Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Time has Come

Today I woke up determined to spend an active day with the family; playing with the kids and talking with the wife.

Tonight I will kiss them all goodbye and tell them baseball is here so I will see them in November.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Sad Man

A must read on our dear friend Jose Canseco, by Pat Jordan

Friday, March 28, 2008

Young Starters

A common theme in why the Yankees will miss the playoffs is the youth of their starters. However, if you take a look back at last year it was no different. The Yankees had the following "unproven" starts;

Starts - Player
13 - Phil Hughes
12 - Kei Igawa
6 - Tyler Clippard
6 - Matt Desalvo
6 - Darell Rasner
3 - Ian Kennedy
3 - Jeff Karstens
2 - Chase Wright
1 - Sean Henn

52 Total Starts by unproven Pitchers, of those 30 by pitchers with ERAs over 6 (in red). You have to expect at least a mild improvement from Hughes and if you increase his total to 25 starts he will absorb most of the 18 starts by Clemens at slightly above league average (Clemens had ERA+ of 107).

So that leaves about 40 starts needed by Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain. You have to expect that those two can at least match the output of Igawa, Clippard, Desalvo, Karstens, Wright and Henn.

99% of Baseball Reporters are Members of Red Sox Nation

Rant time -

The anti-Yankee media bias is once again driving me nuts. There are 2 kinds of Yankee-killing pieces. The first is the kind that attempts to have a reason why the Yanks stink and the Sox are the best team ever. From Yahoo -

(the Sox are)...one of the best rosters in recent memory. Better than the Yankees, who are counting heavily on young pitchers and aging position players...

Sanity check -

Starting lineup average age Yanks - 28.7 years; Sox - 28.4 years

Rotation average age Yanks - 29.0 years; Sox - 29.0 years

(I included the older Yankee lineup with Hmat at DH and Giambi at 1B. If you put Duncan at DH the Yankee lineup is actually 28.1 years average - younger than the Sox'!)

Both teams employ older veterans, veterans in their prime, and youngsters in both the lineup and rotation. How is the Yanks situation age-wise any different from Boston's?

In the rotation you have one dependable, pretty much know-what-you're-gonna-get kind of guy - Becket and Wang (for all those who believe Beckett is sooo much better than Wang and is the definition of 'Ace,' click here); one probably too old veteran: Wakefield and Moose; one solid with question marks: Dice-k and Pettitte; and 2 kids with huge potential: Lester and Buchholz for the Sox, and Phil and Ikky for the Yanks.

The second kind of Yankee media slaughter is the 'because-I-said-so' piece.

From Fox Sports' Ian O'Connor

Now up is down and east is west. The Red Sox represent the world's leading superpower, and the Yankees only lead the league in one offensive category: wages paid.

Any transition period in the Bronx could be measured against the expansion of a dynasty in Boston.

More than anything, Hank and Girardi need to identify a vulnerability, an area of attack, in a New England program beginning to look as frighteningly efficient as Bill Belichick's

But they can't be taken seriously as a World Series favorite, not when the Red Sox are still dressing David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, and still growing young prospects like Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, and still employing their former Marlins ace, Josh Beckett, after the Yankees had to write off theirs, Carl Pavano.

Wow - no hyperbole there, huh?

Red Sox are the leading superpower, a Dynasty, frighteningly efficient and have Ortiz, Ramirez, Paplepuss, Ellsbury and Pedroia, while the Yanks are vastly overpaid and have...Carl Pavano.

There are a couple of fair statistical agruments one could make to claim the Sox are better than the Yanks (all, of course, wrong). But when all you say is "The Yanks suck and the Sox rule," there's not much to hook your teeth into to make a counter argument, is there?

You'd figure after 40 years of being a Yankee fan I would get used to it. Even in the 80's and early 90's when the Yanks really did stink the media spent an undue amount of time reveling in the Yanks failures and pointing out just how bad they were.

At least now I have a blog where I can post rants about it...

Expert Predictions

Here is breakdown of some of the experts out there and what they predict in 08 for the Yankees;
  • Yahoo - All three "experts" predict Yanks miss postseason
  • SI - Yanks first in East, losing to Tigers in ALCS. Verducci actually has the guts to list last years predictions too.
  • ESPN - Yanks 2nd in AL east by 4 out of 5 experts
  • FoxSports - No predictions just a team breakdown

And the NY papers picks;

  • Daily News - Out of 8 writers 3 say Yanks win WC, 1 Division and 4 predict we miss the playoffs
  • LoHud- Yanks miss playoffs

I will update later as I expert a couple more released today but not an optimist outlook for your 2008 Yankees.

Update: Add XM radio to those picking the Yanks to miss the playoffs and Craig Carton of WFAN.

It's actually kind of nice to be the underdog for once.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Can Everyone Calm Down on the Devil Rays Please?

OK, I know the Devil Rays have some good young talent and some serious prospects in their system but the future is not now. I came across this article on TSN about the AL East Starting pitching. He uses PECOTA projections to compare the staffs. He goes on to say;
"Tampa Bay, however, stands a good chance of becoming the class of the AL East. The Rays show strength in eqERA and innings pitched at every level."
Now we also have seen the Devil Rays actually picked ahead of Toronto and Boston in certain projections lately. But let's take a step back and look at some numbers;

96 - the Number of loses by Tampa last Year
944- The number of runs given up by TB last year, worst in MLB (Almost 300 more then
Boston!!)
30- The number of games back the Rays were at the end of the year
0 - The number of innings Scott Kazmir has thrown this spring

Ok The Rays have made some moves this offseason to try get better;

Lost Delmon Young
Added Matt Garza, Troy Percival, Jason Bartlett, Cliff Floyd and Willie Aybar


Garza should help and Barltett is a solid BACKUP but Floyd and Percival were taken off the scrap heap. Percival is a power arm who averaged 91 Mph with his fastball last year. That might be enough to limp through the sixth inning in the NL central but in the AL east it is going to get ugly for him. Floyd is done. So have they improved? Garza is definitely an upgrade but you could argue the uncertainty of Kazmir and the loss of Young outweighs any gains from Garza.

The point is this is still a extremely flawed team and while it might be nice to believe they could start to turn it around this is not going to be they year the become a force. Talk to me 2010.

Edward Salcedo

There has been a lot of chatter in the Yankee blogesphere about Edward Salcedo and now we hear he might not be 16 after all. Also, the Yankees think he has signed with Cleveland. According to Yankee's Director of Latin American Scouting via Yankees.scout.com;

"He has signed with the Cleveland Indians for $2.9 Million. They evaluated him as that type of player and they're just waiting for clearance from the consulate."

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fare Thee Well, Ikky

I have a few flaws as pending GM of the New York Yankees. First, I am totally enamored with 'stuff.' A pitcher with a 95+ heater and a nasty secondary pitch will always look like the second coming to me. I tend to overrate stuff some of the time.

This has lead me to love the likes of Kyle Lohse and Jeff Weaver, but it has also lead me to draft a young reliever named Johan in my FLB league in 2003 and to be screaming for the Yanks to make a deal with Pittsburgh for a young Jason Schmidt.

A second flaw is my refusal to accept the premise of the 'injury-prone' player. For the most part, unless a player is in poor condition or is Carl Pavano, I typically see injuries as arbitrary occurances that typically are unlikely to recur.

The combination of these 2 flaws results in my constant yearning for the likes of Mark Prior, or in this case, Rich Harden.

Unbelievable stuff, a potential Ace, but hasn't made 30 starts in any of the last 3 years due to the injury bug and has only done so once in his career.

Harden was clocked at 98 in his last spring start and was dominant in his season opener vs the Sox - 6IP, 3H 1ER, 9Ks. The offseason surgery to clean out his shoulder has been termed successful and at that level of velocity and performance it seems he is fully recovered.

Harden won't be 27 until late in the '08 season, and is therefore only 3 1/2 years older than Ikky. Additionally, Harden cannot be a free agent until after the 2010 season. Kennedy is very much a Billy Beane type of pitcher - look at their previous 'Big 3', Hudson, Mulder and Zito. All 3 were excellent pitchers who lacked dominant stuff but pitched at a very high level (for the A's, anyway). I believe Kennedy will be this type of pitcher. I don't believe he will be an Ace, however. If he can stay healthy (and I realize it's a big IF), Harden has the ability to be the best pitcher in baseball - even including the newcomer in Queens.

A trade with the A's has been rumored to start with Ian Kennedy plus maybe 1 or 2 other prospects. If we can get Harden and give up Ikky and any 2 non Ajax/Tabata/Montero prospects, I say we should do it, flaws be damned!

Boston's Lineup

Looking at the Boston lineup the last two days I can't help but feel their offense has really takken a big step down the last few years. The still have the big duo of Ortiz and Manny so they will always score runs but in order for their offense to be elite those guys HAVE to be great, not just good. Really look at the lineup from today;
Pedoria
Youkilis
Ortiz
Ramirez
Lowell
Moss
Varitek
Crisp
Lugo
Besides Manny and Ortiz that lineup is pretty weak. Even if you swap Ellsbury for Crisp and Drew for Moss its a lienup you can pitch to. Their pitching has to be very good or they might be on the outside looking in this playoff season. ....

Bullpen Thoughts

Some random thoughts on the Yankees bullpen;


  • Kyle Farnsworth - Has anyone else noticed his decreased velocity? I noticed it last year particularly in the first half and the information at fangraphs backs it up. In 2006 his average fastball was 96.2 MPH, in 2007 94.7. Still plenty of giddy-up but not like it was. He has always relied on having an overpowering fastball, and the dip in velocity could help explain his alarming drop in k rate ( 2006 10.23, 2007 7.20). Watch his k rate and velocity early, it could be a sign he isn't the old Kyle.

  • Scott Patterson - The guy has earned a spot. He has allowed 1 batter to reach in 6 innings this spring. If it really was an open competition he would be in.

  • Edwar Ramirez - He has the second most strikeouts of any Yankee pitcher this spring (12) and has shown improved controlled by only walking 2. The bad news is his 4.91 era. While he probably will never be an eighth inning guy due to his average fastball, his changeup could be a devastating change of pace in the 6th or 7th inning.

  • Latroy Hawkins - He appears to be a different pitcher. Much more of a ground ball pitcher so he might be a decent pickup after all.

  • Jeff Karstens - Looks like he blew his chance. Too bad...I was rooting for him.

Lacking Integrity

Living in NY we have a number of choices for daily newspapers -

Newsday is very Long Island centric
The NY Times is the epitome of a liberal propaganda rag
The Village Voice is a decent paper (though they go beyond the Times on some issues), but doesn't really cover sports

Which leaves, outside of the very small independents, the NY Post and the Daily News. Both of these papers are called 'tabloids' due to the sensational nature of their content, headlines and reporting. No paper is worse, however, than the NY Daily News. It should therefore come as no surprise when today's headlines read: "A-Roid?"

The News is referring to allegations in Jose 'Money-Grubbing Scumbag' Canseco's new book that somehow tie A-Rod to steroids.

We all knew Canseco was going to try and bring A-Rod into the steroid finger-pointing party. Not only had we heard A-Rod whispers from Canseco before, but in order to sell as many books as possible he had to bring the biggest star in the game into the discussion.

We also all know that the allegations against A-Rod are completely fabricated. The first ghostwriter Canseco tried to hire refused the assignment because he felt the A-Rod stuff completely lacked credibility.

The caption under the Daily News headline reads:

"Alex Rodriguez finds himself under cloud of suspicion yesterday as Jose Canseco says in new book he's 'confident' Yankee slugger used steroids."

Confident?!? Canseco is slinging names and allegations like a short order cook slings hash and the best he can come up with is confident??

The Post is not as bad as the News, but their back page read - "Juicy Tale." The caption under the headline reads:

"Alex Rodriguez was unfazed yesterday by Jose Canseco's charges in his latest book, "Vindicated," in which Canseco alleges he "introduced Alex to a supplier of steroids" and that Rodriguez tried to sleep with Canseco's then wife, Jessica. "I really have absolutely no reaction," A-Rod said."

Are you kidding me? In my past I was introduced to Michael Skakel; does that mean I am a killer?

As to trying to sleep with Canseco's wife Jessica...Who cares? While A-Rod's sex life is among the things I am least interested in (ranking somewhere between Hillary Clinton's menstrual cycle and Michael Moore's view on anything), have you seen a picture of her? While I never condone extramarital activities, even Cynthia would probably give A-Rod a high five on that one!

The MGS (Money-Grubbing Scumbag) also writes in his book -

"So A-Rod, if you're reading this book, and if I'm not getting through to you, let's get clear on one thing: I hate your (bleeping) guts."

Shock! The broke, paranoid ex-player has a vendetta against the games biggest and highest paid star!

So let's see...
1. A writer refuses a paycheck due to a lack of allegation credibility
2. Canseco desperately needs the book to sell well because he squandered the $45million + he made over his playing career
3. A desperate Canseco tried to extort Maglio Ordonez in an effort to bring in money
4. The book simply alleges that Canseco 'introduced' A-Rod to a steroid dealer
5. Canseco alleges that A-Rod tried to sleep with his wife
6. Canseco 'hates A-Rod's guts'

Yet still, the Daily News prints sensational headlines as if A-Rod was caught with a needle in his backside.

I completely understand that these papers use their back page to attract attention to the paper and get people to buy them. What I will never understand is how the Daily News gets away with some of the back pages they print. They are many times nothing but sensational fabrications and completely lack any journalistic integrity.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rethinking Joba in the 'Pen

No one debates that the Yanks are a better team in 2008 with Joba in the 'pen. Having the ability to shorten games to 6 or 7 inning affairs can be a huge benefit to a team (see 1996). The Yanks (and 99% of the blogosphere) are rightly adamant, though, that eventually, 200 innings of a special talent like The Beast as a starter are far better than 80 to 100 innings as a reliever. I am starting to believe, however, that Joba should spend all of 2008 as a reliever.

First off, Joba recently pitched for the 1st time this spring as a reliever. He needed all of 15 pitches to strike out the side showing his trademark 99 mph heater. Pitching as a starter, Joba was consistently 92-95 conserving bullets in an effort to maximize his innings. As a starter Joba's ERA this spring was 6.14. In his relief stint the other day, Joba was consistently hitting 99 mph and showed a far sharper slider than in his starts earlier in the spring. Of his relief appearance Joba said -

“It felt great. Just getting going, it’s like riding a bike. … I was more aggressive; just attack the zone. You let your competitive edge and your abilities take over. I think I did a better job of throwing my slider. It was back to the slider that I’m used to throwing and not trying to baby it.”

Just getting going? Seems like Joba is more comfortable in the 'pen. He's 22 and extremely emotional. Pitching out of the 'pen allows him to get all fired up when coming in to pitch and then use that emotion to dial up the heat on the fastball. As a starter he would need to temper that emotion and adrenaline in order to extend through 7 or 8 innings. As he ages I expect the adrenaline factor to decrease, but while he's young we should take advantage of it.

In keeping Joba in the 'pen for at least the 2008 season, the Yanks would be following a very successful example set by the Twins in 2002, 2003, 2004. After the 2002 season Twin fans were clamoring for them to put a certain 23 year old lefty in the rotation full time. Johan threw 108 innings in '02, pitching in 27 games with 14 starts; an average of 4 innings per appearance. In 2003 he again started the year in the bullpen and then moved to the rotation half way through the season.

Joba pitched 112 innings between the majors and minors in 2007 . Using the +30 rule, we can expect the Yanks to put a cap on him in the 140 inning range. The Yanks could easily get Joba to 140 innings as a reliever in 2008. All we would need to do is get Joba in around 60 games and average just under 2.5 innings per appearance.

I still believe that there is nothing more valuable than a true Ace, and I believe Joba will be one. I also think that giving a 22 year old who seems much more comfortable and confident in the bullpen a year or two to develop there is not a bad idea. The chances of Joba being the dominant, shut-down ace in the 2008 season are slim. The chances of him being a dominant, game shortening bridge to Mo are extremely high.Comfort breeds confidence, and confidence breeds success. As long as we make sure to get Joba the innings he needs to make the transition next year, I say let him dominate in the 'pen for 2008.

Time to Panick...Mo's DONE!

and Arod's gonna play for free...

27 batters faced, 11 strikeouts, ONE walk...that's just Mo being Mo!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Rotation

Now that Wang has been made the opening day starter and Joba has been officially put in the pen Joe Girardi can solidify his rotation. The easy thing to do would be to make the rotation the following;
1-Wang
2-Pettitte
3-Mussina
4-Hughes
5-Kennedy
There is one major problem with this rotation - the three guys who are not going to be work horses are back to back to back( and a belly to belly....sorry couldn't resist). This is going to result in a lot of back to back days for the pen and could really take its toll as the season rolls on. So the Yankees would be wise to do the following;
1-Wang
2-Hughes
3-Pettitte
4-Mussina
5-Kennedy
This puts the pitcher with the most limits on his innings(Hughes) between your two horses, hopefully reducing the back to back long nights for your bullpen. Spreading out your bullpen innings should help protect your pen long term.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where do I send my resume?

I promise...I do not have a personal vendetta against Jon Daniels.

Consider the following -

Travis Hafner - Traded by the Texas Rangers with Aaron Myette to the Cleveland Indians for Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese.

Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young - Traded by the Texas Rangers with Terrmel Sledge to the San Diego Padres for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka, and Billy Killian (minors).

Alfonso Soriano - Traded by the Texas Rangers to the Washington Nationals for Brad Wilkerson, Armando Galarraga, and Terrmel Sledge.

Carlos Lee - Traded by the Milwaukee Brewers with Nelson Cruz to the Texas Rangers for Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Francisco Cordero, and Julian Cordero (minors). November 24, 2006: Signed as a Free Agent with the Houston Astros.

Travis Hafner, Adrian Gonzalex, Chris Young, Alfonso Soriano, Kevin Mench, Lance Nix and Francisco Coredro traded away for Einar Diaz, Akinori Otsuka, Brad Wilkerson, and some minor league spare parts in return (Carlos Lee and Adam Eaton left almost immediately as free agents)...wow!

This doesn't take into consideration the myriad of awesome free agent signings as well (Chan Ho Park, anyone?).

How does this guy still have a job?

Projected Standings

For anyone who missed it Basball Prospectus came out with their projections for 2008. Here is how they have the AL East breaking down:

NY Yankees 97 Wins
Boston Red Sox 90
Tampa Rays 89
Toronto Blue Jays 78
Baltimore Orioles 66

The Yankees have exceeded their Pecota projections for the last two years and the Rays have significantly underacheived theirs. However, they probably have the most accurate projection system out there and 7 games is a significant number. You need a subscription to access the Yankees page but the Red Sox' is free . The issue with the Red Sox is PECOTA sees their pitching as extremely average after Beckett, and their hitters don't project to be anything special.

Dance, Papi! Dance!

From Mark Feinsand:

Pettitte didn't deny the pitch to Ortiz was intentionally thrown inside, but he insisted it was for strategic purposes, not in retaliation.

"There's no doubt I backed him off. You can't just lay it over the plate for him to hit it," Pettitte said. "You have to move the ball in and out, hopefully make him feel uncomfortable in the batter's box. He's a great hitter, so you have to pitch him inside to get the guy out, that's for sure."

One of the biggest criticisms of Joe Torre's Yankees over the past few years was their refusal to pitch inside to Ortiz, who has torched the Bombers for a .321 average, 14 homers and 51 RBI in 209 at-bats over the past three seasons. Whether Pettitte's pitch had a purpose or not, it proved to be effective, opening the door for more of the same during the season.

HOORAY!!!

Not only are we protecting our own, but it's about time we moved Ortiz' feet a little!

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Predictions

As we are a couple of weeks from 1st pitch of the 2008 season, it's time for our 2008 predictions:

March 31 - The Yankees rotation consists of CMW, Pettitte, Hughes, Moose and IPK
Bullpen - Mo, Farns, Hawkins, Joba, Veres, Ohlendorf and Traber

March 31 - Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima's soul begins serving its sentence of eternity in hell as payment for the 2.22 ERA and 0.97 whip achieved in 2007 with an 86 MPH fastball and mediocre secondary pitches.

April 15 - Alex Rodriguez blasts his 12th HR of the young season.

April 15 - Manny Ramirez mysteriously disappears for 4 days. It is later revealed that while visiting a hospital for the 'Mentally Challenged' Manny was mistaken for a patient and held in a rubber room. The director of the Center apologized but stated "We tested him thoroughly and if he's not a patient here he certainly should be."

May 15 - IPK - 4-2, 4.25; Joba - 1-1, 1.66; Phil - 3-2, 4.31

May 15 - Sox 'Ace' Josh Beckett makes his first start of the year after battling back, shoulder, elbow, blister and ego problems.

June 15 - Robbie Cano - .325/9/44; Jeet - .335/6/48; Arod .310/30/72

June 15 - Sox' 1B Kevin Youkilis is admitted to a Boston Hospital with rabies. Apparently he was bitten by the hedgehog that had attached himself to Youlikis' face.

July 10 - Yankee All-star starters- Cano/Jeet/Arod; pitchers - CMW (10-3, 3.35), Mo (2-3, 1.06), Joba (4-2, 1.86) Yanks lead the AL East by 4 games

July 10 - Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is arrested driving a truck with 30 stolen computers in the back. After his arraignment Buchholtz promises to check himself into a rehab facility claiming "I have a disease."

July 15 - Yankee bullpen - Mo, Farns, Hawkins, Veras, Ohlendorf, Ramirez, Karstens

July 15 - Sox reliever Jonathan Papplepuss is out for the year after seperating his right shoulder by vehimently pumping his fist after winning a game of 'go-fish' in the clubhouse against a 12 year old ball boy.

Aug 1 - IPK - 8-4, 4.37; Phil - 12-6, 3.83; Joba in 4 starts - 1-2, 4.92 as a starter

Aug 1 - After his first rehab start for the Pawtucket Sox in which he threw 2 shut-out innings, pitcher Curt Schilling is caught putting fake blood on his jersey before trying to send it to the Hall of Fame. Says Schilling - "The blood is real! I am such a gamer, huh? I amaze myself! I just don't know how I do it!"

September 1 - After 8 ineffective starts and an ERA around 5.00, Joba is sent back to the 'pen.

September 1 - Sox 'Ace' Josh Beckett makes his 2nd start of the year

September 15 - Yanks lead Blue Jays by 7 games and Red Sox by 12

Oct 1 - Cano - 330/26/110; Jeet - 342/17/88; Arod - 316/66/162

ALDS - Yanks beat wild card winner Cleveland in 4 games
ALDS - Mariners beat Detroit in 5 games

ALCS - Yanks beat Mariners in 6 games

World Series - Yanks beat Cubs in 5 games



Saturday, March 15, 2008

Team Health Reports

Will Caroll over at Baseball Prospectus does a piece each year on teams and the likelihood of their players breaking down. He gives each player a red, yellow or green. Red being likely to get hurt, green unlikely and yellow proceed with caution. His piece on the Yankees listed the following players as red;
  1. Jason Giambi - No shock here, if he makes it to May without an injury I will be surprised
  2. Phil Hughes - He worries about HOW Phil got injured last year - Reaching back for a bit extra on a pitch.
  3. Joba - He does have an injury history but he doesn't seem as concerned with him as Phil
  4. Mo- Mo is a freak, I am not worried.

First Row in New Yankee Stadium

The Ap recently released a report outlining the rising cost of the premium tickets at Yankee Stadium. The top box seat at Yankee Stadium will go for $250 dollars per game per ticket this year. My reaction - its a steal! Just wait till next year where the first row of box seat will go for $2,500 per game per ticket. That's not a typo, it will cost you $202,500 for season tickets in the first row. Apparently there is already a waiting list. This information came directly from Lon Trost on Mike and the Mad Dog this week click here to listen.

Just think, in the early 90's we used to tip the usher 20 bucks to let us sit in the empty seats behind the first base dugout.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Look at the Enemy

Since Spring Training is well under way I thought it would be a good idea to check out arch rival the Boston Red Sox and see what their spring stats reveal;
  • Both Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Elssbury are below the Mendoze line(.086 and .194 respectively)
  • Julio Lugo and Coco Crisp are both banged up (6abs for Lugo and 4 for Coco)
  • Buchholz is getting hit(9.35era)
  • Once super prospect Craig Hansen sucks(13.50 era)
  • Okajima is still getting lucky(7ip no runs)

New Season, New Manager, New Attitude?

Shelley's slide (see below) was a touch over the top. It was blatant and could have gotten the Rays' second baseman hurt, so I am not really condoning it. What I am hoping it shows, however, is a new attitude for the team this year.

For far too long we have been the buttoned-down, corporate Yankees who have been pushed around far too much. For far too long the Pedro Martinezes and John MacDonalds of the world have gotten in our faces and challenged us with impunity.

In addition to representative performance, I believe that a certain attitude has been something missing from the Yanks and contributed to our lack of post season success.

It's time to actually BE the big bad Yankees again. It's time for us to start not only beating the snot out of the competition, but also doing so with the attitude that represents our position in the sport.

No longer can pitchers buzz Arod knowing we will do nothing about it. No longer can Jeter take a 95 MHP heater on the left elbow without retribution. No longer can 5 foot 7 inch shortstops call one of our own 'bush-league' and challenge him in the press without feeling the pain in return.

We are already the 'Hated Yankees,' the 'Evil Empire'...I really hope yesterday's actions show that we are ready to start living up to those names.

Basebrawl

Add the Rays to the list of teams that the Yanks will have interesting games against this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Arrogant and WRONG!

If you live in the NY area (or watch YES during the day) you know Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN. Never have 2 people been more arrogant on the airwaves.

On Mar 5, Sweeney Murti, Yankee beat reporter for WFAN, got a firsthand look at just how ridiculously stupid the pair can be (listen here).

In addition to screaming that the Yanks "have no idea what they are doing," fatso and dummie repeatedly berated Sweeney about Joba and his role on the team. Sweeney did his best to maintain his composure amidst the barrage of inane and arrogant statements such as "Brian Cashman is lost when it comes to pitching."

I listened to the interview again while writing this post with an eye toward giving examples of their pure idiocy - there is way too much to write.

Listen to the interview...you will no doubt agree that these 2 are the most arrogant idiots on the radio.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Phil on his way?

Promising start for Phil. Six innings into spring and not a hit to be found.

Cervelli injured - First Test for General Joe

When I think of a defining moment for the Joe Torre style of management I think of the Pedro vs. Zimmer. Here was a guy in Pedro who repeatedly went for the heads of the Yankees best players and the tone set former the top was to maintain dignity and focus on the game. Now this strategy might have actually helped add to Pedro's frustration but it also hurt the Yankees quite a bit over the years. How often did the Red Sox hit our best players and pitch inside while we nibbled on the outside corner for fear of creating conflict?

With the hiring of General Joe my first reaction was " Now can we finally back Ortiz off homeplate?!?" Well, Girardi has a chance to send a message with the bush league play by the Rays yesterday that resulted in a broken wrist for Cervelli. A public scorning is not enough, Giradi needs to mandate that a Yankee come at a Rays player when they meet next. This will make it known that you can no longer throw inside, slide spikes first or generally push the complacent Yankees around without repercussions.

If nothing happens I fear the time when the only person with the balls to stand up to the opposition is an 80 year-old man with a metal plate in his head hasn't left us.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Messiah

A nice quick read on Phil Phranchise by Kevin Kernan in today's NY Post.

The Yankees have their version of the Three Amigos in Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, but read what Johnny Damon said about Hughes after yesterday's performance.

"Phil is definitely the cream of the crop," Damon said. "I see ace material written all over him. He's got two plus pitches. I think he's going to have a big year."

With all of the (deserved) hype surrounding the larger than life Joba (The Beast), it sometimes gets lost that Hughes has been the Yanks' top prospect, and a top 10 prospect in all of baseball for 3 years.

I know I'm repeating myself from earlier posts, but of our troika I believe that Phil is by far the most likely to live up to 'Ace' billing.

Consider his minor league numbers:

From 2004 through 2007 Hughes pitched in 54 games throwing 275 minor league innings
He allowed 171 hits - an ungodly 5.59 hits per 9 innings pitched
He struck out 311 batters - 10.18 per 9 innings pitched
He gave up 66 walks - 2.16 BB/9 and 4.71 strikeouts for every walk
He gave up a TOTAL of 6 HR in 275 ip
His career minor league ERA is 2.09, with no year higher than 3.06
His career minor league WHIP is 0.86 with no year above 1.00

Absolutely filthy!

A 4.46 ERA with the Yanks does not tell an accurate story about Phil's 2007. Consider that he allowed only 64 hits in 72 2/3 innings, he allowed only a .235 BAA for the year, and that in September (after fully recovering from hammy/ankle injury) he was the Yanks' best starter going 3-0 in 29 2/3 innings posting a 2.73 ERA .

Joba is nasty. The 100 MPH fastball, 0.38 ERA out of the 'pen and larger than life personality has seemingly put him 1st on the troika depth chart. I happen to believe that Joba is also headed for greatness. But remember - Joba has faced a total of 437 batters in his professional career. He has made exactly zero major league starts. And even though his 13.81 K/9 betters Phil, none of his other minor league numbers are as good as Hughes' (2.45 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 6.34 H/9).

Now please, make no mistake - I think between Phil, Joba and Ikky we have a chance to have a big 3 better than any in history. It may be that Joba passes Phil and ends up having a better career. Right now for the 2007 season, however, there should be little doubt that Phil Phranchise, The Messiah is king among the troika.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Last Laugh

via boston.com

(Hank) Steinbrenner was asked whether he would send Yankees stuff to Henry in response to the Red Sox Nation invitation.

"He's already got Yankees stuff," Steinbrenner said. "He was a limited partner. He's got the rings."

Hat tip to YankeeBlography


BallHype: hype it up!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Funny A-Rod Video

Hello,
I came across the Yankee GM Blog and I figured you and other Yankee fans would get a kick out of this:
http://www.ucbcomedy.com/videos/play/1022
It's a sketch produced by performers from the Upright Citizens Brigade- we're a comedy theatre based in New York.
I'm a big baseball fan and thought I would share this with others. The theme may be a little adult-ish, but for the most part it's family-friendly (and very funny, especially for fans of A-Rod). Let me know what you think!

Thanks,
Matty

YankeeGM: Thanks, Matty...it's great!

Spring Training TV Game 1

Some important take aways from the first televised spring training game of the year
  • Andy Pettitte apparently personally apologized to every team member, front office, person and media member for his involvement with steroids. I was not able to confirm if he apologized to the towel boy but my guess is he did. This is why we love Andy, he is a stand-up guy both with his actions and on the field.
  • Jason Giambi looks good. He actually hit a ball to the left of CF.
  • Giuseppie Franco is back. No sign of Gary Bussey but this man can't be stopped. I don't know if I can handle viewing this guy another 5,000 times. I have a full head of hair but am willing to buy a lifetime supply if they will just stop playing these damn commercials!
  • Bruney struggled despite a new physique and a new attitude.

Bernie's Last AB

It's not a great video, but with Hank alluding to a Bernie Williams Day here is Bernie's last AB:

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Where does the Yankee Revenue go?

If you wondered where all the Yankee revenue goes (other then the obvious) the answer is Jeffery Loria's pocket. Via the Biz of Baseball;

"The Marlins’ payroll for 2008 is projected to be around $20 million, the lowest in the league and $10 million lower than last season.

“It’s a function of revenues, and we were not really able to derive any revenues out of this facility,” Loria said of the team’s current home, Dolphin Stadium. “As we get closer to the (new) stadium, those things will change. We need to be in that facility.”


On the player payroll at $20 million, that would be $5 million less than what the club will receive in revenue-sharing, which is projected to be $25 million. Apparently, a “function of the revenues” is to make a mockery of the revenue-sharing system, and do a good bit of profit making.

Forbes estimated that the Marlins posted $43.3 million in operating income last year. That operating income included earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. How did the Marlins rate in terms of operating income – a measure of profit – compared to their other 29 counterparts? They were first with the Dodgers in second at $25.5 million, a difference of 41 percent.

If there is one thing that Bud Selig has failed at in his tenure as Commissioner (no, not steroids) it's the abuse of the revenue system by certain clubs - most notably the Marlins. I posted an article awhile back stating that the current system rewards teams that are not successful locally. Basically, pocket the revenue money and your profits grow; invest it in your team and your revenue sharing number and your margins shrink.

As a Yankee fan, I understand our revenues are so enormous that we have to contribute some to level the playing field. When that money is used instead to make owners rich, however, I have a real problem with it. I imagine The Hank must feel even stronger about it. I am glad to see that some of the money will be taken away from the Marlins with their new stadium.

Girardi Credits Zimmer not Torre

Joe Girardi was asked about how his managing strategy developed and he credited his time with Don Zimmer;

Fortunately for the new Yankee skipper, he'd spent plenty of time with a manager who had run his team the same way: Don Zimmer.

Zimmer is one of the managers Girardi recognizes as his greatest influences, especially when it came to his penchant for taking risks. How many other managers put the hit-and-run on with the bases loaded? How about a squeeze play in that same situation?


"There was a risk in Zim's game," Girardi says of the man who managed him with the
Cubs from 1989-1991. "He didn't always manage from a piece of paper; he would manage from his guts and his heart. He was a gambler."

So now even a guy who served under Joe is crediting Zimmer not Joe for helping him grow. Girardi does go on to say;

"Joe Torre was great at getting the most out of people and handling people," Girardi says. "There was that calmness there every day in a world that wasn't always so calm."

Not exactly the praise a hall of fame manager would expect from the guy who replaced him. The legend of Joe has continued to take a hit this spring and it will be interesting to see how he will be remembered if the Yankees do very well this year and LA doesn't. Either way a lot has come out this year about the faults of Torre and it seems that everyone was just keeping quiet on them the last couple of years. The energy this spring combined with the almost daily 'bash Torre' news makes it clear a change was long overdue.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Kei Igawa Sucks, The End

This says it all;

" Kei Igawa's second year got off to a horrid start Friday when he loaded the bases against the University of South Florida on two walks - including one to the Bulls' No. 9 hitter - and a hit batsman and then gave up a grand slam to a sub who hadn't played college baseball since 2005"

What Is Melky Cabera?

Brian Cashman came out with the following comments;

Melky has to fight for what he has,” Cashman said. “I can’t stand here and tell you he’s going to be our center fielder moving forward. That’s up to him.”

He also added about Brett Gardner;

Brett Gardner is not your typical Yankee-profile type of player,” he said.
“We’re trying to break that profile to some degree because there’s more to this game than hitting for power.


“We think he could be a Juan Pierre who takes a walk. Here’s a guy who can steal bases; he can get on base; he plays the short game. We need athleticism like that, especially when you have a bunch of these old farts filling the roster out. Those young burst-of-energy, athletic guys really stand out on a team like ours.”


Brain is clearly trying to light a fire under Melky and not allow him to get comfortable with his clear role as the team's everyday centerfielder. So it begs the question, what do the Yankees have in Melky? We know his stats compare favorably to Bernie at the same age but he profiles as a different player (more SB ability, better arm, less power) then Bernie in his prime. Let's start by looking at some projections for him this year;

Zips .286/.352/.419 16 Hr 13 sb
Cario .287/.345/.407 9 HR 7 SB
Pecota .283/.342/.404 10 HR 14 SB

Definitely acceptable numbers out of a CF but not elite level by any means. The question becomes can the Yankees accept a player that isn't All-Star level or will the fantasy baseball GM in them force an upgrade? I have long believed that you need players that are good but not great on your team to balance it out. There is less pressure to perform in big spots and they are willing to do the little things and not be the hero. Having a couple positions with a Melky type player is actually better for the team in big games. This is not something that is quantifiable with stats or some other method but something I have observed over time. Upgrading Melky would be a mistake. He is a solid player who brings energy and life to the club. Let him play and get your stars elsewhere.

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