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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, February 15, 2004

New York Yankees

Acquired SS Alex Rodriguez from the New York Yankees for 2B Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named.

Hell with it - if I wait for an announcement, everyone will be tired of it by then.

Highway robbery by the Yankees even considering that Team Captain’s apparent unwillingness to do what’s best for the team is preventing the Yanks from getting the full benefits of the trade.

The current plan seems to be to move A-Rod to 3B but that can always change.  And should, too, since the Yankees acquired a bunch of 3B options that won’t be able to be moved to 2B.  Houston or Lamb can fill a 3B hole without being too wretched, but neither will do the same at 2B.  The best thing for the Yanks to do now is to leave A-Rod at short, tell Derek Jeter that being a leader isn’t just a pretty label, and move him to 2nd and eventually center.

What the Rangers get out of this?  A much bleaker future than before the A-Rod trade.  They pay the Yankees roughly a *third* of what A-Rod’s owed for the privilege of making the team significantly worse.  Soriano’s a much better player than a lot of people, including myself, thought he would be, but he’s not A-Rod. 

If the Rangers are able to keep Soriano long-term, they’ll have to give him a deal not too far from the 12-18 a year the Yanks are paying A-Rod, which’ll eat into any savings and payroll flexibility.

If the Rangers are not able to keep Soriano long-term, then they’ve lost 10 wins a year.  They had enough problems *with* the wins A-Rod brought and would be that much further from making a dent in the West.

Mike Young returns to short and should handle it pretty nicely.

Really, there’s not much of a way the Rangers get any advantage in this.  This wasn’t a world-class offense - it was a mediocre offense in 2003 *with* the 2nd-best SS in history.

2004 ZiPS Projections
Player     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
Soriano     701 125 223 45 3 39 135 35 140 37 .318 .361 .558
Rodriguez   628 118 184 29 3 50 140 91 124 14 .293 .394 .588

Dan Szymborski Posted: February 15, 2004 at 11:55 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Benji Posted: February 11, 2002 at 02:56 AM (#554005)
You see why real Met fans are so bitter? The friggin Yankees get players that WILL help them (VanderWal, White, Karsay, Widger, Thurman and even Rivera) and Phillips rolls the dice on Mo, trades the farm to "shore up" a position that already had a player, and wastes money on bums like Weathers. The runner-ups improve, the stiffs get worse. And then all summer I gotta hear the Yankee fans crow, after a winter of listening to Met fans delude themselves. Yuk.
   102. Bull Pain Posted: March 12, 2002 at 04:45 PM (#555353)
I think it was the Saints' WR Albert Connell stealing cash from rookie RB Deuce McAlister's locker.
   103. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 12, 2002 at 05:46 PM (#555356)
What a maroon! Why would someone who is getting paid $1 million for simply showing up to work do something so utterly stupid?

Well, Occam's Razor suggests as a possible answer "Because he is utterly stupid."

Still, I agree with your next statement; there has to be more to this story.
   104. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: March 12, 2002 at 07:33 PM (#555358)
Hey, look at it this way:

It's on March 12 and Rivera already leads the AL in steals...
   105. Brian Posted: March 12, 2002 at 09:25 PM (#555362)
What's all the fuss about. He stole Jeter's glove? C'mon, its not like Jeter ever uses it.
   106. Big Ed Posted: March 12, 2002 at 09:42 PM (#555363)
David, Mark
   107. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:07 AM (#555375)
Big Ed, that's not enough to explain it. The MLBPA essentially rolled over and said, "It's okay with us." They wouldn't do that for a player released just for swiping a glove.
   108. RJ in TO Posted: March 13, 2002 at 02:25 AM (#555376)

Are you saying that a union would support a player who was accused of stealing from other members of his union. It falls under the same line as crossing a picket line. It is an action against a fellow member of his union, which directly interferes with the ability of that fellow member (stealing his "game" glove, betraying the trust of a union member) to perform his job. The reason that the MLBPA "rolled over" is that the action was not against the owners, but against a member of the players union.
   109. Brian Posted: March 13, 2002 at 03:17 AM (#555378)
Couldn't the Yanks have had Rivera charged with theft? I'm guessing they held the threat of prosecution over his head unless he agreed to forget the extra 800k.
   110. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: March 13, 2002 at 03:41 AM (#555379)
I'm guessing that was exactly the way it was presented to Ruben. "$200,000 or a night with a bunch of guys named Bubba - your choice". I wonder if some of the Giants players aren't disappointed that the Giants didn't tender Rivera a contract this winter; he could have stolen Bonds' Lazy-Boy from the clubhouse :)
   111. Shredder Posted: March 13, 2002 at 03:49 AM (#555380)
So would that mean he got the extra $800k if spent a couple of nights with guys named Bubba?

   112. RJ in TO Posted: March 13, 2002 at 03:52 AM (#555382)
Now, if the Yankees did hold the threat of prosecution over his head, the union would have tore them apart for extortion. I can't believe that this was the situation, especially since the items in question are of low enough value (How much do a bat and glove actually cost) that the most likely outcome, especially for a first time offender, would be parole.
   113. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 13, 2002 at 04:07 AM (#555383)
Holding prison over his head might not fly, but I don't see any reason the Yankees couldn't threaten him with a blacklist.
   114. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 13, 2002 at 07:00 AM (#555387)
A union's job is to defend the contractual rights of players against management. It doesn't matter whether Rivera stole from Jeter; the union wouldn't be defending him in a lawsuit brought by Jeter. The NBAPA supported Sprewell when the NBA took action against him. The MLBPA supported Alomar when he spit on the umpire, and John Rocker when he insulted as many people as he could find, including his own teammates. The MLBPA defended Steve Howe when he was suspended for the forty-third time. That's because the issue is not whether he's a nice guy or popular with his teammates. The issue is whether a team has the right to release a player because he stole a glove. The union has to be involved, because future punishments are based on precedent. So they need to make sure that no precedents are set giving management extra power to punish players.

The professor example is completely inapposite. Of course the university wouldn't defend the player. We're talking about a union, not an employer.

The claim that he has "not a leg to stand on" is simply wrong. For an example, see the Sprewell case. The issue isn't whether the charges are true -- though that is AN issue -- but whether those charges are grounds for termination of a signed contract. He might lose -- but the union's job isn't to decide that. That's the job of an arbitrator. The union's job is to represent him. Unless, of course, Rivera's crimes are so egregious that they really have no case. The public information about this case doesn't come close to qualifying.
   115. Darren Posted: March 13, 2002 at 01:46 PM (#555388)
The weird thing about this is that it probably does more to punish the Yanks than Rivera. Rivera will get another job somewhere, and whatever GM brings him in will say, "we don't condone what he's done, but we believe in 2nd chances," etc. The Yankees will now be short one outfielder.

It seems to me that the smart thing to do in these situations, usually, is to "get counseling" for the player or some such thing. Then you get to keep your talented player so you're not the one being punished.

Punitively releasing a player has a very Royals-ish feeling about it.

PS. If I was Ken Harvey, I'd make it a point to oversleep and come late to practices, in hopes of being released.
   116. Bob T Posted: March 13, 2002 at 09:32 PM (#555400)
My wallet fell out of my pants in a staff bathroom a few years ago. The bathroom was not open to the general public. I came back and found my wallet as soon as I noticed it was missing, about 35 minutes.

The wallet was still there, but one of my coworkers had taken all of the cash out of it. I was SOL.
   117. Bob T Posted: March 13, 2002 at 10:27 PM (#555402)
I have claimed my revenge by slowly pilfering pens from work to make up for the $20 I lost. The thief left my credit cards.
   118. Big Ed Posted: March 13, 2002 at 11:28 PM (#555404)
'Moral turpitude' is the phrase you are looking for.

If someone stole something of value at my company, I have no doubt they would be out the door, on their ass, ASAP. My guess is the Yankees fired him, and the negotiated a settlement to avoid a grievance. Rivera got something, when he could very well have had his contract voided.
   119. jwb Posted: March 14, 2002 at 06:53 AM (#555405)
Big Ed,
   120. Big Ed Posted: March 14, 2002 at 08:08 PM (#555406)
Well, yeah, that too.
   121. Klobedanz Posted: June 06, 2002 at 03:54 PM (#556979)
John VDW, Shane Spencer that's some high priced talent on the bench. I think either of those guys could start for the Pirates.
   122. SM in DC Posted: June 06, 2002 at 07:25 PM (#556982)
Amen, Andrew, amen... I remember the horror of becoming aware of all the talent the Yanks pissed away in the mid to late 80s while Steinbrenner traded for old, expensive guys...
   123. Klobedanz Posted: June 06, 2002 at 08:38 PM (#556983)
What , you didn't like Claudell Washington? Ken Phelps?
   124. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 06, 2002 at 09:12 PM (#556984)
It's a pretty safe bet that Vander Wal could start for the Pirates, since he did last year.

Thames is currently playing for the Columbus Clippers, and he's struggling a bit: .218 BA, .315 OBP, .385 SLG. The walk rate is good, and there's some power there, but for whatever reason he's not hitting any singles.
   125. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 07, 2002 at 09:20 PM (#556987)
I've shown the ability to gain weight without the least bit of effort, so I think an actual athlete should be able to gain weight, too, but with more productive results!
   126. Mike Emeigh Posted: June 08, 2002 at 09:28 PM (#556988)
Speaking of Wily Mo Pena:

He's playing at AA Chattanooga this year. The Lookouts recently passed through Raleigh, and I got to see him in one game there. He does appear to be developing some recognition of the difference between a ball and a strike - he certainly looks a lot better now than he did as an overmatched kid at Greensboro two years ago - and might even be progressing to the point where he's a real prospect.

-- MWE
   127. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 10, 2002 at 01:36 AM (#556991)
A wrist injury would explain a lot about Thames. Hand injuries allow a guy to pile up at-bats while playing with restricted capabilities; they can really screw up a stat line on a prospect.
   128. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 18, 2002 at 02:38 PM (#557219)
That's the plus of being a fringe player that retires midseason; the ones that are simply not signed in the offseason never get to announce a retirement (Devon White, Chad Curtis).
   129. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 28, 2002 at 01:06 AM (#557330)
Garcia still looks like a decent bench bat to me, though the decline in his numbers is worrisome (and would reinforce the age thing).
   130. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: June 28, 2002 at 11:48 AM (#557331)
I almost fell out of bed laughing seeing Suzyn interview Karim. She might as well have asked him...."Why have you stunk for the past few years." I'm 28, and looking at that guy, there is no way he is younger than I am.
   131. Robert Dudek Posted: July 02, 2002 at 01:12 AM (#557414)
Ricciardi commented on the Jays' TV broadcast that they will call up Josh Phelps tomorrow to be the regular DH.

Journeyman Pedro Swann was called up today when Chris Woodward was placed on the DL.
   132. Robert Dudek Posted: July 02, 2002 at 01:28 AM (#557416)
As opposed to being on the hook to pay 18.5 million. That's a lot of cash saved.
   133. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 02, 2002 at 02:38 AM (#557419)
Nothing to do with Mondesi, but I saw this the other day and though that you might be interested: Dudek means "bagpiper" in Czech. You probably had a musician in the family a few generations back, Robert, whether you knew it or not.
   134. Bob Koo Posted: July 02, 2002 at 02:39 AM (#557420)
Yikes. Look at Mondesi's splits this year. His OPS is much, much higher on turf and at home. That does not bode well for him at Yankee Stadium. Not to mention that he's been in severe decline for a few years now. Way to go Boss!
   135. Robert Dudek Posted: July 02, 2002 at 03:12 AM (#557421)

The name 'Dudek' in Polish (my ethnic background) is the name of a small (supposedly slow-witted) bird.

Sad but true.
   136. Colin Posted: July 02, 2002 at 03:33 AM (#557423)
Hey, that's close to the German, something like Dudelsacpfeiffer, for bagpiper. Okay, not that close, but it has the Dude part
   137. Klobedanz Posted: July 02, 2002 at 01:09 PM (#557429)
All the above reasons are valid ones for wondering what possibly the Yankees could have been thinking (although I don't think Mondesi's 1st half stats are indicative of his true performance level, he always seems to get his stats by the end of the year) the thing I don't like is this guy is not someone I would want in my clubhouse, he showed up late for meetings in Toronto, cussed out Tosca, I just don't think this guy fits the mold of the Yankee clubhouse. I guess the bottom line for me, being a Yankee fan, is that he's a very selfish player and we usually don't go after guys that aren't team players. Couldn't we have called Chili Davis and seen if he wants to pull a Sierra?
   138. Darren Posted: July 02, 2002 at 06:48 PM (#557433)
I wish people would stop saying the Yanks are paying $6 to $7 mil a year for Mondesi. They are paying $6 mil+ for 1/2 of this year and $6 mil plus for all of next year. There for, they are paying $8 mil+/year for him.

That's a lot for Derek Bell.
   139. Dave Till Posted: July 02, 2002 at 07:48 PM (#557434)
I expect that Mondesi will play better in New York than he did in Toronto. All the Jays' hitters are discouraged after spending the first 2 1/2 months of the season watching the team fall behind 4-0 after two innings. Everybody but Hinske (and, perhaps, Wells) is pressing at the plate.

On a slightly related subject: apparently, J.P. Ricciardi has an out clause in his contract - he can leave Toronto after this season if he wants to. I'm a Jays fan, and I'm in favor of what he's done so far, but I can't imagine what would happen next in Toronto if J.P. were to jump ship to, say, Boston.
   140. Geoff Posted: July 02, 2002 at 07:54 PM (#557437)
"I wish people would stop saying the Yanks are paying $6 to $7 mil a year for Mondesi. They are paying $6 mil+ for 1/2 of this year and $6 mil plus for all of next year. There for, they are paying $8 mil+/year for him.

That's a lot for Derek Bell."

Derek Bell - career OPS+ 100
   141. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: July 02, 2002 at 09:32 PM (#557438)
a better comp would be *George* Bell.

It certainly would be.

George Bell at 32: 255/294/418

Yankee fans, say hello to your new rightfielder.
   142. RJ in TO Posted: July 03, 2002 at 09:53 PM (#557448)
Actually, the Olerud deal ended up being Olerud and $5M to the Mets with Robert Person (and only Robert Person) going to the Jays.

This one was a beautiful combination of stupidity on the Jays part, as it required both Cito Gaston's efforts to convert John Olerud into a more agressive pull-hitter, and the Amazing Gordo's failure to see what Cito was doing.
   143. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: July 04, 2002 at 04:53 PM (#557334)
And Karim has already been designated for assignment....... damn Mondesi
   144. Dave Till Posted: July 04, 2002 at 08:20 PM (#557451)
From what I remember of Olerud's struggles from 1994 to 1996, I recall that he was having problems because he stopped pulling the inside fastball. He seemed to be trying to hit everything to left, and was getting jammed on inside pitches. When pitchers saw this, they started throwing inside all the time.

When Olerud moved to New York, I would guess that pitchers didn't know about his tendency to inside-out everything, and pitched him away. This brought his levels back up.

While Cito may have made some mistakes as manager and hitting coach, I can't imagine him trying to change somebody while they were hitting .363 - especially since Cito was usually known for inaction.

There must be data available to confirm either your hypothesis or mine - if Olerud started pulling everything, presumably he'd have a lot more F9's and 4-3's on his record, plus a few more GIDP's.

(By the way, Cito-bashers might want to note that Delgado, Cruz, Stewart, Mondesi, Fletcher and Lopez are all hitting worse this year than they did while under The Pernicious Influence Of The Evil Cito (tm). Of course, there are lots of other factors involved - age, discouragement - but I don't see a lot of evidence that Cito was a bad influence on the Jays' hitters.)

By the way, I predict that Mondesi will singlehandedly win at least one game in the upcoming Jays-Yanks series. It's all part of the dark cloud that the Jays' franchise has been under ever since either (a) Gillick left town, or (b) Duane Ward first developed "tendinitis" (you pick).
   145. Robert Dudek Posted: July 07, 2002 at 04:05 AM (#557454)
Well, Yankees fans, what do you think of your new right fielder? Slow, isn't he. At least if you compare him to someone like Jose Cruz Jr.
   146. Klobedanz Posted: July 08, 2002 at 07:46 PM (#557455)
Mondesi sold me on that hustle play the other day where he beat out an infield single and it led to a big inning. That was the perfect way for him to ingratiate himself to Yankee fans, totally cool.
   147. Jason Robar Posted: July 09, 2002 at 08:09 PM (#557457)
Dave, as I recall things, Cito (and his hitting coaches - I want to single out Willie Upshaw, but I don't know if that's accurate) took Olerud's 1993 to be his potential, only with more homeruns. So they "encouraged" him to pull the ball more.

(I'm pretty sure there's also the discussion of how you don't win without a power source at first, and Olerud wasn't providing that.)

Inevitably, Olerud would struggle for half the year, then get left alone to do whatever he was doing before pulling the ball. At that point, Olerud would hit rather well until the end of the season. Wash, rinse and repeat for 1995 and 1996.

He then got railroaded out of town by the amazing logic of him not putting up enough RBIs (never mind that he had ~400 PA, and a simple projection over 162 games would give him 80 RBIs, which is what the club claimed to want from him).

   148. Christopher Posted: July 12, 2002 at 08:18 PM (#557657)
I'm not sure how facing 10 batters in spring training got Etherton into the Cincy rotation in 2001 but Etherton hasn't pitched in a game that counts in the majors or minors since 08/04/2000.
   149. Repoz Posted: July 15, 2002 at 05:52 AM (#557726)
Anybody else getting the feeling that we might be looking at a rather arduous route that Clemens will be taking to his 300th win,let alone passing Seaver's 311 (which he has stated was a goal of his).

It could get ugly....5th inning lead pullouts,spot starts versus weak sisters(wait..they do those already),middle inning vulture wins.
   150. Darren Posted: July 15, 2002 at 05:05 PM (#557727)
They spot start Clemens vs. weak teams? When was that exactly? Clemens is the 2nd best pitcher on their staff, so there's no reason for that.

There's little reason to believe that Clemens cannot keep pitching well for a while. Most of his injury troubles this year have been bad luck, not recurring problems. He has this groin problem every year, but it usually doesn't land him on the DL.

I'd guess that Clemens will have no problem with 300 or 311 wins, especially if he stays with the Yanks.
   151. Bob T Posted: July 15, 2002 at 08:57 PM (#557730)
It was more a case of the Yankees just scoring a lot of runs when he pitched.

And no he wasn't pushed to pitch too many innings, but Torre knew he could rely on his bullpen and he also realized that he was going to need Clemens in October.

And November.
   152. Darren Posted: July 20, 2002 at 03:47 AM (#557737)
Clemens is the most "protected" starter in baseball already. His 20 wins last year were a joke because he was pulled the second the tying run ever got on base so he wouldn't get the loss.

And no he wasn't pushed to pitch too many innings, but Torre knew he could rely on his bullpen and he also realized that he was going to need Clemens in October.

The only problem with these statements is that Clemens threw 220.3 innings last year. That' hardly sounds like they were protecting him. You want to talk about a protected pitcher, look at Pedro, who's hasn't hit 30 starts or 220 IP since 1998. He's often pushed back an extra day and misses some portion of every season with injury.

Besides, isn't it a good idea to "protect" valuable pitchers like Clemens and Pedro?
   153. Bob T Posted: July 20, 2002 at 07:12 PM (#557739)
   154. Repoz Posted: July 20, 2002 at 09:20 PM (#557740)
Will....If i'm not mistaken Mike Stanton blew 3 possible Clemens wins in 2001,which would have given Clemens 23 wins.

Stanton came into the Clemens games(all in the 7th inning) with leads of 5-4,4-3,3-2 and kryzneled them all.

In a past NL lifestyle Stanton also cost Greg Maddux a number of wins.

Utter laziness precludes me from checking RI's
   155. Darren Posted: July 21, 2002 at 01:24 AM (#557741)
I followed a lot of Yankees games last year, and I think Torre's philosophy was this: I've got a great bullpen. If I'm winning, I'll go to them as soon as possible and let them finish it out. If I'm losing, I'll let my starters stay in and eat up some innings. I don't think he treated Clemens differently in this regard.

Clemens just happened to get better run support so was winning more often and removed with leads more often.
   156. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 04, 2002 at 02:05 PM (#558678)
Wily Mo is my candidate for most improved player I've seen this year. Two years ago when I saw him at Greensboro he looked totally lost at the plate; this year when Chattanooga came through he looked like he might actually be not all that far from contributing (although he fell off quite a bit over the last month of the season).

That said, he's on a major-league deal and I think he'll be out of options next season. He needs at least another minor league season, IMO; he still has strike-zone recognition issues.

-- MWE
   157. Buddha Posted: September 04, 2002 at 08:39 PM (#558680)
As a devoted Michigan fan, I am torn about Henson. He could have been one of the best in Michigan quarterback history (not the strongest list, but getting stronger with Harbaugh, Brady, and Griese) but gave it up for baseball. Normally that wouldn't bother me, but when Henson agreed to sign at Michigan, Michigan agreed not to recruit a QB the year before and the year after he got there. Then he leaves the year before he would have been the best quarterback in college football and Michigan gets stuck with a full year of John Navarre with disastrous results (yes, 8-4 is disastrous for Michigan, it isn't Michigan STATE, ya know).

yes, he got some cash, but he already had $4 million from Big George. He couldn't play ONE more year?

Anyway, that's my rant. part of me wants to see him succeed because he went to Michigan and part of me wants him to fail because he d***** them in the end. At least part of me will be happy.
   158. klobedanz Posted: September 05, 2002 at 02:16 PM (#558686)
Rick Leach
   159. Buddha Posted: September 05, 2002 at 10:45 PM (#558688)
Tim, you're nuts, and not just because you root for Moo U. :) Henson would have been the undisputed number one pick in the NFL draft. Bar none. He's big, hyped and has a hell of a lot of talent. Put him on that team last year and they don't lose a game (except for Tennessee).

Rick Leach was a hell of a college quarterback. But, he's no Bobby McCallister.

Will: Yeah right. Maybe if the officials let Nebraska get away with kicking the ball to a teammate...oh wait...
   160. Buddha Posted: September 06, 2002 at 05:23 PM (#558690)
Oh Tim.

Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim.

You don't think that if Henson had had a monster season last year (and he would have), he wouldn't have been a top five pick? I have yet to see someone write that he would not have been. On the contray, I have seen numerous people opine that he would have. He's bigger and stronger than both those guys and plays at a more glamorous program.

State is clearly the better team this year? Based on what? Their blow out of EMU? The worst team in the MAC? Wow. Good job, Sparty. Who's your next home game? Sister Mary of the Poor? When MSU beats a good team, let me know.

And as for last year, they would have scored even MORE points if Henson was the QB instead of Navarre the invalid. They would'nt have needed the defense to mess it up at the end of the game.

Come on Tim. Sparty's time to talk is when basketball season starts. That's when all Michigan fans start passing the hat around in order to pay for our next star. :) But football season? Come on.
   161. Buddha Posted: September 08, 2002 at 10:28 PM (#558692)
Tim D: Close call against Rice? MSU must have been caught looking ahead to that big game against mighty Cal.

Quite a schedule they've put together. And all at home too. Nice one. :)
   162. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 10, 2002 at 05:31 PM (#558693)
Speaking of Wily Mo Pena:

The Reds just called him up when they placed Brandon Larson on the 15-day DL.

-- MWE
   163. Cris E Posted: September 18, 2002 at 09:58 PM (#558696)
Does anyone know if there are plans for him to be in Winter ball or theInstructional League this winter?

He won't be in the instructional league, as the Yankees have joined the Royals in skipping it. (I'm guessing George may have different reasons than Glass, however.)
   164. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 05, 2002 at 11:10 PM (#560154)
On the other hand, they might have been able to get Latham on an NRI. Rontrez Johnson didn't get any guaranteed money, did he?
   165. Mr. Crowley Posted: December 06, 2002 at 02:41 AM (#560158)
It's a trap!
   166. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: December 06, 2002 at 01:42 PM (#560163)
Chris Latham could help a major league team, but why waste a spot on the 40-man when you can just sign him to a minor league contract with an NRI and later add him to the roster if he plays well?

Latham might not have taken a NRI with the Yankees, knowing he has less chance of landing a major league job there than somewhere else. Latham's a significantly better player than what the Yankees have lying around to fill a real fifth (more likely sixth) outfielder's role, so the extra amount it costs to sign Latham and burn a 40-man slot that was available anyway.
   167. Danny Posted: December 06, 2002 at 05:29 PM (#560167)
" Interesting to see the difference in market value between David Bell and Robin Ventura. Don't the Phils feel stupid now - I know I'd rather have Ventura."

Ventura will be 35 next season, while Bell will be 30. I'd rather have Bell, who can also play 2B, signed for 4 years at $17M than Ventura for 4 years at $20M.
   168. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 08, 2002 at 04:05 AM (#560354)
He isn't. The Yankees spending too much money doesn't make me feel the least bit sad.
   169. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 08, 2002 at 04:21 AM (#560355)
It's a payback for his years in Montreal.
   170. Snowboy Posted: December 09, 2002 at 03:23 AM (#560360)
I don't know who to blame, Cashman for giving Torre nothing to work with, or Torre for not playing the backups. Posada's a productive hitter, but 600 PAs/yr for a catcher? I would say they've been lucky he hasn't come up injured, and now that he's over 30, they had better commit seriously to playing a backup more often.
   171. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: December 09, 2002 at 02:54 PM (#560363)
Sure Widger makes $700,000 and Johnson will only make $500,000, but the ability to hit is important and Johnson is an automatic out

Widger is a better hitter because he has more power, but his career OBP is less than Mark Johnson's... which means he makes more outs.
   172. Mikαεl Posted: December 09, 2002 at 03:03 PM (#560364)
Well, as a backup I think you could do a lot worse than Widger. He can play defense and mash lefties. (Actually, he's pretty similar to Boston's Doug Mirabelli, with better BA skills but poor plate discipline.). I don't think 400K is going to impact the Yankees much one way or the other.

Regarding Billy Beane, the Mark Johnson acquisition was very different. For one, he received cash to cover most of Johnson's salary. For another, if I needed a backup catcher, I'd get Widger. If I wanted a guy with an outside shot at earning a starting job, I'd take Johnson, who I can conceive of posting a .370 OBP. It won't happen, but it's in the realm of probability, which it really isn't for Widger.
   173. Mikαεl Posted: December 09, 2002 at 04:05 PM (#560366)
I agree you want the better player. As I looked at it, the problem is determining who the better player will be. If you played the 2003 season 10 times, I bet Widger has the better season six or seven instances. However, in one of those seasons, Johnson has a much better season than Widger's best.

Widger's mean production would be higher, but Johnson's best possible season, his uppppside, is higher. So, if you're in a more conservative position with an all-star catcher signed long-term, you want certainty. If you want a guy with a shot at earning the starting job, you take the upside. I may be wrong - I got those probabilities by eyeballing their stat lines and a couple similar players - but that was the theory.
   174. Mikαεl Posted: December 11, 2002 at 05:13 AM (#560485)
All these things are possible. The Yankees have great scouting, good teaching, smart people in their front office.

That said, I can't for the life of me understand giving two guaranteed years to a guy who spent three years out of the major leagues from 99-01. Whose peripherals were mediocre (7.46 K/9, 3.67 BB/9) outside of a ridiculous HR rate. Whose success derived greatly from the strong defense around him (.242 $H). The Yankees can eat the money if it's a mistake, but he's a better bet to be Jason Grimsley than Mike Stanton
   175. WillYoung Posted: December 11, 2002 at 05:44 AM (#560487)
That new pitch that you say he might have developed would be his Bugs Bunny Changeup which practically stops on the way to the plate.
   176. Shredder Posted: December 11, 2002 at 03:51 PM (#560491)
That new pitch that you say he might have developed would be his Bugs Bunny Changeup which practically stops on the way to the plate.

Can he strike out three batters with it on one pitch?
   177. Dylan Posted: December 11, 2002 at 05:47 PM (#560492)
Chris Hammond has a chance to be a better reliever than Stanton next year but he could also be 2003's answer to John Burkett in 2002: a terrible pitcher, turned dominant in Atlanta, who then comes to the AL East and proves that his season was a complete fluke. I would have to say that the latter is much more likely.
   178. Mikαεl Posted: December 11, 2002 at 06:36 PM (#560494)
Actually, if you at Burkett through the lens of DIPS analysis, you see a mediocre pitcher who had been saddled with bad luck and worse defenses for years, who happened to have a mild peak the same year as his luck turned around and his defense started to support him. He then moved to a slightly weaker defensive team, declined a bit off the peak, and had some more bad luck on balls in play. He should be a reasonably league average pitcher next year, and he could win 15-20 again in Seattle or Anaheim.
   179. Mikαεl Posted: December 11, 2002 at 06:37 PM (#560495)
... if you look at...

I suck.
   180. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2002 at 07:23 PM (#560496)
Well, it's not clear the Yanks thought this was the best move. The Yanks apparently consider him, Stanton, and Guthrie to be equals and would be happy with any one of those three. Stanton's the only one of those three who's been consistently good, so it's odd to view them as the same. But even if they should be viewed the same, the Yanks still looked at Hammond and, rather than seeing a guy with a 1.00 ERA, saw a guy like Mark Guthrie. Still don't know why that's worth this kind of money.

And while we do have evidence that one well-run organization, the Yankees, thinks Hammond will continue to be effective, we have equal evidence that another well-run organization, the Braves, did not feel the odds of this were sufficient to justify a contract in this range. It's certainly possible the Yanks see something the Braves don't, but given the Braves' expertise with retread relievers and with Hammond in particular, I can't think of any reason to think the Yanks know more in this case.
   181. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq., LLC Posted: December 11, 2002 at 10:19 PM (#560501)
Sir John?

I would guess not, since the Yankees have been somewhat on the side of the players in recent labor negotiations, or at least closer to it than the other 29 teams.
   182. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 12, 2002 at 08:20 AM (#560505)
Wow, 18 hours since the Brewers signed Clayton and no Oracle. Still doubled over in laughter, Dan? :)
   183. Bill Posted: December 19, 2002 at 02:54 AM (#561271)
Over the past three years, Zeile is 270/371/480 vs. LHP's. They could do worse to replace Shane Spencer's righty-DH at-bats and give Ventura some days off against lefties.
   184. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: December 19, 2002 at 02:58 AM (#561272)
Here they are saying they need to cut Payroll and then they overpay first Hammonds and now Zeile. What's going on here? It doesn't seem like this organization is being very smart now. By the way they already have overpaid OF too. See Raul Mondesi. .
   185. Bill Posted: December 19, 2002 at 03:41 AM (#561274)
It's like a politico calling for a "cut" in spending. What he really means is "not increase it as fast as usual."
   186. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 19, 2002 at 02:58 PM (#561275)
I don't see how the Yankees are overpaying for Todd Zeile. He made $6 million last year and is now down to $1.5 million, which is below the average major league salary. The Yankees are trying to upgrade the bench--an area that has been criticized the past few seasons--and Zeile figures to be a productive player in a reserve role. I agree that he shouldn't be a starting player anymore (I hope he doesn't end up as the everyday DH), but as a bench player, I'd like to have a guy like Zeile, who can get on base against left-handers, has a little bit of power, and can play the two infield corner positions.
   187. Bill Posted: December 19, 2002 at 05:10 PM (#561278)
Speaking of Widger, the Girardi signing now makes Chris looking like a bargain since they got the same dollars.
   188. Bill Posted: December 20, 2002 at 04:16 AM (#561420)
Does anyone have any information on Matsui's defensive ability? I assume since he's been a centerfielder that he'll be fine at a corner but, given Bernie's drastic defensive decline, is there any chance Matsui might end up in center?
   189. MM1f Posted: December 20, 2002 at 04:18 AM (#561421)
What kind of defensive OF is he?

Is he a slow LF/1B/DH type or a legitimately league-average or better RFer?
   190. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 20, 2002 at 01:10 PM (#561428)
Then how is it not fair to trash them for this? If it was so obviously a done deal, then why were the Orioles wasting their time making any offers at all? If it wasn't a done deal, then why were the Orioles sitting around dithering with Deivi freaking Cruz?
   191. Mikαεl Posted: December 20, 2002 at 02:35 PM (#561431)
That is unfair criticism, no amount of agressive pursuit would have worked.

I don't believe that's a foregone conclusion. I've heard no reports that anyone seriously topped the Yankees' offer, even though a 3/27 deal would be well within Matsui's value, simply as a player, not even considering the extra revenue he brings. I don't understand why nobody got in on this, even if they merely would've forced the Yankees to go 3/30.
   192. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 20, 2002 at 02:53 PM (#561432)
If Matsui does what everyone's expecting him to do, h's almost as good a bargain as Brian Giles, now.

While the Orioles were possibly less than proactive in their pursuit of Matsui, they still were more aggressive than most of the other teams in baseball, who didn't show the slightest interest in a player who would have potentially represented a substantial improvement to their starting nine. They deserve credit for that, at least.
   193. Captain Obvious Posted: December 20, 2002 at 06:06 PM (#561436)
Jeff, thank you for reminding us that the HAWAIIAN-BORN prospect was American. Yes, thats right, Hawaii is a part of America folks...
   194. MM1f Posted: December 20, 2002 at 07:01 PM (#561438)
The New York Times said the Orioles approached Matsui but Matsui said he would only play MLB with the Yankees, and only if it was a three-year contract (not two, not four) with the Yankees.
   195. Bill Posted: December 20, 2002 at 07:10 PM (#561439)
What is "outside the box" here is that the Yanks unlike most other teams, and baseball itself, are run like a organization that has actual business excecutives. They think about little business-school concepts like "return on investment." The other teams act like their investments (they would call them expenses) do not have any impact on revenues. The Yanks think of Matsui in terms of the revenues that can be generated from (a) being a better ballclub, (b) creating interest among the sizable Japanese population in New York, (c) extending their brand in Japan and (d) building the TV network. They will do the same with Contreras, looking toward post-Fidel popularity in Cuba. These concepts would be alien to most other teams. They would just see Matsui as a big cost.
   196. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 20, 2002 at 08:04 PM (#561442)
I'd say something here, but I can't express it any better than Bill just did.
   197. Bill Posted: December 20, 2002 at 08:09 PM (#561443)
You're right, Fin, he would have turned down KC for more money. But the anti-Yankee brigade will still spin this as "Yanks outspend everyone again, it's so unfair." The Yanks have developed a framework to build their organization in a myriad of ways. Has an executive from KC even visited Japan? I doubt it. Again it would be seen as a "cost" not an investment of time or resources that might develop into something down the road. And, yes, the Yanks are not alone in this kind of thing. Seattle certainly deserves kudos also.
   198. Bill Posted: December 20, 2002 at 08:33 PM (#561445)
The Mets did try that. Hasn't helped much.
   199. Law Boy Posted: December 21, 2002 at 02:03 AM (#561449)
"...As a matter of fact, Gillick is actively pursuing Contreras the last I heard. Anybody have an update on that?"

As smart as Gillick is, he's probably calling Omar Minaya, because after the Yanks overpay for Contreras, Colon may be available at a much more reasonable price.
   200. Bill Posted: December 21, 2002 at 02:29 AM (#561450)
I don't know how much the Yanks will pay for Contreras. I don't know how he will perform. Here's what I do know. The pursuit and signing will generate tremendous interest and not just in NYC. The Mets will be blown off the backpage. More satellite dishes will be sold in South Florida. TV ratings and attendance will be higher. Advertisers seeking the Hispanic market will pay higher rates on YES. That's more money to put back into the business. If he is even a moderate success, the presidential candidates in '04 will want photo ops with him to appeal to the Cuban vote. If Fidel kicks off, the Yanks will be in Cuba within a week selling Contreras jerseys to any kids with two dollars to spare. And the Yanks will be the organization of choice for Cuban players. The potential return on investment fully justifies the risk. What's the potential return on Antonio Alfonseca?
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