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Archive for July, 2008

Previously on this blog, back in the day when it was hosted on Blogspot.com, I wrote a very long post regarding the Yankees 5th starter position. I strongly supported the promotion of AAA pitcher Jeff Karstens over the signing of free agent Sidney Ponson. Unfortunately, I am not the GM of the Yankees, and Ponson was signed and has been a member of the Yankees rotation ever since that June 27 start against the Mets. So Ponson has been a Yankee for a month. As a Yankee, he is 2-1 with a 6.08 ERA and a WHIP of 1.88. Unfortunately, he’s still starting.

Meanwhile, Jeff Karstens has been traded to Pittsburgh in a six-player deal in which the Yankees acquired two important parts, outfielder Xavier Nady and lefty Damaso Marte. Nady is important because he provides the necessary right handed bat in the lineup, and he can also allow Johnny Damon to DH on a regular basis. He’ll bat in the lower half of the lineup and, hopefully, get some big hits in the next few months. His acquisition is also important because now the Yankees, if they want to shed payroll, aren’t obligated to sign Bobby Abreu for next year, as Nady is signed through 2009 and can shift over to right field and be paid considerably less than Abreu. Marte, it turns out, has been a crucial acquisition, not only because he’s the only lefty in the bullpen, and a good one at that, but this addition to an already overcrowded bullpen allowed some trading flexibility for GM Brian Cashman, and boy did he take advantage of this. Now with Nady on the team, it made even more sense for switch-hitting catcher Jorge Posada to have season ending surgery since the team got some right-handed power in a lefty-heavy lineup. But wait, there’s more!

In a trade, which was negotiated in mere hours, Cashman made one of his best moves as a GM, in my opinion, by selling high (if that was even possible) on the adventurous reliever Kyle Farnsworth, and trading him to Detroit for future hall-of-fame catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez. This move would not have happened if Cashman didn’t acquire Marte less than a week before, as Marte can slide into the 8th inning role that Farnsworth had. Also, Brian Bruney is on his way back up to the majors after sustaining a foot injury earlier in the season, and he’ll be in the bullpen rotation as well. However, for now it seems that the seldom used Chris Britton will be called up to take Farnsworth’s spot on the roster. We’ll see how that works out, since Bruney is almost ready.

Pudge Rodriguez will start for the team, and take the roster spot of backup catcher Chad Moeller, who sparingly played since the beginning of June, while Jose Molina will slide to the backup catcher role that he originally signed for. Pudge has been batting 65 points higher than Molina, so he’ll be an upgrade at the plate, and behind the plate, he’ll be slightly worse than Molina; Pudge has thrown out 36% of potential base-stealers this year, which is good, but Molina has been throwing out 47% of base-stealers, which is exceptional. I’m sure Molina will get his share of games though; Mike Mussina likes him.

So the Yankees have solved a number of team issues, including a right handed bat in the outfield, a left handed pitcher in the bullpen, and a catcher to replace Jorge Posada for the rest of the year while he’s injured and recovering from surgery. The final issue? Get rid of Sidney Ponson!

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