Weekend Open Thread

Sunday Shorts: Drew, Pettitte, Youkilis
Fan Confidence Poll: December 23rd, 2013

It took entirely too long, but there’s finally a Dan Girardi/Joe Girardi commercial. Way overdue. It’s not like either guy is new to New York at this point (Dan’s been with the Rangers since 2007.) The Rangers are playing two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium next month (one against the Devils, one against the Islanders) and I’ve already paid through the nose for tickets. Can’t wait.

I only have four links to share this week because of general holiday-related craziness. Between the Winter Meetings and the upcoming holidays, I haven’t had much time to sit down and relax read anything these last few weeks. Here, enjoy:

  • Jack Moore put together an awesome post looking at how Lou Gehrig and other great hitters from the 1920s used sabermetrics. Obviously they weren’t using spreadsheets or stuff like that, but they were thinking about the game in a more empirical way. The quotes from Gehrig (and others) are pretty fascinating.
  • I haven’t even read it yet, but here is Steve Fishman’s massive NY Mag feature on Alex Rodriguez. You are forewarned: It focuses on the Biogenesis scandal. I’m sure many of you are sick of it by now.
  • Bill Deane, who has been predicting Hall of Fame results for more than three decades, expects only Greg Maddux to get in this year. That would be a shame. The ballot is stacked and I count more than ten guys who belong in Cooperstown (in my opinion).
  • And finally, Grant Brisbee tries to figure out the next time the Yankees will be truly awful. Not 85-77 awful like this past season. Like 2013 Giants everything goes wrong awful. His guess: 2015.

Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. All of the local hockey and basketball teams are playing except for the Knicks, so talk about those games or anything else right here. Have at it.

: This is your open thread for the night again. I’m stuck in holiday shopping hell and I have no idea who is playing what tonight. I’m sure you can figure it out. Talk about whatever here. Go nuts.

Sunday: Use this as your nightly open thread one last time. The Bears and Eagles are the late NFL game plus the Rangers are playing. You folks know what to do by now, so do it.

Sunday Shorts: Drew, Pettitte, Youkilis
Fan Confidence Poll: December 23rd, 2013
  • forensic

    So, Youkilis signed with Rakuten?

    Epic-fail by Cashman not signing him first and then trading him for Tanaka. I see no problem with that plan.

    • Alkaline

      It’s only logical. Silly Cashman for not being creative!

    • RetroRob

      Brilliant plan by Cashman. He knows Tanaka won’t be posted this year, so he convinced Youkilis to go to Japan and the Rakuten Tigers to recruit Tanaka.

      More seriously, he got $4M guaranteed, which he would not get in the States, so off to Japan he goes. Plus, if he can put up some decent numbers and stay healthy, he’ll find a team in MLB who will take a shot on him for 2015.

      Casey Mcgeeeeeeheeeeee just signed with the Marlins after hitting 27 HRs and triple slashing 289/.371/.512 last season.

    • Steinbrenner’s Ghost

      Youk said the Yanks wanted him but he turned them down because he wanted to play closer to his california home.

      So by going to Japan he ends up playing TWICE as far away from his home then he would have had he returned to NYC.

      • Kvothe

        He explains why here. It makes sense. Easier travel schedule to places much closer to “home.” More off days. His fam is going with him to Japan, the wife apparently is very excited about living abroad and has always wanted to (versus moving to Cleveland or NY).


        • I’m One

          Yeah, having visited Japan once for 2 weeks, given the right job opportunity, I’d move there in a second. With the added advantage of exposing the kids to a new and different culture makes it that much better.

          I’m of the opinion that everyone, given the opportunity, should live abroad for a 6 months or more. You may like it, you may not, but it will give you a different perspective on things.

          • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

            Plus one million.

      • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph

        Youk the puke peeled 12 mil. off the Yanks last year for little more than jack shit on the field. He shoulda signed with the Yanks this year for the league min. I hope he gets into some bad sushi over there.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I thoroughly enjoyed this comment.

      • forensic

        I do what I can. :-)

    • OldYanksFan

      He signed for $4m. He had back surgery, which these days, is often very effective. At $4m, I’d rather take a change with him then on Reynolds.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting

    Yankees had 2 hitters in ’27 with at least a 220 OPS+?
    That’s just sick.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      I wonder if any will have at least a 120 OPS+ this season.

    • Alkaline

      Jesus. 220.

    • forensic

      That is insane. It got me looking around though. The 1931 team didn’t have a single starter with an OPS+ under 107!

      • Kramerica Industries

        And that team didn’t even go to the World Series that year.

        • forensic

          Yup, welcome to the days of no Championship Series’. Plus, the A’s won 107 games, beating their pythag by 10 games, and the Yankees won 94 games, underperforming their pythag by 6 games.

      • RetroRob

        The ’27 Yankees get the press, but some of those 30’s teams were crazy great.

  • Now Batting

    Wow, Gehrig did all that using only his arms.

  • Stylez

    Shame if Bagwell and Piazza are not elected once again. I can also make the strong case for Walker despite his career being in hitter friendly Coors.

    • RetroRob

      I’m hoping no player is elected again. Total chaos!

      “Unfortunately,” Maddux’s career is so off-the-charts great that there is no chance he won’t be elected. I suspect at least one other player will slip in, but no way we’ll there be four or five players elected, which should be the minimum with that list to pick from.

    • vicki

      i don’t care about larry walker, but i agree it’s a shame if bags and piazza are penalized because of whispers, without proof. it’s the frickin’ red scare.

  • CT Yankee

    So, the O’s/Balfour deal fell through.

    Think Cashman should offer him a 1-year deal and see if our medical staff come up with better luck? I know we’re in a bit of a holding pattern, but this is something that doesn’t come along often.

    • FIPster Doofus


    • Wheels

      I’m not sure if I want Balfour on the team, the guy seems like a huge jerk.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Balfour said something to effect of “my arm is fine. I’m ready to do what I do best in the ninth inning” in an interview following this whole fiasco. Doesn’t sound like someone looking to caddy David Robertson.

      This feels like a classic Peter Angelos blunder at the moment.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Yup… Only Angelos could luck into trading an expensive closer, luck into getting a comparable guy for half the cost and figure out a way to fuck it up just as quickly. Classic orioles.

  • Mr RSU

    Love the new links feature for weekend open threads, Mike! So many of them thus far have been really good reads.

    My suggestion is possibly adding a new tag for weekend-only open threads or just for the end of the week link dump…

    That way we don’t have to sift through all the open threads to find an old article we’d been meaning to read, etc.

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

      Good idea. I added the “Links” tag to the posts to make it easier to sort. We’ve always had the tag, just never used it.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Dope… I agree with the sentiment, these are a lot of fun. Random baseball stuff is the best baseball stuff.

  • dars

    Yankees need to move on and forget about Tanaka….
    Also make a decision, do they want to compete or not, they spent a lot of money but holding the line at 189M leaves them still very shorthanded.

    ARod can not be used as the excuse for not finding the missing pieces. I would now grab Balfour, one of Reynolds and Baker and choose which one of the Garza/Santana/Jimenez makes most sense and has least risk…
    Garza is the most proven one but tends to get injured, Santana probably will flunk in Yankee Stadium and Jimenez has the most upside but also the highest risk….

    But a bullpen of Balfour, Kelley, Robertson, Claiborne, Thornton starts to look very good and a rotation of Sabathia, Nova, Pineda, JImenez, Kuroda with our offense ahs the chance to take us far…

    • FIPster Doofus

      Why move on from Tanaka? Garza, Jimenez and Santana aren’t going anywhere until a decision on whether Tanaka’s going to be posted comes down. Don’t settle for hamburger because you’re too impatient to wait for filet mignon.

      • forensic

        Agreed, but even if they don’t end up getting Tanaka in the end, I don’t want any of those other three starters anyway.

        • FIPster Doofus

          I’d consider Garza, but the price would really have to be right. I’m not a big fan. Jimenez is too risky and Santana + Yankee Stadium would be a match made in hell (Hughes 2.0).

          • forensic

            That’s the same way I see Santana and Jimenez, but still don’t think Garza really solves much, especially considering what may be available next offseason in the pitching department.

            I mean, I guess if he was somehow forced to take a one-year deal (isn’t going to happen), then I’d be ok going for him, but I wouldn’t go much past that.

            I’d rather take a flier with letting some of the young guys see if they can establish themselves in the Majors next year, than invest in a Garza. I guess part of it is that I still don’t quite see them as a real playoff team, so Garza isn’t someone, to me, that will be the last piece in trying to get there.

            • FIPster Doofus

              Can’t say I disagree with any of that.

            • The Great Gonzo

              While I don’t want any of these pitchers, I am not willing to bet a paycheck that any of the Big names are actually free agents next December… MAYBE Masterson and Bailey, but Lester & Kershaw for sure get locked up for sure.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              There’s an MLBTR article this mornjng referencing a Star-Ledger write up in which Cashman already talks about possibly not being able to put an exclamation point on everything. I don’t think he’s particularly enthused by the non-Tanaka options, at least not at their current perceived price.

              There’s definitely an “all in” mentality some of us have adopted due to the big contracts handed out. We do have to remember that giving out some big deals doesn’t mean a team should then hand them out to everyone. It’s possible the team may choose to punt and try to mix and match until they get it right for reasons other than the perceived celery cap.

              • OldYanksFan

                Even thought people here think we need to do everything by Spring, Cashman knows there are often much better deals to be had at midseason. Hell, in 2016 or 2017, Robbie will probably be able to had for $14m/yr.

                All we need to do is be within shooting distance by Aug. 1. By then, we will know about ARod (obviously) and will probably have lots of money to buy someone’s salary dump.

              • forensic

                Yeah, Cashman’s been portrayed like that about them numerous times. While it’s somewhat reassuring, I’m no totally buying into it as he’ll often give off the opposite vibes of what is really happening.

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        I would order a burger, keep it warm, and then order the filet if it becomes available.

        CC, Kuroda, Nova, Tanaka, Garza >>>>>>>>>>> CC, Kuroda, Nova, Garza, filler >>>>>>>>> CC, Kuroda, Nova, filler, filler

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      I’m glad you’re more concerned about the team budget than they are.

  • Frank

    I bet Balfour winds up with Rays.

    • forensic

      Certainly a good possibility, especially considering their doctor was one who went on the record today that Balfour was fine. I wouldn’t mind the Yankees taking a shot at him, but I doubt they’d meet his asking price and I really doubt he’d come in for a set-up spot in the bullpen, which is where I’d want him (at least to start the season).

      • RetroRob

        I think the latter will be the biggest issue. He wants to close and that is not something the Yankees can guarantee him.

        Yet the Rays are not big spenders. They may be hoping to land him for one year, $5 or $6 million. If the Yankees could land him on a two-year deal similar to the Orioles, he’d come. The money will trump the closing is my guess.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    Fear of the Day (FotD)™: running low on wine.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Not a problem when you’re stocked on bourbon.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Yup. Problem solved

      • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

        “Where’s the bourbon, bitch?” – F. Kruger

  • nycsportzfan

    Something odd i noticed. The yanks have missed the postseason 2times in Andy Pettittes 15yrs in pinstripes. Andy’s finished his season record above 500 win pct except the 2yrs the yanks didn’t make the postseason, in which he went exactly 500 win pct. Kinda odd.

    • lightSABR

      Interesting, but not really odd, given that whether the Yankees make the postseason and Andy’s W-L record depend primarily on the same thing: the performance of his teammates.

  • nycsportzfan

    We can’t sign a guy like Maholm as insurance without knowing what will happen with Alex and Tanaka?

    • The Great Gonzo

      You want the Tanaka thing to play out, you don’t want to have to make a roster move for Maholm (who may be at a Brett Marshall level at this point in their careers) and do it again in a week for a clearly superior pitcher.

      Also, Maholm as insurance/swing man? Meh… Buy cheaper if that’s what you’re using him for… Bedard/Axelrod/Chen/Baker would all be cheaper and you might get one or two of them on minor league deals… Sort that shit out in March…

    • SDB

      I don’t see Maholm as being better than say Phelps or Warren.

      • nycsportzfan

        Hes lefty for one thing. We only have CC Sabathia in our rotation thats southpaw. His stuff seemingly plays well at Yankee stadium. I think it’d be a nice under the radar type signing.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    2015? That’s some major troll shit right there. A lot would have to trend very badly.

    • lightSABR

      Yeah. Currently, I still think 2014 is entirely open for ugliness, given that we’re not much better than last year and could easily have worse luck. (Our injury luck last year was terrible, but our luck in the actual games was quite good.)

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        There’s ugly potential this year if we don’t see the rebounds and returns from injury we’re expecting. Sure. People write these articles as if the Yankees have no right to struggle or have questions because TEH YANKEES.

  • The Great Gonzo

    For the record, i found the a Rod article FASCINATING. I don’t want to open a can of BioGenesis sized worms, but if MLB was even 50% as shady as implied in this article… Well, I think A Rod will do VERY well in the inevitable post arbitration lawsuit.

    • RetroRob

      MLB will certainly not want this to go to the courts. Question is, will it ever make it there? The courts generally will not step in when there is a CBA and an agreed upon resolution process through an arbitrator.

      Yet A-Rod’s team must know this, so perhaps they know something we don’t know. Or they’re just happy to take A-Rod’s money.

  • nycsportzfan

    Wow, Colorado Rockies have done well this offseason. I just read a stat that the rockies were 49-32 in 81starts by De La Rosa, Chacin, and Chatwood. Now they go add Brett Anderson for that next spot. They got a nice 5th spot battle with nicasio and jordan lyles. They built up the pen with signings of Hawkins and Logan. They replaced Helton with Morneau.

    I just find it interesting how a GM’s job is to build a baseball roster. Its really cool.

    • FIPster Doofus

      You forgot to mention that they gave away Dexter Fowler.

  • Uh Dinnings

    The Yankees will truly be bad in 2015 yeah sure ok whatever Yankee hater LOL.

    Kershaw and Scherzer will go out on the free agent market and the Yankees will land one of them, both if they could somehow get rid of the final two years of Teixiera’s contract (I would offer Teixiera and $7.5M a year $15M total so his taker pays only two years $30M.)

    Spare me the “Dodgers and Tigers won’t let thah happen” crap when it’s up to Kershaw and Scherzer.

    I’d offer Kershaw a decade and $260M ($26M a year, record contract for a pitcher), Scherzer 7 years and $175M ($25M a year, second or third highest contract for a pitcher), and Tanaka 6 years and $120M ($20M a year, record contract for an international player.)

    Kershaw $26M
    Scherzer $25M
    Sabathia $23M
    Tanaka $20M
    Nova figure $6M

    $100M for the 2015 rotation which would be so good the Yankees would have to carry only six relievers, one of them being Thornton, which means they could have a five-man bench including two outfielders who don’t have to play the infield if the Yanks get a backup corner infielder (C, 1B/3B, LF/CF, RF/DH, Ryan the backup 2B/SS.)

    Sabathia is off the books after 2016 as his vested option for 2017 won’t kick in.

    $182M for the rotation, Ellsbury, Teixiera, McCann, Beltran, Thornton, and Ryan. Figure four bench guys could cost $12M, five relievers $15M for $209M total for twenty players. They’d need to get a new 2B, 3B, SS, LF, and DH. Ok, bring back Johnson to play 3B for $4M ($213M), make Heathcott the LF for $500K ($213.5M), re-sign Soriano to be the DH for $12M, triple what they’re paying towards his 2013 salary ($225.5M), and spend $15M on a new 2B-SS combo ($240.5M.)

    • Mr. Roth

      “Sabathia is off the books after 2016 as his vested option for 2017 won’t kick in.”

      The Yankees will most likely be paying him $25 million in 2017.

      From BBRef:

      2017 salary guaranteed if he 1) does not end 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury, 2) does not spend more than 45 days in 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury or 3) does not make more than six relief appearances in 2016 because of a left shoulder injury

    • vicki

      so not only will both make it to free agency (scherzer probably will, boras and all) but the yankees will outbid both the tigers and the dodgers.

      and that’s not even the craziest thing you said.

  • Uh Dinnings

    Who gives a fuck what the Yankees payroll would be with that rotation?

    With the right relievers to go with Thornton the 2015 Yankees could post an ERA under 4 and win at least 100 games.

    BTW those monies to Kershaw, Scherzer, and Tanaka if their 2014s are semblances of their 2013s. The Yankees landing any two is fine by me, too :)

  • nsalem

    Brisbee had the Yankee’s pythag last year at 79-93. Wonder how he arrived at that number? If Balfour ever signed with the Yankee’s I would love it if they played Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon when he enters the game.

    • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

      I’d like to know how he came up with a record where 172 games were played, too.

      Tee hee.

  • lightSABR

    Had to smile at the commercial. Not bad.

  • Alkaline

    Alright. 9th inning. Home game. First save situation for the Yanks. High Socks comes out to which song?

    • hey now
      • hey now

        Crap, that didn’t post properly. It’s Sweet Home Alabama.

        • Alkaline

          Heh. Maybe it’s me, but that doesn’t set the tone like Enter Sandman.

          • CashmanNinja

            I agree. I realize the song probably means a lot to him, but uh…we’re kind of far from Alabama and it isn’t exactly a “close the door” kind of song. Enter Sandman was perfect because Mo would basically send the other team to bed. You know what I think would be a totally kick ass song for a closer to come into a game with? The Game of Thrones theme song…because you know when you hear that music a bunch of people are going to be slaughtered.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              “Sweet Home Alabama, lord I’m coming home to you….”

              Sounds like a “close the door” type of song to me.

              It’s not exactly what I expect to hear in the Bronx, but it fits the player quite well.

              Has the story as to the first time Mariano actually heard “Enter Sandman” ever been unveiled?

            • Alkaline

              Ha! I’m totally down with the GoT song as the walk in song. It would actually pump me up a lot.

              Or, perhaps, while a bit more soothing, the song from the end of season 3 would be appropriate for a 9th inning slaughter..

    • MPierce

      Never understood why no one plays “Closing Time” by Semisonic. Talk about epic.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      I’d go with Thunderstruck by AC/DC

  • http://franklance godfather

    Thanks for the post reflecting that there was indeed baseball thought before sabermetrics; the stuff from Gehrig is particularly. I get kidded by my fantasy (all at least a tad younger than my 80 seasons)foes about my contention that the experts have never really come to grips with how great DiMaggio was. Sure, he had the pinstripes, the city, Marilyn; but his baseball numbers were much more special, and his consistency much more uncommon, than the media have noted. Talent uncommon and numbers gravely affected by playing half his games in the House that was built not for Joe. A lonnnnng swing that could, among other things, make solid contact off Feller…I’ll mercifully stop now…

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      80 seasons! God bless!!

  • Nud

    Thinking Yanks are likely to land Drew. Have read a few reports. It just makes too much sense. He can play 3rd and SS. Book it.

    • MPierce

      His second half stats were actually kind of great. I’m down for it.

  • cheddar

    Any thoughts on bringing Jeff Karstens back on a cheap deal? I always liked the guy.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Extreme fly ball guy. I liked him too, but he’s not a good fit.

  • Dr TJ Eckleberg

    Re: holiday shopping hell…

    Not to be a dick, but I don’t understand why people do this shit to themselves. I did my shopping online on Monday, got all my stuff Friday, work’s done. I really don’t get why people even go to stores for holiday shopping anymore.

    • CashmanNinja

      I agree. I didn’t get a SINGLE item in a store this year. And I got great prices. And it’s not like I even had to look very hard (Amazon and Walmart). Bam. I get that some things are better to get in person (i.e. clothing, some electronics, etc), but the amount of people who go out and do everything last minute…it’s INSANE.

    • Greg c

      I agree, too. However, I always end up with some last minute requests and/or a cashflow crunch that miraculously clears up on Christmas Eve.

  • David in Cal

    Predictions are hard, especially about the future. But, the Yanks could be awful in 2014, if various things go wrong. Start with a very weak infield, the loss of Rivera, and only 3 SPs. Now add the possibility that:
    — Teix never fully recovers from his wrist injury
    — Jeter can’t play SS and his hitting declines a lot from 2012
    — ARod misses the entire year
    — CC declines even farther than last year
    — Kuroda hits a big age-related decline
    — Soriano hits a big age-related decline
    — Several injuries (not unlikely, given the age of the team)

  • Michael


    Picture of Ex Yankees Kevin Youkilis, growing beard? what Youkilis is doing? He thinks he still Red sox?

  • D23

    “Can never have enough pitching”. Very True. Apparently the motto may be we can “never have enough OFs”. One thing the Yanks sorely lacked in the last couple of years that hurt them was not having an emergency back up infielders who can pick up the slack. We have been spoiled by the longevity of Jeter and Cano but this year is a different story. Enough said about SS and 3B last year. While we may not have Cano and a fully healthy Jeter with young legs, I think at least the Yankees did a admirable job, not sterling to fill in the depth of infielders this off season. I think we have a better depth in infield than we had before. Brian Roberts was a solid pickup but while a year older and injury proned, he can still produce.

    Kelly Johnson – A great pick up. Be interesting if he can play any 3B. Aside from the current corner position players, he is by far is the best power hitting infielder we have.

    Brendan Ryan – While we already know what Brendan Ryan can do, he’ll be much more valuable SS option then we ever had before. The guy can simply play Defense and will be inserted in late game as defensive replacement. The guy can’t hit but this may be the year he finally hits over the .240 mark.

    Eduardo Nunez – I have always liked the guy. His speed off the bench is a plus. His Defense is a suspect at times. But now with some experience under his belt, perhaps he will finally produce? While he has lost his SS role to Ryan, he may provide a spark of the bench.

    Dean Anna is an interesting 27 year old 2B who over the years in minors has sported a decent OB% while and putting the ball in play. He is a lefty hitter and the guy has played SS, 2B and OF in the last couple of years. While I have never seen him play, his stats indicate that Anna is a better contact hitter than Nunez. Anna is purely a 2B, whom the Padres like very much were stuck when they maxed out in the 40-man roster. Sounds like he is going to challenge Nunez.

    Yamicao Navarro, 27 year old former Oriole who has shared his cup of tea in the majors with both the Red Sox and the Orioles. The guy is playing some OF in Winter League to make him more valuable. He is a 2B but am not sure if he can show some power.

    Throw in Reynolds, Baker or Drew, we even have ourselves the best infield depth in years.

    • JGYank

      I think Anna would be ahead of Nunez on the depth chart. Besides his speed, Nunez doesn’t have much to offer and we already have speed in the lineup with Ells and Gardy. I’m curious to see what Anna could do and I like the fact that he’s versatile. Not sure if either makes the roster though.

    • Farewell Mo

      As currently constructed, the only above average player at any infield position is likely to be Teixiera. Maybe.

      Ryan is nothing more than a journeyman who’s been worth 0.8 WAR over his last 2 seasons and more than 240 games, Brian Roberts hasn’t played even 80 games in a season since 2009 and is now 36, Kelly Johnson is also a journeyman who’d be lucky to be a league average offensive player and below average defensive player at 2nd or 3rd and who knows about Teixiera who is coming off a major injury and has steadily declined for about 5 consecutive years now.

      The infield is a total freakin disaster at this point.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    That Jack Moore post is epic. I LOVED reading the entire articles he inserted as graphics. I love the period writing style as much as the content itself.

  • Wheels

    Horrible call, that wasn’t a fumble.

    • Wheels

      Talkin about the Giants game, overtime.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    happy Festivus!