Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
What Becomes a Semi-Legend Most?
2007-01-26 07:27
by Alex Belth

There have been great players who never had a great moment; men who went on year after year, running up formidable statistics, but were no more fearsome than anybody else in the few, crucial moments of their careers. They popped up or flied out in key at-bats, or did not even fail that spectacularly. They simply singled when they should have homered, cut the ball off from going into the gap when they should have made the diving, sliding catch. They played on no great teams, took part in no immortal moments, and passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all.

From Sometimes You See it Coming, a novel by Kevin Baker

I ran across this passage the other night and it got me to wondering: How many great baseball players can we put into this category? (And I think Baker is talking about great playoff moments, really.) Ernie Banks, Dick Allen, Jeff Bagwell, and Alex Rodriguez come to mind. I might even be wrong about them. What do you guys think? Something to chew-over on a bright, but brutally cold day in The Big Apple.

Comments (151)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-01-26 07:48:47
1.   Ken Arneson
Frank Thomas comes to mind. He got a ring with the White Sox, but he was hurt for most of the year, including the playoffs.

This doesn't happen so much in baseball, but I often think about the unfortunate great players who happen to play in an era with an all-time dominant player, grabbing all the headlines and the trophies. What would we think of Mickelson if there wasn't a Tiger? Of Stockton, Malone, Drexler, Ewing, Olajuwon if there wasn't a Jordan? Of Messier if there wasn't a Gretzky? Of Nadal and Roddick if there wasn't a Federer? Where would Borg and McEnroe be if Federer had played back then?

2007-01-26 07:50:20
2.   Jim Dean
The surefire HOF'ers but who won't make it because of popular opinion:

Dale Murphy.
Andre Dawson.
Bert Blyleven.

Put any of them in the Northeast and they coast in.

2007-01-26 07:51:23
3.   Knuckles
Sorry to switch sports, but this passage just screams Patrick Ewing.
2007-01-26 07:54:04
4.   markp
Arod's postseason OPS is 847. If not for him, the Twins win in 2004 (1,213 OPS). If not for him, the Yanks don't go up 3-0 vs Boston in the same year (894 OPS). The horrible series by Derek Jeter and the failures by Gordon and Mariano to close out games were the reasons we lost that year.
2007-01-26 07:58:09
5.   Shawn Clap
Didn't Frank Thomas just have a 2 homerun game in the ALDS?
2007-01-26 08:02:54
6.   joejoejoe
OT: I highly recommend Kevin Baker's novel 'Dreamland'. It's one of the best works of historical fiction I've ever read with an almost unbelievably rich subject matter - New York City and Coney Island circa 1910. It's as good as Doctorow's 'Ragtime'.
2007-01-26 08:05:35
7.   NetShrine
markp - with no disrespect meant....

I do not agree with this belief that Rodriguez carried the Yankees against the Twins in 2004.

Yes, A-Rod had the big hit in the bottom of the 12th in Game 2. And, in the 11th inning of Game 4, Rodriguez doubled, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch.

But, Derek Jeter and Hideki Matsui also tore the cover off the ball for that entire series. And, believe it or not, Kevin Brown pitched a gem in Game 3 (when the series was tied 1-1). And, of course, Mo was Mo, as usual, in that series.

Also, it was Ruben Sierra who hit that clutch 3-run HR with one out in the 8th to tie Game 4 at five. If Big Rube does not get that hit, it's a tied series going into a "winner-take-all" Game 5 situation.

This is not to say that A-Rod did not have a fine 2004 ALDS - because he did. But, to claim that "he carried the Yankees" in this post-season series is a joke.

He got a big hit in the 12th to help set up the great comeback win in Game 2. And, he hit a double to help set up the tie-breaking game-winning-run in the 11th inning of Game 4. But, a lot of other Yankees did big things at the plate and on the mound to win Game 3, and, it was Ruben Sierra who "carried" the team in Game 4 - not A-Rod.

2007-01-26 08:13:47
8.   rsmith51
Rafael Palmeiro comes to mind.
2007-01-26 08:18:33
9.   Jim Dean
8 Are you serious?

"..and passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all"

2007-01-26 08:27:22
10.   OldYanksFan
Not to intrude on this thread topic, but I had a thought.
Mark Teixeira is 26. Is he a FA in 2008?
He has a career OPS of .900.
I don't know if he is a liability with the glove.. another Giambi type?
Is Cashman targeting him? Is this why we only got a 1b-man who would take a 1 year contract?

Like in the game of chess, I think a GM has to look at the FA market 3 years ahead, and I assume Cashman is doing this.

I am reminded on how out of nowhere, Cash swooped on Damon and turned him onto a Yankee overnight. Is Tex in Cashmans sights?

2007-01-26 08:31:09
11.   Schteeve
7 This is just proof that no matter what A-Rod does, people will discount it, because they simply don't like the dude.
2007-01-26 08:35:11
12.   BobbyBaseBall
10 Right about the time the RJ trade went down, i was wondering whether Cash would flip a few of the lesser pitching prospects for Tex (I think this was before MCI was signed). Rangers always need pitching, Cash has lots of pitching makes sense. However, I only think the Rangers trade Tex mid-season if they get the feeling they won't be able to resign him.
2007-01-26 08:35:23
13.   Bama Yankee
How about Dave Winfield? Although I'm sure that Charlie Leibrandt does not refer to him as Mr. May...
2007-01-26 08:36:51
14.   Cliff Corcoran
All I could think about reading that passage was Ted Williams.

Ty Cobb also lept to mind, but Cobb had an excellent 1908 Series.

Banks and Allen, of course, never got the opportunity, and Williams only had one.

1 Blyleven doesn't apply. He has two World Series rings, a career 2.47 ERA in the postseason, and a 2.35 World Series ERA, all with strong peripheral stats. He had 1.80 ERA in the 1979 Series, winning his one start and also pitching in relief, and in the NLCS against the remnants of the Big Red Machine that year he tossed a complete game, allowing 1 run and striking out 9.

Dawson had a solid 1981 NLDS against the Phillies, but that was the first round of the strike-year playoffs so I can understand why it's been forgotten.

8 Palmeiro does have 4 postseason homers and a pretty good career line in the ALCS, his best series coming agains the Yankees in 1996.

5 Frank Thomas has 3 postseason homers, a career .433 OPB in four postseason series and was a monster in both the 1993 ALCS and 2006 ALDS.

10 Teixeira is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball. I believe he'll be a free agent after the 2008 season unless the Rangers give him a long-term deal, which they should do. If he hits the market he'll be one of the top, if not the top, names on it.

2007-01-26 08:38:09
15.   Ken Arneson
5 Yeah, but then Thomas pretty much went 0-for-ALCS.
2007-01-26 08:38:42
16.   Cliff Corcoran
13 You answered your own question.
2007-01-26 08:48:31
17.   Raf
You guys mean someone like Willie Randolph, or Roy White?
2007-01-26 08:48:33
18.   Cliff Corcoran
15 Not pretty much, he did go 0 for the 2006 ALCS, with two walks. But such is the nature of postseason play and its small samples. The best example is that Reggie Jackson hit .227/.298/.380 in 11 ALCS, but .357/.457/.755 in his 5 World Series. End result? .278/.358/.527 in the postseason vs. .262/.356/.490 in the regular season on his career. Sample size is the issue here.

Take a look at another Yankee famous for postseason heroics, Derek Jeter: .262/.339/.405 in 7 career ALCS but .370/.431/.580 in 11 career ALDS. Overall: .314/.384/.479 postseason, .317/.388/.463 regular season.

This works very well for Mr. October and Mr. November because they played in so many postseason series that the sample becomes resonable (Jackson: 281 postseason ABs, Jeter: 478 postseason ABs--and Jackson's sample is still small).

As for Alex Rodriguez, he's a career .315/.413/.611 hitter in his three ALCS appearances and was a monster vs. the Yankees in 2000 and vs. the Twins in the 2004 ALDS. He doesn't apply here, he's gotten those big hits.

2007-01-26 08:51:26
19.   Cliff Corcoran
17 Willie was a monster in the 1980 ALCS and in the 1990 ALCS for the A's. Roy White hit .278/.387/.430 in six postseason series vs. .271/.360/.404 regular season career and saved the best for last with fantastic showings in the 1978 ALCS and World Series.
2007-01-26 09:00:10
20.   williamnyy23
7 Arod definitely doesn't belong on this list. While it seems as if anything Arod does gets discounted, he did have a monster 1213 OPS in the 2004 ALDS. Even though Matsui was nearly as good (Jeter wasn't), Arod also made the "key" plays in that series as well. If he doesn't come through in Game 2, the Yankees would have been facing a 2-0 deficit with Santana waiting (and likely pitching in game 5 on full rest). That was unquestionably, a huge hit. Then, as you mentioned, Arod single handedly scored the winning run in Game 4.

I guess we can argue about whether he "carried" the team or not, but the bottom line is Arod's series was very "clutch".

Finally, it is worth noting that Arod WAS very good in the post season with the Mariners; had a great start to the 2004 ALCS; and also had a very good .OBP in the 2005 ALDS (even though he was single handedly blamed for that series loss).

2007-01-26 09:05:56
21.   Bama Yankee
16 Yeah, that one double probably keeps him off this list. But, he is probably known more for his poor postseason performances than that one big hit (certainly in the view of Yankee fans). In a similar way, it has been said that the Atlanta Braves are one David Justice homer away from being the Buffalo Bills of baseball.
2007-01-26 09:06:35
22.   OldYanksFan
"Teixeira is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball. I believe he'll be a free agent after the 2008 season unless the Rangers give him a long-term deal, which they should do. If he hits the market he'll be one of the top, if not the top, names on it."

If this is true, can the Rangers afford to re-sign him? We are talking in the neighborhood of 6/96? If the Rangers need pitching, would Melky and 3 (non-Hughes) kids do it? To some extend, it would be a salary dump for Texas, and is smarter then letting him become a FA and only getting 1 draft pick for him.

My question is: Is this in the front of Cashmans mind? Might this partially explain Minky?

2007-01-26 09:07:25
23.   New Amsterdam Yankees
Stan Musial posted a line of .256/.347/.395 in 4 World Series against a career line of .331/.417/.559. Small sample though (86 AB) and he did have a pretty good 1944 Series (.304/.360/.522).
2007-01-26 09:08:04
24.   williamnyy23
18 Bernie also has some interesting splits: .321/.413/.549 in 7 career ALCS but .208/.319/.358 in 6 career WS. Overall: .275/.371/.480 postseason, .297/.381/.477 regular season.

It appears as if Bernie and Jeter are very similar in overall stats, but Jeter has more "moments".

Many Yankees, in fact, have varied post season splits. Probably the most consistent was Tino, but that wasn't a good thing.

2007-01-26 09:09:33
25.   David
IMHO the words, "passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all" elimimates all the Hall of Famers, especially ARod., who will finish some where in the top 3 in all-time HRs, 3000+ hits, etc.

The Yankee who most perfectly fits the description is Bobby Abreu.

2007-01-26 09:11:51
26.   tommyl
22 Who knows with Cashman? Last year he spent weeks telling us Bubba was the answer in CF only to swoop in and get Damon. Having read accounts of what Cashman's office looks like though: every wall covered with tablets for the 40-man roster of every team, with contract status and years in the league; I'd have to guess he's thought about it. Cash is widely known for being one of the best GMs when it comes to information gathering (which is why he sometimes makes moves that are surprising to us).
2007-01-26 09:12:37
27.   tommyl
24 Bernie's had some moments though. He was awful in the 2000 WS except for that towering HR...
2007-01-26 09:13:09
28.   Cliff Corcoran
22 Nothing explains Minky, there were better one-year options out there. This is a post I owe you guys.
2007-01-26 09:17:08
29.   williamnyy23
25 Ken Singleton comes to mind as well. Singleton had a very good career with several great seasons, not to mention two rings. If you think about it, Singleton was a very consistent, quality contributor, but was always overshadowed by bigger names on his team (and underappreciated in an era when the value of OBP wasn't fully recognized). Also, other than being the first player to reach "the black" at the new YS, he doesn't really have a claim to fame.
2007-01-26 09:18:38
30.   Cliff Corcoran
25 Abreu has a solid Hall of Fame chance himself, you know. All he needs a little longevity and a couple more postseason runs, one of which he should get this year in pinstripes.
2007-01-26 09:21:13
31.   williamnyy23
29 There may have been, but I wonder how much personality factored into the equation, not to mention his childhood friendship with Arod? In other words, if choosing between two sub-par options, wouldn't it be wise to sign a player who might make life more comfortable for your superstar?

Still, there was really no reason to let Wilson go. He is right handed and has a very solid track record. Unfortunately, his performance last season landed him in Torre's dog house. Who knows? Maybe he didn't have enough fire in his belly?

2007-01-26 09:27:47
32.   Shawn Clap
MARK LANGSTON - A superb picther who had the misfortune of playing for some crummy teams.

The only memorable moment I have of Langston is of him crying in the dugout after being outdueled by Randy Johnson in the 1-game 1995 playoff for the AL West.

2007-01-26 09:37:21
33.   NetShrine
Schteeve - I would counter your take with "This is just proof that no matter what A-Rod does, people will discount it, because they simply want to like the dude."
2007-01-26 09:56:42
34.   Schteeve
33 I don't know Alex Rodriguez. I have no idea if I like him or not, and I don't frankly care if he's nice or if he is smarmy, or wants everyone to like him, or squeezes the sawdust out of the bat or whatever, or kicks puppies. He is a really really really freaking good baseball player, and without his contribution in the 2004 ALDS the Yankees would very likely have lost.

This isn't about me being a fan boy. This is about objectively evaluating the dude's performance.

I guarantee you that if we took a poll of every Yankee fan in America right now, more of them would be ok with trading A-Rod than Matsui, and that's outrageous and stupid.

2007-01-26 09:58:19
35.   Schteeve
31 It would have been even better if he had fire in his belly full of guts. As opposed to A-Rod who apparently has a belly full of sawdust, or stuffed unicorns or something.
2007-01-26 10:04:45
36.   yankz
What next, Barry Bonds for US Senator?

(Schilling discusses Senate candidacy, via Deadspin)

2007-01-26 10:04:47
37.   BALCO Lab Rats
Many players that played part of their career with the Montreal Expos would fit this description: Andres Galarraga, Tim Wallach; Dawson and Langston were mentioned before, maybe Tim Raines?
2007-01-26 10:06:06
38.   Bama Yankee
He's not done yet, but Todd Helton could be on this list. His career batting average is only two hits short of being 1/3 and he is a 3-time gold glove 1B, but his career lacks that defining moment (probably due to his lack of postseason participation and playing his entire career for the Rockies).

I still remember him as a quarterback for the Tennessee Vols. However, even there he was best known for backing up Heath Shuler for two years and then losing his starting job to Peyton Manning after an injury.

2007-01-26 10:06:13
39.   joejoejoe
25 29 Looking at his career stats Ken Singleton was a lot better than I remembered. He's got the same career SLG% as Don Baylor yet I remember Baylor as a masher and Singleton as steady. Both great players but Singleton looks better in hindsight.

Bernie was better than both.

2007-01-26 10:09:31
40.   Jim Dean
28 Not for nothing, Cliff, but you don't owe us anything (how's that for double negatives?).

Though I'm sure I'll appreciate it if it's posted.

That said, I have trouble seeing where you stand on the Cairo signing. You seem to say "He's what he is, but there wasn't much out there."

What grade would you give it? Surely, not an A or B? Indeed, I'd be very curious to see your report card on the GM near the end of the off-season.

14 I agree on Blyleven though he'd be in the HOF if he had done any of that in a bigger city.

2007-01-26 10:24:47
41.   Jeteupthemiddle
28 I still encourage people to read Anthony's blog regarding Mientkiewicz.

So what can we expect from Eyechart going forward? ZiPS has his 2007 projection as .255/.342/.383. Marcel has him at .260/.336/.402. Let's average them out: .258/.339/.393. Using a simple Runs Created formula, that works out to 77 runs per 650 plate appearances.

Now that's not very good. The average AL 1B hit .280/.352/.467. In the NL, it was .290/.372/.507. Let's say that the average 1B hits .285/.362/.487, or 102 runs/650 PA. Maybe that's unfair to Mientkiewicz, since the NL is the easier league and those stats should be discounted a bit more, but whatever.

Anyway, we can put those numbers on a scale of batting average with this formula: (1.8*OBP + SLG) * .2595. For Mientkiewicz, it's .260. For the average 1B, it's .295. You can look at those numbers the same way you look at batting average, so they're easy to understand.

Baseball Prospectus figures replacement level in a couple different ways. This one works on the batting average scale, this one on the runs scale. These would set the replacement level for first basemen at a .261 average and 75 runs. What was Mientkiewicz again? .260 and 77 runs. In other words, he's the definition of replacement.

So basically, offensively, he is the definition of replacement level, and defensively he is still above average even if his defense has slipped a bit in recent years.

And, to top it all off, he has only receieved a 1 year $1.5M contract.

2007-01-26 10:33:29
42.   thelarmis
law has some nice words about our minor league system over at that 4-lettered site.

have a nice weekend everyone. looking forward to that post you mentioned, cliff. and, yes, abreu has a nice shot at the HoF. i'm a HUGE fan of the 300-300 club and really enjoy following 20-20, 30-30, 40-40 seasons. i've written a few "articles" about it. bobby is all over the consistent 20-20 seasons, up there w/ both bonds. a really great all-around player. i followed him throughout his philty career and hope we pick up his '08 option (granted he stays healthy, of course)...

2007-01-26 10:36:51
43.   thelarmis
pete abe also has a list of prospects courtesy of the new baseball america handbook.
2007-01-26 10:43:56
44.   Jeteupthemiddle
So I just read the Kieth Law piece, and I don't believe he is accurate.

For one, no way is Tabata considered a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. As much as I love him, it is just not accurate to say.

Also, Tabata is no longer in the Venezuelan league because while Law reports he "is swinging without problems" he reaggrivated his hand injury at least a month ago and was sent home so he could just stop and rest before the season.

2007-01-26 11:13:26
45.   Jim Dean
44 Law : Scout as Phillips : GM.
2007-01-26 11:16:02
46.   pistolpete
For some reason, a lot of the old Blue Jays players jump to mind - before they won championships with Key & Carter, that is.

People like Jorge Bell, Jesse Barfield, etc.

Fred McGriff also comes to mind...

2007-01-26 11:25:11
47.   Shaun P
Until I got to this phrase

"They played on no great teams, took part in no immortal moments"

the name "Lou Whitaker" flashed through my head. But the '84 Tigers were a great team, and that 35-5 start was an immortal moment, though I think Whitaker is 4th or 5th on the list of "Tigers you think of when someone mentions the '84 team" (behind Morris, Trammel, Kirk Gibson, and maybe Willie Hernandez).

Its a shame, IMHO, that Whitaker was passed over so easily for the Hall of Fame - he didn't even get enough votes to stay on the ballot after his first year of eligibility.

2007-01-26 11:34:31
48.   Shawn Clap
47 Darrell Evans on that '84 team pretty much "passed quietly and respectably from the game". Long time slugger, though no recognition.
2007-01-26 11:37:16
49.   Shaun P
And note that Whitaker hit .204/.350/.306 in his 3 postseason series vs a career .276/.363/.426. He did OK in the '84 Serious: .278/.409/.389.

37 Raines to me doesn't work because he was, of course, on the '98 Yankees, and he ought to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

This becomes null and void when he gets his 3000th hit (an immortal moment), but for now, how about Craig Biggio?

2007-01-26 11:43:13
50.   Sliced Bread
Jumping in late on the "great players who've never had a great moment" discussion.

How about Ichiro?

He did play for a great team, the 2001 Mariners who won 116 games, but he and his team did nothing in the playoffs after advancing past Cleveland.

Ichiro was pretty much a non-factor vs the Yanks in the ALCS (.222/.364/.278) and hasn't played October ball since.

And at the risk of committing Bronx Banter Blasphemy, Mattingly also fits some of the criteria.

Sure, we as Yankees fans have many memories of him (including his incredible Division Series against the M's in '95: .417/.440/.708)

but outside Yankeeland I think Mattingly could be regarded as a player who "took part in no immortal moments, and passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all" -- even if we Yanks fans consider him a Yankees immortal.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-01-26 11:51:26
51.   mickey1956
Just for discussion.

Joe Morgan in 50 postseason games.

.182 .323 .348

2007-01-26 11:56:39
52.   tommyl
51 But did you actually see those games. Joe Morgan fired up his entire team with his guttiness, or maybe they just figured time spent on base was time spent not listening to him speak in the dugout?
2007-01-26 11:58:19
53.   jayd
"great players who never had a great moment"

As Cliff pointed out Ted Williams -- because Williams' great moments, hitting .406 for one, were composites of prolonged efforts,not the sort of Jeter back hand toss from Spencer's wide throw home, or diving into the stands in a moment of complete self sacrifice.

Jeter has moments the way Arod and Teddy Baseball will never have. They cut to our hearts like the way the discovery of a great truth (God, the meaning of life or death, who we are, what we ought to do, finding or meeting the right mate, settling into the right career). All of those things, those discoveries, depend on the heart and the will, not the head or the mind. Arod is head player, Jeter plays with his heart. They both have tremendous accomplishments, but Jeter is special to us.

Which is why we respond to the great players who play the game with their whole being because they show us in our mundane worlds that pursuing a question as Socrates pursued "Know thyself." will give us answers, in the same way that Jeter's shining moments are the ones we can close our eyes and still see. Just a theory, but a damned good one.

As I write, Cashman is ordering the San-tan yo-han dessert in a Beijing restaurant. Kind of a deep fried bread with a cream filling. Could it be,yes, it's a fried twinkie. In a downtown Minneapolis hotel, a take out chinese delivery makes its way to the fourth floor...Momentous things are underway as the hot stove is transformed into a hibachi. Just a feeling I know, but a damned good one.

2007-01-26 11:59:15
54.   standuptriple
51 Puhshaw. Stats mean nothing. Did he look like a ballplayer? Most obviously, yes.
2007-01-26 12:05:45
55.   TheWord
Anyone else think Mike Mussina fits into this category?
2007-01-26 12:08:18
56.   Sliced Bread
55 absolutely. Moose has had so many almost immortal moments. That passage defines his career -- so far.
2007-01-26 12:13:41
57.   Shaun P
55 Great call!

Related question - if the '03 Yanks had beaten the Marlins, would we consider that team to be great, thus negating Moose's inclusion? They did win over 100 games (101, to be precise), but off the top of my head, I don't seem them as a great team, W-L record aside.

2007-01-26 12:23:45
58.   Jim Dean
50 55 Two excellent calls from the current generation. Though they both will do better than most in the "passed quietly and respectably from the game, vaguely admired by all"

Moose because he was in NY, and they still have a good chance of winning one with him. Who know's he could also have a lucky year for once and win 20, with the Yankee lineup. If Unit could win 17 last year, Moose can win 20.

Ichiro because he broke a barrier. He'll always be remembered more than vaguely for that.

From the current generation, I'd say Posada. If not for Piazza and Pudge making him pale in comparison, and getting screwed by Torre for playing time in 1997 and 1998, he's a surefire HOF.

2007-01-26 12:26:03
59.   Raf
50 Game 2 HR, where the fans went apes--t to the point where Piniella had to pull his team off the field doesn't count? :)

I was at that game, it was greatest postseason game I've ever attended...

2007-01-26 12:27:12
60.   Jim Dean
57 If so, I think I would have lumped them into the dynasty.

It's 2004 I always play the "What if" game. With A-Rod, Moose, and Giambi, and Rocket and Pettite gone, they just seemd like almost whole new team to me.

2007-01-26 12:32:02
61.   Jim Dean
58 There's also Posada's splits:

Regular: .270 .375 .472
Post: 307 AB .241 .358 .388

Even more reason to give him more time off.

2007-01-26 13:01:28
62.   Sliced Bread
59 You could certainly argue that home run was an immortal moment for Mattingly: his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium, an October game winner.

Had the Yanks won that series that moment might be more renowned than it is, but I think most baseball fans (again, outside of Yankeeland) have long forgotten it.

You, however, having witnessed it in person, have a baseball moment to cherish forever.

2007-01-26 13:09:04
63.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Duke Snider and Luke Appling I think fall into the "vaguely appreciated" category.

John Stockton. Adrian Dantley, though basketball insiders will always remember him for his stat lines: 30+ points on less than 10 shots and a wad of free throws. Alex English.

2007-01-26 13:12:08
64.   Shawn Clap
When Edgar Martinez get elected to the HOF his highlight reel is just gonna be the double in Game 5 of the '95 ALDS.

And truth be told be told, that's actually a Griffey Jr. highlight clip.

2007-01-26 13:12:15
65.   Schteeve
38 Good call on Helton.
2007-01-26 13:15:44
66.   Schteeve
51 I didn't see those games so I can't comment on them, but Joe Morgan is a great legend, and he's the Vice President of the Vetran's Committe. And at least he wasn't clogging up the bases.
2007-01-26 13:30:13
67.   Raf
62 Actually, Leyritz hit the GWHR. The crowd was already hot because Sierra went deep, then lost it after Mattingly went deep (back to back hr's)

64 He had a pretty good gm 4 too. They could just as easily play the GS off Wetteland.

2007-01-26 13:55:35
68.   pistolpete
67 I have that game on VHS somewhere - still get goosebumps when I hear Gary Thorne's call...
2007-01-26 13:57:14
69.   Bama Yankee
63 Excellent call on Dantley. Trading him for Mark Aguirre helped put the Pistons over the top in 89.

Stockton is also a good call (he was my favorite player). However, he did play on some great teams IMO and he also had that game winner in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals.

Also, do you think Pete Maravich should make the list?

65 Thanks.

2007-01-26 14:35:58
70.   Raf
68 When I get my new PC, that's the first game I'm ordering through MLB. I taped gm 5 of the ALDS, and still watch it every so often. That game and series really hurt. I wrote off game 3 because RJ was starting that one. But gm 4 was winnable, and game 5, well... Didn't even record an out. Funny thing was, AB prior, Edgar k'd on what looked to be a hanging splitter or slider.

What a difference a year makes, eh? Cone stays in a bit too long for Showalter, and walks in the tying run, the following year Cone stays in a bit too long and gets the team out of a jam in Atlanta.

That game's great on so many levels; the Legend of Edgar (.571), Cone running out of gas, Unit's relief effort, the Legend of Mo, "saving" Seattle Baseball, Donnie torching the ball in his only playoff appearance (I'd thought he's be back, seeing as he picked up that new leg kick), Bernie establishing himself as one of the game's best, so on and so forth...

2007-01-26 17:33:24
71.   vockins
59 Here's the Mattingly HR during Game 2 of the '95 ALDS:

2007-01-26 18:42:15
72.   Raf
71 Thanks for posting that. Brought back a lot of memories.

That was the first postseason series I've ever attended, I was able to get tickets to both games with no problem. Game one was fairly nondescript, there isn't much I remember from that game other than sitting under the net behind home plate (courtesy of Joe Amato); I had seats in the upper deck. I hipped him and Chucky Mauro (then a cop on the force in Pelham, NY), to the Mariner players, I was a diehard Yankee fan, but I was aware of other players in the league. I knew about Edgar and how good he was, and told them about him. Don't think he was that highly regarded, the franchise focus was on Griffey & Unit. How huge was Griffey back then? I also remember telling them about Jeff Nelson, and how he was murder on righties because of that slider he had. I always thought Bill Risley had nasty stuff, I remember he was traded to the Jays, then fell off the face of the earth. Injuries did him in.

2007-01-26 20:15:11
73.   Bama Yankee
71 Thanks for the video vockins. Did you notice that high five between Mattingly and Jeter? When Donnie's left hand meets Derek's right hand look closely and you can see a torch being passed...

Donnie is a Hall of Famer in my book. They let Gale Sayers into the Pro Football HOF after injuries cut his career short at 7 seasons with only 5 of those being productive. Mattingly was putting up HOF numbers until his back went out (thanks Bob Shirley). I know all the arguments against it and I am most definitely biased, but watching him round those bases in that video I could not help but think that the HOF was created for guys like him. A HOF with Barry Bonds and without Don Mattingly will be sad but I am sure we will see it.

2007-01-26 23:48:35
74.   Orly Yarly NoWai
69 Pistol Pete has a flashy nickname and an endless highlight reel. He had floppy sweat socks which everyone remembers, a crazy death and a TON of incredible moments. He doesn't make the list, I think.

Stockton was also my favorite player, and his gamewinner over Barkley was incredible. That being said, his entire career was pick-and-roll with Karl Malone.

A couple other basketball guys who might be in this discussion are A.C. Green, Chris Mullin, Ron Harper and Dave Bing. Shawn Marion would be approaching this territory but for his fantasy uberness.

2007-01-26 23:50:55
75.   yankz
71 Thank you very much. Man, how I wish he was playing today.

"He runs the bases like they used to, how the captain of the Yankees should." (or something like that)

I f-ing love this game and this team.

2007-01-27 03:30:17
76.   Paul in Boston
Still the #1 baseball disappointment of my life, losing that Seattle series. Red Sox fans can't understand this, but the combination of the long post-season draught, the incredible late season surge, the end of Mattingly's career, the humiliation of Showalter, and (in particular) the horrific way the last two games were lost all made me gloomy for an embarrassingly long time. I called the Martinez Grand Slam in game 4 off Wetteland, can still see it disappearing over the center field fence.

Wonderful to see again, however, this Donnie Baseball highlight -- that compact swing, the even demeanor. Did you see Jeter pop out of the dugout to congratulate him? Next year Jeter would be the starting shortstop, and I saw his first major league home run on a cold cold April opening day in Clevelend. How time flies ...

2007-01-27 05:55:49
77.   Jim Dean
76 My #1 disappointment as well. It still hurts after all these years, most especially because DB had such a great post-season and they still lost. The worst tease of Donnie was that he never officially announced his retirement. I remember praying in 96 that they'd sign him for the stretch run.

Further, after 96 I couldn't help but think - what if they brought Jetes up for the stretch run in 1995. Could he have been a difference maker in that Seattle 95 series?

2007-01-27 06:04:52
78.   Jim Dean
71 That clip rocks. I looks like Donnie winces a bit at the moment of impact. I wonder how much pain he was in that series.

I had forgotten that Lou pulls his team off the field and how crazy the games could get. Defintely the die hards at those games. Now it's the stiffs.

Love the cameo by "crew chief" Rich Garcia too. Who knew at that time the starring role he had have the following year?

2007-01-27 06:52:40
79.   DarrenF
When I read the initial post, the first player I thought of was Mike Stanley.

Tino Martinez is one of the worst postseason performers you can find, yet he's widely remembered for two World Series HRs.

Bernie Williams never had a definitive World Series moment, and that seems to hurt his status. All of his great playoff moments occurred in the earlier rounds. His performance against Texas in 1996 should have been memorable. I just don't think it's widely remembered.

2007-01-27 07:27:45
80.   Matt B
Just occurred to me that Alex's title is also the name of a Joan Rivers comedy album from about 25 years ago. Nice reference, man.
2007-01-27 07:42:07
81.   OldYanksFan
79 It kind of pisses me off, and tells you about perception and prejudice. When you look hard at Yankee PS stats, there are many players who could have made a difference with one key AB, yet ARod is CONSTANTLY called a PS choker.. and only his bad numbers are paointed at for our teams failure.

There have been 2 and 3 game PS stretches where Jetes and Posada were really bad. Brosius and Tino were both bad in general. Pitchers failed at many times. Bad bounces and cheap hits cost us games. There are MANY reasons for our failures in the PS.

I am not defending ARod. I had hoped and expected better PS results. But he is far from alone is his failures. I am simply tired of him always being the sacrificial lamb. Because we love Jetes, Posada, Tino, Pettitte and others, they get a pass. If ARod is primarily responsible for winning one series (Minn) but has a bad next series.. he gets shit.

How many players failed the 'speed' drug tests? 20? 30? More? How many do we hear about? ONE. Barry Bonds. The easiest target in sports. Again, I am not defending Barry, I'm just tired of writers always picking on the easier prey, and exaseratiing the situation.

It's the same for ARod.
It would be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO nice to watch ARod in 2007, simply as a ballplayer, and not have the 'ten tons' of shit from writers and boo-birds.

2007-01-27 07:42:31
82.   Raf
77 Maybe, maybe not. The Yanks would've advanced to the LCS had the bullpen held on to a couple of leads.

I thought it to be a cool move by Showalter to bring Jeter, Posada and Ruben Rivera to the postseason. I think of the three only Posada was on the roster.

2007-01-27 08:06:13
83.   Reader11722
That book is boring. A better book (that you will not fall asleep reading) is 'America Deceived' by E.A. Blayre III (Amazon and Wiki pulled it). Excellent part about Jeter in the opening.
Here's the chapter:
2007-01-27 08:11:06
84.   Jim Dean
Wow, Reader11722 back again! And with the same book recommendation, no less, but this time with Jeter playing a prominent role!
2007-01-27 08:20:03
85.   yankz
Apparently E.A. Blayre III is a Toaster fan.
2007-01-27 08:22:02
86.   yankz
It got a sh*tty review.

Although, aren't Amazon reviewers the ones who love Little David Eckstein

2007-01-27 09:07:32
87.   thelarmis
hey bama, did you see karim garcia signed a minor league deal with the Phils?


2007-01-27 13:22:33
88.   Bama Yankee
87 Yeah, I saw that. Since we all know that Pat Gillick is a loyal reader of the Banter, anyone think our buddy Karim owes us a little something for keeping his name out there while he was over in Japan?
2007-01-27 13:36:22
89.   Jim Dean
How about the Helton to Sox rumor? Shoot, he's expensive, but really if the Sox get another ring or three, then it's always worth it. You worry about the future in the future.

I wish the GM of a certain team would take such risks.

2007-01-27 13:42:15
90.   yankz
89 Here's an article:

I don't know, Sox would be giving up a ton to take on one of the biggest contracts ever. It would probably help this year, not so much in a few years.

2007-01-27 13:50:33
91.   Jim Dean
90 Taverez and Lowell? That's not alot.

And sure they'll be paying him a ton of cash, but Manny will be off the books soon as will Schilling.

If the Sox win a few rings, it really won't matter what happens in five years.

2007-01-27 14:21:30
92.   yankz
They'll have to give up more than Tavarez and Lowell. Either that, or not have the financial flexibility to make any significant moves for a long time.
2007-01-27 14:21:57
93.   Jim Dean
Yup - I'm going to say it. What's so wrong with the Yanks getting Helton? Why weren't they looking there?

1) They need a 1B.

2) Helton's very good defensively and he still carries a .900 OPS on the road. That RF porch in Yankee Stadium is also nice for his swing.

3) He'll come very for few prospects and he's only 32.

Sure that contract sucks, but so what? They're not paying a RF next year, and Giambi is gone after 2008. So, he's their DH for two year - what they want him to be any ways. Further, if atwo of their young pitchers work out, they save a ton of money there.

2007-01-27 14:38:00
94.   yankz
He also hit 15 home runs in 546 at-bats last year, playing half his games at Coors (20 in 509 the year before that). Sure, his 119 OPS+ is still very good, but it's been declining for the past four years.

If you click "Neutralize Stats" on Baseball Reference, his OPS drops to .829. Severely declining power numbers and only a decent hitter in a neutral park? Yes, he'd be a good fit for a couple years, and of course an improvement over Scrabble, but I think 90 million could be better spent elsewhere.

2007-01-27 14:44:22
95.   Jim Dean
94 I agree, he's a good fit for three - four years. But who says they couldn't buy him out and he retires at age 37 or 38.

He's also been on a very crappy team. For the Yanks he'd hit 7th or 8th and he fits their lineup and park. We'll have to see what the price ends up being, but I may just end up adding it to my list of Cashman grievances.

2007-01-27 14:54:17
96.   OldYanksFan
Todd Helton will be 34 this summer.
Away 2005: .266 .360 .421 .781
Away 2006: .287 .418 .453 .871

Now these are certainly decent numbers, even for a 1Bman. He's had 509 and 546 ABs in the last 2 years. Was he injured these years?

07: $16.6M age: 33-34
08: $16.6M age: 34-35
09: $16.6M age: 35-36
10: $16.6M age: 36-37
11: $19.1M age: 37-38
12: $23.0M or club option ($4.6M buyout)

Assuming Todd Helton would NOT be signed in '12, thats $90.1M/5 = $18M/yr

Manny is signed for 07, 08 and 09 at $20M.
This is probably Schrills last year (at $13M)
I wonder what the Sox will spend to replace $13M worth of Schilling.

Jim... I find it interesting that you complained that our infield was OLD (31,32,24,32), and yet you want to pay Helton $18M/yr for years 34-38.

"I wish the GM of a certain team would take such risks."
I guess that's because Cashman has absolutely no experience with 34+ year old players with long, overpriced contracts.

Considering Yankee RF compared to Fenway, Todd would be better for us... but let the Sox have him. This is desparation stuff for the Sox. They sell out a $40,000 stadium every day, and have the highest ticket prices. They can not afford to keep a $160M payroll year after year.

Jim... Dude... you must be a Bush supporter.
You guys think alike.

2007-01-27 15:03:41
97.   OldYanksFan
94 Shoot - beat me to it!
"But who says they couldn't buy him out and he retires at age 37 or 38."

Good idea Jim. In 2011, he'll have $23.7M coming his way, even if he is Pavano'd. He will basically be Minky by then. Wonder what he'd be worth on the market. And then, we'ld have only paid him an average of $16.6M for the previous 4 years.

Jim - How much will Tex cost in 2008? You want Helton (for 4 more years) instead of Tex?

Are you thinking Jim? Sometimes I wonder if you are talking sh*t just for the fun of it.

2007-01-27 15:11:24
98.   OldYanksFan
Another opinion on Todd Helton.
2007-01-27 15:19:46
99.   Sliced Bread
67 Dang, what was I thinking, Raf? My memory ain't what it used to be.

71 Thanks for the Mattingly clip.

2007-01-27 15:20:38
100.   Jim Dean
There's no guarantee Teixeira will be available. And the Yanks don't have a 1B in the system.

In fact, they ignored the need for a young 1B just as they have a young C.

If they're not going to get prospects to fill holes, then they'll need to overpay. Helton fits offensively and defensively. In three oe four years he's a DH .

Heck, they're the Yankees. They need at least one albatross contract. And Helton is a fine player.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-01-27 15:23:48
101.   yankz
...There's no guarantee Helton is available to the Yankees either. Colorado, according to the article, wants established talent (Lowell) to offset the loss, and the Yankees can't/won't move any of their starting position players.

They need an albatross contract? What?

2007-01-27 15:29:08
102.   Jim Dean
101 The last part was sarcasm. Still, they can afford one bad contract even as I feel good about Helton hitting in Yankee Stadium.

On the "established talent", that could be true. We'll have to see.

2007-01-27 16:02:09
103.   Bama Yankee
You guys are late to the party on Helton. Shaun P proposed that we trade Sheff for him back in November and I agreed (even if he is a former Tennessee Vol QB). We were shot down by jakewoods so we let it die or Helton would be in pinstripes today. ;-)
2007-01-27 16:12:51
104.   Jim Dean
103 I'm not sure I would have agreed with that trade if I had seen it, unless the Rockies were going to pick up a huge chunk of the salary.

Now, if it's spare parts on the farm - that's a trade I do for Helton and worry about the contract later.

Again, it's not like they have a 1B in the system.

2007-01-27 20:56:02
105.   Jeteupthemiddle
Eric Duncan and his .840 OPS and severely improved K:BB in AA at the age of 21 disagree about that.

Also, someone is going to respond to me and say that Duncan is a bust and stop mentioning him because of his AAA numbers, so let me just address that now. No, Duncan is not a bust yet. He is only just now entering his aged 22 season (roughly the same age he would be were he drafted out of college) and shouldn't have been in AAA to begin with. Not to mention that much of his AAA time was while he was suffering with a back injury. He got healthy, he was sent to the proper league, and look, his numbers have him at prospect territory.

I expect big things from Duncan in 2007--assuming he is healthy, which is clearly the most important part.

2007-01-28 05:22:31
106.   OldYanksFan
The Sox are looking to trade Mike Lowell, Julian Tavarez and a prospect to Colorado in return for Todd Helton. Colorado wants either Craig Hansen or Manny Delcarmen. The Sox are trying to go with a lesser prospect.

However, it looks like Colorado is willing to pick up $40M or the remaining $90M of Heltons contract.

Lowell is due $9M for 2007, his last year.
Tavarez is due $3.1, with 2 years on his contract.

Maybe Colorado is desparate... because picking up almost 1/2 of Heltons contract is a lot. Lowells contract is only one year, but for this year, Colorado will actually have a payroll increase... the Sox a decrease.

I wasn't initially up for getting Helton, but at 5/50, he certainly looks better then 5/90. Unfortunately, this is looking like a better trade for the Sox then I thought.
I hope the Rockies at least get Hansen out of the deal.

2007-01-28 06:23:21
107.   Jim Dean
105 I'm all for youth, but how many years do you want to wait on Duncan?

The Yanks have a very crappy platoon at 1B right now, and did last year as well.

You worry about prospects when they show themselves to be ready, not on the chance they will be.

Duncan has yet to show anything in AAA. And he should start the year in Trenton. That means he's at least a year away, maybe two, in the best case scenario.

In the meantime, Helton makes sense especially at those prices and especially with Giambi coming off the books after 2008. If Duncan shows anything they'll find a spot for him. But right now he can't be counted on.

2007-01-28 08:03:26
108.   markp
Duncan is still very young. Giving up on a 21-22 year old who had a bad year due to injury and who's always been one of the younger guys in his classification strikes me as pretty impatient. Getting Helton makes zero sense when other guys who can do what he does are sure to become available for far less in both players and money.
Helton's value is far less than playing in Denver makes it seem. He's nowhere near the top 1B bats over his career, and he's in the decline part of his career.
2007-01-28 08:43:35
109.   Jeteupthemiddle
107 Mosty I was commenting on you saying the Yankees don't have a first baseman in the system.

Clearly they do, and he performed pretty well in 2006 when healthy and in the proper league.

When the rest of my lineup provides above average offense for each position, I am perfectly okay with waiting for a prospect who I believe to be about 1 year away with a replacement player (and I believe Mientkeiwicz to be the definition of a replacement player).

2007-01-28 08:47:03
110.   OldYanksFan
Jim - I think if Helton was a one-year contract, we would all be DEMANDING Cashman get him. If was a 2 year deal, I think the majority of us would be well in favor of it. 3 year contract... maybe 60-40 for?

But it's a FIVE year contract. It is an expensive contract on a player not aging well, that will be impossible to dump in 2 years and get any return on the dollar.

MAYBE Cashman could get him... although Colorado is asking the Sox for 2 MLB players.
Who do we give... Melky and Proctor? And what if Tex IS available as a FA next year? What other FA 1B-men are out there in 2007-8? What about 2008-9?

While THIS YEAR is very important, we can't ignor next year, and the year after. We have gotten MANY expensive names of the last 4 years, at the expense of the farm. It really hasn't worked.

Wang, who is very polished for his age, came to the Bigs in his 24 year. Yet you give up on Duncan, a top prospect derailed (temporarily) by injury at 22? How long should we wait? I'd say 2 years anyway, for a guy who showed tremendous promise.

Your ideas, while being valid, seem to be about instant gradification, without forsight into the next few years.

Personally, if Theo gets Helton (and with DMats and Nancy) and plans on balancing the books by dumping Manny... I'm all for it.

2007-01-28 08:58:32
111.   Jeteupthemiddle
although Colorado is asking the Sox for 2 MLB players.
Who do we give... Melky and Proctor?
Actually the rumored deal (at least from Olney) includes Lowell and Tavarez. I don't think that is the case because Colorado is particularly interested in Lowell (it is my understanding they have a logjam at 3rd base to begin with). They would be taking Lowell and Tavarez because they are 2 "albatross" contracts the Red Sox have.

They aren't albatross in the true sense of the word because they both could end after this season (Tavarez has an option for 2008), but they are each overpaid. Combined they get $12.6M from the Sox.

If the Rockies really are going to pay $40M AND take on the contracts of Lowell AND Tavarez, the Red Sox would actually reduce their payroll for 2007. And actually, only in 2011 would they be paying an exhorberant amount of money $17.7M.

For a deal like this to make sense for the Yankees they would have to be able to get rid of a big contract as well (obviously not any of the pre arbitration guys such as Melky or Proctor).

That would mean, I don't know Farnsworth and Pavano.

Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I think we could get much more value for Farnsworth and Pavano (and assuming both are healthy their somewhat reasonable contracts) than Todd "I left my power in Colorado" Helton.

If the Yankees could do a Giambi for Helton trade with the Rockies STILL picking up cash, THEN I would do the deal. That obviously can not happen, and so, I will allow the Red Sox to get him.

I don't think adding Helton and subtracting Lowell makes them significantly better.

2007-01-28 09:05:04
112.   OldYanksFan
CAVEAT: I am NOT Bernie Bashing. I love the guy. But in light of the 2007 'Bernie Issue', I put this out there.

We all KNEW for sure, by the middle of last year, that we needed to DH Jason and put a different body at 1B. Hell, even Sheff, after sitting 3 months, took up the challenge.

Has Bernie been working at at first? He knew we had a very good 4th OFer in Melky (and B4 Sheff was traded, Melky was a 5th OFer). He knew we were looking at a new 1B-man. He knew he wanted to play in 2007, and on the Yankees. He knew it was a tough fit.

Considering that Bernie is a SW but much better as a RH, and considering he is Bernie, if he worked out at 1B for a year, and could play league-average D, I think he may have made the team.

Was Bernie hoping we would keep him as an OFer for 'old times sake'? Did he miss an opportunity to make the team at 1B... because he didn't even give it a shot?

Remember Lohuds comment about 'last in the clubhouse... 1st out'? I remember a comment last year reported by Mo, on a popular Yankee that he didn't like, because supposedly said player did not work hard at all. There was speculation that it was Bernie. (Anyone remember that report?)

I love Bernie, but is it possible that his music career has somewhat derailed him from putting more effort into baseball?

If Bernie were a league-average defender at 1st, would you guys sign him for one more year (to PH, DH and platoon at 1B)?

2007-01-28 09:06:41
113.   Jim Dean
Sorry, Duncan has steadily gone backwards. At this point he isn't a viable option for the NY Yankees.

Helton - yeah the contract is an albatross. But he's a professional hitter and defender. That's better than anything they got.

If the Rox are will to pick up a chunk of the salary and he comes at 50 - 60 million then it's a no-brainer.

You worry about the last three years of the contract when you get there.

Further, if Teixeira reaches FA, isn't he going to be requiring an albatross contract? Whos' to say he doesn't go south quickly. His road numbers are worse than Helton's.

2007-01-28 09:21:01
114.   Jeteupthemiddle
You worry about the last three years of the contract when you get there.

You can't just go through thinking that way. It is that thinking that is making us regret Giambi.

Acutally, Keith Law had a good article recently about "desperate GMs." One sign of a desperate GM is one who will give long term, back loaded deals because he is desperate to compete now and is willing to compromise the future (because he won't be around when his desperate plan is someone else's problem to fix).

You can't just plan for 2007 and forget about the rest of the years. That is how our team became so freaking old in the first place (something you complain bitterly about often).

As for Duncan, sorry, he hasn't gone "steadily backwards." He has improved. Every year he has been one of the younger players in the league and put up decent numbers. The only place you can say "gone backwards" is in AAA where he shouldn't have been and where he had a back injury.

In 2005, he spent half a year in AA. He did okay but certainly not great (.235/.326/.408 and an OPS of 734). It is those numbers (and his age as he was only 21 last season) that led people to believe he should remain in AA. Instead, the Yankees promoted him where he was injured and sucked.

When he got healthy and was sent back to AA, every number he had improved (.248/.355/.485 and an OPS of 840).

Not to mention that his greatest improvement was in making contact. (in 2005 he SO 136 times in 451 ABS (and only walked 59 times). In AA in 2006 he SO 38 times in 206 ABs (and walked 32 times).

2007-01-28 09:41:45
115.   Jim Dean
Law : Scout as Phillips : GM

I don't believe every contract should be structured that way, but with Helton - why not?

He's a good defender and great hitter. He's exactly what the Yanks need. If the Rox pick up a chunk of salary, it's a no-brainer IMHO.

One reason not to get him is the other contracts the GM handed out last winter.

By 2009, Damon and Matsui could both be DH's.

As for Duncan, they just shouldn't expect him to be their starting 1B anytime soon.

2007-01-28 09:46:20
116.   Jeteupthemiddle
Well, in that particular article, Law was not a scout, so your analogy doesn't quite work.

And the reason why not, is because Helton is not a "great hitter" anymore. He is still good to be sure, but his numbers have been declining every year for 3 years now.

Leaving Colorado and I'm not sure if anyone can reasonably expect any kind of signficant bounceback.

2007-01-28 09:59:52
117.   Jim Dean
And Phillips isn't a GM. But that doesn't prevent him from playing one.

The numbers Helton still puts up are better than anything the Yanks have got. And he's a better defender to boot.

Plus, IMHO he would do just fine in Yankee Stadium and in their lineup.

I think he real question is: If Helton were a FA now, what's he worth? What could he expect?

My guess is a five year deal for 60 million. Sure, that's too much, but if that's what he can be had for plus the price of a reliever and a few prospects, then it seems very reasonable.

2007-01-28 10:03:02
118.   Jeteupthemiddle
If you believe he is worth $60M over 5 years as a free agent, then why should we be willing to pay the $60M AND give up any prospects as well as a reliever we may have?

It doesn't seem reasonable at all.

2007-01-28 10:11:31
119.   Jim Dean
They need a good 1B and he fits. Plus, that makes one filthy lineup. If the only thing in the way is the money, the Yanks should step up.

Relievers come and go - few are valuable for more than a season or two.

And so long as the prospects aren't anything super special, it could be a nice deal, like Abreu, because of the money involved.

What do you think Helton is worth on the open market?

2007-01-28 10:46:05
120.   Jeteupthemiddle
I'm not sure how much he would be worth on the open market.

I do know that he is turning 34 in August, and that in 2007, his road numbers were completley average.

If the remaining contract was for 3 years I would maybe consider it, but for 5 years and you are really playing with fate.

It isn't so much the money (though, the Red Sox have more to gain by the salary aspect...if the reported deal of Lowell, Tavarez, and prospect for Helton and $40M are true, then it may knock the Sox UNDER the current luxury threshold for 2007 whereas it wouldn't matter for the Yankees.

It is having another old, old player who is just a fossil of his former self in 2010 and 2011. It is also about not knowing, at all, how he will perform outside of Coors Field.

We all freaked out when Bernie was playing every day for 2005 and we weren't too fond of him getting so many ABs in 2006 when he made $2.5M. Would anyone be surprised if Helton were the same player at the age of 38/39 as Bernie last season, except instead of paying $2.5M the Yankees would be paying $15M.

2007-01-28 10:51:28
121.   OldYanksFan
Hey Jim - How about responding to my post on Bernie 112 between your 18 and 19 post on Helton? (Imagine... I'm actually ASKING for you opinion!)P
2007-01-28 11:02:26
122.   Jim Dean
Sorry, I'm just not concerned about the money that Helton would be making in 2010 and 2011 in the new Stadium.

And sorry OYF, but Bernie's done and has been for at least three years. Further, I can't imagine a scenario where he would have learned to play 1B and where the Yanks would have considered it. That would have taken a manager and GM to be flexible about, and planned for, lineup flexibility. Instead, they got Tony Womack to play CF and Cairo to play 1B/LF.

2007-01-28 11:12:09
123.   Jeteupthemiddle
No, I imagine you aren't. and as fans, we don't really have to be, but that is the kind of thinking that Cashman HAS to consider when constructing the current team--how will this deal affect the team in future years.

Part of the beauty of the Abreu deal was that it gave the Yankees a right fielder for 2007 and allowed us to trade Sheffield for Humberto Sanchez. In hindsight the Yankees would have won the division without Abreu, but getting him helped the team in 2006 AND in the future.

Those are the types of deals that Cahsman should be considering, and I think that is what he is doing. Unless everything falls perfectly right (and I'm talking taking on Giambi's contract which is impossible) then whatever value Helton provides in 2007 is probably not worth keeping him for 4 additional years.

Do you think a first baseman is the only thing standing between the Yankees and a World Series?

2007-01-28 11:30:31
124.   Zack
The last thing this team needs is TWO aging, decling firstbasemen being paid a ton of money who no one else wants. Its really the last thing the Sox should want to, considering how much they whine about Manny. In no way shape or form is Helton the player Manny is at this point, and if they move Manny because of this, then are you really scared of a lineup of Helton, Papi, Drew, and who?

If they don't move Manny, well, they are locked into aging starters with huge contracts at RF (Drew), LF (Manny), 1B (Helton), C (Varitek), and still don't have a CF or closer...

I jsut don't get why the heck CO thinks that Lowell and tavarez are "major league quality" players...

2007-01-28 11:32:20
125.   Jim Dean
I honestly don't know what stands between the Yanks and a ring.

But a 1B platoon that ranks as the worst 1B in the majors is not helping things.

Helton in 2007 and 2008 would. And after that there's a very good chance he still wouldn't be hurting them as much. Overpriced - yes. But if he's still hitting doubles and drawing walks while playing solid defense then he's a nice upgrade. Word is he's just now regained his strength from a stomach illness last year. So a rebound year from him is not absurd, and I like the idea of Donnie B turning him into a doubles machine in Yankee Stadium.

At 16 million/ year he's not worth it. Getting closer to 10 million/year I think he is esp at the cost of a Duncan, Vizcaino, and a lower level prospect or two. We'll have to see how it plays out.

2007-01-28 11:37:53
126.   Jim Dean
124 Giambi's off the books next year, and is their DH. Helton can still play above average defense.

For the Sox, Manny and Varitek are off the books after next year - that's 29 million. Schilling is off this year (13 mil).

But keep in mind nobody does the trade if the Rox don't throw in significant cash.

Helton at 4-5 years and 40-60 million is market prices.

2007-01-28 11:40:07
127.   Jeteupthemiddle
But a 1B platoon that ranks as the worst 1B in the majors is not helping things.
But despite that platoon, the Yankees still have the best offense in the majors.

I am very much indifferent to Clemens, but I would imagine getting Helton would mean the Yankees can't get Clemens anymore.

Also, I don't know if I believe "he is just now getting back to full strength." I think his monthly splits would indicate that.

He got it in April (1.161 OPS). In May, I will say, that yes, he was probably recovering from it (.706 OPS), but then in June he already bounced back (1.001).

We are just going to have to disagree. I think years 4 and 5 make this not even a possibility unless Giambi is then moved. Since Giambi can not be moved, there is no point.

2007-01-28 11:42:09
128.   Jeteupthemiddle
126 Giambi is still owed $47M from the Yankees in actual dollars (for luxury tax purposes it is smaller). He is also the single player crushing our roster flexibility.

If you can figure out a way to get rid of him, then by all means explore the Helton deal.

2007-01-28 11:47:32
129.   Jim Dean
127 Published reports have those as his words, not mine, about his strength.

And me, I'd rather have an above average offensive and defensive 1b for the whole year than Clemens for half the year pitching one game out of every five.

Helton's right out of Donnie B's mold and I love the fact that his name came up earlier in this thread. Sorry, that's a player I'd love to have on my team especially since there's a wide open slot for him.

Agreed to disagree.

2007-01-28 12:44:30
130.   yankz
Yeah, since he's really going to announce to the world that he's still injured.

I'm pretty sure there were once Helton to the Yankees rumors. Then everyone realized it wouldn't happen and moved on.

2007-01-28 14:33:22
131.   markp
If Helton were nearly as good a hitter as playing in Colorado makes it seem he is and if he were 5 years younger, getting him for the next five years at that salary might make sense, but only if we didn't have to part with any of our good players
But he's never been a great hitter. And he's not five years younger-he's actually well past his prime. And he is going to cost players (probably Melky and at least one other).
They should be looking for a league average 1B for cheap. It's unlikely none will be available before the trading deadline. Actually, they should have signed Wilson, but that's another story. But league average 1B are cheap.
Patience is the key for a good GM (or manager). Patience with young players and patience in obtaining average players for stop-gap situations.
2007-01-28 14:39:01
132.   Zack
Both the Sox and the Yanks are at key points right now in terms of their long-term roster flexibility and situation. Most of the Sox older contracts come of the books in '08, as do the Yanks. However, the key difference is that while the Sox have, in the past two seasons, signed a lot of longer-term contracts to players who may or may not be in their future plans, the Yankees are trying to rid themselves of similar contracts signed in the past. Other than Jeter and A-Rod, the Yanks don't have any other huge contracts past 2009 (Igawa isn't a big contract, and Matsui and Damon expire in 2009). The Sox, assuming they don't use the options on Manny's contract, have Drew, Ortiz, Lugo, DK, Beckett and Crisp all signed at over 5 mill. per.

The differences heading into the 2009 season in terms of salary are going to be not very much, so what the teams do from here on out, and especially considering the directions of each team, may mean that by 2009, the Red Sox have a higher payroll than the Yanks (gasp!).

Throw in Helton's 16-20 million per season through at least 2011, and the Sox suddenly jump ahead of the Yanks in terms of large contracts.

So whereas the Yanks have been trying to get younger, more flexible, and rebuild their farm system, the Sox have suddenly veered in the opposite direction, and if they trade up to two of their "top' prospects for Helton (Hanson and Ellsbery?) they will not only be an older, more expensive team with less flexibility, they will have a much much weaker farm system...

So Jim, you can clamor that the Yanks trade for Helton, but the way I see it, its one more example of the Yanks heading in the right direction (read pre-2001) and the Sox heading in the wrong direction (read Yankees 2001-)...

2007-01-28 15:25:35
133.   Jim Dean
131 "never been a great hitter"

Are you mad?

Home career: .371 .465 .676
Road career: .294 .393 .507

By contrast, compare for their career -
Home: .313 .364 .495
Road: .302 .353 .450

Who's that, you say?

Donnie Baseball.

132 If the Rox pick up a significant chunk, as all reports suggest they will, Helton becomes a 10-12 million player. Sure, even still, the contract is one or two years too long, but so is Matsui's and Damon's and Jeter's and A-Rod's. That's the price of acquiring above average talent. And since the Yanks have nothing in their system that can be counted on to take over as a 1B, Helton is a fine choice.

What's with Yankee fans any ways? People are obsessed with them saving money even as it means no difference to your experience as fans - no cheap beers or tickets. The solution isn't developing talent at every position (and they certainly aren't any ways). So you pay out money contracts and the Yankees always will.

Meanwhile, if you want to clamor for anything, lament the fact that the last dynasty developed above average prospects at the major defensive positions (Jeter, Bernie, Jorge) and one starting pitcher and one greatest closer of all time.

This upcoming dynasty (in everyone's heads at least) has a system flooded with right-handed pitchers (a few of which appear legit) and exactly one touted position player (and a corner OF at that).

The Yanks are going to be spending money. Get used to it. If the price is right, Helton is as good a place as any.

2007-01-28 16:10:05
134.   Zack
133 You make a whole bunch of assumptions in there:
First of all, I think you proved the other point. Helton away from Coors is a .900 OPS player, exactly. You want to know whom that makes him? JD Drew. But rather than getting better, that's only going to go down as he gets older, in the better AL.

Second, as for the trade, who knows what will happen. Some reports talk about Lowell and Tavarez, some about Matt Clement, some have the Rockies not paying much, some have them paying a lot. So I'd wait and see on that one.

Third, the "Yankees having nothing in their farm system to take over at 1B so Helton is a fine choice" is faulty logic. Just because the Yanks don't have an immediate 1B replacement doesn't mean that therefore they must get Helton. As already stated, Helton in on the decline and, with a bad back, will see his defense only decrease as well. 1B is probably the easiest position to fill, so, with an offensively loaded Yankees team, a league average 1B would suffice. An aging declining expensive 1b wouldn't make sense. And add to that that Duncan might come along, or Miranda, or anyone else, and its even worse to block up 1B. AND, by your logic, if cost is no matter, than trade for Dunn for sign Texiera next year.

Fourth, Yankees fans are obsessed with saving money because the Yankees are losing money and have obviously made internal decisions that they need to cut payroll, so in fact, they aren't going to be paying out big contracts. Add to this that that kind of thinking is what has been hurting the Yankees, and your statements are just plain silly.

Fifth, yes, we developed position prospects, but many of our pitchers and other positions were obtained through, guess what, trades of pitching! Gasp! Everyone wants/needs young pitching, and the Yanks have a ton of it they can easily trade. Building a farm system isn't JUST to populate YOUR roster, but to trade for talent to complete the roster. Besides, you only can mention three position prospects, and right now the Yanks have one, that's a grand total difference of two prospects, which don't you think might be lurking in our system a la Jorge?

Sixth, the Yankees will be spending money, this is true, but if they want to win the World Series and keep winning, then the price is, in fact, NOT right for Helton...

2007-01-28 16:22:01
135.   pnacsw
2007-01-28 16:34:35
136.   OldYanksFan
"In the current proposal, the Red Sox would send Lowell, Tavarez and prospects to the Rockies. But the identity of the prospects could hold up the deal: The Rockies want relief pitchers Craig Hansen and Manny Delcarmen, while the Red Sox do not want to give up either at this time."

Originally, I thought it was Craig Hansen OR Manny Delcarmen, but this article says Craig Hansen AND Manny Delcarmen, and that the Sox don't want to give either youngster away.

They get Heltons bat and glove at 1B, but lose Lowells bat and glove at 3B, a more important defensive position. How much is the net gain for that swap? And then an already questionable BP loses 3 guys?

This smacks of desperation, ala Yankees 2005, when RJ would make up for the 2004 lose to the Sox. Look at what happened to the kids then Sox have traded over the last 2 years. I'm not sure what Theo is thinking.

Lastly, while Helton is a better hitter then Lowell, Fenway is no help to a semi-powerful Lefty.

2007-01-28 17:00:55
137.   Start Spreading the News
If the Sox get Helton, then I would imagine Youkalis moves back to 3rd where he would be a better bat than Lowell and probably the same level glove. Then the Sox have good hitters at the corners and decent defense.

Money aside, the move would improve the Sox for next year. Once you take the money into account, it is a toss up. But like the Yanks, the Sox have a big bank account. So for them $10 million is worth less than it would be for the Royals.

2007-01-28 17:27:48
138.   Jim Dean

1) .900 OPS away from Coors!? I'll take that thanks and with plus defense. Further, you assume that Helton will get worse. With his strike zone judgement, he could just as easily get better, especially in going the other way in Yankee Stadium. Every NL to AL split is about the pitching differences - not hitting. Thome did just fine last year, didn't he?

2) Exactly, who knows what will happen. But if the current prices are right, I think the Yanks should get in on that.

3) They said the same thing about Thome. The Yanks don't have an average 1B - by himself or aggregate. They currently have perhaps the worst 1B in the majors. Duncan, if he rebounds, isn't in the Bronx until 2009 at the earliest. Otherwise, there is truly nothing in their system - not even close.

4) Really? Losing money? You've seen the YES books? And sorry, failing to develop any talent has been hurting the Yanks. I'd argue the big signings haven't hurt (Moose, Giambi, Shef). Pavano gets extra credit as the all-time worst signing - we knew it at the time.

5) No, I don't think anything like Bernie or Jeter or Jorge is currently anywhere in the system. And I had no problem with the plan of more pitching until the Unit trade - that went too far in that direction with no upgrades to anything they already had. The kick in the groin was that Unit was the chance to acquire a Montero or Clement a la Wells for Kottaras.

6) And so we'll have to agree to disagree. But if and when Helton comes up in a Sox uni, you're not going to be feeling good about it, and not when MCI just struck out with a man on third.

2007-01-28 18:08:47
139.   yankz
Helton hasn't had a .900 OPS on the road since '04, when he was 30. He's definitely declining, and at his age isn't going to start hitting like he was when he was 27.
2007-01-28 18:27:32
140.   Jim Dean
139 I'm not sure. People had Thome buried, and he did okay, didn't he?

Players aren't formulas. And everything I've heard about Helton is that he's a gamer. I'd take my chances on him at the prices being adverised and given that the Yanks have nothing better.

2007-01-28 18:29:04
141.   Zack
138 Just as yankz said, what I use are statistics that show he is declining, not blind projections that he MIGHT get better. he hasn't been getting better the last three seasons, and that .900 ops would be the best case scenario most likely. Jim Thome is an unfair comparison. he had one, count it one, down year due 100% to and injury. Look at the season before, it was almost exactly the same as his year this year, and he has never had a road issue like Helton has had.

Yes, actually, at least publically the Yankees ARE losing money, who knows about off the record. And thats a heck of a lot more definite than your speculations about what Cashman COULD have done, which are purely Jim Dean's ideas of what makes a good, or rather, perfect team. Sure we COULD have gotten one of those guys, but what do you know about the negotiations, nothing. Remember that the Padres and the Sox have a history of giving the Sox great trades, and Arizona has a history of doing everything in their power to f us over...

I would say that Pillitere and Montero offer very strong potentials to repalce Jorge in the system. Just not next year.

Once again, as you say, we'll agree to disagree on whose vision of how to run a team is better. It comes down to if you want to bitch and gripe about the Yankees as they stand or be impressed with such a turn around in MO and enjoy them for what they are and what the Sox aren't...

2007-01-28 18:30:41
142.   Zack
140 Once again, Helton has been declining for three full seasons, Thome had one off year...
2007-01-28 19:38:16
143.   Knuckles
I think I need to update my bookmarks. I thought this was Bronx Banter, not Dean Ranter.
2007-01-28 19:59:57
144.   kdw
143 Ahh, some very welcome comic relief. Thank you.
2007-01-28 20:03:17
145.   Jeteupthemiddle
I have numbers in a pretty little chart on my blog for anyone who wants to look at them (

Basically, what you will find is that if the rumored deals are true (Lowell (9) AND Tavarez (3.6) for Helton AND $40M) the Red Sox will actually decrease their payroll for 2007 and possibly put them below the luxury tax threshold. If any deal ALSO includes Clement (9.5) then this would be a good deal for the Red Sox (for 2007 at least...for the rest of the contract not likely) because they will remove their own albatross contracts. It does limit their roster flexibility, however, which may be more important than the few million save.

However, I think the question remaining, isn't so much about the money (because at about $9M per for 5 years, that would be a pretty good rate for a good player) but how will Helton REALLY perform.

2003 .358 .458 .630 168 33 .338
2004 .347 .469 .620 159 32 .345
2005 .320 .445 .534 144 20 .324
2006 .302 .404 .476 119 15 .291

EQA considers baserunning but not defense. .260 is always an average EQA. While the numbers are still pretty good, they are in a relatively sharp decline. I do think it woudl be fair to expect a bit of a bounce back from 2006 because that is an extremely sharp decrease; however, with his back and his age, no one can be certain.

There is also:

CRER .371 .294 .465 .393 .676 .507
2007 .338 .276 .445 .360 .531 .421

And because I couldn't fit it:
.......(H)HR R(HR)
Career 176 110
2006 8 7

I'm not sure how to get career splits for years prior to 2006 so that is why I am only comparing 2006 to his career.

Anyway, is that road player really worth a 5 year contract? Can you be certain that that road player is NOT the player you are in fact trading for?

2007-01-28 21:00:36
146.   yankz
Baseball Musing's Probabilistic Model of Range (which, to the best of my very limited knowledge of defensive stats, is very comprehensive) has Helton as below average last year defensively, well behind both Midxjxzcilz and Phillips who both rate as above average.

2007-01-28 21:05:15
147.   markp
The same rumors that mention Boston offering those two players says Col wants one or two of their top pitching prospects, not two Boston salary dumps.
2007-01-29 04:07:58
148.   Jim Dean
141 If anything looks like an outlier, it's Helton's 2006 season. 2005 was just fine and well in line with normal variation. Given that he was sick, who's to say what will happen. Giambi seemed to bounce back okay. And if a trade for Thome was proposed last year I have little doubt most here would have nixed it.

And yeah, you know, the Yankees are going to announce that they're printing money with YES? And with their new Stadium on the way that they're building themselves? No, but they're really, really losing money (wink, wink).

145 I'll take a 291 EQA from the 1B, thanks. We'll just have to see - arguing about it here won't change anything.

146 Someone finally adding something new to the conversation. That's interesting. It gives me pause to think, and I'm glad I'm not GM. It will all depend on the amount of cash the ROX throw in and the prospects required. We may never know.

We will know if Helton produces this year and if his defense improves. I just prefer not watching the outcome in a Sox uni.

2007-01-29 05:45:19
149.   williamnyy23
While I realize that acquiring a 1B has become a great crusade for more than a few Yankee fans, it is worth noting that several contending teams do not currently have what you would consider strong offensive 1B, including Boston, Detroit, Oakland and Anaheim. Clearly, it would nice if the Yankees could find a more potent first base platoon, but it isn't that pressing of a need that the team should consider a long-term investment in a declining player such as Helton.

While I can understand the desire to get the best possible player at every position, regardless of the financial cost, that line of thinking has the potential to be counterproductive. For starters, Yankee fans need to come to the realization that at $200mn or so, the team has reached its limit. Like it or not, the Yankees can not simply keep spending. What Cashman seems to be trying to do is reduce the Yankee payroll, but not so the team can earn more profit. Instead, he is trying to create more flexibility in the payroll so the Yankees can strike on the very best of available players (i.e., Santana, Zambrano, Texiera, Jones, etc.). If the Yankees were to commit to Helton for five years, it would not only reduce payroll flexibility, but also commit the team to Helton for five years. Unless you can honestly say you like Helton enough to want to see him in pinstripes until 2011, then I don't think you can make this deal. Quite frankly, if 1B becomes that much of a problem, I'd rather see the Yankees go out and get Sexson, who is only under contract through 2008.

From the Red Sox perspective, the deal definitely makes sense for 2007. Assuming the per year cost is only $8-9mn/year, they would swap out Lowell for Helton and improve their offensive (although only marginally based on 2006 statistics). Depending on whom else they dump, the Red Sox may also be able to lower their current year payroll. Having said that, think about 2009…entering that season, the Red Sox will be on the hook for $40mn to cover Drew, Lugo and Helton. If that's not an albatross, then I don't know what is.

Finally, if the Red Sox have to give up Hansen and Delcarmen that further mitigates the benefits of the deal. While I don't think much of either pitcher, it was just a season ago that names such as Andruw Jones were being thrown around in deals involving those two. It would seem to me that Helton and his contract would represent a significant drop in relative return.

2007-01-29 06:12:12
150.   manila boy
149 Excellent points, and very well put.

143 "I think I need to update my bookmarks. I thought this was Bronx Banter, not Dean Ranter."

Me too.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-01-29 06:27:17
151.   OldYanksFan
149 Thank you William... well spoken.
It's true, if the Yankees were desperate, Sexson would be a better deal. He's 32, with 2 years left (07-08) on his contract. His OPS last year was .840 against a LT of .870. His OPS was .050 better on the road, and this is a player who could easily have a year or 2 better then his last.

I simply believe the Yanks are putting together a team to win it all, but are not overspending or over-commiting to do so. This year as truly been about new direction and repositioning the team for future dominance.

I wish I had saved all the articles published in the last 2 years that predicted a Yankee 'swoon', much like the 1965 club suffered. The table was set. Big contracts, little flexibility, a philosophy that would continue with big contracts, and a depleted farm.

In ratings, our farm has gone from the bottom 3rd to the top quarter in only 2 years. No one would have predicted that. Aside from a lot of talent, we have 2 guys, Hughes and Tabita, that project to be 'A' stars, and a young catcher who could be also.

Team salary now is 20+M less then 2 years ago.

Now, even with our HUGE FLAWS (BUC, UIF, 1B), we still field one of the best, if not the best, offensive team. With Scrabble, Melky, Damon and Abreu, our defense is better then 2 years ago. Our BP is solid. The only thing we really lack is a true #1 SP. If we had gotten DMats, or get Santana or Zambrano, we will have a truly dominant team.

Cashman is rated in the top 3rd or better of GMs, and might be higher if he didn't have 'so much money' to make his job easier. But in actuality, since he has taken control, we not only have CUT payroll, but should be able to maintain our payroll goals, as we have cheap talent on the farm coming up.

Life ain't perfect in Yankeeland, but it's pretty good, and I believe we are going to see some dominant teams in the near future.

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