July 21, 2006
July 21st @ The Blue Jays
Tonight, it might be fashionable to look at the Reed Johnson grounder in the 1st that A-Rod boxed into a double - or the A-Rod missed pop-up on Vernon Wells in the 4th, which was then followed up by another throwing error by A-Rod (allowing Wells to reach in the inning).
But, the heart of the loss tonight centers on the Yankees bats doing nothing, on the whole, against A.J. Burnett- sans Rodriguez' 2,000th career hit (which was also his 450th career HR).
Even the poor pitching of Jaret Wright is meaningless, to some extent, today, because the meat of the Yankees order went 2 for 12 this evening (and the bottom of the Bombers order went 1 for 10).
OK, so, the Yankees have now faced the Blue Jays best two starters (in terms of stuff) and have lost two games - allowing Toronto to get back into the race in the A.L. East.
The games on Saturday and Sunday will be the test now for New York. The starters that Toronto will run out there are not over-powering. It's time for the Yankees bats to wake up and savage this series.
Back to A-Rod's yips in the field, I do not believe that this situation has reached the Steve Sax/Chuck Knoblauch level - yet. But, it is concerning.
Looking at The Fielding Bible tonight, I've noticed something.
According to the stats in the book, A-Rod was the best fielding 3B in the AL during 2004 - with Eric Chavez close behind him. But, in 2005, Alex Rodriguez, overall for the season, was just about league average at 3B, defensively - with about a half-dozen guys in the AL doing a better job than him (at 3B).
Perhaps 2006 is just the continuation of the decline in Alex's ability to play 3B? Personally, I would have guessed, at the start of this season, that A-Rod had, at least, another 4 seasons after this one before he would have to be moved off 3B. But, sometimes things happen quicker than you expect.
I'm not saying this decline, and need for a move, is a "sure-thing." But, it's something to keep on the radar this season - rather than ignore it completely - until A-Rod starts to show that he can be a good fielding 3B again.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 21, 2006 10:36 PM
That's interesting. Geez, I would have hoped that the move to 1B could have waited until at least Giambi's contract ended in 2008. Given ARod's possible decline and Jeter's sure decline (from mediocrity, at best), the Yankees are going to have to think about an entirely new left side of the infield (maybe they shouldn't trade Cano). Eric Duncan, who should have been traded after his hot fall in the AFL, will surely never play 3B in the majors.
We had better hope that C.J. Henry or Eduardo Nunez develop. Otherwise, the Yankees are going to have to focus on drafting/signing SS, who can be moved rightward on the defensive spectrum.
Yeah, okay, jonm, you're one of those people who insist Jeter is "mediocre," huh?
A-Rod didn't lose this game and A-Rod is not Chuck Knob. I'll take A-Rod's less-than-great defense when he's blasting home runs. I would like him to revert back to his '04 form, but it stings a little less when he's knocking in runs.
I put this loss on Wright. He got bombed in the first inning, then got three runs back, and couldn't even keep it there. He has to be better than that. I was somewhat shocked that Torre brought in Chacon, since Chacon isn't much of an improvement over a struggling Wright. But Chac pitched okay. That Kris Wilson home run was so inevitable I didn't even bother to groan. 85-mile-an-hour fastballs and a reliance on soft stuff = home run by Troy Glaus.
It's time to send Wilson packing and get Matt Smith or T.J. Beam back up here.
No one ever said Burnett couldn't pitch. His flaw is that he's often injured. Same thing with Pavano, Sheets, Prior, etc., etc., etc.
But... but, but, but... we can't praise the scrubs one day because they score a bunch of runs and then blast them the next day when they don't hit.
Maybe it's just me, but Giambi really looks like he needs a day off. I know he's mostly a DH nowadays, but the guy looks tired. Sit him against the lefty tomorrow. Or something. They need him to freshen up and carry the team for a while.
Also, jonm, Duncan was hurt and has bounced back nicely in AA. Why would you trade away a 21-year-old kid who has a ton of potential?
Since you're gazing into your crystal ball and can tell with certainty that he won't play third in the majors -- which isn't a leap, considering he's a first baseman now -- why don't you also give me the lottery numbers.
Actually, there are few sabermetricians who "insist Jeter has been mediocre." Most say that he has been a bad defensive SS over the course of his career.
Duncan has bounced back; that's good. Maybe some team will still view him as a top prospect, not see the career stagnation, and the Yankees can get a good player who can help them this year. Anyway, the Yankees should trade him because, if ARod has to shift to 1B, they don't need a 1B. 1B, way over on the right side of the defensive spectrum, is an easy position to fill even if ARod doesn't have to shift.
Sabermetricians can kiss my ass in Macy's window. Jeter's defensive "metrics" have always somehow shown him to be horrible in the field, but I'll stick with what I actually see with my eyes, which is that he's not great, but he's certainly better than average.
I'm wondering what kind of person talks about a 21-year-old having "career stagnation." This is his THIRD year in pro ball. I don't even know that you can call that a "career." And the truth is that Duncan is taking strides I'm sure no one expected him to. He's no longer striking out a lot and that was the main worry with him. His numbers in AA are outstanding. The fact that he's learned plate discipline means he's progressing, not stagnating.
And just because A-Rod made a few bad throws does not mean he has to switch to first base. You guys are out of your minds. If Cano lets a ball under his glove, should he play leftfield? If Johnny gets a bad jump, should we switch him to catcher? A-Rod is staying at third and he's going to be there long after Duncan makes it to the big leagues, which I predict he will do in a few years.
This is actually Duncan's fourth year in organized baseball. Here are his batting averages over that period (.301, .258, .235, .248). That's not a good trend there. He is going to have to hit for a much higher average than that or hit many more HR (he projects as a 15-20 HR guy now) if he wants to even make the majors as a 1B.
If he was the key player in a trade for Abreu (doubtful that the Phillies would want Duncan) or even for Craig Wilson and Roberto Hernandez, I would do it in a minute.
Okay, fine, if you want to consider 2003, when Duncan had 239 ABs between GCY and Staten Island, so be it.
Even though he showed plenty of home run power in 2005, Duncan's numbers dipped across the board, including his on-base, which is a strength. But this year -- and this was the point -- he's turned it around. In Trenton this year, he's .279/.370/.514. The numbers you use -- and I don't really care much about BA, and I'm surprised you do -- just point out the strides Duncan has made. After striking out 136 times last year, he's now walked more than he's struck out in Trenton. His overall plate discipline has improved dramatically.
And, sorry, but trading Eric Duncan for Roberto Hernandez is a disgrace. Hernandez is having a lousy season in a weak-hitting league. He would get smoked here. All he has is an average fastball. On the year he's given up 44 hits and 24 walks in 42 innings. That's a 1.63 WHIP. The league is hitting .262 off of him. He's totally useless and to give up Duncan for him is the type of move that ruined the Yankee farm system in the first place. That's an "old Yankee" move -- luckily the team has moved away from such idiocy.
Holy crap, on what planet would trading Eric Duncan for Roberto Hernandez even be justifiable? No matter what someone thinks of Eric Duncan, Roberto F-ing Hernandez was a free agent last year and the rest of the teams in baseball thought so highly of him that he ended up in Pittsburgh (sarcasm).
For those of you who can't read, I said he would be traded for Craig Wilson AND Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez would be a throw-in -- possibly good middle inning insurance.