Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Joba vs. Buchholz

The experts over at BA discuss Joba vs. Buchholz:

Jim Callis: In terms of pure stuff, I think Buchholz' curveball and changeup are right up there with Chamberlain's fastball and slider. I'd love to have either of those guys, but I'd take Buchholz for two reasons. One, his plus fastball and occasional plus slider give him a deeper repertoire. And two, given their pasts and their builds, I think Buchholz is a better bet to stay healthy over the long haul.

Chris Kline: They're both fearless, but Chamberlain pitches off his fastball more consistently. And not that Buchholz is some soft-tosser, but I when I think of an elite pitcher who will come right after hitters with pure power, it's Chamberlain. And for as good as Buchholz' secondary stuff is, Chamberlain's arsenal of secondary pitches seems a little underrated to me.

Will Lingo: I think given Chamberlain's build, durability questions, and overwhelming success out of the bullpen, it's going to be mighty tempting for the Yankees to make him Mariano Rivera's successor. I know they're talking about moving him to the rotation at midseason, but Jonathan Papelbon was a starter at this time last year too. I just think Buchholz is a little more likely to end up as a long-term No. 1 starter.

John Manuel: I ranked Joba higher because he's a four-pitch guy with two (fastball, slider) that earn 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale, plus command and impeccable makeup. He can get big leaguers out with a fastball in fastball counts, while Buchholz relies more on his secondary stuff. Chamberlain's superior fastball makes him the better bet to be a long-term ace. In fact, it makes him the best pitching prospect to come around since I've been at BA, surpassing Josh Beckett and Mark Prior.

So 2 out of 4 prefer Joba to Clay, with one picking Buchholz only because of injury concerns due to The Beast's body, and the other betting Joba stays in the pen.

I REALLY hoipe Longo is wrong and the Yanks stick to the plan to get Joba in the rotation. 200 innings out of a phenom like Joba is far preferrable to 70!


BallHype: hype it up!

Happy Birthday to a True 'Warrior'

Moshe over at Bronx Block recounts some of the more memorable Paul O'Neill moments on this Paulie's 45th birthday:


1) The Catch- O’Neill caught the last out of Game 5 of the 1996 World Series. Off the bat, Luis Polonia’s drive looked like it may tie the game. A gimpy O’Neill was perfectly positioned and caught the ball in the gap at a full run. His punch to the wall after the catch is one of the enduring images of that series.

2) The Chant- The 2001 World Series was tied at 2, and the Yankees were down 2-0 in the ninth inning. Instead of focusing solely on the game, the Yankees’ fans took the time to acknowledge that this was likely Paul’s final game at Yankee Stadium. The chant of “Paul O-Neill” filled the Stadium for minutes, and replays always give me the chills.

3) The Slide- The Yankees trailed the Indians by one run in the 9th inning of Game 5 in the 1997 ALDS. O’neill hit one off the top of the wall, and limped towards second for a double. A hook slide got him in safely, although he came up bloody. The Yankees lost, but the play led the Boss to dub O’Neill “a warrior.”

4) The Walk- The Yankees trailed the Mets 3-2 with one out in the 9th inning during Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. Armando Benitez entered the game to close it out, and the Yankees were desperate for baserunners. Paul worked a 10 pitch walk, scored on a sac fly, and the Yankees eventually won the game and the Series.

5) The Home Run- The Yankees and Mets met at Shea Stadium for the first of three on June 27, 1998. The Yankees trailed 4-3 with one out and two on in the seventh. In an oft criticized move, Bobby V went to Mel Rojas to replace the injured Al Leiter and face Paul. O’Neill smacked the first pitch he saw over the fence in left center, leading to a Yankees victory.

Trading Roberto Kelley for O'Neill is one of the best moves in recent Yankee history; it literally started the dynasty. Paul was not only an offensive force for the Yanks, but also contributed mightily to the atmosphere that lead us to 4 championships in 5 years.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

4 Days to Michael Kay's Sweet Annoying Voice

I can almost smell baseball, real baseball has almost returned. Yes, it will be meaningless spring training games but I can't wait to see Joba, Phil and Crew. I can't remember a season with more anticipation then this one from the first pitch of spring training, I can't wait. Other years it was ho-hum talk let's play some real games but with all of these kids what happens in Florida will be news and worth watching.
4 days(3/1) to First Sprint Training Game
5 days(3/2) to First Sprint Training Telecast

So far the stories of spring training have surrounded the new attitude with Girardi on board. It seems that almost every player was called personally and told to come to camp in shape. That kind of show up ready attitude and the exuberance of youth have changed the tone in Yankee land. Let's hope the positive vibe carried over through spring training and into the regular season. This is one season I can't wait to see.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pitch FX Data

I happened across this blog which provides analysis of pitch fx data for all MLB players last year. If you haven't seen the pitch fx data before I urge you to take a look. It breaks down each pitch a pitcher throws recording speed and break of each pitch. There was some interesting things I noticed while looking through the Yankee player's data:

Ian Kennedy's fastball moves a lot(-5.16x and 12.37z) compare it Roy Oswalt (-4x and 9.51z).

Joba Chamberlain throws a nasty curve (8.5x and -4.68z) compare to Josh Beckett (6.65x and -3.51z).

Mariano's cutter is unreal (1.94x and 8.27z) compare to Tim Hudson's cutter(-1.86x and 3.34z).

Also, I noticed that Papelbon throws a real moving fastball but not much else with any movement. Interesting stuff, I urge you to take a look.


BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

It's the bottom of the 9th at the Stadium in the ALCS. The Yanks lead the Sox 5-4 but through the usual 'dinks and dunks,' the Sox have the bases loaded against Mariano with only 1 out.

We need a double play.

I ask you, fellow Yankee fans, where do you want that groundball hit?

I have no doubt of your answer.

Isn't that far more telling than any statistical study?


BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tabata a "Special Bat"

John Manuel had this to say at BA about Jose Tabata -

"Tabata has a special, special bat. It's the kind of guy where you see the swing and how he approaches things, and you think this is a guy who will hit .300 and hit 25 or 30 home runs a year. But what you guys have in your Prospect Handbook--plus run, plus arm . . . no, I didn't see a plus runner. I didn't see a great arm. Maybe a tick above (average), but he didn't show me a plus arm. But it won't matter with that bat."


BallHype: hype it up!

Are the Yanks Setting Joba up to Fail?

Joba The Beast has yet to make a start in the major leagues, but the Yanks envision him becoming a front of the rotation starter. The plan right now is to start him in the 'pen, send him to SWB at some point during the season to stretch him out, and then bring him back to be a starter.

What happens if when Joba returns from AAA he gets hammered as a starter? Usually a young pitcher like The Beast would get sent back to AAA to figure out why he is getting hit and then brought back to give it another try.

In Joba's case, however, if he does not succeed almost immediately as a starter, will the Yanks send him down to AAA to work it out, or will they put him back in the 'pen where he has been extremely successful? Having that dominant link to Mariano might be a key to the Yanks winning a World Series in 2008; will Hank, Hal, Cash and General Joe be willing to sacrifice that possibility in order to allow Joba to work out his starting issues in the minors?

I think the Yanks are backing themselves into a corner. It's extremely unfair to ask a 21 year old with ZERO games started in the major leagues to be successful immediately. Unless he is successful immediately the pressure to put him back in the 'pen will be immense. If he returns to the 'pen Joba would probably top out at 100 - 120 ip for the year and we would be faced with the same innings limit issue in 2009 as we are in 2008.

I completely agree with the goal of protecting all of our young pitchers with an eye toward their (and our) future. In this case, however, I think the Yanks are setting Joba up to fail (as a starter) and pushing him toward being a career reliever.



BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ace?

Let's play the comp game -

Pitcher A

Year 1- 25 starts, 141 ip, 155h, 4.85 era (92 ERA+), 1.461 whip
Year 2 - 30 starts, 192 ip, 182h, 2.86 era (146 ERA+), 1.219 whip

Pitcher B

Year 1 - 29 starts, 178 ip, 194h, 4.55 era (103 ERA+), 1.433 whip
Year 2 - 32 starts, 222 ip, 217 h, 3.41 era (144 ERA+), 1.252 whip

Pitcher C

Year 1 - 33 starts, 204 ip, 191h, 5.01 era (95 ERA+), 1.295 whip
Year 2 - 30 starts, 200 ip, 189 h, 3.27 ERA (145 ERA+), 1.141 whip

It's tough to tell the 3 pitchers apart, no? Each had a bad year followed by an excellent year. Each had eras league average or worse, followed by dominant eras the next.

Pitcher A - Kevin Millwood
Pitcher B - Charles Nagy
Pitcher C - Josh Beckett

If I had a penny for everytime I read about Josh Beckett being the standard for an "Ace" this offseason, I could retire a rich man. For his career, Beckett's ERA+

98
138
108
118
95
145

Good year, bad year, pretty much all the way through.

Beckett has pitched extremely well in the postseason - these performances, though, happen to coincide with his 2 best overall years when he sported ERA+ of 138 and 145.

History is littered with pitchers who had exceptional years, but were unable to find the consistency of a true Ace - Javy Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Esteban Loaiza, Jaime Navarro are just a few.

Is Beckett the next Jeff Weaver or Jaime Navarro? or is he a becoming a true Ace? While I am certainly not looking to call him Esteban Loaiza, I believe it's way too early to be annointing him the standard to which all pitchers aspire.


BallHype: hype it up!

Spring Training is Finally Here

In case you missed it Pitchers and Catchers have reported for duty. We are now free from the Johan talk and soon (I hope) the Roger Clemens saga will quiet down. So we can now concetrate on actual baseball related items.

Spring training is a great time of year when every player is filled with potential and we are reminded that spring is coming. The sight of players doing sprints, playing catch and taking BP fills me with joy. Its time to talk real baseball stories so lets take a look at the top story lines of the spring:

Who will fill the Firstbase role?

The canidates are Shelley Duncan, Morgan Ensberg, Wilson Betemit, Jason Giambi, Jason Lane, Hideki Matsui and maybe later in the season possibly Nick Johnson or Juan Miranda. Long on canidates, short on answers. I think you pencil Shelley Duncan in for some time here as he is almost guaranteed to make the team at least as a part time role. Also, Jason Giambi will probably get more time then we all think. Spring training will determine who the "other" guy is. Morgan Ensberg probably has the inside track to make the team, with Jason Lane being the longshot. Expect a revolving door at first; some Giambi early, Shelley against lefties, Betemit at times and Ensberg being given a shot. Firstbase may be be a revolving door, but all of the candidates this year have a higher upside then the Phelps or Phillips combo from last year. I don't think we should make a move now for a long term solution. Mark Texiera is available at the end of the year; if he gets away I think you look to make a move, but this year will be done by committee and the offense is in a place where we can be a little patient here. My hope is that Shelley and Betemit get the majority of the ABs here.

How will the veterans react to General Joe?

I see Joe Girardi as a blend between Buck Showalter an Don Zimmer; a super-prepared advanced baseball mind but with some more people skills and a better feel for the game then Buck. Joe G. will try and create a certain atmosphere and will be a lot more hands-on then Torre was. We have already seen the General Joe rules and it will be intertesing to see how the veterans and long term Torre guys react to a more controlled environment. I think it was long overdue. It became too comfortable for these guys to fail over the years and the high priced vets that were brought in need some pushing from time to time. This change though could be rough at first as the long time Yanks adjust to the rules. It wil be interesting to see if Girardi has to win any early battles for control of the clubhouse.

Open Casting Call: The 2008 Yankee Bullpen

Mariano, Farnsworth, Hawkins and Ohlendorff are in. So that leaves the following canidates for the last 2 to 3 spots; Bruney, Ramirez, Veras, Patterson, Albaladejo, Britton, Henn, Igawa, Kartsens, Wright, Rasner, Billy Traber, Scott Stirckland, and Heath Phillips. Expect a long man, maybe a lefty (probably Igawa) and one more to make it. The battle should be intertesing and the bullpen will look and feel a lot different then it has in years. I like the strategy of throwing a bunch of options at the pen and seeing who sticks.

BallHype: hype it up!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

What to do With Jeter?

So we can now add a new Wharton statistcal measure of fielding prowess to the hordes of measures rating Derek Jeter as a below average fielding short stop. Let's assume for a moment that they are correct - Jeet is among the worst SS in all of MLB; my question is - what then?

As our Captain, face of the franchise and clubhouse leader, Jeter is not about to get embarrassed by the Yanks. Additionaly, even if the Yanks wanted to tell him to move, where would we move him to?

Second base - taken for the next 10 years
Third base - we're not gonna swap DJ and Arod for 2 reasons...first, that would be a huge slap to Jeet, and second, Arod has become a very good 3B
First base - after 2008, Texiera will be there for 5 or 6 years
Left field - possibly, but both Damon and Hmat are signed thru 2009

I guess Jeter could start the 2010 season in LF; what if both Ajax and Tabata are ready though? The point is that even if Jeter is the worst SS in the league (which I subjectively do not believe), he ain't going anywhere.

Moving Jeter off short is like moving Mantle out of center, or putting Whitey Ford in the 'pen. For better or worse, I think we're going to see #2 manning SS until he's ready to hang up his spikes.


BallHype: hype it up!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hall of Champions

With the Yanks having given out Paulie's #21 to a guy on a minor league contract, there has been much discussion about retiring numbers and who deserves it. With as storied a history as the Yankees have, I think they need to create a new honor for players to be recognized as great Yankees, but fall short of inclusion in Monument Park - the Yanks should create a 'Hall of Champions.'

Essentially the HOC would be an honor for players like Paul O'Neill that were great Yankees but would maintain the integrity of Monument Park for the likes of Ruth, Gehrig, Joe D and Mantle. A player included in the Hall of Champions would get his day, be immortalized at the Stadium, but his number would not be retired.

Every team that wins a World Series would have their leaders included in the HOC, and it would create debate about players like Willie Randolph , Goose, and Nettles from the 70's teams, and O'Neill, Cone, and Tino from the 90's.

Foir $1.3 billion, maybe it's not too late to add a room to the new Stadium?




BallHype: hype it up!-

Friday, February 15, 2008

2008 Free Agents

The following contracts will be expiring at the end of the 2008 season:

Jason Giambi - $21mm
Bobby Abreau - $16mm
Andy Pettitte - $16mm
Carl Pavano - $10mm
Mike Mussina - $11.5mm
Kyle Farnsworth - $5.5mm

Total - $80 million.

(You think CC's agent knew this when he broke off talks with the Indians?)

There are some pretty interesting names that are currently headed for the '08 free agent class; some names the Yanks may have interest in:

Mark Texiera
Tex will be 29 at the start of the '09 season and is a perfect fit for the Yanks. A switch hitting, great glove power-hitting first baseman? Sign him up - (anticipated Yankee contract - $18mm AAV x 6yrs)

Hank Blalock
In the event we can't sign Tex, Blalock would be a fair backup plan.

CC Sabathia
Umm...28, lefty, Cy Young winner, 200+ ip per year, no injury history...nah. (Anticipated Yankee contract $22.5mm AAV x 6 years)

Adam Dunn
Dunn likewise will be 29 starting the '09 season, and as Hmat and Damon will be in their last year and probably in wheelchairs, we need some OF power help. When Ajax and Tabata are ready, Dunn will slide nicely into the DH role. (Anticipated Yankee contract - $15mm AAV x 4 years)

AJ Burnett
As he has the ability to opt out of his contract at the end of this season, look for Burnett to have a monster year. There has never been any question about the guy's talent, but staying healthy has been his main challenge. As he will be 32 entering 2009, look for someone to give AJ a 4 year deal worth about $15-$18mm per. I hope it's not the Yanks.

Brad Lidge
Depending on how his season plays out, and how the youngsters in the Yankee 'pen develop, Lidge might be a good pickup for '09 and beyond. If a couple of Veras/Melancon/Sanchez/Ohlendorf/Ramirez develop, however, Lidge won't be needed.

Between Tex, CC and Dunn the Yanks would be doling out $55.5mm of the $80 coming off the books. With the balance we need to sign IPK, Joba and Phil to long term deals.

A Few Good Pitchers

In case you missed this on It Is High...

Clemens: You want answers?

Congressman: I think I'm entitled to them.

Clemens: You want answers?

Congressman: I want the truth!

Clemens: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has baseballs. And those balls have to be hit by men with bats. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Congressman? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for steroids and you curse HGH. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that HGH, while illegal, probably sells tickets. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, sells tickets...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that mound. You need me on that mound. We use words like fastall, slider, splitfinger...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent playing a sport. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and falls asleep to the Sportscenter clips I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a bat and dig in. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

Congressman: Did you order the HGH?

Clemens: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.

Congressman: Did you order the HGH?

Clemens: You're god damn right I did!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hey CC you Know Pinstripes are Very Sliming, Right?

CC Sabathia has apparently broken off talks with the indians untill after the season. As long as the Indians stay competitive expect Sabathia to hit the open market after the season. This is very good news for Yankee fans. With significant payroll coming off the books after 08 (Mussina, Giambi, Pettitte, Farnsworth) and the increased revenue of a new stadium, I don’t expect the Yankees to get outbid for Sabathia. Sabathia is currently 26, the reigning AL Cy Young winner and has had an ERA+ of 140 or better the last two years. Add in the fact that no prospects will depart to bring him here, and the Johan non-move could look very good in 12 months.

George M Steinbrenner Day - Sign the Petition!

We at YankeeGM Blog are sponsoring a petition to have a George M Steinbrenner day at the Stadium.

The Boss has been the most important and consistent part of Yankee success since buying the team. We need to show George our appreciation for his years of dedication to the Yanks and for his dedication to us, the fans.

We would like the Yanks to have a George M Steinbrenner Day this year, and to put a monument in Monument Park in George's honor.

Sign the petition here -

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/yankeegm_gmsday

DOJ should look at Congress before Filing Charges

No doubt, Clemens took a hit yesterday. Is he guilty? Probably. The Dept of Justice, however, would be well suited to review tapes of yesterday's cage match before proceeding with charges.

While a lot of it looked to come down on party lines, there was definately an obvious split among the members of congress. Half of them looked to back MacNamee and roasted Roger in questions, and the other half backed Rocket and killed MacNamee with questions.

If the members of congress are this split, a jury is sure to have a lot more trouble coming to a unanimous decision.

Hopefully this is the last we will hear of this and we can now focus on baseball!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Andy Delivers Serious Blow to Rocket

Before I go into the details I thought it was important to state a fact first; there are two contributors to this blog and sometimes we disagree on certain topics. One of those topics is the Roger Clemens saga. I am stating this because my post is about to contradict the feelings and beliefs that my blog partner has expressed here previously and some of you may simply think this is a 180 based on the evidence. It is not, I have always felt this way.

Roger Clemens' case has now taken a huge credibility hit. According to Newsday....

Sources said McNamee has told investigators that in the winter of 2002, he, Clemens and Pettitte were working out together at the gym in Clemens' Houston home. According to the sources, McNamee says that during a break in the workout, Pettitte went over to McNamee by himself and asked: "How come you don't give me the stuff you give Roger?" McNamee supposedly replied, "Because it's illegal."
...and now on to Pettitte

Pettitte's account matches McNamee's in most details

So now we are supposed to believe both are lying? Or as Rocket claims they are talking about medications besides steroids? Even if it was something other than steroids that's enough to create suspicion. After all, if a player will take other illegal drugs why wouldn't he take steroids? I have always believed Roger was lying and this does nothing but solidify that. Look at some of the relevant facts:


  • Nobody else has disputed McNamee's claims
  • Andy backed up McNamee and his story
  • The needles
  • "I was eating Vioxx like it was Skittles" - Roger Clemens
  • The Tape - Why wouldn't Roger ask McNamee why he was lying?
  • McNamee had everything to lose by lying, nothing to gain.

Tomorrow should be an interesting day as Rocket will most likely bring out all the stops to defend himself. The thing that I do not understand is why hasn't a player taken the stance we all know is true and might actually give them some vindication? I want someone to stand up and say:


"Yes, I did steroids but it was necessary to compete at a high level. Was it wrong ? Yes. I apologize for it but I wanted to maintain a high-level of performance for me, my family and my team. To do that I needed to have the same advantage as the other top players and that meant taking steroids."


I know the truth is not something baseball, its union, or Selig is really interested in.

TPA Top 100 prospects in Major League Baseball

Just wanted to give everyone the heads up that I just published JP Schwartz annual ranking of the Top 100 prospects in Major League Baseball.

This rankings can be viewed at: http://www.topprospectalert.com/2008top100baseballprospects.htm


All the best

BEN
http://www.topprospectalert.com/

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Proof MacNamee is a Liar?

In his interview with investigators from the Mitchell Report, Brian MacNamee stated that Roger Clemes first asked him about steroids after speaking with Jose Canseco at a luncheon at Jose's house in 1998.

Yesterday, Roger's lawyers stated that they have proof that Clemens was nowhere near the lunch party in question.

Does this prove Clemens never did PEDs? No. But what it does do is offer further proof that Brian MacNamee is a liar and that NOTHING the man says can be taken seriously.

I believe the whole Clemens thing started something like this-

Government investigators got MacNamee's name from Randomski and sat him down. They told him that he was going to go to jail unless he was honest with them. MacNamee proceeded to tell about Pettitte and Knoblauch. Investigators then said something to the effect of - 'We know Clemens did steroids too...you had better tell us about him too or it's off to jail with you.' So MacNamee did what they wanted - he made up a bunch of crap on Roger to make them happy and to stay out of jail.

When Roger started fighting back, however, MacNamee got nervous that he was going to jail for lying about Roger and started adding to his lies so that he looked more like he was telling the truth.

Now, MacNamee is boxed into a corner...he lied about Roger but if he comes clean he will not only lose the defemation suit and any money he makes for the rest of his life, but also go to jail for a long time.

Truely, I have no idea if Roger used or not. What I am sure of, however, is that I am not going to condemn a man and soil an otherwise pristine reputation, on the word of an obvious liar like Brian MacNamee. Therefore, unless and until there is more than just MacNamee saying Roger used, I am (and think everyone else should too) give Roger the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Edwar the Great

We currently have a group equal to the populus of an island nation ready to compete for spots in the bullpen this spring. When all is said and done, I believe Edwar Ramirez will emerge as the stud 8th inning guy the Yanks have been lacking (sans Joba The Beast). Having a go-to, dominant, strikeout pitch is the main ingredient to being a dominant big league reliever, and Edwar certainly has one in his change.

First, PECOTA loves him. 76 ks in 60 ip and a 3.61 era are projections every Yankees fan would happily sign for. Scouts all agree that Edwar's changeup is a 'plus, plus' pitch scoring an 80 on the 20-80 scale. The quality of this pitch can be seen in the 31 ks in 21 major league ip in 2007.

Second, Edwar will be 27 in spring training this year. The 31 ip Edwar threw last year were his first in the bigs; he is the perfect age for a break out.

The best comp for Edwar is probably Keith Foulke. Foulke had (has?) the same kind of changeup as Edwar. Foulke likewise struggled a little bit early in his career as he searched for the proper complimentary pitch to go with his great change. Once Foulke was able to spot his 85-88 mph fastball effectively he became a dominant reliever. I believe Edwar will do the same. When you have the dominant pitch, your other pitches need only be average to keep hitters honest. A little Mo 'cut', a little Wang sink, or simply being able to spot his fastball better will give Edwar the secondary pitch he needs to be a top reliever.

Now that Gator has been replaced by someone who can actually make additive changes to a pitcher, and with the first year under his belt, I believe Edwar will become a dominant force in the Yankee pen for a long time to come.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cashman Overstepping?

A little more on Cash's statement that Moose will begin the year in the rotation.

I understand that Joe G is a new manager for the Yanks. I also understand that Brian might be feeling a little impotent with Hank taking the spotlight on the Johan debacle. But unless Cashman is prepared to send one of the Big 3 to SWB isn't it Girardi's decision who pitches and when?

If Cash wants to limit The Beast's (Joba's) innings, then he can have Girardi start Joba in the pen. If he REALLY wants Moose to start he can send Ikky (IPK) to SWB to start the season. Short of that it is General Joe's decision who the starting 5 are and comments such as those posted by PA only serve to undermine Joe G...don't you agree?

Cashman:Mussina in the Rotation

According to Peter Abraham;

Cashman said that Wang, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina are in the rotation.
The other two spots are open. At some point, Chamberlain will have his innings restricted. That could come in a variety of ways including being used in the bullpen. “We have to see how it all plays out,” Cashman said. “But Joba will prepare as a starter.”


I really thought we had seen the end of Mike Mussina's days in the Yankee Rotation. Take a look at Moose's ERA the last four years;
4.59
4.41
3.51
5.15
Take out the walk year abberation and Moose has been a bad pitcher for some time now. It is time for Moose to join the ranks of the National League or slip into his spot as a long reliever. Hearing Cashman say that he is in makes me cringe. I only hope that this is the plan to start the season as a way to avoid Joba's innings limit(~160) and once the calendar turns to June, Joba takes over every fifth day.

Whew!

As you know by now, our favorite self-promoter may be out for the season with a shoulder injury. As Yankees fans we need to thank the gods of timing on this one.

Had this happened 2 weeks earlier I bet Theo would have had a lot more to say when Bill Smith called looking for a final offer for Johan!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Red Light Done?

The Boston Herald is reporting that Curt 'Red Light' Schilling may be out for the season due to a shoulder injury that may or may not need surgery. There is talk of the Red Sox trying to void Curt's one year deal as they are claiming he knew about the injury when he signed.

This is obviously a repetitive motion injury - incurred through years and years of patting himself on the back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MacNamee MUST be Joking!

Are you kidding me? Syringes, swabs and gauze from 2000 and 2001?

First of all, why the hell would he keep these things when, at the time, Roger was not only ManNamee's meal ticket, but was also "teaching (him) how to be a father and a man"?

Secondly, DNA on a syringe swab and/or gauze means only that it touched Roger at some point. When it touched him was it full of B12? Lidocaine? Who knows?

This not only proves nothing, but makes MacNamee look a lot worse.

Sometimes the Best Deals...

are definately the ones you don't make!

Consider for a moment, how happy Dave Dombrowski must be-

Had he accepted, Juan Gonzalez would still be playing out the final years of his 8 (!) year extension from the Tigers!

Rocket Denies in Front of Congress

At his testamony yesterday, Roger Clemens, again, denied ever using PEDs.

“It was great to be able to tell them what I’ve been saying all along - that I’ve never used steroids or growth hormone,” he said.

While we have yet to watch him say it in front of congress, this statement would undoubtedly be refuted by someone at the deposition if it weren't true. Simply making this statement would leave Roger open to legal issues if it were not true.

I am now going on record that I absolutely believe Roger.

Someone outside of the Commssioner's office needs to investigate the Mitchell report. Not only was it unbelievably incomplete and centered only on NY, but Roger's sworn testimony in front of congress leads me to believe it is inaccurate as well.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Worth Another Look!

Which Numbers to Retire from The Dynasty?

Brian Cashman recently mentioned that the Yanks are going to come up with set parameters for determining whose numbers to retire going forward. In response, let's take a look at the dynasty years and which numbers should be retired.

2 - Jeter
An easy one. Not only will Jeet be the last to wear #2 for the Yanks, but he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.

6 - Torre
Objectively this one is a no brainer as well, though subjectively I have reservations. When you compare Joe to the other retired managers his inclusion looks obvious. For some reason, though, I have never been a huge Torre fan. In fairness to Joe T, though, 6 will be retired.

20 - Posada
Jorge has been an underappreciated major part of all the success the Yanks have had the last 12 years. 5 Silver Sluggers, 2 top 6 MVPs and continually improving defense behind the plate make for one hell of a career. As only the 5th catcher in MLB history to hit 300 or more HR, it would be wrong if Jorge gets into the Hall but not monument park. #20 is off the market.

21 - O'Neill
A much more emotional case can be made for Paulie. His double and slide into second in '97, his catch of Polonia's line drive with a bum hammy, all of the O'Neill bulls-eyes in the right field stands, and all of the clutch hits and passion for the game make O'Neill someone Yankees fans adore. Compared to other retired numbers, however, Paulie's .288 lifetime average, 281 HR and 1269 RBI fall short of retired number status.

51 - Bernie
Ah, Bernie - my favorite Yankee. His lifetime numbers are not all that different from O'Neill's - .297 BA, 287 HR, 1257 RBI. Where Bernie sets himself apart is in the postseason. Included in his .275 lifetime avg in the postseason is utter dominance in the ALCS. .321 avg, .413 OBP and .549 SLG; a .962 OPS against the best pitching in the AL is certainly a factor.

Bernie almost single-handedly beat Baltimore in '96 with a .474 BA, .583 OBP, and .947 SLG (DAMN!) and Seattle in 2000 .435 avg, .481 OBP, .609 SLG. He posted a .400 avg, .429 OBP and .720 SLG vs Florida in 2003 and ranks either 1st or second in postseason history in the following catagories: games, at bats, runs, hits, total bases, doubles, HR, RBI, walks and extra base hits.

Also setting Bernie apart from O'Neill is the fact that Bernie is a career Yankee. Paulie's 17 years were split 8 with the Reds, 9 with the Yanks. Bernie obviously played all 16 season with the Yanks. 4 Gold Gloves, a silver slugger, 5 All-Star games and 6 top 20 appearances for MVP and Bernie's #51 belongs in Monumnet Park.

46- Andy Pettitte
This one would be soooo much easier if only Andy hadn't defected for 3 years. While there is still time for more great moments and numbers, Andy is among the most successful home-grown pitchers in the illustrious Yankee history. #46 is off the market.

24- Tino Martinez
Another of the most beloved Yankee figures of the time. Who can forget Tino's grannie off Mark Langston game 1 1998 (after taking what should have been strike 3)? Again, I and Yankees fans in general, love Tino, but the numbers and years with the Yanks are just not there. Tex gets 24 next year. 42- Retired by all of baseball to honor Jackie Robinson, number 42 would never have been worn again anyway. Quite possibly the first HOF'er elected unanimously, Mo is not only the greatest reliever, but also greatest postseason pitcher in history.

22- Roger Clemens
While he only pitched for the Yanks for 6 years, Roger could choose to enter the Hall with a Yankees cap on. Should he do this there is no way the Yanks won't give him a day and plaque.

So Bernie, Andy, Jorge, Torre, Jeter, Mo and maybe Rocket get plaques in monument park, and O'Neill and Tino don't.

Bandwagon Rudy

It may be a little tough to see in this picture, but Topps created a card with Rudy G celebrating on the field with the Red Sox.

Proof positive that politicians will say ANYTHING to get elected!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bellichump needs some class

Between his monosyllabic post-game interview, and leaving the field before the game was over last night, Bill Bellichek yet again showed himself a classless sore loser.

Congrats to the Giants for completely outplaying and outcoaching the Pats.

Hey Bill - there's a big difference between despising losing, and completely lacking class and grace. Your parents must be so proud.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Melky (could become) MUCH More Than a 4th OF

As a part of the Johan discussions, a lot of people penned the opinion that Melky Cabrera is nothing more than a 4th OF and will never develop into a top center fielder. I completely disagree, and have 2 comps to use as reasons.

Melky won't turn 23 until July 2008 still putting him in the top 30 of the youngest players in all of baseball. We forget just how young Melky is, and that he therefore has significant upside still to realize.

Melky - 286 games, 1024 AB
Player B- 283 games, 1178 AB
Player C - 271 games, 1017 AB

Melky - 15 HR (1 HR every 68 AB)
Player B - 20 HR (1 HR every 59 AB)
Player C - 11 HR (1 HR every 92 AB)

In a very similar number of games and AB, player B showed a touch more power than the Melk man, and player C a touch less; either way, none draw Bambino comparisons. Power is typically the last tool to develop (as B and C will show); being comfortable enough at the plate to try and drive the ball instead of just trying to make enough contact to get a hit comes in time.

Melky - 99 BB/129 K (.767 BB per K)
Player B- 130 BB/199 K (.653 BB per K)
Player C - 31 BB/118 K9 (.26 BB per K)

During the early part of a player's career, pitch recognition is paramount. Therefore, the ratio of walks per strikeout is an excellent measure of how well a young player is handling the bat. Player B improved to the tune of a .88 for his career; a 35% improvement (player C remained approx 2:1 K/BB). Should Melky experience the same percentage increase as player B he will be walking more than once for every K.

Melky - .275 BA, .340 OBP, .388 SLG
Player B -.262 BA, .340 OBP, .393 SLG
Player C - .285 BA, .310 OBP, .387 SLG

There is absolutely nothing here to say that either player B or C looked like they were going to develop any differently than Melky.

Lifetime stats -


Player B - .297 BA, .381 OBP, .477 SLG, career 125 OPS+ 5 time All Star over 16 seasons

Player C - .317 BA, .359 OBP, .475 SLG, career 130 OPS+, 15 time All Star over 18 seasons


So player B had a career OPS 25% above MLB average for his career, and player C 30% above MLB average for his career, while both started almost exactly like Melky.

Both player B and C were borderline hall of famers (C made it and B has not).

Again, the point of all of this is that it is WAY too early to start calling Melky a 4th outfielder. While projecting players using comp beginnings is pretty much akin to mental masturbation, there is still plenty of time for Melky to develop into an offensive force in center field.





Player B -




Player C -

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Curt Schilling Inexplicably Bleeding Throughout Game 3 Start



After this start, Schilling immediately sent his bloody jersey to the Hall of Fame and said of his own performance " I just don't know how I do it, but I am quite a gamer, huh?"


Picture and headline courtesy of The Onion

Friday, February 1, 2008

The End of the Johan Watch, The Beginning of a Dynasty?

The Johan Santana saga will be looked back upon and thought of in one of two ways: as the day the Yankees finally changed their ways and began investing in young talent, or the day the Yankees let the best pitcher on the planet get away. Either way this is clearly a turning point for the franchise. In years past the Yankees would have backed the truck up and given the Twins whatever they wanted for Johan - Hughes, Kennedy, Tabata and how about Joba too? This is clearly a new Yankee era - the Post George era.

We have three top prospects that will determine our season in 2008 and they will be determining a lot more - how the franchise is run from here on out. If they flop, permanent damage could be done to the 'build from within' strategy that Cashman has been preaching. Let's say they turn out to be mediocre, and also the 'bullpen by a committee of prospects' fails, the George will come out in Hank. Hal will no longer be able to control him and with over $60 million + coming off the books after 08 there will be nothing from stopping an old fashion George-like shopping spree. Once again the Yankees could end up an old, expensive, passionless team made of high paid mercenaries.

However, if the big three turn out to be legit players and contribute to Yankee success this year with promise of more, the whole dynamic of the team changes. The Yankees can then spend excessively on free agents that fill a spot of weakness - say a Mark Texiera for first base - and still maintain a young core that plays with passion and allows for some roster flexibility. Instead of watching the Giambis and Kevin Browns of the world play out the end of their overpaid contracts, we can see Austin Jackson and Humberto "The Dirty" Sanchez try and make their mark. Also, without the burden of large contracts you can have open competition and if a player cannot perform someone else will be given a shot. If you have a pitcher that is making $20 million dollars a year he is going to get a spot, even if we all know he can't handle it (see Brown, Kevin and Vasquez, Javier).

So the Johan watch and the fact the Yankees walked away (I guess the deadline was legit after all) is a clear turning point in Yankee history. Now while it might take more then a year to really know if it was the right move, expect the Steinbrenners to make up their minds based on this year entirely. So as we watch the big three this year, remember you are not only rooting for them to succeed and this year's pennant, you are rooting for the future make of the franchise.

Last Word on Santana - A little Imagination Goes a Long Way

Is anyone else scratching their head that the Twins got more for Matt Garza (Delmon Young) than for Johan Santana?

Certainly Billy Beane got a ton more for a lesser pitcher in Dan Haren, and the O's look to get more for Erik Bedard (if psycho-Angelos gives his blessing).

In one respect we are all being extremely unfair to Bill Smith. Both Haren and Bedard are signed for at least a couple of years at reasonable prices and Johan is demanding the moon and stars to waive his no-trade. But that begs a question: As the Twins were willing to go 5 years and $100mm for Johan, couldn't Smith have dramatically increased his potential trading partners - and also the return he got from the trade - by sending some cash along with Johan?

I know, I know, the Twins are a small mkt team and the strategy I recommend is exclusively a big market, Yankee/Red Sox/Mets/Angels strategy. But consider this - Smith was willing and able to spend $13mm this year and $20mm next to have Santana. While I don't know this, but if sending $20mm along with Johan to the Dodgers could have netted the Twins Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp wouldn't it have been worth it?

Assume Johan signs for 6 years $120mm. If the Twins send $20mm to the team that traded for him, the resulting deal is 6 years $100 million, or $16.66mm per year. While still not chump change, it may have been a big enough difference to maybe get the Dodgers, Cardinals, Angels, White Sox, Cubs and/or Mariners to the table along with the Mets, Yanks and Sox.

The reason Smith got as little as he did was the lack of someone bidding against the Mets; a little cash and imagination and he could have had multiple offers to negotiate with and ultimately to choose from.

The best GMs are those that not only play the trade game well, but also have the imagination to find ways to get the most from their trade chips. I think a little more imagination would have gone a long way toward the Twins getting a respectable return for Santana.

Super Bowl XLII

As both a New Yorker and a Yankees fan, I am obviously pulling HARD for the Giants to beat the Pats Sunday. While the real damage was done in Oct, it would add fuel to the Boston fan fire should the Pats go undefeated.

In reality, though, I do think the Giants have a shot on Sunday. I think the Giants' game plan will be to get as much pressure on Brady as possible and hope to limit the inevitable big plays downfield. It will come down to whether the Giant secondary can keep the receivers in front of them and make quick tackles on the passes underneath.

I believe either one of two things will happen-

1. The Giant D will get to Brady early and often and cause a couple of tunovers. If they can do this, and if Jacobs and Bradshaw can run the ball early, I think at worst the Giants cover the 12 points and at best have a shot to win. It is really important that the Giant D limit the damage early so that the game doesn't come down to Eli throwing the ball 25 times in the first half. If they can do these things - 35-31 Giants

2. If the Pats find a way to give Brady time, or if the Giants are unable to limit the damage underneath early in the game (missed tackles), it could get really ugly. A 24 point first half would put keep the Giants from being able to run the ball and put the game out of reach. This would result in a Pat's blowout; 42-17 Pats.

The real pressure in this game is on the Giant front 4. If they get to Brady and allow full coverage the Giants could win the game. If the Giants are forced to blitz and get into a lot of single coverage situations the chances for a blowout are real.

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