Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Disaster

Well, I guess we can scratch off top FA #2

The Padres and free agent Brian Giles have agreed to a new contract that will guarantee the outfielder $30 million and could be worth $36 million over the next four years, the Union-Tribune has learned.

Giles, who will turn 35 before the start of the 2006 season, will make $9 million each of the next three seasons. Plus, the club holds an option for the 2009 season at another $9 million against a $3 million buyout.

Padres General Manager Kevin Towers had said he believed the New York Yankees were sincerely interested in Giles, perhaps for more than $30 million, but some major league execs had said Giles' Yankees option could vanish soon.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:18 PM   1 comments







Boras Tries to Sell Damon to Yanks

... by picking and choosing stats where convenient.

Damon’s agent Scott Boras sent the Yankees a booklet entitled “New York Yankees Leadoff Analysis,” a three-page statistical look at how much better the Yankees and current leadoff hitter Derek Jeter could be, if Damon were batting leadoff and Jeter went back to the No. 2 hole, where he thrived with Chuck Knoblauch hitting leadoff from 1998 through 2001. The stat pack shows that when Jeter was a No. 3 hitter from 1998 to 2001, his batting average was .331 and his on-base percentage was .398, 25 points higher respectively for each stat from 2004 to last year, when he hit leadoff.

Boras goes on to point out that in the last two years, Damon advanced from first base to scoring position an average of 172 times. Jeter did it just 115 times. And Chuck Knoblauch, the leadoff hitter from 1998-2001 while Jeter hit No. 2? He advanced an average of 151 times.
Yankees manager Brian Cashman was not initially wowed by the information.

“I cannot agree that Jeter is better hitting second rather than first, because he does both very well,” Cashman said in an e-mail yesterday.
Damned right, Brian. Essentially, Jeter is essentially the same hitter (minus some natural aberrations) hitting first or second.

What's the most important attribute for a leadoff hitter? Easily, it's the ability to get on base. Let's take a look at who gets on base - or sets the table better. We'll focus strictly on the last 4 seasons since Damon has been in Boston:


Jeter has a clear advantage. Speed? Damon may swipe a few more bags, but he's aging and speed is usually the first thing to go, Jeter relies more on getting good jumps on steals, and the Yankees don't need a stolen base guy in the lineup lineup. Their career SB% is nearly identical, and as anyone who reads this space often knows, I'm not a big fan of the stolen base anyway.

As for the first to third nonsense? Please. You're talking about a guy who plays in Fenway Park, where balls rattle and the right field fence is shaped like the letter W. It's an apples to oranges comparison.

Also - and I wish there werre a place I knew of where I could verify this statistically - I'l bet Damon got thrown out a lot more going first-to-third, because Dale Sveum never stops anyone. If anyone knows of a place that lists how many times a player was thrown out extending, please let me know (I don't yet have my copies of the 2006 Hardball Times Annual which has an excellent stat called "Incremental Run Percentage" or Bill James Handbook for 2006 which has first to third percentage).


Anyway, the whole point here is as follows:
  • If the Yankees sign Damon, he's not the best leadoff hitter on the team
  • Boras is trying to confuse the Yankees with guile and gorilla dust
  • Cashman isn't biting on that crazy demand
  • The asking price on Damon is way too high
  • His defense is slipping as well
  • Let Boston have him

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:11 PM   0 comments







Mike Lupica is a Jackass: Chapter Four

Lupica's back again with more slanted bufoonery.

Bat on shoulders as rest swing away

The Yankees once won nine World Series in 10 tries with Joe DiMaggio as their center fielder. After DiMaggio came Mickey Mantle. When the Yankees made it back to the Series in the late '70s, Mickey Rivers played center, and before he started to fade, Mick the Quick was some tough out at leadoff, and some player. Finally, in this generation, it was Bernie Williams in center as the Yankees won four World Series in five years. Bernie was such a champ in center, for such a long run, the Yankees apparently decided he would be out there forever.

Hey what about Whitey Whit? Or for that matter, since we're talking about great Yankee centerfielders, why no mention of Hall of Famer Earle Combs, he of the three rings and life time .325/.397/.452? Oh, you've probably never heard of him and were too busy trying to justify Mickey Rivers as a great centerfielder. Rivers of the two championships. And when did he start to fade? Because in 1978 (his second championship year) his stats were at best mediocre (.265 /.302 /.397). He played six more years after that and only once in those years were his numbers as poor as in 1978. He only played in New York for 3 1/2 years.

What I'm trying to say, Mike, is that I see what you're trying to say: the Yankees have had a number of very good centerfielders in their history. You're just doing a piss-poor job of explaining that.

It is not just any piece of real estate, center field at Yankee Stadium. But that is what it became in 2005. We saw a fading Bernie, Bubba Crosby, Tony Womack, Melky Cabrera and Hideki Matsui. Matsui was the best of the lot, but only because he looked a lot more solid in center last season than he did in left.

Really, it is just a centerfield. Just because great players played there before doesn't mean you need "this generation's Joe DiMaggio" out there just to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Now there is no one in center field for the Yankees. Imagine that prime piece of real estate with a "Help Wanted" sign where DiMaggio and Mantle used to be.

Yes, the Yankees are looking for a centerfielder. It's November. The winter meetings haven't even come yet. A couple of years ago there was a "Help Wanted" sign at first base, where Gehrig and Foxx and Bauer and Mattingly used to play. There was a "Help Wanted" sign in 1996 where Elston Howard, Thurman Munson, Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey used to play. In fact, the Yankees have had a history of great catchers in the World Series. Why no outcry when they signed Joe Girardi in 1996?

If the season started tomorrow, Bubba Crosby would be the starting center fielder on a team still more expensive than the last two World Series champs combined. So you have to say that it is a lucky thing for the Yankees that the season doesn't start tomorrow.

Your Mets don't have a catcher. If the season started today, Ramon Castro would be the starting catcher. Lucky thing for the Mets the season doesn't start tomorrow, huh? Wait, no, how is it "lucky" that the season doesn't start in November? Boy, the Yanks really dodged a bullet there, what a bit of good luck that the regular season has been pushed back until March this time!

If you don't think Brian Cashman is changing the way the Yankees do business, right in front of our eyes, then you are not paying attention.

It is early in the baseball winter, for Cashman and the Yankees. For now, though, the Yankees get off to the same kind of start in the offseason that they did in the real season. Yankee fans can only hope that their team comes on strong at the end, after the Mets and the Red Sox - the only competition that matters in George Steinbrenner's universe - have stopped making headlines and deals.

Every year you bitch about how the "rich get richer" and how the "Yankees are trying to buy a championship." However over the past two seasons, Omar Minaya has overpaid for every free agent he can find (Pedro, Beltran, Wagner, taking on Delgado's bloated contract....)

"We've worn the winter crown for a long time," Cashman said yesterday morning. "Seriously, it seems like every year we're declared the champions of the winter. My goal is for us to be the champions next October."

Steinbrenner called then on the other line. Cashman said he would call back in a few minutes. When he did, he was asked how the old man was doing these days, with Josh Beckett to the Red Sox and Billy Wagner and Carlos Delgado to the Mets and even the Blue Jays making some noise with B.J. Ryan, indicating they think they can play with the big boys now in the AL East.

"(Steinbrenner) is just fine, thank you," Cashman said, and then he was talking again about all this activity with the Mets and Red Sox and nothing from the Yankees, at least so far.

"People say we're not doing anything," Cashman said. "I keep reminding them that the shaping of the 2006 Yankees, in my mind, began in May of '05."

He means after that Sunday game against Toronto when he decided to take Womack off second and put him in center for the time being, and give the kid, Robinson Cano, a chance at second. That was also the week when Chien-Ming Wang got his first start.

Yes, trying to build a team sometimes takes more than from the last out of the World Series until when you think the season should start, which is apparently November 30th.

"This thing wasn't working," Cashman said yesterday morning, which is the same thing he said to Joe Torre last May when they decided to shake things up.

After that the Yankees didn't make a big trading deadline move. They stuck with Cano, who started to hit like a young star. Wang became a solid starter, got hurt, came back. Aaron Small came out of nowhere. So did Shawn Chacon. The '05 Yankees got fixed, on the fly, with small moves instead of big money.

So why are you criticizing everything?

Cashman decided things had to change with the Yankees, that they couldn't just keep throwing money at aging stars, that they had tried that for five seasons and a billion dollars in payroll and taxes and hadn't won a World Series.

Besides, that job is now taken by Minaya and Ricciardi.

"You know what my goal is?" Cashman said. "To get better with a younger team and a smaller payroll."

It will be interesting to see if he sticks to his guns on this if Johnny Damon is still out there in a week or two, or even a month. The Red Sox are offering Damon three years, somewhere shy of $30 million. Scott Boras, agent to the stars, thinks he can get Damon five years at least, especially if B.J. Ryan is getting five years from the Blue Jays and Wagner effectively has five years with the Mets.

BJ Ryan is 29 years old. When his contract expires, he will be as old as Billy Wagner is today. What does any of that have to do with Damon, an aging centerfielder whose defense has slipped in past years getting a 5-year contract? Was Ryan overpaid? Yes. Was Wagner signed for too long by your good pal Omar? You betcha. Would a Damon 5-year contract be even stupider? Of course.

It is also fair to wonder what would happen to this sudden fiscal sanity at Yankee Stadium if Carlos Beltran were out there this winter instead of last winter. The Yankees didn't want Beltran at $100 million last year, less than the Mets paid. Omar Minaya grabbed Beltran knowing this year's free agent market was going to
be thin.


If Beltran were out there this year, he wouldn't command nearly as much since Minaya overpaid for him based on a hot October, and his desire to compile the All-Latin All-Star team.

Maybe the Yankees were smart to pass. Or maybe he would have hit like a star with Jeter in front of him and A-Rod and Sheffield and Giambi and Matsui behind him. Maybe Beltran will come back big this season and again look like somebody who would have solved a lot of problems for Cashman's baseball team for the next 10 years.

Well he certainly didn't hit like a star in Shea.

"Right now, it's a good market for other teams to fill their needs," Cashman said, "and a bad market for the Yankees."

"But," Brian Cashman said, "it's early."

The availability of the two pressing needs on the Yanks - CF and bullpen - have both had problems. There effectively ae no centerfielders except through trades. The bullpen arms have mostly been overpaid, signed early with other teams for personal reasons, or were waiting for the big moves of Ryan and Wagner. It is early. The trade market should heat up at the winter meetings.

Early in the offseason, sure. But a little late for the Yankees to have noticed Bernie was looking older than the monuments. A little late to start thinking about a replacement. The New York Yankees don't have a center fielder. It is big news until they do. Help wanted.

The Yankees noticed this in 2003. They signed Kenny Lofton. Torre played Bernie anyway. They noticed it in 2005. They brought up Cabrera. They moved Matsui to CF. Torre played Bernie anyway. Don't put this all on Cashman, you jackass.

Originally published on November 29, 2005

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 8:58 AM   2 comments







 

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Good News, Everyone!


Kyle Farnsworth is a Yankee.

3 years / $17M.

Press conference to be announced.

Thanks to Lupe again for the scoop.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:27 PM   2 comments







Blue Jays Open Money Bin

The insanity continues.

Ricciardi is looking for another high-ranking officer/free-agent, making a five-year, $55-million offer to outfielder Brian Giles. The 34-year-old left-handed hitter batted .301 this season with 15 homers and 83 RBIs in 158 games for the San Diego Padres.

5 years for Giles? Really? He's 34 years old.. the Blue Jays are bidding against themselves again, just like they did with BJ Ryan. Well I suppose this will show whether Giles is after:
  • Location (Dodgers)
  • Money (Jays)
  • Winning (Yankees/Cardinals)


Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi
Thanks to Lupe for the heads up on this story.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 9:56 AM   2 comments







Hold Me Closer, Tony Danza

Joe Torre appeared on the #1 rated smash television show "The Tony Danza Show" this morning and put the kibosh on the rumored "Jeter/A-Rod to CF" experiment.

He said it's not going to happen and that he told the Reuters reporter that Mariano Rivera also could play centerfield but the writer conveniently left that out of the story and made a much bigger story out of it than there was, and felt the writer was fishing for quotes to support his story idea.

Just as I was starting to come around on the whole Jeter in CF thing by looking at the available SS/3B and comparing that to the available CF, too.

In celebration of another groundbreaking bit of sports journalism by Anthony Danza, below is a tribute to his years of hard work:







posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 7:48 AM   6 comments







 

Monday, November 28, 2005

More 'Pen Madness

From Newsday:

Kyle Farnsworth's agent, Barry Meister, guessed yesterday that his client will agree to a new contract this week, and the Yankees have expressed interest in him. "We've shared our parameters of a deal with them," he said, "and they've shared their thoughts with us."

Tom Gordon's goal of a three-year deal is gaining steam. The Phillies and Orioles have shown the most interest in him and the Yankees haven't budged from their two-year, $10-million offer. They might have to in order to keep him after the Cubs gave three-year deals to setup men Bobby Howry ($12 million) and Scott Eyre ($11.3 million).

According to WFAN, the Yankees offered Farnsworth a 3Y/$15M contract yesterday.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:31 PM   0 comments







Jeter or A-Rod to play CF?

Well, according to Reuters, Torre is considering moving either Jeter or A-Rod to CF for 2006. Could this just be lip service to downplay the need for a CF (like Cashman's "we can go with Bubba" statement)?

The oddest quote:

New York manager Torre said he has considered the merits of converting either Jeter or Rodriguez, who has been playing third base since joining the Yankees, but has not raised the subject with either of his star players.

"We've thought about it," Torre said in an interview with Reuters on Monday.

"We just haven't made a commitment to that. We haven't broached it with the shortstops."

Uh, the "shortstops"? I don't think I've ever heard Torre use that phrase to desrcribe Rodriguez and Jeter. A-Rod has also said that he doubts he could jump back to short with his added bulk, much less centerfield. Maybe Nomar at third to complete the trinity?

It's an interesting scenerio, but I honestly can't imagine Torre asking his 2 time defending gold glove shortstop and captain to move to center.

My guess is this is just a smokescreen. Yes, it's fascinating, but what happens if Jeter can't handle CF? What situation has been created then? While I think Jeter could handle it, it's a huge risk and it would be very difficult to replace the offensive production the Yankees have been getting from the left side of the infield. I can't imagine them signing Furcal as a replacement SS.

This issue (Jeter to CF) has been a hot topic on blogs and messageboards ever since the Yankees acquired Rodriguez. I've never taken a strong stand on the issue, and I'm still not convinced. To me it's theory vs. reality. In theory, Jeter could plug the CF hole, and the Yankees would have the option of acquiring either a SS or 3B to replace him in the infield (Mueller, Garciaparra, etc) until perhaps Eric Duncan is ML ready (even though he's projected to be a 1B and not 3B at this point). However the risk - having your marquee player fail miserably at a new position - to me at this point overrides the reward. The reality of the situation is there is a potential disaster, much more so than a Michaels/Giles/Matsui/Wilkerson in CF. The idea is great for a fantasy team or in MVP 2005, but in reality I just see it as too big of a potential risk.

However, the article was written by this guy:

so take it as you will.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 10:07 PM   0 comments







Matsui to Stick with Porn, For Time Being

Well, at least he's got his tapes to fall back on.

Hideki Matsui is denying Japanese newpaper reports that he's engaged to Japanese actress Naho Toda:

"I have the pleasure of being a close friend of Miss Toda, who is a respectable and wonderful person," Matsui, 31, said in a statement. Toda has gone back and forth to the U.S. to meet Matsui several times this year, and the pair went on a holiday to Paris.


Well, she's cute anyway. Maybe though Matsui has learned a thing or two about dating/not marrying actress from his Captain.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 4:20 PM   0 comments







Making a List, Checking it Twice



Well, Brian Cashman's holiday shopping list has been pared down a bit:




Dear Santa,
Please bring me the following:

BJ Ryan (didn't want to set up)
Bobby Howry (too expensive)
Scott Eyre (wanted the NL)
Aaron Rowand (traded elsewhere)
Tom Gordon
Kyle Farnsworth
Brad Wilkerson
Jason Michaels
Brian Giles

I have been a very good boy this year and haven't thrown away the future.

Love,
Brian C.
Ryan was completely overpaid by the Blue Jays. After only one year of closing he's given the biggest contract for a reliever, ever? It's understandable the Eyre wanted to stay in the NL,
and Howry was overwhelmed by the Cubs' ridiculous offer.

So who's left? It's time to start investigating the health of Octavio Dotel and explore an incentive-laden contract. Braden Looper is still available, and he might not be bad in a 7th/8th inning role. Farnsworth is the cream of the crop as far as what's left. Mike Myers is probably the best lefty of the FA crop. If Gordon can drop his insistence that his contract run until he's 50 and would accept the Yankee deal as it is, that would be fine as well.

The good news in all of this is that the Padres and Giles have broken off talks and the Yankees are ready to move in. However, St. Louis and Toronto are also believed to be interested. St. Louis is understandably a worth rival for his services, but with the free spending (!) Blue Jays in the hunt, they could either overwhelm Giles or drive up his price. They're expected to make huge offers to Giles and Burnett this week.

Stick to your guns, Cash. The only FA remotely worth overpaying for is Giles. There are arms in Columbus to help in the pen if there's no way to fill it via free agency (welcome to the bullpen, Mr. Smith.)

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 7:50 AM   4 comments







 

Sunday, November 27, 2005

It's Amazing What a Little Journalistic Integrity Can Do

Two takes on the Beckett trade and what to expect from him.

One is by Ken Davidoff of Newsday who actually looks at statistics and history.

The other is by Larry Luccino's personal shill Dan Shaughnessy, who ignores statistics and declares Beckett the second coming of Clemens. So much so that the Sox should give him Clemens' unoffically retired #21.

I will let you pick out which is which.

There will be a new sheriff in town when the Red Sox hit Fort Myers in February. He's a big, strong Texan, he grew up worshipping Clemens, and he's already beaten the Yankees in the World Series. He's even a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. Beckett is 21-worthy, no doubt about it.

Fortunately for Red Sox fans, Boston had the cash and the prospects to land Beckett, a 25-year-old stud righty. An heir to Clemens.

There he is, ladies and gentlemen, your new stopper. The torch has been passed from Clemens to Pedro to Schilling to Beckett. Time to pass along No. 21 now.

And now the other guy:
Maybe this is just the Thanksgiving gastronomic hangover talking, but common sense says Beckett is anything but a guarantee to become Boston's next ace. Surely, if even a half-wit like myself can take note of some simple realities, then Red Sox president/evil genius Larry Lucchino and his committee of non-general managers can do the same.

1. Personal history. Beckett has four full major-league seasons on his resume, and not once has he reached 30 games started or 200 innings pitched. Surely you've heard by now of his nine - nine! - disabled-list visits the past four years.

It's true that Beckett set career highs in starts (29), innings (178 2/3), victories (15) and strikeouts (166) in 2005. It's also true that he had shoulder problems in August and September. There are guys who miss time and guys who don't, and Beckett, so far, very much falls into the former category.

2. National League to American League transition. Clement and Randy Johnson were the 2005 transfers who had their ERAs shoot up and their strikeouts plummet thanks to the designated hitter, and Carl Pavano found the AL so intimidating that he entered the witness-protection program. Previous victims include Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez. Shoot, Beckett's road ERA was 4.31, compared with 2.47 at cozy Dolphins Stadium.

3. The notion of "getting younger." So many teams fall into the trap of wanting to add youth to their starting rotations, and it has been an especially prevalent issue among the Yankees and Red Sox.

Young outsiders simply have not done well when catapulted into this high-pressure environment. Think of Clement, Vazquez, Jeff Weaver and, yes, the man who thought the term "All-Star break" meant the entire second half, Pavano.


Oh yes. Let's not forget that Shaughnessy laughed at the Yankees overpaying for a ".500 pitcher from Florida" last year.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:57 PM   5 comments







 

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Wells to return to Padres

Nothing official yet, but a highly respected source with close knowledge of one of the teams involved in the transaction has confirmed that the Padres and Red Sox are working out the final touches on the deal. The Sox originally wanted Akinora Otsuka, but the Padres have declined to deal Otsuka or Scott Linebrink. They're working on minor leaguers now, although Sean Burroughs could be a possibility as well should he be willing to move to second. The Sox were interested in Mark Loretta, but the Padres would only move him if the Red Sox offered more than just Wells in return. The Beckett deal pushed this a bit on the back burner for the Red Sox but the deal is all but done pending a final decision by the Red Sox.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 1:55 PM   0 comments







Cashman: No Interest in Pavano deal

According to the Yankee GM, there willn likely not be a Carl Pavano trade this offseason:

Cashman said the Yankees had no interest in trading Pavano, even though he has three years remaining on a four-year, $39.95 million contract that looked like a waste of money last season. Pavano seemed uneasy with his surroundings in spring training, then went 4-6 with a 4.77 earned run average before the Yankees shut him down at midseason with a shoulder injury.

"We signed him for a reason," Cashman said. "Carl Pavano didn't succeed in New York his first year because of an injury. Physically, he wasn't right. When he's physically healthy and ready to go, we expect to see the pitcher we signed."

Bear in mind, however, that is Cashman were shopping Pavano, he'd deny it anyway because if he doesn't find a deal he likes he hasn't further alienated a player, and when you make a statement that you're trading a guy the asking price goes way down.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 12:02 PM   0 comments







Possible White Sox deal in the works

Rumor out of Chicago is that Kenny Williams tried (unsuccessfully) to acquire Carlos Delgado or Gary Sheffield but is close to succeeding in landing Jim Thome.

Potential deal:
PHI get:
Aaron Rowand

CWS get:
Jim Thome

Those are just the major players in the deal. Prospects may be involved. Apparently this is a direct result of the Mets overwhelming the Marlins to acquire Delgado.

Again, it's still just speculation, so bear that in mind, but it's the hot rumor flying around the airwaves in Philly.

Personally, I would see this as a steal fo Philadelphia should it go down.

No link yet.

EDIT: ESPN has confirmed.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:16 AM   0 comments







Mike Lupica is a Jackass: Chapter Three

I knew - I just knew - Lupica would have a column about how great the Beckett trade was for Boston. I knew he'd say how terrible it is for the Yankees moreso than it's good for Boston, because he hates the Yankees more than he loves the Red Sox. So far I've only read the title, but let's explore the buffonery that is a Mike Lupica article.

Bosox trump Yanks with their new ace

Ah good. I knew you'd frame it this way. By the way, Beckett is not an "ace." He never has been anything more than an above average pitcher. He wasn't even the "ace" of his last team.

It looks like the Red Sox have hooked Josh Beckett.
From the time Josh Beckett made Game 6 of the World Series all about him, from the time he took on the Yankees and the Stadium and pitched one of the great closeout games in the history of the Series, the Yankees have wanted somebody exactly like him. They have wanted a big, strong, tough, young guy who could stand there and do everything except dare you to hit his fastball.

Beckett's game went right in with everything after Don Larsen, especially when you consider the circumstances and the stakes. Sandy Koufax struck out more guys against the Yankees in 1963 and Jim Lonborg pitched a one-hitter in '67 and Andy Pettitte beat the Braves 1-0 and Johnny Podres was 2-0 against the Yankees in his own closeout game in '55. And there was Bob Gibson in '67, and Blackjack Morris in Game 7 in '91. There have been others in the grouping after Larsen.

I know he's a Yankee now, but Randy Johnson single handedly beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series, so I know there's no need for you to give him any sort of credit. Yes, in a limited sample size, Beckett has been good in the post season. He's been very good. Blackjack Morris? Was Jack Morris ever given this nickname? Not really. You do a Google search and there are about 3 or 4 hits referring to the former pitcher, most on blog and journal sites. You're probably thinking of Jack McDowell, Mike. But I'll give you a pass on that one.

Beckett will be remembered with any of them, even if he gave up five hits that night. Because the Yankees never had a chance.

How did they never have a chance? Pettitte and Rivera combined for 1 ER in 9 innings. In fact, the only Yankee you'll ever praise (Jeter) made a critical error that led to that unearned run. 2-0 is not "never having a chance." 8-0? Sure.

It was two years ago. Everybody still talks about the high fastball he threw past Derek Jeter late in the game, one Jeter still hasn't seen.

I have not heard anyone mention or talk about this since 2003. I must not know everybody.

The Yankees went out and got Javier Vazquez the next year from Montreal and he was going to be their Beckett, a horse who would go for years. He lasted one. So they went after one of Beckett's teammates, Carl Pavano, who was supposed to be the next best thing, even if he had only had one good year as a starter in his life. They got Jaret Wright out of Atlanta, because he looked tough, too. And they got Randy Johnson to be a geriatric version of what Beckett had been in Game 6, even if Johnson was about twice Beckett's age.

Vazquez wasn't supposed to be "their Beckett." He was supposed to be a young pitcher without injury problems who could throw 200 innings per year with a respectable ERA and high strikeout totals. Nobody expects 200 innings from Beckett. Pavano was the best available free agent by all accounts, and the Yankees needed pitching. Does anyone remember that when the Yankees signed Pavano and Lupica went on a rant, he was advocating Sammy Sosa for his beloved Mets:
"If the debate is Sosa or Floyd, there is no debate. I would rather have Sosa in a Mets uniform than Cliff Floyd any day of the week. I would rather have his bat in the Mets' lineup than Mike Piazza's, off what we saw from Piazza last season. I would rather have Sosa than Shawn Green." - Mike Lupica, November 14, 2004.
Piazza OPS: .778
Floyd OPS: .863
Green OPS: .832
Sosa OPS: .671.
.671. In the American League. In a hitter's park.
Yep, there's the guy we should listen to for player advice and predictions!
Anyway, I digress.

I said to Brian Cashman one time, "You guys still haven't ever had a Beckett." He said, "We don't draft high enough to get one. Then by the time they've turned into a Beckett, they're not available."

Josh Beckett finally became available the past couple of weeks. The Red Sox grabbed him.

They had to take a fading Mike Lowell along with Beckett. They had to give up Hanley Ramirez, whom some people think is the best shortstop prospect in anybody's system right now. Doesn't matter. The Yankees got clipped. Two years this month from when the Red Sox grabbed Curt Schilling, they grab Beckett. A 25-year-old Schilling this time.

I don't know who "some people" are, but I do know it's not the Red Sox. Ramirez was supposed to be the heir apparant to Nomar. Then they traded him, and Cabrera was supposed to be the stopgap. So they promote their big shortstop prosspect, right? No, they sign Edgar RenterE6 for four years, completely blocking Ramirez. They didn't even have him try and learn a new position, like third base. It doesn't look to me like the Sox thought much of Ramirez.

As for a "25-year old Schilling" he's only had one outstanding season (2003). His ERA+ that year was 132. Jason Schmidt led the NL that year with a 183. It was the first time in 5 years that Randy Johnson - who you repeatedly claim is worse than Beckett - didn't lead the NL (he lost significant time to injury that year). Schilling has never led the league, even in all of those years with Johnson on the same team. Neither has Beckett. In his best season, he didn't even crack the top 10.

There are reasons why this happened. There are more pressing needs Cashman needs to fill. Beckett is still better than any starting pitcher Cashman has. In the game that is always being played between the Yankees and the Red Sox, even after they have both gone out in the first round, the Red Sox score first, and they score big.

Statistics say Beckett is not better than any starting pitcher that Cashman has. I know you hate statistics though.

The Red Sox don't go for a knockoff Beckett like Pavano. They hold onto Jon Lester, the lefthander who is supposed to be an even better arm than either Jon Papelbon or Craig Hansen, the St. John's kid. They do this even though the Rangers thought they had the inside track on Beckett by offering some of their prospects, plus their terrific young third baseman, Hank Blalock.

The Red Sox wanted Pavano badly last offseason. Matt Clement was Plan B.

Also, Blalock has only been good at home. On the road last year, he hit .231 BA, .276 OBP, .335 SLG, .611 OPS.

That's certainly a lot closer to "terrible" than "terrific." Mike Lowell' OPS was .658. Tony Womack's OPS was .556. Blalock has been essentially the average of the two.


The Yankees were never really involved with Beckett, for whom they have lusted for two full seasons. They didn't want to take on Lowell, a third baseman they don't need, one who fell to .236 and eight home runs last season and is owed $18 million over the next two seasons. And they can tell themselves that they made their amazing run from 11-19 to 95 victories and a tie for first in the AL East with a rotation that included these seven starters, all of whom are still under contract:

Johnson, Pavano, Wright, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Shawn Chacon, Aaron Small.

"I believe that from June on, we had the best record in baseball," Cashman said yesterday. "Am I comfortable going into next season with a rotation that will include five of those guys? Yeah, I am."

First of all, they won the division, they didn't tie. Yes, the records ere the same, but do you honestly think if that Sunday game mattered that Torre would have rested regulars and tarted Jaret Wright? Also I'm pretty sure that you can get a pretty decent starting staff out of five of those guys.

Cashman still has to find a center fielder. He is still looking for a bullpen, because after Mo Rivera and Tanyon Sturtze, he has no bullpen. Johnny Damon is out there as a free agent, but not at the ridiculous prices Scott Boras is talking about, and not for five-to-seven years. The Yankees like Brian Giles but not, Cashman says now, as a center fielder, more as a fourth outfielder and DH.

OK, OK, hold the phone. YOU were the one that was saying Giles was going to be a centerfielder, NOT Cashman. Cash and Torre in fact seemed to prefer Matsui in CF to Giles (though given the choice I'd go ith Giles). However: you've still got it wrong. You honestly think Cashman is exploring signing the best hitter available (yes, I'm including Konerko) to be... a 4th outfielder??!!? You think they're planning on giving Giles the "Ruben Sierra role" of 4th OF and part time DH?!? Sheffield in right, Giles on the bench or at DH on a dialy basis?

Lupica, you've done it. This is officially the most asinine thing you've ever come up with. Congratulations!


Who knows, maybe in the old days - last winter - Cashman would have taken on Lowell's contract, even without a place to play him, just to get Beckett. He didn't bite this time. So the Yankees were never really in play here, probably wouldn't have been even if they had been willing to move Wang and Robinson Cano, something Cashman is not inclined to do at this time.

No, last winter Cash stated he wasn't trading his top prospects either.

For now, he holds onto the few prospects he has, especially now that they are more than prospects. Maybe this really will be a baseball winter when other teams lead the league in headlines. And of course this could all change fast, because these are Steinbrenner's Yankees, and the old man is probably twitchy right now that the Red Sox have Beckett and he doesn't.

"We have other needs," Cashman kept saying yesterday.

Maybe those needs wouldn't seem so pressing if Johnson, the lefty geezer version of Beckett, hadn't gotten bounced all over the Stadium and finally booed out of the place in Game 3 against the Angels, the game he was hired to win. Maybe one of these days, in a game the Yankees absolutely have to have, a Yankee will do to somebody else what Beckett did to them.

It's amazing that you're calling Johnson the "lefty geezer verision" of Beckett. You've already aid Beckett is the better pitcher. Their 2005 ERA+ was nearly identical (117 v. 119). Johnson pictched 225 innings to Beckett's 178. Johnson's WHIP: 1.13. Beckett: 1.19. Johnson: 211 Ks. Beckett: 168. And remember this season was a "disaster" for the Big Unit. Let's not even go back to 2004 where Johnson's 171 ERA+ dwarfs Beckett's 108 (barely above average). It's a disservice to Johnson to compare him to such an inferior pitcher, and it's ridiculous to call Beckett better than anyone on the Yankee staff.

Before Beckett does it to them again.

Let's hope he keeps clear of those blisters.

Jackass.

Originally published on November 23, 2005

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 8:45 AM   2 comments







 

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gone Fishin'

Apparently the Marlins offers to the Yankees (all declined) were as follows:

NYY: Wang + Cano for FLA: Beckett + Lowell
NYY: Wang + Duncan + B prospect for FLA: Beckett + Lowell
NYY: Wang + Cano + Duncan + B prospect for FLA: Beckett + Lowell + Luis Castillo + Juan Pierre

It seems Brian Cashman was serious when he stated he wouldn't trade Cano, Wang, Duncan or Hughes and also that he had no interest in Juan Pierre.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 1:56 PM   2 comments







Like I Blister in the Sun

Well the Red Sox pulled off their big off season move yesterday, acquiring Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell for their 3rd or 4th best pitching prospect (Anibal Sanchez), a shortstop prospect (Hanley Ramirez) they were so high on that post-Nomar they've had 2 shortstops and signed the most recent (Edgar RenterE6) to a four year contract, and a player to be named later (probably the same basket of baseballs they sent to Arizona for Curt Schilling).

Obviously if you're a Sox Asst. GM, you make this move. Especially as an Asst. GM who can point to the immediate success vs. prospect development, but this move was a no-brainer.

What I don't understand is - couldn't Florida have gotten more for Beckett and Lowell? Even the failed deal with the Rangers seemed like there was more value in return. With teams (supposedly) preparing to offer AJ Burnett 5 yrs. at $12M per, and the lack of free agent starters.... well you'd just think that there would have been a bigger market for Beckett.

There are probably more examples out there, but you get the idea. So yes, the trade was a no-brainer for the Sox and yes, it's a good deal for them. However, it's probably not as good of a deal as ESPN and the Boston sports writers would have you believe. Beckett had a fantastic 2003 (ERA+ of 132) but in all of his other full seasons has simply been good, not great. To call him an "Ace" would be disingenuous, but check the Boston media over the next few weeks. He'll be touted as the best pitcher in baseball history since Curt Schilling (the Boston media likes to forget about players like Clemens and Pedro who have moved on with their lives).

Really, there are only two concerns about Beckett - his health and his head. Nobody questions his ability, but he's yet to throw 200 innings in a year and yet to have that "breakout season" everyone expects from him. His talent and potential is too good to ignore, but I think before he's anointed the "next Roger Clemens" there are some things to keep in mind about his health. He's been on the DL 9 times. Nine. And he's only 25 years old. Most of the stints have been blister related, but he's had elbow trouble and back trouble as well. I've seen some ridiculous theories thrown around by Sox fans the last 2 days looking through rosy glasses about how either "Beckett is at the age where blisters go away" or "the cold weather in Boston will prevent blisters." The bottom line on Beckett's health is that yes, he was on the DL 9 times, but there are plenty of times he'd miss a start without going on the DL for that recurring blister issue - age and cold aren't going to magically stop that. Also Boston isn't exactly chilly in the summer.

As for his head.. well, I'll let the articles speak for themselves:
  • Routinely valued his own stats over his coaches and teammates:
    Like right-hander Josh Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP who was often more obsessed with his own statistics than the greater good of the team.

    After coming out of a start against the Braves in September, Beckett was stewing over a hit that had been credited to Rafael Furcal.

    If Furcal had reached on an error, Beckett would have gotten a quality start. Sitting in the dugout, Beckett demanded Rosenthal call the press box — during the game — and persuade the official scorer to change the call to an error. (Never mind how many plays shortstop Alex Gonzalez had made for Beckett all year.)

    Rosenthal refused, so Beckett called the press box himself, then bad-mouthed the pitching coach to his teammates.
  • He threw his team trainer under the bus:
    The message awaiting Marlins players on a clubhouse board Tuesday read as follows: "To Whom It May Concern, Leave your egos at the door. JM. We won last year with 25 playing as a team." McKeon's edict was likely in response to Josh Beckett slamming a Marlins trainer and A.J. Burnett taking a jab at the front office Monday. Still steamed over getting placed on the disabled list immediately after a blister forced him out of Sunday's game, Beckett used the terms "jackass" and "idiot" to describe a team trainer.
  • Beckett pissed off his veteran teammates:
    During these playoffs, McKeon lit into one player who arrived a half-hour late for a team flight, then through curses told him to stick the cell phone he was talking on up his, well, you know. And Josh Beckett's overt arrogance has resulted in teammate Mike Mordecai angrily

    dumping a basket of baseball in Beckett's locker after Beckett didn't help pick up balls after batting practice. (editor's note: Wait, when did the D'Backs trade that basket to the Marlins?)
Enjoy your new idiot, Tito. He should fit right in.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 8:38 AM   1 comments







 

Monday, November 21, 2005

Gammons: Yankees in on Delgado

Just a quick thought about Peter Gammons' assertation that the Yankees may be interested in Florida's high priced first baseman:

"So to clear payroll and make it possible to sign Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to long-term contracts, sources indicate that Florida is deep in trade discussions involving Josh Beckett and Carlos Delgado.

The three teams interested in Delgado are the Orioles, Mets and Yankees."

Now I can see the Orioles making this kind of move. Delgado is the type of player they're notorious for picking up (past his prime, overpaid) and they need a first baseman. Ditto the Mets, not to mention Omar Minaya's love afair with all latin players.

The Yankees? I really can't see a fit. A lefthanded, defensively deficient slugger in a platoon at first with Giambi? A fulltime DH that means that Sheffield has to play the field every day?

No. Doesn't make sense. Now usually I'm not the biggest fan of Gammons (moreso even his "opinions" than his rumors) and I could see the Yankees interested in Delgado. What team needs a first baseman, had some cash and an (apparantly) expendible centerfielder?

Carl Pavano + B prospect to Florida
Carlos Delgado + cash to the White Sox
Damaso Marte and Aaron Rowand to the Yankees

It could happen. The Sox get the slugger they need to replace Konerko and Thomas. Florida gets a bunch of payroll relief and Pavano helps fill the void of Beckett. The Yankees get a left handed reliever and a centerfielder. The Sox don't do this themselves because they get cash to help offset Delgado's contract.

Go ahead, show me where that doesn't make sense for everyone.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 2:10 PM   8 comments







Completely Non-Baseball related post

Not much really going on in the Yankee world that hasn't already been mentioned, and I'm withholding comment on the impending Floridian Firesale for now.

However I thought I'd share a theory I've had about workplaces and coworkers that happened to come up today in passing.

My theory is this: you can break down almost all of your coworkers into 4 archetypes, all based off of characters in the Wizard of Oz.

  • Scarecrow: This is one of the most common types of your coworkers. Essentially, they lack a brain. They're usually put into positions that require innovation and people skills. They can be gregarious and friendly (though they needn't always be) but the fact that simple logic escapes them frustrates everyone else. Most commonly found (inexplicably) in middle management.
  • Tin Man: These people lack a heart. The bottom line (their own) is their only motivation. They are spurred on by nothing more than their own self interests, and have no care for coworkers, the long term of the business, or their customers. Most often these people are in upper management.
  • Cowardly Lion: They're afraid to get ahead. They're constantly walking around in fear of losing their jobs, at which they probably would do much better if they showed a little initiative, spoke up in meetings and let their ideas be heard. Lower level employees and low level supervisors are often this archtype.
  • Dorothy: I'm a Dorothy. Chances are good that you're probably a Dorothy as well. More than anything else, we just want to go home.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 12:32 PM   2 comments







 

Friday, November 18, 2005

Mike Lupica is a Jackass: Chapter Two

Guess who's back with another asinine column? Why it's New York's Premeire Sports Writer™, that's who!
Yank focus way off center

They can do better than Giles

Awesome. We're not even through the headline and already I'm convinced Lupica has no idea what he's talking about. This could be fun.

There is no more glamorous piece of real estate in all of sports, not one, than center field at Yankee Stadium. It belonged to Joe DiMaggio once, and Mickey Mantle. For a long, proud, classy run, that real estate has belonged to Bernie Williams. Now we read and hear that Williams' successor out there might be Brian Giles of the Padres. We hear that the Yankees have searched far and wide and that Giles just might be their man. If that is true, they need another search committee.

Yes, Giles may be a stopgap in center. However, there aren't a lot of good centerfielders available, Mike. How about you list some? Juan Pierre? You want to do the Cano-for-Hunter swap? And yes, the Yankees have had a lot of great centerfielders. They've also had a lot of crappy centerfielders. Besides, who says Giles has to play center? Torre said he may play Matsui in center, and Cash said he may play Bubba Crosby in center. Signing Giles doesn't change either of those. Hopefully it lets Sheffield DH.

Giles is a tough out, and a gamer. He had some big years for bad Pirates teams once. There was a season when he played 108 games in center field for the Pirates, even though this would be difficult to prove, since nobody has actually seen the Pirates in years.

Oh ho, you got us there. Discount those games in center because you didn't see the Pirates.

Brian Giles' last big year with the bat was 2002, when he hit 38 home runs and knocked in 103. Last year he hit 15 home runs for the Padres, in 158 games and 545 at-bats. That is a lot of home runs to misplace in just three years, even playing half his games in that new ballpark in San Diego.

No it isn't. If a guy's HR rates go up if he's traded to the Rockies, you'd be the first to blame park factors. My guess though is if you don't know a lot about the Pirates, you probably aren't an expert on the Padres or their stadium either. Besides, why are you just picking home runs? There are far more important stats.. OBP, SLG, OPS... Yes, his HR totals dipped slightly, but when you play in a park like that even on the road expect home run totals to dip a bit because you're not playing long ball. It's difficult to adjust your approach depending on where you are. You know though? That's my opinion. Why don't I instead provide you with some facts:
Giles' OPS+ since 1999 (his first qualifying season):
1999: 157
2000: 158
2001: 153
2002: 173
2003: 148
2004: 126
2005: 148

Except for 2 aberrations (a monster 2002 and a sub par for his standards but still very acceptable 2004) his numbers aren't all that different. But yes. His home run totals went down. Continue.


But it is all around that the Yankees are so sweet on Giles that Joe Torre wants to recruit him, and that the team is prepared to pay him the rather insane amount of $33 million over the next three seasons.

How is that an "insane amount"? $11M per for one of the best hitters in baseball? Ok, I'm about to throw some "crazy stats" at you, Mike. Ones I'm sure you've never heard of, such as WSAB (Win Shares above bench). If you take Giles 23 Win Shares (according to the Bill James Handbook) and then calculate them vs. how much players on average make per win generated for their team (I could go into a long discussion explaining how all of this works, but that would be an article in and of itself. If you're interested, Hardball Times is a good starting place) you'd see that $11M is cheap. The average FA made $1.3M per WSAB. A net share win value of $0 would mean you performed exactly up to your contract expectation. Giles in 2005 had a net win share value of $13,298,869, which when combined with his salary of $8,333,333 would equal a real world value of $21,632,202. Ok so James predicts a drop off in WSAB in 2006 for Giles to 18. Runnin the same figures, should Giles exactly match James' prediction, his net win shares would be $7,735,285 at a salary of $11M. How is a guy who is paid $11M per year but produces at a rate of $18,735,285 a bad investment?

Only around here does that make perfect sense. Giles is getting up there in years, he's already had the best years he's going to have in the big leagues, and he's expensive. Historically, that has made guys like him irresistible to the Yankees.

How much do you want to bet it makes sense to other teams as well? I mean the Padres offered him 3 years at $21M. The Padres. This is the team that never pays anyone. They offered him a cut in salary. It was a below market offer. I'll guarantee you Giles gets at minimum two other offers that match or beat $11M per for 3 or 4 years from other teams besides the Yankees.

Maybe Giles would come here and play a swell center field, be on base all the time. But to get this overheated this fast about a potential Yankee center fielder who's not even a center fielder - who's only played 36 games in center over the past four seasons - makes you wonder how different the new, user-friendly Yankee front office is from the old dysfunctional Yankee front office.

There is no guarantee Giles would play centerfield. Why is that stuck in your head? And do you offer up another viable solution? Corey Patterson?

I keep hearing that Torre really likes Giles. Why? And how much has he seen him lately? The last time Giles played in the American League was 1998, when he hit 16 home runs and knocked in 66 for the Indians. Whatever he was doing at the time sure must have rung the skipper's bell. That and whatever he saw of Giles on DirecTV last season.

Torre's probably seen as much of Giles as you have of the Pirates. Oh, by the way though, Torre isn't the general manager and isn't negotiating contracts. He calls the FA that he's asked to. The guy went golfing with Albert Belle to try and woo him, for crying out loud.

"He's a baseball player," a manager who has managed against Giles for a long time said yesterday.

Ok, this is one of my favorite quotes of all time. You hear it constantly to describe someone. It's supposed to be a compliment to the way the guy goes about his job. But you never hear "that guy John, who drives the bus? He's a bus driver. A real bus driver." But I digress.

"He can still hit and he'll walk a lot. But he's a right fielder. If he's not a right fielder, he's a left fielder. What he's not is a center fielder."

It is why this can't be the end of the star search.

We are only halfway through November. This is clearly a year when the trade market is better than the free agent market. The Yankees can't possibly have decided that Giles, who wasn't a regular center fielder in San Diego, is the best possible choice to be the next center fielder at the Stadium.

Again, please suggest something better, and please show where anyone has said Giles will be in CF.

Johnny Damon faded down the stretch for the Red Sox last season. After he hurt his shoulder, he made Bernie seem as if he had Vlad Guerrero's arm in comparison. And Damon still fits what the Yankees need - he's an actual leadoff man, for one thing - more than Giles ever could.

........ did I just get that right? You want Johnny Damon? You think Giles isn't worth $11M per for 3 years, but are ok with Damon's demand of $40/4 yrs? You say Giles is an "aging ballplayer whose best days are behind him and then you suggest... Johnny Damon? You think Johnny Damon is a "actual leadoff man?" The Yankees already have an actual leadoff man. His name is Derek Jeter. Damon's WSAB was 13 in 2005. He was worth $13.7M in real dollars. That's $8M less than Giles was worth.

Reportedly it's Giles' .423 on-base percentage that is one of the things making Torre and Brian Cashman weak at the knees. Is that all it takes to get big Yankee money now? Or maybe they have this idea that you can plug any decent outfielder into center at the Stadium these days. That's the kind of thinking that sent Tony Womack out there last season, for about 20 minutes, anyway.

.....again, what? You have a problem with Giles getting on base? And you know, if Womack had a .423 OBP, he'd still be playing OF for the Yankees on a daily basis and this would be a moot point.

The Yankees just overpaid Hideki Matsui. I like Matsui a lot. They still gave him too much money and too many years. Now there seems to be a pretty good chance that they might be ready to overpay Giles. The Yankees keep saying they are going to change when it comes to throwing money around. Maybe they can't.

They're not throwing it at bad players. A lot of money just came off the books. Would you trade Kevin Brown and Bernie Williams for Giles and Matsui if you also got and additional $6M per year in payroll of the books?

The Yankees need to get younger, they need to get faster, they need to move Derek Jeter back to No. 2 in the batting order. And they need a pure center fielder who can go get it. Giles is a solid player, an All-Star player once, a splashy hire for the Padres when they got him in 2003. But if you think he covers any of those Yankee needs, send up a flare.

If they need to get younger, why are you advocating Damon? Why does Jeter need to go back to the 2-hole? His production as a leadoff hitter has been outstanding. In fact, his numbers leading off are better than those in the 2 spot. No, he doesn't cover your listed "needs." However, those needs are irrelevant because you're a jackass. Giles was #3 in the NL in WSAB last year. Numbers 1 and 2? Pujols and Lee. I'd say that he's better than an "All-Star player once."

When you first heard the Yankees might be interested in Giles, the next thing you heard was that he might not want to come East, being a Southern California kid. At this point, Giles' agent, Joe Bick, nearly tore a rotator cuff reaching for the phone and telling anybody who would listen that this couldn't possibly be further from the truth. Bick is no fool, not when there is Yankee money on the table suddenly.

Always remember what another owner said once about that:

"There is Yankee money and then there is everybody else's."

Ok, I'll keep that in mind, chief!

Cashman has been saying for months that the Yankees can't just throw money at their problems anymore. He was still saying that when the Yankees were out of the playoffs and Aaron Rowand, the White Sox center fielder, was catching everything he saw in the ALCS and then in the World Series.

Another thing the Yankees say is that they want to cut payroll. Apparently what that means is they wait for old bad contracts to come off the books before they start offering new ones.

New contracts? Because a 3 year deal for a stud player isn't a bad contract.

My prediction anyway is that you're going to see Pavano as a Dodger and Bradley as a Yankee, or Pavano in a three team deal with Brad Wilkerson or Aaron Rowand as a Yankee.

In addition to Giles in RF.

You jackass.
Originally published on November 18, 2005

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 7:43 AM   0 comments







 

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Welcome Back, 'Sui

Well, it's not really breaking news, but Hideki Matsui is back in the Bronx. 4 years, $52M (that's a $13M per year average for the math challenged).

It's probably an overpayment for one of his ability, but the factors of a weak FA market and Japanese marketing of course came into play. Essentially, Cash gave Bernie's old contract to Matsui. It's obviously an upgrade and I'm glad to have Gojira back in stripes.



In other news, former two time Yankees megastars Luis Sojo and Roberto Kelly will be skippers in the World Baseball Classic, the sham even perpetrated upon us by Bud Selig this Spring. Sojo will take the reigns for Venezuela and Kelly will manage for Panama.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 6:53 PM   1 comments







 

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Pujols wins NL MVP

No quibble, really. In fact I had predicted it (5 out of 6, thank you) and always thought that although I would have voted for Lee, this was by far the closest call of all the awards. Pujols deserves it, although I think he got a bit of help because his team made the post season while Lee's didn't, and he had come in second twice in the MVP balloting.

Oh! but it wasn't close between the two of them. Lee finished third to Andruw Jones, who had the worst 50 HR season in ML history.

Let's look at the candidates:
Player A: .330 BA .430 OBP .609 SLG 1.039 OPS
Player B: .335 BA .418 OBP .662 SLG 1.080 OPS
Player C: .263 BA .347 OBP .575 SLG 0.922 OPS

Clearly, one of these things is not like the other. Now lets's look at less meaningful stats:
Player A: 41 HR 117 RBI
Player B: 46 HR 107 RBI
Player C: 51 HR 128 RBI

Player A is Pujols, B is Lee, and C is of course Jones. I suppose voters just looked at the second group of stats, figured he played CF and 1B, and voted for him. A lot of them had him first, ahead of both Pujols and Lee. Travesty. Jones had a Dave Kingman season. He wasn't even close to as good as the other two, and I suppose he also benefitted over Lee because his team won the division. He didn't exactly carry them there, though.

Here's a funny article about a Mike Celizic piece that cries about Jones not winning the MVP because he had a lot of HR and RBI and his team wasn't as good as the Cardinals.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 4:19 PM   0 comments







Mike Lupica is a Jackass: Chapter One


This used to be a regular segment on my old blog. I've been waiting for Lupica to post another asinine column where he shows his bias and complete lack of understanding for the game. Don't worry, Mike. I'll be keeping tabs and pointing out your idiocy so nobody misses anything by "New York's premier sports columnist!"

Yank greats & Alex a World apart

This is referring to which "Yank greats"? Babe Ruth? Lou Gehrig? Scott Brosius?

Alex Rodriguez is exactly what he was when the Yankees traded for him 21 months ago. He is their trophy third baseman, more of a trophy third baseman than ever now that he has won his second MVP award in three years. He is just not the trophy the Yankees had in mind.

He's an MVP third baseman. I'm pretty sure if you went back in time and asked Brian Cashman before he completed the Soriano deal "would you be satisfied with his performance if Alex plays good defense and wins an MVP in his second year?" that Cashman would be very happy with that. But you're referring to the fact that Rodriguez didn't guarantee a championship... which is exactly what you've been mocking the Yankees about (trying to "buy" championships) in this paper for years now.

"We can win three World Series, with me it's never going to be over," Rodriguez said yesterday. "I think my benchmark is so high that no matter what I do, it's never going to be enough, and I understand that."

What a guy.

He just won the MVP and it wasn't enough for you. You're spending this article throwing him under the bus.

The definition of benchmark goes something like this: A point of reference for a measurement. A-Rod knew exactly how big Yankees were measured when he decided to move here from Texas and move from shortstop to third base. The idea that the expectations for him are now ridiculously high is ridiculously low comedy.

The expectations are just as they should be for someone who is routinely discussed as one of the great baseball players of all time. That is what he should understand. He knew the deal as well as he knew the deal when he signed for $252 million.

He won the MVP, which is the award for the best player in the league. He was the best player in the AL in 2005. If the expectations are that he should be the best player in the league, well guess what? He just did that.

It is why there are an awful lot of Yankee fans who remember him as much for that .133 he hit against the Angels in the division series and for that 5-4-3 double play in the ninth inning of Game 5 as for all the gaudy numbers that got him past David Ortiz in the MVP voting. The bull's-eye on A-Rod's back that he alluded to yesterday? He put it there himself when he elected to become a Yankee.

No, people remember it because you keep mentioning it. What about Sheffield? Matsui? They didn't do much against the Angels, did they? Alex hit into a double play, yes. Did that end the game? No. Was that the reason the Yankees lost the series? No. And what about Sheffield? Why isn't there a bull's-eye on his back when he elected to become a Yankee? Where is Matsui's bull's-eye? Randy Johnson? Did only Rodriguez get a bull's-eye?

Of course there is still plenty of time for him. He has only been here two years, which means only two of the five since the Yankees last won a World Series. He is still the true face of the 21st century Yankees, the new Yankees, never to be confused with the old Yankees who won four Series in five years for Joe Torre. He is the richest player on the richest team, one that has spent $1 billion in payroll and payroll taxes since 2001 and still hasn't been able to win it all.

Yep, George puts his money back into his team. What about your beloved Mets, Mike? They're spending, right? They haven't won since 1986, am I correct? Boy you must be really proud of that team, full of drunks and drug addicts (Gooden, Strawberry, Dykstra, Hernandez). I bet none of those guys had bull's-eyes though, so that's ok. Seriously though, I hope nobody confuses this team with the old teams. Because as we all know, we'd waive Rodriguez if only Charlie Hayes would come out of retirement.

He is always going to be the new guy you look at first. Not Giambi, not Sheffield, not Mussina. Not Randy Johnson.

Him.

He's the guy you look to first to produce, since he's the best hitter in the league. You look at him first to heap criticism on the team's "failure."

He is the best player on what everybody calls the best team going into every season. He is the richest player in history playing on the richest team in history. He hasn't won yet and the Yankees haven't won since 2000. So far they are made for each other.

Yep, he makes a lot of money. Glad you brought that up again.

"Maybe when I retire is when the critics and all that kind of stuff will end," he said yesterday.

Puh-leeze.

OK, now I'm pretty sure this is Lupica admitting he's never going to stop his assault on A-Rod. Mike, pay attention here: you're the critic. The guy won the MVP despite the fact that you've spent every article since September talking about David Ortiz and how he's the best player since Roy Hobbs.

He had an amazing season, the greatest season any righthanded hitter has had at Yankee Stadium since Joe DiMaggio. Only Barry Bonds has had grander numbers than A-Rod in this time in baseball. It probably won't take A-Rod as long to make a World Series as it did Bonds. It may happen as soon as next season. Still: He is two years a Yankee and 10 full years in the big leagues and he hasn't been to the Series yet.

Yep. Mattingly was the last Yankee MVP. He didn't make it to the series either. I guess that means he was a terrible ballplayer. You love Joe Torre. He won an MVP. And yet he never played in the World Series. I suppose he sucked as well.

So far there is a Wilt Chamberlain quality to him. He has the most amazing numbers and the fans don't love him the way he wants them to and he still hasn't won. Chamberlain was eight years in the NBA before he finally won with the 76ers.

Could it be because every time they pick up a paper there's a jackass sportswriter ripping him to shreds?

The voters for the MVP award judge the candidates only on what they do during the regular season, not during the playoffs. Good thing. The last big postseason swing A-Rod made for the Yankees was a home run swing in Game 4 against the Red Sox, 2004 ALCS.

I suppose Ortiz was instrumental in the Red Sox glorious 3 and out.

In the last nine postseason games Rodriguez has played as a Yankee, he is 4-for-32, a .125 batting average, that one home run, two RBI. He was 1-for-12 over the last three games against the Red Sox in '04 and 2-for-15 against the Angels. No RBI for those eight games. Why is this relevant today? Because he's the one who says that winning three World Series will never be enough here.

You're really missing the point Mike. In fact, this article is making Alex's point for him.

Don't talk about the Series after your team can't get out of the first round. "One of these days," one Yankee said to me during the playoffs, "(A-Rod) is going to stop squeezing the bat so hard when we need him the most."

He isn't the only star Yankee who let his team down in the games I am talking about. No one in this city has ever thought of putting all of this on Rodriguez.

What?! That's what you've been doing since the last out of the ALDS! That's what you've done in this very article!

But it is hardly unreasonable to suggest that there were plenty of times over the past two postseasons when one swing from him, one Papi-like swing, could have changed everything for the Yankees.

Ah, I knew it was coming. Papi. You love Papi. Papi's team won 2 less games this postseason you know.

A-Rod was tremendous in August and September when the Yankees really started to come on. He hit 20 home runs the last couple of months. He had 48 for the season and 130 RBI and a slugging percentage made out of platinum and you know all the rest of it.

So, wait? He carried his team into the playoffs? Without him they wouldn't have made it? Yep, what an asshole he is! What a non-clutch asshole!

Yesterday should have been a day to celebrate that part of his season, not share the burdens of being A-Rod. He's the one who threw that one out there. Three World Series? Is he kidding? Yankee fans would settle for one.

Today should have been a day to talk about Rodriguez's award, and not another excuse to throw him under the bus, you jackass. If it should be a day to celebrate his season, why then is the front page of your paper dedicated to Rodriguez promising not to do something that wasn't illegal in the first place but out of which your paper made a big deal?

A Yankee wins the MVP for the first time in what, 20 years? Here are the front and back covers:


FRONT: ALEX WILL STOP DOING SOMETHING LEGAL
BACK: LOOK HE STILL HASN'T WON ANYTHING, HA-HA

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posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 3:23 PM   2 comments







 

Monday, November 14, 2005

There is some sanity in this world: A-Rod wins the MVP

It's official.

Your 2005 AL MVP is Alex Rodriguez. He earned 16 first-place votes and 331 points, while Ortiz received 11 first-place votes and 307 points.

Voting breakdown:

Voting results ¬
Player, Club1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th10thPoints
Alex Rodriguez, NYY16111






331
David Ortiz, BOS1117







307
Vladimir Guerrero, LAA1
987111

196
Manny Ramirez, BOS

916262
1156
Travis Hafner, CLE

5644332
151
Paul Konerko, CWS

2465135
128
Mark Teixeira, TEX

15
37424106
Gary Sheffield, NYY


326223184
Mariano Rivera, NYY

1113313259
Derek Jeter, NYY



1
311
23
Michael Young, TEX




2
21220
Scott Podsednik, CWS



11
1
115
Johnny Damon, BOS





112112
Hideki Matsui, NYY






21
8
Richie Sexson, SEA






2
17
Miguel Tejada, BAL







237
Chone Figgins, LAA







146
Victor Martinez, CLE




1



5
Jason Giambi, NYY






11
5
Brian Roberts, BAL






1
25
Jason Varitek, BOS





1


4
Eric Chavez, OAK







124
Huston Street, OAK






1

3
Bartolo Colon, LAA







113
Grady Sizemore, CLE







113
Bob Wickman, CLE







1
2
Jorge Cantu, TB








11
Jose Contreras, CWS








11

Derek Jeter so high? Vlad beats out Hafner? And he got a first place vote? Rivera loses the Cy to Colon and yet the same writers not only put him far ahead in the MVP but also put Colon as the 3rd pitcher? What is Richie Sexson doing there? And of course the most glaring inclusion, Scott Podsednik? Four writers thought Scott Podsednik (.290/.351./.349, one of the worst statistical seasons for a left fielder in all of baseball) was deserving of an MVP vote?

And who voted Alex third? Obviously it's someone who put Ortiz 2nd and Vlad first. This actually helped Alex because 1st - 14 pts, 2nd - 9 pts, 3rd - 8 pts.

posted by Mr. Faded Glory @ 11:02 AM   0 comments








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