Open Thread: Fernando Seguignol

Can Ivan Nova Be a Viable Fourth Starter?
Reevaluating Johan Santana: part 2 of 2
(AP Photo/Kyodo)

It probably sounds a little obscure, but 18 years ago today the Yankees signed a then 18-year-old Fernando Seguignol as an amateur free agent out of Panama. He was a big guy, checking in at 6-foot-5 and just 180 lbs. when he signed, but his stint with the organization lasted just a little over two years. With his career batting line sitting at .262/.313/.386  in 118 rookie level games, the Yankees traded Seguignol to the Expos straight up for a 28-year-old flamethrowing reliever named John Wetteland. Montreal’s financial situation certainly helped. Wetteland always walked the tight rope but was highly effective during his two years in pinstripes, winning World Series MVP honors in 1996. Seguignol had an uneventful Major League career, which ended with eight plate appearances for the Yankees in 2003. He retired in 2009 after spending a few productive seasons in Japan.

The signing is nothing more than a blip on the transactions radar, but it ended up having a significant impact in Yankee history, indirectly anyway. I wrote about the trade in-depth last spring, so check it out for a nice nostalgic moment. Otherwise, here is your open thread for the evening. The NHL Skills Competition is on Versus starting at 7pm, plus the Nets are in Milwaukee to face the Bucks. Talk about anything you want, enjoy.

Can Ivan Nova Be a Viable Fourth Starter?
Reevaluating Johan Santana: part 2 of 2
  • Slugger27

    im in my early 20s, and was a little too young to remember the details of the 96 season. every time someone talks about wettelands year, without fail, they add in the notion that he had a lot of baserunners and made most of the games interesting.

    looking at his b-ref page, his h/9, bb/9, whip, and BABIP were all in line with his career rates. he had no hits batsmen. he did have an uptick in HR rate.

    i dont see much evidence, if any, that backs up his reputation for being a cardiac closer that season. or allowing an abnormal amount of baserunners. im starting to think hes been unfairly labeled all this time.

    • billy’s bartender

      He did have many cardiac type closes. I remember him as the guy that if he had a two run lead, a solo shot was imminent. Lots of RISP with less than 2 outs. He got much tougher in those situations. His close in game 6 vs. the Braves was typical. He didn’t give up a homer, but he let in a run and the tying run was i believe at 2nd.

      • Slugger27

        of course theres games where he DID make u nervous, everyone has those. mariano did in arizona this season. im talking about the whole season in general, though. that one WS game i think is what resonates with fans, overshadowing their memory of the rest of the season.

        his whip wasnt high for his career, and it wasnt that year. same with hits allowed, walks, hit batters, etc. he did allow 9 homers that year as opposed to his usual 6 or so, but 3 homers over the course of the season couldnt possibly be how he earned this cardiac reputation.

        to me, it just sounds like a narrative someone once tried to spin, and everyone just kinda ran with it.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I think you’re overreacting a bit. The guy was an All-Star that season, came in 19th in MVP voting, had 43 saves and was part of what many considered/consider to be one of the better bullpen-tandems, with Mo, in the history of the game.

          He was plenty good and everyone knows (and knew at the time) that he was plenty good. I think people think he was a bit of a cardiac closer for a guy as good as he was, but that’s not like saying the guy wasn’t a good reliever.

          • Slugger27

            heh, this ill agree with u on. nobody ever doubts his impact that year, nor should they. dude was money.

            i wouldnt even bring it up, but EVERY TIME someone mentions wettelands season, they ALWAYS have to add that disclaimer sentence that he made ppl nervous. its not a big deal, of course, i just decided to look it up to see if the story checked out, as i dont remember from subjective memory.

            just generating discussion, really.

            • Midland TX

              I think it’s just the fact that no matter how good Wetteland was, compared to Mariano Rivera in our collective memory he comes out looking like Cecilio Guante.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Not saying you’re wrong and I don’t have the time to do it myself right now, but I don’t think you can draw that conclusion from the numbers you looked at. What you seem to have possibly found is that in ’96 Wetteland might not have been more of a cardiac closer than he was in other seasons, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a bit of a cardiac closer that season.

      I’m also not sure that it means anything, but his H/9, BB/9 and HR/9 were all a bit high, for Wetteland, during the ’96 season. So even if you’re just looking at his performance compared to his other seasons, it does look like he might have been a bit more of an adventure in ’96 than he usually was, anyway.

      • JGS

        For closers, I think WHIP would be a good one to look at there. The number of baserunners goes a long way to determining whether someone is a cardiac closer or not. His 1.178 in 1996 was much higher than 1995 (.880) and didn’t get that high again until he stopped being an effective reliever in 1999.

        • JGS

          That’s not to say he was a cardiac closer (I don’t remember 1996 that well), but he wasn’t quite as lights out as he had been in years past, or years after that.

          • Slugger27

            but he WAS pretty much in line with all his career rates, which again, dont seem too cardiac-like.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              His H/9, HR/9 and WHIP were all in ’96, on the high-side for his career; I’m not sure how you can discount that. He may have had similar numbers very early and very late in his career, but he didn’t during the middle/prime of his career. There’s an uptick there in ’96.

              • Slugger27

                looking back, you’re right about it not being on par with other seasons in his prime, at least in terms of whip and hits allowed. i guess thats how the whole reputation got started; ppl were comparing it to ’95 and ’97. i dont think thats fair, but it at least explains a lot of the reputation.

      • Slugger27

        his H/9, BB/9 and HR/9 were all a bit high, for Wetteland, during the ’96 season…. it does look like he might have been a bit more of an adventure in ’96 than he usually was, anyway.

        ill give u the uptick in homers, but other than that, i really just dont see it. i dont consider a 1.178 whip to be high. and considering his BABIP was 273, its pretty tough to say he allowed a lot of hits. we know he didnt walk a lot of guys, and 4 of them were intentional. i mean if we’re not looking at runners allowed, what else do we look at for this argument?

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Like I said, not telling you you’re definitely wrong, nor am I looking to (nor can I, as I have to get going) really get into the numbers right now. Just think you overstated your ‘his numbers were in line with his career norms’ argument and I don’t think you could really conclude anything even if his numbers were in line with his career norms. You may well be right, but the argument you provided doesn’t really get you there.

          Again, though… I think you’re overstating this whole ‘cardiac closer’ thing. Wetteland was very good and was very highly-regarded during his career.

      • Slugger27

        on 2nd thought, i think what your point is more based on his numbers having an uptick compared with his previous 3 seasons or so. in that regard, you’re correct, he did seem to have more baserunners.

        i guess maybe my comparison to career numbers was faulty from the start, since most ppl had higher expectations at the time.

        maybe all he did was regress to the mean a bit, and the end result was still pretty damn good.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yeah… In the end, he may have been adventurous now and again, but he was still really good for the Yankees, and I don’t think many people would argue he wasn’t.

    • Pat D

      I think part of the “cardiac closer” tag comes from how some of the World Series games played out, particularly Games 5 and 6. He also gave up a hit in Game 4.

      • Slugger27

        He also gave up a hit in Game 4.

        lol, youre tough to please

        • Pat D

          I just added this as something that someone might remember about him making things interesting. Though in Game 4 all he did was gave up a single when they were up 2.

          • nyyankfan7

            The guy wasn’t called “warning track” Wetteland for no reason and all those stats your looking at don’t show the countless times that he stranded the game winning run on base by getting a 400 ft. flyball for the final out. I remember ’96 and I will always remember being terrified every time he pitched that I was about to watch a walk off homer end my dreams of them finally winning another World Series.

  • Matt Imbrogno

    Anyone going to be in Stamford tonight?

    • Matt Imbrogno


    • Slugger27

      i wont be in stamford tonight. out of curiosity, whats going on there?

  • Jose the Satirist
    • Kiersten

      Yeah, now they’re not even blogging about teams, they’re blogging about blogs.

  • BoogieDownEnigma

    There are three reasons Wetteland is always remembered as a cardiac closer:

    1. The 1995 Divisional Series against the Mariners. Wetteland sucked in that series. So that was always on everyone’s mind during the 1996 season. You were always like here we go again, this loser is gonna blow it again. A lack of faith in him because he burned you so bad the previous postseason created more angst in you than maybe his actual performance in 1996 warranted

    2. Mariano was so damn good in 1996 during the regular season (after being so great in the 1995 Divisional Series that Wetteland sucked in). 1996 was an, oh, my God, holy crap kinda season from Mariano. He was just lights out, shut ’em down. It was like nothing you had ever seen before. It really was magical and exciting when Mariano came into a game that year. No reliever could compare. So compared to how Mariano was looking that year, Wetteland seemed so much inferior. Looking back at it, almost any reliever in the history of the game would have looked like much more of a cardiac closer than they really were just because they had Mariano having the kind of season he was having that year in the same bullpen.

    3. Mariano has been what he’s been ever since. No reliever can ever compare to Mariano. If the Yanks had to deal with what every other team has had to deal with over the last decade and a half, Wetteland wouldn’t be remembered as the cardiac closer he’s remembered as. Honestly, when you have conversations with other people about other great closers, don’t they all seem like cardiac closers just because you’re comparing them with Mariano? Your context for comparison has become so damn skewed because of Mariano’s excellence

    • Andy in NYC

      I think you’re onto something here. We’re spoiled by Mariano, and most other closers have their bad streaks. That being said, certainly Goose Gossage was something of a “top step closer”, as I recall. Just watch his performance in the Bucky Dent HR game.
      So there is such a beast as a ‘cardiac/top-step’ closer; but we also may be more prone to label someone that way, as witnesses of the Holy Mo.


    seriously, can we?

  • SamVa

    LoHud looked at Felipe Lopez/Lastings Millege as bench options… (among others)

    So that sparked my interest a bit.. and i’m just curious.. Why hasn’t anyone signed Felipe Lopez yet?
    He seems to be an extremely versatile player and could fill many positional voids in the presence of an extended injury…
    I’m suggesting he is necessarily a fit for the Yanks, but am i missing something about him?

    • SamVa

      not suggesting****

    • mbonzo

      The problem with Lopez is that he doesn’t pass the better than Eduardo Nunez test.

      He hit .233/.311/.656 last year. Although he’s had better years, his career OPS is .731 which I think Nunez could put up just as well.

      • mbonzo

        I should add, I’m a fan of Lastings Milledge. I don’t think he has a spot on the team now that Andruw Jones signed, but I would love that pickup. He’s still got some upside left to be a very good player and if the Yankees see something in him, they could eventually use Brett Gardner as trade bate. The Yankees farm system needs outfielders, so I’d like to see him start with a minor league contract but I doubt that’ll happen.

  • The Oberamtmann

    Last bit of shamelessly plugging myself. Go here to see the roundup of baseball teams as early modern European states. Thanks to all who have visited and spread it!

    Yankees are Austrian Habsburgs