What is the best way to handle Brackman this season?

[image title=”brackman-in-st” size=”full” id=”24012″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]Andrew Brackman is a better pitcher than most people realize. That’s a bit odd, because Brackman has also mostly been a disappointment to fans since he was drafted. In his freshman and sophomore years in college, Brackman was a 100 mph fireballer. That and his size earned him routine comparisons to Randy Johnson, and it was probably deserved. He was likely to be considered for the 1st overall pick in the draft, and quickly move on to become a major league ace. Of course, we all know that things worked out differently. He didn’t Continue reading What is the best way to handle Brackman this season?

Should We Worry about the Rest of the AL East?

After I took a look at the Yankees on Monday, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to take a similar look at the Yankees’ main competition in the Red Sox and the Rays. Over the off-season, the two teams seem to have gone in drastically different directions. Theo Epstein continued to spend big in money and prospects to ensure that the Red Sox made a better showing than their 89-win 2010, which really isn’t that bad, but Andrew Friedman and the Rays have scaled back, hoping their excellent farm system will soften the blow of losing Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, and others. Not surprisingly, the outlooks for each of those teams is night and day as the Red Sox look like Jean Grey (Famke Janssen is hot) and the Rays look like Meg with her superpower nails. Meanwhile, the Yankees appear somewhere in the middle, though closer to the Red Sox than the Rays. But appearances can be deceiving, so let’s take a look.

Boston Red Sox

Scutaro/Lowrie and Cameron/Ellsbury’s projections are based on them splitting duties. I’m not sure how that will work, but I essentially cut their production in half from what I’d thought they’d do over a full season.

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“Plan B”

Lately there’s been a pretty common meme spring up, particularly amongst the segment of Yankee fans who really don’t like Brian Cashman, that the Yankees’ general manager didn’t have a “plan B” to execute in the event that Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees and signed somewhere else. It has a certain kind of superficial truth to it, I suppose, since the Yankees still haven’t acquired a starting pitcher, but it falls apart as soon as you go much deeper than the skin.

The first, most obvious, problem with the Plan B’ers is that they’re more or less ignoring that a contingency plan is still constrained by the reality of limited availability. Plan B to signing Cliff Lee obviously can’t be, say, “sign Francisco Liraino,” because Liriano isn’t a free agent. Nor can it be “trade for Felix Hernandez,” because Seattle simply won’t trade Felix for anything less than a package that starts with Jesus Montero and Phil Hughes/Robinson Cano. Believe it or not, this honestly seems lost on quite a few Plan B’ers.

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Adding Mid-Season

A lot of us have said–and I have, too–that one of the pluses about the Yankees not signing Cliff Lee is that they will have the ability to add a lot more payroll in the middle of the season. While we have absolutely no idea what the trade market will look like in season, we can speculate that guys with expiring deals are the ones who will likely be on the trading block. This thought drove me to Cot’s to check out the potential free agent starters for the 2011-12 Hot Stove Season. There’s a decently sized list, but there Continue reading Adding Mid-Season

Simulpost on ESPNNY: Soria vs. Soriano

ORIGINAL POSTING HERE (though edited from my original draft due to length; images below do not appear on ESPN)

The best free agent relief pitcher not named Mariano Rivera remains unsigned.

Rafael Soriano, as Buster Olney noted yesterday, was among the top closers in MLB last year. His stats were excellent, highlighted by a very low WHIP of 0.802 and a strong K/BB ratio of 4.07. His K rate dipped from 12.13 per 9 IP in 2009 as a member of the Atlanta Braves to 8.23 per 9 in the AL East as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, however his home run rate remained low at 0.58 HR/9 IP. By almost every metric, Soriano was a top reliever last year and we would expect him to remain one in 2011. Except his injury history can’t be overlooked, as Buster also points out.

With so many middle relievers receiving multi-year deals, Soriano and his agent, Scott Boras, are certainly looking for a very big payday. Note however that many teams are reluctant to part with a first-round pick as compensation, as Soriano’s a Type A free agent. Adding Soriano to the Yanks’ bullpen wouldn’t quite make up for their starting rotation’s shortcomings, but it would certainly provide a formidable front to any team looking to make a comeback against Soriano and Rivera late in the game. Manager Joe Girardi could feel comfortable resting Mo regularly with Soriano as a well-compensated security blanket.

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Discussion: Rooting For The Uniform?

Yesterday’s Bobby Jenks – Oney Guillen brouhaha spurred some discussion about Jenks’ character, and brought a 2005 ESPN article about Jenks and his upbringing to my attention. The article suggests that Jenks is lacking in terms of intelligence, and that he is a “backwoods” guy with a drinking problem. The following anecdote caught my eye: His ex-agent says Bobby Jenks used to call him D.J., short for Dirty Jew. The agent says Bobby would say it casually on phone messages — “Call me back, D.J.” — and while Bobby denies it, it’s a window into the mystery of a backwoods Continue reading Discussion: Rooting For The Uniform?

Early Projection From RLYW: 89 Wins, Wild Card

SG over at RLYW has posted his initial CAIRO projected standings for the 2011 season, with the caveat that it is really, really early to be drawing significant conclusions from the data. Regardless, they should provide a decent guide for where teams stand relative to one another at this point, so click through to view the standings and then come back here for some takeaways: 1) The AL East should be a dogfight again, although the Red Sox (98 wins) are clearly ahead of the Yankees (89) and Rays (87) at this point. However, it is important to note that Continue reading Early Projection From RLYW: 89 Wins, Wild Card

An Open Letter to Andy Pettitte

Dear Andy,

I don’t want to sound desperate or anything but…please come back! Pretty please?! With sugar and candy and $15 million on top?

Frankly, most of us don’t really know what to do with ourselves since Cliff Lee spurned “our” checkbook for the, um, warm embrace of Philadelphia. And really, it’s no so much the money, it’s the rejection in favor of Philadelphia! Who likes Philly more than they like New York? Philly fans, that’s who! I’d call Philly a poor man’s NYC, but that’d be giving it too much credit. I mean, the Bleacher Creatures may give other teams a hard time, but they vomit on you in Philly. They boo Santa Claus? I know you can’t abide that.

And you know what else I don’t think you can abide? Lee saying he wanted to go to the place he had the best place to win championships, and rejecting the Yankees. The same Yankees you’ve helped carry to 5 championships in the past 15 seasons. That’s one ring every 3 seasons! How many other franchises in North American sports can say they’ve done that? Not the Phillies. Are you going to stand for that slap in the face to the organization and its fans who you’ve given so much effort and dedication to and who, in return, have loved you right back since 1996?

But forget all of that Andy, and let me drop whatever pretense of non-desperation I might have maintained. The bottom line is; we need you Andy. NEED you. You’re the best pitcher left on the market and after you, the only remotely decent pitcher left is Carl @$#%in’ Pavano. You know as well as I do that he’s never wearing a Yankee uniform again. So without you Andy, there’s a really good chance we’ll have to watch Sergio Mitre make 20+ starts. You wouldn’t want us to have to suffer through that would you? After all of the good times we’ve had together, surely you want to save us from that. Right?

We want to give you a proper send off. We want to treat you to your very own Paul O’Neill moment when you throw your final pitch in Yankee Stadium, hopefully in the World Series. But most of all Andy, we want, we need, you to pitch. Just this one last time. For us. For the memories. For the New York Yankees.

We’re going to love you no matter what you decide to do Andy. You’re going to have a plaque in Monument Park, and you’ll probably get your number retired too, and a lot of us will bite, scratch, and kick to get tickets to Andy Pettitte Day if that’s what it takes. But I’ll be honest, we’ll love you just a little bit more if you save us from Sergio Mitre in 2011. Help us Andy Pettitte, you might be the only one who can.

Best regards,

Brien Continue reading An Open Letter to Andy Pettitte