• Sherman: Yanks Made Mistake On Marte

    Posted by on April 20th, 2009 · Comments (30)

    Via Joel Sherman

    The big worry to me in the pen is Damaso Marte. The Yanks had three choices with him in the offseason: 1) Let him leave to free agency. 2) Pick up his $6 million option for 2009. 3) Sign him long-term. The Yanks went with that final option and signed him for three years at $12 million, and that looks like a big mistake. First of all, as the offseason progressed, the lefty relief market stayed saturated and the prices fell significantly. So Marte was clearly overpaid for where the market ended up. But Marte also had established a reputation around the majors as a guy with top stuff who did not handle pressure extraordinarily well. And now some Yankee officials are wondering about his passion.

    He is here to dominate lefties and so far he has faced six in 2009, and hit one while also allowing a double and a homer with no strikeouts. He has the potential to go into the long line of lefties such as Chris Hammonds, Felix Heredia and Gabe White who simply could not do the job as Yankees.

    I’m guessing that Sherman’s “The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade” newsletter copy, addressing the Marte signing, got lost in the mail. You know, it’s the one with the headline that read: “It seemed like the right move at the time.”

    Comments on Sherman: Yanks Made Mistake On Marte

    1. yagottagotomo1
      April 20th, 2009 | 11:05 pm

      Well, you know what they say: If Joel Sherman said it, it must be true.

    2. Evan3457
      April 20th, 2009 | 11:33 pm

      That’s strange…I remember a certain blogger considering Veras and Ramirez to be of questionable reliability, but he seemed to be considering Marte as part of the “safe” part of the pen before the season started.

      Or am I misremembering?

    3. ESB
      April 21st, 2009 | 1:28 am

      Definitely not misremember!

      On November 12, Steve gave props to Cashman after criticizing the team for declining the option.

      :)

    4. Pat F
      April 21st, 2009 | 1:39 am

      “Given Marte’s age, performance levels to date, and the pool of reliable lefties out of the pen, this looks to be a good deal. Props to Cashman for pulling it off.”

      “Damaso Marte has faced 826 left-handed batters in his career and held them to an OPS of .583. HE SHOWED NO SIGNS OF LOSINIG HIS SKILL IN 2008. He’ll have a job as a left-handed specialist coming out of the pen in 2009. And, it’s possible that he could be asked to close out about a half-dozen games as well.”

      without the search function on this blog, i’m quite sure utter mayhem restulting from a lack of accountability would ensue!

      the problem with the “it seemed like the right move at the time” mocking that you do is that, sometimes it’s very true. nobody can predict the future. so when you sign a player for the very sound reasons you laid out in your quotes above (mostly an excellent track record doing what they do, especially last season) sometimes it’s just not going to work out. sports are totally unpredictable, and that’s why we play the games. someday (in the 2020′s most likely), the great mariano rivera is not going to be able to perform anymore, and it will be no fault of brian cashman’s when that happens as long as there is no severely negative trends from recent years (like, oh baby, damaso marte!).

      also, it’s been two weeks! let’s give the guy a chance to play to the back of his baseball card. if he does that, the contract will be just fine.

    5. AndrewYF
      April 21st, 2009 | 2:27 am

      Well, that didn’t take too long. You deemed the move good by Cashman, but now you’re slamming him. What’s sadder is that you think you’re mocking those (Kool-aid brigade? Wow.) that don’t share your irrational and pathetic hatred of the current Yankee GM, but really, the joke is on you when you show your complete and utter lack of credibility on anything regarding Brian Cashman.

      Your blog would be made immensely better if you just steered clear of the man. He continues to ruin you.

    6. Raf
      April 21st, 2009 | 8:22 am

      “Sherman: Yanks Made Mistake On Marte”
      ————–
      3 innings… April… Relax, get a grip

    7. Corey
      April 21st, 2009 | 9:25 am

      someone needed to take farnsworth’s role on the team

    8. Corey
      April 21st, 2009 | 9:26 am

      someday (in the 2020’s most likely), the great mariano rivera is not going to be able to perform anymore
      ——————
      but he’s gonna have his knuckler goin by then!

    9. MJ
      April 21st, 2009 | 9:47 am

      3 innings… April… Relax, get a grip
      —–
      Marte’s been horrendous for the Yanks since he came over last year. It’s not just these 3 bad innings in ’09, it’s the fact that he’s looked bad since he got here.

    10. April 21st, 2009 | 9:58 am

      Hey, guys, first of all, I believe that I’m getting paid zero to be correct here whereas Cashman is getting paid millions to be correct.

      So, I think it’s fair to expect more from him than from me. Plus, Cashman has access to countless resources, statistics, scouting reports, and inside intell that I do not have access to – so, he’s got (or should have) a tremendous leg up on being able to get this right.

      So, if I screwed up on the assessment of Marte, it’s not hurting the Yankees, I’m not over charging anyone for the bad decision because of my salary, and it was a call made on what I had available – and I did the best that I could based on that information.

      Cashman, on the other hand, if he made the wrong call on Marte, is hurting the Yankees, he is ripping off the team because he and Marte are getting paid big bucks, and he should make the right call on this because of the army he has supporting him in terms of data, reports, and access to the player’s mindset, motivation, etc. – via reports from his coaches, et al.

      Again, if you want to hold my feet to the fire on this one for making the wrong call – go ahead, and have a party. Just remember that I didn’t hurt anyone or the Yankees with that opinion. But, if you want to nail me to the cross for making that call, should you not also want to fry Cashman for it?

      If you don’t want to blame the Teflon GM, then you have no right to get on me either. Be fair. Be consistent. Get on me and then get on him too. But, if you want to give him a pass, they you should be just as kind to me too.

    11. MJ
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:05 am

      Again, if you want to hold my feet to the fire on this one for making the wrong call – go ahead, and have a party. Just remember that I didn’t hurt anyone or the Yankees with that opinion. But, if you want to nail me to the cross for making that call, should you not also want to fry Cashman for it?

      If you don’t want to blame the Teflon GM, then you have no right to get on me either. Be fair. Be consistent. Get on me and then get on him too. But, if you want to give him a pass, they you should be just as kind to me too.
      ——–
      The difference is that you’re blaming Cashman for not being infallible. Since no GM is infallible, you’re trying to hold him to a standard that is not only unrealistic but trying to make it seem like even all the access to stats, scouting reports, etc. should’ve made it OBVIOUS that the choice was a bad one. The funniest thing is that you used the “it seemed like the right move at the time” defense which you so loathe.

      In this instance, however, I agree that Cashman erred badly. He bought high on Nady and Marte and neither one will have yielded any fruit in Pinstripes when it’s all said and done.

    12. bfriley76
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:08 am

      Come on Steve…you know it’s not about ripping you and not Cashman, but about you pulling out the “The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade” card after the fact on a move you agreed with.

      I doubt you’d be getting this response if you said something like:

      “Hey…I agreed with the move, but it seems like both Cashman and I were wrong on this one.”

    13. MJ
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:10 am

      bfriley76 wrote:

      Come on Steve…you know it’s not about ripping you and not Cashman, but about you pulling out the “The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade” card after the fact on a move you agreed with.
      I doubt you’d be getting this response if you said something like:
      “Hey…I agreed with the move, but it seems like both Cashman and I were wrong on this one.”

      I think that’s exactly right.

    14. April 21st, 2009 | 10:22 am

      bfriley76 wrote:

      Come on Steve…you know it’s not about ripping you and not Cashman, but about you pulling out the “The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade” card after the fact on a move you agreed with.
      I doubt you’d be getting this response if you said something like:
      “Hey…I agreed with the move, but it seems like both Cashman and I were wrong on this one.”

      Fair point. I’ll try that next time.

      But, again, is it important that I was wrong? Is it as important as Cashman being wrong?

      Yes, I’m holding Cashman to a higher standard than myself. But, hey, he’s THE GM and I’m just a FAN.

    15. YankCrank
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:26 am

      I think we’re all waiting patiently for butchie to chime in and blast everybody for disagreeing with Steve…will the loyal sidekick join in with the Cashman hating?

    16. Raf
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:26 am

      Marte’s been horrendous for the Yanks since he came over last year.
      ——————-
      Girardi has to learn that Marte is not a LOOGY.

    17. Corey
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:28 am

      Girardi has to learn that Marte is not a LOOGY.
      ———
      that’s right, hes a loogie ;)

    18. Raf
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:29 am

      Cashman, on the other hand, if he made the wrong call on Marte, is hurting the Yankees, he is ripping off the team because he and Marte are getting paid big bucks, and he should make the right call on this because of the army he has supporting him in terms of data, reports, and access to the player’s mindset, motivation, etc. – via reports from his coaches, et al.
      ———————
      So wouldn’t it be fair to wait until after the season to give an assessment?

    19. Raf
      April 21st, 2009 | 10:31 am

      Yes, I’m holding Cashman to a higher standard than myself. But, hey, he’s THE GM and I’m just a FAN.
      ————-
      Then if that’s the case, shouldn’t you give him the benefit of the doubt since he has access to “the army he has supporting him in terms of data, reports, and access to the player’s mindset, motivation, etc. – via reports from his coaches, et al.” ;)

    20. Pat F
      April 21st, 2009 | 11:56 am

      steve – it’s not about getting on you for making a certain call (i’m not calling this one a bad one for you or cashman, it’s 3 friggin’ games). it’s about sometimes the data, whether it’s what you have, or what cashman has, all points in one direction. and then sometimes, for whatever reason, that data ends up being wrong. and that’s where “it was a good move at the time” actually is a reasonoable excuse. you always judge cashman by the bottom line – player produces, player doesn’t produce. and that’s not totally fair. sometimes, you are going to make a move that EVERYTHING says was a great move, and it doesn’t work out. and sometimes, you are going to make a poor move that works out. and, just like it’s reasonable to me to say “that was a good move at the time” for those moves that just don’t work out, it’s also reasonable to offer the criticism “wow, cashman really got lucky with that one” when he makes a poor move and it ends up working out. this, to me, is much more reasonable than just criticizing him every time a move doesn’t work out and expecting him to be perfect/predict the future, irregardless of the data at the time of the move indicated.

    21. butchie22
      April 21st, 2009 | 12:34 pm

      The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade Brilliant title for the misbegotten Ca$h Man apology Brigade if there ever was one. And ultimately, the team is under his charge NOT the scouts, sabermetricians etc so on so forth. His name is above the title and he must bear responsibility for it. That powersharing deal ‘tween Tampa and Cash Man ended with the last contract before this one,so he’s had a chance to show his stuff and the Yankees still haven’t got through the first round lately and weren’t even in the playoffs last year! Cash Man doesn’t receive a benefit of the doubt from me, when Theo Epstein has helped Boston win 2 World Series titles in 5 years, meanwhile the Yankees are left holding the candle and haven’t won since 2000. Marte was not a great trade and signing in the end, BUT what else is new with Cash Man? Weaver, Igawa, Brown, Vazquez , Gabe White, and Jared Wright are just some of his debacles. Tampa might have been responsible for some of them BUT Cash Man has some (if not the majority) involvement in the bad pitching choices.

    22. Corey
      April 21st, 2009 | 12:36 pm

      Marte was not a great trade and signing in the end,
      —-
      the end would be after his 3 year deal is up no?

    23. butchie22
      April 21st, 2009 | 12:52 pm

      Corey wrote:

      Marte was not a great trade and signing in the end,
      —-
      the end would be after his 3 year deal is up no?

      You missed the semantical meaning of in the end. Hopefully, the Yankees can dump him before that three year period elapses . Unfortunately, he might become the next Farnsworth if that doesn’t happen….

    24. Evan3457
      April 21st, 2009 | 2:02 pm

      Maybe its because I have different standards for judging player personnel moves.

      Fantasy baseball is only a vague shadow of real baseball, perhaps 1% of the reality, but one thing you learn from participating in it, as I have, is that you can make a trade or roster pickup that seems sound in advance when looked at from a wide variety of angles, and then simply flops.

      It can flop because of an angle you didn’t consider; it can flop because of a piece of information you didn’t have at the time you made the decision. But it can also just flop for no apparent reason. Sometimes, you make the right move from every practical standpoint and it doesn’t work.

      Over the great length of time, if you’re any good, your good moves should exceed your bad ones, and you should do better than your competition does. But you can also fail, especially in the short run, due to bad luck, or a run of bad judgement in an otherwise solid record, or because your tactical situation pressures you into a series of bad strategic moves. If you have a partner, or partners, you can make bad decisions because no one has the final say, and decisons are made out of compromise rather than one person’s solid judegment.
      ======================================
      And so, whenever Cashman, or Accorsi/Reese, or Isiah Thomas/Walsh or Glen Sather have made moves, I ask myself a couple of questions:

      1) Does move address a team need, shore up a weakness, augment a strength, take advantage of an opportunity, or ward off a threat? This question addresses the issue of the need to make the move.

      2) Is the player being acquired good enough for the job he’s being given? This question addresses the suitability of the move.

      3) Is the player being traded/money spent/draft picks traded an excessive price for player(s) of that quality, given the current market, the team’s need, and the time of the season? This addresses the issue of weighing of relative value.

      4) Is there any other obvious move that could have been made to address the issue that wasn’t made for no good reason? This addresses the issue of stubbornness and inflexibility.

      5) Is there any obvious reason why the move is a bad move at the time it was made, given all that was known at the time it was made? This is the question that, if the answer is yes, is immediate grounds for calling the move into question, and calling for criticism of the GM. If egregious enough, a single obvious disaster which is not recoverable is sufficient to immediately call for the firing of the GM. An example would be trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano, no matter what Rick Peterson said or didn’t say; a GM has to KNOW that some players can’t be “fixed in 15 minutes”.
      ============================
      Applying this set of questions to the Nady/Marte deal:

      1. The move shored up the Yankee weaknesses with OF depth in light of the Matsui injury and the Melky collapse, and the need for a lefty out of the pen. The answer is YES.

      2. Nady & Marte were certainly good enough to do the jobs envisioned; at least, there was no good reason to think they weren’t good enough. The answer is YES.

      3. Did the Yanks pay an excessive price? One top prospect and three so-so pitching prospects for a starting OF/platoon OF and a Lefty reliever. It depends on Tabata; if he develops into the player he was originally supposed to, then yes, the price may have been too high. Then you have to weigh the likelihood against the cost. At the time of the move, Tabata looked completely lost, physically and psychologically. Were the Yanks too impatient with him? It looks that way right now. Overall, I’d say, YES the price was too high. This is mitigated by the strategic concept: they thought they were in the race, and occasionally a GM will overpay when a playoff spot or title is on the line.

      4. The Yanks could have made other moves for other players, but the prices would’ve been higher. Bay, for example, would’ve cost more than Nady. He might’ve been worth it. I’d say the answer to this is NO, not really.

      5. There was NO obvious reason at the time this move was made that it was a blunder; it was PRAISED by nearly all the fans, and almost every outside observer as a brilliant move at the time. If it had been known that Marte would fold under pressure (and remember, he had been a good reliever for the White Sox in some races before going to the Pirates), and that Nady would wreck his elbow, well, yeah, then the move is a failure. But these things are not known at the time, and are not foreseeable.
      ===============================
      Even if Jose Tabata or Ross Ohlendorf become stars, you simply have to chalk that up the price you pay for trying to win.

      I judge the move was acceptable, and I see no reason to criticize the Yankees or Cashman for it, even when Jose Tabata becomes an All-Star. And he’s got a decent chance of doing that.

      You don’t want your prospects to become All-Stars for other teams? Don’t make no trades. And when they come up to the big leagues, and they struggle, let them play through it, and finish their development, even if it hurts the team in the here and now.

    25. Corey
      April 21st, 2009 | 2:23 pm

      good write up evan

    26. Jake1
      April 21st, 2009 | 2:29 pm

      So Cashman will get extreme credit for “knowing the market” by not offering Bobby A arbitration but he wont get any criticism for botching the Marte signing by not realizing the market. Typical

    27. April 21st, 2009 | 2:33 pm

      Jake1 wrote:

      So Cashman will get extreme credit for “knowing the market” by not offering Bobby A arbitration but he wont get any criticism for botching the Marte signing by not realizing the market. Typical

      That’s the Fans of Cashman Rule #1: Heads, Cashman wins. Tails, somebody else loses. ;-)

    28. YankCrank
      April 21st, 2009 | 4:19 pm

      So Cashman will get extreme credit for “knowing the market” by not offering Bobby A arbitration but he wont get any criticism for botching the Marte signing by not realizing the market. Typical
      —–

      Who said that? I believe this argument has been how Steve first praised Cashman for the Marte deal and today went back on his word and slammed him for it. I don’t seem to be reading anybody praising Cash for overpaying Marte.

    29. Evan3457
      April 21st, 2009 | 5:23 pm

      One of my favorite “arguments” of the Benovolent Loyal Order Hating Any Reasonable Decision that Screws up is when they put BOTH Weaver AND Brown on the list of bluders together, as if Weaver, having completely melted down in NY, could’ve somehow brought a better return than a 38-year-old fading star with a big contract.

      You want to kill Cashman for Weaver? That’s a fair case; not saying I agree, but a fair case can be made for it. But killing him for turning Weaver into Brown, as if, say, he could’ve gotten, oh, Johan Santana, or even Ervin Santana, for Weaver at that point….well, that’s when I just start laughing at the whole thing.

    30. Raf
      April 21st, 2009 | 6:00 pm

      Hell, and it can be argued that Brown himself wasn’t that bad a pickup. And if Weaver couldn’t handle the “pressure” of pitching in NY, what happened when he pitched for the Cardinals, M’s & Angels? Too much pressure there too?

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