Everytime the Yankees lose a big game, or even a moderately important one, the comment sections at the major Yankees blogs are filled with the same refrains, repeated ad nauseum, suggesting solutions to what ails the Yankees. I want to run through them, to dispel the logic behind most of them and to point out that some of them are symptoms rather than causes of the Yankee issues.
1) Jorge Posada’s gamecalling- I have had too many arguments with Steve on Jorge’s game calling to rehash them here. I would like to recommend Pete Abe’s article on this today, however, and add one point of my own. Regardless of which pitches are being called, the pitchers are not throwing them for strikes, which is their job. I do not care if Posada called for an eephus pitch, the job of the pitcher is to throw the ball in the strike zone, and nobody is following through on that.
2) Nick Swisher- Does he some stupid things occasionally? You bet. However, he is third among all rightfielders in OPS and is about middle of the pack according to most defensive metrics. That puts him in the top 5 among rightfielders in the entire sport. He is far from the problem, and the next person to call him a bench player is getting a verbal beatdown.
3) Hideki Matsui- I have heard so many complaints about his running and how he gives them no flexibility, a claim I could never understand. If they want more flexibility with the lineup, they could always bench him. The idea that hitter with an OPS+ of 120 is a liability is ridiculous.
4) Joba in the rotation- This is the most frequent claim. The Yankees lose to Fernando Nieve, and people bring up Joba. I do not get how people can look at the Yankees rotation and advocate moving a guy with a sub-4.00 ERA to the bullpen. It really is total madness.
5) The Coaching Staff- Coaches are overrated. Like it or not, Dave Eiland can only help the pitchers in the bullpen. Once they hit the field they need to execute, and are not doing so. Joe Girardi has more of an impact, but even he is unlikely to cost the team or win the team many games. Regardless, I think that he has done a very solid job outside of a few curious tactical mistakes that no manager is immune to.
6) Angel Berroa and Jose Veras- These two players are not actually problems, but they are symptoms of an issue. Quite frankly, at this point, they do not get playing time in any moments that would make them a real problem. The issue is that they represent a bit of neglect regarding the roster on the part of Brian Cashman. There is no reason for Angel Berroa to be on this team when you consider that A-Rod is playing every day. If they send him down and lose him, would that be so terrible? Could we nnot find someone equally horrendous if the situation called for another infielder? The same could be said about Veras. If he is a part that the manager is loathe to use in importnat spots, he should be replaced with someone who has a chance to make an impact.
What is the problem? The pitchers do not throw enough strikes and the offense is inconsistent with RISP. Neither is a crippling issue, as evidenced by the Yankees 2nd in the AL record, but the pitching issue in particular needs to be addressed for this club to win a championship. Personally, I believe the solutions are already on the roster, and must find a greater level of consistency. If not, Brian Cashman may have some work to do.
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