Tiger Balm

Note: This post is an excuse for some thoughts in the mode of a sports geek, which I don't usually present on the blog because I haven't be paying as much attention to baseball this year as I did in some years past. If you don't care about baseball, and the Yankees in particular, there's nothing for you here.

On the level of looking at his personality, Bernie Williams has been one of my favorite Yankees for years. To emphasize the truth of this, let me point out that I own a copy of
The Journey Within, and think it's a reasonably good album (that's supposed to build my credibility as a Bernie fan, not as someone with taste in music). During his 1995-2002 peak, he was a truly great player. However, since around 2001, his defense has been bad enough to negate his offense, even in a good year. The Yankees have had many opportunities to get him out of center field (actually out of the lineup) and some fans have been asking for it for years. For instance, when the Yankees signed A-Rod prior to the start of last season, many people wanted him to remain at shortstop, with Jeter moving to the outfield. Since Rodriguez was always the better defensive shortstop of the two, it was thought they would get the most value by leaving him at his natural position and giving Jeter a chance at either center or left, with Matsui taking the other. If I remember right, there were a couple of decent options for the Yankees at third base, and this arrangement would have improved the Yankees defense markedly.

The reason I'm talking about this is that Yankees management has responded to the Yankees weak April by taking Bernie out of the lineup. They did this in a very interesting, though possibly problematic, way. Matsui shifts to center field, where he should be able to perform the required defensive duties ably. And Robinson Cano comes up from the minors to play second base, which is going to be quite interesting, as he's a top prospect who I've wanted to see in action for quite a while. The not so great part is that Tony Womack, who a mistaken signing in the first place, is moving to left field. This may actually mitigate his lack of defensive prowess, since left isn't as important a defensive position as second, but he doesn't have nearly the kind of batting ability one expects from a corner outfielder.

Overall, this is going to make the Yankees a lot more interesting to watch for the next couple of weeks. A lot of their top minor league players have been getting at least a small chance. This includes Chien Ming-Wang, who gave a solid performance in his first major league start on Saturday, with yours truly attending.