Monday, January 21, 2013

Would The Yankees Really Go To Tampa With What They've Got Right Now?

 ("Canzler, Nix, Diaz, Nunez, pop the champagne.  Amiright, guys???" Courtesy of Getty Images)

I didn't write about it last week when the comments were made because it didn't tie in to the Prospect Week theme, but Cash made some head-scratching statements to our buddy Wally Matthews about the Yankees' current roster makeup and the stance they're taking as the offseason winds down and moves into the preseason.

“I know it’s getting late, but we’re still looking."

“We’re open for business, but we’re not going to do something just to do something. If we have to, we’ll go to Tampa with what we’ve got."

It's just 2 short sentences, but there's a lot to take from those statements.  "Getting late," "still looking, " open for business," and "If we have to... " all lend some possible insight as to exactly what the situation is at the top levels of the Yankee decision-making hierarchy and how Cash feels about it.  By now, I'm assuming he's as fed up with the penny pinching as most of the fanbase is and is just trying to get through the offseason by creating as few a number of waves as possible.  But as the guy whose job it is to construct the best team possible, can Cash really be serious about going to Tampa with what he's got?

Could The WBC Help Teix's 2013 Start?

(Sad Teix is sad.  Courtesy of David Pokress/Newsday)

The Yankee participation in the 2013 World Baseball Classic was made official last week with the unveiling of the rosters.  Francisco Cervelli, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira will represent their respective countries while Andy Pettitte, who had been rumored to be participating, was left off the Team USA roster for obvious injury concern reasons.

While I have no qualms with the 40-year-old Pettitte participating in a regular Spring Training program, I wonder what effect, if any, playing in the WBC will have on Teix.  His slow April starts have become an annual source of frustration in Yankeeland, and to date nothing he's done in ST has helped solve the riddle:

April '09- .200/.367/.371 (.331 wOBA) in 90 PA
April '10- .136/.300/.259 (.271 wOBA) in 100 PA
April '11- .256/.392/.549 (.406 wOBA) in 102 PA
April '12- .244/.290/.395 (.298 wOBA) in 93 PA

2011 is the obvious outlier here, as Teix got off to a hot start and then fall back from there, but the other 3 years were defined by an uncharacteristic lack of power and low batting average.  Will a trip to the WBC this year help?  It's hard to say.  In theory, hitting against a higher level of competition in the Classic seems more beneficial to a veteran like Teix than playing intrasquad games or scrimmaging against college teams, but who really knows?  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  It certainly couldn't hurt to try something new, right?

Yanks Better Be In On Kottaras

 (He can't be worse than Cervelli.  Courtesy of the AP)

The Yankees' involvement in trade talks with Washington had barely got off the ground last week when the Nationals swung a 3-team deal with Seattle and Oakland to trade Michael Morse to the Mariners.  He addressed their desperate need for offense without being a great fit for the system, and once again the Yankees found themselves on the outside looking in as a good right-handed bat passed them by.  But there was something else that came out of that trade that could help New York.  Oakland had to clear a 40-man roster spot to make their part of the trade work, and they did that by DFAing catcher George Kottaras, who they had just re-signed to a 1-year deal to avoid arbitration.  Their current catching situation being shaky at best, Kottaras presents the Yankees with an opportunity to add some depth and some offensive skill to the position.