Monday, June 9, 2014

The Time For Change May Have Finally Arrived

Time and time again Yankees fans, myself included at times, call for a younger player to get more playing time or get brought to the majors. This usually occurs when the team isn't playing well, so the prevailing thought in doing so is "it can't hurt". And here we are saying it again in 2014.

"Yada, yada, yada."

The Yankees are currently 31-31, six games out of first place. Only going that far it would seem the team has a good chance to climb back to the top of the division, what with 100 games remaining. But if you dig a little deeper you'll see that things are more dire.

Take for instance the team's run differential of -31. The Boston Red Sox may be 3 games behind New York, but Boston's run differential of -16 makes me wonder if their records hide the fact that the Red Sox are actually a better team. Furthermore, only two teams in the American League have a worse run differential, and one of those teams... the perennial laughing stock Houston Astros... have actually scored one more run than the "Bombers".

Let's see what else I can find to make me feel worse about the '14 Yanks...

Here we go! How about a team offensive WAR of 4.4, which ranks them 26th in MLB and 2nd worst in the AL. Oh, and remember how I put the word "Bombers" in quotes? That's because the team's Isolated Power is .128, which is good for 25th in baseball. If the Yankees are indeed "Bombers", then they need to fly back to base and reload.

So what can they do to reload?

"I can get you this extra large capacity magazine, which will cut down on the number of times you need to re-"
"Not THAT type of 'reload'!"

First thing's first... when it comes to trades it's always easier said than done. While there may be some fine trade candidates the Yankees would like to acquire, plenty of fans seem to forget that the team has little to nothing to offer in return. We may get a kick out of calling Brian Cashman a "ninja", but ninjas can't use the Jedi mind-trick and tell Miami Marlins General Manager Dan Jennings "you will trade us Giancarlo Stanton for Nik Goody and Jake Cave."

However, while the Yankees' farm system is hardly overrun with top prospects, there have been rumblings of a few of them getting a chance in the big leagues soon.

Brian Cashman had the following to say in an interview yesterday...
"We're just trying to move this thing along. If there are guys struggling in New York, I can't wait."
"As you see us moving the chess pieces around, you can see us struggling with the defensive part with the backup to Teixeira at first base. We've moved Sizemore over there a little bit. Now we're moving Pirela over just to prepare for what ifs."
Cashman may not have mentioned anybody that could be in jeopardy of losing their spots, but those comments seem to point to Kelly Johnson. Johnson has played 181.2 innings at first base, and while he's far from a defensive whiz at the position, Kelly is also batting a measly .216/.279/.392.

Cash may have mentioned Sizemore and Pirela in those quotes, but he's also brought up Rob Refsnyder and Peter O'Brien as players that could be due for a promotion. And if you take that and the first quote above, then you can conclude that Brian Roberts could also be out of a job soon.

Roberts is currently hitting .239/.317/.350, and coupled with his UZR/150 of -18 this season, there is plenty of reason for the Yankees to eat the remainder of Brian's $2 million contract this season and cut him loose.

I will admit that I'm not holding my breathe when it comes to the team making these moves. You don't have to be a an expert on the Yankees to know that the team never gives up, and is more apt to lean on veterans to get the job done rather than prospects. However, this season has been different, and that's thanks to Yangervis Solarte.

Yep, what Solarte has done on the field may mean more than the stats show.

Solarte did not appear on Baseball America's Top 10 list of Yankee prospects, nor did anybody else believe he would be as good as he has been. Personally, I've been waiting for him to fall back to Earth, but in the last couple of weeks he's hit .325/.372/.500, which tells me he may not be going anywhere. And that emergence out of nowhere may be the kick in the pants the team needs to call up players like Sizemore, Pirela, Refsnyder, and/or O'Brien to shake things up.

Not only that, but seeing what those guys can do this season could also save the Yankees from having to spend a lot more money on free agents this offseason. Also, they wouldn't have to deal away good/young players like John Ryan Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, etc.

So while I'm not going to sit on the edge of my seat waiting to hear that Sizemore and the rest get the call up, while Roberts and Johnson are shown the door, I have reason to think this could be the year the Yankees actually pull the trigger on their youth.


  1. Calling up guys is a nice thought, but I still don't really like it. With the exception of Solarte, I see no reason why the Yankees should completely change the roster, especially since guys like Roberts and Johnson are bound to have hot streaks eventually.

    1. What makes you think Roberts and Johnson are going to have a hot streak?

      Even if they do, how many wins will that equate to? And when you compare those wins when they are playing, to the losses the team will suffer when they are playing, then I'm willing to bet the net result is not good.

      So what harm will come from playing a young kid that may not do well, to playing a veteran like Roberts who is not doing well?

      I'd say the upside is definitely on the side of the youngster. And remember... there were plenty of people before the season that never would have started Solarte over Johnson at 3B. And look where we are now.

    2. A hot streak should not cancel out four months of wetting the bet and flat out sucking. Mark Teixeira sucks in April but more than makes up for it in May, June, July, August, September, and October. That makes it ok. I don't want anymore guys that suck in April, Mar, June, August, September, and October.

  2. I agree with Bryan. I don't think they need to blow up the entire roster, but we have better options in the minor leagues. I think Johnson, Soriano, and Thornton need to go. Refsnyder/Pirela could replace Johnson. Almonte could replace Soriano. And I could probably replace Thornton. (Just kidding. I'm a righty) We also have Cervelli coming back. I think he's athletic enough to back up first. I still faithfully watch, but you know this is getting painful day after day guys.

    1. Exactly. Marginal/small upgrades would do wonders on this team. Start with the weakest links that you can fix without a trade, Johnson and Roberts specifically, and then fill in the gaps with trades in July.

      Roller adds not only depth but a suitable left handed power bat that can actually play first base for Mark Teixeira. We can dabble him at third base as well if need be, he can't do any worse than Johnson. He could hit .250 and give us loads of upgrades.

      Pirela/Refsnyder/The hot dog guy could play second base and hit .250 and upgrade over Roberts while he becomes a super utility bench guy. Or cut him if he wants to bitch and whine about it.

      Something needs to be done, I'm tired of watching this team.

    2. Let me start by saying,"this is not to denigrate Jeter at all, just plain old facts"!
      The weakest links? Start with Johnson, Roberts and Jeter!
      Agree drop Johnson, Roberts, and Thornton, move Jeter out of the #2 spot.
      A number 2 hitter with, ,254, .312, .300 could be replaced by anyone of three players all having 60 or more hits already...Ells-66, Brett-64 and Solarte-60. Need I say more?

      Look, what did everyone expect, the Jeter of 2009? He is a 40 year old SS coming off an ankle injury. The guy is just like every other player, not a Super Star or Super Man.
      He is too old to play a good SS or hit as he once did, they are blowing Fast Balls by him that he use to hit the other way.
      This doesn't make what he has done over the years, anything less than what it is...A HoF can't miss. But, even Satchel Paege had to give into old age!

  3. It's worth mentioning that Peter O'Brien was basically permanently moved to first base as of yesterday... which speaks volumes for the Yankees, Kyle Roller (who I think gets promoted), Greg Bird (who is struggling and has a nagging back), and for the desperation in the farm system right now.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)