Soria, Dunn, and Lilly! Oh My!

Yesterday morning, there was a slew of Yankee trade news involving Joakim Soria, Adam Dunn, and Ted Lilly. Allow me to comment…

1. If it is true that the Yankees dangled Jesus Montero for Soria, then I’m none too happy. Using Montero as trade bait for a guy like Cliff Lee is understandable. Doing so for a reliever, even if they want to make Soria a starter as he was in Mexico, is not something the Yankees should be doing. While Soria is a difference maker out of the bullpen, that’s not worth trading a stud hitting prospect like Montero. That said, I’d still like to see if the Yankees could get a hold of Soria without having to give up Montero or fellow catching prospect Austin Romine. Granted, the chances of that are ridiculously small. If the Yankees and Royals can’t match up in the next day or two, they should just cut the cord.

2. Not surprisingly, the Yankees have found the cost for Adam Dunn “prohibitive.” My dream is slowly, slowly dying.… Click here to read the rest

Leave Joba Alone!

Using Fangraphs’ Pitch F/X data, it seems he’s throwing his slider more this year, and has virtually eliminated his change-up.  But the change hasn’t been a valuable pitch for him, and was only really part of his repertoire last year when he was starting.  And the fastball-slider combo is much more in line with what you’d expect from a short reliever.  His fastball velocity is basically what it’s always been when he’s been used as a reliever, and his slider is even a little faster.  The movement on his pitches is also not significantly different from where it’s been in years past.  His walk rate is down from last year, and his strikeout rate, predictably is up to 9.99/9 innings.  His HR/9 is also down in the neighborhood of where he’s been before.

No, the reason that Joba Chamberlain is struggling in 2010 can be traced back to one number: 399.  As in, batters are hitting .399 on balls in play off of Joba.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 98: Yankees 3, Indians 2

The Yankees threatened in the fifth, when Jorge Posada worked a walk with one out.  Curtis Granderson drove the ball to right field, moving Posada to third base, while Granderson tried to stretch it into a double.  Shin-Soo Choo fielded the ball and gunned down Granderson at second.  Francisco Cervelli struck out to end the Yankees’ threat.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians got a small rally going.  Jason Donald doubled to left and Michael Brantley reached on a fielders choice.  Choo then ripped a double to right, scoring Brantley and giving the Tribe a 2-1 edge.  After getting two quick outs in the seventh, Vazquez got into some trouble, giving up a double to Matt LaPorta and a walk to Trevor Crowe before getting Donald to ground out to end the inning.

Running out of time, the Yankees struck in the top of the eighth.  Posada singled to left and Granderson connected with a big two-run homer to give the Yankees their first lead of the game.  … Click here to read the rest

Granderson bails Yankee offense out with another game-winning home run in 3-2 Yankee victory

So I know Curtis Granderson‘s first season in pinstripes hasn’t gone quite the way many of had hoped/expected, but it’s hard to deny the man’s had something of a flair for the dramatic, between blasting a home run off Josh Beckett in his first Yankee at-bat, hitting the game-winning home run off Jonathan Papelbon in the third game of the year, cracking the go-ahead bomb in the second game of the Mets series at home and pumping the go-ahead shot against Arizona in the desert, nearly half of Curtis’ 2010 home runs have been very memorable.

And so Curtis once again bailed the Yankee offense out with a mammoth go-ahead two-run jack in top of the eighth, leading the Yankees to a 3-2 victory. Jake Westbrook had somehow allowed only three hits at that point, and so it wasn’t terribly surprising that the Yanks were down by one. Still, it was Jake Westbrook, and it almost seemed comical that the Yankees were once again barely mustering any runs for Javier Vazquez, who also pitched quite nicely himself — sign me up for 7 innings of two-run ball all day every day.… Click here to read the rest

Joba loses setup role

In case you missed last night’s post game (and pregame) Joe Girardi made clear that he’s going to going with match ups for the 8th inning for the foreseeable future. That’s a nice way of saying Joba has been demoted. Here’s the video where he discusses last night’s 8th and his thought process behind it. I transcribed the interview:

Kim Jones-“We talked about the 8th before the game, this was obviously a tight game, Robertson/Logan there, what goes into that?”

Joe Girardi-“Well I knew I was going to go to Logan for Choo, and Cabrera’s had some success off of Javy, even though he did a good job on him tonight. So I thought I would go to Robbie for just one hitter, and then go to Boone, and it worked out.”

(later)

Sweeney Murti-“Joe, Joba’s throwing the ball the way you expect him to throw the ball, do you go with match ups there?”

Joe Girardi-“I might. Choo is so dangerous against Right handers.… Click here to read the rest

Anatomy of a Rumor: The Montero for Soria Proposal

A few days ago, Jon Heyman dropped this little nugget into a larger trade deadline article:

They say they want a bat for the bench and bullpen help, and that is true. But they can’t resist big-game hunting. They tried hard for Lee and Haren, and made a big proposal for Royals closer Joakim Soria, as well.

At the time, I largely dismissed the rumor, simply because the words “big proposal” have been thrown around a lot lately regarding packages headlined by players such as Ivan Nova. However, Jayson Stark seemed to add some context to that tidbit with the following whopper:

Lots of Zack Greinke and Joakim Soria rumors flying in Kansas City. But teams we’ve surveyed say they see no sign that either is going anywhere. The Yankees just made another run at Soria, as first reported by SI.com — even dangling Jesus Montero. But the Royals weren’t interested.

When this story was brought to me attention on Twitter, I told anybody who would listen that the offer never took place.… Click here to read the rest

Need to Save a Bunch of Money on an Outfielder?

…then let’s stick with Brett Gardner.

By performing incredibly well in the largest sample of Major League plate appearances, Brett Gardner may be saving the Yankees a ton of money on a free agent outfielder. If Gardner were not doing so well–.394 OBP, .368 wOBA going into Sunday–I’d say the Yankees would be likely to pursue one of the two big free agent outfielders that will be available during the offseason: Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth.

Gardner has shown marked improvement in his third try at Major League Baseball.

Each year, he’s improved his average (.228; .270; .298), on-base percentage (.283; .345; .394), slugging percentage (.299; .379; .400), and wOBA (.282; .337; .368).

When we look at the average, we also see that it’s very high this year because of a nice high BABIP of .349. That’s up from .311 in ’09 which was up from .296 in ’08.

Lest we think Gardner’s getting by on just a little bit of batted ball luck, I checked into his actual batted ball numbers.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Indians II

The Yankees (62-35, 1st place in AL East, 3-game lead) head to Cleveland to play four games against the sad Indians (41-57, last place in AL Central) for the final time this season. Last time the two teams squared off during Memorial Day Weekend the Yankees won three of four, and really should have swept if not for an epic meltdown by Joba Chamberlain.

In tonight’s game the Yankees will send the enigmatic Javier Vazquez (4.68 ERA; 4.93 FIP; 4.60 xFIP) to the mound against Jake Westbrook (4.74 ERA; 4.59 FIP; 4.44 xFIP). Vazquez was cruising in his last start before completely unraveling in the fifth, though one would hope that he has enough to keep the Indians’ mediocre offense at bay. Jake Westbrook is having a fairly typical Jake Westbrook season, and the Yankees always seem to hit him pretty well, so this one should be in the bag for the good guys.

In the second game, CC Sabathia (3.18 ERA; 3.64 FIP; 3.88 xFIP) faces rookie Josh Tomlin.… Click here to read the rest

Fangraphs Live Discussion in NYC

As you may have already heard, Fangraphs is hosting a live event in New York City on August 7th about “the changing face of baseball media”.  Jonah Keri is scheduled to moderate the panel.  It will include former Deadspin editor Will Leitch, Michael Silverman, Alex Speier and David Biderman, all of whom have different, unique roles in the world of baseball media.  On the stat/nerd/awesome side, plenty of Fangraphs guys are going to attend, including David Cameron (the #6 org guy, not the British PM), David Appelman, Carson Cistulli and Bryan Smith.  The RiverAveBlues guys are going to be there too, so the Yankees’ blogosphere will be well-represented.

The event is scheduled to last from 9 am to 12 pm and the cost of entry is $15.  It’s being held in the Florence Gould Hall, which you can check out here.  Frankly, I’m surprised they’re letting a bunch of basement-dwellers like us in.  All joking aside, this promises to be a very interesting and informative conversation about the way that baseball is understood, discussed and reported.  … Click here to read the rest