Saturday, January 30, 2010

Revised PECOTA Puts Yankees in 1st.

The PECOTA predictions that we looked at yesterday were apparently wrong. They had the Yankees in 3rd in the AL East while the Rays held down 1st. Baseball Prospectus released a revised version of PECOTA and here is how it looks now.

I really don't expect a tie to be the outcome; a close race with the Yankees coming out on top, perhaps.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Heyman: Damon Turned Down $6M

"In a last-ditch effort late last week after Damon himself called the team, Cashman, one of baseball's best dealmakers, tried floating a contract of $6 million with $3 million deferred at no interest (with the promise it would be cleared with team boss Hal Steinbrenner, who was about to return from his honeymoon). But Damon wasn't moved enough to respond." - Jon Heyman
Well it seems Johnny D had his chance to come back but wanted more money elsewhere. I personally do no think he will get more than 6 million and if he does is it worth more than playing in New York, where he just won a championship and is a fan favorite.

Greed takes Damon out of pinstripes; we loved having ya, Johnny but we wanted you back.

Yankee Links

If you have a link that is worth of being shared email me and I will get it up here.

The Yankees, Writers and Fans

As a Yankee fan for all of my 55 years I have always found the relationship between writers, the Yankees and the fans fascinating in that one moment all three are on the same page and the next at least 2 of the 3 are at each other's throats.
The latest story involves Johnny Damon, Brian Cashman, Scott Boros and Mike Lupica. Lupica has gone back and forth on the Yankees, both criticizing and praising the team for their many moves through the years. This time he has made Cashman his personal pinata. Lupica says that Damon isn't a Yankee because of Cashman's ego. Is this the same Cashman that has been ripped and blasted by Yankee heirarchy and had to swallow his ego every time? In my corner Brian Cashman is as professional as you get. No leaks from him and a Yankee through and through. Why is it that Boros and Damon get the free ride. Boros has no soul when it comes to contracts for "his" players. The teams are always the villain. Now let me get this straight. It's OK to bash the Yankees for their high payroll but , when the team tries to stay at a certain number, they are heartless and greedy. And the fans, the fickle Yankee fans, call Hal Steinbrenner greedy because he will "keep the extra 4 million that would have been paid Damon". Now that is drop dead funny. The "boys" spend 200 million, donate $500,000 to Haiti but they are greedy? Now I am all for players making money. They entertain us and help fans get away from the doldrums of everyday life. More power to them but, c'mon, they make millions of dollars per year, never have to lift a suitcase and receive over $100 per day meal money. Now that's tough! So let's put things in perspective. Cashman's job is to put the best Yankee team on the field, and to stay within some type of budget. Damon's job is to play baseball and Boros, well his job is to squeeze every last dollar out of a team using any means he can. So now we know three of the subjects and what their goal is. But Lupica, well he has the easiest job of the four. He can sit behind his monitor and write whatever he wants. Because he is a sportswriter. Who, though he has a great job that almost any Yankee would love, has this syndrome that he is the over worked underpaid guy who is the conscience of baseball. Hah! Let me say this, just be consistent in your views Lupica. I know you can but how about a little consistency with your words.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PECOTA Puts Yanks in 3rd

Baseball Prospectus has come out with their annual PECOTA projections and Yankee fans will not be pleased. Here is the AL East:

You could just say the nerds who live in their mother's basement have no idea what the hell they are talking about but here at the Chuck Knoblog we love and appreciate stats. PECOTA still has the Yankees churning out the most runs score by a lot and the highest OBP and slugging. So the offensive juggernaut that is the Yankee offense is projected to keep on kicking ass.

With only 20 days until pitchers and catchers report, baseball can start to take hold of our mind yet again.

All Eyez On Me

Looks like The Norotious C.C. has a new friend.

Live the life of a boss playa (All Eyez On Me)
cause even gettin high.. .. (All Eyez On Me)
Live the life of a thug n***a, until the day I die
-Randy Winn
I love when we add more brothers to the team. Gives me so many more options.
Here is the original

Kevin Towers: Best Move of the Winter?

A long lasted rumor just came to fact as the Yankees have announced that Kevin Towers has signed on with the team. I originally heard of the chance of Towers being a Yankee two months ago at the Winter Meetings. Glad to see it finally happening. Towers and Brian Cashman have been buddies for many years and have made a couple of trades with each other. Towers brings experience and knowledge to the Yanks, experience that will help "Cash" in whatever he is assigned and knowledge of the National League. He also is a keen eye for young talent. In San Diego he wasn't always working with a Yankee type payroll and had to do with an expertise of young, inexpensive players. Overall, one of the great of season moves in baseball as the Yankees pick up a bargain. Good job Brian Cashman. Hopefully Towers will be used in scouting the college players for the June draft and at trade time in evaluation of possible trades.

Kevin Towers Officially Hired

According to MLBTR.

Kevin Towers was just fired from his position of General Manager of the San Diego Padres. It's a good hiring for the Yanks since it adds in another top mind to the Yankees Front Office. Cashman is a very smart man but no one in the Yankees FO can really challenge his ideas. That's how the Boston's FO works and I'll gladly take that.

Plus I have heard that his scouting ability is very good especially towards pitching. Hopefully the upcoming drafts become very 2007ish with Towers aboard.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yankees Sign Randy Winn

According to Joel Sherman on his Twitter.

Basically the Yankees got Reed Johnson for a platoon with Brett Gardner but healthier. Of course assuming you hits lefties as good as he can from 2007 where he too had a OPS over .900 against lefties. Defensively he's not as good as Reed Johnson but still light years ahead of Damon.

It's a pretty decent signing in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets

After letting Sunday's loss to Indianapolis set in I started to think of next year already. The Jets have nothing to be down about, they lost I know, but what a run the last 5 weeks. And what a good off season it should be waiting and talking about 2010-2011.
What impressed me the most about the team was their ability to hit. Now I know every team in football can hit, but the Jet's players seem to really lay the wood on the opposition. When a Colt's player was hit by a Jet he seemed to always get up slow. The Jets defense is young is most areas and will be an even larger force in the NFL next year. I would even go so far as calling the Jets the favorite to win their conference. On offense Mark Garcia showed flashes of brilliance Sunday with some great throws and smart throw aways. Let's face it, beating Peyton Manning at home in the play-offs is a big task. On Sunday he was too much but the Jet's day is coming. With a good draft and some smart off season moves the Jets will be ready to be #1 in New York and the NFL.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Enough of Johnny Damon

Is it just me or are we all tired of of "the Johnny Damon saga"? I mean, come on, you can't read, go on the internet, listen to MLB on XM or blog without 15 minutes or 2000 words on JD. Let's be fair here. This isn't Damon's fault nor Brian Cashman's. This is the media jumping on a story that is starting to make the Yankees out the bad guy. This where I begin to draw the line.
This is not the Yankee's problem. Damon chose his agent, Scott Boros, knowing what type of agent is. Great if your Damon, not so great if your Damon. If JD was 32 years old, like the last time he was a free agent, Boros is perfect. He will squeeze every last dime out of a club. Boros is doing his job. But, Damon is not 32. He is 37 and has signs of decline. Yeah, he made a great base running move in the World Series, but he then pulled a muscle and would not have been able to play if there was a game 7. We have been lead to believe that Damon was offered a pretty good contract early in free agency and he declined. That's his choice. Now he is living with that choice because Boros advised him to wait, create a wedge with another team and we get you more. Bad move for Damon. The news today tells us everything will be resolved in the next week. I hope so

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Revis Island

As you all know the Jets are playing the Colts this weekend. It is sure to be a great matchup. The Colts and Peyton will try to break down the Jets #1 defense with their passing game while the Jets will try to tire their line by relentlessly pounding the ball in. The key matchups that I am picking for this weekends game is the Jet's secondary vs the Colts receivers. We just faced Gates and did a fairly good job covering him now The Jets can do the same thing with Dallas Clark. Everyone knows "No one escapes from Revis Island" so Reggie Wayne is not going to be a problem. Garcon and Collie will be the real test. If Lito Shepard can step up this game and keep them in check then there really will be no place for Peyton to go. One of the best photoshops I have done is below (click here for a full size look at her beauty) (here is the original; just for fun) . It is a celebration of the Jets this year and their strong defense. A win this week will send them to the Super Bowl; a destination almost unimaginable by Jets fans. Let's Go JETS.

LF Option: Reed Johnson

The only major "hole" for the Yankees for 2010 is left field. Brett Gardner is asked to be the everyday left fielder for the Yankees due to the departure of Johnny Damon. This doesn't mean I think Damon isn't coming back however the Yankees have a couple options if Damon is too expensive. Personally I think him on a 2008 Abreu like contract splitting game time with Garnder would be ideal. However I also love the idea of the Yankees signing Reed Johnson.

Why would he be a fit for the Yankees you might ask. At first glance his stats are below average. .255/.330/.412 career batting line with a 86 OPS+. Also Reed Johnson has been plagued with injuries similar to another player with a last name of Johnson. Unlike Nick Johnson, Reed Johnson's injuries aren't freak things and are a concern. But we aren't signing him to be the starting left fielder. We want him to be a platoon player.

Reed Johnson THRIVES on lefties. His career triple slash line against lefties is pretty good. .313/.378/.463 for a .841 OPS. And the past couple years, Johnson has been able to post .900 OPS marks against lefties. Gardner on the other hand is destroyed by lefty pitching. His career triple slash mark is .241/.310/.316 for a .627 OPS against southpaws. Having Reed Johnson to platoon him with Gardner and to occasionally start against tough lefties would help the Yanks a lot. He might even sometimes platoon with Granderson if it's a top tier lefty like Jon Lester.

Johnson's defense is ideal for left field. His UZR/150 for his career is a positive 23.3! If we stick him out there that would boost the defense of the Yankees giving them roughly about 4 more wins out of left field since Damon has been atrocious out there.

Reed Johnson would be the best option for left field if the Yankees choose to not sign Johnny Damon. He can field well, and can hit lefties well making him an invaluable bench player. He's had talks with the Yanks earlier offseason so we might just yet see Reed Johnson in pinstripes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pax Knoblogana

As you have seen we have added a couple of writers to our staff. This is part of the Chuck Knoblog 2010 refresh. We may even be adding more writers in the coming weeks. Dave and Keane are the newest editions. They both are huge Yankee fans and both bring different writing styles and strengths.

I am really excited to kick off a new era of the Knoblog. A golden age; Pax Knoblogana.

Via Jerry Hairston Jr: Yankees Looking for Damon's Price to Come Down

UPDATE (by Charlie) 9:55- Ca$h Money just shot this down. It would be stupid to not wait for Damon's price to go down. He is just covering.

Well Jerry Hairston dropped on the radio and said some interesting things. Jerry Hairston: Brian Cashmans going to get mad at me, but Yanks didn't make me offer because he's waiting on Damon price to come down" on XM

If true then Cashman is up to his ninja ways again. See: Mark Teixeira, Javier Vazquez. Also it makes the 2010 Yankee Lineup look unbeatable. It hurts defensively sure though Damon's 2009 may be an outlier of his incredibly ugly UZR/150 of -36.1.
But at the Yankees price it wouldn't hurt to start Garnder more to keep Damon short while salvaging the LF defense.

The lineup again would look amazingly powerful, let's take a look.

Derek Jeter - SS
Nick Johnson - DH
Mark Teixeira - 1B
Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Jorge Posada - C
Johnny Damon - LF
Curtis Granderson - CF
Nick Swisher - RF
Robinson Cano - 2B

Briefly on lineup positions, Nick Johnson should be 2nd. His .400 OBP in front of Teixeira and A-Rod? Oh boy I smell a lot of runs. Posada or Granderon might be in the 5 hole but I see it going to Posada. But it looks pretty interchangeable so I may be wrong.

But this powerhorse offense with an acquisition of Damon will be otherworldly. Let's hope it happens.

Oh That National Media

Let me begin by saying I hold no great bias against the "national media" like some Yankee fans. Yes, I think the ESPN's of the World tilt toward Boston or anyone but the Yankees. I also think ESPN is not the ESPN I started watching 30 years ago. But I digress. I was reading a blurb from Jon Heyman about what team had the best off season. Now I like Jon Heyman and I think he is a good and fair writer but that doesn't mean I like everything he puts on paper, or website.
He listed Seattle as the big winner this off season and I certainly can't disagree with that. The Mariners had a great off season picking up Cliff Lee to go along side "King Felix", Casey Kotchman, Chone Figgins and just completed a 5 year deal with Hernandez. They did well but they still are not the Yankees. Number 2 was the dreaded Red Sox. This is where I have a problem. An off season just isn't about bringing in players but also dealing with the players you lose and filling in the holes in your roster. So the "beaners" bring in Beltre. Poor year in 2009, injured, never played on a winner. Replaces Mike Lowell who absolutely kills the Yankees. Marco Scuturo is a good pickup but whatever happened to the awesome Jed Lowrey, the next Nomaaaar! They over paid for John Lackey who has had injury problems but pitched well in the playoffs. He reminds me of Curt Schilling, not because of skill, but because of his "mouth", as in always running. A friend of mine calls Lackey the "mouth breather". You figure it out. Last addition was Mike Cameron. MIKE CAMERON! MIKE CAMERON! Big deal. This is where that old media bias toward the Red Sox shows it's ugly face. Heyman stresses the positive in all the pick ups but never mentions what they had to replace. How about Jason Bay's RBI? How about the fact Lowell is out a job? Starting pitching was not the concern for the Sox, I feel Lackey was insurance so the Yankees didn't grab him.
Heyman had the Yankees sixth. Now I don't think they were first but hardly sixth? NY lost Damon as of this post, Johnny had a great season but, in my opinion, is starting to break down and the Yankees are looking to get younger. They also lost Matsui who was a great clutch hitter when healthy, the word health being the most important. Another chance to get younger and more versatile. Those knees won't allow him in the OF. The last time Hideki was in the OF was in Yankee Stadium in November taking a victory lap for the fans. Javy Lopez cost us Melky. I loved and hated Melky. He would come up with the occasional big hit, played well in the OF, but swung at too many bad pitches and was not a base stealer. Ok, those are the losses. We added Curtis Granderson, a good player in Detroit who, I think, is on the verge of being a great player. He is 29. He helps make up some of the power difference and adds to our speed. Lopez is an innings eater, has nasty stuff and is older and more mature than the last time through the Bronx. I think this is a steal. 15 wins and 210 innings with a lot of K's. Finally we signed Nick Johnson. This is not the same Nick Johnson from the past. He is more mature and wanted to come back to New York. He can still hit and play first when needed. A couple of broken bones. Yeah, I know those are injuries but not like a torn ribcage or a "hammie". He is a professional hitter. Heyman, of course mentioned he is injury prone. Heyman did not mention how Lackey, a flyball pitcher, has pitched in Boston. Ugly. He didn't mention Cameron's prone to the strikeout, the rally killer of rally killers. And, finally, the "great Ellsbury, the second coming of DiMaggio, Mantle and Mays in CF, being moved to LF. Wow, that means Cameron is better that Mays! Whew!
Good to get that off my chest. Shows how a writer can twist a story the way he wants it. Kinda like I did. Boston still has many question marks, Papelbon, the "holier than thou" David Ortiz and catching. As a Yankee fan one can only hope to see Victor Martinez behind the plate in the Bronx in August. get the track shoes ready.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The 5th Starter Battle

The 5th Starter boils down to two possible candidates. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Both of them are highly regarded in their days in the minors. They have the potential to be future aces. Which is why in the long run these two pitchers are starters, not relievers. Starters are much more valuable to a team than a reliever. That's a fact. One of the best relievers in 2009, Joe Nathan is pegged at a 1.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Where a mediocre starter such as Joe Blanton is worth 2.2 WAR. Good starting pitching is hard to find and thankfully Brian Cashman views both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes as starters in the long run. But to balance the needs of the long term strategy with the 'compete now' strategy sacrifices must be made which is why it is likely one of the hopeful future aces must endure a year in the bullpen.

I do not agree with using Spring Training as the means to make this decision. It's too short a sample size to make conclusions. Remember Gardner winning the battle over Melky during Spring Training? And how did that one work out? Regardless that is the way this matter will be settled so my complaining won't get us anywhere.

Anyways to the actual battle I believe Joba will win the battle. He's got a couple of advantages against Phil. He finally pitched a full season of starting so he gains stamina. He'll have no more innings limits so he can now go full out on opposing hitters. It's obvious Joba was pitching tired last year as his numbers dipped significantly after pitching 120 innings which is 10 innings more than his previous career high. His ERA at the time was 3.60. With his new stamina I believe we'll see a brand new Joba in 2010. I predict a 4.00 ERA with 180 IP for him.

Hughes on the other hand mainly pitched from the bullpen last year and was flat out nasty. However he completely dropped the use of his change up primarily using his fastball and curve added with his slider. He might need the pitch to be an effective starter. If he goes to the bullpen this year perhaps he could be the long man like Aceves developing his pitches. Also while Cashman has said there won't be any significant innings limits for either Joba or Hughes we don't know how far they're willing to go with Hughes if he does become the 5th starter. In theory he should be good to pitch 180 innings however his previous career total came in 2005 where he roughly pitched 150 innings. But that was five years ago so we don't how how far the Yankee brain trust would be willing to go with Hughes. He might get tired and start to falter like 2009 Joba. It wouldn't be bad but I think with only one spot remaining I would rather give it to Joba. Phil is one year younger so we can afford to delay his development one year longer.

Hopefully the "loser" automatically becomes the 6th starter if a pitcher from the rotation gets hurt for a couple months. I wouldn't like seeing one of them being waste din the bullpen while we see Guadin or Mitre pitch every 5 days. What are your thoughts?

Hello Yankee fans!

Hello fellow Yankee fans! My name is Keane though you could use my nickname Dane, whatever floats your boat. I saw an interesting offer at the YES Network boards looking for writer's who wish to express their thoughts and feelings about the best baseball franchise in the world, the New York Yankees. YES has this feature where you can make your own blogs but no one would read some random guy on there right? So I immediately jumped on the writing offer and here I am! Writing for the Chuck Knoblog! Much cooler than some little site at YES. Now when I started reading about the Yankees online, of course I started to read the "experts" on ESPN, Sports Illustrated or FOXSports. They're fine and dandy sometimes but they aggravate me with either their lack of analysis and sometimes their bias. Oh I don't know a certain Mike Francesa anyone? He isn't a writer but he sure is annoying to say the least. And when I hear these people talk it makes me sad that sometimes some Yankee fans believe some of the garbage they spew. For example last year we all had to deal with Brad Penny and John Smoltz being genius moves none other made by the superhuman demigod Theo Epstein. He's a great GM don't get me wrong but the media completely blew whatever he did last year out of proportion. I've even heard people think that Brad Penny and John Smoltz would get more wins than CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett. Its crazy. So I want to write my feelings so Yankee fans can read and hopefully learn as I had done with great Yankee blogs out there like River Ave Blues. Sounds like fun doesn't it? Well I'll post my first Yankee related post shortly later. Hope you enjoy.


Though I don't really talk about this much but I love the Jets. I don't know nearly as much about football as baseball even though I watch every Jet game and a lot of other games. Their stifling D has gotten them to the AFC championship. Rex Ryan has put a new face on this team and no longer do I feel wrought with worry (except when Sanchez starts to move out of the pocket). They go on to face the Colts next week to see if the D can hold up against Peyton. The Jets Blog has a great video up of the attitude that Coach Ryan is bringing to this team, he says: "The three home teams made it....and the f---ing JETS!".

The Jets are playing great football and have come a long way since the start of the season.

2010 Season Approaching, a Good Off Season

It sure seems like this off season flew by, quicker than any in my past memory. Of course, it has helped that the Yanks are World Series champions. And I think Brian Cashman has had a very productive off season. Are the Yankees better than 2009? Yes, definitely yes! The additions of Javy Lopez, Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson have made the team better and younger. Yes, we lost Johnny Damon, Melky and Hideki. But Damon and Matsui are in their twilights of good careers. Branch Rickey, the great GM in Brooklyn and St. Louis, once commented "trade a player too early rather than too late". How can you not agree with that thinking. I will miss Melky for his energy and excitement but Granderson is definitely an upgrade. Our pitching staff is solid. It's time to let Phil Hughes sink or swim in the rotation, I think he swims. My opinion is Joba is better in the Bull Pen which makes our bull pen better.
So less that 5 weeks to go until Tampa. I can't wait. Everything is right in baseball, the Yankees are reigning World Champions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Left Field Situation

This offseason has been relativity quiet compared to last season, which has really been no problem for Yankee fans, since our team is coming off a pretty good year (World Series cough cough). We have had a few losses, Matsui and Johnny D. We could have just taken the losses and the Yanks were still pretty damn good. Matsui was pretty easy to replace though we love him, a slow non-fielding DH is not exactly flexible. Nick Johnson is solid and I really like him coming back.

Johnny provided us with an outstanding postseason; some of his "clutch" ABs are really stuck in my head. Now his position is not so easily replaced from the free agent pool. The candidates you ask? At the top of the list (in no discernible order) Rick Ankiel, Garret Anderson, Rocco "The Pride of Rhode Island" Baldelli, Jonny Gomes, Jermaine Dye and the X Man (Xavier Nady). For me, Nady leads that class coming off a season ending injury and that is not exactly promising. Non of them have anything close the stick Damon has ('cept a healthy X but it is a gamble). It is also kind of difficult since the Yankees say they are only willing to spend 2 million annually on a left field upgrade.

For any other team the budget would throw a huge wrench into the plans cutting the suitors down to a mere few. This is the New York Yankees however and we all know that a budget is no obstacle. Damon is old but we would all like to bring him back for just a little longer. Johnny is down to 13 mill right now. If he can swallow his pride and bring down his demands, I think the Yankees will bring the old guy back.

If the Yankees stick with the approach that they are claiming. They could sign one the little guys (Xavier Nady, Marcus Thames, Rocco Baldelli or Jerry Hairston Jr.) and platoon him with Gardner. Which when you think about it really isn't bad at all. As you should have noticed the Yankees are getting younger.

It's all in Damons hands right now and if he leaves he leaves on a damn good note.

If Damon takes off it might be time for a Training Day in New York: