I’ve been sitting on this for a few days just because we’ve had better things to talk about. But since it’s Friday afternoon, and everyone enjoys humor on Friday afternoon, let’s make fun of Carl Pavano.
In an article about the mutual affection Carl Pavano and the Marlins seem to have for each other this winter, the long-time denizen of the DL issued a gem of a quote. “I look back at those four years with the Yankees, it was exhausting,” he said.
Exhausting. Someone get this man a dictionary.
Carl Pavano was so exhausted by his four years on the Yankees. He was exhausted by the 26 starts he made over four years, by the nine games he managed to win and by the 145.2 innings he pitched. Or perhaps he was just exhausted cashing his paycheck every other week while contributing little else to the Yanks.
While we’re still a few long months away from Spring Training and Opening Day, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. To that end, Maury Brown penned a great piece on the top 10 business-related story lines for next season. From the economy to the new stadiums to the second iteration of the World Baseball Classic, the ’09 season will keep everyone pretty busy. · (0) ·
Who would you rather:
Pitcher A: 64 G, 70.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 77 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.665 WHIP, .165/.190/.233
Pitcher B: 76 G, 68.1 IP, 54 H, 34 BB, 77 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, .216/.314/.316
Now, it’s hard to deny that both pitchers had some pretty impressive numbers in 2008. Pitcher B walked a few too many guys, and Pitcher A was pretty much lights out across the board. Would you believe me if I told you that Pitcher B garnered 32 Cy Young votes and a third-place finish in the balloting while Pitcher A received just three third-place votes?
Of course, Pitcher A saved “only” 39 games this year while Pitcher B set a new MLB record with 62 saves. For what it’s worth, those fancy statisticians over at Baseball Prospectus figure that Pitcher A, Mariano Rivera, was the top reliever in baseball this year while Pitcher B, Francisco Rodriguez, is far down the list. K-Rod was good this year, but he’s no Rivera.
With 62 saves staring at them in the face, the writers were once again misled by a largely meaningless counting stat. Yet again, the voters show that the post-season awards are purely symbolic. Cliff Lee won — and deserved — his Cy Young, but after that, the voters are just pulling names out of thing air.
Postscript: Mike Mussina received just two third-place votes for his 20-win season. While Cy Young votes for Moose would be largely symbolic, I expected him to do slightly better than that. I guess the writers would rather let saves instead of emotions get the best of them.
Padres GM Kevin Towers doesn’t believe he can work out a deal between his team and the Cubs or Braves for Jake Peavy. So the Yankees and Angels may be next in line. Meanwhile, David Pinto believes the Yanks could land Peavy for Kei Igawa, Ian Kennedy and an outfielder. If that outfielder isn’t Austin Jackson, I don’t think that package would net them Peavy unless the Padres really wanted out of that contract. Either way, I’d rather just give up money to land CC Sabathia than prospects and spare parts for Peavy. · (111) ·
Over the next few days and weeks, we’ll burn a lot of pixels talking about CC Sabathia, but that’s one free agent signing that will wrap itself up quickly. In reality, it boils down to Sabathia. Either he will play for the Yankees because they will out-bid everyone or he doesn’t want to play in New York. It’s that simple.
There’s another free agent — number one on Keith Law’s list — who probably won’t sign until the end of December. For a while, this player seemed destined to the Yankees, but with the acquisition today of Nick Swisher, many are assuming that the Yanks won’t be that interested in Mark Teixeira. In my opinion, that is simply not the case.
Swisher was the first salvo the Yanks fired off in the Hot Stove League, but he will be just the first piece in an off-season of moves. Now, there is no doubt that Nick Swisher fills a Yankee need. A one-time first-round draft pick, Swisher will be 28 come opening day, and while his numbers seemed down last year, he has the ability to hit 20-30 home runs a season. He’s also a master at getting on base.
Beyond that, Swisher is both an outfielder and a first baseman. The Yanks, looking to get younger and more athletic, could use Swisher at first and eschew signing Mark Teixeira or Adam Dunn. But perhaps, they’ll opt to use Swisher in the outfield, replacing the 35-year-old Bobby Abreu with Swisher.
In that regard, Mark Teixeira makes total sense, and a team in a position the Yanks are in would have a tough time turning down a player of Teixeira’s caliber. The switch-hitting first baseman will be 29 on Opening Day, making him two baseball seasons younger than Jason Giambi was when he signed with the Yanks in 2001. Meanwhile, Teixeira has a career line of .290/.378/.541, and he’s shown he can hit outside of Texas.
With his Gold Glove-caliber defense, Teixeira is, to borrow a phrase from Buster Olney, the perfect fit for a Yankee team looking to get younger and more athletic while keeping up a relentless pace of high-OBP players. A heart of the order with Teixiera, A-Rod, Posada and Swisher would be potent indeed.
Meanwhile, Keith Law brings up an interesting point in his ESPN free agent run down. Since Teixeira is so young, if he were to sign a six-year deal, when he next becomes a free agent after his age 34 season, he could then sign another substantial contract. It would be more beneficial for Scott Boras and Teixeira to take a six-year deal than it would be for them to push for an eight- or ten-year contract.
Even if the Yanks opt to let Teixeira go, they have another 1B/OF option to pursue as well. Adam Dunn, despite the deceptively low batting average, would fit right in as well. He’s not the defender Teixeira is, and he’s not quite as athletic as Swisher. But he is, however, a beast at the plate. His career OPS+ of 130 is just slightly lower than Teixeira’s 134 mark. He hasn’t hit fewer than 40 home runs since his injury-shortened 2003 campaign, and despite the low batting average and high strike-out numbers, he gets on base a whopping 38.1 percent of the time. For those keeping score at home, that’s actually slightly higher than Teixeira’s career OBP.
Clearly, the Yankees have options. At a time when the team has more holes to fill than they’ve had in recent years, the free agent crop is particularly lush this year. While Nick Swisher is a great start, he’s far from the final answer. While the Yanks may not seem like they need Mark Teixeira or even Adam Dunn now, we’ll see what happens when the dust settles. Meanwhile, forty-five minutes ago, as of this writing, the free agent gates were unleashed. The fun is just beginning.
Lost amidst the brouhaha of the Nick Swisher was a press release from the Yanks announcing what we knew a few weeks ago about the coaching staff: Rob Thomson is the new third base coach; Tony Peña will serve as Joe Girardi’s bench coach; and Mick Kelleher will be the
Coach In Charge of Lighting a Fire Under Robinson Cano’s Assfirst base coach. This announcement is just a formality as these changes were reported a few weeks ago. · (15) ·
So how about that, eh? In one move today, the Yanks took on Nick Swisher and his salary in exchange for Jeff Marquez and Wilson Betemit. Talk about heating up the Hot Stove League in the blink of an eye.
But do you know what’s even better than Nick Swisher? How about Nick Swisher and C.C. Sabathia, together, in the same picture? Via the excellently-named It’s All A-Rod’s Fault comes this image from Nick Swisher’s Web site:
If only. If only.
Meanwhile, while we’re all enjoying the high of a good trade, the free agent signing period kicks off in a few hours with CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez headlining the Hot Stove this year. It seems as though Manny and the Dodgers may be heading for a split.
While the Dodgers have an offer on the table that could send $60 million Manny’s way over three seasons, Scott Boras fired back today with a quote that shows his true character. “On behalf of Manny Ramirez, we will, for the first time, begin accepting serious financial offers on Friday,” said Boras. What a class act.
So as we head into the best time of the winter, feel free to open the floor to anything. The Jets and Pats are playing on Channel 11 at 8 p.m., and money is about to dominate baseball’s off-season.
Late add by Mike: South Side Sox has an exclusive transcript of the Swisher trade negotiations. Check it out.
AzFL Peoria (3-2 loss to the other Peoria)
Kevin Russo: 0 for 0 – came in for defense at short in the 8th
Jeff Marquez: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3-6 GB/FB – 47 of 75 pitches were strikes (62.7%) … even with his AzFL time, he’s still about 30 IP behind last year’s total because of this summer’s groin injury
Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 1-1 GB/FB – only 12 of 26 pitches were strikes (46.2%)
HWB Waikiki (3-2 win over North Shore in 10 innings, walk-off style)
Damon Sublett: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Austin Romine: 0 for 2, 1 K - left the game in the 6th for an unknown reason
Andrew Brackman: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 WP, 9-3 GB/FB – 47 of 89 pitches were strikes (52.8%) … drat, he’s a bust this week
PRWL Mayaguez (5-2 loss to Carolina)
Ian Kennedy: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HBP, 2-1 GB/FB – 12 K in 8.2 IP in his 2 starts