Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sunday Bacon
2007-08-06 05:52
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Bombers whipped the Royals, 8-5 on Sunday afternoon, completing a three-game sweep. Godzilla became the first Japanese player to hit 100 home runs in the majors, and Mike Mussina pitched well again. The Tigers and Indians lost and the Yanks are now just a half-a-game out of the wildcard. Good times.

Here's a question: What are the chanes that Bobby Abreu comes back next year? Unless he falls into another slump, his numbers will look awfully decent when all is said and done, no?

Also, the Yanks designated Mike Myers for assignment. Coming soon: Joba and Giambi.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-06 06:04:25
1.   RIYank
Bobby's numbers since the AS Break:

Unless there's some big issue with Damon (that is, the club decides he's too expensive to be a fourth OF, say), I can't see them letting Abreu walk. (Appropriately enough!)

2007-08-06 06:20:33
2.   monkeypants
The worrisome thing about Abreu is that his OBP is so much loer this year. Yeah, I know he had a bad slump early in the year so his overall numbers are lower. But his BA is back up to just a little below his career average (.286 v. .301), while his OBP is much lower (.367 v. 409). This suggests that his walk rate is much lower this year, and indeed he is on pace for a very a respectable 80+ BBs, but that is below his career averages, and far below the totals he has been putting up the last few years.

His is not a crushing power game--if he's losing his batting eye, it really compromises his value.

2007-08-06 06:30:33
3.   RIYank
My bet is that he's just getting a lot of pitches in the strike zone, because of his reputation. That would explain the drop-off in walks and also his crazy slugging since July 1.
2007-08-06 06:43:47
4.   Knuckles
Abreu's career ISO Patience (OBP less BA) is .108
This year it's .081, about 1.5 standard deviations away from his career averages since 1998.

Take out May, when he batted .208 with a .267 OBP just a terrible month, and
July when he batted .353 and OBP'd .384 (would you take more pitches when you're locked in like that?) and he's right in line with his career patience-wise.

(Note, for August so far, he's batted .563 with a .650 OBP- 9 for 16 with 4 walks. Not too shabby.

2007-08-06 06:49:56
5.   monkeypants
I get your point, but if I understand you correctly, we should ignore May and July and focus eclusively on April and June? Why not the other way around?
2007-08-06 06:50:48
6.   Shaun P
I feel bad for Mike Myers the person - he seems like a really nice guy when he does spots on XM - but its about time!!!

2 3 I think I can explain why Abreu has been seeing a lot more strikes, and walking less - I think the pitchers are being very careful when pitching to Abreu. Something to do with the guy hitting behind him. =)

2007-08-06 06:52:39
7.   Shaun P
Hey - anyone else see that EDSP got to pitch two whole innings last night? He must be very happy with Grady Little.
2007-08-06 06:55:11
8.   Knuckles
I'm not saying to ignore May and July, simply that they are extreme hot and cold months, and they kind of balance each other out, performance-wise, but not BB wise. The point I'm trying to make is that despite having a weird, inconsistent season, his patience rate hasn't fully fallen off the table, so I don't think we need to worry about that part of his skill set suddenly deserting him.
2007-08-06 07:04:04
9.   RIYank
6 I don't know if 'careful' is the right word (I thought that's what we said when a pitcher is not throwing a guy a lot of strikes), but yeah, good point. Noody wants to put a guy on and then face Alex.
2007-08-06 07:05:48
10.   Shaun P
BP's Postseason Odds, updated this morning

AL Wildcard
Yanks 48.55189
Indians 13.56776
Tigers 13.16777
Twins 4.52416
M's 6.49261
Jays 5.34386
Red Sox 3.95238
Angels 3.25237

Yanks have gone up 15.34248% since Friday morning. Their overall playoff odds are 52.85621, the first time its been over 50, and their highest of the season. Best of all, the Yanks are now just behind Detroit (58.98911) and the Indians (60.71988) in overall odds.

2007-08-06 07:09:17
11.   pistolpete
4 Wow - just when I think I've seen or read about every new statistical measure there is... :)
2007-08-06 07:10:52
12.   mehmattski
All right, I'm very confused. Pete Abe says that Jim Brower is replacing Myers on the roster, while the NY Post says its Joba. The move still doesn't make a whole lot of sense right now.
2007-08-06 07:15:48
13.   OldYanksFan
2 "His is not a crushing power game--if he's losing his batting eye, it really compromises his value."

I really think his lower OBP was due to his prolonged slump. He was not only hitting poorly, but swinging at pitches he doesn't normally swing at. I think he will end up at .380 or better, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Its seems Bobbie is prone to emotional mood swings which greatly effect his game. Hopefully, maybe, like ARod, he can find his 'center' and continue to be very productive.

With Giambi and Joba up, and hopefully a bench of JD, Betemit, Shelly, Molina and maybe Cairo, this is a VERY solid and flexible team. And not that old either. After next year, with Moose, Petttitte and Giambo gone, and maybe more kids to replace them, we will actually be a pretty young team.

Any Kudos for Cashman?
It took a while, but I am thrilled with the current (+ Giambi and Joba) roster!

2007-08-06 07:18:55
14.   OldYanksFan
Who the Hell is Jim Brower? Is it possible he is just a stopgap measure to give Joba a few more days in the minors to adjust to the BP?
2007-08-06 07:19:50
15.   pistolpete
Do the Yanks DFA Cairo next? I tend to think that since they just got rid of Myers that the BFOG index doesn't hold much water these days...
2007-08-06 07:21:47
16.   RIYank
Hmm, that set of chances from BP seems strange.

Detroit or Cleveland will almost certainly win their Division -- maybe 5 or 6% for Minnesota. So that leaves just about 12% each for Detroit or Cleveland to take the WC. (Their total play-off chances sum to about 120% so about 25% of that must be for WC.)
If the Yankees are only getting < 50%, who gets the rest?? Seattle? They seem like a really long shot right now (given up more runs than they've scored, expected wins at about 86, so they'd have to play way above expectations).

2007-08-06 07:23:34
17.   RIYank
Brower is Scranton's closer. VG ERA, but not a guy to get excited about.
If he's a stop-gap, why didn't they just keep Myers on the squd to mark time until Joba is ready?
2007-08-06 07:27:34
18.   ChrisS
Some of these moves have been not been just questionable, but just head-shaking moves.

Jim Brower? What does Joba need to do in the minors? Strike every batter out on 3 pitches or less?

Myers had better numbers than Farnsy against both RH and LH.

You just now that Duncan is going back to Dunder-Mifflin when Giambi comes back.

2007-08-06 07:28:27
19.   mehmattski
17 Maybe if Myers clears waivers (I don't see why he wouldn't), Cash will trade him for Piazza. Now there's a righty bat off the bench. And he can catch Clemens :-)
2007-08-06 07:29:08
20.   RIYank
Apparently they want to try Joba in two straight games out of the pen. I forget where I read that.
2007-08-06 07:30:02
21.   RIYank
19 Oooooh.
I like that. In any case, even if they aren't thinking about Piazza, I bet you're right that they have a lead or an idea about trading Myers and want him to clear ASAP.
2007-08-06 07:30:11
22.   Shaun P
16 If you add up the Wild Card odds I've listed, you get 98.8528. The remaining 1.1472 odds are split among the other AL teams.

17 Wasn't Brower a Giant a couple of years ago?

2007-08-06 07:30:18
23.   mehmattski
18 Not calling Joba up makes sense, since he pitched two innings yesterday. He's not going to pitch today for any team... what doesn't make sense is why now, except for 19.
2007-08-06 07:31:37
24.   ChrisS
19 I guess he already has cleared waivers.

Eh, what do I know, maybe they don't want to jerk Joba back and forth from AAA to AA.

I didn't get to see all of yesterday's game, how did Betemit look at first?

2007-08-06 07:32:41
25.   Rob Middletown CT
I'm up for keeping Abreu, not via the option, though. A short term (2-year?) deal would probably be best.

As awful as the slump was, I always thought he'd come out of it. He's not done. He is, however, entering his decline phase.

2007-08-06 07:33:50
26.   Raf
Brower's wikipedia entry

2007-08-06 07:35:38
27.   ChrisS

I'm not sure what another righty with a dodgy WHiP is going to do for the Yankees, unless he gets the seat at the end of the bullpen bench that Edwar was in.

2007-08-06 07:35:42
28.   RIYank
22 Ok, Jays, BoSox, Angels, Twins. Those little scraps of chances add up to the difference that mystefied me.

Brower SF, yep! Good memory. (Just click one of his links at the right, near the bottom of this page.)

24 Myers has cleared waivers?? I guess I still don't understand how this works. Is it that he can't be designated until he clears?

2007-08-06 07:36:56
29.   Fritsthestud
It's a strange move, to bring up Brower, but one that ultimately makes sense. Two reasons: 1. He has great numbers in AAA and the biggest reason is: 2. Chamberlain can't pitch today.

Thus, Brower! But curious as to why it's not Ramirez.

Question, maybe someone can help me out: Why can't the Yankees DFA Farnsworth?

2007-08-06 07:37:57
30.   Raf
On a completely unrelated note, this weekend is the Futures @ Fenway doubleheader. Two minor league games @ Fenway for less than $30 (depending on where you sit, but $30 is the max, IIRC)

Now that the Yanks have minor league presence (a, AA, AAA) within shouting distance, will we ever see them do something like this? It would be perfect for next year, or even 2009 in the new park.

2007-08-06 07:39:48
31.   RIYank
The Post is unambiguous:
"Chamberlain will be there and will be activated in time for this afternoon's game."

They don't say what the source is.

2007-08-06 07:41:51
32.   RIYank
But Abrahams is even more definitive:

"Now this is curious, the Yankees have called up RHP Jim Brower instead of Edwar Ramirez or Joba Chamberlain."

Curioser and curioser.

2007-08-06 07:44:28
33.   OldYanksFan
Am I correct that if you pick up a player that's been DFA'ed, you pick up his salary too? In that case, who would take Krazy Kyle? But if we eat some of his salary, we might be able to get something in trade for him. As nutty as it sounds, there may be a team out there who would be happy to take Farns at a discount. Possible?
2007-08-06 07:47:34
34.   ChrisS
29 et al.

He does have nice numbers in AAA, but his ML numbers aren't as appealing and he's 34, not like he's a young kid and discovered control and a new pitch. He's a journeyman RH relief pitcher, he's probably useful in someway, but it doesn't make sense to DFA Myers yesterday and bring up Browers today only because Joba pitched yesterday and they'll bring him up when, Wednesday? Tuesday? Why not just wait to DFA Myers (or Farnsworth). It's not like Myers was so horrible that keeping him on the team for another 2-3 days would wreck the late season surge.

2007-08-06 07:48:33
35.   NJYankee41
My guess with calling up Brower is they do not intend to have him up here for long, but they want to make sure he pitches before Sept. 1st so they have more options come postseason in the event guys get hurt.
2007-08-06 07:53:03
36.   Fritsthestud
Maybe someone can answer this question for me or provide a link w/ some info:

On Sept. 1st, rosters expand to 40, right? Can any 40 be put on this roster? What happens when the postseason starts - does it contract to 25? Are there limitations on which players can be put on the playoff roster?


2007-08-06 07:59:30
37.   ChrisS
I think 35 answered 36 kinda. I didn't know that about the rosters and Sept. 1st.
2007-08-06 08:01:52
38.   Fritsthestud
So you have to play before Sept. 1st in order to be available for the postseason?
2007-08-06 08:03:18
39.   RIYank
38 Right.
2007-08-06 08:04:47
40.   RIYank
Wait, sorry: you don't have to play, you just have to be on the 25 man roster before 9/1 to play in the post-season.
2007-08-06 08:05:26
41.   Shaun P
36 Everyone who is on the 40-man roster as of Sept 1st may be used in the major leagues. When the postseason starts, a team are limited to a 25-guy roster, but those 25 guys must be composed of people who were in the major leagues at some time on or before 8/31.

The Angels in 2002 found a loophole in this, by having a guy who was on the roster in August, but then got hurt in early September, be replaced by young Fransisco Rodriguez - and then getting him on the playoff roster because they claimed he was an "injury replacement". Its technically against the rules but Bud looked the other way (of course).

34 It seems certain Joba is going to Toronto to join the team at some point - why else would they go through all that passport trouble? - so they needed a space sometime before Thursday. I bet the Yanks didn't want to drop Myers in the middle of an international trip - he's been a good teammate and all that - so they did it now. Makes his life a little easier.

Brower gets the call instead of Edwar because he's a "veteran", so Torre might actually use him, and the organization doesn't feel like it owes him anything, so no big deal if he has to go back to SWB on Wednesday. Besides, he has a job waiting for him - Myers does not.

2007-08-06 08:06:58
42.   Shaun P
35 That's also an excellent reason, though I'd hope that we don't see Brower on the postseason roster. Because then something may have gone horribly wrong.
2007-08-06 08:07:43
43.   Fritsthestud
Thank you sir. With the pending arrival of Giambi, either Duncan or Cairo are getting the boot. What are the odds it's Cairo?
2007-08-06 08:07:45
44.   JL25and3
28 A player can be DFA'd at any time, with or without waivers. After the 7/31 deadline, a player can't be traded without first clearing waivers. It's customary for teams to put half the team on waivers; anyone who's claimed is usually pulled back, anyone who's not can be traded. I'm assuming that the Yankees put Myers on waivers right after the deadline, and he cleared quickly.

33 Being DFA'd doesn't really enter that equation; it's what the disposition is. If Myers is traded, the new team picks up his salary. If the Yankees can't work out a trade, though, Myers will be released and the Yankees will still pay his salary. Another team can sign him for the major league minimum, and the Yankees have to pay the rest.

2007-08-06 08:09:35
45.   JL25and3
43 It would be Cairo rather than Duncan. Cairo wasn't getting any playing time even before they got Betemit.
2007-08-06 08:12:42
46.   RIYank
44 Aha, thanks.

Hey, you were at the Stadium for #500, right?

2007-08-06 08:16:12
47.   RichB
8 I don't think you can just throw out a couple months because they're outliers. Part of the problem with Abreu is his inconsistency. He had the same problem in Philly, which is one reason they let him go so cheap. He's 34 next year and he's reminding me an awful lot of Bernie, who completely dropped off the shelf at age 34 - inconsistent at the plate, steep power drop, bad fielding. Abreu's ISO power has been steadily declining since 2004 (.243, .188, .165, .144) and he's only had 2 outfield assists this year and seems like he's loping around the field sometimes instead of going hard after balls (another complaint in Philly).

Still, he may be more valuable that other options next year - but (agreed, 25) not at the superstar salary figure. I think the Yanks would be well advised to keep their options open.

Can he play 1B? We may need that next year. Teixeira was the only decent 1B that was/will be available.

2007-08-06 08:17:23
48.   Fritsthestud
43 I sure hope so; I can't imagine what more Duncan would need to do to keep his job.
2007-08-06 08:22:32
49.   ChrisS
I dunno, I'd like to think that Cairo goes down, or is released outright, there's no reason to keep him around when they have a BUIF in Betemit with a much better stick. And Andy can play third and second as well, should A-Rod need a day-off.

Makes sense to me to keep the guy who goes yard. I think that having three outfielders that have large contracts and weak arms/defense is problem with no real easy solution. Interesting to see how it works out.

2007-08-06 08:25:24
50.   Jeteupthemiddle
41 That isn't against the rules at all.

You are allowed to replace injured players with others on the 40-man.

I believe that the Yankees have done that in prior post seasons as well.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-06 08:35:03
51.   tommyl
49 I agree completely. With a bench of Duncan, Molina, Betemit and Damon/OF/DH-getting-rest you have a very good, very versatile bench. Duncan can play 1B and both corner OF positions in a pinch. Betemit and Phillips give you coverage all over the IF and Damon can play all 3 OF positions and even some 1B. Off the bench you have 2 power bats (1 a switch hitter), a speedy leadoff type in Damon and a BUC who can hit a bit and play good defense.

That bench, compared to Cairo, Melky and Nieves as we started the season is a huge, huge updgrade. You can actually PH, PR and not completely lose everything. I'd be much happier seeing Damon PR for Giambi late in a game.

2007-08-06 08:44:33
52.   JL25and3
51 Agreed. I think it's worth pointing out that (a) Cashman has gone about revamping the bench entirely, providing versatile and gennuinely useful players for the first time in year; and (b) Torre is using them.
2007-08-06 09:01:22
53.   monkeypants
47 I guess that's what I was hinting at with Abreu, but my analysis was not as sophisticated. That his power is declining there is no doubt. But if he keeps his batting eye you can ignore the drop in power--so long as you end up with something like .290/.400/.460.

But if his power drops and his walk rate drop, then uh-oh. It may also mean that his OBP (which is still pretty good) is increasingly dependent on BA, and this season suggests that he might be turning into an even streakier play in that regard.

I was just raising the question, that's all. When a player turns 34 or 35, I think you have to start looking for signs of the inevitable decline, rather than focusing too exclusively on career continuities.

2007-08-06 09:06:13
54.   monkeypants
35, et al.

As for calling up Brower--I don't read too much into it. Joba is gonna be called up; they didn't move him to the pen just for gags, and he has responded well so far. As others have pointed out, he cannot pitch today (and maybe tomorrow) since he went two innings yesterday. We also don't know his passport situation.

The curious thing about about adding Brower is that he is not on the 40-man roster, so to move him up to the big club means someone has to get bumped. For now, that's Myers. But when Giambi and Joba show up, that means two more slots have to open up. More DFAing is on the horizon, therefore, and it may include Brower himself.

2007-08-06 09:10:06
55.   tommyl
52 The real test as I've said before is when Giambi comes back. Does he do the right thing and DFA Cairo or lose a BP arm? Or does he keep Cairo and his BFOG pinch runner, bunter skills?
2007-08-06 09:50:16
56.   JL25and3
46 Yep, I was there. I was in the upper boxes along the first-base line, and at first I wasn't sure it was going out - I thought he got under it. He's so freaky strong, was pretty cool, I have to say.

Later in the game - I think it was in the fifth - there was a play that troubled me so much it's hard to believe I saw it correctly. It was a line drive that went about a foot to Jeter's left, belt-high - seriously, it looked to me like all he had to do was lift his glove up a little and it would go right in. But he didn't even make his characteristic wave, he just looked at it as it went by. Did I imagine that?

2007-08-06 09:51:24
57.   JL25and3
55 Honestly, I don't even know if Cairo lasts that long. Really, Joe stopped playing Miggy as soon as he had the opportunity.
2007-08-06 09:52:04
58.   Bama Yankee
50 In the case Shaun is referring to in 41 (the 2002 K-Rod replacement), the Angels petitioned the commissioner's office to allow Rodriguez to replace Steve Green on their postseason roster. Green had pitched one big-league game in April of 2001 before a shoulder injury sidelined him throughout the 2002 season.

The fact that they placed Green on their postseason roster even though he had been injured all season just so they could replace him with K-Rod surely seems to violate the spirit of the rule.

Also, the fact that a team has to petition the commissioner to make the change should prevent teams from taking advantage of the loophole by adding "hot" late season call-ups to their playoff roster. For example, the commish could only allow replacement for players who were injured after Sept. 1st. But, as Shuan pointed out Selig just looked the other way and allowed them to do it.

2007-08-06 11:01:28
59.   RichB
53 Very much agreed about watching for decline around 34/35. If his power goes away, it would also be a problem if his BA drops but his walk rate stays up. That might take his line from .290/.400/.460 to .240/.350/.460 which still might be valuable, but there will probably be better options for a starting RF. Bernie went from a very productive .333/.415/.493, a 143 OPS+, in his 33rd year to .263/.367/.411, only a 109 OPS+ the next year. He actually had a better walk rate when he was 34, but because he wasn't getting the hits as well, he became very average. And he only got worse.

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