• Rockin’ & Rollin’ Leo?

    Posted by on October 17th, 2005 · Comments (19)

    From MLB.com:

    The Yankees have received permission to speak with Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone, targeting him as their top choice to replace Mel Stottlemyre.

    Mazzone, who has been on Atlanta’s staff with manager Bobby Cox since June 1990, is considered one of the top pitching coaches in the Major Leagues, helping the Braves win 14 consecutive division titles.

    A source confirmed that the Yankees had asked for and received permission to speak with Mazzone, though it is unclear when the two sides will speak. Mazzone has one year remaining on his contract with the Braves.

    Something smells. If you ran the Braves, and had this guy for another year, why would you let him interview for a lateral move? Is there more to the gift of Mazzone than meets the eye?

    Or, is this just a game? Let them talk, see if they agree, and then demand some compensation before letting him go?

    Comments on Rockin’ & Rollin’ Leo?

    1. Shaun P.
      October 17th, 2005 | 9:48 pm

      I suppose since they have him under contract for another year, it doesn’t hurt the Braves to let the Yanks talk with Mazzone.

      I think he’d do well in the Bronx. But if I were him, I’d think long and hard about leaving what he has in Atlanta. That kind of partnership – between him, Cox, and Scherholtz – doesn’t come along often at all. Plus, I believe they let him set the entire organization’s pitching philosophy – can you see that happening with the Yanks (cough, Billy Connors, cough)? Me neither.

    2. October 17th, 2005 | 11:27 pm

      FWIW, Charlie Lau came to NY and within 2 years had a good impact, I suppose, on the team – but, then quickly got out of town. I could see Leo doing the same – with team/media heat being the reason to fly.

      I’d almost rather see them get someone who can handle NY – in the sense that they know personally what it’s like – and then maybe see the person stick around for a while.

    3. eddy
      October 18th, 2005 | 8:40 am

      Mazzones agent is quoted as saying that his contract ends in November, so he’s not under contract for next year

    4. rbj
      October 18th, 2005 | 9:49 am

      Considering how poorly the Braves do in the post season (yeah, most team wish they had the Braves’ problems) maybe the thinking is to blowup the Scherholtz-Cox-Mazzone triumverate. And Sherholtz isn’t going to blow himself up.

    5. JohnnyC
      October 18th, 2005 | 10:47 am

      Since we’re in the habit of ascribing all pitching successes to Mel Stottlemyre and none of the failures in the just completed Yankees decade, which is fine if you like cursory analysis, what exactly are Billy Connors’ crimes? May I remind everyone that, unlike Cashman, Torre, or Mel, he didn’t ship the following products of the Yankees farm system out of town: Brad Halsey, Brandon Claussen, Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, Zach Day, Damaso Marte, Tony Armas, Jr. and Yhency Brazoban. Granted, we wouldn’t have had the services of David Justice and Enrique Wilson (joke)if we hadn’t traded some of these guys but, is it Billy Connors’ fault that they’re not contributing to us as opposed to sundry major league franchises? And if Colter Bean, Jason Anderson, Ben Julianel, and the like haven’t gotten a shot to improve the team’s woeful middle relief, is that Billy Connors’ fault. I’m not saying Connors is even a very good pitching coordinator (compared to whom?)but, other than Mel’s enmity toward him, where’s the hatred coming from?

    6. Shaun P.
      October 18th, 2005 | 11:06 am

      I have no hatred or even mild dislike for Billy Connors. Like you said, I have no way to evaluate his performance. But we KNOW that he and Stott frequently clashed on how things should be done, pitching-wise. I don’t see that changing when the new pitching coach comes in.

      My point is that, if Mazzone comes in expecting to be able to run the show his way – as I believe he did with the Braves – he’s probably in for a rude awakening.

      I don’t think that says anything positive or negative about Billy Connors – its just the way it is.

    7. Raf
      October 18th, 2005 | 11:08 am

      FWIW, Charlie Lau came to NY and within 2 years had a good impact, I suppose, on the team – but, then quickly got out of town.

      Different time then

    8. hopbitters
      October 18th, 2005 | 11:10 am

      Well, there’s a clash because they disagree, not just because there are two people involved. If someone new comes in with a similar style to Connors, what’s to clash?

    9. JohnnyC
      October 18th, 2005 | 12:26 pm

      Shaun P do not jump to conclusions. It’s reported today in the Star-Ledger and elsewhere that BOTH Torre and Billy Connors have endorsed hiring Mazzone. You’ll be surprised to find out that Cashman prefers Joe Kerrigan. And, as you know, Neil Allen was “foisted” on Torre by the Tampa mob as their original choice-in-waiting. If Connors and Stottlemyre had problems working together, it quite possibly had to do with real conflicts on pitching issues. Do you suppose Connors would encourage Yankees to hire someone who’s even more high profile than Stottlemyre if he’s just interested in having his way. At the dollars he’ll be commanding, I dare say he’d trump Ol’ Billy with George any day.

    10. rbj
      October 18th, 2005 | 1:28 pm

      who’s “in the habit of ascribing all pitching successes to Mel Stottlemyre and none of the failures”? I think some people have pointed out that you have been ascribing all pitching failures to Mel, but none of the successes. Others, to counter, have just been for endorsing a balanced approach, point out success as well as failures.

    11. Don
      October 18th, 2005 | 1:51 pm

      rbj, absolutely and you beat me to it.

    12. JohnnyC
      October 18th, 2005 | 2:56 pm

      What successes? I’m serious. Name me one non-veteran pitcher who actually improved under Mel’s tutelage and sustained his improvement for more than half a season. And don’t name Ramiro Mendoza.

    13. Raf
      October 18th, 2005 | 3:10 pm

      What successes? I’m serious. Name me one non-veteran pitcher who actually improved under Mel’s tutelage and sustained his improvement for more than half a season. And don’t name Ramiro Mendoza.

      I’d have a hard time coming up with (m)any.

      There are too many year to year variables WRT pitching/pitchers

    14. rbj
      October 18th, 2005 | 3:15 pm

      How many young pitchers have been given a fair shake with the Yankees? Not too many, (half seasons/quarter seasons here and there don’t cut it) though a couple who’ve grown up as Yankees and been successful would be Pettitte & Mariano.

    15. hopbitters
      October 18th, 2005 | 3:47 pm

      Pettitte’s been looking unstoppable since he left. Come to think of it, Clemens has gotten better (!), Contreras has gotten better, Halsey’s improved, Weaver got better, Vazquez somewhat stabilized, Lieber’s been good, Lilly…Mel’s doing a great job – it just doesn’t take effect until they leave.

    16. MJ
      October 18th, 2005 | 4:20 pm

      Vazquez stabilized? He had a WORSE season in Arizona than he did in NYC, as if that was even possible. As for Claussen, Halsey, Lilly, Day, Marte, Armas, Brazoban — you’re not proving your point. You’re talking about guys that were traded to get other guys. I certainly won’t say that every trade was a good one (I still hate Claussen for Boone, even if Game 7 ’03 was awesome) but to simply point to young pitchers doing well elsewhere doesn’t mean that they were ruined by Mel or banished by Mel. It means that the Yankees’ organizational priorities were different. The Yanks have been in a win-now mode and have sacrificed young talent as a result. That has nothing whatsoever to do with Mel and everything to do with what Steinbrenner and, to a degree, Cashman think the Yankees should be doing.

      I’m not saying Mel’s a great pitching coach because I have no idea if he is or not but I don’t think you can point to what others do elsewhere as definitive proof of what he’s incapable of doing.

    17. hopbitters
      October 18th, 2005 | 8:05 pm

      Actually, Vazquez, despite the W-L record, upped his ERA+ by 7 points in one more start than in 2004, gave up fewer runs and earned runs, tossed 3 complete games (vs. 0 in NY) and one shutout, increased his K/BB by 1.67 points, and lowered his HBP and WP. I’d call that an improvement.

      Does that make Mel a bad pitching coach? Not really, but it seems just a little suspicious that we can name numerous pitchers that get worse when they come to NY and/or get better when they leave NY and we still have yet to hear any that have improved while under Mel’s tutelage. And we’re not just talking about young players here. Clemens was a sure-thing first ballot HoFer when he came to NY and still got better when he left. Pettitte had a great career in NY…and got better when he left.

      I’m not saying he’s responsible for who comes and goes either. I’m just looking at how players do before they get there, how they do while they’re there, and how they do after they leave. And yes, there are many other factors in how individual pitchers perform in different environments. You can draw your own conclusions.

    18. MJ
      October 18th, 2005 | 10:10 pm

      Check Vazquez’s splits from first half 2005 and second half 2005. Then compare second half 2004 and second half 2005.

      Vazquez sucks. Anyone that misses him need only rewing their Tivo to Game 3 and Game 7. F*ck Vazquez.

    19. hopbitters
      October 20th, 2005 | 10:07 am


      10-5 3.57 18GS 119.2IP 105H 47ER 15HR 95K 32BB .233AVG
      4-5 6.92 14GS 79.1IP 90H 61ER 14HR 55K 28BB .286AVG

      7-8 4.54ERA 18GS 119IP 126H 60ER 15HR 110K 16BB .272AVG
      4-7 4.28ERA 15GS 97.2IP 97H 46ER 20HR 82K 30BB .260AVG

      I don’t see what you’re getting at. Mind you, I’m not trying to pass this off as a brilliant performance. I’m just saying he’s been more consistent this year (not consistently good, just consistent).

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