Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Help
Best Laid Plans . . .
2007-01-18 22:21
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

USA Today's Bob Nightengale has some interesting notes on Brian Cashman and the Randy Johnson trade. In addition to revealing the degree to which the Johnson deal was influenced by Randy's unhappiness in New York, the article contains some remarks from Cashman confirming the approach that has been evident on the transaction wire. Sez Cash: "I've been very vocal and stated our goals. We want to reduce payroll, improve our farm system, get younger and have more flexibility." Can't get much clearer than that.

Speaking of the Johnson deal, about which I'm surprisingly lukewarm, the Yankees inked Luis Vizcaino, the homer-happy righty setup man they acquired in the deal, to a one-year, $3-million contract on Wednesday, thus settling with their only arbitration-eligible player.

On a personal note, my apologies for my disappearance from this space over the past month. I've just finished editing Baseball Prospectus 2007, a monstrous task, as you may have heard from my cohort Steven Goldman (Steve and Christina Kahrl are BP's editors on the book; starting with this year's edition and for the next two years, I am the publishing house's editor). With that done, I'm back in action as we hurtle toward pitchers and catchers, which is now just 27 days away.

Comments (88)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-01-18 23:31:03
1.   thelarmis
welcome back, cliff! yeah, i read about the arduous job from steve goldman yesterday. we're sure glad you're here...

craig wilson signed with the Bravos for 1yr/$2mil

2007-01-19 05:34:22
2.   Sliced Bread
Welcome back from Mount BP '07, Cliff.
Great to see you back at the Banter.

Surprised you're lukewarm about the Unit trade. I'm excited about the prospects/suspects the Yanks received for Johnson. Bottomline: I'd rather see the Yanks' young pitchers try (and even fail) than sit through another Big Uninspired performance. While I appreciated his effort, working through the pain and all, Randy's last game against Kenny Rogers was enough for me.

I imagine you're 30 degree less than lukewarm about Mientkiewicz and Cairo.

1 Here's hoping Cashman, upon returning from vacation, will try to trade Doug Out for Wilson.

2007-01-19 05:36:20
3.   Jim Dean
Welcome back Cliff. Honestly, the involvement of both you and Goldman just may get me to fork over the cash, moreso than on anything else - I know then it will be quality.

Care to elaborate on your "lukewarm" comment?

Me, I see an inherent contradiction in:

"It's time for the Yankees get back to their roots".

and acquiring a gajillion RHP.

Further:

"We're very proud of the depth we have from the lowest level to the top and excited about the potential."

If he's talking about the pitching, then he should feel okay. It's just everything else - namely the players that play everyday -that's lacking. And those were the roots of the Mean Gene Dynasty.

2007-01-19 05:48:32
4.   OldYanksFan
There has been a lot of "why did he.... why didn't he" stuff said about the RJ Trade.
"Cashman moved when Arizona offered Ohlendorf. The right-hander went 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA last season in 28 starts for Double-A Tennessee."
I think that's our answer. Cashman wanted Ohlendorf, and the rest was the best window dressing he could get. I don't think the deal was done because it was bombastic. RJ wanted out, and Cashman made the trade which furthered his 'announced' goals.

Nobody can predict what RJ would have done as a Yankee. He could have gone either way. However, we have missed some deals in the past because we had nobody young to trade. We have spent our way into the red. Nobody wants a 'rebuilding' year at the sacrifice of the post season.

But look at Cashman's formula. If we have quality people working in the background, and we donate our financial resources to building the farm, and STILL have enough cash to buy the occasional high-end FA... we should be unbeatable.

2 years ago, between a depleated farm and an already old team, many of us feared what the future of the team would be. We've seen it before. In 1963, we have a team full of high quality veterans. by 1965, we had a team of over-the-hill veterans with no farm to pick up the slack. Look at the 1965-1970 teams... and that's where we were headed.

I don't know if Jim Dean was rooting for the Yankees in 1965, but I was. If may have been the worst period in Yankee history since the Babe. With free-agency in place, we may never get THAT BAD again, but we were headed straight in that direction. In 2 years Cashman has turned us around, while still keeping him in the PS hunt.

That's the big picture. That's what Cashman is paid 5 mil/yr........ errr... 2 mil/yr to do. Is Cashman the best? The worst? Does he wear brown shoes with a black suit? I don't know and don't care. FINALLY this team is headed in the right direction, and I'm happy Cashman is steering the boat.

2007-01-19 06:26:06
5.   murphy
CLIFF LIVES!!!

(welcome back, dood)

as per the RJ trade (yeah yeah yeah, it's been done, but i was too busy to comment at the time):

i can't help but feel like Cash$ could have gotten more, but i AM stoked about what he DID get. i am really hoping that this off-season is an indication of the kind of moves we are going to be making in the future. many of the teams that have won over the last few years have not been cavalcades of stars, rather, collections of young(ish) everyday-reliable players with a few superstars peppered in. it appears that cashman has begun to move towards the young(ish) part of that equation with the acquisition of so many Young Righty Prospectish pitchers. now he needs to learn how to fill holes with players with a little more upside than Minty Boy at 1B.

2007-01-19 06:29:56
6.   Chyll Will
4 "I don't know if Jim Dean was rooting for the Yankees in 1965, but I was. It may have been the worst period in Yankee history since the Babe."

Do the Dallas Green and Stump Merrill teams qualify for also-rans or honorable mentions?

2007-01-19 06:55:27
7.   YankeeInMichigan
The late eightees was the same story -- probably a more relevant anti-pattern, since free agency was in place. The farm was depleted, so the team overspent every year on past-their-prime free agents to fill the holes created by the failures of the previous year's past-their-prime free agents. Because they were signing Type A free agents, they lost their first round draft picks and were unable to rebuild the farm.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Vizcaino's HR rate last year was almost identical to Farnsworth's (as were his K and BB rates). That's kind of interesting, since Vizcaino's GO/AO rate is much higher. Could it be that Vizcaino has a sinker that sometimes forgets to sink?

2007-01-19 06:56:48
8.   Shaun P
Welcome back Cliff, and thanks to you (and Steve and the rest of the BP crew) in advance for the annual. Can't wait to get my hands on this year's edition!

I too would love to have your take on the Unit trade, and the status of the bench too.

4 "If we have quality people working in the background, and we donate our financial resources to building the farm, and STILL have enough cash to buy the occasional high-end FA... we should be unbeatable."

The Yanks should be consistently great with that formula, and that nicely sums up why I like Ca$hmoney so much too.

2007-01-19 07:04:22
9.   wsporter
6 Chyll, I really hate to sound like some old duffer reminiscing about the bad old days but there was a feeling of hopelessness from 66 till about 72 which had settled into the ball park that made those years as bad as anything I can remember from a competitive sense. As a kid it was great though; there were no lines for anything.
2007-01-19 07:08:45
10.   Jim Dean
6 I remember that in the early nineties all I could say to my Sox friends was [in classic dork nasalness]:

"The Yankees had the best record of all teams in the 80's."

Ugh.

8 Except the farm isn't being built. RHP is being built.

It's like just planting carrots and expecting sustenance.

I mean I like carrots and all, and they're good for you, but you can't eat them every day. Further, it's like expecting carrots every year when you're in an area where they don't grow all that often.

2007-01-19 07:09:33
11.   wsporter
4 and 8 "... that nicely sums up why I like Ca$hmoney so much too." I'd like to add an enthusiastic "me too" to that as well.
2007-01-19 07:12:32
12.   Sliced Bread
10 I'd trade Doug Out for a bag o'carrots.
2007-01-19 07:15:37
13.   Jim Dean
9 And then along comes Big Daddy Stein! That's a nice little investment they made for 8.7 million.

That's fine and all, sport. But to a kid growing up in the 80's, losing was all I knew until 1996.

I went to my first game in 1983 as a five year old. So, for me, and my early mind, there were a few years of hopelessness in there.

Baseball cards gave hope of a better tomorrow in guys like Bam Bam and Roberto Kelly. It was like a vision from the future.

2007-01-19 07:24:04
14.   wsporter
Sorry, we had the best record in baseball during the 80's and the best or near the best offense in the league. I lived through both and believe me, you have no idea how bad it was in the late 60's and early 70's. The O's looked like they would never loose and we were owned and managed by a group that really didn't give a crap and EVERYONE knew it. We were a joke in the late 80's and early 90's. We were just plain sad and believe it or not the objects of pitty in that previous period.
2007-01-19 07:26:22
15.   bp1
I just wanna know who that tall lanky guy was who was introduced as the new DBacks pitcher. He was vaguely familiar, but that smile didn't register with anyone I knew.

I bet we'll someday be saying the same thing about a certain 3rd baseman we know and love. "Who is that happy guy over there?!?. I don't remember him."

It's unfortunate, really.

2007-01-19 07:37:59
16.   Chyll Will
13 No, my parents were Yankee fans and conspired with God to turn the franchise around... the way nature intended.
2007-01-19 07:41:45
17.   Jim Dean
14 To me, growing up, it felt pretty hopeless especially since it took me from age 5 to 19 before I saw them win anything.

You may have felt better about the 80's because you experienced 1977 - 1981 (and maybe 1921 - 1928). I didn't have that luxury. My generation had nothing.

Except for, like I said 10, that retort to all my Sox friends.

2007-01-19 07:48:17
18.   Jim Dean
One more note on that: To a kid being born in 1997, I'm not going to dismiss their feelings if the Yanks don't win another until 2016 even if they continue to make the playoffs most years (only because of the wild card). To that kid, life as a Yankee fan is going to suck if the Sox win the pennant a few years and especially if the Sox and Mets play in the Serious.

I pray I don't live through that period again. I also pray that I don't end up in elementary schoool again.

2007-01-19 08:02:24
19.   Chyll Will
17 Honorable-mentionably droll... you folks hovering in cyberspace without anything to say are getting all this, right?
2007-01-19 08:16:48
20.   Sliced Bread
14 Yeah, the Yanks have had their pitiful periods, but I don't think they've ever been pitied.
I'd say pinstripe haters are pitiless creatures regarding the Yankees.
As bad as things got for the Yanks in the Vietnam Era, and as powerful as the O's and A's had become, the Yanks were still dreaded and despised in the Yankee-hating conscience.
I'll never forget seeing "The Bad News Bears" for the first time.
1976. I was ten years old, shocked, thrilled, and delighted by the language of the movie, and Matthau's performance.
I thought the Yankees, cast as the villains of the story, was a cliche, and an inaccurate one at that, because the Yanks, despite all I'd read about them in my baeball history books, had done nothing but inspire hostile indifference for as long as I'd been alive. (thought that sentence might never end?)
In 1975, when the movie was shot, they finished in 3rd place, around 5 games over .500.
Yet in the "Bad News Bears" the Yankees remained the corrupt, powerful beast that could never be defeated.
I remember the audience cheering Tanner's line: "Hey Yankees, you can take your apology and your trophy and shove 'em straignt up your ass!"
Don't get me wrong, I was rooting for the Bears, but the line struck me as humorously inapporpriate as just about any in the movie.
Pity the Yanks? They could lose for a hundred years and I don't think they'll ever be pitied by their haters.
2007-01-19 08:39:33
21.   Chyll Will
"Hey Red Sox, you can take your apology and your trophy and shove 'em straignt up your ass!"

In 2004, that would have ended up on the front page of the Post, and they probably would have sold out for the first time in their existence. In 1975, that likely would have met with blank confusion, long and hard laughter or (in RSN) the gnashing of teeth and rioting in the theaters. Try it out with some other teams; I'll bet the reaction would be no less ambivelent for 1975.

2007-01-19 08:44:34
22.   Shaun P
12 How about a case of carrot juice?

10 Jim, you've said that stocking up on RHPs and nothing else is not the way to build a farm system. I agree with you, and I bet Cashman does too. However, like Rome, a farm system isn't built in a day. The system lacks impact bats right now (beyond Tabata, who's 18, and Jesus Montero, who's 16) but that could be turned around as soon as the 2007 draft.

And, think about it like this. Where are the greatest number of potential holes for the 2007 Yankees? The pitching staff. Not one of the projected starters is a guarantee to make 30+ starts. In fact, I'd say odds are high that both Moose and Pettitte miss a month. (Insert your own Pavano joke here - no offense to the Pavano bandwagon.) The pen has similar issues. Mo missed over a month last year, Farnsworth can't pitch back-to-back because of his back, and Proctor may be a timebomb thanks to Torre's extreme usage of him in 2006.

What is the best possible remedy for that? Tons and tons of young pitching that, if needed, could be called up to the majors very soon and do reasonably well.

Its very hard to find decent replacement pitching in in-season trades, as we all know from the last two years, unless you overpay, which the Yanks aren't willing to do (and shouldn't be). Trying to find decent pitching on the 'free talent' market gets you guys like Kris Wilson, Tim Redding, Scott Erickson, etc. and hoping and praying that they work out like Chacon and Small did in '05, which is almost certain to never happen again.

On the hitting side, the odds of injury (of the non-fluke variety) to one of the regulars are much lower. And getting a decent replacement, either by trade or by 'free talent' is likely easier, as there are more such guys available. Or you can go for better than decent and get an Abreu-like guy by taking on salary, which the Yanks can easily do, or give up some of the plethora of young pitchers that teams covet. Caveat - if Posada gets hurt, getting an equal replacement for him is impossible; getting a league average catcher though, ought not to be hard.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I wouldn't be so down on all the RHPs the Yanks have. Let's see what the landscape looks like come July. If the Yanks spend their first 10 picks on right handed pitchers, then its a different story. I bet they won't.

2007-01-19 09:02:13
23.   Chyll Will
If people are gonna talk about carrots, you might as well say it: Bugs Bunny. He's ambidextrious, can play the entire field by himself and has a hell of a repertoire.

Only, you can't bring him on road games; the Dodgers had to give up on him because he was always going right instead of left at Albuquerque...

2007-01-19 09:12:27
24.   Jeteupthemiddle
23 I once saw him strike out three men on a single pitch.

He would be well worth the commitment.

2007-01-19 09:13:20
25.   Start Spreading the News
10 14 That was my answer to Met fans who teased me endlessly in the 90's. That didn't work so well.

But to the Sox Fans, I would always just smug say "Groundball to first base..."

That would quiet them pretty quick. No longer now... Sigh.

2007-01-19 09:13:45
26.   Schteeve
10 Jim, come on, you're being myopic. Pitching in the aggregate is in high demand. The way I see it, Cashman is stockpiling assets. He can then turn those pitching assets into position players. The way you tell the story, Cashman is going to take the next 5 years off and hope that Ross Ohlendorfer (or whatever his name is) can learn to play all 9 positions. That would be clearly crazy.
2007-01-19 09:21:24
27.   wsporter
20 Slice, admittedly a very small sample but my uncles who were died in the wool Dodger survivors were, during the late 60's, lamenting the "god awful state" the Yankees franchise had fallen into. They actually agreed that they wanted them to get better so that it would be "fun" to hate them again. My Grandfather stormed out of the house one day during one of their little "Balantine klatches". It was hard to take.

I remember reading articles by both Dick Young and Red Smith about the deplorable state of the franchise and I believe it was Red Smith's term "the objects of pity" that caused Mike Burke to go on the air on WPIX and squeal about all the "hyperbolic nonsense" being printed.

I can't recall that "BOSTON RED" ever pitied us then but we were sure as hell getting it elsewhere and did it suck.

I suppose each of us has a time that we can look to that simply stunk. I guess the important thing is, no matter when that time was that we are grateful for the good times we are experiencing now. I guess the point is the bad times really help one appreciate the good. Never in my life did I ever expect to experience a run like this. It has really been a lot of fun since '95. Hell it would have been fun in '94 if things hadn't gone south.

2007-01-19 09:24:24
28.   Chyll Will
25 How about "Six down, twenty-one more to go" ?
2007-01-19 09:25:47
29.   dianagramr
24

A sabermetric analysis of Bugs Bunny

http://tinyurl.com/g4u6w

(quite possibly the BEST mix of humor and baseball in a single post ... ever)

2007-01-19 09:30:39
30.   Bama Yankee
23 & 24 LOL, great idea Chyll. It might already be in the works:
http://tinyurl.com/2w6knt

BTW, here is a recap of one his most famous performances...
http://tinyurl.com/3y696n

2007-01-19 09:35:43
31.   Shaun P
30 The guys at USSM are hilarious. Derek Zumsteg's Adventure-based recap of the '06 offseason had me laughing so hard, my co-workers asked if I was OK.

http://tinyurl.com/yucob2

(If you go to tinyurl.com, you can turn on their preview feature, which will show you a snapshot of the page before taking you there; guess I had it wrong yesterday, SSTN.)

2007-01-19 09:35:44
32.   Bama Yankee
29 Beat me to it... Your article is better. The one I posted is more of a Cliff Notes version.
2007-01-19 09:35:58
33.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Before I post my link, are any of those the USS Mariner posts on Bugs? That's the single most amazing thing I've ever read.
2007-01-19 09:43:36
34.   Jim Dean
22 I disagree about most needing pitchers. Injuries happen, especially to old players. Last I looked every position player was over the age of 30, except the 2B and he missed 6 weeks last year with a hammy.

Further, every OF is going on their year 33 season and their catcher is going on his year 35 (turning 36 in August) season.

For those positions there is absolutely no "depth" in the system. At AAA or A+. When Jesus and Jose have at least two good MiLB seasons under their belts, then talk to me about them. Until then, they don't exist.

As for the pitchers - before they acquired 6 additional RHP this off-season, they already had Karstens, Rasner, Hughes, Clippard, Beam, Bean, Veras - should I go on?

26 You're being dense (we can sling insults around all day). Pitching prospects are extremely unpredictable. So they're less valuable than legit position prospects. It will take trading two or three of those recently acquired arms to get one position prospect back. What does that tell you about value? (Hint: I'll give you two fives for a ten). Why? Because no one knows what the pitchers will be worth (unless they're Phil Huge) but they have much better knowledge of what the position prospect will do.

Further, if Cashman had any intention of acquiring position prospects, why go through all the trouble of acquiring pitchers to then turn around and trade them? Why waste all that energy when your dealing partners had good position prospects but no where to play them?

I'm just talking about what they needed this off-season. And more RHP wasn't it. I've been very consistent on that point since the Unit deal.

Sure, the June draft will tell us more. But around then I have a feeling we'll be enduring AB's from Cairo and TR Nieves.

2007-01-19 09:43:45
35.   OldYanksFan
6 You be the judge. Yankees fall from grace.
1961 - 1st out of 10 teams
1962 - 1st out of 10 teams
1963 - 1st out of 10 teams
1964 - 1st out of 10 teams
1965 - 6th out of 10 teams
1966 - 10th out of 10 teams
1967 - 9th out of 10 teams
1968 - 5th out of 10 teams - 83 wins - Roy White hits his stride
1969 - 5th out of 6 teams - Bobby Murcers first full year
1970 - finally fielding a team with some hope, they won 93 games. The main reasons were a mature Roy White, Bobby Murcer, the aquisition of Danny Cater (who hit .301) and especially some funny looking kid from the farm who played catcher and won ROY. God bless you Thurman.

Basically, from 1961 - 1964, a four year span, the average was:
1st place out of 10
From 1965 - 1969, a five year span, the average was:
7.5th place out of 10

101 years of standings: http://tinyurl.com/2yhgrh

2007-01-19 09:44:22
36.   YankeeInMichigan
I went against the tide by becoming a Yankee fan (at age 6) in 1970. The Mets were the toast of the town, of course, but there were a couple of glimmers of hope in the Bronx: 93 wins and a hard-nosed, energetic, rookie catcher.
2007-01-19 09:50:19
37.   Bama Yankee
31 Thanks Shaun, that was hilarious. That adventure game concept brings back memories of the old days when people would just sit in front of their computers and type away, no graphics, just typing and reading endless streams of text... Boy, I'm glad we don't have to do that anymore. Oh, wait...

Actually, I loved those text only games. Maybe that's one of the reasons I love this site so much. ;-)
/Zork-geek memory-lane discussion

2007-01-19 09:53:16
38.   YankeeInMichigan
35 You beat me to it. The emergence of Munson signalled the start of the new era. Then George and Gabe came on board in '73 and went to work on the rest of the pieces.

And by the way, people over-play George's spending. Most of the pieces were filled by means of brilliant trades (Lyle, Nettles, Piniella, Chambliss, Maddox -- an interim step, Bonds -- who we flipped for Rivers and Figgy, Randolph, Dent).

2007-01-19 09:55:47
39.   mehmattski
Sure, Bugs Bunny struck out three men with one pitch. But he's just another RHP...
2007-01-19 09:57:01
40.   Jim Dean
39 Why have one RHP when you could trade him for six!?
2007-01-19 10:01:18
41.   YankeeInMichigan
34 The only way to get quality returns in a trade is to develop a surplus. Right now, the Yankees don't have one. If you sign 10 middle-of-the-road pitching prospects and 3 of them pan out, you have a surplus. You can then trade one of them for someone else's surplus, e.g. a young catcher.
2007-01-19 10:06:54
42.   Jim Dean
41 See, that is exactly Cashman's logic. Except it's backwards.

Cashman: If only one-in-ten RHP become major leaguers then if we have 20 we'll have two solid major league pitcher!

Jim: Except Cash, for that same price, you'd have ten full-time position players.

Cashman: We'll have two major league pitchers! Have you seen how expensive those are!

2007-01-19 10:07:39
43.   Bama Yankee
39 with a powerful paralyzing perfect pachydermous percussion pitch. Which he uses to paste pathetic palookas. We could use that as there are several pathetic palookas in our division.
2007-01-19 10:07:54
44.   Chyll Will
37 Zork + Executive Suite / (King's Quest x 7) = many skipped classes in H.S.
2007-01-19 10:16:30
45.   Jim Dean
35 Notice something about those '70's teams that has something in common with the Mean Gene Dynasty?

(Hint: The first names that came to YOUR mind White, Murcer, Carter, Munson).

If you guessed position prospects - you win!

2007-01-19 10:17:06
46.   JoeInRI
[39, 41] He was a one-rabbit battery too, as I recall . . .
2007-01-19 10:18:11
47.   Shaun P
34 "Injuries happen, especially to old players."

And the two oldest players on the team happen to be pitchers - Moose (38) and Mo (37). Both of whom were injured last year. And the year before. And the year before. Need I go on? Pettitte is also old (35) and another guy with a littany of injuries the last few years.

"Further, every OF is going on their year 33 season . . ."

Age aside, those three guys happen to be among the most durable players in the game. Damon hasn't played less than 145 games since his rookie year (1995). Abreu hasn't played less than 151 games since his rookie year (1997). And because of last year's fluke injury, Matsui missed a game for the first time in what, a decade? You're also ignoring Melky - an in-house replacement ready to step in if one of these guys gets hurt - and likely to give them all rest at DH because he himself needs playing time.

Then there's A-Rod - on the DL once his entire career (1999) - and Jeter, who, Huckaby-related fluke injuries aside, annually plays 150+ games.

Giambi is the oldest position player (8 months older than Posada) but he's supposed to DH most of the time, which ought to keep him fresh.

While Cano missed time with the hammy last year, a youngster like him is exactly the kind of guy to not likely suffer that injury again the following year.

". . .and their catcher is going on his year 35 (turning 36 in August) season."

Yes. Posada may be on the verge of a breakdown. Losing him for a long period of time could be devastating. But that's one guy (I bet Posada is the only red light hitter on Will Carroll's team injury report). Which is worse, losing Posada for a couple of months, or losing Mo, Moose, and Pettitte for a couple of months each?

"For those positions there is absolutely no "depth" in the system. At AAA or A+."

True. But like I said, which is easier to get, a replacement hitter who will put up league average numbers (or slightly better), or multiple replacement pitchers who will put up league average numbers? The hitters, of course.

"As for the pitchers - before they acquired 6 additional RHP this off-season, they already had Karstens, Rasner, Hughes, Clippard, Beam, Bean, Veras - should I go on?"

Yes, please do. Karstens (aka "Scary Flyball Guy") is the likeliest to implode because he gives up so many flyballs. Rasner, in case you forget, was on the 60-day DL last year (injury flag). Hughes and Clippard ought to spend most of the year at AAA for development purposes/injury protection purposes - after all, young pitchers are probably the likeliest players to suffer severe injuries. I think you would agree that killing Hughes's arm to win now (a la Steve Avery and the Braves in the early 90s) would be a crime. Beam is a reliever. The Yanks clearly have no use for Bean at the major league level. Veras is probably the worst of this bunch.

There is value to having that much pitching depth. For starters, it protects you from the guys who get hurt, don't develop, etc - like you said, "Pitching prospects are extremely unpredictable." And they are in demand - making it possible to trade a bunch for, say, a Carlos Zambrano.

But to say that pitching prospects are less valuable than legit position prospects overlooks what MLB teams are always trying to do - find the next huge pitching star, which is inherently more rare than the next huge hitting star. In part because it can be so hard to identify such a guy in advance (see Prior, Mark). Their unpredictability is part of what gives pitching prospects (and pitchers in general) value - you never know when a throw-in to a trade to get an established catcher (one Fransisco Liriano) develops into the best young pitcher in the major leagues.

2007-01-19 10:21:59
48.   Bama Yankee
44 You can even play Zork online now:
http://www.xs4all.nl/~pot/infocom/zork1.html
2007-01-19 10:22:22
49.   JoeInRI
And btw . . .

I was born the year after the Bombers' last WC in the 60's and came of age as a Yankee fan during the Lindy McDaniel era. Those teams set my expectations, which continue actually to this day, that if I get my hopes up, they will ultimately let me down. I've witnessed nine pennant winners and 5 world champions, and I still expect them to lose in the end.

2007-01-19 10:28:22
50.   JoeInRI
45 I'll add one more, Guidry. Unfortunately there were precious and few mound prospects back then. Other than Scott MacGreggor & LaMarr (sp) Hoyt (traded) and Jim Beattie and Ken Clay (flameouts), the Yanks had nothing and were forced to rely on Free Agents and castoffs from other teams . . .

sounds familiar.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-19 10:29:39
51.   Shaun P
I don't know if anyone can convince you, Jim, that having pitching prospect depth is valuable, particularly given the state of the Yanks right now. But I've given it my best shot. I understand and appreciate your concerns re: the lack of position player depth, and especially what happens if Posada were to miss a lot of time. But this isn't a zero-sum game where Cashman is now blocked from doing anything further.

One last thing; here are the OPS+ and number of ABs Joe Girardi had during the "dynasty" years:

1996 - 422 ABs (4/6 of a season), 81 OPS+
1997 - 398 ABs (4/6 of a season), 70 OPS+
1998 - 254 ABs (2.5/6 of a season), 84 OPS+
1999 - 209 ABs (2/6 of a season), 65 OPS+

Having a crappy offensive catcher is not the end of the world.

And what that, I'm done. I'm not going down this road anymore.

2007-01-19 10:39:11
52.   Jim Dean
"And the two oldest players on the team happen to be pitchers - Moose (38) and Mo (37). Both of whom were injured last year. And the year before. And the year before. Need I go on? Pettitte is also old (35) and another guy with a littany of injuries the last few years."

They already had replacements in the system for them. And I didn't have a problem with acquisition of some RHP, just not the whole lot for Shef, Wright, and Unit.

"Age aside..."

How can you leave that aside? That's like talking about a woman who's 200 pounds overweight. Weight aside, she's HOT!

Injuries happen - dislocated shoulder here, a broken wrist there, PED flameout there, a torn ligament here. The only way to plan for them is with depth. And that's defintely not Cairo, MCI, or TR Nieves nor is in anything in the system now.

That speaks directly to your point 22 that what they really needed was pitching.

The pitching they already had! It's everything else they needed.

Further, you tear apart the pitchers I mentioned as not being able to replace Mo, Moose, or Pettite.

But the pitchers they acquired this off-season are no better. It's not like they improved in the pitching depth department. The just replicated what they already had! If that!?

Let me ask you, Shaun, if Moose gets hurt who replaces him?

Pettitte?

Mo?

Was your answer any of the guys acquired this off-season?

If the Yanks had a farm stocked with position prospects, then sure go nuts on pitching. But since they already had the latter, don't they need the former?

Am I really alone on this? Really?

2007-01-19 10:49:13
53.   Jim Dean
51 That's Torre. By 1997 he should have been replaced full-time by Jorge. Indeed, I'd argue that they lost the close series to the Indians because Girardi was starting every game.

Still, your point is taken. But I'd argue that none of the pitchers that they acquired in the Unit deal will turn into a Wells, or Clemens, or Cone, or Key. Sanchez might, but then he needs to be a starter.

After that they had highly ranked guys already that I didn't mention:

Phil Hughes, RHP, Grade A

Jose Tabata, OF, Grade B+

Humberto Sanchez, RHP, Grade B+

Joba Chamberlain, RHP, B

Tyler Clippard, RHP, B

Dellin Betances, RHP, B

J. Brent Cox, RHP, B

George Kontos, RHP, B-

Christian Garcia, RHP, B-

Ian Kennedy, RHP, B-

Tim Norton, RHP, B-

Ross Ohlendorf, RHP, C+

Kevin Whelan, RHP, C+

Stephen Jackson, RHP, C+

Alberto Gonzalez, SS, C+

Everyone acquired is after Norton. The rest they already had, save Sanchez.

2007-01-19 11:01:39
54.   Bama Yankee
52 "Am I really alone on this? Really? "

I am not sure, Jim:
http://tinyurl.com/2vsx2h

;-)

2007-01-19 11:03:02
55.   C2Coke
welcome back, Cliff.

52 Jim, to me, you still seem to be focusing on next year and maybe 2008 only. Cashman had to take risks in order to build another dynasty. He just got rid of all the known risks. The possibility of having excellent performances from the players he traded in 5 years is almost zero. With the new pitchers he got, the chance of a few of them turning out to be valuable either as a player on the team or a chip for trade will be greater than zero. The risk may be how much greater. Cashman could only try to find out. Isn't it as simple as that?

2007-01-19 11:05:49
56.   C2Coke
On another note, fellow Banterers, I know some here use Mac computers. I am seriously considering getting a Macbook, anyone who's willing to give a few pros and cons (I have a HP laptop now)? Is it true one cannot watch MLB.TV on Mac computers?

Thank you in advance.

2007-01-19 11:07:40
57.   Jim Dean
54 Thanks.

55 Sorry, the pitchers he got (except Sanchez) are more like Beam and Bean than Cone and Key. It just wasn't worht.

And yes, I realize I'm still bitching about the Unit trade. I'll stop now. I'll blame Cliff's lukewarm comment even as we all know that's not true.

2007-01-19 11:16:45
58.   Yankee Fan In Boston
10 "It's like just planting carrots and expecting sustenance."

y'know, you can always dangle those carrots that you got from the farm to market and see what people will give you for them.

sorry. i couldn't resist.

2007-01-19 11:48:24
59.   Chyll Will
48 Thanks, Bama! Only now I'm taking grad classes and I can't afford to skip those (literally.) I'll check it out on a Sunday and let you know what I think.

(Do you still get killed for foul language?)

2007-01-19 12:08:55
60.   Bama Yankee
59 If you are like me and don't have the time it takes to actually play the game again (the days must have been longer when I was a kid), then you can take a quick read of this guy's walkthrough:
http://db.gamefaqs.com/computer/doswin/file/zork_1.txt

As for the foul language, it says:
"Such language in a high-class establishment as this!"

2007-01-19 12:24:08
61.   Chyll Will
Right now, that reads like a law book to me, one I spent reading until two in the morning reading two chapters. I'll save it for another day if that's all right >;)
2007-01-19 12:40:45
62.   OldYanksFan
Over the weeks, I've heard about 25 different people voice that, even though they don't think every facet is perfect, in general, they like the trades/moves/direction, that Cashman is moving the team in.
However, each time, Jim Dean has countered with his (same) arguments, and us being dense, has even sometimes yelled at us

I guess that makes the Banter 50%/50% on the Cashman issue?

2007-01-19 12:41:55
63.   New Amsterdam Yankees
53 "Everyone acquired is after Norton."

You are pulling that prospect list from John Sickels, right? He also specifically says that Norton is rated "aggressively," and that since Ohlendorf and Whelan (I would add Jackson as well) are so much closer to the majors, it would be justifiable to rank them higher.

57 "the pitchers he got (except Sanchez) are more like Beam and Bean than Cone and Key"

Comparing minor league pitchers to ones who have already finished their careers is obviously pretty useless, and I know you didn't bring up these names, but FWIW Sickels also has a retro profile of Jimmy Key up at his site, and says he would have rated Key a B-. So right between Sanchez and Ohlendorf. Or right at the "Norton line."

As for Bean and Beam, who you did mention, Colter Bean has been a relief pitcher since he was at Auburn in 1997. In 330 minor league games, he has made 6 starts. T.J. Beam was converted to a reliever after 108 IP between A- and A ball in his age 24 season. Ohlendorf and Jackson both put up good ERAs in full AA seasons at age 24. Both are more advanced starters than Beam ever was.

52 "Let me ask you, Shaun, if Moose gets hurt who replaces him?"

"Was your answer any of the guys acquired this off-season?"

I'm not Shaun, of course, but my answer would be yes. Again from Sickels, on Ohlendorf:

"He looked good in his only Triple-A start, and will return to that level in '07, waiting for a major league job to open up."

So in other words, a guy who could get starts in the event of an injury. I know the Yankees have a couple of guys who may be higher on the depth chart, but there's obviously no guarantee they will perform well either.

Look, I've said before that I think you make some valid points about the RJ trade (and I really hope something else hapens soon so we can put this whole discussion to bed). But I don't get your refusal to see any upside in the guys Cashman acquired.

Sorry for the long post everyone.

2007-01-19 12:47:40
64.   Start Spreading the News
56 I can give you pros and cons since I have a mac laptop and an HP laptop.

You should be able to watch MLB.tv on a mac. At least there is a download for MLB.tv mosaic for mac.

I just got one of the new Mac laptops where I am running windows on my mac laptop. So worst case scenario, i can still run PC software if I need to. So I don't really use my HP laptop anymore.

If you need more info, email offsite to jp4 theATsign columbia.edu

2007-01-19 12:58:22
65.   Bama Yankee
63 "Colter Bean has been a relief pitcher since he was at Auburn in 1997."

Why did you have to go and mention the A-word... ;-)

"Such language in a high-class establishment as this!"

2007-01-19 13:10:47
66.   Chyll Will
65 You should introduce legislation banning the use of the "A-word" in public...
2007-01-19 13:16:08
67.   New Amsterdam Yankees
65 My profound apologies.

Umm . . . Go Tide?

2007-01-19 13:27:50
68.   Chyll Will
Trot Nixon signed with Cleveland; 1 yr @ $3 million.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/29eks7

2007-01-19 13:49:53
69.   Chyll Will
68 not that...anyone really cares.
2007-01-19 13:58:58
70.   C2Coke
64 Thanks a lot.
2007-01-19 14:01:04
71.   C2Coke
69 Well...I care a little bit...but if the name changes to Bernie Williams in that same sentence, expect 1000 posts is all I am saying.
2007-01-19 14:12:58
72.   dianagramr
68 69 71

Bob cares .... I care ... some folks DO care (sniff)
http://tinyurl.com/267dc8

2007-01-19 16:33:05
73.   ny2ca2dc
I've been as nervous about Jorgy going down as anyone, but with the Mkz acquisition, I think if Jorge goes down, Giambi goes to 1st, Matsui (or one of the other outfielders) goes to DH, and Melky goes in for the OFer. Mkz could be used as a LIDR at 1b if need be. So, effectively, you trade Mkz's bat for Nieves/whoever's, and you suffer Giambi at 1b (but get a small upgrade in LF defense) as long as Jorge is out. That lineup is still way better than most of last year. Of course the impact on the pitching staff and C defense is there. Anyway, looking at it this way makes me feel better about it, and makes me even more glad Melky is still around.
2007-01-19 20:03:04
74.   OldYanksFan
David Wells agreed to a one-year deal with the Padres that will pay him $3 million guaranteed. There are incentive clauses that could earn him an additional $4 million.

I know it's sick, but I wouldn't have minded seeing him in Pinstripes again.

2007-01-19 20:28:49
75.   Jim Dean
73 That's an excellent point. It's the most hopeful scenario for that dreaded outcome.

I just saw an excellent movie - Pan's Labyrinth. These Spaniards know what they're doing. In any case the simplest way to describe it is how different perspectives can be gained from the same circumstances.

That's what going on here with Cashman. Some assume he has a grand master plan. Others think he's doing a good job with limited choices. Others focus on the dumb choices and fixate on how things could be better.

To each their own, but all perspectives are valuable. Some are closer to reality while others are pure fantasy. The beauty of life is we each get to choose what we believe. Even better, we seldom know where on the continuum our own thoughts lie.

Go Yanks! 26 days...

2007-01-20 06:41:08
76.   OldYanksFan
"Francisco Butto earns four saves with 1.13 ERA in (Venezuela) postseason"
Anybody know anything about the guy?
2007-01-20 07:22:34
77.   Raf
75 Pan's Labyrinth, sounds like a Spanish version of Rashomon.
2007-01-20 09:17:58
78.   Cliff Corcoran
76 Don't get excited about Butto. He'll be 25 in May, has thrown just six innings above Double-A in his career and hasn't exactly dominated anywhere. He's a right-handed relief pitcher. His ceiling is probably becoming the Venezualan Scott Proctor.
2007-01-20 09:43:14
79.   Javi Javi
73 Pan's laberynth is actually directed by a Mexican. But yes, it is a great movie.
2007-01-20 10:24:24
80.   Chyll Will
71 I wouldn't touch that with a (dunh! dunh!) 29-1/2 pole... (followed by sleazy orchestral music)

That about sums up my opinion if that were to happen in any regard.

2007-01-20 11:07:04
81.   brockdc
79 Inspiring story, brilliant filmmaking. A nice respite from the deluge of Cate Blanchette vehicles and pretentiously high-minded "Oscar Worthy" fair being shown at most cineplexes right now.
2007-01-20 12:23:57
82.   Peter
73 That's a great scenario in theory, but I wonder if it would ever be implemented in reality (hopefully, though, we won't need to find out). It would be a showdown of Melky's earned trust vs Minky's ring wearing, gold glove winning veteranness.
2007-01-20 13:38:16
83.   3rd gen yankee fan
Hey guys, I found something cool. "Ebbets Field Flannels" makes vintage jerseys etc, from the Negro leagues, the independent Minor leagues and Latin America teams.

http://www.ebbets.com

2007-01-20 17:42:48
84.   Raf
83 Those guys have been around for a while. Picked up a Pilots cap from them when I was out in Seattle in '97.
2007-01-21 04:50:12
85.   RIYank
Chicago Trib (everything between the colon and the tinyurl is quotation from the Trib):

A rumor circulated before the Cubs announced their baseball-only deal with Jeff Samardzija on Friday. It had the Cubs spending heavily on a surprise center fielder--J.D. Drew.

It doesn't seem there was anything to it, although you wonder how much longer it will be before some open contentiousness rears its head between Drew and the Boston Red Sox.

http://tinyurl.com/2n4bnh

2007-01-21 08:19:31
86.   yankz
Great article from Peter Abraham (though I think "Cashman Corleone" would've been a better title):

http://tinyurl.com/387ndq

2007-01-21 08:35:35
87.   thelarmis
Sully over at Baseball Analysts has some good predictions for Cano in 2007. Today, Butster Olney's blog hints at Cano being a Top 10 young player for 07. However, I'm not an "INsider," so I have no idea what he wrote. Anybody here read it yet?
2007-01-21 18:16:21
88.   OldYanksFan
"Utley agrees to seven-year, $85M extension"
12$m for an impact player these days is cheap. 7 years... well, for a young position guy, that isn't too bad.

Should Cashman be locking up Cano?

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