Washington DC - July 23, 2008
IN breaking news the AP reported that Hank Steinbrenner is to gather brother Hal, special adviser Gene Michaels, President Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman in a high-level meeting in Tampa Bay “leaving no stone unturned” as put by Hank.
Steinbrenner said that he “would mention Bonds, and they’d cover everything,” and also indicated that what needs to be fixed, will get fixed, "We're playing great. That's the key thing," Steinbrenner said. "Considering we're not 100 percent because of the injuries, it's pretty impressive. Where we can add, we'll look into it."
This latest report may contradict what Hal Steinbrenner said just days go of "no prospects being traded" in order to fix this team, but unless Yankee ownership is not all-in to win, then they will have to look at free agents, or those approaching free agency as the deadline draws near.
The Front-runners to fix what’s broken are Matt Holiday, Houston Streets, Mark Teixeira, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Regarding the latter 2, the Players Union is reported to be in the process of filing a grievance against the MLB Owners over allegations of collusion in keeping them out of the game and unemployed.
Looking at the Yankees so far this season one would have to point out the bullpen, whose regular bridge to Mariano Rivera is on a rollercoaster game-costing ride. And then I have to look at the offense, it’s bench and of course the bad defense in right field.
Farnsworth has been better this past month, but how can one not improve on a 4.11 ERA as of June 27th who is considered a “set up specialist.” Since then he hasn’t given up any runs at all, but has also only pitched in 9 innings and is a 3.35 ERA right now.
The laws of mathematics means every 3 appearances Kyle makes to sit a team down he will give up at least 1 run-which could hurt the Yankees. He has given up 16 runs in 43 innings pitched, which means every 4.5 games he will give up at least 1 run; coupled with Veras and it is not all rosy and cheerful in the bullpen and certainly not the kind of reliability you want in the set up role meant to hold a lead to set up the closer.
IN the last month Jose Veras had pitched 8 innings and has given up 3 runs, 5 hits with 4 walks. With all the ate innings troubles so far it’s been a God send that the starters have been doing so well.
The occasional slip up became all too common in late inning relief after the starters go at least 6 innings, sometimes more, while holding the other team to relatively low scores and end up getting burned by The Veras and Farnsworth connection,
Between Jose and Kyle they will give up at least 1 run per game, and maybe more. These are not runs that are comparable to a starter who throws 7 innings, gets fatigued and then gives up runs; these are 1 inning-at-a- time pitchers who suffer not from fatigue as shown by innings pitched, but from just bad pitching.
In the pitching arena the Yankees rank 7th in the American League, with a 3.97 ERA in one of the least amount of innings pitched at 899. NY has given up the highest amount of hits at 893 in the top 7, with the most amount of runs allowed at 424, while only 397 were earned, showing a need for a better defense as well.
With 44 innings under his belt I would now say Ross Ohlendorf is still a minor leaguer, with a 6.53 ERA -something not needed on the team in the last year of The Stadium. There is also Billy Traber who has 12 innings and is a 6.0 ERA. LeTroy Hawkins is not “last-year” Yankee material, despite what Cashman says, Hawk has 44 innings pitched and is a 5.71 ERA.
On the other hand Giese (2.59 in 24 innings), Ramirez (a 2.48 in 36 innings) , Robertson (a 1.50 in 11 innings) and Rasner (a 4.8 in 72 innings as a starter, those number will come down when pitching for only one innings) a are all keepers.
Rumor has it that Huston Streets is available for trade, but the White Sox and the brewers are talking to him already, as are the Mets. f the Yankees are interested in letting some of the many prospects move on then Streets is a good pick up, but Hal has said that the “Yankees will not trade prospects.”
If they are not, then the only Free agents are Freddy Garcia, who had just performed some work outs for the Yanks a month ago. Will he be able to pitch effectively after being out so long while recovering from surgery, and will he be reliable in the pen for a 1 inning stand? It is a big risk, but maybe worth it in a surprise showing if his arm strength is back.
The only other Free Agent worth talking about is Roger Clemens. He is still listed as a Free Agent, and rumors aside the Yankees can not let the Daily News, Henry Waxman, nor his friend the Red Sox’s Legal Consultant, George Mitchell, run the team into the ground during the final year in The Stadium.
Roger is being investigated, yeah-so what. So is Miguel Tejada who was just featured in Yankee Stadium as an ALL-STAR and he put on a clinic.
Clemens was a 4.18 last year while injured, is not nursing from surgery, is undoubtedly in shape given his infamous grueling work ethic as made clear by Joba chamberlain who still texts Roger on a daily basis, and has the heart of a lion.
I do not buy all this scandal business which has made some in the media filthy rich. If he was a user, then he would have shown a dramatic change in physique which he never had, just look at any picture and it is plain to see that Clemens was not a user. The whole sordid story is all in this one article as opposed to a chop-shop type marketing blitz made to sell parts for more money.
If it matters to anyone the Daily News got most everything wrong regarding The Rocket, but must have made a mint in the process while riding his coat-tails. McCready denied the affair, and said she never saw anything suspicious, Shaun Kelley took and passed a federally administered polygraph, Blair Kelly and Jeff Bagwell both ended up refuting what the Daily News reported as well, but then again they used an unnamed source In each “story.”
The Yankees would ensure that Roger goes into the Hall a Yankee - or not at all. The guy deserves to get a proper send off, and the fans want to say good bye to the Ace they have watched for 24 years.
One of Rocket’s all time low ERAs was in 1995 and he had a 4.18. In the following year he threw a 3.6, which is .01 away from his 3.5 Cy Young Winning ERA in NY when he won 20 games in 2001. If the bull pen is in need of help, then putting Clemens in it might be an answer and his ERA would be much lower, guaranteed.
Just compare Farnsworth’s 43 innings pitched to Mussina’s 141 innings pitched to figure out which role is the more physically taxing.
Clemens is less than a 1.5 ERA in his first two inning splits, which is how long he might be in a game as a reliever, and is the best option who requires no prospect trade, and could pitch as a starter or reliever who is listed as a Free Agent. With his market being so low he will be close to being “free” this time too.
Robertson (1.59 in 11.1 innings) , Rasner, (4.83 in 77 innings as a starter, who would have a lower ERA as a reliever) Ramirez (2,48 in 36 innings) and Rocket (Rx4 connection) could be the best we’ve seen in the pen since Nelly-to-Mendoza-to-Mo.
The marketing spin alone would pay for Clemens, and Phil Hughes will be back as will Chien Ming Wang, who will both be added to the rotation, unless Rasner stays put.
My next best guess is to fix the defense by getting a better outfielder, or by making one. Miscues in the outfield always equate to runs as opposed to first base or shortstop where the ball usually stays in the infield. In the outfield if the ball is missed it goes to the wall; and that means run-time city. Who’s the worst outfielder on the team? For me, it is simple.
Bobby Abreu needs a look at, he pulls up on flies, is wall shy lacking proper range in the outfield (not on base) and the arm is great when he can get to the ball and throws it online, which is a rarity. He is Reggie Jackson in right field, minus the bat and October.
Bonds could play right field because he did play left in San Francisco last year, and he might be an improvement over Abreu so far this season. Then again it might be an injury waiting to happen. He could also help out platooning DH with Abreu, adding real power to the bench, which is something that the Millennia-Yankees have not had at all since Ruben Sierra years ago. Bonds alone fixes the offense and allows for a proper bench to platoon, or come in while late in the game to ensure a lead, or take one.
How about the trade rumors over Mark Teixeira? Before Jason Giambi came to NY he was a third baseman, an outfielder and only later a first baseman. Could Teixeira play a better right then Abreu? He has younger legs, and plays all-out at first indicating that he wouldn’t shy away from nor pull up on any balls hit his way. That would be an excellent offense saving, long term move by Hanks-Yanks.
Also a Free Agent is Hank Blalock from Texas, but he has 6.2 million left on his contract. He is hitting .278 with 5 doubles, a triple plus 4 home runs. We know he has a glove because he plays third, so would have to transition to play outfield, and it might be too late in the season for that.
Matt Holliday is another potential fix for an injured offense but it is rumored that The Rockies want to mandate Atkins in the deal as well. Holliday certainly has the right attitude and a big bat to boot, but if the league is being pressed then we may see Bonds in pinstripes before too long, 10 days is what Boris said Bonds would need to be in game shape.
If I know Hank I would think there would be some revenue sharing tax breaks that resulted if he bailed out the league and signed Bonds, and Clemens that is unless the league wants to actually face collusion charges – again.