Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Spring Awakening
2008-02-14 01:47
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees didn't make any radical changes to their roster this offseason. In fact, of the 21 players most likely to head north with the team, only veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins wasn't on the team last year. Still, Spring Training 2008 feels like a new beginning for the team. A lot of that has to do with the fact that there's a new Joe running the show. Joe Torre managed the Yankees to a dozen playoff appearances in as many seasons, including six World Series appearances and four world championships. This spring, he's over in Vero Beach, decked out in Dodger blue as that team's new manager. Back in Tampa, the new Yankee skipper is Joe Girardi, who was the Yankee catcher during four of Torre's seasons at the helm, three of which ended in championships.

Over the past twelve years, more than a third of which I've covered either here or at my previous blog, Yankee fans became used to Joe Torre's managerial style, his likes and dislikes, his tendencies, preferences, and pet peeves. Of Girardi's managerial style, however, we know very little. Girardi has been retired for four years, three of which he spent as a broadcaster for the YES Network and one of which he spent as the manager of a newly-gutted Florida Marlins team. Though Girardi's Fish had a losing record in 2006, their 78-86 performance and brief late-season flirtation with the NL Wild Card race was viewed as an unexpected success. Still, Girardi came under criticism for feuding with ownership, overworking his team's young pitching staff, and exhibited an alarming affection for the sacrifice bunt. This offseason, Girardi has often said that he learned a lot from that experience, hinting that his approach as the manager of the Yankees will differ in meaningful ways. Exactly how he'll affect those changes remains to be seen.

We don't really know what to expect from Girardi at any point this season, nor do we know what impact will be felt from the resulting turnover in the team's coaching staff. Mix in the continued emergence of the team's pitching prospects starting with Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy, the continued development (or lack thereof) of Melky Cabrera, and the wide-open front half of the bullpen, and this spring should be unlike any the Yankees have experienced since Torre's inaugural season of 1996, despite lacking the significant roster turnover experienced by the team that year.

While the Yankees once again have the potential to be one of, maybe even the best team in baseball in 2008, the season will ultimately be one of transition. Beyond the introduction of Girardi and his coaches, this will be the first season in which George Steinbrenner's sons Hank and Hal, who emerged from the long shadow of their father's failing health over the offseason, will be in public and practical control of the team. Thus far, Hank has filled his father's shoes as a blustery boaster constantly feeding the media leap-before-you-look quotes, while Hal has worked quietly behind the scenes to support Brian Cashman's team building efforts, though some have said he is as motivated by penny-pinching as by his belief in his GM. This season will also be the last for the original Yankee Stadium, which conjures up a flood of mixed emotions from sadness over the loss of the landmark which, for many Yankee fans, is something of a second home, to cynicism borne from the Stadium's loss of character following renovation 30 years ago and the design flaws apparent in the new stadium, to anger over the mistreatment of the community and the city both physically and financially as a result of the construction project, to excitement over the state-of-the-art structure rising in the Bronx, despite it's already apparent flaws and the damage inflicted by its creation.

On the field, this will also be a year of transition, as the young starters will have to cope with innings limits as they build up their stamina for their first full major league seasons. Those extra innings in the rotation will be consumed by Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina, two long-time Yankees who are likely taking their final tour in pinstripes. Similarly, a long-term fix at first base is being put off one more year as Jason Giambi plays out the final year of his contract. This season also finds the Yankees waiting out the final year of their commitments to Kyle Farnsworth and Carl Pavano, which will leave Kei Igawa as the last barnacle stuck to Brian Cashman's hull. Then again, Cashman's in his walk year as well.

There's a lot of change on the horizon for the Yankees, and a lot of change already at hand. With all of that looming in the background, let's get to the business at hand and take a look at the 69 players Girardi and his coaches will have to sort through in Tampa this spring in order to settle on the 25-man Opening Day roster of the 2008 New York Yankees.

Twenty-One of the 25 spots on the Yankees' Opening Day roster are more or less spoken for as follows:

1B – Jason Giambi (L)
2B – Robinson Cano (L)
SS – Derek Jeter (R)
3B – Alex Rodriguez (R)
C – Jorge Posada (C)
RF – Bobby Abreu (L)
CF – Melky Cabrera (S)
LF – Johnny Damon (L)
DH – Hideki Matsui (L)


R – Shelley Duncan (1B/OF)
S – Wilson Betemit (IF)
R – Jose Molina (C)


L – Andy Pettitte
R – Chien-Ming Wang
R – Phil Hughes
R – Mike Mussina
R – Ian Kennedy


R – Mariano Rivera
R – Joba Chamberlain
R – Kyle Farnsworth
R – LaTroy Hawkins

Though the Yankees haven't made any official statements about Joba Chamberlain's role, it is expected that he'll open the season in the bullpen in order to allow the team to limit his total innings for the season, then shift to the rotation later in the year with an eye toward being a full-time starter in 2009. If that is indeed the case, the player from the above list who has the most tentative hold on his roster spot is Shelley Duncan. Duncan is, after all, a 28-year-old first baseman and corner outfielder who has just 34 games of major league experience and a career .257/.337/.468 minor league line even after his breakout 2007 performance at triple-A Scranton. It's very possible that Duncan simply experienced a considerable jump in production at his typical peak age of 27 and will regress significantly this season and continue to decline gradually going forward. Still, Duncan enters the season as something like the hot hand despite the sports hernia that slowed him in September and the blood clot in his shoulder which was treated over the winter.

With Duncan in place and no real soft spot in the lineup save perhaps for Cabrera, who will continue to get every chance to break out, the Yankees could actually get away with having a three-man bench as Betemit can play all four infield positions and provides lefty power (he's a far inferior hitter from the right side), and Duncan can play first or the outfield corners while providing righty power. Johnny Damon, meanwhile, can serve as a backup to Melky Cabrera in center field, which, with Jose Molina as backup catcher, gives the Yankees coverage at every position. Still, with Giambi, Hideki Matsui (who will begin spring training at something less than full strength due to offseason knee surgery), Damon, and Derek Jeter all showing signs of age, it would behoove the Yankees to have an extra man if for no other reason than to give their veterans some necessary rest in blowouts and double-headers. Here are the contenders for that fourth bench spot:

Position players on 40-man roster (3):

IF – Alberto Gonzalez (R)

Primarily a shortstop, the Attorney General (even though his namesake no longer holds the post, it's still a great nickname, particularly as it echoes his actual initials) can fill in at second and third, which is his ticket to the majors, as he's your basic good-field/no-hit futility infielder. The Venezuelan Gonzalez came to the Yankees in last winter's Randy Johnson trade with a stellar fielding reputation, though I didn't see anything particularly impressive in the brief glimpses I caught of him in spring training and his September call-up to the majors. He'll spend most of the season as the starting shortstop in Scranton hoping that a repeat of the level at age 25 will result in enough improvement at the plate to raise his stock.

1B – Juan Miranda (L)

A Cuban defector who spent a couple of years working out in the Dominican Republic while hoping to land an American contract, Miranda surprisingly fulfilled expectations last year with a decent half-season in the Florida State League followed by a solid showing with double-A Tampa. There's nothing revelatory about Miranda's ability—he's an immobile first baseman who hits for power and draws a few walks but strikes out twice as often—but given his time away from the game, his professional debut was somewhat encouraging. He should be the starting first-sacker in Scranton this year and, if he's able to build off last season, could force his way into the Yankees' middling first-base situation. His official birth date tells us he'll be 25 in April, which means he's probably something like a lefty Shelley Duncan minus the ability to play the outfield.

C – Francisco Cervelli (S)

A young switch-hitting catcher who will start the season in double-A at age 22 and has a career .379 on-base percentage, Cervelli is developing into something like a legitimate catching prospect. That said, he currently projects as more of a league-average starter than anything resembling what the Yankees have become accustomed to with Jorge Posada. Cervelli has very little power (in 575 career plate appearances he has just seven homers and triples combined), and strikes out twice as often as he walks. He does, however, have an excellent defensive reputation and, like Posada, was moved from the infield to catcher in the minors (prior to the 2005 season), which should give him both a steeper learning curve and perhaps some extra longevity. If he sees the majors at all this year, it will be as a September call-up.

Non-roster position players (20):

3B – Morgan Ensberg (R)

The late-blooming Ensberg seized the Astros' third base job in 2003 at age 27 and hit .291/.377/.530. He then slumped in 2004 only to rebound in Houston's pennant-winning season with to hit .283/.388/.577 with 36 homers and 101 RBIs, making the All-Star team and finishing fourth in the MVP voting. He turned 30 at the end of that season and hasn't gotten his average past .235 since then as both his power and, perhaps as a result, his patience have slowly eroded. Always a lefty-masher, he started to lose playing time as he began to struggle against his fellow righties and was dumped on the Padres for a player to be named at last year's trading deadline. Now 32, Ensberg arrives in Yankee camp hoping to beat out Shelley Duncan as the team's right-handed first-base option despite having played just five professional games at first, a total that includes four minor league games in 2002 and a lone game for the Padres last August. Still, the transition shouldn't be particularly tough for Ensberg, who was a solid defensive third baseman. Ensberg will walk more and strikeout less than Duncan, but can no longer match Shelley's power.

IF – Nick Green (R)

Futility infielder Nick Green was purchased by the Yankees from the Devil Rays in late May of 2006 and in his first start as a Yankee, which came against the Mets on June 2, he hit a home run, stole a base, and made several spectacular fielding plays at second base. He then hit .236/.276/.347 over the remainder of his Yankee career, a good match for his career rates, and spent last year in the minors for the Pirates and Mariners save for an 0 for 7 with the M's in September. The 29-year-old Green seemed like a decent gent in his first Yankee stint, but the only reason he should be able to slip past Alberto Gonzalez on the depth chart is if the Yankees want to give Gonzalez another full season of development time in triple-A.

IF – Chris Woodward (R)

Woodward was something of a default starting shortstop for the Blue Jays from 2002 to 2004. He then spent two years as "Super Joe" McEwing's replacement with the Mets, playing every position but pitcher and catcher while hitting .246/.310/.347 and becoming inexplicably popular among talk-radio listeners. With the Braves last year, Woodward stuck to the infield and fell well short of his pitiful Mets production. Now 31, he's inferior to Green, which is impressive.

IF – Cody Ransom (R)

A long-time minor league shortstop in the Giants' organization, Ransom has spent the past three seasons bouncing around the minors with the Cubs, Rangers, and Astros, slowly shifting over to third base in the process due to his poor defense at short. Curiously, Ransom has experienced a power surge coinciding with his shift to the power position, hitting 49 homers over the past two seasons in the Pacific Coast League. During that time, he's also played all four infield positions and a smidge of outfield, which makes him a dark horse in the utility man picture. Still, he'll be 32 on Sunday and has just 140 big-league at-bats under his belt, his 35 at-bats as a September call-up with the Astros last year being his first big-league action since 2004.

2B – Bernie Castro (S)

Castro was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 1997 and traded to the Padres after the 2001 season for minor league outfielder Kevin Reese. He's since drifted through the Orioles' and Nationals' organizations. Unlike Gonzalez and the three players above, he's exclusively a second baseman, having never played at another infield position in the pros (though he has made a few appearances in the outfield). As a speedy slap-hitter with no power or patience, he doesn't do enough on offense to overcome his defensive limitations.

1B – Eric Duncan (L)

Things haven't gone well for the Yankees' 2003 first-round pick from Florham Park, NJ. As a 20-year-old in double-A in 2005, he hit a limp .235/.326/.408. Just being at that level at that age was impressive, but the Yankees inexplicably rushed him to triple-A to start the following season. They also chose that moment to finally move him across the diamond from third to first base, as much due to his poor work at the hot corner as to his being blocked by Alex Rodriguez in the majors. As one might have expected, Duncan was in way over his head and soon landed back in double-A, where he somewhat redeemed himself, providing hope that he would finally deliver on some of his promise in his age-22 season. No dice. Back at triple-A for the full slate last year, he hit just .241/.323/.389. Sure he's been jerked around, rushed, and is still just 23, but even in his best seasons he hasn't been productive enough for first base, having topped out at a .828 OPS as a pro, that coming in his first season split between rookie ball and the short-season New York-Penn League. If there were some truly impressive partial seasons in his past I might continue to hold out hope, but outside of 59 at-bats in the NY-Penn League in 2003, he doesn't even have that to cling to. Now that "Duncan" makes Yankee fans think of Shelley, I think we can finally call Eric a bust.

SS – Eduardo Nuñez (R)

In 2006, Nuñez hit .214/.261/.308 between the Sally and high-A Florida State Leagues. Last year he hit .251/.305/.306 in a season split almost identically between the same two leagues. The Yanks likely invited Nuñez instead of his equally punchless Dominican countryman Ramiro Peña, a stellar defensive shortstop who spent last year with double-A Trenton, only because of Peña's injury problems. Nuñez isn't much of a fielder and is going nowhere fast.

3B – Marcos Vechionacci (S)

Twenty-one-year-old Venezuelan third baseman Vechionacci appeared in two double-A games last year, but he has yet to prove he can hit even A-ball pitching, which is a shame as he looks like he could win a major league Gold Glove right now. Sadly, his modest prospect status remains tied to his glove alone, which is particularly damning for a player at a corner position.

OF – Jason Lane (R)

Lane has a lot in common with Morgan Ensberg. Drafted in subsequent years by the Astros out of USC, both were late bloomers who were key contributors at corner positions to Houston's 2005 NL pennant, but neither has hit since and both were dumped on the Padres late last year. They're also probably the top two contenders for the fourth bench spot, unless new skipper Joe Girardi decides he'd rather have an extra futility man for small-ball purposes. Lane was a power/patience/speed threat early in his pro career, but seemed to peak in double-A at age 24 (.316/.387/.608, 38 homers, 124 RBIs, 14 steals in 16 tries). Since then he's seen his patience, speed, and power leave him in that order. He had enough of the last left to launch 26 homers as the Astros' right fielder in 2005, but he stole just six bags and walked just 32 times that season. Since then he's hit just .192/.295/.375 in the majors, though he did show some signs of life with triple-A Round Rock last year. Lane can play all three outfield positions (though none particularly well) and has stood at first base a few times in the pros, providing flexibility which could be enough to make the Yankees wonder exactly how much power is left in his bat, but at 31, Lane's not likely to recover much of his previous production, which was marginal to begin with. As a righty pull hitter potentially moving from Minute Maid to Yankee Stadium, his outlook is even more bleak.

OF – Greg Porter (L)

A 27-year-old career minor leaguer out of the Angels' organization, Porter is a failed third baseman who has experience at the four corner positions. A big dude (6-foot-4, about 225 pounds, though Baseball-Reference lists him an inch taller and 15 pounds heavier), Porter's something of a left-handed Lane at the plate with modest power, no patience, too many Ks, and occasional speed on the bases. That said, he just hit triple-A for the first time in the latter half of last season, just ahead of his 26th birthday, and while he raked in the Pacific Coast League, it was the first time he had gotten his OPS over .840 since rookie ball. He's in camp as a courtesy and in the organization to plug the holes in the Scranton outfield created by the departures of the two Kevins and Bronson Sardinha.

OF – Brett Gardner (L)

College of Charleston product Brett Gardner has moved quickly through the Yankee farm system since being drafted in the third round in 2005, but he hasn't developed a lick of power. A .290 hitter with great speed and on-base skills who plays a strong center field, all he'd need to become a solid major league starter would be a doubles power, but he lacks even that, having hit just 43 two-baggers in 1,312 career minor league plate appearances and just six (6!) homers. That won't do. If he was a switch hitter, he would make a valuable fifth outfielder/pinch-runner/bunter as early as the second half of this season, but the heavily left-handed Yankees don't really need another lefty on the bench. He'll spend his first full season in triple-A this year.

OF – Justin Christian (R)

A non-drafted free agent out of Auburn, the slender Christian is a converted second baseman who has developed into something like a right-handed Gardner without the walks, a super-quick center fielder who can hit for a decent average and run, but not much else. Christian, who will be 28 in early April, has more power than Gardner, but not by a lot, and he has no development time left. He's minor league roster filler who will be rooting for Lane to make the big club in order to open up a spot in the Scranton outfield.

OF – Colin Curtis (L)

A fourth-round pick out of Arizona State in 2006, Curtis made it to Double-A in his first full professional season last year, but after hitting .298/.378/.412 in high-A Tampa, he didn't hit a lick in Trenton. A left fielder who swiped his share of bases in college, but has done nothing on the paths in the pros, Curtis will have to do something to distinguish himself at Trenton this year as, at age 23, he's not actually young for his level and has never hit for power in college or the minors.

OF – Jose Tabata (R)

The 19-year-old Tabata will likely start the season in the opposite corner from Curtis in Trenton, which means he will be young for his level. Exactly what else he is still remains a mystery. Tabata spent 2007 in high-A Tampa at age 18, which is impressive in and of itself, but his walk rate, his success rate on the bases, and most problematically, his already limited power—which is the big question mark in Tabata's future—all took a dip. He has also struck out a bit too much in his two full professional seasons for a player who doesn't hit many long balls, and he spent all of last year in right field despite currently having the offensive profile of a center fielder. Still, he's consistently hit for average (.305 career) and has decent on-base skills and decent skills on base. He's also suffered from a few hand injuries which may have slowed his progress at the plate, most recently breaking and having his hamate bone removed last August, which prematurely ended his season. He's still among the organization's top prospects, in part because he's still a teenager, but the Yankees will be eager to see him make some sort of leap this year while making the leap to double-A.

OF – Austin Jackson (R)

Jackson made that leap last year upon being seemingly inexplicably promoted to high-A Tampa. Per Baseball Prospectus's Kevin Goldstein, Jackson's swing was fixed by Charleston hitting instructor Greg Colbrunn just before his promotion. Jackson then hit .345/.398/.566 for Tampa. The big question is if the fix will be permanent. If so, the Yankees have turned a basketball star drafted in the middle rounds in 2005 into one of the top outfield prospects in the game. If not . . . well, there's still time for the 21-year-old Jackson to turn into something valuable. He'll start the season as Trenton's center fielder, sandwiched between Curtis and Tabata.

The last five players below are all catchers. It's important to note that most of these guys are here only to serve as backstops for the many pitchers in camp. In other words, they're mostly bullpen catchers, not guys likely to make a name for themselves in the organization. That's all the more true now that Cervelli has graduated to the 40-man roster, giving the Yankees three catchers on the 40-man for the first time since Dioner Navarro was traded away.

C – P.J. Pilittere (R)

Pilittere hit .302/.355/.416 in 2006, but his most telling number that year was 24, which is downright ancient for high-A ball. Making the leap to double-A last year, Pilittere went right back to sucking and he's now a 27-year-old catcher with a bad arm who has hit .266/.320/.360 in his minor league career without sniffing triple-A. Nothing to see here.

C – Jason Brown (R)

If Pilittere wants to stick around, he could have Jason Brown's career. Brown will be 34 in late May had has played a grand total of 27 games at triple-A and none in the majors. The Yankees are his sixth organization, though he's been here since 2005. I suspect he'll make the transition to coaching soon. I can't imagine another year on the bench in Trenton is what's driving him at this point. To that end, he may have a very different reason for wanting to be at spring training than the rest of the Yankee campers.

C – Kyle Anson (S)

A mid-round pick out of Texas State in 2005, rocket-armed Anson played third base in 2005, missed 2006 entirely due to a knee in jury, and remerged as a Sally League catcher last year at age 24. He walked a lot, but didn't hit much otherwise. He'll have to move quick to salvage a career.

C – Jesus Montero (R)

A big Venezuelan teenager, Montero is supposed to have monstrous power (though he slugged only .421 in his pro debut last year), but is unlikely to remain behind the plate. That simple description makes me think of him as something like a right-handed Carlos Delgado, which would suit this team perfectly right now. Unfortunately, he's only 18 and has a long way to go before he's major league ready. He could quickly emerge as one of the organization's top hitting prospects, however, even if he does his slugging as a first-baseman.

C – Austin Romine (R)

Ever since trading Navarro after the 2004 season, the Yankees have needed to draft a catcher. Last year, the finally did, taking high schooler Romine in the second round. The son of former Red Sox outfielder Kevin and brother of Angels minor league shortstop Andrew, Austin Romine has a great arm (just look at these throws) and some power in his bat, but has gotten mixed marks on his overall defense. Just a year older than Montero, Romine has made just three pro plate appearances (walk, K, 2B), so we really don't know much about him at all. Check back here next year.

Given those options, the identity of the fourth man on the bench will likely have as much to do with what sort of player Girardi wants to add to the mix as how any of these players perform. If he wants the best major league hitter of the bunch, independent of position, he'll take Ensberg (in addition to his overall stats, Ensberg is a career .329/.463/.588 pinch-hitter with six homers and 20 walks in 108 plate appearances). Having Ensberg in combination with Wilson Betemit would allow Girardi to rest Alex Rodriguez and either Jeter or Robinson Cano simultaneously, which he would be unable to do if he were to take another outfielder. For even more infield flexibility, as well as the ability to employ additional small-ball tactics, he could pass over Ensberg for a futility infielder, which could mean Nick Green or Cody Ransom, as the team would likely prefer to give Gonzalez one more season of development in triple-A.

If Girardi wants more outfield flexibility, he might take Lane, though it's worth noting that, while Lane can play all three pastures, he's not a strong defender and is yet another lefty bat. The real outside shot here is that Girardi will take Brett Gardner, sacrificing whatever potential Gardner has left as a prospect in order to have a strong defensive replacement in the outfield who is also a threat as a pinch-runner and can drop a bunt or work a walk as a pinch-hitter. If either Ensberg or Lane flat-out rakes in March while the other struggles, that could force Girardi's hand, but barring such disparate performances from those two, I'd expect this to be more of a roster management decision than a performance-based decision, which leaves the spot wide open for the time being.

As for the pitching staff, if Chamberlain starts in the pen, with Kennedy in the rotation, the decision to put four men on the bench would leave three spots in the pen. One of them is likely to be a lefty, so I'll put the lefties first as we proceed:

Pitchers on 40-man roster (16):

L – Kei Igawa

The Yankees response to the Red Sox landing Daisuke Matsuzaka, Igawa appears to have been Brian Cashman's most egregious blunder since wresting control of the Yankees' team building following the 2005 season. Inserted into the starting rotation to start the 2007 season, Igawa made just four starts before being banished to the bullpen with a 7.84 ERA. Six shutout innings against the Red Sox in an emergency relief appearance got him one more start, but he was bombed and in early May he was banished to Tampa to work on his mechanics. Back up in late June, he posted a 5.97 ERA in six starts before being bounced back to Scranton and made just two more big-league appearances in late September. On the season, he walked 4.92 men per nine innings, allowed a whopping two home runs every nine frames, and lefties hit .320/.407/.507 against him. In 11 triple-A starts his walk rate was actually excellent (1.98 BB/9) as it had been in Japan, but his home run rate was still troubling (1.32 HR/9) and he still struggled with lefties (.319/.356/.420). There's some hope because of Igawa's solid strikeout rates, but he seems to have missed his brief opportunity to establish himself in the rotation, his splits suggest he'd be a disaster as a lefty specialist, and those home run rates make him a bad fit for high-leverage work of any kind. The result is a 28-year-old stuck in triple-A hoping for a chance to prove something as a garbage-time reliever.

L – Sean Henn

After being rushed into three disastrous spot starts for the big club in 2005, power lefty Sean Henn was moved to the bullpen in 2006 and given a late-season audition. He wasn't great in that tryout, but he pitched well enough in spring training last year to beat out Ron Villone for the second lefty spot behind Mike Myers out of camp. Henn got off to a strong start, but his control abandoned him in late April and after a disastrous outing against the Rangers on May 10 (six batters: single, double, walk, grand slam, two Ks) he was farmed out to Scranton in favor of Villone. In total he made four trips on the Scranton shuttle, never making more than five appearances in any subsequent major league stint, the longest of which saw him allow 27 baserunners in just 8 1/3 innings and post a 17.28 ERA. The catch is that, amid all of that, he had a great year in triple-A: 3.24 ERA, 8.10 K/9, 2.43 BB/9 and just one homer allowed in 33 1/3 innings while holding lefties to a .195/.250/.268 line. Now 27, Henn's the leading in-house candidate for the lefty spot in camp, which opens the door for a non-roster southpaw to take the spot.

L – Chase Wright

Chase Wright's 2007 season was something like Henn's 2005. Rushed into a major league spot start from double-A, Wright surprised by beating the Indians in the Bronx, then made history by allowing four consecutive Boston home runs in Fenway. That outing was an early frost for this late bloomer, as he walked more than he struck out after being farmed out to triple-A, which suggests he had become bat-shy. Still, Wright's solid showing and splits in his first crack at double-A remain encouraging, and the Yankees were kind enough to get him in a game as a September call-up to prevent that Boston outing from being a lasting last taste of the majors. Exactly where he'll fit amid the organization's many upper-level arms this season is difficult to discern at the moment, though one thing that is clear is that the 25-year-old needs to continue his work in the minors before getting another shot in the big leagues.

R – Jeff Karstens

Karstens 2007 season was both less memorable and less successful than Wright's, though it didn't start out that way. Karstens was the pitching sensation of last year's camp, winning the fifth starters spot out of spring training only to have elbow soreness redirect him to the Opening Day DL. His first start off the DL in Boston came the day before Wright's disastrous outing and, though less historic, was actually a worse start than Wright's. His next start came against the Red Sox at home and ended when the second batter of the game, Julio Lugo, lined a pitch off Karstens' shin, breaking his leg. Karstens returned in August and posted a 9.64 ERA in three outings before being sent down for the sake of the Yankees playoff hopes. In September he faced five major league batters, three of whom reached base. Like Henn, all of that masks an impressive minor league performance in which Karstens went 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA while posting a 1.08 WHIP and striking out 47 in 48 1/3 innings between his rehab work (a start each in rookie ball, low-A, high-A, and double-A) and triple-A (3-0, 1.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 27 K against 9 BB in 31 IP). Small samples and inferior competition warnings apply, but Karstens is still just 25, so he deserves to be given an opportunity to repeat the feat in Scranton over the course of a full healthy season this year, though he'll have his work cut out for him in attempting to stay ahead of the organization's higher-ceiling prospects such as Alan Horne and Jeff Marquez who will join him in the Scranton rotation.

R – Steven White

Steven White is on the roster by the simple fact that he beat the rush. There's nothing exceptional about this triple-A righty who will turn 27 in June. White got a late start to his pro career after spending a full four years at Baylor, but despite being a power pitcher who entered the minors as a mature college product, he's never dominated his league at any level. Last year he got off to a late start after suffering a neck strain in spring training and pitched well, but not well enough given his competition. With the crush of starters in the upper levels, White's power repertoire (he's a big dude with a mid-90s fastball, but sketchy secondary pitches) would make him good bullpen fodder, though his struggles against lefties (they hit .313/.397/.456 off him in triple-A last year), suggest his value even as a reliever is limited.

R – Jeff Marquez

The Yankees first supplemental round pick in 2004 (and second overall pick after Phil Hughes), groundballer Jeff Marquez had a solid showing at double-A Trenton last year at age 22. He'll be part of the Scranton rotation this year and could be a dark horse candidate for a middle relief role with the big club, though he's behind fellow groundballer Ross Ohlendorf in that line.

R – Humberto Sanchez

The Yankees knew Sanchez had elbow issues when they made him the primary focus of the Gary Sheffield trade. Indeed, Sanchez was shut down before throwing a competitive pitch in spring training last year and underwent Tommy John surgery in late April. The Yankees weren't terribly surprised, and the surgery gave their other starting prospects time to develop, making what many saw as an inevitable decision to convert the fragile Sanchez to relief an easier one for the Yankees to make. Sanchez will be 25 in late May and will spend most of the season building his arm strength back up, but if his stuff comes back, he could find himself working high-leverage innings in the Yankee pen in 2009.

R – Edwar Ramirez

The begoggled Ramirez bewitched minor league hitters over the last two seasons thanks to one of the most devastating changeups in baseball. In 40 innings for Scranton last year, Ramirez posted a 0.90 ERA while striking out 69 men in 40 innings (15.53 K/9), walking just 14 and not allowing a single home run. Major league hitters were less gullible. Though Ramirez struck out the heart of the Twins order in his major league debut and recorded 31 Ks in 21 major league innings, he also walked another 14 (6.00 BB/9) and allowed 6 home runs (2.57 HR/9!) for a 8.14 ERA. The real Ramirez is somewhere in between and hopefully being reunited with triple-A pitching coach Dave Eiland in spring training can help him find the combination that will allow him to set up that changeup properly. If so, he deserves another shot at the majors. If not, he'll be back in Scranton comparing notes with Kei Igawa.

R – Brian Bruney

That the Yankees settled Bruney's arbitration case before going to a hearing (falling just short of the mid-way mark by paying him $725,000) would seem to be a good sign for the pudgy fireballer. Bruney made the Yankees out of camp last year and pitched well past the All-Star break with one glaring exception: he walked 25 men in his first 37 innings (6.08 BB/9). That tainted his 2.43 ERA, .220 opponent's average, 44 percent opponents stolen base rate, and mere two home runs allowed to that point. A rough patch over the next two weeks (10.13 ERA) earned him a ticket to Scranton in early August, and he struggled upon his return at the end of the month and into September (11.74 ERA, 3 homers in 7 2/3 innings). It's entirely possible, however, that Bruney was just gassed, as he had thrown just 43 2/3 innings in 2006. He still needs to fix his wildness issues, but at 26 it's still worth having Bruney's power arm available to plug spots in the big league pen.

R – Chris Britton

Britton was the something the Yankees received from the Orioles for the nothing of the buyout price of the option year of Jaret Wright's contract. Britton had a solid rookie year for the O's in 2006 at age 23, but never got a fair shot with the Yankees last year despite posting a 2.51 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.10 K/9, and 2.20 BB/9 for triple-A Scranton over 57 1/3 innings. One wonders if the Yankees were put off by his attitude or by his weight (at 6-foot-three, he weighs in at nearly three bills); there's no way they could have objected to his pitching. Prior to August 31, Britton was granted just three major league appearances split between two stints with the team across which he retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced. He was unexceptional during his September call-up, but didn't stink up the joint, and he deserves to have an inside track to the major league pen this spring entering his age-25 season.

R – Jonathan Albaladejo

Acquired from the Nationals this offseason for Tyler Clippard, Albaladejo is a 25-year-old power righty reliever from Puerto Rico who spent four seasons spinning his wheels as a starter in the Pirates organization before being converted to relief in 2005 and making a successful leap to double-A in 2006. Released by the Bucs in late April of last year, he was signed by the Nationals, caught fire after a promotion to triple-A (coincidentally as a Columbus Clipper), and carried that hot streak over to his major league debut in which he posted a 1.88 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 7.53 K/9, and 1.26 BB/9 in 14 1/3 innings over 14 appearances. Those strikeout and walk rates are fairly representative of his career minor league numbers. Albaladejo has great control, a mid-90s fastball, good secondary pitches, gets more than his share of ground balls, and is supposedly a few delegates short of a nomination in the ol' coconut (a few writers short of a script?). He just might be the best right-handed bullpen candidate in camp.

R – Ross Ohlendorf

The right-handed starting prospect who was supposedly the primary focus of the deal that sent Randy Johnson back to Arizona, Ohlendorf emerged as a top bullpen candidate in the second half of last year as he can get his fastball into the mid-to-upper 90s in short stints. Ohlendorf has always had a good sinker and relies on ground balls, but in relief he's likely to improve his strikeout numbers and was last seen working on a split-finger fastball in the Arizona Fall League in the hope of missing still more bats. With just six major league outings under his belt, the Princeton product would seem like a long shot this spring if not for the fact that those outings earned him a spot on the postseason roster last fall. Ollie was rocked in his one ALDS appearance, but that may have simply been way too much too soon for a player who had just months earlier converted to relief in triple-A. The Yanks may want the 25-year-old to get a little more experience out of the pen in Scranton to start the season, but he'll definitely be in the mix in camp and should be in the pen later in the year if not on Opening Day.

R – Jose Veras

The hard-throwing Veras missed most of 2007 due to elbow problems, then after just 12 good-but-not-great triple-A outings, came up in September, walked as many men as he struck out, posted a 5.79 ERA, and inexplicably made the postseason roster. His slate wiped clean, the 27-year-old Dominican should be sent back to triple-A and forced to earn his way back to the big club, which he just might do if he can regain the newfound control he showed in Columbus in 2006.

R – Scott Patterson

Not to be confused with the Yankee farmhand of the 1980s who went on to star in Gilmore Girls, this Scott Patterson is essentially Edwar Ramirez without the changeup. Plucked out of the independent leagues in 2006, Patterson has posted some sick numbers in double-A over the past two seasons (1.51 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 10.72 K/9, 1.83 BB/9, 5.64 H/9 in 113 1/3 innings) and retired all nine batters he faced in triple-A at the end of last season. The trick is that there's no trick. Patterson is a tall (6-foot-6) dude who gets by low-90s heat thrown at unusual angles with a lot of deception. That's unlikely to translate to the majors, and at 28, Patterson doesn't have much time to add a wrinkle. Still, with those numbers, the Yanks at least have to give him the opportunity to fail at triple-A this year, and if he succeeds there, they have to give him the same shot they gave Edwar last year.

R – Andrew Brackman

The Yankees took the 6-foot-11 Brackman with their first-round pick last June with the understanding that he likely needed Tommy John surgery. He did, having the operation in August. Brackman's not expected to see any game action all year, but is already throwing in camp, the start of the long rehabilitation process. Brackman will be 23 when he finally gets back in action next year, but he's a college product and, as we saw last year with Chamberlian and Kennedy, college pitchers can move quickly. He might prove to be a bust, but he could also be in the rotation by age 24. Given the surgery, his long frame, which can lead to inconsistent mechanics, and the fact that his control was iffy to start with, I wouldn't expect him to move quite that fast. He's on this list because in order to get him signed, the Yankees had to give him a major league contract, which automatically put him on the 40-man roster.

R – Carl Pavano

Yes, he's still here. Yes, he's throwing down in Tampa. Yes, there are some wacky scenarios that could see him make the Opening Day rotation (the kids all struggle, some guys get hurt and he miraculously doesn't), but no one is honestly entertaining that idea. If he doesn't accept a minor league assignment or end up back on the DL by the end of March, the Yanks may be forced to release him or trade him at bargain basement prices, which, honestly, would please a lot of people both in the organization and reading this blog.

Non-roster pitchers (9):

L – Billy Traber

Traber is likely to be the lefty reliever on the Opening Day roster. The Mets' first-round pick in 2000, he went to the Indians in the Roberto Alomar deal, then became one of a slew of Cleveland minor leaguers to undergo Tommy John surgery in the ensuing years, missing all of the 2004 season after a rough major league debut season at age 23 in 2003. After his rehab season in 2005, he became a free agent and landed with the Nationals, who moved him to the major league pen in September, where he finished the season with 7 1/3 shutout innings. Traber continued to pitch well in relief between triple-A and the majors last year with a few spot starts mixed in, and dominated lefties at both levels (.167/.196/.188 with Columbus, .176/.214/.353 with Washington). The catch is that righties slaughtered him in the majors (.380/.341/.528), which makes him a strict LOOGY. Still, given the various interruptions in his development, there's still some hope that a tweak or two could improve his effect on righties (such as the fix Ron Guidry—who is a spring training instructor this year—had for Mike Myers which as simple as having him move to the third-base side of the rubber against right-handers), and given his long journey to this point, I'm sure he'd embrace a specialist role with a contending team like the Yankees.

L – Heath Phillips

Phillips is from Don Mattingly's home town of Evansville, Indiana. He's also left-handed. That's about all he has going for him. A long-time White Sox farmhand, he had a pretty good first full season at triple-A in 2006, but regressed in a repeat last year as lefties hit .319/.377/.488 against him. Phillips has struggled with his weight, struggled with his focus, and throws in the high-80s. His presence in camp says more about the Yankees' need for lefty relief help than it does about Phillips ability to provide it.

R – Darrell Rasner

Astutely claimed off waivers from the Nationals prior to the 2006 season, Rasner has been somewhat snake-bit in his two years with the Yankees. In 2006 he pitched well in triple-A, was called up and put in the pen, had one solid relief outing, then missed most of the rest of the year with mysterious shoulder soreness. Back with the club that September, he had three strong extended outings, two of them starts, all three of them wins, but stumbled in his final start. Last spring he made the Opening Day rotation after Jeff Karstens and Chien-Ming Wang opened the season on the DL. After stumbling in his first outing, he made four solid starts limited only by an inexplicably quick hook from Joe Torre. In his sixth start, he faced two batters, the second of whom broke his hand with a comebacker. He would pitch just 15 rehab innings the rest of the year. Rasner went unclaimed this winter and re-signed with the Yanks. Having lost two years to injury, he's now 27 and has lost some crucial development time. Still, he's done nothing but pitch well when healthy and would make a very valuable spot starter for the major league team should the Yankees find room for him in triple-A.

R – Alan Horne

A college pitcher drafted in the middle-rounds in 2005, Horne made the leap to prospect last year with double-A Trenton. In fact, Horne is usually the next name mentioned after the big three of Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy. Given that Horne is 25, has just two pro seasons under his belt, one of which saw him post a 4.77 ERA at age 23 in high-A, and the other of which came in pitching-friendly Trenton (as Steven Goldman explains in this year's Baseball Prospectus, the proximity of the park to the Delaware River tends to prevent fly balls from carrying), I remain a bit dubious, but he'll get a chance to prove me wrong in Scranton this year and could even break in with the big club in relief later in the season if needed.

R – Daniel McCutchen

McCutchen chose the University of Oklahoma over the Yankees in 2003, the Devil Rays in 2004, and the Cardinals in 2005, finally coming back around to the Yanks in the middle rounds of the 2006 draft. McCutchen served a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a banned prescription amphetamine in August 2006, but the suspension appears to have been the result of McCutchen failing to file the proper paperwork for his prescription for the ADD drug Adderall. The Yankees converted him to starting last year with excellent results. Though he did most of his work as a 24-year-old in high-A, he was even better in seven starts in double-A, exhibiting good control, cranking up his strikeout rate and suppressing hits and homers. He throws in the low-90s with an excellent curve and slider combination. If he keeps up the pace, he could be knocking on the door in the Bronx by season's end.

R – Steven Jackson

The other pitching "prospect" from the Randy Johnson deal, Jackson will be 26 in mid-March and struggled mightily in triple-A last year, showing some improvement only after dropping down to double-A and slipping into the bullpen. Even coming off his strong double-A showing in 2006, Jackson didn't really engender much excitement. After last season he's become downright marginal.

R – Dan Giese

Giese is a fun story. Drafted in the 34th round in 1999, he toiled away in the minors for seven seasons with three organizations before deciding in mid-2005 that he'd had enough. Giese retired, sold cars for a while, took a job at and "indoor pitching facility," realized his mistake, and returned to the Phillies' organization the next spring. Rededicated to his craft, Geise moved on to the Giants last year and made his major league debut in September at age 30 after dominating the Pacific Coast League all year. Giese feels like a Scott Patterson/Edwar Ramirez-type, a guy with great minor league peripherals who gave up four homers in 9 1/3 major league innings. I don't expect him to make much of a dent in camp, but it's hard to ignore his 7.79 K/BB ratio in triple-A over the last two seasons.

R – Scott Strickland

Strickland was a solid reliever for the Expos and Mets earlier this decade, but Tommy John surgery derailed his career in 2003. After passing through the Astros' organization, he seemed to be back on track with the Pirates triple-A club in 2006, but his strong performance there didn't earn him a call up to Pittsburgh, and last year he experienced what seems to have been another injury-shortened minor league season in the Padres organization. [Correction: per Peter Abraham today, Strickland was picked up by the Yankees last May, but his wife gave birth to twins prematurely before he could report to Scranton, and he took the rest of the year off as a result.] Strickland has thrown more than 40 innings in a single season just once since 2002, which is not a surprising end for a small righty who once threw in the mid-90s.

R – Mark Melancon

The Yankees took University of Arizona closer Melancon in the ninth round in 2006 despite the health concerns that allowed him to drop that far. Like Humberto Sanchez and Andrew Brackman, the Yankees more or less knew Tommy John surgery was coming, but figured it was worth the wait for Melancon's talent. Melancon had the surgery in late 2006 and should return to game action this year. Prior to surgery, Melancon had a low- to mid-90s heater with movement, a hammer curve, good command and control of both and high marks for his approach, attitude, and demeanor (what the scouts call "makeup"). He'll be 23 in late March, and if his stuff's still there when he gets back on the bump, he could move quickly.

Wrapping up the pitchers, then, look for Henn and Traber to battle for the lefty job, Bruney, Britton, Ramirez, Albaladejo, and Ohlendorf to scrap over the last two spots in the pen, and the Scott Ericksons and Sidney Ponsons of the world to long for the day when the Yankees weren't one of the most pitching-rich organizations in baseball. While the fourth man on the bench is all but guaranteed to come from among the non-roster invitees—requiring a space to be cleared on the 40-man roster which could be as simple as placing the rehabbing Brackman on the 60-day DL—in order to take Traber north, the Yankees would need to clear a second spot. That could just as easily be Carl Pavano's, as he is likely to be a 60-day-DL candidate himself or otherwise dumped as a sunk cost. Baring those options, a marginal right-handed pitcher such as Scott Patterson or Steven White seems like the most likely candidate to be passed through waivers. That consideration will certainly play a part in Traber's candidacy, as the rest of the relievers mentioned at the top of this paragraph are already on the 40-man.

Comments (101)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-14 04:01:57
1.   RIYank

And not a Congressman on the list.

Albaladejo sounds exciting, and now I'm dying to get a peek at Montero.


2008-02-14 04:22:47
2.   joejoejoe
Is there any player that stands out as the best option as a pinch-runner? I know it's a specialty but with bench players like Betemit and Duncan being so versatile it might be a luxury the Yankees can afford.
2008-02-14 05:03:16
3.   horace-clarke-era
I posted yesterday that I was still processing the Show on the Hill, and woke up realizing what I had missed. In Clemens vs Pettitte, which is now the main event, Roger & Rusty are playing congress and the rest of us for idiots. Here's why.

1. The thing we KNOW is that in 1999-2000 Andy believed Roger told him he'd used hgh. Pettitte told his wife, they both later swore affidavits. Clemens had to say 'misheard' or 'mis-remembered'. Clemens explained to Andy in 2005 he was talking about his own wife's use of hgh – which is laughable as Debbie Clemens didn't use it until 2003. Then Roger shifted to saying it was about a tv show with senior citizens getting better 'quality of life' from hgh … which, among other things, is an amazing insult to Andy Pettitte's intelligence. But this isn't the new point.

2. What Roger then did in testimony at least 3 times (I wasn't counting) is spin a long, evasive tale about how he couldn't believe any of this because he and Andy were so close, Andy trusted him so much, that if he believed Roger was an hgh user Andy would surely have asked him about it before doing it himself in 2002 … and on and on about closeness and trust and disbelief.

But this is all nonsense! Smoke, diversion. Hogwash, as my old high school science teacher used to say.

We KNOW Pettitte believed Roger was a user in 1999-2000 … this belief is not DISPUTED. We KNOW Pettitte did use hgh in 2002 (and 2004 now). Not DISPUTED. So the whole spun story of dear friends and disbelief that Pettitte would believe Roger used and not ask Roger's advice about it is completely beside any possible point. Pettitte DID believe Roger used, Pettitte did NOT ask Roger advice about his own possible use. End of issue, end of sideshow. It has zero to do with anything.

2008-02-14 05:05:25
4.   horace-clarke-era
I see Cliff pegs PKH as #3 starter ... that would worry me on innings. Yesterday someone thought he'd be okay since he'd likely be #5 and miss a few starts, in spring especially.

And people WILL get hurt.

I want another starter, Brian. Pretty please.

2008-02-14 05:50:31
5.   Knuckles
I know a lot of people are down on him, and/or see him as having hit his ceiling, but I am excited to see what Melky can do this year, installed as the everyday CF from day one, and with the added confidence of having been kept in the Bronx rather than dealt for Johan. He's kind of a Beltran-type player, giving you good but not great offense along with solid to very good defense. At the CF position, that is a bonus.

Yankees Draft Strategy for Pitchers:
1) TJ Surgery
2) ?????
3) Profit

2008-02-14 06:02:15
6.   williamnyy23
3 I don't want to turn this into a Clemens thread (and I am sure no one else wants to either), but will simply point out that in the previous thread I did make a point which addresses your comment. With that, I think I'll turn my focus in this matter to what impact it will now have on Pettitte's ability to perform in 2008.
2008-02-14 06:17:48
7.   rbj
Woo Hoo!
Pitchers and catchers! Can any three words be sweeter than that, especially in mid February?

(insert The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun")

2008-02-14 06:21:29
8.   horace-clarke-era
william, I missed it I guess. Give you the nickel, then. Knuckles, Beltran has more power, more speed than Melky has come close to showing. I think we're smarter to hope/expect decent to good offense and good to vg defense, and run with it. This doesn't mean 'down on him' at all ... just keeping expectations reasonable. If he's better ... our cup runneth over.

I think Betamit is much more important than Duncan (who is NOT, as Cliff says, a kid anymore). I have no idea why Woodward is in camp, myself.

2008-02-14 06:22:44
9.   Sliced Bread
6 I don't think this will have any impact on Pettitte's pitching.
He's been going about his business, and performing well with a guilty conscience for years. Perhaps now being unencumbered by his dark secret will even help his head, free his mind, sharpen his focus, and all that.
The lingering questions? He'll answer them until he's tired of answering them.
The boo-ers and haters? He'll try to ignore them.
The Yanks need Pettitte to rise above the mess he's gotten himself into. As a professional competitor he's probably up for the challenge. He still has friends on the team who will support him.
The cheers will come if he pitches well.
Same as it ever was.
2008-02-14 06:29:51
10.   williamnyy23
5 The Beltran reference is generous, but I am also more optimistic about Melky than most others seem to be. Having said that, it is worth noting that in Beltran's first two full seasons at ages 22 and 23, he had an OPS+ of 99 and 69. Meanwhile, at ages 21 and 22, Melky posted an OPS+ of 95 and 89. I know a lot of people have become suspicious of Melky because he took a slight step back last year, but as you can swee with Beltran, that isn't always a bad omen in a player's development.
2008-02-14 06:32:24
11.   williamnyy23
9 To be honest, I don't think the HGH is what will weigh on his mind. Four shots of HGH over three years is the same as not taking it all. What worries me more is whether he will feel guilty about providing such damning testimony about Clemens, which is sure to lead to the end of their friendship. Unless they really weren't close friends, I am sure this will eat at Pettitte.
2008-02-14 06:37:52
12.   Yankee Fan In Boston
0 thanks, cliff. i couldn't think of a better way to kick off ST. i am really interested in seeing why albaladejo is considered a screwball. could he live up to the expectations i once had for igawa's quirkiness?

5 "Yankees Draft Strategy for Pitchers:
1) TJ Surgery
2) ?????
3) Profit "


happy spring training, everyone.
here's a little something to get you in the spirit of the day:

if that doesn't make you smile, you have no soul.

2008-02-14 06:44:53
13.   Sliced Bread
11 I won't pretend to know Pettitte, but I just don't see him retreating from the game despite whatever immediate impact this is having on his friendship with Clemens.

Certainly, Roger has bigger problems to consider at this moment than his friendship with Andy.

Each man has to do what's best for him now.
For Roger, that means staying out of jail.
For Pettitte, I think that means pitching.
It's really his best, and perhaps only shot at baseball redemption. I don't see Andy Pettitte being too despondent, or guilt ridden to try to win back his good name.

2008-02-14 06:46:07
14.   JL25and3
11 Point made. Respectfully disagree. We'll have to see.
2008-02-14 06:59:08
15.   JL25and3
10 You're right, Beltran is an overly generous comparison. He's got much more power than Melky, and he's an excellent base runner/stealer.

I wouldn't use Beltran's first two seasons as a comparison, either. First, his minor-league stats were much better than Melky's. Second, season 2 wasn't just a failure to develop. He started slowly, as Melky did, but then hurt his knee and - on bad advice from Boras - refused a rehab assignment.

I don't think I'm "down on Melky." I'm not saying he can't develop into a better player, and I certainly hope he does. But at this point I see a guy who was a moderate minor-league prospect with little power, and is now a moderate major-league player with little power. I can hope for more, but I don't see any real reason to expect it.

2008-02-14 07:14:07
16.   ms october
0 great way to awaken spring.

1 me too on albaladejo and montero

2 gardner is the name you hear most with regard to pinch runner. just don't know where the space to fit in him will come until injuries hit.

10 go melky!!! i share your optimism/hopes.

jl, wanted to echo that i agree with your take from a few days ago on joba's use and development should try to be as independent as possible of short term needs.

2008-02-14 07:21:44
17.   williamnyy23
15 Why do say that Beltran's ML stats were much better than Melkys? Beltran had a ML OPS of .779, inclding a .994 OPS in 374 ABs at A+ and AA at age 21 as well as a 35 AB stint at age 23 in which he posted a 1.296. At age 20, however, Beltran had an OPS of .668 at A+.

Melky, meanwhile, was in the majors to stay by age 21 after posting a .996 OPS in 120 ABs at AAA. At age 20, his OPS was .721 at AA and AAA.

In reality, it looks as if Melky had the better minor league record, unless I am missing some significant league/park factors.

2008-02-14 07:23:45
18.   Chyll Will
Happy Valentine's Day, ladies; and what a sweet present to have, baseball's back! Gentlemen: harrumph, harrumph!
2008-02-14 07:27:41
19.   williamnyy23
15 I am also not sure why so many people rely on the fact that he wasn't a top prospect. Melky is still only 22, which makes him not that much older than many who are considered top prospects.
2008-02-14 08:20:19
20.   williamnyy23
Sabathia: Contract talks can wait till season's end

That's definitely nice to hear.

2008-02-14 08:20:33
21.   markp
williamnyy23 - good research.
Melky's future is difficult to predict. Comps for guys in the majors at that age include some pretty good players: Sixto Lezcano, Harry Heilmann, Roberto Clemente, Les Mann, Chet Lemon, Max Carey, and Carlos May.
2008-02-14 08:24:06
22.   standuptriple
0 Great work Cliff. I couldn't turn away.
The last couple years I like to call today "Pitchers and Molinas". Seeing as we have one now I think it's fitting.
I'm real excited to see the new vibe of this team. As Cliff pointed out it's not all that different than last year's very good team, except younger.
2008-02-14 08:29:05
23.   standuptriple
20 I was hoping to cross paths with him before he left for camp to get a candid feel from him (we have mutual friends). I will keep gently prodding, as I've followed his career since Little League and would love to see him in pinstripes.
2008-02-14 08:31:35
24.   williamnyy23
22 This is the first season in a while that I am looking forward to the outcomes of subplots (but not dramas) as opposed to just the bottom line of winning and losing. I think that has added a lot more energy to this season.
2008-02-14 08:31:59
25.   williamnyy23
22 This is the first season in a while that I am looking forward to the outcomes of subplots (but not dramas) as opposed to just the bottom line of winning and losing. I think that has added a lot more energy to this season.
2008-02-14 08:39:55
26.   OldYanksFan
Some good news from PeteAbe:
"Mike Mussina lost some weight. Brian Bruney lost a lot of weight and Kyle Farnsworth looks far less bulky."
2008-02-14 08:40:30
27.   Knuckles
23 You've been following him since Little League- are you Sonny Vaccaro?
2008-02-14 08:42:01
28.   Knuckles
26 Kyle Farnsworth looks far less bulky, but will still punch yer face in if you call him Four-eyes.
2008-02-14 08:45:10
29.   williamnyy23
26 Good news would have been:

"Mussina lost some weight. Bruney lost a lot of weight and Kyle Farnsworth was traded to the Dodgers."

2008-02-14 08:55:32
30.   RIYank
29 I was gonna say:

"If he looks less bulky because everyone looks less bulky from far, far away, then that is good news!"

2008-02-14 08:57:40
31.   Bagel Boy
I've been reading all off-season but this seems like as good a time as any to jump in.

Just two comments:
1) I absolutely agree that Melky could still find his power and it's very premature to predict he'll go way one or another. The Yankees are rightly giving him the job to start the season. Let's see what happens. But I know I wouldn't be surprised to see him as the starting RF in 2009 after a .850 OPS year.

2) It's too easy to knock Igawa at this point. But if you think the Sox have a great rotation, and Matsuzaka is likely to take a big step forward, then I can't see how you don't think the same for Igawa. Both fell well short of their projections. Dice-K was supposed to be a front of the rotation starter. He was league average (and no stats show him wearing down with the season). Igawa was supposed to be a back of the rotation guy. And he wasn't even that. All I ask for is some logical consistency. If you expect DM to get better, then you expect the same for Iggy. If you expect both to stagnate, then at least you're being consistent. Personally, I think both will find small improvements - Matsuzaka enough to be considered a good #2 or 3 but still far from his ace (and #1 MLB prospect) projection, and Igawa to be an okay #5 based on his very good AAA K:BB rate. If Iggy can learn to keep the ball down, and in the park, he could be a league average starter. For his price (after the absurd posting fee), that could be a fine return.

2008-02-14 08:59:31
32.   williamnyy23
26 Also, I sure hope all that lost weight didn't come at the expense of anyone's belly full of guts.
2008-02-14 09:00:45
33.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 27 that exchange reminded me of this mr. show sketch:

2008-02-14 09:10:18
34.   ms october
re: the farns
i still can't get over the unfortunate image of after the yanks clinched the playoffs krazy kyle's kid pouring beer over everyone's head - could be he liked it so much that kyle can no longer enjoy a cold beer w/o his kid pouring it out
2008-02-14 09:23:57
35.   JL25and3
17 What I should have said was that Beltran showed power in the minors that Melky never did. I'm basing that on his age 21 season, with 19 HR in 374 AB (ISO = .240). No, he didn't do that straight through the minors - but Melky's never done it, anywhere. (Also, performing over 374 AB is different from 122 AB).

Yes, Melky was in the majors for most of his age 21 season, and his rating as a prospect reflects that as well. But we can't give him credit for the minor-league career he didn't have; we can only look at what he's actually done.

So far, his performance at every level has reflected pretty much the same thing. Medium prospect, medium major leaguer. That's not a bad thing, not by any means, but that's what it is so far.

As I said, he might develop power. Some others have, and some others haven't. But the fact remains that he's never hit for power at any professional level, so it's purely hypothetical until he shows something different. We can hope, but there's no evidence of it so far.

2008-02-14 09:34:45
36.   williamnyy23
31 Fair point, but I kind of disagree. For starters, Dice-K experienced a full major league season whereas Igawa's time in the majors was sporadic. Also, Dice-K seems to definitely have significantly more talent than Igawa, which I think translates exponentially. Finally, I don't think Dice-K is a given to improve anyway.
2008-02-14 09:40:05
37.   williamnyy23
35 Again, I disagree. For starters, I don't think a notch below league average bat with the ability to play CF all by age 22 adds up to a medium major leaguer, although I am not quite sure what you mean by that term anyway.

Also, it's important to keep in mind that age 21, Beltran sepnt half his season in A+ and half in AA. Melky, however, spent his time at age 21 in AAA and the majors. When comparing their power at age 21, I don't think you can dismiss the significant difference in the level of competition they faced.

2008-02-14 09:42:43
38.   Schteeve
2 brett gardner
2008-02-14 09:45:35
39.   williamnyy23
38 Good his minor league career, Gardner has stolen 116 bases in 138 attempts (84% SB rate).
2008-02-14 09:50:49
40.   markp
(This has zero to do with Beltran-I don't like comparing very limited numbers between just two players).
Playing MLB at a slightly below average level at ages 23-24 is one thing. Doing it at ages 21-22 is another.
Roberto Clemente didn't ever hit a lot of HRs (or walk all that much), but he had a great career. His OPS+ from age 21-24 were 105, 73, 96, and 91.
Max Carey never hit a lot of HRs, but had a solid major league career. His 21-22 numbers are a bit better than Melky's, but not enough to take him off the age-comp list. Ditto Sixto, though his career was drastically shortened (injuries?).
Chet Lemon's 21-22 seasons average out to pretty close to Melky's. I'd like his career numbers in pinstripes. Not close to a HOF, but above average over a long career.
Les Mann is an interesting name without it being on the Melky comp list. He played a year in the FL, and has a ton of partial seasons with very good numbers. Was he a Ben Paschal type-a good hitter with a bad glove? Taking out his year in the FL (age 22), his numbers from age 20-23 are 88, 95, and 97. In his prime he had some really good seasons, though the lack of serious PT seems to have hastened his demise. If Melky has a similar peak, he'll have been worth the wait.
I think the odds are almost exactly 50-50 that he has a good career. And if he doesn't, he's a good 4th OF already.
2008-02-14 09:54:57
41.   williamnyy23
40 Good way to look at it. Melky's ceiling could be an All Star, but at least we know is floor is a solid 4th outfielder or just below league average starting outfielder. Considering recent Yankee OF prospects like Gerald Williams, Rueben Rivera and Ricky Ledee, that's nothing to dismiss.
2008-02-14 10:52:37
42.   JL25and3
41 Which is pretty much exactly what I've been saying. when I say "medium major leaguer," I'm thinking of a guy who's starter on a mezzo-mezzo team or a fourth outfielder on a championship team. As I said, that's not a bad thing at all.

37 , 40 The comps, whether Beltran or Max Carey, aren't of a lot of relevance. What they say is that Melky could develop into more, which no one disputes. Of course, I could come up with just as many - probably more - who didn't develop into anything. I really can't see that comps for a 22-year-old tell us much of anything.

Ignore all that, and just look at Melky. He's never shown any power at any level, and he didn't develop a whit from his first year to his second. Those things don't preclude further development, but they certainly don't provide evidence of it, either. Similarly, his reaching the majors at a young age is something to consider - but it's not evidence, either.

What I said, repeatedly, is that Melky hasn't done anything, at this point, to lead me to expect substantially more from him. If he does it, that will be great. But he hasn't shown any signs of it yet, and until he does, it's just hope.

2008-02-14 11:07:09
43.   Bagel Boy
Well, considering that Melky never spent a full season at any mL level, it's a bit too easy to say he's never shown power. What he has shown is that he's capable of improving his power one year to the next. Every time he moved up a level his power dropped then it improved. And of course, he SLGed .566 to start his year 21 in AAA over 122 AB.

Also, let's not forget that he was on pace to show an improvement overall last year before tiring in September. His monthly splits showed he's more than capable of a .850 OPS over the course of a full year. The question is whether he gives that consistency.

2008-02-14 11:30:35
44.   standuptriple
27 Not a stalker, I swear. My old next door neighbor, whom I've known since he was about 4 is CC's best friend (and was with him when he got robbed a couple years ago in CLE) and has been since childhood. I've known his parents (who were both similarly framed, his father passed a few years ago) and even played strikeout on my parents garage door against him. He was kind of a crybaby when he was young, but that's because he looked older than he was. He's always battled his weight, but carries it well and as far as I've noticed hasn't caused any mechanical problems. Oddly enough, I talked with Bud Black about him when he was first drafted by the Indians (Bud was picking up his son, who was the little brother of a friend in SD). Let's see, what else. He still makes sure to say hello to my Mom when he sees her (his best friend still lives next to my parents) and he's always been respectable to everyone. I've met his wife (high school girlfriend) and he's a solid voice in the African American community and a great example to follow. So that being said, would any of you not follow a person like that and root for them to do well (except when facing the Yanks, of course)?
2008-02-14 11:35:38
45.   Yankee Fan In Boston
44 and that was supposed to convince us that you're not a stalker?
2008-02-14 11:42:14
46.   JL25and3
43 Good Lord. Yes, I saw those 120 AAA at-bats. A lot of batting average, not as much power, 120 AB.

It's not "too easy" to say that he never showed power, because he never showed power. What you're giving are reasons that he might show it someday, which I'm not arguing. But you still can't give him credit for the power he might have shown if his minor league career path had been different - but didn't. The fact remains that he hasn't shown power, and what's to argue about?

Similarly, you can't say he would have improved if he hadn't slumped, because he did. His monthly splits absolutely do not show that he can do that over the course of a season, just that he can do it for a month at a time. You could just as easily say that his other monthly splits show that pitchers can adjust and get him out. "The question is whether he gives that consistency" is a very big question.

I don't get the issue.

2008-02-14 11:44:32
47.   Shaun P
Re: Melky

I'll repeat this strange coincidence from the other day, when it might have gotten lost amid that other stuff that I hope we now leave behind.

I don't know what this means, but here goes:

Bernie Williams' 1st truly good season as a major leaguer came in 1994; before that season began, he had played 286 games in the majors.

As of right now, Melky has played exactly 286 games in the majors.

2008-02-14 11:46:35
48.   tommyl
45 At least he hasn't been following Karim Garcia since Little League.
2008-02-14 11:49:47
49.   E-Rocker
Has anyone seen Sports Illustrated list of the top 100 prospects? They have Bucholz at #2 while Joba is #4. Any bit of bias in that list?
2008-02-14 11:52:43
50.   JL25and3
46 I can already see I'm going to get hammered for "a month at a time." He did it for three months! Yes, that's right, but it still doesn't show he can maintain it for a season because he didn't. It doesn't mean he can't, but it sure doesn't show he can.

He didn't show much power then, either.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-14 12:10:55
51.   Bama Yankee
48 Hey, what's wrong with that:


2008-02-14 12:13:44
52.   Sonny Mooks
This is a great great write up.

Keep on doing a great job with pieces like this.

2008-02-14 12:16:15
53.   tommyl
51 Hey, my claim to fame is playing little league with Christina Augleira's husband, so I don't have much to go on.
2008-02-14 12:31:20
54.   Cliff Corcoran
49 Nope. Kevin Goldstein of BP thinks Buchholz is just simply better because he's got more great pitches. I mean, it's not like they have Joba at #84. It's more that Buchholz is that good that as good as Joba is, Buchholz is better.
2008-02-14 12:43:45
55.   Shaun P
william and h-c-e: I don't want to get this going, but, I just wondered if either of you are subscribers, and if so, if you'd read Will Carroll's piece today on the depositions. I have not read the depositions myself, but if what Will says is right - and I have no reason to believe otherwise - then I think Pettitte will be A-OK.

We now return to - so, anyone lucky enough to be going to Tampa sometime in the next 6 weeks?

2008-02-14 12:49:24
56.   JL25and3
55 He's right about Pettitte's deposition; there's some hedging. The affidavit, which is also under oath, is a different story and can't be easily reconciled with Clemens's version. ("Roger responded that I must have misunderstood him...I said, 'Oh, okay,' or words to that effect, not because I agreed, but because I wasn't going to argue with him.")
2008-02-14 12:51:37
57.   markp
"The comps, whether Beltran or Max Carey, aren't of a lot of relevance. What they say is that Melky could develop into more, which no one disputes. Of course, I could come up with just as many - probably more - who didn't develop into anything. I really can't see that comps for a 22-year-old tell us much of anything."
I didn't choose those comps. did. According to them, those are the most similar hitters to age 22. Not a lot of players are regular major leaguers by age 21, but among those who have, using's criteria, those are the most similar.
Robin Yount started at 18. It wasn't until age 24 that he showed much of anything (age 23 OPS+ was 88. He had one season over 100.) Mel Ott had monster seasons at 21-22 and Eddie Mathews and Jimmie Foxx had even better 21-22 seasons than Ott did.
I think 50-50 is a pretty conservative estimate considering the players who had similar seasons at the same ages.
To say it's not relevant to compare two full seasons with other players and then claim he's not a power hitter because of his numbers at ages 18-20 is backwards.
BTW Don Mattingly had 19 HRs in 327 games at age 18-20, spent his age 21 season at Columbus where he hit 10 in 476 ABs, and his age 22 season split between Columbus where he hit 8 HR and NY where he hit 4 in 279 ABs. If we compare him with Beltran, it looks like he'll never hit for power.
Carl Yastrzemski averaged just under 16 HR a season through age 26. Musial hit 14 (not counting his cup of coffee at age 20 when he had 1 HR in 47 ABs) until he turned 27.

The thing of it is, players in their age 20-23 (and sometimes beyond) seasons often fail to hit for power like they will later on in their careers. And hitting HRs isn't the only way a player can be valuable. Doubles, walks, being solid with the glove and on the bases can mitigate a lack of 30 HR power.

I'm interested in seeing your "I could come up with just as many - probably more - who didn't develop into anything" list. I'm willing to bet you can't find as many good comps who never amounted to anything (barring injury, of course).

2008-02-14 13:11:00
58.   JL25and3
57 "To say it's not relevant to compare two full seasons with other players and then claim he's not a power hitter because of his numbers at ages 18-20 is backwards."

I didn't say that. I said he hasn't shown any power yet, and that, until he does, there's hope but no evidence. He hasn't, and there isn't.

"The thing of it is, players in their age 20-23 (and sometimes beyond) seasons often fail to hit for power like they will later on in their careers."

Yes. That tells us that Melky might, not that he will. If and when he does, that'll be great.

"And hitting HRs isn't the only way a player can be valuable. Doubles, walks, being solid with the glove and on the bases can mitigate a lack of 30 HR power."

I never said it was the only way. But - other than being solid (though not superb) with the glove, all of those areas will need development as well. There's no particular reason to infer them.

I don't really know if I can come up with a list of other comps or not, and I'm not going to bother. Way too big a deal is made out of that list of comps. I know they're B-R's, but so what? They're not meant to be an accurate predictive tool, they're purely descriptive.

Stars often didn't look like stars at age 22, but that's working backwards. It's not evidence that a 22-year-old non-star is likely to become one. It means he might. I just see no reason to infer skills that he hasn't shown yet.

I still don't get what the argument is about.

2008-02-14 13:18:25
59.   Shaun P
56 As an attorney - albeit one with no litigation practice - I'm surprised that there was a difference between the affidavit and the deposition. My understanding was, a witness "writes" the affidavit, and then uses it constantly throughout the deposition, so that the two agree. A colleague of mine used that tactic to avoid being tripped up during a deposition in a patent infringement suit a couple of years ago. (The goal of the opponent's side, my understanding is, is to trip up the witness during the deposition, to make them contradict their affidavit.)

Any experienced litigators out there?

57 You have a point, but what about factoring in size, and swing style? Melky's swing, at least to me, doesn't seem like a classic power swing. Its not an uppercut moon-shot generating swing (McGuire, Adam Dunn, etc). But its not quite a line-drive/doubles machine swing either (Mattingly, or, say, John Olerud or Mark Grace). I'm not sure how to characterize it, to be honest - other than, it doesn't scream "power potential" to me. Not that I'm a scout or anything.

And as for size, not that its not possible to hit for quite a bit of power at Melky's listed size (5'11" 170 lbs, says, but unless he's generating some loft with his swing, or he has incredible wrist speed (a la Soriano, which Melky does not), I just don't see a ton of power potential there. I could be wrong.

And, all that said, I predicted Melky could slug .500 last year, and I still believe that's possible.

2008-02-14 13:31:13
60.   JL25and3
59 In this case, the deposition came before the affidavit. I think it was meant to provide a clearer, stripped-down version for the members to refer to.
2008-02-14 13:31:42
61.   horace-clarke-era
54 With Cliff on this. We get REALLY neurotic if we start seeing Bosox conspiracies in the difference between being ranked #2 and #4. It is entirely possible for people to assess Buchholz as being slightly ahead of Joba. This is just guesswork, anyhow.

Same as the Melky thing which has flared up more than I ever thought it would. (Too much time on our hands?) I stand by what I said above for this year: "I think we're smarter to hope/expect decent to good offense and good to vg defense, and run with it. This doesn't mean 'down on him' at all ... just keeping expectations reasonable. If he's better ... our cup runneth over."

2008-02-14 13:44:23
62.   JL25and3
61 I'm still trying to figure out what I said wrong.
2008-02-14 13:49:47
63.   rbj
Regarding Melky & power, IIRC, I was at a game last year where he hit a home run to dead center in Comerica. That was an impressive shot. I just don't see him being the prototypical 25+ homer guy. But I'm not sure he needs to be that.
2008-02-14 14:32:00
64.   horace-clarke-era
JL, my man, you said nothing wrong. I agree with you. (jeez, I must be in congress-withdrawal today! Someone rev my engine by mentioning Clay and 'what uniform will you wear into the hall?'!)

I'm just surprised it became such a discussion. I read you as just saying we can't infer a future trajectory for The Melkman regarding stats that aren't on the table. He has NOT shown power, we'll just hope it comes, and be content if he's .280/15/85 with doubles, some walks and good D for life! Or I will, anyhow.

2008-02-14 14:32:40
65.   tommyl
54 61 Agreed. The difference between #2 and #4 is splitting hairs. Fortunately, they don't award anything based on prospect rankings, so lets just see how they both do.

As for Melky, I just think he's an unfinished product at this point. He might trend upwards and start displaying power, he might not. What I take away from these comps is that there aren't really a whole lot of data points for 21 year old big leaguers, so BR is forced to pick from a very small pool. That small pool is likely to include a lot of star type players because well, there's a reason they were playing at 21. None of that means Melky will progress that far. In a different timeline, say one which Joe Torre plays Kenny Lofton more in 2004, Melky might not be a major league starter right now. We just have to wait and see.

2008-02-14 14:52:43
66.   horace-clarke-era
McNamee's lawyer weighs in (quoted off the AP Wire):

During the hearing, Clemens cited his friendship with Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, a baseball fan who regularly attends Houston Astros' games. Clemens said he was on a recent hunting trip when the elder Bush called with words of support.

"When all this happened, the former president of the United States found me in a deer blind in south Texas and expressed his concerns that this was unbelievable, and stay strong and hold your head up high," Clemens testified.

Emery said as he thought about the testimony overnight, Clemens' reference to the call from the elder Bush convinced him the questioning by Republicans was a concerted effort.

"All the pieces fell into place given his friendship, his personal friendship with the Bush family," Emery said. "They have some belief that even if he's prosecuted, he will never have to serve jail time or face a trail. This is a charade we're going through."

2008-02-14 15:15:43
67.   Bama Yankee
66 I guess that might explain why the questioning broke along party lines. I wondered if another reason could be that the Democrats on the committee were trying to support fellow Democrat George Mitchell and his report. One of the congressmen even mentioned that Mitchell was a good friend (IIRC, he also said he had even supported Mitchell for president in the past).
2008-02-14 15:21:44
68.   JL25and3
64 Nah, I didn't mean you.
2008-02-14 15:35:08
69.   Bagel Boy
All I know is that Melky had 40 XBHs last year at age 22 in his first full season. Yeah, I'll take that as a baseline. And he SLGed above .450 for most of the year. Again, I'll take that as a baseline.

P.s. On Clemens, a Democrat asked what hat he'd wear into the HOF. Breaking along party lines is too simple of an description for what happened.

P.p.s. By the end of the year, we could easily see both the best hitter and pitcher of the last twenty years facing significant jail time.

2008-02-14 15:45:59
70.   williamnyy23
59 I've spoken to several lawyers (also huge baseball fans) who have read all the depositions. They think that if Clemens had been more articulate, he could have come out of the hearing looking much better. What's more, they all said a charge of perjury against Clemens wouldn't see the light of day based on the evidence and testimony from the hearing. I've been reading through the depositions as well and see a lot of holes in Pettitte's deposition. You can clearly see why they excused him. If present, I think his confusion on the events would have made Clemens look better.
2008-02-14 15:46:53
71.   standuptriple
48 Who?
45 Just you wait and see. I'll be using my game-used 2009 autographed jersey as a bath robe/parachute before you know it.
2008-02-14 15:50:07
72.   williamnyy23
67 I am sure there was some of that, but the easier answer is the committee members simply broke along the allegiances of the co-chairs. Also, Clemens comes off as a "Republican", while McNamee has the feel of a "Democrat", so maybe there was a little of that.

It should also be noted that a few Deomcrats supported Clemens, while one Republican went after Clemens. Also, it should be noted, that aside from Waxman, no one had anything nice to say about McNamee, which I thought was a good thing to come from the hearing.

2008-02-14 16:42:57
73.   OldYanksFan
Whatever happens, I don't think anyone want to see Clemens is jail. Howard Bryant pointed out that Clemens wasn't at fault for anything, at that may have hurt him.

On being summoned by Mitchell, he could have humanized himself by saying something like 'aw shucks, I made a mistake.. looking back, I shoulda gone', etc. But he came off as always rignt and he didn't give anyone an opportunity for feel sorry for himself.

There were a lot on inconsistancies in his stories, but even more from the other side. As I said, they certainly didn't prove him guilty, but he didn't prove himself innocent.

I think if Melky posts a sub .780 OPS this year, he's trade bait. AJax might be ready for 2009, and Tabata for 2010. If Melky is the weak sister of these 3, I think he's gone.

2008-02-14 17:49:41
74.   horace-clarke-era
William, being 'more articulate' means lying better, right? Gotta let go man, the Light is waiting for you! Your frends are simply wrong on perjury and 'light of day' if they really said that. Tejada is looking at charges simply because someone contradicts his under oath statements about 'never talking about steroids'.

Clemens is in exactly that situation vis a vis Pettitte who says Clemens told him he used PEDs. A jury is entitled to find beyond a reasonable doubt that they believe A over B and that by the same standards B therefore perjured himself. Happens all the time.

WILL it happen? In all the circumstances, I rather doubt it. That standard of proof tends to be hard to meet. For another thing, I suspect Pettitte was excused because he SO didn't want to be in the room and nail Roger. This must be excruciating for him. (Relates to your point as to whether his performance this year will be impacted. Makes me assume, incidentally, that this all was a reason he was close to retiring.) He will give evidence if required (has to) but no one, surely, really wants to force this to a case where Andy P puts Roger C in jail for perjury.

As for the Bush pardon comments ... depends also on how long it takes to play out. Can see a scenario where it rolls into 2009. Courts move slower than a Wakefield fastball. And it would be VERY hard to pardon Roger and not Tejada and/or Bonds if they also get nailed.

Me, I don't think jail time suits at all. A crazy big bullet for Clemens (as noted by someone here) displaying hubris big time. For some people, disgrace is more than enough. I'd be appalled if any of them were jailed.

This does not mean I take perjury lightly ... and I could see someone arguing the other way ... that once you enter an 'under oath' situation, the contempt you show for congress or a grand jury needs serious response.

2008-02-14 18:55:30
75.   williamnyy23
74 To you perhaps, but unfortunately, one's ability to communicate clearly does go along way in determing how they are perceived.

With all due respect, I think I'll rely on the informed opinions of lawyers as to the merits of a perjury case against Clemens.

As for the pardon, the president can actually issue one even before a crime is charged.

2008-02-14 20:06:47
76.   wsporter
If you are convicted of Perjury in Federal Court you will not necessarily do jail time since the sentencing guidelines are not mandatory. There is discretion on the Judges part as to whether to apply the guidelines. Most judges hate employing discretion when they don't have to and I believe would employ the guidelines in a case like this. Since Roger has no Criminal Record (?) it looks like he'd pull a 15 - 21 month term if prosecuted under the federal perjury statute and a guideline sentence were applied. A judge would no doubt sentence on the low end. If he's prosecuted for making a materially False Statement he could receive a prison term of 5 to 8 years. All this assuming that he was charged with only one count.

The problem here in convicting Roger would be the Federal Perjury section the prosecution would have to move under. This would not be Judicial but rather the older General Perjury Statute. That would mean for example that statements that are literally true even if deceptive can not be considered perjury and that the two witness rule is in effect (need two corroborated witnesses to prove the perjury). They would also have to prove that the statements were willfully made etc. I think we see far fewer prosecutions let alone convictions under the older statute for a number of reasons, the principal one being it's simply harder to gain a conviction than under the newer Judicial statute.

Because of the difficulty with the older statute it is likely the prosecution would pursue him under the False Statements Statute.

Perjury/False Statements is a difficult crime to prove however it's not impossible and I for one would not want the charge hanging over my head. For anyone who doubts the governments ability to prove perjury or false statements do a Lexus or Westlaw search. You may be dismayed to find how many successful prosecutions there are each year. I sure as hell hope Roger's people know what they're doing. For anyone who thinks this is a walk in the park go talk to Scooter Libby, Well he may actually be walking in a park and hard to find because Bush commuted his sentence but you know what I mean.

2008-02-14 21:23:38
77.   Chyll Will
Wow, no love for Lover's Day? I'm shocked... no, not really.
2008-02-14 22:26:34
78.   Shaun P
73 "I think if Melky posts a sub .780 OPS this year, he's trade bait."

Why? As long as he's not expensive, with those kinds of numbers and his defensive prowess, he's a great 4th OF. There's nothing wrong with that - and outside of Jackson and Tabata, there are no other guys in the system even close to that. (I love Brett Gardner too, but that dude might have less power than Juan Pierre. Melky >>> Gardner AFAIC. Gardner would be the perfect 5th OF, if the Yanks ever carried 11 pitchers - and again, nothing wrong with that at all.)

2008-02-15 05:33:17
79.   horace-clarke-era
william, I appreciate the due respect, but not the assumption I'm talking in an uninformed manner on this. I repeat, if your lawyer friends actually said perjury charges would 'never see the light of day' they had a few too many beers.

If they said 'perjury is hard to prove' they said what I said.

But I have a different point, which was my first sentence above. Rusty Hardin gets paid the big bucks to spin (and he may not be worth it). So do the Hendricks, though after Roger threw them under the train too I wonder how spin-inclined they feel. (My agents never TOLD me! Bud never CALLED me! My WIFE used hgh three years before she did! ... crowded under that train.)

I also stand by fool me once, fool me twice ... and that's what this latest backsliding into hunting for wriggle room is. How would you have felt about someone saying 'If McNamee had been a little more articulate Clemens would have been toast even more.' Of course how well one tells truth or how well one lies matters, but it does NOT affect whether the statements have been corroborated or contradicted credibly!

Let Rusty do this messy work, william! OYF had it right: Roger should have said I screwed up, and hoped the numbers of incidents stayed low (they were WAY under the allegations for Bonds), along with the overall idea that the whole game was messed up and it is unfair to single him out.

wsporter took more time to lay out the reasons why convictions are hard but not impossible. Imagine it. Government calls Pettitte. 'Mr Pettitte, you gave evidence under oath that Mr Clemens told you he used hgh. Was that truthful?' 'Yes.' 'Did you offer a contemporaneous account of this conversation to anyone.' 'Yes, to my wife.'

The wife is called to confirm this.

Ask your lawyer friends if it is impossible for a jury to convict on this. Ask yourself if you want to still hunt for an out after reading/hearing Roger's explanations (Debbie Did It Near Dallas or, when that was exposed as ludicrous, It Was a TV Show about Old Guys).

And this is only on ONE point. What happens if it emerges under oath that the Hendricks did contact him? (Remember what he said on 60 Minutes?)

Mussina said something yesterday ... that he feels proud to have competed against cheaters and won 250 games. It is possible to loathe McNamee, to have admired Clemens, to despise Selig, to feel this is a waste of Congress' time and a distortion - the overfocus on one man.

But none of that should lead us into wriggling like Rusty for Roger.

2008-02-15 06:16:44
80.   RIYank
WASHINGTON, DC—A week after facing accusations of injecting human-growth hormone in 2003, Roger Clemens' wife Debbie has come under increased scrutiny from baseball fans and media figures who claim the revelation calls her lifetime major league 0.00 ERA into question. "Zero hits, zero walks, zero runs allowed," said local fan Dave Winthrop upon hearing about the charges, which he called "disheartening to say the least." "I guess when you think about it, based on what we know now, it makes sense. How could someone—a 39-year-old mother of four, no less—put up these kind of career numbers without the aid of illegal substances? Sad." Clemens has defended herself by saying that those extremely low numbers are simply the result of her never having pitched in the major leagues, excepting only her perfect game against the Baltimore Orioles in August of 2003.

(From The Onion, of course.)

2008-02-15 06:21:47
81.   williamnyy23
79 Once again (and I'll stop this silly back and forth afterwards), but two informed lawyers, after reviewing all of the testimony and depositions, stated they didn't think a perjury charge would ever surface based on what is known so far. Since they gave that opinion, at least one Congressman also stated that he didn't expect a perjury charge against Clemens.

Are you a lawyer? If not, then you can't claim the same level of knowledge of the law, not matter how informed on the events you may be. What's more, suggesting someone offering an informed opinion has to be drunk because they don't share your opinion is a little unseemly.

On to your other points (again for the last time):

1) I am sure the Hendricks don't mind at all what Clemens stated. After all, it wouldn't surprise me if most of the agents in this matter, after consulting with the Player's Association, gave the same advice. In fact, I think it would have been irresponsible of them to recommend players meet with Mitchell without first getting to hear the evidence provided against them.
2) You keep stating that Clemens said his wife used HGH three years before she did. That is 100% wrong. It also tells me you have not read the depositions. If you read Pettitte's deposition, he recalls a conversation in 1999 or 2000 in which he believed Clemens stated he took HGH. He also states SEVERAL times, that he might have misunderstood Clemens and really didn't remember too many of the details. Then, in 2005, Pettitte makes references to a prior conversation (he doesn't give a specific timeframe) in which he brought the subject up again, after which Clemens said he must have misunderstood him and might have remembered when Clemens told him his wife had done HGH. Here is a plausible explanation provided by one of the lawyers I mentioned:

Let's assume for a second that Clemens is innocent and that Pettitte misunderstood the 1999 conversation. So Pettitte says, in 2005, "Remember you once told me you used hGH?" Clemens doesn't remember that, because it didn't happen. So he tries to think of what Pettitte might mean, and the only thing he can think of is that he must have told Pettitte that his wife used.

I can anticipate your next question…but, Petttitte said he never remembered being told about Debbie Clemens before 2005 in the first place? Well, in McNamee's deposition, he mentions a 2004 conversation with Pettitte about that very topic? Perhaps Pettitte was confused? Maybe he forgot that conversation? Or, I guess McNamee could simply be lying again.

3) Did you read Pettitte's deposition? If so, did you notice the 4 or 5 times he stated he was really unclear about the matter, and that he might have misunderstood Clemens? If so, you'd see how easy it would be for Clemens' lawyers to cast doubt about Pettitte's statements…not his honest recollections, but whether he accurately remembers the details.

While I admit that Clemens did not come off well in the hearing, I am still of the opinion that the evidence is not enough to convince me to believe a witness with as little credibility as McNamee. I have doubts, sure, but I think Clemens deserves the benefit of the doubt. And, that's just in the court of public opinion. As for a criminal court, well, the most informed opinions I have consulted all think a conviction is near impossible and a charge is far from likely.

2008-02-15 07:45:55
82.   wsporter
This looks like a corroboration problem. Given what we know right now I don't think I'd waste a grand jury's time with this either. Petite is potentially Roger's biggest problem but his deposition looks pretty weak. I'm not so sure about the subsequent affidavit however. The problem is we don't know what they know so it's difficult to say. If we know everything there is to know about the conflicting testimony and corroboration on one side or the other then I say no way right now. But who knows what will shake loose over the comming days or weeks.

To have this conversation at this point and try to say we can resolve it one way or another is I think something of a fools errand. To get angry about it is I think just plain silly; we can't know right now.

There are some tipping points to be developed and watched for. Principally among them is corroboration. Depending on how this goes we'll have an idea if Roger is in some trouble. Remember though this isn't completely analogous to the Bonds situation because he gave Judicial testimony and the Feds are therefore able to move under a different statute; one that is easier to prosecute.

2008-02-15 08:06:56
83.   OldYanksFan
79 "It is possible to loathe McNamee, to have admired Clemens, to despise Selig, to feel this is a waste of Congress' time and a distortion - the overfocus on one man."

Very well said Hoss. It really sums up this entire mess.

My feeling is NOBODY wants to see Clemens go to jail. I mean the Republicans had it out for Clinton on such a massive scale, they pushed for perjury for the high crime of getting (and lying about) a blowjob.

But I think very few want to fry Clemens. I'm sure there are some overzealous moralists who might push for this, but he is basically like many, many others in MLB: a dumb jock just trying to do better. Yeah, he's on the top end, but so what.

As a matter of fact, my guess is Rusty was so sure that they wouldn't go after Roger for perjury, that he allowed this to go on. If Roger was REALLY afraid of jail time, it wouldn't have gone this far.

2008-02-15 08:09:37
84.   OldYanksFan
Can people weigh in and simply say whether you agree or disagree with the following statements? It would be good if we Banterers could at least know, on this issue, what we basically agree on.

1) McNamee is scum-of-the-earth.
2) Even though McNamee is scum-of-the-earth, it does not in itself make his accusations invalid.
3) It appears Roger has done some PEDS.

2008-02-15 08:22:25
85.   wsporter
84 1 and 2 agreed. 3 - don't know for sure but it sure appears that way right now.
2008-02-15 08:54:58
86.   horace-clarke-era
84 Yes to all I suppose, though I actually have some hesitation with 'scum of the earth' and prefer 'sad little man', myself. I mean, he got a mail order degree. Right. There's a BUSINESS in that. Anyone actually believe Roger and family thought he was a DOCTOR? Having used him as a COACH since 1998? A man employed by the Jays then Yankees in a marginal role ... but I am pretty sure I heard Roger say 'he said he was a doctor' in testimony (anyone else remember that?).

william, I DO know what I'm talking about, yes, in legal matters (though not all, anyone who says they are solid on ALL legal issues is lying). I did not insult your lawyer friends, I said 'never see the light of day' was wrong in law (though maybe not in ambience, mood, etc. Having said that, if they charge Tejada bets are off on mood, too.).

You modified their position next post to 'the merits of a perjury case' after wsporter explained it. There is a BIG difference between a jury weighing the merits of a case and it never being brought because there is nothing there - and even you can see that. I even went further and tried to explain how and why evidence from Pettitte could be adduced that COULD support a perjury finding. (Not WOULD.) And I went on to explain why a conviction was hard and unlikely ... which was your 2nd round position, reporting your friends. (Re-read my 74 .)

william, essentially you end up agreeing with me, through your lawyer friends, then saying I am 'unseemly'. I KNOW this is intense for you, but read more carefully (I also know I post long!) and slow down!

As for the Hendricks, remember, Clemens began by saying they told him not to go (on 60 Minutes) THEN said (under oath!) they never told him Mitchell wanted to talk to him! That was my point. You went too fast again.

83 OYF thank you, and I agree with your analysis, too here.

2008-02-15 09:00:10
87.   williamnyy23
84 Agree on 1 and 2. Am not sure on #3, and don't think it is right to pass judgment as a result. I think the doubt alone is "punishment", but it seems as if many people feel the need to make definitive statements when there aren't definitive facts.

The irony in all this is the case against PEDs helping Roger Clemens career is even weaker than his perjury case, mostly because of the limited times it is alleged he took them as well as the limited evidence that HGH alone enhances performance. So, Clemens could be lying...could have taken PEDs...and it could have had only a negligible impact on his HoF credentials. And, I think it is safe to say that if the HoF wasn't involved, no one would care.

2008-02-15 09:02:06
88.   OldYanksFan
'sad little man'... You mean aside from given a woman a massive dose of daterape drug and raping her right? You mean aside from that.
2008-02-15 09:06:27
89.   williamnyy23
86 I am going to stick to my promise to go back and forth except to say that I stand by the light of day statement (which I take to mean a charge will not filed), think you have been casual in dismissing the opinons of those with more experience than you (unless you are a lawyer, but have choosen not to disclose as much) and I do not agree with much of your analysis because I think it is flawed.
2008-02-15 09:08:00
90.   williamnyy23
88 It's a good thing "scum of the earth" isn't a lurker here. It might take offense to that comparison.
2008-02-15 09:48:56
91.   OldYanksFan
"I think the doubt alone is "punishment", but it seems as if many people feel the need to make definitive statements when there aren't definitive facts."

William - This is 'The Banter', not a court of law. I am NOT passing judgement on Roger. I have said MANY times the issue is not Roger, and that this entire MR and ensuing mess is just a smokescreen to hide Bud's (ultimate) responsibility.

However, if someone asked me "is Roger guilty", and the ONLY answers allowed were Yes, No, and a perfect 50/50 I'm not sure, then I'd have to say Yes. This Yes is based on all that has come before us. I am NOT sure or close to it. Short of an absolute smoking gun, I don't know if anyone will ever be able to be SURE on this matter.

I don't think it will go to court. I don't think Roger will be brought up on perjury charges. I don't think his defamation case will go anywhere.

This may drag on for years.
I wish he was innocent.
I want him to be, for the sake of the Yankees, to make Mitchell look bad, and to see McNamee go to jail.

I wish I felt he was innocent.
But I can't say that I do.

2008-02-15 10:04:04
92.   williamnyy23
91 I think every opinion from he lied to he is telling the truth is valid. What I do not think is valid (at this point), however, is a definitive conclusion. If you think Clemens lied, that's fine. It would be a conclusion that has some logical basis. If you say there is no way Clemens could be telling the truth, well, that statement isn't supported by facts. I am not asking people to maintain a "beyond a shadow of a doubt" standard, but if they aren't going to, then they should put forth their opinion as meeting that threshold.
2008-02-15 10:56:46
93.   horace-clarke-era
88 while we're busy giving doubts left and right elsewhere you mean? Why no charges? I'd truly like to know. You don't feel slightly uncomfortable making that statement about someone never even charged? The cops so sure he lied to them, and that the facts are as you say, why not lay charges?

One reason is sometimes that the woman prefers not to. But no one has ever even said THAT.

2008-02-15 11:00:16
94.   horace-clarke-era
91 I don't think it will go to court. I don't think Roger will be brought up on perjury charges. I don't think his defamation case will go anywhere.

One reason the last is likely true is that a countersuit needs only to be proved on balance of probabilities and Roger is in trouble there - as your own analysis points out.

As for perjury ...Tejada will tell, I suspect. Hard to pursue Miggy and not Roger.

2008-02-15 11:03:01
95.   williamnyy23
On the rape allegation and why no charge was ever filed, the following in an excerpt from a recent piece in New Yorker Magazine (

According to the police report, a hotel employee saw McNamee apparently having sex with the woman in the shallow end of the pool while the other man stood watching, naked, six feet away. When the three were asked to leave, the employee claimed, McNamee continued having sex, asking, "You mean now?" That was when the employee noticed that the woman was unable to get out of the pool on her own, stand up, or speak coherently, and instructed a co-worker to call the police. A medical report later determined she'd taken a massive dose of GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate, a sports drug used for recovery from strenuous workouts but also known as the "date rape" drug because in larger doses it can incapacitate.

We may never know exactly what happened that night. McNamee told a detective he was kissing the woman and "moving around" in the pool with her, but not having sex (although he admitted he'd hoped to, "if she allowed me to"). He also told police he didn't know the other man very well when, in fact, it was Charles Wonsowicz, a Yankees staffer who had played baseball at St. John's.

The victim could not recall having sex in the pool, but she identified McNamee as the man she'd been socializing with earlier. They laughed, had drinks, talked about 9/11 and baseball. She also recalled McNamee asking her if she wanted to try GHB, saying it would "just make you relax and kind of mellow you out." She had said she wasn't interested. The case eventually fell apart because the victim refused a rape kit and lied to police, damaging her credibility as a witness: Later she claimed she had lied in an effort to hide the fact that she'd had sex earlier that evening with a married veteran Yankees staffer.

To this day, McNamee claims he is innocent, telling friends that he was misidentified by the hotel employee and that he lied to police to cover up for others involved. In this version of events, Wonsowicz ran away and McNamee stayed behind to help the woman out of the pool and back into her Spandex clothing. (Wonsowicz still works for the Yankees, and a spokesperson for the team had no comment on the incident.) "If Brian wasn't there, the girl would have drowned," says Matthew Piccione, a friend of McNamee's from Breezy Point. "He was the one who jumped in the water and saved the girl."

2008-02-15 11:03:46
96.   horace-clarke-era
Very interesting piece on by one of the authors of the Bonds book, dissecting the just-released transcript of McNamee with Clemens' lawyers. Bit and pieces cut every which way (surprise!). But try this (remember this is to Roger's lawyers' guys):

At various points during the conversation, the investigators ask McNamee about the existence of additional information regarding Clemens and performance-enhancing drug use. They inquire about other people involved or documents.
"Brian, in any of this, and during this whole time that this is taking place were there ever any records that the government could have gotten," one of the investigators asks McNamee. "In other words, did Roger ever give you a check that you went to a store and purchased this stuff or was there any Fed Ex packages delivered that could be traced back? Was there any kind of paper trail, documentation, on any of this stuff."

"No," McNamee responds. "I don't know about Roger."

The conversation appears to turn tense toward its end when the question of McNamee's credibility is raised. One of the investigators mentions a prior sexual assault allegation against the trainer, as well as prior public denials about giving steroids to ballplayers.

"Is there anything in your background from a credibility standpoint that they're going to be able to use against you?" one of the investigators asks McNamee.

McNamee clearly becomes wary, wondering who "they" would be. The investigator presses forward, but at the same time says the trainer sounds "to me like a very credible person."

McNamee ultimately says, "I mean, the only people that are going to look to hurt my credibility are you guys."

The investigators also attempt to gauge McNamee's insistence that the drug use actually occurred, as well as how he might respond if Clemens issues a vehement denial.

"Is there any doubt in your mind that what you told us today is the truth?" Yarbrough asks McNamee.

"Well, you guys made the trip here. I would hope to that that I would only tell the truth," McNamee responds. He adds, "You first said that Roger and Andy would love to talk to me, but they can't and you know why. Why would they want to talk to me if I could only -- they know I would only tell the truth. …

2008-02-15 11:13:31
97.   OldYanksFan
Hoss... you never heard of a woman who was raped and didn't press charges?
Of course, those cases don't have all the hospital documentation that this does.
Of course, those cases don't have a statement by the police that the 'rapist' was lying.
Of course, those cases don't have EYE WITNESSES, one of whom talked to McNamee during the event, and 2 who are licienced security guards.

But why let facts get in the way when we have a perfect legal system that always makes the right determination.

I guess if I punch you in the face, and you don't take me to court, that therefore means I did NOT punch you in the face.

The woman wa an employee of the Yankees.
I believe she said she was afraid of losing her job if she made an issue of it.
She also remembers saying 'No' to McNamee, but does not remember the event, as she was drugged to near unconsciousness.
Someone one another blog said (heresay) that the woman was having an affair with a Yankee player, and thus, did not call attention to the event.

Have do done much reading on this?

According to the AP, McNamee was having sex with the woman in the hotel pool and would not stop when confronted by security. When police arrived, McNamee had already helped the woman to get out of the pool and dress. The woman was taken to a hospital and found to have GHB - the so-called date-rape drug - in her system. According to documents, the woman told detectives she could not remember what happened in the pool, but that she did not give McNamee permission to have sex with her. Witnesses told detectives they heard her saying "no," according to documents.

(notice that is witnesses... plural of witness).

McNamee was interviewed hours later. He denied having sex with the woman. He also would not submit a saliva sample for DNA analysis.

Maybe I'm reading it wrong. I take it as a security guard witnessed the event and then McNamee denied having sex with the woman.

2008-02-15 13:47:22
98.   horace-clarke-era
97 oyf, calm down too ... I'm sorry we're revisiting this. Read carefully what I wrote. Of course I know why charges are often not pressed. I RAISED it here, remember? I also know that when this is so it tends to stated as such.

I read exactly what you read and very possibly more in an attempt to get a wider picture here. "According to AP" convicts someone? Why DO we bother with anything more?

I am ONLY noting inconsistencies in applying reasonable doubt as a standard here. For God's sake, william was suggesting we need to bring it in in order to answer YOUR question about Roger on the Banter! Just to give our views! In other words, 'I think Joba should be limited to 160 innings and I feel that beyond a reasonable doubt.' Or 'I think Roger used steroids and a) I feel it on balance of probabilities or b) I'm almost sure or c) beyond a reasonable doubt.

I think something sinister and illegal happened in that Florida pool. I don't know - from what is reported - just what it is and why it wasn't prosecuted.

2008-02-15 15:52:01
99.   OldYanksFan
'Something Sinister'?
Like what... maybe he sold her some HGH?
Do you think McNamee dosed her with a daterape drug?
Yes or No.
Do you think McNamee raped her?
Yes or No.

And why is it with all that you read and believe, that THIS AP article, which can be proven/disproven by BOTH hospital reports and personel and police reports and personel, why you think this AP article may be inaccurate.

If that article were written about you, and it was not true, do you think you would have a good lawsuit? A newspaper with an article that stated their were miltiple eye witnesses to you raping someone?

There are very few 'known facts' is this whole this. Roger my be guilty, but you seem to need to stand up for McNamee as a person.

Why do you think he saved Clemens needles ? In case he was called before a congressional hearing? Any other possible motivation?

2008-02-15 16:48:41
100.   horace-clarke-era
OYF ... please ... noting lack of charges is not standing up for someone. Drop it. Or focus. A lot we don't know about that scene. Your theory/report is not same as the New Yorker piece above. We DON'T KNOW.

And I was the one who raised blackmail as a possible reason to keep the drug stuff a week ago. Are you now trying to sardonically REBUT me in some way with it? You now saying he DID keep the stuff for blackmail? You are well-connected, it seems.

This is at least the 3rd body shot at me for focusing on the specific point of no charges. His answer (and I am NOT saying I believe it) to your query (and you would KNOW it as you've clearly tracked this closely) is that he too was covering for others. Sueing would undercut that. No charges were laid. Matthew Piccione is just one more guy who is clearly lying to support the guy who is clearly lyingh about Roger. (see 95 ... and I am NOT saying I believe him either just noting more confusion. I feel the oddest, most unpleasant need to spell things out for fear I'll get back a variant of 'Aha! YOU are Matthew Piccione!'

'Something sinister' bothered you enough to go after me on it? ... your 88 felt overheated and an attack veiled in sarcasm and I replied as judiciously as I could and got another shot.

I try to argue and debate lucidly here, sometimes strongly but also try not to turn it personal (a few jokes to wm about Star Wars, but I assume teasing's allowed). You and william, seem to either enjoy the personal shots or prefer not to read arguments closely. I WILL bail on this topic if you prefer but if I am taken to that point then all you've done is silence a discussant.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-02-15 19:26:39
101.   OldYanksFan
You feel Roger is guilty although no 'charges' have been filed. But now in your mind, McNamee is not? Are you telling me that if there are no charges there is no crime? That our legal system is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong?

You can make a case against Roger with all the contradictor 'evidence' we have, but not with the documented evidence against McNamee?

And you accuse William of manipulating facts to back his personal opinion? Wow. I'm done.

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