Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Wha Happen?
2008-09-17 11:53
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Over at New York magazine, Will Leitch offers us five things that went kerflooey this year for the Yanks. Here are two of 'em:

Derek! Jeter! It hardly seems fair to dump on Mr. November, the one constant the team has, but Jeter has had his worst season in a decade. He has come on a bit in the last month or so, and he's hardly in danger of losing his job, but not even his most passionate fans can excuse his defensive liabilities anymore, and he was never able to carry the team anyway. At 34, he has clearly entered his decline. Will we see him at first base in a couple of years?

...Mr. Ciccone. Once again, Alex Rodriguez has had a perfectly serviceable year. He leads the American League in slugging percentage, he's in the top ten in RBIs, and actually has a chance at the AL home-run title. But if you've been to Yankee Stadium over the last month, you've heard what fans in the Bronx think about those stats. A-Rod's re-signing with the Yankees over the off-season was a panic move on the part of both parties; it didn't eradicate A-Rod's trouble hitting with runners in scoring position, his aloof, tone-deaf interaction with fans, or his creepy overeagerness. As long as the Yankees keep failing to win World Series, A-Rod, unfairly, is going to be the target of ire. And needless to say, that's not going to make matters easier for him. The situation is not destined to end well...and then there's the next nine years. Something needs to change, and it's hard to imagine A-Rod suddenly turning over a new leaf.

As much as I like Rodriguez I have to agree with Leitch, it is hard to see things ending well for him in New York. Of course, it'll also be fascinating to see how Jeter ages too.

2008-09-17 12:10:26
1.   underdog
Duh, it took me a minute to get the "Mr. Ciccone" reference. Poor A-Rod. Time to start dating completely anonymous/obscure people soon, bud.
2008-09-17 12:37:19
2.   Knuckles
Here's wha happen:

NAME , OPS08, OPS07, Var,
Jorge Posada, 0.775, 0.97, -0.195,
Robinson Cano, 0.685, 0.841, -0.156,
A. Rodriguez, 0.977, 1.067, -0.09,
Melky Cabrera, 0.633, 0.718, -0.085,
Hideki Matsui, 0.796, 0.855, -0.0589999999999999,
Derek Jeter, 0.786, 0.84, -0.0539999999999999,
Bobby Abreu, 0.84, 0.814, 0.026,
Johnny Damon, 0.837, 0.747, 0.09,
Jason Giambi, 0.898, 0.79, 0.108,
Team, 0.769, 0.829, -0.0599999999999999,

2008-09-17 12:47:20
3.   jonnystrongleg
2 ...or:

4.8 r/gm in 2008 vs 5.98 r/gm in 2007.

(i know you used it for quick and dirty pruposes, but isn't OPS a fairly un-illuminating statistic. is it a statistic, actually, since it measures nothing?)

2008-09-17 12:52:19
4.   Shaun P
0 C'mon Will: "A-Rod's re-signing with the Yankees over the off-season was a panic move on the part of both parties; it didn't eradicate A-Rod's trouble hitting with runners in scoring position" - which he's never had before this year.

Alex, I completely disagree with you and Will; I think it ends well. The day A-Rod hits HR # 763, it won't matter how many Seriouses the Yanks have won with him.

2008-09-17 13:00:11
5.   Knuckles
3 I was attempting to show the breakdown by player in terms of who improved or got worse YoY.

If you don't view OPS as a stat, how would you propose we review individual player performance?

2008-09-17 13:14:36
6.   dianagramr
BP.COM has an interview with Phil Hughes ...

(I'm sharing some of it here)

David Laurila: What has the 2008 season been like for you?

Phil Hughes: It's had its ups and downs, just like last year. The downs would be how the season started and the injuries. It was tough, having to miss so much time, because you're watching the team go out there every day to compete and you can't be there with them. It's been disheartening at times, but you learn to deal with it more than anything. Now I feel great, but at the same time there's not much of the season left. But I will have an opportunity to go play in the Arizona Fall League, which will be great for me because I'll be able to get some innings in. I'm feeling good, so things are looking up right now.

DL: Have there been any mechanical concerns, coming off of your injuries?

PH: I had some issues after the hamstring, just with my landing leg and things like that, but I feel like I've squared away those things, and I haven't had any injury repercussions from that.

2008-09-17 13:21:41
7.   jonnystrongleg
5 Yes I understand your intentions and your breakdown was helpful, I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.

I was just hoping to encourage a debate about our complete over-reliance on OPS. Of all the stats we use to talk about players' value, it's among the most common and among the least instructive. It just adds two other instructive things together. I don't think it was ever intended to measure or compare with the level of insight we afford it.

2008-09-17 13:24:13
8.   Schteeve
It's not going to end well, because of smart ass writers, who feel compelled to take chep shots at the guy "Mr Ciccone?" Will needs to grow the fuck up on that.

Also, what went wrong goes something like this:

Cano sucks. - Not sure who he's dating so I can't slip a clever little jab in there.

Posada got hurt. - Maybe I could make fun of his ears here.

Matsui got hurt. Hey look, he's Japanese HA HA HA!

Hughes and Kennedy underperformed spectacularly. Maybe they are cheating on their girfriends or something?

The Yankees should not have to rely on A-Rod having a Superman level season every year to make the frigging playoffs.

If A-Rod ever unloads an ak-47 into the press box, I will completely understand why.

2008-09-17 13:31:19
9.   nick
"A-Rod's re-signing with the Yankees over the off-season....didn't eradicate A-Rod's trouble hitting with runners in scoring position"

Right, the trouble he had in 2007, before resigning, when he struggled to a .333/.460/.678 line with RISP.

Leitch reaches Fox News levels of accuracy here.

Lazy fuck.

2008-09-17 14:02:30
10.   RichB
Will lost credibility with me the moment he suggested that Jeter might end up at first base. Does he know anything about baseball? Show of hands... who actually thinks anyone would play him at 1B?
2008-09-17 14:03:10
11.   Alex Belth
I sure hope you are right about A Rod. I know I'll be as amped as anyone if he continues to do well.
2008-09-17 14:08:58
12.   Bagel Boy
"it is hard to see things ending well for him in New York"

Hmmm, almost the AL homer title after a month off, and you're worried? A-Rod has done his thing, but the team's problems run much deeper.

And here's how I know it will end well: 800 career homeruns. And with his contract, he ain't going anywhere.

Still, way to do your research, Mr. Deadspin. What the hell? We accept Joe Morgan-levels of analysis from bloggers now?

2008-09-17 15:51:07
13.   monkeypants
0 "At 34, he has clearly entered his decline. Will we see him at first base in a couple of years?"

I will not comment on the idiocy of the second sentence. But frankly, I reject the premise of the first sentence. Is it a given that Jeter has entered his decline? it seems probable, given his age. On the other hand, his numbers for the season are .306/.368/.417/.785/109 OPS+, almost identical to his age 28 season: .297/.373/.421/.794/111 OPS+. That season was followed by OPS+ of 125, 114, 125, 132, 121.

Maybe he declines, or maybe he bounces back to a more typical .310/.380/.450 type season.

Pretty weak analysis.

2008-09-17 23:04:18
14.   joejoejoe
Derek Jeter needs to model the rest of his career on Pete Rose, not Cal Ripken. Embrace playing backup 3B, 1B, the corner OF positions, and DH. If he becomes an institution like Cal Ripken instead of staying a ballplayer it's not going to look good on the backside of his career. You can't grow old at SS. It shows.
2008-09-20 09:34:25
15.   Raf
10 Depends on who the Yanks have. They survived with Knoblauch playing LF

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