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

Friday, January 4, 2013 Cashman still looking to add meaningful pieces

The Yankees have increased the reach of their old-school scouting staff as well as high-tech statistical analysis over the last several seasons, and those advances have helped procure talent late in the Hot Stove game. They’re not afraid of chasing older players, some with injury histories, because they can represent good value.

“I think we’ve improved our pro scouting network, and I think we’ve improved our evaluation of statistical data streams,” Cashman said. “It puts us in a position to make informed decisions and much more comfortable knowing what is really available, and what you can expect from those players if you sign them and what you’d be comfortable paying them.”

I’m encouraged to read that the Yankees are putting more focus on scouting and statistical analysis at the major league level.  The days of signing Tony Womack, Jaret Wright and Chan Ho Park appear to be a thing of the past.

Hopefully they’ll also work on improving their amateur scouting and their player development.

--Posted at 9:37 am by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)


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Well, we know he reads Fangraphs…

[1] So this article means he bought Fangraphs+ for the whole organization?

There’s a Fangraphs+?  Does that come with hitter FIP?

It contains 3 page articles on every hitter whose LD+.120 doesn’t equal his BABIP.

I believe Fangraphs ++ comes with their “secret sauce”—every player will regress in such a way that they either get worse or better.

[0] I don’t think their amateur scouting is necessarily poor at all.  Not saying it couldn’t be better.  But they seem to do particularly well with drafting college relievers, for example.  They’ve also had some other successes in recent years both international and draft (Gardner, to a point at least Nova and Phelps, etc).  I think we focus too much on failures - some perhaps more perceived than real.  I think the biggest place they needed help was developing young starters - mainly, keeping them healthy - and this past offseason they got rid (reassigned) of the last two “old school” voices in Contreras and Connors, so…hopefully going forward they can do a better job of developing them.

What was the worst Yankee FA signing over the last, say, two decades? I mean judged less by results than by the decision at the time of the signing, including factors such as other available options, other possible uses for the payroll money. 

Skipping over the painful behemoth that is the Arod contract, my gut tells me Womack, who was a putrid player signed when Cano was waiting in the wings and during an offseason when the Yankees chose to not pursue Beltran, who was in his prime.

Pedro Feliciano was pretty poor—especially so since Cashman admitted at the time it was a bad idea.

Womack is probably my pick, as well, but I think Chan Ho Park was also clearly a terrible idea right from the get go.

Feliciano is unique in the sense that he was a terrible signing because of the injury, but if not, he would have been worth the money. So while he certainly had been overworked, he passed a physical, no? So I dunno if it is fair to knock that one at the time of the signing as much as someone like Park or Womack who were both bad players when they were signed.

What’s the Yankees’ physical for pitchers - throw this ball off flat ground?

[7-9] I don’t really think one like Park is bad b/c it was only for 1 year, and it was still cheap enough that he was easy enough to displose of.  That’s one that falls into a category of guys like Garcia, Colon, and a whole host of others.  One year deals where you’re taking a shot that the player can recapture some of their former success, but if it doesn’t work out you can jettison them.  Park was probably the worst of *those*, but still.

I’d say the worst is probably Womack, followed by Jaret Wright (failed physical, still got contract).

Yeah, the whole fails his physical and STILL signs him thing with Wright pushes me towards that one being the worst of the recent past.

In a lot of ways, signing Womack paved the way for Cano so maybe it wasn’t so bad.

Feliciano’s pretty bad too.  I mean I suppose you’d rather pay $8M for no value than negative value, but still…

Oppenheimer apparently thinks Heathcott could be ready to play in NYC this year, according to Jack Curry (hat tip Pinstriped Bible).  Mike A in his chat on RAB reasoned that Heathcott needs to be added to the 40-man next year, so if he’s playing well in AAA (sounds like he’ll start 2013 in AA, perhaps) and there’s an open spot on the 40-man add him in September.  Doesn’t affect his options and would barely dent his service time; really would be irrelevent if they expect him to be up for good early 2014.  That would be sweet.

Feliciano’s pretty bad too.  I mean I suppose you’d rather pay $8M for no value than negative value, but still…

The criteria was “at the time of the signing”.  While signing Feliciano to a 2 year deal maybe wasn’t a great idea, I don’t think it seemed downright awful at the time.  I mean, some certainly thought so, but given the Yankees’ finances and the fact that any bullpen arm (even Mo) isn’t that critical…

Yeah, exactly, Feliciano at the time of the signing looked like he might have been an overpay, but it was an overpay for a legitimately good lefthanded reliever.

Man, I forgot that Wright failed his physical.  The only thing I’ll give the Yankees about the Wright signing is that they needed to fill out the starting rotation that offseason.


I like it.  Right-handed bat that can play 1B, 3B, and the OF corners and has hit for some pop in the minors.

He’s due for another trip to the waiver wire next week.

He’s on the Eli Whiteside career path.

Signing Brosius before the 1999 season (and trading Mike Lowell) was a bad move.

Agreed, and we knew it was a dumb idea when they did it, so if we were opening things up to dumb re-signings, that’d definitely be right up there.

I think we can include re-signings of players who are hitting FA that offseason without clouding the issue.  Brosius, for example, was practically a FA.  The Yankees had zero obligation to him at that point and had they let him go they would have collected a draft pick (with which they would have signed an injured RHP).

I dunno, there were lots of questions about Feliciano’s overuse BEFORE he was signed, which is what made it maddening that Cashman admitted he had the same reservations…and signed him anyway.  Not the same as a failed physical, so I’ll go with Jaret Wright, but that was pretty dumb.

Anyone know anything about Russ Canzler, who the Yankees just picked up off the waiver wire?  They DFAed Chris Dickerson to make room for him.

Hey, Canzler has a career .400/.419/.636 line against lefties….. in 33 PA.

Canzler is going to regress!

Hopefully they’ll also work on improving their amateur scouting and their player development.

A drum I have been beating for quite a few years.

Off the top of my head, here’s a list of 5 player personnel mistakes (i.e. things that looked wrong at the time, still look wrong) over the last 20 years that caused the Yankees long-term and short-term headaches and lost wins. 

—Signing Pavano, Womack and Wright instead of signing Beltran, letting Cano take over 2b, and rolling the dice on starting pitchers.  (Note: Signing Beltran would have gotten Bernie out of CF earlier.)

—Re-signing Brosius, trading Lowell for Ed Yarnall

—Not moving Jeter to CF and Bernie to a corner/DH/1b role sometime around 2001-2. 

—Trading Ted Lilly for Jeff Weaver. 

—Trading Jose Contreras for Esteban Loiaza

I disagree about Lilly. That looked like a great move at the time and was celebrated as such. I recall articles bemoaning how the Yankees were taking advantage of a poor team yet again (or some such nonsense).

As for Contreras for Loiaza, while it was not a good move, Contreras looked so awful at the time that I don’t think anyone thought it would matter much.

As for Jeter, what shortstop was really ready then?

Totally agreed on Brosius.

Agreed that they whiffed on not signing Beltran, but I don’t think Pavano/Wright/Womack were the stumbling block there. I think it was Randy Johnson. They could afford either trading for Johnson or signing Beltran, and they went with the Big Unit. But yes, that was bad and we all knew it was bad at the time.

Cano, by the way, was not on our radars in the 2004 offseason. Note that no one here was like, “Omigod, they almost traded Cano for Johnson!” (thank you, Arizona, for not taking Cano when you could have easily!).

Maybe you’re right and I’m recoloring my memories of the Lilly/Weaver trade.  I disagree with you that Cano wasn’t on our radar, though.  It may be that many people thought he wasn’t going to be any good (like the one famous 260/300/320 or whatever it was prediction).  But some people were suggesting giving him a shot instead of resigning Cairo to play 2b.  Remember, he had been offered by the Yanks for Beltran at midseason the previous summer, so his name was in the air. 

As for Jeter, they had several seasons of Jeter and Bernie playing subpar defense during which to look for a SS.  I’m not saying it would have been easy.  And maybe they did try, and they failed, in which case that’s what I’m talking about.

Ditto the Texas trade

Yankees in on Fat Elvis!

I do remember some criticism of Weaver at the time of the trade—some concern about him being a “slinger,” a term I have never understood.  But certainly the preponderance of opinion was that the Yankees had pulled off a great trade.

As for Yankees player development, well, I would wish it were better—more Cano’s!  But as we have discussed ad nauseam, it’s really hard to untangle bad luck and the Yankees reluctance to break in new players from any actual failures of drafting and development.  Maybe if the entire player development staff of the Yankees went to work for TB we’d have an idea.

[32]  That sounds gross.

Ha, the Frog, it is funny how time clouds this stuff. I’m right about the Weaver deal, but you’re totally right about Cano. It was the A-Rod deal that no one cared that he was on the list of prospects the Rangers could have taken and they chose not to take him. By 2005, he was a much better prospect.

[29] Texas could have had him, too. Took Arias I think?

Um, no Kei Igawa on any of these lists?

Next categories:

Moves that looked smart but worked out to the Yankees’ disadvantage.

Moves that looked stupid but worked out to the Yankees’ advantage.

Moves that looked smart and worked out to the Yankees’ advantage.

Also, moves the Yankees didn’t make that would have been advantageous, according to us.

Lance Berkman would be a great signing, in my opinion.

Texas could have had him, too. Took Arias I think?

Yeah, as I noted before I mixed that one up with the Arizona deal. In 2004 he was not a big prospect and no one really cared that he was made available but by 2005 he was a legit prospect. He was never actually offered in the Arizona deal (if Arizona was willing to pass on Navarro, the Yanks might have made Cano available, but it never came to that).

I’d love a Berkman signing. They really need the power. And he fits the one-year deal angle.

On to the bad moves at the time and ended up bad list, Tony Armas for Mike Stanley was a bad idea at the time and it worked out even worse (Stanley left after the season and Armas was integral to the Red Sox getting Pedro).

Oh man, how about D’Angelo Jiminez for Jay freakin’ Witasick?!?

Moves that looked smart but worked out to the Yankees’ disadvantage.

Both Vazquez trades.

The Weaver deal.

The Neagle deal, kinda. It looked pretty good but worked out awfully.

The Kevin Brown trade

Moves that looked stupid but worked out to the Yankees’ advantage.

I honestly can’t think of one offhand. I’m only thinking about trades, though, so I’m sure a free agent deal applied. The Soriano deal looked stupid and he gave them one really good season last year. Does that count?

Moves that looked smart and worked out to the Yankees’ advantage.

The Cone trade (they got lucky that the prospects all flamed out, but it was still a smart deal)
The Fielder trade
The Knoblauch trade

A little known trade: The Yankees got Ted Lilly AND Jake Westbrook for Hideki fuckin’ Irabu!!

The Brosius trade looked “eh” and worked out REALLY well.

It is interesting that Canzler was being discussed by Cleveland to be their starting DH next year. He could be a nice pick-up. Sad to lose Dickerson, but Canzler probably is a better fit.

Apparently Texas has a standing offer to Berkman to be their DH next season, so I doubt that the Yankees would even be able to get him if they wanted him.

Vasquez is hitting 93. If an AL East team signs him and he pitches well…lordy…

Maybe it was just a few voices, but people criticized the Weaver deal.  I know I did, because Lily was a 25 year-old lefty starter and I thought (perhaps wrongly*) that he’d be just as good or almost as good as Weaver.  It seems Billy Beane thought so too.  Also, the Yankees included John Ford Griffin, who turned out to be nothing but was a decent prospect whom I had actually seen play once, so that irked me.

* I mean, that turned out to be the case, but that doesn’t mean I knew what I was talking about.  I just liked having a 25 year old left who missed bats.

Weaver was a 25 year old coming off of back-to-back 3 WAR seasons and at the time of the trade already had 2.6 WAR through 17 games. I agree that it was tough to give Lilly up, but I think it was still a no doubt about it deal.

Of course, Lilly did turn out to be MUCH better.

Actually, I think part of my reason for being down on that deal was how hard the Yankees sold it to the press.

Lilly was pretty good, though.  Wasn’t he traded right after an eight-inning one hit loss (the hit was a HR)?

The “Neagle deal” was really the Abreu deal, and the Yankees gave up almost nothing.  That still looks good, despite Neagle—and that is force majeure, not Cashman’s fault.  The one who worked out for the Phils was a lefty reliever who came up years later, so what?  The marquee name in that trade was that shortstop who washed out—and came back to the Yanks anyway.  CJ Henry?  I’ll take it.  Cashman ROBBED the Phils on that one.

No, the Neagle deal was in 2000. It was with with Cincinnati. They gave up Jackson Melian, Drew Henson and Ed Yarnell for Denny Neagle. It turned out that all of the prospects they gave up sucked, but no one knew that at the time. They could have gotten something better than Neagle, who was awful as a Yankee (2.8 WAR in 2000 for Cincy before the All-Star break and then 0.1 WAR for the Yankees after the All Star break. Then he signed with Colorado after the season when they were throwing money at pitchers).

But yeah, the Abreu deal was a HEIST.

OMG, I’m sorry.  Confused Denny Neagle with Cory Lidle.

Like I said before, times clouds this stuff!

Sure, I’m just embarrassed that the guy who died in the plane crash was not more distinct in my memory.

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