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Relief?
2005-11-21 09:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

According to the Associated Press, right-handed relief pitcher Jose Veras says that he has signed a one-year deal with the Yankees.

Steve Lombardi takes a closer look at the bullpen over at Was Watching.

As Good as it Gets

Dan LeBatard may be one of the only mainstream columnists to write a positive article on Alex Rodriguez of late:

What more could he have done? He wasn't just the best player on his team; he was the best player in his entire damn league.

Oh, yeah, he couldn't have hit into a double play at the end of the playoffs. He is not Derek Jeter. That is A-Rod's biggest crime. Even though he is a much better player than Jeter. Much, much better. But he hasn't won yet like Jeter, so the New York tabloids flog him. Jeter hits a solo home run with the Yankees down 5-2 in a playoff game, and he gets to be clutch. A-Rod hits the same home run in the same spot, and he's a stats-padder.

Choker? That's not fair at all. Yes, he had a bad series against the Angels. But that's an impossible sample size -- five games, less than a baseball week. Vladimir Guerrero was awful in it, too. Heck, Ted Williams got seven World Series games, and hit .200 with no homers and one RBI. Is he a choker?

A-Rod's postseason career: .305 batting average, .401 on-base percentage, six homers and 16 RBI. That's more postseason homers than Hall of Famers Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Ted Williams and Willie Mays combined. You can't bury Rodriguez for failing late against the Angels without remembering how he carried the Yankees and four-strikeouts-in-one-game Jeter against the Twins a year ago.

Derek Jacques is tired of the Rodriguez-bashing too:

Alex Rodriguez had an excellent season, a sizeable improvement on 2004. He made some big contributions to keep this Yankees team on top of the division for the eighth straight season. These are facts. So, too, is it a fact that he performed very badly in a five-game playoff series. Everyone can see that. If he wants to get some respect, that's something he will have to improve. Can't we leave it at that?

The last word--and I know that many of you are bored of this topic (heck, it bores me but I just can't seem to let it go)--goes to Steven Goldman:

The Yankees haven't won a championship during Rodriguez's two years, but they didn't win one in the three years before he came either. There are a lot of reasons the Yankees haven't picked up a ring since 2000. Rodriguez is not part of the problem. He can't pitch, can't improve the middle relief, and can't sit on the bench and pinch-hit instead of the jokers the Yankees usually stash in reserve. Rodriguez hasn't hit in the postseason, but he will. Regardless, he deserves credit for being instrumental in the team's drive to the promised land. The fans have given Rodriguez a raw deal.

Comments
2005-11-21 10:58:44
1.   Cliff Corcoran
Veras is little more than a warm body. He's never seen major league action and he walks everybody. Nothing to see here. Move along.
2005-11-21 11:13:26
2.   JohnnyC
Dan Le Batard, by the way, sets radio back about 40 years with his oxygen-deprived sing-song voice (he sounds like he's going down for the third time). And his sentiments about ARod would be truly unique among media voices if it weren't for the fact that it's just a convenient opportunity for this redoubtable Yankee-hater to take some shots at Derek Jeter, who is as hated among baseball observers outside NY as he is celebrated among Yankees partisans. Regardless of the fact that ARod is the "much, much better" player, the point being made is Jeter sucks, Yankees suck, George buys championships, blah, blah, blah. And it tickles people like Batard no end to see the Yankees NOT WIN even after "buying" the best ballplayer on the planet. So, laugh it up if you want with Mr. Batard. He ain't throwing ARod any bouquets.
2005-11-21 14:03:53
3.   Dimelo
Joe Veras is a bachata singer. I wonder if Jose and Joe Veras are related. A little bachata playing when he comes in to pitch would be good. Maybe Jose Veras will do a little move, like Jose Table ( err, Jose Mesa) would do after he'd strike out a batter. That would be good sportsmanship. I can see this working in NY, with the number of Dominicans in NY and Veras putting on a little show when he pitches it will all make for very good entertainment en el Bronx. He may get hammered, but at least he'll get hammered in style.

BTW, I think El Senor Licenciado Veras is going to suck big time. Does he come with 'return to sender' postage already prepaid?

2005-11-21 15:18:50
4.   Alvaro Espinoza
JohnnyC said it very well. Jeter bashing aside, LeBatard's argumentation in whole is just plain awful. Stat padding occurs when a game is out of reach. Since when is 5-2 out of reach? And how in the world do Bagwell, Biggio and Williams compare to A-rod? That postseason sample size just isn't fair.

Mays postseason? Fine.

'04 Twins? Sure.

Danny could have condensed his column into 2 sentences: A-rod's got better post season stats than Mays. He carried the team vs. the Twins in '04.

Thanks, pal!

Better yet, he should have deferred to Derek Jacques who hit the nail on the head.

2005-11-21 15:37:28
5.   Alvaro Espinoza
Whoops! I take some of it back - B&B had a good posteason sample size. My bad.
2005-11-21 16:55:16
6.   Marcus
Red Sox land Josh Beckett (from Rotoworld):

"ESPN's Peter Gammons is reporting that the Red Sox will acquire Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell from the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and a player to be named."

I can't say I'm happy about that. Although this does give the Yankees a chance to exert some revenge on Beckett for the 2003 WS. Beckett has had the blister issues, but if I'm remembering right, no major arm problems, so he could be a thorn in the side of Yankee batters for years to come...

2005-11-21 17:12:27
7.   Knuckles
Marcus,
Beckett had 2 DL stints this year, one with a strained oblique, and the other with one of those mysterious shoulder tendinitis like our boy Pavano. This is a high risk, high reward trade for the Sox- I hope it blows up in their faces.
2005-11-21 17:17:46
8.   debris
Beckett, as we all know, is a stud. Matt Clement, AJ Burnett, Pavano, and Wright are not close to Beckett's class.

At 25, he has never worked more than 178 innings in a season, an excellent sign. A large part of the reason he has not been overworked is that he, when younger, had a recurring blister problem.

Expect a long term deal ala the 7 year deal they gave Pedro. Expect more innings than they ever got out of Pedro.

I'm not sorry to see Ramirez go. Nothing in his numbers have impressed me and he's buried behind Rent-a-Wreck. I'm very sorry to see Sanchez go.

2005-11-21 17:35:26
9.   tocho
debris, what is your take on the new starting third-baseman? he had a terrible 2005 but can rebound.

I think its a good deal for the Bosux, but dealing prospects is always tricky. Lowell can surpass Mueller with the bat but not on the field (GG and all) and Beckett, IF healthy, is the ace they were looking for last year.

2005-11-21 17:36:15
10.   Zack
Debris, you say when younge,r but in fact he had that same blister problem this past season too. This deal can go either way for the Sox. A lot depends on Lowell, who playing in Fenway, will probably return to form. Beckett has never been as great as he seems to be able to be, and I;ve never quite bought into the hype, but hes a hell of a lot younger and has more raw talent than pretty much anyone on the Yanks or in their system. Plus the Sox still have Lester and Papelbon. On the other hand, this has to shoot their payroll up even higher, and didn't they say they wanted to cut costs?

All in all, it makes the Sox immediatly better than the Yanks in terms of pitching, with Beckett, Clement, Schilling, Wake, Arroyo, and Papelbon. That is, if Schilling returns to form. It also gives them the luxery of starter depth...

2005-11-21 17:55:16
11.   debris
Beckett will be cheap for what he is, though I expect to see a 5 year, 30-35 million deal coming. As for Lowell, the Marlins are going to be picking up part of his contract and, what I just read says that how much that is going to be is the last remaining sticking point in the deal.

Yes, Beckett is an injury risk, but he's never had a major injury, has never been overworked, and we know that overworking young pitchers is a major cause of serious injury. He is a stud. And, of course, prospects are always risky. I frankly can't believe that the Marlins would make this kind of dump deal without getting major league talent back in return, ie Hank Blalock.

Lowell, according to BP, is a much better fielder than Mueller, Gold Glove caliber, in fact. Lowell's 5 year RAA is +53, +12 for 2005 alone. Those are huge numbers for 3B. Mueller over the same 5 years is a +14. Huge defensive pickup. Lowell just got his first Gold Glove from the writers, but since they also give them to Jeter, I'll discount that.

I don't know what happened to Lowell, but a) he's coming from a great pitcher's park to a park that really helps left handed hitters averages and b) he can't possibly suck as bad as Kevin Millar, whose lineup slot he'll take.

2005-11-21 18:07:01
12.   Marcus
Why would Beckett accept a 5 year deal averaging $6-7M a year, when pitchers worse than him (or bigger injury risks) are making that or much, much better these days? You have to think he wouldn't accept anything lower than what Burnett is going to get (somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 years, $50-55M).
2005-11-21 18:11:10
13.   debris
Marcus,

Simple. Burnett is a free agent. Beckett can't be a free agent until after the 2007 season. He's likely to get $4 million if he goes to arbitration. It makes sense for him to cash in now and take 5 years at $30-35. He'll make more in the long run if he takes 2 1 year deals and goes to free agency after 2007 IF HE STAYS HEALTHY.

2005-11-21 18:13:33
14.   tocho
I agree with debris on Beckett. I seriously doubt that he will have 7 years of blister problems. I would be thrilled if the Yanks had acquired him.

Lowell would concern me more, but he has a huge upside and if he doesn't work it really doesn't make any difference because if Beckett is pitching great, this trade will be a huge success.

DAMN!

2005-11-21 18:34:09
15.   Marcus
If the Red Sox are as confident as you are debris that Beckett is not an injury risk, then I doubt they'll have any problem giving him at least $9M/year. I wouldn't be surprised if they offered him $5-6M/year as a low-ball first offer, but if he accepted that he would be a fool.
2005-11-21 18:45:29
16.   brockdc
Beckett shmeckett - we got Jose Veres today!

Weeeeee!

2005-11-21 19:16:20
17.   Simone
I think this trade can be good for the Red Sox if Lowell is moved. However, Beckett like Pavano is injury proned. They both have that shoulder/arm problem thing going on so who knows what the future brings. Will Beckett sign a cheap long term deal with Red Sox? With his injury history, you bet he will.

I can't wait to see if Hanley Ramirez lives up to all that hype that Gammons and others have been giving him.

2005-11-21 19:42:54
18.   debris
If you look at other players over the years who have been two or more years removed from free agency, you'll find that they give up dollars over the long term for security and more dollars over the front end. That's where Beckett is now.

I don't think they have to move Lowell. They have to pray he bounces back. He gives them solid defense and, if the Marlins pick up $2 M per year, they are only in to him for $7 M per. Also don't forget, the place he takes in the batting order is that of Kevin Millar. Not exactly a hard act to follow. I assume they'll try to make a first baseman out of Youkilis.

Also remember with Papelbon, Delcarmen, DiNardo, Youkilis, Hansen and Pedroia on the roster next year, they'll be considerably cheaper in many spots next year.

If Manny goes, who knows what the prognosis is. If Manny stays, they look in great shape.

2005-11-21 20:10:22
19.   JeremyM
I'm guessing that the Ramirez hype is just that--hype. Public Enemy said it best regarding hype.
2005-11-21 21:07:47
20.   wsporter
How in the name of all things holy did we allow this to happen? This may be an unqualified disaster. Bloody Sock at the top, 3 young fire ballers in the middle and Clement at the other end? Ouch. If Lester doesn't make the rotation they plug Wakefield in. Mueller is a good and classy ball player but so is Lowell, I think they're interchangeable. So Lowell's got a bad contract, big deal, hell it's not my money. They give up nothing they need today and make themselves appreciably better. If it all goes to smash there is no pain for them this year, they are no worse off. Talk about playing with house money. This has got to be the no brain deal out of the GM 101 course at Baseball Executive College.
Just great. It's cold. Its raining. Now this. I sure hope we know what the hell we're doing. By the way please don't tell me to relax. I'm relaxed. This just smells a little like a move they made some years back with a hockey team from the province of Quebec that was masquerading as a baseball franchise. As I recall they picked up a skinny little guy with a history of minor arm trouble and a bad hair cut. I think that worked out ok…. For them. Our move I guess.
2005-11-21 22:30:10
21.   brockdc
wsporter,

I'm with you, man. This is low-risk, high reward for Boston. And just think - they did it without Theo the wondergenius!

As for us, I agree it's our move. Hope that doesn't mean Stein will panic and force the Damon acquisition.

And why is the possibility of acquiring another solid starting pitcher completely off the table? Why not Millwood? Why not Burnett? They're available, and God knows one can't have enough starting pitching. Hell, sign Millwood and trade Pavano for Easy Eddy or someone a bit more reliable than Scott Proctor.

It's only November...It's only November...

2005-11-21 22:33:30
22.   brockdc
By the way, there's an interesting post on today's WasWatching regarding possible bullpen scenarios for '06. I'm trying real hard not to panic.
2005-11-22 03:02:31
23.   debris
wsporter - This is not a no brain deal for the Marlins. It's a plain old fashioned salary dump. A sad fact of life in baseball. It's what brought Randy Johnson to the Yankees, Schilling to the Sox, now Beckett and Lowell to the Sox.

As for Jon Lester, I don't think anyone in New England is expecting much of him before 2007.

2005-11-22 03:21:32
24.   strangeluck
Cliff, you might be selling Veras a little short. Yes, the walks are high, but the spike in his K/9 that came with the switch to relief means his K/BB ratio was still higher than 2, and you have to bear in mind that those numbers came in the PCL, where he'd probably be less inclined to throw strikes and risk them leaving the park. He's not a better option than Bean or maybe Anderson, but I think the idea of stockpiling a bunch of decent AAA arms in hopes that one can become a decent major leaguer has merit.
2005-11-22 05:04:53
25.   wsporter
Debris, its November, who cares about Florida, it's the Sawx I'm talking about. And yeah this was a "dump", in every sense of the word.
2005-11-22 05:13:52
26.   jedi
"At 25, he has never worked more than 178 innings in a season, an excellent sign. A large part of the reason he has not been overworked is that he, when younger, had a recurring blister problem. "

debris, this transaction was a trade not a sign. A big difference there. I am sure if beckett was a free agent we would have landed him already. Nonetheless, it was a trade and they gave up the farm in my opinion. Hanley Ramirez was NOT overhyped.
Would we have done the same by giving up Wang and Cano? Maybe it can put this trade into perspective at what Boston gave up, not what they got.

To add, Lowell is on the downside of his career. It's Kevin Millar part deux.

2005-11-22 05:48:30
27.   debris
Of course it was a trade. An of course the Yankees would have been the front runners if he'd been a free agent.

However, it was a trade. According to what I'm reading, they gave up guys projected to show up in Baseball America's prospect list as their 3rd, 4th and 18th best prospects. I don't know who 1 and 2 are, but they're likely to come from Pedroia, Lester, Hansen and Papelbon. With those four, plus Delcarmen and Edgar Martinez, they are still drowning in fine young prospects.

Also remember, they had 6 of the first 60 picks in last year's draft. Hansen was one, but I'd imagine, considering the effort the Theo team put into preparing for the draft and the success they've had at rebuilding what was a horrible farm system, as bad as the Yankees, when Theo took over, that some of the class of 2005 will emerge as fine prospects over the next year.

Last May, while Theo and company were preparing for the draft, Cashman was flying to Tampa to explain the Yankees dismal start to George.

As for Lowell, I wouldn't be too quick to judge. He was awful at the plate last year, but he is only 31, had 5 fine years before that, and has terrific makeup. He also gives a dismal defensive team a Gold Glove at third base.

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