Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Order Of Operations
2007-10-09 21:30
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Some of you have noticed the changes I've made to the sidebar in the wake of the Yankees ALDS loss to Cleveland. For those who haven't, I've separated the Yankees' pending free agents from the remainder of the 40-man roster in the Players section at the bottom, and have put some of the key offseason dates in the Upcoming Schedule section.

The first date in the latter is November 11, which is the last possible date for Alex Rodriguez to opt out of his contract. His actual opt-out deadline is ten days after the end of the World Series. If the World Series goes a full seven games, that will be November 11. If it ends sooner, that date will move up accordingly.

The Yankees will make every effort to sign Rodriguez to a contract extension prior to his opt-out deadline, as well they should, but Brian Cashman is standing by his insistence that the Yankees will not pursue Rodriguez if he does opt out. The reason for that is that the Yankees are due more than $21 million from the Texas Rangers over the final three years of Rodriguez's contract, but if Rodriguez voids his contract, the Yankees will not see a penny of that money, even if they resign Rodriguez as a free agent.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, is starting the public negotiations out at ridiculous heights. According to Peter Abraham, Boras is saying that Rodriguez, who turned 32 in July, "can play until he's 45, hit 1,000 home runs and be worth up to $1 billion for a regional cable television network. He seems to be seeking at least a 10-year deal worth an average of $33 million a year."

By way of comparison, only three baseball players made more than $20 million in 2007, all of them Yankees working on contracts signed in 2001 or 2002, when the market was at its peak.. Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran got seven years from the Mets and Vlad Guerrero got just five years from the Angels, both entering their age-28 seasons. The idea of a ten-year deal for a 32-year-old player with an average salary over $30 million is flatly insane. That said, if the Yankees can get Rodriguez to agree to an extension of, say, seven years or less for an annual salary in the twenties, they should probably do it. With the new stadium due to open in 2009, and the team payroll shrinking due to an increased contribution from young players not yet eligible for free agency and some of those big contracts (such as Giambi's and Mussina's) due to come off the books, they shouldn't have any problem affording it. Rodriguez, meanwhile, has exceeded my expectations as a Yankee, winning (I believe it's safe to assume) two MVP awards in his four seasons in the Bronx.

The Yankees' first order of business, however, has to be naming a manager for the 2008 season. Though the team has made no announcements, George Steinbrenner's statement earlier in the week, the tone of Joe Torre's press conference, and reports of the wake-like atmosphere in the Yankee clubhouse after Monday night's loss make it seem as though Joe Torre's Yankee career is indeed over. If so, the Yankees should make it official and name his successor soon, as the team's choice of manager is sure to influence not only Rodriguez, but also Andy Pettitte, who said he will either pick up his $16-million player option for next year or retire, and free agents Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.

Among the top candidates are bench coach Don Mattingly, 2005 bench coach and 2006 NL Manager of the Year Joe Girardi, and Torre's successor in St. Louis, Tony La Russa, who's most recent three-year deal with the Cardinals has expired. I'm sure you could throw in base coaches Tony Peña and Larry Bowa as well (the Yankees will have to at least include Peña to satisfy the requirements of the league's minority-hiring initiative). Those who want to waste time can also toss in Bobby Valentine, Davey Johnson (who took an advisory position in the Nationals' front office this past season, but hasn't managed since he skippered the Dodgers in 2000), and Torre's predecessor in St. Louis, the soon-to-be 76-year-old Whitey Herzog.

Mattingly seems to be the heir apparent, but he has no managerial experience at any level. I'd like to see Girardi get the job. My only concern with Girardi, who did a great job with an extremely green Marlins team in 2006, is that he might be too much of a taskmaster for a veteran team full of stars who are used to Torre's gentler style of management. Girardi may also be unable to endure the persistent slights from both the media and ownership that Torre shouldered with such dignity over the past dozen seasons. Mattingly, on the other hand, is both a gentle man and one who, as a player, endured those slights with a similar professionalism during the worst of the Steinbrenner years. My only real concern about Donnie is that, from what little I saw of his in-game management when Torre was ejected or suspended this season, he seems to have a tendency to over-manage a bit, putting on small-ball plays at inappropriate times. Perhaps that tendency will fade once the novelty wears off. I certainly hope so.

As for those free agents, Mariano Rivera told the Star-Ledger that, since the Yankees declined to sign him to an extension during the season, he's going to test the market. Jorge Posada said similar things earlier in the year. It should be noted that the Yankees are a large part of that market, and that it is simply a good negotiating tactic for them to take that stance. I expect both to return, though Posada's leverage increased some yesterday when the Tigers picked up Ivan Rodriguez's $13-million option.

Finally, Ron Guidry has said that he would be willing to continue on as pitching coach under a different manager, and Kevin Long is considered a key to luring Rodriguez back to New York. Bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan (honestly, how many of you remembered he was on the staff?) may be on the way out, however. I wonder if triple-A pitching coach Dave Eiland, who has worked closely with most of the organization's young arms, is being considered to fill that role. I also wonder if that would be a misuse of Eiland with so many more talented young hurlers still progressing through the system.

At any rate, the Yankees' order of operations is to first name a manager and then sign Alex Rodriguez to an extension. Then, and only then, can the organization set about a strategy for building next year's team.

Comments (74)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-10-09 22:56:13
1.   mehmattski
In seventh grade math, I learned the order of operations as PEMDAS:

Signs (with the Yanks)

2007-10-09 22:59:21
2.   weeping for brunnhilde
I have a bad feeling about Mattingly. Based on nothing, I admit, but that's part of the problem. As you say, Cliff, he's got no experience.

Plus, he's deeply beloved by us all and the shoes he'll be called upon to fill are rather large, to put it mildly.

That's a train wreck waiting to happen.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more it seems almost like a set-up job.

Leave Donny out of this and let him take up the reins when he's truly ready.

2007-10-09 23:00:07
3.   weeping for brunnhilde
2007-10-09 23:08:00
4.   mehmattski
Oh, and while we're postulating washed up old guys to manage, why not:

Jack McKeon
Tommy Lasorda
Yogi Berra
Sparky Anderson
Ralph Houk (hey, still kickin at 88!)

2007-10-09 23:10:49
5.   underdog
I really think if Torre is indeed gone the Yanks should make a play for Girardi. It seems so much a no-brainer to me there must be something that'll keep it from happening. But that's what I'd do. But then again, I'm not King George.
2007-10-09 23:11:20
6.   underdog
Jim Tracy's available, too...

{in Monty Python voice: "Run away!"}

2007-10-09 23:17:22
7.   51cq24
i'm reposting this from the last thread because it took me a while to put together:

i just want to address the surprising opinion that re-signing mariano shouldn't be one of our top priorities (i think it should be #1, especially considering the state of our bullpen without him). i just want to highlight some numbers, because just like winning can make us forget bad performances, losing can make us forget good ones.

here are mo's overall postseason numbers:
76 games, 117.1 innings pitched, 438 batters faced, 34 saves, 5 blown saves, 12 runs, 10 earned runs, 72 hits (2 hrs, 3 triples, 12 doubles, 55 singles), 16 bbs (3 intentional), 3 hit by pitch, 3 sac flies, 93 strikeouts, 3 wild pitches, 6 reached on errors
(that's a 0.77 era, 0.75 whip, 5.81 k/bb, .173 baa, .208 obpa, .231 slga)

and here are his numbers since his worst and most memorable appearance in 2001 game 7:
24 games, 38.1 innings pitched, 139 batters faced, 10 saves, 3 blown saves (all in 2004, and one (game 5 of alcs) was really gordon's), 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 20 hits (0hr, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 16 singles), 4 walks (1 intentional), 1 hit by pitch, 2 sac flies, 30 strikeouts, 0 wild pitches, 2 reached on errors
(that's a 0.70 era, 0.63 whip, 7.5 k/bb, .152 baa, .180 obpa, .189 slga)

2007-10-09 23:23:28
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
7 I salute your diligence, 51, but I'm afraid it's wasted on me: I'm the last person who needs to be convinced about the revelation that is Mo, even though I believe he's lost a step.
2007-10-10 04:50:06
9.   Ben
Is there a stat for Runs Allowed, rather than ERA? It would be a really good stat for relievers who are often charged with keeping the prior pitchers mistakes from scoring.
2007-10-10 04:55:25
10.   williamnyy23
7 Here is how I'd sum up the argument to re-sign Mo: He's Mariano. Enough said.

If Boras/Arod do opt out and the asking prices is over $30mn/year, then I wont blame Cashman for letting him walk. Even if Arod could continually reproduce his 2007 season, that would be stretching the envelope. If, however, he returns to his career norms and gradually starts to regress with age, that kind of contract will become a major albatross. I love Arod and hope he returns, but I could live with sacrificing offense in the near-term for financial stability in the long-term. If Arod wants to play in NY, a compromise can/will be reached.

Finally, Arod's post season performance shouldn't dictate the decision. Even if you accept that Arod will never get a hit in the playoffs, his contribution to getting there still means a lot. With all the talent the Yankees have had over the past 4 years, they shouldn't need Arod to hit. Unfortunately, there have been too many culprits, not just Arod, which is why the team has lost.

Absent a more sensible answer, my only guess is that the players have been trying too hard to save Joe's job over the past few seasons, which has resulted in considerable pressing. Maybe, this team needs to play for a manager it doesn't love? I know that sounds counterintuitive, but that's the only way I can explain being shut down by less than dynamite pitching over the past three years.

2007-10-10 04:56:39
11.   williamnyy23
9 Runs allowed is kept, but they would be assigned to the pitcher who put them on base. Would you are talking about is inherited runners allowed to score, which is also kept as stat.
2007-10-10 05:00:53
12.   williamnyy23
As for the new manager, I sincerely hope there aren't any pre-ordained or preferred candidates. I think it's silly to advance a candidate without actually meeting with them. I really think philosophy is as important as experience and track record. Instead of advocating a candidate, I'd trust Cashman to screen, interview and select the right man for the job. Hopefully, he will avail himself of that process and not simply make a populist pick designed to appease those upset about Torre not being extended.
2007-10-10 05:46:44
13.   rbj
I think Mo's biggest postseason nemesis has been the Red Sox, based solely on them having seen him so much. Against everyone else he's been damn near perfect.

I'd prefer Donnie to get some managing experience in the minors first, or even with another team, just so he can make his mistakes without hurting the team.

I could see Davey Johnson as manager. Certainly he'd be better than Bobby V. or La Russa.

2007-10-10 05:57:19
14.   ms october
1 Yes, and since Parentheses is #1 let's make sure to remember what you have in parentheses.

7 8 10 I am totally in agreement. I posted something yesterday saying that I think Mo has to be a definite priority because as 10 said - he is MO. But also because I don't want them to panic and make Joba the closer.

As for the manager - it seems there is no obviously good fit (but who would have really thought that Torre was a good fit when he was hired). All the candidates have at least one flaw. If it ends up being Mattingly I would like them to put a real tactical baseball nerd as bench coach.

Finally, a point brought up at the end of 10 - I thought that too - maybe the drama swirling around whether Torre should be fired every postseason since 04 might be a factor in the obvious pressing.

2007-10-10 06:11:41
15.   Shaun P
Girardi scares me for one reason - there's enough circumstantial evidence to strongly suggest he slagged some of Florida's young arms. He cannot be allowed to do the same to the Yanks' young arms.

This would be enough for me to say, make Mattingly the manager, lack of experience be damned. Randolph never managed anywhere before he took the Mets job, and he did fine. Donnie Baseball could do the same.

2007-10-10 06:35:10
16.   idahoyankee
I agree with Torre's assessment that the future is "bright" for the Yankees - with all the young talent on thier way to more prominent roles..... everyone knows of Jaba, Cano, Hughs and Milky... does Duncan have a chance to start the next year at first?... it would be nice there was hot shot catcher so our pitchers dont have to fall off the edge when there are base runners.......are there new guys on the way?
I say put all the youngsters together and let Torre lead them to the promised land becaue they will "Respect" him........
2007-10-10 06:36:38
17.   OldYanksFan
I wonder if the Yankees really have a problem, or if it's just a perceptual thing, that we of the Banter, also seem to buy into.
Were the Cubs supposed to win? They spent a lot of money last year. Well they lost. BBTN spends 10 minutes on it and then... NEXT. Should the Phillies have won? Best offense in the NL. BBTN spends 10 minutes on it and then... NEXT. Last year, should the Tigers have won the WS (you bet)? 10 minutes for St. Louis. NEXT.

This year, should the Yankees have won? Why? Did we have a better team? Does the better team always win in a 5 game series? Why are the Yankees always supposed to win? And while ultimately there is only one winner a year and many losers, why is it that the Yankees losing is ALWAYS the story?

George Steinbrenner?
No WS in 7 years (OMFG!)
Name Brand?
New York (But what about the Mets)?
Torre's job?
ARods Contract?
Jeters God of Clutchiness?
The Taiwanese population?

Why are WE ALWAYS the story?

We COULD have won this series. Then again, every team that plays could have won 3 games before the other team. We all knew they had better pitching... they our BP was short... that they had Home advantage... and a better regular season record.

Why SHOULD WE have won?
Why is it a crime whenever we lose... when all the other losers, year after year, are simply forgotten?

Is there something wrong with the Yankees?
Or is it simply the fact that every other team gets there moments of fame and then retreats to the shadows... and then ultimately there are 29 teams in the shadows while the Yankees stand with a 1,000,000,000 watt spotlight on them, with hundreds of print, TV and internet media vultures surrounding them... waiting to pounce... waiting to pick their bones.

If the Yankees fall in the forrest, but no one is around to hear it, do they really make a sound?

This is what being the Yankees, and being Yankee fans is.
The simply truth is that we sell.
We sell seats, newspapers, TV time, blog space and opinion columns.
We sell.
Our 'losing' generates more money then anyone's winning.
Our 'problems' create an entire economy.

And our course, as we will soon see, we are the 'heat' in the 'Hot Stove' season.

In 2003, Pedro broke Posada's bat... but it fell. What luck! Our win was decided on that one random pitch.
In 2004, one pitch from victorym, a pitch is hit and plates Dave Roberts. What luck! A 1/4" higher on the bat and it's a pop up.
Jeffrey Maier.
Jeters 'Flip'
Tony's bounce.
It's all so random.

Me.... I've been watching the Yankees for 43 years. I love this team. Its a better day when they win, a worse day when they lose.

But I'm not buying in.
I'm not helping to sell newspapers.
The tabloid jerks get no tsoris from me.

To me, the Yankees had a great year. Certainly winning 94 games after starting out 21-29 is harder then winning a 5 game series.
They certainly did NOT fail.
they simply lost a few games they might have won.
And there's always next year.....

2007-10-10 06:43:45
18.   JeremyM
Can someone crunch the numbers and see what kind of numbers A-Rod will put up in his age 45 season? I'm surprised Boras didn't cite Julio Franco and say A-Rod can play until he's 49.
2007-10-10 06:59:50
19.   dianagramr

took the words right out of my mouth ...

Girardi burning out Kennedy, Hughes and Joba would be too much.

2007-10-10 07:12:42
20.   rsmith51
19 I am certain that will be one of the interview questions.

I personally would like to see ARod go play SS for another team. I think he is getting a raw deal in New York. He would be beloved by most other team's fans. If he signs a (effectively) 9-year extension and has a subpar season again, the Yankee fans would be brutal.

With some smarts and better pitching, the Yanks should be able to replace most of his production. It would also be nice to hear about other players on the team.

2007-10-10 07:19:04
21.   williamnyy23
17 I don't think the Yankees have a fundamental problem, but they certainly do have glaring flaws.

- The most important flaw is they need more dominant starting pitching, but, hopefully, that is being addressed by the youngsters.

- They need a more stable, strike throwing bullpen. This should be Cashman's off season mission, assuming Arod stays. If he leaves, however, Cashman's efforts will need to be refocused, which could likely mean the bullpen will get the short end of the stick.

- (I think) they need a younger manager with a better handle on in game strategy, how to use young arms and how to apply statistics in game situations.

The Yankees have been able to win a lot of games without addressing these flaws, but the post season seems to expose them more and more each year. Now, that doesn't mean they wouldn't win the World Series if they replayed the ALDS. But, what is clear is this team has a very low margin of error, which is the biggest difference between now and the championship years.

2007-10-10 07:23:16
22.   Yankee Fan In Boston
20 "It would also be nice to hear about other players on the team."

perhaps "a (lightning) rod" taking all of the attention is helpful. especially for younger guys. could cano or melky handle that kind of attention? joba?

just a thought.

2007-10-10 07:29:57
23.   JL25and3
Here are the 5 best seasons for non-pitchers, since 1900, at age 45.

Julio Franco, 2004: 361 PA, .309/.378/.441, 6 HR
Pete (Feh!) Rose, 1986: 272 PA, .219/.316/.270, 0 HR
Carlton Fisk, 1993: 58 PA, .189/.228/.245, 1 HR
Grover Hartley, 1934: 4 PA
Kid Gleason, 1912: 2 PA

There is no 6th-best.

2007-10-10 07:31:42
24.   51cq24
9 in the postseason, mariano has inherited 39 runners. 8 have scored (20.5%). 1 scored on a knoblauch error (game 1 of the 98 world series), and in game 2 of the 2000 world series an inherited runner was eliminated on a fielder's choice, but other runs scored, so it kind of evens out. 20 inherited runners have been with 2 outs, and 1 scored (the knoblauch error). 11 have been with 1 out, and 3 scored (1 on a sac fly in game 3 of the 98 world series, 2 in a blown save in game 2 of the 04 division series). 8 have been with no outs, and 4 scored. 1 was in game 6 of the 2000 alcs, when he came in with a man on 1st up 9-5 and gave up 2 doubles (final score 9-7). 2 were in game 3 of the 2004 division series, when he came in with bases loaded up 8-2 and got a ground out and a fly ball that each scored a run (final score 8-4). and 1 was in game 5 of the alcs when he came in with 1st and 3rd and allowed a sac fly to blow a save.

13 his postseason numbers against boston:
12 games, 19.2 innings pitched, 74 batters faced, 6 saves, 2 blown saves (1 was really gordon's), 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 inherited runner scored, 16 hits (0 hrs, 1 triple, 3 doubles, 12 singles), 2 bbs, 0 hit by pitch, 1 sac fly, 15 ks, 0 wild pitches, 1 reached on error
(that's a 0.92 era, 0.92 whip, 7.5 k/bb, .225 baa, .243 obpa, .296 slga)
not including 1999:
9 games, 15 innings pitched, 57 batters faced, 4 saves, 2 blown saves (1 was really gordon's), 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 inherited runner scored, 11 hits (0 hrs, 1 triple, 2 doubles, 8 singles), 2 bbs, 0 hbp, 1 sac fly, 12 ks, 0 wild pitches, 1 reached on error
(1.20 era, 0.87 whip, 6 k/bb, .204 baa, .228 obpa, .278 slga)

2007-10-10 07:36:58
25.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 great stuff.

(i'd still sign him. not to a 13 year deal, but pay the man.)

24 wow, that was detailed.

2007-10-10 07:38:39
26.   pistolpete
15 True about Randolph, but he did spend a lot more time next to Torre than Mattingly has so far.

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I worshiped the man when I was a kid growing up in the 80's, but manager is the LAST position I want him to be in with this team. At least, not in the current state of things.

2007-10-10 07:39:56
27.   pistolpete
By the way, where did this ludicrous $40 mil/per number come from? Boomer and Carton were throwing it around on the 'Fan this morning...
2007-10-10 07:41:59
28.   pistolpete
27 Sorry, 40 mil/per for A-Rod, that is.
2007-10-10 07:47:14
29.   Yankee Fan In Boston
26 i am also a mattingly devotee. i think that eventually he would probably be a fine manager. i think installing him right now would be a bit premature.

if i could dictate how these things could be handled, i'd have donnie manage someplace in the minors. one year... two... i'd replace kerrigan (maybe even guidry)with eiland and get girardi in to handle the youth movment, all while making it explicitly, crystal clear that eiland's opinion on how to use the young pitchers should be a valued source and should guide girardi & company.

give joe a front office job if hwe wants it. maybe a job in the booth? joe and bernie replacing john and suzyn?

then i'd get started on re-signing a few guys.

2007-10-10 07:49:17
30.   Zack
Seeing as pretty much every manager possible will have some flaw or another, I really can't see it coming down to anyone save Girardi, Mattingly and Bowa. I'd be very surprised if Mattingly didn't get the job. And really, even if he is a Torre clone, that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. For all this team might need a tactical manager, it certainly needs a steady hand as well. The team can lose a lot of games in lots of different ways, and can win them lots of ways too.

Let's be honest, the Yankees didn't lose this series b/c of tactical managing, they lost it b/c they didn't hit or pitch. You can blame the coaches only so much, you know?

Way way more significant than Girardi or Mattingly, however, would be the addition of a certain stud from the northlands. (I will beat this horse until it is gelatin dammit!)

2007-10-10 07:51:28
31.   Adrian
I'm having trouble with the end of this season because -- being a youngin' -- the Yankees have looked the same to me for most of my young adult life: Torre at the helm, Pettitte on the mound (I choose to ignore his seasons in space), Mariano closing up shop and Posada behind the plate. Now, for the first time, all of those things are imperiled and I have to deal with the fact that the Bombers of '08 may not look like the team I grew up on. If they could persuade Pettitte and Mariano to stay, that'd be great. Also, if we could somehow get all of the Boss's money without actually having him around, that'd be nice too.
2007-10-10 07:54:50
32.   Yankee Fan In Boston
27 28 after the luxury tax, it might hover around that mark. that is my only guess.
2007-10-10 07:58:33
33.   Zack
29 I think Joe still wants to manage very much, so I doubt he would take a booth job.

I'm also not sure you can really do that with Eiland/Guidry. If you want his input, make him the pitching coach, otherwise you are undermining guidry. Cliff's question is an interesting one though, isn't it? Would Eiland be more useful in the pen or the minors? I would have to say the pen, as there will hopefully be a bunch of youngsters in the pen throughout next year, plus our top three pitchers in the majors...

2007-10-10 08:04:20
34.   pistolpete
33 I really don't think Guidry has too much of a say, considering his lack of ML experience thus far.

Besides, I think considering he already stated he would still do the job under someone else, that tells me he wouldn't get too uppity about Eiland being on the bench as well.

2007-10-10 08:10:09
35.   Yankee Fan In Boston
33 i was joking about joe and bernie calling games. if bernie doesn't want to toss a first pitch, he isn't showing up to do that. i would like to see joe kept close, though. i have no idea how they'd convince him to do so, however.

i agree regarding eiland's input undermining guidry. it would be nice to know how many decisions regarding the use of pitchers were made by guidry.

i think eiland should be in the bigs, too, and i think his presence late in the season shows that the FO has faith in him. perhaps he and guidry could become a two-headed coach.

2007-10-10 08:12:41
36.   Yankee Fan In Boston
34 yeah, i guess if torre was going to his favorite arms everyday before ron got there, it was probably his choice to do so after guidry showed up, too.
2007-10-10 08:27:11
37.   Bags
I don't see what we gain by getting rid of Joe.

Why not bring him back, get him a better bench coach to help with in game strategy (a la the Zimmer years), and be done with it?

2007-10-10 08:38:29
38.   Yankee Fan In Boston
37 i think joe would like to come back. i just don't understand why.

he's had an amazing run, and unless the team wins it all, he faces this kind of speculation every year.

i'd ride off into the sunset.

2007-10-10 08:41:38
39.   tommyl
Does anyone have any stats on Girardi's pitching usage? I have been a big advocate of his for the job but those comments scare me a bit. Are they well grounded beyond just saying that Anibal Sanchez got hurt while Joe was the manager? His on air comments on YES always led me to believe he understands what can tax an arm pretty well, but perhaps not.

Mattingly scares me for the reasons Cliff points out. He seemed very push button when Joe was suspended in terms of in game tactics (i.e. runner on second, no outs, clearly we must bunt). However, he did seem much more flexible in BP management, using relievers in terms of leverage better and one reliever for multiple innings if he was on. If he does get the job, I hope he's really, really good at it. I'd hate to have to boo my childhood idol.

2007-10-10 08:42:05
40.   ms october
37 The more we go through the possibilities, the more I think this makes sense. Especially if your in-game strategy person can figure out a way to get Torre to spread it around with the bullpen.
2007-10-10 08:43:23
41.   tommyl
35 I agree with Eiland. Did anyone notice how much Phil improved once Eiland came up to the bigs? Maybe its coincidence but I think not.

Honestly, I've never understood this need to have big names be hitting and pitching coaches. Just because someone had a really nasty slider or could hit homers doesn't make him good at teaching it. Kevin Long is a perfect example, as is Eiland and Nardi Contreras.

2007-10-10 08:46:31
42.   tommyl
40 I just don't think that's gonna happen. At this point, no matter who the bench coach has been since Zim (Mazzili, Willie, Girardi, Donnie) he has managed the same way. I think at this point Joe is set in his ways, so even if Girardi suggests not bringing in Quantril every single game, Torre is going to do it.

Hiring him back, but not allowing him to pick his bench coach, and having said coach dictate in game tactics will be seen as undermining him. Its not gonna happen. If you want Joe back, you get him back the way he is. That's fine if that's what you want, but I think dreaming about getting Joe's player management and someone else's roster/BP/tactics is a pipe dream.

2007-10-10 08:55:26
43.   ms october
42 I was only half-serious. I agree with your statement that he is probably too set in his ways to address his flaws. The bigger question is whose strengths/flaws match up best with the roster - direction the team is going. Torre or one of the other candidates who all have at least one serious flaw. I don't know the answer to that question. Partly because there are so many qestions about next year's roster, but beyond that the direction of the org - IIRC Cashman has 1 year left on his deal; what role does the mysterious Tampa people have; George and his sons -etc, etc.
2007-10-10 08:55:40
44.   Shaun P
20 "I think he is getting a raw deal in New York. He would be beloved by most other team's fans."

Given all the negative press A-Rod has gotten over the last few years, I have a hard time seeing any team's fans loving him. No matter where he goes, the story is always going to be the contract - excuse me, Mr. Boras, the NEW contract - and, if he leaves the Yanks, that he couldn't win in NY in the postseason.

Except maybe St. Louis. Those folks will embrace anyone who plays hard. But I don't think they're going to shell out the cash.

31 "Also, if we could somehow get all of the Boss's money without actually having him around, that'd be nice too."

I can safely say that sentiment has been around since at least the mid-80s. You may be young, but you're following in good tradition with that line of thinking. =)

39 No stats, but its not just Sanchez. Josh Johnson and Nolasco both missed almost the entire season. And Olsen was much less effective, after Girardi took him from 100 IP to 180 IP, completely ignoring the 'rule of 30'.

Will Carroll has some stuff in the BP archives about it, if you're a subscriber.

2007-10-10 09:01:13
45.   weeping for brunnhilde

I had a nightmare last night. We were playing somewhere strange, Colorado, I think it was, Wang on the mound. His ball was up and he was getting hit around but one of the hits was this popup that somehow kept carrying and kept carrying until miraculously it was at the right center field wall instead of over second base.

Alex went to try to catch it, kind of like a foul ball down the third base line, only he was in right field. He somehow shied away from the ball and I thought "Well, at least it didn't go out" because I thought it just hit the wall. But no. It hit the top of the wall or something and bounced out.

Then I saw Wang exiting the game through the right field door having allowed 7 runs.

I was dumbfounded. "THREE TIMES?" I thought.

I hope that's not a premonition of some sort.

Either way, it's going to be a long winter.

2007-10-10 09:01:25
46.   williamnyy23
30 I would disagree...if the following decisions were made, it could have made a difference:

1) Start Wang in game 3 at home (avoiding the road and 3-days rest scenarios).
2) Pull team off the field or sub for Joba during the bug infestation.
3) Batting Matsui behind Arod in game 2, which amounted to Alex' only awful game and impacted the middle of the lineup.

I think you could make the case that these three decisions impacted at least one game in the series. You could probably add others as well, such as pitching Joba 2 innings in game 3 with a big lead, failing to send more runners despite the alarming number of DPs, and wasting Hughes in garbage time after allowing Veras/Dorf to put the game out of reach. Heck, simply brining Veras into game 4 with the season on the line was highly questionable.

In other words, Torre did a very questionable job in the series. Also, just because a manager's moves don't lose the game, doesn't mean he can't do something to help win it. Pulling the team off the field or having a lengthy argument with Froemming is just one example of that.

2007-10-10 09:04:36
47.   williamnyy23
38 I think the answers are the $7mn/year salary and A-list celebrity that comes with being a Yankee manager. Those are intoxicating things.
2007-10-10 09:07:22
48.   williamnyy23
40 Absent an elder statesman like Zimmer, there is no way that would work. For starters, the bench coach has to have both stature in the game as well as Torre's respect. Secondly, the bench coach would also have to have zero designs on the manager's job. Otherwise, there is no way the two men could have a productive relationship.
2007-10-10 09:08:52
49.   mehmattski
39 Anibal Sanchez was 22 years old and had thrown 86 innings at AA when he was called up mid-June. He finished the season with Girardi, throwing 114 innings in 17 starts. His highest pitch count in the majors was 110 pitches during his no-hitter, but he did top 100 pitches 8 times and 90 pitches five other times. He showed up to 2007 Spring Training with control issues, was demoted in April, and then shut down for the season, having surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Josh Johnson, 22, was in the majors for the entirety of 2006, throwing 157 innings. His previous high was 137 in AA the year before. He was in the bullpen for the first month of the season and made his first start on May 4. He then went on to make 20 starts, and topped 100 pitches in 15 of them. His 2006 season ended when he left a game on September 12 because of "forearm tightness," after he came back to pitch the fifth inning following a 1 hour, 22 minute rain delay. He started 4 games for the 2007 Marlins before being shut down and had Tommy John surgery on August 4.

Scott Olsen was also a 22 year old pitching the entire 2006 season for Girardi. He was called up in 2005 after Beckett got hurt, but was himself sidelined with an elbow injury (note the injury before Girardi arrived). After throwing 136 innings in the minors in 2005, Olsen threw 180 innings in 2006 in 31 starts. He threw 100 pitches in 10 of those starts. In 2007 Olsen threw 33 starts but only 176 innings due to ineffectiveness and his propensity for getting into trouble.

Ricky Nolasco, 23, threw 140 innings for Girardi in 2006 after throwing 136 in the minors the previous year. He started 22 games and topped 100 pitches 6 times. Elbow inflammation sidelined Nolasco twice in 2007.

2007-10-10 09:10:21
50.   JL25and3
21 "They need a more stable, strike throwing bullpen."

I'm not convinced that there is any such thing as a stable bullpen - at least, you can't design one that way. There are very few stable, consistent middle relievers, because (a) every season is a small sample size, and (b) those are almost always the pitchers who aren't good enough for other roles.

How many consistent middle relievers are there? Scot Shields, maybe Howry and/or Eyre, maybe Donnelly...but not many, and a lot of times I think their apparent consistency is a small-sample illusion. They're consistent until they're not, which can be tomorrow.

That's why spending good money on middle relievers is usually a mistake - and we've seen that plenty of times. I think the best way to do it is with quantity. Get as many bodies to spring training as you can - journeymen, failed starters, minor-league free agents, projects, rejects, rule 5 picks, 35-year-old Japanese relievers, Long Island Ducks, whatever - and see who you think you can get lucky with. You don't pay any of them much, and you don't stick with them too long if they suck.

That's essentially how the Angels put together the 2002 bullpen, how they found guys like Brendan Donnelly and Ben Weber and so on. Otherwise, you end up with Kyle Farnsworth.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-10-10 09:10:43
51.   Jersey
45 Stephen King could have written that. Especially since he's an RSN assclown.
2007-10-10 09:12:58
52.   williamnyy23
49 It doesn't seem that Girardi was particularly hard on any of the pitchers named. Except for bring Johnson back after the rain delay, I don't see any red flags.
2007-10-10 09:16:21
53.   williamnyy23
50 can't really assemble a 5-6 man pen, but you can usually pick up one reliable arm to complement the one most teams usually have (in the Yankees case, that would be Rivera). What you can also do is eliminate bad options, especially relievers with historically high walk rates.
2007-10-10 09:16:30
54.   51cq24
25 it was worth being late to class

49 wasn't one of the issues between girardi and loria/front office that they wanted him to use the young pitchers more?

2007-10-10 09:20:09
55.   mehmattski
49 So I know that whole list looks like a giant condemnation of Girardi. But I think the whole issue bears a closer look. None of the four pitchers listed had any experience higher than AA before being thrown into the major league rotation at a young age. None had thrown more than 135 innings in any season before being called up to the majors.

I think at least part of it has been the organizational philosophy to get tons of pitching prospects and throw them into the fire as soon as possible. This has had disastrous results years before Girardi was managing. See, for example:

Ryan Dempster
Matt Clement
Brad Penny
AJ Burnett
Carl Pavano
Josh Beckett

All have spent significant time on the disabled list, and all were 22 year old pitchers (or younger) forced to throw 100+ pitches per start at the major league level straight out of AA ball. Only Dontrelle Willis has escaped the disabled list since 2000, and his effectiveness has declined so much that projections are looking for him to be out of baseball before the age of 30...

I think there's a good chance that the injuries to Sanchez, Johnson, and Nolasco have nothing to do with Girardi. Given strict pitch counts and a bullpen worth a damn, Hughes, Kennedy, and Chamberlain can be protected somewhat from a similar fate. But, just in case it is somehow Girardi's fault, if he is signed as manager it might be worth it to go sign one workhorse-type starting pitcher (in the Livan Hernandez/Doug Davis mold) who can take the pressure and innings off the kids and bullpen.

2007-10-10 09:22:47
56.   51cq24
i also doubt that girardi will be breaking rules set by the front office to protect the young pitchers.
2007-10-10 09:24:46
57.   ms october
50 I agree too - I think in some ways that is what Boston did this year too. I am stuck in Boston for another year or so - but coming out of ST, the radio shows were going crazy about all the arms they had in the pen, but the team figured out who was decent and made a bullpen. I think of middle releivers like NFL field goal kickers - there are only a few good ones and the rest is recycled crap that you ride when they are hot and then get rid of.
54 IIRC the Girardi/Marlins tiff was the team wanting him to go to all the young players more - including position players and he did not want to bring up/use so many kids.
2007-10-10 09:36:22
58.   JL25and3
I'm not against Girardi as manager - and no, I'm not convinced that those injuries are his fault.

But I'm not sure why so many fans think he's the obvious best choice. Do we actually have any idea what he brings to the table as manager? We know he's a bright guy who seems to know a lot about baseball, that he's a very hard worker, and that he has one good year's experience as a manager.

He may not be responsible for the pitchers' injuries, but does he deserve the credit for lucking into their brief window of health? He got the benefit of Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez, but does he get credit for them? And was making Joe Borowski the close even a good thing?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions - and I don't think anyone else does, either. I just think that people are aggrandizing him far beyond what one year of managing merits.

2007-10-10 09:47:29
59.   JL25and3
42 I'm not convinced that the last several bench coaches have been Torre's choices. They've all been managers-in-training, not consiglieres. I didn't have the impression that he ever had a particularly close relationship with Mazzilli or Randolph, for instance.

And if the front office did make that decision, he'd never go public with it. I don't think Joe's ever griped about the FO in 12 years.

2007-10-10 09:53:39
60.   Shaun P
49 Where did you get your data from? The numbers I've looked at don't always match.

For example, the Baseball Cube says Olsen threw 100.7 innings in 2005: 80.3 for AA, 20.3 for the Marlins. says the same.

That would mean, as I said in 44 that Olsen went from 100.7 innings in 2005 to over 180 innings in 2006 (176 in Florida, 6 in AAA) = increase of 80 innings. So Girardi completely ignored the 'rule of 30'.

And, Sanchez pitched 85.7 innings at AA in 2006, and then 114.3 innings for Florida = 200 innings total. His previous high was in 2005, with 136 innings total (78.7 in A, 57.3 in AA) = increase of 64 innings. Again, Girardi completely ignored the 'rule of 30'.

I don't think you can absolve Girardi of these obvious blunders by saying the Marlins have a history of rushing pitchers.

4 of the 6 guys you name were developed while John Henry still owned and ran the team; the Loria bunch had nothing to do with them. Pavano was developed by the Sox and Expos; he was 26 when he reached Florida, and had thrown almost 400 innings in the majors before he ever pitched for Florida. Beckett may have been rushed, but he was also the second overall pick in the '01 draft, and was widely regarded as the best high school pitcher in years.

I think the record against Girardi is pretty damning, given the evidence. I wouldn't let him near the Yanks' young pitchers.

2007-10-10 09:54:41
61.   mehmattski
58 Well, for some of those answers you can look to the performance of the 2007 Marlins under the calmer, friendlier Fredi Gonzales. With a lineup essentially intact from the previous year, they regressed by seven wins. This was of course partially due to the decline of the starting rotation and bullpen, decimated by injuries, and the continued ineffectiveness of Dontrelle Willis.

But the anecdotal evidence coming out of Miami is that Fredi was letting his players get away with way too much. Scott Olsen's behavioral problems surfaced this year but there were no reports of him throwing baseballs at teammates last year. Another large point is Miguel Cabrera's waistline, which continues to expand and will likely have an impact on the career of a once-in-a-lifetime talent. Cabrera's declining health has been enabled by Gonzalez, who refuses to enforce regular workouts and allowed Willis to sell candy bars in the clubhouse, mostly to Cabrera. No way that shit goes down under Girardi- Joe would have the kid working out with Clemens every day.

It's those little things that convinced me that Girardi is the no-nonsense, classy clubhouse guy that I would like my manager to be. I think he'd be most effective with a young team, and the 2008 roster looks to be almost half-full of players under 30. I think its time to look at a fresh face and avoid going through another Stump Merril-Bucky Dent-Dallas Green period.

2007-10-10 09:55:53
62.   pistolpete
55 Good stuff about the prospects working in the ML before Girardi even got there.

58 Besides the obvious MOTY line item, I have to say I've been very impressed with both he and Flaherty on the broadcasts. Although much less with Flash, because most times he does tend to state the obvious.

I wouldn't mind Al Leiter in some sort of instructional role either, although something tells me he'd probably just piss a lot of people off. Seems to have that type of personality.

Of course, everyone looks like a genius as they're second-guessing from the booth. If I was to go by my own logic, David Justice would be a managerial candidate as well. ;)

2007-10-10 10:10:20
63.   mehmattski
60 You're right, I was reading the 2004 line for Olsen's 136 innings. He only threw 100 innings in 2005 because he hurt his elbow after being called up to the majors. In any case, his 2005 injury can't be blamed on Girardi, and I think his 2007 behavioral problems are something that Girardi could have prevented.

As for the rule of 30, that will mean that next year, the Yankees' youngsters can only throw:

Kennedy (147 IP in 2007): 177 innings
Chamberlain (88 IP in 2007): 118 innings
Hughes (146 IP in 2006, 100 IP in 2007): I don't know what the ruling is here, but if Olsen violated the rule by going 136-100-180, so would Hughes, right?

Point being: any manager is going to come in and have the pressure to overextend these three kids in 2008, as the new manager will try to impress Cash and the Steinbrenners.

This, I think, presses the other issue I raised in 49 -- that the Yankees should look to sign an innings eater to supplement the kids and the elderly (Pettitte, Mussina).

2007-10-10 10:13:15
64.   JL25and3
61 That mostly tells me that Gonzalez is a bad manager, and I'm pretty sure Girardi isn't that. But it still doesn't tell me what he brings to the table. Isn't "no-nonsense, classy clubhouse guy" what we've had for 12 years? What else does he have?
2007-10-10 11:15:16
65.   51cq24
62 i think flaherty is more impressive than girardi. for whatever reason, it seemed like flaherty was working one on one with kay very often, and i think that may be why you think he states the obvious so much (since kay loves asking questions with obvious answers). but i think flaherty more often than any of the other announcers questioned torre's judgment and was correct to do so. i have no idea if he's be a good manager, but it seems like he's very smart and always knows what he's talking about. girardi almost always does also, but he does say some things that make me wonder. but how can we really judge managerial skills from broadcasting ability?
2007-10-10 11:34:04
66.   rsmith51
65 Well it is obvious that Chip Carey would not make a good manager. Of course, he also isn't a very good announcer.
2007-10-10 11:48:18
67.   Shaun P
63 Actually . . .

IPK threw 165.3 innings (minors and majors) in 2007, so he could go all the way up to 195.3 next year. (Yeah!)

Joba threw 112.3 innings overall in 2007 (plus the few in the playoffs) so he could go to about 145.

And Hughes could go 176 innings, because the rule is 'no more than 30 over the previous high'. Even going 14 over as Olsen did in 2006 (136+30=166) is bad.

Figure you take about 25 innings off those numbers (to account for playoff starts), that means the caps should be:

IPK: 170
Hughes: 150
Joba: 120

With Pettitte (~220), Wang (~220), and whatever veterany goodness Moose provides, I think the Yanks will be fine.

I also imagine anyone Brian Cashman hires to manage the team is going to be told the way to impress Cashman is to baby the kids, not overwork them. In fact, given how we've all been educated now (thanks to The Joba Rules), I'd expect calls for the new manager's head if he was overworking the kids. I don't think the Yanks to sign any free agent starters.

2007-10-10 12:16:09
68.   pistolpete
65 A good broadcaster doesn't necessarily make a good manager, but when you listen to the way some of these guys break down what we're seeing in front of our eyes, it becomes obvious they're not just given a booth job for their pleasant speaking voice and/or nice hair.

If it honestly came down to Flash vs. Girardi, I'd still go with Joe based on perceived leadership abilities.

Of course, the fact that he's actually already done the job - and did it well - is hard to ignore.

2007-10-10 13:29:50
69.   tommyl
I'd go to a 6 man rotation for next year of Pettite (assuming he resigns), Moose, Wang, and the three musketeers (Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy) at the expense of either a long man or LOOGY in the pen. That takes some pressure and wear off the vets (though I'd pitch Wang every 5th day as much as possible) and keeps the innings in check for the kids. If one guy gets injured, then you go to a five man and call up a long man for the pen.

Its almost too logical, so they'll never do it, but I think it'd solve all the problems. Then come September, Moose won't be throwing 70mph, Andy's elbow will be ok, and the kids will be ok for their inning limits.

2007-10-10 13:37:06
70.   weeping for brunnhilde
"allowed Willis to sell candy bars in the clubhouse, mostly to Cabrera. "


What the hell does this even mean? Is this a metaphor of some sort?

2007-10-10 13:44:33
71.   weeping for brunnhilde
If Girardi's the manager, will he preach fundamentals?

At this point, that's what I care about more than anything.

Each and every position player on the team should know how to bunt.

I'm tired of hearing about how well, maybe they should bunt in this situation, but I'm not sure player x could execute.

There's simply no excuse for that on a major league level. None. Zero.

Every player slumps, power hitters and singles hitters alike. In some spots your best chance at a victory might require you to ask your slumping thumper to bunt. He should be prepared to do so. None of this, "Well, I hit homeruns around here, sorry, no can do."

That's horse shit.

Same with going the other way.


Teach bat control above all else. These are major league hitters, they should be able to learn to execute.

If Girardi's capable of doing that, I say bring him on.

2007-10-10 13:51:42
72.   weeping for brunnhilde
68 Flaherty impressed me tremendously one game.

Anyone remember a game when Derek bunted early on in a spot that clearly screamed out "swing away?"

Kay asked why Derek would do that and Flaherty said, "Well, maybe Derek doesn't feel too comfortable with his swing and figures this is his best chance to help the team right now."

Sure enough, Derek proceeded to go into a short mini-funk. Even Kay was astute enough to credit Flash, "You called it."

That's what's important to me in a manager: knowing the stats is fine, but being able to respond and adapt based upon what you feel your players to be capable of in any given ab is critical, imo. The fact that Flash immediately surmised what was going on with Derek suggests to me a keen sensitivity to extra-statistical evaluation of talent.

2007-10-10 15:21:28
73.   mehmattski
70 See:
2007-10-10 19:46:02
74.   weeping for brunnhilde
73 That was a cool story, cheers, mehmattski!

My favorite part (of course) was the bit about Cabrera reaching out to slap a game-winning single during an intentional walk!

Now that's bat control!

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