Thursday, June 23, 2011

Best Thing To Read On An Off Day

With no game to preview, the Yankosphere is busy catching up on other topics of interest surrounding the team, everything from the latest ASG voting tallies, MiL players, Phil Hughes' return, etc.  But the best thing I've read today is Mike Axisa's post at RAB about the Jesus Montero situation and why the Yankees need to stop fooling around and call the kid up.  Check some of the great points that Mike makes:

"The kid [Montero] has 756 plate appearances at Triple-A to his credit and he’s a .290/.348/.480 hitter at the level.  Robinson Cano didn’t hit that well in Triple-A, neither did Melky Cabrera or Bernie Williams or Jorge Posada or pretty much any position player the Yankees have called up in the last 20 years....

All this stuff about him being frustrated and lacking effort isn’t a sign of some greater problem either, even though it will be spun that way. Have you ever been stuck at a job when you know there’s no promotion to be had? It freaking sucks....

He did what he had to do in Triple-A, let’s stop pretending he hasn’t and should instead be some kind of model person incapable of frustration and disappointment....

There’s an obvious path for him to get playing time in the big leagues which involves getting Frankie Cervelli's complete lack of positive impact off the roster and letting Montero serve as the backup catcher and part-time designated hitter. He could get four starts a week that way (two at catcher, two at DH), which is what the Yankees did with Posada a decade ago and how teams regularly broke in young players back in the day."

/stands up and applauds

I can't really think of anything to add to that post that makes it more right on the money than it already is.  I have been saying for a very long time now that Jesus should be on the 25-man and Cervelli should not.  Regardless of age, experience, tenure, or any other reason, at the Major League level it's about winning games and putting together the best 25-man roster that allows your team to do that.  And to Mike's point, Jesus has more than proven that he's a better all-around player than Cervelli and more than ready to make the leap to the Major League team.  He can learn more and work on his defense just as much on the New York Yankees as he can with the SWB Yankees, with the added benefit of getting used to life in the Majors so he can be fully adjusted next season and getting to be around one of the most talented and professional groups of players in the game.  Seriously, what benefits is he getting from trading hitting tips with Doug Bernier and Jordan Parraz (no offense, guys).

It really doesn't boil down to much more than that.  Cervelli sucks, Montero is better, and there are plenty of opportunities to get him the playing time he deserves.  Jesus benefits from it and the team benefits from it.  It's like Mike said:

"...the kid is so obviously ready and able to help. Stop fearing failure and let him do it."

Gordon Falls Behind In The Race To Keep A Rotation Spot

It wasn't a bad outing by any means last night for Brien Gordon.  But it also wasn't terribly good.  5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, and just 3 swinging strikes over 5 innings is about what you'd expect from a replacement level lifetime Triple-A pitcher.  And although it's a nice story and it sounds like Joe is going to give him another start, the clock is already counting down to the return of Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes to the rotation, and he's sitting last out of the bottom 3 in the contest.

Ivan Nova, who is seemingly on the hot seat every other week, is coming off his 8-inning masterpiece and has quietly put together a 4-start string of outings that have ranged anywhere from pretty good to goddamn good.  He's starting to use his secondary pitches more effectively so batters can't sit on his fastball and he's certainly done enough to guarantee himself at least another 2-3 turns through the rotation, covering at least the return of Colon.

Freddy Garcia has also rebounded nicely after his stinkbomb against Bahhston, allowing just 4 ER over 20.2 innings in his last 3 starts, including 7 innings of 0 ER ball in yesterday's day game that would have and could have been at least 7, if not 8, shutout innings if Ramiro Pena knew how to throw.  Freddy's portfolio of junk is well documented by now, but there's no denying that he's performed well above expectations this year, and his 3.30 ERA after yesterday is currently better than CC's.  He's in.

So it's looking like Brien Gordon might be left out in the cold when Bartolo returns, assuming it's right after his DL stint ends.  And then it will be Freddy and Nova fighting it out to keep a spot over Hughes when he is ready to return in a couple weeks.  But that might not be such a bad thing for Gordon or the Yankees.  Jeff Marquez went on the DL yesterday and Hector Noesi got absolutely shelled late in the nightcap.  Gordon's impressive Triple-A numbers were racked up as a relief pitcher, so there's a good chance he sticks around to fill a gap in the 'pen even after he gets booted from the rotation.