Let me get right to the point.
Yesterday, ESPN reported that the Boston Red Sox had got catcher Mike Napoli to agree to a one-year deal worth $5 million bucks. Mind-you Napoli has suffered from a lingering hip injury, so I am sure his physical wasn’t stellar but regardless he brings a right-handed power bat that Boston needed.
The New York Yankees could have benefited from a right-handed power bat, as they are in desperate need of one, and if Napoli stays healthy he could very well get behind the dish too.
But the ex- Ranger is not the first but the second free agent catcher to ink a one-year deal, as his spot in Texas was filled by backstop AJ Pierzynski a few weeks back.
So my question is where the heck were the New York Yankees during these negotiations?
Presumably, since Hal and company basically packed the team’s starting catcher Russell Martin bags for Pittsburgh that acquiring a catcher who can hit bombs would be a high priority.
Also the fact that both Pierzynski and Napoli accepted a one-year deal makes this even more puzzling.
So once again this off-season, I feel deceived by the Yankees because words are not matching actions and that is trouble.
I mean it was only a week ago that Hal Steinbrenner reiterated his father’s promises to the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Costa, “…the commitment to field a championship team is paramount, and that won’t change. Our fans expect that.”
Well, I guess a starting catcher but more importantly a righty power hitter is no longer a necessity in the Bronx.
Please note that I am in no way stating that Martin, Napoli or Pierzynski are dynamos behind the dish because none of them are but they all get the job done.
This trio can hit homers too as last season they combined for 72, 186 RBIs and 137 walks.
Martin and Napoli both posted batting averages below, which is not good but Pierzynski had a career year finishing with a .278 BA. Still, AJ draws about half the number of walks compared to the other two, but he strikes out about a third less.
Regardless there is a bigger issue that the Yankees now have thanks to ownerships lackadaisical attitude towards not prioritizing signing one of the three guys above.
And that is not having a catcher with everyday playing, and more importantly, post-season experience. Martin and Persenski both started over 130 games in 2012, while Napoli started 103.
Fact is no team can replace a rock-solid starting catcher with a committee of back-ups.
How the Yankees believe that a trio of Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine will get the team deep into the postseason is beyond me.
Neither Cervelli, nor Romine caught a game at the Major League level in 2012, along with subjective injury histories that hampers skipper Joe Girardi’s ability to start either on a regular basis.
Stewart caught 55 games, as Martin’s back-up last year. And at the plate he posted a .241 batting average, with one homer, 13 RBIs, 10 walks and 21 strikeouts over 141 at-bats.
Now if that doesn’t make you wonder what is going here, I don’t know what will.
And if any fans had their fingers crossed that the Nationals Mike Morse would be donning pinstripes in 2013, your wish did not come true as Morse is officially heading to Seattle to join ex-Yankees Raul Ibanez and Jesus Montero.
The YES network reported this morning that the Yankees did call about Morse but were not heavily involved after that as they were not sold on Morse.
Reality is the Yankees don’t have the prospects to make that deal, but they do not want to spend money so that leaves the team at a standstill.
Maybe Hal Steinbrenner could start posting volunteer signs around the Big Apple, or make Joe Girardi the first manager-catcher in MLB history as that might bring in a few extra bucks.
Personally, I would rather have the Yankees skipper, or bench coach Tony Pena behind the dish in 2013 and don’t laugh because I am not joking.
The bottom-line is this is the first time in 15-years that I am not counting down the days till pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, as I am anxious but in a bad way; and I do not like it.