Open Thread: Kevin Brown

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(Photo via The New York Times)

In many ways, Javier Vazquez and Kevin Brown are the poster boys for the Yankees’ pitching failures in the mid-aughts. Javy bears most of the blame for the Game Seven loss in the 2004 ALCS, but of course he couldn’t have done it without the help of Brown, who was nice enough to load the bases on a single and two walks with one out in the second inning before Johnny Damon hit that grand slam. The Yankees acquired Brown from the Dodgers eight years ago today, sending Jeff Weaver, Brandon Weeden, and Yhency Brazoban to Los Angeles.

Brown, 38 at the time, was coming off a monster season with the Dodgers in 2003. He’d used his trademark sinker to generate a ground ball on 62.5% of the balls he allowed in play while striking out 7.89 batters per nine and walking just 2.39 per nine. Stretch that out over 32 starts and 211 IP, and you’ve got a 6.0 fWAR and 5.4 bWAR season. Of course Brown never replicated that success in pinstripes, though his 2004 regular season wasn’t as bad I remember: a 4.09 ERA (4.03 FIP) in 132 IP across 22 starts. The playoffs were a disaster, and he did miss time with a back strain and a broken left hand after infamously punching a clubhouse wall.

The 2005 season was a complete catastrophe. Back problems forced Brown onto the disabled list three different times, and when he was on the mound he couldn’t prevent runs from scoring. He allowed 57 runs in his 73.1 IP (13 starts), resulting in a 6.50 ERA. The peripherals were okay (3.61 FIP) but at that point, who cared? Brown wore out his welcome in New York and was essentially forced out of baseball after the season, an unceremonious end to a great career that should earn him Hall of Fame consideration.

* * *

Here is tonight’s open thread. All three hockey locals are in action tonight, but talk about anything you want. Go nuts.

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Yanks talking to Nakajima, but not close to deal
Biz Round-Up: Sweet Lou returns, MLB rule changes
  • https://twitter.com/#!/EricDKoch Eric

    I was at game 7 in the 2004 ALCS in left field so I could watch Brown warming up. He bounced about half his pitches, looked strained and on his 2nd to last pitch it hit the plate and jumped almost all the way into the black in the old center field. My dad and I, mortified, looked at each other and almost said in unison “This is going to be a long night.” Was anyone else here and remember that?

    • gargoyle

      The only time I ever booed a Yankee was when Brown left the mound that night.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecala Joseph Cecala

    His elbow looks like a tree branch or something

    • Jon G

      I was just looking at that – almost looks like a bird beak trying to break its way out of there….

  • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

    He’s off the ballot now, isn’t he?

    • Pat D

      Yep. 2.1% on last year’s ballot and gone.

  • Ethan

    This question might be way out of the blue but if the Marlins make Hanley Ramirez available because of his unwillingness to move from SS should the Yankees pursue him? Jeter is clearly on the down and Hanley is going into his prime.

    What package of prospects would you be willing to give up for him?

    • Ethan

      by prime i mean age wise, last season was definitely a down season for him, so maybe the Marlins might be willing to sell for a little cheaper

      • Tom Zig

        The day Jeter moves off of shortstop is the day he hangs up his spikes.

      • Dave203

        I’d be very wary after his “down” last season. Hard to trade the farm, literally since they will ask for Montero+ManBam+others, for a player coming off a “down” season. If he doesn’t rebound to 2009 #s, you’ve just killed your farm for nothing. I don’t see it happening due to salary issues more than prospect issues. He’s making 15/15.5/16 for the next 3 seasons until we’d have to resign him at close to 20/season. With AROD/Cano/Tex/CC all getting paid in 2015, that’s a lot of money to be throwing around again.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      Seems like a huge misuse of energy and resources to me. Say what you will about Jeter, but the team is not going to need a starting shortstop until the end of that contract. Stop staring at the shiny light and focus on actual needs.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Besides, what makes you believe, from what appears to be the team’s prudent approach this offseason, that they would change course and philosophy for Hanley Ramirez?

        • Ethan

          It was just a theoretical approach. I wouldn’t want him if it cost major prospects considering the the season jeter had last season. If the marlins decided to put him on the trade block I would at least think cashman would inquire about him even if talks didn’t progress.

          • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

            You should try paying attention to what Cashman has actually done the past several years, then come back and tell me as to whether he would actually inquire. He fills absolutely zero need on this team.

            Is there a PS3 forum better suited for this question?

            • Ethan

              He would absolutely ask about it. Cashman asks about virtually everyone. Not that talks would necessarily go anyway but I wouldn’t be surprised if cashman at least made a phone call.

            • radnom

              You seriously mention PS3 in every single one of your posts. Give it a rest man.

          • Ted Nelson

            Can’t imagine the Marlins trading Hanley without getting “major prospects.” And Hanley is already pretty bad defensively at a young age, hence the Marlins desire to move him to 3B.

            • Burn Baby Burn

              Or the fact that they signed Jose Reyes…

              • Ted Nelson

                They signed Reyes so that he could play SS and Hanley could move. Hanley is one of the worst defensive starting SS in MLB. It’s been a long time coming. It’s pretty widely known Hanley can’t defend SS and the Marlins wanted to move him off it.

  • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

    When are we going to honor the heroes of the Stump Merrill years in the open threads? Too much late 90’s and beyond going on.

    • Professor Longnose

      Mike Pagliarulo!

      • Pat D

        He was gone by then.

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          Way gone. It wasn’t Blowers full-time by then, was it? Let’s check…..nope, Pat Kelly played the most games at third, according to baseballreference.com in ’91. Never remembered him doing anything but 2B.

          • Greg c89

            Same here. Thought Kelly was only 2B.

        • Professor Longnose

          Luis Polonia?

        • Professor Longnose

          I looked it up and see that Merrill only managed the Yankees for 2 years. It seemed like a lot longer.

    • vin

      Alvaro Espinoza!

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        Clay Fucking Parker, bitches.

      • Mike

        Mike Gallego!

  • Rey22

    Wow, I had no way Brown had such an ok season in 2004. I just remember complete disaster throughout his Yankee years.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      I’d rather remember how filthy he was for the Marlins before they dealt him to LA.

  • Steve (different one)

    If there was a fictional pitcher (call him Kevin Green), with the exact same resume as Brown, coming off the same season Brown had in 2003, and was available on a 2 year deal, what do people think the opinion would be on this board? My guess is that even though he is 38, people would be all over it. Maybe not everyone, but i am guessing a healthy majority would support it.

    It’s easy to criticize in hindsight, but I can’t reconcile wanting to sign Kuroda but not wanting to sign “Green”.

    • candyforstalin

      1-year deal for age 37 season is not quite the same as 2-year deal for age 39 and 40 seasons.

      • Steve (different one)

        Brown is also a LOT better…dont get me wrong, I would support signing Kuroda. I am just wondering, if I’m honest with myself, if I would be in favor of such a move, and I have to think I probably would….

        • candyforstalin

          don’t know enough to comment on the brown deal. as for kevin green, i would definitely think about it.

      • CP

        For the 8 seasons from 1996 through 2003, Brown AVERAGED 200 IP with a 158 ERA+. Kuroda has never had a season with an ERA+ greater than 121. Cliff Lee’s season last year would basically have been an average season for Kevin Brown over those 8 years.

        • candyforstalin

          much less risk was my only point. the salary would be different too.

    • vin

      How quickly people forget Joe P’s “mystery pitcher.” Right now, Chris Carpenter has a lot of Kevin Brown in him.

      I was in favor of the Brown deal at the time. During the ’03-’04 offseason, Cashman was forced to re-build 60% of his once excellent rotation.

      Think of all the major moves Cashman made that offseason… ARod, Sheffield, Vazquez, Brown, Gordon, Quantrill. Major upheaval.

    • Ted Nelson

      That Brown declined at a similar age after the Yankees got him doesn’t mean Kuroda will or will not do the same.

      • Mister Delaware

        That Brown has lived six years since his last year in the majors doesn’t mean Kuroda will or will not do the same after retiring.

    • Ed

      The problem with Brown was the history of back problems. He needed back surgery a year and a half before the trade. Once back problems get that bad, they tend to become a recurring problem. Brown was one of the highest paid pitchers in the game at the time, so it was a big risk.

      And now in hindsight, we know that those fears were warranted. His back gave out on him in ’05, ruining his season and ending his career.

  • Brian S.

    So now that the Red Sox have signed Shoppach does that mean that Varitek no longer has a spot on the team? For their new captain I think they should choose Saltalamacchia. He has every trait a captain that represents Boston should have: he has a beard, he’s gritty, he has insulted a minority, and his last name sounds Irish. If he’s an alcoholic that would just be icing on the cake.

    • IBelieveInAJ

      hahahaha!

    • CMP

      LOL.

      Maybe thay can name Brett Pedroia, Dustin’s child molesting brother, co-captain.

      • Brian S.

        Brett P. doesn’t have time to co-manage the Sox during the season. He’s a summer camp counselor.

    • candyforstalin

      yawn.

    • FIPster Doofus

      “Saltalamacchia” sounds Irish? Uhhh…

      • Brian S.

        Close enough

      • JohnnyC

        Could change it to Saltoftheearth.

      • Jimmy

        He was kidding. He’s obviously Polish.

  • Matt DiBari

    I always kind of felt bad for Kevin Brown. It can’t be easy to pitch in constant pain, in contrast to some people of the era, I really believed he was doing his best to come back and try to help the team.

    Also, he made the Scream Weaver go away, which is always a plus.

    • Rainbow Connection

      Am I absolutely nuts or wasn’t there something in the Mitchell Report about the Dodgers purposely getting Brown on the stuff to raise his trade value?
      Maybe I read it on SI.com or ESPN.com when the report first came out. Maybe it was false and removed from those sites???

      • Rainbow Connection
      • Ed

        You’ve got it backwards. The Dodgers noticed he was developing health issues common in steroid users and didn’t think he was going to age well because of it, so they traded hm.

  • http://yankeeanalysts.com Matt Imbrogno

    Crowd sourcing:

    If you were to offer Russell Martin a multi year contract, what would it look like?

    • candyforstalin

      3/24m.

      • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

        I was thinking 2/20. Two years to figure out whether there’s anything to keeping Jesus back there, or to Romine or Murphy in general.

        • candyforstalin

          i don’t mind the third year. i can’t see any of those guys as a 120 games/season catcher for the yankees.

    • Brian S.

      I would let Montero catch.

      • candyforstalin

        montero would be a good option. but the diamondbacks will probably extend him.

        • Grit for Brains

          Teh Yanks have a Montero tooz

        • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

          *snare*

    • mbonzo

      I like the 3/24 mentioned, but I’d also include at least 1 option for maybe $10m/$2m buyout. Also, I wouldn’t offer a no trade clause in case Montero can stick or one of their catching prospects break out. Now would be the perfect time though, that .252 BABIP is bound to go up. If he didn’t run into those babip problems I could see him as a 5 WAR player in 2011.

    • Mister Delaware

      Null set. Russell seems like the kind of guy you enjoy while you have him but you don’t commit to long term, probably like Swish after this season. 2011 was his best season in three years and it wasn’t elite by any means.

  • Cy Pettitte

    A’s asked the Marlins for Stanton for Gio. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry because of the implications of that on the Yankees chances of trading for a good starter.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      In all honesty, Beane is clearly one of the worst GMs in baseball. I don’t see why everyone is hot in the pants for him. He’s done nothing. Ever.

      • CP

        The A’s did win at least 87 games every year from 1999 through 2006. I agree that the fawning over him is over the top, but to claim that he is one of the worst GMs in baseball or that he’s never done anything is even more ridiculous.

        • Thomas Cassidy

          I don’t think it is. He has no rings, never even appeared in an World Series, and continues to get worse and worse every year.

          I tell ya though, those sabermetrics are fantastic! They worked well for Beane!

          • Tom Zig

            Sabermetrics worked well for him when he was the only one using them. Now that all the big boys caught on, it doesn’t work for him.

          • Mister Delaware

            They were better in 2010 than they were in 2009.

            • Thomas Cassidy

              Only because the Angels were worse.

              • Mister Delaware

                Unique analysis.

      • Ted Nelson

        What are you 15 and can’t remember anything past the last 5 years? Your comments on Beane are beyond ignorant. That he hasn’t done well lately does not mean he never did well.

        • Thomas Cassidy

          Really? How many rings? How many World Series appearances in his career as a GM?

          • Ted Nelson

            That is no more the measure of a GM than a player.

            Brian Sabean has a ring and the dude is the mastermind of the Zito deal and a decade of teams constructed with 40+ year olds at every position. The GM can’t control Cody Ross or Aaron Rowand or David Freese getting white hot in October. There’s a lot of luck/random chance involved from the GM perspective.

            Beane was Friedman before Friedman was. Sick internally drafted rotation and a perennial playoff team on a shoestring budget. I believe he’s failed in trying to switch to defense as the new market inefficiency, and also caught some bad luck on injuries (Chavez) and prospects not developing.

    • FIPster Doofus

      It doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • Paul D

    Wasn’t he on the Mitchell report?

  • NC Yankeefan

    Lou Pineilla is joining the YES crew next year as a color guy

    • FIPster Doofus

      Really? Interesting. I wonder if that means someone else is leaving. If it’s anyone, it better be Flaherty.

      • Cy Pettitte

        whenever I see Flash is going to be doing a game this is my first thought:

        http://i.imgur.com/eQAxY.png

        (sfw)

        • FIPster Doofus

          LOL. That’s very funny and very true.

        • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

          This is too funny.

        • http://abovetheyankeedugout.com/ Carl

          Doesn’t look like that’s happening. YES is probably happy with the analysts they had from the past season, so everyone from 2011 is staying with Lou aboard on limited basis. (Now if only they could get rid of Nancy Newman.)

      • Rainbow Connection

        He’ll be on, but not very often.

      • John Ya Ya

        He’d better not cut into David Cone’s time.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      2014 Yankees Coaching Staff:

      Manager- Jorge Posada
      Bench Coach: Tino Martinez
      Hitting Coach- Paul O’Neill
      Pitching Coach- David Cone
      1st Base Coach- Bernie Williams
      3rd Base Coach- Scott Brosius

      One can only dream

      • http://twitter.com/Paddock9652 Stratman9652

        Why do I feel Jorge would get tossed every single game?

        • Chen Meng Wang

          I was honestly thinking the same thing. By the end of every game Jorge and Paully would be in the clubhouse…

        • Rainbow Connection

          The ump would be like “get outta here, piss hands!”

      • Bo Knows

        I’m sorry but k-long needs to be given a contract that keeps him in coaching pinstripes till he turns to dust. everyone else i like

        • Thomas Cassidy

          I thought the same exact thing. But it’s the 1998 Yankees!

      • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com Eric

        Bernie Williams should not be giving baserunning advice to anybody. He had some of the worst instincts on the bases I have ever seen (except for Posada, though Bernie could have been worse if he was as slow as Posada).

      • John Ya Ya

        Cone would make an excellent choice for pitching coach. Guy really knows his stuff.

    • Jumpin’ Jack Swisher

      “And now, a few minutes with the corpse of Billy Martin….”

  • DontChaKnow

    I can’t think of a guy in a Yankee uniform I hated more than Brown.

    • Mister Delaware

      Sounds like somebody liked Kevin Brown out of a Yankee uniform. TMI!!!

  • Pat D

    That’s pretty awesome that one of the guys in the trade is still in college. I remember everyone had Weeden winning the Heisman this year until Iowa State beat them. Funny how these things work out.

  • Kurt

    Why get everyone bummed out by mentioning the name “Kevin Brown?” Can’t we think happy thoughts in the offseason and dream about another championship?

    • Thomas Cassidy

      NO.

      Can’t stop thinking about Felix. Imagine that rotation.

      CC
      Felix
      Darvish
      Nova
      Joba

      • Mattchu12

        Id settle for CC-Darvish-Danks-Nova-Hughes in a heartbeat.

  • Ken

    I hope that Lou Pinella’s appearances on YES are quite limited. I watch almost every Yankee game, but would not be interested in watching him.

  • sevrox

    Bring on Sweet “Snappin’ Turtle” Lou! It’s all entertainment.

    What did Steve Lyons say to get him canned from FOX?

  • Mickey S

    Wow, per MLBTR the BoSoxs traded Lowery and a spare part to the Stros for Melancon. I’m torn, I rooted for Mark since his departure now I have to hate his guts. Low priced option to replace Johnny P, not a bad move.

    • Steve (different one)

      I don’t know, I love this from Houston’s POV. Lowrie has shown flashes of being very good and Weiland is an ok prospect. It’s not terrible for Boston, but I would be irate if Cashman made a similar trade…

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, I think it has the potential to be a good deal for either or both team(s).

      • Mickey S

        Middle infielders with Lowrie’s ability are at a premium based on some of the contracts given out this winter and the same holds true with closers. We all know a good/decent SS trumps a solid closer, as the almighty save is overrated. Weiland as a possible starter and a starting shortstop have the potential to be a nice return for Houston since the Sox were desperate for a closer. IMO, a closer is easier for a team not expected to compete to replace than it is to find a viable everyday shortstop. The Sox dealt from a position of strength to fill a position of weakness. As Ted said, I like it for both – but I think Houston got a nice haul too, and from the same perspective I’d be upset to see Warren and Nunez traded for a guy like Melancon.