Fun with WAR projections: Pitcher edition

It’s projection season around the baseball blogosphere. So, why not look at some of the projections out there and see what that gives us in terms of WAR. For this exercise, I’ll be using the Bill James projections, which some guy we know compiled here. To attempt to get the WARs, I’ll use this spreadhseet

CC Sabathia: CC’s projected for 235 innings of 3.30 FIP ball. That, per the spreadsheet, would give us a WAR of 6.5. Shocking.

Ivan Nova: James pegs Nova for a 4.11 FIP in 183 innings, leading to a projected WAR of 3.1. I’d be beyond thrilled with that.

Phil Hughes: Like Larry said in his article, the innings total is a little screwy, but I punched it in anyway: 102 innings at a 3.82 FIP projects out to 2.1 WAR. I won’t hold my breath on that FIP from Hughes, but I’d obviously take it.

A.J. Burnett: 173 innings, 4.36 FIP, 2.4 WAR.… Click here to read the rest

Is Matt Garza the Yankees answer?

The sticky issue is likely to be the Cubs’ asking price. The North Siders have a lot of dead money on their books they’d like to move if they can, but their situation probably isn’t so bad that Theo Epstein and Co. are under orders to cut payroll this year. Plus, Garza is still in his arbitration eligibility period, so while he isn’t extremely cheap, he’s not so expensive that trading him as a salary dump move makes any sense. If the Cubs are interested in trading him, the goal would have to be bringing some good young talent into an organization that’s lacking in that area as they attempt to rebuild, and where the Yankees are concerned, that means one player would certainly be on the Cubs’ radar: Jesus Montero.

Frankly, the important question when considering the price for any attractive pitcher on the trade market is going to be “would you trade Jesus for them?” Does Garza fit that bill?… Click here to read the rest

Tal Smith’s Ouster Ends Era in Houston Baseball; Was Part of Link Between Yanks and Astros

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

Jim Crane has begun his tenure as Houston Astros’ owner, and the franchise’s 50th year, by firing Tal Smith, a long-time baseball executive who had been with the team off and on since its inception. Although the more significant move was the dismissal of general manager Ed Wade, whose four years in Houston were punctuated by losing, Smith’s pink slip symbolically represents a new era in Houston baseball.

Astros' GM Ed Wade (c.) and President Tal Smith (r.) will not be a part of the new era in Houston baseball.

Older Yankees’ fans might recall that Tal Smith served as the team’s executive vice president and right hand man to de facto GM Gabe Paul from 1973 to 1975. However, the relationship between Paul and Smith went back long before the two joined forces in the Bronx. The two men first met in 1960, when a then 27 year-old Smith was trying to land his first job in baseball.… Click here to read the rest

Part 2: A New Yankee Strategy Post-CBA

Last week, I voiced my complaints about the new CBA. It’s a horrible document that will harm baseball, but it’s a document that is now baseball reality. The Yankees have to learn to live with it, and need to readjust their strategy to win in the new environment.

The Yankees have a pretty difficult goal: perennial contention. They want to make the playoffs 90% of the time, and have a shot at the World Series. They do not go into rebuilding mode, and will almost never be sellers at the trade deadline.

I think we have a pretty good handle on Brian Cashman’s plan to make this a reality before the new CBA. He made selective large free agent investments. He traded for promising but undervalued players. And he acquired highly talented prospects by going over slot at the draft and investing heavily in Latin America, and then spent the money to retain these players through their prime years. The last tactic brought us Robinson Cano, Gary Sanchez, Jesus Montero, Manuel Banuelos and other prospects, while the penultimate tactic brought us Mason Williams, Dellin Betances, Austin Jackson (Curtis Granderson), David Robertson, and tons more players.… Click here to read the rest

If the Yankees make a deal this offseason, who is most likely to go?

On Sunday I wrote a post arguing that the Yankees have a complete, competitive team ready to go right now, with ample slack in the farm system. The point of the post was to draw attention to the fact that the Yankees don’t have to make a move. They’re currently competitive. My colleague here at TYA, Steve S., disagreed in the comments section. He supported his disagreement with Brian Cashman’s quote that he would “sacrifice offense to improve pitching“. For my part, this quote doesn’t convince me as much as it did Steve. My hunch is that the Yankees are always willing to sacrifice their ample offense to improve their more spotty starting pitching, so there is nothing new to analyze here. I’ve been fairly bearish about the likelihood that the Yankees will make a splashy offseason move and remain so.

That said, I do agree with Steve that we can glean some information from Cashman’s quote. We can use it to get a better sense of which Yankee players are more likely to get traded than others, if the Yankees decide to test the trade market.… Click here to read the rest

Baseball is not football part XXVI

What’s more, the teams at the top of the first round didn’t seem particularly concerned with high school bonus demands in the 2011 draft. Eight of the top fourteen picks were high school players, and the Orioles and Royals took a couple of high school players with solid college commitments in Dylan Bundy (Texas) and Bubba Starling (quarterbacking Nebraska), over Anthony Rendon, the top college position player available. Both Bundy and Starling signed, as did Archie Bradley, the 7th overall pick (an unprotected selection, at that), who had a commitment to play both baseball and football at Oklahoma. In other words, it seems the only reason that top prospects are falling is because teams are overestimating how firm their commitments are, when reality suggests that a nine-figure signing bonus looks much better than selling your labor for free (and risking your health and eligibility along the way) to the NCAA.

Secondly, and more importantly, once you get past the first 15-20 picks or so, the logic breaks down entirely for the simple reason that, for as much as Bud Selig desperately wants it to be, the baseball draft just isn’t particularly analogous to the NFL draft.… Click here to read the rest

Life After Mo

While I was eating a leftover lunch yesterday, MLB Network was airing the highlights of the 2009 World Series. Mariano Rivera was talking and a depressing thought that I’d rather ignore dawned on me: at this time next year, it’s possible (probable) that Mo will have announced his retirement (hopefully after another World Series victory). It’s a thought we don’t like to have and luckily, Joe Girardi sort of dispelled it:

As for his own team, Girardi didn’t put much stock into the rumblings that this may Mariano Rivera’s last season. The Yankees’ closer turns 42 on Nov. 29.

“No, not necessarily,” Girardi said, when asked if he had gotten any sense this would be Rivera’s final year. “I think Mo takes it year by year and, depending on how he does, that will determine when it’s time for him to retire.”

I won’t believe either party until there’s something official, but as I think about Life After Mo, I find myself strangely calm.… Click here to read the rest