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Alexanders
2006-01-31 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

While former shortstop Alex Rodriguez was honored at a dinner held by the New York chapter of the Baseball Writer's of America on Sunday night, the Red Sox have reportedly picked up a shortstop of their own, another Alex, Alex Gonzalez (who will presumably be backed-up by Alex Cora). Gonzalez will join Josh Beckett to help give the Yankees warm memories of the 2003 World Serious. A lousy hitter--who has displayed some pop over the course of his career--Gonzalez is known as a fine defensive player.

Comments (60)
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2006-01-31 06:18:57
1.   joejoejoe
Here are your 2006 Boston Red Sox (w/'05 stats):

1 CF Coco Crisp S .300/.345/.465
2 2B Mark Loretta R .280/.360/.347
3 DH David Ortiz L .300/.397/.604
4 RF Manny Ramirez R .292/.388/.594
5 LF Trot Nixon L .275/.357/.446
6 C Jason Varitek S .281/.366/.489
7 3B Mike Lowell R .236/.298/.360
8 1B J.T. Snow L .275/.343/.365
9 SS Alex Gonzalez R .264/.319/.368

I'm not sure if one of their kids will beat out Snow but this is about what you are going to see on the field each day from Boston.

My 2c - If hitters 5-9 have an above average year the Sox will score a ton of runs and challenge for the division. If Nixon, Lowell, and Veritek continue to decline they won't make the playoffs (ceteris paribus).

2006-01-31 06:29:44
2.   debris
joejoejoe,

My best guess is 200 plate appearances for Snow, 450 for Youkilis at 1b.

I'm quite happy with this lineup. I expect more from Nixon, who played hurt or was out pretty much from the All Star break on last year. Varitek is a tough call. Like Posada, he was aging. Tek had a monster first half, then wore out and did nothing the second half. There will also be about 40 games that Tek doesn't catch and there the Sox do not have an adequate replacement for the mediocre (in 2005) Mirabelli. No clue on Lowell. Will he bounce back to something between 2005 and 2004? Or is he a steroids case who has seen his better days. In either case, he can't be worse than Millar 2005. Gonzalez, while unexciting, is still a big upgrade from Bellhorn 2005.

With all of the talk in recent weeks about the holes in the Red Sox lineup, just who will be DHing for the NY club?

The Sox appear now to be near the equal, offensively, of the 2005 team, with significant upgrades in defense, starting rotation, and bullpen. Of course, Schilling and Foulke are huge question marks and who knows what is going to become of Boomer. Personally, I expect a good year from Schilling, though shy of his former glory. I see an ERA under 4.00 in more than 200 innings. I'm not going to hazard any guess on Foulke.

There were interesting articles in the Boston papers over the weekend, wherein Theo came out with the information that the Sox had targeted Crisp as Damon's replacement as long ago as last winter. I don't know why they were thinking about not resigning Damon that long ago, other than to suggest that they were not going to get him back at a reasonable rate with Boras calling the shots.

2006-01-31 06:32:19
3.   possumbait
Snow is there for late inning defense. I figure Gonzalez would be insurance for Cora and particularly Dustin Pedroia.

Look for Youkilis/Lowell to take up most of the corner duties, and look for Pedroia in late May at SS.

2006-01-31 06:48:01
4.   The Mick 536
Don't know how I could have missed Mikeee's wedding. Who married him?

What did Ms. Benson wear to the dinner?

As for the Sox, dysfunctional maybe, not as much as the 1977 Janks, but they have a team on the field that looks better than the geriatric crew I root for.

2006-01-31 07:00:35
5.   KJC
// If hitters 5-9 have an above average year the Sox will score a ton of runs and challenge for the division. If Nixon, Lowell, and Veritek continue to decline they won't make the playoffs (ceteris paribus). //

Probably true, but you're only taking hitting into consideration. With better defense, an improved starting rotation and a much improved bullpen (even with Foulke being a questionmark), the Sox won't need to score 900 runs like years past.

Personally, I don't think either the Sox or Yanks are guaranteed a playoff spot right now -- way too many "if's" in the discussion. Just gotta wait and see how things play out...

2006-01-31 07:00:42
6.   debris
possumbait,

Yes, on Snow. Gonzalez is the starter, Cora a backup at both SS and 2b. Pedroia will be in Pawtucket, at least to start. If Gonzalez produces, Pedroia will likely spend the entire year on the farm.

Dysfunctional? Hardly. They ended the season, looked at themselves and didn't like what they saw. They saw an old team that faltered offensively late in the season, had little bullpen, and played lousy defense. They formulated a plan and executed in pretty damn well. The defense is much, much better. The bullpen is quite well improved. The team is younger at 1b, 3b, CF, and the pitching staff. Where they're not younger, they have talent in the pipeline.

2006-01-31 07:05:21
7.   joejoejoe
Maybe the "Greek God of Walks" will be good but I'm suspicious of any 27 year old corner infielder who has 287 career major league ABs. He hit better in Boston than in Pawtucket in 2004 - it's not a given that he will perform on a full-time basis. Kevin Youkilis may make for a nice platoon player this year but I'm not quite as conviced of his greatness as Red Sox Nation.
2006-01-31 07:21:49
8.   debris
No question that Youk has a lot to prove. You fail to mention two things, Joe. To go with the 287 at bats, he also has 47 walks, netting him an obp of .376 in a bit over half a season.

And while you mention his weak 2004 in Pawtucket, he only had 173 plate appearances. You didn't mention his part season there last year, 187 plate appearances, in which he put up a 1.051 OPS.

A question mark. Sure, I'll buy that. Has he earned a full shot. No question.

2006-01-31 07:25:11
9.   Simone
With the pick up of Crisp and the mediocre Alex Gonzalez, the Red Sox are now able to compete with the Blue Jays for second place.
2006-01-31 07:27:55
10.   debris
Simone, thanks for the in-depth analysis, though I'm not sure that I agree that the young Devil Rays have improved themselves enough to be considered favorites.
2006-01-31 07:32:18
11.   joejoejoe
KJC - 'Ceteris paribus' is latin for ""with other things [being] the same". Pitching, defense and injuries make the season a crapshoot even for teams with great hitting (both the Yanks and Sox) - as you point out.
2006-01-31 07:34:37
12.   possumbait
In the context of the discussion on the Red Sox roster, we are comparing Youkilis to Snow, which is not a stretch for Youkilis, even if everything else said has merit.

debris, I think one should operate under the assumption that Gonzalez will NOT produce. I still say Pedroia up by June. :-)

2006-01-31 07:55:36
13.   unmoderated
anyone else worried about former farmhand Lowell putting up big numbers at Fenway?
2006-01-31 08:10:25
14.   debris
possumbait,

Depends on what you mean by "produce." If Gonzalez puts up a .700 OPS, just a bit higher than his career mark and not unrealistic given his move to Fenway, and plays the defense that he reputedly can play, I think the FO will be quite happy. Methinks they're mainly seeking leather here.

As for Lowell, in the immortal word of Joaquin Andujar, youneverknow. Fabulous leather, to be sure. I don't think the question of why he caved with the bat last year has been sufficiently answered.

2006-01-31 08:31:51
15.   Start Spreading the News
From Debris #2: "Gonzalez, while unexciting, is still a big upgrade from Bellhorn 2005."

Even considering his defense, I don't see how Gonzalez is a BIG upgrade over Bellhorn.

Offense: 2004 2005 Career
Bellhorn OPS 817 688* 752
A. Gonzl OPS 689 687 682

From Baseball Prospectus:
I am taking Bellhorn's numbers at 2nd and comparing it to Gonzalez numbers at SS. So I picked stats compare them to others at their respective positions.
Rate is defined by BP as "A way to look at the fielder's rate of production, equal to 100 plus the number of runs above or below average this fielder is per 100 games. A player with a rate of 110 is 10 runs above average per 100 games, a player with an 87 is 13 runs below average per 100 games, etc."

Rate2: "See Rate. Rate2 incorporates adjustments for league difficulty and normalizes defensive statistics over time. "

*indicates Time spent with Sox in 2005.
Defense 2004 2005 Career
Belh Rate 97 98* 99
Gonzl Rate 98 95 94

Bell Rate2 96 97 98
Gonzl Rate2 97 95 93

As point of comparison, here are Jeter's defensive metrics for the last three years.
Rate Rate2
2003 82 80
2004 99 98
2005 105 104
Career 92 91

(OFF-TOPIC: Note Jeter's improvement in the field since Arod's arrival. Is this another reason to have given Arod the MVP since he made Jeter better?)

So how is Gonzalez an improvement over Bellhorn 2005? Gonzalez was a below average shortstop the last two years -- though still better than Renteria. Bellhorn seems to be an slightly below average 2nd baseman. But assuming that Gonzalez is an average SS at Fenway, the defensive comparison is a wash -- despite what the mainstream press says.

Offensively, Bellhorn has been better the past few years-- last year being his worst. He walks more. Even playing only HALF a year for the Sox , Bellhorn had 49 walks. Gonzalez has never had more than 33 in a FULL season. Neither of them can hit. Gonzalez has hit more homers than Bellhorn has. But even when Gonzalez hit 23 homers, his OBP was an atrocious Womackian .270, canceling out the gains from his power.

2006-01-31 08:36:42
16.   KJC
// KJC - 'Ceteris paribus' is latin for ""with other things [being] the same". //

Sorry, my latin's a bit rusty... ;)

2006-01-31 08:42:23
17.   unpopster
So now that Alex Gonzalez has signed with the Sox, Boston's 2006 is now complete -- but a complete what...mess?

Me thinks all of you are giving way too much credit to this revamped Red Sox lineup. Debris' relentless attempt to color all of the Red Sox' moves in a rosey hue is clouding all your judgements.

Guys, this is a Red Sox team with TONS of question marks. Their starting lineup has, count 'em, 5 new faces (5.5 if you count Youkilis). None of those new faces have any idea what they're in for now that they're in the hardest city to play ball in. Gonzalez and Lowell come from quiet Miami, Loretta comes from even more subdued San Diego, and Coco and Snow come from perenial second-tier markets Cleveland and San Francisco (SF might be pushing it just a little bit?!).

That team will need to begin to gel very early in the season and keep it up to challenge the Yanks for the AL East crown again. Wells and Manny will be controversies for all of the Spring and that definitely won't help the newbies ease into their new teams. And unlike last year's slow start ('04 ALCS hang-over anyone?), I think the Yanks will play hard and win wire to wire.

Debris' assessment of his squad mostly assumes the "best case scenarios" for all these new players. Lowell, Gonzalez, Snow, Loretta, Youkilis and Beckett are ALL BIG 'IFS'. Couple that with the old guard of 'IFS' in Foulke, Schilling, Nixon and Varitek and this is a team with many, many holes that the Red Sox faithful can only hope will be filled. Wakefield lost his personal catcher. How will that effect him? The Sox don't have a lefty in the pen to counter Giambi, Damon or Matsui.

In order for Debris' predictions to come true, ALL -- that's right, ALL of these IFS need to be answered in the positive. How confident is everyone that this will be the case? If 1/2 of these turn out to be flops, do the Sox have a championship team in '06? I think not.

Very, very seldom does a team have a huge turnover in personnel and then go on to win it all. The only way that I can see it happening is if the holes are filled with superstar caliber players (i.e. 1997 Marlins). I'm sorry, but Loretta, Gonzalez, CoCo Crispy, JT Snow and Youkilis don't fit that bill.

Lastly, I have to say that I am VERY happy with the makeup of the '06 Yanks...While the Red Sox turned over their whole team, the Yanks made the necessary tweaks. Still anchoring the lineup are Jeter, Arod, Shef, Matsui, and Giambi. Damon is the only major offensive addition that the Yanks have made and we all know that he is capable of handling NYC. Johnny From Nazareth has simply jumnped from the fire into the frying pan. He will have a zero adjustment.

The Red Sox may look like challengers to the AL East title on paper, but the game is played between the white lines and the Sox have many, many quesntions to answer on the field before we can all seriously consider them to be contenders.

2006-01-31 08:49:43
18.   debris
Still consider Gonzalez an upgrade offensively from Bellhorn, though that's certainly a backhanded compliment. Gonzalez (like Lowell, Loretta, and Crisp) is coming from one of the pitcher friendliest part to a decided hitter's park.

As for the Sox having to answer a huge number of ifs, no doubt, but remember this team last year had a large number of gaping holes in the lineup and still led the league in runs scored.

As for your being happy with the makeup of the '06 Yanks, unpopster, are you speaking as a fan or a surgeon? ( I am, of course, referring to the starting rotation.)

2006-01-31 08:52:07
19.   debris
"The only way that I can see it happening is if the holes are filled with superstar caliber players (i.e. 1997 Marlins). I'm sorry, but Loretta, Gonzalez, CoCo Crispy, JT Snow and Youkilis don't fit that bill."

Are you suggesting that the players these guys are replacing, Bellhorn, Renteria, Damon, and Millar are superstars? Excepting young Crisp, these guys don't exactly have a tough act to follow.

2006-01-31 08:57:06
20.   Simone
debris, pithiness is a trait that is too often underappreciated.
2006-01-31 09:23:38
21.   KJC
// None of those new faces have any idea what they're in for now that they're in the hardest city to play ball in. //

Ortiz came from Minnesota. Mussina came from Baltimore. Cabrera came from Montreal. Even Damon came from KC via Oakland. Yes, there are the Renterias and Pavanos, but some guys do just fine in "difficult" cities.

// And unlike last year's slow start I think the Yanks will play hard and win wire to wire. //

Again, more guesses. Who could've predicted last year's slow start, and who's to say they don't do the same (or worse) in '06? Will Randy and Mussina break down? How about Posada, Sheffield, Bernie? Will Small's lucky streak continue? Is this the year Rivera finally becomes human? If if if if...

// the Red Sox are now able to compete with the Blue Jays for second place. //

And for all the talk about the Blue Jays wrapping up second place, is BJ Ryan a legit closer over a full year? Will AJ Burnett actually pitch above .500? As far as I'm concerned, all teams have questionmarks, and you can't predict the future (did anyone guess how the Yanks' starting pitching would go last year?). Well, except for the Marlins; everyone pretty much knows how '06 is gonna play out for them...

Let the season begin!

2006-01-31 09:31:34
22.   Marcus
"Still consider Gonzalez an upgrade offensively from Bellhorn..."

Bellhorn had a 81 OPS+ last year (96 OPS+ Career), while Gonzalez had an 85 OPS+ (78 career) last year. So given that, and Bellhorn's noted "every other year is a good year" phenonmenon, I'd say at best it's a push, and at worst it's a big downgrade to Gonzalez.

"In either case, [Lowell] can't be worse than Millar 2005."

You must not have looked at the numbers. Last year, Lowell had a 77 OPS+ (109 career), while Millar (for all the bashing he gets) was at 100 OPS+ (118 career). For a first baseman that's not good, but it's pretty clearly better than a 77. For all his faults, Millar knows how to get on base, even when he's not getting hits for extra bases. I'm sure Lowell's numbers will pick up, but casting any aside any doubts that he will be better than Millar is a little premature. But we won't know until they hit the field anyway.

2006-01-31 09:36:16
23.   sam2175
2

Debris, if your idea of a huge upgrade is an OPS+ improvement of 1 (Bellhorn 83 for Red Sox, Gonzalez 84 for Marlins), then you are right.

And you have to look at Nixon's 3 year trends to make a guess, and that trend is in line with his declining career graph, injury or not. He is a bigger question mark than Varitek.

And yes, with the line-up Sox has, even replacing Renteria could be difficult. He was bad defensively, and offensively he struggled out of the gate, but still was useful down the stretch, particularly against lefties. But I lost track of who replaces whom in Sox. You are comparing arbitrary positions of players. Position by position in the field, Sox are worse offensively. I did do that here:

http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/315050.html#11

Defensively, they are better, only because, contrary to all the advertisement of Red Sox FO, Renteria ended up being a defensively bad player. I wonder if Alex Gonzalez's horrific bat would prompt Fenway Faithfuls to get on him.

2006-01-31 09:43:22
24.   sam2175
Oh, and before you start talking about how much Gonzalez is going to benefit coming from pitchers to hitters park, OPS+ adjusts for ballparks.

And Marcus has said everything there was to be said about Millar situation. If J. T. Snow sees some serious playing time, Red Sox are looking at anemic production at first as well.

2006-01-31 09:45:45
25.   Nick from Washington Heights
For the last month, this site has been more Yawkey Yacking than Bronx Banter. I guess that's what happens when a team overhauls a team so dramatically. It's remarkable to me that only 15% of the 2004 squad remains.

I think that the Theo has done a good job in keeping the team's offense at relatively the same level (I think Debris is overly optimistic when he/she (I'm sorry I don't know your gender; people assume, but I'm friends with some passionate female baseball fans)). I'm not sold on the need for Gonzales. The Sox are filled with fly ball pitchers. Seems like Theo's overpayed for an unnecessary skill.

When all is said, the Sox have stayed the same on offense, and the pitching has improved (if only slightly). They should compete with the Yanks, although I think the team from the Bronx improved a little more.

2006-01-31 09:47:14
26.   Nick from Washington Heights
I should say Debris is overly optimistic in think that the Sox have improved offensively. Missed that part of the sentence.
2006-01-31 09:47:31
27.   unpopster
// As for the Sox having to answer a huge number of ifs, no doubt, but remember this team last year had a large number of gaping holes in the lineup and still led the league in runs scored." //

yes, that is also the same team that seemingly had the AL East in hand until the Yanks stole the division away from them down the stretch. What is often forgotten about the last 2 months of 2005 was that there were very clear signs of a 1978-type collapse brewing. But unlike '78, the '05 Sox didn't have 14+ games to squander to the Yanks.

// "As for your being happy with the makeup of the '06 Yanks, unpopster, are you speaking as a fan or a surgeon? ( I am, of course, referring to the starting rotation.)"

Funny coming from a fan of a team whose pitchers include such medical enigmas as Beckett, Schilling and Foulke.

But, yes, I am very happy with the makeup. Unlike past seasons (including the WS winning seasons of 1996 - 2000), the Yanks have a surplus of arms in the wings. In the aforementioned championships seasons, the Yanks had guys like Irabu, Christian Parker and Orlando Hernandez as their 5th/6th starters. In '06 alone, they have Wright, Small, and Chacon vying for the 5th spot. The two losers will work in long relief and spot start in necessary.

Pavano and Wright gave the Yanks ZERO last year and still the Yanks won 95 games and the division. Yes, Small and Chacon stepped up, but I expect Chacon to do more of the same in '06 while Small will obviosuly come back down to earth. However, the upside for a healthy Pavano and Wright greatly outweigh the downside of Small's return to mediocrity.

// "Are you suggesting that the players these guys are replacing, Bellhorn, Renteria, Damon, and Millar are superstars? Excepting young Crisp, these guys don't exactly have a tough act to follow. "

No, I am suggesting that when a team makes such a massive overhaul in personnel, there will be a difficult transition period. However, superstar-calibre players make that transition period easier with superstar-type production.

2006-01-31 10:02:20
28.   unpopster
// "Ortiz came from Minnesota. Mussina came from Baltimore. Cabrera came from Montreal. Even Damon came from KC via Oakland. Yes, there are the Renterias and Pavanos, but some guys do just fine in "difficult" cities."

yes, but all the players you mentioned came in piecemeal. In '06, we're talking about more than half of the starting offensie lineup and most of the relief core coming in together. Where Ortiz or Mussina or Damon or Cabrera came into an already cohesive clubhouse and simply needed to "fit in" and produce, the '06 Sox are a team without a collective character that will need to find one sooner rather than later. AND, do not underestimate the role of the Boston media an dfanbvase in '06. Where as the above mentioned players came in to help a team, because of the vast overhaul of this past '06 offseason, the eyes of the media and fans will be even more acutely focused on "how they gel".

The theme of the 2006 Red Sox will be "How do ALL these new guys fit in". Gone is the glue of the '04 Red Sox (Millar, Mueller and Damon) who seemingly kept the clubhouse together.

2006-01-31 10:22:09
29.   Marcus
Steve Goldman in his last "Pinstriped Bible" column suggests that the Yankees sign a reserve outfielder with a capable bat, i.e., Jeff DaVanon or Richard Hidalgo. It makes perfect sense! Get one of those guys and throw Bubba Crosby to the winds! We're stuck with Bernie, so we might as well have someone else that can hit the ball, and rest Sheffield at DH.

It doesn't look like Cashman is going to do that though. Does anyone see a glaring reason why not to sign a capable reserve outfielder? Besides the fact that there are warm bodies filling positions out there?

2006-01-31 10:50:54
30.   KJC
// I wonder if Alex Gonzalez's horrific bat would prompt Fenway Faithfuls to get on him. //

Perhaps, but I doubt it. As long as players perform as advertised, Sox fans tend to treat them according to how they play to their ability. Nobody booed Pokey Reese for not hitting, because he was on the team for defense. Millar, on the other hand, was supposed to hit (we had seen him do it). At $10 mil, Renteria was supposed to do both. As long as Gonzalez fields well, I think he'll be fine; if he makes a lot of errors, you can bet he's gonna hear about it...

// yes, but all the players you mentioned came in piecemeal. In '06, we're talking about more than half of the starting offensie lineup and most of the relief core coming in together. //

Good point. However, the Sox also had a pretty radical personnel shift from 2002 to 2003 -- "only" 3/5 of the infield changed instead of 4/5, but the entire bullpen save Embree was new -- and again, not exactly with superstars (Ortiz, Millar, Mueller, Timlin, Todd Walker, Scott Williamson). And, Grady's season-ending non-decision notwithstanding, that team had a pretty good year.

2006-01-31 10:54:14
31.   Zack
I have a feeling the Sox new bats wil, for the most part, start off hot, then cool off, by which point the fans have already annoited them the starting All-stars. Jsut a hunch.

On a serious note though, wasn't it "clubhouse chemistry" that the Sox championed for the past 3 seasons, how important it was etc? Now all of a sudden I Guess it doesn't matter, now that they don't have it anymore.

2006-01-31 11:13:20
32.   deadteddy8
17 - First off, San Francisco is not a "second tier" market. The city itself has only 700,000 residents, but that's because it's only 7 miles by 7 miles. The media market is the number 4 or 5 market in the country, IIRC, large enough to support both the Giants and A's. At any given time during a business day, there are 2.5 million people within city limits. Second, the "roster turnover equals chaos" theory sounds rather simplistic. What about the 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays? I'd say there was a good amount of turnover between those teams. I don't think turnover in and of itself will cause losing as much as the difference in talents of the players. Your point would hold more water if it addressed the clubhouse concerns as an effect of losing. In other words, if I were a Red Sox fan, the turnover would give me cause for concern should the team come out of the gate slowly and finished April well under .500, since, as we all know, the best way to get players to get along is to win.
2006-01-31 11:29:51
33.   wsporter
Nick from WH
#25 - Thanks a lot. Now I can't get "Dude Looks Like a Lady" out of my head. Debris, Aerosmith and Bellhorn, oh it ain't a pretty picture.
2006-01-31 11:32:15
34.   Sliced Bread
-The Red Sox have more new faces than Michael Jackson.
-Boston's new shortstop is far from Alexander The Great, more like Alexander The Cairo (and three times as expensive).
-With all this hype about getting 'younger and cheaper' you'd think they were running a Third World sweatshop on Yawkey Way, when they're really running a third place baseball club.
-The only way Boston is coming in second this year is in the Battle of the Soxes.
-Comparing the Red Sox to the Angels for a moment, has anybody calculated how much money Boston saved combining the General Manager and Rally Monkey positions? Theo's Kid Kong act was weird until you consider the payroll savings.
-Boston's new ace, Beckett, has the endurance of the average married guy in bed: he's good for about 10 minutes at best, maybe 20 times a year.
-Speaking of athletes whose age is approaching their waist size (David Wells is a plus 3), Schilling will be on national TV and radio tonight, delivering his 15-minute rebuttal to the Democratic response to Bush's 'State of The Union Address.'
-I'm not going to make fun of the new Boston centerfielder's name, Coco, even if it's a little stripper or poodle'esque.
If his name was Frenchy or Pinkie, I might poke fun, but Coco's cool, and his new teammates will like him - as long as he doesn't chew up their shoes, or pee on the clubhouse carpet like David Wells.
-I don't think I'd be too excited about a player whose last name is Crisp.
That image doesn't really inspire confidence now does it? 'This bacon sucks, it's burned to a crisp. But who's leading off today?'

That's my set for today. Tip the bartenders!

2006-01-31 11:32:26
35.   KJC
// wasn't it "clubhouse chemistry" that the Sox championed for the past 3 seasons, how important it was etc? Now all of a sudden I Guess it doesn't matter, now that they don't have it anymore. //

It is still important. However, you can't say the '06 Sox don't have any chemistry -- they haven't even played a single game together yet!

(OK, I've been posting too much here today ... back to work.)

2006-01-31 11:48:47
36.   Nick from Washington Heights
wsporter, I didn't mean it like that. It's just that I realized that I always assume male when the name is neutral. Just something that occurred to me that sec. But I wasn't meaning to chide if it came across that way.
2006-01-31 12:10:47
37.   standuptriple
I just can't wait for the grumbling when Coco fails to make a play in CF. The "WWJD would've made that play" comments and the "Why can't Coco get on base more?" questions arise. Will Francona keep his house in order? Tune in to find out.
2006-01-31 12:17:55
38.   debris
Marcus,

You are absolutely right about the Yanks need for another bat off the bench/dh type. Someone, say, like Dustan Mohr. Not a star, but a decent hitter, kept under 300 abs. He was available just a week ago, until the Sox signed him to back up Nixon.

2006-01-31 12:19:54
39.   singledd
We have a pretty staightforward group here so let's just ask the question, and not beat around the bush ...er ...ah... I mean...

Anyway, Debris... Are you Male or Female?
And if you are female, are you hot?
(Please refer to picture of 'Yankees Chick' for relative comparison)

And if you are female and hot, please refer to the official "Bronx Banter "Picture-posting-instructions for Red-Sox-fans-posting-on-a-Yankees-site who-think-Clemens-and-Pedro-are-far-too-old-to-pitch and who think their-team-has-a-chance-in-hell of being better then the Yankees in'06"

(one starts getting desperate in February during a slow news period).

2006-01-31 12:35:15
40.   wsporter
Nick from WH.

I didn't think you meant it in a nasty way either. I had taken from some of Debris earlier comments that he's a man. So combining that with your post led me to that. I still can't get rid of it. I'm trying to write something and that f'n song is killing me. Its what I get for slacking off.

2006-01-31 12:39:55
41.   Knuckles
debris,
ohplease ohplease tell us who else the Yankees should have signed if the monkey brain trust in Beantown hadn't consulted their oracle and already landed the guy? I can't believe we didn't get Dustan Mohr, who's 3-year average splits look like this:

Home OPS: .851
Away OPS: .669
Projected VORP of 3.3 this year according to PECOTA.
And a .154 BA away from Colorado in 2005.

I'd defintely rather have him than Bernie (7.6) and Andy Phillips (8.4)
Sign my ass up.

2006-01-31 12:45:16
42.   Marcus
Yes, debris, someone like Dustan Mohr. Or at least someone that fills the same role as him. Wowee, the Red Sox signed a band aid for the constant boo boo that is Trot Nixon. I might as well give up on the Yankees now. How can I possibly follow a team who passed up the chance for Dustan Mohr?

Now can we talk about the Yankees, please? Nick, you're right, this is turning into Yawkey Yacking.

2006-01-31 13:05:45
43.   Dimelo
singledd, I went and looked up Yankee Chick, she's pretty in a normal person kinda way. The Yankee shirt definitely makes her look even better, the scars on her arm sure are nice and seem to show a nice wild side to her. Does she post here? If yes, under what pseudonym? We definitely need more hot chicks that know a little something about baseball.

Debris is like the Iraqi information minister, no matter how bleak the situation is for the Sux, he'll always have a positive spin on any discussion about the Sox players and/or their long term plans. He's the Sox Oracle.

2006-01-31 13:06:35
44.   Dimelo
The Sox haven't had good luck with guys named Dustan, remember Mr. Hermanson?
2006-01-31 13:16:00
45.   brockdc
I agree that this blog has become a bit too Sox-centric over the past several weeks. Oh well, I guess.

True, the Yankees have far more depth on their starting staff. But what good is depth if everyone is mediocre? I am not optimistic.

2006-01-31 13:16:32
46.   Start Spreading the News
Another fun fact about Alex (not tooting my own bellhorn) Gonzalez:
http://tinyurl.com/cdfkv
"Gonzalez is closing in on 3500 career PA (he has 3488). When he reaches that figure, he'll rank 5th in the past half century for worst OBA vs. the league average among players with that many PA."

When he reaches #5, guess who he will have pushed down to #6. Yes, John Flaherty. Wait. Isn't he on the Red Sox? Wow, this roster is looking better everyday!

2006-01-31 13:34:17
47.   Dimelo
Start Spreading (obviously no pun intended), I'm sure Debris will figure out a way to spin what you just posted. Here's what I think he'll say: "Those numbers don't take into account his next 700 AB's where 350 will be in Fenway, that alone will help him tremendously, the Chowdah out on Newberry street will help him see the ball better, and combining that with the Fenway park factor then that will probably put him in on-base at .400 clip."
2006-01-31 13:54:04
48.   unpopster
Brock, sure this site has gotten quite Sawx-centric lately, but can anyone come up with a Yankee-related thread worth writing about? I mean, after the Damon signing, the Yankee FO has been absolutely silent. There's been no news in Yankeeland lately and that's exactly how I like it. Usually, news coming out of the Bronx in the January-February is bad, bad, and bad (i.e. player grumblings, offseason injuries, bar fights, etc.).

I much rather talk about the mediocre moves made up north in Beantown.

I repeat what I said in an earlier post -- on paper the Red Sox look good, but that includes all the best case scenarios coming true. Guys and gals (Debris?), mark my words...we are about to witness the most dysfunctional and ENTERTAINING Red sox team in decades.

2006-01-31 15:38:25
49.   brockdc
I agree that this has been a relatively boring offseason. Again, that's not necessarily a terrible thing.

But boring doesn't necessarily equate to good either. I think Cashman has done a serviceable, though unspectacular, job this winter. The thing I'd like to talk about is the one move he hasn't made - acquiring a capable corner OF who can relegate Sheff to permanent DH status. Let's admit, he's looking more and more like Don Baylor out there.

P.S. Hidalgo can't hit.

2006-01-31 15:55:08
50.   Zack
Any possibility of Andy Phillips playing a left/right field from time to time? He can't be all that bad, can he?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-01-31 16:31:32
51.   Marcus
On second thought, looking at who's available (DaVanon, Hidalgo, Sosa, Surhoff, Juan Gonzalez), what about bringing in Kevin Reese instead of Bubba Crosby? Maybe Cash will pull of a Chacon-esque trade for an outfielder sometime mid-summer.
2006-01-31 17:32:30
52.   Levy2020
It looks like the Front Office is really, really set on Bernie DHing. . . Otherwise why pass up so many potential DHs?

For this year, I prefer Bubba to Bernie and to Andy Phillips. So, if Sheffield, Damon, and Matsui were rotating DHs while Bubba played the outfield, that would be better than acquiring a 6th OF.

2006-01-31 18:37:35
53.   Simone
I think that the Yankees have enough DHs already. Sheffield/Giambi/Phillips/Bernie all will be sharing DH duties throughout the season. As things stand, the Yankees will have to find a rightfielder by next season anyway. If they pick up Sheffield's option, he will become the full time DH. Goodness knows what they do with Giambi who will need to DH for at least half the season by that time. Plus, if Goldman is right about the Yankees' best option being to pick up Posada's option, then he will also need to DH or play 1st part time. The next couple years will be a bear. I hope that the free agents are solid. Who are the free agent rightfielders available next season? Is there anyone in the farm who can play right?
2006-01-31 20:07:19
54.   JohnnyC
Simone, there is no one above A ball who has star potential as a major league RFer. The young guys though like Tabata (who's only 18 in 2006)and a couple of teenagers out of the Dominican Summer League have a great deal of potential and are already getting a lot of attention from the prospect tout sites. Still, I think if the Yankees were a different organization, limited but still interesting talents like Bronson Sardinha and Melky Cabrera (as a RF not CF)would get longer looks. But, frankly, Torre's not a fan of "inexperience." It is what it is.
2006-02-01 06:22:02
55.   Dimelo
Where do people get Torre is not a fan of inexperience? Wasn't it Torre that allowed a relatively inexperienced Andy Pettite pitch two games in the 96 World Series? Wasn't it Torre who gave the ball to El Duque in the 98 playoffs? Wasn't it Torre that gave the rookie Derek Jeter the SS job in 96? Wasn't it Torre that trusted Bubba Crosby in CF during last year's ALDS?

I think you got it wrong, Torre doesn't have a problem with inexperience, he has a problem with how you handle the opportunity. It's OK to be nervous and make mistakes, but it's not OK to lose your composure out there. He had no problem giving Melky the job in CF, if only the blue clear clouds in the Bronx didn't get in his way of seeing and tracking the ball properly. I think too many times Torre gets labeled as someone who only trusts "experienced players" - which I really don't get - well, just like in the real world if you trust a younger inexperienced worker and he/she effs up the task then you have no other choice to not give them the same responsibilities again. I think the same principals apply in sports.

2006-02-01 06:56:36
56.   DarrenF
Dimelo, you're going back to 1996 to find proof that Torre trusts young players?

Torre FINALLY put Bubba in CF after inexplicably playing BW for months. Do you know that last time BW hit a homerun? August 26th. I think BW had 2 or 3 extra-base hits in September, but Torre would still proclaim daily that "it's Bernie's time of year" or something dopey like that.

I really don't know why Alan Embree pitched in every other game in the pennant stretch last year ... or why Al Leiter made more playoff appearances than Mariano Rivera. Maybe it's Joe's bias in favor of "experience" or maybe it's his bias in favor of lefties. Whatever the reasons, the decisions do not hold up under scrutiny.

I definitely think Buddy Groom had a point on his way out the door. If you're not one of "Joe's guys," you don't get a chance. If you are one of "Joe's guys," then he'll trust you no matter what. That's probably more to the point than a youngster/veteran analysis.

Best example I can think of? Joe's loyalty to David Cone in 2000 literally almost cost the Yankees a World Series title.

Why did Torre stick with Cone & BW & K. Brown? Why does Torre call Sojo a "lucky charm" with a straight face? If you ask Torre, he'll tell you it's "experience." This may be a red herring because the Truth is too Awful to Imagine. But if you're asking "where people get the idea," it's from the horse's mouth.

2006-02-01 07:09:56
57.   Dimelo
Wasn't it Torre that trusted Cano? Again, wasn't it Torre that WANTED, REALLY WANTED, to trust a confused Jose Contreras? Torre gave the job to Shane Spencer in 2001, but he couldn't hit worth a lick. I'm not saying Torre isn't loyal to SOME players - he very well should be, there's still a human element to the game - but I think his philosophy is simple. If you produce when I call on you, then expect me to trust you more-and-more. Look at Sturtze in 2004 and the early parts of 2005, then look at Sturtze at the end of 2005. Some say is Torre's handling of the bullpen that burned out Sturtze, I say it was Torre going with the person he trusted which led to the burnout of Sturtze.

If Colter Bean or some other said player becomes more reliable than Farnsworth, then Torre is going to set-up his pen, lineup, etc, with the players he trusts. I have no problem with a person trusting another human being with an important task. I wouldn't want him giving players a shot just for the heck of it and only to see them falter and cost the Yankees games.

2006-02-01 07:46:38
58.   DarrenF
I think his philosophy is far more complicated than that. His philosophy factors in loyalty, pride, psychology, gut feelings, etc. Perhaps most of all, Torre values a player's perceived ability to handle pressure. This would naturally suggest a bias towards experience, but sometimes he obviously has no choice.

If you don't believe Torre puts a premium on an ability to handle pressure, you've never seen him interviewed by Nobel Laureate Kim Jones on the postgame show. "Pressure" and a player's "comfort level" are really the only things he talks about. (In all seriousness, it wouldn't shock me if that's all BS for the press and he just makes his decisions based on a gut feeling. Because usually when he chooses an experienced player for a role, he's benching another experienced player.)

I don't think, for example, that Torre busted down doors to get Cano and Wang on the team. Pitchers got hurt, a crisis emerged in CF, and they couldn't even beat Tampa Bay.

David Cone was 4-14 with a 6.91 ERA in 2000. Joe Torre brought him in in he fifth inning of a World Series game to pitch to Mike Piazza. I'm sure you remember this. Whatever heuristics were used to make that decision, it was not "David Cone has been producing when I call on him."

I'd say in the case of Sturtze & Leiter & Embree (& Groom & Orosco & Stanton & every other revolving bullpen person), Torre's philosophy is to ignore matchups and stats entirely and to get the player in there to "see what he can do."

"Let's see if Randy Choate can get out right handed batters." What do you know? He definitely can't. But at least now we know.

Torre is constantly giving players shots, seeing them falter, and costing Yankees games. But I also think it's fair to say that Colter Bean has not been giving as many "chances to fail" as veteran pitchers, such as Embree, Leiter, Stanton, Cone, Nelson, etc.

2006-02-01 08:10:44
59.   Dimelo
If you are going to criticize Torre's "over-emphasis" on experience, "ability to handle pressure", "comfort level", etc, etc. Then you have to say how having that in his (Torre) character makeup has also helped the Yanks. For example, Pettite's 99 season when the Tampa crew wanted to trade Pettite for not performing up to par and Torre went to bat for the man. Or how about with Giambi this year? Or how about with Strawberry, Gooden, Jeter and his horrible start in 2004, Paul O'Neil, etc, etc. I remember when Torre brought in Piazza in the 5th, I was nervous as shit and when Cone got the job done I was happy for him and I was also happy Torre had the gall to trust him. I know when I play sports I feel much better if my coach and teammates trust me if I'm running a post route in football, or if sharp one hopper is hit at me while I'm manning 3rd base. No matter at what level, it's a mind game first and then talent takes over. It's always easy to be the critic, but as Teddy Roosevelt said…"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better". No decision is ever w/o a better alternative, however, sometimes you just have to accept that this might be as good as it might get.

You see these very same things you label as a character flaw have produced some very good outcomes. You can't have one and not mention the alternative - the actual good that has come out of his penchant to "trust" certain players and Buddy Groom was pissed because he wasn't one of them. I wouldn't trust Buddy Groom to change the coffee pot at my job, let alone face David Ortiz in a crucial spot.

2006-02-01 13:09:12
60.   brockdc
First and foremost, Torre trusts guys with "proven" track records. If that means that he's going to start a burned-out David Cone in a crucial playoff game, so be it - he did it for us in the past, he can do it again!

If that means he has to pull Tony Womack out of position and insert him into CF in favor of Bubba Crosby, so be it - Womack was a World Series hero and, therefore, a "proven" winner.

If that means sending down Andy Phillips after one bad game, so be it - Andy Phillips was given an opportunity and spit the bit. He is, therefore, NOT a proven winner. Ditto for Colter Bean.

This is not to say Torre is stupid - just stubborn. Remember, the Cano situation was thrust upon him.

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