Links: Darvish, Cashman On Burnett, Gardner's and Martin's Defense, Cito Culver

There were a few interesting articles today that I wanted to highlight:

1) Here Comes Darvish

From Joel Sherman:

One player the Yankees have scouted heavily is Yu Darvish. And there is strong belief around the game that the top starter in Japan will, indeed, be posted this offseason and come to the States.
“He is coming, period,” one personnel man said.
The Yankees have had sour experience with high-profile Japanese pitchers Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, whose five-year contract finally expires this year. And the last can’t-miss Japanese pitcher to come to the majors, Daisuke Matsuzaka, was hardly a bonanza for the Red Sox.
So you wonder if there will be greater financial caution with Darvish this winter or will the hunger for pitching motivate teams to bid. I will say this, I have not sensed that the Igawa experience will take the Yankees, for example, out of the Japanese market place.

I am glad that a poor experience with Igawa has not altered the Yankees’ view of Darvish.… Click here to read the rest

Meeting baseball’s Yoda in San Diego

Mr. Garcia began his baseball career in 1938 when the St. Louis Browns signed him. While he never reached the majors as a player, he later managed the California Angels and Cleveland Indians from 1977 to 1982. Mr. Garcia is nearly 91 years old, born in East St. Louis, Ill., in 1920. He told me that he never really had to work a day in his life because he loved the game so much he never considered it working. “The only time I worked was in the offseason,” he said. “I had to carry 300 pounds of meat up the stairs.”

I started to take notes but he told me to put my pen down. I didn’t want to see a pitch. I just wanted to talk with him all day. He talked about how much the game has changed and how he saw Lou Gehrig play. He was like a little baseball Yoda. But just like that, he was gone, and I didn’t see him again.… Click here to read the rest

How well-rounded are the 2011 Yankees compared to previous Yankee teams?

Four men, 18.5 total fWAR.

This past Sunday RAB’s Stephen Rhoads took a look at the 2011 Yankee team offense’s place in baseball’s Expansion Era. Given this year’s team’s lethal offensive attack (currently sitting at a robust 119 wRC+) as well as the fact that the team has pitched far better than anyone could have ever hoped for — due in part to an absurdly strong bullpen — and also anecdotally seems to boast one of the better baserunning games in the league, Stephen’s post inspired me to take a look at just how well-rounded this 2011 Yankee team actually is, compared to previous Yankee teams instead of as opposed to other teams.

I decided to go back to 1969, as this marks the beginning of the League Championship Series era, giving us a relatively comparable period of time. The following charts delineate various components of historical Yankee statistics relating to the offense, starting pitching, relief pitching, defense and baserunning.… Click here to read the rest

Will Selig cause a work stoppage in baseball?

But maybe I was wrong, because Selig is apparently losing his mind over the issue:

While the Nationals and Pirates were patting themselves on the back for jobs well done after their amateur draft signings, baseball commissioner Bud Selig wasn’t nearly as impressed. According to people in attendance at the owners meetings in Cooperstown, the two teams were singled out by Selig for overspending.

Selig’s pet project is to institute a hard cap for baseball’s drafted amateur players. This year’s draft, which featured a total guaranteed haul of $236 million, according to Baseball America draft and signing guru Jim Callis, was up 17 percent from last year, giving Selig more ammunition to press hard for a firm cap in this year’s CBA negotiations.

“[Selig] is more determined than ever to get slotting,” one person who knows Selig well said.

The implications of this are mind blowing. Bud Selig basically just openly committed collusion by chastising two franchises for their decisions about spending on players.… Click here to read the rest

Waiver wire wishing?

Yesterday, word came down that a bunch of players were put on waivers with some likely to clear soon. The list includes Jim Thome, Wandy Rodriguez, Heath Bell, Carlos Pena, and Jason Kubel. Each one of those players could help the Yankees in some tangible capacity.

Heath Bell would add to an already lethal late-game/high-leverage bullpen combination of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, and Mariano Rivera (and, let’s be honest, Boone Logan who’s pitched well of late). However, Bell indicated before that he would consider accepting arbitration. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world because he’s making just $7.5M this year, though a raise to double figures is more than possible. That would mean three relievers making double-digit million dollar salaries and that’s not an efficient use of funds. There are some notable relievers set to be available, including Jonathan Papelbon and Francisco Rodriguez, but Bell would definitely be head of the class.… Click here to read the rest

Taking stock of the October rotation

Here’s the basic outline of the situation: The Yankees have six starting pitchers, three available spots, and four candidates for those slots. The math for this is simple; the Yankees will carry a four-man rotation at some point, C.C. Sabathia is already guaranteed one of them, and A.J. Burnett has absolutely no chance at one. That last part may be a bit presumptuous of me, but even if the Yankees had been leaning towards keeping Burnett in the regular season five man rotation, at this point it’s simply not fathomable that they’d consider giving him a postseason start, especially after the Muck-up in Minnesota. So that leaves us with Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes vying for three available positions, with the odd man out probably going to the bullpen for the tournament.

At the moment, I actually think this is pretty much a wide open competition for the rest of the season. Not one of these guys strike me as someone who should have a postseason start guaranteed to them, or even someone with an obvious inside line on one, for that matter.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. A's III: Thank you, MLB schedule-makers

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I don’t know who the Yankees have to thank, but after three games against the Royals and four against the Twins, the Bombers not only get to come back home and play the A’s this week, a team they basically dominate just as much as they do the Twins, but then get five games against the O’s at Camden yards this weekend!. Per RAB, the Yankees are 59-19 against Ron Gardenhire‘s Twins (including the playoffs), and by my own calculations 53-35 against Oakland during that same time period, including an insane 26-5 since the beginning of 2008.

When the Yankees last saw the A’s a month ago they were sporting an 83 wRC+, but things have picked up a bit for Oakland over the last 30 days, as they now sit at 91 wRC+ and have gotten their team wOBA above .300. Still, though one might be able to get away with that kind of low-scoring effort in the National League, that kind of offensive ineptitude could get a GM killed in the AL.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report 08/22/11 – Montero goes nuts

Double-A Trenton beat New Hampshire, 4-3
Trenton scored three runs in the top of the first, a Melky Mesa double the big hit, and held on to win. Austin Krum, Austin Romine, and Jose Pirela were all 2-for-4, and Cory Arbiso gave up five hits and two runs, along with three strikeouts, over six innings.

Short Season Staten Island beat Lowell, 3-1
Staten Island scored single runs in the second and third, on a Cody Grice RBI single and an error by Lowell, and held on. Angelo Gumbs was 2-for-5, both of those hits doubles, and Reymond Nunez doubled twice as well. Bryan Mitchell gave up five hits, four walks, and struck out five over four scoreless innings, while Branden Pinder got the save for two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. … Click here to read the rest