Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sweep: Grumble
2006-04-14 04:58
by Alex Belth

Randy Johnson was cruising along for the first four innings yesterday afternoon, but he allowed three straight hits in the fifth, giving up a run in the process. He made it through the inning but after throwing only 87 pitches his day was over, sending a tremor through Yankeeland. The team announced that there was nothing physically wrong with Johnson but after the game it appeared that he had in fact experienced some discomfort out there. The Big Unit was his naturally defensive self when he spoke with reporters (if he is uncomfortable, you know he's going to make the press uncomfortable). Tyler Kepner reports in the Times:

Manager Joe Torre said that Ron Guidry, the pitching coach, told him Johnson was stiff during yesterday's game, although Torre said he did not know where. Johnson initially scolded reporters for getting the story wrong, but then admitted to some stiffness — sort of.

"Just a little tired, stiffness in the shoulder, if you want to call it that," he said, adding a disclaimer that seemed to amuse him. "The right shoulder."

..."I don't need to go out there every time and pitch seven, eight innings because you might like it," he said. "I might like it, but I also realize that the innings and the pitches that are going to be mostly counted on from me are going to be late in the year.

"So as much as I want to get my arm where it needs to be — that's what spring training is for — there's a time and a place to go out there and throw innings and pitches."

The Yankee lead was cut to 4-2 when Tony Graffanino greeted Taynon Sturtze with a solo home run in the eighth, that was as close as KC would get. The Bombers scored five runs in the bottom of the frame--highlighted by home runs from Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon, and that was that. Final score: Yanks 9, Royals 3. Gary Sheffield also homered, Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter both lengthened their hitting streaks and Bernie Williams collected three singles on the afternoon. After the sweep, the Yanks are back on the road this weekend, out to see their old pal Ruben Sierra and his new team, the Twins.

2006-04-14 06:06:22
1.   tommyl
Most depressing comment of the article:

After the homer, Torre jogged from the dugout to reassure Sturtze, who has an 8.10 E.R.A. "I have a lot of confidence in him," Torre said.


2006-04-14 06:10:12
2.   tommyl
Most depressing comment of the article:

After the homer, Torre jogged from the dugout to reassure Sturtze, who has an 8.10 E.R.A. "I have a lot of confidence in him," Torre said.


2006-04-14 06:26:57
3.   Dimelo
I don't think Torre should be letting Sturtze in the game and I am all for being up front with people, but what should Torre say? "Hey Sturtze, I hope your first born comes out with three heads" or "You suck, you should have been out of the majors a long time ago", I love the way people forget the human element.

How would you like it if-and-when you f'ed something up that your manager came and told you how much you sucked instead of still giving off the impression that they had some faith in you?

I am not advocating for Sturtze, just sayin...

2006-04-14 06:51:24
4.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, Sierra isn't on the Twins' 25-man roster. He had a leg injury this spring and is rehabing with Ft. Myers, the Twins' Florida State League club (A ball) run by Mike Veeck.
2006-04-14 06:58:57
5.   mikeplugh
Reports indicate that Carlos Pena may be Bronx-bound soon. That may effectively end the Andy Phillips era on the Yankee bench.

2006-04-14 07:09:46
6.   42YrOldRookie
" Pena hit 27 home runs in 2004 but has been plagued by wildly inconsistent offensive production. "

Sounds like a match!

2006-04-14 07:12:25
7.   bp1
I wish I saw the replay of Torre's mound visit. Radio Suzie said it was "pretty heated" or something like that. You don't see Joe fired up very often. Can anyone give a quick recap?

5 Goodbye Andy Phillips. We hardly knew ya. Remember all the spring training talk when he was assigned #12 - folks saying that was a sign that he was here to stay? Ha! Yeah, right. Maybe he can sweep up the sunflower seeds on the dugout floor. Lord knows he ain't getting any at-bats. I wish him well, whatever happens.

Fingers and toes crossed till next Tuesday's Big Unit start.


2006-04-14 07:15:16
8.   Rob Gee
You know whatever Tea said, it did work. Sturtze got out of the inning.

In the some things never change department:

1) Stinnett with Unit is now a given. Good to see we'll still be worrying about this in October as Jorge sits or him and Unit need to learn each other during a playoff game. Good times!

2) Bernie is now a singles hitter. If he hits a double every so often it wouldn't be so bad. But when he's slugging .350 in June - that's Womackian. If his BA drops (.323 now) he really will be.

3) If we haven't seen Phillips yet - will we ever see him? He's where a GM's good intentions mean nothing if not supported by the manager. How long before Torre decides if Phillips will play or if someone else is more to his liking.

And for all of these things, the run differential is obscene. This team will be fine during the season. It is and has been the post-season where these "moves" prove oddly prophetic (see CF and backup C in 2005).

2006-04-14 07:26:03
9.   Rob Gee
5 Pena only works as the Lefty half to a platoon (2003-2005: vs. L: .216 .284 .418 .702; vs. R: .253 .352 .479 .831). In concert with Andy, they'd be a great DH. Of course, then we have three 1B. Me personally I'd rather have three C's so Jorge hits on days that Kelly plays C - we've already seen that Joe can do that, though not all the time.

Now we know why theer wasn't much demand for Pena. Most teams don't have the flexibility for a platoon back-up at 1B.

Question is: who do you cut? My vote is Cairo, but given that's not happening - it's Hill.

2006-04-14 07:32:20
10.   mikeplugh
Before I go to bed....

1. I have two pieces up at Canyon of Heroes you may be interested in. One is an update on Daisuke Matsuzaka's outing tonight, in which he gave up one run and struck out 13, pitching a complete game. The other is a crazy story out of Cuba about Yulieski Gourriel's club winning 22 straight games.

2. In Japan, I get the Mariners and Red Sox over the next 2 or 3 days. It's the weekend, so I'll probably watch. Wish it were the Yanks, but it's a good chance to scout the opposition.

3. Pena will be a Yankee, and then in late July we'll steal Reggie Sanders from the Royals. Watch. You heard it here first. (No young players allowed on the Yanks). Sigh.

2006-04-14 07:45:17
11.   Rob Gee
10 mike - love the Matsuzaka posts - keep 'em coming. Has me dreaming about what could - a good use of Yankee cash.

On Sanders - we've been calling that for a while now, back to the pre-season. It is a bit of a given now, and I'm for it if we don't give up too much. The problem there though is we don't cut GOB so all OF defense is gone with Bubba or his possible replacements (the Kevins).

2006-04-14 07:46:39
12.   jalexei
Slightly off-topic, but in the "woulda-coulda-shoulda" department, watched Ted Lilly last night simply school the entire Boston lineup. Huge looping curves dropping in for strikes, batters flailing at even bigger looping curves in the dirt, then frozen as dead staight fastballs sped right into the catcher's glove.

When his stuff is on, it's pretty amazing. I was always annoyed at his inconsistencies and mental lapses in pinstripes. We've been saddled with a lot of those types over the past few years. Remember how fun it was to watch when Jeff Weaver's pitches looked like someone was yanking them to the side with a string? All 2.2 innings of it before things fell apart?

Ahh well.

2006-04-14 08:11:55
13.   Alex Belth
Cliff, thanks for the Ruben update. You are the man.
2006-04-14 08:21:26
14.   Schteeve
Ted Lilly pretty much owns the Sox.
2006-04-14 08:33:11
15.   wsporter
MikeP 10 we may get Sanders but my question is what combination of minor league players are the Royals going to steal from us: Tabata, Henry, Jackson, Christian, Gardner, Vechionacci, Nunez etc? Unless something awful happens to Bernie he's not going to be sat down, not for nobody, not no how. So what are we going to do with Sanders if we get him? If we do get him I think we'll be able to sit around in a couple of years and substitute those names for Jalaxie's thoughts 12. How about we save the ammo and combine it with some higher level prospects for something we can use like D. Willis and or Cabrera?

I can imagine Camille Epstein in his Monkey Suit up on Yawkey Way trying to figure out how to throw out a top 3 of Magic Marker Sawx, Beckett and Willis with a side of Cabrera in right. I think we may need to save some bullets to block that one.

2006-04-14 09:28:14
16.   Rob Gee
15 No way the Marlins do both in one deal unless they get something like 6 or 7 top-tier prospects back, and only one or two organizations could maybe sustain that loss (Angles?, Dodgers?) - Sux don't have it. They might not even have enough for one of them. Starts with Papelbon and then what? debris you out there?

From Buster - Supposedly when Beckett was dealt, the Marlins let everyone know so they could get the best deal back. They haven't done that yet. And when they do, of course we go all in for Willis - that includes some combination of Hughes, Duncan, Melky, etc. But we've got only a few shells (of players)after that.

2006-04-14 09:31:30
17.   Cliff Corcoran
Ted Lilly was also dreadful last year and is older than Jeff Weaver, for whom he was traded (actually, that's also the deal that sent Carlos Pena to Detroit, come to think of it--the Tigers got the best of that deal, getting Jeremy Bonderman and Franklyn German from the A's as well--the A's, meanwhile, flipped Lilly for Bobby Keilty, who was optioned to AAA at the end of spring training).
2006-04-14 09:41:45
18.   jalexei
"Ted Lilly was also dreadful last year and is older than Jeff Weaver, for whom he was traded"

Oh I don't want either of them back - just idly noting that chumps with brief moments of brilliance are always more frustrating to watch than plain ole' chumps...

2006-04-14 09:54:40
19.   Rob Gee
17 Nice memory Cliff. Care to run through the other trades made by a certain GM in an effort to shore up the rotation with young talent?

Lilly for Weaver was the first in a long line.

2006-04-14 10:27:14
20.   Shaun P
MFD re 15 - I wouldn't worry too much about the Royals fleecing us. This is Allard "I'll take Neifi Perez and give you Jermaine Dye" Baird we're talking about.

The thoughts of Willis and/or Cabrera in Red Sox scares the crap out of me. You know thanks to the Henry-Loria connection, the Sawx will offer a couple grade-B+ live arms from A ball for both of them, and the Marlins will happily accept. And their buddy Bud will smile and nod. That whole triangle is sick.

If Henry wanted all these players from his Marlins days - Millar, Renteria, A-Gonz, Lowell, Beckett, Floyd (and there's probably some I'm forgetting) - he should have stuck with the Marlins. Instead, he acquired the Red Sox despite not making the highest bid to the Yawkey Trust. But hey, no one is bothering to investigate that whole mess, so why should we ask questions? Move along, nothing to see here.

I hate the cronyism that is rampant in MLB.

On a happier note, very much looking forward to seeing Moose vs Scott Baker tonight. Ought to be a great game.

2006-04-14 10:32:10
21.   Sliced Bread
15 Oh, I'm sure Kid Kong has traded in his gorilla costume for a vulture suit, and is circling over the floundering Marlins at this very moment, waiting to plunge his beak into the carcass and extract Willis.

I don't think there's much Cashman can do about that except drive up the price of Theo's sushi.

Rocket's laughing in his retirement rocker right now, watching the standings, wondering which team he will grant the privilege of paying him $2 million dollars per start.

The lefties Zito and Pettitte are going nowhere. Boomer's bummah summah in Boston is just beginning.

Trades will be made, but for now the Yanks best hopes for pitching help? Wright, Small, Dotel, & Pavano.

Let us pray...

2006-04-14 10:52:03
22.   Simone
mikeplugh, I'm enjoyed your blog on Yulieski Gourriel who is my new baseball crush. I'm thrilled to read how well he is doing in the Cuban league. I keep hoping that one day Fidel will let him and other baseball players play in MLB without having to defect.

Because it can't be said enough: Fuck Randy Johnson and his special crap ass catchers. We can all expect a replay of last season's playoffs, his 40 something old back stiffens up, he'll get shelled, and Jorge will have to come into the game cold to try to produce some offense.

2006-04-14 11:11:19
23.   bloodyank78
RE: 22
Simone, don't get started on Gourriel; my wife is from Havana and he's all she talked about during the Classic. He is the shit though, 5 tool guy all the way. On a completely other note, I'm super curious on what kind of stuff Wright is going to bring to the mound tommorrow. He's 4-1 w/a 3.82 ERA for his career at the Metrodome. I hope he can stay afloat until the 6th w/ no more than 4 runs allowed; but with Johan 4 runs may be more than the Yanks can afford.
2006-04-14 11:33:26
24.   Sliced Bread
22 From Simone's keyboard to Bob Sheppard's lips: "Your attention please. Fuck Randy Johnson and his special crap ass catchers."
2006-04-14 12:14:55
25.   brockdc
24ha ha ha ha ha...

...I can actually hear it reasonating throughout cavernous Yankee Stadium.

We could've had Sanders as a free agent for next to nothing. Instead, we're going to have to package one or two of our prospects for him? Pass. Let the Kevins play!

Ironically, Bernie's venerable presence, as some of you have alluded to, may end up blocking such an acquisition, which would be okay by me.

Prediction: If Andy Phillips is traded, he will rake.

2006-04-14 12:20:42
26.   Rob Gee
The real test of the "Andy-beat-Torre's-dog" hypothesis is Saturday. If Andy doesn't get a start against Johan there really is no point of having him on the team - esp. since Cairo can play 1B (can you taste the bile?).
2006-04-14 12:35:43
27.   Cliff Corcoran
Ah, but Rob 19 Lilly for Weaver was a good move. It's not his fault Weaver was the second coming of Ed Whitson. Like I said, Weaver is younger than Lilly and had already proven himself at the big-league level. Lilly has proven to be inconsistant in terms of both run prevention and playing time. Weaver, meanwhile, has established himself as a LAIM (League Average Innings Muncher). If you ask me it remains a toss up, but was well worth trying at the time.
2006-04-14 12:51:28
28.   Sliced Bread
I think Phillips will get a start at first this weekend. Explaining his inexplicable decision to start Cairo in Giambi's place last Sunday in Anaheim, Torre said he spoke to Phillips and assured him it was just something he wanted to try that day. We'll see.

Phillips and his supporters should take it as a positive sign that Torre has gotten him into 5 of the first 9 games(even if only for garbage time).

If Phillips does not start at first the next time Giambi sits, Michael, Cashman, Cliff and other Phillips supporters in the Yankees chain-of-command will be forced to intervene on Andy's behalf.

I'm afraid Bernie will have to fall at least 60 points below his current batting avg. before Phillips gets a start at DH.

2006-04-14 13:23:04
29.   tommyl
Not being an expert on this, what do Phillips minor league numbers project to?

He seems to have torn up AA and AAA in the recent past with an OPS above .900. In any other organization, wouldn't he be getting a serious look by now? I mean, just looking at that stat its higher than say Jeter's before he got called up (giving Jeter was younger then). What exactly do you have to do at the AAA level to get a look on the big league club?

2006-04-14 13:32:09
30.   wsporter
29 Welcome to the club on Phillips Tommyl. Just don't ask him to be Jeter, we don't get many of those in a lifetime.

20 MFD I'm of the opinion, I guess, that given Bernie's status I don't see how we would use Sanders. Anyone we gave up, short of giving up someone who is completely blocked or who has no prospect value, would be too much.

2006-04-14 13:39:51
31.   tommyl
30, thanks, been in the club quite awhile. Just decided to look up in minor league numbers to see if there was any reason at all not to give him a shot. Just frustrates me more that there are probably plenty of other decent to good players languishing in our system blocked for no good reason.

Blocked by A-Rod = good reason to switch positions

Blocked by GoB and Cairo = ummm...

2006-04-14 14:14:12
32.   Start Spreading the News
Let's not get carried away with comparisons to Jeter. Phillips is 29. Jeter was 21 when he was tearing up Columbus.

In his first year in Columbus, Phillips put up a 755 OPS and then had limited playing time the next year (due to injury?). He finally put it together the next two years. The PECOTA people estimate the peak years of performance to be in the 26-28 year age (your mileage may vary).

So realistically, Phillips is already on the downslope of his baseball career.

FWIW: Pecota projects him to bat .255 with a .317 OBP and .463 slugging with 14 HRs over a full year.

Projection for Bernie: .261 BA, .336 OBP, .384 SLG with 8 HRs

2006-04-14 14:21:41
33.   markp
Pecota is a joke. There have been a few nice articles on the internet detailing its many faults (the biggest being its inaccuracy.)
Phillips, if he got as many PAs as GoB is going to get, would probably have an OPS 100 points higher.
2006-04-14 14:44:45
34.   Cliff Corcoran
My own estimation is that if Phillips can hit .260 if given a full-time job (that's some 40 points lower than what he hit in Columbus, seems a safe bet), he'd have a .340 OBP and a .480 SLG. That's not far from those PECOTA numbers, but a significant improvement on them and a tremendous improvement on Bernie's PECOTA, which sounds fair to me.

Meanwhile, Phillips missed most of the 2003 season due to an elbow injury suffered in the Arizona Fall League after winning Yankee Minor League Player of the Year in 2002.

2006-04-14 16:36:46
35.   tommyl
32, I wasn't implying Phillips was anything close to Jeter. I just meant that his numbers at AA and AAA certainly rated a look to me. I just threw in Jete's numbers to show that Phillips couldn't really have done anything more at that level.
2006-04-14 16:52:24
36.   Rob Gee
27 You know, at the time I thought so too. But we also thought Weaver was a stud. Fine -I'll take one mistake.

My memory is piss poor and short of having to look up the trades - it seems we've gone through the whole of a certain GM's career trying (and flail-ing) to get one stud after another. Looking back none have even worked out even as LAIM.

Okay, I couldn't stand it:

Wells etc for Clemens
Fat Toad for J.Westbrook and Ted Lilly
Lilly etc for Dreamweaver
Signed Moose
Signed Contreas
Traded Dreamweaver, Brozoban for Brown
Traded N.Johnson, J.Rivera for Vazquez
Signed Pavano
Signed Wright
Traded Vazquez, Halsey, Navarro + 10mil for Unit

Yeah, I exaggerated but not by much. The only surefire positives (Clemens and Moose - latter has underperformed expectations) were the only nobrainers at the time (i.e., you could make the deal without a brain). The rest weren't even LAIM.

Spinning the Toad into Dreamweaver by way of Lilly was a nice upgrade of value. Too bad it was wasted (with Brozoban) on the immortal (and injured at the time) Kevin Brown.

That doozy was followed up, the same winter (2003), by the dealing of two full-time ML'ers that have would have significant roles on the current team. Even at the time, it was obvious they'd make it with Johnson starring if he could stay healthy.

Then of course there was the brillance of last off-season. Man, you can only wonder if Bossman hadn't forced those moves. And a good thing too we still have Meat. I mean why not move him for 50 cents on the dollar when you can get a clear nickel today?

I suppose the Unit deal will be worth it if he brings a Serious but that's a high price to pay and he failed miserably last year.

Good times!

At least we'll score a 1000 runs this year and with Bernie, Cairo, and Kelly getting 800 AB's between them. That's quite a trick.

2006-04-14 17:17:38
37.   rbj
36 If you go back a bit further, there was a trade of what's-his-name for Brosius. I'd put that in the plus column.
2006-04-14 21:18:38
39.   Rob Gee
37 rbj

1) That list only includes pitchers - i.e. the search for the perfect ace.

2) That list only includes players obtained by the current GM.

The list is more interesting when you include other players - but alas Brosius is not one of them.

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