Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4 Weeks Until Spring Training

So there are just 4 weeks left until spring training. Yankees still need to address little things like the rotation, bullpen, and bench including a 4th OF and maybe a utility guy. I have not heard any new names out there.

Trevor Hoffman calls it a career is currently the all time saves leader with 601. I think Mo should catch him this year or very early next year if he remains healthy. Everyone is saying that Hoffman is a slam dunk first ballot Hall of Famer. I'm not so sure. Being the all time saves leader doesn't hold a lot of clout...just ask Lee Smith who was the all time leader for some time and he still isn't in the Hall of Fame. To me Hoffman was a compiler. He spent most of his career in San Diego where there was literally no pressure. While Hoffman would compile high save totals the few spotlight moments he chocked and blew the saves. He appeared in 4 postseasons ('96, '98, '05, and '06). We all remember the '98 series against the Yankees where he coughed up the game and end the World Series with a 9.00 ERA. He has 1-2 record an ERA of 3.46 and 4 saves Whip of 1.23 in the post season. 7 time all star (i think he blew the save recently there).

Comparatively lets look at Mo (a real slam dunk first ballot Hall of Famer) 11 Time All-Star, he's been in the top 5 for Cy Yong 5 times (4 times 3rd or higher). In the Post season he is 8-1, 42 Saves (11 saves just in the World Series alone), ERA 0.71, Whip if 0.766. His only loss was of course 2001 Game 7...where if Torre had the infield playing at the right depth the Yankees win that game & series.

Now everything I have heard is Hoffman is class guy, great in the clubhouse, etc. He also pitched in the Steroid era and put up great seasons for a long I would guess he does make it in. What I don't like is that people (media) are comparing him to Mariano, when in fact Hoffman is no where near what Mariano was/is. If Hoffman gets over 90% of the vote for the HOF in 5 years, Rivera actually beat out Tom Seaver for the highest percentage of votes, he may be the only player to get 100% and if he doesn't there is something drastically wrong with the BBWAA.


Crash said...

Old Prof you make some good recommendations for the Yankee bullpen (like Rauch). He's not a type A, he was a real decent closer and could be a great setup guy for Mo. His salary wouldn't be prohibitive even if the Yankees are waiting on Pettitte. Not sure what Cashman is waiting on, he's been on vacation all winter.

mid said...

good post sans a major ommission

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

Anonymous said...

hoffman is a class guy but could be viewed as a stat collector

when I think of HOF I think of best at a position - not sure he's a ballot one vote

old professor said...

Mid. Left a message on your phone wishing you happy birthday - if you had it on you would have heard the message personally.

Could Pettitte be pulling a Clemens - not starting the year, but coming back later in the year? Lastest statement by Cashman is he does not anticipate Pettitte in camp when pitchers and catchers report, BUT if he chooses to come back later in the year he will be welcomed.

As for pitching needs, Yankees could probably sign Rauch, Francis and Garcia (or Bonderman) all for under $10 million.

Crash said...

Duke loses in college basketball...they probably slide to #4 or 5 in the new polls behind Syracuse and maybe Pitt. Syracuse most likely moves up to #3.

Last night I saw a message from Keith Law (ESPN Baseball writer/stat guy) that essentially agreed with the posting that Hoffman is not a Hall of Famer and the only one that should be is Mo.

Cashman now has his direction from Pettitte. Cashman needs to step up and make some deals to address the holes in the rotation, bullpen, and bench. Get to work already.

Crash said...

Finally Brian Cashman wakes up and does something. Yankees have agreed to sign Soriano.

Crash said...

Details of the deal being confirmed. It's upto a 3 year $35mm deal. Year 1 is $10mm, Soriano then has option to opt out and take $1.5mm buyout, or make $11mm in year 2. Soriano can then opt out of year 3 with another $1.5mm buyout, or get $14mm.

I think this automatically gives the Yankees the best bullpen in MLB. And they will need it with that rotation.

old professor said...

I am surprised by the Soriano signing. Yankees had been saying they were not interested in him and then sign him. This is a good signing. The contract with the ability to opt out is also somewhat unconventional. CC has an opt out clause, but has indicated he will not opt out.

Soriano will fill the remaining spot on the 40 man roster which means the Yankees will have to make one or two tweaks of the roster should they sign a fourth outfielder and/or another starting pitcher. (This could prove interesting in that with Feliciano, Soriano and Mo it would move Chamberlain down in the pecking order. It would also give the Yankees the opportunity to look at Robertson as a starter. People seem to forget, he was a starter in the minor leagues and could be an option to add to the rotation. (Kind of like what the Tigers are doing to Phil Coke who was also a starter in the minors).

Crash said...

I've read a couple different things that are interesting on the Soriano deal. First was that since Cashman said just days before they won't give up the draft pick to get him, that this was an owner decision. Looks like the Steinbrenner's may have a little of their old man in them after all.

The second was that Mariano went to ownership and told them to sign this guy. He said that Soriano has matured as player, could handle NY, and he will mentor Soriano and he will be ready to assume the closer role in 2 years.

I don't like the contract for a couple different reasons. The opt clauses can either cost the Yankees a lot of money (he opts out to get more $$) or he leaves them in search for another setup/closer guy. The other is the $$...$10 and $11 million is quite a bit for a set up guy, actually it is the most for a setup guy. The average annual value puts that contract at #4 (behind Mo, K-Rod and Lidge). Buster Olny is suggesting that the Yankees may now pursue Grant Belfour now because it would only cost them the 80th pick in the draft not the 31st. While I think that would just be adding on to the best bullpen, I really want the Yankees to do something with the rotation.

MLB radio was speculating the Angels have extra pitching and need hitters, while the Yankees have hitting to spare and need pitching...seems like a fit. Would be interesting to see if they could work a deal for Dan Haren???

old professor said...

Crash, regarding the possiblility of paying $11 Million for a setup guy - they paid that much to Kerry Wood last year. I don't believe they will go after more arms for the pen. I believe they will now start to look at the rotation and at the end decide about a forth outfielder.

Regarding the outfield, they had some young players up last year that could file the role and be a lot cheaper alternative.

As for a possible trade with the Angels - they really don't have any pitcher to give up that (a) would be worth happening and (b) if the pitcher was worth something, they wouldn't give it up to get a hitter. And exactly what hitter in the Yankee lineup is expendable?

Crash said...

Gosh Old Prof open your eyes...Angels havet Haren, Weaver, Santana, Pineiro, Palmer, Kazmir, and then a couple kids they want to try for the rotation. The Yankees have plenty to give up. The Angels were interested in OF, C and a DH...last time I checked Yankees have 5 catchers battling for roster spots (Posada, Martin, Cervelli, Montero and Romine). Angels couldn't land Crawford how about offering Gardner or Granderson. I would gladly offer Montero and Gardner for Jared Weaver (all he did was throw 220+IP,lead the league in K's with a 3.01 ERA).

Balfour signs with the A's. If the Yankees didn't sign Soriano, they actually had a sign and trade deal in place with Oakland. Oakland would get young players in return (no idea who the players were) the Yankees get Belfour who was a Type A, but wouldn't have to give up the 1st round pick.

Twins sign Thome (glad he didn't go to Texas) and are still working on Pavano.

Crash said...

The Yankees have Joba on the trade block for a starting pitcher...but they won't consider him for the rotation??? The decisions of this offseason continue have me dumbfounded. The Yankees won 20 of his 30 starts. He didn't suck as a starter until they messed him with Joba Rules. Unreal!!! Joba is by far a better starting candidate than Mitre. He should be given the opportunity.

Crash said...

Huge Monday in Big East basketball. #7 Nova v. #8 UConn. Followed by #4 Syracuse v. #5 Pitt. I'm thinking by the time the new polls come out it will be #3 Syracuse. If they beat Pitt they should get #1 consideration. I think most of the pro analysts think Pitt is the best team in the Bug East, so this is statement fame for the Orange if they want to be taken seriously.

Crash said...

Heard that Andy Pettitte has started to work out. Though still deciding, I'm guessing he wouldn't be starting his pre-season routine if he wasn't coming back at some point.

Crash said...

Blue Jays sign Jon Rauch for $3.75??? Why would the Yankees not be in on him at that price?

Also Mets have agreed to a deal with the Mets. Again why are the Yankees not on this guy to address an obvious flaw with the rotation.

Crash said...

I was optimistic about the Orange's chances last night but that quickly faded once they went down 19-0 to start the game...I knew Pitt has given 'Cuse some problems recently, but I didn't realize that hadn't beaten them since the Big East Tournament in 2006!!!

Doesn't get any easier for the Orange as they take on #7 Villanova, who is coming off a win against #8 UConn.

Yankees close on Andruw Jones...and are apparently looking Kevin Millwood now. Millwood may have had a terrible season last year, but I think the losing that was happening in Baltimore wore him out. He started off 0-5 and had an ERA in the 3's. That indicates the team just didn't produce runs. Then I think he had a couple bad games and all of sudden he was 0-8 with an ERA in the 5's in mid-June. On the bright side he lowered his ERA in just about every start in August and September...on August 1 it was 6.05 he finished the season at 5.10. 8 of 10 starts down the stretch he gave up 4 or less runs. If he gives the Yankees that kind of performance then he can be a nice back end guy. He could end up with double digit wins with an ERA in the 4's (hey that sounds like Andy Pettitte's regular season #'s)...and I don't think that's a bad thing from your #4 or 5 guy.

Looking way ahead at next years free agents, it's again slim pickings...a lot of aging veterans. The big names will be Pujols, Fielder, and Reyes if their respective teams don't sign them to extensions. Pitching wise you have Edwin Jackson (28 years old), Kyle Davies (28), Zach Duke (29, and who the Yankees tried to trade for the past 2 seasons), Chris Carpenter will be there but at 37...yikes.

Crash said...

Joba, Hughes, and Boone Logan avoid arbitration and agree to deals with the Yankees. Hughes gets $2.7MM, Joba gets $1.4MM, Logan $1.2MM. Guess that's why Joba wanted to be in the rotation.

old professor said...

First regarding Syracuse - even though they were 18-0 going into the game against Pitt, they were without one of their key starters due to a head injury. The coach also indicated the team was not as good as the record indicated.

Now for the important stuff. If Pettitte has started to workout, it could just be to see if he wants to go through the physical punishment associated with another season. Apparently he has received the go ahead from his family.

Yankees still need to sign someone for the rotation. They apprear to have the bullpen set. They will be signing Andruw Jones as the fourth outfielder. Once this is completed, they should know how much they have left to sign a pitcher and maybe another reserve infielder.

How about Gil Meche - he walks away from the game leaving 12 million on the table. He felt he could no longer do the job and stated the Royals had been good to him and he didn't think it was right just coming back for the money. Class act. Not many athletes would do that - Reference Albert Bell who filed a grievance for the $75/day meal money while on the disabled list collecting a salary for not playing.

old professor said...

Here is a stunner. Detroit signs Armando Gallaraga to a new contract then designate him for assignment. Their GM insists their rotation is set without him. Indications are they will try to trade him. Dombroski indicated their are a number of teams looking for starting pitchers. Gallaraga is only 29 years old. His record was not overly impressive with a moderate 4.49 ERA and I believe he had 9 loses.

Maybe the Yankees can look into a trade if it is not going to cost them the entire farm system.

Crash said...

Galarraga is a waste of time. He's a sub .500 pitcher with an ERA in the mid 4's. He was able to put it all together for one afternoon and throw the "almost" perfect game. I believe he was sent to the minors after that. Bottom line who ever the Yankees would trade for him, would do better in their rotation. I would rather see a guy like Millwood or Freddy Garcia added than Galarraga.

Speculation is Andruw Jones gets done today. Boras is spending the day with the Yankees for the Soriano announcement, the timing would appear to be right and the sides weren't far apart to begin with.

old professor said...

If I had to chose between Garcia and Milwood, I would go with Garcia. Milwood is an interesting case. He appears to be able to stay healthy and has logged a lot of innings. He pitched well for Texas before ending up with Baltimore. Having said that, age and all of those innings may have finally caught up with him.

old professor said...

With the signing of Soriano,Martin and the new contracts for Logan, Chamberlain, and Hughes as well as the potential signing of Andruw Jones, exactly how much money do the Yankees have left (if they truly keep payroll at $200m) to re-sign Pettitte or sign another free agent?

While I like the signing of Soriano, the team surrendered a lot of resources. By the way do the Yankees pick up a draft choice from the Marlins since the fish signed Vasquez? The Yankees did offer him arbitration so I believe they get something out of that deal.

Crash said...

Yankees were at $213MM last year. If my math is right the Yankees are at $193MM right now (that includes $4mm for Kei Igawa still). The extra money for Hughes, Joba, and Logan is still less than the $$ saved on the Jeter deal (he made $23MM last year and is now at $15MM). It was always my impression the Yankees were willing to sign both Lee and Pettitte. With Soriano signed you have to figure that was Pettitte money. So the team probably still has $20MM plus they could make available, but probably not likely.

old professor said...

Let me get this straight. Cashman did not want Soriano and indicated such at the welcoming meeting (how to really make a guy feel welcome), but he made a one year offer to Pavano to return to the Yankees!!! He did not want the top free agent pitcher left on the market, a guy who could eventually become their closer after Mo, but he tried to bring Pavano back, a guy who pitched 12 games in four years for the team. WHAT WAS OR IS THIS GUY THINKING????????

This is a thought pattern that would make Omar Minya look like a genius.

Crash said...

I understand Cashman's process here. First he has been burned by giving out big long term contracts to setup guys (think Steve Karsay, Kyle Farsnworth, even Chris Hammond). Second, the immediate need isn't the bullpen, it's the rotation. That $11MM buys a decent starter...Pavano sign 2 years $16MM. I will say that if Pavano got hurt in NY again...Cashman would immediately be fired and run out of town.

And Cashman never said he doesn't like Soriano or question his ability, it's just the long term contract, financial commitment, and loss of a draft pick.

Think about it this way. The Red Sox give up their first round pick to Tampa for signing Crawford, but they actually improve in the draft because the get first round picks from the Rangers and Detroit on top of the additional supplemental sandwich picks. While the Yankees just lost there only first round pick to Tampa. So Tampa gets 2 additional first round picks (both from their inner-division rivals), Red Sox get additional first round picks, while the Yankees lose their first round pick, and only get 3 sandwich picks for Vazquez, Wood, and Berkman. I wonder if they get a pick if Pettitte stays "retired" until after the draft day? This years draft is suppose to be DEEP.

old professor said...

If the upcoming draft is as deep as you say, the three sandwich picks the Yankees get (between first and second round) will still be valuable.

If Cashman believes a three year commitment to Soriano (who is 31) is a significant financial commitment, how can he justify 17 million/year for four years for Jeter (actually bidding against himself when the inital was 3 for 45m). Or a four year deal for Posada who can still hit but proved last year he cannot be an everyday catcher (sad commentary because Posada is a professional and it has to be killing him knowing he will not be catching this year).

Crash said...

Jeter's deal has an AAV of $17mm, but there's money deferred. He makes $15 in '11, $16 in '12, then $17 in '13. He then gets $3mm interest free in '13.

Yankees agree with Jones. 1 year $2mm, with another $1.2 in incentives. Boras is also pushing hard for Millwood to Yankees. Cashman is waiting on Pettitte. Dumbass, sign Millwood now.

Crash said...

Minutes after Jones agrees with Yankees, Damon agrees to terms with Tampa. I think he was holding out (again) to go back to NY.

Think it's interesting how the games has shifted back to being a younger mans game. Since the increased testing and awareness around PEDs, the older veterans are not getting the contracts they did 5-10 years ago. Players are all of sudden declining in their mid/late 30's, not getting better. Their peak is back to 27-28-29 years old, not 37-38-39-40+.

old professor said...

Crash, if you trace the history of baseball, most players were done by 35 or 36 at the latest. It was only it the late 1990's that player longevity started to esculate. Willie Mays tried to play until he was 41, but was a mirror shadow of what he was and finished his career with the expansion Mets. Mantle and Ford played until they were 35 or 36 and due to the cummulative affect of injuries retired.

PEDs basically helped older players heal quicker, and prolong their career. Two of the exceptions to the rule regarding the relationship between PEDs and age would be Jamie Moyer and Nolan Ryan. Both pitched well beyond the time that was probably targeted as retirement time. Allegedly Ryan can still bring the ball in at mid 80s.

With the new testing that is going on, don't be surprised to see pitching become dominant again and hitting fall behind. Last year was the year of the pitcher you will probably see a continuation of that. The fall off in performance will also affect free agency. A player with five years in will now be in his late 20s by the time he qualifies for FA. Who will want to sign a player to significant long term contracts tha could carry into a player's late 30s?? (Unless you are the Yankees and like to collect players on the downside of their career).

Damon would have loved to have come back to NY but the Yankees were looking for a right handed bat and Jones filled that void and Jones is three or four years younger. Damon also lives in the Tampa area so he will be home with family a lot of the time.

Crash said...

Just to offer a little at the height of the "steroid era" there were a total of 5,693 HR's hit (total HRs in 2000 season). Last year there were only 4,613. Over a 1,000 less HR's!!! That's incredible.

And anyone that says the American League is the heavy hitters league...AL hit 2,209 HRs, while the NL hit 2,404.

old professor said...

Do a statistical analysis on pitchers ERA from the steroid era and compare it to last year. My be somewhat off because most pitchers only go six innings now. This to may change in the near future. If you are paying big bucks for a pitcher you might expect a little more than six innings or 100 pitches whichever comes first.

Crash said...

MLB ERA in 2010 was 4.38 with a 1.347 WHIP, HR Hit/Allowed .95. In 2000 MLB ERA was 5.14, Whip 1.468 and 1.17 HR.

Crash said...

Can't believe Syracuse lost to 'Nova at home. That's 2 losses this week. I thought they actually outplayed them in the second half. Don't think they got within 3 points though. Big East is the toughest conference in college basketball. With 2 losses they may slide to about #10.

Both Damon and Manny sign with the Rays. Guess they will platoon at DH? Neither can play the OF anymore. Still waiting to hear about the Yankees rotation. Rothschild was on MLB radio and said Mitre is a good pitcher but just needs 2 more pitches to be a good starter. Wait, what?

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