Today’s news is powered by one of the great ambassadors and spokesmen of the game … the late Buck O’Neil.
- Cano and Marte returned from their WBC games with some health issues.
- The Bombers, perhaps in response to their difficulties in selling those premium field box season ticket plans, are holding an “Open House” this weekend where you can sit in/pick out your own seat.
- Meanwhile, you can register for a random drawing for an opportunity to buy regular season game tickets on-line.
- The News has a nice article on the “no-name” relievers (non-Rivera):
Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez, Phil Coke, Dave Robertson and Jonathan Albaladejo might not be household names – heck, they are barely recognized by Yankee fans – but the Bombers are confident that this group of no-name relievers has what it takes to join Rivera, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte to form a successful bullpen.
Veras (60 games, 57-2/3 innings, 63 strikeouts), Ramirez (55 games, 55-1/3 innings, 63 strikeouts) and Coke (one run in 12 outings) helped contribute to a Yankees bullpen that ranked fifth in the American League last season with a 3.79 ERA, which was nearly a third of a run lower than the league average. That number becomes even more impressive when you consider that their 543-1/3 innings were more than any team in the league other than the Rangers, who tossed 572-2/3. …
The Yankees’ bullpen topped the AL in strikeouts with 523, which was 87 more than second-place Texas. The Yankees’ .235 opponents batting average ranked third in the league, trailing only Tampa Bay and Toronto, while the opponents’ on-base percentage was .310, second in the league to the AL East champion Rays.
In addition, Yankee relievers led all AL teams in strikeout/walk ratio (2.46) and strikeouts per nine innings (8.66), showing that Cashman’s plan to stock the system with young power arms was beginning to pay off.
- George King introduces us to Cody Ransom:
It’s only the latest twist in Ransom’s vagabond baseball life that includes minor-league stops in Salem-Keizer, Bakersfield, Shreveport, Fresno, Oklahoma, Iowa, Round Rock and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, plus transitory big-league appearances in San Francisco, Houston and, last season, The Bronx.
“It’s been fun, it’s been a lot of work but it’s been a great ride,” Ransom said of the voyage that is at its zenith with Rodriguez possibly out until the middle of May and the Yankees insisting Ransom is the starting third baseman, although he and everyone else knows that could change.
“I wouldn’t change it. My kids have been all over the country. They are young and have seen more than a lot of people see in a whole lifetime. They have met people of different cultures. It’s been a lot of fun.”
- The Star-Ledger profiles Jesus Montero.
- How much is team defense worth compared to team offense? John Dewan may have stumbled upon a possible answer (thanks to thebronxview.com for the heads-up on this):
By combining all of our defensive methods, eight different methods across the nine positions in baseball, we estimate that the Phillies defense saved 78 runs. Using the rule of thumb that 10 runs is equivalent to one win, that’s eight wins. With an average defense, the Phillies wouldn’t have had even a sniff of the playoffs.
The worst defensive team in baseball in 2008? The Kansas City Royals. Their defense cost them about 48 runs relative to the average team. Comparing the Phillies and the Royals, the difference between the best and worst defensive teams in baseball was about 130 runs. …
The best run-scoring team in baseball was the Texas Rangers with 901 runs in 2008. The San Diego Padres were the worst with 637 runs. That’s a difference of about 260 runs.
Here’s the discovery, and I found it because the numbers just jumped out. The 130 difference in runs saved on defense is exactly half of the 260 difference in runs scored. That’s exactly half. The implication is that defense is worth about half as much as offense.
- $40 will get you an authentic Austin Jackson-signed baseball, from Upper Deck.
[My take: $40 ... for the autograph of someone who hasn't even sniffed the majors yet? Worse yet, $40 is a sale price .... Upper Deck HAD been selling it for $79.99.]
- Yankee pitchers seem to have a fondness for tattoos.
- MLBTradeRumors.com scores a Q&A with the one and only Murray Chass.
- Quote of the day, from a BP.com chat:
Steven Goldman: …. I love an underdog as much as anyone, but teams that self-inflict their underdog status are just annoying. Were I a Royals fan watching them lead the market to Kyle Farnsworth this winter, I might have joined a NASA deep space exploration project and quit the planet altogether.
- The tempermental Kevin Brown turns 44 today. Brown broke his glove hand late in the 2004 season when he punched a wall. He had started out that season 9-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He finished it 1-5 with a 5.35 ERA, and then followed that up with a good start against the Twins in the LDS, and two horrendous starts against the BoSox in the ALCS. All you need to know about his final season (2005) …. 73 IP, 107 hits, 6.50 ERA.
- Butch Wynegar turns 53 today. Wynegar was one of the Yanks better acquisitions of the early 80s, and provided decent numbers behind the plate from ’82 to ’84, before starting a decline in ’85.