Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
How Much is that Pitching Coach in the Window?
2005-10-18 05:40
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

According to Tyler Kepner in The New York Times, the Yankees have asked and received permission to speak with Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone. It might be pie-in-the-sky day-dreaming but it sure would be exciting to see Mazzone, who along with Johnny Sain is probably the most famous pitching coach in baseball history, working (and rocking) alongside Joe Torre in the Bronx.

And speaking of Joe, the Yankee manager is expected to address the media soon, possibly as early as this afternoon. At the same time, Brian Cashman is working behind-the-scenes with the Yankees about possibly returning as the team's GM next year. Fortunately, Cashman's current deal expires at the end of the month, which means that things will pan out soon enough.

2005-10-18 07:09:09
1.   Murray
Run, Brian, run! Run while you still have the chance!
2005-10-18 07:23:05
2.   Felix Heredia
How ridiculous is Pujols?

2001 .329 37 130
2002 .314 34 127
2003 .359 43 124
2004 .331 46 123
2005 .330 41 117

He's 25. It's only a matter of time before they start in with the, 'He's on pace to break so-and-so's record!'

2005-10-18 07:42:31
3.   rbj
So by the time he's nearing the end of his career, people will be saying Albert's on pace to break A-Rod's career home run record?
2005-10-18 07:48:18
4.   Shaun P
right on, rbj!

ESPN Radio scared the crap out of me this morning. They interrupted the broadcast to say "We have breaking news on Joe Torre and the Yankees." Pause. I think, oh God he's been canned - or he's resigning. "Buster Olney is reporting that people familiar with the situation say Joe Torre will not be leaving the Yankees."

Thanks for pointing out the obvious, morons.

2005-10-18 08:28:52
5.   Alex Belth
Man, the only problem I had with Albert's bomb last night is that aesthetically it was almost wasted in that joke of a stadium. You want to see that kind of blast on a field with deep fences. Man, what a blast. The guy is the goods. Best hitter in the game, even above Manny now.

Hey, has anyone read the L.A. papers this week? Have they been killing Vlad? Not for nothing, but his performance almost makes A Rod's look tolerable. Rodriguez walked more in the ALDS than the entire Angels team did against the White Sox.

I wonder what history tells us about great hitters and the post-season. I know George Brett was uncommonly good in October, while guys like Schmidt, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and even Mickey Mantle had more than their fair share of flops.

2005-10-18 09:01:38
6.   Marcus
The Orange County Register called Vlad a "$14 million bust". They aren't quite as harsh on their home town athletes in the OC, I guess. Not even a good (or bad) pun like "$14 million Vlop" or "Vladi-mere Mortal" or "Guerr-OH NO!" or -- ok I'll stop.
2005-10-18 09:13:03
7.   JohnnyC
I put it out there for what it's worth because it clashes with the myth-arc that many fans and media types adhere to. In today's Star-Ledger it is reported that Brian Cashman's choice to replace Stottlemyre is Joe Kerrigan (so it appears he was responsible for hiring him mid-season not Tampa) while Joe Torre (and Billy Connors -- ha ha) favors Leo Mazzone (or failing that, Ron Guidry) and Tampa's original choice had been Neil Allen (who apparently is not Torre's cup of tea). Now if an item like the choice of a new pitching coach can have so many different vectors within the organization, how can we be sure where the lines of force lay on any move...or to be more blunt, how can we absolve anyone of blame...including your favorites, whomever they are. There's more to this than is imagined in your cosmology, Horatios.
2005-10-18 09:52:30
8.   Nick from Washington Heights
Except JohnnyC, when do you blame Billy Connors or George Steinbrenner? It always seems to be Mel and Torre. Another thing: On this site it seems that most are willing to be critical of Torre and Mel. In other words it's not iconoclasm on your part to point out that Torre and Mel should be blamed for some of the team's failures. Granted, the NY Times runs an anti-steinbrenner piece every 2 days. And who on this site takes the NY Times as gospel? The truth is most of my anger over the past year is aimed toward the buffoons (whoever they are!) who signed Pavano, Wright and Womack. Might George, who in certain fan's cosmologies has become an adorable harmless senile grandpa, be part of that group of idiots? Nah, he's just the boss.
2005-10-18 09:53:39
9.   Nick from Washington Heights
that came across angrier than I meant it. Sorry if it was too aggressive. Just trying to build a discussion.
2005-10-18 09:58:35
10.   Paul in Boston
Cashman probably prefers Kerrigan because he'd be significantly cheaper than Mazzone. Neither one would be a bad choice in my view. But the latter is clearly more exciting...
2005-10-18 10:05:36
11.   tz1
Look at that Pujols home run replay on Check the swing out on the slow-mo. BeeyooteaFUL!
2005-10-18 10:05:48
12.   Ramone
If the Yanks get Mazzone, all will be forgiven. Seriously, I can't think of a single off-season addition that would please me more.
2005-10-18 10:07:05
13.   Dimelo
Nick, you didn't sound too angry. I think you are right in questioning the critics of Torre and Mel. I don't get how people weren't critical of them when we were winning, but when we are losing (mostly) everyone points to them as a reason for our failures.
2005-10-18 10:14:42
14.   Dimelo
Kerrigan is a backstabber. Look at what he did to Jimy Williams when they were in Boston. Constantly being in Duquette's ear. F-him.
2005-10-18 10:43:39
15.   Ramone
Assessing the "blame":

George: It is no secret that the core of the championship teams was assembled in the 90's when the Boss was still suspended. And in recent years George has reasserted his tendency to reach for the nearest high-priced (or merely over-priced) free agent, which can often get you the playoffs, but seldom results in the chemistry necessary to win it all. If only we could dump George and keep his wallet.

Cashman: I'll be honest, I was pretty down on Cashman coming into this season. I was very disappointed in the opening day rotation. But the Small and Chacon moves, as well as the Wang and Cano promotions obviously worked out brilliantly. I say, bring him back.

Torre: With Torre, I have mixed emotions. He's obviously a good manager. But I wouldn't say he is great. And he certainly has glaring weaknesses. Moreover, he pissed me off by praising the opening day rotation, when it was clearly a big question mark. I'd like to see what he could do with Mazzone. The team isn't in a transition phase, so let's stick with what we have.

Mel: Clearly the weak link. Over and over and over again, pitchers come in and struggle or leave and thrive. Aside from Mo there hasn't been a single pitcher who seemed to peak under Mel's guidance. Mel may not be terrible, but it is crazy for a team that strives for perennial success, as the Yankees do, to not obtain an ace pitching coach.

2005-10-18 11:09:04
16.   rbj
I wouldn't blame Torre for praising the opening day rotation, no good manager is going to wreck the confidence of the rotation by publicly critcizing/questioning them. Pavano I viewed as a calculated risk, based upon who was available (plus he wasn't going to need to be more than a #3 starter anyway), Wright a higher risk (certainly not worth all that guaranteed money) and Brown should have been DFA'ed. The problem was that there wasn't much in the system to step up when starters went down, and you must plan for at least 1-2 starters missing significant time. The basic problem for the Yankees is that their philosophy is win at all costs this year and worry about next year later. And that philosophy starts right with George S.
I'll give George credit for putting his money where his mouth is, but the flip side of that coin is trading away prospects.

Ramone: "f only we could dump George and keep his wallet."

2005-10-18 11:14:12
17.   Jason Wojciechowski
Brian Cashman gets credit for Aaron Small? I don't think anyone can justifiably take credit for Aaron Small, except maybe for Small himself and, to some extent, the offense of the Yankees.

There's simply no way Cashman knew something about Small that everyone else didn't that told him that he was going to go off.

2005-10-18 11:21:59
18.   rbj
Small sold his soul for that run. Cashman was the intermediary demon.
It's not the Evil Empire for nothing. And why do you think the Angels have had such success against 'em when others haven't.
2005-10-18 11:24:56
19.   JohnnyC
Oh, come on, Mel gets credit for Small. In fact, if Phil Hughes goes on to a Hall of Fame career (with the Yankees or not), Mel should get credit for that too. Just his presence imparts greatness.
2005-10-18 11:25:56
20.   JohnnyC
Ramone: "f only we could dump George and keep his wallet."

you sound like Donald Trump's wife

2005-10-18 12:14:46
21.   mkanakos
Let's be honest here. A pitching coach is not the Yanks problem...

I would love to see Mazzone here, and yes, i do think he is an upgrade from Mel. But c'mon now. The Yanks need to get younger and healthier with guys that can handle the pressure. Mazzone isn't going heal Big unit's back, or Pavano's or Wright's injuries. Mazzone also won't be able to fix george's problem of signing expensive, mostly useless veterans. In fact, george will probably sign more thinking that the genius Mazzone will get the most out of them.

Mel should get credit for even having a contending pitching staff after the year they had. Mazzone will be an improvement but he ain't taking a bunch of retreads and making look like some of the guys who beat the Yanks in the playoffs this year and last.

Coaches have a job - coach and mold talent. Torre doesn't hit the ball and Mel doesn't throw the pitches. Sometimes the players don't come through in yhe clutch. The Yanks problem this year is simple; the bats all disappeared at the same time.

Personally - I am more shocked at Matsui who was money in the bank all year at the plate. I think his lack of production hurt more than most have admitted. He always got the timely hit.

2005-10-18 12:24:53
22.   Ramone
rbj: I don't expect Torre to blast his rotation, but he overdid it. I don't recall the exact quote, but it was to the effect that the Yanks were starting the season (or entering spring training) with the strongest rotation he's seen. Yikes!
2005-10-18 12:33:31
23.   Shaun P
This should prove to be an interesting story:

"Mets Felix Heredia suspended for violating steroids policy"

Uh, given that he's coming back from an aneurysm, what seems wrong here?

2005-10-18 12:38:55
24.   Dan M
I don't know that I agree with the notion that's been expressed here today (and before) that Steinbrenner was out of the picture when the core of the 96-01 team was assembled. First, I think Stick has made it known that Steinbrenner was not as far removed as he was supposed to be, and that he meddled when he was away. Second, George was reinstated in March of 1993 (and was cleared to be reinstated the previous summer) which was some three and a half years before they won the crown in '96. The 1992 roster (I'll assume that all postseason moves before the '93 season has his stamp of approval) and the 1996 roster, let alone the 2000 roster. You can say all you want about Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte and Posada, but he was at the helm when they got Cone, Chili, Wells, O'Neill, Tino, Nelson, Wetteland, Brosius, Knoblauch, you get the point.

Just thought I'd mention it, is all.

2005-10-18 12:54:58
25.   Ramone
"Let's be honest here. A pitching coach is not the Yanks problem..."

Ordinarily, I'd agree with you. But Mazzone is one of the top 2 or 3 pitching coaches in the history of baseball. I'll feel 10 times better about Pavano and Wright with Mazzone here.

2005-10-18 13:35:44
26.   Shaun P
Name the player!

"In 2005, I hit .250 in 'close and late' situations, with a mere 18 RBIs. I also hit more solo home runs that I hit homers with guys on base. Who am I?"

2005-10-18 14:16:55
27.   BklynBomber
Shaun, I'll bite: Jetes?
2005-10-18 16:01:48
28.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Not Jeter. He was .267 w/ 11 rbi.

Manny tho was .257 w/ 16 rbi, but he did hit more homers w/ men on than w/o.

Actually, unless the guy got a lot of at-bats close and late, 18 rbis is pretty good.

That's more than a bunch of big rbi sluggers -- Manny, Sheff, ARod.

Giambi hit .204 c and l, tho of course .400 obp, w/ only 9 rbi.

Ortiz's numbers are just ridiculous however.

2005-10-20 11:24:32
29.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Dang Shaun, you leaving us hanging on this?

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