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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nick Cafardo: Brian Cashman and the Yankees followed the Red Sox’ blueprint — and may have done it better

“I tried to take what successful franchises like the Red Sox and Indians did and what Theo and Ben and [Indians president of baseball operations] Chris Antonetti were doing and how they handled their young players with their amateur scouting and drafting and building a farm system. I looked at everything,” said Cashman, who has won five championships.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 15, 2017 at 08:34 AM | 72 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: notes, red sox, yankees

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 15, 2017 at 10:23 AM (#5554311)
“I tried to take what successful franchises like the Red Sox and Indians did and what Theo and Ben and [Indians president of baseball operations] Chris Antonetti were doing and how they handled their young players with their amateur scouting and drafting and building a farm system. I looked at everything,” said Cashman, who has won five championships.

Shouldn't there be some sort of a law against this?
   2. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 10:43 AM (#5554314)
The amazing thing is that the Yankees have gotten really good again not simply by spending huge amounts on the best free agents, but instead by getting huge production from pre-FA players. Sanchez, Severino, Betances, and Judge cost the Yankees less than $5m combined this year and provided 19 bWAR. This seems to be true as regards all the financial juggernauts right now, as the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs all have the ability to spend midseason if they want to in order to bolster young, home-grown core players. Which is important since free agent pickings are much more limited than they were even a decade ago.
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: October 15, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5554337)
Have been. We of course have the much-ballyhooed 2018 class looming next year...
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2017 at 01:59 PM (#5554344)
Lots of money coming off the payroll, including A-Rod ($21M), Sabathia ($25M), Garcia ($12M), Holliday ($13M), Frazier ($12M) & Pineda ($7.4). They'll likely try to bring CC back on a 1-year deal for $10-12M, and possibly even work something out with Pineda as he rehabs from TJ surgery, but that won't cost much. Should be pretty easy to get under the Luxury Tax threshold, even with the arbitration guys, and their big off-season target, two-way Shoehei Otani, won't cost them a lot to initially acquire due to MLB's rules on international free agents. Very well positioned going forward.
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 15, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5554352)
Lots of money coming off the payroll, including A-Rod ($21M), Sabathia ($25M), Garcia ($12M), Holliday ($13M), Frazier ($12M) & Pineda ($7.4). They'll likely try to bring CC back on a 1-year deal for $10-12M, and possibly even work something out with Pineda as he rehabs from TJ surgery, but that won't cost much. Should be pretty easy to get under the Luxury Tax threshold, even with the arbitration guys, and their big off-season target, two-way Shoehei Otani, won't cost them a lot to initially acquire due to MLB's rules on international free agents. Very well positioned going forward.

Do you think it's worthwhile to offer Frazier some sort of a short term deal until Gleyber Torres establishes himself as a Major League impact player? Of course since Frazier's still only 31, he's probably going to be wanting something more than a short range contract where he may well wind up riding the bench for much of the year.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:32 PM (#5554356)
If Chase Headley wasn't under contract for another year, maybe they try to keep Frazier, but he might not have much interest in a short-term deal anyway.The Yanks will have Miguel Andujar, coming off .316/.364./.502 in 250 AAA ABs, available if Headley flops. Not sure if Torres will be ready at the start of the season - he's coming off TJ surgery to his non-throwing arm. Should be OK long-term, but he may need to heal a bit more before he can go full tilt in spring training or the early season - no need to rush him. Bit of a decision as to where to slot him - maybe 2nd base after Castro's contract runs out after 2018? Or do the Yanks part company with Sir Didi, who's still arbitration-eligible in 2018-19? Lots of talent to sort out, and keeping Frazier would make the sorting even more difficult.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 03:59 PM (#5554363)
and possibly even work something out with Pineda as he rehabs from TJ surgery,

Please no. I never want to have to watch him pitch again.

If Chase Headley wasn't under contract for another year, maybe they try to keep Frazier, but he might not have much interest in a short-term deal anyway.The Yanks will have Miguel Andujar, coming off .316/.364./.502 in 250 AAA ABs, available if Headley flops. Not sure if Torres will be ready at the start of the season - he's coming off TJ surgery to his non-throwing arm. Should be OK long-term, but he may need to heal a bit more before he can go full tilt in spring training or the early season - no need to rush him. Bit of a decision as to where to slot him - maybe 2nd base after Castro's contract runs out after 2018? Or do the Yanks part company with Sir Didi, who's still arbitration-eligible in 2018-19? Lots of talent to sort out, and keeping Frazier would make the sorting even more difficult.

Torres has <250 PA above A ball. Coming off the injury, he should get at least 250 PAs in the minors before being promoted.

Why would they get rid of Didi? Torres can play 2B or 3B, or Didi can move to 2B.

If you need a spot, Castro can go to the bench; he's not very good.
   8. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: October 15, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5554370)
Isn't Castro signed thru 2019?
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 04:44 PM (#5554371)
Isn't Castro signed thru 2019?

Yes, but he only makes $10M. You can trade him whenever you want, or put him on the bench. 2/$21M is not stopping the Yankees from fielding their best team.

My druthers would be the infield in 2019 consists of Machado, Gregorius, and Torres. Don't really care what positions they play.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5554375)
Isn't Castro signed thru 2019?

Ah, misread the BB-Ref salary chart for #6. Still, Castro seems like the odd man out if Torres lives up to his potential and doesn't end up at 3rd base. Best case scenario may have the Yanks actually passing on free agents Machado & Harper if enough of their young talent comes through. Still think they'll need Otani in 2018 to shore up the pitching, and hopefully do other things, too.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 06:48 PM (#5554406)
Best case scenario may have the Yanks actually passing on free agents Machado & Harper if enough of their young talent comes through.

Why is that the best case? They're the freaking Yankees. Adding a 26 y.o. super-star is always part of the best case.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:01 PM (#5554410)
YC is really concerned about the Young Masters Steinbrenner bank accounts.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:29 PM (#5554419)
Can't we entertain the idea that the Yankees internal options will be better (and cheaper) than Machado & Harper?
   14. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 15, 2017 at 07:31 PM (#5554420)
Better is highly unlikely. Those are two great players. They could be but I wouldn’t count on that.

Which doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing. The benefit of young, cheap players allows you to spend your money to fill holes. Pro-tip: don’t spend that money on Pablo Sandoval.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: October 15, 2017 at 08:43 PM (#5554472)
Can't we entertain the idea that the Yankees internal options will be better (and cheaper) than Machado & Harper?


All of them? Even if any one of these fellows (Torres, Gregorius, Castro, whoever) goes all Aaron Judge and starts hitting .360 next year, you've still got space for Machado somewhere, right? I guess if Clint Frazier hits 40 homeruns you don't really have an obvious space for Harper, but that hardly seems likely. Heck, Harper is barely a year older than Frazier.

Cheaper seems almost wholly irrelevant. It's the Yankees, right? Don't you want them to spend some of their insane profits?
   16. Joe Bivens Will Take a Steaming Dump Posted: October 15, 2017 at 08:53 PM (#5554480)
I don't.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 15, 2017 at 10:46 PM (#5554658)
I guess if Clint Frazier hits 40 homeruns you don't really have an obvious space for Harper, but that hardly seems likely.

No less than our own Absurd Jose has suggested that Clint Frazier will be better than Judge. I'm going to be sorely disappointed in the unlikely event that he is wrong.
   18. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 15, 2017 at 10:53 PM (#5554673)
Damned right I did! I love that kid.
   19. Nose army. Beef diaper? (CoB) Posted: October 15, 2017 at 11:00 PM (#5554699)
wrong thread
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:59 AM (#5554798)
Can't we entertain the idea that the Yankees internal options will be better (and cheaper) than Machado & Harper?

Not if we're in possession of our faculties. There is not a single team in MLB history that didn't have room for a Machado/Harper calibre player. Not the '27 Yankees, not the Big Red Machine. Not one.
   21. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 09:57 AM (#5554832)
It's possible, but unlikely, that the Yankees will have an outfielder better than Harper after 2018*. It is impossible that they'll have 3. Same with Machado and the infielders.

*Judge had a better 2017 than Harper, but until he does it again Harper has the far better track record. And Harper is actually 6 months younger than the Judge.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5554841)
plus if I'm not mistaken, Judge's 13 HR Sept "rebound" was mostly off feasting on mediocre-at-best SPs. if so, it's not just Houston where Judge has a problem.
   23. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:28 AM (#5554845)
Too bad for the Yankees that Harper wants to play with his buddy Kris in Chicago.... It means he'll become a 500 million dollar 250/320/350 hitter, though the defense will hold up, but still.
   24. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:29 AM (#5554889)
I thought he wanted to play with Mike Trout. Sure, he could sign with the Yankees and wait a year, but that's a long time to wait. He should just sign with the Angels in 2019.
   25. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:35 AM (#5554900)
plus if I'm not mistaken, Judge's 13 HR Sept "rebound" was mostly off feasting on mediocre-at-best SPs. if so, it's not just Houston where Judge has a problem.


That seems like an oversimplification. Here's his HR log. He hit two off Marcus Stroman, one off Ervin Santana, one each off Ryan Tepera and Addison Reed. Those guys are all pretty good. Plenty of lesser names in there too, but look at the May or June portions and you'll see the same thing - some homers off really good pitchers, some off guys who were up and down from AAA.

I doubt the weighted average of pitcher quality is that much different.
   26. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:37 AM (#5554902)
In any case that's 5 homers off very good pitchers in September, two more than he hit in August against everyone. His August homers were off Mike Clevinger, Rafael Montero, and Robert Gsellman.
   27. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:50 AM (#5554916)
Per Gammons over the summer, Harper wants to play for the Cubs.

   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 11:51 AM (#5554917)
Pretty sure both Harper and Machado are going to sign with whoever writes the biggest check.
   29. villageidiom Posted: October 16, 2017 at 12:02 PM (#5554927)
Is Tanaka opting out? If he does, is NY re-signing him?
   30. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:36 PM (#5555039)
So I just looked up Judge's splits on BBRef and they have a split I wasn't aware of; performance vs. > .500 teams and performance vs. < .500 teams. Not surprisingly he does worse against the better teams;

>.500 - .214/.342/.403
<.500 - .313/.454/.721

the league average;

>.500 - .245/.310/.409
<.500 - .261/.331/.439


So to no surprise Judge and the rest of the league do worse against better teams but Judge really has dramatic splits. To no real surprise he lead the majors in OPS against sub-.500 teams (min. 100PA) but was 188th against above-.500 teams. It's worth noting that there were about 450 players who met that criteria so that 188th finish while not great is not any kind of terrible.
   31. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:41 PM (#5555043)
Is Tanaka opting out? If he does, is NY re-signing him?


I'd say he will stay in New York whether after an opt out or after signing some kind of extension before opting out (CC did that I think). I'd say it's unlikely that he's playing under the same contract next April.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:49 PM (#5555050)
>.500 - .214/.342/.403
<.500 - .313/.454/.721


It's probably nothing but a small sample fluke, though if if were true that he's significantly more likely to feast on crappy pitchers and struggle against better ones than the average player, it would be a bit of a concern around this time of year.
   33. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: October 16, 2017 at 01:51 PM (#5555053)
Yeah, as much as anything else I didn't know BBRef had such splits. It would be interesting to know if TTO guys are more susceptible to such splits.
   34. GeoffB Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:33 PM (#5555109)
Yankees might want to consider a boat load of money for Kershaw, assuming he opts out. Also, Dallas Keuchel will be available for 2019. It you can't beat them, have them join you. Much of the strength of the Yankee teams from 1998-2001 was great starting pitching ...
   35. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 02:39 PM (#5555117)
That is quite the split. Looking further into it, he did a ton of damage against the Orioles and Blue Jays. Orioles pitching was terrible, but Blue Jays was decent - slightly below average in runs allowed, but above average in striking people out and preventing homers.

Against the AL East Birdies Judge hit:

125 AB 49 hits (.392) 21 homers 44 RBI 40 BB 45 SO

   36. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:00 PM (#5555134)
Yankees might want to consider a boat load of money for Kershaw, assuming he opts out.


I'd imagine that the chance the Dodgers allow themselves to be outbid for Kershaw is pretty much 0.

Much of the strength of the Yankee teams from 1998-2001 was great starting pitching ...


This isn't really true, though. The had very consistent starting pitching, but didn't really have a stone cold ace except for Mussina in '01.
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 03:15 PM (#5555145)
Yankees might want to consider a boat load of money for Kershaw, assuming he opts out. Also, Dallas Keuchel will be available for 2019. It you can't beat them, have them join you. Much of the strength of the Yankee teams from 1998-2001 was great starting pitching ...

I wouldn't spend big money on pitching. The injury/ineffectiveness risk is too high. Look at Price and Zimmermann; their contracts look atrocious already.

I'd spend on the position player side, and use a young/old mix for the rotation. All else equal, I'd much rather sign a great 35 y.o. pitcher to 3/95 than a great 29 y.o. pitcher to 7/215.
   38. Rally Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:08 PM (#5555196)
This isn't really true, though. The had very consistent starting pitching, but didn't really have a stone cold ace except for Mussina in '01.


They should have tried to get the Cy Young winner that year too.
   39. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:23 PM (#5555205)
Yankees might want to consider a boat load of money for Kershaw, assuming he opts out. Also, Dallas Keuchel will be available for 2019. It you can't beat them, have them join you. Much of the strength of the Yankee teams from 1998-2001 was great starting pitching ..

The Yankees' overall ERA+ was a perfectly fine 121, but the problem was that the starters put too much load on the bullpen. Other than Severino and Tanaka when he's on (and only then), the Yanks don't really have a starter who's able to consistently go deep into games. When you've got a bullpen as deep as theirs, it minimizes the damage, but when it happens 2 or 3 times in a row in a short series, you're playing on borrowed time.

Hopefully there may be an ace level pitcher among the likes of Cessa and Germán, both of whom have electric stuff but little MLB experience. But right now the lack of more than one consistent ace-level pitcher is what's separating them from the very top teams. Everything else seems to be falling nicely in place, and if they're going to spend big money on a FA, I'd like it to be on a prime starting pitcher rather than a position player.
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 16, 2017 at 04:27 PM (#5555208)
This isn't really true, though. The had very consistent starting pitching, but didn't really have a stone cold ace except for Mussina in '01.

True, but El Duque, Wells and Pettitte often pitched like aces when the chips were down in the postseason.
   41. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 16, 2017 at 08:24 PM (#5555359)
Yankees might want to consider a boat load of money for Kershaw, assuming he opts out.

As others have noted, the Dodgers aren't likely to be outbid for Kershaw, and given his recent injuries, I'm not sure that's where I'd spend big bucks. A much smaller expenditure will get the services of Two-Way Shohei Otani, and a couple of low-cost years to evaluate whether he's worth a long-term investment. That's the way to go.
   42. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:04 PM (#5555476)
As others have noted, the Dodgers aren't likely to be outbid for Kershaw, and given his recent injuries, I'm not sure that's where I'd spend big bucks. A much smaller expenditure will get the services of Two-Way Shohei Otani, and a couple of low-cost years to evaluate whether he's worth a long-term investment. That's the way to go.

How much would Otani likely cost the team that signs him?
   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:12 PM (#5555482)
How much would Otani likely cost the team that signs him?

Less than $10M.

But right now the lack of more than one consistent ace-level pitcher is what's separating them from the very top teams. Everything else seems to be falling nicely in place, and if they're going to spend big money on a FA, I'd like it to be on a prime starting pitcher rather than a position player.

I don't believe this at all. Adding Machado or Harper does you every bit as much good as adding Kershaw.

Have you not noticed? Having Kershaw hasn't done jack-#### for the Dodgers for the last 6 seasons.

I'd much rather have the 6 WAR player who plays every day, and isn't always one throw away from ending his career.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 16, 2017 at 10:38 PM (#5555494)
But right now the lack of more than one consistent ace-level pitcher is what's separating them from the very top teams. Everything else seems to be falling nicely in place, and if they're going to spend big money on a FA, I'd like it to be on a prime starting pitcher rather than a position player.

I don't believe this at all. Adding Machado or Harper does you every bit as much good as adding Kershaw.


Depends on how Torres works out in the case of Machado,** who won't be a FA until 2019. And Harper's not the world's healthiest specimen himself, having missed the better part of two months each in two of his last four seasons.

Have you not noticed? Having Kershaw hasn't done jack-#### for the Dodgers for the last 6 seasons.

I'd much rather have the 6 WAR player who plays every day, and isn't always one throw away from ending his career.


I wasn't saying Kershaw was the answer, but at this point starting pitching is the Yanks' most noticeable weakness.

** Personal aside: I want Machado and Schoop to stay in Baltimore, even though it's not likely that either of them will
   45. Walt Davis Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:09 AM (#5555540)
Sorry, no room for Harper on the Cubs, not with the mighty Heyward roaming RF for the next 6 years!

TTO players and >500 teams ... Maybe can kinda do that with the split finder. You can limit AB/SO so looking over the last 10 years ... some true TTO types, vs 500+ then overall (easier than two sep searches), cherry-picked and some are small samples

Stanton 929 914
Bryant 906 915
Branyan 858 830
Hawpe 852 827
Thome 850 879
KDavis 849 809
Schimpf 820 809 (!!)
Sano 811 844
Dunn 806 811
Howard 806 807
CDavis 785 818
Reynolds 756 780
Trumbo 748 763
Gallo 736 819 (pretty big)
Carter 725 768
Schwarber 710 803 (big)
Judge 681 992 (massive outlier)
Pederson 678 780 (big)
Baez 620 727 (big)
Michael almostF'n Taylor 578 702
Buxton 558 701 (ouch)


I'd say there's not really much there. Everybody I noticed with a big split is a relatively young guy. If massive hackers like Mark Reynolds, C and K Davis, Dunn, Trumbo, Carter can have relatively standard (or better) splits, I'd say there's not much to the idea.

There might still be something to the idea that it depends on the quality of the pitcher -- not all good teams have good staffs and all have some flotsam. Kris Bryant holds his own pretty well against power pitchers (884 vs 915; that 884 being #8 over the last 10 years) but Stanton is 802/914, Dunn 728/811, Sano 723/844, K Davis 711/829, Howard 708/807, Thome 686/879, Judge 682/992, CDavis 673/818, Baez 659/727, Buxton 581/701 ... etc.

But in AL 2017, it was 670/753 so anything below 120(?) points or so seems reasonably standard so it's still hard to say they do significantly worse (for those I cherry-picked). Or fully

P 670
P/F 749
F 799
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 09:03 AM (#5555576)
Depends on how Torres works out in the case of Machado,** who won't be a FA until 2019.

Doesn't matter. Torres can play 2B or SS, with Gregorius moving to 2B. You always have room for a 6 WAR 26 y.o.

I wasn't saying Kershaw was the answer, but at this point starting pitching is the Yanks' most noticeable weakness.

Any "elite" SP has the same problem. Bad start in game 1, and basically all his added value to you is gone for the playoff series.

The 1996-2001 Yankees won by having all good starters, and no holes. Not by having a standout "ace".
   47. The Good Face Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:25 AM (#5555632)
Depends on how Torres works out in the case of Machado,** who won't be a FA until 2019.

Doesn't matter. Torres can play 2B or SS, with Gregorius moving to 2B. You always have room for a 6 WAR 26 y.o.


Both Machado AND Harper worry me as potentially disastrous contracts. Machado is consistently good, but an awful lot of his value comes on defense, which tends to fade earlier, and he's not an elite hitter. Harper can't seem to stay healthy as a very young man, which makes me wonder how he'll hold up as a not so young man.
   48. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:45 AM (#5555669)
The 1996-2001 Yankees won by having all good starters, and no holes. Not by having a standout "ace".


I mean, I think this is true in that's how it played out. But it almost certainly did by accident, not design.

The Yankees traded for Cone a year after he won the Cy Young—although he wasn't as great in 1995, he was still excellent (4.4 WAR in 17 starts) when they made the move—and they promptly pitched him like an ace (skipping other pitchers' starts, throwing him on three days' rest for his last start, leaving him in for an absurdly high number of pitches in the playoffs)

They traded for Clemens following his back-to-back Cys in 1999

They signed Mussina prior to 2001 when he was the biggest pitching name on the market.

This doesn't even get into the Irabu/El Duque signings.

I don't think this invalidates your point about the riskiness of signing a guy like Kershaw solely for a playoff run.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 10:50 AM (#5555672)
Both Machado AND Harper worry me as potentially disastrous contracts.

It's really not possible for the Yankees to have a disasterous contract from a young position player. Position players very rarely have career ending/altering injuries.

Even if they sign one of them for 10/400, and he only averages 3 WAR for the contract, it doesn't really prevent them from doing anything else.
   50. The Good Face Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5555690)
It's really not possible for the Yankees to have a disasterous contract from a young position player. Position players very rarely have career ending/altering injuries.

Even if they sign one of them for 10/400, and he only averages 3 WAR for the contract, it doesn't really prevent them from doing anything else.


Even if that's true, and I'm not at all certain it is, bad contracts don't exist in a vacuum. At the very least it'll reduce their margin of error when it comes to other FA signings. Even if they can carry one dud megacontract with no problems, they can't carry two.

Also, I don't think 30 WAR over 10 years is an accurate estimation of the downside risk. Machado and Harper are both extremely talented, but we're not talking about Mike Trout or A-Rod here, historically great players for whom an injury plagued down season (during their prime) is still 5+ WAR.
   51. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:46 AM (#5555758)
The 1996-2001 Yankees won by having all good starters, and no holes. Not by having a standout "ace".


To expand on #48...

Yankees starters CYA results 96-01:

96 - 2nd Pettitte (5th Mussina with Orioles)
97 - 5th Pettitte (1st Clemens with Toronto)
98 - 3rd Wells, 4th Cone (1st Clemens with Toronto)
99 - 6th Cone (2nd Mussina with Orioles)
00 - 4th Pettitte, 6th Clemens (6th Mussina with Orioles)
01 - 1st Clemens, 5th Mussina

Based on CYA results the Yanks very clearly had at least one 'ace' on their staff, and as #48 noted, they very clearly went out and tried to sign pitchers that were aces.


ETA:
ROGER CLEMENS was part of the rotation from '99 to '03, how can you possibly say the Yankees didn't have an ace when one of the top 5 best pitchers in MLB history is on the staff?!
   52. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 17, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5555770)
I wasn't saying Kershaw was the answer, but at this point starting pitching is the Yanks' most noticeable weakness.

Any "elite" SP has the same problem. Bad start in game 1, and basically all his added value to you is gone for the playoff series.

The 1996-2001 Yankees won by having all good starters, and no holes. Not by having a standout "ace".


But going forward the Yankees' current starting rotation is problematical once you get past Severino. It's possible that Montgomery and a more consistent Tanaka and Gray can alleviate that problem without being forced to enter the FA market, and that Sabathia's resurrection is more than a dead cat bounce, but that's a lot of ifs.

I'm also not as down on Castro as you seem to be, or that replacing him with a gaudy Machado contract would be worth the difference in price. I've watched the Orioles almost as much as the Yankees over the past five years, and quiet as it's kept, Machado's not exactly Mr. Reliability on offense, and his career OPS+ of 116 (107 in 2017) is good but hardly earthshaking. I think the best move is for the Yankees to look for a starting pitcher or two in the offseason, and then see how their rookies and other young players do in 2018 before committing to any megacontracts for players who may or may not be that much of an improvement over what they already have.
   53. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:08 PM (#5555781)
The 1996-2001 Yankees won by having all good starters, and no holes. Not by having a standout "ace".

Yeah to pile on, this is very, very wrong. Unless you're pretending having two, rather than one, HOF or near HOF-caliber pitchers at all times somehow makes this statement correct.
   54. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:09 PM (#5555782)
ETA:
ROGER CLEMENS was part of the rotation from '99 to '03, how can you possibly say the Yankees didn't have an ace when one of the top 5 best pitchers in MLB history is on the staff?!


I agree with what you wrote above that last line about CYA rankings, but during that five year stretch Clemens' ERA was 3.99. With all due respect, that's not the sort of ERA I usually associate with an ace. Clemens' rank in history was certified much more with what he did before and after those years, when he was with the Red Sox (3.06 ERA), Toronto (2.33 ERA) and Houston (2.40 ERA in a bandbox). His best FOURTEEN seasons in terms of ERA+ were all with those other three teams.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:22 PM (#5555809)
Yeah to pile on, this is very, very wrong. Unless you're pretending having two, rather than one, HOF or near HOF-caliber pitchers at all times somehow makes this statement correct.

Many times their best post-season pitcher was a guy who was never going to sniff the HoF. And the HoFers didn't pitch very well. Jolly has already pointed out that Clemens wasn't great for the Yankees.

If you look at the team season by season, they stand out for having 4-5 guys between 100-130 ERA+, not for having a CY Young candidate every year.
   56. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:31 PM (#5555821)
Many times their best post-season pitcher was a guy who was never going to sniff the HoF.

See ithaca's point above:
I mean, I think this is true in that's how it played out. But it almost certainly did by accident, not design.
   57. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:39 PM (#5555833)
I think the best move is for the Yankees to look for a starting pitcher or two in the offseason, and then see how their rookies and other young players do in 2018 before committing to any megacontracts for players who may or may not be that much of an improvement over what they already have.

Whatever their current tentative leanings, the 2018 season should play a big part in finalizing any plans to go after Harper or Machado. Judge's 2017 season puts him in elite erritory where you don't find many flukes, but, like any player, you want to see more than one season before going too far out on a limb. They should know a lot more about Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Greg Bird, and even Aaron Hicks after 2018, too. Harper & Machado could also put up numbers that would increase, or decrease, interest. Could be a very interesting 2018, followed by a big impact offseason, and not just for the Yanks.
   58. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 12:52 PM (#5555851)
I mean, I think this is true in that's how it played out. But it almost certainly did by accident, not design.

Right. And I'm saying that shows that the design of acquiring aces for big money/prospect packages is flawed.

If I have to spend big, I want it to be on youngish, elite position players. Fill out the rotation with good pitchers, but not expensive acquisitions.

   59. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:01 PM (#5555860)
Whatever their current tentative leanings, the 2018 season should play a big part in finalizing any plans to go after Harper or Machado. Judge's 2017 season puts him in elite erritory where you don't find many flukes, but, like any player, you want to see more than one season before going too far out on a limb. They should know a lot more about Gleyber Torres, Clint Frazier, Greg Bird, and even Aaron Hicks after 2018, too. Harper & Machado could also put up numbers that would increase, or decrease, interest. Could be a very interesting 2018, followed by a big impact offseason, and not just for the Yanks.

Totally agree with this perspective. I think the last time I've looked forward to a Yankees' season as much as 2018 was maybe 1960, when revenge for 1959 was lurking in my evil heart in the form of Roger Maris. He hit two home runs in Fenway on opening day and never looked back from there.
   60. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 01:44 PM (#5555909)
If you look at the team season by season, they stand out for having 4-5 guys between 100-130 ERA+, not for having a CY Young candidate every year.


The worst CYA finish for the Yankees in your 6 year stretch was 6th. Best was 1st. They absolutely did have a CYA candidate every year.

Did the Sox not have an ace this year because Sale didn't pitch well in the playoffs?
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:02 PM (#5555944)
Did the Sox not have an ace this year because Sale didn't pitch well in the playoffs?

They had one, and it didn't do squat for them. Likewise Kluber didn't help the Indians.

What I'm arguing against is that having an "ace" or "aces" is a pre-requisite for playoff success. And that the Yankees need to add a top end starter. It's not, and they don't.

A 95-win true talent team with 4 good starters and awesome offense and defense is no less liekly to win a playoff series than a 95-win true talent team with 2 great starters, but weaknesses elsewhere.

This has probably never been more true given the expanded role of bullpens in the post-season.
   62. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:09 PM (#5555961)
I think the clearest way to express this is that the best way to get good pitching performance is to employ as many pitchers as possible who have the possibility to be great starters. That is how the 90s-2000s dynasty Yankees did it.
   63. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:31 PM (#5555998)
And at exactly the same time, that approach accomplished almost nothing in terms of championships for the Braves.
   64. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:39 PM (#5556017)
And at exactly the same time, that approach accomplished almost nothing in terms of championships for the Braves.

Well sure, but until the radical realignment being discussed in the other thread comes to fruition, the only way to get to the World Series is to first be a good team.
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 02:43 PM (#5556023)
Well sure, but until the radical realignment being discussed in the other thread comes to fruition, the only way to get to the World Series is to first be a good team.

I think the point is that being a good team is all you can do. The "shape" of that performance doesn't matter. Assemble the most talent you can. Don't worry what position they play (except for the obvious).
   66. Ithaca2323 Posted: October 17, 2017 at 03:20 PM (#5556082)
Right. And I'm saying that shows that the design of acquiring aces for big money/prospect packages is flawed.


I guess I'm confused. The Yankees process was to go out and sign/trade for the best pitchers on whatever market: (Clemens, Cone, Mussina, Irabu, El Duque) They then used those guys to win four titles and six pennants in eight years. And you think this shows that teams shouldn't go after the best pitchers on the market because why?

I mean, again I think your premise is fine. I just wouldn't use a team that went and got the best pitchers they could get, and won a ton with them. Wouldn't a better example be like, the 2005 White Sox, who took a meh rotation of Garcia, Garland, Buehrle, and Contreras to a title? Or even the Phillies, post 2008, when they added Oswalt, Halladay, and Lee?

   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 04:23 PM (#5556154)
I guess I'm confused. The Yankees process was to go out and sign/trade for the best pitchers on whatever market: (Clemens, Cone, Mussina, Irabu, El Duque) They then used those guys to win four titles and six pennants in eight years. And you think this shows that teams shouldn't go after the best pitchers on the market because why?


You're mixing a whole bunch of unlike things in there.

El Duque wasn't expensive at all. He made <$10M in his total Yankee tenure, at a time that Clemens was making $8M per year.

Clemens was expensive, but no ace (114 ERA+ in his Yankee tenure). They would have been better off keeping Wells, and spending the money elsewhere.

Irabu was a modestly expensive bust.

Cone was expensive, and excellent for 4 years, and helped them win 3 title.

Mussina was expesnive, but also didn't pitch like an ace in total (coincidentally, also a 114 ERA+ with the Yankees, 4 very good years, 3 stinkers, and one good year).


   68. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5556218)
114 ERA+ in his Yankee tenure

Ithaca's point, which I tried to also bolster, is that the Yankees, for several years running, went out and got the best or among the best pitchers available on the market. Every year. That those best pitchers available didn't end up pitching like aces every year is completely immaterial. That has been explained numerous times now, at least three. The Yankees strategy, while piling up World Series victories, was to attempt to corner the market on elite starting pitching. You asserted otherwise up thread and were wrong about that.

(Sorry for the vehemence, I just don't get why you're continuing to pursue this.)
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 17, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5556225)
The Yankees strategy, while piling up World Series victories, was to attempt to corner the market on elite starting pitching. You asserted otherwise up thread and were wrong about that.

I'm not contradicting the fact that that was their strategy. I'm saying it was a failed strategy. They won inspite of this strategy, not because of it.

The net impact of the acquisitions of Cone, Clemens, Mussina, Irabu, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Vazquez, Pavano, Kei Igawa etc. was an inefficient deployment of resources. They spent a tremendous amount of money, and didn't get value for that money.

They won because of their huge payroll, players their farm system developed, and some shrewd trades. Not because they acquired elite pitching.
   70. jmurph Posted: October 17, 2017 at 05:14 PM (#5556230)
I'm not contradicting the fact that that was their strategy. I'm saying it was a failed strategy. They won inspite of this strategy, not because of it.

And I think that's very wrong. The best way to have several above average to great starters every year is to somehow acquire starters with the potential to be great, and those guys are usually expensive, unless you've been lucky enough to be able to draft/develop them. That Clemens was only good or very good doesn't negate that. I mean, the idea that Clemens and Cone and Mussina and Pettite somehow held the Yankees back ("in spite of this strategy") is pretty silly.
   71. Rally Posted: October 18, 2017 at 08:53 AM (#5556799)
I agree with what you wrote above that last line about CYA rankings, but during that five year stretch Clemens' ERA was 3.99. With all due respect, that's not the sort of ERA I usually associate with an ace.


Clemens definitely did not pitch like an ace in 1999. In 2000 his ERA was 3.70, which doesn't sound much like an ace, but the league ERA was 4.91, and 3.70 was actually second best in the league (though more than double that of the league leader Pedro. If we are grading on the curve, somebody has to bully Pedro for busting the curve). Clemens was crap against Oakland in the playoffs, his teammates bailed him out. Then Roger turned in two of the greatest games I've ever seen pitched in the ALCS and World Series.

From 2000-2003 Roger has a 3.85 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 118, and a 3.63 FIP - important to look at because he was pitching in front of an awful defense. His shortstop was 71 runs below average for the 4 years, center fielder 49 below. This was before pitch framing was discovered by the sabermetric community, but from what I understand Posada was awful at it.

This is the rare case where the W-L record tells the better story than the ERA does. The ERA tells you Roger was great in Toronto, only a bit above average in NY, then great again in Houston. It tells you he was lucky to win so many games because he was blessed with great run support. Truth is those players adding so many more runs than the typical player at their positions were also costing Roger and the rest of the staff runs on defense.
   72. Rally Posted: October 18, 2017 at 08:58 AM (#5556802)
The net impact of the acquisitions of Cone, Clemens, Mussina, Irabu, Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Vazquez, Pavano, Kei Igawa etc. was an inefficient deployment of resources. They spent a tremendous amount of money, and didn't get value for that money.


My theory is that the reason so many attempted acquisitions of elite starters ended up with sub-elite results is the defense. Some of the bad defense shows up on BIP stats (Jeter, Williams, later Matsui & Sheffield) and some even shows up in the BB and SO numbers (Posada).

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