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The Next Best Thing?
2006-10-10 15:43
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Eastward Ho, boys.

Comments (63)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-10-10 16:17:24
1.   randym77
LoHud is reporting that Matsuzaka is being posted.
2006-10-10 16:22:31
2.   Harley
Well, with Torre staying, and A-Rod not on the block, the changes will be less earthshaking than anticipated. So let's start with this one. Matsu-mania!!
2006-10-10 16:23:40
3.   vockins
Matsuzaka, OK.

NO ZITO.

Is nozito.com available? I might have to check that out.

2006-10-10 16:30:44
4.   Ken Arneson
4 NoZito.com is indeed available!
2006-10-10 16:41:20
5.   randym77
I can't get too excited over Hot Stove season yet. I'm still in mourning for this season. Sometimes, I can almost understand why Hunter Thompson killed himself when football season was over. It's even worse with baseball. They play almost every day, so it really becomes a part of your life, in a way once-a-week football can't.

One year ago today, the Yankees' 2005 season ended, with a Game 5 loss to those pesky Halos...

2006-10-10 16:42:31
6.   bobtaco
OK, say for instance that Seattle or the Angels post more than the Yankees. Then what?

Older Unit, Older Moose, and some less than top tier free agents.

They better go all out and get him, and he better be as good as advertised.

I still would rather have him than Zito. But then again, I always would go for what's behind Door #2 rather than the $100 that Monty Hall had in his hand...

Feels kind of like the Monty Hall paradox...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Hall_problem

2006-10-10 16:44:31
7.   yankz
Look, Zito is not the Sandy Koufax. Maybe not even late 90's David Wells. We get it. But who would you rather have? Matsuzaka, yes. But we can't count on that. Would you rather we hope Unit, Wright, and Pavano turn a corner? He just costs money- and where would you spend that money if not on starting pitching?
2006-10-10 16:49:21
8.   bobtaco
7 Yeah, but that problem is tying up big dollars for a pitcher that probably doesn't put the team over the hump.
2006-10-10 16:50:43
9.   vockins
4 Can I set up a proxy for Yankees fans/management only? I'd be fine with him going to Boston.
2006-10-10 16:52:08
10.   vockins
7 All of that will be explained on NoZito.com.
2006-10-10 17:10:30
11.   Harley
Goldman nails it again. Sigh. Not that it matters.

http://www.nysun.com/article/41272

2006-10-10 17:17:38
12.   Schteeve
11 I'm not sure that Goldman nails anything, he called A-Rod the most "versatile and reliable slugger." Reliable? On what bizarro planet?

Look, sportswriters are idiots. Because none of these fools wants to write about why the Yankees have lost all ability to hit in the post season.

They want to write about soap operas and persnality clashes and all that other crap. How about writing about the fact that pitchers on opposing teams are pitching to a very specific gameplan and the Yankee hitters aren't adjusting. How about writing about that, because I guarantee you that that has more to do with the Yanks early exit than whether Derek and Jason like Alex. They can all teabag each other for all I care as long as they stop taking fastballs for strikes, and swinging at breaking balls in the dirt, in the post season!!!!

2006-10-10 17:28:01
13.   RIYank
Schteeve, did the Tigers not employ the gameplan in the first game, or did they use it but it failed?
2006-10-10 17:28:39
14.   Harley
Schteeve..

I'm going to assume you're not familiar with Goldman's work. As for his assessment regarding A-Rod, it's made without the usual fanboy bias/envy. He's just looking at performance numbers, and judging A-Rod accordingly, not only as the team's third basement, but also as a player whose exit would require a replacement. (And a resulting loss of runs created.) You want to find out what books A-Rod has in his locker? Read the NY Times. Goldman is interested in the only thing that matters. Production and how it relates to the team's success or failure.

As for the Yank's gameplan, I don't disagree. Tho' we're talking about a pretty small sample -- three games, to be exact -- and the failure of the starting pitching had as much or more to do with the end result.

2006-10-10 17:29:38
15.   Harley
The team's "third basement"...

Oops. Wisdom in typos?

2006-10-10 17:36:58
16.   Schteeve
14 I don't think that "reliable" is a word that is borne out by stats when it comes to A-rod. That was my beef with the Goldman piece.

I also think it's a bigger sample size, going back to the Red Sox debacle a few years ago. That was the tipping point, when all of a sudden the vaunted Yankee lineup lost any ability to put up meaningful offensive outbursts.

As for Game One against Detroit, I think the game plan was in place and I think Robertson didn't execute it because he had trouble with his control early.

All my ranting about scouting and gameplanning is pretty theoretical, to really prove it, I need to dive into the stats as well as probably watch pitch by pitch tape of each of the last 10 Yankee post season games.

But I don't think the Yankees have lost because they don't care, or they don't like each other, I think they have lost because they are being outsmarted, and I'm not sure it's managerial outsmarting as much as it is outsmarting at the scouting level.

Maybe, because they have superstar hitters they don't oranizationally feel the need to do a lot of advanced scouting or gameplanning, but if that's the case it's pretty clear they are wrong.

At the end of the day, I'm sick of reading sportswriters accounts of the Yankees post season failure because it seems to me they know next to nothing about the REAL reasons why the Yankees have failed.

2006-10-10 17:46:02
17.   Schteeve
and that "Third Basement" typo was pretty hilarious.
2006-10-10 17:58:18
18.   Start Spreading the News
16 Yanks lost because A-rod is not the Babe. The Babe could have pitched in the postseason.

All kidding aside. What is your definition of "reliable?" Whatever it is, I am sure it is different from Goldman's.

If I had to guess, Goldman's is "someone who performs well year to year." By that standard, A-rod is reliable. He had a down year and posted a better OPS than MVP Jeter. True, A-rod didn't hit in the post-season. But that was 3 games this year. You want to go back to last year. That was another 5 games in a year where he put up MVP numbers.

You want to go back the year before to 2004? He was THE man against the Twins and did pretty well against the Sox in the first three games. All the Yanks failed in the next four games of that series. Go back further -- he was pretty good with Seattle in the post season.

If you want to cherry pick from Game 4 of 2004 to now, that is a total of 17 postseason games where he sucked. But in the meantime, he was pretty good all the other times. And you can "rely" on him to get you to the postseason, even if he is unreliable once you get there. But getting there is important too.

2006-10-10 17:59:19
19.   Harley
Schteeve...

Fair enuf. But the Yankees didn't seem to have any difficulty sticking to a game plan during the regular season -- in fact, their ability to do so (grinding out at bats, wearing down starting pitchers, etc.) was almost always the first thing cited about the team's ability (not to mention prospects in the playoffs).

The error in that, of course, is that none of that matters much if your starting pitching sucks.

And finally? There is no scout or gameplan in the universe that accounts for Kenny Roger's performance -- and you can't put all of that on the Yankee hitters (tho' it's tempting).

Okay, one more. Goldman's done this himself, but the numbers re A-Rod and reliability are better than you think. And believe me, when the Chone Figgins era begins?

Arggh.

2006-10-10 18:07:45
20.   vockins
Are you guys checking out The Barry Zito Experience? Not too pretty, is it?
2006-10-10 18:30:53
21.   vockins
I go out and register nozito.com, then Barry does all the work for me. Dude owes me $14.95
2006-10-10 18:32:21
22.   RIYank
Zito's costing himself a fortune.
2006-10-10 18:33:24
23.   RIYank
I don't think he can afford to give you the $14.95.
2006-10-10 18:34:07
24.   Bama Yankee
Zito is pitching like he has already been signed by the Yankees...
2006-10-10 18:37:16
25.   RIYank
Was pitching. Barry's gone.

How much do you figure that performance cost him? Could be as much as $30 Mil.

2006-10-10 18:37:26
26.   Paul in Boston
Goldman is both an excellent baseball mind and a superb writer. When he gets discovered he'll have national fame, like Neyer or even more so. He's that good.

We're lucky he writes about the Yanks, and that the Yes Network doesn't shut him down given how critical of the team he can be.

2006-10-10 18:39:48
27.   Bama Yankee
6 Hey bobtaco, I love that Monty Hall Paradox. Although it is hard to explain the correct answer to most people.

BTW, thanks again for all your help this season with solving the FOX blackout paradox.

2006-10-10 18:41:32
28.   mehmattski
It's quite the paradox:

All day, the debate has seemed to settled on the notion that Zito would be okay as a #2/#3 starter, should the price be right. But we also agreed that Boras would drive up Zito's price into the "not no way, not no hell" territory, expecially if he pulls a Beltran in the post season.

But then, he lays an egg in game 1 of the ALCS, and therefore might have a lower price, which would convince many Yankees fans that the signing is worth it.

I am not one of those fans though. Can I be a contributor at nozito.com?

2006-10-10 18:47:38
29.   unpopster
Is it just me or did everyone who is epcting see Matsuzaka in pinstripes next year miss this little tidbit from the ESPn article:

"Matsuzaka is still one year away from becoming a free agent."

Mike Francessa was discussing matsuzaka today and also pointed out that the Yanks may be able to pay for the rights to negotiate w/ Matsuzaka this offseason, but he won't be available to play in Major League Baseball until 2008!!!

So, looks like we're back at a Zito/Schmidt bidding war over the next couple of months.

2006-10-10 18:50:10
30.   RIYank
Jeez, that's a good point.
Maybe now the Yankees would merely have to overpay for Zito, instead of outbidding all the other overpayers.
Very Zen. Zen Zito.
2006-10-10 18:51:37
31.   RIYank
Sorry, 30 was about 28.
Unpopster: the whole point is that if his Japanese team waited until he was a free agent, they would get no compensation for his going to USA/MLB.
2006-10-10 18:56:14
32.   vockins
29 I think the "posting" is giving the Lions cash in exchange for releasing him or something. The Canyon Of Heroes dude is the guy that would know best.
2006-10-10 18:58:39
33.   Mike T
Now I see what everyone's problem is with Zito. He just got lit up by the Tigers.
2006-10-10 19:00:20
34.   bobtaco
27 Yeah, no problem, I hope it works next season too.

30 I still don't want him.

2006-10-10 19:01:48
35.   Harley
As I understand it -- we need Canyon of Heroes Man to sort this out, btw -- posting means you've got to pay the Lions for Matsu's services (as the M's did with Ichiro). Nobody's waiting for '08. The team that ponies up the most money?

That's where he throws next year.

2006-10-10 19:04:00
36.   mikeplugh
29 As usual, Mike and the Mad Dog are wrong. They always think they understand something before they do any in depth research about it. They are literally the only people on the planet reporting that Matsuzaka can't play in the Majors until 2008. How long has the posting system been in play? And they still don't understand it?

Those guys know sports because they watch a ton of games, and have for a long time. They both have friends in high places. That's about the extent of what they know. If you ask them to do any real analysis, or want to hear the scoop on a technicality, they are abjectly clueless until their producers dig up the info FOR them.

Matsuzaka will be posted. Teams will bid. One will win. He will play for that team in 2007. Story over.

2006-10-10 19:05:04
37.   mikeplugh
www.matsuzaka.blogspot.com

Your definitive source for all things Matsuzaka. Spread the word.

2006-10-10 19:09:17
38.   dianagramr
From an espn article ...

"Heading into the offseason, the Yankees must decide whether to exercise options on pitcher Mike Mussina ($17 million or a $1.5 million buyout), outfielder Gary Sheffield ($13 million) and pitcher Jaret Wright ($7 million or a $4 million buyout). The Yankees have until Nov. 5 to decide on Sheffield, Nov. 12 on Wright and Nov. 15 on Mussina."

=================

My question is .... why the different decision dates? Is a specific date written into each contract?

2006-10-10 19:10:11
39.   pistolpete
37 Nice work, Mike - you should call in and edjamecate those two idiots...
2006-10-10 19:11:02
40.   Ken Arneson
21 Where did you pay $14.95? Most places are $9.95.
2006-10-10 19:11:59
41.   Bama Yankee
36 Mike, since you are in the future, go ahead and tell us who gets Matsuzaka ;-)
2006-10-10 19:12:37
42.   bobtaco
I think Nomaas.org was really looking forward to Torre getting fired, have you seen the pictures today? Ouch.
2006-10-10 19:13:45
43.   mikeplugh
39 I think a phone call from Japan to those knuckleheads would cost more than it's worth.

41 Matsuzka is a Yankee. He wins 22 games next year, posting a 2.89 ERA. ;)

2006-10-10 19:16:55
44.   randym77
Scouting...weren't we complaining earlier this year that the Yankees are too dependent on scouting? Hence their inability to hit URPs.

In a fit of masochism, I read through the game thread from last year on this day. When we were eliminated last season. It's almost funny, how similar the reactions were. Many of us said the exact same things last year as we said this year.

I have to say, though, last year they went down fighting. Nothing seemed to work out, but they tried. Balls died on the warning track. Torre called a hit and run, Bernie missed the signal, and Cano was thrown out by a mile. Then Bubba hit an RBI single...which would have been a 2 RBI single, if not for that botched hit and run. Later on, our pal Joe West called Cano out for running inside the line. (What a jerk that guy is.) The heart of the order could never do anything when it counted.

There were some nice plays, too. Matsui had the best one. He leaped into the stands, and came out with the ball. Unbelievable. No one even realized he made the catch until he threw it in. And Bubba stole 2B on what turned out to be a pitchout; Molina is no Posada. Jeter and Bernie ran on Vlad's arm. He was so astounded they would even try it that they made it.

And Jaret Wright, not even in the post-season roster, was waiting in Chicago, in case we won.

2006-10-10 19:19:02
45.   vockins
40 dotster.

It's all right. I'm a Yankees fan, I'm used to overpaying.

2006-10-10 19:55:14
46.   wsporter
43 Thanks Mike, Now that I know how that works out I'd like to know if that future thing works only with Japanese guys or does it work with everybody? Is it today there yet? Are you from the future? How do tech. stocks look next year?

BTW you broke that Matsuzaka story here at least 6 hours before the AP wire picked it up. Nice work man and thanks for the info and analysis.

2006-10-10 19:59:53
47.   weeping for brunnhilde
44 That was a most enjoyable recap, thanks.

It's amazing how much of that I'd totally forgotten but most of it made me think, "That's right, I remember that!"

You know which part I did remember, though, without prompting?

You guessed it, a certain 5-4-3 that ignited a primal bloodlust in my soul. Poor man.

And btw, what's a URP?

2006-10-10 20:07:18
48.   wsporter
47 URP = Unknown Rookie Pitcher? Puke?
2006-10-10 20:08:03
49.   yankz
47 I swear I called that 5-4-3. I knew Captain would deliver.
2006-10-10 20:10:14
50.   randym77
Yes, it's "Unknown Rookie Pitcher." The guys who always seem to spank us.

Though the known rookie pitchers don't do so badly, either...

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-10-10 20:37:11
51.   randym77
Poor A-Rod. I remember they were all trying to buck him up that night. Torre was saying he was just too anxious and needed to relax. The other players, the coaches, and Torre were hugging him, rubbing his shoulders, talking to him, etc., trying to get him to loosen up. He still went 0 for 4.

It really was maddening, all the little things that went wrong. That collision in the outfield (which generated extremely heated discussion here on the Banter). That call on Cano. The botched hit and runs. And A-Rod's DP. They got three hits in the ninth inning; if not for A-Rod's DP, the game could have been won. Unlike Game 4 this year, last year, the series was in reach.

2006-10-10 22:02:24
52.   Stormer Sports
Well, I am happy the way the press conference went today.

All things considered, I think it was the right way to go.

However, riddle me this. Here it Torre's take:

On whether anything could have been done to avoid the loss to Detroit: "Adjustments? I don't know. We have to see what the team looks like coming in. As far as Wang, I left him back in New York after Game 1. I said to him and Guidry, "If we lose tomorrow, you have to stay here even if we go win Game 3, we still have to send you home in case. You're gonna stay back here and a big part of that — and I know there were big questions about him pitching Game 4 — then who would pitch Game 5? He has never pitched this many innings in his life, so his well-being was in question. He is going to be a part of this for a long time."

This is my only real problem with the guy. I can almost deal with the bullpen management, given the junk we have out there. But why is our manager worrying about game 5 starters during an elimination game? I will go to my grave beliveing that I am right on this one. I know it might not have changed the outcome, but how you don't start your ace on 3 days rest, worrying about a game that may not happen the next day is beyond my comprehension. At least Wang gives us 4 or 5 good innings, then you can go to Wright or whomever, if injury is what you're "really" worried about. And who goes in game 5? Maybe a young man named Mike Mussina, with Bruney, Proctor, and Johnson available, sounds like a good plan to me. In fact, it sounds like the only plan to me.

Can anyone put forth an even borderlibe coherent argument to that?

Not everyone can just walk to the mound, chat a little, sit back down, and have your pitcher strike out the next two batters. Hats off to you, Mr. Leyland. Go punish the moneyball wanna bees. Mr. Beane: scouting finds the likes of Mulder, Zito, Hudson, Street, Blanton, Harden, and Haren for you, not Bill James, and that's why you win, slick. It doesn't have anything to do with those everyday players you refuse to watch play games for you.

2006-10-10 22:12:55
53.   markp
Are you aware that the 96-2000 Yankees were built using the exact same principles as those in Moneyball?
2006-10-10 22:27:45
54.   nick
scouts told Beane not to pick Zito....
2006-10-10 22:29:41
55.   nick
if Joe had thought Moose could pitch game 5, then it'd make sense to start Wang in 4; if not, not...
2006-10-10 23:54:53
56.   Mike N
53 What principles, exactly? As far as I understand it, Moneyball is not about OBP or a sabermetrics-over-traditional-thinking approach, it's about valuating the market as a whole, identifying the elements of the market that are overvalued as well as those that are undervalued, and then getting the most bang for your buck by spending primarily (and thriftily) on those undervalued elements, with the knowledge that you simply can't afford the overvalued ones, regardless of how they might help your team. As far as the Yankees are concerned, they can simply afford to buy the best players, so the need for such bargain shopping is entirely unnecessary.
2006-10-10 23:57:21
57.   joejoejoe
Greg Maddux got 3yrs/$24M in '04 at the same age as Moose. I think Mussina gets his option rejected and a new 3yr deal similar to Maddux.
2006-10-10 23:58:45
58.   Mike N
(Whoops. Obviously I meant to link/reply to post #53 there, but this is my first post here and I botched it. How exactly does one link to other posts?)
2006-10-11 00:30:25
59.   joejoejoe
Put brackets around the comment you want to reference.

[x58] - delete the x

58 - voila

2006-10-11 04:07:58
60.   Mike N
59 Thanks joejoejoe!
2006-10-11 05:21:36
61.   Simone
I like Goldman, but when it comes to Alex Rodriguez, his man crush on A-Rod is as big as some people here. When A-Rod struggles or is being unfairly attack, Goldman puts the blame on Jeter not loving him, Joe not supporting him enough or his other teammates not appreciating him. A-Rod had a good season and struggled in the playoffs. He struggled when he was hitting 6th and then when he was hitting 8th. If A-Rod was so insulted or offended by having to hit 6th and then 8th, perhaps he should have actually hit the ball to prove Joe wrong. If he didn't hit because he was upset as some people suggest then he really is mentally fragile as his critics argue and should be traded. However, I believe that he was just in a slump at the wrong time.

Regardless, the Yankees playoff loss is not his fault. The blame lies mainly with lackluster pitching which was further doomed when the hitters struggled against good pitching. If Mussina had held on to the game 2 lead, the Yankees would have been back at the Stadium for game 5 with Wang on the mound. Wang was their best chance to win this series which is actually sad when you think about it. Mikeplugh's analysis of the Yankees playoff failures on Canyon of Heroes shows how the pitching has been the one consistent problem and he is right.

2006-10-11 05:21:36
62.   Simone
I like Goldman, but when it comes to Alex Rodriguez, his man crush on A-Rod is as big as some people here. When A-Rod struggles or is being unfairly attack, Goldman puts the blame on Jeter not loving him, Joe not supporting him enough or his other teammates not appreciating him. A-Rod had a good season and struggled in the playoffs. He struggled when he was hitting 6th and then when he was hitting 8th. If A-Rod was so insulted or offended by having to hit 6th and then 8th, perhaps he should have actually hit the ball to prove Joe wrong. If he didn't hit because he was upset as some people suggest then he really is mentally fragile as his critics argue and should be traded. However, I believe that he was just in a slump at the wrong time.

Regardless, the Yankees playoff loss is not his fault. The blame lies mainly with lackluster pitching which was further doomed when the hitters struggled against good pitching. If Mussina had held on to the game 2 lead, the Yankees would have been back at the Stadium for game 5 with Wang on the mound. Wang was their best chance to win this series which is actually sad when you think about it. Mikeplugh's analysis of the Yankees playoff failures on Canyon of Heroes shows how the pitching has been the one consistent problem and he is right.

2006-10-11 05:22:07
63.   Simone
Oops, sorry about the double post.

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