Friday, November 30, 2007

Stark reminds us what we are trading for

Jason Stark writes;
"How great, how dominating, is Johan Santana?
So we took a look at his totally insane numbers. Let's start with this:
• Santana has now led the American League in fewest baserunners allowed per nine innings in four straight seasons. So who else, you ask, has done that?
How about nobody?

Ok, not bad, what else Jason?

"But over those same four seasons, Santana has also finished either first or second in the league in strikeouts. (And it could easily be four first-place finishes in a row, if rain hadn't forced him to exit early in his final start this year.)
And that's where Santana separates himself from Koufax and Hubbell.
Koufax slipped to fourth in strikeouts in 1964. Hubbell tumbled to sixth in whiffs in 1934.
So Santana is the only pitcher in history to run off a four-year stretch combining that kind of strikeout domination while allowing so few baserunners to run around. "

But Jason is he really striking that many out? Give us some perspective here;

"Over these last four years, Santana has averaged more than a strikeout an inning, pitched at least 219 innings in every season and piled up at least 4.5 whiffs for every walk in each of those years. Let's put that in perspective.
The only other pitcher in history to do that four straight seasons was Randy Johnson (from 1999-2002).

Yeah but he is no Mo, imagine if we could have Mo go seven innings?

"Now here's the final thing that astounds us about Santana: He has better numbers as a starter than a lot of closers -- even great closers -- have pitching one inning at a time. Check this out.
Santana 9.50
J.J. Putz 9.14
Huston Street 9.14
Joe Nathan 9.10
Mariano Rivera 8.09
Santana .273
Troy Percival .277
Putz .281
Nathan .288
Eric Gagne .290
Bobby Jenks .294
Brad Lidge .304
Jason Isringhausen .317"

Like I said before, Johan is pretty damn good. Enjoy Minnesota Phil, we'll miss ya.

Santana's Postseason Record

At first glance the record for Johan in the postseason is less then inspiring - 1-3 3.97 era. A closer look at those games reveals a different story. He struggled in relief in 2002 giving up 6 earned runs in 6.1 innings. Removing his relief outings his era drops to a more respectable 2.92, good but still not Johan-esque. His game log is as follows;

4 3 0 0 2 3 -2003 ALDS Game 1
3.2 6 6 6 1 3 -2003 ALDS Game 4
7 9 0 0 1 5- 2004 ALDS Game 1
5 5 1 1 3 7 - 2004 ALDS Game 4(Short Rest)
8 5 2 2 1 8 - 2006 ALDS Game 1

I don't remeber 2003 Game 1, was he hurt? Anyway, in all but one start he has given Minnesota a really good outing. The verdict? I would not worry about Johan on the big stage.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kennedy is underrated

From Petey Ab;
"Lester is better and has more of a track record than Ian Kennedy.."
Define better? Lets throw out Kennedy's three starts as too smal a sample size and instead look at their other numbers. Career minor league numbers;
H/9 - Lester 7.99, Kennedy 5.62
K/9 Lester 8.31, Kennedy 9.97
ERA-Lester 3.33, Kennedy 1.87
WHIP-Lester 1.31, Kennedy .97
BB/9-Lester 3.78, Kennedy 3.14
A significant advantage for Kennedy in every category. How about the scouting reports?
From BA in 2005 on Lester;
"Strengths:Lester is a big, physical lefthander with a chance for three plus pitches. His fastball has late life and has risen from 87-88 mph in 2003 to 90-91 in 2004 to 92-93 last year, when he topped out at 95. He has turned his cut fastball into a true slider that’s now his No. 2 pitch. He can get both swings and misses and called strikes with his changeup. "
and BA in 2006 on Kennedy;
"Strengths: Kennedy has excellent command, particularly for a young pitcher, thanks to his consistent delivery. His command helps his average stuff play up. He spots his fastball, which sits in the upper 80s and touches 92 mph when he's right, and throws a sinking changeup from the same arm slot and with similar arm speed. Even when he's not at his best, Kennedy keeps the ball down and doesn't give up many homers. He's savvy and intelligent and pitches with a plan."
So its the old stuff versus resuls argument. The results don't compare and few MPH on the heater(89 to 91 for Ian and 92-93 for Lester) shouldn't make that much of a difference.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Gardner vs Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury suddenly is Willie Mays. According to John Heyman;
"If the Red Sox relent and include young outfield phenom Jacoby Ellsbury in trade talks for Johan Santana, Boston would probably lead the high-stakes sweepstakes for the two-time Cy Young Award winner."
Ellsbury had a nice run at the end of the year but what seperates him from Brett Gardner? If you take a look at their career numbers the difference could be explained by Ellsbury slightly better performance this year. But looking at the two players they have similar skills sets; no power, tons of speed, good average and plate discipline. You would think that if the Twins are interested in Lester and Ellsbury the Yankes can get Santana with Gardner and a better pitching prospect then Lester(Hughes or Kennedy). Or is Ellsbury really Willie Mays?

Prior to the Yanks

As my blog partner previously stated, Mark Prior is available from the Cubbies in trade. While many are advocating running for the hills, I believe picking up Prior would be a great move by the Yanks.

First, it will not take an awful lot to get him (Kyle 'The Mop' Farnsworth and a little cash?), and therefore this is a low risk, potentially high reward move for the Yanks.

What makes Prior available is the fact that he is arbitration eligable. Under arb rules I believe the Cubs HAVE to offer a figure within 20% of his previous year's salary - $3.575mm. In other words, the Cubs would need to offer at least $2.86mm for '08; something they either don't want to do, or don't think he'd accept.

If the Yanks were to get Prior in a trade I would like to see a 2 year guaranteed offer of $6-8 mm ($3 or $4mm per) with a vesting option for a third year. Should he start 50 games in the first 2 years of the contract a 3rd year @ $12mm would vest.

There is no doubt that Prior possesses amazing talent; the only question is his health. Many people believe that the surgery Prior had in April was long overdue, and that had he had the surgery earlier he would have resumed his dominant career much earlier.

Regardless of the timing of the surgery the fact is that Prior's surgery was successful, his shoulder has been pronounced sound, and there should be nothing standing in his way. Imagine a healthy Prior, Pettitte, Wang, Joba and Hughes as the Yankee starting 5 in '08 - wow! Not only is this a dominant rotation, but it would allow Joba and Phil to move to the back-end of the rotation as well. Being a 4 and 5 would allow the Yanks to lessen not only the expectations for the 2 young studs, but also lessen the '08 workload as well. Ideally the Yanks should limit both to around 170 innings this year - something far easier to do if they are not expected to carry the team to the playoffs.

Based on the potential upside, the cost, and the ancillary benefits to the rotation, - Brian...go get Prior!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

OK, Johan is pretty damn good

Stats Rank (AL)the Last four years;
Whip -1, 1, 1, 1
ERA-1, 2, 1, 7
K/9-1, 1, 1, 3
BAA - 1, 2, 3, 3
No other player registered in the top ten of each of those categories more then once during the past four years. Simply put, Johan has no equal.

Prior to Yankees is Smart Use of Resources

This came from espn;
"Officials with other teams say that the Cubs have made it known in recent weeks that they are willing to trade Prior, which could be an alternative to working through a difficult contract decision."
The article goes on to say that prior who made 3.65 million might be looking for a multiyear deal. This is situation where the Yankees can take a flyer, invest say 2 years and 12million with a third year option and potentially get an ace caliber pitcher. If he doesn't work out it is simply a year of Carl Pavano. This is the type of move the Yankees need to take more of, short term high reward moves that cost minimal prospects and just money. If the Yankees are williing to add a an extra year to Jorge and Mariano's contracts why not use similiar money to take a chance on Prior?

Just Say NO! to Hughes for Johan (The Yankee Discount)

Ed Whitson, Javy Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Denny Neagle, Jose Contreras, Kevin Brown, Kenny Rogers, the list goes on and on of pitchers that were better than average before coming to the Yanks and then absolutely folded under the pressure of NY. It happens to almost EVERY pitcher the Yanks acquire. Look at (arguably) the best pitcher of all time - Roger Clemens. Rocket was 20-6 with a 2.65 the year before coming to NY, and was 14-10, 4.60 his first year in pinstripes. Thankfully, Roger was able to overcome and posted 3.70 and 3.51 ERAs the 2 yrs after his first, but the point is, EVERY pitcher that comes to the Yanks encounters a Yankee Discount in at least his first year, and many are not able to recover as Roger did.

There is no doubt Johan is a great pitcher; the best pitcher in baseball in my opinion. But he has become the pitcher that he is pitching for the Twins - NOT the Yankees. In the only obvious example of pressure pitching (5 postseason series), Johan has a 3.97 ERA including 35 hits in 34 innings pitched. Not terrible, but certainly not dominant. Apply the inevitable Yankee discount and we could probably expect something like a 17 or 18 win season with a 3.50 - 4.25 era from Johan in 2008. The question is, though, does he rebound after his first year to become dominant again, or does he do what so many have done before him and never recapture what he had before coming to the Yanks?

Cashman has realized the Yankee Discount exists too. The Yankee GM has spent vastly increased resources in an effort to develop pitching rather than trading for or signing it since the Vazquez/Weaver/Brown debacles.

Obviously, this change in philosophy is paying off. Not only do the Yanks have our own version of the Big Three in Joba, Hughes and Kennedy, but we also have the double A pitcher of the year (Alan Horne), 3 top rated arms coming off TJ (Humberto (The Dirty) Sanchez (World Team starter in the '06 Futures Game), Mark Meancon, and our '07 1st round pick Andrew Brackman), and a bevy of arms that would be at or near the top of most organization's list of top prospects (Ty Clippard, Russ Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Steven White, Jeff Marquez, Delin Betances and the list goes on...).

So the Yanks are stocked; what does this mean in terms of Johan coming to the Bronx? It means we should have enough pieces to get the trade done without including Hughes or Joba.

Joba seems untouchable - in all of the articles I've read the main name being mentioned is Hughes. Phil Hughes was born on June 24, 1986 - meaning that he won't be 22 until the '08 season is well underway. Hughes has been the Crown Jewel of the Yankee organization for the past 2 years and has proven his incredible potential at every stop in the minors. Phil arrived in the bigs in '07 and performed well, if not spectacularly. A 4-2 record with a 4.46 ERA is nowhere near mind-blowing. A closer look, however shows a 21 year old who in his last 29.2 ip gave up only 25 hits and 9 er (2.77 era). A 21 year old who logged the only win this past postseason pitching to a 1.59 era in 2 games. Phil Hughes is 7 (SEVEN!!) years younger than Johan (who will be 29 before the start of the '08 season).

Compare Hughes' first year with other top of the rotation starters - in 1988 John Smoltz pitched 64 innings to a 5.48 ERA. The next year he was 208/2.94. Roger Clemens had a very Hughes-like 1st year posting a 4.32 era in 133 innings at 21 his first year. Johan himself had a 6.49 era over 86 innings as a 21 year old rookie in 2000. Very rarely does a young pitcher come to the Bigs and dominate from the beginning like Pedro or Doc Gooden. More typically it takes a little time to adjust to the higher level of competition.

While Joba had the more memorable 1st year, it can be argued that Hughes' year was far more productive from a long-term growth perspective. While Joba has yet to start a game, Hughes has seen what the competition is like and began showing signs of being the top of the rotation starter everyone expects him to be. While it is a stretch, I firmly believe that it is possible that Phil Hughes, from this point forward, could actually be a better pitcher for the Yanks beginning as early as the '08 season.

I am all for getting Johan if possible. However, when you consider the Yankee Discount the 1st year, another year worth of growth for Hughes, and the age difference between the 2, I believe including Hughes in any trade for Johan would turn out to be a HUGH mistake.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Your 2010 New York Yankees

I thought it would be fun to take a look into the future and put together what I believe to be the Yankee team of the future.

1B - Mark Texiera

As Texiera is represented by the devil hinself (Boris), there is little doubt he will hit the market as a free agent after the 2008 season. Coincedentally, Jason Giambi's onerous contract is up in 2008 as well not only freeing up the necessary money (well, maybe not necessary...), but a roster spot as well. Texiera is a lifetime .286/.371/539 hitter with obvious plus power and run producing skills. He possesses excellent defensive skills and is equally productive from both sides of the plate (3 yr splits - .316/.391/.553 vs lefties, .288/.379/.549 vs righties). In other words, the Yanks will go hard after him once he hits the market, and, as a 29 yr old in early '09, I expect a long term deal with the Yanks will result.

2B - Robbie Cano
SS - Derek Jeter
3B - Alex Rodriguez
C - Jesus Montero

Signed in '06 as a 16 year old out of Venezuela, Montero is a mega-power prospect. The biggest question is whether Montero, at 6'4" 230, will grow too large to catch. His power has been termed by more than one scout as an 80 (on the 20-80 scale).

LF - Carl Crawford

The Rays hold an option on Crawford for the '09 season (which I expect will be exercised by whatever team he plays for), and he is scheduled to hit the market as a 29 year old free agent after that. Crawford's avg and OBP have increased each of the last 3 years (.301/.331, .305/.348, .315/.355) and he can be counted on for 50 stolen bases pretty much every year.

CF - Austin Jackson

I would love to have Melky here, but he is destined for more important things (see below). A-Jax is a very raw, 'tools' player. He has excellent speed, shown a plus glove, and has exhibited great upside. In high A ball as a 20 yr old in '07 (284 PAs), Jackson posted an impressive .345/.398/.566 line with 10 HR and 13 SBs. A potentially great combination of power and speed, A-Jax could be the starting CF in the Bronx by 2009.

RF - Jose Tabata

The highly touted rookie should be entering his first full season in 2010 as the everyday right fielder after a mid-season call-up in '09. Tabata so far projects to be a very Paul O'Neil/Bernie Williams type of player; high average with mid-20's HR power. He is very young, however, and there is plenty of time for additional power to develop.

DH - Adam Dunn

The proverbial lefty slugger, Dunn has made some nice improvements over the past couple of years. While his power is undisputed, (40+ HR each of the last 4 years) Dunn enjoyed a more rounded success in 2007. In 2006 Dunn posted a .234 BA and .365 OBP; in '07 those numbers improved to .264/.386. Dunn's career OBP is actually pretty good at .381, he is durable (150+ games the last 4 years) and as right field at Yankee Stadium is not the most challenging defensive postion on the field, he should fare well there on an occasional basis.

Starting Rotation

Johan Santana

Aquired in the winter prior to the '08 season for Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, Brett Gardner and Alan Horne, Santana leads a still young Yankee staff in 2010

Phil Hughes

Joba Chamberlain

Chien-Ming Wang

AJ Burnett

Signed as a free agent after the 2009 season

Closer - Humberto (The Dirty) Sanchez

Lineup -










Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rivera wants four years

According to Fox Sports;
"There is a reason why Mariano Rivera has not accepted the Yankees' offer of a three-year, $45-million contract.
Rivera, according to major-league sources, wants a fourth guaranteed year"

I was on the fence about 3 years but if he is standing hard on four you have to let him go and try and find it elsewhere.

Boras the Great!!

A few snippets from various papers throughout the country regarding 'super-agent' Scott Boris and the a-rod situation...

He (A-Rod)was so angry at Boras that at one point he told friends he was thinking of suing him. Then there was a series of steps that led him to take control of the situation. The Lowell talks (with the Yankees) pushed him over the edge. He didn't want any part of going to Boston. So he made his move without Boras.

This time it was the client who controlled the super-agent, instead of the other way around. That prompted one major league executive to say on Wednesday, "This is the greatest day of my life, seeing Boras get put in his place."

I think there are a lot of people in this business having various degrees of glee over this," said a longtime baseball power broker, "whether they are general managers, people in the commissioner's office, people in the media or some competing agents."

"Not only was it a misread of the market, it was a complete strategic blunder to put A-Rod in that situation."

On the one hand, one competing agent said, it would have been nice to see the first $300-million contract in baseball. On the other, he said, it was nice that Boras did not get it.

This is Boras' worst hour, in over 20 years of representing baseball players. You had to figure that he had a plan, a package ready to grab, when he opted out. It appears that he underestimated the ill will that the opt-out created, and that his top client acted unilaterally to erase a mistake.

And one more I saw today - a parting shot at CarlP -

Carl Pavano has won 5 games in three years with the Yankees. Andy Pettitte won 6 games in August.

Johnnie Scoop?

The voice of the Yankees, John Sterling, went on the Fan last night (click here to listen) proclaiming that he had heard from an "extremely reliable source" that the a-rod deal is done. To paraphrase his statement - on a scale of 1 to 100, my source says it's a 101.

I have known John personally for 15 years and am shocked that he did this. John has been the voice of the Yanks for 2 decades; he has NEVER done anything like this before. Being so close to the Yanks for so long he undoubtedly has had numerous opportunities to report things before the typical media in the past but hasn't until now. While I plan to call him to ask the question later, (he is a notoriously late riser) I believe that the only reason he would do this is because he was asked.

I believe that Yanks wanted to gauge fan reaction to the pending re-signing and make sure that the bridges a-rod had burned by his selfish and egotistical World Series opt-out were at least somewhat repairable.

I believe that the bridge is very repairable. To paraphrase the Richard Bach quote - If you love your egotistical, money-grubbing 3rd baseman's production set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't trade for Miggy Cabrera. The fact that he has decided to come back essentially allows the Yanks to save their chips for other trade opportunities (namely Johan, Bedard or Haren). Getting a-rod offense for only money is a coup

We let a-rod go and he came back. Regardless of whether his primary goal was money, the fact is that he HAS come back and is apparently willing to take a somewhat discounted offer from the Yanks to do so is pretty telling.

While I am having a tough time doing it too, we all need to get over our anger at Boris' failed strategy and begin to embrace a-rod for what he will be - one of the greatest Yankees ever to don the pinstripes, and what his re-signing will bring - an opportunity to trade for another stud pitcher.

Thanks for the scoop Hank...oops! I mean John!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A-Rod to Return?

Mike Lupica apparently has sources close to A Rod who claim he is interested in trying to make things right with the Yankees;
"There is only one way to make this right, if Rodriguez wants to stay: He goes to Tampa. Again: There are people close to the player, closer than Boras right now, who believe he is ready to do it and do it soon. That he knows he’s not going to break all the world’s records the way he did when he went to Texas. That what the Yankees were fully prepared to offer, a deal that could have gone to a total value of $230 million over the next eight years, was the best one he was going to get."

As the list of potential suitors for ARod got smaller and smaller it was only a matter of time before team Boras tried to bring the Yankees back into it. Boras needs two of following teams in it to achive what he wants; Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Angels. Having two big market teams will create the bidding war he desires. Right now the only team with expressed interest is the Angels.

This bit of news comes on the same day as Hank Steinbrenner waffled a bit on his hard line stance;
"Whether something did happen or not," Steinbrenner said of a Rodriguez return, "I am not going to comment on that situation."

Quite a bit different then his original comments.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gammons Loves him some Red Sox

On the day the Cy Young was annouced Peter Gammons decided to address the topic the only way he knows how, from the Red Sox point of view. Peter can only justify Sabathia's award when comparing how he did to Beckett and what the Indians did in contrast to the Sox. It really has come to the point where this blatant home town bias is to be expected of Gammons. What ever happened to the baseball insider with a intelligent point of view?

Anyway some of the reader comments on the blog entry and priceless;

  • "Now you can take a bath with Schilling and Beckett and when they are out of the tube, drink all the water left and be happy"
  • "Why does every story need a Boston angle with you Mr. Gammons? I know you might not agree, but baseball was not invented, nor was it perfected at Fenway"
  • "You ended an article about CC Sabathia with how great Schilling and Beckett are. You are the Fox News equivalent of a Sports Journalist"
  • "Gammons continues his 19-year ESPN tongue-kiss with the Boston Red Sox. Thrilling"
  • "I used to have respect for peter gammons. The guys is a true boston shill though. Almost every single one of his articles has to do with praising the red sox. Broaden your horizona peter."

They go on and on. Really Peter, it is time to retire and sit next to Stephen King in the stands and leave the reporting to those who still pretend not to be biased.

Hip Hip...

Congrats to Jorge on his new 4yr $52mm deal. While we are certainly overpaying for a guy on the tail-end of his career, all of the change and uncertainty swirling around the composition of the '08 Yanks made it imperative Jorge was brought back. Hopefully we will see a similar announcement regarding Mo soon.

Molina is an excellent defensive #2 catcher and is a good compliment to Jorge for this year. Resigning Jorge and Molina guarantees us 'plus' personel at the position in '08. Going forward, however, there is no clear-cut heir apparent yet within the organization.

After the '08 season the following are set to be free agents:

(*Team or Player Option)
Rod Barajas PHI
Henry Blanco * CHC
Johnny Estrada MIL
Toby Hall * CWS
Kenji Johjima SEA
Mike Lieberthal LAD
Adam Melhuse TEX
A.J. Pierzynski CWS
Mike Redmond * MIN
Ivan Rodriguez DET
David Ross * CIN
Javier Valentin CIN
Jason Varitek BOS
Vance Wilson DET
Gregg Zaun * TOR

The only moderately attractive bat on that list is Kenji Johjima who will be 33 half-way through the '09 season.

Signing Jorge was the smart move; now we need to develop a catcher from within that he can pass the reigns to starting in '09.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Excellent blog to add to your daily rounds - check out iYankee and let em know YankeeGM sent you!

Yankees are being Tempted

A sampling of the pitching names being discussed in trade talks so far this offseason includes:
  1. Johan Santana (28)
  2. Scott Kazmir(23)
  3. Erik Bedard (28)
  4. Danny Haren (27)
  5. Dontrelle Willis (25)
  6. Tim Lincecum (23)

With every GM in baseball preaching the value of young, under contract, front-line pitching, why are there so many young, under contract, front-line pitchers being shopped? The only explanation is that there is even better, younger, and cheaper pitchers potentially available.

You might ask who has such an incredible asset, and who might be willing to trade it? Probably nobody, but it sure looks like these teams and hoping to tempt the Yankees. Specifically, these teams are making a run at Joba and Phil Hughes (Sorry Ian Kennedy fans, he looks good, but he's no Joba or Phil!) .

This bit of news should be both welcomed and feared by the Yankee fan. Welcomed because it means there are a lot of teams who feel Hughes and Joba are uber-special players.

Feared because the Yankees are going to be really tested this year. The argument goes - why not trade a potential ace for a current one? Certainly a reasonable argument; in this case, however, we could be looking at 2 elite, once in a generation talents beginning their careers at the same time, on the same team!

This off-season is shaping up to be pivotal in determining the Yankees makeup for the foreseeable future. Based on the quality and quantity of young arms being dangled for Joba and Hughes, trading either could be something that is regreted for years to come.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

3rd Options

In today' NY Post there were a couple of yet undiscussed options for the Yank's 3rd base vacancy:

Bill Hall and Freddie Sanchez .

Hall, 29, is a year removed from a .270/.345/.553 season with 35hr. He will be 29 on opening day, is righty and has limited 3rd base experience. A number of people attribute his fall off in production in '07 (.254/.315/.425 14hr) to adjutsting to CF.

Sanchez looks essentially to be a Jeter clone at the plate. After winning a batting title in '06 (.344/.378/.473) he followed up in '07 with a slight all around drop in numbers (.304/.343/.442). Sanchez is also a righty and will be 31 on opening day.

Of the 2, Sanchez is clearly the better defender but Hall is younger and has a far greater run-producing upside.

Either team could be enticed with 2nd tier prospects as the Brewers clearly need bullpen help, and at $5mm per year Sanchez is a luxury for the perpetually rebuilding Pirates.

I'm not sure either player is the perfect answer to replacing ego-rod, but both should certainly be included in the discussion.

It pays to be the Devil Rays...

I came by a piece in the NY times that covered Revenue Sharing;

"The problem is that the teams receiving payments have come to use them as a primary source of income — rather than to build winning teams. The most extreme example has been the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2006, this team had a payroll of about $35 million, $42 million less than the 2006 league average. Not surprisingly, it won only 38 percent of its games and filled less than 40 percent of its seats for home games. It also collected more than $30 million in revenue-sharing transfers. This past season, the team reduced its payroll to $24 million and had about the same level of success"

The basic premise covered in the article is if you are guaranteed the money coming from revenue sharing you can actually soundly predict more profits by spending less on payroll. What the author suggests is tying some portion of revenue sharing to attendance figures, therefore giving smaller market teams some incentive to try and run a better business. Interesting idea, worth a read.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


It has been blogged on other, typically good, Yankee blog sites ( that Bernie should just hang 'em up and forgo any further 'come back' talk.

Bernie is the classiest Yankee I have ever seen. He is among the MOST important reasons that the Yanks of the '90's were as dominant as any team in baseball history.

I'll say what I've been thinking for about a year now- Bernie should have had the opportunity, and still deserves the opportunity, to leave the game on his own terms. Not giving Bernie a 1 year deal last year was as bad a decision Cashman has made in his tenure as GM.

If the team has the opportunity to remedy that decision this year, I say give Bernie back his dignity, sign him for 1 year and let him go out the very way he represented the team for so many years- with grace and dignity and as one of the greatest to ever wear the pinstripes.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Possible Japanese Import

With the MLB free agent pool so thin expect a lot of action around the Japanese free agents. The most intriguing from a Yankee perspective is Hitoki Iwase.


"The lefty closer has 40+ saves three years running with a career 1.91 ERA. Tops out at around 93 MPH, but has arguably the best slider in Japan. He's starting to lose movement and velocity on his pitches, but is making up for it with very good control. A nice fit for the Okajima fetishist."

Left reliever with a career era of 1.91 and a funky delivery. Reading through the reports of both him and Okajima he seems to be the better of the two which given Okajima's success makes him even more attractive. There have been some reports of him losing some off the fastball but in the least he seems like a nice situational lefty.

Posteuring and Advance Trading Techniques by Cash and Hank

In every paper in the Tri-State area Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman have been quoted regarding the possibility of trading for pending superstar Miggy Cabrera. In each and every quote the Yanks' owner and GM have made a point of repeatedly stating that the Yanks' top 3 young pitchers (Joba, Hughes and Kennedy) will not be available in such a trade. In today's Daily News, however, Hank slipped and might have showed us a glimpse of the Yanks' strategy.

For the first time in print, Hank almost forgot to add Ian Kennedy to the list of 'least-tradables'. Kennedy (hereafter dubbed "Ikky") had a monster year in '07. He flew through 3 levels in the minors and was very impressive in 3 starts for the Yanks. His numbers look great. There is very little doubt, however, that when compared to Joba (hereafter - The Beast, or TB) and Hughes (hereafter - The Messiah, or TM), Ikky is probably half-step below on the prospect scale.

The Marlins have said that they are "targeting" certain players and will trade MigCab only for the players targeted. There is no doubt that TM and TB are in the crosshairs of that target. By constantly putting Ikky on the same level as TB and TM in quotes all over the country, Cash and Hank are making it appear that giving him up would be just as painful giving up one of the other 2. They are doing a great job of making it appear that they value Ikky just as much as TB and TM. Now don't get me wrong, I believe Kennedy has plus potential; I agree with the Mike Mussina comparisons. There is a big difference, however, between Moose (in his prime) and a true shut-down ace like Johan or Pedro circa 1999/2000 - which is what both Joba and Hughes have the potential to become.

When the time comes, and the Yanks "give in" and trade Ikky as the centerpiece of the deal to the Marlins for MigCab, the wonderfully played strategy of Hank Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman will be a big reason they were able to pull it off.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Orioles looking to deal

Two interstesting things from a Baltimore Sun interview with Andy MacPhail;

On Miguel Tejada;

"You met with shortstop Miguel Tejada late in the season. Have you had further discussions with him and is moving him to third base a realistic option?

I haven't talked to Miguel since the season was finished, but I'm a Tejada fan. To me, he's a good hitter, plays with a lot of enthusiasm and energy. I gave him different options. I felt I owed it to him to talk to him and give him an idea on where I was coming from. He told me where he was coming from. It's one of those situations where you have to see how things unfold over the course of the off-season.

Have you gotten a lot of interest in Tejada?

There is interest in good players out there. There are more positions open than there are real good players to fill them. I think it's going to be reasonable to expect that there is going to be a lot of interest in the players that performed well for us last year."

I think he is the best option out there to replace A-rod.

On Erik Bedard;

"Would exploring a contract extension for ace Erik Bedard be a priority before entertaining trade offers for the pitcher?

Twenty-eight-year-old left-handers that are as dominant as he was over the course of the season are hard to come by. ... I am responsible to listen to other clubs and see what they have in mind and what would make sense. I don't think that this franchise is in a position just to categorically reject anything without considering it. We've already had sort of preliminary conversations on an [extension] with his representative, but nothing specific. Clearly, it's something that interests us."

Intertesing, also news that Kazmir could be available.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Damon for Crede?

Interesting possibility mentioned in Chicago Tribune;

"With Joe Crede recently cleared to perform baseball work, the Sox's trade options for teams seeking third basemen could expand and pave the way for Fields to return to third after playing left field for four weeks last season.

One possibility is the New York Yankees, who could make leadoff batter/outfielder Johnny Damon available after picking up the $16 million option on Bobby Abreu."

This would open up the fourth OF spot for Duncan and maybe at some point Brett Gardner. Damon was a key to the Yankee offense when he was right but it feels like those days will be few and far between as he gets older.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bill James says - Pedroia over Cano

I ran into a article on where Bill James ranks the best young players in the game;

"Who is the best young player in baseball? A deceptively tricky question, in that it requires us to combine two unlike factors -- youth and talent.."

What caught my eye was that he had Dustin Pedroia ranked ahead of Cano. This seemed like complete Red Sox bias to me but I decided to take an objective look.

Ok, so the first area is easy - Pedroia is 11 months younger then Cano. Pedoria wins but not by much.

The second area is talent, a lot more subjective area. Here is how James explains his five part formula;

"First, I eliminated from my study all players who were 29 years old in 2007 or older"

Pedroia 24 Cano 25 - Check

"Second, I figured the runs created by each player ... "

Cano 100, Pedroia 91- -Ok I follow so far.

"Third, I made a "speed adjustment", since speed correlates strongly with defensive value, and defensive value is more difficult to measure. "

Ok Speed adjustment. Hmm, the best speed stats I can think of are SB and triples. So lets go there.

Cano -4sbs, 7 triples, Pedroia 7 sbs, 1 triple. So who wins? I say Cano might becuase of the triples but Pedroria had a better SB percentage so lets call it a push. Let's also look at Range factor since James is using speed here to quatify defense ability (if anyone ever saw Rickey Henderson play the OF they would know there is a lot more to it then speed but anyway)/

Cano 5.14, Pedroia 4.52.

Looks like Cano is faster but what is my adjustement?Lets say the difference is negligible.

Cano 100, Pedroia 91 -No adjustment to make it simple.

"Fourth, I divided that total by the runs scored/runs allowed per game by the player's team, thus building in context adjustments. "

Ok, here is where I get lost. Is james asking for me to divide our number by the result of the Runs Scored/Runs allowed or is there something more complicated going on here he is not telling us? If I am on a winning team won't my Runs Scored/Runs allowed be higher therefore helping my score? I am throwing this out based on lack of information.

"Fifth, I multiplied that by the number of years the player had left before he was 33 years old."

Cano - 100 x8=800, Pedroia 91x9=819

Using what little I know of his formula the rsult is the talent difference between Pedroria and Cano is outwieghed by the 10 month difference in age.

I am missing something here? Can someone explain how Bill James the baseball genius is so light on information for two of the parts of his equation? I want to see hisreasoning but I can't. Also, what is the value of his context adjustments? Is a player any better if his team is better? Is he any worse if his team is worse?

Without answers to the missing pieces of the formula his logic can't be completely rebuked. However, any formula that results in Dustin Pedroia ranking ahead of Robbie Cano is flawed, period.

Replacing a-dope's production

Talk in Yankee-land recently has rightfully centered on the fact that with vastly improved pitching (which we project to have in '08 compared to'07), it will not be necessary to completely replace the astronomical numbers put up by our former egocentric third baseman. While I agree, we will definitely need better 'O' than what Betemit and DouggieGlove could provide.

One potential option has us sending SWB to the Marlins for MiggyCab and plugging the Manny-clone into 3B for the next 10 yrs. Definitely one option. If, however you've been watching Brian Cashman the past 2 or 3 yrs you realize there is a remote chance of this actually happening. Cashman has done a great job of developing one of the stronger farm systems in MLB and would likely be reluctant to part with the young talent a stud like MigCab would command.

An alternative would be to try and get more even production from our corner infield spots by bolstering both positions.

One combination that works would be signing free agent Carlos Pena to play 1B and trading for Miguel Tejada of the Orioles. The production of these 2 would go a long way toward making up the loss of the 1 in Stevie (I hate the Yankees) Phillips' 24-1 comment.

The fly in the ointment of the above plan is that Pena is represented by Scott (angel of death) Boris, and Tejada plays for a team owned by a schizophrenic moron.

Pena had a career year in '07. Boris makes his clients rich by convincing unwitting GM's and owners that the career year will be the norm. I don't think Cash will buy what Boris is gonna be selling, but I do think a deal can get done. A one year deal for something like $9mm should be enough to whet Pena's whistle and if he repeats his 07 numbers there is always a line around the block for 40 hr, excellent glove 1B.

As to prying Tejada away from Angelos, it really should not take more than Ohlendorf and a class C prospect to acquire the privilege of paying an aging Tejada $15mm for the next 2 yrs. Whether Angelos bites? Who knows, but that is really fair value.

Lowell needs the wall....

Shout out to River Ave Blues for looking up this hit chart;


Abreu Likely to return - Smart Long term Move for Yankes

The Yankees appear to be leaning towards picking up the Bobby Abreau option for another year. Lets project their OF for the next three years;
2008 - Cost 43 Million
2009 - Cost 18 Million
2010 - Cost 5 Million
I am a huge fan of short term commitments, overpay for shorter years and avoid the overage superstar that the team fells compelled to play(Kevin Brown, Randy Johnson, and to a lesser extent Damon and Giambi). The other options include Tori Hunter Aaron Roward and Andrew Jones. All would take a larger commitment in terms of years and would not return the type of offense that Abreu provides. The short commitment to Abreu allows the Yankees the ability to make a big splach heading into the new Yankee Stadium. The free agent class after 08 will be an attractive one to say the least;
Notable OFers available;
Pat Burrell
Carl Crawford(Team Option most likely will be exercised)
Mark Kotsay
Adam Dunn
Notable 1B Avalable;
Mark Texiera
Notable 3B Avalable;
Troy Glaus
Hank Blalock
Joe Crede
Notable Relievers;
Joe Nathan
Rafael Soriano
Brad Lidge
Jason Isringhausen
Brian Fuentes
Notable Starters;
CC Sabathia
Johna Santana
Jake Peavy(Team Option)
Brad Penny
John Lackey(Team Option)
Ben Sheets
Oliver Perez
John Smoltz

Now not all of these players will make it to free agency but some certainly will. The opt-out in addition to avoiding long term commitments to this offseason might allow the Yankees to sign 2 additional players from this pool of talent. So I ask you which is better? A-rod, Hunter and let's say Texiera(Total Cost 65 Million a year) or now letting the kids fill into the OF next year and signing Texiera, Blalock, K-Rod and Sabathia(total cost approx 65 million a year)?

Kay=Yankee Mouthpiece

If you ever want to know how the Yankees feel about something turn on the Michael Kay show. The latest incident is recaped in this article in the daily news;

"There are things about Joe Torre, if I wanted to come out and say, would show how cold and calculated he really is," Kay fumed. "... Joe Torre is for Joe Torre. ... The graveyard of Yankees coaches is loaded with bones of coaches Joe Torre did nothing about."

Now I understand Michael Kay makes a lot of money thanks to the Yankees but just once I would like to hear him say something that conflicts with the Yankee hierarchy.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cash - "A-rod is dead to me.."

From Peter Abe:

"He also made it clear that Alex Rodriguez is not coming back. Along with the loss of the subsidy from Texas, the Yankees still can’t believe that A-Rod didn’t have the courtesy to at least talk to them first. Cashman, Hank Steinbrenner and Hal Steinbrenner all reached out to Rodriguez and he blew them off."

The last couple of days I got the sinking feeling that A-rod would still end up coming back to NY. This news makes me feel better.

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