A Moment of Silence for the Yankees

Yes, there were four other teams playing today.

The Rays, who are doing their best imitation of actual sluggers, beat the Red Sox and John Lester. Is David Ortiz in a major slump or is his wrist bothering him or does he miss Manny?
Speaking of the Manster, the Dodgers lost a close one to the Phillies despite his sizzling hot bat. Their bullpen didn’t get it done and Ethier grounded into a rally-killing double play.
But it was the Yankees I was thinking about after Joe Buck pointed out that Manny’s single in the eighth was his 52nd postseason hit, tying him with our very own Bernie.
BernieWilliamsSuny_crop.png
So while the Dodgers-Phillies game was winding up, I took a few minutes to reflect on the 2008 Yanks. And what I fixated on was this: Why didn’t they ever (well, hardly ever) bunt runners over? Seriously. I saw the Dodgers do it tonight with my very own eyes. It’s not brain surgery. And yet, other than the occasional attempts by Jeter, Damon and Gardner, this team was all about going for the home run when there were men on base, and the offense suffered because of it.
I hate to say this about my Yankees, but they were incredibly one-dimensional. I mean, can you picture this player bunting?
matsui.jpeg
Or him?
cano.jpeg
Him?
abreu.jpeg
Him?
giambi.jpeg
Certainly not him?
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I’m not even bringing up Posada and Molina, because we all know that catchers don’t bunt – unless, of course, they’re Russell Martin of the Dodgers who can run the bases too – a freak of nature!
My point here is that Cashman has to VARY the talents of next season’s team. We still need our bombers, sure. But we also need athletic, versatile players who can do more than swing for the fences. Sometimes laying down a bunt is a beautiful thing.

12 Comments

The one thing all those guys pictured have in common that prevents them from bunting is: EGO. For some reason, bunting a guy over has become equated with being a wimp — which is wrong because Ozzie Smith used to bunt guys over all the time and he was no wimp. That’s how I see it.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

I agree that ego is involved, Jeff. I hear people say, “Oh, you can’t ask A-Rod to bunt a guy over…” But I honestly think most of these guys were never taught (or never bothered to learn) how to bunt. I’m not saying it’s the end-all be-all of the game. But the Yankees would have a runner on first with nobody out and leave him there – constantly. It made me nuts.

Not bunting is a sign of the times now. I don’t know much about the “ego’s” of these players, but from what I know of him I bet Giambi would bunt if asked of him.

With all of the stat analysis and sabrmatricians (i.e. Bill James) a lot of team’s philosophy is to not bunt as you are giving up a precious out.

Of course, there are certain late inning sitiuations where bunting is appropriate and necessary over all, if a team is going to use this new age philosphy they are not going to bunt. The Red Sox rarely bunt as well.

According to one of my favorite sites, Baseball Reference, the Yankees had 31 Sacrifice Bunts, the Red Sox had 28, the Rays had 23. What does that tell you? Invert that order, and you have the Top 3 in th AL East this season.

Molina led the team with 8, while Jeter had 7.

Greg
Red Sox Rambling: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

Greg, I don’t mean to make too much of The Bunt – those stats are very interesting, btw, and instructive – but the Yankees had offensive woes last season big time. The Rays and Red Sox didn’t. I watched game after game where we stranded runners. So while the bunt may not be in vogue, the Yankees need to find a way to move runners over and get them in. I’m still traumatized by the game where Damon was at third with nobody out and didn’t score.

It’s odd, because one of the issues I heard with Torre over the last few years is that he had abandoned small ball. When Joe Girardi (a catcher who could bunt and run the bases) took over, he was supposed to bring that back. I saw him use it to win the first game of the season, and I didn’t see much of it after that. It’s ironic that Torre has gone back to that style of play while Girardi abandoned it. As for the sabermetricians that Greg points out, bunting can actually work in reverse. When you consider all the double plays that Jeter and A-Rod hit into this year, the Yankees would actually have gained precious outs instead of giving them up.

I guess there’s this idea that bunting is strictly a National League phenomenon (as well as something Mike Scoscia advocates). Still, I thought Girardi would bring that style of play to the Yankees. It didn’t happen. He inherited a team that was one-dimensional or at least seemed that way. Not sure what he could have done about it.

The Yankees have to many good hitters, I blame Girardi for holding bunt sign.

That said, it would be useful every once in a while. Although, good luck Girardi trying to explain that to the guys you listed.

If you want, the Jays will trade you a bunch of guys who will bunt for those hitters. No problem. 🙂
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

Let’s see, welikeroy. Does Rios know how to bunt? On second thought, he doesn’t have to. I’d trade for him in a New York minute. But mostly I just want your boy Roy!

Hey, Jane …

I totally agree, the Yankees need to play way more “small-ball” next year … I thought this was the kind of baseball Joe Girardi would bring to the Yankees — but, that was not the case … The Yankees did very little bunting, or hit and run plays; and, left way too many runners on base, especially, on third, with less than two outs !!! … It is interesting [as Greg pointed out above] that Jose Molina led the Yankees with 8 sac bunts; and, Derek Jeter was second on the team with 7 sac hits — and, Molina played in way less games than Derek did … I always liked Billy Martin’s philosophy: “score the first run of the game anyway you can, so then, the other team has to score at least two runs to win” … Anyway, “Spring Training” should be “fun” for every player on the Yankees … How about, two hours of bunting, and hit and run plays, everyday ? … May the inspiration of the late, great, Phil Rizzuto be with the Yankees this “Spring” !!! … Take care, Jane … Jimmy [27NYY] …

http://baseballtheyankeesandlife.mlblogs.com/

Hey, Jimmy. I like that quote from Billy Martin. Let’s hope spring training goes well (lots of hard work but no injuries!) and Girardi can make whatever adjustments he needs to make. The Yanks WILL have a great season in ’09. They have to!

Rios would lay down the occasional bunt when he batted lead off. I know you don’t follow the Jays that close, but you should have picked Wells or Rolen because they would never bunt; although, those guys hit in spots in the batting order where bunting makes no sense.

It would depend who the offer would be Rios. Probably wouldn’t want to give up Rios for Abreu, but a tough call.
Rolen of Arod, Jeter for John MacDonald, Giambi for Overbay, Posada for Zaun/Barajas, Lind for Matsui. Disregarding all salary considerations, I think that would work out for us. All but one of those guys can lay down sacrifice bunts when called upon, even Overbay.

Your Yankees are still a very strong club, and their record last season was nothing to snuff at. Very deep compared to most teams. Just a down year for the Yanks with injuries and with heightend competition (i.e. Tampa Bay being so good). They’ve still managed to dominate us in the standings, even when they are having an ‘off’ year.

Sorry, I’m still bitter about third place. I don’t want to get down on my own team. I won’t. Rios is a phenomn and Roy, well, I love you man. Don’t worry im not ‘coming out,’ or nothing like that, he is just a really ‘good baseball player’ and I’m glad you brought him up.

I wouldn’t take the entire ’49 Yankees, with Hendrich, Berra, Dimaggio, Rizzuto for Halladay. I would rather LOSE and keep missing the playoffs than trade him. I don’t care if he goes 13-15 on the mound for the rest of his career (which will likely never happen). I love watching him pitch that much.
http://homerfoodandhistory.mlblogs.com/

I’d be bitter about third place too, because the Jays played good ball after Cito took over. But as you say, it’s a tough division. And it’s OK to love Roy! LOL! I can easily see why you would. He goes out there every time, pitches with intensity and efficiency, gives you complete games, has nasty stuff. What’s not to love?

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