Archive for January, 2008

What happened in the 11th hour?

January 31, 2008

Keith Law: I was told that that offer from the Twins was Melky, Kennedy, and some pitcher named Wang. I haven’t confirmed that with anyone in the Bronx, but if that’s true, I would agree that Cashman should have turned it down. (Source) 

So really, this trade was never a realistic possibility for the Yankees. The Yankees have six possible starting pitchers, both trade scenarios involved the Yanks trading two pitchers (Wang in this offer, Phil Hughes in the other). The Yankees trading two pitchers would leave them with a great lack of depth and force them to be counting on Mike Mussina for a full season. The Yankees were right to walk away in that sense.

But, since the Twins did back off of the ‘you must include Hughes’ stance, maybe they would’ve taken Jose Tabata instead of Wang? That question should’ve been asked.

Asked yesterday if he was tempted to top the Met offer, Steinbrenner, the senior vice president, said in a brief telephone interview, “I don’t want to comment now. We’ll see what happens.”

He added, “There was nothing to get involved in. The trade’s done. That’s it. Any other opinion I’ve had, I’ve already stated.” (Source)

How do you know when Hank Steinbrenner is mad? When he says no comment.

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Who gave this guy a national column?

January 31, 2008

And why? 

I live in Michigan now, although a grew up a Yankee fan in New York, and I had the discussion with a friend the other day about how there really isn’t one good sports columnist in the entire state. Michael Rosenberg, who writes for the Detroit Free Press, is proof of that. Here goes:  

So if you’re Brian Cashman, what is the worst part of this?

Nick Shlain: That the Tigers and Indians, teams the Yankees might be fighting for the wild card with, won’t have to face Santana this year? Na, that’s too logical of an answer.

That somebody else got Johan Santana?

That the Red Sox got Santana? Nope, didn’t happen…. Why is this bad again?

That the somebody else in question was the cross-city, tabloid-headline-seeking rival Mets?

tabloid-headline-seeking rival? What? There is another team in NY? Who cares about the chokey-Mc-choke-choke Mets?

That Hank Steinbrenner, who wanted Santana, will get increasingly agitated as Santana dominates the National League?

This makes no sense at all. How does Santana dominating in the Junior Varsity NL East prove anything? That in no way, shape or form shows that he’d do just as good in the AL East and that he’d be worth Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera and  like $200M.

That you’re in the last year of your contract?

This didn’t all of a sudden happen. Even without the Johan trade he’d be in the last year of his contract. Sure, he might not be a Yankee next year, but there are 29 other organizations that would love to have a baseball mind like Brian Cashman’s around.

The answer is … none of the above.

Damn! 

No, the worst part for Cashman is that people will claim he should have gotten Santana, and they will be right.

Just like he should’ve traded for Eric Gagne at the deadline last year, right? The people who say Cash should’ve traded Hughes, IPK, Melky for Johan are morons. You don’t give up that kind of young cost-controlled talent for the right to pay a guy $200M. You just don’t do it.

Cashman could have had Santana. He should have had Santana. And he might really, seriously regret this.

No, he seriously won’t.

Johan Santana is the best pitcher in baseball. He is in his prime. He would have been well worth the price that Cashman would have had to pay, and here is why:

Oh boy, I’m giddy.

The Yankees, as you may have heard, spend a lot of money. Their 2007 payroll was $218.3 million. Some perspective: that is more than the combined payrolls of the Cleveland Indians, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres. The Yankees will spend more on the left side of their infield than Florida or Tampa Bay will spend on their entire major-league rosters.

I think that’s more of an indictment of Florida and Tampa Bay than the Yankees, but point taken, they spend money like none other.

This is not another woe-is-baseball, why-do-the-Yankees-spend-so-much-and-can’t-we-have-daytime-World-Series-games rant. It’s their money. They can spend it.

Okay, what’s your point? That if they would’ve made this deal, you’d be writting a woe-is-baseball all-the-yankees-do-is-buy-championships column?

My point is that that kind of cash can buy all sorts of goodies. It virtually ensures that the Yankees will have one of the best lineups in baseball every single year. It means they can take a $40 million mulligan on Carl Pavano. It allows the Yankees to sign a setup man for closer-type money.

….So?

But that money cannot give the Yankees the most valuable commodity in the sport: a true ace. Not just a No. 1 starter, but an elite No. 1 starter — a guy who contends for Cy Young Awards more often than not. There are only a few of them out there, and they rarely become available before they hit 30. Santana turns 29 in March.

Hey Mike, the way to get those ‘true ace’ guys is not by trade or through free agency because then you have to pay way too much, like is the case here. The way to do that is scouting and the draft. Thanks to Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees already have Chien-Ming Wang in the majors contending for Cy Youngs along with two studs that project as number ones: Phil Hughes, who you are suggesting the Yanks get rid of, and Joba Chamberlain, perhaps you’ve heard of him?

Santana instantly would have been the most valuable player on the Yankees roster. Yes, more valuable than Alex Rodriguez, the best position player in the game.

WARP3 from 2004-2007

ARod 44
Johan 42

It’s close, but I wouldn’t say Johan.

Here is why: if Rodriguez left the Yankees, they would at least have a shot at making up for his production by improving at other positions. If A-Rod had left as a free agent, the Yankees could have signed, say, Mike Lowell, then used the leftover cash to upgrade another position. It wouldn’t have been ideal, but the Yankees could still put together a playoff-quality lineup that way. But there is no way to replace a No. 1 starter. You can’t just improve the rest of your pitching staff; it’s not the same.

What does Mike Lowell having a contract year have anything to do with ARod vs. Santana? Really how fucking off topic is Rosenberg right now? This column is supposed to be stupid reasoning about how Brian Cashman doens’t know what he’s doing, not an idiotic debate peice on Santana and ARod where the only criteria is other free agents. Jeez.

The Yankees should know this. The key to their 1996-2000 championship stretch was … drumroll, please … an abundance of TRUE YANKEES!

 Add the True Yankee tag. Done.

No, I’m kidding.

Damn, he’s not as dumb as I thought, but he’s close.  

The key was great starting pitching and dominant relief pitching.

Did it help that the Yankees never scored under 4.99 R/G in a season over that time? I thought the key was good starting pitching, dominant offense and Mariano.

In last year’s American League Division Series, nominal Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang gave up 12 runs in 5.7 innings over two starts. That, more than the infamous midges or Derek Jeter’s struggles, is what doomed the Yankees. Two miserable starts in a four-game series are almost impossible to overcome, especially against a great team.

Yeah, Wang was the biggest reason why the Yankees lost. But, it’s not like he’s some terrible pitcher the Yankees had to make their ace because their pitching sucks so bad. He has posted ERA+s in the 120s two years in a row.

Santana, meanwhile, has not give up 12 runs in any two-start span since April 2000.

Santana is better than Wang, so the Yankees should give away all of their prospects and all of the gold in Switzerland for him.

Santana is also a proven postseason pitcher; in his last three starts, going back to 2004, he has a 1.35 ERA. Over his career, Santana’s second-half numbers are significantly better than his first-half numbers.

Santana is very good, but he isn’t worth the price for the Yankees.

And why did the Yankees withdraw from talks? Because they didn’t want to trade Philip Hughes.

Yes, correct, bingo.

Now, odds are good that Hughes will turn into a consistent starter. He might be a top-of-the-rotation guy. But the chances of him being as great as Santana are extremely slim.

I wouldn’t say extremely, but that’s not the point any way. Hughes is a young player with 6 cost-controlled years left for the Yankees. So is Cabrera and so is IPK. The chances of Santana being worth the money (likely in the neighborhood of $150M) and the prospects given up are slim.

It would have been well worth it for the Yankees to use Hughes in a package to get Santana.

No it fucking wouldn’t.  

It should have taken Cashman 0.004 seconds to throw in Melky Cabrera, a nice player who is quite replaceable.

Who is going to replace Melky? He’s so damn replaceable that you didn’t name one damn replacement. 

I don’t see Brett Gardner as a regular on a playoff team, he’s not going to make the Yankees out of camp anyway. Mike Cameron is signed elsewhere. Johnny Damon is a disaster on defense. Hideki Matsui can barely still play left. I don’t even want to mention Bernie Williams. Brad Wilkerson is a free agent… Uh… Turns out Melky isn’t as replaceable as you may think.  

And since the Yankees’ farm system is deeper than the Mets’ by almost any measure, Cashman could have come up with a more attractive package than what the Mets offered.

Yeah and I’m sure he did, but the Twins weren’t willing to listen unless Phil Hughes was in the mix and the Yanks wanted no part of that, rightly so.

Yeah, they would have paid Santana a lot of money — a lot more than Hughes or Kennedy would get. So what? They are the Yankees. Hank Steinbrenner washes his armpits with hundred-thousand-dollar bills. The benefits of having a very good, cheap, young player are diminished for a team with such a high payroll.

You just poo-pooed spending $150M with a very disturbing image involving Hank, armpits and large quantities of money. Gross, please stop.

The Yankees are built to take their best shot at the World Series every single year. There is no better weapon in that quest than Johan Santana.

That is where you’re wrong. The Yankees aren’t built to take their best shot at a WS every year. They are built to take *a* shot at the WS every year while keeping the future in mind at the same time. Anyone who knows how Brian Cashman works would know this. A random national columnist who is bored, doesn’t understand/pay attention to baseball prospects and wants to take pot shots wouldn’t.

Thanks for playing Mike, I hope Johan gets hurt and Phil wins the AL Cy Young just for your sake now. Oh, and that Fox sports.com takes back the money you’ve been stealing from them the last few months.

What to do with Joba

January 30, 2008

“Anything can happen, so you don’t rule anything out,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said in a telephone interview. “But we’re going into it right now with Joba as a starter. We’re going to see where that takes us.” (Source)

Here is what I would do:

Prepare him in Spring Training as a starter until the last week or so of camp and put him in the bullpen to start the season. This gives him his first big league camp and will help limit his innings.

This method ensures that Joba will have gas in the tank when we get around to October. A playoff rotation of Andy-Wang-Phil-Joba would be the best we’ve had since ’03.

It also means that this bullpen will be stabalized in the early goings. And by the time he has to go to the rotation, there will be guys in the Horne-Melancon-Sanchez-Cox group that will be ready to take his place if guys like Edwar-Britton-Albaledejo-Ohlendorf-Veras-Bruney haven’t already done so.

Delusional idea: Remember that crazy hot start Mike Mussina got off to in ’06? Through his first 94.2 IP (12 starts, none of which he went less than 6 IP), Moose had a 2.76 ERA with 86 K and 16 BB. Keeping Joba in the pen allows that to possibly happen again. I can’t say it with a straight face. I’d tried, but I can’t do it.

Fat man in a little coat

January 30, 2008

Pete Abraham hates Cash and the Yankees. 

This deal could determine whether Brian Cashman remains the GM of the Yankees. If Santana becomes the ace of the Mets and leads them into the World Series, Cashman will have a lot of explaining to do to Little Stein.

What? How does Santana tearing up the Junior Varsity National League deep into the playoffs prove that he’d succed in the big bad AL East and be worth the prospects and money?

Johan to the Mets, Yankee prospects safe

January 29, 2008
The New York Mets have agreed to a trade for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, giving up four prospects to acquire the left-handed ace of the Minnesota Twins, according to two high-ranking Twins officials with knowledge of the talks and a person close to Santana. (Source)

Cash stood tall, kept all of our prospects and refused to pay double for Santana. The Red Sox were unable to pull off what would’ve been the bs trade of the century (Tacoby Bellsbury and prospects for Santana). So, we’re all good.

Cone

January 29, 2008

David Cone has made peace with the Yankees and will return this year to broadcast about 50 games on YES. (Source)

I spend a lot of my time here criticizing the national media, but not that much on the local media (beside Bob Klapisch and Murray Chass). I think I’ll pay more attention to the YES guys this year.

Horne ready for possible bullpen role

January 28, 2008

Q: Your name has also been mentioned as a possible member of the Yankees’ bullpen in ’08. Would that change the way you went about your business in any way?

Alan Horne: To a degree a yes, but for the most part, no.

Obviously there’s different preparation work when you’re throwing out of the ’pen, you may work on a few different things, but as far as the mental aspect, demeanor and continuing to work hard and trying to get better every day.

I’m going to be the exact same guy I was whether I go out there every fifth day or every day or every other day, whatever it would be out of the bullpen. (Source) 

I really like Horne, #4 on the True Yankee prospect list, and think he is going to be a valuable asset to the big club this year.

A new tone

January 26, 2008

Cashman added Joe Torre had played Williams “ahead of guys who could help us win” in 2006, a reference to Melky Cabrera. (Source)

I’d love for everyone to stop talking about Joe Torre, but if we are going to say stuff like this, then its not so bad.

Also, did Hank tell Cash to start spitting the truth?

Breaking down the Cano contract

January 25, 2008

The Yankees and Robinson Cano have reached a preliminary agreement on a contract that will guarantee him $30 million over four years and could pay him about $56 million over six years. Once contract language and a physical are completed, the deal will be done.

The agreement is for $28 million over the next four years, with a $2 million buyout in 2012 and 2013, which would bring him to exactly $30 million. The option for 2012 is for $13 million and the option for 2013 is believed to be for about $15 million. (Source)

It looks like Robbie is going to be a Yankee for a long while. I like it. $7M per is pretty reasonable for the next four years and then the option years are big, but they serve a purpose.

The Yankees and Cano made a compromise. The Yankees gave Cano money now and in exchange Cano allowed option years in the contract. The option years keep Cano from free agency and will keep him in pinstripes longer.

Johnny Damon is a crazy person

January 25, 2008

damon3.jpg

New York Yankees centerfielder Johnny Damon is endorsing Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy for president, according to a campaign aide. (Source)

9/11!!!!1!!1!!!!111!!!!1

Kenny Williams knows relievers

January 23, 2008

Dotel and the Chicago White Sox agreed Tuesday to an $11 million, two-year contract, bolstering a bullpen that ranked among the majors’ worst last season.

“If you can assess that he’s going to be healthy and return back to his normal production level, then the money is secondary at that point and we focus on getting the team to be the best we can possibly be,” Williams said. (Source)

Sure, I advocated the Yankees giving Dotel another shot. But, that’s because I had this crazy idea that nobody was going to give a with 56 IP over the last three years a lucrative deal.

Boy, I sorely underestimated the stupidity of White Sox GM Kenny Williams. Williams already handed out a $19M deal to Scott Linebrink! He has committed $30M to relievers who aren’t closers in this off-season alone! Gold, Jerry! GOLD!!!

dotel2.jpg
Waste of money.

Humberto’s schedule

January 22, 2008

When camp convenes next month, expect Sanchez to be about a month or so behind the other pitchers reporting. It is hoped that by March he’ll be able to throw off a mound. Ideally he would finish Spring Training by remaining in Tampa for a rehab stint with the Yankees’ Class A Advanced Florida State League team. When he is deemed ready, perhaps an assignment to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees awaits.

“My goal is just to be 100 percent by the end of April, a year out from the surgery,” he said. “My dream goal would be to be in New York by the All-Star break, but a lot of things come into it — if they need someone there [and] my performance at that point.” (Source)