"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 10/26/09

Today’s news is powered by a Waterboys song that always makes me smile . . .

  • Tyler Kepner examines the loooooong season, with a World Series that could end November 5th.
  • Jack Curry writes about the legendary intensity of Andy Pettitte.
  • Mariano Rivera gave Phil Hughes a pep talk.
  • Brian Cashman explains why he went after Sabathia after ’08 rather than Santana after ’07:

Yankees GM Brian Cashman took plenty of criticism following the 2007 season when he stood by while the Mets acquired left-hander Johan Santana from the Twins in a trade for four prospects. Cashman’s reluctance to deal with the Twins looked even worse when the Yankees’ string of 13 consecutive post-season appearances ended in 2008.

However, Cashman had a reason for not pursuing Santana and signing him to the type of lucrative contract—six years and $137.5 million—that the southpaw received from the Mets. That was that Cashman wanted to save money for last winter’s free-agent class. He took his savings and went crazy on the open market, signing left-hander CC Sabathia, right-hander A.J. Burnett, and first baseman Mark Teixeira for a combined $423.5 million. The trio combined for 15.3 WARP1 this season, and the Yankees are one victory away from their first World Series appearance since 2003.

“When we added David Cone from Toronto (during the 1995 season), we were a piece away at the time,” Cashman told the New York Daily News‘ John Harper. “But when Santana became available, in my opinion we weren’t a piece away yet. So I told ownership, ‘Listen, six months really isn’t a long time to wait, though it turned out to be a long time for me, to be honest, and if we can have the patience and discipline, I can’t guarantee you we’ll be able to get Sabathia, but think about what our organization will look like if we can add him and keep these other assets.'”

  • Toby Harrah turns 61 today.  Harrah joined the Yanks in 1984.  Prior to that, his career line was .267/.363/.401 in 1,850 games.  For the Yanks: 88 games . . . .217/.331/.296.  He was dealt to Texas the next year.
  • On this date in 1950, the Baseball Writers Association of America selected New York Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto as the American League MVP. He posted a .324 batting average with 200 hits and 125 runs, driving in 66 runs. Rizzuto, who received 16 of 23 first-place votes, easily outpointed runner-ups Billy Goodman of the Boston Red Sox and teammate Yogi Berra.
  • On this date in 1977, Sparky Lyle of the Yankees became the first American League reliever to win the Cy Young Award. Lyle led the league with 72 appearances, posting a 13-5 record with 26 saves and a 2.17 ERA.
  • On this date in 2000, in Game Five at Shea Stadium, the Yankees win their third consecutive World Series, the fourth title in five years and record 26th World championship, by defeating the Mets, 4 – 2. Luis Sojo’s ninth inning two-out, tie-breaking single off starter Al Leiter is the decisive hit. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter becomes the first player to win the All-Star Game MVP and the Series MVP honors in the same season. Joe Torre becomes only the fifth manager to win four WS championships, joining Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel (7), Connie Mack (5) and Walter Alston (4).

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2009 10:43 am

I don't know if this has been asked, but where was Cash during the trophy presentation last night?

King Mike gets to stand up there with his Yankee windbreaker he just dropped $125 on at the clubhouse store (I hate Rudy, but at least he's been wearing the same cap for 8 years) but theres no Cashman? Really?

2 sonyahennystutu   ~  Oct 26, 2009 10:50 am

How many more times is Cash going to have to explain why he didn't trade for Santana?

Anyway, thrilled to pieces on the whole.

A few Q's:

-Are the bats ex A-Rod really slumping (see: BA w/RISP), or is it that the opposition pitching is that much better in the PS?

-Is Girardi going to throw Hughes into the cauldron in the WS? He didn't last night.

-Is Girardi going to have AJ throw to Posada in Philly? If not, that means both Po and Godzilla out of the lineup in the same game? Yikes.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 26, 2009 10:59 am

Cashman played the Santana trade and this off season's free agency perfectly. The reasons might be news to the more casual fan, but I think we covered that very well here during and after all the trade rumors.

[2] I think the bats are slumping because the Angels don't really have a great staff. What I think they did well, however, is execute their game plans by exploiting the weaknesses of some of the Yankee hitters. Hopefully, the Phillies wont be as successful.

As for AJ, I have a sneaking suspicion that he may only pitch game 2 because I am not sure if the Yankees will want to use him and Andy on 3 days rest. I wouldn't be shocked to see Gaudin pitch game 5.

4 Rich   ~  Oct 26, 2009 11:00 am

[2] -Is Girardi going to throw Hughes into the cauldron in the WS? He didn’t last night.

He has no choice. Hughes will be OK.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Oct 26, 2009 11:06 am

[3] Agreed, it is kinda funny how right around the time we stopped hearing about "the baseball people" down in Tampa every off-season the "WTF?!" signings and trades stopped.

Cash knows what he's doing, he's made moves that haven't worked out just like every other GM, but theres a difference between spending a ton...and spending it wisely. More often than not when he has been allowed to make the moves he thinks are best, free of meddling from the executive branch (Randy I'm looking in your direction) he's done the right thing.

6 BuckFoston   ~  Oct 26, 2009 11:09 am

Cash may not be letting on, but there were durability worries with Santana. CC is very durable, as we can all see. He may have been gun shy on taking a risk on Santan after the Pavano fiasco.

7 rbj   ~  Oct 26, 2009 11:15 am

[2] AJ, in game 2 will be pitching in NY, then the rotation for Philadelphia will probably be Andy, CC, ?Gaudin?, then back to NY for AJ and, if game 7 is necessary, CC + all hands on deck.

So we'll only lose Posada with AJ, Godzilla will still be around.

8 Rich   ~  Oct 26, 2009 11:33 am

I would pair Po with AJ.

9 Shaun P.   ~  Oct 26, 2009 12:02 pm

[8] I'm not sure; maybe. But its hard to reason it out right now; I'm not in "think about the Phillies" mode - I'm still in "the Yanks are in the World Serious!" mode.

10 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 26, 2009 12:27 pm

[3] Gotta agree. Not to be a downer, but if we eliminate our opponents running mistakes and errors on really easy plays, it is 2 very tight series.

We simply have not hit. ARod and CC have singlehandedly saved our bacon. We were picked to Win because everyone felt we would bludgeon our opponents... which we haven't. We got the HRs (many were solo jobs) but have not hit as a team except in one inning (6 runs in a loss).

You are always going to see good pitching in the PS, but as William points out, the Angel's pitching wasn't great... yet our bats were still. On paper, we beat the Phils... but if you go based on their and our PS so far, they will kill us.

Check it out: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/batting?team=nyy&cat=OPS&season=2009&split=0&seasonType=3&type=reg
2 guys doing well
1 guy about average
6 guys in the toilet

THAT lineup won't beat Philly.
These 6 huys better start hitting

11 rbj   ~  Oct 26, 2009 12:43 pm

[10] "We were picked to Win because everyone felt we would bludgeon our opponents… which we haven’t"

you forgot one important word: YET

12 Paul   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:03 pm

If the Yankees pull this off, is there any question that Cashman and Girardi are together for the next decade? They're both plenty young and both plenty smart.

13 Paul   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:04 pm

[5] Sorry, but the money given to Burnett hit WTF level. Still, two out of three ain't bad. And if they don't sign Burnett, maybe the Sox don't think Boras is bluffing?

14 seamus   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:11 pm

[13] the terms of the AJ signing were bad, but I didn't think the signing itself was bad. He definitely was an improvement on our existing top 5 starters. What is amazing is what we did this year sans Wang.

15 51cq24   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:29 pm

[12] you're not bum rush!! sorry for thinking you were.

i just drove to trader joe's and heard sweeney murti talking about the rotation. while most of what he was saying was stupid (for example, he said andy had 1 bad start on 3 days' rest in the postseason and failed to mention the other 4 starts that i cited in the last thread, which were mostly great), he did mention that aj thinks that short rest helps him because it helps his control. usually i tend to think that if aj thinks something helps him, it probably will, which is why i won't be too pissed if molina continues to catch him. so, i think burnett on short rest is a good move. the only question then is whether andy on short rest is better than gaudin on regular rest. the answer is pretty obvious to me. and anyway, if andy doesn't have it, you go to gaudin quickly.

16 Paul   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:43 pm

[14] With pitchers, the terms are always the sticking point. You don't sign him if you aren't absolutely sure. CC was as close to a sure thing as you can get. Burnett wasn't. And the real problem is he wasn't worth his contract even with staying healthy the whole year. If he misses a major part of a season, the contract is still that much worse.

Meanwhile, between Hughes and Joba and even Aceves they could have found a way through the season or even brought in Pedro when Wang went down. But agreed on how they didn't miss a beat without Wang.

[15] I have no idea what you're talking about. But I do love TJ's.

17 RIYank   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:50 pm

Diane, or Cliff, or someone with definite knowledge, can one of you explain something that monkeypants brought up in an earlier thread?
When OPS+ is calculated, is the denominator for SLG and OBP, the "league average", the average for MLB or for the specific league (AL or NL)?

The question is whether the Phils' near-avg OPS+ is near-avg just for the NL, or for the whole of MLB.


18 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:51 pm

The AJ signing has worked out pretty well in year one. I'd make the same deal on the same terms in a second. An ERA+ of 110 in 200 innings (with a high percentage of quality starts) is very valuable. I'd gladly sign up for that over the next 4 years. If he stays healthy, I am confident AJ can do that.

19 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 26, 2009 1:58 pm

[17] It's neither...it is a park adjusted figure that is unique for every team.

20 Paul   ~  Oct 26, 2009 2:01 pm

Fangraphs says Burnett was worth 14 mil. So he's was overpaid even as he was healthy. And the chances of him staying healthy all five years are slim to none.

21 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Oct 26, 2009 2:04 pm

The AJ terms were market terms. Cash did not make the market, he nudged just above it to land him. We can (and have) gone all over the place on the signing back then, but in terms of Cash's plan to have money for pieces, we're in the WS with Wang gone all year, and AJ was a big component. Could have pocketed the money, yes, and thrown Hughes/Joba/whomever out there and hoped, but as fans, did we want it pocketed? Was there a better starter to spend it on? Maybe, just maybe, but it worked. Give the GM his props already, as william says. Let Cash kvell just a bit today.

22 RIYank   ~  Oct 26, 2009 4:43 pm

[19] Indeed, but there is very specifically a "league average" component. It's the divisor or denominator of the fractions that get added together. I'm wondering whether that "league average" is MLB or AL/NL.

23 Rich   ~  Oct 26, 2009 4:43 pm

[18] If he stays healthy, I am confident AJ can do that.

Health is what makes the length of the contract the risk that it is.

24 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 26, 2009 10:14 pm

[22] The "league average" is the average performance in a particular team's schedule multiplied by park factors. It wouldn't make sense to take a cookie cutter average and then multiply that by one park factor because it would completely ignore context.

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