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Pinstripe Pondering: On Coaching

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"Do you see that wall in the outfield? Try hitting it over that!" -Kevin Long, Yankees hitting coach, instructs Alex Rodriguez on what to do when at bat.  

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
"Do you see that wall in the outfield? Try hitting it over that!" -Kevin Long, Yankees hitting coach, instructs Alex Rodriguez on what to do when at bat. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Mood Music - Empire Ants by Gorillaz

I'm sure I have brought this up before in articles and game threads. I just want to be perfectly clear on the matter. I despise Chad Gaudin. I loathe Sergio Mitre. Okay fine. There is nothing truly to hate about either person. We tried them out, they sucked, and we got rid of them. Standard baseball procedure. What is really detestable about the two of them is that they were re-pinstriped after they proved that their pitching was downright unacceptable in any fashion. These were people that forgot to use cleaning fluid before mopping up and Cashman hired them for a second time to keep the floor shiny and clean. It boggles and somewhat upsets the mind when I see Cashman do this. When I saw them come out and pitch, I booed them. I was more booing the situation more than the players themselves. It was just upsetting and I did not have a blog in front of me to fully express my complaints. Boo would have to do.

Chad Qualls was a curious pick up by Cashman. He has not learned to distrust players named Chad yet. This is why he is a good GM and I am a good writer. Um, a decent writer. Okay, a man who types words on a keyboard that others occasionally read. So while I saw this new Chad and did not trust this move due to his first name and his previously awful stats with the Philadelphia Phillies, Cashman saw possible potential. Thus far that potential has yet to show up, to say the least. The Chad-dacity of his pitching is showing through and DFAing him is becoming more of a likely outcome. This was the predictable outcome when Cashman signed Qualls. This is still not as offensively annoying a move as resigning a Mitre. Qualls might have worked on the Yankees. Perhaps Larry Rothschild could have done something to fix his mechanics. Maybe he still can. Coaches are pretty unique like that. Some are better than others. Others might just work better with certain players. Certain players might just play better in different stadiums. Different stadiums sometimes just serve better food. It all leads to bacon.

There's no bacon here after the jump. Just more talk of how certain players might play differently with different coaches. Sorry to disappoint you. Bacon is a far more delicious topic. Unless you, gasp, do not like bacon. Or maybe you just prefer the coaching styles of Kevin Long and Larry Rothschild instead. Their coaching has sat well with me so far. I like the work that Long has done with Curtis Granderson's batting stance. Rothschild's work with the bullpen definitely seems to be paying off for the Yankees these past couple of seasons. Some of the more experienced players might not need as much of their advice whereas some players might just be beyond their help. Or perhaps they need another coach that they could work with. Long might not be able to help Russell Martin. Martin might just need a new hitting coach. Or more bacon is also an option. Qualls just might suck more than any amount of Larry's coaching or even bacon can help. What has prompted these little thoughts into my head is the Yankees recent trip to Seattle and the current state of former top prospects Jesus Montero and Justin Smoak.

Justin Smoak is one of the primary reasons that the Yankees did not get to rent the movie Cliff Lee from the Blockbuster Video in Seattle in 2010. This rental block still makes me happy to this very day. The fall of Blockbuster Video also makes me happy to this very day. It's a shell of its former self and I hope it continues to fall. Long live Netflix or streaming or Redbox or anything other than it! Back to Cliff Lee. The Yankees didn't get him because the Mariners decided that the Texas Rangers farm system, which I assume has actual cattle as well as prospects, had the better option with Smoak. Smoak has not worked out for the Mariners thus far. He was sent down to the Mariners Triple-A not too long before the Yankees arrived. Before being sent down, his triple slash line was .189/.253/.320. Even I, with my limited Greg Kirkland stat knowledge, know that's not good. This was the prospect that possibly cost the Yankees their Cliff Lee rental? Judging by 2011 and 2012, it definitely makes one ponder.

I know what player definitely makes me ponder what could have been. I'm sure other people on this blog and on other websites are also pondering what I'm pondering. The Mariners wound up with Jesus Montero anyway via the now infamous "THEY KNEW!" Michael Pineda trade. There's no need to continue to discuss whether or not it was a good trade. What's done is done. The point of this is just pondering his current hitting situation in Seattle and how non-Jesus like it seems to be. In his very brief time gracing the Bombers with his bat in 2011, his triple slash was .328/.406/.590. In his less brief time as a Seattle Mariner, his triple slash is currently .262/.307/.402. There is clearly a significant drop off in his hitting production. Safeco Field is definitely not Yankee Stadium when it comes to being a hitter friendly ballpark, but there is plenty of outfield out there for doubles and such. There's also more foul territory for pop outs as well. There's also a different hitting coach in Seattle then Kevin Long and whomever coached Smoak in the Rangers' cow filled farm system. Considering that both these prime choice cut of beef hitting prospects have both not performed well in Seattle, again I just have to ponder how well the Seattle's hitting coach is preparing them on the grill.

Then comes more pondering regarding Seattle's hitting coach. His name is Chris Chambliss. If your first thought was "Wasn't Chris Chambliss the Yankees hitting coach during that whole 1996-2000 Yankees dynasty thing?" then you are actually pondering what I am pondering. There are just so many factors and intangibles when it comes to this great sport of baseball. I'm certainly not comparing those incredible late 90's teams to the current Mariners team, but how could our dynasty hitting coach be unable to get Seattle's offense up and dingering, especially with Smoak and Montero there? It could mean nothing more than Chambliss is just not working out in Seattle thus far. It could just mean that Seattle's players are not all that great. It could mean that Smoak and Montero are really not all they are cracked up to be. Or that they are still young and developing and need more bacon. Or many other factors that make baseball so unpredictable. This is why prospects get traded for "proven" talent, even when "proven" talent might not "prove" itself when they move to a different team. You just don't know. Austin Jackson was suppose to be similar to Curtis Granderson when he came up to the majors. If the Yankees could get the actual Granderson for Jackson via trade, it's hard to resist that "proven" player factor.

Coaches and managers tend to either get blamed or praised a lot more than they should. Like I said, I like the work that Long and Rothschild have done with the Yankees. I'll still always ponder how much they really do to make the Yankees and certain players either better or worse.

  • How much do you think coaching helps towards making certain teams or players better or worse?
  • Do you like bacon?
  • Are you indeed pondering what I'm pondering?
  • Do you even get the reference of that quote?