Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jorge Posada's Hall Of Fame Case

Is This A Future Hall Of Famer?

Borrowed from our partner site and friends over at The Yankees Analysts. They show us Jorge Posada's case for the Hall of Fame compared to catchers that are already in the Hall. Its a great read and this is a great site. Check it out here or read below.

Since Jorge Posada‘s retirement after a distinguished 17-year career, a consensus has emerged on his Hall of Fame case.  Most people will probably place Posada in the “Hall of Very Good” with other Yankee legends such as Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams (presumably), and as a small hall supporter in general, I understand this viewpoint.
The anti-Hall case for Posada was articulated in a recent article on Fangraphs by Marc Klaasen.  Klaasen argued that Posada’s career fWAR of 47.6 is well below the standard set by Andrew Dawson, a “baseline” hall-of-famer, who had a career WAR of 62.3.  Klaasen also looks at 2 all-time great catchers, Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza, and determines that they are able to reach the “Dawson standard”, and as such, Posada is not hall-worthy.  From this, he determines that WAR does not necessarily treat catchers unfairly in the same way that it does relievers (by not adequately accounting for leverage).
In my opinion, however, the article takes an overly simplistic look at Hall-worthiness, by setting an arbitrary cutoff for accumulated career WAR as the main criterion.  What immediately came to mind when I read the article (and a number of commenters saw as well) is that comparing Posada to Dawson is an apples-to-oranges comparison that does a disservice to the great career that Posada had.  I am not even going to get into winning multiple World Series titles, playoff performance, or intangibles such as “grit” and “leadership”, all of which could be used to argue in Posada’s favor.
The main fallacy in comparing an outfielder to a catcher is playing time.  Because catching is such a physically demanding position, catchers often wind up playing fewer games in a season, accumulating fewer plate appearances, and having shorter careers than other position players.  Because WAR is a counting stat, two players with similar per-game production can have drastically different WAR values if one player had many more plate appearances throughout his career.  This is the case with Posada and Dawson, since Dawson had about 3500 more plate appearances than Posada throughout his career, but their WAR per plate appearance would not be that different.
That’s not to say that longevity shouldn’t be rewarded, because the duration of productivity is clearly important.  However, given that catchers usually don’t accumulate the same number of plate appearances in a career as position players, it would make sense to compare catchers to other catchers rather than other position players who inherently get more plate appearances.  When compared to his peers, Posada comes in at #15 in WAR all-time.  This makes a more compelling case for inclusion into the Hall of Fame, though there is still plenty of room for argument.  In particular, one could look at Posada’s rather mediocre defensive career and argue that WAR doesn’t adequately measure catcher defense (as several studies have suggested).  I don’t see him not measuring up to Rodriguez or Piazza (or other HOF’ers like Berra and Bench) as necessarily a strike against Posada’s case, because those 4 are pretty obvious candidates (maybe not Rodriguez because of his PED use).
Even after accounting for playing time, I would probably still be inclined to leave Posada out due to his mediocre defense).  However, I just wanted to emphasize with the Posada case that a slavish devotion to arbitrary WAR cutoffs would lead catchers to be systematically underrated, since their playing time is typically decreased.  Since I dont’t think catcher is an inherently less valuable position (as opposed to a relief pitcher or DH), accounting for playing time and judging catchers against the standards set by other catchers seems to be the fairest way to evaluate their Hall-worthiness.

 I cannot say anything that has not been posted here. I also could not agree more. Great read. Thoughts?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Yankees In "Serious Discussion" W/ Bill Hall

"Serious" Discussions... Seriously?

The Yankees are said to be in serious discussions with utility player Bill Hall according to Ken Rosenthal on twitter.

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal
Sources: #Yankees in serious talks with Bill Hall. Role could be similar to what he had with #RedSox in 2010. Backup IF, RH bat in OF. #MLB

My question is... why? Is Bill Hall any better then current Yankee Brandon Laird? Is Bill Hall any better then most of the current free agent utility players? I would say no personally to both of those questions.

In the last 4 seasons, which is more then enough of a sample size of what his CURRENT production equates to, he has a WAR (wins above a replacement player from AAA like Brandon Laird) of -0.1. If we left out the 2008 campaign of a 0.8 WAR then he has a -1.0 WAR in his last 3 seasons.He also has terrible batting averages in the low to mid .200's for the most part and extremely high BABIP(batting average on ball's in play) in each of those seasons touching in the low .300's. This basically means he has been "lucky" and his batting stats are inflated according to the stat.

Bill Hall does not steal bases. Bill Hall does not take walks. He strikes out a third of his plate appearances. He does not hit for extra bases. He does not hit right handed pitching well at all. Then again he is going to be used much like he was used in Boston last season as a utility infielder and outfielder. At least he defends well right?

Terrible UZR (ultimate zone rating) and UZR/150 (ultimate zone rating in a 150 game "full season") at 2B, LF and RF while he held his own at 3B and was above average at SS.Since 2009, according to Fangraphs.com, Bill Hall has been worth $10 million with the vast majority of it ($7.0 million) being made in 2011 with his two teams.

In closing, Brian Cashman, please Please PLEASE stay away from Bill Hall. Call up Brandon Laird if you must or continue to use Ramiro Pena... just please do not sign Bill Hall

Repeating 2011 Run Prevention

"The Yankees lost in the ALDS last season due to lack of run production, not to lack of run prevention"

That line has been spoken by many that were upset with the Pineda/Montero trade, and while that's a true statement, it's not something that could be said again in 2012. Which is why I've always been happy with the trade, as I believe this team has more than enough offense to go all the way.

Now, I've already pointed out how good the offense was last season, and that they should be able to repeat that performance again this coming season. What I want to look at is whether that run prevention we saw in 2011 could be repeated.

Before moving on, I know that defense plays a part in run prevention. But I think pitching plays a much larger role, so that's what I'm going to concentrate on.

So... I'm going to run down the list of starters from last season, and try and figure out whether they could have done it again. Meaning we could still have Jesus Montero, the subject every Yankee prospect hugger's wet dreams.

I'm not going to get too far into CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. But keep in mind that CC had his lowest ERA in his three seasons with New York (3.00, with a 3.18 average ERA with the Yankees), so I'm not expecting anything more from the big guy. If anything, I think he'll regress a bit (notice the italics). And I don't think Nova can replicate that sub-4.00 ERA either. Not with a strikeout rate of 5.3 per 9 innings. Guys that don't strike out many hitters normally don't do well in the AL East. I'm not saying Nova is going to pull a "Burnett", but I think asking him to be the team's #2 pitcher in 2012 is a bit much.

That leaves us with Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, and AJ Burnett.

Well I think it's safe to say that neither Phil Hughes nor AJ Burnett was the reason for good run prevention last season. Having ERAs of 5.79 and 5.15 is not awe-inspiring. So it really comes down to whether or not Freddy Garcia could have repeated that 3.62 ERA for the team, or if they should have brought back Bartolo Colon and get another 164 innings of 4.00 ERA pitching.

Let me start off by saying that the chances of Freddy having another season with an ERA of 3.62 are slim and none, and I'm leaning more towards "none". Garcia hadn't had an ERA that good since he finished 3rd in Cy Young voting back in 2001 for the Mariners. And that was 6 years before Garcia had shoulder surgery, which led to him only throwing 58 MLB innings in 2007, 15 MLB innings in 2008 due to still feeling stiffness in that shoulder, 31 innings in the Minors before being shut down for the entire 2009 season, and finally having a full season of 157 innings with an ERA of 4.64 for the White Sox in 2010 (while suffering from some lower back stiffness later in the season). Now the kitchen accident leading to the laceration of his fingers was a freak thing, so I'll given him a pass on that (I'm feeling generous, lol). But I don't feel good about his health just yet. He will be 35 entering this year, so it's not like he's a spring chicken. But looking at his Ratio Pitching I have to say that nothing stands out, telling me he shouldn't pitch well in 2012. I'm just not going to hang my hat on another sub-4.00 ERA, along with even 140 innings.

When it comes to Bartolo Colon there's really only one thing I need to say... Bartolo only threw 257 innings in the previous 4 seasons in MLB. Arm issues led to him missing 81 days ofthe 2007 season, trunk and lower back issues led to him missing 118 days of the 2008 season, elbow and knee issues made him miss 99 days of the 2009 season, and then Colon missed the entire 2010 season with shoulder pain due to ligament, tendon, and rotator cuff issues. On top of all of that Bartolo Colon will be 39 years old in May. So even if a conceded to the idea that Bartolo could repeat the 4.00 ERA he put up last season, there's no way anybody could convince me that he'd be a sure-thing for another 160+ innings. No way.

So the next time somebody tries to tell you that the Yankees didn't need to improve the pitching from last season I want you to first laugh at them, and then link them to this article. And if you're feeling up to it, slap that person for me as well.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Yankees "2014" Plan

Is It The 2014 Plan.. Or The 2015 Plan?

As we have heard all off season long the Yankees have a plan for the 2014 season. The plan, the way we are all taking it, is that the Yankees want to be under the luxury tax threshold by the start of the 2014 season, setting our payroll under $189 million, to avoid a 50% tax on top of what we go over on the threshold. In a business aspect of it the Yankees would be in line to save in excess of $50 million dollars if they are willing and able to do this. Let's remember that the Yankees would also be in line for a tax rebate of somewhere between 25-50% for what they have put into the revenue sharing pot. The beauty of it is 2014 is the only season that we need to be under the tax threshold to get the $50 million dollars and wont have to pay the revenue sharing of 50% anymore... everything starts fresh.

So let's look at some of the possible free agents for the 2015 season. By the way, yes I know it is nearly impossible to predict three seasons ahead and probably useless.. but it is 1/29/12 and nothing else is going on in the Yankees world. Anyway, on to the free agents.

Ben Zobrist

Evan Longoria

Justin Verlander

Max Scherzer

Felix Hernandez

Yiovanni Gallardo

Clayton Kershaw

Hanley Ramirez

Dustin Pedroia

Pablo Sandoval

Billy Butler

Victor Martinez

Elvis Andrus

Derek Jeter

Nick Markakis

If you are asking me right now I am excited about this new plan. In 3 years we will know whether the Alex Rodriguez decline is real or if he just fell into some bad luck injury wise the last couple of seasons. If the decline is a true decline we have ourselves a DH possibility and a replacement in Evan Longoria just waiting.

We, presumably, will be without Derek Jeter also in that same season and look who will be waiting there via free agency. None other then Hanley Ramirez. Especially if he does not like playing 3rd base down in Miami and playing second fiddle to Jose Reyes. If not Hanley then there are plenty of alternatives, namely Elvis Andrus.

Brett Gardner will be a free agent after this season and as much as I would not like to lose his gritty speedy type play both on the base paths and in the field... Nick Markakis, right now, is a hell of an upgrade.

The pitching class is insane. Not that I expect a Kershaw to be there, nor do I really expect Max Scherzer to be there, but we are talking now. Oh yeah did I mention that 2011 MVP and CY Young award winning Justin Verlander will be there as well? While we will still have CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and presumably Phil Hughes, Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos to name a few.

In 2015 I could see the Yankees, if they get under the tax threshold in 2014, going all out in 2015 much like they did in 2009 or the Marlins did this offseason. I, personally, am already penciling the Yankees on the World Series Trophy in 2015 ;)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Watch The Yankees In 3D!!!

Everything is going 3d these days..

Want to know the BEST way to watch the Yankees in 3D? Buy tickets, support your team, and go see them live. Season tickets and FLEX plans are on sale now for Spring Training and the regular season. You can buy them here at Yankees.com or at stubhub for you misplaced Yankees fans like myself. Support your team!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Answer To The DH Problem... Kendrys Morales?

UPDATE: Maybe even Joba for Morales? Your rehabbing 1B that we need for our rehabbing relief pitcher that you need? Plus its a fair trade for both... Maybe.


One Stipulation To Being a Yankee.... NO JUMPING

Apparently the Yankees traded super prospect Jesus Montero and have an opening for a DH spot. Also apparently the Yankees have 7 starting pitchers and are looking for one to trade. The Angels signed Albert Pujols apparently and also have ROY candidate Mark Trumbo also on the team with Kendrys Morales. Sounds like they have too many first basemen type players and we have too many pitchers. Lets make a deal?

Kendrys Morales is probably best known right now for his home run celebration that ended his season, pictured above BEFORE the injury. What we forget about Kendrys Morales so quickly is that Kendrys Morales has been a pretty good player since he broke into the league in 2009. In his first major league season he hit 34 home runs and slugged  .569, ranking second only to eventual MVP Joe Mauer. He ended up finishing 5th in that MVP vote in 2009. 2010 season was the season where he hit the walk off grand slam against the Seattle Mariners and fractured his leg during the celebration. In 51 games games he still batted .290 with 11 home runs and 39 rbis. He still has not come back to play a game since that incident, missing the entire 2011 season because of complications. Do you know what that tells me? Trade value is CHEAP.

Lets look at the Angels pitching staff since that is what we have to trade to Anaheim for Morales. The last thing the Angels need is pitching, let's be honest, but here is the projected rotation via the Angels official website here.

Jered Weaver
Dan Haren
CJ Wilson
Ervin Santana
Jerome Williams

That is a pretty scary looking pitching rotation. CJ Wilson and Jered Weaver are both signed long term where  Dan Haren has a club option for $15.5 million for the 2013 season. Ervin Santana is in the same situation with a contract through 2012 and the team holding a $13 million club option for 2013. Jerome Williams is a free agent after the 2012 season. All salaries and information was obtained at Cots Baseball Contracts

Who, if anyone, would the Angels be interested in? Obviously the choices are limited to Phil Hughes or AJ Burnett unless they are willing to accept prospects. The Angels currently are sitting at just under $142 million and I find it highly unlikely that they want 2 years of AJ Burnett at $33 million unless we eat 85% of that contract. That brings me to Phil Hughes.... As much as I love Phil Hughes he makes the most sense for a trade here. Hughes may actually be too much to ask for the Angels but the Yankees seem like they feel like they "have" to trade a starter, which is not true. Hughes could easily slip into more of a middle relief role while AJ/Garcia could fill the 5th spot and long man spot. Maybe the Angels would even be interested in Adam Warren , David Phelps, and/or DJ Mitchell. The Angels also do not seem to be entirely sold on Jordan Walden as their closer so maybe we could ship them a Mark Montgomery? Who knows..

The biggest concern is going to be Kendrys Morales' health. According to Roto World

Kendrys Morales (ankle) is drawing rave reviews for his early workouts at the Angels' spring training complex.
"I've been hitting with him every day and he looks strong," Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos said Wednesday. "Monday was the first time he took live BP (with a coach throwing) and he was popping them out from both sides. It's very impressive." If Morales continues progressing, he could become a legitimate fantasy sleeper. The 28-year-old tallied 34 homers and 108 RBI in 2009.

A lot of what is drawing me to Kendrys Morales, besides the low risk high reward type trades that Brian Cashman loves to pull (perfect example is Nick Swisher in 2009), is that he has more versatility then the other DH candidates being thrown out there. He has played 1B before, a position that Jesus Montero was penciled in to take some innings at to spell Mark Teixeira, and has also played the outfield. My line of thinking was that if Morales comes back healthy and productive then we have our replacement already on the team for Nick Swisher if he leaves after the 2012 season. Granted he has not played a ton of games in the outfield but he is far from a defensive liability out there, especially with speedy guys like Granderson and Gardner who cover a ton of ground in the outfield. The Angels seem like they have to do SOMETHING with Pujols, Trumbo, and Morales all looking to be vying for one spot on the team... I think we should take advantage of this and improve the team for the long term while staying with the 2014 tax thresh hold plan. Morales is making less then $3 million this season and does not seem to get a huge raise next season.

Still looking for a DH

"I'm still available!"

I just read this from MLBTradeRumors.com
The Yankees have interest in Raul Ibanez, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post reports. Ibanez has drawn interest from a number of clubs, including the Mets and Tigers, in recent weeks. We heard ten days ago that ACES had contacted the Yankees about Ibanez, but this is the first concrete indication that the interest is mutual.

Ibanez posted a .245/.289/.419 line with 20 home runs in 575 plate appearances as the Phillies' everyday left fielder last year. The 39-year-old could provide the Yankees with an option at designated hitter or in the corner outfield positions. He owns a .286/.351/.488 line against right-handed pitching in 16 MLB seasons. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney suggested earlier today that Ibanez would be a good fit in the Bronx.
To start with I wondered what his contract demands were. I mean, if it was anything like Carlos Pena, where he signed with the Rays for $7.25 million, then forget it. The Yankees just don't have the payroll for a deal like that, as they've said a few times that the cap on DH spending this season is like $2 million. But I couldn't find anything concrete on Raul, which is really no surprise. There is the fact he's coming off a 3 year deal worth $31.5 million, but he's coming off a poor season, and will turn 40 in June. So it's possible he'd take a cheap deal to play in the town he was born.

The age may stand out, but over the last three seasons he's averaged 144 games a season. I looked into his recent injury history, and outside of having surgery in 2009 for a sports hernia, he's been pretty healthy. However, Raul hit .245/.289/.419 last season, which was his worst offensive season since 2000, when he played in only 92 games for Seattle. His 2011 numbers may stand out against what he did in 2010 and for years before that, but when you're talking about a 40 year old guy teams are hesitant to pay for a rebound. Which may work in favor for the Yankees.

Over Ibanez's career he's hit .286/.351/.488 against right-handed pitchers, which makes him sound like a great DH-platoon guy to put with Andruw Jones. But Raul only hit .256/.307/.440 against LHPs last season. What happened?

After looking at his stats two things stuck out. One, his BABIP dropped from .311 in 2010 to only .268 in 2011 (career BABIP of .303). Although small fluctuations are expected, I found that most of the difference can be attributed to his Line Drive percentage dropping from 21% in 2010 to 16% in 2011 (career LD% of 20%). I tend to think he can raise that LD% a bit, to help his BABIP improve, thus moving his batting average up to around .275 against RHPs.

Second, and a way he can improve upon that abysmal OBP of .303 he hit against RHPs last season, is he needs to get back to taking more walks. Raul Ibanez has averaged a walk in 8.5% of plate appearances, and in 2010 that BB% was at 10.7%. However, in 2011, that rate dropped to an extremely low 5.7%. So to put it simply, if Raul can start taking walks like he's done his entire career, then his OBP should return to more than acceptable levels.

In conclusion, if Raul is willing to take a part-time DH spot (starting against RHPs, who outnumber LHPs, meaning he'll see a decent amount of at bats), as well as a 1 year deal worth $2 million, then I say go for it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Logan Agrees

From the NY Post -

The Yankees settled their final salary arbitration case, agreeing with left-hander Boone Logan on a one-year contract worth $1,875,000.

The agreement Thursday was just below the midpoint between the $2.1 million he had asked for last week in arbitration and the $1.7 million New York had offered. But Logan can earn a $25,000 bonus if he appears in 55 games this season.

Logan was 5-3 with a 3.46 ERA in 64 games last year and earned $1.2 million.

Gerardo Concepcion "Close To Signing"

But will he be a Yankee?

According to MLB Trade Rumors International Free Agent Gerardo Concepcion is close to signing with a team, one of the 10 that are interested. Here is the write up:

Cuban left-hander Gerardo Concepcion, an 18-year-old free agent, is very close to signing with a team, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (story is in Spanish).Concepcion's agent, Jaime Torres, tells Rojas that the lefty has offers from as many as 10 teams and could sign as soon as this weekend. Earlier this week, Torres said the Rangers, Yankees, Cubs and White Sox have expressed the most interest in Concepcion so far.The Cuban defector recently established residency in Mexico and was declared eligible for free agency thereafter.

Concepcion is a "finesse" type pitcher  that seems to be far above his age when it comes to maturity and how he is developing. I say the Yankees should go all out for this guy, especially since he would be one of the last IFA's to sign under the OLD Collective Bargaining Agreement. Sign him Cash.

Hughes in 2012!

Don't make me eat my words, Phil.

I've said in the past that I believe the Yankees are just fine going with guys like Andruw Jones, Jorge Vazquez, and others as the DH heading into the 2012 season. That's not to say that I think they won't have to, or want to, make a move sometime during the season. But as of right now their offense has enough firepower to contend.

There was some talk of trading Phil Hughes for Billy Butler, but it wasn't anything serious (I believe I read that it was started by somebody at Bleacher Report, and there were no sources behind the rumor). I'm against that idea, or trading Hughes at all. For one, we don't know where Phil's ceiling is. He's only 25 years old, after all. We're not talking about a 30 year old guy that's had more than his fair share of starting opportunities in MLB. And secondly, it's really selling low on the guy. I mean, Hughes' value was way higher when the guy was still in AAA. I'm not saying that he'll ever be an ace, like some believed was in his future back in 2006. I can't even say for sure he'd be a decent bottom of the rotation starter. But due to what the team already has, there's no reason to give up on him. Even if he flames out and goes 0-5 in April, the team hasn't missed out on anything big.

I want to see what the Yankees can get from Phil, either as a starter for them all season, or in a trade by mid-season once he's shown the ability to be a solid starter. Simply put, he has a higher ceiling than either Freddy Garcia or AJ Burnett.

I've all but given up on AJ Burnett. There's still a sliver of optimism inside me, regarding what he could do for us, but I'm not about to bet even a penny on it. It's been shown that he was a bit unlucky last season, as evidenced by a BABIP of .376 in the 2nd half of 2011 (.293 throughout his career) and HR/FB ratio of 12.4% (8.3% average, with MLB average of 7.9%). And the guy has given the team an average of 194 innings a season. But when we have a 1-4 as good as we do, I see no reason to settle on AJ. It would be different if we didn't have any other option, but the Yankees actually have two other options. So... yeah.

Freddy Garcia would probably make a fine #5. I don't expect him to repeat that 3.62 ERA (career average of 4.09), but even a repeat of the 4.64 ERA he put up as a White Sox pitcher in 2010 wouldn't be awful. The problem here is "upside". Not just when comparing him to what Burnett or Hughes could do, but "upside" for what he could give the team. The salary relief of dealing Burnett, should he show the capability to be a decent starter, is worth more to the team than Freddy in my opinion. And what Hughes could net the team in a trade is worth more than Garcia as well.

In all, if it wasn't for a very large part of me saying "forget about AJ ever doing something for the team", I'd say start Burnett at the beginning of 2012. But I would rather just eat the $16.5 million he'll make this season, and hope to pawn him off on somebody else and save a few million bucks next offseason. Because I truly believe Hughes will not only be a better starter, but could also get the Yankees the largest return via trade.

Whelan DFA'd

Via MLBTradeRumors.com -

The Yankees designated right-hander Kevin Whelan for assignment to create 40-man roster space for Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. The 28-year-old debuted with the Yankees in 2011, appearing in two games.

Whelan posted a 2.75 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 52 1/3 innings at Triple-A in 2011. The 2005 fourth rounder owns a 3.23 ERA with 11.1 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9 in seven minor league seasons.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Andruw Jones Signing Becomes Official

Andruw Jones Will Be A Yankee in 2012

According to our partner blog, Lohud Yankees Blog, The Yankees have officially re-signed Andruw Jones to a 1 year major league contract with potential incentives. This officially makes our 40 man roster full with an unofficial signing of Hiroki Kuroda to come. Here is a little info about Andruw courtesy of Lohud Yankees Blog:

The Yankees finally made this move official. Here’s the announcement.

 The New York Yankees today announced they have re-signed five-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder Andruw Jones to a one-year Major League contract.
Jones, 34, batted .247 (47-for-190) with 27 runs, eight doubles, 13 home runs and 33 RBI in 77 games in his debut season with the Yankees in 2011, appearing in 39 games in left field, 19 games in right field and 16 games at designated hitter. He recorded his highest average, on-base percentage (.356) and slugging percentage (.495) since 2006. Following the All-Star break, he hit .291 (30-for-103), including a .344 (21-for-61) mark off left-handers in the second half. Overall, he batted .286 (36-for-126) off left-handed pitching with 16 of his 36 hits off lefties going for extra bases (eight doubles and 8HR).

Jones is a 16-year Major League veteran, appearing in 2,102 combined games with Atlanta (1996-2007), Los Angeles-NL (2008), Texas (2009), Chicago-AL (2010) and the Yankees (2011). He owns a .256 (1,887-for-7,366) career batting average with 376 doubles, 36 triples, 420 home runs and 1,255 RBI, and is one of four players all time—and the only active player—with at least 400 career home runs and 10 Gold Glove Awards, joining Ken Griffey Jr., Willie Ways and Mike Schmidt.

Originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent in 1993, Jones ranks 45th on Baseball’s all-time home runs list, hitting at least 25 homers in 10 consecutive seasons from 1998-2007 (tied for fourth-most such seasons among active players currently signed with a Major League team) and recording seven seasons of 30-or-more home runs. He has also collected at least 100 RBI in a season five times and scored at least 100 runs four times. He is a career .262 (497-for-1,894) batter against left-handed pitchers with 110 home runs.

Jones’s defense garnered him 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards with the Braves from 1998-2007, making him one of just five outfielders in Major League history to win the honor that many times – also Roberto Clemente (12), Willie Mays (12), Ken Griffey Jr. (10) and Al Kaline (10). Over the last three seasons (2009-11), has combined in left field and right field for a .987 fielding percentage (three errors, 233 total chances). He is a career .273 (65-for-238) batter in the postseason with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 34 RBI, appearing in 76 career playoff games.

A native of Willemstad, Curacao, Jones became the third player from Curacao to reach the Majors when he made his debut at 19 years, three months and 23 days old on August 15, 1996 with Atlanta, joining Yankees outfielder Hensley Meulens and Florida’s Ralph Milliard.
The Yankees’ 40-man roster now stands at 40.

This signing makes a lot of sense for the Yankees. He can still play adequate defense and can absolutely mash left handed pitching. He is still somewhat of a power threat off the bench as well. He could slide into a situational DH spot as well for us against LHP. Good signing Cashman!

Kim Jones Leaving YES Network

Kim Jones Leaving YES Network

This post is being borrowed from Neil Best and his twitter account, seen here, among other places. Here is the write up:

After seven seasons at YES,  will not return in 2012. YES offered her a contract but she opted to explore other opportunities

Kim Jones is leaving the YES Network? Who am I going to drool over now? Hmm...

ESPN's Erin Andrews

Here's to wishing!

Developing Pitchers

If only the Yankees could develop ace-like starters.

A comment under my post at the LoHud Yankees blog has been rattling around my head for a few hours now. I don't remember exactly what it said, but it was in the form of a question, which went something like this...

Why can't the Yankees develop ace-like pitchers, instead of buying or trading for them?

I looked up the top 10 Yankee starters, in terms of WAR, over the last 10 years. Here's the list, including where they started their careers...

Mike Mussina - 31, drafted by Baltimore
Andy Pettitte - 24.8, drafted by NYY
CC Sabathia - 18.8, drafted by Cleveland
Chien Ming-Wang - 12.8, signed by NYY (spent 5 years in minors before MLB debut)
Roger Clemens - 11.4, drafted by Boston
David Wells - 8.4, drafted by Toronto
Randy Johnson - 8.2, drafted by Montreal
AJ Burnett - 6.4, drafted by NYM (spent 2+ years in Florida's minors before MLB debut)
Phil Hughes - 4.9, drafted by NYY
Orlando Hernandez - 4.4, signed by NYY (although he was 32, so not a true prospect)

So that's three pitchers that entered, and were brought up in, the Yankees farm system that turned out to be among their top 10 best pitchers over the last decade (note, I'm not including Hernandez as he was not "developed" by the Yankees). Not bad in my opinion, especially when you consider the fact that the list includes the #2 pitcher (Pettitte), a guy who had a lot of promise before a freak injury (Wang), and another that's only 25 and whose future is yet to be determined (Hughes).

And let's not forget that, during those 10 years, the team missed the playoffs once (2008), made it to the World Series once (2003), and won the World Series (2009). Which brings me to my main argument... the Yankees are not a team that rebuilds. They aren't going to settle for missing the playoffs for a few years in order to develop players, and make a run at a title down the road. This is a team that looks to win now and develop players (at least in the past few years, as their philosophy has changed quite a bit). And due to winning like they have, the Yanks aren't able to draft nearly as much great raw talent as teams like the Tampa Rays, Washington Nationals, or Kansas City Royals have.

This topic has been brought up a handful of times by me over at Daily Sports Pages, and I'll repeat it again...

If you want to root for a team that has great minor league systems, then take off the Yankee t-shirt and root for somebody else. I'd much rather cheer for a team that not only creates some great players every once in a while (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Robinson Cano), some serviceable MLB players (Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera), and has some good/great prospects (Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez), but also wins.

And just for kicks, here are the 4 teams that made it to their respective League Championship Series last season, along with their 2011 farm system ranking according to AOLNews' Frank Piliere...

Milwaukee - 30th
Detroit - 24th
Texas - 9th
St. Louis - 17th

Where did the Yankees finish on that list? 4th. I rest my case.

Sometimes Waiting Is Not The Right Thing

This was my Pinch Hitter post for the LoHud Yankees blog, which was posted this morning.

Our next Pinch Hitter is Bryan Van Dusen, who was born in upstate New York a little past midnight on the night the Yankees won the 1977 World Series. “I’m sure my father resents me to some degree for missing the game due to my mother being in labor,” he wrote. Bryan now lives in Columbus, Ohio and says he gets “disgusted” looks when he wears his Yankees gear around town. He recently co-founded a Yankees blog called The Greedy Pinstripes.

For his guest post, Bryan looked back at his feelings at the beginning of this offseason, then he wrote about why he’s glad the Yankees didn’t settle on the strategy he initially wanted.

When C.J. Wilson was signed by the Angels, that was okay with me. When I found out how much Texas paid to negotiate with Yu Darvish, I was happy the Yankees weren’t as aggressive. I would have liked Mark Buehrle in pinstripes, but four years is a bit long for a guy about to enter his age 33 season, so again, no problem. As for trading for guys like Gio Gonzalez or Mat Latos? The Yankees could win in 2012 without them, so why deal away good/great prospects?

You see, I wanted the Yankees to be in position to go after one of the many good/great pitchers that could be free agents after the 2012 season; starters such as Cole Hamels, Matt Cain and Zack Greinke.

But there was, and is, a major problem with that thinking: Hamels, Cain, and Greinke may not be available to the Yankees, or anybody else, after the season.

Cain is about to enter his age 27 season, so it’s not like the Giants should be concerned about giving him an extension due to age. I could see Milwaukee wanting to bring back either Greinke or Shaun Marcum – or both — to go along with Yovani Gallardo. Although I don’t buy into all the talk that Hamels will eventually sign an extension, it’s certainly not because he isn’t worth it. The Marlins might also want to extend Anibal Sanchez, and guys like Gavin Floyd, Dan Haren, Tim Hudson, and James Shields all have club options for 2013 that will likely be picked up.

Overall, there’s a decent chance that not one good/great pitcher will reach free agency after the 2012 season. For all those people pointing at CC Sabathia and saying, “we spent money on CC instead of trading for him, let’s do that again,” we’re in a different era, and we may not have that choice. Trading for somebody could very well be the best route to take, and doing so now may not be a bad idea at all.

Which brings us to January 13th, a day Yankees fans may never forget.

Jesus Montero could very well be a stud in the big leagues. In 61 MLB at bats last season he put up a triple-slash of .368/.406/.590, and it was all but certain he would be the team’s regular DH for 2012, and I was okay with that. But it’s not ideal to have a 22-year-old, full-time DH on a team that might need that spot for A-Rod, Jeter and possibly Teixeira sometime down the road. They say that when it comes to a talent like Montero, you find a spot for the guy, and the Yankees were doing exactly that. But it doesn’t mean it was a good spot, so if there was a way to improve the situation … go for it.

That’s exactly what Brian Cashman did.

Michael Pineda had an ERA last season of 3.74, which was 22nd among all qualified American League starters. His FIP of 3.42 was tied with James Shields for 11th. His K/9 of 9.11 was 2nd. Pineda could easily be a team’s No. 1 starter. Pair him with a guy named CC, and outside of Philadelphia I don’t think you’ll find a better 1-2 punch in all of baseball. Oh, and I should point out that Michael is only 23, and is under team control for another 5 years.

Can the offense survive without Montero? Yeah, something tells me they’ll be okay there. After all, they scored the second most runs in all of MLB last year, and did most of that without Montero, not to mention that A-Rod only played in 99 games and Teixiera had his worst offensive season since his rookie year.

So I’m happy about the trade. I’m also happy about signing Hiroki Kuroda for only one year at $10 million. I won’t get that much into why I’m pleased with the Kuroda signing, let’s just say that according to Fangraphs, Hiroki has been worth $13.225 million per season since he joined MLB. I believe his numbers will get a bit worse in the AL, but $10 million for only one season as the team’s No. 3 starter sounds just fine.

Waiting for next year’s free agent market might have seemed like a good strategy, but free agency is no sure thing, and the Yankees were right to strike when they had the opportunity.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fielder for how much?

"I didn't overpay... did I?" - Mike Ilitch's inner thoughts

I'm still not sure I'm reading this news right.

The Detroit Tigers and slugger Prince Fielder have agreed to a nine-year, $214 million deal, a source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

I've been told by so many fans of different teams that only the Yankees would do something so nonsensical. You know, it's one thing to spend a ton on a guy that's needed, but I don't really see a need here.

For starters, Detroit already has an MVP-caliber player at first base. Apparently Miguel Cabrera will be moved to 3B so that Fielder can stick at 1B (Prince has never played anywhere but 1B in MLB or the minor leagues). Which sounds like a fine plan since Miggy has played some 3B, but a couple problems... 1) he hasn't played 3B since 2008, and 2) his UZR/150 there that season was -36.8. To be fair Cabrera only played 116 innings there at year, but in the previous two seasons... in which he averaged about 1,318 innings at 3B... he was still below average. So the defense has certainly taken a step back.

Like I was saying when it came to the Yankees not needing to improve their pitching by signing Cole Hamels next offseason, now that they have Michael Pineda to go along with CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova for another 5 years, I don't think the Tigers needed this offensive boost. Sure, losing Victor Martinez for a season hurts, but look at their runs total last season. They scored 787 runs, which was 47 more runs than the next highest team in the AL Central. And that was the 4th place Kansas City Royals, as the 2nd place Indians scored 83 less runs (704), and the 3rd place White Sox scored 133 less runs (654). Not to mention that in 2013 and 2014 the team will get Victor Martinez back, and have an offense that is way more than they need. Especially when you consider the contracts that will be on the books.

Now, keep in mind that Detroit's payroll last season was around $107 million. Well, over the next 3 years, the team will be paying 4 guys a total of $77.9 million a season (Fielder's AAV is $23.8m, Cabrera's AAV is $21.3, Verlander's is $20.1m, and Martinez's is $12.7m). Unless the team plans on raising the team payroll then they are looking at having 73% of their payroll for only 4 guys on the 40-man roster. That's insane. I looked up the top 4 players, as far as salary, for the Yankees and they'll make just over $93.9 million (ARod - $30m, Sabathia-$24.286m, Teixeira-$23.125m, Burnett-$16.5m), or less than 50% of the team's payroll. That's still a ton for just 4 players, but it's a little different when the team is spending around $200 million.

I'm not saying I won't be nervous about facing Detroit, but I really don't think it made sense for them.