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I hate this Yankee team much like I hated last years Yankee team and the team before that. This team is a poorly assembled collection of overpriced talent. Anthony blames ownership (and to an extent I agree) but you have to really put a lot of this on Cashman. I have really defended Cashman vehemently in the past but he really isn't a good GM. This team has had the same flaws for years and he hasn't done anything about it. Did anyone feel comfortable when he said he was entering this year with Giambi at first base? He has handed out millions of dollars worth of bad contracts and made so many trades that didn't pan out. But instead of rehashing the past let's look position by position at this Yankee team and allow me to explain why the suck.
C: Jorge Posada (DL) (4Yr Contract [2008-11] $52 Million), Jose Molina, Chad Moller
So giving a 36 year old catcher a four year contract was a bad idea? Really...C'mon you had to see this coming at some point (though I didn't expect it to happen this soon.) Jorge is going to be a first basemen/DH for most of the life of his contract. I know that re-signing Jorge was essential but still the Yankees are going to look mightily silly during years 3 and 4 of that contract.
Jose Molina is a nice backup and even though he's never been a great hitter he's a nice guy to have around. However he's never caught more than 78 games in a season.
And of course this brings me to my next point (and Cashman guffaw) why don't we have a young catching prospect in our system? (Don't say Jesus Montero because he will not be an MLB catcher) Jorge didn't turn 36 over night, we have needed an heir apparent for years. (it also would have been nice to have some leverage in contract negotiations) The Yankees with their seemingly unlimited budget to scout the international markets and draft (and subsequently pay players out of slot) couldn't find a young catcher all these years?
1B) Jason Giambi (1YR Remaining On Contract, $21 Million [Plus $5 Million '09 Buyout]) Shelly Duncan
And we entered the year with the Giambino at first as mentioned earlier and it just doesn't make sense to me. I know we had a logjam at DH because Damon and Matsui are not exactly gold glovers but, wouldn't it have made sense to trade Damon or Matsui (assuming they had some value as opposed to Giambi's no value) and DH Jason? Even if Giambi was hitting there is no way he would be able to stay healthy and play first all year (only played 83 games last year.)
Now it's hard to knock Shelly Duncan because frankly if everyone on the Yankees had Duncans attitude/passion we would win a lot more games. Duncan was a bolt of lightning last year but much like his predecessor Shane Spencer he will fade away into obscurity. He is a AAAA player, there's no way around it. Seeing Spencer hit cleanup last night made my eyes bleed.
2B: Robinson Cano (4 years/$30M [2008-11, plus 2012-13 club options]) Wilson Betemit Alberto Gonzalez
I've never been a fan of Cano. I can understand why Yankee nation fell in love with him. He's young, good looking, (I've never heard so many female Yankee fans erupt as when Cano's name was announced) swings a great bat, and has actually developed into a plus fielder.
Now the bad; He doesn't walk and his pre/post all star break numbers are almost comical. Now his walk total doubled from '06 - '07 which gave me a sign of hope however, his 8 walks this year put him on pace for 38 which is one less than he had in '08.
I just think that Robinson has quickly become one of the most overrated players (and this may be a stretch) in all of baseball. You simply can not hit terrible for 1/3rd of the season and insanely amazing the other 2/3rds and be a good hitter (or in the larger scope a valuable member of the team.)
Long ago I said we should have traded him to fill our many other needs and I still stand by that.
I'll get to Alberto and Wilson in a moment.
SS: Derek Jeter (3yrs $61 Million [08-10]), Alberto Gonzalez, Wilson Betemit.
Ah the captain. Everyone in NY loves Derek Jeter, quite frankly he's untouchable. A whole generation of Yankee fans (including myself) grew up idolizing Derek Jeter. I can think of many days spent pondering the question who would you rather be Derek Jeter or Justin Timberlake (back in the day Jeter was the runaway winner, now I think you'd have to go with JT.)
I digress...anyway it's time to come to grips with some sad truths about the Capitan. He's 33 and will be 34 in June. He's not a kid anymore and it's looking more and more like his prime is behind him. He dropped form 34 steals in '06 to 15 in '07 (while getting caught stealing 8 times the highest number for him since 1999.) His defense has slipped dramatically, to the point where he didn't even win the courtesy gold glove last year. He went from a +7 to a -5 on the baseball prospectus defensive scale. Another alarming trend with Jeter is a decrease in his walk totals, dropping from 77 in '05 to 69 in '06 to 56 last year. His 4 walks this year put him on pace for 22 and he has yet to steal a base.
Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying Jeter is done. He's still going to hit 15 homers and steal around 15 bases while hitting above .300, that's solid production. But the sad truth is Jeter isn't a shortstop anymore and Jeters offensive numbers wouldn't really project well to RF/LF. When Bernie Williams retired Jeter should have moved to CF. Jeter still has two years left on his contract and if I had my way he wouldn't be finishing his career at shortstop.
3B Alex Rodriguez (10 years/$275M [2008-17] plus 30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record) Morgan Ensberg
Was resigning A-Rod a mistake? Yes and I'll tell you why. A-Rods $32 million yearly salary is probably only slightly less than the combined cost of two big free agents, say Mark Texeira and Fransisco Rodriguez.
Love A-Rod and everything he brings to the table but his contract is ungodly. A 10 year contract? His defense is probably going to start falling off before the midway point of the contract. Than what we have a really expensive first basemen or DH? I know it's hard to look into the crystal ball and see the future but I think when it's said and done A-Rod's value won't match his contract.
And point two (and more on this in my closing argument) is if we had let A-Rod walk last year we would have gotten two first round picks back.
Another gripe I have with the Yankees is that they sent down Alberto Gonzalez. Alberto was a slick fielding utility guy who was actually hitting. Why are we wasting our team with a washed up vet (Ensberg) when we should be giving the kid a look. Ensberg is an automatic out at this point (.226/.250/.274)
OF: Johnny Damon (2yrs 26million [08-09]), Melky Cabrera Bobby Abreu (1yr 16 Million) Hedeki Matsui (2yrs 26million [08-09])
Damon was done as a CF when we acquired him in'06. And while he isn't performing terrible this year I'd like my lead off hitter to have an OBP more than .350 in his career. He also has a CF's bat in a corner OF position.
Bobby was a good pick up by the Yanks as we gave up a bunch of prospects who will never amount to anything. However what's alarming about Bobby is his amazing decline in his walk and power totals. He's on pace for 62 walks this year (he was drawing well over 100 in his prime.) his slugging percentage has dropped off almost a whole point. Oh yea and he's a -6 fielder. At this point he's not a number three hitter or even worthy of being a starting right fielder.
Melky I was wrong about. He's a plus defender and has really grown into his body. He looks like a 20 HR/15 Steal type. One of the few players on this team I like.
Matsui is hitting so knocking him won't be in vogue however he's also a 13 million dollar DH.
Look at this line:
.256/.408./.504 with 26 homers in 126 games.
You know who that line belongs to?
Jack Cust and he makes $410,000.
Matsui is incredibly replaceable
SP: Wang, Pettite (1yr 16 Million), Mussina (1yr 12 million), Hughes (DL) Kennedy (AAA) Pavano (1yr 11 Million) (DL) Igawa (4yrs 16 Million [08-11] plus 26 Million to negotiate) (AAA)
I'll be brief because I'm tired of pulling my hair out by the roots. Pavano was a terrible singing. Of course Cashman is familiar with terrible pitching acquisitions. Pavano, Jaret Wright, Igawa, Contreras and so on. Pitching is the heart of your team and it was silly to not trade for the best pitcher in all of baseball. I understand protecting your prospects but there comes a time when you have to trade your prospects, just ask Billy Beane.
RP: Rivera (3 years/$45M [2008-10] , Chamberlain, Farnsworth (1yr 5.5 Million), Hawkins (1yr 3.75 Million)
Rivera is still amazing and Chamberlain is one of the few redeeming members of this Yankees team. While the bull penn hasn't been terrible it'd be foolish to ignore what a terrible awful singing Latroy Hawkins was. He's a journeyman reliever who couldn't succeed in the NL.
And don't even get me started on Kyle.
In closing the Yankees suck. Am I being overly harsh? Yes. Will this team make a second half surge and earn a wild-card birth? Probably. Will they get knocked out in the first round of the playoffs? Definitely.
That's the problem with these Yankees so afraid to take on year off from the post-season to rebuild an aging roster. Heck the Red Sox, who have a phenomenal young core, even had to do it. Pretty sure the Yankees would trade an off playoff year for two world series.
The fact is Cashman hasn't done a good job and I stand by that. People give him credit for rebuilding the Yankees farm system and I have to say I disagree. The baseball draft is a flawed system that allows big budget teams to draft star players much lower than they should be. In fact if you look at the Yankees youth movement:
Cano, Wang and Cabrera weren't drafted and Hughes, Kennedy and Joba were all first round picks. It's not exactly like Cashman has been a keen drafter. And where has the return been with some of the Yankee trades (Sheffield, Wright, Johnson) he hasn't really found diamonds in the rough there either.
I contend that it's that not hard to rebuild a farm system these days. Especially a big budget team like the Yankees who should be stock piling draft picks.
Please, please, please make me a GM. Let me turn this team around.