Odds and ends for a Thursday
MAYBE THE BEST THING EVER WRITTEN
Ken Davidoff vs. A-Rod’s detractors. It’s all quite obvious, really, but for some people it requires repetition.
BILL HALL AND OTHER DISCONTENTS
Apologies for yesterday’s skip day — I find I cannot sleep my first night in a hotel, and so I got home from the gig and collapsed straight away and at great length. All those who wished crab cakes for me in the comments, sorry to disappoint, but I played it conservatively — one of those combos you never want to hit in life is, “bad shellfish/300 miles from home.” As much as I love Maryland’s signature dish, I just couldn’t risk it.
Continuing on the “Find a sub for A-Rod” beat, I note this article from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel regarding rookie Casey McGehee’s pursuit of the Brewers’ third base job. McGehee, 26, hasn’t done much in the minors to suggest that he could start in the Majors — he’s a career .279/.332/.409 hitter in nearly 700 games — but he does have a decent glove, so Ken Macha might be a little infatuated with having a guy at that corner who can make a few plays.
What this means is that Bill Hall, who was once rumored to be headed to the Yankees as part of a deal for Mike Cameron, could be in play again. Hall has been slowed by a calf injury this spring, he’s owed about $18 million over this year and next (plus a 2011 buyout), and he hasn’t done anything exciting with the stick in three years. However, we’re talking about third basemen who might out-perform Cody Ransom, so our threshold is extremely low. A reasonable projection for Hall would be somewhere around .250/.310/.425, or about what he did in 2007. You could also pencil in a great many strikeouts and some frustrating errors at third base.
Still, the Yankees would get a few home runs, decent production against left-handers (.278/.355/.493 career), and the versatility of a player who has also spent whole seasons starting at shortstop and center field. That last might yet come in handy.
YET ANOTHER REASON SPRING TRAINING STATS ARE MEANINGLESS
Kevin Cash is hitting .385 (5-for-13). He’s a career .184 hitter, with cause.
WE COULD USE MORE BOOKS LIKE THIS (WELL, I COULD)
Just received my copy of Allen Barra’s new biography, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. I was all set to read it and give you a thoroughgoing critique of the work, but when I cracked open the book at random, I landed on this passage: “Steven Goldman, author of the brilliant analysis of Casey’s evolution as a manager, Forging Genius…”
So I guess any pretense of writing an objective review is out the window. I will, however, still read and report to you on the book, because it really fills a needed hole in our understanding of those great Yankees teams. Whereas Yogi has written or collaborated on many books about himself, and there have been a few notable tomes on those teams as a whole, or on other members (mostly numerous volumes on Mickey Mantle), the definitive book on Berra, one of the greatest catchers of all time and an indispensable member of those championship teams, had never been written.
Yogi is famous for his personality, but when you look at those dynasty teams, the gap between Berra and the next-best catcher in the league was often no smaller than the Grand Canyon. Casey, once asked the secret of his success, said, “I never play a game without my man.” The man to whom he was referring was Lawrence Peter Berra, and he was right.
TONIGHT, TONIGHT, TONIGHT
Yeah, it’s a bad Phil Collins song, but it’s what I’ve got right now. I’ll be in Manhattan this (Thursday) evening talking any topic you wish to throw my way, along with my Baseball Prospectus colleagues Kevin Goldstein, Jay Jaffe, Cliff Corcoran, and Neil deMause at 6 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble at 5th Avenue and 18th St. be there or be… somewhere else, I guess.
For those choosing that latter option, you have another chance on Friday, and from a safe distance, as I’ll be doing a live chat beginning at 1 p.m. EST at Baseball Prospectus. As always, if you can’t hang out as the chat is ongoing, you can still submit questions ahead of time at the same link.