Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Here's the New York Times' second half-preview for our Bronx Bombers. And, following-up on something that Cliff mentioned in the comments section earlier this week, a human interest piece by Anthony McCarron about Johnny Damon overcoming his stuttering problem.
Nope, pitching wins championships. They have plenty of sticks just with Arod, Jeter, Damon, Posada, and Giambi. Abreu would be a nice addition, but only if it's not at the expense of getting a solid pitcher.
Look at the 2002 Yanks. They were definitely the better pitching staff.
Numerous articles have been written about how the demand for pitching throughout MLB far outstrips the supply.... especially with 20 teams 6 games or less out of the running... many of whom need pitching themselves. Evenone knows how little we have to give compared to other teams, and that money is our only bargaining chip.
Many knew in the offseason that it was important to re-sign Matsui... and it wasn't for his defense. Yet now we are without Matsui AND Shef, and some people think we can simply ignor that.
We started out 1st in RS in the AL. We were second for quite a while. We are now 4th... and Toronto is just behind us.
We are 4th in ERA and 3rd in BAA. Boston is 8th in ERA. With a little luck, we will soon have Dotel, which will be like a great midseason trade for pitching.
From the start of the season, we knew our pitching was a question. But we knew our bats would blast us into the PS. Our (overall) pitching has been a pleasant surprise. But our offense now has some serious, serious holes.
Damon and Posada could both go down. No one would be surprised. We have no bench at all. There is nobody that can pinch hit.
Cliff and Alex: I wish you guys would dedicate a post to this. We need your opinions, stats and a forum to discuss this in detail, and maybe put it to bed (although I believe Cashman will be doing that soon).
I also think the Astros rotation was better than the White Sox rotation. Oswalt, Pettite, Clemens and Backe I thought was better than Contreras, Bueherle, Garland and Garcia.
Maybe it's a toss-up.
Besides the obvious need for more offensive power, that additional bat would lengthen the lineup, thus taking a little more pressure off of the shoulders of Arod and Giambi and, probably most importantly, save the arms of our starters and bullpen.
What better way to lessen the load on guys like Farnsworth, Every-Day Proctor, and Villone than some more 9-run blowouts by our offense.
Anothert bat will help our pitchers just as much as it would help the offense score runs.
Cashman, are you listening?
Re: getting a bat vs getting a pitcher. I'll grant that availability of decent pitching is pretty slim right now, but has anyone really considered the availablility of decent hitters?
Off the top of my head, here are the teams that are out of it and might want to trade a bat:
11 teams. 2 in the AL East and not likely to make an intra-division trade, leaves 9. The Marlins aren't likely to trade any of the useful bats they have; 8. KC and the Cubs have no useful hitters to trade, as discussed here before; 6.
Of those 6 teams left (Seattle, Indians, Nats, Phils, Braves, Pirates), here's the bats that might be available who might be worth getting:
Ibanez, Soriano, Abreu, Burrell, Dellucci, Andruw Jones, Craig Wilson
We know the asking price for Soriano will be too high (ie, Hughes). We can presume the same is true for Andruw, and Abreu and Burrell UNLESS the Phils treat them as salary dumps. Ibanez, Dellucci, and Wilson can likely be had on the cheap. Wilson is likely to be useful, but I'm less sure of Dellucci (we've seen him before) and Ibanez (age: 34; under contract for 2 more years).
DISCLAIMER: List is not exhaustive and your intrepretation of "worth getting" might differ from mine.
That said, who's this bat the Yanks are going to get/should get, and just what are they giving up to get him? 'Cause I see pretty slim pickins out there.
I agree, we can't get just anyone we want. We won't let Hughes go, unless it's for a Zito or Willis type. We need to target guys who are
1) Free agents to be
2) Salary dumps
We also have some mid-level talent. 2 to 3 years away. We might be able to gangle them to a team thats cooked now, but building for the future (TB... Braves... who else)
It ain't a huge field, but we only need one.
And while I believe an impact pitcher will be impossible to get (except in trade for Hughes), we can get a #5 guy for lesser minor league talent. As I said, if we simply had a league average guy instead of Chacon, we would probably be tied with Boston now.
We need an AVERAGE pitcher for the #5 slot, but one who can eat innings, and maybe be long relief, if by miracle, Good Chacon/Pavano/Farm help appears.
Again... the dabate should not be what do we need more.. good pitching or an impact bat.
It should be: What is the greatest value deal we can do given the circumstances of what we have to give and what we can realistically get.
By the way...CLIFF and ALEX. Post Topic:
If Bonds (is not in jail and) plays next year, it will be an as AL DH. In that capacity, he may well break Aaron's record.
Will he be wearing a Yankee hat at that time?
"Good pitching beats good hitting everytime.
That said, the Nats can use all the help they can get in terms of building up their farm system, so I think Sori's price will be high. Especially with Jim Bowden and a new ownership group that needs to sell the team involved.
By no means an e-ticket to October, Cashman's old friend Jon Lieber should be obtainable from the Phillies without depleting the farm if the Phillies are, indeed, sellers.
Lieber's a Bronx-proven innings-eater, which the Yanks are definitley going to need during the long, hot August (Tor, ChiSox, Red Sox, Tigers).
It'll be fantatic if Dotel meets expectations, but how much should we expect off the bat from a Tommy John patient?
Yanks need a #4 starter every bit as much as they need a #5 (Abreu?) hitter. Lieber, he of the pedestrian first half, would cost considerably less in $ and prospects, and would reverse one of Cashman's recent regrets.
I think the Phillies will demand Duncan for Abreu.
The NJ Star-Ledger has a great write up on Duncan today. Might want to read it before he's a Phillie.
ERA $mil Player
4.31 8.30 Kris Benson (Orioles)
4.85 3.75 Rodrigo Lopez (Orioles)
5.13 2.00 Cassey Fosum (TB)
3.76 3.00 Guillermo Mota (Indians)
4.37 4.25 Jake Westbook (Indians)
4.23 7.00 Paul Byrd (Indians)
4.50 4.15 Kip Wells (Pirates)
4.89* 9.00 Gregg Maddux (Cubs)
* this years ERA - Lifetime Stud
Also, Jay Gibbons makes $4.2 for the Orioles, with a Lifetime OPS of .783.
Really, wouldn't you like to see Anna Benson in a Yankee uniform? Maybe she will threaten to fuck every Yankee if Kris is a bad boy. That whould be worth 3 wins!
In their last 20 games, the Yankees have scored 3 runs or fewer 10 times. That's not going to win many games, which is why I think they need a hitter more than a pitcher. They've actually got four starters pitching well right now, even if one of them doesn't pitch well for very long.
I like Anna Benson bringing the off-speed stuff out of the bullpen. Pinch runner, too. Who would stop her?
For example, out first series with Oakland.
W 15-2... L 4-3... L 9-4
RS = 22 = 7.33/game... RA = 15 = 5.00/game
Looks good in the stats, but we lost 2 of 3.
Yes, I 'picked thru' to find this example, but I just wanted to demonstrate that purely looking a RS for a team with a lot of blowouts, distorts the picture some.
Batters are easier to find, cheaper, and play every day. The observation that the Yankee offense is still above average w/o Sheffield & Matsui is seldom countered with the observation that the Yankee pitching is similarly above average without Pavano.
Is that the Yankee goal? Above average? Because they already are.
Without a solid bat added to the lineup, I'd guess they win about 88 games and fight Toronto for second place. Which is also above average.
Neither a pitcher nor a batter is going to guarantee a WS title. Given the current state of the team, I'd definitely prefer a bat.
At first glance, this means that the Nats have the Wild Card in their plans and Soriano aint going anywhere. That means a Yankee-reunion in July '06 is out of the questions.
That's one less bat available for Cashman.
Too bad the Yanks couldn't have traded for Kearns. I'd be surprised if Bowden moves him - he's one of Bowden's guys.
Guys, say what you will about Ponson, but he is definitely an upgrade over Chacon. Signing him doesn't mean he's their final answer for the starting staff, just a placeholder. And, it might make Chacon expendable to be traded along with some minor leaguers for an OF or more starting help.
But what I took from it was that we don't need to get an ace or a big bat. Chacon and Bernie, and to a lesser extent, MelkDud, are so bad that replacing them with average players might be all we need.
tredrsf ytwrq dasctkl Ponson rkwlrew vbsbasn ajdffjdsl fat useless ljfsafd rwouwene eqwfadsm
unpopster, are you sure about that? Their numbers looks awfully similar, except for ERA (Sidney's isn't as bad as Shawn's), which could possibly be attributed to the differences between leagues.
Both homer-prone, both walk-happy, both with poor K rates - I don't think I'd call this an upgrade.
That said, I hate him, its visceral. I hated him last year when he was on the Orioles. If he wins some games for us that's fine, but I can't see myself rooting for the guy.
It's all perception. With Chacon or any other joker as the #5 starter, other GM's know they have Cashman over the proverbial barrel. However with Ponson in the rotation, maybe Cashman can actually negotiate from a position of strength.
And, to be honest, I prefer another bat to another SP. I think they could promote Mendoza, or Steven White, and do just fine out of the 5-hole. Or let Rasner have it whenever he comes back from whatever it is that's bothering him.
I suppose IF Ponson pitches well and then maybe IF Cash can deal him for a bat . . . but if that's not major wishcasting, I don't know what is.
But why not give White a shot?
And it does make it look like me don't need an ace that much.
Kearns, Huff... some decent meat going by the boards.
A bag of balls it is.
Thanks for the info on Rasner, randym - I had no idea his injury was that bad.
45 He probably signed for a two six-packs of Bud Lite and a get-out-of-jail-free-card...
If Ponson fails then he can't do much worse than Chacon has done lately. If he succeeds big time then "Hello Aaron Small Version 2.0". And if he is just plain mediocre, then he's still better than Chacon.
Again, it's the very definition of a no-risk gamble.
I still think Cashman has his eyes on another starting pitcher and an OF bat. I smell David Delluci!
Who has no respect for and doesn't like the Yankees or their great tradition. Who is mean, nasty, rude and ugly to boot. Who, if not for Big Stein, might still be every-so-handsome in his mullet... who is a multimillion, but a whore for Yankee money that pays him well beyond his usefulness... who has such as ego that at 42, he has yet to see his demise and develope another pitch and make adjustments that might prolong his usefulness... who can't even get along with Posada, who as much as any Yankee, has made this team what it is.
Yup... RJ is a real bastard...
but if he wins for us...
I like him
(because I'm just a whore too.. for Yankee wins, that is).
As much as I hate to agree with ESPN. I just don't see us picking up a significant bat or front line pitcher.
I think Cashman was a fool to say "the Yanks aren't a post-season team" to the press. That may or may not be true, but the players and fans don't need to hear that fron the front office.
That being said, I rather like this "underdog" status the Yankees seem to have takin on in the press. This or that outlet preaching that we aren't making the PS.
Living in LA now and having lived through the 2003 Laker season, it's not always a good thing to be "expected" to win, as the Tankees were last year.
I thought the Yankees might get Soriano, but their deal today certanly muddies the waters. I know he wants to come back, and you would think he would welcome a multi-year deal following the season. Especially given Sheff's likely departure. Let's hope he is voicing this want to the Nationals front office.
I still think we will plug a hole here or there with mediocre talent and that's it. If we can just hang in within 4 or 5 games of Boston leading up to Sheff and Mats return, I like our chances.
Speaking of no-risk gambles and your idea that Cashman has his eyes on another starting pitcher and OF bat, maybe we can kill two birds with one stone: I smell Jose Canseco (or did someone just pass gas in my office???)
BTW, Just in case Cashman is reading this and gets any ideas, I'm just kidding about Canseco (although he could settle the arguments about whether we need a pitcher or an OF since he claims to be able to do both).
Also,is it completely unthinkable to call up Hughes for a start or 2?
Manny's knee looks fine. What a piece of work he is.
Especially given our schedule coming out of the break, ugh!
"After the 2003 season, he(Ponson) was made a knight by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. (Aruba is a colony of the Netherlands.) This has earned him the nickname "Sir Sidney.""
Mazzili must know something about Ponson, and I am sure Cashman at least discussed him with Maz. Who knows, maybe it works out??
Besides, I don't think he's ready. He really got lit up in the Futures game. Maybe it was just nerves...but he's going to be even more nervous in the Bronx.
Did anybody think, late in the off-season, that Damon would be our CF'er? This blog was full of 'what Bubba might do' comments. Cash even had us fooled.
How about ARod? After Boston's failure, this was one of the great moves of all time.
Man-of-Cash is stupid like a fox!!
Well, we'll just have to see about that.
That should be all the Sox need aganist the sorry A's. Just give us Zito Beane, you guys are going nowhere!
Also re: Arod. That wasn't a move that took a brain surgeon. Boston for some reason thought that Texas would trade Manny for Arod, basically staight up, saving Texas almost no money. Boston blew that deal and the Yankees were the only team willing to take on the contract. He did nothing majical.
And remember the Yankees are only paying about $16M a year of A-Rod's actual $25M (average annual) pay check, so although they may have been the only team to swallow that kind of deal, Steinbrenner still is paying A-Rod less than Jeter, so Cashman did something right.
That may have been what Boston used as their excuse. The reality was they weren't willing to part with enough cash to make the deal pallatable for Texas. Boston knew, as does everyone who follows contract negotiations and the Players Association, there was no way in hell the MLBPA was going to allow that deal to be restructured, no matter what Arod or Boston wanted. That was just more Loria face-saving.
I'm not saying it wasn't a good deal, all I am saying is that it wasn't rocket science, and attributable more to Boston bumbling than Cash creativity.
Stormer Sports, actually you are wrong. Cashman was praised throughout baseball for the stealth that he used to pull off that deal. Everyone was convinced that Boston would still pull off the deal for Rodriguez by Spring training when the Yankees came out of nowhere and got him. You can't take away Cashman's credit for one of the best deals in baseball.
Tell me about it. Boston just does what they are supposed to do, beat the middle of the road and poor teams, while slapping around the NL. The Yankees can be forgiven for splitting, or even losing series to top AL squads, but blowing games to the lower tier is what will keep us out of the playoffs.
Also, I didn't buy it then and I don't buy it now. Sure, the negotiations weren't out in the open, but I sure as heck thought then that Boston was being unreasonable, and that the Yankees would figure something out. Manny for Arod straight up with little cash, seriously, come on. It took a little creatitivity to get it done, but Boston made that all possible by asking for things they knew they couldn't get from the MLBPA and not offering Texas the salary dump they were looking for. There were maybe 1 or 2 teams out there willing to take on even the 16 mil. that we did. I stick to my guns on this one.
Being praised throughout baseball and by baseball writers isn't exactly winning the nobel prize. They aren't the greatest minds.
Sarcasm is my friend. Very funny. I'm not Kreskin for crying out loud.
Hey, did the Oakland Athletics-- a team, sitting in an area holding two of the most populous and wealthy counties in the United States--just score a couple runs? If Billy Beane can convince writers and fans that they are in a small market, they might just be able to win this game after all.
Maybe the A's can compete if they could just move to a metropolis like Milwaukee, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Arlington, Pittsburgh, or even San Diego.
Hell, it just might be the franchise's utter refusal to build a new stadium and sign a couple big name players for some of the most loyal fans in baseball, hmm.
Sorry, I hate Billy Beane with every ounce of my being. He does an utter disservice to teams that actually do play in small markets and I find it disingenuous and irresponsible. Not to mention that if Bill James is more important to you than Jason Giambi, Mark McGuire, Jose Canseco, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder, you truly are a putz. The guy doesn't even watch the game for few it may scew his sabermetric hard-on. That cannot be good for baseball, no matter how accurate those formulas may be from time to time.
BklynBmr, turns out that you were so right. :)
He's BABIP doesn't particularly suggest luck.. it's actually been slightly unlucky, and being a lefty with good pick off helps but he has unbelivable LOB%, that can't keep up.
I think he is going to be more or less a effective back end starter for Boston this year, just don't count on him to be a top gun for now.... he's got decent zip and breaking stuff though, he looks a bit like Cole Hamels of the Phillies... whom isn't working out so well so far....
After tonight, Lester has thrown 37.1 innings, giving up 35 hits and a whopping 25 walks, for a total of 60 baserunners in 37+ innings...and he is 4-0??? WOW!
If the Sox fans think their team has found the next Chin-Ming Wang, they're in for a rude awakening.
I think he can. Maybe not this year, but I like his stuff and his composure. He has some control issues, but I think he'll be a solid starter.
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