• Hank Stein Leaves His Room

    Posted by on August 13th, 2008 · Comments (25)

    First of all, I would like to publicly thank Hank Stein for picking up my white glove. Thank you Hank. In any event, here’s what he had to say today about the current state of the Yankees:

    “I’m not writing off this season,” the team’s co-chairman said Tuesday. “They’re trying hard to win. There’s only so much you can do. They’re not supermen.”

    “I think it’s very simple, we’ve been devastated by injuries. No team I’ve ever seen in baseball has been decimated like this. It would kill any team,” Steinbrenner said. “Imagine the Red Sox without (Josh) Beckett and (Jon) Lester. Pitching is 70 per cent of the game. Wang won 19 games two straight years. Chamberlain became the most dominating pitcher in baseball. You can’t lose two guys like that.”

    “It’s not making excuses. It’s reality. That’s part of the game. That’s clearly our problem,” Steinbrenner said.

    “We’re going to win it next year,” he said. “If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Next year we’ll be extremely dangerous.”

    OK, here’s my rub here. Yes, losing Wang hurts. However…no one expected Mussina to be the ace that he is this season. So, yeah, the Yankees lost an ace in Wang – but they gained an ace in Mussina. Basically, the “reasonable expectation from Wang and Mussina” and the “actual production from Wang and Mussina” are a push this season – with most of the heavy lifting coming from Mussina (instead of Wang, as expected).

    And, yes, losing Chamberlain hurts too. However…if Hughes and Kennedy were not as bad as they have been this season, the Yankees would not have been so reliant on Joba (in the rotation). So, it’s not the injury to Chamberlain that was the problem – it was the bad judgement to count on Kennedy and Hughes to be 40% of your rotation that was the problem.

    Therefore, in the end, it’s weak to play the injury card here.

    Further, this “If we need to add a top veteran pitcher, we’ll do that. We’ll do whatever we need to do. Next year we’ll be extremely dangerous” line is insulting. The Yankees had a chance to “add a top veteran pitcher” last off-season (Johan Santana) and passed. So, why will this winter be any different?

    Unless, of course…this means that Cashman will be out or over-ruled this time? Hmmm…

    Comments on Hank Stein Leaves His Room

    1. hallofamer2000
      August 13th, 2008 | 2:29 am

      I think you’re reading too much into this. The difference between CC and Johan is that they will have to just give CC cash (and lose a draft pick, but they should be gaining plenty too.)

      The Johan deal would be:
      1) Give up your CF (I wouldn’t mind that now though…)
      2) Give up #1 Pitching prospect in baseball (arguably)
      3) Give up 2 more unknown prospects
      4) Give Johan 20 million
      5) Pay 10 million in tax

      CC is just:
      1) Give CC 20 million
      2) Lose a draft pick
      They won’t have tax because their payroll is due to drop significantly this year (Giambi, Pavano, Abreu, Pudge, Moose (he’s prob. coming back though), Pettitte (who knows), Hawkins, and Marte.)

      I don’t think Cash would pass up a CC-Wang-Joba-Moose-Hughes rotation.

    2. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 8:00 am

      RSAA TEAM TOTALS
      6 Yankees 30

      RCAA TEAM TOTALS
      8 Yankees 7

      It ain’t the pitching.

    3. frankinsense
      August 13th, 2008 | 8:01 am

      Wow, this is a new level of myopia from you, Steve. I had to register just to say so.

      First, losing Wang in no way balances out Moose’s year. At least last year, Moose gave them 150 IP at 87 ERA+. I would take that from Wang over losing him for the season. But it didn’t happen. Instead they got 150 innings at 87 ERA+ from Rasner and Ponson. Yeah, give me Wang, thanks.

      Then Hughes and IPK also got hurt and for two to three months each. Again, you can’t just say they were ineffective when they got hurt after a less 60 IP combined. Sure, IPK still has a lot to learn. But I would not be surprised in the least if Hughes pitches lights out for the next six weeks. He’s got a lot to prove in the next few years, but he always had the talent to do so.

      As for Joba, the plan was always to move him and specifically to get him 150 innings. Even missing only two to three weeks, he wasn’t going to get there unless they went deep into October. Right now he’ll be lucky to get 130 IP if he comes back.

      Finally, you can’t say “Therefore, in the end, it’s weak to play the injury card here.” and leave out how injuries have also devastated the lineup -

      A-Rod: one month
      Posada: three to four months
      Matsui: two to four months

      Take the pitching injuries of 2005 and add them to the lineup injuries of 2006 and you get 2008. Nady is even playing Abreu 2006 role even as no one is playing the Chacon/Small roles. That’s the story of this season. The difference though is how they’re set up for next year (money and youth available). Yankee management certainly gets a pass from me, especially because, even with all of the injuries, they’re still in it. It’s doubtful but crazier things have happened. If they sign Sabathia while Hughes develops, it will have been exactly the right move to avoid trading for Santana (he of rapidly falling K rates and rapidly increasing HR rates).

    4. August 13th, 2008 | 8:22 am

      FWIW, I think Santana is less of a long-term risk than CC because Santana is not a fat tub of goo. So, IMHO, there’s a huge (pun intended) difference between the two.

    5. MJ
      August 13th, 2008 | 8:56 am

      FWIW, I think Santana is less of a long-term risk than CC because Santana is not a fat tub of goo. So, IMHO, there’s a huge (pun intended) difference between the two.
      ———————————–
      I agree, but only to a point. Yes Sabathia’s obesity should give the Yanks pause, but that doesn’t mean that they Yanks should’ve traded for Santana because of it. The answer, in my opinion, is that neither choice is/was attractive, each for their own different reasons and set of circumstances.

    6. August 13th, 2008 | 9:13 am

      ~~First, losing Wang in no way balances out Moose’s year. At least last year, Moose gave them 150 IP at 87 ERA+. I would take that from Wang over losing him for the season. But it didn’t happen. Instead they got 150 innings at 87 ERA+ from Rasner and Ponson. Yeah, give me Wang, thanks.~~

      What about the 95 innings that they did get from Wang this year? This means the other 55 innings are coming from Ponson – and he’s already given them 47.6.

      So, Wang + Ponson = what you got from Mussina last year, no?

      And, Mussina this year = what you got from Wang last year.

      Hence, the push.

    7. August 13th, 2008 | 9:15 am

      ~~A-Rod: one month
      Posada: three to four months
      Matsui: two to four months~~

      Posada hurt – no question.
      But, A-Rod was only out from 4/29 to 5/19
      that’s 3 weeks – not a ton of time
      And, Matsui was replaced by Nady pretty quickly in the line-up.

      Sorry, I can’t buy this excuse.

    8. AndrewYF
      August 13th, 2008 | 9:15 am

      Santana may not be a “fat tub of goo”, but his stuff has clearly, and unarguably, declined, and it’s not coming back. He’s striking out less, and giving up more homeruns. He also had arm troubles last season which led him to ditch his slider.

      Sabathia has never had arm problems, and his stuff has not declined one bit. In fact, many have said that his ‘fat tub of goo’ physique (which, in reality, is more of a ‘big guy’ physique…like Joba’s) actually helps his longentivity. Santana is a little guy. He probably won’t last as long, especially considering his documented arm problems and his documented loss of stuff.

      I’d say Santana is more of a risk, and I’m very glad the trade didn’t go down. This 2008 team is not a Johan Santana (especially the now-lesser Santana we’ve seen since the second half of last year) away from the World Series. But the 2009 team could be a CC Sabathia away from the series, plus they get to keep Hughes, Kennedy and Melky, which despite what you think of them, can at least make very good trade fodder.

    9. MJ
      August 13th, 2008 | 9:23 am

      But the 2009 team could be a CC Sabathia away from the series, plus they get to keep Hughes, Kennedy and Melky, which despite what you think of them, can at least make very good trade fodder.
      —————————————
      Andrew YF, I’m with you that not trading for Santana was the move (or non-move) that I agreed with. But I don’t see how the team might be viewed as a CC Sabathia away from the WS. Much of the team is coming back next year (A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, Posada, Damon, probably Matsui). I don’t see how this team — looking like an 88-90 win team at best — would be a World Series contender with Sabathia instead of Santana. Neither one is necessarily the missing piece.

      Further, if you wouldn’t trade Hughes/Kennedy/Melky for Santana, why would you view them as trade fodder now? Their value is ridiculously low at this point. You don’t trade these guys, you stay with them to figure out what they can become. If you trade them now, at rock-bottom value, then you may as well have traded them for Santana, even if he’s the diminished verison of himself.

    10. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      August 13th, 2008 | 9:48 am

      How about Hankie’s statement that “these other teams” always go up and down and that it will still come down to the Yanks and Sox, same as it ever was?

      How far is his head up his butt to be making that statement?

      Most expected the Rays would be better this year but flat out dangerous next, and that was before Longoria proved himself a star, or that pitcher from Vandy has even been added to the roster.

      You’ve gotta be incredibly stupid not to see that there’s a new balance of power in the East for the foreseeable future.

    11. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 9:59 am

      As for the “injury card,” witness the 2006 Red Sox.

    12. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:04 am

      Most expected the Rays would be better this year but flat out dangerous next, and that was before Longoria proved himself a star, or that pitcher from Vandy has even been added to the roster.
      —————-
      And in subsequent years, the Rays are going to have to prove that they aren’t a fluke. Not saying that they are, but a lot of things can happen over the course of a season.

      Fact is, it has been a two-team race in the AL East for years, with the Jays being fringe players, and the Rays being up and coming. I think that’s may be what Hank is referring to

    13. antone
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:07 am

      I agree with Andrew on Sabathia/Santana. I would bet that Sabathia is far more effective than Santana for the next 6-8 years. Sabathia is a big guy but he is still young and in the prime of his career. He is not Bartolo Colon-type out of shape. David Wells pitched for a long time and was probably in worse shape than Sabathia.

      If anything I think Sabathia will pitch even better these next 3-4 years then he has in the past. I think he’s hitting his prime and really learning how to pitch. I don’t think his weight is an issue, he carries it well. Santana is a small guy in the Pedro mold and his stuff is not as electric as it used to be.

      Sabathia, Joba, Wang, Mussina, Pettite with Hughes in the wings would be a strong World Series caliber rotation, it would just be on the offense and bullpen to do the rest.

    14. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:08 am

      Much of the team is coming back next year (A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, Posada, Damon, probably Matsui). I don’t see how this team — looking like an 88-90 win team at best — would be a World Series contender with Sabathia instead of Santana. Neither one is necessarily the missing piece.
      ————–
      True. Guess we’ll have to work with the assumption that Jeter and Cano have bounce back years, and Posada’s healthy, and Matsui’s healthy.

      We will also have to see what Cashman or whomever’s in charge will do with the bench, 1B, and maybe the outfield, as well as the pitching staff.

    15. AndrewYF
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:15 am

      How does he have his head up his butt? He’s absolutely right: look at the White Sox, the Rockies, the Padres, Cleveland, Detroit. They’re very, very volatile. The Rays have all this great young talent, but they’ve had great young talent for years. No one should be surprised to see them wither down the stretch, or become mediocre next year (unless they make some big, big free agent splashes, that’s a very distinct possibility). One season of success in no way suddenly makes you a guaranteed contender.

      MJ – this 2008 team has been decimated. Wang, Posada and Matsui have missed most of the year. Remember when everyone said that aside from A-Rod, Wang and Posada were probably the most essential Yankees? They weren’t wrong, and yet people act as though this team was always bad, it was constructed all wrong from the very beginning, and they have no shot for the forseeable future. I don’t think I have to tell you how silly that is. If the Yanks get Sabathia next year, combined with the brilliance of Joba and the very-goodiness of Wang, they have as good a shot as anyone, no matter what happens with the offense, which no one should be surprised to see bounce back in a big way. I can’t remember a year where there has been such a perfect storm of injury and ineffectiveness. Considering every single thing that’s gone completely right for the Rays and the Red Sox, it’s a miracle the Yankees have stayed in contention for so long.

      The big reason why the 2008 Yankees aren’t Johan Santana away from the WS is exactly this perfect storm of injury and ineffectiveness. The 2009 Yankees, combined with new, in-their-prime free agents, one of which is Sabathia, will be an extremely dangerous team. I don’t see why someone would ridicule that sentiment.

      About the ‘trade fodder’ comment: Hughes has a metric ton of value. If he comes back and even does reasonably well, his value is probably not really diminished from his off-season value this year. Thankfully, the Yankees understand this as well and will wisely stick with him. Kennedy, at least, is not some valueless AAAA pitcher. Heck, Ohlendorf proved he doesn’t belong in the majors, and his hold on the minors is tenuous, and look what he netted. Whatever value the Yankees get out of these players, added to (if) they get Sabathia, can so easily outshine whatever value a diminished and declining Johan Santana would provide it’s silly.

    16. Jake1
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:35 am

      I love how everyone is assuming CC signs here. Sorry but it’s not a given. Plenty of teams have money and he likes the West Coast. it is no guarantee.

      Santana was a sure thing. The whole diminished stuff is total bunk. He’s a great athlete, lefty and in his prime. This team is in 1st place by 5 games if he’s in the rotation.

      We have all seen what Kennedy is. Worthless.
      Melky is less than worthless.

      And Hughes? You can’t say Santana has diminished stuff than praise Hughes because Santana still has a better fastball than Hughes and Hughes is 22 yrs old!

      It was a huge mistake passing on a veteran ace in his 20′s.

    17. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:38 am

      OK, here’s my rub here. Yes, losing Wang hurts. However…no one expected Mussina to be the ace that he is this season. So, yeah, the Yankees lost an ace in Wang – but they gained an ace in Mussina.
      ———-
      Still, no matter which way you cut it, they lost Wang. If they gained an ace in Mussina and maintained an ace in Wang, then things are different, no?

      As for Joba, there were plans all along to move him to the rotation. That Hughes and Kennedy didn’t perform to expectations is irrelevant.

    18. Jake1
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:41 am

      “That Hughes and Kennedy didn’t perform to expectations is irrelevant.”

      How is that possibly irrelevant??

      They were expected to come in and pitch reasonably well. 10 wins each. Nothing too great as back end starters. They have given ZERO wins.

      They weren’t traded because the front office thought they were front line starting pitchers.

      If you hit on one young pitcher you are ahead of the game. They knew Joba was a sure thing. Those 2 were totally expendable.

      Especially with pithcing being the strength of the farm system.

    19. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:45 am

      It was a huge mistake passing on a veteran ace in his 20’s.
      ————–
      Time will tell. No one was praising the Beckett deal after 2006.

    20. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:46 am

      How is that possibly irrelevant??
      ———
      Because the decision of Chamberlain going to the rotation was not contingent on Hughes and Kennedy. He was going into the rotation whether they both won or lost 20 games.

    21. frankinsense
      August 13th, 2008 | 10:55 am

      “Hence, the push.”

      You forgot the part where Wang – healthy – could actually get better than Ponson or Rasner would ever be.

      “And, Matsui was replaced by Nady pretty quickly in the line-up.”

      About a month – what was their record over that time? Same deal with A-Rod? What was their record while he was out? I’m willing to bet that you take those *seven* weeks and give them their current WPCT over that same time, they’re 1 or two games out of the wild card, if that. Indeed, they were 6-12 while A-Rod was out, and 16-10 in the time between Matsui and Nady. Tell that to all your A-Rod hating friends!

      “FWIW, I think Santana is less of a long-term risk than CC because Santana is not a fat tub of goo. So, IMHO, there’s a huge (pun intended) difference between the two.”

      And the part where Santana’s peripherals have been consistently getting worse over the last few years? And where Sabathia’s peripherals, after the slow start, have only gotten better this year (more Ks, fewer hits) after three straight years of solid consistency? Besides Steve, I know you know better than to judge a player like a scout from the 1940′s.

      Andrew has it exactly right.

    22. Jake1
      August 13th, 2008 | 11:52 am

      “Time will tell. No one was praising the Beckett deal after 2006.”

      Who wasn’t praising the Beckett deal? And his average 2006 let them sign him for a huge below market deal.

      And Hughes isn’t Hanley Ramirez.

      Now they are going to overpay in yrs and $ for a starter who isn’t as good as Santana.

      Heck, the Sox right now are regretting not trading Clay B for Santana.

      SOmetimes you over value your prospects. Something the Yankees do all the time.

    23. Raf
      August 13th, 2008 | 12:28 pm

      Who wasn’t praising the Beckett deal? And his average 2006 let them sign him for a huge below market deal.
      —————-
      Beckett was cost controlled and arbitration eligible (and expensive), the reason why the Marlins traded him. The Sox extended him sometime during the 2006 season, through 2009, IIRC. He was supposed to be the ace of the staff. Tim Wakefield is a good pitcher, though I don’t think he’s anyone’s definition of an ace. He’s outperforming Beckett this year. That’s two out of the 3 years that he has been with Boston that he hasn’t lived up to his billing

      Ramirez was the Sox’s top prospect, Hughes was the Yanks’ top prospect.

      Whether or not the Sox are regretting not trading for Santana is debatable. I’m sure that like the Yanks, the asking price + contract extension wasn’t worth it to them.

      You’ll have to explain “all the time” as the Yanks holding on to their prospects is a fairly recent phenomenon.

    24. antone
      August 13th, 2008 | 12:56 pm

      You’ll have to explain “all the time” as the Yanks holding on to their prospects is a fairly recent phenomenon.
      _____________________________________________

      Yup, I think Fred McGriff, Doug Drabek, Jose Rijo, Mike Lowell, Jay Buhner, Carl Everett, JT Snow, Juan Rivera, Nick Johnson, Ted Lilly, among others would agree that that is fairly recent phenomenon.

    25. butchie22
      August 13th, 2008 | 6:02 pm

      A lot of interesting opnions here. Halloffamer2000 kudos to you on Santana vs CC. Santana has a whopping 7 in Fenway and is a middling pitcher in the playoffs. And for all the people who keep on spitting out Santana’s name, I mention one fact over and over again: Bill Smith liked the Red Sox package much more than the Yankee package. PERIOD! To get Santana the Yankees would have had to give up a ton of top prospects AND give him money. No one thinks that that is pure insansity. The Yankees needed another centerfielder so add 15-18 million dollars to the mix. This whole Santana situation is spilt mix.

      As for the injuries, the Red Sox, Rays and Jays have all had injuries and are not spending 210 million dollars. So for the owner to excuse this is ridiculous. Hank is being pragmatic BUT you can’t say that to this the public. You wanna see an empty Yankee stadium come September, just wait Hank. No one has sympathy for a team that spends so much money. Internally, they might have said no playoffs but externally they are committing a grave error.

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