Thursday, January 19, 2017
NEW YORK—For Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, a long wait has ended. For Ivan Rodriguez, there was no wait at all.
Those three players will be part of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, taking their place alongside the game’s legends in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 30, with Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig and Braves vice chairman John Schuerholz, who were elected last month by the 16-member Today’s Game Committee. The news arrived on Wednesday evening, when Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson announced the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s results live on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Another player with a somewhat surprising total was Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, who didn’t make the 5-percent cut to remain, finishing with 17 votes at 3.8 percent. Manny Ramirez, who twice failed drug tests and was twice suspended, had 23.8 percent in his first year, and was the only other first-year candidate aside from Guerrero to remain carry over. Like Posada, 15 other players will not be back next year. Eleven didn’t get a vote.
Given what we’re learning about quantifying catcher defense and how that makes Posada’s defense look, I’m not sure he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But he was a damn good player for a damn good team for good stretch of time and likely deserved at least a longer look than he ended up getting.
Trevor Hoffman got 70+% and Posada got 3.8%? Does that make any sense at all?
Anyhoo, congratulations to Raines, Bagwell and Rodriguez. All deserving candidates in my opinion.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
With the starting rotation perhaps their biggest question mark right now, only Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia appear locks for the rotation. There are a handful of options for the last two spots and James Kaprielian and Chance Adams — a pair of 2015 draft picks — could end up the solution at some point in 2017, maybe even to start the season.
Adams was asked about them being a part of the future rotation and replied “I think we both have that capability.”
At the Yankees’ Winter Warm-Up Town Hall Meeting Tuesday night in midtown, general manager Brian Cashman described operating under the new collective bargaining agreement, with its escalating penalties for crossing the luxury tax threshold, as dealing “with a salary cap.” So filling the 25-man roster with their minor-league stars could make all kinds of things possible for the Yankees as they eye the impressive 2018 free-agent class that could include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Donaldson.
I’d be surprised if the Yankees broke camp with either Kaprielian or Adams, but I’m pretty sure we’ll see them in the majors at some point in 2017 barring injuries.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap)—South Korean free agent Choi Ji-man has signed with the New York Yankees, with an invitation to spring training, his agency said Monday.
GSM said Choi signed for US$700,000 and will get a chance to compete for a big league job in spring training. If he makes the major league roster, then Choi will receive an additional $400,000 in incentives, GSM added.
The 25-year-old elected for free agency last week instead of accepting an assignment to the minors in the Los Angeles Angels system. The Angels designated him for assignment last month to make room for a new outfielder, Ben Revere, on their 40-man roster, and no club claimed Choi off the waiver wire.
Choi made his major league debut with the Halos last year after five seasons in the minors, and split his time between first base and outfield. Choi batted just .170 with five home runs in 54 games.
Seems like a decent flier to take. Here are Choi’s CAIRO projections for 2017.
He bats lefty, so he’d likely be taking PA away from Greg Bird at 1B in the event that Bird is either not producing or not healthy, but he could also see some DH time.
It can’t hurt to have some another lefty bat around for depth at relatively minimal cost. Good signing.
Monday, January 16, 2017
CAIRO 2017’s First Take at Projecting the Yankees
So I finally got my first set of 2017 CAIRO projections done, which can be downloaded here.
As long-time readers know, CAIRO was only developed so that I could pretend the Yankees are better than they are, for whatever reason that might be. Unfortunately, it’s gotten harder and harder to keep pretending the Yankees are good.
That being said, things do appear to be getting better, although that likely won’t manifest itself in 2017. The Yankees have one of the top farm systems in the game, a lot of their bad contracts are falling off the books, and the Yankees have several young players already likely to be playing key roles in the majors this year.
All those young players makes projecting the 2017 Yankees trickier than usual, but projecting is always tricky because it’s such an inexact science. But let’s take a shot at it with this post.
First, the position players.
For reference, an average player generally projects to be worth around 2 WAR. There’s a whole lot of average projected in that lineup, with only Gary Sanchez comfortably clearing the 2 WAR barrier. The good news is that if this is what they do next year, the Yankees would score about 710 runs, versus the 680 they scored in 2016.
I don’t have a ton of faith in defensive projections, but I used the average projected UZR and DRS for the starting lineup and assumed the bench would play average defense.
That’s the good news. The less good news is the pitching staff.
CAIRO is not particularly fond of the Yankees rotation. Pineda and Sabathia actually projected a bit better than I expected, but that’s about it. It really dislikes Chad Green and Luis Cessa. I expected Green to project a bit better. Anyway, it likes James Kaprielian more than everyone except the top three starters so maybe he can help out a bit.
The bullpen is also not that impressive after the first two guys. I’m not a huge Tyler Clippard fan at this stage of his career, and CAIRO apparently agrees.
Using these projections and innings estimates, the Yankees project to allow about 18 more runs than they did last season at 720.
If the Yankees score 710 runs, allow 720 and play +6 defense, then they’d project to be around a 80-81 win team.
I should note that these are the baseline projections. I’ve updated the CAIRO spreadsheet with a team projection tab so you can mess around with playing times and percentile forecasts. Just keep team total outs to about 4050 and team innings pitched to 1430 to get realistic totals for runs scored and runs allowed. It will then calculate a winning percentage based on Pythagenpat.
How hard is it to get the Yankees to the 89 wins it took to make the AL wild card game last year? This would work:
Is that realistic? I’m not sure. But that’s one way to get there. I’m sure the fine readers of this blog can come up with more. Just change any fields that are highlighted in yellow to try different permutations of playing times and projection levels. You can also add any players that have a projection that are not on the Yankees, although their projection will be based on their most recent team.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
NEW YORK—The Yankees and free agent starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi have discussed a deal that would bring the injured right-hander back to the organization while he rehabilitates from Tommy John surgery, general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday night.
But Eovaldi, who won’t pitch until 2018, is still weighing his options and there’s competition for the 26-year-old.
Here’s what Cashman said about discussions with Eovaldi:
“Obviously, he’s a free agent, and we’ve had some discussions with Nate Eovaldi about trying to find a solution that works for both sides. But he’s still a free agent and there’s competition for him. Other than the injury, you couldn’t say enough about him. His makeup’s off the charts. His work ethic was off the charts. He was a performer for us. But, unfortunately, injury hit. But he’s on the free market, and he’s weighing a lot of different decisions. Yes, I’ve talked to (Eovaldi’s agent) Seth Levinson several times regarding him.”
CAIRO projects Eovaldi to have a 0.00 ERA in 2017. Unfortunately that is in zero innings.
Anyway, I have no issues with the Yankees trying to sign Eovaldi, although he will be attempting to return from a second Tommy John surgery and really has never been all that great. So I’d have a limit on how much I’d be willing to offer him. Maybe something like 2 years, $7M and some innings-based incentives or something?
Monday, January 9, 2017
Brian Cashman got his closer (Aroldis Chapman) and his DH (Matt Holliday) this offseason.
The Yankees GM just hasn’t been able to add another starter — and it doesn’t appear he’s going to.
“We stay engaged with the marketplace, but I think more likely than not — 99 percent likely — we are going to be going to camp with what we have,” Cashman told Jim Bowden on the former GM’s SiriusXM radio show Monday morning.
“And that’s (Mashiro) Tanaka, CC (Sabathia) and (Michael) Pineda locked into three spots and then five guys competing for the final two spots between — in no order — (Adam) Warren, (Luis) Cessa, (Chad) Green, (Bryan) Mitchell and (Luis) Severino.”
Given the paucity of quality starting pitchers on the free agent market, and the likely cost to acquire starting pitchers via trade, this makes sense. I don’t have the warm fuzzies about the rotation as current constituted, but you can at least squint and see the Yankees putting together a serviceable rotation out of what they have on hand, perhaps with some reinforcement later in the season from the farm system.
Things could be better, but they could certainly be worse.
Thursday, January 5, 2017
Ex-Yankee Robinson Cano returned to dominance in 2016, belting a career-high 39 home runs, triple-slashing .298/.350/.533 and ranking sixth in all of baseball with an ESPN Wins Above Replacement of 7.3.
Cano is now three seasons into his 10-year, $240 million contract with the Mariners. And so far — with the exception of the first three months of 2015, when he battled a reported stomach illness and struggled as a result — it’s worked out very well for Seattle.
As has been well-documented, the Yankees could’ve brought Cano back when he became a free agent in 2014. But they opted against offering more than seven years and $175 million to the then 31-year-old All-Star second baseman.
An eight-year, $200 million offer supposedly would’ve done the trick. But the Yankees went in a different direction, giving Jacoby Ellsbury a seven-year, $153 million deal, and deciding to move on from Cano.
I’m pretty sure every team in baseball would have signed 31-year-old Cano for three years and $72M. How many teams would be rushing to sign a 34-year-old Cano for the seven years and $168M that remain on his deal?
You can’t say letting Cano go was a mistake 30% of the way through. As opposed to saying signing Ellsbury was a mistake, which was painfully obvious before the ink was even dry on that Hindenburg of a contract.
Actually, let’s do some quick and dirty math. I’m ignoring bonuses etc., since I want this to be quick and dirty.
Cano’s put up bWAR of 6.4, 3.4 and 7.3 over the last three seasons. Ellsbury has put up 3.3, 1.9 and 2.8. Let’s do a 1/2/3 weighted average and add in some regression towards league average to project them for 2017. I get 5.3 for Cano and 2.5 for Ellsbury. Using a decline of 0.7 bWAR per season for both players means Cano would project to provide about 22.4 bWAR over the remaining 7 years of his contract and Ellsbury would project to provide 5.8 bWAR over the remaining four of his.
22.4bWAR / $168,000,000 = $7.5M/bWAR.
5.8bWAR / $84,571,428 = $14,581,281M/bWAR
How about if we add it all up.
Cano: 17.1 bWAR, $72M in salary
Ellsbury: 8 bWAR, $63M in salary
2014-2023 (actual + projections)
Cano: 39.5 bWAR, $240M in salary, $6.075M / bWAR
Ellsbury: 13.8 bWAR, $148M in salary, $10.724M / bWAR
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