The Market for Scott Downs

Scott Downs and his weird hair

With the trade deadline a little more than six days away, Scott Downs is currently the most sought-after reliever on the market.  Downs is a 34 year-old lefty who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 12th round of the 1994 draft, but opted to go to the University of Kentucky.  After his junior year, the Cubs drafted him in the 3rd round of the 1997 draft, and for eight years after that he bounced around the minor leagues, pitching as a starter.  He debuted for the  Cubs in 2000, but was dealt at the trade deadline to the Montreal Expos for Rondell White.  He was a mediocre major league starter, and was eventually released by the Expos after the 2004 season.  He signed with the Blue Jays, where he relieved and made spot starts.

As with most pitchers, Downs made a better reliever than a starter.  Over the course of his career as a reliever, he has posted a 2.56 ERA over 302 innings with a strikeout rate of 7.6 per 9 and a K/BB ratio of 2.40.  … Click here to read the rest

Addressing the Haren complaints

I must admit I’ve been surprised at some of the push back among fans who don’t want the Yanks to make a deal for Dan Haren for a variety of reasons. So I wanted to go through some of the most common complaints I’ve heard, and see if they have any merit. Here they are-

-“He’s having a bad season”

No, he’s not. We went over this yesterday.

-“He’s a 1st half pitcher”

This argument has merit. Here’s the numbers:

I      Split   G   PA   AB   R   H  2B 3B HR SB CS  BB  SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS   TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+
    1st Half 117 3187 2959 323 695 143 13 84 60 16 166 664  4.00 .235 .279 .377 .657 1116  50  24 20 18  13  38  .274    86
    2nd Half 100 2487 2310 293 641 130 19 79 36 15 133 512  3.85 .277 .319 .453 .772 1046  48  15 17 12  11  19  .325   118
I      Split  W  L W-L%  ERA   G  GS GF CG SHO SV    IP   H   R  ER HR  BB IBB  SO HBP BK WP   BF  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
    1st Half 47 37 .560 3.29 117 117  0  7   1  0 781.1 695 323 286 84 166  13 664  24  1 35 3187 1.102  7.6  4.00
    2nd Half 39 33 .542 4.27 100  91  2  3   1  0 586.1 641 293 278 79 133  11 512  15  0 27 2487 1.320  7.9  3.85

The numbers are indisputable, he hasn’t been nearly as sharp in the 2nd half of most seasons.… Click here to read the rest

Is the Sergio Mitre Era over yet?

Get well soon, Andy.

Filling in for the injured Andy Pettitte, Sergio Mitre was horrendous, digging the Yankees an early hole from the get-go en route to a 7-4 loss. Though the team made a few valiant attempts to dig themselves out, it’s pretty hard to win when your starter gives up seven runs, even if only five of them were earned. Dustin Moseley deserves props for his relief work, pitching 4 2/3 scoreless innings for the remainder of the game.

Royals starter Kyle Davies wasn’t great (5 1/3 IP, 4ER), but was effective enough on the afternoon. The offensive fireworks were provided by Mark Teixeira, who recorded his third multi-home run game of the year, giving him 20 on the season. Tex actually came up as the potential tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against Joakim Soria, and was called out on a very close play at first that looked like it could’ve gone either way.… Click here to read the rest

The Pursuit of Haren: Rumor Roundup and Analysis

Dan Haren

As the city broils this afternoon and the Yankees take the field against the Royals, trade discussions continue between the Diamondbacks and the Yankees over Dan Haren and other players.  Last night, the teams were believed to be close to a deal, but we later learned from Jayson Stark that the teams were much further apart than was believed.  As Ben Kabak’s from RiverAveBlues writes,

Earlier in the evening, Arizona team president and CEO Derrick Hall went on the record and echoed Stark’s sources. The Yanks, he said, are not leading the pack. “We are not close on a deal with the Yankees, and there are some other teams involved that have deals of at least equal value out there. I would not categorize the Yankees as a front-runner,” he said.

The sticking points appeared to be whether the Yankees would include Joba Chamberlain and how much of Haren’s contract the Diamondbacks would assume.  This morning, Jon Heyman gave an update on trade talks, which was significant in that Dan Haren is not represented by Scott Boras, tweeting that the Yankees were willing to include Ian Nova, Zach McAllister and 2 other prospects for Haren, but balked at taking reliever Chad Qualls and backup catcher Chris Snyder.  … Click here to read the rest

Yankees, rain, punish Royals

The Yankees beat up on the Royals for the 2nd night in a row. Brian Bannister gave up 4 runs in the bottom of the 1st, which was more than enough for the Bombers to take care of business. A.J. Burnett, meanwhile, bounced back nicely from his atrocious outing last week. He only lasted 5 innings in a rain shortened performance, but allowed no runs on only 4 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3.

Alex Rodriguez was 2-4, but neither of those 2 was home run number 600. Fans at the Stadium didn’t go away empty handed though. Milestone seekers got to see Jorge Posada pick up his 1,000th career RBI. Robinson Cano, meanwhile, is just 2 hits shy of 1,000 for his career.

The Yankees continued to beat up on the Royals after an hour and half rain delay that started in the bottom of the 5th. The final score was 7-1 in a game that was never close.… Click here to read the rest

Breaking down 2010 Dan Haren

Some fans are less than enthused about the prospect of landing Dan Haren. They look at his 7-8 Win-Loss record and 4.60 ERA this season and think he’s having a bad year. Nothing could be further from the truth. He’s a good pitcher on a bad team with a horrendous bullpen, one that’s so bad it’s a Run and a half worse than anyone else in the sport. The bullpen alone can affect his W-L and inflate a pitcher’s ERA by allowing so many inherited runners to score. A better way to analyze a pitcher is to look at the numbers he can control. Dan Haren leads the NL with 141 Strikeouts (9.0/9 IP) and has outstanding Walk rate at 1.9/9 IP. He’s given up too many HRs (23) this year, but I think that’s a function of him just trying too hard. Check out his Pitch FX velocity numbers:

Season FA-Vel SL-Vel CU-Vel CH-Vel FC-Vel FS-Vel FT-Vel IN-Vel PO-Vel UN-Vel Pitches
2007 91.8 83.6 81.7 84.1 88.5 85.6 89.9 78.7 87.2 42.6 2628
2007 91.7 84.0 76.9 82.4 88.3 85.4 89.1 71.7 84.2 45.6 – – –
2008 91.1 83.9 80.3 84.9 88.4 85.7 90.5 74.9 84.8 3122
2008 91.5 83.9 76.7 82.5 88.2 84.9 89.3 71.2 83.9 50.6 – – –
2009 90.6 84.9 78.0 84.9 87.2 89.6 70.9 84.5 3438
2009 91.9 83.9 77.3 82.8 89.1 86.7 90.3 71.3 84.7 52.3 – – –
2010 90.4 85.5 78.9 85.2 86.2 85.4 90.5 69.7 85.0 2204

(NOTE-Numbers not in bold are seasonal averages)

His Fastball is down a shade, but that’s a rounding error.… Click here to read the rest

7/23 Trade Roundup

Let’s check in with the Yankee related trade news…

First, the Yankees–along with the Red Sox and Tigers–are interested in current Athletic reliever Craig Breslow. Breslow, who will be 30 in August, has pitched 189.2 innings in his big league career (200 games) to the tune of a 151 ERA+. His FIP is 3.79 and his xFIP is 4.51. He’s walked about four per nine in his career, but he’s done a good job (0.7 HR/9) of keeping balls in the park. His line against lefties is also very impressive: .199/.277/.316/.593 in 318 PAs. As someone who doesn’t have much faith in Boone Logan, Breslow could be a good addition.

While he hasn’t been linked specifically to the Yankees, I’d like to keep up on Brett Myers. The Astros say they would need to be overwhelmed by a trade offer for Myers. I think he’d be a good addition for the Yankees, but the price has to be right. The Astros are outside their heads if they think a team will give them a blow away offer for Myers.… Click here to read the rest

In Praise of 600 and Alex Rodriguez

ARod gets his ring

At some point in the next few days Alex Rodriguez is going to step to the plate and launch a pitch into the stratosphere.  As it lands in the stands, as he rounds the bases, and as the fans cheer he will become only the seventh human being in the baseball history to have hit 600 home runs.  And as that happens writers everywhere will fire up their computers and manufacture outrage about steroids, about tainted and illegitimate records, and about how it’s a three-horse race between LeBron, Tiger and ARod for “most hated athlete on the planet” title.  It will be very tiring.

It will be tiring because they will continue to attempt to define Alex Rodriguez for the fans, for the game of baseball and for its history and they will attempt to define him as the villain.  They will define him as STEROIDS!   They’re already doing it.  A month ago, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News wrote a piece in which he argued that the pursuit of 600 “lacked buzz”.  … Click here to read the rest

What Jeter Said

I’m not quite sure what to make of the Derek Jeter quote at the end of this piece from Chad Jennings over at LoHud.

“I don’t necessarily change things based on results,” Jeter said. As I said, I don’t really quite know what to make of it. I know that players make changes to their swings and approaches because they’re professionals and they–along with the coaches who monitor them day in and day out–can tell when something is off just by the feel of their swings when they’re up at the plate. However, I think Jeter needs to start paying attention to his results and make the according adjustments.

Jeter’s walk rate is down to 7.7%, which is down from his 9.0% career rate. Perhaps he has been working on this, as his walk rate since June 1st is 11.11%, which is solid. The farther that goes up, the better. Maybe Jeter’s making an effort to see more pitches and get on base or maybe it’s just regression to the mean; whatever it is, I like it and hope it keeps up.… Click here to read the rest