Mailbag – Free Agency, Playoff Rotation, Blown HR, etc….

Here is this week’s mailbag. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at yankeesfansunited@gmail.com. Here we go:

@Yankeesandjets8 asked…………….What do you think is going to happen during free agency?

Well, it’s assumed that Sabathia will exercise his right to become a Free Agent. Task #1 for Cashman is to do whatever it takes to lock the big man up. #1 Starters/Horses are VERY difficult to obtain so CC can basically write his own check. Cliff Lee got 5 yrs $120M with a team option so look for CC to get about the same plus a few mil.

Beyond that, look for Cashman to make a move for that elusive #2 starter to team with CC. The top Free Agent pitcher is lefty C.J. Wilson from Texas. He’s a combined 27-13 over the last 2 seasons with a 3.28 era, 7.8 k/9 & 3.6 bb/9.  He will be 31 next year but has only been a starter for 2 seasons so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his arm. He’s a true 5-pitch pitcher who limits HRs and gets a lot of ground balls.

If Wilson can’t be signed, Cash may look at Hiroki Kuroda or Mark Buehrle on a 1-yr deal and take a chance on the 2013 Free Agent market where there are a lot of quality pitchers.

Unless Prince can play RF, he doesn't fit with the Yanks.

There are some big name position players on the market in Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz, Lance Berkman & Jimmy Rollins. However, the Yanks are locked up at most positions. If they pick up Nick Swisher’s $10.25M club option as expected, the only opening will be at DH. While those big names would look great mashing in the Bronx, I don’t think the team will sign a long-term DH since ARod will need to DH more and more over the next few years. Plus they have highly regarded Jesus Montero in AAA who should get a lot of ABs as DH next season. They may look to team Montero with a veteran lefty hitter such as Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Jim Thome – or ideally just bring back Eric Chavez.

@PrimoBledBlue asked: Do you think the Yankees will use a 4-man rotation in the playoffs?

In 2009, Girardi rode a 3-man rotation of CC, AJ & Pettitte throughout the post-season to win the World Series.  This was only possible because of the numerous days off that year but MLB changed the schedule in 2010 to reduce the number of days off during and in-between series. Now there are only 2 scheduled days off per series making 3-man rotations difficult.

I believe the Yanks will use 4 starters but pitch CC on 3-days rest whenever needed. In the Division Series, the Yanks can employ a 3-man rotation by pitching CC in Game 1 and again on 3-days rest in Game 4 if needed.  The other starters could be used on regular 4-days rest. In an ideal situation, if the Yankees sweep the Division Series in 3 games, CC could then be set up to pitch Game 1 of the ALCS on full rest, then again in Games 4 & 7 on 3-days rest. CC is far and away the best starter and he’s an absolute horse who’s had success pitching on short rest. In 6 career starts on 3-days rest, Sabathia is 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA including successful starts vs the Angels & Phillies in the 2009 playoffs.

The question of who the 2, 3 & 4 starters will be won’t be answered until the end of the year.  All of the starters are basically auditioning for the remaining 6 weeks of the season but if I had to choose right now I’d go with Nova, Garcia & Hughes with Colon in the pen and AJ back home watching on TV. I’d have my non-CC starters on short leashes. Adding Colon to an already stacked bullpen, Girardi will have many weapons to use at the first sign of trouble.

@tousenthesnake asked……..Who has the most golden gloves in Yanks history?

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award has only been awarded since 1957 so many of the all-time great Yanks weren’t eligible. But the Yankee with the most Gold Glove awards is Don Mattingly with 9.  Donnie Baseball won every year at 1B from 1985 to 1994 with the exception of an injury shortened 1990 season.

Current Yankees with Gold Gloves are Eric Chavez (6), Derek Jeter (5), Mark Teixeira (4), Alex Rodriguez (2) , Russell Martin (1) and Robinson Cano (1).  If I had a vote, I would vote for Martin, Tex, Cano & Brett Gardner to win Gold Gloves in 2011.

 @tazc23 asked…….Are the Yankees concerned that the final Royals’ game may have an effect at the end of the season?

 Dana DeMuth made a terrible decision on Billy Butler’s HR that wasn’t, and that run was the difference in a 5-4 loss. Girardi should have protested the call since the umpires clearly made a decision against the rules. However, a blown call in the 4th inning of  Game #121 of the season shouldn’t be the reason why the team doesn’t win the Al East or Wild Card. The Yanks had several opportunities in the game to score but went just 1-for-10 with RISP and Cano & Posada both failed to deliver with the bases loaded in the 9th. So while the call was horrible, the team has moved on and will not dwell on it.

@tazc23 also asked………Are teams told what actually constitutes a HR in some stadiums ?

Yes, the umpires go over the stadium grounds rules and exchane lineup cards with a manager or coach from each team prior to the first game of every series. Yankees 3B-coack Mick Kelleher went over the rules before Monday’s series opener. Kelleher said that his understanding was that the ball needed to also clear a chain-link fence and padded railing to be a home run.

“We went over the ground rules and they were pretty explicit and clear, but there was one question that I had: it was about the top rail in left-center field,” Kelleher said. “It was padded; the ball had to leave the ballpark. We talked about that twice. … It doesn’t make sense to me. The ball never left the ballpark, so how could it be a home run?”

@ehom87 asked: Even with review the umpire could make the wrong call. Is there anyway to improve the review process to ensure the right call is made?

In this case, replay verified what the umps saw live but the problem was with misinterpretation of the stadium ground-rules.  Someone from the league office should have been called to clarify the ground-rule. Steve Palermo, an umpires supervisor who was in attendance at Kauffman Stadium, took the crew out to the left-field fence after the game and pointed out the discrepancy between the ground rule and what was called. If Palermo was at that game, why didn’t he intervene during the replay? I think an umpire supervisor or league exec should be on call to answer questions like these during replay reviews.

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About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on August 20, 2011, in Past Players, Signing & Trade Speculation, Yankee Mailbag and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great stuff Fish. Excellent answers very well thought out.

    It’s been known for awhile that I would love C.J. Wilson in the Bronx next year.

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