Defensive abilities going into a slump just like offensive abilities is a concept some find hard to grasp. Sometimes players have minor injuries that cause them to miss a step here or there, or they go through a spell where the ball is difficult to pick up, or they just have some bad luck on glove placement. It happens. Even to catchers, as Dioner Navarro proved today. Navarro sailed two throws to second base over his middle infielders' heads. I don't know what the tallest combined middle infield in baseball history is, but both Ben Zobrist and Reid Brignac stand 6'3" inches. There's no familiarity concept here, Navarro isn't used to throwing to taller infielders or anything like that, these were just poor throws. The blame shouldn't be placed solely on Navarro though, David Price allowed Alex Rodriguez to take off, first move, and force Navarro into a grab and fire maneuver.
Later on Navarro would try and pick Melky Cabrera off third, something that failed miserably. I don't know if Navarro nails him with a perfect throw or not, but there's no way of knowing whether the Rays escape that inning without allowing a run. Yeah, Price struck out Jeter then got Damon to roll out, but both approaches change if there's a runner on third. Bad play, but the run may have found a way to score anyways.
It's only one game, and only three plays, and I'd rather not have anyone place too much emphasis on the events. Still, given our relatively lack of ability to place numbers on catcher defense, I'm wondering if John Jaso could be worse behind the plate when offense is accounted for.
ZiPS has Navarro getting ~300 more at-bats with a .296 wOBA, good for -8.6 offensive runs. Even if John Jaso between his .309 and .323 ZiPS and CHONE projected wOBAs, over 320-330 plate appearances that's a six run swing. Six runs, gained just from making John Jaso the everyday catcher. Is Jaso six runs worse than Navarro defensively over that same time? Would Jaso butcher play-calling duties? I don't know the answer to either of those questions.
I don't think Navarro is this bad of a player, but sometimes offensive regression ignores our arbitrary schedule length and takes longer than 162 games. Navarro's greatest assets right now are things unquantifiable, and forgive me if that makes me a bit weary on keeping him in the lineup when there's a chance of an upgrade being available.
Regarding Price, this was a pretty mediocre start. The control was lacking, and he missed away countless times. Price threw two spike curves today, about 30 sliders, and the rest fastballs. I guess on the positive side, if the worst Price start is going to be one where he gives up three runs, then we should be pretty happy. On the negative side, the same issues we've been talking about popped up again. He's going to have some bumps in the road, just keep his talent in mind and don't set your expectations too high.
It seems odd that just a month ago people were trying to figure out how Willy Aybar and Ben Zobrist get their share of at-bats. Today both were batting in the top five of the lineup and are essentially regulars. This could change soon, with Pat Burrell and Evan Longoria returning, although it's still funny how things work out.
Matt Joyce was one faint breeze away from hitting a homerun off Mariano Rivera.
In many ways, Joe Dillon is basically Ty Wigginton. The blasé veteran who hustles, hits for some pop against lefties, and has a likeable demeanor. Consider it a good thing that 1-2 win players of Wigginton's ilk are no longer thought of as amongst the team's best players and are instead correctly thought of as role players.
More on Navarro, I can't believe I was actually for a sacrifice bunt from him in the 9th. When a sabermetrically inclined fan wants you to bunt in the 9th inning when you lead by one, in a wind tunnel of a stadium, that means your season is ranking in on the bad scale as approximately "Flipper". A runner on second with one out has a RE of 0.72, runner on first with one out is 0.55, and nobody on, two out 0.11. It didn't matter in the long run, since Navarro essentially bunted and the Rays scored a few more runs, but really, Navarro's season has been an absolute nightmare.
Reason 14 as to why you cannot demote Sonnanstine: Team's best pinch runner.
Reason 642 why B.J. is cooler than you: Those sunglasses.
Reason 643: Over his last ~110 plate appearances his OPS is near .800.
I can't remember the last time I saw both managers ditch the DH rule during one game. The Rays by moving Joe Dillon to the field, and the Yanks by doing the same with Jorge Posada. Given that the Rays bench was essentially Michel Hernandez and Gabe Gross, I think we can all agree it's a good thing the game ended before that lineup slot came up again.
I kept thinking we would only have two games against the Yankees, then I realized we play them Monday too. I don't know who designed the Friday-Monday series, but I'm not a fan. It just throws everything off.