Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Position Battles: Backup Catcher
2007-02-14 20:49
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees' options for fifth starter are a solid group that combines a 31-year-old who won 18 games three years ago, a pair of rookies in their mid-20s who filled in capably last September, and perhaps the best pitching prospect in all of baseball, with another of the game's top prospects available as Plan E. At backup catcher, however, their choices are the old, the infirm, and the incapable. Here are the four candidates for the job:

NameDOBBatsML career (AB)mL career (AB)2006 (AB-level)
Wil Nieves8/25/77R.159/.198/.220 (82).288/.339/.398 (3,368).259/.298/.346 (321-AAA)
Todd Pratt2/09/67R.251/.344/.398 (1,612).260/.356/.402 (2,693).207/.272/.341 (135-MLB)
Raul Chavez3/18/73R.212/.253/.284 (405) .258/.309/.338 (4,412).255/.290/.337 (196-AA)
Ben Davis3/10/77S.237/.306/.366 (1,512).262/.325/.416 (2,231).222/.254/.333 (162-AAA)

Chavez, easily the worst hitter among this feeble foursome, was to be part of the discussion because of his defense, something Joe Torre has always valued highly from his catchers as evidenced by his conspiring to dump Mike Stanley for Joe Girardi upon arriving in the Bronx. Chavez, however, had his left hand broken by a pitch in winter ball. As he arrives in camp with his hand still in a cast, he's out of the running for the Opening Day roster.

Ben Davis was once a top catching prospect but, other than breaking up a Curt Schilling no-hitter with a bunt, has never done anything of value with the bat. Mix in a July 2005 Tommy John surgery which he spent last year rehabbing from, and he's fighting to keep his career afloat, never mind attempting to break camp with the team. He'll need to impress at triple-A and have the winner of this battle struggle to have any real shot at returning to the majors.

Thus, this battle rather quickly boils down to Wil Nieves, the youngest and least experienced of the group, and 40-year-old veteran Todd Pratt.

Nieves was acquired from the newly minted Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim just prior to the 2005 season for Brett Prinz, a Scott Proctor clone who had neither Proctor's latent curve ball nor any remaining options and quickly developed a major shoulder injury after the trade. Last year, Nieves made the Opening Day roster as a third catcher because he himself was out of options and the Yankees had no one better than Davis on hand to fill his third-string shin guards in the event he was claimed off waivers. In a convoluted scheme to demote Nieves to his rightful home in triple-A, the Yankees claimed Koyie Hill off waivers from the Diamondbacks as insurance before designating Nieves for assignment. Once Nieves cleared, they designated Hill. Nieves has made just ten trips to the plate for the Yankees in a pair of September call-ups over the last two years and has yet to reach base as a Yankee. Much like his Yankee batting average, Nieves is a total offensive zero. Lacking power or patience, he's perpetuated his minor league career by consistently hitting for modestly impressive averages (career .288), but last year he didn't even manage to do that, hitting .259.

Todd Pratt, on the other hand, was the best back-up catcher in baseball from 2002 to 2005. No one else was even close. With the Phillies from 2002 to 2005, Pratt hit .270/.378/.425 in 637 plate appearances while working on a series of one-year contracts in the $750,000 to $875,000 range. It should come as no surprise that I lobbied for the Yankees to sign Pratt as far back as the fall of 2003. It's ironic, then, that they finally signed Pratt this winter.

Catchers age both early and quickly, as Steve Goldman recently demonstrated. Pratt, who was highly productive through age 36 and continued to produce at an average level for his position through age 38, appeared to run out of age-defying magic beans last year with a terrible .207/.272/.341 season in 152 plate appearances at age 39. There are some reasons to be optimistic, however. Just 39 catchers in the history of the game made 100 or more plate appearances in their age-38 season. Pratt was among the most productive half of that group two years ago. One player not among the top half of that group was Carlton Fisk, who appeared to have run out of gas with a .221/.263/.337 season at age 38. Fisk then rebounded with a league-average season at age 39 and three extremely productive seasons from age 40 to 42. Of course, Fisk is not only a Hall of Famer, but, as Goldman's article points out, an extreme outlier. Then again, Pratt's strong production in his late-30s makes him something of an outlier as well.

Take another look at the 2006 seasons of the four catchers listed above. Even having seemingly bottomed out, Pratt out-hit Davis directly and didn't fall that far short of Nieves or Chavez while hitting at a level above Nieves and two levels above Chavez. To put things on an even plane, here are the 2006 equivalent averages (EqAs) for Pratt, Nieves, and Chavez (Baseball Prospectus didn't bother with Davis), EqA being a total offense stat that translates minor league performance to the major leagues and adjusts major league performance to a neutral environment:

Pratt .219
Nieves .214
Chavez .174

For Nieves and Chavez (and Davis who's clearly no better than Nieves), that number likely represents the sum total of their ability to produce in the majors. For Pratt, however, there remains a small hope that he could experience a rebound of sorts, even as a 40-year-old catcher. Even if he doesn't, he's unlikely to be any worse than Nieves and the rest. The Yankees will have to hope Nieves is able to clear waivers again this year, or that Davis has recovered enough to replace him, because Pratt should be the major league backup catcher until and unless they can bring in someone better from outside the organization.

The real question is how did a 40-year-old Todd Pratt become the Yankees' best option at backup catcher. In a way, the Yankees' backup catcher situation has mirrored their utility infielder situation under Joe Torre. Here's a quick look at the Yankee catchers other than Jorge Posada to make more than 10 plate appearances during the Joe Torre era:

Joe Girardi1996-991,412.272/.317/.361.233
John Flaherty2003-05389.226/.261/.387.214
Jim Leyritz1996309.264/.355/.381.265
Chris Turner2000102.236/.320/.303.219
Todd Greene2001100.208/.240/.281.176
Kelly Stinnett 200687.228/.282/.304.212
Chris Widger200268.297/.338/.375.257
Sal Fasano 200657.143/.222/.286.182
Alberto Castillo200241.135/.158/.216.121
Joe Oliver200140.250/.263/.361.228
Wil Nieves 2005-0610.000/.000/.000-.223

*because I don't have the means to calculate EqA over a subsection of a player's career I've used unadjusted GPA for Girardi and Flaherty. GPA, though far less scientific, tends to skew closely to EqA, so it's a fair substitute. I've done the same on the chart below for players who played with more than one team in 2006 as I don't have the means to combine those figures.

Despite his .219 EqA representing a near catastrophic collapse, Pratt's 2006 wouldn't look out of place on this chart, and his PECOTA-projected .238 EqA for 2007 would actually be the best by any of Posada's caddies this side of Chris Widger's tiny 2002 sample (Leyritz backed up Girardi before Posada's arrival). Again the question must be asked, is this an organizational blind spot, or is it just not that crucial to get meaningful production from your backup catcher because no one else is either?

Well, here's a look at the men expected to fill that role for the other 29 teams ranked by their their 2006 EqAs, with their projected 2007 PECOTA EqAs as well:

NameAgeBats2006 EqA2007 Proj. EqA
Chris Coste34R.292.224
Mike Redmond36R.277.249
Humberto Quinitero27R.274.237
Rob Bowen26S.269.246
Chris Snyder26R.268.257
Mike Lieberthal35R.261.252
Eliezer Alfonzo28R.260.240
Javier Valentin31S.256.244
Ramon Castro31R.253.246
Ryan Doumit26S.252.270
Damian Miller37R.252.247
Vance Wilson34R.248.248
Henry Blanco35R.247.236
Kelly Shoppach27R.244.258
Josh Paul32R.243.237
Matt Treanor31R.241.221
Robert Fick33L.239.242
Yorvit Torrealba28R.239.239
Brayan Peña25S.238.237
Jason LaRue33R.234.242
Toby Hall31R.230*.230
Jose Molina32R.229.232
Adam Melhuse35S.223.227
Miguel Ojeda32R.219.236
Gary Bennett35R.208.207
Jason Phillips30R.203.208
Doug Mirabelli36R.202*.236
Paul Bako35L.168.189
Rene Rivera23R.148.210

Clearly the Yankees have been operating below average for most of Torre's tenure, though it's interesting to note that outside of Pittsburgh's Ryan Doumit, the best projection here is the .258 for Cleveland's Kelly Shoppach, while Pratt's projected .238 is the 15th best among the majors' 30 backup catchers. The latter is because 11 of the top 13 catchers above are projected to decline, significantly in the cases of chart-topper Chris Coste of Philadelphia and third-place Humberto Quintero of Houston. There's a common belief among statheads that every back-up catcher will at some point have a tremendously productive season due to the fluctuations resulting from their small samples of playing time. Those predicted declines are a reflection of the fact that Coste and Quintero especially just had theirs.

Looking at the four men predicted to cross the .250 EqA threshold in 2007, Doumit and Snyder are potential starters still under the control of the teams that drafted them, but trapped behind even better rivals in Ronnie Paulino and Miguel Montero respectively (though Snyder is supposed to platoon with Montero this year, being the righty in the pairing he'll get the short end of the playing time stick). Shoppach was dealt last year in the blockbuster deal that sent Andy Marte to Cleveland and Coco Crisp to Boston, otherwise he's still under team control as well. That just leaves Mike Lieberthal, who was the lone desirable backup catcher on the market this winter. Every other catcher worth fighting for landed a starting job, as did some who weren't worth it. After Lieberthal, the most productive catcher to change teams this winter was Jason LaRue, who went to Kansas City from the Reds for a player yet to be named later.

The Yankees would be well advised to keep tabs on the Pirates and Diamondbacks regarding Doumit and Snyder, as well as on the Braves, who have a young star in Brian McCann starting behind the plate, and another in Jarrod Saltalamacchia on his way up. Brayan Peña is unlikely to ever be more than yet another typical backup catcher, but he's young, a switch hitter, and would instantly improve the Yankees' catching depth at the major league level. The rub, of course, is that the Yankees just made a major deal with the Diamondbacks and failed to land Snyder or Montero. And, of course, the elephant in the room is the absence of Dioner Navarro, who was sent to Arizona in the first Randy Johnson trade and is now starting elsewhere in the AL East.

It's galling that the Diamondbacks swiped Navarro in that deal despite having Snyder and Montero on the way, then wasted him in a trade for the rapidly aging Shawn Green, who is now a Met. Of course, the Dodgers also frittered Navarro away, flipping him for the execrable Toby Hall once they had become flush with Russell Martin, only to watch Hall sign with the White Sox this winter. I suppose there's some comfort in knowing that the Yankees aren't the only organization that has nothing to show for Navarro (in fact, the Yankees got more from Johnson than the D'backs got from Green or the Dodgers got from Hall), but it that doesn't solve their current catching problem, nor is there comfort in the fact that the Dodgers at least had the sense to sign Lieberthal to replace him.

At any rate, the Yankees could have and should have done better than Todd Pratt this winter, but even if they had, it would have been an improvement by mere degrees rather than great bounds. Still, with the system now flush with pitching talent (former Baseball America and current Baseball Prospectus prospect hound Kevin Goldstein just ranked the Yankees' farm system first in baseball when it comes to pitching), Brian Cashman can turn his attention to stalking the Pirates, D'backs, Braves, and others in search of a deal for a young catcher who can fill what has been the organization's biggest void since Navarro was sent to wander the desert.

Comments (145)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-02-15 01:26:13
1.   Chyll Will
Is it safe to say at this point that the Yanks gambled on letting Navarro go and broke even, considering that he's shown virtually nothing for every place he's been since? Or is it his bad luck and/or reputation that overshadows the Yank's shortsightedness in trading him?

It's waaay to early in the morning to contemplate these things right now, trust me. No.1? Yeah-ok, I'm going to bed. Good analysis, Cliff; good morning, all... zzz

2007-02-15 01:30:19
2.   Chyll Will
zzz... the clock on the corner is right; add three hours to it and you know how stupidly early it is for me to be here, zzz...
2007-02-15 04:41:56
3.   mikeplugh
I hereby label this the Jim Dean thread.
2007-02-15 05:38:01
4.   Jim Dean
Two words (after those, no those...): Clement, Mathis.

One question: Any hope at all that Pilittere could make the team?

P.s., First time I've ever read a post and had to read a paragraph then take a break and then read a paragraph again. Just a vile combination of factors there.

If Jorge gets hurt (who has to be the one clear red light on the team), the lineup will feature Minky AND Pratt. That's two guys who could compete for the lowest OPS below .700.

2007-02-15 05:40:43
5.   Sliced Bread
"Remember the Navarro!" should be the rallying cry at Camp Ca$hman.

I've always liked Robert Fick: projected 2007 .242 EqA. Bats left, throws right,(which I'm partial to) my kind of utility player. Friend of mine knew him from high school, and I've followed his career a bit. Started as a catcher, but plays a lot of 1B and outfield these days.

Fick The Stick's currently fighting to fill in for Nick The Stick. Probably won't beat out Dmitri Young, but should prove more valuable than Travis Lee, another 1B candidate the Nats plucked from the scrapheap. He has an $850K minor league deal.
33 years old. Career line: .261/.329/.414. That's also pretty much what he's done the past two seasons, though his SLG percentage is closer to .350.
Might be worth dealing for.
Fick the Stick, anyone?

2007-02-15 06:00:42
6.   Jim Dean
Keep in mind too that the Unit trade didn't affect that pitching ranking much if at all. Ohlendorf has exactly one pitch. And even sadder - he was still in the running for a spot in the Dbacks rotation.

But the Yanks' position prospects? 18th in the game. And even then it's almost all because of Tabata.

Great, I'm glad they have pitching. But by the time the Unit trade came around they had other needs (and yes, I know I'm repeating myself from old ranting. I'll stop now. Or try to. Maybe now. Or now...)

2007-02-15 06:06:53
7.   Sliced Bread
Pitchers start pitching, and catchers start catching about an hour from now.
2007-02-15 06:09:32
8.   markp
Considering Dioner just turned 23 and has spent parts of the past three seasons in the majors, I think he's done OK. Aside from a poor 193 ABs with TB, he has some decent numbers OPS+ of 96 and 94 for the Dodgers in 251 ABs). Even in his minor league days, he was one of the younger players in the league at a lot of his stops.
He was the single reason I opposed the RJ trade.
2007-02-15 06:51:37
9.   rbj
Good backup catching is a scarce commodity, I'm not surprised at the lack of depth the Yankees have here. I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that Pratt makes the team (keyword here is "veteran").

I think that a glove is more important in a backup catcher than his bat. But Minky & Pratt should never be in the lineup at the same time.

2007-02-15 06:58:31
10.   markp
I don't think a BUC's glove or bat are more important. It's his overall value that matters most. A guy with a decent stick but ordinary defense is more valuable than a great defender who can't hit at all or a good hitter who's terrible defensively.
2007-02-15 07:26:04
11.   jayd
by way of question, these numbers you quote for projections, are they for a full year? Seems to me that a backup catcher might get every 5th or 6th start, doublheaders, etc and not really appear that much during the course of a year. In which case, an in-shape 40 year old might suffice for the job...

is that what the numbers are projecting? or are they projecting a full season which Pratt would never have barring an injury to Jorge.

what's the view on catchers as FA in the coming years?

2007-02-15 07:30:32
12.   Cliff Corcoran
10 I couldn't agree more.

11 If you mean, are they projected into a starting role, no. The projections also project expected playing time. Pratt is projected for 110 PA, which, if you look at the chart of past Yankee backups above, is right on target.

4 Pilittere has not played an inning above A-ball, so, no. No chance.

2007-02-15 07:30:43
13.   Sliced Bread
10 I agree, which is why I nominate Fick of All Trades.
2007-02-15 07:44:53
14.   bp1
Just a quick dumb question here. Does "defense" include the ability to work with pitchers? I ask, because clearly some pitchers work well with some catchers, and I wonder if that is factored into their overall value when considering someone for the position.
2007-02-15 07:45:38
15.   Shaun P
13 No offense to Fick, but doesn't he fall into the "can hit but is awful defensively" category? IIRC, that's why he hasn't played catcher in a while.

What is it about catchers that makes finding two of them who can play defense, and hit, well enough so hard?

2007-02-15 07:52:18
16.   Cliff Corcoran
15 Position scarsity, which is particularly common at catcher because the phyiscal beating they take and the wear on their knees shortens their careers so much, and because so few youngsters are willing to be come catchers in part because of that wear and tear. The Catch-22 there is that because they're something of a field general and usually required to call pitches catchers need to be among the brighter ballplayers, but the brighter ballplayers are the ones more likely to understand that being a catcher is a brutal business, is likely to reduce their effectiveness at the plate, and almost guaranteed to shorten their career. The exception to the last being players who wouldn't have much of a career if they didn't have the defensive advantage of catchers, and thus you get the list of poor hitters above.
2007-02-15 08:00:13
17.   Sliced Bread
15 "Awful" might be too harsh a word to describe his catcher skills, "servicable" is probably more like it these days.

I see him as a better bat than Craig Wilson, similar 1B skills.

He'd probably be better than anyone we have for 1B or BUC, which is more an indictment against Doug Out, and Pratt, than praise for Fick The Stick.

2007-02-15 08:21:37
18.   markp
If you look at MLB history there were only a handful of good hitting catchers from 1901 to the present day. Of course up until the teens, even the best catchers were only behind the plate half the time. Even into the thirties there's still a lot of guys who either topped out at 350 ABs or played other positions to keep their bat in the lineup.
This reminds me of the baseball encyclopedia's title for the 1937 season "The Battery Trouble in Detroit". I've always found that a rather odd take on the season considering the Yanks had won in 1936 by 19.5 games and that their starting catcher had a 1026 OPS. Admittedly Rudy York wasn't Mickey Cochrane, but Schoolboy Rowe had only a slightly above average season in '36 saves for the 19 wins, and those were due more to run support than pitching acumen.
2007-02-15 08:26:05
19.   standuptriple
I was at that "Bunt to break up the no-no" game. I gotta say, for as much as I dislike Schilling he was DEALING that night. I noticed about the 4th that his pitch count was about 8/per inning. Eaton was going against him and actually pitched very well too.
11 I know the Cubs' Barrett is going to be a FA after this year.
2007-02-15 08:30:05
20.   Shaun P
16 Theoretically, if you could reduce the wear and tear, you might negate some of the position scarcity, right? Has any team ever tried tandem catching? By that I mean you have 2 guys at every level in the minors who split the catching duties 50-50.

I can see the downsides. If a guy can catch OK and hits very well, you want him playing as much as possible to develop the catching skills (and take advantage of the bat).

Or if a guy is a great defender, calls games well, etc, but hasn't tapped into his hitting abilities, you want him playing as much as possible too so the hitting develops.

You would think there's got to be a solution to this one.

2007-02-15 08:30:27
21.   Sliced Bread
15 Fick hardly caught any games in '03 and '04, but returned to the position in '05

Fick caught 26 games last season:
.248/.347/.379 (as catcher)

Caught 28 games in 2005:
.341/.398/.427 (as catcher)

2007-02-15 08:32:49
22.   Cliff Corcoran
19 After McCann, Barrett's the best catcher in the NL right now having improved in each of the last three seasons. That said, this is his age-30 season, so he'd really only be viable as a short-term fix should Jorge collapse this year. Given the fact that Jorge was better defensively last year than ever before, there's no sense in moving him to first to make room for Barrett and Barrett will not sign to be a backup.
2007-02-15 08:33:30
23.   yankz
Man. I would do anything to be a pro baseball player.

Let's say they extend Mo. By the end of his contract he's still good, but there's a better man for the closer job. Would they move Mo to middle relief? Can you imagine being the guy Mariano Rivera has to set up for?

2007-02-15 08:46:04
24.   Cliff Corcoran
23 John Wetteland can.
2007-02-15 08:51:08
25.   Jim Dean
What I'm going to look for from Mo is when/if his cutter starts getting hit hard. What's crazy is it could happen this year or it could happen in five years. But it's such a tremendous pitch that even if he doesn't generate the same velocity, if the late movement is there, he can still get weak tappers. As the movement of that pitch goes, so goes Mo.

It wouldn't surprise me to have Mo be 45 and still closing games.

2007-02-15 08:56:15
26.   yankz
That was before Mo became God.
2007-02-15 08:59:01
27.   Bama Yankee
16 "The Catch-22 there is that because they're something of a field general and usually required to call pitches catchers need to be among the brighter ballplayers, but the brighter ballplayers are the ones more likely to understand that being a catcher is a brutal business"

Good point, Cliff. I guess you could call that the "Catcher-22" ;-)

2007-02-15 09:12:53
28.   Cliff Corcoran
26 Using WXRL (which credits relievers for their direct effect on team win expectancy), 1996 was Mo's second most valuable season ever (in part due to innings pitched, as WXRL is cummulative):

2004: 7.427 (1.83 leverage)
1996: 6.877 (1.30 leverage)

130 Ks and just one homer in 107 2/3 IP? That's pretty god-like if you ask me.

2007-02-15 09:15:55
29.   Sliced Bread
28 who was "the one" that took him deep?
2007-02-15 09:17:25
30.   Cliff Corcoran
25 For yucks, PECOTA thinks Mo will pitch until he's 40 and will be consistent right up until retirement. I'm more concerned about Mo's control/command than the effectiveness of his cutter. Seems to me when Mo's gone bad in recent years it's because he's wild. The most glaring example being Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, in which a lead-off walk to Kevin Millar set up Dave Roberts' steal and the need to pour a strike lead to Mueller's RBI single up the middle (if I recall correctly).
2007-02-15 09:18:03
31.   Cliff Corcoran
29 Rafael Palmeiro and, lucky me, I was at that game.
2007-02-15 09:22:02
32.   Sliced Bread
31 sheeh. Palmiero. Those O's games were wild back in the day.
2007-02-15 09:25:05
33.   Cliff Corcoran
Raffy v. Mo career: .348/.483/.609 in 30 PAs
2007-02-15 09:31:29
34.   yankz
No one's denying that Mo has been great for a long time. But like Alex B. always says, you don't want to be the guy that replaces the legend.
2007-02-15 09:39:52
35.   Jim Dean
30 But hasn't that tendency always been there? It's not like his BB rate is outstanding. If anything, he'll get into trouble then get the double play ball.

His BB rate has been getting better though and was outstanding last year (1.32 BB/9 vs 6.60 K/9). That's after a 2.07 in 2005 and a 2.29 in 2004. Still he was sitting pretty back in 2003 with a 1.27 BB/9 against a 8.08 K/9.

I could see the cutter being maintained, but if he loses velocity on the straight fastball, he could also get hammered if they just wait for that pitch. Still, I think it all depends on the cutter. If it continues to work for him, he's in complete control .

31 Question is: Is that a long fly ball that season without certain enhancements? It looks like 1995 when his power really ticked up and stayed mostly up. 1993 he had 37 but in 160 games; 1995 it was 39 in 140.

2007-02-15 09:41:20
36.   Rich
Cashman didn't negotiate the Randy Johnson trade, Randy Levine did. That is probably why Navarro was included. The guy is clueless. It has been reported that the D'backs could have had Cano and/or Wang if they wanted. If Cashman had been in charge then, it's likely that they wouldn't have pursued Johnson. It was probably the last of the George ordered moves.
2007-02-15 09:41:40
37.   Jim Dean
33 Or there's that. Wow - hard to argue those stats were enhanced.
2007-02-15 09:43:12
38.   Cliff Corcoran
I was just looking at that 6/28/1996 game in which Mo gave up that homer to Raffy. Had held a 4-4 tie for two innings then caved in his third inning of work with Raffy's three-run jobby being the deciding blow in a 7-4 O's win. It was the eighth time that season Mo had worked into a third inning and he had done so in each of his three previous outings, though he was properly rested in between. Mo worked into a third inning just four more times over the remainder of the regular season.

Nonetheless, I find it fascinating that the only homer he gave up all year was after he had already thrown two scoreless innings in a game.

2007-02-15 09:43:55
39.   Jim Dean
36 Where's the story that reports that? Levine and Cashman still get along just fine (they just traveled to Asia together), and I'd have to think that Cashman was at least in on who was expendable even if Levine did the final details.
2007-02-15 09:45:32
40.   Cliff Corcoran
36 I completely agree, Rich, in fact I have a half written post in the hopper about exactly that. I hope to get it up next week.

Note that according to Retrosheet the Raffy v. Mo line in 33 is "incomplete" -- to what degree (or why) I'm not sure.

2007-02-15 09:50:08
41.   Zavo
Great writeup as always Cliff. Not to take away from the conversation on the BUC or on Mo's greatness, but I thought there was an interesting move in the pitching groupings this morning.

According to Peter Abraham group 1 was:
Wang, Moose, Pettitte, Pavano, Igawa - no surprises there.
Group 2 was Hughes, Rasner, Karstens, Sanchez....and Ohlendorf. The Yanks must be really high on Ohlendorf. I thought that maybe Clippard would be in that spot.

2007-02-15 09:56:59
42.   Jim Dean
39 Beside which, what Levine did this last Unit trade too?

In all the years Cashman has been GM, what prospects have they acquired that became anything of substance?

I can think of exactly Proctor. And then he's had exactly one decent relief season. Even then - was that a "Cashman" trade?

Anyone can argue that he wasn't in "control" but in the last two years he's acquired Sanchez (who still has an injury history) and what? I've seen nothing to suggest that he knows how to plug holes on a MLB roster by acquiring prospects.

And those holes are sometimes very glaring.

2007-02-15 10:06:19
43.   Cliff Corcoran
42 I think Proctor was indeed a Cashman trade, but he was no prospect. As for the two RJ trades, it's easy to criticize GMs for free agent signings or the lack thereof, but trades are tricky because you don't know what was possible. In general it's easier to blame GMs for giving up players than for failing to acquire them because they have full control over the former and almost no control over the later (if another GM won't give a guy up, all you can do is offer more talent until the trade isn't worth it anymore and even then they still may refuse to give a guy up). So I blame the Yankees for trading Navarro, but I have a hard time blaming them for not acquiring a young talented replacement via trade. Besides, had they not done the former, they wouldn't need to do the later.
2007-02-15 10:15:22
44.   Cliff Corcoran
By the way, here was my verdict on the acquisition of Johnson back on the BRB back in January 2005:

"That's what this trade ultimately comes down to. The Yankees have sent the future packing in an attempt to guarantee themselves a championship in 2005 (in a broader sense, the Yankees traded Halsey, Navarro, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate and Nick Johnson and cash for Randy Johnson). And that's how this trade must ultimately be judged. The addition of Johnson puts the Yankees closer to that elusive 27th World's Championship than any other player in baseball would have (after all, Barry Bonds can't pitch). Should Johnson deliver a championship to the Bronx by 2007, the trade must be seen as a success. Otherwise, barring the complete collapse of all three of the players they sent to Arizona, it must be seen as a costly failure."

I'll work more of that post into my upcoming post on the Johnson trades, but it just goes to show, there are no guarantees in baseball.

2007-02-15 10:16:51
45.   Sliced Bread
42 "I've seen nothing to suggest that he knows how to plug holes on a MLB roster by acquiring prospects."

Cano, Wang, and Melky were all amateur free agents signed under Cashman, who eventually plugged roster holes.

Cash has done a fine job of not trading these players. Probably the best thing he's done in recent years has been refusing to trade promising young players (Hughes!) -- unless you count Matt Smith lost in the Abreu deal.

2007-02-15 10:20:09
46.   yankz
The Mo business is getting out of hand. There is no way in hell he ever throws a pitch for Boston. Dick Cheney will field one off the Green Monster before that happens.
2007-02-15 10:29:30
47.   Jim Dean
43 You're absolutely right (though Proctor was fringy - like Beam). That's where I just go to the other players that were moved in the same time frame. You can see the exchange of talent and make some determination of whether the Yanks had the pieces to do the same. That's no telling if it would still work.

So can we blame Cashman for not acquiring Overbay last year?

Ben Brousasard?

George Kotaras?

The point is that's there's alot of swapping of talent. That's what most teams do when they need something - they barter. But the Yanks have mostly stayed out of it. They either sign players or develop them with little in-between. The trades that do occur are more likely to involve big salary (Unit, Abreu).

Sure, the Shef and Wright trades were a step in the right direction but they didn't go far enough with a specific eye on 2007. It's like Cashman is gun shy from the Weaver then Vazquez debacles. So he gets three B/C prospects instead of one A.

This year if Detroit trades for Clement or Mathis - that's a problem in my eyes.

If Sexson goes to the Giants, another problem.

Heck, even Helton being moved at the price being discussed caused me to go apeshit.

With the gaping holes on the team, the GM should be constantly trying to make them better. And all I'm hearing it how "happy" he is with where the team is at.

2007-02-15 10:30:54
48.   Jim Dean
44 Oops. They forgot about a CF for 2005. How silly of them.
2007-02-15 10:32:02
49.   Jim Dean
45 By all accounts he had little to do with signing them. That's the main two parts of the orgnization that supposedly weren't talking.
2007-02-15 10:32:46
50.   yankz
What's he supposed to say, these guys are a bunch of bums and I'm going to replace them all? Also, please let me know how to get into contact with Cashman (I'm assuming you know how, since he told you he's done trying to improve the team).
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-02-15 10:37:54
51.   Jim Dean
50 It's in the press. Someone asked him if he was done and the reply was something about how he's always trying but he's happy with where the team is at.

Besides which, where are all the folks who were saying he wasn't done after the Unit trade?

Now, Cash's modus operandi is to see what he has then wait until May/June.

The problem is he tried that last year and Wilson promptly got buried. If he had made that same trade in December (no doubt is was avaialbe - Wilson was still Wilson and Chanon had a higher value even), Wilson would have had the job all year because he would have had the Spring to get acclimated. Or at least we wouldn't have seen Cairo playing 1B.

2007-02-15 10:38:59
52.   Sliced Bread
49 But he's had a lot to do with keeping these players, which is why I think he's doing a good job now.

Damon and Abreu are his two best acquisitions, although they probably should have been blocked by Boston.

2007-02-15 10:45:50
53.   JL25and3
40 Baseball-reference also lists 30 PA, but has the numbers as .333/.467/.583.

He's no Edgar Martinez, though.

2007-02-15 10:46:20
54.   Shaun P
47 Humberto Sanchez, potential arm issues aside, is seen as a Grade A prospect (or damn close).

Name me one other legitimate Grade A prospect, traded in the last year, who was, at the time of the trade, ready for the majors. Teams are holding onto those guys like never before.

In fact, with the exception of the Marlins and the Devil Rays, I can't think of a single other team that acquires prospects via trade and then immediately uses them to fill holes on the major league roster.

Your points above made sense Jim, but you're back into 'ranting about why Cashman didn't get player X when you have no idea if Cashman did or didn't try to get player X' territory.

2007-02-15 10:51:18
55.   Jim Dean
52 That's what the Yankees do - they grip the life out of their prospects. They either flourish or die and wither. They've always shown a willingness to give up on prospects but it's rare that they try to acquire developing talent for developing talent. The Vazquez and Weaver trades were unique in that regard. Now he's gun shy. The problem was with the players - not the approach. He's inching back closer but seems more interested in saving money than in acquiring talent (less so for the Shef trade, most so for the Unit trade and Wright falls right in between.)

No other team could have acquired Damon and Abreu except for the Yanks or Boston. It's easy to win a auction if you're the last one standing.

2007-02-15 10:57:02
56.   Rich
42 Prior to gaining total decision making authority in his last contract, Cashman's job was largely to implement a plan that was formulated by others, mostly by George, who was often unduly influenced by Connors and Emslie. As a result, obtaining prospects wasn't a priority. In fact, beginning in 2000, when the Yankees' farm system was very highly rated, their modus operandi was to trade rather than to accumulate prospects, at time when several key components of the major league roster were in decline. That strategy wasn't altered until last year.

Since Cashman became more than the de facto GM, he has revamped the scouting staff and hierarchy, and in the first and only amateur draft he has supervised, the Yankees drafted several high ceiling prospects with signability issues, like Chamberlain, Betances, and Melancon, recognizing that there is no better way for the Yankees to use their financial advantage.

2007-02-15 10:58:25
57.   Jim Dean
54 I know, I know - I'm full-bore in the flaming pit of a rant.

It's my way of deflecting and understanding the gaping holes in this roster to where they belong - the GM.

If the Unit trade had resulted in either a catching prospect (of the two they have) or a 1B prospect (of the two they have) I'd be feeling very good (not great because of the other hole) right now. Indeed, Cairo I could live with if it wasn't for the chance that we could see a lineup with him, Pratt, and MCI this year and many times with the chances of injuries are distributed.

A lineup with Cairo and Montero or Kotaras and Jackson or Broussard.

That I could live with.

2007-02-15 10:59:54
58.   Jim Dean
56 Still have Tabata and nothing else for position prospects. And guess what? They need at least two position prospects right now.
2007-02-15 11:10:59
59.   Cliff Corcoran
57 Kottaras was a great pickup by the Red Sox, but there's no way he's ready for the majors yet. He cracked triple-A for the first time late last year and hit .210/.286/.361 in the high-offense Pacific Coast League.
2007-02-15 11:16:29
60.   Jim Dean
59 Sample size! That's 119 AB's. By June he will be ready. And it helps when your plate discipline is 100 points:

1228 AB .283 .383 .450 .833

and he's 24 in May.

Oh yes, Kottaras will be haunting the Yankee pitchers for years to come. And always remember they got him for two months of Wells.

2007-02-15 11:16:45
61.   rsmith51
What I never understood is why Cashman didn't trade both Chacon and Small in the offseason last year. Maybe there wasn't a market for them, but I was positive that they wouldn't repeat what they did in '05. I thought they could have gotten at least a decent prospect at that point. I guess the fact that they turned Chacon into Craig Wilson was amazing at the time, though.
2007-02-15 11:17:16
62.   SF Yanks
Not to change the subect or anything, but from Yanksfan vs. Soxfan:

Sitting in his car outside the Yankees' spring training facility, Rivera was asked by a New York Post reporter if he could be the Red Sox' closer in 2008.

"You never know," Rivera said.

How could he even say something like that. He can't possibly be serious can he? I think he might be taking this a little too far now. That would be my worst nightmare. Seriously. I couldn't think of anything worse. Well, maybe Jeter.

2007-02-15 11:20:08
63.   Cliff Corcoran
58 It's hard to criticize a team for a lack of position player prospects when they just produced Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera in the last two years. Brett Gardner is a strong CF prospect, the only question is if he'll develop enough power to be more than a fourth OF. Austin Jackson is still young enough to turn into something and catcher Jesus Montero is still a teenager. They are indeed thin on the hitting side of things (Alberto Gonzalez can field, but that's about it), but there's more than nothing.
2007-02-15 11:21:54
64.   Cliff Corcoran
62 Mo's hoping Cash (or the Boss) will react like you just did and give him an extension now. That's all. Mo's a very intelligent man, he knows how to get things done.
2007-02-15 11:23:54
65.   Jim Dean
61 That's exactly it. If they could trade Chacon for Wilson (more with the latter becoming a free agent, I think) then shouldn't they have been able to get something even better in December?

The problem is they thought they had something because of half a season and no other track record. Whoops!

62 Bernie used the same approach in 1998. He got his money from the Yanks and so will Mo. The Yanks won't be outbid there. Will they?

2007-02-15 11:30:20
66.   Orly Yarly NoWai
I want to throw something into the BUC debate.

Jeff Clement isn't going anywhere. He was the third pick in the 2005 draft, starting in low A ball. By the end of 2006, he was in AAA Tacoma. He's struggled a bit there, but that's due to overaggressive promotion and injury. The big thing is this: the Mariners are always looking for left-handed hitting. Clement has had good power numbers. He's a catcher. He's left-handed. Even Bill Bavasi's not going to trade him since he fits perfectly into their little box.

2007-02-15 11:32:47
67.   Jim Dean
63 Montero doesn't exist until he shows he can play professional baseball. Even then I want to see him produce in A+ before I think he's worth anything more than a signing bonus.

Gardner may not even make MLB. He put up this line in AA last year:

217 AB .272 .352 .318

and no OBP and SLG aren't switched. Plus he's going on 24. If he doesn't learn to hit more than a few doubles this year, he can't even be considered a fringe prospect anymore.

Austin Jackson put up this line in low-A:

535 AB .260 .340 .346

Sure he's going to be 20. Further, where does he start the year? In low-A again?

Sorry, I feel very comfortable saying they've got nothing besides Tabata.

2007-02-15 11:37:49
68.   Jim Dean
66 He's legitimately blocked by Johjima. And if they don't improve this year, Bavasi is legitimately out of a job. Clement can be had for the right price. I'm hoping that price is Pavano in June.
2007-02-15 11:38:32
69.   standuptriple
With Jim Dean it's Deja vu every day. So who does Ca$hman have to install as manager that will compensate for his failings?
2007-02-15 11:42:59
70.   Orly Yarly NoWai
68 He's also a possible 1B or DH; in fact, in the draft, he was projected as a 1B. It makes zero sense for a team that wants left-handed power to trade away a powerful lefthander they've already spent a bunch of money on.
2007-02-15 11:51:22
71.   Jim Dean
69 Sorry, it's been a while since I hated on Cashman this bad. And this thread of all others is the right place for it.

Read again Cliff's main post and the confluence of factors that has led to Todd Pratt being the BUC for the 2007 NY Yankees and with nothing else in the system behind him. I can't beleive I thought last year was bad with Stinnett (signed in November! Problem solved!) and Fasano (At least I saw him run into a meatball in Baltimore). Or that last year was worse than 2005 with Flaherty. Meanwhile, Jorge keeps getting one year older.

Honestly I'm a simple man with simple needs. Some sembalnce of a MLB bench would be nice, and if not, some redundancy in the system.

2007-02-15 11:54:26
72.   JL25and3
62 In their dealings with both Bernie and Mo, the Yankees have sent a loud and clear message: we appreciate what you've done, but business is business. Fair enough, but then there's no reason Rivera should treat it any differently.

He's already said that, if he reaches free agency, the Yankees will be competing with every other team. In fact, Boston would be the obvious place for him to go: they've been desperate for a closer for years, they've got pots and pots of money, they're a contending team, and if he's any good at all he'll be worshiped as a god. I don't think RSN would have a problem embracing him - I'd bet even over at SoSH he's probably treated with reasonable respect.

2007-02-15 11:55:04
73.   Jim Dean
70 He's blocked there too - unless they plan to trade Sexson and call him up.

Why would Bavasi hold on to prosepcts if he has a chance to improve the team now? In the year that determines whether he has job in 2008?

2007-02-15 11:57:46
74.   Jim Dean
And thank God the truck has arrived!

2007-02-15 12:02:19
75.   JL25and3
I don't know if I put the blame as squarely on Cashman as Jim Dean does. But there's no question that the failure to find any sort of replacement for Posada is likely to hurt them badly - and probably soon. From the moment they traded Navarro, that should have been a priority.
2007-02-15 12:02:29
76.   Orly Yarly NoWai
73 I wouldn't be surprised to see Sexon move at the deadline. Weren't we agitating to get him during the offseason? Plus, Vidro has nothing left in the tank, and might go the way of Carl Everett. That would open up the DH spot for Clement, and allow him to spell Johjima on a regular basis without the sucking void of offensive ability that Rene Rivera brings.
2007-02-15 12:09:07
77.   jayd
Time To Dump Contracts In Twinkie Land

The land behind Target Center that is expected to be the site of the Twins' new stadium was advertised for $17.5 million on the owners' website but now is carrying a $40 million asking price. "The bottom line is if they get real on a price I think they can get a deal done, and I'm still optimistic that will happen," Twins President Dave St. Peter said.

Bottom line: if you don't cough up Johan My Johan, you're playing on Police Athletic League lots and banned from the mlb. And give us Mauer while you're at it. We'll let him back up Jorge for a couple years.

2007-02-15 12:22:22
78.   Marcus
68 Johjima is in the second year of a 3 year contract. Doesn't it make perfect sense to have Clement spend one full year at AAA this year, get called up as Johjima's back up in 2008, and then supplanting him in 2009 if he's worth his salt as a catcher?

And 73 Sexson's contract is up after 2008, so he's on the same schedule. Like 76 says, there's a good chance he could get traded anyways. It sounds like the Mariner's have plenty of options for using Clement.

2007-02-15 12:24:30
79.   Jim Dean
Just not if Bavasi's the GM. He's got no use for him. Meanwhile, Clement isn't what he was even a year ago.

Even still, Mathis has also dropped into a nice price range.

2007-02-15 12:32:12
80.   Shaun P
73 Actually, Bavasi has a track record of not trading highly-regarded prospects, even when not doing so (and thus not improving the team) costs him his job - he held onto them all when he was Angels GM back in the 90s.

BTW, just what were/are the Yanks going to give up for Clement? What do the Mariners need that the Yanks have? If you ask the Ms, they have plenty of pitching - according to the Ms blogs out there, that's what their GM says to the press all the time - but they could sure use another bat (or three). Of course, the Yanks don't have any bats to trade . . .

67 One other thing - go back and look at Cano's minor league numbers before 2004, particularly the line he put up in A ball as a 20 year old in 2003. I wouldn't judge Jackson so quickly, or Gardner either.

2007-02-15 12:35:11
81.   Shaun P
79 And, what, again, will the Yanks give up to get Mathis (who may be a complete flop, a la Ben Davis BTW)? The last thing the Angels need is pitching; they're almost drowning in it. They need, if anything, a bat or two. Oops.

I'm guessing your response will be something along the lines of "This is why Cashman is an idiot for getting so many pitchers", right? =)

2007-02-15 12:36:37
82.   Jim Dean
80 Any team that signs Jeff Weaver is not strong in the pitching department IMHO.

Can plays 2B. Jackson and Gardner play the OF. Gardner is 24 and put up a .314 SLG in AA.

Jackson may have something. But he needs to show it this year.

2007-02-15 12:38:42
83.   Jim Dean
81 Mathis or Clement for Duncan perhaps? Disappointsments switch homes?

But yeah, the big part of my problem with Cashman is the Unit trade. That was an organization that had real players the Yankas need and were desparate to get Unit.

2007-02-15 12:40:06
84.   Zack
Ahh, nothing like checking in to see that this thread looks just like all the others for the past month and a half. Nothing liek utter speculation on possible trades to condemn a GM, good thing the season will start soon.

Good write up Cliff, as always.

Everyone should check out On the Yankees beat:

Really interesting stuff, some scary:
Moose rips Pavano, that should be good to see.

But most interesting, or scary, or typical, is Joe's comments on Bernie and 1B:
Using Doug for both RHP and LHP, or, gasp, back to Cairo at 1B, jsut so Bernie can get a roster spot...

See, this is where Joe just drives me insane. Keep 12 pitcher, 2 of whom won't ever get off he bench, yet to get Bernie on the roster to steal Melky's AB's, we'll drop Phelps AND Philips and suffer through Cairo and Douggy M. Yug...

2007-02-15 12:42:28
85.   Shaun P
82 Even if Gardner just turns into a 4th OF, that would be something, seeing since 1998 the Yanks farm system has produced all of 2 OFs who play in the bigs - Juan Rivera and Melky.

Its also possible that, if Gardner's OBP and speed skills are as good as advertised, he could put up some .300/.400/.400 lines in the bigs, which isn't bad for a CF and makes for a great leadoff hitter in the traditional 80s mode.

And, I'd say, as a 20 year old, Jackson has at least a couple of years to show something. Its not like there are 8 guys behind him, bearing down on him - just Tabata.

And while I agree of your assessment of the M's pitching, clearly their assessment is different, and in terms of making a trade, its their assessment that counts.

2007-02-15 12:45:05
86.   Mike in DC
I didn't see it in the thread but wasn't Robert Fick catching when Frank Robinson removed him in the middle of an inning last season. I only remember because Robinson ended up crying on TV because he embarrassed him. Even if he wasn't, I do not think a trade for Fick is the answer.
2007-02-15 12:48:42
87.   Cliff Corcoran
85 You mean since 1999, Rickey Ledee was still in the majors last year and is in someone's camp this spring.

86 No, that was Matt LeCroy.

2007-02-15 12:51:40
88.   JL25and3
84 I think it's amusing that Mussina is serving as the clubhouse spokesman. I mean...isn't Mussina basically an antisocial geek? Does he even talk to anyone in the clubhouse?

Bernie really should have spent last year folllowing Mattingly around and learning a little something about first base. He's still more useful than the 12th pitcher.

2007-02-15 12:52:05
89.   Sliced Bread
86FR yanked Matthew LeCroy mid inning.

Fick's might not be "the answer" but he's probably better than what we have at 1B/BUC.

2007-02-15 12:53:55
90.   Sliced Bread
88 Bernie should have learned a knuckleball last year.
2007-02-15 13:04:29
91.   Zavo
85 Your larger point stands, but don't forget Marcus Thames.
2007-02-15 13:05:04
92.   Chyll Will
90 Bernie should have gone to charm school so he could charm the ball over the right field wall whenever he's up.
2007-02-15 13:10:52
93.   standuptriple
88 Moose went to Stanford and is probably one of the smartest guys in the organization. Maybe that's why,
2007-02-15 13:18:00
94.   Shaun P
84 And that's exactly why Bernie shouldn't play for the Yanks anymore. Torre will do anything to get the guy ABs, winning be damned.

87 You're right Cliff, I almost forgot about Ledee. He did turn into a useful player, not a star but useful nonetheless.

2007-02-15 13:18:05
95.   Jim Dean
84 How could I be so dumb? Man, all this time criticizing the GM for imaginary trades.

Now that I've come to my senses, I wonder why no one sings Cashman's praises? He's easily the most underrated GM in the game.

Shit, that stuff you're smoking IS good. They'll have three roster spots devoted to MCI, Cairo, and Pratt. And the manager is talking about dropping whatever upside they could have at 1b for a RH DH who can't pinch hit.

That sir is how you construct a team! Give that GM a medal!

2007-02-15 13:18:06
96.   JL25and3
93 Is that why he serves as spokesman, or why no one talks to him?

No question, Moose is considered an intellectual. Never mind his Stanford degree - he does crossword puzzles. In baseball, that's always been the definition of an intellectual.

2007-02-15 13:20:01
97.   Shaun P
91 I always forget Thames, but if Detroit buries him this year like they did in the Serious, he might not count much longer.
2007-02-15 13:24:59
98.   Jim Dean
85 Gardner still has a long way to go in a very short period of time even to be a 4th OF.

Jackson may turn out okay. But right now he's nothing to count on.

If Weaver sings his AL tunes, the M's may very well be looking for a starter in June, esp if the race is close.

The other bit is that at 1B/DH they'll still have Broussard and Vidro, even if they trade Sexson.

2007-02-15 13:27:33
99.   Sliced Bread
Can't have 100 posts without a mention of A-Rod, so there you have it.
2007-02-15 13:31:47
100.   thelarmis
99 whew, thanks! that was close... ; )

espn article stating torre talked to bernie for 20 minutes, encouraging him to come to camp. green tea mentioned his #'s aren't important and the possibility of the yanks "seeing" giambi as the 1Bman...

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-02-15 13:35:11
101.   Shawn Clap
Memo to Andy Phillips: Don't put the deposit down on that Manhattan Condo just yet.

2007-02-15 14:03:17
102.   dianagramr

ewwww .... Cairo starting at 1B .... again?

he's a passable middle infield sub ... but 1B?

2007-02-15 14:04:28
103.   Bama Yankee
101 Seeing that link (the 35 pets part) made me wonder if Andy was trying to turn his Manhattan Condo into something like this:
2007-02-15 14:11:39
104.   underdog
Btw, it's important to note that while it's absolutely true the Dodgers should have gotten more for Navarro, they didn't of course trade him for Toby Hall, per se. Hall was flipped in the deal to give them a backup catcher, in a deal that netted him basketball center-masquerading as a center Mark Hendrickson. While Hendrickson's record was bad, his numbers weren't that terrible and when he became a LOOGY of sorts at the end of the year he was more effective. LA was looking for pitching depth at the time and thought he was the best available. Of course, most Dodgers fans (like me) will tell you it was still a terrible trade (they also gave up Jae Seo in the deal, though he, too, looked terrible to me), it had some logic behind it at least. Navarro for Hall would have been particularly ludicrous. At least they did, as you said, have the sense to sign Lieberthal to back up Martin this year. And unlike Hall, he actually wants to be there!

As for the Yanks, well, now that they do have much more of a surplus of young pitchers, maybe they could trade - well, I never like trading minor league pitching studs, so a veteran currently on the team in exchange for another team's catching prospect, or with a team with two catching prospects. Will be time to replace Posada soon, too...

2007-02-15 14:12:54
105.   underdog
(oops, that should be "...masquerading as a pitcher" above, of course. But you knew that.)
2007-02-15 14:19:15
106.   Bama Yankee
105 "...masquerading as a pitcher"

Who is Carl Pavano?

I'll continue with "Former Marlins Who Flopped" for $1000 please Mr. Trebek...

2007-02-15 14:21:36
107.   Chyll Will
103 Psst, hey you! Ya'wanna Chihuahua?
2007-02-15 14:22:03
108.   dianagramr

please ... its Pavanomas (tm)

2007-02-15 14:27:09
109.   yankz
All right, if Cashman lets Joe drop a 1B for Bernie, or lets them start Cairo, I will be all aboard the Jim Dean bandwagon.
2007-02-15 14:32:03
110.   nemecizer
74 What a motley looking bunch of goons!

Seriously, you are a professional baseball player. You make more money than 99% of the population. Get a decent haircut and try to project an image of some sort of style. Don't come to work looking a like a drunken fraternity pledge who did something stupid with a razor while on a bender.


2007-02-15 14:34:08
111.   Bama Yankee
107 My favorite part of that article was the quote:

"Out of 244 dogs, 16 parrots, seven cats, a rabbit and a chinchilla... not one BUC could be found anywhere." - Jim Dean ;-)

108 Sorry. I wanted to use Pavanomas, but I was afraid that Mr. Trebek did not speak Banterese.

2007-02-15 14:36:46
112.   Chyll Will
103,107 (In Rex Harrison mode)

"Ya'wanna Chihuahua?
An African Grey?
Or a Pekinese terrier?
Well here's what I say...

Come to Lancashire,
Along Carnforth Green,
two hundred and sixty-five animals
here to be seen...
Come to Lancashire,
an extraordinary scene!
But watch where you step
'cuz where Shih-Tzus are kept isn't clean..."

[Feel free to add verse, for better or worse >;)]

2007-02-15 14:38:43
113.   Zack
95 Oh damn, you mean to tell me that our biggest concerns are the back up catcher, the back up infielder, and our #9 hitter? Shoot, we are doomed! Hell, I'm ready to declare the season DOA right now, why even play. Heck, with all of ESPN already declaring the Sox rotation probably the best, shouldn't we just hand them the divison crown? I mean, its not like they don't have any significant holes or anything. At least not to the degree of a back up catcher! I mean, God forbid Jorge goes down we are in trouble. But I mean, what if Ortiz went down? Or Manny? Sox played real well last year without Manny, didn't they?

Dude, just chill out. Its Spring Training. Cashman just this winter started recovering the team from the mess it was put in, give it some time. I know you feel the need to win every single game, we all do, and I know that your bile raises at the thought of Doug M., Cairo, and Pratt, so does mine. But building a baseball team is a process, and building a farm system is a process too, it doesn't come together in one offseason and it doesn't hinge on backups. The Yankees have won many a series without a decent BUC, and they have one many with one.

Just because Cashamn didn't entirely stock the farm with young, amazing hitters and a young stud catacher This offseason doesn't mean it won't happen next season. Hell, it might happen THIS season, seeing as it hasn't started yet.

I can guarantee you that the season won't go buy without at least one major leaguer (read Pavano) traded for youngsters, and a few kids traded for other kids. That is how it works.

Sorry, I will now go back to freaking out about the Yankees lack of a solid bullpen catcher....

2007-02-15 14:41:00
114.   Zack
And LoHud has it that Swindell was arrested for DUI last night...weird...
2007-02-15 14:41:01
115.   Chyll Will
111 Now all we need is some blank verse about Jim and we'll all be set for the day...
2007-02-15 14:45:17
116.   Chyll Will
113 Blankety-blanks don't count!
2007-02-15 14:45:59
117.   Bama Yankee
112 Good one, Chyll.
Living in a house full of Shih-Tzus...
That sounds like the beginning of a country song.
2007-02-15 14:52:18
118.   underdog
106 Who is... Josh Beckett?

I'll take Backup Catchers Now Managing AA Teams for $200.

2007-02-15 14:59:17
119.   Orly Yarly NoWai
83 I'm really trying to make this clear, Jim. The Mariner organization doesn't consider Clement a disappointment. He's gone from the lowest level of A ball to AAA in two years. The guy got hurt and was STILL promoted. They don't see him as a disappointment; far from it. We have Hughes and Sanchez; they have Jones and Clement (for the sake of argument, we'll say Wang is Felix, Lopez is Cano and Betancourt is Melky).
2007-02-15 15:02:19
120.   Chyll Will
117 "Mamas, don't let'cha puppies grow up to be corgis..."

"I can't stop hoarding you,
I've made up my mind..."

And of course the obvious classic:

"Get a long little doggie, get a... wait, we have twelve!"

2007-02-15 15:04:00
121.   standuptriple
96 Who do you suggest is the mouthpiece for the Yankee staff? Wang? Igawa? Pettitte, right? Wait, here's a thought, why not go to the most senior member of the starting staff that speaks English? All pitchers are weird anyways.
2007-02-15 16:00:06
122.   MARH
This is coming a bit late to the conversation, but a post or two ago Cliff and Jim Dean had a discussion about the percentile PECOTA projections, so these two BBTF threads (and the articles linked within) should be of interest. The first relates more to the usefulness of signing veteran players for depth, but the second goes into detail about the variance of pitcher performance and how PECOTA works.

2007-02-15 16:00:57
123.   Jim Dean
113 You mean how he got a 1b last year? Or the CF in 2005?

Yup, those helped in the post-season.

Oh. wait.

Cashman is a genius!

2007-02-15 16:11:07
124.   Chyll Will
122 A discussion about percentile dysfunction. Just what this thread needed...
2007-02-15 16:13:36
125.   yankz
121 Except Phil Hughes, who has no flaws.
2007-02-15 16:34:46
126.   Jeteupthemiddle
As for catchers in the system, I am quite fond of Francisco Cervelli. 20 years old with a good debut for the SI Yankees.

As for anything else mentioned in this thread in regards to Cashman and the roster, it is the same stuff rehashed for a month. Nothing new can possibly be said.

2007-02-15 16:39:06
127.   yankz
Has everyone seen the news about Swindal's DUI? WTF is going on this spring?
2007-02-15 16:55:33
128.   manila boy
126 "As for anything else mentioned in this thread in regards to Cashman and the roster, it is the same stuff rehashed for a month. Nothing new can possibly be said."

And it's as tiresome as before.

2007-02-15 17:30:24
129.   Jim Dean
126 Except for all the folks who said he wasn't done yet.

No, he's "happy" with the team.

He's still a genius!

And I love the folks he who say: it's the 9th hitter!? or it's the BUC!? or it's the UIF!?

Like any of that's an explanation.

Nope, enjoy the Kool-Aid and the position prospects in low-A ball.

2007-02-15 18:11:39
130.   Chyll Will
129 JD, here we have a post hand-made, delivered and sealed with a kiss to you by the heavenly host himself, yet you still found a way to make it sound like you are the most persecuted individual this side of Joan D'Arc. My question is, who does your tailoring?
2007-02-15 18:13:29
131.   Shaun P
129 I myself have a barrel full of Kool Aid, which I am enjoying. Its black cherry flavor, if you must know, and I will gladly share it with anyone who asks.

And if you ask nicely, I might even add some delicious scotch to it. It helps pass these kinds of threads.

So much for the gas-soaked rag in the mouth, eh Jim? At least you're passionate.

Someone wake me from my scotch-induced haze when there's something new to discuss.

BTW Alex, props for helping Nate Silver to understand Worm Killer Wang. He gave you a little shout-out in his chat this afternoon.

2007-02-15 19:19:30
132.   Jeteupthemiddle
129 Here's the thing, on February 15th, the first real day of spring training, and with the first real signs of baseball returning, I am allowed to drink kool aid and be happy with my team.

I am going to guess that at least 2/3 of baseball would KILL to have the only problems on their team being the back up catcher, the utility infielder, and half of a platoon.

Obviously a person is allowed to be critical of the team and of decisions being made, but it almost seems like you would rather bitch about the very minor problems with the team and complain about the GM as opposed to root for the team. I am sure that is not the case, but that is my impression.

I know that the team is not perfect. I am well aware that Todd Pratt is far from the best back up catcher in baseball. I understand that a platoon at first base with Jason Giambi as the full time DH is not the most effectuve use of roster spaces.

However, despite all of that, I know that those problems are, in general, minor in the grand scheme of the season.

This team has upgraded from last season offensively simply by being healthy.

This team has gotten younger and more athletic and more flexible...or at least has moved into that direction. You may choose not to see that, and that is your perogative.

And as for me rooting for Francisco Cervelli, I know he is in rookie ball and will be in A- or A+ ball this season, but you know what, I don't care. I am not hanging my hat on him. I am not saying that because we have a single catcher with potential in the lower levels of the organization that we are saved from Posada and his age 40 season.

I am saying that I am a fan of this team and of its organization and with that comes being a fan of the minor league affliates and its players. I like to choose a minor leaguer and root for him to succeed...even one who flies under the radar. In a thread about catchers, I merely mentioned one within our system.

But you can keep swallowing your gasoline and tainting spring training for the rest of us.

/end rant.

2007-02-15 19:42:30
133.   RIYank
Yo, says here
that Carlos Zambrano is very close to signing a five year ext with the Cubbies. For "Zito money".

Damn Cashman, how could he let this happen?

2007-02-15 20:00:04
134.   yankz
What I learned today: "35pets" is the coolest tinyurl URL ever. So, I got bored, and started typing in random combinations. My favorite so far is my birthday (in MMDD form) followed by my initials. Really, really bored!
2007-02-15 20:01:40
135.   yankz
Our new favorite site:
2007-02-15 20:16:39
136.   Bama Yankee
135 That bottle of champagne has got to be some kind of sign...
2007-02-15 20:24:31
137.   Jim Dean
Here's what I really don't understand:

Why spend $150 million on a huge penthouse overlooking Central Park, and yet go cheap on the insurance with a 4 million dollar policy?

Wouldn't that be plain dumb?

No one can answer that simple question. Or this one: Why do the Yanks consistently have the worst insurance in MLB.


132 "This team has gotten younger and more athletic and more flexible...or at least has moved into that direction. You may choose not to see that, and that is your perogative."

Just because you say it doesn't make it so. How exactly is this statement even close to true? Every position player is one year older - every single one. They managed to get older at 1B and brought in a 40 year old BUC. Cairo is till Cairo. Even Melky is one year older.

So you make that broad statement based on one or two slots in the rotation? Where "athleticism" and "flexibility" means little? Because what - they have 63 RHRP pitchers to deal?

133 Better them than us.

131 I know. I'm sorry. I'll try to do better tomorrow. You know - cause I wouldn't want to "taint" anyone's spring training. Ha!

Pass that Kool-Aid over here though. Let it wash all of the pain away...

2007-02-15 20:33:29
138.   yankz
136 Definitely, although, if you switch the 27 and the nyy, you get Weird.
2007-02-15 20:35:23
139.   Chyll Will
135 You ARE bored. Try songwriting, that'll exercise your reflexes more than crosswords >;)

The place where you can get/
Some marigolds/a bootylift/
or Ming china set...

(It's nighttime, what do you expect...)

Jete, pass da Black Cherry ovah here!

2007-02-15 20:47:51
140.   Chyll Will
um, right. I'll go to bed now. G'night...
2007-02-15 20:49:08
141.   yankz
I'm still up. I have no musical talents, though.
2007-02-15 20:50:21
142.   Shaun P
137 From my scotch-induced haze, I'll take a stab at it.

I can't answer you question because you're asking the wrong question. The question should be:

"Why spend $150 million on a huge penthouse overlooking Central Park, and then put a $39 microwave in the kitchen, a $15 tape-based analog answering machine in the front hall, and a $10 coat rack in the front hall closet?"

The answer is, I don't know, but you can survive A-OK with the $39 microwave, the $15 tape-based answering machine, and the $10 coat rack. They aren't the greatest, but they'll do, and if any of them breaks, they are easy enough to replace.

Now, if the $3.5M home entertainment system and the $4.5M jacuzzi tub both break, and it will take at least 3 months to fix them both, then there's a problem.

And lastly, I'm pretty sure the Yanks are far from the bottom in terms of having the worst insurance in MLB. The Nats bench is maybe worse than a AAA bench. The Marlins bench might be worse than the Nats bench. Outside of Ramon Castro, the Mets bench is a joke. The Phils have no bench. The Giants bench sucks. The M's bench sucks. The Rays bench is a joke - unless the likes of Norton, Wigginton, and Damon Hollins are starting, in which case the Rays bench rocks.

That's 7 right there, without even trying hard. And don't forget that Melky alone helps make the bench at least middle of the pack.

I have no more to add. Back to the scotch!

2007-02-15 22:04:01
143.   wsporter
Scotch? I didn't know we were having scotch. Damn! If I'd known I would have been here a lot earlier.
2007-02-16 03:37:23
144.   Shaun P
143 MFD, its good to know that our alma mater and the Yankees are not all we have in common! Thanks for the smile on my face.
2007-02-16 05:42:25
145.   Jim Dean
142 Rather than continue in a new thread...

You can live without a microwave, coat rack, and answering machine.

You can't live without a 1B and with that bench getting significant playing time if something happens to the regulars.

It's more like having: a giant vat of Kool-Aid in case you run out of water; a wood log and some matches if you run out heat; and a handcrank if you run out of electricity.

Further, it's not like the Yankees bench is just barren like an old maid. It's that there's nothing in the organization either. Other teams (DRays especially) with simliar benches can go to the minors for help. The Yankees can't. Besides which the Yankees spend what on their position players. Did they even invest 10% in their backups?

See, I could deal fine with Pratt (the original point of this thread) if they had a Clement or Mathis in the system (like the Sox with Mirabelli and Kottaras). It's the one-two stomach punch-groin kick of having Pratt AND nothing behind him that absolutely kills me. It's been years in the making and Jorge tore a knee ligament last year. Of course the same goes with 1B and the UIF.

Why be dumb?

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