The Yankees' 2010 rotation

To the surprise of no one, the Yankees resigned Andy Pettitte for the 2010 season, inking the big lefty to an $11.75 million contract.

As it stands today, the Yankees’ 2010 rotation is as follows:

2009 FIP 2010 Projected FIP
LHP CC Sabathia 3.39 3.44
RHP A.J. Burnett 4.33 3.85
LHP Andy Pettitte 4.15 3.77
RHP Joba Chamberlain 4.82 3.73
RHP Phil Hughes 3.22 3.35

Obviously Hughes’ FIP numbers are skewed as his 2009 total is primarily a function of his relief appearances, and Bill James appears to have projected Hughes as a reliever for 2010, because — as much as I love Hughes — there’s no way Hughes the starter will post an FIP of 3.35 in 2010, which would be good for tops on this projected staff. James — who as mentioned previously is notoriously generous in his rankings, but I don’t have any other projection systems to go off of at this point in time — has all five starters on this Yankee staff posting sub-4.00 FIPs, which would almost certainly make it the strongest rotation in baseball.… Click here to read the rest

Interesting peek inside TOR's trade thoughts

That is not entirely a surprising thought (that Montero profiles longer-term as a 1B than a catcher), but for the shorter-term I’ve gotta believe that Montero’s value lies with his ability to be a power-hitting catcher, even with only average defensive skills.

Surprising that they view John Murphy as their favorite, even over Romine, who is well-regarded.

My thoughts on dealing Montero: I do not deal him with Joba/Hughes for Halladay, who might be just a one-year rental. I do, however, deal them for Verlander/Josh Johnson type, someone with more years of control and several years younger than Doc.

Don’t get me wrong, I have the world of admiration and respect for Doc and everything he brings to every start. But he’s 33 and going to be very expensive going forward.… Click here to read the rest

Will Granderson Bounce Back?

[image title=”Granderson_Curtis_2009_scatter” size=”full” id=”13053″ align=”center” alt=”Granderson’s Home Runs In ’09, courtesy of Hit Tracker” ]
By now, most of the relevant numbers on Curtis Granderson have come to light, and they suggest that some correctable issues plus bad luck contributed to his poor year. I want to run through some of the more interesting observations made by others, and then touch on some nuggets of information that have not gotten much attention at all, but are extremely vital to the analysis.

The first bit of data that I wanted to note is the excellent study done by The Detroit Tigers Webblog. As you might already know, Granderson’s BABIP was .276 last year, much lower than his career mark of .321 and his xBABIP of .301. xBABIP removes luck from the equation, and it was still lower than his career BABIP, suggesting that there is something more than luck at work. They took a look at Granderson’s spray charts and batted ball data to decipher what exactly happened.… Click here to read the rest

Grandy: Beloved in Detroit, but the sniping begins

But this game is neither a face, nor a charity appearance. Baseball must be played with passion between the white lines. And while Granderson was good, he was not as good as he had been. And with his complicated, ever-demanding life tugging at him from all directions, the Tigers perhaps correctly decided his primary vocation would always share space with too many other facets of his rich and fascinating career.

So many questions. Could this be true? Could a player be so involved in off-field “good guy stuff” that his on-field performance dips? Perhaps. Or, maybe he just had an off-year, minus the power stats. Will Granderson be more likely to focus on his on-field activities and readiness, putting some of the “good guy stuff” behind him for now? Does it matter? Will a change in team, coaching, styles simply be all he needs to return to his sterling 2007-08 seasons? Was 2009 an anomoly, or has he become a pull hitter who can’t hit lefties?… Click here to read the rest

Update: Yankees Resign Andy Pettitte to a 1 year, 11.75 million dollar contract

Update (11:30 AM) – Digital Sports Daily, via twitter, reports that the Yankees have resigned Andy Pettite to a 1-year, 11.75 million dollar contract.

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

The Yankees are closing in on a deal with Andy Pettitte for about $12MM, tweets SI’s Jon Heyman.  He says the contract will be finalized today.

I think that we all knew this was coming. Andy was doing his “I want more money so I might retire” thing, the Yankees paid him, and he’s back. Andy Pettitte will bring his above-average innings and playoff experience yet again to the Bronx, and I’m sure all Yankee fans are happy about that.

This decreases the need for a big pitching acquisition, though I’m sure the Yankees would love to go into the year with only one of Hughes and Chamberlain in the starting rotation, especially now that their first backup plan Ian Kennedy is out of the picture. I still advocate a low-cost, high-risk player like Rich Harden or Ben Sheets.… Click here to read the rest

Buster Olney: Yankees May Trade Nick Swisher

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

The Yankees’ acquisition of Curtis Granderson yesterday obviously affects their other outfielders and free agents Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.  ESPN’s Buster Olney says that if the Yanks re-sign Damon, they’re more likely to trade Nick Swisher.  He finds it “increasingly unlikely” that they re-sign Matsui, whether or not Damon returns.  Olney doesn’t mention it, but we also have to consider the possibility Melky Cabrera is dealt.  Damon, for his part, still thinks there’s a window for him to return (talking to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times).

Trade Nick Swisher? I’m calling BS on Buster Olney here. Swisher was a very productive right fielder this season, is under contract for two more years, and the Yankees have no obvious replacement for him. Melky Cabrera would be a huge downgrade, Johnny Damon can’t throw in left field, and Curtis Granderson will play center.

Nick Swisher is also probably still underrated throughout the league.… Click here to read the rest

Curtis Granderson: The most exciting Yankee outfielder since Rickey Henderson

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that calling a player “exciting” on a blog infatuated with statistical analysis seems counterproductive, but the fanboy in me absolutely loves this move. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Curtis Granderson is the most exciting outfielder the Yankees have had since the late 80s, at least in regards to speed, athleticism and offensive prowess. Brett Gardner may display some flash defensively, but the jury’s still out on whether he can be a useful everyday offensive center fielder, and even if he can he’ll never have Granderson’s power.

First things first: the trade itself. As noted by RAB, despite the three teams involved, for the Yankees the deal essentially boiled down to the trading of Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke for Granderson. As far as I’m concerned, I would’ve happily given the latter two away — Kennedy has outlived any semblance of usefulness for me and I hate Phil Coke — making this deal essentially a Granderson for Jackson swap.… Click here to read the rest

Will Matt Holliday Struggle To Find A Mega-Contract?

[image title=”matt-holliday” size=”full” id=”13031″ align=”center” ]This time last year, the Mark Teixeira rumors were in full swing. The Orioles had offered him 140 million. The Nationals and Red Sox were reportedly offering him similar deals. The Angels were trying to get him to stay. But the Yankees swept in with a mega-offer and won the bidding at 8 years, 180 million. That’s a huge contract. Bigger than it feels. Part of the reason that Teixeira got it was because so many teams were willing to shell out the big cash for him. Had the Yankees not stepped in, there would have still been ample competition to up the price tag.

This year, we appear to be observing something different. We’re knee-deep in the winter meetings, and over a dozen teams are “interested” in Matt Holliday, but we’ve heard almost no news about teams preparing large dollar contracts for him. I haven’t heard one offer rumored, and no team appears to be actively negotiating with Holliday.… Click here to read the rest

Paging Mike Cameron

And before anyone screams about how our biggest need is a pitcher–when you improve defense, particularly outfield defense, you improve your pitching as a matter of course. With that configuration, fly balls will turn into outs significantly more often than they did this past season, leading to lower ERAs, pitch counts, etc.

And while I’ve only got a moment or two left to post before running off again, I need to get some things off of my chest:

  1. For those of you bemoaning the loss of Phil Coke in this trade–in all 60.0 (!!) innings that he pitched this past season, he added a grand total of 0.1 wins above average. For some reason, people (I’m looking at you, Girardi!) think he’s a good pitcher. A reliable pitcher, even. I’m here to tell you that he’s reliably lousy. His BABIP at the major league level is a miniscule .222. League average this past season was .303. That makes Phil Coke a ticking time bomb, and thankfully we’ve passed him off to another team.
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