"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Fine Vintage in Full Peak


Heppy Boitday to our man Mariano Rivera who turns 40 today. There’s no telling how long he’s gunna last but we know he’s in the last phase of his career–he is near the end, right…right?How about if he pitches til he’s 42 and then hangs ‘em up, that works nice numerically.

Last year at 39, Rivera was at the top of his game. We all know he’s the best of his kind we’ll ever see. So here’s to appreciating each and every last appearance the Great Mariano ever makes in a Yankees uniform, ’nuff said.

New York Mets vs. New York Yankees

Heppy Boitday, 42, Heppy Boitday, Mo.

The love is deep. You are the best present a fan could ever wish for. Say word.

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1 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 29, 2009 1:56 pm

... and he shares a birthday with another classic, Mr. Vin Scully (82).

2 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 29, 2009 2:12 pm

Most saves from age 40 onward

(and yes, even though the save wasn't an official stat til '69, B-R.com went back and calculated)

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 29, 2009 3:35 pm

Mo is a God. There is no tellin' how long he will go.

Over at WW, Steve has a 'not new topic', but interesting post:
Yanks Should Move Posada To D.H. In 2010

Actually, there is a lot of good logic for it. Defensive metrics are somewhat inconclusive, especially for a C, but I think we have seen Posada's D greatly decline, right in front of our own eyes.

This matter would obviously effect the Matsui question, and our roster construction, so it is something Cashman must make his own conclusion on.

4 Dimelo   ~  Nov 29, 2009 3:38 pm

[0] Agreed. He is the best present any fan could ever wish for.

5 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 29, 2009 3:45 pm

What more is there to say? All a brother can do is swoon.
And dream. I think Mo was in my dream last night. At any rate, the Yankees were in my dream and I think I felt Mo's presence, though I can't recall his actual physical presence, if that makes any sense. (The dream was basically a deep yearning for baseball and sadness that next season still feels an eternity away.)

Happy birthday, Mo. And thanks for all the fish.

6 monkeypants   ~  Nov 29, 2009 5:53 pm

[3] You still read WW? I gave up on his song and dance two seasons ago.

FWIW (without looking at the article), moving Po to DH is, well, really, really silly if the option at C is Molina/Cervelli/similar. If the team can manage to get a legitimate MLB catcher in the offseason, then maybe we have something to talk about.

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 29, 2009 7:33 pm

[6] We know Posada is way above the 'average' C on offense, but what does he lose on D? I'd like to see some stats, meansured in RUNS as to Po's total contribution.

Plus, while Steve suggested 50 games for Po in 2010, I would up that to 80. In 2011, it might be 50, depending on Cervelli/Romaine/Montero.

One point is with less D time, might Po's O be better?
It could mean not signing a DH and putting that money ($10m?) elsewhere. If we DH internally for the next few years, Holliday's cost seems more reasonable.

It's possible that Po had an 'off' year on D in 2009, but (we all saw that) he was really bad. Worst D for a catcher in MLB. We saw how really bad D hurt Abreu's overall value.

Could Cervelli be a league average hitter (for a C) with above average glove and speed?

Of course, I still give Po the nod, but it may not be as obvious as we think, and having Po be productive over the next 2 years is an issue. I think it's an issue to be examined.

8 Raf   ~  Nov 29, 2009 7:45 pm

I doubt that Cervelli can be a league average hitter

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 29, 2009 8:02 pm

A league average hitter for a Catcher?
Of 45 Cs last year, the middle of the pack (23rd) was Veritek, with a .703 OPS.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 29, 2009 8:11 pm

[8] "Well now they often call me Speedo,
but my real name is Fran-cisco...
Well now they often call me Speedo,
but my real name is Fran-cisco...
And I'm just the kinda fellow's
always takin' pitches down the midd-o..."

(though to be honest, it looked like he got key hits more often than not; but should I trust my lionize? >;)

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 29, 2009 11:25 pm

Greatest. Tribute. Video. Ever.

12 monkeypants   ~  Nov 30, 2009 12:28 am

[7] Could Cervelli be a league average hitter (for a C) with above average glove and speed?

Cervelli MiL: .273/.367/.380/.747
Cervelli ML: .283/.294/.354/.648

Short answer: maybe.

But that's not really the point, because...

It could mean not signing a DH and putting that money ($10m?) elsewhere.

Translation: Instead of having a plus bat at C (Posada) and DH (Matsui or FA), opt for a plus bat at DH (Posada) and hope to not suck at C (Cervelli).

BTW, how much value is there, really, in "above average speed for a catcher" ?

13 monkeypants   ~  Nov 30, 2009 12:56 am

[7] We know Posada is way above the ‘average’ C on offense, but what does he lose on D? I’d like to see some stats, measured in RUNS as to Po’s total contribution.

Who knows how many runs his defense as a whole costs...but let's focus on the biggest complaints (his failure to control the running game and passed balls). I played around with Baseball Prospectus's Runs Expectancy Matrix for 2009 (http://tinyurl.com/yhehwsf), and:

Assume that a runner is one 1B and he steals second, he improves the team's chance of scoring a run by about .26 runs (with no outs), .15 runs (with one outs) or .10 runs (with two outs). I didn't calculate for all of the other permutations, because I am basically lazy. I also have no idea how many times, on average, teams steal in different scenarios (how many outs).

Still, eyeballing the list, I think that it's fair to say a SB costs the defensive team about .20 runs...but let's round up to .25.

However, for every CS in the same circumstances, the offensive team loses .60 runs (0 outs), .43 runs (1 out) or .22 runs (two outs). Again, guestimating, it looks like the defensive team gains about .50 runs for every CS, or maybe somewhat less.

As for PB: these are like SBs, except that runs often score (a runner scores from 3B on a PB; he rarely steals home). I have no idea how much damage a PB does, but would .50 runs be a generous estimate?

So, accepting these rough estimates, last year Posada on defense:

PB: 8 = - 4 R
SB: 80 = -25 R
CS: 31 = +15 R
Total = -14 R on defense.

According to Baseball-Reference, last season Posada created 72 runs on offense (72 RC -- a crude tool, admittedly, but we are dealing in rough estimates).

That looks like a major advantage in runs despite Po's allegedly catastrophic defense.


There is another layer to this analysis, though: we need to consider the level of defense that would replace him. Last year, Jose "Greatest Defensive Cather Ever and Special Burnett Whisperer" Molina:

PB: 3 = -1.5 runs
SB: 23 = -5.75 R
CS: 9 = 4.5 R
Total = -2.75 R, which offsets a good bit of his offensive contribution of 11 RC.

No contest.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 30, 2009 3:23 am

Wow, no love for a "GoodFellas" soundtrack item? Tough crowd tonight...

15 rbj   ~  Nov 30, 2009 9:38 am

"but we know he’s in the last phase of his career–he is near the end, right…right?"

No. Mo's going to pitch forever! Right . . . right?

goes to find dark corner to curl up in and rock back and forth

I'd say 100 - 120 games behind the dish for Posada. I would like to give Cervelli a chance to show what he's got at the ML level before making him the full time catcher. He did show a bit this year, but I'd like to see what he can do once the pitching adjusts to him.

16 sonyahennystutu   ~  Nov 30, 2009 12:10 pm

[13] Interesting analysis. A few other questions it brings to mind, most of them not knowable:

-How many curve/breaking pitches were *not* thrown by our pitchers for fear of a PB? And in turn how much of a reduction in pitching performance (and in turn, W/L) did that create? Thinking AJ especially here.

-While the SB/CS ratio for both our primary catchers is mostly similar, it seems that teams were simply less likely to run on Molina b/c of the perception that he has a better arm. If so, then there's value in that, even if not exactly quantifiable in the same way.

You'd have to look at the % SB attempts in each out situation (and I'm lazy like you so will not do it!), see how many fewer attempts were made on Molina as compared to the % attempts on average, and % attempts on Posada, and apply the same ratio to those attempts that did not occur. My guess is that the reduction in attempts, and the successful SBs, would somewhat if not greatly improve the analysis for Molina. It would obviously still not compensate for his awful bat. But it'd probably be less lopsided.

17 sonyahennystutu   ~  Nov 30, 2009 12:17 pm

Also, following up my own post, how does infield D play, esp SS and 2B, when Molina is catching vs. Posada. If better, can we attribute at least some of that to having to pay somewhat less attention to the runner and the possibility that they will have to cover second on a steal attempt? What value is there in that? Some, to be sure.

Perhaps some similar analysis could be done computing the run value of an IF error with a runner on 1B (and/or 2B). Again, too lazy to do it, but I suspect that we'd find that:

-the IF plays better (when measured in errors) with Molina behind the plate, when you control for outs/runners on base situations

-there is obviously some run count benefit to the fewer errors

-if we can agree to chalk up the better IF play to Molina, then we have to assign at least some of those runs to Molina's benefit.

This is what my gut says, though as we know often times stats don't back up what we swear we can see with our own eyes :)

BTW don't get me wrong, I hate Molina's bat and I want him gone next year for sure. I agree with [15] that I'd like to see Cervelli catch maybe 40-50 games next year and see what he can do.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver