Yankees. They have lost all five games to the Red Sox this year. They have obviously been on a tear of late, and I'm really hoping they can get AT LEAST two of 3. This series is up in my neck of the woods, so I've been getting heckled of late. We must shut up the MassHoles!
Here are the pitching match-ups for the series-
Game 1- Burnett vs. Beckett
Game 2- Chien Ming Wang vs. Tim Wakefield- HUGE start for Chien. He really needs to prove that he is "back" against the Red Sox.
Game 3- Sabathia vs. Penny

As for tonight- Here are the lineups-

Jeter SS
Damon DH
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Cano 2B
Posada C
Cabrera RF
Gardner CF

Pedroia 2B
Drew RF
Youkilis 1B
Bay LF
Lowell 3B
Ortiz DH
Varitek C
Kotsay CF
Green SS

I hope everybody enjoys the game tonight. I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've have 4 huge end of the year projects and essays to do/write. I'm in the homestretch though, as I only have 3 more days of school. Kevin and I will be cranking out posts all summer.


Looking at the Starters

The starting rotation for the Yankees definitely had a shaky statistical opening to the season, but they have really pulled it together during their recent surge. As Kevin posted earlier, they couldn't be a more tight knit group from a friendship stand point, but to be honest, their recent success as a unit is more appealing than their general unification. Let's take a look at the starting 5 for the New York Yankees.

CC Sabathia- After a rocky start, CC has cruised in his last 6 starts, going 9, 8, 7, 8, 7, and 8 innings respectively. He has only given up 13 runs over these 47 innings, which is very impressive. His WHIP through 12 starts is sitting at a fantastic 1.13, and his ERA is a very respectable 3.56. Hitters are only hitting .226 off of CC. His K/BB ratio could be better, as he is at 2.33/1. Most importantly though, CC has given us much needed longevity, averaging 7.1 innings per start. As Kevin stated before, he is not just a force on the mound, but a great clubhouse guy as well. All in all, CC has pitched like the ace that we envisioned him to be, especially over the last 6 starts.

AJ Burnett- AJ, on the other hand, is not pitching to his potential. His ERA sits at 4.69 and his WHIP is a dismal 1.39. He is averaging 9.4 K/9, which is great, but his 4.1 BB/9 takes away from that. He is also giving us longevity, averaging 6.2 innings per start. Hitters are hitting .255 off of him, and have an OPB of .344, which is not good. Although his stats haven't been great so far, AJ has great stuff and will figure it out as the season goes on.

Chien Ming Wang- Wang struggled again in his first start back off the DL, giving up 5 runs in 4.2 innings. Wang has certainly had trouble this season, but he showed great promise early in the game and during his 3 bullpen appearances. Wang's rough game 2 days ago could have been the product of a lack of arm strength, as he had been out of the pen since mid May. Wang has been a very consistent pitcher for us over the last few years and I am confident that he can figure out his issues and return to the pitcher that we all know he can be.

Andy Pettitte- Andy has had an OK season thus far. He has a 4.33 ERA over 11 starts, which isn't terrible by any means. The stat that scares me is his 1.544 WHIP. He is putting the team in a position to win every start though, as the Yankees are 8-2 when Pettitte has pitched. That is what's really important...

Joba Chamberlain- Joba is off to another great start. The 23 year old has an ERA of 3.71 and a WHIP of 1.244, which is just awesome for a kid his age. Scratch that, which is awesome for any pitcher in the AL. Joba has proved that he belongs in the rotation, and hopefully his stats will silence the people that still think he should be in the pen. He shouldn't, it's a ridiculous theory. Unfortunately, Joba has walked too many this year, averaging 4.6 BB/9. He will be a great pitcher one day. He is already preforming at a high level, and I can't wait to see this kid progress. 

There's the SP lowdown. Let's get the win tomorrow...

Neck and Neck

After the Yankees' disappointing loss to the Rays today, with Mariano's sub-par pitching, and Boston's victory on Jon Lester's complete game, the powerhouses of the AL East once again are neck and neck.

The Standings in the AL East...
New York 32-23
Boston 32-23
Toronto 31-27
Tampa Bay 29-28
Baltimore 24-31

Yes, that means there are 4 teams above .500 in the division.
The Rays have won their 6 of their last 7.
The Yanks are 20-13 since May 1st.
The Red Sox have won 4 of their last 5 games.

This is going to be one helluva pennant race. But, for now let's just look to the end of June....

The Yanks will play 2 more games at home against Tampa, 3 games in Boston, 3 games against the injury riddled Mets in the Bronx, 3 games at home against the league-worst Nats, 3 games in Florida, 3 games in Atlanta, 3 across town at CitiField, and then they'll play the first game of a 3 game series against Seattle on June 30th to end the month. All of those teams have a winning percentage of at least .460, except for Washington, and 3 of them are over .500.

The Yanks need to win tomorrow. Joba is a much better pitcher than Garza, and a win would push Tampa back to .500. Another win against the Rays would be nice, but not crucial. After that we need to take 2 of 3 in Boston to take hold of first place. The series at CitiField shouldn't be tough, what with Delgado and Reyes both out of the lineup and with the Mets being swept by the Pirates recently. I'm only worried about Johan, but depending on the match-up we have 3 guys that when on their game can be just as good (Joba, CC, and AJ). A series sweep would obviously be the best outcome, and isn't unthinkable, but at the bare minimum we need to take 2 of 3. The Nats are an easy sweep, and Florida hasn't been anything like I thought they would be. We can win 5 of 6 in those two series. Atlanta's a tough team to face because when they put Jair Jurrjens, Javy Vasquez, Derek Lowe, or Tommy Hanson on the mound, well it isn't fun for the opposing offense. But we've got a pretty talented staff as well, and our offense outshines theirs everyday. Thus, we can win that series, but if we only take one win out of it, it won't be devastating. Then we head to queens, and hope for another series win, which is entirely obtainable, before Seattle comes to visit the Bronx. So I'm saying we should go 15-5 before we meet up with Seattle. That's .750 ball, which is a tad crazy. But hey, we're the New York Yankees. Anything is possible.

Leaving the Bronx..and Looking at the Rest of Baseball

I don't see any big deals going down for the Yankees at the deadline, at least not yet, but I've been thinking about some other moves that might or can or should happen. Here's one that's been on my mind.

Rockies send right fielder Brad Hawpe to Atlanta for RHP Kris Medlen, RHP Jerome Gamble, LHP Boone Logan, and switch-hitting second baseman Brooks Conrad.

The Rockies are dead last in the NL West with a 22-32 record. They are 14 games out of first, where the Dodgers seem to be running away with the division. They aren't going to the playoffs this year. There won't be any streak like in '07. They dumped Clint Hurdle and put Jim Tracy in the manager's spot. Tracy isn't Cito Gaston. He isn't going to spark phenomenal play in this team, that just won't happen. The Rox need to start looking to the future, and acquire pitching depth, something that always eludes them. Hawpe is having a career year putting up a line of .346/.425/.616 compared to his career numbers of .287/.379/.502. Hawpe has always been a good hitter, but never this good. The Rockies need to sell high on Hawpe to get the best return they can. Sure, Hawpe is under team control through 2011 (making $5.5mm this year, $7.5mm next year, and a $10mm team option for '11). However, the Rockies have an abundance of starting outfielders, and all of their other outfielders are cheaper and younger. With Dexter Fowler showing patience at the plate, stealing bases, and playing a graceful center field, Seth Smith hitting phenomenally to the tune of .273/.410/.465, Carlos Gonzalez forcing himself out of triple A with an OPS over 1.000, and Ryan Spilborghs capable of holding down the 4th outfielder role with a .262/.326/.440 line (down from his career .294/.364/.461), the Rockies can deal Hawpe and not worry about having to find a new outfielder.

The Braves just dealt for Nate McClouth, a move that indicates that they are going to try and make a run for the NL East as Philly and New York deal with injuries. The Braves have tremendous pitching depth. Behind their rotation of Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe, Javier Vasquez, Kenshin Kawakami, and on Sunday...Tommy Hanson, the Braves have solid young pitchers on the DL, at triple A, and at the lower levels. The Braves should use this depth to fill the offensive void they have at the corners as they trot Jeff Franoeur (.248/.271/.351) and Garret Anderson (.256/.289/.368) out to the field every day. In October Talking Chop ranked Medlen as the Braves 9th best prospect, but with Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke recently moved (7th and 8th respectively) I suppose he would now be number 7. John Sickels had him at number 9 back then as well (he had him ahead of Locke and behind Hernandez). Medlen was rocked in his first two starts, allowing 5 runs in 3 innings his first time out, and 4 runs in 5.1 the next time out. Yet, in Arizona on the 31st he threw six solid innings of 1 run ball as he struck out 9 while walking one and surrendering 4 hits. Medlen is major league ready, or pretty darn close at least, and he could enter the Rockies rotation this year or next.

Jerome Gamble was a 4th round pick in the '98 draft. At age 29, he's bounced around the minors since he was drafted way back when. He signed with Atlanta last October as a minor league free agent, and he's impressed so far this year. After posting a 2.79 ERA at double A in 9 appearances (only one being a start) Gamble was bumped up to triple A Gwinnett. Since the promotion he has a 2.25 ERA in 4 starts and one relief appearance, totaling 16 innings. He's let on more baserunners than he should (15 hits and 13 walks in those 16 innings), but he's struckout 17 in that span and has kept the ball on the ground (1.64 GO/AO) which is essential at Coors Field. Picking up a right who racks up K's and has a groundball tendency would be some nice insurance for the Rockies.

Atlanta acquired Boone Logan in the Javy Vasquez trade. The 24 year old lefty has struck out 24 in his 26.1 innings of relief work at triple A. He's kept a 3.04 ERA. He's held hitters to a .223 average. Surprisingly he's dominated righties (.193 avg against) and has been subpar versus lefties (.270 avg against). Sort of a reverse Edwar Ramirez I guess. Again, the reason I was drawn to Boone as a fit for the Rockies was his GO/AO, which is 1.41. The balls fly at Coors even with the Humidor, and it looks like the Rockies will have a great defensive outfield next year (Todd Helton, Clint Barmes(maybe...), Troy Tulowitzki, and Ian Stewart) so ground balls are valuable for this team.

Finally, there's Brooks Conrad. The 29 year old second baseman was drafted in the 8th round of the '01 draft. Conrad is hitting .269/.374/.463 in 175 at bats this year. He's 6 for 7 in stolen base attempts and has 8 homers on the year. Atlanta is pretty much set up the middle at the big league level with Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, and Martin Prado, leaving Conrad at triple A. In Colorado he could come up and possibly tag team with Clint Barmes. Barmes is hitting .317/.417/.683 against lefties at the big league level (compared to .248/.290/.393 v. righties). Conrad has a .292/.394/.511 line against righties at triple A (while only hitting .184/.304/.289 v. lefties). They'd make a nice plattoon for the Rox.

The Braves have the depth to trade Medlen, they don't have much hope invested in Gamble, Logan isn't crucial to a long-term plan, and they have no current use for Conrad, but Hawpe would drastically improve their lineup. Stack him in the middle of the order alongside Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, and Nate McClouth and pitchers will have a lot to worry about when they play Atlanta.

The Rockies would save themselves $7.5mm of payroll room for next year, money they could perhaps use to sign a helpful free agent next winter (Orlando Hudson? Felipe Lopez? Chone Figgins? Justin Duchscherer? Joel Pineiro? Randy Wolf?). With this deal the Rockies could contend next year with a rotation of Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, Ubaldo Jimenez, Franklin Morales, and Medlen. Thoughts on the deal? Let's hear 'em in the comments.


A Bunch of Lovable Winners

Ken Rosenthal recently wrote a piece on the great chemistry in the Dodgers' clubhouse, led by Joe Torre. I read the article, and it reminded me of what I've been saying to everyone I talk to all year..."I like this Yankee team." Like LA, the Yanks have a clubhouse that is full of fun-loving, dedicated, professional players. It reminds me of the teams of the late 90's. As I started reading The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci, something stuck out to me. The book mentions that in 2002 after the Yanks were knocked out in the ALDS against the Angels he said "This is a different team." And, it was. From '96-'01 the Yanks were a teambuilt on hardworking guys who just wanted to win, their own stats weren't that important to them. As Jeter puts it baseball stats don't make much sense. A guy can hit a groundball to second, that moves a runner from 2nd to third, he can do that, do his job, and he doesn't get a "stat" for that. But the Yankee teams in the championship years would hit that groundball, they would do their job to bring home a W day in and day out. David Cone would fire up the clubhouse. Jeter would go out every at-bat expecting to get on base. Paul O'Neill would hurl bats after every loss, and was upset every time he didn't get on base, because he never wanted to feel like he let the team down. The Yankees were a team, not just a bunch of players. They were a team to whom the only stat that mattered was Wins.

From '02 to '08 we saw lots of players come in that didn't fit that mold. A few that come to mind? Carl Pavano, Kenny Lofton, Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, Raul Mondesi, and Kevin Brown. The Yanks weren't a team of grinders anymore. They weren't a team that loved to see their teammates excel. They were just a bunch of talented players, with many looking to just boost their own stats. But, over the past year we've seen Brian Cashman try to alter this mentality. We saw him trade away young outfielder Jose Tabata, who despite his skills had notable disciplinary issues. In return he acquired Damaso Marte and noted hard-working veteran Xavier Nady. X-Man hasn't exactly been the most effective Yankee on the field since his arrival, but he's been a great force in the clubhouse. It was X-man who collected the "grievances" for the Yankees' Kangaroo Court last month. Kangaroo Court, which the Yanks haven't had in at least a decade, consisted of the players filing complaints on everything from haircuts, to goofy plays in the field, to fashion choices. With Mariano Rivera as the Judge and jury of Johnny Damon, AJ Burnett, and Derek Jeter the Yanks had a private meeting full of laughs and $100 fines in a conference room at the new stadium.

Nady wasn't the only fun clubhouse guy that Cashman acquired. In November Cash traded for Nick Swisher. Swisher, who Journal News writer Peter Abraham would write hillarious anecdotes about nearly everyday in Spring Training and in April, has lightened to clubhouse considerably this year. After one of Wang's disastrous starts early in the year he encourage the team the next day. He's sported some crazy haircuts this year as well, which I'm sure he was fined for in the Kangaroo Court. Swish pitched an inning of relief early in the year with a grin on his face in a blowout game, he later compared the game to an etch-a-sketch, saying you have to just shake it off and start again. Swish plays good tunes in the clubhouse and keeps the team upbeat. Swisher, who was Oakland GM, Billy Beane's favorite prospect in recent years brings a fun, relaxed, but dedicated personality to the Bronx.

Then in December Cash goes out and signs CC Sabathia to a monstrous 7 year, $161mm deal. In the press conference during which CC was introduced to the press Michael Kay asked CC if it was true what the writers in Cleveland said, was CC the nicest guy in baseball? Sabathia chuckled and said something along the lines of "I don't know about the nicest, but I try to be a good guy." In spring training CC would take his teammates in trips up to Orlando to watch Magic games. He started the new custom of having all the starters go out and watch the day's starting pitcher warm-up in the 'pen offering encouragement and again promoting a sense of teamwork.

The other man introduced at CC's press conference was AJ Burnett. I was never a fan of Burnett before his signing, but it turns out he's a fine fellow as well. Burnett's learned a little from CC about being a leader this year. He hasn't been as vocal a leader, but he has a sense of pride in the pinstripes. A while back I read over at PeteAbe's blog that Swisher one day said something about how the Yankee uni's are tighter than the one's in Chicago, and Burnett piped up and said something along the lines of"You're not in Chicago anymore; you're a Yankee now." AJ has not once blamed any of his poor performances this year on anyone else, he shoulders responsibility for everything he does, which is a quality you have to respect.

Then later in December Cash brought in a first baseman who's commonly referred to as a professional businessman type. Mark Teixeira was brought up by a father who had been in the military, and his upbringing is visible in the way he handles himself on and off the field. He's been called a perfect Yankee as he has the skills, a professional demeanor, and a desire to win. His agent, Boras claims he has the "makeup of a CEO." He modeled his play off of Don Mattingly as a kid(can you think of a better role model? ). Tex isn't the fun-loving character that Swisher is, but he's the professional, educated, smart kind of player who doesn't make many slip-ups, won't be in the tabloids, and will always give 110%.

The Yankees aren't just the players they've acquired in the past year however. They still have some veterans from the championship years in closer Mariano Rivera, catcher Jorge Posada, starter Andy Pettitte, shortstop and captain Derek Jeter, and manager Joe Girardi who was a catcher under Torre , as well. Jeter is a quiet leader who lets his actions speak for themselves. He would be the definition of "leading by example." Jeet goes out and expects to succeed. Jorge is more vocal, a fiery leader. Posada has an ability to get the team fired up for an offensive rally, but he can also keep a pitcher calm on the mound as he calls the game from behind the plate. Mariano is arguably the best closer of all-time, actually scratch the arguably; he IS the best closer of all time, and his calm demeanor in which he never makes public comments that can be interpreted poorly defines his presence on the team. Mariano doesn't make mistakes. He just goes out there and does his job. Pettitte might be the only player to ever admit HGH use and still be a fan favorite. Pettitte owns up to his mistakes and is always trying to improve. Andy has a phenomenal postseason track record, couple that with his success in New York and you realize that Andy plays his own game, not letting others distract him from his work.

The Yankees have two other veterans who they've acquired in recent years that make up an integral part of the clubhouse culture. Those veterans would be Johnny Damon and Jose Molina. Damon is a little like Swisher. He has fun playing baseball; you can tell from his unsubsiding smile. Damon has a little bit of everything: he flashes some leather in left, hits for power, hits for average, has a decent eye at the plate, and runs fast. Damon's most widely known for being one of the clubhouse leaders on the 2004 Red Sock champion team with his caveman hair and beard. He came to New York, shed the hair and beard, but kept his fun loving demeanor. With the emphasis on money in the modern day game there aren't many players that go out there and have fun like Damon does. Jose Molina is one of three brothers catching in the majors (his brother Bengie is in San Francisco and Yadier is in St. Louis). When Jorge went down last year Molina filled in behind the plate phenomenally. Pitchers loved to throw to him. He has an arm, a glove, and a great sense of the game. Molina isn't a force when he's at the plate with pine in his hands, but when he puts on the mask he has to be one of the top 5 defensive catchers in the game today. Molina has developed a strong report with the pitching staff and when Jorge can't catch the starters don't need to worry about throwing to someone they aren't used to working with because Molina makes them feel comfortable, calls a good game, and can cover up mistakes with his glove work behind the plate.

Then there's the youth. The Yanks have seen more youngsters this year than in recent history. With players like Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano who are still learning, but have big league experience, mixed with top prospect pitchers such as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, and grinder types like Brett Gardner, Francisco Cervelli, and Ramiro Pena the Yanks are starting to use their farm system wisely. Harold Reynolds talked about Melky on yankees.com recently, noting that Melky never complained about losing the center field job, he just worked his hardest until he won it back. Robby Cano wasn't the best example of dedication last year without Larry Bowa around to push him, but Robby worked with hitting coach Kevin Long during the off-season to fix his swing and develop more patience at the plate. Melky and Robby are inseperable, the baseball version of Cal Naughton Jr. and Ricky Bobby before the Jean Girard era. The two can shake and bake as they push one another to get better. Joba has had more big league success than Phil Hughes, but both are important pieces in the future of the Yankees. Hughes has started to learn how to handle the pressure of New York and he hasn't made any blunders with the media. Joba obviously had some trouble with his DUI last autumn, but he's been a fun part of the clubhouse otherwise. Joba is an incredibly emotional pitcher, as we can tell from his aggressive fist pumps that Aubrey Huff wishes he could do as well. However, Joba channels his emotions into succesful pitching rather than using them in a destructive way like Carlos Zambrano often does in Chicago. Joba has learned from the veteran pitchers on the staff and he goes out there to win. Joba is a feel good story as he comes from a troubled childhood with a mother who couldn't keep sober as he dealt with epidemics that affect numerous Native Americans in Nebraska. The people in his home town look to him as a role model, someone that can show their kids that they can too one day be successful with dedication. Cervelli, Gardner, and Pena all made the majors primarily because of their stellar defense, though all have shown(even Gardner) that they can handle themselves at the plate as well. Andy Pettitte was amazed at how well Cervelli could call a game, and everything we've heard about his prowess as a defensive catcher is true. With a rocket of an arm, fine glove work, and knowledge of the game Cervelli is much like Molina, a reliable target behind the plate. Gardner is a gritty, grind-it-out, old school player. Gardner has a good-eye at the plate, but no power. He makes up for that with his speed though, as B-Gard runs fast. He knows that when stealing a base, racing against the throw, if you ain't first, you're last. Gardner has tremendous range in center and as a player for whom expectations were never too high, Gardner makes the best of every game. He's a gamers, always looking to help manufacture a run, get on-base, get into scoring position, or make a big play. Gardner's time in the majors most likely won't be too long. He's not a strong enough hitter to stick around for 15 or 20 years, but he makes the best of each game. Pena's always seen high fiving in the dugout. He has hit much better than expected, and much better than Angel Berroa. Combine his bat with speed and defense and he's a valuable part of our team. Pena brings a young youthful energy to the club, with a focus on fundamentals that reminds other players that doing the little things right goes a long way.

There are other players on the roster, and there's always the drama that is A-Rod (no life-changing stories recently, what's going on media?), but this is a gritty club, a fun club, a dedicated club, a lovable club, a winning club. This clubhouse meshes well, the players are yet again beginning to look for wins, not the other stats. Sure, LA might have fine chemistry under Torre, but the Yankees have what might be an even stronger team component under Joe Girardi. We don't have to complain about Carl Pavano's ineffectiveness and breakable nature. We don't have to hear about Kevin Brown breaking his hand as he punches a wall. We don't have to hear Kenny Lofton tell us the Joe Torre's a racist (despite his father-like relationship with the biracial Jeter). We don't have to deal with steroid accusations toward Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield(sure there's A-Rod, but that's done now). We don't have Sidney Ponson being an unconditioned alcoholic waste of a roster spot. We don't have Randy Johnson isolating himself from the rest of the clubhouse and shoving cameramen in the face. No. We have a team of guys that we like to hear about. Guys that are fun to watch. Guys who give it their all. Guys who work together. Guys who win.

The Rise of a New Generation

We're all sick of hearing all the hype. We keep hearing, wait just a little bit, they'll be stars. We hear the comparisons "He's like a young Roger Clemens," "He's Jeter with more power," "He could be the next A-Rod." We've heard the scouts rave "He's got the face," "Good makeup," "Great stuff," we've heard the statisticians rave "His OPS is Bonds-esque," "He'd put up the same park-adjusted stats as A-Rod at a billionth the price and without Madonna." And finally, these young players, these athletes who we've been assured will one day be household names, are making their way into the league. The likes of Tampa Bay's David Price, Baltimore's Matt Wieters, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen, Chicago's (AL) Gordon Beckham, Atlanta's Tommy Hanson, Detroit's Rick Porcello, St.Louis's Colby Rasmus, Colorado's Dexter Fowler, and Tampa's Matt Joyce have started the infusion of hyped young players this year.

Price (who starts against CC and the Yanks tomorrow) dominated in his late season call-up last year. As a reliever he thre 14 innings only allowing one run on 9 hits and 4 walks while he struck out 12. Then he went into the playoffs and maintained a 1.59 ERA over 5.2 innings in his 5 appearances. Needless to say, everyone wanted to see what he could do as a starter (hmmm reminds me of a prophet of sorts, one who I've heard may be from Nebraska...). The Rays kept Price at triple A to start the season to limit his service time, thus hopefully saving them money in future arbitration trials. Price was called up for his first start on May 25th in Cleveland, but only lasted 3.1 innings as allowed two earned runs. He made his next start on the 30th against Minnesota and threw 5.2 innings of 1 run ball. Not a great sample size, I know, but we'll see him in the Bronz tomorrow when he faces another talented lefty.

Wieters, a 23 year old switch-hitting catcher from South Carolina who was drafted out of Georgia Tech in the '07 draft, has played in just 6 games so far this year. His .143/.182/.286 line through 21 at bats isn't particularly impressive, but it's 6 games, not sixty. There was a span of 6 games this season where Emilio Bonifacio was the best player in baseball....so don't read too much into it. What is impressive is Orioles fans' expectations of Matt. Check out mattwietersfact.blogspot.com . Their slogan? "Facts so good they make Chuck Norris cry like a little girl" That's a pretty big challenge, because Chuck Norris doesn't cry, he scares water out of the air, and it clings to his eyes so it won't fall (best Chuck Norris joke I can do on short notice). Matt Wieters facts has already produced a replica Hall of Fame Plaque for Wieters, and in their poll about how many MVP awards he'll win 81% of the vote say "All of them, in both leagues."
A few of my favorites facts...."Matt Wieters doesn't always drive, but when he does he prefers to drive the Batmobile." "Matt Wieters can touch MC Hammer, usually for a grand slam." "At age 11 Matt Wieters was recruited by the Molina family. He turned them down cold." And y'all thought we praised Joba excessively...Anyways Wieters will end up being a phenomenal force for Baltimore whenever he's near the plate, left side, right side, or behind it. Teammate Brian Roberts says "He's been great, everyone loves him." (quotes via Jeff Zrebiec). His mother claims he doesn't like to be the center, so we'll see how that goes for this future all-star. Wieters is a "gamechanger on both sides of the field." "Plus defender...quick release...plus-plus arm....ability to drive the ball out of the park to all fields" Mlb.com says he "does everything well but run...calling games with a quiet leadership...remarkably agile behind the plate...tremendous plate discipline and bat speed." He's going to be good, Joe Mauer type perhaps, but with more power?

McCutchen is a 22 year old, right-handed, 5 tool centerfielder.(First off, this is Andrew McCutchen, NOT pitcher Dan McCutchen who the Yanks sent to the Pirates in the Marte/Nady deal, just making sure you know that...) Mlb.com says he's got "plus bat speed...good pitch recognition." In his debut tonight he went 2-4 with a walk, a ribbie, a stolen base, and 3 runs. Helluva a debut. McCutchen is praised for his athleticism, drawing comparisons similar to those that Austin Jackson gets, although McCutchen's ceiling is supposedly much much higher than AJax's. He seems like a future member fo the 20-20 club. Right now he's a wiry 5'11 at 175 pounds. When he fillls out he might end up in the 30-30 club at some point.

I'll look at some of the others tomorrow after the the Yanks take on the Rays in the Bronx.


Fantasy Update

Just thought I'd update you all on the Battle of Baby Joba fantasy league which Conor and I started and are competing in against various other Yankee bloggers and fans.Our league is head to head and w count OBP, SLG, HR, XBH, SB and IP, ERA, WHIP, K, SVHD (saves plus holds). Conor is in first place with an 8-0-0 record. I'm in second with a record of 6-1-1. Here are our rosters....

Kevin-CONY Connection

C Victor Martinez
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Freddy Sanchez
3B Russell Branyan
SS Ben Zobrist
LF Raul Ibanez
CF Aaron Rowand
RF Justin Upton
DH Jason Giambi
Util Chipper Jones
Bench- Matt Joyce

SP Jered Weaver
SP Zach Duke
SP Chris Carpenter
SP Randy Wolf
SP Chris Sampson
RP Scott Downs
RP Arthur Rhodes
RP Kyle McClellan
RP Ryan Madson
RP Jeremy Affeldt
Bench Erik Bedard
Bench Jarrod Washburn
Bench Ubaldo Jimenez
Bench John Maine
DL Travis Hafner
DL Jesse Litsch

Conor's team-Team Cashel
C-Matt Wieters
1B-Adrian Gonzalez
2B-Chase Utley
3B-Casey Blake
SS-Derek Jeter
LF- Ryan Braun
CF-Matt Kemp
RF- Adam Dunn
DH-Jack Cust
Util-Jason Bay
Bench- Aubrey Huff
Bench-Ryan Theriot
Bench-Randy Winn
SP-Roy Halladay
SP- Zach Greinke
SP- Justin Verlander
SP- James Shields
SP- Cole Hamels
RP-Jonathan Broxton
RP-Heath Bell
RP- Kevin Gregg
RP- Matt Capps
RP- JJ Putz
Bench- Yovani Gallardo
Bench- Kevin Millwood
DL-Aramis Ramirez
DL- Grady Sizemore

Trash talk, comment, predict, etc. int the comments. Here's the league page if you want to look at other teams or whatnot.

AJ Suspended

AJ Burnett was suspended 6 games for the pitch he threw up and in to Nelson Cruz in his start against Texas (the same game Padilla hit Tex twice). AJ's appealing the suspension, so we'll see how that goes. 6 games is only one start, and presumably they'd plug in Phil Hughes to pitch for him, so not the end of the world. Padilla didn't get a suspension, but Texas is trying to outright release him, so that's probably why.

Randy's 300th

Randy "The Big Unit" Johnson(how many innuendos can you possibly have in one guy's name) just recorded his 300th win with a 6 shutout innings. We all remember when the Yanks sent Javier Vasquez, Dioner Navarro, and Brad Halsey to Arizona for the Unit back in January of 2005. The Unit went 34-19 as a Yank, with a solid season in '05 (3.79 ERA, 211 K's) and a less stellar season in '06 (5.00, 172 K's). So, we contributed 34 wins to the Unit's total. RJ has had a phenomenal career and we at 6P8OBJ send our congratulations to him. That's a lot of victories, so congrats Randy.

Melky and his dramatics...

Melky Cabrera really isn't getting enough attention this season. And he should. He hit the first walkoff home run ever at the Stadium (April 22), a walk0ff single against Joe Nathan(May 15), a walk-off single against Brad Lidge and the World Champion Phillies, (May 23), hit a 9th inning single to tie the Phils the next day(May 24), before we lost in extras, and today he hits a 2-run shot in the eighth to give us the lead and win the game. I love the Melkman, but I'll admit it, I most certainly didn't think he'd be as big a staple of the team this year as he has been.

After paying out of his mind in April (.327/.400/.571), Melky cooled a little in May, but was still effective (.321/.348/.429), and now through 4 games in June he's (.200/.294/.400), but its only 4 games, and he won one of 'em (today) with a big, late-inning, home run.

The Melkman has been possibly the best surprise the Yanks' have had this year, and you have to give him mad loads of respect for working his ass off after losing the centerfielder's job, and then forcing his way back into the starting lineup as he took it back.


Big Trade...Pittsburgh-Atlanta

The Pirates sent CF Nate McLouth to Atlanta in exchange for CF Gorkys Hernandez, RHP Charlie Morton, and LHP Jeff Locke. McLouth was hitting.256/.349/.470 in Pittsburgh this year. He won a gold glove last year, but advanced fielding statistics say he may have been the worst fielding outfileder in baseball last year. Hernandez was hitting .316/.361/.387 in Double A. Locke has a 5.52 ERA in 45.2 innings this year at class A advanced (Myrtle Beach). However he's struck out 43 in that span. I'd give you Charlie Morton's stats, but my computer is being crazy and won't let me get to 'em. I can tell you he's a promising young pitcher, a 3rd round pick in the '02 draft that debuted last year. The Braves released Tom Glavine today in another move. I think Pittsburgh won this deal by a lot, McLouth is overrated and Hernandez and Morton could help their team a lot in the near future. They signed McLouth to a 3 year, $15.75mm deal during the past off-season. So they lose a little salary as well.

Pittsburgh will bring up Andrew McCutchen to take over for McLouth. They also have Delwyn Young (.298/.375/.351), Brandon Moss from the Jason Bay deal (.264/.307/.475), Nyjer Morgan (.275/.356/.344), and Jose Tabata (former Yankee prospect who they acquired in the X-Man/Marte deal). Add in Hernandez and the Pirates have a promising outlook for their 2010 or 2011 outfield, having McCutchen, Hernandez, and Tabata in the same outfield would be a tremenous force. Then when they add Morton to a rotation that already has Zach Duke(2.62 ERA/1.13 WHIP) and Paul Maholm (3.82 ERA/1.35 WHIP) that team could rise up out of the NL Central's cellar in the near future...and don't even get me started on 3B prospect Pedro Alvarez....

Wanger to the Rotation

Via PeteAbe we learn that Chien Ming Wang will take over Phil Hughes' spot in the rotation, with Hughes moving to the 'pen. Hughes is a quick fix in the pen and will obviously be a starter long term, just like Joba. Tex was scratched from the game with a bruised ankle. Supposedy he bruised it when he slid into second hard, starting that big rally last night.


Looking at 2010...again

One of my favorite things to do is to look into the future...and by the future I mean the Yankees future roster.

At the end of this season Andy Pettitte, Jose Molina, Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui will all be free agents.

Phil Hughes will more than likely step into Pettitte's rotation spot. There will be free agent options like Erik Bedard, Justin Duchscherer, Rich Harden, and John Lackey, but all of them are fairly injury prone and will be rather pricey. With Hughes major league ready, and Ian Kennedy close we won't have to make a big push for another pitcher.

Francisco Cervelli should take over as Jorge's primary backup. Cervelli is phenomenal defensively, and he was able to hit acceptably during his stretch as the starting catcher with Jorge and Jose out.

Nick Swisher will be the full-time right fielder so losing Nady isn't too big of a deal.

Losing the bats of Damon and Matsui will hurt the lineup, but we have okay replacements internally. Austin Jackson could come up and play center, with Melky moving to left. And Shelley Duncan might be an option for DH. But let's remember...we are the Yankees, so we'll without a doubt be looking into the free agent market, and we'll most likely look at the following players...

Rick Ankiel
-Ankiel will be 30 when the 2010 season starts. He made a DL trip this year while suffering from pain in his ribs. His stats so far are unimpressive as he has a .221/.299/.358 line. However last year he hit 25 homers to the tune of .264/.337/.506. Ankiel isn't extremely impressive, but if he gets back to what he did last year he'd be a welcome power bat to make up for the absence of Matsui, Damon, and Nady.

Matt Holliday
-Holliday is a phenomenal hitter, with or without Coors Field. I watched him play for a long time at Coors, and the guy can just flat out hit. Power, average, whatever. He knows how to get on-base no matter what. Ben Nicholson-Smith at MLBTR took a look at Holliday's stock today. And he noted that Buster Olney currently thinks Holliday can only command a $30-35mm deal over 3 years due to the fact that he is only hitting .275/.368/.440. Now those aren't great numbers, but they're not bad. Add in that he hit .291/.416/.456 in May and it seems like Holliday hasn't really lost too much. His career line is .316/.385/.545, so he has taken the biggest hit with his power numbers (ie his slugging percentage) this year. Holliday has 7 home runs this year. He had 25 last year, 36 in '07, and 34 in '06. You might say he's declining, but he played in 139 games last year, compared to 158 in '07 and 155 in '06, so his power numbers were down, but not by as much as they appear to be. It's natural that Holliday would have a hard time hitting in Oakland compared to Coors Field. It makes sense. Despite the recorded dimensions of the fields (below) the layouts of the fields make Matt hit better at Coors than at the Coliseum. Oakland has much much much more foul territory than Coors, and thus more outs on balls that would otherwise be in the stands. The outfield fences at the Coliseum are rounded, rather than angular like in Denver, and thus there is more fair territory that doesn't go for a home run.

Ballpark Name Team 1st Game Seats LF LCF CF RCF RF

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum









Coors Field




347' 390'


375 350'

Yankee Stadium

New York








At Coors, Matt hit a decent amount of home runs to right-center(15 of his career 50 at Coors). At the Coliseum though, right field is farther away(the dimensions don't show it but when you look at pictures of the two fields, because of the angles of the wall right at the Coliseum is much further than it is at Coors). Also, don't forget that huge difference in altitude (a mile above sea level in Denver to sea level in Oakland. Now, you may recall that Yankee stadium has a short right field porch, where Matt could launch some home runs... I don't want to sign Holliday to a 7 year deal, but if we could get him at maybe $20mm a year for 5 years, I'd sign that deal in a heartbeat. He won't be his 2007 self but expecting .315/.390/.500 and 30 home runs a year sounds about right.

Jason Bay
- Bay has been phenomenal this year in Boston with 15 homers already and a .288/.415/.627 line. The main allure of signing Bay would be to take him away from Boston. Bay will cost more than Holliday, and honestly I don't see him being any more productive than Holliday. Bay has a career .283/.378/.524 line (compared to Holliday's .316/.385/.545) and Bay is a little bit older as well. I like that Bay has shown he can play under the pressure of the AL East, but it seems like Holliday will end up being the bargain. Both are great choices, but I'd pick Holliday over Bay if I had too.

Chone Figgins
-I love Chone Figgins. That's no secret here at 6P8OBJ. He's fast, versatile, and he can hit. Chone's posted a .296/.378/.354 line so far this year. His one weakness, obviously, is his power numbers. He has no homers this year, and only 26 in his career. But here's why Figgins fits. He can do ANYTHING. A-Rod gets hurt, plug in Figgins. Jeter hurt? Plug in Figgins. Robby down? Plug in Figgins. Swisher's not hitting? Plug in Figgins. Jorge's on third, bottom nine, we need a sac fly and the runner has to score to win the game? Put Figgins at third to pinch run. The guy is extremly useful and could be a superb super-utility guy. I don't think I'd necessarily want him as our everyday left fielder, but he's someone that might be a very smart investment by the Yankees as we can always find a way to use him. I would like to see us sign an outfielder in addition to Figgins.

In a perfect world the Yankees would sign Holliday and Figgins, and our Opening Day team would look like this

SS-Derek Jeter
LF-Matt Holliday
1B-Mark Teixeira
3B-Alex Rodriguez
C-Jorge Posada
DH-Nick Swisher
2B-Robby Cano
RF-Melky Cabrera
CF-Austin Jackson

C Frankie Cervelli
Util Chone Figgins
Util Ramiro Pena
OF Shelley Duncan

CC Sabathia
Joba Chamberlain
AJ Burnett
Chien Ming Wang
PHil Hughes

CL Mariano Rivera
SU Brian Bruney
SU Mark Melancon
MR Damaso Marte
MR Zach Kroenke
MR Alfredo Aceves
MR David Robertson
LS Phil Coke