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Friday, October 19, 2012

Keri: What Happened to the Yankees?

The Jack Mann Act: Scene II

If Rodriguez were the only under-contract player with performance issues this would be easy, even with $114 million left to be paid. He isn’t. Mark Teixeira just set career lows in games played and slugging average and just missed career lows in multiple other categories; he turns 334 in April and will make $23 million-plus a year for the next four years. Granderson set a career high for strikeouts in a full season with career lows for batting average and on-base percentage, and hit so poorly this postseason that Girardi benched him for Gardner, who had played about four seconds all season. Advanced metrics also point to career-worst defensive results, and Granderson turns 32 in March. Derek Jeter hiked his batting average and home runs to their highest point since his huge 2009 season, but he turns 39 in June, and the latest reports have him missing four to five months after ankle surgery, which could make him a question mark next spring.

Those concerns, combined with pending free agency for Swisher, Ichiro, Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and only-hitter-Joe Girardi-seemed-to-trust Raul Ibanez,5 leave the Yankees with a long shopping list this offseason.6 The problem, once again, will be the Yankees’ budget.

Wait, what?

...Therein lies the rub. The Yankees have a roster full of famous baseball players. They have a lot more money than any other team, which could allow them to make a bunch of upgrades. And ALCS horrors aside, they’re still the defending division champs. But they also have few sure things going for them. The risk built into so many Yankee players, combined with a lack of young upside on the roster and the usual array of able AL East rivals, could make for an uncertain, even dicey 2013. No matter what becomes of their biggest scapegoat.

Repoz Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:34 AM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. SG Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:48 AM (#4276468)
Teixeira actually played pretty well for someone over 300 years old.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4276471)
4 of their regulars stopped hitting and a fifth broke his ankle. It's hard to win with a third of a lineup.
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4276475)
The transformation of Curtis Granderson into Adam Dunn, at least offensively, is one of the stranger things I've ever seen.

Keri may be down on Tex, but he's clearly forgotting that guys like Methuselah had a great rebound season at 334, so there's still hope.
   4. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4276484)
I would like to see an honest article, with real sources, delving into what happened to Granderson. Look at these splits:

2009
vs RHP .275 / .358 / .539
vs LHP .183 / .245 / .239

2010
vs RHP .253 / .340 / .526
vs LHP .234 / .292 / .354

2011
vs RHP .258 / .372 / .531
vs LHP .272 / .347 / .597

2012
vs RHP .239 / .319 / .492
vs LRP .218 / .304 / .458

Somehow he's gone from having lots of power against righties and being a slap hitter against lefties, to having power against both sides but being unable to get on base. There were all these great stories last year about how KLong helped him figure out lefties, so it would be nice to see an analysis of his new approach, whatever it is, and its pros and cons.
   5. Derb Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4276491)
What happened to the Yankees? They ran into a better baseball team.
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4276496)
2012 = 1964

that's my story and i am sticking to it.

   7. ursus arctos Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4276501)
So, they hire Leyland to manage next year?

Interesting theory.
   8. bunyon Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4276504)
HW, it certainly seems like it could be. I mean, we all say this sort of thing every year and they spend a lot of money and things get better.

But, things certainly seem pretty dismal for them right now. Division championship aside.
   9. AROM Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4276512)
The transformation of Curtis Granderson into Adam Dunn, at least offensively, is one of the stranger things I've ever seen.


Maybe it's the crouch stance, but Granderson looks like a little guy to me. At 6'1, 195, he's 2 inches taller and 25 pounds heavier than Ichiro (to the extend you can use listed weights). But even at that weight he's closer to Ichiro than he is to the typical 40 HR man of today. Comparing to another CF, Curtis is an inch taller but 15 pounds lighter than Denard Span.

I have to agree that a guy who looks like a speedy leadoff hitter having Adam Dunn batting stats is strange.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4276517)
I have to agree that a guy who looks like a speedy leadoff hitter having Adam Dunn batting stats is strange.
Not only that, for many years, he was a speedy leadoff hitter. It's very odd.
   11. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4276518)
bunyon

the 1964 yanks got hot in september to keep their lead. the 2012 yanks leveraged cano going crazy to hold off the orioles

kubek, howard and maris all got old and were gone soon. bouton drove off a cliff. whitey had one more season before packing it in as a productive pitcher. the 1964 team didn't seem old but a lot of those bodies were beat up.
   12. StHendu Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4276520)
What happened to the Yankees? They ran into a better baseball team.


A better prepared team at least. Six runs in 38 innings. Guess they can toss those scouting reports in the trash.
   13. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4276522)

Somehow he's gone from having lots of power against righties and being a slap hitter against lefties, to having power against both sides but being unable to get on base. There were all these great stories last year about how KLong helped him figure out lefties, so it would be nice to see an analysis of his new approach, whatever it is, and its pros and cons.


Looking at those splits it looks like Long told him to just sell out when he swings, somewhat similar to the way Bautista is hitting. It looks like he was probably just trying to hang in against lefties and punch the ball to left and the decision got made at some point to just say \"#### it, if you whiff you whiff, but when you hit it make sure you HIT it." K rate versus LHP (per at bat, not PA because I'm looking at results of swinging) the last four years;

2009 - 23.3%
2010 - 25.9%
2011 - 30.9%
2012 - 36.6%

and versus RHP the trend is the same but not nearly so pronounced. It's possible that sample sizes are the cause here but that's the first thing that jumped at me when you posted the number above;

2009 - 22.0%
2010 - 24.4%
2011 - 28.0%
2012 - 30.5%

It just looks like he's made a decision to completely sell out against lefties.
   14. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4276530)
I still think the Yankees just got tired. They are the oldest team in the league, and were worn down by a September scramble for a playoff spot and a ferocious best-of-five against the Orioles. And, as the 'rainout' proved, a single day's rest wasn't going to be enough, so it wasn't the rush from ALDS to ALCS that did them in.
   15. TomH Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4276537)
amazing, then, how they never got tired in many other series over the years, even thought they have consistently been old.
(not dismissing your hypothesis, which could have merit.. but they did win as recently as 09)
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4276545)
(not dismissing your hypothesis, which could have merit.. but they did win as recently as 09)


That was the one year they entered the playoffs without having done so the year before.

I think to the extent the Yankees had a "problem" it's that it's a lineup prone to slumps. They were streaky all year and while it sucks for them that they got into a slump now this wasn't completely out of character for them. This was a bit extreme but so too was the quality of opposition pitching. They were never given a chance to slap around an Aaron Cook or someone like that these nine games.
   17. Brian C Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4276549)
2012 = 1964

2012 Red Sox = 2013 Yankees

Hey, it could happen. Bobby Valentine is available.
   18. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4276550)
2012 = 1964

that's my story and i am sticking to it.


Hate to say it, but this time you could be right. The trouble with all those TTO hitters is that when pitchers wise up and don't let them work the count, they're mostly shooting blanks.

The only thing on a positive note is that the starting rotation can probably last for another year without dropping off too precipitously, at least if Pineda doesn't just turn into a fat injured toad. But that's about the only straw to cling to that I can see.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4276551)
amazing, then, how they never got tired in many other series over the years, even thought they have consistently been old.
(not dismissing your hypothesis, which could have merit.. but they did win as recently as 09)


And, now all of those guys (well most of them) are three years older. I think it's perfectly logical that the '12 Yankees would tire well before the '09 version would (not saying that's the actual reason for their performance, just that the past performance of younger Yankee squads isn't a strong argument against it).

   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4276554)
andy

pineda could be your mel stottlemyre. mel did everything he could but the team stunk overall
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4276572)
2012 = 1964

that's my story and i am sticking to it.


I think the pitching will be too good for them to stink next year.

I'd amend that prediction to 2012=1963, Harveys.
   22. The Good Face Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:45 AM (#4276577)
2012 = 1964

that's my story and i am sticking to it.

Hate to say it, but this time you could be right. The trouble with all those TTO hitters is that when pitchers wise up and don't let them work the count, they're mostly shooting blanks.


Cano's not a TTO hitter and he was absolutely dreadful. I do think there might be something to the "hitters are worn down" argument. Especially now that we're supposedly in a post-amp playing environment. The Texas hitters looked pretty cooked by the end of the season as well.
   23. fra paolo Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4276581)
amazing, then, how they never got tired in many other series over the years

They never won such a fight in the ALDS before. Usually they got through 3-0 or 3-1, or lost in the first round. You'd have to go to 2004 to find an equivalent ALDS fight, and then they couldn't get past the Red Sox in the ALCS.
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:51 AM (#4276583)
snapper

i am not going to the mattresses on my quick draw assessment but the 1965 yanks had above average pitching with a good top 3 of ford, mel and al downing. but the other starters stunk and the bullpen was ok. the offense was below average and the defense wasn't the usual yankee 'd'

that's a dead ringer for 2013. you have the chances of a solid top 3 in the rotation and an ok bullpen but dubious starters after that, a subpar defense and an offense that could the robby cano one man show
   25. TomH Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:15 PM (#4276600)
"And, now all of those guys (well most of them) are three years older."
Matsui. Damon. Posada. Rivera. Old guys not part of the '12 Yankees.
Someone with a good database could find the weighted avg age by value (win shares or WAR), and I will admit it if I'm wrong, but it seems the 09 Yanks, and virtually every one of their successful clubs since the dayss of Rocket, Chili Davis, El Duque, and David Cone was OLD.

And the media attributed their incredible post-seaosn success to, naturally, "veteran leadership". Gag me with a spoon.
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4276602)
2012 = 1964

Dear Mr. Nunez,

Please accept this gift of a Hohner Marine Band harmonica, sent in honor of your heroic homer in Game 3 of this year's ALCS.

Yours truly,

Dr. Chaleeko

   27. The District Attorney Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4276606)
Those concerns, combined with pending free agency for Swisher, Ichiro, Russell Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte, and only-hitter-Joe Girardi-seemed-to-trust Raul Ibanez, leave the Yankees with a long shopping list this offseason.
And Mariano too, no?

I think Tex is a bigger millstone than A-Rod. Unlike A-Rod, he is thoroughly mediocre even when he's healthy. Nothing that can be done about it, though.

I assume the Yanks will figure out ways to retain Mariano and Pettitte, and they have to bring back Kuroda as well. Unless Pineda is a no-go, I think CC/Kuroda/Pettitte/Pineda/Hughes is about as good as anyone else has got. Do you sign a proven OK guy like Edwin Jackson or Anibal Sanchez as insurance? I guess you could.

The OF becomes interesting because the most obvious options -- letting Swisher go and bringing back Gardner and/or Ichiro as regulars -- would leave the New York Yankees with a rather powerless OF. If it were me, I'd let Swish depart and try to replace him with some kind of cheap platoon (not that the Yankees normally do that kind of thing at non-DH positions), and trade Granderson for someone relatively young with power to play the other corner OF position, with Gardner in CF. You could consider bringing Ichiro back, but not as a regular. Leave DH open for all the various old farts to rest. Don't bother with Ibanez, he's just gonna clog the position.

Ideally, the Yanks could emulate the Red Sox and go about this by dumping their terrible contracts and getting to a better starting square. But I don't think there is a second sucker like the Dodgers out there. It'll be extremely interesting to see what the Yanks do. It definitely is a turning point.
   28. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4276610)
They never won such a fight in the ALDS before. Usually they got through 3-0 or 3-1, or lost in the first round. You'd have to go to 2004 to find an equivalent ALDS fight, and then they couldn't get past the Red Sox in the ALCS.


The counterargument is that the ALDS wasn't a "fight" so much as games that went forever because neither team could hit for ####. The Yankees beat up Jim Johnson in the 9th inning of game 1 against Baltimore, and that was it. Their bats were dead all poststeason.

I think they wore themselves out running around the bases in the last series against the Red Sox, when they scored 274 runs in three games.
   29. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4276614)
i think folks are right to think that alex will rebound. the tough part is the timetable. wrist and hand injuries seem to take forever.

he may likely come out of the box next season stinking it up and then who the h8ll knows what happens.

but by mid-season next season no matter where he is i suspect he will be hitting at an .850ish odd ops clip.

edit

meaning he snaps back so that by end of season he has an .850ish run rate. i think i am explaining poorly but i see the guy getting back some of his former level.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4276617)
Matsui. Damon. Posada. Rivera. Old guys not part of the '12 Yankees.
Someone with a good database could find the weighted avg age by value (win shares or WAR), and I will admit it if I'm wrong, but it seems the 09 Yanks, and virtually every one of their successful clubs since the dayss of Rocket, Chili Davis, El Duque, and David Cone was OLD.


I'm not doing that kind of legwork, but just looking at their Top 9 position players, the average age of the 2012 squad is a full two years older than the 2009 champions (33.3 compared to 31.3). That seems like a pretty sizable increase to me.

Since pitching wasn't the problem with this year's club, I didn't see any reason to look at how they stack up.

   31. Matthew E Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM (#4276624)
pineda could be your mel stottlemyre. mel did everything he could but the team stunk overall
I hope Chien-Ming Wang is their Jim Bouton.
   32. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4276632)
4 of their regulars stopped hitting and a fifth broke his ankle. It's hard to win with a third of a lineup.


It's also hard to win when the manager panics because he doesn't understand how the game works and gives a large portion of the PAs of the regulars that got him to the playoffs to their backups.
   33. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4276635)
2011
vs RHP .258 / .372 / .531
vs LHP .272 / .347 / .597

2012
vs RHP .239 / .319 / .492
vs LRP .218 / .304 / .458


I remember all the ridiculous "Kevin Long is god and fixed Granderson against LHP" threads from last year. People were arguing the most ridiculous things. I kept saying that Granderson would not duplicate his 2011 performance against LHP, that he wouldn't regress to his pre-2011 performance against lefties so he would retain some of the gains but he wasn't going to duplicate 2011. I've been wrong about plenty of things before, but this was an easy call and I was right about it.
   34. Chris Fluit Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4276639)
Someone with a good database could find the weighted avg age by value (win shares or WAR), and I will admit it if I'm wrong, but it seems the 09 Yanks, and virtually every one of their successful clubs since the dayss of Rocket, Chili Davis, El Duque, and David Cone was OLD.


I doubt it's weighted by WAR but the franchise encyclopedia on bb-ref does include average age for hitters and pitchers.

Yankees hitters were 30.4 in 2009 and 32.7 in 2012. It's their highest number ever and first time they were over 32 since 2005. The pitchers were 29.3 in '09 and 30.3 this year (it was also the first time the pitchers had been below 30 since 1997). So while they've generally been an old team, they were significantly older in 2012 than in 2009.
   35. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4276640)
People were arguing the most ridiculous things. I kept saying that Granderson would not duplicate his 2011 performance against LHP, that he wouldn't regress to his pre-2011 performance against lefties so he would retain some of the gains but he wasn't going to duplicate 2011. I've been wrong about plenty of things before, but this was an easy call and I was right about it.

Lol
   36. BDC Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4276644)
The current Yankees team lacks for Tom Treshes and Joe Pepitones. To really replicate the 1960s they'd need a few guys who were supposedly unable to miss and eventually missed by a lot. I suppose Eduardo Nuñez could take up the harmonica.
   37. TerpNats Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4276647)
How about 2012 = 1981?

I don't think the '13 Yankees are going to go the Dave Collins route, but the team is going to be remade next year, and it remains to be seen whether Cashman and the front office has enough chips in the system to keep the team atop the East. They may still contend, but they won't be dominant for some time to come.
   38. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4276648)
bob

tom tresh was a good player. but the era makes him look worse than he was.

joe pepitone was just a guy with a bad toupee
   39. PreservedFish Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:15 PM (#4276649)
I think it was only Yankees fans that were arguing that Kevin Long silliness.
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4276667)
The trouble with all those TTO hitters is that when pitchers wise up and don't let them work the count, they're mostly shooting blanks.

Cano's not a TTO hitter and he was absolutely dreadful.


Cano matched his career high with 96 strikeouts in the regular season and continued at that rate in the postseason. And of the Yankee regulars, only Jeter (barely) whiffed at a lower rate. The team as a whole struck out 83 times in nine postseason games, a rate of about one per inning. That TTO approach only works if the pitchers cooperate, but you can see by the numbers (only 29 walks to go with those 83 strikeouts) that the O's and the Jungaleers weren't doing that. They got past the O's only with a heroic effort by Sabathia and some timely hitting by a benchwarmer, but there was no way on Earth that that was going to be enough to win four games from the Tigers.
   41. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4276674)
I remember all the ridiculous "Kevin Long is god and fixed Granderson against LHP" threads from last year. People were arguing the most ridiculous things. I kept saying that Granderson would not duplicate his 2011 performance against LHP, that he wouldn't regress to his pre-2011 performance against lefties so he would retain some of the gains but he wasn't going to duplicate 2011. I've been wrong about plenty of things before, but this was an easy call and I was right about it.

Congratulations! Now it's time to retire on top.
   42. franoscar Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4276675)
(feeling contrary): These baseball teams are multi-million (multi-billion?) dollar companies. I know there are residues of the past, but I don't think Girardi sat down & made up those lineups out of his head. Cashman spoke to the lineup decisions. Maybe the decisions were made for reasons other than winning baseball games, but they weren't made by Girardi without vetting & approval from his bosses.
   43. Ron J2 Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4276679)
#25 Weighted ages

Year Batters Pitchers
2012 32.7    30.3
2011 30.5    31.0
2010 30.2    30.3
2009 30.4    29.3
2008 31.2    30.6
2007 30.7    31.4
2006 30.9    32.5
2005 32.4    34.2
2004 32.3    32
,9
2003 30.5    33.6
2002 30.0    33.1
2001 31.1    30.9
2000 31.3    32.0 
1999 30.9    31.2
1998 30.4    30.2 


1998 is the first reported sighting of a BP "The Yankees might be too old"

   44. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4276682)

Cano matched his career high with 96 strikeouts in the regular season and continued at that rate in the postseason. And of the Yankee regulars, only Jeter (barely) whiffed at a lower rate. The team as a whole struck out 83 times in nine postseason games, a rate of about one per inning. That TTO approach only works if the pitchers cooperate, but you can see by the numbers (only 29 walks to go with those 83 strikeouts) that the O's and the Jungaleers weren't doing that. They got past the O's only with a heroic effort by Sabathia and some timely hitting by a benchwarmer, but there was no way on Earth that that was going to be enough to win four games from the Tigers.


Andy, Cano is not a TTO hitter because he doesn't walk. Or strike out much, relatively speaking. And he sucked in the playoffs.

Ichiro is also not a TTO hitter because he doesn't strike out or walk or, well, hit home runs. So he does zero of the TOs. And yet he sucked in the ALDS.

(Also, so much for the notion when Ichiro was brought over that he would be a part-time player who batted 8th when he was in there.)
   45. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4276697)
(Also, so much for the notion when Ichiro was brought over that he would be a part-time player who batted 8th when he was in there.)


Wasn't that notion built on the supposition that Ichiro would continue to suck when they acquired him, which wasn't the case?
   46. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4276702)
Wasn't that notion built on the supposition that Ichiro would continue to suck when they acquired him, which wasn't the case?


It was the case. The idea that Ichiro was rejuvenated when he went to the Yankees is pure myth. He continued to suck for the first few weeks he was there before playing well.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4276709)
He continued to suck for the first few weeks he was there before playing well.


And he continued to hit at the bottom of the order until after the point where he stopped sucking.

I guess you're right about the playing regularly part, though we don't know if he would have continued to play regularly if he never got things turned around (probably would have, I guess, since the alternatives weren't filling Yankee mgmt with confidence either).

   48. BDC Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4276715)
1998 is the first reported sighting of a BP "The Yankees might be too old"

Hell, I remember thinking they were getting old after the Rangers took the first game of their 1996 playoff series.
   49. TomH Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4276721)
Thanks, RonJ2!
   50. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4276723)
The thing about the playing regularly part is that Girardi refused to pull Suzuki out of the lineup after September 16th, other than in blowouts. He started every game since then and played every inning of the postseason, even while hitting .217 in the ALDS, even while Arod was being benched in favor of the Postseason Magic Man.

The biggest problem with this is that when Girardi needed to go to a PH in the 9th inning of Game 3 of the ALCS - with basically the entire season on the line - Girardi allowed Suzuki to bat for himself against the lefty Coke, and Suzuki made out. Whatever Suzuki's "rejuvenation" (he had - I am not making this up - a 0.1 WAR with the Yankees this year), he had a .291 OBP vs lefties this year.
   51. phredbird Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4276725)
kubek, howard and maris all got old and were gone soon. bouton drove off a cliff. whitey had one more season before packing it in as a productive pitcher. the 1964 team didn't seem old but a lot of those bodies were beat up.


1964 was mantle's age 32 year. 32.

geez, that guy is the biggest what-if in sports history.
   52. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4276728)
Watching the Yankees this postseason, I got the sense that a lot of the regulars had read one too many Billy Mumphrey stories.
   53. Sweatpants Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4276730)
Whatever Suzuki's "rejuvenation" (he had - I am not making this up - a 0.1 WAR with the Yankees this year)
Yes, but WAR doesn't apply to Ichiro because we can't be sure that it's accurately measuring things such as defense and non-SB baserunning. Does anyone know what his EqA or whatever they call it now was?
   54. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM (#4276733)
The biggest problem with this is that when Girardi needed to go to a PH in the 9th inning of Game 3 of the ALCS - with basically the entire season on the line - Girardi allowed Suzuki to bat for himself against the lefty Coke, and Suzuki made out.


If you think I'm defending Girardi's ninth-inning idiocy (or general idiocy involving Arod), you're very mistaken. I just found your parenthetical comment strange. Ichiro started hitting at the top of the order when he started hitting.

Whatever Suzuki's "rejuvenation" (he had - I am not making this up - a 0.1 WAR with the Yankees this year), he had a .291 OBP vs lefties this year.


Now you're on board with Ichiro's defensive WAR numbers? (-:
   55. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4276735)
Yes, but WAR doesn't apply to Ichiro because we can't be sure that it's accurately measuring things such as defense and non-SB baserunning.


Yes, but since I've been told the opposite, I figured it was fine to go with WAR.

(I'm being facetious. I understand that nobody was banking on partial-season defensive WAR numbers for Suzuki. But full-season dWAR has Suzuki as being worthless defensively since 2009.)
   56. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4276739)
Maybe the decisions were made for reasons other than winning baseball games, but they weren't made by Girardi without vetting & approval from his bosses.


The ARod now-you-see-him, now-you-don't prior to the originally-scheduled Game 4 speaks to that - Girardi's "mistake" explanation seemed pretty lame, and I have little doubt that he intended to start ARod but had his mind changed by "someone" higher up.

-- MWE
   57. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4276744)

The ARod now-you-see-him, now-you-don't prior to the originally-scheduled Game 4 speaks to that - Girardi's "mistake" explanation seemed pretty lame, and I have little doubt that he intended to start ARod but had his mind changed by "someone" higher up.


Yes, this is plausible, and even Leyland - who is well aware as to what the process for lineup cards is - was questioning whether something was going on with ARod behind the scenes.

For my money, Girardi started the nonsense, but then Cashman - someone I thought was a good GM but who has made alarmingly dumb moves with regularity recently - jumped on board.

(I speak of Cashman's talk-radio-esque decisions w/r/t Burnett, Kennedy, some others. Can't blame Soriano's or ARod's contract on him, though.)
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4276765)
phred

mantle was still a productive player to the very end thanks to homers and walks. obviously due to the era and eroding skills his batting average doesn't look that great but mickey could still hit. yes his defense was disappearing pretty quickly as his legs were beat to h8ll

mantle could have been a fine player as the 3rd of 4th best bat in the lineup on a contending team. but that was the problem. he was still the 'guy' and there wasn't really anyone to help out.
   59. geonose Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4276787)
...he turns 334 in April

Didn't realize Teixeira was quite that old.
   60. AROM Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4276811)
mantle could have been a fine player as the 3rd of 4th best bat in the lineup on a contending team. but that was the problem. he was still the 'guy' and there wasn't really anyone to help out.


I'm on record as hating the DH and would prefer to ban it in every league, but since it happened I wonder what Mickey's career would have looked like had that rule started a 4 years earlier.
   61. phredbird Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4276822)
phred

mantle was still a productive player to the very end thanks to homers and walks.


oh i get that, just always saddened by the thought of what could have been happening if he'd actually taken care of himself better. 32 isn't too old for him to have been really productive. by the time he retired a mere 3 yrs later, he himself knew he could still hit, he just couldn't play a position anymore.
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4276873)
mantle was still a productive player to the very end thanks to homers and walks.

But within the context of the 1965-68 Yankees his value was less than it would've been for another team or in another era, since all those walks never resulted in many runs. You can see it in his run totals for those years, which were a product both of his immobility and the weakness of the hitters behind him. Only the first factor was Mantle's "fault", but the second factor also lessened his value.

--------------------------------------------

I'm on record as hating the DH and would prefer to ban it in every league, but since it happened I wonder what Mickey's career would have looked like had that rule started a 4 years earlier.

You've probably got a point. His average WAR number for 1965-68 was only that of a midlevel starting position player (2.65), but that was brought down quite a bit by his defense.
   63. Walt Davis Posted: October 19, 2012 at 06:51 PM (#4276908)
The transformation of Curtis Granderson into Adam Dunn, at least offensively, is one of the stranger things I've ever seen.

I didn't see anything particularly odd in those splits -- other than the transformation to "wail against lefties" it just looks like a little BA variation and a fluke walk year against RHP last year. Other than that ... well, Granderson passed the dreadful age 30 barrier but through age 30 he was still hitting lots of triples (especially for the current era) and still stealing a decent number of bases so he seems like the same sort of player in that respect.

At age 25 (2006), Granderson hit 260/335/438 with a league-leading 174 strikeouts ... he's always been a Dunn type of hitter, just one with speed. Granted, his 2007 was awesome and of a much different character, but that turned out to be the outlier.

This isn't that rare of a combination really -- Dwayne Murphy, Mike Cameron and BJ Upton spring to mind just among CFs. This is what one hopes Drew Stubbs and Brett Jackson become and what Corey Patterson maybe could have become. Maybe I'm crazy but I think if you've got a high-K hitter with power you've got a much better chance of teaching him to take enough walks to be useful than you do of cutting down the Ks and getting the average up to 280 (which will probably be accompanied by fewer walks and less power even if you can pull it off).

On the Yankees and age ... it's true, I've been one of those in the past saying they were about to hit a wall and was wrong. One thing that's different this time (I think) is that they are locked into a lot of potentially terrible long-term contracts. Yes, Bernie got old but that was OK as he only had 1-2 years left on the contract when he did while ARod and Tex (and CC) still have 4-5 years to go. If ARod and Tex are average players or worse, that is a big hurdle to overcome. Also the luxury tax is much more biting now and the Yanks are reportedly trying to stay below it if for no other reason than to earn the "reset".

The Yanks remained successful by (essentially) not getting older by replacing old players at the end of contracts by good, younger (then the old fart) players off FA and salary-eating trades (e.g. Abreu) and continuing to produce guys like Cano and Robertson. So the question is whether they can do that again.

The 2013 Yanks are already locked into $145M assuming they exercise Cano's and Granderson's options. That leaves them, what, about $40 M to stay below the tax threshold? That threshold (unless I'm mistaken and I might be) is already $20 M lower than their 2012 payroll. That $145 commitment does not include Rivera, Pettitte, Kuroda, Hughes, Gardner, Logan, Chamberlain or Robertson. It does not include a starting C or starting RF (or Jones or Ibanez or Chavez or Ichiro).

Barring a miracle massive salary-dumping trade of ARod or the DBacks trading Upton to the Yanks, it looks like the Yanks will be lucky to re-assemble the 2013 team with the money they've got to play with. Again, that $145 M does not include a staring C, a starting RF or Kuroda, Pettitte or Rivera or the important arb eligibles (Gardner and Robertson at least). And the starting SS has a broken ankle and will be 39.

Next year's Yankees team will either be 1 year older or they will hope they have landed a cheaper Russell Martin, a cheap late bloomer in RF and hit the jackpot with Colon/Garcia types again.

There's nothing particularly wrong with BPro's old idea of the "success cycle" except that it's not a cycle (or not an unavoidable one). It's a little kinda-quadratic curve of success by age where you're going up for a bit until you get too old and you come down ... and, yes, if you ride all the way to the end of the curve, you are eventually forced to start over with young kids (so it's kinda like a cycle). But you don't have to ride it out until the end of the curve. The key is knowing where you are on the up/down-slope and to make sure you restock before you get too far down the other side. The Yanks have always been able to restock -- the list in 43 is interesting in that other than 2003-5, the Yanks' weighted age has been pretty constant. A single Cano does a lot to put you onto a nicer spot on that curve and every Gardner, Robertson and even Joba, Hughes, Nova help, especially given the similar relationship between age and salary. He's not a special player but getting the age 28-31 years of Swisher at a cheap price while giving up virtually no talent is huge to a team like the Yanks.

Which is one thing I don't know. What do the Yanks have in the system? Is Romine ready to step in for Martin? Is there a Cano or even a Swisher ready to take over in RF in 2013 or 2014? Can the DBacks be suckered into giving up Upton? I don't have a clue how Japanese signings work in the current CBA/luxury tax scenario but is there a Kuroda waiting to be signed?
   64. Jay Z Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:04 PM (#4277128)
The 1964 Yankees were certainly interesting. They never had the insane depth of the 1949-53 or almost as deep 1955-58 teams; it was mostly a set lineup. They were probably lucky to win five in a row with pretty much the same team.

Still, the 1962 team looks incredible, and they had young guys still coming up - Bouton, Pepitone, Tresh, Stottlemyre. 32 or not, 1964 was Mantle's 14th year. Tresh wasn't Mantle, and Murcer wasn't either. No replacement for a 35 year old Elston Howard. They couldn't even replace Richardson and Kubek very well. Pitching held up okay with Stottlemyre, Downing, Fritz Peterson, Bahnsen in a few years.
   65. zenbitz Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:44 PM (#4277255)
I miss the 80s Yankees.
   66. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:57 PM (#4277259)
Still, the 1962 team looks incredible, and they had young guys still coming up - Bouton, Pepitone, Tresh, Stottlemyre. 32 or not, 1964 was Mantle's 14th year. Tresh wasn't Mantle, and Murcer wasn't either. No replacement for a 35 year old Elston Howard. They couldn't even replace Richardson and Kubek very well. Pitching held up okay with Stottlemyre, Downing, Fritz Peterson, Bahnsen in a few years.

The problem is that the up and coming position players weren't close to the level of the players they replaced, and the players who remained got older and worse. And when Bouton got injured in 1965, there went their best young power pitcher.

You could also see symptoms of what was to come during that 1962 season. One curious factoid is that the Yanks had the worst record in doubleheaders in the entire American League that year, and second worst in the Majors only to the 40-120 Mets. They got swept four times by the 6th place Indians alone, and swept on consecutive nights by the 7th place Orioles as part of an overall 5 game sweep. They won the pennant easily for one reason alone: The competition was incredibly weak. The 2nd year expansion Angels were in the race up through August and finished third, with a roster that featured two starters with OPS+ over 100 and one pitcher (Dean Chance) of any real note. Even though the Yanks were actually favored in that year's World Series against the Giants, in hindsight it was a minor miracle that they managed to win. And what happened to them in the 1963 World Series (4 runs in 4 games)after a 104-57 season was eerily reminiscent of what happened to this year's team in the postseason. When they ran into serious power pitching they were pretty much helpless. They were always the big fish in the small pond when it came to the AL, but don't be fooled by those pennants. They'd have been lucky to win more than a handful of them if they'd had to compete in the NL every year.
   67. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM (#4277265)
you just can't leave it alone, can you, Andy?

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