The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Hot Stove Video

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but my pals at Bronx Banter recently moved into some upscale new digs at Sportschannel New York's website, Congrats to them on the move and the recent expansion of their blogging staff.

As part of their arrangement, BB and SNY are collaborating with some experimental video blogging recorded in the latter's studio, with Alex Belth playing host to two guests as they break down various issues of the hot stove season. I was honored to have Alex invite me to be on the debut show along with BB co-consipirator Cliff Corcoran; we covered the Yanks' possible pursuits of Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, among other things, but technical difficulties prevented our first takes from being aired, and last week a series of new segments with YanksFanSoxFan's Mark Lamster and the Daily News's Anthony McCarron went up covering those primary free agents. Alex invited Cliff and me back for a re-shoot, and we did four segments that will air this week.

The first two are already up. In Part One, we examine the Yankees' options on the free agent market beyond Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe (the subject of one of our lost segments, alas). My Brewers-fan relatives won't be too happy to hear me touting Ben Sheets as an option for the Yankees, but I laid it out there on the table. If the Yanks are silly enough to risk a long-term deal on the injury-prone Burnett -- and they seem to be firm on not going five years, at least -- they may be able to do better with a more incentive-based shorter deal with Sheets.

In Part Two, we look at some options for hitters beyond Mark Teixeira. I spent a lot of time talking about free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson, late of the Diamondbacks, and how the Yanks' rumored interest in him points to the organization's dissatisfaction with Robinson Cano. I am not a Cano fan, not anymore -- he's immensely talented, but completely vapid, and his strike zone judgment is, to put it frankly, for shit. He walked 26 times in 634 plate appearances last year while hitting .271/.305/.410, year-to-year drops of 35, 48, and 78 points in those triple-slash categories, and his fielding was awful as well. the Fielding Bible's Plus/Minus system, which uses a panel of expert evaluators to review each play and compare whether an average player would have made it, saw Cano at -16 last year, "good" for the 35th ranking in a 30-team major league set; for comparison in 2007 he was at +17. Hudson was at -4 last year, down from +20 the year before, but he's got a much longer track record of success.

Part Three should air tomorrow, and Part Four... I don't know when it will air, actually; the two segments are re-takes on topics we covered the first time, one on Derek Jeter's eventual destination on the diamond, and the other on the recently-retired Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame chances. I'll be back with a link when those air.

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