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Need a Laugh
2008-09-11 19:02
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

This is pretty good. Via Pete Abe:

"I'm going to be reviewing the entire organization," Hank Steinbrenner told the AP in Tampa today. "We're going to do everything we can to win next year. We're not going to wait. Do everything we can that makes sense. We're going to fix what we have to fix. We're going to have to look at what has been done wrong over the last five years, which I've had one year to try and figure out. Clearly, a lot of mistakes were made."

At least he didn't apologize to the city of New York.

Comments
2008-09-11 19:41:47
1.   williamnyy23
I don't the comment is funny...I find it to be refreshingly honest, espeically in contrast to Girardi's silly never say die optimism. I am encouarged to see that the Steinbrothers share their father's passion and are not simply counting the dollars that will start rolling in next year. I think this organization (management and players) has taken its own success for granted, so its about time that a thorough review takes place.
2008-09-11 20:03:42
2.   joejoejoe
I think this means rolling the dice with young pitching in more than one rotation spot is not something that will be happening again anytime soon. I predict Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeria, and anywhere from 1/5 to 2/5 of Milwaukee's starting rotation will be in pinstripes on Opening Day.
2008-09-11 20:39:54
3.   bp1
I would be curious to hear him mention a few of those mistakes.

Given some of this - I'll sorta be surprised if Cash comes back next year, even if the Steinbrothers want him back. I don't think Cash's idea to run a ball club is to form an advisory committee.

Interesting times ahead, no doubt.

2008-09-11 20:51:40
4.   Chyll Will
I suspect Showalter is waiting in the wings if he does leave, but I don't know if either Stick or Oppenheimer would approve (or if it matters if they do).
2008-09-11 21:47:11
5.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
scary...i hope Hank is just blowing hot air and we don't end up losing Cashman and bringing bcak anyone other than Stick...
2008-09-11 22:08:56
6.   Raf
I'm curious to hear what these "mistakes" were as well. Especially in the context of the teams that have eliminated the Yanks in the playoffs (which presumably means they're better, right?)

Sheesh... Things are going to get interesting.

2008-09-12 04:09:09
7.   williamnyy23
3 6 I think we can all do a good job naming some of those mistakes. Of course, you could the exact same thing for just about every team.

Aside from individual moves, I think the biggest philosophical mistake the Yankees have made over the past few years has been to view the bottom end of the rotation as either a proving ground or a way station for future acquisitions. In almost every season since 2003, the Yankees have entered the season with, at best, only three well established starters, and sure enough, each season they had to make changes on the fly. Now, you can survive with that philosophy as long as your offense scores 900 runs, but when it doesn't, you get 2008. Also, that philosophy can work in the regular season, but it seems to be a recipe for first round exits come October.

A second philosophical mistake I think the Yankees have made is to treat the bench as an afterthought (even though I thought Cashman had actually done a good job on this year's bench), especially as the starting lineup started to age. You really can't be taken by surprise when players like Posada, Giambi, Matsui, Damon, etc. pull up lame.

In order for the Yankees offense to recover next season, they need two add a least one big bat, have their young 2B really step up and also a solid veteran player, while also improving the bench. In other words, the Yankees need: Texeira (or maybe Manny), a rebound by Cano as well another pretty good, but unheralded hitter to fill one of the outfield spots. This year, that need seems to be in CF. Because there really aren't many great CF'ers (around not to mention available), a good solid veteran to keep the spot warm (hopefully) seems to be in order. Off the top of my head, anyone from the following list would seem to fit the bill of at least an average offensive and defensive centerfielder: Cameron, Werth, Ross, Gerut and Byrd. I think either one from that group would give the Yankees exactly what they need, while not commanding a long-term deal. What's more, adding a player like the aforementioned would essentially give the Yankees a stronger bench because at any one time Matsui, Damon, Nady, or mystery CF'er would be on the pine (I am assuming that Abreu and Giambi will be gone). Also, taking this concept further, you could sign Manny Ramirez and then look to trade Damon or Matsui for something else you need. Basically, this plan is exactly what the Yankees did after the 2001 season, when there OPS+ was 100. They added Giambi (the big bat), a solid veteran (Ventura) and enjoyed a breakout season from their young 2B (Soriano). The result was a spike to an OPS+ of 114 and 100 more runs scored.

Fixing the pitching is easier, I think. Basically, you sign C.C. and come up with a very good plan for getting Joba as many starts as possible. Then, you just need Wang to return healthy to give you a very strong top-3. Then for the final two spots, you could take two from the current trio of Hughes, Pettitte and Mussina, or even see if an external veteran such as Derek Lowe might be available at reasonable terms.

2008-09-12 04:11:46
8.   williamnyy23
7 I believe that should be a "weigh station", even though the expression is probably doesn't work in that context anyway.
2008-09-12 05:39:25
9.   ny2ca2dc
I'm all for a review and modernization of the organization, but what worries me is that it's Hank. As PeteAbe points out, this is a guy that know a hell of a lot more about horses than baseball. Granted, it's possible he'll listen to the right people and really invest in the entire org, not just dick around with Cashman (or whoever the GM is), but I worry.

I still find it perplexing and frustrating that the richest franchise in the game doesn't have the most technologically advanced medical group, or the most comprehensive scouting organization, etc. I hate to make the comparison, but Boston gets good marks for these kinds of things, while the Yankees have had the same trainer for what, 30 years? I love that Geno's a mascot and all, and I recall the Miller (was that his name? the guy who changed up all the exercise and stretching methods and took the fall for all the hammy strains last year) fiasco, but come on - lets get out in front of the industry. Where's the next Branch Rickey?

2008-09-12 05:47:37
10.   williamnyy23
9 Do you really think that getting a new trainer would be cutting edge? The athletic trainer is simply the first line of defense for an injury...he isn't the guy who devises rehab programs, conducts physical training programs, makes a diagnosis or suggests treatment. Monihan has been doing his job well for a long time, so I don't see why he should be replaced simply in an effort to seem avant-garde.

Your main point is valid, however, although I am not sure the Yankees do not have the most technologically advanced medical group or comprehensive scouting organization. In fact, on the latter, the Yankees have always been heralded for having one of the best scouting teams, especially for the compiling of advanced team reports.

Taking your point a step further, I wonder why a billion dollar organization like the Yankees would not have conducted a more comprehensive search for one of its more important positions. Simply conducting three interviews for the manager's job doesn't seem to suggest an exhaustive review of potential candidates. Hopefully, the next time the job opens up, the Yankees will be more diligent in the selection process.

2008-09-12 06:10:05
11.   ny2ca2dc
10 No no, Geno is fine, I'm just (unfairly) using him as a symbol. I've rarely (never?) heard of the Yankees having a top scouting team, and I recall the advance scouting being a partial scapegoat for the loss to the Tigers in the 06 playoffs, no?

Just reading Will Carrol, for example, whenever he mentions which teams are using such and such new technique or technology (one I recall was a system for managing concussions), the Yankees are rarely in the discussion. Boston seems to always be. I wouldn't attempt a complete indictment of the organization, but my point is that my general impression is that the Yankees are mediocre when it comes to pushing the envelope - be it in performance based scouting/sabermetrics, medical stuff, coaching technology or whathaveyou. I'd be surprised if folks felt differently.

On the plus side, they were certainly out front in Asian scouting (Matz, Wang, though also Irabu and Igawa), and flex muscles in Latin America, but recent crops of Latin signees seem much less impressive than when a Tabata or Montero headlined each year. I still find it hard to believe the Yankees weren't seriously in on Inoa.

2008-09-12 06:47:28
12.   williamnyy23
11 I can always remember the Yankees advanced scouting being lauded, especially during the playoffs. I did a quick search on NYT.com and found a few examples, but TinyURL wont convert the links. If you do the same search (Yankees and advanced scouting), it turns up a funny story from 1983 that talks about the Yankees being one of a few teams to start to use a computer. Even back then, the scouting versus numbers debate was ongoing.

Maybe Will Carrol drops the Red Sox name more because he has a good contact there? The Yankees are notoriously tight lipped, while the Red Sox always seem to want to promote their progressive approach.

2008-09-12 06:49:42
13.   williamnyy23
11 Also, the Yankees were seriously in on Inoa. In fact, Cashman went to DR to have a look. Most reports had the Yankees willing to offer around $3mn, but the Oakland As of all teams went to $4mn. Now, maybe the Yankees should have simply paid the extra cash, but you have to draw the line somewhere.
2008-09-12 07:59:40
14.   OldYanksFan
A lot of folk think our problem was age. While our club is older, I don't think that's what hurt us. Moose, Mo and Giambi, our 3 oldest(?) guys had very good years. We severely missed our old catcher. It was the kids that disappointed, while vets like JD, Bobby and Mats had from solid to very good years (Mats was obviously hurt by coming back after he needed surgery).

Older players are more prone to injury and can look forward to worse years in the future. But I still think an aging Abreu is better then a Mark Teahen in his prime. All things being equal, or course you take younger... but all things are often not equal.

Many are crying for an 'aging' Manny at 3/$60m. Yeah, Manny is still great. But at the same time, Giambi, who is still good, is a leper at 1/$17. They both stink at D and can't run. One is a solid (if not true) Yankee, the other a world class asshole. Plus I don't think the Yankees want to tie up the 1B position for the immediate future.
Ain't sayin' what's best... just sayin'.

I guess my point is, on paper, we had a flwed but still solid and contending team entering the season. The question was really pitching and especially the BP, but considering injuries to Wang, Joba, Bruney and others, our pirching was solid if not outstanding (better then lasts year's Yankees).

What really killed this team is simple. It was not age or mistakes by the FO. It was a confluence of negative factors that all hit at the same time:
1) unexpectedly TERRIBLE years by Cano, Melky, Hughes and IPK. Nobody expected any of these 4 to be so bad, no less ALL of them!
2) Very poor RISP numbers by 2 guys who had good years. Giambi (must have cost us 4 games) and ARod (must have cost us 3 games)
3) Key injuries to (in order): Po, Wang and Matsui. And of course, a bunch of others.

Let's say we get CC, Tex AND Manny next year, and due to the RCNB, Manny relaxes with a new contract and has a .800 OPS, CC zips his fly and the added stress makes his arm fall off, and Tex has a career low .742 OPS. Then what will we blame? Team too old? Bad construction? Not trying? Cashman's aquisitions of Manny and Tex?

I don't care if your team is young or old, fast or slow, fat or thin. When 75% of your players underperform, some grossly, you will have a bad year.

I hate the blame game. This, and the next year or 2, are truly transition years. This year is a mini 1965. We went with young, a reasonable idea, and it didn't work. RCNB. Maybe next year Phil and Robby will shine. Maybe Melky will be a .750 OPS guy, what looked like a reasonable expectation for this year. Maybe Jeter isn't in decline (remember what we said about Posada in 2006?)

Were we flawed? Could the FO have done better? OF COURSE!!! But that's like saying it maight rain next week. It's always true. Our dynasty teams were flawed (well... maybe not 1998).

The Random Chaotic Nature of Baseball kicked us in the ass this year. Sometimes... sometimes you role snake-eyes twice before you roll a 6. Shit happens. It's almost inconceivable how poorly we played and how many players underperformed. It's almost hard to believe.

If you want to blame one thing, I say it's this:
Not enough sleep-overs at Jeter's house.

2008-09-12 09:36:18
15.   cult of basebaal
11 ummm, the yankees worked out an agreement in principle with inoa, somewhere around $3 million. inoa got a new agent, agent decided to reneg and shop inoa around for more money ... yankees withdrew interest on the principle of the matter. that's a bit different than "not being in" on someone.
2008-09-12 10:47:43
16.   Raf
7 Basically, this plan is exactly what the Yankees did after the 2001 season, when there OPS+ was 100. They added Giambi (the big bat), a solid veteran (Ventura) and enjoyed a breakout season from their young 2B (Soriano). The result was a spike to an OPS+ of 114 and 100 more runs scored.

Which was good for a 1st place exit in 2002. :)

2008-09-12 16:04:38
17.   ny2ca2dc
15 Whaaaa, boy I missed that. Little googling confirms your info, oops. Regardless, this year has been a lackluster one for adding kids (int. FA or draft). I wouldn't blame Inoa or Cole on the Yanks per se, but boy-o, that's rough.
2008-09-13 10:50:51
18.   williamnyy23
16 True, but that is only the offensive side of the ball. Adding C.C. and a healthy Joba would hopefully take care of the playoffs.

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