• Happy New Year!

    Posted by on December 31st, 2009 · Comments (8)

    I would like to wish all the readers of WasWatching.com a very happy and healthy new year. And, may all your resolutions for 2010 come true!

    Sickels Top 20 Yanks Prospects for 2010

    Posted by on December 31st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    John Sickels has published his “New York Yankees Top 20 Prospects for 2010” list. Here’s his “top twenty” for the Yanks:

    1. Jesus Montero, C, Grade A
    2. Austin Romine, C, Grade B
    3. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B-
    4. Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B-
    5. Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B-
    6. Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-
    7. Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+
    8. John Murphy, C, Grade C+
    9. Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+
    10. D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+
    11. Wilkin De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C+
    12. David Adams, 2B, Grade C+
    13. Corban Joseph, 2B-3B, Grade C+
    14. Adam Warren, RHP, Grade C+
    15. Neil Medchill, OF, Grade C+
    16. David Phelps, RHP, Grade C+
    17. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C
    18. Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C
    19. Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Grade C
    20. Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C

    To see his Yankees list for 2009, click here. For 2008, click here. And, for 2007, click here.

    Aaaah, Humberto Sanchez, J. Brent Cox, Alan Horne and Dellin Betances…did they go flat, or what?

    Not To Be Mean, But, What About The Median?

    Posted by on December 31st, 2009 · Comments (15)

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the Yankees, under Brian Cashman, have gotten younger since 2005. For example:

    Average age of Yankee pitchers
    2005: 34.2
    2009: 29.3

    Average age of Yankee hitters
    2005: 32.2
    2009: 30.5

    Of course, the only issue here is sample size. For example, in 2005 the Yankees had Randy Johnson (age 41), Kevin Brown (age 40), Al Leiter (age 39), Buddy Groom (age 39), Mike Stanton (age 38) and Mike Mussina (age 36) on their pitching staff for most of the year. Given the small size of a pitching staff, having these 6 very old pitchers on the team would naturally bump up the average age of the staff.

    Think of it this way – say you had 18 numbers…12 of them being the number 3 and the other 6 being the number 12. Now, the average of all those 18 numbers would be 6. But, in reality, the majority of those numbers (12 of 18) were the number 3. So, seeing the average number (6) tells you little about the majority of the group.

    Or, in other words, a few old apples can easily ruin the average age of the whole barrel.

    Basically, it’s the difference between using the mean and median to look at a data set. And, I would suggest, in a study like this, it makes more sense to use the median rather than the mean.

    Yanks Are Great, But, If I Could Change One Thing…

    Posted by on December 30th, 2009 · Comments (19)

    The biggest Yankees related news out there today centers around which tattoos Charlie Sheen is having removed

    So, it seems like a good time to ask this question. If you could pick one “resolution” (meaning change) for the New York Yankees to have in 2010, what would it be?

    Me? I want to think about it some more…and decide whether it would be operational-related or Stadium-policy related…

    But, maybe your ideas will make me think of something else? Go at it and have some fun.

    The Landmark Yankees Team For Each Decade

    Posted by on December 29th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    One definition of “landmark” is “the position of a prominent or well-known object in a particular landscape.” Working off that, if we were to look at the last 90 years of Yankees baseball, decade by decade, and pick the “landmark” Yankees team from each decade, I would offer that it should breakdown as follows:

    1920’s: 1927 Yankees
    1930’s: 1939 Yankees
    1940’s: 1949 Yankees
    1950’s: 1952 Yankees
    1960’s: 1961 Yankees
    1970’s: 1978 Yankees
    1980’s: 1980 Yankees
    1990’s: 1998 Yankees
    2000’s: 2009 Yankees

    For the record, I struggled coming up with a landmark team for the 1950’s – because there’s so much to pick from there. But, in the end, I took 1952 because it was Mantle’s first full season, it was a close pennant race, and the Yankees had to win Games Six and Seven to win the World Series.

    When you look at the great Yankees teams this way, to me, it’s interesting to see the cluster around the the-end-to-the-beginning of the decades pattern here.

    1927, 1939, 1949, 1978, 1998 and 2009 are all in the 7-8-9 range – towards the back-end of the decades. And, 1952, 1961 and 1980 are in the 0-1-2 range – towards the front-end of the decades. This all leads to that 7-8-9-0-1-2 “cluster” that I mentioned.

    And, the “3-4-5-6” range is sort of lonely here.

    In any event, what do you think of these “landmark” picks? Would you choose any different ones?

    DeRosa Picks Giants Over Yankees

    Posted by on December 29th, 2009 · Comments (29)

    Holy Rice-A-Roni Batman!

    Via Anthony McCarron

    The Yankees viewed free agent Mark DeRosa as potential help in left field and an unbeatable super-utility option. But DeRosa, a Bergen Catholic product, agreed to a preliminary two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants Monday night, The Associated Press reported. The agreement is to be announced today.

    But missing out on DeRosa does not mean the Yankees will seek an expensive option such as Matt Holliday or Jason Bay for their left-field opening, one Yankee official said before the deal was made. “No chance on Matt Holliday, no chance on Jason Bay,” the official said. “Zero. None. Underline it.”

    The Yankees are thinking of much cheaper free agent options – former Blue Jay and Cub Reed Johnson, Jerry Hairston Jr. from last season’s team or other players for left field, the official said. Brett Gardner could have a chance to compete for a role there. They will also troll the trade market.

    Of course, Yankee GM Brian Cashman once said that he was comfortable with Bubba Crosby being the team’s starting center fielder – mere weeks before the Yankees gave Johnny Damon $52 million over four years to play there instead. The Yankees certainly could afford to stretch their self-imposed budget for a big name, but they also believe that next year’s free agent class – hello, Carl Crawford! – is much more attractive, so they are saving cash for that.

    Cashman is probably thinking “We won in ’96 with Gerald Williams and Tim Raines in left. We won in ’98, big time, with Chad Curtis out there. And, we won in ’99 with Chad Curtis and Ricky Ledee playing left field. So, why do I have to sweat who plays left in 2010?” That said, expect an outfield of Gardner, Granderson and Swisher this coming season – along with a fourth guy TBD…like Reed Johnson or Jermaine Dye…working into the mix to spell Gardner against lefties.

    Shades Of Joe Pisarcik

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

    Two years ago, I shared the following:

    From 1978 to 1992, I was really into the NFL thing – and a pretty huge Giants fan. I watched the games every week and sweated out the big ones. But, after that time, I basically stopped watching pro-football. Since then, I’ve gone to a couple of Jets’ games, with a friend who has season tickets. And, I still watch the Superbowl each year – but, that’s just about the one and only football game that I watch on TV each season. I’ve just become disenchanted with the NFL.

    And, my position on this has not changed since that time. That said, how could I not notice what the Giants did in the Meadowlands yesterday?

    Seeing this, it made me think of Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, Game 1 of the 1996 World Series, and, of course, Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS – games where the Yankees just did not show up to play.

    But, those were post-season games – and, at least, the Yankees did make the post-season in those years. When was the last time the Yankees had a shot at the post-season, at or near the end of the season, and mailed it in like the Giants did yesterday?

    Would that be 1985? On September 12, 1985, the Yankees beat the Blue Jays to get within 1.5 games of them – and first place (with 23 games left to play that year). But, the Yankees lost the next three games to the Jays – 3-2, 7-4, and 8-5 – and, within a blink of an eye, New York was then 4.5 games back of Toronto with 20 games left to play.

    Granted, those three losses to the Jays were close – and not a blowout-tank-job like the Giants pulled yesterday. But, what made it really bad in 1985 was that, after that four game set with Toronto, New York lost their next five games in a row – to totally non-contending teams like the Indians, Tigers and Orioles -to put themselves 6.5 games back (with 15 games to play). And, that was mailing it in…for sure.

    So, was 1985 the last time the Yankees did what the Giants did yersterday – when they lost 8 in a row after getting to the point where they were 1.5 back with 23 to play? Or, is there something in between then and now that I missed?

    Yankees-Red Sox Highlights From A Single-Digit Decade

    Posted by on December 28th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    If you haven’t read Jeff Jacobs and Dom Amore’s Yankees-Red Sox Highlights From A Single-Digit Decade yet, you’re really missing something. Check it out.

    Yanks Interested In Jermaine Dye?

    Posted by on December 27th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Phil Rogers:

    Jermaine Dye is drawing interest from the Yankees after their acquisition of Javier Vazquez. He had been considered as a first base option in Atlanta before the Braves shifted to Troy Glaus.

    This is not the first time we’ve heard from the Chitown media that the Yankees had an interest in Dye. Remember the summer of 2007?

    Hearing this, it makes me wish that someone would pull a foolie and tell Omar Minaya that Dye’s real name is Germano Morir – and then maybe the Mets would sign him, and take-away the potential of him ending up in Yankeeland…

    I mean…really…Jermaine Dye?

    That’s not exactly having a younger, more athletic, and defense-oriented outfield…is it Brian?

    2010 Yankees Starting Pitchers – Dipsy Doodles?

    Posted by on December 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Last season, A.J. Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia became just the 3rd quartet of Yankees pitchers to have 130+ strikeouts in the same season. Here’s the complete list of those to pull this trick for the Yankees – along with those teams that just missed by having a 4th pitcher with 130+ Ks:

    Rk Year Tm #Matching  
    1 2009 New York Yankees 4 A.J. Burnett / Joba Chamberlain / Andy Pettitte / C.C. Sabathia
    2 1999 New York Yankees 4 Roger Clemens / David Cone / Orlando Hernandez / Hideki Irabu
    3 1998 New York Yankees 4 David Cone / Orlando Hernandez / Andy Pettitte / David Wells
    4 2003 New York Yankees 3 Roger Clemens / Mike Mussina / Andy Pettitte
    5 2002 New York Yankees 3 Roger Clemens / Mike Mussina / David Wells
    6 2001 New York Yankees 3 Roger Clemens / Mike Mussina / Andy Pettitte
    7 1997 New York Yankees 3 David Cone / Andy Pettitte / David Wells
    8 1975 New York Yankees 3 Catfish Hunter / Rudy May / Doc Medich
    9 1965 New York Yankees 3 Al Downing / Whitey Ford / Mel Stottlemyre
    10 1963 New York Yankees 3 Jim Bouton / Al Downing / Whitey Ford
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 12/27/2009.



    It will be interesting to see, in 2010, if the addition of Javy Vazquez to the Yankees rotation – and assuming that Chamberlain remains in the rotation – if the Yankees will have 5 pitchers with 130+ strikeouts in the same season.

    In the history of baseball, since 1901, there have only been 7 teams with 5 pitchers with 130+ K’s in the same year. They were the 1966 Cleveland Indians, 1968 Houston Astros, 1988 New York Mets, 1998 Atlanta Braves, 2003 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2003 Florida Marlins and 2004 Chicago Cubs.

    One thing is for sure…if the Yankees pitchers can strikeout a lot of batters, and keep ground balls away from their infielders on the left-side of the diamond and flyballs away from that right-field homer porch at Yankee Stadium, it’s going to help them out – a lot.

    The New York Yankees – Two Years From Now

    Posted by on December 26th, 2009 · Comments (15)

    Times flies. Shoot, it seems like it was yesterday that I started writing this blog. But, in actuality, it was over four years and eight months ago.

    The 2010 Yankees season is right around the corner. But, because time does fly, the 2012 Yankees season is not very far away as well. And, that leads to the question of “What will the Yankees look like, two years from now, at the start of 2012?”

    Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte will be gone from the Yankees scene by that time. (Or, at least, they should be – by most reasonable expectations.) However, which current Yankees will still be with the team two years from now (in ’12)?

    Alex Rodriguez should be here – he’s under contract until 2017. But, A-Rod will be 36-years old in 2012. And, while he should be good 27 months from now, under normal (natural?) conditions, his better days will be behind him by ’12.

    Will CC Sabathia still be with the Yankees in 2012? According to his contract, he can “opt out” and become a free agent after the 2011 season. Yet, I find it hard to believe that Sabathia will be able to better his contract by that time…the way contracts are trending in baseball. So, CC should still be here 27 months from now.

    Mark Teixeira (whose contract expires in 2016) will still be here in ’12. And, he’ll just be 32-years old at that time. How about A.J. Burnett? His contract does run through 2013. So, he should be here – but, will he be effective?

    Now, of course, the big question in this whole thing is Derek Jeter. He can become a free agent after the 2010 season. Will the Yankees bring him back? Well, of course, it would be insane to allow the face of the franchise to leave, etc. In any event, if Jeter is still with the Yankees in 2012, he’ll be 38-years old that season – and most likely no longer playing shortstop.

    What about some other current Yankees? Robinson Cano’s contract is up after 2011 – but the Yankees have an option for 2012. It’s $14 million for that season, or, a $2 million buy-out. That could be a very interesting call. Nick Swisher is in the same situation – under contract until 2011 with an option for 2012 ($10.25 million or $1 million buy-out). But, I doubt Swisher will still be with the Yankees by 2011 – much less by 2012. Curtis Granderson is under contract until 2014 – so, he should be here in ’12 (when he will be 31-years old). Lastly, guys like Joba Chamberlain, Brett Gardner, David Robertson, and Phil Hughes should be around in 2012 – assuming they don’t play themselves out of town.

    On the bright side, if you’re Brian Cashman, Kei Igawa will be gone come 2012. (Yes, his contract expires after the 2011 season…leaving just two more years of Iggy in Yankeeland.)

    So, this all told, if you had to project the Yankees 2012 line-up, today, it would look something like this:

    Catcher        TBD
    First Base     Mark Teixeira 
    Second Base    Robinson Cano 
    Third Base     Alex Rodriguez 
    Shortstop      TBD
    Left Field     Curtis Granderson 
    Center Field   TBD
    Right Field    TBD
    D.H.	       Derek Jeter 
    No. 1 Starter  C.C Sabathia 
    No. 2 Starter  TBD
    No. 3 Starter  A.J. Burnett 
    No. 4 Starter  Joba Chamberlain 
    No. 5 Starter  TBD
    Closer         Phil Hughes/David Robertson 

    As you can see, the Yankees are going to need some help at catcher, shortstop, the starting rotation, the outfield, and possibly closer, by the time the 2012 season comes along.

    Will Austin Romine be the Yankees catcher in 2012? Will Jesus Montero bring someone, via trade, to help in the outfield or as a starting pitcher? Will Jeremy Bleich, Andrew Brackman, Manny Banuelos or Zach McAllister be ready to help the Yankees as a starting pitcher in ’12? (Don’t hold your breath on these pitchers, if you ask me.) Will Ramiro Pena or Eduardo Nunez be the player to follow Derek Jeter at shortstop?

    What about free agents? Will the Yankees look to re-sign Javy Vazquez after the 2010 season and have him around come 2012? Or, will they try and sign Cliff Lee after this season? And, yes, there will be wondering about players like Joe Mauer and Carl Crawford if they become free agents after this season.

    The 2009 Yankees were World Champions. And, the 2010 Yankees have to be considered as contenders for the ring as well. But, come 2012, due to the age of some of their stars (like A-Rod and Jeter) and the needs that the Yankees will have at catcher, the outfield, and pitching, we could be looking at a team that is not as pretty as the one we have now in Yankeeland. And, 2012 is just 27 months away…

    Brian Cashman and company will have their work cut out for them over the next couple of seasons…building that team for 2012. Because, right now, it’s got issues and holes out the ying yang…and the ’12 season starts just about two years from now…

    Billy Martin’s Passing – 20 Years Ago, Today

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

    Typically, in situations like this, I would find myself saying “Has it really been 20 years? It seems like it was just yesterday.” But, in this case, to be candid, it seems like it’s been more than 20 years. Not sure why? Truly, for some reason, it seems like Billy Martin, his time as a Yankees manager, and his passing, was a long, long, time ago. Perhaps it’s because the Yankees, today, and for the last 15 years or so, are such a different animal than they were 20-30 years ago…at least to me. (Then again, maybe it’s me who is the different animal now?)

    In any event, Arne Christensen has the anniversary of Billy’s passing covered here and memories of Martin here. Check them both out.

    Happy Holidays!

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 · Comments (70)

    Barring any breaking and hot Yankees-related news, I do not expect to be posting many entries to WasWatching.com over the next few days. Therefore, I wanted to take this time now to wish all the readers of this blog a safe and happy holiday season. It’s been 56 months now that WasWatching.com has been up and running, and, I’ve truly enjoyed all the feedback to this site and its content that you have provided through the years. Thanks for that wonderful present! I hope you all have as much fun (as I’ve had here so far) during your holiday observance.

    Look for more stuff after Christmas!

    Also, I want to make a special “shout-out” to the following frequent “comment-makers” that we have at WasWatching.com:

    MJ, Corey, clintfsu813, 77yankees, Evan3457, YankCrank, GDH, Raf, bfriley76, G.I. Joey, #15, Scout, Pat F, cr1, yanksofny, srivinodh, Brent, butchie22, ken, BOHAN, Jake1, Tresh Fan, Rich, mondoas, JeremyM, sean mcnally, Rob Abruzzese, lisaswan, K-V-C, Pete, jrk, antone, OldYanksFan, Joseph M and redbug

    My sincere thanks to those mentioned above for all their comments, etc., this year. You’ve added a lot to this site and it’s appreciated!

    Jesus Montero – One Of The Best Prospects Today

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Over at SI.com, John Manuel of Baseball America lists his personal top 20 prospects in baseball. And, the Yankees Jesus Montero clocks in at #5! Here’s what Manuel had to say on Montero:

    Jesus Montero, C/DH, Yankees

    Why he’s here: The minors’ best hitter, Montero gets compared to Mike Piazza as a catcher whose hitting tools far outstrip his defense. The Yankees don’t see him as Jorge Posada’s heir because his defense is on par with Piazza’s or worse.

    What he’ll be: Because he’s likely to move out from behind the plate, Montero should be a first baseman or DH primarily. Other ex-catchers with premium bats such as Paul Konerko and Carlos Delgado leap to mind.

    When he arrives: New York’s offseason moves will dictate whether Montero spends all season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or moves up to the big leagues as a part-time catcher and DH.

    For the record, on July 10, 2009, I compared Montero to Carlos Delgado. And, on July 31, 2009, I compared Montero to Paul Konerko. So, obviously, I’m on the same page here. Or, is Manuel on my page?

    In any event, the thing with Jesus Montero will be “Where do the Yankees play him?” As I wrote back in July…

    Mark Teixeira is under contract with the Yankees until 2016. And, Alex Rodriguez is under contract with the Yankees until 2017. And, more than likely, Derek Jeter will sign a contract after 2010 that will keep him with the Yankees until, at least, 2015. So, the Yankees will have three somewhat older guys on their team that could block Montero at first base or designated hitter for years to come…

    In a nutshell, on the Yankees, Jesus Montero in jammed into a very crowded (DH/1B) car that really has one too many people in it…or more…

    How Much Did Sabathia, Burnett & Pettitte Shoulder In 2009?

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 · Comments (14)

    How many times, in the entire history of the New York Yankees franchise, have the Yankees had three pitchers in a year post a season where they had GS=32+, IP=190+ and W=13+?

    Here’s the answer…a list of all Yankees seasons where they’ve had more than one pitcher with GS=32+, IP=190+ and W=13+ in a season:

    Rk   Year                                                 #Matching
    1    2009         3    A.J. Burnett / Andy Pettitte / C.C. Sabathia
    2    2006         3  Randy Johnson / Mike Mussina / Chien-Ming Wang
    3    1976         3       Dock Ellis / Ed Figueroa / Catfish Hunter
    4    1972         3  Steve Kline / Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
    5    1971         3 Stan Bahnsen / Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
    6    1970         3 Stan Bahnsen / Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
    7    1964         3           Jim Bouton / Al Downing / Whitey Ford
    8    1962         3       Whitey Ford / Bill Stafford / Ralph Terry
    9    2008         2                    Mike Mussina / Andy Pettitte
    10   2003         2                   Roger Clemens / Andy Pettitte
    11   2001         2                    Roger Clemens / Mike Mussina
    12   2000         2                   Roger Clemens / Andy Pettitte
    13   1997         2                     Andy Pettitte / David Wells
    14   1985         2                        Ron Guidry / Phil Niekro
    15   1978         2                        Ed Figueroa / Ron Guidry
    16   1975         2                     Catfish Hunter / Doc Medich
    17   1974         2                         Pat Dobson / Doc Medich
    18   1973         2                    Doc Medich / Mel Stottlemyre
    19   1969         2                Fritz Peterson / Mel Stottlemyre
    20   1968         2                  Stan Bahnsen / Mel Stottlemyre
    21   1965         2                   Whitey Ford / Mel Stottlemyre
    22   1963         2                       Whitey Ford / Ralph Terry
    23   1955         2                        Whitey Ford / Bob Turley
    24   1950         2                           Ed Lopat / Vic Raschi
    25   1926         2                    Herb Pennock / Urban Shocker
    26   1924         2                       Waite Hoyt / Herb Pennock
    27   1921         2                          Waite Hoyt / Carl Mays
    28   1920         2                          Carl Mays / Jack Quinn
    29   1906         2                          Jack Chesbro / Al Orth
    30   1905         2                          Jack Chesbro / Al Orth
    31   1904         2                      Jack Chesbro / Jack Powell
    32   1901         2                    Harry Howell / Joe McGinnity


    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 12/23/2009.

    So, last season, when CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte turned this trick for New York, it was the first time this has happened in Yankeeland since 2006 – and only the 3rd time it’s happened since George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973.

    I wonder if CC, A.J., and Andy can all post these numbers again in 2010?

    Here’s Your Ring & There’s The Door

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 · Comments (5)

    When it comes to the roster of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees, so far this off-season, we know the following:

    Gone For Sure:
    Brian Bruney
    Hideki Matsui
    Melky Cabrera
    Phil Coke

    More Than Likely Not Coming Back:
    Chien-Ming Wang
    Johnny Damon

    Pretty Sure Not Coming Back:
    Eric Hinske
    Jerry Hairston
    Jose Molina

    (I know that Shelley Duncan, Xavier Nady, Michael Dunn and Ian Kennedy could be on these lists too – but, they barely played for the Yankees this season.)

    Now, I know that the Yankees will still have, at least as of today, the following on their roster next season: A.J. Burnett, Alex Rodriguez, Alfredo Aceves, Andy Pettitte, Brett Gardner, C.C. Sabathia, Damaso Marte, David Robertson, Derek Jeter, Joba Chamberlain, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Philip Hughes and Robinson Cano.

    And, they have added: Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Javy Vazquez, and, it appears, Mark DeRosa.

    But, you have to wonder about how much Hideki Matsui, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon will be missed – as they seemed to have that special “play maker” ability. Also, Phil Coke and Jose Molina, while not stars, filled special roles on the team. And, lastly, Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston and Chien-Ming Wang seemed as if they were liked by their teammates – much the same as Godzilla, Leche and Damon.

    Now, this is not to say that Granderson, Johnson, Vazquez, and, DeRosa are bad guys in the field or the clubhouse. And, I really want to stress that point.

    It’s just more a matter of how much Matsui, Cabrera, Damon, Coke, Molina, and the others will be missed in terms of what they brought to the total team picture.

    To be honest, I have no idea. It’s just that it is a question, in my mind, that we should not lose sight of…in Yankeeland…as we head into next season.

    The Not So Big Secret In Yankeeland…Mark DeRosa Is Coming

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2009 · Comments (26)

    Last night, on MLB Network’s Hot Stove, Brian Cashman pretty much said it, without coming out saying it, if you know what I mean…

    Looks like Johnny Damon will be playing home games somewhere other than the Bronx next season.

    The funny thing is…Mark DeRosa is pretty much the same age as Damon. Yes, he offers a lot more with the glove, and he can mash LHP, but, Damon always had a knack for making the Yankees go…

    Can Nick Johnson and/or Mark DeRosa replace that? Plus, DeRosa is coming off wrist surgery.

    I hope Brian Cashman knows what he’s doing here…

    Last Three Years Of Yanks System Stuffing

    Posted by on December 22nd, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Marc Hulet at Fangraphs took a look at the Yankees last three drafts. (Every time I see Marc Hulet’s name, by the way, I think of Marc Hill and Tim Hulett – what a ’80’s flashback, huh?)

    What I like about this study is that Hulet lists the first three rounds and “over-draft signees” ($200,000 or more) – here they are with the latter denoted by an “X” –

    1st Round: Slade Heathcott, OF, Texas HS
    2. J.R. Murphy, C, Florida HS
    3. None
    5x – Caleb Cotham, RHP, Vanderbilt
    12x – Brett Gerritse, RHP, California HS
    14x – Graham Stoneburner, RHP, Clemson
    16x – Bryan Mitchell, RHP, North Carolina
    44x – Evan DeLuca, LHP, New Jersey HS

    1st Round: Gerrit Cole, RHP, California HS (Did not sign)
    1S. Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Stanford
    2. Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi (Did not sign)
    3. David Adams, 2B, Virginia
    6x – Brett Marshall, RHP, Texas HS
    7x – Kyle Higashioka, C, California HS
    9x – Michael O’Brien, RHP, Virginia HS
    10x – D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Clemson
    15x – Matt Richardson, RHP, Florida HS
    27x – Garrison Lassiter, SS, North Carolina HS

    1st Round: Andrew Brackman, RHP, North Carolina State
    2. Austin Romine, C, California HS
    3. Ryan Pope, RHP, Savannah College of Art/Design
    4x – Brad Suttle, 3B, Texas
    6x – Richard ‘Chase’ Weems, Georgia HS
    8x – Taylor Grote, OF, Texas HS
    10x – Carmen Angelini, Louisiana HS

    So, how many of these names will be playing in the Bronx between 2010 and 2014? That remains to be seen, no doubt…

    Commentary On Reported Melky Cabrera For Javier Vazquez Trade

    Posted by on December 22nd, 2009 · Comments (25)

    As promised, here’s my opinion on the trade reported today.

    First, toss out Mike Dunn and Boone Logan. That’s a push. They’re both lefty. They both can’t get big league batters out, consistently. It’s six of one and a half-dozen of the other.

    This trade breaks down to Melky Cabrera and Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez. Actually, it’s for “one year of Javier Vazquez” since he will be a free agent after 2010 (assuming the Yankees don’t extend his contract – which is a safe bet…’cause they’re not extending him while ignoring Derek Jeter’s possible extension).

    Now, when Melky Cabrera first came up, I thought he was exciting. And, I was a huge fan of his potential. But, the scouts were right about Leche – he’s a .280 hitter who doesn’t walk and has almost no power. Basically, he’s a swell 4th outfielder – and someone who deserves to play in the major leagues. But, he’s not a star and should not be a full-time player on a contending team. Losing Cabrera, at the worst, hurts the Yankees in the sense that he was Robinson Cano’s “primo” and now Cano will have to find someone else to spoon with when he’s feeling low. (Luckily for Robbie, K-Hud and A-Rod just broke up and Alex Rodriguez is available.)

    Arodys Vizcaino is one of the Yankees best pitching prospects. But, is he the next Pedro Martinez or the next Octavio Dotel? We don’t know because he’s yet to pitch above the short-season Penn League. Basically, we have years before we know what Arodys Vizcaino is all about, etc.

    On the “risk” scale, in terms of what the Yankees gave up in this deal, the needle is much closer to the abstinence side of the meter than it is to the glory hole side of the scale.

    So, how about Javier Vazquez? Well, first, as mentioned, he’s a rental player. And, you always have to be concerned about a guy who is traded five times in six years. That’s a red flag, for sure. Blistering red, if you ask me.

    But, the big thing with Vazquez is: Can he pitch in the American League? If you look at his career, in terms of his component skills, Vazquez is pretty consistent. Yet, for some reason, his bubble-gum card stats, outside of 2007, are much better when he’s in the N.L. than when he’s in the A.L. (where the Yankees play). In the Senior Cicuit, he’s a Cy Young contender. In the Junior Circuit, he’s a league average pitcher. Perhaps it’s the A.L. ballparks that do him in? (By the way, his lifetime ERA while pitching in the Bronx is 7.09 over 6 games.) But, even at his worst, Javy should be good for close to 200 innings pitched and somewhere around 12-14 wins.

    In a sense, Vazquez should give the Yankees what they get from Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett in 2010 – meaning 30 starts, 200 IP, and around 13 wins. Is that good news? To me, that puts a lot of pressure on CC Sabathia to post a W-L record that’s at least 10 games over .500. Can he do it? Sure, he’s done it in the past. But, can you count on it? I dunno…

    Bottom line, is this a good trade for the Yankees? Well, it’s not the worst trade they’ve ever made…but, I don’t see a ton here to get excited about it…it’s not like dealing for Roy Halladay or something. And, as I said, if Sabathia does not shine in 2010, and Burnett/Pettitte/Vazquez pitch to the reasonable expectations from them, it could mean the Yankees don’t win 95 games in 2010 – which is what they will probably need to make the post-season.

    Melky Cabrera Traded For Javier Vazquez

    Posted by on December 22nd, 2009 · Comments (31)

    Reports say that the Yankees have traded Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan.

    I’ll have some commentary on this deal later this evening. In the meantime, feel free to leave your thoughts on this trade in the comments section here.

    Hi, My Name Is Steve, And, I’m A Yankees Fan…

    Posted by on December 22nd, 2009 · Comments (15)

    Yankees fans are everywhere. And, at times, my wife likes to playfully give me the business about this…such as…

    …when we’re on the road and another car cuts us off, or does something else that is vehicularly selfish and/or irresponsible, and we notice that it has a Yankees magnetic decal on the back of the car, she’ll turn to me and will say:

    “There goes one of your peeps.” Or…

    …when we’re out in public and we come across some goomba Eminem wannabe, acting like an orangutan performing a mating ritual, who is wearing a Yankees cap crooked on his head, she’ll mention:

    “There goes one of your peeps.” Or…

    …if it’s a nice warm day and we find ourselves walking behind some young lady wearing a pink Jeter or A-Rod T-shirt, rolled up above her sweat pants that have some suggestive slogan written across her fanny, in order to display the tramp stamp tattoo on her lower back to all that follow her, she’ll make note and share:

    “There goes one of your peeps.”

    Again, it’s all meant in fun when she says this to me. It’s just a good-natured tease.

    But, you know, what? All kidding aside, I take pride in being a member of the Yankees fan fraternity. Heck, it’s like family to me. Yup, even the fanboy Yankees-blinders and Pinstripe-Pollyanna throng – I dig them too. (Hey, as I’ve said in the past, I was “that way” too, once, when I was in my teens and early twenties. So, I do know where they’re coming from, etc.)

    You can put me in a plane and drop me in a lot of places – and I’d be O.K. But, in terms of being most comfortable, my best place to be is among several other Yankees fans. That’s part of the beauty of going to Yankee Stadium – to be with so many other people who are…just like me…

    And, just as you can’t pick your family, I realize that there are some Yankees fans out there who are…well…let’s just say more “interesting” than others. But, in the end, just like all Yankees fans, they’re “my peeps.” And, that’s cool. It’s a big club – lotsa room for all…

    How about you? If you’re a Yankees fan, does the association feel like a warm security blanket for you too?

    Yanks Deal For Starting Pitcher Closer Than It Appears?

    Posted by on December 22nd, 2009 · Comments (26)

    Harang? Nope, Lurch…but something might be cooking…

    Howard Megdal sums up the buzz tonight about a deal by the Yankees to get a starting pitcher.

    Mark Feinsand was told “it’s not a salary dump deal.” If true, this makes it interesting…

    Tom Gorzelanny? Brian Bannister? David Bush? If true, that’s not too exciting…

    Stay tuned…

    The Yankee Tax Man Cometh

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

    Via the AP

    Winning came with a hefty price for the New York Yankees.

    The World Series champions were hit with a luxury tax of nearly $25.69 million Monday, according to information received by clubs and obtained by The Associated Press.

    New York is the only team to pay a tax for this season and has crossed the threshold in all seven years since the tax started. According to the collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees must send a check to the commissioner’s office by Jan. 31.

    The Yankees have been billed $174 million of the tax’s $190 million total since 2003. The only other teams to pay have been Boston ($13.9 million for 2004-7), Detroit ($1.3 million for 2008) and the Los Angeles Angels ($927,059 for 2004).

    At least the Yankees got value for their spending, winning the World Series for the first time since 2000 after adding high-priced free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. And the Yankees did lower their tax bill from $26.86 million last year, when their streak of consecutive playoff appearances ended at 13.

    New York’s payroll was $226.2 million for the purpose of the luxury tax and the Yankees pay at a 40 percent rate for the amount over $162 million. To compute the payroll, Major League Baseball uses the average annual values of contracts for players on 40-man rosters and adds benefits.

    The Yankees’ regular payroll — using 2009 salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses — finished at $220 million. That was a drop of $2.5 million from 2008 but more than $77.8 million higher than any other team — a gap larger than the payrolls of the bottom 11 clubs.

    If the Yankees ever have a team payroll under $162 million with Brian Cashman as their G.M., I’ll…ooooh…shoot…I’ll post a picture of myself on this blog holding up a sign that says “Brian Cashman, You’re The Best G.M. In Baseball History.” How’s that?

    Braves Interested In Swisher (Or Damon)?

    Posted by on December 21st, 2009 · Comments (32)

    Via Ken Rosenthal through Talking Chop

    The Braves have talked to the Marlins about [Dan] Uggla, but one source describes Atlanta’s interest as only “mild.” A trade for the Yankees’ Nick Swisher or the signing of free-agent left fielder Johnny Damon might be preferable to the Braves.

    What was it that Sweet Sensation said? Oh, yeah, that’s right…take it while it’s hot!

    If the Braves want Swish, how about flipping him for Derek Lowe? (And, then sign Damon to play left and take Swisher’s spot in the line-up.)

    Yanks Will Not Sign Jason Marquis

    Posted by on December 21st, 2009 · Comments (3)

    …because he’s going to the Capital City…

    Via mlb.com

    The Nationals are close to agreeing to terms with free agent right-hander Jason Marquis, according to a baseball source. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Marquis has to take a physical before the Nationals make it official, according to the source. The club had no comment on the matter.

    Marquis, 31, is coming off one of his best seasons, going 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA with the Rockies. He also represented Colorado in the All-Star Game.

    During his 10-year career — which has included stints with the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs and Rockies — Marquis has won 94 games with a 4.48 ERA.

    Marquis said last week he can be one player who can help Washington’s young staff, which includes John Lannan and Garrett Mock. Marquis indicated that he can teach the younger pitchers what he learned from veterans like Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Chris Carpenter and Matt Morris.

    In fact, Marquis felt he was a mentor to Rockies hurlers Jorge De La Rosa and Ubaldo Jimenez.

    Buster Olney says Marquis has agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract with the Nationals.

    Does Mike Rizzo know something that Brian Cashman does not know? Time will tell…

    Report: Yanks To Add Starting Pitcher In Next 12 Days

    Posted by on December 21st, 2009 · Comments (82)

    Via Mike Puma

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman’s list of naughty and nice still includes a few starting pitchers in the latter category.

    With his everyday lineup for 2010 set, Cashman has turned attention to the rotation, and will almost certainly add a starter by New Year’s, according to a major league source.

    Cashman is believed to have inquired about Carlos Zambrano, but with the Cubs’ asking price high for the 28-year-old right-hander — who is coming off an injury-plagued 2009 — it’s more probable the Yankees will go the free-agent route.

    That means selecting from a pool that includes Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro and Ben Sheets, any of whom would slot behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte in the Yankees’ rotation.

    The increased sense of urgency to add pitching depth comes after the Red Sox last week signed John Lackey to a five-year contract worth $82.5 million and added him to a rotation that includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz.

    Adding another starter would allow the Yankees to keep Phil Hughes in the bullpen next season or have him assume the fifth spot in the rotation with Joba Chamberlain reclaiming a bullpen role.

    Betcha it’s Ben Sheets. He’s been on Cashman’s radar for a long time.

    Graphical Player 2010

    Posted by on December 20th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Graphical Player 2010 For the last ten days or so, I’ve been thumbing through the “Graphical Player 2010” – and having a great time doing it!

    For those not aware, the Graphical Player annual has been issued since 2004. (Actually, until 2007, it was called “Graphical Pitcher” – as it covered pitchers at first and then was expanded to cover batters as well.) John Burnson – of BaseballHQ.com and Heater Magazine fame – is the moving force behind this book.

    Graphical Player 2010” has an incredible amount of data, presented in a somewhat unique style…more to follow on that…along with commentary on more than 1,000 current baseball players provided by bloggers who cover their teams – and edited by Burnson with some help from Rob McQuown and Michael Street. (Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers provided the Yankees commentary.)

    Getting back to the data, here’s some of what you will find in this book:

    • Projected 2010 stats and historical dollar values for single and mixed Roto leagues, as well as tallies for points leagues.
    • Four years of career stats, including splits for RH/LH and 1st-half/2nd-half.
    • Minor-league stats down to Single-A for 2009 for every player.
    • A unique “mini-browser” showing five players with similar projections at the same positions.
    • Profiles of more than 100 prospects, with independent rankings from three experts.
    • Speculative rosters for every MLB team for 2010, 2011, and 2012.
    • Full player stats by team for 2009

    Now, it’s been years since I was a serious fantasy baseball enthusiast. In fact, I pretty much dropped the game after the 2000 season. But, had Graphical Player been around back then, it would have been a “must-have” for me at that time – and I would recommend that “Graphical Player 2010” is a must-have for the serious fantasy baseball franchise owner today.

    O.K., that said, even if you’re not a roto-head, many will still derive a lot of use out of “Graphical Player 2010.” Why? Well, if you’re a baseball fan, and someone who’s into sabermetrics, you will find “Graphical Player 2010” to be both pleasing and intellectually stimulating. It’s just full of fun stats like xFIP, wOBA, and Wins Above Replacement – as well as stats that cover a player’s component skills, how luck may have impacted his stats, and, for pitchers, the strength of the teams he faced.

    As I stated in the opening, I’ve been thumbing through this one for days – and expect to keep going through it for many more (to come). It’s great fun. Again, the “Graphical Player 2010” is a must-have for the diligent fantasy baseball competitor and a treasure trove of sabermetric data for the thinking baseball fan – and highly recommend here.

    When Willow & ‘Sado Pulled A Casey

    Posted by on December 20th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    The Yankees have played in the post-season a lot of years. Yeah, I know…Duh!

    But, did you know that, in all those post-season series that the Yankees have played, only twice has the series ended with a Yankees batter striking out? Yup. ‘Tis true – here’s the list:

    Date Series Gm# Batter Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt)
    1980-10-10 ALCS 3 Willie Randolph KCR Dan Quisenberry down 2-4 b 9 2 6 (3-2)
    2007-10-08 ALDS 4 Jorge Posada CLE Joe Borowski down 4-6 b 9 2 3 (0-2)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 12/20/2009.

    Pretty good Yankees-trivia nugget here…

    Go ahead and try it on your friends. If they get it right without looking it up, they deserve a prize.

    Yanks Wary Of Tail Between The Legs Syndrome?

    Posted by on December 20th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    You don’t have to look hard these days to find a report that says Brian Cashman is concerned about the the mind/spirit of a player accepting a paycut in order to come back and play for their former team. Some say this is why he did not bring back Bobby Abreu last season and this is why you won’t see Johnny Damon come back to the Bronx in 2010.

    I wonder if this all goes back to when Bernie Williams made $12.3 million in 2005 and then came back for just $1.5 million in 2006?

    Then again, look at Andy Pettitte last season. He made $16 million in 2008 and then signed for $5.5 million to play this year – albeit loaded with incentives.

    I understand the thinking here. No one, no matter what the business, wants to go back to their former employer and take a paycut in the process. That’s human nature. But, that said, you also have to be aware of the job market, etc.

    It will be interesting to see if this “issue” comes into play when Derek Jeter’s contract is up…but I have a feeling that will be a whole different ballgame, more likely than not…

    Cubs Interested In Yanks’ Gardner Or Cabrera?

    Posted by on December 20th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    First the Royals and now the Cubs? Via the Daily News

    The Yankees would like to acquire another starting pitcher this winter. Now that the best of the weak free agent class have signed, the names most often linked to them are Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer, former aces who are rehabbing from injuries.

    A trade is also an option, and the events of the past week could make the Chicago Cubs a potential trading partner. The Cubs, who dealt outfielder Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for starter Carlos Silva, are now looking for a center fielder. They could be interested in either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner, who could be expendable after the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson.

    Chicago GM Jim Hendry could be in contact with the Yankees about such a deal, according to a report on FoxSports.com.

    “The Cubs have their holes, but one thing they have enough of is starting pitching,” one AL executive said. “There’s a lot of factors to weigh – Cabrera and Gardner fit a budget – but you could see it being a match.”

    Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells are the Cubs’ top four starters. The candidates for the fifth spot are Silva, lefty Tom Gorzelanny and righty Jeff Samardzija, who also has been a reliever. Hendry has said that Silva could go to the bullpen.

    The 2010 Yankees are still a work in progress. Right now their starting outfield would be Nick Swisher in right, Granderson in center and Cabrera in left. Gardner would be the fourth outfielder, and Rule V draft pick Jamie Hoffmann the fifth. And GM Brian Cashman appears very content with that.

    At what point do the Yankees say to themselves: “Hmmm. Alotta teams want Brett Gardner. Maybe we should hang on to him since everyone else seems to think he’ll be a good player?”

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