Dec 31, 2007

Look for my piece at Lohud

on Friday, January 18. I've been assigned that day to write an original piece and to pimp my blog. Now to choose a topic...

Dec 29, 2007

I was against playing the starters all 60 minutes

in tonight's Giants-Pats matchup and what happens? We lose three starters: Kawika Mitchell, Sam Madison and Shaun O'Hara. That really improves our chances next week in Tampa.

As for the match, oh boy, there's a lot to say. I'm proud of the Giants - despite a number of injuries, poor calls and stupid play calling, they came within three points (38-35) of beating the Pats.
two huge borderline penalties went against the Giants: Corey Webster's 'illegal contact' on 3rd and long in the first (in which a sack of Tom Brady was negated), and the pass interference call on Gerris Wilkinson in the end zone. Webster did nothing you don't see on every play in the NFL; the same with Wilkinson who was penalized only because his head was turned the wrong way. As is with the Pats MO, both drives were kept alive by penalties which eventually ended in touchdowns. I don't like to make excuses but I have no doubt that if not for those calls, the Giants win the match. The refs also missed a Patriot trying to poke Brandon Jacobs in the eye! - on what is normally a 15-yard 'unsportsmanlike conduct' penalty (and possible ejection), no call was made.
I was against playing the starters more than one half but Tom Coughlin played them all 60 minutes (although he would've been killed if he had played the backups in the second half, especially entering with a lead). Three starters went down and it's TBA if they'll be available in the playoffs. Are the Giants not the most injured team every single year?
Eli, Eli, Eli - a killer interception in the fourth when the Giants were still down just three. The Jints can win a Superbowl with Eli, he just won't carry them there.
Ahmad Bradshaw was sorely missed. His explosiveness could have been the difference - not just by his addition would the team be better, but the subtraction of Reuben Droughns would help too: that guy has no business in the NFL anymore.
The Pats have a tremendous offense but a rather lacking defense. They're vulnerable in the playoffs and compared to how the Colts have played the last five or so weeks, I wouldn't want to play them if I was Bill Belichick.
Overall, I was proud of the G-Men and actually feel confident going into the playoffs. It was evident watching tonight's match that the Giants have the ability to beat any team in football - it's really just a question of injuries and Eli.

Catching up

Been busy with holiday stuff for a while and since nothing really's been happening anywhere in baseball, there hasn't been much to write about - but here's what I've missed:

- Baseball America, the prospect bible, published its Top 10 Yankee prospect list. Joba, Ajax and Tabata topped the list while Kennedy somehow fell to fourth. Six through 10 is a strange melange of players that seem to fit two completely different methods of evaluating prospects.

- Jimmy Leyritz, one of my favorite Yankees growing up, was arrested for DUI after he hit a car running a red light - a woman driving the other car was killed. A tragic story for sure, and while lessening Jim's stature in my mind, ultimately not that surprising - the dude always seemed like a hard-drinking, reckless kind of guy (just as if the same happened to David Wells - would anyone be that surprised? Unfortunately, no.).

- The Yanks and Sawx only seem to remain 'in talks' for Santana merely to drive up the price for the other. If the Yanks ever said they were completely pulling out, the Sawx would gain a ton of leverage and could conceivably lower their offer and still acquire Santana.

- Robbie Cano was pulled from Dominican Winter Baseball at the request of the Yanks front office, apparently due to a calf strain. But some conspiracy theorists believe it could be in preparation for a trade... very doubtful.

- I'll be posting a piece on Lohud sometime in January so look for it.

Dec 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

and a belated Happy Hanukkah!

- Apparently the Yankee Trio will be competing for two spots, after Wang, Pettitte and Moose. What they're going to do with the loser I don't know, but it might be more beneficial to have them start in Scranton (where they can build up arm strength and hone their arsenal) rather than relieve in New York. Overall I don't like this idea because it guarantees a start for Moose every time through the rotation. Not to sound pretentious, but my idea from the other day is better - it keeps the Trio in the ML rotation (where the experience will far outweigh that of relieving or starting in Scranton), but limits their innings (for health reasons) and Moose's innings (for quality reasons).

The Giants went AWOL in the first quarter

but outscored Buffalo 38-7 after that. This was Ahmad Bradshaw's breakout game (his 88-yard TD run was the longest in the NFL this year!) - he finally got a chance to show his immense talent when Brandon Jacobs sprained his ankle. If it was a coaching decision I would have asked, 'What took so long?', but it wasn't so I can't even give them credit for it. This will hopefully vault the Giants into a tandem RB system where Bradshaw shares carries with Jacobs.
Sportsline sums up my thoughts well in a non-typical article based on tonight's game. Best part:

There is no way to sugar-coat this one: Manning stunk, though he was handicapped by the elements.

Nevertheless, it's hard to escape the facts, and the facts are these: In his last five starts Manning completed 45 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and eight interceptions. OK, so he's 3-2, but let's be honest here: The Giants won Sunday in spite of him.

They won because Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 296 yards rushing. They won because linebacker Kawika Mitchell and cornerback Corey Webster returned second-half interceptions for touchdowns. They won because their defense allowed 118 yards on Buffalo's last 14 possessions after surrendering 126 on the Bills' first two.

They did not win because of Manning.

Dec 22, 2007

Joba back to starting?

Seems so, according to Kat O'Brien. What I think the Yanks will (and should) do is use a 5.5-man rotation using Joba and Hughes sparingly to limit their innings. Moose would be used too on their 'off' rotations while the 'off' man would be used in one or two relief appearances. Assuming Hughes and Joba have limitations of about 150 innings and Kennedy 190, let's look at the first month of the season -

March 31 - Wang
April 1 - Off day
4/2 - Pettitte
4/3 - Hughes
4/4 - Joba
4/5 - Kennedy
4/6 - Wang
4/7 - Pettitte
4/8 - Hughes
4/9 - Moose
4/10 - Kennedy
4/11 - Wang
4/12 - Pettitte
4/13 - Joba
4/14 - Moose
4/15 - Kennedy
4/16 - Wang
4/17 - Pettitte
4/18 - Hughes
4/19 - Moose
4/20 - Kennedy
Off day
4/22 - Wang
4/23 - Pettitte
4/24 - Hughes
4/25 - Joba
4/26 - Kennedy
4/27 - Wang
4/28 - Pettitte
4/29 - Moose
4/30 - Joba
5/1 - Kennedy

So through one month, Wang, Pettitte have made six starts, Kennedy five, and Moose, Hughes and Joba have made four apiece. If we assume six innings per start, this type of rotation puts Wang and Pettitte at 216 innings apiece, Kennedy at 180, and Moose, Joba and Hughes at 144 apiece. Works out beautifully.*

*Disclaimer: in no way does this account for injuries.

(Again, thanks to the ever timely RAB.)

Santana unlikely

- Good news according to Kat O'Brien - the Yanks are not likely to deal for Johan Santana.

- Reportedly, Joba will begin 2008 in the bullpen. Two words for that idea: huge mistake! I have to believe Cash is too smart to do this - after all, Olney's source is completely unidentified. (Saw link on RAB.)

- The Viz signed with Colorado. Hello supplemental draft pick (which turned into Joba in 2006).

Dec 20, 2007

Great news

Mark Newman, Senior VP of Baseball Operations, said that Mark Melancon and JB Cox will be ready to pitch by opening day and likely start in Tampa (to avoid cold weather and shake off the rust against weaker hitters). Sanchez's return will be delayed a bit longer. He also said any Triple-A starter will be looked at as potential ML relievers.

If not for the Steinbrenners, fans (and the media) would realize how intelligent the Yankee organization really is.

- More great news from the entertainment world: Peter Jackson will produce two films based on The Hobbit. No word on whether he'll direct too. They wont hit theaters until 2010 at the earliest.

Dec 19, 2007

No surprise, the Yanks raise ticket prices

First off, the Yanks are scheduled to close the season out on the road. This will be the last year at the Stadium. Does anyone in MLB have a brain?

Now on to my feelings on higher prices:

Attendance and expenses rise every year so it's hard to blame MLB clubs for raising prices. That said, it’s really unfortunate, but each year I’ve been going to less and less games - the hassle of getting there (either by car or subway (and especially now living in Philly)) with 50,000 other people, paying $5 for a dog, $8 for a beer (although I generally bring my own food, even sneaking in alcohol), sitting through the endless and intrusive music/commercials/canned ‘make-some-noise’ PA coercions (the sports equivalent of talk-show 'Applause' signs - and I can't tell you how many times those have killed real, organic fan chants), possibly sitting through rain delays (I have a knack for those) or weather ranging from boiling hot to freezing cold, to then the hassle of getting out of there with the same 50,000 people. Oh, and dropping anywhere from $10 to $150 per ticket. Perhaps I come off like an asshole but I far more enjoy sitting home on my comfy couch with a cold beer/soda, getting dinner delivered, and watching the game in HD on my DVR (where I fastforward through all the commercials) and saving that money. You see the game better on TV anyway and get the benefit of replays.

I’m sure though they’ll get 4 million+ fans yet again, but at some point the prices will get too high and sports stadiums will be filled entirely with luxury boxes while average fans like you and me watch from home. As you can tell from the paragraph above, I'm not crying about it, but it will suck to watch games on TV with no fans - strange to think about.

Non-sport related: the 15 richest fictional characters.

Dec 17, 2007

The most pathetic game I ever saw

Even when Eli did happen to make a good throw it was dropped. Another NFL game where it wasn't the best team that won but merely the less worse team. The Redskins certainly didn't play great, but it was definitely not as pathetic as the Jints. The worst 9-5 team ever? I don't know but probably the worst I've ever seen.

Oh, right - Jeremy Shockey's out for the year too...

Dec 16, 2007

Good discussion on Alan Horne

happening over at John Sickels' website. He also just posted his Top 20 Yankee Prospect List.

Also, the new poll is up. What's your take?

Poll closed

According to you, Arod was the most important player for the Yankees to re-sign (48%). Hard to argue with that - the reigning (thrice awarded) MVP, 'best player in baseball' and eventual home run king.

Pettitte came in second (21%) - the rotation needed a lefty and a certified 200+ innings. The only other available pitchers to fit that role are Johan Santana and Erik Bedard, both of which would require a boatload of young talent to acquire.

Rivera and Posada rounded out the poll - my vote went to Rivera because the bullpen is our weakest area right now (although Cash has done a decent job patching it), and without him we would not have a reliable closer (Farnsworth is the closest thing!). It would probably require overpaying for Francisco Cordero (in terms of money) or Huston Street (in terms of prospects) or moving Joba into the closer role which would have long term adverse consequences: he wouldn't continue improving his curve and changeup and his innings would drop to about 70 (both making a transition back to starter that much more difficult), we would lose a quality starter (perhaps forcing Moose into the rotation or an expensive trade for Santana), and last but not least would be a waste of Joba's immense talent. That being said, three years, $45 million for Mo is way too much but it had to be done for the short and long term success of the team.

Posada isn't someone to sneeze at either. A catcher who hits like he does is extremely valuable. And who would take over if he re-signed elsewhere? Jose Molina (64 OPS+) or Paul Lo Duca (99 OPS+) - both over 30 as the everyday catcher? Frankie Cervelli from Tampa (.274/.375/.388 career in the minors)? P.J. Pilittere from Trenton (with an even worse .266/.322/.360 career minor league line)? Posada has a 124 OPS+ in the majors. Huge difference.

Really, all of these guys were important to re-sign so choosing one over the other is nitpicking. But Arod is the youngest with the highest (and most likely to reach) upside. Thanks for voting and look for a new poll later today.

Pettitte admits to HGH

He used it 'for two days' in 2002 to speed recovery from an elbow injury.

I'm still disappointed in Andy but can understand wanting to heal as fast as possible. It's not on the same level as Bonds, Sosa, Clemens (allegedly) and McGwire, but it ain't exemplary either.

The real question is whether Andy would have done so if it weren't for Roger...
(hmmm, sounds like a poll).

Dec 15, 2007

More Phil

It was really a crime that Hughes missed three months of the 2007 season. Not only did it rob him of three months of developing and adjusting to ML hitters, but it will likely prevent him from pitching 200 innings until 2010 at the earliest. He pitched 111 innings this year - going by the 'rule of 30', he'll pitch about 140 in 2008, 170 in 2009 and finally 200 in 2010. Of course, this is all subject to injuries and how efficient Hughes pitches, e.g. if he hits 140 in 2008 with relative ease (in terms of pitches/inning) he could be extended past it.

Watching some of his minor and major league starts tonight, it was apparent that Hughes made it tough for players to hit him. In other words, when hitters did make contact it seemed like very weak contact. Was this statistically true?

- Hughes ranked 5th in the AL in BABIP (batting average on balls in play) in 2007 (for starters who pitched at least 70 innings). His babip was .271, better than Johan Santana, and better than any other Yankee starter.

- He ranked 13th in the AL in OPS+ at 83. Again, better than any other Yankee starter - just ahead of Wang and just behind Johan Santana.

- He also excelled in BAA (batting average against), ranking 7th in the AL (.235), ahead of Vazquez and Beckett and behind Verlander and Santana.

Pitchers and catchers report in exactly two months! Can you tell I miss baseball?

Dec 13, 2007

Mitchell Report

- The two main sources for Senator Mitchell's report were a Mets clubhouse attendant and a Yankees trainer. They were both threatened with jail time. No wonder the list has a lot of former and current New York players. If the sources worked in LA or Chicago or Boston, I'm sure many of those city's players would be named.

- George Mitchell is a director for the Boston Red Sawx (and has been since 2002). Not one current Sawx player is named. Coincidence? Imagine naming your co-workers/employees 'cheaters', then walking in Monday morning: "Hey fellas, how was your weekend?" I know I couldn't do that. Why couldn't Bud Selig find an investigator for such a major case that didn't have a clear conflict of interest?

- I'm disappointed that Andy Pettitte was named. Clemens and Giambi were expected, but not Andy. The report states he took HGH (human growth hormone) in 2002 to speed up his elbow rehab. Not as bad as Clemens' use of it, but still disappointing.

- Since one of the main sources was a Yankee trainer, it probably means that those not named are clean - I think that's a fair assumption. Good news for Derek, Jorge, Arod, Cone, O'Neill, Mo, etc.

- George Mitchell did not have any real power in this investigation. The player's union did not want any players talking to him and he didn't have any subpoena power. That's why he had to go through other 'sources' like the former Mets and Yankees employees.

- All together, it should be taken with a large grain of salt. Some players were linked merely by hearsay, and some by former employees threatened with jail time - a lot of circumstantial evidence like checks and phone records. I doubt this would stand up in court. Elsewise, just because a player wasn't named doesn't mean they didn't juice (ahem, Boston). Outside of the Yanks and Mets (whose employees provided the two main sources), most every player is still a suspect. For all the money and time spent on this investigation, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire weren't named. What does that tell you about it's definitiveness? It's a shame if those not named are somehow seen as 'beacons of integrity' or some shit.

- ESPN showed a montage of Roger Clemens during their Mitchell Report special. It included only shots with the Yanks - what happened to his time with Boston, Toronto and Houston?

- Since most Yankee steroid use didn't begin until 2001, Mark Feinsand says it doesn't tarnish the Dynasty years.

- Oh, and the Yanks and Arod finalized his 10-year deal. He'll make a base of $275 million and as much as $305 million with home run based incentives.

Update 7:19 pm
For what it's worth, David Justice (named as a user in the report) strongly denied using any illegal substances (on the YES Network's Yankee Hot Stove program).

Dec 11, 2007

Santana deal still alive

And our Fearless Leader's resolve takes another hit (if that's possible). Apparently Phil Hughes is still part of the deal. *sigh*

- Carl Pavano is being a prick - even more so than usual.

Dec 9, 2007

LaTroy Hawkins?

Is he the best Cashman can do? Apparently, as the Yanks are close to signing him to a one-year, $3.75 million deal. The cons are that Hawkins is nothing special - literally, he has a career 101 ERA+, 1.47 whip and just 5.9 k/9. To top it off, he has high ERAs against every AL East team.

The pros include a groundball inducer (8th in MLB in '07) and a short-term deal. Also, his career ERA+ is a bit misleading - it's skewed by some horrible early years; since his age 27 season, he's had just one below average ERA+.

Update 9:35
It's official.

Dec 8, 2007

A few things

- the Yanks made an offer to Baltimore for southpaw Erik Bedard, who's coming off a career year: 182 ip, 3.16 era, 1.09 whip, 221 Ks. No mention is made of what the offer is, but after all the hullabaloo (first time I've ever used that word) of nearly trading Phil Hughes, he's unlikely part of this deal (for a lesser pitcher than Santana). Since Bedard has never surpassed 200 innings, they should be very careful pursuing him, especially since Baltimore is a division rival and any players they get in return can hurt us 19 times a year. If I had to guess, the offer is something akin to Kennedy, Melky and a mid-level prospect like Jeff Marquez.

- two Latin players were signed recently and the initial scouting reports on them are very promising. From's Minor League forum:

"1B, Raymond Nunez - (Just turned) 17-year old first baseman, bats and throws right-handed. 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Apparently he's a big kid, reportedly has more power than Kelvin De Leon and a smidge less than Montero - somewhere around 75 power on the 20-80 scout's scale from what I'm told.

Reportedly he's a great defensive first baseman and has a really good eye at the plate. He apparently played in a handful of Dominican Instructs games (after I left obviously) and hit a home run, four doubles, and never struck out. The Yankees signed him for "six figures". I couldn't get an exact figure.

RHP, Harold Garce - 22 years old, from the Dominican Republic, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. I know, 22, right? Get this though, apparently he was hitting 98-99 MPH during his tryout!!!

He was a low dollar sign but he's quite projectable. He's never been coached, he's very crude mechanically, but he shows a pretty good curveball already, and he was sitting 95 MPH in the couple of Dominican Instructs games he pitched towards the end.

Imagine how good he could be once Nardi gets a hold of him."

Dec 7, 2007

The 2008 Pen

The biggest problem now facing the 2008 Yankees is the state of the bullpen. They'll likely have 6 starter-types:
(probably in that order)

That's basically set. However, when one looks at the pen, it's much less clear. We know it'll start with Mo and Farnsworth. Assuming 13 total pitchers, that leaves 5 spots open. Here are the immediate candidates:

A lot of guys with good stuff but little production. IF Edwar commands his fastball, he could be a dominant reliever. IF Ohlendorf commands all his stuff, he could be a very good reliever. Same thing with Veras, Bruney, Henn and Beam. Britton is what he is, a solid at best reliever. Outside of Edwar, they're all fastball/slider pitchers (not that that's atypical of relievers). The guys I see having the most potential impact are Edwar, Ohlendorf and Albaladejo (herein referred to as Alby). I really liked what I saw of Ohlendorf in limited action this year, and even Edwar looked dominant at times. Ohlie can hit 98 mph on the gun and has a live, sharp slider. The reason I believe in Edwar is his sick K rate (11.1 k/9 in the minors) - he just has to get ahead of hitters to use his changeup, and that means improving his fastball command. Having watched several of Alby's outings (on, I'm actually the most confident in him (out of this group) having a solid, consistent year. The rest of these guys have shaky control but Alby is by far the best in this area (1.73 bb/9 in 500+ minor league innings) and even a decent K rate (7.4 k/9) - he pitched great in limited time with Washington this year (14.1 ip, 7 h, 2 bb, 12 k). His size, stuff and control should make him a very effective reliever. His ceiling as I see it is a good 8th inning guy.

Here are the potential 2008 relief candidates:

The most promise lies with this quintet. Sanchez, Whelan and Melancon have closer-type stuff. However, Sanchez, Melancon and Cox are coming off serious injuries and may not make an impact at all in the Bronx in 2008. It depends on how much their stuff and control come back. If not for their injuries, they might've seen time with the big club this year. Melancon, 22, has a slightly higher ceiling than Sanchez but is further away - he last pitched for short-season Staten Island in 2006 while Sanchez, 24, pitched for Triple-A Toledo in '06. After rehab stints, these pitchers (excluding Melancon) will be pitching in Scranton by mid-season and therefore have the possibility to make the short drive to the Bronx anytime after the break. Melancon has the furthest to go (having pitched just 7 minor league innings) but has already completed some rehab work in the D.R. He'll likely start in High-A Tampa with the Yanks looking to promote him quickly. If we're lucky, he'll have a Joba-esque rise and be in the pen by August. You shouldn't expect it though.

Whelan also has a tremendous ceiling but has been plagued by control problems. He has sick power numbers: 4.75 hits/9, .34 HR/9, 11.6 k/9, but his bb/9 is very high at 5.14. If that comes down to a respectable level (below 3), he also could be a dominant reliever. Cox and Patterson have the lowest ceilings but could still be solid ML relievers. Cox was the closer for U-Texas and has put up good minor league stats in two seasons. Patterson is old, 28, but has also put up good stats despite being a 1 1/2 pitch pitcher (fastball and little else). But because he's 6'7" and has an extreme overhand delivery, the fastball looks like it's coming out of the sky (despite low 90s speed). He's the fringiest of this group - will he be able to get by with a great fastball without much else? Doubtful, but maybe he improves one of his secondary pitches. If he even had an average breaking ball, he could be another solid reliever.

And here are the 2008 conversion candidates - as in these guys will enter 2008 as minor league starters but based on need could see time in the Bronx pen:

This is basically Scranton's 2008 opening day rotation. As there are 8 names listed, several will be either converted to full time relievers, traded or used as tandem pitchers (meaning they'll enter in the 5th or 6th innings of games and close them out - basically a long reliever with a set schedule). Horne has easily the highest ceiling of this group - he won the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Year in '07 and has been described by at least one expert as 'Joba-lite'. In terms of stuff, Marquez and White are about even with Igawa behind them (hey, he does have good stuff but can't locate it for his life), followed by the rest as a mish-mosh of AAAA talent. Wright and Igawa actually have the best chance to be the first among this group to crack the majors - they're southpaws who already have ML experience (despite sucking).

Trade/Free Agent options include:
Ron Mahay
Damaso Marte
Luis Vizcaino

Marte is far and away the best of the bunch, but being under contract with Pittsburgh, he will have to be traded for. He dominates lefties (.571 ops) and has more strikeouts than innings - he also has the lowest whip and best ERA+ of this trio. Mahay and Vizcaino are free agents, but since the Viz will net an extra draft pick for us, let him sign elsewhere and go after Mahay. He's old (36), but would be slightly more helpful than the Viz. How much in terms of players would it cost for Marte? How about a boatload of AAAA pitchers, e.g. DeSalvo, Rasner, Karstens, Wright? Pittsburgh could always use cheap starters, and that's what they are - they might even succeed (a little) in the NL.

So there you have it. All the options. The five available pen spots will mostly be decided by Spring Training performances, but seeing as injuries and general suckiness will ensue, the pen will be much different in the second half. The following are my predictions (excluding non-current Yankees) for first and second half bullpens (not my personal choices):
Early in the year -

That is ugly. It would look a lot better with Marte in the mix. Edwar and Ohlie will spend some time in Scranton fine-tuning. When the front office feels they're more ready, they'll be the first to get call-ups with Rasner and Henn likely going down (Bruney too if he can't throw strikes). The second half pen looks far better:

Much better. Of course, if Marte or Mahay are acquired, they would replace one of those bottom five guys.

(I swear I wrote the gist of this piece before reading RLYW's article.)

Dec 6, 2007

Lincecum for a 'good bat' part II

Tim Lincecum is on the block, and the Giants are thinking about trading him to Toronto for Alex Rios. If San Fran's willing to do that, let's one up them. Since the Yanks are talking about trading Hideki Matsui to the Giants*, would Matsui, Ajax, Horne and Agon be enough to net Lincecum? Even though we'd be giving up a lot (starting LF/DH, best CF prospect, high ceiling power pitcher and slick fielding shortstop), I'd make that trade in a second. Despite Lincecum's small stature (5'10", 155 lbs.), funky delivery and large workload, at worst he would be a great set-up man (ala 2007 Joba). He even wears Matsui's number (55) so it would be an easy uniform swap.

*3:45 p.m., from Jayson Stark
A source says the Giants did call the Yankees about Hideki Matsui. They're offering their starting pitchers (Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Noah Lowry) for bats, but they are just exploring to see if there is a match. Matsui has a full no-trade clause, and it isn't known whether he would waive it to go to San Francisco or anywhere else.
But Pete Abe says that Matsui would waive his no-trade clause if the Yankees asked.

Dec 5, 2007

Yanks are out

Of the Santana and Haren deals. "At this point, Steinbrenner is pretty happy with his team." So am I (outside of the bullpen, which I'll discuss tomorrow).

Dec 4, 2007

Santana to the Sawx?

via BPro, for Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Ryan Kalish and 'a centerfielder.' Unless the CFer is Ellsbury, this is a steal for Boston. Sucks.

Hopefully Anaheim swoops in and steals him.

Not related to the Yanks but this is major baseball news - apparently the Tigers and Marlins are nearing a blockbuster eight player deal including Miguel Cabrera and D-Train going to Detroit and Cam Maybin and Andrew Miller (and others) to Florida. (I wouldn't mind that move at all. Cabrera's a great hitter but Dontrelle in the AL could suck - Miller and Maybin are stars in the making.)

Done. Wow! Happened so fast. This is how most trades go down - not the insanity of the Yanks and Sawx going for the same guy.

Deal off, for now

- Santana could fall into Boston's lap.

- The Yanks may now go after Dan Haren. Shoot me please.

- But I wouldn't be totally averse to trading for Miggy Cabrera to play 1b. What about Kennedy, Melky, Horne and Ajax/Tabata? Knowing how much Florida wants though, that would never happen.

- Had time to watch some of Albaladejo (heard it pronounced both Alba-la-dayo and Alba-la-day-ho). Thoughts posted soon...
--> Has a nice, easily repeatable delivery similar to San Diego's Chris Young. A fastball with very good movement and command, 89-93. Two breaking balls: a hard slider that he commands well, 78-83, a sharp curve with slightly inferior command, 72-76, and an average (at best) changeup (84 mph). Overall, I like him a lot - great control, good command, very good size and decent stuff equals a solid middle/late reliever. Actually, he's similar to Chris Britton in size and repertoire but better.

Dec 3, 2007

Pettitte returns on a big day

Andy Pettitte will return to the 2008 Yankees! Way to go Andy - we really needed you more in 2008 than any other year. Now we're not in dire need of a southpaw starter - did you hear that, Hank? Pull the Hughes offer. Put in the original offer of Kennedy, Melky and a good minor-leaguer.

Pettitte must have been well aware of the Johan Santana discussions, knowing the Yanks had serious questions about their rotation and the need for a lefty.

10:25 and still no word on the Santana deal.

The Yanks and Twins are meeting tonight.

Considering all the wrong predictions I've made, it just feels like the trade is going to happen. >:(

Still no deal. The Twins again asked for Hughes, Melky
and Kennedy. The Yanks are threatening to pull out but it could just be posturing...

A Sawx official said the Yanks were 'very close' to landing Santana...

The Yanks traded Ty Clippard to the Nats for 25-year-old reliever Jon Albaladejo. Good trade for the Nats as Clip could immediately contend for a rotation spot. Albaladejo has a great minor league k/bb and bb rate (his groundball rate is also good). He dominated in 14 major league innings in September. There's definitely more upside for the Nats here, but Clip was never going to have a spot in the Bronx rotation.

They're still talking, and while the Twins have backed off Kennedy, they now want Horne AND Ajax in addition to Hughes and Melky. No f'in way, but I don't like that they're still talking. What happened to the deadline?

One last link - no progress on anything. Hopefully Minnesota realizes it's in their best interest to keep their top pitcher.

Quite a deadline from our fearless leader Hank Steinbrenner: "We'll sleep on it."

A few quick things

- Boston may include Clay Buchholz in their offer for Johan Santana. If their offer was Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp, I would do it if I was Minnesota. It's better than Hughes, Melky and a 'B' prospect. Hughes is the best of those six, but Buchholz ain't far behind, Lowrie is a solid infield prospect, and Crisp hits the same as Melky (currently) does (but costs a lot more).

- Little Stein is giving the Twins until Tuesday to take their offer for Santana or it'll be withdrawn. Of course, Yankee ultimatums this off-season haven't exactly gone as planned...

- BPro does not think Minnesota will accept the deal. Even if it does fall through, I expect it to be re-ignited later in the off-season.

- A recap of the Yanks off-season (so far).

- The Giants pulled out a win somehow today while I was at the Devils game - my wife and in-laws are huge fans. When I watch the replay (Tuesday night) I'll comment on it.

Thanks to RAB for some of the links.

Dec 2, 2007

No f'in way

This might be a dealbreaker. The Twins are insisting on Ian Kennedy as the third player in the Santana deal - so it would be Hughes, Melky and Kennedy. Hank Steinbrenner might be stupid, but he ain't this fucking stupid. I'm hoping this kills the deal...

Dear Mr. Cashman

I'll try to be brief.
Please don't succumb to the media pressure to trade Phil Hughes to land Johan Santana. Contrary to the opinions you might be reading in the newspapers, the Yanks do NOT NEED Santana. It would be nice, but not worth giving up a potential #1 ace-type guy for.

I'm sure you know all the reasons: Santana's decline over the last few years (and during 2007's latter half), Hughes' resurgence in September and October when he became the Yanks best pitcher, not to mention all the cost controlled years of Hughes that would be thrown away vs. having to sign Santana to a long, lucrative extension. Also, Dave Eiland was just promoted to pitching coach - if not to help out the youngsters, why even do it?

Myself and a large majority of Yankee fans I'm in touch with feel the same way. Kennedy, Melky, Ajax, sure. Replace Kennedy with Hughes? No way. Kennedy should be a solid #3/4 pitcher in the Bigs but doesn't project much higher. Hughes projects to be that frontline, ace starter that every team covets. Again, he's on his way up (he was a league average pitcher as a 21-year-old - the youngest in all MLB in '07) while Santana is on his way down.

If Boston gets Santana, so be it. They'll probably have to give up a boatload of talent to do it, and while their 2008 rotation would be very strong, I prefer to hold onto the guy who will be strong for the next 10-15 years instead of the next 5 (while costing $100 million less). Why is Clay Buchholz deemed 'untouchable' yet Hughes, who projects better (better fb, better size, younger, better minor league stats) is not?

One last thing, on a personal note, it's far more fun for us fans to root for homegrown Yankees than for the latest 'veteran star' that was acquired via trade or free agency. Anyway, I hope you feel the same way and won't pull the trigger on the proposed deal with Hughes in it.

Thank you for your time,
Travis G.

Nov 30, 2007

Oh shit

Hughes is part of the Santana package. Say it ain't so Brian. Hopefully this is just a ploy to get Boston to add more into the pot.

From the article:
"He was just starting to get that late life back at the end of the season," one AL scout said Friday. "I think the leg injuries had a lingering effect. He was at 91, 92 (mph) after he came back, instead of 94-95. It cost him some explosiveness, and I've gotta believe it will come back next season. The impressive thing was that he was able to win anyway."

And why was Dave Eiland named pitching coach if not to help the young'ins (he was Trenton's pitching coach during Hughes' phenomenal '06 season and with Scranton this year)? Acquiring the lefty Santana, they may as well have just kept Guidry.

Or maybe if Andy Pettitte could make up his damn mind already, we'd be in a better to position to trade (or hold) the youngsters.

Nov 29, 2007

Hughes not (currently) being offered

The current Yankee offer is Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and 'at least one minor league prospect.' It's probably one of Alan Horne, Jose Tabata or Austin Jackson. Apparently the Yanks are reluctant to give up Hughes and the Sawx are reluctant to give up Ellsbury, but if either team relents it would probably seal the deal for them. Good to hear that they're still holding onto Phil. Stay strong guys!

Thanks to MLB Trade Rumors for pointing it out.

It's not just business

We throw around all these names like 'I'd trade Kennedy and Melky for Santana, but not Hughes,' or something akin to that. Then you read these stories about the actual players involved and it makes you want to keep all of them, even Melky. Phil Hughes was drafted out of High School by the Yankees - it's the only organization he's ever known. He doesn't want to leave. Our instructors, managers, coordinators, scouts have all put work in to make him as good a pitcher as possible. Millions of dollars and thousands of hours were spent nurturing Hughes to the big leagues. I know Santana is the 'best pitcher in baseball,' but over the next 15 years, the combo of Hughes, Melky, Kennedy, Ajax, Tabata (and whoever else gets mentioned in trades) will help the team a lot more than one (currently) great starting pitcher.

A basic study of 'peak' years

First, how to define 'Peak'? It's a players most productive seasons, but how many? Their best three, four, five? To have a nice simple number, I'll choose five. Using BRef's Play Index, I'll look at various age ranges, e.g. 24-28, 25-29, 26-30, etc. Then I'll take the average runs created for the top five players, followed by the 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th and 50th player. I'm going to try looking at the modern era, so I'll go from 1973 (start of the DH) to the present. First, hitters overall, to be followed by LHB and RHB. Then the same for pitchers.

Overall, hitters are easier to analyze. Their peaks have a nice, simple bell curve. In 5-year spans, they peak from 27 to 31 (you could also expand it a bit from 26-32). Going by 3-year spans, hitters peak from 27 to 29 (while still hitting great at 30 and 31). What about the difference between lefties and righties? Righties peak relatively early - 25 to 29. Lefties peak a bit later - 27 to 31.

Pitchers are pretty similar, peaking at the same ages as hitters - 27 to 31. However, if the peak was to be extended two years, it would definitely include the age 25 and 26 seasons. In other words, pitchers peak slightly earlier than hitters. A problem comes when differentiating between lefties and righties. Southpaws peak from 24 to 28. Righties peak from 27 to 31 - that's a fairly significant difference.

Interesting the difference in handedness. Lefty pitchers peak earlier than righties, but lefty hitters peak later than righties.

What does all this tell us?
- Well, in terms of current events, the Yanks should be very careful trading for Johan Santana. He's a small lefty that may have peaked early (not uncommon for southpaws) and is on the way down. Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine are outliers.
- It may still be a few years before Robbie Cano hits his prime and becomes the #3 hitter many think is inevitable. Be patient.
- Arod is on the way down.
- Melky should only get better.
- Same with Hughes, Joba and Kennedy.

Would they really do that?

Would Minnesota really take four B players from Boston for the best pitcher in baseball? ESPN is reporting that they are discussing the 'framework' of a deal. The players include Coco Crisp (28), a light-hitting speedy centerfielder, southpaw Jon Lester (24), and two prospects, AAA middle-infielder Jed Lowrie (23) and RHP Michael Bowden (21) or Justin Masterson (22). Crisp is owed $10 million for the next two years and is currently in his peak with a career .738 OPS! Lester has a career ML whip of 1.57! Lowrie is already 23 and has decent minor league numbers, but has NO speed at all (14 steals in 283 games)! Bowden got killed in AA! And Masterson is a pretty good minor league pitcher.

Jesus, these guys aren't even close to the reported Yankee package of Kennedy, Melky and Ajax/Tabata. Our guys are younger, farther ahead for their ages, with much higher ceilings who will cost a lot less money.

I'm hoping this is just Boston and Minnesota's method of trying to pressure the Yanks into panicking and giving up more than they want to (Hughes). If the deal does happen, it'll just cement the idea that the whole state of Minnesota is one big farm system for Boston teams (Garnett to the Celtics, Randy Moss to the Pats, Johan to the Sawx?).

- The upcoming Mitchell Report will name names. Good - I want to know.

- I closed the Arod poll. The winner (with a plurality of votes) was 'Guy doing what he thinks is right' with 32%. The odd thing is that this choice was dead last until he 'came back' to the Yanks to start negotiations for the $275 million deal. Before that, 'Douchebag' was the leader - it finished second with 23%. Despite the recent love for Arod, the overall anti-Arod choices destroyed the one pro-Arod choice, garnering 68% of your votes. I still stand by 'Prick'. Thanks for voting!

Nov 28, 2007

Yankee News - Nov 29 edition

- What is the right package for Santana? Does the Tampa deal kill any chance the Yanks have of trading for Johan? I believe so. The Twins will need another starter (now that Garza's gone) capable of going 200+ innings. Neither Hughes or Joba will top 150. Kennedy and Wang are the only pitchers capable of that in 2008, but neither are good enough in Minny's opinion to trade for Santana. They want a higher ceiling pitcher. Also, they may not be in the market for a CFer anymore. Minny acquired a minor league centerfielder (Jason Pridie) and Delmon Young, a major league right-fielder who could probably play an average CF. He'd probably have below average range but could make up for it with his cannon arm. Anyway, now that they have two solid CF candidates, their interest in our centerfielders - Melky and Austin Jackson - could dissipate. For my money, Santana will be traded before the 2008 deadline. Instead of getting two draft picks, the Twinkies will just take the best offer they have at the time.

- Call me crazy, but I don't get why Clay Buchholz of Boston is getting more love than Phil Hughes right now (ok, maybe I do - the no-hitter). Did everyone forget that Hughes was pitching a no-no of his own back in May (only to have it cut 7 outs short by injury)? Hughes has more ML innings under his belt than Clay. Outside of k/9, he has better minor league stats across the board (era, hits/9, walks/9, HR/9 and k/bb) than Clay. Oh, one more thing - Hughes is two years younger!

- How does the mid-90s Mets Trio compare to the current Yanks Trio? Is there any chance they bust as much as Pulsipher, Wilson and Isringhausen?
The following are their MiLB stats through age 23:

(he missed the entire 1996 season with injuries at the age of 22, derailing his whole career. Let's look at what he did up to that point.)
527 ip
7.65 h/9
3.9 bb/9
7.65 k/9
1.96 k/bb
2.87 era

248 ip
7.26 h/9
2.69 bb/9
9.22 k/9
3.53 k/bb
2.98 era

476 ip
7.0 h/9
2.7 bb/9
2.9 k/bb
7.85 k/9
2.72 era

Very good overall. Izzy's career was set back by an injury that cost him his entire age-23 season.

Now for the Bronx guys
Kennedy first
149 ip
5.62 h/9
3.14 bb/9
9.97 k/9
3.17 k/bb
era 1.87

88.1 ip
6.33 h/9
2.76 bb/9
13.79 k/9
5 k/bb
2.45 era
followed by an even more impressive ML stint

275 ip
5.56 h/9
2.16 bb/9
10.18 k/9
4.7 k/bb
2.03 era

The Yankee Trio puts the Met Trio to shame. Far, far better minor league stats at younger ages. I don't think the two should even be compared.

- The Yanks are looking at David Riske and Troy Percival to better the bullpen. I don't know how much better they would be than what we have in the minors, e.g. Ohlendorf, Edwar, Britton, Veras, Whelan, etc. But for the right deal (in terms of money and length), sure, go ahead.

- is in the process of listing it's top 50 prospects. Two Yankees have been named so far: A-Jax at 49 and Kennedy at 26. Tabata and Joba will inevitably be in the top 20.

- Mark Melancon's on the mend. The guy has closer potential and could be setting up Mo sometime next year - ala Joba in 2007.

Preaching to the choir

As antiquated as baseball is sometimes, it's nothing compared to the college football bowl system.

Nov 25, 2007

Is anyone else pissed

About the home run record incentive Arod is about to get? He could earn an additional $30 million if he passes Barry Bonds' career home run record. 1. passing Mays, Ruth, Aaron and Bonds isn't enough of an incentive by itself?, 2. what's to stop him for swinging for the fences all the time?

Why the Yanks are giving him this and 10-year deal I'll never know. By passing those historic names on the home run list, Arod will become enshrined in baseball history (even moreso than now) while increasing his fame and financial/marketing clout. There will be plenty more money there for him that the Yanks should not feel a need to 'share' with Arod the extra (if there is any) money they'll make from the home run chase.

The second part is even more frustrating. Here's a scenario: tie game in the late innings, runner on 2nd, two outs, Arod up. The count goes full. He strikes out swinging at a slider in the dirt because he's swinging for the fences, inning over. He doesn't get any closer to his incentives by merely taking a walk or even hitting a game-winning single. The only way he does inch closer is by parking a ball into the seats, hence the overanxiety. We won't know that's the reason, but it will be a thorn in our mind, torturing us. Was he swinging for the fences? Was he unwilling to walk? Same thing with all the pop-ups, double-play grounders, two-strike swings, full count swings, etc. It really, really irks me. It's like Hank, Brian and Arod are putting the productivity of one player above that of the team. If they're going to give him $6 million for each home run record broken, why not the same for every title won (or why not $10 million for that)? And because of the ridiculous length of the deal, it's a problem that's going to bother the fans, managers, front office, and especially his teammates for the next decade. Honestly, I'd rather them just give him $305 million straight up than add in these stupid HR incentives. If Arod got booed for grounding into a double-play before, there'll be even more reason to boo him now since we'll have the suspicion that he's swinging for the fences. If they just give him all the $305 million, at least there wouldn't be any suspicions. Despite the extra $30 million, it's preferable in my mind. Why is Yankee management giving in? Ugh...

Nov 23, 2007

Another example

Of how wildly Arod will be overpaid for the next decade (still hard to fathom the length). Projections are, of course, no sure indication of a player's productivity, but they are worth at least a look when splurging on a record-setting deal.

He's not projected to have a single year OPS of more than 1.000, and will bat under .270 the last half (five years) of the deal. If this projection is remotely close, it will be a debacle the likes of which will make Carl Pavano look like a bargain (well, almost).

Brian and Hank, back out now while you still can!

Nov 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy the food and the football!

PS: it's neck and neck between 'Douchebag' and 'Guy doing what he thinks is right.' I'm probably closing that poll soon so make your choice carefully.

Nov 19, 2007

Rieber sums it up well

From Newsday -

For 10 years. The A-Rod Yankees.

Forget that Hank Steinbrenner is the new Boss or Joe Girardi is the manager or Derek Jeter is the captain (and how happy does Jeter have to be with the idea of looking to his right every day and seeing A-Rod's mug?).

The Yankees will be A-Rod's team, for better or worse. We say worse. If the Yankees were ever planning to get away from the star system – wasn't that the plan for about five minutes? – that's over now. It'll be all A-Rod, all the time, and how has that worked out so far?

Can A-Rod live up to the contract? Will fickle Yankees fans boo every strikeout and cheer ever home run? Will he ever have a sleepover with Jeter again? Will he hit in the postseason? Will he shout "Ha!" at an opposing third baseman? Will he be able to remain faithful to his wife? Will C-Rod wear any more tops with obscene messages on them to the Stadium?

And these are just the questions we know about now. Only a striking soap opera writer would be able to plot out what new distractions A-Rod might bring to the Yankees over the next 10 years. But make no mistake – it will happen. Wins and losses will take a back seat to the A-Rod circus. Championships are out, TV ratings are in.

Like Pamela Anderson remarrying Tommy Lee, A-Rod re-upping with the Yankees is a bad idea, especially once it seemed the divorce was final. The Yankees were moving on, they told us. No chance, Hank Steinbrenner said. We're looking for a third baseman, Brian Cashman said with no hint of deceit in his blue eyes.

Then A-Rod reached out, and that guy from Goldman Sachs reached out, and just like that the Yankees were falling over themselves to guarantee 10 years to someone who wouldn't take their calls and quit on them through the evil Scott Boras in a failed effort to start the bidding at $350 million.

Why offer 10 years to a 32-year-old player, even one in such amazing physical shape it makes Boras drool with dollar-signed delight? It would make sense to offer him, say, five or six or even seven years because then you get the bounce from the Bonds pursuit. But 10? Who exactly are the Yankees bidding against? Offer him seven years, tell him to prove his love for New York by "settling" for it, and cut him off like the phony he is when he changes his tune and starts shopping that contract around.

Nov 18, 2007

Hot Stove II

- Mo Rivera is expected to sign the Yankees three-year, $45 million record offer early this week. He was the most important free agent to re-sign because without him, who would be the closer? Cordero, who had a decent year (in the NL Central)? Joba Chamberlain, whose progress would be stunted by a full year as a reliever? Rivera was clearly the best option out there, but unfortunately, extremely expensive. At least the Yanks aren't giving him a fourth year.

- The reported four-year, $60 million offer to Mike Lowell to play first was debunked. Thank goodness. I was starting to doubt Brian Cashman's sanity.


Nice poster

Nov 16, 2007

Rivera holding out, Molina back, more ranting

- So Mo's demanding a fourth year huh? Well, at least he's coming off a career year... oh wait, he is coming off a career year, a career worst year. What the fuck is he thinking?

- In the same article, Molina will return. Finally, a solid backup who can rest Jorge for 30+ games.

- Back to the Arod bullshit. How can Cashman be so smart with the prospects (Hughes, Joba), drafts (same) and trades (Unit, Sheffield), yet so dumb with the mega-contracts for aging stars (Posada, Arod, Lowell)? Maybe Posada won't become an albatross, but I'm certain that Arod and Lowell will. Look at Damon, after just two years no one wants him. Do I have to mention Pavano, Giambi and Igawa? I guess that's part of the reason Mo wants a four-year deal. He sees these guys (Arod and Posada) getting mega-deals (for their ages) and figures why should he be left out. It's understandable, but those guys are younger, less injury prone, play almost everyday and (to their credit) are coming off career years.

Nov 15, 2007

Just say no

People were saying that after Arod's deal in 2001 that $25 million a year wouldn't look as bad in a few years (with inflation and the increasing free agent financial market). It still does. Some thought that other top players would be compensated similarly. It never happened nearly to the extent some thought it would. Even Manny’s crazy contract ($160 million for 8 years) has him making $8 mil (per year) less than Arod. Is Arod worth $8 mil more than Manny? Nope. Look at the stats - Arod's the better defender and base-runner, but Manny’s the better hitter.

Sure Arod will (probably) be good for .295/.380/.570 for the next few years. But what happens when he starts declining, which could happen as soon as next year? Everyone has to realize Arod had a career year in '07. He’s highly unlikely to repeat it. Historically speaking, he’ll only get worse from here on out. That Bonds played great well into his late 30s and early 40s is only a testament to the power of steroids. As in my previous post, I don't believe Arod juices so the same benefits of longevity won't apply to Alex. Never mind the decline in defense he'll suffer.

Another reason not to sign Arod to the supposed mega-deal is the draft picks. If he signs elsewhere, the Yanks get two top picks in the 2008 draft. They probably wouldn't be better than Arod, but together they might be. Who will have more value over the next 5-10 years, Arod or Joba and Kennedy (the top two picks of 2006)? Probably the pitchers, especially counting for value (effectiveness per dollar). Now not every draft is that good, but we know that it can be. Phil Hughes was a first round pick. So was C.J. Henry who helped us acquire Abreu. There are definitely busts out there, but the pros outweigh the cons (in my opinion, as always).

And it ain’t just the amount of money ($275 million+, which is insane), but it puts the Yanks even higher above the luxury tax. That money goes to other teams. I’m sick of handing out money to make other teams better. If the Yanks were run more efficiently (Lowell for 4 years, $60 million?!), they would have a top team without helping out our competitors.

The next decade (still hard to believe the length) is going to be a(nother) damn circus. It’s enough. Let another team get the albatross, we get the draft picks and can finally move on. Contrary to popular belief, Arod is not a prerequisite to winning. Arod has two MVPs in the last three years, yet zero titles (or even World Series appearances). '96-'03, six Series appearances, four titles. Obviously a lot of that was due to pitching, but that's the point: we did it without an MVP and first-ballot Hall of Fame hitter - we didn't need one. Now, I do think the team will be better for the next few years with Arod, but again, he's not a prerequisite to winning. For the long term I believe it's a detriment.

What'll happen when he has an off year (or off month) and the boos return? It's tough for Arod, tough for his teammates, tough for the managers, tough for the front office, tough for the fans that don't boo him - just a bad situation. I really think its better for everyone to just split.

And the home run record incentive is stupid too. What’s to stop him from solely trying for HRs from here on out? Pride you might say? The same pride that made him opt-out during the World Series? Anyway, that seemed to be his biggest problem in '06 - always trying to hit the long ball. Now that he has a (huge) monetary incentive just to hit HRs, why would he try to get that runner in from 2nd with a single rather than swinging for the fences?

In closing, I’m sure I’ve overlooked some things but I tried to get all my thoughts out at once. They just came flowing and I apologize in advance for any mistakes.

Nov 14, 2007

All but done

According to Pete Abe. Sure it'll be nice to have his production for the next 3-6 years, but what about after that? There's STILL AT LEAST four more years of an aging slugger whose entire game is declining. Some people might look at Barry Bonds for an example of a 40+ great player who remained great. My response is that steroids helped Bonds, and (in my opinion of course), Arod did not or does not juice. (Imagine if his name came out in the Mitchell Report.) He's already a below-average third-basemen, so what's going to happen in five years when he's REALLY bad? Could you imagine a leftside infield of 37-year-old Arod and 38-year-old Jeter? What about when they're both 40?! At some point, Arod's probably going to have to move to corner outfield or firstbase. With his declining bat (at that time) at a premium offensive position, he's really going to be limiting his value.

Why, oh why, did the Yanks give in for 10 years?! No fucking sense. Part of Arod's penance is that they get a little break on the average salary ($27.5 mil) compared to what the Yanks were offering as an extension ($27 mil through 2010, then $150 mil through 2015 = $28.875 mil). I actually can't wait to find out the details of how it went down. Was Boras there? If not, what advice did he give to Arod? Did Arod fire him? Why would Cash give a 10-year deal to a 32-year-old? Is there another opt-out clause, incentives?

Like sands through the hourglass

So is the off-season of 2007.

- Mo wants $50 million... No way in hell should he get that. $45 million for three years is more than enough for a 38-year-old closer. No one is going to match his demand (or even the Yanks offer).

- And look whose come crawling back, clinging to the last shreds of good will he has in New York. Supposedly, for the Yanks to take him back, he would have to 'reimburse' them for losing the Texas money (about $21 million) AND exclude Scott Boras from the negotiations. Rumors exist of a 10-year, $275 million deal in the works. God no. Too much per year and too many years - $27.5 mil for a 42-year-old 1b/DH?! $175 million for seven is more like it. Offer that to Arod, if he doesn't take it, let him get a better deal elsewhere. We're a better team with him but we have won without him.

Nov 12, 2007

Posada for four

The Yanks caved and gave him that fourth year he really wanted. His career line of .277/.381/.479 is excellent for a catcher, and his #1 comparison at catcher is Carlton Fisk. He'll be 39 at the end of the contract and will likely be the 1B/DH in 2011. Hopefully Jesus Montero or Austin Romine (or someone else) will be ready to take over by then.

RAB's where I saw it first.

- 2007 Yankee Minor League's Season Review

The beginning of the end?

Yesterday's match was eerily reminiscent of last year's match against Chicago. The Giants entered both 6-2, had leads in both matches (at home), and blew the lead both times. The Jints went 1-6 after that loss.

Hard to say which play was more crushing: the Jacobs TD run called back because of holding, or Ahmad Bradshaw's kickoff return to the 8 called back because of holding? Both were killers. If either of those plays aren't negated by penalties, the outcome is much, much closer.

Most of the blame falls on the Giants biggest weakness, the secondary. Watching two DBs flail in the direction of Patrick Crayton at the end of the first half was just plain sad.

In some ways, next week's match is even more crucial. How the team bounces back (or doesn't) in Detroit will signal the direction of the rest of the season. Will it duplicate 2006's collapse, or can Coughlin instill enough fire and confidence to stop another slide? The second half schedule is much tougher than the first half.

Nov 9, 2007

Danny Haren available?

According to He's cheaper and younger than Johan Santana (but not as good). He had a stellar 2007 season, but his career numbers don't quite support that type of pitcher. He has very good peripherals (in a pitcher's park), but there's no way anyone should expect another 137 ERA+ season (he also declined throughout the year).

I was curious as to how Phil Hughes compared to Haren - favorably I might add, at least in their rookie years and minor league stats. They make for good a comparison because they're both power righties with the exact same body size (6'5", 220), both pitched the exact same number of innings (72.2) their rookie years (and both hail from SoCal to boot). Hughes allowed less hits, less walks, less home runs, more strikeouts, a lower ERA and whip, all while being a year younger than Haren (and pitching in the AL East compared to the NL Central) - he also had better minor league numbers across the board. Can we expect him to be a better pitcher than Dan Haren? The stats (and scouts) support it. It's damn exciting just thinking about it...

You've spoken on Joba

Should he be a starter in 2008?

Yes - 74%
No - 18%
Only if they fill his 2007 role - 8%

I (and Hank Steinbrenner) agree with your overwhelming sentiment for several reasons. First, Joba a large enough arsenal to survive thrice through a batting order. His fastball and slider are both exceptional pitches - in addition he offers an above-average curve and a not-quite-ready changeup. Joba could probably be a good starter with just the fastball and slider, but the curve and coming soon changeup give him a four-pitch repertoire. That's too much potential to be wasted in short relief outings. Second, his stamina is reportedly excellent - in the minors he was hitting 96 in the 6th and 7th innings of his starts. Again, 100 mph is great for an inning or two, but 96 for seven is better. Third, he has the body for it - 6'2", 230 lbs. is (almost) the ideal size for a starter. His big body should help him maintain stamina not just during specific starts but throughout the season (and for years to come), assuming his college weight problems don't return. Fourth, a big league starter (who is healthy) starts 30+ games a year, usually totaling at least 200 innings. The most used relievers rarely pitch more than 100. He will have the potential to effect more than twice as many innings as a starter than as a reliever. Fifth, here's the best part - we know he can succeed as a reliever, so give him a shot to help the team more (as a starter). Worst case scenario: he returns to a relief role and maybe becomes the next Rivera.

The only thing remaining to be seen is how (or if) Cashman tries to replace Joba in the pen. Two free agents who might be attractive are Frankie Cordero and Kerry Wood. Cordero reportedly wants to close though, and if Rivera re-signs, will the Yanks have to pay extra to keep him a 'late inning' reliever? If so, it might not be worth it (his whip is a bit high for a reliever). Kerry Wood is coming off a solid season as a reliever - we know he has tremendous stuff so take a chance on him staying healthy (with a short-term, incentive laden contract if possible). Him and Cordero could come close to filling Joba's 2007 role and add a ton of depth. They're the richest team in baseball - use the resources to get an advantage. And since Rivera turns 38 in three weeks, Cordero and Wood would probably get a few closing chances when Rivera needs a rest. We don't know when or if Humberto Sanchez and JB Cox (both coming off arm surgery) can help out the big league team in 2008, so sign the known commodities and hope the resurgence of two top relief prospects will only add to a tremendous bullpen.

What I haven't looked it is how things would change if Rivera does not re-sign. I'd have to rethink everything. The horror...

Thanks for voting.

Nov 7, 2007

Hot Stove cookings

- The Yanks are unlikely to trade any of the Troika - good for Cash. The more I think about it, the more I dislike the idea of trading away any of Hughes, Joba or Kennedy. Position players are great, but it's equally if not more important to know that every single game your starting pitcher's going to give you a good chance to win. Kennedy for Miggy I'd do in a heartbeat (but Florida never would). The Marlins would probably want Melky and another good prospect in the deal. Every scenario just brings more complications to the future.
If Melky's traded, who plays center? Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter? No thanks. Both are on the wrong side of 30, have declined on defense, and would probably require multi-year deals. Damon is the only current option. His D declined considerably and he battled injuries all year. His weak arm is better hidden in left than center. What happens when he needs a day off or gets hurt? Sure, Gardner could fill in for an injury, but not a day off. He needs to get consistent playing time and would be wasted riding the bench.
If Kennedy's traded, Moose would become the fifth starter. Not a good option. A 5.15 era this year, and with Hughes and Joba set to top out at about 140 innings each, Moose would get a lot more innings than the Yanks want. Those innings would be much better handled by the 23-year-old Kennedy with Moose getting spot starts and long relief appearances. I haven't even mentioned Pettitte. If he does retire, there's no way Kennedy gets traded (unless it's for another starter). Assuming 950 ip from the starters (921 in 2007) - subtracting 400 for Wang and Pettitte leaves us with 550. Minus 280 for Joba and Hughes still leaves 270. That amount requires at least two more starters, perfect for Kennedy and Mussina. A duo that is far better than any other combo they could muster, e.g. Igawa, Clippard, White, DeSalvo, etc. And all these calculations don't even take into account for major injuries.
Now you say Miggy can be had for Kennedy straight up, of course I do it (and worry about the pitching later), but much more than that is asking for trouble down the road. The Yanks counteroffer was Tabata, Sanchez, Horne and Ohlendorf. Tough call but I guess I'd do it: Jtab is a great pure hitter at just 19 (and might actually get some power now that his hand problems are seemingly behind him), Sanchez could be a lesser version of Joba and potential closer within the next two years (although coming back from Tommy John surgery), while Horne and Ohlendorf have great stuff but aren't too young (both over 24). I would hate losing Sanchez and Jtab but to get a Hall of Fame hitter (turning just 25 in April), you have to do it.

- Cash will offer arbitration to Arod. A win-win for the Yanks. He declines and they get two high draft picks; he accepts and returns to the Bronx on a one-year deal (without a no-trade clause to boot). If for some crazy reason he did accept, Cash would be smart to trade him. Imagine the possible returns...

- As we all could tell from his YES broadcasts, Joe G. is a very, very smart guy.

- Read reports on other blogs that the Yanks discussed a Hughes plus Melky for Peavy trade with San Diego. Checking out Peavy's stats at BRef and BPro, I expected to find a dominant pitcher but merely found a very good one. I just wasn't blown away by him as much of the media trumps him up as one of the best in MLB. Don't get me wrong, he was phenomenal this year, but his career has been a combo of a few great and a few average years.