RAB live chat tomorrow, I’m thinking 2pm EDT so our west coast friends can get in on the action. Here’s our past chats.
AzFL Peoria (8-7 win over Surprise)
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K – in addition to driving in the Javelinas’ seventh run, he was at the plate when a wild pitch allowed the game winning run to score
Jeff Marquez: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1-3 GB/FB – 18 of 28 pitches were strikes (64.3%) … don’t read too much into him pitching in relief, the team is carrying 21 pitchers, they all can’t start
HWB Waikiki (3-1 loss to Honolulu in 7 innings) not sure why they played only 7 innings again, as radnom suggested yesterday, maybe it was a volcano?
Damon Sublett: 1 for 3, 2 K – still hasn’t gone hitless in a game
Austin Romine: 0 for 2
While it’s nice and trendy to blame the pitching for the Yanks’ woes this year, the fact is they did score nearly 200 fewer runs this year than last (179 to be exact). We’re used to powerhouse offenses that feature multiple 100 RBI guys (they had two this year) and about five or six 20 homerun hitters (three), but it just wasn’t meant to be this year. Injuries, subpar years and general suckiness were the main culprits.
While it’s clear the Yanks will look to make a splash on the pitching front, their offense will need a pretty significant upgrade, especially if Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu are allowed to take their stout OPS+’s elsewhere as free agents.
Enter: Mark Teixeria. And … uh … Manny Ramirez.
Both players offer what the Yanks need – the ability to hit for average, hit for power, and get on base like it’s going out of style – but best of all they’ll come at the cost of just money, no other players need to get involved. Manny’s Hall of Fame caliber resume leaves no question that he’ll be an impact player, and Teixeira’s just entering what should be the best years of his career. Neither guy will come cheaply, and even the Yanks have their financial limits, so it’ll come down to one or the other.
So what would you prefer: Tex on a 7 yrs, $154M deal, or Manny at 4/88? Your call, play nice.
While most people know Robert Goulet as a successful Broadway star, most youngsters know him from a rather hilarious Super Bowl commercial. Now, Goulet, posthumously, has lent his name to an American Mustache Institute award, and, well, Jason Giambi’s ‘stache is one of the finalists for Mustache of the Year. The competition is fierce; Goose Gossage, Don LaFontaine and Keith Hernandez are among the nominees. But head on over to AMI’s site and vote for Giambi. After all, no one else’s ‘stache had a 130 OPS+. · (8) ·
The MLBPA is the most powerful union in sports. For the most part, they get what they want. Could that influence play a part in CC Sabathia donning pinstripes this winter? Ken Davidoff ponders the question, and reflects back to the 2002-2003 off-season. Jim Thome, a newly-minted free agent, got a huge offer from the Phillies, and a decent one from the Indians, with whom he had played since being drafted in 1989. Davidoff’s source said Thome was considering the Tribe’s offer because he loved playing in the Midwest. However, the players’ union leaned on him, and he ended up taking the big bucks with Philly.
If we’re to believe the current crop of rumors, the Yankees seem poised to be the high bidder in the CC Sweepstakes. While CC might not necessarily value the dollar over all else, how will the union feel about that? What if the best offer out there is five years and $100 million, and the Yanks are going six and $125? Clearly, it’s tough to speculate on a situation like this, seeing as none of us (as far as I know) works for the union. It’s just something else to think about as we near the beginning of free agency. · (37) ·
Via RAB commenter Tim Dierkes comes a Jon Heyman column with Yankee rumors galore. The Yanks want to sign two of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe. Sabathia is clearly the best choice, and signing two of them would probably mean that either Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina will not be coming back next season. Of course, all of this is contingent on these players’ accepting the Yanks offers. In other news, Heyman does not believe that the current state of the U.S. economy will impact the Yanks’ spending. · (122) ·
Robinson Cano was one of the Yanks’ great disappointments this year. Coming off of two strong campaigns in 2006 and 2007, Cano had a terrible start to the year and ended up hitting just. 271/.305/.410. As Joe explored earlier this week, Cano’s troubles were a key factor in the Yanks’ missing the playoffs.
Of course, as is the norm in New York, as soon as a player struggles, they are automatically the subject of multiple trade rumors, no matter how ludicrous. While the Yanks have shown no indication that they would shop Cano and while 29 other teams are gleefully wondering if the Yanks are stupid enough to sell low on Cano, this reality isn’t stopping anyone from thinking out loud about trading Robinson Cano.
Today’s backhanded efforts at slamming Cano come to us from RAB whipping boy and New York Post scribe Joel Sherman. He seemingly questions why the Yanks are valuing Cano not at 2008 but at 2006-2007 levels:
The more I talk to Yankee officials the more I become convinced that Robinson Cano Robinson Cano will not be dealt. That is because the Yanks plan on valuing him as the 2006-7 Cano and not last year’s discouraging version. As I canvas executives from other teams, however, they all say something like this: “Cano still has value, but not the same as last year.”
So unless this is a leverage play the Yankees New York Yankees are not going to be able to turn Cano into either the top-end starter or center fielder they crave. Essentially outside teams want to hedge the risk that Cano is not a serious enough person to ever consistently maximize his talent. So what would be most possible would be a risk-for-risk trade, and the Yanks don’t want to take that risk. Enough of their top decision makers continue to believe Cano is going to be a .300-plus hitter who hits between 20-30 HRs and approaches Gold Glove defense to give him up for a project.
Why this would be a surprise to Sherman or any nameless executives is beyond me.
For all of his perceived struggles in 2008, Cano’s numbers break down nicely, in a way. On May 3, Cano bottomed out at .150/.213/.230. Over the rest of this season, his numbers were nearly in line with his 2007 level. From May 4 until the end of the year, Cano came to bat 512 times and hit .300/.327/.452 with 12 home runs, 32 doubles, three triples and 65 RBI. Much as we look at Melky Cabrera‘s last four months for a better indication of his overall failures in 2008 so can we look at those numbers for Cano.
Furthremore, some of Cano’s numbers indicate that he was woefully unlucky this year. According to The Hardball Times, Cano’s line drive percentage was actually higher in 2008 than it was in 2007, and he cut his groundball rate at the same time. His BABIP, however, dropped a stunning .050 points. For all his troubles, Cano could have just been unlucky this year.
Now, there are some warning signs, and I could see why the Yanks’ potential trading partners would be wary of Cano. As with Cabrera, Cano’s rate stats have declined in each of the last three seasons. He hasn’t developed the batting eye or patience at the plate that the Yanks would like to see him develop. But he is far from a lost cause as a mid-September adjustment to his batting stance seemed to deliver promising results.
Right now, the Yanks have no real reason to trade Robinson Cano. The youngest of the Yankees’ every-day players, he fills an important position and has the potential to be one of the AL’s best hitters. He’s cost-controlled and can play solid defense. With only Orlando Hudson as a viable free agent alternative, the Yanks, in trading Cano, would be opening up one hole while potentially filling another, if they could even land a premier Major League center fielder or pitcher.
As is often the case, this focus on Cano and his supposed tradeability is all about the media. They see something they don’t like — Cano’s .271 average, in this case — and this all of a sudden means he can’t make it in New York. Let’s not lose perspective here.
When Brian Roberts hit Mariano Rivera‘s last pitch on Sept. 21 to Cody Ransom, the Yanks’ time at Yankee Stadium came to a close. While the Yanks had been planning on a November send-off to the Stadium, the team has decided to call off the celebration, as amny blared to subway riders this morning.
While the story’s headline is completely misleading — anyone at the Stadium finale knows the House that Ruth Built didn’t go out with a “whimper” — Garett Sloane has all the relevant details. Basically, the Yankees aren’t offering up much, but the team’s one excuse — that the Sept. 21st game should be the last event at the Cathedral — sounds good to me.
The team had promised a final salute in November, which fans speculated would be a star-studded goodbye to the doomed stadium.
“The Yankees were considering having a charitable event at Yankee Stadium,” team spokesman Howard Rubenstein told amNewYork, reading from a prepared statement. “However, the Yankees realize that the final event at Yankee Stadium should be a baseball game, which in fact took place on Sept. 21, 2008.”
…Rubenstein would not elaborate on why the charitable event was cancelled and what exactly was planned, but the tribute was reportedly set for Nov. 9. Instead, the team will donate $500,000 to Baseball Assistance Team, an organization that helps struggling families in the baseball community.
As it should be, the final event at Yankee Stadium was a Yankee game. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Meanwhile, if you want to see the Stadium one last time, tours are now available through the end of October. It’ll be the last chance anyone has of seeing the an 85-year-old baseball temple.
Breath easy, folks. Mariano Rivera came through surgery with no complications. Rivera will begin a throwing program in three months and will be set for Spring Training. While David Pinto, with a wink and a smile, wonders if the Yanks should have left Rivera’s shoulder as is after his amazing season, this surgery just means Mo will be even better next year. In Mariano we trust. · (9) ·
AzFL Peoria (10-3 win over Surprise)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 4, 1 3B, 4 RBI – drove in a run with a sac fly, a single & two with a triple
Kevin Russo: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
Phil Hughes: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 6-2 GB/FB – only 49 of 86 pitches were strikes (57.0%) … threw first pitch strikes to only 11 of 20 batters … could be rust from not having pitched in 13 days, but nah, he’s a bust
Update (11:50pm): I just looked through the rosters, and 121 total pitchers have been assigned to the AzFL this year. Exactly 12 are younger than Phil.
We’ve talked about payroll a ton over the past few days, months, years. As fans of the Yankees, we’re used to spending what it takes, without any practical limits. However, there are 29 other teams in the league, many of which face payroll constraints.
Tonight, in the absence of baseball, we can pretend to be small market teams. Kinda. Here’s the exercise. You have $50 million to spend. You must fill 25 roster spots using 2008 salary data (which can be found at Cot’s). Ah, but it won’t be that simple. To ensure that you’re not just snagging quality young players who are making the league minimum, we’re going to put some service time restraints on the players you can choose. And what better model to pick than our very own New York Yankees?
For your nine starting position players, including DH, you can pick 1 player with 0-2 years of service time, 2 players with 3-5 years of service time, and 6 players with over six years of service time, hence free-agent eligible. That’s going to be tough. Service time can be found at Cot’s as well. Since we’re using 2008 salary data, we can use 2008 service time, too, so just use the number they’ve got there. If a player has 1.161 (1 year, 161 days) of service time, it counts as 1 year. If a player isn’t listed, he’s assumed to have no service time.
For starting pitchers, two can have 0-2 years, 1 can have 3-5 years, and 2 need to have 6 or more years. For the bullpen, it will be 2 with 0-2 years, 3 with 3-5 years, 2 with 6 or more.
On the bench, you’re free to do whatever. Restriction: it actually has to be a bench player. A reasonable guideline is fewer than 200 plate appearances in 2008. However, if a guy came up later in the year and started, you can’t use him.
Everything clear? All right. Let’s see what you’ve got.