Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wilson Philips: Release Me

Another win for the Yankees. This feels good right now. This is the kind of run we could have had if Matsui and Sheffield hadn't gone down, and Cano had stayed healthy. Let's just hope we can put a little more distance between us and the Red Sox before the start of September. Wouldn't that be sweet.

The pitching has been responsible for a lot of our current success, and once again Randy Johnson proved to be the weak link in the rotation. His last disaster of a start was a smear on an otherwise strong pitching run. This start was also a disappointment, as the Intensive Care Unit couldn't hold onto a 3-0 lead. Of course he held the Orioles at 4 so we could come back and win it (thanks Jorge), but this is not the guy we thought we'd have at the front of our rotation, dominating the opposition. Will we see him again before the end of the year? How many times? Playoffs? He's the Big Question Mark right now.

I wanted to talk about Craig Wilson in this post, since I've dedicated more than enough time to Bobby Abreu the last couple of days. I really like what I see from Wilson so far, and I hope we hang onto him. The dilemma that we face is what to do with Andy Phillips. A lot of us screamed and yelled to have him included on the roster for 2006. His bat was supposed to be a big part of the youth movement in the Bronx, and many of us thought he'd hit when given the chance to play everyday. That really hasn't happened with any consistency, and aside from a strong run in June and early July, he has shown little power and an awful eye at the plate.

Phillips currently sports a line of .242/.275/.404 in 223 ABs and has only 11 walks to go with 47 strikeouts. In fact, Phillips ranks 38th out of 40 Major League first baseman with at least 100 plate appearances in VORP at -5.5, with only Lance Niekro(SF) and Travis Lee(TB) below him. Craig Wilson is 23rd with a 9.0 VORP. From what I read, Phillips and Wilson are about equal in defensive metrics, so it seems like a no brainer that Andy's time with the Yankees is over. Torre won't let that happen though. He'll keep playing him I bet.

It looks like neither Matsui nor Sheffield is all that close to returning, so the decision about Phillips is probably still a month away. I still see no reason to play him any further, but if he's on the bench he's got to get in a ballgame or two sometime. I suggest we think about using him only in games at Yankee Stadium, at night, against right handed pitchers from the AL Central. Check the numbers for yourself. The rest of the games should belong to Craig Wilson.

Bubba Crosby was DFAed to make room for an extra bullpen arm. The way Torre uses bullpen arms, it make sense. Scott Proctor, Ron Villone, and Kyle Farnsworth might actually die on the mound this year at this pace. Crosby apparently wasn't happy about the move and stormed out in a huff. All I have to say about that is, I understand how he feels, but give me a break. The feeling he has is completely natural. You dedicated your blood and sweat to the team since Day 1, and you hoped for a more consistent shot at contributing to the lineup. The thing is, in 205 Major League games (all but 9 with the Bombers) Crosby produced a line of .216/.255/.300 in 250 ABs. Crosby has posted an .810 OPS in 253 games at AAA to date. That's a good OPS for a Major League outfielder, but clearly he was unable to even approach those numbers in his opportunity. Consider that Aaron Guiel posted at nice .840 OPS in his time at the Major League level this year, and he got sent down...bye, bye Bubba. Shut up and find another opportunity.

Moose against his former club tomorrow. Keep the line moving fellas. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!