#3 Starter

You know, as I get deeper into these I get the sense more and more that these teams are idiots for the way they order their rotations. Its also kind of cool to see how lucky certain guys got.

Yankees- A. J. Burnett- I wasn't a fan of this signing but their's no denying that Burnett is a really good pitcher. His RCA's the past few years have been good (3.86, 3.13, 3.60) but his innings haven't (134, 164, 222). The sudden jump last year makes him even more of a risk then usual as well. He`s good and is probably actually better than Wang but he`s got to stay healthy. Hopefully, he can prove me wrong and be the that the Yankees are hoping he can be. We`ve got him for 5 years, hopefully he`ll be good.

Red Sox- Daisuke Matsuzaka- I`m still very slightly annoyed that we failed to get this guy but take solace in the fact that he`s one of the more overrated pitchers in baseball. Last year his RCA was 4.49 in 163 innings. That's solid but not even close to being the ace that his record and ERA would indicate. The year before he was better at 4.01 in 206 innings. It seems like the league has adjusted to him and its just a matter of time before he stops getting so lucky. He`s an above average pitcher but not a great one.

Rays- Matt Garza-The Rays got him from the Twins for Delmon Young last year and right now, that deal looks pretty good for the Rays. In his first full year, he was pretty good. In 185 innings his RCA was 4.26. Essentially, what we were hoping to get out of Hughes and Kennedy. The sudden rise in innings is dangerous and he`s a guy to watch for injuries but if he doesn't get hurt, he should keep developing and getting better. He`s cheap and good. Most teams would love to have guys like this.

Conclusion- Yankees- Rays- Red Sox- I didn't have a hard time going with Burnett at #1 here. Burnett is good enough that even when he misses half the year, he still has a lot of value. Garza and Matsuzaka are close though. I went garza because he`s still young and could get even better next year. Matsuzaka is in his peak years right now and has probably hit his ceiling already.


Ken Rosenthal has a few interesting notes
  • First of all, the Yanks are not interested in Juan Cruz and I don't blame them. He`s a tempting target but I`m unwilling to decimate the 2009 draft anymore. Supposedly, its a very deep draft and if the Yanks can go over-slot then they can still get a good prospect. The farm needs rebuilding again. Its down to about average and they need to improve on that. If they trade Swisher or Nady then they might change their minds.
  • The Yanks and M's considered a Matsui-Washburn swap. However, Matsui's contract scared the Mariners away. Probably a good thing anyway. Washburn would have been an upgrade over Ponson last year but now theirs no reason to trade for him.
  • The remaining free agents are getting worried and are considering setting up their own Training Camp for the spring to stay in shape and hopefully get employeed later on. Time is ticking and I`d be pretty nervous right around now if I were I-Rod or Abreu.


Ty Wigginton?

A while ago I suggested the Yanks pick up Ty Wigginton to help out their bench. It looked like he was going to get a starting job though so I gave up on that idea fairly quickly. However, according to Walt Jocketty, "They're getting close to desperate stage."

He has an undeniably awful glove. However, he can handle a few different positions. He`s spent time at first, second, third, and leftfield. We have first and left covered with Swisher but if either Cano or A-Rod went down, Ransom would be a disaster. From what I`ve read, Ransom isn't all that great in the field either.

Wigginton isn't spectacular and his Giambi-like fielding hurts him but he can be counted on for an EQA around .280. Last year it was even higher, at .290. A good bench often makes the difference and Wigginton will come pretty cheap. He was worth 5.6 million in 2006 and 2007 according to Then last year they have him at 13.5 million. I`d bet on him getting less than that. He`d be another nice addition to upgrade the team in a way that's not flashy but is effective.

Bruney Signed

The Yanks have avoided arbitration with Brian Bruney by giving him a one year deal worth about 1.5 million dollars. This is it for the arbitration eligible players. Bruney could be a big part of the 2009 bullpen. Bruney has great stuff and ever since he lost that weight last winter he`s seemed to find some control. If he could put it all together then along with Marte, Rivera, and hopefully Melancon he could give the Yanks a killer back end of the bullpen.

Jon Stewart- The Most Trusted Name in News

Este informe es un estudio que descubre, mide y comparte los más grandes impactos de prácticas y resultados en la adquisición de prospectos usados por los mejores mercadologos de negocio a negocio. Este Reporte Informativo incluye - en los Expertos de Marketing.
Joe must be terrified.


2nd Starter

I went with Wang in this spot because he has seniority over Burnett with regards to his time with the Yankees. They could really go either way on this one. Burnett probably makes more sense I guess.

Yankees- Chien-Ming Wang- Wang had a very dissapointing 2008. It wasn't just his injury either that bothers me. His RCA was a very high 5.02 in his 86 innings. This is out of line with what he did the year before (4.38 in 184 innings) and the year before that (4.32 in 200 innings) where he established himself as a good pitcher who had no business pretending to be an ace. An interesting note about Wang is his consistenly low HR/FB%. This is generally attributed to luck but some pitchers do have a talent for it. Usually GB pitchers or soft tossing control guys. If Wang is one of these rare guys then RCA would underrate him. Hopefully, 20008 was just an outlier in a small sample size and he`ll go back to being the solid innings eater he always has been. If Wang could just work on his sider and start striking guys out though.....

Red Sox- Jon Lester- A year ago I laughed when my cousin compared him to Phil Hughes. I regret that. 2008 was essentially his first full year so that's all I`m going to go on. It was very good to. Not quite what his ERA would indicate but a 4.39 RCA in 199 innings is pretty damn good for a 24 year old who already has had to deal with cancer. He`s going to fall off a lot from his 2008 but anybody would still love to have him on their team. I also think their's a good chance he`s going to get hurt. He took a pretty huge jump in innings pitched from 2007 to 2008. He`s going to start hitting his peak years in the next year or two and then we really have to start worrying. If he could strike out a few more guys he`d be scary.

Rays- Scott Kazmir- Last year the former Met basically gave up on his slider in exchange for a more straightforward fastball/changeup combo. This isn't a sudden change either. Over the past three years he went from throwing his slider about 29 percent of the time in 2006 to about 10 percent last year. Why? I have absolutely no idea. Its not working. He had a 4.05 RCA in 151 innings last year. That's really good but not even close to 2007 (3.23 in 212 innings) or 2006 (3.39 in 146 innings). Before 2008 Kazmir was better than anybody in the division not named Sabathia. If he could get his injuries under control that would also help him a ton. My guess is that he`s going to stick with the fastball/changeup since his ERA was as good as ever last year. However, he`s not going to be the pitcher he should be.

Conclusion- Rays- Red Sox- Yankees- Even a diminished Kazmir is still well above Wang or Lester. Wang and Lester are almost to close to call though. I went with Lester in the end because he`s younger wtih a better chance of improvement. 2008 also has to be somewhat concerning for Yankees fans. Plus, Wang has a bit of an injury history. It could break either way here. If Kazmir can regain his form of a year or two ago then Shields-Kazmir could be a really scary 1-2 punch. Like Sabathia-Sheets was last year.

Chase Wright DFA'd

Yesterday Chase Wright was DFA'ed to make room on the 40 man roster for Pettitte. I`m not a big fan of Wright but somebody will pick him up because of those gaudy AAA numbers.


Torre Getting Under Yankees Skin

Joe Torre has written a new book scheduled to be released February 3rd. Titled "The Yankee Years," it is a collaboration with Tom Verducci. In the book Torre, manager of the Yankees at the time, claims that when Alex Rodriguez first joined the Yankees he was referred to by his teammates as "A-Fraud."


Haha, had you going their for a minute didn't I? No, I didn't suddenly lose my mind but Kevin Kernan has. Yes, Kevin Kernan. So lets see what he has to say.....

Or they could just, like, you know do that with him in the rotation.....

and if Rivera needs a little extra time to be ready for the season,

Wuh? Wait, is Kevin Kernan Rivera's doctor?

Chamberlain can be the emergency closer. If Rivera is right for the start of the season, then Chamberlain has the eighth inning

Nope, just blatant speculation on something he knows absolutely nothing about.

and the Yankees are that much more of a force.

Or they could put him in the rotation and have a potentially ridiculous rotation....

When you are a starter, you have four days to kill between starts. When you are in the bullpen, you have to be ready to go every game.

Kevin Kernan is not only a doctor-sportswriter extraordinaire! He`s also a psychologist!

This way Chamberlain can basically be a two-pitch pitcher, slider and fastball. He can mix in the curve, but he does not have to depend upon it as much as a starter, who needs three pitches to work the lineup, and this would mean less stress on his shoulder.

But he has more than just two good pitches.....

Burnett to the bullpen!

In Cash We Trust

Cashman left some wiggle room for a move to the bullpen, saying the Pettitte signing, "Certainly provides Joe Girardi and [pitching coach] David Eiland things to think about as the season unravels."

Has Cashman ever NOT left himself some wiggle room? Seriously, when was the last time he ruled something out?

The Yankees should plan on it now. Joba is the perfect fit for this bullpen.



Believe it or not, we don't have any more of the position spots set in stone. I don't see Swisher or Nady getting traded but I don't want to do a whole post and then have to start all over again so I`m going to play it safe. In addition, Boston doesn't know who their catcher is yet and I`m still not quite sure what to do with centerfield. So, its on to the rotation for now. First up is the team's aces.

Yankees- C. C. Sabathia- Its nice to not have to fit Wang into this spot anymore. He`s a good pitcher and passable ace but not on the same level as Sabathia, Santana, Halladay, Peavy, and a few others which you need in the AL East. Anyway, in Sabathia we have either the best or second best pitcher in baseball (Roy Halladay is the other guy). I already did a super long post on Sabathia so I`ll condense it here. He`s been worth 4, 5, and 7 wins over the past three years which his RCA going down every year and his IP going up every year. The only concern with him is injury and I`ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that for now.

Red Sox- Josh Beckett- I honestly didn't know who to put as Boston's ace right away. I think Boston is planning on having Beckett as their Opening Day starter though so that's what I`m going with for now. Beckett actually had a pretty poor 2008 with a 4.02 RCA in 169 innings. That's very good but not ace like. I`m not sure why that's so far off from his FIP but it almost exactly matches his ERA. This is a pretty sharp contrast to his 2007 when he had a 2.88 RCA in 200 innings. Then, if you go back another year the see-sawing continues. In his first year in Boston, he had an RCA of 4.26 with 207 innings pitched. Bizarre. The best I can make of this is that Beckett is a good pitcher who had one incredible year that probably won't be replicated.

Tampa Bay- James Shields- After so many years of suffering through Michael Kay telling us that if the Rays could just get some solid pitching behind Kazmir they`d be a contender he was agonizingly proven right. Not only did they get some solid guys behind Kazmir, they found somebody better than him. Shields didn't really become effective until 2006 when he turned 26 (take that Hughes haters) but now he`s one of the better pitchers in baseball. He had a 3.71 RCA last year in 211 innings and the year before he had an RCA of 3.41 in 213 innings. He`s still fairly young and his peak years so theirs no reason to expect him to suddenly stop. The sudden increase in his innings may end up being a problem but if he hasn't gotten hurt yet then I think you need to give him a pass there.

Conclusion- Yankees- Rays- Red Sox- I think the Yanks come out ahead here pretty easily. Sabathia is really in that top top tier of pitchers which Beckett and Shields aren't at. How Beckett does this year should be interesting. If he has another 2006 or 2008 year then it might be time to start calling 2007 an outlier. However, if he has another ace type year then we also need to adjust our opinions of him. Shields also has the potential for a big year though and has already established himself as consistently being a front of the rotation guy. Keep in mind that I`m doing this in the order that the teams seem to be setting up their rotations. Not who is best, otherwise Lester may have been ahead of Beckett. It also means Joba is the #5 guy to limit his innings.

All Done?

With Pettitte finally signing the roster seems pretty much set. We`ve got our 5 man rotation and our starting lineup. I`m betting on both Nady and Swisher staying put now so we have the bench set pretty well to. So what's left? Not much. The Yanks have filled their budget and snuck past the 190 payroll mark. Please, no crazy proposals about an 11th hour Manny bid or moving Joba to the pen and signing Sheets. And yes, my fetish for Adam Dunn will have to wait. I`d like to see an upgrade over Jose Molina or Cody Ransom but I don't see that happening. I don't think they`re going to further decimate the draft either by signing Juan Cruz. 2009 is supposed to be very deep and they could pay over slot with their 4th round pick.

In a little over a month (!) Spring Training games will start and we`ll start figuring out CF, the bullpen, who's going to miss the first month of the season, and suffer through a minor controversy about A-Rod (although we may have a head start on that one). Until then things are going to be pretty quiet throughout baseball. With nothing else to distract sports fans their bound to be some absurdist journalism as well. So please, for the sake of my sanity, don't e-mail me every time the tabloid papers suddenly hear some ridiculous rumor.


Torre Book

Theirs been a lot of controversy over the new Torre book. I`m not planning on commenting on it until after I read the book. Its not fair to take snippets out and blow them out of proportion.

Yanks, Pettitte Agree to Deal

Update (4:40): According to MLBTR the Yankees have signed Pettitte on a one year deal with a guaranteed 5.5 mil that could reach 12 mil with incentives 
By Charlie

Yankees Close to Deal with Pettite 
Remember when the Yankees offered Andy Pettitte $10 million and he rejected it? Well, the Yankees came with a counter offer, and now the two sides are very close to finalizing the deal. However, it is for less guaranteed money than the Yanks originally offered Pettitte. It is reportedly for under $6 million guaranteed, with incentives that could bring the price up to $12 million. I love this move for the Yankees. Pettitte is a reliable innings eater, and allows Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, and Ian Kennedy to start the season in Scranton, which improves our depth.


2009 Shortstop Comparison

Sorry for the long time in between posts. Life gets busy.

Yankees- (Saint) Derek Jeter- Sorry to tell you guys but Jeter isn't the player he used to be. And that's a problem. He has never been a good defender and its always getting worse. His power has totally dissapeared and he doesn't get on base as much as he used to. His stats have been declining across the board for the past three years and at 34 years old I have no reason to expect the decline to suddenly stop. He's still one of the best shortstops in the AL but he`s overpaid and its time to stop saying he has a chance to one day have more hits than Pete Rose. I do think he was banged up last year though and should bounceback to a degree in 2009. Just closer to 2008 than 2007. His decline is something you really have to worry about as a Yankees fan though.

Red Sox- Julio Lugo/Jed Lowrie-The Julio Lugo signing is looking pretty bad for Boston right about now. An EQA of .263 won't cut it in the AL East and that was the past he`d done in the past 3 years. He`s a bad fielder as well. Boston would be better off with Lowrie instead. He was pretty solid in a rookie year last year and actually seems to be able to field. Regardless though, shortstop is one of the few holes in Boston's lineup. They better hope that Lowrie works out. I have a feeling that Lugo will get the majority of the starts though with their big investment in him. If that's true then good luck guys.

Rays- Jason Bartlett- Bartlett is a pretty solidly mediocore guy who will put up around average stats with about a .260 EQA and an okay glove. He`s not exactly a key component of the Rays but he fills a hole well enough for them. He`s got absolutely no power, even less than Jeter but he has a solid enough OBP to avoid being an automatic out. He's not great but if he's the worst hitter they have then the Rays are going to be pretty good.

Conclusion- Yankees- Red Sox- Rays-Its pretty clear that the Yankees are best off here even if Jeter sinks lower than 2008. I only put Boston ahead of the Rays because of Lowrie's potential to be good. Bartlett is a little bit ahead of Lugo and it really depends on how Francona manages.


Freddy Garcia?

Apparently, the Yanks and Mets are the two remaining teams competing for Freddy Garcia. Ken Rosenthal says its been narrowed down to the two New York teams. I think this would be exactly the type of move Cashman should be making right now. He`s a low risk, solid reward guy that could give the Yanks the depth they need in the rotation.

I wouldn't guarentee him a spot in the rotation and I`d still try to sign Ben Sheets or Andy Pettitte. However, he`s a good gamble to take. In his limited time last year he was pretty solid and if he could return to his old self he`s exactly what they need.

Not that it'd be a disaster if he went to the Mets but at a cheap price it`d be a nice small move to help.

Second Base

To continue with this series....

Yankees- Robinson Cano- Cano had a really pathetic 2008 after emerging as one of the the best second baseman in the league. It wasn't quite as awful as it seemed though. His EQA was .255 which isn't great but its tolerable from second base. His defense also appeared to fall off. I like Cano a lot but he really has to make a comeback next year. Thankfully, that looks likely. His BABIP last year was the worst of his career despite a high LD%. Supposedly, Kevin Long helped tweak his swing and he`s been working hard this winter in winter ball so I`d be surprised if he repeated 2008. Still, 2009 is a big year for Cano. In winter ball he seemed to be willing to walk more which would be a big step in the right direction.

Red Sox- Dustin Pedroia- On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is, of course, coming off an MVP year and may be the best second baseman in baseball (although he`s still probably behind Chase Utley). Certainly in the AL at least. He`s one of the best young players in baseball and anybody would love to have a guy like him. It should be interesting in the next few years how him and Cano do and if we have any flashbacks of Nomar/Jeter.

Rays- Akiniori Iwamura- Originally signed as a third baseman, Iwamura made the shift to accomodate Evan Longoria. Iwamura's absolute lack of power is his downfall which seems to be a trend in players coming over from Japan. He hits for a solid OBP and BA and has a good glove but six homers just isn't enough. Last year he was better than Cano but I`m counting on a bounce back from Cano.

Conclusion- Red Sox- Yankees- Rays- Pedroia is pretty clearly the head of the pack here and by a good bit. Cano has a chance to surpass him but I wouldn't bet on it. Iwamura at the bottom mainly due to his lack of power. He`s not bad but he`s not as good as Cano or Pedroia either.


Yankees Defense Should Be Better in '09

According to Fangraphs' UZR, via RLYW, the Yankees project to be seven runs above average defensively this year, a 46 run (or roughly 4 and a half win) upgrade over last year's team. Let's break this down a little. While Fangraphs expects slight regressions from Jeter, A-Rod, and Damon, the major improvements come from the departures of Bobby Abreu (-25.2 UZR last year) and Jason Giambi. While Giambi's -1.8 UZR last year is not horrible, he is replaced with Mark Teixeira's projected +3, which is a half-win upgrade in itself. Abreu's awful mark will be replaced mainly by Xavier Nady, but SG has Nick Swisher seeing some time in right as well. Nady projects to be -1, and Swisher +3. While a +7 team mark is encouraging, I don't think it will be that high. My reasoning for this is that I think SG gave Melky and Brett Gardner too much time in center for his projections. He has Nick Swisher playing just 242 innings in center, and Johnny Damon not playing any. I think that barring any moves, that pair will get at least half the innings in center. However, even with that scenario, the Yankees should still be greatly improved defensively in 2009.


If Jim Rice says its true...

This caught my eye in Newsday. This isn't so much a criticism of the author, David Lennon, so much as Jim Rice. Why this guy is in the Hall of Fame I will never know.

Rice blames Boss, Yanks on never winning a Series

Great, more Boston bitching. Exactly what we need.

The complaint is not a new one.

You think?

With the Yankees spending nearly half a billion dollars on three players this offseason -it is hardly a surprise that the Steinbrenner family again is being blamed for squashing any remaining bits of baseball's alleged competitive balance.

Over the past eight years we have had 7 different World Series champions. The only team to win it more than once in those eight years has been the scrappy/gritty/gutsy/beloved underdog/second highest spending team in those eight years Boston Red Sox (at this point it is natural to hear celestial choirs burst out singing).

And it's not just the salary-cap chorus that was heard coming from the owners' meetings this past week in Paradise Valley. With mind-numbing contracts still being handed out in the Bronx despite a flat-lining economy, such talk was to be expected.

Yes! Which means we need a guy who roots for a team that just gambled 13-30 million dollars on the likes of Rocco Baldelli, Takashi Saito, John Smoltz, and Brad Penny to be the valiant defender of small market baseball.

It's debatable whether the Yankees' practice of buying the sport's premier players is actually bad for baseball. What they pay in luxury tax is helping to keep other owners rich in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, though those teams remain perennial bottom-feeders

True dat.


And it translated into ultimate domination of the rest of the league!

Even now, Rice remains annoyed by the Yankees' habit of throwing money at their problems. Not surprisingly, he lauds Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein for doing things the right way. "If you look at the Red Sox now, you see them bringing guys up in the organization," he said. "That's why Theo has been the person he's been over the last couple of years. He'll bring young kids up and stay within the organization.

The homegrown starters on that team are Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Jacoby Ellsbury. The only homegrown guy expected to be in their rotation is Jon Lester. That's it. The sellout, satanist Yankees have Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, and Brett Gardner as hoemgrown starters. In the rotation they have Wang, Joba, and Hughes (maybe). That took me approximately 2.56545 minutes to look up using the amazing new technology of thinking.

"The Yankees haven't won in the last eight years. What do they do? They go out and buy high-priced players in the hope to get back the winning percentage they had 10 years ago."

This is true. Your point?

Obviously, Rice still bleeds Sox red, but he does have the facts on his side. Since the 2000 World Series, the Yankees have gone to the bank repeatedly for Mike Mussina ($88.5 million), Jason Giambi ($120 million), Carl Pavano ($40 million), Jose Contreras ($32 million), Johnny Damon ($52 million) and Kei Igawa ($20 million) - just to name some notable signings.

You seem to have forgotten a few but that's okay. In that time Boston also managed to pool together enough money to get Daisuke Matsuzaka, J.D. Drew, Julio Lugo, Manny Ramirez, Brad Penny, and John Smoltz. They also reportedly made a higher bid than the Yanks for Pavano and came close on Damon and Contreras.

That list does not include the renegotiated $275-million contract for Alex Rodriguez or the salary-dump trades that enabled them to get Randy Johnson ($31 million) and Kevin Brown ($31.4 million).

Or Mike Lowell, or Josh Beckett, or Jason Bay.....

Now, after passing on Johan Santana and stressing a youth movement that flopped last season, the Yankees have returned to the megabuck spending that Rice remembers so well.

Unlike the Red Sox who are so daring that they will give the centerfield job to an unproven rookie. They`re also daring enough to give two of the five spots in their rotation to unproven guys in their early 20's.

Wait, that's not Boston.....

Whatever outrage the Sabathia-Burnett-Teixeira axis has generated around the league, any salary-cap showdown between the owners and the Players Association is going to have to wait until after the 2011 season, when the collective-bargaining agreement expires. Major League Baseball remains the only sport among the Big Four without a salary cap. Even if the nation's economy rebounds by then, this dark period is not likely to be forgotten, and the impact won't be known until this season gets under way.


"I think there's a lot of owners that would like to have [a salary cap] right now," A's managing partner Lew Wolff told at the meetings in Arizona.

Where the hell did this guy come from?

Until then, Steinbrenner still will be Steinbrenner - be it George or Hal. Whether 2009 will resemble 1977, '78 or '98 remains to be seen.

And its over.

In Retrospect....

Thank god the Yankees didn't trade for Johan Santana last winter.

No that is not a typo. My point is that Johan Santana's contract is going to come back to bite the Mets in the end. Largely ignored in the debates raging over Santana was the fact that he was going to endup costing somebody a ton of money. Here`s his RCA's for the past three years:

2006- 3.10 (79 runs in 229 innings)

2007- 3.19 (77 runs in 217 innings)

2008- 4.02 (101 runs in 226 innings)

Just so you know, I checked the 2008 stats three times and they are correct. If you`re suddenly doubting the validity of this stat then I`d like to note that I did predict Barry Zito's sudden collapse using this stat.

I think by now you know what the replacement level guy does so here's what Santana is worth compared to him:

2006- 61 runs, 6.1 wins, 33.55 million dollars

2007- 55 runs, 5.5 wins, 30.25 million dollars

2008- 37 runs, 3.7 wins, 20.35 million dollars

This guy has been steadily declining since 2006. In fact, a quick glance at the stats shows that even 2006 was a drop-off from the previous year. In fact, every year has been inferior to his first full year in 2004. So why? He`s still pretty young.

Maybe it has something to do with the ridiculous amount of innings he`s thrown each year. Anyway, since 2004 his K/BB has been dropping fairly steadily, his LD% has risen, his K/9 has plummeted, and his BB/9 keeps climbing. For whatever reason he hit an early decline and its only going to get worse. He wasn't worth much more than the 17 million he earned last year and if he doesn't reverse this trend he`s going to end up weighing down the Mets payroll in coming years. Its only a matter of time before he gets hurt and misses a good chunk of a season as well.

No matter how Hughes, Jackson, and Kennedy do, unless Johan can bounceback, the Yanks were smart in their restraint. With the Sabathia signing, they got a better pitcher anyway and are in a better position for the future.

2009 First Base

This happens to be a fairly close position and everyone is strong here so its a good place to start.

Yankees- Mark Teixeira- The Yankees stole him right from under Boston's nose and it probably puts them at the top here. Clearly, he was the best free agent available this year. Teixeira consistently puts up EQA's over .300 ad theirs no reason to think he`ll fall of a cliff at 29. His glove is a big upgrade over Giambi as well. He`s a little overrated in the field but he`s generally solidly above average and good swing a few games that Giambi may have lost. All in all, this position was perenially a concern for a Yankees fans but we shouldn't have to worry about guys like Josh Phelps or Andy Phillips for a long time.

Rays- Carlos Pena- Once upon a time, the Yankees picked this guy up after he was released by the Tigers. While the likes of Andy Phillips and Miguel Cairo took turns being automatic outs Pena mashed away at AAA. Finally, he opted out of his contract and signed on with Boston. For some reason, I remember him hitting a walk-off home run for them but I`m a little fuzzy on that. Anyway, after the year he left as a free agent and signed on with the hapless Devil Rays. The past two years he`s been with them and Pena has quietly emerged as one of the better first baseman in baseball. Funny how things work out isn't it? Anyway, Pena has a glove and a bat that is comparable to Teixeira's and can crush the ball. He`s an underrated piece of the Rays.

Red Sox- Kevin Youkilis- At some point, somebody (Peter Gammons I`m looking at you) annointed this guy the heir to David Eckstein's throne as the grittiest man alive. As a result of this he went from being one of the most underrated players in baseball to being one of the most overrated. He`s clearly a very good player but not on the same level as Pena or Teixeira. This isn't just my Yankee bias either. In a career year he psoted an EQA of .321 which is great. However, Teixeira has beaten that three of the past four years. Pena crushed that in 2007 (his breakout year) and came close last year. All three of the projection systems available at have Youkilis coming crashing down to earth next year as well. His glove is probably the best of the three but not significantly so. Its certainly not a weakness for Boston but he`s becoming very overrated.

Conclusion- Yankes- Rays- Boston- The Yanks are in the best situation here and Teixeira has a solid edge over Pena but both Tampa and Boston are getting more bang for their buck. As I said before, Youkilis is the worst of this very good group of players. However, its close enough that any of the three could emerge. If Youkilis' 2008 was more than just a career year then he could easily end up better than Pena and could beat out Teixeira for the All Star Game's starting spot as well.

Yankees-Red Sox-Rays

In the past I`ve always tried to do a comparison between the Yanks and the Sox but I`ve fallen flat at the end because I always started it to late. Now theirs a third team in the AL East to worry about. So, to make sure it gets done this team I`m going to start it now. In the past I`ve gone position by position, dealing with the bullpen as a single entity. Not everything is set yet so I`ll just do it with the positions that seem unlikely to change.

To start out I`ll do first base later today.


What is Ben Sheets Worth?

Interest in this guy has been near non-existent and its understandable with his injury problems. However, when he`s pitching he's an ace. I greatly preferred him over A.J. Burnett and now the the price tag on Sheets has sunk so low its worth considering him over Pettitte. Like Pettitte, he might take a one year deal so he can prove himself again and cash in next year with a weaker free agent class.

Here`s a look at his RCA stats:

2006- 2.83 RCA (34 runs in 109 innings)

2007- 4.24 RCA (67 runs in 142 innings)

2008- 3.89 RCA (84 runs in 194 innings)

Compared to the replacement level guy.....

2006- 5.50 RCA (67 runs in 109 innings)

2007- 5.50 RCA (87 runs in 142 innings)

2008- 5.50 RCA (119 runs in 194 innings)

So we have one year of ridiculously awesome performance for half a season, a mediocore year in which he missed a good chunk of the season and a very good year in which he ate up a lot of innings.

His worth compared to a replacement guy:

2006- 33 runs, 3.3 wins, 18.15 million dollars

2007- 20 runs, 2 wins, 11 million dollars

2008- 35 runs, 3.5 wins, 19.25 million dollars

Man, they made a mistake with Burnett.

This is a very interesting guy. He`s not the type of player the Yankees need (a back-end innings eater) but if Pettitte is ridiculous in his demands then they would be well served picking up Ben Sheets on a one year deal with an option for a second. Some think he may have to settle for under 10 million and for him that's an incredible bargain.

Over the past three years his total worth was very close to Pettitte's (About 47 million for Pettitte and 48 million for Sheets). Cost ignored I`d pick Pettitte just for nostalgia and the stabilizing force he provides. However, if Sheets costs less I`d pick him up. If they fail to get either of them I`m going to be very dissapointed.

If they do get Sheets, its interesting that they have five potential aces in their rotation. Sabathia is Sabathia, Burnett is a borderline ace when he`s healthy, Joba showed that kind of potential last year, Wang is also a borderline ace, and Sheets is as good as any of them when he`s on.


The Time is Coming

By Bob Bagley, consultant on baseball odds

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:05 P.M. marks the official first pitch at the brand-spanking new, 1.3 billion dollar Yankee Stadium.

In a pre-season game that evening, and a day-game the next afternoon, the Yankees will officially unveil their new home to thousands of die-hard fans.

No, the opponent won’t be the hated Boston Red Sox. Nor will it be the despised Baltimore Orioles. That would be doing those demons too great an honor. And so, in fairness to (a.k.a. hatred of) all American League teams, the Yankees wandered outside the League to choose a fitting opponent for the one-time-only, never-to-be-repeated occasion… the Chicago Cubs.

Now, just how did the Yankee power-brokers come to such a decision?

Was it the elaborate history between the Yanks and the Cubs? Let’s see… they met in the Bronx for three games during the 2005 interleague series.

But the Yankees have met lots of teams during interleague play… so that’s a non-starter. They swept the Cubs way back when for two World Series titles. But that was back in 1932 and 1938… hardly a reason to select them in 2009.

The 1932 World Series was the background for Babe Ruth’s famous “called shot” off the Cubs pitcher Charlie Root. But that was in Wrigley Field in Chicago… hardly worthy of the honor bestowed on the Cubs at the new Yankee home.

Here’s some simple baseball betting advice... It has to do with a guy named Lou Piniella.

You know… the guy who graced the Yankee outfield for some 11 years. The guy who played on two World Series Champion teams for the Yankees. The guy who managed the Yanks from 1986 to1988.

The guy who has always had the respect of true Yankees… both fans and management. Oh, yeah, one more thing. The guy who was the 2008 National League Manager of the Year. Oops, almost forgot… the current respected manager of… the Chicago Cubs.

Now, that, folks just might be a reason we can all live with!


What's Wrong With Pettitte?

An article has been causing a minor controversy in Yankee Universe. I like most everything else the author, John Garcia, has written at the Bleacher Report but this article rivals the Oliver Perez article for shear insanity. So, we`re going to do this FJM style.

Should the Yankees Consider Signing Former Mets and Sox Ace Pedro Martinez?


The Yankees have obviously already added their top two free agent pitching targets in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, but should they consider adding another?


I mean, their's a guy out there who's first choice (supposedly) is to play for the Yankees. He`s very underrated, will only need a one year deal, and is a lock for 200 solid innings. What kind of idiot wouldn't want Andy Pettitte back?

With Andy Pettitte's decision to turn down their contract offer, the Yankees are still looking for an answer for the last spot in their rotation.

True, they could raise the offer a few million, they could let it stand, they could try and make a play for Derek Lowe or Ben Sheets, they could make a trade, or they could just go with the low risk, high reward option in Hughes, Aceves, and Kennedy.

Youngster Phil Hughes has the best shot from inside the organization, but everyone knows pitching depth is important, especially considering Burnett's injury history and Hughes' ineffectiveness last year.

Also true. Which is exactly why we need a solid dependable anchor at the back of that rotation. Like Andy Pettitte.

Pedro Martinez could be the answer for the Yankees.


Unlike the other pitchers available, Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, or Andy Pettitte, Martinez would come at a discount with his injuries last few seasons.

It also means he`s probably going to spend most of 2009 on the DL.

Speaking of guys that will come at a discount due to injury, deosn't Ben Sheets fit that description perfectly? He`s been just as dominant as C.C. Sabathia when healthy. The problem with that idea is that it's far to obvious and wouldn't stir up any controversy.

Martinez, 37, would not be expected to return to his Cy Young form which was needed from him with the Mets last season.

I`m nitpicking here but the Mets only missed the playoffs by one game. They didn't need 1998 Pedro. They just needed him to keep them in games and to stay healthy. He couldn't even do that.

The move from Queens to the Bronx wouldn't be a problem for Pedro and a chance to play the Red Sox might be enticing to Boston's former ace.

This sentence could have also been written this way:

The move from the NL East to the AL East wouldn't be a problem for a 37 year old pitcher who hasn't pitched a full season since 2005 and a chance to play the Red Sox would be embarrassing for Boston's former ace.

Pedro isn't what he used to be. He`s not even close. Even if he`s healthy their are no guarentees that he can even pitch. Let alone in the AL East.

Another plus is the Yankees already know he can handle the pressure of New York and a career post-season record of 6-2 with a 3.40 ERA alleviates any post-season worries.

As opposed to noted choke artist Andy Pettitte.....

A Martinez signing to "his daddy" would keep up with Boston's recent signings of former aces John Smoltz and Brad Penny, both also coming off injuries.

This matters?

By the way, I`d take Smoltz or Penny over Pedro easily.

If the Yankees do sign another pitcher, whether it is Martinez or not, it would move Hughes to the bullpen or send him to the AAA-team Scranton to start the season. Other potential starters, Alfredo Aceves and Ian Kennedy, are most likely to start the season in Scranton.


Elijah Dukes

There's been a lot of rumors surrounding Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher recently, and one of them will likely be traded before Spring Training, though I don't really think that's necessary. However, if we were to trade say, Xavier Nady, I think it would be a good idea to trade for a center fielder. The Nationals have a known interest in Nady, and they also have a troubled outfielder named Elijah Dukes. Dukes has had a lot of problems off the field in his career, and they were all pretty serious. However, his upside is enormous. He won't hit for a great average, but it won't be Adam Dunn bad, and he also walks a lot (15.3% walk rate), with good pop (.209 career IsoP). He is a plus defender at the corners, but I'm not sure how well he can play center, but he shouldn't be unbearably bad, and if he lives up to his offensive potential it will be well worth it. Just what is that offensive potential? In roughly half a season last year, he put up an .864 OPS and a .382 wOBA at just 24 years old. At age 30, Xavier Nady put up similar numbers: an .867 OPS and a .374 wOBA.

This move also solves a future problem. Dukes is under team control for another five years, while Nady will leave after next year. In 2010, Dukes can shift over to right, with Swisher in left (I'm not sure but I think Dukes has a better arm) and AJax in center. So instead of competing with probably five or six other teams for a thirty year-old Matt Holliday or re-signing an aging Johnny Damon, we can just use our young stud outfielder in right.

However, there are plenty of caveats to this move. First of all, would the Nats do it? Dukes's trade value is slightly deflated because of his legal troubles, but I don't know how low it is in the eyes of Jim Bowden. To be honest, I really don't know if we could get Dukes + for Nady, or if Bowden would even take a straight-up swap seriously. Second, there's Dukes' aformentioned legal troubles. I ussually don't care at all if a guy has been arrested or has had other problems, as long he plays well, I like him. But Dukes might be a different story. He has been arrested four times, has five children with four women, and threatened to kill his wife and child. Last year, the Nationals hired an ex- police officer to follow him around and keep him out of trouble, and he had no problems last year. So it is possible he has turned a corner. I mean, Josh Hamilton has done it, why can't he? So what we have to do is weigh the potential for an offensive monster who plays good D (once we move him to a corner) against the possibility that he goes back to his old ways and ends up struggling to stay on the field. What do I say? I say if a Nady-Dukes swap is availible straight up, do it. If we have to give up Swisher instead, I would want some more from the Nats. What do the rest of you think.



“When you’re down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you’re down,” Pavano said. “I’ve had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years.”

Boston's New Approach

Most of you have probably already noticed Boston's fascination in players that get hurt a ton but have great potential. They`ve signed Smoltz, Baldelli, Penny, and now Saito to one year incentive laden deals. Its an interesting contrast to the Yanks approach of going after the big name stars to buy time for their prospects to develop.

Boston spends a lot of money but they spread out their risks. If just one of the four guys I mentioned above work out, Theo will be hailed as a genius. However, if just one of Teixeira, Sabathia, and Burnett fail, people will be calling for Cashman's head.

Here`s what the Red Sox are going to be spending on those four guys:

Penny- 5-8 million
Smoltz- 5-10 million
Baldelli- .5-5.75 million
Saito- 2.5-7 million (club option for 2010)

Total- 13-30.75 million dollars

To make this investment worth it you need to have at least two of these guys stay healthy and produce. Will that happen? Honestly, I doubt it.

Boston Signs Saito

Saito, like Smoltz, Baldelli, and Penny, can be filthy when he`s healthy. However, he`s had major arm problems. Another scary move that probably won't end up mattering very much.


The New Yankee Stadium Tour

I have been invited to take a pre-season tour of the New Yankee Stadium. Pretty sweet eh? I will, of course, give you my take of the new stadium along with the photos I take. I will let you know when I am going and keep you posted.

Hang On To Nady

I`ve discussed a few different Nady trade ideas before and if they do trade someone, Nady should be the guy. I still maintain most of what I`ve written. However, I think it`d be best if they traded nobody at all.

First of all, the chances of them getting an Aaron Harang or Jonathan Sanchez are small. Their are still plenty of corner outfielders on the market like Dunn and even Manny if you`re willing to splurge. At the moment a guy like Pat Burrell, who was comparable to Nady last year, was just given a 2 year deal worth 8 million a year. This is a buyers market where Abreu could be had for about 10 million for one year, Dunn could get a similar AAV for two or three years. Teams are not going to give up young talent for a difference of only about one win and a couple million dollars.

Secondly, theirs a lot of value in having a guy like Swisher on the bench. Swisher can play first base, DH, left-field, and right-field all very well (excepting DH....). The Yanks went into 2008 with Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Bobby Abreu playing those respective positions. Out of the 162 games a year they missed a combined total of 111 games. These games were filled with a rather pathetic combination of Brett Gardner, Wilson Betemit, Justin Christian, and whoever else they had to throw out there. Eventually, Nady came over in a trade and filled up a lot of at bats but it cost us Jose Tabata.

So how critical were those 111 games? Well, assuming Swisher bounces back to his usual levels of about 3.5 wins above replacement level he`d have been a pretty big upgrade over the guys they threw out there last year. Or for that matter, what they may have to deal with this year. Melky, Gardner, and Ransom, who would otherwise be the backups for the positions that Swisher plays, were basically replacement level last year. One of Melky and Gardner will end up starting in center as well. So, over those 111 games Swisher would add 2.4 wins to the Yanks total. To give you an idea of what that means, Nady improved 2.6 wins from 2007 to 2008, his career year. Those 2.4 wins are worth about 13 million dollars. Theirs a big advantage you get from having a bench guy who can step in and rest the normal starters as well.

The most obvious part of this trade is Nady's own value. Ironically, it may be the least important part. If he were traded it would push Swisher into a starting role. If Swisher bounces back then even if Nady can repeat his 2008 it would be basically a wash. Both would be worth about 3.5 wins. I think its much more likely that Nady reverts back to his old self than Swisher staying as his new self as well so this is essentially a wash.

Theirs also one more reason. Nady only needs to have a decent 2009 to be ranked as a Type A free agent and since he`s only making 6 million dollars next year he will probably decline arbitration if he has a good enough year to make that ranking. So, any trade offer would have to beat the 2.4 wins that Swisher adds as a bench player and the two draft picks that they will probably/hopefully receive for Nady when he leaves as a free agent. I doubt it. Especially if Pettitte returns and they have no need for a 5th starter. Besides that, any young pitcher they traded for would create a log-jam there that would perpetually block any of their pitching prospects that they`ve worked to develop.


Pettitte to Houston Unlikely

Ed Wade, the Astro's GM, said to unlikely for Pettitte. No surprise here. Even if Pettitte is willing to go to what will probably be a non-competitive team, why would Houston want him? They`ve been very cheap this year and an offer of over 10 million for Pettitte is unlikely. He`s a one year patch and that's not what Houston needs.

I still say Pettitte will be a Yankee by the time pitchers and catchers report.


Boston made two low key moves yesterday that could end up being very scary if they work out. Rocco Baldelli was signed to a one year deal and so was John Smoltz. Baldelli has been covered here in the past. He`s a great gamble for them to take with very little risk. If he works out he could be an impact player fo them. The only positive I can take from this is that its a one year deal.

John Smoltz is another scary guy. It seems like they`re going to throw a few different injury risks to the back end of their rotation with Penny, Smoltz, and Wakefield. Smoltz got a solid contract but if he works out for them he`s going to kill the Yanks. Then again, theirs a good chance that he`d only be part of the five man rotation if somebody else gets hurt.

Both of these could be busts but they also have the potential to be just as big as Sabathia and Teixeira. Well, maybe not quite, but you get the idea.

Pettitte and Nady

Theirs been a lot of speculation swirling around lately about the Yanks being willing to trade Xavier Nady or Andy Pettitte going to Houston.

Ultimately, I think these two things are connected. I`m thinking that the Yanks will up their offer to Pettitte to make it 12-14 million. Who else will give Pettitte 10 million? Houston is so cheap that they non-tendered Ty Wigginton. The Dodgers are tied up with the Manny Ramirez talks and really have no need for Pettitte. Their aren't many teams that are willing to go get Pettitte in this economy. The Nady talks are just them showing Pettitte that they have other options. Possibly better options.

Or, they could trade Nady for a starter like Aaron Harang or Jonathan Sanchez. I see them waiting to see how the market develops for Pettitte. Ideally, the scenario above would happen. The Yanks don't really want a long term solution who will be taking up a spot for Hughes the next few years but trading Nady makes a lot of sense.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Vibrations

Sergio Mitre Suspended

Sergio Mitre has been suspended for 50 games for violating the drug penalty. More dissapointing news today, I had hopes he could step in later in the year for injury but its not a big deal.

Jason Johnson was signed today as well. He`ll essentially take Mitre's role but isn't as good. The once beloved Shelley Duncan has been DFA'ed to make room for Teixeira.


Ken Rosenthal noted today that the door is not toally closed on Pettitte. Teams have also had a lot of interest in Nady and Swisher

Pettitte Rejects Offer

Andy Pettitte has rejected the Yanks offer of 10 million dollars for one year. This is very dissapointing and I`m hoping they`re willing to pony up an extra million or two for him. We knew this was a risk after they signed Teixeira and its why I didn't like it. I would go into the year with Hughes in the rotation if Pettitte chooses to go elsewhere.


What Is Oliver Perez Worth?

After yesterday's post on Oliver Perez one of the commenters suggested I make one of these things for Perez. So, here it is.

Like I said yesterday, Perez is an okay pitcher. Probably a little below average but he`s still young and has room to improve. The two problems he has are walks and frustrating inconsistency. Neither of which are good for a team which will be on the brink of playoff contention like the Yanks who need to be sure they`re getting a solid 6 innings every time out from their 5th starter. That's my impression at least. Does he strike out enough to make it worth it? In a word, no. Here`s his RCA numbers for the last three years:

Like I said, really inconsistent. In 2006 and 2008 he was awful and in 2007 he was an ace. He`s only 27 and could figure things out but not with the Yankees. The transition to the AL East would be awful for him. Besides this it locks up their 5 spots in the rotation long term which leaves Hughes/Kennedy/Aceves in a permanent state of filling in for injury unless you move Joba to the bullpen which weakens the team long-term. Perez is a risky signing and could turn out being a stroke of genius for a team with a good pitching coach but not with the Yankees.

For any other team here is his worth compared to a replacment level pitcher:

2006- 4 runs, .4 wins, 2.2 million dollars

2007- 39 runs, 3.9 wins, 21.45 million dollars

2008- 9 runs, .9 wins, 4.95 million dollars

Perez will probably get a three year deal from some NL team, who that is I`m not sure. Convenienty, we can add up what he deserved the past 3 years to get a ballpark figure of what he`s worth, which is 28.6 million dollars. That's a little under 10 million dollars a year, about what he should get. He`ll be 27 on Opening Day and he could be beginning his peak years so theirs a good chance he`ll outperform that. Again though, the Yankees aren't looking for a risky long-term project just a one year quick fix to give Hughes some extra time.

Slow Times...

Things are slow right now in the world of baseball. Which means we fans entertain ourselves with absurd ideas like Orlando Hudson in centerfield and (the slightly more sane) Joba in the bullpen. The Mets commentary is extremely sane and reasonable, however, in the New York Post by Kevin Kernan has some thoughts on the Yank that are just to ridiculous to ignore. Its chock full of nonsense and generalizations which have nothing to do with reality so we`ll do this Fire Joe Morgan style, the article is in italics and my obnoxious comments are in normal font.

THERE remains one final major move for the Yankees to make. Same goes for the Mets .

Bringing Andy Pettitte back on a cheap short term deal? Signing Derek Lowe to give us a cartoonish rotation? Trading Nady for a top knotch pitcher like Aaron Harang or Jonathan Sanchez? Selling the farm for Jake Peavy? Please, oh Kevin Kernan, tell us in your infinite wisdom, what is this final piece to the puzzle that the Yankees need?

The Yankees still have a hole in their rotation. This has been an incredibly prosperous offseason for the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman with the free-agent additions of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Making one final move toward youth on the free-agent market will set them up for years to come.

Ben Sheets????

The Yankees are waiting on Andy Pettitte , but there is another lefty available at basically Pettitte dollars and that's


Oliver Perez.


Signing Perez would cement the Yankees' rotation for years to come and would give them flexibility with Joba Chamberlain.

Wait, we`re talking the same Oliver Perez right? The one I`m thinking of has had exactly two years of K/BB's over 2.00. Only one took place in the past three years. The one I`m thinking of has no strong tendency for GB's to compensate either, in fact, he seems to display the opposite, consistently displaying one of the lowest GB%'s in the league. The one I`m thinking of is one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball which is the last thing a competitive team with a good offense (like the Yankees) needs. The Oliver Perez I know has only his youth and ability to throw hard going for him, all in all is a pretty mediocore pitcher who has a history of injuries.

Are you seriously suggesting that this guy can be a rock for years to come who is good enough to merit giving up on Joba Chamberlain, one of the best young pitchers in the game (knock on wood)?

"Putting Perez on the Yankees would be a great move," says one top pitching evaluator. "That would be the perfect environment for him. He would be more focused there. He needs strong leadership around him, and pitching in front of a packed house, he would not be complacent."

Wouldn't it be cool if Perez had spent the past few years in a pressure packed environment that exposed him to something like the New York media so we knew how he would handle New York....

Perez is 5-1 against the Yankees lifetime. He takes those games as a challenge and he attacks.

How long will it take these guys to understand the concept of a small sample size?

Because he already has six full seasons under his belt and has had his share of ups and downs, people forget Perez is just 27. Opposing hitters batted only .234 last season against him.

His BABIP was a little low but that's a fair point. The only problem he has are.....

Walks, of course, have been his downfall. There is no excuse for his ridiculous 105 walks, the most in the majors. In eight of his 34 starts last season, Perez surrendered five or more walks.

And there you have it. The problem with Oliver Perez is he has no control. Sure, a good pitching coach and some more years could fix that but the Yanks can do better. Their are better options out there. Especially since they`re not looking for a long-term solution, they just need a short 1 or 2 year fix who can pitch about 200 solid innings and hold down a spot for Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves, and anybody else who might break out this year. Andy Pettitte fills that description better than anyone else in baseball. Forget about nostalgia, signing Pettitte makes sense.

That has to change. The previous season, he walked 79.

Right, and if Carl Pavano could just stay healthy.....

Perez is represented by Scott Boras, who also represents Mark Teixeira. Cashman has a good working relationship with Boras.

Yanks have money, Boras likes money.

You`re telling me that having Boras as an agent is a good thing????!!!!!

The GM would have to take a leap of faith with Perez,

Exactly why we don't want him.....

but the upside could be tremendous.

And it has tremendous potential to blow up in our face and be a disaster.

In Pettitte, the Yankees will get a pitcher they hope has one good season left in his cranky left shoulder.

Andy Pettitte's cranky shoulder limited him to over 200 innings the past 4 years. The last time he missed significant time was 2004. Oliver Perez has not had a 200 inning season in his whole 6 year career (although he got close in 2004 and last year).

Opponents batted .290 last season against Pettitte, 56 points higher than they did against Perez, who allowed 66 fewer hits.

Pettitte's BABIP was also 59 points higher. This was despite Pettitte's LD% being 2 points lower. Meaning Perez's BABIP should have been 20 points higher.

Perez also had a lower ERA (4.22 to 4.54)

Every time a professional writer uses ERA, wins, or RBI's in an article a little part of me dies inside.

and more strikeouts (180 to 158).

A fair point, compounded by Pettitte pitching more innings but not enough to overcome the gap in GB% or BB's.

Perez is 10 years younger, too, which fits Cashman's plan of making the Yankees younger

That's right, a team of hungry little leaguers beats a team of All Stars any day.

Its good to get younger but not at the cost of improving the eam.

By signing so many quality free agents this season, it gives the Yankees a window to develop their own talent, and that is still the basis of what Cashman is trying to do. The bottom line, however, is the David Prices of the world can only be drafted when you have the top pick, something the Yankees never have. Teixeira was the fifth pick of the 2001 draft; the Yankees selected 23rd that season. And Sabathia was the 20th pick of the 1998 draft; the Yankees selected 24th that year.

This is a paragraph of pure nonsensical nonsense that I cannot even begin to translate into some semblance of english or any other language.

I happen to agree with every single thing written in the rest of the article which adresses Derek Lowe and the Mets. I have nothing against Kevin Kernan and haven't read anything else the man has ever written. But its early January and things are slow so.....


The Steal of the Offseason

Yesterday the Dodgers and Andruw Jones agreed a re-structuring of his contract. He is now only owed 5 million dollars for the one year left on his contract (the Dodgers will defer the rest of the money). The Dodgers are desperate to trade him and the purpose of this is to make him more attractive to potential trade partners. He had one of the worst offensive seasons last year in the history of the game and missed half the year with knee problems. However, he has the potential to be a huge bargain for a team that needs a centerfielder.

In 2008 he went into the year overweight and generally unmotivated to do well. He also had the aforementioned knee problems which made him miss half the year. I`m not making excuses but going into 2009 he`ll be headed into a contract year and if he does poorly he might be out of baseball. Lets write off 2008 as a fluke that won't be repeated for a minute.

Jones has always been one of the best defenders in baseball and he`s still a very good centerfielder which is an underrated skill. Before 2008 their were signs of decline but he could still be counted on to save about 20 runs (2 wins) a year more than the average player acording to UZR. In comparison, Melky was exactly 0. In 2008 Jones suddenly dropped to about 12 runs (1 win). I`m going to write this off as a result of his being out of shape, Joe Girardi and the hope of another contract will take care of that.

His hitting woes are harder to just ignore though. He posted a .301 EQA in back to back years in 2006 and 2005 then he suddenly fell of a cliff. In 2007 it was .257 which is fine with his glove but last year it collapsed to .177. Could a change in scenery and a new, tougher, manager help re-start Jones' career and get him back to 2007 levels with the bat?

I wouldn't take on the five million dollar contract but if nobody else bites and the Dodgers decide to release him (which they're considering) he`d be a good low-risk, high reward signing. Fangraphs has him worth 24 million dollars in 2006 and 15 million in 2007. Its tough to have no hope at all that he can get close to his 2007 levels and both Bill James and Marcel project him to do it. With his glove we don't need him to hit 50 homers, we just need mediocrity. If he`s not working to get in shape or somebody decides to trade for him then forget about it but if he`s released and he seems like he still wants to play baseball, then the Yanks would be fools not to take a look at him. Just something to mull around with things slow in early January.

Can Cody Ransom Make It?

Even with all the money spent this year by the Yankees theirs one nagging hole that could end up hurting them. After trading Wilson Betemit it looks like Cody Ransom is going to be our utility infielder. If A-Rod, Jeter, or Cano get hurt then Ransom is going to be an awful hole in the lineup. He did very well in his brief time in the majors but that's a pretty perfect example of what can happen in a small sample size. In the minors he was very mediocore and if exposed with regular playing time, he`s going to be a major problem. They could do worse and he`s better than Betemit but if they could find an alternative it would be a great low-key move.