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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Sean O’Leary

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Pinch hitters on Feb 05, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in our Pinch Hitters series is Sean O’Leary, a 25-year-old freelance web designer, developer and interactive consultant in Rochester, N.Y. He’s a co-owner and co-founder of 161st-and-river.com, an online community for Yankees fans that’s currently under construction but should be open for the 2011 season. It began as a Facebook group and was developed into a fully functioning site providing forums, links to Yankees news, and a blog fueled by fan submitted content.  Sean has also been blogging at Standing Room Only.

For his guest post,

I’ve been told on occasion that my excitement during the offseason parallels or even exceeds the feelings I experience during the summer. This winter has been different, however, and my excitement has dimmed somewhat.

I remember the days when I could put together a list of desirable players much like a Christmas list, but this winter I’ve found myself struggling to build cases for the “top tier” talent without saying, “Well, he’s not really what we need, but I wouldn’t be too upset if we sign him.” I’m sure we’ve all noticed it, and it’s a trend that seems to be gaining momentum: The free agent market now carries a stigma that causes top-notch players to avoid it like the drunk girl at a holiday party. As a result, the players that do have the guts to hit the market are experiencing one of two extremes — severe overpayment or settling for one-year deals a few days before Spring Training.

How did this happen? When did it happen? And will it continue? Personally, I hoped to blame the entire phenomenon on Scott Boras, and although he (and all agents, for that matter) should shoulder some of the blame, it seems unfair to fault an agent for succeeding in their ultimate task of squeezing dollars out of teams.

The Yankees, in fact, may be one of the largest culprits in this situation as the long-term contracts offered in recent years have not only locked up a number of elite players, but have also instilled fear in other organizations that if they allow their superstars to reach the market, the Yankees or other high payroll teams will steal them away.

Look at the Rockies, for example: The extensions of Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are obvious attempts to keep them away from free agency as long as possible. Certainly, there is a distinct possibility that Tulo will continue his somewhat disconcerting injury history and slow starts, and that CarGo will never repeat the numbers he put up in his 2010 breakout campaign. Should either player remain an elite player at their position, however, the Rockies made out like bandits and avoided unmatchable offers by large-market teams during free agency. The idea is to wrap them up while they’re young in order to deny them exposure to what may be a much greener pasture (pun absolutely intended).

And who can blame these young stars for wanting to lock up a long term contract early in their careers? The ever present risk of injury, performance slumps and off-field troubles make the opportunity to sign a high-paying, long-term contract very attractive; in many cases, it’s an offer they can’t refuse.

Then there is the short fuse held by all fans when one of their team’s trademarked players hits the free agent market. Personally, I was shocked to hear some of the things that were said about Derek Jeter this offseason, and I know that I am not alone in that sentiment. At the first muttering of difficulty in the Jeter negotiations — as unfounded as those reports may have been — lifelong Yankees fans and Jeter supporters turned on the Captain. Suddenly, he was greedy, not a team player and one of the worst shortstops in the game. If witnessing this sudden and severe shift didn’t turn potential free agents off to the idea of shopping around for deals, they must not have been paying attention.

Players do not even have to be a member of a team to anger a fan base during free agency. No one knows that better than Cliff Lee, whose image may have taken a serious hit this offseason as a result of him not signing with the Yankees. We (and most of the baseball world) were positive that Lee would be in Pinstripes in 2011, and that led to some very negative feelings when he went to Philadelphia. Interestingly enough, a strong resume playing for the Yankees, and a strong resume of dominance over the Yankees, produces similar feelings when a player decides to take his talents elsewhere. Not to mention, the impact that angering a fan base during free agency can have on a player’s pocket. Especially if that fan base is located in as a powerful city as New York. New York is the center of the world, and the Yankees are the center of baseball — whether the collective baseball faithful loves or hates us, companies want to align themselves with Bronx Bombers.

If this trend continues — which seems likely — then what do we have to look forward to? Well, after 2011, we will be witnesses to a free agent class that, at the moment, is headlined by the best player in the game, Albert Pujols. Adrian Gonzalez is also scheduled to become a free agent, but you can almost certainly assume that he and Pujols will sign extensions before the end of the season. Pujols may be the exception, however, as he seems to have the health and consistent play that makes him the perfect candidate for free agency. He is, however, a very loyal player that has developed deep roots in the St. Louis area; it would be a complete shock to me if he’s not wearing Cardinal red in 2012. Should he and Gonzalez sign extensions (and clubs exercise options on players like Robinson Cano and Roy Oswalt), then the highlights of next years class include Jose Reyes and Wandy Rodriguez.

Scratch that, Rodriguez just signed an extension of his own.

The availability of young talent in the midst of or just entering their prime is dwindling, and that seems to be what the future holds. Teams will need to get creative with their gambles on young players and hope to fill out their rosters with veterans that may have a few good years left in the tank or may end up on the 60-day DL before the end of Spring Training. Speculation of performance enhancement means the days of locking up aging players (cough, Gary Sheffield in 2004, cough) with huge contracts are over, so players and teams are justified in trying to create strong ties between one another. More and more, aging players are experiencing free agency every offseason, and unless a young player creates long-term loyalty between themselves and a specific club, that may be his destiny as well. One thing is for sure: Players are learning that if they spend too much time on the hot stove, they can get burned, and even a child knows that if you get burned once, you should stay away from the heat.

Associated Press photos

 
 

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102 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Sean O’Leary”

  1. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 9:16 am

    REPOST–

    BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I was in a couple of discussions yesterday, and one person was kind enough to provide some data to counter a point I was trying to make. I want to respond to it because htey went to so much trouble.

    I made the point that I think the post steroid era will have more small ball, and therefore the defensive role at C will be more important than it was during the steroid years, and how Jorge was able to be efffective because clubs were not looking to run as much.

    The poster put up numbers that showed only a slight increase in SBs as an average across the league.

    Personally, I never believe league averages or macro numbers in general are the best way to evaluate a changing trend. The slow adapters tend to hold down the numbers and hide the shift. My point at the time was that a better way to look at it would be to examine only the clubs that are direct threats to the Yankees and see what they are doing.

    For example, in 2010 the Rays stole 172 bases (way above average), the Chisox stole 168, and in 2011 the Red Sox could steal close to or over 200. When faced with this renewed offensive threat, the Yankees have been shown to be ill-prepared, and singles and walks turn into doubles and triples, with double steals and suicide squeezes putting more pressure on the team and rattling the pitchers.

    The point I was getting to is that the Yankees need a strong defensive catcher (and more effort by pitchers) to stop the running game, and that Montero might not be up to the task.

    Add to that my preference for as many LH Sp as possible to better hold runners on, and it is a main reason why I brought up the names Gio Gonzales and Johan Santana as key trade targets for this year.

    My wish would be that our October roster has a SP staff of CC, Santana, Gio, Hughe, and AJ, and that if we could move AJ, our 2012 staff would be CC, Santan, Gio, Hughes, and Banuelos. I really believe strong LH SP, coupled with strong C defense and overall defense, will be a strategic advantage in AL East and play-offs.

  2. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Sean–

    A good thought provoking article.

    I think there may be a swing back towards shorter contracts if Colorado and other teams experience a few Todd Heltons…baseball GMs tend to follow trends, but once a few get burned, they all revert back to norm. I am not sure the era of 10 year contract extensions is sustainable.

  3. 86w183 February 5th, 2011 at 9:30 am

    I thought the first 150 paragraphs were good, but the second half wasn’t quite as interesting.

    In the internet brevity is important, Sean. VERY important.

    The problem with the idea of ending excessive contracts is that if a team really wants to hold on to a particular player it will do what it takes to get that signature. Then that deal becomes a starting point/target/goal for others in similar situations.

    The real change I see if guys around age 35 aren’t getting multi year deals except in the most unique circumstances — Jeter and Mo for example. Players are aging more quickly than they did 10 years ago, further evidence that the amphetamine ban has had a larger impac on more players than the steroid ban.

  4. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Good article Sean. I too belive we’re seeing a shift-change away from Free Agency as we know it. Very few talented players will be experiencing FA in their prime, as teams continue the trend to lock them up, and include some of their arbitration years as well. Even with that process, it’s cheaper than traditional FA, and it keeps them for their prime years.

    Cano’s contract is a bit different, as he’ll get fair compensation if his option years are picked up, and the Yankees may want to wait until that contract is over to re-evaluate the player, his performance, and the market in 2014. After all, we did trade Alfonso Soriano didn’t we.

  5. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I mentioned the possibility of the Yannkees signing Chavez several days ago, and it happened. Don’t know if he’ll actually make the team, but his defensive abilities at 3B were stellar once-upon-a-time, and if they remain, he could spell ARod and even Tex just as capably as Nunez or Pena.

    More importantly, it allows Nunez to play every day, which he needs to, or be packaged in a trade (Romine+Nunez+Joba+AAA SP for a MLB SP anyone?)

  6. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Good post. For all the hits Cashman has been taking this year, he was smart in signing Tex and Sabathia while both were in their 20′s. Those opportunities are becoming fewer. And when a 28 year old free agent like Carl Crawford becomes available, you will have to grossly overpay like Boston did. Over the foreseeable future, fewer and fewer players in their prime years will be on the market. Players are looking for security in a down economy and clubs are looking to predict costs.

  7. blake February 5th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I think its a result of a couple of things. 1) teams realizing that without PEDs the game is trending back younger and they really need to keep their good young players to compete 2) the revenue sharing is working and the supplemental cash is giving teams the ability to actually sign their players.

    With these things happening it reinforces how important it is that Cashman and the Yankees have focused a great deal of time to building the farm system…..while the Yanks will always have money to spend in free agency, there may not be as much to use that cash on in the future.

  8. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I mentioned the possibility of the Yannkees signing Chavez several days ago, and it happened. Don’t know if he’ll actually make the team, but his defensive abilities at 3B were stellar once-upon-a-time, and if they remain, he could spell ARod and even Tex
    ++++++++++++++
    How hard is it to spell A-R-O-D and T-E-X? I could do it with my eyes closed.

  9. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Players are looking for security in a down economy and clubs are looking to predict costs.
    +++++++++++++++Very important factor–down economy. When and if the economy recovers, I suspect things will revert back to old ways.

  10. SJ44 February 5th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    The Red Sox aren’t stealing 200 bases this year.

    Nor is the game changing to the Cardinals of the 80′s variety.

    Since testing, SB’s are up very slightly and minor league SB’s, where you gauge trends, are actually down.

    There is no indication the game is moving to a small ball direction.

    Nor is Montero leaving Aces to go to Scott Boras.

    Aces has never lost a client to Boras. Boras has lost clients to Aces.

    Nobody is “untouchable”. However, Gio is not the kind of pitcher that Cashman would deal Montero to acquire.

    I think you are overestimating your ceiling for Gio and underestimating your ceiling for Montero based on your conrcerns for the pitching staff.

  11. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:09 am

    LOL@ BoJo!

  12. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    SJ44 February 5th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I think you are overestimating your ceiling for Gio and underestimating your ceiling for Montero based on your conrcerns for the pitching staff.
    ++++++++++
    Perhaps…time will tell.

  13. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    SJ44 February 5th, 2011 at 10:08 am
    The Red Sox aren’t stealing 200 bases this year.

    I guess SJ didnt get the memo. Crawford and Ellsbury have already been awarded 100 stolen bases each. The awards were distributed Feb 1 just prior to the engraving of the 2011 Boston Red Sox World Championship rings.

  14. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:18 am

    On mlb’s hot stove this am they made a comment that this season would be Cash’s defining moment. While I wish Andy would have returned, or that Lee would have signed, I am really looking forward to what this season brings.

    And I just love Howard Reynolds…he is such a Yankee fan.

  15. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Drive 4-6
    are you going to change your name?

  16. Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Drive 4-6

    Welcome back :-)

    Long time, no see!

  17. Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 10:20 am

    upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am
    Drive 4-6
    are you going to change your name?

    *************

    I think it refers to Jeter’s drive for 6 rings……
    (Not necessarily the “Core 4″which is no more :-( )

    Am I right?

  18. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I thought it was the core 4 drive for 6

  19. pat February 5th, 2011 at 10:25 am

    The idea of a rising tide lifts all boats and the privilege of free agency does seem to have lost some of its luster.

    7 billion dollars in revenues in a down economy means there is lots of money for everyone today and more where that came in the future.

  20. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    upstate Kate,

    I think Harold Reynolds really brings a players viewpoint. He makes it clear how much he appreciates the talent it takes to play at the major league level. It’s a refreshing viewpoint from a lot of the more cynical commentators you hear. I think his opinion that the Yankees are still going to be very competitive this year is based on his appreciation of the enormous talent that still resides on the Yankees roster.

  21. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    SJ, I will say this. With the addition of Crawford, boston has the capability to easily steal well over 150 bases (Ellsbury-50+, Crawford-50+, Cameron/Others-30), and return to their usual 100+ SB plateau.

    But they are just as likely to have a similar or greater number of steals against them, as they have been trending higher with stolen bases allowed. I actually had done research on the element of speed and it’s recent trends in the AL East.

    boston:
    2010: 169 OPP SB/42 CS (20%); 68 SB/17 CS
    2009: 151 OPP SB/23 CS (13%); 129 SB/39 CS
    2009: 120 OPP SB/35 CS (25%); 120 SB/35 CS

    With Salty and Varitek behind the plate, I would not be surprised to see close to 200 steals against boston this year.

    Conversely, the Yankees have remained relatively constant with their thefts, and the addition of Martin should significantly improve an area of defensive weakness to cut down on OPP SB.

    Yankees:
    2010: 132 OPP SB/33 CS (15%); 103 SB/30 CS
    2009: 125 OPP SB/54 CS (29%); 111 SB/28 CS
    2008: 113 OPP SB/56 CS (33% Molina year); 118 SB/39 CS

  22. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Andy followed his idol to Houston which cost him 3 years as a Yankee and the HOF.
    He lied about HGH as he is lying that this trial had nothing to with his retirement.
    A retirement that costs him a 4th year as a Yankee and the HOF.
    It’s a shame. He was money.

  23. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Needless to say, 2004 would never had happened had Andy stayed in NY.

  24. Mell February 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    “Perhaps…time will tell”

    It usually does. Looking at him a little harder, it’s hard to like that walk rate, which has followed him throughout his professional career to this point. Guy put 12 baserunners on per 9, which is a lot. He was also among the league leaders in rate of runners stranded on base. He merely falls to the league average in that category and his ERA will almost certainly suffer for it.

    Like I said yesterday. Pretty good young pitcher. Probably not a #1 or #2 type at any point in his career though. Definitely not a guy you trade Montero for.

  25. pat February 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Kate

    Harold is a fan of some of the players on the Yankees more than the organization.

  26. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    IMO, Gardner, Jeter, Granderson, ARod, Golson, and anyone else with a modicum of speed should be given the green light any day, all day against boston.

  27. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2011 at 10:32 am

    “7 billion dollars in revenues in a down economy means there is lots of money for everyone today and more where that came in the future.”

    Except I suspect that we are seeing a growing stratification: a declining “middle class,” with more money going to the best players and the salaries of marginal and/or aging players going down.

  28. MaineYankee February 5th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    mick

    Clemens followed Andy to Houston.

    Clemens had retired and got a Hummer from the Yankees before he signed with Houston.

  29. Mell February 5th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    “With Salty and Varitek behind the plate, I would not be surprised to see close to 200 steals against boston this year”

    They do have the benefit of their chief tormentor now playing for them.

  30. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:37 am

    MY

    Clemens was the driving force.
    Andy followed him like a puppy dog.
    Pathetic really. Andy needed Tino to finally make up his mind.
    Clemens is his ruins. Now and then.

  31. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am
    Drive 4-6

    Welcome back

    Long time, no see!

    Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 10:20 am
    upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:19 am
    Drive 4-6
    are you going to change your name?

    *************

    I think it refers to Jeter’s drive for 6 rings……
    (Not necessarily the “Core 4?which is no more )

    Am I right?

    Hi kate!

    Thanks. Good to see you too. I’ve been here lurking almost everyday. But sometimes the insanity of the tone of the conversations was too much to bear to even comment lol. You would think a) the Yankees might not as well even field a team in 2011 b) Brian Cashman bought his high school diploma and c) the Red Sox have been annointed Champions of the World and we should be bowing when in their presence.

    The answers actually are a) the Yanks are going to be very competitve and no team is looking at dates with us as anything less than a challenge b) this is the same Cashman who traded Wilson Betmit in exchange for Nick Swisher, right?? and C) bring ‘em on!!

    In deference to Jeter, Mo & Posada I’m still keeping the nick:)

  32. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2011 at 10:39 am

    “Pathetic really. Andy needed Tino to finally make up his mind.”

    No, he said that what Tino TMed him confirmed what he already knew.

  33. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Mell February 5th, 2011 at 10:36 am
    “With Salty and Varitek behind the plate, I would not be surprised to see close to 200 steals against boston this year”

    They do have the benefit of their chief tormentor now playing for them.
    —————————————

    Crawford stole 7 bases last year against boston.

  34. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 10:42 am

    These guest blogger feature articles provide some thought-provoking perspectives, and spark interesting conversations. However, they would benefit from some editing and cleanup, because they are often way too long, particularly for the points that they are trying to make. Nevertheless, these contributors deserve credit for shaking things up a bit, and sparing some dead horses from a beating.

    I’m not sure that I see the trend that Sean mentions. And I think that it is way too soon to determine if the game is trending younger as a result of the end of the steroids era. Long-term contracts are a way for both the owners and playes to shed risk: In the owners’ case, theye wabt to avoid the risk that an unsigned players’ price may go up, and in the players’ case, the risk that his salary might go down if it isn’t contractually guaranteed. If a trend is developing towards securing talented young players before they hit the free agent market, then the free agent market will be thin in years. This suggests that the large market clubs should sink more resources into their internal player development and international recruiting, because the free agent market will not be a reliable source to fill team needs.

  35. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Andy knew he wasn’t coming back all along, as you said Rich, and spun this whole thing to make him look good because the media and Yankee fans would have killed him for leaving the team now when they need him most.

  36. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Martin has one of the highest CS% of any catcher, which should help control the Ellsbury/Crawford/Cameron running game.

  37. Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Drive 4-6-

    Thats the part very few seem to realize.

    The Red Sox HAD to make the most improvements this offseason cause they had they most to improve. They never really contended in 2010 and failed to make the playoffs. They had a lot of holes that needed to be filled and I am not convinced they still don’t. (Don’t get me wrong, they made patches, but they still have issues).

  38. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    How can anyone believe a word any athlete or politician says?
    They are all self serving.
    The days of innocence are over.

  39. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    The days of innocence ended with 4th grade.

  40. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Pat
    HR definitely has a man crush on DJ :)
    I like his enthusiasm…he and Al Leiter are my favorites on mlb

  41. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2011 at 10:49 am

    People in every walk of life are self-serving, mick.

    I think it’s a really tough decision to walk away from something you are still good at and still able to make huge money doing. So I understand the indecision.

    Maybe I’m a gullible fool, but Pettitte and Mo seem like two of the most genuine athletes (let’s leave politicians out of it since ideology can skew perception) I have ever seen, by far.

  42. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    # mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    How can anyone believe a word any athlete or politician says?
    They are all self serving.
    The days of innocence are over.

    ==============================

    Andy’s never given me any reason not to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I see no reason to stop. (Even with the HGH-thing, he came clean, and owned up to it quickly.) At any rate, the question of when he decided to retire is largely academic…

  43. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I hope I’m wrong but if the Yanks flounder to a .500 record in mid-July you will see a backlash against Cashman, Andy, etc… that will reach panic proportions.

    In fact, a bad month of April , will get the same results.

    Yankee fans, no matter what the bold Winter proclamations, don’t take well to losing and patience is not one of their virtues, myself included.

  44. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    mick,

    I think anyone who thinks Andy Pettitte was sure he was going to retire hasn’t paid attention to the last 4 offseasons. In 2006 he signed a 2 year contract with a player option for the 3rd year, He wasnt sure back then how long he wanted to play so the 3rd year was at his option. In 2009 he signed a 1 year deal for the same reasons. Ditto 2010.

  45. 108 stitches February 5th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I feel more confident of Cashman getting a proven arm for the rotation than I did of Andy Pettitte returning.
    Cashman might start by inquiring about Ross Ohlendorf. Pittsburgh is not likely to make outrageous demands such as looking for Betances, Banuelos, Phelps, Noesi, or D.J. Mitchell nor would they ask for Montero or Romine. Their catching future is in the hands of Tony Sanchez.

  46. MaineYankee February 5th, 2011 at 10:52 am

    mickmick February 5th, 2011 at 10:43 am
    Andy knew he wasn’t coming back all along, as you said Rich, and spun this whole thing to make him look good because the media and Yankee fans would have killed him for leaving the team now when they need him most.

    —————————————————————————————-

    You are entitled to your opinion.

    I don’t happen to share it.

    It seems pretty narrow minded to lump everyone into the same catergory.

    If you took a poll of people that know him I suspect not many would share your view.

  47. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Cashman might start by inquiring about Ross Ohlendorf.

    —————————————-
    As much as I like Ross, I don’t think you could consider him a #4 starter on the Yankees.

  48. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    “I hope I’m wrong but if the Yanks flounder to a .500 record in mid-July you will see a backlash against Cashman, Andy, etc… that will reach panic proportions.”

    People are fickle, but there will be no criticism from me unless they trade their best prospects for something less than superstars in their mid-20s.

    Andy gets a pass. He’s free to retire. It’s better than hanging on and declining before our eyes.

  49. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    IMO, Gardner, Jeter, Granderson, ARod, Golson, and anyone else with a modicum of speed should be given the green light any day, all day against boston.
    ++++++++++++++++++|
    They should be trying to steal 2B from the on-deck circle!

  50. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:54 am

    (Even with the HGH-thing, he came clean, and owned up to it quickly.)
    =======================
    The HGH -thing is not over. Clemens will throw his “buddy” under the bus and don’t think this didn’t influence Andy’s decision.
    Andy did it more than “once.”
    Wouldn’t be surprised if he did it with Roger on a regular basis and not just HGH.

  51. BoJo February 5th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Mell February 5th, 2011 at 10:30 am
    ++++++++++++++
    I don’t judge Gio by the walks, since he is still a 24 year old refining his craft. I look at the potential he is harnessing with a power curve, killer change up and enough fastball and guts to win already 15 games. I see a lot of upside for him.

    But again, time will tell, and there is no need to drag this debate on. We can each have different opinions on it.

  52. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    “Andy did it more than “once.””

    ============================

    Proof?

  53. mick February 5th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Andy gets a pass. He’s free to retire. It’s better than hanging on and declining before our eyes.
    ============================
    Rich, that is the fallacy. Andy had plenty left and will probably be back next year as the Yanks rebuild and he can become that missing piece. He even admitted that he became a better pitcher last year. Shame to think a 39 year old is first coming into his prime and was forced to leave.

    To look at it positively, amybe it’s a good thing that we have to retool. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

  54. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Eric in NY,

    You’re right about the Sox needing to fill holes. But the other big factor was that their business model was failing. NESN’s ratings were down 35% last season. The demand for tickets was even diminishing. The ownership group made a Steinbrenerian desicion to invest in the team in order to keep their margins where they are. That’s why this notion of the Red Sox being so smart while the Yankees are so stupid is foolish. The Red Sox plan is modeled after the Yankees plan, not vice versa.

  55. Tom in N.J. February 5th, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Cashman had repeatedly this offseason that Pettitte wasn’t coming back.

    The news that Andy was retiring didn’t catch anybody on the Yankees by surprise.

  56. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Drive

    Just because a player gets an option year doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to return.
    It gives him free agency if he opts out like Soriano just got twice.

  57. Rich in NJ February 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am

    “Rich, that is the fallacy. Andy had plenty left and will probably be back next year as the Yanks rebuild and he can become that missing piece. He even admitted that he became a better pitcher last year. Shame to think a 39 year old is first coming into his prime and was forced to leave.”

    It was a general point. I didn’t mean to suggest that Andy would necessarily decline this season.

    I don’t think he was forced to leave. I think the injuries took a toll on him mentally last season.

    If he had stayed healthy all season, then maybe I would agree with you.

    “To look at it positively, amybe it’s a good thing that we have to retool. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

    Again, if they do it smartly and patiently, I’m fine with it, but I still think they are very good team.

  58. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Proof?
    ====That’s what trials are for.
    Think Rocket is innocent?

  59. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Erica in NY..I apologize for mistyping your name:) The eyes and fingers aren’t in syc yet today lol

  60. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I don’t think he was forced to leave. I think the injuries took a toll on him mentally last season.
    ===============
    All of these are convenient excuses. Andy nearly admitted if Lee was here he would have been back.

  61. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

    mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:00 am
    Drive

    Just because a player gets an option year doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to return.
    It gives him free agency if he opts out like Soriano just got twice.

    Agreed. But Soriano never said he wasn’t sure how long he wants to play. Andy Pettitte did .

  62. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    It seems pretty narrow minded to lump everyone into the same catergory.
    ========================
    Not that this blog and the media are the final word but most Yankee fans despise losing.
    It is inborn.

  63. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:07 am

    drive

    I really don’t care what they say, do you?

  64. Mell February 5th, 2011 at 11:10 am

    “Martin has one of the highest CS% of any catcher”

    Pitchers are more important than catchers in this regard. While there is certainly something gained by having Martin, there is definitely something lost by having Pettitte. Real control of the running game is in the pitchers hands. If they do a good job holding runners, the running game will be controlled.

    When the Red Sox allowed 37 stolen bases in 38 attempts over the 1st 16 games of the season last year, it was the pitchers who were called to the carpet, not the catchers. The pitchers started paying attention a little more and the Red Sox threw out about 25% of would base stealers over the remaining 146 games of the year. Still not all that great, but just below the AL average of 26%.

  65. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Again, if they do it smartly and patiently, I’m fine with it, but I still think they are very good team.
    =================================================
    Rich, I like their offense. They will hit, but the staff is questionable and could depend on how much work they leave to the bullpen. It will be interesting and I will be with them all the way, as I always have.

  66. Mell February 5th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    * by NOT having Pettitte…

  67. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 11:11 am

    No, I never said a word about Clemens; I just said that Andy came clean right away, when the allegations first came to light. He did. If Pettitte is guilty of anything else, it remains to be proven.

  68. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    mick,

    I can relate to your exasperation with anyone’s public statements. The public is lied to on a daily basis. But Pettitte’s statements after the 2008 season that he was thinking about retiring give credibility to what he said yesterday. If it werent for the draw of playing in the new Yankee Stadium, he very well may have retired 2 years ago.

  69. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:21 am

    If it werent for the draw of playing in the new Yankee Stadium, he very well may have retired 2 years ago.
    ======================
    Drive

    Why are Andy’s proclamations always couched in disclaimers?
    If Lee comes, If not for the draw of the new Stadium, If they catch him as a HGH user, If Roger wants to play in Houston, If there is a trial, If my family wants me home (which 3 of 4 children didn’t)….always something…

  70. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 11:23 am

    While I really wanted Andy to return, there is something to be said for going out on top. Suppose Andy had a terrible season, is that how we would want to remember him?

  71. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 11:24 am

    b/c Mick life isn’t black and white, there are many gray areas

  72. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    The fact is that Pettitte doesn’t need to excuse himself from anybody. The man is entitled to retire anytime he pleases (assuming that he isn’t contractually bound to play). He offered some public comments on his decision, because people wanted to know how he reached his decision. He certainly doesn’t need anybody’s approval for his decision (with the possible exception of his wife), and I don’t think that he was seeking it.

    I’m disappointed that he decided to hang them up at this time, but I don’t get a vote…

  73. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    kate
    yankee stadiums grass is green, the facade is white, seats are blue, many colors not black, white or grey….if Andy wanted to go out on top he should have retired after 09.

  74. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Listening to Andy’s rambling responses yesterday kind of gives a clue how his mind thinks. He was all over the place at times. It takes him a while to commit but when he does it’s at 100%. I’m sure his wife needed to use a lot of patience while he flip flopped. To her credit, she’s the one who pushed him into training so that he could judge himself physically.

  75. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    mick
    :)
    then I guess we were lucky to have him an extra year!

  76. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Andy will be sorry 2 weeks into the season.
    He still loves to pitch more than anything on earth I would bet.

  77. DaSaint007 February 5th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Mell February 5th, 2011 at 11:10 am
    “Martin has one of the highest CS% of any catcher”

    Pitchers are more important than catchers in this regard. While there is certainly something gained by having Martin, there is definitely something lost by having Pettitte. Real control of the running game is in the pitchers hands. If they do a good job holding runners, the running game will be controlled.

    When the Red Sox allowed 37 stolen bases in 38 attempts over the 1st 16 games of the season last year, it was the pitchers who were called to the carpet, not the catchers. The pitchers started paying attention a little more and the Red Sox threw out about 25% of would base stealers over the remaining 146 games of the year. Still not all that great, but just below the AL average of 26%.
    —————————————–
    boston gave up more SB than any team in the AL East. Do the pitchers share responsibility? Sure, as they have to keep them close. But it counts against the catchers who fail to throw them out.

    Case in point 1: Andy was on the team last season, yet the Yankees threw out only 15% of baserunners. Andy only pitches every 5th day. The catcher(s) catches every day.

    Case in point 2: IN 2009 when Molina was on the team, and Cervelli had a great defensive year, and even Posada had a good year, the Yankees threw out 29% of all baserunners.

    Case in point 3: In 2008, with Molina + Ivan Rodriguez behind the plate, the Yankees threw out 33% of all baserunners.

    So sure, the pitchers count, but having an excellent defensive catcher with a quick release and strong arm goes a long, long way to keep baserunners honest. That’s why I think a combination of Martin+Cervelli bodes well. Cervelli had his issues last season, but can regain his 42% caught stealing rate, which was excellent in 2009.

  78. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:34 am

    mick
    :)
    then I guess we were lucky to have him an extra year!
    =========================
    2 would have even been better kate

  79. 86w183 February 5th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’m not convinced he wont feel the urge in May and approach the Yanks about a return despite what he said. I don’t think he would sit out an entire season and then comeback, but I’m just guessing.

    I would love to see the Yanks pursue Fausto Carmona. He’s probably the most talented guy as a young age that might be get-able since Cleveland is clearly in total rebuild mode.

    I’d do Romine, Nunez and one pitcher from Joba/Robertson/Phelps/Warren. Would not do the deal if it had to include Montero, Banuelos or Betances…. would be tempted to include Brackman if necessary.

    Who else out there interests you guys?

  80. SJ44 February 5th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Andy could have put 12-14 million in his pocket this year, hailed as a hero by the fans for coming back, and grinder thru the season.

    He held himself to a higher standard and didn’t want to do it that way. I commend him for it.

    As far as fans panic, some Yankee fans are always in a state of panic. The organization isn’t going to make decisions to appease that segment of the fan base. If they did, most of the prospects would have already been gone by now.

    As far as this being Cashman’s “defining moment”? Nonsense.

    The guy has 4 rings as a GM, 4 more than Billy Beane for those who are keeping score, and has done it in a powder keg of a media market. A market many self promoting GM’s wouldn’t touch because of the pressure.

    He’s well regarded in the game and wouldn’t be out of a job long if he was on the street.

    He doesn’t run the club with fear some fans believe he should have going into the season.

    Eventually, they will add another arm or two to the mix.

    In the meantime, it’s time for others to step up and take advantage of the opportunities that are present right now.

  81. Betsy February 5th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I don’t trade Montero for anyone short of a real ace – a young one. Those will not be coming around anytime soon, so he’s here to stay – and why not? I’m not someone who has this outsized expectations when he finally comes up here because I know, like all kids, he will struggle, but he’s just too good to not think he’s not going to be a stud for a long time. How do you trade someone like that?

    Andy didn’t have the desire to play anymore and so he made the right decision. I also respect the fact that would not have just pitched and then gone home – as perhaps the Yankees might have allowed. I don’t agree with a team permitting a player to do that and clearly Andy felt that it would have been the wrong thing to do. In any case, if it were just about pitching every fifth day, maybe things would be different, but it’s not – there’s the preparation, the constant work, the long, grueling season. Since his heart was not fully into coming then this was the best decision -even though it’s rough on Yankee fans. Plus, the man misses his family – can’t argue with that.

  82. Drive 4-6 February 5th, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I think if it werent for the Clemens case hanging over his head, the Yanks would already be preparing to retire his number this season. Cashman said yesterday that Andy deserves the honor, but I bet they want to make sure there’s no surprises when Clemens goes to trial.

  83. upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    it was the guys on the mlb network who said this would be Cash’s defining moment

  84. Erica in NY February 5th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    upstate kate February 5th, 2011 at 11:23 am
    While I really wanted Andy to return, there is something to be said for going out on top. Suppose Andy had a terrible season, is that how we would want to remember him?

    ****************

    Come on Kate-
    Obviously, Andy signing a contract would have guaranteed a Cy Young calliber season.

  85. G. Love February 5th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Had a writing deadline to meet and missed this Eric Chavez/Belliard news yesterday.

    What’s the thought on those signings?

    If Chavez shows some stick in the spring do the Yankees only keep 4 OF’ers? They’d have to keep Pena or Nunez up to cover SS since Chavez can’t do that.

    I like that signing. If he is healthy (big if) his bat in YS could be lethal and could also push Jorge a bit. I don’t know if the front office is sold on relying on Jorge at DH. Especially, if he doesn’t take to it.

    Also like the Belliard signing. He has more offense than Pena although I can’t imagine him playing a decent SS. Can he?

    I wonder if those signings are an indication that Cash may deal Nunez for pitching and he’s covering himself in that event. Either that or they keep Nunez at AAA for seasoning.

  86. LGY February 5th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    “If the talks about Cashman trying to trade Montero to acquire Soria are true, then you cna bet he would do a deal for Gio. Soria’s WAR values fluctuate between 2.7 and 3.8, and Gio hit 4.3 last year. Get used to it…Cashman may in fact trade Montero for a player like Gio if he can.”

    —————————

    The Montero for Soria rumors were bs.

  87. Betsy February 5th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I’m not overly optimistic about this season, but Ken Davidoff has it all over me. He’s written two bleak articles in the last 2 days about how the Yankees will struggle even to be WC contenders, lol. While I really do not like the staff at all, no way can I go that far. He seems to think the Rays are going to be awfully tough because of their staff and Damon/Ramirez (as if it’s 2004 again) I respect them and don’t underestimate them, but it’s annoying hearing about the Rays pitching. Ok, they have Price and Wade Davis, but Sonnenstein and Niemann didn’t have great years and Shields (who I’m sure is better than that) had a bad year. Hellickson is very talented, but he only had 4 or 5 starts last year; people are annointing him the next great thing and yet can we see him get through a whole season first?

  88. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    # 86w183 February 5th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’m not convinced he wont feel the urge in May and approach the Yanks about a return despite what he said. I don’t think he would sit out an entire season and then comeback, but I’m just guessing.

    I would love to see the Yanks pursue Fausto Carmona. He’s probably the most talented guy as a young age that might be get-able since Cleveland is clearly in total rebuild mode.

    I’d do Romine, Nunez and one pitcher from Joba/Robertson/Phelps/Warren. Would not do the deal if it had to include Montero, Banuelos or Betances…. would be tempted to include Brackman if necessary.

    Who else out there interests you guys?
    =============================

    Time will tell about Pettitte, but I think he’s done. I think the retirement decsion for him was a bit like tipping over a refrigerator–you have to rock it back and forth a bit before it goes, but once it’s down, it stays there.

    For my part, I would like to see the Yanks turn to the youngsters (Banuelos and/or Montero) if they need a shot in the arm during the season. And I’m cautiously optimistic that Nova will have a solid year as the number 4 guy in the rotation.

  89. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Where would Chavez play?
    Not a utility guy.
    Belliard would be more likely.

  90. 108 stitches February 5th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    86W183 :

    Fausto Carmona might be a good pickup but offering any more than Romine, Chamberlain, and Romulo Sanchez is as far as I’d go.
    Eduardo Nunez can’t be part of a deal.
    I’d expect Andrew Brackman to pick it up to replace Chamberlain in the bullpen.

  91. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    What is the fascination with Carmona.? He walks a ton.

  92. SJ44 February 5th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I like the Belliard and Chavez signings because they are no risk deals.

    Especially in the case of Chavez.

    If he could play 30-40 games at third (especially for late inning D) and give them 200-250 AB’s, that would help.

    It’s all about keeping options open.

    People come on the market every year. Just because you can’t identify them now, doesn’t mean players won’t be available later.

    BTW, Montero was never offered for Soria. He was offered for two guys, Halladay and Lee.

    That tells you what it would take for the Yankees to trade him.

  93. mick February 5th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Carrying Chavez and another utility IF would prob mean only 4 OF’s, not a good idea.

  94. 86w183 February 5th, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Depending on whether they carry 11 or 12 pitchers the Yanks will have 4 or 5 guys on the bench.

    One will be a catcher, one will be Pena/Russo/Nunez/Belliard, one will be Andruw Jones.

    The other one or two will depend on who impresses and whether they want some speed or a bat like Chavez and how comfortable they were with Swisher spelling Tex at 1B from time to time.

  95. mick February 5th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    12 pitchers should be a lock.
    Mitre as long man + 2 leftys, joba/ robo, so & mo.

  96. blake February 5th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    The Garza deal may be good longterm for the Rays but in the short term they traded their 2nd best starter, they lost their entire bullpen (which was a huge strength for them) l, and they lost their 2nd best player. From what I can tell, thy are going to be worse offensively, worse in the rotation, much worse in the pen, and much worse defensively in the outfield.

  97. GreenBeret7 February 5th, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Belliars is strictly a 2nd baseman, bit has played abot 150 games at 3rd very poorly and has played 10 ML games in 13 yeas at short and 10 minor league gamesm brutally but, costs nothing. However, his value is that he could be added to a deal during ST to a team that loses their 2nd baseman. The same can be said fr all of the minor league signings. They cost nothing, but may have a little value to a team in trouble at certain positions. Chavez, if he stays healthy is the best on the minor league position signings.

  98. GreenBeret7 February 5th, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    ***Belliard*** is

  99. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Chavez is younger with a much higher upside than Belliard. If he is able to get back to anything approximating what he was, then he would be terrific insurance against ARod going down. Belliard should make the competition for utility infielder more interesting, but I think that I’d rather go with Nunez, all else equal.

  100. Ghostwriter February 5th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    What happened to Chavez anyway? I didn’t realize that it had been so long since he last had a good year (2006 or 2007).

  101. seoleary February 5th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Glad everyone liked the post – sorry for the length, but I judged by past pinch hitting posts and decided to novel it.

  102. trinamiller February 6th, 2011 at 3:13 am

    There is a new online discount sweeping the country this holiday season, called “Printapons” where a local store is featured every day with huge discount.


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