Some of the notes I had were from awhile ago, but I said I would fire blogs off after my last one and I failed to get it done. Let’s get at it…
The one bad item from the off season was that Girardi retained Robby Thompson as our 3rd base coach. Robby Thompson is simply bad as a 3rd base coach and I am annoyed Girardi didn’t make a move there. Loyalty is fine, but Girardi's job is to put the team in the best position to win games (now and in the future). Thompson is simply poor at what he does and the part that is the most frustrating was that when presented with the facts that he had been responsible for getting a lot of guys thrown out at home plate with less than 2 outs, his only answer was “I will always be aggressive.” That is just moronic. It is OK to be aggressive, but common sense must also prevail as getting aggressive is OK if you have good judgment and understand the game situation. The quickest example I can give is being down by 5 runs with a guy on 2nd base with nobody out and a batter hits a single. Scoring the runner from 3rd on any play that is even remotely close is just idiotic. Enough said, you know my opinion; I can only hope he doesn’t cost us games.
I have already commented on Cliff Lee. He was worth spending money on, but I don’t think missing out on him is a terrible move as he does have question marks in durability, age and the fact he was in the minors not too long ago (which is hard to imagine). Because there was not much else worth going after I did not want the Yankees to spend money just because they have it. I would rather them save it for when we really want a guy. We also don’t want to trade away minor league trade value guys for a fix that isn’t that much better than someone we have… and with no upside. Therefore, you wait for the stud 29 or less year old guy to become available as free agents or via trade and you get them that way. In the meantime IF you have been doing it right all along (like signing Tex and CC) you have some young players you are developing and you give them a shot. I was very confident in Gardner last year (many people wanted Matsui and Damon) and I think he played extremely well overall. If you take how well he did before hurting his wrist he was on par with Crawford and at the salary Gardner is at, he is an enormous value. Anyway, let's see what guys like Nova have in our rotation. I think he will do just fine.
As for cheap signings, Cashman really seems to have done a good job in this department. Eric Chavez, the former A’s gold glove 3rd baseman has looked smooth at the plate and was always a good defender. Bartolo Colon has shown very good movement on his fastball and a good change and curve as well. He doesn’t throw 97-98 anymore, but from what I saw (there was no gun) it looked like he was throwing 92-93 with movement. Garcia is a guy who I expected to win the 5th starting job, but I am not as sure now as Colon has outpitched him in spring training. Either way, I think both are worth keeping and if I had to choose between the 2 of them and Mitre, I would let Mitre go. Because Joba and Feliciano are a little banged up perhaps we will be able to start with all of them? Colon probably suits the bullpen better than Garcia though based on the way I see their stuff translate.
I have not seen Andrew Jones swing the bat this offseason and he is projected to be the platoon OF’r against lefties. Last year he was excellent in that role, but prior years he didn’t show a propensity to hit lefties better. I am not sure if it was an aberration or not, but while many felt he was a lock to make the roster, it wouldn’t shock me if the Yanks went a different route. I will say that if he can hit lefties well, it is definitely a need for this team and is also the reason why he was locked into the roster in most people’s eyes.
ARod looked VERY solid at the plate against TB. Not talking about the results, but he had little movement and just looked good to me.
Jeter, who has had a good spring, has slowed his big step down a lot, but he is still waving the bat to the point where the barrel points toward the pitcher (kind of like Julio Franco used to) and I don’t think that is a good thing. They have calmed his lower half down, but with that bat waving he may still struggle some. I think he does better than last year though. I will set out my predictions before opening day (probably this upcoming weekend.
And now for some odd coincidental numbers…The All-times saves leader Trevor Hoffman has decided to retire. Mariano Rivera is 42 saves behind Hoffman. The fact the number 42 is involved is interesting because Rivera is the last person who will wear the #42 in MLB. Rivera needs 42 to tie and 42 just happens to be the number of Post Season saves he has. Interesting coincidence? BTW, Rivera had Rivera had 33 saves last season and 44 the year before.