Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Good...for Now
2006-06-08 07:59
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

In his latest mailbag column, SI's Tom Verducci writes:

The injuries will catch up to the Yankees. Teams often get a short-term boost from these situations because everyone senses a feeling of urgency. But losing front-line players eventually catches up to you. The Cubs and Derrek Lee come to mind. But I will say that the Yankees needed an infusion of youth on their roster. Look at the past four or five teams to win the World Series: They were not loaded with players in their mid-30s and older. Teams like the Yankees and the Giants were breakdowns waiting to happen. Don't forget, the Yankees' money also gives them an edge in the international market, where they have signed such "homegrown" players as Orlando Hernandez, Alfonso Soriano, Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, etc. Their draft picks have not worked out nearly as well.

I keep thinking that Soriano will wind up back in the Bronx before the summer is over.

2006-06-08 08:54:00
1.   rsmith51
I have that same feeling, though I don't have a good feeling about it.

I am not really anti-Soriano, we already have one free-swinging 2b. I don't thing he will sustain his latest surge, either.

2006-06-08 09:05:09
2.   unpopster
Alex or Cliff, you might want to change to pitching probables on the right. Rich Harden has been placed on the DL again (strained elbow ligament), so Moose is pitching against TBD.
2006-06-08 09:07:45
3.   brockdc
Getting Sori would be fine, but I'd much prefer the Yanks pursue a starting pitcher who can give them league-average-quality innings. Very tall order, I know.

I had hoped this would've been addressed during the off-season, but they somehow felt comfortable with a starting staff that included Aaron Small, Jaret Wright (who's been a pleasant surprise thus far), and Carl Pavano.

2006-06-08 09:10:19
4.   RI Yankee
1 I'm with you . . . I'd rather bring in someone with a better attitude. But he might be the best option . .
2006-06-08 09:10:45
5.   Dan M
The Yankees can't win for losing. For years they get criticized for signing big-ticket FAs and taking big contracts through trades. But if you point to their homegrown core, it's always, "Well, they can afford to keep those guys." Verducci's comment is just a new twist to this theme. But such comments only hide the fact that there are plenty of other teams that could afford to keep their homegrown talent but don't have it (e.g., Boston), or sign young international prospect but haven't done as well in that market.

Second, who really cares if the Yankees are cultivating young talent internationally, but not domestically? Isn't it OK that you're doing one well, and getting enough talent? Who cares what the source is. And given the choice between domestic and international talent, I think I might take international.

2006-06-08 09:12:23
6.   YankeeInMichigan
Joe Sheehan on BP notes that the key to the Yankees' success has been a "planet-leading" .375 OBP. He points out that, since 1950, only two teams have broken .370 (1994 Yankees in strike-shortened season and 1999 Indians).

It is refreshing to see that Melky has jumped on the OBP bandwagon.

2006-06-08 09:30:45
7.   jdsarduy
Well there has been speculation in the NY papers of an Alfonso/Livan trade with the Yanks would be a good fit.
Which might solve our need for a pitcher but Livan has been pretty erratic his whole career.
And the Nationals would ask for whole lot from us.
5 Dan I agree with you. There's just not enough made that George, unlike other owners, put's money back into the team from attendance figures.
2006-06-08 09:35:19
8.   Peter
What would Sori cost the Yanks?

Even without Matsui and Sheff, they still have a strong team. The defense seems to have improved and one could argue the offense is more balanced. The impressive thing, I think, about their recent hot streak is that I can't remember the last game Jeter, Arod, Giambi, and Damon all played together. Once Jeter comes back, watch out.

2006-06-08 09:39:20
9.   Rob Gee
I'm hack as I posted it in the other thread too:

Check out Sori's post-season numbers:

3 Lg Div Series .241 .281 .333
2 Lg Champ Series .222 .314 .311
2 World Series .234 .265 .362
7 Postseason Ser .233 .287 .336

Not exactly the guy I want batting for the Yanks in October.

2006-06-08 09:47:51
10.   dpmurphy
"there are plenty of other teams that could afford to keep their homegrown talent but don't have it (e.g., Boston)"

Actually, boston has plenty of homegrown talent in their minors. I'm just hoping they don't trade it away for quick fixes.

2006-06-08 10:00:44
11.   wsporter
9 We've got to get to the post season first though Rob! He really looks good right now and has a history of looking good.

Maybe it's like the Ex Girl Friend Syndrome. You remember the good things and tend to forget the reasons she's an EX. When she comes back you suddenly remember. He's raking (983 OPS with a 360 OBP) and leads the league in outfield assists but he also has 6, count em 6 errors in left.

The clamor here is to resign him and with a new ownership group the pressure may be to hang on to him through the season. Who knows? I think we have a better chance to get Hernandez.

It's a very difficult call. I would really rather not give up Tabatta or Gardner or Beam or the like to get him. The Nats are going to ask for the Moon and Stars in exchange for him so I'd imagine they'd also ask for Wang, Robby or Melky as well. Personally I'd tell them to go pound sand if that's what we have to give to get him.

2006-06-08 10:15:40
12.   Knuckles
Leave Sori down here in DC where the newly minted Nats fans can ooh and ahh over his homers and remain blissfully unaware of his putrid OBP and postseason résumé. I am looking fwd to going to all 3 games next weekend and much am hoping all of the Nationals' hits come from the bats of Soriano and Nick J, and a sweep by the Yanks.
2006-06-08 10:22:15
13.   Dan M
dpmurphy - what I meant was that Boston's recent success was not the result of homegrown talent. Other than Trot Nixon, the recent Sox playoff teams relied on outside talent, and Nixon wasn't the star (was Lowe homegrown? Or did they get him from Seattle in the Slocumb trade?). It remains to be seen whether Boston will be successful with the purported talent they have in their system now, and with Youkilis and Papelbon.
2006-06-08 10:33:44
14.   wsporter
12 Knuckles, Yeah I got Friday and Sunday. A lousy #!*%#! wedding on Saturday; it's a complete catastrophe any way you look at it. Who get's married during the season and why inflict it on me?
2006-06-08 10:41:21
15.   Rob Gee
11 The post-season is not a question in my mind. Not only will the Yanks win the division, but they'll win it by at least 3 games - close enough to be interesting but not really.

No clamor here - stay away - far, far away from Sori. The price will be too high and he won't justify that cost. Plus, I could see if the Yanks were 5 games out and in 3rd place or something. But they're 1.5 games up in first. Why change anything?

2006-06-08 11:00:38
16.   Jorgie Juiced One
Re "home grown" Admittedly, as a Yankees fan, I have a particular impatience for much of the media's stilted take on the Yankees. (Joel Sherman and Jack Curry are the notable exceptions who are not susceptible to the prevailing "wisdom.") This, however, is new to me. Is it Verducci's position that the signing and development of any non-U.S. born player (last I checked, there were a few of those on MLB rosters) does not qualify as "homegrown?" Or does this standard only apply to the Yankees?
2006-06-08 11:03:15
17.   Shaun P
Power aside, Sori has 52 Ks to only 19 BBs. He wouldn't be the first guy who went on a homer-hitting binge before the All-Star break - and then crashed to earth after it. The power numbers is so out of line what Sori's done before. Pass.
2006-06-08 11:19:15
18.   Dan M
I can see where you wouldn't consider established int'l stars, such as El Duque or Matsui or Ichiro!, as "homegrown." But this is a completely different story than signing a 16-year old kid from the Dominican Rep. or Venezuela or Taiwan, and developing him in your minor league system.
2006-06-08 12:40:30
19.   singledd
9 I remember Sori swinging at everything in a number of PS games, and he looked very bad. However, your stats are somewaht incomplete and dont tell the whole story.

In the 2001 WS, the Yanks had a team BA of under .190. Sori hit .240, 2nd best of any starter (Paulie was best at .333). He hit 2 HRs, including the one that shoulda/coulda won the last game.

In the 2003 WS, the team batted .263, Sori batted .227.

In the 2001 and 2003 WS combined, he batted slightly higher then the team average.

There are many greats (including Bonds and Mantle) who have not performed well in the PS. This in itself, is not that damming. Sori is a free swinger, fooled by curveballs, and is more succeptable to do poorly againt very good pitching.

He is not a great hitter. But he is still very dangerous. He is having a very good year so far. Maybe he has matured.

2006-06-08 12:46:34
20.   singledd
P.S. While I hope Mats will be 'as good as new' next year, wrist injuries often have lingering effects. His baserunning and 'D' are not that good. He has great character, is steady, and a general asset. But if his future hitting is effected by this injury, it will be bad news for us.

Shef may not be back next year... and if he is, probably as a DH. If we keep Melky, it would be nice if our other corner OF'er had some pop.

Can you really compare Tori Hunter to Sori?

The 1999-2004 teams had some very good pitching and very strong pens. We did not need to slug out every win. But this year is different. Our offense has to make up for pitching that is not PS worthy.

2006-06-08 12:57:18
21.   vockins
"But losing front-line players eventually catches up to you. The Cubs and Derrek Lee come to mind."

I think it's a bold statement to say that a team that puts Juan Pierre at leadoff and give Neifi Perez ABs on a regular basis went to hell in a handbasket because they lost Derrek Lee. They were already there.

2006-06-08 13:01:30
22.   Schteeve
Comparing the Yankees to the Cubs is like comparing the United States to Turkmenistan. We can lose Matsui and Sheff, and still have A-Rod, Giambi, Posada, and Jeter, as high level offensive weapons. When the Cubs lost Lee, it was Aramis or bust.
2006-06-08 19:24:16
23.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Verducci is right that the Yankees will slow down sooner or later with this lineup, but..

A. how much?

B. Boston and Toronto aren't exactly underperforming teams either. both have been winning while having questionable back rotation and bullpen before the closer, in both areas, the Yankees are undoubtablly better. (except for Torre's questionable use)

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