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A Bullet Point History of Al Leiter
2005-07-17 12:54
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

  • Toms River, New Jersey native Alois Terry Leiter was originally drafted by the New York Yankees on June 4, 1984. Two months and one week later, Melky Cabrera was born.
  • The left-handed Leiter pitched in parts of three seasons for the Yankees from 1987-1989. His career line as a Yankee in 22 games, all starts, is: 4.98 ERA, 7-8, 106 2/3 IP, 96 H, 110 K, 69 BB, 10 HR, 9.28 K/9, 5.82 BB/9, 1.59 K/BB
  • Leiter struggled with blisters early in his career to such a degree that the Yankees gave up on him at the age of 23 and dealt him to the Blue Jays straight-up for Jesse Barfield on April 30, 1989.
  • In Toronto, Leiter's blister problems were so severe that he appeared in just nine games with the Blue Jays during his first four seasons with the club (5.17 ERA, 15 2/3 IP, 14 H, 10 K, 11 BB, 1 HR, 1 GS, 0-0)
  • Leiter finally got over his blister struggles in 1993, making 32 appearances (12 starts) for the Blue Jays. That year he appeared in 5 postseason games and even picked up a win in relief (and cracked a double) in Game One of the World Series as the Blue Jays went on to win their second-consecutive World Championship.
  • For the next two years, Leiter was a permanent part of the Blue Jay rotation (4.18 ERA, 7.73 K/9, 5.28 BB/9, 1.45 K/BB)
  • Leiter signed with the Florida Marlins as a free agent following the 1995 season. In 1996, at the age of 30, he had his best year yet as a major league starter, posting a 2.93 ERA, striking out 200 men and winning 16 games for the Marlins (while also leading his league in walks for the second consecutive year). His crowning achievement came on May 11, when he no-hit the Rockies, retiring the final five batters on five pitches. Less than two months later, Leiter made his first All-Star team.
  • In 1997, Leiter was less effective, but the Marlins, behind team OPS leader Gary Sheffield and team ERA leader Kevin Brown, surprised everyone by winning their first World Championship, giving Leiter his second World Series ring despite going 0-1 with three no decisions in the post season.
  • As part of Wayne Huizenga's post-Championship fire sale, Leiter was dealt to the Mets in February 1998 along with middle infieder Ray Millard for lefty Jesus Sanchez, minor league outfielder Rob Stratton and a 21-year-old righty named A.J. Burnett
  • Leiter finally came into his own with the Mets at age 32, turning in what remains his finest major league season in 1998 (2.47 ERA, 17-6, 8.11 K/9, 3.31 BB/9, 2.45 K/BB). He finished sixth in the Cy Young voting that year, the highest finish in his career (his other top-10 finish coming in 1996).
  • In 1999 and 2000, the Mets reached the playoffs with Leiter as their ace (he made his second All-Star team in 2000). Leiter pitched well in the postseason for the Mets, but failed to earn a win in seven starts and is probably best remembered for giving up Luis Sojo's series-winning dribbler up the middle on his 142nd pitch in Game 5 of the 2000 World Series. Leiter's win and double for the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series remain his only postseason win and his only postseason hit.
  • In seven seasons as a Met, Leiter posted a 3.42 ERA, a 95-67 record (.586 winning percentage), 7.32 K/9, 3.61 BB/9, 2.03 K/BB, 0.78 HR/9.
  • The Mets declined Leiter's $10 million option following the 2004 season and Leiter signed a complicated one-year, $8 million contract with the Marlins.

As you may know, the deal in which the Yankees acquired Leiter has the Yankees sending a player to be named later to Florida in exchange for Leiter and $2.4 million. Exactly how that $2.4 million is being applied to Leiter's contract, however, is a bit confusing.

According to Hardball Dollars, Leiter's contract includes a $3 million signing bonus ($1 of it deferred without interest to 2007, the rest deferred without interest to 2008) and $1 million to be paid to charity (in $250,000 chunks from 2005 to 2008). That would leave him with a $4 million salary for 2005. According to MLB.com the $2.4 million sent to the Yankees along with Leiter means that the Yankees will only owe Leiter $400,000 over the remainder of the season.

What's confusing is that if you subtract the $2.4 million sent to the Yankees and the $400,000 left to be paid from the $4 million base salary, you get $1.2 million. I find it difficult to believe that the Marlins would have only paid $1.2 to have Leiter from April through mid-July while the Yankees would have to pay (with the Marlins' help) $2.8 million to have Leiter from mid-July through the end of the year. Perhaps that $2.4 million is also contributing to the deferred signing bonus payments or some of the future charity payments.

Let's try this. It would make more sense for the Marlins to have already paid $2.2 million of Leiter's salary, with $1.4 million of the money they're sending to the Yankees contributing to the reaminder of 2005 (leaving $400,000 for the Yankees to pay). The remaining $1 million being sent to New York would then pay off either the entirety of the $1 million in charitable donations or $1 million of the signing bonus, leaving the Yankees with $3 million in additional future costs that could potentially be passed on to another team should Leiter be unloaded before the start of the 2006 season.

That's all speculation, however. Contracts are hardly my area of expertise. What I do know a little something about is what I wrote in the comments to Alex's last post:

Leiter's K/BB Ratios from 2001 to 2005:

3.09
2.49
1.48
1.21
0.87

Meanwhile, the Red Sox lead the majors in OBP because they're third (behind the Yanks and Phillies) in walks.

For some reason I've become optimistic about the prospect of Leiter stepping up to become the Yankees' fifth starter down the stretch (making the 39-year-old Leiter the third-youngest Yankee starter, and the 36-year-old Mussina the second-youngest). But, as those K/BB numbers show, I should know better.

Still, the Yankees are guaranteed to leave Boston with a split and no farther than 2 1/2 games behind. Considering the state of the rotation in the wake of Chien-Ming Wang's injury, the team and their fans should be delighted.

Incidentally, to make room for Leiter on the 25- and 40-man rosters, Tim Redding was designated for assignment. I would expect him to wind up back in Columbus. Meanwhile, for those who missed it, Mike Stanton was released back on Monday and signed by the Washinton Nationals. Called into the tenth inning of a tie game in Milwaukee with runners on first and third, Stanton threw to first and balked home the winning run before throwing his first pitch as a member of the Nats.

Comments
2005-07-17 14:32:31
1.   yankee23
Cliff,
Are you certain about the player to be named? Everything I've read has simply said
"There were no other players involved in the deal."

Not that it would be anyone we'd miss anyhow, but I'm starting to get protective of the farm system.

2005-07-17 14:48:19
2.   Cliff Corcoran
Everything I've read has said PTBNL.
2005-07-17 15:05:59
3.   Rich
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2109484

[...]

The Yankees will be responsible for about $400,000 of the $2.8 million remaining on Leiter's 2005 salary, general manager Brian Cashman said Saturday. There were no other players involved in the deal.

2005-07-17 15:07:21
4.   yankee23
I just did a little research and you appear to be correct, sorry. I guess I was just too hopeful or something. Any idea if we're talking a young guy here or more of a Crash Davis type?
2005-07-17 16:19:03
5.   Cliff Corcoran
No idea on the identity of the PTBNL, but there is one. When ESPN (actually AP) says "there were no other players involved" they're technically correct. There were none, but there will be one.

From the Yankee transactions on MLB.com:

"7/16/05: Acquired LHP Al Leiter and cash considerations from the Florida Marlins in exchange for a player to be named; Designated RHP Tim Redding for assignment."

2005-07-17 16:22:32
6.   Marcus
7 Ks through 4 IP for Leiter. Al's pitching like it's 2001.
2005-07-17 17:17:53
7.   Simone
Color me shocked. Major props to Leiter. He came through big time. Sheffield and A-Rod hit bombs. Hopefully, the bullpen closes this game out.
2005-07-17 17:49:14
8.   Marcus
This isn't good. What is it about Varitek and Mueller against Mo? I wish this was over....
2005-07-17 17:52:23
9.   Marcus
Whew! Thanks for hacking away at that one Johnny.
2005-07-17 17:53:50
10.   singledd
UN-FUCKING-BELEVEABLE!!!!!!!
2005-07-17 17:54:55
11.   Simone
Totally unfuckingbelieveable!!! I can't believe they got out that disaster. Rivera was cloned and I'm glad.
2005-07-17 17:55:45
12.   BklynBomber
Sec-ond place Yan-kees!

singledd, you said it all.

2005-07-17 18:04:03
13.   Jen
Can I exhale now?
2005-07-17 18:20:48
14.   singledd
I don't know if it can last.
Our Pitching is in shambles...
although Leiter earned his 400k tonight.

1/2 game out of first.
Tied for the wildcard.
Were we 7 games out, in 3rd place, struggling for .500, just 2 weeks ago?

UN-FUCKING-BELIEVEABLE!!!!!!!

2005-07-17 18:25:14
15.   murphy
what'd i tell ya?

BIG

GAME

AL!

(we just got our $400,000's worth - no - REALLY! we have been paying about $1,000,000 per win so far this year)

2005-07-17 18:28:10
16.   Rich
As a friend suggested, Leiter could turn out to be this season's El Duque.

Sadly, Torre is overusing Gordon again, just like last season. He had gotten five outs on Saturday. He should not have come in to pitch the 9th, the four run lead notwithstanding.

2005-07-17 18:52:43
17.   Paul in Boston
I was at Fenway for tonight's game. (I was also at Friday's game, about which the less said the better.) As the K's showed, Leiter was clearly fooling the Sox much of the game, both lefties and righties. My favorite moment of the game was when a large group of moronic fans chanting "A-Rod Sucks" were silenced when he hit yet another towering home run. (If there are any of you out there who vocally root against opposing players who are objectively excellent, may I ask what is the point?)

As for the 9th, that was one extraordinary ending. Talk about tense -- the park was absolutely charged, then almost totally silent when Damon grounded out. Ironic that a blown DP ball led to the trouble, and then that a beautiful 5-2-3 DP saved the game.

2005-07-17 19:16:58
18.   JeremyM
I hate to focus on the negative, because this was a great night, but why oh why did Torre bring back Gordon? I was first-guessing that one from the start of the 9th. But it was worth it to see that beautiful double play turned by A-Rod and Posada. I'm just going to enjoy this, even if it can't last---can it???
2005-07-17 19:22:28
19.   Shaun P
I remember watching Leiter pitcher 16/17 years ago for the Yanks - it was nice to see him back, getting a win!

On Wednesday, if someone said the Yanks would go 3 and 1 with Wang out because of injury and Al Freakin' Leiter pitching a gem on Sunday, who would have believed it? Not me! Now if Brownie can pitch well tomorrow . . . the next question becomes, who starts Wednesday, Sturtze?

2005-07-17 19:41:50
20.   KJC
"My favorite moment of the game was when a large group of moronic fans chanting "A-Rod Sucks" were silenced when he hit yet another towering home run."

That always happens. The stupid "Yankees suck" chant starts, and things go south for the Sox. I remember ALCS game 3, the "Yankees suck" chant went up just as Sheff came to bat. I said "This isn't good," followed by Gary hitting it way over the Monster.

Also, glad the Sox made a game of it, but I wish they wouldn't wait until the bottom of the 9th to decide to start hitting...

2005-07-17 19:45:51
21.   Chucksax
I think that the Yanks are going to bring out Aaron Small to pitch on Wednesday; at least, that was hinted at in today's Newark Star-Ledger (www.nj.com/sports/ledger, for those living outside of New Jersey). I heard that Small is 15-10 in his major league career; anyone have the story behind those numbers?

To Paul in Boston: I will cheer for an excellent player to do poorly against my team, principally because I hope that, against my team, they hit a freaky wierd streak and go 0-12 in three games. For instance, I will vocally root for David Ortiz to do badly against the Yankees - you know, to hit only .350 with doubles instead of home runs.

2005-07-17 19:48:35
22.   Marcus
It looks like the Yankees are throwing out another journeyman to the mound on Wednesday, Aaron Small.

http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050717&content_id=1135000&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy

2005-07-17 20:32:30
23.   singledd
Rich and Jeremy...
Can Torre catch a break?
How good was this win?
If Torre brought in a non-Gordon/non-Rivera, and the game was blown, can you imagine the outcry... especially from those of us on this site?

After Leiter's performance against the RED SOX, we HAD to SAVE this game. It's hard not to overuse guys in the pen when you only have 3 pitchers in the pen and 4 starters on the DL.

Celebrate this victory!!!!

2005-07-17 20:47:07
24.   JeremyM
I'm not trying to piss on the parade here, I'm just saying he should've brought Rivera out to start the 9th and give Gordon an "atta-boy" and call it a night. It didn't cost us the game, but it could've. That said, it worked out in the end so really, who cares? The win was freaking great. Aaron "Biggie" Small looks to be awful, with nearly a 5.00 ERA in AAA, but we can always outslug teams. Let's get em.
2005-07-17 21:36:46
25.   Schteeve
We're a half game out of first, we just took 3 out of 4 from the Sox despite the fact that our rotation is far from stable. And people want to whine about Gordon possibly facing one batter too many? Come. On.
2005-07-17 22:41:59
26.   brockdc
Awesome win.

Also, props to Torre for re-inserting Bernie in CF this series, not because I love Bernie (though I do) but because, at this stage, he's our best option when Giambi is DH-ing. Melky may be good one day, but he needs some serious seasoning.

2005-07-17 22:44:43
27.   brockdc
Also, word has it that Florida's prepping for a fire sale. If that's the case, Pierre could be available for a bag of balls (aka Jason Anderson).
2005-07-17 23:30:04
28.   Rich
http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1121662551264070.xml&coll=1

[...]

Outfielder Bubba Crosby, optioned to Columbus on July 8, will be added to the roster today "unless I do something different," said general manager Brian Cashman, who has been exploring a trade for a center fielder.

2005-07-18 03:49:21
29.   Paul in Boston
Re: rooting against great players on opposing teams.

I just don't like doing it. It never made sense to me. Although I don't get much opportunity to see the Yankees at the Stadium, I wouldn't boo Ortiz when he came up.

For what it's worth, last night Fenway went crazy with boos when Mariano came in.

2005-07-18 06:07:06
30.   jalexei
"And people want to whine about Gordon possibly facing one batter too many? Come. On. "

Gordon's exhaustion in October arguably lost us the ALCS last year, so yes. we'll continue to whine about that...

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