Saturday, September 1, 2012

What The Yankees' First Batch Of Call-Ups Tells Me

September call-ups in baseball are a yearly tradition like no other, right up there with The Masters or The Super Bowl.  Today was the first day that teams could call players up to an expanded 40-man roster to finish the season, and the Yankees didn't waste any time going for reinforcements.  They brought up 6 guys - Francisco Cervelli, Eduardo Nunez, Cory Wade, Adam Warren, Justin Thomas, and Chris Dickerson- and DFA'd Ramiro Pena for a second time this season to make it happen.  Some of these moves were expected but there are a couple names on that list, Warren and Dickerson in particular, there were a bit surprising, at least to me.  Why, you ask?  I'll tell you why.

To me, the immediate calling up of Warren and Dickerson is a sign that the Yankees are desperate for some new bodies in The Bronx.  It's a sign that they aren't just dealing with a losing streak that will turn around when guys start hitting and pitching better, but that they are thinking that some of the guys they already have up here are donezo and they need new blood right now just to get through the end of the regular season.

All week we've heard about how the first round of call ups wasn't going to be major because both Triple-A Empire State and Double-A Trenton were in the playoffs and some of the key players on those teams, like Warren and Dickerson, were going to be kept down to play in those postseasons before heading up to finish the year with the Yankees.  Warren has pitched very well for Empire State in the second half and was basically the ace of that staff right now, and Dickerson has absolutely raked over the past couple months.  They're arguably the 2 most important players on the Empire State roster and now they won't be around for those playoffs because the situation has gotten so dire for the big club.

And that's not to say that it's the wrong move for the Yankee front office to make.  Obviously the ultimate organizational goal every year is to win a World Series and Warren and C-Dick can certainly help the Yankees get there by being around this last month of the regular season.  Dickerson gives them another lefty bat and some outfield defense/baserunning flexibility that they desperately need right now, and Warren, bad first start and all, could be valuable in a bullpen that has ZERO middle relief right now.  They're players who can fill major positions of need, and that's what September call-ups are all about.

But there's that word again; "desperation."  That's what this move reeks of to me.  It's the Yankees saying "we're old, tired, and falling apart.  We know we're old, tired, and falling apart, and we need all the help we can get immediately because the group that we have right now can't get it done."  If that's the case, then obviously this was a smart move to make to help secure the division title.  But it also doesn't spell good things for the Yankees' playoff changes if that's the case, and that's if they make it that far.

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