By the Decade: Team of the Decade

Left field closing arguments: Johnny Damon
Javy Vazquez: Unclutch?

All good things, the saying goes, must come to an end. As the Aught-Aughts ended a few days ago, so must our Yankees By the Decade retrospective. But we can’t let it rest without one big wrap-up post. So let’s get to it. This morning, I’ll explore who was on the Yanks’ team of the decade and just which team should be awarded baseball’s team of the decade.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly assembled a team of the decade for our Bronx Bombers. We’ll have to omit the relievers because they came and went. The life of a bullpen pitcher is fleeting, and the Yanks used 114 relievers this decade. The six guys we’d pick to backup Mariano are Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Tom Gordon, Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson and Ramiro Mendoza. The rest of the Yankee team of the decade, then, looks a little something like this:

C: Jorge Posada
1B: Jason Giambi but not for his defense
2B: Robinson Cano/Alfonso Soriano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Alex Rodriguez
LF: Hideki Matsui, co-starring Johnny Damon
CF: Early-decade Bernie Williams
RF: Gary Sheffield
DH: Unimpressively Jason Giambi
SP: Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina
CL: Mariano Rivera

That is one impressive roster. There are at least three Hall of Famers and a fourth who should definitely be Cooperstown-bound along with a handful of near-Hall of Famers. This is a team primed to win, and win they did.

Year W L W-L% Finish Playoffs Result RS RA Payroll
2009 103 59 0.636 1 Won WS 11-4 915 753 $201,449,189
2008 89 73 0.549 3     789 727 $209,081,577
2007 94 68 0.58 2 Lost LDS 1-3 968 777 $189,639,045
2006 97 65 0.599 1 Lost LDS 1-3 930 767 $194,663,079
2005 95 67 0.586 1 Lost LDS 2-3 886 789 $208,306,817
2004 101 61 0.623 1 Lost ALCS 6-5 897 808 $184,193,950
2003 101 61 0.623 1 Lost WS 9-8 877 716 $152,749,814
2002 103 58 0.64 1 Lost LDS 1-3 897 697 $125,928,583
2001 95 65 0.594 1 Lost WS 10-8 804 713 $112,287,143
2000 87 74 0.54 1 Won WS 11-5 871 814 $107,588,459
Totals 965 651       52-40 8834 7561 $1,685,887,656
Average 96.5 65.1         883.4 756.1 $168,588,766

The Yankees averaged a Major League-leading 96 wins and 65 losses. They scored 883 runs per season but allowed a pedestrian 756. The team won two World Series, lost two World Series and made the playoffs in nine out of ten seasons. They finished first eight teams, won 52 playoff games and had an aggregate Opening Day payroll of over $1.68 billion.

Yet, despite these gaudy numbers, the wins, the success, the playoff appearances, many have been hesitant to award the Yankees the team of the decade. Maybe baseball outside of the Bronx is just sick of the Yankee Dynasty, whenever it ended if it ever has. Maybe baseball writers need a good-guy foil for the Evil Empire. Thus, some have called the Red Sox the team of the decade.

Truth be told, Boston was very, very good during the 2000s. They are the only team that can approach the Yanks in terms of success. Boston went an average of 92-70 over the decade. The Sox averaged 865 runs per year and gave up 744. They finished in 2nd place eight times, won the division once, made the playoffs six times and twice won the World Series. They spent a garish $1.168 billion in the process, small beans compared with the Yanks but wealthy by everyone else’s standards.

The Red Sox have been lauded as a team of the decade simply because no one expected it. For decades, the Sox weren’t caused; they simply suffered through horrible Front Office and franchise management. The new owners have reshaped the Red Sox brand and have brought perennial contenders to the Back Bay. Through smart spending, solid drafting and building from within, the new Red Sox management has constructed a team in the model of the Yankees from the mid-1990s and the Yankees from today. It’s hard to label the imitators as the team of the decade when the original is still better, albeit ever so slightly.

As the Teens — the 2010s, the decade of Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s flying DeLorean — descends upon us, the Yankees are primed for more wins and more playoff berths. As the core ages, the Yanks have used their dollars to bring on younger and more versatile pieces. They are grooming some players from their system for the Majors and have turned others into potential cornerstones for the next three or four or five years.

Other teams may be catching up, but the Yankees, as they were in the 1990s, were the team of the 2000s. It’s good to be a fan indeed.

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Left field closing arguments: Johnny Damon
Javy Vazquez: Unclutch?
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Section 105

    If you’re making a ‘roster’…how can the DH be the same guy as the first baseman?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Because it’s an exercise across the seasons that looks at who was best at a particular season. We’re not sticking a 25-man team of different players on the field. There’s no need to be an absolute literalist about everything.

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Section 105

        I wasn’t doing it to be a douche, it just would have been fun to make an actual roster.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          So stick Giambi at first, Matsui at DH and Damon in left. We’d have to come up with a bench too, and the Yanks did not have many good bench players this decade. I guess Bobby Abreu would get a bench spot simply because he — and Damon — are the two best players who miss out on the decade. O’Neill and Tino would probably earn spots as well.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            We’d have to come up with a bench too, and the Yanks did not have many good bench players this decade.

            Somewhere, Karim Garcia and Andy Phillips shed a single tear.

  • Dan

    why did the Yanks only play 161 games in 02?

    • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Section 105

      I don’t remember, but probably had a rain out with a team that only came to the stadium once, and couldn’t find a common off day, and if the game doesn’t mean anything for standings, ect, they just don’t play it.

      • A.D.

        Believe it was the Marlins, and they would have had to go down to play them after the season if they hadn’t already clinched.

  • A.D.

    Averaging over 95 wins a year for the decade, not too shabby.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

    “As the Aught-Aughts ended a few days ago, so must our Yankees By the Decade retrospective.”

    Sincerely,
    The Department of Redundancy Department

  • Zack

    Man all those Lost [XXXX] look pretty bad, but then again that’s because of the expectations of the team.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      I’d rather have a Lost LDS/Lost ALCS/Lost WS than a vacant blank spot on the table, though.

      • Evilest Empire

        The Yankees make up 1/30th of the league, yet only won the World Series 1/5th of the time this decade. Unacceptable.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          We should invade some other organization and steal one of their titles.

          I pick the Diamondbacks. That terminally ugly franchise has long been a blight on the world. Let’s loosen them from their mortal coil.

          • Evilest Empire

            AND TAKE BACK WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS!!!

            I want Luis Gonzales’ head hanging atop the frieze by dusk.

            • thurdonpaul

              ietc

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              They deserve to die just for having worn any and all of these:

              http://images.google.com/image.....&aqi=

              • Joe S.

                Those are good looking jerseys… for an arena football team

      • Zack

        Agreed, any other team would love to switch results with the Yankees over the decade. And not saying those 7 losses should stand over the 2 WS; still sucks to look at it though.

  • Bucksky619

    The numbers say that the Yankees are the team of the decade. Boston is tied with the Yankees in one category, world championships. The Yankees lead in every other…postseason appearances, World Series appearances, regular season wins, postseason wins and on and on. Any claim that the Red Sox are team of the decade is just an opinion based on emotion. An opinion with no facts to back it up is meaningless. I could say that the Washington Nationals are team of the decade but that doesn’t make it true. Numbers don’t lie…sportswriters do.

    • Brad

      ^^^^^

      Win.

    • http://yanksdraftsandprospects.blogspot.com/ Jake H

      But the Sox reversed 86 years of the curse! That trumps everything anyone has ever done. They should have won the noble for that!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        “But the Sox reversed ended 86 years of the curse being a pathetically shitty franchise with a self-defeating culture of losing, top to bottom!”

        Fixed that for you.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Exactly. As you said below, once you start reframing the narrative, the Sox don’t even sound that impressive. Boston finally capitalized on a captivated, large and baseball-obsessed New England market and began investing smartly in the team. Somehow, because they won two World Series after being utterly inept at putting a good team on the field for most of nine decades, they are named the team of the decade by some. I don’t buy it.

          • Zack

            You mean the 16th largest market in the US

            /henry’d

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Can you imagine if Henry still owned the Marlins instead? He’d be claiming that Miami was smaller than the Principality of Monaco. He’d be a modern day William Jennings Bryan, calling for not only a salary cap but also for the free coinage of silver specie.

      • Evilest Empire

        Yankees are also MVT of the decade – most valuable team. They’ve surely generated a ridiculous amount of revenue for MLB and the other teams compared to BoSox, Dodgers, etc.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Can’t remember who said it, but here’s how it should be stated:

      The Red Sox were the story of the decade (non Steroids division).
      The Yankees were the team of the decade.

      What we did was more impressive and more dominant than what they did. But the historical narrative of the decade will go to them, mainly due to the fact that the Yankees being the team of the 2000s is old hat, since we were also the team of the 1990s and arguably, every single decade before that as well. We’re the balls, but we’re also old hat.

      ——————–

      The Red Sox being not-shitty? That’s an interesting and novel concept, my friend. Write some articles and books about it, and I’ll buy them.

      Sincerely,
      The unwashed masses of unsophisticated, possibly inbred non-Yankee fans

      • putt

        I missed you.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada
          • putt

            hmmmm…stings the nostrils.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Desire smells like that sometimes.

      • Dan

        but the Sox were the team of the 90’s

      • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

        You’re right: steroids even screwed the Sox out of being the biggest story of the decade.

        I love you, steroids!

        • Zack

          papi will get back to you when he finds out more information!!!1!

  • Mac

    Who is the “should be” fourth HOF’er? Bernie?

    You can make a case for Sheffield, Posada, Pettitte, and Mussina. But I think they will all fall just short.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Posada. It would be a travesty for Jorge Posada to miss the Hall of Fame. It’s not that close. See here for more.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Agreed.

        I personally think it would be an even bigger travesty for Sheff not to make the Hall, but it would be a splitting hairs argument, so whatevs.

      • Dalelama

        Except Jorge is so one dimensional and an idiot outside the batter’s box…watching him in action proves stats are deceiving

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Except Jorge is so one dimensional

          That one dimension is good enough to get him in the Hall by itself. Being awesome offensively is a good one dimension to have.

          and an idiot outside the batter’s box…

          Nobody cares.

          watching him in action proves stats are deceiving

          No, it doesn’t.

          • Dalelama

            It is hard to support someone for the Hall who displays less baseball sense than many Little Leaguers…

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              No, it’s not.

              Jorge Posada was a heart-of-the-order offensive force from a position that almost invariably hits 8th or 9th in the lineup and is a black hole of suckitude. You don’t exclude him from the Hall just because he got picked off on the basepaths on occasion. That’s an overreaction.

              • Dalelama

                Sure I can…Hall of Fame voting is subjective…Jorge is a two tool player whose only qualifcation for the Hall is he happened to catch…if he played any other non pitcher position we wouldn’t be having this discussion

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Jorge is a two tool player whose only qualifcation for the Hall is he happened to catch…

                  And, since he did, in fact, catch, he’s qualified for the Hall.

                  if he played any other non pitcher position we wouldn’t be having this discussion

                  I concede your point. If things were different, they wouldn’t be the same.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Gary Sheffield, career: .292/.393/.514 (140+)

      If Sheffield doesn’t get into the Hall, I’ll be saddened and upset. Raekwon the Sheff was the shiznit. He should be the first man in with a Marlins cap.

      Fun Fact of the Day: Gary Sheffield is the only San Diego Padre not named Tony Gwynn to win a batting title.

      • Evilest Empire

        Sheff has a career 1475:1171 BB:K ratio. Fuck.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Of the 25 members of the 500 HR club, only Mel Ott and Ted Williams have fewer career K’s than Sheff.

          • Evilest Empire

            That’s the stat of the day for me.

    • Evilest Empire

      Sheffield should easily be a HOFer in my humble opinion. I don’t care that he was a prick at times, or that he used the clear or whatever. His numbers are outstanding. He also has my favorite swing of all time (just sayin’)

      Moose should be first ballot, though I doubt he will be.

      Posada for sure, though another career average year or two would really help him.

      Pettitte is getting there, and Bernie I’d like to see get in just because I’m a Yankee homer and if it were up to me, about 50% of the HOF would be Yankees. For non-Yankees, I have a much more small hall-ish attitude.

  • thurdonpaul

    im guessing your 3 hall of famers are: jeter, mo & a-rod ?
    i guess you dont think a-rods steroid admission will stop him from getting in ? i believe he will & should get in. i just wonder how it will play out down the road.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Jeter, Mo, A-Rod. The steroids admission won’t matter by the time A-Rod comes up for a vote some time in the early-to-mid 2020s.

      • thurdonpaul

        i basically agree with that, but i think there will still be voters that will penalize him. i believe he gets in and probably on his first ballot, but i think he doesnt get the huge percentage of votes that he would have gotten.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        … when he’s got the career homer record, the career RBI record, the career runs scored record, and a literal handful of championship rings.

        I’m very aroused.

  • vtbando

    If you’re merely comprising your Team of the Decade by who had the best stats over that time period, I guess I can see why you chose Sheff over O’Neill — but on my team, I don’t care what Sheff’s numbers were, Paulie would be in RF. He has the one stat that matters over Sheff, Championships won.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Actually, that’s not even close to the one stat that matters. Getting on base, scoring and producing runs is what matters, and in that sense, Paul O’Neill is not even in the same league as Gary Sheffield. I love Paulie, but let’s not carried away with the rings nostalgia.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        In your minds eye, travel back to 1993. Instead of trading Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill, let’s say we traded him for Gary Sheffield (impossible, I know, but roll with me).

        How many titles do we win during the “Title Years”?

        Six?
        Seven?

        I’m not sure, but it’s probably more than four. Paulie was the bomb, but he’s not in Sheff’s zipcode. He’s not even in Sheff’s area code. The only reason Paulie has more rings than Sheff is because our pitching staff wasn’t good when Sheff was here.

        • vtbando

          I guess then, you don’t believe at all in clubhouse chemistry. Just about every championship team needs pitching – but that’s not all it needs. The dynasty teams of the late 90’s didn’t have all-stars at every position – but they had clutch guys who played the game the right way. It’s not all about stats – this isn’t Rotisserie Baseball.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Yeah, because Paul O’Neill was such a treasure and a joy to be around. Always a smile and a kind word from that guy.

            (rolls eyes)

            • DCBX

              /cut to Paulie taking a questionable called strike three & destroying bat rack, water cooler, etc.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Clubhouse chemistry: the last refuge of the man with no argument

            • Chris

              Team chemistry can have an effect is sports like basketball and football where it’s important to coordinate actions as a team. Baseball is basically an individual sport that aggregates the results.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                Do I think team chemistry is real? Yes.

                Does it affect the way a baseball team plays? Yes, it probably does.

                Is this effect great? No, it’s pretty small.

                Would swapping Sheffield for O’Neill create in a negative chemistry change that would have resulted in those juggernaut late-90’s Yankees teams winning fewer titles? It’s pretty freaking farfetched. Any negative chemistry change would be dramatically overwhelmed by Sheff’s superior production at the plate.

                • jsbrendog

                  winning creates chemistry.

                  no losing team has “great chemistry”

        • thurdonpaul

          so if giambi was on the team of the nineties instead of tino, we would have won more championships ?

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I totally agree that choosing O’Neill over Sheffield is indefensible… But I’m not so sure saying ‘they would have won more championships with Sheffield than O’Neill’ is the best argument. That team won 4 titles in 5 years, I’m not sure how many more they would have won if they had added Sheffield and subtracted O’Neill. When, exactly, was substituting Sheffield for O’Neill going to win them an extra title? 1995? 1997? 2001 is probably the best bet, I guess. Obviously it’s possible, but it’s a stretch to say it like it’s probable.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            Meh, it wasn’t really all that serious of a statement. Just spitballing.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Yeah, just a nitpick. Obviously there’s a case, and obviously (see below) I agree with the case that any team would be better with Sheffield instead of O’Neill, I just didn’t think that was the best way to prove it.

          • Chris

            Sheff’s .324/.467/.587/1.054 line in 1995 would have been very useful.

            I tend to agree with you, though. The Yankees would have won more games with Sheffield instead of O’Neill, but it’s hard to argue that they would have won more championships.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Hells yeah.

      In a related story, Bill Wennington was a better center than Hakeem Olaujuwon.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        So was Luc Longley.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Will Purdue >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Bob Lanier

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            He’s not necessarily choosing O’Neill over Sheffield because O’Neill’s white and Sheffield’s black. Let’s at least give the guy the chance to explain himself before hanging that on him.

            • Steve H

              I didn’t sense that at all, it was simply about # of rings outweighing performance. Just because the Bulls centers who hung around and got rings happened to be white, I don’t think that’s where anyone was going.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Eh… I don’t think they happened to compare three bad white basketball players to three awesome black basketball players just by coincidence, I think there was a clear implication that they were making fun of taking the inferior white guy over the superior black guy. I don’t think it was a coincidence that they chose the players they did, I think that was the whole point of the joke.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Actually, it was totally a coincidence.

                  Wennington, Purdue, and Longley are the three centers that spring to mind for winning rings on the backs of Jordan/Duncan/Robinson that they didn’t really contribute mightily towards. That’s the only reason I picked them (well, two of them, anyway.)

                  In terms of comparing them to good black centers… well, it’s the NBA. There’s plenty to choose from. Throw a rock in any direction, you hit a good black center.

                  It wasn’t intentional, just a circumstance of supply and demand. (At least, not on my part. I can’t speak for Andy.)

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  Ok, obviously if that’s the case, I take back my statement and I appreciate the explanation. Hopefully it’s not unclear and doesn’t seem unreasonable than an observer would think that was the direction you guys were taking the joke.

                  And, to be fair… Paul O’Neill wasn’t even close to being in the Wennington/Longley/Perdue neighborhood, O’Neill was an important contributor to those championship teams.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  No, I see how you could think that. No offense taken.

                  If only George Mikan had won fewer rings, or maybe Ben Wallace a few more, I could have had something for ya.

                  And, to be fair… Paul O’Neill wasn’t even close to being in the Wennington/Longley/Perdue neighborhood, O’Neill was an important contributor to those championship teams.

                  Agreed. I’m not trying to make a logically sound comparison, just poking fun with a little reductio ad absurdum.

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona

                  I just have an Australian bias.

                • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi
          • Steve H

            Robert Horry>>>>>>>>>>>Michael Jordan

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              Rick Mahorn >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Oscar Robertson

              • Steve H

                Wilt Chamberlain>>>>>>>>>>>Tiger Woods (for now).

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

                  Shit, Tiger’s got a long way to go to even get to second place.

                  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20334160,00.html

  • vtbando

    If that were true – then we would have won a lot more than 2 championships this decade, and the dynasty teams of the late 90’s would rank under well behind them.

    Sheffield could mash, no doubt. But he brought little else to the team.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Please use the reply button. It’s here to keep conversations organized.

      It is true, but you’re just choosing to ignore it. Gary Sheffield is not why the Yanks missed winning in the mid-2000s. As I wrote yesterday, they didn’t win because their starting pitching sucked for five years. Gary Sheffield is objectively much better than Paul O’Neill, and that’s all there is to it.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

        Yankees team ERA+ during the extended title years, including O’Neill’s tenure:
        1994: 106
        1995: 101
        1996: 108
        1997: 117
        1998: 116
        1999: 114
        2000: 101
        2001: 111
        2002: 114
        2003: 109

        Yankees team ERA+ during the Sheffield Years:
        2004: 96
        2005: 93
        2006: 102

        Clearly, only one inference can be drawn from this: Gary Sheffield’s awful clubhouse chemistry caused the Yankees pitchers to immediately start sucking.

        In a related story: http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2.....nough.html

      • vtbando

        If your opinion is derived solely from stats – I’d have to agree with you. But I believe there’s more to it than that. Sheff was an egomaniacal headcase who played hard whenever he felt like it. If he was so great, why did he play for 8 different teams? Paul O’Neill was a team leader who led by example and thrived in the postseason:

        .284 .363 .465 .828 (85 Games)

        Sheffield postseason: (44 Games)

        .248 .401 .398 .799

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      So… You think that if you have a team and you play 5 seasons with that team + Paul O’Neill and 5 seasons with that team + Gary Sheffield, that the O’Neill team is going to be better than the Sheffield team? If you can defend that opinion with anything resembling evidence (i.e. anything other than ‘I like Paul O’Neill and think he was grittier than Gary Sheffield’), I’m all ears.

      • vtbando

        Apparently then, you think the team with the best stats will always win no matter what. Why did the Braves lose to us in ’96 then?

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          You do realize that statistics do nothing other than measure performance, right? Stats don’t exist in some vacuum, they are an objective representation of performance on the field.

          I also never said the team with the better stats will always win. You’re jumping all over the place and not staying on-point, here.

          The only relevant point is that to take two players, one of whom is demonstrably better and one of whom is demonstrably worse, and to choose the demonstrably worse player over the demonstrably better player, is unwise.

          If you could offer a reasonable and persuasive argument or prove that O’Neill was demonstrably better than Sheffield, then you’d have more people agreeing with you. You haven’t come close to doing that, though.

          • vtbando

            All I’m trying to say is that while statistical performance is obviously important – in my opinion, it’s not the sole means for determining who is better. Character, chemistry, dedication, work ethic, experience, leadership – all those things factor in to the equation in my book. And O’Neill’s clutchness, and come-to-play attitude every day is worth more to my team than what Sheffield offers, and I’d think a lot of managers would agree with that.

            I’m not an A-Rod basher – never really have been. But up until this past post-season, if you had asked who would you rather have on your team Derek Jeter or A-Rod, many would have said Jeter. Even now, after the season, many still may agree with that. I’m not looking to knock A-Rod or hijack this post – but my point is that there are other intangibles that come into play and just plugging in the guy with the best stats doesn’t necessary correlate with a winning formula.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              But up until this past post-season, if you had asked who would you rather have on your team Derek Jeter or A-Rod, many would have said Jeter. Even now, after the season, many still may agree with that.

              Those people: dumb

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              It also should be pointed out that Sheff won a ring on the 1997 Marlins, and was praised as a clubhouse leader on that team.

              FWIW.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

            The only relevant point is that to take two players, one of whom is demonstrably better and one of whom is demonstrably worse, and to choose the demonstrably worse player over the demonstrably better player, is unwise.

            Repeated for emphasis.

            And, it’s not like Gary Sheffield is an axe murderer who’s prone to killing his best teammates midseason or something. He’s just a jerk.

            Reggie Jackson was a jerk. Lots of guys who won rings on good teams were jerks. No big whoop.

            • Evilest Empire

              Curt Schilling.

            • Steve H

              Manny, 2 rings and his teams are in the playoffs, every year.

            • Steve H

              Robert Horry, while not known as a jerk, did once throw a towel in his coach’s face, which was among the most disrespectful things I can remember a player doing to his coach.

              • Tank the Frank

                You mean besides choking him.

                /Latrell Sprewell’d

                • Steve H

                  Exactly who I had in mind when I said “among”. Though Spree might get his own category. And speaking of Spree, I hope his kids aren’t starving these days.

            • steve s

              I can’t give you a particular link in support but my recollection is that Sheffield was, in fact, a club leader on the Yanks and one of the few guys who would get in someone’s face when guys like Jeter wouldn’t (but no question he was a pain in the butt to management wherever he went). Regarding Reggie, if he was such a jerk how has he ended up where he is today; as a trusted long-time advisor to the Yanks and the Steinbrenner family. Reggie is baseball royalty; demeaning him in such a flippant way is uneducated and uncalled for.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          Why did the Braves lose to us in ‘96 then?

          Because they didn’t have enough awesome hitters like Gary Sheffield to beat our pitching staff.

          • vtbando

            Their offensive stats – albeit against NL teams – was quite similar to the ’96 team, at least over the regular season….

            • BPR

              Perhaps, they were the better team and over a long enough series would have proven that.
              Six games is a really tiny sample and the fact that you’re pointing to six games played thirteen years ago shows that your position is probably pretty weak.

  • yankXfan

    Hate to rain on your parade, but that could be the worst defensive team in the history of baseball. Yikes.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Is that a fuckin’ challenge? YOU’RE ON!!!

      Sincerely,
      The New York Mets

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      I hate it when people show up late to the party and try to change the rules. We’re looking at offensive production right here. I noted in the first base post that Giambi’s defense was awful. I noted in the left field post that both Matsui and Damon were below-average defenders. For this summary though, we went with offensive production.

      Your defensive team of the decade would probably feature Doug Mientkiewicz at first, Jose Molina behind the plate, and Brett Gardner in center. That’s one exciting offensive team, eh?

      • JAG

        It’s also interesting to me to note that the Team of the Decade isn’t actually that much different than the actual teams that went out and won an average of 96 games a year. If you add Andy Pettite and Robbie Cano to 2004 or Pettitte and good Bernie Williams to 2005 it’s the same team. If we were building a bench, I’d definitely put Tino on there to take over for Giambi, but other than that I don’t think there’s THAT much to complain about defensively. In fact, if we talk about the player in their primes, only Giambi, Matsui, and arguably Posada are below average on defense. Not NEARLY the worst defensive team ever.

        -JM

  • Tank the Frank

    There are at least three Hall of Famers and a fourth who should definitely be Cooperstown-bound

    Three Hall of Famers: Jeter, Mo, A-Rod

    Who is Cooperstown-bound? It’s gotta be Sheffield, no? I don’t think Moose or Andy will ever get in. Neither will Bernie or Jorge…most likely anyway.

    • Steve H

      I think Moose is pretty much a lock, though it’ll probably take a few years. I think Bernie and Posada deserve to go, but may or may not. I think Sheff is a HOF, just not sure what the PED’s/attitude will do to affect his votes. Pettitte definitely has an uphill climb, but another 45 wins just might do it. Remember, he handled his PED’s the right way (rolls eyes).

      • Tank the Frank

        If Blyleven deosn’t make it to the Hall then Moose probably has no chance. Bernie and Posada will not go…unless Posada has another year or two like 2007.

        • Steve H

          I think Blyleven will. A good read somewhere on ESPN yesterday pointing out that with Cy Young winners winning 15 and 16 games, the writers (and voters) are slowly moving away from, wins=great pitcher. Also, Mussina would, in the eyes of the “old school” voters be a much easier case than Blyleven, as he didn’t have as many total wins, he didn’t have nearly as many losses, doesn’t have that 50 HR season on his resume, and other crap that they use against Blyleven.

          • Tank the Frank

            Yeah, I think Blyleven and Moose both deserve it. If anything, they’ll both get in on their last years. And by that time, with the “steroid era” hopefully far in the rearview mirror, I think writers will reflect on it and give Moose credit for pitching in that era and in that division as well.

        • Steve H

          And with regard to Bernie/Posada, if Jim Rice can get in, anything is possible.

  • Randall Pink Floyd

    Let’s build on this .. Do you have the ability to run a diamond mind (or similar) simulation pitting the best players from the yankees in the 00’s versus the best from the Red Sox?

    Now that would be interesting ….

  • YankeeScribe

    Just to play devils advocate, one could argue that the Atlanta Braves, not the Yankees, were the team of the decade in the 90’s based on numbers. But I think a lot of folks around here would argue that the Yanks owned the 90’s due to their successes from 96-99.

    I think some people are hesitant to give the Yankees the team of the decade status simply because they were outplayed in the playoffs so many times throughout the 2000’s. For all the money they spent, they were expected to roll through teams like the Marlins, Diamonbacks, Angels, and Tigers. Plus, they may never live down the 2004 ALCS where they let Boston come back from an 0-3 deficit.

    I hate to say this but it could be argued that the Yankees of the 2000’s may be remembered more for their failures on and off the field than their successes…

    • Dalelama

      The Yanks paradoxically could be called the most disapointing teams of the Decade based on what they should have won but lost.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Only by fans who are too demanding and don’t acknowledge that (1) the team’s pitching was awful for half the decade and (2) the playoffs are generally a crapshoot. The only year for which they have few excuses is 2004, but the Red Sox by the playoffs were better than the Yanks and probably shouldn’t have been down 3-0 in the first place.

        • Dalelama

          In other words all Yankee fans….LOL…..we should have beat the Diamondbacks also

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            Actually, the Diamondbacks pretty much outplayed the Yanks the entire series, and except for some historic and unlikely comebacks, it wouldn’t have gone seven games. The way that one ended just falls under the ‘shit happens’ category. Why Torre ever thought playing the infield in was a good idea or why Brosius didn’t complete the easy, easy double play has always been beyond me.

            • Dalelama

              All Mo had to do was turn a routine double play and Series won…unfortunately the Great One blew it…,

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

              There’s not much shame in losing a seven game series where five of the games are started by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling at the peaks of their powers.

              • Dalelama

                Sure there is when all you had to do was complete a routine double play…

                • binky the klown

                  in deciding the 7th game of 2001 W.S.

                  Mo’s 9th inning>>>>>> Schiling/Johnson series performance

        • YankeeScribe

          While I agree that you can make the case that the Yanks are the team of the 2000’s based prely on numbers, there’s a fair argument against it too when you look at what they accomplished vs what they were expected to accomplish. For a team that had so many great players and the highest payroll for most of the decade, there were very high expectations from fans, Yankee-haters, and sports writers.

          While the playoffs ARE a crapshoot, for many non-Yankee-fans, the post-season is the only time of the year that they may get to see the Yankees play. Hence, the fact that the Yanks won 100 games in 04′ is easily forgotten while their upset by the Red Sox is still fresh in a lot of people’s minds.

          Off the field, the Yanks of the 2000’s had a lot of issues too with the number of Yankees connected to steroid probes, A-Rod, and Joe Torre’s firing and drama-queen book that got published.

          • Dalelama

            No more than the Sox with Manny and Big Papi on the needle…

    • vin

      “I hate to say this but it could be argued that the Yankees of the 2000’s may be remembered more for their failures on and off the field than their successes…”

      Such is the case when you are expected to win.

      The same can be said for the 1960’s Yankees. They had some great teams (spectacular in ’61), but lost three WS while *only* winning two.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “I think some people are hesitant to give the Yankees the team of the decade status simply because they were outplayed in the playoffs so many times throughout the 2000’s.”

      The most obvious retort to this specious line of reasoning is that you’re comparing a team that, in their bad years, made the playoffs and lost, to teams that, in their bad years, missed the playoffs completely or made the playoffs (less frequently than the Yankees did) and lost. The Yankees, in their bad years, were better than any other team in baseball was during their bad years. And the Yankees were better overall, and had more postseason success, than any other team during the 2000’s. They had more good years than anyone else… And their bad years would be considered good years for just about any other team in MLB.

      (I know you were just playing devil’s advocate, but that’s the reason why that particular position doesn’t hold water.)

  • Beechtop

    Mo: Team of the Decade, Century, Millenia, take your pick.

    Mariano’s postseason scoreless inning record is 34 1/3. He has pitched 133.1 postseason innings yielding only 13 runs, 11 earned, for a 0.74 ERA. Unbelievable.

    BUT: Does anyone know, or know how to learn, how many of his 133 postseason innings were scoreless overall, consecutive or not?

    Even more, does any starter in history have more scoreless postseason innings than Mo’s?

    Or does Mo hold the AGGREGATE scoreless innings record as well?

    My guess is that he’s probably not even close to the leading starter’s postseason scoreless innings total.

    A little help?