I had a number of stories open on my browser that I felt deserved some attention, but could not work into larger posts. Here they are:
As most of you are aware, this blog was formerly known as The Yankee Universe, until we received a cease and desist from the Yankees requiring us to stop using the name. The Yankees Universe fan club will launch its 2010 program today. While it may seem strange that I am linking to the program that caused us plenty of angst, the fact of the matter is that the proceeds go to a good cause, benefiting pediatric cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Give it a look.
Rob Neyer wrote a post this morning suggesting that Mark Teixeira is likely to be the Yankees best player in 2010, and that this is a bad development for a club that has typically been about strength up the middle. While I agree with Rob that having talent up the middle is the easiest way to build, Jay at Fack Youk stated succinctly why Yankees fans should not be particularly concerned:
Having a solid core of talent up the middle is a surefire way to build a winning team over the long term, but there are other ways to do it. Having above average talent at basically every position, a solid defense and a top notch pitching staff can certainly work in combination as well.
I just wanted to add that the Yankees, of all clubs, have the resources to build in the way that Jay suggests. Unlike clubs that might need to rely on a handful of great players and therefore need great talent up the middle, the Yankees can afford to spend on having above average players all around the diamond and on the pitching staff.
I’m not convinced, but the numbers seem to support the comparison to Morgan (who was worth almost 5 wins in 120 games last season), as this article at Fangraphs suggests:
Assuming average offense from Gardner, over ~150 games, he looks like a 2.5-3.0 WAR player in 2009. You can see why the Yanks felt comfortable not going nuts for Johnny Damon, who probably isn’t any better than that.
But Morgan (whom, incidentally, I also see as about 2.5-3 WAR in 2010) is still the more interesting comparison. I wouldn’t have had him as even a 2.5 WAR player before last season, and I doubt many would have. Yet he put up a 4.9 WAR once he got to show what he could do in the field. Should we expect ~5 WAR from Brett Gardner in 2010? No — that would be insane. But if Nyjer Morgan could do it in 2009, Gardner can in 2010. I suppose the Yankees would even settle for Michael Bourn’s “mere” four win 2009.
As some of you may have noticed, I am not a huge believer in Gardner. I see him as a very useful bench piece, as well as someone who could hold his own if an outfielder got injured. However, I am fully aware that the numbers do not support my assertion, and I hope that my opinion on Gardner turns out to be dead wrong. If Gardner comes close to Nyjer Morgan’s 2009, he should be in the Yankees outfield for the foreseeable future.
From Mark Feinsand:
Vazquez threw his first bullpen session of the spring today, and when he glared in from the mound and saw Posada’s familiar face behind the plate, he felt a sense of comfort.
“I asked him, ‘Do you remember the way I pitch?’” said a smiling Vazquez. “I’ve known Jorge for a while now. It’s good to have him back there.”
Posada was equally pleased to see his former teammate back in pinstripes.
“It’s good to have him back,” Posada said. “He really cares and he really understands how we do things here.”
Why, that’s unpossible!!! I thought everybody hates Jorge!
Seriously, it is good to see that Vazquez and Posada have a good rapport. Hopefully we can avoid some overblown storylines about pitcher-catcher discord the first time Vazquez shakes Jorge off more than once in a game.
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