Olney: Behind closed doors, the honest truth


As Mike noted earlier today, the Yankees Brain Trust has assembled in Tampa to begin preparing for next week’s Winter Meetings. One name bound to come up — as it has numerous times this week — is Roy Halladay. The Blue Jays want to trade him, and the Yankees have the pieces to acquire him.

As Halladay’s name has been the most talked-about this Hot Stove League, we have a general sense of what the Blue Jays want from a potential trade partner. Since the team has to replace one of its most beloved players who also happens to be a high-impact player, Toronto wants a Major League-ready arm and a top hitting prospect. Yankee fans have filled in the gaps for this to mean Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes along with Jesus Montero or Austin Jackson. That’s not an unreasonable expectation for Toronto’s initial demand.

When or if a trade goes down, Toronto’s price will come down, and with Halladay’s desire to see this wrapped up before Spring Training, the Yanks can wait out the Blue Jays. It’s beginning to look like The Son of Johan Santana. But not quite, as Buster Olney writes today.

In one of his better blog posts in recent months, Olney challenges the Yankees to be perfectly honest with themselves. We know that they publicly say Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes are both starters with high ceilings, but after a few years of watching the pair develop, Olney wants the baseball experts in the organization to lay it on the line. I quote at length:

But here are a couple of things that are different since the Santana talks: Hughes and Chamberlain. They are two years older, two years further along, with (generally) two more years of major league service time. Both players will be eligible for salary arbitration for the first time after next season. Hughes, 23, is coming off a year in which he demonstrated that he could be a shut-down reliever during the regular season — he struck out 96 in 86 innings, with a 3.04 ERA — before he struggled in October. Chamberlain, 24, had flashes of excellence as a starter, but generally was erratic, before finishing his year with some strong outings in the postseason.

If I were sitting in Brian Cashman‘s chair, I would identify the smartest pitching people I have on my staff, whether it be manager Joe Girardi or pitching coach Dave Eiland or others, and I would ask them two questions: What are Hughes and Chamberlain now, and what do you think they will be going into the future?

In other words, do you think in three years they will be middle relievers? Do you think they will be dominant closers? Do you think they will settle in as back-of-the-rotation starters, or do you think they will be frontline AL East starters?

And if the smart people that Cashman trusts believe that Hughes and/or Chamberlain will be anything other than (A) dominant closers, or (B) No. 2-type AL East starters, well, then I’d call Toronto immediately and be ready to talk about trading one or perhaps even both of the young pitchers.

Olney is spot on right here. For three years, we’ve been touting the Big Three and the youth movement, but at some point, the Yankees have to recognize when to cash in some of their chips. I don’t know if Roy Halladay is the right move to make; I don’t know if now is the right time. After all, we can’t consider Joba or Phil disappointments, let alone busts, until years have gone by, and it’s very challenging to predict the baseball future.

But if the Yankees’ experts — if the men and women assembled in Tampa — are not sold on a stellar future for either of these young players, the time to make a move is nigh. As pitchers go, they don’t come much better than Roy Halladay, and the Yanks must ask, “What price an ace?”

Categories : Hot Stove League


  1. As an outsider, I can’t help but think the Yankees still view these guys as front-end starters in the future. If they didn’t, I think they would’ve done the easy thing and put Joba into the bullpen when he started struggling in ’09 and probably would’ve told Phranchise to come to camp as a reliever rather than a starter.

    Regardless of how they actually turn out, they should be given every single chance to succeed as starters. Until it is flat out obvious that they cannot start, they should start.

    • Evil Empire says:

      I do agree with what you’re saying, but that doesn’t mean that they have to start on the Yankees .

      Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Joba and Hughes in the rotation in 2010 unless the Yankee organization knows vital information about their future performance projections that we do not know, but I wouldn’t be so stubborn so as to avoid selling high on either of them if it truly made sense to do so.

      • I agree, but I don’t think trading for a 33 year old, even if it’s Roy Halladay, doesn’t make sense for them to do. If we were discussing Josh Johnson again, then, yeah, I’m all ears.

        • Evil Empire says:

          This is true, in the context of there only being 1 (expensive) year left on Doc’s contract.

          As a tangential note, not sure how highly you regard Keith Law, but he wrote in a chat or his blog the other day that if he had to bet on ANY starter throwing 800 innings over the next 4 years, it would be Roy Halladay. I myself do put a lot of weight into KLaw, he does a good job balancing advanced statistical information and scouting reports.

        • Lanny says:

          The only thing Johnson has on Halladay is hes younger. Hes not better. Hes not more durable. Dont be seduced by his younger age.

          Dont forget the sins of the past. Vazquez-Schilling

    • Steve H says:

      I agree with that for the most part, but maybe they do have doubts and didn’t want to move them into the bullpen earlier and reduce potential trade value this offseason. Probably not a game they would try to play while trying to win it all, but if they do trade one of them this offseason, maybe that was the plan all along. Had they just given up on these guys it would have drastically deflated their trade value.

  2. Tony says:

    If this was the 2007 Yankees, you’d be right. However, they HAVE an ace and zero need to mortgage the future for another one. They also have real needs elsewhere that are of far greater import. Even if you’re open to trading Joba/Hughes, to do so for a 33 year old starting pitcher when you’re (a) dealing away starters to do it and (b) really not in need of his services (this is a luxury add, plain and simple) is not the thing to do it for. Find a young stud outfielder and I’ll open up about trading the farm.

  3. dkidd says:

    wait a year and buy him

  4. The Scout says:

    The two issues should be kept separate: (1) what are the realistic expectations for Hughes and Chamberlain? (2) is it in the team’s interest to acquire Halladay now, to wait to see if he reaches free agency, or to pursue another starter now (Lackey, Sheets, harden, etc,) or later?

    I’m going to put aside the second question to focus on the first. Where I disagree with Olney is that he suggests the Yankees rely on an internal evaluation of Chamberlain and Hughes. All organizations are prone to overvalue their assets. If you want to take a cold, hard look at these pitchers, you need to solicit input from independent evaluators. That serves as an important check on inflated assessments by people who have a lot invested in the success of pitchers. After all, Eiland has been working with them for several years. Why would you assume he brings objectivity to the table?

  5. Mike Pop says:

    This was good insight by Olney here. I do agree that Cash should sit down with his best baseball people and talk about what these two can become – the answer will probably be very good starters is what their ceiling is.

    All I know is that IF Joba regains some velocity, I am very confident in him as a future starter. Like Matt says time and again, he pitched a good 110 innings or so this year. That’s without throwing as hard as he used to. I have alot of faith in both him and Hughes. Mainly because what I see in their stuff and because they are still so young.

    Plus, watching Joba dominate in 2008 as a starter was just freakin’ awesome.

    • He doesn’t need to gain velocity, IMO, so much as he just needs to gain control. As long as the ~10 MPH gap between his FB and CH stays, he’ll be fine. Control and pitch selection are his biggest areas of need. No more full count sliders, Joba!

  6. mryankee says:

    Hello boys i think its clear the Yankees will consider this deal. I am not going to feel bad if they get Halladay. I think you guys might be overrating Joba and way underrating Halladay.

  7. Rob in CT says:

    This is very similar the Santana situation. The differences are: 1) there is no CC Sabathia to look forward to in the 2010-11 offseason; and 2) the team now has CC Sabathia in its rotation.

    Olney’s question of “what are they now and what can they become” is a fair one, sure. It should be asked every year, probably twice (offseason, and pefore the trade deadline in-season) concerning ALL the team’s tradeable players. Hughes and Joba aren’t obscure prospects in A ball, so Cashman shouldn’t have to order people to turn their attention to them. Their attention should already be there.

    Joba could flame out. Hughes could never quite make it as a starter in the AL… those things are possible. But the Yankees will be paying those guys the minimum and *if* the worst happens they will therefore have the payroll flexibility to sign a replacement. There are a good number of excellent young pitchers in the game today and some of them will be available as free agents in the relatively near future.

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      1) there is no CC Sabathia to look forward to in the 2010-11 offseason

      Potential 2011 SP FA:
      Josh Beckett
      Matt Cain – $6.25MM vesting option
      Roy Halladay
      Cliff Lee
      Javier Vazquez
      Brandon Webb

      • Great minds think alike.

        Also, don’t forget Brandon Arroyo may be on the market too, pending his option.

        Tim McCarver

      • Tampa Yankee says:

        Also potentially a FA in 2012:

        Felix Hernandez

        I’d rather see what Joba and Phil can do (or even IPK, Nova, etc) as #3-#5′s for the next year or two and go hard after one of these SP than overpay with prospects and cash for Halladay.

        Hell, Halladay may be available for straight cash money next year!

        • Reggie C. says:

          Potentially a Free Agent.

          Felix Hernandez could very easily sign a 4 year extension ala Zach Greinke. The Mariners future lies with Felix and i’d wager that that organization will put together an appealing extension.

          • All Praise Be To Mo says:

            No way Felix doesn’t go to FA, he KNOWS that the Red Sox and Yanks will be in a historic bidding war over him, why would he sign a 4 year $40 mil extension now?

            • Mike Pop says:

              For a guarantee and security. Plus, M’s would offer more than that.

              I think he will hit FA, but it’s not crazy to think he won’t.

            • Reggie C. says:

              The question is dollars, i agree. The Mariners could pay him more than a $10 mm AAS easily. These aren’t the Rays.

              Since Felix is so young, if I were his agent i’d tell him he could land $50 mm extension, and then, a $160 mm FA contract. Set him up now for life and hope he can spin off a couple Cy Young performances at the end of the extension to warrant a CC-sized contract.

        • Evil Empire says:

          Josh Johnson is another potential 2012 FA

          • Reggie C. says:

            Being three years older than Felix and with the Marlins opening a new stadium, Johnson is a likelier candidate to sign an extension. Johnson would also be cheaper to extend than Felix. He might even sign a smaller deal than Greinke.

          • So is Justin Verlander, if the Tigers don’t lock him up.

            Winter of 2011-2012 FA pitching headliners:

            King Felix
            Josh Johnson
            Matt Cain
            Justin Verlander

            • Evil Empire says:

              As a matter of pure speculation, I peg Verlander as the likeliest to stay with his team out of those 4.

              I’d (arbitrarily) rank them in this order regarding likelihood of signing a deal before they hit FA:

              1. Verlander
              2. Cain
              3. Hernandez
              4. Johnson

      • All Praise Be To Mo says:

        Technically he’s right that’s there’s no CC to look forward to. However there is a certain Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee, or C.P. Lee if you prefer who will most likely be a free agent after next year as well as Harry Leroy Halladay III, though Doc Hallday works so much better than H.L. Halladay imho….

    • The differences are: 1) there is no CC Sabathia to look forward to in the 2010-11 offseason;

      Lee, Beckett, Webb, and Halladay himself may all be the CC Sabathias to look forward to in the 2010-2011 offseason. Oh, and Javy Vazquez, too.

  8. Kaitlin B. says:

    I agree with Olney to a point: they need to find out exactly how much more time and effort they’re willing to put into Hughes and Chamberlain, or start selling high. But not for Roy Halladay.

    Halladay is really good at baseball. Incredibly good. He is one of the five most talented pitchers in baseball, year in, year out. But he is 33. He is 33 and anyone who gets his services will be paying at least 19 million dollars a year to retain them from 2011 onwards. You don’t dish out that kind of cash and prospects. And certainly not with a great FA class coming up in the 2010-11 off-season. It would be insanity to pass up a huge development year for Hughes (first full year as a starter at the ML level) or Chamberlain (first full year as a starter without IP limits) to get a 33 year old pitcher that you can get for cash in just six months, or even better, get another top-notch option with Webb, Beckett, Lee and probably Harden or Sheets up for grabs.

    And, just to head this argument off at the pass: there’s no point in worrying about what Boston is going to do. They shouldn’t put either Hughes or Chamberlain on the block just to cock-block Theo. Epstein has enough problems of his own, considering that if he doesn’t want to dip a toe into the waters of FA to cover the holes emerging at 3B, LF, C, DH and his rotation, he’s going to have to part with some worthy youngins.

    Next off-season is the time for such valuations…unless they’ve got sufficient grounds from the 2009 season that one, the other or both aren’t worth their time.

  9. gxpanos says:

    Bah, I disagree that this a good post by Buster. Does he think, really, that Eiland or Girardi or Nardi are going to be like, “Yeah, Brian, these guys aren’t that good…” I mean, that’s like an employee telling his boss, “Yeah, look, I know you WANTED me to out this presentation together, but I think you better go ahead and outsource that shit to an consultant.” Maybe not a perfect analogyt, but it is, after all, Eialnds’s job, to some degree, to MAKE Hughes and Joba more than middle relievers.

    Maybe it’s independent, outside scouting that’s needed, or something. Either way, of course, pitchers are crapshoots. Olney acts like if the Yanks just hunker down, they’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what those two will become–but it doesnt work that way.

    As a total outsider, I have questions about Hughes getting through a line-up more than once without a viable third pitch (jury’s out on the inconsistent cutter–developing his change would seem to be better). I have questions about Joba’s velo; if he sits 91, how long will it take him to develop enough control to be a top-flight starter?

    Controlling costs to help flexibility should be the number one priority–and this option is even more enticing because Hughes/Joba very well might reach their potential. So I let the BJ’s hang on to Roy or let him go to the RS or whomever. And I think Cashman knows that.

    Anyway, I guess my overall point is that I think Olney’s post was kind of simplistic. It aint as easy as he makes it out to be.

  10. bottom line says:

    Both Joba and Phil have ALREADY proved they can be exceptional late inning relievers. Each one has had a sustained period which put him among the best in all of MLB at late inning relief.

    So even forgetting the fact that Halladay will cost $100 million and these guys are under control for four more years each, it’s kind of tricky to say that that Halladay is presently worth more.

    OK, I understand the sabremetric contention that starters are more important. (And I agree that in the post-season they clearly are). Still, people can’t call Mariano Rivera the most valuable Yankee of the last decade out of one corner of the mouth and then contend that relievers don’t really make that much difference out of the other corner. Joba and Phil are our best– and probably only — bets to succeed Mariano. That alone should make them at the very least close in value to Halladay. Beyond that, there’s the small matter of $100 million. And the chance that one or the other will also become a top-flight starter (as Joba briefly appeared to be before getting hurt in 08).

    In my opinion, the only reason to get Halladay is to keep him from Boston. But as most agree, that’s probably not sound strategy. And trading Joba and Phil, along with another top prospect who will cheaply fill a role the next few years on aging team, would represent really poor judgment.

    My offer to Toronto would not include Joba, Phil or Montero.

    • Still, people can’t call Mariano Rivera the most valuable Yankee of the last decade out of one corner of the mouth and then contend that relievers don’t really make that much difference out of the other corner.

      A) I doubt those are the same sets of people saying that.
      B) The people saying that Mo was the most valuable Yankee of the Torre-Girardi years are wrong. Flat out, dead wrong. Mo’s the shiznit, but he’s not the MVP of the past 15 years. Not remotely.

      • bottom line says:

        Yeah, tough call between Mo and Kevin Brown for MVP.

        I can’t imagine who other than Jeter would edge Mo.

        As to whether the same people exalt Mo and degrade the value of relievers, I’m sure some of them is and some of em ain’t.

        • Of the vaunted “Core Four” of Jeter, Posada, Pettite, and Mo, Mo’s probably last of the 4.

          Bernie Williams is also likely in front of Mo. There’s also arguments for Clemens, Cone, Wells; they just weren’t here long enough, though.

          If you ask me to make a top 5 MVP ballot today, though, it’s:

          1) Jeter
          2) Posada
          3) Bernie
          4) Pettitte
          5) Mo

          • Don’t undersell Bernie. From 1995-2002, he hit .321/.406/.531 with 194 HR and 813 RBI. He fell off the table after that, but he was the organization’s MVP for the 1996-2001 dynasty years.

            • Chris says:

              Don’t forget that he also played gold glove caliber defense in CF during that time (something that couldn’t be said for Jeter or Posada)

            • Very true.

              I guess no matter how you want to slice the Posada or Bernie debate, it’s hard to say that the top three spots on the “Most Valuable Yankees of the 1996-2009 title era” isn’t some combination of Jeter-Posada-Williams.

              That’s three legit All-Star, top-4 batting order bats at up the middle, defense intensive positions. All three are way more integral to our success than Mo ever was.

            • Tubby says:

              Agreed. If Jeter is 1, then Bernie has to be 1a, and I think you could make a very strong case that Bernie is 1.

              McGwire-Sosa-Bonds got all the glory, but Bernie was a beast.

              And I love Andy, but he was a notch above league average during the 98-00 seasons. When you factor in what Mo did in the postseason, I think he’s #3.

    • OK, I understand the sabremetric contention that starters are more important.

      The underlying basis for this is that every other closer is not Mariano. We’ll learn that the hard way when he retires in a few years, but starters — especially No. 1 starters — are generally more valuable than relievers.

      And if you look at this year, CC > Mo. That’s just the truth, especially during the regular season.

      • And if you look at this year, CC > Mo. That’s just the truth, especially during the regular season.

        In fact, were you to go year-by-year, I doubt you’d ever find a single year throughout Mo’s entire Yankee career where he even would have been one of the top 3 most important or valuable Yankees that year.

        He looks better, because he’s been there the whole time and the other positions, most notably starting pitcher, have been a revolving door. Our SPs haven’t stayed on the team long (outside of Pettitte), but while they’ve been here, from Cone to Clemens to Wells to El Duque to Mussina to Vazquez to Johnson to CC to AJ, they’ve turned in great individual seasons or stretches of 2-4 years of dominance at a time.

  11. Guest says:

    What information do we have about Halladay’s potential durability? I am inclined to believe that he should be quite durable in the near to not so near future. From the naked eye, it seems like his motion doesn’t put that much stress on his arm and he has been quite durable the last few years. Combine this with his freakish work ethic, doesn’t he fit the description of a Moose/Schilling-esque pitcher who is likely to perform at an unusually high level even as he ages?

    Moreover, he doesn’t seem to rely on the MPH’s on his fastball to get it done. Rather, it appears to me that he is more of an impeccable control, movement guy than he is a blow it by you guy (though he is more than capable of doing that). This is important because MPH seems to be the first thing to go as a pitcher ages. Given that he relies more on movement and command to dominate, it stands to reason that he will continue to be successful even as he loses a little bit off the fastball (See e.g., Rivera, Mariano).

    All of this is to say that Roy Halladay is not your prototypical 33 year old pitcher. Due to his pitching style, motion, size, and physical condition; he presents a much lower risk of decline as he enters his mid to late 30′s than just about any other pitcher in the game.

    I am not saying that this means we should definitely trade one (or more) of the big three (Hughes, Chaimberlain, Montero) for him. I’m just saying that there are certain other relevant factors which make his age less of an issue.

    • Most seem to believe that Halladay will age very well and can still be a top pitcher over the next 3-5 seasons. It certainly is a consideration. He has more going for him on the durability scale than Johan did.

  12. Ray Fuego says:

    Phil and Joba still have some time to develop, they are still young. If one turns out to be a great closer and another turns out to be a great starter it completely blows Halladay out the water. Having two great pitchers at both ends of the game is a win-win situation. Like the patriots in the NFL we are a team that is constantly rebuilding on the fly. Let’s give these guys some time. If we want a big name pitcher lets wait for FA.

  13. dee says:

    i would love to get halladay…only if the price comes down. i don’t think it’s worth giving up some of our best prospects. i think we should target other FA pitchers or consider trading for one. but trade for one where we don’t have to give up a combination of joba, montero, jackson, or something like that.

  14. YES HALLADAY says:

    It’s Roy Halladay. Neither Hughes or Chamberlain will match Halladay. They are both at best #3 starters. Chamberlain could be a dominant closer, and Hughes could be the eighth inning bridge. However we still have Mo for nother 3-4 years. I would stay with one or the other (preferrably Chamberlain as the eigth inning soon to be closer). Trade Hughes and a top prospect and get Halladay. CC, Halladay, Burnett, Pettitte and the guy next door as the fifth (or Chamberlain as #5). You could keep Hughes or Chamberlain and throw them out there as number 5. Chances are niether will progress to the level of a front end starter.

    The other option would be to sign Lackey and keep both. Tht is certainly a great option, but the likelihood is that the Red Sox end up with Halladay. Best bet would be to grab Halladay and Lackey, no? Go ahead and rack up another 3 rings in a row. Isn’t this how the last Yankee Dynasty was won? Sign everyone elses Ace and roll.

  15. bkight13 says:

    We already have an ace in CC, a solid 2 in AJ. Wasn’t that the plan back in ’08. Don’t trade the kids for Santana, wait and get CC for money and a pick. The icing on the cake was winning the WS. The plan worked perfectly. To trade Joba, Hughes, Jesus or Jackson now would be a colossal mistake(King Felix aside).

    I think the Yankees won 67% of the games started by the 5th starter. Spend the money or resources on a LF or DH. Continue to stockpile arms to replenish the pen and rotation and buy FAs when needed.

  16. YankeeScribe says:

    They should sign Lackey or Bedard if they feel that they need to add more starting pitchers this offseason. The Yanks don’t desperately need Halladay.

  17. bottom line says:

    OK, I understand the sabremetric contention that starters are more important.

    The underlying basis for this is that every other closer is not Mariano. We’ll learn that the hard way when he retires in a few years, but starters — especially No. 1 starters — are generally more valuable than relievers

    Exactly– Mariano’s value may be the exception to the rule.

    As to the contention that Posada, Pettite and even Bernie were more valuable, this seems ludicrous at face value.

    I know you can add up WAR points that will always make everyday players seem more valuable. But the points earned by a nonpareil reliever are high-pressure points where there is no margin for failue. The Yankees could have won near as many games with Devon White, say, in center. But how many games — and pennants– would they have won with Heathcliff Slocumb, or pretty much anyone else. I accept Jeter as Mo’s peer in value. And Andy, I would think with his big game wins (sullied by a few big game flops) would be close IMO. But Bernie, as good as he was in his best years,m really became a defensive liability over the last few years he played (he also became an offensive liability). And neither Pettite nor Bernie had anything like the 14 (I think) years of uninterrupted excellence that Mos has enjoyed.

    • Even if you DOUBLE Mariano’s WAR due to leverage concerns, he’s STILL not as good as Posada, Bernie, or Pettitte.

      Even if you give Mo a buttload of credit for his playoff heroics and late inning magic, he still doesn’t match Posada, Bernie, or Pettitte. They all had big, high leverage moments too. They all performed in the clutch too.

      They impacted more of the games than Mo did, though. FAR, FAR, FAR more.


      Also, please use the reply button.

      • Steve H says:

        They impacted more of the games than Mo did, though. FAR, FAR, FAR more.

        And more innings. Even in a game where Mo came up huge for an inning or 2, he was put in a position to come up huge by the Jeter’s/Bernie’s/Pettitte’s of the world. If those guys failed at their jobs, Mo never gets a chance to succeed. Mo relies on others for a chance to succeed, doesn’t that automatically make them (the top tiered players) more valuable?

      • bottom line says:

        They may have impacted more games becuase they played more. But Mo had greater impact per game and was more often the difference between a win and a loss in a single game in which he appeared.

        And are you saying that a pitcher who goes, say, 16-8 is more valuable than a reliever who saves, say 42 of 47 situations?

        And even if you accept WAR, have you added the WAR ratings for the total of Mariano’s 14 season (as opposed to the average WAR per season). Some of Mariano’s value is simply in his consistency and longevity.

        (Soryy if I’m misusing the reply button. Last time I tried to use it, my note got swallowed).

        • Steve H says:

          Without knowing the important stats, as wins and saves are useless, and 16-8 pitcher is 1000000x more valuable than a closer who gets 42 saves in 47 chances. I guarantee you, the guy who went 16-8 could also save 42 of 47. The guy who saved 42 of 47 could not go 16-8, or his team would make him a starter.

      • king of fruitless hypotheticals says:

        ok, i’ll use it…

        I don’t want Doc. Yeah I said it…unless he’s free, I don’t want him. Didn’t somebody just post a list of what our top 7 players are going to cost in ’11? Those guys are getting old and expensive. There are some long, large (wait…) contracts there, and I think (I hope) the FO is concerned about flexibility 3 or 4 years down the road too…I’m not too worried about revenue sharing or luxury taxes or floors/caps being enacted shortly, but financial flexibility is ALWAYS good to have, and if that means we sign one of the two bats we’re losing, bring on a mid-level FA for an outfield job, and bring up a young-ish kid to ride the pine, so be it. Bring back Andy to suck up innings cheap, lets give the two young arms another year to develop, see who rises out of IPK/Zmac/whomever else crew, and move on.

        My opinion is we just don’t need Doc to win this year, and I don’t want to see his 5 year albatross hanging around the $ man after that.

        One year deals for old folks, keep developing the youngins. Get another year away from some bad contracts–including evaporating another year of The Ghost, and see what comes.

        • Steve H says:

          I see where you are coming from, but Halladay, even at his age, is as much of a sure thing as there is in baseball. His contract will not become an albatross, though some of the contracts they have now might.

      • “Even if you DOUBLE Mariano’s WAR due to leverage concerns, he’s STILL not as good as Posada, Bernie, or Pettitte.”

        Leverage Index is one of WAR’s components.

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      The Yankees could have won near as many games with Devon White, say, in center.

  18. dkidd says:

    does olney think that cashman has not been doing this (demanding honest player assessments from his people) all along?

    his article reminds me of hollywood execs who inevitably say “we need to lock ourselves in a room and study all the great movies and figure out how to fix this script”

    if all it took was “shutting the door and getting honest”, the yankees would never lose (and movies wouldn’t suck)

    • Evil Empire says:

      I agree. What Buster Olney wrote was pure filler. Now given, it was very good filler that is informative to the baseball novice who doesn’t know the intricate evaluation processes that a baseball team might go through, but its not like any actual baseball executive would find much value in his obvious suggestions.

  19. bottom line says:

    Here’s another reason Mariano is far more valuable than any WAR metrics might suggest.

    WAR measures wins above replacemnt value players. But relievers are notoriosly inconsistent from year to year. This means that there is actually greater value in a consistent reliever like Mo than WAR would suggest. Because teams don’t employ generic “replacements.” They use real people, not statistical models. So in any given year, there is a strong chance that the relied-upon reliever will not perform up to his history– or even be very bad as say Lidge was much of last year. Hence, the immeasurable incremental value of some one who is rock-solid reliable every year. And I don’t think Mo has had a bad one in 14.

  20. radnom says:

    I don’t really want to see them trade Hughes or Joba at this point but if they did (and Montero was not included in the package) I would just wince slightly and start getting pumped. Halliday is almost certainly going to be an ace for the next 4-5 years. How long are Hughes and Joba still under control for? I would say Halliday’s production the next 4-5 years (including decline) is the CEILING for either of those guys and it is unlikely that they will match it.

    Put it this way. If you were the Yankees and a genie made you the following offer:

    If you give Hughes an extra 17 million a year and give Ajax away I will GARENTEE he reaches his ceiling and has a good year or two following by 2/3 dominating ace years before reaching FA (what we can expect from Halliday in reverse).

    Would you take that?

  21. Lanny says:

    Well it isnt brain surgery. If they think those 2 guys are front line guys they wont ponder trading them. If they dont they’ll move them while their value is high.

    • Evil Empire says:

      Yeah, Mo forbid the Yankees end up stuck with two #3-type starters who are under control for 4 or 5 years and the Yankees have to save their financial resources for a free agent front line guy who doesn’t cost them those two players.

      That would suck.

  22. godfather says:

    Doc is great, but not a must right now. They do, of course, watch what Theo might do; that’s just the way it is. Not saying they need to react, but just to acknowledge. Considering anyone but Jeter to Mo in the MVP question seems ludicrous here. I like the comparison of Olney’s article to the head of a studio calling for a meeting of the minds. And I always cringe at the thought of the phrase “baseball people.” Were the NL to be Doc’s priority, this would take on less import; so yes, Boston is a consideration. And I wouldn’t mind Figgins playing left next season. He can replace some of Damon’s offense while doubling his defense.

    • Steve H says:

      No thanks. What says Figgins can double Damon’s defense, he hasn’t played left in a while. And he’s an average hitter. Also, if he did those things you say in 2010, what about 2012-2014? That will be a bad contract no matter where he ends up.

  23. Joshua says:

    I skipped the comments, but I don’t see how this is a good article or brilliant insight…. you don’t think the Yankees have actually discussed and weighed all these things? You think cashman was sitting around and read Olney’s article and was like… hey, thats a great idea, I should actually find out what people think Joba and Hughes will become, and then I can decide whether or not to trade them….

    gimme a break.

  24. Camilo Gerardo - your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense says:

    Dear Cashman, You already know this, but you should not trade Joba, Phil, Montero, or Jackson.

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