Thursday, April 16, 2009

Notes From Yankeeland

  • Xavier Nady may be out for the year:

This is a great example of why it's good for teams----especially teams with the cash to pay for quality----to have depth on their roster. In retrospect, the Yankees lukewarm attempts to trade either Nick Swisher or Nady in the spring were a positive failure. If Nady's elbow injury is as serious as it sounds, he's also going to be costing himself a guaranteed contract as an everyday players somewhere next year as he heads into free agency.

That Nady hurt himself making a routine throw emphasizes the risky stupidity of manager Joe Girardi having Nick Swisher pitch in Monday's blowout. I doubt we'll see a key everyday player on the mound again under Girardi no matter what the score is.

  • Uh, let's calm down about A.J. Burnett:
The man's pitched two games and all of a sudden we're seeing articles with titles like this from John Harper of the New York Daily News:

A.J. Burnett worth every penny as he stops another Yankee skid

The questions with Burnett have never, ever had anything to do with his stuff. The questions have to do with whether or not he's going to stay healthy. How someone can equate two starts with a pitcher who has the injury history of Burnett to being "worth" the $82.5 million contract he signed is inexplicable.

I don't think even the Yankees expect Burnett's tenure with the team to be free of at least one or two trips to the disabled list in the best case scenario; and one thing that would really be on my mind is how this newfound acclaim is going to affect Burnett if he does feel a twinge that will require some rest. Is he going to be afraid to tell the team that there's something wrong because of how it'll look and make things worse? And it should be remembered, as Burnett is being seen as the Anti-Carl Pavano, is that Pavano won his first start as a Yankee (against the Red Sox no less!) and pitched pretty well in his first two months with the team before the wheels fell off----2005 Pavano Gamelogs. It's a bit premature to be validating the Burnett signing after two starts.

  • Could the Rays be regretting their right field platoon already?

Neither Gabe Kapler nor Matt Joyce have done much of anything so far this season and you have to wonder if the Rays are regretting not going more aggressively after Bobby Abreu (defensive lapses aside) or just shutting their eyes and repeating last season's widespread use of their entire roster with Ben Zobrist and Gabe Gross as their primary right fielders. Their offense is good enough to withstand Gross returning to the offensive black hole he was before the sudden (and unforeseen) burst of power after he joined the Rays; and Zobrist has shown he can hit enough to be a semi-regular.

Kapler is only two years removed from retiring to manage in the minors for the Red Sox and was an injury-prone/"looks better than he plays" type of guy during his entire career. Joyce has shown some pop in the minors, but all things being equal, they might've been better off keeping Edwin Jackson (and it's easy to critique the move while Jackson's doing a pretty fair imitation of Dave Stewart with the Tigers) and playing Gross/Zobrist. If they were so intent on trading Jackson, they could've held onto him into the season to see what the offers would be as starting pitchers began feeling twinges and going on the DL as Dasiuke Matsuzaka, Mike Pelfrey, Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter have so far already.

This is the problem when a management team like that of the Rays begins to believe the press clippings of how "smart" and "innovative" they are: they get too smart; they think that whereas every move they made before 2008 turned to shit, every move they make now will turn to gold; and it doesn't work that way. They outsmarted themselves and it's starting to look like it's going to cost them more in the long run than it would've been to be happy with the offensive upgrade from Pat Burrell and to leave right field as it was while holding onto Jackson or trading him elsewhere for better quality than Joyce currently appears to be.

  • Is calling Chris Carpenter an "ace" even accurate at this point?

Chris Carpenter is a great pitcher when he's healthy, but the storyline that the Cardinals have "placed their ace on the disabled list" is something of a misnomer. Carpenter has barely pitched at all in the past two years; at this point, rather than calling him an "ace", maybe he should be called "an oft-injured extra from whom no one should expect much of anything and be happy if he pitches in 15 games".

  • The Farnsworth Chronicles:

Kyle (2-years, $9.25 million) Farnsworth has been in four games this season and singlehandedly gacked up two of them with his horrendous hideousness. They should consider making him into a starter. I'm serious.

  • The Padres Lossometer: 3

They've gotten off to a stunningly good start, but I still have faith that my prediction in my still available and useful book will come true and we'll be counting up (or down, however you see it) toward 106 losses.

  • You wanna see some moves? Here are some moves:

I'm stunningly pleased that the New York Rangers were able to swipe the first game of the first round NHL Stanley Cup playoffs series with the Washington Capitals with a 4-3 win. Here's a highlight video of the game and if fast forward to about 4:00 in if you'd like to see Rangers center Brandon Dubinsky's imitation of Wayne Gretzky with a move that totally discombobulated the Caps defense and won the game for the Rangers.

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