Jeter in 2011

While there is always the small possibility that Jeter doesn’t return in 2011, I think we can all agree it’s on the unlikely side. How unlikely I’m sure we’ll disagree on, but we can probably find common ground in the unlikelihood of a Jeter-less 2011 in the Bronx. How Jeter performs in 2011, though, is obviously a mystery.

In 2008, it looked like the beginning of the end was coming. Aside from his cup of coffee in 1995, 2008 saw Jeter with his worst ever wOBA to that point (.343), second lowest walk rate (7.8%), and lowest IsoP (.107). It was later revealed that Jeter was playing through a hand injury and that was what sapped him of his power. Still, though, we wondered if decline was coming. 2009, though, seemed to erase those doubts.

During that campaign, Jeter put up his fourth highest (.390) wOBA and his .131 IsoP was more in line with hsi career averages. Maybe Derek would be able to keep defying time at the shortstop position.… Click here to read the rest

2010 Season in Review: Phil Hughes

In the history of Yankeeist, only two players have been tagged in more posts: CC Sabathia, with 78, and Alex Rodriguez, with 77. Phil Hughes is third, having been tagged (coincidentally enough) 65 times. Of course, those tallies only account for the posts in which we bothered to affix their names to the labels at the bottom; in reality those three have appeared in many more Yankeeist posts, but the category tallies are a reasonable benchmark.

However, what those tallies don’t account for is that (as many of you already know) I’ve been writing about Phil Hughes for just under three years now, having developed — like pretty much every other Yankee fan who spends way too much time on the Internet — an affinity for the young hurler after first reading about the ridiculous promise he carried way back when the Yankees first drafted him in 2004.

One of my most exciting moments as a Yankee fan was hearing word that Hughes was being tabbed to make his Major League debut back in 2007.… Click here to read the rest

Addressing the “We’re better off without Derek” theory

Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images

As I talk to Yankee fans both in person and online, a common theme has been popping up the past few days. Many fans are arguing that Derek isn’t all that hard to replace, and some even say the team would be better off without him. He’s a .270 hitter who was 10th in OPS last year, and given his defensive liabilities at SS pretty much anyone else at the position in baseball would be an upgrade in the field. They say swing a deal for a Stephen Drew-type and deploy the balance of that 15-23 mil you would have paid him elsewhere to improve the club. You would then have the payroll space to sign a Scott Downs AND Rafael Soriano to the 3 year deals you were giving Derek, plus sign a Jerry Hairston-type supersub that the Yanks have been lacking in recent years. You might even have a little left over for a Lefty bat off the bench.… Click here to read the rest

Addressing the "We're better off without Derek" theory

Photo by Al Bello, Getty Images

As I talk to Yankee fans both in person and online, a common theme has been popping up the past few days. Many fans are arguing that Derek isn’t all that hard to replace, and some even say the team would be better off without him. He’s a .270 hitter who was 10th in OPS last year, and given his defensive liabilities at SS pretty much anyone else at the position in baseball would be an upgrade in the field. They say swing a deal for a Stephen Drew-type and deploy the balance of that 15-23 mil you would have paid him elsewhere to improve the club. You would then have the payroll space to sign a Scott Downs AND Rafael Soriano to the 3 year deals you were giving Derek, plus sign a Jerry Hairston-type supersub that the Yanks have been lacking in recent years. You might even have a little left over for a Lefty bat off the bench.… Click here to read the rest

Money To Burn? (More On the Yankees’ Budget)

Sure, the Yankees are one of the most valuable franchises in sports – Forbes values the team at $1.6 billion, just behind Manchester United and the Dallas Cowboys, and well ahead of any other baseball team.  According to Forbes, the Yankees brand is the most valuable in sports.  The Yankees play in the third most expensive stadium in the world, and by some measures they have the most expensive player payroll of any sports team.  Yes, by most measures, the team is very, very rich.

But first and foremost, the Yankees are a business, a successful business.  They are governed by the same rules that apply to all businesses, and they have achieved success by doing the things that successful businesses do.  Successful businesses spend within their means. Joe Posnanski noted for Sports Illustrated that in 2009, the Yankees’ spent  94.4% of their revenues on their baseball operations.  This is a high percentage for a baseball team, but not an unusually high percentage: in 2009, the Kansas City Royals spent 94.3% of their revenues on their baseball operations.… Click here to read the rest

Understanding Jeter

The other argument against Jeter receiving that much money is his “declining performance”. Well, that’s true. He did play worse in 2010 than 2009, but I don’t think anyone expected him to repeat his 7.1 fWAR season. Almost anything is a “declining performance” from that. But Jeter recorded only 2.5 fWAR this past season, and it was his lowest ever, including his rookie season. However, if you look a little deeper, there are reasons to believe Jeter will be better next season with the most obvious being his .307 BABiP, which is almost 50 points below his career norm. In other words, he was highly unfortunate in a season that he couldn’t really afford to have one. 2007 was pretty close to an “average” season for Jeter, and he racked up 3.5 fWAR that season. That also included a nasty -17.9 UZR rating that he hasn’t neared in the past three seasons, and you could make the argument that even a -8 rating would leave him with 4.5 fWAR, which sounds more accurate.… Click here to read the rest

Could Jeter just walk away?

Rob Neyer touched on a subject that few others have even dared to speculate about, but I must admit it’s something I’ve been kicking around myself the past few days. Here’s what Rob said:

I haven’t seen Derek Jeter‘s portfolio. I’ll guess that even a paltry $45 million (before taxes) does mean something to him, but it’s quite possible that it doesn’t. Or that it does, but not as much as his foolish pride.

I still think everything will work out OK in the end. The Yankees will move some, Jeter will move some, and everyone smiles a lot and says all the right things when the shortstop gets his $19 million per season. It’s like Sam Goldwyn said about one of his movie stars: “We’re overpaying him, but he’s worth it.”

It might not work out OK in the end, though. Either way, I’m reminded of how many pundits were so sure, just a few weeks ago, that of course Derek Jeter would never leave the Yankees.Click here to read the rest

Yanks add 2 to the bullpen mix

With the Derek Jeter contract soap opera looming large in the background, occupying media and fan attention, nothing major has happened during the Yankee offseason.  Despite the lack of progress (as far as we know) with the Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, or Lee contracts, Brian Cashman has moved ahead to explore some bullpen alternatives.  Ken Rosenthal reported via twitter that the Yankees have signed LHP Andy Sisco and RHP Brian Anderson to minor league deals.  If neither of these names ring a bell, that would not be too surprising.

Sisco is a 6’10”, hard-throwing lefty who came up with the Royals in 2005, and last pitched in the majors in 2007 with the White Sox.  Sisco had Tommy John surgery in April 2008, and bounced around the Athletics’ and Giants’ minor league systems before getting released.  Sisco had a strong debut season in ’05, posting a 3.11 ERA in 75 1/3 innings, striking out 76 and walking 42.  Control continued to be a problem in 2006 and 2007, but his home run and hit rates spiked, and his strikeout rate dropped (to a still respectable 8 per 9 innings). … Click here to read the rest