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

Jays jettison Yankee Killer Vernon Wells while Tampa Bay goes all 2004 Red Sox and signs both Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon

I step away from the Internet for two hours only to come back and find that two of the Yankees’ AL East rivals have made a handful of notable moves.

First up, the Toronto Blue Jays apparently traded Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. I’m having a hard time figuring this deal out from the Angels’ perspective — the Jays are undoubtedly thrilled to be free of Wells’ contract, and they’re getting not one but two pretty serviceable players in return. Wells started last season out on fire before cooling off some and finishing with a .362 wOBA — his highest mark since 2006. Bill James has Wells falling to a .345 wOBA in 2011 (as do the Fans). Despite occasionally showing flashes of brilliance, Wells has had a fairly disappointing MLB career, with a .346 wOBA and 108 OPS+ — basically slightly above above-average.

Napoli’s one of the better-hitting catchers in the league, although his .340 wOBA was the lowest of his five-year career and has been trending downward the last three seasons.… Click here to read the rest

A look at the Yankees’ projected 25-man roster

With the signing of Andruw Jones as a dangerous bench bat/4th outfielder, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a look at the possible composition of the Yankees’ likely 25-man roster, if the season were to begin today.    Most of the spots are set at this point, but there are a few that may still be up for grabs.  Let’s take a look first at the players who either definitely have spots on the team, or are most likely to.

Postion Players

Definite: Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Andruw Jones.  (10)

Likely:  Francisco Cervelli, Ramiro Pena (2)

Starting Pitchers

Definite:  CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes (3)

Likely:  Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre (2)

Relief Pitchers

Definite:  Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Pedro Feliciano, Boone Logan (6)

This yields a total of 23 likely occupied spots on the 25-man.  One of the two remaining spots will likely go to a position player, and the other to a bullpen arm/long reliever. … Click here to read the rest

More on the “messed up Joba”

Joe Tetreault brought the logic on the subject:

Small sample size caveats apply. In August and September, Chamberlain made 28 appearances, had a 2.36 ERA and held opponents to a .200/.245/.350 batting line, facing 106 batters. Does that say he’s fine? Of course not. But the notion that Chamberlain is a busted commodity overstates things by a damn sight. Small samples size caveats off. He’s 25 years old, has pitched 353.1 innings in the major leagues and owns an ERA of 3.77 and a K/9 of 9.2. Exactly how is it that we regard him as being messed up badly?

The only way the Yankees will truly mess up with regards to Chamberlain is if they listen to their fans and media types who insist he can’t make it in the Bronx and sell him off for fifty cents on the dollar.

Amen brother. Amen.

Some Joba-related splits to nibble on:

Split G SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
1st Half 84 2.20 .264 .349 .387 .736 .335
2nd Half 82 3.05 .234 .302 .369 .671 .295
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table; Generated 1/21/2011.
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The Readiness of the Killer B’s

ESPN New York writer Wallace Matthews and I had a civil back and forth Wednesday and Thursday over the readiness of the Yankees’ trio of starting pitching prospects Manny Banuelos, Andrew Brackman, and Dellin Betances. Matthews indicated, with no real justification, that the Yankees feel both Banuelos and Betances are more ready to contribute than Brackman is. Matthews indicated that this isn’t his personal feeling, but the organization’s. Either way, I’ve got to disagree here.

Betances and Brackman are both on the 40-man roster as of right now, and Betances has more innings pitched, but he’s also been in the system longer. It’s worth nothing that Betances has 299 minor league innings since 2006 while Brackman has 247.1 between just 2009 and 2010. Banuelos, for the record, has 215.2.

In terms of innings, we’ve got to give the advantage to Brackman, and that’s the biggest factor when thinking about readiness for the Major Leagues. Since having Tommy John Surgery, Brackman’s had back to back years of 100+ innings pitched (106.2 in ’09, 140.2 in ’10).… Click here to read the rest

Is Joba Really Messed Up?

More than anything, Joba is a victim of a narrative, or multiple narratives, that are just completely impervious to fact. Look at the widespread belief that he had such a bad year last season, despite the fact that his final numbers were quite good; striking out over 9 batters per nine innings and posting an FIP of 2.98. Yeah his ERA was high, but so was his BABIP at .342. But he did start the season out horribly, and after that no one noticed that he finished strong, the narrative was already cast. The Yankees had “screwed him up,” and he was never going to be the pitcher he was in 2007 ever again.

And you know what? There’s some truth to that. Joba Chamberlain will never be the pitcher he was in 2007 ever again, and if I had to bet money on it, the safe bet is that no one will. Because the numbers Joba put up in his brief Major League stint in 2007 are just mind boggling.… Click here to read the rest

A different way to look at the performance of starting pitchers

When baseball analysts talk about pitchers they cite a number of familiar statistics: ERA, FIP, WHIP and ERA+, for example. These are all valuable metrics, but they don’t accurately portray the modern game. With the exception of WHIP, these stats are scaled to nine innings. This made sense when pitchers were often called upon to pitch entire games, but today pitchers seldom pitch the full nine frames. As a result, a statistic such as ERA, probably the statistic in baseball cited to describe the quality of a pitcher more frequently than anything else, doesn’t entirely capture a starting pitcher’s effectiveness.

Let’s take two hypothetical pitchers as an example. Pitcher A, the good pitcher, averages exactly six innings each start, and has an ERA of 3.00. If he starts 34 games in a season he’ll accumulate 204 total innings and figures to be somewhere in the Cy Young conversation (although he won’t win it). This is about the level Cole Hamels performed at in 2010.… Click here to read the rest

Is Andruw Jones a HOFer?

With the Yanks officially signing Andruw Jones yesterday, I took a look at his numbers and began to wonder if he has date with Cooperstown in his future. He was an elite player with the bat during his prime, and his reputation as a CF is well known. At first glance, his offensive numbers seem to fall a bit short, but his outsized reputation as the games best defender at a premium defensive position made me think the modern defensive metrics and WAR that take defense into account might be more kind to him. Here’s his offensive numbers courtesy of BR:

Year                      Age            Tm            Lg    G   PA   AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB   SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+   TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB   Pos      Awards
1996                       19           ATL            NL   31  113  106   11   23   7  1   5   13   3  0   7   29 .217 .265 .443 .709   79   47   1   0  0  0   0                98
1997                       20           ATL            NL  153  467  399   60   92  18  1  18   70  20 11  56  107 .231 .329 .416 .745   93  166  11   4  5  3   2 *98/7       RoY-5
1998                       21           ATL            NL  159  631  582   89  158  33  8  31   90  27  4  40  129 .271 .321 .515 .836  116  300  10   4  1  4   8    *8          GG
1999                       22           ATL            NL  162  679  592   97  163  35  5  26   84  24 12  76  103 .275 .365 .483 .848  113  286  12   9  0  2  11    *8          GG
2000                       23           ATL            NL  161  729  656  122  199  36  6  36  104  21  6  59  100 .303 .366 .541 .907  125  355  12   9  0  5   0    *8   ASMVP-8GG
2001                       24           ATL            NL  161  693  625  104  157  25  2  34  104  11  4  56  142 .251 .312 .461 .772   94  288  10   3  0  9   3    *8          GG
2002                       25           ATL            NL  154  659  560   91  148  34  0  35   94   8  3  83  135 .264 .366 .513 .878  127  287  14  10  0  6   4  *8/D  ASMVP-16GG
2003                       26           ATL            NL  156  659  595  101  165  28  2  36  116   4  3  53  125 .277 .338 .513 .851  117  305  18   5  0  6   2    *8  ASMVP-13GG
2004                       27           ATL            NL  154  646  570   85  149  34  4  29   91   6  6  71  147 .261 .345 .488 .833  112  278  24   3  0  2   9    *8          GG
2005                       28           ATL            NL  160  672  586   95  154  24  3  51  128   5  3  64  112 .263 .347 .575 .922  136  337  19  15  0  7  13    *8 ASMVP-2GGSS
2006                       29           ATL            NL  156  669  565  107  148  29  0  41  129   4  1  82  127 .262 .363 .531 .894  126  300  13  13  0  9   9  *8/D  ASMVP-11GG
2007                       30           ATL            NL  154  659  572   83  127  27  2  26   94   5  2  70  138 .222 .311 .413 .724   87  236  16   8  0  9   4    *8          GG
2008                       31           LAD            NL   75  238  209   21   33   8  1   3   14   0  1  27   76 .158 .256 .249 .505   35   52   5   1  0  1   0               8/D
2009                       32           TEX            AL   82  331  281   43   60  18  0  17   43   5  1  45   72 .214 .323 .459 .782  100  129   7   2  0  3   3             D7/39
2010                       33           CHW            AL  107  328  278   41   64  12  1  19   48   9  2  45   73 .230 .341 .486 .827  119  135  15   3  0  2   0              987D
15 Seasons         15 Seasons    15 Seasons    15 Seasons 2025 8173 7176 1150 1840 368 36 407 1222 152 59 834 1615 .256 .338 .488 .826  111 3501 187  89  6 68                    68
162 Game Avg.
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The Accidental Budget

My best guess is that the Yankees will end up with an Opening Day payroll of around $206 million.

So, here’s our headline: the Yankees are holding the line on spending — in their own way.  The Yankees have the largest payroll in baseball, but this payroll has remained relatively constant for the last 7 years.  Since 2005, the Yankees’ opening day payroll has averaged around $203 million, never exceeding this amount by more than $10 million.

The Yankees’ spending restraint can be seen in the team’s “luxury tax”, the penalty the Yankees have to pay each year as a result of exceeding spending limits set forth in baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.  In 2010, the Yankees’ luxury tax bill was “only” $18 million – the Yankees’ lowest tax amount since the inception of the tax in 2003 (when the Yankees were paying tax at a lower rate).

OK, sure.  If the Yankees had signed Cliff Lee, their opening day payroll would be at or above the record $230 million figure I projected late last year. … Click here to read the rest