This year’s bill: $23,880,000. On the bright side, this is the second consecutive year the Yanks lowered their luxury tax input, having paid out $26,000,000 last year and a whooping $33,980,000 back in 2005. Old pal Roger Clemens tacked on $6,980,000 to the luxury tax bill all by his lonesome, and since 2002 the Yanks have paid $121,600,000 in luxury tax penalties. That’s alotta cheddar. · (6) ·
Roger Clemens posted a video on YouTube in which he defends himself from the accusations in the Mitchell Report. Take a look:
As ESPN reports, Clemens will sit for a 60 Minutes interview in an effort to clear his name.
Posting figures to be a little light around these parts over the next few days, so take the time and spend it with your friends and family. Forget all about baseball for a few days and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Ben, Joe and I wish everyone the happiest of holidays, and with any luck Santa will leave Johan Santana under the tree (with Hughes, Joba and IPK tucked away safely in the stocking, of course).
Happy Holidays to you and yours from River Ave. Blues.
Despite what Buster Olney hears, Kat O’Brien says that “several people within the Yankee organization” told her that Joba will be in the starting rotation come April. At this point, we’ve heard so much back-and-forth on this issue that neither outcome will be much of a surprise. · (37) ·
The return: RHP Edison Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera. Unless Cincy is going to turn around and flip Volquez to the O’s for Bedard, this deal is a step back for them. Once upon a time Volquez was the Rangers top prospect, but his star has faded considerably. Danny Ray Herrera is generously listed at 5’7″, 150 lbs, and sits at 80-82 with his fastball and 55-60 with his curve. I’m dead serious. He’s got half-decent numbers though, so maybe he works out for them. Meanwhile, Bill James projects Hamilton to a .979 OPS last year. Remember when you all laughed at me for saying the Yanks should pluck him off waivers a few years ago? · (18) ·
You know how Scott Boras puts together those huge binders that contain pages and pages of information proclaiming [insert Boras client here] is a “special” player, a “once in a generation” talent, and all that jazz? Well, You Been Blinded got it’s hands on the binder Boras handed out for A-Rod back in 2001. After looking through it, the first thing I noticed is that Boras would save himself a ton of paper if he stopped putting only one measly little table on each page. Secondly, that A-Rod kid is pretty good. Check it out.
(hat tip to MLBTR) · (2) ·
This stuff is kinda old, but I figured it was worth linking to during a slow news time. MiLB.com posted their annual look back at the Yankees’ organization, naming players of the year, up-and-comers, and so on. They also take a nice little chronological look back at the all big events in the Yanks’ organization this year (remember how Hit Streak Hilligoss got the nickname? good times), and even have a statistical recap page. But my favorite part of MiLB.com’s annual review is the photo gallery -just awesome, awesome stuff. Did Brett Smith really take a no-no into the 8th inning three times before May 21st? Holy moly.
Scroll past the PED talk in Buster Olney’s latest blog entry, and you will arrive at a tidbit about Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees, Olney reports, plan to start the season with Joba in the pen. They just can’t quit him.
If all goes well in spring training for the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain is likely to start next season in the Yankees’ bullpen, as part of the team’s effort to limit his innings. Chamberlain will go to spring training and, at the outset, prepare to pitch out of the rotation, along with five other rotation candidates — Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy. Assuming that none of the other five has a physical or performance breakdown, Chamberlain would then open 2008 in the bullpen, as a set-up man, for at least the start of the season — under the Joba Rules.
The Yankees want to restrict the number of innings Chamberlain throws, and working him out of the bullpen for at least a couple of months will allow them to do that. Chamberlain may return to the rotation sometime in the middle of the season, depending on the Yankees’ needs.
Our initial reaction is one of fear. We fear that the Yankees are not serious in their plans to put Joba in the rotation, and as an aside, I have to wonder why the Yanks were so quick to give Mariano Rivera a third year if they want Joba in the pen. But that last point is neither here nor there.
For many, your reaction will be like ours: Are the Yankees really going to stick Joba in the pen with the intent of limiting his innings? Or will they keep him in the pen – and thus stunt his development – because they can’t resist the appeal of that 100 mph fastball and nasty breaking pitches in the 8th inning?
While we’ve long espoused the theory that 180-200 innings of Joba the Starter help the Yankees more than 70-80 innings of Joba the Reliever, I’m beginning to think the differences is not as great as we once thought. Using a study of VORP for starting pitchers and Win Expectation about Replacement (or WXRL) for elite relievers, the difference isn’t so great. But there’s a caveat: The Yankees would have to use their elite relievers in high pressure situations and not just as the de facto 8th inning set-up man or 9th inning, three-outs-with-a-three-run-lead closer to truly bridge this gap.
So here we sit in December, and Olney has an unsourced report about Joba going to the pen. We’ll see. There’s plenty of time before Spring Training, and the Yanks may not be done constructing this team. But it does give us some food for thought in the starter vs. reliever debate that seemingly never ends.
Brandon Laird | 3B
Laird was raised in Westminster, a baseball hotbed in Orange County, CA. He’s the younger brother of Texas Rangers’ catcher Gerald, and like his brother is a product of the famed La Quinta High School baseball program. The school’s alumni includes Bobby Crosby, Ian Stewart, and the Yanks’ own Ian Patrick Kennedy. He helped the USA Youth Tradition Team to the World Championship in the summer of 2004 (which was played in Anaheim Stadium), where he played alongside 2005 first overall pick Justin Upton.