About Will@IIATMS

Will is a lifelong New Yorker and Yankees fan who splits his time between finance, music, and baseball. He was one of the early contributors to IIATMS, though life took him away for some time. He is very excited to be back.

Fit him for pinstripes? Michael Young edition

Consider this the beginning of a series that will be ongoing throughout the season. As random players find themselves on the block, whether they’re on or off the Yankees’ radar, we’ll be discussing it here. And today’s option is a player that I haven’t seen anyone else consider, at least publicly.

On the face of things, there’s very little fit between the Yankees and Michael Young. Just as recently as last season, he was the captain of the AL Pennant winning Texas Rangers–and his three positions (2B, SS and 3B) are all taken by players that are central to the Yankees’ lineup. The odds of him unseating Cano, Jeter or A-Rod are significantly less than slim.

But as I wrote earlier in the offseason, the Yankees’ biggest need (aside from pitching) is actually that rarest of mammals, the super utility player. And in that role, Michael Young would fit just fine–in fact, he’d be pretty spectacular. He’s been worth nine fWAR over the last three years, with a career wOBA of .346.

UPDATE: Michael Young Cannot block a trade to the Yankees:

A source confirmed that the eight teams are the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Fit him for pinstripes? Michael Young edition

Nothing to see here, folks

From Enrique Rojas comes the news that Robinson Cano has hired Beelzebub Scott Boras to replace his previous agent, Bobby Barad. This seems an odd move, given that Cano has three years remaining under contract with the Yankees, taking him through his age-30 season. While this might seem ominous, there’s really nothing to see here. Cano is coming off a 3rd place MVP finish, and was going to look to get paid regardless of who his agent was. Given the number of long term contracts on the Yankees’ books already, I don’t see them signing him to a needless extension without a serious hometown discount (which the signing of Boras clearly states they won’t get).

I just feel rather bad for poor Bobby Barad, who seems to have done pretty darn well by his client, and is being kicked to the curb. Continue reading Nothing to see here, folks

A Painful Posting

One of the great joys of watching professional sports is also one of the simplest–rooting for your chosen team. It’s amazing how we regularly overlook the shortcomings (both on and off the field) of our favorite players, while taking apart rivals for similar discrepancies. Want a prime example? Go to San Francisco and badmouth Barry Bonds–see where it gets you.

My family is almost entirely from California, and I remember discussing my assumption that he was taking steroids with a cousin, right around the turn of the century. This cousin of mine, she seemed perfectly intelligent, she watched a lot of baseball (among other sports), and in no other discussion did I, or have I found her to be irrational. But the moment I pointed out the likelihood of Bonds’ steroid use, she clammed up. Not only had I just mortally insulted her and every other SF Giants fan, I had also impinged upon the honor of a tremendous athlete, blown up the Golden Gate Bridge, crapped on the constitution, kicked every dog in the state of California, and shortened weekends to one day, indefinitely.

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Possible Trade Partners: Cleveland Indians

While the Yankees and their fans continue to hold out hope that Andy Pettitte will suit up for another season in pinstripes, you can bet that Cashman is doing his best to sniff out possible deals to be made, and Nick Cafardo points out a possible trade partner in Sunday’s Bargain Hunters post.

9. Cleveland — If they wanted to, the Indians could probably continue selling off players to extract more prospects; Chris Perez, Rafael Perez, Joe Smith, and Fausto Carmona are pitchers other teams would want. They would love to trade Grady Sizemore (he must show he’s healthy) and Travis Hafner.

Before you get your hopes up, the Yankees aren’t trading for Grady Sizemore–the cost in prospects would have to be overwhelmingly in Cleveland’s favor for Mark Shapiro to trade off his franchise player (despite his injury woes in recent years), and because of those injuries, I’m not even sure you’d want to play him over any of the current starters. While his last two years he’s been worth 1.6 WAR in roughly one season’s worth of at bats, the four years prior he was worth a combined 25.5 WAR, making  him one of the top players in baseball over that time.

Travis Hafner’s a bad fit as well–in addition to the Yankees’ well publicized logjam at DH, he costs $13 million per season, and doesn’t offer much upside over the Jim Thome’s of the world (who are likely to be *significantly* cheaper). Unless the Indians are covering $10 million or so per season (and they’re not)…this is not particularly attractive.

Moving on to the players that Cashman could target:

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Continue reading Possible Trade Partners: Cleveland Indians

Buster Olney: “The Red Sox Crushed the Angels”

A telling quote from ESPN’s Buster Olney, (whose daily blog is worth the cost of ESPN insider all on its own, by the way):

In the end, the Red Sox crushed the Angels in the bidding for Carl Crawford. Sources say the Angels’ last fully guaranteed offer was six years and $108 million, far below Boston’s seven-year, $142 million deal.

This is not meant to stoke the “ESPN IS BIASED TOWARDS TEH RED SOX!!1!” flames–in fact, I’ll go on record saying that they tend to give the Yankees as much billing as the Sox on a regular basis. But it’s worth wondering what the line would have been, had the Yankees paid what Boston did. I imagine something like:

“The Yankees outbid the next closest suitor by a whopping $34 million, paying more than 30% above the next best offer. But then again, they’re the Yankees, and they can afford the opulence.”

Anyone else wonder if John Henry is pissed off about spending $33,000,000 more than he had to? Continue reading Buster Olney: “The Red Sox Crushed the Angels”

Help Wanted: Utility Infielder

Of all the positions on a major league squad, none are less sexy than that of “utility infielder”. It’s a sort of limbo zone where mediocre players audition for full time roles, often filled by players getting shuttled back and forth between AAA and MLB. In recent years, the position has been filled by names such as Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena, Cody Ransom and Nick Green. Jerry Hairston Jr. was a brief breath of fresh air at the position, and came along with the ability to play both corner outfield positions as well (not necessarily well), but even he’s a bit of a retread at the major league level.

Due to the Bombers’ cadre of aging superstars who tend to need days at DH to rest their creaky joints, while most American League teams can look to add serious offense on the cheap at the DH position (which tends to be overstocked by past offensive giants who can no longer field a position), the Yankees have to find an extremely rare breed of mammal–a utility infielder who can fill in passably at difficult defensive positions, without being a black hole at the plate. And while there’s a serious oversupply of DH candidates, there is a serious undersupply of infielder who can hit, and would consider such a role.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Help Wanted: Utility Infielder

Yankees Lack Flexibility This Offseason

This is an odd offseason for the Yankees, who got close enough to sniff the ambrosia this past October, but couldn’t make it to the chosen land. Simply put, the team isn’t very flexible, with players locked into deals ranging from somewhat short (and team friendly) to excessively long at LF, CF, RF, 3B, 2B, and 1B, as well as three of the five SP slots. At SS, CL and C/DH are Yankee icons Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera caught in the headlights of contract negotiations, and Jorge Posada staring a platoon situation in the face. One further SP slot is notably being held open for the fourth of the old guard, Andy Pettitte, who has made a habit of holding the team hostage while making up his mind year to year. It’s also very hard to imagine them trading Phil Hughes, both due to the lack of open slots needing to be filled, Cashman’s focus on pitching, and the Yankee budget (which Larry discusses in remarkable brevity here.)

So where could the Yankees look to acquire, either via trade or free agency? The most obvious spot is the starting rotation, where the Yankees are clear favorites to land Cliff Lee. Aside from that, they could pick up a bullpen piece or two, and will be looking for a bargain or two to sit on the bench. Anything else gets…complicated. Which isn’t to say it won’t happen.

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Continue reading Yankees Lack Flexibility This Offseason

Bring On The Machines

I’m not going to go on a rant about the “human element”, or the poor umpiring we’ve seen these last few years, aided by the lens of high definition television. I’ll just explain what the chart above shows. Squares are pitches thrown by Texas pitchers, triangles are pitches thrown by Yankees. My count shows 17 red square outside of the strike zone, a number of which are more than six inches outside (and one six inches too high). There are only two red triangles outside the zone. Colby Lewis is a good pitcher–as are many of Texas’ relievers. But it turns out they’re a lot better when they get a 23 inch wide strikezone. Continue reading Bring On The Machines