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Dog Wags the Tail, Cash and the O’s, Pagan Continues to Disappoint, Thoughts on Tejada



By Mike Silva ~ August 23rd, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

Brian Cashman had the final say on the A.J. Burnett/Joe Girardi fiasco with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on WFAN.

Joe and Evan have done a nice job with Cashman the last couple of weeks. It’s amazing what an interview can produce if you allow your subject to speak. Instead of trying to impress the Yankees GM with their baseball knowledge (ala Francesa), they ask questions and allow him to answer.

My takeaway is that Brian Cashman is firmly in charge of the situation. There should be no question in that locker room about the support the organization has for Girardi. No one, including The Captain, supersedes the Yankees. This is a point that Cashman has hammered home frequently since the Jeter contract negotiations last offseason.

Want an example of why Cashman is in charge? Take this quote when addressing a question from Benigno about whether he favors A.J. Burnett over other players, like Jorge Posada:

“We’ve proven that we’re not afraid to make any tough decision. The tail does not wag the dog here, the dog wags the tail. So when we have to make the call, we’ll make a call, and we’ll make what we think is the right call.”

Cashman added that he “will defend all his players that put him in a position to defend them, but when they put themselves in a position that is not defensible, then I have no problem going the other way either.” 

Basically, Cashman sounded like Posada has created his own problems (which I agree with), while Burnett, although having a down season, has worked with the manager.

Cash broke down Burnett start-by-start since June 29th on the air. His main premise that Burnett is certainly not pitching like a $16 million dollar per year player, but doesn’t deserve the treatment he’s received from the fans and media. I also agree with this assertion.

Again, my point is not whether the story between Girardi-Burnett was true, I can’t prove otherwise and have to believe all the parties involved, it was the way Girardi reacted during the Saturday postgame that disturbed me.

This would never have been an issue if he addressed it in a calm and cool manner. Instead, he took offense the media was doing its job. The process of how Girardi interacts with people, specifically the media, is the crux of the debate.

You can’t interact with the media in this town like that and survive. It will come back to bite you when you encounter tough times.

That is the point I think that was not hammered home by Roberts and Benigno. It’s a point I have been trying to hammer home for two days. Instead, Yankees fans have decided to focus on the “lie vs. truth” position; one that I never debated, although I do find the reaction of Girardi and Burnett in the postgame suspicious.

In the end, Brian Cashman is firmly in charge. He is defending his manager, and it shows the players they are not bigger than the organization. This is the right thing to do, and what ultimately will help Girardi survive despite his personality shortcomings.

***

I talked about how the Cubs job would be desirable for Brian Cashman if he decided to leave the Yankees. One job that I would stay away from is the Orioles.

According to George King of the NY Post, the O’s are monitoring what happens with Cashman after the season.

Yes, having dealt with George Steinbrenner gives Cashman experience in dealing with the petulant Peter Angelos, but I don’t see Angelos having the patience or giving Cash the autonomy that he currently enjoys in New York.

The Orioles might be in an even more impossible situation than the Cubs. They haven’t had a winning season in a while, which has soured the fan base. They play in a division where 88 wins puts you a distant third and well out of the Wild Card race.

There are reasons for optimism with Baltimore. They have Buck Showalter at the helm. There are some young pitchers to be optimistic about, as the farm system is finally producing for the first time in over two decades. Still, Angelos goes through executives like we go through underwear. No one has seemed to survive and thrive since Pat Gillick. Even the Hall of Fame executive decided to move on from the Orioles.

Final analysis: beautiful ballpark, rich history, but a lousy owner and the worst possible division to play in baseball. I would pass.

***

Angel Pagan‘s subpar season continued last night; not because of anything he did on the field, but he again had to take himself out of a game due to injury. I am careful to question a player’s injury. You don’t know what they are feeling, and it’s easy to have the “go rub dirt on it” mentality sitting at home on the couch or in the press box. With that said, Pagan’s injuries lately have been dubious. First, dehydration in Florida, now a stomach virus shelves him last night in Philly. It’s bad enough the team is taking a beating to the Phillies, but it’s embarrassing when the umpires can’t find a player to take his turn at-bat because he is in the bathroom.

Let’s be honest. Pagan’s “stomach virus” was nothing more than nature calling. It’s the same “virus” we all have. He took his at-bat and was taken out of the game. Terry Collins didn’t make a big deal of it in the postgame, but I wonder if taking him out was more out of disgust for the situation. He didn’t appear happy in the dugout when discussing it with Pagan.

Pagan is going to be one of those decisions the front office has to make this offseason. He is making $3.5 million dollars this year and will probably command $4+ million in arbitration. He can’t make less than 80% of his current salary in the arbitration process so, as I asked a few weeks back, they have to wonder if 1) he is worth bringing back because he is still inexpensive and they are on a tight budget or 2) is he become more trouble than he is worth.

Pagan has gone from talented prospect, to quality backup, to emerging star. He appeared to be ascending this time last year. I no longer comparing him to Johnny Damon, but rather wondering whether he’s someone that will be part of a winning culture moving forward.

Right now, I am looking to see how members of the team continue to work hard, play the game the right way, and take pride in themselves. The divas will begin to appear as the schedule ticks down to the final weeks. In my opinion, Angel Pagan doesn’t appear to be a solution, or the type of winning player this team needs going forward.

***

Someone that could be a solution is Ruben Tejada. I still think he profiles as a backup, but perhaps that is because I have watched Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes play shortstop in this town. Most teams don’t have the type of offensive shortstops we have seen around here the last 15 years.

Could Tejada be a steady everyday shortstop? He’s hitting .271 with a solid .361 OBP. Defensively he makes all the plays, including this web gem last night. He could be the type of vanilla player that rounds out the lineup by just doing his job every day. Shortstop is an important defensive position, and I would be ok sacrificing offense, if necessary.

Make no mistake about it, he’s not a star, nor is he Jose Reyes. But the fact of the matter is the Mets need a plan B in case Reyes walks. Tejada continues to show me signs that he could be more than a twice a week fill-in. He will never hit for power, but if he could get on base at a .350 clip with above average defense, then he certainly could start at the big league level.

Since the All Star Break, Tejada is hitting .317 with a .406 OBP.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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4 Responses to Dog Wags the Tail, Cash and the O’s, Pagan Continues to Disappoint, Thoughts on Tejada

  1. Mister D

    How can you say that this (the Girardi thing) is not about whether you believe him when you repeatedly said on your show that he was lying, was caught in a lie, and was upset about being caught in the lie? Would you really be making so much of this if you believed he was telling the truth, and was tired of reporters trying to fabricate stories to get more readers?

  2. Mike Silva

    Mister D

    Klapisch said on the show repeatedly that statement. I think his reaction makes me believe something was up, but I don’t have enough prove to say it with certainty. The reaction is what cause my suspicion, and I think that was the point I was trying to make.

  3. Stu B

    Mike, Pagan’s condition was related to colitis, which can be pretty harsh.

  4. Mike Silva

    Stu, I agree and understand, but he could have just told Collins “hey, I need to come out, I don’t feel well, instead of embarrassing himself and the team.” Need to have more sense than that.

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