Posted tagged ‘New York Yankees’

Adios Robinson Cano

December 6, 2013

This morning Robinson Cano signed a reported 10/$240mil contract with the Seattle Mariners. With all the speculation in the past day I can’t say this is a surprise but I did not think he would sign with Seattle so fast- but I also didn’t think they would go to 10/$240mil so fast.

A month or so ago I wrote about what a potential Robinson Cano contract would look like. In it I surmised that a contract could be worth up to $198mil over ten years but also could be worth up to $240mil depending on the team. I do think Robinson Cano for ten years is worth $240mil- for the New York Yankees. For the Seattle Mariners he is worth closer to $198mil than $240mil so I have to say this a overpay. Not only is it an overpay but it’s an overreach in terms of years. Even if Robinson ages well, one has to imagine that the contract will be dead weight come 2021 and beyond.

If Seattle figures to be a possible playoff team in the near future and Cano is the piece that puts them over the hump then one can see why they would make this deal. As it stands, Seattle won 75 games in 2012. Nick Franklin, who was the expected starter at second for Seattle, is projected to have a 1.5 fWAR by Steamer and 2.6 fWAR by Oliver. Let’s split the difference at 2.0 fWAR. Cano is projected by each at 5.4 and 4.6 so let’s call it 5.0. That is a three win upgrade at the price of $24mil or $8mil per win. And it only jumps Seattle up to a nearly .500 baseball team.

Going forward Seattle could be a playoff team down the road. But by the time this happens, Cano will be in his decline and not as valuable as he currently is. Yet he will still be owed a lot of money could prevent the Mariners from signing players they could sign down the line to contend.

While a large contract made sense for the Yankees, especially in the short run, they did not want to go past seven years- and I can’t blame them for that. Long term contracts of that magnitude rarely turn out well and New York has learned that first hand with contracts they have handed out to Jason Giambi, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez. With the money “saved” they can try to make up for the lost value in others- possibly by signing Masahiro Tanaka, Omar Infante, and Carlos Beltran or Shin-soo Choo. Granted, this will eat up more roster spots than the one spot Cano would have taken, but it could save them money and years.

As for Robinson, I can’t blame him. Yes, I wish he stayed. I wish he chose a plaque at Monument Park over $240mil. I wish he chose to be a Yankee legend over $240mil. But he earned a big payday and he took it as he and other players have every right to. Hopefully when he returns to the Bronx he isn’t greeted with a chorus of boos.

I think it’s also interesting that a Yankee star at the height of his career LEFT the Yankees. For Seattle of all places. Imagine this scenario playing out five years ago? Ten years ago? Even with the signings of Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, it appears as if the Empire is dead.

Finally, Robinson Cano is the one player I can’t help but partial to. Not seeing him in the Yankee lineup everyday is going to hurt. Yet life goes on. Adios Robbie, and good luck in Seattle.

Hopefully this weekend I will put up a post outline what the Yankees should do now.

 

 

 

Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury

December 4, 2013

WOW. I am nearly speechless. Waiting in line for dining hall take out and I got the ESPN text saying the New York Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. This is huge news with a lot of implications.

The contract is 7/$153mil meaning an AAV of nearly $22mil. Ellsbury will be 30 for most of the 2014 season and will be 37 when the contract is over. Ellsbury has had some fantastic seasons but has also had some maddeningly poor seasons. In 2011 he had a phenomenal 9.1 fWAR season. But that dipped to 1.4 in 2012 as he battled injuries and saw his wOBA drop from .400 to .300. He rebounded in 2013 to post a 5.8 fWAR with a .343 wOBA.

Year

Age

xWAR

$/WAR

Value

Salary

2014

30

3.9

5

19.5

~22

2015

31

3.4

5.25

17.85

~22

2016

32

2.9

5.51

15.98

~22

2017

33

2.4

5.79

13.90

~22

2018

34

1.9

6.08

11.55

~22

2019

35

1.4

6.38

8.93

~22

2020

36

0.9

6.70

6.03

~22

Total

16.8

93.74

153

Steamer projects a 3.9 fWAR for Ellsbury in 2014 and as he ages I decreased his WAR by 0.5 each season while adjusting 5% for inflation each season.

3.9 might be a low forecast for 2014 but I think it’s realistic so that’s what I went with. All things considered it seems like the Yankees have much higher expectations for Ellsbury. And I hope so because this deal looks TERRIBLE even if you factor in the Yankees win curve and other additional factors that go into analyzing the Yankees unique position in the market.

The Yankees will pay Ellsbury $153mil for an estimated $94mil in value- a difference of $59mil! This is why long term contracts are bad. It’s very hard to get full or even good value on a contract that goes over four or five years. It’s even worse when you aren’t even projected to get good value after four or five years.

With the additional news that the Seattle Mariners will pay Robinson Cano $200mil or more it looks like his days as a Yankee will come to an end. My forecasts have Cano being worth about $162mil over seven years. Robinson Cano is the player worth $150mil+ not Jacoby Ellsbury. It’s even more head scratching when New York has a center fielder for cheap already- that player being Brett Gardner who has arguably been just as good as Ellsbury over their past few full seasons.

Maybe New York is going to go past their self-imposed $189mil budget and can still sign Cano. But all indications seem to be that they will now focus on Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka while signing Omar Infante for cheap to play second and/or third. As stated I think the smarter move would be to pony up a little bit more to keep Cano than grossly overpay for Jacoby Ellsbury. Even if you think Ellsbury will be better than I project- which the Yankees seem to be doing- it won’t make up nearly the $60mil difference between value and actual salary.

I think this contract will play out similar to the one Carl Crawford signed after the 2010 season. He was going to enter his age 30 season. He got a 7/$142mil contract from the Red Sox (then under different leadership). He had similar K rates, BB rates, and ISO to Ellsbury. He was also a fantastic defender much like Ellsbury. Crawford has posted 3.0 fWAR in the three seasons since. Granted he has missed time to injuries, but the contract is turning into an albatross. I fear the same will happen to the Yankees.

Crawford is just one example of many. To use him as the sole example would be poor analysis, especially when other speed players have aged well. But it does show how risky a deal of this magnitude can be, especially for a player with similar skill sets (BB, K, ISO, speed, defense).

To conclude. Poorly done New York. I am curious to learn whether Brian Cashman approved of this or whether this idea is that of Randy Levine or Hal Steinbrenner, which would continue to show the lack of structure in New York’s front office. There is a reason why a well-run team, the Boston Red Sox, let go of their starting center fielder. He isn’t worth nine figures. As long as the Yankees continue to operate this way the gap between them and their rival to the north will continue to grow.

EDIT:

This Dave Cameron article looks at the decline of speedy outfielders. He notes that from age 30-36 this pool of comparable players to Jacoby Ellsbury averages 17 WAR, which isn’t bad. That’s right round the forecast I have for Ellsbury. He will age well, don’t get me wrong. But that’s not $153mil well. And THAT is my problem with the contract- not that Ellsbury will be a poor performer. Heck, he’s still worth almost $100mil over seven years!

Moreover, FanGraphs Crowdsourcing, which is pretty accurate, had a real life expectation of 6/$112mil and a fantasy expectation of 5/$83mil. Although older and not as productive, I think at 7/$153mil it would even make more sense to bring back Curtis Granderson at 3 years and a whole lot less money (although I am against that as well).

Yankees Sign Brian McCann

November 24, 2013

Late this evening the New York Yankees signed catcher Brian McCann to a 5/$85mil contract with a vesting option that would bring the deal to 6/$100. I was concerned the Yankees would overvalue Brian McCann with a $100mil+ contract for five years, and they did overpay, but I’m more indifferent than upset with this signing. It has good qualities and bad qualities.

Year

Age

xWAR

$/WAR

Value

Salary

2014

30

3.6

5

18

17

2015

31

3.1

5.25

16.23

17

2016

32

2.6

5.51

14.33

17

2017

33

2.1

5.79

12.16

17

2018

34

1.6

6.08

9.73

17

2019 (Option)

35

1.1

6.38

7.02

15

Total

13/14.1

70.45/77.47

85/100

I based my WAR predictions on his Steamer forecast for 2014. They have Brian McCann putting up an fWAR of 3.6. From there I decreased it by 0.5 each season. I think his Steamer forecast looks right on and I think as he ages he will decline similar to a 0.5 per season decline. However, one could feel differently. If you think he will be a full-time DH by year three or four and want to decrease his WAR because of that (losing the positional value) then go ahead.

If McCann stays for five years then according to the value I have him accumulating he will reach 83% of his salary. If his option vests he will reach 77% of his salary in value produced.

So while it IS an overpay, I like that the deal in the short run when his production and value will be in line with his salary. Although the Yankees still have a lot of work to do to contend in 2014 and the near future, it’s better for their bottom line to try and stay a contender than tank for a few years. While they need better player development and to produce some in-house stars, a better strategy for their business is to refuel and reload. They can do that with this contract. In three years Gary Sanchez may be ready to take over full-time catching duties. McCann can catch part-time and DH for two years and focus on his offense.

On the flip side, could this money be better spent elsewhere to improve this team? To be honest, I’m not sure. Chris Stewart is slated to be the starter for 2014 while Francisco Cervelli is suspended for 50 games. McCann is a three win upgrade over Stewart and will be paid like it. After that, the Yankees can ease in their catching prospects while McCann gets the majority of starts and gets some time at 1b and/or DH to keep his bat in the lineup.

One downside is losing a draft pick. But the Yankees are probably figuring to they will gain some if they lose Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda. Although with a reinvigorated focus on growing farm one wonders if this McCann contract is worth losing a first round pick- a pick which could always be franchise changing.

As for the rest of the Yankees off-season I would like them to re-sign Robinson Cano (but not to anything above $250mil), sign Tanaka if he is posted, sign re-sign Kuroda (depending on years and/or price), and sign Omar Infante to play third base.

Robinson Cano’s Fair Market Value

November 10, 2013

Four players in MLB history have signed contracts in excess of $200mil. In 2001 and 2008, Alex Rodriguez signed two $200mil+ contracts, becoming the first player to sign a contract worth $200mil or more. 2011 saw two players top the $200mil mark with the Angels signing of Albert Pujols and Tigers signing of Prince Fielder. This past year saw Joey Votto signed an extension that will pay him north of $200mil. The fifth player to join this club will be Robinson Cano.

During the past season the Yankees offered Robinson Cano an extension worth $165mil over seven years. Cano rejected the offer and his agency instead told the team that Cano could be signed for roughly $300mil over ten years. Such a contract would make Cano the highest paid player in sports- by far.

So the question being asked by everyone is: what is Robinson Cano worth? $300mil, $165mil, or somewhere in between? Well, let’s answer that question. First, I will look at his past few seasons as well as his projections for 2014. Then I will project that going forward over the life of a hypothetical contract. After coming up with an estimated figure, I will compare him to similar players and assess other factors that come into play.

Robinson Cano has established himself as the best Yankee on a team that features Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and CC Sabathia. In doing so he earned five All-Star selections, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Gold Gloves, a World Series Championship, a World Baseball Classic Championship, and a World Baseball Classic MVP Award. According to FanGraphs, Cano has been worth $162.7mil throughout his career while earning about $56mil, for a value of $106.7mil. So after years outperforming his contract, Robinson wants to finally cash in- and then some.

A lot of times people make the mistake of thinking a player should get paid based of their career. While it’s true a contract is based on how a player has performed, forecasting the future is equally important. So basing a contract off his whole career can have problems- Robinson Cano is a much different player than he was a rookie back in 2005.  However, there is merit in looking at recent history. Here are his numbers from 2010-2013 (Total/Season Average):

Games: 640/160

Hits: 774/193.5

Home runs: 117/29.25

BA: .312

OBP: .373

SLG: .533

wOBA: .386

wRC+: 142

UZR: 8.9/2.225

DRS: 38/9.5

fWAR: 25.4

fWAR/650PA: 6.03

So over the past four years Robinson Cano has been an MVP level player. His offensive numbers are all excellent, his defense is above average, and his WAR value represents that. From 2010-2013 Cano is second to Miguel Cabrera in WAR as well as hits- by one single hit. Moreover, he is second in games played to Prince Fielder. So Cano is an all-around player who can be relied upon to take the field every single game. That is an aspect of player that is often overlooked and something which will help Cano’s free agency case.

Based on the average of his past four seasons Robinson Cano figures to be about a 5.5-6.5 WAR player in 2014. Both CAIRO and Steamer project Robinson to have a 5.6 WAR in 2014. So what does a $/WAR cost? Of late there has been some debate. FanGraphs likes to forecast this value whereas Lewie Pollis has recommended looking at it retrospectively. FanGraphs has $/WAR around $5mil whereas Lewie Pollis has it at $7mil. Personally, I like the way FanGraphs does it, so I will start my analysis with a $/WAR of $5mil and will adjust for inflation each season at 5%. I will also decrease his projected WAR by 0.5 each season.

Year

Age

$/WAR

xWAR

xSalary

Average Salary

2014

31

5.00

5.6

28

28

2015

32

5.25

5.1

26.775

27.388

2016

33

5.51

4.6

25.346

26.707

2017

34

5.79

4.1

23.739

25.965

2018

35

6.08

3.6

21.888

25.150

2019

36

6.38

3.1

19.778

24.254

2020

37

6.70

2.6

17.42

23.278

2021

38

7.04

2.1

14.784

22.216

2022

39

7.39

1.6

11.824

21.062

2023

40

7.76

1.1

8.536

19.809

Total

33.5

198.09

19.809

On face value it appears that over the next ten years the estimated worth of Robinson Cano is about $200mil or $20mil per season. That is a far cry from the $300mil his agency is asking for. Moreover, if you stop at year seven you get a 7/$162.95mil contract. As mentioned earlier, the Yankees offered Cano $165mil for seven years of service. It looks like the Yankees were a lot closer to Cano’s estimated value than CAA.

Now, this is a general fair market value assessment. But each team is not created equal. Robinson Cano will be worth more to a team in the playoff hunt than a bottom of the barrel team. So realistically, we can rule out any non-contenders from signing Cano. If they did want to sign him it would be in their best interests to offer him less money because he isn’t worth as much to them. And doing so would take them out of the market.

One way we can see if a team would have interest in Robinson Cano is by looking at Win Curves, which is explained below by Vince Gennaro:

In order to sort out these effects for each team, we can turn to the regression analyses to estimate the win-curve for each team (discussed in more detail in an earlier chapter). By analyzing historical data that captures fan behavior, we can ultimately assign an estimate of a dollar value for each win. More specifically, the model estimates the change in a team’s revenues at various levels of team regular season wins. For example, the Houston Astros are expected to generate $1.2 million more revenue as an 81-win team versus an 80-win team. That’s equivalent to saying the value of the Houston Astros’ 81st win is $1.2 million. At the extremes, the Pittsburgh Pirates 71st win generates about $300,000 in incremental revenue, versus the $4.2 million that accrues to the Yankees for their 90th win.

Figure 3  $ Value of five wins

TEAM     78-83    86-91

CHC      4.8      15.9

NYM      7.1      18.0

LAD      3.8      15.1

BOS      5.8      13.3

LAA      5.2      11.8

CLE      5.0      12.5

TOR      4.3      12.5

CWS      5.2      14.9

SF       6.2      15.2

ATL      6.1      9.6

 

OAK      3.0      7.7

STL      5.1      13.9

PHI      4.5      14.5

HOU      5.9      12.5

SEA      5.8      16.1

MIL      3.8      8.5

TEX      2.7      11.4

MIN      3.0      6.8

DET      3.4      10.4

AVERAGE: 4.2      11.7

 

SD       3.3      10.8

ARI      3.6      11.3

BAL      3.1      12.3

NYY      5.6      18.4

CIN      2.6      7.5

PIT      2.3      7.3

TB       3.9      9.1

FLA      3.5      9.0

KC       3.6      7.4

The teams that most likely will be in the Robinson Cano sweepstakes are the Yankees, Orioles, and Tigers. Teams that could be in that I ruled out include the Blue Jays, Royals, Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers, and Giants. Although the Blue Jays could use a second baseman, I don’t see Cano being in their plans. While they have money, the team has finished below .500 the past two seasons. Despite a roster that might compete on paper, I think the team is too well-run to throw nine figures at Cano for a long term contract to get them over the hump. The Royals are an emerging contender but do not have the financial capability to spend on Cano. The Nationals are a playoff contender with money. But they recently filled second base with top prospect Anthony Rendon. Moreover, it appears that Washington would want to save their pocketbook for Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg while still dealing with Jayson Werth’s contract. The Cubs could upgrade at second base but are too far away from competing and any upgrade Cano brings will be minimal. He may make the team a .500 team which will bring in less revenue for the club then going from good to great. The Giants are a team that could compete in the NL West, but already have Marco Scutaro at second base. Could they throw him aside for Cano? Sure, but I don’t think that will happen. Finally, the Dodgers were seemingly the favorites to land Cano all season, but signed a Cuban second baseman earlier in the off-season.

So that leaves us with the Yankees, Tigers, and Orioles. Although there are no 2014 forecasts available (that I could find) each of these teams figures to have a shot at the playoffs, in staggered odds. The Tigers should project around 90 wins, the Orioles should project around 85 wins, and the Yankees should project at 80-81 wins. So each team is in the most influential part of the win curve for revenue, but at different stages.

Let’s start with the Yankees. Although it’s a bit optimistic, the Yankees probably will forecast to an 80-81 win team. For them, according to Gennaro’s win curve, that is worth an additional $5mil in revenue. Granted this is seven years later and the Yankees play in a new stadium, are valued more, and their YES Network has gone up in value as well. But either way, moving from 80 wins to 85 or 86 wins won’t have much of an impact on their revenue.  This is because Yankee fans expect a winner every season and being above average won’t cut it. With expensive ticket prices and merchandise, fans are more hesitant to spend money on the Bombers when they are not dominant. This past season is great evidence, as the Yankees won “only” 85 games and a decrease in both attendance and TV ratings. Moreover, with two Wild Card spots, teams should focus on getting to 88-90 to qualify for a spot. With Cano estimated to have a 5.6 WAR in 2014, he alone will not get them to the part of the win curve that will a large uptick in revenue.

However, if the Yankees are able acquire a pitcher such as Tanaka from Japan and get positive contributions from Michael Pineda, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and sign another impact player, the team could then forecast as a 90 win team with Cano. The difference between 85 and 90 wins for the Yankees will be at least $20mil in additional revenues. So depending on certain circumstances, Cano can be worth anywhere from $5-$20mil in additional value for the Bronx Bombers. This means a 10/$220mil contract or 7/$184mil if the team doesn’t want to go as long on years.

After the Yankees I believe the Tigers should be considered the favorites for Robinson Cano. The Tigers have been a 90+ win team for the past couple seasons and 2014 should be no different. They are returning the key pieces of their starting rotation (Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez) as well as their starting lineup minus a second baseman. Enter Cano. By adding Cano the Tigers can jump from a 90 win team to a 95 win team that should be among the favorites to win the World Series. For the Tigers this jump in wins should bring in an additional $10-$15mil in revenue. Going further, revenue goes up with a World Series win and Cano would increase their World Series odds. So the Tigers could be in a similar situation to the Yankees, where Cano could bring in, at least, an additional $15 or $20mil in value.

Finally, we arrive at the Baltimore Orioles, who I consider a long shot for the All-Star second baseman. Baltimore is a city that reacts well to winning. In 2007, going from 78-83 wins would have only generated an extra $3.1mil of revenue but going from 85-91 wins would have generated $12mil in additional revenue. Again, the amount of revenue generated would be greater than it was in 2007, but the value would be around $12mil. So the Orioles should want to tack on an extra $12-$15mil for a Cano contract offer.

So far I have been looking at Robinson Cano’s performance value and its impact on a potential bidders win curve. There are two other factors to take into account- risk factor and marquee value. Risk factor has two components according to Vince Gennaro, quality and quantity. Quality is a player’s performance (WAR/650 PA) while quantity is games played. Robinson Cano would be a low risk player because his performance quality does not vary according to his playing time quantity. He consistently plays 160 or more games a year. A low risk player has his value adjusted up 10%. Although it’s tough to project how he will age, I will still apply this 10% to the life of his contract. So we have $198.09mil x 10% equals $217,899,000 for a ten year contract. If a team can sign him for seven years, that would be $179,245,000.

Along with risk factor, Cano’s value can go up or down based on his marquee value. Vince Gennaro writes that marquee value has four factors: personal qualities, performance factor, continuity factor, and team brand value. Robinson Cano meets three of the aspects of personal qualities as he has a positive image; he is recognizable being in the top twenty for jersey sales and a strong presence in the Latin community; he is relatively accessible; however, being a native Spanish speaker, his articulate quality takes a dent. The team brand value is 2.5 x the baseline revenue.

Looking at the Yankees, this means that the brand value is $1.425bil (2.5 x $570mil revenue). Taking the above factors into consideration as well, Cano has a marquee value in New York of $5,343,750. This will be different for Detroit and Baltimore because of different revenues and a lack of continuity factor. In Detroit Cano has a marquee value of 1,837,500. In Baltimore Cano has a marquee value of $1,575,000. My revenue figures are from Bloomberg Sports franchise valuations.

So to backtrack: Robinson Cano, over ten years, has a fair market value of $198.09mil. In New York, his value would shoot up to $243,242,750mil. This is from a risk factor of +10%, $20mil in performance value based on the win curve, and $5.34375mil in marquee value. For the Yankees, a fair contract for Cano is 10/$243,242,750mil (~$24.32mil per). Over seven years a fair contract is $204,588,750 (~$29.23mil per).

In Detroit, a fair ten year contract offer is 10/$239,736,500 ($23.97mil per). In Baltimore a ten year contract offer should be 10/$231,147,000.

If Robinson Cano wants to take the money and run, then staying in the Bronx looks to be his best option. Detroit can offer a near identical contract because they are very good with favorable World Series odds. If Cano is the cog that helps them lift the trophy then they will see even more revenue than I accounted for. Despite that, he is still just as valuable if not more valuable to the Yankees. He will keep them a contender in the near future and if the Yankees can re-load over the next couple seasons, then he will still be an impact player when the team is again competing for a shot at the World Series. Moreover, the Yankees have a very unique win curve because of their market and the Yes Network. Keeping the team competitive will net them more revenue than any other team so the Yankees do have incentive, when looking at their bottom line, to spend big to keep Cano in pinstripes. As for the Orioles, they could spend big on Robinson Cano, but to spend as much as Detroit or New York would be a bit of an overpay, especially for a somewhat small market team that might be looking to save some money for a Manny Machado extension.

To recap (Ten year):

Neutral context fair market value: $198.09mil

Yankees Value: ~$243mil

Tigers Value: ~$240mil

Orioles Value: $231mil

Additional Notes:

*According to FanGraphs the average salary of the top five players for the past few seasons has been $24-$25mil. Based on my estimated ten year contract offers, Robinson Cano would be expected to earn about $24mil a year, which falls in line with how the game’s top players have been paid. So Robinson Cano has two options- take the years for a “discounted” per year price, or take a contract with shorter years but get paid more per year because he will be paid greatly for his prime seasons. By asking for 10/$300mil he wants to have a cake and eat it too (although I’m sure it’s a negotiating tactic).

If I was a team, I would prefer the option of paying more per year if it means a shorter contract. Super long contracts are very risky because anything can happen. Either way the team will still be paying a ton of money so I would tack on a few million more if it means my long term commitment is shortened.

**Remember, a lot of the number crunching in this is based off estimations. I started his WAR values at 5.6 in 2014 and decreased it by 0.5 each season. If you want to start him higher or lower that will make a difference. If you want to increase his decline phase by more than 0.5 WAR each season that will make a difference. If you want to adjust for inflation differently that will make a difference. This is how I see it and one can easily see it a different way.

***According to FanGraphs crowd sourcing, fans think Robinson Cano will sign for 8/$196.2mil at $24.5mil per year.

****Robinson Cano has accumulated 37.1 fWAR from 2005-2013. Based off my estimates, he will accumulate another 33.5 fWAR through the 2013 season. That would give him a career total of 70.6. Every second baseman with a WAR over 70 has been selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Most recently, Roberto Alomar was elected with a 63.9 fWAR. If things hold up, Robinson Cano could very well be a Hall of Fame inductee and prime candidate to have his number retired, if he does stay in the Bronx.

*****I would like to analyze his future performance value with comparisons to similar players. At the moment, I do not have the capability to do so. I would compare him to current second baseman as well other past second baseman with similar numbers and body types.

MLB looking to suspend A-Rod over poker games

August 3, 2011

And it’s bullshit.

I mean, it’s POKER. It shouldn’t even be illegal. Nonetheless though, it seems to be. So why in the hell is Selig picking his nose into this? Leave it to the authorities. I know he and others hate A-Rod, but it’s not fair to the Yankees, who are contending for a World Series, to suspend one of their most pivotal players.

I also find it funny A-Rod could be suspendedfor playing poker and gambling, while many players only get a small thing known as a DUI, and MLB doesn’t give a shit. Good to see in their eyes poker is more dangerous than driving drunk putting yourself and others at risk of death.

Derek Jeter blasts hit #3000

July 9, 2011

And boy, was it an A-Bomb if I ever saw one. Seriously, I don’t think he’s hit a ball that far, or 400+ feet for that matter, since at least 2009.

In all seriousness though, what a hit, and what a career for Jeter. I do get on his case because of how much the MSM loves him in the present despite his poor play at this stage in his career, but he has been the ultimate professional and I can think of no better athlete to represent the sport and the sports most iconic franchise (run-on sentence over).

Congratulations, Derek. Now if only from here on out you can pretend every at-bat is going to be your 3000th* hit.

*3185 hits really

The roadtrip from hell

May 27, 2011

Starting tonight the Yankees embark on a nine game road trip. They are heading to Seattle for the weekend series, then down to Oakland, and finally will cap off the road trip with a series at Anaheim.

While west coast trips are never fun, this doesn’t seem so bad. I mean, both Seattle and Oakland have terrible offenses, and Anaheim isn’t anything special. Well, take a look at the pitching match-ups.

Seattle: Felix Herandez, Michael Pineda, Justin Vargas

Oakland: Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez

Los Angeles: Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana

Yup. That’s arguably the best three trio’s in the AL. Not only do we get to face them, but we face them on the road AND it’s a west coast trip. For real- we couldn’t have missed Weaver, or Felix out of the nine games? This has to be the worst scheduling luck I’ve seen. That’s seven possible Cy Young candidates right there. And we NEVER win in LA anyway. LA could throw their backup catcher against us and win*.

*At least Howie Kendrick is out. Otherwise we’d get shutout AND get ten runned.

And when the Yankees return home, they get Boston (and then Cleveland). Yay! And I bet they get Lester/Beckett/Clay with their luck.

Jorge the Baby

May 15, 2011

As you probably know by know, after being placed ninth in the lineup last night, Jorge Posada asked out of the game. Not because he was mad at hitting ninth, but because he’s been struggling. Oh, and he claims his back his hurting him. Yet he didn’t go to team doctors or tell anyone. What a mess.

Do I believe his back is a problem? A little bit. I’m sure at his age it aches a little bit. But do I believe it’s why he took himself out of the lineup? No. He said he saw his own chairopractor. Bullshit. If his back was hurting, he would have told Joe Girardi. He would have gone to the medical staff. I mean, he said he used his back as an excuse. So why make it a mystery and not tell anyone until he told the media after the game. If you’re not going to get it treated, it at least makes sense to tell the manager. That way people will say “oh, he had a back problem” and not say “oh, he quit on the team”.

I think the real reason he dropped himself is because he is a baby- mind the kindergarten level language. That simple. He’s been struggling this season and the move down to ninth was too much for him. He’s a proud man and is taking his struggles to heart. He knows he deserved the drop in the lineup and couldn’t handle it mentally.

But despite struggling, he is easily overhyping his slow start. A .165/.272/.349/.276/69+ line is bad. But it’s not even the worst in the league among good hitters. Carl Crawford has been almost twice as bad. If anything Crawford should be the one pouting since he has been worse, is a lot younger, and making BANK. Yet it’s Jorge who is the one acting like a spoiled Little League kid. That’s not even mentioning the fact Jorge has been hitting better in May, raising his OBP and BA. Plus he does he six home runs, which do count for something. Many players have had worse starts and/or slumps. They never publicly quit on themselves and the team in this manner. And the fact the Yankees are sliding and Boston is in town makes this a lot worse. Jorge is supposed to be a leader and an example in the clubhouse- but I guess not.

This all incident has been extremely embarrassing, especially as a fan, and Jorge’s reputation took a major hit in my book.

Sign of the Apocalypse

May 9, 2011

Derek Jeter hit two home runs today. No typo. Not one home run, but two. Two. TWO. 2. Two. Dos. Two.

And Frankie Cervelli not only hit his second career homer, but it was a game changing GRAND SLAM.

Andy Pettite retires, is he a Hall of Famer?

February 4, 2011

Well, tomorrow Andy Pettitte will officially retire. For the 2011 Yankees, this sucks. While I don’t believe Andy would have pitched as well as he did in 2010, he is a considerably better option than Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre, etc, etc for a spot in the rotation. So even at $12mil, Andy is worth that to this specific Yankee team. I can only imagine he would be a 1.5-2 win upgrade compared to our current next best option, so he honestly could be the make or break player/reason the Yankees miss out on the playoffs.

But Andy is not coming back, and as a fan, I cannot complain. He’s been a wonderful talent to watch, and a true competitor. I don’t want to sound all MSMish, but his toughness and appetite to win was fun to watch. For many seasons he was the Yankees star pitcher, and while the Yankees aren’t typically known for their pitching, that’s still an impressive label to carry considering how strong a team the Yankees have been while he’s played for them.

Andy Pettitte has had a good career, but is it a Hall of Fame career?

To begin, Pettitte was a true workhorse. He made 30+ starts in thirteen of his sixteen seasons. Moreover, he did everything well that a pitcher could control. He had a 6.63 K rate, 2.83 BB rate, 0.77 HR rate, and has been successful at inducing lots of ground balls, which usually turn into lots of outs. By limiting walks, keeping the ball in the park, and inducing grounders, Pettitte was able to go deep into ballgames and prevent runs, two significant things a pitcher can do to help his team win, and provide value to them. As a result, Andy had a 3.75 FIP and 66.9 fWAR. In fact, his fWAR/200 is 4.4. That’s not just good. That’s Hall of Fame good.

HOWEVER, bWAR disagrees. His bWAR is 50.2, or 3.3/200 IP. That’s a whole win lower than his fWAR/200. Moreover, his WAR goes from above the HOF standard, to well below it. Yikes. So as a rule of thumb, you average the two. His aWAR would be 58.9 and his aWAR/200 would be 3.8.

So Andy is legitimately borderline right now. His aWAR of 58.9, would just about put him on the Hall of Fame line. Of all players that come to mind, I don’t think a single player is more borderline than Andy Pettitte. If there was an actual line or standard to get into the Hall of Fame, it would be the Andy Pettitte line. I mean, his numbers and rate stats are good, but not OUTSTANDING. Yet he made a lot of starts and threw a lot of innings in the seasons he played, gaining a lot of value. He had 1 WAM season, and another TWELVE WAE seasons (and in two of the three seasons he didn’t 3+ WAR he missed half the season and otherwise would have got 3+ WAR). So Andy Pettitte was pretty much an excellent player for his ENTIRE career with a couple near MVP seasons along the way.

Looking at it right now, I can’t make up my mind on Andy. As I said, he is as borderline as it gets. If he got voted in, I’d agree. If he missed out, I wouldn’t complain. HOWEVER, if you had to lean in a certain way, the way to lean is PRO-HOF- for a couple reasons.

For one, we haven’t even looked at his postseason numbers. While he didn’t pitch as well in the postseason (4.17 FIP, 263 innings), he still accumulated a significant chunk of innings in the postseason. Although we don’t have a database of postseason WAR, if those numbers actually counted, I think it would have made Andy’s numbers look better, especially in terms of WAR.

Second, just go to Tom Tango. In 2009 he wrote:

QUOTE:

As I’ve talked about in the past, the best way to get a sense of someone’s place in history is to compare the player to his peers.  And typically, you get about 20-25 players elected to the Hall of Fame for every decade of birth years (with about one-third of those pitchers).

AND today… :

Andy Pettitte was born in June of 1972.  If we look at every pitcher born within 4.5 years of him (the nine years from 1968 to 1976), we get this list:

#1. Pedro
#2. Mussina
#3. Mariano Rivera
#4. Andy Pettitte
#5. Tim Hudson

We see that Pettitte is somewhere on the cusp of good to great.  I look forward to seeing Pettitte’s name on the Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years.  He deserves that much at least.

So if for a given generation 20-25 players make the HOF and 6-8 or so are pitchers, than it looks like Andy Pettitte is easily a HOF’er. That may speak more to the fact that the current generation is weaker than other generations (especially the one preceding it) but either way, it strengthens Andy’s case.

So yeah, Andy Pettitte the take it or leave it HOF candidate.

 

AND just for fun, lets compare him to fellow soft tossing lefty Tom Glavine, who is just about a lock for the HOF.

Pettitte: 3055 IP, 6.63 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, 66.9 fWAR, 4.4 fWAR/200, 20.1 WAE, 2.4 WAM

Glavine: 4413 IP, 5.32 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9, 68.5 fWAR, 3.1 fWAR/200, 16.2 WAE, 0 WAM

So yeah. Despite tossing about 1400 less innings, Pettitte has pretty much the same fWAR, a much better fWAR/200, and has accumulated more WAE and WAM. If Glavine is a HOF’er, why not Pettitte?