Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moose Call

After 18 years Mike Mussina decides to hang-up the spikes and call it a career. Over the past eight years I don't think there has been a more consistent pitcher in the Yankees rotation. He took the ball every 5 days and went out there with one job in mind and that was to get the team a win. And when he didn't, there weren't excuses. He took accountability. You don't find that in a lot of players today. You also don't find too many players who know when to leave or that are willing to walk away from millions of dollars. Mike Mussina knows the Yankees would have surely taken him back and paid him millions, but he wanted to call it day and spend time with his family. With 300 wins on the horizon he didn't want to come back to chase it. To him it didn't make sense to ride out 3 more years and possibly perform at standards he's not use to just to obtain a number. He would rather go out on top with a 20 win season. I'm sorry the Yankees couldn't get a ring during his tenure in the Bronx. He's one of the good guys of baseball and surely deserves one. He's a class act.

So let the debate begin. Is Mussina a hall of famer? I think so. Let's look at his career numbers:

270 Wins to only 153 loses, that's a winning percentage of .638. A career 3.68 ERA, 5 time all-star, finished in the top 5 for Cy Young voting 6 times, and finished 6th place 3 more times. So half of his career he was one of the best 6 pitchers in the AL.

He averaged 17 wins, 225+ innings pitched, 178 Ks, with a 1.192 WHIP. He has won 7 gold gloves. He recorded double digit win totals in all but his first season. He had only 2 losing seasons, his first year when he went 4-5 and his last year with Baltimore in 2000 when he went 11-15. His career totals are even more impressive when you consider he spent all 18 years in the toughest division in baseball, the AL East.

For me there is no question Mike Mussina should be in Cooperstown in 5 years.

Thank you Mike Mussina.


The Scooter said...

Top of the line pitcher. Thanks for some great memories. AS for the Hall of Fame, my heart says YES, my head says VERY borderline.

Definitely not a first ballot, but I think if the voters realize that he pitched most of his career during the Steroid era, he gets in eventually.

Once more for old time's sake:


Crash said...

Scooter it's interesting that you think he's very borderline. If Mussina signed a three year deal to chase 300, and eventually got it, he wouldn't be borderline. Starting pitchers usually get a decision in about 26 of their 30+ starts. Let's say, hypothetically, Mussina signed a three deal and goes 10-16 with an ERA closer to 5.00 than 3.00, each year. He gets his 300 wins, but it is exactly what Mussina didn't want to have happen. He didn't want to comeback and have a couple of down years in the twilight of his career. So that type of performance is the difference between holding him out and getting him into Cooperstown?

When I initially think of Mussina's career, I didn't think of him as HOF. But when I was going through his number's last night, I started to realize how good this guy was over his entire career. Plus he had a couple of huge performances in the post season. How can you not think of him coming out of the bullpen, relieving Roger Clemens, in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox. On 2 days rest he pitches 3 shut out innings in a game the Yankees come back to win 6-5 (thank you Aaron Boone). I didn't know about his performance for Baltimore in the 1997 ALCS until this morning, I went back and looked it up. He pitched 15 innings, struck out 25 (let that sink in for a minute) giving up only 1 ER.

Anyway, I think it's an interesting discussion that we could have for the next five years.

The Scooter said...

I tend to agree with everything you said, Crash. I think Moose is better than some pitchers already in the Hall (Don Sutton?), but the fact that Bert (Be Home) Blyleven isn't in yet hurts him.

That 300 number seems to still be magic with the voters.

The Scooter said...

Some buzz out there that the Yankees are talking about David DeJesus with the Royals now that they have acquired Coco Crisp.

DeJesus would certainly be an upgrade over Melky or Gardner in CF and I like him more than Mike Cameron. Not to mention he comes a lot cheaper (I think he's signed for about 2.5 per, but I'm not sure when his contract is up.

DeJesus' numbers last year:

.307 12 hr and 73 RBI with an on base of .366

I think it's save to assume that his OBP and his HR total would increase while playing in Yankee Stadium.

He is also an above average outfielder.

I like it, although I would in no way include Cano in the trade (which is who the Royals are apparently interested in).

Crash said...

I think the DeJesus rumor has some legs and is a real possibility. I don't think the Yankees would have to give up a ton to get him. He's an above average fielder, he's under contract for at least the next 2 years, team option for 2011.

Offensively if he produces like last year: .307, 12, 73 that's an upgrade over what you're getting from Melky and/or Gardner. He won't steal bases like Gardner but he should be in double digits.

Seems like a good fit, as long as the asking price isn't huge.

old professor said...

For those of you claiming to want DeJesus, if as Crash says he is an average fielder with some (not a lot of pop) what do the Yankees gain? In addition last year, he played in left field most of the time.

The Yankees have lost a lot of run production and home runs with the departure of Giambi and soon to be departed Abreu. They need to find ways to make up for that production. DeJesus is not the answer and neither is Gardner.

Reports are the Yankees have sent word to Sabathia they will not leave the offer on the table for an infinite amount of time; they would like and answer regarding the offer.

And in some very relevent news, control of the team has been made official and approved by MLB. Hal Steinbrenner is in control.

old professor said...

Slight update on the hot stove issues. Apparently a four year deal for Burnett is not going to get it done (he wants five years). And Boras has told the Yankees they are not even close with what they have floated for Lowe. Typical Boras wanting all of his free agents to be overpriced.

The Scooter said...

Prof, What do the Yankees gain with DeJesus? Perhaps you didn't see his numbers for last year. They gain a .300 hitter in Center Field. which is something they haven't had since Bernie. I think we learned from their championship stretch that they do not need an All-Star at every position.

Bounce back years from A-Rod and Cano HAVE to be expected. A healthy Damon and Matsui will also provide better offense from last year. And lets remember, if they get a couple of the pitchers that they are bidding for, they wont have to score 7 runs per game next year to win.

Hold the line on Burnett, his demands will come down.

Leave well enough alone with Lowe, his last year in the American League he pitched to an ERA over 5.00. His "re-invention" if you will, is a product of him moving over to the National League. Let the Mets have him.

Crash said...

First, don't make it sound like DeJesus spent all of his time in LF. It was essentially an equal split between LF and CF (71 & 68). Secondly, DeJesus is a big upgrade offensively and defensively over Melky. Last night the Hot Stove guys were comparing Gardner to Buba Crosby. I don't see that, but you would still have an upgrade in offense with DeJesus.

As for overall offensive success, I think a lot hinges on Posada's ability to catch everyday. If he can't then the rotation in the OF and DH begin, and no one will be happy or successful with that.

old professor said...

Crash, regarding Posada, if the Yankees wait until Spring Training to make a decision about his ability to catch, it will be too late. If they get to Spring training and he can't catch the only viable alternative will be Molina and we got a real good idea how that worked last season; in addition, if they wait until Spring and need to make a trade, they will be forced to overpay for whomever they bring in. It may not be a stretch to talk with Texas and trade for Scooter's boy Saltiamachia.[or however you spell his last name].

I do agree with your assessment of the comment comparing Gardner to Crosby. Gardner has a higher upside. (Side note - the other day, Bernie Williams made a statement that he still believes he can play and would find it amazing to be given the opportunity to play in the new stadium - after all he is only 40).

Another issue to keep in mind, there is no guarantee that any of the three pitchers they have targeted in free agency will sign with them. Lowe has indicated a desire to pitch with Boston, Sabathia (as we know) has indicated a desire to pitch in the National League and it is rumored he is waiting for the offer from the Dodgers before making a decision and Burnett has a preference to stay in Toronto or pitch in Baltimore.

Crash said...

I'm glad to see the initial reports that the Yankees are not willing to offer Burnett a 5 year deal. That's 2 years too long, I would offer 3 with option on 4 and that's it. Make it big money but not long term. If Boston or any other team wants to offer 5 years they can have him.

Personally I think Burnett is going to paint himself into a corner. Talk is the Red Sox were only flirting with him to drive the price up on the Yanks. If the Yanks aren't in discussions because of length and the Sox aren't serious, the price just came way down.

Middle Relief said...

I know I'm a little late on comments here -

Is Moose a HOFer? - yes, but not in 5 years, not a first ballot type guy.

When I think first ballot, I think of someone so dominant that it can't be denied.

Moose's election, as well as the two guys out of Houston (Bagwell and Biggio - I know misspelled) - are more rewards for consistency and professionalism.

His #s can't be denied, and considering he did it his entire career in the AL East - that says something.

He's always been a top 10 type pitcher, but don't know if he's ever been the top pitcher.

So, will the Hall call - yes, eventually.

Middle Relief said...

So with Moose out, what does this imply for the rotation?

Wang obvious. Any progress on CC?

Is Hughes still a given? What about Kennedy?

Or those two newer guys we saw at the end of last season - Sanchez or Aceves?

I don't know if I want them to go after Burnett.

old professor said...

Cashman has apparently stated the Yankees will not submit a contract offere to Burnett if the starting point is for five years before discussions on money. Toronto apparently has indicated a willingness to offer a five year contract. Boston is pursuing the pitcher from Japan and have given him a contract offer.

The Sox would apparear to have a very solid rotation in place without Burnett.

Crash said...

So all the latest rantings by the media are focusing on the Yankees and the "what if" they can't/don't sign Sabathia, Burnett, or Lowe. All reports having the Angels making a Santana-like offer. If that's the case Sabathia won't sign with NY, unless they counter with something about $10-$20MM more. In my opinion, he's not worth that amount, let him stay in CA.

There's a ton of speculation out there on the "what if's". I could see the Yankees signing one or more of the "B" level free agent targets, maybe like a Ben Sheets, Jon Garland, or even part 2 of the Pavano experiment (because we just couldn't get enough of him the first time). Plus signing Pettitte. If they only sign 1 + Pettitte then that would mean leaning on Hughes to fill in the #5 spot. I don't think they want to put Hughes back in the rotation just yet so they may try to trade for someone not named Jake Peavy. No idea who that would be.

If they don't land CC, then I think it's a given they would put that money into a serious run at Teixeira.

Any thoughts on this one?

old professor said...

Crash, it now appears as if Andy Pettitte could be headed to the LA Dodgers as a free agent. He apparently does not like the concept of - wait and see if we sign these other guys and then we will talk. He enjoyed pitching under Joe Torre and would fill a needed hole in the Dodgers rotation.

The Yankees should really forget about Sabathia. While in the long run he may take their money and come to NY, do you really want a guy on your staff whose heart is somewhere else? (Remember Ed Whitson - okay probably not - but he did not want to play in NY, was a small town guy, took the Yankees money and was eventually run out of town. I forgot until I read a recent article, things got so bad for Whitson in NY the team would only pitch him on the road.

As for Pavano, he has the talent, he may be healthy, but he may be another one who really doesn't want to play in NY. He was recently quoted as saying his time in NY was really fatiguing and wore on him. How the hell could he be fatigued - he never pitched.

Don't be surprised if the Yankees don't land any of the list A, B, or C free agent pitchers.

The Scooter said...

Please....The Yankees will throw another $15 mil at Sabathia and he'll sign. Who cares what the dollar figure is? They will be printing money in the new ballpark.

I really don't think you could equate CC with Ed Whitson, Prof. That's a little bit of a stretch. And besides I have not yet heard out of Sabathia's mouth that he doesn't want to pitch in NY. His agent has done a great job of positioning him in the market place. While an extra $15 mil or so might not mean a lot to CC, it means a hell of a lot to the agent in regards to his overall commission. He will have CC sign the biggest deal...and the biggest deal will come from the Bronx. End of story.

Well, I want to wish all you guys a HAPPY THANKSGIVING. It's great having this place to come to every day to talk sports with a few guys who really know what they are talking about (as well as 1 or 2 who have no clue, but 57 hasn't been here in a while anyway).

Thanks for taking the time to keep this place up and running, Mid.

Crash said...

Scooter & Mid hope you both have a nice Thanksgiving.

Crash said...

Some rumors swirling around whether the Yankees will increase their offer to CC because of an impending possible offer from the Angels. In my opinion, I would not. I would go after other options and allocate those funds for a Teixeira-like player.

Paying for big money pitchers hasn't worked out too well in the past. Look at Kevin Brown, Mike Hampton, and Barry Zito. All of them got big money deals, all over $100MM, and all did not live up to the contract. Brown and Hampton had huge injury problems and Zito was put in the bullpen at one point last season and started the season 0-10 (I think). Zito's record since signing that deal is 21-30 with a 4.83 ERA, and he hasn't reached 200 IP in either season. Keep in mind those stats are the NL West where pitchers go to boost their career. The only other pitcher to receive a contract >$100MM...Johan Santana and it's too early to call that deal great or bust.

The Scooter said...

Crash, we can't get squeamish now that all of a sudden we hear the Angels may put in a bid on CC. All we have said for the last 2 years is that the Yankees need a stud at the top of the rotation and Sabathia is the guy. Stop with the Kevin Brown talk because you are starting to sound like our distinguished Prof.

Crash said...

I just heard that Plaxico Buress accidentally shot himself in a nightclub last night. This guy has been nothing but trouble off the field. The Giants need to cut him. He will do nothing but bring the team down. The Giants don't need him, they have proven that all year. He'll probably miss the rest of the regular season now anyway. I hope the commissioner steps in and suspends him for conduct.

old professor said...

Crash, regarding Burress, he will turn himself into authorities today and be charged with criminal possession of a weapon. (He plans to plead not guilty). The guy is a thug and always has been. I am surprised the Giants and specifically Coughlin have put up with him this long. The league could also step in and suspend him for a period of time. Of greater concern is what charges Antonio Pierce could face because he tried hiding the gun after the accident.

The Giants have proven they can win without Burress. Time to move on and let the baggage go. (He makes TO look like a choir boy).

Crash said...

It looks like the Giants will place Buress on the non-playing injury list which makes him done for the year. I would be very surprised if he's back next year.

On to baseball, we could actually see some significant movement next week with the start of the winter meetings.

Crash said...

I can't understand why the Yankees did not offer arbitration to Abreu and/or Pettitte. They essentially lose 4 draft picks as both were type A players.

Cashman says it was about financial control. What a load of garbage. Cashman is all about rebuilding the farm, this move completely contradicts that philosophy.

old professor said...

Crash, the moves not made regarding arbitration is within the financial picture the yankees want. Had they offered arbitration and the players had accepted, the starting point for salary would have been at last year's rate. Pettitte would have started the process for a salary at $16m. An arbitrator would have ordered more.

Abreu would have gone the same route. I would have liked the Yankees getting draft picks, but they may believe the farm system is sound right now. If they land two of the free agent pitchers they are looking for, they won't need to draft arms in the very near future. Yes it is a calculated risk for the team.

I agree with your earlier assessment regarding Jon Garland. He is a good solid pitcher. Not the number one the Yankees are looking for, but would be an upgrade over say an Andy Pettitte.

As for the future of Burress with the Giants, good bye good ridance. He is a punk who has no concept of team only self. The sad fact is as you look at college ball and the players going to the NFL, there are more and more players of this type. They lack any discipline, they need to have their posse with them wherever they go and they have no sense of right or wrong. Oh and many of them have difficulty with the english language.

On the flip side of all of that, there is a very interesting article in ESPN the Magazine regarding NFL players and their need to carry weapons or have bodyguards with them.

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