Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Stott to Trot (Who'll be next?)
2005-10-13 06:24
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The season is over. The season has just begun. Here in the northeast we look forward to the leaves turning colors and then gradually falling to the ground. This year, due to the steady rain we've seen for the better part of the last week, the foliage may not be so wunnerful after all. Though we need the water, all this rain is bound to sperl the autumnal beauty as it were.

As usual there are a lot of changes to be expected in Yankee land (Bernie, Girardi, Ruben, Leiter, Torre, Cashman). The first significant move happened yesterday when pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre officially stepped down. This comes as no particular surprise as Stottlemyre has been chided by George Steinbrenner and his Tampa Faction for several seasons now. Some fans will be quite happy to see Stottlemyre leave. Yet the main concern is how will this effect Joe Torre and Brian Cashman if at all. The word is that Torre will most likely stick around and manage the team again next year while it looks as if Cashman is done. That would be an unfortunate development. Disrupting the Torre-Cashman alliance could be far more damaging than splitting up Torre and Stottlemyre.

Torre will eventually speak with reporters and address his situation as well as his feelings about what went down this season. Whether that happens this week or next week, your guess is as good as mine. Needless to say, the local media is waiting with baited breath.

2005-10-13 07:39:28
1.   murphy
i ain't gon' lie. i think this is for the best. the jury is still out on torre, as far as i am concerned, but it's so hard to believe that the few pitchers we DO promote (save pettite, wang, but small doesnt really count) can not be developed into SOMETHING. we always hear him talking about working out mechanics and the like, but so much of pitching is a head game and he's not done much in the positive in that department (duque, contreras for starters). it can't be coincidence that new york is where pitchers careers go to die (a little too prematurely). so good riddance, mel.

now, cashman... wow. i dunno if we can handle losing that one.

2005-10-13 08:04:59
2.   unpopster
My guess is that Kerrigan is the new pitching coach. He spent the entire second half of this season as an unofficial advisor...meaning he was waiting in the wings and was the man in the shadows.

Joe K did a pretty damn good job with the Red Sox pitchers under Grady Little. They ranked in the top 4 teams in ERA from 2000-2003.

2005-10-13 08:11:12
3.   Hank
So is there any hope at all that Cashman returns? I remember the 80s and early 90s all too well, and I'm not eager to relive that era
2005-10-13 08:17:16
4.   Shaun P
I wonder if this Oppenheimer guy has any value in terms of evaluation players and making personnel decisions. Maybe as a member of "the Tampa faction" he'll have more freedom to operate?

Sigh. Listen to me - I'm already trying to convince myself that losing Cashman won't be so bad. I really hope he stays. Alex has it - disrupting the Cash-Torre alliance may be the biggest mistake of all.

2005-10-13 08:33:56
5.   Nick from Washington Heights
Supposedly, Oppenheimer ran the draft this year and it's probably the best one the team's had in a a couple of years.
2005-10-13 08:34:30
6.   dzzrtRatt
Yankee fans, it's simple as this: The Boss needs to let go. Your 2005 team ran on the fumes of the team that dominated the late 90s, which was built without Larry David having the chance to meddle extensively, based on smart drafts, player development and strategic trades and FA signings.

At first, when he returned to fulltime status, he was helpful in getting you players that put a cherry on the sundae. But now he's back in his pursuit of big names and big contracts. It didn't work in the 80s, and it won't work now. He'll be forever baffled by this phenomenon. After all, Sheffield, Unit, Giambi, A-Rod, Pavano--they all looked great. But together, they aren't great.

Cashman should demand that Steinbrenner close Tampa down. He should make his demands on behalf of the great NY Yankee fans--and so do it publicly. Just be a real NY a-hole about it. Do it from the top of the Empire State building, or on the Staten Island Ferry. "Boss, we've tried it your way, and it doesn't work. Now it's my way, or I hit the highway!"

I know--that would probably be the end of Cashman. But who knows? George might just back off. Maybe Steinbrenner is one of those bullies who turns and runs when he's called out.

Eventually, George will shuffle off this mortal coil, and your town will have a $200+ million budget and a reasonable management, and that'll be curtains for the rest of the league. But til that happens, all you guys are going to have is season after season like '05.

2005-10-13 08:57:55
7.   Dimelo
Duque was a fine pitcher, for me pitching coaches are like 3rd base coaches. Find me a great pitching coach. Oh wait....Merzonni is great, or Bud Black, etc, etc. Steve Avery had two great years and was a hot prospect, but all Merzoni could squeeze out of him was two 18 win seasons. I'd like for someone to look at the pitcher's they've coached and give me the rate of failure vs. success and I'd bet it'd be pretty much consistent with that of Mel's. Chacon does well in NY vs. Colorado and he gets no credit. Clemens came here and won a Cy Young and Mel gets no credit. RJ comes here and stinks up the joint and Mel gets all of the blame. It's actually hilarious listening to people constantly blame the guy. Or when I hear the argument, despite (Mo, Pettite, Chacon, Wang, etc, etc, etc) Mel is awful. That's like my manager telling me, hey you did great this past year but if we take away what you did great you really sucked this year.

Alex and Clif, I didn't get to say thanks for the wonderful insight and analysis you guys put into this website day-in-and-day-out. This website is full of extremely smart people that post comments and are very articulate in their arguments, I really think that starts from the top and Alex and Cliff are to credit for keeping it all respectable. Much like a fish rots from the head first, BB success starts from the top. If only I can say the same thing for my bosses here at work.

2005-10-13 09:06:37
8.   domvjr
This is going to be most interesting off-season in years. Alot of questions, regarding management, who stays,and who goes, and the usual player comings and goings. One thing is perfectly clear however, the Yanks are at a crossroads, the road to regeneration and new glory, or the fork in the road that takes the team back to the dark ages, circa "81 thru 94". The Tampa vs New York infighting, leads me to believe that we are heading on the wrong road. Steinbrenner, has to stop buying players, and revert back to building a team with guys that play with grit and heart. We know with all the syncophants,sucking up to him in Tampa, that will never happen. I don't believe George is able both mentally and physically, to handle the operations of the team. Its time to pass the torch!
2005-10-13 09:28:16
9.   Schteeve
I don't know anything but I think the Yankees need to revamp their advance scouting department. It's pretty clear to me that we've been out-scouted in our last two playoff series.
2005-10-13 09:47:21
10.   JohnnyC
Schteeve, believe me, you know a lot more than some of the knee-jerk "analysts" who accept the swill coming out of the sports media.
2005-10-13 09:47:23
11.   sabernar
Dimelo, you need to get things straight. First of all, his name is Mazzone, and he's the most highly regarded pitching coach in MLB. It's not just the starters, but it's how he's taken nobodies and made them somebodies. How he's taken relievers off the scrap heap and made them into top relievers.

Secondly, Mel had NOTHING to do with Clemens. If you knew anything about anything, you'd know that Clemens was a Cy Young/HoF pitcher before he came to the Yankees.

2005-10-13 10:08:42
12.   mainmanmaitland
In all honesty - most high profile pitchers the Yankees bring in suck/struggle the first year they get here and get better as time goes on.

- Clemens ERA was in the high 4.00s his first year and sub 3.00 the year following
- Mussina pitched well but got no run support his first year

None of that has much to do with Mel and lot more to do with what kind of run support they got and how long it took them to adjust pitching for the Yanks and having Yankee Stadium as their home park.

I like Mel but I am far more worried about what happens if Cashman leaves....

2005-10-13 10:16:01
13.   tz1
I think we need to raise some more prospects instead of just trading them away, and we also need to stop signing old, expensive free agents that get injured and are of no use at all to us. I pray to God we don't sign Johnny Damon....
2005-10-13 10:24:21
14.   JohnnyC
what contributed to ARod's awful division series as much as his admitted uptightness is revealed by two facts (neither of which had anything to do with having a large object in this throat constraining his ability to swallow): he had six walks and he left only 3 men on base. what happened to ARod is a byproduct of what Schteeve alluded to: being out-scouted and out-prepared by the opposing team. For several seasons now, Torre has been unable or unwilling to fashion a line-up that does not have a huge void after, say, the 6th batter. Although bunching all your best hitters together worked well at times during the season, in the playoffs it can be a construct easily planned for, especially if, as is quite normal, some of those guys slump at the wrong time or don't match up well with the starting pitcher. Pitch around whomever you have to, go after guys who you can reasonably expect to handle, and expect a breather of up to four sure outs after you've navigated "murderer's row." The Yankees' clutch failures have more to do with the unfortunate fact that ALL of their best on base guys are also their best run producers. All the other hitters are way, way below average in either on base pct. or batting average or both. When you have days to prepare and strategize, the Yankees line-up is not that tough to deal with. The only fear you'd have is if EVERYONE was hot at the same time. And, except for the Angels in 2002, that never happens. Not excusing ARod but there's more to his meltdown than meets the jaundiced eye.
2005-10-13 10:30:33
15.   mainmanmaitland
I agree with that. If the Yankees had a better mix of utilizing prospects and still acquiring the occasional free agent when necessary, I think that the team would play better and be much cheaper to boot.

The thing is you'll need someone to tell the Boss that he doesn't need to get a high profile player/free agent and make the back page of the NY Daily News/NY Post every year.

2005-10-13 10:32:47
16.   brockdc
Is there any way for us to start a "Don't sign Johnny" online petition?
2005-10-13 10:33:28
17.   yankee fan in Hollywood
I'm from L.A. and this reminds me of a couple of yrs ago with what the Lakers went through. The Lakers not only got rid of Shaq but also all the key role players too. And I see the same happening with the Yankees. They got rid of Popeye who was like Tex Winter of the Lakers (inventor of the triangle offense). They got rid of the players with heart like Derek Fisher, Rick Fox, and Robert Horry. I agree with most of you that say we should stop buying the Arod and the Sheffields and just try and bring up players who will be like Scott Brosious, Paul O'Neill, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada. Guys who really care about winning and understand what it takes. I like Arod and Sheff but to me those guys should just wear a plain white jersey b/c they haven't earned those pinstripes yet. I say we keep Torre. Do what it takes to keep Cashman. Bring in a decent lead off hitter that way we can have Jeter be much more agressive at the plate. Bring back Bernie as the Ruben Sierra of '05. Get a couple of fresh young arms. Bring back Gordon and dump everyone else in that bullpen. I would even so as far as suggesting trading Sheff for a couple of young pitchers b/c at the end of the day we all know pitching wins championships. Hopefully Chacon, Wang and Small are as good next year. We still have Randy who could win atleast 15. Get rid of that little bitch Pavano and Wright and bring in those two young pitcher that the Cubs are willing to trade. It will be an exciting winter but also a scary one! I'm holding my breath!!!!
2005-10-13 10:35:39
18.   Nick from Washington Heights
"The Yankees' clutch failures have more to do with the unfortunate fact that ALL of their best on base guys are also their best run producers."

This seems like more of a problem with the way the roster is constructed than Torre's line-up. Propose a line-up where the pitcher couldn't pitch around the peaks of the Yankee offense to get to some dreadful valley. I personally like bunching the best hitters up in the line-up because it guarantees that the best hitters get more at bats than the non-best hitters.

2005-10-13 10:36:55
19.   Hank
When does Cashman's contract expire? Is it the end of this month or next? I can't seem to remember.

As for the future, I think we can safely assume that Steinbrenner is here until he dies. I'm still holding out hope that he might bring Cashman back. After all, weren't there a lot of people who certain he would be fired after last year?

I think the organization needs to modify its prime directive. Yes, we all want to win every year, but when that is the only goal, and no one ever looks beyond the upcoming post-season, they inevitably end up mortgaging the future for the chance to win today. Recent examples: choosing Sheffield over Guerrero, the Unit over Navarro and Halsey. (Was it Halsey? I think I might have the wrong name.)

We've gotten to where we are now because of some good decisions that went bad. Even though it hurt me to watch Pettitte leave for the Astros, I completely agreed with Cashman's prediction at the time that Javier Vázquez would vastly outperform Pettitte over the next three years. And was the Pavano signing really a bad one? He might have been a bit overhyped coming in, but I still think he could've been successful in New York if healthy, and should do well next year.

Though the farm system has been much maligned, there have been successes -- Wang and Canó, obviously. In filling the current needs, I think the organization needs to trust the farm system a bit more. They took a huge leap of faith with Canó, and it certainly paid off. As dozens have mentioned here, why not bring up someone like Colter Bean and tell him that he has a job, not an audition. And while Bubba Crosby might not be a full-time center fielder, maybe Melky Cabrera is. If they're not going to find a free agent to replace Bernie (Johnny Damon would be a huge mistake, I think, but Milton Bradley would probably come pretty cheap), maybe Cabrera could get more than a two- or three-game shot. With respect to Damon, if they're going to spend on an older outfielder, it had better be Matsui.

I don't worry about the offense. Even though A-Rod, Sheffield, and Matsui no-showed against Anaheim in much the same way that they did in games 4-7 last year, I think it was more of a fluke than a pattern. Probably the only area of concern there is Posada, just because he's getting older.

It's the pitching staff that needs the most attention. If we start with Johnson, Mussina, and Wang, that leaves two more spots. I'd give the fourth spot to Chacón and let Wright and Pavano duel it out for number five, with Pavano hopefully winning. Sure, there's a risk that Chacón could have been pitching above his head, but at least we know that he can pitch and win in New York.

In the bullpen, there's obviously only one given. After that, it's a mess. First, sign up Aaron Small. Even though he was 10-0, I don't think he'd do well in the rotation over the long haul. In the pen, though, he'd be the guy we haven't had since Mendoza. A guy who's flexible enough to pitch the seventh once in a while or come in earlier for long relief, and even spot start when needed. Colter Bean should get a shot, and unlike most of you, I think there's hope for Scott Proctor. They'll need a lefty, so why not convince Leiter to come back? As long as they don't try to start him or even extend him in relief, he'd do well against lefties.

I can't imagine that Billy Wagner would want to come and set up for Rivera, but I'm sure the Yanks will go after him. My problem with this is that it's probably time to start thinking about life after Mo. They need to find a set-up man who might eventually become the closer. Didn't they draft someone last year who might eventually fill that role? Does anyone remember?

Wow, I just wrote a bit more than necessary. I'll stop now.

2005-10-13 10:37:19
20.   mainmanmaitland
Blaming A-Rod is a byproduct of his $25M contract and the press playing up to it (and making an admitted head case worse). I don't blame A-Rod for the loss. It was a team effort. If we played better as a whole in Game 2 we wouldn't have had to come back to CA to play a game 5. If Randy pitched Game 3 the way he pitched Game 5 we wouldn't have had to go back to CA.

Quick point - Other than 2003 against the Sox our record in elimination games is horrible.

2005-10-13 10:40:01
21.   mainmanmaitland
Cashman's contract expires at the end of the month.
2005-10-13 10:43:30
22.   tz1
If we do trade for pitchers, I think they should be less of the "big-potential, high risk", and more of the "workhorse-less spectacular-less hype" type guys. Anyways... I like Small and Chacon. Chacon and Small's poise vs. the Angels was great to see. I just love the comparison between Small, Chacon, & Wang vs. Brown, Pavano and Wright. I think it's proof the organization needs to take a different approach with their signings.

I think I keep reiiterating the point, but we should get WORKERS, and not TALKERS. Enough of Sheffield. I'd rather take a hungry player that hustles on every play than his ass. We need less ME guys and more TEAM guys.

2005-10-13 10:43:31
23.   Nick from Washington Heights
Hank, the issue might not be Steinbrenner's desire to bring Cash back. Some are saying that Cashman might jump at the chance to be a general manager where he has more freedom and less angry raving boss. let's hope he still enjoys being a well-paid masochist.
2005-10-13 10:45:28
24.   Nick from Washington Heights
"Enough of Sheffield. I'd rather take a hungry player that hustles on every play than his ass."

Sheffield played all last year with a very bad shoulder. He couldn't lift his arm over it. I think the guy's a worker.

2005-10-13 10:48:15
25.   tz1
I just think he cares more about himself than the team, I know he plays hurt, but do you remember when he whined to the media about how no one recognizes how good he is...Everytime he came up to bat in the playoffs, I remembered how he talked about how "the opposing team knows who to pitch around"
2005-10-13 10:51:58
26.   Nick from Washington Heights
Yeah, he talks a bit and he provides ego-stroking (albeit, as Cliff often points, dead-on) assessments of himself and the rest of his team, but I don't think he's part of the problem with this team. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that his gaudy stats do more good for the Yanks than bad. The truth is we need less Wright and Pavano signings.
2005-10-13 10:59:34
27.   Hank
Nick -- good point. Why would a sane man want to work for Steinbrenner? It's something I've always wondered.
2005-10-13 11:13:17
28.   Oscar Azocar
Unfortunately, I don't think it matters if Cash comes back or not. Most power now is consolodated in Tampa (and maybe even more so after this playoff exit). If Cash came back, he'd be a lame duck.

The whole situation makes it difficult to evaluate Cashman's performance over the past 4 years. How many signings were his, how many were Tampa's? Sure there is speculation about it, but nobody knows for sure. Nonetheless, I think he provides a good counter balance to the hot-heads in Tampa. I'd be glad to see him back, but there really is no rational reason for him to do so.

I don't know if there's a scientific way to do this, but if the Yankees took about $50-$75 million of their $200M payroll and devoted that to player development, scouting, etc. instead of old free agents, the Yankees would be in much better shape and have a much more sustainable model for winning.

2005-10-13 11:20:02
29.   tz1
I am just sick and tired of the superstar attitude. Remember the 98 Yanks? I remember people, announcers, everyone used to say we didn't have any "super stars"...yet we had the best team in baseball history. I think part of it was that we were willing to do the little things right. I loved Crosby's bunt for base hit vs. the Angels, Jeter's little squibbler to the third baseman which scored us a run... In baseball a lot of times it's those kinds of things, not the flash and big home runs which win when it really counts. We need more versatility, not just guys who can hit the long ball.
2005-10-13 11:20:20
30.   unpopster
well, since it's never too early for the Hot Stove, here are my thoughts on what should be done during this offseason.

(BTW, Jon Heyman has already given his thoughts here:,0,4662476.column?coll=ny-sports-headlines)

1. KEEP TORRE. (no brainer!)

2. KEEP CASHMAN. (ditto)

3. Bring in Joe Kerrigan or Dave Rags or Leo Mazzone as the new pitching coach.

4. Sign BJ Ryan as the primary set-up man for Mariano with the promise that he'll be the Yank's Closer of the future. Overpay if we must, but he's the real deal.

5. Let Tom Gordon walk. He is a great regular season pitcher who has shown in the last 2 years that he can't handle the pressure of the post-season. And we all know that the Yanks should be built for the post season. Save Gordon's money on soem other help.

6. Trade Pavano. He's not a NYC guy. Plus I think his "mysterious" injury may have bought him a ticket out of the bronx.

7. The rotation. Johnson and Mussina are set. Bring in another #3 type starter via FA (Matt Morris, Kevin Millwood, Jarrod Washburn) or trade. Put Wang in the 2006 rotation. Leave Small as the primary long relief man. Give Wright another chance as the #5 starter (especially with a new coach a la Mazzone). Give Chacon every chance in Spring Training to win a spot in the rotation.

8. Say NO to Johnny Damon.

9. Say NO to AJ Burnett.

10. Woo FA Kyle Farnsworth (RHP) to the Yanks.

11. Say goodbye to Tino, Bernie, Ruben, Embree, Leiter, WOEmack, and -- sadly -- Bernie (unless he's willing to take a HUGE pay cut to be a backup CF/pinch hitter)

12. Seriously think about trading Posada for minor league help and then sign Ramon Hernandez. But this should not be a definite move.

13. SIGN HIDEKI for 3 more years (3 yrs, $36mm)!

14. Bring in Jacque Jones (move him to LF and move Hideki to CF) or trade for Corey Patterson to play CF. Give Bubba the chance to win the CF spot if neither of the above options work.

2005-10-13 11:28:59
31.   Dan M
What's with the love Corey Patterson's gotten on this site the last few days? He's terrible.
2005-10-13 11:51:14
32.   JCP22
I don't know who is out there this year for free agent outfielders, but I might trade Sheff and some cash if I could get back a Tori Hunter (or Beltran?) If we keep him, I would love to see him DH more and get a guy with solid fundamental skills for right field, i.e. speed, arm, can make contact and move runners. Too many boppers and not enough role players on this team. Sheff said he never went to right in 2004 because of his shoulder but what is his excuse this year? The only time he ever goes that way is on two strikes when he protects the outer third of the plate, a skill he might want to share with Giambi on the off chance Jason ever notices only one fielder on the left side.

In centerfield, I never would have thought Bubba was an option but I really liked the way he played down the stretch. He kind of reminds me of a Knobloch type threat in that he can run well, bunts great, can move the runners along and I like his hustle and scrappiness. But it was such a short period that I have no idea whether he could play well over a longer stretch. Better have a backup plan and it CANNOT be Bernie.

As for a Damon signing, we have had a weak arm in center for years. It is not optimal but not killer either. Meanwhile, the man can hit and has been durable. Finally, we would have a legit leadoff hitter and since Arod would no longer be in the two hole, we could actually steal a base or two at the top of the lineup. Three year contract max with knowledge that third year might be a disappointment.

One final thought for the Yankee brass. Please put away the whole we play to win in October stuff already. Everyone plays to win in October that gets there so get over yourselves and stop putting undue pressure on the organization. Stuff happens in a short series, bloopers, bad calls, can't set the rotation optimally sometimes. The Yanks were far from a lock in any playoff series they would have been in this year so let's not delude ourselves otherwise. Maybe a comment going into the postseason like we will have to be at the top of our game to beat the Angels would have been a good place to start.

2005-10-13 12:32:06
33.   Knuckles
Dan M,
Agreed. I have a few Cub fan buddies, and they would take some of our higher ceiling or close to ML ready pitchers for Corey P in a heartbeat. I don't care how far down in the order you hit him, a .300 OBP is a .300 OBP, which is poor even for a good defensive CF.

I did a rough projection of his 2006 stats (time weighted to the more recent, annualizing his shorter seasons, and adding a 10% bump in all counting stats) and you get a line like this:

PA 543
H 145
BB 35
K 156
HR 20
AVG/OBP/OPS .268/.332/.777

And that is being extremely optomistic.

2005-10-13 12:39:00
34.   uburoisc
No on Patterson, we need someone who has a much higher OBP. 150 K's is a dead-weight in the lineup unless you are hitting 45+ HR.
2005-10-13 12:56:34
35.   Schteeve

1) Farnsworth sucks
2) Patterson sucks
3) Chacon should get the #5 slot in the rotation, if not the # 3 slot, why would you give Wright #5 and make Chacon earn his way into the rotation?

1)Giambi had 2 opposite field hits against the Angels in the DS.

2) Are you really going to tell me that Sheffield's approach at the plate sucks and he should go to right more often? He went to right twice in this series, but he's a pull hitter. When he gets a ball in his wheel house, you want him to inside out it? The guy has the quickest hands and wrists this side of Soriano or Vlad, we didn't lose this series because Sheff is unwilling or unable to go to right.

2005-10-13 13:03:01
36.   Shaun P
What's with the worry about signing or trading for a CF? Just let Crosby play every day. Defense is priority 1 in CF.

Sheff can say whatever he wants as long as he hits like he always does. Nick's got it right 24,26.

Finally, to shore up the offense, I'd:

0. Crosby is full-time CF (as above).
1. Re-sign Matsui to play LF.
2. Sign Piazza (C/DH) on the cheap (1 year/5 mil?) and Matt LeCroy (C/DH/1B). Piazza catches 2 games a week, Posada the other 4. Piazza DHs some of the time he doesn't catch. Posada can DH one of the days he doesn't catch. LeCroy is around to mash lefties, which is what he does, be a general backup at C/1B, and a power hitting threat off the bench.
5. Andy Phillips becomes the late-inning defensive replacement at 1B, serves as the backup 1B, and plays DH every so often. Giambi, of course, plays the field 95% of the time.
6. Trade for the Pirates Craig Wilson. He can DH as well as play RF, LF, and 1B (plus C) and has patience and power. He's arb-eligible, due for a raise, and the Pirates have plenty of younger, cheaper guys to play at 1B/LF/RF. (Matsui is thus the backup CF, with Wilson or Phillips capable of playing LF.)
7. Re-sign Bellhorn 1 year on the cheap as the backup 2B/3B (A-Rod, of course, is the back-up SS). He tends to play better in even-numbered years, and is a great bat for the bench.

Bye-bye to Bernie (sorry dude), Tino, Flaherty, Womack, Sierra, Lawton, and Rey Sanchez.

2005-10-13 13:43:45
37.   uburoisc
Shaun P. I agree with you, nice lineup, but I don't know about Wilson (169 SO in '04). Piazza might be a good choice to rest Posada and buy some time to bring up another catcher. But I'd look at Ramon Hernandez of the Padres; I have a feeling he is going to have a breakout year.
2005-10-13 14:29:48
38.   randym77
Newsweek has a Mark Starr column today called "Don't Blame A-Rod for Yankees' Problems":

(Don't let the title fool you; A-Rod gets bashed up one side and down the other. Just a warning.)

One line that stuck in my mind: "A-Rod emerges as one of the strangest cases in my baseball memory, a player who simply does not equal the sum of his parts."

Dunno if that's true of A-Rod, but it's true of the Yankees. They don't equal the sum of their parts.

This is the opposite of the late-'90s Yankees teams. Back then, the sum was greater than the parts. IIRC, they didn't have MVPs or league leading hitters back then, but somehow, they won.

I think what the Yankees are missing is chemistry. Yeah, I know - a lot of people think that's an even more mythical quality than "clutchness." Call it teamwork, then. Or synthesis: the sum being greater than the parts.

The Yankees just didn't seem to work well together. They were sort of disjointed, the whole season. When the pitching was good, the hitting wasn't. When one guy was hitting well, the rest weren't. Their ace pitcher didn't get along with their catcher. The fielders didn't seem to communicate with each other well. And most strikingly, they didn't seem to be able to work together to get the runs across the plate.

Some people predicted this. They said that the Yankees had become a collection of all-stars, not a team, and that it would cause problems. I don't know if I buy that. Maybe it's just that people were being shuffled in and out so often they didn't have time to get used to each other. But whatever the cause, that's what I want to see fixed. I don't care if they buy pricy stars or grow their own talent, if they get experienced veterans or young kids. They just have to get people who call pull together in the same harness.

2005-10-13 14:31:22
39.   Bob B
If we were to get Tori Hunter in CF and sign BJ Ryan I'd be happy. If we could get another catcher (not Flaherty) we'd be doing Posada a big favor. Anyone who wants Bubba Crosby in center did not go to enough games and see how miserable he is at the plate. Joe Kerrigan would be a great replacement for Mel and he did a great job two years ago with the Redsox (plus I enjoy any time we can stick it to the Sox). Starting pitching could be very deep next year. May even be able to use some ptiching as trade bait to get rid of Giambi (despite his "comeback" year he's still a horror show at first base and doesn't hit when he's the DH)
2005-10-13 14:35:19
40.   Bob B
Oops. Forgot the reason I wanted to post.Good luck to Mel. He was a gracious guy and you could see that everyone on the team for the last 10 years admired him. I can't say if he was a good, bad or great pitching coach but he brought a sense of intelligence and grace to the dugout.
2005-10-13 14:58:59
41.   Shaun P
Torii Hunter, Age 30:
.269/.337/.452, 102 Rate2

Bubba Crosby, Age 29:
.276/.304/.327, 119 Rate2

Scott Brosius, 2000:
.230/.299/.374, 111 Rate2

I don't care what Crosby does at the plate, he can field, and that's all the Yanks need out of a 9th place hitter. They've won the WS with worse hitters in the 9th hole. Plus he's inexpensive.

Hunter is coming off a bad injury and before '05, hadn't had a Rate2 over 100 since 2001. And he costs $8 million + whatever gets traded to get him.

And sure, Giambi was pretty bad in the field (88 Rate2). But he was fifth in the AL in OPS! Kinda hard to replace that.

2005-10-13 15:04:30
42.   tz1
Yeah, I don't think we need Torii or his .267 career batting average. Bubba hustles and plays good D. I think he should play CF.
2005-10-13 16:11:26
43.   BklynBomber
If you want to talk about building a team for the post-season, it comes down to pitching and defense. Period. Even minus a Sheffield on next year's roster, we would still have enough thunder in the lineup, so focusing on defense, bench depth and the pen would be wise.

Solid defensive teams are always strong up the middle — catcher, short and 2nd, and center.

I don't buy into the buzz that Posada is in rapid decline, thus I wouldn't move him. Jetes is gold at short, and Cano has shown enough promise to invest in working on his head and get him straightened out there. And based on who's on the FA market, I see no reason not to give Bubba a full shot at the job. We don't need 35 HRs from him, but I'm thinking we would be pleasantly surprised with his BA and OBP if he played full time.

Use the scratch that will be freed up to add another front-line starter, a BJ Ryan, and a few savvy acquisitions (like a Chile Davis in '98) that will deepen the bench.

Joe stays ('natch). Cash stays (please!) and George listens to Joe and Cash (well, one can only hope.)

How many days 'till pitchers and catchers report? I can't wait.

2005-10-13 16:59:00
44.   randym77
Agree about Posada. He was pretty solid on defense this year, and had his moments on offense. He's always been streaky; I seem to recall he's had at least one bad year before. Like they were saying about Jeter last year - when you're not hitting well at age 25, it's because you're in a slump. When you're not hitting well and you're over 30, everyone assumes it's because you're getting old.

Anyway, I think Posada might have a good year or three left in him. He's only been catching for what, six years? He should be young for his age, at least as far as wear and tear goes.

I just wish he and Randy Johnson got along better. One of Posada's strengths is supposedly his rapport with pitchers, so maybe they can work it out.

Bubba...I'm willing to give him a chance. He went through a short period where he was a disaster at the plate, swinging at everything. (Maybe he got a swelled head after hitting that walkoff homer. ;-) But usually he's pretty smart. A single, a bunt, a walk...enough so he's not a liability. If he learns to quit body-checking his teammates, he should be fine.

I hope we keep Cano as well. He does space out on defense sometimes, but he's excellent when he's focused, and he's only a rookie. It's way too early to write him off, given his obvious talent.

And I like Leiter. I hope he sticks around. Not as a starter, but he's fine as a LOOGY. Besides, his kid is so thrilled that his dad works with A-Rod and Jeter. :)

2005-10-13 17:06:26
45.   brockdc
Since we're making our preliminary hot stove wish lists, here's mine:

1. Do not re-sign Bernie. Even as a pinch-hitter he has limited use. Plus, we need to focus on getting guys with some versatility.

2. Sign B.J.

3. Sign Kevin Millwood - a proven AL workhorse

4. Keep Bubba in center, call up Melky, groom accordingly

5. Jack up Johnny D's asking price with no intention of signing him whatsoever

6. Sign Benji Molina

7. Trade Jorge for prospects

8. Re-sign Matsui

9. Re-sign Gordon (so what if he wilts in the post-season - he's solid during the regular season and would be a decent bridge to MOB.J.) to a one or two year deal.

10. Promote from within to fill out the bullpen.

11. Put Wright in the pen. Make him earn his spot in the starting rotation.

12. Goodbye to: Tino, Brownie, Bernie, Womack, Sierra, Lawton, and F-Rod

2005-10-13 17:39:43
46.   marc
randym #38, I'm glad you warned me about the Mark Starr column. When you posted that excerpt "One line that stuck in my mind: "A-Rod emerges as one of the strangest cases in my baseball memory, a player who simply does not equal the sum of his parts." I almost stroked out in anger already. The guy had near triple crown numbers, gold glove fielding and stole bases with relative ease when he thought it appropriate and the guy has the nerve to say he's a player who does not equal the sum of the parts? Lets see, because he couldn't get the team to the world Championship the last two years like every other yankee? At least he was constantly being walked this post-season unlike most of the other big stars that I love watching on the team but disappointed. Guess what, baseballs a very difficult team game and one team and one pitcher is trying to bash your head in and he doesn't give a shit how big your salary is or how frightening Sheffield's waggling bat is. When I hear crap like that it makes me wonder if having those bunch of championships bunched together under Steinbrenner turned into more of a curse of unrealistic future expectations than something great. Also I think one of the under-reported stories is how the luxury tax and revenue sharing may be hampering the Yankees and helping the opposition despite the aura of the Boss as an unbridled spender.
2005-10-13 17:50:59
47.   Sky1
First of all Jorge Posada is crucial to this Yankees team. He pratically won a post season game by himself, and is the core of the old Yankee's team. Bernie is long gone, so is sierra,and Tino. They just don't have the stuff anymore. If Steinbrenner signs Johnny Damon, then he has lost touch with the Yankees even more than what I previously thought. The Yanks should let Bubba earn his spot; he has proven to be a neccesity, but if they are going to spend money they should get Vernon Wells. Cano will brush up on his defense during Spring Training, he will relax a bit for next season. He has already proven to be a spectacular hitter. Giambi should stay at first, because he is a strong hitter, only when he is playing a field position, not DH-ing. But Andy Phillips should be working on first base, to take over in crunch time situations.
Coaching is a BIG issue right now. Screw the Tampa faction. Steinbrenner is too worried with his BIG money free agents, it didn't work with Danny Tartabull, it isn't going to work now. KEEP Torre and Cashman. They have done an amazing job with this season. Yankees are going to lose some games sometime, it is inevitable. But they made it to the play-offs even with such a bad losing record in the beginning, so something had to be done right. If Cashman leaves the Yankees are in a world of pain, to say. We need that positive influennce in New York.
2005-10-13 18:21:55
48.   randym77
I don't know if Tino's lost it. He had that blistering hot streak at the beginning of the season. I suspect the fact that Giambi was struggling and Tino was playing almost every day had something to do with it. I think he needs to play regularly to keep sharp. Not that that changes anything. He can't play regularly as long as Giambi's around. I love the guy. I was so happy to hear he was coming back, and I hate to see him go. But it might be better for him if he goes to a team where he's the regular first baseman.
2005-10-13 19:14:22
49.   BklynBomber
// I love the guy. I was so happy to hear he was coming back, and I hate to see him go.//

randym, you took the words out of my mouth. Not only the great glove and a couple of the most stirring home runs in Yankees history, but Tino is such a class act inside out and the type of guy every clubhouse can benefit from, especially this one.

He was quoted recently saying that if the team decides not to bring him back, he'll hang 'em up. If nothing else, I hope he stays in the organization on some level. I have no clue about his future aspirations, but I get the sense he'd be a great asset to the club.

If we indeed go the FA market route for first base help, maybe we should go after Scott Hatteberg just to keep him from hammering us. I believe the Jays hold an option on him for '06, tho...

Rather see a resurgent Tino make the roster, of course...

2005-10-14 00:15:34
50.   susan mullen
The Yankees will never win the World Series again as long as Steinbrenner is involved. The
only success in recent years was a result of his not having been involved (he had been banned from baseball, then was allowed back).
He says he wants to win, will spend money, but
then resents the manager, & spends all his
effort trying to cause the manager to fail.
Cashman will leave on his own. Damon Oppenheim-
er from Tampa will be GM. As was indicated in
Frank Torre's interview with the NY Post, Joe
will agree to negotiate the end of his deal.
I wish Joe and Mel had not given the Tampa
idiots the satisfaction of knowing how much
they've succeeded in hurting them. Frank Torre came out begging George to be nice to
Joe. George, Damon, Bill, & Billy cannot
stand to see Joe or anyone else be success-
ful. They will force them to fail, demoral-
izing the team, as they have. Kevin Kennedy
on XM/MLB radio channel is practically jump-
ing thru the radio every day trying to get
Torre's job. It is pathetic. Kevin, lots of
luck wherever you go without Mariano Rivera.

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