Tuesday, December 16, 2014


It's a typical "Cashman Bargain", eh?

I have to wonder if Brian Cashman does any real research, or if he just chooses to not remember the recent past when plunging into his “Bargain Basement” off-season signings.

His most recent “Steal of a Deal” was the signing of left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano.  It’s the typical venture Cashman has trademarked in his tenure with the club.   While Capuano the person is a great guy and great teammate, what he brings to the Yankees isn’t much – in my opinion.

We’ve been down this road before with our GM.  He finds a 35-year-old with little recent activity due to injury or irrelevance and hopes to capture “lightning in a bottle”.  With Capuano, I’m sure the fact that he is a southpaw immediately caused dreams of sugar plums and jolly elves to bounce their way around Mr. Cashman’s mind.  Nothing better than a lefty on the mound in Yankee Stadium, eh Brian? 
Well, actually there’s plenty better.
In 12 starts last season with the Bombers, Capuano gave up exactly 4 runs six times.  That’s a 4-run yield every other start.

For a team struggling to put 2 or 3 runs up every game, that’s not a good thing.  Proof lies in the fact that in only two of Capuano’s starts did he exit with a lead. 
Looking further at what the left-hander did in the Bronx reveals a flaw in Cashman’s “we need lefties” philosophy.   Since Yankee Stadium has a rather famous (infamous) short right field porch, the thinking is that left-handed throwers can limit damage that left-handed hitters will do - given the mouth-watering distance down the right field line.  So how did our newest “CC” do?   Lefty hitters batted .330 against Capuano and hit a home run off the hurler once every 14 at-bats.  Ted Williams hit home runs at that clip.

With the recent trade of up-and-coming pitcher Shane Greene, our rotation is rather thin and full of question marks.  Ivan Nova won’t be ready until at least mid-season, Hiroki Kuroda is debating retirement, no one really knows just how healed Masahiro Tanaka is, and we all wonder if CC will ever be CC again.  Only Michael Pineda and one of David Phelps or Adam Warren are near-locks to begin the season in the Yankees rotation.  Bringing Chris Capuano on board to potentially fill one of the five starting spots isn’t making things any rosier.

Already Cashman has implied that the Yankees are not in the running for Max Scherzer (and for what Scherzer is asking, I don’t blame him), and more than likely that means we won’t be landing James Shields either.  But, does that mean Chris Capuano was the best he could do?

Look, I know that a 1-year, $5 million contract is just a drop in the bucket for the Yankees, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it.  It’s still throwing $5 million at a pitcher who is a mediocre 4th starter at best.  If our lineup was a little more imposing, I might understand the deal better – but it’s not.  Right now we have a batting order that isn’t going to strike fear into any pitcher.  There aren’t going to be any “unintentional intentional walks” handed out.  We are going to continue to struggle to put up runs and play a “small ball” style.  That means we need our pitching to be our strength.  We need starters who can go deep into games and keep the opponent below 4 runs.  Chris Capuano never made it past the seventh inning as a starter last season, and has done so only twice in the last three years. 
Now that we’ve signed him, I – like Brian Cashman – do hope that we can somehow harness the best that Chris Capuano has to offer.  I really do want him to succeed for my team, really.  Unfortunately, I find myself with this kind of less-than-realistic hope every season that Cashman mans the helm as GM.  At some point he’s going to realize you get what you pay for.


--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1


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