NoMaas.org again brings us a great Yankee interview. Brian Cashman sat down to talk all things Yankees. Its really a great read. I recommend reading the whole thing. I’d like to comment on a few things.
SJK: On to the 5th starter competition — Joba Chamberlain lost significant juice on his fastball last year, in some estimates over 2 mph. How concerned are you about that and is that something which will weigh into your decision about who becomes the 5th starter?
CASH: Performance will dictate. He was inconsistent last year. He has completed his development program. May the best man win.
SJK: But, speaking of what you just said about sample sizes, how can you make a decision based on Spring Training?
CASH: You are forced to make those types of decisions. You take into account their prior history, but really no one is coming in with an edge. We’ll see what we see. Maybe someone shows up out of shape or pulls a hamstring, that helps make a decision. Maybe someone is throwing ball better than someone else.
SJK: Will Phil Hughes’ reported innings limits factor into the 5th starter competition?
CASH: No, it will not be a factor on his chances of becoming 5th starter. We will mandate what his innings limits will be and Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland will have full authority on how they would manage those innings – just like last year with Joba. They could truncate it at the beginning, it doesn’t matter me. It only matters to me if they exceed their limits.
SJK: Is the loser of the Hughes/Joba battle going to be permanently placed in the bullpen or is this just a 1-year situation?
CASH: There is no permanent anything. Your team has to be flexible. The great thing is we have guys who have the ability to both go in the bullpen and start. If somebody gets hurt, somebody’s performance suffers…Chad Gaudin can start and relieve, Sergio Mitre can start and relieve, Aceves can start and relieve, Hughes and Joba can start and relieve. These guys have the ability to succeed at both ends, some more than others.
I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely the mindset that I want to hear coming from Brian Cashman. He pretty much said, “Whomever works hardest and proves themselves best will get the spot. We’ll worry about the innings and bullpen stuff after that.” That’s fantastic. Play off the competition between the two. He didn’t say it outright, but the loser seems to be destined for the bullpen, not Scranton, even though he may be converted back to starting. Great news.
He’s also not making any excuses for the players. “[Joba] has completed his development program. May the best man win.” That puts the onus squarely on the player’s head. I love it.
SJK: If the season were starting tomorrow, who would be your starting CF?
CASH: Curtis Granderson. But if Gardner proves our team is better with him in CF and he can be an everyday outfielder…he has a lot to show in a short amount of time in Spring Training. We believe he is better in CF and we believe Granderson would be terrific in LF. But, Granderson was acquired to be our everyday CF and that is our expectation.
Brett Gardner isn’t going to be handed the center field job, but he will have a shot at it. Cashman doesn’t seem to have much of a concern that moving Granderson will harm his long term viability in center. He’s basically arguing what I’ve been advocating for, “If the team is better off with Gardner in center, Gardner will be in center.”
SJK: Do you think we’ll see Jesus Montero in the Boogie Down at some point in the season?
CASH: I don’t see him in the Bronx this season. He needs to take his next step in the process.
SJK: Do you think his future is behind the plate?
CASH: We hope so. His value is highest as a catcher. His bat will find a way into the middle of the lineup, that’s without a doubt. Whether he stays behind the plate, is a first baseman, a rightfielder, a DH – that remains to be seen. But he’s got one of the best throwing arms in the minors, he’s got some of the best blocking…he’s just so big, mechanically he takes a lot longer in his release. That’s an area he needs to shorten up.
This is the most interesting portion of the interview to me, because we get some genuinely new information, even if we could have deduced some of it before:
- 2010 isn’t Montero’s year. We pretty much assumed this already, but Cashman confirms it. Jesus Montero already doesn’t really have a spot on the roster, and they probably don’t consider him one of their early depth call-ups. He has development left, and I’m sure the Yankees are in no hurry to get his arbitration clock running. We might even see him start in Double-A, though I doubt it.
- Outfield is an option. I can’t remember a Yankee official ever once mentioning Jesus Montero as a potential right fielder before. Not only does Cashman do that, but he mentions Montero’s strong throwing arm (which he exaggerates a bit, but we have heard in the past of a plus arm) and struggles with footwork behind the plate. I don’t remember Mark Newman ever really discussing Montero in another position. So please correct me if I’m wrong, but this might be a first.
Good stuff NoMaas. Way to ask the right questions.
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