Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Help
2006 Post Mortem: Starting Pitchers
2006-11-17 00:51
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

You can find the outfielders here.

Chien-Ming Wang 3.63 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 1.46 K/BB, 33 GS

Although Mike Mussina actually pitched better over the course of the full season, Chien-Ming Wang emerged as the Yankees default ace in 2006, winning 19 games, and fulfilling all of the promise of his strong rookie season. Looking at Wang's monthly splits, he decreased his ERA in each of the first four months of the season, topping out with a 3.03 mark in his five July starts and following that up with eight scoreless innings against the Blue Jays on August 2.

That August 2 start was the later part of a run of 19 consecutive scoreless innings, a streak that was broken when the White Sox scored in Wang's 158th inning of the season. Though somewhat coincidental, that number is not insignificant. In 2005, Chien-MingWang set a career high by throwing 157 innings between triple-A, the majors, and the postseason. Over his first 157 innings of 2006, Wang posted a 3.55 ERA and allowed exactly one base hit per inning and a 1.25 WHIP. Over the remainder of his season and the postseason, Wang posted a 3.80 ERA and allowed 1.24 hits per inning and a 1.44 WHIP.

Curiously, Wang also increased his strike out rate by more than a K per game and dropped his walk rate below 2 per 9 innings after that 157th inning. But then Chien-Ming Wang's strikeout rate is one of the more perplexing statistics in baseball at the moment. For all of his success in 2006, Wang actually experienced a decrease in his already alarmingly low strikeout rate from the year before. In fact, Wang's rate of 3.18 K/9 was the lowest by a 19-game winner since 1980.

That year two men, the A's Rick Langford and another Yankee sinkerballer you may have heard of named Tommy John, won 19 games while striking out 3.17 and 2.65 men per nine innings respectively. Each of these men resembles Wang differently. John was a Yankee hurler adept at inducing groundballs, getting 2.36* grounders for every fly in 1980. Langford, though also a sinkerballer, was less adept at the grounder, getting just 1.11* grounders for every fly that season and an only slightly higher ratio of ground balls in the surrounding seasons. Instead, Langford's success in 1980 had more to do with his good fortune on balls in play (.259 BABIP).

As far as the reasons for his success, Wang is more John than Langford, as he had a fairly typical .293 BABIP in 2006, but boasted the major league's third most extreme groundball rate (3.06 GB/FB). Rather, where Langford resembled Wang was in his relative youth (Langford was 28 in 1980, John was 37) and the sharp increase in the innings he pitched that season. In his first season as A's manager, former Yankee skipper Billy Martin allowed Langford to throw 290 innings in 1980, an increase of nearly a third over his previous career high of 218 2/3 from the year before. Wang's increase in 2006 was even greater, a whopping 43 percent more innings than he'd ever thrown before in a single season (including the postseason, Wang pitched 224 2/3 innings in 2006).

Langford managed to replicate his success in the strike-shortened 1981 season and suffered only a modest drop off in 1982. But despite the strike and his own less-stellar pitching saving him from cracking the 240 innings mark yet again, Langford's elbow went under the knife after the 1982 season and he never again pitched a full season. While some might be tempted to use Wang's extreme efficiency (only Greg Maddux and Roy Halladay threw fewer pitches per inning in 2006) to quell concerns over his workload, it won't work. Wang was as even more efficient in 2005. Given Wang's history of shoulder problems (labrum surgery in 2001 and his DL scare late last season), the Yankees should have been more cautious with his workload this past year.

If Wang's shoulder remains intact in 2007, what should the Yankees expect from their young star? Consider the three other pitchers who induced more than three times as many ground balls as flies in 2006:

  • Brandon Webb won the NL Cy Young in 2006, but he also has an above-average strike-out rate (6.82 K/9 in 2006 and 7.24 career) and his groundball rate was an otherworldly 4.06 GB/FB. Webb resembles the pitcher Wang could be should he return his K rate to it's minor league levels (7.06 K/9) while maintaining his extreme ground ball rate (think also of the Kevin Brown of the late '90s), but otherwise the comparison is of little value.
  • Derek Lowe won 21 games in 2002, his first full season as a starter, with a 3.46 GB/FB and a 5.20 K/9, both figures better than Wang's, the strikeout rate meaningfully so. Lowe, who was 29 that year, also saw a huge jump in innings pitched that season, throwing 219 2/3 after a previous career high of 170 that came nearly six years earlier in the minors. In 2003, Lowe saw his ERA increase by 1.89 runs despite an increase in his groundball rate and a drop in his walk rate. The reason was that Lowe's 2002 season was largely the result of an absurdly low BABIP of .238, a number that reverted to a more typical .298 in 2003. As Wang succeeded this year with a more typical BABIP (league average was .306 vs. .296 in 2002), this comparison doesn't really work either.
  • Jake Westbrook's first full season as a starter came in 2004 when he was 26, Wang's age this past season. Westbrook posted a 3.38 ERA, a 2.72 GB/FB and a 4.84 K/9 that season. He also threw 215 2/3 innings after a previous career high of 173 2/3 four years prior in the minors. In 2005, Westbrook increased his ground ball and strikeout rates, but saw his ERA inflate by 1.11 runs. The difference in Westbrook's seasons was also somewhat the result of BABIP (.277 in 2004 vs. .291 in 2005), though here the comp is better, as there's no reason that Wang's BABIP couldn't shoot a similar amount above league average in 2007, though there's little reason to expect it.

Curiously, Westbrook's BABIP did just that this past season, soaring to .323 in 2006, but his ERA actually dropped, despite his groundball and strikeout rates doing the same. The only explanation I can find for that is a small drop in Westbrook's home run rate. Which brings us to the final secret to Wang's success. While it's simple common sense that ground ball pitchers don't give up many home runs, Wang's 12 homers allowed were easily the least by any qualified pitcher in 2006, as was his rate of one home run per 18.17 innings pitched. Wang was also second in the majors to Westbrook in number of double plays induced.

So, while Chien-Ming Wang didn't strike out very many men in 2006, he did just about everything else right. He kept the ball in the park, worked efficiently and deep into games, kept his walks down, induced a tremendous number of double plays, and succeeded without the benefit of an unusually low BABIP. All of which is eminently repeatable in 2007, provided there's no injury fallout from his increased workload, which was far greater than either Lowe or Westbrook's, both of whom have remained healthy in the years since.

There is one trick Chien-Ming Wang pulled in 2006 that he's unlikely to repeat in 2007, however. In addition to being the 19-game winner with the lowest K/9 in 26 years, he was also the first 19-game winner since his teammate Randy Johnson in 1993 to also record a save.

A-

*1980 ground ball rates courtesy of Baseball Prospectus

Mike Mussina 3.51 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.91 K/BB, 32 GS

After struggling through a pair of disappointing seasons in 2004 and 2005, Mike Mussina stumbled upon a potentially career-saving pitch in spring training. After pitching to Jorge Posada in an intra-squad game, Mike Mussina asked the Yankee catcher how he was able to identify and subsequently demolish a 3-2 changeup. Posada explained that Moose's < a href="http://bronxbanter.baseballtoaster.com/archives/359255.html">grip betrayed the pitch. When Mussina corrected his grip accordingly, he was not only able to disguise the pitch, but could throw it slower and with a better break. The result was a 70-mile-an-hour Bugs Bunny changeup that helped Mussina become the best pitcher in the AL for the season's first two months.

With nearly twenty miles per hour difference between his fastball and change, plus his famous knuckle-curve, Mussina soared to a 7-1 record with a 2.53 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, a staggering 5.38 K/BB ratio in April and May, averaging 6.8 innings per start. Mussina capped off his great two months with a complete game in Detroit in which he shouted Joe Torre back into the dugout after giving up the game's first run with two outs in the ninth, then struck out Carlos Guillen to end the game.

Then, out of nowhere, he reverted to his 2004-2005 form. Over his remaining 20 starts, Mussina averaged less than six innings per game, posted a 4.28 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP, took a late-August trip to the 15-day DL with a reoccurring groin injury, and generally looked like the aging ace who posted a 4.50 ERA and 1.35 WHIP and twice missed time with elbow soreness during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Still, there were signs of improvement even over those final twenty starts. In addition to the slight improvements in WHIP and ERA as compared to his two prior seasons, he maintained improvements strikeout, walk, and home run rates. From the already solid 7.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 3.15 K/BB, and less encouraging 1.18 HR/9 in 2004 and 2005, he improved to 7.9 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 4.64 K/BB and 1.01 HR/9 during the final four months of 2006. What's more, his DL stay had nothing to do with the elbow soreness he suffered in the previous two seasons. Taking that into account along with the lack of affordable alternatives on the marker this winter, the Yankees were wise to re-sign the soon-to-be 38-year-old Mussina for the 2007 and 2008 seasons at what works out to $12 million per year (a two-year, $22.5 million contract plus the $1.5 million buyout on his $17 million option for 2007).

B

Randy Johnson 5.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 2.87 K/BB, 33 GS

When the Yankees traded for Randy Johnson, the Big Unit was coming off a season in which he was clearly the best pitcher in the National League and rivaled Johan Santana as the best starter in the major leagues. Looking over his final few seasons with the Diamondbacks, it appeared to me at the time that, if one were to toss out his 2003 season, which was shortened by knee surgery, Johnson had shown no signs of losing that dominance.

Looking at Johnson's performance since 2003 in the wake of his first two seasons with the Yankees, the statistics tell another story. It's not the injury-shortened 2003 which stands out as an aberration, but that last gasp of dominance in 2004. Dig:


YearERAERA+WHIPK/9BB/9 HR/9
20034.261101.339.872.131.26
20042.601710.9010.621.610.66
20053.791171.138.421.871.28
20065.00881.247.552.631.23

Toss out 2004 and what leaps off the page is a steady decline in strikeout rate and a consistently high home run rate, both of which are consistent with the decreased velocity on his fastball and inconsistent command of his slider which have turned one of the all-time greats into a disappointingly average pitcher.

In 2005, Johnson had his moments of brilliance and caught fire down the stretch, posting a 2.08 ERA and a 2004-like home run rate of 0.62 HR/9 over his final seven starts (this despite a start in Toronto in the middle of that run in which he was ejected in the second inning after allowing a three-run homer in the first). But 2006 was Johnson's worst professional season since he was a twenty-something Seattle Mariner with severe control problems. That was nearly 15 years ago.

That said, he did pitch predominantly well over ten starts from mid-June to early September. In fact, a quicker hook from Joe Torre could have turned a 7 1/3-inning/four-run outing against Cleveland on July 6 into a 7-inning/one-run outing, and an 8-plus-inning/four-run outing against the Tigers at the end of August into an 8-inning/two-run outing. Still, even without those four late-game runs, Johnson's ERA over that stretch would have merely matched his full-season mark from 2005 at 3.79. That's because that stretch also included eight runs in six innings against the Mets on July 1, and nine runs (six earned) against the Devil Rays in 3 1/3 innings at the end of the month.

Throughout 2005 and 2006, opposing hitters and analysts from all sides speculated about Johnson's health, particularly regarding his history of back and knee problems, but Johnson repeatedly insisted he was feeling fine, despite his decreased effectiveness. Then, with the Yankees enjoying a comfortable lead in the AL East, the Yankees skipped Johnson's last regular season start, at which point the newly 43-year-old pitcher was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his lower back. Given an epidural, Johnson made his scheduled ALDS start but, for the second year in a row, punted the crucial third game of the series, contributing mightily to the Yankees' eventual first-round loss.

Johnson underwent successful surgery on October 26 to repair the disk and is expected to be ready for opening day, though according to Brian Cashman, even without a setback, the 43-year-old will be slightly behind schedule during spring training. With Johnson in the final year of his contract and just 20 wins away from a career total of 300, one assumes the hypercompetitive hurler will do everything he can to get back on time, but the range of possible outcomes for a 6'10" 43-year-old coming off back surgery is alarming.

C+

Jaret Wright 4.49 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 1.47 K/BB, 27 GS

When the Yankees signed Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano to expensive multi-year contracts in the winter following the 2004 season, the deals were almost universally panned by Yankee fans and analysts alike. Still, while everyone seemed to realize that the Yankees had made a mistake by signing the two largely unproven and injury prone pitchers, most assumed that Pavano would at least pitch moderately well, even if he was unlikely to be worth the 4-year/$40-plus million deal the Yankees gave him. On the other hand, the $21 million they dropped on Wright seemed like an utter waste, particularly in light of the fact that Wright failed a physical before the contract was finalized, and Jon Lieber, a pitcher the Yankees had hoped to retain, had just signed with Philadelphia for the same amount ($21/3).

Early in 2005, that was the way it went, Pavano was a roughly league average starter over the first three months of the season, while Wright's shoulder went kablooey after just four starts and he hit the DL with a 9.15 ERA. Then things changed. Pavano skipped an early July start with soreness in his right shoulder, then another, then landed on the DL and never returned. Wright, meanwhile, returned to action in late August and posted a 4.70 ERA over nine starts down the stretch. Named the Yankees' fifth starter out of camp in 2006, Wright surprised everyone by not only taking each of his scheduled turns, but also posting an ERA just a tick below league average along the way, eventually moving up to fourth in the rotation's depth chart ahead of Shawn Chacon and company.

The big knock on Wright in 2006 was that he was a five-inning pitcher, and that, even when he pitched well, he forced Joe Torre to get too many innings out of his bullpen. Indeed, Wright averaged almost exactly five innings per start in 2006 (5.05 if you must know) and threw a pitch in the seventh inning of a game he had started just twice all year, both times leaving with one out in the seventh, and the first of those coming on August 31. Still, the Yankees would happily have had a similar performance from Pavano in place of the mess they got from Chacon, Aaron Small, Kris Wilson, Sidney Ponson and Cory Lidle. What's more, there's reason to believe that Wright could have gone farther in several starts, but the Yankees were holding him back to protect his fragile right shoulder. Wright pitched six full innings ten times, each time wrapping up his night with three or fewer runs allowed. In six of those games he threw fewer than 92 pitches. On none of those six occasions was he brought back out to start the seventh inning.

Because of the time he spent on the DL in 2005, the third year of Wright's contract became a $7 million option with a $4 million buyout. The Yankees picked up that option last week and traded Wright to Baltimore with the $4 million for reliever Chris Britton. Here's the final tally for Wright and Pavano after two seasons:

Carl Pavano: 17 GS, 100 IP, 4.77 ERA, 4-6
Jaret Wright: 40 GS, 204 IP, 4.99 ERA, 16-12

And for yucks:

Jon Lieber: 62 GS, 386 1/3 IP, 4.52 ERA, 26-24

C-

The Rest:

Cory Lidle 5.16 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 1.68 K/BB, 9 GS

When the Yankees acquired Lidle in the Bobby Abreu deal at the trading deadline, Brian Cashman let it be known that the inclusion of Lidle was essential to the completion of the deal. Indeed, before Lidle joined the team, the Yankees had not gotten a quality start from the fifth spot in their rotation since Shawn Chacon's May 6 start in Texas. Lidle fixed that in his very first outing as a Yankee, holding the Blue Jays to one run on four hits in six innings. He would then add four more quality starts down the stretch, nearly tripling the total the Yankees had gotten from that spot in the rotation over the season's first four months.

However, Lidle's history of stepping up his game down the stretch didn't repeat itself, as his aggregate numbers as a Yankee were actually worse than what he had done before the trade. Lidle's final appearance came in the deciding fourth game of the ALDS. Relieving Jaret Wright in the bottom of the third with two outs, men on the corners, and the Yankees already down 4-0, he struck out Craig Monroe to end the inning. He then pitched a perfect fourth only to run into trouble in the fifth, allowing four hits to start the inning before getting the hook, the last an RBI double by Carlos Guillen to run the score to 6-0 Tigers.

Four days later, Lidle and his flight instructor were killed when his Cirrus SR20 crashed into the 30th floor of a building on Manhattan's Upper East Side after failing to execute a turn over the East River.

Shawn Chacon 7.00 ERA, 1.79, WHIP, 0.97 K/BB, 11 GS

One of the big questions for the Yankees entering 2006 was what to expect from Shawn Chacon. Had the Yankees indeed rescued Chacon and his curveball from the thin air of Colorado, as it appeared when he posted a 7-3 record and a 2.85 ERA as a Yankee over the final two months of 2005, before winning his first-ever postseason start with his team down two-games to one at home in the ALDS? Was it true that Chacon was the rare flyball pitcher who could consistently suppress his opponent's batting average on balls in play?

After he started the season with a couple of rough outings and two equally poor turns out of the bullpen, Chacon looked to be on his way to recapturing that magic. Over four starts from April 22 to May 11, Chacon allowed just four runs on 18 hits, none of them homers, in 24 1/3 innings despite a typically poor 13:14 K/BB ratio. Unfortunately, in that May 11 game, the same game that saw Hideki Matsui snap his radius, a Mark Loretta comebacker hit Chacon in the shin of his landing leg. Unable to complete his delivery properly, he got lit up in his next start and was promptly placed on the DL. After being reactivated he continued to struggle, and when another disaster start set in motion a 19-1 humiliation in Cleveland on George Steinbrenner's birthday, he was exiled to the bullpen in favor of Kris Wilson and Sidney Ponson. Chacon made four more appearances out of the pen, posting a 8.68 ERA, before Brian Cashman miraculously flipped him to Pittsburgh for the highly touted Craig Wilson at the deadline, while simultaneously filling the fifth spot in the rotation with Cory Lidle.

Jeffrey Karstens 3.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 1.45 K/BB, 6 GS

Karstens began the 2006 season by struggling in his first crack at triple-A, but after a quick stint back in double-A set him on course, he cruised through the International League on his second attempt and became a surprise spot starter for the big club when Mike Mussina went down with a groin injury in late August. Karstens acquited himself well with the Yankees, missing a quality start by one out in his debut, then turning the trick officially in his next two starts. Though Karstens exhibited an alarmingly low strikeout rate (especially compared to his solid minor league career rate of 7.43 K/9) and a disconcerting propensity for fly balls, he managed to go a minimum of five innings in seven of his eight major league outings (six starts, one long relief appearance) while allowing as many as four earned runs in just one of those appearances. His one short outing was a perfect inning of relief on his 24th birthday. He should be allowed to compete with Darrell Rasner for the fifth spot in the rotation next spring.

Darrell Rasner 4.43 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.20 K/BB, 3 GS

Claimed off waivers from the Nationals back in February, the 25-year-old Rasner excelled with the Clippers and looked sharp in his first relief appearance for the big club on June 1. Then, out of nowhere, he landed on the 60-day DL with discomfort in his pitching shoulder. Rasner recovered in time to join the club after rosters expanded in September, however, and made two quality starts and one scoreless long relief apperance before ending the season with a clunker of a start against the Orioles. Currently pitching similarly in the Arizona Fall League (a clunker followed by four scoreless outings and another clunker), Rasner hopes to compete with Karstens for the fifth spot in the Yankee rotation in the spring.

Sidney Ponson 10.47 ERA, 2.02 WHIP, 2.14 K/BB, 3 GS

A desperation signing made just before the trading deadline, Ponson came to the Yankees having pitched his way out of St. Louis. After two starts and a 10.00 ERA, he lost his rotation spot to deadline acquisition Cory Lidle. After two relief appearances and a disaster start in the double-header that opened the Yankees' five-game sweep of the Red Sox in mid-August (the Yanks won the game 14-11), Ponson and his 10.47 ERA were sent packing.

Aaron Small 8.46 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 1.00 K/BB, 3 GS

After a miracle 10-1 season in 2005, this 34-year-old minor league journeyman cashed in with a $1.2 million arbitration settlement last winter. That was the end of this particular fairy tale. Small started 2006 on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury. Activated at the end of April, he struggled in five appearances out of the pen (8.71 ERA) before replacing the injured Shawn Chacon in the rotation. After Small performed even worse in three starts (10.50 ERA), Chacon returned to reclaim his spot. After three more appearances out of the pen, Small was designated for assignment and finished the year pitching poorly for Columbus. A six-year minor league free agent, Small has thrown his last pitch in a Yankee uniform.

Carl Pavano 60-day DL

Who?

Seriously, Carl Pavano did throw a few competitive pitches in 2006. He pitched one inning in spring training, gave up a home run, and landed (literally) on the DL with a tender tuchus. He later made seven rehab starts between Tampa, Trenton and Columbus. I think he even left one or two of them without complaining of arm pain. Along the way he got into a shouting match with a fan and broke a pair of ribs in a car accident he failed to report to the team. Having run out of ways to avoid both active duty and the knife, Pavano eventually opted for the later and had some bone chips removed from his elbow. Given his hijinx in 2006, it wouldn't surprise me if Pavano's plans for 2007 involve high heals, opera gloves, and his continuing quest for a Section 8. Hey, maybe the Yanks can trade him back home to the Mud Hens.

Comments (187)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-11-17 04:25:04
1.   C2Coke
Cliff, that was an amazing write-up. Thank you very much.

And seeing Wang getting a A- grade was pretty awesome.

2006-11-17 04:38:04
2.   Simone
Klapisch's latest hatchet job on Pavano doesn't exactly inspire confidence that he will return and pitch effectively. However, I don't see the Yankees have much choice, but hope that Pavano finds his way back to health and the field next season whatever his emotional disposition.
2006-11-17 04:48:25
3.   C2Coke
Jon Lieber: 62 GS, 386 1/3 IP, 4.52 ERA, 26-24

That yucks alright.

2006-11-17 04:59:39
4.   C2Coke
By the way, I don't think it's unfair there's only a 60-Day DL for what's his name. He deserves something especially designed for him.

Any thoughts? Anyone? Sliced?

2006-11-17 05:22:05
5.   Sliced Bread
Thanks for giving us a substantial read this morning.

Wang is such an interesting cat to analyze, and a joy to watch when he's cruising. I think he throws hard enough to find a knock-out pitch, and will be a horse for us again next season. Considering his assassin's composure on the mound, and good-natured personality in the clubhouse, I sometimes wonder if he could inherit Mo's cutter, and be our next closer. For now, and until 4 better hurlers come along, he's our most valuable pitcher (not named Rivera).

Moose shouting at Joe to sit down and let him finish his job bought him two more years in my book. How great would it be to see him earn that ring?

Relaxed expectations, and a demotion to the bottom of the rotation will surely help the surly Unit. 20 shy of 300 will keep him competitive.

The rest of 'em are a roll of the dice, especially Pavan'ouch. Speaking of Pavan'ouch, thanks for leaving us laughing, Cliff. "Tender tuchus." Heh.

2006-11-17 05:32:45
6.   Yankee Fan In Boston
wow. thanks. that was a great recap.
2006-11-17 05:44:31
7.   bp1
Great analysis, Cliff. You're a tough grader, though, if the #2 in the Cy Young voting only gets an A minus. Is Johann the only A in the class?

And if Mussina "actually pitched better over the course of the full season" than CMW, why'd he get the lower grade? Because of the peaks and valleys of his year?

I can't believe you do this for free here. We're a lucky bunch. Thanks again.

2006-11-17 05:50:16
8.   Alex Belth
Excellent job as always Cliff. Wow, I was kind of surprised to see that Chien-Ming placed second in the AL Cy Young vote. Not bad.

I know a lot of analysts who feel that he's going to regress in '07. Does anyone else here get that feeling too?

2006-11-17 05:55:32
9.   Yankee Fan In Boston
8 i think wang is generally seen as an over-achiever by those who don't have the pleasure of watching him play often. the low K totals unfortunately might lead opinion in that direction. i think that he'll be fine. he may not win 19 games, but why would his performance plummet now?
2006-11-17 05:57:37
10.   yankz
4 The 500 day DL? The 60-year DL?
2006-11-17 06:03:10
11.   Yankee Fan In Boston
4 10 how about a DL that simply mirrors the length of his contract?
2006-11-17 06:05:55
12.   jakewoods
2nd in the league in wins and 2nd in cy young voting and even won a playoff game and A-?

Rough curve.

2006-11-17 06:11:30
13.   Sliced Bread
4 Pavan'ouch's seemingly endless string of injuries has necessitated Major League Baseball's "Triple L" designation:
Longterm Lounging List.
2006-11-17 06:13:53
14.   C2Coke
11 I will pretend I didn't see your post. Otherwise, Ca$hman might need to spend another 40 million to buy us anti-depressants.

8 I don't worry about his regression as much because like Yankee Fan In Boston said in 9, most critics probably didn't watch him often anyway. Wang has a special vibe like he owns the mound when he's cruising which cannot be translated into stats.

However, there is a bit of a shadow hanging on top due to his past history of shoulder injuries like Cliff mentioned. That I do worry about, but I like Wang's theory about playing one game at a time. Heck, his goal at the beginning of last season was to win at least 10 games.

And Wang himself is aware that maintaining health is the key to extend his MLB career. In case anyone is interested, he credited Guidry the most for a lot of his success this past season in his most recent interview.

2006-11-17 06:16:40
15.   C2Coke
7,12 I'd like to think that Cliff gave an A- because he sees there's room for improvement. If Cliff credited Wang an A or above, what grade is Wang going to get when he raises his K rate? ;)

13 Awesome.

2006-11-17 06:32:29
16.   Andrew Fletcher
Cliff -- fantastic read.

I have one question. I've read your commentary about the scary number of innings that Wang threw this year and how that is a harbinger of trouble down the road. In your opinion, what should the Yankees have done with him? The question is not completely academic, as they will face similar decisions with Hughes this year/next year. What is the best thing to do?

2006-11-17 06:36:15
17.   Jim Dean
8 I'd hate to make this comp, but it seems like Wang's early arm troubles were like Mo's - before they 'discovered' themselves. Now, Wang throws so easy, I do wonder if he's turned the corner. It's like others are saying - he's just seems to be in complete command out there, totally chill, and winning ballgames. Perfect grade for him.

As for the K rate - it seems like he throws to contact because it allows him to throw deeper into games. It seems like if he wanted to focus on getting batters out he could by working in his #1 a bit more, and prob by going up in the zone. But I wonder the effect that would have on his arm and overall strategy. Instead, everyone knows his sinker is coming and there's little they can do but hit those easy tappers. Why waste pitches just to get the K when he can get the out more easily with the sinker?

2006-11-17 06:51:16
18.   bp1
It will be fun to watch CMW develop over the next few years, to see where his career is headed. Who was it who said he has an uncanny ability to learn new pitches and then effectively use them in a game situation? I say you sit him next to Mussina on the bench and let things naturally cross pollinate.

Man - a few short weeks removed from the season and already my pre season idealism and optimism is kicking in. I can see Unit coming back healthy and having a strong season. Heck, I can even make myself imagine Pavano coming back and posting better-than-Wright numbers. Remember the complete game shutout in Seattle? It wasn't a mirage. It really could happen. Moose was so good early in the season last year. I mean - he was sharp. The "No - go sit down" moment was one of the season highlights. He was BETTER than Schilling, and I loved it.

Sorry. I know. Long winter. Take a deep breath. But damn. It could break the Yankees way. Things don't always have to go bad.

2006-11-17 07:31:04
19.   jonnystrongleg
I remember being surprised at the radar gun readings for Wang throughout the season. I have no idea about the accuracy of those readings, but if he is throwing 95 and 96 like he "registered" in 2006, I think regression won't be too bad. If he's a low 90's pitcher, I think we're very likely to see Derek Lowe type statistical flucuations.
2006-11-17 08:14:26
20.   Bama Yankee
Great job Cliff. I especially like the following:
"Given his hijinx in 2006, it wouldn't surprise me if Pavano's plans for 2007 involve high heals, opera gloves, and his continuing quest for a Section 8. Hey, maybe the Yanks can trade him back home to the Mud Hens."
Carl "Corporal Klinger" Pavano could probably use a M.A.S.H. Unit with his run of bad luck...
2006-11-17 08:35:25
21.   Yankee Fan In Boston
so the post is saying that the yankees have shea hillenbrand "high on their list" to man 1B.

http://tinyurl.com/y6jsrn

they mention the near scuffle with his own manager last season, but weren't there also reports of him flipping out and saying all sorts of offensive things to theo epsteinbrenner when he was traded from the sox?

i like his numbers. from what i saw of his play here in boston, he was great on the field.

i am torn over having him on the yankees, but are there any better options out there?

2006-11-17 08:37:34
22.   The Mick 536
Wonderful reading.

Still having trouble understanding how they finished in first with the lack of dominant pitching. Had great hopes for Small. None for either Jaret or Pavement. Thought the Ponson moment would usher in Cashman's institutionalization in the happy home for wayward GMs.

Not exactly a staff to go the distance, though.

2006-11-17 08:50:47
23.   Sliced Bread
21 better 1B option than Shea Hillenbrand?
Sheffield.
2006-11-17 08:52:48
24.   joejoejoe
Carl Pavano: 17 GS, 100 IP, 4.77 ERA, 4-6
Jaret Wright: 40 GS, 204 IP, 4.99 ERA, 16-12

Don't forget...

Orlando Hernandez 51 GS, 290 1/3 IP, 4.87 ERA, 20-20

El Duque signed two one year deals in '05 & '06 for a total of 2yrs/$8.125M.

2006-11-17 08:54:02
25.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 yeah! why don't they trade for sheffield?
2006-11-17 09:06:37
26.   C2Coke
23 ...... I am searching for words.

21 If the Hillenbrand rumor is true, good for the Yankees. The Yankees (Cash and Torre really) should have enough experiences handling different personalities, it's not like they will be dealing with John Gibbons. Hillenbrand is a productive first baseman that's available out there. I wouldn't know about his price though, but then again, considering his episode last season and the fact that the Yankees just saved at least 30 million...

2006-11-17 09:08:39
27.   rbj
Nice analysis Cliff. Just one complaint. The Mudhens are my current local team. I sure as hell don't want to see him pitching, er, taking up a DL spot here.
I suggest the Cillicothe Paints -- independent league baseball.
http://www.chillicothepaints.com/
2006-11-17 09:10:41
28.   C2Coke
21 And Hillenbrand will be a legitimate 3B backup.
2006-11-17 09:11:49
29.   Shaun P
23 I can't top Sheff, who wasn't going to play 1B. I think I can top Hillenbrand - remember when Red Sox fans claimed he was equal to or better than Soriano? =)

How about Chris Shelton? Consider:

The Tigers thought so highly of him, they left him off the postseason roster over a bunch of no-hit middle infielders.

His "replacement" Sean Casey had a .670-ish OPS and hit in the .240s - yet Shelton was demoted to AAA in August and had just 72 ABs after the ASB.

The Tigers just re-signed Casey, and have a plethora of DHs. And when Casey got time off in the field, Leyland liked to play Guillen at first for some reason.

Shelton is a righty batter, has power, knows how to take a walk - and will be 27 next year. And some of his fielding numbers look awesome (FWIW, his zone rating and range factor were top 2 in the AL; BP had him at a tick below average - Rate/Rate2 of 98; is Dewan's 2006 Fielding Bible available yet?).

I'm thinking there must be a way to get him, I'm just not sure how. Any ideas?

2006-11-17 09:34:55
30.   Cliff Corcoran
29 Trade Sheffield for him! Oh, wait . . .

Good thinking on Shelton, Shaun. Myself, I wouldn't mind seeing the Yankees ink lefty-killer Eduardo Perez and platoon him with Aaron Guiel. It's a stop gap at best, but it gives you the flexibility to bump Giambi to 1B on occasion against righties to get Melky in the line-up, and the platoon advantage is significant. Plus both Perez and Guiel can play the outfield and Perez can even fill in at third in a pinch.

The key there is that Perez is likely undervalued while Hillenbrand is overvalued (he's an OBP sinkhole unless he hits .290+, check out what he did in San Fran last year).

2006-11-17 09:39:32
31.   YankeeInMichigan
Cliff, you mention Rasner and Karstens competing for the #5 spot. Isn't Sanchez in the mix as well?

Any way to sign Hillenbrand for a 1/2 season? Perhaps throw in a clause that if he makes the All-Star team he gets to stay in San Francisco. His 1st-half/2nd-half splits are alarming.

2006-11-17 09:40:30
32.   mehmattski
Echoing others, awesome read Cliff... always a great combo of stats and analysis. I think that if Worm Killer Wang keeps up his high level of pitching with a low K-rate, the SABR folks are going to have to figure out why in order to keep credibility.

21 It's hard to describe how I feel about Hillenbrand... I'm fairly certain that what happened in Toronto was more Gibbons than Hillenbrand. As for the stats, which line are we to believe from 2006?

TOR: 81 G, .301/.342/.480 12 HR
SF: 60 G, .248/.275/.415 9 HR

Did he forget how to take a walk during his cross country flight? Cash has said that he's looking for a right handed bat/sure gloved firstbaseman. Hillenbrand's .829 ZR at first base in his career is actually lower than Giambi's career .838... though granted Giambi has put up awful ZR the past two seasons.

Does anyone know if, as mlb4u.com suggests, if Daryl Ward is indeed a free agent? The guy is 31 and absolutely raked (.308/.390/.567) in his half-season with the Nationals last year. He's also a good glove (.864 career ZR, 9.32 Range Factor). He'd be my pick, if he is available.

2006-11-17 10:07:04
33.   Shaun P
30 Thanks Cliff. In retrospect, I wonder if Ca$hmoney did ask for Shelton but was turned down? We'll never know.

I think the Perez-Guiel platoon is a good idea. At first I thought, "That means neither of the Kevins will be on the bench." But the more I think about it, the less bad it seems - other than both probably deserve the chance. Guiel is a more than capable OF, and both he and Perez are decent bats off the bench. That just leaves the role of pinch-runner to fill - Melky?

But if all we had to quibble about was who the Yanks' pinch runner will be, I think the Yanks are in great shape. =)

2006-11-17 10:22:50
34.   TheWord
Long time reader, first time poster. Excellent read.

I do have one question - Mussina with a B? Consider this: he did not get blown out even once the entire season. His stint on the DL was most likely a roster move. Don't you think he deserved at least a B+?

2006-11-17 10:33:16
35.   Yankee Fan In Boston
32 i had no idea that shea's defense was that poorly rated. do those numbers include his time at third? i remember that he only made 2 errors at 1B last season and a bunch at third, but i thought that his time at each position was evenly split.

if he's that bad a first baseman, my moral dilemma has been put to pasture.

2006-11-17 10:35:26
36.   wsporter
32 Cot's also has D. Ward listed as a FA. I think they really liked him here in DC. I can recall something about them wanting to bring him back. He can hit as a part timer but he also gives marble a run for its money as statuary material. If the goal is to get younger, faster and more athletic on the periphery I think we may be able to do better in house. He sure can hit though.
2006-11-17 10:44:23
37.   C2Coke
35 I think He actually had 80 or so more games at 3B. And now that mehmattski pointed out, I also realized that both Giambi and Hillenbrand have the same FP of .992. Interesting.
2006-11-17 10:55:47
38.   joejoejoe
30 I'm all for signing Eduardo Perez as well. He'll take a cheap 1 year deal and if it doesn't work the market for average platooning 1B is deep. Another option at 1B is RH Julio Zuleta who plays in Japan. Here's his stats from '04-'06 for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.

'04 455 AB .284/.389/.567 - 37 HR, 18 2B
'05 461 AB .319/.392/.646 - 43 HR, 20 2B
'06 466 AB .281/.359/.515 - 29 HR, 22 2B

Zuleta is 31 years old, RH, 6'5" 230lbs. His fielding stats were below average in a tiny sample coming up with the Cubs but from what I can see online he played a decent 1B in 2005, with a .995 F% in 122 games in Japan.

http://japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1642
http://www.baseball-reference.com/z/zuletju01.shtml

2006-11-17 11:07:37
39.   C2Coke
Why is MLB.com still reporting that Moose has yet to sign the new deal?
2006-11-17 11:15:16
40.   mehmattski
34 Welcome to the posting family. I agree that Cliff's grading a bit harsh, like my organic chemistry professor. As someone pointed out, if Wang gets an A- and finished second in Cy Young balloting... who gets an A, then? I think Cliff needs to publish his grading rubrick :-)

On the first base question, I am glad to see that there are a number of interesting options, after checking out the free agent list. There's way more talent in that pool than in the DC Reflecting Pool depths of "backup catcher" and "#2/#3 starting pitcher."

To rank the names who have come up in various categories:

Age
Hillenbrand 30
Ward 31
Garciaparra 33
Perez 36

Career OPS
Garciaparra .907
Hillenbrand .774
Ward .759
Perez .757

Career ZR (1B only)
Garciaparra .869
Perez .864
Hillenbrand .824
Perez .818

2006 Salary
Garciaparra: $6 million
Hillenbrand: $5.8 million
Perez: $1.75 million
Ward: $700,000

2006-11-17 11:15:16
41.   Yankee Fan In Boston
39 because he has yet to sign the New Deal. you may be confused due to an over excited post i made yesterday, claiming that he had signed, when i just got excited by the headline and misread the text.

he has yet to sign the new deal, but by all accounts, they are just working out minor details and it should happen in the next few days.

i apologize if i confused you or anyone else. i tried to post a retraction instantly. sorry. my bad.

2006-11-17 11:27:31
42.   Bama Yankee
40 "DC Reflecting Pool depths of 'backup catcher' and '#2/#3 starting pitcher.'"
Good one, mehmattski.

Isn't Nomar close to signing with the Dodgers?

2006-11-17 11:29:34
43.   jakewoods
We dont need a gold glover over there at 1b. Hillenbrand may not be a gold glover but hes solid. And better than Giambi. Plus hes right handed.
2006-11-17 11:30:06
44.   JL25and3
I see Wang pitch regularly, and I'm still a little bit concerned. Much less so than a year ago, certainly - I'm really not worried that he's suddenly going to turn into Todd van Poppel. Barring injury, I think he should be a solid mid-rotation strter, but I'd still be surprised if he becomes anything like a #1.
2006-11-17 11:30:09
45.   jakewoods
Here's a Barry Zito stat: He's 85-4 when the A's score at least four runs for him.

You think the Yanks can manage 4 runs a game??

2006-11-17 11:31:50
46.   jakewoods
44

What concerns you about Wang? He's 25 and just won 19 games in his 2nd yr.

And forget numbers for a second. read what other hitters and his team say about him.

The say his stuff is the best in the league and utterly filthy. These guys cant hit him.

Once he develops a change up to go with his sinker and fastball. Watch out.

2006-11-17 11:31:52
47.   JL25and3
Hillenbrand. Ick.

It seems obvious to me that Nomah is the guy to go after. How cool would it be to have the entire Trinity on one team?

2006-11-17 11:37:43
48.   Bama Yankee
Unless the Yankees trade Melky, don't we just need a LIDR for Giambi? Due to the probability that Jason will be seeing more time at first if the outfield rotation of Matsui, Damon, Abreu & Melky is used (the odd man out getting the DH spot for the day and thus forcing Giambi to 1B).
2006-11-17 11:39:41
49.   JL25and3
46 What worries me is the weight of history. What his teammates and opponents say tells me a lot about how good he was; but I can't forget those numbers, and they trouble me. There've been lots and lots of guys with low K rates who've had a terrific year or two. Here's the list of guys with K rates as low as Wang's who've had great careers: Ted Lyons and Lew Burdette.

I agree with what Cliff said, there are things that make Wang look more likely to succeed. But I"m also not going to think that Wang has managed to upend baseball history in 300 innings.

Again: I'm convinced that he will be a good pitcher, but I still need plenty of convincing he's an ace.

2006-11-17 11:48:40
50.   jakewoods
there is always a pitcher who beats that statistical curve. u dont have to throw 100 with a 12-6 curve to be successful

im sure we all saw many a wang game last yr. how many hard hit balls did he allow in a game?

he sawed off bats like mariano. they may be putting it in play but weak grounders back to the mound and around the infield is a pitchers dream

and i think the k rate will go up

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-11-17 11:57:22
51.   dianagramr
Can we call him Carl Pavanomas ?
2006-11-17 11:58:40
52.   Yankee Fan In Boston
51 ooooooooooooh....
2006-11-17 12:01:52
53.   C2Coke
49 I agree Wang needs to do more to prove himself. But he learned his sinkerball about 3 years ago, his K rate drop could have been contributed by his change of pitch. He's 26, there's still plenty he can do as long as he stays healthy.

On the other hand, I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate that Wang, as of now, is the ace of the Yankees SPs.

2006-11-17 12:02:59
54.   kylepetterson
48 The word is that next season he will be our full-time DH. (mostly)
2006-11-17 12:03:44
55.   Bama Yankee
51 Good one.
Hands of Stone meets Buttocks of Glass
2006-11-17 12:13:06
56.   Bama Yankee
54 I hope you are correct. So I guess that means Melky's days in pinstripes are numbered for sure.
2006-11-17 12:16:35
57.   joejoejoe
Bob Klapisch reports: "Instead, they'll find pitching help on their own roster, including Carl Pavano and Phil Hughes and even Scott Proctor, who will be converted into a starting pitcher this spring." I'd love to see Proctor converted to a starter. 'Will be converted' is about as definitive as I've seen it mentioned.

Any thoughts on Scott Proctor as as a Yankees starter in '07?

2006-11-17 12:16:47
58.   Sliced Bread
48 The plan, according to Cashman, is to make Giambi the primary DH in '07. Cash says he doesn't like Giambi at first, and maintains Sheff wouldn't play first without a contract extention. So now he's looking for a righthanded 1B to upgrade defense, and replace Sheff's righthanded slugging.

I maintain Sheff could have a.) handled first base with a little more practice, and b.) could have been convinced to honor his contract, and play the position for a year. As I said last week the moment the Sheff trade was announced, I hope at least one of the pitchers the Yanks got for him pans out.

2006-11-17 12:18:17
59.   Yankee Fan In Boston
57 at least he'll get a few days off.
2006-11-17 12:22:37
60.   C2Coke
59 Who's to say Torre won't be using Proctor in relieve when he's not starting?
2006-11-17 12:23:09
61.   jakewoods
Theres no chance that they put Proctor into the rotation. You dont mess with success.

Hes way too valuable as a 7-8th guy then a starter.

Why deviate from that?

I think they're putting that out there as to not show agents they are desperate for SP's and wont overpay for Wolf, Lilly, Meche, etc.

2006-11-17 12:24:04
62.   Andre
Although the trend of problems with management doesn't bode well for Hillenbrand (he called Theo a "fag" upon learning he'd been traded, and we all know about the confrontation with Gibbons), I think he might be an interesting option. Gibbons had problems last year with both Hillenbrand and Lilly, and from all accounts Lilly is a pretty stand up guy, so maybe the problem there was more Gibbons than Hillenbrand. Also, I heard reports that Hillenbrand and his wife had just recently adopted a child and when he got back to the Jays, he got flack from the manager for taking time off, chatting with teammates about it, etc. Hillenbrand then supposedly barked back a bit, which led to the confrontation. Who really knows what happened, but he wasn't an isolated problem at the Jays. Also, it might be nice having someone decent who also has a chip on his shoulder about 2 teams in our division.
2006-11-17 12:24:32
63.   jakewoods
58

Love Sheffs bat. But he would never be happy "honoring" his contract.

Can do without his headache and like the 3 power arms they got for him.

2006-11-17 12:25:03
64.   Schteeve
32 I'm sure this has already been covered, but Hillenbrand has always been a swing first check to see if it's in the strike zone later kind of guy. He doesn't walk. Even when he was hitting .301 the fact that his OBA was only .342 is illustrative and proves Cliff's point. Unless Shea hits higher than .290 and I would actually say .300, he's pretty lame.
2006-11-17 12:29:02
65.   joejoejoe
61 Value is relative.

Proctor is going to make the same money pitching 180 IP as a starter or 100 IP in relief. I think you could view Proctor as a replacement for Wright, and Chris Britton as a replacement for Proctor. Cheaper and younger has great value in shaping the '07 team and beyond. I like the idea of the switch.

2006-11-17 12:31:46
66.   Schteeve
Sliced, you gotta get over this Sheff thing.
2006-11-17 12:32:24
67.   JL25and3
50 If his K rates improve, obviously, that's a different story altogether. That certainly could happen, and I hope like hell it does.

But one of my points is that no, there isn't always a pitcher who beats that statistical curve. There virtually never is. You don't have to throw 100 with a 12-6 curve, but if you're going to be an ace, you have to miss bats.

And yes, I saw what he did last year, and it was great. But it was a terrific year, not a career. Wait a few years, and we'll see.

As for his teammates' appraisal, I alsway think of Derek Jeter's flat-out assurance that Recky Ledee was going to be a superstar - not a star, he said, a superstar.

2006-11-17 12:34:20
68.   JL25and3
60 Why wait? If Proctor started, Joe would probably want to use him in relief in the same game.
2006-11-17 12:34:29
69.   jonnystrongleg
Can anybody think of a middle reliever stepping into the rotation and turning is a positive season? Not saying it can't work, I just can't think of an example off the top of my head.
2006-11-17 12:39:40
70.   mehmattski
68 Maybe he can learn to play first base as well, so that he can start the game... move to 1B when a reliever comes in, and then move back to the mound for the 7th or 8th inning.

Seriously though, Steve Lombardi at waswwatching.com had a good point, which I agree with: at this point last season, Cashman was saying that he was comfortable with Bubba Crosby as our starting CF. So there's a real chance that by oozing confidence about having Proctor as a SP option, he might somehow drive the prices of Zito and/or Schmidt into sane ranges.

2006-11-17 12:40:13
71.   Sliced Bread
66 I know I should, and I will when one of the pitchers the Yanks got for him pans out.
At worst the Sheff deal was a salary dump, which isn't a terrible thing.
2006-11-17 12:43:06
72.   JL25and3
69 If you mean someone who's been specifically slotted as a setup man, as Proctor was, I don't know of any. But back in the day, it was common for young pitchers to be long relievers and swing men before going into the rotation. In fact, Weaver's Eighth Law: The best place for a rookie pitcher is in long relief.

Swing man. There's a role that no longer exists - made unnecessary by 5-man rotations and the elimination of almost all doubleheaders.

2006-11-17 12:52:26
73.   Shaun P
69 72 I can't think of a setup guy who's done it, but I can think of at least one guy who was a long reliever for three and a half years until his team moved him into the rotation fulltime.

Johan Santana.

Of course I'm not saying that Proctor is going to become the best pitcher in MLB. But it is possible to go from relief to starting, no doubt. And with all the work he got, Proctor was practically a long reliever. =)

IIRC the plan last year was to have Proctor be a starter at AAA until necessity pushed him into the 'pen. Who knows? With a solid third pitch and regular rest, he could be pretty good out there. If he isn't, well back to the bullpen then, no harm no foul.

2006-11-17 12:53:08
74.   Zavo
I'd have no problem with the Yankees trying Proctor out as a starter. They intended to do it last season, sending Proctor down to Columbus to stretch him out at the end of spring, but I believe someone got hurt (maybe Sturtz) and they needed Proctor in a relief role to start the season.

I'm not sure if he would be good at it (excellent in that spot start in Texas two years ago), but if they try and strecth him out and he doesn't work out as a starter, they can always put him back in the pen.

Mo, Farnsworth, Bruney, Britton, Myers, Karstens/Rasner as the long man, and maybe Villone. Word is the Yanks also want to re-sign Dotel. Jose Veras was pretty good in his callup last season. TJ Beam is pitching extremely well in the Arizona fall league. There are tons of RP and JB Cox may be ready after a month or 2 at AAA.

Sorry for the rambling post, but to me, it all adds up to trying Proctor as a starter isn't the worst idea. Our bullpen looks much stronger than our starting staff at the moment.

2006-11-17 12:54:14
75.   Zavo
73 Sorry to repeat alot of what you said, you beat me to the punch.
2006-11-17 12:54:27
76.   jonnystrongleg
69 Yeah, I mean a guy w/ several years in a row as a reliever being turned into a starter. And not Smoltz, because, well, comparing Proctor w/ Smoltz is pretty useless.
2006-11-17 12:54:58
77.   rbj
68, 72
How about a plan to give Jorge some time at first. This way, when Proctor's pitching, stick Posada at first. Of course, Scott will be both pitcher and catcher at the same time. I think Bugs Bunny did it, so I don't see why EDSP can't.
2006-11-17 12:55:21
78.   jonnystrongleg
76 was meant for 72
2006-11-17 12:57:58
79.   jonnystrongleg
73 Santana was a starter all along being groomed for the rotation, nursing his arm along.

Proctor's a 29 year old with a MLB career exclusively in the bullpen, most recently as a short reliever.

2006-11-17 12:59:07
80.   Sliced Bread
Proctor makes me nervous.
He is to warning track as Wang is to groundball.
Or is that just my perception?
2006-11-17 12:59:22
81.   jonnystrongleg
Anyway, I highly doubt scott proctor turns into an answer for our rotation troubles.
2006-11-17 13:05:59
82.   JL25and3
76 It was quite common when I was growing up - 60's and 70's - but it was a very different-looking phenomenon. Roles were generally much less rigidly defined than they are now. You'd have 4 starters, some of whom might well be used in relief occasionally; a couple of relievers who were just relievers; and a few others who would be used as needed.

Frequently the relievers who became starters were guys like Santana - basically starters, but pitching out of the bullpen for a couple of years to get acclimated. There weren't guys like Proctor - well-defined setup guys or middle relievers - who became starters, because those relief roles really didn't exist.

2006-11-17 13:10:18
83.   Bama Yankee
76 What about Charlie Hough? He's the only one I could think of, so I guess that really helps make your point that it is rare. ;-)
2006-11-17 13:15:56
84.   Shaun P
75 No worries Zavo. You added a lot more to the discussion than I did from the Yanks' point of view.
2006-11-17 13:16:11
85.   unpopster
61 and 65 I've been saying this to anyone that's been willing to listen since the last out of the ALDS, but I think Proctor should indeed be inserted into the rotation in 2007. The original plan was to turn him into a starter but then his meteoric rise on the bullpen depth chart scrapped that plan, at least temporarily.

So, I'll repeat once again would I've been preaching for almost 2 months:

Plug Proctor into the #5 starter hole and pry Brad Lidge away from the 'Stros. He's supposedly available, a pariah in Houston, and has great stuff. Then bring him in and allow him to reassert himself as a top tier reliever without the burden of having to close games weighing him down. Then re-sign Dotel with a 2 year, performance insentive heavy deal.

The bullpen would then look like this:

Mo
Lidge
Farnsworth
Dotel
Bruney
Myers
Britton
(insert another lefty here)

This is a relief corp with a few question marks but the ability to be the very best in all of MLB. Yes, health may be an issue...but if the Yankee FO allows Torre to overuse EDSP again as a reliever in '07 then his healthy will definitely be an issue -- his arm will fall off.

2006-11-17 13:29:27
86.   jonnystrongleg
was lidge's 2006 a year long hangover from the albert pujols disemboweling? a statistical fluke?
2006-11-17 13:32:11
87.   Yankee Fan In Boston
85 re: more innings = injuries

i was thinking a lot about this as the bidding on matsuzaka was going on. the big knock on him was that he had thrown so many innings, and this supposedly made him an injury risk.

my theory is that faulty mechanics would be more likely to do harm.

i was looking for anything to back me up, and all i found was an interview with elden auker a few months before he passed away. he said that throwing more innings developed durability.

pitchers in his day threw every fouth day and were expected to pitch all nine innings.

christy mathewson pitched over 300 innings 11 times. (once going 390 innings!) spahn threw more than 250 innings 16 times.

i can't find that interview... i just tried, but now i have to start my weekend.

2006-11-17 13:36:21
88.   unpopster
86 I think the popular sentiment in Houston was that the Pujols HR spooked Lidge and he lost much of his effectiveness. Maybe a move as a setup man under Mo's tutelage might do Lidge some good.

87 I wouldn't necessarily assume that more innings always equals injuries, but I think one thing that became quite evident with Proctor last year was he became markedly less effect after he had just come off a heavy workload. The games in which he got hit hard usually came at the tail end of 3 or 4 straight appearances.

2006-11-17 13:41:14
89.   dianagramr
55

well then I guess I have ONE of my possible roto team names for 2007 settled ...

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Carl Pavanomas All-Scars

2006-11-17 13:44:21
90.   Cliff Corcoran
71 It wasn't a salary dump because they could have let him walk for no cost. Instead they got three live arms for that same nothing. Their outfield is already overflowing. Unless Sheffield winds up playing first in Detroit (and with Casey and Shelton, he won't), it's a great trade.
2006-11-17 13:44:57
91.   jonnystrongleg
89 An early frontrunner: "Romance Explosion"
2006-11-17 13:51:21
92.   Bama Yankee
89 I like it. The only problem is: Do you really want to invite that nasty Pavano mojo onto your roto team?
Just say no to the Pavano roto mojo!!!
2006-11-17 13:55:29
93.   dianagramr
92

Pavanorotomojononos ?

(with the club theme song sung by Bananarama, natch)

2006-11-17 14:01:57
94.   Bama Yankee
93 ROFL.

Bananarama is also a great choice. I just hope you don't end up having a "Cruel Summer" (sorry, it's late on a Friday and I could not resist that one)

2006-11-17 14:10:39
95.   Zack
I think Proctor should be moved into the rotation simply to save his arm from Joe Torre and almost ceratain surgery. The question is, can he still be EDSP, or only EFDSP? (That is, Every Fifth Day)
2006-11-17 15:22:37
96.   kylepetterson
Our big concern needs to be that if Proctor does become a starter, that he pitches good but not great. If he pitches great Torre will have him out there starting 3 games in a row. Then maybe a day out of the pen so he can rest.
2006-11-17 15:31:40
97.   Schteeve
I'm a big fan of EDSP, but I think putting him in the rotation will be a disaster. I don't think he has the stuff to get through the same lineup 3 times in the same game.
2006-11-17 16:18:25
98.   rbj
97 Then that'll earn him a 3 year $21 mil contract -- with a $4 mil buyout for the last year.
2006-11-17 17:08:47
99.   jakewoods
Why would you subtract from a strength (the pen) to add onto the rotation when you can just find a free agent starter or two and wait for hughes, clippard, kennedy, chamberlain etc to be ready?

leave proctor where he is. hes a great 7th/8th guy. u want to add to that bullpen. not take away from it.

2006-11-17 17:10:37
100.   jakewoods
I think the Yanks should be doing everything they can to get Brad Lidge.

Hes young, has a great arm and needs a change of scenery. Plus hes going to make a big number in arbitration and the Stros dont want to pay a set up guy 7 mill.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-11-17 17:55:25
101.   dianagramr
100

Don't we already have a Lidge in Farnsworth?

2006-11-17 18:13:06
102.   jakewoods
Farnsworth was actually really good last year. He had 3 outings that inflated his ERA otherwise he was pretty good.

I'd take my chances on putting Lidge into the pen. The more strikeout pitchers the better.

2006-11-17 20:03:30
103.   Raf
99 You have Bruney, Britton and Proctor, 3 guys who are pretty much the same. 4 if you count Beam, 5 if Dotel's resigned.

If Proctor can take to starting, may as well see what he has to offer.

2006-11-17 20:17:50
104.   Zack
Yeah, 7th inning guys who throw hard and are fairly successful aren't all THAT hard to come by. As 103 points out, we now have a surplus there. However, as we also know, you can't ever seem to have too many starters, especially #4s and #5s, and its not like Proctor can't just go back to being in the BP if we trade.
2006-11-17 20:28:34
105.   C2Coke
Anybody saw GQ's newcomers of the year, David Wright and Jose Reyes? I don't know about Jeter, who is probably having fun with Jessica Biel, but do you think Arod and Pavanorotomojononos will be jealous (that the newcomers are getting notice because of good looks and fashion not slumps and DL stays)?
2006-11-18 06:38:16
106.   OldYanksFan
It seems like Cash has done a good job quieting ARod rumors. Haven't heard that much talk considering how hot the topic was right after the playoffs.

I like Shea at 1st. We need a hot-head now that Shef is gone. He's not a great OBP guy, but a good hitter with pop.... and can spell ARod at 3rd as a LIDR.

I think aside from SP we are pretty solid. A backup C would be nice, but won't have that big an effect on how many we win. It's easy enough to find a glove for 1st base. BP can always be better, but we have a solid staff now... depending on how useful our youth is.

I think Cash will target Zito, Lilly or the best SP we can get. Even if they are overpaid, it's the only real money we need to spend to field a winning team.

2006-11-18 07:36:43
107.   Chyll Will
Just as a general rule of thumb, 10:30 in the morning on a Saturday is waaaaaay to early to get up and think, unless you're a precocious 8-year old Johnny Test fan like my id is.

I'm surprised that no one has committed it to text lately, though it was casually mentioned some months ago, but couldn't anyone see Willie Randolph coming to the Bronx to manage after next year if, say, Omar takes a little too long to extend his contract? (I hope this wasn't a jinx...)

2006-11-18 07:58:15
108.   kylepetterson
107 I think either SI.com or ESPN had an article about that sometime around midseason.
2006-11-18 09:19:49
109.   jayd
21 are there any better options out there than Shea Hillenbrand? How bout converting barry bonds to 1st base? Give me some more time, I'll come up with others.

I saw him play in Boston, too. A registered nitwit.

2006-11-18 09:26:10
110.   jayd
2nd in the cy young voting, compared to Tommy John and I'll give you an A-. Tell me that wasn't a dash, Cliff, and you meant to write something else glowing and just forgot...

I'm warming to the idea of Proctor as starter, hell if you're going to throw 180 gazillion innings you may as well start and create your own messes to clean up.

I'm still waiting for my kazmir trade though. I don't see anything in the papers which gives me hope.

2006-11-18 10:47:00
111.   OldYanksFan
109 Steve Goldman has some ideas.
http://tinyurl.com/stwhu
2006-11-18 15:50:10
112.   Aviezer
Why does everyone think Papelbon will be anything other than a so so starter this year. Everyone knows that the pen chops a run plus off of a pitchers ERA. Going through a lineup three times is different and papelbon does'nt have a third pitch. Also isn't the risk of injury greater with the increased work load. IE why would the sox do this.
2006-11-18 16:26:37
113.   OldYanksFan
SS Alex Gonzalez, formerly of the Red Sox, has signed in Cinn. for $14mil/3yrs. I guess a career line of .246 /.292 /.392 is now worth close to 5mil/yr.

While he is replaceable, this is just one more position the Sox have to fill. These guys go through a lot of SS's.

I don't know why the Sox didn't keep him and Loretta. They were very solid.

Any guesses on who plays SS and 2nd for the Sox next year?

2006-11-18 18:35:38
114.   Raf
112 Because Papelbon was a starter in the minors, and will be better served starting with the RSox than closing.

A run plus? If that's the case, I'm sure the Sawx wouldn't mind having a starter with a sub 2.5 ERA...

2006-11-18 18:36:57
115.   Chyll Will
Karl Rove & Donald Rumsfield?
2006-11-18 18:40:49
116.   Raf
113 Why the Sox didn't keep him? You answered your question; a career .246 /.292 /.392 line :)

Not sure who'll be playing SS (Cora?), but I believe Pedroia will be holding down 2b next year.

2006-11-18 18:42:18
117.   Aviezer
A run plus is just ballpark. I would expect high 3 to 4 ERA. Closer is different as you only see three guys and never twice in a game.
2006-11-18 18:47:41
118.   Chyll Will
Murry Chass & Mike Lupica?
2006-11-18 18:51:41
119.   Shaun P
113 Dustin Pedroia is going to play 2B. No clue on SS. The Sox did re-sign Alex Cora . . .

I don't know what the Reds are thinking.

2006-11-18 18:54:11
120.   Bama Yankee
Jody Reed & Spike Owen?
2006-11-18 18:58:43
121.   Shaun P
117 IIRC Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus ran some numbers about this. I just looked it up - Silver concluded that, if Papelbon was providing a 2.00 ERA or less in high-leverage innings as a closer, he'd have to put up a 3.69 ERA in 200 innings to return the same value as a starter.

Ignoring whether Papelbon could put up those kinds of numbers, Silver instead focused on:

"durability. Papelbon was a reliever in college. He'll be 26 next year, and has never thrown more than 148.2 innings in a professional season. His walk rate has risen and fallen with the proportion of innings he's pitched as a starter. And he's made more effective use of his splitter this season, a pitch that is generally very taxing on a starter's arm. I understand full well that a great starter is more valuable than a great reliever. But in Papelbon's case, the risk is too high to justify the reward."

So the short answer is, even if Papelbon did post an ERA in the high 3s, that's still very valuable - the question is, will his arm last?

2006-11-18 18:59:11
122.   Chyll Will
Jody Applegate & Spike Lee?
2006-11-18 19:03:13
123.   Bama Yankee
Christina Applegate & Sara Lee?
2006-11-18 19:04:11
124.   Shaun P
120 Who is Spike Owen?

Wow, I just remembered that Owen also played for the Yanks.

2006-11-18 19:06:46
125.   Chyll Will
Christina Ricci & Lee Iacocca?
2006-11-18 19:11:33
126.   Bama Yankee
Mike Ricci & Coco Crisp?
2006-11-18 19:11:54
127.   Chyll Will
(I know what comes next...)
2006-11-18 19:13:14
128.   Chyll Will
Richie Rich & Coca Cola!
2006-11-18 19:18:47
129.   Bama Yankee
You got me...
The best I can do is:
Richie Sambora and Jolt Cola (reminds me of college)
2006-11-18 19:21:31
130.   Chyll Will
Doh! I had the perfect setup for you!

Richie Garcia and Imogene Coca?

2006-11-18 19:27:27
131.   Bama Yankee
Then it would have to be:

Karim Garcia and Imogene.... Simmons????

2006-11-18 19:31:28
132.   Chyll Will
Who's Karim Garcia?
2006-11-18 19:35:53
133.   Bama Yankee
It all comes full circle. I was going to suggest in my first post that our buddy Karim could play short and second for the Sox (as well as provide bullpen security).

I'm out for the night, thanks Chyll for the laughs (I really needed them after Bama lost to Auburn earlier today).

2006-11-18 19:36:33
134.   Chyll Will
Gene would have been acceptable as would Coke La Rock (ask Alex if you don't know). Thanks for playing, now I can sleep restfully knowing that the eternal flame has been properly maintained; good night and don't stay up too late! >;)
2006-11-18 19:40:31
135.   Chyll Will
By the way... Imagine Karim Garcia playing for the Sox... (hee-hee) >;)
2006-11-18 20:08:03
136.   yankz
Bert and Ernie!
2006-11-18 20:16:03
137.   C2Coke
The Sox is getting Matsuzaka, so they don't need anyone to play SS and 2B. Is that how they think now? It must be you-know-who's fault again.
2006-11-18 20:21:45
138.   joejoejoe
Harry Berthrong and Ernie Courtney?
2006-11-18 21:00:28
139.   dianagramr
Harry Belafonte and Courtney Love?
2006-11-18 21:16:14
140.   yankz
Harry Caray and Courtney Cox? I really hope someone sees where I'm going with this one...
2006-11-19 03:09:05
141.   randym77
113 Boston is reportedly trying to sign Julio Lugo to take A-Gon's place.
2006-11-19 06:23:01
142.   Bama Yankee
Skip Caray and Bobby Cox?
2006-11-19 06:43:59
143.   OldYanksFan
113 "Any guesses on who plays SS and 2nd for the Sox next year?"

Wow... this is certainly the greatest intellectual debate one of my comments has ever created.

Chyll and Bama... you guys are truly funny.

2006-11-19 06:45:21
144.   OldYanksFan
What about the corner outfield spots?
Manny and Willie MO?
(Go to town guys)
2006-11-19 09:49:44
145.   Chyll Will
144 Uh-oh, Bama... they're on to us!

142 Carrie A. Nation and Bobby Sox?

144 Fannie Mae & Willie Bobo?

2006-11-19 12:16:38
146.   Simone
The Cubs are reportedly signing Soriano for 8 years/$136 million according to Ken Rosenthal and ESPNews. Amazing. Teams are just spending the money this off season.
2006-11-19 12:39:11
147.   OldYanksFan
146 It's just Nuts. That's 17 mil/yr up through his 39th birthday.

He has a career .835 OPS and 35 HRs/yr.
Last year, .910 and 46 HRs. I guess a .900 OPS gets more then 15 mil.... but for 8 years? Wow!

The Cubs don't want to raise ticket prices, so instead they are juts going to have a $5 SoriSurcharge on each ticket.

2006-11-19 12:54:44
148.   Simone
This is just one of those off seasons where teams are awashed with money and there are few quality players available. Bruce Levine from ESPN's radio station in Chicago said that the Angels were also after Soriano, but he wanted to stay in the NL. If true, there were actually two teams willing to pay Soriano that kind of money. I hope George realizes what a steal Vlad would have been when he was on the market.

I can't wait to see what Zito and Matsuzaka's contracts. I expect Zito's contract to be insane. I'm enjoying this craziness, especially as the Yankees are

2006-11-19 13:03:09
149.   yankz
EIGHT years? EIGHT!!!
2006-11-19 13:24:50
150.   randym77
146 Holy crap!!!!

This is just insane. MLB made a lot of money this year, and now everyone's spending like a drunken sailor on Saturday night.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-11-19 13:39:52
151.   Bama Yankee
145

for 142: Red S. Nation & Boston R. Sox?

for 144: Freddie Mac & Bobo Brazil?

2006-11-19 13:43:43
152.   uburoisc
Soriano had 160 SO last year; he seems to have less plate discipline with each year. He is fine for the regular season, but I have no confidence he can hit top-tier pitching, especially in the playoffs. He's not worth what they are paying.
2006-11-19 13:44:25
153.   BklynBmr
148 Vlad. Beltran. Don't get me started. But it is nice to see a little sanity in the front office while others go hog-wild.

150 Good piece by John Shea in today's SF Chron: "It's a green party: Baseball money getting ridiculous."

http://tinyurl.com/y67ab5

My wish list:
Zito/Schmidt - no, no.
Miguel Batista - yes.
Hillenbrand - no way in hell. I'd sign JT Snow first.
Meche - no.

88 days 'till pitchers and catchers...

2006-11-19 14:04:38
154.   yankz
You know, I'm almost positive I read once that Vlad had no intentions of coming to NY. I believe it was in the Daily News.
2006-11-19 14:14:09
155.   Simone
154 There were conflicting reports about Vlad. While there was a report that he didn't want to play in NY, there were a couple others that Cashman were preparing an offer after talking with his agent in event that the Sheffield's bitch fest over money opened the door for Vlad. I just wish that George had seriously courted Vlad with the intention to sign him. If it didn't work out, I could live with that, but passing up on a run for such a young good player for steroid tainted difficult aging Sheffield just sticks in my craw.
2006-11-19 14:16:36
156.   Simone
Finally, I get the whole of my comment to post. I wanted to add. Isn't it great that the media can't pick on the Yankees for spending big on free agents this off season. I notice the silence on the Red Sox's outrageous bid on Matsuzaka. Gollum mentioned it briefly at the end of the Sports Reporters this morning, but they didn't have a big discussion claiming that the Red Sox are ruining baseball.
2006-11-19 14:33:04
157.   randym77
The world's turned upside down. Everyone's spending like crazy, while the Yankees seem to have suddenly gone budget-minded.
2006-11-19 15:07:36
158.   rbj
157 It's bizzaro world.
2006-11-19 15:09:47
159.   wsporter
Sorri's gonna hit a ton at Wrigley on days the wind is blowing out, he'll probably hit a ton on days it's blowing in. Gotsta wonder if $17 million per annum is the kind of investment the Cubbies need to be making in a left fielder; that seems like shortstop or centerfield money. Puts them on the map though as a player and must make Lou happy. I am very happy for our boy Lil' Sorri; "you go".

Everyone is a winner in this except of course Jim Bowden who may well have misread this market as badly as anyone. The Nats didn't need Sorri to finish the stadium deal, sell the team or finish the recently completed parking fiasco. Glad I'm not him right now

Jimmy you gotta-lotta-splain'n to do.

2006-11-19 15:24:57
160.   thelarmis
145 nice on the Willie Bobo reference, Chyll. impressive!
2006-11-19 16:24:14
161.   Simone
I just saw on NYYFans.com that the Red Sox bid for Matsazuka was exactly $51,111,111.11 . Hilarious. Good to know that self-important Red Sox honchos have a sense of humor.

http://www.japanball.com/news.phtml?id=8362

2006-11-19 17:05:39
162.   randym77
Mike Stanton has signed a two-year contract (with a vesting option for a third season) with the Reds. He's 39, fer crissakes.
2006-11-19 17:46:12
163.   vockins
Eight years?

Thank God I am a Yankee fan.

2006-11-19 17:57:34
164.   Yu-Hsing Chen
162 so the Reds next year will probalby end up with Alex Gonzalez in the heart of the order, Bubba Crosby leading off (after Ken Griffey Jr. unavoidablly hurt himself again) and Mike Staton closing. they are going to suck really really bad.
2006-11-19 18:06:51
165.   joejoejoe
It looks like the Cubs will be paying Soriano almost exactly what the Yanks are paying A-Rod next year - $17 million. Of course the Rangers will be paying A-Rod another $10M but that shouldn't concern Yankee fans.

Nice work Brian Cashman! Ladies and Gentlemen meet Alex Rodriguez - bargain.

2006-11-19 18:08:47
166.   randym77
164 Krivsky likes defense, I gather. Though I heard they are looking for a righty first baseman who can hit. Millar? Or will we sign him first?
2006-11-19 18:41:03
167.   BklynBmr
165 Fugget Billy Beane and 'MoneyBall'. We're talkin' 'Ca$hBall' now — and I'm lovin' it!

166 Slim pickins for first basemen on the market this year. Travis Lee? (Good glove, no stick, like someone we know), Dmitri Young? (No thank you), Matt LeCroy? (he's only 30 years old? I thought he was 40!). This is a tough one — do you start with Andy and see who's available at the trade deadline?

No better options for Posada's backup, either.

2006-11-19 19:05:02
168.   Yu-Hsing Chen
167 i have to agree that at this point starting Andy Phillips at first or try to make Matsui play 1B is starting to look more reasonable than giving up a 1st round pick for Rich Aurillia
2006-11-19 19:10:33
169.   joejoejoe
167 I like the 1B crop this year - it's deep and cheap. Here's my choice for 1B in '07.

1) RH Julio Zuleta - Fukuoka Daiei Hawks - Estimated salary $2M/yr
FoxSports: "Add first baseman Julio Zuleta to the list of possible free-agent imports from Japan. Zuleta, a 31-year-old Panamanian, made little impact with the Cubs in 2000 and '01, but he has hit 109 home runs for the Daiei Hawks the past three seasons — more than any player in the Japanese Pacific League, according to his agent, Mike Nicotera. A right-handed hitter, he becomes a free agent on Nov. 30."

2) RH Doug Mientkiewicz - KC Royals - Est. salary $3M/year
Good field, decent hit, weak power. Career .270/.359/.405. Only 32 years old.

3) RH Eduardo Perez - Seattle Mariners - Est. salary $800K/year
Cheap option for platoon at 1B. 3-year split vs. RH pitching - .260/.345/.498. Age 37.

Just say no to Shea Hillenbrand.

2006-11-19 19:13:15
170.   joejoejoe
169 Those are Perez's splits vs. LH pitching. He's awful vs. righties.
2006-11-19 19:18:39
171.   randym77
169 I'd be willing to give any of those three a shot. Matsui's defensive numbers were as good or better than Melky's, so I don't see the point in moving him. Not least because I'm not sure he'd be any better than Sheff there.

And if we go with Andy Phillips...I think at this point that would mean we'd be seeing an awful lot of Jason Giambi at first base.

2006-11-19 19:22:53
172.   Jeteupthemiddle
167 How about Toby Hall to back up Posada?

Pretty terrible numbers (career: .301/.385/.265) but they are just about equal or better than some of the backups we have trotted out there the past few years.

If the numbers were even slightly better, he could probably get a starting job somewhere.

Anyway, Newsday said today that the Dodgers are expected to non-tender him.

2006-11-19 20:10:18
173.   Yu-Hsing Chen
171 it depends on what you belive is defense stats, but pretty much all the more deep analysist on defense suggested that Melky is eons better than Matsui (Bill James crew rated Melky as the 4th best LF defensively in the MLB last year. i doubt Matsui is in the top 3, and David Pinto's analysis showed that the Yankees made massive improvements this year in flyball defense. the only thing that might suggest Melky is weaker is ZR, which is not exactly the best tool ever as it completely ignors many elements. ( park factors, wether the fielder and the guy next to him is leaning towards any directions, guys covering for each other or making great plays etc.)

I'd be willing to go with those 3 up there in 169 , though Doug is also a lefty,(and like Millar, would put the whole Yankee becomes Red Sox theme to a new level) Perez is very old and a pure platooner. Zueleta is an intriuging gamble but still a gamble. we shall see i suppose, at least i like those more than Shea Hillenbrand of giving up a top pick for Aurrilia.

2006-11-19 20:15:41
174.   jakewoods
i wouldnt mind aurilia since hes very versatile and can play anywhere if its needed.

im worried about the rotation than him or shea h.

2006-11-19 20:46:39
175.   randym77
173 I saw that, but I'm not really convinced. Melky's good, but the 4th best in MLB? Cliff's beloved BP Rate for Melky is 105...which matches my perception that he's slightly better than average.

Matsui's "Rate" is 119, but it's obviously a small sample size. What I find most interesting about Matsui is the trend:

2003 - 90
2004 - 95
2005 - 101
2006 - 119

Could he be still improving, adjusting to the American game?

I've no doubt the Yankees OF defense improved. Bernie played less, and mostly played RF instead of CF. Everyone else they ran out there this year - Damon, Guiel, Reese, Thompson, Abreu, Melky, even T-Long - were better on defense than Sheff and probably Matsui, and certainly better than last year's Womack, Lawton, Vento, and Sierra (not to mention Melky 2005).

2006-11-19 21:10:16
176.   joejoejoe
173 Thanks for the correction. Doug Mientkiewicz is a left handed hitter, not a righty.
2006-11-19 21:18:36
177.   Yu-Hsing Chen
175 Rate has it's merits, but it is also not the most accurate stats ever, baseball Musings posted the Bill james articles more indepth just today, with a youtube on the models they use as well.

with that detail, not only was Melky the 4th best, but the guys above him were all platoon guys more or less (Fahey, Diaz and Reed Johnson.)

2006-11-19 21:24:43
178.   Schteeve
You know what I'm happy about? I'm happy that Pinella didn't get Joe's job. Pinella today called Soriano "the best leadoff guy in the game."

I really don't want someone who doesn't understand baseball to manage the Yankees.

2006-11-19 21:25:57
179.   BklynBmr
169 Good point, they are cheap and who knows, lightning in a bottle with one of them, maybe? Out of the three, I'd guess Mientkiewicz could be a good fit.

172 Like you say, we've had a parade of warm bodies there, so why not Hall. Or Ryan Christenson? Maybe we grab Piazza at the last minute when reality meets his expected market value, but here I'd hope for a young, cheap defensive dirt dog.

2006-11-19 21:27:29
180.   Yu-Hsing Chen
178 well compare to Juan Pierre anyone would look pretty good.
2006-11-19 21:39:35
181.   BklynBmr
178 Yeah, Sweet Lou is losing it. My biggest fear was that he would pass on all managerial openings, and if the Yanks started the season 0-2, the press would be calling for Joe's head and demanding Pinella.
2006-11-19 21:48:21
182.   joejoejoe
Here's a possible breakdown of playing time for the '07 roster based on the current players and minimal offseason activity (a few bench pickups) and turning Damon and/or Matsui into a 1B.

1B Eduardo Perez 25% / Damon 40% / Giambi 15% / Guiel 20%
2B Cano 90% / Cannizaro 10%
SS Jeter 95% / Cannizaro 15%
3B A-Rod 90% / Geoff Blum 10%
C Posada 80% / Fasano 20%
LF Matsui 85% / Melky 15%
CF Melky 50% / Damon 50%
RF Abreu 90% / Guiel 10%
DH Giambi 65% / Abreu 5% / Posada 5% / Matsui 5% / A-rod 5%/ Misc. 5%

This includes signing bench players like Perez, Blum, and Fasano who probably combined will make about $3M. It also assumes Andy Phillips is at Scranton. This kind of usage gets Melky 105 games played and allows him to get more playing time if any of the OF get hurt. I really think giving Damon a try at 1B is a good idea for this team moving forward. It frees up playing time for Melky and gives the team some flexibilty that they would otherwise lack with Giambi clogging up the DH spot for all the other 30-somethings on the roster.

2006-11-19 21:57:34
183.   joejoejoe
182 I'm ten percent short at DH and have 178 games at SS. Oops.
2006-11-20 03:33:01
184.   Shaun P
183 Its an interesting idea, but you've also got 14 hitters on that roster, which means the Yanks have an 11-man pitching staff. Not happening.

I think Cliff's idea is the right one - keep Guiel and sign E. Perez on the cheap, platoon the two of them at 1B. If that doesn't work, after two or three months, Ca$hmoney can go find a 1B.

2006-11-20 03:46:24
185.   randym77
177 I don't think there is such a thing as an "accurate" defensive stat. Everyone has their favorites. (RLYW found Melky was below replacement level. Way below.)

178 Good grief! o_O

182 The problem with these "platoon" schemes is that with Torre in charge, platoons end up being "the older guy plays all the time."

2006-11-20 04:18:09
186.   jayd
"You've got to be especially wary of the fact that he's a high-ball pitcher and uses a lot of pitches," said one scout. "Wait until he sees the way major league hitters can waste those high pitches. It could be a very frustrating experience for him, all added in to the cultural change, the pressure to live up to the money, the adjustment to working every fifth day and adapting to everything else here. He's a talent, but for all those reasons he's also a gamble, especially at that kind of money."

Quoted by bill madden on you-know-who.

Pavano's 40 million is looking cheap at this point. Which is why I think he's gone in a package for kazmir. Go multiplayer, throw in wigginton and solve two problems...

2006-11-20 06:13:18
187.   Shaun P
186 I'm still not sure if I trust Madden on anything. But in any case, I just don't see the Rays ever giving up Kazmir, seeing he is their only legit number 1 proven pitcher.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.