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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Barra: C.C. Sabathia: Just How Big a Problem?

Getting past the vast…some good Ralph Kiner-speak.

Kiner also loves to shoot holes in perceived baseball wisdom. “These stolen base hot shots,” he remarked, referring to the fastest runners on both the Braves and Mets. “If they’re so good at stealing bases, just let them steal. I never figured out why it was considered smart for a batter to swing at a pitch he didn’t like in order to ‘protect’ the runner? If the runner is good enough to steal, why does he have to be ‘protected’? They always talk about how many bases so-and-so steals, but they never tell you how many outs the batters had to sacrifice to help them get those stolen bases.” Point taken.

And here’s another: “One of the worst things they ever did to relief pitching was invent the ‘save’ category. If they hadn’t done that, managers would bring in their best relief pitchers at the point in the game where he could do his team the most good. Casey Stengel used to do that, and so, a lot of times, did Leo Durocher. Now you’re paying the relief aces for saves, and you can only bring them in in save situations where your team is already ahead. They show you how many games a relief pitcher saves, but they never tell you how many games a team loses because a manager didn’t use his best reliever in the toughest situation.”

And so ancient wisdom meets Bill James-type modern analysis. We could use more of that, and frankly, we could use a lot more Ralph Kiner, who’s 88.

Repoz Posted: August 09, 2011 at 01:50 PM | 70 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers, media, mets, sabermetrics, television

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   1. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:13 PM (#3896186)
I was listening to Kiner during the Mets game the other day. It was a nice surprise. I had no idea he ever still did games. That guys is the best announcer I ever listened to on a regular basis. Scully has the chops, but Kiner has the brain.
   2. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#3896190)
BTW, I see David Cone as being the next great baseball announcer. It could happen.
   3. Hack Wilson Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3896198)
Ralph Kiner was playing in the outfield for the Cubs in the first baseball game I remember attending. I actually remember the game for Hank Sauer (that's MVP Hank Sauer) turning around and swearing at some fans.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3896200)
I like him too, but I'm not sure Coney's got the voice for it. He needs to take up a heavy smoking habit posthaste.
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:35 PM (#3896201)
So Sabathia has struggled against the Red Sox this year. Yawn. The more interesting question to me is his opt-out clause, which takes effect after this season.

He signed for 7 years at $161 million, or $23 million per year. The Yankees have already gotten 3 very good years from him, so they've made out well on the deal thus far.

There are 4 years and $92 million left, or $23 million per year. Sabathia will be 31 next year.

He can probably do better than that on the open market; but if you're the Yankees, do you maybe just let him walk? The back end of a contract is always riskier; Sabathia will be in his 30s and still of course is very heavy. I think Sabathia will try to re-negotiate with the Yankees and will ultimately walk if a new deal can't be reached. But not many teams have the luxury, as the Yankees do here, of getting their value on the front end while being able to get out from under the back end. I initially thought I'd re-work his deal if I were the Yankees, but now I think maybe I'd just say thank you for the good years and let him walk.

Thoughts?
   6. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3896204)
Thoughts?

So, who replaces him? A Sabathia-less Yankee rotation is pretty ugly.
   7. tshipman Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3896207)
So, who replaces him? A Sabathia-less Yankee rotation is pretty ugly.


That's the thing, isn't it? I imagine there will be a bunch of stories where Hank claims that the Yankees won't be negotiating with Sabathia if he opts out, and they'll end up signing him to a 6 year, 24mm per year deal because they're incredibly screwed if he leaves.
   8. Greg K Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3896208)
Yeah, they've got excellent results this season, but is Cashman going to want to rely on Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to lead the way the next couple years?

Think of it this way, if the Yankees didn't have Sabathia and he was just coming up for free agency this off-season I think they wouldn't let anyone on the planet outbid them for his services. I'd be absolutely blown away shocked if Sabathia isn't a Yankee in 2012.
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3896210)
I think the most likely outcome is that he opts-out and the Yankees give him a better deal. Sadly, I doubt we'll get any hilarious-in-retrospect comments from the Steinbrenners about how they don't want him if he doesn't appreciate what it means to be a Yankee and opts out. If the Yankees SP depth was more of a strength, I could conceive of them letting him walk, but he kind of has them by the balls. Who are their other options?

I know it's highly unlikely, but I would like to see the Sox trade Beckett away this offseason while his trade value is high but before his alternating-year crappiness of '12, and then steal C.C. away from the Yankees. Yes, I know this is extremely far-fetched.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3896213)
I initially thought I'd re-work his deal if I were the Yankees, but now I think maybe I'd just say thank you for the good years and let him walk.
The question is, what do you spend the money on? The goal for the Yankees isn't to have the highest win/$$ ratio, but to have the highest possible win total given their payroll. If they don't give Sabathia $25M, they need to give that money to someone else, who is likely also to be in the range of 30 years old. The best projected free agents next season are Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Jose Reyes, along with Sabathia.

On the position player side, the Yankees have under contract for 2012 a star 1B, a star 2B, a star 3B, a star CF, a good and cheap LF, an expensive SS, an arb-eligible and capable C (as well as a top prospect at the position), and they have a one-year option on a good RF. The 2012 lineup is just about entirely set, and it's excellent. They could conceivably go after Prince or Pujols and use either the new slugger or Teixeira at DH, but the Yankees are likely to want the DH position open as ARod ages, and that's a hell of a lot of money to pay a DH, over at least 7 years, I'd figure.

That leaves pitching. The Yankees have under contract only one starting pitcher, and he's AJ Burnett. You could add Ivan Nova to that list. Not only is CC a free agent, but so are Colon and Garcia. The Yankees should be spending all of their money on pitching, and I think that getting by far the best free agent starter on the market (next best are CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle) should be their priority.

I think it's basically locked in already that, barring injury, CC Sabathia will re-up with the Yankees for a very large contract. 7/190 would be my guess.
   11. SG Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:53 PM (#3896217)
Think of it this way, if the Yankees didn't have Sabathia and he was just coming up for free agency this off-season I think they wouldn't let anyone on the planet outbid them for his services.


After losing out on Cliff Lee, I get the sense the Yankees overbids on any free agent pitcher they really want are going to make the Matsuzaka overbid seem sane and rational.

I think the most likely outcome is that he opts-out and the Yankees give him a better deal.


I always thought the most likely outcome is an extension on his existing deal prior to him opting out. I don't know that anyone's going to pay him more per year than the Yankees are paying him now.
   12. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3896218)
I'm now kind of rooting for Captain Cheeseburger to be fat and effective for a very long time, because a guy that size at 40 still pitching well would be good for everyone.
   13. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:58 PM (#3896220)
Thoughts?

The back end of a contract is usually more risky because it's 3-4 years after you signed the contract, and the further away you get from signing the more uncertain a player's performance becomes.

This is a different situation, where the Yankees get to re-evaluate Sabathia and decide whether to sign him again based on knowing exactly how he performed in the first three years of the contract. It's just like signing any 31-year-old pitcher and should be thought of that way.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:59 PM (#3896221)
Projecting the Yankees to pick up the options of Cano and Swisher, and work out arb contracts with Gardner, Robertson, Hughes, Logan, and Martin, the Yankees will have about $165M locked in for the 2012 payroll. They'll have a nearly full lineup and bullpen - and a lot of the bench can be built from pre-arb guys like Cervelli and Nunez - and three open slots in the rotation. I figure $27M for Sabathia still leaves room for $25M to be spent on two more starters and a DH. If they don't sign Sabathia, they'll be looking at cutting payroll for 2012.
   15. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3896223)
So, who replaces him? A Sabathia-less Yankee rotation is pretty ugly.

That's the thing, isn't it? I imagine there will be a bunch of stories where Hank claims that the Yankees won't be negotiating with Sabathia if he opts out, and they'll end up signing him to a 6 year, 24mm per year deal because they're incredibly screwed if he leaves.


Yeah, they've got excellent results this season, but is Cashman going to want to rely on Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon to lead the way the next couple years?

Think of it this way, if the Yankees didn't have Sabathia and he was just coming up for free agency this off-season I think they wouldn't let anyone on the planet outbid them for his services. I'd be absolutely blown away shocked if Sabathia isn't a Yankee in 2012.


The question is whether they'd be better off with Sabathia or with $140 million (let's say he re-ups for 6 years, $23 million).

I don't see why Colon and Garcia have to be the only options... actually, they're not options at all, since they're already in the 2011 rotation. Their innings need to be replaced in 2012 as well. (Meanwhile, someone like Hughes _can_ replace innings in 2012.) The options are:

1. Re-negotiate with Sabathia for, let's say, 6 years, $140 million.

2. Make a trade for a frontline starting pitcher. The Yankees have prospects to deal.

3. Find an option in house (e.g., Hughes, Chamberlain, etc.).

4. Sign another free agent pitcher if possible. Though granted there's not much in the way of young aces on the market. The 2012 class:

Mark Buehrle CWS
Chris Carpenter STL *
Bruce Chen KC
Aaron Cook COL *
Kyle Davies KC
Ryan Dempster CHC *
Justin Duchscherer OAK
Zach Duke ARI *
Jeff Francis KC
Freddy Garcia NYY
Jon Garland LAD *
Aaron Harang SD
Rich Harden OAK
Livan Hernandez WAS
Edwin Jackson CWS
Kenshin Kawakami ATL
Scott Kazmir LAA
Hiroki Kuroda LAD
Rodrigo Lopez CHC
Paul Maholm PIT
John Maine COL
Jason Marquis WAS
Kevin Millwood NYY
Scott Olsen PIT *
Roy Oswalt PHI *
Brad Penny DET
Oliver Perez NYM
Joel Pineiro LAA
CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out)
Carlos Silva NYY
Javier Vazquez FLA
Adam Wainwright STL *
Tim Wakefield BOS
Chien-Ming Wang WAS
Brandon Webb ARI
C.J. Wilson TEX
Chris Young NYM
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3896224)
I don't know that anyone's going to pay him more per year than the Yankees are paying him now.


Well, he won't know unless he opts out. And I would guess he can get a better deal than he has now, whether that means more AAV or more years (or more opt-outs).
   17. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3896225)
The problem with Captain Cheeseburger as a nickname is that even though this thread is about the Yankees, and CC in particular, and I still wasn't absolutely sure which pitcher Lassus was referring to.
   18. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3896226)
Ray, the Yankees don't have a choice of 1-4, they need to do three of those things. Again, the only Yankee starting pitchers under team control for 2012 are AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and Phil Hughes. They should be looking at acquiring three new starting pitchers for 2012. I think it would make sense to re-sign Sabathia, trade for a good pitcher, and sign a free agent pitcher.
   19. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:07 PM (#3896227)
It's just like signing any 31-year-old pitcher and should be thought of that way.


But it's not. It's better. Not only has CC achieved the results that we can all see on bb-ref, but he's done it in the AL East, in front of the Yankee defense, and "handled the media" and all of the dumb crap that is important for athletes in big cities to do. Normally, it's prudent to run a potential FA acquisition through park and league adjustments and make a wild guess as to whether his personality would work in the clubhouse. With CC, none of that is necessary; they've had a three-year test drive and know exactly what they're getting.
   20. JJ1986 Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3896229)
For the Yankees, that list boils down to Wilson, Dempster and Jackson. Buehrle wouldn't sign there and I don't see either Cardinal hitting the market. The rest are 4th starters or injury risks.

Edit: Maybe Kuroda.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3896232)
For the Yankees, that list boils down to Wilson, Dempster and Jackson.
Dempster's got a $14M player option and he'll be coming off a 4.50 ERA season (or worse). I'd guess that Dempster re-ups himself in Chicago.
   22. AROM Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3896236)
Think of it this way, if the Yankees didn't have Sabathia and he was just coming up for free agency this off-season I think they wouldn't let anyone on the planet outbid them for his services. I'd be absolutely blown away shocked if Sabathia isn't a Yankee in 2012.


Just wait till C.C. shocks the world and signs with the Phillies. Halladay-Lee-Sabathia-Hamels-Oswalt!
   23. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3896237)
Why wouldn't Buehrle sign in the Bronx?
   24. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3896238)
I seem to remember at the time the contract was signed, some people saying the opt out clause was good for the Yankees. I never saw how that made sense.

Anyway, I'd be shocked if the Yankees don't keep CC.
   25. JJ1986 Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3896241)
Why wouldn't Buehrle sign in the Bronx?


While Buehrle declined to name teams to which he would not accept a deal should the White Sox fall out of contention over the next week – “I know there are at least a couple,” he said – the New York Yankees are believed to be among them. Two years ago, Buehrle told Yahoo! Sports: “What ruined me was that my first time in New York was on 9/11, and every time I go there I’m scared.”
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3896243)
I still don't buy the argument that the Yankees can't address the problem without spending some $140-$190 million. I'd look to trade prospects for a big pitcher.
   27. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3896245)
Kiner's recovery from his stroke has been amazing. Everytime I hear him, he sounds better than the time before. Sure, he has his senior moments, but he's still got it... and follows the Mets very well too. He's pretty clearly a more qualified color man than Tim McCarver at this point.
   28. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3896247)
While Buehrle declined to name teams to which he would not accept a deal should the White Sox fall out of contention over the next week – “I know there are at least a couple,” he said – the New York Yankees are believed to be among them. Two years ago, Buehrle told Yahoo! Sports: “What ruined me was that my first time in New York was on 9/11, and every time I go there I’m scared.”


Given an hour (which I don't have), I could dig you up a list of players who have said "I'll never sign there" and then were shown the long green and changed their minds. Johnny Damon is first one I can think of.
   29. Greg K Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3896253)
I still don't buy the argument that the Yankees can't address the problem without spending some $140-$190 million. I'd look to trade prospects for a big pitcher.

But you're the Yankees. Why not do both?
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:36 PM (#3896257)
Given an hour (which I don't have), I could dig you up a list of players who have said "I'll never sign there" and then were shown the long green and changed their minds. Johnny Damon is first one I can think of.


I'd be willing to bet just about any level of BBRef sponsorship that Mark Buehrle would never sign with the Yankees (or the Mets or Red Sox. Probably wouldn't ink a deal with the Phils either, but I wouldn't put dollar bucks on it).

Yes, guys often say stuff like that. Based on his consistency of message, I'd be stunned if Buehrle wasn't telling the truth.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3896262)
Yes, guys often say stuff like that. Based on his consistency of message, I'd be stunned if Buehrle wasn't telling the truth.


The question is not whether Buehrle is/was lying but whether he would change his mind.

And for an extra few million, it's reasonable to think that he would.

Player comments ahead of time are basically worthless. If someone hasn't figured that out by now they haven't been paying attention.
   32. SG Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3896266)
I still don't buy the argument that the Yankees can't address the problem without spending some $140-$190 million. I'd look to trade prospects for a big pitcher.


The problem with this scenario is that nowadays many trades for a big pitcher end up including/requiring a market value contract extension. You don't want to give up prospects for a rental, but you also don't necessarily want to risk waiting until their free agency to sign them (see Lee, Cliff). The Mets gave up "prospects" for Johan Santana for the right to sign him to a contract he would have gotten in free agency anyway. I see no savings there.

The only scenario I see where CC opts out and the Yankees let him walk is CC pitching against Boston in the ALCS and getting tatooed and being one of the chief reasons the Yankees didn't advance. Whether it's smart or not, for PR purposes letting him walk at that point is probably defensible.
   33. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3896268)
I'd look to trade prospects for a big pitcher.
That's one, then. How would you acquire the other two starting pitchers the Yankees need?

Also, which starter would you trade for? It's always easy to say you'd make a trade - all trades are good in the abstract - but are you suggesting that the Mariners want to trade Felix? I think most likely they don't - who would you go after following that? Most of the world's best pitchers are on good teams already. Lincecum and Cain on the Giants, Weaver and Haren on the Angels, Verlander on the Tigers, everyone on the Phillies. I doubt the Dodgers would ever trade Kershaw. I don't think there are any "big" pitchers at Sabathia's level who are going to be available in trade this offseason.
   34. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#3896271)
Oh, I don't think Buerhle is lying, and I don't think Johnny was dissembling either when he said that. But the reality of free agency changes a lot of minds.
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:47 PM (#3896272)
The question is not whether Buehrle is/was lying but whether he would change his mind.


Fair enough. I'd be stunned if Buehrle changed his mind. The fact many others have turned around and done what they said they wouldn't really has no bearing on whether Mark Buehrle will do likewise. I don't think he would. You're welcome to believe otherwise, and if you're so inclined, to add another wager on top of our JD3K bet (though, admittedly, a Buehrle bet might be tough to manage).
   36. Orangepeel Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3896299)
Part of the question is not really whether Buehrle would or would not sign with the Yankees but rather whether he would sign with any time other than the Cardinals or White Sox over retiring or something.
   37. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:24 PM (#3896308)
Who is actually going to offer CC more than 4/$92M? Given the self-induced financial problems of some of the large-market teams, and the expensive pitching commitments that others have already made, the Yankees may have a stronger hand than some are suggesting.
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3896313)
The Cubs definitely have the money. The Mets should go hard after CC. The Rangers have all that money they planned to give to Lee. The Red Sox have enough money coming off the books that they could make a play. The Tigers have a pile of money coming off the books.

I doubt any of this is really relevant, though. CC will re-sign, and it will be for more money than he signed for three years ago.
   39. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3896319)
The Mets gave up "prospects" for Johan Santana for the right to sign him to a contract he would have gotten in free agency anyway. I see no savings there.

Yes, but the prospects that had to give up were much less than if he had years on his contract.
   40. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:47 PM (#3896320)
Kiner's recovery from his stroke has been amazing. Everytime I hear him, he sounds better than the time before. Sure, he has his senior moments, but he's still got it... and follows the Mets very well too. He's pretty clearly a more qualified color man than Tim McCarver at this point

He really is sharp. I have completely changed my mind about him. His tongue tied nature and malapropisms always made me discount how smart he was.
   41. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3896330)
Who is actually going to offer CC more than 4/$92M? Given the self-induced financial problems of some of the large-market teams, and the expensive pitching commitments that others have already made, the Yankees may have a stronger hand than some are suggesting.


I would have to think someone (more like multiple somones) would offer CC at least that.

What did Texas offer Lee last year? Something like 6 and 120, give or take, right? I'd have to think they would offer CC a similar contract. (I admit I'm not sure if their finances have changed). Could Washington splash some more money after the money they spent on Werth? The guy is one of the 4 or 5 best pitchers in the game, I gotta think teams would make room in the budget for him.

I don't think this would ever happen, but as a Met fan, CC is a better investment over the next 5-7 years than Reyes, in all likelihood. Whatever they offer Reyes is gonna be more than 4/92, they could take that money and offer it to CC. (Like I said, not gonna happen).

Man, CC hasn't thrown fewer than 230 IP since 2006. What a horse.
   42. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3896332)
The Cubs definitely have the money. The Mets should go hard after CC. The Rangers have all that money they planned to give to Lee. The Red Sox have enough money coming off the books that they could make a play.

The Cubs may have the money but they haven't had much inclination toward CC size expenditures, and I doubt the Mets can take on a CC level contract until the Madoff mess ownership crisis is resolved. Boston has plenty of money and an incentive to weaken the Yankees, but they still have $10-$15M commitments to Lackey, Dice-K, and Beckett for 2012, as well as increasing costs for Lester & Buchholtz. Maybe they get involved, but I suspect driving up the cost for the Yankees might be the real goal. Texas didn't go $23M per year for Cliff Lee, and I doubt they are interested in giving any one player that kind of money - it'd certainly be a departure from their current practice. It only takes one other team to make it interesting, but I have considerable doubt that many team are actually interested in paying CC $23/yr for 5 to 7 years.
   43. Paul D(uda) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:18 PM (#3896334)
Toronto has the money.
   44. Nasty Nate Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3896341)
but I have considerable doubt that many teams are actually interested in paying CC $23/yr for 5 to 7 years.


it only takes one (or the perception of one) to get more money out of the Yankees.
   45. Ephus Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3896353)
but I have considerable doubt that many teams are actually interested in paying CC $23/yr for 5 to 7 years.


it only takes one (or the perception of one) to get more money out of the Yankees.


A-Rod begs to differ. It does not even take one, so long as you get a Steinbrenner to bite.
   46. Srul Itza Posted: August 09, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3896364)
Sure, he has his senior moments


Kiner had those before his stroke.

He had those before he was a senior

Examples:

"All of his saves have come in relief appearances"

"All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium."

"Darryl Strawberry has been voted to the Hall of Fame five years in a row."

"Hello, everybody. Welcome to Kiner's Corner. This is....uh. I'm...uh"

"Kevin McReynolds stops at third and he scores."

"Now up to bat for the Mets is Gary Cooper."

"On Fathers Day, we again wish you all happy birthday."
   47. Justin T., Director of Somethin Posted: August 09, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3896381)
And, of course, LINE DRIVE BASE HIT! CAUGHT OUT THERE!
   48. bunyon Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#3896391)
To me, an announcer should be saying stuff like that. It's the monotone deliveries that never contain an ounce of deviation that are both (relatively) free of error...and free of content.
   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#3896392)
"This year the Mets haven't lost a single game that they were leading after 9 innings."
   50. Swedish Chef Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:04 PM (#3896393)
My wild speculation is that CC will be a well-paid Yankee next year.
   51. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#3896395)
I agree the Yankees will re-sign him, but the way. I was just talking about whether they should.
   52. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3896403)
Texas didn't go $23M per year for Cliff Lee, and I doubt they are interested in giving any one player that kind of money - it'd certainly be a departure from their current practice. It only takes one other team to make it interesting, but I have considerable doubt that many team are actually interested in paying CC $23/yr for 5 to 7 years.


Do they necessarily have to go 23 million per year for 5-7 years?
What was the Rangers final offer? I thought it wasclose to 23 million a year, though I definitely don't remember for sure. Obviously I have no idea if that is right. But what about 6 or 7 years at $21 million per? Maybe CC takes a couple of extra years in exchange for less annual salary.

The Mets are going to offer Jose Reyes a pretty big contract. They could just as easily offer that to CC instead. (They won't, but the point is they could).

And if CC opts out, the Yankees would offer him more than 4/92 anyway. And it only takes one.
   53. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3896428)
The thing is that Sabathia has never really been an elite pitcher. Yes, he provides a ton of innings, but his quality is "only" very good, not top drawer. He's a 5 WAR pitcher, not a 6 or 7 WAR one. I don't claim it's easy to replace him, but I think you need to be careful not to overrate him either.

His peripherals look a little better this year, but it's not like he's reached a new ability level or anything.

He's an ace, but he's not Halladay or Maddux or Johnson or Clemens. His good years aren't Kevin Brown.
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: August 09, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3896453)
He's a 5 WAR pitcher, not a 6 or 7 WAR one.


That seems to be underselling him a bit. Assuming he keeps building on his work this year, he'll be over 6 in three of the last five seasons, one of them over 7*. I don't know that 5 WAR pitcher is a terribly accurate description of him.

* Unless you fail to combine the Cleveland and Milwaukee portions of his 2008 season, in which case he does look much worse.
   55. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 09, 2011 at 08:34 PM (#3896463)
I'm using Fangraphs WAR here because Fangraphs has a "multiple seasons" tab enabling ease of use. There are problems with Fangraphs WAR because of its being based on defense-independent stats, but CC has a perfectly normal ERA/FIP ratio over his career and during his peak, so this shouldn't be an issue.

CC Sabathia rank in WAR:

2011: 2nd
2010-2011: 5th
2009-2011: 4th
2008-2011: 3rd
2007-2011: 2nd

The only pitcher consistently ahead of CC is Halladay. Halladay is the best of this era, but CC is right at his heels, and no one other than Halladay is clearly better than him.
   56. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 08:48 PM (#3896474)
CC may not always rank at the top, but he's always one of the best. Over the same 2007-11 period, he's throw more IP than anyone. And if you throw 2006 into the equation, CC is still second.

If I had to sign any pitcher to a 5 year contract, I think CC would be in my top 3 of guys I'd want. (Maybe with Halladay and Felix?)

Edit: I definitely don't think it's accurate to call him a 5 WAR pitcher. He's been over 5 WAR every year since 2006, though last year was 5.1, so barely over. But he's on pace for over 7 this year, he was worth over 7 in both 07 and 08, he was over 6 in 09, he seems to be at least a 6 WAR pitcher.

Keep forgetting Baseball reference and fangraphs have different WAR numbers. How annoying.
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#3896477)
I was using bb-ref WAR, just FYI. I do think it's fine to use fangraph's WAR -- I just happen to go to bb-ref's WAR for most things.

Anyway, I won't fight too hard about Sabathia not being "elite." He's an excellent pitcher, and if he's not a class 1 then he's class 1A.
   58. The Nightman Cometh Posted: August 09, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#3896486)
I seem to remember at the time the contract was signed, some people saying the opt out clause was good for the Yankees. I never saw how that made sense.

IIRC, the thinking was that CC was a mortal lock to leave for the West Coast after three years, essentially making it a 3-year deal for the prime years of the best pitcher on the market. It kinda makes sense if you squint hard enough, but there are a boat load of implicit assumptions.
   59. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: August 09, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3896500)
If I had to sign any pitcher to a 5 year contract, I think CC would be in my top 3 of guys I'd want. (Maybe with Halladay and Felix?)

I'd take Lincecum definately. And possibly some other young guys like Price and Lester as well. If you push it to the 7 years he's likely to get, I think he drops out of the top 10 easily.

This isn't an indictment of Sabathia, merely an acknoledgement that his age does carry more risk compared to younger guys. I'm not sure there are many 31 year olds I'd feel differently about.
   60. Srul Itza Posted: August 09, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3896501)
I was using bb-ref WAR, just FYI. I do think it's fine to use fangraph's WAR -- I just happen to go to bb-ref's WAR for most things.


When you did that, did you remember to add the two halves of 2008 together?
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: August 09, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#3896511)
Two best Kiner name malaprops back in the day were the aforementioned "Gary Cooper" for Gary Carter, also he'd constantly call Craig Swan "Roger Craig," the name of the nominal ace of the 1962 expansion Mets.

amazing that this is the Mets' 50th year and you still get to hear him.
guys like Scully have been around longer, but the Dodgers also were around a long time before Scully ever got there. Kiner was there when the Mets started. Even with just the guest appearance here and there now, it's still cool.
   62. ecwcat Posted: August 09, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3896521)
Ray...have you followed CC's career or follow the Yankees?

Money is not an issue for the Yanks to give him an "extension".

CC can get the same money on the open market because teams view him as elite ace (which he IS, Ray).

More importantly, the Yanks might as well give up in 2012 without CC in the rotation.
   63. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 10:50 PM (#3896536)
I'd take Lincecum definately. And possibly some other young guys like Price and Lester as well. If you push it to the 7 years he's likely to get, I think he drops out of the top 10 easily.

This isn't an indictment of Sabathia, merely an acknoledgement that his age does carry more risk compared to younger guys. I'm not sure there are many 31 year olds I'd feel differently about.


is it as much for pitchers though? I'm a lot less concerned about age on a pitcher than I am for a hitter. Certainly, a 31 year old hitter the caliber of Sabathia is a much worse bet for a 5-7 year deal than a 25 year old hitter the caliber of David Price. Pitchers don't seem to hold as much to conventional aging patterns, though maybe I'm wrong about that.

Even with Price, though you were probably just picking a guy who is a lot younger, he's had ERA+ of 98 and 93 sandwiched around the 144 in 2010. I'd take the next 5 years of CC over Price.

Maybe I overrated CC a tad, but I'm a sucker for durability. Take Lester, from 2008-2010 he made 33, 32, and 32 starts. In this day and age, that is basically not missing a start. In the same years, CC made 35, 34, and 34. And over those 3 years, CC threw 100 more innings than Lester. (He also added another 55 innings in the playoffs; that's not for comparison sake, but more to show that he actually carried even more of a load, and is no the worse for it).
   64. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 09, 2011 at 10:59 PM (#3896539)
is it as much for pitchers though? I'm a lot less concerned about age on a pitcher than I am for a hitter. Certainly, a 31 year old hitter the caliber of Sabathia is a much worse bet for a 5-7 year deal than a 25 year old hitter the caliber of David Price. Pitchers don't seem to hold as much to conventional aging patterns, though maybe I'm wrong about that.


If I had to pick one pitcher who I'd want most want to have 7 years down the road, I'd take my chances with CC. He's a proven horse and a good athlete. And after seeing Wells last into his 40s, the weight really doesn't scare me.
   65. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 10, 2011 at 12:01 AM (#3896582)
I thought somebody posted the numbers here a while ago and it was clear that pitchers who had made it past 30 without health issues were a much better bet over the next five years than 25 year old pitchers with a clean bill of health.
   66. Something Other Posted: August 10, 2011 at 01:12 AM (#3896669)
Anyway, I won't fight too hard about Sabathia not being "elite." He's an excellent pitcher, and if he's not a class 1 then he's class 1A.
Good, 'cause as Matt noted, only Halladay has been noticeably better. If you want to be persuasive, put up some numbers. Not being snarky, but this is something likely proved or disproved through the judicious application of stats.

I seem to remember at the time the contract was signed, some people saying the opt out clause was good for the Yankees. I never saw how that made sense.
Yeah, it seemed nutty to me. It's one thing if you're certain he'll be heading out, but even so, if after three years his arm is shot, if he left he'd be one of the very few to leave around 100m on the table. If we figure he's likely to get 6/150, it's clear the option was very valuable to Sabathia. It means, in effect, that the MFYs inked him to a 9/208 deal. If we had seen those numbers in the 2008-2009 season, whoa. It was predictable enough, too, in the sense that there was perhaps (complete guess) a 25% shot CC would put up the three years he's put up, and would be in the catbird's seat. 6/150 isn't impossible to imagine for a tremendous pitcher for his age 31-36 seasons. I don't quite get why the Yankees felt they needed to give the option in order to sign Sabathia.


IIRC, the thinking was that CC was a mortal lock to leave for the West Coast after three years, essentially making it a 3-year deal for the prime years of the best pitcher on the market. It kinda makes sense if you squint hard enough, but there are a boat load of implicit assumptions.
Yup. This suggests the Yanks should have gone for one of those nearly useless mutual options, which basically makes the last four years of this deal window dressing. I'm sure they didn't want to give him the opt-out, but I'm still puzzled as to why, the same way I'm still puzzled as to why, since they were offering him 23m more than any other team, the Mets had to shoot themselves by agreeing not to offer Beltran arb at the end of that deal.

He's a proven horse and a good athlete. And after seeing Wells last into his 40s, the weight really doesn't scare me.
Agreed. The weight may even be a positive for him, letting him use it to put the oomph in his fastball. With his motion it does seem to add mph. It's not like he's taking the field every day, either, so, yeah, I wouldn't be concerned unless he puts on another 30 lbs.

HALL OF FAME THOUGHTS. With his 125 ERA+ in 2300 innings, and the likeihood that he'll reach 2350 by the end of the 2011 season, another 800 innings gets him nicely into HOF territory. If he slows a little and puts up four more 200 inning seasons with a more modest ERA+ than he's had lately, say in the 120-130 range and, assuming he stays with the Spanks and gets up to 240 wins with an excellent winning percentage, I have to think he'll get in by the fifth ballot.

He also strikes me as the kind of guy who can hang around until he's 40 if he wants. He can give away a lot and still be valuable.
   67. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2011 at 01:14 AM (#3896675)
Who's going to beat 4/$92? Lots of teams would do so. 6/$120 beats 4/$92 even if it's a lower AAV (OK, some of that would depend on how backloaded the contract is) and, as noted, the Rangers were reportedly offering that to Lee. The Red Sox gave Beckett and Lackey $17 a year and Crawford more than $20.

As to the Cubs ... they are more fond of overpriced extensions than overpriced FAs but Soriano at 8/$136 in 2007 and Zambrano at 5/$92 in 2008 and 5/$75 for Ramirez in 2007 are clear indications that they were willing to go plenty high. Ricketts is unknown on this one but there's virtually no chance the Cubs don't make major plays for some FAs this year (Pujols or Fielder, but CC goes on the list if he's available ... their fallback would probably be trying to grab Buehrle). The fans are restless and there's not enough talent in the pipeline. They've got to buy respectability and they will try ... and, being the Cubs, likely fail and end up taking Ramirez's option, sign Pena for 3/$40 and think that paying (oh) CJ Wilson $18 M a year makes him an ace.

At a minimum, CC extends with the Yanks for 6/$138. The Yanks would be dumb to let him hit the market if they could keep him off at a marginal cost of 2/$46. The question is whether CC thinks he has a legit shot at driving up that price -- i.e. there's at least one team willing to go 6/$140. And even if there is, he'd be kinda dumb to risk 6/$138 in hopes of 6/$144-150 but ending up at 6/$120. OK, I should stick to my own point -- probably it's more whether he thinks he can get an extra year out of another team.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2011 at 01:19 AM (#3896679)
Two best Kiner name malaprops back in the day were the aforementioned "Gary Cooper" for Gary Carter

Oh c'mon now. Harry Caray once called Dodger SS Bill Russell Jane Russell.

And Santo must have had at least 3 malaprops per game that were on par with Gary Cooper for Gary Carter.
   69. ptodd Posted: August 10, 2011 at 05:09 AM (#3896905)
Yankees should tell CC up front if he opts out then good luck wherever he signs. CC can not beat the good hitting teams anymore and his weight means he will decline faster than guys like Cliff Lee and Halladay.

They will lose Posadas contract and should not pick up Swishers option since he can not produce in big games. Thats will free up money to sign Papi or Pujols (if the latter Teixeira moves to DH and is back up 1Bman).

2012 should be a bridge year, where they have to hope the farm produces some SP'ers for them, even if they struggle a bit in their first year. Can't always have a pitcher come up All Star ready.
   70. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: August 10, 2011 at 06:33 AM (#3896919)
I don't know that anyone's going to pay him more per year than the Yankees are paying him now.


Where have people been? Since when are expensive baseball contracts only given out by the Yankees and Red Sox?

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