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Icky Thump
2007-07-01 17:28
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees scored two runs off Joe Kennedy in the first inning of Friday night's game against the A's. Mike Mussina made that hold up for seven innings and, after Kyle Farnsworth let two men on in the eighth, Mariano Rivera came on to get the last four outs to secure a 2-1 win.

On Sunday, the Yankees were still looking for their third run of the series as they had been one-hit by Chad Gaudin and Rich Harden on Saturday in a 7-0 loss. Kei Igawa pitched well in Saturday's game with the significant exception of the three home runs he allowed in 6 1/3 innings. One of those dingers was hit by Jason Kendall, who had previously hit a total of two home runs in his two and a half seasons with the A's. Scott Proctor gave up hits to three of the four men he faced in relief of Igawa and, with Mike Myers' help, all three men came around to score. After the game, Proctor, still reeling from walking in the winning run in Baltimore, burned his glove and spikes in front of the dugout.

The Yankees finally broke through to score five runs in Sunday's finale, but it didn't do them much good as Andy Pettitte got lit up for eight runs before a single Yankee crossed the plate. Pettitte, who said after the game that, despite a good warmup, he had absolutely no command and that his pitches were just centering themselves over the plate, got the hook with two outs in the A's seven-run second inning. Ron Villone pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings as the Yankees rallied to make it 8-5, but Mike Myers and Luis Vizcaino allowed a trio of insurance runs (Myers' again being an inherited runner, this time charged to Brian Bruney) to put the game out of reach at the eventual final of 11-5. Proctor, breaking in his new equipment, finished things off by retiring the four batters he faced on nine pitches (six strikes).

And so the Yankees' slide continues as they fall to 2-9 over their last four series, all of which they lost. They're now four games under .500, which is where they were on June 7, and a whopping nine games out in the Wild Card race behind five other teams including the departing A's. Suddenly the AL East, where they're in third place, 11 games behind Boston, seems more winnable. Tomorrow they begin a four-game series against the Twins, who are another of those five teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race (and one with a nearly identical record to the A's). They pretty much need to sweep that one. Johan Santana pitches on Wednesday. (Do you see where I'm going with this?)

In other news, before yesterday's game the Yanks finally optioned Chris Basak back to triple-A. Basak had been on the roster since June 5, had appeared in just four games and had just one plate appearance in which he flew out to left field (but thought he had a double). Only once in those for appearances did he play for more than a half-inning, that coming in his major league debut when he pinch-ran for Alex Rodriguez in the eighth-inning of a blowout and then played third in the ninth. Basak last played on Saturday as a defensive replacement for Derek Jeter, who's fighting tendinitis in his knee, though Jeter didn't seem hindered at all yesterday, nor was he slowed by taking a Dan Haren pitch off his left elbow.

Replacing Basak on the roster is righty reliever Edwar Ramirez. Ramirez, a scrawny Dominican whose listed as 26 years old, originally signed with the Angels in 2001, but was released by them in spring 2004 after struggling to advance beyond low-A ball. After a year out of the game, he lit up the independent Central League in 2005 earning a single appearance with the Angels' triple-A squad. Back in the independents in early 2006, he was again dominant and signed with the Yankees, dominating the Florida State League in 19 appearances. This year, he's been even better in double- and triple-A posting this combined line:

43 IP, 19 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 17 BB, 80 K, 16.61 K/9, 0.83 WHIP, 0.62 ERA

The scary thing is, he's being doing that sort of thing for three years now. Word is his secret weapon is a Bugs Bunny changeup. That sort of thing just might work in the majors, too. If so, it might be time for the Yankees to use Ramirez and Chris Britton (2.13 ERA, 10.42 K/9, 4.00 K/BB with Scranton) as excuses to dump some of their useless veteran relievers such as Myers (against whom lefties are hitting .320/.407/.440 this year) and Crybaby Kyle Farnsworth, who earned his nickname by throwing a fit when Joe Torre took him out of Friday's game with two on and two out in the eighth. As Peter Abraham has been pointing out all season, Farnsworth has turned in a perfect inning in just four of his 34 appearances (for comparison, Proctor, who hasn't been so hot either, has been perfect 12 out of 41 times) and not once come back out of the dugout to pitch in a second frame, regardless of how many pitches he threw in his first. Luis Vizcaino gets a stay of execution as, prior to yesterday's game, he had made 11 consecutive scoreless appearances. As for Myers, he's dominating righties as much as he's being dominated by lefties, but Joe Torre will never figure that out (remember reverse-split lefty Chris Hammond?), so the Yanks might as well just cut bait.

Incidentally, Friday's 2-1 win was just the Yankees' fifth-one run victory of the season (against 13 one-run loses), just their second victory in a game in which they had scored fewer than four runs (the other being their 3-1 win over the Red Sox in the game in which Kei Igawa relieved the injured Jeff Karstens in the first inning), and just their fifth victory in a game in which they had scored fewer than five runs.

Comments (97)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-07-01 21:46:37
1.   tommyl
I can sum up this game quite easily. I was debating watching it, but it was so nice out I decided to meet up with a friend in Central Park. I took my tiny FM radio with me. When I got off the subway it was somewhere between 1:30-2pm, turned on the radio and heard, "Well Pettitte goes 1.2 innings, giving up 8 runs on...". Yup that about sums up the Yankees season so far right there.
2007-07-01 22:43:24
2.   yankz
Great title.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=1OjTspCqvk8

2007-07-02 06:11:50
3.   jkay
They are averaging a win a week. Forget the playoffs, just hope they can rebuild in time for 2008.
2007-07-02 06:47:56
4.   Jim Dean
And the first real sign that A-Rod will be opting out and it comes from his wife!

http://tinyurl.com/33xsog

F#$% You. (Nice message while she's sitting in the stands).

Then again, who can blame her when every paper in the city tries to break up her marriage (but buries the note that she loves strip clubs too).

Well, the dynasty was fun while it lasted.

2007-07-02 06:52:34
5.   dianagramr
Would someone PLEASE put Damon on the DL ...
2007-07-02 06:53:45
6.   ChrisS
Ugly.

Rebuilding is going to be ugly as well. Start with the coaching staff. Torre, you done good for a while, but the times have passed you by. Have fun in your retirement.

There's no good options for 1st base and something will have to be done with Giambi and Damon. Abreu will come around, he can't be that good for that long and then just fall apart in three months. Cano will rebound. A-rod is very very good at baseball and should be retained. A new catcher should be a high priority, so Jorge has someone to train.

Pitchers to retain, Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, and work from there. Clippard could be ready to pitch in the majors again in 08.

2007-07-02 07:09:27
7.   weeping for brunnhilde
4

What an unethical story.

Who cares?

The writers report that the shirt was "visible to thousands of fans..."

Give me a fucking break.

Unethical, adolescent gossip-mongers is what they are, titillated by their own prurient sense of scandal.

Really, really sad.

2007-07-02 07:25:25
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
Anyone interested, Kim Jones is pinch-hosting on WFAN right now.
2007-07-02 07:52:52
9.   AbbyNormal821
7 I thought it was hysterical!
2007-07-02 08:00:00
10.   Schteeve
this season is a joke.
2007-07-02 08:05:25
11.   bobtaco
" If so, it might be time for the Yankees to use Ramirez and Chris Britton (2.13 ERA, 10.42 K/9, 4.00 K/BB with Scranton) as excuses to dump some of their useless veteran relievers..."

HA.

Yeah, I'll say it MIGHT be time.

2007-07-02 08:06:28
12.   Schteeve
I will consider this season not a total disaster if Cash spends the second half of the season planning for the future instead of trying to chase a highly improbable playoff berth.
2007-07-02 08:24:46
13.   weeping for brunnhilde
12 Gee, Schteeve, which do you think is the more likely scenario?
2007-07-02 08:30:50
14.   Max
4 Good for her. I'm glad she wore the shirt.
2007-07-02 08:41:02
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
14 The thing is, it's just some novelty item that can be purchased on 8th St., or I'm sure in any mall in Anywheresville USA.

Is it crass and indecorous?

Yes.

Is it more crass and indecorous than the NY Post itself?

Puh-lease.

You can't write for a paper that routinely lowers standards of civility and then feign scandal when a woman wears a tee-shirt.

Sorry, you just can't.

2007-07-02 08:41:38
16.   JL25and3
7 The phrase I really liked was, "shocking breach of stadium etiquette." I mean, seriously, has that writer ever actually been to a Yankee game?

Btw, weeping, I'm still considering my return to be day-to-day. So far, so good.

2007-07-02 08:43:15
17.   standuptriple
Well, since there are so many REAL contenders for the wild card perhaps the Yanks can be the beneficiaries of a sellers market. Somebody warn Cash that he will be held accountable by Jim Dean.
2007-07-02 08:46:50
18.   weeping for brunnhilde
16 Right on, JL! So far, so good.

And yes, that was the money quote.

Am I mistaken, or don't the neanderthals in the cheap seats sing "Why are you gay?" each game?

2007-07-02 08:47:00
19.   monkeypants
14 ???

Articles like this demonstrate much of what is wrong with journalism and our society in general. At the same time, wearing a t-shirt like is also an example of what is wrong with our society. Then again, defending boorish and offensive behavior is in the same category.

God lord, why are talking about this.

2007-07-02 08:55:43
20.   Jim Dean
19 The point: Whatever would cause Ms. A-Rod to wear such a shirt? See, I was firmly in the "No way A-Rod opts out camp" before I saw that. All I know if my wife wore a shirt like that to my office, I'd have to have a talk with her about making our private conversations public.

As with all things A-Rod, it's psychobabble. But, I think, suggestive of what's said behind closed doors. And this wasn't Ms. A-Rod giving the finger to the media.

17 Beter still would be Cashman getting his ass fired. I've seen nothing to believe he knows how to put a winning team together.

2007-07-02 09:04:05
21.   JL25and3
Also, weeping, you've criticized the Yankees this year for not being flexible or versatile enough, for having a one-dimensional (or, at least, few-dimensional) approach to the game.

I disagree. I think they've shown remarkable versatility. They can lose with bad hitting, bad starting pitching, bad relief pitching, bad fielding, bad baserunning, bad managing. They can fail to bunt, to advance runners, to score runners from third. They can lose sloppy, or they can lose briskly and efficiently (Saturday's game was exemplary).

There are also those who question their attitude, determination, and clutchitudeness. Quite the contrary - I think they have shown remarkable dedication to their craft and real esprit de corp. If the starter pitches well, the offense will do what's necessary to keep the score low until they can get to the bullpen. Yesterday Pettitte's instincts obviously told him that the Yankees were going to score some runs, so he made sure to put the game out of reach. They've also shown tremendous clutchitudeness - even Jeter and Rodriguez and Posada, who really haven't been pulling their weight offensively, can step up and get a strikeout or DP when they really need it.

I think we should marvel at the team's execution. It may look easy, but that's only because they do it so smoothly, so expertly.

2007-07-02 09:04:22
22.   Start Spreading the News
20 Really Jim? You have seen nothing to indicate that he knows how to put a winning team together?

Nothing at all?

Where would this team be if he weren't overruled when he wanted to sign Vlad Guerrero? That certainly wouldn't be a sign that he knows how to put together a winning team. I guess not.

You really want to fire him based on one year's worth of work? Talk about small sample size.

2007-07-02 09:14:21
23.   Shaun P
20 22 Here we go again. Did the lack of discussion on dead horse subjects last through Friday, or did it die during the game? I haven't read the weekend's thread yet.

21 All day I've been trying to find some way of expressing my utter frustration with the Yankees. I couldn't figure out how to do it. Now I don't have to; you did it for me JL. Thank you.

2007-07-02 09:16:14
24.   Jim Dean
22 There go the Cashman defenders again. Based on the last ten years, they've gotten consistently worse. I've seen he knows how to keep a winning team together (200 million/year helps alot), but nothing to suggest he knows how to rebuild (the emphasis on team). Indeed, let's look at the fall grace and players replaced during his tenure:

1B: Tino to Giambi to Tony Clark to Tino to Cairo/Phillips to Cairo/Phillips

2B: Soriano to Cairo to Womack to Cano

SS: Jeter

3B: Brosius to Ventura to Boone to A-Rod

C: Jorge

LF: Curtis to Ledee to Knoblauch to White to Matsui

CF: Bernie to Womack to Bubba to Damon

RF: O'Neill to Mondesi to Sheffield to Abreu

DH: A very long list

SP: An even longer list

RP: Mo and I can't count that high

Based on that record I shudder to see what happens if Cashman is the guy to replace Mo, Jorge, and A-Rod, especially if it's in one off-season. And Jeter?

Basically Cashman has shown he knows how to spend money, and more often than not, very unwisely.

But, nah, let's keep him around for another ten years!

2007-07-02 09:17:03
25.   Jim Dean
21 Excellent!
2007-07-02 09:19:04
26.   monkeypants
22 Why did you have to do this?

24 "There go the Cashman defenders again."

And there you go again. It's like mutually assured destruction.

2007-07-02 09:20:58
27.   JL25and3
Let's all just put on some Sun Ra and chill a bit.
2007-07-02 09:22:30
28.   Jim Dean
26 I don't see how anyone can look at that list (especially involving 1B and CF and I didn't even mention the bench) and think Cashman is the man for the job.

Sure, I'm worried too about what Cashman leaving would mean for the pitching prospects. But, just because he traded exactly zero of them to make the 2007 team better, does not mean he's the right guy to rebuild the organization. If not the last ten years, the last two two tell us everything we need to know.

2007-07-02 09:24:52
29.   monkeypants
28 Now you're arguing with me..and I didn't even question the validity of your post!

Dude, get another topic...even if just for the day!

2007-07-02 09:28:05
30.   Max
20 Well there you go, then. That's why the Post writes articles like this. There are always "readers" who are willing to take things out on a limb when it involves a celebrity or spouse doing something that wouldn't elicit a shrug (if it were someone else).
2007-07-02 09:33:55
31.   Jim Dean
29 Where in their did I argue with you? I was merely clarifying my point. If anyone thinks I'm already solidly against Cashman, then let's just look at his moves. If the last ten years aren't good enough, just look at the last two (when he was really in charge).

30 Of course you're right. But you're telling me she wore that shirt because she loves NY and the Yankees (as A-Rod has repeatedly said)?

2007-07-02 09:42:20
32.   monkeypants
31 But then why did you cite my post 26 to clarify your point? I never questioned or misunderstood your post, and so required no clarification.
2007-07-02 09:46:20
33.   Max
27 Best suggestion yet. I actually ordered "The Magic City" and "Heliocentric World Vol 1" over the weekend. Anything to reverse the mojo (and at the very least, it beats having to actually watch the team lately).
2007-07-02 09:46:44
34.   Jim Dean
32 Just trying to have a discussion. If you want no part of it, just let my anger die in peace.

And these day, there's ALOT of anger, especially at the Good for nothing GM who thought a 1B platoon was a great idea - almost as good as having Cairo as the first bat off of the bench.

The only thing missing is another ligament tear for Jorge. Who knows!? The season is still young!

2007-07-02 09:55:59
35.   monkeypants
34 Yet it's the same discussion, citing the same examples--and here I am not just talking to you, but to the vehement Cashman supporters. By and large I agree with your analysis, though I think you tend not to give Cashman credit for some positive moves, and also sometimes fault him for failures that resulted more from tactical (ie, managerial) decisions.But the same ritualized discussion, again and again, does get old.

A week or so ago we had a fascinating debate about defensive stats (especially as applied to players from previous generations). The best part about it--Cashman's name did not come up.

Hey. it's a freee country (as my dad used to say)--rage against the machine as much as you want.

2007-07-02 09:56:43
36.   Count Zero
34 JD - The SPCDA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Dead Animals) called...they asked if you would please leave the horse alone so the funeral can begin.
2007-07-02 10:02:14
37.   Shaun P
27 If only I owned some Sun Ra. I would settle for listening to copies of FDR's fireside chats - which were inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame today. (Or will be later today.) But not all are available online (at least not that I can find).

I bet the BFOG+ of those chats would have been off the charts, if someone measured BFOG+ back then.

2007-07-02 10:06:54
38.   Start Spreading the News
24 You want to say that Cashman did a good job of keeping a winning team winning. Fine. Then you say he can't rebuild. Where in the last ten years has he had the opportunity to rebuild?

In order to rebuild, you can't be playing to win.

On the other hand, Cashman is trying to rebuild while winning which is a much trickier thing to do. To that end, he pushed Cano onto Torre who normally dislikes anyone under 30. Under his tenure, they drafted Wang, Hughes and got a bunch of other pitching prospects. The Yankees rank very high in the farm system for pitching and very much lower for position players. I guess the resurgence of the farm system is no indication of rebuilding team in your eyes. Note pitching prospects can be traded for position players.

But I am puzzled that you saying that the Yankees have declined in the past 10 years. Here is what they have done:
year, wins, Place, Games Back
1996, 92, 1st, +4
1997, 96, 2nd, -2
1998, 114, 1st, +22
1999, 98, 1st, +4
2000, 87, 1st, +2.5
2001, 95, 1st, +13.5
2002, 103, 1st, +10.5
2003, 101, 1st, +6
2004, 101, 1st, +3
2005, 95, 1st, 0
2006, 97, 1st, +10

So where is this consistent downward trend? Plot that and you will see there is no downward trend. Do the same for Run Scored by year, and there is an upward trend.

In fact, the only downward trend is in the pitching. And that was where Cashman has been focusing.

But then you say he has done nothing to rebuild, right?

2007-07-02 10:09:47
39.   Jim Dean
35 I'm s-----l---o-----w. I get the point, but sometimes it's hard to let it go. Cashman has been gnawing at me for years now. And I'd suspect if I hadn't been as vocal around here, many more folks would still think that some players are just underperforming. No doubt that's true (most especially with Abreu) but throwing away roster slots is just as big a culprit. And I'd say I've been the most vocal member of that club. Indeed, it felt like I was the only member for a while, even as I know I wasn't.

36 Yes, yes - once he's fired then let the funeral begin. Until, I'm sorry. Very sorry. But my anger is going to rage - unless he starts trading a Marquez and Smith and Horne for some legit position prospects. Or perhaps a Proctor and/or Farns for Jeff Clement? Or an Abreu for a Joe Koshansky?

2007-07-02 10:15:17
40.   Zack
As if my day wasn't bad enough yesterday my car decided to die on the way to a movie at one of the biggest intersections possible. Its like my car succombed to Yankicitis and just lost the will to go on...I'm bringining it in to see if maybe an infusion of youth in the form of new parts (hopefully not many) can save it, but who knows, there is only so much I can do, what with being saddled with this aging, declining machine. If only I had put more time and effort into those seemingly little, backup things, like the bumper, the paint, the upholstery. If I had done that, there would be no way this car broke down so suddenly the way it did yesterday. sigh, nothing to do but expect the worst I guess...
2007-07-02 10:17:22
41.   Jim Dean
38 It's about replacing players with decent alternatives. That's what's necessary to keeping the team healthy AND winning. And if the GM isn't winning to trade even a few pitching prospects (and he's had many needs in the last six months to do so) really what's the point of all of them?

For the downward trend I look no further than how close they are to a ring at the end of the year:

1998: Won WS
1999: Won WS
2000: Won WS
2001: Lost WS in 7 games
2002: Lost ALDS
2003: Lost WS in 6 games
2004: Lost ALCS in 7 games (and it still hurts)
2005: Lost ALDS
2006: Lost ALDS
2007: Out of playoffs

What's especially interesting to me is that as Cashman has gotten more "power" (by all accounts), the team has fallen off of a cliff. And when I look at his moves of the last two years I see why:

a) Sign veterans to overpriced contracts
b) Sign old replacement-level players
c) Acquire as many pitching prospects as possible but show no willingness to trade any of them
d) Undo anything remotely affiliated with the Tampa cabal by trading the parts for whatever "prospects" you can get, regardless of whether they'll help the current team

2007-07-02 10:22:18
42.   Shaun P
36 Someone call me when the dog food that this finely-ground dead horse is being made into is available. I've got better things to do with my time.
2007-07-02 10:22:34
43.   cult of basebaal
obviously, zack, you're attempting to mitigate your own blame. This entire affair was obviously your fault, after all, you took a perfectly good working car and turned it into near scrap. The only responsible thing to now is to step down and turn the reins over to another ...
2007-07-02 10:28:18
44.   Zack
43 Actually, I am looking to extend my control over said car for at least another 2 or so years, at least until I move to my new home. Obviously I'm on notice, but I am kind of dissapointed with its performance of late--I really think the car just sort of doesn't realyl put all the power its capable of into it sometimes. Liek going up this realyl steep hill near my house, I KNOW it can give me more, I jsut seems to hold back a little. I think if I can just tinker a little with it, maybe the spark plug will kick into gear after all and that could solve everything. At least that's what I'm hoping the shop will tell me...

But really, instead of looking forward, I have found myself languishing over all of the things I didn't do over the past few years of owning the car that could have prevented exactlly this thing. If I had only done a few small things, well, no problemo....

2007-07-02 10:28:23
45.   JL25and3
40 That totally sucks. It's time to start being really, really nice to your mom.
2007-07-02 10:32:35
46.   tommyl
You know, I just thought of one example where a Boras client took less money to stay with the Yankees: Bernie Williams. I think both the Sox and the Diamondbacks offered him a larger total contract.
2007-07-02 10:36:06
47.   JohnnyC
Yeah but that was all Bernie. He personally called George at the 11th hour and begged to be re-signed...and for less money.
2007-07-02 10:37:07
48.   tommyl
47 I know, just saying if A-Rod tells Boras he really, really wants to stay in NY (personally, if I were him I would not) Boras will make that happen. Say what you will about Boras but he certainly serves his clients well.
2007-07-02 10:39:40
49.   JL25and3
46 I think Maddux and Varitek also took less money to stay put.
2007-07-02 10:48:57
50.   jkay
Is it Cashman gains power and the Yankees decline, OR, the Yankees are declining so Cashman gains power?

The team was/is in decline, the people who made the decisions ran for cover, and Cashman takes the hit.

Cashman has built up, by some accounts, the best pitching staff in the minor leagues. If we have to wait a year or two for the kids to blossom, so be it.

Cashman has a plan and they should stick to it for now.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-07-02 10:49:31
51.   Jim Dean
44 See the question is: What have you done with said car? If you've ignored oil changes for 8k miles, then you probably deserved what you got. Or engine warnings - probably a bad sign. Or overheating in the dead of winter: Again not a good idea.

Same deal with the Yankee problems at 1B and CF. By themselves, horrible, but not deadly. Together?

Yup, the car breaks down.

48 I know his wife loves NY!

2007-07-02 10:53:03
52.   Jim Dean
50 The Yankees still need to score runs, no matter how good the pitching.

And:

a) The GM has shown an inability to trade pitching prospects for position prospects
b) The organization is devoid of position prospects that can help in the next two years.
c) The GM usually manages to sign the wrong free agents.

Whatever Cashman's plan, I don't see how it leads to a winning ballclub before 2010, unless (a) or (c) changes. And there's been little evidence to suggest that will.

2007-07-02 10:54:49
53.   tommyl
51 I am sick of this crap about A-Rod's wife's t-shirt. Know what, its a designer shirt, maybe she was in a rush that morning and put it on without thinking. Anyways, who the hell cares? Its a stupid tank top for chrissakes. Stop reading into it.

Also, this crap about a breach of etiquette? What about 2 weeks ago when the Met fan behind me kept yelling obscenities at every single Yankee player, play and fan? There were plenty of little kids around me and no one asked the schmuck to leave.

2007-07-02 11:10:04
54.   Start Spreading the News
41 Look, I will not say that Cashman has not made any bad moves.

But I am amazed that you know exactly which were his moves and which weren't considering the power struggle between him and Tampa. The only one I read was conclusively not his move was Sheffield being signed originally. Outside of that, I can't say which one is his move and not Tampa's. I don't know how you can either. I will say that 2006 was his first year on his own with him having power.

I can't believe that you who follows stats as much as you do, blames the GM for post season failure. By that measure, Billy Beane and John Schuerholz must be atrocious GMs. The GM has give the team personnel to do well in the playoffs but the team and Torre has to perform once there. Yanks should have won in 2003 but for Torre using Weaver. And 2004 -- up 3 games with Rivera pitching in the 4th for a sweep. You want to blame Cashman for those losses? Unbelievable.

2005 == the Yanks were up 2-0 going home and still lost the series. 2006, the Yankee offense disappeared. How much more offense should Cashman have gotten the team last year? I blame Torre more for those 2006 playoff losses than any one person. Demoting a slumping A-rod was atrocious.

2006 was a good job by Cashman. How many teams can lose 50-60 homers and 200 RBIs in the form of Matsui and Sheffield and still lead the MLB in runs scored? The Abreu trade was great. Yanks got a great OBP guy while giving up very little. None of the guys we gave up have done much. Note we gave up pitching prospects to get Abreu.

The one major flaw with all the teams that lost in the playoffs has been lack of dominant pitching. The offenses on those teams have been fine. Then it is no wonder that Cashman has been trying to address that issue.

52 a) See Abreu trade for where pitching prospects paid off.
b) I am sure given time that Cashman will address that. For now, he is drafting with the philosophy that you draft the best player available at that time. You can't blame him if the best player available is a pitcher.
c) The Damon signing looks bad now. But looked great last year. It forced Coco Crisp on the Sox who then sucked. And Damon outperformed his PECOTA and replaced Bernie in CF. Cashman wanted Dice-K but got grossly outbid.

But still you say that you see nothing that indicates that Cashman should keep his job. That's probably because you are only looking at the negatives in a small sample size.

2007-07-02 11:14:54
55.   williamnyy23
I am in the camp that doesn't view 2003-2006 as a failure (at least not one deserving of being on Cashman's watch). In 2003 and 2004, a few common sense decisions by Torre could have/should have resulted in two more rings. After 2004, Cashman made the deal that everyone was clamoring for...he brought in the Big Unit and gave up nothing in return. Had Randy been anything like what we all expected, the Yankees would have had the ace to guide them through the 2005-2006 playoffs. Instead, he followed up a fine 2005 regular season with a poor post season and even worse 2006. Still, Cashman managed to fill a myriad of holes on both teams, resulting in two division titles that I thoroughly enjoyed and value highly.

Sure, this year you can point to a lot of poor choices, but I am willing to give Cashman another off season and year without Torre before discarded him as well.

2007-07-02 11:16:38
56.   williamnyy23
54 Just one correction...I belive CJ Henry, a short stop, was the main "prospect" in the deal. Also, fyi, Matt Smith, one of the pitchers in the deal, had TJ surgery today.
2007-07-02 11:27:35
57.   Schteeve
39

I feel so honored to be in the presence of your single voice of reason shouting out of the darkness.

2007-07-02 11:29:39
58.   Jim Dean
54 I can't argue with you much there. Except, we can look at the last two years as strict evidence as what Cashman as a GM looks like.

There we see:
Signings -
Damon (4 years at 52 mil)
Matsui (4 years at 52 mil)
Mussina (2 years at 22 mil)
Clemens (3/4 year at 18 mil)
Pettitte (1 year at 16 mil)
Farnsworth (3 years at 15 mil)
Stinnett
Dotel (but only for TJ surgery and the briefest recovery)
Nieves
Cairo (x2)
Mghfjk

Youngsters -
Melky
Wang
Cano
Phillips (x2)

Trades -
Abreu (only Smith has upside and just a little for a LHRP)
Chacon for Wilson
Fasano
Unit for crappy pitchers
Shef for one hurt and two crappy pitchers
Wright for one young and decent relief pitcher but who lack a BFOG.

Special -
Phelps
Gueil
Green
Long
Erickson
Pena
Ponson

Now, seriously, look at that list.

I see:

a) A lot of overpriced signings. Only Pettitte seems to be worth his contract. Maybe Moose too. And alot of crappy veterans.

b) One good trade (albeit one in which Philly had no other takers unless they picked up significant salary)

c) Tons of s(crap) heap try outs.

Missing is the all important youngsters - bringing them in and replenishing the current team (O'Neil/Tino variety) and plugging a serious holes at the same time. There's been to suggest that Cashman is capable. And until he does (if ever) expect a long string of crappy veterans becuase of the empty system.

2007-07-02 11:36:39
59.   Jim Dean
54 And Cashman doesn't do the drafting. Indeed, I bet he barely knows much about the prospects after the first round. He's a general manager and one with no baseball background.

56 Actually they gave up a LAIM (what they got back in Unit) in Vazquez plus 10 million to then give Unit another 32 million as well as Navarro - who'd at least have filled the blackhole at BUC for a few years, if not more (he's still only 23 and a switch-hitter).

57 And there goes the only "prospect" in that deal.

2007-07-02 11:42:51
60.   Jim Dean
One more debateable point:

Does Cashman get credit for Wang, Melky, and Cano?

With Wang, I doubt he knew what he had. And Wang only got his chance because of the disaster that was the 2005 pitching staff.

Cano: He gave Womack a two-year contract. How could he have been waiting to promote Cano?

Melky? It's not like he had a choice last year.

If anything, the way Phillips has been handled shows the communication problems and lack of coordination between the GM and his manager.

So even on the prospects that have been successful, I attribute that to a case in spite of Cashman/Torre, rather than because of them.

Big surprise, I know.

2007-07-02 11:45:58
61.   williamnyy23
58 It's ironic that you would refer to all important youngsters, yet consistently advocate Helton over Texeira.

Speaking of Texiera, his acquisition would kind or mirror Tino's. To get Tino, the Yankees wisely held onto names like Pettitte and Rivera, instead dealing Sterling Hitchcock. If they could again be so fortunate and acquire Texeira for the "bad" good prospect, it would make the future look brighter.

2007-07-02 11:50:20
62.   williamnyy23
59 While better than Nieves, Navarro's 70 OPS+ makes him a very insignificant figure in any deal. Also, considering they got out of RJ's contract for this season, it makes the extension look a lot worse than you suggest.

60 He gets credit for looking at his team in late April, realizing his mistakes and giving two rookies a shot (moreso Cano in this example). A bad GM might have jetisoned Cabrera after is 2005 disaster, so I think Cashman gets credit for hanging on to him for his useful 2006 campaign.

2007-07-02 11:52:19
63.   Count Zero
Soooooo...

How's everyone feel about Edwar being called up? I'm looking forward to seeing him in action to see this bugs bunny change and to see if he has a BFOG. Torre likely won't use him except in a mopup role, but given the way the Yanks play lately, that should come within a couple of games.

2007-07-02 11:53:19
64.   williamnyy23
63 Mop role? You mean like down 6 runs in the 9th? Isn't that Scott Proctor's job (or Mariano's when he needs the work)?
2007-07-02 11:54:35
65.   Jim Dean
61 The difference is I just don't think Teixeira is that good.

He's below average defensively and at age 27 not going to get better.

His stats are inflated by his home park.

He's going to cost alot in terms of prospects and salary.

That said, if the Yanks can get him with a package of C pitching prospects (Marquez, Smith, etc) then it's a tough call IMHO but they probably have to do it. Still, Teixiera will likely be a light-hitting DH by the end of his 5-6 year deal.

Helton I only really advocated at the prices mentioned in the off-season (Tavarez and Lowell) and 30 million off. Once he showed he was healthy, the equation changed. Still, Helton is still a solid 1B and brings as good of a bat as Teixeira. The yearly price is higher but the prospect price probably lower. And his contract is shorter and so less expensive, esp if the Rox throw some money or took bad contracts (e.g., Farns) back.

Overall, it's a question of value in my mind. That's why even though Moose sucks, his signing was probably okay to me.

2007-07-02 11:55:52
66.   rilkefan
60 "With Wang, I doubt he knew what he had."

Classic special pleading.

I've managed to make it this far in life without listening to any Sun Ra - somebody want to point me to some representative stuff on youtube?

2007-07-02 11:57:40
67.   Jim Dean
Sorry - Teixeira is average defensively.
2007-07-02 11:58:22
68.   Jim Dean
66 What - if he did would he have signed Wright AND Pavano to fill out the rotation?
2007-07-02 12:00:37
69.   Shaun P
27 Still listening to Sun Ra? I'm still looking for more fireside chats.

Anyone else notice that Steve Sax is going to be at Old Timers' Day this year? I wonder if he can still swing the bat well. Isn't funny that Sax, who was Randolph's immediate replacement at 2B, only played a year and a half more than Willie did? I always laugh thinking of that, because the Yanks' cited reason for letting Willie go was that he was getting old.

Speaking of Randolph . . . I watched most of Game 5 of the '77 ALCS from the DVD set this weekend with my dad. It was awesome, and so funny to see how young Willie, Sweet Lou, and Gator (among others) looked. Alex, thank you again for your review of that set; I might not have bought it for my dad otherwise.

2007-07-02 12:01:36
70.   Jim Dean
69 Question is: Will Sax have trouble throwing it to 1B?
2007-07-02 12:02:46
71.   Shaun P
63 Let's hope Edwar gets a real chance, as opposed to, say, a Colter Bean chance - aka, no chance at all. But if his change-up is really all that, that would be fun to watch.
2007-07-02 12:13:27
72.   Shaun P
70 I'd say no. He never had such troubles with the Yanks, IIRC.

Now if he gets arrested again and charged with all those unsolved NYC murders, well, that's another issue altogether. I always wondered if Mr. Burns that sprang him from jail, or if it was Mr. Steinbrenner. Maybe they split the bill. Maybe that's why Sax got traded to the White Sox?

2007-07-02 12:28:36
73.   Start Spreading the News
Sorry to all about rehashing the Cashman debate, but given the state of the Yanks, I do think it is worth having again. Thanks to everyone for your patience. Thanks to JD for a good discussion.

58 Let's look over the evidence. Unsurprisingly you and I will disagree on a few of the signings.

Damon == overpaid but had to since there weren't other free agents really to be had. The spectre of Bernie loomed for another year. Damon coming to the Yanks really hurt the Sox. They had to deal with Coco Crisp who sucked for them. If Damon was hitting .280 with 25 homers for the Sox instead of the Yanks, I don't think we win the division by 10 games. Overall: despite Damon sucking now, still had to do it.
Matsui== overpaid but had to. Again not a ton of other free agents to be had. Tampa years had left farm system bereft of younger left field candidates. Plus Matsui gets the Yanks the Japanese market which in turn is tons of money. Overall: Had to sign him
Mussina == overpaid, maybe. Overall: had to sign him
Clemens == overpaid, but had a team where we set the record for the most number of starters in the month of April. We had no starting pitching at the time. Desperation move. Overall: Had to sign him. Yanks don't care as much about money.
Pettite == overpaid maybe. But only a one year contract. Overall: had to sign him
Farnsworth == overpaid definitely. Had a very good year with Detroit and Atlanta but blew key saves in the playoffs for the Braves. Young hard throwing reliever with a 198 ERA+ for $5 mill a year? Clearly he has been mediocre at best for the yanks. But at the time, there was enough indication that he had figured out how to pitch. Overall: had to sign him but overpaid.
Stinnett == sucked but was BUC
Dotel == Hoping to get Jon Leiber type luck here. Sign an injured pitcher and hopes he does well. Was a worthwhile gamble. Worked with Leiber. Didn't work with Dotel.
Nieves == bad signing
Cairo == Cairo did really well his first time with the Yanks. Cashman then got rid of him. I think this is one where Torre wanted Cairo back and Cashman conceded. But I have no proof for that outside of the affection that Torre displays for Cairo's guts.
Mgkdfjk== sucks. Horrible signing. Shouldn't not have done it.

Youngsters
Melky== no credit. Since we had to use him.
Wang == Worked out well. Was in the organization pre2006.
Cano== Give Cash credit. Steinbrenner wanted womack. But when womack sucked, Cashman forced Cano down Torre's throat from what I read. Cano got off to an atrocious start but still got playing time and eventually straightened himself out.
Phillips== never got playing time from Torre until too late.

Trades
Abreu == give Cash credit. Good trade
Chacon for Wilson == I can't believe this trade didn't work better for Yanks. Look at Wilson's OPS plus the years before: 149,104,125,122,112,94. Wilson had a 107 OPS+ when the trade happened. By all rights, Wilson should have been at least a decent hitter. You trade Chacon for that in a heartbeat! Instead Wilson gave the yanks a 60 OPS+. Unbelievable. Can't blame Cashman.
Fasano == sucks but a BUC
Unit == hurt HOF pitcher for many mediocre pitching prospects. I don't know if he could have done better. Like you, I would have wanted a young catcher as well. Assessment: bad trade
Sheff: I don't know if they are crappy pitchers. Assessment: bad trade
Wright: Decent trade.

I see more of a mixed bag than you in assessing Cashman.

Honestly, I really do wonder how many of these minor player moves are done according to Torre's wishes. That is the only rationale I can find for Cashman for having Chris Basak on the team and getting rid of Phelps.

If we get rid of Cashman, I want Paul DePodesta as our GM.

2007-07-02 12:36:32
74.   tommyl
71 Name the last rookie relief pitcher to get anything approaching a real chance for the Yankees.
2007-07-02 12:42:14
75.   Vandelay Industries
65

The Yankees absolutely must go after Mark Teixeira. I can live with average defense at 1B for a hitter like Teixeira. Most notably because we have no other option. He's still young, quite a change for Cashman I know. Someone tell him that Teixeira is 33 and maybe he'll pull the trigger.

I am so tired of hearing about how great the Yankee pitching prospects are. I am not convinced that anyone other than Hughes wil ever make more than a handful of starts in the Majors. I am further not convinced that Hughes isn't Mark Prior, and that he will ever pitch a full season.

Its absolutely ridiculous to assume that these pitchers that Cashman is holding onto will be great in the future. What this team needs is pitching now, more importantly dominant pitching in a short series. WE also need a manager that isn't afraid to hand the ball to a pitcher on short rest in the playoffs should we make it. Had Torre managed like Brenly in 2001, we would have won that series. Had he managed correctly in 2004, we could have won that series.

More altruistic is the effect that the Yankee's losing will have on MLB. They have singlehandedly built the AL into what it is now. In an effort to compete, teams have had to try to keep up the best they can. And every fan in Detroit, Seattle, Anaheim, and many others should bow at the feet of George. The Yankees do account for 27% of all merchandise sold under the trademark of MLB after all.

2007-07-02 12:51:59
76.   Shaun P
74 I like trivia questions!

Before I started looking it up, the cynic in me would have said Ramiro Mendoza.

Jason Anderson, in 2003, pitched over 20 innings between March 31 and July 16 (when he was dealt to the Mets). That's not a lot of innings though = maybe not a real chance?

If not Anderson, Randy Choate pitched in 48.3 innings in 2001, and that counts as his rookie year I believe (I think he didn't have enough time in 2000 for it to count).

So I guess Randy Choate is our winner!

And the last one before Choate in 2001?

Brian Boehringer, who pitched in 46.3 innings in 1996 (like Choate, I don't think he had enough time in '95 for it to count as his rookie year.)

And what of Ramiro? He pitched in 12 games in his rookie year of 1996, and started 11. So he wasn't a reliever as rookie.

2007-07-02 12:56:11
77.   Vandelay Industries
I have to give Brian Cashman credit for plugging the holes left by the rash of injuries the past few seasons. But again, I am not convinced that the Yankees have drafted well. However, I don't want to hear any talk about rebuilding. Rebuilding is a word that teams use to pacify fans. The Yankees are already rebuilding. We now have Wang, Cano, Melky, and possibly Hughes. If We could give Ramirez, Britton, Karstens, and Clippard et. al. a real chance, we might just be on to something next year. The Yankees will however have to go after pitchers like Santana and Haren once they become available if we want to win.
2007-07-02 13:08:52
78.   tommyl
76 Now compare that to a team like Detroit. I'm willing to bet they've given a lot more chances to their rookies. I feel like sometimes the Yankees don't look at possible avenues of solution because they have so much money. There are so many possible in house solutions to things, but each time they go out and buy an overpriced free agent. This is so apparent in the BP its scary. The only pitchers in that pen that can even remotely be said came through our farm system are Mo and Proctor (and Proctor is pushing it).

You want to overspend a bit on an ace pitcher or one of the greatest players of all time, fine by me. But why overspend on things like middle relief when the one thing we do know is how inconsistent they can be from year to year. Its one thing if someone like Tom Gordon becomes available but otherwise I'd wager most guys we have in AAA in any given year have the potential to equal anyone on the free agent market who isn't a lights out closer.

2007-07-02 13:17:11
79.   Vandelay Industries
78

Agreed. No one was more an opponent of the Farnsworth signing as I.

But we could have signed Gange for nothing. He is one of those "lights out" closers of which you speak. For the cost, the potential benefit would have been far greater than that of Dotel and Lieber. Both of which were severly injured when signed. And Gange would have cost less than the gear that Proctor burned on the track last week! He is exactly the type of guy I advocated taking a chance on. Why the hell not? For almost no money and a potential replacement for MO, or the best 8th inning guy in either league, seeemd like a good gamble to me. Maybe because I got to see him pitch here in LA, and I know he has better stuff than any closer I've ever seen, including Mo.

2007-07-02 13:20:32
80.   williamnyy23
65 Texiera isn't soley a product of his home park. His (park adjusted) OPS+ is 128. Naturally, his unadjusted road OPS will be lower when you consider most of those ABs take place in three pitchers ball parks.
2007-07-02 13:20:46
81.   cult of basebaal
from todays Monday Morning 10 Pack over at BP:

Ian Kennedy, LHP, Double-A Trenton (Yankees)

Yankee and Red Sox fans have a rivalry that extends all the way down to the minors, as my chats are always loaded with questions comparing one team's prospect to the other's at a similar position. Not to be outdone by Buchholz, Kennedy repeated the Eastern League no-hit feat with five hitless innings of his own on Sunday, walking three and striking out nine. After cruising through the Florida State League with a 1.29 ERA in 11 games, Kennedy has quickly adjusted to Double-A, allowing just four runs and 13 hits over 26 innings in his last five outings. On a scouting level, Kennedy is nowhere close to Buchholz—he's more of a pitchability guy as compared to Buchholz' overpowering stuff. However, when it comes to setting up hitters, commanding his pitches, and keeping hitters guessing, Kennedy is as good as it gets, and while his ceiling stops at the middle of a big league rotation, he could be ready for that role early next year.

2007-07-02 13:21:46
82.   Vandelay Industries
Oh, and for the record, since getting healthy he is striking out 1 per IP, has an ERA of 1.11, 10 saves, and has a WHIP of .945.

But everyone who poo pooed me last year was right. He's done for sure, what was I thinking? I must have been crazy! No wonder so many here support Cashman, they think exactly like he does.

2007-07-02 13:28:56
83.   cult of basebaal
yup, anyone could have had gagne for nothing ... which is why the rangers signed him for 8 million AND gave in to scott boras' demand that he be assured the closer's role ... gee, i can't imagine why the yanks weren't at the front of the line

boras and gagne very clearly wanted a 1 year deal to prove he was healthy AND still a top notch closer, so he could hit the market for big money this offseason, that's what they went looking for and that's what they found, it's wishcasting to think the yankees were a fit for him

2007-07-02 13:30:56
84.   Vandelay Industries
80

Agreed. And he is only 27. We would be crazy not to try and get him and lock him up for a few years. Otherwise we may have to try and sign the hot-headed Michael Barrett and move Jorge to 1B next year.

2007-07-02 13:31:17
85.   tommyl
79 Agreed. The key is flexibility. If he doesn't work out are you willing to jettison him? or because he cost you so much (e.g. Kyle) you hang on to him. Middle relievers are almost totally interchangeable, you just take the one having a hot year or month. That means if one of them is stinking up the joint for more than a few outings, just get rid of him and bring in someone else.

One of our problems is constantly insisting that Kyle will be good because of the money and his "stuff". One thing I've learned, is that stuff means crap if you have no command. Even Mo is hittable when he's not controlling the cutter well.

2007-07-02 13:35:14
86.   Vandelay Industries
83

Ummm....he is making $6,000,000 this season from Texas, and for the record, isn't that only $1,000,000 less than Farny, who imploded with the Braves in the playoffs, and is sure to implode in every high pressure game he gets into?

When you can take a chance on the best closer in the game for 6 Mil. you do it.

2007-07-02 13:37:11
87.   Vandelay Industries
85

Anyone who thought Farnsworth would be any more than he is was diluting him or herself, period.

2007-07-02 13:40:39
88.   Vandelay Industries
86

Sorry, 1 Mil. more than Farny.

2007-07-02 13:43:15
89.   Vandelay Industries
And we are stuck with Farny for 2 more years. So, obviously waste 15 Mil., or take a chance and spend 6 Mil. Hmmm.

At the very least, Cashman should try to unload Farnsworth as part of a deal for Mark T.

2007-07-02 13:48:09
90.   rilkefan
87 Better than polluting him or herself.
2007-07-02 13:51:51
91.   rilkefan
Given the apparently usual tendency of RPs to fluctuate (statistically significantly) in performance from year to year, what does one do in assembling a bullpen?
2007-07-02 13:55:17
92.   tommyl
91 Good question. I'd say get a lights out closer and then assemble as many interchangeable, young arms between MLB and the AAA level that you can. Ideally guys with some options left, then just bring up or send down as the need strikes. Occasionally you get really lucky (Mo, Stanton, Nelson) and have a consistent number of guys, but that's really, really rare.

The thing that's annoying is that the Yankees have pitchers like this (Henn, Britton, Ramirez, and some more) but refuse to use them because they have true BFOG vets like Farnsworth, Myers and Villone who are due to break out of it or whatever nonsense they are telling themselves.

2007-07-02 13:59:55
93.   cult of basebaal
well, if we needed a closer, maybe the deal would make sense. but we didn't, and, since you didn't acknowledge that critical component of the argument, i'll repeat it again. Gagne and Boras were upfront about the fact that they would only accept a situation where Gagne would be assured he could close.

that's why his $6mil dollar contacts has close to an additional $5 million dollars in incentives, almost ALL of which are predicated on him being a closer, not a setup guy

The main incentive is for Games Finished:

$75,000 for 3 GF, $0.1M for 6 GF, $0.15M each for 10, 13 & 16 GF, $0.175M for 20, 23, 26 GF, $0.2M each for 30, 33 & 36 GF, $0.25M each for 40, 43 & 46 GF, $0.5M each for 50, 53 & 56 GF, $0.333M each for 60 & 63 GF, $0.334M for 66 GF

Gagne would have been a good risk for the Yankees, if what he wanted was different, but he and scott boras had a specific situation in mind, one that would lead to a larger payoff for him after this year. They found that with the Rangers, it didn't exist with the Yankees.

2007-07-02 14:08:52
94.   rilkefan
92 Myers is ok this year, though, isn't he? Is the problem he's not getting enough innings because of Torre? Or maybe he's just gotten lucky so far?
2007-07-02 14:13:20
95.   tommyl
94 Myers against lefties (his primary role) is awful. He's got a BAA of .321 and 8 walks in only 53 ABs against lefties. He's been somewhat decent against RHs but well, there are lots of pitchers we have who would be better.
2007-07-02 14:18:14
96.   rilkefan
"Myers against lefties (his primary role) is awful."

Ok, the rate of hits allowed to lefties is bad, but a lot of those ABs were against Ortiz and Helton and Hafner, weren't they? I see his ERA at 3.2 and his K/9 at 6.5 and react by thinking he's ok or lucky.

2007-07-02 15:17:59
97.   Bama Yankee
On his way in from the bullpen to face a lefty Mike should just save us all some time by placing a ball on the warning track under the 399 sign in left-center because that's where the ball usually ends up...
;-)

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