Yesterday we revealed the staff’s predictions for the American League and the World Series. Today it is the staff’s picks for the AL individual awards.
Robinson Cano was the leading vote getter among the staff. Myself, Brian, Fish and Delia will think hitting in the 3 hole will help him put up even more fabulous numbers. I think his protection going from Nick Swisher to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira will help him see better pitchers than he saw last year. The other votes were split among Cabrera, Fielder and Bautista. Mike D sees no reason why Cabrera won’t be able to pound out another MVP season, while Matt S. thinks his teammate Fielder will put on a show. Those two teammates may have to deal with their votes canceling each other out. If the Jays do not make the playoffs it may be tough for Bautista to win with so many great players in the AL. The surprise I think is no votes were put in for Albert Pujols.
Matt Moore is the majority choice among the staff for very good reason.Moore threw 7 shutout innings in Game 1 of the ALDS against a potent Rangers lineup. That has everybody excited about him this year. I choose Lawrie to be a little different and because I think he will put up a very nice year. Lawrie hit .293, with 9 HR’s, 25 RBI, and a .953 OPS in 150 AB’s last year. He also had a big spring training. Delia is the only one going with the most experienced rookie Yu Darvish.
AL CY Young:
The first thing that jumps out at me the most is the bold picks by Mike P and Brian for Matt Moore to win the AL CY Young as a rookie. Despite his great talent, winning the CY Young as a rookie would be amazing, especially pitching in the AL East. In 1981 Fernando Valenzuela became the first and only rookie CY Young award winner, so Moore winning would be historic. Sabathia and Verlander tied Moore with 2 votes. Fish has Sabathia over Verlander because he thinks Sabathia’s BABIP will go down from .318 while Verlander’s will go up from .236. He also does not like Verlander’s defense behind him. Matt S. thinks the new rotation will take pressure off Sabathia. Mike D and Delia are sticking with Verlander until he proves otherwise. I was the only one to give Weaver a vote because of his improved team and him getting to face Oakland and Seattle so much.
AL Manager of the Year:
Matt B: Mike Scioscia Mike P: Joe Maddon Delia: Joe Girardi Matt S: Joe Maddon Brian: Mike Scioscia Fish: John Farrell Mike D: Mike Scioscia
Manager of the year usually comes from a surprise team that makes the playoffs. However, with so many strong teams in the AL not many surprises are being selected outside the top 6 teams. This makes predicting manager of the year this year very difficult. Scioscia is the leader among the staff with 3 votes and is Maddon 2nd with 2 votes. Delia was the only one to vote for Girardi. I think being the manger of the Yankees gives him no chance. If he did not get consideration last year when the Red Sox were projected by seemingly everybody to beat the Yankees than he never will.
The MLB season starts tomorrow (not including those ridiculous Japan games) and the Yankees Fans Unite staff has made their predictions on the standings and awards for the 2012 MLB season. The awards will be posted tomorrow. We did the AL only since that’s what we focus on most with the Yankees.
AL East: Well let’s get this out of the way early since I know everybody is wondering. It is almost unanimous among the staff that the Yankees will win the AL East. Myself, Matt S, Mike D, Brian, Fish and Delia all have the Yankees taking the division. Mike P stands alone in taking the Rays. Mike P’s reasoning is that he thinks the Rays have the best rotation in MLB, enough hitting to support them, and they have great prospects to help them once August rolls around. Everybody who picked the Yankees likes the balance of their team among the offense, starting rotation, and bullpen and think they are no worse than their 97 win team from a year ago.
Despite the National League winning the last two championships, the American League has always been considered the dominant league. That gap has widened even further this offseason. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, two of the NL’s biggest slugger’s, have gone over to the AL and will make the competition ever fiercer. Also, the Yankees got what most people would consider a number two starter in Michael Pineda to further bolster the team that led the AL in wins last year. There are likely six teams that will fight for four playoff spots, without considering a surprise team cropping up. With the addition of the second wild card team winning the division will be of utmost importance for the Yankees.
The battle for the Yankees to get into the playoff will probably come down to five teams for three spots as I see the Tigers as a virtual lock to win the AL Central. They won it by 15 games last year and that was without Prince Fielder. In fact if you asked me right now I would say they are the team to beat in the entire AL. I know they will have issues on defense, but when Fielder and Miguel Cabrera hit over .310, with about 35 HR’s, and about 115 RBI each it will not matter as much. They also have a very nice top of the rotation in Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, and Max Scherzer and a very good back end of the bullpen.
The Yankees will in all likelihood be battling the Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, and Angels for the other 3 playoff spots. Right now I would consider the Yankees the favorite in the AL East. They won it last year with 97 wins and improved more than the Red Sox or the Rays did with the addition of Michael Pineda. I would consider the Rays a close 2nd and the Red Sox 3rd. The Sox have issues all over the diamond right now. Their outfield is a mess right now as Carl Crawford might not be ready to start the year and they still have a hole in RF, even though they signed Cody Ross. I do not understand them replacing Marco Scutaro with Mike Aviles at SS. They still have issues at the backend of the rotation as nobody knows how Daniel Bard will transform to the rotation. Their backend of the bullpen is also completely new and will have to prove themselves. Meanwhile, the Rays might have the best rotation in MLB and I like the acquisition of Carlos Pena to provide more power to their offense. But, the Yankees definitely have the edge over the Rays in offense and bullpen and they are not that far off in the rotation, which I think puts them over the top.
If the Yankees were to not win the AL East they will face a stiff competition for the wild card spots and not just from the AL East. Whoever doesn’t win the AL West between the Angels and Rangers will be battling for the wild card spots. The Angels greatly improved themselves with the additions of C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols. They also have one of the best rotations in the MLB led by Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana. The Rangers have one of the best offenses in MLB led by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre, and Elvis Andrus. Yu Darvish will try to replace Wilson in the rotation and Neftali Feliz will make an interesting jump to the rotation. Both of these teams are legitimate threats to the Yankees.
As you can see the AL will be an absolute dogfight this year with all of these talented teams. All of this is subject to change of course with injuries and trades. You also know their will be a surprise team that will compete who I did not talk about. The Yankees have their work cut out for them in the AL this year, but if they play to their potential they should not have much of a problem.
Good evening all. This is your open thread so feel to talk about whatever you like. As always I will give some news and notes to get you going.
* All the arbitration cases for the Yankees are now done as LHP Boone Logan avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.875 million contract.
* Yankees finally completed the deal with Kuroda today.
* Mariners skipper Eric Wedge said Wednesday that there’s a “good possibility” that 38-year-old outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is moved away from the leadoff spot.
* Tigers manager Jim Leyland confirmed Thursday that Miguel Cabrera will indeed make the move over to third base to accommodate Prince Fielder at first base.
Good evening all on this day when Posada officially retired. Also lots of another news out on this busy day.
* Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has established residency in the Dominican Republic.
* Bryan Hoch of mlb.com has everything from the retirement of Posada.
* Jason Beck of MLB.com writes that it “sounds like” the Tigers will use a rotation at the corner infield spots following the signing of Prince Fielder, including using Miguel Cabrera at third base on some days.
* Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants have reached agreement on a two-year, $40.5 million contract with right-hander Tim Lincecum.
This is your Open Thread feel free to talk about anything mentioned above or anything else you want.
Enjoy the night.
Prince Fielder has been with the Milwaukee Brewers since the 2005 season when he was just 21 years old. He was an excellent HR hitter, he knew how to take his walks and he knew how to drive in runs. That was a superstar in the making in Milwaukee which was how Prince Fielder became a household name (not as big as Derek Jeter, but still a household name). But after having some fun with the Brewers he became a free agent after the 2011 season. A lot of teams are after him, but the question that Yankees fans are wondering; is Prince Fielder a fit for the New York Yankees.
Positives: Prince Fielder has been nothing but a dominant force every year with his time with the Brewers. With a career .929 OPS and a .540 SLG, he is every teams dream. Fielder isn’t a SB player, but it really doesn’t matter in his case because of his power numbers. In his career he has had 230 HR’s with 656 RBI’s & 566 BB and this all from 6 years. Fielder has also taken a couple of awards throughout his career such as Rookie Of the Year in 2006 (he was considered a rookie in 2006 due to having more playing time than in 2005), has been to the All-Star game 3 times (2007, 2009 & 2011), was a 3 time MVP (2007, 2008 & 2009) and is a 2 time Silver Slugger award winner (2007 & 2011).
|162 Game Avg.||162||683||573||93||162||32||1||37||106||92||126||.282||.390||.540||.929|
Negatives: With every player there is a good and a bad side. With Prince Fielder his bad side happens to be one major thing: He doesn’t know how to get his numbers hot in the postseason. In 2008 it was his first time in the postseason, so the .192 average could go dismissed, but in 2011 he had a great start to the postseason, but he struggled towards the end. In the NLDS in 2011 vs. the Diamondbacks he hit .278 with 1 HR and 2 doubles. It was a good start to the postseason, but when they reached the NLCS with the World Series Champions the St. Louis Cardinals that was when everything went downhill. Fielder had a .200 average and had the most GIDP’s in his postseason career with 2 in a series.
|2 Seasons (3 Series)||15||63||52||7||10||4||0||4||8||8||14||.192||.317||.500||.817|
Is Prince Fielder A Fit For the Yankees: Prince Fielder could succeed with
many teams, but unfortunately I do not see the Yankees pursing Prince Fielder. Brian Cashman made it clear that he was going for pitching, and how offense wasn’t the problem. The Yankees also do not have a need for another first baseman as they already have Mark Teixeira for the next 6-8 years.
Hot Stove Rumblings: Rumors have had it that certain teams are after Prince Fielder after the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly decided that they weren’t going to spend much time trying to re-sign Fielder. One of the teams that are reportedly interested is the Miami Marlins (Formerly Florida Marlins). Along with Fielder the Marlins have reportedly spoken to Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols.
Prince Fielder has a great future ahead of him, but if I was Brian Cashman I would pass on him. As Cashman mentioned before, the issue is not our offense, it is the starting pitching. I am sure Prince Fielder could make another team happy, but it’s not going to happen with the Yankees.
The San Francisco Giants were able to win the 2010 World Series largely because of their tremendous starting pitching. They had a young group of electric starters, including Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner. With their 2010 victory, the Giants looked well poised to make another run at it this year. However, the team declined greatly in the second half of 2011, and San Francisco didn’t even make the playoffs. One of their problems, is that they are offensively deprived. Because of this, GM Brian Sabean may be open to trading some of their plentiful starting pitching for offensive production. The name that pops out, besides Lincecum (who is untouchable), is Matt Cain.
Since 2007, Matt Cain has been one of the top pitchers in the National League. Cain has averaged roughly 211 innings pitched, each year, since his first full year of 2006. When looking at his stats, one thing that immediately jumps out is consistency. Since 2007, Cain has either maintained or improved his BB/9, K/9, HR/9, and H/9 every single year, with only a few minor exceptions.
Throughout Cain’s career he has kept his platoon splits very much the same. Right-handed batters have hit Cain for .228 AVG / .295 OBP / .365 SLG, while left-handed hitters are similarly hitting .227 AVG / .301 OBP / .359 SLG. One thing we’re looking for is the ability to get lefties out just as easily as right-handed batters. We all know what a short porch right field is at Yankee Stadium, so a right-hander who struggles against lefties is of little desire. Matt Cain is not that way, as evidenced by his platoon splits. And, although he has been pitching in a very pitcher-friendly ballpark, his numbers on the road are still pretty darn good: .236 AVG / .307 OBP / .376 SLG. Another great quality of Cain’s is his consistency throughout the season.
Unlike certain pitchers the Yankees have, cough-cough-A.J.-cough, Cain seems to pitch well in every single month of the season. There are no Burnett-Augusts, etc. Consistency goes a long-way in stabilizing a rotation.
As far as Cain’s repertoire goes, he has three above-average pitches: a low-nineties fastball (90-94mph), a mid-eighties slider, and an excellent change-up of about the same speed. He also features a curveball, but it is an overall lesser pitch.
A huge factor of the Yankees’ search for starting pitching, postseason pitching. Although the sample size isn’t too big, Matt Cain has started 3 games in the postseason, all in 2010, and pitched tremendously well. He did not pitch less than 6 innings in one start, and didn’t even allow an earned run. Cain certainly came in the clutch for San Francisco in the playoffs, and that is exactly what the Yanks are looking for.
If you were to only read the positives from above, Cain would be the perfect pitcher for the Yankees to acquire. However, unfortunately, Matt Cain is not a perfect fit for the Yanks. Earlier, I mentioned how he has been pitching in an extremely pitcher-friendly ballpark. Cain is a pitcher that would be classified as a moderate strike-out, fly-ball pitcher. Although by a slim margin, he gave up more ground-balls than fly-balls this past season, in other years, Cain has been a decisively fly-ball pitcher.
Because Yankee Stadium is an undoubtedly hitters-ballpark, fly-ball pitchers typically don’t fare too well. However, there is such thing as pitching-to-the-score, or in this case, pitching-to-the-field. One of the reasons Cain has such a high fly-ball rate, is that he knows he can get away with giving up fly-balls. If he were traded to the Yankees, Cain would absolutely have to make adjustments.
One last disadvantage of trading for Matt Cain, is that he will be a free agent after this coming 2012 season. That means, if a trade was made, you would be giving up prospects for 1 year of Cain. You could, however, give the “Cliff Lee Argument”, that by letting him get a year’s taste of New York, you increase your chances of re-signing him in the 2012-2013 off-season.
A Fit for the Yanks?
In my honest opinion, despite the negatives I brought up above, Matt Cain would be an excellent fit for the Yankees needs. Although he may give up more home-runs, the really good pitchers adjust their game, and I believe Cain could do that. He would bring stability and consistency to the Yankees’ #2 spot. These are qualities you simply aren’t assured by other potential free agent / trade targets out there.
From the Giants’ Perspective
Matt Cain is in line to make $15MM this next year. There have been indications that the Giants will not be in the running for big-time offensive free agents like Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder. However, that could change, as the Giants will need improved offense if they want a shot at winning next year. They might possible trade Cain and his $15MM contract to someone, to clear up room to spend on Pujols or Fielder, to improve over Aubrey Huff. It makes even more sense for the Giants to trade Cain, considering his contract his up after next season.
Cost for Yanks?
The Yankees would likely have to give up a considerable amount of talent for Cain. Think somewhere in line with Cleveland’s deal for Ubaldo Jimenez. I really do not want to trade Montero unless it is for someone who is a clear #1, like King Felix, or Cliff Lee, for that matter. One possible route would be to pick up Nick Swisher’s option and include him in a trade for Cain. Carlos Beltran is a free agent, and the Giants will have to replace him. They have a very good prospect in Brandon Belt who played a good amount of left-field for them last year, so Swisher could complete their outfield along with center-fielder Andres Torres. San Francisco did lose their top pitching prospect, Zach Wheeler, trading for Beltran, so throw in Dellin Betances and you’re certainly getting somewhere. The only players I would hesitate to put in a deal for Cain would be Montero and Banuelos.
Overall, I would love for the Yankees to trade for Matt Cain, for the right price. If San Francisco asks for Jesus Montero, Manny Banuelos, or a combination of both, then I’d hang up right there. Remember, you’d only be getting a guaranteed one year of Cain. Although there are distinct disadvantages to Cain (i.e. his GB/FB rate), in my opinion he is just the reliable #2 the Yankees need.
The Yankees concluded their 2011 season in a way that is all too familiar to us. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the sting of yet another brutal first round exit from the playoffs. This one hurts a lot because it was all lined up so perfectly. We had Mariano Rivera and David Robertson available for two innings each, and we were coming home with momentum. All we needed was one big hit and we could not get it. That is the main difference between the Yankees dynasty of the 90s and the last decade. Those teams had players like Bernie, Brosius, Tino, O’Neill, and Jeter who raised their game from the regular season to the playoffs. The teams of the last decade have had better regular seasons than postseasons. However, another disappointing playoff series does not mean that this team should make radical changes this off-season.
Brian Cashman has always said you cannot make decisions based solely on the postseason. He is absolutely correct. The sample size is way too small to be considered worth more than the regular season. Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez obviously were the main goats of this postseason and. The only one of those three you could do anything with is Swisher. Let’s say hypothetically, you do not pick up Swisher’s option, and you replace him with Michael Cuddyer. You cannot guarantee me Cuddyer, or any other replacement, would hit in the playoffs. There is no possible way of knowing. However, I do know that Swisher will produce better in the regular season based on a larger sample size. Plus his 10 million dollar option is cheap and you can go out and find somebody else next year. As for Teixeira and Rodriguez you have to hope they dedicate themselves this off-season to get better. Teixiera needs to improve his mechanics from the left side as his line of .218/.327/.462/.788 suggests. Rodriguez needs to develop an exercise routine that can help him stay on the field. Signing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to big bucks is not the answer with all money they have tied into Teixiera and Rodriguez. Texeira and Rodriguez improving is the only option.
This is also not the off-season for radical change because of the big free agent class next year. Matt Kemp is an elite outfielder who could potentially replace Swisher. He is a five tool player and is only 27. He makes much more sense than Pujols or Fielder would. Stud pitchers also will be available like Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Zack Grienke, John Danks, Shaun Marcum, and potentially Dan Haren and James Shields. Some of these guys may also be available at next year’s trade deadline. This is why the Yankees should not blow their money on C.J. Wilson or Yu Darvish this off-season. Sure they will need to sign or trade for a pitcher or two, but it does not have to be for major money. It is also why the Yankees do not have to go completely all out to extend CC Sabathia. I say 6 years at 150 million is a good meeting point. If Sabathia is dead set on 7 years letting him walk is probably the better option. The long term risk of a man who is close to 300 pounds is scary. All those innings will have to take its toll at some point right? Th St.Louis Cardinals are proved you do not need outstanding starting pitch to win a championship. You can win with clutch hitting and an outstanding bullpen. The Texas Rangers also got to the World Series without great starting pitching. So I would defiantly try to extend Sabathia, but it is not a necessity.
This Yankee team needs fine tuning this off-season and not a major overhaul. Winning 97 games in the AL East this year was a major accomplishment and should not be taken lightly. That is the sample size that you should trust more. The postseason is a complete crap shoot that can never be predicted. However, if next year we have similar results in the postseason, we can consider more major moves because there will be elite players out there. The outlook for the Yankees next year is bright and winning the World Series should be within our reach.
Here is this week’s mailbag. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at email@example.com. Here we go:
Well, it’s assumed that Sabathia will exercise his right to become a Free Agent. Task #1 for Cashman is to do whatever it takes to lock the big man up. #1 Starters/Horses are VERY difficult to obtain so CC can basically write his own check. Cliff Lee got 5 yrs $120M with a team option so look for CC to get about the same plus a few mil.
Beyond that, look for Cashman to make a move for that elusive #2 starter to team with CC. The top Free Agent pitcher is lefty C.J. Wilson from Texas. He’s a combined 27-13 over the last 2 seasons with a 3.28 era, 7.8 k/9 & 3.6 bb/9. He will be 31 next year but has only been a starter for 2 seasons so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his arm. He’s a true 5-pitch pitcher who limits HRs and gets a lot of ground balls.
If Wilson can’t be signed, Cash may look at Hiroki Kuroda or Mark Buehrle on a 1-yr deal and take a chance on the 2013 Free Agent market where there are a lot of quality pitchers.
There are some big name position players on the market in Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz, Lance Berkman & Jimmy Rollins. However, the Yanks are locked up at most positions. If they pick up Nick Swisher’s $10.25M club option as expected, the only opening will be at DH. While those big names would look great mashing in the Bronx, I don’t think the team will sign a long-term DH since ARod will need to DH more and more over the next few years. Plus they have highly regarded Jesus Montero in AAA who should get a lot of ABs as DH next season. They may look to team Montero with a veteran lefty hitter such as Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Jim Thome – or ideally just bring back Eric Chavez.
@PrimoBledBlue asked: Do you think the Yankees will use a 4-man rotation in the playoffs?
In 2009, Girardi rode a 3-man rotation of CC, AJ & Pettitte throughout the post-season to win the World Series. This was only possible because of the numerous days off that year but MLB changed the schedule in 2010 to reduce the number of days off during and in-between series. Now there are only 2 scheduled days off per series making 3-man rotations difficult.
I believe the Yanks will use 4 starters but pitch CC on 3-days rest whenever needed. In the Division Series, the Yanks can employ a 3-man rotation by pitching CC in Game 1 and again on 3-days rest in Game 4 if needed. The other starters could be used on regular 4-days rest. In an ideal situation, if the Yankees sweep the Division Series in 3 games, CC could then be set up to pitch Game 1 of the ALCS on full rest, then again in Games 4 & 7 on 3-days rest. CC is far and away the best starter and he’s an absolute horse who’s had success pitching on short rest. In 6 career starts on 3-days rest, Sabathia is 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA including successful starts vs the Angels & Phillies in the 2009 playoffs.
The question of who the 2, 3 & 4 starters will be won’t be answered until the end of the year. All of the starters are basically auditioning for the remaining 6 weeks of the season but if I had to choose right now I’d go with Nova, Garcia & Hughes with Colon in the pen and AJ back home watching on TV. I’d have my non-CC starters on short leashes. Adding Colon to an already stacked bullpen, Girardi will have many weapons to use at the first sign of trouble.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award has only been awarded since 1957 so many of the all-time great Yanks weren’t eligible. But the Yankee with the most Gold Glove awards is Don Mattingly with 9. Donnie Baseball won every year at 1B from 1985 to 1994 with the exception of an injury shortened 1990 season.
Current Yankees with Gold Gloves are Eric Chavez (6), Derek Jeter (5), Mark Teixeira (4), Alex Rodriguez (2) , Russell Martin (1) and Robinson Cano (1). If I had a vote, I would vote for Martin, Tex, Cano & Brett Gardner to win Gold Gloves in 2011.
@tazc23 asked…….Are the Yankees concerned that the final Royals’ game may have an effect at the end of the season?
Dana DeMuth made a terrible decision on Billy Butler’s HR that wasn’t, and that run was the difference in a 5-4 loss. Girardi should have protested the call since the umpires clearly made a decision against the rules. However, a blown call in the 4th inning of Game #121 of the season shouldn’t be the reason why the team doesn’t win the Al East or Wild Card. The Yanks had several opportunities in the game to score but went just 1-for-10 with RISP and Cano & Posada both failed to deliver with the bases loaded in the 9th. So while the call was horrible, the team has moved on and will not dwell on it.
@tazc23 also asked………Are teams told what actually constitutes a HR in some stadiums ?
Yes, the umpires go over the stadium grounds rules and exchane lineup cards with a manager or coach from each team prior to the first game of every series. Yankees 3B-coack Mick Kelleher went over the rules before Monday’s series opener. Kelleher said that his understanding was that the ball needed to also clear a chain-link fence and padded railing to be a home run.
“We went over the ground rules and they were pretty explicit and clear, but there was one question that I had: it was about the top rail in left-center field,” Kelleher said. “It was padded; the ball had to leave the ballpark. We talked about that twice. … It doesn’t make sense to me. The ball never left the ballpark, so how could it be a home run?”
In this case, replay verified what the umps saw live but the problem was with misinterpretation of the stadium ground-rules. Someone from the league office should have been called to clarify the ground-rule. Steve Palermo, an umpires supervisor who was in attendance at Kauffman Stadium, took the crew out to the left-field fence after the game and pointed out the discrepancy between the ground rule and what was called. If Palermo was at that game, why didn’t he intervene during the replay? I think an umpire supervisor or league exec should be on call to answer questions like these during replay reviews.
First off, here’s the news from Jon Heyman of SI.com:
Word is, CC Sabathia has done some selling on the Yankees to his good buddy Fielder. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees will make a play for Fielder, as Sabathia could be acting on his own.
As Heyman says after that, this indicates that Sabathia does in fact expect to return to the Yankees next year, despite his opt-out clause in his contract. Therefore, it looks quite promising that Sabathia will indeed be resigned (if he does the inevitable and opts-out). But I want to examine whether or not Prince would be a good fit in pinstripes next year (and years to come).
Simply said, Prince Fielder is a terrific hitter. Over the past 5 years, Prince has averaged 38 homers and 105 RBI per year. That is a ton of production. He had a slight blip last year, but this year, he looks to be very much on pace to resume his elite status that he held in previous years. Not only is he fantastic at run production, but he can really take some pitches, too. Last year, Prince batted .261 yet still had a +.400 OBP. In 2009 and 2010, Fielder combined for 224 bases-on-balls. That certainly goes by the book of the Yankees’ offensive methods. Another plus is that with Fielder in the lineup, the Yanks 3-6 would most likely include: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Prince Fielder, and Alex Rodriguez. That would be an unstoppable offense.
Despite Fielder being a huge offensive asset, there are a good number of problems with a signing of him.
- The Price Tag: Like I said, Fielder is a tremendous offensive contributor, and he’d have to be paid like one. Think Mark Teixeira money…at least. Especially, considering his agent is none other than Scott Boras. The question asked would be, Would the Yanks want to go after a ridiculously expensive designated hitter like Fielder? I’m not so sure…but who knows.
- 2002-2008 Disaster?: The signing of Prince Fielder would be a sudden shift back to the ways of Brian Cashman during those years. Purchasing high value players with an overwhelming price tag and number of years. Would it be a good idea to go back to that logic? Or, wouldn’t it be better to try to use some homegrown talent, like your Jesus Montero or Jorge Vazquez’s. We’ll see what the front office chooses.
- Aging Yanks: No this isn’t about Fielder’s age…because he is only 27. But other Yankees, like A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira, are guys that are going to need rest. And a good way to give them rest, without entirely taking them out of the lineup is to DH them. By signing Fielder, the Yankees would have much less lineup flexibility. It would be hard to DH those 3 guys, while having a mega-million dollar DH in Fielder. However, they could still DH Teixeira, and put Fielder there to give Tex some rest. I wonder if this might work with A-Rod too. Fielder hasn’t played one MLB game at 3B, but he is a righty, and maybe, just maybe he may be able to play a little 3B. But I don’t know what kind of arm he has.
Well what do you think? Would the pros outweigh the cons?
The Yankees and Brewers were hard at work yesterday during batting practice. They were shagging fly ball, stretching, running around the bases and int he midst of hitting fly balls into the outfield or in the seats. But there was someone that a major league scout was interested in, watching from the press box as he hit homer after homer into the seats. No, it wasn’t A-Rod, and it wasn’t Curtis Granderson. Heck, it wasn’t even Jorge Posada or Nick Swisher. The man was Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. From the scouts observations he noticed that Prince Fielder made hitting all of those home runs look easy but he was wondering if the Yankees had seen the same thing that he saw, and if not, he would gladly explain it:
“If I’m the Yankees, he’s the guy I would sign, even with Mark Teixeira here.”
Well, it sounds tempting but for the Yankees it just doesn’t seem right at least in my opinion. Mark Teixeira is one of the best first baseman in the leagues and he has such stellar defense that’s it’s hard to keep him out in the lineup (though Jorge Posada does a good job copying him when he has his occasional starts at first). It wouldn’t seem like a good deal for the Yankees mainly for the fact that the scout suggests that he should be in the DH role. If the Yankees had learned anything, it’s that the DH is to give there older power hitting players a chance to play at least half the game. Right now that role is secured by Jorge Posada, but next season, Girardi would probably platoon that role between Jeter and A-Rod since let’s face it, there both aging. Also, Prince Fielder in New York? It sounds really tempting but as of right now I see only Mark Teixeira at first.
And then again, even if Mark Teixeira had gotten injured, the Yankees still have Nick Swisher, who has played a little bit of first base for the Yankees. And the outfield would be easier to fill if the Yankees decide to sign Chris Dickerson for another year. (Let’s face it, Chris Dickerson is doing pretty well for a platoon player). The Yankees have it practically all down packed, and right now it doesn’t seem that Prince Fielder fits within this Yankees lineup. What the Yankees do need is pitching and some depth in the bullpen. But that’s another story. But from what I can tell, Prince Fielder is not the fit that the Yankees are looking for.