"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Straight A’s In Love

With the Yankees getting the extra off-day today, I thought I’d take a quick spin through the roster and assign some haphazard and utterly meaningless grades for the first-half. I’m sure the commenters will have a ball with this one . . .

Mark Teixeira, 1B
.275/.378/.535, 21 HR, 63 RBI; -1.8 UZR

Tex is a career .288/.378/.540 hitter, so that line is right on target, and he’s a career .303/.390/.574 hitter in the second half, so he’s actually ahead of his usual pace. I’m suspicious of that poor UZR rating; Tex had a 10.4 UZR last year. I expect his fielding stats will even out in the second half.

Robinson Cano, 2B
.308/.341/.490, 24 2B, 13 HR, 17 BB; 0.1 UZR

How has Cano’s comeback season gone? In 2007 he hit .306/.353/.488 with a career-high 41 doubles, and 19 homers. He’s right on target to match or surpass those figures this year. His defense hasn’t rebounded all the way to his +11.3 performance in ’07, but it’s come up to average after dropping to -8.0 last year. As devastating as Cano’s collapse was to last year’s club, his rebound has been that important to this year’s Yankees.

Derek Jeter, SS
.321/.396/.461, 56 R, 10 HR, 17 SB (85%); 0.5 UZR

Age appeared to be sapping the Captain’s power and speed in 2008, but his performance in the first half this year has made his ’08 season seem more like a fluke than a trend. His 17 steals are already his most since 2006. His ten homers put him on pace for his highest total since 2005. Of course, the new stadium is largely responsible for the latter (Jeter’s hit just two taters and slugged .415 on the road), but the rest of his game has been as good on the road as at home, if not better. At age 35, he’s third among major league shortstops in VORP, behind only 25-year-old superstar Hanley Ramirez and Jason Bartlett’s fluky first half.

Alex Rodriguez, 3B
.256/.411/.548, 17 HR, 50 RBI; -4.3 UZR

Rodriguez missed the first month of the season due to hip surgery. Then his manager failed to obey his doctor’s orders and give him the requisite days off, prompting a wicked slump (.159/.312/.286 over 19 games). And still Rodriguez’s numbers are right back where they belong. Ignore that average, it’s coming up, and look at the on-base percentage, which is a whopping 155 points higher and consider that Alex has walked ten more times than he’s struck out thus far this season after having never walked more than he’s struckout before in his major league career. Rodriguez’s hip has hindered his speed (just three steals, though in only three attempts), but his defense is coming around. All things considered, it’s been another strong season.

Jorge Posada, C
.285/.369/.508, 11 HR, 40 RBI; 30% CS

If he keeps it up, Jorge’s .877 OPS would be the highest ever posted by a catcher 37 years old or older in baseball history (minimum 400 plate appearances) and despite having missed nearly a month due to a quad strain, he’s still fifth among major league catchers in VORP. Posada’s comeback was as important as Cano’s, and he’s pulled it off, producing like it’s 2006 (or 2001, for that matter). The cherry on top is the fact that he’s thrown out 30 percent of his baserunners, a tick better than his career rate of 29 percent and comfortably above the league average of 25 percent.

Nick Swisher, RF
.237/.360/.464, 14 HR, 47 RBI, 53 BB; -0.1 UZR

Yet another Yankee who has done well to return to his established level after a significant down season. Swisher, a career .243/.355/.453 hitter, didn’t have the right-field job coming out of camp, but seized every opportunity he had early on and eased into the position after Xavier Nady suffered a season-ending elbow injury. Curiously, Swisher’s hitting just .200/.362/.325 in the Yankees’ new launching pad, but he gets his walks everywhere and is just seven off the league lead in the category. Mix in his versatility both in the field and in the lineup (he’s started everywhere from second to eighth in the order this season), and he’s a key complimentary part.

Brett Gardner, CF
.282/.352/.404, 20 BB, 18 SB (82%); 9.4 UZR

Gardner coughed up the center field job after winning it out of camp, but since connecting for a triple and a homer in Toronto on May 13, he’s hit .322/.398/.492 in 118 at-bats and forced his way back into the lineup on a regular basis. Mix in his blazing speed on the bases and tremendous range afield and he’s here to stay as more than just a weapon off the bench, he’s a complete major league ballplayer.

Melky Cabrera, CF
.285/.347/.439, 8 HR, 25 BB; -1.8 UZR (CF), -0.3 UZR (all OF)

Though Gardner won the center field job out of camp, Melky didn’t sulk, like many surely thought he would. He, like Swisher, made the most of the opportunities he got and, without the aid of an injury to his rival, took the job back. After that strong opening gambit, Melky came back to earth in May and slumped in June, making room for Gardner to return serve. Still, Melky has hit .270/.364/.446 over the past month (June 13 to July 12), suggesting he won’t fade away this year like he did last.

Johnny Damon, LF
.276/.362/.510, 62 R, 16 HR, 50 RBI, 8 SB (0 CS); -9.4 UZR

Damon just keeps on going at the plate, but he’s been propped up by his friendly home park. All but four of his 16 homers have come at home and he’s hit just .263/.331/.431 on the road. Mix in his brutal play in the field and need for regular rest and he’s not been nearly as valuable as his raw numbers might suggest. That only means he shouldn’t be resigned for 2009. With Cabrera as a caddy, he’s still plenty valuable this season, and a monster at home (.289/.393/.592).

Hideki Matsui, DH
.265/.367/.517, 14 HR, 40 RBI

Another of the comeback kids, Matsui has bettered his 2007 rates thus far this season, but he can’t play the field anymore, which means he can’t play every day as Rodriguez, Posada, Damon, and even Jeter need days at DH. Then again, maybe Matsui should take precedent over that lot as he’s hit .297/.419/.634 since May 26.


Cody Ransom was a bust as Alex Rodriguez’s April replacement (.180/.226/.320) due to a quad injury he didn’t reveal to the team until he aggravated it on a slide on April 24. He’s 3-for-18 since returning from the 60-day DL. Jose Molina hit the DL soon after. Those two injuries created opportunities for rookies Ramiro Peña and Francisco Cervelli, both of whom jumped over Triple-A and impressed with their defense and approach despite ultimately weak production at the plate (Peña: .267/.308/.349; Cervelli: .269/.284/.346). That Kevin Cash and Angel Berroa also spent time on the 25-man roster didn’t help matters, though things are looking up with new addition Eric Hinske having hit three home runs in his first three starts.

Overall Offense

This one’s easy. The Yankees lead the major leagues in runs (495), runs per game (5.62), on-base percentage (.358), slugging (.471), homers (132, tied with the Rangers), walks (373), total bases (1,444), and OPS+ (116), the last of which proves that the rest isn’t just because of their new ballpark. You can’t do much better than that.


Gardner and Damon offset and everyone else is around average, but Gardner hasn’t played as much as Damon, and more of those “around average” performances have been a tick below than a tick above. Still, their collective rate of turning balls in play into outs is third-best in the AL, which lends credence to my suspicions about Teixeira’s UZR rating. I’ll hedge.

CC Sabathia
3.86 ERA, 8-6, 1.15 WHIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 9 QS (47%)

Sabathia’s first half felt a bit underwhelming, but compare that line above from his first 19 starts of the season (one of which was aborted due to bicep tightness) to the one he compiled in 18 starts for Cleveland last year:

3.83 ERA, 6-8, 1.12 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 10 QS (56%)

Then consider that Sabathia’s career first-half ERA is 3.89, but his career second-half mark is 3.39. Then look at Sabathia’s road performance (3.33 ERA, 6-4, 2 CG, 1 SHO). Then consider that, setting aside that aborted start in Florida, CC has averaged more than seven innings pitched per start. I’d like to see Sabatha’s strikeout rate improve (though he’s struck out 25 in his last 26 1/3 innings over four starts, so perhaps it’s on its way), and I’d like to see Joe Girardi figure out how to remove Sabathia a batter too early rather than a batter too late, as was the trend earlier in the year (and which cost Sabathia a few quality starts), but overall there’s not a whole lot to complain about regarding Sabathia’s performance in the first half given the adjustments he’s had to make both to being the ace of the Yankees and to pitching in their new band box of a ballpark.

A.J. Burnett
3.77 ERA, 8-4, 1.38 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 11 QS (65%)

The most impressive thing Burnett did in the first half was make every one of his scheduled starts, so much so that I won’t harp on him leading the league in walks and wild pitches. Burnett was his typical inconsistent and frustrating self through his first 12 starts (4.89 ERA, just half quality starts), but enters the break on a hot streak of five quality starts in which he’s posted a 1.34 ERA. The aggregate puts him neck-and-neck with Sabathia as the team’s best starter in the first half.

Joba Chamberlain
4.25 ERA, 4-2, 1.56 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 8 QS (47%)

Chamberlain’s first half was less inconsistent than consistently mediocre. Putting aside the two duds with which he finished the half and the start in which he was knocked out in the first inning by a comebacker, he allowed three or fewer runs in 12 of his first 14 starts, but also averaged less than six innings per start in those dozen outings. Only twice did he turn in dominating outings lasting a minimum of seven full innings, but only once did he allow as many as five runs in a start. His inefficiency from last year carried over and was briefly exacerbated by some first-inning woes. Despite consistently keeping his team in games (the Yankees are 11-6 in his starts and two of the six losses followed quality starts by Joba), Chamberlain has frustrated by being inconsistent with his velocity, nibbling rather than being aggressive with his ace-quality stuff, walking too many men, and above all by pretending he’s making good pitches and maturing as a starter. Despite all that, he’s pitched well enough to have been the team’s third-best starter in the first half.

Andy Pettitte
4.85 ERA, 8-5, 1.53 WHIP, 5.9 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 7 QS (39%)

More inconsistency. Pettitte’s seems to stem largely from shell shock from the new stadium. He’s allowed 12 homers in 10 starts at home against just three in eight road starts. That’s 15 homer runs; Andy has averaged 19 allowed per season in his career. That homer split folds into a 3.69 ERA and 1.34 WHIP on the road, but a 5.72 ERA and 1.66 WHIP on the road. The four homers he allowed to the Rays at home in a 8-6 loss on May 7 might be the source of the problem, or it just be the ballpark itself. Or maybe it’s just that Andy’s 37 and near the end. The Yankees are still 12-6 in his starts, but that seems to be par for the course, save for the hard-luck Sabathia, and credit due to the offense as the Yanks are 11-6 in both Burnett’s and Chamberlain’s starts (but 9-10 in CC’s). Perhaps most problematically, Andy has averaged fewer than six innings pitched per start. He’s here to eat innings and give the offense a chance. He’s getting the job done, but barely

Chien-Ming Wang
9.64 ERA, 1-6, 2.02 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 0 QS

In his last four starts, Wang has posted a 5.23 ERA while averaging almost exactly five innings per start. The Yankees are 2- in those games. There’s hope here, but Wang was historically awful in his first three starts (34.50 ERA!), then spent a month on the DL, made three relief appearances, and turned in two more stinkers before starting to resemble a major league starter again over those last four. This from a pitcher who opened the season as the team’s number-two starter.

Phil Hughes
3.91 ERA, 3-2, 1.21 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2 QS (29%)

Hughes pitched well enough in spring training to win a rotation spot had there been one available. Instead he went down to Triple-A and dominated (3-0, 1.86 ERA, 6.33 K/BB in three starts). Called up to replace Wang he shut out the Tigers for six innings in his first start, stumbled in his next two, then began to piece things back together, showing the growth Chamberlain hasn’t. Wang’s return bumped him to the bullpen, where he’s flat-out dominated (2.23 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 5.00 K/BB), slowly emerging as 2009’s version of the eighth-inning Joba. He’ll return to the rotation eventually, but in the meantime he’s gaining confidence, learning how to put away major league hitters, and playing a key role in the major league team’s success.

Mariano Rivera
2.42 ERA, 23 SV (96%), 0.89 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 0.7 BB/9, 5 HR

One of the three walks Mo has issued in his 37 innings was intentional. In 36 games, he’s had two hiccups in non-save situations resulting in loses and one blown save. Everything else has been as expected.


Hughes has combined with fellow converted starter Alfredo Aceves (2.02 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 4.25 K/BB) and lefty Phil Coke (3.06 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 3.8 K/BB since June 1) to give the Yankees an unexpected but very effective set-up threesome (they rank second-through-fourth on the team in WXRL behind Rivera). That trio took a while to fully emerge as neither Aceves nor Hughes was on the Opening Day roster and both arrived in the pen as long relievers. Injuries to Damaso Marte (5 1/3 IP) and Brian Bruney (4.86 ERA) and management’s disenchantment with the since-traded Jose Veras (5.96 ERA) paved the way for the new trio. Rookie David Robertson has established himself as a constant presence in middle relief despite ranking dead last on the team in WXRL (-0.65). Unfortunately, Mark Melancon (-0.51) has struggled in his brief opportunities with the big club, leaving veteran dreck Brett Tomko (-0.26) to fill the final spot, though it would seem Jonathan Albaladejo (0.08), who has been up twice but is back in Scranton now, could do as well or better. Edwar Ramirez made the Opening Day roster but now seems safely off the radar. Anthony Claggett was rushed up for one outing and bludgeoned badly in the new stadium’s opening series back when the bullpen was in such bad shape, in part because of Wang’s struggles, that Nick Swisher was asked to contribute an inning.


My preseason prediction was that the Yankees would win the Wild Card. If the season ended today, that’s exactly what they’d do. The offense has exceeded expectations, the rotation fallen short, and the bullpen and defense roughly hit the mark. Given the playoff positioning and the lack of major disasters/collapses outside of Wang, who is back in the rotation and resembling a fifth-starter, I give the Yankees a first-half grade of:

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 16, 2009 2:04 am

I think we should write more about how bad Veras is

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 16, 2009 2:20 am

No grade for JoeyJoeJoe? (by the way..who first started calling him that? love it!)

B- for Joba seems generous..methinks he needs to eat some Humble Pie (hellllo Peter Frampton!)

Mariano gets an A+++ and Wang gets an F----, if that grade exists..

I feel very confident about CC and AJ for the second half, but think the back end will be the source of much frustration..and the reason for the WC and eventual loss to Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs..(D'oh!)

3 thelarmis   ~  Jul 16, 2009 3:29 am

[0] good stuff. thanks, Cliff!

[1] hilarious! : )

[2] Cult, i believe, came up with Joey Joe Joe. it is indeed funny!

btw, thanks a whole lot for baiting me into the "lucky" musician thread, when you knew i wouldn't wanna take part!!! : p

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 16, 2009 5:35 am

[3] Knew you would would succumb to the debate! Did you see the "underrated" comment though?

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 16, 2009 6:44 am

A lot of things floating around the web about all the great young pitchers in baseball. Lincecum, King Felix, Zach Greinke, Porcello, Edwin Jackson, Billingsley, etc..none of the articles mentioned Joba or Phil..D'oh!

Seeing Lincecum at the ASG was really cool though, I had only watched him one other time..wonder if he could be the new Pedro? Just filthy stuff!

6 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:03 am

PeteAbe did an OPINION piece where he basically stated that we MUST get Halliday to Win this year, all but regardless of the price, which he believes will be in the order of Joba, Montero and 2 other quality kids, including AJax.

Frankly, the thought of losing the cream of our farm makes me sick, and exactly fits the 'old mode' of trading the future for now. Yes, Halliday is already not only a MLBer, but the top of his class. And yes, with kids (and Joba) you never know if they even make it to the show, or how they will perform if they do.

Halliday has been discussed here a bit, but much more on other blogs. Might the Sox make a push for him (I admit, that would be EXtremely bad for us)? If he were signed, do people want to spend a fortune to give a big contract extention to a 33 year old pitcher? Am I correct that we would have to offer Arb to get the 2 picks? How big a role are those 2 picks in this?

My gut says absolutely not, but I'm trying to stay open minded. My guess is if anything happens, it will happen pretty soon, as having Halliday for the current half year is a big part of his value. Worth discussing more?

7 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:12 am

Cliff, thanks, these are always fun. Not major arguments here, either. It was nice to get data to rebut the often-claimed point that Posada is killing us against baserunners. Truth is, Tampa and Angels kill just about everyone when they run.

Newsday has one of those 'flex your muscles' pieces where they say Yanks can (and should) get Halladay by taking on the dreadful Wells contract. (2nd worst contract in baseball, I'd say). Deal Melky or Brett, plus Pena plus 2 lower level prospects, and that's enough for freeing Jays from 20 million a year for next five years. Frankly, might not even take that much as Jays can use about half that money on two vg players. I'd rather take Rios and his 10 million a year, myself, but doubt that would work without more talent as he's much LESS overpaid (fangraphs basically argued he is not overpaid at all).

If we do not chase Roy, and I still suspect we won't, we still need to upgrade our starting with a solid 3rd starter. Can it really be that Washburn is that solid 3rd? Has it come to this?

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:20 am

[6] Agreed, OYF..but if the Sox somehow sweep in and get Halladay..shudder...how do you win a series against Doc and the Grinch when they start 4 games?? Giving up either Joba or Phil for a guy like Halladay..that's tough to turn down when the division is so close, isn't it?? I'm not saying they HAVE to do it, but they have to consider it..Boston offers Bucholz, Bowden and some trash for Doc, don't the Jays jump on it?

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:37 am

Beckett has been very good for the Sox and helped them win in 2007. But look ar Hanley. Is Beckett really worth more WinShares(or whatever measure is most realistic) then Hanley? Hanley, who is cheap and may be a stud for another 10 years?

If Joba lives up to his potential, while he may never be Halliday, won't he be enough? We already have (and spent a fortune) to get CC. In 2 years, with Po, JD and Mats gone, Jeter and ARod older, don't we have a lot of positions/bats to fill? We have already lost Tabata. If we lose Montero and AJax, what is left on the farm? Will we have a VERY OLD and very expensive team, with no flexibility and little farm help, costing well over $200m (gotta replace those kids, probably with pretty expensive players) going forward into the next decade?

All this to WIN NOW?
Can we really compete for the next 5 years with the Sox (and anyone else) with this philosophy?

This trade COULD put us in the WS for this year and next.
It could also be one of the worst moves in Yankee history.

10 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:40 am


Swisher's adventures in the outfield would seem to knock his grade down a bit, no?

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 16, 2009 7:53 am

[9] I actually agree with you about trading our kids..but for Boston, Beckett was absolutely, 100% worth it. They already won one championship with him leading the staff, almost made the Series again last year, and have a good chance this year..the goal is to win the WS, and with Boston's lineup then and now, Beckett was more important than Hanley, as awesome as he is..

12 Raf   ~  Jul 16, 2009 8:09 am

Can we really compete for the next 5 years with the Sox (and anyone else) with this philosophy?

Yes they can. It depends on the moves they make. The problem with the Yanks of the 80s wasn't that they didn't have help on the farm, it was that they made a series of bad moves.

13 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 16, 2009 8:17 am

[11] Maybe. I'm not sure how you compare the impact of the BEST SS in MLB to a very, very good pitcher (but not one of the top 5). Of course, you can't compare salaries, and Hanley has a longer future then Beckett. Actually, I think Lowell was the desider. His contract was a dump, and some thought he was all done. If Lowell turned out to be a dog, I'm not sure how things turn out. Lowell has been an important cog in the RS wheel.

If the Sox don't make that trade, Becket and Lowell money gets Santana or CC. Santana and Hanley vs. Beckett and Lowell?

But you are right that for the Sox, that trade helped 'win now'. However, the Sox have gone through SS's like toilet paper.

The Yankees have been in Win-Now-Or-Else mode for since 2004? Since 2001? Since when? It's not really working. As important and valuable as big name/impact FAs are, can we remember that the dynasty was built on the back of our youth? Kids. Cheap kids. Kids named Jeter and Posada and Williams and Pettitte and a scrawney almost traded kid named Rivera.

We need Thelarmadomus here. Is there a dynasty without Mo? Bernie and Po weren't the next great things. They could have easily been traded for a toothless vet. Is there a dynasty without Po and Bernie?

Is AJax the next Bernie? Is Montero the next (or better then) Po?

If we get Halliday, we know EXACTLY what we are getting.... IF he plays up to his averages..... IF he doesn't blow out his arm.

Does anyone really know what we have in Joba, Montero, AJax and Betences (what PeteAbe thinks is a 'reasonable' package)?

Is that the next dynasty?

14 flycaster   ~  Jul 16, 2009 8:53 am

Great debate on the Halliday issue. You guys have hit all the salient points, and doesn't this demonstrate how difficult the job of GM can be? There are so many similarities to the Sox Beckett (LOVE the Grinch nickname!) - Lowell deal. To me though a principal difference, and the thing that ultimately brings me to the "no" camp is that Beckett was 27/28 with 5 years of prime ahead of him, while Doc is 33 with ? ahead of him. If he quickly regresses to a merely good pitcher, it will be a horrible deal.

15 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 16, 2009 9:05 am

[10] Diane, check that UZR rating on Swisher. Perception is not reality. He's a solid right fielder.

As for Halladay. I simply do not trade the farm for a pitcher his age who has already been on the DL once this season. It's too large of a gamble, not just on Halladay, but on the rest of the team staying healthy and productive enough to make his acquisition translate into a title.

16 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 16, 2009 9:23 am

A lot of this debate is kind of being dodged with phrases like 'trade the farm' ... what constitutes trading the farm? Is Pena the farm? Is one of HughesJoba? As someone said above, GMing is hard ... and sweeping statements are easy (also useful as smoke screens for the REAL GM!).

I mentioned the Newsday idea of taking on Wells' albatross deal to get Roy for very little (it would happen, without a doubt). I don't like that, either, since 20 million for Wells' about-average CF value is painful and would also hurt both flexibility going forward (even for the Yankees) AND make for truly ugly optics. Evil Empire the Sequel!

But the tougher call is simply this: how much is worth surrendering, not 'I won't surrender anyone' or 'I'll give them dregs' ... this involves, in part, access to info we don['t really have ... just how high are scouts and handlers on various of our prospects? What is their real (current) worth or projection?

And how do we feel about third place in the East in order to keep Joba who is NOT pitching well, or Hughes, who was only so-so in the rotation this year? Basically we are revisiting the Santana debate aren't we?

I still feel Ricciardi will not deal him in the AL East unless NO one else comes to the table, or unless Wells' is picked up. The optics THERE are awful for him.

17 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 16, 2009 9:51 am

Two or more of Hughes, Joba, AJax, Montero = "the farm" in my opinion.

And I have a hard time with "it would happen, without a doubt" on the Wells-contract theory. A very hard time with that. Remember, the Sox had to take Lowell's bad contract in the Beckett deal, and still gave up Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez in the deal.

As for the Santana debate, are you saying you're not convinced it was a good non-deal despite the contributions from Hughes and Melky this year and the signing of Sabathia with what would have been Santana's money?

18 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 16, 2009 9:57 am

A 30-year-old Wells, whose career #s have been haphazard from year to year, and has spent his entire career on turf. Hmmm.

19 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 16, 2009 10:47 am

[14] is right - Beckett, because of his age and his cheap contract, made it worthwhile for the Sox to take on Lowell, and give up Hanley and Sanchez. The Yanks would be killing themselves by adding Wells - at $12.5M in 2010 and then $23M, $21M, $21M, and $21M - to the payroll for the next five years, besides giving up two or three guys they could cost control over the same time period. Not to mention what Diane brings up in [18]. Taking on Wells would go entirely against everything Cashman has been trying to do. Never gonna happen, unless Cashman gets fired. Maybe not even then.

Cliff, I think your grades are pretty spot on, though I would have given the defense a B, maybe even a B+. 3rd in the AL in Defensive Efficiency, but also 3rd in the AL in PADE (park-adjusted def-eff) is superb. Of course, the PADE score may be skewed by the newness of YS2.0, but even if we throw it out, 3rd in DE is great.

20 Raf   ~  Jul 16, 2009 10:57 am

The Yankees have been in Win-Now-Or-Else mode for since 2004? Since 2001? Since when?

1975? Had to be sometime during the beginning of the Steinbrenner era.

21 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 16, 2009 11:55 am

[19] I certainly don't want Vernon Wells, but I still say I don't think Cashman has any kind of cohesive plan.

22 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 16, 2009 12:13 pm

1975 sounds right. That's when they traded Murcer because he couldn't hit in Shea and they couldn't wait a year to move back into Yankee Stadium. Then again, that all worked out quite well for the Yankees, yielding a 30/30 season from Bobby Bonds then Rivers and Figueroa and a pair of championships. When the win-now thing went away during the Boss's brief early '90s suspension, that's when Gene Michael was able to build the '90s dynasty. As my mother always told me, patience is a virtue. That applies to baseball in numerous ways.

23 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 16, 2009 12:24 pm

Some food for thought when considering any trade involving Monstero, Keith Law went to the AA All Star game to check out the players involved. Here's what he had to say about the Jesus:

Part I: “Montero showed big power in batting practice with a tightly wound swing that he unleashes on the ball with good bat speed, and he’s got a great idea of the strike zone for any hitter, much less one as young as he is. His arm is fine behind the plate, but he’s big and slow for a catcher, and it is optimistic to think he’ll stay there long-term. Fortunately, that bat will play anywhere.”

Part II: “I wrote about Montero on Sunday, but after looking over his batting practice video, I noticed that he glides pretty severely during his swing, so he’s hitting off his front foot by the time he makes contact. I don’t think it means anything at this point — he’s so strong that he’s hitting for power despite it — but it’s something to keep in mind if his power production down the line is a little less than expected. For what it’s worth, the comparison that came to mind as I watched the video frame by frame was Frank Thomas, who hit 521 home runs with his weight on his front foot.”

To echo what I thought when I first read Petey's trade "analysis" piece yesterday, yeah, DH's are a dime-a-dozen, but a real impact bat at DH (Thomas, Edgar, Ortiz) is still very special and you'd be kicking yourself for a long time if you gave one up.

24 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 16, 2009 12:55 pm

Cliff, 2 of the above sounds about right for too much.

NO one wants Wells' contract, that's the POINT. It is an obscene, Blue Jay destroying deal. It is so far beyond Lowell's there is no real analogy. To get the Jays out from under that over next 5 1/2 years would - I remain convinced - get anyone the deal for ONE major leaguer and 2 lesser minor leaguers.

But I am not arguing for doing it, as my post (I thought) made clear. Only quoting someone who said to do it. I think (as I said) that even the Yankees lose a ton of flexibility with 20 million a year added to Arod/CC/Teix/&co (even if Jeter gets less soon). It is pointless to discuss if we LIKE Vernon ... no one does at that money, Diane. Next to no one does at all these days. Taking him is a way of shoveling cash at Toronto, dodging league rules about that! He becomes the heavy rock tied to Doc's neck, or something.

If Phillies or St Louis pay the farm for Doc, are they stupid? Not sure, really. Is the name of the game to have a 'competitive ballclub' which we have had for all these non-WS years, or is it to push for a championship? I'm among those who do NOT regard the last years as failures, I like having meaningful games to play in autumn, and I regard the playoffs as a close-to-random crapshoot among eight (well, usually 4-5) good teams. But others here, and in Yankeeland have differed - as we all know - claiming the team is a failure, A Rod is a loser, Torre became a bum, because they haven't won it all in a bit.

Wherever he goes this month, if he goes, Halladay is the biggest difference-maker of the year.

25 Raf   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:08 pm

When the win-now thing went away during the Boss’s brief early ’90s suspension

Did it really go away, though? Even though the team crashed and burned in 90, they were still active on the FA market the offseason prior, retaining their players and bringing in Pascual Perez. They traded for Tim Leary. Bucky Dent was fired early in the season. Winfield was traded, but I don't think that was a "rebuild" type trade. They gave younger guys playing time (Kevin Maas, Deion Sanders, Bam Bam Meulens), but the bulk of playing time went veterans

1991 Tim Leary and Mike Witt was re-signed, Scott Sanderson, Steve Farr & Steve Howe were bought in. Pat Kelly & Bernie were worked into the lineup. Same thing, the bulk of playing time went to veterans

1992 Danny Tartabull and Mike Gallego were bought in. Steve Sax was traded to the White Sox, making way for Pat Kelly @ 2b. Bernie was eventually worked into the lineup, as crowded as it was with Roberto Kelly, Mell Hall, Jesse Barfield and Danny Tartabull. Stump Merril canned after 1-1/2 years as manager. Once again, the bulk of playing time went to veterans.

I remember they were hot after Maddux in the 92 offseason, I remember they were interested in Bonds, but he named some ridiculous price to play in NY (which to me meant he wasn't interested). I don't remember if they showed any interest in Cone, but he eventually signed with the Royals (I remember a $9m bonus being offered).

1993 had O'Neill, Jim Abbott, Wade Boggs, Jimmy Key, Spike Owen acquired via trade & free agency. That was the year Steinbrenner returned.

There may have been a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes, that obviously I'm not privy to, but it seemed that the MO was similar; upgrade via trade & FA. Sometimes it works, sometimes it didn't.

Will see what else I can find during my lunch hour.

26 Rich   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:32 pm

[12] The problem with the Yanks of the 80s wasn’t that they didn’t have help on the farm, it was that they made a series of bad moves.

You continue to make the same point, which doesn't comport with the events as they transpired in the '80s.

During a decade in which MLB owners engaged in collusion, which forced even a free spending owner like George to forbear on making an offer to Jack Morris as a FA at a time when he might have put the Yankees over the top, and even after that period of collusion, when Mark Langston turned down the Yankees because he didn't want to play in NY, the most viable option was to develop a farm system to supply a sufficient number of quality pitchers that would have enabled them to have the best chance to win championships because quality free agents options were so limited and because as a consequence of collusion, salaries were held down, which reduced the number of top tier pitchers that small revenue teams needed to trade in order to contain their budgets.

The primary source of the Yankees' pitching deficit was that there were very few quality mLs being produced, in part because they only executed two first round draft picks from 1980-89.

Granted, they didn't get nearly enough back when they traded the few good prospects they developed like McGee, DeShaies, and McGriff (they didn't draft Drabek or Buhner) but if George had prioritized mL development, even if he didn't want to keep his young players, he would have had many more chips to trade, thereby increasing the chances that some of the trades would have yielded a greater return, but more importantly, it would have also increased the chances that some prospects would have been able to succeed on the truncated timetable that was required in order to satisfy George's win now attitude, the way Mattingly did.

Consequently, contrary to your claim, they didn't have very much help on the farm, which caused them to make trades with very little leverage, and the not unforeseeable result was that many of them were bad. If they had more help on the farm, and if the economics of the '80s would have been different, their decision making calculus would have likely been formed under a very different set of assumptions.

27 Rich   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:36 pm

[23] Some food for thought when considering any trade involving Monstero, Keith Law went to the AA All Star game to check out the players involved. Here’s what he had to say about the Jesus:

Law is wrong a lot, but trading Montero for a 32 year old pitcher (as opposed to say, a 25 year old Hanley Ramirez) might be the one of the most idiotic things this franchise has ever done.

I still think Montero will be a catcher.

28 monkeypants   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:45 pm


Alex or Cliff or someone, my last two comments appear to have disappeared after I hit "submit."

Maybe that's for the best?

29 monkeypants   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:45 pm

[27] I still think Montero will be a catcher.

I agree with you, at for the start of his career. Despite what the naysayers say (which would be, presumably, "nay"), the Yankees have an enormous interest in keeping him at C. If he shows even minimal competence at the position (i.e., PIazza quality), they'll leave him back there, at least for the time being.

30 monkeypants   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:46 pm


Aha, I found the problem--I left a tag open.

31 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:46 pm

I certainly don't want Wells contract, but if we HAVE to give up something, money is our strength. When looking at dealing our kids, you have to look at their possible future worth. Since we are in a depression, and the kids are here to a few years away, lets use 2007 dollars.

.... Ted Lilly, a #3/#4 was looking for $10m/yr.
So in comparison, what's Phil worth?
So in comparison, what's Joba worth?

.... A decent hitting OFer costs what? $10m? Well above average? $14m? A stud, about $16-$20m? (think Jason Bay)
So in comparison, what's AJax worth?

... An .850 - .900 OPS guy at any position....$15m?
So in comparison, what's Montero worth?

Again, this is all if,if,if,if... but... just sayin'.
So if taking on Well's contract saves 2 of these guys, it's not as expensive as one might think. Plus with Wells, you can get some value by trading Brett/Melky.

Like Hoss, I'm not sating I'm for it, just examining the ramifications.

32 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 16, 2009 1:51 pm


Shoot, not sure why that happened. Let us know if the problem continues...

Sorry about that.

33 Rich   ~  Jul 16, 2009 2:09 pm

I find that if I put in too many links, my post disappears, but maybe I had left a tag open and was unaware of it.

34 monkeypants   ~  Jul 16, 2009 2:28 pm

[32] No problem. I'm pretty sure I messed up an html tag.

35 Raf   ~  Jul 16, 2009 2:52 pm

During a decade in which MLB owners engaged in collusion, which forced even a free spending owner like George to forbear on making an offer to Jack Morris as a FA at a time when he might have put the Yankees over the top, and even after that period of collusion, when Mark Langston turned down the Yankees because he didn’t want to play in NY

FA is but one way to acquire a player, and collusion didn't stop Steinbrenner from acquiring Jack Clark. And even if Langston didn't want to come to NY, they still wound up with Pascual Perez joining Hawkins and LaPoint who were acquired the offseason prior. Tim Leary was brought in as well.

the most viable option was to develop a farm system to supply a sufficient number of quality pitchers that would have enabled them to have the best chance to win championships because quality free agents options were so limited

Looking at the Yankees pitching staffs from 89 on it's not unreasonable to say that a majority of the arms came from outside the organization either through FA or trade.

36 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 16, 2009 8:32 pm

Right. Because the farm system was utterly barren by '89. There were no kids to call up.

37 Raf   ~  Jul 16, 2009 10:43 pm

Right. Because the farm system was utterly barren by ‘89. There were no kids to call up.

Dave Eiland, Kevin Mmahat, Al Leiter among others got the call.

FWIW, I was including the dynasty years as well.

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