• Stats, Results & Cashman

    Posted by on December 14th, 2007 · Comments (25)

    Yankees team batting and pitching stats since 1996 via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

              W	PS	RCAA	Rank	OvL	Rank
    1996	92	Ring	-4	7	.001	7
    1997	96	L-DS	134	2	.028	4
    1998	114	Ring	168	1	.052	1
    1999	98	Ring	170	1	.031	3
    2000	87	Ring	7	7	.010	6
    2001	95	L-WS	20	5	.006	8
    2002	103	L-DS	143	1	.052	1
    2003	101	L-WS	142	2	.047	2
    2004	101	L-CS	112	2	.038	2
    2005	95	L-DS	138	2	.048	2
    2006	97	L-DS	185	1	.046	1
    2007	94	L-DS	161	1	.067	1
    
             W	PS	RSAA	Rank	EvL	Rank
    1996	92	Ring	60	5	0.35	5
    1997	96	L-DS	78	2	0.73	1
    1998	114	Ring	102	1	0.83	1
    1999	98	Ring	40	2	0.71	2
    2000	87	Ring	54	3	0.16	6
    2001	95	L-WS	71	5	0.44	3
    2002	103	L-DS	76	4	0.58	4
    2003	101	L-WS	50	3	0.50	3
    2004	101	L-CS	-41	9	-.05	6
    2005	95	L-DS	-11	7	-.17	9
    2006	97	L-DS	-14	9	0.14	6
    2007	94	L-DS	30	5	0.02	7
    
    W = Wins  PS = Post-Season Results  RCAA = Runs Created Above Average
    OvL = OPS vs. League Average  RSAA = Runs Saved Above Average
    EvL = ERA vs. League Average  Ranks = Rank In A.L. That Season
    Ring = Won World Series  L-DS = Lost ALDS  L-WS = Lost World Series
    L-CS = Lost ALCS

    Every year, the Yankees win about 95 games a season. And, every year, since 1996, just about, the Yankees have had a great offense.

    But, the results in October, for the Yankees, is not always the same. As soon as the Yankees pitching started to go from “great to good” (from 1997 to 2003) to “bad” (from 2004 to 2007), the team started having problems in October.

    This should not be news to anyone who has been paying attention in Yankeeland since 1996.

    Is it safe to say that the Yankees “plan” around their pitching staff is the reason why their regular season success has not carried over to the post-season since 2004? What do you think – looking at these numbers?

    This got me thinking – who have been the Yankees worst pitchers from 2004 to 2007? See the following thanks to the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

    NEW YORK YANKEES, 2004-2007, INNINGS PITCHED >= 40

    RSAA                           RSAA      IP
    T1   Esteban Loaiza              -19     42.1
    T1   Sean Henn                   -19     57.1
    3    Tanyon Sturtze              -15    166
    T4   Jose Contreras              -13     95.2
    T4   Jaret Wright                -13    204
    T6   Kevin Brown                 -12    205.1
    T6   Kei Igawa                   -12     67.2
    8    Paul Quantrill              -11    127.1
    9    Javier Vazquez              -10    198
    T10  Jeff Karstens                -7     57.1
    T10  Al Leiter                    -7     62.1
    12   Shawn Chacon                 -5    142
    T13  Cory Lidle                   -4     45.1
    T13  Ron Villone                  -4    122.2
    15   Carl Pavano                  -3    111.1
    16   Aaron Small                  -2    103.2
    17   Kyle Farnsworth              -1    126

    Of the above, Jose Contreras, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, Kei Igawa, Paul Quantrill, Javier Vazquez, Shawn Chacon, Carl Pavano, and Kyle Farnsworth stand out the most to me.

    Jaret Wright, from most reports, was signed out of the Yankees Tampa office. But, as far as I know, all the others (Contreras, Brown, Igawa, Quantrill, Vazquez, Chacon, Pavano, and Farnsworth) were Brian Cashman pick-ups.

    Further, looking back, the Yankees best pitchers, from 2004-2007 were Mariano Rivera, Chien-Ming Wang, Tom Gordon, Andy Pettitte, Orlando Hernandez, and Mike Mussina.

    To be fair, Cashman deserves a gold star here for Wang, Gordon, Hernandez and Mussina – who were all picked-up on Brian’s watch.

    But, clearly, Cashman has picked-up more bad big league pitchers, than good, for the Yankees during the last handful of seasons. And, this is why the Yankees, despite being able to win games during the regular season, have failed in October since 2004.

    People like to say I’m a Cashman-basher for claiming this…however, again, based on the numbers and facts, is it that far out to make this suggestion? It seems like a fair assumption, at least to me.

    Someone at BaseballThinkFactory.org recently made the following comment:

    For too many Yankees fans when it comes to Cashman it’s “heads he wins and tails somebody else loses”.

    That’s a great one – and, it’s all I’m looking for here. I believe that it’s great to praise Cashman for all the good that he’s done for the Yankees. However, I also believe that we must recognize that he’s done his fair share of bad as well – and that bad is probably the reason why the Yankees have failed in October since 2004.

    I know that many believe the Yankees have just had bad luck in October since 2004. However, I believe that luck is the residue of design – and, further, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

    Better preparation/design by Cashman with regard to staffing the big league team with good pitching probably means better luck for the Yankees in October – at least better than we’ve seen since 2004.

    Comments on Stats, Results & Cashman

    1. baileywalk
      December 14th, 2007 | 11:50 am

      Your Cashman-bashing hits my eyes like the fresh scent of morning hits one’s nose in the morning. I mean, at least it’s a non-steroid-related topic, and thank effin’ God for THAT…

    2. mehmattski
      December 14th, 2007 | 11:54 am

      I felt that comment you quote was being unfair to my article because it was not presented in the greater context of Was Watching- that is, an author (you) who is generally negative when it comes to Brian Cashman. Your challenge was to come up with something, ANYTHING that was positive about Cashman, and I did, receiving support from the regulars to this site.

      However, I am not a polyanna, and I am not a fanboy, and I can recognize the mistakes that Cashman has made. Once again, I resist the urge to simply make a pro/con list about individual transactions. Making judgments about the quality of the general manager based on RESULTS of transactions seems disingenuous. It is far more important to judge a general manager based on the evidence and general context of each transaction at the time. In this case, the Igawa bid and signing stands out as a mistake, because his numbers in Japan did not suggest he would make something of himself in the US; the signing seemed to have everything to do with losing out on the Dice-K bid.

      There is the general trend that Cashman is willing to spend a lot of money on established international players. Unlike 16 year olds with big signing bonuses (which I’ve already covered and called a great use of resources), these players are expected to contribute immediately. When they do not, we look at them as mistakes. I think we should instead look at the trend as generally unwise.

      As for the lack of quality pitching leading to the Yankees troubles in the postseason since 2004, I agree. I do not think there is such a thing as a “post-season pitcher” and I do not believe in clutchitudeyness, but I recognize the value of quality pitching in playoff series. The Yankees haven’t had it, recently- no pitcher with an ERA+ above 130 since Pettitte in 2002.

      Could it be that Cashman has a weakness in terms of finding good starting pitching via free agency or trade? Possibly, but I think the dedication to building a pitching staff from within will, in the near future, quickly erase those previous mistakes.

    3. j
      December 14th, 2007 | 12:23 pm

      I think you are not being fair here. I’ll pick one guy: Shawn Chacon. Looking at his RSAA will certainly tell you that he was the 12th worst Yankee pitcher over the time frame you’re referencing. But put in context, Chacon was one of the teams strongest starters for a stretch in 2005. The Yankees would not have made it to the playoffs without him. Yeah, he sucked ass in 06 and was promptly traded for Craig Wilson (which didn’t work out well, but the theory is now that Wilson has been injured and only recently had shoulder surgery.) That move to get Chacon from Colorado was a steal at the time and it paid off.

      Henn and Sturtze aren’t even worth talking about. Any value Sturtze had as a reliever was quickly removed when he pitched 9000 innings for Joe Torre and became the pitching equivalent of a vegetable. Henn was also never that good, but ran out there a lot more often then he should have been. I don’t know who was responsible for drafting him, but the draft is hit or miss by definition. Quantrill: see Sturtze, Tanyon.

      Contreras has shown he can be a very good and a times dominating pitcher in the AL (I believe he was the best pitcher in the AL from late in 2005 to late in 2006 with respect to ERA and WHIP.) The story with him in New York was that he was not doing well with his family being in Cuba. IIRC, he was traded a month after being reunited and proceeded to be lights out for the next 14 months. What’s happened to him since, I don’t know, but the point is, Cashman evaluated a good pitcher as a good pitcher and got him. It just didn’t work out. Perhaps you can fault Cashman for Cuba/US relations?

      Carl Pavano is on Cashman’s head. You’re right about his repeated reluctance to admit his mistake. The Cardinals wanted Pavano in the 06 offseason, admittely at a low value. Now, he’s 100% worthless.

      Vasquez sort of goes in the same boat. They traded him for Randy Johnson, probably at the behest of the Tampa guys. He’s proceeded to pitch league average ball (ERA+ of 100, 98 and 127) and over 200 IP since he’s been gone. For him and the privilege of losing the only thing that resembled a young catcher in our system, we got 2 years of a too old Randy Johnson, and ended up sending him backing with bags of cash for a mediocre middle reliever and some promising prospects but nothing that will knock your socks off.

      I guess I’ll stop there. Yes, you can look at the RSAA over the time period and go off the numbers blindly. The context in each situation is important. If the Yankees still had Vasquez, the outlook of the team would be much different and a lot better (they’d probably never resigned Moose.) If they held on to Contreras and never went for Loaiza, again things would be much better. Those RSAA numbers would be much different. Did Cashman unilaterally make these trades? I don’t think so.

    4. jonm
      December 14th, 2007 | 12:47 pm

      What grade does Cashman get for picking up Roger Clemens? ;)

    5. MJ
      December 14th, 2007 | 12:54 pm

      Your RCAA/RSAA stats made me look at 2000, 2003 and 2007. They look pretty similar. What that tells me is that luck definitely played a role in what happened in each instance.

      I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone here that says that Cashman hasn’t made his share of errors (just as all GM’s have). Given that admission, then I’m not sure what you’re looking for. He’s not perfect and no one claimed he was.

      Theo’s the guy everyone loves comparing him to. In his six years as GM, they have two World Series titles and four playoff appearances. They also have Eric Gagne, Brendan Donnelly, Wily Mo Pena, Edgar Renteria, Coco Crisp, JD Drew, Matt Clement, Josh Bard-Doug Mirabelli transactions to answer for.

      I’m trying to figure out what you want people to say here? That he’s done a bad job? OK. Now what?

      The pitching staff in 2007, based on your stats, showed marked improvement over the ones from 2004-2006. Does that not indicate the positive influence of Brian Cashman insisting that the team develop and retain its own starters/relievers in order to mitigate the escalating costs (to say nothing of unpredictable results) of pitching in the market? If you’re going to rake him over the coals for 2004-2006, how can you not say that 2007 showed the promise of patience?

      It seems like you’re only going to be happy if the Yanks win another ring. Unless and until that happens, you’re demonstrating an unwillingness to be fair in your assessment of the GM.

    6. Raf
      December 14th, 2007 | 12:55 pm

      But, clearly, Cashman has picked-up more bad big league pitchers, than good, for the Yankees during the last handful of seasons. And, this is why the Yankees, despite being able to win games during the regular season, have failed in October since 2004.
      ================
      The pitchers you gave Cashman a “gold star” for acquiring have failed in the playoffs. His bad acquisitions have succeeded in the playoffs.

    7. Ference
      December 14th, 2007 | 1:10 pm

      Steve

      I didnt get a chance to ask you this question yesterday but what is your opinion on the conflict of interest that Mitchell has in doing this investigation while working for the Red Sox. Now that we know the names in the report and there are no meaningful Red Sox at all and knowing the seemingly unending Yankee names mentioned, do you feel that this report has any credibility? I just wanted your opinion on the appearance of impropriety. And let me mention that in now way am I saying that he actually engaged in any improper actions (aside from attending Red Sox games and asking for Red Sox players autographs while the investigation was ongoing), I am just asking whether the appearance of impropriety makes the report lack credibility.

    8. jonm
      December 14th, 2007 | 1:31 pm

      Steve,

      I think that you may have something here with regard to a pitching staff not built for the post-season. To complete the argument, I think that you would need to show the RCAA and RSAA for the post-season series that the Yankees have lost. It would be interesting to see these numbers for the glory years as well.

      Also, another thing to consider is that the Yankees may not have built a DEFENSIVE team that can win in October.

    9. December 14th, 2007 | 4:05 pm

      ~~~Does that not indicate the positive influence of Brian Cashman insisting that the team develop and retain its own starters/relievers in order to mitigate the escalating costs (to say nothing of unpredictable results) of pitching in the market? If you’re going to rake him over the coals for 2004-2006, how can you not say that 2007 showed the promise of patience?~~~

      Think of it this way:

      A guy’s wife is killed by a bus. His family is now in trouble – the kids have no mother. He hustles his butt and finds a nice young woman to be a great new mom – and he marries her.

      People want to salute him for his great effort in providing for his family’s needs.

      That’s fine, and I’m down with that.

      Now, tell the same story – with a twist:

      A guy’s wife is killed. His family is now in trouble – the kids have no mother. He hustles his butt and finds a nice young woman to be a great new mom – and he marries her.

      But, in this case, it was the guy who killed his wife in the first place – he shot her in cold blood.

      In this later case, are we supposed to salute him for his great effort in providing for his family’s needs after the death of his wife? I cannot do that here.

      And, that’s the rub with Cashman – he may (or may not) be doing the right thing now with the Yankees pitching – but the situation is here because of his wrong doing…and I believe that he must be graded on that too.

    10. Sherard
      December 14th, 2007 | 4:20 pm

      Man, you will just not give this up. Look, I’ll give you Kei Igawa, only because to date he is simply not cutting it, and not even close. But, to be honest, he is a work in progress, who could potentially be a starter, if not for NY, then for someone. But yeah, THAT looks like a bad signing.

      As Matt already pointed out in the post you put up on the front page, you can’t always gage a GM’s moves based on results. I would find it far more illustrative if you could give a yearly breakdown of, here are the guys that were available and here is who Cashman chose and show that the guys the Yankees didn’t sign, were clearly better choices beforehand, and demonstrated the same kind of results later.

      I throw out guys like Kevin Brown, Contreras, Vazquez, and Chacon at a minimum. Contreras won a world series as, essentially, the ace of that White Sox staff. Hard to hold Cashman accountible for Contreras not getting it together in NY only. Brown put up a monster year before Cash acquired him, AND started that year 9-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Tough to argue with that. Chacon, while not sticking as a starter, was absolutely HUGE for NY in 2005. HUGE. Without his 7-3 and 2.85 ERA, they may not even make the playoffs. And Vazquez, like Contreras, not only pitched solidly before coming to NY, but well afterward, including starting for a World Series winner.

      Simply put, to fault Cashman on any of those is pretty nit picky. Granted Kevin Brown had a history with injuries, but what hurt more was him trying to play through the injuries, and that can’t be blamed on Cashman, either.

      So that leaves Quantrill and Farnsworth. I suppose you can try and blame Cashman for their lack of performance, but Quantrill, besides putting up a monster year for the Dodgers before signing with NY, had been a very solid reliever for a good solid six years before that. Again, if I remember correctly his issue was also injuries. Farnsworth had also put up 3 very solid seasons in his previous 4 before signing with NY.

      In summary, I just don’t see how you blame Cashman when he signs players with a history of success, and they then fail. I mean really, what exactly is Cashman supposed to base his moves on if not past performance ?

    11. Sherard
      December 14th, 2007 | 4:25 pm

      PS – that is a ridiculously piss poor analogy. A murder ? That’s a good comparison ???? Good Lord.

    12. Sherard
      December 14th, 2007 | 4:29 pm

      Hell, I’m not even willing to concede Pavano. Overpaid ? Perhaps. But he was very good for Florida in 2004, and had pitched 200 innings in back to back years. While he had some history with injuries, nothing indicated he would implode to the extent that he did.

    13. Raf
      December 14th, 2007 | 4:33 pm

      I think it should also be noted that of the 17 pitchers listed above only 2 (Farnsworth & Villone) pitched in the 2007 postseason, and it appears they were effective.

      2006: 4 (Farnsworth, Lidle, Villone, Wright). Again, Farns & Villone were effective. Wright got the start in game 4 (elimination game), Lidle offered nonrelief the same game.

      2005: 3 (Chacon, Small, Sturtze). Only Chacon was effective.

      Given that pitchers like RJ, Mussina & Wang, to name but three, have spit the bit, I think the study may be a bit flawed.

    14. Raf
      December 14th, 2007 | 4:39 pm

      But he was very good for Florida in 2004, and had pitched 200 innings in back to back years. While he had some history with injuries, nothing indicated he would implode to the extent that he did.
      ===============
      http://tinyurl.com/2v26or

      “Yankee Stadium, while a pitcher’s ballpark, doesn’t deflate offense nearly as much as Pro Player, and Pavano will now have to face a DH instead of a pitcher each time through the lineup. Plus, New York’s defense won’t be in the same league as Florida’s, even if they end up with Carlos Beltran in center field. In other words, Pavano may have seen his last ERA in the threes for a while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if his ERA is closer to 5.00 than 3.00 in 2005. For all the money they’re throwing around and all the talk about improving their rotation, the Yankees look like they’re basically collecting middle-of-the-rotation starters and paying premium money in doing so.”

    15. December 14th, 2007 | 5:26 pm

      This list also omits Jeff Weaver, perhaps one of the biggest Cashman mistake. Anyone have his RSAA for the Yanks?

    16. MJ
      December 14th, 2007 | 5:34 pm

      Steve, that analogy didn’t make any sense to me. I’m not saying you should praise Cashman for doing a bad job. I’m disputing that he’s even done as bad a job as you say he has.

      You’re knocking the 2004-2007 seasons in particular. I’m saying that Cashman didn’t have a farm system to work with until 2006. Now he’s got one. Let’s judge him from this point, where we see what he can do with all the tools at his disposal. After all, every other GM that I can think of didn’t have a barren farm system, a volatile and bifurcated management structure, and the pressure of sustaining a playoff streak (and all that entails).

      If he bombs in 2009 with the young arms and the big dollars, go ahead and kill him all you like.

    17. Rich
      December 14th, 2007 | 6:26 pm

      I believe that Contreras was a Steinbrenner ordered signing. The Yankees wouldn’t have made the playoffs in 2005 without Chacon. But for an unlikely series of events, the Yankees would have won the 2004 ALCS and probably the WS.

      It’s pretty tough to rebuild a pitching staff when a GM has zero control over the acquisition of amateur players.

      That Cashman has been able to assemble the plethora of young pitching talent that he has since being given that authority in 2005, speaks well of his acumen in that area.

      On the negative side of the ledger, he has made numerous misjudgments in free agent signings and trades for pitchers.

    18. Lee Sinins
      December 14th, 2007 | 7:47 pm

      I think you are not being fair here. I’ll pick one guy: Shawn Chacon. Looking at his RSAA will certainly tell you that he was the 12th worst Yankee pitcher over the time frame you’re referencing. But put in context, Chacon was one of the teams strongest starters for a stretch in 2005.

      ================

      RSAA does take the fact that Chacon was good for a stretch in 2005 into account.

      It took into account and that’s what prevented Chacon from being tied for 1st, if 2005 wasn’t taken into account, or being 1st all alone if, instead of pitching the way he did for the 2005 Yankees, he had been more representative of himself.

    19. December 14th, 2007 | 11:15 pm

      ~~~If he bombs in 2009 with the young arms and the big dollars, go ahead and kill him all you like.~~~

      “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill.

      I won’t be the only on him, if it happens, in 2009. But, for the record, at least I’ve documented now how I feel about his performance…

      as have many here in the comments.

      I look forward to looking back at this in a couple of years.

    20. December 14th, 2007 | 11:17 pm

      ~~~It’s pretty tough to rebuild a pitching staff when a GM has zero control over the acquisition of amateur players.~~~

      Zero control? ZERO? Where is that documented?

      Claims like that show how true this statement is:

      “For too many Yankees fans when it comes to Cashman it’s ‘heads he wins and tails somebody else loses’.”

    21. December 14th, 2007 | 11:20 pm

      ~~The pitchers you gave Cashman a “gold star” for acquiring have failed in the playoffs. ~~

      Yeah, that El Duque guy was terrible for the Yankees in the post-season.

      Please.

    22. December 14th, 2007 | 11:23 pm

      ~~I just don’t see how you blame Cashman when he signs players with a history of success, and they then fail. I mean really, what exactly is Cashman supposed to base his moves on if not past performance ?~~

      That’s the issue – signing/acquiring guys based on what they did in the past, in other places, rather than correctly projecting what they would do in the present, and future, in New York.

      It’s Cashman’s job to project, correctly, how these guys would do for the Yankees. And, there, he’s failed.

    23. Zack
      December 15th, 2007 | 12:01 am

      Well, i don’t have access to RSAA, but just browsing some stats, from 1994-1998, you have the following list of pitchers who contributed a fair share of innings (granted some are less than 40) and pitched terribly:

      Terry Mulholland
      Jeff Reardon
      Xavier Hernandez
      Scott Bankhead
      Joe Ausanio
      Scott Kamieniecki
      Ramiro Mendoza
      Dale Polley
      Steve Howe
      Hideki Irabu
      Kenny Rogers
      David Weathers

      Do the same for Epstein, or any other GM with a few years under the belt. What it tells you is that pitching, especially relievers, is pretty damn inconsistent year to year. It also tells you that there is no such thing as a perfect GM (duh). If you also look at the ERA+ etc of those pitchers from the WS run, none of them are really spectacular. Same thing with the Red Sox WS teams. They tend to have 5 or so guys in the BP that can really eat up innings effectively one way or another…

      Sure, Cashman has brought in a lot of bums. Some of those guys also pitched well in the PS. Some where never heard from again. Looking at your list, Loiza, Henn, Igawa, Small, Contreras, Lieter, Karstens, and Lidle all pitched under 100 IP, which amounts to half a season…

      But Cashman doesn’t have to do that anymore b/c there is a farm system, just like Theo could look from within in 2006 to build his BP and fill out the rotation.

      As far as I can tell, all your anti-Cashman ranting day after day really just proves that the only real way to do it is build from within, make one or two MAJOR trades, and throw a ton of different arms against the BP wall and see who sticks…

    24. Raf
      December 15th, 2007 | 12:09 pm

      ~~The pitchers you gave Cashman a “gold star” for acquiring have failed in the playoffs. ~~

      Yeah, that El Duque guy was terrible for the Yankees in the post-season.

      Please.
      ==============
      Don’t be obtuse. “To be fair, Cashman deserves a gold star here for Wang, Gordon, Hernandez and Mussina – who were all picked-up on Brian’s watch.”

      Are you saying that the pitchers you listed have never failed in the playoffs?

    25. Raf
      December 15th, 2007 | 12:46 pm

      That’s the issue – signing/acquiring guys based on what they did in the past, in other places, rather than correctly projecting what they would do in the present, and future, in New York.
      ============
      There really isn’t any other way to acquire players, be it from the minors, from the FA market, or from overseas.

      I may be misreading your statement.

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