• Jeter & A-Rod Dragged Into Tiger Woods Mess

    Posted by on November 30th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via People Magazine

    The so-called “other woman” whose name has surfaced in the wake of Tiger Woods’s accident has hired a high-profile celebrity lawyer and issued an adamant denial of any relationship with the golfing champ.

    “I did not have any involvement with him [Woods],” Rachel Uchitel told E! News. “Whatever was written in the Enquirer was not said by me, it was said by two people that claimed they were friends of mine, but they’re not.”

    She added: “I am overwhelmed, so I hired Gloria Allred to handle the situation. I don’t want to get this much attention, and I wish everybody would leave me alone.”

    Just days before Woods, 33, crashed his car near his Florida home, the National Enquirer claimed he’d been carrying on a romance with the New York nightclub manager. Following the crash, rumors swirled that Woods’s wife, Elin, had argued with the golfer about an affair just before the accident, and that she had caused the scratches police found on his face.

    In a statement after the accident, which took place early in the morning after Thanksgiving, Woods denied “the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors.” He also asked for everyone to respect his privacy, and has repeatedly canceled interviews with police.

    Sources contradict Uchitel’s account, however, saying she’s claimed flings not only with Woods but with actor David Boreanaz and New York Yankee players Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

    Is this the biggest stream crossing incident since Spengler, Stantz, Venkman, and Zeddemore let loose on Gozer the Gozerian? I think it just may be…

    Jeter Officially Named SI’s “Sportsman Of The Year”

    Posted by on November 30th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via MLB.com

    Derek Jeter may have missed out on being named the American League Most Valuable Player last week, but on Monday, Sports Illustrated honored the Yankees captain with the Sportsman of the Year award.

    Of the magazine’s 56 honorees — dating back to 1954 — Jeter became the first Yankee ever to be named SI’s Sportsman.

    The Dec. 7 issue profiling Jeter and the award is scheduled to hit newsstands on Wednesday.

    As SI.com said, “It was that combination of on- and off-field achievement that helped make Jeter this year’s Sportsman.”

    “Derek Jeter has always presented himself with class; he does numerous good works for the community with his Turn 2 Foundation, which is one of the most efficient, effective foundations of its kind; and he’s extremely generous with not just his money but with his time, which in many cases is more valuable,” SI group editor Terry McDonell said on SI.com. “He also had another signature year on the field.”

    Jeter was the first baseball player to win the award solo since Cal Ripken Jr. in 1995. In ’98, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were co-winners after their home run-bashing summer, and Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling shared the honor after leading the D-backs to a World Series championship in 2001.

    The Red Sox won it as a team in ’04. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps took the honor last year.

    No word if Jeter got any extra votes this year for telling Tiger Woods that fire hydrant hopping is best done with two hands placed firmly on the johnny pump and then leaping forward as opposed to trying to drive over it with your Escalade…

    Yanks Should Move Posada To D.H. In 2010

    Posted by on November 29th, 2009 · Comments (24)

    There are two more years left on Jorge Posada’s current contract with the Yankees. New York is on the hook to pay him $13.1 million in 2010 (at age 38) and 2011 (at age 39).

    Forgetting about Posada’s age, the biggest issue with all this is that Jorge is a terrible defensive catcher at this stage of his career.

    In “The Bill James Handbook 2010” the Fielding Bible’s “Runs Saved” leaders over the last three years are listed at each defensive position.

    At “catcher,” over the last three years, Yadier Molina has saved the most runs with a mark of +22. Who was the worst, at “catcher,” over the last three years here? That would be Jorge Posada with a mark of -23. And, keep in mind, this is with Jorge missing two-thirds of the 2008 season due to injury!

    Next, in “The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010,” among the many stats that they provide are SBA/G, CS%, ERA, and WP+PB/G for “catchers.”

    In 2009, Yankees pitchers had an ERA of 5.04 with Posada behind the plate compared to an ERA of 3.31 when Jose Molina caught and an ERA of 3.43 when Frankie Cervelli played. And, on the whole, the Yankees team ERA with Jorge Posada catching was 1.5 runs higher than all their other catchers. (This is a very interesting stat when you consider all the “connection” issues that Jorge had with A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain last season.)

    Now, let’s look at those other metrics:

    Catcher	  SBA/G	  CS%	WP+PB/G
    Posada	  1.18	  22%	.562
    Molina	  0.71	  18%	.454
    Cervelli  0.78	  38%	.261

     

    As you can see, teams ran more often on Posada and were successful nearly eight times out of ten. Since 75% is considered by some as the go/no-go breakpoint on stealing bases, this CS% tells other teams that they should run on Posada. (Yes, Posada’s CS% was better than Molina’s last season – but, keep sample size here in mind…as team did not try to run on Molina all that much because of his arm.)

    The WP+PB/G mark here for Posada should be alarming – but it’s not news to anyone who has been watching Yankees games over the last few years. Jorge is terrible at catching and blocking pitches. Also, don’t lose sight of the fact here that Jose Molina often caught A.J. “Mr. Wild Pitch” Burnett – sparing Posada from having to absorb those wild deliveries.

    Seeing all this, and factoring in that Hideki Matsui is a free agent, it makes a lot of sense for the Yankees to “play” Posada at D.H. next season and limit his catching to 50 games or less. And, then, repeat this in 2011.

    Who will catch if Posada is the D.H.? Well, here, you have to get creative. Whether it’s signing someone under the radar like David Ross…meaning getting someone with better catching skills than Posada but with a bat that won’t kill you like Jose Molina…or, swinging a trade for someone like Ryan Doumit…meaning someone who is not terrible behind the plate and who has some potential offensive upside…the Yankees have to do something here.

    Two more years of Jorge Posada catching 100+ games a season is not going to help the Yankees – and it may just offset the value of his bat in those seasons too.

    Big Four-Oh For Mo

    Posted by on November 29th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Happy Birthday Mariano!

    What’s Next? We Can’t Call Him Donnie Baseball Anymore?

    Posted by on November 28th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    MLB is going after Don Mattingly over a logo. Andy at B-R Blog & Stat of the Day has the story.

    Let’s see: Silhouette of a batter and a ball. Yeah, sure, that’s somewhat the same in each case…but…really…this is just silly.

    The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010

    Posted by on November 28th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    If you’ve been reading this blog for the last four years, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a fan of The Hardball Times Baseball Annual. And, in case you were not aware of that, here are my reviews covering the last four editions of this work:

    The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 is slated to be released next week on December 1st. However, I’ve had a chance to get a sneak peek at it and can share that this year’s edition is just as good, if not better, than the editions from the previous four years.

    Among the many excellent articles and commentary inside The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 are:

    • Craig Calcaterra’s hilarious “The Year Iin Frivolity” where the author overlays some fiction on to an overview of the 2009 season.
    • Bill James “Strong Season Leading Index” – which you can learn more about by clicking here.
    • Jack Marshall’s “The Content of their Character” that provides more food for thought about the consideration that should be given towards a player’s character and conduct than one could ever hope to see in one feature.
    • Geoff Young’s interesting and innovative “The Rebuilding Team Fan’s Survival Guide.”
    • Chris Jaffe’s enlightening look at why the 1972 World Series was one of the best ever Fall Classics.
    • Craig Brown’s all-inclusive and entertaining “The Year the Players Were Set Free” – a journey through the first off-season where free agency came into play.
    • Sky Andrecheck’s study on “Championship Leverage Index” – which takes the concept of “Leverage Index” and applies it to an entire season (as opposed to one game).
    • Mike Fast’s “What the Heck is PITCHf/x?” – perhaps the best primer/history lesson on what PITCHf/x is all about…how it started…and what it may lead to in the future.
    • Tom Tango’s “Miles Per Starter” – a quantitative and illuminative look at the question of what’s best for a starting pitcher with respect to usage (in terms of batters faced).
    • Sean Smith’s excellent essay entitled “Relievers Yesterday And Today” comparing the two sets and providing the answer on which is more effective – despite the difference in usage.
    • John Walsh’s “Better Than We Thought” where the author adds baserunning and defensive value to batting statistics to paint a better picture on a player’s worth (outside of just what his batting stats suggest).
    • Dave Studenmund’s “Oh Lucky Men!” – a statistical look at which players were “most favored by Lady Fortune on the field” in terms of how their teams did versus reasonable expectations.
    • John Dewan’s “The Tiger and the Mariner” – a great read on how improved defense can change a team.

    And, in fact, the above list is less than half of the features that can be found in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010. As in the past, this year’s addition includes reviews on each division in baseball covering 2009, Studenmund’s “Ten Things I Learned This Year,” a “Manager in a Box” feature (on Paul Richards) and a “Hit Tracker” contribution from Greg Rybarczyk (among other features not already mentioned here).

    Oh, yes, there’s also tons and tons of stats in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010…so many statistics that those alone probably bring cause for you wanting to have this work on your baseball bookshelf.

    In summary, as always, The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 is a perfect blend of spot-on commentary covering the current state of baseball, entertaining narratives focusing on baseball history, and astute sabermetric analysis – with a huge side serving of cutting-edge statistics. And, also as always, I highly recommend this book.

    Roy Halladay Would Welcome Trade To Yankees

    Posted by on November 28th, 2009 · Comments (19)

    Via Anthony McCarron

    THREE DAYS after the Daily News wrote that the Red Sox were “putting on a full-court press” to trade for Roy Halladay, a report out of Canada says the Toronto ace has told the Blue Jays he would waive his no-trade clause for a deal – to the Yankees.

    A story on Canada’s Slam Sports Web site Friday quoted an unnamed major league executive as saying, “I don’t know when he is going and I don’t know where he’s going. But I do know that Halladay has told the Jays he’ll approve a trade to the Yankees.” The story was written by Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, a nominee this year for election to the writer’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    A baseball source said all was quiet when asked Friday if a Halladay-to-the Yankees trade was imminent.

    Halladay, 32, has used his full no-trade power in the past – last season he said he would not approve deals to either Minnesota or Texas, but that roadblock appears to be out of the way for a potential Yankee trade.

    I’m sure the staff at the Yankees Clubhouse store would welcome back that “Black Friday” rush of shoppers, before X-mas, looking to add that “Roy Halladay Yankees Jersey” to their under-the-tree collection for this year…should the Yankees be able to pull off this deal, quickly.

    But, what number would Halladay wear in New York? #32 is retired. Swisher has #33. And, Burnett has #34. Would Roy want #31? That’s his, if he wants it. Or, would he go for #35? Or, maybe he would want #22? Perhaps the bigger question is whether #62 or #65 would be available if the Yankees do trade for him?

    Local Guys Squabble Over Bosox ’12 Trophy

    Posted by on November 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via the Boston Herald

    A coveted piece of Red Sox lore sits deep in Yankee country with an uncertain future as a pair of rival collectors bitterly feud over who will profit from a potential sale of the Olde Town Team’s 1912 World Series trophy.

    “You wonder how it got out of the Red Sox’ and Major League Baseball’s hands,” said City Councilor John Tobin, who has held the precious trophy. “But it’s a money issue, and hopefully it gets resolved. It could be a wonderful piece to put on display somewhere in the city.”

    The one-of-a-kind silver cup, which has been appraised at roughly $250,000, sits in an undisclosed New Jersey location, far from where Tris Speaker, Smoky Joe Wood and company bested the New York Giants in the Fall Classic during Fenway Park’s inaugural season.

    It’s held by real estate broker Robert Fraser, a collector who paid $55,000 for it in a complex and controversial 2007 purchase. The deal involved his estranged business partner, Pete Nash, and it included several rare baseball photos that Fraser still holds.

    The duo signed a two-page agreement giving Nash a 40 percent stake in proceeds from a future sale. The conflict hinges on a check for $18,500 that Fraser gave Nash weeks after the transaction.

    Fraser claims the payout served to buy out Nash’s stake, citing as proof a memo scrawled on the front of the check that states: “full payment of 1912 WS trophy.” Fraser says the memo voided their previous agreement.

    But Nash claims the payment was an “advance” on the proceeds of a future sale and says Fraser allowed him to shop the trophy to potential buyers even after the check was cut. Each has obtained a lawyer and they’re threatening to sue each other over the treasure.

    Boston “is where the trophy belongs,” said Nash, a baseball buff who produced the Sox documentary “Royal Rooters” and is part-owner of the Sox-themed Boylston Street bar McGreevy’s. “This is the birthplace of Red Sox Nation.”

    The trophy was nearly sold last year by Fraser through Manhattan auction house Guernsey’s – deep in New York Yankee country at Madison Square Garden. But the much-hyped auction took place just after the stock market collapse and the price barely reached $200,000, which was well below Fraser’s ambitious reserve price.

    Nash, who’s also known as Prime Minister Pete Nice from 1990s rap group 3rd Bass, said the pair had a deal to sell the trophy to McGreevy’s to keep it in Boston, but Fraser balked, which marked the beginning of their falling out.

    The sales receipt for the 2007 purchase of the trophy was signed by Nash, but the deal was paid for with a New Jersey bank check with Fraser’s money. Copies of both documents have been provided to the Herald.

    “Peter was acting as our agent – he brokered the deal,” Fraser said. “There’s no dispute about the ownership of the 1912 World Series trophy. Peter’s not entitled to any (proceeds from a sale) . . . He was paid in full.”

    Nash countered: “I still have my 40 percent upon the sale. We’re sitting here in limbo, but we’re going to enforce my rights. I’m going to have to make the move to pursue it and force him to sell.”

    Meanwhile, the Sox confirmed the organization had planned to host a 2008 auction to sell the cup at Fenway during a Yankees series, but the sale was abruptly halted.

    For a lousy quarter-mill, the Stein Brothers should buy the thing, have it ground up into dust, mix it into some water, then feed the solution to a drinking bird, and, once it’s all transferred to the toy, have some fun and take a sledge hammer to it.

    Burnett, Halladay & Who?

    Posted by on November 27th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Here’s a fun list via Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Season Finder. It’s SP, who were age 31 in 2008 and (naturally) 32 in 2009, who had 30+ GS, 200+ IP, and and ERA+ >=100 in both seasons:

                                         
    Rk                   Yrs To From   Age
    1    A.J. Burnett     2 2008 2009 31-32
    2    Ryan Dempster    2 2008 2009 31-32
    3    Roy Halladay     2 2008 2009 31-32
    

    Actually, if you look at ERA+ for each of these seasons, A.J. Burnett has been the least effective of these three pitchers.

                                         
    Rk          Player ERA+ GS    IP Year Age  Tm
    1     Roy Halladay  155 32 239.0 2009  32 TOR
    2     Ryan Dempster 155 33 206.2 2008  31 CHC
    3     Roy Halladay  152 33 246.0 2008  31 TOR
    4     Ryan Dempster 123 31 200.0 2009  32 CHC
    5     A.J. Burnett  106 33 207.0 2009  32 NYY
    6     A.J. Burnett  104 34 221.1 2008  31 TOR
    

    When the Yankees signed Burnett, many in Yankeeland felt like this would be the second coming of Carl Pavano – given A.J.’s habit of landing on the disabled list in years passed. But, in 2009, he managed to avoid missing any starts. Will he do the same in 2010? If I had to guess, I would hope that he’ll be good for at least 27 starts next season – probably more. And, he’ll probably not be as good as Ryan Dempster or Roy Halladay. But, hey, Brian Cashman is only paying him $16,500,000 a season (which, by the way, is the 6th highest salary, to date, for any starting pitcher in the majors). So, what do you want from him? ;-)

    Happy Tryptophan Day 2009!

    Posted by on November 26th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    I justed wanted to take a quick moment to wish all the readers of WasWatching.com (and their loved ones) a happy, and a safe, Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy.

    Yanks Draft Pick Selected As Top Rookie In 2009…

    Posted by on November 25th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    …too bad he did it for the Mets.

    Catcher Omir Santos was named to the 51st annual Topps Major League Rookie All-Star Team today.

    Santos was drafted by the Yankees in the 21st round of the 2001 amateur draft. But, they allowed him to leave the organization after the 2007 season. After that, he hitched on with the Baltimore Orioles for 2008 and landed with the Mets in 2009.

    He’s sort of like catcher Michel Hernandez – who was signed by the Yankees in May of 1998 as an amateur free agent. The Yankees waived Hernandez in January of 2004 and then he bounced around – stopping at Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and even the Somerset Patriots, before resurfacing with the Rays again as their back-up catcher.

    Catchers…man…they take a licking but keep on ticking…

    Yanks & Bosox Taking Different Approaches This Off-Season?

    Posted by on November 25th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    The Red Sox are making a hard push to acquire Roy Halladay within the next 10 days. Meanwhile, the Yankees are kicking the tires on bringing back Nick Johnson (as a possible D.H.).

    Sounds like Boston is loading for bear whereas the Yankees are shopping for water pistols at the dollar-store, no?

    November 2009 Survey Question #4

    Posted by on November 25th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:84}

    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    2009 World Series Film DVD

    Posted by on November 24th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    2009 World Series DVD The 2009 World Series Film DVD was released today.

    I had a chance to check it out this evening and, having now viewed this one, highly recommend it.

    This DVD is full of game footage and behind-the-scenes stuff, including interviews, that makes it a wonderful visual chronicle of this year’s World Series.

    The 2009 World Series Film DVD opens up with a 16-minute section that details the Yankees season as well as their ALDS and the ALCS. And, this includes highlights of the many walk-off wins the Yankees had in 2009. This is followed by a 4-minute segment highlighting the Phillies season and road to the World Series. The remainder of the DVD brings you through the World Series – game by game. And, in the closing, you also get some brief highlights from the parade held for the Yankees, after winning, down the “Canyon of Heroes.”

    The 2009 World Series Film DVD also contains “Bonus Features” which are highlights of just about every big hit, homer and play for the Yankees during this post-season – including the Damon “double-steal” in Game 4 of the World Series. What I liked most about these “Bonus Features” was the option where you get to see multiple shots and angles of the Yankees players celebrating after the last out of the World Series.

    My only disappointments in the DVD were that, in the section reviewing the Yankees season (from Spring Training on) there was no mention of A-Rod’s PED issue – and only coverage on his hip operation (and comeback from that); and, in the “Bonus Features” section, all those clips are real-time game stuff with field noises – and there’s no added commentary. (Then again, considering how some feel about FOX and/or John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, maybe others would consider this to be a plus?)

    But, on the whole, I consider the 2009 World Series Film DVD a “must have” for all Yankees fans and a “smart have” for baseball fans in general (to add to their baseball DVD collection). After all, the first World Series in the new Yankee Stadium only happens once – and it’s now captured in video, and nicely done, with this DVD.

    The Tale Of Yankees Socks, Mustard Girl & Chippendale Dancers

    Posted by on November 24th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Today, for no reason at all, as far as I know, I found myself thinking back to “Sock Day” at Yankee Stadium in 1987. If memory serves correct, it was on August 1, 1987.

    That morning, my buddy and I decided to see the Yankees play. So, we drove to the Staten Island Ferry, parked the car, and took the boat over to lower Manhattan. Once there, we jumped on the #4 train at Bowling Green and went up to the Stadium. We got seats in the upper upper-deck…way up there…between home plate and first base. It was “Sock Day” and the Yankees gave out the cheapest tube socks ever created with an interlocking “NY” on them. They were terrible – just 100% junk.

    Anyway, the Yankees got pounded that day. It was a bummer. Yet, we didn’t want the day to end there.

    My friend knew of a party that night down in Belmar (New Jersey) and we figured we could crash our way into it. His sister and some of her friends were down the Shore already and were going to the party. So, we took the train from the Bronx back to downtown Manhattan, jumped on the boat again, got back to the car in Staten Island, stopped at McD’s for some grub, and then hit home for a pit stop. From there the plan was to quickly shower and change, meet up, and then drive the 45 miles down to the Jersey Shore.

    When we got down to Belmar it was now around 9:30 pm and we found his sister. But, there was a glitch. Seems she and her girlfriends decided to party a little before the party and they had an issue. As I remember the story, one of the girls told the other girls, during their party priming, that she was allergic to mustard. But, the others thought she was full of it. And, as a test, they gave her something to eat that had mustard in it – without telling her. And, after she ate it, and was told that it had mustard in it, she flipped out. The whole thing became a major production, and, as a result, people weren’t speaking to each other, etc., and the plans to hit the party were scrapped.

    Now, my friend and I had no “in” to the party. But, we still didn’t want the day to end there. At this point, we decided to head over to a dance club that we used to frequent on Staten Island called “The Wave” (because it was on “Wave Street”). So…we drove the 45 miles back to Staten Island…and got to the bar.

    By the time we arrived it was now past 11 pm. We entered the club and I was just about to pay the cover charge when I noticed that there were Chippendale dancers performing on stage inside. Right away, I drew back my money and I said to my friend “No way. There’s no way I’m going to pay to go inside and watch that stuff. Hell, I won’t do it for free.” To which he answered “No. Trust me. This is good. I’ve been here before when this is going on…it’s OK. They’re just about ready to finish. And, it’s great. Once they’re done all the girls are in a crazy mood and it’s much easier to meet them.”

    Hearing this, and, still not wanting the day to end, I consented. And, my friend was right. We ended up hanging out with some fun girls until closing time when the house lights came on at 4 am.

    All told it was quite a day – from end to end, about 18 hours going from Staten Island, to the Bronx, back to Staten Island, to Belmar, and back to Staten Island. And, for the record, the day lasted a lot longer than those cheap Yankees socks – which we ended up tossing before we left the Stadium that day…

    Oh to be 24-years old, in the summer time, and not wanting for the day to end…

    Lastly, hey, dig the Yankees starting line-up that day:

                             
    1.  Roberto Kelly                CF
    2.  Henry Cotto                  LF
    3.  Don Mattingly                1B
    4.  Dave Winfield                RF
    5.  Gary Ward                    DH
    6.  Juan Bonilla                 2B
    7.  Mike Pagliarulo              3B
    8.  Rick Cerone                   C
    9.  Bob Meacham                  SS
    SP. Dennis Rasmussen              P
    

    And, Brad Arnsberg, Pat Clements, Charlie Hudson and Tim Stoddard pitched for New York that day too. Good times!

    Yanks GM: Call Me “Careful Cashman”

    Posted by on November 24th, 2009 · Comments (41)

    May I have your attention please?
    May I have your attention please?
    Will the real Careful Cashman please stand up?
    I repeat, will the real Careful Cashman please stand up?
    We’re gonna have a problem here..

    Via Marc Carig -

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday that the team intends to address their own free agents before wading into the rest of the free agent pool.

    “I don’t want to make the mistake of having a conversation with somebody else’s agent and it plays out as if I’m pursuing that guy, and somebody misinterprets it (and) that means I’m not pursuing our guy,” Cashman said. “We’re not even at that stage yet. So I’m trying to be very careful and respectful to our players first, makes sure they’re aware of where they are in the process.”

    The Yankees, as expected, have remained quiet in the early stages of baseball’s free agency period. Cashman is still in discussions with the Steinbrenner family about the team’s budget moving forward. He has yet to have much dialogue with the team’s three prominent free agents, Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte, or their agents.

    Cashman also said he is not near any potential trades.

    “Once I get some firm (budget) numbers, then I can go ahead and start putting together some ideas,” Cashman said. “I have not reached out to any agents really yet. I’ll talk to our guys first. And after I have my conversation with our guys, I’ll be full blown into the marketplace.”

    Whatever the final budget, Cashman said he will spend the offseason with an eye on efficiency.

    “The big picture is to be real efficient with how we allocate our resources,” Cashman said. “Last year obviously showed examples that depending on who it is, we can step up in a big way. But I think that we’re going to be very careful.”

    ‘Cause I’m Careful Cashman, yes I’m the real Cashman
    All you other Careful Cashmans are just imitating
    So won’t the real Careful Cashman please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up?

    Teixeira 2nd, Jeter 3rd In 2009 A.L. MVP Voting

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2009 · Comments (22)

    Joe Mauer won the award. Via the BWAA:

    Teixeira’s best previous finish in MVP voting was seventh in 2005 for the Texas Rangers. Jeter also finished third in 1998 and was the runner-up in 2006. Mauer, Teixeira, Jeter and Cabrera were named on every ballot.

    The Yankees have the highest number of MVP winners with 20. The finish by Teixeira marked the 21st time a Yankees player ran second. Other Yankees runners-up were Berra (1953, ’56), Jeter (2006), Mickey Mantle (1960, ’61, ’64), Joe DiMaggio (1937, ’48), Lou Gehrig (1931-32), Bill Dickey (1938), Phil Rizzuto (1949), Allie Reynolds (1952), Bob Turley (1958), Bobby Richardson (1962), Ron Guidry (1978), Reggie Jackson (1980), Don Mattingly (1986), Tino Martinez (1997) and Gary Sheffield (2004).

    What, no votes for Nick Swisher? (Yes, I’m just kidding.)

    No Discount For Yanks On Damon

    Posted by on November 23rd, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Via Mark Feinsand -

    The Yankees are still in the process of finalizing their payroll for 2010, as GM Brian Cashman has been engaged in talks with the team’s ownership in recent days. Retaining both Damon and Andy Pettitte appear to be two of the team’s primary goals, though neither has been presented with an offer as of yesterday.

    “This is a slow time in baseball; just a lot of rumblings and all that stuff,” said Damon, who is heading on a European vacation with his wife, Michelle, later this week. “I’m sure well be talking to them soon. We’d like to come back to New York. Hopefully it can happen.”

    Damon’s preference is to remain with the Yankees, and while he has made that wish well-known, sources close to the veteran say he isn’t about to give the Bombers a big discount to stay in pinstripes.

    Although he’s told friends all season that he would take a shorter deal from the Yankees than he would elsewhere, it is believed that he would want a higher average annual salary if he were to take fewer years.

    A source close to Damon said that the outfielder believes his statistics over the past two years have been good enough that unless the market crumbles entirely like it did last winter for Bobby Abreu, he doesn’t feel he should take a pay cut.

    If Damon wants $28 million or more over two years to stay in New York, I think the Yankees should call his bluff – given his age. And, if Damon can get $39 million or more over three years somewhere outside of the Bronx, then, you just tip your cap and wish him well.

    Don’t get me wrong…I think Johnny Damon is a very valuable player – and a big part of the Yankees offense and clubhouse harmony. But, at $14 million a season, that’s crazy…

    Hats Off

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2009 · Comments (6)

    As part of my post-World-Series “less blogging and more physical activity” kick, we’ve been doing some hiking on the weekends – schedule and weather permitting.

    Related, this afternoon, we had some free time before dinner – so, the kids and I hit the trails at Cheesequake State Park for a couple of hours.

    Whenever we run across fellow hikers, I always make sure to greet them in some way. After all, you’re in the middle of the woods, with your family…so, it makes sense to offer an act of courteous recognition…just to make sure that all parties involved at that moment are clear of each other’s reason for being there and their go-forward intentions.

    Now, I don’t go crazy – just a simple “Hello” is sufficient…or maybe I’ll change it up with a “Hi”…followed by a head nod.

    Well, today, with the weather so nice for the 22nd day of November, there were more than a few other parties enjoying the trails while we were there. And, at one point, we came across a father and son, resting along the trail, adjusting their camera. So, I looked at the dad and say “Hello.” He repeated it back to me. Then, I quickly looked at his son – whom I would estimate was around 10-years old, give or take a year or so – and said “Hi.”

    And, the minute I acknowledged the boy, the younster’s eyes widened, he flashed a smile and said “Hey, I really like your hat!” (I’ll give you one guess as to what cap I was wearing today.)

    Clearly, this was one Yankees fan meeting another Yankees fan, albeit from generations apart and perfect strangers before the encounter – now 18 days after New York had won its 27th World Championship – still enjoying the thrill of seeing their team win the very last major league baseball game played that year.

    Gotta tell ya…just seeing the excitement in that kids face over the whole thing…well…it kinda reminds you what being a fan is all about…

    Good for him. I hope he gets to ride that one for a long time coming.

    The Baseball Same Game: Finding Comparable Players from the National Pastime

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    It’s been 4 1/2 years since my first book, “The Baseball Same Game,” was published. (Guess I’m due to do another one, huh?)

    In any event, if you’re one of the “few” (he says, chuckling) who have not read the book, for your information, a fair preview of it is currently available via Google Books (for free). Click here to check it out.

    Just do me a favor, if you take some time to read it via Google, and you like it, please consider buying a hardcopy to add to your baseball library. Also, since it is “that” time of the year, if you’re looking for the unique holiday gift for the diehard baseball fan in your life, you should consider “The Baseball Same Game.” The odds are strong that they don’t have it – even with it being 4 1/2 years old now. And, they just might like it – as many who reviewed it back in 2005 had some nice things to share about it.

    Lastly, for the record, it’s a “family friendly” book. Personally, I think it’s a great book for the baseball fan young teen-ager who wants to learn more about baseball history and the players who were part of it. But, then again, I’m biased…

    When You Spell Yankee$, You Cannot Leave Off The Last “S” For Savings

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2009 · Comments (30)

    Via Cot’s Baseball Contracts:

    Starting pitchers
    The highest-paid active starting pitchers, by average annual value:

    CC Sabathia, $23,000,000 (2009-15)
    Johan Santana, $22,916,667 (2008-13)
    Carlos Zambrano, $18,300,000 (2008-12)
    Barry Zito, $18,000,000 (2007-13)
    Jake Peavy, $17,333,333 (2010-12)
    A.J. Burnett, $16,500,000 (2009-13)

    Relief pitchers
    The highest-paid active relief pitchers, by average annual value:

    Mariano Rivera, $15,000,000 (2008-10)
    Brad Lidge, $12,500,000 (2009-11)
    Francisco Rodriguez, $12,333,333 (2009-11)
    Joe Nathan, $11,750,000 (2008-11)

    Catchers
    The highest-paid active catchers, by average annual value:

    Jorge Posada, $13,100,000 (2008-11)
    Joe Mauer, $8,250,000 (2007-10)
    Kenji Johjima, $8,000,000 (2009-11)
    Ramon Hernandez, $6,875,000 (2006-09)

    First basemen
    The highest-paid active first basemen, by average annual value:

    Mark Teixeira, $22,500,000 (2009-16)
    Ryan Howard, $18,000,000 (2009-11)
    Todd Helton, $15,722,222 (2003-11)
    Albert Pujols, $14,285,214 (2004-10)
    Lance Berkman, $14,166,667 (2005-10)
    Justin Morneau, $13,333,333 (2008-13)

    Second basemen
    The highest-paid active second basemen, by average annual value:

    Chase Utley, $12,142,857 (2007-13)
    Brian Roberts, $10,000,000 (2010-13)
    Robinson Cano, $7,500,000 (2008-11)
    Brian Roberts, $7,150,000 (2008-09)
    Dustin Pedroia, $6,750,000 (2009-14)

    Shortstops
    The highest-paid active shortstops, by average annual value:

    Derek Jeter, $18,900,000 (2001-10)
    Michael Young, $16,000,000 (2009-13)
    Miguel Tejada, $12,000,000 (2004-09)
    Hanley Ramirez, $11,666,667 (2009-14)
    Rafael Furcal, $10,000,000 (2009-11)

    Third basemen
    The highest-paid active third basemen, by average annual value:

    Alex Rodriguez, $27,500,000 (2008-17)
    Miguel Cabrera, $19,037,500 (2008-15)
    Aramis Ramirez, $15,000,000 (2007-11)
    Chipper Jones, $14,000,000 (2010-12)

    Outfielders
    The highest-paid active outfielders, by average annual value:

    Manny Ramirez, $22,500,000 (2009-10)
    Andruw Jones, $18,100,000 (2008-09)
    Torii Hunter, $18,000,000 (2008-12)
    Ichiro Suzuki, $18,000,000 (2008-12)
    Vernon Wells, $18,00,000 (2008-13)
    Carlos Beltran, $17,000,000 (2005-11)
    Alfonso Soriano, $17,000,000 (2007-14)
    Carlos Lee, $16,666,667 (2007-12)
    Magglio Ordonez, $15,000,000 (2005-09)
    J.D. Drew, $14,000,000 (2007-11)
    Vladimir Guerrero, $14,000,000 (2004-08)
    Johnny Damon, $13,000,000 (2006-09)
    Hideki Matsui, $13,000,000 (2006-09)

    When you see these numbers – and how the Yankees have the most “expensive” player (or close to it) – at just about every position, it’s hard to defend those claims that the Yankees bought a World Series ring this year. Perhaps the 2009 Yankees were the best team that money can buy?

    When you add up those annual averages for the Yankees players highlight here, it totals $170,000,000 (a year) for ten players. That $170 million for those ten players is more than any other total team payroll in baseball last season (outside of the Yankees payroll).

    Keri: Yanks Need To Think Young To Avoid Fat Cat Syndrome

    Posted by on November 22nd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Jonah Keri, in the Times, says:

    This off-season, if the Yankees want to repeat, they should try to add younger players. By doing that, they will also avoid the trap of complacency.

    And, he has the numbers to back up that theory.

    I concur 100% here. Once you’ve been to the mountain for the first time – and for most of these high-paid Yankees this is the first time – it’s hard to muster up what it takes to get there again. That’s why it’s nice to have some fresh blood to keep the tribe moving. But, with the Yankees, where do you fit new guys in?

    It’s limited to left, maybe center or right, designated hitter and the pitching staff. Considering the Yankees need the D.H. slot as a parking spot for many of their older players, that basically leaves the outfield, back-end of the rotation, and the bullpen. Since pitchers have a hard time motivating position players, that leaves it to left-field. If Johnny Damon doesn’t come back, let’s hope the Yankees fill his slot with a young, high energy, guy. Hey, it couldn’t hurt.

    Is This The Internet? No, It’s Baseball Digest Heaven.

    Posted by on November 21st, 2009 · Comments (5)

    So, I’m watching a little T.V. this morning before we headed out for the day, and, I saw a commercial for the ISO 7X. Immediately, I start to freak because I know it’s just a Bullworker – like the one I had back in 1976.

    And, that got me playing around on the internet today – looking at old Bullworker ads. Doing this, I came across a serendipitous find: Google has many, many, old editions of Baseball Digest available on-line to read. These go back to the 1950′s and range up to 2007.

    From the mid-1970′s through the 1980′s, I was a Baseball Digest subscriber. Therefore, this detour brought back a lot of memories for me. Granted, now, looking back, the reporting in Baseball Digest was somewhat simplistic. But, it’s a fun look-back, nonetheless. If you’re like me, and you read these as a kid, you should check it out and have some fun too.

    BaseballDigestFeb1977

    CC: Clock Countdown

    Posted by on November 21st, 2009 · Comments (8)

    When CC Sabathia signed with the Yankees for this season, he got a signing bonus of $9 million. And, he was paid $14 million in salary for 2009. So, basically, the big lefty got $23 million for pitching in Yankeeland this year. Now, from 2010 through 2015, Sabathia’s contract calls for him to paid $23 million a year. Yes, it’s safe to say that CC is the Yankees $23 million dollar man.

    But, Sabathia also has a clause in his contract that allows him to “opt out” and become a free agent after the 2011 season – much like Alex Rodriguez had an “opt out” after his 2007 MVP season.

    Will CC hit the free agent market like A-Rod did – two years from now? That’s an interesting question. As, how many other teams will be able to match or better a contract that’s supposed to pay $23 million a year for (then) four years?

    Perhaps a lot of it depends on what pitchers like Zack Greinke, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, Tim Lincecum, and Roy Halladay are making, per season, come 2010 and/or 2011? Will any of them be making $23 million a season by that time? Well, if teams have paid (no pun intended) attention to the recent contracts given to Johan Santana, Barry Zito, Mike Hampton, Kevin Brown and Carlos Zambrano…I doubt it.

    So, if Sabathia leaves after 2011, it will because he wants out of New York (for some reason) or because he wants more years (beyond 2015). That said, maybe the Yankees should strike now, while the glow of the World Series ring is still hot, and offer to “buy out” the “opt out” and take-away what could be a distraction in 2011? Say, offer CC something like $16 million to be paid out over the next 8 years if he waives his opt out clause now? Or, then again, maybe the Yankees just figure the market, come 2011, will work in their favor and Sabathia will have no where to go? (Like that really worked when A-Rod opted out, huh?)

    In any event, the countdown to CC’s opt out clause is at two years and counting…tick, tick, tick...

    Quick Work Wrapping Up #27

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    This is just the coolest thing ever…

    Via Robert Caplin…a time-lapse compilation of over 5,000 images taken from dozens of locations inside and outside of Yankees Stadium during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

    World Series Time-Lapse by Robert Caplin from Robert Caplin on Vimeo.

    Rosenthal: Yanks Ponder Ways To Skin Their Pitching Needs

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Via Ken Rosenthal yesterday –

    There are a number of ways for the World Series champion Yankees to address their starting pitching.

    One would be to sign a free agent such as right-hander John Lackey or trade for an ace such as Blue Jays righty Roy Halladay.

    Another would be to strengthen the bullpen, allowing right-handers Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain to return to the rotation.

    The Yankees’ direction, at this early stage of the offseason, is not clear.

    The team, according to one rival executive, plans to pursue free-agent relievers Rafael Soriano, a right-hander, and Mike Gonzalez, a lefty. The Yankees have liked both pitchers in the past.

    However, another source with knowledge of the Yankees’ thinking says the team prefers to address any bullpen holes from within, using the same strategy that they employed successfully last season.

    Signing relievers and using Hughes and Chamberlain in the rotation could be a short-term disaster…since Phil and Joba have yet to establish that they can be trusted starters. Since the two Yankees youngsters have proven, albeit in a small sample size, that they can do well in the pen, why not have them work in relief?

    THT/James: Posada Not To Match ’09 In ’10

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    The following was sent to me via email yesterday by the folks at ACTA Sports -

    What are the odds that a player will do better than he did the previous year? In the recently-released Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010, baseball guru Bill James explains his new “Strong Seasons Leading Index,” a methodology that tries to round up as many indicators as possible and produce a list of hitters who are most likely—and least likely—to improve on their 2009 seasons.

    “Age is the most obvious indicator of likely movement,” James says in his article. “We also know that players tend to move back to their historical norms, so we look at last year’s On-base Plus Slugging percentage compared to his career OPS. We also factor in a player’s batting average on balls in play, his strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his speed before distilling all this into a single number that indicates how likely a player is to have a strong season in the coming year.”

    The article in its entirety is available here. James scores each player out of a possible 38 points. A score of 24 or higher indicates a better-than 50% chance the player will sustain or improve the following season; 23 points or less makes it increasingly unlikely the player will top last year’s numbers.

    Here are the top 10 players most likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:

    Player  	2010 Team  		Score  
    Dioner Navarro  Tampa Bay Rays  	26  
    Chris B. Young  Arizona Diamondbacks    25  
    J.J. Hardy  	Minnesota Twins  	25  
    Russell Martin  Los Angeles Dodgers  	24  
    Grady Sizemore  Cleveland Indians  	24  
    Dustin Pedroia  Boston Red Sox  	23  
    James Loney  	Los Angeles Dodgers  	23  
    Ian Kinsler  	Texas Rangers  		23  
    B.J. Upton  	Tampa Bay Rays  	23  
    Nate McLouth  	Atlanta Braves  	23  
    

    Here are the 10 players least likely to sustain or improve in 2010, along with their Strong Seasons Leading Index score:

    Player  	2010 Team  		Score  
    Jorge Posada  	New York Yankees  	8  
    Matt Diaz  	Atlanta Braves  	9  
    Craig Counsell  Free Agent  		9  
    Russell Branyan Free Agent  		11  
    Jason Bartlett  Tampa Bay Rays  	11  
    Scott Podsednik Free Agent  		11  
    Derrek Lee  	Chicago Cubs  		11  
    Kendry Morales  LA Angels of Anaheim  	11  
    Ichiro Suzuki   Seattle Mariners  	11  
    Rajai Davis  	Oakland Athletics  	12  
    

    I’m reading The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2010 now and will have a review on it soon. But, in the interim, this is an interesting study. And, as a tease, I’ll also have a study coming out within the next few days on Posada and his future with the Yankees.

    Yanks Not Shopping Swisher?

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Via George King -

    The Yankees denied a published report they have let teams know right fielder Nick Swisher is available.

    According to a Yankees official, switch-hitting Swisher, who played a big part in the Yankees winning the AL East but struggled in the postseason, isn’t being shopped by the World Series winners.

    USA Today writer Bob Nightengale wrote on his Twitter page today that “The Yankees, ever so quietly, are letting teams know that RF Nick Swisher is available.”

    With Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who combined for 52 homers this past season, free agents and their Yankees future uncertain, it would seem unlikely the team would entertain offers for Swisher before working through the free-agent process.

    If Damon doesn’t return, the Yankees will need a left fielder. If Matsui comes back, he isn’t considered an outfielder.

    And Swisher’s money isn’t offensive. Turning 29 next week, he will earn $6.75 million this coming season, $9 million in 2011. There is a $10.25 million club option for 2012 or a $1 million buyout.

    That’s $16.75 million guaranteed for two more seasons, and if Swisher comes close to the 29 homers, 82 RBIs and .371 on-base percentage he produced this past season, he isn’t too expensive.

    Plus, Swisher’s outsized personality is a big hit with Joe Girardi and GM Brian Cashman.

    You know, shopping Swisher may not be a bad idea. There’s a part of me that suspects Nick is going to come into Spring Training next year about 20 pounds heavier than his already not fit weight of 2009. Why? Lots of partying this off-season…more so than usual for Swisher…given his new fame via being on the Yankees and them winning the World Series.

    Maybe the Yankees are thinking the same thing here? Perhaps this is like when they moved Boomer Wells after the 1998 season?

    Go West Not So Young Wang?

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via Diamond Notes with a h/t to BBTF

    Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, a non-tender candidate, told Taiwanese reporters Thursday that his first choice was to remain with New York. But if the Yankees cut him loose, Wang said he would not be opposed to going to the Dodgers.

    “Not bad,” Wang said of the scenario presented by reporters that would have him going to Los Angeles. The two-time 19-game winner indicated that he would feel comfortable playing for a manager in Joe Torre who knows him well. Wang also went to middle school with Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, and the two remain friends.

    The Taiwanese media had been waiting to ask Wang about the Dodgers after the team’s coaching staff was quoted on the right-hander.

    Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa, also a former Yankees coach, reportedly said if he were asked about possibility of Wang coming to L.A., he would definitely support signing him.

    Most of Wang’s success came from pitching in the old Yankee Stadium. It probably makes sense for him to find a ballpark like that, in terms of having high grass and a somewhat neutral homer factor, if he is to come back from his injury. And, of course, there’s the Torre comfort factor for him in Los Angeles…

    …that all said, I could see this type of move happening quickly if the Yankees cut Wang loose.

    Yanks On The Hunt For Halladay?

    Posted by on November 19th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    Via Jon Heyman yesterday -

    The Yankees recently called the Blue Jays to express interest in superstar pitcher Roy Halladay. And while the Yankees made the very same call last summer with no hope of acquiring Halladay, this time they have a real reason to believe they may actually have a legitimate chance to make a blockbuster trade.

    If that’s a positive development for the World Series champs, the twist is that they might be battling the rival Red Sox for the star pitcher who’s well-known as a Yankee killer, as his 18-6 record against the Bronx Bombers attests.

    Here is the most obvious reason the Yankees (or Red Sox) may now finally have a legit shot to trade for arguably baseball’s best pitcher: New Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos is making it clear he is genuinely willing to consider a deal with either the Yankees or Red Sox, a sharp contrast to Anthopoulos’ predecessor, J.P. Ricciardi, who had GMs convinced he’d never make a Halladay trade with either the Yankees or Red Sox.

    Speaking generally about the concept of intra-division trades, Anthopoulos said by phone Tuesday, “This isn’t the NBA where you’re talking about one of five guys on the floor at all times … If you have two trades that are identical, and one is in the division and one is outside, then it’s easy to go outside the division. However, if the trade is better inside the division, I think you have to take a look at it. We have to do what’s best for our organization.”

    Other GMs said they believe Anthopoulos also understands the Jays aren’t ready to overtake the Yankees or Red Sox yet and has the full faith of upper management, who appeared ready to fire Ricciardi even before he botched the Halladay trade talks by not finding a suitable trade partner when his value was highest. Of course, the possibility also remains that the Jays could still hold Halladay until the summer, when his value would still be close to what it is now.

    Last summer the Yankees never felt the urgency to make an offer for Halladay because they never felt Ricciardi would trade him to Boston. Back in July, Toronto was also asking for both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in a bigger package, and the Yankees never were going to do that. But with a year gone by now, the World Series winners might have a reasonable expectation that either Chamberlain or Hughes in a package might at least get the ball rolling. The Yankees also have several catching prospects to entice the Blue Jays, including Jesus Montero, who is still only 19 but is said by one scout to be “off the charts” as a hitting prospect and “better than he’s given credit for as a catcher.”

    If Brian Cashman could turn Joba Chamberlain and some prospects who have yet to prove themselves over a full-season at Double-A (or above) into Roy Halladay…well…then…I might just be forced to display his mugshot on this blog with the caption “My Hero” underneath it…

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