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.

Nov 6, 2007

It's time for us to start being selfish

By 'us' I mean fans. The owners do what's best in their self-interest, as do the players, so why not the fans? Too often do I read fans saying things like 'I don't blame the player (for demanding more money). That's what I would do,' etc. We're so used to trying to see things from other points of view that we forget about our own! We don't want our best players leaving. We don't want to pay $100 to go to a ballgame (with food and drinks). We don't want to pay $200 to watch ballgames on TV (Extra Innings). Unfortunately for us, there aren't any alternatives like there are for players (other teams) and owners (other players). But I honestly foresee a time in the future (maybe five years, maybe 30) when fans of small market teams stop going at all to games - going on strike in essence. This will cause repercussions throughout MLB with the likely inclusion of a maximum and minimum salary cap.

- In the good news category, GMs voted in favor of instant replay to help umpires decide fair/foul calls. This is great news, and although limited, is a step in the right direction. Hopefully next year balls/strikes, out/safe, catches/traps, and other such calls will be eligible for video review. And going by ESPN's poll, fans overwhelmingly favor IR. Not all bad news these days.

Miggy officially 'available'

- Miguel Cabrera is available for trade. I dream of getting him without giving up a top prospect, e.g. Cano, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, Wang, Melky, Tabata, Ajax, Betances, Montero, McAllister, Heredia, Gardner, Melancon, Sanchez. Would some combination of Ohlendorf, Horne, Marquez, Whelan, Nacci, Miranda, Kontos, Dunn, McCutchen, Corona and Cervelli be enough? Doubtful. There's not a single can't miss in that group. Look at the haul they got for Beckett and Lowell. It would probably take something like that.

- New nickname alert: J-Tab.

Nov 5, 2007

Boras' ploy

Sources close to Arod say Boston is #1 on his list of teams. Don't worry. It's all a facade by Scottie Boras. First, why would the Sawx want Arod when they have the World Series MVP on their team at the same position who would cost a helluva lot less? Second, he's the most hated athlete in Boston (yes, even more than Jeter). Third, if Arod thinks New York fans are fickle, wait till he plays a month in Fenway. Fourth, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'source' is in fact Boras trying to scare the Yankees into bidding on Arod when they said they wouldn't. Without the richest team in baseball bidding for his client, he won't receive as much as he hopes. Fifth, if he does think the Yanks are truly out of it, then having the second richest team (supposedly) bidding also serves this purpose.

Head-huttingest Team

Over the last 10 seasons, guess which pitching staff has hit the most batters. Not surprisingly it's the D-Rays (having all those horrible pitchers). Going by that theme, you might think the Royals or Pirates would be next. Nope. Those lovable underdogs from Beantown. If a Sawx fan ever tells you the Yanks play dirty, just recite this.

The rundown:
TBD 773
BOS 729
COL 685
STL 656
PHI 643
WSN 640
TEX 627
PIT 612
TOR 606
MIL 594
NYY 592
FLA 588
CHW 587
HOU 585
KCR 580
SEA 580
ARI 576
DET 574
BAL 573
CHC 568
CIN 559
NYM 551
LAD 548
OAK 546
CLE 543
SDP 528
ANA 521
SFG 462
MIN 441
ATL 371

Thanks to Sean Forman.

Lincecum for a 'good bat'?

- According to FOX Sports. How about Tabata and A-Jax for Lincecum? Yeah, not enough in my opinion, but you never know with crazy Brian Sabean.

- Damon for Joe Crede? No thanks. Crede has a career OBP of .305. Ugh. He's great on defense, but not not enough to make up for that putrid OBP. He's marginally better against LHP but when accounting for Damon's speed (which Crede is completely devoid of), you can't make that trade. Now if Cash thinks Gardner or A-Jax aren't far off (they'll start 2008 in AAA and AA respectively), and considering Crede is four years younger, maybe it does make sense. We have a glut of OFers and a need for a righty third-baseman.

Nov 3, 2007

Instant replay to be discussed next week

At the GM meetings in Florida. As you may know, I've been a huge proponent of IR for years. After all, the right call is paramount to everything else. I don't have an Insider subscription, but the gist of it is that a recommendation (for IR) could actually pass this year. Bear in mind, it's only a recommendation, and would then be passed to the owners who would have to approve it. As on GM said, "The bottom line is that there is an opportunity to get calls right that we're not getting right sometimes." 'Nuff said.

- 2008 Yankee projections
Shelley (!) is projected to lead the team in HR with 24. The hitting projections seem about right to me but I have some disagreements with the pitching. For example, Joba is projected to have a higher ERA (4.43) than Ian Kennedy, Chris Britton, Kyle Farnsworth and Ron Villone. Highly doubtful.

Nov 1, 2007

You've spoken

- On who should manage the Yankees next year, and the vast majority of you agree with me: Girardi is a great choice.

An overwhelming 71 % chose Girardi. Mattingly was second with 18 %, followed by Dave Miley at 5 %, and Tony Pena and Buck Showalter with 2 % each. No one wanted Bobby V.

- After looking at Torre's use of relievers the other day, it would only be fair to compare it to Girardi's. Doing the same three searches (for just 2006, Girardi's only managerial year), we come up with:

Most innings by an NL reliever in 2006 -
The first Marlin is ranked at 28th (Matt Herges with 71 ip), followed by Borowski at 33rd and Randy Messenger at 49th. Zero Marlins in the top 27, 3 in the top 50.

Most Total Pitches by an NL reliever in 2006 -
Zero Marlins in the top 16, 3 in the top 50.

Games -
Zero Marlins in the top 21, 2 in the top 41.

Girardi's percentages are much better in terms of abusing relievers. On average, since there are 16 NL teams, their players should appear 6.25 % of the time. Instead it's lower, at 5.8 %.

Thanks to BRef.

Tex vs. Miggy

A quick analysis on two potential guys the Yanks could trade for. Since Miggy is getting fatter every year, and supposedly plays a horrible third-base (I really haven't seen enough of him to say either way), it makes sense to move him to first. Texeira is a natural first-baseman and switch-hitter.

To the comparison!

Cabrera, 24
Tex, 27

Best season by WARP
Cabrera, 2006 - 10.6
Tex, 2005 - 8.3

Best season by EQA
Cabrera, 2006 - .333
Tex, 2007 - .319

Years to Free Agency
Cabrera, 2
Tex, 1

Ok, it's obvious Cabrera is the more valuable player. He's just a better hitter - on top of that he's three years younger and farther from free agency. The problem, of course, is that trading for Cabrera would cost considerably more than for Tex (for exactly those reasons). Barring the worries about Cabrera getting fatter every year, how much more is he worth in terms of trades?

For Tex from Atlanta, I've heard that Atlanta wants a young outfielder. Would Melky, Kennedy and Horne be enough? I think so, but I personally wouldn't do that. Anything less might not land Tex.

Florida also supposedly wants a young outfielder and young pitching? How about Melky, Kennedy and Betances? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on how much Florida sees in Betances. We can kind of see Melky and Kennedy's ceilings (.310/.380/.450, GG defense, and 3.40, 180 Ks, 50 bb, respectively), but Betances' ceiling is higher than either - if the Marlins think he will reach it, they'd make the trade, and we'd have the best RHB in baseball under 27 (Pujols' age).

Zumaya out until mid-2008

- It sucks for the Tigers, but every AL team is secretly rejoicing.

- Girardi introduced!