Ivan’s First Start

Ivan Nova made his first Major League start last night and it went pretty well. He was pulled after 73 pitches, but allowed just two runs while walking only one and striking out three in 5.1 innings pitched. That’s more than we could ask for from Nova. He averaged 94.37 and went as high as 97.5 MPH with his fastball, which I found incredible. Either he pulled this velocity out of his ass, or the gun was juiced. I think it’s the latter, but even allowing for a few MPH up or down, that’s still pretty good gas from Nova. Continue reading Ivan’s First Start

“The Pirates aren’t trying to win”

The reporting on the profitability of the Pirates was a big story yesterday, but after digging through it a little bit, I don’t really see much to it. For the most part, it looks like very little more than a poorly written AP story built on a series of flawed assumptions. For instance:

“The numbers indicate why people are suspecting they’re taking money from baseball and keeping it — they don’t spend it on the players,” said David Berri, president of the North American Association of Sports Economists and the author of two books detailing the relationship between finances and winning. “Teams have a choice. They can seek to maximize winning, what the Yankees do, or you can be the Pirates and make as much money as you can in your market. The Pirates aren’t trying to win.”

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.266/.328/.358 (.686 OPS)

That’s Derek Jeter’s line since May 1st. You many recall his April was much better, where he posted a much more Jeterian .330/.354/.521 (.875 OPS) for the month. But there’s an old axiom in Baseball about how you should never believe anything that happens in April or September. The reason is that in April, pitchers are still building up arm strength and their fastballs aren’t quite up to speed yet. Aging hitters who’ve lost bat speed will often put up big numbers in April, only to get exposed as the season progresses. Cecil Fielder comes to mind. There are also Continue reading .266/.328/.358 (.686 OPS)

Jose Bautista hits two more Jose Bautistas, spoils Nova's debut start as Blue Jays beat Yanks 3-2

Do we really have to play this team eight more times? Jose Bautista hit two more home runs — or Jose Bautistas, as they have now been rechristened by me — and drove in all three Jays runs as the Toronto Extra Base Hits once again beat the Yankees 3-2. Bautista now has a Major League-leading 40 home runs on the year, and six of those have come against the Yankees in 10 games. It might be time to just start intentionally walking this guy every at-bat for the remainder of the season. Ivan Nova pitched admirably in his first Continue reading Jose Bautista hits two more Jose Bautistas, spoils Nova's debut start as Blue Jays beat Yanks 3-2

Game 125: Yankees 2, Blue Jays 3

The Yankees’ threw a rookie pitcher into the mix, as Ivan Nova started Monday’s game in Toronto for his first MLB start.  He held his own, but the Bombers’ offense continually swung and missed as Brandon Morrow racked up twelve Ks throughout the night.  Unfortunately, Jose Bautista hit a couple long balls that were enough to beat the Yankees, who fell to Toronto 3-2.

The Yankees got on the board early, as Nick Swisher worked a walk in the first inning.  Robinson Cano then doubled to left, scoring Swisher and putting New York up 1-0.  Nova seemed nervous in the bottom of the inning, giving up a single and a double quickly, putting runners on second and third with no outs.  Bautista walked to load the bases, putting the rookie in a lot of trouble.  Vernon Wells drove a fly ball to left, but Brett Gardner made a phenomenal play, running in to catch the ball and gunning down Fred Lewis at home, saving a run.  Nova seemed rejuvenated by the play and struck out Adam Lind, holding the Yankees slim lead.

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CC may be staying put

Mark Hale of the New York Post interviewed CC Sabathia after his win against the Mariners on Sunday, and the big man discussed his future.  Interestingly, CC said that he would not even consider exercising the opt-out clause in his contract that permits him to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season: “I’m here,” Sabathia said. “Hundred percent.” “I think you know I’ve built a house here, right?” he said. “My kids go to school here. We live here year round. So I’m not going anywhere.” It’s easy to think about CC Sabathia as our ace who gives Continue reading CC may be staying put

The Process of Letting Go

You: Don’t tell me this is another post about Derek Jeter. Me: It’s not another post about Derek Jeter. You: Really? Me: Nah, it’s another post about Derek Jeter. You: Sonofa… Steve’s post yesterday delved into the numbers, so I won’t re-hash them. However, it’s very likely that we’re finally seeing the beginning of the end of the career of Derek Jeter. In fact, we probably started seeing that in 2008 when he had a down year. Granted, he had a bad hand that he didn’t admit to and hit very well in 2009, but going forward, I think Derek Continue reading The Process of Letting Go

Elias and the Yankees

MLBTR came out with some updated Elias Free Agent Rankings yesterday, so I thought I’d scan the list for Yankee free agents and see whether or not I’d offer that guy arbitration. The first to come up is under the 1B/DH/OF category: Lance Berkman. Right now, he profiles as a Type B free agent, meaning the Yankees would receive a supplemental round draft pick if they offered Fat Elvis arbitration and he rejected. Berkman’s salary this season will come in at $14.5M and he has a $15M option for 2011, which the Yankees will obviously not pick up; instead, I Continue reading Elias and the Yankees

Jeter’s Contract … Again … But This One’s “Fair”

This has been the source of endless discussion in the Yankee Universe—what will the Yankees do with Jeter? It’s kind of a ridiculous question because everyone knows the Yankees and Jeter will work something out, and they’ll do it this off-season when they do it with everyone else. It will get done, but what would you give Jeter? Well, I’ll discuss my thoughts.

I’m not a sentimental person. My mother says I don’t have a sentimental bone in my body. This is especially true when it comes to baseball. I’m bummed that Chipper is out for the season and will lament his retirement a year or so from now, but life will go on. I was completely on Wren’s side when he let Smoltz go to Boston and released Glavine, and I actually advocated not touching them at all during the previous off-season. So, when it comes to players (even like Jeter), I’m not a huge fan of the “franchise” treatment wherein the most popular player gets special treatment. Why? Because the guy giving out that contract isn’t evaluated on how nice he is. He’s (anyone else find it mildly disturbing that I can use the masculine pronoun here? Still no women GMs) evaluated on the team’s W-L record, and to get to the best record, sometimes they have to drop the player because he’s too old, too injury prone, or in a decline. Fans don’t like it, but they don’t like it even more when the team loses.

But I don’t mind a little special treatment. I wanted the Braves to offer Smoltz and Glavine $2-3 million contracts and leave it at that, but if they hadn’t been who they were, I would have just said to get as far away as possible (see Hampton, Mike). Jeter is actually in a much better place. He’s still a valuable player and worth a contract, so I will advocate that he’s treated a little better than some. I don’t think he’s owed that treatment because he’s made a lot of money by being where he is and wouldn’t have made more elsewhere, but because there is a tangible fan reaction, it has to be accounted for. So let’s try to keep this in mind as I work on what a fair contract for Jeter is—it won’t be sentimental, but it should be more than fair.

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