The manager of the most recent Yankees’ dynasty is heading to Cooperstown. Joe Torre was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the 16-person Expansion Era committee, it was announced. Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa were elected unanimously as well. Former MLBPA head Marvin Miller, former Yankees manager Billy Martin, former Yankees pitcher Tommy John, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner were not elected.
“It hits you like a sledgehammer,” said Torre after being elected to the Hall of Fame. “I really have to thank [Joe McDonald] and Donald Grant for allowing me to manage the New York Mets at the age of 36 … once you get into the competition, it never gets old.”
Torre, 73, managed the Yankees from 1996-2007 and led the team to six pennants and four World Series titles. The club went 1,173-767 (.605) during his 12-year tenure and finished in first place ten times. Torre also managed Mets (1977-1981), Braves (1982-1984), Cardinals (1990-1995), and Dodgers (2008-2010), but he is heading to the Hall of Fame because of his success in New York. He is the second winningest manager in franchise history behind Joe McCarthy, who won 1,460 games from 1931-1946.
“On behalf of the Steinbrenner family and our entire organization, I’d like to congratulate Joe Torre on his induction today into the Hall of Fame,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “Joe led our team during one of the most successful runs in our storied history, and he did it with a quiet dignity that was true to the Yankee way. Joe’s place in Yankees history has been secure for quite some time and it is appropriate that he now gets to take his place among the greats in Cooperstown.”
As a player, Torre hit .297/.365/.452 (129 OPS+) with 2,342 hits and 252 homeruns in parts of 18 seasons. He spent the majority of his career as a catcher and first baseman but also played some third. He won the 1971 NL MVP with the Cardinals, when he led baseball in hits (230), batting average (.363), runs driven in (137) and total bases (352). Torre, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, also played for the Braves and Mets. Although his playing career was excellent, he’s going in as a manager.
Miller, Martin, John, and Steinbrenner all received fewer than six votes. Twelve votes are needed for induction. Miller not being elected is ridiculous given his impact on baseball and the union, but he’s been getting snubbed for years. It’s par for the course at this point. Steinbrenner’s legacy is a mixed bag with a lot of good and a lot of bad. I think he belongs and will eventually get in, but I can definitely understand him being left out. That’s a case worthy of much debate.
2013 Season: 85-77 (637 RS, 671 RA, 77-85 pythag. record), didn’t qualify for playoffs
Top stories from last week:
- The Yankees lost their best player to free agency when Robinson Cano agreed to a ten-year, $240M contract with the Mariners. New York’s final offer was seven years and $175M, so Seattle blew them out of the water. He couldn’t pass that up. Curtis Granderson signed a four-year, $60M deal with the Mets.
- Despite losing Cano and Granderson, the Yankees were very busy last week. They signed Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153M), Carlos Beltran (three years, $45M), and Kelly Johnson (one year, $3M) as free agents while retaining Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16M). As a result of all the moves, the team has forfeited their first and two supplemental first round (for Cano and Granderson) picks.
- In the wake of the two outfield additions, the Yankees are shopping Ichiro Suzuki and have received “significant interest” in Brett Gardner. Chris Stewart was traded to the Pirates for a player to be named later. Jayson Nix, Matt Daley, and David Adams were non-tendered.
- MLB and NPB are likely to agree to a new posting system soon. According to the latest proposal, bids will be capped at $20M and any team who bids the maximum will be allowed to negotiate with the player. It’s unclear if Masahiro Tanaka will still be posted.
- The Yankees have interest in Mike Pelfrey but not Dan Uggla. They signed Brian Gordon and Russ Canzler to a minor league deals and “strongly believe” they will be able to retain Matt Daley. A fifth starter competition will be held in camp.
- Matthew Krause was hired as the new strength and conditioning coach. Gary Tuck is likely to take over as bullpen coach. Former big league managers Trey Hillman and Mike Quade were added to the front office and developmental staff.
- The Yankees lost $58M in ticket revenue from 2012 to 2013.
Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Via Ken Davidoff: The Yankees have signed right-hander Brian Gordon to a minor league contract. You might remember him from those two spot starts he made for the Bombers back in 2011, one against the Rangers (two runs, 5.1 innings) and one against the Reds (four runs, five innings). I assume he received an invitation to Spring Training.
Gordon, 35, moved into the bullpen full-time last season and had a 3.57 ERA (2.45 FIP) with awesome strikeout (9.43 K/9 and 25.4 K%) and walk (1.29 BB/9 and 3.5 BB%) rates in 63 innings for the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate. He spent the second half of 2011 and all of 2012 pitching in Korea. Gordon is an older guy, but the Yankees definitely need bullpen help and he had an outstanding year in 2013. It’s worth the minor league contract to find out if it was legitimate improvement following the role change or just a fluke.
Via Joel Sherman: The Yankees “strongly believe” they will re-sign right-hander Matt Daley to what I assume is a minor league contract. The team non-tendered the Queens native earlier this week after deciding he wasn’t worth carrying on the 40-man roster all winter.
Daley, 31, returned from shoulder surgery this year and struck out eight in six scoreless and walkless innings with New York in September. He was awesome (2.02 ERA and 1.88 FIP) in 53.1 innings at three minor league levels during the summer. The Yankees signed Daley two offseasons ago and rehabbed him from the surgery. They seem to really like him, just not enough to keep him on the 40-man for the time being. If he does return to the organization, I expect Daley to get a long look for a bullpen spot in camp.
I pretty much never look at RAB’s traffic. I’m not trying to be cool or anything, it’s the truth. I used to obsess over it but that has (thankfully) subsided. For the first time in months, I decided to check out today’s traffic for obvious reasons. Thanks to Robinson Cano‘s defection to the Mariners, we have set a new single-day traffic record at RAB. That’s what it took to beat the previous record set on July 9th, 2010, otherwise known as the day of the Cliff Lee non-trade. Believe it or not, the third highest-trafficked day in RAB history was just two days ago, when they agreed to sign Jacoby Ellsbury. I sincerely thank you for making RAB one of your stops for the latest on the Yankees.
Now that that’s out of the way, it is Friday and I did promise you links on Fridays a few weeks ago, so here are this week’s Friday links.
- If you’re wondering how the other half feels about the Cano stuff, I recommend by buddy Jeff Sullivan’s post over at USS Mariner. The common thread here is that regardless of whether the Yankees or Mariners would have signed Cano, that team still would have had more walk to do to get back into the postseason.
- In the wake of Ellsbury deal, here is Dave Cameron’s post about how speed players tend to age. It’s worth pointing out that of the speed guys who aged well, either they drew a lot of walks (Rickey Henderson, Kenny Lofton, Tim Raines) or hit for some power (Devon White, Steve Finley). The ones who did neither (Aaron Rowand, Marquis Grisson) either stunk as they got older or were a total freak like Ichiro Suzuki. Ellsbury’s walk rate is about league average and he’s a low power guy, which is part of the reason why I’m skeptical.
- Know how hitters always say it’s easier to hit once the knuckleballer is out of the game because you’re used to seeing 90+ mph fastballs and all that? Christopher Carruthers examined R.A. Dickey and the pitchers who follow him either in the same game or as the next day’s starter and found that as a whole, they perform a whole lot better following Dickey than they do in other situations. His value extends beyond his time on the mound because of the adjustments hitters have to make against his knuckleball.
- Jeff Passan, Charleson Robinson, and Rand Getlin have a story about what amounts to a human-trafficking ring involving Cuban baseball players. After they defect, some players are basically held for ransom and auctioned off to the highest bidder, with a portion of their big league earnings going to the people who held them and their families captive for months at a time. It’s pretty frightening stuff. The article focuses on Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin, but he’s far from the only guy to go through this.
- For all of you who are hockey fans like me (what else am I supposed to watch all winter?), I really enjoyed this Seth Wickersham article about the life of an enforcer and fighting in the NHL in general. I enjoy watching a guy beat the crap out of another guy as much as anyone, but it’s only a matter of time before the league bans fighting all together. Has to be done.
- Les Carpenter wrote a feature on the legacy of Chuck Hughes, the only NFL player to die on the field during the game. He had a severely clogged artery and a blood clot broke loose during a hit, becoming trapped in the artery and cut off blood flow to his heart. The tackle essentially resulted in a heart attack. Really interesting story.
Friday: Here is your open thread for the night. The Devils and Knicks are playing and that’s pretty much it. Good night to go out and forget about Cano no longer being a Yankee. Talk about anything you like here. Go nuts.
Saturday: Once again, here is your open thread. All three hockey locals plus the Nets are playing, and there’s college football on as well. You folks know how this works by now, so have at it.
Sunday: This is your open thread for the night yet again. The Panthers and Saints are the late NFL game plus the Rangers are playing as well. Talk about whatever here. Enjoy.
Got a handful of notes:
- Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer told George King (subs. req’d) that RHP Ty Hensley participated in Instructional League after the season and will be ready to go for camp. “He looked like he was ready to go. He should be good for Spring Training,” said Oppenheimer. Hensley had surgery on both hips earlier this year.
- MiLB.com posted their Yankees’ farm system All-Star team the other week it’s basically a roster of the best performers in the organization. C Gary Sanchez and 1B Greg Bird headline the team for obvious reasons. Both mashed this summer.
- C R.J. Baker has been suspended 50 games for refusing to take an offseason drug test. The 29-year-old has been an organizational catcher for a few years now, spending a lot of time on the phantom DL and bouncing between levels, going wherever an extra backstop was needed.
Now, onto the stats:
Arizona Fall League (season is over, so these stats are final)
- OF Tyler Austin: 4 G, 4-12, 2 R, 1 3B, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP (.333/.438/.500) — left the league with a wrist injury
- UTIL Addison Maruszak: 10 G, 9-32, 8 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 10 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS (.281/.452/.344)
- 3B/C Peter O’Brien: 16 G, 12-63, 5 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBI, 2 BB, 26 K (.190/.212/.413)
- OF Mason Williams: 22 G, 23-86, 11 R, 6 2B, 4 RBI, 8 BB, 18 K, 4 SB, 2 CS (.267/.330/.337)
- RHP Brett Gerritse: 9 G, 11.2 IP, 12 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 11 BB, 12 K, 2 HR,1 WP, 1 HB (9.26 ERA, 1.96 WHIP)
- LHP Fred Lewis: 11 G, 11 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 10 K, 1 WP (0.00 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) — probably going to get taken in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday
- LHP Vidal Nuno: 5 G, 4 GS, 19.2 IP, 20 H, 10 R, 7 ER, 3 BB, 18 K, 1 HR (3.20 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)
- LHP James Pazos: 10 G, 10.1 IP, 13 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 7 BB, 9 K, 2 WP (1.74 ERA, 1.94 WHIP)
Via Jon Heyman: The Yankees have checked in on free agent right-hander Mike Pelfrey. The team is still looking for a number three-ish type starter even after re-signing Hiroki Kuroda. They’re going to hold a competition for the fifth spot in Spring Training.
Pelfrey, 29, had a 5.19 ERA (3.99 FIP) in 152.2 innings for the Twins in 2013, his first season following Tommy John surgery. At his best before elbow construction, he had a 3.66 ERA (3.82 FIP) in 204 innings for the Mets back in 2010. That’s probably his best case scenario. Pelfrey has the size (6-foot-7, 250 lbs.) and stuff (sinker averaged almost 93 mph this past season) that make you think he could be great, but he’s never lived up to the billing of being the ninth overall pick in the 2005 draft. No harm in checking in. Hopefully he’s nothing more than a backup plan.
Via Chad Jennings: The Yankees are shopping spare outfielder Ichiro Suzuki in trade talks. Nothing is imminent and there are indications other clubs value him as nothing more than a fourth outfielder. His trade value is minimum at this point of his career.
Ichiro, 40, hit .262/.297/.342 (71 wRC+) with seven homers and 20 stolen bases in 555 plate appearances this past season, setting several career worsts. He is a man without a role — unless the Yankees trade Brett Gardner, which is always a possibility — thanks to recent Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran pickups. If the team can move him for some salary relief, even $2-3M, it’ll be a win. I mentioned to Moshe the other day that I was weirdly confident the Yankees would be able to trade Ichiro (Phillies? Giants?) and he basically laughed at me, just to give you someone else’s perspective.
Via Andy McCullough: The Yankees hired former Yankee Eric Hinske as a pro scout after the season, and he helped the team woo Brian McCann to New York. “He was here, he was involved” said Brian Cashman of Hinske. “He helped me with Brian McCann … because he played with Brian. So I appreciate Eric Hinske giving Brian McCann a lot of good advice about his experience here with the Yankees. He was a great resource for about 30 days.”
Hinske, 36, was with the team for “about the month” before leaving to join the Cubs as their first base coach. You probably remember him as a member of the 2009 World Series team after being acquired from the Pirates at midseason. Hinske actually played for the Diamondbacks this past season, but he was terrible (49 wRC+) and decided to retire after being released in July. Long before he helped the Yankees land McCann, Hinske advised Evan Longoria to sign long-term with the Rays. Sounds like he might have a future in a front office.
Via Andrew Marchand: The Yankees are planning to hold a competition between David Phelps, Adam Warren, Michael Pineda, and Vidal Nuno in Spring Training for the fifth starter’s job. This isn’t much of a surprise — Brian Cashman said the team is looking to add two starters even though they lost three to free agency (Hiroki Kuroda has since returned, so they only need one more starter now). I was hoping they’d bring in some veteran competition, but alas.
The Yankees have a knack for holding rigged competitions in camp (Phil Hughes as fifth starter in 2010, the catcher situation in 2013) but I do think this one is wide open. Phelps might have a leg up because he has the most big league experience of the group, but if Pineda shows up to Tampa and blows everyone away, I bet he’d get the job. Same with Warren and Nuno. Either way, the odds are strongly in favor of all four of these guys being needed in the rotation at some point next summer. Getting through the year using only five starters isn’t something you can reasonably expect.