Category Archives: Random Yankees

Random posts regarding the Yankees.

Another position change

On the heels of Pete Abe announcing he will be leaving The Journal News, I have an announcement of my own: I am going to start writing for Bronx Baseball Daily.  (Link here: http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com/ )

I enjoy keeping up this site, but at the end of the day, being able to join up with other writers makes a lot of sense for someone like me who has a limited amount of time to devote to Yankee-writing.

I don’t know what that ultimately means for this site – that I have to figure out – but for the time being I will be posting content over at BBD.

So update your bookmarks and RSS readers.

Pete Abe leaving The Journal News

As you may have heard, Pete Abraham will be leaving The Journal News to cover the Red Sox (gasp) at The Boston Globe.

I would just like to say that Pete will be sorely missed in Yankee-land.  His blog is my one must read site.  Pete was also nice enough to let me write a guest spot for him back in January of ’08 and he really supports the Yankee online community.  He understands that bloggers and newspaper people are not, by nature, opposed to each other; in fact, the passion of the fans help make his job easier.  It’s no accident that, in a time when newspapers are suffering, Pete and his ability to harness the passion of the fans and balance both internet and newspaper mediums, receives a promotion.

Pete tends to be one of the few sane voices when discussing the Yankees and he’ll need that calm and reasoning now that he’ll be dealing with all those hooligans in Boston.  Was the opportunity to boo A-Rod from Red Sox Nation the final factor in Pete’s departure?  Well, that we may never know.

Seriously though, I may now have to add a Boston blog onto my google reader as I’m not sure I can imagine NOT having Pete’s blog to read.

Thanks Pete, and good luck.

Give Pettitte credit for taking time

Word is Pettitte has a bit of a cranky shoulder and will take a few extra days off before his next start.

Earlier in the year it seemed that Pettitte’s back was bothering him and I speculated that he refused to sit because he had a contract that rewarded him based on starts (and I don’t think that is his fault – it’s the fault of that type of contract).  Give him credit here for taking the time he needs to get ready for the playoffs.  Obviously he is still on track to hit a majority of his incentive clauses, but still.

Damon’s return would make sense

It’s early to be speculating about the offseason, but the Yankees have been cruising along pretty well and we still have awhile before the playoffs start, so why not.

Coming into the season, I, like most people, assumed this would be Johnny Damon’s last in pinstripes.  However, Damon is having a great season and the Yankees will need to sign at least one outfielder.

But is it really worth it for the Yankees to sign an aging outfielder to a big money deal?  Probably, if it’s only a 1-2 year commitment.  Since Scott Boras is Damon’s agent, we know he’ll follow the money, but if Boras is smart, he’ll do everything possible to keep Damon a Yankee.

Damon has significantly better numbers at home; the New Yankee Stadium is perfect for him.  The Yankees won’t let themselves get into a bidding war over Damon, but they will certainly give him a respectable amount of money.  Most importantly, playing another year or two in New York will be the best way for Damon to post great and get exposure and continue being able to get big money deals.

So yeah, the Yankees could use Johnny Damon, but Damon also would benefit by staying with the Yankees.

Buster Olney suggested the Yankees should offer Damon and Matsui the same contract and sign whoever takes it first; with Matsui unable to play in the OF, such an offer doesn’t really make sense – the two players occupy different roles.  Damon is more versatile and therefore signing him should be a higher priority.

A good situation

So, last night couldn’t have worked out too much better for the Yankees.  Sure, Pettitte had a bad night and Bruney was really frustrating, but the bottom line is the Yanks got the win they needed and didn’t have to use any of their premium relievers.

Now the Red Sox need to beat the Yankees top two starters with a well rested Hughes and Rivera ready to go.  The Yankees have a real chance to put the Red Sox away.  With Joba being limited, no set 5th starter, and A-Rod in need of consistent rest, the Yankees could really use a not-so-stressful September and these two games could help them get it.

How important is this weekend?

Yankees-Red Sox is always overhyped and no matter what happens this weekend, the Yankees will have at least a 3.5 game lead.  Really though, the Yankees only need to win 1 game this weekend to still be in control of the division.  They have their pitching lined up perfectly.  There is no excuse for them not to win a game or two.

I have to say, as much as I disliked much of what Joe Torre used to do as a manager, he understood these kind of series very well.  I still remember in 2004 the Yankees went to Fenway in much the same situation – they just needed to win one game to keep control.  Torre, in the very first game, went to Tom Gordon early on, asking both him and Mo to pitch more than an inning.  Sure, Torre kills his relievers, but this is one case where I think it’s acceptable.

Looking at tonight’s game, if I’m Joe Girardi, I don’t play around.  If Pettitte can hold a lead into the 6th inning, I don’t bring in anyone but Hughes or Rivera.  Both are well rested.  As a matter of fact, Hughes needs innings at this point.  He’s good for 2.  Mo is good for 1 and change.  Does that mean you need to be careful with both guys the rest of the series?  Of course.  But the Yankees have AJ and CC going the next 2 games and, as I said, they only need to win 1 game to keep the division in check.  If you get that one game tonight, you put all the pressure on the Red Sox, because they pretty much have to win the next 2 and have to beat 2 top notch pitchers to do it.

So while this weekend is not nearly as important as I’m sure it will be made out to be, I still think Girardi needs to lock down a win as soon as there’s a chance, which means no Aceves pitching in the 7th or 8th inning tonight in a close ballgame.

Fixing the draft

Jayson Stark has an article up on ESPN.com that discusses ways to fix the “broken” MLB draft system.

Exactly how broken is the current system though?  The number one argument is that it’s not fair, and, on the team level at least, that is somewhat true.  Teams with more money can offer players they draft in the lower rounds a bunch of money to sign.  However, consider this: the Yankees, clearly the biggest spending franchise in baseball, have maxed out at about $7 million per draft.  So for $5.5 – 6 million a year, any team can sign a good number of players.  And it’s not like they have to worry about a bidding war; once a team drafts a player, only that team can sign him.  Wouldn’t it make more sense, if you’re a small or mid-market team, to spend a few million less on payroll and instead compete heavily in the draft?  After all, young players are the cheapest players.

In terms of the players actually being drafted, the current system isn’t really fair, but in the opposite way.  By being drafted, players lose most of their leverage because they can only sign with that team.  It’s not a free market system.  Sure, these kids still sign big deals, but many don’t and for large percentage of them, this is the only big deal they’ll ever get.  Baseball requires an absurd 6 years of major league service time to become a free agent.  A $500k bonus may seem like a lot, but in all probability, that player won’t get another significant contract in quite a few years, if ever.

Stark makes the following argument regarding making changes to the draft:

They have to happen — because any system that’s paying an 18-year-old amateur more than a five-time Cy Young winner needs more repairs than a 1962 Volkswagen.

This is a very naive way of looking at things.  One thing teams are beginning to realize is that young talent is of paramount importance, as is paying players for what they WILL do – not for what they’ve already done.

If right now the Yankees put every player on waivers, who would be the most desirable?  Almost certainly Joba Chamberlain.  Is it because he’s the best player?  No, he’s the best contract – still cost controlled, with budding potential.  He’ll only get better.  Derek Jeter?  Undeniably a more valuable player than Joba in terms of winning games this season, but he makes $20 million a year and is in his mid 30s.  So the more valuable player to the franchise is Joba.

So to get back to Stark’s article – a system that pays the young player more than an aging veteran is actually a much more accurate one, in terms of rewarding the player who is in the most demand.  Isn’t that how it should be?  Should a player make more money just because he’s done more in the past, even though his value to a team, RIGHT NOW, is less?  To be clear, I don’t mean value in terms of wins and losses but value to the franchise, in terms of contract and potential.

Is the MLB draft perfect?  Certainly not.  But in order to truly “fix it,” it is important to identify what the real problems with the system are.  Stark fails to do that.