Jul
19

Past Trade Review: Scott Brosius

By

(Jeff Zelevansky/Icon SMI)

Oh how I hated Kenny Rogers. I was still pretty young and didn’t really understand the ins and outs of baseball back then, so when the Yankees signed him after the 1995 season the extent of my thinking was “this is the guy that threw the perfect game last year, right? he’s awesome!” Rogers was most certainly not awesome, he was coming off his first All-Star Game berth in 1995 but had struggled to keep his K/BB ratio above 2.00 for most of his career. He was hittable, he walked a decent number of batters and he was a fly ball guy prone to the long ball, but hey, he was left-handed and threw a perfect game, which was good enough for 14-year-old Mike.

Rogers, then 31, was awful in his first year in New York. He walked 83 batters and struck out just 92 in 179 IP, posting a 4.68 ERA and an even uglier 4.83 FIP in 30 starts. Scheduled to start the fourth game in the playoffs, Rogers was instead called upon out of the bullpen in the 12th inning of Game Two to face the lefty Will Clark with runners on second and third with two outs. He promptly walked him on four pitches. Brian Boehringer came in and got out of the inning, then did the same three days later when Rogers couldn’t get out of the third inning in Game Four. Rogers gave up four runs in three innings in Game Four of the ALCS before he gave up five runs in two innings in his World Series Game Four starter. In four playoff appearances he’d allowed 21 baserunners and 11 runs in seven innings, and the Yankees won all four games. That still blows my mind. Boehringer, David Weathers, and Graeme Lloyd had picked up the slack.

The next year actually went worse for Rogers, who posted a 5.65 ERA with a 5.07 FIP in 22 starts and nine relief appearances, giving the Yankees 145 barely above replacement level innings. Joe Torre didn’t dare go near him in the ALDS against the Indians, in fact I can’t remember (and can’t find anything to confirm) if he was even on the playoff roster. I’m guessing it was a no. The Yankees had had enough, so they traded Rogers and some cash to the Athletics for a player to be named later on November 7th, 1997. Eleven days later, that player had a name, and it was Scott Brosius.

The Yankees were in need of a third baseman after letting 39-year-old Wade Boggs walk as a free agent, and Brosius seemed like nothing more than a stopgap. He had hit just .203/.259/.317 with 11 homers in 526 PA in 1997, though he did post a huge 1996 season: .304/.393/.516 with 22 jacks. Maybe the Yankees could catch lightning in a bottle with the 31-year-old. All it would cost them was a starter they didn’t want and $2.65M worth of salary.

Brosius came out of the gate hitless on Opening Day, but before you knew it he had six multi-hit games in the team’s first 18 contests, driving in a dozen runs from the eighth and ninth spots in the order. And he just kept hitting. A .396/.466/.593 effort in May pushed his season line to .333/.401/.462, and from June 1st on he produced a .284/.357/.476 batting line. Brosius was an RBI machine, hitting .373/.444/.588 with runners in scoring position and driving in 98 runs from the bottom third of the order. He was an All-Star and a force in the postseason, hitting .383/.400/.660 in 13 October games. He hit two homeruns in Game Three of the World Series, the second with one out in the eighth inning against Trevor Hoffman that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

The Yankees rewarded Brosius with a three-year contract worth over $15M after the season. The problem is that he never performed up to his 1998 level again. Brosius hit .247/.307/.414 in 1999, losing more than 120 OPS points off his previous year. His trademark clutchiness evaporated (.282/.326/.462 with RISP), and although the Yankees again won the World Series, it was no thanks to Brosius. He hit .250/.267/.477 in a dozen postseason games. Things got even worse in 2000, when Brosius hit .230/.299/.374 in the regular season, .237/.315/.427 with RISP, and .229/.304/.313 in 16 playoff games.

(Photo Credit: NY Daily News)

The 2001 season was the last on Brosius’ contract and ultimately the final one of his career. He had a nice little dead cat bounce during the regular season, hitting .287/.343/.446 even though he was limited to just 120 games. His playoff performance was awful, hilariously awful when you look back at it (.140/.155/.263 in 17 games), but the moment that pretty much defines Scott Brosius’ Yankee career came in Game Five of the World Series. The series was tied at two but the Yankees were down 2-0 in the ninth inning after getting manhandled by Miguel Batista of all people. Jorge Posada led off the ninth with a double, but Shane Spencer grounded out and Chuck Knoblauch struck out to bring Brosius to the plate with two outs. Byung-Hyung Kim’s slider hung, Brosius’ left arm went up. His two-run homer tied the game, the second straight night the Yankees rallied from down two in the ninth against Kim.

I’m sure Brosius and many others will say they remember him for the homer off Hoffman since the Yankees actually won that World Series, but it’s 2001 for me. The city was still reeling from the September 11th attacks, emotions were high, it seemed like an impossible situation … I’m never ever ever going to forget that. All told, the Yankees won four pennants and three World Titles with Brosius as their starting third baseman, during which time he hit .267/.331/.428 with 76 homers, the two most memorable of which came on baseball’s biggest stage.

As for Rogers, the Athletics got a 3.17 ERA and 3.95 FIP out of him in 1998, then kept him around for half of 1999 before flipping him to the Mets for Terrence Long and a minor leaguer. In terms of bWAR, Oakland acquired 8.6 wins worth of Rogers from the Yankees for what turned out to be 5.7 bWAR worth of Brosius. Since the Yankees re-signed him as a free agent after 1998, we can’t really count that 1999-2001 production as part of the trade, but who cares? The Yankees won this trade in every way imaginable but bWAR, and they’d do it again a million times out of a million.

Categories : Days of Yore
  • http://bww.com Adam

    Just one of those guys who put on the Pinstripes and defined his career. Heck, defined his life.
    A great role player here.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    The series was tied at two but the Yankees were down 2-0 in the ninth inning after getting manhandled by Miguel Batista of all people.

    Batista and Tim Wakefield The Necromancer are the only two members of the last Pirates playoff team still active, IIRC.

    #themoreyouknow

  • gc

    As ridiculous and amazing as the Tino home run was in the 2001 WS, I always cite the Brosius home run as my favorite. It was the shot that had nearly every Yankee fan in the universe, and everyone else for that matter, with jaws on the floor, eyes wide in disbelief.

    Funny thing is, in his previous at bat (or maybe it was the previous game) against Kim, he rocked a home run that landed just a tad foul and I remember thinking about that during his eventual momentous at bat in game 5.

    And as much as people love to blast John Sterling around here, I much prefer his Brosius home run call than anyone else’s. “I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!”

    Scotty B always seemed like a real down to earth guy, and he was someone I always enjoyed rooting for. And from all accounts, he has enjoyed a really awesome post-baseball life in Oregon. I’m glad he’ll be remembered forever.

    …oh, and Kenny Rogers sucked. When the Mets brought him in to send the game into extra innings against the Braves in that deciding post-season game in the 1999 NLCS, I laughed, knowing he would walk in the winning run. Which he did.

    • Dale Mohorcic

      I remember being distracted by something in the middle of that at bat and looking away for a couple of seconds only to see the ball landing in the stands. My initial reaction was “what an odd time to show a replay from last night.”.

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

    The biggest problem with the original Brosius trade is the impact it had on future Yanks’ dealings. They were so enamored with Brosius after his career year in 1998 that they traded Mike Lowell for peanuts. Outside of anything involving Javy Vazquez, that’s probably the worst Cashman move of his tenure (and Joe said as much last year).

    So yeah, Brosius was great for those post-season home runs, and the trade that brought him to New York was great. But after that, he cost the Yanks a good player.

    • Rick in Boston

      No way the Marlins win the ’03 series without Lowell (128 OPS+, 32 homers). In fact, they probably don’t win the series and move to Vegas/Portland/Havana.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Were they so enamored with Brosius, or were they merely foolishly relying on Brosius remaining a passable stopgap and were enamored of Ed Yarnall’s tantalizing big (6’3″ 240) lefty power fastball?

      #meaninglessfastidiousness

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

        Probably some of both.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          THAT IS HOW YOU DEBATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • James

    The sound of that crowd as the ball hits his bat still gives me goosebumps. I love watching the crowd rock. Also, it shut Tim McCarver, all time Yankee hater up for the second night in a row.

  • IRF

    I love these past trade reviews. More please!

    I always had an irrational love of Scotty Bro. Maybe its because of the two home runs, but its more likely because I’ve seen him in person more than any other athlete/celebrity.

  • Eric

    Thank you for linking to that home run. I’ve now watched it 5 times at work

  • http://twitter.com/Carlosologist_7 Carlosologist

    The Yankees need more players like Brosius, not those unclutch fucks A-Rod and Teixeira. Trade Nova for Kouzmanoff, Brosius’s modern day counterpart!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Kouzmanoff is an extremely white name. We approve.

  • Good Wood

    Brosius also played a very solid defensive 3B.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Eh, “very” might be pushing it.

      • Good Wood

        Very solid vs. just plain solid might be splitting hairs just a bit. I think we can agree that he was a good defensive third baseman.

  • Guest

    I will never forget that 2001 Series. I still don’t know how to feel about it.

    I was away from the city during my freshman year of college, but even from campus I could feel what that Yankee run meant to NYC after 9/11. And there are so many other factors that made that run memorable.

    It was the last run for those great 90′s teams, and everyone knew it.
    I will never forget fans chanting Paul O’Neill’s name in the top of the ninth of a close World Series game because they knew it was the last time they would see him in pinstripes. And that mattered even more to them than the game itself.

    Also, to get to the World Series, they beat a 108 win Oakland A’s team and a 116 win Seattle Mariners team. I’m pretty sure no one has had to face two teams anywhere near that caliber in a division and championship series.

    2001 was the year of “the flip,” and the comeback from 0-2 down in a 5 game series (both against Oakland).

    As a reward for getting through the AL, they had to face Schilling and Johnson 5 times at the absolute peak of their powers.

    And then…BK Kim…Tino and Scotty Bro HR’s…Jeter as Mr. November.

    It also seemed so perfect, like it was destined. And then Tony freakin’ Womack and Luis Gonzalez go ahead and ruin it all.

    I was crushed. Looking back at it, I am still crushed. But I am proud of the fact that those “dynasty guys” went down kicking and screaming. After a decade, I’m not sure what I feel more strongly: the pride or the disappointment.

    • DCBX

      It was a beautiful and most impressive run. I had to work the night of game 7, and I remember actually crying after hearing the walkoff hit on the radio.

  • UncleArgyle

    The Brosius Homer off Kim is probably the Greatest Yankee fan moment of my life. I was in college (in Massachusetts) and was at a kickass house party. Two asshole Sox fans were giving it too my pretty good after Chuck Knoblauch whiffed. And I remember saying something like “Watch what Scotty B is gonna do, Dickhead”. Having no real expectations that he’d save the day. Two seconds later, after hitting my head on the ceiling, I gave the most satisfying “Suck it Bitch” exclamation of my life to those two guys. They looked at me like I was some sort of god. And I sorta felt like one at that moment. Thanks Scott.

  • TLC

    Did they agree to send Rogers to San Diego in 1997 for Greg Vaughn but he failed a physical?

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Something like that, but it’s cool.. we got Mike Stanley back instead.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    The first paragraph of this describes my thoughts on “The Gambler” to a tee. As a 12 year old at the time, I went from liking the addition because of the perfecto to hating him while watching him get lit up in Game 4. The 2006 ALDS sure didn’t help.

  • U Thant

    Brosius’s defining Yankee moment was his absolute BOMB off of Trevor Hoffman in Game 3 of the 1998 World Series. imho

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    I was at Game 5. After the homerun I seriously thought the stadium was going to collapse.

  • J. Scott

    Being the crabby old SOB that I am, my constant memory of Brosius is his brain fart in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 in the 2001 WS. After Rivera threw the 1st of 2 consecutive awful sac bunt attempts away [I remember thinking "That's a double-play" when the catcher bunted the ball hard back at Mo], Jay Bell made, if anything, an even worse sac bunt attempt. This time Mo fielded quickly and threw perfectly to Brosius to get the force at third. At the point Brosius caught the ball Bell was still about 50 feet from 1st base. Brosius could have rolled the ball across the infield and gotten Bell by 20 feet for the DP. When asked after the game why he didn’t throw to 1st, Brosius said he just froze. Ah.

    • http://yankees.com sam

      That does not make you a SOB that makes you correct I didnt even realize that happened because i was so young at the time but man that pisses me off, 4 in a row what could have been

  • http://yankees.com sam

    I was sitting in the deeeeeep left field seats at field level and was 9 years old at the time so its unreal to see this again. Also how do you always find these old videos on mlb.com? i wanna search them for hours on end but dont know how there must be so many great ones. I recommend ad block plus (only works on firefox) blocks almost (almost) every ad on internet but all that matters is it blocks the ones on mlb.com so you dont have to have a 15 second ad for a 25 second video :/

  • Broll The American

    Acquiring Brosius made Lowell expendable. It would have been interesting to see how the rest of the ’00s went with him holding down the hot corner, and not sinking a third of a billion dollars into ARod.