How many wins would Matt Holliday add in 2010?

By the Deki-ade: Left field strengths
Open Thread: Photos from Cooperstown

The Yankees’ only lineup weakness exists in left field. Matt Holliday, an All-Star left fielder, remains on the market, mostly because no team has met his current contract demands. It seems the two match up perfectly, yet the Yankees have stated that they will not sign Holliday. Since the team made their budget the theme of the off-season, we can see clearly that in no way could Holliday fit into any budget of around $200 million. But are the Yankees really going to let money get in the way of a perfect match?

Maybe the match isn’t so perfect after all. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs discussed the topic from the lens of marginal value added. Maybe, he argues, the Yankees will stay away from Holliday not because he’s too expensive, but because his salary would not justify the improvement his addition would bring to the Yankees. After all, as Cameron explains, the Yankees are already a near-100-win team on paper. So, when considering Holliday (or the recently signed Jason Bay), the Yankees need to wonder exactly how much they benefit the team.

They are at the other end of the win curve, and it doesn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money there either. The marginal value of the 101st, 102nd, and 103rd win in terms of playoff odds is really quite small. And that’s approximately the upgrade that Holliday would represent over the current production that Gardner offers in left field.

Cameron’s analysis falls short in two areas. First, the strength of the team once it does make the playoffs. The Yankees might win 100 games with or without Holliday, but once the playoffs roll around they need all the ammunition they can muster. Holliday’s value inflates in that situation. Second, it doesn’t take into account future considerations. Maybe Holliday’s marginal value on the Yankees doesn’t project to much for the 2010 season, but that could significantly increase in future years as the roster changes.

Still, I’m sure the marginal value factor plays a large part in the Yankees’ decision making process. If they really do covet the 2010-2011 free agent class, then perhaps they’ll find an even better left field fit in that market. In that case they can avoid signing Holliday this season and a player who provides more marginal value for their 2011 team. It means they’d get more for their money, which, as we’ve discussed many times, is the business ideal.

By the Deki-ade: Left field strengths
Open Thread: Photos from Cooperstown
  • Greg F.

    I’m with Dave on this one. Even in the playoffs, Holliday realistically would only increase the team’s championship odds by a few percent. How much is that really worth?

    • Mike Bk

      well if it is the difference b/w winning and losing the title it’s as Mastercard says, priceless.

      • Ed

        But what if signing Holliday increases the odds of winning this year, but reduces the odds of winning in the following years due to decreased roster flexibility?

    • Moshe Mandel

      I think it’s worth plenty. Another playoff exit this year would have been a strong blow to the fanbase. If Holliday shifts the odds in a playoff series against Boston by 3%, that’s a pretty strong shift considering the increased revenues an advance in the postseason brings.

      • Tom Swift

        What constitutes success over the next decade? 3 or 4 WS trophies, 5 or 6 pennants, something like that? The question is what move maximizes our chances of meeting that goal. By that measure, I would pass on Holliday and save money for the next offseason.

        • Moshe Mandel

          This of course assumes that there will be other spots to put that money in the near future. If you look around the diamond, the Yankees are likely set at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF for the next 3 or so year, and have a number of catching prospects. They also have 2 starters inked long term as well as 2 starting prospects. So going forward, I could see them spending that money at corner outfield, and on one starter. Unless the Yankees plan on going cheap every year, I’m not sure there is a better option than Holliday on the horizon. We keep talking about next offseason, but if Mauer doesnt make it to FA, all we are talking about is adding one starting pitcher, and I’m not sure adding Matt Holliday changes much in that regard.

          • Dan


      • SM

        You can measure how much its worth by taking runs you expect holliday to give you over gardner and how many opportunities they could potentially have.

        And if you think 3% shift is is important (it is for sure large) how did Jose Molina start any games?

        • Mike Bk

          because what molina saved by his handling of the staff mostly offset what posada added via the bat.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Frankly, bullshit. Statistics don’t support this and the fact that Molina started at all was just a terrible decision that made no sense. His offense was so much worse than Posada’s (and the gap was incredibly huge)that any value he added in his defense and game management wasn’t nearly enough to offset it.

            • Count Zero

              Actually, there is some statistical basis for this argument. It’s pretty questionable as statistics go, but it does prove that it’s at least a viable argument…


              Personally, I agree that Posada is a clear choice over Molina all-around, but I don’t think it’s as big a landslide as some do. Game-calling is a difficult thing to measure, but I think most impartial observers would agree that Posada is NOT very good at it and Molina IS very good at it.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                Those statistics seem as sketchy as you can get.

                Yeah, I still think it’s a landslide.

                BTW, I never really observed a notceable difference in game calling ability. I believ it was baseball prospectus that did a study and found that game-calling skills are largely a myth.

                • Moshe Mandel

                  Doesnt mean that on an individual pitcher catcher level, it cant be relevant. If Burnett believes there is a difference, then it might foster an actual difference in his performance.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  There was far too small a sample size, as well as far too much evidence that Burnett could pitch with Posada anyway, for this to be considered relevant.

                • Moshe Mandel

                  That’s not true at all. The numbers were much better with Molina. Now, I wanted them to go to Posada, but this is one area where the fans just do not have all the necessary data. There is more than numbers at issue here- it is tied into the psyche of the pitcher.

    • Lanny

      If a few percent equals winning a title it means a lot dont ya think??

  • Doug

    All this assumes good health to the 24 other guys who contributed to the 100 wins. One, two, or a bunch of them go down, and the marginal value of Holliday goes up.

    • Ed

      That depends on who goes down.

      If a big bat goes down, Holliday’s value goes up.

      If CC goes down, the value gained from Holliday is less than the value lost from CC, and you don’t have the money available to trade for a good pitcher.

      • Chris

        But any pitcher you trade for would (probably) be worth fewer wins than Holliday and (almost definitely) worth fewer wins than CC.

        • Ed

          But any pitcher you trade for would (probably) be worth fewer wins than Holliday

          Maybe, maybe not. There’s usually someone good available.

          and (almost definitely) worth fewer wins than CC.

          If CC goes down, the pickup’s value relative to CC doesn’t matter. It’s the pickup’s value relative to whoever’s spot he’s taking that matters – the Mitre, Gaudin type guys.

  • Ed

    The Yankees might win 100 games with our without Holliday, but once the playoffs roll around they need all the ammunition they can muster. Holliday’s value inflates in that situation.

    Sure, Holliday provides more value in the postseason as well. I think the point still holds though. How much better do you think the odds are for a 103 win team winning in the postseason vs a 100 win team?

    Let’s put it this way – take the 2009 Yankees. Replace Melky with a big name CF. How much better does the postseason play out? 11-3 instead of 11-4 ?

    Second, it doesn’t take into account future considerations. Maybe Holliday’s marginal value on the Yankees doesn’t project to much for the 2010 season, but that could significantly increase in future years as the roster changes.

    The article did address that:

    The Yankees have entered the prime area of significant diminishing marginal utility. They are so good that adding another high quality player doesn’t help them that much in 2010, and because of the long term contract that is required, they’d be risking future flexibility to add wins that may actually matter for an upgrade that just isn’t necessary.

    • Lanny

      That is assuming all the aging players have the same exact seasons as last yr.

      • Ed

        Yes, generally speaking, when you make a hypothetical change to something that already happened, you usually assume that the things you’re not changing play out the same.

      • Raul

        Two of the older players are gone remember? And three aged players Jeter/Posada/A-Rod are probably capable in matching last years output as a group. A slight regression by Jeter and Jorge, would be offset by a healthy full season from A-Rod who is the youngest of the three.

    • OldYanksFan

      According to CAIRO projections done by SG at RLYW, the current roster is a 95-97 Win team. Last year, projections had us at around 95 Wins, and our Pathag in 2009 was 95 Wins.

      EVERY position starter had a 2009 better then their career avg. except ARod, who tied it.

      That happening is very rare.
      I don’t expect that to happen again.

      • Raul

        Like I said above you the team just got younger.

  • DGeezy

    Dave is right, the Yankees really don’t need Holliday. Also, personally I would rather see the Yankees give their next big multi-yr contract to Joe Mauer next yr and/or sign Carl Crawford for LF over signing Holliday this yr.

    • Maris61

      I would, too. But there is no absolute guarantee we can/will sign Crawford and/or Mauer.

      • Chris

        I would expect Crawford to sign a deal almost as large as Holliday’s, even though he’s not as good and his skill set is much less likely to age well. If they’re signing a big time LF in the next couple of years, I hope they’re targeting Holliday and not one of the second tier FAs.

        • OldYanksFan

          Crawford. Career .335 OBP. Career 103 OPS+.
          Will he get better at 29, after 7.5 years in MLB?

      • JoeX

        If Crawford goes somewhere else, they give Nick Johnson his option, go after Werth for right and put Swisher in left and they’ll still be better than this year. No harm no foul.

    • Lanny

      Assuming to sign people isnt a good plan for the future. Mauer could just as easily resign. Crawford could get traded mid yr and sign with that team.

  • Evil Empire

    I’m totally cool with the Yankees sticking to their budget and all that stuff, but just regarding a possible upgrade in LF via the FA class in 2011: I just don’t see it.

    In terms of marginal value, Wouldn’t Matt Holliday from 2010 – 2014 surpass Carl Crawford from 2011-2014? They’d be paying for an extra year and at a higher AAV, but if the Yankee team wanted the best possible long term solution for LF within the next 2 years, here and now is the time to get the guy worth paying the money to.

    But that said, they don’t need a long term solution for LF, not in 2010 or 2011 and probably not even in 2012, and there are opportunities to upgrade roster spots that should net a greater ROI in the upcoming FA classes, such as another front-line starting pitcher or Super Mauer.

    So to end the ramble, my thought is this: if you think LF needs a massive upgrade, do it now and be done with it, and enjoy the ridiculously good 2010 team along the way.

    If you don’t think the LF needs a massive upgrade (count me in this category), than the team assembled is already really freaking good anyway, and you can allocate resources towards other needs in the future. Its the more balanced and cost effective approach.

    • Rob

      Jayson Werth is a better defender than Holliday and so he’s almost there in value. Who wants to bet he’ll be cheaper than Holliday or Crawford?

      Besides, though, I’m not all that convinced that LF needs the expensive upgrade. It’s the easiest position on the diamond to fill.

      • Evil Empire

        Jayson Werth will be a 32 year old FA with knee trouble when he hits the market. Not interested. Someone will overpay for him and have a shitty ROI.

        • Rob

          All of these corner OF bats have problems. Werth is no better or no worse than Holliday or Crawford. If you’re for one, there’s little distinguishing them. And Werth is more valuable than Crawford.

          Personally, I hope they save the money.

          • Alex

            Jayson Werth’s RH pull-swing is not as good a fit for the Yankees as Matt Holliday’s RH opposite-field-power swing. Anyone who has watched Holliday consistently over his career can tell you he was taylor-made to play for the Yankees.

            • Permínio Neto


    • Lanny

      I’d easily take Holliday over Crawford. Power hitters like Holliday age much better than speedsters like Crawford.

  • Spencer

    My question would be – is Holliday better than Carl Crawford? Because the Yanks have to think they’ll need to upgrade their outfield at some point.
    They don’t really have any prospects who could fill that spot any time soon, and Granderson and Swisher, though affordable for another two years, may not be the best long term solutions.

    • Chris

      is Holliday better than Carl Crawford?


      Here are the WAR leaders over the past 3 seasons:;month=12

      Holliday is 5th, Crawford is 38th.

      • Rob

        Montero may be a possibility. NL teams have two choices with no-glove, all-star bats: 1B and LF.

        Otherwise, Jayson Werth is a po then slide Swisher over.

        Still, I don’t understand the fixation on LF. It’s a very easy position to fill with money or with someone else’s prospect.

        • Alex

          The fixation is not LF alone. Its the OF in general. Gardner, Granderson, Swisher is not the greatest OF in the world. Far from the worst, but light-years from one of the best. The two best players hit .249 last year with a bunch of strikeouts. Hopefully Granderson has a strong bounce-back year to supply most of the OF offensive production. But if he doesn’t, that OF is going to be very streaky and unreliable. Just saying.

  • Bryan

    Another point that Neyer makes here is FLEXIBILITY which is invaluable as Cash has learned !

    • Rob

      Great finish here:

      But the only way the Yankees can fall into a habit of losing, someday, is by stockpiling too many players in their 30s with big long-term contracts. It’s incredibly difficult to place a value on flexibility, but that value is real and important and Brian Cashman’s awareness of that value is going to keep the Yankees on top for quite some time.

      • Alex

        Flexibility is not that much of an issue with this group and the contracts they have. The OF has two starters (Swisher and Granderson) that have 2-3 years left on their deals. Other spots will open in due time if those players are given their walking papers. By the time Holliday’s 6 or 7 year deal is drawing to a close, Posada will be gone, Jeter will most likely be gone as well. Arod and Teixeira will be the only hitter left that are under contract and getting older. But they play corner INF positions, which doesn’t require much skill in the legs in order to produce solid defense.

        I’m not buying the flexibility issue much at all. Unless the plan is to move Jeter from SS to the OF in the next 2-3 years.

  • RobC

    Are they planning to keep LF open for a possible mid season trade, 2010-2011 FA or moving a player from another position? Jeter?
    I would think Jeter could play LF in his late 30’s better than he could play SS.

    I still have dreams of Puljos in LF….watching Mo strike out the side with his change-up…..

    • Alex

      You can dream of Pujols. I’m sure we all have. But let’s be real. If you are the Cardinals, you aren’t letting Pujols go anywhere. He is the Derek Jeter of that franchise. The Cardinals are not some bum organization that can’t hold on to their stars. Not only that, they are considered one of the best organizations to play for and one of the best cities to play in. Pujols loves it there. He has a good shot at winning a World Series there. I don’t see Pujols moving at all.

  • CB

    The primary reason to sign Holliday at this point in time isn’t marginal wins. It’s for risk stratification. And that’s not an inconsequential issue.

    That was the primary value in signing Tex last year at this time.

    If Posada hurts his shoulder on April 15th, that would not be a surprise.

    And Holliday’s value in increasing their probability of winning in the playoffs compounds across the three series. It is a significant factor that Cameron did not address.

    • Rob

      “That was the primary value in signing Tex last year at this time.”

      No it wasn’t. They had just lost their second and third best hitters. They needed the offense. This year they’ve actually upgraded over their two lost hitters. It had little to do with risk “stratification”.

      • CB

        The Yankees were projected to be a 96 win team before they signed Tex. After signing AJ and CC and trading for Swisher they were already the best team in baseball on paper.

        The fundamental problem with the team last year was that given their age, injuries and key players underperforming in 2008 (e.g. Cano and Swisher)there was substantial risk for the team’s offense to globally underperform expectations.

        That’s what Tex provided at the time he was acquired with respect to the short term 2009 impact.

        • Lanny

          Agreed. When you have a shot at a player like Tex you have to take it. Holliday could be the same thing. Would add another premier player in his prime to the lineup and get younger at the same time.

        • Rob

          A 96 win team is very different from the 100 win variety they already have going into 2010. And that’s not considering the upgrades they’ve already made over the version that won 103 games in 2009.

          “The fundamental problem with the team last year was that given their age, injuries and key players underperforming in 2008 (e.g. Cano and Swisher)there was substantial risk for the team’s offense to globally underperform expectations.”

          I don’t disagree with that. But Teixeira wasn’t about the other players. It was what he uniquely offered.

    • waswhining

      Yes, this says it well.

      Another thought is the “compared to what” department. How significantly have other teams in the AL east upgraded? I’ve been surprised that the RS didn’t do more — this is a weak hitting team. Still Lowell and Ortiz? They so much need Adrian Gonzalez but I doubt it will happen now. I thought for sure Papelbone was on the way out; thought they might keep whassizname Mets Reliever. The D-RAIZE? Still a strong team and will be better without all those injuries.

  • Mike Bk

    i know this wont be well like here, but what about signing holliday and trading swish to maybe get some position prospects. like a high minors OF prospect. with his below market salary for the next 2 years swish would have excellent value.

    • Evil Empire

      I’d call Cashman a God if he could transform Swisher into Matt Holliday + prospects.

      • jp

        i like swisher but if his (im guessing 9 million this year but i may be wrong) and maybe gaudin’s 4 million can be dealt for prospects, even if only 1 or 2 actual prospects can save 13 million… then you have room for holliday maybe.

        • Mike Bk

          swish is 6.75 this year and 9 mil next which is why we could get real value for him because he is well under market for 2 more years. teams like Seattle, Atlanta that want to contend, need a run producer and have some budget. Added bonus for a team like Seattle is he could play 1b for them as well.

          • jp

            yeah i knew he had an escalading salary i was just a year too early. i could see him with a NL team too since he can play more positions.

    • Matt Imbrogno

      You’re not gonna get very good prospects out of Swisher.

      • Evil Empire

        Eh, fuck it. You’ll get better than just filler, and the wiggle room to sign Matt Holliday.

        In fact, it makes so much sense than if it was financially do-able within the Yankees means (“desires” is probably the better word), I’d think it would already have been done. So I doubt freeing up Swish’s salary, even when coupled with dumping Mitre or Gaudin, would be enough. Unless I’m missing something completely.

        • Mike Bk

          well you are missing the 4 mil they have been said to have to spend on LF.

          • Evil Empire

            That’s true. I mean to me it sounds like a great idea, so it makes me wonder if there’s anything stopping Cash from doing it that we don’t know about. I guess there are a few moving pieces involved but nothing too daunting.


    • Salty Buggah

      But that still won’t fit Cash’s strategy to not go over budget

      • jp

        your right it wont yet but, thats if you think he has a hard budget, i dont know personally if thats the case

      • Mike Bk

        well if swish goes out and gaudin goes out that is not necessarily true. we have kind of built in 3-4 mil for chad, 4 mil for left and 6.75 for swish. that’s nearly 15 mil, so would it go up, yes, but not drastically.

        • Salty Buggah

          True but what’s the point of giving up Gaudin when he’s not going to net anything in return. 3-4 mil for meh starter = filler prospect return (I think). He’d be good for depth instead. It saves money sure but if Cash wants Holliday, I don’t think he’s going to let 4 mil stop him.

          • jp

            i agree, if he wants him he will get him. obv fans play with monopoly money sometimes but i think the point is if cashman does want holliday he may have a way to do it near budget.

            • Mike Bk

              that was my point. i would rather keep chad as insurance, but if the budget is that important it could be worked to a point where the budget is basically maintained and the move is made.

        • JoeX

          Those numbers don’t reflect the fact that now you also need to pay someone else in Swisher and Gaudin’s slots

  • pete

    The question is, if it’s on a 5 or 6 year deal, what is Matt Holliday at the end of that? Outside of Coors he’s probably not the 35+ HR hitter he once was, and three years down the road he’s probably not a +5 UZR guy either. I’d rather not pay Matt Holliday $16+ a year for a wRC+ of 125 and a -10 UZR, which is what players of his skill set tend to turn into when they get to their mid-30s

    • Mike Bk

      i agree with that, but if the cards are basically offering 5/80 which is the basic report out there, 4/70 might get it done and save us that extra year or 2 of his decline.

      • Evil Empire

        Huh? Why would he take a deal worth $10M less?

        • Mike Bk

          higher AAV 17.5 per vs 16.

          • Evil Empire

            Scott Boras is his agent. He’ll take the highest overall bid, I promise you. Especially when its a 12.5% discrepancy.

            • Mike Bk

              if you think boras will let him take a deal for less AAV than Bay just got, that’s crazy.

              • Evil Empire

                Be that as it may, 4/70 is even crazier. Ain’t gonna happen, not when there’s a better deal on the table.

  • jim

    I would like holliday.

    If they don’t get him and wait for next year, tampa could resign crawford and philly werth. I don’t see another guy like holliday out there.

    I looked at fangraphs hitting stats for batters by various value stats or things like ob , slg , ops. Basically 3 of the top 10 guys for the last 3 years are tex, arod, and holliday.

    If the yankees sign holliday they could have


    that would actually be an amazing lineup

    jeter and johnson would be on base all the time for tex,arod, and holliday

    you’d have the high pitch counts of johnson and swisher
    posada, swisher are actually pretty high up on isolated power stat
    cano is high for runs created.

    with 3 lefties , 3 righties, and 3 switch hitters this team would be very tough and balanced.

    from an age perspective lf,cf,rf,2b,1b all 27-30 and set for a good five year run.

    only old position guys would be jeter,arod,posada

    then you don’t need to even worry about any position player free agents in 2011. the team would be set to win a world series every year for the next 5 years.

    • pete

      the question isn’t “will the yankees be good/better with holliday?” – of course they would be. The question is whether or not that improvement is worth cramping the future payroll into fewer players whose production is liable to fall off soon. In my opinion, no it is not. The yankees need to look very seriously at options that allow them to save money and maintain flexibility, because in the coming offseasons guys like Joe Mauer, Felix Hernandez, and Hanley Ramirez (among many, many others) will come into the market. Would anyone in their right mind consider taking Holliday over any of those guys?

  • nutballgazette

    I really think the Yankees can get Crawford, Tampa will not have the money to bring him back, With Crawford you get a type of guy who will get on base, disrupt the pitcher and make it easier for the big hitters to knock in runs

    • Chris

      With Crawford you get a type of guy who will get on base

      Crawford’s career OBP is .335 – basically league average. For comparison, Melky’s career OBP is .331.

      • Salty Buggah

        +1. If he can put up another year of .360 OBP, I’ll take him for 4 years but we don’t know if he can do that consistently.

      • Matt Imbrogno

        Well, his walk rate is trending upwards, but I’m not a huge believer yet.

      • Mike S.

        Yeah, but no way in hell does Melky steal 50 like Crawford can.

    • jp

      yeah im a big believer in speed, im just afraid if the rays get down early they could trade crawford and he may sign an extention with that new team. of course he may not sign but theres that risk.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Excessive Back Hair Complex

      There’s also a good chance that TB knows they cannot re-sign Crawford so they trade him to a team willing to dole out the prospects for a playoff run and sign him to an extension.

      Crawford hitting FA is no guarantee.

    • pete

      eh if they wanted to commit resources to left field, they’d have committed to the better player in Holliday this offseason. I think when Cashman refers to the better free agent class of 2011, he’s talking about Joe Mauer and the pitchers.

  • hakeem’s trying to use a bb

    What I’m still trying to work out before I can fully digest the article is how you measure individual value in a team game depending on your role/skill set and the current team condition. The questions I have posed myself are:

    How many games is God (Mariano) responsible for winning.
    How do you measure the go ahead run against a play that keeps you in the game?
    How valuable is Tex without Arod?

    Holliday is a fantastic player, any team will love to have him. Whatever is available next year doesn’t really change that fact. Neither can I compare potential value of a FA next year to present values of a FA. If Matt has his best season ever in 2010 how will that impact your opinion of signning him now or next year assuming he was availabe?

    Sorry, can’t edit or spellcheck cos this screen is just a pain.

    • Rob

      Let’s not forget they’d lose a first rounder to sign Holliday. And if they have plans for next off-season, that could be the first and second rounders there too. That’s one clear way to kill the farm and the big club simultaneously – long, overpriced contracts to past prime players and few high-level draft picks to bring in fresh blood. It would be the mid-80s and mid-00s all over again.

      • jp

        you may have a point, considering the yanks have delt some prospects this winter and cashman may feel its wiser to add during the draft rather than give away a pick for holliday without a glaring need for him.

      • Alex

        A fair point but I have to counter with the possibilities of what the Red Sox can do at this point. By letting Wagner and Bay walk, they have 4 draft picks coming up in the first 2 rounds of this years draft. If have already accepted the fact that they are going over the luxury tax threshold, they could potentially sign Holliday for LF, switch Cameron to CF and package Ellsbury and top prospects in a trade for a 1B like Adrian Gonzalez (thereby immediately replacing the lost prospects with top draft picks). A package of CF Jacoby Ellsbury, SP Clay Buchholz, 1B Lars Anderson, OF Ryan Westmoreland and RP Daniel Bard/Casey Kelly is something that San Diego would really have to think about pulling the trigger on.

        If this is all possible for the Red Sox, they will build a lineup that is comparable to the Yankees. If the Yanks sign Holliday now, they totally blow their stiffest competition out of the water.

        • Permínio Neto

          I’m almost 100% sure that San Diego would deal Adrian Gonzalez for that package. Ellsbury, Buchholz, Anderson, Westmoreland and Kelly is just too big of a haul to pass on. IMHO, Buchholz, Westmoreland and Kelly are the players they want for Adrian.

          • Permínio Neto

            But then I really doubt that Theo would offer all these guys.

    • jp

      yeah i think stats can only take you so far too. alot of the newer stats i dont completely understand either. i watch alot of baseball just like prob everyone here so i like to use the old eye test.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Actually, Rebecca of This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes (and a frequent poster) did in fact try to calculate how many playoff wins Mariano was worth, and concluded that w/o Mariano the Yankees would have two less championships.

      And she was just measuring the postseason.

      • Joseph Pawlikowski

        That’s not the conclusion, though. It’s that Mo was worth roughly 24 postseason wins, with 11 wins meaning a championship. But the Yankees have won more than 55 postseason games leading to their five championships.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Yeah, she also got sick when she was doing this if I recall and never calculated Mariano’s WAR above the average reliever or closer.

          Still, it makes for food for thought and comes closer to answering the question of Mariano’s worth than anything else I’ve seen.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Yeah, and she also never calculated how many wins he was worth over the average reliver or closer (I think she got sick at the time, actually).

          But it’s interesting food for thought, and provides a framework when you try and answer the question.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Ugh, I double-posted. Sorry.

          • hakeem “single celled organism”

            i wish there was a stat or way to value confidence and being disheartened. When anyone on the mound knows after this over Mariano is stepping in does it affect the decisions he makes or any other teammate for that matter? i also will never forget the look the face of angels players and fans when mariano started warming up, How do you measure his presence?

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              You measure his presence by how the other teams react based on his presence-in other words, on how he pitches.

              To judge how well he pitches, we use traditional statistics.

              • hakeem “single celled organism”

                sometimes decisions are made by coaches and players long before he pitches, its probably simpler by looking ot how often teams change fielding positions, decide on pinch hitters and etc and thats usuall before the first ball is pitched. i cant remeber which pitcher said about the yankees line up “all through the lineup thez have very good hitters, Its hard to even concentrat on who’s at the plate sometimes because you are worried about whos batting behind him” anyway im sure its not a major factor in determining value, but its like the judging with your eye approach, in the moment the numbers really mean nothing.

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  I have no idea what you just wrote.

  • Tom Zig

    How much money do the Yankees have left in their budget? I know we cannot sign Holliday and fit him in the budget using conventional means, but…

    What if the Yankees back-loaded his contract and gave him massive signing bonuses? I mean money is money, so Holliday shouldn’t care how he gets it as long as it’s guaranteed. (Do signing bonuses count for luxury tax purposes?)

    Like could the Yankees give him a $5 million/a year for this year and give him like a 12 million signing bonus? and then actually give him like 16-17 million a year for the next 4 years after 2010?

    Just a thought.

    • Alex

      Backloading a deal makes sense for future years, but it doesn’t affect the 2010 payroll for the team. Payroll is determined by the average annual salary of each player.

    • Lanny

      They’re the Yankees. You really dont think they could fit in a premier player in his prime in a position of need?

  • Mike R . Retire 21

    I’m all for trying to teach Montero to play LF. He could be a young Adam Dunn with better contact skills.

    • Lanny

      A young Dunn in the field?? Can we hope not. Dunn is also a 250 hitter. I know most of you stat geeks will say that doesnt matter but it does. Montero wont be that kind of all or nothing hitter from all reports.

      Monteros long term value is in his ability to catch 120x a yr. You force him to catch. You do everything in your power to make him a competent catcher. If they think hes a LF they should be looking to move him.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        It can be compensated for only if your OBP is very high. I’m not checking, but I’m willing to bet Dunn has a 275 or higher OBP.

      • Mike S.

        Posada’s greatest asset hasn’t been defensively. It has been how superior his bat has been over over catchers. Such will and should be true w/Montero.

        • Mike S.

          ****other*** catchers

  • Alex

    The Yankees should take a Matt Holliday signing much more seriously. Posada, Jeter, Arod, Pettitte and Mariano are all at or approaching the wrong side of 35. A bat like Matt Holliday can protect the team from the losses that might incur if those guys all decline in the next few years.

    Holliday will join Teixeira, Cano, and Granderson as the future main staples that will carry the offense in the post Jeter/Arod era.

    • Camilo Gerardo

      Alex, 8 more years until the Alex era is over, maybe DH in 6 yrs… long time

      • Alex

        8 more years until his era is over, but how many years before we see his decline? That’s more what I am referring to.

  • Charles Hudson

    Alex makes a great point – but considering the $$$ the Mets threw at Jason Bay Scott Boras might start fantasizing about a $24 million a year deal for Holliday.

  • Lanny

    A Holliday signing might only mean an extra 3 wins but an extra 3 w’s in the AL East and more importantly in the playoffs is huge. It isnt something that should be ignored.

    He extends the lineup to make it on paper better than last yr. It adds another in his prime player and completes Cashmans focus of making the lineup dynamic and young.

    The longer Holliday stays on the market and the longer there is a hole in LF the more it seems like this is Bubba Crosby II. Lets be serious here. Against great pitching Gardner is an automatic out. Girardi didnt even trust the guy to hit in the playoffs. He sent Hairston out there against a righty in the WS. You really think they’re going to now let him start 140 games? Anyone think he has the bat to hit at the major league level? Let him be what he should be. A great 4th OF. Holliday is a legit bat. Pitchers will see no breathers against that 9.

    • JAG

      To be fair, it was pretty clear that Girardi felt that Gardner had much greater value as a pinch-runner threat and a defensive replacement, so he would rather pinch-hit with someone else and keep Gardner available for later. Why he wouldn’t pinch-hit with Hinske instead, I don’t know, although IIRC, Hinske wasn’t on the WS roster.


      • Eric

        Actually, Hinske WAS on the WS roster.

  • t

    What about going with Gardner/Hoffman until the deadline then trading for someone? Would it be possible to get someone near the end of a contract for a reasonable price?

    • Alex

      That all depends on how the season goes for certain players approaching contract years and where their teams are in the standings. Signing Holliday now will not only protect the Yankees from the need to seek a possible big bat in the offseason, it also protects against pressing the panic button after major injury losses in the lineup.

    • Mike S.

      Yes, you can wait until the deadline. Think Spencer 2000, then the deadline deal for Justice.

  • JAG

    Has anyone considered whether Holliday would take a 1-year deal with NY? A little crazy, but let me explain my reasoning.

    Clearly, his market isn’t developing the way he and Boras thought it would, otherwise he wouldn’t still be on the market. I know I have heard many people suggest that part of the reason is that he hasn’t demonstrated that he can play in the AL or for a big-market team. This would be a good way for him to re-establish his value and his ability to play for an AL club and he can go back and hit the market for a big deal next year. The market is a little bigger with Crawford and Werth likely FA, but he will still be the top player available in the OF, regardless. That way, the Yankees maintain their future flexibility but still get the benefit of having Holliday on the team for 2010.

    Perhaps a far-fetched suggestion, but I see some possibility in it. Thoughts?


    • Alex

      Its an outside the box way of thinking that doesn’t seem like Boras’ style. There is always the risk that he signs a 1 year deal and gets injured or has a down year and totally kills whatever value he had to begin with.

  • Mike S.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the sights on the telescope are firmly set on Carl Crawford in 2011 (after a one-yr. stopgap between JD and CC in LF).

    • Alex

      I would rather the Yankees focus their money in 2011 on a #2 pitcher like Cliff Lee. If they are going to target a OF for the future, you can make a pretty clear and concise choice as to why Holliday is the better option than Crawford. Crawford’s value as a player is heavily reliant on his speed, while Holliday’s is more reliant on his power and ability to hit for average. If you lock-up Crawford in a long-term deal, you are taking a much more significant risk than with Holliday. If Crawford suffers a serious leg injury or two, he will depreciate into a marginal player. Carl’s batting average is where it is because of his legs and his ability to leg out infield hits. Without those legs, he can suddenly become a .265 hitter. Holliday on the other hand relies on his batter’s eye and power to the gaps for his batting average. That is a more sure bet on a long-term deal.

      Plus – Let’s say Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth get extensions before next offseason. Then what? You will be looking at names like Adam Dunn, Brad Hawpe, and ancient Manny Ramirez. I think its a terrible business model to bank on next year when there are so many variables that can change the future in an instant.

      • Alex

        Also the Yankees have to focus a lot of 2011 dollars on re-signing or replacing (just in case they retire, which they likely won’t) Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. This year they only had to worry about losing Matsui and Damon, who are much lower on the todem pole than the two aforementioned members of the “core four.”

  • toad

    Not only does the value of marginal wins decline, the number of wins added declines too.

    You only have to outscore the other team by one run to win. Once you are outscoring your opponents, the win value of each incremental run declines.

    Think of it as more runs being wasted, so to speak.

  • seth3esq

    There isn’t even a need to get into margins and what-not …
    the Yanks do NOT need Holliday’s contract demands.


    Gardner may not be a “stud” but he’s a Major League Baseball player. He’s made it to a level that FEW reach. Let him play LF and hit in the 9-Hole.

    Let BorASS take his Annual Dog & Pony Show someplace else for now.

    Keep the payroll as close to being under $200M as possible and NEXT season work on putting together possibly the best ROTATION in the game (Lee?)… and make runs at Crawford and Mauer.

    Yes, that WOULD increase the payroll, but (at the VERY least) you have the flexibility to make runs at 3 rather than just 1.

    Besides, keep in mind Jeter, Posada, & Sandman have expiring contracts …


    The Yankees have approximately $67 million dollars coming off the payroll after next season. That includes the contracts of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Javy Vazquez, Chad Gaudin, and Nick Johnson who has a mutual option.

    Assume that Jeter and Mo return at or near there current salaries, thats about $35 million. The Yankees have $7.5 million in contractual raises for Texiera, Swisher, and Granderson after 2010 and they lose a $3 million dollar A-Rod subsidy after the season as well.

    That leaves about $22 million dollars free to sign or re-sign two starting pitchers, a DH, and potentially a Left fielder assuming the Yankees don’t find a multi year solution this year.

    That is not enough to court Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Joe Mauer, etc. Essentially the Yankees will have to violate their newfound fiscal restrictions and potentially see the payroll swell to more then $250 million dollars including luxury tax considerations if they want to make a play for any of the top line free agents in 2011. Either that or settle for the B level market and all that brings.

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