• WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 12/18/08

    Posted by on December 18th, 2008 · Comments (61)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Comments on WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 12/18/08

    1. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 9:32 am

      “The entire winter has been an overreaction ”

      This is a comment i’ve seen a couple or people put together so far in regards to the Yankees choosing to invest in C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. I believe it has something to do with the Yankees choosing to get pitching first instead of investing heavily into Mark Teixiera.

      I’m posting it because I was wondering if those of you who feel this way can explain to me why you feel Cashman has overreacted this offseason? I’ll pose this idea to how this offseason wasn’t an overreaction but something that’s been planned for more than some time.

      We all know, well the rational Yankee fans know, why Cashman passed on Santana last year. It had nothing to do with his talent, but more to do with his cost. Cashman was killed for not giving up top prospects and shelling out a record contract for him even though Cashman and all of us knew C.C. was on the horizon next year and would only cost top dollar. So as of today we have C.C. along with Hughes and Kennedy (not saying they are lights out, but we are deeper for keeping them and waiting on C.C.). It took a long contract to get it done, not one that we would prefer, but he’s here.

      On top of that, there is really no doubt that the biggest void on the Yankee roster since the end of 2003, other than a reliable setup man not named Flash, was dominant starting pitching to win in the playoffs. Our offense crushed our way to the playoffs and, like I said yesterday, we only went as deep as our pitching allowed us to go (first round loss). So when the Yanks have a chance to nab the top 2 pitchers on the market in C.C. and A.J., it was years in the making for them to take those chances. I feel that that is a definite reaction to the flaws of our recent past, but I don’t see how that is an OVERreaction?

      If there is any basis for me to disagree with the moves, it would be the length of each contract. I don’t know a Yankee fan who would want C.C. for 7 years or A.J. for 5, but if the overreaction is refering to something else maybe somebody could please fill me in on this.

    2. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 9:56 am

      Also, random side note, but at yesterday’s press conference the new Mets closer had “K-ROD” stitched onto the sleeve of his dress shirt…how much would the press have slammed A-Rod if he had done the same?

    3. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 10:48 am

      YankCrank, I understand perfectly well why the Yanks chose Sabathia this year over Santana last year. I completely agree with that decision and I have no problem whatsoever with the decision to add Sabathia to the roster. While I don’t personally think a pitcher should ever be paid that much money, I understand that the market price for a pitcher of this caliber is what it is so I accept that fact and move on.

      Where I disagree with you is in two places. First, I disagree that AJ Burnett is a coherent part of the strategy you elaborated on above and second, I disagree with your analysis of the recent Yankee playoff losses.

      First, AJ: As Steven Goldman posits in his most recent blog, the Yankees have decided to commit a lot of money to a guy who, although very talented, has ultimately cashed in on the final 90 or so innings of his career. As we’re seeing with how the Yankees are approaching negotiations with Andy Pettitte, they’re essentially punishing him for having a horrid second half.

      While I don’t disagree with the selective application of leverage, one would have to agree that had Burnett pitched his 4.96 ERA in the second half instead of the first half, the Yankees might not have been as generous as they were. But since Burnett posted a 2.86 ERA in the second half, Burnett had the upper hand in negotiations with the Yankees.

      This is not to say that Burnett is not a talented pitcher. He is. But I don’t believe that Burnett was part of the strategy you discussed. I view him as part of the “overreaction” because of the fallacy I will discuss in point #2 below.

      Second, the playoffs: Everyone seems to believe that the Yanks have been losing in the playoffs beacuse of an absence of pitching. Outside of the 2002 ALDS, where Yankee pitching absolutely imploded to the tune of an 8.21 ERA and 1.85 WHIP, the Yankee pitching from 2003-2007 has produced a cumulative 4.16 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. This compares favorably to our combined opponents ERA of 4.17 and 1.38 WHIP. All of which is to say that the Yanks have faltered in the playoffs for a number of reasons that go beyond pitching.

      If you look at 2008, the Yanks missed the playoffs because their offense wasn’t able to score enough runs to win games. The concept that the Yanks have mashed to the playoffs only to lose because of pitching just doesn’t hold water. If anything, the Yanks have mashed their way into the playoffs and then their bats have collectively gone cold.

      To sum it up, I agree with the Sabathia signing. I view the Burnett signing as an overreaction to the poor performance of the young pitching in 2008 and the anxiety that the Yanks might again miss the playoffs in 2009. As such, the Yanks did what they always do and paniced themselves into an awful contract with a pitcher who is no more reliable than Carl Pavano, even if he’s several times more talented.

    4. Corey
      December 18th, 2008 | 10:55 am

      let’s not forget Wang’s implosions

    5. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 10:57 am

      let’s not forget Wang’s implosions
      ————–
      That’s exactly right. He pitched great in the 2005 and 2006 ALDS but was flat-out awful in the 2007 ALDS. If Wang pitches better, the Yanks might’ve advanced past Cleveland last year.

    6. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 10:59 am

      Also, random side note, but at yesterday’s press conference the new Mets closer had “K-ROD” stitched onto the sleeve of his dress shirt…how much would the press have slammed A-Rod if he had done the same?
      ———–
      Heck, people slam A-Rod for waking up in the morning. I just look forward to when K-Rod blows a save or two here in NY. That’ll be fun.

    7. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 11:11 am

      I don’t think the Burnett deal was a panic move. Had the kids been traded (and there is plenty of time for that to happen), I can maybe see it as a panic move.

      I don’t think Burnett had the upper hand in any negotiation. Either he signs with the Yanks or he signs elsewhere. Either the Yanks sign him, or they sign someone else. AFAICT, given the analysis, it appears the contract he signed was a reasonable one.

      I’ve posted fangraphs analysis on Burnett elsewhere, it’s worth taking a look at if not only for the analysis of his career (which goes deeper than butchie’s rants about AJerk not having heart for the Toronto media or something like that…)

    8. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 11:13 am

      I just look forward to when K-Rod blows a save or two here in NY. That’ll be fun.
      ———–
      Not as much fun as watching he and Reyes congratulate each other after a save; between Rodriguez’s mound exorcisms (thanks WilliamNY!) & Reyes dancing, it’ll probably last about an hour. :p

    9. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 11:38 am

      Raf, i’ve seen the FanGraphs on Burnett and it’s good info. They correctly predicted his annual salary long before he signed, it’s kind of crazy. It also shows he’s not just a guy with two good years and loads of injuries. I also didn’t think the Burnett signed was an overreaction. You see a guy who is AL East proven, huge upside with #1 stuff. You also see that you only have 3 pitchers in CC, Wang and Joba. If you want him, go get him and they did.

      MJ, can you show me where you got the numbers on playoff performances? I’d love to check them out but can’t find them. Also, people make a case that the Yankees lineup just disappeared in the playoffs every year. Lineups just don’t forget how to hit all of a sudden, they go and face great pitchers and get shut down. No coincidence that guys like Pedro, Schilling, Lackey, Verlander and Carmona had performed well against us over our playoff runs and contributed to their teams winning. We didn’t forget how to hit against good pitching, good pitching beats good hitting and we didn’t have pitchers who could match up against those guys.

    10. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 11:41 am

      I just look forward to when K-Rod blows a save or two here in NY. That’ll be fun.
      ———–
      Not as much fun as watching he and Reyes congratulate each other after a save; between Rodriguez’s mound exorcisms (thanks WilliamNY!) & Reyes dancing, it’ll probably last about an hour. :p
      ———–

      How long until somebody charges the mound after a save of his?? The only way the Mets can be hated anymore would be if they signed Bonds.

    11. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 11:59 am

      MJ, can you show me where you got the numbers on playoff performances? I’d love to check them out but can’t find them.
      ——–
      The numbers can be found @ baseball-reference. Having said that, the Yanks have had failures in every aspect of their game in the playoffs.

      The 2007 playoffs may turn out differently if Wang pitches as he is capable of pitching, or if Posada effectively blocks Joba’s slider. The 2006 playoffs may turn out differently if Wang comes back from short rest, or if the team hits like they were supposed to. The 2005 playoffs may turn out differently if Sheffield & Crosby effectively communicate in the OF, or Rodriguez doesn’t GIDP… So many ways a team can win or lose a game in the playoffs. In 2003, the Yanks lost David Wells in game 5 of the WS. They lost the game. In 2005, the Angels lost Colon in game 5 of the ALDS. They lost the game. In 1996, Andy Pettitte gets lit up in game 1 of the WS, then comes back to throw a gem in game 5. In 2004, Esteban Loaiza, he of the 8.50 ERA as a Yankee, posted a 1.42 ERA over the division series and ALCS.

      You just can’t tell with these things.

    12. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:22 pm

      I think the perception of pitching “failures” actually boils down to this:

      Not having shut-down guys that dominate the opponent.

      Also playing into that is the analysis about post-season success, in, iirc, BP. One of the three predictors was having a strikeout staff.

      Sabathia and Burnett do miss bats, and have potential shut-down stuff. I think that does constitute an upgrade over the starters who the Yankees have trotted out in recent years.

      And, this may say more than comparing cumulative stats, which only reflect the total results of all pitchers.

    13. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:25 pm

      No coincidence that guys like Pedro, Schilling, Lackey, Verlander and Carmona had performed well against us
      ——————–
      Lackey gets bombed by Boston every time. Carmona got rocked by Boston in last year’s ALCS. And so on and so forth.

      Good pitching beats out good hitting, except when it doesn’t.

    14. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:32 pm

      I’ve posted fangraphs analysis on Burnett elsewhere, it’s worth taking a look at
      ————
      I’m not so much concerned about the $$ as about the motivation to sign him. I simply don’t think it made sense to sign a pitcher as unreliable as Burnett, even if the contract is deemed “reasonable” based on Fangraphs’ calculations.

      As far as the panic is concerned, I agree that simply trading the kids would be a panic move. But I also think that banishing them back to AAA by taking away any realistic chance at them making the rotation is an example of a panic move. It’s quite clear at this point that Hughes/Kennedy have very little left to prove in AAA. At a certain point you just have to let them figure it out at the big league level.

      I fear that Yankee management feels so “burned” by the kids that they’d rather toss $80M at a guy with a horrible medical history and a poor chance of returning value on his contract than giving the young pitchers another opportunity.

      It’s certainly not how I’d choose to run my franchise. Profligate spending on medical cases like Burnett is not what I’d call sensible or responsible leadership.

    15. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:46 pm

      As far as the panic is concerned, I agree that simply trading the kids would be a panic move. But I also think that banishing them back to AAA by taking away any realistic chance at them making the rotation is an example of a panic move.
      ————

      Unless you’re the 2008 Rays, a pitcher or two are going to spend time on the DL. Hughes and Kennedy will get their starts at the major league level, especially if Pettitte winds up walking and we have an open competition for the 5th slot…which wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I feel far more confident with Kennedy and Hughes fighting for the 5th spot or ready to come up when an injury occurs than just giving them a rotation spot again and hoping for the best. Also, last year proved they weren’t quite ready yet. No wins and an ERA ranging from 6.00-8.00 (i think, didn’t look it up) may mean that they need a little more work.

      ——————–
      Lackey gets bombed by Boston every time. Carmona got rocked by Boston in last year’s ALCS. And so on and so forth.
      Good pitching beats out good hitting, except when it doesn’t.
      ——————–

      I believe Lackey almost pitched a perfect game in Boston this year. Of course, sometimes, hitting wins but can we really draw a conclusion that we haven’t made it out of the first round since 2004 because our lineup happened to just forget how to hit? They can put together 900 runs in a year then conveniently, for the other team, shut down once the calendar rolls over into October? I’ll go check the numbers but i’m guessing we ran into some good pitching that shut us down and our own pitching couldn’t return the favor.

    16. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:50 pm

      It’s quite clear at this point that Hughes/Kennedy have very little left to prove in AAA. At a certain point you just have to let them figure it out at the big league level.
      ——————-
      It’s also clear that along with Chamberlain, they will have innings limits this year and next.

      Also, while I agree that they need to take their lumps @ the ML level, if they perform as poorly as they did last year, they’re going to get sent down to work on things. This way they have the ability to get some more work done in the minors, and be 1 & 1a the moment someone goes down. As of now, they lost 3 fulltime starters (Mussina, Pettitte, Rasner), and gained 2. If Burnett goes on the shelf, Hughes will get the call. Anyone else goes down, Kennedy gets the call. Or Hughes works out of the pen to get his innings up. Same goes with Kennedy. No more Pavano, more importantly, no more Ponson. You can never have too much pitching depth, as has been evidenced by the Yanks starting anyone and everyone since 1996. Even the 1998 juggernaut managed to find a way to work El Duque into the rotation. The Yanks will find a way to get Hughes and Kennedy into the rotation, or on the staff if/when they show their talent @ SWB.

      The analysis I was referring has more to do with Burnett’s performance, than the actual contract he signed.

      Even if these contracts don’t work out, these pitchers can be moved, so there isn’t much to worry about there.

    17. Scout
      December 18th, 2008 | 12:50 pm

      “I also think that banishing them back to AAA by taking away any realistic chance at them making the rotation is an example of a panic move. It’s quite clear at this point that Hughes/Kennedy have very little left to prove in AAA”

      It isn’t a matter of having to prove anything in AAA. Rather, it is a matter of improving their command, fine-tuning secondary pitches that did not work in the majors, learning how to win on days when you don’t have your best stuff — a host of pitching skills that come with experience.

      If Hughes and Kennedy are not traded, you will see them in NY at some point this year. Most teams go through at least seven or eight starters. There are injuries and innings caps. And if Pettitte doesn’t return, the fifth slot in the rotation is still open.

    18. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:01 pm

      Of course, sometimes, hitting wins but can we really draw a conclusion that we haven’t made it out of the first round since 2004 because our lineup happened to just forget how to hit?
      ————
      It has been a combination of several things, not hitting, not pitching, not fielding, or not having these things in snych. The Yanks have gotten blown out (game 7, 2004 ALCS), they have lost the close ones (game 2, 2007 ALDS), they have lost the back and forth contests (game 3, 2005 ALDS).

    19. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:04 pm

      Here is some perspective to what i mean with playoff pitching.

      05 ALDS (5 games):
      NYY ERA: 4.40
      NYY Starters IP: 28.6

      LAA ERA: 3.89
      LAA Starters IP: 27

      06 ALDS (4 games):
      NYY ERA: 5.56
      NYY Starters IP: 22.1

      DET ERA: 3.60
      DET Starters IP: 27

      07 ALDS (4 games):
      NYY ERA: 5.89
      NYY Starters IP: 19

      CLE ERA: 3.41
      CLE Starters IP: 24

      Obviously, these series had a lot more to do with the outcome than just what the starting pitchers contributed. But look at the Yankee performances. High ERA (whole pitching staff, not just starters) and the starters don’t go as deep as the other teams. In essence, the other pitching staff each year did much better than our starting pitching and I doubt it’s because we just forgot how to hit. While we were throwing out Randy Johnson, Shawn Chacon and a 44-year-old Roger Clemens we got guys like Verlander, Lackey and Fausto Carmona. Good pitching wins.

    20. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:05 pm

      correction to the last post, my Angels starters IP numbers were wrong.

      05 ALDS (5 games):
      NYY ERA: 4.40
      NYY Starters IP: 28.6

      LAA ERA: 3.89
      LAA Starters IP: 31.6

    21. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:16 pm

      Even if these contracts don’t work out these pitchers can be moved, so there isn’t much to worry about there.
      ——————
      As if that’s a good enough justification? Sign a stupid contract and then pay someone to take your problem? Sure, it’s only money but at what point do you just decide to make better decisions so that you DON’T have to pay to dump some loser elsewhere?

      I cannot be convinced that the Burnett signing was justifiable. Too much money and too many years for a guy that comes with a massive history of injuries in his career.

    22. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:19 pm

      While we were throwing out…Shawn Chacon…
      ————–
      You mean the Shawn Chacon who pitched 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, and 5 BB and pushed the Yanks into a Game 5 in Anaheim? That one?

    23. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:20 pm

      *5 BB = 5 K

    24. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:24 pm

      Point I’m making about Chacon is that it doesn’t matter what his name is. The man pitched great in his one and only playoff start for the Yanks.

      If the “name” mattered then we wouldn’t all be giddy for the Sabathia era since his playoff stats suck beyond belief:

      25 IP, 7.92 ERA, 2.20 WHIP

      Don’t take this to mean I’m down on Sabathia. I happen to believe that part of his playoff problems stem from the fact that his past two managers have used him carelessly and he’s simply run out of steam. But the fact remains that good performance can come from a Chacon, just like bad performance can come from Sabathia.

    25. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:51 pm

      Point I’m making about Chacon is that it doesn’t matter what his name is. The man pitched great in his one and only playoff start for the Yanks.
      ————–

      It’s true, in baseball on any given day Chacon can be brilliant and Sabathia can be garbage. Chacon gave up more runs than Lackey that day and our bullpen outlasted theirs for the win. Then there was Game 2 where Lackey outlasted Wang and Game 3 where Johnson got beat up and we never really had a chance to win.

      Point is, Chacon was great that day, good for him. Mussina had a couple good playoff starts too, but our entire assorted pitching staffs were not good enough to keep up with the other ones from 2004-07. The numbers I listed about prove that and they were a major contributor to our poor playoff runs.

    26. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 1:53 pm

      In that regard, I don’t see Burnett as an overreaction. A bunch of expensive contracts came off the payroll and he wanted to upgrade with pitching. I think it was a rational choice and a necessary decision.

    27. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:23 pm

      I think it was a rational choice
      ————-
      Rational with Sabathia for sure. And if there were another pitcher out there worth it, I’d be ok. I just don’t see it with Burnett. Not with that injury history.

    28. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:29 pm

      Sign a stupid contract and then pay someone to take your problem?
      —————
      The analysis has shown that it wasn’t a stupid signing, and quite reasonable, given the factors.

      Point was that if the player needs to be moved for whatever reason it can be done. Take the Mike Lowell discussion, for instance. If the Sox sign Texiera, Lowell becomes a redundancy. It doesn’t make the contract stupid, it’s that the Sox upgraded, and now Lowell is a spare part that should be moved. That the Sox may to eat a part of the contract doesn’t make it stupid. Kenny Rogers had a year in line with his career, and a year that wasn’t. The Yanks traded him to the A’s and sent cash as part of the deal. I suspect had the trade not been made that the other years Rogers pitched, would’ve been in line with his career. Doesn’t make the contract stupid, nor the logic behind acquiring him stupid.

    29. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:34 pm

      Show me this analysis that says it wasn’t a stupid signing. I’m very curious to read how sabermetricians can finagle stats to reflect how a guy who has missed time in 4 of 8 seasons is still worthy of such high praise and compensation.

    30. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:36 pm

      Game 3 where Johnson got beat up and we never really had a chance to win.
      —————–
      That is incorrect. The Yanks were leading 6-5 after 5; the bullpen (Aaron Small) took the loss in that game.

    31. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:48 pm

      Show me this analysis that says it wasn’t a stupid signing. I’m very curious to read how sabermetricians can finagle stats to reflect how a guy who has missed time in 4 of 8 seasons is still worthy of such high praise and compensation.
      ————–
      Fangraphs is a good place to start.

      Baseball Prospectus offers the following;
      “To be fair, Burnett is a good pitcher when healthy. Though he had never won more than 12 games prior to the 2008 season, that was a function of his lack of availability and the occasionally meager offensive support he had received, and his ERAs have been 13 percent better than the park-adjusted league average over the past four years, which ranks 16th among pitchers with at least 700 innings in that span. His 4.07 ERA this past year was inflated by about half a run thanks to his .318 BABIP, 18 points above league average.

      Burnett’s strikeout rate over those four years, 8.9 per nine innings, is even better, ranking third among that group behind Cy Young winners Jake Peavy and Johan Santana. As noted in discussing Sabathia, strikeout rate is the key indicator of a pitcher’s future success because it provides the window into his ability to fool hitters with his offerings. A pitcher’s strikeout rate generally declines as he ages, but a high strikeout rate gives him more headroom before he does so. To the extent that the Yankees must look five years into the future on Burnett’s deal, his strikeout rate offers some assurance of future effectiveness-if not availability.”

    32. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 2:54 pm

      that was a function of his lack of availability
      ————-
      That’s an excuse? If anything, that’s a mark against!

    33. butchie22
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:00 pm

      Raf, the problem with Burnit is that he is simply inconsistent. If he pitched heathily and on a regular basis THEN this contract can be justified, Also remember that most Yankee fans have the bad taste of signing Pavano and Igawa in the recent past. Look Cito Gaston said that this guy has better stuff than Hallday but his psychology is different. Based on the Cash Man’s recent bad luck with starting pitching, this will add insult to injury. In addition, Burnit was signed because he was the second coming of Chuck Finley. He was great against Boston and the NYYs and not that great against everyone else. Based on recent history Cash Man has made another stupid signing.

      Another thing about Burnit, he had Halladay and his Marlins pitching coach influencing him in Toronto. Where is that same influence in NYC? 5 years for a guy who ended up 11 times on the DL for 8 years is a bad sign. As I’ve said before he is too up and down to get 82 mill for 5 years. That money could have been used for another player like Teix or even Lowe( who is very consistent AND is a big game pitcher).

    34. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:01 pm

      That’s an excuse? If anything, that’s a mark against!
      ———
      And the rest of the sentence?

    35. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:06 pm

      Raf, the problem with Burnit is that he is simply inconsistent.
      ——-
      The stats do not back up your claim. For starters, take a look at his ERA+

      The Yanks have enough $$ for Tex if they want to go that route.

      Cito Gaston’s quotes about “stuff” means nothing. I can rattle a bunch of people who have had better stuff than Jamie Moyer or Bob Tewksbury, but didn’t do squat in MLB.

    36. butchie22
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:08 pm

      Raf, you also mentioned Lowell, I think that he’s still an integral part of the Red Sox no matter what. They have a very good offense BUT that improves if Teixeira comes abroad. Trading Lowell is easier said than done. I think that he is stiil a great fit for that team no matter what. Injuries happen in the season, so know one knows if Youk or even Bay stays healthy. Or Ellsbury becomes an offensive liability(he fell asleep in the playoffs and was benched).

      Yank Crank, the BUrnit signing was actually irrational and unwise. They signed a pitcher with million dollar talent , a 10 cent head and no heart. They overpaid for someone who never pitched a big game, is not consistent AND was bad with the press in Toronto. Once again, I will not say I told you so when he makes his first trip (of many trips) to the DL .

    37. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:08 pm

      Game 3 where Johnson got beat up and we never really had a chance to win.
      —————–
      That is incorrect. The Yanks were leading 6-5 after 5; the bullpen (Aaron Small) took the loss in that game.
      —————–

      Randy Johnson gave up 5 earned runs in only 3 IP for and ERA of 15.00. Whether Aaron Small went in the game for 2.2 innings and gave up 2 runs or not, Randy didn’t exactly do the job did he?

    38. December 18th, 2008 | 3:13 pm

      Is Burnett taking #34? Isn’t that Marte’s number, if I’m not mistaken?

      If so… considering the last starting pitcher who wore #34, it could be a bad omen, if you believe that sort of thing.

    39. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:14 pm

      Randy Johnson gave up 5 earned runs in only 3 IP for and ERA of 15.00. Whether Aaron Small went in the game for 2.2 innings and gave up 2 runs or not, Randy didn’t exactly do the job did he?
      ————–
      Point was during the ebb and flow of the game, the Yanks came back and had the lead. That Johnson didn’t do his job didn’t change that.

      If he lost 1-0, or threw 9 shutout innings and the pen lost it in 10, would it have made a difference?

    40. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:18 pm

      And the rest of the sentence?
      ——-
      “the occasionally meager offensive support he had received”

      OK?

      I’m not saying Burnett has bad stuff. I’m saying the guy is nearly always hurt. I don’t care if he’s got Bob Gibson channeling through his arm, he’s still got a checkered history on his resume. He’s 32 and coming off a season of an enormous workload. I’m supposed to believe that, based on his past history, Burnett is a good bet to leave the past behind and suddenly find health and consistency?

    41. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:20 pm

      Raf, you also mentioned Lowell, I think that he’s still an integral part of the Red Sox no matter what.
      ———-
      If the Sox acquire Tex, there is nowhere for Lowell to play full time. He becomes a backup. Whether or not that’s what he wants is irrelevant. If he does, he stays, if he doesn’t, he goes.

    42. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:22 pm

      If he lost 1-0, or threw 9 shutout innings and the pen lost it in 10, would it have made a difference?
      ——-
      It would have helped you prove to me that our starting pitching in the playoffs wasn’t a problem! But regardless, the 15.00 ERA doesn’t help.

      I see your point, you can make that point with any pitcher in any game. Could have done this, should have done that. But I have yet to see anybody make a legitimate case that our starting pitching was not a problem from 04-07 in the playoffs other than “our hitting just shut down” or “games are won and lost in many ways.” Both of those statements are true but look at the numbers, we were outperformed by other pitching staffs and we ultimately lost…that has to mean something!

    43. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:26 pm

      I’m saying the guy is nearly always hurt.
      ———–
      Yet, he has made 21, 25 & 34 starts. While I don’t deny his injury history, compared to the other guys the Yanks have thrown out there during the same span, he has done quite well.

    44. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:31 pm

      But I have yet to see anybody make a legitimate case that our starting pitching was not a problem from 04-07 in the playoffs
      ————-
      How many leads were blown by the bullpen? Rivera blew two saves in the 04 ALCS. Pettitte pitched a gem in the 07 ALDS, but lost.

      The the D-Backs staff outperformed the Yanks staff in the 01 WS, but it came down to the final game, to the final inning. The Yanks staff outperformed the Pirates staff in the 60 WS, but it came down to the final game, to the final inning.

    45. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:32 pm

      Yet, he has made 21, 25 & 34 starts. While I don’t deny his injury history, compared to the other guys the Yanks have thrown out there during the same span, he has done quite well.
      ———-
      Kind of like how Pavano made 22, 32 & 31 starts right before signing with the Yanks?

      I’m not saying Pavano and Burnett are the same pitcher. Clearly Burnett has better stuff and on their best days it’s not even close who the better pitcher is.

      I’m just saying that telling me that because AJ has made those starts over the past three years, and because that’s better than Pavano/Wright in recent years, still doesn’t make it a good idea. Heck, Jon Garland hasn’t missed a start in 5-6 years but that wouldn’t justify signing him either.

      Incidentally, 21 and 25 starts in 2006 and 2007 isn’t exactly sterling.

    46. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:41 pm

      Incidentally, 21 and 25 starts in 2006 and 2007 isn’t exactly sterling.
      ———
      It certainly is, given who the Yanks have trotted out there in that timeframe.

      While I still don’t like the Pavano signing, there was no justification for signing him; everything about him was bad, peripherals on down. Same thing with Jaret Wright. Having said that, regarding Pavano, I don’t think any of us thought he would pitch as little as he did.

    47. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:47 pm

      It certainly is, given who the Yanks have trotted out there in that timeframe.
      ———–
      That doesn’t make any sense. Because mistakes, bad luck, etc. occurred in the past, the solution is to say that a 25-start season is objectively good?

      If Burnett gives the Yanks 25 starts in 2009, I would find that very disappointing (although entirely expected).

    48. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 3:54 pm

      How many leads were blown by the bullpen? Rivera blew two saves in the 04 ALCS. Pettitte pitched a gem in the 07 ALDS, but lost.
      The the D-Backs staff outperformed the Yanks staff in the 01 WS, but it came down to the final game, to the final inning. The Yanks staff outperformed the Pirates staff in the 60 WS, but it came down to the final game, to the final inning.
      ————-

      A couple of examples that fall off of the norm, and I believe that’s part of what made the 1960 and 2001 World Series some of the best ones ever…the fact that baseball series rarely play out or conclude the way they did.

      Raf, I will admit that I am wrong if you’re able to come up with and prove that there was a larger and more pressing issue to the recent Yankee playoff teams than how our pitching staff performed compared to theirs. Our defense could have been weaker than another team, or we may have beeb less “clutch” than others…idk. But I don’t see how you can look at how our starters have performed compared to the teams we played and conclude that pitching wasn’t the biggest issue.

      When every game matters in the playoffs and even great offense like ours faces some great pitching, a good and productive staff can’t throw out these playoff ERAs and expect to move on: 5.17, 4.40, 5.56. 5.89. Sometimes you can put that ERA out and move on but it certainly doesn’t help your chances.

    49. YankCrank
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:43 pm

      Sorry Raf, I made myself sound like a 10-year-old. You don’t need to “prove me wrong” and I won’t “admit it” like you need to one-up me. My bad, I think I got carried away.

    50. Corey
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:46 pm

      burnett’s wife is pretty good hot

    51. Corey
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:46 pm

      lol went from good lookin to hot mid-thought and thats what we get

    52. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:48 pm

      If Burnett gives the Yanks 25 starts in 2009, I would find that very disappointing (although entirely expected).
      ——————–
      Marcel has him projected (using 3 years worth of stats) @ 187 innings, but I would be surprised if he threw that much. I’m expecting anywhere from 25-30 starts (160-170 innings), based on his career.

    53. Corey
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:55 pm

      How long until somebody charges the mound after a save of his?? The only way the Mets can be hated anymore would be if they signed Bonds.
      =======

      i think that’s the way they like it, heck last time they were the most hated team in the league they wont the world series

    54. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 4:56 pm

      Sorry Raf, I made myself sound like a 10-year-old. You don’t need to “prove me wrong” and I won’t “admit it” like you need to one-up me. My bad, I think I got carried away.
      ————-
      I took it to mean within the context of our discussion, no offense taken.

      But looking at the boxscores, we see that the defense failed, the offense failed, the starters failed, and the bullpen failed at crucial time. The nature of the game is that you will have successes and failures. Few times you will have a perfect game on all sides of the ball.

      Playoffs are random luck, sometimes the expected happens, sometimes the unexpected happens.

      I guess the only way we can see if there is some sort of pattern WRT SP is to take a look at all playoff series from 1995 on. It could be a league thing, it could be a “Yankees” thing.

    55. MJ
      December 18th, 2008 | 5:10 pm

      Marcel has him projected (using 3 years worth of stats) @ 187 innings, but I would be surprised if he threw that much. I’m expecting anywhere from 25-30 starts (160-170 innings), based on his career.
      ————–
      You’re not helping to convince me.

      For $16.5M a year, 160-170 innings is an unacceptably low total.

    56. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 6:08 pm

      For $16.5M a year, 160-170 innings is an unacceptably low total.
      ———-
      How so? Burnett made $12M 2007 (165 IP)& 8 (221). He would’ve made that had he not opted out. He gets 4M more per year with the Yanks.

      Given other contracts around the league, that seems about right.

    57. Raf
      December 18th, 2008 | 6:36 pm

      That doesn’t make any sense. Because mistakes, bad luck, etc. occurred in the past, the solution is to say that a 25-start season is objectively good?
      ——————-
      What I’m trying to say is that the Yanks could’ve used a pitcher with Burnett’s production over the past 3 years. Will they get it over the next 3 years? We will see.

    58. MJ
      December 19th, 2008 | 11:02 am

      1) How so? Burnett made $12M 2007 (165 IP)& 8 (221). He would’ve made that had he not opted out. He gets 4M more per year with the Yanks.

      Given other contracts around the league, that seems about right.

      2) What I’m trying to say is that the Yanks could’ve used a pitcher with Burnett’s production over the past 3 years. Will they get it over the next 3 years? We will see.
      ————-
      1) It seems about right to pay $16.5M to a guy that most project will only pitch about 160-170 innings? I can’t imagine how. You don’t pay #1 money to a guy that gives you #5 innings.

      2) Of course they could’ve. I’ve never disputed that. It would’ve been great if Pavano or Wright could’ve given the Yanks 25 starts a year, compared to the junk they gave us. Still doesn’t mean the Yanks should’ve signed up for a guy that projects to 25 starts a year though.

    59. Raf
      December 19th, 2008 | 11:48 am

      1) It seems about right to pay $16.5M to a guy that most project will only pitch about 160-170 innings? I can’t imagine how. You don’t pay #1 money to a guy that gives you #5 innings.
      ———–
      Kick around Cots baseball contracts for a while.

      Like I said, Burnett made $12M last year when he opted out. The Jays offered him arbitration. Had he accepted, he would’ve made more than $12M. Shopping his services around (IIRC, Yanks Braves, O’s & Jays were interested), he got $16.5. That’s just the way baseball economics work.

      2) Of course they could’ve. I’ve never disputed that. It would’ve been great if Pavano or Wright could’ve given the Yanks 25 starts a year, compared to the junk they gave us. Still doesn’t mean the Yanks should’ve signed up for a guy that projects to 25 starts a year though.
      ———
      Even if Pavano & Wright started those games, they’re still junk. There was no justification to sign either. Pavano had a “good” year that defied his peripherals, Wright had a “good” year that came out of the blue.

      Regardless, given the options, it was better to go after Burnett, than say Garland, Lowe & Co. It’s only money, and the development of Hughes, Kennedy & Chamberlain isn’t hampered.

      If the kids come through, they will pitch for the Yanks. If the vets bomb, they will be gone. It’s win-win for the organization. Burnett’s signing has nothing to do with the Yanks not pursuing a bad, as shown elsewhere, they have about $20M+ to play with; enough to land Manny, Tex, Giambi, Dunn or Abreu.

    60. butchie22
      December 19th, 2008 | 3:21 pm

      Raf, Pavano wasn’t junk when they signed him he had a year that was eerily similar to Burnit’s numbers last year. In addition, Pavano had actually pitched in the post season with the Marlins whereas Burnit has never pitched a big game. I have always diasgreed with you assessment with Pavano because of the AJ factor. Pavano was courted by tons of teams, Burnit two. Why? According to Sweeney Murty, teams where worried aboutv their durability. Burnit might have better stuff but has been on the DL 11 times in 8 years etc so on so forth. If anything, Burnit will be another Pavano or Wright based upon his past. HIs ERA was what ? Almost five if you subtract Boston and the NYYS. The fact that the Yanks who have been a seemingly eternal playoff team have no sample size on the former Fish/ Blue Bird pitcher’s playoff career is a turnoff as well. At least, CC has some kind of sample( he is not that great in October!).

      Cito Gaston’s opinion? Look, he’s won two World Series so he knows a little something about the game. He’s forgot more baseball than we’ll ever know. When you watch arguably the best pitcher in baseball, Halladay, and his number two for more than half the season he has a good idea of what the problems are with his players. AS I’ve said before , Burnit has a 10 cent head, no heart and million dollar talent. Woe to he who expects him to not be an underachieving, injury prone trash talker.

    61. Raf
      December 19th, 2008 | 9:54 pm

      I really think you need to look at Pavanos numbers after the 2004 season. There was no way he could have repeated that season, his peripherals werent all that good.

      Burnett, OTOH, his numbers behind the numbers were very strong.

      Who cares if Pavano pitched in the postseason. Many pitchers have pitched in the postseason, with varying results. Some do well, some dont. If Cashman signed Pavano because of his work during the 2003 postseason, then he should be smacked.

      As for Cito, I stand behind my statement, mainly because Burnetts numbers don;t back up his or your claims. Managers, and players are good at hyperbole, and the numbers usually disagree with them. Doesn;t stop them from saying what they do, unfortunately.

      Fact of the matter is, as injury prone as Burnett is, he gives you above average innings. As injury prone as Pavano is, he will give you crap innings. It is clear looking at his career numbers that 2004 was an outlier. All the analysis said so at the time, FWIW.

      I dont know why you insist on calling him an underachiever, he has posted ERAs better than the league average. That hes a trashtalker is unimportant. Irrelevant.

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