Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

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NYDN: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez works out with Barry Bonds in California: report
(29 Comments - 1/24/2015 5:10:39 pm)

NYDN: Nationals sign free agent Max Scherzer while Yankees never made bid
(30 Comments - 1/22/2015 10:06:06 am)

TGS NY: Better, worse or about the same? Scouts weigh in on Yankees’ offseason moves
(37 Comments - 1/19/2015 8:58:25 am)

MLB: Steinbrenner: Yanks might not be done making moves
(19 Comments - 1/16/2015 8:52:10 am)

CBS Sports: Yankees trade for Rockies RP Chris Martin, DFA Gonzalez Germen
(14 Comments - 1/14/2015 9:34:49 pm)

NYDN: Yankees prospect injured in beating posts throwing video
(16 Comments - 1/13/2015 5:52:51 pm)

NY Post: At long last, the Yankees have a hitting coach
(26 Comments - 1/12/2015 10:48:19 pm)

Hardball Talk: Yankees, Red Sox “heavy favorites” for Yoan Moncada
(56 Comments - 1/12/2015 12:58:56 am)

TGS NY: Why the Yankees still want Stephen Drew
(46 Comments - 1/9/2015 2:07:57 pm) Source: Yankees finalizing 1-year deal with Drew
(96 Comments - 1/8/2015 1:03:26 pm)

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.

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Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

YES Network: LHP Capuano returning to Yankees

Jack Curry is reporting that the Yankees have re-signed Chris Capuano for 1 year/$5 million.

I like Capuano as a back of the rotation arm, but the Yankees still need at least one more starter for me to be sanguine about their rotation next year. Hiroki Kuroda would do it, honestly. But Scherzer (at a more reasonable, sub $200 million, contract) would be better.

--Posted at 12:52 pm by Brian Cronin / 42 Comments | - (0)

NY Post: How Chase Headley perfectly embodies the 2015 Yankees

Perhaps no transaction better illustrates where the Yankees are right now than signing Chase Headley to a four-year, $52 million contract.

The business model that has mainly enriched the Yankees for nearly four decades — see problem, throw wallet at problem — has ebbed toward being obsolete to them.

The number of elite position players in the game is at an historic low. The subset of those that ever become available to the Yankees is minuscule. The number of teams that could battle the Yankees for that minuscule group is larger than ever, both in free agency and trade.

I agree with Joel Sherman’s point here.  It’s a lot harder to bring elite players to your team from elsewhere now.  This is why the Yankees will be mediocre until they start producing their own talent again.

--Posted at 9:56 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yankees To Sign Chase Headley

Per Jon Heyman’s Twitter:


headley signing with yanks. 4 yrs, a little north of $50M

A year longer than I’d have preferred, but the terms seem fair overall.

--Posted at 11:03 am by SG / 69 Comments | - (0)

NYDN: Max Scherzer not likely to end up with Yankees, Brian Cashman says

Yankee fans hoping to see Max Scherzer in pinstripes probably won’t like what GM Brian Cashman said in a television appearance late Sunday night.

Asked by NBC’s Bruce Beck about Scherzer, the best free agent starter available this winter, Cashman said, “I think that’s a lot higher level than we’re willing to play in right now.

“I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer.”

Of course, Cashman could be posturing and the Yankees’ wants and needs could evolve over the off-season. But the club has been saying that it is unlikely to pursue a long-term contract for a pitcher that probably soars toward $200 million.

--Posted at 8:28 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Projecting the 2015 Yankees on December 12, 2014

In yesterday’s thread, there was some discussion about FanGraphs’ depth charts pegging the Yankees at around 82 wins.  Quickly eyeballing their depth charts told me that their playing time estimates are way off.  So I figured I’d take a shot at my own version of this and see how good the 2015 Yankees appear to be as of today, using the latest version of CAIRO which I just uploaded.


Fair warning before I start, it’s not pretty.

Let’s start with the position players.

Lineup Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
1 Brett Gardner LF 525 .259/.337/.408 .320 353 65 14 5 1.9
2 Martin Prado 3B 575 .277/.331/.413 .318 404 67 20 5 2.5
3 Jacoby Ellsbury CF 575 .275/.337/.419 .323 391 75 28 4 3.2
4 Brian McCann C 500 .237/.307/.426 .307 360 57 23 0 2.3
5 Carlos Beltran RF 500 .264/.334/.455 .330 343 66 18 -5 1.3
6 Mark Teixeira 1B 415 .223/.319/.425 .313 292 50 6 4 1.1
7 Alex Rodriguez DH 300 .252/.333/.399 .315 207 35 2 0 0.2
8 Robert Refsnyder 2B 475 .251/.320/.385 .303 338 49 9 0 0.9
9 Didi Gregorius SS 500 .239/.307/.357 .289 354 48 10 -2 0.8
Starters 4365 .255/.325/.410 .313 3044 512 130 12 14.2
Bench Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
John Ryan Murphy C 250 .224/.277/.356 .269 187 22 5 0 0.5
Austin Romine C 100 .224/.278/.340 .266 76 8 1 0 0.1
Chris Young OF 375 .228/.312/.420 .307 263 45 10 0 1.0
Eury Perez OF 200 .254/.296/.336 .276 144 18 -1 0 -0.1
Jose Pirela IF 150 .251/.305/.362 .288 107 14 2 0 0.2
Greg Bird 1B 100 .218/.311/.374 .296 71 11 0 0 0.0
Brendan Ryan SS 210 .209/.278/.290 .253 156 15 -1 3 0.2
Jonathan Galvez IF 50 .229/.286/.350 .273 37 4 0 0 0.0
Nick Noonan IF 20 .215/.263/.293 .244 15 1 0 0 0.0
Bench 1455 .230/.294/.359 .281 1056 137 16 3 1.9
Team Total 5820 .248/.318/.397 .305 4100 649 146 15 16.1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Outs: Estimated outs made at bat (including DPs)
Def: Estimated runs saved compared to average at position, pro-rated for playing time
WAR: BRAR + Def divided by 9.5

Although I have WAR listed for comparative purposes, we only really care about runs.  With this depth chart and these projections and based on the league average of about 4100 outs made at the plate in a typical season, the Yankees do figure to have a slightly better offense than last year according to linear weights, although they only pick up about 16 runs over last year’s meager 633.  Obviously, there are some assumptions here that may have a big impact on what they actually end up doing.  Robert Refsnyder may not make the team at all if they end up signing Chase Headley.  Or he could hit so well in spring training that he breaks camp as the starter and gets 600 or more PA and exceeds his projection while doing it.  But based on injury history and ages, I think these depth charts are realistic as of right now, although I am always open to suggestions.  We could even do a community playing time forecast if people are so inclined.

So that’s half of the team.  What about the other half? 

SP1 Masahiro Tanaka 165 150 64 20 32 161 3.61 3.25 3.33 3.5
SP2 Michael Pineda 165 142 62 17 38 137 3.55 3.29 3.45 3.6
SP3 CC Sabathia 150 155 84 22 42 134 4.86 4.29 4.10 1.1
SP4 David Phelps 150 149 79 20 61 126 4.79 4.39 4.42 1.2
SP5 Bryan Mitchell 100 113 63 15 54 72 5.65 5.25 5.21 -0.2
SP6 Ivan Nova 100 107 51 14 32 78 4.63 4.38 4.38 1.0
SP7 Luis Severino 50 54 25 5 17 41 4.38 3.96 3.81 0.6
SP8 Jaron Long 40 46 19 3 11 25 4.31 3.70 3.66 0.5
SP9 Jose De Paula 40 47 29 5 15 26 6.04 5.00 4.51 -0.2
SP10 Manny Banuelos 20 23 14 4 13 15 6.72 6.08 6.55 -0.3
Starters 980 985 492 127 315 817 4.52 4.09 4.09 10.8
CL Andrew Miller 70 51 26 6 31 96 3.26 2.88 2.80 1.4
SU Dellin Betances 70 60 29 6 36 83 3.77 3.41 3.46 1.0
SU Shawn Kelley 60 54 29 7 24 71 4.01 3.77 3.49 0.7
MR Adam Warren 60 58 26 6 23 49 4.04 3.88 3.95 0.7
MR Justin Wilson 50 46 27 5 26 41 4.82 4.49 4.43 0.1
MR Preston Claiborne 50 54 26 4 24 40 4.65 3.98 3.90 0.2
MR Esmil Rogers 50 55 29 7 20 40 4.99 4.83 4.65 0.1
MR Jacob Lindgren 30 30 19 2 21 30 5.11 4.55 4.05 0.0
LR Danny Burawa 30 34 19 2 23 27 5.39 4.89 4.55 -0.1
Relievers 470 442 230 45 229 476 4.41 3.93 3.81 4.2
Total 1450 1428 723 172 543 1294 4.49 4.04 4.00 14.9

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs saved above replacement level using RA
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 9.5)

Again, even though WAR is listed here, we only care about runs.  In an ideal world, the Yankees get 200 innings out of Tanaka and Pineda and Sabathia can stay healthy and pitch to that projection and give them another 180-200 innings.  In the world I live in, it’s not a question of if Tanaka’s elbow will go, it’s a question of when.  I’m also not sanguine on a full and healthy season out of Pineda.  I can’t imagine Sabathia’s knee will ever allow him to make 30 starts again in a season, and I’m also not sure that projection is not a pipe dream and his days of being a better than replacement level pitcher are gone.  Phelps should be a fairly reliable back of the rotation guy.  You can flip Warren and Mitchell if you like, but Warren doesn’t project much better as a starter.  And Nova may not be able to pitch at all, or may not be any good if he does.

CAIRO LOVES Luis Severino and Jaron Long, but that’s just minor league translations and I’m not sure either is a good bet to reach their projections.  It doesn’t particularly like anyone of the other potential starters.  It has never like Manny Banuelos and I’m not sure why.

The bullpen looks a little better, particularly if you think Betances is better than his projection.  I think most of the lower depth relievers can exceed their projections if used appropriately by Joe Girardi, but adding another strong reliever would be a big help.

But the most glaring weakness on this team right now looks like the rotation.  And as much as I didn’t want the Yankees to get involved in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes, I can’t see how they can go into the season even pretending to be “A Championship Caliber Team™” without him.

If the Yankees don’t make any other moves, here’s the net.

 RS 649 
 Def 15 
 RA 723 
 wpct .460 
 p162 75 

I figure out estimated winning percentage using PythagenPat, and remove the estimated defensive runs saved from the projected pitcher runs allowed.  Even with all that, the Yankees look like a 75 win team.  Maybe you can pretend they will exceed their run differential again like they have the last two seasons and get to 77 or 78 wins.

Adding Scherzer and Headly might give them 6-7 more wins.  That might make them a fringy contender.  And if I’m pessimistic on the health of Tanaka/Pineda, they can obviously be better than that.  But a middle of the road guess without lots of hopeful assumptions pegs them as a bad team right now.

Imagine what they would look like if CAIRO wasn’t designed to make the Yankees look super-awesome!

--Posted at 9:26 am by SG / 91 Comments | - (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: Dodgers Sign Brandon McCarthy

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Dodgers signed Brandon McCarthy for 4 years/$48 million. That’s a lot, but not unreasonable.

It’s getting late early this offseason. They could really use Headley a lot, but they really need two starting pitchers. I like Brandon McCarthy for 4 years/$48 million a heck of a lot better than Max Scherzer for whatever it is he is asking for (I think 50% of the moon) or Edinson Volquez for any sort of deal. Hiroki Kuroda, please don’t retire!

If the Yankees have budgetary problems, why in the world did they give Andrew Miller 4 years/$36 million?

The Yankees seem to excel the last few years at having confusing offseasons.

--Posted at 1:53 am by Brian Cronin / 80 Comments | - (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

NY Post: Brian Cashman’s complicated Yankees wish list

SAN DIEGO — While the likelihood of the Yankees seducing Max Scherzer or James Shields remains small, general maanger Brian Cashman failed to shut the door on the possibility the club will sign one of the free-agent starters.

“It’s not in my best interest to say,’’ Cashman said when asked if the Yankees were going to get in on the high-end starters after not spending money to retain closer David Robertson, to whom they didn’t make an offer.

So one day after watching Robertson sign a four-year deal for $46 million with the White Sox and leave the Yankees’ closer job vacant, the Bombers continue their search for a third baseman, a starter and bullpen help.

The hardest part of projecting what the Yankees could do this year is figuring out their mess of a rotation.  While a front three of Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia could be very good, they could also be hurt and/or ineffective.  And who the hell is the fifth starter now after David Phelps, Adam Warren?  Waiting for Ivan Nova to come back from ligament replacement surgery is probably not going to be a panacea as it takes time to get back to full strength, and we don’t necessarily even know exactly what a full-strength Ivan Nova actually is.

The Yankees probably need at least two starting pitchers, because their organization depth in the rotation is pretty crappy.  Where will they find them?  Who knows…

--Posted at 8:25 am by SG / 53 Comments | - (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MLB Trade Rumors: White Sox to Sign David Robertson

The White Sox have agreed to sign David Robertson to a four-year deal worth more than $40MM, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter).  Robertson has been zeroed in on landing a four-year deal this winter and he found a team happy to give him one with a solid average annual value.

I guess the Yankees’ leverage wasn’t as good as they thought (by the way, when they say “in excess of $40 million,” they better mean close to $50, but I think it might very well be that the Yankees felt that Miller and Robertson were interchangeable and Miller didn’t cost a draft pick).

I get the logic behind this move, I really do, but man, it still is not a fun feeling.

It also sort of kills me that the White Sox are going for it so big right now (this signing, trading for Shark, signing LaRoche) in large part due to the fact that they have three star players signed to super affordable contracts, allowing them a lot of room to expand payroll - Chris Sale is one.

The other two, though, are 1. Jose Abreu, who the Yankees didn’t go after because, what? They wanted to keep DH open to rest guys? I seriously don’t know their motivation in not at least giving Abreu a look to drive his price up at the very least. The dude ended up signing for less than $12 million a year and the Yankees paid Carlos Beltran $45 million over 3 years at the same time and
2. Jose Quintana, who the Yankees cut (to be fair, unlike Abreu, no one here was saying, “No, not Jose Quintana!” And we complain about, like, David Adams being DFAed, so I’m not really saying that the Yankees screwed up so much as it was just an annoyingly bad break). .

Robertson always had trouble for some reason with the White Sox, so it is kind of funny to see him go pitch for them.

The Yankees are now down to just four players still on the team from the 2009 World Series Champions.

Thanks for a good Yankee career, David! I wish they had extended you before it got to this!

--Posted at 12:46 am by Brian Cronin / 83 Comments | - (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

NY Post: Yankees bought leverage for Robertson, Headley talks

SAN DIEGO — The acquisitions of Martin Prado in July and Andrew Miller last week were, of course, designed to improve the Yankees.

But in each case the Yankees also saw players who would create depth to withstand defections and, perhaps, give them leverage in negotiations.

One of Brian Cashman’s selling points to ownership on taking on Prado not just for the rest of 2014, but also the two years at $22 million he is owed through 2016 was that players of Prado’s skill level would cost far more in free agency.

Prado does give the Yankees a lot of flexibility in how they go about filling the gaping holes they have on their roster.  The more I think about it, the more I am ok with letting Headley go and giving Robert Refsnyder first crack at 2B, with Prado at 3B.  On paper, it might cost the Yankees about two wins, but I just don’t like the idea of committing to Headley for four years given his age, his known back issues and his good but not great track record.

As for Robertson, I would love to see him back, but if the Yankees decide he’s not worth what it will take to sign him I’d be fine with them finding a stop-gap type like Jason Grilli to pitch the ninth so they can leverage Betances and Miller more optimally.  I’m not sure I’d be as good with them anointing Miller or Betances as ‘the closer.’

--Posted at 11:53 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)

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