"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Golden Slumbers

 “I’m sorry, guys,” Oritz said. “I don’t feel like talking right now. Just put down, ‘Papi stinks.’ ”
(Boston Globe)


Mark Teixeira has not hit well so far this season.  After one week, Alex Rodriguez is not there yet.  The Yanks are a .500 team.  The Red Sox, however, are playing relatively well while getting nothing from David Ortiz.  It has gotten to the point where you have to wonder if Ortiz, a proud bear of a man, will ever be half-the player he was in his prime.  Yesterday, he reached a new low, stranding twelve runners on base.  Mo Vaughn, your life is calling.

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1 RIYank   ~  May 15, 2009 8:57 am

That's heart-rending. Seriously.
It's a relief for all Yankee fans that he does stink, but as a fan of baseball you can't feel happy that a guy like Ortiz is all done. He's a decent guy -- a bit whiny, but respectful and respectable, and a kind of historic figure. And he's kaput, and he knows it, or at least he's starting to face the possibility.

2 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2009 9:05 am

I'm one of those who feared Papi, hated seeing him come up, but found it hard to 'hate' the man, even through the uniform. The speed of his ascent (Minny let him go, as everyone knows) and current decline are depressingly suggestive. He is NOT that old. He doesn't fit the body type we associate with drugs, but - and this I guess is my point - Manny sure didn't either.

After the game I saw two nights ago, I am actually hoping A Rod gets support in the Bronx tonight. The analogy to Barry is interesting ... he was fanatically supported in San Fran, while being assailed on the road. It must have helped. If Alex is attacked in NY, there's no refuge, anywhere. And he is so far from the only steroid user in the game it becomes comical.

I wonder if some kind of reverse psychology might kick in: he's an annoying dude, but he's OUR annoying dude.

(Substitute 'phony' for 'annoying' if you want!)

3 Shaun P.   ~  May 15, 2009 9:11 am

I'm not sure if this is a free article or not, but back in 2006 when Papi signed his current contract (an extension covering 2007-2010), Joe Sheehan looked at some data and thought that, by the end of the extension, Papi wouldn't be worth it. A lots of folks took him to task, but I wonder what they think now?

Back in 2006, if you can't read the article, PECOTA projected that Ortiz would have a somewhat gradual decline; his projected WARP1 for '06-'10 were 6.8, 6.0, 5.7, 4.6, 3.8.

Ortiz's actual WARP1 over that time: 7.2, 7.9, 2.9, -0.4 (with a projected 2.2 for 2010 based on this year's PECOTA).

Looks like Joe had a point . . . The Sox may have only gotten one really good year out Ortiz's extension: 2007. Admittedly they won it all that year, but still, that they'd only get one good year but have to pay $50-odd million for four years is exactly the logic they used in not re-signing Pedro. Whoops.

4 Shaun P.   ~  May 15, 2009 9:16 am

[2] h-c-e, I'd also say that the data Sheehan has in that article back in '06 might refute the "Papi was on the juice" argument, if just a bit. As Sheehan said, "Honestly, I was a lot less worried about this contract before I saw the list above. Ortiz is certainly better than most of the players above, but there seems to be a powerful force that drives twentysomething DHs out of the game quickly. The inability to play a position on the field seems to be a leading indicator of a rapid, early decline."

5 jonnystrongleg   ~  May 15, 2009 9:24 am

I have mixed emotions about Ortiz, but I'd much rather see him perfroming well and the Red Sox losing than this current state where he sucks and the Red Sox look like the best team in baseball anyway.

6 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 9:27 am

He is NOT that old.

He's older than 32 and we know what that means for a team. Getting back to a game where players age dramatically in their 30's, rather than perform amazing feats in their 40's, is something many folks are going to have to get used to.

Actually, the Sox have four position players older than 32 - Varitek, Ortiz, Lowell, and Drew. But they were transitioning away from Varitek (not doubt ready to make a mid-season trade) and they have Lars Anderson coming up to take Papi/Lowell's spot. It's little wonder why they've been able to overcome Papi's suckitude and a similar suck from Lester and Beckett and Dice-K's injury.

@ 3

Joe was right, of course, and looking back it's not hard to see why. Still, the Sox had never really had to pay Ortiz up to that point (unlike Pedro, only $17M to Papi for 2001-2004), so I'm sure for them it was sort of like the Jorge contract - overpay and be thankful for what they had gotten and hope for the best.

7 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 9:28 am

So does this mean we can finally stop calling Papi/Manny circa '04-'07 "The modern day Ruth and Gehrig"??

8 OldYanksFan   ~  May 15, 2009 9:29 am

I don't think Papi is done. He ain't what he was, but now his slump is in his head. Remember when Jeter went like 0 for 40?

His power is definitely down. As to his body type... there are guys who have a bit of fat over lots of muscle. So they don't look muscular, but you all know awesomely fat but strong guys. He has also shrunk noticable in size.... a lot. So if he has lost muscle, that would be in line with his decline in size.

I don't think, or know, if he has done PEDs. I'm very surprised he took only a $12.5 AAV. Doesn't that seem very low? In 04-05, he finished 4th and 2nd in the MVP, with an average OPS of .990. Why would he sell himself so low?

9 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 9:30 am

[8] Probably because most teams looked at him as a product of superior lineup protection and home field advantage and wouldn't come close to matching the Sox offer.

10 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 9:38 am


It represented a 300% raise? And who's the last strict DH to get a big deal? Even Edgar Martinez, perhaps the closest DH to the HOF, peaked a $7M and that was only for one year. When you're a DH, you cut the number of possible teams in half.

11 Shaun P.   ~  May 15, 2009 9:43 am

[6] Good point on Ortiz having been very cheap for the Sox until the extension kicked in. The overall amount of money they have paid him has probably been quite close to his actual value, so no harm done . . .

. . . except now the Sox have a guy limited to DH, with seemingly no power, under contract for the rest of this year and next year. I think he'll come up for air a bit, but if the results are better than last year, I'll be surprised.

12 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2009 9:45 am

It's kind of sad, yeah. If it was happening in '05 or something, I'd probably revel in it, but enough time has gone by that Ortiz is in that "respected opponent" category for me. It helps that he is a pretty nice guy, I guess.

13 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 9:47 am

Teixeira is still hitting for power unlike Ortiz.

Good article by Sheehan, thanks for the link. Players age quickly and sometimes precipitously (e.g., Williams, Bernie). Ortiz could be done. Is he detoxing, so to speak, in addition to an age-driven decline of physical abilities?

But this is why a good team building approach is to shoot for a core of guys to peak at the same time with veteran talent thrown in around the edges (signing a Sabathia, for example, who in his decline years could still be much better than most other players). Being in contention only three out of five years isn't the end of the world if it allows the team to be constructed properly. Having 5/9 starters older than 32 is a recipe for disaster

14 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 9:51 am

I have no idea if Ortiz is done, but I think he's a jerk for referring to himself in the third person using that stupid nickname.

15 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 9:57 am

[8] I agree with you about Papi. I don't think he is done by any stretch. He most likely will not approach his former level, but I don't think he has become a completely useless hitter. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up with an OPS in the upper-.800's, even though that may be his upper limit.

I also agree that the Sox wont be fretting the contract. It was a below market contract at the time coming off years in which Papi was being paid much less than what he was contributing. Also, sometimes you pay a player for his accomplishments. Ortiz thrived in Boston and probably really enjoyed the team. Juxtaposed against his Minny experience, that's probably why he signed such a favorable deal. The legend of Ortiz was so prominent I am sure he could have gotten more on the open market.

16 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:03 am

@ 13

But Bernie Baby put up a 144 OPS+ when he was 33 years old! He just should have been moved to a corner spot right around then. And he still put up Xavier Nady-league averageness for another two seasons. If they moved him to LF and platooned him more and more, I don't think the fall would have been so great. The problem was Torre thinking he could play full-time and in CF.

And speaking of which, letting Bernie go to prevent Torre from abusing him was the only time I can think of that Cashman showed he had a spine.

17 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 10:08 am

For what it's worth, Fan Graphs has the Red Sox at +$58.10mn in value over the course of his tenure, and +$10.20 since the extension.

18 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 10:09 am

[16] Cashman imposed Cano and Wang on Torre in 2005 when they were several games under .500 during May.

19 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:15 am

@ 18


They had no choice on Wang. Remember who else they tried that year? It rhymes with Mall and Bacone. And who did Cashman sign that preceding off-season? It doesn't rhyme with Meat and Wrong. It's very hard to argue he forced Wang on anyone.

And who signed Womack?

20 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 10:22 am

Thing was, Bernie contributed right up until the end. His drop-off after '03 was pretty drastic yes, but I don't ever remember being like "Oh man Bernie is killing us!"

21 RIYank   ~  May 15, 2009 10:26 am

I'm really surprised that some Banterers think Ortiz has a comeback in him. I'm not saying he'll never homer again, but his fearsome days are over.
It's not psychological. His bat speed is down, he doesn't have the power of a power hitter. He hits a lot of balls to the warning track. His batting average is actually *better* than his performance -- if teams stop shifting against him, his avg. will dwindle to room temperature.

22 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 10:30 am

[19] I thought it was widely reported at that time.

The article is now only available for a fee, but Joel Sherman wrote an article a few years back reporting that Oppenhiemer wanted to sign Womack and that Cashman was opposed to signing Womack and Wright.

23 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 10:30 am

[21] Ortiz isn't the first player to slump mightily. Even if you throw out his prime years, he did have an OPS+ of 123 last season. Also, through 30 games last year, Ortiz' line was .196/.301/.355, which isn't a far cry from this year's line of 220/.333/.317.

24 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:31 am

@ 20

I do. In 2004 when Lofton was a better hitter and fielder but rode the bench or DHed. In 2005, when his OPS+ reached 85 and Torre still him put him in CF for 112 games. Then they were forced to go to Bubba Crosby. And in 2006, when David Ortiz took second on a single to right.

25 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 10:32 am

[22] Below is an excerpt from a 12/9/2005 NYT articel by Tyler Kepner:

"Before they left the winter meetings on Thursday, the Yankees found a taker for Tony Womack, a player they never had much use for in the first place. The deal symbolized the changes in the Yankees' front-office hierarchy.

General Manager Brian Cashman did not want to sign Womack last December, but the move was forced on him by the Tampa, Fla., headquarters of George Steinbrenner, the principal owner. This December, Cashman, asserting himself in the first winter of his new three-year contract, essentially dispatched with a spare part to add a veteran left-handed reliever. "

26 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 10:33 am

141 to 108 is precipitous and not a gradual decline. Papi's decline is not without precedent. Additionally, if he makes it above .850 OPS by October 1, I'll eat my hat.

27 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:33 am

@ 22

And who was leaking that info to Sherman?

This is driving me crazy - all these times that Cashman wanted to do differently but didn't have the spine to stand up for what he believe? Somehow Cashman was overruled by his minor league guy?

Cashman has been great at one thing: Surviving.

28 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 10:36 am

[20] Bernie's defense was awful in CF according to UZR going from bad to ridiculously bad since at least 2002.

2006 as a LHB:

.261 .305 .383 .688

2005 as a RHB:

.231 .305 .286 .591

29 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 10:37 am

[24] Yeah but I'd argue that it was more a case of Torre misusing him. Bernie didn't put himself in CF for 112 games when he was a clearly diminished player, that was on Torre being overly loyal to his veterans.

Bernie '04-'06 was a perfectly acceptable platoon corner outfielder who was being shoe horned into a starting CF for no good reason, that's not his fault. He was never the embarassment at the plate that Papi has become.

30 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 10:39 am

[27] I am at a loss to understand why you think someone has to give up a great job in an organization in which every GM since Gabe Paul has had their authority usurped and their recommendations ignored at times, yet the franchise has won more rings under George's tenure than any other team in MLB.

31 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:41 am

This December, Cashman, asserting himself in the first winter of his new three-year contract, essentially dispatched with a spare part to add a veteran left-handed reliever. “

And yet, he's still not responsible for a team that's still sliding backwards?

The fact is any management, even a CEO, makes decisions with others especially in a $1.5B corporation. Kenny Lofton was also supposedly "forced" on Cashman. Except he was actually an improvement. Then the GM traded him for the Run Fairy. How'd that turn out again - for both players?

If the GM is going to go along with decisions but then leak his disapproval, that's not a strength or smarts. It's being two-faced and spineless.

@ 26

I was agreeing with you there - just that Bernie put up a 141 OPS+ at the same age Ortiz is now. CF's, esp great ones, have much further to fall. Bernie, if he had been used correctly, could have produced better through his last few years. He still had the spurts in him. He was just abused in CF and every day. In 2005 (85 OPS+), he played 121 games and in CF!

32 Rich   ~  May 15, 2009 10:41 am

[25] Thanks.

33 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 10:42 am

[32] Np...thought a few facts might come in handy.

34 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:47 am

@ 29

We're on the same page.


Who said "give up"? But I've heard from Cashman apologists for years now that certain, awful, decisions weren't his. Problem is, we don't then also hear about the awful decisions that were his. It's all spin but without relevant facts to really judge the merits.

More importantly, it's a long list of decisions he "disagreed" with. Did he ever once threaten to quit over one such decision? If he wasn't willing to put himself out there, in service of actual principles, then what did those principles mean to him? If his principles were so wishy-washy that he could eventually go along with anything, and he did as part of the organization, then what's that saying about him?

35 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 10:50 am

FWIW, Wang was called up to replace Wright in the rotation.

Yanks starting 5 to start the 05 season was RJ, Pavano, Mussina, Wright & Brown.

Wang was the top pitching prospect in the organization at the time. Aaron Small didn't make his first start until July, shortly after the May-Redding debacle.

Wang spent time on the DL as well in 2005.

36 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:51 am


Yeah, cause one-sided leaks are "facts".

37 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 10:52 am

@ 35

Thanks for contributing actual facts.

38 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 10:52 am

If every player declined the same way or at the same age it would make being a GM a whole lot easier.

I went from thinking that Bernie had a moderate chance at 3,000 hits and the HoF to wondering why they still trotted him out there everyday seemingly overnight.

Look at Robin Yount, he was a great hitter until he hit 33, then bang, average and below for his last four seasons.

39 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 10:54 am

Did he ever once threaten to quit over one such decision? If he wasn’t willing to put himself out there, in service of actual principles, then what did those principles mean to him?

There was no need to. If he didn't want Womack or Lofton, it showed since both only spent a year in NY. Pavano, OTOH, spent the duration of his contract in NY.

40 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2009 10:56 am

One of the things, formally not naming names now (per william's helpful suggestion) that always amuses me is when people claim to know what 'went on' in a clubhouse discussion, or a front office, and then it becomes 'well they are feeding disinformation' when someone offers any contrary info.

Same thing on injury discussions ... some will say things like 'Jeter lies about being hurt' and others, like Will Carroll will say 'he's good about judging his body' ... Carroll has good sources, and I respect him a lot, but unless the source is RIGHT there, these debates are just 'pass the time' guesswork and gossip for us and can be good fun I guess ... yet some people act as if they are inside the Curia and assail others who disagree.

Or even others who might just say 'not enough data'.

Same with most players and steroids right now, though it is widely noted that the presence of users some tars all players now. And I agree, looking at Ortiz this year, he shrank, just as Giambi and Pudge did. And the 'normal' trend in 30s is to grow.

I don't want to get back into the older player younger player thing, since my main thesis is that going younger in a forceful requires acceptance of a) possible failure to EVER excel or b) success a long time in coming with a lot of luck involved. Tampa Bay is cited as an example, and they've had - so far ONE year. We'll see how it plays out for 2009. I expect them back as I thought they'd be better this year.

I do want to throw out one thought ... the paradigms of excellence with 28 being the peak year make complete sense to me, but we all know that quite aside from drugs, athletes (with so much money involved) simply take care of themselves better than our heroes of yesteryear (well, the heroes of those old enough to remember yesteryear).

I'll take a stud 27 year old over a stud 33 year old any day, it isn't even worth discussing for me. But I wonder if writing off all 33 year olds fails to account for shifts in conditioning, training, awareness of the body in the last 15 years?I'm curiious about injury stats, too. I mean, is a Damon higher risk than a Kinsler? We might say 'demographically yes' and I'd believe that, but case by case?

I was, for example, arguing 'sign Santana' even against my wish to have the pleasure of watching Hughes and co. mature into young stars ... because I have seen way too many phenom pitchers never arrive. Right now, with CC rounding into form, Cashman's gamble on the kids actually looks more like a one year gamble the team could compete while waiting for them to arrive, with a big free agent on the horizon to replace Santana. He got his stud pitcher without giving up players - and with a little more luck might have kept a playoff run going.

I'm a Cashman fan, myself. He's been part of a well-documented dysfunctional front office, with Tampa vs NY playing out for years. We can, for example, debate if Randy Johnson was worth signing, but in this case it is pretty clear, and was at the time, where the IMPULSE to sign him came from.

Does anyone know? Is Boston annihilating Francona for batting Papi 3rd? I'm not checking those blogs. Banter gets nasty enough for me, these days. Is it because we're bitter about being only .500? If that's a component, I am back to my case about this team, this fan base, being utterly unwilling to accept some years of rebuilding.

41 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 10:56 am

Same with the Unit trade. Johnson made the request to be traded back to AZ, and even though his reasoning was legitimate, Cashman could've said "I appreciate your feelings Randy, but we really need you here."

42 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 11:01 am

We can, for example, debate if Randy Johnson was worth signing, but in this case it is pretty clear, and was at the time, where the IMPULSE to sign him came from.

Of course, it should be noted that Johnson was only willing to waive his NTC to go to the Yanks

43 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 11:03 am

Also, the Yanks had been trying to land Johnson for years, at least since his Mariner days (before he broke out and became a star).

44 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 11:05 am

@ 38


@ 39

Wait, so after a year he's able to "really" assert his authority? That makes no sense in principle but in reality I can certainly see what you're saying. The problem is the team ends up much worse off for it. Look what they traded for Randy! It neither improved them in the short-term nor the long-term. Then they gave Unit away for nothing. Same deal with Lofton. They gave him away.

@ 40

The Sox went younger in the way I'm thinking, not the strawman you offer. How'd that turn out for them? It took all of one year.

45 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 11:08 am

Is it because we’re bitter about being only .500?

I'm bitter because they've been sliding backwards for at least five years. And as constructed in the off-season, this isn't a championship team.

46 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 11:20 am

I am not sure why Ortiz' slide turned into an anti-Cashman rant, but returning to the topic, it will be interesting to see how long Francona goes with Big Papi in the #3 hole. With Youkilis out, perhaps there is less impetus, but still, I am sure the pressure is mounting. Meanwhile, you can't say enough about what Jason Bay has meant to the team. Not only is he hitting a ton, but he has gotten so many big hits (hits that turn losses into wins). His efforts, combined with a ridiculously good bullpen, have kept the Sox in good shape while so many other things have gone wrong.

47 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 11:23 am

Another perfect example of how the Sox front office "gets" it. The Sox had little choice, and little time, but to trade Manny and they end up with Jason Bay.

The Yankees had some choice and some time to trade Randy Johnson. Who'd they get again?

48 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 11:27 am

And rather than dropping Ortiz, I could sooner see what the Yankees did with Wang. DL him and give him two weeks off. If a guy is this much of mess, what's changing his lineup spot going to do?

49 jonnystrongleg   ~  May 15, 2009 11:29 am

Pessimism usually reigns on this boards, but seeing Jim Dean resurrected as Bum Rush has got to make us feel anything is possible. If a poster can return from the dead, maybe even the Yanks can win some games.

50 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 11:31 am

The problem is the team ends up much worse off for it. Look what they traded for Randy! It neither improved them in the short-term nor the long-term. Then they gave Unit away for nothing. Same deal with Lofton. They gave him away.

Regarding the Johnson trade, I'm sure the D-Backs would have wanted a SP in return, which would explain why Vazquez went. Halsey was a fringe lefty, Navarro was a catching prospect who was then spun off to the Dodgers who then spun him off to the Rays. Yankee catching didn't become a problem until 2008, and who knows if Navarro would have still been around by then if he stayed in the organization.

The trade theoretically (on paper) improved them for the short term, because even if he didn't replicate his 2004 season, what he would've done should've been better than some of the guys the Yanks threw out there for the 2004 season. Johnson - Mussina would've been a nice 1-2 punch. But thats in theory.

I agree that the Lofton trade was a giveaway, and I thought that he would've (should've, IMO) stuck around longer than he did. OTOH, having watched Quantrill and Gordon get as much work as they did in 2004, I can see the reasoning behind getting Felix Rodriguez... Looking at his track record, it seems Cashman has a thing for wild Dominican power arms (Rodriguez, Heredia, Veras).

51 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 11:34 am

[47] The circumstances around the trades were a bit different. They've also had been trying to unload Manny for years, only recently being successful with it.

52 Shaun P.   ~  May 15, 2009 11:40 am

[49] Well done, injecting some humor! =)

In terms of beating dead horses, you've got it exactly right. But when it comes to his fervent anti-Cashman fundamentalism, Bum Rush reminds me of no one more so than Steve Lombardi. There are points in the arguments, but too often it devolves into "Cashman is the DEVIL!", said Kathy Bates as the backwater Cajun mother in "The Waterboy" style.

53 cult of basebaal   ~  May 15, 2009 11:50 am

[49] Heh. I prefer like to think of Bum Rush as the Zombie Jim Dean, though you're right, there's a side dish of pure Lombardian anti-Cashmanism thrown in.

Hey Bum Rush, could you rant about how horribly Cashman screwed up the Gary Sheffield trade for a while?

I'm feeling nostalgic ...

54 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 11:57 am

@ 52

I don't think he's the devil. He's just a very mediocre GM, not worthy of his salary, who knows one thing well: Survival. Even if you take the apologists at face value, he's had three years to get the team on the right course. They're still sliding backwards.

55 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 12:02 pm

@ 53

Another guy who wasn't "his". And another trade were he got nothing. Sheffield may have wanted an extension, but he had one year left on his contract. I thought Torre's strength was people management. Except Sheff, God love him, never bought the BS. And he had a very good 2007. What did the Yankees get in return? Salary relief? Yeah, they needed that because they lose money every year. I read that "fact" here somewhere.

56 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 12:07 pm

What did the Yankees get in return? Salary relief?

PITA relief... lol

Seriously, I was hoping he would play 1b in 2007 or at the very least DH. But I understand why he'd be hesitant to do it, playing for a contract.

57 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 12:13 pm

@ 52

All I know is I showed up here a few days ago and the dominant theme, pushed by one poster, was Girardi and changing managers - a theme not coincidentally pushed by the mediots. The problem, of course, is that this manager has had very little say over his coaches, let alone the roster. Old rosters get hurt and are ineffective. That's what we're seeing. The Yankees have been old since 2003. So that misguided criticism riled my senses.

58 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 12:16 pm

[53] Not that nostalgic...besides, Jim Dean could actually carry on a civil discussion for at least a few posts before going off the deep end.

59 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2009 12:36 pm

[52] He should have bought a squirrel.

60 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 12:52 pm

Yankee catching didn’t become a problem until 2008, and who knows if Navarro would have still been around by then if he stayed in the organization.

So, because the Yankees had zero positional prospects at C, and their C was 32 and still hitting well, C couldn't be a problem in a few years?

Posada was a back-up until he was 26 and Navarro isn't even 26 yet. Bringing another good young catcher along is never a bad idea. Especially when he's the only positional prospect worth anything that they had. For a 40 year old starting pitcher with a bad back and crappy knees. Gotta win now, ya know!

Hell, I'm not a GM and I saw a problem two years ago at SS for the 2011 season. So what has Cashman done in the meantime to prepare for the possibility that his then 37 year old SS won't be able to play the posiiton? Drafted/signed a bunch of catchers and right handed pitchers. Granted Pena is up and he hasn't been horrible, but I hope he's not the only answer they have (in addition to signing a overpaid under performing veteran or giving Jeter what he wants because he's a true Yankee and the only FA available ala Posada).

61 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 12:52 pm

[58] Stones/glass houses

62 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2009 1:00 pm

Bum Rush, I'm going to try to do this as kindly as I can ... because it is, after all, Alex's job to assess if someone's reducing the civilized nature of the Banter. But this seems to be at least on the table today. You are staring at a few posts suggesting that you've crossed some line of discourse and courtesy and even 'having fun here'. The references to Zombie and such, and advice to me yesterday to ignore you as that poster was.

It makes at least SOME sense, when you arrive in a new place, even online, to take your bearings, and see what effect you are having. Maybe consider that? But your last post begins "All I know.." and cites a 'dominant theme' that was hardly dominant and hardly lacking in various opinions on all sides, being canvassed. I, for one, for example, without being a Girardi fan, thought trigger fingers for both him and Cashman (and Teixeira) were much too itchy. You yourself said 'pushed by one poster' ... there are too many of us for one guy, even you, to shape a 'dominant' opinion here. One poster can, however, create or influence a tone.

People here have a VERY wide range of views. william and I (who might look like buddies from where you sit) had a pretty strong engagement on the Roger Clemens congressional hearings and there have been other views thrashed out on many topics. But when you arrive, and declare yourself 'bitter' because of five slipping years, and immediately inject some of that bitterness and aggressiveness AND people begin to call you on it ... doesn't it at least occur to you to look up and around and adjust your modus operandi to the setting?

63 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 1:17 pm

[60] You are talking about Navarro as if he is Matt Weiters. Not only was Navarro a lukewarm prospect, but he hasn't exaclty become a major contributor, unless you think an OPS+ of 80 is good enough for a starting catcher.

As for drafting Jeter's replacement, it isn't so easy to do that. Most of the top-SS prospects go very early in the draft. With the Yankees sitting so low in the pecking order, it's not like they can just go out and get the next Jeter.

[61] Who was throwing stones at Jim Dean?

64 hoppystone   ~  May 15, 2009 1:25 pm

Word to thelarmis and ok jazz:

From Heyman's site today -

"Rare draft note not involving phenom Stephen Strasburg:
Word is getting out the Orioles are seriously considering USC shortstop Grant Green, an excellent hitter."

Indeed, a heavy hitter! Maybe the Orioles will have him in for a 'Workout'?

65 hoppystone   ~  May 15, 2009 1:36 pm

My mistake, that's a Hank Mobley album, but Grant is on it.
And it sounds he would be a very "Solid" addition to their squad. Hell, he may get a big contract offer, and then he'd be on "Green Street"!

66 ChrisS   ~  May 15, 2009 1:45 pm

You are talking about Navarro as if he is Matt Weiters.

No, I wasn't.

Having plan >>>>>> not having a plan.

They had exactly one C prospect, who was decently thought of, and a 32 year old starter that was going to be a free agent in 2 years. Obviously, the most important thing to do was to acquire a cranky and creaky starting pitcher for said prospect and gamble later. Personally, I don't agree with that philosophy of roster construction. They have a 35 year old SS that's a free agent in two years, currently they have zero SS prospects that are something other than outlier projects.

unless you think an OPS+ of 80 is good enough for a starting catcher.

As opposed to Molina's 51? Why yes, yes I do think that's good enough.

Who was throwing stones at Jim Dean?

Nothing about Jim Dean. Just that you probably shouldn't backhandedly insult posters for being prolific and passionate considering that you've had the operator of the website defend your right to prolific and passionate posting on the boards. Just sayin'.

67 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 1:54 pm

[66] I haven't scanned most top 100 lists, but I have a feeling the number of can't miss SS and catchers ar few and far between. Besides, how many teams have their next C/SS waiting in the wings? The Yankees have drafted catchers and SS over the past 5 years...maybe one will emerge; maybe not. To suggest there is no plan, however, doesn't seem accurate to me.

Also, with regard to Molina vs. Navarro, I thought we were talking about Posada's replacement, not his back up.

Finally, you keep dismissing RJ, but he did contribute to two division titles. I don't think that should be so easily dismissed.

As for being prolific and passionate, I wish every poster was like that. That doesn't mean you have to resort to personal insults. What's more, when did the "operator of the website" defend my rights? I wasn't aware of it. Also, why do you present that as some kind of negative event. If anyone pointed out to me that my method of engagement was uncivil, I would readily apologize and seek to invite dialogue, not criticism.

68 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 1:58 pm

Also, I would point out that Keith Law ranks Jesus Montero as the games 9th best Catching prospect (he is that low because of concerns about his defense). What's more, if we were looking for the Yankees catcher of the future around the time Jorge started out, we would hadn't have noticed him because he was playing 2B.

69 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 2:04 pm

please let this be true:

A major league executive tells 1050 that he would not be surprised if the Yankees' stadium debacle costs someone their job.

COO Lonn Trost has been out front on the new Stadium. Trost reports to the team president Randy Levine. When something goes as wrong as the new stadium has, there is usually fallout. The exec says one or both could lose their jobs over it.

70 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 2:07 pm

[69] Where did that report come from? I am not sure why a major league executive would be in the know, but from the Yankees standpoint, I have a feeling Trost would be more at risk. Levine has played a big role in a lot of business decisions that have benefitted the Yankees, so I don't think they would fire him.

71 RagingTartabull   ~  May 15, 2009 2:14 pm


Trost is completely expendable because his whole raison d'etre as far as the Yankees are concerned was getting the stadium built. Now it's built...so he's not really needed for anything anymore. Levine will someday outlive his usefulness as well, I just don't know if it will be anytime soon.

Levine annoys me more than Trost because at least Trost never pretends to know anything about on-field issues. He's a businessman plain and simple. Levine has it in his head that people are interested in his opinions on roster management.

72 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 2:17 pm

[71] I agree about Trost...the new Stadium was his baby, so he may now be expendable. Levine, on the other hand, has a ton of smarts and even more connections. He is far from likeable, but I think he's an asset to the organization.

73 Horace Clarke Era   ~  May 15, 2009 2:20 pm

I guess I really am too out of it as to the stadium ... perhaps wrongly I saw this as an easy example of corporate greed, consistent with a LOT of the new stadiums and their focus on luxury boxes and corporate season tickets in all sports ... and the timing was a mess. I can see someone getting fired for being in the chair when the musical chairs stopped. But the Yankees are hardly new in this regard.

I see it - and this is becomign a motif for me I guess - as part of the downside of being the NY Yankees, or A New York Yankee. Everything gets magnified. Patience doesn't exist. A slump can destroy. Anything less than a World Series demands apologies. The stadium falls into this issue, seems to me.

You can argue, actually I guess I would, that with great power comes great responsibility. With the Yankee income stream, with Cashman's money to spend, with Teixeira's salary ... but there are no guarantees in sport, and this team has missed the playoffs ONCE in umpteen years. And they play in a glorious, killer division now.

If this stadium stuff is about the home runs, the wind tunnel, I find it silly. Buildings like this always need tweaking, from opera house acoustics to shifting fences or raising them two feet. (To hide the portly tenor!) It isn't hard to do. Same with Monument Park, PR gaffes ... though the latter do suggest someone needs to get on their game sooner!

74 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 2:28 pm

So what has Cashman done in the meantime to prepare for the possibility that his then 37 year old SS won’t be able to play the posiiton?

You do realize that SS is a relatively easy position to fill, right? If the Yanks were worried about SS, they could've gone out and signed Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria or Omar Vizquel. Or they could've traded for another SS. Or they could've moved a player to another position.

Just because you don't agree with the options presented or "the plan" doesn't mean that there wasn't one in place.

75 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 2:31 pm

As for drafting Jeter’s replacement, it isn’t so easy to do that.

Especially in the context of the position before Jeter arrived... Tony Fernandez, Kevin Elster, Spike Owen, Mike Gallego, Alvaro Espinosa, etc, etc, etc...

76 williamnyy23   ~  May 15, 2009 2:33 pm

[73] Regardless of how you feel about the policies, the Yankees are always going to be a lighting rod. The Mets have restrictive BP policies, but no one has said a word. Also, every one mocks the “moat”, but the Dodgers have had one for years. The bottom line for the Yankees is they have to deal with a lot of people who hate them; fans who are very demanding; and media members/politicians who try to make a name for themselves by confronting the Yankees. I wouldn’t feel too bad for them, however. It seems like they are more than capable of dealing with their environment.

77 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 2:40 pm

@ 76

They're also making over $100 million this year. No, I don't feel bad for them.

78 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 2:42 pm

@ 66

I agree completely.

79 The Hawk   ~  May 15, 2009 3:02 pm

[14] He wasn't referring to himself in the third person, he was suggesting a sentence for the writers to use. In other words he didn't answer questions by saying "Papi stinks", he answered by saying "Just write, 'Papi stinks'".

80 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 3:06 pm

All this talk about Posada has me wondering, who was the last starter before Posada that the Yanks developed @ catcher? I can't think of any off the top of my head, other than Munson. I don't think Leyritz was a starter, backing up Mike Stanley and Joe Girardi. I believe Bob Geren backed up Matt Nokes (and Geren was acquired elsewhere). Catchers during the 80's were pretty much a blur, with Cerrone & Wynegar being standouts.

81 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 3:49 pm

@ 80

I wish I could answer that question. But it brings to my mind exactly why the 96-00 dynasty was so successful. Stick brought in, partly out of luck and partly skill, what ended up as HOF, or close to, players at the most important positions: C (starting in 98), CF, and SS plus an otherworldly closer (luck) and a very good starter (Pettitte).

What's the last team to develop the first three?

82 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 4:25 pm

What’s the last team to develop the first three?

The closest, I would think would be the M's, with Griffey & Rodriguez.

Of course, the question needs a bit of clarification, are we talking playoff contenders, or World Championship ballclubs? HOF caliber players, or very good players?

83 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 5:21 pm

HOF caliber - irrespective of playoffs. I just wonder if what set those Yankees apart were simply those three playing almost simultaneously.

84 Bum Rush   ~  May 15, 2009 5:31 pm

Good call on Seattle though. How many seasons did they overlap for? And they had Unit briefly too. Unbelievable what that organization could have done if it had held on to all three.

85 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 5:59 pm

I just wonder if what set those Yankees apart were simply those three playing almost simultaneously.

I would think it would be a combination of things. But sticking to 96-00 (less research for me to do), the Yanks did the following

96: 2nd
97: 2nd
98: 1st
99: 1st
00: 5th

Runs Scored
96: 870 (9th)
97: 891 (2nd)
98: 965 (1st)
99: 900 (3rd)
00: 871 (6th)

Runs Allowed
96: 787 (3rd)
97: 688 (2nd)
98: 655 (1st)
99: 731 (2nd)
00: 814 (4th)

Defensive Efficiency
96: 11th
97: 8th
98: 1st
99: 3rd
00: 4th

Define "setting apart?" Of those 5 years, the Yanks had the best AL record twice, they've had a strong offense, they've had strong pitching staff (at least when it comes to preventing runs), and they've been all over the map defensively (allowing for defensive metrics being what they are).

I would say the dynasty teams had a combination of being lucky and good.

Of course, it goes without saying that the numbers could be drilled down even further, but I have only so much time.

86 Raf   ~  May 15, 2009 6:15 pm

Griffey: 89-99
Rodriguez: 95-00
Edgar: 89-04
Unit: 89-98

I would say the "peak years" were from 96-98. Having said that, I think they got good returns for Griffey and Johnson.

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