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Pinch hitting: The Yankees’ Republic

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jan 11, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

blog-photo0.jpgJanuary is usually a slow month for baseball news. So we’ve lined up a series of guest bloggers to entertain you. Next up is Matt from The Yankees’ Republic

Matt is a writer and lawyer in New York City but hopes to earn enough money at the former one day to forego the latter. Meanwhile, he dreams of some media outlet rescuing him from the tedium of practicing law. His blog, The Yankees’ Republic, endeavors to contribute baseball commentary with a literary flavor and polemical bent to cyberspace’s “Republic of Letters.”

Here’s his post:

February 4 will mark the 10th year of Brian Cashman’s tenure as the Yankees’ titular general manager, the longest period anyone has held the position in the Steinbrenner era, in itself an accomplishment. With celebration, however, anniversaries also invite reassessment. Accordingly, the milestone begs an appraisal of Cashman’s record.

A record, I judge, in sum, an equivocal one: far less prodigious than the genius nomaas.org, for example, regularly credits him with; but far more able and momentous than the incompetence Mike Pagliarulo’s crude tract smeared him with last year.

No place is this checkered ledger more evident than the Yankees’ major league roster. Where a history of shrewd position-player acquisitions have secured and fortified the dynastic foundation Cashman inherited, while a disastrous succession of inept, aged, and frail pitchers have squandered and undermined it. Compare Justice, Ventura, Olerud, Matsui, A-Rod, Damon, and Abreu, on one side, with Weaver, Karsay, Brown, Vasquez, Contreras, Wright, Pavano, Farnsworth, and Igawa, on the other. Sure, Tampa accounted for a few of these moves. Also, looms the occasional exception. Nonetheless, the overall pattern speaks for itself: éclat with position-players, folly on pitchers.

Now, in Cashman’s defense, a neglected, depleted farm system and a bare free-agent pitcher market often confined his options to overpriced starters and regressing veterans. And to his credit, he recognized the handicap. More impressively, once granted full authority in 2005, he remedied it with dispatch. In just three years, his infusion of premiere, minor-league pitching talent raised the Yankees organizational ranking from 27th in 2004 to fifth in 2007 in Baseball America’s annual survey.

Yet how Cashman accomplished this transformation will leave perhaps a more enduring legacy on the franchise than will even the players themselves. He streamlined the management structure. Next, he dismissed scouts, hired new cross-checkers, and re-invested money and manpower in the amateur draft. And finally, he expanded the use of quantitative analysis to vet prospects, to identify unsung talent, and to preempt subjective, scouting reports, plagued by human bias, with empirically verifiable data. Enter Moneyball; Exit Prodigal George.

Some of Cashman’s recent comments, however, raise worrisome questions. Has the GM succumbed to the very irrational bias he embraced sabermetrics to curb and proceeded to overvalue Hughes, among others? When he foiled the Santana deal, Cashman told one reporter he’d become ‘attached to” his “young talent”. Economists would call a GM’s susceptibility to overestimating his prospects “endowment bias” – peoples’ tendency to demand more to sell what we possess than what we’d pay to buy it.

Why, for example, do the Yankees alone seem to project Hughes a bonafide ace? Also, how does a rotation of three unproven rookie starters, with two limited to about 150 innings, contend for a championship in ’08? And how many more productive seasons does the Yankees aging lineup really have? How often, finally, is an ace in his prime, like Santana, ever even available?

I wish I could say, given Cashman’s history on pitchers, I trusted his judgment. But on the fate of Santana and Hughes both will hinge the final reckoning.

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309 Responses to “Pinch hitting: The Yankees’ Republic”

  1. Buddy Biancalana January 11th, 2008 at 12:17 am

    Very well written, but after wanting Johan for a long time. I believe keeping Hughes, Joba & the rest of the kids will create another dynasty.

  2. raymagnetic January 11th, 2008 at 12:20 am

    “When he foiled the Santana deal, Cashman told one reporter he’d become ‘attached to” his “young talent”. ”

    Matt, you are wrong. It was the Twins who wanted more than Hughes in order to complete the deal. Although Cashman was attached to Hughes he relunctantly included him in the deal and the Twins scoffed at the deal and wanted Kennedy as well. It was after the Twins made the counter offer that the Yankees refused to increase their offer and can you blame them?

  3. susan mullen January 11th, 2008 at 12:20 am

    You’re the wonderful author of the “J’Accuse” post shortly after the Mitchell Report came out. We need you in both literary and legal fields. Your parents did a good job raising you, in my opinion. You are unique.

  4. Evil Empire January 11th, 2008 at 12:24 am

    well done

  5. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 11th, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Very well written. I have to add though:

    General Managing is one of the riskiest things one can do. Often times, you don’t know what’s going to happen three years down the road. You don’t know if there’s going to be a critical injury or if someone’s going to suddenly “get it” and start playing well.

    Cashman is one of the best at evaluating risk. He’s not flawless; in fact, he’s far from it, but lay out all the GMs in the business and I will take Cash any time, every time.

  6. Ed January 11th, 2008 at 12:28 am

    I wouldn’t say it’s only the Yankees who project Hughes as an ace. Pretty much everyone who saw him pitch before the hamstring injury considered him a future ace. It’s only the people judging him off performances at less than 100% that devalue him.

    As for the rotation of 3 rookies, well, Pettitte and Wang were the only good starters we had in ’07. Clemens had he great moments but overall wasn’t very good. Mussina was mostly bad. And everyone else we threw out there sucked more often than not.

    If the three rookies all reach their innings caps and pitch to 4.50 ERAs, we’re better than last year. Not exactly asking a lot.

  7. McLovin January 11th, 2008 at 12:38 am

    THe problem is Brian Cashman picks crappy N.L pitchers rather then a great A.L pitcher in his prime.This is a rebuilding year if we have 7 rookies on our pitching staff.Thats a rebuilding year.

    But hey alot of people think Wang is a Ace…Thats funny around hear.

  8. Jonathan Westman January 11th, 2008 at 12:40 am

    This is my favorite post so far. I think that Cashman, moreso than any other GM, is difficult to judge. Which moves and non-moves was he responsible for? I think he’s pretty good overall, but with the Yankees’ budget, it’s easier to build up the farm system. My greatest fear is that Hank will usurp Brian’s power and force him out the door (Dodgers?). This is worrysome because we dont want to end up with a Steve Phillips type. I hate it when Hank says “this is my decision.” Of course, he signs the paycheck and should be allowed some say, but i wish he would let Cashman work alone.

  9. mel January 11th, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Well-written thread.

    While there are many cases that a Cashman detractor could point to, as well as cases that would justify support of Cashman, the same could be said of any GM in baseball.

    I’m from the school of, “I see your point, but what’s your solution?” So while some say that Cashman’s overrated as GM and that he plays with Monopoly money, who takes his place if he leaves?

    As for Cashman getting attached to Hughes, who hasn’t? And I appreciate Cashman’s candor, it’s not often you hear that. While Hughes will be very good, I feel that he’s THE symbol of Cashman’s efforts since he was given the keys. So, I doubt that Cashman will hold on to every plus prospect to the detriment of the club.

    In Cash We Trust.

  10. raymagnetic January 11th, 2008 at 12:46 am

    “But hey alot of people think Wang is a Ace…Thats funny around hear .”

    Isn’t it ironic?

  11. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    Excellent Dude. Excellent. However, you forgot to give your opinion on the Santana deal. And I don’t believe he is by far the only one to prject greatness for Hughes. I believe Hughes was rated 1st or 2nd by most qulified assessors of minor league talent. Furthermore, the trade is not Hughes for Santana. It Hughes, Melky, 2 prospects, a long term commitment and a boatload of cash. If it were that good a deal, wouldn’t the Sox be offering Buchholz?

    Also, you are a smart guy and understand the difference between judging on the odds, which can be calculated, and judging on the outcome, which can’t.

    Of: Weaver, Karsay, Brown, Vasquez, Contreras, Wright, Pavano, Farnsworth, and Igawa (and friendly ole RJ should be on this list).

    Weaver was a young fireballer who pitched well on a terrible Detroit team. At the time, his aquisition looked like a great deal. I was overjoyed at the time.

    Brown was any injury and age risk, but he had posted a great previous year, and after defeats in the PS due to ‘lack of pitching’, Cashman took a calculated risk that unfortunately did not pay off.

    Vasquez also was young with a good track record. His first half year he was the goods, then he fell off the ledge. I still don’t know why, but it looked like a great signing at the time.

    Contreras was highly sought after. I hear the Red Sox booked every hotel room in Contreras’s area to block the Yankees out. The Sox were so supremely pissed when the Yankees still got Contreras, that they dubbed the Yankees the ‘Evil Empire’.

    While Dice-K was considered Japan’s best, Iggy was in the top 4, and had a few better years, and bested him in K’s a few times. If you compare their stats, they are not that far apart. Dice-K’s were definitely better, but they were comparable. Iggy cost 1/2 of Dice-K, and half his cost was exempt from the luxury tax. Again, it was not a great deal, but for a pitching hungry team like ours, it looked to be fair.

    There is nobody is baseball that didn’t think Pavano was at least a #3. Boston offered him more then we did. The (crappy) phnomenon that is Carl Pavano was impossible to predict.

    I can’t say these were all great moves, but there was certainly good reason behind them all. I think you have to be honest and say in terms of outcome, Brian got some terrible luck.

  12. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:48 am

    This article is a cry for help. I am not sure what is worse, the content or the style. I am pretty sure Matt does not follow the Yankees at all.

    Hughes is universally regarded as a bonafide ace. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein recently ranked him above Chamberlain, a 5 star prospect. Cashman did not ‘foil’ the Hughes for Santana deal – the Twins did not accept.

    As for the style, there are sentence fragments all over the place. Many of the ‘fancy’ words everyone is so impressed with are used incorrectly, like ‘tract’. What a pretentious mess.

  13. J-Dawg January 11th, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Cashman has made a few mistakes, there is no denying that, but he has also shown the ability to learn from them. The Yankees no longer go wild and jump on the free agent bandwagon. They have the made the proper adjustments and learned to build from within. When things go wrong, you have to change your ideology, and Cashman has done just that. And to answer Mel’s question, maybe Bob Watson comes back if Brian leaves. :)

  14. Travis G. January 11th, 2008 at 1:02 am

    did anyone see ‘Yankees Hot Stove’ on YES tonight? specifically the interview with Cash? i dont know how anyone couldn’t come away impressed: he seems very smart, competetent, he has a plan, he’s had past success, and doesn’t succumb to media or owner pressure. as you can tell, i was impressed and hope he gets an extension.

  15. Buddy Biancalana January 11th, 2008 at 1:03 am

    I would look for Damon Oppenheimer to move up if Cashman moves on.

  16. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 1:04 am

    the biggest difference between the redsox and yankees is the bullpen. yanks bullpen is garbage. when is the last time the yankees had a good bullpen? ya great job cashman! keep it up buddy! keep on collecting those minor league championship rings!

  17. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 1:05 am

    if the yankees dont win the world series this year… SEEEEEEEEEEEE YA CASHMAN!

  18. mel January 11th, 2008 at 1:07 am

    Travis G.,

    Exactly. Cashman keeps saying that he’s managing for the club, not his job.

  19. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 11th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    As I said before, being a GM is incredibly high-risk…

    but in terms of those that are “good risk takers” there are few quite like Cashman.

    I’m going to throw out one example:

    Alfonso Soriano.

    When he first came up, all you heard was how he was just going to be trade bait. When he came up, I was maybe in eigth or ninth grade, so I wasn’t that familiar with anything other than what I heasrd on TV about him, but what I remember was them lauding the Yanks and Cashman for not trading him.

    When they finally did trade Soriano, who’d we get for him?

    A-Rod in his prime.

  20. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 1:09 am

    McLovin:

    ~~ But hey alot of people think Wang is a Ace…Thats funny around hear. ~~

    Whoa!

    I don’t have high hope on Wang either, but you HATE him!!!

  21. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 1:11 am

    BTW, very well written, Matt!

  22. ugayank January 11th, 2008 at 1:12 am

    This reports the Yankees may go for Mike Cameron in order to trade Melky. This must not happen! http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7659616

  23. McHatin January 11th, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Hate to break it to you, but while a lot of people appreciate Wang, no one here thinks he’s an ace.

  24. Other Pete January 11th, 2008 at 1:16 am

    To Jonathan Westman, re: Hank’s “This is my decision” eye-rolling declarations, all I can say is, we all talk about what it must be like to work for George, but can you imagine being his son? I think Hank is letting out his frustration from growing up under King George III.

    Regarding the post itself, I feel like Thomas Paine is blogging on the Yankees (you forgot to drop in “eschew,” sir). Nice work. Fun to read, if a little flowery as baseball chatter goes. You’re clearly enjoying the majesty of the game.

  25. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 1:18 am

    most people here think chamberlain is the ace

  26. Bring Back Tony Womack to Play Left Field January 11th, 2008 at 1:19 am

    long on good prose, short on amusement

  27. mel January 11th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Who here finds Cashman and his attitude oddly…sexy? lol.

  28. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Finally… from “MLBtraderumors”:

    ~~ for Johan Santana. He says they’re offering four players, three of them pitchers: Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey, and Phil Humber. It’s a strong package.

    Christensen says the Twins would accept if the Mets added Fernando Martinez ~~

    If Mets did this deal, Santana would be a Met… But Mets farm would be totally empty after that…

  29. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 11th, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Right, I am out for the evening.

    if you’re interested in participating in a LoHud fantasy league for next season, please send me an email at rebecca@puristbleedspinstripes.com.

    We’re currently at fifteen participants and looking for 30.

  30. CATYA January 11th, 2008 at 1:26 am

    Matt hang in there the guy at who runs mlbtraderumors just quit his job to run his blog( mlbtraderumors) full time.YOU CAN DO IT!

    By the way good thread too.Cashman should get credit for the farm system.If big Stein was still involved he’d still be singing up high priced has bins,that go on vacation when they come to NY.

  31. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 1:30 am

    wake up people! theo has formed 2 championship teams in 4 years. cashman hasn’t won crap since 2000 and thats not even a team he constructed! but its ok cause we have a great farm system and will continue to win milb championships for many years to come!!

  32. hughesian bias January 11th, 2008 at 1:42 am

    formed 2 championship teams? you say that as if they were 2 invincible squads. in both years, the RS were down 3 games in a series and in both years they pulled a miraculous comeback out of their asses. i wouldnt credit theo with building a great squad, esp a good bullpen.

    remember gagne?

  33. Harry January 11th, 2008 at 1:42 am

    Baseball Expert: who are u refering to? Oh, u mean the guy who’s team finished in third place 2 yrs ago? I guess being 1 out of 4 teams to make the playoffs 12 yrs in a row with 4 championships in a row means “crap”. How can u possibly judge a GM’s success strictly on winning the WS? An incredible amount of luck is neede to be the last team standing out of 30. It’s not gonna be the Yanks every year. Cash deserves a ton of credit just for putting the yanks in the position to win the WS every year

  34. Harry January 11th, 2008 at 1:47 am

    Correction: “4 championships in 5 yrs”… U get the point… (i’m posting from my phone here… It’s nerve racking…)

  35. hughesian bias January 11th, 2008 at 1:47 am

    thank you, my point exactly.

  36. Harry January 11th, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Hughesian bias: where’d Baseball Expert disappear? I guess he slipped out through a side door in a gorilla costume to avoid the media…

  37. Harry January 11th, 2008 at 1:53 am

    Hughesian bias: Where’d the “Baseba Expert” disappear? oh, i guess he slipped out through a back door in a gorilla costume to avoid the media…

  38. hughesian bias January 11th, 2008 at 1:53 am

    yea no kidding. that user’s been annoying the crap out of me all night…

  39. hughesian bias January 11th, 2008 at 1:54 am

    this one was my favorite:

    “i predict one of hughes, chamberlain, and kennedy will get sent back down to AAA after he gets bombed by the devil rays. My gut feeling says its going to joba. 1 IP 7 ER = sent back to minors”

  40. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 1:58 am

    Pop Quiz:
    Which ACE has a career ERA+ of 116? (80% in the NL)
    Which NON-Ace has a career ERA+ of 119? (All in the AL)

  41. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:00 am

    mel – January 11th, 2008 at 1:20 am
    Who here finds Cashman and his attitude oddly…sexy? lol.
    ——————————————————-
    Who here REALLY hopes Mel is a female?

  42. Harry January 11th, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Sorry for the double post. like i said, i’m writing from my phone.

  43. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Old Yanks Fan:

    And the answers are?

    I’m too lazy to go check, it’s VERY late now… :-)

  44. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Very good article. It’s refreshing to see an opinion on here that’s realistic. Most of the posters here love the Yankees to such a degree that they allow their opinions on them to become borderline delusional.

  45. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:04 am

    Old Yanks fan, I don’t know, but I have a feeling you’re using a selective stat to try to make it seem as if the Yankees have a pitcher as good as Josh Beckett. I really hope you aren’t that obsessed though, so surprise me.

  46. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Which ACE has a career ERA+ of 116? (80% in the NL)
    The Ace is Josh Beckett
    Which NON-Ace has a career ERA+ of 119? (All in the AL)
    The NON-Ace is Chien-Ming Wang
    (Beckett has a better career WHIP by 0.06 pts)

  47. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Old Yanks Fan:

    Talk about cherry-picking stats. Becket’s 116 ERA+ is over 1000 IP. He broke in when he was 21. Wang’s 119 ERA+ is over 500 IP and he broke in at the age of 25. It also doesn’t matter if the IPs were in the NL or AL, the ‘+’ takes care of that.

  48. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:06 am

    You feel when comparing Pitchers that ERA+ and WHIP are ‘selective’ stats? Wanna use Wins/Loses instead?

  49. McLovin January 11th, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Beckett is a Ace.Wang 199 hits in 199 innings doesn’t help.Get Santana he will give you 5 Hall Of Fame numbers in the next 7 years.THats great. compared to 5 years waiting for these guys.

    Go Yankees.

  50. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 2:08 am

    ERA+ out of context is cherry-picking, yes.

  51. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:11 am

    No, I don’t want to use any one single stat to compare pitchers. And I certainly don’t want to use career numbers when one of those pitchers started his major league career at age 21, without having pitched a full season at even the Double-A level and the other pitcher started their career at age 25 after having pitched in two Double-A seasons, two stints at Triple-A and oh yeah, the Olympics.

    If you’re so obsessed with the Red Sox that you have to argue how Yankees players are as good as theirs, at least make decent points.

  52. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I’m not saying that Wang is as good as Beckett.
    But Beckett is not the God some people think and
    Wang is better then most people here rate him.
    Wang has pitched 533 innings which is a fair sample size, and had been very consistant where Beckett is up and down.
    Just sayin.

  53. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Oh and I’ve got a pop-quiz for you Old Fan.

    Which pitcher has an ERA of 1.73, a WHIP of 0.74, and a K/BB of 5.86 in the playoffs?

    And which pitchers has an ERA of 7.58, a WHIP of 1.74, and a K/BB of 1.4 in the playoffs?

    Give me a call when Wang pitches a single complete game shut out in the playoffs. Any level of the playoffs.

  54. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:22 am

    Did you not watch the playoffs after the Yankees were eliminated? Maybe that’s why you can’t understand why people think Beckett is a God.

  55. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 2:26 am

    formed 2 championship teams? you say that as if they were 2 invincible squads. in both years, the RS were down 3 games in a series and in both years they pulled a miraculous comeback out of their asses. i wouldnt credit theo with building a great squad, esp a good bullpen.

    remember gagne?”

    what about gagne?

    what about farnsworth?

    oh ya, they still won the world series. what has cashman done again? yup, he rebuilt the farm system. great, im looking forward to future milb championships.. NOT.

  56. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 2:27 am

    ~~ Wang has pitched 533 innings which is a fair sample size, and had been very consistant where Beckett is up and down. ~~

    yeah… Wang has been very consistant since 05, I’ll give you that! But his numbers are going down this season! BOOK IT!!! A one-pitch starting pitcher like him never last, no matter how good that pitch is…

    But I also agree with you that Beckett is not that great, but he elevates his reputation from those heroic performance in the postseason…

    The guy I truly believe is gonna be an Ace is Dice-K! That guy simply has too many pitches, and good ones too! After adjusting the big league hitters and schedule and everything, this guy is gonna win 20+ games, around 3.00 ERA, next season!

    Our hope? I put on Joba, of course! :-)

  57. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 2:32 am

    dice-k will definitely improve this season. last year was his adjusting period. I predict 15-7 3 ERA.

    joba will be 5-7 with 5 era. often going less than 5 innings as he struggles with control.

    hughes will be 15-7 with 4.10 era. kennedy 6-5 with 4.75 era.

    and the mets win the world series

  58. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 2:34 am

    ~~ And which pitchers has an ERA of 7.58, a WHIP of 1.74, and a K/BB of 1.4 in the playoffs? ~~

    Let’s be fair here… Wang is not that bad a pitcher either… :-)

    He simply is a 3 or 4… that’ all…

  59. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 2:35 am

    I didnt see this… “The Yankees could sign Mike Cameron — a player Alex Rodriguez has been privately endorsing — to play center,”

    Sign him now! trade melky for a reliever…

  60. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 2:37 am

    baseball expert:

    Now I understand you’re not here to discuss, you’re here to bash… I get it now…

  61. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 2:39 am

    Yankees should sign Cameron in a heartbeat. He’s twice the CF Melky is.

  62. Jayson NYC January 11th, 2008 at 2:43 am

    dont you boston fans have anything better to do then post on yankee sites? i get it, your lonely baseball expert, mclovin and nyhunter.

  63. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Smadar:

    No, he’s not. He’s probably a slightly better fielder, and will probably OPS+ around 105 vs. Melky’s 95, which is a significant upgrade. I think, with the PED hysteria and his 25 game suspension, he will be undervalued by the market. Plus, whatever we get for Melky in a trade is a bonus.

    baseball ‘expert’:

    Dice-K will have a 3.00 ERA next year? Good joke, troll.

  64. whoa January 11th, 2008 at 2:54 am

    # Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 2:46 am

    baseball ‘expert’:

    Dice-K will have a 3.00 ERA next year? Good joke, troll.

    Ya think? ;)

  65. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 3:01 am

    so no one here thinks dice-k’s numbers will improve?

    I agree with you Smadar..

    So far the bullpen is crap. How are they going into the season with young untested arms and not have a solid bullpen. please trade melky for relievers NOW.

  66. baseball expert January 11th, 2008 at 3:05 am

    the resurgence of the farm system got alot of fans here really excited! too bad reality will come crashing down once you all realize that young players need time to adjust. the adjustment period can take awhile! I hope you guys like second place!

  67. hughesian bias January 11th, 2008 at 3:06 am

    hey baseball “expert” –

    you need to relax, ok? if anything, gagne was a bigger bust than farnsworth. at least we all KNEW farnsworth sucked, but gagne was supposedly a closer setting up in the ‘pen!

    you can’t deny that there was a lot of luck going to the RS in ’04 and again this past year. there were a handful of questionable calls (dave roberts) as well as lucky bounces in 2004 (tony pena’s ground rule double) that would’ve ended the run for the RS.

    on second thought, i don’t even want to argue with you. it’s absolutely pointless and a major waste of energy. night, troll.

  68. whoa January 11th, 2008 at 3:07 am

    baseball expert

    joba will be 5-7 with 5 era. often going less than 5 innings as he struggles with control.

    And you expect to be taken seriously because?

  69. chicken little January 11th, 2008 at 3:11 am

    OH NO!!! The sky is falling!!! What shall we do?!?

    Fire Cashman!

    Trade the Big 3 for Santana!

    Trade Melky and Cano for Nathan!

    Trade the rest of the farm for Teixeira!

    We have to do these things or Boston will squash us like roaches!!

    Oh No! It’s the end of the world as we know it! Boston’s taking over the world with their total sports domination!

    OMG!

  70. NYhunter January 11th, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Bob:

    ~~ Dice-K will have a 3.00 ERA next year? Good joke ~~

    This is no joke! Didn’t you see how many pitches Dice-K has, compared to Wang, who only has 1 pitch?

    And no, Jayson, I’m not a Boston fan! I am just a Yanks fan who don’t like Wang too much… That’s why I said I put my hope on Joba.

  71. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Sure, Dice-K might improve, but by almost a run and a half? No chance.

    In fact, what evidence you are using to support this expected improvement? He was actually much worse in the 2nd half. His K/9 went down, his BB/9 went up, hitters OPS against went up almost .100, and his ERA went up almost a run and a half despite his BABIP falling.

    Go away.

  72. Brandon (Proud supporter of "ALEX BEING ALEX") & dammit SAVE HUGHES !!! January 11th, 2008 at 3:23 am

    oh brother before I go to sleep people need to relax here, Cameron can field better in CF and is the seat warmer, Austin Jackson is atleast 1 -2 yrs. away from the BX, if Melky lands you some prospects you do it !!!

    and I love Melky but realistically, AJax is better than him, Calzado has more talent and then there is CJ Henry who has improved since his mother told him to get contacts and Abraham Almonte who has Jose Reyes speed and arm from the OF.

    It’s not the end of the world and who knows we might get Melky back through FA or waivers.If anything it’s great news it means the organization is preping Ajax for his debut in pinstripes.

  73. iYankees January 11th, 2008 at 3:30 am

    Okay post. I thought it was written in an awkward style and it felt “empty,” in a way, but it brought up some good points.

    One thing I absolutely hate though, is the absolute reliance upon “quantitative analysis.” Yes, quantitative studies (sabermetrics?) are a valuable tool when assessing player potential and abilities. BUT, one must also allow both quantitative and qualitative analyses to direct and influence their thinking.

    To solely rely on one is flawed. You’re essentially limiting the humanistic aspect of evaluation and engaging only the positivist way of thinking.

    That’s just how I feel.

  74. Smadar January 11th, 2008 at 3:34 am

    I’d have to agree. While I have seen serious, respected stats guys project his ERA around 3.5 (what he had in August before tiring incidentally), expecting him to have an ERA of 3 is absolutely ridiculous. Do you now how many AL starters had an ERA of 3 or better last year, NONE. You’re obviously here to taunt fans, and I bet you actually know very little about baseball.

  75. Phil H. January 11th, 2008 at 5:36 am

    Nice peacefull night on the Blog. It’s reported that the news about the mets deal is just a ploy to get the yankees to up their deal (no surprise here). Although some reporters said that if the mets want to lose their farm for Santana they might actually do it. Well Hughes is having a great time preparing for the season. Can’t wait till the ST starts. It’s going to be a great year. It looks like we’ll be going with the 3 together with Wang Pettitte and Moose. Hope there’s a solution to keep all 3 as starters. Great Day to all

  76. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Bob in NJ

    After double checking the definitions given for the word ‘tract’ it would appear that it’s usage was correct.

    tract: an essay, pamphlet on a given subject

    “…but far more able and momentous than the incompetence Mike Pagliarulo’s crude tract smeared him with last year.”

    As for the post itself I agree it was a bit pretentious but on the whole it did shed some light on Cashman’s track record. A record that in some respects can be lauded and in others savaged.

    Expectations are high in this organization and especially the fan base given the accomplishments of the years past.

    I agree with the author that a trade of Santana for Hughes and a cast of thousands or lack of trade and the results of such action or inaction thereof may very well be the swan song of Cashman or cause for coronation.

    High stakes indeed.

  77. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 7:00 am

    Matt, I enjoyed the post, both style and substance.

    I would agree that Cashman’s record is mixed, and the misses do seem to be more in the pitching arena than on position players. I think that’s the nature of the beast. Pitching in general is not all that plentiful, and when you refine the field to quality pitching, it’s almost like finding a needle in a haystack. And hindsight is 20/20 – many of the pitchers Cashman acquired who didn’t pan out were initially accepted widely by fans and media-types. There has been some bad luck involved. I would also put in there that after 2003, when both Clemens and Pettitte left, there was perhaps a hint of desperation to replace their production, not an easy task at all. And there is the undeniable burden of find a pitcher with the mindset to be able to deal with the uniqueness that is the media exposure one faces when one is added to the Yankees roster.

    I would agree with mel, that perhaps Cashman’s particular fondness for Hughes has more to do with his being a symbol of the new direction, and that he will not be quite so attached to other prospects going forward. He was willing to include Kennedy in the Santana deal from the start, reluctantly made the switch (upgrade?) to Hughes, and only balked when the Twins decided they would require BOTH Hughes AND Kennedy. I would say that I’m glad he did balk.

    Overall, I think Cashman is doing a fine job. He is not perfect, and I would submit that no GM is. I would also submit that it’s easy to make unfavorable comparisons with other GMS because here in NY we examine his performance on a molecular level, while looking at the performance of other GMs in a much broader light.

    But I think your assessment and approach in critiquing Cashman was good and fair.

  78. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 7:02 am

    Off-topic — where was your picture taken? The water is so blue!

  79. andrew33 January 11th, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I enjoyed reaading that post, i’ve wondered why the yankees aging veteran lineup doesnt raise more questions. I am excited to see the young starters have a go and can understand why they are passing on Santanna… for the moment.

  80. Don January 11th, 2008 at 7:05 am

    It will be quite interesting to watch the fortunes of Hughes vs. Santana in the years ahead and look back on whether the trade should or shouldn’t have been made. That said, I think Matt’s style is too serious for sports writing (there is some quite heavy prose on the Yankee Republic blog) and the best laugh in this thread was provided by the Old Yanks Fan, wondering about the orientation of Mel.

  81. Jim PA January 11th, 2008 at 7:06 am

    So what’s the general feeling on the post? There seems to be a plethora of respondents opinionating that it was eclat on style and panache, folly on content.
    Bottom line, he’s saying Cashman can’t pitchers to save his life. And we’re going to pay for not mortgaging the stadium to get Santana. Well, I guess we’ll see.

  82. Don January 11th, 2008 at 7:08 am

    rather that should have been “wondering about the gender of Mel”

  83. Dan January 11th, 2008 at 7:15 am

    I wish most people would realize that this season may, in fact, be a “rebuilding year”.

    With three rookies in the rotation, it will be hard to compete come September and October, and in all honesty, this team will probably miss the playoffs unless Moose & some of the young guys can come up from the minors, and provide inning relief.

  84. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Jim PA -

    I would say our pinch-hitter today has inspired some well-wrought sentences of our own.

    As for the post being “heavy on prose,” I am enjoying that each of the posts has had a personality of it’s own. From the first by Yankees Chick, almost a stream of consciousness style of writing, to Matt’s more constructed piece, we’ve really had a nice variety. And in linking to the authors’ own sites, you find out that every single one of their submissions to Pete’s blog has been true to their unique styles. They say variety is the spice of life, right?

  85. Will January 11th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    If you are going to create a ledger, then be sure to include El Duque as a feather in Cashman’s cap. If not for Cashman, there is no way El Duque would have been a Yankee…and that’s not my opinion, but a direct quote from Joe Cubas, El Duque’s agent at the time (you can find the article in the NYT archive). Considering how instrumental El Duque was from 1998-2000, one could argue that move alone contributed volumes to the Yankees three-peat.

    As for the Yankees being able to win with 3-rookies, who would have guessed they could have won a division with Pavano, Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon, Jaret Wright and washed up Al Leiter and Kevin Brown making 74 starts.

  86. Jim PA January 11th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    Doreen-
    Absolutely. Cheap joke at Matt’s expense. My apologies. And you’re right about the variety of takes and styles we’ve seen this month. I never even knew about most of these other blogs.

  87. Tom January 11th, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Please do your homework. Cashman is not the only one to think of Hughes as a no one pitcher. Baseball American who surveys scouts from other teams, the scouts who saw him pitch in AA, AAA. Lets remember that last year he won while pitching on one leg. He did not show his 95 plus fast ball until he was healhy in the play offs. The mark of a good pitcher is when he can win with out his good stuff, Hughes did that.
    I wish people who like to write about the Yankees would do there homework. if you need help talk to George King of the New York Post who knows more about the Yankee farm system than most writers.

  88. Spring Training January 11th, 2008 at 7:51 am

    To all fans out there I’m just reminding that SPRING TRAINING TICKETS are starting to be sold in a little more than 2 hours (10) and they won’t stay long so don’t forget to rush to get them. See you all there.

  89. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Great post, and I think I agree with the general sentiment.

    I think one thing people tend to forget when they say “well if the Saux dont have include Bucholtz, why do the Yankees have to include Hughes?” … and the answer being, because Joba actually projects as a pitcher pitcher than Hughes, so he’s the real “Bucholtz” of the farm system. Hughes is the second best pitching prospect in the system.

    I agree that Cashman doesnt exactly have a great track record when it comes to securing young, talented pitching in the trades of recent memory. Although, at the time these deals were made, I defended just about each one of them, so i really wont judge Cashman harshly for that… these guys just didnt pan out. The other thing that I look to when you discuss the Weavers/Kevin Browns/Javy Vazquez’s of the Yankees failed pitching acquisitions, you can take solace in knowing we havent exactly given up any substantial MLB talent, either.

    I think it was Rebecca who noted that of all the players who have developed, come, and gone from our system in recent memory, Soriano has had the most success, but he netted us ARod. This gets to the heart of a greater point: you should hold onto your talent and develop it, but when that special player becomes available, you cant fall too far in love with these kids to be afraid to make the move when it falls on your lap…

    The Yankees could obtain arguably the best pitcher in the league over the last 5 years, and for the second best pitching prospect we have, along with a player who projects to be a fringe everyday OF, and some other moving parts…

    i think we’ve all discussed this here until we’ve turned blue in the face, and we all know where each other stand on this issue… but sometimes you have to take a step back and remove your emotion from the situation to try a determine the proper solution.

    now, Hughes projects to be a top of the rotation type of pitcher, but that is exactly what it is… a projection. he’s shown flashes of greatness, but also moments of mediocrity.

    and Johan has been a brilliant pitcher of recent seasons, and there is no logical reason to think that, because of his age and track record, he’ll be much different for years to come…

    if the Yankees dont make the move, i can live with the young arms, and i’ll be extremely excited come the start of the new season… but i kind of fear for Phil Hughes, and the expectations he’ll have to live up to. His career, to a lot of Yankees fans, will now be looked upon side-by-side with one of the best pitchers in the league, and he’ll be expected to produce quickly… and if those results are not there, you hope that the same fans who are so ademently arguing to save him wont be here in 2 years wondering what if.

    as far as trading melky and signing Cameron… I’ve got no problem with it. last offseason, i argued that if Cashman and company thought that Melky was the CF of the future, than I could live with his decent production and good defense, considering the rest of the lineup that is in place… but if they didnt feel Melky was the CF of the future, they should move him for valuable parts/prospects should that moment arise.

    that time has obviously come, with AJax coming onto the scene last year. If Melky can be moved for a solid bullpen piece, or packaged along with a couple minor leaguers for a bigger piece to the puzzle, then I have no problem with Cashman moving him and bringing in Cameron on a reasonable 2 year deal.

  90. Matt January 11th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Gone are the days of George Steinbrenner craving every marquee player in sight with Giambi being the best example.
    Hank has said on more than one occasion that he was never on that train of thought but working for his father left no room for questioning his tactics.
    Hank is his own man now with a different approach than his father and has a lot of trust in Cashman and others before making high level decisions.
    Few will argue that by now, George would have had Santana in tow and for a lot more package than Hank has offered to this point.

  91. Bryan C January 11th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    A side note on Wang. MLB/Yankee still hasn’t issue work permit to Wang yet, so he’s stuck in Taiwan and unable to go to his pre spring training workout in AZ…..

  92. Deezer January 11th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Nothing worse than lawyerly writing about baseball. This was painful.

  93. John in Ohio January 11th, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Matt
    If you want to be a full time writer, please use plain ‘ol English. If I want to combine Shakespeare and the Yankees I’ll read All’s Well That Ends Well.
    That being said, Cash has made a few bonehead moves. Re-upping Moose for two years at $11 million per being one.

  94. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Wow… Wang has pitched all of 19 innings in the PS, over 3 years, and people already KNOW he can’t pitch in the PS! Genius! Wanna cherry pick stats? Wang has an ERA of 2.70 in the PS in his FIRST TWO YEARS!! Isn’t he great?

    19 innings, 3 games over 3 years.
    Intelligent conversation is impossible when people make conclusions base on microscopic sample sizes.

    Did you hear? Cleveland offered a trade: Sabathia for Bruney straight up. But Cashman’s no dummy! He said NO WAY!!! Why? because C.C. has a 7.17 ERA is the PS!! (21 innings) and an ERA of almost 9 in the 2007 PS (15.1 innings). Glad Cashman didn’t get fooled! After all, that means “He simply is a 3 or 4… that’ all…”

  95. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 9:32 am

    hey – hughesian bias and Baseball “expert”
    Are you guys really having a discussion on whether the Sox/Yankees are a dynasty or have a good GM or are a great team BASED ON 1 BP pitcher (Gagne/Farnsworth)?

  96. Eddie Layton January 11th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Yankees won’t have three rookies in the rotation in 08. They’ll have two: Hughes, and either Joba or Kennedy. Mussina will get the fifth spot.

  97. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    John in Ohio

    While I agree that to have the most impact with one’s words to the widest possible audience it is best to tone it down (or is that dumb it down?); it is also nice to read an opinion from someone who can express themselves with more than just the usual language heard in the street.

    I served 20 years in the army and their manuals are written to be understood by someone with about an 8th grade education. And that is as if should be given the state of education in this country.

    I have to agree with Doreen that I am also enjoying the variety of guest bloggers we are getting on here. Variety is indeed the spice of life…although somehow I don’t think my wife would have agreed. (:o)) But thats a debate for another day.

  98. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 9:41 am

    as ‘it” should be,

    sorry

  99. Yanksrule57 January 11th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I have been a regular reader of Matt for several months. He is an excellent, sometimes brilliant writer. Go back and read his entries on the Joe Torre contract issues. Good Stuff!

    I agree that Cash’s best work has not been picking pitchers. But Matt undercuts his own arguement by admitting he didn’t have much to choose from.
    I do not think going after Santana is the way to go and would gladly trade missing the playoffs one year for years of dominance with low-cost homegrown pitchers that the Yankees control.

  100. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    And I applaud Doreen for being so open minded.

  101. i miss bernie January 11th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    i like the cash-man!
    (must be endowment bias)

    wow, the trolls really do come out at night!

  102. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 9:52 am

    As a Yankee fan living in New England, who gets NESN and has been watching 90%+ of Red Sox games, I’ll say this about Dice-K:

    He is smart.
    He does not get flustered and is OK pitching behind in the count.
    He does have a number of pitches, and throws good ‘junk’.
    However, between BBs and HBPs, he puts 4 batters per 9 IPs on base. Basically, he uses his junk, OUT of the strike zone, to get batters to chase and get ahead in the count.
    WHEN batters chase, he is a very effective pitcher.
    However, when they don’t chase, he puts a lot of guys on and throws a ton of pitches (he is a leader in PAB).

    So how and who adjusts?
    Is Dice-K able to command his junk and throw them for strikes (as Moose did earlier in his career)? If so, he will be much more effective.
    Do the batters adjust, wait him out, and wait on the FB?
    If so, he will not be much better then league average.

    I think both will happen. Japanese Pitchers have historically had their best years in their first 2 or 3 years, as their funky windups and lack of scouting/batter experience gives them an edge.
    But history has shown once the batters get used to the funkiness, that they fare poorly.
    Also, purely the fact that many batters can hit the ball out of the park makes pitching a challenge for any Japanese pitcher. They are simply not used to pitching against (relative to Japanese baseball) so much power.

    Dice-K is smart and is a quality pitcher. I don’t think he will be an Ace, but he could be a good #2. If he is scouted well and batters are smart, he might only be a decent #3.

    I don’t think he’s worth $17m/yr (6 years) but he is an asset to a team. Time will tell.

  103. John in Ohio January 11th, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Well said Jesse. I’m just of the opinion that one should write the same as they speak naturally. If this is an example of Matt’s casual conversational vocabulary, he was probably a punching bag on the playground….no?

  104. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 11th, 2008 at 10:06 am

    ALex and Cynthia are having a baby girl. :)

  105. Yanksrule57 January 11th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    John in Ohio,

    If that type of writing is offensive, or too complex for you, I recommend you just go back to watching “The Simpsons”. Doh!

  106. John in Ohio January 11th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    YanksRule:

    You got me. I love the Simpsons. Wait, did I write that, or just think it?

    Sorry everyone, I didn’t mean to come off so harshly. I just prefer a writing style that is more conversational than…uh…whatever you call Matt’s style.

    Matt, I apologize if I offended you.

  107. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Old Yanks Fan -

    The problem with Dice-K was the build-up, the hype. He was crowned as the pitching king before he even threw a pitch. He was supposed to be virtually unhittable. I agree that he is a very, very good pitcher and should not be underestimated. But he’s not what was promised.

    Jennifer –

    That’s super news!

    John in Ohio –

    I think it depends. Depends on your audience. But the idea here, as I see it, is to get these bloggers some exposure adn to change it up a bit in a slow baseball news period. Each of them is not going to appeal to all the readers here, but they may find a new audience among us. So, if you like Matt’s style, you’ll frequent his blog more often. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s that simple.

    I’m an eclectic – maybe that means I just can’t make up my mind what I like – so these guest blogs have been fun for me. :)

  108. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    John in Ohio

    “If this is an example of Matt’s casual conversational vocabulary, he was probably a punching bag on the playground….no?”

    Perhaps.

    As a guest blogger, no doubt!

    lol

  109. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Jesse:

    ‘Tract’ connotes a physical pamphlet that is political or religious in nature. He is not using it correctly in this context. This is tortured pseudo-prose. He shouldn’t quit his day job.

  110. Yanksrule57 January 11th, 2008 at 10:23 am

    John in Ohio,

    No worries brother. It’s just that I think he has a different, style than most of the bloggers I’ve seen and, different is not neccessarily bad. As I suggested earlier, give his other posts a shot.

  111. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I agree with Doreen that it has been nice to hear from different bloggers and to experience first hand their style.

    It would be interesting to have a tally at the end to see who got the most hits and/or generated the most conversation with their blogs.

    Maybe the winner would earn a day at the ballpark with Pete to blog during a game on this site?

    Or some other prize worthy of such an achievement.

    What say you Pete?

  112. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “I enjoyed reaading that post, i’ve wondered why the yankees aging veteran lineup doesnt raise more questions.”
    ———————————————————
    Certainly have quality kids getting INTO their primes is better then have older players approaching their decline years. But I offer this.

    As a kid, and a fan from 1965 on, a player who was 33 was truly in decline, and a player that was 36 was usually toast. But that is not true today. Many players are in much, much better shape, and MLB has MANY quality players in their mid-30s and older.

    While Julio Franco is definitely an exception, he IS an example of what conditioning and diet can do. From 2001 to 2004, he averaged an OPS+ of around 118. At the time, he was 42, 43, 44 and 45! Furthermore, these numbers are not that much lower then he posted in his prime. And Julio is a good ballplayer, but not a great one.

    So, are Jeter and ARod, at 33 getting old? Was Jorge old last year? Yeah, sure. But based on their physical condition, they should be able to have a number of above average/very good years left.. ARod especially.

    And the Yankees ARE concerned about their team’s age. In 2 years, Jetes, ARod and Po may be our only veteran position players. We are not building around Giambi, Mats, JD and Abreu, but around AJax, Tabata, Miranda and Montero.

    Santana will be 29 to start 2008. This isn’t old, but his arm, with 1308 IPS (7 full MLB years) on it, is not that young. Not counting all the other issues invloved in the proposed trade, how many quality IPs does Santana offer compaere to Hughes + IPK/Marquez?

    I am NOT NOT NOT saying Santana is old, or that he is done. He is still great. But Cashman is VERY MUCH thinking about the future, and this is reflected in the fact that Santana is not already a Yankee.

    It is very rare to have a really young team and still have a dominant, winning team, as the Yankees are required to have. With a Florida or Tampa Bay, when you get TOP draft picks like 10 years in a row, you may be able to have both a quality and young team. But it still ain’t easy.

    Consider that fact that the Yankees have had crap for picks (not the players but the pick positions) for a decade AND they are still ‘required’ to win every year. I think in the last 3 years, Cashman has done an amazing job of mixing quality vets with quality kids.

    Might this be the Yankees of 2010:
    OF: Tabata, Melky, AJax, Gardner
    IF: ARod, Jetes, Cano, Miranda, AGon, (C) Cervelli, Montero
    SP: Wang, Hughes, Joba, IPK, Horne, Brackman
    RP: Betances, Sanchez, Melancon, Marquez

    In reality, maybe NONE of those guys will make it, but that looks pretty good, doesn’t it? I don’t think you can say that the Yankees aren’t looking at the future.

  113. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    how could i not like find a post interesting that questions cashman?
    i believe it’s a smart thing to do to always question authority. my simple take on cashman is that he’s not good at seeing problems before they happen. he needs a problem to develop before doing something about it. he’s very good at adding a justice , an abreau, or a small and chacon to solve a problem, but it’d be better if he saw the problem ahead of time. i think it’s safe to say that cashman doesn’t have much imagination.

    cashman will always have problems because he needs to see a problem before he knows there is a problem. another kind of gm would see a lot of them ahead of time . delaying signing posada and rivera are classic cashman. do nothing until you have no choice. and then overpay to solve the problem.

    the horrific start last spring is another example of not seeing a plethora of problems before they happened. he was up to his eyeballs in hamstrings before it occurred to him maybe there was a problem in conditioning on the team.

    i think he has a problem with pitching because pitchers are more finicky and delicate than everyday players. if a mistake is made in judgement, a pitcher is out for a long time. the trial and error management style of cashman waits until a pitcher is injured before he does something about it and then it’s to late because the pitcher is on the disabled list.

    for example, cashman’s decisions with rushing hughes ruined hughes’ season. but that’s his style. when a major problem with hamstrung pitchers that cashman created with his human hamstring puller machine,marty miller in charge, cashman then rushes an unconditioned ,but talented hughes, in to fill the desperate need for a starting pitcher.

    what happens? because he was not conditioned to pitch at that intensity, hughes hurts himself. cashman ironically champions young pitching, but he seems to have no clue what to do with it when he gets it.

  114. Matt Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Thank you all for the considered responses, compliments, and praise. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I’d shudder to live in a world where everyone did. And as much I’d like everyone to read my work, I also concede many will prefer not to.

    I also relish rebuttals. It clarifies my opinions and often compels me to re-consider them.

    However, Clintonite that I once was, I also cannot let gratuitous ad homenim attacks go unanswered.

    Bob From NJ, disparaging your interlocutor doesn’t refute his argumentr or vindicate your own: Logic 101

    First of all, I watch almost every inning of every Yankee game, much to the chagrin of my employer and once, my ex-wife.

    Secondly, the opinion on Philip Hughes is hardly unanimous. Keith Law of ESPN and Baseball America projects Hughes no better than a second or third starter. You can read my dispute with him about this very issue here: http://myespn.go.com/s/convers.....ry/3007436

    Third, Bill Madden wrote after the Winter Meetings that Brian intervened to persuade Hank and Hal to foil a potential deal for Santana the two ownere were prepared to consummate. See NY Daily News, December 5, 2007, headline subtitled “Brian balks at millions and Hughes for Santana.”

    I quote, “In the end, Cashman prevailed, convincing Hank and Hal Steinbrenner of something he could never have done with their dad – that trading for Johan Santana was simply too expensive for the New York Yankees.”

    Fourth, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a “tract” as follows: “a pamphlet or leaflet of political or religious propaganda.” Which is precisely what Mike Pagliarulo’s smear job last year was. (By the way, I intended the foregoing sentence fragment.)

    Hey, my work may be “pretentious”, Bob, but my very Jewish mother takes it very personally when you call her son or his work “messy”.

  115. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Thank you all for the considered responses, compliments, and praise. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. In fact, I’d shudder to live in a world where everyone did. And as much I’d like everyone to read my work, I also concede many will prefer not to.

    I also relish rebuttals. It clarifies my opinions and often compels me to re-consider them.

    However, Clintonite that I once was, I also cannot let gratuitous ad homenim attacks go unanswered.

    Bob From NJ, disparaging your interlocutor doesn’t refute his argumentr or vindicate your own: Logic 101

    First of all, I watch almost every inning of every Yankee game, much to the chagrin of my employer and once, my ex-wife.

    Secondly, the opinion on Philip Hughes is hardly unanimous. Keith Law of ESPN and Baseball America projects Hughes no better than a second or third starter. You can read my dispute with him about this very issue here: http://myespn.go.com/s/convers.....ry/3007436

    Third, Bill Madden wrote after the Winter Meetings that Brian intervened to persuade Hank and Hal to foil a potential deal for Santana the two ownere were prepared to consummate. See NY Daily News, December 5, 2007, headline subtitled “Brian balks at millions and Hughes for Santana.”

    I quote, “In the end, Cashman prevailed, convincing Hank and Hal Steinbrenner of something he could never have done with their dad – that trading for Johan Santana was simply too expensive for the New York Yankees.”

    Fourth, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a “tract” as follows: “a pamphlet or leaflet of political or religious propaganda.” Which is precisely what Mike Pagliarulo’s smear job last year was. (By the way, I intended the foregoing sentence fragment.)

    Hey, my work may be “pretentious”, Bob, but my very J-wish mother takes it very personally when you call her son or his work “messy”.

  116. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 10:37 am

    The use of the word “tract” is probably a stretch in this context, since it was a website entry and not a physical pamphlet. But I suggest that Pagliarulo’s writing there could be construed as political in nature (in the sense of someone doing something for expedience, such as choosing friends for the sole purpose of gaining access.)

  117. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Matt, I should have waited for you to speak for yourself. Our posts crossed.

  118. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Why was Pagliarulo’s smear job a work of cheap political, inter-office propaganda?

    Once again, I quote Bill Madden of July 29, 2007:

    “Amid all the “Who was the scout who recommended Igawa?” outrage being directed at Cashman [READ: NIXON'S CRY OF WHO LOST CHINA?] Pagliarulo, who heads up the international scouting service Turf Dirt, has been at the forefront. A recent blog on Pagliarulo’s Web site contained this scathing indictment of Cashman’s job performance: “Igawa could potentially be one of the worst free-agent signings ever – in Mike Hampton territory. Dare we say another Pavano? At least Hampton did have stretches of decent production after he left Colorado. Igawa, on the other hand, might never be better than what he is now – a Triple-A pitcher with an attitude who is at best a back-end starter on a second division team. The Yankees chose not to use (Cashman’s) Japan consultants, who told him to walk away from Igawa. The consultants knew about the Igawa holdout in spring training 2005 in Japan and how Igawa then laid down that year and wasn’t productive at all. Important information that is interpreted through consulting and difficult to put in scouting reports.”

    In other words, Cashman, in signing Igawa (who was sent to the minors on Friday), ignored the advice of Pagliarulo’s company, whose services the Yankees have employed the last couple of years. The only problem is, Cashman didn’t ignore Pagliarulo’s report. Here’s what it really said: “(Igawa) is considered one of the best starters in Japan and is having a good season. He is doing a good job of moving the ball around the zone and seems to be conserving himself throughout the game … He showed a good split and was adding on to his fastball in tough situations. He has enough to be a fourth or fifth starter in the U.S.”

    The report goes on to list Igawa as one of the top 10 pitchers in Japan. Nothing about any holdout or attitude problems.

    So unless we’ve missed something here, a scout who recommended Igawa to Cashman is the same person bashing him for signing Igawa: Mike Pagliarulo. Didn’t he know there was a paper trail? Shame on you, Pags. “

  119. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Matthew… so is it your contention that BC shouldnt be afraid to let go of Hughes for a Santana acquisition, or is it more of a rhetorical question of will he or wont he in the end do it?

  120. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    Thanks, Doreen.

  121. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Bob from NJ

    Wikipedia defines “tract” as….

    # Tract (literature), a short written work, usually of a political or religious nature

    It says usually, but it doesn’t say that it is always a political or religious piece of writing.

    I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here as any writer of argumentative substance is open to inference as to what the writer meant when they wrote what they wrote.

    I construed from his use of “crude tract” that he felt that the analysis/tract/article/pamphlet/blog etc… (call it what you will) was sloppy and without merit.

    Bob…me thinks we both need to get a day job so we can do something more constructive with our lives!!! lol

  122. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 10:48 am

    old yanks fan
    nice analysis on matsuzaka. i’m just hoping john farrell, the red sox pitching coach, doesn’t have the same effect on matsuzaka that he had on beckett. farrell believes strongly in basing pitching on locating the fastball. he believes a hitter can not look for a well located inside fastball and a well located outside fastball at the same time. it’s one or the other. once the pitcher can locate the fastball, any breaking pitch added becomes even harder to hit. that’s what he did with beckett.

    the question with matsuzaka will be whether farrel can teach him to locate his fastball and count on that as a base instead of throwing too many other pitches that up his pitch count.

  123. Paul January 11th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Great post. I think other teams will trash Hughwes because they don’t have him and would like to see the Yanks lose him for little return. My instinct is that his weaker performances came as the result of his injury and that he’ll be a monster in 2008, with Game 3 of the playoffs as an appetizer. Plus he’ll have Eiland, who seems to be terrific at bringing out the best in young pitchers.

  124. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 10:57 am

    You’re really going to base your opinion on one article written by Bill Madden, that is over a month old? Most outlets have reported that the Red Sox had the best offer on the table, not the Yankees. Second, Hank has made it quite clear, with his comments in the press, that he has the final say, not Cashman. He reiterated these statements this week. Cashman has even admitted this publicly.

    Cashman might have convinced Hank and Hal that it was a poor baseball decision – but this is not the same thing as ‘foiling’ a trade – because a trade had never been agreed to. The sticking point has always been including IPK.

    Third, your statement that the “Yankees alone project Hughes as an ace” is incorrect. BP’s Kevin Goldstein ranked Hughes ahead of Joba in his Rankings of the top 11 Yankees under 25. He rates Joba as a 5 star prospect, by the way. Here’s what he had to say, “I’m confused as to how Philip Hughes went from the best pitching prospect in the game, to a guy who almost threw a no-hitter, to a guy people wanted to start throwing under the bus as he tried to re-find his groove after a pair of severe injuries. Don’t believe the anti-hype–he’s still a stud.”

  125. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Yes, TurnTwo, I think the Yankees should trade for Santana, provided they only have to surrender Hughes, Melky, and Marquez.

    I fear Cashman may have overvalued Hughes unintentionally because of Hughes’ symbolic value as the pioneer of his new replenished farm system.

    I can’t fathom how the Yankees– after spending countless sums to re-sign a 36-yr-old Posada, a 38 yr-old Rivera, to say nothing of a 32-yr old A-Rod– could enter a season professing to aspire to contend for a championship and entrust 60% of their rotation to three untested rookies, especially when they cap their innings, meaning Igawa and Mussina will have to assume some of their load.

    I don’t deny the possibility Hughes and Chamberlain and IPK could turn out to be the next Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, and young Mike Mussina respectively. However, they could turn out to be no better than all those pitchers we once heard we’re going to be the next Pedro Martinez or [INSERT OTHER NAME], like Javier Vasquez, and never fulfilled expectations. I can’t understand how Cashman could take the risk with all three.

    Taking a risk with 2 of the 3 in a rotation already filled with proved veterans, I understand but not with a rotation confined to two proven pitchers, Wang and Pettite.

    Because the Yankees’ roster is old; have few premium position-players in their farm system; and thus have a narrow window to contend for a championship before Rivera and Posada retire and Jeter and A-Rod regress, I think they have to trade for Santana.

    A rotation that begins with Wang, Santana, Pettitte not only gives the Yankees a greater margin for error but also alleviates some of the pressure on Joba and IPK.

    I don’t want to see the Yankees surrender Hughes, but for Santana, I, with great reluctance, would make the trade.

  126. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    No worries, John from Ohio.

    Actually, you were right. Craig Safian thew a punch at me in 5th grade. I think I made fun of him for wearing Jordache jeans; then again, maybe, it was the other way around.

  127. raymagnetic January 11th, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Yes, TurnTwo, I think the Yankees should trade for Santana, provided they only have to surrender Hughes, Melky, and Marquez.

    But isn’t this the exact deal that the Twins wanted more players added to? Didn’t they also want AJax or Kennedy as well with this proposal? I’m so very confused.

  128. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Yes, raymagnetic.

  129. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:12 am

    ok, now i like your post that much better. ha!

    but seriously, I couldnt agree more… as long as it was a Hughes, Melky, Marquez package, and i’d even throw in a 4th low level player if they really require it, it still makes the most sense to me for this year, and the next 4-5 years.

  130. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Ray: it was reported that they demanded IPK be included, but that they backed off those demands recently.

    I think as long as the package includes Hughes as the centerpiece, it would be a deal the Twins would make.

    I think ive read this posted elsewhere, that the Twins are openly negotiating with the Mets thru the press to have them include FMart for the purposes of pushing the Yankees to include AJax instead of Melky in the deal.

    but out of all the players the Saux, Mets, and Yankees have laid out, to me, the Twins want Hughes the most.

  131. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. The sticking point was the 4th player – the Twins were demanding IPK or A Jax. The offer of Lester/Masterson/Lowrie/Crisp was universally reported as being preferred by the Twins over other packages, including Hughes/Melky/Marquez/+.

  132. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    ‘While I agree that to have the most impact with one’s words to the widest possible audience it is best to tone it down (or is that dumb it down?); it is also nice to read an opinion from someone who can express themselves with more than just the usual language heard in the street.”

    i once had a customer while in northampton,ma who was an esteemed divinty professor from smith college who told me that the genius of the bible was that the speaker always talked to the level of the listener. he told me that for instance the message may be the same ,but a first grade teacher speaks differently to his/her class than a college professor speaks to her/his. in the context he gave it, he meant this as a writing lesson more than a religious one.

    so who does john think he’s talking too? he obviously doesn’t think he’s talking to people who don’t have the ability to understand him. it’s not the usual writing style we get ,but everyone seemed to get the message clearly. so i don’t see the problem with his writing.

    i do think it’d be humorous ,if using the same vocabulary, he rode on a bus with a professional baseball team. then, i think we find out if john had a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at himself.

  133. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Bill Madden, in that December 5th article, wrote that Cashman quashed a proposed deal for Santana that the Twins were prepared to accept.

    The deal was Hughes-Melky-Marquez and a Single-A player named Mitch Hilligos.

    Incidentally, John Heyman of SI later corroborated the report that Cashman killed the deal. Albeit, in Heyman’s version, the deal included Horne, not Hilligos.

    Here’s what Heyman wrote, “Considering the Yankees’ deadline-breaking history, though, some could still see them getting back into it. One competing exec said “the Yankees are crazy” to have let the deal blow up over pitching prospect Alan Horne — a No. 5 starter in waiting, in the estimation of some — or even outfield prospect Austin Jackson” — Decemeber 6, 2007, SI.Com

  134. bodhisattva January 11th, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Somebody said Cameron is “twice the fielder” Melky is. I think what he meant to say was “twice as old.”

  135. raymagnetic â„¢ January 11th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Matt,

    This is what Heyman wrote on Dec. 11th.

    “The Yankees were talking about a package of right-handed starter Phil Hughes, center-fielder Melky Cabrera and pitching prospect Jeff Marquez when their self-imposed deadline hit last week and talks broke down when New York wouldn’t surrender prospects Ian Kennedy, Alan Horne or Austin Jackson with Hughes.”

    …..”As for the Yankees, GM Brian Cashman has always seemed uneasy about surrendering the coveted Hughes, and used Andy Pettitte’s return to persuade new boss Hank Steinbrenner not to overbid for Santana. But Steinbrenner the junior has already overruled Cashman this offseason in giving catcher Jorge Posada a fourth year, closer Mariano Rivera a third year and Alex Rodriguez a record contract after swearing he was out of the A-Rod Sweepstakes.”

    So do you really think Cashman could have convinced Hank not to do the deal if he really wanted to?

  136. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Also, how does a rotation of three unproven rookie starters, with two limited to about 150 innings, contend for a championship in ’08?”

    the likely yankee rotation as it stand now, will likely have wang,pettitte, and mussina in it. unless there is an injury, i don’t think we’ll be seeing the three rookies in the rotation at the same time.

    on a side note, if one of the three rookies turns out to be a star over his career, it’ll be a good thing. two will be amazing , and three will be off the charts.

    it’s not likely that more than one has a great career.

  137. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Heyman’s quote does not corroborate anything. Jackson is regarded as one of the top 50 prospects in baseball. Both Jackson and Horne are among the Yankees’ top 5 prospects according to most analysts. That is very impressive, considering the Yankees’ system is regarded as the 4th or 5th best in baseball by most. The sticking point has always been the fourth player.

    The Twins have been trying to get the Red Sox to include Lester and Ellsbury, or the Yankees to include Hughes and IPK or Jackson (or more recently, Horne), or the Mets to include F Mart and Gomez along with pitching prospects. The claim that Hughes/Melky/Marquez would have gotten it done at the beginning of December is erroneous.

  138. Buddy Biancalana January 11th, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Matthew-

    Again, loved the post & enjoyed the rebuttals even more. Perhaps the interest in Cameron is in fact a prelude to acquiring Johan.

  139. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    it seems to me like Cashman has the ear of Hal, and the struggle is between Hal and Hank.

  140. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:41 am

    I have no doubt that the interest in Cameron is a prelude to a Johan deal, but I wonder if this reported interest is recent, or if the Yankees expressed interest like a month ago, and its just now being reported on.

  141. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    just my opinion, but if the Twins wanted Hughes and AJax, i’d lay it out like this… you can have one or the other, but not both.

    if you want AJax, then you get IPK along with Marquez and a 4th player.

    if you want Hughes, then you get Melky, Marquez and a 4th player.

    these are both packages i could live with.

  142. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    … and just to add, both better than what the Mets package is offering.

  143. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Randy I, thanks for the support. And let’s hope you’re right; my worries about the three kids turn out to be unwarranted; and Mike Mussina hits the weights this off-season and has a come-back year in ’08.

    Hey, Bob, if “The claim that Hughes/Melky/Marquez would have gotten it done at the beginning of December is erroneous” and you have a better source than Bill Madden, by all means, share it with us.

    But multiple outlets, Heyman, Madden, Minnesota’s papers (I can’t remember which), now have reported that the Twins would accept Hughes, Melky, Marquez and some lesser fourth prospect (not Horne, A-Jax, or IPK.) The latter two, and perhaps, Horne as well, I agree, the Yankees shouldn’t include in a Hughes trade.

    In any case, the argument appears academic. Cashman, evidently, is adamant about not trading Hughes for a pitcher he then has to sign to a unprecedentedly large, free-agent contract, even if it Johan Santana.

    I hope Cashman’s right. But I tend to agree with what George King of the NYP said last night on Yankees’ Hot Stove, “The Yankees are playing for 2nd place right now” because they didn’t narrow the gap with the BoSox in the off-season.

  144. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Thanks Buddy.

  145. CB January 11th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Matt,

    Nice piece and as you said there is always room for disagreement.

    I do think your conclusion is off however. The end result of this Santana situation points to ownership more than it does Cashman.

    Hank Steinbrenner has said over and over and over that the Santana move is his final decision. Now we know Hal is an equal partner so he is the other voice in this as well.

    Hank has made it very, very clear that Cashman is providing input and they respect his opinion – but this Santana trade is an ownership call.

    That’s the bottom line. It’s ownership making the final call in consultation with the baseball people, Cashman in particular.

    Santana will cost them $200 million over 6 years including the luxury tax. At that cost it is always going to be an ownership call – just like it is for the mets and sox.

    Santana would represent 10-15% of their payroll. At that price it becomes an ownership call.

    In addition, all of the coverage coming out of Minnesota has said that the Twins aren’t impressed by Melky and want a better prospect thrown in as the second guy. They may have backed off on that recently but that’s still the sticking point.

    Bill Madden also said last year that Torre was definitely fired and Lou Pinella was the new manager. Since George stepped away from running the team Madden’s “inside information” has deteriorated significantly. George liked Madden for whatever reason. He doesn’t have that kind of relationship with Hank and Hal.

    Right now them not getting Santana is more related to Hank and Hal not feeling the trade for Santana would be a good overall value in terms of prospects and money. It has far less to do with Cashman.

  146. raymagnetic â„¢ January 11th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I hope Cashman’s right. But I tend to agree with what George King of the NYP said last night on Yankees’ Hot Stove, “The Yankees are playing for 2nd place right now” because they didn’t narrow the gap with the BoSox in the off-season.

    It’s funny, but I seem to remember that last year the Yankees beat the Red Sox 10-8 head to head and I didn’t see the Red Sox get any better this past offseason. Not to mention the fact that when the Yankees finally got healthy they were the best team in the league. But, whatever.

  147. Buddy Biancalana January 11th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    If Cashman wanted this deal to happen, it would be done IMO. He could just be waiting it out as he did in his negotiations with Damon. Personally I would be happy either with Johan or not, however I don’t feel he will end up with the Sox.

  148. CB January 11th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Jon Heyman knows very little about minor league baseball.

    He makes simple mistakes all of the time.

    When he talks about prospects he speaks about them in a vacuum. Same thing for many of the other Yankee reporters. They just don’t have the time or inclination to spend a lot of effort getting to know the system.

    Baseball American and Baseball Prospectus’ take on minor league players are orders of magnitude better. They spend a lot of time with scouts and executives only focused on that.

    Citing Bill Madden and Jon Heyman and their take on yankee prospects isn’t very convincing.

  149. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    i dont think we’re citing Heyman or Madden as experts in the Yankees system, so much as quoting them for the sources they have on the inside that would tell them what the negotiations are based on.

  150. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t have time now, I have two papers due by 5 PM. But one final note – the Yankees finished two games behind the Red Sox last season. They will be replacing the IPs of Igawa/Rasner/Karstens/Wright/Clippard/De Salvo with Hughes/Chamberlain/IPK. That represents a significant improvement. In addition, the bullpen should improve, with Veras/Ohlendorf/Ramirez/Marquez playing significant roles and with Girardi running the show, instead of the incompetent Joe Torre.

    The Red Sox rotation should not demonstrably improve – Schilling will likely decline, Beckett should regress to the mean, Dice-K had an abysmal second half, Wakefield won’t change much, Buchholz/Lester will represent an improvement. Okajima should regress and there really shouldn’t be any other significant improvements there.

    As for the offense, most projections have the Yankees as the highest scoring team in the league next year. If you think the Yankees are playing for second place, you haven’t been paying attention.

  151. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Good point Raymagnetic.

    I don’t think we should underestimate the Yankees’ loss of Viz and Chamberlan from their bullpen however, as King observed, nor the Red Sox’ 2008 with will include Buchholz, Lester, and more experienced Dice-K.

    CB, thanks, and you might be right about who the final arbiter is in the Santana proposals. I can’t get a read on Hank however. One day he tells Newsday’s Kat O’Brien, he’s inclined to make the Santana trade, intimating that only Hal and Cash oppose it. The next day The Daily News quotes Hank to the contrary.

    And in Madden’s defense on that article last year, George was about to fire Joe and replace him with Pinella. But Swindal and Cashman convinced him to change his mind.

    Over at the Daily News, anything’s better than Lupica’s drivel.

  152. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    I wouldnt base the Yankees chance of success next season in the AL East based on their Head to Head record against the Sox.

    Do they match up well against Boston? Yeah, they do, but that doesnt mean Boston couldnt easily turn a couple of those close games around next season to win the season series…

    but there are still 13 other teams in the AL, and 144 other games total that you have to worry about… not just what the Red Sox have.

  153. John in Ohio January 11th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Matt:
    “…disparaging your interlocutor doesn’t refute his argumentr or vindicate your own: Logic 101.”

    (Scooby Doo voice): Er?

    Translation: “Insulting and disagreeing with me doesn’t necessarily make your opinion correct.”

    Did I get that right?

  154. CB January 11th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Hank has gone back and forth on the deal a great deal. But what hasn’t varied much is that it is Hank’s final decision.

    For an owner to come out so publicly and say that is quite striking. That is really laying it on the line and Hank would never say that if it wasn’t true.

    Meddling owners never come off well and generally they try to hide their level of involvement in personnel decisions.

    For Hank to publicly say that it is my decision on multiple occasions says a great deal. He’s pretty much saying the buck stops here with ownership.

    This is not Cashman’s call.

    Sorry if I misunderstood the Heyman thing on the prospects. I was trying to follow the thread and thought that was the discussion.

  155. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Hawkins was essentially the same pitchers as Viz last year, so that should be a non-issue. In addition, the improved performance of our starters should decrease the importance of the bullpen (one of the pinch bloggers showed that the starters I mentioned average 5 IP per start, vs. 6 for our other starters). The fact is Chamberlain will pitch more innings for the Yanks this year than he did last year, so I’m not sure how that is a point against us. Whether in the bullpen or starting, an IP is still an IP.

  156. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    “As for the offense, most projections have the Yankees as the highest scoring team in the league next year. If you think the Yankees are playing for second place, you haven’t been paying attention”

    Well than whomever these so-called oracles are, Bob from NJ, they haven’t been paying much attention to the Tigers. If the Yankees outscore the Tigers next year, I’ll donate $100 to their cause.

    Go write your papers, Bob. I only hope your professors at Harvard constrain you to defend your theses much more cogently than your ad homenim arguments and conclusory assertions like “you haven’t been paying attention” have in this forum.

  157. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    My arguments have absolutely not been exclusively ad hominem. You can mail the check to David Pinto:

    http://www.sportingnews.com/yo.....p?t=317733

  158. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    ugh.

  159. CB January 11th, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I think these quotes from Hank and Cashman from last week are very definitive over who is going to make the final call on the Santana trade:

    “Steinbrenner also touched up the dynamic between himself and Cashman.

    “I always told him, ‘I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should,’ ” Steinbrenner said. “He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”

    “The dynamics are changing with us,” said Cashman … “When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George (Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ owner) had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter.

    “I’ll be honest, I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different…. [Cashman]”

    http://www.bostonherald.com/sp.....rticleFull

  160. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    And when Silver finishes his projections, I am willing to bet that you will have to answer to PECOTA as well.

  161. The Monk January 11th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Considering that Hughes was the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball entering the 2007 season, the statement that only the Yankees evaluate him as a future ace is simply wrong.

  162. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    It a recent interview with Dave Eiland, talking about Phil Hughes, he said that there is no level of success that Phil could have on a baseball field that would surprise him.

  163. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    lol-i could google “ad hominem” , but i just want to say how funny it is to watch when ivy leaguers go after each other.

    where i grew up, verbal arguments took a slightly different course.

    none that ivy leaguers are bad.

    now to google”ad hominem”.
    love this blog. always learning something.

  164. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    “My arguments have absolutely not been exclusively ad hominem. You can mail the check to David Pinto:”

    hmmm-
    that was one of the funnier arguments yet on the blog.
    loved your response.

  165. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    “Matt:
    “…disparaging your interlocutor doesn’t refute his argumentr or vindicate your own: Logic 101.”

    (Scooby Doo voice): Er?

    Translation: “Insulting and disagreeing with me doesn’t necessarily make your opinion correct.”

    Did I get that right?”
    ****************************************************
    John, I was trying to explain, not very well, I guess, that Bob from NJ’s argument suffered from a common logical fallacy. In Latin, it’s Ad homenim argementum.

    For example, John if you assert, “Brian Cashman is the smartest GM in baseball. His moves for Justice and Abreu testify to his genius…”

    And I respond, for example, “John, you’re a fool; you don’t know what you’re talking about,” then my argument suffers from this very fallacy.

    It’s not that I have disagreed with you. But rather, how I’ve chosen to disagree with you. I haven’t disputed your conclusion or contested your logic. I have disparaged you personally.

    Why is this a fallacy? Because whether you are or are not a fool has no bearing on whether Cashman is a genius. You could be a fool (of course you aren’t) and Cashman could be a genius or You both could be geniuses.

    I’ve attacked YOU instead of YOUR logic. And sound logic is sound logic whether espoused by a bad or foolish person or a virtuous and smart one.

    Watch this during the election season, politicians do this all the time. Hillary will talk about how her X health-care plan is better than McCain’s Y plan.

    And then McCain will respond with some negative ad, that questions the Clintons’ integrity or implies Hillary’s an autocrat or an incompetent. All of which still begs the question is X health-care plan better than Y health-care plan.

    Sorry if I didn’t make this clear earlier.

  166. whoa January 11th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Great post, and I think I agree with the general sentiment.

    I think one thing people tend to forget when they say “well if the Saux dont have include Bucholtz, why do the Yankees have to include Hughes?” …and the answer being, because Joba actually projects as a pitcher pitcher than Hughes, so he’s the real “Bucholtz” of the farm system. Hughes is the second best pitching prospect in the system.

    Wrong answer. Hughes will be as good or better than Joba and Bucholz.

  167. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I have never attacked you personally. I have criticized your writing style – I believe the exact phrase I used was “pretentious pseudo-prose.” I stand by that characterization. I have disagreed with two of your conclusions – that Cashman ‘foiled’ a trade for Santana and that only the Yankees project Hughes as an ace. I believe that I have made it clear exactly how and why these conclusions are incorrect.

  168. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Anyone care to contest former Blue Jays’ GM Keith Law’s credentials as an evaluator of talent?

    Please, I’d love, someone to discredit his assessment that Hughes is no better than a 2nd or 3rd starter.

    http://myespn.go.com/s/convers.....ry/3007436

    I will sleep easier at night.

  169. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    “Wrong answer. Hughes will be as good or better than Joba and Bucholz.”

    Are all three of them excellent pitching prospects? yes, so we’re kind of splitting hairs in terms of potential production.

    but I saw all three of them pitch last year, and you can read scouting reports all over the web that would prob say the same thing, and if you are judging potential mlb success based on pure stuff, Hughes just doesnt have what Bucholtz and Joba have in his repertoire.

  170. YankeeGM January 11th, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Are you serious, or was this a joke?

    http://yankeegm.blogspot.com/2.....ation.html

  171. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Nowhere in the article does it say the words “2 or 3 starter” although I think I remember Law characterizing him as a 2 starter before in a chat, though. Anyway, nothing in that article is really too negative. I have already posted quotes of praise from BP’s Goldstein, who is certainly as qualified as Law, and his article was more recent (from December). This is from the Law article:

    “Why is Hughes’ stuff down? One possibility is that his left leg is still causing him trouble, since both the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL and the ankle injury that kept him there were to his left leg. His landing is now very soft, and it looked like he was babying that leg rather than landing firmly and pushing off that leg as he drives through his delivery. If the leg is indeed still bothering him, it would explain both the loss of velocity and the lack of sharpness on his curveball.”

    Don’t worry about Hughes, he will be just fine.

  172. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Bob here’s your post:

    “This article is a cry for help. I am not sure what is worse, the content or the style. I am pretty sure Matt does not follow the Yankees at all.

    Hughes is universally regarded as a bonafide ace. Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein recently ranked him above Chamberlain, a 5 star prospect. Cashman did not ‘foil’ the Hughes for Santana deal – the Twins did not accept.

    As for the style, there are sentence fragments all over the place. Many of the ‘fancy’ words everyone is so impressed with are used incorrectly, like ‘tract’. What a pretentious mess.
    ************************************************************

    Let’s review.

    1) “This article is a cry for help”

    Even if hyperbole, does this not question my sanity? (Which admittedly can’t be too stable, considering I’m responding to you.) Or does it not, at the very least, contest my capacity for rational thought?

    2) “I’m pretty sure Matt does not follow the Yankees at all.”

    First you couldn’t be more wrong. Second, what relevance does it have? What matters is whether the facts I cite in my argument are accurate and whether the conclusions I draw from them are logical and convincing. If the facts are inaccurate, it may be because I don’t follow the Yankees or for some other reason, but that still is irrelevant to the soundness of my premise and conclusion.

    3) “Hughes is universally regarded as a bona fide ace… [I cite renown expert]…”

    Sound logic, if wrong. Keith Law’s dissent would suggest the opinion on Hughes is not “universal” or unanimous.

    3) “As for the style, there are sentence fragments all over the place. Many of the ‘fancy’ words everyone is so impressed with are used incorrectly, like ‘tract’. What a pretentious mess”

    This time, you’re not disparaging me but my writing style. (Which is fine, I’m not for everyone) Yet how I express my argument may diminish its efficacy, but has no bearing on its validity or legitimacy. A more subtle ad homenim fallacy but one nonetheless.

    Just don’t make these logical errors in your papers, Bob. The Harvard professors I know are even more pedantic than I am, and their writing style tends to be more “pretentious” than mine.

  173. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    “Anyone care to contest former Blue Jays’ GM Keith Law’s credentials as an evaluator of talent?”
    i enjoyed your post, but keith law is a typical ivy guy who never played the game who is strong on stats, but weak on actual baseball understanding though he’s learned to parrot players jargon.

    in short, my opinion is he doesn’t have a complete knowledge of the game.

  174. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Last year, the Yankees fielded 2 totally different teams.
    The first half team was dominated by no name pitchers, and coincidentally, 4 quality regulars was slumping terribly at the same time. Yankee Team A went 21-29(.420). Team B saw our regular pitchers (mostly) healthy, some quality but inexpierience kid pitchers, and the regulars playing their normal game. This team was helped by a career year from Po and a far better then average year from ARod. This team went 73-39(.652)

    If we want to talk about the 2008 Yanks vs. Sox I think Team B is much closer to the 2008 Yanks then Team A or Team A/B.

    We might expect lesser years from Joba and IPK (small sample sizes), ARod and Posada.

    We might expect similar years from JD, Mats, Jeter, Duncan, Betemin, Abreu and Mo.

    We might expect better years from Giambi, Hughes and Melky.

    In terms of the kids in the BP, anything goes. We could be slightly above average, we could be terrible.

    I might also guess that as he typically does, Cashman will make some mid/end season moves that improve the team.

    The Yanks and Sox both have fine teams with some weak spots. The Sox look to have better pitching, we look to have better offense. But the games is played on the field and the outcome, like always, will be based on injuries and how many players have career years, above average years, average years and below average years.

    Is Beckett 2007 Beckett, 2006 Beckett or inbetween?
    Does Manny regress a little more or bounce back?
    Which way does Ortiz go? Getting older or getting better?
    Does Dustbin have another ROY type year?
    Drew could be a stud or could be a dud. Nothing would be surprising?
    Can Lowell possibly do it again?
    Does Tek have anything left?
    Can Schill give a last horay, or is he cooked?
    Does Dice-K (and the league batters) get better of worse?
    Crisp and Lugo could easily be better, and could also be the same.

    And it goes on. On paper the teams are close.
    To argue which team is better is silly.
    My only guess is it will be competative.

  175. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Here’s Keith Law on Hughes in response to me.

    “Actually, all anyone had to do was ask. I don’t consider Hughes a potential #1 starter because he has just an average fastball; does not have plus fastball movement; has only one average or better secondary pitch (his curve); does not show an advanced feel for pitching; does not have a build that points toward durability, nor has he been durable in the past; does not show plus command, although I wouldn’t rule it out down the road; and has shown below-average poise and mound presence.

    I have said before that I like Hughes quite a bit as a prospect, ranking him #4 overall in the minors last offseason, and even with the lost year and the emergence of some big names in the minors, can still only name 4-5 pitching prospects I’d take over him right now. I think given time, he’ll refine the changeup into an average or above-average pitch, he’ll improve his command, and he’ll get his velocity back to its pre-injury form. However, there are too many areas in which he needs to improve for him to be a #1 starter…. What works in his favor is his youth; to be able to dominate AA as he did last year and then to hold his own in the majors at such a young age speaks well to his ability and to his potential to get better. But I’ve never seen him as a potential #1; best case scenario is a #2.”

  176. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    1) This was a joke.

    2) I thought this also was obviously a joke, seeing as you have a Yankees blog.

    3) Nowhere did Keith Law say that Hughes was not an ace, just that his stuff was diminished, due to his previous injuries.

    3b) I was not implying that your style was detracting from your arguments. Other posters had already commented on your style before me, mostly positively, so I thought I would throw my two cents in.

    I expect to encounter pedantry in academia, not on a baseball blog.

  177. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    By the way, Carlos Gomez, who writes for Hardball Times and played minor league ball, affirms the Law conclusion I quote above.

    “Hi, this is Carlos Gomez. I just thought I’d let you know that I’m not a former big-leaguer, unfortunately.
    While KLaw and I disagree as to Hughes’ fastball command (although I’d take his word on it), I’m with him on this one as to his career prospects. Nothing with his stuff screams “#1 starter”.

    One more point. Hughes’ fastball is not what I would consider “explosive” and to compare it to Rivera’s fastball is just not very wise. Rivera’s fastball cuts significantly at 93-95. Hughes’ fastball is nowhere near that good movement/velocity wise. It’s not even close.”

    And, Bob from NJ, congratulations on your appointment as the baseball blogosphere’s pedantry censor.

  178. Marcy January 11th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks Pete, this was a nice surprise. Not only did you introduce me to a good Yankee blog but also someone who agrees with me politically and on the steroids debacle.
    Following up on that, I am really sorry Biden is out of the race and I really hope Santana isn’t. I have concerns about the kids (even if they are terrific) being able to pitch enough innings – I’ve heard it mentioned that Kennedy’s back problems at the end of the season had to do with the increase in innings pitched last year.
    As a Pettitte fan, I am concerned about Andy too. Regardless of what the media has said about him, we all know he is a big family man and a religious man as well. [I hope he isn’t a Huckabee supporter but I have to let that one go] His father’s in the hospital, his son got pretty banged up and he has to appear before Congress the day before Pitchers and Catchers not to mention the deposition which must be coming up soon. I was nervous being deposed after I was hit by a car – I can’t imagine what he is feeling. Matt, as an attorney, can you give us any insight into why he chose Sosa’s attorney? Andy’s English is pretty good. Also, wouldn’t Clemens be better served by a “Washington Insider” type at those hearings?
    Regarding Cashman – did you see how he looked last night? I thought he looked ill but who can blame him? In this his contract year with all the big internal organizational turnover, steroid allegations, and impressive Boston and Detroit teams Cashman will be facing a lot of questions and scrutiny. I suppose it will be interesting to watch though I would rather watch it with a stronger rotation and a solid first baseman. Even the way Cash spoke about Hawkins last night wasn’t very encouraging and every time someone says Farnsworth is the bridge to Mariano – well, I guess I’d look ill too ;-).
    Anyway, thanks Matt – I enjoyed the blog and look forward to checking it out often.
    BTW, does anyone know why Heyman wasn’t on The Hot Stove last night? I thought he was going to be the regular replacement for Verducci.

  179. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Keith Law is a well-documented Hughes detractor.

    that doesn’t make him WRONG. he just happens to be one guy who is a little bearish on Hughes. others are more bullish.

    why chose Law to make your point? because he agrees with you.

    nothing wrong with Law, i enjoy his chats, but i happen to disagree with his take on Hughes. i value his opinion, but i think he is a too critical on Hughes.

    for example, this is baseless:

    “does not have a build that points toward durability,”

    Hughes is 6’5″ 220 lbs. he is broad shouldered. i have heard many other scouts say he has the perfect pitcher’s build. this is literally the first time i have heard anyone criticize Hughes’ build.

    second, for a long time, Law was basing his opinions on what he saw at the Future’s game, when Hughes struggled a little for one inning in an otherwise unbelievable season.

    third, a lot of his recent comments were based on a few of his starts he watched, post-injury. he went with a radar gun and noted the decreased velocity. Phil was struggling with his curve also.

    we all know Phil’s mechanics got out of synch when he returned from the injury. this is well-documented.

    that said, i am still extremely high on Phil Hughes. i guess time will tell, whether he is wearing Yankee pinstripes or Twins’ pinstripes.

  180. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    i think the jury is out on hughes. he hasn’t thrown the 95 mph fastball that he was rumored to have on the minor leagues. but in hughes defense he only had a base down where he could maintain peak velocity for maybe 45 pitches when he was rushed to the major leagues.

    if people remember, it was an incredibly cold spring and pitchers were either pitching in freezing conditions or missing starts because of cancellations. hughes was not ready to go even 60 pitches. it’s the reason he broke down pitching to the intensity level of mlb. he would not have pitched with that intensity at the triple a level.

    i’m looking forward to seeing the real hughes this year. until we do ,i think the argument of whether he’s a#1,#2, or#3 won’t be answered

    a bigger question is why cashman rushed hughes when he knew he wasn’t ready.

  181. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    “And, Bob from NJ, congratulations on your appointment as the baseball blogosphere’s pedantry censor.”

    What? I have only given my opinion, that’s why there is a comments section on this blog. I haven’t come to your blog to try and shut you down, or posted about it on my own blog. I’m all for differing opinions and styles. In my opinion, your writing is pretentious pseudo-prose. But carry on, by all means.

    As for the Hughes ‘debate’ you can keep quoting analysts, but the fact remains that the Yankees are not alone in projecting Hughes as an ace.

  182. DeLeon January 11th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I discredit Keith Law’s credentials. He often gets basic facts wrong (has referred to LHP as RHP on occasion, etc). Actually, Matt, I find your use of intelligent prose to be refreshing and your points to be interesting, often well made and certainly defensible.

    However, you are not correct that Hughes is only regarded as a potential ace by the Yankees. At this time last year, Hughes was the number one prospect according to BA. As others have pointed out, Goldstein ranks Hughes above Chamberlin. Needless to say, just as it would be dangerous to evaluate Hughes based solely on his minor league experience, it would be dangerous to judge him based solely on his first season when he showed the effects of an injury to his leg. As we all know, leg injuries keep a pitcher from pushing off the mound, thus hampering the ability to drive the ball and throw at top speeds.

  183. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    FWIW, Ken Rosenthal was just on XM, and said if he had to guess right now, he thinks Johan would still be going to the Yankees. He thinks the Yankees are walking a very fine line with the 3 young pitchers who have innings thresholds to worry about, and should something ever happen to Wang or Pettitte in season for any period of time, that would all but leave them too far behind the competition in the AL to keep up, while not then pressuring the young arms to do too much.

  184. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    He also reiterated that the Yankees are indeed interested in Cameron, regardless of Melky being included in a Johan deal… he said there are a number of teams who have approached the Yankees about Melky, and they would feel comfortable moving him for the right deal of prospects in return.

  185. randy l. January 11th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    i like carlos gomez. his analysis of hughes and chamberlain was excellent:
    http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....mechanics/

    i alluded earlier today to red sox pitching coach john farrel saying that the key thing to pitching is establishing command of both the inside and outside fastball because a hitter can’t be ready for both at the same time.

    gomez gives hughes the nod over joba on command of the fastball. i’m assuming he can spot it inside and outside. if he uses farrel’s strategy, which is what transformed beckett last summer, hughes may likewise be a #1.

  186. CB January 11th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    For people who like to knock Hughes take a look at the article I linked to below about Hughes before saying what his potential is. Seriously, just take a look at that article for the flip side to Keith Law view of Hughes.

    Keith Law and Carlos Gomez are well known to be not be that high on Hughes. That’s fine. It’s their opinion, but because two guys on the blogosphere think X of Hughes doesn’t necessarily mean that much. If Law was such an astute judge of baseball wouldn’t he have a job somewhere in baseball after he got fired by Toronto? Same with Gomez – if he was such a great scout (instead of a guy who posts comments on blogs – which he does) don’t you think he’d have a job somewhere?

    This year after the Futures game Keith Law said one of Joba’s deficiencies was limited command of his fastball.

    Think about that – Joba throws 97-99 at the knees – we saw this over and over when he came up. But Law said command was an issue for him?

    Alot of what Law says does seem to be based on the limited snap shot he sees in the futures game.

    There is no way he gets to see all of the prospects he comments on to any significant extent. No single person could. What he tries to do for ESPN is equivalent to what the entire staff of Baseball America does.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....ip-hughes/

  187. Rockin' Rich January 11th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    This whole discussion would be redundant if Brian Cashman were still alive.

    Waddya mean he is? Are you sure??

  188. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    It’s funny that you attempt to derail my arguments by criticizing them as them as ad hominem and then base the entirety of your argument on appeals to authority.

  189. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    i will add that i also like Gomez’s work. but he isn’t always right either.

  190. CB January 11th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    My issue with Gomez is that he started making very definitive statements on Hughes after he saw a couple of innings of Phil pitching on tape.

    Gomez first big analysis of Hughes where he said a change in Phil’s mechanics made him prone to a shoulder injury was based on him comparing like two innings of tape from one start in the minors to the first start phil made in the majors.

    Before that I don’t think he’d ever seen Hughes pitch.

    He’s very analytic but I also get the sense that he makes statements that overstep how familiar he is with the player just to get people on blogs to read his stuff.

  191. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    of course, none of these guys are ever right… but being immersed in the game as a part of their profession, I’ll take their word over some random guy’s opinion on this board.

  192. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    the funniest thing about this whole thing:

    here is the author of today’s post ARGUING with Law and Gomez in FAVOR of Hughes from the link he provided:

    “As for my “attempted scouting report”, well, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve seen Hughes pitch about 25 times and seen him exhibit extraordinary “maturity, poise, and composure”– an opinion shared by the former Red Sox scout with whom I sat– who happened to describe Hughes’ fastball as having both “late movement” and “late explosiveness.” The latter two locutions two guests appearing on Michael Kay’s 1050 ESPN radio show subsequently employed to describe Hughes’ fastball as well.

    It appears you & I have indeed seen a different PH.”

    make up your mind dude.

  193. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    CB, that is also a part of it too… these guys are getting paid not only to bring insider info and analysis, but bring discussion and draw traffic… its why we have to take what we read with a grain of salt.

  194. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    so back then, the author this post loved Hughes, backed his reasoning for this love with the words of a Red Sox Scout, showered Hughes with the highest praise….

    but now that he wants to join the ranks of Cashman bashers, he does a total 180 on Phil Hughes using the words of the people he was arguing with to back his NEW position.

    this is simply bizarre.

  195. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    these two sentences are written by the same person:

    “Why, for example, do the Yankees alone seem to project Hughes a bonafide ace?”

    “I’ve seen Hughes pitch about 25 times and seen him exhibit extraordinary “maturity, poise, and composure”– an opinion shared by the former Red Sox scout with whom I sat– who happened to describe Hughes’ fastball as having both “late movement” and “late explosiveness.” ”

    i admit, i am just confused.

  196. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    No clue Marcy on why Pettitte chose Sosa’s attorney to represent him. I’d have recommended Abbe Lowell.
    http://www.mwe.com/index.cfm/f.....fa49ec.cfm

  197. CB January 11th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    TurnTwo,

    I agree. The analysis is interesting to read but to put a lot of stock in it is a stretch.

    That’s what got me about that piece Gomez did on the Hardball Times about Hughes mechanics. The guy had access to like two innings of minor league work and 4 innings of major league work by Hughes and based on that was willing to say Hughes is going to blow out his shoulder?

    But every yankee blog on the planet linked to that story and went into a tizzy about it.

  198. Pull The String January 11th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    “Matt is a writer and lawyer in New York City but hopes to earn enough money at the former one day to forego the latter.” Hmmm……

    I may just be a simple plebian, but I would say unto you, “do not cease to continue your current daytime employment.”

  199. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Marcy -

    I thought Cashman looks as he usually does. Tired. He also has mastered the blank face expression and bland monotone delivery of speech. He places no emphasis, and thus, you cannot really gauge exactly how he feels about what he is saying. Even when he was talking about Andy Pettitte, he managed to convey very little, if any emotion, in spite of the use of the word “family.”

    He will never disparage a player currently on the roster and will always express confidence in the players available to him at the current time. All this while doing his job in relative peace. He must be a little different in his actual dealings with other teams, because I can’t imagine any of them would like to work with him otherwise.

    But he doesn’t show his hand in public. Ever.

    Reporter from Milwaukee on Charlie Steiner’s show was asked how hard the Brewers are going after Mike Cameron and his response was a very animated, yeah, but the Yankees are really pushing for him.

    So, I suppose I should get ready to say goodbye to Melky. I only hope this means the Twins have seen the light and will take the Yankee offer over the others on the table. Then the Hughes argument becomes moot as far as Yankee fans are concerned. But if Melky is gone for anything other than Santana, I will be very disappointed.

  200. Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Here’s one think on Hughes Law missed.
    “Entered the 2007 season ranked by BaseballAmerica as the top right-handed pitching prospect throughout all of baseball…”
    So who is the (better) Lefty?

  201. keith January 11th, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Holy sh*t. This pinch hit at bat should end with a fastball to the skull. I’m not even commenting on whatever contrived point you were trying to make because frankly I don’t care. Your writing style is beyond excruciating. You’re a lawyer? Really?

    “But on the fate of Santana and Hughes both will hinge the final reckoning.”

    WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN?!?! Go away.

  202. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    How do I reconcile them, hmmn?

    First, I don’t draw any definitive conclusion about whether Hughes will develop into an ace. Honestly, I’m ambivalent.

    Second, it surprised me to learn back in July when Law and I had that argument, that the received wisdom on Hughes, that every scout projected him to be a future ace, perhaps even the next Roger Clemens, was hardly universal.

    More importantly, the doubt Law and Gomez raised quieted whatever reservations I otherwise might have had about trading him for Santana.

    As I wrote earlier, I concede Hughes could indeed blossom into a pitcher worthy of Clemens’ mantle and it would pain me to trade him. But I’d swallow hard and make the deal nonetheless.

    My larger point is that I don’t think the Yankees can afford the gamble of entrusting 60% of their rotation to three untested rookie pitchers, with inning caps. The age on the Yankees roster doesn’t permit them to wait until three kids fully ripen. Santana gives them an ace in ’08 and perhaps for the next 2-3 yrs.

    The Yankees have ample prospects in their system to suffer the loss of Hughes and Marquez.

    I quoted Law and Gomez, less because I agree with them– I don’t know whether they convinced me I was wrong or no– but merely to refute NJ Bob’s assertion that opinion on Hughes was unanimous. It isn’t.

  203. Summer January 11th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I am a little confused about why this blogger wrote a post about Cashman when he seems to have no definitive stance on the GM’s performance. It’s like, “He’s made some good moves, but a lot of bad moves. But some of the bad moves might not have been his. Since he got full control, his moves have been pretty good! But I can’t evaluate him really until I know more about the Hughes/Santana trade, which I’m not going to talk at all about.”

    Also, I was confused at his use of the word “titular,” which means someone has a title, but not the responsibilities of a position. Was this sarcasm? Or does he actually think Cash is GM in title only, and someone else is pulling the strings? If so then why not write about that?

  204. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    “I quoted Law and Gomez, less because I agree with them– I don’t know whether they convinced me I was wrong or no– but merely to refute NJ Bob’s assertion that opinion on Hughes was unanimous. It isn’t.”

    except, in your piece you declared that it WAS unanimous outside of the Yankee organization. you wrote:

    “Why, for example, do the Yankees alone seem to project Hughes a bonafide ace? ”

    seems to me like you just wanted to take a shot at Cashman and have reversed your own clearly documented stance on Hughes to fit your agenda.

    either you think Hughes is going to be great, or you don’t. you clearly DID at one point.

    if you think he is going to be great, you don’t make the trade. if you don’t think he is going to be great, you do make the trade. it’s that simple.

    this whole bit about the innings caps is simply not that important. they have moose. Kennedy’s cap is close to 200 innings. Hughes’ cap should be close to 180 innings. Joba IS on a strict limit. he can start the year in the pen with moose taking his slot and Hughes occupying the 5th slot to be skipped on off days.

    this CAN be done. it’s not rocket science.

  205. keith January 11th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    What is Kennedy’s inning cap? Do you know what you’re talking about? He’s going to be able to pitch ~190 innings this year.
    Hughes threw 146 innings in 2006, I’d expect him to throw somewhere around 160 innings if he remains healthy. The situation is a bit murkier when talking Joba as his career high IP is 116 @ Nebraska. He should be good for ~130-140 this season. This might mean starting him off in the bullpen with scheduled outings every 3 days or so ala Santana 2003 and sliding into the rotation later on. He might just be pulled after 5 innings. No one knows yet, but he’s going to pitch a nice amount of innings.

    SO, (if healthy/productive for the full season)
    IPK: ~190
    Hughes: ~160
    Joba: ~135

    Last season’s IP leaders:

    SP *Andy Pettitte 215.3
    SP Chien-Ming Wang 199.3
    SP Mike Mussina 152.0

    They’ll be fine. Quiet now.

  206. keith January 11th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    hmm why do you do that to me :

  207. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    There’s a difference between “universally regarded” and “unanimously regarded”.

    The concern about innings caps is overblown. Yes, Girardi will have strict guidelines. But, barring injury, Hughes, Chamberlain, and IPK will all pitch more innings for the Yankees next year than they did last year.

  208. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Keith, the one thing that you arent taking into consideration is what happens to the 200+ innings you project for Wang and Pettitte if either of them get injured, or spend a significant period of time on the DL?

    what happens with Pettitte and the whole Mitchell investigation resting on his shoulders? will he have the right frame of mind to start the season, or if/when he is called to testify in any sort of Clemens court case?

    people just assume pitchers will automatically give you a certain number of guaranteed innings, and I just think its very difficult to grant that as fact.

    hmmm: I disagree; you can think Hughes will be great and still make the trade.

    not all trades are made to favor one team. even if you think Hughes might be great, maybe you think it’ll take him 3 or 4, or maybe even more, full seasons to put it all together. is this yankees team built with the players on its current roster to wait 3 or 4 years to contend? maybe… you hope so… but you know that this team IS built to win in 2008 and 2009.

  209. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Yes, like I wrote, hmm, I once thought the opinion on Hughes was unanimous. Law and Gomez educated me that it wasn’t.

    Three more months of watching Hughes pitch, and the prospect of acquiring Santana, changed my opinion about the “untouchable” status I once would have set upon him.

    I did re-evaluate my stance: It’s not like I went wind-surfing with John Kerry. In any case, I quote Emerson, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

    Speaking of “little minds”, I was wondering when the NoMaas herds would come baying for my head. I’m pleased to see that despite their obsession with PA’s digestive track, they still find time to read his blog and to pay his guest bloggers’ the compliment of villification.

  210. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    the one thing i find that is interesting is that you have a pitcher, with a proven track record and no history of serious injury, and he’s still under the age of 30 come opening day… and people are afraid to commit to him for 6 or 7 years.

    yet, you have another pitcher, who is young and unproven… who has pitched less than 100 innings on the MLB level and looked both great and mediocre at times… and fans are ready to grant him the keys to the franchise.

    if anything, the people who sit here and argue that long-term contracts for pitchers never work, why then should we all sit here and assume Phil Hughes is automatically going to be this great pitcher for the next decade without any issues?

  211. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    “hmmm: I disagree; you can think Hughes will be great and still make the trade. ”

    ok, good point, though i don’t think anyone who believes in Hughes; ability would think 3-4 years is the right timetable. i’m thinking more like 2009.

    but the point of this column was to criticize Cashman for being “attached” to Hughes.

    why shouldn’t he be attached to a pitcher that the author himself felt was super-special a mere 4 months ago??

    it’s intellectually dishonest.

  212. keith January 11th, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Obviously, injuries are a concern with every starting pitcher. The point I was making is that right now we have 6 starters, 5 of them “allowed” to throw >150 innings. Will 5 pitchers throw over that amount? No way. That’s the reason I posted last years IP amounts. There are enough quality arms to pitch the necessary innings, the trick is hoping they’re all effective.

  213. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    “why then should we all sit here and assume Phil Hughes is automatically going to be this great pitcher for the next decade without any issues?”

    who is doing that?

    the problem is that with the mets in the picture, the yankees are going to have to offer a LOT more than just Hughes. and pay him a ton of money.

    it’s not cut and dry on either side. i see the arguments for doing it, i see the arguments against it.

    i lean towards not doing it, but i understand the other side. what i don’t like are the people who pretend that this is a slam-dunk no-brainer. it’s not. the Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers, and Mets all agree with me.

    otherwise, they’d make the deal.

    the Mets are acting the exact same with Martinez that the Yankees are with Hughes. yet the Mets need Santana even MORE than the Yankees do. and Martinez has a much smaller chance of panning out than Hughes’ does.

    so, i understand your position as the most vocal supporter of this trade on this blog and other blogs. i get it.

    i just want you to understand that there are a TON of other people in baseball who don’t feel the same. they can’t all be stupid.

  214. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    hmmm, we hope 2009 would be the target year, but then again, most thought 2007 was the year of Phil Hughes’s big breakout.

    i got the idea that the article was not criticizing Cashman because he was “attached” to Hughes, but that he was “attached” to Hughes to a fault… meaning that he couldnt take a step back and realize the opportunity that was presenting itself.

    in this case, the Yankees have been able to develop several stud pitching prospects, and Hughes in no longer the only option we have in our system. When the opportunity to obtain one of the league’s top 5 pitchers (taking into consideration everything from MLB production, to pure talent, age, injury history, etc.) presents itself, you need to realize that Hughes is still a prospect, as good a prospect as he is recognized as being.

  215. We Miss Paulie January 11th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Brewers got Cameron….

  216. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    hmmm, i also see both sides. Ive said before, if they dont make the trade, i’ll be excited to see the 3 kids get their chance… but you just hope everything pans out as we all hope it’s supposed to.

  217. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    “but then again, most thought 2007 was the year of Phil Hughes’s big breakout. ”

    i disagree. i think most thought he was rushed this year.

    but whatever, like i said, i understand your side of the argument. if it was Hughes straight-up for Santana, the Yankees would do it in a flash.

    the problem is the Twins kept asking for more.

    remember, the yankees OFFERED Hughes.

    so it’s not just Hughes, it’s the accumulation of a lot of things. and it’s not just Cashman who “foiled” the deal, don’t forget Hal is against it, and he’s the one holding the checkbook.

  218. TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    rushed? yeah, but the anticipation once he got to NY was that he was going to be the savior to the season.

    the Twins did want more, the Yankees balked, and then it was reported the Twins backed down from that stance…

    but trades that include the quality of player like Johan are very rarely easy, and because it includes trading the talent and paying the money, it would be wrong to lay that decision into the hands of any one single person.

  219. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    2007 Yankees SPs total innings = 885.4 Innings = 5.47 innings per start. I don’t know how this ranks the Yankees in the AL.

    However, the Red Sox starters amassed 984.1 Innings or 6.07 inning per start. The Blue Jays starters, by contrast, totalled 1021 or 6.3 innings per start.

    If the Yankees strive to match the Red Sox total of, let’s round it off, 6 innings per start, they will need their starters to accumulate 972 innings.

    2008 Projected

    Wang ~200
    Pettitte ~200
    IPK: ~190
    Hughes: ~160
    Joba: ~135

    Totals = 885 innings, which assumes no injuries to Pettitte and Wang.

    Where will the Yankees turn to make up the 90 inning differential? Mussina, Igawa, Rasner, Karstens, Horne, etc.

    I’d much prefer this alternative for 2008.

    Wang ~200
    Pettite ~200
    Santana ~200
    IPK ~190
    Joba ~135

    Total = 925, relying on Mussina for 50 or so innings. And if Mussina performs well, then you have the added luxury of returning Joba to the pen.

    And by the way, aren’t rookies more susceptible to nagging injuries in their first full seasons in the majors. Andrew Miller and Justin Verlander spent considerable time on the DL in their first years, no?

    Hmmn, sorry, I responded to your last post, in which I reconcile the seeming contradiction you cite, but it was lost in the Spam filter. Perhaps, someone will resurrect it later.

  220. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Suffice it to say, Hmmm, Law and Gomez’s opinion; three months of watching Hughes pitch; and the availability of Santana, all convinced me not to confer an “untouchable” status on Hughes, not for Santana anyway.

    I quote the great F.Scott Fitzgerald, “”The test of a first rate intellect is the capacity to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

  221. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Even without Santana, if Mussina performs well the team still has the added luxury of returning Joba to the pen.

    Next year, the Yankees would be a better team if they gave up Hughes/Melky/Marquez/Jackson. That’s not the point. Everyone would rather have the second rotation instead of the first. But the point is that the payroll would be at least $20mm higher and in a few years, the team would have a possibly declining Johan at $20mm instead of Hughes in his prime for arbitration money and a hole in CF. You’re oversimplifying it.

  222. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Nope, I’m not simplifying it.

    Patterson, Gardner or Damon could fill the CF hole until Jackson or Gardner, whomever of the two is better can assume the job.

    The Yankees need to win NOW, Santana still is in his prime because of their position players’ relative age. How much longer do you expect Mo, Posada, Jeter and A-Rod to remain prolific?

    The Yankees have ample prospects to fill the pitching hole Hughes would leave years down the road. They lack the position players however.

    Santana’s salary isn’t that much of a hardship when you consider the Yankees lose almost $80 million in salary after 2007 (Mussina, Giambi, Pavano, Abreu, Pettitte, Farnsworth) and after 2008, another $26 million in Damon and Matsui.

    The Yankees of 2007 are not the Yankees of 1998 when Eric Milton was their one and only premiere pitching prospect. Losing Hughes if it nets Santana will not mortgage their future.

  223. Brinton January 11th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Matt, why do you sneak in the “no injuries to Pettitte or Wang?” Pettitte i can see as possibly injured but there’s no reason to suspect Wang will throw fewer than 200 INN. And how many times does it have to be stated that you can’t get Santana and keep IPK? If you wanna put Santana in the rotation you have to give up Hughes IPK, Melky and someone else, that’s how simple it is. Take out the 190 IP from IPK and see how that rotation ranks.

    Going way back to talk of Horne, who you have as being called a #5 at best, he was the Eastern League pitcher of the year in 2007. Case closed.

    Back to Hughes, Baseball America’s 2007 4th best prospect in the majors. Case closed.

    This is so simple I feel I shouldn’t have to point it out.

  224. Boston Dave January 11th, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Matt,

    just got around to reading this and it was very interesting. Excellent post. thanks.

  225. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    “but now that he wants to join the ranks of Cashman bashers, he does a total 180 on Phil Hughes using the words of the people he was arguing with to back his NEW position”— HHMMN.

    I’m not now nor have I ever been a member of the Cashman-bashers. I would have thought my assessment of his record as “equivocal” and the praise I heap on him for the farm system would have attested to as much.

    I do however vehemently disagree with Cashman on the Santana debate.

    Does criticism, in your estimation, amount to reviling or “bashing” him?

    Sorry, but I’ve never believed one expresses his loyalty or his love by acquiescence or unqualified assent.

  226. Boston Dave January 11th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Matthew,

    I learned months ago that challenging the Hughes supporters was a lost cause. I agree that the Yankees should jump at the chance to get Santana even for Hughes, Cabrera, +2…. but you arent going to change any opinions in here on this one.

  227. Boston Dave January 11th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Old Yanks Fan January 11th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Here’s one think on Hughes Law missed.
    “Entered the 2007 season ranked by BaseballAmerica as the top right-handed pitching prospect throughout all of baseball…”
    So who is the (better) Lefty?

    I’m guessing Kershaw. Some had Homer Bailey ranked over Hughes as well.

  228. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks Boston Dave.

    Brinton, I don’t know what to believe anymore about the players the proposed deal for Santana contemplated. The reports range from Twins insisting on 1) Hughes and IPK to those I quote above, suggesting as follows: 2) they would accept Marquez and Hilligos instead of IPK; or 3) Marquez and Horne; or even in Kat O’Brien’s recent article, 4) Marquez alone.

    1) I certainly don’t advocate the first permutation of Hughes and IPK. I, moreover, wouldn’t add A-Jax to a Hughes package. I like TurnTwo’s proposal of IPK and A-Jax as the centerpieces, removing Hughes altogether, but he’d have to convince me more. And I’m not sure the Twins would accept that anyway.

    2) I would endorse the second and fourth versions of the deal.

    3) I doubt I would assent to the third because it would necessitate losing three pitchers, Hughes, Horne, and Marquez.

  229. hmmm January 11th, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    “However, the Red Sox starters amassed 984.1 Innings or 6.07 inning per start. The Blue Jays starters, by contrast, totalled 1021 or 6.3 innings per start.”

    did you know the Blue Jays had 3 rookies in their rotation?

    your example disproves your hypothesis.

  230. Doreen January 11th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    But were they rookies with innings caps? Or, even more to the point, did the Blue Jays ignore innings caps?

  231. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Um, Hmmn, not a one of whom pitched more than 169.7 innings, namely Dustin McGowan.

    All three of whom, McGowan, Marcum, and Litch, totalled 439.7 innings or 43% of all the innings pitched by Blue Jays starters, which is precisely my point.

  232. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Hey, maybe I’m just another neurotic J-wish guy but the Blue Jays worry me as well. McGowan really impressed me last year, and Marcum and Litsch showed some flourishes of brilliance.

    You add those three, with higher innings totals, to Halliday and a healthy Burnett (if that’s not an oxymoron) and to be honest, you could persuade me the Jays’ rotation is better than the Yankees.

    1) Halliday v. Wang = Halliday
    2) Burnett v. Pettite = Burnett, if healthy, which, I concede is a rarity
    3) McGowan v. Joba = draw, perhaps, McGowan b/c of innings caps
    4) Hughes v. Marcum = Hughes
    5) IPK v. Litsch = ?

  233. Bob from NJ January 11th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    1. It’s Halladay
    2. Magnitude matters
    3. We have Mussina and Horne, who are significantly better than Janssen, Chacin, or anyone else they can throw out there after someone gets hurt/innings caps are reached

  234. Buddy Biancalana January 11th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Matthew-

    Halladay isn’t that much better than Wang, just going on last years stats. If I had a choice, I would lean slightly towards Halladay I would also take Pettitte over Burnett. Agreed on Joba=McGowan & Hughes over Marcum , as well as IPK & Litsch being an unknown.

  235. Matthew Schweber January 11th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks guys, I feel better now.

    Now, that I know the Yankees have a better rotation than the Jays and that I have billed a sum total of one combined hour today responding to everyone.

    But I’m grateful to all of you who took the trouble to read my post and to respond to it, even those of you who were critical with the arguments or my diction.

    I always enjoy a good, bracing argument. It helps to clarify my opinions and occasionally sways me to amend them. Lord knows, I’m not infallible.

    And thanks again to Pete for the opportunity to post here and for the chance to introduce my blog to those of you who hadn’t already read but are inclined to read in the future.

  236. Jesse January 11th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    And with that he closed his laptop er… mouthpiece and strode towards the back of the courtroom.

    Unbeknownst to him someone nudged his child in the gallery at the back. “Pete, stand up…your father is passing”.

    With apologies in advance to that fine film “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

  237. whoa January 11th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    TurnTwo January 11th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    “Wrong answer. Hughes will be as good or better than Joba and Bucholz.”

    Are all three of them excellent pitching prospects? yes, so we’re kind of splitting hairs in terms of potential production.

    but I saw all three of them pitch last year, and you can read scouting reports all over the web that would prob say the same thing, and if you are judging potential mlb success based on pure stuff, Hughes just doesnt have what Bucholtz and Joba have in his repertoire.

    The problem is that Hughes was hurt for a good portion of last season.

    He has more than either of them.

  238. whoa January 11th, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    btw, Keith Law has been wrong a lot,and never was the BJ’s GM.

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