Sunday Open Thread

What's Your Countdown?
Fan Confidence Poll: January 30th, 2012
Alex Rodriguez
"You pay attention to someone else, I'm gonna take a nap." (AP/Kathy Willens)

You know what happens in exactly three weeks? Spring Training officially opens. Pitchers and catchers are due to report on February 19th, which just means they just have to physically be in the Tampa area and let the club know they’re there. They don’t even have to show up to the complex, that will happen for the first time the next day. Either way, we’re down to just three weeks of offseason. Hooray for that.

Here’s your open thread for the night. You folks know what to do by now, so have at it.

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What's Your Countdown?
Fan Confidence Poll: January 30th, 2012
  • Billion$Bullpen

    Did the Fenway tour in Boston today (did not pay because I would not go if I have to give them one dollar, a friend paid, i know semantics)

    and former World Champion Celtics player Rick Weitzman did the tour and took quite a few good natured shots at the Yankees.

    View from the green monster looks great, gotta find a corporate hook up for some seats there this year. Only way I will see the Sox play is with free tickets.

    • hogsmog

      At the end of the day it’s still baseball…

    • Karl Krawfid

      Don’t both teams get a portion of the gate money when they play each other?

      • Billion$Bullpen

        Yes, but since I became aware of that many moons ago I no longer go to those games if I have to buy tickets. Even when I use to go to more Yanks vs Sox games and bought tickets I would sell some a double face to a Sox fan I use to work with which would pay for my tickets so I felt it was his money paying the Red Sox and not mine (I know this is nuts btw)

    • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

      For about thirty years, the Celtics had more in common with the Yankees than the Red Sox. They were dominant.

      Is that what happens to former Celtics players? They become tour guides trying to make a buck at an age most are retired?

      • Billion$Bullpen

        I tell ya man this guy was really cool and had to love what he was doing. I looked him up and he was the Celtics head scout for a number of years and also was a scout of the Cavs at one point. He made the tour enjoyable outside of just the whole getting to see the ballpark which was a real rip off from that aspect NO DUGOUT NO CLUBHOUSE NO FIELD.

        I did the old Yankee Stadium tour and the guides were nazi’s. We did get to go on the field and mon park and the clubhouse but the help were douches something that seems to be normal for new Yankee Stadium as well.

  • tomaconda

    Kotchman good fit for Yanks?

    • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

      I haven’t seen much love for him here on RAB, but I think he’s certainly worth looking at, depending on price.

      A former first-round pick who was a top prospect in the minors, he never lived up to expectations once he made it to the majors, being a below-league-average hitter for most of his career, which is deadly considering he plays first base, a high offense position.

      On the negative side, he’s never had much HR power, so even at Yankee Stadium I wouldn’t expect much pop although perhaps some uptick; think ground-ball, line-drive hitter. Last year was the best of his career, so one might be concerned that he’ll regress back to pre-2011 Kotchman, and that wasn’t pretty, especially 2010. One of his greatest stregths as a player is fielding, and if he’s DH only he can’t add value there.

      On the postive side, he hits righties (.313/.394/.444/.838 in more than 400 PAs last year), and that’s the area where the Yankees are looking for help out of the DH spot. Could make for a nice platoon partner for Jones and A-Rod. And while he hits righties better, he holds his own against lefties, at least BA wise. That’s a plus. I really dislike players who have such drastic platoon splits (think Posada or Ibanez 2011) that they are totally useless if the opposing manager makes a pitching change. That means the player gets pulled and is lost, or worse, he bats and it’s a lost plate appearance. He also has another skill the Yankees value, which is he takes walks, shown by his nearly .400 OBP against RH’ers last year.

      Last, there is some reason to think that 2011 was not a total fluke. Kotchman was suffering from deteriorating vision for the the 2009 and 2010 seasons, really becoming a problem by ’10. He had a bacterial infection that plugged up his tear ducts causing a progressive loss of vision clarity, making it difficult to pick up breaking pitches. He had surgery to correct the issue prior to 2011, and his hitting and performance against breaking balls, increased. Was that his only problem or just part of his issue prior to 2011? I have no idea, but it does seem he was helped by the laser surgery, and considering how high a prospect he was once regarded, there might be reason to believe he can deliver value, if not quite duplicate his 2011.

      The issue in signing him is the Yankees are probably not his first choice. The NL seems to have some openings at first, so he would probably be better off going to a team where he can provide value with the glove and where the opposing competition at firstbase is nowhere near what it is in the AL this year.

      Yet if he has an interest, I’d certainly take him over Ibanez.

      • tomaconda

        At 28 he is heading into his prime. Plus he killed the Sox and think he hit the Yankees hard too. Seem to remember a bomb off CC.

        • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

          Plus he killed the Sox and think he hit the Yankees hard too.

          Not for anything but AJ Burnett flat-out murdered both those teams, too. That’s… worked out well.

          • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

            Yeah, totally, the one argument I won’t use for a player is how he’s done against a team in the past. Too much roster turnover and randomness at play.

            • tomaconda

              agree to a point. Some players hit certain pitchers better or hit better in certain stadiums. Now that I say that Im sure if I look it up he’e probably a 220 hitter at fenway.

              • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

                Some players… hit better in certain stadiums.

                A lot of players probably have better numbers in Fenway and YSIII because they’re hitters’ parks, tbh.

          • tomaconda

            Unfortunately power pitchers like Burnett typically peak from their ages 27-32 seasons. They need to learn to become pitchers after that. AJ hasn’t done that.

    • TinoBambino24

      No.

      • tomaconda

        So a 28 year old lefty entering his prime who ops’d 378 last year doesnt interest you as a dh back up 1b?

        • ryan

          That was his OBP, he OPS’s .800

          A lot of that was driven by his .335 BAPIP

          • tomaconda

            He is a line drive hitter. Not an extremely high babip.

            • CP

              His next highest was a .305 in 2007. Then a .283 BABIP in 2009. His career BABIP is .280.

              I think 2011 was the outlier and he’ll regress.

              Oh, and he hit 18.3% line drives last year (17.7% in his career). League average is roughly 19%, so it’s not really accurate to describe him as a “line drive” hitter.

        • TinoBambino24

          No. Kotchman won’t be a part-time DH and limited duties in the field. Think before you speak.

          • tomaconda

            I’m pretty sure I did. The only teams rumored to be looking at him is the Orioles and Indians. Maybe he would rather have the chance to play for a team that is highly favored to make the playoffs.

        • TinoBambino24

          Kotchman is an above-average 1B in the league. He has the oppurtunity to get a full-time gig with the Orioles, Twins (pending on the status of Morneau), and the Blue Jays. Also keep in mind, Kotchamn will not take a pay cut to play for the Yankees and like I said, he’ll not have the oppurtunity to play on a regular basis.

          • tomaconda

            Actually was below average defensively last year. Low power first baseman usually aren’t in high demand on the free agent market, especially ones with the proverbial “one good year.”

  • Dave203

    Not that the Pirates would take the deal, but would you offer Banuelos/Betances/Romine for McCutchen?

    As much as that would essentially wipe out the farm of pitching, I don’t know how you can pass if they would give him up. I can’t imagine both B’s being aces (that would be lucky as hell). So, if just one becomes let’s say a #2, I think I would still take McCutchen. He would be the perfect fit to let us get Hammels and let Grandy walk.

    OK, I’m done dreaming now.

    • CJ

      I think they may do Banuelos/campos/Sanchez

    • billbybob

      I’d drive those three to the airport for McCutchen…Neil Huntington would have to be smoking some fine dope to accept though.

    • BK2ATL

      It would take Banuelos, Betances, Williams, and Sanchez at least. Still interested? I like McCutchen’s game, but not so much to give up the entire farm.

      Not sure why folks around here underrate what Granderson is, and is doing as the Yankees CF, on and off the field. As if anyone could just step in and provide the same value as seamlessly. We got him, and we need to respect him. On the open market, you’re talking goldmine. With Swisher coming up on FA, Gardner’s LF defense great, but at the plate, who knows….It just hasn’t happened yet. Granderson is worth keeping around.

      Speaking of which, I hope we make a real run at this Soler kid. We need a young OF on deck in the next 1-2 yrs, ready to go. Heathcott should’ve been that, but he can’t stay healthy.

      • Dave203

        It’s not a matter of “underrating” Granderson. It simply that Granderson is cost to cost a ton of money to resign in 2014 and we are going to have to make choices on who we can afford. The practicality of keeping Grandy and Cano and actually pursuing Hammels is essentially zero. We can’t afford all 3 and stay under the cap. McCutchen would essentially replace what Grandy gives us, but cost controlled until 2016.

    • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

      If that’s the direction they want to go, it would be best to lock down Hamels before dealing Banuelos.

      I like McCutchen, but it appears I’m not quite as enamored with him as others. Don’t get me wrong, he’s good, but I think people love his youth and are projecting forward on him become a better player, yet I’m not convinced of that. I haven’t seen any progression from him as a hitter in three years, meaning he might a WYSIWYG. Not all players get better up to the age of 27/28. Some come in, establish a clear level, never getting better, and then start trending down after they reach their late 20s. Rate varies by player.

      I think people also assume he’s an excellent defender, yet the data indicates the opposite, or at the very least is unclear. He had quite a bad year defensively in 2010, although he swung to a positive in 2011 (UZR) supposedly when the Pirates altered his positioning. Makes sense. As we’ve seen from Curtis Granderson, positioning can have an impact. So he might be better than 2010, but in three years we haven’t seen anything that suggests he’s a great fielder either. We also have to factor in a move from the NL/Pittsburgh to the AL/AL East and him being a RH’d hitter at Yankee Stadium. His stats could decrease some.

      As mentioned, I’d love to have him, but I just can’t figure out what’s the right price in prospects. Is it in the Yankees best interests to deal their #1 pitching prospect, their #1 catching prospect with Montero now gone and Martin on a one-year deal, and their #1, high-end prospect bat for McCutchen? I have no problem trading young players, but would that much talent for McCutchen be the right move, especially conidering how it would restrict other trades with all that talent gone. Don’t know.

      • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

        Sorry, just realized I tossed Sanchez into the deal, who wasn’t part of the original post. The general message, though, stays the same.

        • Dave203

          They won’t want both Sanchez and Romine, so if you pick one of those, I’d be OK. I don’t like including Williams, he would be the pause for me. Overall though, I don’t see how any 1 player can be a holdup in a deal that would bring in a 25-year-old version of Granderson, cost controlled until 2016.

          This is not really a this offseason move though since we have 3 starting OFs already and don’t know if Hammels will be available. I see this more as a next year move after we see how Pineda is doing, see how our B’s do and more importantly, see if Hammels resigns. If we can sign Hammels, I can see us trading for McCutchen. Keep in mind, that would let us trade Granderson which could bring back some of the farm. There would be plenty of interest in a 3-5 WAR CF who only makes 13 million.

          • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

            One ‘m’ in Hamels.

          • http://twitter.com/urbainshockcor Urban

            I’d rather keep Sanchez, but Romine may have more immediate value to the Yankees.

            McCutchen would be great. He’s already one of the top five or six CFers in the game and is just 25. I may have questions about if he’ll progress past his current level as a hitter, yet he doesn’t have to progress beyond his current level to offer solid value for a number of years to come, and there is always the chance with a young player like him that a true breakout season may happen. A player like that will cost a lot in prospects. I’m just not sure what the right package would be. I’m just not sure what the right package of high-end to middle-level prospects would get it done, and if it’s the right thing to do to strip a farm system of most of it’s elite talent for one player, even though I recognize that one player will most likely be better than anything we ship out!

  • BK2ATL

    Read that Zack Greinke might be looking to extend with the Brewers. He currently represents himself….Oh boy.

    Anyway, if that plays out, and Cain extends with the Giants, that wonderful FA SP class of 2012-2013 will suddenly be down to Hamels.

  • AC

    If Banuelos and Betances have good rebound years at AAA we won’t need Hamels.

    • http://www.youcantpredictbaseball.com bexarama

      Big time if, though, to say the least. (Also, even if they have great years in the minors, it doesn’t necessarily translate to them being great in the big leagues.)

    • TinoBambino24

      They’ll get him, regardless. Would you rather have a rotation consisted of:

      Sabathia
      Pineda
      Banuelos
      Nova
      ???

      or…

      Sabathia
      Hamels
      Pineda
      Banuelos
      Nova

      If you hadn’t creamed in your pants, yet. Than you’re crazy.

      • Jesse

        Rosterbating at its finest.

        • TinoBambino24

          How couldn’t you. lol. And the scary thing is, its possible.

        • Rainbow Connection

          My roster-wiener just went all wierd! Get it? Get it?

    • BK2ATL

      I think Cashman showed us his plan of attack going forward. I don’t think Hamels will be in pinstripes. I think the $189 million thing for 2014 is real. They are working towards that.

      The Pineda signing is the step in that direction. Banuelos and/or Betances are being brought along for that purpose as well. Cano is a no-brainer to be re-upped. Since Granderson has been Cashman’s target for years now, and he has delivered, I don’t see them letting him walk away. Not sure what they’re going to do with Swisher, but let’s see what they do on Soler.

      Now, if something truly catastrophic (CC injured) occurs in 2012, Hamels will be seriously considered. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t come to that.

  • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

    Better keeper choice:

    Matt Kemp at No. 9 overall

    OR

    Curtis Granderson at No. 59 overall

    I’m leaning one way, but I just want to hear some different arguments either way. And not that it really impacts the decision, but the other keepers are Tulowitzki, Cano, J. Upton, Verlander and Hosmer.

    • BK2ATL

      Granderson easily. He plays in YS3 81 games each year. In a lineup surrounded by talent, which means that they can’t pitch around him, esp. if Cano bats 3rd. I can’t see Granderson lasting to 59 tho.

      Kemp had a great year and got a huge contract extension. I think he’ll have another good year, but probably not like 2011.

      Cabrera, with 1B/3B eligibility, might be a better play at 9, if available.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Granderson. Kemp will outproduce him this year, but Granderson + 9th pick > Kemp + 59th pick.

  • PinedaColada

    I think I want to try out fantasy baseball this season. Can anyone recommend a good league or website?

    • http://www.bronxbombersreport.com Craig Maduro

      Yahoo is my favorite.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yahoo is the best for first-timers. I always thought ESPN was kinda clunky and user unfriendly.

      • BK2ATL

        This is true, esp. the ESPN part.

  • RetroRob

    Hey, how ’bout that ProBowl tonight? Jeez.

    Baseball, please. Well, Super Bowl and then on to baseball full time.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Steve S.

      Loved how hard those offensive and defensive linemen were going at it. They better be careful, one of them might break a fingernail.

      • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa

        Especially on the field goals right?