• Yanks Talking Deal With Twins?

    Posted by on February 28th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    Who knows if this is true but it seems like the Yanks might be kicking the tires on Twins LHP Francisco Liriano.

    Liriano signed a one-year, $4.3M deal with the Twins earlier this month to avoid arbitration and has one more arbitration-eligible season left next year.  One would presume, then, that the Yankees would be trying to acquire Liriano with an eye towards signing him to a contract extension in advance of his free agency in 2013.

    Liriano’s injury history makes him a bit of a risky acquisition but this is the kind of move that could pay off for the Yankees.  If healthy, Liriano is one of the best pitchers in the game and would give the Yankees the rotation stability they missed out on when Cliff Lee opted to sign elsewhere.

    Without knowing the price Minnesota would demand it’s very hard to guage my own feelings here.  As long as it doesn’t cost the team Montero and Banuelos, I’m probably fine with any other combination of players being sent to Minnesota, even if Liriano’s injury history makes this a risky move.

    Joe Girardi’s Big Day At The Plate

    Posted by on February 27th, 2011 · Comments (8)

    I was just looking at some really big days at the plate by Yankees hitters since 1973. Here’s the list:

    Rk Player Date Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB ROE WPA RE24 aLI BOP Pos. Summary
    1 Alex Rodriguez 2005-04-26 LAA W 12-4 5 5 3 4 0 0 3 10 0 0 0.490 8.614 .660 5 3B
    2 Roy Smalley 1982-09-05 KCR W 18-7 5 4 3 2 0 0 2 6 1 2 0.347 7.509 .834 7 SS
    3 Bernie Williams 2000-06-17 CHW L 9-10 5 4 3 4 2 0 1 7 1 0 0.282 6.711 .680 4 CF
    4 Danny Tartabull 1992-09-08 BAL W 16-4 5 5 3 5 1 0 2 9 0 0 0.273 6.697 .586 4 RF
    5 Bernie Williams 1996-09-12 DET W 12-3 6 4 2 3 0 0 2 8 2 0 0.346 6.668 1.087 3 CF
    6 Paul O’Neill 1995-08-31 CAL W 11-6 5 5 4 4 0 0 3 8 0 0 0.285 6.299 .586 3 RF
    7 Cecil Fielder 1997-04-26 CHW W 10-2 5 5 1 5 2 0 1 5 0 0 0.166 6.118 .600 6 DH
    8 Gary Sheffield 2005-06-21 TBD W 20-11 6 6 3 4 0 0 2 7 0 0 0.115 6.043 .585 3 RF
    9 Graig Nettles 1976-09-29 BOS W 9-6 5 5 4 4 2 0 2 6 0 0 0.330 5.851 .664 3 3B
    10 Graig Nettles 1973-09-08 MIL W 15-1 5 4 1 2 0 0 1 6 0 0 0.198 5.793 .770 6 3B
    11 Jason Giambi 2005-08-28 KCR W 10-3 4 3 2 3 0 0 2 7 1 0 0.263 5.753 .945 5 1B
    12 Alex Rodriguez 2005-04-18 TBD W 19-8 6 6 5 5 2 0 2 6 0 0 0.180 5.622 .322 5 3B
    13 Joe Girardi 1999-08-23 TEX W 21-3 6 6 0 4 2 1 0 7 0 0 0.137 5.549 .277 9 C
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/27/2011.


    How funny is it to see Joe Girardi make the cut?   And, look at all those fat games from 2005.  The Yankees scored 61 runs in those five games.  The average score in those five contests was 12-3.  Talk about padding your run totals, huh?

    Where Was Hank Steinbrenner In Tampa Today?

    Posted by on February 26th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    Was Hank MIA during the Yankees pregame ceremony today to honor his dad? Sure looks like it.

    Separated At Birth

    Posted by on February 26th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    Have you seen the Daily News’ “Sports look-alikes in Hollywood, entertainment and politics“?  Great stuff in there – including the Yankees Swisher and Burnett.

    But, how did they not include Bartolo Colon and Muammar Qaddafi? (Just kidding – kinda/sorta.)

    Bud To Yankees: Tell That Hank To Shut Up

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2011 · Comments (22)

    Holy Holly and the Italians Batman!

    The story.

    Where was Bud when John Henry and Larry Lucchino talked about the games finances?

    Hank Stein Takes A Poke At Jeter

    Posted by on February 21st, 2011 · Comments (13)

    Via Nick Cafardo

    When asked about Boston’s spiraling payroll and spending spree this offseason, Steinbrenner said, “John (Henry) is committed to winning as we are. He’ll do what he has to do.”

    He added, “The Red Sox are always gonna be there with the Yankees along with five or six other teams who can win the World Series. This year it’s the Phillies. The AL East is an SOB.”

    Concerning his own team, Steinbrenner said that he sees a hunger returning to the team, the same hunger he saw in 2009.

    “In 09 I saw it,” he said. “… Sometimes they celebrated a little too much last year. Some of the players too busy building mansions and concentrating on other things and not concentrating on winning. I have no problems saying that. They’ve come into this spring with a new hunger and that’s what it takes to win.”

    The one player who built a “mansion” was Derek Jeter.

    “I’m not singling anybody out,” Steinbrenner said. “This year, from what I’ve seen by our coaches they’ve come in with a real new drive and determination, the kind they had in ’09. I think they felt embarrassed last year. It bothers them.”

    Concerning the team’s inability to acquire a starting pitcher, Steinbrenner said, “We did. We got Soriano. Everybody’s missing the point. We didn’t get Lee, but we got the second-best relief pitcher in the American League and now he’s the set-up guy.”

    I wonder if Hank knows that A-Rod is purchasing a penthouse in The Rushmore Building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side? That’s sorta like a mansion, isn’t it?

    Meanwhile, Over In Metsville

    Posted by on February 21st, 2011 · Comments (1)

    Fay Vincent threw the book at Big Stein back in the day for Howie Spira. So, when is Bud going after Fred Wilpon for Bernie Madoff?

    From the sound of it, there doesn’t even seem to be the need for a John Dowd type on this one.  At least the Yankees will always have that going for them…they’re not the Mets.  Thank goodness.

    Same Gaga, Three Years Later

    Posted by on February 20th, 2011 · Comments (15)

    I have to say that I find it amusing to hear some Yankees fans doting over Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Brackman. Basically, it’s the same idiots who were going nuts three years ago over “Phil Franchise, Joba and IPK.”

    Can’t we just let them get to the big leagues and prove something before we start carving out their Cooperstown plaques?

    Feelings Towards 2011 Yanks Reminiscent To 24 Years Ago

    Posted by on February 20th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    On so many levels, I feel like it’s 1987 again – in terms of my feelings towards the Yankees.

    Personally, in 1987, I started to become more fanatical about things other than the Yankees. Don’t get me wrong – I still loved the team, kept my finger on their pulse, and wanted them to do well. But, my level of intensity, in terms of being plugged into the daily ebb and flow of the team, all the minutiae, etc., was no where near it was in the ten years before that time.

    And, this was much more about me, than the team, at that time. After all, in 1986 – albeit that New York was a Mets town back then – the Yankees won 90 games. Further, they won 97 games in 1985. It wasn’t as if the Yankees, heading in ’87, were trending towards being a boring team. Again, it’s just that – for me – there were more exciting things happening and I turned down the burner under my Yankees fan pot.

    Of course, in the years that followed 1987, we saw some pretty bad Yankees baseball. I’m sure more than a few Yankees fans had waning interest in the team from 1988 to 1992. And, I was one of them. It wasn’t until 1993 that I started to feel the same about the Yankees as I did before 1987.

    Back to point, regarding the 2011 Yankees, it’s like it’s 1987 all over again for me. At this moment, I have no buzz. Don’t confuse this with total apathy. It’s not that – in no way whatsoever. I will still follow the team, hope they do well, attend games, etc. Yet, it’s not like my “Yankees fandom” – for lack of a better phrase – is one of the top three focal points in my life at this time. (Whereas, from 1973 to 1986-ish, and from 1993 to 2008-ish, it was one of the most important facets of my identity.)

    Hey, it is what it is, for whatever reason. I’m not going to try and dissect it at this point – even if I have some thoughts about its root cause. Feelings are feelings – and that’s that. And, today, my feelings about the 2011 Yankees are the same as my feelings for the team back in 1987.

    Now, of course, the bigger question is: Will the Yankees of 2012 to 2016 mirror what we saw in Yankeeland from 1988 to 1992? Hey, it’s possible – and maybe that’s another reason why I feel this way now?

    Beefy Cameron = Happy A-Rod?

    Posted by on February 19th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    A-Rod must be so happy with this – we know that’s what he likes.

    Perhaps Alex should become a Belgian Blue Cow rancher when he hangs them up?

    Fat Joba

    Posted by on February 16th, 2011 · Comments (27)

    Brian Cashman is not finding Joba Chamberlain to be pleasingly plump this Spring.

    In any event, seems like Joba is taking the Brian Bruney career path…and that can’t be good.

    The Pujols Thread

    Posted by on February 15th, 2011 · Comments (28)

    Being old enough to have lived through the shock of  Bobby Murcer being traded to the Giants for Bobby Bonds, Ken Rosenthal’s speculation on Fox Sports concerning a possible Pujols for Teixeira trade caught my eye.  Is something like this even remotely possible?   How could the Yanks not make this move if it somehow came their way?  It might cost 350 million for 10 0r even more but how do you not dive in?  The only hesitation, the haunting thought before pulling the trigger, could this turn out to be another AROD in the making?

    Sabathia’s Position Change Regarding His Opt-Out Clause

    Posted by on February 15th, 2011 · Comments (12)

    In August of last year, we were seeing this regarding CC Sabathia and the “opt-out” clause in his contract with the Yankees:

    …the Yankees ace told The Post that he won’t “even consider” becoming a free agent after 2011, even though that provision exists in his seven-year, $161 million mega-contract.

    “I’m here,” Sabathia said. “Hundred percent.”

    “I think you know I’ve built a house here, right?” he said. “My kids go to school here. We live here year round. So I’m not going anywhere.”

    That is a pretty definitive statement from Sabathia, and good news for the Yankees, who obviously want their magnificent left-hander to stay in The Bronx…

    And, now, just six months later, we’re seeing this on the situation (via Joel Sherman):

    CC Sabathia has made a subtle shift in tone that could be a preview of a more devastating setback to the Yankees rotation next offseason than the team suffered this offseason with Cliff Lee going to the Phillies and Andy Pettitte retiring.

    Sabathia has an opt-out clause in his contract after this season and, in the past, he always definitively said he would not use that clause to negotiate another free-agent contract with either the Yankees or another team.

    However, Monday, Sabathia did some dancing around the issue and, for the first time, opened the door that he might deploy the opt-out.

    In a mass interview with reporters, Sabathia indicated he would not use the opt out without directly saying so, then shut down further inquiry by saying he was concentrating on this season and repeating the phrase, “I’m here.”

    But in a one-on-one conversation with The Post afterward, Sabathia was given a few chances to definitively say he would not opt out — as he had previously — and did not. On one occasion he said, “Anything is possible in a contract.” In another, the big lefty said, “Who knows what is possible, but I am not thinking about anything beyond Opening Day.”

    Asked if his agents had advised him to stop saying he would not opt out, Sabathia said, no, he was answering the questions as he saw fit.

    So, in one-half of a year, Sabathia’s gone from “I’m here. Hundred percent.” to “Anything is possible in a contract.”

    Wow. That’s just wonderful, eh?

    Book it now. If CC stays healthy and has a great year, he’s walking. And, when that happens, Brian Cashman will probably be walking too.

    This Yankees Fan Loves The Past & Hopes For The Future

    Posted by on February 12th, 2011 · Comments (13)

    I loved the Yankees of the late 1970’s. As I was introduced to the Yankees in 1973, this was the team of my youth and the first one to capture my love. That was some bunch: A young George Steinbrenner, Gabe Paul, Billy Martin in his prime, Bob Lemon, Thurman Munson, Graig Nettles, Ron Guidry, Roy White, Sparky Lyle, Chris Chambliss, Lou Piniella, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Catfish Hunter, a young Willie Randolph, Goose Gossage, Reggie Jackson, Dick Tidrow, Chicken Stanley, Ed Figueroa, Rudy May, Cliff Johnson, Mike Torrez…what a cast. Just about everyone who was part of the Yankees at that time has a special place in my heart.

    I also enjoyed the ringless Yankees of the 1980’s. Sure, rotating in managers and G.M.’s left and right was crazy during this time. But, of course, you still had Don Mattingly, Rickey Henderson, Dave Righetti, Dave Winfield, Mike Pagliarulo, Rick Cerone, Oscar Gamble, Ron Hassey, and Tommy John to root for on these teams – along with an interesting supporting staff that included players such as Mel Hall, Ken Griffey Sr., Bobby Meacham, Butch Wynegar, Jerry Mumphrey, Wayne Tolleson, Claudell Washington, Joe Cowley, Gary Ward, Phil Niekro, Bobby Brown, Bob Shirley, Alvaro Espinoza, Dennis Rasmussen, Lee Guetterman, and Steve Balboni.

    Then, of course, came the Buck Showalter-primed Yankees of the late 1990’s. Put together by Stick Michael and Bob Watson. Led by Joe Torre while he was in his 50’s and supported by Don Zimmer. In terms of players to love, here I found a young Derek Jeter, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Boomer Wells, Scott Brosius, an emerging Jorge Posada, El Duque Hernandez, David Cone, Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton, Ramiro Mendoza – along with role players such as Tim Raines, Joe Girardi, Chad Curtis, Luis Sojo, Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer, Jim Leyritz and Darryl Strawberry. Heck even a head case like Chuck Knoblauch didn’t bother me all that much. Next to my “first love” Yankees of the late ’70’s, this is my favorite Yankees team – and it’s a close race between the two for the top spot.

    And, this brings us to the current Yankees – the New York Yankees of the last half-dozen years or so. Today’s Yankees are run by Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman – suits, pencil pushers, and not baseball men. And, they report to Hal and Hank Steinbrenner – aka basbeall’s Buster and Gob Bluth. The face of the Yankees during this time is that of an aging Derek Jeter and Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez. Along with that, you had guys like Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Randy Johnson, Bobby Abreu, Kyle Farnsworth, Carl Pavano, and Kei Igawa – expensive imports with some warts. Much like today’s Yankees – guys such as Nick “Red Light” Swisher, Curtis Granderson and A.J. Burnett. Now, it’s not all bad. Guys like Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang were likeable Yankees from this period – but, they’re all gone. And, this team has some young talent like Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, David Robertson and Phil Hughes. And, not all of the Yankees high-priced imports during this time had mixed results. Both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira have earned their paychecks. Yet, “today’s” Yankees are clearly fourth in the pecking order of my favorite Yankees.

    The Yankees of the late ’70’s and ’90’s are tops – followed by the Yankees of the 1980’s. And, this recent version of the Yankees trails them all, by far. In fact, I’m expecting that a future Yankees team – say, the Yankees of the late 2010’s, pushes them to fifth come, say, in the year 2020. What are the odds of that happening? Pretty good, if you ask me now. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for…

    How Will A-Rod Perform In 2011?

    Posted by on February 9th, 2011 · Comments (20)

    Some valid points via Wally Mathews

    Lost in the flameout of A.J. Burnett and the decline of Derek Jeter, in 2010 Rodriguez achieved something previously thought unattainable despite a career in which he has done just about everything, good and bad.

    The question for A-Rod this season is — as it is for Jeter, Burnett and Joba Chamberlain — is this as good as it’s going to be from now on?

    There’s little doubt that at this stage of his life and career — he will turn 36 on July 17 — and with his recent injury history, we have already seen the best of Alex Rodriguez.

    Some of that is no doubt due to a lack of chemical assistance. It must be recognized that since baseball finally got semi-serious about its PED problem, power totals are way down across the board, not just for A-Rod.

    And some of it has to do with injuries, notably the torn labrum in his right hip that caused Rodriguez to have surgery and miss the first six weeks of the 2009 season. And some, no doubt, has to do with increasing age.

    But whatever the reasons, there is no disputing that for the past three seasons, Rodriguez has been a shell of the player he was in 2007, when he led the league in home runs (54), RBI (156) and runs scored (143) and batted .314.

    Since then, the home run totals are 35, 30 and 30, the RBIs 103 and 100 respectively before last year’s 125, the slugging percentage steadily dropping to last year’s .506, his lowest since 1997.

    In fact, A-Rod posted several career lows in 2010: His batting average (.270), runs scored (74) and on-base percentage (.341) were the lowest since he became a regular in 1996. He walked fewer times, 59, than he had since 1999 when he played just 129 games, indicating he was either less patient at the plate — or pitchers were less fearful of pitching to him, especially with the red-hot Cano hitting behind him.

    According to the website FanGraphs.com, Rodriguez also made contact at a higher rate than at any other season of his career — in nearly 80 percent of his plate appearances he put the ball in play — but only 13.8 percent of those batted balls were line drives, by far the lowest total of his career.

    The numbers only reinforce what your eyes probably told you last season, that the ball no longer jumps off Alex Rodriguez’s bat the way it once did.

    Whenever it happens, there will be a day where A-Rod is a .270 hitter who is good for only 25 homers in a season. And, when that day comes, it will be open season on him in New York. The true story then will be how he handles it when it happens. My guess is that he will not handle it well.

    Yankees Make Superbowl News

    Posted by on February 8th, 2011 · Comments (9)

    Yes, these are the faces of the New York Yankees these days…

    Via Yahoo

    After Fox cameras caught a candid shot of Cameron Diaz buttering Alex Rodriguez up with some Super Bowl popcorn on Sunday, I knew the story would be popped out of proportion.

    Apparently so did A-Rod.

    According to a report from gossip columnist Bill Zwecker, Rodriguez was a bit perturbed after being spotted in a Cowboys Stadium luxury box and sought “a guarantee that he and Diaz would not be televised any further.” If the New York Yankees star did make such a request it worked, as one of Hollywood’s “it” couples never graced our flat screens for the rest of Super Bowl XLV.

    From the Chicago Sun-Times:

    “He really went ballistic — thinking the cameraman was out to get them in a paparazzi-like shot. … That’s so crazy,” said my source. “Anyone who knows anything about producing a live sports event — especially something as huge as the Super Bowl — would know that those celebrity shots are purely random.

    “A-Rod, of all people, should know that.”

    And via the WSJ

    Mercedes Benz delved into the pricey world of Super Bowl advertising for the first time Sunday, using their inaugural spot to debut a new line of luxury cars.

    As company execs brainstormed about how to build buzz for their campaign and reach a new, younger demographic, they knew they wanted a sports star. But they didn’t necessarily seek out the players with the gaudiest statistics or the most championship hardware. They needed someone with a different kind of appeal: social media cachet.

    Mr. Swisher and actress Joanna Garcia, his future wife, on July 13 during the MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show.
    So rather than seek out an Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter, Mercedes turned to Nick Swisher. He is at the vanguard of a new type of celebrity athlete— one who has achieved some success on the field, but uses every tool at his disposal to build his personal brand.

    Mr. Swisher is a good player but is not on a Cooperstown track. As celebrity endorsements move beyond the superstars, the mid-level player with personality and social-media savvy can reach endorsement and name-recognition levels that were once only the domain of the best of the best, said David Carter, author of the recent book, Money Games, and head of the USC Sports Business Institute.

    “This is the emerging norm—these athletes now have an ability to establish and build and then extend their brands, and break through a lot of the clutter. For many years, with traditional media, the top endorsers did well. They had a lot of notoriety and strong followings, and a lot of other athletes were relegated to the local supermarket openings, and cutting the ribbon at car dealerships,” Carter said.

    No longer. Mercedes asked Mr. Swisher to be one of four celebrity coaches for their “Tweet Race,” a social media ad campaign that used Twitter to build buzz for Mercedes’s Sunday ad starring P. Diddy.

    Pettitte Was King Of Recent Yankee Post-Season Starters

    Posted by on February 5th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Who had the most “very good” post-season starts by a Yankee since 1995? Here’s that list:

    Rk Player #Matching   W L ERA GS CG IP HR BB SO WHIP
    1 Andy Pettitte 10 Ind. Games 10 0 0.83 10 0 75.2 4 14 58 0.77
    2 Roger Clemens 7 Ind. Games 6 0 0.53 7 1 50.2 1 14 52 0.65
    3 Orlando Hernandez 6 Ind. Games 6 0 0.82 6 0 44.0 2 20 43 0.98
    4 David Wells 4 Ind. Games 4 0 1.11 4 1 32.1 2 4 22 0.71
    5 Mike Mussina 3 Ind. Games 2 0 1.23 3 0 22.0 2 5 23 0.95
    6 David Cone 3 Ind. Games 2 0 0.44 3 0 20.2 1 9 15 0.82
    7 CC Sabathia 2 Ind. Games 2 0 1.12 2 0 16.0 1 3 12 0.75
    8 Jon Lieber 1 Ind. Games 1 0 1.29 1 0 7.0 0 1 3 0.57
    9 Jimmy Key 1 Ind. Games 1 0 2.25 1 0 8.0 1 1 5 0.50
    10 Phil Hughes 1 Ind. Games 1 0 0.00 1 0 7.0 0 1 6 0.71
    11 A.J. Burnett 1 Ind. Games 1 0 1.29 1 0 7.0 0 2 9 0.86
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/5/2011.


    If there were such a thing as “ring shares,” Andy would have a bunch of them.

    Could Cano Leave Yankees After 2013?

    Posted by on February 5th, 2011 · Comments (9)

    Maybe. Via John Harper today –

    In what could be considered ominous news for the Yankees, Robinson Cano is now a client of Scott Boras, perhaps the most notorious agent in sports.

    Cano raised his play to superstar level in 2010, finishing third in the AL MVP voting, and no doubt will be looking for a huge contract in the future. Cano is finishing up a four-year, $30 million contract, but the Yankees have two option years on him at $14 million in 2012 and $15 million in 2013.

    Boras has a history of taking high-profile clients such as Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira to free agency.

    As a Yankee, A-Rod famously opted out of his 10-year, $252 million contract he originally signed with Texas, then re-signed with the Yanks before parting ways with Boras.

    Looking At The 2011 Yankees

    Posted by on February 5th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    This is what I see, today, when I look at the 2011 Yankees starting rotation, line-up, and bullpen:

    Starting Pitchers
    CC Sabathia – an ace, a stud, on a path to Cooperstown. But, overweight and coming off knee surgery, albeit minor.
    A.J. Burnett – ERA over 5 last season. Immature. At his best, he’s averaging seasons of 13-12 with an ERA of four.
    Phil Hughes – An ERA of 5.15 over his last 20 games in 2010. (18 of 20 games were starts.)
    Sergio Mitre – Lifetime ERA of 5.27.
    Ivan Nova – Rookie. Has 42 big league innings under his belt.
    Freddy Garcia – ERA over his last 5 big league seasons is 4.69.
    Bartolo Colon – Didn’t pitch in majors last season. ERA from 2004 through 2009 was 4.58.

    Starting Line-up
    Russell Martin – An OPS of .680 over the last two seasons.
    Mark Teixeira – Coming off his worst season (in 2010) since 2006. Still a good player.
    Robinson Cano – 60 point drop in his OPS between 1st and 2nd half in 2010. Still a good player.
    Derek Jeter – Had the worst season of his career in 2010. Will be 37-years old in 2011.
    Alex Rodriguez – Coming off his worst season (in 2010) since 1999. Signs of rapid, early, decline.
    Brett Gardner – Batted .232 with .330 SLG in the 2nd half of 2010 – was injured and required off-season surgery.
    Curtis Granderson – An OBA of .333 with 257 strikeouts over the last two seasons.
    Nick Swisher – Solid offensive performer last two seasons. Major case of red-light fever.
    Jorge Posada – Doesn’t want to DH and will be 39-years old in 2011.

    Mo Rivera – The best ever – but will be 41-years old in 2011.
    Rafael Soriano – If healthy, should make a positive contribution. Still, a bit of a headcase – so, you never know.
    Pedro Feliciano – If healthy, should make a positive contribution. Probably won’t be likeable because he’s a hotdog.
    Joba Chamberlain – The poster child for the mistake of letting a young pitcher get a big head too soon.
    Boone Logan – Pleasant surprise in 2010. Career record says it was a fluke.
    David Robertson – Walk rate is still too high, almost 5 per 9 IP in 2010, and has shown no signs of going down. Also seems like an injury waiting to happen.

    How this team is suppose to keep pace with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 is beyond me. And, there’s a chance that the Rays, O’s and Blue Jays may give them a run for their money too.

    Nightmare On 161st Street

    Posted by on February 4th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    If Freddy Garcia ends up pitching for the Yankees this season, that would give New York more than (albeit slightly) one-third of the pitchers on this list…having pitched for them at one time or another.   Of course, that doesn’t mean that Garcia pitching for the Yankees this season is a good thing.

    Thoughts On Andy Pettitte’s Retirement

    Posted by on February 3rd, 2011 · Comments (4)

    On April 29th, 1995, a relatively unknown pitcher named Andy Pettitte was called into the game with the Yankees up 5-1. It was just the third game of the year – baseball began late in 1995 following the strike. His first-ever pitch was a strike to Wally Joyner. He then retired Joyner on a flyout to centerfield. It was the first of 12,987 batters Pettitte would face in the regular season.

    I had just turned four when Andy Pettitte made his major-league debut. It would be a few years before I began to watch baseball.

    One of the first things that stood out with Pettitte was his windup. Hands over the head, left foot pivot, hands down, right leg up, coil, and fire. It was simple and effective. I did my best to imitate that motion in little league.* And then of course there was the stare. I’ve always wondered whether big-league hitters were ever intimidated by it. I’d like to think they were, since Pettitte’s VORS (Value Over Replacement Stare) was pretty darn good. And as a fan, the stare is wholly ingrained into my memory. The folks at FOX loved to zoom in on it.

    *Those Yankee teams from 1999-2003 (the height of my little league prowess) didn’t exactly have the easiest windups to imitate. I’m looking at you, El Duque.

    It’s tough to summarize Pettitte’s career using numbers, because he really wasn’t about the numbers. His 240 wins, 3.88 ERA, 2,251 strikeouts, 117 ERA+, and 50.2 career bWAR are certainly nothing to sneeze at, but during his time with the Yankees, he was never supposed to be the ace of the staff, with the exception of 1996 and 1997. In 1998, it was David Cone. From 1999-2003 it was Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina. From 2007-2008, it was Chien-Ming Wang, and in 2009 and 2010 it has been CC Sabathia. Pettitte made only one Opening Day Start, in 1998.

    Instead, Pettitte has been a rock in the middle of the rotation, producing solid start after solid start. He started at least 31 games every year from 1996-2003, with the exception of 2002, when he suffered an elbow injury. And not once during that time did he produce an ERA that was below league average.

    His finest seasons with the Yankees were probably 1996 (21-8, 3.87 ERA, 5.7 bWAR) and 1997 (18-7, 2.88 ERA, 7.6 bWAR). He finished in the top six in Cy Young voting five times: 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2005 (with the Astros). He also made three All Star teams (1996, 2001, 2010). He is undoubtedly one of the best Yankee starting pitchers of all time.

    And so all of this leads to the inevitable question: is Andy Pettitte a Hall of Famer?

    According to Bill James’ Hall of Fame monitor, yes, he is. Pettitte scores a 123, 65th best all time, with the average Hall of Famer scoring around 100. However, Pettitte has a severe (and some would say unfair) advantage in this category, since the monitor awards points for World Series and playoff starts. And if you play 13 years with the Yankees, you’re bound to make some playoff starts.

    It should also be noted that the Hall of Fame monitor attempts to assess how likely (and not how deserving) a player is to make the Hall of Fame.

    Where Pettitte really separates himself is the postseason. He won one of the most important games in Yankee history, Game 5 of the 1996 World Series. He pitched into the ninth inning and allowed just five hits and three walks. The Yankees won 1-0, narrowly beating John Smoltz, and they wrapped up the series shortly thereafter.

    Pettitte holds many playoff records, including wins (19), innings (263), and starts (42). Think about those 42 starts – that’s an extra season and a half worth of high-intensity, no-room-for-error starts. And in nearly all of them* he thrived. In the 27 playoff series that Pettitte pitched in, the Yankees won 20 of them.

    *An obvious exception was Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, but I try not to think about that too often.

    Here’s the other amazing thing about Pettitte: he never really faded during the back-end of his career:

    First 8 seasons (1995-2002): 128-70, 3.93 ERA, 1584 innings, 1.390 WHIP
    Last 8 seasons (2003-2010): 112-68, 3.83 ERA, 1471 innings, 1.322 WHIP

    He actually got a little better during his later years, even with declining velocity and more injuries. If consistency is the mark of a Hall of Famer, then the case for Pettitte is pretty strong.

    But that said, Pettitte isn’t a Hall of Famer according to many conventional stats. His 240 wins is 55th all time. His 3,055.1 innings is 123rd all time. He’s 48th in strikeouts, 60th in games started, and 77th in bWAR. Even his sparkling .635 winning percentage (no doubt aided by a wealth of run support) is just 43rd all time.

    Here’s the real kicker: his 3.88 ERA is 720th all time. That’s worse than Barry Zito, Derek Lowe, and Al Leiter. It’s also worse than Vinegar Bend Mizell, Sad Sam Jones, and Egyptian Healy. Yes, those were real players.

    Putting it into context, his ERA+ is tied for 163rd all time. Worse than guys like Mark Buehrle and Paul Quantrill (yes, he of the QuanGorMo fame), Dolf Luque, Firpo Marberry, Sadie McMahon (yes, they were real players too). That doesn’t bode well for Pettitte.

    I’m not sure if it’s worth hashing the stats out any further. As I said earlier, Pettitte’s career shouldn’t totally be defined by the numbers (though it is interesting to look back and see where he ranks among the all time greats). For me, Pettitte was always the reliable workhorse, the guy to count on to end a losing streak, a pitcher who rose to the occasion during the most important games. I’m not sure if those are quantifiable through numbers, and I’m okay with that.

    Andy Pettitte, ol’ #46, was a part of my childhood. From pre-school through college, Pettitte has been a constant with the Yankees (with the exception of 2004-2006, but I don’t blame him for that). I remember how glad I was when he returned in 2007. If there’s one thing I love, it’s when an ex-Yankee returns to the club.*

    *With the exception of Sidney Ponson in 2008.

    I haven’t had to deal with many Yankee retirements. Bernie never formally retired. Clemens had a huge fall-out with the government. Mike Mussina was quickly forgotten once the Yankees signed CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Pettitte has always been one of my favorite players. I guess I’m learning that it’s not easy to say goodbye.

    Of all the things I could conclude with, perhaps this is the most revealing: it’s been 33 years since the Yankees won a World Series without Pettitte. This makes it especially hard to say goodbye.

    And yet we must bid adieu to the first of the Core Four to retire. You will be missed, Andy.

    Just eleven days till pitchers and catchers.

    Yankees Signed Players, Amateur Draft 2001-2010, Who Played For New York In The Majors

    Posted by on February 1st, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Here’s those to make the cut over the last decade:

    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2001 1s   34 34 Yankees *Bronson Sardinha SS -0.3 HS Kamehameha HS (Honolulu, HI)
    2001 2   63 19 Yankees Shelley Duncan OF 0.8 4Yr University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
    2001 3   95 19 Yankees Chase Wright LHP -0.1 HS Iowa Park HS (Iowa Park, TX)
    2001 7   215 19 Yankees Andy Cannizaro SS -0.1 4Yr Tulane University (New Orleans, LA)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2002 8   246 24 Yankees Brad Halsey LHP -0.4 4Yr University of Texas (Austin, TX)
    2002 26   786 24 Yankees Phil Coke LHP 1.0 JC San Joaquin Delta College (Stockton, CA)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2003 9   274 27 Yankees Tyler Clippard RHP 2.8 HS J W Mitchell HS (New Port Richey, FL)
    2003 10   304 27 Yankees T.J. Beam RHP -0.2 4Yr University of Mississippi (Oxford, MS)
    2003 19   574 27 Yankees Jeff Karstens RHP -0.3 4Yr Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2004 1   23 23 Yankees via Astros *Phil Hughes RHP 4.9 HS Foothill HS (Santa Ana, CA)
    2004 33   999 28 Yankees Michael Dunn 1B 0.4 JC CC of Southern Nevada (Henderson, NV)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2005 3   109 29 Yankees Brett Gardner OF 6.2 4Yr College of Charleston (Charleston, SC)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    Year Rnd DT OvPck RdPck Tm   Pos WAR Type Drafted Out of
    2006 1   21 21 Yankees via Phillies *Ian Kennedy RHP 2.7 4Yr Univ. of S. California (Los Angeles, CA)
    2006 1s   41 41 Yankees *Joba Chamberlain RHP 4.7 4Yr University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE)
    2006 4   134 28 Yankees Colin Curtis OF -0.4 4Yr Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ)
    2006 9   284 28 Yankees Mark Melancon RHP 0.1 4Yr University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)
    2006 17   524 28 Yankees David Robertson RHP 1.4 4Yr University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
    2006 20   614 28 Yankees Kevin Russo 2B -0.3 4Yr Baylor University (Waco, TX)
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/1/2011.


    2007, 2008, 2009, 2010:   None to appear in the majors with the Yankees, to date.