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'Kudos & Wet Willies,' All-Star break review

I promised you guys a 'Kudos & Wet Willies' review of our New York Yankees during the break. Here it is.

Before I start, a primer. 'Kudos' go to the best performers. 'Wet Willies' go to the worst. There are some guys who fall in the middle. When I discuss these types of guys over at my football site -- Big Blue View -- I usually talk about guys who do some good and some bad things. They don't fit in either category, so they get a 'kwillie.' We will give out a few of those today, too.

I guess the best way to do this is by going through most of the roster. I may not mention everyone who has donned the pinstripes thus far in 2009, but I will try to get to most of them.

So, let's get started.

Pitching Staff


CC Sabathia -- At 8-6, 3.86 the big fella has been OK. He has also pitched a ton of innings (128.1). The Yankees didn't pay him $161 million just to be OK and eat innings, though. They paid him to win big games like Sunday's, and to be dominant. He hasn't been those things, yet. For now, he gets a 'kwillie.'

A.J. Burnett -- Another guy who has been good, but not great at 8-4, 3.77. He's done a little Mitch Williams' 'Wild Thing' impersonation at times, but he has been pretty much what the Yankees expected. Gotta give him 'kudos.'

Andy Pettitte -- He is 8-5 with a high 4.85 ERA. Probably about what he can be expected to do at this point in his career. He's somewhere in the middle, so he has to get a 'kwillie.'

Joba Chamberlain -- I believe he should start. And I know you have to be patient with a 23-year-old in his first full season as a starter. But, Joba (4-2, 4.25) has a higher WHIP (1.56) than Pettitte and is getting knocked around more than we have ever seen. No question about this one. A 'Wet Willie' for Joba.

Chien-Ming Wang -- Any doubt? 'Wet Willie.' The Yankees need him to pitch better in the second half, but as as Charles Barkley would say, he's been mostly 'turr-a-bull.'

Mariano Rivera -- He's still Mariano in save situations, which means darn close to automatic. So, 'kudos' to Mo. Unless it' a tie game, in which case it's close your eyes, turn off the TV and reach for another beer.

Phil Hughes -- Utterly dominant since going to the bullpen. 'Kudos,' without question.

Phil Coke -- Struggled early, but he has become one of the reliable members of the Yankee bullpen.'Kudos.'

Brian Bruney -- Umm ... 'Wet Willie.' Bruney is riding the Jose Veras train, which we know leads from trusted set-up guy and winds its way into banishment to some other organization.

David Robertson -- Great curveball, decent fastball, terrible control. No way he should ever come into a game with runners on base. For now,  a 'kwillie,' which could rapidly turn into the dreaded WW.

Alfredo Aceves -- Looking past his not so successful start last week, 'Ace' (5-1, 2.49) has been brilliant for the Yankees in just about every role. He has started, gone long, pitched in the middle, done the eighth-inning thing, and even picked up a save. 'Kudos.'

Brett Tomko -- Tough one to grade, since the expectation here is really that he just manage not to embarrass himself pitching a few mop-up innings. He's managed to do that, I guess, but I can't do any better than give him a 'kwillie.'

Mark Melancon -- Not enough to judge yet, though a 6.35 ERA in five appearances does not make you think this guy can one day close for the Yankees. I guess I will give him a 'kwillie' until I see more.

Edwar Ramirez/Jose Veras/Jonathan Albaledejo/Damaso Marte -- 'Wet Willies' all, though that might be slightly unfair to Albaladejo who has been decent at times.

Position Players

Jorge Posada -- I love Jorge, and he is a lot more important to the Yankees than many fans give him credit for. He has made a nice comeback from shoulder surgery with the bat this season (.285, 11, 40), but he is adequate at best defensively and at 37 won't get any better. 'Kudos,' but barely. And only because his offense outweighs his defense.

Jose Molina -- 'Wet Willie.' For holding Francisco Cervelli's roster spot hostage.

Francisco Cervelli -- 'Kudos,' of course. He is Francisco the Great, and we know he will return.

Mark Teixeira -- He has been everything the Yankees hoped for, and more. Offensively and defensively he is a force, and he is a class act who was a great addition to the clubhouse. 'Kudos.'

Robinson Cano -- Much better than last season, both offensively and defensively. Cano, though, is still not as good as he should be. He may never be a guy who can be relied on in the middle of the lineup. He gets a 'kwilie.'

Derek Jeter -- 'Kudos.' Both offensively and defensively, Jeter is playing better than he has in quite a while. At 35, he is playing better than we could have anticipated. The Captain is still a big-time player.


Alex Rodriguez -- Forgetting all the drama around A-Rod all the time, I admire what he has done this season with 17 home runs and 50 RBI in just 58 games. 'Kudos.'

Cody Ransom -- Tell me again why Brian Cashman thought Ransom should be the utility infielder for this team? He's hitting .176 and you have to hold your breath every time the ball is hit to him. 'Wet Willie.' If I had a worse honor, I'd give him that. And I can't wait until the Yankees give him the boot.

Ramiro Pena -- At some point, Pena has to return to be the Yankees' utility infielder. He has a terrific glove, and even now is a better big-league hitter than Ransom. He is in AAA learning to play the outfield, and could be a terrific all-around utility guy for years to come. 'Kudos.'

Johnny Damon -- Old man Johnny looks like he is tip-toeing on hot coals every time he goes after a fly ball, ut he sure can hit. When do they paint 'Damon's Deck' on the front of the Yankee Stadium second deck in right field? 'Kudos.'

Brett Gardner -- He is playing better than most thought he could, (.282, 18 stolen bases). He also covers a ton of ground in center field. 'Kudos.'

Melky Cabrera -- As a jack-of-all trades sometimes center fielder, sometimes corner guy, sometimes regular, sometimes bench guy Melky has been terrific. 'Kudos.'

Nick Swisher -- 'Turd' or not, Swisher has been a plus for the Yankees. 'Kudos.'

Hideki Matsui -- His knees won't let him play the outfield any more, and he is streaky with the bat. But, when he gets it going he is a middle-of-the-lineup guy who can really hit. Enjoy him for now because he won't be a Yankee next season. 'Kwillie.'

Eric Hinske -- 'Kudos' so far, but the sample size is too small for a real assessment.


I am giving Joe Girardi a 'kwillie' for now. There has been good and bad, but the Yankees would make the playoffs if the season ended today so it's hard to give him a 'Wet Willie' Ultimately, Girardi can't be judged until the season is over.