Archive for Horrendously Stupid
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.
What does it mean to you to be a fan? The specific response will vary from person to person, but I think we can all agree on one aspect: we root for the laundry. There are some bandwagon fans, sure, but I’d think the heavy majority of people reading this will be with the Yanks through thick and thin — through the dark days of the late 80s and early 90s before the championship run of the late 90s. We might not like certain players as much as others, but we’ll always cheer them when they come through in big spots.
In other words, how can anyone with a human head actually attend, say, a Yankees-Royals or Yankees-Orioles or Yankees-Rays or Yankees-A’s or Yankees-Mariners or Yankees-Rangers or Yankees-Twins or Yankees-Anybody Except The Red Sox or Mets game and truly, strongly, lovingly, audibly root for the Yankees to win?
Look, I’m a fan of the game. I buy MLB.tv every year, hooking up a second monitor to my laptop so I can work while having a game on. I have an extensive RSS reader with general baseball blogs which talk about all 30 teams with relative parity. But when it comes to what really gets me riled up, it’s the Yankees. They’re my team. They’re your team. We live and die by them, and that’s what makes baseball all the more interesting. Not only is there an enormous set of data for us to pore over, analyze, and evaluate, but there’s the emotional level of rooting for your team. It’s always been part of the game.
Apparently, Jeff Pearlman can’t understand this aspect of the game and instead wonders how I am a human being. He then goes on to describe baseball in terms of movies, which I don’t think works. Movies are scripted. They’re supposed to make you like a certain character. No one rooted for the Empire? No shit, Jeff. That’s the way the movie was written.
Baseball is not scripted. It’s not an isolated experience, like a movie. It spans days, weeks, months, seasons, generations. The Star Wars story ended. Baseball does not. It makes for allegiances, and as men of integrity we don’t just run out on our team. And we most certainly do not find them “boring” when they’re the best team in baseball. In fact, that’s quite exciting.
Of course, we can expect this kind of talk from Pearlman at this point. After all, we need only throw his own words back at him: “Oddly, I like their moves more than the Yankees. Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.” Yes, that’s verbatim from his website. Let’s see that again:
“Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.”
Brad Penny and John Smoltz? Win as many games as CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett? This one deserves another appearance.
“Penny and Smoltz could easily win more games than Sabathia and Burnett.”
Of course, the Yankees have had recent field days with both of those pitchers. A few weeks ago the Yanks smoked Smoltz, and the Sox DFA’d him the next day. Last night they laid into Penny. Two guys who Pearlman thought could work out as well for the Red Sox as Burnett and Sabathia did for the Yankees.
(For more afternoon amusement, check out the rest of Pearlman’s predictions.)
So, what did we learn with this? That Jeff Pearlman questions the humanity of anyone who doesn’t enjoy the game like he does. Which is like a movie. Also, he’s terrible at predicting things. Embarrassingly bad. There’s no shame in rooting for the Yankees, even though it makes for some embittered narrative.
Let’s look at some numbers, shall we?
- Cody Ransom vs RHP: .200-.289-.415
- Cody Ransom vs LHP: .176-.243-.265
- Cody Ransom vs all kinds of pitchers: .200-.268-.347
- Cody Ransom in day games: .182-.250-.341
- Cody Ransom in night games: .294-.294-.355
- Cody Ransom with the bases empty: .121-.237-.242
- Cody Ransom with RISP: .217-.280-.348
- Cody Ransom leading off an inning: .000-.000-.000 (11 plate appearances!)
- Cody Ransom when he sees a pitcher for the first time in a game: .000-.136-.000
- Cody Ransom when he sees a pitcher for the second time in a game: .286-.286-.429
- Cody Ransom when he sees a pitcher for the third time in a game: .143-.250-.286
- Cody Ransom as a 3B: -32.9 UZR/150
- Cody Ransom as a SS: -6.3 UZR/150
- Cody Ransom as a 2B: +1.2 UZR/150 (woohoo, barely above average!)
- Cody Ransom as a 1B: -28.6 UZR/150
- There are 399 Major League players who have gotten at least 80 plate appearances this year, and just 27 of them have been worth less to their team than Cody Ransom in terms in wins over replacement, or WAR.
There is no reason for this man to occupy a spot on any team’s 25-man active roster. The fact that he is employed by the Yankees and is on their $201,449,189 payroll is an insult to my very existence. Roster spots are precious because they are limited, like outs in a game, yet the Yankees continue to waste one on this sorry excuse for a ballplayer and expect to survive in a division where efficiency and maximizing resources reigns supreme.
Get Cody Ransom of this team and away from a Major League ballclub.
Remember the other day when Rays’ starter Matt Garza admitted to intentionally hitting Mark Teixeira as retaliation for Joba Chamberlain throwing over Evan Longoria’s head? Well, he’s been fined by the league, but not suspended. Garza’s next scheduled start is against the Red Sox on Tuesday, and if he shuts them down, I’ll call it even. I guess.
It all started yesterday afternoon. AOL FanHouse’s Jeff Fletcher noted that the Reds were “close to doing something,” meaning the completion of a trade. The likely candidates were Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, and Francisco Cordero. Each makes quite a large sum for the rest of this year and next, and with the Reds out of contention it would make sense for them to get out from under at least one of those contracts. Any time we hear that something is close, ears perk up. It didn’t take long for Fletcher to find out which deal the Reds were “close” to.
About two hours after his original report, Fletcher wrote the the Reds and Yankees were working on a deal for Bronson Arroyo. This sent a tremor through the Yankees fanbase. Why in the hell would they want Bronson Arroyo? He’s pitched progressively worse every year since the Red Sox traded him to the Reds, and he’s owed a ridiculous amount of money for the remainder of this year and next. Considering the monetary and potential player costs of acquiring Arroyo, an easy case could be made that the Yankees would be better off standing pat.
A 1995 third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arroyo struggled in his first few seasons, allowing way too many hits while walking too many batters for his strikeout rate. In February of 2003, after stints over the previous three seasons, the Pirates placed Arroyo on waivers. The Red Sox picked him up. He wouldn’t join the big league club full-time until 2004, but when he arrived he did not disappoint, posting a 3:1 K/BB ratio over 178.2 innings.
The next year wasn’t so kind to Arroyo. He pitched 205.1 innings for the Sox, but his strikeout rate plummeted from 7.2 per nine in 2004 to 4.4 per nine in 2005. This helped cause a half-run increase in his ERA. Still, the Sox apparently thought he was still worth holding onto, signing him to a three year, $11.25 million contract in January 2006. Little did Arroyo know that the contract would be his ticket out the door.
In March 2006, the Sox swapped Arroyo and $1.5 million for Wily Mo Pena. In essence, Arroyo had agreed to a team-friendly deal, only to have it used as trade bait. Whether it was the effect of pitching in the NL, the desire to prove the Red Sox wrong, or just sheer luck, Arroyo pitched insanely well in 2006, posting a 3.29 ERA over 240.2 innings, bumping his strikeout rate back up to around seven per nine, and improving his K/BB ratio to 2.88:1, up from 1.85:1 in 2005. The Reds thought they had found a gem, while Wily Mo languished with the Sox, and would eventually be traded in August 2007.
Apparently not content to ride out the remainder of Arroyo’s team-friendly deal, the Reds signed him to a two-year, $25 million extension in February of 2007. The move was perplexing at the time. Why would the Reds, with Arroyo under contract for two more seasons at an eminently reasonable rate, sign him for two additional seasons, plus an expensive club option, with a relatively expensive buyout, for 2011? His 2007 performance would add to those questions.
In his second year in Cincinnati, Arroyo made one fewer start than in his first, but pitched 30 fewer innings. His WHIP rose from 1.19 to 1.40. One reason for his decline is the rise in his number of hits per nine innings — almost 10 in 2007, compared to 8.3 in 2006. His ERA rose yet again in 2008, to 4.77, below league average. Again he made 34 starts, but pitched 10 fewer innings than in 2007. His WHIP took another jump to 1.435. All this before the contract extension kicked in.
This is the first year of the extension, and Arroyo has not earned his $9.5 million to this point. His ERA sits at 5.21, the worst it’s been since 2001, and which also places him as the league leader in earned runs allowed. His WHIP has climbed again to 1.472. Worst of all, his walk rate is near 3.5 per nine, and his strikeout rate is just 5.3 per nine, down from 7.3 per nine last season. He’s essentially gotten worse with each passing year on the Reds.
Arroyo has posted a few gems this year, including a July 10 complete game shutout of the Mets. He followed that up with seven innings of shutout ball against the Brewers. However, in his last start against the Dodgers he posted another clunker, five runs over 5.1 innings, including four walks. It’s just another start in Bronson Arroyo’s horribly inconsistent 2009 season.
With all this in mind, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to understand why the Yankees would want to acquire Arroyo. He’s pitched well in the past, but he’s certainly not the pitcher he claimed to be in 2006. His contract is among the worst in the game, and he’s still owed $13 million next season, considering his buyout. Bad pitcher + bad contract = bad acquisition. It’s as simple as that. So why are the Yankees connected with this guy?
Apparently, the rumor was just that. As PeteAbe noted, the Yanks shot it down. Jon Heyman got a quote saying that a trade is “not realistic at this point.” Even Fletcher, whose source said that the deal “will get done,” subsequently removed the line from his post. All seems to be right again for the Yankees.
There are still three more days until the 4 p.m. trade deadline on Friday, and the Yanks could certainly make a move for a pitcher before then. As we noted yesterday, the Yanks might not be able to acquire a significant target after the deadline, because the Sox are in second place and could block a potential move. Both teams would benefit with an upgrade at the backs of their rotations. Despite his overtures, expect Cashman to treat this deadline with a sense of urgency. If there is a deal to be made, expect him to pursue it. We just hope it’s not for Bronson Arroyo.