Let’s forget for a few minutes that Curt Schilling is on the Red Sox, and let’s forget his stupid “mystique and aura” comments from 2001. Let’s instead just consider Curt Schilling to be a baseball player with strong opinions who shares those opinions on his blog. Maybe this way, we can have as unbiased a discussion about Curt as is possible on a Yankee blog.
Last week, when the Baseball Writers Association of American first instituted the Curt Schilling Rule which bans players from awards consideration if their contracts feature incentive clauses, I applauded this move. The members of the BBWAA are hardly the least biased folks in the room, and I can’t really blame them. Eight months of traveling with a team and interacting with players on a daily basis will inevitably lead to some soft feelings toward some of the players.
While the BBWAA has disappointingly tabled their resolution pending discussion with MLB and the Players Association, the man for whom the proposal was named — Mr. 38 Pitches himself — was none too happy. In a rather personal and often rambling blog post, Schilling lays into the BBWAA for many of the inconsistencies that bloggers have long noted about their voting patterns. He rails on voters omitting pitchers from MVP ballots or Hall of Fame ballots for petty reasons some years only to include them in others. He wonders why traditional print writers are any more or less qualified to vote than the writers like Buster Olney, Jayson Stark, Rob Neyer and Ken Rosenthal, to name a few, who make their living online.
All in all, Schilling makes some very valid points. But as is often the case with Curt Schilling, there’s rather big but (and it’s not his. Zing!). Schilling takes a very strong exception to BBWAA Secretary Jack O’Connell’s statement. “But the attachment of a bonus to these awards creates a perception that we’re trying to make these guys rich,” O’Connell said. Schilling starts out hot and goes from there:
Give me a break. Don’t get me wrong, 100k, 500k, 1 million dollars is a huge sum of money. But to think that these guys ever approached this as anything other than them being touted as the ‘experts’ on who wins what is crap. Add to that I seriously doubt anyone ever looked at this from a perception standpoint and thought wow, they are making this guy rich. I would disagree.
Curt Schilling may disagree, but let’s look at this from a journalistic standpoint. Curt Schilling’s new contract includes a clause where he needs to draw just one third-place vote to kick in a $1 million bonus. Do you know how many Cy Young Awards have depended upon those third-place votes? I’m leaning toward none.
So what’s from stopping one of Curt’s friends from tossing a throw-away third-place vote his way? Every voter fills out a 1-2-3 ballot, and if Curt ends up with one meager vote, the $1 million is his. That reeks of unethical journalistic behavior right there.
Schilling, in my opinion, has it wrong. This move by the BBWAA isn’t one of their efforts to steal the thunder from the players; it’s an effort to make sure that all of their voting members are following the guidelines of their profession. It’s a sad commentary on the state of journalism than such a move by the BBWAA is necessary, but it isn’t an attempt, as Schilling would have us believe, by the journalists to upstage the players.
In the end, Curt says it best himself. “It only takes 1-2 guys to screw it up and those guys exist in decent numbers,” he writes. The same holds true on the other end as well. In this case, it only takes one guy to kick back a million bucks, and any effort to end that practice should be applauded.
The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly have a mild interest in New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. Pitching against National League lineups, without designated hitters, could extend Mussina’s career long enough to boost his Hall of Fame hopes. He’s no cinch to make the Yankees’ starting rotation.
Granted, I have mild interest in a lot of things that never come true, but hey, it’s a slow day. Now, as long-time readers of RAB know, I’m no fan of Mike Mussina, and while my kneejerk reaction to this rumor was something along the lines of “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” I think the Yankees actually need Mike Mussina.
In 2008, somehow, the Yankees are going to need to fashion together 1,458 innings, give or take a few extra-inning affairs. By and large, this means finding some starters to throw 200+ innings or, barring that, finding enough starters to put together enough innings. The Yankees have Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang penciled in for about 200-220 innings each. But after that, things look a little dicey.
Had Phil Hughes escaped injury, he would have been on target for about 180-200 innings pitched in 2008, but it was not meant to be. After reaching 146 in 2006, Hughes missed significant time and ended the year with a combined total of 116 IP. The Yanks will try to cap him around 150 in 2008, I think. Joba Chamberlain threw a combined 116 IP as well in 2007, and I’d probably peg him at 150 max in 2008.
So that leaves Ian Kennedy. He threw a shade under 170 innings in 2007 with an increase of 70 innings pitched from 2006. The Yanks could push him up to 190 or so, but they would probably want to keep him around 170 again.
Enter Mike Mussina. Unless we want to live through Kei Igawa and a parade of Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner and the guy begging for change on the street, the Yankees may need 150 innings or so out of Mike Mussina.
So never mind that this trade – this hypothetical, maybe-the-Phillies-are-interested trade – has a minuscule change in hell of happening. It might not even be good for the Yanks if it did.
This profile goes out to Nick-YF, who won a cheesy little contest a few weeks ago.
Austin Romine | C
Romine was raised by a baseball family in El Toro, CA, an Orange County suburb. His father Kevin was a reserve outfielder for the Red Sox from 1985 to 1991, amassing a .251-.306-.325 line in 331 career big league games. His older brother Andrew was Dustin Pedroia’s successor at Arizona State, and had a respectable 3-yr career as the Sun Devil’s starting shortstop. He was drafted by the Angels in the 5th round of this year’s draft.
Chad Jennings notes that the Yanks signed minor league journeyman reliever Dan Giese to a deal that includes an invite to Spring Training. Giese has rather impressive career numbers (2.97 ERA, 1.64 BBper9, 8.25 Kper9), and was decent in his first taste of the bigs last year with the Giants. Relievers are incredibly volatile, so Cash’s strategy of hording guys like Chris Britton, Jon Albaladejo and now Giese (i.e. inexpensive guys who have good stuff and aren’t afraid to throw strikes) is really the best a GM can do. There are no guarantees that the big name, big money guys will do the job (just look at Eric Gagne), so having options is the key. · (23) ·
The Yankees are holding their 14th Annual Food Drive on Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. For every 25 pounds of non-perishable food you deliver to the Stadium, you’ll get a voucher for four Tier Reserve tickets for any non-premium Monday-through-Thursday home game. It’s not a bad deal. More details and a poster with impossible-to-read fine print is available here. · (1) ·
While I’m not a big fan of the Hawkins signing, I’m definitely of the mindset that we could have done worse. For example, by signing Vizcaino for three years. That’s simply unnecessary; some team is going to do it and regret it. Not because Vizcaino is bad, per se, but because he’s bound to have at least one very poor year out of those three, and the other two are toss-ups. It’s just not worth the commitment. At least with Hawkins, we know we can wave goodbye to him after 2008.
My main problem with him, though, is the inconsistency. As I’ve mentioned, he doesn’t strikeout anyone anymore, so his success is based how many guys he walks and how many hits he allows. He’s kept his walk rate at a reasonable level, so we can be comforted at that level. But since he allows a ton of contact, we can reasonably expect a fluctuation in his hits allowed. For a quick example, he allowed a .264 average on balls in play last year (though that might be low, since I calculated it myself…anyone know it for sure?), but allowed a .325 average on balls in play with Baltimore. So we’re getting a guy who, if lucky, can be solid. But we don’t know.
This looks like the last free agent move the Yanks will make, unless they deal one of the guys projected onto the 25-man roster. Yes, I’m talking about Hideki Matsui. Those talks will either heat up or die this week. Brian Sabean is also considering a Tim Lincecum for Alex Rios swap, which could also affect the situation.
Now, I don’t expect Cashman could pry away Lincecum or Cain at this point. Any deal would have to involve both Matsui and Ian Kennedy, plus a bit more, I’m sure. There’s a modicum of sense in a Matsui-Kennedy-Duncan for Lincecum or Cain swap. It would give the Giants two bats, plus an arm to replace the departing one. They get somewhat weaker in the pitching department — though Kennedy would probably fare rather well at AT&T Park — and add two bats to an anemic lineup.
The problem, of course, is that Matsui is 34 years old and is coming off knee surgery. Duncan is 28 and has little major league experience. So while their bats will certainly upgrade the Giants lineup, it’s tough to judge to what extent.
However, I think it makes a bit more sense than a Lincecum for Rios swap. It’s straight up, so your pitching is measurably worse. And while your lineup gets better, we once again get to the question of how much better. Rios is a good player who brings speed to the table, but you have to wonder if he’ll outperform Matsui over the next two years — those two years being the last two on Hideki’s contract and the years prior to Rios’s free agency. While you could turn around and sign Rios to a long-term deal afterwards, you could realistically do that after the 2009 season; I doubt the Blue Jays are going to have the budget to re-sign him.
If I’m Brian Sabean, I’m not sure what I do. Well, I’m sure that I don’t do Rios for Lincecum, but if the Yanks are coming at me with two bats and an arm, I’d find it hard to turn down. Then again, that could be my Yankees bias talking and my desire to see Lincecum in pinstripes.
On the other hand, if the Yankees are willing to accept a lesser package, they could take lefty strikeout artist Jonathan Sanchez, who can both start and come out of the bullpen. Brian Sabean could still do Rios for Lincecum and add the two bats to his order that he desires. But his pitching would be in the shitter.
Either way, you have to expect nothing to happen here. But it’s fun to think about.
I can’t really criticize the Yankees for the Carl Pavano contract. In 2004, everyone wanted a piece of Pavano, and the Yanks were bidding against the Red Sox, Tigers and Orioles, to name a few of the teams involved. Who knew that Carl Pavano, who had just thrown back-to-back 200-inning seasons, would utterly break down?
This week, when the Yankees officially welcome Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera back into the fold, the Carl Pavano Era will come to an ignoble end. The Yankees are going to release Pavano and sign him to a Minor League deal for the purposes of rehab and insurance.
That’s not the funny part though. Here’s the funny part, courtesy of George King:
Pavano, 31, can’t return to Arizona because his questionable work ethic ticked off fitness guru Brett Fischer last winter. Pavano is leaning toward accepting the Yankees’ minor-league offer so he can have a place to rehab his elbow. By keeping him in the system, the Yankees protect themselves from Pavano healing ahead of schedule (pigs have a better chance of flying) and pitching effectively for another team.
So basically, the Yankees are worried that Pavano, whose work ethic is so bad that a fitness expert won’t take him on as a client, may recover faster than they anticipate? And I have a bridge to sell you.
The Yanks got 19 starts and 111.1 innings from Carl Pavano for their $39.95 million. They have to keep him in the Minors to collect the insurance on his contract. But do they really have to feed us this line? I guess the Yanks really do have that sense of humor.
The Yankees, according to Ken Rosenthal, are close to a one-year, $3.75 million deal with LaTroy Hawkins. This move bores me. On the one hand, it’s a one-year deal for not very much money. On the other, Hawkins has seen his K/9 IP decline over the last five seasons (with a slight uptick last year), and just like every other Yankee reliever, he puts on more than a baserunner per inning. Is a 35-year-old really a bullpen upgrade? · (33) ·