Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cashman Retunrs for Three more Years

It's offical the Cash-man will be back for three more years as the Yankee GM. So as we brace for three more years I start to wonder, what GOOD decisions has Brain Cashman made in the pitching department the last 6 years? I count Tom Gordon and Jon Leiber as good decisions. What else? There has to be more....right?

Here is a breakdown of all his moves. So where is the genius? How does this guy avoid blame? Expect more bad moves this offseason in the pitching department. Maybe no CC, sign Burnett and resign a clearly fried Andy Pettitte, yeah that sounds Cashman-esque.

Am I missing the positive moves he's made?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Karma's a Bitch!

I am so happy that the Muts once again choked away a trip to the postseason. I am not, however, simply a Met-hating Yankees fan. My joy stems from the way they treated one of the all-time good guys in the sport - Willie Randolph.

It serves them right.

Congrats iYankees

Congratulations to Chris of iYankees for winning our bloggers' fantasy baseball league!

Mariano the Great

It is arguable, that at age 37, Mariano Rivera just completed his best regular season in his sure-fire first ballot, Hall of Fame career.

Mo's 1.40 ERA is the second lowest of his career (1.38 in 2005)
His 0.66 WHIP is the lowest of his storied career (0.86 in 2005)
He gave up a career-low 11 earned runs for the entire season.
Mo walked a ridiculous 6 (SIX!!) batters all year long and struck out 77 (12+ k/bb)

In case you think maybe Mo did all of this in less than an average amount of work, Mo has averaged 73 innings per year (even including his 107 inning year in '96 as Wetteland's set-up man) and logged 70 2/3 this year.
Oh, Mo pitched all year with a sore shoulder too.

Petulant Papplepuss

As he sulked around the mound in the 1st game yesterday, throwing numerous rosin bags toward the dugout and generally looking like a 3 year old that is being forced to take a nap during Spongebob, we saw just what a self-centered baby Dread Sox closer Jonathan Papplepuss is.

HOW DARE manager Terry Francona pitch him in a meaningless game??!? 

HOW DARE Francona risk his sub 2 ERA for the season by making him pitch when there was ...GASP!... RAIN!!

After finally getting the 3rd out, The Puss stormed back to the dugout, slammed his glove down and started kicking the closest thing he could find. He then pouted out of the dugout ripping off his jersey before even getting into the tunnel.

I was soooo happy that we plated 3 and ran his era for the year from 1.98 to 2.34. 

My disdain for the jerk is pretty well documented...hopefully everyone else saw what I did yesterday and sees him for what he is - a petulant child who is more concerned with his own stats than getting in some work before the playoffs begin.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hey Yankee Fans, It Could Always be Worse

You could be a Mets fan.

Two straight years collasping down the stretch and losing two of three at home to the Marlins(the Marlins!)to seal the deal. Ouch.

I bet that closing ceremony following the game was a real blast.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bedard a FA?

SI reports on successful surgery for Erik Bedard and some interesting information at the end of the article;

The next move with Bedard is likely to be one of the first questions asked of any potential general manager candidates by team president Chuck Armstrong and chairman Howard Lincoln. Armstrong said Friday there is possibility of not tendering Bedard a contract.
"If you make a bad stock pick you don't hold on to it hoping that it's going to come back," Armstrong said. "You move on. We have that option."

If this happens the Yankees would have to consider competing for his services. He does present a significant amount of risk but the Yankees can afford to throw away 10-20 million for a chance for a front-line starter. Bedard would have to be looked at as a sixth starter instead of a one or two but a risk definitely worth taking.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Olney - Yankees Needed to Keep their Picks

Buster Olney has a piece today on the death of the Yankees. He argues the following if the Yankees go on a spending spree this summer;

"further retard their player development system that was, in the early '90s, the best in the major leagues. A dynasty was born from that, and from that dynasty came the YES Network, support for a new Yankee Stadium -- and an insatiable quest for success that, in the way it was managed, effectively cannibalized the organization. "

At the end of the article he actually lists the picks the Yankees lost and the what the compensation picks netted their former teams. I have excluded the compensation round picks because those are not picks the Yankees would have had if they didn't make the signing;

Johnny Damon - Daniel Bard
Kyle Farnsworth - Robert Fontaine
Carl Pavano-Jacob Marceaux
Jaret Wright-Jeffery Lyman
Paul Quantril- Blake Dewitt
Tom Gordon - Ray Liotte
Jason Giambi- Joe Blanton
Steve Karsay-James Greene
Mike Mussina- Mike Fontenot
David Wells - Darnell McDonald
Mike Stanton - Chris Tynan

So, what did the Yankees really loose out on with these picks? Joe Blanton? It makes for good press to kill the Yankees for spending on free agents but the truth is the Yankees are a lot better off with the FA pickups instead of the picks. Even late first round picks are a crap shoot and a sure thing FA is a much better, and safer investment. However, where the Yankees went wrong was with some of the decisions on who to spend money on not to spend it in the first place.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankees Pay for Past Sins

The Hank was quoted as saying there had been mistakes made by the Yankees, so now is as good a time as any to look back and see what mistakes were made. Now not all of these can be placed at the feet of Brain Cashman but the majority are his doing;

Mistake 1 - 2002 - Jeff Weaver
The Yankees tried to do something right here by adding a pitcher who had success entering his prime. The problem with this move is they clearly didn't do their homework on Weaver's maturity level. Weaver's makeup never would have allowed for him to succeed in New York. This move was bad for the Yankees and I think ruined Weaver as well.

Mistake 2- 2002 - Jose Contreras
Senore nervous was the anti- El duque - all stuff, no heart. Not only did the Yankees make a mistake with him, but they made it worse by giving up on him too quickly for Estaban Loiza. He probably would have never succeeded in New York but you have to at least give him a couple of full years to find out.

Mistake 3 - 2003 - Kevin Brown Over Andy Pettitte
After the 2003 season the Yankees decided to be cheap with Andy Pettitte. To replace him they traded for Kevin Brown. This one was bad. Ask yourself, if Andy is starting game 7 in 2004 do the Yankees win?

Mistake 4 - 2003 - Sheff over Vlad
Even though Sheffield gave the Yankees 2 good years Vlad has much been better. Sheffield brought an attitude to the clubhouse that wouldn't have been tolerated in years past. Also, Vlad is still going strong while Sheff is done.

Mistake 3 2004 - Jaret Wright over Jon Leiber
The Yankees tried to save a couple of million dollars by not exercising the option they held on Leiber and instead ended up signing Jaret Wright after the free agent market for pitchers exploded. They chose an unproven commodity in New York over someone who came in to New York and succeeded.

Mistake 4- 2004 - Carl Pavano
Looking back there really were not many better options. Derek Lowe was available, as well as Kevin Millwood, but Pavano was probably the best choice. In the end it didn't work out so it is still a mistake. $40 million dollars and 10 wins isn't exactly a positive move.

Mistake 5 - 2004 - Randy Johnson over Carols Beltran
In the 2004 offseason Big Stein gave Cash a choice - RJ or Carlos. This one was bad. Randy was a complete bust in New York and the Yankees are still looking for a real CFer. I was for the move at the time but looking back this made no sense. The Yankees ended up dumping 13 million a year (instead of the $16mm per Carols wanted) on Johnny Damon who predictably turned out to be a decent left fielder but no longer suited for CF.

Mistake 6- 2006 - Igawa over Lilly
After the 2006 season the Yankees lost out on the Dice-K sweepstakes and needed a plan B. The choice was either an unproven mediocore lefty in Japan, or a pitcher who had experience in New York and some success in the AL east. The choice was Igawa who has 2 wins to Lilly's 29 the last two years.

Replace on this years team Bobby Abreu with Vladimir Guerrero, add Lilly to the back of the rotation and Beltran in CF and you have a very strong playoff team.

Looking back, the Yankees biggest issue has been evaluating pitchers. In two years will we be adding the Johan non-trade to this list? Also, is it Cashman's fault or the Yankee scouts? Either way these are some of the key decisions that led to this year's failure and no championships since 2000. This offseason could be one like 2004, where 3 or 4 key decisions will be made. Let's hope some of these turn out better then those of the past.

This Needs to End Well

So the Red Sox won today which puts the tragic number at one. It will not do the Yankees, the Stadium or the former players justice to get eliminated today of all days. It has been a tough year all around in Yankeeland and that would be the icing on a really bitter cake.

So let's go Yankees! Keep hope alive one more day and let's go out in style - with an Andy Pettitte no-no! OK, maybe not but that would be a fitting end wouldn't it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Top Yankee Stadium Memories

As we edge ever so closer to the last days of Yankee stadium it makes me reflect on the lasting memories I will have of the House that Ruth Built. So here are my top memories:

Bad seats and 20 Bucks gets you a damn good view- In the late eighties/early nineties I was a teenager living in CT and my oldest brother worked on Wall Street. After he got out of work my other brother and I would hop on the train and meet him at the bat. We would then buy the worst seats in the house and wait until the 2nd inning rolled around whenwe would go to our favorite usher behind first base and slip him a 20 to enjoy the rest of the game from right behind the first base dugout. I can't say I miss losing, but I sure miss having my choice of seats!!

Walk-Offs- I have been lucky enough to see my fair share of walk-off home runs:
  • 09/09/1988 - Claudell Washington - My homa wah-wah hits the first walk-off I see.
  • 05/05/2000 - Jorge Posada- My brother felt the need to leave this one early, I stayed. Good call as Jorge sends us home happy.
  • 10/21/2001 - Alfonso Soriano - I almost got in a fight with Paul Abbot's cousin (we are lucky enough to get seats from my brother's friend John Sterling for a bunch of games a year, and sit with both teams' families) as Sono (why were we the only ones to call him that?!) sends us home drunk and happy
  • 04/05/2005 - Derek Jeter - Captain Clutch saves opening day with a walk-off blast
  • 04/07/2007 - Alex Rodriguez - Mr Clutch (for the day) delivers a walk off granny vs Cleveland (too bad he didn't save that HR till about 6 months later!).

Benitez Plunks Tino and Graeme Lloyd is a Brawler - I was at the game in '98 that saw Bernie hit a moonshot off Armando in the bottom of the 9th and Tino get plunked on the very next pitch. This set off one of the best brawls in Yankee history. This game is really underrated in recent Yankee history. This was the point in 1998 where the Yankees showed what they were made of. Not only did they come back against the (then) mighty Benitez and the O's, but they stood up for each other. The '98 team had the kind of fight that the current Yankees only dream of. You think the '98 team would've let Don Zimmer get bitch slapped by Pedro? One of the most exciting games, regular or postseason, that I have ever been to. When Raines hit the first pitch after the brawl into the bleachers I thought the Stadium was going to explode.

Clemens' Roid Rage makes Piazza Pee his Pants - This game was memorable simply because of the "what the ...?" moment when Clemens threw the bat at Piazza. Still quite a bizarre moment.

There were others, but these will stand out for me.

Yankee stadium has been good to me and these memories will last long past the wrecking ball.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Week's Worth of Work Does Not a Career Make!

Perusing the posts on Phil Hughes' start last night I became more and more angry the more I read.

Idiots such as Bill Madden penning - "It's fair to say after all that has befallen Hughes, the Yankees' crown-jewel pitching prospect, the expectations are no longer quite so high".


Do you mean to tell me that you have essentially given up on Phil Hughes because of 7 starts this year?

In his first 5 starts Johan Santana pitched to a 6.49 ERA over 86 innings.

In his first 12 starts John Smoltz pitched to a 5.48 ERA over 64 innings.

Randy Johnson sucked his first few years.

When a kid (he IS 22!) pitches as well and is as dominant as Hughes in the minors then comes up to the bigs it should come as no surprise when they struggle. If there wasn't a big difference between AAA and the majors more guys like Shelley Duncan would be able to repeat their performances with the big club.

Everyone warned of growing pains for this year; we are feeling them now.

Lay off of Phil - while he might not turn out to be Johan or Smoltz or Randy Johnson, there is still plenty of time for that to happen.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So its not technically over....

But according to Cool Standings the Yankees have a 0.1% change of making the playoffs.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Undesireables

In the 2004 ALCS it was clear that the Yankees did nothing to revamp their pitching staff after the migration of Pettitte and loss of Clemens and David Wells. It has now been three seasons and the Yankee rotation includes a Mexican journeyman(Aceves), a pitcher released by Texas(Sir Sydney), a fading fast veteran(Andy) and Carl freaking Pavano.

This is nothing new either, a lot of the starters who have seen significant time the last four years can be categorized as either old(36+,) unproven or simply mediocre. These are three categories you want to avoid because more times then not bad things will happen. I think that a team can only handle so many starts by these Undesirables and any thing over a certain threshold puts your postseason aspirations in jeopardy. Think about it, the odds of a 36+ year old pitcher breaking down or aging before your eyes is pretty great and young pitchers are a 50/50 proposition at best.

So let's take a look at just how many of the starts by the Yankees the last four years can be put in these categories. I will start with the Rays and Red Sox this year as a point of reference;

Tampa- Total starts by Undesirables 30, 22% of Schedule
2 Starts by Unproven - Neiman
28 Starts by mediocre - Sonnastine
Matt Garza had 24 career starts before this year so he doesn't quite qualify as an unproven and I am giving Edwin Jackson the benefit of the doubt that he has turned his career around and is no longer a mediocre pitcher.

Boston - 58 Starts by the Undesirables, 41% of schedule
25 Starts by the Old - Wakefield(25)
27 Starts by the Unproven - Buchholz(15), Masterson(9),Pauley(1),Bowden(1), Zink(1)
6 Starts by the Mediocre - Ponson(6)

2008 Yankees - 127 Starts by the Undesirables, 89% of schedule
59 Starts by the Old - Mussina(30), Pettitte(29)
31 Starts by the Unproven - Kennedy(9), Hughes(6), Joba(12), Giese(3), Bruney(1)
37 Starts by the Mediocre - Rasner(20), Ponson(13), Pavano(3), Igawa(1)
2007 Yankees - 98 Starts by the Undesirables, 60% of schedule
44 Starts by the old - Mussina(27), Clemens(17)
30 Starts by Medicore -Igawa(12), Karstens(3), Henn(1), DeSalvo(6), Rasner(6), Pavano(2)
24 Starts by unproven Kennedy(3), Chase Wright(2), Hughes(13), and Clippard(6)

2006 Yankees - 120 Starts by the Undesirables, 74% of schedule
65 Starts by the old - Johnson(33), Mussina(32)
45 Starts by Medicore -Jaret Wright(27), Chacon(11), Small(3), Ponson(3), Wilson(1)
10 Starts by unproven Karstens(6), Rasner(3), Henn(1)

2005 Yankees 162 Starts by the Undesirables, 100% of schedule
87 Starts by the Old - Mussina(30), Johnson(34), Brown (13), Leiter(10)
21 Starts by the Unproven - Wang(18), Henn(3), Proctor(1)
54 Starts by the Mediocre - Redding (1), May(1), Sturtze(1), Small(9), Chacon(12), Wright(13), Pavano(17)

And just to drive the point home...
1998 Yankees - Total starts by Undesirables 6, 4% of Schedule
3 Starts by Unproven - Bradley, Jerzemback
3 Starts by mediocre - Bruske, Buddie
The Yankees have simply had too many of their starts taken by the old, the young or the just plain no good. This has to stop and there really is only one place to lay blame and that is at the feet of Brian Cashman. Maybe the lucky run at the end of 2005 provided Cash with some false sense of hope around this high risk spots.
The bottom line is you can survive having two spots that are high risk but this year 4 out of 5 spots were undesirable, this has to change next year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seat Selector for New Stadium

Ran Across this on iyankees. Check out the lineup on the board has Arod hitting 6th. Hank must've been mad at a rally killing DP that day....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Joba back to Pen

Cashman and Giradi announced that Joba will return to the bullpen and not be stretched out and returned to the rotation. Makes sense since the trio of Pavano, Ponson and Razner are sure to lead us on the 20-5 run we need to make the playoffs.(that's right folks that is what it would take to reach 93 wins).

Game remaining - 25
Possible innings with Joba the reliever-18
Possible innings with Joba the starter - 37(Assumes the following inning breakdown 3,4,5,6,6,6,7 with normal rest between each appearance except the first)

Even I realize that more Joba means less Giese, Razner, Edwar, etc. Also, you maximize the amount of innings Joba throws this year hopefully avoiding a replay of Joba the reliever transitioning to Joba the starter. The Yankees just continue to make questionable decisions, this is sure shaping up to be a year to forget.

...except all they have to do is makeup 4 games before the final series of the season to have a shot. Imagine a final weekend sweep in Bostoin followed by a one game playoff in Yankee stadium, now that would be the way to play the last Yankee Stadium regular season game, wouldn't it?

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