William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

IIATMS Top Moment #16: Joe Girardi’s Triple

Many who lived through and experienced the “Dynasty” and the “Core Four” consider 1996 the sweetest memory of them all. After all, it was the first World Series title after a long drought and it did not even seem possible after the first two games of the 1996 World Series. There were so many heroes of that World Series and during the course of these “Top Moments” posts, many of them will be recounted. This “moment” concerns the deciding Game Six of that Series and a dagger placed in the hearts of Atlanta Braves fans by catcher, Joe Girardi.

We hear a lot of the Core Four. To me, at least, it should have been a Core Five or Core Six to include Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill. But the term does include catcher, Jorge Posada. And the one misnomer about his inclusion (not to belittle his accomplishments) is that he was not really a part of the 1996 and 1997 story.…

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Who’s on first? Not Sabathia

Sabathia vs TB 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

I fully understand that CC Sabathia gets paid to pitch. And him having a bounce-back season or even a somewhat decent full season is what is important for the Yankees in their quest for a playoff spot. I get all that. I also fully appreciate what Brad wrote yesterday about the big man’s weight. He was a great pitcher as a big guy and can be a good pitcher as a big guy. The one irritant for me during Sabathia’s tenure with the Yankees is that he pitches with only eight fielders because he is not one of them.

During Sabthia’s abbreviated season in 2014, the Yankees’ pitcher recorded only one putout. That would be an unfair statement if 2014 wasn’t the fifth time in his career that he recorded only one putout for a season. He has a string of three of those seasons in a row. Sabathia does not cover first base very well.

The only putout Sabathia recorded in 2014 was on a Robinson Cano dribbler to first.…

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Drew and Morales lost boatloads of money

After the 2013 season was over, thirteen players were given qualified offers where the players could choose that option and receive $14.1 million for 2014. After all thirteen turned down the offers, five of the players did not sign long-term contracts: Hiroki Kuroda, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. The first three made out just fine as we shall see. But Drew and Morales both lost a ton of money.

Kuroda was a special circumstance. I believe he knew he was only going to pitch one last season of MLB and left his situation to the highest, one-year bidder. The Yankees re-signed him and Kuroda came out ahead on the deal by $900,000.

Nelson Cruz was coming off of a PED suspension and read his market well and signed a one-year deal with the Orioles. While the one year cost him $6 million, his calculated gamble paid off with a big season and just signed a four-year deal that will pay him $14.25 million per season.…

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Wednesday morning news and notes 12/24/2014

It’s Christmas Eve and all through the Net, not a rumor is stirring whom the Yankees might get…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from your gang here at It’s About the Money. While we celebrate the season, we will keep a half an eye on what is going on in the world of baseball. Don’t expect much to happen in the next couple of days at least.

The only news to mention this morning is that the Miami Marlins have claimed Preston Claiborne off waivers from the Yankees according to Joe Frisaro.. We wish Claiborne well as he moves along to Miami.

Claiborne was somewhat useful out of the bullpen the last couple of seasons with a dead-on career FIP of 4.00. He picked up three vulture wins for the Yankees in 2014 and had four holds in 2013. Claiborne pitched a total of 71.1 innings for the Yankees in 62 appearances between 2013 and 2014 and was the designated go-to guy when the Yankees had to dip into the minors to get an arm.…

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Happy Birthday Dave Righetti – remembering the no-hitter

Twitter is a dead zone for Yankee news right now. The Yankees are looking at a Cuban right-hander. Chase Headley will not get more than three years from the Yankees. CC Sabathia needs to bounce back. Why have the Yankees been so quiet. The Yankees need to respond to the Red Sox. Blah, blah, blah. But it is Dave Righetti‘s 56th birthday and that reminded me of his no-hitter against Boston on Independence Day of 1983. I watched it on television and it is a great memory.

The 24-year-old Righetti was off to a hot start in 1983. He was 9-3 at the end of June and finished that month with a complete-game shutout of the Baltimore Orioles. Typical of Billy Martin managed teams, the crusty manager wasn’t babying the young pitcher who was primed for a full season after tossing 187+ innings in 1982.

The Red Sox were not a great team in 1983. Boston ended up winning 78 games and looked tired under an equally tired Ralph Houk.…

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Long term Max Scherzer is a big risk

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Signing any player to a long term contract is a risk. Things rarely work out for the life of the deal. Sometimes the player is so good in the first few years of the deal that the back end evens out the worth of the investment. The risk seems even larger for Max Scherzer because, first, he is a pitcher and secondly, all you have to do is look at his teammate from Detroit as a cautionary tale.

Scherzer famously turned down a large offer from the Tigers to test the free agent waters. And it seems he has set himself up nicely with another ace-like season. The financial rewards of his roll of the dice will pay off handsomely. Someone will give him the money. But will they be happy with the investment?

Scherzer’s own teammate, Justin Verlander and American League rival, CC Sabathia seem to show the risks involved with signing up a talented power arm up beyond their peak seasons.…

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Seven best Yankee off season trades since 1975

Blockbuster trades do not happen that often for the New York Yankees. Most of the off season news concerns free agents and waiver pickups. What few trades made over the Steinbrenner years seem inconsequential and the players involved quickly sink into oblivion. The last big off season trade involved sending Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Mariners for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. The debates about that trade have been fun. The official tally so far is Pineda with 2.7 rWAR to Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi both at -0.4 since the trade occurred. We will have to give that one a little more time before the Yankees can be declared the winner. But what were the best trades?

I am just talking off season here or that period between the end of the season and the start of the next one. Obviously, the list will not include the most recent seasons because, again, time needs to occur before you can look at a long history of what happened after a trade.…

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Fan versus the machine – 2014 hopes against the odds

Being a fan of a team and writing about that same team is a very difficult trick to pull off. The most difficult part is being objective and writing in a factual way without getting carried away by emotions. If you don’t fight the emotions, you end up writing screeds against the general manager or manager and players who don’t perform the way you expect or turn the other way and be exceeding in the praise. One way to really illustrate the problem is to look at the fan’s hopes during the season and cold, hard odds of making the wild card or winning the division as it is calculated every day by places like Fangraphs.com. It wasn’t until the end of the 2014 season when the hopes fell in line with reality.

What I did to illustrate the point was to list the day by day Fangraphs odds for the Yankees to either win a wild card spot or win the division from Game 1 of the season to Game 162.…

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Whiffing wonders – flipping a Marlon Byrd

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while understands that I am not fond of strikeouts. I have often jousted against the notion that an out is an out is an out. I respectfully disagree. Strikeouts give the batter no opportunity to have anything other than an out where a batted ball will give the batter a 30% chance to get on base. One of the few scenarios where a strikeout is better than a batted ball is a double play. Knowing my predilection to this part of baseball is my discovery that Marlon Byrd has done something in 2014 no player in the history of baseball has ever done before. Marlon Byrd struck out 150 times more than he walked in 2014.

Byrd had a pretty good offensive season by most standards. He had a 110 OPS+, hit 25 homers and drove in 85. In the world of the Phillies, that’s really productive.…

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