LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Friday News & Views: Dickens, Roster Moves, The Draft & Mel

Friday, June 5, 2015

Yankees Friday News & Views: Dickens, Roster Moves, The Draft & Mel

The best and worst of times have come in unusual places and venues for this year's Yankees. Going to the west coast for the first time, a reasonable expectation would have been to win three of four in the series at Oakland. That is exactly what happened except it was the league's worst A's that won the three games against the Yankees.  Monday in Seattle, Mariner's ace Felix Hernandez was fully expected to be dominant.  However, Mark Teixeira's bomb with the bases loaded landed in the right field seats giving the Yankees a 7-0 lead. King Felix was soon in the showers, having failed to survive five innings. The Yanks went on to sweep the series.
It has been that way all season. The recent sweep of the Royals and the three wins in four games at Detroit earlier this season are examples of Yankee dominance that did not transfer to other parts of the schedule.

Now the Yankees return home to face the Angels for a three game series starting tonight. They go into the series with good news. Masahiro Tanaka is back in the rotation and looked great in his first start back, and Ivan Nova is about to begin his rehab. The seven man bullpen includes five lefthanders and the Yankees have decided that last year's number one draft pick, lefty Jacob Lindgren, is a keeper. (Unlikely) heroes in the sweep in Seattle included Stephen Drew and Garrett Jones. Perhaps they are about to hit their stride. Maybe so, maybe not.

But  the most significant moment of the past week may have been the DFA of David Carpenter, a bold move at this point in the season. The Yankees had a player in their system (Lindgren) whom they believed to be better. Once the trade market opens up and possible options become available, other players may face the same fate as Carpenter. The Yankees clearly want to get better. So if you have a least favorite Yankee because of performance, their time may be coming.
A few words on the draft: the Yankees have done much better in recent years with Lindgren as an example.  Remember that guys like David Parrish, Andrew Brackman, Cito Culver and Dante Bichette were all first round picks that didn't have to be. Here's hoping the Yankees concentrate on the "best available" player when selecting 16th and 30th in the first round beginning on Monday.

I follow the prospects throughout the organization and one player has gotten my attention lately. He is Mason Williams who was added to the 40 man roster last November, much to my chagrin. I had considered this player more of a "project" than prospect, and believed the Yankees were wasting a roster spot for a player that struggled mightily at the bat for over two seasons. Now, because of injuries at the major league level, Williams was promoted to AAA Scranton and didn't miss a beat in the process. Williams is now one outfield injury away from the Bronx. He is a player worth watching.
One last word: I was saddened to read this week of the struggles of Mel Stottlemyre with his recurrence of cancer. Mel Stottlemyre was called up from the minors on August 12, 1964 and won nine games down the stretch that helped the Yankees win one last pennant, before the dynasty went away for more than a decade. The Yankees simply don't win a pennant in '64 without Mel. A true ace, he was among the best in the business even in the down years of the Yankees franchise.  Stottlemyre would return as pitching coach under Joe Torre, gathering four championship rings in five years. Mel is an all time Yankee great. Everyone in Yankees Nation is pulling for you, Mel.

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