Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sunday's Game - Roster Extravaganza Edition!
2006-03-19 19:43
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees shutout the Indians at home yesterday 2-0 behind a fantastic outing by Randy Johnson with all five of the returned WBC players seeing action, but before we get to the usual game-in-a-box summary, I want to address the flurry of cuts the Yankees made yesterday. Here are the players optioned or reassigned to the minors yesterday:

1B - Eric Duncan, 3B - Marcos Vechionacci, SS - Ramiro Pena, C - David Parrish, OFs - Melky Cabrera and Mitch Jones, SP - Sean Henn, RPs - J. Brent Cox, T.J. Beam, Frank Brooks.

Duncan, Vechionacci, Pena, Cabrera and Cox are potential future stars who impressed Torre and his coaching staff this spring, but need further seasoning in the minors. Cox, who will be 22 in June, is the oldest of that bunch. Jones also impressed at the plate but remains a poor defender with high strikeout rates, who, at age 28, has yet to show that he's outgrown triple-A. Sean Henn had an awful spring (9.45 ERA, 6 2/3 IP, 11 H, 7 R, 7 BB, 4 K) and will return to triple-A where he'll slip behind DeSalvo and Rasner on the depth chart. Beam is 25, has never pitched above high-A ball, barely pitched this spring (3 IP) and didn't do well in that limited exposure (6 H, 3 R, despite a solid 4:1 K/BB). Brooks threw just two uneventful innings this spring and will spend the season as a triple-A roster filler. Parrish sucks and proved it by going 0 for 8 this spring.

In addition to those cuts, Senator Al Lieter officially announced his retirement before coming into yesterday's game to get one last out (a groundout by Eduardo Perez). With those eleven men out of the picture for the moment, one can break the remaining campers into four groups: those that have made the 25-man roster, extra catchers, those rehabbing from injuries, and those battling for one of the final spots on the 25-man freed up by one of those injuries. Here's how they break down:

Made the roster (22):

1B - Jason Giambi (L)
2B - Robinson Cano (L)
SS - Derek Jeter (R)
3B - Alex Rodriguez (R)
C - Jorge Posada (S)
RF - Gary Sheffield (R)
CF - Johnny Damon (L)
LF - Hideki Matsui (L)
DH - Bernie Williams (S)

R - Andy Phillips (1B/3B)
R - Miguel Cairo (IF)
R - Kelly Stinnett (C)

L - Randy Johnson
R - Mike Mussina
R - Chien-Ming Wang
R - Shawn Chacon

R - Mariano Rivera
R - Kyle Farnsworth
R - Tanyon Sturtze
L - Mike Myers
L - Ron Villone
R - Jaret Wright

Extra catchers (3):

R - Wil Nieves
S - Ben Davis
R - Omir Santos

Injured or rehabbing (4):

R - Carl Pavano (mangina)
R - Octavio Dotel (elbow)
R - Aaron Small (hamstring)
R - Colter Bean (knee)

Batting for a spot (14):

OF - Bubba Crosby (L)
OF - Kevin Reese (L)
OF - Kevin Thompson (R)
IF - Felix Escalona (R)
IF - Russ Johnson (R)
IF - Kevin Howard (IF)

R - Ramiro Mendoza
R - Scott Erickson
L - Matt Smith
R - Scott Proctor
R - Matt Childers
L - Dusty Bergman
R - Mark Corey
R - Jose Veras

Taking the second part first, Bergman, Corey and Veras have pitched just five innings combined and Bergman and Veras have pitched poorly at that. I can only assume they're still here just to eat innings. Here are the spring lines of the other five:

Mendoza7 1/36221481-02.45
Erickson10 1/39732380-22.61
Smith3 1/32111150-02.70
Childers3 2/32000030-00.00

The 27-year-old Childers has an established track record of minor league mediocrity, but even that would be better than the devastating ineffectiveness of Scott Erickson, who has gotten the longest look of the five above. The same is true of Scott Proctor, who's now 29. Better than either of those two, however, would be either Matt Smith or Ramiro Mendoza. Mendoza would seem to have the inside track given his history with the Joe Torre Yankees and the extended look he's gotten this spring. Best of all, he may just be the best choice. Smith is exciting because he's a homegrown lefty with impressive strikeout rates, but he's also had control issues, got lit up in the Arizona Fall League last year, and has just a half season of triple-A pitching under his belt. In addition to which, although he's just emerged on the Yankees' radar, Smith will be 27 in June.

Mendoza, meanwhile, could be a great boon to the team if he's fully healthy. Remember, when Mendoza was first with the Yankees, his problem was always durability. Brought up as a starter in 1996, he was converted to a swing man in 1997 and continually lobbied to return to the rotation despite the fact that he pitched better out of the pen and would always come down with a sore arm after making a few starts. From 1997 to 1999, Mendoza pitched 387 2/3 innings making 35 starts and coming out of the pen 98 times. Here are his aggregate splits from those three seasons:

As starter: 215 1/3 IP, 246 H, 23 HR, 4.81 K/9, 2.09 BB/9, 13-9, 4.47 ERA
As reliever: 172 IP, 183 H, 14 HR, 5.39 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 14-8, 6 SV, 3.24 ERA

In those three seasons, he posted a combined line of 3.92 ERA, 5.06 K/9, 1.97 BB/9. He then spent three more season in New York primarily in relief in which he posted a 3.77 ERA with a 5.62 K/9 and a 2.06 BB/9. However, those 387 2/3 innings and 133 appearances in three years, as has so often been the case under Joe Torre, took a lot out of Mendoza's arm, limiting him to 14 games in 2000. When he became eligible for free agency after the 2002 season, the Yankees, who had insight into the health of Mendoza's right wing, let him sign with the rival Red Sox, whose fans soon labeled him the embedded Yankee as arm troubled lead to a 6.75 ERA in 2003. His effectiveness returned in 2005, but his health did not, limiting him to just 27 appearances, all but one in the second half of the season. He then underwent rotator cuff surgery and signed a minor league deal with the Yankees in order to rehab with his old team in the hope of making a difference down the stretch. His rehab took a bit longer than expected but, now working a second minor league deal, it's not out of the question to see the 33-year-old Mendoza return to something resembling his old form, particularly given his strong showing on his rehab stint last year and in camp this spring.

Switching over to the offense, Bubba Crosby likely won't lose his roster spot to the series of minor injuries he's had this spring (finger, hamstring), but the Kevins (Thompson and Reese) have certainly provided Joe Torre with reason to think twice. Having entered camp with superior better minor league track records than Crosby, Reese and Thompson have hit .316/.395/.350 and .436/.476/.590 respectively while Crosby has hit just .190/.227/.381.

Meanwhile, the Yankees decision to leave Carl Pavano behind in Tampa and on the DL during the first 15 days of April, when the schedule only requires four starters, has opened up a spot for an extra infielder which could be Escalona, who has hit .273/.351/.455 this spring and can play all four infield positions. It's encouraging to see Kevin Howard still around, though he has yet to play above double-A and is hitting just .200/.227/.450 this spring. The Yankees should be thinking of Howard as the back-up infielder for 2007 and his continued presence in camp suggests they just might be. Russ Johnson, meanwhile, got off to a slow start due to a balky back, but has come on strong of late and despite his .190 batting average, his .333 OBP and .429 SLG hold up particularly well against Escalona's numbers, particularly when one considers the fact that Escalona is hitting 83 points higher than Johnson, but leads him by no more than 26 points in either OBP or SLG. Meanwhile, the performances of both players reveal the foolishness of the Miguel Cairo signing (Cairo's hitting .250/.302/.375 in nearly twice as many at-bats as Johnson). Johnson's an old hand, but he's exactly the sort of player the Yankees could use on the bench, a true utility man who can play all over the infield as well as the outfield corners, takes his walks and shows occasional power.

Here's hoping that with the WBCers back in camp guys like Johnson, Escalona and the Kevins continue to get enough playing time to convince Torre and his new, more outspoken coaching staff that there is a better way to assemble a roster than to look by looking at player contracts.

As for that game . . .


Johnny Damon DH
Derek Jeter SS
Jason Giambi 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Gary Sheffield RF
Hideki Matsui LF
Bernie Williams CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kelly Stinnett C

Subs: Andy Phillips 1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Marcos Vechionacci 3B, Omir Santos C, Mitch Jones RF, Kevin Reese CF, Kevin Thompson LF, Eric Duncan DH

Big Hits: Jeter (1 for 3) doubled, Cano went 2 for 3. Gary Sheffield went 1 for 3, his single counting as a big hit because it was just his second of the spring in 24 at-bats.

Who Pitched Well: Everybody. Even Al Leiter, who got his only, and final, batter for the last out of his career. Sturtze pitched a perfect eighth. Farnsworth allowed one hit in the seventh, walking none. Myers allowed a hit while finishing Leiter's inning. Randy Johnson, meanwhile, was fierce. Just four hits and no walks in six innings while striking out nine. Fierce.

Oopsies: Throwing errors by Jeter and the departing Pena.

Ouchies: Carl Pavano threw 35 pitches on the field with a batter standing in the box but not taking swings. Johnny Damon went 1 for 2 as the Yankee DH. That he played at all is proof that the Yankees aren't that concerned about his shoulder. Meanwhile, in the comments to my previous post, reader unpopster shared a Rotoworld report that Jaret Wright tweaked his back fielding bunts before yesterday's game. No official word on that yet, nor any information as to the severity of the injury, though it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if Wright's injury opened yet another roster spot, forcing the Yankees to go with eleven rather than twelve pitchers with DeSalvo as the next in line should Pavano not return in time to fill the fifth-starter spot.

Comments (54)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-20 00:21:06
1.   mikeplugh
It looks like we have tremendous depth in the long relief department this season. With Aaron Small, Ramiro Mendoza, and others lined up to compete for a prime role in the rotation, we have something useful in the making. Once everyone is more healthy that is.

I'd really like to see Kevin Thompson get a roster spot. I know Joe doesn't see much playing time for him with all the star quality regulars, but a few young guys on the team is always a good thing.

I always used to say, in basketball circles, that I'd rather see the Knicks add a top quality CBA player to the team at a low salary, than a journeyman veteran. You may just strike gold and get a guy that can contribute once given the opportunity. You know the journeyman is going to be super mediocre, or else he wouldn't be a journeyman.

2006-03-20 04:05:08
2.   Rob Gee
Indeed mike 1, that's what I thought the lesson last year was - striking gold with lesser known quantities than striking out with journeyed veterans.

And yet, with two weekes to go, for every open roster spot we see more of the same "veteran" slop. CF, check. Back-up C, check. Back-up IF, check. Back-up OF, check. I suppose one could quibble about Back-up 1B - but I'm not really sure that was ever an open spot.

What still amazes me is how much argument I got when I tried to point out that CASH-man is a mediocre, not horrible, but average GM. The main counterpoint smacked of Scooby-doo logic: It was Tampa all along! Except now we see what the Cashman regime holds dear.

The worst part - now we've signed more slop to hang out in the minors and wait for their turn in the rotation. What are the odds that Erickson makes the first start that requires a 5th? 2:1? 1:1!? We'll see DeSalvo in May or June, unless Hideo Nomo becomes available again. At least Mendoza does seem to have something left, and I didn't realize he's only 33. Even if he's holding a magic birth certificate, he's still got something left and the Torre trust has already been established.

We can all see that there's no way Cairo should be on this team. Crosby neither (at least not based on this spring). Yet, with better options around, why will they make it? At least Leiter retired!

2006-03-20 05:29:34
3.   mikeplugh
I know Rob. I couldn't believe Mendoza is only 33, too. Seems like he's been around forever.

For my money, I'll take Cairo. For one simple reason. I always thought it was good to have a guy like Sojo on the roster to share his experience with the younger guys. Jeter claims that Sojo has taught him more about playing the game than anyone in his life.

That having been said, Cairo is insurance and he could be a good mentor for a guy like Cano. I don't know what kind of relationship they'll strike up, but if Cano matures and learns a few things in the process, he'll be worth it.

The rest of the spots should go to young players. Right now, we don't have that high priced veteran bat that the Yankees always seem to land for the stretch run. Cecil Fielder, Dave Justice, Darryl Strawberry. Use that spot to see if one of your youngsters can play himself into a regular spot. Bernie got that chance. Jeter and Posada both got that chance. Hell, Cano got that chance last year.

Sometimes it doesn't work out. I think of Erick Almonte and Melky Cabrera off the top of my head. Sometimes it does, and the team is better off for the injection of youth it brings to a veteran team. Try it Cash. If it doesn't work, go get yourself Reggie Sanders from Kansas City or someone like that.

2006-03-20 06:55:42
4.   The Mick 536
I don't see the need for people with experience who cannot play now. We have coaches for that in abundance.

Slop be a very good word for what the bench looks like, including Bernie. And the rotation is a mess. Deep doooodooooo if you ask me. And not an arm to bail out the ship should it start wobbling.

I haven't believed anything the front office has put forward since they tried to convince me that El Duque lived on a barge awaiting rescue. Keep the kids and deep six the drek.

As for the WBC, takes too much out of the guys. They wanted to win without playing. It will take its toll. I predict, G-d save me, that George will be vindicated.

Root for Cuba.

Too bad Fidel didn't have a fast ball. He would have been playing for the Senators rather than against them.

2006-03-20 08:04:23
5.   bp1
I was glad I got to see Al Leiter's final appearance. It was no secret that he had plans to retire, but I had no idea this was how it was going to play out. I saw him warming in the bullpen and I thought for a minute that he had a change of heart.

He's a classy guy. It was a nice exit. I admit to being a little thick throated when he started walking off the mound. No matter if it's "time" or not, it's gotta be a tough thing to do. Nice that he could walk off with his head held high.

There's no doubt he'll be successful in whatever he decides to do from this point forward. I wish him the best.


2006-03-20 08:20:59
6.   Dimelo
Just read this line on BDD:
The Boston Globe: Chris Snow Reports Bronson Arroyo Has Been Traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Wily Mo Pena
2006-03-20 08:26:01
7.   Alex Belth
That's a funny trade. Wily Mo is like Glenn Allen Hill, but better. Low OBP but high mash ratio--the back-to-back-to-back from Cookie, Manny and Wily Mo will be momentus. The guy is built like a gorilla.
2006-03-20 08:31:15
8.   unpopster
correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Willy Mo Pena come up in the Yankee farm system?

Also, this trade says a lot about what the Sox think of their offense. Me thinks there are many in the Boston FO who believe that Lowell is a big-time dud.

2006-03-20 08:38:48
9.   joejoejoe
Ignoring his reappearance in pinstripes in '05 as The Bane of Darin Erstad, Leiter will be best remembered by most NYY fans as one of a string of excellent pitching prospects in the 80s that went on to success elsewhere while the Yanks squandered the prime of Don Mattingly with a rotation of journeymen instead of giving youth a chance.

In hindsight, Doug Drabek, Bob Tewksbury, Dennis Rasmussen and Al Leiter may have produced better results in the Bronx than Rick Rhoden, Steve Trout, Jesse Barfield and John Montefusco.

2006-03-20 08:47:51
10.   Rob Gee
ESPN is now reporting the same thing with Wily as a lefty platoon with Trot in RF.

From that perspective it makes sense:

Wily (2003-2005)

vs. RHP: .237 .286 .454 .740 (562 AB's)
vs. LHP: .276 .347 .536 .883 (250 AB's)

Seems like a high cost to pay for a platooner, but he is young (24), cheap ($440,000), and has TUP.

And FYI: Wily allowed us to regain the rights to Drew Henson.

2006-03-20 08:56:55
11.   YankeeInMichigan
Yes, Willy Mo Pena was once a Yankee prospect. He was traded to the Reds as part of the Henson deal.

As for Cliff's statement that Matt Smith is 27, what's wrong with that? Ever hear of a guy named Guidry?

2006-03-20 08:57:08
12.   joejoejoe
AP: "FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - The Boston Red Sox traded right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Pena on Monday.

Pena batted .254 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs last season and struck out 116 times with 20 walks. A 24-year-old right-handed hitter, he could play right field instead of lefty Trot Nixon when left-handers pitch against Boston."

This is a great deal for Boston. Wily Mo could thrive in a clubhouse with Ortiz and Manny as examples in the clubhouse and is certainly an upgrade over Kevin Millar. And now the rotation is Bloodysock, Beckett, Wells, Wakefield, and Clement and the kids Papelbon, Delcameron and Lester ready in reserve.

I'm seeing the Sox neck and neck with the Yanks all year.

2006-03-20 09:04:07
13.   Knuckles
Dammit, their offense just got a little scarier again. Let's just hope the platoon keeps him and Trot from getting into any kind of groove. Brandon Arroyo's declining K rate and other peripherals justify trading him now. We can only hope he goes out and throws a no hitter in May, to make Sux fans wail and moan a little bit, even if they did get the good end of the trade. When is Pena arb eligible?
2006-03-20 09:04:45
14.   Rob Gee
9 Also Jose Rijo but at least we got a younger, but becoming more aloof, Ricky H. in that deal...
2006-03-20 09:11:49
15.   debris
The other piece of this is that Nixon is a) fragile b) in his walk year. Pena is under Sox control for three years.

According to Stats, he, despite coming in at 245 lbs, is fast and has a cannon for an arm.

He has huge power, huge holes in his swing. He does crush left handed pitching, which Nixon does not. And he's only 24 and was a good MLB hitter at age 22. He's Dominican and should fit in very well under the tutelage of Papi and Manny.

On the flip side, he comes from a real launching pad in Cincinnati and will have to adjust to AL pitching, which could be a huge challenge to him.

Overall, we have to be thrilled with the notion of turning Arroyo into a young, cheap stud.

2006-03-20 09:18:54
16.   debris

Pena has 2.10 years of service. He was arbitration eligible this year, but signed for $1.25 M.

2006-03-20 09:21:35
17.   Rob Gee
That is, debris until Wily starts striking out in crucial situations.

I can imagine the tensions on both sides so well now. Our first series, we're up 5-4 in the 7th runners on first and second with 1 out. We bring in Halloween to face Trot - Shaky brings in Wily.

You better hope Wily produces in those first few situations, or that stud become one nervous dud.

2006-03-20 09:29:39
18.   jedi
Wow, I think this is a scary trade from a Yanks perspective. They just got their replacement for the aging Trot. Gotta respect this trade awhole lot as Willy Mo has alot of upside and has not had a breakout year yet which everyone is expecting from his current performances with the Reds.

This trade never would have happened without Theo though. The guy just one upped cashman big time because he conned Arroyo into signing a below market contract this past Jan thinking he was staying for the sox for several years. Little did he know Theo was just using him as a pawn in his big game of chess with the Yanks.

Hands down, Theo has to be smartest GM in baseball. How does he pull off these trades without giving up anything majorly valuable?

2006-03-20 09:38:02
19.   debris

No doubt Willy will strike out in crucial situations, non-crucial situations. He might even strike out when he's not even up. Willy being Willy? But he'll certainly crush his share.

Ted Lilly has owned the Sox over the last two seasons. Willy will make this ownership position that much harder to maintain.

2006-03-20 09:38:22
20.   Cliff Corcoran
11 Guidry was 24 when he broke into the majors. When he was 27 he was enjoying his legendary 25-3 season.

As for Pena, helluva job by the Sox there. I just feel for the guy who drafted Wily Mo in my fantasty draft yesterday thinking he'd finally get a full season in now that Adam Dunn's moving to first base.

As for Pena's Yankee past, the Yanks signed him to a five year deal worth $3.7 million when he was just 17 years old. At age 18 he hit .205/.268/.361 in the Sally League and they flipped him for Drew Henson and Michael Coleman before the 2001 season. They had traded Henson to the Reds the previous July in the Denny Neagle deal despite his hitting .287/.347/.439 in double-A at age 20. Coleman, meanwhile, was a 25-year-old version of Pena at the time who just never panned out (remember his two weeks as a Yankee in 2001?). The Yanks soured on Pena too quickly, but the trade wasn't as awful as it looks in retrospect.

2006-03-20 09:43:29
21.   YankeeInMichigan
Cincinnatti's front office never ceases to amaze. Arroyo throws a few too many fly balls to survive in Cincy. In 2005, Arroyo served up 15 dingers in Fenway. This year, he'll be competing with Milton (21), Ortiz (17) and Claussen (15) in the GABP Home Run Derby.

I have yet to see the Reds make the obvious move of going after a ground ball pitcher.

2006-03-20 09:46:56
22.   Zack
I'm not sure I see the logic in the Pena trade. Strictly speaking, yes: Sox have an abundance of arms, need a left fielder. Situation solved. But Pena in no way fits in with the so called organizational philosophy of Theo, considering he has a career OBP of .303 and average of .240. He has hit .230 on the road for his career, and has 5 times as many k's as bb's.

Hes young with time to grow, but is he really going to suddenly become someone different than what he is, a more extreme Soriano? He'll hit a lot of doubles and HR's in Fenway and strike out a lot against much better pitching...

2006-03-20 09:47:52
23.   Zack
As a platoon/backup, yeah I can dig that, but as the lf or the future, not so sure...
2006-03-20 10:04:02
24.   debris

Lefties do, historically, develop more slowly than RHP. The Sox have a very interesting one to keep an eye on in Lenny DiNardo. Pretty strong minor league numbers as a starter, though he pretty much lost all of 2004 on the Sox roster as a Rule 5 player. He was great in 15 innings of short relief last Septembe and has had a real good spring.

2006-03-20 10:04:14
25.   Cliff Corcoran
21 YanksinMI, this just ain't your day. Ortiz is on the Nationals now.

As for Zacks's concerns 22, the Sawks didn't have a single righty outfielder to platoon with Trot (who desperately needs it) prior to this trade. So they get a 24-year-old kid with good defensive skills who will feast on the Monster in exchange for a pitcher who didn't fit on their staff and you don't get it? PECOTA puts him in the neighborhood of .280/.340/.550 with a 90th percentile of .319/.383/.664, those are better projections than what it gives Nixon, who only beats out those OBPs by a smidge.

The keys are 1) the Sox needed to fill this role 2) Wily Mo's still just a kid 3) this kid can rake

2006-03-20 10:05:37
26.   Cliff Corcoran
Oops, meant to delete that bit about Pena's defense in 25. He may have an arm, but that's about it.
2006-03-20 10:07:07
27.   Cliff Corcoran
Oh right, I forgot the Sox had signed Juan Gonzalez to a minor league deal. That was what it had come to for them.
2006-03-20 10:07:08
28.   debris

I assume those PECOTA numbers are vs. LHP only?

2006-03-20 10:38:25
29.   Cliff Corcoran
Nope. Overall.
2006-03-20 10:43:59
30.   Rob Gee
Good times! Anyone still want to defend CASH-man?

The Sox have a hole in RF next year - Theo gets the job d-u-n.

We had a hole in CF for three years -
We get Damon after Lofton, back to Bernie, to Woemack, to Reese, back to Bernie, to Bubba. Hope we enjoyed him leading off as a DH yesterday - it's his spot for the next four years. And anyone notice who started in CF yesterday? You win if you said - GOB!

2006-03-20 10:55:59
31.   sabernar
Pena is a butcher in the OF (and DH is already taken). Take a look at Pena's career road/home splits. He was WAY better at home then on the road, where he was barely average, if that. I don't see this as being much of anything for the Sox. Sure, there is the possibility that he plays like the stud that the Sox fans hope he will, but there's also a possibility that Pavano will win 20 games for us this year.
2006-03-20 11:03:19
32.   Zack
Cliff, while I usually put heavy weight on projections, I just don't see where PECOTA could get those lines. He has shown nothing in his career, major or minors (he did have that absurd contract that demanded he be in the majors and not fully develop) that indicates he can hit for average...He averaged .256 in the minors. And I suppose the increased OBP would come purely from the increased average, since he simply doesn't walk...

While I agree hes a kid, I don't see anything to indicate that he is a Soriano clone that doesn't hit as well, but maybe hits the ball farther.

He does fill a need, but this combined with the however dubious Soriano to Boston trade rumors awhile go just have me scratching my head about their direction. I feel that the benefit of playing in Fenway should be mitigated by facing far better pitching, and left field of Fenway is not a kind place for a poor fielder...

Mr. Gee, as for your revival of hatred towards poor Brian, answer me why we would trade for Pena? And with whom? We have a lf who I would take any day over Pena, and will have him most likely next year, and by that time, we shall see what happens. But we have no need for a lf or rf at the moment, and as for cf, well, we aren't getting into that again...

2006-03-20 11:05:44
33.   bp1
The reaction to this trade is so bizarre.

When the Sox get the guy - it's all upside. Strong arm. Home runs. Youth. If the Yankees somehow got the same guy - the exact same guy - all anyone would talk about are his low obp and strike out rate.

Someone please tell me the Yankees are not weak in the knees with fear of a career .250 hitting platooned right fielder.


2006-03-20 11:05:46
34.   Count Zero
12 And now the rotation is Bloodysock, Beckett, Wells, Wakefield, and Clement and the kids Papelbon, Delcameron and Lester ready in reserve.

As others have already pointed out, why is it that the grass is always greener over in Fenway? You guys are talking like this is a great rotation! It has the same problems as the Yanks' rotation only worse:

Schilling: coming back off injury...can he still bring it? he healthy? also unclear...Sox ace is a much bigger "?" than RJ at this point

Clement: joking right? he got lit up even more than Jaret in the second half of last season

Beckett: great upside potential...of course, other than one WS he has yet to show any consistency even in the ERA-low senior circuit....a potential ace, more likely to be a #3 or #4 starter in expectation-heavy, AL East facing AL lineups all year

Wells: could have another good year left in him...or he could be a backache away from retirement...once again, a big "?"...a wash with Pavano

Wakefield: the most dependable one of the bunch...a solid #3 starter

I'm quaking in my boots...if everything goes 100% right for the Sox, they might have a real good starting rotation. Then again, if everything goes 100% right for the Yanks, we have a solid #3 starter as our #5, a guy who went 10-0 last year in long relief, and the best closer in baseball. That "potential" and $3.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

2006-03-20 11:12:32
35.   debris

I must agree. Despite his age, I don't see those PECOTA numbers overall. And the numbers should be even higher against RHP only. His splits are enormous.

What makes this an even better trade is all the left-handed starting pitching in the division: Lilly, Chacin, Chen, Bedard, Unit, Fossum, and Kazmir.

It will be interesting to see how much he learns from the other two large Dominicans in the lineup.

2006-03-20 11:23:13
36.   Rob Gee
32 Zack - I didn't say any thing about trading for said. I just compared the two ways of doing things for Cash and Theo. One is about average in GM class, the other is well-above average. One transforms holes, the other just plugs them.

34 Whoa, whoa, whoa - I'm not quaking in anything. We've got a solid starting team with a terrible bench. Middle relief is a big question mark. BUT, that bench is going to lose us some games, and the bullpen might. The closer the race gets, the more those things become important.

Right now, do you want:

a) Scott Erickson losing a game for us in April?

b) Bernie playing anywhere in the field?

c) Kelly Stinnett starting?

d) Runners taking 2B on Damon's arm?

See, all of these things are now slated to happen, and very early in the season. These are the choices CASH-man has made, and they will cost us games. Hopefully not too many.

And of course Torre will be culpable too (Myers pitching to lefties, Bernie in CF/RF).

The Sox may be looking better - but I'm not scared yet. But with chips to move by a smart GM they could easily continue to improve while our GM flails about. Heck, things could be worse - Isaiah could be running the team.

2006-03-20 11:25:30
37.   Rob Gee
Sorry Myers pitching to righties 36

Oh, and Bernie is in RF today while Damon is DH'ing at lead-off again.

2006-03-20 11:41:27
38.   rbj
Man, Moose is getting lit up like Broadway on a Saturday night. 3 HRs in the 3rd, one in the 4th. At least nine runs in 3-4 innings.
2006-03-20 11:42:11
39.   Zack
Holly crap, debris and I agreed on something, now all I have to do is find common ground with Rob Gee and who knows what we can do together!

And its not that I think its a terrible move by the Sox: I never had much faith in Arroyo, and as Cliff and debris have pointed out, he fills an obvious need in their lineup, but its more that I just don't see the move as making that much of a difference. The Sox will not win or lose based on him or their offense, as the Count said, it, like the Yanks, will come down to pitching

I am looking forward to Foulke's upcoming return

2006-03-20 11:43:17
40.   Zack
And I just saw that we are losing 13-1, so much for yesterday's optimism!
2006-03-20 12:12:40
41.   debris

I think it's a great move for the Sox; I do think the PECOTA numbers are out of whack.

If you look at the rate stats over the last two years, the platoon of Nixon/Pena was everybit as productive as the everyday Sheffield. And with a big bat on the bench to boot.

2006-03-20 12:45:31
42.   unpopster
36 "...Middle relief is a big question mark..."

Are you kidding me? Am I seeing a completely different team than you are? In my estimation, the '06 Yankee middle relief core is a strong, above average group. With Farnsworth, Myers, Villone, Small, Sturtze, and the eventual addition of Dotel. With Mendoza waiting in the wings, this is a very good group. Fransworth and Dotel could turn out to be the best Middle Relief 1-2 combination in the AL East...both power arms who can strike men out at will. Myers and his .150 BA vs. Lefties is an excellent situational lefty and Small is a very good long-man. Sturtze, if rested and healthy, can be an above-average 6th and 7th inning option.

And, folks, let's not forget that all of these just need to worry about the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. Mo owns the 9th.

Lastly, all of these above mentioned relievers are having good springs.

2006-03-20 12:59:32
43.   unpopster
RE: the middle relief.

The new arms in the bullpen are a markedly superior upgarde to what the Yanks had in '05. Gordon may have been an excellent bridge to Mo, but for much of last season it seemed like that's all we had, Flash and Mo. Plus, the Yanks had ZERO serviceable lefties, compared to two this year.

Another reason I have such a positive outlook on the Yankee middle relief staff is that each and every one of these arms has a recent history pitching in the AL.

All one has to do is look at how Quantrill fared in the Bronx to see what I mean.

2006-03-20 13:05:20
44.   Knuckles
Do you just say stuff without looking at any facts? Sorry, but I have to call bullsh1t on your claim that Pena+Trot=Sheff, rate-wise. Over the past two years, weighted by # of AB's (which are very close in number)...

PA: 1359
OBP: .386
SLG: .523
OPS: .909
EQA: .304

PA: 1336
OBP: .335
SLG: .488
OPS: .823
EQA: .276

The OPS spread is roughly the difference between David Wright (22nd in MLB) and Alfonso Soriano (57th in MLB) in 2005.
The EQA spread is roughly the difference between Hideki Matsui (31st in MLB) and Ronnie Belliard (81st in MLB) in 2005.
The OBP spread is roughly the difference between Adam Dunn (21st in MLB) and Edgar Renteria (90th in MLB) in 2005.

2006-03-20 13:21:20
45.   markp
Add to that Pena and trot were hitting in very good hitter's parks while Sheffield was hitting and a park that doesn't favor hitters at all.

From everything I've seen, Boston traded a proven starting pitcher for a young slugger with no plate discipline and a negative reputation in the OF. (His range factor is no better than league average and his fielding percentage is lower than league average, so there's nothing statistical to refute that reputation.)

His biggest asset is his age, but he's certainly a gamble-he may never learn the strike zone-and I wouldn't trade a proven starter for a gamble.

2006-03-20 13:47:47
46.   Rob Gee
42 Middle relief is a big question mark because we don't know what we'll get.

Will Farns continue his nagging habit of imploding at important times? If so, does Torre continue to rely on him?

Will Myers ever pitch to a righty?

Will Villone prove capable of starting and finishing innings?

Will Small and Sturtze continue to find the magic dust?

The only one I'm not concerned about is Dotel, but he's the one coming off TJ surgery.

Seems like a bunch of questions to me.

44 Nice work Knuckles!

My only concern with this trade is the Sox moved someone they didn't need for value. Even if Pena continues his trends and can't hit a lick of rightys, he's still obviously the best player on either our bench or theirs when he doesn't start. To me, that means the Sox got better. Maybe a lesson for CASH-man about moving spare parts (Pavano, Wright) for what you can get in return?

2006-03-20 14:10:05
47.   debris

I was using platoon splits. I didn't include, as you did, Nixon's numbers vs. LHP or Pena's vs. RHP. That's what a platoon is.

2006-03-20 14:15:29
48.   debris
Pena's OPS over the last two years vs. LHP - .881 in 2005, 1.039 in 2004.

Nixon's OPS over the last two years vs. RHP - .847 in 2005, .950 in 2004

2006-03-20 14:42:26
49.   Knuckles
Nixon had 79% of his AB vs Righties
Pena had 35% of his AB vs Lefties

Nixon had 90% of his 149 total AB vs Righties
Pena had 26% of his AB vs Lefties

For comparisons sake, A-Rod had 74% of his ABs vs righties in the past 3 years, Matsui 68%, Sheffield 76%, and Posada (a switch hitter) 69%, so we can (very) roughly guess that a platoon will see something like 70% of its PA's against RHP. Using those figures and TroPena's splits (and this assumes a PERFECT platoon, in which neither of them has to face their respective weakness, in even one AB), the Sheff vs platoon numbers look like (Sheff first):

OBP: .386 to .370
SLG: .523 to .527
OPS: .909 to .897

You're basically not taking many AB away from Nixon, and you gave away a cheap, slightly above average inning muncher for a guy who theoretically should only get slightly less than 200 PA...sweetness.

2006-03-20 15:02:46
50.   debris

Thanks for proving my point. I said originally that the Nixon/Pena platoon was "every bit as productive" as Sheffield. The numbers you post bear that out.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-20 15:08:10
51.   joejoejoe
34 Count Zero - "And now the rotation is Bloodysock, Beckett, Wells, Wakefield, and Clement and the kids Papelbon, Delcameron and Lester ready in reserve."

That's not an endorsement on my part, just the lay of the land at Fenway. IMHO the rotations stack up as follows...

Big Unit > Bloodysock - Johnson is healthier
Mussina = Beckett - Beckett has youth. Moose has 224 wins.
Wakefield > Pavano - Man up vs. Mangina
Chacon > Wells - Great stuff vs. Puff-n-stuff
Wang > Clement - Ground balls vs. Gopher balls

That's a slight edge to the Yanks in my book. But the problem comes in starters 6-7. Papelbon and Lester might be great. Wright and Small (or Erickson!) might be awful. I'd give the Yanks starters the nod but in the case of injuries I'd take Boston's youth.

2006-03-20 15:18:48
52.   Levy2020
I think it was a very good trade for the Red Sox, but pretty inconsequential. I can't imagine that an excess arm for a lefty specialist on the bench has ever made or broken a team.

Mussina starts for the Yankees. Facing Nixon in the eighth up one, they bring in Myers. Francona brings in Pena. Torre brings in Farnsworth.

Torre's Bobby Cox enough to do it. I seem to recall a World Series where they did go back and forth just like that.

Also no one has argued (rightly) that Nixon is on the D-cline and has a long history of injuries.

2006-03-20 15:22:31
53.   Knuckles
As I said, the numbers I posted are the absolute best case scenario of a mix of the two over the past 2 years, assuming Trotman never faces a LHP and Wily never sees a righty. Unfortunately, you already lauded the move as a hedge against Trot's fragility, so you can't very well start going around crowing that the combo of these two players is equal to Sheff, unless JWH and Theo have perfected an algorithm that ensures that Trot makes his trips to the DL only when the Sox are about to face multiple lefties in a row. For my money (or George's) I'd rather have a guy who can hit RHP (.909 OPS) and LHP (1.067) in an equally scary fashion than two guys who can be neutralized on a situation by situation basis when need be. In the end, comparng batters on a position by position basis is futile and pointless, but I couldn't let your fuzzy math carry the day.

How about VORP (which ignores defense, fine when talking about these 3 fielders)
2004 Sheff 54.1, TroPena 29.4
2005 Sheff 47.5 TroPena 24.7
2006 (weighted mean Projection) Sheff 56.2, TroPena 42.3 (which is basically equal to one Nick Johnson)

And besides, who faces Randy?

2006-03-20 16:40:28
54.   Zack
Gotta love Gammons, never fails, like debris, to see the sunny side: "And while Wily Mo Pena is a .303 career on-base guy who sometimes plays out of control, he is still only 24, and about to begin learning the game with David Ortiz. Boston is not usually a tools-oriented organization, but one thing they lack through the minor leagues is right-handed power, and Pena is a project whose skills are worth the effort to hone. "

Hey, playing with David Ortiz will turn Pena into a superstar, but playing with Arod or Giambi couldn't do anything for Soriano and will do nothing for Cano, who somehow has no chance to learn patience and according to PECOTA will have a .20 point less obp than a guy who had a .20 less obp than him last year. I don't get it. Why will Pena suddenly become so much better than Cano, who is YOUNGER than Pena...

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