Monday, December 31, 2007

A Brilliant Strategy?

As has been posted here before, the incredibly difficult burden of proof in slander/defamation suits makes it highly unlikely that Roger Clemens would bother to sue MLB as a result of the Mitchell Report. Roger has, however, been extremely vehement in his denials of PED use. It has gotten to the point where Brian McNamee has hired an attorney to explore a defamation suit against Rocket (well, I use the term 'hire' loosely as all of McNamee's lawyers have taken his case pro bono (for free).

What if it is Rocket's plan to force McNamee to go forward with a defamation case by screaming on 60 Minutes and in every newspaper in the country that McNamee is a liar? If McNamee were to sue Rocket for slander/defamation he would have the same burden of proof in his case against Roger as Roger would have if he had sued MLB. McNamee would have to not only prove that Roger did, in fact, use PEDs (almost impossible), he would also have to prove that Clemens made the statements to 60 Minutes and the other media in an express effort to harm McNamee. HA! There is truly no way that he can do that; unless, of course, McNamee video taped himself shoving a syringe in Rocket's backside, and also taped Roger confessing that his evil master plan was to ruin McNamee's reputation, NOT to defend his own!

As McNamee's attorneys are not getting paid, they will want as much press and exposure out of their McNamee time as possible. To get max airtime there is little doubt his lawyers will convince McNamee to initiate an unwinnable slander/defamation suit against Roger.

What then? Well, as it is practically impossible to win any defamation suit (let alone one that is purely 'he said, he said'), and as Roger will be paying his attorneys (quite handsomely, I'm sure), Roger would no doubt win that lawsuit.

All Roger has to do is push McNamee into suing him and then the burden of proving an impossible thing would shift to McNamee's lawyers instead of his own.

After inevitably beating McNamee in court (it may take perjury, but that's a topic for another time), Roger could then look into the cameras and say "See! I told you I was clean!"

I have no idea if this is Roger's plan, but Wow! wouldn't it be brilliant if it were!

SI Covers

Over the holidays I received the year-end Sports Illustrated magazine. My life being Yankee-centric, I looked over the covers for the year and there was not one Yankee cover this year. I decided to look back and find the last year that the Yankees were shut out from SI cover. I had to go back all the way to 1995. We all know what happened next.....

Here's to another 4 in 5 years..

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Red Sox Perception

Tyler Kepner has a short piece in the times on Theo Eptein. Theo is quoted as saying;

"If someone wants to compare us to the Yankees based on winning and results, that’s an incredible standard,” said Epstein, the general manager of the Boston Red Sox. “If they want to compare us to the Yankees in how we do things, that’s a little off base.”

Tyler goes on to give credit to the boy genius for all his shrewed moves and his continues investment in developing players.

"Homegrown players contributed directly to the title, including closer Jonathan Papelbon, second baseman Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Jon Lester, who won the clinching game."

I decided to take a look at the Boston team and compare the postseason(ALDS) 25 man roster to that of the Yankees and see where each player was originally acquire; drafter/signed to minor league deal, Trade or Free Agency. Here are the results;

Boston - 10 Free Agency, 9 through Trade, 6 Drafted/Signed
Yankees - 12 Drafted/Signed, 7 Free Agency, 6 through Trade.

So here is where some recent contributions from some young players creates a little bit of false perception. The truth of the matter is the 2004 Red Sox team was built almost completely on imported players and just recently have they begun to produce anything of substance. However, for Theo to imply that the Red Sox do things differently because they give young players more of a chance is just plain wrong. Also, the Yankees might have a starting rotation next year built completely with homegrown players (Wang, Pettitte, Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy) so who relies more on homegrown players again?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santana is going to be a Yankee

According to Murray Chass, the Twins have reduced their demand from the Yanks for Johan Santana. WHAT A SHOCK!!! You mean to tell me that the awesome, stupendous offer that the Red Sox made is really not good enough after all? What a joke!

As we have said many many times here at YankeeGM, the Twins have no interest in Santana for the Lester/Ellsbury, Lowrie, Materson etc. package.

I have no doubt that Johan will be a Yankee. Continued patience by the Yankee brass will result in our getting Santana and keeping Hughes. Our proposed package of Kennedy, AJax, Melky and Horne plus one blows the Sox' offer out of the water. The only question is, can Hank keep his finger off of the trigger long enough for that to happen?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clemens' denial

The Johan Watch- Day 63

The latest bit of Red Sox propaganda comes from Nick Cafardo;
"Since the winter meetings, nothing has changed with Boston's offer, but after the New Year things are expected to get down to the nitty-gritty, when Minnesota will expect the Yankees and Red Sox to give their final "best offer." ..... If the Yankees don't include Ian Kennedy, the Red Sox will land him. "
If the Red Sox have not improved their offer why would Minnesota suddenly feel it is good enough? He cites no sources, even anonymous ones. This is a gut feeling Boston-centric statement, ignore it.

Looking Back - The Sheffield Trade

It has been a little over a year since the Yankees unloaded Gary Sheffield for Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggert, I thought it was time to take a look back and see how the Yankees have done so far. Lets look at the key pieces of the deal;

Gary Sheffield
First, lets look at what Sheffield did in Detroit;
2007 Recap
.265/.378/.462 with 25 Hrs and 75 Rbi in 133 games.
Gary got off to a very slow and finished with .172 avgerge in September. He also missed some time due to injury and all this after signing an extension that runs through 2009.
Going Forward
The tigers can't be happy with their return and at the age of 38 his decline might be getting worse not better.

Humberto Sanchez
2007 Recap
Humberto was the key to the deal with a mid 90's fastball and polish. However, he never threw an inning last year and underwent tommy john surgery.
Going Forward
This trade will most likely hinge on how he bounces back this year from TJ surgery. The Yankees apparently knew he was going to need surgery and made the deal anyway, another high risk high reward move with a young pitcher.

Kevin Whelan
2007 Recap
Whelan started the year in high A and dominated (3.54 h/9 sub 1 whip). He was then promoted to AA and his wildness returned (6.96 BB/9) to go with a low hit rate and high strikeouts.
Going Forward
He has the stuff to be a lights-out closer but must do a better job of controlling the strike zone. 2008 will be a huge year for him, if he can't improve his control he will never be back of the bullpen force.

Anthony Claggert
2007 Recap
The Yankees reworked his mechanics and switched him to starting to try and extend his innings. He still profiles as a middle reliever/setup man but the change made him pitch more towards contact and he had success (3.69 era and a promotion to Trenton to close the year).
Going Forward
Will most likely start the year in Trenton and still profiles well as a sixth inning guy.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Johan Trade

As has been blogged here before, I believe the Yanks are truly in a position of power in the Johan Santana sweepstakes. If the Twinkies were enamored with the Boston package of Lester/Materson/Lowrie/Crisp they would have pulled the trigger already. If the Red Sox were willing to give up more they would have likewise done so already.

What Cash and Co needs to do is put together a package that is clearly better than what Boston is offering and sit tight. That package should be:

One from the following list: Melancon/Ohlendorf/Horne/Tabata/Betances
And one from the following list: Wright/Marquez/Laird/Cox/Gardener

This trade would very much be in line with what the Tigers gave up for Cabrera/Willis, and what the DBacks gave up for Haren. It also serves to preserve the biggest of the big 3 (Hughes) and give us the best rotation in baseball.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Joba to the 'Pen? HUGE Mistake!

Buster Olney wrote today:

Heard this: If all goes well in spring training for the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain is likely to start next season in the Yankees' bullpen, as part of the team's effort to limit his innings. Chamberlain will go to spring training and, at the outset, prepare to pitch out of the rotation, along with five other rotation candidates: Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy. Assuming that none of the other five has a physical or performance breakdown, Chamberlain would then open 2008 in the bullpen, as a set-up man, for at least the start of the season -- under the Joba Rules.

The Yankees want to restrict the number of innings Chamberlain throws, and working him out of the bullpen for at least a couple of months will allow them to do that. Chamberlain may return to the rotation sometime in the middle of the season, depending on the Yankees' needs.

If Joba goes back to the 'pen he will never come out. Once given another taste of that 8th inning dominance General Joe and Hank will leave him there to have an amazing career as late-inning set up guy and then closer after '09.

The problem with that is that Joba is far more valuable to the Yanks as a dominant starter than as even the best reliever in the game. Just because a guy has domianant stuff, huge k numbers and can be successful in the role does not mean he should be moved to the bullpen.

Put differently, who would you rather on your team - Johan Santana or Krod? Roy Halliday or Billy Wagner? King Felix or Joe Nathan? There have been plenty of teams in history that have a dominant closer and placed in the bottom of their division. An Ace, though, will almost insure a team is at least competitive.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Curse of Papelbon's Dog

Today a new curse of the Boston Red Sox has officially begun. This curse is not caused by the selling of the world's greatest athlete to fund a marginal musical; this curse is caused by a grossly overinflated sense of entitlement. Those same lovable idiots(ok I puked in my mouth a little) of three years ago now value the World Series ball from their latest championship so little they let their pets use it as a chew toy. The bet here is that the baseball gods won't look too kindly on this.

With the Red Sox, the Celtics and the unbeaten Patriots, the city of Boston has clearly made a deal with the devil. This deal will come due soon enough when the curse of Shithead begins.

Hank Not Into Prior, Yet

Unfortunately, it looks like the Yanks won't be involved in the Mark Prior sweeps. reports:

In another personnel matter, Steinbrenner said he did not expect the Yankees to go after free-agent righthander Mark Prior. The 27-year-old was once one of the top up-and-comers in baseball but has been oft-injured. This season, he was 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA in nine starts for the Cubs before shoulder surgery.

"We kind of looked into it, but at this point, no," Steinbrenner said of the Yankees' interest in Prior.

I have advocated signing Prior all offseason, but I may actually have been wrong. Prior's agent has said that Prior is not going to sign anything longer than a 1 year deal. This would allow the Yanks to sit back and make sure he has a successful return from shoulder surgery before stepping up to the plate and offering him the farm next offseason.

Your Johan Fact of the Day

Johan Santana had a 3.33 era last year, his worse performance since 2001. The last Yankee to start 30+ games and have a better era was Mike Mussina in 2001. As the Hank says today in Newsday about the Cashman;

"He'll [Cashman] tell me that one day he wakes up and wants to do one thing, and the next he wakes up and wants to do the other thing," Steinbrenner said, "and I'm kind of the same way. I think that we're not exactly panicking thinking that we have to have anything at this point, but it's still a possibility. He's a great pitcher, and it has to be seriously considered."

I feel the same when I see statistics like this I want to make the deal but the thought of the holy trinity dominating for 10 years makes me hesitate.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Santana Saga Nearing an End?

The Pioneer Press is reporting there might finally be a resolution to the Johan sweepstakes;

"Boston remains firm, though, as initially reported by the Pioneer Press, in offering just Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson. The Red Sox are adamantly opposed to substituting Jacoby Ellsbury for Crisp, and that's the current holdup.
Regardless, there's buzz that the Santana trade could be made within days.
Boston has a larger pool of players who interest Minnesota and can contribute to the Twins immediately, whereas many of the New York Yankees' top prospects are at least a season or two away from succeeding in the major leagues. The Yankees remain firmly opposed to trading pitchers Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy together for Santana, and they certainly won't trade Joba Chamberlain."

I have said all along and I still think it, the Yankees will get Sanatana and Hughes, Kennedy plus 2 players will be on their way to Minnesota.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Kay's a blockhead

I listen to Michael Kay on 1050 ESPN radio here in NY basically so I can hear someone (anyone!) talk Yankees baseball during the offseason. I have a feeling this is going to be the first in a long line of Michael Kay rants this year.

Today his royal YESness pontificated that Roger Clemens needs to sue George Mitchell and MLB and win in order to clear his name. If he doesn't sue, and more importantly, doesn't win, Kay believes he is guilty, and won't make the Hall of Fame.

First let me say that I am not a lawyer. But as I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, allow me to say the following -

Kay needs to educate himself before he opens his mouth. The only way Clemens could sue would be if he sues MLB for defamation of character; essentially, slander. In order to win a slander suit you not only have to prove that the allegations were false, but also that the allegations were made with malicious intent. Clemens would not only have to prove that he didn't use steroids or HGH, but he would also have to convince a judge or jury that Mitchell (and by extension of Mitchell's immunity, MLB) knew that the allegations were false when he made them. If Clemens were successful at all of this, he would then have to prove that Mitchell made the allegations to purposely hurt Clemens.

This is the burden defamation suits are required to prove.

Proving that Clemens never did steroids and/or HGH is damn near impossible. If Clemens is somehow able to prove that he didn't do them, he's then gotta prove that Mitchell purposely lied in his report in a preconceived plan just to do harm specifically to Roger Clemens. Ha! Needless to say this would be a monumental and impossible task.

Personally, I'd love to see Clemens sue. He's got more than enough moolah to throw a couple of million at an attorney to try and sway the court of public opinion. What the hell - scream and yell about how you are innocent, sue every and anybody and at least you start to make a lot of people believe you. He won't win in court, but he may win his Hall of Fame plaque back.

As far as Kay is concerned I really should know better by now...a little thing like details will never hold him back from trying to impress us with his opinions!

Mitchell Report Credibility Takes a Hit

Stumbled across this article on about the omission of Larry Star in the Mitchell Report. According to Star he was interviewed by Mitchell's team four times and had the following to say;

"I have notes from the Winter Meetings where the owners group and the players association sat in meetings with the team physicians and team trainers. I was there. And team physicians stood up and said, 'Look, we need to do something about this. We've got a problem here if we don't do something about it.' That was in 1988."

Guess how many times Star's name was mentioned in the report? Yup, zero times. As this thing plays out I think we will find more of these convenient omissions by the Mitchell report. While I do not doubt the players named in the report did indeed take steroids what will end up being more telling in the end is what we find out was left out of the report then what was included.

The report was meant as a way for Selig to assure he would be looked at kindly by history not as a way to really figure out what the problem was and is.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yankees' Development Strategy

WasWatching asks the question - whether the Yankees are being smart developing their own pitching instead of focusing their resources on postional players and signing pitching. He cites the following study by Victor Wang. Wang looks at top pitching prospects and the probability of success against top postional prospects and the results are not good for pitchers. Was Watching states the following;

"Like I said the other day, the Yankees have focused their "draft" strategy around drafting, signing, and trying to develop pitching prospects. As Wang notes "top pitching prospects are a bust over half the time." Note we're not talking about "prospects" here but "top prospects." And, note we're not talking about them being "less than great" here but about them being "busts." So, again, I have to ask the question: Is Brian Cashman making the smart move by going with older and expensive position players, with no one to force them out of the picture for less money, and going very heavy with pitching prospects where it's risky to project performance and health at the big league level?

While some teams may argue it, success in NY and success in other cities is not achieved the same way. Teams prepare for the Yankees and know their players unlike any other team in baseball. Players' weaknesses get exposed and the pressure gets to even the most seasoned and talented imports (see Clemens, Roger and Johnson, Randy). Most positional players will eventually come back to their career norms even if they do feel the NY heat at first (Arod, Giambi to a degree before he broke down, Tino, etc.). Pitchers who lose confidence, however, can be lost forever (Vazquez, Weaver, Contreras, etc...).

For this reason and this reason alone I agree with the Yankee strategy. Signing and trading for established pitchers has proven to be just as much of a crapshoot for the Yankees as developing prospects. The main difference is that our homegrown talent seems to be more impervious to Yankee pressures.

So if it's the same crapshoot either way, why not spend $1 million instead of $100 million?

Yanks Have Interest in Prior

According to Anthony McCaron, both the Yanks and Mets have interest in the soon-to-be 27 year old former stud, and have reached out to his agent.

As has been blogged many times on this site, we are not only in favor of Mark Prior in pinstripes, but feel it is something the Yanks HAVE to go after hard. Imagine a rotation of Pettitte, Wang, a healthy Prior, Joba The Beast and Hughes; or Santana, Pettitte, Wang, Prior, Joba - ouch!

Unfortunately, if I am Mark Prior, and the offers are fairly equal, I probably go to the Mets. Shea is a very friendly pitcher's park, the NL is akin to AAAA when compared to the AL, and Prior would basically be guaranteed a rotation spot based on the Met's current weak set of arms. All of these facts will help him score big on his next contract if (when) he comes back healthy.

Hopefully Cash blows him out of the water and we sign him for at least a couple of years. I'm worried, though, that he'll take the easier way out and stay in the NL.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2008 Yankees Top 10 Prospect Rankings

I just wanted to give everyone the heads up that I have just published JP Schwartz annual ranking of the Top 10 Prospects in the Yankees organization.

It is located at:

Have a great holiday season!!!


YankeeGM - Thanks, Ben. We'll take a look!

Also, John Sickels came out with list of top Yankee Prospects of 2008.

To compare look at Kevin Goldstein's List;

Johan Santana to Yankees, Crawls Along

The Johan Santana saga has gotten to the point were it is almost as annoying as the Randy Johnson to the Yankees talks. Anyway, there was a big of news out of team Hank. First, two of the three won't be traded according to The Hank;
"I am not giving up two of the three," Steinbrenner said of Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Hughes, the Holy Trio of the Yankees' pitching-rich organization. "That's not going to happen."
Wait so Joba is one the table? I hope that is not the case and this is just an off the cuff comment that doesn't mean Joba is a possibility.
Second, moving Matsui would increase the vigor with which the Yankees went after Santana according to the Newark Star Ledger;
"A person who has spoken to Minnesota management and asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak for the team said the Yankees told the Twins they would get back into the Santana talks if they can shed the contract of left fielder Hideki Matsui"
So now we wait for this painfully long saga to play out.

So what?

Andy says he used HGH twice in 2002.

2 things on this -

First, I think the "I only used it twice" line is something we're gonna see a lot. In other words, I did it, but it had no real effect on my career, so I'm not really a cheater.

Second, I could care less if Andy used it twice, ten times, or every day since birth until it became illegal. The day it became illegal, though, he had better of stopped.

It sure doesn't hurt his case that he is Andy Pettitte. Find me a Yankee fan who doesn't love him and...well, I bet you can't. The only thing you need to say about Andy is that if he had been on the team, the '04 debacle would have never happened.

Read that last line again, fellow Yankee fans...while it should be easy, think of that if you have a tough time with the forgive and forget.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Johan Deal STILL Won't Die

Not that is a shock but the Johan sweepstakes continue and the Yankees are very much involved. I have written here before that, in the end, I think Johan will be a Yankee and that they will give up what I consider to be too much. I also fear with the steroids report hitting the Yankees hard they will try and act fast.

But perhaps the biggest concern from the recent news that the talks were not dead were the following Hank quotes;
"I'm still thinking about it."
"That's something that I'll have to decide,"
If there was any doubt there shouldn't be anymore, Hank is the new boss same as the old....

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mitchell is NOT above Suspicion

The line I have constantly heard of the last couple of days is that Mitchell is above suspicion of bias because of his track record. Really? I didn't know pushing big tobacco's agenda was the work of saints.

Yankee Haters Unite!

So the report is out and there are a number of ex-yanks on the list. This is prompting the vast anti-yankee universe to start spewing all kinds of crap about how the dynasty is "tainted", and even prompted one ignorant Met fan with a platform to demand an apology from the Yanks for kicking their a@@'s in 2000.

What a load!

The only 2 players in the Mitchell report that made any significant contribution to the 2000 drubbing of the Mets were Clemens and Pettitte, and the report says Andy used in 2002 and Clemens started in 98. Having been a Yankee fan for 30 years I realize that the majority of the media is gonna take any chance they get to slam our beloved bombers; this, though, is insane! Every team has major contributors that are on the Juice, the Yankees just happened to have their major supplier exposed.

One more thing - how does this report come out and there are represtentatives from about every team (especially the Yanks!) and there are no Red Sox on the list? You have to think being a member of the front office Mitchell had access to inside information but none of that came out in the report.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Deliver us from Evil.....

Enough about steroids, Mitchell and the whole damn thing - it's over! Some did and some didn't. As long as no one does from here in I say - It's Done! Back to baseball...

Deliver us from Evil

Note the capital E; Evil in this case is a proper noun.

The Arod contract was announced today and Alex said some things that I can't let slide. From the AP -

Rodriguez said opting out was "a mistake that was handled extremely poorly."

A-Rod said Boras gave him the impression the Yankees weren't interested in bringing him back, which surprised him.

"Our goals were not aligned," Rodriguez said. "It felt funny to me."

Boris told Arod that the Yanks didn't want him back, huh? When are these players going to wake up and realize that the only 'Player' in any negotiations that Boris is ever looking out for is himself!

This was Boris' chance to handle the biggest, most important contract in the history of MLB and he lied to his client?!?

If I had to do it again, I would've called Hank from Day 1 and negotiated myself," Rodriguez said.

So why the hell are you paying this man what amounts to about $14 million? It's a contract that "once (Arod) did get in touch with Steinbrenner and his brother Hal, an executive vice president with the Yankees, it didn't take long to reach an agreement.

"Within two conversations we got a deal done," Rodriguez said.

$14mm for 2 phone calls? Where do I sign up?

There is getting maximum dollar for your client's services, and then there is Boris and his ever expanding stable of clients playing in places that don't make them happy because Boris could squeeze a couple more nickles outta some suker owner. Luckily for Arod and the Yanks, in this case the client took charge and didn't let it happen to him.

I hope other players take notice of this and drop Boris on his fat keester.

Boy, do I hate Boris! Does it show?

Names On the Mitchell Report

As reports come in I will list them here.

Update 10:00am:
Clemens named according to ESPN.

Update 11:12:
Pettitte is named, damnit!

Update 11:40:
Deadspin has a list compiled completely from rumors.

Update 12:27:
Arod's contract was annouced today, finally ARod is not the big story! I hope.....

Update 12:56:
Add Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Stanton and Jason Grimsley according to Knobby? Why did he suck so bad then?

Also, the backlash has started with this smear piece on Clemens. This could get ugly fast.

We Wait for THE LIST

From MLB Trade Rumors;
"I did receive one tip on this topic - my guy says the Yankees are in for a bad day (but Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are not in the report)."
Pretty much anyone but Jeter and Mo I can handle. Pettitte would hurt but not like those two. I wondered yesterday about the timing of his press conference, the day before the list is released. Also, his relationship with Clemens puts him under suspicion. I suspect we will see Giambi, Clemens and maybe even a couple of relievers on the list. All we can do is wait and hope this doesn't hurt too bad. As was written on RLYW;
"A report that was prepared by a director of the Red Sox is going to list several prominent Yankees? Shocking…"
Also, from the Boston Herald;
"Mitchell does not have an equity stake in the Red Sox, as a thorough report by former Herald scribe Howard Bryant details, but he is expected to resume a paid role with the organization once the investigation is completed"
This should be fun....

Prior Non-Tendered

As expected Mark Prior was non-tendered by the Chicago Cubs. Now it has been posted here more then once that signing Mark Prior to a deal, say 2years $10Million, is a perfect example of how the Yankees SHOULD use their financial might. Look at it this way, who has a better chance to be an impact major league player - Mark Prior or Andrew Brackman? Both have had major surgery, Prior last year Brackman just recently. Meanwhile Prior has major league success in his past while Brackman is all about projections. So I ask why risk 5-13 million dollars on Brackman but not Prior? Given Prior's track record the odds of him being an impact player are probably greater then Brackman.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Potential non-tenders

Rotoworld has a good list of potential non-tenders for tonight's deadline. The only interesting names on the list (in my opinion) are Mark Prior, Yhency Brazoban and Vinny Chulk.

If Prior is non-tendered I do whatever I can to sign him. Anytime the risk is only money and the upside is a 26 yr old stud, I take the chance - period.

Brazoban is a former Yankee farmhand traded to the Dodgers as part of the Jeff Weaver/K. Brown trade in 2003 (ugh!). He has a live arm and while he is coming off shoulder surgery could be a nice 'pen pickup.

Chulk is also a potentially good 'pen pickup. He pitched very effectively for the Blue Jays in '04 and '05 before struggling with San Francisco in '06. He had a good partial year for the Giants last year posting a 3.57 era and 1.26 whip in 57 appearances. Chulk is coming back from a circulatory problem that cost him the final 5 weeks of the season.

What the...???

Ok, I am officially ticked off. Why is it that the Yanks have to offer not just a little bit more, but A LOT more in trades than do the Red Sox in order to get the same players? The Johan thing is a perfect example...we offer Hughes, and they want Jackson and Kennedy too. They are supposedly 'close' with a package centered around Jon Lester and Ned Lowrie. Well, seeing as how Phil Hughes has been the #1 pitching prospect in baseball for the past 24 months, Lester must be da man, huh? Let's take a look at their minor league numbers side by side -

Lester has 6 seasons minor league experience to Hughes' 4.

Age -
Lester - 1/7/84 - 24 on opening day
Hughes - 6/24/86 - 22 on opening day

Lester - 32-31 in 102 games started
Hughes - 25-8 in 53 games started

Lester - 3.33
Hughes - 2.03

Lester - 8.31
Hughes - 10.18

Lester - 3.78
Hughes - 2.16

Lester - 0.56
Hughes - 0.20

Lester - 7.99
Hughes - 5.56

The numbers go on and on and on! Hughes is a potential ACE; Lester is a potential #3 (AT BEST!). It's not even close!

Some might then say, "Lowerie is going to be a great player, and that makes the Sox' offer as good if not better." Lowrie is a career .291 hitter with ZERO power (20 HR in 3 years). The Yanks were prepared to give up Melky Cabrera who in 3 MAJOR LEAGUE seasons has a .275 average and 15 HR. The argument that Lowrie has more upside is crap too; they are both 23 - Lowrie was born April 17, 1984, and Melky is a whopping 116 days older (Aug. 11, 1984). Melky has stats in the majors that are almost identical to Lowrie's in the minors! Assuming Lowrie hits AAA pitchers better than major leaguers (gee, ya think?), this tilts hugely in favor of the Yanks' offer as well.

So what the hell? Why is it that the Yanks have to offer SOOOOO much more than the Sox to get the same player back?

An argument could (and should!) be made that the most comparable offer the Yanks could make to the Sox' offer of Lester/Crisp/Lowrie/Masterson (23, 3.74 era in 2 minor league seasons)would be:

*Alan Horne (AA pitcher of the year, at least an equal to Lester, probably better)
*Melky (better, younger, with more upside and cheaper than Crisp)
*Alberto Gonzalez (24 yr old SS who hit .304 @ SWB last yr - a plus glove with upside, comparable to Lowrie)
*Russ Ohelndorf (a more major league ready pitcher than Materson).

When you compare offers this way it is obvious why the Yanks pulled out...why should we get so totally fleeced when the next best offer is far less than ours?

Hank - hold tight! Johan is good, but if the Twinkies really liked the Sox' offer more Santana would be in Boston already!

Yankee Lineup is Still Tops

Good article on Yahoo sports about how the Yankee, Red Sox and tigers lineups compare. The end result is the following;

Expected runs/game for everyday lineups
Best Likely Lineup Worst
Yankees 6.35 6.20 6.02
Red Sox 6.10 5.95 5.71
Tigers 5.97 5.86 5.60

The flaw with the article is the projected Yankee lineup which had both Matsui and Giambi in it. While the Big G probably will get a bunch of ABs his inability to play the field guarantees that he and Matsui won't play together for a significant amount of time.

Odds and Ends

First, Joe Torre won the 'This week in Baseball' manager of the year award;
" Torre won the award in fan voting, which was conducted exclusively at"
Fans like Joe? What fans? I certainly don't know any of them.

Andy's new contract was made official

Wang wants a long term deal and I bet the Yankees don't give it to him. The Yankees always take this stance and it ends up costing them in the long run.

Bruney will probably be back next year. I like Bruney despite his wildness. He doesn't get hit much, strikes a lot of people out and keep the ball in the ballpark. Worth a gamble for another year.

Pavano is still a moron .

Finally, we await the George Mitchell report tomorrow morning. While respectable media outlets can't guess on the names that will be included, I can. Here is my list of probable brand-name players to be mentioned(excluding the no-brainers like Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, Palmeiro);
Mike Piazza
Roger Clemens
Miguel Tejada
Todd Helton
Greg Vaiughn
Brady Anderson
Brett Boone
Troy Glaus
Randy Johnson
Eric Gagne

And some players I would love to see on the list;
David Ortiz
Curt Schilling (How great would that be?)
Johan Santana (Price would go done significantly then)
David Eckstein (Because he annoys me)

Some players that would really bother me to see on the list;
Alex Rodriguez (Can't make the pain of Bonds go away if he's on the list, and imagine that hate for him if he is?)
Andy Pettitte - His ties to Clemens bother me, one of the true good guys in the game
Derek Jeter - Very little chance of this (where are the HR's?!?), but still would shake the very foundation of Yankee-dom
Mariano Rivera

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Johan Trade Talks Continue

From the Star Tribune;
"While no deal appeared imminent, there were indications that in their talks with the Red Sox, the Twins were focused on a package headlined by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

Meanwhile, the Twins' talks with the Yankees remained dormant. According to a person close to the talks, Yankees lefthander Kei Igawa was one of several players the sides discussed last week, along with righthander Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera. "

The first thing this tells me is the Yankees and Twins are clearly still talking. Nobody brought Kei Igawa's name up last week so this is clearly a new development in the talks. Also, the Red Sox thing still looks like propaganda to me. The Twins are throwing out there the one piece that the Red Sox have that trumps the Yankee offer, Ellsbury, in a ploy to make them increase their offer. If the talks were "centered" on Lester then the Yankees could be confident their offer was better since Hughes is clearly the better prospect. In the end, I have a feeling Hughes, Melky and Kennedy will be gone and Johan will a Yankee. I hope I am wrong.

Jonathan Sanchez

The rumored Hmat to SF trade is looking like it would net us Jonathan Sanchez. A Q&A in Baseball America this past spring:

Q: Mark from The D asks:
What is Jonathan Sanchez's ceiling? Could he be #2 material, or is he more of a back end starter?

A: Moderator: Front end all the way. He's a lefty with easy arm action who throws in the mid-90s with a plus changeup. The ball really jumps and gets on hitters fast. Last year he competed well against major league hitters with just those two pitches. He'll need the slider to be a top starter, and he's making encouraging progress with it this spring. Bengie Molina was telling me he thinks Sanchez can be a No.1. And he's only caught the kid twice this spring.

Lefty, 25, 10.73 k's/9...definately worth consideration.

Check his stats here

Should this trade go down the Yanks could sign Corey Patterson as a 4th outfielder; he has speed and is a plus defender at all 3 outfield positions.

While I would hate to lose Hmat because he is a very good player and seems to be a great guy, he is the streaky-est player not named Bernie Williams I've ever seen, and there are OF options a-plenty available in the '08 free agent pool.

Fun With Google - Yankees Style

Since it is a slow news day I thought I would use google's Keyword tool to see some of the popular Yankee related seraches. We already know Latroy Hawkins sucks but what else can google tell us?Lets look at some Yankee keywords and see what it reveals;

What? - Derek Jeter
  • "derek jeter cologne" - please people you have to be kidding me
  • "derek jeter jessica biel" - ok, I won't judge
  • "derek jeter hurricane" - this is the batting machine he plugs
  • "derek jeter dating"

What this tells us? Jeter is a whore with women and for money. Who can blame him? Its his world and we just live in it.

What? Alex Rodriguez

  • 6 of the top ten searches are picture related
  • "Alex Rodriguez contract" - no shock here
  • "Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez"-Boston fans I guess
  • "Alex Rodriguez wife"

What this tells us? Arod has a huge contract, a popular wife and people love looking at him. The picture thing kind of shocked me. His picture searches and his searches in general seemed larger then Jeter's which surprised me. Also, I expected Alex Rodriguez sucks to be a lot higher.

What? - Joe Torre

  • "fire joe torre" - third on the list

What this tells us? Good luck in LA, you won't be missed.

What? - Yankees

  • "yankees suck"
  • "damn yankees"

What this tells us? People love to hate the Yankees.

What? - Red Sox

  • "alex rodriguez" - the 15th most popular red sox search term was Arod
  • "babe ruth" - 17th on the list
  • "johnny damon" -11th
  • "yankees" -5th
  • new york yankees"-12th on the list

What this tells us? Despite their recent success Red Sox nation still feels inferior. They can win twice in four years but little has changed. In the end, they will always be losers and can only think about their team in the context of how they are stack up against the Yankees. Thanks google for reminding me we are THE TEAM and no matter how many times the Red Sox win that will always ring true.

Curt says, "Peter loves Him Some Red Sox"

Ok this is the last time I am going to find myself on but I had to share this one from Curt's insufferable blog;

"I love reading the people that truly are fans, the Gammons and Starks of the world. Is Peter HORRIBLY biased to the Sox, absolutely! But that makes it entertaining to me. Peter understands the game as well. He knows he’s not the smartest guy in the room and that’s why he taps some of the smartest people in the game to make his points. But I love that he’s a fan. "

So now even Red Sox agree, Peter is a Red Sox propaganda machine and they love him for it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just Shut Up! (and hit the damn treadmill!)

If you want to get aggravated, check out what Fat-Boy has to say about the Yanks' and Sox' offers for Johan.

Whenever I lose some of the heat off the fire that burns in the pit of my belly for hating the Red Sox, I read some of Schilling's blog (and especially the kiss-a@@ comments!) and get fired up all over again.

Update 1:25PM: Just for kicks I submitted a cordial comment that didn't start with a love you curt but disagreed with his take and it never made it. Oh well.

Latroy Hawkins Signs

Latroy Hawkins was signed to a one year deal worth 3.75 million. This move would scare me a lot more if Joe Torre was managing the team instead of Joe Girardi. Torre would ALWAYS pick experience over talent and upside. So if he was still around, you could envision a senario where Hawkins and Farnsworth would take turns giving up big home runs to David Ortiz. However, since General Joe Giradi is now at the helm I like the idea of getting a cheap experienced reliever to take some of the pressure off the kids. Also, I believe strongly that relief pitchers(except for closers) fluctuate so much from year to year that they are never worth a long term deal. To build a strong bullpen grab a whole lot of power arms and see who sticks.
That beling said lets take a look at some things that should scare you about Latroy Hawkins;
  • Career era vs. Boston is 5.79
  • Career era @ Fenway is 7.00
  • The top search term on Google for Latroy(other then his name) is "Latroy Hawkins sucks"
  • Career whip is 1.465
  • And the last bit of concern comes from the NY Post -"Another baseball executive likened Hawkins to Kyle Farnsworth, in terms of his fastball.
    "He doesn't throw quite as hard, but like Farnsworth, when it's not located it's very hittable because it's straight," said the executive. "Movement is what gets good hitters out, not speed. That's why guys like them have never become dominant."
So some things should scare you but sprinkling in some experience at a low cost to the bullpen is not a bad move. If this doesn't work out the Yankees can always eat the contract and let Latroy go, the same can't be said of signing The Viz to a three year deal.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


If the Yanks can convince Peter Angelos to trade him within the division, I believe the Yanks should focus their trade efforts at Erik Bedard rather than Johan Santana. There are reports that both the Yanks and Red Sox (SHOCK!) have made what amount to the best offers for Bedard, but that Angelos has yet to allow him to be traded within the AL East.

First, this is a trade we advocated in earlier posts. Check out the numbers...Bedard is trending up, had a better year (in a hitter's park) and will cost significantly less.

Second, if we offer the same package that I suggested we offer to the Twins (Kennedy, Jackson, Horne and Melky) I think the O's jump.

Johan HAS BEEN the better pitcher; I believe Bedard will be better going forward.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Red Sox-Twins Games Continue

Right after we hear the door is not slammed shut on Sanatana suddenly Buster Olney reports the Red Sox and Twins are close to a deal;

"It'll get worked out," said one evaluator. "It might not be tomorrow, but sometime, it's going to get worked out. It's close enough, and there are enough ways to bridge the gap [between what the Red Sox have offered and what the Twins want] to make it happen."

I might be proven wrong here but I am not buying that Johan ever ends up in Boston.

Johan Deal Won't Die

Yesterday we get word the Yankees were tryign to unload Matsui, possibly to clear some salary and then today the Ny Post is reporting Hankdestein is back tracking on his ultamatum;

"While Hank Steinbrenner acknowledges that he hasn't slammed the door on a potential blockbuster deal for Johan Santana, several possible trade chips the Twins might want are "as close to untouchable as you get," the Yankees' senior vice president said Friday."

Jeez, and I thought this guy said no more interviews?

""Like I said, I feel I have a duty to let our fans know as much as I can with their team, although sometimes I do go too far," he admitted. "In the respect of being the front guy, that's gonna slow down now. This is my last interview."

Guess not.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A-Rod=Griffey Jr Circa 1999?

A fellow blogger and card carrying member of Red Sox Nation at MVN wonders when comparing Arod to Griffey in 1999;

"At 30 years old, Ken Griffey, Jr had 1883 hits and topped 170 hits seven times in his career. He amassed a total of 1270 RBI. At 30 years old, Alex Rodriguez had 2067 hits and topped 170 hits nine times in his career. He amassed a total of 1347 RBI. You can see where this is going.
This is nothing against Junior, who, even through battling injuries throughout his 30s, made two All-Star teams and will reach 600 home runs for his career next year. Scott Boras has claimed that A-Rod is worth the astronomical figures he is demanding because he will, in time, break the all-time home run record, and the all-time hits record. His statistical findings are that, given all the milestones Alex will chase, break, and create will generate revenue through local television networks, ticket sales, merchandise, etc and validate Rodriguez’s salary. I’m not saying he won’t, but whenever you are basing a value on something that may happen, just remember, Ken Griffey Jr was Alex Rodriguez in 1999. Ask the Cincinnati Reds how that worked out for them …"

Obviously the main difference here is the injury issue. Griffey had shown even in 1999 that he had a propensity to get hurt missing significant time in 95 and 96. A-Rod had some minor injury issues early in his career and since has been a rock even showing the ability to fight through injuries. Also, ARod clearly takes better care of his body and won't risk hurting himself by running into any walls(as much as it hurts me to admit) not to mention the difference in positions and years on artificial turf.

Latroy Hawkins Sucks

With word that the Yankees are possibly interested in Latroy Hawkins I decided to Google him. As anyone with Google toolbar knows, as you type in your search you are presented with suggestions. Usually these are pretty revealing, like does the player have a hot wife? Can he fight(Farnsworth)?

Well here is what comes up for Latroy Hawkins;

Latroy Hawkins sucks
Latroy Hawkins cubs
Latroy Hawkins espn

When the first search suggestion is that a player sucks I think that is enough said! Stay away from him Cashman and his career 1.465 whip.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

In the Driver's seat with Johan

Now that it has become obvious that the Red Sox were really only interested in keeping Johan out of pinstripes, the Yanks are completely in the driver's seat. While the Twins were able to make some ludicrous demands (The Messiah and Ikky) during the winter meetings by leaking the propect of Johan in Fenway, now that we know the truth we can sit back and let Minnesota come back to us.

Offer up Kennedy, Jackson, Horne and Melky and wait...

The Angels know they have enough pitching.
The Dodgers aren't parting with their best prospects; and after being burned on their last 2 long-term deals to pitchers (Brown and Dreifert)are gun shy.
The Mariners and Mets can't offer prospect packages that will touch this one.

Who else can pay him $20+mm per year besides these teams? No one!

If we simply leave that offer on the table and wait until, say, the beginning of spring training, I am confident Johan will be in The Bronx by opening day!

Matsui to Giants?

Apparently the Yankees are talking about trading Matusi to the Giants, maybe for Noel Lowry. Can anyone think of any reason the Yankees would want to unload some salary and pick up another young pitcher? This Johan Santana thing just won't die....

The New York Fan Myth

A constant reason given for the lack of patience of New York franchises is the fact that the fans simple won't accept rebuilding. Apparently we are too stupid and impatient to allow for a team to do something for the future and we will forever turn to some other passion like bowling or canasta. It is the excuse the Knicks give for Isaiah disaster and the Rangers for years used it as an excuse. Now there is some truth to the fact that fans won't show up to games if the team sucks. We won't, but that makes us no different then any other city. However, after the Johan non-trade the fan reaction should show that we are smarter or at least more patient then we are given credit for. I ran into two polls one on River Ave Blues and this one on

Both are landslide victories in favor of keeping the kids and not getting Johan. Meanwhile the move has been killed in the press by the Bergen Record , the Post, and Peter (Theo’s Secret Lover) Gammonds said he thought the Yankees would change their stance after the backlash of negative publicity. Hank apparently missed that backlash. He mentioned about the positive feedback he has gotten from the fans;
“They’re the ones that buy tickets and watch the YES Network. I like the way they get attached to homegrown Yankee players, just like the rest of us do in ownership and the front office. I was actually kind of surprised. But the fans seem to be in favor of keeping Hughes, and that’s a good thing.”
What is clear is the PRESS are the ones who can't handle a little youth movement. They want the big trade and the big flop ala Randy Johnson, it sells. The fans on the other hand are more intelligent then that. We can and will wait for our team to do things the right way. So please can everyone stop saying us New York fans won't tolerate smart baseball decisions like investing in youth ? This is the one thing I think the Johan situation should prove once and for all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No Johan Trade?

From Peter Gammons;
"Don't expect to see a Twins-Red Sox or Twins-Yankees whopper. The sense is now that Minnesota will hold onto Johan Santana"

So now that the Yankees are out the deal that was close all day yesterday suddenly disappears. Looks like what we all thought is true, Minnesota and Boston were playing the Yanks or at least trying too.

Bullpen Help?

There are reports that the Yanks and Pirates are talking about a deal for Pirate lefty reliever Damaso Marte; now this is a move I like.

First, Marte is a luxury the perpetually rebuilding Pirates can ill-afford. A well-paid lefty out of the pen is pretty low on the Pirates list of needs. He is rather affordable (he made $2.45mm in '07, and is set to make $2mm in '08. There is a $6mm team option for '09 with $250k buyout) and should not cost the Yanks a bundle in terms of prospects.

Marte would make for an excellent lefty bridge to Mo after posting a 2.38 ERA allowing 32 hits in 45 innings and 51 ks. As he made 65 appearances for those 45 innings he was obviously used as a situational lefty last year. In the past, however, Marte had workhorse years with the White Sox throwing 79 and 73 innings in 2003 and 2004. Always around a 2:1 k/bb ratio and over 9k's per 9ip his internals look good as well.

If we can pick him up for a couple of Eric Duncan types this would be an excellent addition to the '08 pen.

The Marlins are Rich!

The Florida Marlins have reached the point where their highest paid player is Kevin Gregg and their total payroll projects to be around 8 million. Before you say those poor, poor marlins, I say hold on a minute these guys are working the system! Some Marlin facts:

  • Florida owns the tenth largest MLB market
  • In 2006 they had revenues of 122mil
  • In 2006 they had a profit of 43.3 million
  • In 2008 they project to make around 60 million dollars in profit

Most of the data for my rough estimates were capture from Forbes. So don't cry for the Marlins, they are simply more intertested in making money then winning games.

Now,back to you regularly scheduled Yankee programming......

Steer clear!

Canyon of Heroes said it best -

"Trading away any of our top prospects for Haren is a sure fire way of making the Javier Vazquez mistake all over again."

PERFECT comparison!

Haren is no Johan; he is no Bedard...the Yanks need to stay away from ANY deal for this guy that includes any of the Big Three!

It was the Money?

According to Bill Madden;
"Believe it or not, the final decision not to go through with a deal that was on the table - one that would have sacrificed Hughes, Melky Cabrera, 23-year-old Double-A righthander Jeff Marquez and 22-year-old A-ball third baseman Mitch Hilligoss - was based on money. "
A couple of things here, if that was the final package I am shocked the Yankees pulled out. Also, have the Yankees EVER not done something because of money? The only time I can remember it is with Carlos Beltran.

This is a great sign because it says that Cash is indeed still in charge and not the bumbling mouthpiece Hank Steinbrenner. Also, three pitchers under the age of 23 anchoring our staff can have devastating effect on the rest of baseball. The Yankees can concievable sign Mark Texiera(say 21mil/yr), CC Sabathia (20mil/yr), and Adam Dunn(15mil/yr) and still not be at the 200 million dollar threshold next year. This has to scare the rest of baseball to death.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Don't panic!

Remember Yankee front office...this is what we all wanted. A group of young pitchers upon which we can build the next 10-15 years of our team. Now that there are reports everywhere fitting Santana for evil red hose, there is no need to panic. Listen up Hank and Brian - Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are 21 and 22 years old, and they could conceivably BOTH be better than Johan Santana and Josh Beckett.

So now that it looks like Johan to the Sox is becoming reality, don't panic...stay the course! Keep the kids and be rewarded for it for years to come!

Santana to Sox?

There are reports out of the Winter Meetings that the Red Sox and Twins have agreed to a deal for Johan Santana, and the Sox have requested a 72 hour window to negotiate an extension. I have yet to get confirmation, but will be back with more shortly.

Shoot me now....

From espn;

"If the Red Sox get Santana," said an executive of one NL team that's grateful to be in the other league, "they might be the best team in the history of the frigging universe."

I could not handle the year-long Red Sox lovefest a Santana aquistion would create.

Trade talks dying down

The Twins have apparently relented on their demands for Iam Kennedy to be included;

"The Twins and Yankees reached what one person called an "impasse'' shortly before midnight CST. The Twins were asking that the Yankees include either pitcher Ian Kennedy or a tandem of pitching prospect Alan Horne and outfield prospect Austin Jackson in their package with pitcher Phil Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera."

Alan Horne, Austin Jackson, Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera? No freaking way. This seems high to me; maybe I am unaware of the market so I decided to look at some of the past deals for ace caliber pitcher to better gauge what it should take.

Josh Beckett Traded by the Florida Marlins with Mike Lowell and Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado (minors). I think we can equate Hanley to Phil as the centerpiece of this deal and Anibal as the Melky - a major league ready option without a particularly high ceiling. Harvey Garcia looks like a young Mota according to what I found - throws hard but never much success and Delgado has a smiliar story which also includes Tommy John surgery.

Curt Schilling Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, and Michael Goss (minors). Two major league ready pithcers with ok upside and two fringe prospects. Remind me again why the Yanks weren't more in on this one?

Randy Johnson Traded by the Seattle Mariners to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later, Freddy Garcia, and Carlos Guillen. The Houston Astros sent John Halama (October 1, 1998) to the Seattle Mariners to complete the trade. So two top prospects and John Halama.

Pedro Martinez Traded by the Montreal Expos to the Boston Red Sox for Tony Armas and Carl Pavano. Two top pitching prospects.

The Red Sox deal for Beckett is the one that should be the best refernce point for a Santana trade given his age. Once you take into account Santana's larger body of work and the fact that Boston got a starting third baseman and a major reliever in the deal i think what you have is a top prospect and one major league ready player with decent upside, Phil Hughes and Melky. Add in a secone tier prospect and it is a fair deal. Add in two of our top prospects(Horne and Jackson) and it is highway robbery.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Johan Santana Waiting Game Continues

The Johan saga drags on as there is word that the Yankees and Twins could be meeting into the night to discuss a deal. Also, as this thing plays out I think it is clear that the Red Sox are in this just to try and keep Johan from the Yankees. When they wanted Beckett they went at him hard and the same for Schilling. Also, with Bedard and Haren on the market if Theo really thought he needed a pitcher would he say he was content to let this thing play out as long as it needed to?

The question is how to react to that from a Yankees perspective. My immediate response is the Red Sox are trying to manipulate the prince of Santana up but then I came to another conclusion - they fear him on the Yankees. They will stay in this all the way to the end so they get a chance at matching the Yankee offer and possible keeping him from playing here. As a Yankee fan that should make me want Santana very very badly. He is clearly a player who will take a team from World Series contender to unstoppable juggernaut. The Red Sox know this and they want nothing more then to disrupt this deal enough so it does not happen, drive the price up just enough, create just enough confusion and hopefully Johan stays out of the Bronx is their thinking. My gut says it won't matter, by this time tomorrow I expect to be hearing of a contract window and then a whole new waiting game will start albeit an inevitable one.

Gift Idea

Thanks to Pinstripe Alley for this one!

Pettitte to return

According to the Houston Chronicle, Andy has decided to pitch for the Yanks in '08. This is huge - not only do we get a much needed lefty in the 'ro, but we also get one of the best, toughest and seasoned professionals in the game. His inclusion on this year's team will provide someone for the youngsters to look up to and emulate in terms of how to prepare and how to act.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

3 Yanks in Top 50 Prospects

Three Yankee farmhands were listed in Minor League Baseballs Top 50 Prospects.
Joba is listed as #5 (really? 5?)
Ikky is #26
A-Jax is #49

While I have a tough time believing that there are really 4 prospects better than The Beast, I am happy that an independent listing shows the value of these 3 youngsters.

Ellsbury or Hughes?

Boston has decided to include Jacoby Ellsbury in a trade for Santana. This is a no brainer from Boston's standpoint and it does make it clear that they are serious about acquiring Santana. Now I have made it clear that I am not as in love with Ellsbury as all of Red Sox Nation but is this really a question(asked in the same article);
"What the choice for Minnesota may come down to, in the end, is this: Do they prefer Phil Hughes as the centerpiece player in a deal, or Ellsbury"
Let me see, a potential ace or a speedy CF with no power?

Johan or Bedard?

In light of all of the talk about giving up The Messiah (Hughes) for Johan, I thought I'd throw an alternate path out there for Cash 'n crew to follow. While Johan is widely accepted as the best pitcher available, that may not be true, and at least there is a potentially cheaper alternative that I believe the Yanks should pursue.

Let's take a look at Johan and Erik Bedard's stats side-by-side:

Age: Bedard is 8 days older than Santana
ERA last 3 years:
EB - 4.00/3.76/3.16
JS - 2.87/2.77/3.33
Ks/9 3 yrs
EB - 7.94/7.93/10.93
JS - 9.25/9.44/9.66
Ks/BB 3 yrs
EB - 2.19/2.48/3.88
JS - 5.29/5.21/4.52
HR Allowed
EB - 10/16/19
JS - 22/24/33
Avg Against
EB - .260/.258/.212
JS - .210/.216/.225
Total Pitched Thrown Career:
EB - 11,391
JS - 20,191

First, based on an average of about 3,300 pitches per year, Johan has about 3 years' more wear and tear on his arm than Bedard. This difference can primarily be attributed to the much earlier success Santana enjoyed. While this is a positive for Johan in terms of perception when comparing the two, in actuality it is a serious negative. It's hard to argue that an arm with the equivalent to 3 years' more mileage is a good thing.

The other thing that becomes obvious when looking at the stats side-by-side is the trend of the 2 pitchers. Santana's stats are pretty damn good; there is no doubt, however, that he is trending down; this to me signifies that Johan has topped out in terms of performance. Bedard is the opposite; his important stats have been trending up over the past 3 years.

If all that happens is that both pitchers continue at last years' levels then by the numbers Bedard is as good as Johan. If, however, the trend for either one continues, Bedard would actually be the better pitcher.

The other factor involved here is what the Yanks would have to give up to get either pitcher. Hughes would have to go to get Johan. I would imagine that the Orioles would be happy with a the same package except substitute Kennedy instead of Hughes.

Which rotation would you rather have -

1. Santana/Pettitte/Wang/Chamberlan/Kennedy
2. Bedard/Pettitte/Wang/Hughes/Chamberlan

Considering that I think Hughes will equal both Johan and Bedard in a year or two, and taking into account the obvious trends for both pitchers, I'll take rotation #2 every time!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Johan Gets closer?

From Peter Ab;

"The AP is now reporting that Phil Hughes is part of the offer for Johan Santana along with Melky Cabrera and a “mid-level prospect.”
In a new twist, the wire service says the offer could have an expiration date of a few days as the Yankees are prepared to go after Danny Haren."

I think Phil Hughes could be better then Haren as early as next year. Take a look at their numbers from last year and the gap is a lot smaller then you think;
Haren -Whip - 1.21, H/9- 8.65, K/9 - 7.76
Hughes- Whip - 1.28, H/9- 7.93, K/9 - 7.18
Let just hope any package for Haren has Hughes off-limits.

The more this plays out the more it seems inevitable that Hughes is gone and Johan is here. The Haren talk is most likely a ploy to force a Minnesota decision, along with the deadline ala Johnny Damon. The Yankees will be better because of it and it is a move you have to make - a proven ace for a potential ace. But why do I not feel excited? Is it due to Brown, Vasquez, Contreras, Johnson and Weaver flashbacks? I think maybe I have just come to expect every starter we acquire will let us down. That is why it was so exciting to have the homegrown three....


Saw this and couldn't resist. Something about seeing Brian Cashman on the cover of a magazine with "Mad Hot Dancing" made me smile....think he is dancing now?

Leaks? or plants?

Everyone (literally) is reporting that the Yanks have decided to include pending HOF'er Phil Hughes in the trade for Johan Santana. I find this quite curious...didn't HankdeStein JUST say that there would be no more information coming until something was either done or dead? If the Yanks had decided to include The Messiah in a trade for Johan, what possible benefit would come from leaking it to the press?

What I am hoping is that this is just a planted story in an effort to get the Red Sox to up their ante to include more of their upper-level prospects. At this point I am really hoping for one of 2 scenarios to play out - 1. The Yanks are able to land Johan with a package that does not include Hughes; or, 2.Johan ends up traded to the Dodgers (or somewhere else where we won't have to deal with him).

Either scenario works for me - if we land Johan and keep Phil I am happy. If Johan goes out west and we are able to use Kennedy plus to land Bedard or Haren (in that order)I am happy.

Either way, I find the "leaking" of this information rather suspect!

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.

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