HGH testing comes to the minors

See, that concerns me. The thing that will blow the testing process to smithereens and make a mockery of it all will be the false positives, or the claims of false positives.  It’s all a defense attorney (or agent) needs, a small degree of reasonable doubt, to bust it wide open. Speaking of attorney-driven stuff, I turn to Craig Calcaterra, former attorney/current blogger/hero to many for his two cents:

My prediction, however, is that opposed to implementing something considered and reasonable, everyone will bow to media pressure and implement some half-assed, P.R.-driven plan that addresses virtually none of the legitimate concerns regarding HGH while blowing its dangers and effects out of any reasonable proportion.

Two years ago I wrote (again) about the prospect of storing blood tests until a reliable test was available.  This might not be the reliable test we’re waiting for, but I still believe in protecting the current players (and their reputations). I’m not going to debate whether or not HGH is good or bad or indeed the fountain of youth sought by Juan Ponce de León. … Click here to read the rest

Cashman on centerfield defense (Granderson and Gardner)

Brian Cashman: “He’s our center fielder. We traded for him to be our center fielder. I think that what’s taken place is when you’re asked questions like ‘Is there a possibility of Gardner playing center?’ I’m like, well, if we feel Gardner makes us our best team with Gardner at center because we’re blessed to have two above average center fielders patrolling Yankee Stadium’s outfield out of the three man alignment. So we have [Nick] Swisher in right, Granderson in center and Gardner, assuming he holds it down and wins it, will be in left. But Granderson’s our center fielder. He’s an above average center fielder and that’s why we acquired him. But to be quite honest if somebody asked, ‘Hey, but is it possible Brett Gardner might be a better center fielder?’ Our defensive metrics on Brett Gardner made him one of the elite center fielders in the game. I’m not saying he’s the top but he’s close to it.Click here to read the rest

Igawa to work out of the bullpen this year

According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, in a last-ditch effort to extract some level of value from Japanese southpaw, Kei Igawa, who ultimately cost the team over $46 million (posting fee and a four-year contract) and forced the front office to reevaluate its scouting program, the Yankees have decided to use Igawa strictly as a reliever this spring. Sherman also adds that the 30-year old will continue to work out of the bullpen while with Scranton, as well.

If there is no value to be had from Igawa as a starter, then it makes sense to try him as a reliever and, frankly, I am surprised that the Yankees have not tried this earlier, as it is an idea I have pondered since 2007. Igawa’s minor-league numbers against lefties are strong – 3.25 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 1.49 BB/9 – and would likely improve as a reliever. If the Yankees are not comfortable with Boone Logan, then maybe Igawa could get a shot later this season as the second lefty out of the bullpen.… Click here to read the rest

Burnett trying to cut down on the freebies in 2010

Yesterday, A.J. Burnett told reporters that he plans to cut down on his walks in 2010, after issuing 97 of them a season ago. “I would like to not walk as many people, go a little deeper in the games and be a little more efficient like [CC] is,” noted Burnett. “He’s real efficient with his pitches. He’s 12-15 an inning as opposed to 20-25 an inning, and it helps. Being more efficient in strike one, and just not give away free bags. Let them earn their bases.” Not only was Burnett’s 4.22 BB/9 the second highest mark of his career when tossing 100 or more innings in a season, it was also the highest mark he had posted in eight years (he walked 4.31 per nine innings in 2001). Basically, the base-on-balls was a significant problem for the tattooed right-hander in 2009, as nearly 11% of his at-bats resulted in a free pass.

While it is difficult to explain the uptick in Burnett’s walk rate last season – his career rate is 3.78 – there are some factors to consider that might shed a bit of light on the issue.… Click here to read the rest

What Kind Of Deal Would You Give Carl Crawford?

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From John Heyman:

One reason the Yankees were reluctant to go for a two-year deal for Johnny Damon might have had little to do with Damon and been a greater reflection of what they think of Carl Crawford. The Yankees love him. Crawford is almost sure to be too rich for the low-revenue Rays, and the Yankees jump to the head of the class for interested teams. Remember, too, that the Yankees passed on Matt Holliday. It all seems to set up nicely for Crawford.

I am not certain that the Yankees are in fact “in love” with Crawford, as this might be posturing from Boras to explain why Damon is suiting up for another club. However, if the Yankees are interested in Crawford, I would be loathe to give him more than 4 years. Furthermore, if the Yankees only have room in the budget for one large deal, I think Cliff Lee might be a better long-term investment.… Click here to read the rest

Projecting the New(est) Guy

South Korean right hander Chan Ho Park was just signed by the Yankees and he will likely be the long man out of the bullpen. Before getting into the numbers, I like this deal. At $1.2MM base, this is a pretty good deal for the Yankees. It’s relatively cheap and Park is pretty versatile. He can be called on for multiple inning duty, which I love, and can do the one inning stuff as well. Basically, he’s an older version of Alfredo Aceves. Having two men out of the bullpen who can go multiple innings is very valuable, because it can give the late inning guys a big break if they need it.

As the Phillies’ swingman last year, Park was worth 1.5 WAR, which was 7th among NL relievers. A big part of Park’s improvement was that he did a very good job of keep the ball in the park. His HR/9 was a minuscule 0.54, which is way better than his career mark of 1.03; the league average for his career has been 1.05 HR/9.… Click here to read the rest

Informed opinions on the 2010 Yankees

The bulk of my recent posts have criticized Baseball Prospectus‘ PECOTA projections for the 2010 season. In short, I don’t agree. But, to paraphrase my sister, anyone can hate but it takes a real (stupid?) man to put it on the line. So, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and putting my personal projections for the 2010 Yankees on your screen.

Except, I’m stopping short of making precise predictions. I won’t actually give exact number estimates of where I think a player will perform. Hence the title of this post, which took me a while to settle on.

There are many risks to making exact projections for anything, let alone baseball. Two come to mind quickly. First, it’s pointless. If I say Derek Jeter will hit .325 and he hits .315 odds are come this November I’ll brag that I nailed the projection, which brings me to the second risk. I would be correct in my assertion that because projections are never precise they are actually based on ranges.… Click here to read the rest