Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Say Again, Fire Kevin Long

The New York Yankees are officially eliminated from American League East contention and the second Wild Card is not far behind. The pitching has been spectacular but the offense has lulled us to sleep far too many times. This team makes rookie starting pitchers look like Clayton Kershaw and marginal pitchers look like Cy Young (yes I think Kershaw is better than Cy). Too often have we seen this team blow spectacular pitching performances from the likes of Michael Pineda, Brandon McCarthy, Masahiro Tanaka, and others and too many times has this team simply been shut out and shut down. This team has talent and the coaches and the staff are not getting the best out of their talented players. When your only job is to get the best out of your players and you’re not doing that how can one justify keeping you in your current position?

It’s not a coincidence that players that have come here have had far less success than they have had in their careers. Sure Kevin Long gets lucky every once in a while and gets a good couple of weeks out of a Chris Young or raises a Brendan Ryan’s batting average from .201 to .220 and breaks his own arm patting himself on the back but that’s not what he is getting paid to do. Long is getting paid to get the most out of the big money signings of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, etc.

Beltran has a career batting average of .281 and in a full healthy season before 2014 his career low batting average was .247 way back int he year 2000. In 2014 Beltran is batting a meager .236. Blame it on the barking elbow if you want but it wasn’t bothering him all season long and he has had three cortisone shots and hasn’t seen an uptick in production.

Same can be said for McCann whose career average with the Atlanta Braves was .273. McCann’s worst season batting average was in 2012 when he batted .230 but bounced back in 2013 with a .256 average. McCann has only been able to muster a .235 average in 2014.

Ellsbury had a career .293 batting average with the Boston Red Sox but has seen that number drop significantly since coming to New York. Currently Ellsbury sits at .271 and is surprisingly leading the “Bronx Bombers” in average this season.

Teixeira was, believe it or not, a perennial .300 hitter before coming to the Yankees. Teix had a great 2009 season batting .292 with the Yankees but has seen his address drop almost every year since. In 2010 Teix batted .256 and followed that up with a .248 campaign in 2011. The 2012 season was not much better for Teixeira as he batted .251 and an injury riddled season in 2013 saw him produce only a .151 batting average. Currently in 2014 Teix is struggling to stay above the Mendoza Line as he bats .218.

Teixeira recently went as far as to mention in an interview when asked about beating the shift that he was “not paid to hit singles.” I’m sorry I was under the assumption that you were paid to hit home runs which if you compare his home run output to his salary he is not doing his job. I also thought his job was to drive in runs, you cannot drive in runs pulling off of every single pitch and pounding it into the ground for an out or a double play. This is where Long has to be outraged, not even publicly, with these comments and take Teixeira to the side and tell him to beat the shift. Teixeira seems like a nice enough guy and I don’t get the pre-Madonna vibe from him so I can only assume this approach comes from his hitting coach and instructors, but maybe I’m wrong on that one.

I could keep going all day but I think you get the point. If you haven’t got the point yet I have about five or ten more posts similar to this asking for the head of Long, look them up. If you paid me to cut your grass and I only cut half of it I probably wouldn’t last long. If you paid me to wash your dishes and I only washed some of them adequately I would probably be looking for another job. Why does Kevin Long continue to get a free pass here?

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