Yanks check in on Zambrano

According to Mike Puma of the NY Post, “[w]ith his everyday lineup for 2010 set, Cashman has turned attention to the rotation, and will almost certainly add a starter by New Year’s, according to a major league source.” The fact that Brian Cashman is looking for an additional starter is, of course, no surprise given the GM’s own recent admission. However, Puma does provide fans with a tangible deadline for such an addition, which is certainly new information.

Furthermore, while Puma outlines the usual suspects from this year’s current crop of free agents (e.g., Ben Sheets, Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro), citing them as options for the Yankees, he first tosses another name into the ring as well, one that is only acquirable via trade. According to Puma, Brian Cashman “is believed to have inquired about Carlos Zambrano,” the fiery right-hander from the Chicago Cubs. However, adds Puma, the Cubs’ asking price for Zambrano was too high, which is why the Yankees will, instead, pursue one of the current free agents available this winter.… Click here to read the rest

Commish For A Day II: #1 Expand Playoff Teams

By having six teams make the playoffs, the top two teams receive a bye in the first round, an advantage they currently do not have. This advantage is bigger than most people may think. Not only does it allow the better teams to rest their players, it forces their opponents to enter the second round tired and beat up, making moving on easier.

The main reason I suggest this idea is not to help the better teams, but rather hurt the worst teams in the league. Right now, the wild card team has no real disadvantage. Sure, they get one less game at home, but it doesn’t matter all that much. This forces teams to play for the best record in the regular season, because it would give them the right to rest. But wait, this idea doesn’t hurt the worst teams that much. Because they get a couple extra games to sell tickets for, they get to rake in a little extra dough.… Click here to read the rest

Fantastic Moves from Seasons Past: Trading for Alex Rodriguez

While I’ve been having fun with the Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past series, I also don’t want to come across as overly negative, and so I thought I’d counter some of these criticisms with a post commending the Yankees for a transaction that worked out very well.

Following the Yankees’ 2003 loss to the Marlins in the World Series, Alfonso Soriano was perhaps the most-maligned Yankee this side of Jeff Weaver. While ALCS hero Aaron Boone was actually the worst Yankee batter in the World Series (Soriano OPSed .655 to Boone’s abysmal .422), Soriano’s entire postseason was a nightmare, striking out 26 times with a slash line of .225/.267/.296 (and, as I pointed out after Game 4 of the World Series, eerily similar to Robinson Cano’s struggles in the 2009 postseason), leading many fans to begin questioning just how valuable Soriano was to the Yankees. Unfortunately for Soriano, his miserable 2003 postseason overshadowed the fact that he had just come off two consecutive outstanding seasons for a second baseman, tallying OPS+’s of 129 and 126, respectively.… Click here to read the rest

Analyzing the Yankee offseason so far

The non-Yankeeist Yankee blogs that I follow seem split on the team’s offseason moves. Some have been positive. Others have been negative. Much has been made of Curtis Granderson‘s platoon splits and strikeouts, as well as Nick Johnson‘s mouth-watering OBP, when he isn’t injured. But I haven’t seen a straightforward analysis of whether the team has gotten better or worse. Allow me to provide a simple one.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Hideki Matsui was worth 2.1 wins last season and Johnny Damon was worth 4 wins. Curtis Granderson was worth 2.7 wins and Nick Johnson was worth 2.4 wins, between Florida and Washington. This means that if the 2009 Yankees had Granderson and Johnson instead of Matsui and Damon the team would have won 1 less game during the regular season.

The best predictor of future performance is the most recent past performance. Therefore, without relying on any assumptions about improved outfield defense or a return to form for Granderson, right now the 2010 Yankees project to be a 102-win team.… Click here to read the rest

Granderson & Johnson versus Damon & Matsui

3-Year Johnson and Granderson 0.279 0.379 0.485 0.864
Damon and Matsui 0.284 0.365 0.463 0.828
5-Year Johnson and Granderson 0.276 0.372 0.473 0.846
Damon and Matsui 0.292 0.366 0.467 0.833
V. LH Johnson and Granderson 0.252 0.340 0.392 0.733
Damon and Matsui 0.286 0.348 0.422 0.770
V. RH Johnson and Granderson 0.279 0.371 0.489 0.860
Damon and Matsui 0.291 0.361 0.463 0.825

Apologies for the formatting, but Joomla isn’t very helpful with such things, and thus here we are. Numerically, it is fairly clear that over the last 3 and 5 year periods, Johnson and Granderson are significantly better than Damon and Matsui. It should be noted, that these numbers are the player’s last 3 and 5 years, so Nick Johnson’s 3 year sample includes 2009, 2008 and 2006 (as he was injured the entirety of 2007). The splits then show that Damon and Matsui have been significantly better against left handed pitching (but Granderson and Johnson have been better against right handed pitching).… Click here to read the rest

If The Yankees Were Serious, They Would Put Gardner In CF

[image title=”brettgardner.JPG” size=”full” id=”13363″ align=”center” ]Way back in the day, I used to write the blog Fire Joe Torre. My argument was basically (with some hyperbole thrown in): the Yankees can do better than Torre, even if they won a lot of games with him. They’re slowly losing their dominance. The fans love Joe Torre. The media loves him. The team loves him. He’s still far from the best manager they could find. Therefore, if they were really serious about winning, they would ditch the good feelings and make the move that they really needed to make: fire Torre, and hire a good manager.

The argument that I want to make in this post is a little different. The Yankees just won the World Series. For the sake of egos, fans, the media, conventional wisdom and inertia, they can probably afford to take the second-best option on the playing field once or twice and still have a pretty good shot at the World Series.… Click here to read the rest

Matt Holliday vs. Carl Crawford

By Jason Beinstein

There has of course been quite a bit of speculation as far as what the Yankees are going to do about their left field situation, given that many now expect Johnny Damon to sign elsewhere. I’m going to take a look at why I believe Matt Holliday is worth $18 million a season for five years versus the best possible alternative option that exists in 2011. First and foremost, Bill James’ prediction for Holliday has a split that looks like this: .316/.391/.531 and 27/105/109 with a projected worth of $26 million based on performance. Those numbers alone would make anybody salivate. Johnny Damon is trying to get $13 million a season, for an extra $5 million a season Holliday seems like an absolute steal.

A lot of Holliday’s value came from his production produced in one of the most offensive friendly ballparks over the past 10 years in Coors Field. In the 90-plus games that Holliday played in Oakland his line looked like this.… Click here to read the rest