No Love for Valentine

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

Bobby Valentine is the new manager of the Boston Red Sox. For a franchise trying to overcome the perception of dysfunction, that might not have been the best decision. Valentine is alternately one of the most revered and hated managers in all of baseball, so his presence in the volatile powder keg of Red Sox Nation is sure to provide a spark. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is matter of wildly varying degrees of perspective.

Is Boston ready for the song and dance that usually accompanies Bobby Valentine? (Photo: AP)

During his long managerial career, Bobby Valentine has probably made as many enemies as he has won games. And, it hasn’t taken long for some of them to rear their heads. One former adversary, blogger-extraordinaire Murray Chass, recently suggested (with stats to back it up) the Red Sox hired themselves a bona fide loser. Of course, Chass’ post is dripping with personal dislike for Valentine, not to mention disdain for his former employer the New York Times, so his sentiments can be taken with a grain of salt.… Click here to read the rest

Just Say No To Matt Thornton

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

As the Hot Stove season continues to be lukewarm for the Yankees, people are starting to get a little antsy and understandably so.  There’s only so long we as fans and bloggers can wait to see which free agents the Yankees sign and what killer trades Cash makes to build the team up to the 160-2 juggernaut we all wish it would be next year.  But when the talk starts turning back to mid-30s lefty specialist relievers and there is serious analysis being done on the most expensive one, that’s where the line from “antsy” gets crossed and we start jumping into ‘bizarro world” territory.

So to everybody out there who’s reading the chatter and rumors and analysis, and either seriously considering wanting Matt Thornton in the bullpen next year or already craving him, let me say this.

Stop it.  Just stop it.  The Yankees don’t need Matt Thornton in the bullpen next season anymore than they need A.J.Click here to read the rest

Trade Match Series-Chad Billingsley

Chad 'not living up to his' Billing-sley

Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.

What do the Dodgers need?

Mostly they need to improve their offense, which ranked 11th in wOBA in the NL. (C) Rod Barajas is a free agent, and fringe players like Dioner Navarro and AJ Ellis saw significant time behind the plate last year. An everyday catcher who can rake would be a coup. Right now they’re saying Juan Uribe will play 3B in 2012, but after posting a dismal .250 wOBA in 2011 that seems like a stretch.… Click here to read the rest

Deconstructing Freddy

That leaves us with Freddy. Oh, the things that can be said about Freddy. In retrospect, I actually think his 2011 season has been a bit overrated (an FIP- of 99 over 146 innings isn’t bad, by any means, but it’s not world beating by any means), but solid is solid, and Garcia certainly outperformed everyone’s expectations for him. If nothing else, you can legitimately say that it began to feel like the Yankees had a good chance to win every time he took the mound for a start, and that’s not nothing for a pitcher like Garcia.

So can he repeat his 2011 performance next season? I’m skeptical. 2011 was a clear outlier in Garcia’s career trend line, and though the bottom line performance was good, the underlying peripherals weren’t really there. Consider this illustration of Garcia’s career arc (only years in which Garcia pitched at least 100 innings are included, and since 2004 was the last time Garcia struck out at least six batter per nine innings, the table starts in 2005):

As you can see, 2011 sticks out like a sore thumb, and the numbers that really reach out and grab you are the home run rates,
which went down noticeably, and the groundball rates, which went down even more noticeably.… Click here to read the rest

Trade Match Series-Matt Cain

Matthew Thomas Cain

 

Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.

 

What do the Giants need?

Offense, hitting and sprinkle in some bats. Despite playing in a division that houses the perennially weak San Diego Padres, the San Francisco Giants managed to score the fewest runs in their division. But that’s easy to do when you score the fewest runs in the entire National League, which they did by a margin of 23 Runs.  

What do the Giants have in their farm system?

A few good pitchers in RHRP Heath Hembree and LHSP Eric Surkamp.… Click here to read the rest

New draft rules even worse than anticipated

Obviously, there’s no team development justification for this policy. If a team can’t get a pick signed, especially a high pick, it would only make sense for them to reallocate that budget money towards making sure to get other picks signed. At the end of the day it’s the same amount of money budgeted, and depending on how spread out the reallocation is, it probably doesn’t even make much of a difference at the margin. This is even more true if a team can’t get a top round pick signed, as they can then attempt to stockpile lower round talent at cheaper marginal prices and hope one or two of them pan out. It can’t be stated enough that good players routinely get drafted and sign well after the first few rounds of the draft, including all-time greats like Albert Pujols, who was taken in the 13th round. Anyone think the Cardinals have spent the last decade bemoaning how much money they had to spend to sign him in the draft?… Click here to read the rest

Prospect Spotlight: Gary Sanchez

For a young man who won’t turn 19 until Friday, it feels like catching prospect Gary Sanchez has been in the Yankee organization for a while. Sanchez burst onto the scene as a 17 year-old in rookie ball, tearing up the league with a .353/.419/.597 line, drawing raves for his power and hitting ability. He was named the #30 prospect in all of the minor leagues by Baseball America after his 2010 season, an impressive ranking for a teenager who had yet to play in full season ball. With Jesus Montero‘s defensive ability in question, it wasn’t too hard to envision Sanchez as the Yankees’ catcher of the future.

Sanchez’s great 2010 debut was not without its warts, however.  Reports on his defense were mixed, as he gave up 16 passed balls and threw out 26 percent of runners attempting to steal.  However, many prognosticators believed that Sanchez had the defensive tools to become a solid defensive catcher, and were not too worried about his future behind the plate.… Click here to read the rest

The "Break the CBA" IFA Option

Amid news that the money available to the near-hard capped draft will be a bit lower than expected, I wrote yesterday that the Yankees should pin their hopes, and their money, on a free agency strategy. I admit that a much more creative option did not come to mind until SEHumphrey made the following comment:

I’ve been thinking about the CBA a bit, and it to me that it has limited negative effect on the Yankees. In particular, the international signings seem like a place where they can really just destroy the other teams with limited consequences.

Honestly, this could in theory work. It’ll never happen, for reasons I’ll outline below, but it’s a theoretical strategy. Let’s review the CBA structure:

  • For international free agents, teams will get an overall budget based upon last year’s standings. Teams may sign any number of players using that budget.
  • If your team exceeds the budget, you face a luxury tax. If your team exceeds the threshold by a certain amount, they will be barred from signing any player for more than $250,000 in the next signing period.
Click here to read the rest