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 been a big fan of Brian Cashman’s. There are moves with which I probably disagreed, but most of the things he’s done have helped the team, especially in the last few years. Essentially, I’ve had almost no major problems with how Cashman has constructed his team. But after the process that led to the Soriano deal, I’m wondering if 2011 is going to be the last year we see Brian Cashman working for the New York Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

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, and in addition to being a lifelong Yankee fan I also run a sabermetrically-obsessed Yankee blog called Yankeeist, which has grown into a fairly well-known entity among Internet-savvy Yankee fans since its launch in September of 2009.

I’ve always been a staunch advocate of yours, and have defended all of your moves throughout this offseason in spite of growing fan unrest — I admit, even I was ready to criticize when the Rafael Soriano news came through, but then it turned out that it wasn’t your move, which was satisfying (albeit somewhat troubling that ownership went ahead with it anyway despite your protests).… Click here to read the rest

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 Jeter this winter, I believe that Cashman, left to his own means, would’ve offered the Yankee captain no more than a one-year deal with a vesting option and been perfectly content to go with Edwin Nunez as his starting shortstop this year.”

I for one look forward to learning more about the Yankees’ brand new shortstop, Edwin Nunez.… Click here to read the rest

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 nothing

Some of us always knew this. If you’ve ever listened to someone like Marvin Miller explain the rationale behind the establishment of free agent rights with the 1970 Curt Flood Supreme Court case and Andy Messersmith being the first to declare back in 1975, it was to give players the right to play wherever they want at a certain point of their career. … Click here to read the rest

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

Rodriguez’s situation isn’t quite as promising, and that’s mainly due to his age. Entering his age-36 season, Rodriguez has a bad hip and 16 full seasons under his belt, but even with that bad news, Rodriguez is still one of the game’s best players when he steps on the field. Last season was his worst full season, but he was still worth 4 wins. A .278 BABiP was also his worst, and that could be a sign of the end if his xBABiP was not .319. Rodriguez, however, saw a severe dip in his LD% to 13.8 (career 17.8%), and his xBABiP was brought back up due to a similar increase in groundballs, which find holes more than flyballs do. His HR/FB% also fell, to 17.1% (career 23.1%), and the signs seem to point toward losing bat speed. Augmenting that belief, Rodriguez’s damage done to fastballs dropped to a 2002-2010 low 17.2 wFB (runs produced when hitting a fastball), which is quite a bit lower than his average 31.3 runs.… Click here to read the rest

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 chances, but I believe he had a ton of errors at third.)

I understand the Yankees are trying to groom Laird as an outfielder to increase his versatility. I hope he can cut it in the outfield. I think he could be a nice fourth outfielder and emergency infielder in the future. There’s even a chance he could be a full-time corner outfielder some day, either here or somewhere, if he continues to mature as a hitter.… Click here to read the rest

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 1

Who is the most valuable player in baseball, part 2
Return of the two-division format, part 1
Return of the two-division format, part 2
We’re going streaking, part 1
We’re going streaking, part 2
Starting pitcher disabled list analysis, part 1
Starting pitcher disabled list analysis, part 2
Starting pitcher disabled list analysis, part 3

Mike tackled the idea of Divisional Realignment last year, and I’ve been meaning to write a follow-up post of my own on the topic but have gotten sidelined with something else pretty much every time.… Click here to read the rest

The AL East Is Just Ridiculous

Mike Napoli was worth almost 3 wins in each of the past three seasons, and if he could get 130+ games at catcher in Toronto (LAA notoriously kept him out of the lineup in favor of Jeff Mathis), he could easily be worth 4. If the Blue Jays move him to first, his All-Star bat becomes below-average while also being bad defensively, and while his defense behind the plate isn’t good, his bat is so much more valuable relative to the others at his position that it doesn’t even get close to mattering. Juan Rivera isn’t much, but he should give the Blue Jays 1.5-2 wins next season. If he sees his offense jump while moving to the Rogers Centre, he could be trade bait by July. Actually, both players are likely to be trade bait, and even if they fail, the Blue Jays saved $6-7 million dollars for the opportunity. Hell, with the money saved, could they be in on Albert Pujols?… Click here to read the rest

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 great thing about living on the water? You only have a**holes on three sides of you. And if they come from that way, you can hear them splash”-George Carlin

Apparently, Derek’s favorite story as a child was ‘Three Little Piggies’

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a rusted out 72 Ford Pinto on wheel blocks in front of this joint?… Click here to read the rest