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Strange Ways
2006-12-05 05:33
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Still nuthin' doin' from the Yanks, though reports have it that they are still interested in Andy Pettitte. Bill Madden reports:

As one rival AL scout observed in the lobby of the Dolphin Hotel: "What's with the Yankees? Are they even here? Everybody seems to be going crazy this winter and they're just sitting back watching it all."

"I'm patient," said Cashman, "but I'll be aggressive if it's something that makes sense. At the same time, I'm more than willing to go into spring training with what I've got."

I don't think any of us would be surprised if the Yanks made a splashy move before the season begins (maybe a former fan lands a job in the front office, who knows?). That said, it sure is odd to see them so restrained. Time will tell if this is a good or a bad thing. A friend of mine wondered the other day whether or not the Red Sox are out-Yankeeing the Yankees. He worried that the Bombers could be left behind. But I'm not so sure. Hey, in Cashmoney, we trust, right? Muh-hu-ha-ha.

Comments (118)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-05 06:03:07
1.   jakewoods
Left behind?

What was there to do except add pitching and young pitching at that?

The Sox need
Sp, bullpen, 2b, ss, rf, someplace to send manny

thats a lot of needs which equals back pages in december

2006-12-05 06:09:10
2.   RI Yankee
1 Totally agree. On Sports Talk Radio up here, there's heated debate on Manny. Should he stay or should he go . . .

I have an inkling the Yanks may pitch a deal for Willis . . .

2006-12-05 06:11:21
3.   RI Yankee
umm . . . excuse the pun.
2006-12-05 06:11:31
4.   Jim Dean
Why overpay for 3's and 4's or trade for Willis, when they can get Zambrano in July.

That's the way I look at it: Why make a move now, when those same prospects will only get prettier with more AAA innings? The market is best in July, worst in December.

As evidence, think the Abreu move could really be made now? What a fleecing that was!

2006-12-05 06:12:21
5.   sabernar
2 Ugh, I hope we don't go after Willis. First, it'll take too much to get him. Second, he's gonna end up being the D Train Wreck here in the AL. Look at his numbers last season - not very good considering he was playing in the NL. I'd rather go after Jennings on the Rockies - he's probably a bit cheaper, and I think he'll do better in the long run.
2006-12-05 06:12:56
6.   Chyll Will
Absolutely. The most we need at best is to add to our bench; i.e. back-up catcher, and negligably a RH platooner at first. I like the way this has shaped up; we don't have to prove anything to anyone except that our GM is smarter and more prepared than theirs. If we've played our cards right, 2007 is a pick-em, but we're sitting very-very pretty for 2008.
2006-12-05 06:13:38
7.   RI Yankee
4 Zambrano may not be available in July.
2006-12-05 06:15:47
8.   Jim Dean
My god, why is everyone so fascinated by Willis!? He's been getting worse, not better. He pitches for the Marlins (see also Pavano, Carl; Beckett, Josh; Burnett, AJ). The package that it would take to get him is absurd. He gives up a ton of hits that would only lead to more HR's in the AL Beast. He doesn't strike out a ton of guys and he's walking more of them every year.

He's the left-handed Javier Vazquez, only Javy was getting better (ERA+ 150 the year before) when the Yanks got him.

2006-12-05 06:16:50
9.   RI Yankee
The thing of it is, having another lefty, pitching half his starts at the Stadium is a nice-to-have. Unlike the Marlins, the Rockies have not shown a track record of cutting loose their young talent.

And, so far, Willis has demonstrated following up a bad year with a good year.

2006-12-05 06:18:07
10.   Jim Dean
7 True but if the Yanks make a big trade now they have no shot of getting Z. If Sanchez has a solid start in Scranton, him and Melky just might do it.
2006-12-05 06:19:41
11.   Dimelo
I love the way Cashman is operating the organization. Never I have felt so calm and comfortable like the last two off-seasons.

Cashman reminds me of Kaiser Soze, "and like that...he'll remind all of them that the Yankees are still the big dawgs".

2006-12-05 06:20:34
12.   RI Yankee
I'm not saying I'm a fan of Willis, but leftys are a commodity. Plus, he'd be another bat off the bench . . .
2006-12-05 06:21:58
13.   Chyll Will
9 If that's the case, why go after a pitcher with that kind of pattern? Especially if it translates to worse in the AL? I would suspect that you might get one good year out of Willis and then the wheels fall off; i.e., eh, who? Beckett and Burnett have been mediocre at best, Pavano, ILL! Maybe Florida has something that works well for pitchers in their location, but elsewhere with that element missing it exposes mediocrity.
2006-12-05 06:22:16
14.   Knuckles
Cashman is like a crocodile, lurking in the muddy shallows. If you see him at all, he just looks like a bumpy log, but when an opportunity (stray gazelle/ stupid GM) lopes into the picture, suddenly, for a few incredible seconds, Cash is all teeth and rage and power, and when it finally quiets back down again, the score is Cashodile 1, GMspringbok 0.

Something's gonna happen this winter, something big. We just don't know which team is dumb enough to go drinking from the wrong watering hole. I can only hope that it's the elusive Krivskydeer, with a little Dunn in tow.

2006-12-05 06:24:48
15.   RI Yankee
11 "I believe in the Evil Empire. But the only thing that scares me is Brian Cashman"

- Larry Luchino

2006-12-05 06:29:26
16.   Jim Dean
11 Whoa, let's not go crazy. Last year was Stinnett and Cairo and the drunken bullpen ramblings - Farns, Villone, Myers - as well as Terrence Long and Scott Erickson early in the season. And Dotel should have been locked up for two years. Damon worked out last year but for the same money with Pavano, they could have had Beltran.

Cash seems to have learned two things over the years: 1) Accumulate prospects and 2) Don't overpay in December when you get clearance prices in July.

But he still has some learning to go. How he handles the backup catcher, utility IF, and RH 1B slots will say whether he's an A or B student. He's had enough chances to learn there.

2006-12-05 06:31:43
17.   Yankee Fan In Boston
i've followed dontrelle closely since he's been in the bigs. i've had him on my fantasy team each year, hoping that he'd live up to the lofty expectations.

i love his enthusiasm. i love that he slides headfirst on the basepaths. i love seeing him crank a dinger here and there.

that said... i don't think he bronx is the best place for him. he hasn't been improving, as stated above, against NL lineups and i don't imagine he'd fare better in the AL east.

also...

15 is that an actual quote? if so, that is priceless.

2006-12-05 06:35:27
18.   Chyll Will
16 Point.

14 Wouldn't you rather leave 1B open (you'd likely have to shift Matsui to 1B for Dunn, unless you traded him for Dunn; not likley) for someone like, say Mark Teixeira (as someone suggested yesterday) in 2008?

2006-12-05 06:36:24
19.   RI Yankee
17 Just a Usual Suspects reference. But, if Larry were clever enough to think of it, he'd say it . . .
2006-12-05 06:37:48
20.   Yankee Fan In Boston
19 okay. i thought that perhaps he was quoted referencing the movie... okay.
2006-12-05 06:42:37
21.   Knuckles
16 I don't see Teixeira hitting the open market. Texas perennially thinks they are a contender, and are not going to let a marquee power hitting, slick fielding 1B walk while he's still in his 20's. I bet he gets locked up to a 4 year deal this season. I am advocating moving Dunn to 1B. He's at the donkey end of the defensive spectrum for a reason, but his bat is worth its weight in gold no matter where you put him. He could help phase out Giambi at 1B, and hit a sh1t ton of dingers in the Bronx over the next few years.
2006-12-05 06:46:02
22.   Jim Dean
21 Yeah, Knuckles then you'd be the one leading the angry charge when Dunn strikes out or walks in a big spot. They already have a player like that and funny enough he doesn't play 1B well either. Dunn puts the ball in play 20% of the time. No thanks.
2006-12-05 06:52:41
23.   Chyll Will
21 You might be right, but then he might see on his own that he's stuck in the abyss and decide to wait out the season and test the market. He must know in that aspect that teams would be willing to pay near Manny money for him since he's got the goods. Not that I would like seeing the Yankees pay Manny money when you're stuck with Giambi and there's good starting pitching in 2008, but they could afford it if it really came down to it.
2006-12-05 07:09:29
24.   sabernar
Teixeira's splits aren't any good. Take a look at his road numbers. He's not worth too much outside of a hitter's park.
2006-12-05 07:33:17
25.   Dimelo
16 What were Cashman's other options that he didn't go with at the time? I think he went with the best of the worst that was left. My point is that I like how calm he's been operating and the modus operandi that he's stressed throughout the entire organization. I think that will prove to be the best solution in the long run.

In Cash I trust, nobody ever does a perfect job at their job but he's done really good and I'll take him over any other GM right now. He knows that he has a budget bigger than most, but he knows he doesn't have to use all his bullets to get a FA pitcher when another pitcher will give you more value for your dollar.

I am tired of instant gratification throughout Yankeeland and after that awful 1st round playoff loss, then I'm more inclined to wait it out and if it means the Yanks come back retooled and with great young arms in 2008 then I'll take it. What does a division crown and first round loss in the ALDS really buy us? Nothing. Patience is where the championships are at; that was more my point.

I hate the grief Cashman gets for signing a crappy backup catcher. There just aren't good backup catchers out there. Can we all agree that Cashman gets a pass there? The fact that there are no good catching prospects means that the Yanks are like all the other MLB teams out there. In the words of Rick Pitino, "Thurmon Munson is not walking through that door".

2006-12-05 07:50:48
26.   KJC
1 "someplace to send manny"
That's not really a need, and it's been on their 'to do' list for 3 years. Unless some team is willing to give up some great pitching for him, they're better off keeping him.

With everything else so quiet, I'm surprised there's no mention of this here:
http://tinyurl.com/yfut58

2006-12-05 07:53:19
27.   Jim Dean
25 I agree with you on patience 100%. Cash deserves tons of cred for that, esp with how it played out with Abreu during the season. And this off-season will be an improvement over last if he doesn't make the same mistakes.

You certainly can give him a pass on the backup catcher, but quite a few (Clement, Salty, Suzuki) have been drafted over the last few years. It's the new CF all over again. He's known for years they needed a replacement in waiting. And David Parrish wasn't it.

As for the bullpen, Farns was dumb money when look what they got from Proctor. Dotel should have been a two year contract. Villone was himself by the end of the year. Were there better options? Probably in the system - like Proctor. If that's what Cash learned then we shouldn't see Farn-type contracts again.

For the utility IF, Cairo wasn't, and isn't, the answer. Let's see if Cash learned there.

At 1B, Phillips wasn't and isn't the answer. Let's see if Cash learned there.

Now, as to your point about Cash being irreplaceable, I don't think I'm that much of a homer. But, he's showing himself to be in the top 10 discussion, maybe top 5 depending on how this year works out. But moves like Terrence Long and Scott Erickson tell me he still has learning to do. If he's open to that learning then the Yanks could be great for a long-time to come.

2006-12-05 08:00:06
28.   Yankee Fan In Boston
26 up until a couple of weeks ago, i would've agreed with you about the sox not needing to send manny packing.

i don't think they really have much choice now.

everyone has said that he wants to be traded.

curt schilling has said that the team would be better off if he was traded, if that's what he wants... then proceeded to say that he wanted to be traded...

even elevex spokesman david ortiz said that it was time to trade him.

the papers have begun their good riddance campaign, see today's boston herald, as they did with another boston hero in nomar garciaparra's case just before he was shipped out.

theo is trying to project a calm image, telling everyone that they're dealing with a manny trade on a "listen only" basis, but i think deep down, he's sweating.

word is that their asking price is too high. they will be forced to compromise... which should be good news to the banterians (... wait, was it banterites?) here.

i've been so starved for yankee news that i've been swimming in the manny drama over here.

(that and delighting in the fact that casting has begun for the nextinstallment of r. kelly's "trapped in the closet" hip-hopera epic.)

2006-12-05 08:05:51
29.   Chyll Will
25 Two points.

2007 is a pick-em year as far as I'm concerned. If the Yankees go in with their current roster and we end up winning the World Series, I'd chalk it up to a weak year all around, almost but not quite as bad as St. Louis this year. The only stand-out dominant team last year was the Mets, and they crapped out in the second round after more than half their pithing became casualties. Cash usually makes his best moves at the trade deadline, so I'm not thinking about what 2007 will be like until then.

However, 2008 will be very interesting.

2006-12-05 08:14:32
30.   RIYank
28 My bet is that Manny stays, o northern neighbor. When push comes to shove, Theo doesn't care much about what Schilling says, and he feels Manny's OPS and EqA weighing in heavily whenever a suntanned GM flashes teeth. We've heard the "They better trade me this year" song before, after all. In any case, it's not a good situation for the BoSox, whatever happens: either they get 50 cents on the batting dollar in a trade, or else they live through the next two years with a growing clubhouse problem.
2006-12-05 08:20:14
31.   tommyl
Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make. I think one thing Cashman has learned is that signing a large number of expensive free agents, besides being risky, kills roster flexibility later in the season. Its a lot easier to move someone like Phillips than it is to move a Giambi or Pavano if the need arises. By staying away from overpaying now, not only is he conserving payroll, he's leaving the door open to much, much better deals down the line and also keeping flexibility as high as possible in the case of injuries/surprises.
2006-12-05 08:20:37
32.   Chyll Will
27 I believe his patience has shown that he's learned a lot. I chalk up the retread experience to what he said in the beginning of last season; there wasn't a lot out there to begin with. Blame Joe for constantly going with those guys even if there might have been other options, but who are they? The thinking might have been that the Kevins were better off playing more often in AAA as opposed to certified bench-warmers in Long and Erickson. And to Cash's credit, he got rid of Erickson as soon as he possibly could; as well as Ponsumani and Shockin' Shawn-for-WILLLL-SON!!!

Would you risk putting prospects on the forty-man roster if they're lower than AAA unless they were blue-chip can't-miss's? Nah.

28 Banterers. I'll leave it at that this time >;)

2006-12-05 08:21:42
33.   Yankee Fan In Boston
30 i'm not saying that it is a sure thing, but i wouldn't be surprised if theo bit the bullet and did the deed.

yeah, the trade request has been as dependable as the leaves turning, but my gut tells me that they want to cut ties while the market makes him palletable.

but can you imagine what it would be like if they didn't trade him? a superstar athlete millionaire, being second-guessed by the media at every turn? fans angered by the best hitter on their own team? who could survive under that kind of pressure? each AB scrutinized to the point of absurdity... any defensive miscue would bring about a maelstrom of discontent and bile...

it would be unlike anything anyone has ever witnessed at any time ever.

2006-12-05 08:25:06
34.   RIYank
33 Hah! Yeah, I can't even imagine, let alone remember, anything like that ever happening. At least not in as large a market as Boston or as revered a franchise as the Red Sox.

It's gonna be fun.

2006-12-05 08:29:55
35.   Yankee Fan In Boston
34yup. ...unprecedented.

still... i'm guessing he's done. it will hurt the sox, and it will be beautiful.

2006-12-05 08:30:45
36.   Chyll Will
30 I agree with you principly, but don't forget that they traded Nomar mid-season, in effect to get rid of a "growing clubhouse problem" and they caught lightning in a bottle (not to mention a cosmic proportion of good kharma). I think they keep Manny until mid-season; if they're stuck in third place in mid-June, he's a goner no matter what. If they hang close, they bleed more good prospects. As they have shown a penchant for sowing good prospects, they don't have the luxury of patience that Cash has exhibited.
2006-12-05 08:31:41
37.   Knuckles
31 Amen to that. There was a decent article on ESPN recently basically stating that the crazy market offseasons are cyclical, and in a year or two, the owners will be back to their 'woe is me' ways complaining about not making money. By staying out of these choppy waters, and waiting it out until the market corrections happen, the Yanks can possibly get a feel for which of these FA's are going to pan out somewhat. Maybe Padilla does pretty good for 2 years and the Rangers need to get out of his contract. That's when you jump.
2006-12-05 08:32:59
38.   Schteeve
Jim Dean, Can you tell me which 5-10 GMs you'd rather have than Cashman?
2006-12-05 08:41:54
39.   Shaun P
26 You mean Bernie? I think many of us, maybe even most of us, are hoping he'll retire. It will be sad, but it's time. Probably past time, but I can't blame him for hanging on as long as possible. I would too.

Word to Ca$hmoney. Dude is being smart, saving his coin of the realm for the day there's something worth spending it on.

2006-12-05 08:49:03
40.   Chyll Will
38 Branch Rickey for one. And John Shuerholz hasn't done a bad job in grooming talent. If there was no actual Cashman, I'd have Shuerholz on speed-dial; especially since he had the good sense not to bring Glavine back when he's trying to rebuild his core. Omar Minaya would be second if there were no Cashman. Plus, Stick Michael & Bob Watson were Cash's mentors. That said, the only ones out this list I would actually replace Cash with if he ever left would be Shuerholz and Omar.
2006-12-05 08:51:23
41.   dianagramr
How bad is the Yanks luxury tax rate for 2007?
2006-12-05 08:56:01
42.   Jim Dean
38 Why, so we can argue about it? Without spending a ton of time, for starters I'd say Williams, Shapiro, Stoneman, Jocketty, Minaya, Beane, Dombrowski, Beinfest, Ryan, and Schuerholz. That's ten, so if Cashman cracks the top ten, he has to be better than one of those guys. We could argue specifics, but I'd say those guys have done really well with what they've got.

If you really believe that Cashman had little 'final' say before last year, then his evaluation has just begun. With what he did last year, namely patience and Abreu, he gets solid marks. But there are a few glaring mistakes that I think he needs to learn from in order to be one of the best GM's around.

2006-12-05 08:57:12
43.   Shaun P
I think its still 40% Diana, though I'm not sure how much of that (if any) is offset by the new Stadium construction deduction.
2006-12-05 09:17:53
44.   kylepetterson
SI article on Andy Pettitte:

The free-agent left-hander, who is strongly considering retirement, is said to be intrigued with the idea of returning to pinstripes and "could possibly have a deal by the end of the week" with New York, according to a baseball source familiar with the negotiations.

2006-12-05 09:20:00
45.   Jim Dean
44 I'd love to see what Guidry could do with Andy.
2006-12-05 09:20:53
46.   Dimelo
27 Proctor only became a viable option at about mid-May, early June. Nobody had a lot of faith in Proctor at the begining, around the all-star break we all thought he was done and then he came back after the all-star break and was awesome. So we can't say that we exactly knew what we had. The Farnsworth signing wasn't his geatest, but we weren't going to pay that kind of money for BJ Ryan and Billy Wagner, the market was set by Blue Jays and Mets for relief pitching and Farnsworth was a closer so he was looking for closer money. The only good thing is that all relief pitches kneel before the great Mo, so they don't have a problem setting-up for him.
2006-12-05 09:28:05
47.   YankeeInMichigan
27 Long and Erickson were consistent with Cashman's "patient" strategy. When the high-cost options don't look good, cycle through the low-cost options with the hope that something will stick for a while. Long and Erickson were busts, but what did they cost? Ditto with May and Redding in 2005. But look what he got from Small, Chacon and Leiter.

True, the Yanks were a bit too patient with Long and Erickson's ineptitude, but I think that's more Torre than Cashman.

As an out of town fan, life is a bit easier when the Yanks are frugal with their budget. I used to be able to respond to "best team money can buy" taunts by playing the Red Wings card, but the new hockey CBA eliminates that option.

2006-12-05 09:34:41
48.   Jim Dean
4647 The point is that if Cashman was truly patient with his organization he would have done fine with the arms he had. Middle relief is terribly inconsistent. Bruney's another good example of that. They didn't need to spend all that cash on Villone, Proctor, and Myers. And the fact that Long and Erickson is an even great indictment against Cashman. Both should have never been near the Yankee clubhouse for Torre to make use of. In those circumstances you scrape the bottom of the organization BEFORE you bring those guys in. Cash didn't.
2006-12-05 09:36:55
49.   YankeeInMichigan
44 45 I don't like the Pettitte idea. Ideally, with the Yankees' collection of back-of-the-rotation prospects, you leave room for one of them in the #5 spot. Considering the durability issues with the veteran starters, it makes sense to go with 5 veterans, with the prospects battling for the next-in role. But the Yanks already have five veterans (Wang, Moose, Unit, Pavano, Igawa). Six is too many.

Perhaps they will sign Pettitte and then sign and trade Igawa.

2006-12-05 09:47:17
50.   C2Coke
49 I don't think Wang and Igawa are veterans at all. Wang only has less than 2 years of Major League experience, Igawa has more esperiences only from Japan. And please don't include Pavano as a veteran anymore unless you mean DL experience...

"In Cashman we trust indeed..." have more faith in him, you really think he will sign Pettitte and then trade Igawa? I am not saying he's definitely not signing Pettitte, but I doubt that Cash will be trading Igawa like that. Why keep the older one (who is considering to retire)and trade the younger one?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-05 09:49:34
51.   Count Zero
44 God I hope that's not true...
2006-12-05 09:56:34
52.   kylepetterson
49 50 It's rumored that Igawa may wind up in the bullpen.
2006-12-05 09:59:58
53.   Yankee Fan In Boston
49 your count of six assumes pavano and randy are healthy.

an extra arm is always a nice luxury.

2006-12-05 10:01:57
54.   yankz
Didn't the Yanks pick up Bruney midseason after 'Zona cut him? I mean, I'd be a little skeptical too if i was Cash-money.
2006-12-05 10:03:32
55.   Chyll Will
People here are still up on Hughes and now Sanchez starting in April. Be patient. The inevitable injuries will ensure that one of them will be starting before the trading deadline. In the meantime, you have Spring Training to assess their progress and line them up behind the projected starters as injury/ineffectiveness replacements.

Other clubs start really young guys because they can't afford to sign an Igawa or even a Wright (if they would even be interested), so they don't have the luxury of waiting for those guys to ripen. Then some guys are ready from the start. Are Hughes and Sanchez ready? If you trust the Yankees farm system in any way, they're not ready just yet.

But at least they can afford to not be ready yet.

2006-12-05 10:12:59
56.   kylepetterson
54 He was having control issues but he say's that's taken care of. Right hand relief pitchers in the Arizona farm system are like (insert funny but slightly racist joke about how there's a lot of some race in some part of the world here). There's a lot of 'em.
2006-12-05 10:15:19
57.   Schteeve
42 Damn dude, what's with the hostility? I was curious to see who you thought was better than Cashman, that's all.
2006-12-05 10:16:43
58.   Schteeve
48 Also, what "cash" did they spend on Proctor?
2006-12-05 10:20:48
59.   yankz
54 No, I think Bruney was the man. I meant I can see why Cashman was skeptical at the beginning (if that in fact is true). My b.

Anyone else a little low on Pettite? The guy was my favorite pitcher for a while, but he struggled at the beginning of last year. Nagging injury?

2006-12-05 10:21:37
60.   Chyll Will
What's wrong with a year of Pettitte? Especially if we have a few arms to back him up if he injures/fails to suit the bill... I doubt they're bringing him back just for old time's sake; he pitched pretty well when not injured the last year or two. It would certainly change the dynamic of the starting rotation; although you pray they make it through the game alive, Pettitte's presence among the younger pitchers would certainly be an upgrade over Randy's, veteren-wise.

50 Hate to nitpick, but he was a veteren before he got here, give him that. He beat us once for a WS ring, and pretty well at that. He's been a complete joke since, but you don't lose your veteren status, even for spectacular supernova f@#%ups in New York. Credibility and presence maybe, but not status.

You know, I heard that in Texas a spectacular supernova f@#%up is a good thing; as the saying goes, if you're gonna spectacular supernova f@#%up, spectacular supernova f@#%up BIG.

2006-12-05 10:23:58
61.   Jim Dean
57 No hostility here. All peace and love. Sorry if it sounded that way. I just didn't feel like arguing about top 10 GM's. Cashman may crack that list, what with with Stoneman signing Matthews, but even then he's still far from top five. Maybe in two or three years.

58 Sorry - I meant Farns there.

2006-12-05 10:27:29
62.   Chyll Will
57 Nah, Schteeve, I don't think he's being hostile. Jim's agressive, but not intentionally hostile unless provoked. No provocations, am I right?

Almost reminds me of someone we all knew and admired one way or another... but I digress.

2006-12-05 10:27:43
63.   C2Coke
60 I am aware of his accomplishment (if we can still use that word on Meat) before he came to NYC, but honestly, I don't even see him as a pitcher (with a active status) anymore at this point...so he won't be a vetaran in my mind not until I see him pitch in a real Major game (not couning any rehabs) again...
2006-12-05 10:32:19
64.   kylepetterson
62 Good times. Is there a list somewhere of those that have had to have a "banterectomy"?
2006-12-05 10:37:10
65.   Chyll Will
61 And not to be upstaged, the Phillies ran out and signed his Dad as part of their announcing team. Mike's Baseball Rants will have the All-Time splits on father/son-player/announcer same-season combos within the hour, so stay tuned...
2006-12-05 10:39:11
66.   kylepetterson
Hot off the presses at LoHud.com:

"Houston manager Phil Garner just said he spoke with Andy Pettitte last week and got the indication that Pettitte wants to play next season."

He did not, however, say that he wants to play for Houston.

"If Pettitte were to return, he would probably want a one-year deal with a player option."

Sounds pretty good to me.

2006-12-05 10:42:26
67.   Chyll Will
64 I'm fairly certain that if Resident Drs. Cocoran & Belth have not already burned those negatives, then Chief Surgeon Dr. Arneson has them somewhere with the unedited Zapruder films.
2006-12-05 10:50:42
68.   Chyll Will
67 that is, Resident Dr. Co r coran, pardon.
2006-12-05 10:59:50
69.   Shaun P
Pettitte is (yet another) older pitcher with an injury-potential arm. But he's worth taking a one year flier on, because he could come reasonably cheap, he's at least league average, and whoever said having too many arms was a bad thing? Ask the Red Sox about that if you disagree.

60 Will, I think you're right. I think Ca$hmoney is assembling arms in anticipation of injury and crappiness. No way Unit, Moose, and Pavano combine for 90 starts/600 IP between the 3 of them. I'd even say I'll be amazed if Wang/Moose/Unit/Pavano combine for 120 starts/800 IP.

With Hughes slated for AAA until at least June, why not have a large collection of other arms to pick from when the injuries do strike? The more money Ca$hmoney saves now, the more he has available to spend come July if he needs to.

2006-12-05 11:06:39
70.   BklynBmr
While I didn't shed a tear when Andy left, count me in among those who wouldn't mind seeing him signed, given the current market dynamics. An intangible that I also like is what Chyll 60 points out in terms of his positive influence on the young guns. Plus that's three southpaws if all goes well with Igawa and Randy. We could do worse...
2006-12-05 11:08:25
71.   Aviezer
I think that most agree that Cash only got power before the 05 off-season. From there let's look at what he has done. He signed Farnsworth, and contrary to public opinion Farnsworth was actually pretty effective last year. He had a couple appearances that really distorted his ERA and he was very good in the second half. True he cost too much, but in reality that was the kind of market there was and no one knew that proctor would emerge as he did. We needed a setup man and at the market price Cash delivered a pretty good one. Also keep in mind that the Farnsworth signing was only after Cushman's top target, Ryan, told the Yankees he would not set up. All in all Cash did what he needed to. Cash also signed Myers to the pen and traded for Villone. Villone was a gamble and probably would have worked out pretty well had Torre decided not to rip off his arm for the fun of it. Myers had a very good first half and was shaky after the break. He let up that homer to Ortiz the first time he saw him nut shut him down after that. The jury is still out in that move. Cairo was underrated last year, as 30 RBI out of a utility man is pretty good. He also went 9-10 in steal attempts, while being sure handed with the glove at 3 positions. A pretty good signing which cost a little too much. He made big mistakes on Pavano and Wright, but if it lead s to him not paying for mediocrity as we are seeing this off-season than it is al worth it. I cannot say enough about the Abreu trade but cash definitely gets big props for this one. I believe that by the end of it the Sheff trade will also be hailed as one of Cash's best moves but as of now the jury is out. In Cash we trust, and there is no one I would rather have at the helm than he.
2006-12-05 11:17:32
72.   Chyll Will
71 Quite.
2006-12-05 11:20:29
73.   Jim Dean
71 If you're going to give an assessment, at least be honest and complete about it.

Cairo was Womackian.
Fasano was Stinnett was Flaherty
Terrence Long.
Scott Erickson.
Farns can't pitch on consecutive days
Villone was Villone
Myers was overpriced but mostly effective
Bruney was good for the price. Ponson though.
Abreu was a red alarm steal
Shef for Sanchez et al looks like a steal
Wright for Britton was a nice freebie
Moose re-signed was a good value

Am I missing anything?

2006-12-05 11:37:21
74.   Shaun P
73 Jim, I think your list is complete in terms of the transactions made at the major league level. But, I think its missing context.

I wasn't happy with the Cairo signing. But I don't know who else was available at the time who could reasonably play 2B, SS, and 3B. I don't know what any of those guys signed for compared to Cairo. I don't know what any of those guys did compared to Cairo - e.g., Cairo's VORP was -4.5 in 244 PAs; awful in a vacuum, but if the other available equivalents were worse, not so bad.

I'd say the same thing for backup catchers, Villone, and Myers.

As for running through the veteran wastes (Long, Erickson, and Ponson) - its not like the Yanks employ a manager who willingly plays unknown youngsters. I moaned and groaned as much as anyone at T-Ball Long. But Torre doesn't play rookies.

And I'm not sure why Farnsworth not being able to pitch on consecutive days is such a big deal. Outside of the playoffs, did that really hurt the Yanks that much?

I'm not trying to be combative, but I think this kind of information is vital to have a complete look at things. I'd also add in that we should consider the handling of the minor leaguers and the draft as well as part of the total picture of how well Ca$hmoney has done or not.

2006-12-05 11:47:38
75.   Shaun P
Ca$hmoney speaks:

http://tinyurl.com/so9gb

Choicest nugget:

"We're all desperate for young talent that has a chance to succeed at the major-league level," Cashman said. ". . . We're pushing that direction, going back to our roots. . . . It's what built our championship clubs," Cashman said. "We got away from that after the 2001 World Series, and we're getting back to it now."

2006-12-05 11:49:56
76.   Chyll Will
73 Personally, I think the situation with Cairo was like a child losing his or her favorite toy to another child, getting it back a year later and discovering that you don't need it anymore. Cairo served a purpose beyond backup infielder (perhaps the Luis Sojo role); doesn't belong here, but nice to have around (save for Posada), so I'm guessing they overlooked his Womackian tendancies for that sake.

Villone wouldn't have been Villone save for Torre.

Farns and Myers were products of the market which was set by idiots in TO and by others who actually had the nerve to say "I don't wanna setup for Mo even though he's 400x better than me, I wanna CLOSE!!!"

Ponson was an available arm to fill in for ineffectiveness and injury until the trading deadline, and it worked okay the first six or so innings.

Fasano was the only catcher available at little expense and they gave up nothing to get him. Who else could we have gotten in short notice? No one was picking up Piazza for his arm, and my guess is that no one could have predicted his season this year.

But Terrence and Scott were bad moves, predicated by bad advice, Erickson was referred by Giambi and got a shot as a favor, but Torre chose to keep him in pocket just in case, and Terrence Long continued his swoon out of the majors, again hastened by Torre's use of him.) Sometimes you shoot and miss, but I wouldn't castigate them for trying some low-cost moves that backfired. None of the games those guys played in cost them the playoffs, so they were low-risk moves that just didn't pan out, so move on.

Dings for Ponson and Fasano (his moves), half-dings for Erickson and Long (for making them available to Torre's addiction to experience) but don't blame him for market overcosts.

2006-12-05 11:51:38
77.   Jim Dean
74 Honestly, I don't care if you're trying to be combative. Those are all good questions.

There were better options than Cairo and Stinnett. I too don't remember them. Nick Green though did turn out to be better than Cairo. Fasano probably would have relative to Stinnett if given more time. Both were picked up off the scrap heap. The task wasn't hard and Cash failed there.

The roles played by Farns, Myers, and Villone could have been picked up by youngsters. Farns not being able to pitch on consecutive days makes him pretty useless for the price. Without the emergence of Proctor and later Bruney the team would have been in much more trouble had the race been close. Not needing Farns for his role until the playoffs is besides the point. That was his role, and what he was paid well for, and he didn't live up to it. They dodged a bullet there.

Because the manager doesn't play youngsters, that's exactly what the GM should give him - i.e. give him no choice. That's what Long and Erickson and Ponson end up being - an absolute waste of time and delaying the youngsters. Another mistake on Cash's part.

Draft and minor league moves can only be evaluated in terms of major league results. For that reason we don't have to wait to see what heppens with the youngsters in the Abreu trade. We already know it was a great deal for the Yankees, more so even now. The draft over the last two years we'll be able to properly evaluate in three years.

2006-12-05 12:07:50
78.   Mike T
"but can you imagine what it would be like if they didn't trade him? a superstar athlete millionaire, being second-guessed by the media at every turn? fans angered by the best hitter on their own team? who could survive under that kind of pressure? each AB scrutinized to the point of absurdity... any defensive miscue would bring about a maelstrom of discontent and bile...

it would be unlike anything anyone has ever witnessed at any time ever."

Nice one.

2006-12-05 13:27:00
79.   kylepetterson
Maybe it's common news, but I saw this today and it made me laugh:

"In 1998, Pavano gave up Mark McGwire's record-setting 70th home run"

2006-12-05 13:39:04
80.   Start Spreading the News
I don't know where the Ron Villone bashing came in. But Baseball prospectus just recently had a stat of the day listing the top relievers in preventing inherited runners from scoring. Ron Villone was in the top 5.

Look at Villone's monthly era:
Month, Innings, ERA
April,9,2.00
May,12.2,1.42
June,13.1,2.70
July,17.0,2.12
August,22.1,6.04 --> cruising along until he had 3 bad outings in a row.
September,6,27.00

So you can Villone was a classic overuse. He pitched 64 innings the year before and 80 this year. He hit the wall around inning 62 and never recovered.

2006-12-05 13:39:58
81.   kylepetterson
I'm not sure if there's any truth to this, but there is no way I'm clicking it to find out.
From SI.com:

TRUTH & RUMORS: Three-way Manny deal?

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just from typing it....

2006-12-05 13:43:52
82.   thelarmis
if we're hypothetically finding Ca$hmoney's replacement, how 'bout our very own Mr. Corcoran?! at the very least, he'd make an excellent advance scout...
2006-12-05 13:49:50
83.   Start Spreading the News
Since we are trying to be complete with the Cashman assessment, don't forget the mistake he will admit to: letting Lieber leave.

Overall, Cashman has done a good job. I thought even getting Myers was a good idea. Before last year, Myers was awesome on lefties batting with an OPS of .407. How was Cashman supposed to know that Myers would be better against righties this year?

Also, we have to judge Cashman with the context of the manager. Torre is likes veterans. The GM has to work with that. There are very few organizations that tell the managers how to run the team, like Oakland and Boston. The others like the Yanks do have to take into account the manager's wishes.

2006-12-05 13:55:03
84.   Count Zero
On Pettitte: It's not so much that I think he'll suck (which I do, but...) -- he would be worth taking a flyer on if he comes with a short term contract. EXCEPT....that given the Torre mindset, he will keep putting him out there to start all season no matter what because he's one of the vets from the old team.

I mean really -- we're talking about a guy who posted a 4.20 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in the NL last year. Add the AL East factor to that and you're looking at 5.20 and 1.70 there. Can you honestly say that if it was anyone other than Pettitte (and his memories) you would be advocating this as a viable #4 or #5 starter? BLECH!

I was OK with letting him walk when we did as you could see an elbow breakdown in his near future. What do you see there now?

2006-12-05 13:57:16
85.   Chyll Will
80 I think most agree that the Ron Villone who showed up this year was beyond the earlier versions, but was worn to mediocrity because of overuse. It didn't seem like anyone was bashing him for being mediocre, but for reverting to form by the end of the season.

82 Cliff, could you give us a sample of dialogue you would have with some of your fellow GMs if you were suddenly The Next Cashman?

2006-12-05 14:00:31
86.   Jim Dean
80 What he 85 said.
2006-12-05 14:07:37
87.   Jim Dean
For the record, I'm happy and surprised by the direction Cash has been moving. It's just premature to call him one of the best GM's in the game. There's anywhere from 5 to 10 guys ahead of him. That doesn't mean he should be fired - just that there's room for improvement. If he keeps on going with the Abreu, Shef, Wright, and Moose moves, and while not trading away young talent, I won't have much to complain about in two-three years time. By then, he could very well be in a top 3-5 discussion. After that, to me, he have to prove he could do it with vastly reduced resources in order to break the Ryan, Beane, Schuerholz triumverate. Or maybe another string of four titles from 2007 to 2011 while transitioning to a new core of Cano, Melky, Tabata, Hughes, Clippard, and Wang.
2006-12-05 14:08:08
88.   Jeteupthemiddle
This link on mlb.com suggests that the Yankees offered Pettitte 1 year for $15M.

http://tinyurl.com/yjcmv3

1 year is good. I like 1 year committments.

$15M is bad. I don't think a number 3, and possibly a number 4 pitcher is worth $15M.

If I were giving the deal, I would give him 2 guaranteed years with a $7M base. Then he can get $2M extra for reaching 150IP and still another $2M for reaching 200IP. Bringing the potential total to $11M.

I doubt very much Pettitte would accept such a deal though.

2006-12-05 14:25:10
89.   kylepetterson
My wife always says that I look like Pettitte in my Yankees hat.

"Here where you are standing, the dinosaurs did a dance."

2006-12-05 14:29:30
90.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
A Yankee-hating Sawx-fan friend of mine just got the new Bill James Handbook, in which James apparently claims Jeter's a terrible baserunner.

Jeter's apparently below avg acoss the board, going 9-36 from first to third on singles; 10-23 scoring from second on singles; and 2-7 on doubles last season.

Anyone know Jeter's career stats for these? I find it hard to believe that someone who's a good base-stealer -- 87% last season, 80% for his career, could be poor at other aspects of baserunning, especially since I've never noticed it.

2006-12-05 14:32:50
91.   Schteeve
I think of all the bloggers, David Pinto would make the best GM. He reeks of objectivity despite what some people think.
2006-12-05 14:37:50
92.   wsporter
88 I'd offer that too if I were the Yankees and wasn't serious about signing him but was interested in driving his price up to others through the simple act of allowing him to say that "the Yankees are interested".

What do you think it will actually take to sign him? I think about 1 year and $15 million would just about do it maybe with a player option for a second year. As Peter said over at Lo Hud "it's not like the money is going to charity" if it Petit doesn't get it.

Is he worth that money? If he's healthy and we get the performance he gave during the second half last year I'd say absolutely. If however we get sore elbow Andy who can't cut his fast ball then no way, by a lot.

I've got a soft spot for the big guy. I'd like to see him finish up where he started and get a ring or two doing it.

2006-12-05 14:44:41
93.   kylepetterson
From Abraham @ LoHud.com:

"Just had a chance to speak with Brian Cashman with only one other writer present. He would not comment directly on Pettitte but did say he was looking to upgrade the rotation and that signing Kei Igawa would not deter him from wanting to do that."

2006-12-05 14:47:29
94.   wsporter
90 Is that "safe" for example in 9/36 opportunities or actually ran 1st to 3rd in 9/36 opportunities etc? Who knows what ax James has to grind. Seems like BS to me or at least a case of my lying eyes and baseball sense getting in the way again. There is NO ONE I'd rather have to depend on than the Captain to make a good base running decision.

It's the kind of BS that is stuck in a book that the average fan wouldn't read but for a couple of inflammatory statements.

2006-12-05 14:51:57
95.   thelarmis
90 hmmm, i don't have the stats, but that sounds weird. outside of base stealing, Jetes has always been touted as one of MLB's best baserunners, a list that generally included A-Rod and Larry Walker.

the larry walker part is great. growing up in canada, he returned back to 1st by crossing the diamond, and not touching 2nd base, stating it was quicker! or something like that. he's got nothing on ruben rivera though...

2006-12-05 14:52:19
96.   standuptriple
90 I know good baserunning when I see it and James' Handbook cannot deter me from believing DJ is anything other than an excellent baserunner. Without looking at the stats I could see how Bowa could have been slightly inclined to not press as much as other 3B coaches due to the depth of the Yankee lineup. Why risk an out at third when you have Giambi and A-Rod able to drive him in from second almost as easily. And Jeter's Run-scoring ability from 2B didn't seem to hamper the team much. As a guy who played the game and did not have much speed I notice when guys take the correct route our the turns, hit the bag the right way (inside corner) and excellerate through while depending on the information being signaled or spoken to them. DJ is in the 95th percentile in those categories and while his speed may have dropped I doubt it is significant enough to warrant calling him a poor baserunner.
2006-12-05 14:52:20
97.   randym77
I hear the Red Sox are cutting Trot Nixon and Mark Loretta loose. They're going to be a completely different team next year. A-Gon is gone, Manny probably soon to follow. Now Trot and Loretta, too.
2006-12-05 15:02:47
98.   YankeeInMichigan
84 Pettitte has always been streaky, and 2005 was no exception. ERA 5.28 before the break, 2.80 after.

Even in the 1st half, his ERA was affected by a couple of blowouts.

Quality starts by month:
April: 4 of 6
May: 3 of 6
June: 3 of 6
July: 4 of 6
August: 5 of 7
September: 5 of 5
TOTAL: 24 of 36

Take away May and June, and he's a solid #2.

2006-12-05 15:19:12
99.   Jeteupthemiddle
Streaky or not, I don't think a "solid #2" is allowed to have an ERA of 4.20 in the NL Central (the worst division in baseball?).

Actually, I don't think a "solid #2" can be so incredibly streaky.

2006-12-05 15:21:17
100.   yankz
91 Word
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-12-05 15:33:20
101.   standuptriple
Anybody know if the Astros offered arbitration on Andy?
2006-12-05 15:38:03
102.   wsporter
I don't think of Andy as a #2, I think that would go to Moose, I think of him as a potential 3 in ours if we're going to get hung up on the numbers. I think "streaky" (incredible or otherwise) is one of the things that separate 1's and 3's. As YIM demonstrated that 4.2 NL Central ERA was weighted on the bad side of 3.00 by a start to the season that was "elbow" induced. It was more of the old "Raggedy" Andy stuff that we used to see at times.

If he's healthy I'd take him in heart beat over the "veteran" alternatives; at least I would short term.

2006-12-05 15:40:58
103.   wsporter
101 According to CBS Sportsline they did not (nor to the Rocket).
2006-12-05 15:52:43
104.   kylepetterson
The word on the street is that JD Drew is a Soxer, pending a physical.
2006-12-05 15:53:28
105.   kylepetterson
5 years 70 million
2006-12-05 16:21:32
106.   markp
two things:

1.Pettitte has to be one of the more overrated players from the 96-2000 Yanks (tho' Brosius and Tino are still way ahead of him). I agree with those who point out a 4.20 ERA in the NL translates in to a yikes ERA in the AL.

2. Bill James has been a hack for a long time. He can't stand that a bunch of nobodies on the web took his ideas and greatly improved on them-and what's worse, insisted that his first abstracts (without the subjective stuff put in there) are the ones that should be adhered to. (After all, this is the guy who had Greg Gagne as the number 88 SS of all time, and in both historical abstracts rips Rogers Hornsby for a bunch of stuff that have zero to do with what he did on the field.)
Add to that his astonishing blind spot when it comes to the Yanks (starting with, in 1979, an article explaining why the 78 Royals were the better team-despite having 8 less wins in a weaker division and then losing to the Yanks in the play-offs.)
When the Yanks traded Roberto "Bobby" Kelly for Paul O'Niell, his "analysis" was to call it a "classic Yankee blunder".
Jeter's baserunning is a marvel to too many knowledgeable people (not to mention my own visual evidence watching 99.9% of Yankee games a seeing him taking all of those extra bases and almost never getting thrown out throughout his career.
Bill James is a tool.

2006-12-05 16:36:05
107.   kylepetterson
More Pettitte non-news than you can shake a stick at:

http://tinyurl.com/y4h6df

2006-12-05 16:40:20
108.   mehmattski
Just out of curiosity, when Jeter attempted to take an extra base on opening day in 2004, only to get smushed by Greg Zaun's knee, does anyone remember if he was out or safe?

106 Right on, both points... The Davenport Translations for Pettitte's 2006 give him a -1 PRAA, meaning that in a neutral league (somewhere between AL and NL), Pettitte is league average. Adam Eaton was -2, Gil Meche was -7, Ted Lilly was +2. Chien-Ming Wang was +17.

2006-12-05 16:42:45
109.   choirboyzgirl
90- Do some of those stats have do do with who hits behind Jeter? I can recall hearing this alot "Alex hit that ball too hard. so ____ will have to stay at second or third" and no I don't think its all A-Rod's fault :) just saying the line drive hitters may have something do with Jeter not being able to score from second on as many singles.
2006-12-05 16:48:24
110.   wsporter
108 I think it was Ken Huckabey not Zaun who tried to play trampoline on the Cap's shoulder. I can't remember if he was safe. I'm thinking from what I recall he was safe, then took his hand off the bag when he was landed on before time was called, he was then called out. I'm old though and shouldn't try to remember things that far back.
2006-12-05 16:57:00
111.   mehmattski
110 Don't worry, retrosheet.org has enough memory for both of us...

http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B03310TOR2003.htm

You were right, it was Huckabey. I couldn't even remember that it was 2003, not 2004, and I'm not very old. Sheesh. And Jeter was out. Special thanks to whoever was the official scorer, for that gruesome description.

2006-12-05 17:06:13
112.   JL25and3
110 Huckaby is correct.

106 You'll never get me to badmouth Bill James. He completely changed the way I thought about baseball - and the way everyone else thought about it, too. He's never afraid to make a mistake, and he's never reluctant to admit it later. He's still one of the clearer thinkers around - his "Cloud of Unknowing" article was superb - and a good writer as well.

It's easy to look back and scoff at his assessment of Kelly for O'Neill, but at the time it wasn't an absurd assessment; in fact, I also thought it was a lousy deal. Not that I thought Roberto Kelly was any great shakes, but he'd had a couple of decent years, and at 28, I thought he might still have a little upside. O'Neill, on the other hand, was turning 30 and seemed to be a known quantity. He was a good outfielder with medium power, but strictly a platoon player. Before the Yankees got him he couldn't hit lefties for crap, and you could look it up.

Hindsight makes it easy to scoff. At the time there was no reason to believe that O'Neill would become the player he did.

2006-12-05 17:10:07
113.   yankz
How do you guys get retrosheet to show you a URL? For me it always stays retrosheet.org
2006-12-05 17:16:43
114.   wsporter
111 This is terrible, now I'm fixating on whether Jeter was initially called safe or out. Damn, I have work to do, thanks a lot. :-)

Thanks for the link. That day sure sucked.

2006-12-05 17:17:29
115.   yankz
IIRC, that was the year the Yanks' starters started off 16-0 or something, right? I realize I could retrosheet it, but I'll be honest, I'm just too lazy tonight.
2006-12-05 17:22:39
116.   mehmattski
113 Happens for me too... when I want a permanent link to copy, I go back one page and right click on the link, open it in a new tab/window, and you'll get the full link.

112 I suppose some credit is due to James, for being the first, in a Christopher Columbus kind of way. But I also agree with 106 that people like Davenport and Carrol and the folks at BP and Stats, Inc have improved on his methods, while things I've read from him lately stick to older (and in a lot of ways, inferior) metrics. The way I watch baseball games has forever changed based on statistical analysis too... for me, the agents of this change were Steven Goldman and the great folks right here at the Banter.

2006-12-05 17:25:40
117.   yankz
116 Thanks, I'll try it next time.
2006-12-05 19:12:17
118.   JL25and3
116 Before Bill James, a players hitting line was defined by three numbers: BA, HR, RBI. Now it's BA, OBA, SA. 25 years ago nobody ever used on-base or slugging, nobody ever looked at them.

As for the newer metrics, I generally find that their complexity and complete lack of intuitiveness outweighs the incremental information they add. Tell me BA/OBA/SA, tell me when and in what ballpark the guy played, and I have a pretty damn clear sense of his performance.

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