The Yankees had some big holes in the lineup going into the season and most weren’t afraid to point them out. There was the drop-off behind the plate, in right field, and forget about plugging any hole with Vernon Wells as he was done and that was a horrible trade.
Almost a month later and the Yankees season isn’t over. In fact, considering Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are gone from the lineup the Yankees are doing well for themselves. So obviously Brian Cashman knew something that we didn’t. He knew that Francisco Cervelli would hit and knew that Wells was back to his old self in Toronto. Right? Right? Wrong.
In an interview with Andy Martino of the NY Daily News, Cashman refused to accept credit for knowing something we didn’t and simply said it’s better to be lucky than good.
Taking credit for knowing Cervelli and Chris Stewart would be good? Nope.
“I can’t tell you that we made any decisions based on knowing that we were tapping into that, and we would be fine,” said Cashman. “That would be inaccurate.”
“Defensively, we have no problem,” Cashman said. “Actually, we feel we have one of the better defensive catching units in baseball. Offensively, we were bracing for a significant decline on the offensive side. We felt that Cervelli had projection to be an offensive player, but as far as present abilities was more of a backup offensively, but with upside.”
What about Wells? He had to have had scouts who knew better on that? Nope. He thought he was signing the next Andruw Jones.
“We had thought he would be a fit here, at the very least, in that role that Andruw Jones had been playing for the past two years,” Cashman said. “But no, there was no magic, unearthed data point. The fact that he was having a tremendous spring didn’t really move us.
”We were on him from the winter time. So it was more that our needs grew, and we were able to come up a little bit more on the what were were willing to take on. Since we had negotiations and conversations with Anaheim all winter, it was pretty easy to conclude.”
“They were casualties of other camps, and because of our circumstances, we just jumped all over the players, because of our needs,” Cashman said. “Not necessarily because of any — I mean, I think we have one of the best pro scouting departments in the game, (but) I call it the Statue of Liberty play — give us your tired, your weak, your poor.”
The truth is that Cashman could have easily have taken credit for all of these moves. He could have said that the Yankees pro scouts saw this coming. Or that they have non-public stats that revealed that all of this would happen. But he’s smart enough to realize that while this start has been all well and good the Yankees are not out of the woods yet.
The Yankees started the season with six players on the DL and Phil Hughes has been the only player to come off it. When the rest will be activated is anyone’s guess. What was a get-through-April scenario has become a keep-it-going-through-May. And what have been small sample sizes are about to get a lot bigger.
Wells has been exceptional through 71 at bats, but how good will he be after 200? Neither Cervelli or Stewart are even up to 50 at bats. When the long season starts wearing on them and they each have 150 at bats it’s probably not realistic to picture both still hitting up around .300.
There is a chance that could happen and Cashman, and all Yankees fans, would be ecstatic if all those players continued their success, but the reality is that baseball players tend not to change a whole lot from year to year. What a player has been is usually what he will be. If Cashman came out and took praise for their strong play now it might just make him look foolish later.
Let’s just hope this luck continues.
• Kevin Youkilis has been sitting out with back problems, but he said he hopes he’s well enough to play Wednesday. I just hope he doesn’t do anything to land himself on the DL as that would be a big blow.
• Mark Teixeira has finally admitted that May 1st is not possible. He said that his wrist feels better, but it is still stiff. He has not been cleared to hit off a tee yet, but is taking dry swings. Please don’t rush this and have a setback. Please don’t rush this and have a setback…
• Ivan Nova met with Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild after his latest dud. Girardi said the talk was positive though. I doubt we’re at the point where they’re considering pulling him from the rotation, but we could get to that point if he doesn’t right the ship soon. 2011 is getting to be a distant memory.
• Girardi will sit Wells tonight because he’s played so much on turf recently. Boesch is expected to start in his place.
• The Yankees road trip is nearly over. Buy Yankees tickets to go see them when they’re back in the Bronx.
(Photo by Flickr user Keith Allison).