Whither Ramon Flores?

Tweener. With the noteworthy exception of ‘bust,’ I am unsure that there is a more dreadful label in the scouting community than ‘tweener’ – particularly when such a label is affixed to a prospect within your team’s organization. It may not quite evoke the kiss of death as we associate with a bust, yet it is almost always offered hand-in-hand with terms like ‘fourth outfielder’ or ‘utility infielder’ or ‘spot starter.’ While it is a matter of fact that a team needs players to fill such roles, it serves as a sobering reminder that the minor leagues are not brimming Continue reading Whither Ramon Flores?

After the Fact HOF Griping

First off, congrats to Barry Larkin. He should’ve been inducted last year anyway, but whatever. He’s in the Hall of Fame now and that’s what matters. After the jump, I’m going to do a little bit of Hall of Fame griping. I know a lot of you have stopped caring about the results of any sort of awards or HOF voting and I keep trying to sway myself to that side, but for whatever reason, I just can’t. There’s going to be data below that’ll  feature four pitchers (I tried to do a table, but it was just too big). Continue reading After the Fact HOF Griping

Stay Away from Luis Ayala

Luis Ayala is still looking for a job. This time last year, the Yankees signed Ayala to a minor league contract after a roughly half a decade of ineffectiveness. He pitched his way on to the roster and stuck there for the entire year. He pitched 56 innings with an ERA of 2.09, a K/9 of 6.3 and a BB/9 of 3.3. According to MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Yankees are interested in bringing him back. I think Joe Girardi’s preferences are informative here. Despite  a low ERA all season, he was very slow to use Luis Ayala in key situations. Continue reading Stay Away from Luis Ayala

Surprise! Bud’s sticking around a bit longer

Bud Selig was supposed to be retiring from his post as Major League Baseball’s commissioner at the end of the upcoming season, but to the surprise of approximately no one, that’s not going to happen. Rather, Buster Olney is reporting that Selig has signed a two year extension, meaning Commissioner Bud will keep his lucrative job through at least 2014. A lot of people will crack jokes about this and some more will likely be unhappy about the development, but personally I sort of like Selig. As far as major sports commissioners go, he’s pretty much the least bad of the lot, and he’s one of the least bad baseball has ever had, at least in his post-strike incarnation. I know that’s damning with feint praise and all, but baseball is facing enough major challenges in the near term, particularly where the Mets and Dodgers are concerned, that I’m not sure I really want anyone else managing things right now. Continue reading Surprise! Bud’s sticking around a bit longer

Reposting: The National Baseball Hall of Fame AND Museum

I wrote this back in April, fresh off a trip to Cooperstown and published it on ESPN at the time. Given today’s election results and the backlash about the silliness of the voters (and the silliness of the make up of the voting pool), I thought perhaps it was worth reposting…

This past weekend, I visited baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. This was not my first time there, but it was my first trip with my two sons, now ages 11 and 8. I was curious to see the Hall in a different way, through the eyes of my children.

I left thinking about the official name of the building – the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I left realizing that the official name of the building – the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – has a very big word in the middle of it that most people seem to ignore: “and“. Mostly I write about the building from a distance, and when I do, I focus on the first part of the building’s name, about who should be admitted into the Hall and who should not. But when I am present inside of the building, the museum part of the building takes over. I certainly enjoy the plaques but for me, the real interest lies in reliving the moments that first drew me to the game and then those that have kept me wrapped in its clutches since.

I paused at the museum’s display of the hate mail (see picture to the right; click to enlarge) directed at Jackie Robinson and was left slackjawed. The violence expressed in these letters is a part of our history, a tragic part, but a part that needs to be remembered. These were not proud moments for America or for baseball. However, we need to see and remember the good and the bad.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Reposting: The National Baseball Hall of Fame AND Museum

Do The Yankees Really Need Another Lefty Reliever?

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) While this offseason has been mostly an inactive one for the Yankees, one thing they have gone after consistently is cheap pitching depth.  From re-signing Freddy Garcia to another team-friendly one-year deal to taking low-risk flyers on guys like Adam Miller, Brad Meyers, and Matt Daley, the Yankees have definitely given themselves plenty of options to choose from when it comes to filling out their Major League and Triple-A pitching staffs for 2012.  Among this smorgasbord of lower-level talent is a collection of left-handed relief pitchers (Cesar Cabral, Mike O’Conner, Continue reading Do The Yankees Really Need Another Lefty Reliever?

On Hall of Fame histrionics

Forgive me for deviating slightly from the topic of the Yankees, but with the hot stove cooling down, I figured I would take a look at the current topic du jour: the Hall of Fame voting.  William provided an excellent writeup of the results yesterday that is definitely worth checking out.  As you may or may not have heard, Barry Larkin was the only candidate who exceeded the 80 percent threshold required to earn enshrinement in Cooperstown.  Larkin was not an especially controversial choice, as he was a franchise icon for the Cincinnati Reds who provided excellent production throughout his Continue reading On Hall of Fame histrionics

Is Jorge a Hall of Famer?

As has long been predicted, Jorge Posada, one of the cornerstones of the Yankees dynasty of the 90s and 00s, is hanging ’em up prior to this coming season. His bat and leadership in the clubhouse will be missed. Well, perhaps that’s dishonest–in fact, they were already missed during 2011, as the five time silver slugger saw his offensive contributions fall to a mere .235/.315/.398 slash line, producing his first sub-100 OPS+ since the clock ticked 2000, and he publicly clashed with management over his dwindling playing time.

As with most great players, his retirement comes due to the deterioration of his skills–it’s very rare for players to “go out on top” ala Mike Mussina, after his 20 win campaign in 2008. Much more common is the Bernie Williams approach, one that was similarly painful to watch (of course, Bernie still hasn’t officially retired, and it wasn’t until Andy Pettitte‘s retirement press conference that he actually acknowledged he was probably done — five years after his last official ML at bat. He went hitless in 5 ABs for Puerto Rico during the 2009 WBC).

But as Posada rides off into the sunset, it seems appropriate to look back and appreciate what was really a spectacular career. From 1997 until 2011, Posada generated a .273/.374/.474 slash line, to go along with 275 HR, 664 XBH, 20 SB (wait, what?) and a 121 OPS+, numbers that play pretty much anywhere on the field, and he did it while playing perhaps the most premium of defensive positions, catcher. I could put in a line about the fact that Jorge played his entire career in the same uniform (which is becoming rarer and rarer), but that probably has as much to do with the team he started on as anything else. There wasn’t exactly another team to outbid the Yanks for his services via free agency.

But following yesterday’s news, the question looms: Was Jorge good enough (for long enough) to be seriously considered for a plaque in Cooperstown? Keep on reading.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Is Jorge a Hall of Famer?

Larkin Wins Enshrinement, but Intrigue Rests Further Down the Ballot

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).   Barry Larkin was the only player elected to the Hall of Fame, having being named on 86.4% of all ballots cast. Despite being overlooked over the past two elections, Larkin’s enshrinement was all but ensured heading into the vote. However, there were some interesting, and in some cases surprising, developments further down the ballot. If there was any suspense on this ballot it was whether Jack Morris would finally clear the hurdle. Although Morris once again fell short, he has reached a threshold that augurs well for his final two seasons of eligibility. After Continue reading Larkin Wins Enshrinement, but Intrigue Rests Further Down the Ballot