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Season Review
2007-10-10 17:05
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I'll be kicking off a player-by-player analysis of the 2007 Yankees in the coming days, but before that, here's a quick look at the team's collective performance.

The 2007 Yankees stumbled out of the gate. With Chien-Ming Wang on the disabled list, Carl Pavano became the default Opening Day starter and blew an early lead. The Yankees would comeback to win that game, but went 2-3 on the homestand, then 3-3 on their first road trip as Pavano and Mike Mussina also hit the disabled list. They returned home to sweep the Indians behind a trio of rookie starters (Chase Wright, Kei Igawa, and Darrell Rasner), but then lost their next seven straight, including four to the Red Sox. That losing streak dropped them below .500, where they would remain until mid-June.

On May 30, the Yankees were in fourth place, 14.5 games behind Boston in the AL East. They won 14 of their next 17, including two of three in Boston and a 8-1 homestand against interleague opponents, but followed that up with a disastrous 1-7 road trip through Colorado, San Francisco, and Baltimore that ended with a rain-suspended game which the Yankees led, but wouldn't officially win for another month.

On July 2, the Yankees were still a losing team. Though they had crept back up to second place in the East, they were 37-41 overall, 10.5 games behind Boston, and in sixth place in the Wild Card race, nine games behind Detroit. That night and the next, they beat the Twins by a combined score of 13-1 behind Roger Clemens and Chien-Ming Wang. Beginning with those two games, the Yankees went 56-27 over their final 83 games--good for a .675 winning percentage, the best in baseball over that stretch. By season's end, the Yankees stood just two games behind the Red Sox and beat out the Tigers for the American League Wild Card to extend their franchise streak of consecutive postseason appearances to 13, one short of the Atlanta Braves' record.

While the Yankees' second-half schedule was littered with what I termed "cupcake" opponents, the distribution of their opponents was not that unbalanced. Forty-one of the Yankees first 79 games came against teams that finished with winning records, while 40 of their final 83 came against eventual winning teams. The Yankees went 17-24 in those first 41 games against winning teams and 26-14 in the final 40, which is evidence that the change in the Yankees' fortune had more to do with how the team played than who their opponents were.

True, the weakest of those winning teams, the Toronto Blue Jays, accounted for 14 of their 40 games against winning teams in the second half and just four of their 41 games against winning teams in the first half, but even if you remove Toronto from the equation, the Yankees went 16-21 (.432) against the remaining winning teams they faced in the first half and 17-11 (.607) against non-Toronto winning teams in the second half.

Offense:

The Yankees had the best offense in baseball in 2007 as they scored nearly a half run more per game than their closest competitor, the NL East Champion Philadelphia Phillies. As a team, the Yankees hit .290/.366/.463 and posted a 123 OPS+, the later a dead match for Derek Jeter's career figure. The Yankees were also fourth in the American League in stolen bases and had a higher success rate than two of the three teams ahead of them.

The offense's splits were telling, however. The Yankees scored 5.40 runs in the first half, which ranked a close second to the Tigers. In the second half, however, they scored an incredible 6.63 runs, a 1074-run pace over a full season. That, more than anything else, was responsible for their second half surge.

As for where all those extra runs came from, here's the second half change in OPS of the eight Yankee regulars to start throughout the season:

Cano: +.212
Abreu: +.195
Posada: +.160
Damon: .+131
Matsui: +.073
Cabrera: +.004
Rodriguez: -.017
Jeter: -.068

Only Jeter, who was hobbled by leg injuries, saw a meaningful decline in his production, while five of the eight regulars enjoyed a significant-to-tremendous increase in production. In addition, Brian Cashman made huge upgrades on the bench by replacing Wil Nieves (.164/.190/.230) with Jose Molina (.318/.333/.439) and Kevin Thompson (.190/.261/.333) with Shelley Duncan (.257/.329/.554).

Replacing Miguel Cario's .252/.308/.318 with Wilson Betemit's .226/.278/.417 didn't actually make much difference this season, nor did any of the changes made at first base where, save for Doug Mientkiewitz's final 12 games, everyone was consistently underwhelming.

Rotation:

The Yankee rotation was in shambles early in the year with Wang starting the season on the DL, and Pavano and Mussina hitting the DL after making two starts a piece. Jeff Karstens, who was supposed to break camp as the fifth starter, opened the season on the DL due to elbow soreness, tanked his first start after coming off the DL, then had his leg broken by a comebacker in his second start. Darrell Rasner made six starts before having a finger on his pitching hand broken by a comebacker. Phil Hughes tore a hamstring while pitching a no-hitter in his second start. Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, and Chase Wright, none of whom was supposed to see the majors before 2008, combined for 13 starts. And Kei Igawa still managed to pitch his way off the roster by early May.

In total, twelve pitchers started for the Yankees in the first half of the season, including seven rookies and five men who were making their major league debut. Only three men made more than eight starts--Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, and Mike Mussina--and of those three, only Pettitte didn't spend time on the disabled list.

Roger Clemens replaced Matt DeSalvo in the rotation in early June. Igawa returned from triple-A to replace Tyler Clippard at the end of that month, and in early August, Phil Hughes returned from the disabled list to replace Igawa, giving the Yankees five solid starters for the first time all season. Not that things went quite that smoothly. Hughes struggled in August. Mussina pitched his way out of the rotation by the end of that month, and a variety of injuries limited Clemens to two starts in September. Still, things were better than they had been. Andy Pettitte came up aces in the second half to anchor the rotation, and 87 percent of the Yankees' games in the second half were started by one of their top five starters (Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, Mussina, Hughes).

Looking at the staff ERA, however, the pitching staff as a whole was almost exactly league average in both the first half and the second. That doesn't follow the narrative above, and it seems unlikely that the bullpen could have been good enough in the first half to compensate for the rotation's struggles, or bad enough in the second second half to mask the rotation's improvement.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to those sorts of combined splits. What I can tell you is that the starting rotation was almost dead average on the season in ERA and walk rate, ranked below average in both strikeout rate and innings per start, but was actually better than average in home runs allowed (the last of which owes something to the pitcher-friendly dimensions of Yankee Stadium).

Bullpen:

As the Yankee rotation stumbled in the early going, one of April's big stories became the resulting strain put on the Yankee bullpen and the relievers' resulting collective ineffectiveness. Through the first 18 games of the season, the starters averaged just 4.87 innings per game. Luis Vizcaino, especially, was awful in late April because he had pitched in eight of the Yankees' first twelve games. Mariano Rivera, meanwhile, was supposedly awful because he wasn't pitching enough (or so went the argument after Rivera blew his first two save opportunities--in actuality, Mo pitched in five of those first twelve games, a 67-game pace over a full season, exactly his career average, though only one of those five appearances was a save opportunity, which he blew).

As the rotation improved and ate up more innings, the bullpen also improved due to it's decreased workload, but it was never what you'd call good. On the season, the Yankee bullpen ranked 22nd in the majors in ERA and was worse than average in both walk rate and home run rate compared to the other 29 pens in the majors. Dumping Scott Proctor in the Betemit trade and replacing him a week later with Joba Chamberlain was a huge upgrade, but that didn't happen until August. Meanwhile, releasing Mike Myers ultimately to make room for Edwar Ramirez, while it seemed like the right move at the time, didn't pay off quite the same way. True, Myers was dreadful with the White Sox in September, but he posted a 2.66 ERA in pinstripes, while Edwar posted a 7.64 ERA in his second stint in the majors.

Defense:

The Yankees had the fourth most efficient defense in baseball in 2006 (measured by their rate of turning balls in play into outs), but dropped to 14th in 2007. On the up side, Alex Rodriguez made a marked improvement over his lost year at third base in 2006. The defense of Mientkiewicz, Phillips, and even Betemit and Miguel Cairo was a nice improvement over Jason Giambi at first base. Melky Cabrera's arm made him an upgrade over Johnny Damon in center, and Damon's late-season use in left field was a huge improvement over Hideki Matsui. Best of all, Robinson Cano tied Orlando Hudson for the third best Ultimate Zone Rating in baseball at second base. On the down side, Derek Jeter, whose late-season decline seen in the OPS figures above was the result of knee problems that also reduced his already limited range in the field, ranked dead last in the majors in UZR among shortstops. Matsui, when he was in the field, was the third worst left fielder in the AL, and Bobby Abreu was merely average in right (in fact, Rodriguez was merely average at third as well, but it was still a huge upgrade on his 2006 performance).

The Yankee catchers, meanwhile, ranked 17th in the majors by throwing out just 24 percent of opposing baserunners, while allowing the second most successful steals in all of baseball. Wil Nieves was worse than that. Jose Molina was better, and Jorge Posada hit that 24 percent right on the head. No one tried to steal on Josh Phelps during his inning behind the plate in Boston.

Conclusions:

Looking at the big picture, the Yankees' principle goal for this offseason should be to keep their offense together by extending Alex Rodriguez and resigning Jorge Posada. They still have a hole at first base, but with Jason Giambi, Shelley Duncan, and Wilson Betemit all under control for 2008, they should be able to piece the position together and get acceptable production.

The rotation will improve itself with a full season from Phil Hughes and the addition of Joba Chamberlain and possibly Ian Kennedy, all of whom will not only solidify the rotation. The only concern there is how many innings each of those kids should be allowed to pitch. Kennedy's 165 1/3 innings were the most of the trio in 2007, as Hughes' time on the DL prevented him from building on his 146 frames from 2006, and the Joba Rules held Chamberlain to 116 innings in his first professional season. The general rule is that young pitchers should not increase their innings by more than 30 percent over the previous year. That would give Kennedy plenty of leeway for a full season (though the Yankees should still be mindful to keep the 23-year-old below 200 innings), but limit Chamberlain and Hughes to 150 frames, as Hughes wound up throwing almost exactly as many innings as Chamberlain this year. Exactly how to manage their workloads will be one of the challenges facing the organization and its new manager in 2008.

Lastly, the bullpen needs a-fixin', particularly with the loss of Chamberlain to the rotation. Chris Britton, who was inexplicably held back at triple-A for much of the 2007 season, should be part of that solution, but he's only (believe it or not) a small part. Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Veras, who pitched well enough in September call-ups to earn postseason roster spots, could be parts as well, as could Humberto Sanchez and J.B. Cox in the latter half of the season, depending on how quickly they recuperate from their early-2007 ligament-replacement surgeries. Beyond that, my enthusiasm for Edwar Ramirez and Brian Bruney has faded and, though he had a solid season in Scranton, T.J. Beam never convinced me he could get major league hitters out and tellingly didn't get so much as a sniff from the big league club this past year when even Colter Bean got called up . . . twice!

I'll explore the Yankees' bullpen options more in future posts, starting with my player-by-player postmortem (I really do expect to get to the pen this year, really). For now it's enough to know that the bullpen is the aspect of this Yankees team that needs the most attention. After hiring a manager, that is. And resigning Rodriguez and Posada. (Yes, Rivera too, but he's part of the pen). If they fail to bring back those star players, "this" will be a very different Yankee team.

Comments (136)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-11 00:51:01
1.   joejoejoe
Great recap Cliff.

I had forgotten about Chase Wright completely and it's interesting that for all their first half pitching troubles the performance wasn't much different than the second half.

As for the offense, the Phillies (#2 offense - 892 runs) had 25 games scoring 2 runs or fewer while the Yankees had (#1 offense - 968 runs) had 33 games scoring 2 runs or fewer. That could be statistical noise but maybe some thought should be paid towards playing small ball until a run is on the board and then letting loose the offense. A few runs off the aggregate isn't a bad thing if the run totals per game are more consistent. For all of the Yankees offense they got shut out more than Tampa Bay this year.

2007-10-11 04:21:36
2.   Ken Arneson
Minor correction: Cano was tied for third, not second, in UZR. Mark Ellis and Chase Utley were both ahead of Cano and Hudson.
2007-10-11 05:45:46
3.   idahoyankee
With Hughs, Kennedy, Jaba, and Wang in the opening day rotation - we only need a great defensive catcher and one more big name starter and that will be a team even Torre can get to another division title - with or without A-Rod....baseball is a game that starts and ends with pitching!
2007-10-11 06:11:51
4.   Alex Belth
Cliff is the MAN!
2007-10-11 06:24:25
5.   rbj
Great analysis, Cliff.
12 different starters & seven of them rookies (including Kei). Isn't that some sort of record for a team that makes it to the post season?

Soooo, it's about time for spring training, right?

2007-10-11 06:39:52
6.   OldYanksFan
A little note: While he was GREAT on offense, it seemed a lot of balls were getting past Posada. Whether WPs or PBs, he looked a little 'lazy' back there. Was Joba's WP in the dirt? I don't think so. I think it hit off Jorge's glove and was very blockable, if not catchable.

Jorge does not really move behind the plate. He doesn't seem to use his body to block pitches. If he doesn't get it with the glove, it doesn't get it.

If there is ONE pitch that totally turned the season, it was Joba's. If Jorge blocks that pitch, are we still playing baseball?

Melky now has 2 full years as a Yankee. There is the 'sophomore jinx', but Melky didn't appear to improve. Is this it? Will he get much better in the future, or is what you see, what you get?

As far as the PS, I really think the expectations of always winning, are wearing the guys down. As soon as they are behind, they seem to go into 'Oh Shit!' mode. Most people thought Cleveland had the better team, and had a big advantage with 2 studs and Home field advantage... yet still... the Yankees are 'expected' to win. I think it's getting to them. As esoteric as it is, it's abount the only explaination for the last 4 PS's.

There was already a lot of pressure on the elimination game(s). I think the boys knew what they were against. I don't think George's announcement helped much.

I want Torre to stay, but if he goes... he goes. My real beef is the manner in which this has all come down. It smacks of the 'bad ole days'. It was a tasteless and classless move by Steinbrenner. Joe's contract was up anyway. It reminded me of George's unique talent of how to make an already bad situation, much, much worse.

2007-10-11 06:42:10
7.   unpopster
off topic...

this is why I hate the Red Sox:

www.bostondirtdogs.com

Congratulations Red Sox fans, your team is in the ALCS...but all you care about is the Yankees. I'll say it a million times and until I'm blue in the face, "Red Sox Nation" is the most pathetic fan base in sports. They are Yankee haters first, Red Sox fans second. it's sad.

2007-10-11 06:50:41
8.   JoeInRI
7 Walk a mile in my shoes, buddy.
2007-10-11 06:50:41
9.   markp
FA set-up guys too often aren't worth the money. Good managers build the BP from within.

Posada doesn't only not block pitches well anymore, but his habit of calling for too many pitches off of the plate has gotten worse than ever. Too many pitchers "lose their control" when they don the pinstripes. I don't want to lose his bat, but unless we get a manager willing to insist he do a better job setting up and blocking pitches, he's going to hust the staff. With so many young guys in the rotation and the BP, that may be too high a price to pay for his stick.

2007-10-11 06:54:26
10.   JoeInRI
9 It may be time to think about Jorge at First. But the question is, who do you replace him with?
2007-10-11 06:55:22
11.   markp
One other thing-Jeter's days at SS should end.
2007-10-11 06:57:35
12.   markp
JoeInRI-I don't know. His bat is such an asset for a catcher, but his work behind the plate is such a liability. Is it possible a new manager would get him to actually improve (as opposed to talking about it, like the last two years?)
2007-10-11 07:06:09
13.   Sliced Bread
Nice work, Cliff.

Anybody have an updated ETA for Sanchez and Cox? Last I heard they've been throwing since mid-summer.

2007-10-11 07:15:15
14.   Yankee Fan In Boston
first of all, an amazing job, cliff. i can't wait for the rest of these.

7 8 last night, the lead story on the local "news" was that the sox held a workout yesterday. i have no problem with that. this town's love of baseball is the thing i love most about it.

i did take issue with the fact that the second story covered was suzyn waldman's reaction to torre's press conference the other night.

uh... nothing else to report? hilary clinton was in town. that might have been newsworthy to some. she's running for president or something.we are kind of involved in some conflict or two someplace... i forget the details.

(the night before they did a long segment on joe torre's future at the top of the "news" as well. i expect all out a-rod coverage tonight, followed by a "what's wrong with derek jeter" investigative report over the weekend.)

i just found that to be odd.

talk about the sox. they're in the playoffs. you're a boston media organization.

i don't get it.

2007-10-11 07:17:26
15.   JoeInRI
12 There was much talk last year about how he improved with Tony Pena on the staff. I don't think a guy in his mid-30's is going to suddenly become Bob Boone (God Forbid). I don't know how many runs he gives up behind the plate compared to say, Varitek or Mathis or Martinez/Shopach.
2007-10-11 07:18:06
16.   ny2ca2dc
Great recap.

What's the greater liability, Jeter's D at short, to Po's D behind the plate? Po's bat may play at 1B, so he at least has a clear path to 1B, but then what happens with Matsui & Giambi at DH, assuming Damon is the LF? And who's going to replace Po at C? Unless one or more of Giambi/Damon/Matsui is traded/benched, it doesn't look like Jeter or Po are moving positions.

2007-10-11 07:18:21
17.   ChrisS
Excellent write-up Cliff.

12 I don't know, how about a new manager that used to be a pretty decent catcher himself. There's no replacement at the ML level close to Posada's ability, save Joe Mauer - and he ain't going anywhere. Catchers that can wallop the ball are kinda rare.

2007-10-11 07:32:59
18.   ms october
Yes, just to echo the sentiments expressed that was a really great recap.

7 , 14 - I too am in Boston (stuck for about another year). I was listening to the ESPN radio affiliate yesterday and could not belive how much time the afternoon LOCAL show spent on the Yanks/Cleveland series or the Yanks plans rather than talking about the Sox matchup with Cleveland.

As to the bullpen recap - it is telling that there is no mention of Krazy Kyle - I think that is fitting. I am hoping there are at least 4 in house solutions. Should Viz be resigned?
I just really really hope Mo comes back.

I know people have given a lot of stats about Florida having a lot of young pitchers the last few years, mostly in a discussion about Girardi and the Marlins org philosphy, but does anyone have a good example of how three pitchers who will have innings caps on them have been integrated into a rotation successfully?

Lastly, I agree that Posada's dropped/passed balls is an issue - but he seems to be having trouble moving to 1B as well - I wonder how much this factors in to the number of years they offer him?

2007-10-11 07:34:18
19.   OldYanksFan
7 They are trashing Trott Nixon now? The Ultimate Red Sox? Wow... they are a deeply disturbed group.

As a NYer who has lived 'North' of Boston for 34 years, I will tell you it's not the Yankees are much as NEW YORK itself. When it comes to NY, Bostonians have the massive case of Penis envy.

Boston is a great little city. It is full of history and culture. It has a lot to be proud of. But of course, it ain't NY. However, these people are obsessed with 'competing' with NY. Everything they see is in reflection to NY. It is deeply disturbing and belittles their great community.

As of course, RSN is the worst of the worst. Forget MIT and Harvard, there are more then enough Pubs for RSN to recruit from. It's sick. Even when they win, they are losers.

After all... we have Derek. They have Manny. Enough said.

2007-10-11 07:36:53
20.   OldYanksFan
Posada could not play 1st base. He would make Piazza look like a ballerina. Catcher for another year or 2... fine. DH if he can still hit, great. But the guy can't move. DH is where you put guys who can't field, not 1B.
2007-10-11 07:50:43
21.   YankeeInMichigan
On a Tigers-Yankees broadcast, the Tiger announcers claimed that Yankee Stadium was oddly playing as a homer-friendly park this year, as both the Yankees and their opponents had more homers in the Bronx than on the road.

Perhaps the second-half ERA was skewed by the occasional blow-outs (14-4 vs. TB, 15-4 vs. TOR, 12-0 vs. BAL, 18-9 vs. LAA, 16-0 vs. DET, 9-1 vs. TB, 10-1 vs. BOS) and slugfests (13-9L vs. CWS, 12-11W vs. TOR, 10-9L vs. BAL, 11-10W vs. BAL).

2007-10-11 07:56:18
22.   YankeeInMichigan
20 Immoble sluggers have survived at 1st base since the beginning of time. Remember Dave Kingman? Even Ron Blomberg would have been a starting 1st baseman (at least against righties) if the DH rule hadn't come along. The difference between a poor and average fielding 1st baseman is probably about two games.
2007-10-11 08:03:41
23.   OldYanksFan
Jeter has a career OPS of .850 and is worth around 16 HRs a year. He has historically stolen 20 bases with a SB/CS of 70% or so.
This is still pretty good for a SS, but in the last 10 years, there are more and more good hitting SS's coming into play.

Meanwhile, his fielding is atrocious. Does anyone have comparitive numbers that combine offense and defense, compared to others in the league. VORP? ERA+ plus defensive metrics? How can we make a real evaluation of Jeters current numbers compared to the rest of MLB?

It seems to me, if his SBs decline, as his HRs have, and he continues to degrade in the field, that his overall value may not be so 'Jeteresque'.

Also, PeteAbe said on Monday, ARod was the FIRST guy on the field. While we all know he is a great talent, his work ethic and dedication to bettering himself are outstanding. This has already influenced Melky and Cano. For a team that's getting younger, I think ARods positive influence is another important part of his value.

I gotta tell you... in 3 years I have gone from thinking ARod is an overrated flake, to him being my boy. People won't say it, but I think this (was Torre's team.... and now) is ARod's team. One of the 2 greatest SS's in history was willing to give up his position (to Jeter no less) to become a Yankee. Jeter meanwhile, has become a huge liability in the field, but seems to refuse to become a 1st baseman, which is both where we need him and his skills dictate he should be.

Is this blasphemy? More LSD flashbacks? Or is ARod becoming the real leader of this club?

2007-10-11 08:10:44
24.   Count Zero
Keeping with OYF's query segment...

How do we feel about Posada as a "handler?" I.e., does his pitch-calling help, hinder or neither?

I found it interesting that Hughes, Joba and IPK all came up shaking him off from day one.

Girardi was a great handler...

2007-10-11 08:11:36
25.   monkeypants
20 22 I agree that Posada should see much more time at DH, though whenever he is not C, we have to endure the hopeless backup. I am not convinced that Posada's bat at 1B (combined with his likely poor defense) warrants the move in any case.

The average 1B in the ML batted .821 OPS, the average catcher batted .713 OPS. Posada had a career year at age 35, but for his career has hit .860 OPS. I think that we have to assume as he ages that number will go down. So, he may hit as a somewhat better-than-average 1B, but does that justify giving up the whopping advantage he gives the team as a C (even with all the passed balls)?

Wouldn't the better move be to find a league average 1B, and then play the hell out of Posada for the next few years at C (with increasing ABs at DH)?

The other problem with the Jorge to 1B plan is that it is one of many that is commonly floated on these threads--Jeter to 1B, Damon to 1B, Matsui to 1B among them. They can't move every player to 1B/DH. As painful as it is to watch poor defensive play, sometimes you have to accept it in order to maximize offensive production in the lineup.

2007-10-11 08:16:05
26.   monkeypants
23 Perfect timing--now Jeter to 1B! See 25 .

; )

More seriosuly, there may be more better hitting SS in the league, but the ML average for SS this season was .738--the lowest of any position save C and P. If Jeter is still putting up 800+ OPS, then I think you pretty much have to keep him at SS.

2007-10-11 08:20:25
27.   OldYanksFan
Yes... when the only choice for Mantle was 1B or the bench, 1B it was. Mantle, compared to the rest of his team, was still the big slugger.

This year, Posada had an amazing .970 OPS. That would earn him '1B no matter what' status. But he is a career .860 OPS guy, and over the next 3 years could/probably will regress to that and worse.

So in 2009 and 2010, if he's a .850 OPS guy (or worse), is the Yankee 1st baseman an .850 OPS/no field/no run guy? Would you say this is the best way to fill the 1B position.

Jeter and Posada him similar offensive numbers, with Jorge having more power. But Jeter can run, and steal (hopefully), and would certainly be a far better fielding 1st baseman then Posada.

Hell, this year STINK was a .790 OPS guy with a great glove.

I'm not making an absolute statement here as much as raising a question.

We have too many good hitters (Posada, Jeter, Matsui, Giambi and to some extent Abreu) who are slightly below average to terrible fielders. There's only ONE 1st base.

Should this be a Brian Cashman conundrum?

2007-10-11 08:22:20
28.   OldYanksFan
25 HEY!!!!!! Either stop reading my mind or type slower!
2007-10-11 08:25:03
29.   ric
here we go with the hourly boston inferiority complex/penis envy discussion. ive been to nyc a few times. i liked it although i found the subway confusing. and i was fwightened by all the big buildings! fyi- boston dirt dogs is exactly like your nomass- a place to photoshop and ridicule. i dont understand why someone would read it and equate it with a fan base. now you guys can pound me with the same old comments,so heres a preemptive strike- "why are you even reading this website, i wouldnt read a red sox site" "youre obsessed" "your teams in the postseason, so why do you care?" im looking at you- yankz ;)
2007-10-11 08:25:29
30.   monkeypants
27 "Should this be a Brian Cashman conundrum?"

Yes--I am a big fan of the Cashman. The biggest organizational weakspots in the last few years involved failing to fiprepare for a change at CF, C, and 1B/DH. CF was solved a year too late with another aging player, when Melky happened more or less by accident and necessity. But C and 1B/DH have never really been addressed adequately. Even if we assume that the plan was for Giambi to remain healthy and productive in the last couple years of his contract, that still only solves half of the 1B/DH situation (probably the latter, given his fielding and propensity for injury). Signing Phelps this off season was at least a gesture toward some sort of creative solution (as were other platoon experiments like Wilson).

But really, it just should not be that hard to sign a league average 1B, or at least that's what "they" all say.

2007-10-11 08:26:58
31.   Vida Blues
For all the talk about why they lost to Cleveland, I haven't read anyone talk about the possibility that the Yankee offense may have performed so poorly b/c the players were gassed from playing white-knuckle, playoff-intense baseball since early June (in order to make up for their horrid start). Aside from the fact that Carmona and the Cleveland bullpen was sawing up Yankee bats, I just don't think they had any legs left.
Remember the 2nd-half runs that Oakland went on in 2001 and 2002? Their post-ASG records were a mind-blowing 58-17 in '01 and 53-21 in '02 and the same thing happened - they collapsed in the Division Series both years. I also found the last series the Yanks played with Toronto on 9/21-9/24 to be telling. Check out these numbers:
9/21 - 14-inning game that chalked in at 4:45 and the regulars played the entire game.
9/22 - 10-inning game at 5:00 (with a 1:32 rain delay). Posada caught again and the Yankees used 10 pitchers.
9/23 - 3:38 game all of the regulars, save Posada, play again
9/24 - finally a reasonably clocked 2:42 game. Again, all of the regulars play.
That's 15 hours and 48 minutes of baseball over 4 days, with an hour and a half rain delay tossed in for good measure. And the next evening was a road game in Tampa Bay that lasted 4:06, and again, used most of the regulars. Even their second game in Tampa, 12-4 victory on Wednesday where they clinched their post-season berth, proved to be haul as it clocked in at 3:29. It wasn't until Thursday, 9/28, that Torre rested most of the regulars save for Damon, Matsui and Cano.
Tired team + carmona/perez/lewis/betancourt + banned greenies = first round exit (IMHO)
2007-10-11 08:27:20
32.   monkeypants
30 Grrr...

That should read "Yes--and I am a big fan..."

Concessive use of the conjunction.

2007-10-11 08:28:03
33.   OldYanksFan
I think this brings up a FO philosophy issue. For quite a while, we have gone after big bats, regardless of defensive prowess. While offense is more 'obvious' in it's impact on game scores, just seeing Melky in CF, and JD over Mats in LF, and even the Stink at 1B, has me convinced that we need to pay more attention to defense.

For the future, should we be drafting/trading for guys more like 'Tori Hunter' rather then 'Jason Giambi' types? Should we give at offense in order to get an defense.

2007-10-11 08:28:37
34.   Yankee Fan In Boston
29 ric, i'm asking out of genuine curiosity, why would those guys post something like that about tro nixon? did he say something negative about the sox or something? i always thought he was revered around here (as i personally think he deserves).
2007-10-11 08:31:35
35.   markp
I disagree with moving Jeter (or Matsui, Damon, etc) to 1B. None of them has enough stick to warrant it. I'd rather get a good 1B to play there.

Jeter would be better served in the OF. Not only would our D get better with Alex at SS and him in LF (for instance), but he'd stay a lot healthier.

As for Posada, it's not just the passed balls/wild pitches/etc. It's that he seems to have regressed badly in his ability to handle pitchers. With so many young pitchers, this could be a huge liability. I've always preferred offensive catchers to Girardi types, but the Yankees staff will probably require the latter at the cost of offense. We really wouldn't lose much offense if we get a good stick at 1B, and they're not that hard to find.

2007-10-11 08:33:03
36.   monkeypants
33 Of course, wasn't that part of the Moneyball formula, or at least how it was perceived? Look at those very good As teams--they were like a softball team. I think the stats all say that the difference between the best and worst hitters is much greater than between the best and worst fielders, and I tend to belive that. Now, there must be limits to this, and we also need to recognize that defensive metrics are still in their infancy compared to hitting.
2007-10-11 08:34:10
37.   monkeypants
35 I wonder how much catchers really do "handle" pitchers these days? I am not arguing with you, but genuinely curious. I was under the impression that much more of the game is called by the coaches these days.
2007-10-11 08:42:50
38.   markp
The pitches are called from the bench a lot on the Yankees, but that's not all handling the pitcher entails. Where you set up is very important, and Posada sets up off the plate far too much. I can recall a great many times with a 2-2 count seeing him set up off the plate outside and the count going to 3-2. He even did it a lot with guys like Bruney and Farnsworth on the mound.

Maybe Girardi, being the details guy he is, could get him to stop doing that (along with his other bad habits). I have a feeling Girardi isn't going to be the manager next year. If he was, it would likely have been announced already. I have a feeling Torre will return and the laissez-faire management style will continue.

2007-10-11 08:46:52
39.   Yankee Fan In Boston
38 if he really is losing his mobility, he might be setting up outside to compensate. i have never played the position, so i am just guessing.
2007-10-11 08:50:56
40.   JoeInRI
29 Ric, I would agree with you about the BDD/NoMaas comparison, but even a brief listen to EEI during drive times or Planet YankeeHater belies your comment. I certainly wouldn't paint all Sawx fans with the same brush, but there is a definite, palpable anti-NYC feeling to New England. I went to college here, I married here and I live and love it here, but I never had any vitriol against the Red Sox until I moved here.
2007-10-11 08:52:14
41.   JoeInRI
35 Clearly though, we have too many LF/1B/DH candidates as it is . . .
2007-10-11 09:13:09
42.   unpopster
29 "fyi- boston dirt dogs is exactly like your nomass- a place to photoshop and ridicule. i dont understand why someone would read it and equate it with a fan base."

Um, Ric. Bostondirtdogs.com has an official relationship with boston.com, which is actually The Boston Globe. It's not just a "place to photoshop and ridicule". In fact, based on what I've seen from BDD over the last couple of years, it's a legit representation of the fan base.

Ric, can you honestly claim that there is no pathologically unhealthy anti-Yankee atmosphere in Boston? seriously?

2007-10-11 09:17:21
43.   ric
34

sure, hes pretty revered; everybody loved him- the 40% of the season he was healthy. i just looked at BDD- what did they post thats negative? they seem to say nice to see you, hope you play terrible and you lose though.

2007-10-11 09:24:50
44.   monkeypants
42 Please, don't encourage...
2007-10-11 09:34:07
45.   Levy2020
If they're going to move Jeter (and why would they? They'd replace him with what at SS? Betemit? Omar Vizquel? A-Rod?), they should move him to CF, not 1B.
2007-10-11 09:38:46
46.   Orly Yarly NoWai
45 Betemit, perhaps, maybe A-Rod, or John McDonald, who is a free agent this year and by all accounts has a terrific glove.

Jeter could go to any of the outfield spots, but I'd rather keep Melky's glove in CF. That poses a bit of a problem, as Jeter-as-RF/LF isn't going to be quite as potent on offense and moves someone else into the OF/1B/DH logjam.

2007-10-11 09:57:24
47.   NJYankee41
46 Toronto already extended McDonald.
2007-10-11 10:01:58
48.   Shaun P
A better defense is fine and wonderful and all, but (if things go right), it shouldn't matter a bit. The pitching staff next year is going to be filled with strike-throwing machines: not just Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy, but many of the guys likely to end up in the bullpen.

More Ks = fewer balls in play = defense doesn't matter so much.

For example, in 2001, the Yanks led the AL in Ks. They were 10th in Team Defensive Efficiency . . . but finished 3rd in ERA, tied for 4th in ERA+, and 3rd in runs allowed.

Watch the Ks jump next year, and the runs allowed will go down, even if the defense barely improves.

2007-10-11 10:08:39
49.   joejoejoe
Jorge Posada is not on my list of 'problems with the Yankees'. Unless you're going to replace him with Johnny Bench in his prime it's crazy talk to harp on Posada's flaws. He's a switch-hitting C with a career 126 OPS+ who plays solid defense. That's not bad.
2007-10-11 10:09:36
50.   markp
Shaun-you're point makes sense in general, but when the most important defensive position is last in the league it hurts a lot more than a corner OF who's last in the league. Besides, Wang and possibly Pettitte and even Mussina might still be getting significant innings in 08.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-11 10:45:34
51.   Yankees Chick
this is a great recap - thanks!

no huge surprises of course.... but I have to reiterate the impact that Posada made on the team. It seems silly to point out ANY flaws... when it comes to available catchers, he is tops. the chances of him having another year like this are slim, but even if he does what he did in 2005/2006, he seems irreplaceable to me. resign...

2007-10-11 10:55:00
52.   Shaun P
50 True, but Jeter was clearly bothered by his leg issues, as evidenced by the drop in his hitting in the second half. It must have affected his fielding too. A healthy Jeter = probably OK enough at SS.

And, even with Jeter's horrible defensive season, the two groundballers on the staff still posted very respectable ERAs: 3.70 for Wang (117 ERA+), 4.05 for Pettitte (107 ERA+).

The bullpen worries me 100 times more than Jeter's defense does.

2007-10-11 11:00:26
53.   standuptriple
I'm always weary of the "contract year" jump in stats, and when it's a catcher it's even more worrisome. 2-3 years tops for Jorge and they need to keep Molina around to spell him regularly. They also need to trade for a groomable replacement or start fast-tracking the one(s) they think have the ability to make it in the bigs. I know Jorge was an IF and they converted him, that may be worth attempting down on the farm again.
2007-10-11 11:10:22
54.   OldYanksFan
48 While that logic is true, I still think we give away too many runs. JD was in LF a very short time, but I personally saw at least 5 balls Matsui doesn't get... one being just a few days ago against Cleveland. And while we say 'he saved a run there', he may have saved 2 or 3 or more, as we don't know what the next batters would have done.

I think JD vs Mats saved 2 games anyway.
And Melky in CF? How many games did he save with just his arm? Comparing his glove and range to JDs, Bernies, Mats, or Shefs.. were games saved? Did Melky and JDs defense save 4 games this year? Thats a lot.

What if DJ makes that play in the 1st against Cleveland? Is the game different? Is there a phscologic impact to giving up a run or 2 early because of bad D? We KNOW we lost at least 2 games on ERRORS, but maybe many more on balls NOT played.

What about STINK? Did he save a game or 2? Nobody wanted him at 1st because of his bat.
Here's a fun game. How many GAMES did we lose/NOT lose purely on defense.... compared to if we had an above average defender.

I'll say 6, and maybe as many as 8.
This 6-8 included games we did NOT lose because of Melky (and his arm) over JD, JD over Mats, and Stink over everyone.

Remeber Melky's catch on Manny? That saved a game. Did we tie Boston that year (No... but you get the point). Did our Defense cost us the Division this year? (We finished 2 games out).

Pony up guys. How many games did our best defenders save?
How many games were lost to below average defense?

(And do we count Joba's 'WP' to Posada? That cost a game and maybe the PS)?

2007-10-11 11:19:04
55.   Rob Middletown CT
There isn't really much reason to expect Jeter to be healthier as he ages. Not to be a downer or anything...

I don't see any really good ways of improving the defense in the short term without taking a massive offensive hit. Long term, I've no problem with trying to develop and/or acquire guys who can hold their own with both the glove and the bat. Cano, for instance :)

I agree that more k's would help cover up defensive shortcomings. More defense would help cover up pitching shortcomings (so long as the ball stays in the park). It's two sides of the same equation.

As for the bullpen... well, again I think we've got two things working together (poorly) here. Starting pitching and relief. If you have so-so starters who don't go deep into games you must expose middle relievers to significant IP, and often they will come in to face a jam (runners on). That sets them up to fail. If you have good starters who give you 6+ innings per game, you don't have to expose the weakest pitchers on your club like that, and you've got many more games where your top relieves come in to, say, start the 7th/8th/9th.

Looking back at the stats, the dynasty teams didn't have airtight bullpens. I think the impression is that they did, because they had some awesome playoff performances (Stanton in particular, damn). But these guys were putting up 4-4.5 eras a lot of the time during the season. That didn't kill the team, though, because the starters were really good.

The only dominant reliever the Yanks had was Mo. The other guys were decent - better than Farnsworthless/Proctor/Vizcaino, I'll grant - but hardly great.

2007-10-11 11:25:55
56.   Rob Middletown CT
If you can get a player who can play excellent defense AND hit, great.

One example of a player that would kill you, though, is one you mentioned before: John McDonald. He may be a great defensive SS. But he's beyond horrible with the bat.

Did Posada's defense this year cost us some runs? Yeah, I'm sure it did. But he was amazing with the bat. Without his offense, the Yanks probably don't even make the ALDS to (possibly) lose because he didn't block 2 wild pitchs.

Posada was the best overall catcher in the AL this year. The only guy close was... Victor Martinez, a guy who has struggled defensively in the past but was good this year. How about that...

2007-10-11 11:30:49
57.   Raf
54 On the flip side, how many games did Melky and Minky cost the Yanks b/c they failed with runners on base?
2007-10-11 11:31:52
58.   Sliced Bread
I remain one of the last Banterers who still wants Torre, but all Yankee fans should be wondering how things would turn out if Steve Swindal was still around.

He was a big supporter of Joe's, certainly the highest-placed Torre supporter in the organization.

I think Joe would be off the hook right now, looking forward to 2008 if Swindal hadn't been busted that night.

Think about the impact that night had not just on Swindal's life, but on the entire organization.

2007-10-11 11:34:18
59.   OldYanksFan
Thanks to WW:
http://tinyurl.com/38aa6c
Anyone want to tell me what this means and what we should conclude fom it? Pay special attention to Melky and Posada.
2007-10-11 11:46:05
60.   Shaun P
54 The problem with your analysis of how many games were saved/lost with the gloves, OYF, is that you're basing the outcome of a game on one particular play.

For example, when Melky robbed Manny of that HR, it was the 8th inning. You can't say for certain that Melky's catch saved the game or not. A lot could have happened over the next inning and a half. If Rivera gave up 4 runs that night, you would not have just typed that "Melky's catch on Manny . . . saved a game."

55 I don't think ERA is the best stat by which to judge a reliever's performance. Using an advanced metric like BP's WXRL shows that the Yanks consistently had one of the best bullpens in all of MLB during the 'dynasty years' (the one exception being, no surprise, 2000):

1996: 2nd AL, 3rd MLB
1997: 3rd AL, 4th MLB
1998: 1st AL, 2nd MLB
1999: 2nd AL, 5th MLB
2000: 8th AL, 16th MLB
2001: 2nd AL, 2nd MLB

And, like with the starting pitching, things didn't really start going downhill until recently:

2002: 4th AL, 10th MLB
2003: 4th AL, 13th MLB
(the NL had some awesome bullpens in '02 and '03)
2004: 2nd AL, 4th MLB
(seems to have helped carry the load with the starters being so bad)
2005: 8th AL, 13th MLB
2006: 6th AL, 11th MLB
2007: 8th AL, 19th MLB

2007-10-11 11:48:09
61.   standuptriple
58 You said a mouthful (wrote a pageful?). You think he regrets that little trip to his "on the side" thing on Valentine's Day? It's one thing to deal with the stuff at home if you get caught, a whole different one when your wife's dad is not only your boss, but The Boss.
2007-10-11 11:54:45
62.   OldYanksFan
Player - yrs - ERA +
Stanton - 6 - 82, 103, 124, 146, 173, 174
JNelson - 5 - 108, 116, 118, 155, 207
Mendoza - 7 - 74, 104, 105, 119, 119, 127, 138

AND and boy name Mo.
Looking at those 4 in tandom... that's not outstanding?

2007-10-11 11:57:32
63.   Shaun P
59 Ummm . . . I don't know. I don't care for Win Shares as a stat, and I couldn't tell you the first thing about them. IMHO, some combination of VORP with UZR or Dewan's +/- system is more valuable.

58 Sliced, I cannot believe I am typing this, but . . .

The more I think about it, the more I want Torre back next year myself. I just don't see a superior alternative, even given all of Torre's faults. None of the 'name' candidates strike me as clearly better. Girardi might, but I don't trust him with the young pitchers. I also don't think his bullpen management is anything special, or even different from Torre, the more I look over the PBP data from 2006.

And how about this? I think Cashman and the organization (Levine, Trost, and the Steinbrenner kids/in-laws) are going to arrive at the same conclusion.

2007-10-11 12:00:05
64.   OldYanksFan
FYI from River Ave Blues:
In the ALDS, Derek Jeter hit .176/.176/.176 and played a rather unspectacular defense. He hit into three double plays in two games and was responsible for a disproportionate 17 of the Yankees' 108 outs. Yet, people are more apt to blame A-Rod, mosquitoes or Joe Torre for the Yanks' early postseason exit. (Bold is mine!... Just sayin'...)
2007-10-11 12:04:16
65.   Yankees Chick
trading for a jorgie replacement to groom is a no-brainer. but resigning him seems like a no-brainer to me too. its going to take a couple years to get someone prepped to take over as an everyday catcher, and i can't think of anyone better to groom our new catcher.
2007-10-11 12:10:58
66.   OldYanksFan
65 I may be wrong, but i THINK everyone here want's to re-sign Po, we're just pissing and moaning a bit about the downside.

The problem is if he wants 4 years. At 3 years, I think he gets a gift year... at 4?

I think we should sign him... but I wonder if we will have 'last year/last 2 years' guys like Bernie and Giambi forever.

It's like we need a 'Great Yankees who refuse to retire in a timely fashion who we can't have in another uniform' fund.

Is there anyone here who says NO to a 3 year deal with Posada?

2007-10-11 12:15:09
67.   Yankees Chick
why piss and moan about him wanting a 4 yr deal until we hear from him and his wrangler about what they're looking for?
2007-10-11 12:20:26
68.   yankz
64 I'll quote PagsRags from RLYW:

"This blog has gotten very foolish. Jeter got two hits and hit the ball hard in every AB but the popup. The clutch/unclutch thing equates to the fact that some players play exactly the same in high-leverage situations as they do in June. Jeter is clearly one of those players. Other players change their approach/execution in high-leverage situations. Alex- maybe the best player ever to play the game- appears to have done that in the past, but I truly believe the two hits and HR (and general fan support regardless of the outcome) tonight will allow him to truly get over the hump and solidify his legend next October. BUT SOME YANKEE FANS HAVE TO STOP DEFENDING AROD (AND RIGHTFULLY SO) BY TRASHING JETER (WRONG). Jeter has a large sample size in the playoffs- theoretically a player's stats in the playoffs should be below their regular season stats (due to much better pitching, weather, etc.) but Jeter's stats are fairly similar in the approximate equivalent of a full season. They lost because of bad pitching, bad bounces, bad calls, and untimely hits. "

Why Yankee fans are so eager to jump all over their players- be it Arod, Jeter, or even Mo (remember the booing?) because of a handful of games is beyond me.

2007-10-11 12:23:20
69.   JL25and3
58 I'm with you, too, Sliced. As this season went on, I actually became more impressed with Torre than I had been.
2007-10-11 12:28:56
70.   OldYanksFan
Anybody hear this firsthand?
"At scout.com and on espn radio, both nardi and cashman said joba's role depends on whether rivera resigns."
2007-10-11 12:45:34
71.   Zack
70 Dear God I hope thats not the case. It will be far easier to find a closer than a starter with Joba's ability. And if Joba stays in the pen, that opens a MASSIVE hole in the rotation...stupid stupid stupid
2007-10-11 12:46:18
72.   Zack
But, I suspect if Cash and Nardi said that its mostly a leverage thing...
2007-10-11 12:56:34
73.   ms october
72 I certainly hope not too. But leverage with who?
2007-10-11 12:58:02
74.   yankz
73 Mo. "We don't really need you..."
2007-10-11 13:00:15
75.   ms october
74 Okay I can see that in a way - but I think Mo is smart enough to know that the Yanks need/would rather make Joba a starter. Mo has been a first hand witness to all the SP crap that has been run out the last few years.
2007-10-11 13:21:09
76.   OldYanksFan
It's a funny thing. If the Yankees REALLY wanted JT out, it could have been done easily and with a minimum of shock value and contoversy. After all, his contract is up. If George had said nothing, they could resign the guys they need, and then announce in March that:
1) Much to our displeasure, JT has decided not to manage the Yankees anymore.
2) Joe Torre Day will be on --,--,2008
3) Joe will throw out the first pitch in the new Stadium in 2009.

There would be some articles, some talk, and it would fade away.

But instead, George with foot-in-mouth, decided to do this in a way that would alienate the most fans, alienate the players, alienate the caoches, make people who were on the fence become Torre supporters, and actually have Bronx Banterers talking about the team breaking up.

Pinstrip Alley has an opinion similar to mine, which (sorry to beat the horse... and William and a few others have voiced similar thoughts) is:
1) Give Torre 2 years, so he can close Yankee Stadium and open Yankee Stadium, IF he promises to retire from managing after this gig.
2) Announce that Mattingly will take over in 2010.
3) Internally agree, that while he will be the 'Bench Coach', get Joe to agree to let Donny be a kindof 'Co-Manager/Right Hand Man' to both temper Joes style and give Donny a chance to test his ideas while Joe is still there.
4) Have the FO discuss any issues they have about Joe's managerial moves and get him to agree to let the FO opinions influence his moves. If the FO has a strong opinion (like the Joba rules) to institute them but NOT make them public.

At this point, I think the FO is bummed at George for his foot-in-mouth act. As I said, if they did want Torre out, this is absolutely the worst way to do it. At this point, I think JT is bummed enough that a 2 year deal with 'considerations' would look very, very good to him. With all his issues, everyone knows that Torre contributes a huge amount to the Yankees.

Yogi didn't step foot into Yankee Stadium for 13 years. Do we really want to repeat that kind of behavior? I don't think Joe would boycott the Yanks, but still... firing him this way would be a crappy ending to a great story.

Joe has already acknowledged that the Kids are an important part of the team, based on his PS roster and use of Joba, Dorf and Veras in the PS. Let him, the FO, Nardi, Guidry and Kerrigan sit down and develop a footprint for how to handle the BP (although getting some reliable arms would be the best thing for everyone concerned).

And lastly, give Joe a lifetime position (as Pinstripe Alley suggests) with the Yankees. I mean really, he would be FANTASTIC in the booth. Imagine the stories and insights he could offer!

He's going striaght to the HOF as a Yankee. I'm REALLY glad Bernie never put on a different uniform. At this point, I don't want Joe to either.

This would put a 'finality' to the JT issue, be a great way to bring in Mattingly, make all the Yankee players and coaches happy (and many fans too) and allow us to have a well managed team for a long time (JT plus Donny)

2007-10-11 13:34:43
77.   ms october
OYF - Have you seen this about Steinbrenner's health/role in decision making?
http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/the-steinbrenner-question/
2007-10-11 13:43:12
78.   ChrisS
69 You were pretty much enamored with him early on.

Sometime in late May or June you were posting that if the Yankees started playing to their ability and winning ballgames that that was evidence of Joe Torre's greatness.

Frankly, Torre is a guy that burns out bullpen arms, plays favorites, and has been given a team most managers would die for. That the Yankees rebounded to their historical ability somewhat and scored massive amounts of runs doesn't mean that Torre is some kind of genius.

2007-10-11 13:45:59
79.   markp
Who cares how it was handled? Torre lost the warm & fuzzy bit when he hit Arod 8th last year.

He's a lousy manager. He should have been fired several years ago.

2007-10-11 13:50:06
80.   JL25and3
78 You're distorting what I said. I said if the Yankees made it into the playoffs - which required a monster of a second half - that I would believe Torre played a critical role. I also said that if they didn't, sayonara.

And I never used terms like greatness or genius. I said that a manager can make contributions beyond in-game tactics, which you considered witchcraft.

2007-10-11 13:52:13
81.   JL25and3
Oh, and the reason I became more impressed with him is that he did a whole lot of things his detractors said he would never do. He changed his style quite a bit.
2007-10-11 13:53:39
82.   tommyl
Look, I can see some arguments for wanting to keep Joe, but I'm sick of various people and players saying, "he's the only one who could have won/gotten us here." Really, do these people honestly think that he lost with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals but discovered some magical managerial trait when he went to the Yankees? Look, Joe is a good manager, he's adept at handling a veteran team, but anyone who was handed the 96-01 Yankees and couldn't win with them is a pretty lousy manager. Joe inherited a team that in '94 was arguably the best in baseball, in '95 went to the playoffs and nearly advanced and had Zimmer to help with in game managing. By '98 they were arguably one of the best teams in the history of the game. Throughout the run they had a tremendous starting rotation and one of the best bullpens, as well as the greatest closer ever. Seriously, no one else could have won a ring or two with this team?

Yes, I give Joe credit for keeping the team together and bringing them back this year, but then he also has to take the blame for putting them there in the first place. Miguel Cairo as the starting first basemen? All because Josh Phelps had one bad defensive game? Pitching Vizcaino eight of the first twelve games? Pitching Proctor with an eight run lead? These are not blameless decisions.

2007-10-11 13:54:31
83.   OldYanksFan
77 I have... and it appears poor George had dimentia. Its alsmost like a brain synapse from 1994 somehow got fired off. I'm not sure how this article relates to my post. Can you explain?
2007-10-11 13:57:19
84.   tommyl
81 Bullshit, he did things only went forced or when they were so obvious anyone would do them. Giving ABs to Duncan? The kid hit a homerun in practically every AB when he first came up. If he had gone for 0 for 10 to start would he even be on the team still much less getting playing time? I still think the Phelps business was awful, he was a league average to plus bat who could play catcher in a pinch and we got rid of him. What else did he do? Pitched Chamberlain? Yes, he recognized that a kid with a 100mph fastball, the best slider I've ever seen and plus command should pitch some high leverage innings. What else are you referring to?
2007-10-11 14:01:21
85.   tommyl
81 Also, his treatment of Kenny Lofton definitely hurt the team in 2004. His loyalty to Bernie possibly cost us a world series there. There are a lot of vets that love Joe (Jeter, Posada, Rivera etc.), but there are some that have hated him (Sheff, Lofton) and others who have had awkward relationships with him (A-Rod). Someone else said it just a moment ago, but his batting A-Rod eighth and moving Melky out of the lineup last year were the nails in the coffin that started with Jeff Weaver taking the mound one October night.
2007-10-11 14:03:25
86.   ms october
83 I don't know that it really does relate to your post, more that I thought it was interesting and wondered if you saw it. It is hard to tell from the article, but a big question is how active is George in the decision making?
2007-10-11 14:09:55
87.   OldYanksFan
79 "Who cares how it was handled? Torre lost the warm & fuzzy bit when he hit Arod 8th last year."

You mean he didn't lose it when he batted Giambi 7th in 2003... against Pedro... where he hit 2 HRs?

But ""Who cares how it was handled?" is such a lovely and sensitive thought. Did you 'care' for the way George handled Yogi Berra? It touching when George drive heros away for a decade or more, don't you think?
Will you 'care' if he does the same thing to Donny?

2007-10-11 14:17:09
88.   JL25and3
0 Cliff, I did some number-crunching for you.

First half
Starters: 4.69 ERA, 1.40 WHIP
Relievers: 3.80 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Second half
Starters: 4.46 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
Relievers: 5.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

The reason for the counter-intuitive results has to do with the innings pitched. The starters who got creamed didn't last very long; over half the IP by starters in the first half came from Pettitte, Wang and Clemens, all of whom had low ERAs.

In the second half, the rotation stabilized, and Pettitte pitched better - but Wang, Clemens and Mussina were all substantially worse, while compiling more IP than those first-half scrubs.

Meanwhile, in the second half of the season, there were 9 different relievers with ERAs over 5.00 (compared with 2, Vizcaino and Bean, in the first half). Those 9 guys were responsible for 40% of the relief IP.

Take out Joba, and the 2nd-half bullpen ERA shoots up to 5.51, a full half-run higher.

2007-10-11 14:18:13
89.   OldYanksFan
82 Tommy, when people said "he's the only one who could have won/gotten us here.", I do think they were talking specifically about this year, after the 21-29 start. Remember how many here were ready to dunp Abreu? There were threads where trading Cano was talked about. There was plenty of panic RIGHT HERE at the banter.

However, many of the 'ones who said this' were Yankee players... specifically Jeter. So write Derek a letter and tell him you're sick of his 'bullshit Torre support'.

2007-10-11 14:24:24
90.   OldYanksFan
86 I think he inputs his thoughts when he is lucid. He's not invloved in the day-to-day stuff, but when he has a thought/opinion, I'm sure that it's voiced.

But the 'win or else' decree, I believe, was made directly by George in a phone interview. Although the exact quote was "we MIGHT not have him back". Might....

I personally think, that while in bad judgement and taste, that George's intent was to 'light a fire under some asses'.

2007-10-11 14:36:51
91.   tommyl
90 Well the pattern is that if Joe likes someone for whatever reason he sticks with them no matter what and if he doesn't they get no chances whatsoever. Yes, sometimes he's right (and I and others are wrong) in cases like Abreu, but in other cases he's flat out wrong (e.g. Lofton, benching Melky, benching Phelps, not going to any reliever not named Rivera or the flavor of the month with even a five or six run lead, Tony Womack in CF). I never, ever said Joe was a bad manager, I just think he's not quite the genius that some people seem to think he is. I also stand by my comment above that one of the reasons they were 21-29 was Joe in the first place.

I also never called Jeter's or anyone's support of Joe bullshit. Of course Jeter supports him and has every right to. What I said was bullshit was saying that Joe had changed his tune and was managing differently. I really think he only played kids when he was either forced to (Duncan, Cano, Cabrera) or they were very heralded (Hughes, Chamberlain, etc.). Maybe he should get some credit for taking rookies on the PS roster, but I'm not sure how much of that was him and he didn't have very many other options after Bruney pitched himself out of a spot.

2007-10-11 14:37:12
92.   tommyl
91 That should be to 89 , apologies.
2007-10-11 15:11:36
93.   yankz
This article is pretty fascinating, especially the stuff it links to:

http://www.squawkingbaseball.com/?p=28

Also, we should remember that Cash does NOT get bullied by Boras. Remember the whole "Damon is as valuable as Babe Ruth, we're looking for a 7-year deal" bit?

2007-10-11 15:19:23
94.   OldYanksFan
"Well the pattern is that if Joe likes someone for whatever reason he sticks with them no matter what and if he doesn't they get no chances whatsoever."
--- I agree. He does that. Other managers don't stick with guys they 'like'? You think this is rare behavior with managers?

"sometimes he's right.... but in other cases he's flat out wrong"
--- So you believe we will find another manager who is never, or rarely 'wrong'? And wrong is whos opinion? Cashmans? Willie Randolphs? Yours?

"I just think he's not quite the genius that some people seem to think he is"
--- As far as in-games stuff goes, I don't think ANYONE HERE, including myself, thinks Joe's a Genius, or even really good. I think he makes many poor in-game decisions. I do think, overall, he's a good manager, but much more importantly, he is AMAZINGly well suited to manage in NY and under George Steinbrenner (this has broken lesser men)

"...they were 21-29 was Joe in the first place."
--- In that you may stand alone. Injuries to Wang, Moose, Pavano and others, and terrible slumps by a number of impact guys. Maybe Joe made some bad decisions during that time, but the stats and numbers tell the story.

I think he agreed with Cashman to dump Myers. He could have asked Cash to keep him. Villone was NOT on the PS roster, but Veras and Dorf were. In the last month and PS, he used the kids instead of Farns and many times Viz. He put 'Slim' in a number of high leverage situations. People don't turn around 180 degrees on a dime, but if you can't see that Joe made many 'UnJoeLike moves', then your dislike for him is simply fogging your vision.

2007-10-11 15:20:54
95.   JL25and3
82 I don't think I've ever said that he was the only one who could have done it, I've only said that his managing style contributed. In particular, I think their ability to come back both of the last two years had a lot to do with him.

Does he bear some responsibility for the first-half collapse? Undoubtedly, but, I think, less so. The collapse of the starting rotation was pretty much out of his hands, as were the early-season performances of Abreu, Cano et al.

I don't absolve him of all responsibility, nor do I credit him with all success.

2007-10-11 15:30:00
96.   Orly Yarly NoWai
47 Blast; Cot's still has him as a FA.

63 As much as I've been in the Fire Torre camp, I'm starting to reluctantly agree that it might be a good idea to keep him, if only to keep Tony La Russa away from the team.

66 Yes, I think everyone wants to resign Po and Mo and keep A-Rod, but if Posada wants $25 million a year, Mo wants $30 million and A-Rod wants $50 million, we're more than happy to say "Enjoy the Cubs."

Posada's fourth year will probably come down to money. Would you say no to a 4 year/$40 million deal?

2007-10-11 15:33:28
97.   OldYanksFan
93 Scott Boras is brilliant and has balls the size of watermellons. One thing not directly addressed is team cash flow to pay ARod $40m/yr. He may have $25m in ultimate value in terms of increasing the value of a team and a RSN, but where does the team come up with the immediate cash to pay his salary.

Plus he just assumes that the increase in YES traffic was ARods doing, and not other external factors.

Plus the value of a RSN might not rise in a linear fashion, and may plateau out, and is subject to many other market forces. I mean, all in all the guy is SMART, but I think another crack financial guy could poke some holes in his statements.

But he has elevated the art of valuing players to new heights.

We need a Banter pool on what ARod gets. $260/8 ????

2007-10-11 15:35:13
98.   JL25and3
91 I think you give Josh Phelps way too much credit. Benching him may have been arguable, but it sure wasn't "flat-out wrong." Phelps didn't just have one bad defensive game; he was a butcher, the kind of fielder who has to oil his glove so it doesn't rust. He was particularly awful at handling throws from infielders, and it wasn't a hard thing to see.

Meanwhile, he wasn't hitting squat. .693 OPS, and most of that was in the first two weeks. For the next two months he hit .250/.304/.328.

After having been out of the majors for a year - and dumped by dumped by five organizations - it wasn't obvious that he would ever be a league-average hitter. He certainly wasn't showing the least sign of it.

You might feel it was the wrong decision, but it was an entirely defensible one.

2007-10-11 15:38:03
99.   monkeypants
96 I would do 4/40 for Posada. I look at it this way, Posada is probably only worth a three year deal, given his age, so whatever he get paid divide by three. A four year deal for forty million is basically 13 million/year in my mind--what's he making now, 12 million per year? No problem. And if he's still productive in four years, all the better. Now, if he wants something more like 4/60 or 5/65, I'm not so excited.
2007-10-11 15:41:02
100.   Orly Yarly NoWai
99 Exactly. The way I see it, expect a three-year deal. If you feel that you can get those three years at a discount with a four-year deal, go for it. Posada would make a hell of a mentor/BUC.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-10-11 15:42:22
101.   monkeypants
97 I really doubt that A-R0d makes more than 30/year for whatver length of contract he signs--and the longer the deal the less (I think) it will be per year. As for his added value to a franchise, this unfortunately doesn't help the Yankees all that much. They are going to sell out the Stadium and make oodles off of their cable deal for the forseeable future, regardless of A-Rod. Now, it might make sense for another team, in search of a marquee player, to overpay A-Rod on the prospect that they will make the money back in TV revenues. but not so much with the Yanks.
2007-10-11 15:43:37
102.   tommyl
94 Let's back up a bit. I do not dislike Joe, I've repeatedly said I think he's a good manager, I just feel its time for a change.

In talking about the 21-29 start, I should have also brought up 2005 when they started off slow as well. In the last few years they have been slow out of the gate, that's a pattern. Now, maybe that is on Joe, maybe its not, but if you want to credit him with holding the team together and managing the second half run (a run largely generated by the fact that Abreu and Cano started hitting; Wang and Moose were off the DL, the BP had a reduced innings workload, Joba was added and Hughes healed) then you have to fault him for the early season as well. I'm not saying he is definitely responsible for either, but I don't see why people give him credit for the second half but don't penalize him for the first. The answer is usually what you said, in the first half players were injured or underperforming, which isn't Joe's fault. Fine, I am completely fine with that, but then why does he get credit for players healing and performing as they should in the second half? Unless he pulled a Mr. Miyagi on Wang and Hughes hamstrings he doesn't get credit for that. Now, yes they started slow this year because of those injuries, but were there no possible things that could have been done to add even a win or two? Would forcing Damon to take a stint on the DL and calling up Shelly Duncan earlier have jumpstarted Damon a lot earlier in the season? Would Duncan have hit more HRs at the ML level for us?

You are correct to point out that they could have dumped Abreu and did not, but I give more credit for that move to Cashman for refusing trades. Who else was Joe going to play in RF? Kevin Thompson? Bronson Sardinha?

2007-10-11 15:47:26
103.   tommyl
98 Ok, that is a fair point. I'd argue he'd have hit better with more playing time and he did do quite well for the Pirates the rest of the year. The one game I am talking about was right after Mink's injury. IIRC Phelps was installed as the starting 1B, and in one of his first few games he had an awful fielding game, threw away a few balls. The next day began the reign of Miguel Cairo. That's what I had in mind, sorry if I was too vague.

BTW, as bad as that 21-29 start was, without A-Rod being superhuman it would have been even worse, possibly a lot worse. I credit A-Rod and Kevin Long with that.

2007-10-11 15:49:24
104.   OldYanksFan
96 I think you say YES to $36/3, so I guess $40/4 is OK. Marketwise, he's worth more then $10m next year, based on this years performance.

I think it sucks, but EVERY TEAM that wants a premiere player, especially after a good year, is going to both overpay, and commit to 1 or 2 mores years then they like. Zito got $18 over 7 years!!!!!!

But nobody's giving Po anywhere near $25 (1/2 of that is close), nobody's giving Mo anywhere near $30 (1/2 of that is high), and ARod ain't getting $50.

And I don't know if ARod really wants $40 mil whens he's 38 or so. It will be impossible to live up to his contract (he's had that issue at $25m/yr). He could get boo'ed enough to cause an earthquake. With too big a salary, he is setting himself up to fail, no matter what. Fans don't care about RSN values and other aspects of high finance. Fans get their value by what they see ARod do on the field. His contract could wipe out a team for years if he underperforms. My guess is low-mid 30's for 8 years.

Remember what Boras was talking about for Dice-K. $20-$25 I believe it was? Dice-K got around $11. My guess is ARod and Wifey get drunk and night and have a good laugh over what Boras is doing.

And the truth is, because of the YES network, and the size of the NY audience, the Yankees will get a better return on investing in ARod then anyone else. The Sox might be close.

2007-10-11 15:51:14
105.   tommyl
94 Well I think we can all agree that Jeff Weaver was ahem...wrong ;). Joking.

In all seriousness I see your points. I don't think bringing Joe back spells doom for the team or anything and maybe some of this is just wanting change for change's sake. However, managing in NY is not nearly as hard as it was when Joe took the job in '96. If it was, we wouldn't even be debating this now as he would have been gone in '03, and if not then certainly in '04. I think Girardi could handle the job, but I might be wrong.

2007-10-11 15:51:40
106.   Orly Yarly NoWai
101 Of course, the wins he adds are worth money too. For a team like the Yankees of 1998, that's not actually all that valuable, if you believe the data in Baseball Between the Numbers. For a team like the Yankees of 2007, he was worth much more.
2007-10-11 16:05:37
107.   JL25and3
84 Here are a few things Joe did that everyone said he would never do. You will believe that he should have done those things in the first place, and maybe you're right; but that's not what I'm arguing.

1. It was widely assumed that he would continue to play Cairo as long as possible because of the BFOG factor. But Joe may simply have felt that he hurt the team less than Phelps did - and he stopped playing Cairo when he had a better option (Andy Phillips). He also buried Cairo completely as soon as he had Betemit.

2. It was also predicted that Joe's blind preference for veterans would mean that Melky would sit down (or at least have to fight for playing time) when Damon started hitting again and/or when Giambi came back. In fact, Joe made it very clear - well before Giambi returned - that Melky was his everyday center fielder, period.

3. You say that, well, of course he had to get Duncan at-bats. But it was also assumed that, as soon as a rookie hit a rough patch, that Joe would bury him. But Shelley hit a 4-for-26 patch, and Joe never buried him.

4. I've often criticized Joe in the past for being too inflexible to handle any sort of platoon or time-sharing arrangement. But given a strong bench for the first time in years, he handled the OF/1B/DH slots more flexibly than ever before, he used his BUC much more frequently, and he rotated Betemit around.

5. In the second half of the season he spread around the relief innings quite nicely, thanks. There weren't everyday pitchers, nor were others buried. (OK, Britton, but only him).

I'm sure there are more I'm not thinking of right now. I'm also sure that you will dismiss all of these moves as obvious, and some of them probably are. But in the past Joe may well have done those things differently; contrast Sheffield last year with Giambi this year. And, as I said, it was widely predicted that every one of those decisions would go the other way. Surprise!

2007-10-11 16:14:54
108.   monkeypants
107 Some very good points, but...

2. It was also predicted that Joe's blind preference for veterans would mean that Melky would sit down (or at least have to fight for playing time) when Damon started hitting again and/or when Giambi came back. In fact, Joe made it very clear - well before Giambi returned - that Melky was his everyday center fielder, period.

But Melky only became entrenched because Giambi went away for such a long time. This gave him time to earn his position in the wheel of trust. Meanwhile, when Giambi came back, he was essentially buried so that Damon and Matsui could occupy all the ABs at LF/1B. He also continued to play Damon at DH earlier in the season even when it was clearly hurting the team. It worked out for Melky, but the basic pattern of leaning on a few trusted players regardless of performance was still in place.

4. I've often criticized Joe in the past for being too inflexible to handle any sort of platoon or time-sharing arrangement. But given a strong bench for the first time in years, he handled the OF/1B/DH slots more flexibly than ever before, he used his BUC much more frequently, and he rotated Betemit around.

Except he rarely rotated Betemit into SS. A small complaint, admittedly, but Torre rarely ever fully exploited his bench's fullest flexibility, save for every-position-Miggy-Cairo.

5. In the second half of the season he spread around the relief innings quite nicely, thanks. There weren't everyday pitchers, nor were others buried. (OK, Britton, but only him).

But let us not forgot, they traded away his most trusted reliever (Proctor), and then gave him a set-up man whose usage was determined by strict rules (Joba). Other relievers went through various banishments--like Edwar--whether deserved or not.

2007-10-11 16:19:01
109.   tommyl
107 I actually don't disagree with you. In fact, you make some very good points. You could also point out that he stuck with Melky when he slumped down the stretch (which I do think was the right thing to do). However, in the ALDS he did show some alarming trends that trouble me such as:

1. Bringing in Ohlendorf (arguably the last option out of the pen) when the game was still very much within reach.

2. Then wasting Hughes in effectively garbage time when the game was out of reach.

3. Pitching Joba for 2 innings in game 3 with a five+ run lead, thereby diminishing his ability to go to him in game 4.

4. PHing for Duncan in game 4 with Giambi. Yes, it was a righty/righty matchup, but Duncan has minimal splits and was hitting much better than Giambi at the time.

There are a few other smaller ones. I don't think they lost the ALDS because of Joe at all, but I do think at times he failed to put them in the best position to win. I also think that the team was actually helped by the Joba rules, since that forced Joe to pitch him in only the highest leverage spots and often for multiple innings. The added rest also boosted his effectiveness. Without those rules, I fear Joe would have leaned on him like any other of his relievers. His burying of Britton throughout the whole season is also very questionable.

You guys do make some excellent points, if Joe can continue to evolve then I would not be terribly upset to see him back. I guess I'm just not completely convinced that he can.

I also want to say that I definitely do not hate him or anything. A few years ago I was one of his biggest defenders in fact, I've just come to believe that his time is over.

2007-10-11 16:25:20
110.   Bama Yankee
107 He also started bringing Mo in during tie games on the road. Now if he could just discover the fine art of the squeeze play...
2007-10-11 16:30:45
111.   Max
My sympathies are increasingly toward the arguments with 107 .

As I said in the "Torre Must Go" post by Bruce yesterday, the arguments to fire Torre were actually much more compelling last year than this year. It's arguable that Joe is the same old inflexible dunderhead his haters make him out to be, but whether you give him credit for some of the increased flexibility he demonstrated this year, or whether you feel Cashman and others simply twisted his arm more, the fact is that we saw (at least I saw) an increased openness to using different players and younger players, and getting away from the Villones and Myers and Cairos of the world.

I am just tired of people reflexively blaming Joe for every slip-up...when Edwar screwed up his first chance, it was (according to one Torre-hater on another board) "Joe Fuckface's" fault for "ruining him". Well, Edwar got another chance, Joe used him plenty, and guess what, he still didn't work out. There are many more examples like this where Torre is blamed (see Josh Phelps, Felix Rodriguez, Brian Bruney, etc etc) for somehow failing to elevate mediocrities to star quality saviors, because he "plays favorites", "kills setup arms", "is a slave to handedness", and so on.

I don't think Joe is very creative with his bullpen usage and he most certainly isn't a genius and makes lots of mistakes. I just simply can't abide by the idea that he is that much worse than other managers in this regard. Were all of you crazy about the innings and situations Wedge put Perez through in this recent series? Did you take a look at how Putz and other bullpen arms were used by Seattle down the stretch? How about our buddy Willie with the Mets in the last few weeks of the season, or Sweet Lou in his three and out playoff managing of the Cubs?

Again, if Joe is gone, I actually will not mind too much, though I am starting to think I would prefer him for the last full year of Yankee Stadium, then have him retire gracefully -- I don't think there is an alternative that will be that much better. And as I asked yesterday, why is Cashman receiving so little heat? Here is the breakdown of seven inning starts by Yankee pitchers since Joe became manager (courtesy of Tom Verducci at SI.com):

1996: 54
1997: 77
1998: 91
1999: 69
2000: 67
2001: 64
2002: 79
2003: 87
2004: 53
2005: 56
2006: 44
2007: 40

So Joe is responsible for mismanaging relievers the last four years? I wonder how many managers really do that well with so few quality starts, or cope with a sudden drop the way he had to. Not saying he's a genius with the bullpen, but you can only do so much with what you've been given.

2007-10-11 16:40:06
112.   fgasparini
With regards to the Yogi thing--that has nothing to do with this discussion. When George insulted Yogi or whatever happened, that had nothing to do with the team on the field. It may have been ill-advised, and there are obviously some fans who haven't gotten over it (though it seems Yogi has). But it's irrelevant to the issue of how to treat employees--quite well paid employees, whose high compensation is in part a recognition of the capricious nature of the business.
2007-10-11 17:22:41
113.   OldYanksFan
112 It had to do with the manner in which Steinbrenner fired Yogi. Yogi stayed out of Yankee Stadium for 13 years. No Old Timers Games, No ceremonies, No nothing.
Why would one of the most important and reveered Yankees turn his back on the organization he loved?
Because it was just one of a number of destructive, cruel and thoughtless moves Steinbrenner pulled.

That has no overlap with this 'Torre situation'?

2007-10-11 17:27:25
114.   OldYanksFan
105 Well... it was Steinbrenner's insanity that was good for at least 50% of the difficulty NY poses, and most of that is gone now. But the expectation (or demand) to win, the NY media, and a team population of highly paid, highly talented players still make it a challenge.

I'm sure there are a good number of managers who would never consider taking a job in NY.

2007-10-11 17:35:11
115.   fgasparini
"No Old Timers Games, No ceremonies, No nothing."

Wahhhh.

2007-10-11 17:38:03
116.   OldYanksFan
1007 No. Our high priced veteran played CF. Melky was in LF, wasn't he? Joe would never take JDs position away for a Rookie, that didn't even hit that well. No, I think Joe put Melky in LF, and kept JD (the Vet) in CF.

Betemit into SS? Good Idea. Jeter has played like 158 games every year for 12 years... and he's 6'3 and strong. So YOU tell Jeter he's benched. Why? So, as a manager, you can prove you give everyone fair playing time. Good deal.

Edwar? the Rookie? The one with the 7+ ERA? The one who did pitch in a number of important situations?

Joe also has skid marks on his shorts.
You left that out.

2007-10-11 17:44:35
117.   randym77
Posada does seem to be having more trouble than he used to establishing a rapport with his pitchers. But I think it's just because there were so darn many of them lately. He said it was hard to deal with all the different pitchers in 2005. It was even worse this year.

We do need a young catcher for Jorgie to groom, but catchers are scarce as hen's teeth these days.

And I do think improving the defense should be a priority. Defense wins championships.

But that may be as hard as finding a young catcher of the future. We've got so many aging DH-types, and I suspect most of them aren't going anywhere.

2007-10-11 17:46:00
118.   OldYanksFan
115 Highly intelligent response. Let's hope he doesn't do it to Mattingly.

And for your info, Yogi was sorely missed, and there isn't one person who wouldn't trade 10 Steinbrenners for one Yogi.

But hey, it's only Yankee History, Legacy and Tradition we're talking about.
No big deal.

2007-10-11 17:46:28
119.   Vandelay Industries
Quite a spirited discussion, and I can see good arguments on both sides.

I think George has been very patient considering his past. I think he understands that it takes more than money to win WS titles. However, when the combined payroll of the NLCS teams is just a hair over one hundred million dollars and one of the two ALCS teams' payroll is less than fifty million dollars while the other is fifty million dollars less than the 2007 Yankee payroll, George has lost patience. One year or two perhaps, but seven years without a title and a bloated payorll is more than he can, or should, take.

I think that is the bottom line, and rightly or wrongly, why Joe is going to be let go.

I often wonder if we had kept our payroll under control by NY standards and drated well instead of buying free agents and relinquishing our draft picks if we would have won a title or two after 2000. With the core group we had it might have happened, it might not have happened, but we may all be about to find out.

2007-10-11 17:53:34
120.   Vandelay Industries
118 With all due respect, that Yankee tradition was on the verge of being sold off and moved when George Steinbrenner's group bought the team. I hated what he did to Yogi, and to Winfield for that matter, but what George Steinbrenner did was to resuccitate a Yankee tradition that could have been lost forever. To those who remember those days, it was not beyond the realm of possibility that the Yankees were going to leave NY altogether, or at best continue into the oblivion that had been the team's fate prior to the sale. The teams's value had fallen to below ten million dollars, a bargain even by 1971 standards for a MLB franchise. The team is now worth over one billion dollars. It was a shame what happened between he and Yogi, but I wouldn't trade what George has done for this club for anything.
2007-10-11 17:56:59
121.   JL25and3
109 Fair points. When I've praised Torre, it's always been for his value as a 162-game manager. But he's never been the best in-game tactician, so there's a case to be made that he's not a good short-series manager.

I agree with your points about his moves in the postseason (with one partial exception, and I'll get to that). The bullpen management in game 1 was particularly puzzling; I'd really like to hear him explain it, because I have no idea what he was thinking. I'll also add one more mistake: in game 5, once Wang was out of the game, there was no reason to keep Mientkiewicz in there. But he left Dug Out in there for two more at-bats.

I disagree, with you and most of the world, about leaving Joba in for a second inning in game 3. The problem is that Torre really had a 2-man bullpen, and you have to win game 3 before you can plan for game 4. I thought it was important to nail that one down, nail it down decisively, and not let the Indians back in the game. I frankly didn't trust any of the other guys to accomplish that.

But, knowing that, I thought he should have kept Hughes in the game, at least to start the 7th. Maybe they knew he was gassed, but he sure hadn't shown it up to that point. I wouldn't have given him much leeway after that, but with only two relievers who didn't suck, I would have tried it. So I'm really just substituting one error for another.

How about this: have Joe manage the season, then let Bowa or someone take over for the postseason. It'd never happen, of course, but the reasoning is the same as any other complex platoon - you match up the situation and the individual for maximum benefit.

2007-10-11 18:07:00
122.   OldYanksFan
"I often wonder if we had kept our payroll under control by NY standards and drated well instead of buying free agents and relinquishing our draft picks if we would have won a title or two after 2000. With the core group we had it might have happened, it might not have happened, but we may all be about to find out."

Possibly... but I still say making the PS requires skill over 162 games. Winning in the PS, especially with a 5 game series, it's to large part a crapshot. Are you telling me that because the Braves only won one WS they they weren't a great team? How come Cox wasn't fired?

Buying 'wins' was George's idea. If you remember, in tears, Cashman said in 2005 that he was leaving because he had no cohesive authority to develope a 'game plan'.

George relented and Cashman finally got control.
Q: How many big names have we bought in the last 2 years?
(I will consider Roger an exception, as we lost no players and he was a last ditch effort, regardless of price, to try and salvage 2007)
Q: How many high end prospects have we traded in the last 2 years?
Q: How many young players have joined the Yankees in the last 2 years?
Q: How many young players do you think will join the team in the next 2 years?

When Steinbrenner was gone, Gene Michael and (I think) Showalter helped develope and promote our Core (Jetes, Bernie, Mo, Po, Pettitte).
Early on, The Boss wanted to trade Pettitte. He was talked out of it.
Early on, The Boss didn't want to re-sign Bernie (Boston almost did). He was talked out of it.
Steinbrenner's money and passion to win have been great, and helped us deveope our team. However, his 'managerial' moves were terrible. The farm was depleted and ignored buying big names. This was Georges stamp.
FINALLY, in the last 2 years, the team has been Cashman's, and hopefully it will remain that way for a while.

2007-10-11 18:08:34
123.   Vandelay Industries
121 I actually posited a similar idea earlier in the season. My idea was for a bullpen manager, one with real authority to make decisions in-game. Of course Joe could always have the last word, but I thought it was an interesting idea to have the person with the most intimate knowledge of the bullpen guys make the calls once the starter has been lifted, and for that matter, the same bullpen manager should have significant input as to whether the starter should be pulled at all. That could free up the pitching coach to do what he does anyway, keep a more macro approach to the pitching staff and offer encouragement and basic mechanical recommendations. It also relieves the manager of a job that most will themselves admit they have little or no idea how to perform properly without relying almost entirely on statistics, and would welcome some help. The bullpen has evolved into an almost equal part of the game along with the offense, formulating the lineup, pinch hitting, and defenseive moves. Why not provide the manager and team with a person who can take on responsibility for a part of the team that is as important as any in modern baseball?
2007-10-11 18:11:46
124.   fgasparini
"it's only Yankee History, Legacy and Tradition we're talking about"

Enjoy them. Don't use them as a basis for making personnel decisions.

2007-10-11 18:12:17
125.   Vandelay Industries
122 I actually think we are in agreement. I believe it is to Atlanta's credit that they haven't fired Bobby Cox. However, in a city that cannot even sell out ALDS or ALCS games, let alone the World Series, I don't believe the pressure to win is all that substantial. That isn't to say they should fire him, I simply argue it is easier not to when no one cares one way or the other.
2007-10-11 18:18:27
126.   Vandelay Industries
122 Again, we do agree. I am happy about the current approach. As a "fuzzy headed Liberal" it sometimes pains me to praise FOX News' lapdog that is George Steinbrenner. His moves may not have won us titles recenty, but he accomplished his two goals: (1) Wining six titles, and (2) Turned a ten million dollar investment into nearly one point five billion. He is, at the end of the day, a businessman. So while the Clippers and Pirates are very profitable, they don't win anything. To George's credit, he accomplished both.
2007-10-11 18:19:58
127.   yankz
David Ortiz has endorsed Torre.
2007-10-11 18:21:01
128.   Vandelay Industries
127 He has also endorsed McDonalds.
2007-10-11 18:30:04
129.   OldYanksFan
{128] LOL! Excellent!
2007-10-11 18:36:14
130.   OldYanksFan
124 Have you read my posts? There are TWO issues here. One is Torre's Job. This has been an issue for years now, and is 100% legit.

The 2nd, is the manner in which this 'issue' was raised this year, ie: Steinbreener, who has attended all of 3 Yankee games this year, and has been basically mute (and moot?), with the Yankees down 2-0, decided to PUBLICALLY announce that Torre would be 'let go' if the Yankees lost the series.

You don't see anything wrong with this?
Honestly?

2007-10-11 18:48:17
131.   monkeypants
130 When push comes to shove, I don't 'agree' with what Steinbrenner did. But on teh grand scheme, it doesn't bother me either. He has actually been rather subdued in recent years, whether becuase of age/decline, change in personality, or general satisfaction. He is by all accounts hounded by news people hoping to scoop a glint of the old Big Stein days; someone caught him in a moment of frustration and he said, gasp, that if the team doesn't win he might not bring Torre back.

Classless? Perhaps. That big of deal? Not really. Come on, Torre knew the gig when he signed on the dotted line, not once but twice. He saw how the organization (supposedly) treated Zimmer, yet he chose to stay. He saw the public showdown between Steinbrenner and Cashman, yet he chose to stay.

Torre was very handsomely rewarded for his efforts, and I am not going to get all that worked up because after 12 unlikely years (remember the "Clueless Joe" headline from the first day?) the axe might finally fall, and a tiny bit of the old Steinbrenner flexes his greatly weakened mucles.

As for classless, insane, etc. Steinbrenner: be it for cynical reasons (profit, self agrandizing) or for legitimate reasons (respect for tradition), much of the honored Yankee traditions have survived BECAUSE of Big Stein, not despite him.

What other team still has Old Timers Day? Or Bat Day? What other stadium retains its "old" name? What team refuses to play in forty different home andd away jerseys? Or put names on the backs of the jerseys? And so forth.

Now, I am not naive--Stein is willing to throw some old stuff out the window (like, say, Yankee Stadium). But he has not always ben the enemy of Yankee tradition, either.

2007-10-11 19:01:38
132.   JL25and3
131 "What other team still has Old Timers Day? Or Bat Day?"

Yeah, but they don't give out real bats anymore. Wusses.

2007-10-11 19:17:19
133.   Vandelay Industries
131 Old Timers Day? Only the Yankees, and that is to our credit, not something we should attempt to do away with.
2007-10-11 19:20:18
134.   monkeypants
133 ???

I didn't say we should. Did I miss something?

2007-10-11 19:23:54
135.   Vandelay Industries
The Yankees are not a publicly traded corporation. Steinbrenner has a right to stay away from reporters that only seek--as the last garbage attempt to get into his house illustrated--a glimpse of a Steinbrenner in decline, and that is exactly why I stay away from, and abhore, any speculation made here regularly and in other "news" sources concerning his health. When something happens, we'll find out. Otherwise, stay the fuck out of his personal business as it doesn't affect anything in which any of us have an interest. That is unless, of course, you want me in the face of, or camped out on the lawn of one of your sick or debilitaed relatives.
2007-10-11 21:06:33
136.   DadinIowa
The Boss should come out and make Torre's status clear. I think it is unkind to delay. IMHO, keep Torre for two more years, publicly make Girardi the heir apparent, send Donnie to manage in the minors for a couple years in case the Torre/Girardi plan fails for any reason.

Resign Mo, Po, extend A-Rod, keep Pettit, sign Minky for another year, pick up option on Abreau, and get the kiddie pitchers ready for next year.

Oh, and think about a six man rotation to keep the innings low for the rookies. Rotation: Wang, Pettit, Mussina, Hughes, Chamberlain, Kennedy.

Finally, trade Farns for a bag o' balls and let Olendorf/Bruney, Britton, Veras, E-Ram fight over who gets the 8th inning gig.

Reward Cash with an extension, and let the good times roll in 08!!!

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