About two weeks ago I examined the Yanks’ 2008 offense using Fangraphs’ new replacement value section, which expressed each player’s output in an actual dollar figure. Simply put, the determination of a player’s value is dependent on both their offense and defense relative to their position, and I used Ryan Howard ($15.2M value) and JJ Hardy ($25.0M) as examples.

This week David Appelman & Co. have added pitching win values to their already brilliant site, which expresses a pitcher’s true worth in a nice and easy dollar amount. Unfortunately the determination of these values is way more complex than it is for the position players, because factors like run enviroment and leverage are such major considerations. Dave Cameron (of USS Mariner fame) will be explaining what goes into all of this via a weeklong series which began on Monday. Yesterday he touched on the use of the Fielding Independant Pitching (FIP) statistic in lieu of ERA in the calculation, and then the determination of replacement level for pitchers.

I became an engineer because I enjoy seeing and understanding how things work, so I’m going to definitely going to check out the rest of Dave’s posts this week to see the nuts of the bolts of these calculations. If you’re not a total nerd like me and couldn’t care less how these things work, then let’s get right to it and see what kind of value the Yankees got out of their pitching staff last year.

A decent sized table is after the jump.

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Categories : Analysis
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While the Yankees were busy prepping for today’s trip Albany defending their bond request, New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson took the city to task for its handling of the stadium financing deal. Thompson, a potential 2009 mayoral candidate, slammed the incumbent Bloomberg Administration for its handling of the Bronx mega-project.

The Times’ Sewell Chan reported on the Thompson slam for the City Room blog:

The city comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., on Tuesday accused Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the New York City Industrial Development Agency of bungling the negotiations over the new Yankee Stadium, saying the project’s direct cost to the city has skyrocketed to $325 million from $129.2 million as a result of a series of oversights and mistakes.

“While our financial review cannot determine intent, this incredible mismanagement begs the question: Was this plain old incompetence or a blatant attempt to mislead the public?” Mr. Thompson, who plans to challenge the mayor this fall, said at a news conference at which he presented a new audit of the project. “Either way, New Yorkers now have a box-seat view of fiscal mismanagement.”

[snip]

“The original city capital contribution now has ballooned to $325 million, two and a half times the amount we were told in 2006,” Mr. Thompson said. “With this deal, New Yorkers lose. At a time when we can least afford it, the administration is bending over backward to subsidize an enormously profitable corporation, one that just signed three players to contracts worth a total of $423 million.”

This aspect of the deal has little to do with the Yankees and more to do with the NYCIDA. While one could argue that Bloomberg’s negotiators should have saddled the Yanks with the cost overruns, the truth is that the financially-strapped city did not. It was a bad deal then, but for once, I’m exculpating the Yankees. Grandstanding aside, Thompson is probably write to blame Bloomberg’s Industrial Development Agency for this one.

Of course, a more cynical reader would simply contend that Thompson is currying favor with the voters as he faces a popular mayor running for a third time. The comptroller did, after all, approve the deal in the first place, but that’s New York politics for you. As Jim Dwyer wrote in a column highly skeptical of the 1000 jobs claim and sharply critical of both the Yanks and Bloomberg’s administration for their handling of this deal, it’s basically just business as usual in the Big Apple.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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In a column on the disgruntled Michael Young, Jon Heyman drops in some fairly significant news about the now-estranged Andy Pettitte. While news got out recently that Pettitte had declined the Yanks’ offer, according to the Sports Illustrated scribe, the Yanks were the ones to yank the offer to Pettitte, and the southpaw’s pride prevented him from inking a deal sooner.

Heyman writes:

The Yankees’ longstanding one-year, $10 million offer to lefty Andy Pettitte expired when the club signed star free-agent first baseman Mark Teixeira to a $180 million deal. The Yankees explained to Pettitte all along that the offer could go away if they hit their payroll limit, and they apparently did that when they signed Teixeira.

Pettitte, 36, never took the Yankees’ offer because he was hurt by the idea of a $6 million pay cut, never mind the fact that he started and finished poorly last year (he began the year with his HGH press conference and ended it with seven losses in his last nine decisions.) Overall he was 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA.

But it doesn’t appear that Pettitte has anything better, and if he wants to pitch in 2009 he will have to wait. If the Yankees can trade either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady, that may open up payroll room to resubmit a similar offer to Pettitte, a beloved Yankee. This time we’d have to think Pettitte might finally except.

So much for that three-year, $36-million deal that Heyman himself reported on in mid-December.

Personally, I go back and forth on this one. As I mentioned yesterday, I thought the Derek Lowe signing would up Pettitte’s cost a bit, but I realize that Lowe finished stronger and had better overall numbers than Andy in 2008. Pettitte, however, would be pitching for just one year and could conceivably make $12 million in 2009 simply because a team would be willing to pay a few extra million this year for the roster flexibility next year that Derek Lowe’s contract doesn’t give to the Braves.

No matter the outcome, it sounds like it’s doomed to be retirement of the Bronx for Pettitte. If he wants it badly enough, he can probably work out a deal with the Yanks, but if I’m Brian Cashman, I’m not about to sell low on Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher simply to make payroll room for Pettitte’s return.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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Via Shysterball and Baseball Musings comes a rather interesting, if somewhat flawed, study about the marginal cost per win.

The premise is rather simple. ESPN The Magazine writer Peter Bernstein asks, “Who is really the best in MLB at creating wins from dollars?” The answer — Billy Bean’s A’s — is hardly to surprising and demonstrates the superiority of Beane’s Moneyball approach. The other findings though bear more discussion.

First, Bernstein discusses methodology:

If you look at the correlation between a team’s opening day payroll and their final season victory total over the 11 seasons from 1998 to 2008, some trends become clear…There is a slight positive correlation between payroll and victories as indicated by the line shown in the picture.

We conclude this: for every $7 million a team spends on payroll (at 2008 player salary levels) the team will on average win one more game. A team that spends $125 million, or $35 million more than the 2008 average payroll of about $90 million, would be expected to win five more games than average. That comes out to 86 for the season.

Now off the bat, there’s a glaring problem. In the age of the Internet and free-flowing information, Bernstein doesn’t tell us what that “slight positive correlation” is. If it’s just a slight correlation, then the findings are ultimately meaningless. We just don’t know with the information given. For now, we’ll give Bernstein the benefit of the doubt.

Moving on though, Bernstein runs the numbers on the Yankees and manages to miss the point. The numbers show that the Yankees should win 98.7 games per season. Reality shows the Yanks to have averaged 97.8 wins per season for a difference of -0.9. In other words, the Yankees pretty much win the number of games they are expected to win.

Still, Bernstein’s analysis misses the point. “In the Yankees’ case,” he writes, “despite their success and ability to get into position for title runs, they are in the bottom half of the league over the last 10 years in terms of wins per dollar spent. When they lock up Mark Teixeira at $180 million, a player whose stats are equal to or worse in many cases than Milton Bradley, who the Cubs just secured for a sixth of that total … Well, you get the idea.”

In the Yanks’ case, they got what they paid for. As David Pinto (linked above) writes, “They weren’t terribly efficient, but they didn’t waste money either.”

For the Yankees, that’s just right. They have more money than anyone else. The team’s Front Office wants to — and, at times, has to — spend the money, and by and large, it’s been money well spent. The Yanks have made the playoffs every year except one during the course of this study. The team has made five trips to the World Series, capturing three titles in the process.

Money can win; money can lose. While Billy Beane’s approach and his +11.5 win difference is fantastic, I’ll take the money team with no complaints.

Categories : Analysis
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  • Posada to play in WBC
    By

    At least that’s what this ESPN Deportes report says. Posada’s father says that Jorge has already signed on, and will DH for Puerto Rico. Here’s the translated article. The article says a team official denied the report, and that Posada wil not play because of his shoulder injury. Since he finished the year on the disabled list, the Yanks are allowed to step in and stop Posada from playing. If he’s just DH’ing, what’s the harm I say. · (127) ·

Update 8:21 p.m.: All image links now work. Sorry about that Blogspot problem. That platform has never handled images well.

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The lucky bastards over at Diamond Hoggers were able to get an exclusive sneak preview inside the Yanks’ new digs, but thankfully they were kind enough to share their experience with us in .jpg format.

Players will be privy to some serious ammenities inside the clubhouse, including a fancy new restroom, a twelve person hot tub, and plush carpet. The Yanks’ batting cage is supposedly way bigger than the visiting team’s, and once the team finishes up taking their hacks, they can walk up the steps to the dugout, an honor only a select few can enjoy.

I still don’t know how I feel about the manual scoreboard out in right field, but I do like the big YANKEE STADIUM sign out in left-center.You know, just in case anyone forgets where they are. It still can’t get over how gigantic that JumboTron is. Only one month and four days until the Stadium is complete, when it will be “born.” I can’t wait until I walk into that place.

If still photos don’t do it for you, check this out: (h/t Jamal G. for the email)

How awesome is that? Here’s CitiField, if you’re interested.

Use this as your open thread for the evening. New HOFer Rickey Henderson is going to be on the MLB Network at 7pm demonstrating the art of stealing third base. Talk about that, the New Stadium, Derek Lowe, the Rangers-Isles game, whatever you like. Just don’t be a dick. Also, one of longtime readers started a blog of his own – The Joey H Show – so make sure you check it out.

Oh, and don’t miss our latest Newsday post. And Ameican Idol starts tonight, if that’s your cup of tea.

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While many consider the Yankee Stadium financing issue to be rather jejune, New York State Assembly representative Richard Brodsky is clearing getting down to business. Yesterday, Brodsky’s committee on corporations, authorities and commissions announced plans for a Wednesday hearing on the stadium funding issue. Today, they broke out their subpoena power, compelling Yankees President Randy Levine to appear tomorrow.

According to the North Country Gazette, the hearing will “inquire into circumstances surrounding the provision of close to $2 billion in taxpayer money for construction of the new Yankee Stadium with particular focus on the city’s attempt to add over $400 million in such assistance.” In particular, Brodsky and Committee Chair James Brennan are going to examine the Yanks’ latest request for a final round of tax-exempt bonds.

“The city’s attempt to ram through this complicated project without disclosure of its implications is not acceptable as the Legislature considers what changes in State law it ought to be making,” said Brodsky. “The hearing will provide info necessary for the Legislative process.”

To get the most out of their testimony, the committee is subpoenaing Levine and NYC Industrial Development Agency Chairman Seth Pinsky. While Brodsky is using the Assembly power to dig into the paperwork behind the bond issue, Mayor Michael Bloomberg criticized this move as “politcal theater.”

“I guess it makes for good political theater because it’s the Yankees, but when it comes to valuable taxpayer dollars, decisions should be made on return, not rhetoric,” Bloomberg spokesman Andrew Brent said to the AP. “The deal leverages a federal program and will result in New York City getting back more tax revenue than it will cost and the South Bronx getting thousands of new jobs and more than $1 billion in private investment.”

I’m not too surprised that the Assembly is compelling Levein’s attendance. Since the start of 2009, Levine has appeared on CNBC to defend the stadium and penned a guest column for the Daily News on the same topic. He continues to promote numbers with which many independent analysts have taken issue, and Brodsky, for better or worse, wants to get to the bottom of this issue.

Categories : Yankee Stadium
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Take a look at the remaining free agents and you might see a number of Type A guys still waiting for a home. Namely: Orlando Hudson, Orlando Cabrera, Manny Ramirez, Oliver Perez, Jason Varitek, Ben Sheets, and Juan Cruz. While there are various issues factoring into their current unemployment, for a number of them the major reason relates to draft pick compensation. For a team to sign any of the above, they’d have to sacrifice a first round draft pick (or, for teams finishing in the bottom 15, a second rounder). For many, this just isn’t worth it.

There does appear to be a workaround, though it’s unlikely such a move would make it through the Commissioner’s office. Apparently this comes from Buster Olney, though it is related via South Side Sox. I’ll let them do the talking:

In theory, let’s say the Marlins needed a shortstop (we know they don’t) and wanted to sign Cabrera to a two-year, $16 million deal — but they didn’t want to give up their top draft pick to do it. They could, in theory, pick up the phone and ask the Yankees to sign Cabrera to what the Marlins wanted to pay; the Yankees would give up only a fourth-round pick, and the Marlins could trade a prospect to the Yankees to offset the value of the fourth-round pick. Cabrera would have to waive his right to block the trade because any free agent signing a multiyear deal cannot be traded until June.

Disclaimer: The Marlins are just an example. Everyone knows they have short and second pretty well covered.

First off, you know the White Sox would, rightly, call foul on this one. This screws them out of a first round pick, and the transaction would be achieved by using a means not really allowed by MLB. As they mention, players signed during the winter can’t be traded until June, so Cabrera would have to waive his rights. He would, but I think the Sox would file protest with that. Again, as they should.

Here’s my beef with the argument: The Yanks wouldn’t just settle for fourth round talent for their troubles. They’d be subverting the system. They’d be going out of their way to help out the Marlins get a player they desire without sacrificing a first rounder. That’s worth far more to the Yanks than a fourth round pick. It would probably take something like a player of second round talent. Either that, or they could get demand market value for Cabrera (which probably isn’t that high, really).

In the end, though, this is just a neat idea to think about. The Yanks definitely hold an advantage with the remaining Type A free agents because of their prior Type A signings. Still, I’d far, far rather them use that advantage to sign someone like Cruz or Sheets than to help out another team.

Categories : Hot Stove League
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We’ll start off with the good news. A report earlier this week indicated that the Yankees offered Nick Swisher for Mike Cameron. Thankfully, Buster Olney has stepped in and debunked this already specious rumor. On his blog today, he note:

Heard this in regards to rumors of a Mike Cameron-Nick Swisher swap: The Yankees have not had any trade talks with the Brewers since the winter meetings, and they are not considering a Cameron-Swisher trade.

So sanity is restored. It’s not like many of us took this seriously, anyway. Why would the Yankees offer Swisher, who is young, for Cameron, who is not? The only advantage Cam holds is the ability to play a pretty center field. He did have his best UZR since 2003 in 2008, but even so Swish’s youth, and the fact that he’s under contract next year, make him the more favorable player. Plus, I suspect if the Yankees made this offer, the Brewers would have had the paperwork done already.

We do have some fresh rumors regarding Swish and Xavier Nady. Via MLB Trade Rumors we get word from both Ken Rosenthal and Jerry Crasnick that the Yanks and Braves have discussed the corner outfielders. Rosenthal even went so far to say that the two teams have spoken about trade possibilities.

The team’s next step will be to add a bat, and the club has spoken with the Yankees about their available hitters, Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, sources said.

By no means does this indicate the Yankees will actually pursue a trade. Like any good GM, Cashman is listening to what’s out there. If he finds something that improves the team this year and in the future, he’ll consider it. If the best that’s out there is something like Swish for Cameron, I suspect he’ll head into Spring Training with a bit of a surplus. As we’ve noted multiple times, depth becomes even more valuable in the spring, when teams get a better look at their teams (and see their players befall injuries).

Categories : Hot Stove League
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  • ‘Protection from what? Zee Germans?’
    By

    Talking Points Memo broke what might possibly be my favorite story of well-spent tax-payer money. Forget the tax-free bonds for the new Stadium. Instead, enjoy this tale of U.S. Marshal escorts for Joe Buck, Tim McCarver and Troy Aikman at various points in the baseball and football seasons. The DoJ report (PDF) outs Joseph Band as the sub-par statistician-cum-lawyer who set up this gig, and while the report makes for some great legal ethics reading, there’s no word on how much this actually cost us. I hope the FOX announcing team can manage without their escort in the future. (Worthless RAB points to the first person who can ID the movie quote in the post title.) · (127) ·