Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Josh Bard

The only constant every offseason, both for the New York Yankees and their coach staff, is change. Out after ten seasons in the Bronx was Joe Girardi, in was a former Yankees postseason hero in Aaron Boone. Out with the Yankees bench coach after not landing the Yankees managerial position was Rob Thomson, in his spot as bench coach is now Boone’s right-hand man Josh Bard. That was 2018, but both Boone and Bard are back for the 2019 season, as well as the entire coaching staff, so let's meet them once again. This is Meet a Manager: The Josh Bard Edition.

The only constant this offseason for the New York Yankees and their coach staff has been change. Out after ten seasons in the Bronx was Joe Girardi, in was a former Yankees postseason hero in Aaron Boone. Out with the Yankees bench coach after not landing the Yankees managerial position was Rob Thomson, in his spot as bench coach is now Boone’s right-hand man Josh Bard. Let’s meet the former MLB player and current bench coach of the New York Yankees. This is Meet a Manager: The Josh Bard Edition.

Joshua David Bard was born on March 30, 1978 (Happy Early BDAY!!) in Ithaca, New York. When bard was just an infant his family moved to Elizabeth, Colorado where he attended Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Bard was drafted out of High School by the Minnesota Twins in the 35th round of the 1996 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft but did not sign. Instead Bard attended Texas Tech University where he was a three-time All-American while playing baseball for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. While there Bard caught the eye of the Colorado Rockies who drafted him in the 3rd round of the 1999 MLB Draft, eventually signing him on August 12, 1999. Bard’s professional career was ready to begin.

Before Bard could make his Major League debut he was traded by the Colorado Rockies alongside Jody Gerut to the Cleveland Indians for Jacob Cruz on June 2, 2001. By August 23, 2002 Bard was in Cleveland and making his MLB debut with the Indians. Bard hit a walk-off home run against the Seattle Mariners in the game becoming just the second player in MLB history to ever do so in their debut, joining Billy Parker. Bard became a semi-regular with the Indians in 2004 appearing in 91 games but missed a bulk of the first half of the season due to an abdominal injury. Bard was back in 2005 though and served as the backup catcher to Victor Martinez before the Indians shipped him to the Boston Red Sox before the 2006 season. The Indians sent Bard, outfielder Coco Crisp and relief pitcher David Riske to the Boston Red Sox for relief pitcher Guillermo Mota, third base prospect Andy Marte, and catcher Kelly Shoppach. Bard immediately became the Red Sox backup catcher for the 2006 season after the team lost John Flaherty the following season to retirement. Bard also quickly became the personal catcher for knuckleball pitcher Tim Wakefield while with the Red Sox.

After serving as the backup catcher in Boston the Red Sox traded Bard to the San Diego Padres along with Cla Meredith for Doug Mirabelli. The Red Sox had traded Mirabelli to the Padres just a few weeks before, had more experience and better results catching Tim Wakefield leading Boston to make the move, apparently Bard and his passed balls were not cutting it in Bean Town. Bard backed up Mike Piazza while in San Diego and hit .338 in 231 at-bats after the trade despite being a career .240 hitter before his time in San Diego. While with the Padres Bard was catching pitcher Clay Hensley on August 4, 2007 as he gave up a pretty big home run to some guy named Barry Lamar Bonds. Apparently, that was like his 755th home run of his career or something, but I don’t know because I have never heard of the guy. Anyway, Bard was finally named as a starting catcher in 2008 with the Padres, but his hot hitting from the previous season did not carry over to the new year. Bard played out the 2008 season with San Diego before leaving the Padres for free agency following the year.

Bard returned to the Boston Red Sox on a one-year deal worth $1.6 million for the 2009 season, but by March 18 he was released by the club. Three days after being released bard signed on with the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Bard made the team and eventually got into 90 games with the Nationals, hitting just .230. After the 2009 season Bard was once again a free agent, this time signing a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners. Bard continued to bounce around with various teams including the Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers before retiring officially after the 2012 season.

Bard retired after the 2012 season and chose to remain with the Dodgers as a Special Assistant. Bard toiled around as the Special Assistant to the GM until the 2016 season when Los Angeles promoted the former MLB catcher to the Major League bullpen coach for the 2016 season. Bard was in the same role during the 2017 season with Los Angeles before the New York Yankees, and specifically new manager Aaron Boone, came calling before the 2018 season. Boone wanted Bard to be his right-hand man and bench coach last season, and so it is so after signing with the Yankees. Bard must have left a lasting impression because he is back in the same position for New York here in 2019.

Welcome back, Josh. No experience is no longer an excuse, do us proud and Go Yankees!

Estimating the Value of Contract Extensions: Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius

In this investigation, we will attempt to approximate the salary (dependent on the length of the deal) teams will offer their impending free agents (in their efforts to extend them) through encompassing age decline and the average cost / 1 WAR on the FA market.
In Neil Weinberg’s Beginner’s Guide To Aging Curves, he explains that…
“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate”.
It is important to note that we will use a decline of 0.3 WAR for relief pitchers because they age differently than SPs and position player.
Another one of his articles analyzed the price teams pay per 1 WAR on the FA market. Neil Weinberg asserts that…
$/WAR is basically a measurement of how much teams are paying for players on the free agent market according to how many wins they will add over replacement level players. Right now, we think teams are paying about $8 million per every WAR they add to their roster. For example, a 2 WAR player signed for three years would theoretically provide his team with 6 WAR, so a team might want to pay him anything up to $48 million. If the team pays less than $8 million for each expected WAR, we call this a “good deal” and if they pay more, we say they “overpaid.”
Although the players we will be looking at — Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius — are not yet FAs, they will presumably insist on pay comparable (relatively speaking) to what they could have gotten on the FA market (if they had opted to go that route). 

Dellin Betances

Photo: Bill Kostroun
30-year-old flame-throwing relief pitcher Dellin Betances is due to hit free agency after this season. He has been stellar for the Yanks, putting up excellent numbers from 2014 – 18…
  1. His worst ERA during that time was 3.08 (2016) and his best was 1.40 (2014)
  2. His worst K/9 during that time was 13.50 (2014) and his best was 15.53 (2016 and 2018)
  3. His worst BB/9 during that time was 6.64 (2017) and his best was 2.40 (2014)
  4. His worst WHIP during that time was 1.22 (2017) and his best was 0.78 (2014)
  5. His worst WAR during that time was 1.3 (2017) and is best was 3.2 (2014)
Weighted average of his WAR: (0.3 * 2018 WAR) + (0.25 * 2017 WAR) + (0.2 * 2016 WAR) + (0.15 * 2015 WAR) + (0.1 * 2014 WAR) = 0.54 + 0.325 + 0.58 + 0.36 + 0.32 = 2.1
For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume Betances loses 0.3 WAR annually starting in the 2020 season and that the cost per 1 WAR is $8 million…
2020: 1.8 WAR [Weighted average of his WAR in last 5 years – 0.3]; $14.4 million
2021 (age 33 season): 1.5 WAR; $12 million
2022: 1.2 WAR; $9.6 million
2023 (age 35 season): 0.9 WAR; $7.2 million
2024: 0.6 WAR; $4.8 million
Betances contract possibilities:
  • 1 yr, $14.4 million
  • 2 yr, $26.4 million
  • 3 yr, $36 million
  • 4 yr, $43.2 million
  • 5 yr, $48 million
Prediction: 5 yr, $48 million

Didi Gregorius

Photo: Getty Images
SS Didi Gregorius is scheduled to become a FA after the 2019 season. Due to TJ surgery, he will be sidelined for the first few months of the season. Here is FanGraphs’ 2019 Depth Charts projection for Gregorius…
  • PA: 294
  • HR: 11
  • AVG: .265
  • WAR: 1.6
If he had accumulated 575 PAs [(0.45 * 2018 PA ) + (0.35 * 2017 PA) + (0.2 * 2016 PA)], then he would have been on pace for 3.1 WAR (575 PAs / 294 PAs = 1.96; 1.96 * 1.6 WAR = 3.1 WAR).
For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume Didi loses 0.5 WAR annually starting in 2020 and that the cost per 1 WAR is $8 million…
2020: 2.6 WAR [3.1 – 0.5]; $20.8 million
2021 (age 31 season): 2.1 WAR; $16.8 million
2022: 1.6 WAR; $12.8 million
2023 (age 33 season): 1.1 WAR; $8.8 million
2024: 0.6 WAR; $4.8 million
Gregorius contract possibilities:
  • 1 yr, $20.8 million
  • 2 yr, $37.6 million
  • 3 yr, $50.4 million
  • 4 yr, $59.2 million
  • 5 yr, $64 million
Prediction: 4 yr, $59.2 million
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me @MaxGold81356590

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Manager Aaron Boone

The hiring of Aaron Boone as the new manager of the New York Yankees was not a smooth one nor was it a popular one among fans as all sides had very strong opinions on the matter. Me personally, I couldn’t care less. That may come off as a little shocking, given my very opinionated demeanor and tendency to rant and rave, but it shouldn’t. None of the managerial options stood out above the rest in 2018 and I personally got the sense of “six of one, half dozen of the other” while looking over the candidates and following the interview process. Aaron Boone had no managerial or coaching experience, but neither did Carlos Beltran. Hensley Meulens would have been nice, but honestly how much impact does a manager really have? Especially on a team loaded with talent. How many times have we seen the talent bail out Joe Girardi over the past 10 years? More than once, so Yankees fans need to not panic so much and trust the process. Boone will be fine; the Yankees will be fine and we as a fan base and as an organization will survive this.With a full season under his belt, Boone and his analytics should be much better here in 2019 for the New York Yankees. Let’s meet the man that may already be more hated than Clueless Joe 1.0 and Clueless Joe 2.0, Mr. Aaron Boone. This is Meet a Manager: The Aaron Boone Edition.

Aaron John Boone was born on March 9, 1973 into the world of Major League Baseball. Aaron was the son of former Major League player Bob Boone, the grandson of Ray Boone and the brother of eventual Seattle Mariners star Bret Boone. Aaron spent time with the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros from 1997 through 2009 before eventually retiring and heading into the Broadcast booth with ESPN as a part of their Sunday Night Baseball crew as well as a contributor to Baseball Tonight, also on ESPN.

Boone’s amateur career started at Villa Park High School in Villa Park, California where he played for the school’s baseball team. During Boone’s senior season the right-hander was named the Century League’s co-player of the year, catching the eye of the then California Angels who selected Boone on the third day of the 1991 MLB First Year Players Draft. Boone did not sign and instead went to the University of South California where he played baseball for the USC Trojans. In 1993 Boone also played collegiate summer baseball for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Baseball League leading his team to the league’s championship. Once again Boone’s name was called during the MLB Draft in 1994 but this time it was the Cincinnati Reds doing the selecting, and this time it was Boone who was signing the contract thus starting his professional career.

Boone toiled around in the Reds minor league system until making his debut in June of 1997 for the Reds. On the final day of the 1998 season Boone was a part of history with the Reds as on the last day of the season Cincinnati became the only team to every start two sets of brothers in their infield starting Stephen and Barry Larkin beside Bret and Aaron Boone. Boone started to become a household name in 2002 hitting 26 home runs and playing in all 162 games but the third baseman really began to catch the eye of the league when he was named to the 2003 All-Star Game for the National League. One team in particular took notice of Boone’s accomplishments that season and that team was the New York Yankees who traded three prospects to Cincinnati that summer for Boone’s services and Boone was worth every penny and every prospect. Why? The new shot heard round the world.

During Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series Boone hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield to give the Yankees a dramatic 6-5 victory while also punching the team’s ticket to the World Series. Boone will forever be known for this home run as the Yankees prolonged the Curse of the Bambino for at least one more season. Boone was on top of the world after the 2003 season and the only thing that could bring him back down was a pick-up basketball game of all things. Boone was playing basketball, something that was specifically written into his contract that he was not supposed to be doing and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee prompting the Yankees to release Boone on February 27, 2004. The Yankees later acquired Alex Rodriguez in a trade with the Texas Rangers while Boone went on to sign a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians in June of 2004.

Boone missed the entire 2004 season with the knee injury before spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Indians. Boone signed a one-year deal with the Marlins before the 2007, another one-year deal with the Washington Nationals before the 2008 season and a final one-year deal with the Houston Astros for the 2009 season before officially retiring in 2009. Boone underwent open-heart surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart missing most of the 2009 season. Boone made his return to baseball on August 10 playing for the Astros Double-A minor league team before being activated by the big-league club on September 1 when rosters expanded. Boone played the final month of the season with Houston before retiring at the end of the 2009 season.

Boone went on to become a guest analyst for MLB Network in 2009 covering the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before joining the ESPN crew for Baseball Tonight and Monday Night Baseball in 2010. Boone also called the 2014 and 2015 and 2017 World Series for ESPN Radio with Dan Schulman.

Even if things don’t work out for Aaron as the manager of the New York Yankees, don’t feel bad. Boone married Laura Cover and has her shoulder to cry on when he goes home every night. If that name sounds familiar, Cover was a Playboy Playmate and was Miss October 1998. Boone is doing just fine. Welcome back Boonie!

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury

Did I just save the best for last, or was the information harder to come by because no one has actually seen Jacoby Ellsbury on a baseball diamond in what feels like two-or-three years? You decide, I am just here to make the formal introductions. Jacoby Ellsbury everyone, in all of his glory.

Jacoby Ellsbury, 35-years old, is a center fielder in the New York Yankees organization. Ellsbury, 6’1” and 195 lbs., is a left-handed hitting and throwing outfielder and leadoff hitter, when he is on the field. Injuries have hampered much of his contract with the Yankees that runs through the 2020 season with a team option for the 2021 season. Ellsbury has the uppercut swing, speed, and defense to do well with the New York Yankees, especially inside Yankee Stadium, but his inability to stay healthy has left a bad taste in the mouths of many Yankees fans around the Yankee Universe.

Jacoby McCabe Ellsbury was born on September 11, 1983 in Madras, Oregon where he attended Madras High School. While at the school, Ellsbury lettered in five sports including baseball, basketball and football. Ellsbury was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 23rd round of the 2002 MLB First Year Players Draft, but ultimately decided to head to Oregon State University to continue his amateur baseball career. After three years at Oregon State, Ellsbury was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the first round, 23rd overall, of the 2005 MLB Draft.

Ellsbury did not spend long in the Red Sox minor league system, making his professional debut in July of 2015, and making the big-league club by June 30, 2007, replacing an injured Coco Crisp. Ellsbury was up and down for the Red Sox throughout the 2007 season but made his mark late in the season and into the playoffs, leading the Red Sox to a World Series championship. Ellsbury was on the Red Sox Opening Day roster in 2008 and never looked back, thus becoming a regular for the Red Sox in center field and at the top of the Boston lineup. Ellsbury remained an integral part of the team in center field until the 2010 season when he was bumped to left field after the team acquired Mike Cameron off the free agent market. Ellsbury would undergo many ups-and-downs and many injuries throughout his tenure with Boston but would win two World Series with the club including the 2013 season, the final year before he hit free agency.

In the winter before the 2014 season the New York Yankees signed Ellsbury to a seven-year deal worth $153 million including an option year for an eighth season that would bring the deal to $169 million. Ellsbury had a decent first season in the Bronx batting .271 with 16 home runs and 39 stolen bases in 149 games, but the 2015 season the injury bug crept back into Ellsbury’s career. Ellsbury missed nearly two months with a sprained knee in 2015 and did not start the 2015 American League Wild Card Game for the Yankees against the Houston Astros.

The 2016 season was the season of catcher’s interference for Ellsbury and the Yankees. Ellsbury played in 148 games in 2016 and compiled 12 catcher’s interference calls, breaking the record previously held by Roberto Kelly in a single-season. Ellsbury would set the career mark for catcher’s interference calls in 2017 with his 30th, passing Pete Rose, but would ultimately lose his starting center field job to Aaron Hicks after another set of injuries derailed his season. Ellsbury would miss the entire 2018 season due to injuries and will likely begin the 2019 season on the injured list as well.

Ellsbury is an enrolled member of the Colorado ricer Indian Tribes. Ellsbury’s mother, Margie Ellsbury, is full-blooded Navajo, while his father, Jim, is of English and German descent. Ellsbury is the first Native American of Navajo descent to reach the major leagues. Now, the only thing that’s left is for Ellsbury is to bounce back healthy in 2019 and lead the team to a World Series championship as the first ever Navajo Native American to win a World Series in the Bronx. Make it happen.

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for February 26th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!

Did you know that Roger Maris, Alex Rodriguez and Aaron Judge are the first three players in the Yankees storied history to have 30 or more home runs going into the All-Star break? Maris had 33 in 1961, Rodriguez had 30 in 2007 and Judge had 30 entering the break in 2017. Three times by a team nicknamed the "Bronx Bombers" is kind of shocking if you ask me.

And to my beautiful wife, you "bomb" and rock my world. I love you. Always have, always will.