Monday, December 20, 2010

Finishing Touches

It's less than a week before Christmas, and all the big names are gone. They usually aren't right now. This was the week that Damon signed, and I'm pretty sure this is when Teixeira signed. But the biggest fireworks, at least in Boston and New York (and Philadelphia, I guess), have already happened. Now it's time, like the last minute or so in a television show like Iron Chef, for Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman to make the finishing touches to their squads.

While Pat is preoccupied by his favorite football team imploding, he may have missed the fact that the Yankees pulled off what might be this offseason's Nick Swisher move. I'll admit that I don't know as much about Russell Martin as I did about Swisher, but I do know that it it wasn't too long ago that Martin was in Rookie of the Year voting. When this blog was in its planning phases, the guy was in Rookie of the Year voting, and we haven't really been doing this THAT long.

Let's put it this way: He is exactly six months and 24 days older than Red Sox' outfielder 46, who is allegedly still young, full of potential, and yet to grow into his body so he can become a 20 home run hitter with 75 steals a year. Martin's been derailed by injuries, but from what I read here, he seems to have a clubhouse presence as strong (though not as wildly entertaining) as Swisher's, and before he started to have his troubles with his health, he was still a productive player.

Having him play almost-full-time catcher with Posada and Cervelli taking a little bit of time in there (provided the player's hip is okay) makes more sense to the Yankees than rushing Montero to the majors. And I think it is very reasonable to expect average to above average production. It was not long ago that this guy was a very, very good baseball player.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox signed Dan Wheeler. I like this move for the bullpen probably better than I like the Jenks move. Not only because the idiots at NESN can bring out the old scripts of "former Devil Ray from Rhode Island" from the Baldelli days, but because Wheeler does not suck. He strikes out a decent amount of guys, had those two straight years under 1 for WHIP, and while his walk and home run numbers aren't quite untouchable, they're an upgrade over anyone who played the drums in the Red Sox bullpen last year.

They still lack a lefty (other than Andrew Miller, I guess), but I'd rather have fewer lefties than have more lefties if those lefties happen to be like Hideki Okajima version 2010. But Wheeler is going to be 33 during the season (he's 5 years, two months, and 29 days older than 46, for the record), so it's not like they're picking up Mike Timlin here. But they're deep in righties. Two of these righties, in Papelbon and Jenks, are guys who very possibly could be disasters. But if they are, they have a righty in Wheeler that might not dazzle, but will not suck either.

4 comments:

The GM said...

The fact that Wheeler is only signed for one year and $3 million, especially when juxtaposed with the outrageous contract given to Jenks and the amount that Papelbon is bound to get should just heighten Red Sox fans' excitement for this guy.

PF said...

agree that russell martin is a nice move. there is no downside, a lot of upside, and at the very least as you mentioned takes pressure off too much playing time for posada (defensively) and cervelli (offensively), as well as the need to rush montero to the big league club before he is ready.

pedro feliciano is also a nice addition. he's one of, if not the, best loogy in baseball. you need a pitcher like this in the AL east as much as anywhere, maybe more. i've watched him up close as a member of the mets the last few years, and he was a difference maker late in games against utley/howard/ibanez. the yankees will be looking for him to have the same impact facing key lefties on their competitors.

while these additions are big and you want to keep addressing other areas even though it isn't your primary area of concern, the yankees aren't in finishing touches mode despite these being finishing touches moves. they need a starting pitcher. ideally it's andy pettitte, but if it isn't they need to get somebody. if they do, pettitte or otherwise, this will be a slightly better team on paper than they entered the 2010 season with because of these two additions.

the gm at work said...

Pat,

Whereabouts in between 0% and 1% is the probability that they bring back your boy Pavano?

PF said...

you never want to say never. pavano could say he wants to win, and try to make right the just under 40 million he made over 4 years on his last contract with little to no production offered, by coming to the yankees for 1 year and something around the league minimum. and even if this extremely unlikely scenario were to occur, i STILL think the yankees would think long and hard about it despite their need for a starting pitcher. that's how low i think the chances are of him coming back. they are closer to 0% than 1%. i think they hold his overall impact on a team in too low of a regard and i think the opinions of him in the clubhouse by the guys who matter are too low to bring him back almost under any circumstance.