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December 06, 2005

Cashman: No Need For Another Bat

From the Journal News:

Cashman also reiterated his utter lack of interest in obtaining another first baseman or DH, saying he is prepared to start the season with Andy Phillips and Jason Giambi in those spots.

"That's the last thing I want to get," he said. "What we need for this team is to be more flexible. We don't need another station-to-station guy that's power only (and) can't run."

Too bad Herb Washington isn't available.

This is a mistake by Cashman in my opinion. Two weeks ago, I made the case for the need of another bat. Does Cashman realize that Posada in 2006 will be inferior with the bat?

Let us assume that Robinson Cano bats 6th in 2006 - behind Jeter, A-Rod, Giambi, Sheff and Matsui. And, let's hope that Cano can be productive next year as well.

This makes the bottom of the Yankees order: Posada, Phillips, and Crosby. Folks, that's a free inning for the opposing pitcher. And, that's a free three innings per game for the opposing team. Not good.

OK, put that aside for the moment. Here's another problem with banking on the bats that you have - Jason Giambi.

Back in September 2004 I did some research on Giambi which suggested that he's the type of player who could get old in a hurry. Plus, remember all the "back" issues that Giambi had at the end of last season? Yes, the story then was that they should not be a long term concern. But, as someone with a back that goes out at times, I can tell you that once your back is an issue - it's always an issue.

Another problem that I have here is the assumption where many believe that Andy Phillips can hit. But, can he? Well, the experts at Baseball Info Solutions think that he can - they project him to bat .269 with a slugging percentage of .517. But, that's based on what he's done in Triple-A, at Columbus, over the last two seasons. And, I'm not buying the house based on what someone did in AAA at ages 27 and 28.

Fernando Seguignol, Orestes Destrade and Steve Balboni come to mind in terms of Triple-A sluggers who had their weaknesses exposed at the big league level. And, I believe that Phillips' 13 whiffs in 40 ABs last year tell us that he has some holes in his swing.

This is no knock on the Phillips story. He's a great kid. I have no problem with him being a defensive caddy at 1B in 2006. But, if you're going to rely on him for 500 (or so) PA next season - you cannot do that without assuming great risk.

Now, what if it all comes down at once: Posada's decline, Giambi's aging, Phillips' bust - and throw in Bubba Crosby's lack of bat. Then the Yankees are going with Jeter, A-Rod, Sheff, Matsui and Cano to generate their offense.

And, what if it's worse - meaning that Cano slumps in his second season? It happens to rookies all the time. If this happens, with the above, that leaves the Yankees with just four sticks and no protection for their clean-up batter.

Apply the shaky nature of the Yankees 2006 starting rotation to this equation and, all of a sudden, they could find themselves fighting for 3rd place next year.

Why not just get another bat and try and offset the risk somewhat? Is the money stituation that bad? Is it the 1980's all over again? Will the Yankees be good and interesting but not good enough to win it all?

Based on what we're seeing and hearing from the Yankees these past two months, I'm starting not to feel so great about this up-coming season.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 6, 2005 11:25 AM


We can file this one away in the "be careful what you wish for" category. For years, I (and others) have been pleading with the team to be more judicious in their signings and to not throw away the entire minor league system in pursuit of bad ideas. Now, just when it looks like the Yanks are going to become more conservative with their spending, they've veered off to the other extreme, refusing to accept certain realities about the team and sitting on their hands when they should be more aggressive.

Most of 2005 was no fun -- having to hear and read all those stories full of Yankee Hating glee at how bad we were. We salvaged enough to win the division. I hate to think of what it will be like next year when Toronto finishes ahead of us in the AL East standings.

What, pray tell, is Cashman doing? Why is he listening to me? What do I know? SPEND, for the love of God, SPEND!

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 12:21 PM

There's really not much out there to spend on.

The Blue Jays have spent around $100 million(!) on two pitchers.

The 2006 Yankees are a team in transition. Besides, you win with pitching not hitting.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 01:37 PM

were Balboni and Pete Incaviligia separated at birth?

How many games out of the wildcard are the yanks right now?

Posted by: Jason O. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 01:54 PM

If the Yankees are thinking that their 2006 pitching is going to carry the team, then maybe 4th place is a possibility.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 02:08 PM

Steve - The Yanks' staff is better than Tampa's and Baltimore's. That's good for 3rd place right now.

Don - $100M on two pitchers is pretty nuts but who are we to judge? We spent $70-something million on Pavano and Wright. I'd rather have AJ and BJ than our stiffs and $30M in my pocket.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 02:40 PM

But, what if Leo works some magic in Maryland with that staff?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 6, 2005 03:25 PM

I love the name SaltyMcCracker, first of all. Second of all, I agree with everything Steve is saying and I'll raise you this, Jeter has suffered through prolonged slumps in each of the last two seasons and Sheffield's slugging has been mercurial at times in each of the past two seasons. So A-Rod and Matsui are steady eddie, and the rest of the offense could just as easily go bust as it could go BOOM!

I'm not expecting great things from our favorite baseball team next season.

Posted by: SaltyMcCracker [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 7, 2005 06:35 PM