Thursday, March 22, 2007

C'mon Joe, Start Phelps

Spring Training is an important time of year for all players. Players are trying to get in shape and are battling for a spot on the team. This year, for the Yankees, their is really only one battle for a starting position. It wasn't really considered a battle before the spring started and even now but it really should be. The battle I am speaking of is between Josh Phelps, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Andy Phillips. Lets just scratch Phillips out now as the Yankees really could not justify keeping him over Phelps. Phelps is better at just about everything other then defense. So that leaves Phelps and Minky. I am in no way an advocate of spring training stats mean a whole lot but in this case I believe they are important. Josh Phelps is 11 for 25 with 2 homers while Minky is hitting under .100 with no significant hits. Phelps has shown his calmness in clutch situations while Minky has found his double play stroke. I was disappointed when the yankees first signed Minky. Were they fooled by his decent average last year? Did they feel his defense would justify his offense? I agree that defense is important but the Yankees had survived with Giambi at first for the good part of the last 5 years. They could manage to get an average 1st basemen in turn for a solid bat. They obviously felt different as they decided to sign Minky. Minky has not had a good year since his days with the Twins. He wasn't even that good then! He also hasn't proved he can handle the media as his first tour in NY was laughable. I have no faith that this guy could justify hitting what he may with his defense. He just seems over matched at the plate even in spring. That brings us to Josh Phelps. He is 29 years old and was acquired in the Rule-5 draft. Admittedly, I kind of overlooked this signing as insignificant but its starting to look like a good pickup. Phelps had a solid year in AAA last year and was held down mostly because he had no where to play. He has been tossed around alot and hasn't had a chance to play since 2003 when he hit 20 homers and hit 270 in 119 games. Not the best numbers but is still respectable for a then 25 year old. He also has a career MLB average of a 981 fielding %. This guy needs a chance to suceed and the yankees should give it to him. He has tons more upside then Minky and can produce more over a full season. Coming into spring training it was his job to lose. IF this spring continues, he should lose it.

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