Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2007-11-08 05:38
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

In New York, the football Giants and the Knicks have not yet been able to wrestle the back page from the baseball boys yet. Nothing really new to report, but after a quick look around, here's what I got for the daily schmooze:

Tyler Kepner on the Yanks; David Pinto on Miguel Cabrera; Steven Goldman on the Hot Stove; a Miguel Tejada-to-the-Yankees rumor out of Baltimore; Steve Treder digs up some gems from the past over at The Hardball Times;

Oh, and this from Buster Olney a few days ago:

Andy Pettitte had to give the Yankees an answer by Wednesday about whether he was going to opt out, and he did. Most players feel the tug of home, but I always thought he was atypical among players in how he copes with that: He is the only player I can remember openly admitting, after a poor outing at the end of a long road trip, that he was distracted by the absence of his kids. So it would not be surprising at all that Pettitte would retire, at age 35. The accumulation of more wealth and the pull of a possible Hall of Fame candidacy -- he does, after all, have 201 victories and could pitch another five or six years, if he really wanted to -- mean little or nothing to him. Some within the Yankees' organization believe Pettitte is going to retire. I'd bet he is going to retire.

But remember, the early part of the offseason is an easy time to embrace the idea of retiring. As the fall turns to winter and players naturally begin to think about picking up a ball and about spring training, his body will feel better. You could set the official odds at 50-50 that he will be back, and the Yankees have told him they are ready when he is to talk about another year.

Drop a Gem on 'Em

Lastly, in matters unrelated to baseball, here are a few more links:

Roald Dahl's wicked short story, Lamb to the Slaughter; W.C. Heinz's classic column, "Death of a Racehorse"; Kenneth Tynan's colassal New Yorker profile of Johnny Carson; Steven Rodrick's piece on Judd Apatow from earlier this year in the NY Times magazine; a site devoted to the 'blurb reviews of the late, great Pauline Kael; hilariously bad impressions from Mel and Albert Brooks.

Comments (52)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-08 06:32:09
1.   JL25and3
0 Alex, the link you give for the Kepner article leads to the Treder piece instead.
2007-11-08 06:35:26
2.   Shaun P
tommyl pointed out in the last (all baseball) thread that Baltimore (who needs a closer for next year) might be interested in Farnsworth, thanks to MacPhail and Trombley's Cub connections (all 3 were there together).

Oh sweet Jesus, would that be nice. The only problem is, the Tejada article linked above says the Os want hitting prospects, not pitching prospects.

2007-11-08 06:46:33
3.   Raf
2 All it means is that there's a possibility of at least a 3-team deal, if the O's want hitting prospects...

Not familiar with what goes on in Charm City, but is Tejada willing to move to 3b? Haven't been able to find much on the net about that.

2007-11-08 06:53:46
4.   Sliced Bread
2 Damn, and the O's probably realize that Farnswacker can't go Ankiel at the plate.

His career line as a hitter:

.074/.121/.092 and OPS+ of -44

2007-11-08 06:55:05
5.   Alex Belth
Tyler is back to being Tyler...
2007-11-08 06:56:26
6.   Alex Belth
Working on deadline for SI during the ALCS gave me a greater appreciation for how difficult it is to write well under pressure. The Heinz story was written for a newspaper and it almost makes me want to cry. How was he able to pull that off? Skills, that's how.
2007-11-08 07:11:34
7.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
Thanks for the links, Alex. They'll keep me busy at work today.

I haven't posted in a while, so forgive me if this issue has been addressed before, but I was wondering what everyone else is expecting from Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy next year. The reason that I bring this up is that I was talking with a friend the other day who is almost ridiculously bullish on the Yankees' young pitchers and said that he thought each of the three musketeers would win 15 games next year. (Although I believe that pitcher W/L stats are pretty much worthless, I do think that they can give you a very broad idea of how a season went.)

So, I was just wondering what everyone else is REALISTICALLY expecting from the young guns. I'm not going to toss out any numbers just yet, but I believe Hughes will fare the best due to his combination of stuff and command; Kennedy will be a very solid number four/five starter due to his command and ability to "pitch", putting up great numbers against mediocre to bad teams and occasionally getting rocked by the better teams; and Joba, well, I don't know, I think he's going to be great or terrible. He'll rack up a ton of strikeouts, but also, possibly, a ton of walks, as hitters learn to lay of the slider and focus on hitting the fast ball. If he can throw his curve for a strike, he could make me look foolish, but that remains to be seen. I also don't know how his body will hold up over the course of the season.

So, what do y'all think? Please feel free to be as critical as possible.

2007-11-08 07:28:31
8.   mehmattski
0 The Pinto article is interesting- out of 205 hitters who had 1000 AB before their 22nd birthday, 61 have either reached the Hall of Fame or are likely to be elected once eligible. Now, that says nothing about the quality of those at bats, but rather about the excitement of teams willing to give many at bats to a youngster- it means they're going to be something special. For the sake of baseball at large, I hope the Marlins man up and give the guy a long term contract. As a Yankees fan, I hope the Marlins continue to think only of screwing over their fans.

7 The expectations have to be tempered by the innings caps that they will all be on: Kennedy (180), Hughes (150) and Chamberlain (130) won't be able to go deep in too many games, for their own good. Considering the likely state of next years' offense (800 runs, maybe?) I don't think it's likely that any of them get to 15 wins.

2007-11-08 07:38:16
9.   williamnyy23
7 Instead of focusing on wins, I think a reasonable ERA+ expectation for Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy would be 130, 115 and 100, respectively. I think the possibility of exceeding that total exists for all three in the same order. I would be surprised if Joba and Hughes aren't at a notch above average, and could see Kennedy being somewhat inconsistent.

Too bad Cashman couldn't have gotten in on the Lidge deal....what an awful deal for Houston.

2007-11-08 07:38:28
10.   Dimelo
0 You have to love how the Knicks came back to win that game and Balkman putting the tight D on Melo.

I'm pysched about my Knicks and Jints...beat the shit out of the Cowboys this weekend and I might have something to distract me from the Yanks a bit this winter. The winter's are getting lonely, there's only 70 days of skiing one can do in a year, I need a NY sport team (specifically Giants and Knicks) not named the Yanks to step it up this year and give me some form distraction.

2007-11-08 07:40:48
11.   NJYankee41
7 I actually think Joba has better "stuff" and command than Hughes. And I don't think Joba will face serious walk issues. Watching him this year I was amazed at how he pinpointed the ball. The slider in the dirt is because of his good command. He knows enough and is able to get that ball to look like a strike and then it just dives down. He also throws a get me over slider that has less break and keeps the hitter honest and more apt to chase the nasty one in the dirt. I'm really not worried about Joba's command at all as he has shown me he knows what he's doing out there.

I agree with 8 . Their innings will be capped thus preventing them from putting up huge numbers. I think Kennedy will start in the minors until Moose gets hurt or ineffective. Hughes will probably pitch the most innings and have the chance at the most wins.

I have high hopes for all 3, but I'm not expecting them to be work horses next year. We have to expect some growing pains in the process.

2007-11-08 07:47:56
12.   JL25and3
9 I don't see 130 ERA+ as a reasonable expectation for Joba, not this year. That would make him one of the top 10 starters in the league. It might happen, but it's not something to expect of a rookie.
2007-11-08 07:58:05
13.   tommyl
2 Nice? That would be the greatest trade the Yankees could make. Dumping a player we all hate for one of the few players that could come close to replacing A-Rod's production. Tejada at $26/2 really isn't all that bad.
2007-11-08 07:59:23
14.   jeterian swing
9 This is sort of off-topic, but every baseball writer in the country seems to agree that the 'Stros got robbed in this Lidge deal...except Nate Silver, who strongly feels the exact opposite to be the case. Now, I think Silver is maybe the single best baseball mind right now (at least, of those working in the media), so how is his take so far from the conventional wisdom? Is he just dead wrong? Or is he analyzing the deal on a different scale than the rest of the world?

2007-11-08 08:00:16
15.   Knuckles
10 I am super pumped about the Giants this weekend. The Knicks-Nuggets game was a good one. I've gotten away from the NBA in recent years, a combo of the severe downturn the Knicks have taken and the overall quality of the league.
Are Frazier and Breen the main TV play by play guys on MSG? I've been out of the NY/NJ area for a number of years now, but am hopefully getting a Slingbox to put at my folks' house so I can pick up more hometown sports.
2007-11-08 08:00:28
16.   tommyl
How about Farnsworth, cash and maybe a mid-level prospect like Chase Wright for Tejada? or Farnsworth and Andy Phillips (no cash)? What do people think?
2007-11-08 08:03:50
17.   Dimelo
15 Yeah it's still Fraizer and Breen, I hate when I flip to YES and the F'ING Nets have Albert. I hate that Marv ain't doing Knick games anymore. I have such great memories of those 80's and early 90's Knick teams with Marv, being in junior high school and high school...those were great times. Before I knew 100 Sawx fans from out of nowhere.
2007-11-08 08:08:56
18.   mehmattski
14 Well, it's clearly a salary dump, since the Astros don't want to pay Lidge's arbitration salary this year. But considering the Astros already have a young, league average centerfielder and a young, league average third baseman, does this really make sense?

And similarly, 16 , if Brad Lidge can only get two class-B prospects and a weak reliever, why would Farnsworth get Tejada?

2007-11-08 08:11:42
19.   Alex Belth
If you guys get the time, and have any interest in Carson, that Tynan piece is a must. Tynan is one of my favorite critics--his book "Profiles" is an excellent compilation. And Tynan also did a wonderfully long piece for the New Yorker in the late 70s on none other than Mel Brooks. Tynan is most famous in this country for writing and producing "Oh, Calcutta." All you New Yorkers from back in the days must remember those billboards around town.
2007-11-08 08:12:27
20.   tommyl
18 Because the Orioles want to salary dump Tejada. Hey, we got Bobby Abreu for a lefty reliever and a guy who is likely leaving baseball, remember?
2007-11-08 08:17:26
21.   Raf
19 Yep, I remember;

Not quite as attractive as I remember her.

2007-11-08 08:18:30
22.   E-Rocker
Does anyone think that the inning limits to Joba, Hughes and IPK should actually be how many pitches were thrown instead of just how many innings are pitched? Just think of this year where Chamberlain would throw maybe 8 pitches in an inning. Should that really be counted as against his wear and tear?
2007-11-08 08:21:21
23.   tommyl
22 I think the "innings limit" is a rough guide. I'm sure the team has a more sophisticated way of measuring this. Last year the Joba rules evolved to take into account when he threw only 6 pitches in an inning.
2007-11-08 08:21:34
24.   JL25and3
20 But the Orioles aren't on the same kind of deadline the Phillies were. I'd be very surprised if they can't get more than that from Tejada.
2007-11-08 08:26:30
25.   tommyl
24 You may be right, but they seem to want to dump a lot of salary and start to rebuild (which is the right move, they aren't going to win in the next 2 years and Tejada will be gone after that). The Phillies weren't really on a major deadline, they could have kept Abreu for another year if they had wanted to. I think the bigger obstacle will be the fact that they are in the same division and Angelos hates making moves within the division.
2007-11-08 08:35:07
26.   Alex Belth
21, Yeah, she ain't a babe, but it was the suggestiveness of the pose, up way high on a building that was such an eye catcher, right? Lol.
2007-11-08 08:42:52
27.   yankz
Am I the only one that's not that high on Miguel Tejada? He wasn't that good last year, and haven't people speculated about his PED use for years now? If the price is low (i.e. Farns plus Andy Phillips or something), sure, but I would wait till the Mitchell Report first.
2007-11-08 08:59:10
28.   Adrian
To what extent do you think Cashman's words re:IPK are posturing. I think feigned (or exaggerated) reluctance to trade him may be a way to drive up his perceived value for other teams. For example, if we can deal him and Melky + a couple of prospects and/or moolah to the Marlins for Miguelito, why not do it? While I'm dreaming, A-Rod will accept arbitration and move to first base, and we'll Jason "The Mittless Brute" Giambi for someone who can actually play baseball.

Also, I'm a huge Pettitte fan. He's a genuine guy with a lot of heart. He's been such a central feature of my life with the Yankees. I'll miss him if (when) he goes.

2007-11-08 09:05:07
29.   mehmattski
Check out this article for a number of hilarious things:

First, A-Rod to the Marlins, according to one GM. Next, Bonds to Japan according to one GM. Finally, 14 out of 15 GMs said they'd prefer Torii Hunter to Andruw Jones next year. This may be the most insane one of them all.

Consider: Andruw Jones has been rated the #1 defensive center fielder by UZR, The Fielding Bible, and BP'S RATE each of the last three saeasons. Hunter has fallen off considerably in the last three seasons and is going on reputation alone at this point. Offensively, we can't ignore Jones' down year, but over the past three seasons, Jones has had a better OBP, a better SLG, more HR, and more RBI. And Jones is a year younger than Hunter. Those 14 GMs are out of their minds.

2007-11-08 09:07:49
30.   mehmattski
29 I got a little carried away with my defensive rating of Jones- he was the #1 defensive CF this year in those three metrics, but not in 2006 or 2005. However in both earlier years, he rated much higher than Hunter.
2007-11-08 09:08:27
31.   tommyl
29 Hahaha, once again I'm amazed that people who are so obviously bad at their jobs remain in them. Then again, I'm sure Hunter has more Gold Gloves and we all know that's more important.

For a comparison, read this interview with the new Pirates GM:

Now there's a man who knows baseball.

2007-11-08 09:11:18
32.   tommyl
29 Of course, all you have to do is remember that Steve Phillips used to be a prominent GM. His plan for the Dodgers was hilarious. Something like trade for Cabrera or sign A-Rod, sign Hunter and then trade for Santana.

Because you know, every team has an infinite amount of money and prospects to trade.

2007-11-08 09:12:29
33.   tommyl
32 Yeah I know I'm overposting, but I can't wait for Phillips plan for the Yankees. Maybe it will involve resureccting DiMaggio and Gehrig? I hear Cy Young might be available.
2007-11-08 09:16:34
34.   tommyl
Hey, RAB stole my idea!
2007-11-08 09:48:07
35.   williamnyy23
12 Why is 130 ERA+ unreasonable? It's not like we are talking about any rookie. Chamberlain's ERA+ as a reliever was 1192 in 24 innings after all. Also, many have compared Joba's stuff to Verlander. I actually think he is even better then Verlander, but regardless, the later posted an ERA+ of 126 in his first full season.

14 Silver seemed to be basing the trade on one season of Lidge versus 11 of Bourn and Costanzo. I think he is factoring in money too much though. The Phillies immediate need is relief pitching and they acquired a good one for two "prospects" that they may not even want to be playign 11 seasons for them. In particular, I think Silver uses PECOTA to rate Costanzo too highly. I have read several "scout types" call him a non-prospect.

2007-11-08 09:50:36
36.   ny2ca2dc
29 - 33 I had the same reaction when I read that article (an almost the same points), but go back and look at the article and on a second reading it says "15 general managers, assistants and other assorted personnel" - which probably means some dufus like Seabean plus random waiters and clubhouse attendants. Nice how his wording made us think his sources were worth anything.
2007-11-08 10:00:31
37.   williamnyy23
No Maas had an interesting idea today: instead of trading prospects for veterans, the Yankees should target the Dodgers and do the opposite. Their rational is that the Dodgers with Torre will be so anxious to win now that they'd likely give away good prospects for vets that Torre already knows.
2007-11-08 10:21:26
38.   ny2ca2dc
37 Like who? All our guys have no-trades, save Damon. Abreu's no-trade is intact after exercising the option, right?
2007-11-08 10:21:53
39.   tommyl
37 Yeah, I suggested that the other day in terms of going after LaRoche. Maybe Joe would like Hideki or Damon?
2007-11-08 10:25:24
40.   Yankee Fan In Boston
38 they suggested matsui, assuming that he'd want to play for torre.
2007-11-08 10:26:50
41.   tommyl
37 Um, Joe is infatuated with Andy Phillips? Do the NoMaas guys watch games?
2007-11-08 10:41:22
42.   JL25and3
35 Just because Verlander had an exceptional first year doesn't mean that that's the standard for Chamberlain. Basically, it's unreasonable to expect any pitcher not named Santana to have a 130 ERA+.
2007-11-08 10:51:47
43.   williamnyy23
42 I think you are putting a 130 ERA+ on too high a pedestial. For perspective, Brian Bannister had a 121 ERA+ in his rookie year. Joba Chamberlain has stuff that is as good as any pitcher to come down the pike in a while. I don't think it is a stretch to think a 130 ERA+ is a strong possibility (no one is talking guarantee).
2007-11-08 10:59:03
44.   pistolpete
Was thinking about the Pettitte situation this morning, and it occurred to me that maybe money isn't the most important aspect of this deal - maybe Andy gets the Clemens 'family plan' included in his new contract?

Anything to make him happy - get him on the phone, Cash...

2007-11-08 11:11:32
45.   JL25and3
43 No, I think you're cherry-picking good first seasons.

Last year there were 10 AL pitchers with ERA+ of 130 or better. The three years before that there were 3, 5 and 3.

Most Hall of Fame pitchers don't put up 130 ERA+ in their first seasons.

I can't get baseball-reference to look at rookies, so I looked at 22-year-olds who qualified for the ERA title. Since 1901, there have been a total of 39 who with ERA+ of 130 or better.

It's a possiblity, sure, but it's an unreasonable expectation.

2007-11-08 11:42:43
46.   Shaun P
Slightly off topic -

Anyone else hear on XM's BB this AM (or maybe it was Chuck Wilson's Postseason show) that last summer, the Dodgers offered the Marlins Kemp, and Loney, and Billingsly for Cabrera - and the Marlins turned it down!?!?

I'm not sure exactly what this says about Larry Beinfest or Ned Colletti. I can't imagine Colletti didn't know then what he had. I can't imagine Beinfest thought he was going to get a better offer than that.

But Cashman should be looking to take advantage of one or both of those guys, because they can obviously be had.

2007-11-08 11:55:17
47.   tommyl
46 Can we convince Ned that we still have Proctor and then offer him to Joe? That is retarded. I saw we offer the Dodgers Kyle Farnsworth and his great stuff, and say Andy Phillips for LaRoche. After all, what do they need him for? They have Nomar.
2007-11-08 12:04:13
48.   williamnyy23
45 I agree with your premise, but I've seen enough of Chamberlain to realize that he isn't your typical rookie pitcher. Based on his incredible stuff, I think a 130 ERA+ is very reasonable. Put more directly, yes, I think Joba can be among the 10 best starters in the AL next season. I can, however, see why you'd be skeptical.

46 If that's the case, then I'd see if a Melky/Kennedy package could land Cabrera and then offer him to LA for Billingsley, Loney and Laroche!!

2007-11-08 12:10:10
49.   JL25and3
48 If you change "expectation" to "possibility," I dont have a problem with it. Reasonable possibility, unreasonable expectation.
2007-11-08 12:16:13
50.   williamnyy23
49 It might be semantics, but a reasonable expectation is far from a guarantee. An expectation, after all, is simply what you think will happen. I expect Chamberlain to be around ERA+ 130, but think it is also possible that he'll be 100-120. I'd be pleasantly surprised if he was well over 130, and shocked if he was well below 100. I guess that covers all the bases.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-08 12:16:35
51.   Shaun P
47 48 I like the way you guys think! =)
2007-11-08 13:01:03
52.   JL25and3
50 Yeah, it's semantics, but I can't resist a good semantic argument. To me, "expectation" means something is likely, rather than merely possible; you'd be at least a bit surprised if it didn't happen.

No matter how good he looked in 26 IP, a 130 ERA+ is never likely, because it's not likely for anyone except Santana. You're expecting him to be one of the very best pitchers in the league immediately - not just good, but immediately one of the most dominating. I don't think that's realistic.

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