Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yankees Still Generating Plenty Of Catching Depth

(Do it, Murph.  Courtesy of the AP)

There was a time not too long ago when the Yankees looked like they were going to be set at catcher for a long time to come.  They had Russell Martin as the immediate replacement for Jorge Posada, top prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine waiting in the wings at the upper levels of their farm system, and an 18-year-old kid named Gary Sanchez raking down in A-ball.

Fast forward to the present day and the catcher position is basically a wasteland.  Lifelong backup Francisco Cervelli is on the DL with a broken hand, which cruelly befell him just as he finally seemed to be nailing down the starting job.  His backup Chris Stewart is who we thought he was and who he's always been as an all field/no hit player whose defensive reputation always seems to outweigh what he actually does on the field.  And Romine, now forced into the backup role for Stewart, has looked awful in his real Major League debut, posting a .151 wOBA and -17 wRC+ and striking out 17 times in 61 PA.

Oh, and the once great savior Jesus has been traded to Seattle and demoted back to Triple-A after registering as a negative WAR player in almost a full season's worth of games.  Yep, things have taken quite the bad turn in the world of Yankee catchers.  And yet somehow the future still looks just as bright for them at the position as it did 2 years ago.

Joe, Your Right-Handed Hitters. Woof!

Wild stuff from Joel Sherman this morning on just how inept the Yankee offense has been from the right side of the plate:

"The Yankees have played 29 games since then [May 22nd], and in that time their righties are hitting .185 with a .241 on-base percentage and a .224 slugging percentage. That is a period of 406 at-bats and zero homers."

It's actually 1 HR, from Mark Teixeira on June 4th, but you get the idea.  A .185/.241/.224 batting line in 400+ ABs is hilariously terrible.  It's beyond pathetic.  It's almost...

Talking about how bad the offensive output has been is starting to enter dead horse territory at this point, but it's one that will continue to be beaten as long as they continue to hit this poorly.  Let this serve as another reminder of how much this team needs A-Rod back.  If you still think they don't, you're only fooling yourself.

Who's Next On The Active Roster Merry-Go-Round?

The Yanks will return to the diamond tonight after their last off-day before the All Star Break.  The expectation is that they will send Ivan Nova back down to Triple-A after his Sunday spot start and recall somebody from the Minors.  As much as a 13-man pitching staff might help against the Rangers and Orioles, a 3-man bench of Austin Romine, Alberto Gonzalez, and Vernon Wells is not an ideal scenario and Nova won't be able to pitch for at least a couple days.  Adding a position player is the right move to make here.  The question is who.

The players who would be ideal call-up options are either hurt (CoJo, Mustelier, Boesch) or ineligible (Neal), and the only other guy on the 40-man roster who could be called up is Ramon Flores.  The Yankees aren't going to make that jump, nor are they going to make a rush move and call up somebody like J.R. Murphy, so what's the play here?  Smart money would be on either the newly-acquired Brent Lillibridge, who can play literally every defensive position except catcher, or lefty swinger Dan Johnson.  Johnson has some power in his bat and would be a nice option to sub for the slumping Lyle Overbay, but I bet Lillibridge's extreme defensive flexibility and right-handedness gets him the nod.

We've already seen the Yankees give 219 combined plate appearances to 7 guys - David Adams, Thomas Neal, Zoilo Almonte, Corban Joseph, Chris Nelson, Reid Brignac, Alberto Gonzalez - that nobody expected to see on the field this season.  In a few hours, we should see number 8.