• Jeff Cindrich

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (15)

    This the story of Jeff Cindrich (whose last name in some baseball references is also spelled as “Ciendrich”).

    He was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1990 – the Yanks’ selection in the 54th round that year – out of Edison Community College. (The same school that later produced Joel Pineiro.)

    Cindrich, from Cape Coral, Florida, was a pitcher – and a big one, at 6 feet, 6 inches, and 230 pounds.

    While I cannot tell you how he did in the minors prior to 1992, I can tell you that he was near unhittable in ’92.

    That season, as a 21-year old, pitching for the Gulf Coast League and Oneonta Yankees, Cindrich pitched in 14 games, making 11 starts, and threw 72 innings – allowing only 45 hits and 20 walks in the process. He also struck out 90 batters in those 72 innings and had an ERA of 1.25 – and, that ERA was the 8th best in all of the minor leagues (for pitchers with at least 50 IP).

    The next season, 1993, he pitched for the Greensboro Hornets in the South Atlantic League (A-Ball) – mostly out of the pen for the Yankees affiliate. And, Cindrich struggled – in 111 innings he allowed 97 hits and 62 walks, and fashioned an ERA of 3.81 (on the year). He did strikeout 88 batters that season.

    In 1994, it was somewhat the same for Cindrich. Then, he was 23 and pitching for the Tampa Yankees. In 42 games, all out of the pen, he threw 54 innings – allowing 57 hits and 30 walks, while fanning 59 batters.

    The following season, 1995, the Yankees invited him to their major league Spring Training camp. After that, Cindrich found himself pitching for Tampa, again, in the Florida State League. Appearing in just 24 games, all in relief, he logged 39 innings – giving up 50 hits, 17 walks, and an ERA of 4.38 (with 32 strikeouts).

    That was the end of his affiliated professional baseball career – at the tender age of twenty-four.

    Based on his stats in 1992, Jeff Cindrich looked like he was a prospect – despite the fact of where he was drafted in 1990. But, it all turned on a dime for him the next season and, just three years later, he was off the map.

    I cannot say what happened after 1992 – or just even in 1995. Maybe he was injured? Maybe it was something else? I can’t find out what from my research. But, something happened – for sure.

    Still, you just can’t tell sometimes, based on one season in the minors, if a guy is a legit prospect or not, can you? Just use Cindrich as an example.

    Update: I just remembered that I had Baseball America’s 1992 Almanac – and was able to find Cindrich’s stats from 1991: With Tampa, in the GCL, he pitched in 13 games (9 starts), threw 57 innings, allowed 61 hits and 21 walks – and fanned 55. Not terrible – but, no where near his awesome 1992.

    Morgan Ensberg

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Via ESPN.com:

    Free-agent infielder Morgan Ensberg has reached agreement on a one-year contract with the New York Yankees, and will join the competition for the team’s first base job in spring training.

    “I’m extremely excited about it,” Ensberg said Thursday. “It’s a great team and a great lineup. Most importantly, it’s a team that’s consistently playing for a World Series. After you’ve been in the league for a few years, you really start valuing that pursuit.”

    Ensberg has shown the ability to handle left-handed pitching pretty well. While Morgan has never played first in the majors, this could be bad news for Shelley Duncan.

    First Jason Lane and now Morgan Ensberg. Think Andy Pettitte is feeding Cashman some information on these guys?

    Hughes To Follow Pavano?

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Phil Hughes is hinting that he’s up for a change in uniform number.

    Reportedly, Hughes “wears 65 because he wanted to wear a number ending in five, and every lower number ending in five was taken or retired” on the Yankees.

    Hmmm, when you add this up, it sounds like Phil is going after Carl Pavano’s #45.

    The last 5 Yankees pitchers to wear #45 have been: Jason Anderson, Felix Heredia, Armando Benitez, Felix Heredia and Carl Pavano. It’s not exactly a recent good luck number for Yankees pitchers. If it’s true that Hughes is going for #45, I hope he knows what he’s doing.

    Has Phil Hughes Been Lazy?

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Two months ago, Joel Sherman wrote that Phil Hughes “has a questionable work ethic and more of an injury history at 21 than [Johan] Santana at 28.” At the same time, reportedly, Sherman said, on ESPN Radio 1050 (in NYC) with Max Kellerman, that Hughes’ conditioning was a poorly kept secret within the Yankees’ organization. And, that’s why they had Clemens and Pettitte work with Hughes.

    Now, today, via the AP, we see this from Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland (on Hughes):

    “He’s been very diligent in his work this offseason, more so than he has in the past,” Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “But he’s human as well. He hears the rumors. But like I tell him, all he can control is how he prepares and gets himself ready to pitch.”

    “He’s starting to figure out some things as far as work ethic goes and what it takes to get ready for spring training,” Eiland said. “This is his third major league camp. Now he’s going in as a member of the pitching staff rather than just a top prospect trying to get a couple looks and being sent out. He’s getting himself ready to pitch in a major league season.”

    …he’s been very diligent in his work this offseason, more so than he has in the past…

    …he’s starting to figure out some things as far as work ethic goes…

    Is Eiland confirming what Sherman claimed with these statements? It’s hard to say, yes, or no, either way, for sure, right?

    60 Days Notice

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Yes, just 60 days from today, there will be a regular season major league baseball game to be played up at 161st Street and River Avenue up in the Bronx.

    That’s one thousand, four hundred and forty hours from now – give or take. That doesn’t seem like very long away at all, does it?

    Cool.

    Sherman: Cashman’s Fate In Hughes’ Hands

    Posted by on January 31st, 2008 · Comments (13)

    From Joel Sherman today -

    Brian Cashman better be right. Phil Hughes better be special. Not good. Special.

    Because if Hughes is just another pitcher, dependable but not dominant, then he might find himself spending his time in New York hearing who he is not – namely, that he is not Johan Santana.
    And Cashman will soon be the ex-GM of the Yankees.

    Let’s put it this way: If Johan Santana is 10-2 in June and Hughes is on the DL again or back at Triple-A or explaining the growing pains that have led to his 4-6 record and 4.87 ERA, then you can expect few Yankee fans to still be on the bandwagon about entrusting young pitchers.

    And you can expect Hank Steinbrenner to be Bossy. You can expect Son of Slam to be channeling his father with a hailstorm of “I told you so.”

    Cashman won a power struggle that [2004] offseason and gained a three-year extension based on a plan to protect touted arms already in the organization, such as Hughes, and find more in the draft and internationally such as Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain.

    It was absolutely the right path. But it misses a fact about the arms the Yanks had chased recently. This has been a group that has been too old (Johnson, Kevin Brown, Roger Clemens last year) or full of too much guesswork/projection (Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, Jeff Weaver, Pavano). Santana is a prime-age ace. He is great. No guesswork. As an executive from another club said, “If I had to gamble on one pitcher to be great the next six years, I would bet on Santana.”

    Cashman did not want to make that bet, not at the cost of Hughes and a contract that would swell the payroll to about $230M, tie them to a starter for seven years.

    However, that three-year contract Cashman signed ends after this year. That ties his administration – his survival in the job – more to these young pitchers, Hughes in particular, than ever before. Hank Steinbrenner already is offering “make the playoffs or else” proclamations. Again, imagine Santana on a Cy Young track in Flushing, and Hughes on the Scranton shuttle from The Bronx.

    Man, that’s a lotta pressure to put on a 22-year old kid. But, Sherman has a point – if Santana has a Cy Young season in Queens this year and Hughes takes a step backwards, Cashman is going to hear it.

    Hank On Santana To Mets

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via the Star-Telegram:

    “I can’t really comment because it’s not done. All I can say is that the Twins did what they had to do,” New York Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said in Tampa, Fla. “I hope it works out well for them. The Mets made a good trade from their end. Hopefully it works out for both teams.”

    Valentine’s Day must be right around the corner – ’cause Hank is sending out the hugs and kisses in every direction on this one.

    Judging The Mets Package For Santana In Terms Of Yankees Prospects

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (30)

    Yesterday, within an hour of when the news broke on the Mets-Twins agreement for the trade involving Johan Santana, I wrote:

    To me, this would be as if the Yankees traded Ian Kennedy, Jose Tabata, Alan Horne, and Dellin Betances for Johan Santana.

    To be candid, when I wrote that, I did not spend a lot of time doing heavy analysis in coming up with that suggested Yankees package. I probably spent 30 seconds noodling it and basically was pulling names from some corner of my mind. In any event, what I wrote rankled many who made comments to that suggestion – as well as some others outside of this blog.

    Yeah, I know, stupid of me to dare compare Yankees prospects (who are all wunderkind and Über-valuable) to prospects from an organization other than the Yankees (who, being non-Yankees prospects, are all therefore just minor league filler). Stupid, stupid, stoooop-id!

    In any event, since it’s done, I’ve decided to take a deeper look into who the Mets gave up (to the Twins) and compare that to my suggestion of a comparable Yankees package – using an independent source for information – just to see how wacky my off-the-cuff idea was in retrospect. To that end, I’m going to use the most recent scouting profiles from Baseball America on each player. Here goes:

    Carlos Gomez – Mets: A true five-tool athlete, Gomez has game-changing speed and a well above-average arm, tools that help make him a premium defender in center field. He also has excellent bat speed that leads to projections of at least average power, if not more. Scouts said Gomez brought needed energy to the Mets. Hitting will be the last tool to develop for Gomez. He’s still searching for the balance between aggressiveness and plate discipline. While he showed increased patience in 2007, it came at the expense of his power production.

    Jose Tabata – Yankees: Despite his injury, Tabata was one of the high Class A Florida State League’s top hitters, and he has a natural knack for making consistent hard contact. His wrist problem sapped some of his power, but scouts still project Tabata to have at least average pop, and some even see him more as a slugger than hitter. While he flashes plus speed, he projects as an average runner and right fielder with a solid average arm. Tabata’s offensive future still involves some projection, and there’s some concern his thickening body could lose some athleticism, rendering him more one-dimensional. Scouts outside the organization chide him for failing to give a consistent effort.

    Sounds like they both have potential – but both are projection cases. Tabata, three years younger, has yet to play above A-ball – whereas Gomez has already done pretty good in Triple-A. How anyone can say, with confidence, that one of these two will be a star, for sure, in the majors, is beyond me. Therefore, since both are more promise than certainty, I would rate these two pretty close to being the same.

    Deolis Guerra – Mets: Guerra has two present above-average pitches that could become well above-average. His fastball had below-average velocity for most of his first season, but now it ranges from 89-94 mph and touches 96. He features excellent arm speed on his changeup, his best offering since he signed, and it should become a big league out pitch once he commands it. While Guerra’s curveball remains a below-average pitch, he has shown an ability to spin the ball and it projects as an average offering. At 18, Guerra still is learning the finer arts of pitching, such as holding runners, fielding his position and pitch sequences.

    Dellin Betances – Yankees: Betances’ stuff is as good as anyone’s in the system. His fastball sits at 93-94 mph and touched 98 in the club’s fall minicamp. He uses a low-80s power curveball as an out pitch. His changeup has made significant strides in his short pro career and grades as a future plus pitch with sinking, diving action. He’s athletic and intelligent, and adapted quickly to the mechanical adjustments New York asked him to make. While he’s shown some feel for his changeup, Betances needs to throw it more to master it. At his size, he’ll have to work to keep his mechanics in sync and maintain balance over the rubber. At times, he rushes his delivery, making it hard for his arm to keep up with his body and costing him command. [Note, this report is a year old.]

    Betances is a year older than Guerra. Both are big kids who throw hard and who need better command of their breaking pitches. Neither one has shown anything over A-Ball. Again, since both are more promise than certainty, I would rate these two pretty close to being the same.

    Two down, two to go, and so far, it’s looking fairly even.

    Kevin Mulvey – Mets: Mulvey throws four pitches for strikes and keeps everything down. His fastball, which sits at 87-91 mph and touches 94, features good sink and run. He dominated righthanders, limiting them to a .224 average and no homers. His mid-70s curveball with 11-to-5 break and his low-80s slider both are average pitches, and at times his slider is a put-away offering. His changeup shows signs of being average. His competitiveness makes his whole greater than the sum of his parts. Mulvey has trouble against lefthanders because he can’t work them inside easily. At times his changeup is too firm. He has lost 2-3 mph off his fastball from his days at Villanova, but he could gain some of that back as he gets accustomed to the pro workload.

    Alan Horne – Yankees: At times, Horne shows four above-average pitches, starting with a fastball that usually sits at 92-93 mph but also can park at 94-95. He flashes a power slider and curveball, and he throws his changeup with good arm speed. Horne’s arm action is long, leading to inconsistent release points and below-average command, and it likely contributed to his past elbow injury. The Yankees have shortened his delivery in other ways to compensate, but it’s not a correctable flaw and limits Horne’s ceiling. He doesn’t field his position or hold runners particularly well.

    Both of these pitchers have proven themselves in Double-A. In a perfect world, they both learn some more in Triple-A this season. Mulvey is two years younger than Horne. Both throw in the low 90′s and top out at 94 MPH. Horne has some issues with command and Mulvey has some issues getting the ball inside to lefties. Both held Double-A batters to a .250 average last season. They seem like the same prospect to me.

    Three down, one to go, and, it’s still looking fairly even.

    Philip Humber – Mets: Humber still has the best curveball in the organization, and he has learned to shorten it up a bit and throw it for quality strikes. He’s learning to spot his fastball better down in the zone, where it has more life. His changeup, which he has used since junking the splitter he had in college, has developed into an average pitch. At times Humber still tries to pitch up in the strike zone, and he doesn’t have that kind of velocity anymore. His fastball ranges from 87-91 mph after he used to touch 94-95 at Rice. He’s still refining his command two years after his elbow reconstruction. Humber is likely ready for on-the-job training in the majors, but he’ll have to earn the spot in spring training. He now projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter.

    Ian Kennedy – Yankees: Kennedy has mound presence and moxie to go with above-average major league command, and that helps all his pitches play up. His 88-92 mph fastball, his curveball and his slider all are average pitches. His plus changeup is his best offering, featuring late fade. He repeats his compact delivery. With only one above-average pitch, Kennedy has to hit his spots, but he usually does. At times his curve is too slow, dipping to 69-72 mph, and lacks sharpness. Compared to Mike Mussina because of his similar stretch delivery, Kennedy has less pure stuff than Mussina once did. Kennedy fits a No. 3 or No. 4 starter profile and should fulfill such a role in 2008.

    Kennedy is two years younger than Humber. Both of these pitchers throw in the high ’80′s to very low ’90′s and need to spot their fastballs – and spot them well. Humber’s weapon is s good curveball and Kennedy’s weapon is a good change. Humber “projects as a back-of-the-rotation starter” and Kennedy “fits a No. 3 or No. 4 starter profile.” Gee, is it just me, or, based on these reports, do these two hurlers sort of grade out the same, too?

    Do I (?) dare say: Four down, none to go, and, on the whole, it looks even between what the Mets gave up and what I quickly suggested.

    But, then again, this is based on scouting reports from Baseball America – who complies their information from talking to scouts and other members of baseball front offices (and the like). And, those people don’t realize the dynamic behind the principle that dictates “All Yankees prospects are future stars in the making whereas prospects from other teams are all hyped wannabes and failures in waiting.”

    It’s too bad. If only these reports would say what many Yankees fans want to hear. It would make so many people feel better now.

    In the meantime, in retrospect, and finally doing some research, I’m feeling a little better about my ability to think on the fly and pull things out of the back of my brain – at least when it comes to something Yankees-related.

    Cash Vs. Theo Vs. Omar

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (20)

    Sure, it may just be conventional wisdom, but, at times, it seems like the Red Sox (and Theo Epstein) are always picking up pitchers like Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo, Hideki Okajima, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, while the Mets (and Omar Minaya) are picking up pitchers like Johan Santana, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, John Maine and Oliver Perez, and, in Yankeeland, Brian Cashman is picking up pitchers like Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa.

    But, it’s not really fair to just go by gut feeling and/or memory on something like this – and broad-brush paint the Mets and Red Sox as being better at picking up pitchers from outside their organization. I figured there had to be a way to look at this where facts will tell the true story. So, I reached out to Lee Sinins, the man behind the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, and asked him the following question:

    Would it be possible to run a report, off the raw data behind the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, to determine the following:

    Games, Innings Pitched, and Runs Saved Above Average totals for all pitchers on the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox, for the time periods “2004 to 2007” and “2005 to 2007” where the pitchers were acquired from outside the team prior to pitching for the Yanks, Mets, and Sox?

    By this, I mean, anyone who came up through the team’s farm system, and pitched with the team during those two groups of years, would be excluded. I’d be interested in seeing these stats – and I think some Yankees fans would too.

    And, Lee did respond (thanks Lee!) with the following:

    By working backwards, I was able to get the answers. First, I generated a list of the pitchers who debuted with the teams and, from there, I deleted their sums from the team totals in order to get the totals for those who were acquired.

    2004-07
    G    IP     RSAA
    Yankees    1649 3726.2   -105
    Red Sox    1900 4672.2    129
    Mets       1779 4666.2    105
    
    2005-07
    G    IP     RSAA
    Yankees    1205 2625.2   -62
    Red Sox    1374 3398.2    -2
    Mets       1251 3476.0    48
    

    Pretty interesting, huh? Bottom line, this tells us that the pitchers who the Yankees have acquired, from outside their organization, as a whole, have not helped the team (and have hurt the team) over the last 3-4 years. And, this tells us that Minaya, since 2005, when Omar logged his first full year as Mets G.M., has done a good job (at least better than Cashman and Epstein) at picking up pitchers (from outside his system) who have gone on to pitch well for his team.

    The Boston numbers are interesting too. I think this tells us that Schilling and Foulke were two huge pick-ups for Boston (and Theo) in 2004 – but, after that season, the Red Sox pitching acquisitions (even with Josh Beckett), on the whole, after 2004, have not been that stellar.

    The Revolving Door

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    File this one under: We didn’t get Johan Santana because of why?

    Since 2004, 36 different pitchers have started baseball games for the New York Yankees. And, over that four year period, only two pitchers have started 80+ games for the team: Mussina and Wang.

    Here’s the list of all 36 starters (with games started totals following their name):

    Kevin Brown 35
    Shawn Chacon 23
    Roger Clemens 17
    Tyler Clippard 6
    Jose Contreras 18
    Jorge DePaula 1
    Matt DeSalvo 5
    Alex Graman 2
    Brad Halsey 7
    Sean Henn 5
    Orlando Hernandez 15
    Phil Hughes 13
    Kei Igawa 12
    Randy Johnson 67
    Jeff Karstens 9
    Ian Kennedy 3
    Al Leiter 10
    Cory Lidle 9
    Jon Lieber 27
    Esteban Loaiza 6
    Darrell May 1
    Mike Mussina 116
    Donovan Osborne 2
    Carl Pavano 19
    Andy Pettitte 34
    Sidney Ponson 3
    Scott Proctor 1
    Darrell Rasner 9
    Tim Redding 1
    Aaron Small 12
    Tanyon Sturtze 4
    Javier Vazquez 32
    Chien-Ming Wang 80
    Kris Wilson 1
    Jaret Wright 40
    Chase Wright 2

    When the invisible man Carl Pavano makes the “Top 10″ of games started for you, over a four year period, that tells you something, no?

    McNamee Lawyer: Pettitte To Finger Rocket

    Posted by on January 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    From the AP:

    A lawyer for Andy Pettitte’s former personal trainer said yesterday he believes the pitcher will tell Congress he discussed human growth hormone with Roger Clemens between the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

    The lawyer, Earl Ward, said Pettitte talked about HGH with trainer Brian McNamee following a conversation with Clemens, who has denied he used HGH or steroids. McNamee worked with both Clemens and Pettitte.

    “We’re hopeful based on Andy’s reputation that he will corroborate Brian’s statements with regard to Roger,” Ward said.

    When first seeing the headline of “LAWYER: PETTITTE WILL IMPLICATE CLEMENS” on this story, I took it to mean that Pettitte’s lawyer was saying this – which would be a big deal. Reading the story, and seeing that it’s coming from McNamee’s camp, well, we’re better off believing this to be true only when we actually see it happen.

    Whitey Ford’s Memorabilia Sale

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    From the Daily News today -

    Whitey Ford decided it was time to clean out his attic – and his stash of pinstripe goodies could be worth a mound of cash.

    The legendary Yankee pitcher showed off an array of belongings that will go on the auction block, including a baseball President John F. Kennedy signed for Ford and his Hall of Fame induction plaque.

    “When your house starts getting full and your kids don’t have a place to sleep, it’s time to get rid of stuff,” said Ford, 79. The treasure trove also includes a signed photo of Mickey Mantle, Ford’s rookie jersey and an authentic, used game glove.

    All pieces will be sold at a Javits Center auction during the MLB All-Star festivities on July 14 and 15. Yankee Stadium will host this summer’s All-Star Game. Auction organizers wouldn’t put a value on the entire cache of hundreds of pieces of memorabilia.

    The minute I saw this, I thought of Barry Halper and Phil Rizzuto and when they sold their stuff. I hope that Ford is not selling his items for the same reason that they did – fearing the end is near. That’s sad, even to speculate.

    Mets Trade For Johan Santana

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via Bob Nightengale:

    The New York Mets have agreed to a trade for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, giving up four prospects to acquire the left-handed ace of the Minnesota Twins, according to two high-ranking Twins officials with knowledge of the talks and a person close to Santana.

    The deal is pending the Mets and Santana reaching agreement on a six- or seven-year contract extension and that Santana passes a physical; they have been granted a 48 to-72-hour window to do so. Santana has a no-trade clause that he will waive if agreement is reached on a contract extension.

    The Mets paid a high price in prospects to land Santana, agreeing to send the Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey.

    Give the Mets credit. They had a dire need and plugged it with one of the best in the game. They were not afraid to part with prospects. And, they’re not afraid of Santana’s salary demands.

    Kevin Mulvey and Phil Humber should be decent big league pitchers some day. But, Deolis Guerra is a baby. Anything can happen with him. Carlos Gomez? Yes, he can run and he can field. But, will he hit in the majors? How’s his attitude?

    To me, this would be as if the Yankees traded Ian Kennedy, Jose Tabata, Alan Horne, and Dellin Betances for Johan Santana.

    Yes, that’s a steep price, when you think of it this way. And, it’s a gamble.

    Obviously, the Mets were willing to take that gamble – and the Yankees were not. Six years from now, or maybe sooner, we will know which team was smart to take the position (that they did) on this one.

    Heyman: Yanks Out Of Santana Race

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Click here to read Jon Heyman’s latest.

    Tom Robson, Jason Roach, and Eric Valent have all worn #57 for the Mets. Santana would automatically become the best Metsie to ever don those digits. (Then again, he would have been the best to wear them for the Yankees too.)

    Going Back, 29 Or 32 Years…

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    For those who need a retro-Yankees-baseball-fix on a day in January where baseball seems far away, even with Pitchers and Catchers being right around the corner…

    Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images.

    Ah, good times.

    LaTroy LaStory To Be LaShort One?

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    I’m starting to get very concerned about LaTroy Hawkins. Yes, he’s cheap and disposable. And, sure, from 2002 to 2004, he posted some solid pitching numbers. (And, since 2004, he’s been about a league-average performer.)

    But, I’m beginning to think the pressure of Yankeeland is going to eat him alive this season. He’s recently had issues in terms of dealing with the media (in Chicago). Plus, there’s some evidence that he (at least lately) does not excel under fire. (From 2005 to 2007, he’s blown 27 of 39 save opportunities – that’s a whopping 69%.) Also, he’s had some post-season meltdowns in the past. These types of things suggest that he doesn’t have the stomach for New York.

    Sure, the Yankees, reportedly, only want him to cover the 6th or 7th inning – and that should be less pressure. Still, I just have a feeling that, come that point in the season when it’s time for the team photo, Hawkins will be no where to be found in the Bronx.

    Blauch Friday Coming?

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    This Friday, Chuck Knoblauch will speak to House oversight committee staff members about performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. Would it be shocking if Knobby sang like Joe Valachi during this session? He is sort of a loose cannon who has already turned his back on baseball.

    Stay tuned.

    Bradbury: Rocket Not Boosted

    Posted by on January 29th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Today’s recommended reading: J.C. Bradbury’s conclusion that Roger Clemens pitched without the aid of steroids.

    Makes you wonder if the Lidocaine and B-12 even helped too?

    Paul Quantrill’s Place In Yankees History

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    In terms of guys only working out of the Yankees pen, while in New York, with at least 100 IP for the Bombers, who were the worst in terms of allowing runners to reach base? Thanks to the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia we have the answer:

    BASERUNNERS/9 IP                DIFF   PLAYER   LEAGUE     IP       GS
    1    Paul Quantrill            -1.47    14.49    13.02    127.1        0
    2    Marshall Bridges          -1.06    13.29    12.23    105          0
    3    Dale Murray                -.77    13.28    12.50    120          0
    4    Ron Villone                -.65    13.72    13.07    122.2        0
    5    Hal Reniff                 -.44    12.14    11.70    427          0
    6    Jim Turner                 -.23    12.45    12.22    146          0
    7    Kyle Farnsworth            0.21    12.86    13.07    126          0
    8    Jeff Nelson                0.42    13.11    13.53    311          0
    9    Tim Stoddard               0.44    12.24    12.68    197          0
    10   Steve Karsay               0.54    12.30    12.84    101          0   

    To level the results, BASERUNNERS/9 IP versus the league average is used here.

    By far, Paul Quantrill is the “leader” of the pack here. When you factor in that Quantrill (as a Yankee) allowed 48% of the runners he inherited to score, a case can be made that he was one of the most ineffective relievers in Yankees history. And, sometimes, he didn’t even need a lot of pitches to do his thing.

    The Terms Of Cano’s New Deal

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    From Joel Sherman -

    Cano is due to make $3 million in 2008, $6 million in 2009, $9 million in 2010 and $10 million in 2011. In 2012, Cano has an option for $14 million with a $2 million buyout. If that option is picked up, Cano will have another option in 2013 for $15 million with a $2 million buyout.

    Interesting. $28 million for four years – with a buyout of $2 million after that. Or, $42 million for five years – with a buyout of $2 million after that. Or, $57 million for six years.

    So, it’s $30 mill for four, $44 mill for five, or $57 mill for six. On average, it’s $7.5 million a year for four, $8.8 million for five, or $9.5 million a year for six.

    If Cano tanks in the next couple of years, you can eat him for $30 million. That’s less than dining on the Carl Pavano special.

    When you figure that it cost the Yankees $26 million just to talk contract with Kei Igawa, this deal is a steal.

    SOTD: It’s Really Not A Bad Thing

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Javy, Ellis, Barry and the Babe. Who would have thunk it?

    Pete Mrsich

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    I just wanted to throw this out there…

    If you a fan of our General Joe’s Army Shirts logo, and/or the WasWatching.com banner, – and why wouldn’t you be! – you should take note of the site for the artist behind these great designs: WorkWithPete.com.

    It was a pleasure to partner with Pete Mrsich on both these projects. If you’re ever in need of a graphic artist, I highly recommend WorkWithPete.com.

    Brian Cashman 2003

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (23)

    Brian Cashman became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998.

    It’s rare for someone to be a G.M. for tens years with one team these days. Ten years does provide for some “body of work” analysis. Therefore, I thought it would be fun, this off-season, to take a look back at Cashman’s “moves” during the past decade – one year at a time. (I’ll try and post one year, per week, over the next ten weeks.)

    Here, we’ll look at Cashman’s moves in 2003 and how they helped or hurt the team:

    No Impact:

    March 19, 2003 – Traded Rondell White to the San Diego Padres. Received Bubba Trammell, Mark Phillips, and cash.

    July 16, 2003 – Traded Jason Anderson, Anderson Garcia, and Ryan Bicondoa to the New York Mets. Received Armando Benitez.

    August 6, 2003 – Traded Armando Benitez to the Seattle Mariners. Received Jeff Nelson.

    August 22, 2003 – Traded Sterling Hitchcock to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Ben Julianel and Justin Pope.

    December 18, 2003 – Traded Chris Hammond and cash to the Oakland Athletics. Received Eduardo Sierra and J.T. Stotts.

    Good Impact:

    January 15, 2003 – Traded Orlando Hernandez to the Chicago White Sox. Received Antonio Osuna and Delvis Lantigua.

    February 4, 2003 – Signed Jon Lieber as a free agent.

    June 6, 2003 – Traded Marcus Thames to the Texas Rangers. Received Ruben Sierra.

    June 25, 2003 – Purchased Karim Garcia from the Cleveland Indians.

    July 29, 2003 – Traded Raul Mondesi and cash to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Received David Dellucci, Bret Prinz, and John Prowl.

    July 31, 2003 – Traded Brandon Claussen, Charlie Manning, and cash to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Aaron Boone.

    July 31, 2003 – Traded Robin Ventura to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor.

    August 25, 2003 – Selected Felix Heredia off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

    December 19, 2003 – Signed Miguel Cairo as a free agent.

    Great Impact:

    December 16, 2003 – Signed Tom Gordon as a free agent.

    Bad Impact:

    January 16, 2003 – Signed John Flaherty as a free agent.

    January 27, 2003 – Signed Juan Acevedo as a free agent.

    February 6, 2003 – Signed Jose Contreras as an amateur free agent.

    July 31, 2003 – Received Gabe White from the Cincinnati Reds as part of a conditional deal.

    November 6, 2003 – Andy Pettitte granted Free Agency.

    December 4, 2003 – Signed Felix Heredia as a free agent.

    December 7, 2003 – Signed Gabe White as a free agent.

    December 13, 2003 – Traded Jeff Weaver, Yhency Brazoban, Brandon Weeden, and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Kevin Brown.

    December 16, 2003 – Traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, and Randy Choate to the Montreal Expos. Received Javier Vazquez.

    December 17, 2003 – Signed Paul Quantrill as a free agent.

    Was Probably Not A Cashman Move & More Likely Something Done In Tampa:

    December 19, 2003 – Signed Gary Sheffield as a free agent.
    ______________________________________________________________
    The good deals this year for Cashman mostly had short-term benefits. But, the bad deals either hurt the Yankees for a while (Flaherty, Contreras, Pettitte, and Brown) or they hurt New York in a big post-season spot (Brown, Vazquez, and Quantrill). If I’m Brian, and I’m putting together a resume, I might want to leave 2003 off it – especially some of these moves in the winter following the 2003 season.

    Cone To Join YES Booth

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Joel Sherman has the story.

    Can’t wait for the first Cone-Leiter debate.

    I wonder if it will be anything like this:

    The Clemens Report

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Hendricks Sports Management issues a 49-page report that could have been summed up in 27 words: Clemens actually had 46 Runs Saved Above Average in the season where Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said Roger was in the “twilight of his career.”

    Still, lots of pretty colored charts never go to waste when trying to make a point.

    1,283 Days Ago

    Posted by on January 28th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Gabe Kapler, speaking while being inducted into the Moorpark College Hall of Fame:

    Kapler, Moorpark College’s first World Series champion, was in right field when the Boston Red Sox broke the “Curse of the Bambino” with a sweep of the Cardinals.

    He wore his World Series ring and told a story of the Red Sox’s famous brawl with the rival New York Yankees, started when catcher Jason Varitek stuck his catcher’s mitt in the face of Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

    “We were struggling and Jason knew that we needed a spark at that moment,” said Kapler. “I’m not condoning violence by any means. This is part of a teamwork story.”

    Ah, July 24, 2004….and that stupid fight. Looking backwards, I wonder if A-Rod has any regrets on that one?

    Bedard To M’s?

    Posted by on January 27th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    It’s starting to look like Seattle is going to pick up Erik Bedard.

    Think about that rotation, for the M’s, if the deal goes through: Felix Hernandez, Erik Bedard, Miguel Batista, Jarrod Washburn and (probably) Brandon Morrow. Those first four guys are all good – at least they were last year – for close to 30 starts and 190 innings pitched.

    Beware the Emerald City, indeed.

    My Fanboy Crush On Ian Kennedy

    Posted by on January 27th, 2008 · Comments (19)

    I might as well get this out of the way now – because I know many will accuse me of it during this season. Yes, I confess, I’ve got it bad over Ian Kennedy.

    Yeah, I know, he reportedly doesn’t have the “stuff” of Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain. And, he’s small. (Ian’s listed as being 6 feet tall, but, I would question that one.)

    But, from what I’ve seen – and others have reported this – Kennedy has polish as a pitcher. He’s workman-like and mature. He’s grounded. And, while this is a personal thing for me, I think Ian’s personality could translate to better success, in the long run, than the “Dude, it’s a Dell” nature of Hughes and the “Paul Bunyan” bravado of Chamberlain.

    Don’t get me wrong – this is not to imply that Hughes and Chamberlain will not go on to be very-good to great major league pitchers. And, I’m not saying that Ian Kennedy will be the next Greg Maddux – or even the next Bob Tewksbury.

    It’s just that there’s something about Ian, to me, that just makes me want to be in the guy’s corner. It’s a subjective thing. But, many times, that’s what happens when you’re a fan, right?

    Cano Cruise Control Concerns?

    Posted by on January 27th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Via John Harper -

    Some baseball people wonder if it was a smart move to agree to give Robinson Cano a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $30 million, given that he is still three years away from being eligible for free agency. As one AL scout said yesterday. “He has a tendency to put it on cruise control. He’s got a world of talent, but I know the Yankees had concerns at one point about his work ethic. Sometimes young guys get that first big contract and their intensity comes and goes.”

    Time will tell.

    Yanks Not Out Of Santana Chase?

    Posted by on January 27th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Man, how many times have I asked that question? Via Charley Walters -

    The Twins, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees are not holding up the proposed trade of Twins pitcher Johan Santana. It’s Santana, who is seeking $150 million over six years.

    Santana has the right, by way of a no-trade contract clause, to veto any deal with a team that won’t pay him what he wants.

    A trade is expected to occur within 10 days, though.

    The Mets, who dearly want Santana, have told at least one free-agent pitcher hoping to sign with them to wait until they find out whether they can acquire the two-time Cy Young Award winner. The Twins, as they should, continue to insist that slugging young outfielder Fernando Martinez, the Mets’ top minor league prospect, be included in any deal.

    “Martinez will show how badly the Mets want Santana,” one insider said.

    The Red Sox haven’t moved much from their initial offer for Santana. But one minor leaguer who some would consider a throw-in by Boston – left-handed hitting outfielder Ryan Kalish – could become an important part of a deal. Francisco Liriano, remember, was considered a throw-in when the San Francisco Giants included him in the Twins’ trade for Joe Nathan.

    The Yankees continue to vacillate on whether to include pitcher Phil Hughes in a deal for Santana. One day he’s in, another day he’s out. The Twins do not consider the Yankees out of contention.

    The Twins tried to get the Los Angeles Angels interested in Santana, but the Angels appear more interested in acquiring hitting than pitching.

    I don’t get the love over Fernando Martinez. In a recent Baseball America report, this is what I read about him:

    Martinez is heavy on tools and low on present skills, particularly for a Double-A player, though that’s typical for a teenager. His approach at the plate is raw, and some scouts disdain his load (too exaggerated) and spread-out stance (he’s not strong enough yet). Defensively, he played a below-average center field across the board in 2007. He needs improvement in running routes, picking up cutoff men and getting his body behind his throws. He profiles better in left field, as many scouts had predicted when he signed. Martinez’ baserunning skills are another area where his lack of experience holds him back. As the scout said, “He does a lot of things wrong out there.”

    In any event, it’s interesting that the “Twins do not consider the Yankees out of contention.” The next ten days could be fun.

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