Open Thread: Kenny Rogers

Andruw's Back: Yanks & Jones reach agreement
Buster Olney ranks the ten best everything
(Cataffo/NY Daily News)

Man, I really disliked Kenny Rogers. It all started with his dreadful two years in pinstripes, and just carried on for the remainder of his career. I despised watching him take the mound, far more than I do when A.J. Burnett gets the ball these days. The left-hander’s stint with the Yankees officially started 16 years ago today, when he signed a four-year deal worth $20M.

Rogers pitched to a 4.68 ERA in 30 starts during the 1996 season, then was absolutely horrible in three postseason starts. He put six men on base and allowed two runs in two innings in Game Four of the ALDS, then allowed four runs in three innings in Game Four of the ALCS, then topped it off by allowing five runs in two innings in Game Four of the World Series. Amazingly, the Yankees won all three games primarily because David Weathers and Brian Boehringer were nails in long relief (five earned runs in 17.1 IP that postseason, and three came on one Andruw Jones homer).

The Yankees traded Rogers to the Athletics for Scott Brosius after the 1997 season, after he’d pitched himself out of the rotation and the team’s future plans. Brosius obviously worked out well in the sense that the Yankees won three World Series with him at the hot corner, but he wasn’t all that great aside from 1998. Anyway, that’s a trade no one in New York regrets. Rogers … well everyone regrets that signing.

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Here is your Friday night open thread. Both the Rangers and Nets are playing tonight, but talk about anything you want here. enjoy.

Andruw's Back: Yanks & Jones reach agreement
Buster Olney ranks the ten best everything
  • Rigoleto

    “For Deliciously Healthy Food.”

  • Robert

    I wounder what people hate Rogers more for 1996 or 2006 postseason with Det ?

    • Gonzo

      Being born? His music?

      • Mister Delaware

        Bite your tongue: The Gambler is a tremendous song.

        • Pat D

          I can’t resist.

          You got to know when to hold ’em
          Know when to fold ’em
          Know when to walk away
          Know when to run…

          And, remember, before he became a country crooner, he was the front man for that psychedlic group The First Edition. Remember The Big Lebowski? “Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In” is such a trip.

    • J6takish

      He was totally tits in the 06 post season. 4 starts with a 0.00 era

      • Steve (different one)

        Sure, except he was doctoring the ball.

        Maybe. I’m not bitter still…

        • Mickey S

          Dipped the bill of his hat in pine tar and was clearly rubbing it on the ball. That still pisses me off when I hear his name.

  • Gonzo

    Garza with the Tigers would be a solid rotation.

    They have the pieces to make the tradeit seems. Turner and Castellanos as main pieces do it? Who hangs up?

    • Jesse

      I think solid is an understatement.

  • CMP

    I don’t know which Kenny Rogers I hated worse, this one or the one who couldn’t sing worth a shit and was addicted to phone sex.

  • dkidd

    torre looks like he’s walking out there to punch him

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    It’s been 14 years since The Gambler wore pinstripes. Felt like a lot more recently, and probably because The Kenny Rogers Experience and The Kevin Brown Experience brought forward similar emotional response.

    • Rainbow Connection

      I believe The Gambler still plays 3B on the Yanks.

  • CANO FAN #1

    I miss My yankees so much.

  • Mister Delaware

    Kenny Rogers just reminds me how happy I am with my current favorite teams. Among the Yankees, Rangers and my college’s basketball team, I hate exactly zero current players. Its nice. Real nice.

    • Brian S.

      You don’t hate Burnett or Soriano???

  • RkyMtnYank

    Rogers aside, I was a pretty big Brosius fan. I never really cared what he did with the bat, other than it was great he always seemed to be clutch in the post season, but loved the way he played 3rd base! He was a rock over there and I have never seen another 3rd baseman make the bare handed play as well as he did! All the pieces fit perfectly for those teams after Kenny left!

    • Mister Delaware

      (Career playoff line: .245/.278/.418)

      • Esteban

        Well, he loved the way he played 3rd base! Yes he did!

        • RkyMtnYank

          Thank you,

      • IVoted4Kodos

        I’m willing to bet that his huge World Series in 98 and his home run off Kim in 01 have caused many to remember him being much more clutch than he actually was.

        • RkyMtnYank

          Probably, but at least they are fond memories given the level of my memory loss! hehe

        • Mister Delaware

          That ’01 HR was probably the hardest immediate reaction I’ve ever had to a batted ball.

  • Will (the other one)

    How DARE you tinge my overly rosy memories of childhood hero and fan favorite Scotty Bro?!

    You’re dead to me, Axisa.

  • Plank

    I’m fairly sure that picture is from September 7, 1997. That’s the only game with Rogers pitching in NY with Posada at C and Boggs at 3B. That would make that Tino Martinez’s arm.

    • Plank

      The only game that he got pulled mid-inning. I only checked games he got pulled mid-inning. If he’s getting pulled after letting someone on but not registering an out, that’s not the game. Also, it could just be a visit and not him getting pulled. The other thing is that they won that game. He looks unhappy in that picture.

      • Plank

        Anyway, is the off-season almost over?

      • Plank

        Yup, I checked the rest of his home starts, that’s the only one it could be.

      • Jesse

        And the link you posted was a day game and you can clearly tell the game is being played during the day based on the photo Axisa provided, so there’s that too.

        • Plank

          Posada looks so young there, that I wasn’t 100% sure it was him at first.

  • SteveO

    Anyone remember that Rogers was actually traded for Greg Vaughn first,but Vaughn failed the physical. Vaughn would later hit 50 homers and help San Diego get to the World Series in 1998.

    • Scully

      I thought Mariano Duncan was traded for Greg Vaughn when Vaughn failed his physical? And those 50 homers in 98 definitely didn’t have anything to do with all the juice he was on now did it (wink wink).

  • Duderinough

    I hated kenny but I think the best game ever was that game 4 comeback in the ws 1996. Couldn’t have done it without you kenny!

    • Tom Q

      What really annoyed me was, in the parade a week later, he was waving the victory flag more ostentatiously than anyone — as if he’d made major contributions. You’d have thought he’d have had the awareness to stay quiet in the corner.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Blue jays sign Aaron Laffey! I’d love to see Andruw hit against him…

    • Monteroisdinero

      Thank God Kearns and Laffey are gone. How Joe could have put those two on the field in an ACTUAL game for the NY Yankees was beyond me.

      • Matt Imbrogno

        Yes, ’cause Aaron Laffey pitched so many meaningful innings for the 2011 Yankees.

  • Pat D

    I remember seeing a small blurb in transactions section of my newspaper that they had signed Rogers in the ’95-’96 offseason. I believe he had been really good the previous couple of years, and I remembered his no-hitter or perfect game, whichever it was, so naturally I thought they made a great signing and it could very well put them over the top.

    I guess the answer to that was yes, but not because of him!

    • IVoted4Kodos

      Maybe it did. Maybe his complete and total shittiness motivated everyone else to play better.

  • toad

    Rogers is just another entry in the log of FA pitching disasters. The first was probably Don Gullett.

    • Pat D

      Doesn’t Gullett get off on the injury excuse?

    • nsalem

      Gullett pitched okay for the Yankees he was just injured. He won 10 games his first 3 months as a Yankee which is 2 more than Pavano had in his 4 years here.

    • Pat D

      Also, I think you could call Catfish a bust, because he didn’t earn his money.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Do any of them, really? Catfish was a damn fine pitcher for the Yanks.

      • Jimmy

        You’re joking, right? Catfish had a monster year in 1975 and a good year in 1976. His health began to deteriorate after that, not least because he pitched over 600 innings in his first two years for the Yankees. The Yankees got their value from him.

        • Pat D

          He had a 98 ERA+ in 1976. I’m not so sure that’s a “good” year. He won 17 games, but…we all know about wins. If he hadn’t been such a beast in 1975, it would really look bad.

          • nsalem

            Catfish also came up huge in 1978. He pitched poorly in the first half of 1978 and he was basically being written off after a terrible and injury riddled 1977. He won all 6 games he started in August a month which started with the Yankees behind by about 13 games. He started the first game of The Boston Massacre in September and was pulled after 3 innings with the Yankees up by about 12 runs or so. He also pitched a complete game against the RedSox giving up 2 runs at the Stadium the next week which increased the Yankee lead to 2 or 3 games. He also pitched 7 very good innings at Chavez to in Game 6 to close out the World Series against the Dodgers ( a game I was lucky enough to go to who cares). He was really only great in 1975 and for a couple of months in 1978, but he was also one of the symbols and a key piece in the Yankee’s return to greatness and probably well worth the money.

            • Pat D

              Well, yea, I always hear that argument about how his signing with the Yankees made the team look more attractive to other free agents, but how many other guys from that era really came in via free agency? Reggie, Goose and Tommy John, I think.

              It’s just not something that you can quantify. I’m not trying to diss Hunter, I’m just saying that his overall performance probably didn’t match the money he was paid.

              • Trout

                640K a year for five years running? That equates to about $2M a year now…in other words, half what the Yankees are paying Pedro Feliciano per season. Catfish paid for his entire contract the first season.

                His fWAR values in ’74 and ’75 came in at 5.1 and 5.9 and in 1976, the first year of his damaged arm, it came in at 4.1, which is the year you were wondering if it was “good.”

                Catfish was the anti-AJ. He didn’t have an electric arm, but he knew how to pitch. His career never should have ended as it did, but they knew so much less back then about pitcher abuse.

                • Plank

                  Baseball salaries and revenue have outpaced inflation to put it mildly. You can’t compare the two that way.

                  • Pat D

                    Not to mention that he didn’t pitch for the Yankees in ’74.

                    It’s also interesting to notice the huge differences in the WAR values. BRef puts ’75 and ’76 at 7.6 and 1.2, respectively, against the 5.9 and 4.1 that Fangraphs shows.

                    • Trout

                      My note had more to do with a couple comments in different notes, including one saying “doesn’t Don Gullett get a pass because he was injured,” and that Catfish was kind of a bust because he “earn his money.”

                      Perhaps your Gullett statement was tinged with sarcasm that I just wasn’t picking up, but Gullett was injury-prone, which is why the signing was questionable from day one. Hunter was healthy when the Yankees signed him and at the peak of his pitching abilities, leading the league in limited runners in both ’74 and ’75. I mentioned ’74 in my prior note and here just as a reference point to where he was as a pitcher, not because I was trying to make claim for his Oakland year as a Yankee year.

                      If somehow Gullett is getting a pass as a bust because of injury, well then Hunter deserves that same “pass” and actually even more so because it was the Yankees who pushed him over the edge, under the belief that he was making so much money (640K!!) that they were going to drain every last dollar out of his arm, not realizing they would end up getting less value over the course of his contract. After his 300/30 season and the absurd second-half stretch, he showed up in Spring Training the following season clearly missing several miles off his fastball and rumors of a sore arm were about. So what did the Yankees do? Well, what any team would do back then. They had him go out and pitch another 300 innings! Even reduced Hunter still delivered 4.1 fWAR that year, but as much through guile and determination than anything else. If AJ through his career couldn’t figure out how to consistently get batters out with a 95 mph fastball and a tremendous breaking pitch, Hunter that year seemed to get batters out simply by moving pitches all over the plate, up, down, in and out. The reason for the differences between fWAR and rWAR on Hunter has to do with fielding independent pitching metrics. Fangraphs takes into account FIP, while B-R doesn’t; Hunter pitched in a bit of bad luck that year and coupled with 300 innings gets him to his 4.1 WAR.

                      By 1977 and two years of Yankee abuse, his arm was totally shot, and basically in desperation the following year, the Yankees trainers did some form or painful arm manipulation midway through the season where they literally could hear the adhesions snapping in Hunter’s shoulder. (I wonder if they ever considered blood leeches!?) Amazingly it worked, and for the second half of 1978 Hunter pitched again like Catfish Hunter, and he along with Guidry were the main pitchers behind the Yankees great comeback against the Red Sox that year, leading the Yankees to their second sraight World Championship.

                      His great 1975, and solid 1976 and his second-half in the 1978 season makes it hard for me to say Hunter didn’t earn his money. He delivered value and what was lost due to injury was greatly caused by the Yankees abuse of him over two seasons, especially 1975. I can’t call him a bust because of that or say he didn’t earn his money.

                      It is possible, btw, that Hunter was going to eventually have shoulder problems. He had a 3/4 cross-body pitching motion that has been shown to lead to a higher percentage of injuries, yet that is yet another reason they should never have done with him what they did. If he was ratcheted back to a 250 inning work load we saw earlier in his career he probably could have been a very effective pitcher into his mid-30s, and might have had a legit shot at 300 wins.

                      Catfish Hunter was no Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa or Kenny Rogers. I guess that was the point I was trying to make. Hunter and his career are a bit misunderstood all these years later.

                      Sorry for the painfully long note!

          • Trout

            I’m old enough to have seen Catfish pitch in his prime. I give him a pass for everything post 1975. The Yankees destroyed his arm. Period.

            He was the first pitcher since Bob Feller in the 1940s to pitch over 300 innings and complete 30 games, and it was so unnessary. Go back and look at the game logs from his 1975 season as it progressed. There was no game he started that Bill Virdon and especially Billy Martin decided he should not finish, even meaningless games late in the season, games that were blowouts, it just didn’t matter. Catfish finished them.

            I don’t agree with his HOF selection, although he was a HOF talent. They shredded his arm.

        • nsalem

          Jimmy to those who base their decisions solely in the black and white world of numbers they see on a screen will always perceive Hunter as a slightly better than average pitcher and they have a legitimate point. When the A’s were bad the first 5 or 6 years of his career he never really distinguished himself in the way that say a Carlton or Roberts did pitching for bad teams. However when he did have the chance to play on great teams he really did step up and came through more times than not. That and 3 really legitimately great seasons is what got him into the Hall of Fame. It’s an interesting argument.

          • Jimmy

            I’m glad the subject came up because before this I didn’t realize (1)how many innings he pitched in 75/76 and (2)just how mediocre his numbers were from 77-79.

            Catfish Hunter has a great reputation because he was one of the first major pieces Steinbrenner added to bring back the Yankees from their decade-long slump. Sort of what Jimmy Key or David Cone meant to the 90’s team. He had a good but not great WS loss in game 2 of 1976 (where the hell was Sparky Lyle in the 9th inning of that one with the winning run on 2nd and 2 outs?!?) He got absolutely shelled in game 2 of the 1977 WS, but came back to pitch well in relief during the game 5 loss (the game where Reggie Jackson hit his first of 4 straight homeruns). He then held his own the next year, winning game 6 of the 78 WS to clinch the series.

            He was a huge part of those 70’s Yankee teams, so he gets some sentimental support. So sue me.

  • MannyGeee

    That look on his face says it all…

  • Mariano’s Pimp Hand

    Now that Jones has signed who fills out the rest of the Yankee bench? I’m thinking they have Laird and Nunez as infielders. I’m assuming they will carry just Martin and Martinez as catchers.

    • Karl Krawfid

      The guy from Japan maybe.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    One of the best trades ever, Rogers for Brossius. Shortly after, if I recall correctly, they signed or traded for a Rogers clone in Neagle. It seems that a lesson should have been learned with Rogers. As for Hunter being abused, I’ll say that in those days pitchers were expected to finish what they started. Furthermore, they pitched with only three days of rest. And they were expected to start at least 40 games.

    • nsalem

      Billy Martin was the manger for Hunter’s last 13 starts in 1975. He never removed him from any of those games. HIs 2nd start under Martin was against the Angels. The Yankees were down 2 to 1 going into the bottom of the 8th. Hunter faced 10 batters in the inning and the Angels scored 6 runs and Martin left him in for the whole inning. Circumstance that creates statistics are often overlooked. Hunters regression started while he was still in his prime. He did start pitching in the majors at a very young age. I imagine it would be very difficult to quantify and project a whit if scenarios if he was handled properly. He had over 200 wins at age 30, he should have gotten a whole lot more. I’m pretty sure he would have been one the last to complain about his fate both in baseball and life. He is sorely missed.

  • tyrone sharpton

    mike who do you think would win a steak eating contest between you, me or pete abraham. I know i would win a beer drinking match

  • Bronx Byte

    Rogers and Burnett are one in the same. Useless.

    • Jimmy

      There is a slight difference. Burnett had a decent year in his first year of the contract and actually contributed to the WS win. Rogers was putrid from day one. The dislike of Burnett now is that he has good stuff and never seems to come through with it. Rogers was more of a case of a guy never performing for the Yankees. Disappointment (Burnett) trumps failure (Rogers).

  • SevenAces

    Let’s not forget the pine tar, that punk.