Cashman On The Bullpen, Hughes/Joba, and Getting Younger

Courtesy of Mark Feinsand comes a few tidbits from Brian Cashman: Despite the published reports linking the Yankees to Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano, the bullpen isn’t the primary focus for Cashman. With plenty of young arms to go along with Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and Brian Bruney, the Yankees are well-stocked, so they don’t have to go out and spend big on another setup man like they did earlier this decade with Steve Karsay, Tom Gordon and Kyle Farnsworth. “We have guys knocking on the door from the minor leagues, and it’s always easy to take a starter and Continue reading Cashman On The Bullpen, Hughes/Joba, and Getting Younger

2009 Season in Review: The Bench

This is the fourth in a series of five Yankeeist 2009 Season in Review recaps. Please be sure to check out 2009 Season in Review: The Infield, 2009 Season in Review: Starting Pitchers and 2009 Season in Review: The Bullpen if you haven’t already done so. The Yankee bench had been an afterthought for much of this decade, though the counterargument generally ran that the Yankees’ starters were so talented that the need for a strong bench was minimal. The 2009 Yankees had what was probably the team’s deepest bench since the last World Series championship, though it didn’t fully Continue reading 2009 Season in Review: The Bench

Johnny Damon Doesn't Want a Pay Cut

From Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, the news that Johnny Damon is looking for a raise.

Damon’s preference is to remain with the Yankees, and while he has made that wish well-known, sources close to the veteran say he isn’t about to give the Bombers a big discount to stay in pinstripes.

Although he’s told friends all season that he would take a shorter deal from the Yankees than he would elsewhere, it is believed that he would want a higher average annual salary if he were to take fewer years.

A source close to Damon said that the outfielder believes his statistics over the past two years have been good enough that unless the market crumbles entirely like it did last winter for Bobby Abreu, he doesn’t feel he should take a pay cut.

The good news for Damon is that even though the market crumbled last offseason, he got to enjoy the $13 million per year contract he signed back when the world wasn’t crumbling. The bad news is that we’re not back from the abyss yet–a number of the wealthiest teams are simply not interested in spending $10 million plus a year on a soon-to-be DH. While Damon’s poor defense was obfuscated by the switch to LF, his defensive value over the past three years is 4.8, -1.1, -9.2–meaning he lost a full game for the 2009 Yanks with his defense (more if you take the LF positional adjustment of -6.9 into account). Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt is in the midst of a messy breakup with his wife (if you’re uncertain that’ll be an issue, look back to the Padres last offseason), the Mets got Madoff’d, the Rangers’ Tom Hicks is seeking a buyer for the team (I hear this guy has a lot of free time these days), the Dodgers budget got eaten by Manny Ramirez, the Cubs already have an albatross LF contract, etc.

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Will the Yankees reel Josh Johnson in?

Mike Axisa tackled this topic earlier, and it was one I was hoping to get a jump on as the news came over a slow baseball weekend that Josh Johnson and the Marlins are at a stalemate in negotiations after Florida offered him a pitiful three-year $21 million extension. The good news is that Johnson will certainly be leaving Florida. The slightly less good news is that he’s not a free agent until after the 2011 season, which means anyone interested in acquiring Johnson will have to pay a king’s ransom. Mike speculates that a package including one of Joba/Hughes, Continue reading Will the Yankees reel Josh Johnson in?

Mauer Wins MVP, Tex 2nd, Jeter 3rd

From the BBWAA: Joe Mauer, who won an unprecedented third batting championship for a catcher and helped propel the Minnesota Twins to the American League Central title, was elected the AL Most Valuable Player for 2009 in balloting by the BBWAA. Mauer, the first catcher to lead his league in batting average (.365), on-base percentage (.444) and slugging (.587) in the same season, was listed first on all but one of the 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. He was second on that other ballot to score a total of 387 points, based on a tabulation Continue reading Mauer Wins MVP, Tex 2nd, Jeter 3rd

"…his AC joint is lit up like a Christmas tree"

Things you never want to hear the radiologist say about your team’s starting right fielder, especially one who’s notoriously injury prone:

The shoulder looks great,” he said. Actually the radiologist was like “Man, the shoulder looks great, but did he fall on his shoulder because his AC joint is lit up like a Christmas tree. That’s just how much inflammation and chronic irritation that was going on.

Of course, like all surgeries, the bone spur removal procedure was deemed a success. However, I’m reserving that proclamation until I see JD Drew out there for 140+ games in 2010 (something he hasn’t done in years).

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Time to get your learn on

Long time FOTB Pete Toms of the Biz of Baseball conglomerate had a chance to sit with famed sports economist Roger Noll and pepper him with really good questions and even better answers. (Note to self, when doing an interview, try to do it in some other way besides emailing questions and waiting for the answers so you can get a good give-and-take like Pete did below).

A sample:

Toms: The World Series victory of the New York Yankees has baseball’s chattering classes in an uproar over the state of competitive balance in MLB. Ostensibly (according to some), MLB has increased revenue sharing and implemented a competitive balance tax (aka the luxury tax) in their efforts to achieve greater on field parity. Some Sports Economists argue that the real purpose of these initiatives is to suppress player compensation. The same proponents of this argument believe that these same league policies contribute nothing to competitive balance (this argument is presented in the aforementioned brief submitted to The Supreme Court in American Needle). Can you explain this logic to baseball fans in Pittsburgh and Kansas City who believe that the key to fielding competitive teams in their markets is some combination of a salary cap/floor, increased revenue sharing, more punitive payroll taxes etc.?

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Joe Mauer deserves the MVP *UPDATED*

UPDATE: 2:01pm, 11/23/09: Mauer crushes his way to MVP. First place in 27 of 28 ballots. Teixeira second, Jeter third.

How it broke down:

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We’re Yanks fans here, but we’re also realists. And the reality is: Joe Mauer should be the AL MVP. Sure, he should face some stiff competition from Teixeira and Jeter, but once you put the entire puzzle together, Mauer’s the obvious choice, the only choice.

The table to the right from this article summarizes the key candidates and their first level stats. From the same article, here’s Anthony DiComo’s rationale on Mauer’s chances:

Why he’ll win: Why not? His numbers over the span of five months are nothing short of incredible. Flirting with .400 for most of the first half of the season, Mauer missed the entire month of April due to injury and still managed to bash 28 home runs, hit 30 doubles and post a league-leading OPS (on-base plus slugging percentages) of 1.031 — all while striking out merely 63 times on the season. He has the support of the statisticians and the support of voters who lean toward those on successful teams. Mauer all but single-handedly launched the Twins into the playoffs, going on a tear without injured former MVP Justin Morneau in the lineup. He also did it while playing Gold Glove defense at the most physically demanding position on the diamond. Any questions?

Why he won’t: Although Mauer overcame the time he missed due to a back injury, there’s no replacing the value of those lost at-bats. In the National League Cy Young Award balloting, two writers left Chris Carpenter off the ballot completely due to a similar amount of time missed due to injury. Carpenter finished second to Tim Lincecum, and Mauer must be wary of suffering a similar fate.

Good points, all of them. DiComo’s thoughts on Jeter:

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