Brian Cashman said today that he is interested in re-signing both Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. From ESPN New York:
“I have an interest in both Freddy and Bartolo. Those guys all did a good job for us, a really good job.”
Makes sense. Particularly Garcia who it is not quite as unreasonable to assume can do what he did in 2011 in 2012. Colon’s surprising year doesn’t strike me as potentially replicable, though I suppose it could happen.
But of course the Yankees are on a budget, so they may not be able to make the kind of big splash that getting both of those guys would require …
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.