Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Wait for 28, Texas Eliminates Yankees in ALCS.

The Yankees will have to wait at least another season in their pursuit of their 28th World Championship as the Rangers eliminated the Yankees last night in game 6 of the ALCS to advance to their first World Series in franchise history.

This ALCS was very frustrating this year. I thought the Yankees would walk right through Texas on their way to the World Series. Especially after they disposed of the Twins with such ease. But it was Texas that dominated the Yankees in every facet of the series. It wasn't that Texas just dominated the Yankees, it was coupled with the Yankees just not showing up. They seemed disinterested throughout the entire series, lacked a sense of urgency, and at times even though they were saying the right thing they came across as arrogant. Maybe they were just rundown and more beat up than they let out. They had no starting pitching, their bullpen imploded, and the offense was non-existent especially in clutch situations. The Yankees had opportunity in almost every game and failed to score when the team needed it most.

The Yankees looked old and slow. The Yankee bats were dominated by mediocre pitching. CJ Wilson, Colby Lewis, and Tommy Hunter are decent pitchers but there is no way they should have been able to put up performances like that. Cano was the only one in the Yankees lineup that was hitting, even his outs were hard hit balls. Jeter batted .231, A-Rod .190, Gardner .176, Thames .125, Swisher .091, and Teixeira .000.

Pitching was even worse. Pettitte is the only that put up a decent start and that ended up a loss against Cliff Lee. CC struggled, Hughes got lit up twice. I have never seen a pitcher affected more by the situation, pressure, crowd, etc. than Hughes in his starts at Texas. He lacked the ability to calm himself and focus. Wood pitched well for the most part, but Robertson was dreadful. His ERA in this series was in the 20's. Logan had one job to do and that was to get out Hamilton. He failed miserably. And if you would have told me Joe Girardi would be out managed by Ron Washington I would have said you're crazy, but that's what happened.

This series made me sick to watch and it will be a long offseason, which will start a little sooner than the Yankees and their fans had wanted. With BIG questions, Pettitte, Mariano, and Jeter are all up. Yankees hold options on Kerry Wood, and Lance Berkman with Javier Vazquez also expiring. Seeing that Vazquez wasn't added to the post season roster I would say it's highly unlikely he will be back in pinstripes. Also unlikely are Berkman and Wood. And though I feel obligated to bring Jeter back, I would not give him a blank check. Let's face it, what would a 36 year old shortstop with limited range, declining speed, declining batting stats (power and average) get on the open market? Orlando Cabrera making about $4MM, Edgar Renteria making $9MM, Craig Counsell makes $2MM. I would argue that if the Yankees offer him $10MM Jeter would be the most overpaid player in baseball. Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes could be options if the Yankees decide for some reason not to bring Jeter back.

Rivera will certainly get about the $15MM he's making now. He showed no signs of slowing down (THANK GOD)!!!

Of course the big fish on the market is Cliff Lee, and I have to think that the Rangers making the World Series drastically hurts the Yankees chances of signing him. If the Rangers can come close to the Yankees offer Lee may decide to stay in Texas. Conversely, the Cubs filled their managerial spot already so I would say Girardi will most certainly be back with the Yankees. He most likely gets a 3 year deal and a nice raise. As bad as this ending is, you can't win a world championship and go back to the ALCS and not get another contract. Most teams would kill for that.

The other pitching name out there, on the trade market not free agent market, is Zack Greinke, but I have read multiple sources that have New York and Boston on his no-trade list. This is good thing...Greinke has had some challenges dealing with depression. If that was in KC he couldn't handle the pressure of a big market like NY. I would say the perfect fit for Greinke is with the Twins. That could be the ace they need to get them over the hump.

Yankees need to get younger real quick. A-Rod and Posada aged dramatically this season, and A-rod is under contract for another 7 years!!! Jeter, Mo, and Pettitte are all getting there too. Montero should help that a little next year. As could Brackman. I wouldn't be surprised to see Joba shopped this offseason.

First Yankees Hot Stove report on YES is November 11th. I look forward to seeing what the Yankees will do.

114 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.


mid said...

sittng in newark airport and still fuming.

the gm made the same mistake this past offseason that the made back in '01 - they let guys who proved they knew how to win walk - in favor of guys they THOUGHT would win

girardi' contract should not be extended - he botched every decision he had to make

jeter gets two yrs with an option for a 3rd - he didn't show up in 2010

Crash said...

Fox has to love they get SF vs Texas. I predict that this will be the lowest rated/least watched World Series ever.

Mid said...

agreed - I do think they would have loved a NY / San Fran mix though.

Games need to start at 7 if they want an aud. that can compete with the NFL.

The Titans Jag MNF game out drew the combined viewers of NY/Tex AND San Fran/Philly this past Monday night.

Mid said...

when watching games in spanish commentation, you have a lot of time to think and analyze the games yourself.

For me, #1 Dumb Move - repeated intentional walking of Hamilton, filling the bases with added runners for Vlad and Cruz.

Guys cool off, they don't stay that hot for that long (did they ever walk Cano - how he'd do in game 6?).

Better Alternative would have been to brush him back/hit him twice, then pitch to him going forward.

Pitchers today have no balls (strike zone wise plenty, metaphorically none to speak of)

Crash said...

Just read a scouting report on Austin Romine in the AFL...still having trouble receiving but has plus power and a plus arm.

Crash said...

Also Casman says resigning Girardi is priority 1, says Jeter will be back. I'm thinking with those comments the offseason could not start any worse.

old professor said...

The post mortem on this team is in. In one of the early posts, I indicated (probably in May) that the Yankees were a flawed team. The championship series with Texas showed how flawed.

Let's look at the starting pitching - Pettitte pitched a hell of a game for seven innings, but the Yankees lost that game - bullpen imploded. CC registered the only two wins the Yankees got and Hughes got rocked.

CC will be back next year and will once again be the stud of the rotation. Pettitte will be one year older and just as fragile as this year if not more so. John Smoltz picked up a flaw in Hughes delivery - when he goes to throw a change up he short arms the pitch versus full extension. Smoltz's statement - Major league hitters should be able to identify that very quickly and lay off the pitch.

How many times did the Yankee pitchers have two strikes on a batter and failed to get them out. No put away pitch.

Burnett pitched will for six innings. Not bad for a guy that hadn't pitched in two weeks. Left in too long.

The hot stove season will be cold for the Yankees. The two top free agents Lee and Crawford will in all likelihood go elsewhere. Lee will stay with Texas and Crawford will go to the Angels.

Don't even mention Grenke as a Yankee - the kid has a real fragile mental state and would melt under the lights of NY.

Jeter may be back, but at what cost? He is not worth $20 million nor is he worth $15 million - limited range and another year older.

Bullpen has to be revamped (too much reliance on Robertson down the stretch and no confidence in Joba - bye bye Joba).

Girardi needs to lose the binder and let his brain take over when making moves.

Mid, I would walk Hamilton too - he was hot Vlad was not (vlad had two stirkes when a flat curve came in - you could have it that one).

Crash said...

Just saw the Dave Eiland will not be coming back as pitching coach next year. This change is not related to the performance of the pitching staff in the ALCS, but rather a personal decision for Eiland.

Crash said...

I think I misread the original release of the Eiland was Cashman's decision to let him go and Cashman did not disclose reasons for the dismissal. Though some are speculating AJ's performance is at least partially to blame.

old professor said...

The Yankees letting Eiland go is a shame. AJ's performance cannot be laid at the feet of the pitching coach. The guy is a head case and needs to grow-up.

Word is that Marte won't begin to throw again until July. That just about clinches a roster spot for Boone Logan. It will be interesting to see who the Yankees try to go after in the off-season. Biggest problem they face is the payroll cap instituted by Hal Steinbrenner. He will not move above the $200 million ceiling which calls into question how many free agents they can sign.

Don't be surprised if Damon is back in NY as the DH. This past off-season did not inspire anyone. They brought in Nick Johnson - failure. They brought in Vasquez - failure. They brought in Chan Ho Park - released. They brought in Randy Wynn - released. Granderson may have provided some great moments, but giving up Coke and Jackson as parts to the trade made no sense at all.

Crash said...

Rumor has it Eiland is battling alcohol/substance abuse problems, and that was the reason for his month off during the season. Don't know if there is any truth to it though.

Yankees definitely have big changes coming. Wonder if Yankees would make a run at Jayson Werth. He may be a better fit than Crawford. He has a great arm, power, and he performed in a big market with tough fans, including big time production in the post season. Also adding to the intrigue is that the Red Sox are reportedly interested in him.

old professor said...

Werth would be a good addition. He did struggle through early parts of the season, but came around. He has more power than Crawford and will be somewhat cheaper. In addition he does have the makeup to play in NY where this could be an issue for Crawford.

Girardi apparently will be signed by this evening to a three year deal.

The Yankee will take care of their own before they move on someone like Lee. It would be nice if Pettitte made an early announcement as to whether he will retire or come back. The team does not need a Favre like drama every year.

Mid said...

I think Cashman should be termed.

He let go of two top prospects in Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata.

He let go of veterens that proved they could do it when it really counted in Damon and Matsui.

And he let go of some key pitching talent that would have strengthened a weak part of the team in Phil Coke.

In favor of what??? Nick Johnson, Thames, and Granderson?

Cashman should be go.

Crash said...

Mid those are valid points. Coke had a great season, Jackson should get AL ROY consideration, and Tabata had a solid season in Pittsburgh.

Just read that Pettitte was hurt (stiff back and stiff hammy and quad) and that's why he didn't start game 2 of the ALCS. He actually couldn't finish his bullpen session. They wanted to give him the extra couple of days to rest.

Also just read that CC is having knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. All I need to hear now is that Hughes was pitching with a prosthetic right arm and it would all make sense as to what happen to the pitching in the ALCS.

I'm about to ask a question that should strike fear into every Yankee fan...what if the Yankees don't/can't sign Cliff Lee?!?!? There is literally no one else even close to that level. Ted Lilly would have probably been the next in line (and that is a huge drop off) and may have been a nice fit but he has already signed or agreed with the Dodgers. If you look at the 2012 free agent class (the primary targets for potential trades) Chris Carpenter is the best pitcher. You also have Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Wang, CJ Wilson, & Wandy Rodriguez. Outside of Carpenter I would say most of those guys would be back end starter types.

old professor said...

Mid one slight correction that will probably make your blood boil even more. Tabata was sent to the Pirates as part of the trade for Marte and Nady. Marte is done and Nady is with the Cubs. Another great trade.

Crash, if the Yankees don't sign Lee, there is CJ Wilson and he pitched extremely well this season (15 wins) and pitched well in game two of the ALCS but the bullpen imploded.

It may also be time to build from within. There are a mumber of prospects (Nova being one) that need to be given an opportunity.

If Pettitte was hurt, this could be the first signal that he will not be coming back. Once you start experiencing the injuries and take longer to heal, you begin to think whether it is really worth it.

The more I hear the Yankee rumors, it looks as if the team will be bringing Montero up to be the primary catcher - realistically he can't do any worse throwing out runners. Cervelli will remain as the backup and Posada will be the fulltime DH. He will catch only when Jeter, A-Rod or Tex need time off from the field.

If that happens don't anticipate Damon coming back to the team. However, the team really missed him at number 2 and his club house demeanor.

Bottom line with this team for next year - they will be a year older, another year of being more delicate and another year slower.

And if they decide to keep Posada at catcher there have been rumors of going after Jim Thome - yep another 40+ player.

Crash said...

CJ Wilson isn't a free agent this year, he's a free agent next year. I would think the Rangers may try to lock him up with an extension this offseason if he performs well in the World Series. While I agree that injuries play a significant role in an older players retirement consideration, Pettitte's injuries were not significant. They were strains and stiffness. Probably as a result of the inactivity caused by the groin problem he suffered. I think Pettitte comes back for another season. I've already heard "insiders" say he indicated he wants to pitch another season.

While I would love Thome's bat. It would instantly create a log jam at the DH role. Thome can't play the field. And with an aging team you need that spot to spell players from the field. Some thing could be said for Damon. He would be the DH, he's a defensive liability in the OF, especially with that arm, and there's no room for him out there. If the Yankees want a big power bat they should go after Adam Dunn. He can play some OF and 1B, so he can spell Tex or Swish or fill in due to injury reasons. Though he has publicly stated he doesn't want to be DH...Giambi said the same thing but adapted once he started cashing the $20MM checks.

I know Cliff Lee wasn't sharp last night, but watching that game last night and seeing the Giants beat him up, I couldn't figure out why or how the Yankees couldn't hit him...I mean the Yankees looked terrible against him, and the Giants, quite possibly the weakest hitting MLB team looked like a team filled with triple crown winners. Unreal.

Crash said...

MLB Network reporting Yankees have declined the team options on Nick Johnson, Lance Berkman, and Kerry Wood. No surprises there. Berkman and Wood would have cost them about $26MM combined. Berkman has a $2MM buyout. And Nick Johnson, well was Nick Johnson. He actually spent less time on the playing field than Carl Pavano.

old professor said...

It is safe to say that Berkman and Johnson will not be back. Berkman has made it clear he would prefer to go to a team where he can play first base on a regular basis - that would rule out NY.

Johnson will not get an offer from any team. Wood could be back though he knows there will be teams looking for closers and get paid closer money. That is too bad because he was lights out for the Yankees in the 8th inning and also pitched well in the playoffs.

Wood not coming back would mean a heavier reliance on Robertson and Joba - long term that could be a receipt for disaster.

Apparently Cliff Lee's wife had some issues with the fans in NY - wonder how much that could play into a final decision.

Crash said...

I have a feeling Cliff Lee's wife will put up with the fans that are paying her husbands salary and she will feel a lot better as soon as Cliff cashes his first pay check.

old professor said...

The Girardi deal is done - three years at about $3 million per year.

Yankee fan poll somewhat interesting. Apparently, Posada has worn out his welcome as the starting catcher as the polls show most fans want Montero to be the starting catcher. Gardner has also lost favor with the fans as they have expressed an overwhelming support for Crawford in left. Apparently they believe the Yankees have a money tree growing in the backyard.

Contracts for Jeter, Mo and Pettitte (should he decide to return) will be in excess of $40 million. A-Rod gets 30 million, AJ at about 16mil and Sabbathia at about $20. That leaves about 84 million for the remaining roster spots. That is not a lot of wiggle room for Lee and then Crawford.

Crash said...

If Jeter, Mo and Pettitte get north of $40MM then Jeter is way overpaid. I would offer him $10MM for 2 seasons and tell him to take it or leave it. If he can get more elsewhere then take it. He makes about ~$10MM in endorsements and that comes from playing in NY. He won't get that anywhere else.

Yankees are on the hook for about $140MM so far. That does not include Jeter, Mo, or Pettitte. Last year's payroll at the start of the season was $213MM. They could sign those 3, plus Lee and still come in under that figure. If they go after a big bat like Crawford, Werth or Dunn then they are a little over.

old professor said...

Crash, I don't think money will be the issue with Jeter. I think it will be the number of years offered. He does not have a lot of leverage with the team. He is 36 with eroding skils. Most teams have better than average shortstops with better range and who at least matched Jeter's output. Girardi and Cashman both indicated they played Jeter too much during the season and plan to rest him more in 2011. You cannot pay a huge amount of money for someone who is being transitioned to part-time.

In addition, the Yankees have a solid replacement in the kid they brought up in August (not Pena). Greater range better arm needs to be more patient at the plate.

The key will be Cliff Lee - does he stay with the Rangers? He apparently had the opportunity to stay home on his off days. His home is in Arkansas and is less than a couple of hours from Arlington. That is a plus the Yankees cannot provide. He is looking for about seven years and in excess of $161 - similar to CC.

Crash said...

The Jeter negotiations are going to be interesting. I think a lot depends on his willingness to agree to play another position. I think Jeter would be a very good OF. He would certainly have the strongest arm, and despite the limited range at SS he would be able to cover significant ground in the OF.

Staying in the OF for a moment. I wouldn't be surprised to see Nick Swisher get traded this offseason. It's a classic buy low, sell high scenario, and Swisher's value may not get any higher than right now. He's coming off his most impressive season stats wise and has earned a positive reputation as good clubhouse guy. He's due to make $9MM this season, and then has an club option at $10MM for 2012. If the Yankees want to pursue Crawford or Werth, it would make sense to trade him over Granderson or Gardner.

Cliff Lee, while by far the best pitcher on the market once free agency begins, is older. He's 32. There is no way the Yankees can give him a 7 year deal at that kind of money. You can't be paying a 39 year old $20MM a season. Especially since Lee has already had some injuries. If I'm the Yankees, I start the offer with a very aggressive bid of 5 years $100MM, then if necessary you may go 6 years, maybe as a team option or maybe with an automatic vesting option. The $20MM price tag may very well be the limit of a lot of teams, it will then be who wants to go longer. And If another team steps up and does offer that 6th year the Yankees may be able to go back and offer more annually, say $23MM (which is what CC is making) which would essentially be equivalent to that extra year. I know CC got a 7 year deal but he is 4 years younger.

Giants one win away from the World Series. I can't help but think the Yankees would have lit up that pitching staff. Though I thought the same thing about the Yankees against the Rangers pitching.

Crash said...

Kevin Long will be returning as the hitting coach. Looks like Girardi wants Mike Harkey as the pitching coach to replace Eiland.

Organizational meetings taking place the next couple days down in Tampa. Would imagine that this is where Cashman will be given his budget and they will talk about free agent targets, trade opportunities, and what to do with the old core.

old professor said...

Crash, I need to comment on your outfield views. At one point there was some consideration of moving Jeter to centerfield. I think that idea is now moot with the acquisition of Granderson. And regardless of his early season struggles, he will be back in centerfield next year.

While Swisher's market value may be high and he is contractually affordable. I cannot see the Yankees giviing up the power numbers to bring someone else in. If you move Jeter to the outfield, do you he will still hit maybe 10 homeruns.

As you also indicated, Swisher is a good figure to have in the clubhouse and will keep things loose. Swisher has worked hard on his defense, plays hard and can hit from both sides of the plate. That is a lot to give up.

The Yankees will try and outbid everyone for Lee's services. Somehow I do have difficulty giving a pitcher a long-term contract. Seven years would put him at 39. Will he last that long? Pettitte had arguably his best year going until injury at 39. Mo is 40 and going strong. When you look at the number of innings and the number of pitches Lee has thrown, a seven year contract is a real risk (look for the Yankees to take out an insurance policy on his arm).

Many many years ago, the Yankees signed Don Gullett (lefty starter) to a three year deal. He blew out the arm in year one.

Cashman has also indicated that besides starting pitching being a priority, obtaining a lefty reliever is number two on the list. May not make Boone Logan feel comfortable, but baseball is a business. Would not be surprised to see the team finally cut ties with Mitre and Marte 9even though Marte has another year on his contract).

Crash said...

Cliff Lee about to start his last game in a Rangers uniform. Hello Pinstripes!

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