Posts Tagged ‘Marcus Thames’

John Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports the Yankees have reached an agreement with Andruw Jones:

The Yankees have reached an agreement with veteran outfielder Andruw Jones on a one-year deal worth $2 million plus $1.2 million in performance bonuses.

Jones, 33, is a veteran of 15 seasons in which he has made five All-Star teams and won 10 Gold Glove awards. Jones spent the first 12 years of his career with the Braves and has since spent one year each with the Dodgers, Rangers and White Sox. He batted .230 with 19 home runs and 48 RBIs for Chicago in 2010.

The Yankees interest in Jones has been reported for the past several weeks, so the deal isn’t a shocker. The current plan seems to use him as a right-handed power bat off the bench, largely filling Marcus Thames‘ role from last year. Jones is a definite improvement over Thames in the field – heck, my grandmother would probably be an improvement. While he doesn’t have Gold Glove type range any longer, he has played to a positive UZR (defensive rating) the past few seasons. With the stick, Jones’ career .863 OPS (on-base + slugging percentage) compares favorably to Thames’.838 mark against left-handed pitching. Last year, Jones’ OPS against lefties was an astounding .931, 125 points higher than Thames’ .806. He had a terrible May and June, hitting only .168, but was a solid contributor every other month of the season – including producing a .385/.515/.615 slash line down the stretch. Of course, as Yankee fans we all remember Jones as a 19 year old center fielder with the Braves in 1996, when he .400 with a pair of bombs in the Fall Classic.

This isn’t the kind of move that will win you a pennant, but it is a solid move that strengthens the Yanks bench. So, welcome to the Bronx, Mr. Jones!

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Courtesy: NY Daily News

Yesterday, the Yankees finally made a splash in the free-agent market, signing the best reliever on the market in Rafael Soriano. Signing the all-star closer definitely takes care of the 8th inning spot, so we can cross that off the list of needs heading into 2011. If the contract runs full term, then the Yankees have also addressed the question of who takes over for Mariano Rivera when the future Hall of Famer decides to retire. In all, I like the signing; although the contract is probably a bit too player friendly.

But the signing has opened up a whole new line of questions about the team, Brian Cashman and who is really running the show. Buster Olney tweeted the question that is running through quite a few minds this morning:

“Looks like there was a split in Yankees’ org. over this — since it took place just days after Cashman said he wouldn’t give up No. 1 pick.”

Let’s take a look at the other reasons many are wondering who actually pulled the trigger on the deal.

  1. The contract is extremely player friendly. Not only does it make Soriano the 3rd highest paid reliever in MLB (behind Mo and Francisco Cordero), it gives him the option to opt out after years 1 and 2. In other words, this could be a 1 year deal for $10M, a 2 year deal for $22M or a 3 year deal for $35M. Given Cashman’s known reluctance to pay out big dollars to relievers, his reluctance to spend on anyone this winter and his absolute abhorrence to player friendly contracts (see Jeter, Derek or Rodriguez, Alex), you have to wonder why he would throw that kind of money or those terms at Soriano.
  2. The Yankees have taken a beating in the tabloids for, well, basically standing pat this off-season. Cashman seemed content to avoid signing anyone of consequence, even as the Red Sox, Orioles, Phillies and even the Nationals have gone all-out to improve their teams. Despite the team’s obvious need for starting pitching, he never made a play for Zach Greinke and according to published statements, quickly gave up on acquiring Matt Garza. Cashman may be made of teflon in terms of criticism, but a certain member of the ownership group isn’t.
  3. Cashman’s history in the FA market is to make runs at the consensus best player available (like CC Sabathia or Mark Teixeira) or try to find diamonds in the rough (Nick Johnson, Marcus Thames from last season). He doesn’t really have a history of targeting a big name to fill a limited role.
  4. Soriano’s agent is Scott Boras. Like most GM’s, Cashman normally treats Boras – and his clients – as if they have a combination of leprosy and bubonic plague. That he would suddenly, in less than week’s time, go from “we’re not surrendering a 1st round pick” to handing out a player friendly contract to Boras is really hard to fathom.

In other words, this looks a lot more like Hank Steinbrenner pulled the trigger on this deal than Cashman. Hank is like his father in many ways: not afraid of dealing with Boras, willing to hand out player-friendly contracts and hates the Yanks being upstaged by anyone.

So, here’s the question of the day: who do you think was most responsible for signing Rafael Soriano, and what do you think it means for the future of the front office? Let us know!

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The trade deadline has come and gone and Brian Cashman was certainly busy over the final 48 hours, landing three new players. With Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns and Kerry Wood now wearing Pinstripes, let’s look back at what were generally considered the Yankees biggest needs heading into this year’s trade season and see how well Cashman did in addressing them.

  1. Bullpen: The struggles of Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Chan Ho Park this year, along with injuries to Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre and Damaso Marte turned what looked like a major strength at the beginning of the season into a major question mark. Cashman picked up Wood hours after the Indians activated him from the DL. And that’s been Kerry Wood’s big problem throughout his career – the guy just can’t stay healthy. At one time, he was supposed to be the Next Big Thing; now, his career has devolved into that of middle innings guy. Still, Wood has a plus fastball and curve and hitters don’t like to face him. Additionally, acquiring him gave the Yankees the perfect excuse to send Park and his thrill-a-minute pitching style packing, so that’s a plus right there. Also, Cashman gave up virtually nothing to get him, other than money and a future low-grade prospect, so there isn’t much risk involved here. Of course, this doesn’t really address the eighth inning role, but adding a power arm is never a bad idea. Grade: B-
  2. Outfield bench: Replacing Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon and Eric Hinske with Randy Winn and Marcus Thames didn’t exactly pan out. Thames has demonstrated that his all-hit, no-glove reputation is well deserved and Winn played so well he was asked to run away from Yankee Stadium. Enter Austin Kearns. Kearns represents a serious upgrade to this unit. Unlike Thames, he is a better than league-average defender at both corner spots and league-average in center, if needed. He has better than average speed, although it’s never translated to stolen bases. He has decent power from the right side, although not enough to ever be considered a power hitter. In other words, he is the epitome of a fourth outfielder even though his past teams were so awful he found himself thrust into starting roles. Once again, Cashman brought a solid player in from Cleveland for cash or the infamous PTBNL (btw, I want to meet that guy one day – he gets traded A LOT), so there isn’t much risk involved, either. The only thing keeping this from being an “A” is that Kearns doesn’t project as a guy you want starting 3-4 weeks in a row, should a serious injury occur. Grade: B+
  3. Infield Bench: This is the one area that still needs some work. Neither Ramiro Pena nor Kevin Russo are guys you really want to see with a bat in their hands, but the Yankees were unable to find any help. A waiver trade is always a possibility, but Tampa, Boston and Texas will know what the Yankees are up to and probably try to block any such move. Grade: F
  4. Designated Hitter: A full-time DH wasn’t a serious need, even if Nick Johnson is likely done. Using the DH role to rotate some of the Yankee vets would have been fine, if a strong utility guy could be found. None were, so Cashman did the next best thing: bring in some big-time thunder for the DH role. Although undeniably on the downside of very good career, Lance Berkman’s arrival means the Yankee line-up gets lengthened, with legitimate power threats from 2-8. The undeniable shocker of the trade deadline. Grade: A

Overall, I give Cashman a B- for this year’s deadline dealing, although that stands to improve if the Yanks can swing a deal for utility infielder.

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  Adam Dunn #44 Of The Washington Nationals HitsWith the non-waiver trade deadline now only two weeks away, this seems an opportune time to look at some of the current rumors surrounding the Yankees. Below are the players most recently linked to the Yankees by various sources, including MLB Trade Rumors, River Avenue Blues, ESPN and FOX Sports. I’ve included some personal thoughts on whether I think the player would help or hurt the drive for 28. By the way, I suspect that with AJ Burnett‘s tantrum yesterday and Andy Pettite‘s injury meaning he’s likely lost for at least a month, this list will be changing rapidly.

Adam Dunn (1B/OF, Washington Nationals): Easily the most controversial player on the board, but it may be a moot point. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is pretty much asking for the moon for a guy that would essentially be a rental, since his contract ends this season. What Dunn brings is home runs and a lefty bat, but that’s about it. The guy runs as well as a fire hydrant and strikes out at a seemingly impossible pace (he owns three of the top five strikeout totals in ML history). And forget about that “1B/OF” designation; the only position he can field adequately is Hot Dog Stand. The reality is, Dunn is this generation’s version of Dave Kingman. Still, the Yankees can pencil him in as DH, hit him 7th or 8th in the order and learn to live with his all-or-nothing approach. Only thing is, Dunn has made it abundantly clear he doesn’t want to DH. That stance would pose a real headache for Joe Girardi. Opinion: Skip him. A one-dimensional player with the ability to turn into a clubhouse cancer isn’t what the team needs and besides, the asking price is likely outrageous.

Joakim Soria (RHP, Kansas City Royals): If you can pry him loose, this one may be a no-brainer. Soria is currently the closer for yet another woeful Royals team and possesses a 93mph cutter and devastating change. (Remind you of anyone currently on the roster?) Unusual for a closer, he also features two other secondary pitches – a sharp breaking slider and a curve. He’s only 26 and under team control for another two seasons after this one. He not only fits as a terrific 8th inning guy, but projects as Mariano Rivera‘s heir apparent. (Hey, he is 25 for 27 in save opportunities for a horrible team). The problem is with prying him away from KC – they are likely to ask for half the roster from Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Still, it might be doable. KC is well stocked at catcher, 3B and 1B and would likely want outfield and/or pitching help. Opinion: If he can be had for anything less than Jesus Montero or Austin Romine, Brian Cashman needs his head examined if doesn’t trade for him.

Wes Helms (3B/1B, Florida Marlins): I have to admit this one has me scratching my head. Yes, he can play third and the Yankees have spent all season looking for a suitable backup for Alex Rodriguez. But the guy is hitting .243 this year with a .690 OPS. While those numbers do represent an upgrade from Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo, it isn’t by an overwhelming amount. Helms is 36, has been declining for the past few years and would represent a rental – his contract expires at the end of the season. Bringing Helms aboard would also mean wasting a roster spot for a guy to back up third base – the Yankees can play either Nick Swisher or (gulp) Marcus Thames at first, if needed. Opinion: skip him. He doesn’t offer enough versatility to be a bench player on this team.

Leo Nunez (RHP, Florida Marlins): Nunez is an interesting player. Over the past 1 ½ seasons, he’s racked up 47 saves for the Marlins. Prior to that, he pitched to a 1.4 WHIP and 4.92 ERA in 106 appearances for the Royals. He features a plus fastball but can be a bit wild at times. In other words, he represents more upside than most of the relievers on the trade market, but is still somewhat typical of why trading for relievers can be a roll of the dice. If he winds up in the Yankee pen, does he replicate his Marlins numbers? Or does he revert to his KC form? If the former, he would easily be the 8th inning guy for Joe Girardi. If not, then the Yankees have an older version of Joba Chamberlain on their hands. Since at this point the Marlins aren’t conceding the NL East, you have to wonder why they would put their closer on the market. Opinion: Nunez could be a good play for the Yankees, provided the asking price isn’t too high. If he can be had for, say, Jonathon Albaladejo, I say make the trade.

Cody Ross (CF/RF/LF, Florida Marlins): So, how much would you pay for a 29 year old outfielder who is not exactly known for plate discipline, but has shown some power in the past and is having down season? Ross would essentially replace Thames on the Yankees roster and despite his down year, represents a significant upgrade over the incumbent. While he will never be mistaken for Willie Mays, Ross isn’t a defensive liability, having played a slightly better than major league average OF, regardless of which position he’s slotted. I would imagine of particular interest to the Yankees is Ross’ career .950 OPS against left-handed pitching, since he most likely would slot into a semi-platoon with Curtis Granderson. I can also understand the Marlins wanting to move Ross; they’ve had a logjam in the outfield ever since they recalled Mike Stanton. Opinion: Getting Ross would be a good move for Brain Cashman, but getting the Marlins to agree on a price could prove difficult. They still view him as a starter while the Yankees would use him as part-timer. Could a Nunez/Ross deal be swung for Albaledejo, Reegie Corona, Zach McAllister and another low-minors prospect? That would be worthwhile, I think.

Well, there’s my take on the rumors as of Sunday afternoon. As always, your feedback is welcome – let me know if you agree or disagree!

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Ever since the injury to Nick Johnson, there have been debates to who should be the right person to bat second. I am reminded of some very wise words, stats don’t lie. As you can see from the table below, Brett Gardner and Nick Johnson both have had the most AB in the 2 hole. Johnson having the better OBP — by .050 — but with Gardner having 8 more hits and thus almost .100 higher batting average. I do realize that Granderson has a .429 OBP, but that is over 12 at bats and is likely to go down with more time in the 2 hole.

Brett Gardner 75 13 20 1 4 4 6 16 .267 .321
Nick Johnson 71 12 12 2 8 0 22 23 .169 .379
Nick Swisher 45 8 11 3 5 0 7 7 .244 .346
Curtis Granderson 12 4 4 0 0 0 1 2 .333 .429
Marcus Thames 3 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 .333 .250
Jorge Posada 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
Randy Winn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Greg Golson 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Total 207 37 48 6 19 4 36 50 .232 .352
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/2/2010.

If Swisher continues to hit the way he is, I don’t see why the Yankees would need anyone else to hit 2nd. Time will tell.

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As some of you guys probably just heard during the Yankees press conference, Joe Girardi stated that the x-rays on Marcus Thames left ankle were negative. He left the game after stepping on his own bat. Even though this is just a day-to-day injury, the injury list keeps on growing. This really is the worst of Thames….

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Here is some video footage of the two huge home runs hit in last night’s Yankees/Red Sox game. In the bottom of the 9th inning, A-Rod blasted a 2-run shot to tie up the game, and than Thames finished them off with a two-run walk-off homer. It can’t get much better than that.

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The Pitching:

Phil Hughes wasn’t the same pitcher we saw in previous starts this year. He was striking to strike every hitter out, wasn’t able to finish off hitters and ran up his pitch count pretty quickly. Phil’s pitching line was: 5.0IP 6H 5R 5ER 1BB 3K (104 Pitches, 74 for Strikes). Boone Logan came on in relief, allowing a run on two hits. Chan Ho Park was handed the ball in the 7th inning, and made a diarrhea all over the mound. He might as well have done that, because he was horrible. Park gave up three runs on four hits (two home runs). His ERA now stands at 8.10. Damaso Marte entered the game in the 8th inning, and wound up tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless ball. Vazquez came out of the bullpen and recorded the last out of the 9th. Javy picked up the win, improving his record to (W, 2-4).

The Offense:

Brett Gardner went 2-for-4 on the game, and picked up three runs. Mark Teixeira went 1-for-4, and collected a run and an RBI. Cervelli had another big night, going 2-for-4, collecting 3 runs and an RBI. A-Rod went 2-for-5 tonight, picking up 2 runs and 4RBI’s. He smoked a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to tie the game up. Marcus Thames went 2-for-4 on the game, with a run and 4RBI’s (Home Run, Double). He hit a two-run walk off home run to win the game.

Final Score: Yankees 11, Red Sox 9

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 Sergio Mitre #45 And Jorge Posada #20 Of The New York Yankees Talk On The Mound

The Pitching:

Sergio Mitre toed the rubber last night instead of Andy Pettitte, who was out for precautionary measures. I kind of felt that they were just giving this game away with Mitre on the mound, especially since Andy said he was ready to get back out there.

Mitre wasn’t very effective, giving up 3 runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. His pitching line was: (L, 0-1) 4.1IP 5H 4R 3ER 2BB 4K (69 Pitches, 37 for Strikes). Joe Girardi turned to David Robertson to offer some relief, and he did just that. D-Rob tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless ball, giving up only two hits and struck out two in the process. His ERA moves down to 10.61.

Boone Logan pitched the 7th inning, giving up one run, on a hit and two walks. In the 8th inning, Joba Chamberlain lit up the radar gun (throwing 96-97 mph) and struck out the side. He gave us that flash of greatness we saw back in 2007.

The Offense:

Mark Teixeira hit a 2-run homer off of Brad Thomas in the top of the 3rd inning, to put the team within one run of tying up the ballgame. A-Rod went 2-for-4 on the game, picked up a run and lifted his batting average up to .286. Marcus Thames went 1-for-4 on the game, and delivered an RBI single in the top of the 8th inning to cut the lead to 5-3. Brett Gardner than ground out, allowing Robbie Cano to score and they were only trailing by one run. Randy Winn and Derek Jeter came up to the plate that same inning and failed to get a hit.

Final Score: Tigers 5, Yankees 4

The Yankees have now hit a two-game losing streak, and they turn to Javier Vazquez to end it. If they lose tonight, the Bombers will hit their first 3-game losing streak of the season. The Tampa Bay Rays lost another game last night, so the Yanks still stand a half game back. 


Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
N.Y. Yankees (21-10) 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 8 1
Detroit (18-14) « 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 x 5 8 0
W: E. Bonine (3-0)L: S. Mitre (0-1)
S: J. Valverde (9)
HR: NYY – M. Teixeira (6)   DET – J. Damon (2)


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Robinson Cano and Nick Johnson left last night’s game with injuries. The list of injuries on this team keeps on growing. The most important thing is that the majority of these injuries aren’t very serious. The other thing that helps is that the Yankees keep on winning.

Granderson hit the DL with a strained groin. Pettitte (elbow tightness), Posada (sore calf) and Mo (sore left side) all had minor injuries that caused a stir, but they should all be fine. Johnson will be getting an MRI today on his sore right wrist, and will be headed to the DL. Cano was drilled with a 92-mph fastball to his left knee, but it’s only a day-to-day injury. He’ll probably be back within the next couple of days. We all thought Posada was supposed to be in today’s lineup, but he’s not. Extra rest? Marcus Thames will most liekly be the primary DH while Johnson is on the disabled list.

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  (L To R) Boone Logan #48, Francisco Cervelli #29, Derek Jeter #2, And Ramiro Pena #19 Of The New York Yankees High

The Pitching:

Phil Hughes continued his great start to season this year, improving to 4-0 with another solid performance. His pitching line was: (W, 4-0) 7.0IP 7H 2R 2ER 1BB 7K (101 Pitches, 70 for Strikes).

David Robertson came on in the 8th, and gave up a run on two walks and a base hit. His ERA now stands at 13.50. Even with Mariano Rivera available, the Yanks didn’t need him with a 7-run lead. Instead, Boone Logan closed out the game in the 9th inning, throwing up a scoreless frame.

The Offense:

Nick Swisher is the hottest player on the team now, and he didn’t stop last night. He only got one hit, but it was a big one. He jacked a 3-run home run in the 4th inning to put the Yankees up 3-0. Marcus Thames went 1-for-2, and drove in two runs. A-Rod went 2-for-4 on the game, collecting two runs and knocked in an RBI. Randy Winn went 2-for-4, picking up two runs and an RBI. Francisco Cervelli went 2-for-3, collecting a run and an RBI.

In the process, two Yankees were lost due to injury. Cano was drilled with a 92-mph fastball off his left knee, and Johnson left the game with a wrist injury.

Final Score: Yankees 10, Red Sox 3 (more…)

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From The LoHud Yankees Blog:

Curtis Granderson’s MRI results are in. He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain of the left groin. He will be placed on the 15-day DL either today or tomorrow and the Yankees will recall Mark Melancon from Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

According to Joe Girardi, they expect Granderson to be out a month. In the mean time, Randy Winn and Marcus Thames will fill in.

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