Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The New York Yankees have begun the process of constructing a new contract for longtime general manager Brian Cashman, sources close to the situation said.
He just completed his 17th season as the Yankees’ GM, yet they failed to make the playoffs the last two years—the first time that’s happened in consecutive seasons since 1992-93.
While I wouldn’t blame Cashman for everything that has put the Yankees in the position they are in right now, I find it awfully frustrating that a team that seems to need to change something will apparently not change anything.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
With all else that went wrong for the Yankees this year, just give them wins in the four games they lost this month when giving up one or two runs and they would have begun Monday a half-game out of a wild-card spot.
That says as much about the competition as anything. But it defines why the Yankees are almost certainly not going to reach the postseason. They couldn’t score.
Now I am going to let you in on a secret: Just about nobody can. It sure does feel as if the Yankees are constantly unable to exceed two runs. They have failed to reach three runs 50 times this year, a third of their games. That was tied for 19th. That is right — 18 teams had failed to reach three runs more often than even the Yankees.
And, in a way, that is terrible for the Yankees. It emphasizes how difficult it is to find offense in this era, at a time when the Yankees are going to have to do just that again this offseason after spending nearly $300 million last winter on Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.
Translation: The Yankees are as likely to be as beholden to Beltran, McCann and Mark Teixeira next year as they have been in 2014.
Friday, September 5, 2014
The New York Yankees have had an up-and-down year, but it appears as though it won’t cost general manager Brian Cashman his job.
The Yankees are expected to offer Cashman, whose three-year, $9 million deal expires in October, an extension at the end of the season, according to multiple reports.
“There hasn’t been any discussions yet,’’ a source told New York Newsday. “But he’s done a good job.’‘
Cashman has served as the team’s GM since 1998, helping the team win four World Series titles. But the Yankees have struggled the past couple of seasons and are in danger of missing the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 1992-93.
Eh. It’s hard to judge how good of a GM Cashman is given the meddling he gets from the people he reports to. Here’s what I do think. The Yankees have a bunch of crappy contracts. The Yankees have a crappy minor league system. The Yankees will have missed the postseason two years in a row despite the addition of a second wild card which sets the bar for qualifying for the postseason at a markedly mediocre level. It’s getting harder and harder to get franchise-changing players via free agency.
And the Yankees appear to have little interest in making changes to address any of those things.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
The Yankees didn’t bury themselves with their 3-4 road trip, but they didn’t do anything to improve their position, either.
And with the calendar flipping to September on Monday, it’s no longer about “winning series,” as Joe Girardi likes to say.
They have to do better than that—meaning a sweep or two or three—to avoid a second straight dark October.
“You know what’s in front of you and you need to win games,” said Girardi, whose team starts a nine-game homestand Tuesday night at the Stadium against the Red Sox. “The trip started off well, it didn’t end up well and we have to make up for it on our homestand.”
The Yankees (70-65), off Monday, picked up a half-game on the AL East-leading Orioles but still trail Baltimore by 8 1/2 games. In the battle for the second wild-card spot, the Yankees and Indians are four games behind the Tigers and 21/2 games behind the Mariners.
“It’s tough,” Derek Jeter said of the Yankees’ situation with 27 games left. “We only have so many series left, we only have so many games left. I don’t necessarily look at it as [winning] series because we’re not going into series saying we need to win series. We need to win games. We need to win every day that we go out there; that’s the approach we need to have.”
Jeter, coming off a rough August—.207 with a .226 on-base percentage—said the Yankees still control their destiny. That’s why he said he doesn’t look at the standings.
I don’t look at the standings either, because they are depressing as hell.
I don’t think the Yankees are running out of time. I think they’re out of time.
The Yankees really need an insane run to get to the postseason. It’s probably going to take 90 wins to get the second wild card, and at 70-65 that means they’d have to go 20-7 to get there. Can this team play better than the 1998 Yankees over their last 27 games? I’m not sure stranger things have ever happened.
But who knows?
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Yankees superscout Gene Michael, here on Monday, said he believes Refsnyder can play second in the big leagues. “I haven’t seen anything I don’t like,” he said.
For now, however, the Yankees’ need for power in the outfield is such that Refsnyder will start playing games in the outfield this week.
“I’m not presently looking to call him up, but he’s demanding that we pay attention,” Cashman said. “If he came up here (in the coming weeks), it would likely be in the outfield.”
Sure, because you’re getting yeoman’s work out of second base…
And of course you’re not looking to call him up. He’s young and has upside. What would be the purpose of that?
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
FINAL: Indians 5, Yankees 3. Staked to an early lead, Masahiro Tanaka couldn’t hold it, as the righty allowed five runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Tanaka had the worst start of his MLB career, but the offense just had one of their typical bad days.
I’m not worried about Tanaka. And if the Yankees aren’t worried about their offense, I’m not sure that there’s any point in us worrying about it either. This is at best a .500 team. And more likely than not, they won’t be one by the end of the year.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Jeff Samardzija threw 12 pitches Wednesday to Derek Jeter. All were fastballs of at least 93 mph. The Cubs righty does rely on his heater. But the lack of diversity was not about his strength.
More and more, the opposition has honed in on what is now Jeter’s weakness — if you have a hard-throwing righty, Jeter has turned into something resembling a Mets pitcher trying to hit.
Jeter’s overall results against righties are not very good (all stats going into Thursday night). He was hitting just .237 off righties and his .278 slugging percentage was seventh worst in the majors (minimum 100 at-bats off righties). Yankee fans might want to gulp here: Jacoby Ellsbury was ninth (.286).
But the bigger problem has been when you get more granular. Baseball Info Solutions broke down Jeter’s at-bats against pitchers such as Samardzija, whose average fastball is at least 93 mph. The results: Jeter has two hits (including one off Samardzija) in 24 at-bats — both are singles — plus two walks. He is hitting .083 in those situations with a .154 on-base percentage. He is hitless in 16 plate appearances against righties who average 94 mph or more and, just for comparison, he is at .186 (without an extra-base hit) in 46 plate appearances against righties who average 92 or more.
I’m not gulping about the bolded section, because I knew it all along. Luckily, the Yankees are not committed to a mediocre player for a long time. This may seem negative and I did say I was going to stop being negative, but compared to what I originally wrote this is actually quite positive.
As far as Jeter, the most the Yankees will do is possibly move him down in the lineup or rest him more frequently against righties And they may not even do either of those things. But even if they do, it doesn’t make up for the fact that this lineup has very little power, and very few players who get on base at a good rate. It’s awfully hard to score runs if you can’t do either of those things consistently.
Friday, May 9, 2014
MILWAUKEE — Masahiro Tanaka’s split-finger fastball, slider and two-seamer, as well as his tenacity, have combined to make him a rookie sensation for the Yankees. But Tanaka struggles in one aspect of baseball.
He cannot hit.
“I’m at the bottom,” Tanaka said through an interpreter Wednesday as he pointed at the floor of the Yankees’ clubhouse in Anaheim, Calif.
On Friday, Tanaka will have his first chance to bat since joining major league baseball, with a start in the Yankees’ interleague game at the first-place Milwaukee Brewers. Tanaka will also be looking to extend his winning streak to five games in the United States and 33 over all (combined between Japan and North America). Despite his dearth of offensive contributions, Tanaka is unbeaten in his last 40 starts, dating to Aug, 26, 2012.
The Brewers play in the National League, whose rules apply at Miller Park. That means the Yankees will have no designated hitter and Tanaka will have to hit, or at least try to, despite having little experience at the plate in the major leagues or in Japan.
Over seven seasons in Japan, his batting average in interleague play was .081. The Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka’s former team, play in the Pacific League, which also uses the D.H., so Tanaka had few opportunities to hone his batting skills.
Ugh. Interleague play…
If Tanaka does anything other than stand there with his bat on his shoulder I will not be happy.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Player A vs. Player B
BR: Linear weights batting runs
zCH: Zone Rating fieldable chances
zPM: Zone Rating plays made
zRS: Zone Rating runs saved compared to average
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Looking Ahead to 2014 - Brian Roberts
The Yankees decided to let their best player leave, and replaced him with Brian Roberts. Roberts was a pretty good player as recently as five years ago, but since 2010 he’s suffered from concussion-related issues and injuries that have kept him off the field and hindered his performance when he was on it. He did manage to stay healthy in the second half of 2013 and he’s penciled in(hopefully very lightly) as the Yankees’ starting 2B this year.
woba: Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted
Oh, sorry. Wrong 2B.
Roberts didn’t hit much in 2013, but he did stay on the field for most of the second half and he hit .250/.306/.450 in September.
Oh, sorry. Wrong 2B.
If you can’t say anything nice…
2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
I suppose if Roberts can get 560 PA he would be worth a win or so offensively.
Roberts was once an above average defensive 2B. At this stage, he’s probably not.
I used to call Roberts PITA, because he was a pain in the ass when he was on Baltimore. I am surprised his career line against the Yankees is only .288/.344/.429. I could have sworn it was 1.000/1.000/2.000.
I’d be surprised if Roberts is the Yankee 2B by the All Star Break. I don’t see any reason to think he’s going to suddenly remain healthy after four seasons of not being healthy. I also see no reason to think he’s going to hit particularly well if he does remain healthy. So at some point he could be replaced by Scott Sizemore or Dean Anna or Yangervis Solarte or (heaven forbid) Eduardo Nunez. But it’s safe to say no matter who ends as the primary 2B for the 2014 Yankees, he will be significantly worse than Robinson Cano was in 2013.
I think the Cano contract was a bad one. I don’t think that signing a 31 year old player to a 10 year deal no matter how good he is at the moment is prudent. It probably won’t be as bad as the Jacoby Ellsbury contract, but I digress.
I don’t see Roberts and whomever eventually replaces him changing the fact the Yankees will miss Cano greatly.
Sunday, December 15, 2013
NEW YORK—The Yankees have “absolutely no intention” of trading Brett Gardner to clear room in center field for Jacoby Ellsbury or to fill a need elsewhere
, according to team president Randy Levine.
Shouldn’t Levine be suspended from baseball for tampering with Mike Trout? Why is he giving interviews now?
Monday, December 9, 2013
1. Gary Sanchez, c
2. Slade Heathcott, of
3. Mason Williams, of
4. J.R. Murphy, c
5. Eric Jagielo, 3b
6. Aaron Judge, of
7. Ian Clarkin, lhp
8. Greg Bird, 1b
9. Luis Severino, rhp
10. Gosuke Katoh, 2b
Four of the 10 were drafted last year, helped by the fact that the Yankees had supplemental picks from losing Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano and did not lose their first round pick by signing a free agent who received a qualifying offer.
Of course, this year they have lost their first round pick and also their two qualifying offer free agent picks by signing Brett Gardner, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. But who needs early draft picks when you have a player development machine, right?
Friday, December 6, 2013
The Problem with Plan B
Update: So yeah, as I was writing this, Cano has reportedly signed with the Mariners. This stinks.
If the rumors about the Seattle Mariners being willing to go to 9 years and $225M for Robinson Cano with the Yankees holding the line at 7 years and $175M, it’s starting to look like Cano will not be in pinstripes in 2014.
As presently constituted, I have the Yankees projected at around 78 wins and in last place in the AL East. CAIRO projected Cano to be worth somewhere between 5-6 wins, and those are wins the Yankees need desperately. The Yankees do have some options to get those wins elsewhere, but that comes with a whole host of issues that need to be considered.
The Yankees could add Shin-Soo Choo and get back most of the offense they are losing if Cano leaves.
The Yankees could add Carlos Beltran instead of Choo and CAIRO thinks they’d provide similar value on a rate basis in 2014 but Beltran is five years older and a bigger health risk and probably a worse defender at this point. On the plus side he can be had on a shorter contract, although I’d probably rather sign a 31 year old for five or six years than a 37 year old for three.
The Yankees could also sign Omar Infante to play 2B, which allows them to use Johnson at 3B more frequently in the likely event that Alex Rodriguez misses significant time due to either his suspension or his health.
Signing another OF would allow the Yankees to upgrade DH with Alfonso Soriano as well, although he may not like being the primary DH.
So what’s the problem with replacing Cano with Beltran/Choo plus Infante?
Problem one; replacing Cano with two players means you are using two roster spots instead of one.
Problem two: if you sign two 30+ year old players for multiple seasons and they decline the way a typical 30+ year old player does you are losing twice as many wins per season as you would if were to sign one.
Let’s say Cano is worth 5.5 wins now, Choo or Beltran is worth 3 wins now and Infante is worth 2 wins now and that they will lose 0.5 wins per year.
Let’s say you will have to pay Cano $225M for nine years, Choo $120M for six years, Beltran $48M for three years and Infante $25M for three years.
Let’s try to represent all that in a chart.
|Choo + Infante||5||$28,333,333||4||$28,333,333||3||$28,333,333||1.5||$20,000,000||1||$20,000,000||0.5||$20,000,000||15||$145,000,000.00||$9,666,666.67|
|Beltran + Infante||5||$24,333,333||4||$24,333,333||3||$24,333,333||12||$73,000,000.00||$6,083,333.33|
Although the chart cuts off after 2019, the totals in the last two columns include all nine seasons of Cano.
Here’s the same chart using a 0.7 win decline instead of 0.5.
|Choo + Infante||5||$28,333,333||3.6||$28,333,333||2.2||$28,333,333||0.9||$20,000,000||0.2||$20,000,000||-0.5||$20,000,000||11.4||$145,000,000.00||$12,719,298.25|
|Beltran + Infante||5||$24,333,333||3.6||$24,333,333||2.2||$24,333,333||10.8||$73,000,000.00||$6,759,259.26|
You don’t get a trophy for maximizing your wins per dollar spent. But the less efficient you are in that, the harder it is to build a good team on a budget. And the Yankees have a budget, especially with George Steinbrenner no longer with us.
So the Yankees can get fairly close to Cano’s production in 2014 by signing Beltran or Choo plus Infante. It will only be about 0.5-0.7 wins worse for around the same salary. But then in 2015, you are a full win+ worse. In 2016 you are 1.5-2 wins worse.
They are already not a strong contender in 2014, and if they go with Plan B in lieu of Cano they will be spending more money for less value in each subsequent year which means it’s going to be even harder to make themselves into one going forward.
It’s really hard to justify signing a 31 year old player for nine years, no matter how good he is right now. But if the Yankees go with Plan B they better hope they win it all in 2014, because they’re likely going to be worse for longer from 2015 on.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
If Cano leaves — and Yankees officials believe the Seattle Mariners could offer an eight-year, $200 million contract that they would not match — then there is plenty of money left to spend on free agents, or on the Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankees had hopes of signing Tanaka this off-season, but that was complicated by the Ellsbury signing and by developments that were out of their hands.
Major League Baseball has been negotiating a new posting system with its counterparts in Japan, and it sent over its latest proposal Wednesday. Under the proposed system, teams would be allowed to make a maximum bid of $20 million, according to two people who have been briefed on the negotiations. If more than one team bids the maximum, the player will be free to negotiate with all of them.
A team making the highest bid would have exclusive rights to negotiate with the player.
Under the recently expired system, teams could submit bids of any amount, and the team with the highest bid got exclusive rights to negotiate with the player. With a player as highly regarded as Tanaka, several teams could make a $20 million bid, leaving Tanaka free to negotiate with any of them if the new system is adopted.
That system could hurt the Yankees, especially if they hold to their goal of keeping their payroll below $189 million. Under both the old system and the proposed one, the posting fee does not count against a team’s luxury-tax figure. But Tanaka’s salary would, and the lower posting fee means that M.L.B. teams are more likely to give Japanese players higher contracts, which could have an impact on teams that are close to the luxury-tax threshold — like the Yankees.
Dear Yankees. Give up on the $189M payroll, or stop pretending you are committed to fielding a “championship-caliber” team. Maybe you should read this article in the Wall Street Journal, if you can read.
“The financial payoff at this juncture, coming off a missed postseason, is way more than any other team stands to gain by improving themselves by three, four, five, six wins—whatever the number might be,” Gennaro said. “Some people will say, ‘Well, is it an overpay?’ With the Yankees, that’s the wrong question. The second-biggest problem the Yankees could have is overpaying for a free agent. The biggest problem is not getting the free agent they need to get back to the postseason and make a deep run into it.”
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
CAIRO hates the Jacoby Ellsbury Contract
My first thought when I saw that the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury was that it was almost certain to be a bad move. But I’ve felt for a while that whomever signed Ellsbury would regret it, because he has had problems staying healthy, and teams will be wish-casting on his MVP level performance in 2011. Of course, we have 2400+ other PA where he’s never approached anything close to that.
Anyway, after looking at his CAIRO projection for this year and for the next seven years, I’m even more convinced this contract is bad one. But don’t take my word for it, here are the numbers.
Strictly going by hitting and stolen bases, Ellsbury projects to be worth about 2.5 wins above a replacement level CF in 2014. He projects to be somewhere around a +4 defender, and we can maybe give him another run or two for non-SB base running.
Now obviously, if he could hit that 65% or 80% forecast we’d love this contract, but that’s not the baseline for a reason, because it’s just not that likely.
So if you have a player who’s 30 and he’s signed for 7 years and you’re paying him an average of $22M per year, how much does he have to be worth to justify it? Only the team really knows that, but let’s look at how CAIRO projects his next seven season.
Yeah. Even if you want to assume he will continue to provide +5 defense for all seven seasons, he’s doesn’t project to be worth more than 17 wins or so. So the Yankees would be paying about $9M per win in a league that pays between $5M-$6M on the free agent market.
The key number in all these projections is plate appearances. Because he has missed significant parts of the season over the time that is in his projection, he only projects to have 526 PA in 2014 and it only goes down from there. If he can give the Yankees 650 PA in 2014, we can up his overall projected oWAR to 16.5. It’s still a crappy deal, but a bit less so. 650 PA at his 65% forecast in 2014 and now we’re looking at 22.2 WAR and yeah, it’s still a crappy deal.
This deal has all the earmarks of a deal that was not made by a baseball person, rather by a person who thinks signing a big name and making a splash will put asses in the seats. Guess what, you do that by putting a better team on the field than you put out there last year.
Ellsbury is not a bad player, and he should be an asset on the field. But he’s not nearly the player that Robinson Cano is, and won’t make nearly the difference to this team’s fortunes that Cano would. How do you tell Cano you won’t give him 8 years and $200M when you are willing to give a player that’s half as valuable as he is 7 years and $153M? And if signing Ellsbury means Cano is playing elsewhere in 2014, this team will be lucky to finish .500.
You also have to think this means the end of Brett Gardner’s days in pinstripes is close, if not before this season then almost surely after it, and I’m bummed about that.
Just like with the McCann signing, I’m reserving judgement on this move until I see what else they do. But unlike the McCann move which I liked in a vacuum, in a different vacuum I think this move was stupid.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
CAIRO 2014 v0.2’s Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2013 Projected MLB Standings
I figured I had a long offseason ahead of me if I was going to do everything in my power to make the Yankees look better than they are. The thing that needed to be done first was put the Yankees in the context of the rest of MLB. So I’ve been working on building my CAIRO season simulation disk and gave it a trial run last night. This was current through rosters as of yesterday morning.
As the title says, this is extremely early and completely useless so think of it more as a goof than anything too serious. So using CAIRO v0.2 which I’ll probably post tomorrow and the depth charts from MLB Depth Charts and Rotochamp as a rough gauge of playing time, here’s how the 2014 MLB season looks as of November 20.
W: Projected final 2014 wins
L: Projected final 2014 losses
RS: Projected final 2014 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2014 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation
Let me reiterate, these are extremely early and completely useless. There are literally hundreds of free agents still out there to be signed, and trades to be made, and players to be injured. There’s also the traditional error bars that projections have, which means you should probably look at this with a 10 game swing on either side of a team’s average projected win total, particularly right now with so much roster churn to come.
But if you are a Yankee fan, like I used to be, this is pretty disheartening. It’s not surprising, and if you put the lineup and pitching staff together based on how they project in 2014 you will see they are about as far from championship caliber as any team in the American League. Maybe moreso considering the relative strength of their division.
No, the Astros are not an AL team, even if they use a DH.
Don’t worry though, the Yankees will sign Carlos Beltran and he’ll make them a 95 win team.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Ever since the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, they have been in a decline. In 2010, they lost in the American League Championship Series; in 2011, they lost in the American League Division Series; and in 2012, they lost in the American League Championship Series to the Detroit Tigers, who were then swept by the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. This past year, of course, they had a respectable 85-77 record—but the team allowed 21 more runs than it scored: 671-650. This was the first time since 1992 that the Yankees had a negative run differential.
Attendance at Yankee Stadium has been declining, along with the team’s record. In 2010, total attendance at Yankee Stadium was 3,765,807, an average of 46,491 per game. In 2013, attendance was just 3,279,589, a loss of almost half a million, and the average attendance was 40,489 per game.
Television ratings for Yankee games are also in decline. Just six years ago, in 2007, the television audience for the average Yankee game reached 454,000. Last year, the television audience for a Yankee game was just 244,000, a decline of more than 100,000 from the 2012 season and of more than 200,000 viewers, well over 40 percent, in only a half-dozen years. Lower ratings and lower attendance have real consequences for the team’s overall revenues.
More important, fewer fans means fewer paying customers on the Metro North trains that now take fans to Yankee Stadium from the northern suburbs. The new Metro North station at Yankee Stadium has been a striking success, well worth the public investment of $91 million; suburban fans can drink their beer without worrying about driving home after baseball games or finding their way to the parking lots surrounding the stadium or driving home tipsy after a game.
How can this be true if Hal Steinbrenner has committed to fielding a championship-caliber team?
The Yankees are going to save some money by getting under the salary cap. They’re going to lose much more money than that in revenue and in the value of the franchise when they put a 70 win team on the field to get under the salary cap. But fret not, because they have made procedural changes that will turn their fallow farm system into a player development machine that will lead them to the promised land.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
ORLANDO — Baseball’s offseason tends to move at a slow, deliberate pace, but the Yankees are hoping to speed things up in a major way.
The Yankees are “moving fast” in an attempt to sign both Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, according to a source, hoping to make a preemptive strike with a “full-court press” to get both players secured before a major market develops for the pair of free agents.
In Beltran’s case, they may already be too late.
At least six teams have already expressed serious interest in Beltran, who turns 37 in April. The Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox appear to be the frontrunners, although the Royals, Indians and Mariners are also making a push for the eight-time All-Star.
According to a Texas source, the Rangers are in the process of scheduling a trip for Beltran to visit Dallas, though two other teams are believed to be doing the same for the outfielder.
Beltran is the Yankees’ top outfield target as they look to upgrade from the Ichiro Suzuki/Vernon Wells combination that would currently play right field. A source said the Yankees have “no interest” in either Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury — both Scott Boras clients — as each is seeking a deal of at least five years.
The Yankees would like to sign Beltran to a two-year deal, but they might be forced to give him a third year based on the number of interested teams.
This is shaping up to be the best offseason since the 2003-2004 version!
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
In an off-season filled with uncertainty, the Yankees passed the first phase with no surprises as three players turned down qualifying offers from the team. The Yankees had made the offers — set by Major League Baseball at $14.1 million — to Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.
The 10 other Major League free agents who were given offers by their teams also declined them, and they are free to sign elsewhere.
“No surprises,” General Manager Brian Cashman said at the general managers’ meetings in Orlando, Fla. “When we made the qualifying offers, we did not expect anyone to accept.”
Any of the three could still re-sign with the Yankees, but if they sign with other teams, the Yankees would receive a draft pick as compensation. And if the Yankees sign any of the other 10 who declined offers, they must surrender a draft pick to the player’s former team.
No surprise, although I thought there was an outside chance Granderson would accept. Of the three, the only one I think is likely to be back next year is Cano. Granderson probably ends up with the White Sox, and Kuroda is probably going to want to go to either a contender (ie, not the Yankees) or back to Japan. If the latter happens, the Yankees do not get a pick for him.
Cano is probably the first order of business, but I don’t see any urgency to sign on his part. If the Yankees have given up on their self-imposed payroll limit for 2014, they could start poking around at other players to fill some of their holes, but I don’t think they have, which means their hands are going to be constrained by Cano as well as the Alex Rodriguez situation which should eventually be settled by 2015.
In other words, I’m not expecting much noise over the next few weeks. But I’m sure they’ll be leaking about how interested they are in all the good players that are out there to appease a fan base that is rapidly losing interest in the team.
Friday, November 8, 2013
While David Robertson is clearly the top incumbent candidate to replace the retired Mariano Rivera, Yankees GM Brian Cashman isn’t just handing him the job this winter.
“We haven’t anointed anybody the closer, so I don’t know,” Cashman said. “I know Robertson wants it. But we’ll see how the winter shakes out and how the competition in spring training takes place.
“We’re going to look at everybody and anything and see where the winter takes us. The bottom line is, we have to get a collection of talent to bring to spring training. The cream rises to the top, and we have to find as much cream as possible.”
With all of the questions the Yankees have to address Robinson Cano, the rotation, catching, to name a few closer might not be at the top of the list with a potentially effective option in Robertson already in house.
Still, the uncertainty is all part of the messy business of replacing an icon once all the emotional farewells are over. The Yanks, in fact, have already made inquiries about elite relievers.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that the Yankees were one of five teams to express interest in Grant Balfour, the demonstrative Oakland closer who had a 2.59 ERA last season and was 38-for-41 in save opportunities. Balfour, who will be 36 in December, averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings, but also walked 3.88 per nine.
If the Yankees are going to give up on the $189M payroll, then I’d be ok with them looking at adding a closer type on a short-term contract, like Balfour, who I thought would have been a better value signing than Rafael Soriano way back when. But if they aren’t giving up on tying their own hands and costing themselves hundreds of millions of dollars to save thirty million or so, it makes zero sense.
In other words, I’d expect them to keep their goal of a $189M payroll while blowing way more money than they should on a proven closer.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The Yankees, looking to set themselves up in case star second baseman Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, have checked in with the Reds regarding Brandon Phillips and also asked about free-agent second baseman Omar Infante.
Phillips is said to be available in the right trade, but word is, the initial price is way too steep. Of course, that’s the way the Yankees look at Cano’s $300 million asking price, as well.
Phillips batted .261 with 103 RBI for the Reds, but is on the market after a couple incidents—one where he complained in a Cincinnati magazine article about how ownership handled his negoitations and another where he went ballistic on a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter after the reporter, Trent Rosecrans, formerly of CBSSports.com, tweeted about Phillips’ low on-base percentage.
Phillips has $50 million and four years on that $72.5 million, six-year contract he signed despite what he suggested were rocky negotiations.
In my opinion, Phillips is one of the most overrated players in baseball. The fact that something like this was made public makes me think the Yankees understand that to some extent and it’s more of a negotiating ploy with Cano than actual interest.
Here is how CAIRO projects Phillips and Cano as Yankees in 2014.
I still haven’t done defensive projections for 2014 but eyeballing it I’m guessing Phillips would project as 2-4 runs better defensively.
CAIRO says the four remaining years of Phillips’s contract would have him hitting .258/.309/.390 over 2476 PA and being worth about six WAR offensively. Maybe you can give him another win for defense although given the fact that he’ll be 36 by the end of his contract we can assume decline from his current level. Is seven wins or so worth $50M? Not if you have a self-imposed budget, it’s not. And if you actually have to give up something of value on top of an already bad contract, does it really make any sense at all?
Now, would I rather have Phillips for four years and $50M than Cano for 10 years and $310M? Probably. But those aren’t the only two alternatives, so let’s hope we don’t see either one come to fruition.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
In total, 13 Major League players were given a qualifying offer.
The World Series champion Red Sox made offers to Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew, while choosing not to make an offer to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
“In a vacuum, we’d like to have all of [our free agents] back,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “We’ll just have to see how it goes, and we’ll continue to talk to all of them and see how the market shapes out.”
The Yankees made offers to Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.
Cano and Ellsbury are expected to shape the free-agent market this offseason, with each likely to land a lucrative long-term contract. Neither is expected to accept Monday’s qualifying offer.
Carlos Beltran, Shin-Soo Choo, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brian McCann, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana were also presented with qualifying offers by their respective teams.
The Yankees have been linked to Beltran, Choo and McCann and you can certainly make a case that other players from this group would fill some of the many gaping holes on the current roster. My guess is the Yankees will end up signing someone like Beltran and losing the 18th pick in the draft. Because a 70 win team could really use a 38 year old outfielder who they should have signed nine years ago.
The only Yankee I could see accepting the qualifying offer is Granderson, and I’d be fine with that.
Monday, November 4, 2013
The Yankees made qualifying offers to Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda, according to a team press release.
This makes so much sense, I’m convinced that someone has kidnapped the Yankee braintrust and is acting on their behalf.
Friday, November 1, 2013
After missing the playoffs for only the second time since 1993, the Yankees can only hope to match the feat of the Red Sox, who went from 69 victories to a title. The Yankees won 85 games in 2013, but they still face multiple holes in their lineup and starting rotation. Plus, they are still tasked with trying to reduce the payroll beneath the $189 million luxury-tax threshold.
Yet the team intends to be quite active this winter. In addition to talented, 25-year-old Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees are expected to pursue high-profile additions like outfielder Carlos Beltran, catcher Brian McCann and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. In addition, the team intends to retain second baseman Robinson Cano, who figures to cash in for a nine-figure payday as a free agent.
Resolutions on these fronts will come with time. Free agency is a gradual process, and November is only the beginning. But a few answers should come shortly, including the status of shortstop Derek Jeter. He has until Monday to decide whether he will accept his $9.5 million player option for 2014, or elect free agency. Coming off the worst season of his career, a 17-game campaign marred by leg injuries, he is expected to take the option.
Thirteen Yankees will become free agents next Tuesday. The team is expected to tender qualifying offers to Cano, starter Hiroki Kuroda and outfielder Curtis Granderson. The team must decide to deliver those offers by Monday.
The qualifying offer is a one-year, $14.1 million contract, and none of these three are expected to accept. If the player signs elsewhere, as Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher did last winter, the Yankees receive a compensatory draft pick.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
BOSTON—All the way to the end, this Red Sox championship continued to be a testament to perhaps the wisest free-agent shopping spree in baseball history, and thus to GM Ben Cherington and his front office.
Whether it was David Ross, Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes or, on this night, Shane Victorino and even Stephen Drew as the Red Sox finished off the Cardinals, the same grinders who turned a 2012 team of crybabies into bulldogs this season just kept delivering when it counted most.
And so with a 6-1 victory in Game 6, the Red Sox won their third World Series in the last 10 seasons, making them clearly superior to the Yankees, who have won only once during that time.
If that’s the bad news in the Bronx, perhaps worse news is that these Red Sox appear to be better-equipped to win another one before the Yankees do.
Unlike the Yankees, they have a farm system with some highly touted, major-league ready prospects, starting with Xander Bogaerts, and they have financial flexibility as well.
They also have a pretty sharp GM and, in John Farrell, a manager who is proof that presence and persona can matter more than making every right move in the dugout.
This is easy to say right now, but we’ll see if Harper’s singing the same tune when the Yankees sign Paul Maholm.
Friday, October 25, 2013
The New York Yankees are worth $3.3 billion, making them the sport’s most-valuable enterprise. The Los Angeles Dodgers rank second with a value of $2.1 billion.
“Major League Baseball is catching up to valuations of the National Football League,” Anthony Di Santi, the managing director of the sports finance advisory division of New York-based Citigroup Inc.’s private bank, said at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit on Sept. 10. “It’s because they’ve been exploiting the media opportunities that are available to them on a national level.”
Don’t worry. When Hal Steinbrenner’s done with them they’ll be worth half that.
Monday, October 21, 2013
To spend or not to spend?
That will be the primary question when the Yankees’ front office convenes Monday at the Stadium for the first of three days of organizational meetings. Hal and Hank Steinbrenner will be in attendance along with team president Randy Levine, COO Lonn Trost and general manager Brian Cashman among others.
With the $189 million luxury tax threshold and the massive benefits it potentially offers hanging over their heads, the Bombers must decide between fiscal responsibility and contending next season.
Or do they?
This much we know: Cashman has a lot of work to do this winter. With holes at second base and catcher, at least two open spots in the rotation, a weak platoon in right field and uncertainty at both shortstop and third base, the Yankees are faced with a number of areas to address between now and February.
But with roughly $90 million coming off the books, Cashman and Co. will have some money to spend.
The more I think about the 2014 Yankees, the more I think that they can’t spend enough to be contenders in 2014. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try and add some players to their roster, but they should eschew signing people like Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann who are not likely to be part of a Yankee team that could be a contender down the road. If I were the Yankees, I’d focus on adding players who are young enough to be useful from 2015 on, and I’d probably avoid signing any players that would cost the team their first round draft pick in 2014.
I’d bring back Robinson Cano if he can be signed for six years or less, I’d extend qualifying offers to Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson and be fine if they accepted but wouldn’t go to multiple years on either one. I’d make a serious bid for Masahiro Tanaka, and I’d use 2014 to try and see what they can get out of players like Francisco Cervelli, J.R. Murphy, Austin Romine, Delin Betances, Cesar Cabral, Michael Pineda, David Phelps and Adam Warren. I’d hope that Slade Heathcott and/or Tyler Austin can finish the year in AAA with an eye towards the majors in 2015.
I’m not sure what the Yankees are going to do with David Robertson and Brett Gardner, both of whom can be free agents after 2014. I don’t anticipate Robertson having major issues as the closer should he earn the job, but I can’t see the Yankees extending him until they see what he does next year, and I’m not sure what kind of financial commitment they want to make to him going forward. Similarly, I wonder if Brett Gardner will be a Yankee after 2014 if they are concerned about his ability to stay healthy and his likelihood of maintaining his value as his speed declines.
What I don’t want to watch is another attempt to force a mid 80s win team into the postseason with a bunch of retreads and 35+ year olds. It’s boring and it’s predictable, and it’s just not entertaining. And at the end of the day, baseball is supposed to be entertaining.
The Yankees could contend even if they don’t make significant additions this offseason if they get better than expected returns from Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia, and if Alex Rodriguez’s suspension is cut to say 50 games and he exceeds his projections, and if they get positive contributions from some of their younger players. But expecting all that to happen would be foolish.
If it happens, then maybe you explore adding some pieces during the season, but it shouldn’t be the basis of their offseason plan.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
How Bad are the 2014 Yankees on October 15, 2013
One of the hardest things about doing my CAIRO projections is finagling the numbers to make the Yankees look better than they are. And that was hard when the Yankees were actually good. Now that they are not so good, it makes it even harder.
Anyway, I finally figured it was time to put some empirical evidence together to see what the Yankees look like right now. So I ran my first set of 2014 CAIRO projections, which I’m sure have bugs and will change as we move further into the offseason.
I’ll warn you now, it’s not pretty at all.
The assumptions here are that Alex Rodriguez remains suspended for the entire 2014 season and the Yankees don’t sign anyone or trade for anyone. Basically, this is what the Yankees have under contract right now for 2014. First up, the position players.
I haven’t done the defensive projections for 2014 yet so these are 2013 projections. Adjust them down a bit since there’s no one young enough on the Yankees to be improving defensively.
If you think that’s bad, get a load of the pitching staff.
WAR: Wins above replacement level (using RA)
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
Now obviously the error bars around some of these projections are huge. Maybe CC Sabathia makes the adjustments to get closer to his past numbers and maybe converting Michael Pineda’s rehab numbers to an MLE and using it as part of his projections for 2014 ignores that rehab games are approached differently than competitive games and that he’ll be stronger as he moves further away from his injury. Maybe Ivan Nova scrapping his slider will let him pitch more like he did over the second half of 2013 than his projection.
That’s an awful lot of maybes.
The bottom line is this. If these projections and playing time assumptions are reasonably close, and they may not be, this is what the overall picture looks like.
The Yankees need to add 27 wins to get to 90. I can’t see them doing it without going past their self-imposed payroll limit of $189M, and I’m not sure the market is there to do it even if they decide to.
Maybe they can lobby Bud Selig to add five more wild cards. Then they can pretend they’re still contenders.
Monday, October 14, 2013
It is easy to see why there’s this “Back to 1965” doomsday scenario enveloping the Yankees right now considering their extensive offseason shopping list that includes, in no particular order, a third baseman, a shortstop, a catcher, at least two frontline starting pitchers, a couple of set-up relievers and a partridge in a pear tree. All this and Robbie (Tippi) Cano too — and, by the way, let’s not forget that $189 million luxury tax threshold they want to get under.
But in the minds of the Yankee high command, it’s not nearly so daunting, at least not when you look around at the state of the rest of the American League East. Put aside the Red Sox who, granted, had everything go right this year, but still seem well fortified with a mother lode of near-ready prospects in their player development system to play the commanding role in the division for the foreseeable future. It is the Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays with whom the Yankees are currently comparing themselves — and the grass is far from greener on the other side.
I’m sorry, but building a team with an eye on second place and a wild card berth does not really feel like fielding a contender to me.
Can someone please make Hal Steinbrenner an offer he can’t refuse and buy the team? Don Corleone? Anyone?
Friday, October 11, 2013
Saddled with the twin burdens of bulging expectations and a newfound frugality, Hal Steinbrenner is at a crossroads. His next few moves could decide the next decade for the New York Yankees.
Steinbrenner spoke with WFAN’s Mike Francesa this week. Without parsing the particulars, he kept his typically corporate cadence, leaving those of us reared on the Bronx Zoo wondering if that rabid, conqueror’s gene skipped a generation.
A self-styled numbers geek, the younger Steinbrenner feels far more comfortable talking about contracts and other financial algorithms than the more visceral mantras about winning at all costs.
I hope Hal understands that if you cut costs up front at the expense of the product on the field, you lose revenue. We started seeing strong evidence of that this year.
The average broadcast of a Yankees game on the YES Network drew 244,000 viewers this season, down from 355,000 viewers per game a year ago.
In addition to the television ratings, attendance at Yankee Stadium fell for the third straight season. The average attendance of 40,488 is down 7.4% from 2012 and down 12.9% from 2010 when the team averaged 46,491, the best attendance mark at the current stadium. This season’s attendance was also the team’s lowest since 2000 (38,193).
The Yankees do need to get smarter about how they spend money. The channels to acquire talent have changed pretty significantly. League-wide team revenue is increasing at a higher rate than labor cost, which makes it easier for teams to keep their best players through their prime. That means unless you are developing your own players or taking risks on unproven international free agents you are left signing players whose best days are likely behind them. That doesn’t mean you can’t get good players through free agency, but it makes it that much harder to build the bulk of your team that way.
Unfortunately, I can pretty much predict exactly what’s going to happen this offseason. They’re going to talk about getting Mark Teixiera and Derek Jeter back, pretending it’s not just adding maybe four wins to a 79 win team. They’ll probably overpay to bring back Robinson Cano, which they have to do if they don’t want to be a 75 win team. Then they’ll try and patch together the rest of the roster and go for it again.
And they’ll probably fall short again.
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
1. Make a decision on Joe Girardi
2. Know what you have a third base next season
3. Think about how much Robinson Cano is worth to you
4. Adjust to life without Mo
5. Begin planning for the post-Jeter era
6. Come up with three big league ready starting pitchers
7. Upgrade behind the plate
8. Persuade Hal that a $189 million salary cap is foolish
Is that all they have to do? Seems simple.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
TORONTO—The Yankees’ offense woke up in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s contest against the Blue Jays, scoring four runs in the frame and holding on to snap a four-game losing skid and dropping Toronto, 4-3, at Rogers Centre.
The win ensured the Yankees, who entered the night 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers and Rays—who were facing each other—in the American League Wild Card race, gained at least a half-game in their pursuit of a playoff spot. They could move to 2 1/2 games back if the Indians, who began the night one-half game back of Texas and Tampa Bay, fall in their game against the Royals.
I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have the Yankees win a game after losing four straight during their most important stretch of the season. Nothing like a lucky one run victory against the worst team in your division to make you think they’ve turned the corner, right?
They still stink. They aren’t making the postseason. Deal with it.
For weeks, Girardi has avoided characterizing Yankees games as must-wins because they were not elimination contests. But after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays that sank the team further from the second wild-card berth, Girardi conceded the Yankees are on the verge of missing the postseason.
“We’re darn close,” he said.
For a man as angry and disappointed Sunday as he has been all season, his quiet, dejected mood on Tuesday came across almost as resignation to the unsettling reality facing him.
With only 11 games remaining, the Yankees are tied with the Kansas City Royals, three and a half games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers. Two other teams, the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians, are ahead of them.
I don’t see how meaningless mid-September games can qualify as urgent. Maybe the Yankees should start using Mariano Rivera in non-save situations since we aren’t going to get to see him ever again otherwise.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
“Robinson Cano is a great player,” Levine told Bloomberg Television. “We will sit down and talk to him. Hopefully he’s a Yankee. Nobody is a re-sign at all costs, but we want him back and we feel good about negotiating something with him. But nobody is a re-sign at any cost.”
“The fact of the matter is, the reason this season has taken some bumps is because we have had an incredible amount of injuries,” Levine said. “When our players are together and they’re playing, which has been very rare, the team has been very successful. Since the All-Star Game, we have had one of the best records in Major League Baseball.”
Actually, the Bombers are just 25-24 since the Midsummer Classic at Citi Field.
Get out of here with your damn facts. And yep, let’s blame the injuries.
Levine reiterated the Yankees’ desire to pare the payroll below the $189 million luxury tax threshold next season, though he pointed out that would still leave the Yankees’ payroll ahead of 28 other teams.
They’ll be second in payroll and last in their division.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Lyle Overbay capped a six-run seventh inning with a two-run single, but Mariano Rivera suffered his sixth blown save as the Yanks went to extras.
Just a brutal loss. Probably the worst of the season. To rally back from a 7-2 deficit to take an 8-7 lead in the seventh inning, then to watch Mariano Rivera get the first two outs in the ninth and get to two strikes on the last hitter only to blow the save, then to see Joe Girardi use arguably the worst available option to start the 10th inning in Joba Chamberlain who predictably gave up the go-ahead run, I’m not sure what was the worst part.
If you didn’t think this team was done yet, I have news for you. They’re done.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
The New York Yankees can match their best 25-game stretch this season with a victory today. They’ll have to repeat the feat —and maybe more—to return to the postseason.
“We need to win games. We need to win series,” says Yankee manager Joe Girardi, whose team would be 17-8 since Aug 9 if they beat the Chicago White Sox today and clinch one of those treasured series victories.
Yes. The Yankees’ surge did come too late.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
In a classic Seinfeld moment from 1996, George Steinbrenner visits the parents of George Costanza with the news that their son is missing and feared dead. Frank Costanza responds by barking at Steinbrenner, “What the hell did you trade Jay Buhner for?”
Ah, yes, those were the days, when the Yankees traded prospects such as Buhner, Fred McGriff, Doug Drabek and others, enabling them to become stars for other teams. At least New York had prospects to trade back then.
This week Hal Steinbrenner summoned his baseball executives to a summit meeting to talk about the state of the team’s player development. The Yankees have few impact bats on the immediate horizon. Among their top drafted prospects, as rated by Baseball America: outfielder Mason Williams, 21, has four home runs, a .349 slugging percentage and just reached Double A; Slade Heathcott, 22, has eight home runs in Double A; and Tyler Austin, 21, has six home runs in Double A.
The farm really needs to start producing valuable players if the Yankees are really going to put a ‘championship caliber’ team on the field with a $189M payroll.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Most pitchers can be a little down after a sub-par outing. But on the Yankee pitching staff, self-flagellating has become an art form. Around the Yankees, if a pitcher has a bad game, he doesn’t wait for the media to tell him he stunk—he gets out in front and trumpets his own failure to the sky.
Most of the self-hate sounds like this CC Sabathia line, after his July 22 start: “I suck. I wish I had an excuse or something.”
Or this one, before his first start after the All-Star break: “I’m still terrible and disappointed.”
Pettitte is fond of talking about how a certain pitch was “horrible,” or how he has let everyone down again. In his Texas drawl, he’ll hang his head and explain that “I hate it that I just can’t go out there and throw zeroes up,” or that “I’m extremely upset I wasn’t able to get through five,” as he did this weekend.
The “I’m the worst” mentality pervades the pitching staff, trickling down to younger players like Phil Hughes, who delivered this gem to lead off a press conference after a bad start: “I know I suck right now.” Joba Chamberlain responded to jeers from the crowd earlier this year with empathy, saying, “I’d boo me too—I’m terrible.”
I agree with the Yankee pitchers.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
CHICAGO — Welcome to rock bottom.
The Yankees suffered a humiliating sweep at the hands of the last-place White Sox Wednesday night, blowing leads in both the ninth and 12th inning to fall, 6-5.
“This one feels worse because we came out today and played hard,” said Mariano Rivera, who blew his third save of the season. “We had a chance; we had two chances. We couldn’t hold one of them. It’s bad. We can’t do that.”
Alex Rodriguez had a chance to be the hero in the 11th, coming to bat with two out and the go-ahead run at third base. The embattled slugger, on the field hours after appealing a 211-game suspension related to the Biogenesis PED scandal, grounded out to third, finishing 1-for-5 with a walk, He went 3-for-11 with two walks and a hit-by-pitch in his first series back from offseason hip surgery as the Yankees fell to 0-3 since his return.
I figured getting swept by the Mets in the four game home and home series would have been rock bottom, but I shouldn’t have underestimated just how lousy this team is. And I get a feeling even this isn’t rock bottom.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Stick a Fork in the 2013 Yankees
Losing four of five games to the Padres and White Sox has effectively eliminated the Yankees from any realistic postseason consideration at this point. The last thing this team could afford was to lose games against the handful of teams they are better than, but that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished.
W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation
At this point, .500 looks like where they’re heading and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised to see them worse than that by the end of the year. I’m sure they’ll continue to delude themselves into thinking they are contenders and will make more stupid and desperate moves depending on what shows up on the waiver wire, but it doesn’t matter. They are done.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
CHICAGO—Tuesday night’s matchup between Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Sale proved to be a pitchers’ duel, as advertised, even if a wild pitch from each led to two of the four runs scored between the Yankees and White Sox.
Kuroda tossed seven innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, but the Yankees’ offense was again insufficient in a 3-2 loss at U.S. Cellular Field.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who returned to the team on Monday amid hope that he would provide a spark to a dragging lineup, went 1-for-4 with a single and a hard-hit lineout to center, but it wasn’t enough.
Brett Gardner’s two-out single in the ninth to plate Ichiro Suzuki from second base closed the deficit to one run, but Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end it.
At least the Yankees will send their ace out there tomorrow in the hopes of not getting swept by a team that had lost 10 straight heading into this series.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Five years ago, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, along with Joba Chamberlain, represented a transition to what was supposed to be the next generation of Yankees dominance. The plan was that by the time Jeter, Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera were approaching the end of their careers, the torch would be passed to the young pitchers, who would be the centerpieces of the franchise.
That unfulfilled promise was on display Sunday when Hughes and Kennedy opposed each other, with the Padres lighting into Hughes early and Kennedy pitching well in his debut for San Diego. Chamberlain, now relegated to mop-up duty, pitched a scoreless ninth for the Yankees.
I blame the god-awful ‘Generation Trey’ nickname. Or is ‘Generation Tray’ in honor of the trays of food a certain mop-up reliever seems to enjoy digging into?
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
This Team is Buying? Really?
My Monte Carlo postseason odds updated as of this morning.
W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation
The phrase “lipstick on a pig” comes to mind.
Right now 90 wins looks like the Yankees’ upper-bound for wins within one standard deviation. The average wins in my simulations for the first wild card in the AL was around 92.6, and the average for the second was about 90.
The Yankees’ postseason odds are now roughly equivalent to those of the Royals.
Keep buying middling outfielders signed for another year after this one though.
Friday, July 26, 2013
IIs Alfonso Soriano Even an Upgrade?
Although it’s not actually official yet, all indications are that Alfonso Soriano will be a Yankee by this weekend. Soriano left the Yankees as a shaky defensive second baseman with speed and power in the Alex Rodriguez trade and returns as a plus defensive LF who still has pop but doesn’t run all that much. Soriano has never been much of a walker although his 3.9% BB/PA this season would be his lowest since 2002. He still loves swinging at pitches in the left-handed hitters batters box, so that will be fun to watch.
In order to determine what Soriano adds to the team, you have to figure out who he’s replacing. He’s an option for LF and DH, and that’s pretty much it. So his playing time is going to come at the expense of Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, most likely. Here are their rest-of-season ZiPS projections, pro-rated to 250 PA.
If you factor in defense and believe the defensive metrics, Soriano probably adds a run or two of value above Wells. So in theory if Soriano is replacing Wells he adds three runs or so to the Yankees over 250 PA. That may not seem like much, but that’s about a week’s worth of offense for this team.
It’s entirely possible that Hafner’s projection is way off and that his days as an effective player are over. It’s also a fact that he adds no defensive value at all, whereas Wells can at least man the OF and 3B in an emergency. But at least for now Hafner projects as the best hitter of this sordid cast of characters. But once you factor in defense I’d say that Soriano is a more valuable player to have than Hafner as well.
My guess is for now we’ll see Soriano in LF, and a Wells/Hafner platoon at DH, with Wells also occasionally resting one of Brett Gardner and Ichiro! What will be interesting to see is what happens if Curtis Granderson ever comes back. It’s hard to see a spot for Hafner at that point and while his play since May 1 hasn’t deserved a spot, I am still holding out hope he can bust out of his slump.
My thought on this trade, and really on the way this team has done business over the past season is this. It stinks. They’ve blown so much money on players like Kevin Youkilis, Wells and now Soriano to build a team that’s got a lower chance at the postseason than half the teams in the league. They’ve done it with an eye on getting below the salary cap in 2014 so they can get some savings, but I don’t think the savings they’ll get will even come close to making up the $40+M of essentially wasted money that they’ve spent on replacement level production and the ratings and attendance drop that this team has spearheaded.
I guess they should go ahead and try and make one last push for the postseason at this point because I can’t see any way this team is competitive in 2014. But someone like Soriano isn’t really a push, he’s more like a slight nudge. And if they ended up giving up a viable prospect for him I will really dislike this move.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
ARLINGTON—Matt Garza made a terrific debut for the Rangers on Wednesday night, pitching his new team to a 3-1 victory over the Yankees at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Garza, acquired from the Cubs on Monday, went 7 1/3 innings and allowed just one unearned run. He gave up five hits—all singles—and did not walk a batter while striking out five. He beat Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte.
A.J. Pierzynski, starting at designated hitter, drove in both runs the Rangers scored off Pettitte. He hit an RBI single in the first and his 10th home run of the season in the sixth. It was only his second home run off a left-hander this season.
Is it me, or have there been a preponderance of “stellar” pitching performances against the Yankees this year? Why are they so unlucky, I wonder?
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
NEW YORK—Robinson Cano jolted the slumbering Yankees offense with a long three-run homer and Lyle Overbay blew the night open with his fourth career grand slam, powering New York to an 8-1 victory over the Royals on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
After being limited to one run in each of their last three games, all losses, the Yankees flashed a rare glimpse of their Bronx Bombers DNA as they pounded Kansas City starter Wade Davis for eight runs in five-plus innings.
Ivan Nova gladly accepted the run support, logging eight innings of one-run ball as his summer revival continued. The right-hander utilized a tight curveball and good command to hold the Royals to five hits while striking out six and walking two, coming off a complete-game victory over the Orioles his last time out.
Luckily, Ivan Nova does not stink. I was optimistic about Nova this year, and while two very good starts is only two very good starts, I’m being reminded why I was optimistic about him. He’s got the best stuff of any of the potential starters on the team, and for now he’s commanding it quite well. Can he continue to do so? Time will tell.
As for the offense, whatever. Blind squirrel, acorn, etc.,
Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner both the left the game with leg contusions. One of these losses is trivial. One is major. I’ll leave it as an exercise for you, the readers, to determine which is which. Anyway, hopefully neither needs to miss significant time.
Alex Rodriguez is expected to meet Friday with representatives of Major League Baseball as part of its ongoing investigation into Biogenesis, sources confirmed to Newsday.
Rodriguez said Tuesday that he was unaware of any impending meetings, though he admitted he would not acknowledge such meetings if he were aware of them. “Not that I know of,” he said. “We’ve been fully instructed not to comment about the case.”
Rodriguez and as many as 20 players could reportedly face suspensions of up to 100 games.
If Rodriguez gets suspended, he doesn’t get paid. I don’t know if that means the Yankees get credit back towards the salary cap, but if they do maybe they can repeat the brilliance of acquiring Vernon Wells and trade for Ryan Howard’s horrendous contract.
I’d be surprised if any players had to serve an actual 100 game suspension without a positive test once all legal challenges are exhausted, but at least Bud Selig can pretend he’s being tough on PED users after he ignored it when it was making him lots of money.
And it can’t hurt to label some of your best players as dirty cheaters if you want have an easier time limiting player salaries in future negotiations, right?
The Yankees’ best hope of fielding a passable MLB offense over the second half of the season involved getting Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera and a rejuvenated Rodriguez back. Teixeira’s gone, and while Jeter appears to be on his way back he’s more of a table-setter than the middle of the order bat that the Yankees need. So it’s down to Granderson and Rodriguez. Granderson should eventually be back, but he’s not enough. Rodriguez could come back and be a shell of his former self, but there’s a chance that with his hip problem resolved he can be better than he was last year. And frankly, that’s the only scenario I can see that makes the Yankees a legitimate postseason contender and it would be a real blow if they got a good version of Rodriguez back only to lose him to a suspension.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The No Names have done as well as No Names can possibly do, but the lineup the Yankees trotted out last night featured six hitters batting .233 or under, including two hitting under .137.
They used to be the Bronx Bombers.
The Yankees’ biggest name — Derek Jeter — was back at Yankee Stadium in bobblehead form. It will not be long before the real Jeter is playing again .
With that in mind, the Yankees need to go out and get some help — even if those players are heading down the home stretch of their careers. The Yankees can’t keep picking up nobodies and expect to be somebody in the AL East.
Keep this in mind: Against the Red Sox, Orioles, Rangers, Tigers and A’s, the Yankees are 10-20.
It’s sad, but as soon as the Yankees went down 2-0 I stopped listening to the game because I knew they weren’t going to score two runs.
The Yankees have lost 24.1% of their games where they have allowed 2 runs or fewer. The MLB average is 14.0%. In fact, only three teams have been worse in that regard this year and they all play in a league without a DH.
I’ll echo Brian’s sentiment from the prior post. Yes, rest players. But you don’t rest them ALL AT THE SAME TIME WHEN YOUR OFFENSE IS HORRIFIC.
Monday, July 8, 2013
NEW YORK—It should come as no surprise that Michael Pineda’s return to the Yankees is on hold for awhile. After this afternoon’s 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees announced they had optioned Pineda to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the team’s Triple A affiliate.
When asked before the game how he would fit Pineda into the starting rotation, Joe Girardi provided a hint to Pineda’s ultimate destination when he said, “Right now, we have [Ivan] Nova slotted into our rotation, and he’s throwing the ball really well. So we haven’t put a lot of thought into that.”
This makes sense. The Yankees can gain an extra year of control on Pineda if they keep him in the minors for about a month, they don’t have an obvious hole in the rotation where he’d be a clear upgrade, they give him a bit more time to build up arm strength and they give themselves a bit more time to evaluate how good he is right now.
In fact, it makes so much sense I’m surprised the Yankees are doing it.
Monday, July 1, 2013
BALTIMORE—For years, Camden Yards transformed into a madhouse when the New York Yankees played the Baltimore Orioles. The Yanks and their fans would storm this city and beat up the Birds, making it feel like Bronx South.
This weekend, you again have barely been able to hear yourself at times—but it is because of the fans in black and orange and the cracks off Chris Davis’ bat.
The roles are totally reversed right now.
The Orioles are the beasts, fighting the Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East, and everyone knows now that it is no fluke. Since the end of July of last season, the Orioles have been the best regular-season team in baseball.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are sinking towards the cellar, losers of four in a row and 20 of their past 32. They are just two games ahead of the last-place Toronto Blue Jays. There is a different feeling when you wander over from the road side to the home-side clubhouse.
If you go by Pythagenpat winning percentage, here are the AL East standings this morning.
It seems like more of a question of when the Yankees will be in last place than if. And while they are possibly going to get some help from the return of some injured players, it’s not likely to make them into a juggernaut.
The Yankees have one above average starting pitcher as measured by ERA+. They have two position players that have been better than average relative to their position.
They can contend for the postseason because the bar for that is probably around 87-88 wins. But even if they somehow got there, can you really see this team advancing past a round of playoff games?
I realize there are pipe dreams of a massive sell-off where they rebuild by trading away people like Robinson Cano and Phil Hughes, but I don’t see that happening. You aren’t going to get a ton for Cano as he heads towards free agency, and Hughes is a wild card who is just as likely to hurt the team that acquires him as he is to help them. Joba Chamberlain probably has negative trade value.
The scary thing is, things are more likely to get worse than better.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
NEW YORK—Derek Holland was brilliant on a warm humid Thursday afternoon, pitching a complete-game performance in the Rangers’ 2-0 victory over the Yankees in the Bronx. It was also his first career win against the Bombers.
The victory allowed the Rangers to take two out of three from the Yankees and go 5-1 on a road trip that started with a sweep of the Cardinals. The Rangers have also won eight of their past 10.
It was Holland’s sixth career shutout and his first of the season. But in terms of overall importance, it ranks right behind his performance in Game 5 of the 2011 World Series against the Cardinals and right up there with a three-hit shutout of the Angels as a rookie in ‘09.
I’m going to say Holland wasn’t brilliant, and that a trained chimp could have two-hit the Yankees today.
Seriously, how do you fix an offense that needs improving at seven different positions?
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
NEW YORK—Phil Hughes’ troubles within the not-so-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium continued on Wednesday, as the right-hander allowed five runs and heard boos as the Yankees fell to the Dodgers, 6-0, in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.
Hughes completed six innings and kept Los Angeles’ lineup in the yard, but he was still unable to reverse his trend of struggling when pitching in the Bronx. Hughes permitted 10 hits and fell to 1-4 with a 6.68 ERA on his home mound this season.
Rookie phenom Yasiel Puig added an opposite-field homer, his fifth, off reliever Adam Warren in the seventh inning to pad the Dodgers’ advantage.
The defeat came after Ichiro Suzuki rolled back the clock with three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs to lead New York to a 6-4 victory in the first game of the Interleague doubleheader.
Hiroki Kuroda logged 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball in the afternoon during his first start against his former club, outpitching the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Mariano Rivera struck out Puig looking at a 93-mph cutter for the final out and his 25th save in 26 opportunities.
I suppose if Hughes had pitched a one run gem the Yankees offense would still have made him a hard luck loser, but he sure didn’t help things.
And this is a cause for serious concern.
2013 Yankees runs scored: 276
2013 Yankees runs allowed: 276
This team has played like a .500 team for 43.8% of a 162 game season. That they are 39-32 is lucky, and I suppose we should be happy about that. I’m not, but we should be.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
ANAHEIM, Calif. – The signs of distress were small, perhaps hidden in plain sight during Mark Teixeira’s brief stint with the Yankees this season. The occasional grimace after a left-handed swing. A sizable pad covering his right wrist after games. A lack of production against right-handed pitchers.
Up close, hitting coach Kevin Long harbored worry about his slugger. A staple of Teixeira’s pre-game routine involves hitting off a tee. When Teixeira attempted that practice left-handed, which places stress on the strained tendon sheath in his right wrist, he felt “discomfort,” Long said. His left-handed swing lacked “the whip and the bat speed that you see right-handed.” At times, Long said, Teixeira looked like a “shell” of himself.
Good thing he rushed back after two rehab games.
Friday, June 14, 2013
On May 14, the Yankees were 25-14 and in first place in the AL East, two games up. Since then they’ve gone 12-16 and now sit three games back.
Over their first 39 games they averaged 4.31 runs per game and allowed an average of 3.64. Their winning percentage of 64.1% was a fair bit higher than supported by those numbers, which translate to a Pythagenpat expected winning percentage of 57.6%.
Over their last 28 games they have averaged 3.29 runs per game and are allowing an average of 3.86. Their winning percentage of 42.9% is essentially the same as their Pythagenpat expected winning percentage of 43.0%.
Here is a comparison of the team’s performance using Fangraphs’ version of WAR, split into roughly these selective endpoints (Full season minus last 30 days). First the position players, including defense by UZR.
Vernon Wells’s decent into sub-replacment level has been the real killer of late. He’s been so bad he’s effectively neutralized how good Brett Gardner has been. The whole team has been abysmal over the last 30 days. Their 0.2 WAR over 28 games would translate to 1.2 WAR over a full season. For the entire team. That’s essentially half of a 48 win team if you had replacement level pitching.
And the pitchers, using RA-9 wins, not FIP.
The pitching hasn’t been as good of late, but it hasn’t really been a problem. On a rate basis they’ve dropped from a rate of about .17 WAR/Game to .14 WAR/Game but if they had a competent offense backing them up they’d be fine.
Logic tells me that there’s no way this team is as bad as it’s looked over the last month or so, but waiting for them to stop playing like this sure is aggravating.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
OAKLAND—You can often hear chatter in the clubhouses that the ball does not seem to fly as well during night games at the O.co Coliseum. It may be true, but it only seemed to be reality for the Yankees on Wednesday.
Brandon Moss homered twice to lead the Athletics to a 5-2 win over a punchless Yankees lineup that managed just four singles and has now been unable to put the ball over the wall in its last five contests.
“That’s too much. We’re the Bronx Bombers,” said Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. “But give them credit; this is not really a home run-hitting ballpark anyway. Neither is Seattle, for that matter. We just haven’t gotten it done.”
Nope, you haven’t.
I stayed with the game until Joba Chamberlain tanked it in the bottom of the eighth by allowing a 3-2 deficit to swell to 5-2. As Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, who started the game and pitched poorly, head towards free agency at the end of this season it’s games like this that remind me how disappointing it is that they are where they are right now and not where we’d hoped they’d be.
But once again, the loss can be credited in large part to the aforementioned punchless lineup. Getting back Kevin Youkilis (.176/.263/.265 in 38 PA since his return from the DL) and Mark Teixiera (.182/.245/.409 in 49 PA since his return) hasn’t helped much, has it? Nor has Robinson Cano’s .189/.333/.297 line in June. Did I mention Vernon Wells who has .212/.242/.318 in his last 178 PA and .118/.143/.118 in June?
Perhaps the “Vernon Wells is bad at baseball” crowd were on to something after all…
Monday, June 3, 2013
A Tale of Six Shortstops
|Derek Jeter’s average projection||189||53||8||1||2||15||2||5||.281||.339||.369||22|
These are the splits for everyone while playing shortstop for the Yankees this season along with Derek Jeter’s average offensive projections pro-rated to the same playing time. Batting runs are pure offense compared to zero, not adjusted for position.
|Derek Jeter’s defensive projections||SS||497||-5||-3||-5||-4|
These are the year-to-date defensive statistics using three different play by play metrics for the Yankee shortstops this season, along with Jeter’s projections in those metrics pro-rated to the same playing time. Standard caveats about both the sample size here and the unreliability of defensive metrics apply, as always.
The projections don’t know how Jeter’s ankle injury will affect him offensively or defensively. It’s entirely possible he won’t be nearly as good as his projections think he is on either side of the ball.
But in the world where the projections accurately reflect what Jeter could be doing in 2013, 150 games of what the Yankees have gotten from shortstop compared to 150 games of Jeter’s projections is worth about 29 runs, or three wins. Even if you regress that in both directions and say the gap is closer to 15 runs, it’s pretty obvious the Yankees miss Jeter badly.
I hope the Yankees have some kind of plan in place to address this in 2014 if they aren’t going to do anything about it this year.
A Picture that’s Worth Three Words
wOBA: Weighed on-base average
See if you can guess the three words.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
NEW YORK—The fingers waggled from the Yankees’ dugout and Phil Hughes obediently followed instructions on the mound, tossing four wide ones to David Ortiz to load the bases and take his chances with Mike Napoli digging in.
Hughes lost that third-inning gamble as Napoli blasted his fifth career grand slam to right field, and it turned into a rout from there as the Red Sox trounced the Yankees, 11-1, on Saturday night, handing New York its sixth loss in seven games.
“Tonight really was just one pitch I’d like to have back,” Hughes said. “I feel like if I can find a way to get Napoli out there, that’s really a momentum shifter.”
On their way to producing a season-high 18 hits, the Red Sox scored all five of their runs off Hughes in that third inning, with Napoli’s ninth home run of the season serving as the big blow.
I’m glad I missed this one.
Friday, May 31, 2013
These are the worst 20 seasons for the Yankees in terms of games without a walk.
|Year||Gm||Gm w/o BB||%|
Sometimes the numbers speak for themselves.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
2013 MLB Team Battting, May 1 through May 28
Yankee “offense” in May:
Thursday, May 16, 2013
You can click on the title to see the list of all 222 games by a starter who didn’t last one inning and gave up at least seven runs, but here is the list of Yankees who have achieved this memorable feat.
|1||Phil Hughes||5/15/2013||NYY||SEA||L 2-12||GS-1 L||0.2||6||7||7||2||0||1|
|2||Bartolo Colon||7/14/2011||NYY||TOR||L 7-16||GS-1 L||0.2||6||8||3||2||0||0|
|3||Mike Mussina||5/20/2008||NYY||BAL||L 2-12||GS-1 L||0.2||5||7||1||2||1||0|
|4||Orlando Hernandez||6/18/2000||NYY||CHW||L 4-17||GS-1 L||0.2||6||9||9||3||1||1|
|5||Wade Taylor||6/14/1991||NYY||TEX||L 4-8||GS-1 L||0.2||4||7||7||2||0||1|
|6||Andy Hawkins||9/26/1989||NYY||BOS||L 5-9||GS-1 L||0.1||5||8||8||3||0||0|
|7||Tommy John||7/11/1979||NYY||SEA||L 1-16||GS-1 L||0.1||6||7||7||1||1||0|
|8||Ken Holtzman||7/20/1976||NYY||CHW||W 14-9||GS-1||0.1||5||7||6||2||0||1|
|9||Steve Kline||7/24/1970||NYY||OAK||L 0-11||GS-1 L||0.2||4||7||7||3||1||0|
|10||Vic Raschi||7/25/1953||NYY||DET||W 15-11||GS-1||0.2||5||7||7||2||0||0|
|11||Atley Donald||1945-05-20 (1)||NYY||SLB||L 1-10||0.2||5||7||5||2||1||0|
|12||Bump Hadley||8/18/1936||NYY||WSH||L 2-9||0.1||2||7||5||4||1||0|
|13||Roy Sherid||1931-05-25 (2)||NYY||PHA||L 4-16||0.2||3||7||7||3||0||0|
|14||Allen Russell||1919-07-05 (2)||NYY||WSH||L 5-11||0.2||6||8||3||0||0||1|
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
NEW YORK—Raul Ibanez definitely hasn’t forgotten how friendly Yankee Stadium’s dimensions can be.
Last year’s postseason hero belted a grand slam into the right-field bullpen and then served an opposite-field two-run homer over the left-field wall, leading the Mariners to a 12-2 trouncing of the Yankees in the Bronx on Wednesday.
The early portion of the display came at the expense of former teammate Phil Hughes, who was battered for a season-high seven runs and could not make it out of the first inning.
Seattle sent 11 men to the plate in the first inning, 10 of them against Hughes, who allowed six hits and two walks in a 17-minute appearance before being removed from the shortest start of his big league career.
There have been just seven other starters in Yankees history to complete two-thirds of an inning or less while allowing seven or more runs; Orlando Hernandez was the most recent, permitting nine runs in two-thirds of an inning on June 18, 2000, against the White Sox.
So, about that Hughes extension…
It normally takes Seattle a week to score 12 runs.
Friday, April 5, 2013
DETROIT—The first road game of the season provided both insult and injury for the Yankees, who fell, 8-3, to the Tigers on Friday.
In the fourth inning, shortstop Eduardo Nunez was hit by a pitch in the right arm. He was diagnosed with a bruised right bicep, but precautionary X-Rays were negative.
Ivan Nova got off to a rough start for New York, allowing singles to the first two batters he faced. One run came in on a fielder’s choice, but a strikeout and lineout got Nova out of the frame.
In the second, a leadoff walk came around to score on a two-out single. Nova struck out the side, but he had reached six three-ball counts his first time through the order.
This team stinks home and away.
I was not able to watch this game due to work, but it seems to me this loss can be pinned more on the players not executing than anything else.
I was hoping for a big year from Ivan Nova, but every crappy start is forcing me to admit that maybe it’s just not happening with him. Should David Phelps pitch well tomorrow, it seems the fair thing to do if Phil Hughes is ready to return to the rotation and everyone else is healthy (HAHAHA) is to send Nova down to work on his new mechanics and see if he can either fix his crappy command or start getting more ground balls again.
Win tomorrow or hope you can beat Justin Verlander with a diminished CC Sabathia. Yeah…
The news on Nunez makes his injury seem relatively minor and that’s good, because the Yankees essentially don’t have a third string shortstop on their 40 man roster right now.
I’d say fast forward to 2014, but that team is going to be worse than this one.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees set a record for baseball’s highest opening-day payroll at $230.4 million, almost 10 times what the Houston Astros are paying their players.
After all the talk of spending restraint during the offseason, the Yankees began the season Monday well ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are at $214.8 million and only the second franchise to break the $200 million barrier, according to a study of big league contracts by The Associated Press.
Worth every penny.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
There is little that screams the words “damage” and “control” like a typically news-media-shy baseball owner suddenly making the rounds of sports talk radio and opening his door to quotation-hungry reporters. In a spate of recent interviews, Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, has given his personal assurance that his franchise remains committed to “fielding a championship-caliber team every year.”
Does a fan base that has gorged on postseason baseball in 17 of the past 18 seasons and wields its annual World Series expectations like a Babe Ruth-model bat now buy Steinbrenner’s song of eternal spring?
This is not a championship-caliber team. That doesn’t mean they won’t be one by the end of the year, but if I had to pick a win total for the 2013 Yankees today I’d pick something like the 85 wins they averaged in the projection blowout. According to that, they’ve got around a 1 in 3 chance at qualifying for the postseason.
85 win teams can win 95 games. The season isn’t lost before it starts. But the Yankees have an uphill climb this year, and are going to need some stuff to break right if they’re going to be in the running for winning a World Series.
And I’m okay with that. They probably could have made a few moves this offseason that put them in the 90 win range, but I don’t know that it would have been the right thing to do for the long-term outlook of the team. One thing that I hope they’re paying attention to is that with Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Buster Posey and soon Clayton Kershaw all re-signing with their current teams, putting all their eggs into resetting the luxury tax rate so they can spend big on free agents isn’t necessarily going to be a panacea for re-making the Yankees into a powerhouse. Teams are getting smarter about locking up their best players, and the free agent markets are getting worse and worse. The Yankees need to develop their own talent, and be willing to take risks on international talent, because they aren’t necessarily going to be able to buy their way out of .500-ness if that’s where they are heading. If this is an 85 win team today, what will they be next year?
Can the current organization develop their own talent? More importantly, can they develop that talent and keep it and be patient with it if it doesn’t hit the ground running? This team would look a lot better if they still had Austin Jackson and Melky Cabrera and Jesus Montero and Ian Kennedy around, but I don’t know that they would have had the patience to deal with their varying degrees of struggles.
I really don’t know. To be honest, I have absolutely zero faith in this current front office adjusting to the way MLB is changing.
But maybe they will. If they can’t, I hope they are held accountable.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Yankees released first baseman/outfielder Juan Rivera, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Rivera, 34, hit .244/.286/.375 in 339 plate appearances for the Dodgers last year, though he did slug .433 against lefties. He signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in January, and despite injuries to Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira, did not make the Opening Day roster. The Yankees added Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay this week. Wells, Overbay, and Ben Francisco are making the team, Rivera was told, according to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and others. Outfielder Brennan Boesch will also make the club, GM Brian Cashman said (Joel Sherman of the New York Post reporting).
Rivera didn’t look good defensively at first base and with Lyle Overbay falling into their laps this is probably the right move. Overbay is the better defender and as a lefty hitter will have the platoon advantage more frequently. That being said, CAIRO still thinks he’s a replacement level hitter for a 1B.
Overbay’s defense might pull him up to replacement level. But I suppose the more relevant consideration when it comes to Overbay is not wins above replacement, but wins above Rivera. 250 PA of Overbay projects to be worth about 29 runs and 250 PA of Rivera projects to be worth 27 runs. We can probably add another run or three for defense so this is a slight upgrade. It still stinks, but it stinks a few runs less than it did.
I’m not surprised the Yankees have decided to go with Ben Francisco since he has MLB experience. He’s another one who doesn’t project very well.
Nothing like stocking up the bench of an old and injured team with a bunch of sub-replacement level players. Is it too late to take the under on 85 wins?
Now we get to see what useful players they will DFA or release to get Overbay, Francisco and I assume Jayson Nix onto the roster. I don’t see the point in losing someone useful to get Francisco onto the roster, but that sure looks like where things are heading.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Vernon Wells’s Projections
BRAR is assuming Wells is a LF.
CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
Defense and Baserunning
gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
Assuming 398 PA.
If you can’t say anything nice…
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Looking Ahead to 2013 - Alex Rodriguez
Heading into 2012, my biggest concern with Alex Rodriguez was his health. He actually ended up playing a bit more than I thought, but his rate of performance was worse than expected. Here are his 2012 projections compared to what he actually did.
His average and OBP were right around his projections and he picked up a bit of value with better than expected base stealing, but his power was down pretty significantly, as he hit 6 fewer doubles and 6 fewer homers than he projected to on a pro-rated basis. Rodriguez was hitting .276/.358/.449 through July 24 when he got hit on the hand by a Felix Hernandez pitch that cost him about six weeks and hit .261/.341/.369 after his return. As you are likely aware of, he had a dreadful postseason including getting pinch-hit for although it was eventually revealed that his hip had been bothering him for quite a while and may have had something to do with his disappointing late season performance.
Rodriguez ended up having hip surgery this January and will likely miss at least the first half of the season. Here are his 2013 projections.
The only projections that appear to be accounting for the amount of time Rodriguez is expected to miss are Clay Davenport’s and Steamer. Oliver’s projection is a bit jarring, but the rest are basically in-line with each other.
I’m estimating about 300 PA for Rodriguez, which would be worth around 12 BRAR according to his average projection.
CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
If I adjust Rodriguez’s baseline CAIRO forecast for 300 PA, here are his percentile forecasts.
It’s possible his hip surgery will allow him to perform better than the baseline, but I’m not convinced that even if that was true something else won’t go wrong. But I suppose I could see the 65% forecast happening in both playing time and performance.
Defense and Base Running
Rodriguez had a very good defensive season in 2011 but fell below average again in 2012. He projects around average in 2013.
gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
Rodriguez used to add value on the bases but these days he doesn’t appear to.
Given 300 PA, here is how Rodriguez’s value looks in each of the various projections.
Here’s an exercise for the readership. Is that worth what he’s being paid?
I have no idea if Rodriguez will be punished for the whole BioGenesis thing, although I’m hoping if he gets suspended it happens now so he can serve his time while on the DL.
At this point I don’t think Rodriguez will ever stay healthy for a full season again, and I also don’t think he’s going to get to 700 HRs. I can see him out-hitting his projections when he plays, especially if he can get more drive from his hips. If he can manage 13 homers this year he ties Willie Mays and gets a $6M bonus. If he can’t do that and it happens in 2014, it could screw up the Yankee’s goal of getting under a $189M payroll.
The good news is that he’s signed for only four more seasons after 2013.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
In many ways, the topic was a moot point. Most interesting was the reaction of Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, who in separate meetings with reporters, wore pained, irritated looks when asked several questions about it, and ultimately responded with sarcasm, as if Chamberlain had expressed a fantasy akin to colonizing Mars.
“First I’ve heard of it,” Girardi said of Chamberlain expressing a desire to start. “I’d like to catch one more game, too.”
As the manager walked away and Cashman entered the media scrum, the 48-year-old Girardi said: “Cash, I told them, my answer was, I’d like to catch five innings, that’s it, one [more] time. You’ll get a kick out of it.”
Said Cashman: “We’re down an outfield bat right now, too. [We’ll] see if he can play center or not.”
Yeah, it’s the same topic as the last thread, but the Yankees’ reaction really irritates me.
Am I still a fan of the team if I hate the way they do almost everything? Perhaps I should consult with Jeter is King?
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Was told today that the Yankees have no interest in C George Kottaras, who was recently DFA by Oakland.
CAIRO says Kottaras would project to hit around .235/.330/.416 as a Yankee. More importantly than that, he’d project to have a wOBA of .334 vs. RHP, in contract to Francisco Cervelli’s projected wOBA of .292 vs. RHP and Chris Stewart’s projected wOBA of .283 vs. RHP. About 400 of the Yankees 619 catcher PAs last season came against RHP. Here’s the difference in run value over 400 PA with those numbers.
.334 vs. .292 = 14
.334 vs. .283 = 17
Is it possible defense nullifies that gap? It’s possible, but I also think it’s doubtful.
I really don’t get this team.
Monday, January 14, 2013
New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte and first baseman Mark Teixeira will compete for the United States this March at the World Baseball Classic, according to a report from CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman. Pettitte will be reunited with Team USA manager Joe Torre, who piloted Pettitte with the Yankees from 1996 to 2003 and again in 2007.
Maybe the early start will help Teixeira, but I’m not particularly happy to see Pettitte pitching in what are essentially meaningless exhibition games given his age and his inability to stay healthy in 2010 and 2012. Add in Joe Torre who’ll probably make Pettitte throw 130 pitches a start and you have a recipe for disaster looming.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Hal Steinbrenner gave a rare press conference yesterday and it was fascinating in how his comments have been taken to mean two very different approaches from the Yankees going forward.
First, on the matter of the $189 million goal that the Yankees have set for themselves for 2014:
We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.
This suggests that they will exceed $189 million if the 2014 roster just cannot compete otherwise.
However, he also notes that the $189 goal is not a one year goal:
I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.
There’s more at the link, but it is an interesting mix between good news (the Yankees would be willing to exceed $189 million if they think that the 2014 team needs it) and bad (the Austerity 2014 plan will be an ongoing plan).
Update: Here’s my take on the interview [SG]
Question: Are you concerned about some of the things you saw in the playoffs last year – fan anger, empty seats, etc.?
Steinbrenner: “I’m surprised to hear that there’s anger if you see what we’ve done this off-season. Like I said, we’ve signed three or four of the top free agents on the market, because we’re going to continue to field a championship-caliber team. I’m a little surprised to hear that. The empty seats in the playoffs were due to a variety of reasons, quite frankly. The schedule, Stubhub, things like that. A lot of tickets being available shortly before the game. We didn’t know we were going to be in it. Obviously we went to Game 5 in the first series, you got the next game the day after, so it was challenging. … I’m a little surprised to hear about the anger. But look, all I can continue to tell everyone is our commitment to the fans is never going to change. We will always field a championship-caliber team. Is our goal 189 next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced that the team I see we put together is a championship-caliber team.”
Seriously? Are you going to blame Stubhub this year when attendance is even lower. You probably won’t have to worry about not selling out in the postseason at least, so that’s a non-issue.
Question: Will $189 million be less of a goal in future years once you get under in 2014, since the luxury tax rate goes down once you’re no longer a repeat offender?
Steinbrenner: “I don’t see it being less of a goal. I believe that you don’t have to have a $220 million payroll to win a world championship, and you shouldn’t have to.”
So much for the hope that this was a short-term thing to get under the luxury tax threshold as a reset.
Question: Do you foresee reaching an extension with Robinson Cano before he hits free agency next winter?
Steinbrenner: “Again, I’m not a big believer in extensions, but there are exceptions to every rule. We’ll see what happens. There’s been no real significant dialogue as of yet.”
So he wants to maintain a $189M payroll in perpetuity, but he won’t sign players to extensions. So what’s the plan then Hal? Let everyone play their six years and leave?
I found this interview really disappointing. Steinbrenner comes off as out of touch and unaware, and he only mentions Manny Banuelos and Michael Pineda as possible low-cost alternatives in 2014 while either ignoring or not realizing the offense is likely to be in pretty terrible shape as well.
I’m really hoping the idea is to get the team into the position to sell it now. I suppose the alternative could be worse, but I’m not liking what I’m seeing and hearing from this Steinbrenner.
Friday, December 14, 2012
It’s not much of a surprise that Ichiro Suzuki is going to be returning to the Yankees in 2013.
But 2014, too?
The Yankees and Ichiro were closing in on a two-year contract worth between $12 million-$13 million, a deal that will keep the veteran outfielder in pinstripes through his 41st birthday.
I’m having a tough time reconciling the fact that the Yankees are willing to go two years on Ichiro while targeting a payroll of $189M in 2014. Ichiro would probably project to be worth about the two wins over two seasons he needs to be to make the contract reasonable, but if you can’t produce a one win player for less than $6M what the hell are you doing?
Ichiro may have some impact in revenue and marketing beyond his on-the-field value as he moves towards 3000 MLB hits, but it’s highly unlikely he gets there by the end of 2014. So it’s tough to justify the contract in that regard.
This means that the Yankees have $6M less to play with in 2014 for a team that’s likely to have a lot of holes. They have to replace/re-sign some combination of Mariano Rivera/Phil Hughes/Hiroki Kuroda/Andy Pettitte/Curtis Granderson/Kevin Youkilis/Robinson Cano or they’re likely looking at a 70-75 win team.
Can they do that? Time will tell.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
The winter meetings — and the baseball offseason in general — has normally been a place where the Yankees have reigned supreme. If there was a free agent they wanted or needed, they got that free agent, money be damned.
The times, though, they are a changing.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to the winter meetings in Nashville this week lacking the authority to make any sort of deals to free agents. New York reportedly offered Kevin Youkilis a one-year deal eventually, but that was only after Cashman was able to gain approval from Yankees ownership.
Agent Scott Boras hinted earlier in the week that Cashman was being held back. “He had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority,” Boras said, according to the Journal. “He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”
Why would a GM need authority to make free agent offers anyway?
A lot of people are getting mad at Cashman, but if you are going to get mad you probably need to shift your attention to the guys who tell him what to do. Hal Steinbrenner has every right to operate his team the way he wants, and fans have the right to not support the product if they don’t like it.
So who should our new team be? I need an hour or so to change the underlying assumptions and components in CAIRO to make them look better.
Monday, December 3, 2012
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Yankees and Alex Rodriguez are concerned the third baseman’s surgically repaired right hip is damaged.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Rodriguez recently visited Dr. Marc Phillippon in Colorado after experiencing tightness in the hip that Phillippon operated on in 2009.
“It’s an issue,’’ the person said. “A big issue.’’
The worst contract ever continues to get worse…
Thursday, November 15, 2012
It’s an unusual place to be for the Yankees, who are more accustomed to reloading during the winter rather than watching their neighbors—other than the Red Sox—beat them to the punch. One reason for that is the Yankees’ desire to get below the $189-million luxury tax threshold for the 2014 season, a mandate Levine repeated Wednesday.
That’s influencing the front office’s measure of prospective contracts, and how they can limit them in length. As for how quickly all of that gets accomplished, Levine laughed at the idea the Yankees were lagging, despite Torii Hunter signing a two-year, $26-million contract with the Tigers earlier that same day.
“I think we feel good,” Levine said. “The tortoise usually wins the race. We have a plan. We’re going to try and execute it. We’ll react as it happens. We have a pretty good idea of where we want to be and we’re working on it. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.”
Unfortunately the plan appears to be to sign only people that will take one year deals which pretty much leaves you with the dregs of free agency and/or hoping that a bunch of 38-42 year old players come back.
This is shaping up to be an awfully boring offseason.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — The Yankees are so serious about dropping under that $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014 that, according to a source briefed on their plans, they would not even do a two-year contract in the $20 million range with Torii Hunter, The Post has learned.
Though Arizona’s Justin Upton has become available at the GM Meetings, a person involved in discussions said, “The Yankees are not on him.”
Yankees officials are insisting that you either commit to a philosophy or not, and they remain galvanized on gaining the financial benefits that are available via the collective bargaining agreement if they slip below $189 million.
So how do the Yankees’ find a replacement to Swisher that a) costs little and b) approximates the 24 homers, 93 RBIs and .837 OPS (remember, the Yankees will be looking for power here, especially because they are committed to Brett Gardner in one of the other outfield slots)?
The answer could be a lefty-righty platoon. For example, they could re-ink Ibanez to face righties and sign a free agent such as Scott Hairston, Jonny Gomes or switch-hitter Melky Cabrera to face lefties. Mets officials think Hairston will get a two-year deal for between $8 million-to-$10 million, which may be too rich for either New York team. Arizona’s Jason Kubel, Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones and Oakland’s Seth Smith all are lefty hitters with pop who probably could be had in trades.
85 wins, here we come.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The Detroit Tigers didn’t win the American League pennant Wednesday night. But strategically speaking, they won the rainout.
When Major League Baseball postponed Game 4 until Thursday, the Tigers benefited in two ways: CC Sabathia will no longer be available to pitch a potential Game 7 for the New York Yankees, and Detroit reliever Phil Coke — who temporarily ascended to the closer’s role amid Jose Valverde’s struggles — should be available to pitch in Game 4. (Tigers manager Jim Leyland had said Coke would be off Wednesday, after closing back-to-back games.)
MLB postponed Game 4 because the forecast left doubt concerning the potential to play nine innings, under the rule that postseason games must be played to completion; heavy rain hit downtown Detroit in what would have been the middle innings.
It’s not like Detroit needed another advantage. It’s not likely to matter, but we’ll see.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
On the heels of a playoff weekend in which the Yankees played in front of thousands of empty seats in the Bronx, the team now appears concerned that it will be unable to sell out next weekend, either, if the Yankees do make it to Games 6 and 7 of the American League Championship Series.
I’m guessing they don’t need to be concerned about this.
The Yankees have been sending e-mails to fans inviting them to buy tickets to Games 6 and 7, which would be played on Saturday and Sunday at Yankee Stadium if the Yankees, who entered Tuesday’s Game 3 trailing by 2-0 in the series, can avoid elimination in Detroit. While it is unclear how many tickets are for sale, an online map of Yankee Stadium shows that seats are available in nearly every section of the first two decks. The lowest-priced seats in those sections are in the far reaches of the upper deck and cost $113. More seats appear available for a deciding Game 7 than for Game 6.
Should these emails be considered spam?
Prices for tickets to Games 6 and 7 have also fallen 30 percent in the past week. Yankees team officials say that online ticket resellers undercut their ability to sell tickets at the box office. They contend that many of the tickets for sale online are being sold by ticket brokers and scalpers.
Or, it could be your overcharging for a product that’s just not that compelling.
I’m not sure why a 95 win team hasn’t hasn’t captured the heart of a lot of fans. But I do know that it’s happened. I’m not as into this team as I’ve been to prior teams, and while I can’t put my finger directly on why that is, I think it has to do with the construction of the roster. I’m just not as emotionally invested in a lot of these players for whatever reason. It started for me when Mariano Rivera got hurt. While Rafael Soriano did an admirable job of replacing him, he’s not Mo. Losing Andy Pettitte for half the season didn’t help things. Losing Brett Gardner for the whole year didn’t help either.
The Yankees are really coming off like jerks with their whining about ticket resellers. Put a better product on the field and/or charge less and you’ll get your ticket sales back.
Monday, October 15, 2012
Postseason RBI Percentage since 2002
One of the reports you can generate via the Baseball Musings Day by Day Database is something they call Postseason RBI Percentage. It only goes back to 2002, and it’s calculated as 100*(RBI-HR)/Runners On. Not all RBI opportunities are equal, so there’s some limit to how useful it is, but it’s a quick and easy way to see what players have been the best and worst in the postseason at driving in runs.
You probably know where I’m going with this. Here’s the list of the worst hitters who had at least 20 runners on base.
|Player||Runners On||Runs Batted In||Home Runs||RBI Pct.|
If we up the threshold to 50 runners on base Swisher ends up third behind Mark Kotsay and Brad Ausmus. So he’s not the worst postseason RBI guy of the last 11 years.
Nick Swisher’s relationship with the fans at Yankee Stadium — especially his beloved Bleacher Creatures in right field — admittedly has taken more hits in these playoffs than he’s managed at the plate.
Swisher is mired in his fourth consecutive postseason slump since joining the Yankees, and the pending free agent has been noticeably stung that the fans booed their one-time favorite and several teammates throughout most of the back-to-back home losses Saturday and Sunday against the Tigers.
“(Saturday) night was pretty big. A lot of people saying a lot of things that I’ve never heard before,” Swisher said. “Prime example - I missed that ball in the lights and the next thing you know, I’m the reason that (Derek) Jeter got hurt. It’s kind of frustrating. They were saying it was my fault.”
Swisher, who may have played his final home game as a Yankee if the series doesn’t return to New York, normally does an emphatic military salute to the Bleacher Creatures during their customary first-inning roll call, but he admittedly took warm-up throws closer to the infield and noticeably toned down his interaction with those fans during Sunday’s 3-0 loss.
“That’s the last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad,” said Swisher, who is an unfathomable 1-for-34 with runners in scoring position in his postseason career. “Especially your home, where your heart is, where you’ve been battling and grinding all year long. It’s just frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It’s not like you’re trying to go out there and do bad on purpose. It’s just tough, man.
Yes Nick, it’s frustrating.
I have little doubt that Swisher is trying his hardest. But frankly I’ve given up on the notion that his postseason performance is purely a small sample size fluke, and I’m kind of glad that he’ll be gone after this postseason. Yes, I realize that makes me a bad stathead. Thanks for four good to great regular seasons.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The 50 Worst Postseason Hitters in MLB since 2002
Using OPS, with a minimum of 100 PA.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Update: Banuelos (elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery Oct. 4, Josh Norris of the Trentonian reports.
Recommendation: The Yankees held Banuelos out of action since May in hopes of avoiding surgery on his injured elbow, but apparently his arm did not heal as hoped. It usually takes around a year to recover from the Tommy John procedure, so Banuelos will miss most, if not all, of the 2013 campaign. The elbow issues are a major setback for a pitcher who entered 2012 ranked 29th among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects.
Great. I’d love to know why they waited for five months on this.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
TORONTO—Russell Martin has tried to take pride in not bringing his at-bats behind the plate during what has been a mostly disappointing season, but the Yankees have no complaints about how he’s swinging now.
Martin continued his September surge by launching a big three-run homer to break open Friday’s 11-4 victory over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, helping inch the Yankees closer to their goal of securing the American League East title.
New York’s victory dropped its magic number for clinching a postseason berth to two and a division title to five, but the Yankees and second-place Orioles remain separated by just one game in the AL East, as Baltimore posted a 9-1 win over the Red Sox that the Yankees couldn’t help but notice on the scoreboard.
Martin’s picked the right time to start getting hits. Now let’s hope that Robinson Cano isn’t hurt too badly.
Is there some reason Rafael Soriano had to pitch with a seven run lead last night? Just curious, I didn’t get to see the game.
And I’d like to thank the Red Sox for putting forth such a strong effort against the Orioles. Getting a leadoff single and then not getting another hit the rest of the game? That’s almost Yankee-like. Let’s hope they can keep applying the pressure to the Orioles over the next two days.
Friday, September 28, 2012
The Division “Lead”Standings on July 27th, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
If the Yankees were actually to fall not just out of first place but all the way out of the playoffs, I suspect there will be a groundswell for the organization to behave like, well, the Yankees.
In 2008 when the Yanks missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993, they invested $423.5 million on CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. The further impetus was provided by the need to fill an expensive new stadium opening in 2009.
Well, those seats still cost a ton, the need to feed a winner to the team-owned network remains vital and the tolerance for even a single year out of the postseason remains unacceptable at the top reaches of the Yankees organization. The knee-jerk reaction is the Yanks would throw their wallet at their problems to make sure that they don’t miss the postseason again anytime soon.
And I wouldn’t be surprised if, after all the talk about getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014, the Yankees U-turn should this season end poorly. They are not going to jeopardize the brand — worth billions — to save the millions available via the new collective bargaining agreement for going under the threshold.
a) I’d be really surprised
b) What exactly would they spend it on?
Sherman alludes to the important point that MLB’s free agent classes are getting weaker and weaker every season. I’m not sure why this doesn’t get more mention. Team revenues are up across the board and teams are extending their best young players through arbitration and the first handful of years of free agency which means you’re left picking from more past-their-prime players and players of lesser quality. A free agent class with Cole Hamels and Matt Cain would look a lot better than the one we’re looking at now.
It seems to me the Yankees have to decide on a plan regardless of what happens the rest of this season. If they think they can still win with this core of players, they need to supplement them with players that will likely put them over their 2014 payroll target. If they realize that it’s going to be harder and harder to patch the holes on this team as they continue to move away from their primes, they may have to suffer a few down years while they reload. Reloading is going to take astute evaluation of their minor league talent and that of other teams. They need to figure out who to keep, who to trade away and who to trade for. They have to develop that talent. They have to keep adding to that talent.
Can the current front office, scouting and development staff do that? I’m not sure. They sure haven’t convinced me that they’re more capable of it than the majority of the teams in baseball, and it’s going to be more important if they are truly moving away from outspending everyone.
Player A vs. Player B
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
How To Blow a 10 Game Lead in 47 Days
|David Phelps||11||4||2||1||33 1/3||24||12||12||5||10||34||2||1||0||3.24||3.24||4.04|
|Clay Rapada||20||0||1||0||9 2/3||10||4||4||1||3||9||0||1||0||3.72||3.72||3.46|
|David Robertson||21||0||0||2||20 2/3||18||5||5||1||4||19||1||0||0||2.18||2.18||2.57|
|Rafael Soriano||17||0||0||1||17 2/3||14||6||6||2||2||19||1||0||1||3.06||3.06||2.88|
|Boone Logan||18||0||2||2||13 2/3||11||6||6||1||7||16||0||0||0||3.95||3.95||3.20|
|Cody Eppley||16||0||0||2||13 1/3||18||8||7||0||4||11||0||0||1||5.40||4.73||2.30|
|Derek Lowe||8||0||0||1||9 1/3||17||7||6||2||2||8||0||0||0||6.75||5.79||4.76|
|Joba Chamberlain||10||0||0||0||8 2/3||17||9||9||2||5||7||2||0||0||9.35||9.35||6.86|
|Cory Wade||1||0||0||0||1 2/3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.00||3.05|
The interesting thing on the offensive side is the fact that the Yankees’ seeming lack of clutch ability doesn’t really show up if you compare their linear weights batting runs to their actual runs scored. They haven’t done a bad job of converting their hits and walks to runs, they just haven’t done a good job of getting hits and walks.
I knew Curtis Granderson has been pretty bad for most of the second half, but I didn’t realize it was quite that bad. Missing Mark Teixeira hasn’t helped of late, but a .256/.319/.402 line from a 1B who plays half his games in DNYS isn’t exactly something that’s going to make a big difference. Teixeira’s probably better than that, but over the last 25-30 games of the season it wouldn’t surprise to see him do no better than that or even worse.
I won’t get into all of the team’s splits over the past 47 days, but here’s a link from David Pinto’s Day by Day database so you can see them for yourselves. Some highlights:
The team is hitting .234/.288/.400 when trailing. That wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t trail in every game.
The team has gotten a sparkling line of .210/.283/.338 from left field
They’ve hit .222/.296/.369 vs. LHP. Luckily they won’t face LHP in every single game over the rest of the year, only maybe half of them.
They’re hitting .175/.259/.283 so far in September. It’s like they switched to bizarro National League rules where only the pitchers hit.
The gap between the pitching staff’s FIP and ERA is about 6 runs, so they haven’t been the victims of exceedingly bad luck in terms of BABIP either. Hiroki Kuroda is really the only starting pitcher doing well, and as we all know they’re effectively down to a two man bullpen, maybe two and a half if you give Boone Logan partial credit. Maybe Cory Wade can re-discover whatever it was that made him effective during the first half of his Yankee tenure, and maybe a healthy and effective Ivan Nova can push David Phelps back into the bullpen and they can beef it up a bit.
Again, I won’t get into all of the pitching staff’s splits but you can see them at this link.
A team that scores 193 runs and allows 190 should be about a .507 team, so I suppose you could point to the Yankees’ record in close games as the primary culprit for their fall from grace. They’ve gone 19-25 over the past 47 days instead of their Pythagenpat expected record of 22-22.
All is not lost of course. The Yankees are still tied for first place. If you remove the “contributions” of Ryota Igarishi, Derek Lowe, Casey McGehee and DeWayne Wise from their overall stats they’ve played more like a .513 team. I’m not sure why Lowe is still on the roster, and I’m hoping he never throws another pitch in pinstripes.
Here is a random and not necessarily meaningful split of the team’s record in games that a player has appeared in. The obvious takeaway from that is that since they’re 13-4 in games that Rafael Soriano has pitched in he should pitch every day. Another “fun” stat? The Yankees are 1-7 in games that Derek Lowe and Alex Rodriguez have appeared in since July 19. I can’t wait for the MSM to latch onto that last one.
Since the Rays and Orioles play each other six more times this season, the Yankees have a chance to gain some ground on at least one of them. Of course, they can’t do that if they don’t start winning freaking games.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG—The Rays crushed three homers to power their way to a 5-2 win over the Yankees at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, clinching a series win and in the process pulling within 1 1/2 games of the American League East-leading Yankees.
New York now shares the division’s top spot with the Baltimore Orioles, who routed Toronto, 12-0, earlier in the evening.
The playoffs effectively started tonight. The Yankees pissed away their 10 game division lead and have lost sole possession of first place in the AL East for the first time in 84 games. So now they have to outplay Baltimore and Tampa Bay over the rest of the season if they want to take the division, something they haven’t been able to do since the All Star Break.
Monday, September 3, 2012
“It’s not a good feeling,” the Yankees’ Robinson Cano said. “You lose some games, and you just want to win games. You don’t want to put your head down. We’ve just got to turn the page; just be ready for tomorrow.”
That may be more difficult for Cano than others; the second baseman felt discomfort in his left hip trying to flag down the go-ahead hit, Chris Gimenez’s soft eighth-inning dribbler off losing pitcher David Robertson, as it scooted through the right side of the infield.
The Yankees do not expect Cano’s injury to force him to miss more than a day, but now that they’ve seen what was once a 10-game lead in the AL East trimmed to a single contest by virtue of the Orioles’ win over the Blue Jays, off-days are a luxury the Yankees can’t afford.
“I would love to keep the lead,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When you win the division, you don’t really care what you win by. You’d just love to keep the lead. That’s important.”
Scoring runs is also important. Staying healthy too. The Yankees seem to suck at both lately.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
As the Yankees head into an important 10-game stretch, it would have served them well to wrap up their final game against the last-place Toronto Blue Jays with a series-winning victory. Then they could have moved on to more significant matters, like playing their divisional rivals, with a clear conscience.
Instead they were sloppy and ineffective, allowing the scrappy Blue Jays to leave town with an 8-5 victory Wednesday afternoon and a series win. The Yankees made three errors, handed back leads, dropped balls and surrendered 12 hits in a game that should make Yankees fans shudder about their prospects against the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays.
With no game scheduled Thursday, the Yankees will have a full day to ruminate over one of their worst performances of the year.
Yesterday’s game was rough, and I’m seriously thinking this team will blow their division lead now. To lose to this version of Toronto, at home, in a game started by CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ? The Blue Jays came into this series having lost seven straight games and then won two out of three. The Cleveland Indians have won one of their last 14 games. Guess who they got the lone win against?
We’re waiting for Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixiera to come back from injury to save the team while ignoring the fact that we’ve been cursing them all year for their less than inspired performance.
What makes it especially frustrating is that there doesn’t appear to be any clear great teams in baseball. Texas’s injuries in the rotation make them appear slightly more vulnerable than they were. I don’t think anyone fears the Tigers or White Sox much. The Rays can pitch, but their offense isn’t the stuff of nightmares, and Baltimore seems like a classic case of overachieving. The whole National League is underwhelming, unless you think re-creating the 2011 Red Sox makes the Dodgers better than the 1927 Yankees.
We probably don’t have to wait until the end of September to see if the Yankees will lose the division. They can make or break their season over the next 10 games. Hopefully they start it off by taking the upcoming home series vs. Baltimore before they go on the road for 10 games (3 at Tampa Bay, 4 at Baltimore, and 3 against Boston).
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Ever wonder how Red Sox fans felt last year?
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
2012 Blown Saves by Yankees
|Mariano Rivera||4/6/2012||TBR||L 6-7||0.1||3||2||2||2||1||0||04/06|
|David Robertson||5/9/2012||TBR||L 1-4||0.2||3||4||4||1||1||1||05/09|
|Rafael Soriano||6/10/2012||NYM||W 5-4||0.1||3||1||1||0||0||0||06/10|
|Cory Wade||6/16/2012||WSN||W 5-3||0.2||1||1||1||1||0||1||06/16|
|Cory Wade||6/24/2012||NYM||W 6-5||0.1||1||0||0||1||1||0||06/24|
|Clay Rapada||6/27/2012||CLE||W 5-4||0.1||2||0||0||0||0||0||06/27|
|David Robertson||6/28/2012||CHW||L 3-4||1||1||1||1||0||1||1||06/28|
|David Robertson||7/2/2012||TBR||L 3-4||0.1||1||1||0||0||0||0||07/02|
|Rafael Soriano||7/22/2012||OAK||L 4-5||1||2||1||1||0||2||1||07/22|
|Boone Logan||8/16/2012||TEX||L 6-10||0.1||2||2||2||0||1||0||08/16|
|Rafael Soriano||8/27/2012||TOR||L 7-8||1||3||3||3||0||2||1||08/27|
Monday, August 27, 2012
NEW YORK - There is blood in the water in The Bronx and the sharks are beginning to circle.
On the morning of July 19, after completing a sweep of the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the day before, the New York Yankees woke up with a 10-game lead in the American League East. Life was good.
Thirty-eight days later, the Blue Jays are back in town and suddenly there is reason for concern.
That 10-game lead? It’s been sliced to four games and the Tampa Bay Rays, once a speck in the distance, just keep getting bigger and bigger in the Yankees’ rear-view mirror. And don’t look now, but the Baltimore Orioles are right there behind the Rays, breathing down the necks of the Yankees.
Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Rays on their 2012 AL East title.
Monday, August 6, 2012
According to the ESPN New York report, the team hopes that Banuelos’ shutdown will have him ready to play winter ball and during Spring Training, and that the hurler will not need surgery.
“He’ll recover from this,” Newman said in the report. “That’s what our doctors say. We have no doubt about it. At this point, there is no reason to push it. We are trying to be as prepared as we can for next season.”
The team HOPES? How about you just get the inevitable TJ surgery over with?
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
On Monday, they lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 5-4, allowing a rookie pitcher to subdue them for nearly seven innings while failing to come up with enough clutch hits in the end. It was the Yankees’ eighth loss in 11 games.
And the slide could get more slippery with another injury: first baseman Mark Teixeira left the game in the seventh with an injury to his left wrist after diving for a ground ball.
Teixeira said he initially tweaked the wrist Sunday during a swing against Boston’s Felix Doubront. He wore a protective sleeve over it Monday, but the dive worsened the injury.
Aside from that, it’s all good in Yankee land.
Here’s an interesting fact. On May 21, the Yankees were 21-21. Since July 19 they are 3-8. If you add those together you get 24-29. If you focus only on those 53 games and ignore the other 49 they’ve played (the ones where they went 36-13) they’re effectively a 73 win true talent team. So yeah, they are terrible. Awful. DFA everyone.
Or maybe they’re a good team going through a bad spell and people should calm the F down.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Teixeira doesn’t want to say who it was, except to say that it wasn’t hitting coach Kevin Long. Joe Girardi indicated on Sunday that it wasn’t him, saying it was a general feeling in the organization, and GM Brian Cashman said flatly that it wasn’t him.
It’s hard to imagine who else of importance would have gone to Teixeira, but the Yankee first baseman made it clear it was more than a request. And, in retrospect, he’s not happy about it.
“Hey, listen, halfway through last season I was on pace for 50 home runs and 130 RBI,’’ he said, “and I had people telling me, ‘you need to hit the ball the other way.’ I probably shouldn’t have listened to them but I try to please the people that I work for, and it didn’t work out.’’
Asked if he felt he had a choice in the matter, Teixeira was emphatic: “I was told to do something so I tried it,’’ he said.
I’m guessing it was hitting expert Randy Levine, the genius who brought us Raul Mondesi.
And then Valentine raised the prospect of the Yanks falling apart, a bigger longshot than the prospect of Boston overcoming an absurd rash of injuries and rallying over the final two months to earn one of two available wild cards.
Valentine wasn’t interested in talking about wild cards. When it was suggested Boston might be a liberated team in the postseason, a team feeling no pressure entering a sudden-death shootout, Valentine said, “But then again, we might win the division. Who knows?”
The division? The same division keeping the Red Sox in last place?
“Oh yeah,” Valentine said.
Not the wild card?
“I haven’t looked at it that way,” he answered. “No, no. ... We play a lot of games against the Yankees.”
The link plays a video so don’t click on it if you don’t want to see it.
I think as much as we hate to admit it, Valentine is right. No team that entered a series with an 11 game lead on a team and exited it with a 10 game lead with 61 games remaining has ever been able to hold on to such a slim lead.
The one advantage the Yankees have is that other teams don’t have the fearsome Pedro Ciriaco DHing for them. So maybe they can win a few more games against other teams.
Anyway, crappy series, but not a realistic cause for concern. Yes, the Yankees and the Red Sox play nine more times this year, but even if the Yankees win just one-third of those (like they just did) Boston has to outplay them by seven games over their other 52/51games respectively just to tie. The Yankees can probably win at least three of those Boston games that if they keep CC Sabathia off the mound in those nine games. So if the Yankees then went 27-25 over their 52 non-Boston games ( a winning percentage of 51.9%), Boston would have to win 33 of their final 51 (a winning percentage of 64.7%).
I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, because it could. But I am still not concerned about it.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
You don’t expect to win a Freddy Garcia/Felix Hernandez matchup, but the Yankees could have won this game. They blew a few chances to put some runs on the board against Hernandez, but I think the key moment in the game came in the top of the eighth. With two outs and the tying run on second base, Joe Girardi chose to stay with Raul Ibanez against the lefty Lucas Luetge despite having Andruw Jones available on the bench. That’s the Ibanez who’s hit .182/.206/.273 against LHP this season against the Luetge who’s held lefties to a line of .143/.271/.143. While it’s likely that pinch-hitting Jones would have brought a righty into the game, it’s tough to think of a worse matchup than the one Girardi willingly chose.
Girardi obviously understands the importance of platooning, or he wouldn’t have proceeded to use five different pitchers to get through the bottom of the eighth inning. So why would he ignore it on offense?
This isn’t the first time this season that Girardi has allowed Ibanez to stay in a game vs. a LHP with the predictable result of him failing to come through. Maybe it’ll finally be the last time.
As if this wasn’t enough, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and had to leave the game. No word on what the extent of the injury to his left hand was, but it did not look good.
Monday, July 16, 2012
Offense A vs. Offense B
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/G: BR per game