Archive for Horrendously Stupid
This one made me laugh. Apparently the Phillies have internally discussed the idea of trading Ryan Howard to St. Louis for Albert Pujols. The plan was to try to sell the Cardinals on the idea that Howard, born and raised in St. Louis, would be easier (and cheaper) to sign long-term than Pujols. Both players can become free agents after the 2011 season, and are basically the same age. Of course, Pujols is the far, far superior hitter. Yeah, Howard has the bigger homerun totals, but Pujols does literally everything else better with the bat.
Phillies’ GM Ruben “fielding percentage FTW” Amaro flat out denied the rumor, which is good. Hopefully he realizes how stupid he would look if he actually proposed such a deal to St. Louis.
Anyway, here’s tonight’s open thread. The only local sports team in action tonight are the Isles, and if you turn the game on right now you could probably catch the last period. I’m sure there’s college basketball on somewhere. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, LaDainian Tomlinson signed with the Jets. Otherwise, have at it.
Photo Credit: Jeff Roberson, AP
File this one under the “what took so long” category: Brett Gardner, the likely left fielder going into 2010, has spent this offseason developing his bunting skills. I mean, what’s the point of having a speed guy with little power work on his bunting game as he climbed the ladder in the minors? “Now it’s just a matter of being comfortable enough with it,” said Gardner, “not to be scared to do it in a game and have confidence that I’m going to put it where I want it. Not only can it be a tool to get on base, but it keeps defenses honest and can bring the corners in and maybe I can shoot some balls by them.”
Better late than never, I guess.
The Yankees catch a lot of grief because of their payroll, and whether you think it’s fair or not is another discussion for another day. Most of those outside of the Tri-State Area will bitch and moan every time the Yankees sign a CC Sabathia or a Mark Teixeira, yet won’t give an iota of credit whenever the team makes a shrewd move like grabbing Nick Swisher as an ultra-buy low or finding a big league arm (Al Aceves) and a top pitching prospect (Manny Banuelos) in Mexico for the the total cost of a replacement level player ($400,000). It’s the way it is, and most don’t think twice when fans of other clubs complain.
However, when team owners start to run their mouth, especially when they aren’t even in the same sport, well then something’s not right. At a press conference yesterday, Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti took an unprovoked shot at GM Brian Cashman and our beloved Bombers…
“It certainly doesn’t show up in the standings,” Bisciotti said. “If I’m a Yankees fan, I’m upset we’re not winning 130 games with the roster that they have and the money that they pay out. I think it’s a disgrace they only beat the average team by 10 games in the standings with three times the money. I’d fire that GM. You don’t need a GM. All you have to do is buy the last Cy Young Award winner every year.”
Dare I say … Boversimplification?
I’m sure Mr. Bisciotti is a smart dude, you kind of have to be to make the kind of money needed to buy an NFL franchise. However, what the hell is he talking about that it doesn’t “show up in the standings?” The Yankees have won almost 100 more games than any other team in baseball over the last 14 years. They could have gone 0-162 in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, or 2008, and they still would have the best record in the game over that time. They’ve won the most World Championships in the last two decades, the most division titles, most pennants … how doesn’t it show up in the standings?
The goal isn’t to win 130 games in the regular season, at least not around these parts. The goal is to win 11 in the playoffs. If Bisciotti is going to talk trash about the Yankees not getting bang for their buck, then maybe he should look in a mirror first. The team he owns has missed the playoffs more times in the last five years than the Yankees have in the last 16. Something about throwing stones in glass houses seems appropriate here.
Anyway, thanks for the laugh Steve.
We are all baseball fans, therefore we disagree on many issues. Some of these are small, nuanced issues, while others are larger more fundamental ones. Most of us agree that the Yankees did a good job this off-season to add good complementary players to a core that won them their 27th World Championship, but there are certain fans, represented by a tiny sample on this site, who believe that the Yankees got worse this off-season. They have their reasons, though as you can imagine I don’t find these reasons very valid in a baseball sense. Just how far will these fans go to show their disapproval?
One of them, at least, cancelled his season ticket plan. Ross at Stadium Insider has the story, which centers on the former season ticket holder’s letter announcing his intent to cancel. You can read the entire letter there. I will warn you, though, that much head shaking will occur. I’ll just pick out some highlights.
The list of transgressions includes bringing in players who have already proven they are capable of succeeding in ny ( nick Johnson and Javier vasquez), destroying the farm system that was finally being built back up to aquire older players who have had mediocre careers (granderson)…
After the … comes a bit about signing Winn and not Damon, which I won’t even touch. As to the other parts, well, I think this fan has a misunderstanding of certain players’ values. That isn’t even to mention his poorly worded opening sentence — why would you cancel your ticket plan over players who have proven they can succeed in New York? But, since he clearly meant cannot, I think he needs a reality check of sorts.
Nick Johnson played parts of three seasons in New York and hit .256/.376/.424, good for an OPS+ of 113. As we learned when discussing wOBA, OPS+ undervalues OBP a bit, so Johnson actually performed a bit better than his OPS+ mark indicates from 2001 to 2003. Even so, those numbers are solid, and indicate nothing about an inability to play in New York. Javier Vazquez pitched very well in the first half of 2004, but pitched through discomfort in the second half and his numbers suffered. Unsurprisingly, his fastball was about a mile per hour off his normal mark. So no, I don’t think he has shown an inability to pitch in NY, but rather think that physical issues held him back in New York.
Even in 2008, when I knew the team was rebuilding, I bought a plan because I knew they were making a sacrifice to improve their chances the following year.
Rebuilding, maybe, in the sense that they didn’t trade for Johan Santana, but other than that the statement is patently ridiculous. Does a rebuilding team re-sign three of its own free agents, adding $60 million to the payroll during a “rebuilding” year — including two players in their mid- to late-thirties? Does a rebuilding team set an all-time payroll record?
I’ll stop here, because trying to talk sense into someone like this is pointless. Every team has a high percentage of fans like this, who think that their non-expert opinion is all that counts. I just hate getting lumped in with that type.
Via MLBTR, Jon Heyman mentions that the Yankees “were believed willing to go for two years and $16 million” for Johnny Damon, but that was before the postseason. Damon’s recent heroics surely have bumped up his price just a bit. Regardless, two guaranteed years for Damon is nuts because just a week or so ago he looked fried amidst a two-month long slump. The Yanks would be wise to limit their offer to one guaranteed year, with an option, to not only reduce risk but to maintain roster flexibility beyond 2010.
Two years at $8M per for Johnny D? That one doesn’t pass the sniff test.
I don’t know when it became uncouth for a team to throw their starters on short rest in the playoffs, but everyone and their mother feels compelled to write an article about how the Yankees should start Chad Gaudin to make sure CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte can finish the series on regular rest. Nevermind that Gaudin has thrown just 2.1 low leverage inning in the last 33 days, nevermind that lefties hit .296-.408-.415 off him and Philly’s lineup could have as many as six lefties in it, nevermind that for Burnett and Pettitte it would assuredly be their last start for five months, nevermind that it’s a freaking World Series. Save them for a start that might not even be necessary.
Just start CC, AJ, and Andy in Games 4, 5, and 6. One start each on three day’s rest won’t kill them (two for Sabathia if it goes to Game 7), and those guys at even 75% is still better than Gaudin at 100%. Charlie Manuel made the mistake of starting Joe Blanton in Game 4, so don’t repeat. No mercy.
Long-time Yankee Stadium guest and “God Bless America” singer Ronan Tynan will not be a part of the rest of the Yanks’ October run after making anti-Semitic remarks earlier this week. NBC New York broke the story earlier today:
The trouble began on Thursday when the 49-year-old Tynan bumped into a Halstead Property real estate agent showing an apartment on his floor to a potential buyer, a pediatrician from NYU Medical Center. The real estate agent said to the tenor, famous for his association with Yankees, “Don’t worry they are not Red Sox fans,” according to the apartment-hunter, Dr. Gabrielle Gold-von Simson.
To which Tynan replied, “I don’t care about that, as long as they are not Jewish,” Gabrielle Gold-von Simson told NBC New York. “Why is that?” asked a flabbergasted Gold-von Simson of the singer.
And Tynan responded that Jewish ladies had been looking at the apartment before and they were “scary,” according to Gold-von Simson. The singer now claims he was joking, but the good doctor didn’t see it that way. “I didn’t know him at all so how could I take it as a joke,” said Gold-von Simson.
How could anyone really take that as a joke? It’s blatantly anti-Semitic and not funny at all.
Meanwhile, Tynan attempted to apologize today but simply succeeded in putting his foot in his month. He tried to old “some of my best friends are Jewish” line and offered up a mea culpa. “It was stupid of me to be so callous, and I would never want to hurt anybody’s feelings,” Tynan said to NBC today. “It’s something misfortunate. I was too stupid with my mouth.”
The Yankees have unsurprisingly canceled Tynan’s scheduled singing of “God Bless America” tonight. Although Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew can’t imagine a Bronx October without Tynan, I won’t miss him.
As Juan Miranda‘s line drive literally off of Kyle Farnsworth escaped the Royals’ fielders and Eric Hinske scampered to the plate, the Yankees came together last night to celebrate their 15th walk-off win of the season. Juan Miranda became the latest victim of the Walk-Off Pie, and with their 102nd win, the Yanks opened a season-high 10.5-game lead over the Red Sox.
Lost in the feel-good defeat of a much-maligned former Yankee was another solid start by A.J. Burnett. Joe touched upon Burnett’s outing in the recap, but it warrants a closer look. Burnett went 6.1 innings, and he didn’t give up much. The Royals managed to plate two runs — one earned — on three hits and three walks. Burnett struck out eight on the night.
For A.J., last night’s outing was another in a string of good September starts. After a rough five weeks in August and September, Burnett has now surrendered four earned runs over his last 19 innings. He has surrendered 17 hits and just nine walks in that span while striking out 25. In fact, if we look at Burnett’s bad start against the Orioles, we see that, after surrendering a grand slam to Brian Roberts, Burnett was nearly untouchable. That day, he retired 17 of the last 19 batters he faced and threw 5.2 one-hit innings.
If we head back to Sept. 8, we see yet another good A.J. Burnett start. Against Tampa, he threw six innings and allowed one run on four hits and three walks. He also struck out eight that day. So over his last five starts, he has thrown 32 innings with a 2.81 ERA and has given up 28 hits and 14 walks while striking out 37. That’s not too shabby for a second or third starter.
There is, however, a downside to A.J.’s success. As Steve Lombardi concisely puts it in a color-coded post, Burnett’s success has come with Jose Molina behind the plate. Throughout September, Molina has been A.J.’s caddy. In August, during A.J.’s bad starts — an early August debacle against the White Sox and a late August shellacking by the Red Sox — Jorge Posada was catching.
And so we fear what this means. As Joe speculated last week, it appears as though Joe Girardi will pair up A.J. Burnett and Jose Molina during the playoffs. Jorge Posada would ride the bench and be available to come into the game the minute Burnett is removed. The Yanks, however, contend that Posada sat out not due to A.J.’s pitching but because of his sore neck. I report; you decide.
It’s hard to stress how much of an offensive blackhole Molina has been this year. His hit today broke an 0-for-19 streak, and his triple slash line is .215/.295/.262. Jorge, meanwhile, is hitting .290/.369/.534. Molina’s VORP is currently -6.7; Jorge’s is 35.1. Molina has contributed -9.0 runs above (below?) average at the plate while Jorge’s contribution is a positive 19.7. Get the picture?
Joe Girardi can get cute with the lineup if he wants to. It is, after all, his team. If he honestly and truly believes that A.J. Burnett is that much better of a pitcher with Jose Molina behind the plate, then so be it. I remain skeptical and shudder to see the lineup card when Burnett takes the mound next week in Game 2 or 3 of the ALDS.
Surely you caught this latest piece of crap from ESPN’s John Kruk this morning, in which he discusses the weaknesses of each postseason team. Except the Red Sox of course, because they don’t have any. Except their middle relief. Wait, but I thought they didn’t have any? Anyway, I planned on doing a little vintage FJM work on this earlier today, but Brian Burkhart at Bronx Baseball Daily already beat me too it. Make sure you check it out, Kruk deserves it.
You remember Phil Hughes, right? That great young pitcher the Yankees have decided is more valuable out of the bullpen? Well, have you seen him lately? It seems that the team, or at least manager Joe Girardi, has decided that the best way to utilize the kid’s talent is by using him as infrequently as possible. People used to trash Joe Torre for overusing his Circle of Trust™ relievers, but now we have the exact opposite going on; they aren’t being used enough.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that even though he was going to work in relief the rest of the season, Hughes would be generally okay in terms of his innings count, but since that post 22 days ago, Hughes has thrown a grand total of 5.1 innings, or just one every four days or so. Just to put this underuse in even more perspective, let’s bullet point some more stats:
- In the month of August (remember, today’s the 28th), Hughes has thrown exactly 8 IP.
- Here are the American League relievers that have thrown fewer innings than Hughes this month: Randy Choate (LOOGY), Edgar Gonzalez (Oakland’s mop-up guy), Jess Todd (called up a week into August), and Jason Jennings (DFA’d). That’s it. There’s roughly 155 relief pitchers in the American League at any given moment, and just four have been used less this month.
- Over the last 14 days Hughes has made two appearances, throwing 2.1 IP and a grand total of 37 pitches. Two appearances in the last two weeks. That would be fine if he were, you know, a starter.
- Over the last 16 days, he’s thrown 4.2 IP and 81 pitches.
- Every other pitcher on the Yankees staff has thrown more innings this month, including Chad Gaudin, who didn’t join the team until August 9th.
I understand that relief pitchers have become more and more specialized (damn you, Tony LaRussa, damn you to hell) and that the 8th inning has somehow morphed into the most important inning in the history of New York baseball, but this is getting ridiculous. We’ve seen the last two times out that Hughes was battling rust, yet the solution seems to be use him … less.
Please, more Phil Hughes. You’ll be amazed by what you see.