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Good as Gold

I caught the YES Hot Stove show last night.  The panel featured veteran newspaper men Hal Bodley, Murray Chass and Jack Curry.  It has become all too easy to call out Chass which is a shame because he was so good for so long.  So I won’t pile on but he really didn’t come off well.  He monopolized the conversation and what he said…oy.  Bodley was fine if somewhat bland and Curry was good as usual. 

And our pal Steve Goldman distinguished himself in an oddly-conceived segment as the “Interweb Expert.”


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1 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 5, 2008 1:21 pm

It's good to see Goldman on the Hot Stove show, but I have to take exception to the classification of Tim Raines as 1A to Rickey Henderson's #1. Even as someone who thinks Raines is deserving of the Hall of Fame, I think Rickey is clearly in another class, especially in terms of peak value. Also, the "Rickey stole more, but I stole better" is a fun line, but seems a bit of an exaggeration. Raines' SB% was 84% to Rickey's 80% (Henderson had about 800 more attempts).

As for the Yankee information, I don't quite understand the ground swell for Teixeira over Sabathia. While I would definitely love to have both, 28 year old lefties coming off three great seasons seem to be a commodity in much shorter supply. Texeira is a terrific hitter, but it's not like the Yankees have been starved for offense at 1B. Quite frankly, I don't think you could even expect Tex to match Giambi's performance. Unless you think his glove makes up that much of a difference (an argument coming from folks who have frequently argued about how unimportant defense at 1B is), opting for C.C. seems much more logical.

In a perfect world, C.C. and Tex would be my two targets, with everything else being plan B. If I could only have one, however, it would be Sabathia.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Dec 5, 2008 2:14 pm

I just watched the segment over at Steven Goldman's personal blog, and I can only imagine what Chass must have been thinking when Lorenz mentioned that Goldman works at Baseball Prospectus. ("AIIIEE - a VORPIE!") I can also only imagine what went through Steven's head when Lorenz said he crunched numbers, because IIRC, one of Steven's favorite lines is that he's not a math guy, he's the BP social sciences guy.

In any case, great segment.

[1] You're just trying to get a debate going, aren't you? =)

In any case, I agree with your perfect world scenario, but I still take Tex over CC if I have to pick just one. Two reasons, one general, one specific.

Pitchers break a heck of a lot more easily (and often) than hitters do, and do not peak along the same easily identifiable curve as hitters do, which makes them a lot more risky. I prefer to avoid risk.

The Yanks have young, impact pitching on hand, but no comparable young, impact hitting. The odds of Joba or Hughes (or both) turning into a slightly lesser version of CC, however small you want to make them, are infinitely greater than the odds of Juan Miranda or Shelley Duncan (who's OLDER than Tex) (or both) turning into a slightly lesser version of Tex, because those odds are non-existent.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 5, 2008 2:32 pm

[2] Yes...I am trying.

The fact that Joba has great potential to be a stud shouldn't factor into the equation because there is nothing wrong (and everything right) about having Joba and Sabathia fronting your rotation (especially in the post season). What's more, even if Hughes also develops, I don't see the harm in adding he and Wang to a very strong four man rotation. The Yankees have pitching depth argument works against the like of Lowe and Burnett, but not Sabathia, IMO.

Also, if though the Yankees do not have depth on offense, very good offense players seem to be a lot easier to obtain. I think the Yankees will have another crack at a very good bat over the next year or two, but see C.C. as their last crack at an ace-type pitcher for some time. Only Lackey, Webb and Beckett could come free in 2010, and the latter two have team options.

4 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 5, 2008 2:54 pm

[3] That should be "even though" in the first sentence of the 2nd paragraph, although "if though" sounds like something that could catch on.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 5, 2008 3:05 pm

very good offense players seem to be a lot easier to obtain

Yes and no. They're not easy to obtain if you make no effort to do so, and there's no 1B ofTeixeira's quality on the free agent horizon, making him as unique an opportunity as Sabathia at a position of greater organizational need.

Quite frankly, I don’t think you could even expect Tex to match Giambi’s performance.

Seriously? I mean, really? This is mind-boggling. This makes me think the problem here is not your estimation of the relative merits of signing Tex vs. CC, but a complete misunderstanding of Teixeira's value. The simplest response I have to this is that Teixeira's VORP was more than twice Giambi's last year, and that doesn't factor in his defense or youth.

6 williamnyy23   ~  Dec 5, 2008 4:34 pm

[5] I wasn't talking about Tex 2009 versus Giambi 2008. I was referring to Tex' contribution over 10 years. Everyone has spent the last 5 or 6 years calling the Giambi contract a mistake, but he put up OPS+ of 172, 161, 148, 148 and 128 in 5 of his 7 seasons. Perhaps Tex will age gracefully, but I don't think he is a lock to exceed that performance, even when you factor in his defense (at a position lower on the defensive value scale). I can just imagine all the retrospective critiques slamming the Tex deal when he his 31-32 putting up an OPS+ around 120.

I also don't think it makes sense to frame the discussion in terms of 1B who might come available. Rather, I think it makes more sense to look at things more broadly in terms of hitters. In that context, there is a better hitter available this season in Manny Ramirez as well as another pretty good hitter available in Adam Dunn. If C.C. is to Tex in terms of pitcher versus hitter, Manny and Dunn do not have counterparts available on the market. In that sense, it makes a lot more sense to go after C.C. and Manny/Dunn instead of Tex and, say, Burnett/Lowe, or, to just get C.C., knowing that hitter is more likely gettable (i.e., Holliday) than an ace pitcher.

Finally, I still don't get the organizational need argument. The Yankees do not have an abundance of ace left handers with both youth and track record. Just because they have "live arms" doesn't mean they don't need Sabathia.

7 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Dec 5, 2008 5:13 pm

Ah. Point taken on Giambi. You weren't clear about which comparison you were making. I agree the Giambi contract was a success. I don't, however, share your misgivings about Teixeira's ability to repeat that success, particularly as the Yanks would be getting Tex two years earlier than they got Giambi and without the associated steroid concerns.

If not for age, I would argue that Lowe:Dunn::CC:Tex (though one could argue that players with Dunn's skill set tend to peter out in their mid-30s). The argument against Manny is that he's not a second-tier guy. He's the third top-tier free agent out there. He won't require as long a deal as Tex, but he'll be as expensive in the short term, might not settle for as short a term as you'd like, and even given that shorter term presents a similar risk to a long-term deal to Tex given his already advanced age, similar pricetag, and associated baggage.

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