The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Thursday, January 18, 2018 Yankees’ bullpen could be best of all time

The 2017 Yankees relievers were elite, by any metric you care to use. They had the third-lowest ERA (3.34); the lowest average against (.204); the highest strikeout rate (29.1 percent); the most Wins Above Replacement (9.2). They were good. They were so, so good.

Now realize they could possibly be better in 2018. Then, think about the fact that if they were, it might put them in the conversation for “the best bullpen of all time,” an extremely unofficial title that’s nonetheless fun to think about.

How could those things happen? And what does “best bullpen” even mean? Let’s dig in.

I still think the Yankees will end up trading a reliever or two to make some more cap room to add a sixth starting pitcher and/or infielder.  And while that makes sense, it’s fun to dream about a world where they don’t do that and go into the season with a bullpen that really looks like it has a chance to be historically great.

--Posted at 11:05 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)


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It might be historically great even if they do trade a reliever/

I’m interested to see how Boone handles the pen in comparison to Joey G. For example, does he have a designated closer, or does he use relievers based on the situation. Or, will that be a decision that is taken out of his hands?

[24] of previous thread: “Hasn’t been good in years.”

I’m clearly reading the stats wrong (not that I really went in and studied them). In terms of OPS-level stats, the year before last seemed as good as Desmond’s been, excepting only one outlier year. I’m not saying anything about his level, but I don’t see reason to think he’s obviously “done”, that he’s fallen off a table relative to the level previous established.

[2] I hope the decisions he makes as a manager are the opposite of what he thought when he was an analyst.  Because he was always wrong.

[4] Should have hired Tony Romo

(3)  Yeah, ‘good’ isn’t the right word.  He was okay 2 years ago, and consistently good for years until 3 years ago.  Still, expecting him to even get to his previously established consistent level of play would be a stretch at this point, and even if he did, it still isn’t that amazing to begin with.

As I said in that post, 2 WAR would be a realistic upside for him and ever expecting more than 3 is a real stretch due to a combination of age, health, and ability.

Now, do you see why they added Wade LeBlanc?

Articles like this remind me of the Red Sox “Best team ever” articles.  I didn’t write them, I don’t like seeing them, I never said it myself, but I’ll catch holy hell from people if it doesn’t turn out to be true.

[3] Sure, fair enough, Desmond was all right in 2016 after gaining a most of his decent WAR from playing shortstop in 2015 (which he can’t do any more). When a guy plummets that far into negative WAR while playing first base at Age 31, though, that just is a terrible sign going forward.

As bad as Ellsbury has been, he’s never come CLOSE to dipping into negative WAR, despite being two years older.

This article doesn’t even mention Sturtze 2.0.

Can Paul Goldschmidt play third?

Follow-up question: Can Jeter sell his stake in the Marlins and take over Arizona THIS year, or does he have to wait for 2019 for his “Revenge on World Series Opponents” tour?

With all the coaches they have now I think the Yankees should hire a reliever coach.  Or reliever “coordinator,” I think that’s the hot job title.  Anyway, I think we all know the perfect man for the job would be Scott Proctor.

So the Nats sign Kendrick.  One more decent-ish old man infielder off the market.  It’s gonna be Steven Drew, isn’t it?

Maybe they’re really gonna go with 2 of Torres/Torreyes/Andujar.

Or Bubba Crosby.

[14] I want them to go with Andujar. But I think they should find an affordable veteran MI who can at least fake 3B.

[16] You’re a secret Noonista, aren’t you ?

One could argue sticking with the historically great BP, doing Smells for Dez for the HalCap relief, signing Yu for 5/90, and rolling with Andujar/Torres/Wade/Torreyes/Dezcorpse at least until the trade deadline is the way to go.

It’s a lot easier to find an infielder at the deadline (such as TFraz) than a pitcher.

[16] Nunez round 2 is one of my nightmares.

[19] Then don’t say “fake” in “infielder”, because that = Nunez.


With each passing moment the more convinced I am that the Steins should say fuck it to the critics, spend the money, eat the tax, win the Series.  It ain’t that much cash to a moneymaking franchise worth (?) $6b.

However, I recognize that the boys probably both need the (multiple) bidets in their (multiple) residences re-gilded, so the baseball team can’t afford Darvish.

To be serious for a moment, there is a certain pleasure in trying to figure out the best baseball team one can assemble from existing players and available players, including possible trades involving money, while staying within a certain budget.  But then again I like jigsaw puzzles so I think we know what that makes me.

I would be cool with a salary cap if games still cost $5, drinks cost a few bucks, the team paid for their own stadium all by themselves like grownups, the games were on TV for free like they used to be, and every employee in baseball got a livable wage.  None of those things are true, though.  All the excess money (and team value) just goes straight to the Steinbros.  But hey, they worked hard and earned it, right?

Nunez round II is a nightmare, but it honestly might be the best option if it’s a 1/<$10mil deal.

TBH, I think Josh Harrison is a Yankee by ST. And I think he can be had for not even a top 10 prospect. Or, while I wouldn’t quite be a fan, I could see a Warren for Harrison swap. Pirates might find value in him trading him to a contender at the deadline for more than Harrison might get right now.

Yankees seem like they have a good shot at signing 21 year old Cuban outfielder Juan Pablo Martinez, who would be available to play after July 2nd. (for bonus pool reasons) Seems like he’d start in High A or AA. Fast left-handed hitter with power potential.

[21] Ex-girlfriend of mine once hectored me into doing a jigsaw puzzle with her early in our relationship. When I got bored and annoyed after an hour and we barely had a border, I started rummaging around the bar more than actually doing any puzzlin’. She sprung on me, “You know, I read that a jigsaw puzzle is a predictor of how a relationship will go. If a man can’t finish a jigsaw with you, he’s probably not going to stick around in the relationship.”

Turns out, she was right.

I was just thinking today - remember how crazed people were about the idea of a Japanese company buying a baseball team back in the day? And when one actually bought the Mariners, people were also flipping out.

People are so dumb.

MLBTR “Also via Heyman, Eduardo Nunez is seeing his market “heat up” a bit. There are as many as eight teams that have shown interest in Nunez of late, including the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Giants, Braves, Brewers and Royals. (Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area recently suggested that a reunion with San Francisco wasn’t likely, implying that Nunez can receive superior offers elsewhere.) Heyman joins others that have recently reported that Nunez is on the Mets’ radar as a second base option. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves and Brewers all make varying degrees of sense as well, though it’s tougher to see a clear fit with the Jays, Giants and Royals for various reasons.”

That gives me new insight into the meaning of the Rolling Stones song “Jigsaw Puzzle”.  I still don’t get the part about the rain.

25 Who chained whom?

Nunez is definitely a fool-me-once situation.

I expect them to sign him anyway, possibly making him Captain in exchange for accepting a million less.

[28] IIRC, Mick or Keith hated that song and only played it live once. too bad. I really dig that one.

Besides the tax going from 50% to 20%, what other benefit is there for getting under the cap?

Because I was just thinking that the difference of 50% to 20% really isn’t all that significant if you’re not even that far over the cap, right? Let’s even say that they go $20 million over the cap - that’s an extra $10 million penalty vs. a $4 million penalty. Six fucking million dollars!

Their revenue has SKYROCKETED and they’re seriously dicking around over an extra six million dollars?

Please tell me that there are other significant downsides to being over the cap.

And how much did the Steins and the Yankees as a corporation pocket from the tax cut so use it to grow the business.

My guess is that we are seeing a form of legal collusion or price leadership. By sticking to the cap, the Yanks help prevent unlimited competition in player salaries.

The high-spending teams, e.g., Yanks and Dodgers, have decided to get under the cap.  Sure, the Yanks could spend another $10 million, but so could the Dodgers and other teams that are owned by gazillionaires.  In fact, some teams could afford a lot more than that.  If the Yanks exceed the cap by $10 million, the Dodgers might exceed it by $30 million and some other team go over by $50 million, etc. Salaries for top players might skyrocket

IANAL but I think this is legal as long as the teams don’t meet and explicitly agree to this strategy.

You know how Heyman is basically Boras’ spokesman at times (he is a good reporter in general, so long as you take into consideration that he will occasionally say stuff designed to help Boras - it is also usually super obvious when he is in “help Boras mode,” so it is never distracting)?

Anyhow, he had a great article on the free agent slowdown with some choice Boras quotes where he basically tries to goad the other good teams (Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Indians, Cubs and Nationals) to spend or else let Houston waltz their way to another title (he does so while casually mentioning that maybe Houston might also want to sign one of his clients, Greg Holland, to shore up their one weak spot).

Did MLB shut down also?

I think the “collusion” happened during the CBA negotiations.  The owners sat around in a room complaining about salaries and Manfred said “why don’t we make the CBT tax stiffer?” and they all nodded, knowing that it wasn’t so much the actual penalties as that they all wanted to spend less.

In the 80s collusion, there was an actual database of all contract offers that all teams could access!  Manfred is too smart for any of this shit to be done in a traceable way.  There won’t be any texts or emails.

Then again, whatshisface from the Cards didn’t even change his password when he went to the Astros…

[37] Well, that is basically the position the owners come at from every CBA.

The big difference in this past CBA negotiation is that the Steinbrenners were totally cool with the luxury tax changes, so the owners were rarely united.

Also, and this is a fascinating thing, the players are also coming to a point where they all seem to think that they’re making enough money. It’s super odd. I guess it comes down to their personalities.

[38]  Sure, I was just contrasting the current situation with what happened in the 80s.

[37] Reminds me of the movie “The Informant!” with Matt Damon.  The voice over in that film is great, you get a sense of what goes on in the Bipolar mind.

[33] They haven’t pocketed anything from the tax cut yet, it isn’t retroactive.

Fuckin’ football Townies.

I blame the two stupid head coaches if Seattle and Atlanta who had NE beat and choked it away with dumb play calling. If not for them, we would be talking how once again NE is going to lose a SB

Nothing left but to hope the football Phillies lose and hope the football Twins come through with a miracle.

I blame the two stupid head coaches if Seattle and Atlanta who had NE beat and choked it away with dumb play calling. If not for them, we would be talking how once again NE is going to lose a SB

The Falcons’ poor play-calling was insane. The Seahawks made a poor decision, but it was far from a lock that they would win. The Falcons were pretty much guaranteed to win if they didn’t do their astonishingly bad decision-making.

Run the ball three times, kick the easy game-clinching field goal, win the Super Bowl and instead, they lost their damn fool minds.

Pats -6 (-110), OV 48 (-110) Eagles +190/NE -240.

Meteor +100000000000000, but it’s the only real rooting interest.

I hope the Pats lose but it has nothing to do with the city of Boston.

47 When Mississippi played Mississippi state back in the good old days Dick Gregory said he rooted for the commercials.

In all seriousness, though, good for Brady and Belichick that they’ll probably be winning their sixth Super Bowl together in a couple of weeks. That’s really impressive. I don’t even say this as a reverse jinx as, come on, the Patriots are bit beyond reverse jinxing, ya know? So they’ll almost certainly win the Super Bowl against the Eagles. Six goddamn Super Bowls. It’s pretty astonishing.

[46] It’s hard to believe the two coaches made such bad choices. In both cases, they didn’t appreciate the risk of what actually happened. The old quote, attributed to Woody Hayes, “Three Things Can Happen When You Pass and Two of Them Are Bad ...” When you include the possibility of a sack, the quote could be modified to “four things can happen and three are bad.”

In Carroll’s case, he at least had the whole time situation working against them. It was the wrong call to pass, but it was not INSANE. The Falcons choosing to pass was mind-boggingly insane.

[52] I disagree.  They were using the clock to their advantage, to not leave Brady much time after they scored.  Let’s not forget they were at the 1 yard line.  The only way Seattle loses that game is if they stopped handing the ball off to the best RB in football and offered NE a chance at an interception or a couple incomplete passes and turnover on downs.  Lynch already had over 100 yards and a TD, he had just run the ball to the 1 yard line.  We can say that Patriots might have stopped Lynch from gaining one more yard over the next couple plays, but let’s be real… he could have carried three tacklers in the end zone at that point in his career.  The only hope for NE was a turnover there, which is exactly what Pete Carrol gave them.

How is this even a choice? Of course we should want the professional cheaters from New England to lose, preferably in the most heartbreaking way.

[54] It’s a choice if you’re a Giants fan and have grown up loathing the Eagles. Playing in the NFC East is like if the AL East had the Yankees and two Red Sox teams.

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