Reviewing Cashman

Ken Davidoff from Newsday has a blog in addition to his normal byline. He does his best to assign “blame” or “ownership” to all of the Yankees transactions since 1998. He has three categories and how they related to Cashman’s influence in each transaction.

I’ve got to spend some time thinking more about some of these but here’s his take:
I’ve been struggling how to categorize these, and I’ve decided to put them
in three categories: 1) “Cashman All The Way” (ideas that he conceived and
executed); 2) “His Player, Not His Price” (for times when ownership paid a
higher fee than Cashman desired on a player that Cashman liked); and 3) “He Might as Well Have Been at the Atlantis with his Family,” for transactions that were essentially performed with him as an outside observer.

Cashman All The Way: Bobby Abreu, Alfredo Aceves, Armando Benitez, Wilson Betemit, Kevin Brown, Brian Bruney, Shawn Chacon, Tony Clark, Roger Clemens (both times) Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Glenallen Hill, Kei Igawa, David Justice, Al Leiter, Cory Lidle, Hideki Matsui (re-signing in November 2005), Damaso Marte, Tino Martinez (his return), Jose Molina, Mike Mussina (re-signing in November 2006), Xavier Nady, Denny Neagle, Carl Pavano, Andy Pettitte (his return), Sidney Ponson (both times), Darrell Rasner, Mariano Rivera (re-signing in November 2007), Alex Rodriguez (the 2004 trade), Ivan Rodriguez, Javier Vazquez, Robin Ventura, Jose Vizcaino, Bernie Williams (re-signing in December 2005), Jeff Weaver

His Player, Not His Price: Jason Giambi, Sterling Hitchcock (re-signing in December 2001), Steve Karsay, Jorge Posada (re-signing in November 2007), Rondell White, Bernie Williams (re-signing in November 1998)

He Might As Well Have Been at the Atlantis With His Family: Aaron Boone, Jose Contreras, Dwight Gooden (return in 2000), Chris Hammond, Orlando Hernandez, Randy Johnson, Travis Lee, Jim Leyritz (re-signing in November 1999), Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Kenny Lofton, Raul Mondesi, Alex Rodriguez (re-signing in November 2007), Gary Sheffield, Ruben Sierra (return in June 2003), Darryl Strawberry (his re-signing in November 1998), David Wells (return in December 2001), Jaret Wright.

Davidoff is an insider so I’m going to guess that he’s got a pretty good feel to each of these. He’s also hosting a chat today at 2:30pm if you care to debate/discuss. Click here.

Continue reading Reviewing Cashman

Neyer on the Yanks, perpetual putridity

I’ve said many, many times that while I am not happy the Yanks are missing the playoffs, it’s not the end of the world. I’ve often said that the Sox missed the playoffs in 2006 only to rebound in 2007 and win it all. Could it happen to the Yanks in ’09? Maybe.

And although it’s easy to say that you can’t win with young pitching, I believe the Twins and the Rays might like to argue with you. It’s obviously true that the Yankees’ young pitchers let them down this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll let them down next year.

I do want to mention the comparison between the 2006 Red Sox and 2008 Yankees. My first thought was that they weren’t comparable at all. I’d thought that the Red Sox were simply unlucky in 2006, that they had all the pieces in place.
That’s mind-blowing, don’t you think? After winning 95 games in 2005, the well-heeled, brilliantly run
Boston Red Sox were outscored in 2006. Hey, it happens. The next year they won the World Series.

No question, the Yankees have a lot of work to do this winter. But I hardly think we’ve seen the last of them.

The main point in the text above, to me, is that just because guys like Hughes and Kennedy struggled this year doesn’t automatically mean they will next year. Could they? Of course, but a miserable 2008 doesn’t poison the well in perpetuity. Perpetual putridity?

PS: I still think they should deal Igawa with any other parts to get a more reliable/established arm. He’d have value in the NL, particularly in a big park that can mask his fly-ball tendencies.

Continue reading Neyer on the Yanks, perpetual putridity

Schilling's ramblings

The Mouth That Never Closes is at it again, mostly bashing Manny. I find Schilling impossible to tolerate, but some of this stuff is interesting, if only for the insider view that we don’t normally get.

“The guy got to dress in a locker away from the team for seven years,” said Schilling, talking via telephone with Glenn Ordway and former Sox players Lou Merloni and Brian Daubach. “And then [when] he’s on this crusade to get out of here, all of a sudden he’s in the locker room every day, voicing his displeasure without even having to play the game that night.”
“The thing about it for me, is, I haven’t thrown a freakin’ pitch all year, I’ve been the biggest waste of space, I’ve been robbing payroll for the entire season, no one feels worse about not contributing than me . . . I’m the last person in the world who should be telling you who’s right and who’s wrong in this. But I was a teammate, a member of this family, and I saw it, and it’s no different than what Lou [Merloni] and Brian [Daubach] saw. And to me, it was always those guys, the guys who played a crucial role on teams that weren’t the marquee players, are the ones that were disrespected the most, because if any of those players ever acted or did or said anything. [Speaking to Merloni:] Lou, you’re in Seattle, and if you refused to get on a team plane, you know what they’d do? They’d give you an Air France ticket home.”
[EDIT: The following quote was from Merloni, not Schilling]
“When all this stuff was going down with Manny, I remember walking in the clubhouse talking to a couple of guys, and I got one response that just threw me for a loop, and I said, ‘Guys, how bad is it?’ I knew it was bad, and I just said, ‘How bad is it?’ And all I heard, what they told me, was, ‘Carl Everett.’ And I lived that nightmare. . . and when I heard that, I said, ‘OK, I know exactly what’s going on, I can’t believe it got that bad.’ ”

But I forgot, all Yanks fans suck because Jets fans were happy/relieved when Brady got hurt. Continue reading Schilling's ramblings

Time to buy a lottery ticket

So I’m late to watching the game last night (back-to-school night for the kids). I turn it on and the first pitch I see is Damon’s home run. But this dude catches the ball and I think, hey, he looks familar. Sure enough, Michael Kay notices the same thing. Turns out, this guy caught Giambi’s home run THE NIGHT BEFORE. Same seat, consecutive nights, catching a home run. Just incredible. Video below captures it all:

(H/T to for the video; better than some of the others out there) Continue reading Time to buy a lottery ticket

Giambi's generosity

Again, something we, the fans, rarely hear about but a story worth hearing:

The Yankees were holding their “shares meeting,” when the players who have been on the club for the entire season convene and decide how to divvy up the bonus given out by the commissioner’s office to the 12 teams that finish in first and second place. Votes are taken on players who spent only a portion of the season with the club, as well as support staff like batting-practice pitchers, strength coaches and massage therapists.

Giambi, then in his second year with the team, quickly took charge of the meeting. Having been upset by his teammates’ frugality the prior season, Giambi pleaded to vote full shares for the support staff, some of whom can earn as little as $30,000 for the entire season.

The appeal worked, and it established a precedent. Since 2003 — the Yankees’ disappointing finish will be no bonus this year — the support staff received full bonuses.
But while illegal, performance-enhancing drugs will probably define Giambi’s career most of all, we should make room in his legacy for his leadership in a most important department: Kindness and generosity.

Good for him. Shame that he had to fight for something that seemingly logical. Continue reading Giambi's generosity

The genius of Manny

Joe Posnanski has a fun article on Manny. In typical Joe Pos form, though muted more on, he weaves a great story about Manny and his ability to hit at a level that has other pros shaking their heads.

He has a number of quotes from baseball insiders attesting to the genius that is Manny:
“When it comes to hitting, the guy’s mind works on a whole other level,” [Allard Baird, a longtime baseball scout and executive (and Boston Red Sox advisor)] says.
“You can’t judge Manny like you judge anybody else,” says
one former big league manager. “Again and again, he will make you wonder if it’s worth it. But then you will watch him hit, and you will remember: ‘Yeah, it is.'”

Say what you will about the way he weaseled his way out of Boston, the man is flat out destroying the NL.

Continue reading The genius of Manny

Don't even think about it

Don’t even THINK about trying to pilfer anything from Yankee Stadium over the last several games hosted at the Stadium.

The Yankees want to get the word out with hopes that it will deter anyone from deciding to try to steal a plate, chair back, toilet bowl seat or anything else.

Wait, I barely want to set FOOT in one of the horrible men’s rooms, much less reach down and try to unbolt and carry a toilet seat. I’m sick even contemplating this.

I am sure the new men’s rooms in TNYS will be much better. Errr, I hope they are, at least.

Continue reading Don't even think about it

Whither Abreu, Giambi

I like Bobby Abreu. He’s quiet, professional and is on base nearly 40% of his plate appearances. That said, his defense is abysmal. He can’t go back on a ball and heaven forbid he gets near a wall; he acts like the wall is made of poison tipped razor blades. But he’s a professional, and also, vastly overpaid. A million dollars per HR is a bad ratio, even if he’s not the HR hitter he once was.

Part of me really would like to see Bobby back at some reasonable price ($17m/2 yr) deal but I can’t see that happening any longer.

And unless Giambi wants to take a mere $5M over his $5M buyout, he’s as good as gone. It’s been a strange life with Giambi as a Yankee. Part euphoric, part embarrassing, mostly frustrating. He seems a nice enough guy, fun to be around, but he can’t play ANY defense and he sure isn’t getting any younger and his bat speed ain’t improving. He’s one of the guys I really wish I had a chance to meet in person.

With Nady returning in 2009, likely to Abreu’s spot in RF, Matsui in LF/DH, Damon LF/CF/DH, plus Melky and some of the other kids on the farm now enjoying their cups of coffee, this team needs to do something. I’d look to flip Matsui to SF (Fred Lewis, please!), Melky and others for pitching.

Bottom line, these will be the last few days for Abreu, Giambi and many others. It’s time. And oh by the way, Pettitte’s gone, too.

(thanks to for the picture above)

Continue reading Whither Abreu, Giambi

Mick's Moonshot

Maybe you’ve heard, this is the last week at Yankee Stadium and some memorable things have taken place there. Put the hating aside for the week and at least acknowledge that the place does house some incredible moments.

On May 22, 1963, in the 11th inning of a game against the Kansas City Athletics, Mantle drilled a fastball off Bill Fischer that hit the copper frieze, commonly known as the facade, at the top of the stadium in right field. A few feet higher and the ball would have left the ballpark completely. It is estimated the ball would have traveled over 700 feet if the facade were not there. No major-leaguer has ever hit a fair ball out of Yankee Stadium.

Mantle called it the “hardest ball I ever hit.” He hit the facade at least two other times in his career. This famous photograph shows the ball’s trajectory, how far the facade was from home plate, and how high it was.

700 feet? I can’t see that as remotely possible, but I never took physics. So I did some quick sleuthing and found this article about HR distances claimed:

In order to fully understand and appreciate long-distance hitting, a frame of reference should be established. Any drive over 400 feet is noteworthy. A blow of 450 feet shows exceptional power, as the majority of major league players are unable to hit a ball that far. Anything in the 500-foot range is genuinely historic. For perspective, consider the computerized measuring system implemented by IBM in most major league cities in 1982. By 1995, the sponsorship had changed, but the program had been expanded to include every big league ballpark.
It should be noted that those regular references over the years to 500- and 600-foot home runs were born out of scientific ignorance, misinformation, or even deliberate exaggeration. The most common cause for overstatement has been the basic misconception about the flight of a batted ball once it has reached its apex. Seeing great drives land atop distant upper-deck roof, sportswriters observing the occurrence from a press box would resort to their limited skills in mathematics without any regard for the laws of physics. Perhaps the ball had already flown over 400 feet, whereupon it was interrupted in midflight at a height of 70 feet above field level. Awed by such a demonstration of power, the writers would then describe the event for posterity as a 500-and-some-foot home run. With the guidance of our scientific brethren, we know that once a batted ball has reached its highest point and lost most of its velocity, it falls in a rapidly declining trajectory. The aforementioned fictional home run could have been reported at 550 feet in a prominent newspaper, and re-created at that length by historians for years thereafter, when in fact it traveled about 100 feet less. Hyperbole has always been part of the phenomenon of long-distance home runs, and this factor must also be considered.

By his own account [Mantle] hit the longest home run of his career on May 22, 1963 at Yankee Stadium. The ball struck the facade on the right-field roof approximately 370 feet from home plate and 115 feet above field level. Almost everyone in attendance believed that the ball was still rising when it was interrupted in midflight by the roof structure. Based upon that belief, this drive has commonly been estimated at about 620 feet if left unimpeded. However, the reality is that the ball was already on its way down, and those reporting the trajectory were victimized by a common optical illusion.

So there.

Continue reading Mick's Moonshot