Thursday, April 25, 2013

Last Minute Tweaks

             Brian Cashman had to do some last minute scrambling before Opening Day to piece some semblance of a MLB lineup and pray to the baseball gods the team can keep afloat until the regulars come back. Not satisfied with Juan Rivera's untrustworthy glove at first base, the Yanks picked up veteran Lyle Overbay, who had recently been cut by the Boston Red Sox.

             Thanks Boston!

             Although Overbay doesn't offer much with the bat, at least he will be a reliable receiver for Nunez's incoming bad throws.

             A very surprising and daring pick up was a last minute decision to trade for Vernon Wells from the Angels. Wells, who has never been the same player after signing that big contract years ago with Toronto, looked about as done as a player could be last season. With very little power in the current Yankee lineup and reports Wells bat had come to life during Spring Training, Cashman opted to bring another former-superstar on board, as if there aren't enough already.

             Opps! Wrong Vernon Wells.

            That's better.

            Thanks Los Angeles!

            Wells might not be a full-fledged superstar anymore, but for peanuts the Yanks can at least have a veteran bat in the middle of the lineup and a rather good defender in the outfield (which lacked any power).

             The notion was that Jeter might miss Opening Day, but he was certainly due to return to the team shortly thereafter. In trying to rehab his way back, Jeter kept expressing discomfort in his ankle. When the pain wouldn't go away, the team decided on an x-ray and the results showed a small fracture in a different part of the ankle he just had off-season surgery on.

             As if this team didn't have injury woes enough, the prognosis is now for Derek Jeter being able to return to the team around the All-Star break, which is more or less the time Alex Rodriguez is supposed to return from his surgery. Maybe they can take the same bus to the Stadium.

             So how is all the garbage picking from other teams and the bad update on Jeter working for these 2013 Yankees????

12-9 (2nd Place AL East - 2.5 games behind 1st Place Red Sox)

- Vernon Wells has turned back the clock and is swinging the bat better than he has in years. The 34 year old is batting .293 with 6 homers and 10 RBI.
- Mariano Rivera is business as usual. 7 out of 7 in save opportunities and his location seems as accurate as we would expect. No bad signs yet from missing most of the 2012 season from the freak accident.
- Eduardo Nunez has been making the plays at shortstop in Jeter's absence when before Yankee fans had to hold their collective breath anytime a groundball was hit his way. He's certainly not out of the woods yet, but at least it lessens the anxiety from knowing Jeter is a few months away from returning.
- Russell who? Francisco Cervelli has done a great job in securing his position as leader at the platoon catching spot with Chris Stewart. When everyone asked about Russell Martin's missing power in the lineup, Cervelli responded with 3 homers and 8 RBI. With the Pirates, Martin is behind at 2 dingers so far.
- Both Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte are off to fabulous starts to the season despite being two of the oldest starting pitchers in the league. Girardi will need to nurse them along as the season continues to make sure they're still standing on the mound when September/October approaches.
- Another Cashman gamble, the often-injured Travis Hafner has come out swinging in 2013 with a .300 average, 5 homers and 10 RBI.

Foul Tips:
- Ichiro Suzuki hasn't been able to get it going with his bat and missing is the "Ichiro" who joined the Yankees last season. Fans have to be thinking that he's also under contract for 2014, but most indications are he'll be back to being "Ichiro" soon.
- Kevin Youkilis did get off to a good start in pinstripes, but a recent back injury has kept him on the bench for a week. Is this something that is going to bother him all season?
- David Robertson hasn't been his usual robotic self in locking down the late innings. Perhaps its hard to have microscopic numbers all the time.

- Ivan Nova has not shaken off the funk he's been in since the second half of the 2012 season. He's yet to put a full quality start together and he's struggling mightily with his location. Will the Ivan Nova of 2011 ever come back?
- Boone Logan has been atrocious in most of his opportunities so far and a few more clunkers might have him designated for assignment.
- The other outfield quick-fixes, Brennan Boesch and Ben Francisco, have contributed nothing and either one or both of them are likely gone once Granderson is ready to join the team.

             With many picking the Toronto Blue Jays to dominate the AL East in 2013 and the Yanks predicted to be a pitiful joke, once again such as the 2012 Miami Marlins or 2011 Boston Red Sox, off-season moves don't mean anything once the real games start. The Blue Jays are off to a lackluster 9-14 beginning to the 2013 campaign. For the Yankees, Brian Cashman deserves recognition as a GM that doesn't simply hand out paychecks to superstar free-agents, but has a knack for cleverly uncovering gems such as Vernon Wells, Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Cody Eppley, Andruw Jones, etc., when most other teams have given up on them.

               It's has to be more than payroll as a reason that the Yankees have only missed one postseason since Cashman took over as General Manager of the team in 1998.......