Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Panky 61*: Is It Wait 'Til Next Year Time Already?
2008-08-14 06:00
by Will Weiss

In a conversation with our Banter host Alex Belth over the weekend, I said, “I haven’t seen it written anywhere, but how good does Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera for Johan Santana look right about now?”  Alex’s response (and I paraphrase): “Dude, don’t even say that. Oh, man.”

Well, I’ve seen it written somewhere, but I had to do some searching. My fellow Ithaca College alum, Andrew Marchand of 1050 ESPN Radio had a similar nugget in his Tuesday blog post. He did not tap my phone.

If the Yankees don't make the playoffs, Kennedy could be the most to blame. He is one of the guys whom the Yankees decided to keep instead of getting Johan Santana.

If the Yankees had dealt Kennedy and Phil Hughes to Minnesota then Santana would likely be a Yankee. Instead Kennedy's teammates are raising their eyebrows over his words and lack of success. He is 0-4 with an 8.17 ERA.

Kennedy's lack of development, along with Phil Hughes' incomplete for this year, is going to make CC Sabathia richer.

Kennedy’s post-game comments after Friday’s debacle in Disneyland led the Yankees to send him to Scranton on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for the third time this year.


The Yankees are off today. Perhaps they will rest as they prepare for the short weekend series with the Kansas City Royals. Perhaps they will reflect on a dismal 3-7 road trip that has them in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in the post-strike, Wild-Card era.

Local papers have used the words “hapless,” “punchless,” and “stumbling” to describe the Yankees’ recent play. The Times’ headline of Monday’s recap read: “Damon Sits, and Rest of Yanks Might as Well Have.” Ouch. In that same Tyler Kepner piece, he depicts an air of abrasiveness coming from the New Joe. Previous Joe didn’t take kindly to being second-guessed, either, but he did tend to ride the experienced players, especially in the heat of a playoff chase.

Girardi has been careful not to wear down his veterans, but the batting order Monday was still surprising. Damon had five multihit games in a row and was hitting .406 (13 for 32) on the trip. Damon said he was healthy and did not know why he was benched.

“The turf sometimes can beat up his body,” Girardi said before the game. “We’ve got three days in a row with a short turnaround on Wednesday.”

Damon was 0 for 3 against the left-handed Perkins (9-3) in a game at Yankee Stadium last month. Justin Christian started that game and had a double, but he went 0 for 4 as Damon’s replacement this time.

Asked again about the move after the game, Girardi replied testily: “Justin Christian has had a lot of success off left-handers, and he’s played very well. That is why Justin Christian played.”

When players get defensive, as Kat O’Brien reports Johnny Damon did, I get the impression there’s dissension in the ranks. A player like Damon following a statement questioning his being benched with a comment like, “But I love Joe as a manager,” is sprinkles on poop. Why didn’t Girardi give Damon previous notice like he had at other points during the season? We may never know.

The players will always blame themselves for poor player and the media will point to the manager. With this in mind, I have to wonder if the pot won’t be stirred very soon signifying Girardi’s potential ouster. Losing, questionable lineups and pitching moves, and the media exacerbating matters helped contribute to Willie Randolph’s exit. I would not be surprised if Girardi was a one and done manager here.


Mike Francesa, for all his own bluster, was justified Wednesday when he ripped Hank Steinbrenner for the owner's "They're not supermen" comments that have been construed as his surrendering the season.

“The Rays lost their shortstop, left fielder and third baseman in a week. Do you hear them whining? When you have a $200 million payroll, you can’t whine,” Francesa said.

Can the Yankees make the playoffs? Yes, but it won’t be easy. Twelve of their 42 games remaining will be played against the Rays and Red Sox. Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria are on the DL for the Rays, as are notable Yankee killers Mike Lowell and Tim Wakefield. The Yankees need to sweep those 12 games to make up the ground and improve upon the 10-11 mark they’ve posted against Toronto and Baltimore. There’s also another West Coast swing looming that includes another three-game set in Anaheim.

Like Mark Knopfler, the Yankees are in Dire Straits. Not because they have six games to make up in the Wild Card and 10 in the loss column to get back in the AL East race, but nothing about their recent play, inspires confidence that they can pull it off once again. Mariano Rivera surrendering a three-run home run to Delmon Young might have been the ultimate “uh-oh” moment.

Do you think the Yankees are done? I admit that in my editorial days, I used to root for them to make the playoffs and then lose in the first round so that the seven-month grind would end. Now, free of that responsibility, I want to see them hang in there and make it interesting.

I’m not ready to wait ‘til next year, but for this column, I’m ready to wait ‘til next week …

Comments (96)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-08-14 06:10:04
1.   RZG
I think believing the Yankees need to sweep the 12 games with the Rays and Red Sox is overreacting.
2008-08-14 06:31:50
2.   flycaster
No, I don't think they're "done". What's the point of being a fan if you give up when things get tough? However, they have left themselves absolutely no slack. They will have to play .750 ball from here on AND hope Boston falters.

I tire of assertions that it was a mistake not to acquire Santana. First of all, it is highly debatable whether Santana or any other pitcher would make the difference in this team getting into the playoffs this season. As Cashman pointed out the other day, pitching is not our problem. It's lack of offense. Secondly, as has been pointed out repeatedly by others on this blog, the non-trade can only be evaluated after several years, when we see how Hughes and Kennedy develop, and how Santana ages. Yes, Melky appears to have been misevaluated by this organization and that is unfortunate, but it is far too early to draw such conclusions about our young pitchers.

2008-08-14 06:49:06
3.   Dimelo
Girardi gone in one year, will that actually happen? I can't see it, especially with the way the Torre stuff went down, because this will make Hank and Hal (Hank especially) look extremely stupid.

It's weird, I always felt comfortable with Torre and knew he'd right the ship. He was like that Dad that worked a ton of part-time gigs, some days were pretty rough, but you always knew he'd come through and get food on the table, pay the light, rent, etc.

I like Girardi and when the Yanks were going good I was happy and thought it was going to get better, but when the Yanks started to go bad I didn't have too much confidence in Girardi righting the ship.

It pains me to watch these games because you see that the fight is gone, it's no longer there with this team. I don't know who to blame in those situations, there have been a ton of things that have happened that one has to consider. I HOPE that it is just a one year thing.

I want Girardi to come back because I think he deserves a fair shot. I just hated at how Torre was treated by some and how Girardi was anointed as the savior to the evil Torre.

2008-08-14 06:56:42
4.   williamnyy23
2 I don't think being a fan means you have to keep up false hope. You can still watch the games and root for them to win without deluding yourself into thinking they have anything more than a longshot chance.

I do agree with you about Santana though. It is lazy at best to look at this season and suggest the no-deal was a mistake. For starters, IPK and Cabrera were not centerpieces. The Twins wanted Hughes. While I am close to jumping ship on Melky and really never liked IPK to begin with, I still think Hughes will at least be a solid #2 type starter. If that comes to be, then the Yankees will look wise for not making the trade. Why? Because Santana himself is headed toward #2 status, but for about $15+ million more. I said it at the time and will repeat it now...what would you rather have: Hughes and C.C. or Santana? If the Yankees sign Sabathia this offseason, that will essentially be the tradeoff. Quite frankly, I don't think one extra year of Santana comes close to mitigating against that advantage, even if you assume Johan would have inspired the lethargic offense to score runs.

2008-08-14 06:56:48
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
the way this season appears to be ending is precisely the reason why i did not want don mattingly to land the manager's gig. i didn't want to watch my childhood idol stuck in this kind of situation.
2008-08-14 07:00:44
6.   EdB
Kennedy, Cabrera, Marquez and Tabata probably would have done the trick to get Johan. But who could have foreseen such horrific seasons from 3 of the Yank's top 10 prospects as well as Melky?

Besides-Johan has been good but not "great" in the NL East. Who knows how that would have played out?

I don't have too much problem with the way the season has unfolded. They're right where most people would have predicted them to be and have a chance to make a run over the next couple of weeks. It seems the consensus is that a lot of the farm system's value is in the lower levels so while the prospects at AAA and on the big league team have had uneven seasons its still another year of development for the revamped farm system.

2008-08-14 07:09:42
7.   rbj
I'm not believing in the Yankees making the playoffs. The streak had to end sometime.

I also do not think it was wrong to not trade those three for Santana.

1) Hughes/Kennedy/Joba were supposed to be learning to pitch in the majors this year (at least to me) it was only due to injuries that they came to be relied upon as crucial.

2) giving up prospects plus the scads of millions was going against the plan of developing prospects. It hasn't worked out too well this year, but I think it was a good, reasonable plan. Problems of injuries and the offense going to sleep and Melky & Robbie regressing weren't really forseeable (some injures will always happen, but CMW's foot injury?)

3) Wait a year and you can have CC for the Santana money without giving up the youngsters. I still think Hughes will be good, I'd rather not trade him. Melky? meh. IPK I've always thought of as trade bait.

2008-08-14 07:10:40
8.   Shaun P
My understanding is that there never was a trade proposal that included Hughes, IPK, and Melky. One situation was Hughes, Melky, and two prospects; the other was Wang, IPK, Melky, and a prospect.

I wouldn't have made either of those deals then, and I wouldn't make either now. Giving up Wang was a no-go, and its way too early to give up on Hughes. Plus, as others have said, adding Santana to the team wouldn't have done anything to stop the C&C Crap Factory from their horrifying work.

2008-08-14 07:31:55
9.   williamnyy23
6 What is your basis for thinking that package would have been enough? Every package I saw had the Twins insisting on Hughes. What's more, there were several reports suggesting the Twins had no interest in Melky.

7 It had to end sometime, but what I think poor management and the failure to perform simple execution has fueled the downfall. Even with the injuries, this team had more than enough talent to make the playoffs, but for some reason seemed to lack the ability to execute. In many ways, Cano's last two weeks has epitomized the team. Letting game winning rollers go by without even a dive, getting doubled off, making careless errors that lead to big innings...Cano, like the Yankees, has lacked ocncentration in pretty much every area of the game.

I know it might not be fair, but I am definitely open to replacing Girardi. I think the Yankees need a clean break from the Torre era, and Girardi has way too strong a link, which I think has contributed to Girardi's blind loyalty. That shortcoming has been almost as detrimental to the team as his complete lack of strategy managing the game.

2008-08-14 07:37:03
10.   liam

im surprised to see such sensationalistic commentary on the banter. an article like this belongs on waswatching, where the sky falls every time the yankees lose and the sky is about to fall every time the yankees win.

while girardi's laughable commitment to platoons makes it look like he's playing stratomatic, i hardly believe that this season calls for his ouster. he has made our bullpen a strength, and despite making some judgement lapses late in the season (the pressure got to him?) he's been pretty good at managing the pen. i did expect more fire.. maybe he'll snap under the pressure and kick some as0. give him a year to adjust, he was given a crap team and he got a lot out of it.

further, francesca is completely off base when he compares the losses the rays have incurred to the losses the yankees have incurred. while the rays (who have faltered a bit recently) have lost their players for a week, we have lost a couple for the season. some bigtime producers too, while you could argue that longoria was a bonus, who was ready a year early. you can say 200 mil payroll, but when 60 of it has sat for half the year, and the entire starting 5 has 2 original pitchers left with injuries to our #1 pitcher, our star 3rd basemen sitting for 1/4 of the season (and out for half of it in his mind), our star catcher out for all of it, my question is how did we expect more than 3rd place?

2008-08-14 07:42:36
11.   williamnyy23
10 I agree about the cumulative impact of the not only have Wang, Joba and Hughes in the rotation, but Arod for a month, Posada and Matsui for the year, and even Damon for three weeks.

Having said that, if Cano and Jeter would have played better, this team would be close to first place. Both men playing so far below their recent averages has been devestating to this team.

2008-08-14 07:43:34
12.   OldYanksFan
"Kennedy, Cabrera, Marquez and Tabata probably would have done the trick to get Johan."
Not to be rude EdB, but no freakin' way!
Hughes was the centerpiece of the deal. The Twins were not that high on Melky. While WE were high on Tabata's POTENTIAL, he never posted great numbers. Even the Mets deal was better that what you propose.

"One situation was Hughes, Melky, and two prospects"
I believe this is what the Yankees offered. Then the Twins said IPK had to be one of the 2 prospects. That's when Cashman pulled the deal off the table.

People buy insurance in case the 'worst' happens. What's the worst that could have happened (and it almost has) by passing on Santana? We miss out on a great pitcher... but still have 3 (failed?) kids (for possible trade bait/reclaimation) and $130m in the bank.
What's the worst that could have happened if we made the trade and got Santana (and a 6 year commitment)? I'll bet we could make a pretty long list.

2008-08-14 07:45:13
13.   JL25and3
10 I'm not saying he should be fired, but I still don't see what he's done to "get a lot out of" this team.
2008-08-14 07:47:34
14.   Rob Middletown CT
Of course, it was Hughes, IPK, Melky and a huge long-term deal for Santana.

That notwithstanding, yes it looks bad right now. But the point was that it wasn't just about "right now." It's also about the future. Maybe it will look just as bad 5 years from now. If so, then those of us who were against the trade & sign will have to admit we were wrong. Let's see how it plays out.

2008-08-14 07:49:29
15.   vockins
The Yankees have been smacking the taste out of Tim Wakefield's mouth since about 2005.
2008-08-14 07:50:30
16.   JL25and3
How dead does a horse have to be?
2008-08-14 07:53:02
17.   OldYanksFan
I will cut and paste some of my last (and I'll guess unread) comment I made on the previous thread. As William pointed out, as much as injuries have killed us, because we managed at least decent pitching anyway, we could still be well in this thing.
This team does NOT suck nor need to be 'blown up'. Considering our injuries, but especially the terrible underperfromance of so many players, it's amazing we are a over .500 team. Is Cleveland? Is Detroit? Do those teams SUCK?

If ARod and Giambi's RISP were the same as their OPS, we are very close to the Sox. If Cano had a .820 OPS, we are at least tied with the Sox. If Jetes wasn't having a career bad year, we are ahead of the Sox. From Melky, any thing other then total suckitude would have contributed.

Even with all our injuries, we could be easily ahead of the Sox. It's a very good team, that in 2008, had a boatload of position players the performed from poorly to very poorly.

2008-08-14 07:56:31
18.   JasonO
Recall Kennedy's dominant performance at Toronto late last season. Clearly Cashman thought the Yankees would see that version of IPK in '08.

IMO, Teixiera and a #1 or #2 SP is critical in the offseason...They're going to have to overpay Teixiera, so be it.

Also IMO, I'd rather see Sheets in pinstripes vs. Sabathia...CC has Bartolo Colon written all over him.

At this point, they must sweep KC and win 5 of 6 against BAL & TOR.

I'm not sure how they're going to do that, but they have pulled themselves back from the brink twice before this season.

2008-08-14 07:57:07
19.   JL25and3
17 So...what you're saying is that if they'd played better, they would have won more games?
2008-08-14 08:02:21
20.   tommyl
What's with all the venom directed at Girardi all of a sudden? He's made some questionable moves here and there but on the whole I think he's been good. Go back to last year and compare the number of times we question some bullpen move from the two years. At least Girardi doesn't lift Giambi for a PR in the 6th inning. We all accepted before the season started that this could be a transition year and we had a good shot at missing out on the playoffs. The Rays and Twins have overperformed, Boston is right where they should be and we've underperformed.

I don't care if we whine about the injuries or not, their impact is still felt. This team is currently without its catcher (who last year was an MVP candidate), its DH/LF, its ace, its future ace and has spent significant parts of the year without the best player in baseball, its LF and its SS. We've spent part of the year without three HoF caliber players (Posada, Jeter and ARod). I just don't see how you can suck that up. In addition, much of the AAA depth has gotten hurt too (Marquez, Horne, Duncan) so our replacements have been even farther down the barrel.

Girardi could yell and scream all he wants (and something tells me that behind closed doors he does a fair amount), but he can't make Cano hit, Jeter start performing up to his standards or Melky into anything close to a serviceable major leaguer. In addition this team for some reason is unable to hit with RISP, which is a fluke thing. Outside of Joe telling them to hit I don't know what else he can do.

As for a complete overhaul, I don't think its there. What this team needs is some patient hitters with gap power to round out the superstars and a rotation not on the DL.

2008-08-14 08:04:48
21.   Raf
I really wish people would shut up about the payroll. Yes the payroll is $200+M, and it could be lower, but I don't think the Yanks want to cut loose their $10M+ players; ARod, Jeter, Giambi, Rivera, Pettitte, Abreu, Posada, Damon, Matsui, etc, etc.

Fact of the matter is, any team that has the number of injuries the Yanks have is going to have problems. Witness the 2006 Red Sox.

Paying a lot of $$ for a player does not guarantee their health.

2008-08-14 08:09:36
22.   unpopster
I'm not one prone to crying about the proverbial falling sky, but if anyone realistically believes this team has a legit run in them when Girardi's forced to send out Moose, Pettitte, RASNER, PONSON and MYSTERY AAA PITCHER #5, then you're friggin' delusional.

As long as Joba is on the DL, this team is still "dead-arm Andy, Moose, and expect to lose!"

2008-08-14 08:11:06
23.   williamnyy23
18 Sheets has Carl Pavano written all over him though.
2008-08-14 08:13:13
24.   JL25and3
20 I don't think it's venom directed at Girardi, I just think it's questions about how good a manager he is. And it's not about the team's overall record or the injuries, it's about the actual moves that he's made or not made.

Outside of the bullpen, there have been a slew of questionable decisions and not many positives that I can point to. I'm not even convinced of his bullpen use over the last couple of weeks, when it's been taxed for the first time.

2008-08-14 08:13:19
25.   Raf
20 While I don't have any particular venom directed @ Girardi, I do remember how people sold him as a panacea that was supposedly light years better than the doddering old man he was replacing. I wrote this @ WasWatching;

"Girardi was supposed to be the master tactician, the overprepared genius. To date, I haven't seen it."

I stand by my comment. You can say what you want about his bullpen management, but really isn't that big a deal.

Everything in context can be found here;

2008-08-14 08:16:19
26.   williamnyy23
20 My problem with Girardi is he does nothing on the offensive side and has the same blind loyalty that Joe Torre did. I can't see those two qualities changing, so that makes me question whether the Yankees are better off with him as the manager.
2008-08-14 08:18:52
27.   williamnyy23
22 Again, that would be a legitimate point if this crappy pitching staff would start getting bombed and stop being league average. The Yankees didn't drop two games to the Twins because Ponson and Rasner were horrible...they lost because the team plays awful defense and can't hit with RISP.
2008-08-14 08:21:31
28.   williamnyy23
24 Excellent point about the bullpen. When everyone is pitching well (Farns and Edwar were simulatenously working on streaks of 9 no-hit innings), it's easy to manage the pen. As soon as a few guys started to slide, however, Girardi's handling of the bullpen did as well.
2008-08-14 08:21:52
29.   Raf
18 Bartolo Colon vs. Ben Sheets;

200IP seasons
BC: 7
BS: 3

30-start seasons
BC: 8
BS: 3

If Sabathia turns out like Colon, I'd be happy with that...

2008-08-14 08:23:30
30.   51cq24
25 bullpen management isn't that big a deal?

26 blind loyalty to justin christian?

i don't think there's any question that some of girardi's moves have been odd. but a lot of the moves that seemed wrong at the time (leaving marte in, leaving edwar in...) had perfectly good explanations (mo unavailable, teixeira's numbers against marte...). but i think a lot of people still have those things in the back of their minds in addition to the strange moves that are still unexplained, like the obsession with platooning 1b even when giambi is on fire. still, it's easy to overreact when the team is playing like shit. try thinking about where we'd be if not for girardi's very good bullpen management, which in my opinion is one of the most important functions of a manager.

2008-08-14 08:24:46
31.   51cq24
28 or it's easy to find fault with his bullpen management when the relievers aren't pitching well.
2008-08-14 08:26:34
32.   Schteeve
Psst hey guys, the manager doesn't matter all that fucking much. Seriously.
2008-08-14 08:27:22
33.   ChuckM
Whoa, we're talking about Girardi's "blind loyalty" based on what isn't even a full season at the helm? I'd like to think that Girardi is a young enough manager that he at least still HAS the ability to change his tactics and tendencies somewhat. That ship had long since sailed with Torre and I would argue that Joey Four Rings was getting even more set in his ways. Does Girardi seem to over-manage at times? Sure, but I think that may also be a reaction to his inexperience at the position. I don't agree with him sitting guys for "rest" at this point in the season and the standings, either. Now is the time you run with your horses and if the wheels falls off some of them, so be it. But at the very least, I'd hope Girardi has the capacity to learn from these mistakes.
2008-08-14 08:29:51
34.   williamnyy23
31 That definitely works both ways. On the whole, I think Girardi has had a positive impact on the bullpen because he hasn't had knee jerk reactions to small samples, but has been willing to make adjustments on the fly. I give him credit for that. For some reason, however, he doesn't seem willing to make any adjustments on the offensive side of the ball. It almost seems as if Girardi manages like he played (offense being an afterthought). Well, the Yankees are an offensive team, so unless an overhaul is coming, that wont change in the near future.
2008-08-14 08:29:53
35.   Raf
30 If the best thing you can say about a manager is that "he manages the bullpen really well," that tells me there isn't much there to complement. Especially in the context that bullpen management hasn't been a problem with the Yanks.
2008-08-14 08:30:40
36.   unpopster
22 true, Rasner and Ponsor are not getting bombed, but in order to go on the type of run that the Yankees need to do, say a 10-2 run over then next 2 weeks, then they will need consistently dominant-type pitching performances on the mound during that period to make up for the occasional lackluster offensive evening.

If a team's offense has 6 good nights and 6 mediocre nights, the pitching would have to really pick them up sfor the whole 2 weeks for them to go on THE RUN.

I just don't see it...and to be perfectly honest, I am still waiting for the clock to turn to midnight vis a vis Mussina.

2008-08-14 08:32:06
37.   Schteeve
That said, Girardi is 'meh.'
2008-08-14 08:33:14
38.   tommyl
30 I dunno, he benched Melky, I don't see Torre doing that. They brought up Gardner and actually played him. It didn't work out, but they played him. They brought up Robertson and actually use him, he's pitched Edwar a lot. I think he's handled Molina and I-Rod pretty well in terms of egos and playing time. Betemit wasn't working so he tried Gonzo, that didn't work so he went back to Betemit. He's shown a lot of flexibilty.

Yes, he's made some odd lineup decisions, but outside of the Damon crazy lineup I've seen a rationale for them. I don't necessarily agree, but I see the rationale. For example, benching Giambi against a lefty I see as less benching Giambi than wanting to both get Giambi some rest and get Sexson some ABs to keep him somewhat fresh. If you're going to do that, doesn't it make sense to do that against a lefty so Sexson has a fighting chance? Again, I'd have played Giambi myself, but I can see Joe's thinking. That is not the same as continually trotting out Bernie as a CF with Lofton sitting on the bench. That move was pure blind loyalty.

2008-08-14 08:35:14
39.   tommyl
34 He's also not made Marte a LOOGY just because he throws left handed. Torre would have him as the designated LOOGY like there's no tomorrow.
2008-08-14 08:35:42
40.   Raf
Someone mentioned @ WW "Torre had three guys at 60 innings and above (and Proctor would have been 4th - traded at 54 IP)."

To which I responded;


1996: 4 (Wetteland, Rivera, Nelson, Wickman)
1998: 2 (Rivera, Stanton)
1999: 4 (Rivera, Stanton, Grimsley, Mendoza)
2000: 4 (Rivera, Stanton, Grimsley, Nelson)

Check out other teams around the league. In 2007 (60+ innings);

LAA: 4*
OAK: 1
TEX: 3
SEA: 3
DET: 2
CHI: 1
CLE: 3*
MIN: 3
KCR: 3
BOS: 1*
TOR: 3
BAL: 2
TBD: 3

* = Made playoffs.

I don't follow the media in Anaheim, but is Mike Scioscia catching heat for his bullpen management? Seems that he runs his pen the same way to Torre.

2008-08-14 08:37:31
41.   pistolpete
>> 1) Hughes/Kennedy/Joba were supposed to be learning to pitch in the majors this year (at least to me) it was only due to injuries that they came to be relied upon as crucial.>>

This is the only part of your post that I take issue with. Kennedy and Hughes were going to comprise 2/5 of the rotation if all went according to plan, so I think the Yankees felt they were ready to pitch for a playoff contender — based on the end of 2007, that is.

That said, it's going to be painful when they finally miss the postseason. It doesn't help that the anti-Yankees faction is salivating over and relishing every moment of our dying season.

When all is said and done, though, as Beningo stated this morning, 2008 will be a blip on the radar. The only shame of it all is the whole 'last season at the Stadium' thing.

2008-08-14 08:38:12
42.   tommyl
40 It wasn't the innings as much as the constantly using them back to back to back and in situations that were hard to understand. I'll never forget EDSP coming into an 8-0 game after he had pitched the day before. When the call to the pen was made half of us here made a joke saying something along the lines of, "Watch I bet its Proctor," in a sarcastic way. Lo and behold, that's who came out of the pen.

Also, Jeff Weaver. That's all you need to say about Torre's pen management.

2008-08-14 08:38:14
43.   ChrisS
Sheesh, build a team around a bunch of mid-30s ball players with poor defense and two kids and the blame falls directly on the manager and the kids.

Whatever. I knew this would be ugly. When Yankee fans attack and eat their own, on the next Geraldo.

And Johan would have done nothing for the Yankees this year. Christ they can't score runs for Sidney Frickin' Ponson, what makes anyone think they would score runs for Johan Santana? And as stated numerous times, the trade was never about this year. It's about the future.

2008-08-14 08:40:55
44.   williamnyy23
36 The most amazing stat about this team is they have scored 2 or fewer runs 39 times, which is a pace for over 50, or 1/3 of the season. Last year, they had 33 such games.

The irony in that stat is the Yankees have managed to win 10 of those 39 games, which is actually quite remarkable (it's the 7th best winning% since 2000 in games scoring 2 or fewer runs).

In other words, the pitching has done enough for the Yankees to go on the same kind of run they went on last year. Missing from the equation, however, is the offense.

Before you blame any pitcher, you have to start with Melky, Cano and Jeter. Their relative futility has destroyed the offense.

2008-08-14 08:41:49
45.   DarrenF
17 Saw a stat that ARod is 10-for-49 with two outs and RISP. I think we can all agree that this is largely an out-of-context stat that reveals little. That is to say, this stat alone does not tell us how many of these 49 at-bats were "clutch" or would have made a major impact on the outcome of the game. Yesterday's 8th-inning at-bat was an important, game-changing at-bat because the game was close.

My observation is that 15-for-49 is .306.

You may take those 5 extra hits (8 more runs?) and place them anywhere you wish, and the Yankees sure ain't in first place.

I know you were referring to RISP instead of 2 outs/RISP, but I think the same concept applies.

I think the latest stats I saw had a team batting .259 with RISP and .270 overall. I'd say a bigger problem is the black hole once you get past the #5 hitter.

2008-08-14 08:43:23
46.   tommyl
44 I agree with your last statement, Melky in particular is so far below replacement he's actively hurting this team. I was a big Melky supporter but I'm about done with him. He can't hit, he can't bunt, he makes boneheaded plays and if I see him belly flop one more time into first base I may scream.
2008-08-14 08:45:56
47.   pistolpete
46 If only Cashman could have had the foresight to flip the guy between 2006 and 2007.
2008-08-14 08:47:45
48.   ChrisS
44 And Posada and Matsui being MIA for most of the season. Part of the downside of depending on mid-30s guys is the increased injury risk.

The idea is to try and keep as few of those landmines on the team as possible (the converse are young inconsistent players). The Yankees managed to load their roster with too many players from each end of the age curve - albeit more on the older veteran side, but perhaps more equal if one takes Hughes and Kennedy into account.

The CMW injury was the fluky one and just out and out sucked.

2008-08-14 08:47:55
49.   Shaun P
32 I tried making that point last night, but I'm not sure if I got anywhere. It was late, and I was tired.

To me, here's the list of the 2008 Yanks' problems, in order of importance:

1. Cano (seriously - WTF dude?!)
2. Melky
3. Too many hitters 34 and older, who are either underperforming at the worst time or hurt
4. Implosion of what was supposed to be an awesome bench
5a (tie). Lack of minor league hitting depth
5b (tie). Ineffectiveness of IPK and Hughes
7. Injuries to starting pitchers
8. Injuries to relievers
9. Bobby Meacham's poor 3B coaching
10. Poor decision making by Joe Girardi.

There's nothing that can be done right now about 1-5a. They've already managed to overcome 5b, 7, and 8 (all things considered, the pitching has been OK). So that leaves 9 and 10. I'm not surprised we're discussing Girardi because really, what else can we discuss?

2008-08-14 08:48:01
50.   51cq24
34 when the vast majority of our best prospects are pitchers i'd say that type of change is inevitable.

35 "Especially in the context that bullpen management hasn't been a problem with the Yanks." huh? when the best thing you can say about a manager is that he's corrected a huge problem of the last few years, there isn't much to compliment?

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-08-14 08:50:18
51.   51cq24
47 indeed
2008-08-14 08:50:41
52.   ChrisS
47 Hindsight is 20/20 of course. Now that Cano is scuffling, the drumbeat to dump him is growing steady. Tabata December '07? Untouchable. Tabata after a rough 3 months in AA as a 19 year old? God he sucks. Cano, December '07? Untouchable! MVP in '08! Cano after a disappointing season? Trade him now!
2008-08-14 08:51:07
53.   cult of basebaal
SG over at RLYW ran the numbers for the team since the 8 game wiining streak to start the 2nd half.

not pretty.

ChrisS? it's better that you don't look ...

2008-08-14 08:52:31
54.   51cq24
melky has one of the worst swings i've ever seen
2008-08-14 08:55:24
55.   williamnyy23
48 No...I am saying that even with Matsui and Posada going down, the Yankees would be in good shape if the three I named above came close to their career norms.

I realize you always hone in on age, but the fact of the matter is the Yankees younger players did let them down this season. You can denigrate old players all you want, but guys like Moose, Giambi, Damon and Rivera have all kept this team afloat.

2008-08-14 08:55:50
56.   cult of basebaal
47 if only cashman had a pair of those magic "hindsight" glasses that everybody else seems to own ...
2008-08-14 08:56:07
57.   pistolpete
52 I'd only be in favor of trading Cano for a top-flight starter. Otherwise, he's still fixable.
2008-08-14 08:57:53
58.   williamnyy23
49 Are the 34 year old hitters the problem? Giambi, Damon and even Abreu have been pretty good. Where I cringe is when I look at the OPS+ for our 20-somethings. Except for Nady, if a batter under age 30 has put on pinstripes this season, he has sucked.
2008-08-14 09:00:52
59.   JL25and3
38 I'm really trying to avoid comparing Girardi with Torre, because that's not the point. But I have to take issue with this:

"I dunno, he benched Melky, I don't see Torre doing that. "

I don't know, I'm not sure Torre would have waited four months to do it. And the funny thing is, everyone said that as soon as Damon and/or Giambi got healthy, Torre would bench Melky so he could play the veterans. It didn't happen.

2008-08-14 09:01:11
60.   williamnyy23
53 Three cheers for the overhill gang!!
2008-08-14 09:04:40
61.   williamnyy23
53 Wow...that chart says it all about Cano. Whereas he had been playing great defense all year, Cano mysteriously went into the tank over the past two weeks. He was a poor hitter and even worse defender. Mystifying.
2008-08-14 09:05:44
62.   cult of basebaal
52 i have no interest in trading cano after this season ... i also have no interest in pretending that this has been anything other than a lost season for cano, or that he won't be considered one of the biggest disappointments in the american league at the end of it.
2008-08-14 09:07:17
63.   Raf
42 Jeff Weaver... Who came off a 1-2-3 inning, and was facing the bottom of the Florida order. If you want to cast blame, blame Flaherty and Boone for not getting the run in. Had that run come in, you would've seen Rivera.

50 Was the bullpen a problem last few years? It appears the usage has been consistent since Torre came on the scene. Before there was EDScottyProctor in 2006, there was EDMarianoRivera 10 years prior, and between those two, there was EDRamiroMendoza.

2008-08-14 09:08:54
64.   cult of basebaal
61 yeah, mystifying is really a good description for it.

he went home over the break, took bp with his dad and came back looking like he was going to set the world on fire the 2nd half ...

then wham, he got hit on the hand, went 0 for a series, sat a couple of games and somehow has amanged to completely fall apart in all facets of the game since ...

it's downright bizarre ...

2008-08-14 09:09:58
65.   williamnyy23
62 Cano for Jay you consider it?
2008-08-14 09:11:01
66.   tommyl
63 Jeff Weaver who hadn't pitched in something like a million days because he had sucked so much was brought into a tie game in the World Series. I'm not going to rehash this but it has to go down as one of the all time worst managerial moves in a Serious. The 1-2-3 inning isn't the point, he never should have been in the game. He should have been the last option, somewhere after seeing if Jason Giambi could still pitch.
2008-08-14 09:12:32
67.   tommyl
64 I blame Jobu
2008-08-14 09:12:33
68.   tommyl
64 I blame Jobu
2008-08-14 09:13:18
69.   51cq24
63 .2 see 63 .1
2008-08-14 09:13:50
70.   williamnyy23
64's a conspiracy theory that I had fermenting in my mind about Cano. Before he was "hit in the hand" and missed two games, he had a few afwul plays in Baltimore in which it looked like he nonchalanted the ball. When I first heard he was benched on Saturday, I assumed it was for these plays and not an injury. Maybe, just maybe, Girardi used the injury to cover up a disciplinary action? If so, perhaps Cano's nosedive is a direct result?
2008-08-14 09:14:30
71.   Raf
59 I'm really trying to avoid comparing Girardi with Torre, because that's not the point.

Fair enough. Any comparison I make between the two is in the context of "Meet the new boss, same as the old." Also in the context of 3 's I just hated at how Torre was treated by some and how Girardi was anointed as the savior to the evil Torre.

I was annoyed at the circumstances that led to Torre's hiring, I was annoyed at the circumstances that led to Girardi's hiring.

2008-08-14 09:16:13
72.   Raf
66 Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. David Weathers sucked in 1996, Esteban Loaiza sucked in 2004.
2008-08-14 09:18:52
73.   51cq24
71 but the context of his hiring has no bearing on how he's been managing. and you seem to be wavering between defending torre and belittling the things girardi does well, while also somehow maintaining that they are the same.
2008-08-14 09:23:47
74.   JL25and3
49 I could argue with some of the priorities, but so what? The question isn't whether Girardi's managing is the major problem, it's whether his managing is good.

How much difference does a manager make? I don't know. Obviously, he can't turn a bad team into a good one, and beyond that we're all just guessing.

But all of the statistical analysis we do is geared towards getting a little edge here and there, trying to tweak the odds ever so slightly. Huge differences can be seen without much analysis; it's the small and occasional differences that we're looking for. Once in a while you get one more at-bat or one more play to go your way; over time, they add up to runs, the runs to wins.

A manager is constantly making decisions that have just that effect. We can argue about how big a difference it makes, but finally that doesn't matter much. A player who costs the team a couple of wins - unnecessarily - he'll be criticized for it. Why shouldn't a manager undergo the same scrutiny?

2008-08-14 09:24:08
75.   Shaun P
If it makes anyone feel any better, here's how the AL East would look if each team was scoring the number of runs their hitting and pitching components suggest they should have, adjusted for context (as opposed to what's actually occurred):

Boston - 77-44
TB - 71-48
Yanks - 67-54
Toronto - 65-56
O's - 58-61

Here's how the Wild Card would stand:

TB - 71-48
Yanks - 67-54
Toronto - 65-56
Tigers - 63-57
A's - 61-58
Indians - 59-60
Twins - 59-61

All hope is not lost.

2008-08-14 09:25:05
76.   JL25and3
74 *will be criticized.
2008-08-14 09:28:29
77.   JL25and3
75 Shaun, to put that in the specific context of the question you posed last night: If the difference between Manny Acta and Bob Melvin is two wins, doesn't that matter?
2008-08-14 09:37:42
78.   Shaun P
74 Oh, I agree with you on that - scrutinize everyone who costs the team runs/wins unnecessarily.

I don't think we'll ever see eye to eye on this, but I think, like Schteeve, that a typical manager - which Girardi is - doesn't add or subtract more than a win, maybe two, to the team.

Cano and Melky can have a much bigger impact (either positively or negatively) than that. Hence, they are more of the problem.

2008-08-14 09:40:17
79.   Shaun P
77 Absolutely 2 wins matter! But you can get those 2 wins from lots of places, and I think you're far more likely to get them (indeed, more than that) from the players than from the manager.

Shoot, if Cano had lived up to just his weighted mean PECOTA projection, he'd be worth about 4 wins more than he has been. And so on.

BTW, without ever having watched him manage, my understanding is that Acta is supposed to be quite a good manager. Maybe he could take Girardi's place if Joe G is to be replaced? =)

2008-08-14 09:42:40
80.   Shaun P
75 Last thing on this:

Yanks Runs Allowed (Actual): 542
Adjusted Equivalent Runs Allowed: 541

Yanks Runs Scored (Actual): 580
Adjusted Equivalent Runs Scored: 608

And that's where the missing 3 wins went.

JL, I've really enjoyed this discussion with you. I had never thought so much about a manager's impact before.

2008-08-14 09:47:40
81.   cult of basebaal
70 from what i understand, the hand injury preceeded the benching by several games ... your conjecture could still be the case so ... in which case, we gotta hope old man cano kicks some sense into the kid over the winter
2008-08-14 09:51:30
82.   JL25and3
79 I don't disagree. I might think it makes somewhat more difference than you do, but not by a huge margin.

At the risk of drawing ChrisS's outrage, I also think that a manager's style - all those clubhouse, attitude, motivation etc. issues - do make a difference. In any organization, managerial style has an effect on the effectiveness and productivity of the people he's managing; I don't know why baseball should be unique in that regard. But since I don't have the data to quantify that, I'm not going to try.

In any case, I'm not suggesting that Girardi is the problem. I haven't saved up my criticism for him - hell, I've been saying all year that Melky isn't very good, and now that everyone agrees with me, what's the point of mentioning it again?

At most, it's one of many problems, and not the biggest. But it's still relevant, and shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

2008-08-14 09:52:34
83.   JL25and3
80 And perhaps the manager isn't entirely irrelevant to that difference.
2008-08-14 09:58:17
84.   ChrisS
People misinterpret my position. It's not that there's old players on the team, it's that there are too many old players on the team.

And william, the inverse holds, if Posada and Matsui hadn't gone down for the majority of the season then the Yankees should be able to carry a bad season by a good hitter and a 4th OFer starting in CF. Injuries count against older players just like failure to meet expectations for rookies and kids.

The Yankees are built on vets expected to perform at their peak for ~150 games and carry two kids. Vets get injured and/or decline in ability. Does SG run the numbers for the Yankees in June or May? Or just the last 18 games?

The Yankees aren't a balanced team. They're medicore on offense because they had two vets go down (a reasonable prediction for older players), one vet having a disappointing season (a reasonable prediction for older players), and one not developing as expected (a reasonable prediction for younger players). The odd occurrence is a player entering his peak and failing to perform as expected. The freak incident on offense is Cano. A well-built team should be expected to carry a outlier like Cano's season. The end result for everything is that the bench was pressed into service and there was no help at the farm. And that, more than Cano, hurt this team.

2008-08-14 10:00:01
85.   ChrisS
82 I'm not going to argue with you. Trying to quantify a manager's effect on his team's winning percentage isn't my cup of tea. I'm not giving Ozzie credit for Ozzie Ball nor do I fault a manager when his team implodes on him.
2008-08-14 10:00:02
86.   ChrisS
82 I'm not going to argue with you. Trying to quantify a manager's effect on his team's winning percentage isn't my cup of tea. I'm not giving Ozzie credit for Ozzie Ball nor do I fault a manager when his team implodes on him.
2008-08-14 10:04:09
87.   cult of basebaal
65 yeah, i'd consider it ... not sure if cincy would though ... i think baker might be for it, cano is his player to a T ... they'd want salary relief ... have to see what the package would have to be before being gung ho, though
2008-08-14 10:12:23
88.   Raf
73 Then I am not making myself clear.

Girardi is praised for his bullpen management. I say the bullpen hasn't been the problem. And that the two have used their relievers consistently right down to the point where both managers are not using Chris Britton. QuanGorMo was replaced with VerFarnMo. The __th inning is _____'s domain; be it Chamberlain, Farnsworth or Marte.

But I generally agree with the thought that a manager's impact on a team is minimal; the Yanks would probably have the same record under Torre had he remained. And this would've been the year to get rid of him. At least you have a convenient scapegoat; "We gave you a $200M team and you failed to make the playoffs, time to go, Torre." :)

2008-08-14 10:13:18
89.   Schteeve
84 I think the problem is that too many people have thought that Cano was part of the solution. He is so prone to having these "outlier" seasons, due to his reliance on BA, that you have the build the offense to compensate for him. Any production you get from Cano has to be icing on the cake.
2008-08-14 10:45:56
90.   EdB
I don't know that you want to trade a young player like Cano off a down year which happens to be the first on a long term contract. Seems like you're chopping a lot of value out of that and unlikely to get equal return unless you take on a boatload of money coming back. It doesn't seem like team has a real infield prospect up Low A ball right now so maybe the better solution is to bring in a veteran during the offseason to at least force Cano to earn his at-bats.
2008-08-14 13:08:42
91.   OldYanksFan
Minn Twins 4.27 .766 580 .558 .848 .794
NYYankees 4.26 .742 596 .529 .729 .740
Cali Angels 3.90 .737 567 .630 .815 .790

First off, anyone who disagrees with me is wrong
Secondly, William agrees with me (need I say more?)

The Yankees and Minn. Have the same ERA. The Yankees have a better OPS by 16 pts. Yet the Twins lead us by 3.5 games. Now looking at the stats above, can anyone guess why?

The Angels ERA is .36 better then ours, and our OPS is .25 points better. You might expect the Angels to have a small lead on us. But they are a whopping 12 games ahead. Now looking at the stats above, can anyone guess why?

Of course, both teams have better defense. MAYBE they have a better manager (HA!)

But if you look at RISP and Close and Late relative to a teams OPS, the story is told.
LA and Minn are getting hits WHEN THEY REALLY NEED THEM. We, on the other hand, are blowing scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity after scoring opportunity.

You can't blame our pitching when LA is better by 1/3rd of a run, but has the best record in the AL.
In both 07 and 08, our ERA has been almost exactly League average. But in 07 we won 94 games.

You can't blame overall offense when Minn has a lesser team OPS (with the same ERA).


Our team is good enough to easily be the WC.

William.... talk some sense into these guys!

2008-08-14 13:12:22
92.   JL25and3
91 Not on this last road trip. They sucked.
2008-08-14 14:04:55
93.   nyy33

1. "If Jetes wasn't having a career bad year, we are ahead of the Sox....

2. Even with all our injuries, we could be easily ahead of the Sox."

The problem with both these scenarios is they're not based on reality.

1. And if ortiz is having his normal year, or if beckett had pitched like 2007, we'd be further back. Woulda shoulda didn't.

2. This ignores the sox injuries which, though not to ny's level, have been plentiful, far more than last year. This idea that we're the only team to have injuries, and THATS the difference, is pathetic for a team with so much talent still on the field.

2008-08-14 14:09:05
94.   nyy33
That came off a little snarkier than I intended. Just trying to show both sides of the same coin. Boston could easily be much further ahead if key players had played up to expectations and others remained healthy. Every team can claim that.
2008-08-14 15:38:40
95.   ChrisS
Hitting with RISP is not a repeatable skill.

The Yankees aren't hitting well with RISP mostly because they're not hitting all that well.

2008-08-14 17:06:48
96.   JL25and3
96 Jeez. Next you'll be telling us that pitching in a tie game and pitching in a save situation don't require separate skill sets.

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