Anticipating the End of an Era

After the contentious signing of Rafael Soriano, we’ve been left wondering if we’re seeing the regrowth of a riftin the Yankee organization. Last time, we heard of a New York faction of the organization, headed by GM Brian Cashman butting heads with a Tampa faction, headed up by ownership. The recent turn of events has seen a more public airing of grievances from Cash and, as we all know, Mr. Cashman is in the final season of his contract with the Yankees. In my time following the Yankees with as much vigor as I do now–pretty much 2006 on–I’ve generally Continue reading Anticipating the End of an Era

Dear Brian Cashman: From a concerned Joba Chamberlain fan

This past Friday I decided to send an e-mail to Brian Cashman. I’m not 100% certain that I have the correct e-mail address, but I think I’m close — if nothing else, I didn’t receive a bounceback. If he does in fact receive it, whether he actually reads and/or responds to it is an entirely different story — needless to say if he does respond, there will be multiple spontaneous parades breaking out. While we wait for Cash to write back, I thought I’d share my e-mail with you. “Mr. Cashman, By way of introduction, my name is Larry Koestler, Continue reading Dear Brian Cashman: From a concerned Joba Chamberlain fan

Now batting, numbah 12, Edwin Nunez?

This doesn’t really merit a full post, but I’m surprised more people haven’t jumped down Bill Madden’s throat — and even more surprised that the Daily News’ fact-checking department (a) didn’t catch it yet, and (b) still hasn’t changed it — for blatantly getting Eduardo Nunez‘s name wrong in his latest column. “Cashman longs to build a team in his own image – a team fashioned around a homegrown nucleus like that of 1996-2001, one of his predecessors and mentor, Gene Michael; a team especially anchored by homegrown starting pitching. Judging by the hard public line Cashman took with Derek Continue reading Now batting, numbah 12, Edwin Nunez?

Lessons of the 2010-11 offseason

With the baseball off season slowly winding to a close, a theme has begun to emerge for me. It’s that all of us who follow these things closely, from the beat writers to the TV pundits to those of us in the blogosphere, we all have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s akin to predicting who’s going to win the World Series. We all have our consensus favorites, and were right about 25% of the time, if that. With that on the table, here’s the 3 main conclusions I’ve drawn from observing the 2010-11 off season: -Yankee money guarantees Continue reading Lessons of the 2010-11 offseason

R-E-R-E-B-R-E-B-O-U-N-D: Rebound for Tex and A-Rod?

By their standards, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira did not have very good years last season. Teixeira hit .256/.365/.481 for a .367 wOBA and was slightly below-average on defense, which combined to make him worth 3.5 fWAR. Rodriguez hit .270/.341/.506 (.363 wOBA) and was also slightly below-average defensively, making him worth 3.9 fWAR. It was their worst seasons since their rookie seasons—2003 for Teixeira and 1995 for Rodriguez. Considering they are worth a combined $289 million dollars for the next six seasons ($20 million more for A-Rod in 2017; Rodriguez would have been a free-agent this off-season if he had stuck with his last contract—no comment but it surprised me), the Yankees would prefer that the two players did not start declining for good.

Teixeira is the more promising situation, so we’ll begin there. His batting line wasn’t particularly impressive for a guy who averages .286/.377/.536 and a .388 wOBA, but that .268 BABiP screams fluke. Now, lower BABiPs don’t always mean a bounce-back. Players age, and as they do, bats slow down and fail to hit the ball as hard. Batters, unlike pitchers (well, sort of, but that’s another post), have some control over their BABiPs, but Teixeira’s career norm sits at an average .303 clip. But is he starting to slip? In order to find out, we can calculate his xBABiP (expected BABiP based on the amount of line drives, fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups), and when we do so, Teixeira comes out at .304 for the past season. That basically means that he got jobbed a little last season, and we can expect his batting average, in particular, to rebound. Considering he walked at a very nice 13.1% rate last season, his batting average and on-base percentage should go back toward career norms next season. An improvement in his BABiP may also help his SLG and ISO if the balls drop in the gaps, but it would also help if his HR rate went back up 2%, which at age 31 should be quite possible.

Defensively, Teixeira is well-regarded, but his UZR/150s have placed him as around average, though Sean Smith’s system holds him in higher regard. He has continued to bounce around the same numbers over the past few seasons, and I would believe that he would continue to be about the same for this upcoming season.

Overall, I like the FANS projection of 5 fWAR for next season, which would provide around $25 million in value. Last season seems to be just one of those seasons when things work against the player, and I’d say Tex may even clear that 5-win barrier.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading R-E-R-E-B-R-E-B-O-U-N-D: Rebound for Tex and A-Rod?

What might the Yankees expect to get out of Brandon Laird in 2011?

Reader Wayne mentioned Brandon Laird in the comments the other day, and as a minor leaguer who (a) we’ve never written anything about, and (b) might possibly contribute to the big league club at some point, he seems worth spending a few minutes on. Here’s what Wayne had to say about Laird: “I saw him play for the Trenton Thunder, and I liked his bat a lot, but he’s a bit of an abomination in the infield. (He only had a couple of chances in the two or three games I saw him play, and he handled all of those Continue reading What might the Yankees expect to get out of Brandon Laird in 2011?

The hits just keep on comin'

Not sure what’s in the water over there, but it seems like every time I visit FanGraphs they (a) have a new writer; (b) said new writer is delivering incredibly interesting content in multiple parts; and (c) they’re knocking pretty much everything out of the park. The following nonet of pieces caught my eye, and are very much worth checking out:Who is the most valuable player in baseball, part 1Who is the most valuable player in baseball, part 2Return of the two-division format, part 1Return of the two-division format, part 2We’re going streaking, part 1We’re going streaking, part 2Starting pitcher Continue reading The hits just keep on comin'

The AL East Is Just Ridiculous

Last night was one heck of a night for the AL East. On a seemingly quiet night in the middle of winter, two teams in the AL East made moves that drastically altered the outlook of their teams. Toronto moved Vernon Wells and his entire contract to Los Angeles in exchange for Mike Napoli. Tampa Bay was also active, signing Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon for a combined $7.75 million. Let’s take a look at how this alters the division.

Toronto Trades Vernon Wells to Los Angeles Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera

I’ve called moves dumb before. This wasn’t dumb–it defies logic. You know what, that doesn’t describe it. This move was incomprehensibly moronic. I’m not even sure that covers it. When you make a trade, you try to get reallocate resources, getting equal value for what you’re giving up while filling holes. What LA did was create a hole at catcher while getting more expensive and slightly better in the outfield. Halos Heaven is right–this doesn’t deserve formal analysis, but I’ll do it anyway.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The AL East Is Just Ridiculous

Derek’s new digs

It’s been a busy week for Derek Jeter’s real estate broker. Earlier this week we heard that Yankee captain Derek Jeter is selling his Trump Tower penthouse for a mere 20 mil. I’ll guess with that huge pay cut he took he’s going to have to stay at the local YMCA when the team is in town. Now, we learn that from Tampa Bay Online that Derek’s new home in Tampa is finished. At first blush it may seem a big, but its my understanding he plans to rent it out for weddings during the season. “You know what’s the Continue reading Derek’s new digs