Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
One More Day...
2006-02-15 05:34
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Hip-hip...Jorge! Oh, and of course Derek Jeter is just itching to get things rolling as well. Ever notice that he's always one of the first guys ready to go round this time of year? SI's Tom Verducci thinks Jeter, not Johnny Damon, should be the team's lead off hitter. No arguments here.

Comments (70)
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2006-02-15 06:03:36
1.   Count Zero
I'm flip-floppy on the leadoff subject. On the one hand, I think a healthy Damon is a better base stealer, and I think DJ is absolutely the best #2 hitter in the game. On the other hand, DJ seems to see more pitches and has the better OBP, and there's no reason why Damon wouldn't be a good #2 hitter -- pulls the ball, takes a lot of pitches, etc.

Then there's the whole righty-lefty thing in the lineup. Who bats third, fourth and fifth? If we go DJ, Damon, A-Rod, Giambi, Sheff, Matsui, Jorge, that sets the righty-lefty thing up quite nicely.

I think this is going to be one of those things that changes throughout the season. :)

2006-02-15 06:15:23
2.   bp1
Great article in the Times on Posada. It's everything this Yankee starved fan wanted to hear from him. Yankees come first, and he's going to do whatever it takes. You go, Jorge. I wish you much success.

Re: Damon vs Jeter. Nike vs Reebok. Jack vs Tiger. Who cares? Six of one, half dozen of the other. When we're arguing at that level, I think the Yankees are in pretty good shape. It certainly beats arguing about whether Womack should bat leadoff, right?

And all this talk about Bernie - the one thing that bugs me is how everyone admits that Giambi must play the field due to his batting splits (dh vs 1b), but that same argument goes out the window with Bernie. His DH splits last year were good, but for some reason they are tossed aside. If the stat has meaning for one player, shouldn't it have meaning for another? Call me naive or overly sentimental, but I think Bernie can put up acceptable numbers this season. Certainly an improvement over Ruben last year.

One more day. Oh my. What a long winter. Longer than the 04-05 winter it seems, 'cause of the empty feeling the post season left behind. There was no anger - just emptiness. A black void of a winter is now behind us.

Bring it on!


2006-02-15 06:30:47
3.   Sliced Bread
RE: Jorge working with Johnson: It's good to see Posada reaching out to the Big Unapproachble. Repairing that working relationship is probably the most important reason Posada should not be allowed to represent his beloved Puerto Rico in the WBC.

RE: Jeter bats first: I agree Jeets should lead off when Cano bats ninth. But, for argument's sake, if a righty, say Phillips, bats ninth, then I think Damon should get the party started.
I'm not sure how important the leadoff position is to Jeter. Does anybody have any insight to this? To me, it seems Jeter would go along with whatever Torre thinks is best for the team. He has been a productive number 2 hitter.
Damon seems to have more of a preference to bat first. While, he too, should embrace whatever's best for the team, I imagine Torre will talk to Jeter and Damon, and watch how they produce in the number 1 and 2 slots. I wouldn't be surprised if Jeter and Damon split leadoff duty. I also won't be surprised when the fans and the media make a federal case about it.

re: BP's Bernie position (above) - right on, BP!

2006-02-15 06:37:26
4.   The Mick 536
I got enough to worry about without being privvy to the touchy-feely aspects of the JorgeUnit battery. I need to hear about Rj's knee, Moose's elbow, Pavano's shoulder/back/spine, Wang's rotator, Wright's whatever, and Small's lucky charm. But hearing that Jorge wants to make nice gives me hope for the season.

As for the batting order, last years stats don't make a difference. New chemistry. New field. New bodies. No one gets on every time. Best news is that whomever hits in the two slot will be an improvement over Cano, Womack, and A-Rod (a waste there). I'll take either.

Like the sound of first and third, no one out. A-Rod comes to the plate. Points the bat at nothing in particular as he settles in. Sheff kneels in the on-deck circle, Giambino, and Godzilla to follow. Sterling shuts up for a change. Fans clapping and cheering, rhythmic thumping in the background. Here's the pitch from Shilling to Rodriguez. Damon on the move. Low and outside. Varitek just holds the ball. Damon steals second easily. Second and third, still no one out. Lots of possibilities here!

I'd like to know, also, how three Janks made the WBC team. aren't there other players out there who could play for team USA?

2006-02-15 06:44:06
5.   Simone
Randy Johnson needs to get over his diva act and let Jorge catch him. I don't get how Jorge can be Clemens' preferred catcher, but he isn't good enough for Johnson. Ultimately, I don't want to EVER see Flaherty and now Stinnett starting in a playoff game again in my lifetime.
2006-02-15 06:57:27
6.   Dimelo
BP1, I eat that shit up.....I love reading stuff like this:
"I look at this as a big year for me," he said. "I don't want to get the team mad. I wanted that 'PR' on my chest, but it didn't happen....There's a lot of pressure on my dad about it. Hopefully they can understand my point and that's it, and if they don't, too bad, because I'm not going to go against the Yankees."

That guy can go and drive with Britney Spears baby on his lap, hang Michael Jackson's kid over a balcony, he could even have WMD's stashed away in his home in Puerto Rico, but the fact that he said this line, "I'm not going to go against the Yankees." Makes him my GUY. Go Jorge, juice one baby....I am hoping for a big year from this guy, so all the pundits, critics can shut-up already. He's still one of the top 5 catchers in baseball.

2006-02-15 07:02:16
7.   Dimelo
2006-02-15 07:11:49
8.   Ben
I wonder if Jorge has started pissing on his hands to toughen them up yet. Ah the rites of spring...
2006-02-15 07:18:29
9.   sam2175


The problem is sample size.

From 2003-2005, Giambi as DH in 517 (or worth close to a full season of ABs):

.217/.384/.414, 0.798 OPS.

From 2003-2005, Giambi as 1B in 691 (or worth more than a full season of ABs):


Of course you could argue that Giambi played DH when he was mostly hurt, so that could be an explanation.

Now, onto Bernie:

As DH from 2003-2005 in 285 (about half a season worth ABs):


You really want to make a case for a full-time DH based on these stats? Or perhaps you have his 2005 stats in mind:

In 85 ABs, .294/.362/.459.

I give more credibility to 285 ABs than to 85 ABs. The latter could easily have been fluky. Giambi's opportunitie have been more or less evenly split, that is why Giambi's splits carry more credibility than Bernie's.

2006-02-15 07:20:32
10.   wsporter
#4 Mick, now I really wish this was May. I think they'll flip flop between lead-off and the 2 hole depending on righty-lefty match-up and how the team is going. I can see Mr. Torre moving them around just to shake things up a little.

Johnson is a diva; He's been a diva for 15 years. That act isn't going anywhere. If Posada can work out a decent pitch rotation with the Unit and figure out how he likes to work, Unit will fall in line. If not, expect to see Stinnett every 5th day plus. Jorge can reach out all he wants, unless HE"S able to make Johnson comfortable on the mound with him behind the dish, HE sits. Given who Johnson is and what a consistently high level of performance from him means to the team it has to be that way. This ain't no little league.

2006-02-15 07:28:01
11.   Alex Belth
I know it may be a pain in the ass, but if you are as great a pitcher as Johnson has been, you can have your own catcher if that's what is going to make you happy. Maddux has done it for years, Steve Carlton added a whole mess of years to Tim McCarver's career as well. Part of the territory. May not make Johnson more likable but since when was he likable?
2006-02-15 07:28:03
12.   Alex Belth
I know it may be a pain in the ass, but if you are as great a pitcher as Johnson has been, you can have your own catcher if that's what is going to make you happy. Maddux has done it for years, Steve Carlton added a whole mess of years to Tim McCarver's career as well. Part of the territory. May not make Johnson more likable but since when was he likable?
2006-02-15 07:40:00
13.   Murray
Normally, Posada gains 7 to 10 pounds every off-season because of inactivity. At 34, he cannot afford to do that anymore. "You don't want to get heavier and older," Posada said. "That makes it tougher on you."

I know the feeling, Jorge.

2006-02-15 07:41:24
14.   Levy2020
I'm surprised how everyone is treating Matsui like a left-handed hitter for the purposes of lineup construction. I know it bucks his career trends, but I would consider him an honorary righty after last year:

vs. LHP: .354/.393/.579
vs. RHP: .281/.354/.455

Huh! And Damon hits lefties better, too.

vs. LHP: .327/.377/.438
vs. RHP: .310/.361/.440

I'm not sure what to make of that, but it seems to poke holes in the big LRLRLRLS thing.

2006-02-15 07:42:33
15.   Shaun P
Re: Bernie's 2005 DH numbers vs. Giambi's 1B/DH splits, its all about the sample size, baby. Giambi has shown over his entire career - over 5000 ABs - that he hits much much better when playing the field.

Bernie was great in 85 ABs as a DH in '05. But look what he did in 2004, the only other season where he had over 24 ABs at DH:

.243/.339/.386 in 189 ABs

(For the record, Bernie has 362 ABs as a DH for his entire career, with a .271/.355/.442 line. His first AB as a DH didn't come until 1996, and the only years besides '04 and '05 where he's had more than 20 ABs as a DH were '98, 2000, and 2002.)

274 ABs just isn't enough to make a solid call on. I hope Bernie has a great season, because I love the guy and he's meant so much to the Yanks - but I'm not expecting it. The Yanks are probably better off with Andy Phillips spending the bulk of time at DH, and Bernie riding the bench. Sad but true.

2006-02-15 07:47:25
16.   Shaun P
Err, what sam said in 9. That's what happens when you have a comment all typed up but you get called away from your desk before you can hit 'submit'.

I'd also keep sample size in mind when evaluating how Damon and Matsui (and anyone else) hits lefties and righties. Damon, for example, was awful against lefties in both '04 and '03. Ditto Matsui.

2006-02-15 08:02:23
17.   bp1
Not picking fights - just laughing out loud a little bit, that Giambi's historically poor DH performance is because "he usually DH's when he's hurt or needs a rest", but nobody applies that thinking to Bernie.

Anyway --- I'll stay optimistic, just be quiet about it. :-)


2006-02-15 08:58:07
18.   Shawn Clap
I don't remember ever being this excited about a Yankee lineup as I am about this one! Replacing Womack/Crosby with Damon is going pay great dividends. But I was also very excited the winter we got Wade Boggs, so what do I know?

If Damon is a competent bunter (which I seem to remember him being) there should be no question that he bats 2nd. Works towards those late inning tie/down-a-run scenarios. Jeter with his near Super-Human ability to reach base in those situations, moved to 2nd with two of the game's premier sluggers to bring him around. IT'S GONNA BE A GOOD YEAR!

P.S. I'm in the camp that takes Giambi's splits with a grain of salt. Not only the "he usually DH's when he's hurt or needs a rest" but included in those stats are the first 1/3 of 2005, where he mainly DHed. He wasn't going to hit no matter where he played!

2006-02-15 09:02:15
19.   sam2175

I think you are looking at it the wrong way. If Giambi does show the splits due to injuries, that solidifies the case that he should be a full time DH, and the Yankees should get a passable option at first base. If it is indeed mental, then perhaps Giambi is better off left with 1B duties, and the Yankees should upgrade at DH, which by default, seems Bernie's position. In other words, the case is not being made to absolve Giambi, but to get maximum production out of his position, either 1B or DH.

Now regarding Bernie, if he was playing banged up in 2004 or 2003 when he was DHing, then being the starting CF, that must also be true of his 2005 campaign, right? Clearly, that wasn't a factor in 2005. However, the central point was this: Bernie does not show enough of a reliable split either way: I.e., it is difficult to make a case, that he produces more when he does not have to play the field, which was your central point (or was it a bias against Bernie in favor of Giambi? As far as I know, Bernie is the most beloved Yankee, perhaps taking a backseat only to Jeter and perhaps Mo Rivera). It might still be true, but not very likely. He is 37, and that is generally not a time when you reverse your trends in offensive production and be so productive that you can handle DH duties. No knock on Bernie, and I do hope, he reverses a 3-year trend to have a monster season in 2006, but once again, highly unlikely.

2006-02-15 09:59:46
20.   bp1

I don't think I have a bias either way. Honestly. I think I just look at things through rose colored glasses, and probably would be the worst GM in sports history. Ha!

Only time will tell if my optimism for Bernie is well founded, or just wishful thinking. The stat trends tell us he's going to be a below average DH, yet my heart tells me he's got something to prove this year. Either his heart will push his body beyond it's ability, or he'll just accept time has moved on and he'll ride the pine.

This Andy love. I dunno. Like I said - I'm the worst GM in sports history for sure - but a 29-year-old guy is hardly a hot prospect. It's not like other "hitting challenged" teams were clammoring for him in trade talks this year. You know if Cash could have moved him for a bullpen arm, he'd be gone.

This will definitely be one of the story lines I will be interested in following this year. I wish them both well (Andy and Bernie, that is).


2006-02-15 10:07:50
21.   rbj
Right now, I don't care about lead-off vs. batting second, or who's catching whom, or who's DHing.
Players are strolling into camp. Spring is around the corner and soon they'll be playing meaningful games.
2006-02-15 10:13:46
22.   Peter
I've read where Giambi said he plays better overall when he's in the field as opposed to DHing, so my guess is it's more of a mental thing.

Unless I'm mistaken, weren't most of Bernie's 2005 DH at bats non-injury related -- games where Matsui/Melky/Bubba got the start in CF for defensive reasons?
I could be wrong, though I hope I'm not, but I think Bernie could hit well again in 2006 when he 1) gets the added rest of not having to play the field, 2) doesn't have to worry about the issues which surrounded him because of his CF defense, and 3) steps up his game knowing he'll just be a part-time player unless he hits well.

2006-02-15 10:32:34
23.   Sliced Bread
Don't knock yourself too hard, BP.
Bernie's 2005 DH numbers are a lot more persuasive to me than 2003 and 2004 when he was hurt: appendectomy, left knee, (left?) elbow, right shoulder.
Bernie will have a good attitude in his reduced role this season, assuming a similar role to the one Chili Davis served in the late 90's.
The Yanks will get plenty in return for their $1.5 million dollar investment in this veteran switch-hitter, and we'll still see plenty of Andy Phillips.
Starting the season, I'd DH Bernie two days per week, Phillips two days per week, and use the other games to rest Posada, Matsui, Sheffield, and Giambi (yes, he should still DH occasionally).
Going into '06, Bernie should be the least of any Yankee fan's worries.
2006-02-15 11:04:59
24.   wsporter
#20 bp1, Now that is a first for me. A sports fan saying they would be the worst GM in history. Wow, I think we found Socrates' "honest man". If I ever need money counted you're the guy I will look up.

I think you will love Phillips. That kid(?) can hit and he will.

2006-02-15 11:09:21
25.   Dimelo
Sliced - I agree with you. I hope the DH spot is handled just as you have laid out. I'd rather give ARod, Jeter and Matsui more days completely OFF than using them as a DH. I would be very happy if those 3 play only 150 - 155 games. ARod played way too much last year. He keeps himself in excellent shape, as does Jeter and Matsui. But they did suffer some form of burnout. I hope the Yanks start off on the right foot this year, so they aren't left with no other choice but to play their best players.

Did you all hear that Pavano had another "setback"? Man, he should go and hang out with Johnny Weir - Pavano would be a much better figure skater.

2006-02-15 11:10:15
26.   Simone
Alex, I would completely agree if Randy Johnson was pitching shut outs in the playoffs, but it hurts the Yankees to have Johnson get shelled and be stuck with Flaherty in the line up. Johnson must find a way to work with Posada, especially in the playoffs.
2006-02-15 11:17:47
27.   bp1

Too funny. I can spend other people's money as well as anyone, but I'm afraid I'm not like Torre in that I have unwavering faith in "my guys". Some fans can detach themselves from the players, and are all to eager to kick them to the curb when their numbers start to decline. Not me. I want to hang on. If I was GM, chances are Mickey Rivers would be our starting center fielder this year, with Reggie on his left and Roy White on his right. Talk about "old and unathletic". Wow.

Re: Phillips. I hope so. I saw him hit, and I saw him strike out. The strikes out were uglier than the hits were pretty. I know - sample size and all that. I get it. Melky had a pretty small sample size last year, too, but he's still in AAA. Some guys "got it". Some don't. If Andy's got it, he'll show us soon enough. I'm looking forward to finding out what he's got.

The days of slow moving zombie-like days at work are almost upon us.


2006-02-15 11:19:09
28.   bp1
Errr - should have said I'm like Torre, not "not like" Torre. Ah - you get what I mean.

Back to work.


2006-02-15 11:49:49
29.   Rob Gee
One bit of depressing Pavano - Sadly the time to move him was this winter (a la Rentaria). His value will only go down from here either via performance or injury. For all you that said we had nothing to move (outside of our limited prospects) this off-season look here.

The Sox got Marte for Rentaria + cash. We could have had a similar deal if the GM was above average. Plenty of teams were looking for starting pitching and at least one would have taken Pavano at 7-8mil/year for a CF/C prospect. [Private thoughts: Oh, God, how long will it take for everyone to turn on Cash-man? How many more first round exits? How many more bloated OPP's? Please Lord give me strength].

2006-02-15 11:53:56
30.   Cliff Corcoran
BP1, I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make by invoking Melky, but he actually bounced all the way back down to double-A after his major league debut last year. Cabrera and Phillips aren't really a useful comparison at all as they're both extreme cases. For the 20-year-old Cabrera, his six starts in the majors last year were too much too soon. For the 28-year-old Phillips, his 40 at-bats may just have been too little too late.

By the way, I'm just loving all of this nuts and bolts baseball debate, especially when I think about the fact that we'll actually be getting some hard evidence and answers in the very near future.

2006-02-15 11:57:57
31.   wsporter
Does Lindsey Kildow have a changeup? Holy cow, I wish a certain right hander had that kind of toughness and moxie.
2006-02-15 12:01:25
32.   Sliced Bread
Dimelo, good line re: Pavano the figure skater.
Every move he makes at camp will be scrutinized and judged over the next few weeks.
Did Pavano display flexiblility or show signs of strain when he bent to tie his shoes?
Did Pavano show signs of inner sadness and or fatigue throwing off flat ground?
Pavano seemed to pitch well during daylight hours, but can he be trusted when the lights are on, and the wind is blowing more than 8 mph?
Man, let's hope Pavano turns out to be something like the pitcher the Yanks thought they signed last winter.
2006-02-15 12:01:27
33.   Cliff Corcoran
Rob, I'm confident that if such a deal for Pavano existed, Cashman would have made it. The key difference in the Renteria deal is that Renteria finished the season in good health. Trading Pavano with his contract would have been hard enough. Trading him with his contract after he sat out the last three months of the season with an arm injury was, indeed, impossible. The better bet was to hope he has a good month prior to the July 31 deadline and flip him then.

If you want to convince me otherwise you'll have to find an example of a player with more than $30 million left on his contract who was traded for anything even mildly useful while on the DL for a period of several months. Bonus points if it's a pitcher with an arm injury.

I wish you luck in your quest.

2006-02-15 12:05:27
34.   bp1

My point re: Cabrera and Phillips is that both were given limited playing time last year, and neither made a positive impression on the team. Both were sent away, after "small sample sizes".

But now Andy Phillips is talked about as being a regular on the team? Did he get younger over the winter? Better? Did he learn how to hit major league pitching? We had Womack and Escalona and a host of other non hitters on the team last year, and he couldn't find a regular job, but now that Womack and Escalona are gone, he's found the spark? I don't get it. What changed?

Melky was clearly out of his element - in water far too deep for his level of development. He was sent packing. Cano was just on the edge, and given the opportunity to find his way, and he did after struggling mightily for more than a few games. Wang was pretty solid right from the start. Phillips, on the other hand, sat on the bench most of the time and when he did get a few swings, didn't make much of an impression. Certainly not enough to earn a regular seat in the dugout.

I'm just wondering what happened over the winter to make him a good option now when he wasn't a good option on a team that clearly needed a better hitting option?


2006-02-15 12:24:15
35.   singledd
Hear yea, hear yea, all GMs:
Have I got a deal for you. A hot, HOT pitcher. In 2005, he dazzled with:

100.0 IP (and possibly still injured)
4.77 ERA
.315 BA Against
.864 OPS against
5.04 K/9
5.88 Innings/HR
1.47 WHIP

And he will only cost you 10 mil/year!!!
Will consider and even/up trade for Marte!

Rob Gee, I hate to be contentious, but

One reason they kept Pavano was in hopes he would show something of his former self and then have SOME possible trade value.

Yeah, there was probably some interest in him... if we paid 70% of his salary.

2006-02-15 12:47:14
36.   Rob Gee
The last bit is exactly the point - "if we paid 70% of his salary"

That's where the value lies. How much would we have swallowed to a) rid ourselves of Pavano, and b) get something in return.

Y'all can call me crazy. But someone would have bitten (See Dodgers, Tigers, or Phillies) for something in there to negotiate - My guess, which may be high:

9mil brings Pavano down to 7mil/year for three years. 12mil to 6mil/year - reasonable, no? A few more dollars and you might have yourselves a nifty prospect. In the right light, he looks like he could come back (wink, wink) in a NL park. The guy's only 30, was the 'class' of the FA last year, etc. Someone bites, I'm telling you.

The reason Cash doesn't make that move folks: Pavano's his guy! Of course he wants to give him one more chance.

The problem: If Pavano gets hurt again, you can't explain away last year as a fluke (which it wasn't). And if he actually does pitch, it's not going to be pretty. No, this one's going to end badly. And y'all will say "Tampa MADE poor Cash sigh him for all that money!"

2006-02-15 13:04:47
37.   Cliff Corcoran
BP1, I'm fairly certain you've been a reader of this blog for some time now. If so, you should recall that, in my opinion, Phillips should have been given this oportunity a year ago, if not in late 2004. In fact, here's what I wrote in my first post for this site last March:

"After missing most of 2003 with an elbow injury, [Phillips] hit a robust .318/.388/.569 (.317 [GPA]) in Columbus last year and was 2 for 8 with a homer while playing only third base in a September call-up with the Yankees. The big question with Phillips is whether or not he's still viable as a second baseman (he played just seven games there last year). If he is, I believe the Yankees should hand him the starting job out of camp . . ."

What changed is that Cashman has taken control of the team and jettisoned the Womacks and Sierras who were wrongly taking at-bats away from Phillips, who again crushed triple-A pitching last year (300/.379/.573).

Another major factor in the Phillips conundrum is that 2003 elbow injury. He was the Yankees' minor league player of the year in 2002, doing his usual bit (.305/.381/.618) in double-A at age 25. He spent the later half of that season adjusting to triple-A, and should have crushed the International League in 2003 and cracked the major league club that September. If so, he very well could have been the starting second baseman in the wake of the Soriano-Rodriguez trade when the job wound up going to Enrique Wilson. Instead, he lost a year to injury, got moved off his position and burried behind Rodriguez and Giambi.

There's also the issue of Torre's patience with youngsters. His hand was forced by Cashman with Cano, but since Phillips didn't have a position he was written off completely after a bad day against Scott Kazmir on May 3 (he wasn't helped any by Tino's homer outburst in May -- see my infield postmortem under Suggested Reading on the sidebar). Ironically, Cano was promoted immediately after that game.

Now, I'll admit that Phillips has been something of a pet cause of mine over the past season and a half, but it's been proven time and again, you can project minor league stats into major league performance. And Phillips stats in Columbus over the past two seasons are downright mouth-watering. Indeed, in his brief trial last year, he hit a lot of balls very very hard, so we already know his power translates (five of his six major league hits in '05 went for extra bases). The only concern is that he's already past his prime. Still, his defensive versatility (he looked good in the field as a defensive replacement for Giambi last year, and I've seen him make some nice plays at third between his brief cups of coffe and spring training, he also has spent full seasons at second base and can play the OF corners in a pinch) and pop makes him a must for the bench, and his track record makes him a worthwhile gamble as the full-time DH.

So to answer your question, he's always been a good option. It wasn't Phillips deficiencies that kept him in Columbus last year, it was the deficiencies of the Yankees' decision makers.

2006-02-15 13:12:58
38.   Rob Gee
Cliff, you're spot on with Andy. I too wondered why he wasn't projected as our starting 2B last year. Didn't you cringe though when Cairo was signed by man-in-charge Cashman? Really, what is he there for? For five games at SS? Or the other five at 2b (which Andy could manage).
2006-02-15 13:15:37
39.   Cliff Corcoran
Rob, see also, Russ Johnson (again I refer you to my IF postmortem, or you can just wait for tomorrow's rantings).
2006-02-15 13:16:55
40.   Dimelo
Rob, if we had you as the GM of the Yanks then the Yankees would be the Devil Rays. A ton of prospects, nothing to do with them, not wanting to spend any money, not wanting to spending money to get an OPP and never fielding a winning team. At some point you have to bite the bullet, these are the Yankees. The nature of their business plan is to spend money. Getting OPP is part of the deal, it's the same in corporate America. If leave my job to go to another company, then chances are I'll get a raise of anywhere between 15 and 30%. Is the company overpaying for me? Probably. Are the poor schmucks who work at my new company going to be pissed if they found out what the new guy is getting paid? Probably.

The Yankees have now altered their business plan to keep their prospects and still spend money. According to you they should have gone after Milton Bradley. What has he done for any team he's played for? Does it surprise you that after Uncle Milton leaves Cleveland they become a contender? Does it surprise you that after Uncle Milton joins the Dodgers they start to suck really bad? All of a sudden Shoppach is your answer for Posada, but you want to use Duncan to get Shoppach (a 26 year old catcher). I don't get that trade and whether the value gained is worth the player you are losing. Shoppach is not Piazza (circa 98, 99) or Posada (of '03), Shoppach at best is Toby Hall. You'd rather get fleeced to get rid of Pavano, then to give him a chance and see what he can do. I don't think Pavano is going to be our savior, but if he has some semblance intestinal fortitude then he might be this year's comeback player of the year - though, quite a stretch on my part….I'll definitely admit that. However, I'd rather he sit and rot on our bench then to pay 70% of his salary so he can go elsewhere - unless that elsewhere is a quail hunting trip with Cheney.

A glance at the salary database shows the Yankees have always outspent every other MLB team.

2006-02-15 13:20:43
41.   Rob Gee
Again, I'm right with you. The fact that Cairo is even on the team, esp. after last year's season, speaks volumes about the type of GM we have. Russ Johnson could fill out the bench. Again, why not?

See, Bernie I can deal with. Bernie plus Cairo plus Villone plus Myers plus Damon plus Stinnett - that friends is a pattern.

2006-02-15 13:26:51
42.   Sliced Bread
Gee-man (as opposed to CASH-man),
Is Pavano really a Cashman product?
I thought Pavano was more a product of Steinbrenner's "If we can't beat 'em, sign 'em at all costs" thinking.
Wright beat the Yanks in the ALDS '97 - got him last winter (physical shmysical).
Johnson beat the Yanks in the '01 WS - got him last winter (Javy who? Navarro what?).
Pavano beat the Yanks in the '03 WS - got him last winter.
Damon blah, blah, blah... got him this winter.
"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."
2006-02-15 13:28:38
43.   Cliff Corcoran
See, to me, Bernie is the worst of that bunch because there is no scenario in which I can see him having a fluky good season at this point in his career. Even Villone could pull a Sturtze (not that even Sturtze was able to sustian that improvment due to being put on the Torre workout program), but the fork sticking out of Bernie's back can be seen from space. (that's a line I plan on reusing, by the way)
2006-02-15 13:30:43
44.   Cliff Corcoran
Sliced Bread, don't forget Tony Womack's double in Game 7 in 2001. Now that is a pattern.
2006-02-15 13:39:32
45.   Sliced Bread
Righty-o, re: Wo-be-gone, Cliff. Forgot about that one.
The "Bernie's fork visible from outer space line" line is very funny - but man, I hope... I hope... let's go, Bernie!
2006-02-15 13:43:48
46.   wsporter
Cliff, I've seen Phillips a couple of times in both Richmond and at Norfolk. The guy has been impressive. He is a professional hitter, he hits the ball hard, he can hit with 2 strikes he can work a count. He even makes some of the hardest outs you'll ever see.

I haven't understood why he hasn't gotten a more extended shot. It seems that we drank the BBA cool-aide on him and wrote him off unfairly. I believe he will turn some heads this year.

2006-02-15 13:44:58
47.   Rob Gee

1) Bradley was the best value acquisition out there for CF. He was had for .5 of AA prospect plus 3mil in a one year contract. We'll revisit this at the All-star break. If I need to eat my words - I will. But my money's on him having a better year than Damon, and in the first year of that ooglie contract. The attitude is a non-issue.

2) Shoppach would be insurance in case of a Jorge DL stint and better now than when it happens and Cash realizes "wait, Kelly Stinnett is our starter for the next two weeks!?" Shoppach looks like a solid major league C. Duncan seems fair to me. There are probably other similar C prospects out there - one could be had for Duncan. Why trade Duncan? Because he won't get the time to prove himself in the Bronx - not with Giambi and A-Rod in front of him. Why keep prospects if they're not going to play?

3) Now is the time to bail on Pavano. You want benefits of cash? That is it. Eat as much of that contract that is necessary to get back a player that could work. Again, time will tell. My bet's on Pavano getting hurt or solidifying his numbers. Thus, his value only drops from here.

4) Spend money wisely. Trade for value. That's all I ask.

2006-02-15 13:55:53
48.   Cliff Corcoran
Rob, I think you're right about Bradley, though I'm not sure the Yankees could have gotten a fair deal for any CF because of their obvious need. I like your thinking on Shoppach. But it's way to early to cut and run on Duncan. He's a 21-year-old repeating double-A. He's being moved to 1B, and could hit the majors in 2008 at age 23. 2008, by the way, is the final year of Giambi's contract. Duncan is right on schedule and coming of an Arizona Fall League MVP. No way do you trade him right now.

I've already weighed in on Pavano. No way they would have gotten anything in exchange, and they would have essentially paid out Pavano's contract without any hope of a return for the priviledge.

2006-02-15 14:01:07
49.   sam2175

So how does that explain not signing the guy Yankees should have signed last year, Pedro Martinez (and held on to Javy Vazquez and more importantly, Navarro)? Surely the Boss had to be impressed by the Yankee beater Pedro? Or is it true that he hates Pedro? Perhaps.

I distinctly remember Cashman going all-out for him, the idea was to get younger and better. And Cashman is still convinced he made the right decision there. I dont quite agree with him on that, but Pavano was a Cashman signing, and he is willing to hold onto it.

And actually, there were quite a few rumors of Pavano for Jeremy Reed+. It is possible that Bavasi was trying to fleece Yankees and Cashman resisted, but if that were the only parameters of that deal, then Cashman lost out, IMO.

2006-02-15 14:32:02
50.   Rob Gee
Cliff -

1) Glad on I got your back on MIL-ton. Too bad he'll hurt us rather than help.

2) Duncan you may be right about. But if he's the only guy to get us a legit C prospect and BUC for this season, I do it - NOW! In 2008, we'll spend mad ducks on Derek Lee or Ortiz.

3) We'll have to disagree on Pavano. But I think sam is right. Pavano was Cash's choice (the Boss got Unit) - thus he keeps him in spite of offers. Big mistake. I say more than a few teams would have taken a shot esp. at 6-7mil a season (i.e., we eat 30% of the contract). After this season we'll be lucky if someone takes him for 50% (i.e., 5mil/year).

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-02-15 14:39:08
51.   Nick from Washington Heights
"In 2008, we'll spend mad ducks on Derek Lee or Ortiz."

A-HA! PARADOX. CONTRADICTION IN THINKING! I thought you weren't down with OPP, Rob! I was in the brush, lurking like Cheney's hunting partner, and caught you in a lie, a dirty lie.

But, seriously, wouldn't you be slamming them if they gave mad dollahs to post-prime Lee or Ortiz in 2008. Is there any way to win with you, man?

2006-02-15 15:12:03
52.   Rob Gee
Uh, Nick, it should have been obvious that I was stating what the Yanks will do - i.e., they won't wait for Duncan for two years - of course against my wishes/dreams. So why not trade him now? And get a player we can use now?

That said, I'm not against spending money - if it's done wisely. OPP = Overpriced Past Prime (among other things). When Lee and Ortz come up for FA they'll fall right into the OPP mold of CASH-man.

This off-season there wasn't much non-OPP going around. But for the money, Piazza and Molina would have qualified and filled our needs and not been the O but certainly the PP. Giles (who I was rooting for) and Encarnacion would have also worked one not quite PP and the other yet to realize it. Both were good values.

Now next off-season, sure drop some serious cash on Zito. He will be O but not PP.

2006-02-15 15:20:34
53.   sam2175
Ortiz hits FA next year, if he doesn't re-up with Boston (I think). Same thing for Derrek Lee, and I believe Boston will go hard after him next year.

No way I want any piece of Ortiz after this year. I really like the guy, but he is due for some messy, precipitous decline. Boston had his best years, and good luck if they still want more of him.

Lee, on the other hand, is intriguing.

2006-02-15 15:23:23
54.   bp1
"the fork sticking out of Bernie's back can be seen from space"

Man oh man - that is a good line, Cliff. We might not see eye-to-eye on Bernie, but I'll defer to your knowledge of stats and trend lines and all that. I don't know you from Adam, but you seem to have that emotional detachment that I can't quite conjure. It's not that Bernie is a "favorite" or anything like that, but I guess I'm not ready to kick him to the curb just yet.

BTW - I'm glad you addressed the Tino thing in your response. Other than a two week streak (which was off-the-charts timely), he stunk up the house last year. Retiring was the right move. I don't put Bernie in that category yet. You think he's done - but I think he can contribute. Let the games begin (please!).

It will be an interesting season.

And yeah, I've been a reader of Bronx Banter and The Big Red Blog long before this here merge. Yankee blogs make the miserable off-season a little more tolerable, for sure. My hats off to you guys. The "beat writers" should be watching over their shoulders, 'cause the blogsphere has it over on them in spades. The only advantage they have is clubhouse access. Otherwise - you guys rule.


2006-02-15 15:33:15
55.   debris
At this point, a deal for Pavano would probably net the Yankees a C level prospect providing the Yankees ate 90% of his contract. He's already hurt and Mike and the Mad Dog are reporting him questionable for Opening Day. He has as much trade value as Tino Martinez, who retired today.
2006-02-15 15:33:35
56.   Start Spreading the News
Re #49, the Yankees are one of the few teams that have had success against Pedro. Remember the "What can I say -- I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy" quote.

That said, it still was amazing sitting at the stadium watching him strike out 17 Yankees on 9/10/99. That Yankee team was so good though that if you made a mistake, you paid for it. Pedro made one mistake -- a homerun by Chili Davis.

2006-02-15 16:08:44
57.   bp1
Re: 55.

Mike and the Mad Dog. Ugh. What a waste of frequency those two are. They're not even alarmists. They're just dumb.

But this Pavano thing. I mean - enough already. Makes you wonder what Chacon is thinking, given the job he did for the team last year and the semi-hard time he got in his salary negotiations. He makes less than half of Pavano, yet he's ready to take the hill each and every time.

I hope this whole Pavano thing has been blown wildly out of proportion and he'll find his form, but man oh man. The drama. Nothing worse than drama.


2006-02-15 16:16:01
58.   Nick from Washington Heights
Rob, it wasn't obvious to me, but I often read these things fast and, sometimes my dyslexia gets the better of me. Still, it strikes me as a wee bit convenient for your argument to finally factor in context, specifically the idea that their situation with the farm forces them to the free agent market. You trade a piece of the farm that fills one position for a more urgent need, only to be, sooner or later, forced to the free agent market at a later date for the newly created need. Milton would have been a nice acquisition, but the Yanks didn't have the parts to get him. The Phils asked for Wang in return for Michaels. Cash was interested in him, but not for that. So, he goes and overpays for Damon. Basically, that's fine given that he has the Yanks' money to spend. No prospects left, and the team addressed a dire need (a need obvious to everyone talking CF's with them). Maybe I'm crazy but I like Damon's offensive trends these last two years. Seems he's learned to walk, IS an above average player, and is much more durable than Bernie ever was. I think he'll be fine these next three years. The fourth year is a sunk cost but how else were the Yanks going to get him? And. more importantly, who else? Essentially every big player signing is a case of OPP (Zito will have logged in over 5 plus seasons of 200 innings by the time he gets here. he's three years removed from his Cy Young year. I think he's past his prime, but certainly still serviceable). Most, if not all, players enter free agency during the years past their prime. Most demand to be overpaid in the back-end. Without a farm system (a system that Baseball America says is now re-ermerging), the Yanks are forced to sign free agents. It's not a pretty or elegant business and it's not as clever as turning Marte into Crisp, but it's hard to see the alternative. It's all about the context.
2006-02-15 16:21:01
59.   wsporter
Anyone have a URL on Pavano that they can post concerning his condition as of this P.M.? Russo is such a virulent Yankee hating nuisance. I wouldn't trust anything that cranky cur has to say in our regard without confirmation. Even then I'd be skeptical.

We weren't going to get anything this winter for Pavano precisely because of what we maybe hearing now. No one was going to assume the risk on this guy and give up talent to do it.

We report tomorrow (a very big smile), it's mid February, let's see where this goes. He may be for crap and turn into one of the worst big dollar free agent buys we have ever made. He maybe that already. He may not.

2006-02-15 16:44:27
60.   Cliff Corcoran
Kudos for use of the word "cur," wsporter, but where exactly is it that you're reporting tomorrow?
2006-02-15 16:44:28
61.   Cliff Corcoran
Kudos for use of the word "cur," wsporter, but where exactly is it that you're reporting tomorrow?
2006-02-15 17:01:40
62.   Marcus
While I can understand the pessimism when it comes to Pavano, can I be the voice of reason and say that it's fairly normal to be overly cautious during spring training? Especially since it has been said that Pavano's troubles last year all stemmed from a tweaked back during last year's spring training.

Let's wait to hear the actual problem before we go flushing Pavano's season down the toilet.

2006-02-15 17:03:24
63.   wsporter
It's a "royal we" Cliff to be sure. After 42 plus years of giving a crap I feel a sense of entitlement. Pardon my enthusiasm. In this way I keep the dream alive.

As for "cranky cur" I wish I could claim it as my own but I believe that belongs to the sardonic Mr. Peter Vescey. I was going to go with "mordant mutt" but I thought that would be giving the hydrophobic one way to much credit.

URL on Pavano?

2006-02-15 17:23:05
64.   Start Spreading the News
You know over the past two days, there has been a lot of hand-wringing over the fears of a Posada injury. I think this fear should be given a lower "Threat Level." Last year the 10% of all Yankee at-bats were taken up by Womack and Flaherty. And the yankees almost scored 886 runs in a year where Posada struggled!

Even assuming some players regress, the benefit of losing Womack/Flaherty should mitigate the damage of a serious Posada injury. This is assuming Stinnett (career OPS: .710) does not give us the .458 OPS that Flaherty gave us.

Stinnett (replacing an injured Posada) would be the only person in the lineup with an OPS below .750.

That's not a bad lineup. If Posada stays healthy, that is a great lineup!

Doing a "ThreatDown" (ala Colbert Report), the top 5 threats to the Yankee division title are:

5. Giambi getting hurt
4. Sheffield getting hurt
3. A-rod getting hurt
2. 2 or more of Yankee Starting Staff falling apart

and the number 1 threat:
Mariano getting hurt! (by bears. You Colbert fans know what I am talking about)

2006-02-15 17:26:15
65.   Start Spreading the News
I forgot to look up Bernie's numbers last year. He would join Stinnett with an OPS below .750

Still the Yanks should survive.

Here's hoping Andy Phillips hits well forcing Bernie to a nominal cheerleading role.

2006-02-15 17:46:51
66.   Schteeve
One thing that got lost in the Giambi - Bernie DH/Field controversy, is the fact that when Giambi hits in his preferred split scenario (as a 1B not DH) he puts up OPS in the .900s. When Bernie hits in his optimal split scenario you're looking at OPS in the .700s. Giambi's upside is much more attractive to me. Therfor I'm a lot more concerned with doing right by him.
2006-02-15 17:49:59
67.   wsporter
An AP link on Pavano picked up by Newsday. It doesn't sound good, then again it doesn't sound fatal.

2006-02-15 17:53:52
68.   Zack
Well, i am glad others have taken over my cause of arguing with Rob over the same points and his virulent dislike of Brian...
2006-02-15 18:24:45
69.   Levy2020
Bad news on the "No Andys Club. . ."

"Bernie Williams, whose last great season came in 2002, figures to see more than half of the at-bats at the DH spot. . ."

2006-02-15 19:44:16
70.   Zack
You know, I'll never understand how big guys like Brown and Pavano can get injured so darn much. Maybe its because I play rugby and have no sympathy for minor injuries being big (yeah I am such a tough guy haha), but I mean, come on! Meat Pavano is hardly Pedro...

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