Yankees Pursuing Duchscherer

Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Yankees have stepped up their support of former A’s pitcher Justin Duchscherer. The Yankees were interested in Duchscherer back at the 2009 trade deadline, but could not work out a deal with the A’s at the time. I advocated the potential move at the time, and I would endorse bringing him on board now.

It is hard to question Justin’s ability as a pitcher. Here is a brief scouting report on Duke from 2009, written by Joe Pawlikowski of RAB:

Duchscherer is a cut fastball (high 80s, low 90s), overhand curve, slider type pitcher. He strikes out a decent number of guys, around 8 per nine as a reliever and was at 6 per nine as a starter in 2008. He also doesn’t walk many people, 1.5 per nine as a reliever in 2006 and 2.2 per nine as a starter in 08. Even better, he keeps the ball in the park, allowing less than a homer per nine over most of his career.

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Murray Chass vs. Baseball Orthodoxy?

So first and foremost we’ve caught Murray doing indisputably biased journalism. He didn’t email Forman in good faith to get an explanation about WAR, he emailed him to get some sort of a quote he could use to make sneering references to the sabermetric community. It was a set up, and when Forman didn’t give him anything useful, he went ahead and made it anyway.And, of course, later on he continues his campaign of unsubstantiated allegations of steroid use against Mike Piazza, which is Bad Journalism 101 (though I did appreciate reading blogger Murray Chass favorably citing blogger Jeff Pearlman as evidence). So at least we probably have a good idea why Chass is forced to publish only on his own blog; no one else wants anything to do with his standard-less blogging.

But the more damning thing, and the thing that lets me finally put Murray Chass to bed once and for all, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s nothing but a reactionary troll playing to an audience of reactionary anti-saber readers, is the notion that Chass disagrees with the idea that, offense being relatively equal, players who field positions in the middle of the field are more valuable than those who field the corners.… Click here to read the rest

Steroids, the 90s, and the Hall of Fame

We all know by now that Jeff Bagwell was snubbed on his first hall of fame ballot by the BBWAA. The collective excuse seems to have been that he was just too fit, too shaped, too good to not be taking steroids. At no point has Bagwell’s name ever been connected with steroids in any way, shape or form, but he was a big, strong hitter in the 1990s, so he is guilty until proven innocent.

Jeff Bagwell will not be the last victim of this newfound righteous indignation, and at some point he will probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but hopefully the ridiculousness of his case calls attention to the stupidity of the BBWAA’s voters and voting process. Jeff Bagwell’s only sin was that he played during the 1990s, a time when offense soared in the majors in part because of steroid use.

Here is the argument I would like to make: No player should be denied entry to the Hall of Fame because of steroid use – suspected, confirmed, whatever.… Click here to read the rest

Interest in Jones Growing

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees’ interest in Andruw Jones has grown and is now classified as “strong.” Steve S. delved into Jones earlier, so consider this an extension of the case for and/or against Jones.

The MLBTR post mentions that the Yankees want a right handed hitter who can handle left and center field. Can Jones still do that? More or less, yeah.

In 2009, Jones was even against righties (.337 wOBA) and lefties (.336 wOBA). In 2010, there was a more pronounced split, but both numbers were good: .342 vs. RHP and .402 vs. LHP. 2009 is a closer representation of Jones’ platoon numbers, though. His career numbers are .355 vs. LHP and .352 vs. RHP. Andruw’s fielding numbers have been solid, too. So, should the Yankees keep going with this? Should their interest be strong? Yes, it should.

Jones is exactly the type of bench outfielder that the Yankees need. As I noted in the comments section of Steve’s piece, the Yankees have cheap options like Greg Golson and Brandon Laird, but both of those represent extreme unknowns at this point.… Click here to read the rest

A granular PitchFX look at Alex Rodriguez's bizarre reverse platoon split in 2010

It’s no secret that Alex Rodriguez produced the lowest full-season wOBA of his career in 2010 — his .363 mark was fueled by career-lows in batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.341) and the second-lowest full-season SLG of his career (.506). That these numbers were not only dramatically off from his superb 2009 (.286/.402/.532; .405 wOBA) but his majestic career triple slash (.303/.387/.571) suggests to me that he should be due for a reasonable bounceback. While it’s not impossible Alex has reached an irreversible decline, he’s been too historically good for me to be willing to write him off just yet. I won’t go so far as to proclaim that the Yankees are going to be getting .400-plus-wOBA A-Rod back, but as I’ve noted on at least one occasion this offseason, all A-Rod needs to do is exercise just a tad more patience and a wOBA in the .380s should be more than doable.

However, one curious aspect of A-Rod’s disappointing 2010 that I haven’t seen explored too in depth anywhere is the bizarre reverse platoon split/vanishing act he pulled against lefties.… Click here to read the rest

Can the Yankees Sign Soriano Without Surrendering A Draft Pick?

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog.)

During the entire off season, the Yankees have been stymied in their attempt to add a starting pitcher. First, Cliff Lee eschewed their hefty contract offer because of the apparent belief that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and then Zack Greinke and Matt Garza were both traded to the friendly confines of the NL Central. Making matters worse, Andy Pettitte has spent most of the winter on a beach in Hawaii instead of his gym back in Texas, leaving Brian Cashman with little alternative than to patiently bide his time. Well, it’s time for him to make a master stroke.

Aside from hoping that Pettitte has a change of heart, the Yankees seem destined to enter the season with a compromised rotation. Without any viable starting pitchers to pursue at this point, the idea of locking down the late innings by adding Rafael Soriano to the backend of the bullpen has surfaced.… Click here to read the rest