Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Couple Few Things
2008-02-16 05:46
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Following in the tradition of his old man, Hank Steinbrenner says he hopes he won't regret not making a deal for Johan Santana. Maybe Hank will start coming through the clubhouse and give the troops the ol' Knute Rockne before long.


"Joba is competing for a spot in the starting rotation right now," Joe Girardi said. "We're preparing him to be a starter. We're going to look at the pitching staff as a whole and decide where people best fit."
(N.Y. Daily News)

So, maybe Chamberlain won't be in the pen this year. Starter, reliever, which one of these? Speaking of Joba, last year, a friend of mine pointed me to this good, 2005 profile from Omaha World-Herald.


Chien-Ming Wang lost his arbitration case.


Over at Replacement Level Yankees, SG has a nifty two-part series on the best seasons ever by Yankee pitchers: starters and relievers. Check it out.

Comments (57)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-16 07:03:45
1.   OldYanksFan
You hear a lot of guys say about a ballplayer "This kid's special".
We may new terminology for Joba.

Harlen is a true American hero.
I hope Joba's fame brings him everything he deserves.

2008-02-16 07:16:05
2.   tommyl
You guys should go read the story about Pavano on PeteAbe's blog. Its hilarious.

2008-02-16 07:16:14
3.   Mattpat11
The team that spent 3.75 million dollars on LaTroy Hawkins thought anything above 4 million dollars for Wang "made no sense?"
2008-02-16 07:17:00
4.   tommyl
3 Wang is the highest paid first year arb. eligible pitcher since Dontrelle got 4.something a few years ago.
2008-02-16 07:24:49
5.   Mattpat11
I just think this is yet another example of the Yankees famed new fiscal responsibility being extremely selective.
2008-02-16 07:31:13
6.   tommyl
5 I don't know, they went to arbitration with Mariano in 2000. They control Wang iirc through something like his age 32 season. There's plenty of time to work out a long term deal if they want to. Much of it rests on how the kids (and the still coming kids) do. Personally, I love Wang and would have been fine with him getting a long term deal, but I can see the Yankee's reasoning on this one. Its not bad.
2008-02-16 07:33:35
7.   Mattpat11
But if they're so worried about saving money, why are they giving all this money to bad middle relief?

If they were at all consistent, I;d be fine

2008-02-16 07:35:51
8.   tommyl
7 They wanted one guy with a proven track record. $3.75 million is not that much in today's market. Its a one year deal and they gave up no draft picks. Compare that to what Vizcaino got from the Rockies, and the fact that the Yankees get their sandwich pick. I'm one of the biggest youth movement guys on here, but I can see the concern of going into the season with a BP of Mo, Farnsworth and ??????, ?????, ?????? etc.
2008-02-16 08:42:37
9.   Mattpat11
A proven track record of mediocrity. He's existed in the league for a long time. As we learned in 2006, his theory of allowing baserunners hand over fist is a failure when he goes against real offenses.

I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that 3.75 million is a bargain for a man whose crowning achievement is being in baseball 15 years, but for the man that's been the best pitcher on our team for the last three years, anything above 4 million is unthinkable.

Is the "market" for a generic middle reliever and a 200 IP 120 ERA+ type pitcher really that similar?

Or is it a situation like Kei Igawa last year where we really didn't care about fiscal responsibility for a couple days?

2008-02-16 09:08:49
10.   wsporter
9 The problem was, if you look at the list of available FA relievers, it was almost if not entirely populated with mediocrity. Proven track record in this case I think reflects league average and the ability to hold a ML job and thereby bring some measure of stability to the pen. We weren't going to get a Joe Nathan. Until Melancon, Cox, Dorf, ERam and the others are ready to carry the load we need guys like Hawkins who come at a short term bargain (relative) price who can get outs and eat innings. As Tommyl says it's a short term deal and we gave up no picks for him.

"Is the "market" for a generic middle reliever and a 200 IP 120 ERA+ type pitcher really that similar?" I would say that you answered your question by placing the word market in quotes. There is no "market" for Wang right now because his contract rights are under the control of the Yankees. Without that control and if the process of setting Wang salary were subject to market forces then the answer would obviously be no. Look no further than Zito's numbers to gauge what Wang would get on the open market.

We've got one last season of having to bring in guys like Hawkins; building the farm system is a reflection of caring about fiscal responsibility. Gaining the benefit from doing so is a process not a static event however. We're on the road to reaping the benefits from building the farm, we need just a little more patience before they begin to extend beyond the starting staff.

2008-02-16 09:10:11
11.   monkeypants
9 Well you should try to wrap your head around it, considering that Viz was offered the same amount for two years to do the same thing.

Really, I don't see the contradiction that you do. The Yankees have Wang tied up until he's 32; they are under no obligation to pay him more than they have to. They offered 4, he wanted 4.6, the Yankees won. End of story.

It really has nothing to do with the separate signing of a FA reliever.

2008-02-16 09:16:24
12.   Mattpat11
10 The problem was, if you look at the list of available FA relievers, it was almost if not entirely populated with mediocrity

Then don't sign any of them. Problem solved. We don't add dead weight to the team and we don't have to nickel and dime Wang. Everyone's happy!

2008-02-16 09:37:28
13.   monkeypants
12 Again, you are conflating issues. I too would love to see them not sign anyone and instead go with the kids on the farm. That has nothing to do with "nickel-and-diming" Wang.

As for the Wang arbitration case: while the two sides were close ('only' 600k), I don't really see any benefit in the Yankees just handing over the extra money when they didn't have to. Are we really to believe that the extra money would have bought goodwill when Wang hits the FA market? Will he take a hometown discount from the Yanks when that time comes? I, personally, think not.

2008-02-16 09:58:38
14.   Zack
There really is zero reason to sign Wang longterm right now, and its not like he's going to be struggling to put food on the table. This is the glory of having in house players. With 90 million coming off the books in the next two years, then we can talk about long terms deals, except that nobody will really need one yet. Signing pitchers to longterm deals before you have to is never a good course of action.

If your point, Mattpatt, is that they should have just given Wanger the extra 600,00K then, yeah, I suppose it wouldn't have killed them, but it also gives them a bit more leverage against other players in arbitration...

2008-02-16 10:00:04
15.   3rd gen yankee fan
That story about Harlan and Joba was hbucbquywfytvtrc. Couldn't get through it without crying. I can't believe we have this kid on our team (but I am extremely thankful). What a story.
2008-02-16 10:03:17
16.   ny2ca2dc
good point 14 , "I suppose it wouldn't have killed them, but it also gives them a bit more leverage against other players in arbitration", and keeps the base $$ upon which future arb-raises will be based lower. People seem to be forgetting that.
2008-02-16 10:12:00
17.   wsporter
12 Signing Hawkins and the offer made to Wang are not related. I can't honestly believe that the money that went to Hawkins reduced the offer made to Wang by one penny. Had he not been signed the Wang offer would have been exactly the same IMO. If we hadn't signed Hawkins I doubt it would make much difference this year and I think it's reasonable to propose that he may not stick to the 40 man through the entire season. I don't see this as a detail worth debating. It effects nothing; he won't take up space on the 40 man next fall/winter, he wont take the spot of anyone who beats him out and is ready this spring, if one of the kids is busting a move at AAA during the season he can be dropped or moved without much worry and the money paid to him is a relative drop in the ocean. We have two 40 man spots opening up as soon as Pavano and Brackman can be added. He was brought in to provide an option for the manager. Sorry but I can't get worked up over this one.

If he were signed from multiple years and we gave up a draft choice for him I'd squawk but as things are . . . Eh. Hope he gives us some innings in the 6th and 7th.

2008-02-16 10:24:35
18.   OldYanksFan
5 What you don't seem to understand is that salaries during arbitration has absolutely no relationship to what player X gets, how overpaid Pavano is, what the Yankees payroll is, or what the YES Netwrok is worth. Mentioning these things is totally off base.

It is ONLY relative to what other players of a similar production level get in their same arbitration year. I believe Kazmir got $3.75m. So compared to that, Wang did OK... don't you think?

There is a reason why the arbitor found in favor for the Yankees. If they were low-balling Wang, they would have lost. Wang was also quoted as saying he expected between $3m and $4m.

If the Yankees, or any other team significantly raise the bar on arbitration prices, then ALL other teams, including low budget teams will be effected.

2008-02-16 10:38:00
19.   JL25and3
12 I feel bad for you, Matt. It's a tough offseason when LaTroy Hawkins is biggest thing you can find to be bilious about.

How about Molina's contract?

2008-02-16 10:40:51
20.   Bagel Boy
Yeah, Hawkins and Wang are completely unrelated. For the former, LaTroy represents cheap insurance for the bullpen with a one-year deal. The latter, they simply wanted to hold the line on Wang. If he continues to perform he'll get paid. And the fact is, they offered a very fair salary for a first-year eligible pitcher.
2008-02-16 11:40:34
21.   The Mick 536
The Joba article sets me up for the season, wiping the MRI-syringes-gauze-in-the-beer taste from my lips. Great writing. Simple subjects. Lots onf humanity. Loved it.

Will read about Pavano. Know it won't touch me the same way, unless it adds to my knowledge about what a waste he is.

As for the arbitration, they weren't so far apart.

2008-02-16 12:15:52
22.   Mattpat11
19 I'm strangely at piece with the Molina deal. Largely because I see the point, if not the actual dollar figure. Its when the Yankees do something stupid for seemingly no reason that I really lose patience.

14 Its a mix of that and the tone of Cashman's quote. And after spending money like mad on stupid ass moves the last few years, I don't see why we need to hardline the (current) best pitcher on the team over a few hundred thou, which is a drop in the bucket for this team. It comes off as the team flipping the guy off for no good reason.

2008-02-16 12:29:10
23.   williamnyy23
22 Who cares about Latroy Hawkins. Like it or not, mediocre relievers with a long tenure make around $4mn. Not only am I not upset about the signing, I actually like it. Hawkins has a very good chance to be solid and almost assuredly wont be the worst reliever the Yankees have this season. As has been noted, Wang is only a 1st arb eligible player, so he has to accept being underpaid (just as free agents are probably overpaid). That's the way the salary structure in baseball works. I am pretty sure Wang is ecstatic about making $4mn this season.

I am really excited for this camp, spring training and upcoming season. I love Girardi's energy...even if it doesn't spill over the players, it is starting to spill over to me. Not even the thought of Fransworth in the 8th can bring me down now!!

2008-02-16 12:34:03
24.   JL25and3
Finally, some important news out of spring training camp:
2008-02-16 12:39:06
25.   Shaun P
22 Remember too that moves made in arbitration set a precedent. Give $600K extra to Wang now, just to avoid flipping him off (as you said), and what do you think all the kid pitchers are going to want when they're arbitration eligible? I have no problem with the Yanks on this one.

23 Speaking of being excited - anyone else see the BP Projected Standings by PECOTA? Here's the AL East:

Boston Red Sox 93-69
Toronto Blue Jays 83-79
Tampa Bay Rays 82-80
Baltimore Orioles 69-93
New York Yankees 96-66

(Had you all a little worried, huh? =)

FWIW, that ties the Mets for the best record in MLB.

2008-02-16 12:45:06
26.   Mattpat11
23 almost assuredly wont be the worst reliever the Yankees have this season.

Well, I think the bullpen is going to be pretty wretched, especially in the second half, so that could very well be true.

This team left we with a really bad taste in my mouth last year, and they've done nothing as of yet to change it. I just can't wait for the season to start. Hopefully things will start looking up then.

2008-02-16 12:53:25
27.   tommyl
More good news via PeteAbe. Hughes has admitted to the drop in velocity last year and said he lost the late life on his fastball and curve because his leg didn't feel 100% till the playoffs (and we all know how well that went). Said he should get back into the 93-95 mph range again this year. to my ears.

2008-02-16 12:56:51
28.   Shaun P
27 I also liked this nugget from PeteAbe:

"Meanwhile, Hughes has his locker moved. It was Mike Mussina's idea. He wanted Hughes on one side and Ian Kennedy on the other so he talk to the kids all spring."

2008-02-16 13:02:32
29.   tommyl
25 Wow, we're projected ahead of the Red Sox? A closer look though sees a lot of variables. For example, they assumed Joba in the rotation all year (though only 150 innings pitched) and Kennedy not even on the team.
2008-02-16 13:04:14
30.   wsporter
25 MFD last years PECOTA had us at aprox 93 and Sawx at 91 wins. I like the odds that they'll get at least one out of two right in any 2 year period! ;-)


2008-02-16 13:08:48
31.   Shaun P
29 I think - only because I can't imagine who else it could be - that strange "See slot #25312" or whatever had to be Kennedy. He's the only one who didn't have a PECOTA card last year, and so there's no link. That guy is also split between the bullpen and the rotation, and we know its not Hughes and its not Joba.

By projected RS/RA, the Yanks and Sox pitching staffs look to be equal; the Yanks' extra 3 wins seem to come from having a superior offense. That sounds right to me.

2008-02-16 13:15:43
32.   ms october
25 29 hmm yes, had me worried. this is a hard team to predict as you say with all the so much flux in a lot of the variables.

23 I hear you william - it usually takes me a while to shift from the nba to baseball, but I am very excited. Even though there are some things that are big ? like 1b and the pen, I still feel pretty good about the team and regardless am excited to see how things develop.

28 I even feel good at Moose, not necessarily having a great year, though I think he will have a decent enough year, but I like his demeanor in what I have seen on tv and read.

2008-02-16 13:25:39
33.   tommyl
32 Strangely I'm not worried about the pen. We have so many potential cheap options, at least a few of them have to stick. Hell, we can just play the hot hand month to month and have that Scranton shuttle idling all the time.
2008-02-16 14:15:09
34.   Mattpat11
33 I have a feeling I'm going to have one rant that I can keep copying and pasting while interchanging the names Farnsworth/Hawkins/Bruney/Igawa/Karstens/Henn/Veras.
2008-02-16 14:30:52
35.   mikeplugh
Hey BB friends.

Looking forward to a great season ahead. I've been off-line at Canyon of Heroes for a little while with a lot of grad work on my plate. I'm gearing up for 2008 and reading to begin a mad blogging schedule for the new season. Readership has dropped off with my slow posting in the winter, so I'd appreciate your readership and your support in driving a few eyes to my work.

My Japanese blogs will need a little housekeeping before they're ready again, but that is in the breeze right now. I'll be starting up some NPB writing at Baseball Prospectus very soon as well.

Thanks and Go Yanks!!!

2008-02-16 14:39:38
36.   wsporter
34 Well, I guess we've got that going for us now. I'm sure we're all looking forward to it. Can you give us some warning when you feel one coming on? :-)
2008-02-16 14:53:55
37.   OldYanksFan
34 Anyway we can have Ken disable cut and paste?
2008-02-16 15:23:02
38.   Mattpat11
36 Whenever they have on of their typical disastrous outings will be warning enough.
2008-02-16 15:40:24
39.   OldYanksFan
Joe's law A partial list of rules the Yankees have for spring training: (please note #5)

1. Be on time. No excuse for lateness.
2. Shorts and T-shirts only permitted during spring training.
3. Curfew of 1 a.m.
4. Jewelry - only one chain is permitted. No earrings.
5. Only neatly cut beards, mustaches, goatees. No long hair or "unshaven looks."
6. No family members in the clubhouse until after games.
7. No cell phones in the dugout.
8. Cell phones only allowed in the clubhouse until one hour before games.
9. No competing speakers in the clubhouse.

2008-02-16 15:57:09
40.   OldYanksFan
Please Note:
These are not your father's Yankees
(well... ya know what I mean).
2008-02-16 16:10:08
41.   wsporter
40 I wish they were my fathers Yankees, then I could be Hank. I'd invite all you guys to the owners box. Well not during a game of course but I'd sure as hell invite you.

Pete A says they're were Mr. Torre's rules as well as Joe G's. I think Newsday may have stepped in it on this one.

2008-02-16 16:10:33
42.   JL25and3
40 Sounds pretty much the same to me. Allowing the one chain is probably the only difference from my father's day.

No cell phones in the dugout then, either.

2008-02-16 16:11:11
43.   JL25and3
Oops, my mistake. No 1 AM curfew then, either. Not that Babe Ruth would have cared what the curfew was...
2008-02-16 17:26:24
44.   Bruce Markusen
Several of those rules have been in place for as long as I've been a Yankee fan, which means they've been in place since the late sixties (or sooner).

The Yankees have never allowed beards, have almost always been stringent about long hair, and have never permitted players to wear earrings. Some of these were essentially unwritten rules, but they've all been in practice for my lifetime and longer.

2008-02-16 17:27:58
45.   Bruce Markusen
Also, Billy Martin didn't like children being in the clubhouse, though I don't know if it's been a formal rule since his last tenure.
2008-02-16 17:29:40
46.   OldYanksFan
Alan Horne and Jeff Marquez
2008-02-16 21:16:33
47.   Chyll Will
35 Well, I'm glad to see you anyway. Good luck with the grad stuff, man. If I could afford to continue, I'd ace the hell out of 'em, so kick a dean in the shin for me... btw, you should do some serious consideration whenever you can >;)
2008-02-17 03:05:24
48.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
45 WOuld you want your children around Billy Martin?

I know the rules have been in place forever, but does anyone else get the feeling that Joe G is a bit of can I say...umm....weenie??

2008-02-17 07:47:11
49.   markp
I'm trying to figure out how 'weenie' is being used in the above post.
Do you mean he's timid or weak? That's how weenie is normally used.
Do you mean he's being too much of a stickler? I've heard it used that way, too.
I can't think of any other possible meanings, and I really don't see how either of those apply to Girardi.
2008-02-17 07:47:37
50.   wsporter
48 No and . . . umm . . . No. I get the sense he'll kick somebody in the teeth as soon as he needs to.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-17 08:49:38
51.   OldYanksFan
Good signs of Spring:
1) I have seen TWO projections that both have the Yankees leading the division (could they both have been PECOTA?).
One had the Yanks at 100 wins, the other 96.
2) A number of players are reported to have lost weight, including the B&B boys. These guys could both really help our BP. With luck, we could actually have a decent BP.
3) Both vets, Jeter and Giambi have been reported to be in very good shape.
4) Girardi is sending out good messages that everyone is playing for a spot. Joba, Farnsworth, Iggy and others are not predetermined. I like like. I believe this team has taken a lot for granted in the last years.
5) Moose has taken on a mentor's role, and seems to accept where he fits into Yankees 2008.
6) Joba did NOT gain weight over the winter. In fact, I think he lost some.
7) Cano's head has not yet appeared to gain any weight.

Aside from the MR, it has been a GREAT winter. Even Torre supporters like myself are VERY excited about what Joe Jr. brings to the club. We overspent, but we still got ARod, Pettitte, Mo and Po. It looked bad for a while, but everything came together.

And whether you were for the Santana trade of not, watching our young pitchers develop is gonna be a blast. I hear Horne is ready for MLB if he is really needed. Melencon too.

I think the team is energized.
I think we REALLY need to get off to a good start in 2008,
I don't know why there are so many that think Boston has a considerably better team then we do.

I know Tex looks good for 1B in 2009, but I would rather put Jeter at 1B, see if ARod can still play SS, and put our money into a quality/the best 3Bman and OFer money can buy. Jeter's defense might be the difference between Phil and Santana. Jeter can NOT play SS when his contract expires. It's best to move him while 1B is still open, and give him a chance to develop into a decent fielding 1Bman.

2008-02-17 09:40:35
52.   monkeypants
51 I'd rather see Jeter moved to LF (or even RF) rather than 1B. His still-not-bad speed and arm would be more wasted at 1B.
2008-02-17 10:15:57
53.   Bagel Boy
Yup, Jeter's a LF, but after 2009 when Matsui and Damon are both gone. Regarding Teixeira, I have to think it all depends on a bunch of things:

- Is Cashman still calling the shots?
- Did Tex have an excellent walk year?
- How did Duncan look at 1B?
- What about Miranda?
- How is Montero's development coming along?

2008-02-17 14:45:53
54.   mehmattski
Did anyone see this?

Sure we rip on him a lot, but I wouldn't want to wish a antibiotic-resistant infection on anyone. MRSA is the real deal.

2008-02-17 16:11:10
55.   Chyll Will
That's sooo not good. I mean, it's good he was treated before it got to that point, but now I've got a lot more to be concerned about on my own account...
2008-02-17 17:40:28
56.   Zack
Seems like there hasn't really been all that much news yet, which on the one hand makes sense because, well, nothing has happened, but on the other hand, well, its ST damnit and I want my fluff articles!
2008-02-17 20:25:30
57.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I'm under the impression that the O's will make a VERY strong run for Teixira. they have the money avalible, they have a very intriguing young core now, plugging in big Teix would make the lineup very complete (now they just need to figure out a rotation.)

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