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


Pinch hitting: Brock Cohen

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jan 31, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Next up in our Pinch Hitters series is Brock Cohen, a native of Schenectady, New York who now lives and works in the San Fernando Valley where he teaches high school English and humanities. “Even though I’ve recently earned my M.A. in Humanities, write for the Huffington Post, and have been featured on L.A.’s NPR affiliate for my work in education,” Brock wrote, “My proudest achievement to date is converting my then-girlfriend (and now wife) Katie to Yankee fandom during the summer of 2009.”

For his guest post, Brock looked back to the Yankees massive offseason splash of 2008 and wondered: If they could do it again, would they do it the same?

In November of 2008, Yankees fans received arguably their biggest gift since 2003. It had been in 2003 that Rangers G.M. John Hart was kind enough to hand over two-time MVP Alex Rodriguez and $61 million to the Bombers for the dynamic but slightly overvalued Alfonso Soriano and B-prospect Joaquin Arias.

Like in 2003, the gift of 2008 centered on an influx of talent, and like in 2003, the exchange would disproportionately favor the Yankees.

But unlike the heist of ’03, the hot stove of 2008 was a time that many had already forecasted as a rare opportunity to re-tool the still talent-laden, yet flawed, roster on the fly. When the offseason finally arrived, four expiring contracts, totaling over $62 million in annual salary, flew off the books, and the Yankees’ front office went to work.

Brian Cashman and Co. courted lefty ace CC Sabathia for over a month before signing him in late-December. Still needing a righty-workhorse to step in for the retiring Mike Mussina, the Yanks signed mercurial fireballer A.J. Burnett. With the departure of the fading Jason Giambi and his $120-million contract, Cashman went into full stealth mode, plucking All-Star first-baseman Mark Teixeira from the clutches of Red Sox Nation – thus rescuing the switch-hitting slugger from a half-decade-or-more nightmare of patchy beards; crushed, sweat-stained cap brims; and a kaleidoscope of alternative jerseys.

In one offseason, the Yankees had replaced gold-plated aging veterans Bobby Abreu, Carl Pavano, Mussina, and Giambi with a bona fide ace, a talented power arm, and one of the game’s elite first basemen. In filling areas of dire need with stars at their athletic peak, the exchange instantly made the Yankees a better team. In addition, the average age of the incoming player in the 2008 “exchange” was seven years younger. Who needed Channukah?

It was a huge bounty, but there were risks. Sabathia was coming off a season in which he was simply abused, amassing 253 innings. Teixeira came with yet another Giambi-esque deal that would eliminate the possibility of coveted prospect Jesus Montero moving to first base. Even worse, Burnett was a walking code-orange alert, an unsettling throwback to the early-2000s operational model of decadent hole plugging.

And yet, in those cold, dark days of February, 2009, my concerns were massaged away by gauzy visions of CC going nine strong on Opening Day, of an airborne Tex effortlessly snatching a would-be game-winning laser off the bat of an incredulous David Ortiz, and even of a sneering Burnett blazing fastballs past a bailing, flailing Kevin Youkilis. All the money and years would be well worth it because, at some point, there would be rings involved.

Cut to January of 2012 and the benefit of hindsight. As we now know, the Yankees won their 27th ring the following November, taking it to the Phillies in the 2009 Fall Classic. It was the Bombers’ first championship since 2000, and it’s doubtful they could have won it without both Sabathia’s and Teixeira’s monster contributions.

The problem now is that all three players seem to be showing signs of regression. Teixeira’s OPS+ has dropped from 141 in 2009, to 124 in ’10, to 117 last season. Burnett’s ERA+ has also plummeted over the past three seasons while his profanity-laced, flop-sweat-soaked meltdowns have become almost routine. When things continued to unravel for A.J. in 2011, he became the most expensive late-season mop-up man in the history of the Majors. As for Sabathia, the big lefty displayed clear signs of fatigue in the latter part of the season, pitching to a 3.44 ERA in the second half, versus 2.72 pre-All-Star break. CC was still great in 2011, but he has more mileage on his arm over the past five seasons than any other pitcher in the game.

But a look at the big picture tells us that the acquisitions of both Sabathia and Teixeira were worth the extravagant cost and future roster inflexibility. Both played critical roles in the Yanks’ quest for their 27th championship, and their inevitable decline should be perceived as the cost of doing business. And while there were alternatives at the time (waiting for Montero to develop, trading the farm for Cliff Lee, signing Ryan Dempster, Derek Lowe, or Ty Wigginton), it’s questionable that pursuing any of those options would have ultimately lead to a ring.

It’s easy now to speculate that Cashman would continue to stand firmly behind his Tex and CC acquisitions but would leap at the chance for an A.J. do-over. Except here’s the thing: What would have been the ripple effects of Burnett’s absence this whole time? Derek Lowe and his replacement-level sinker in the A.L. East? John Lackey glowering at Derek Jeter after a fumbled grounder? Oliver Perez putting up a two-inning, eleven-walk performance at Fenway?

Even in retrospect, maybe – just maybe – it was the right move to go with all three.

Associated Press photos

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234 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Brock Cohen”

  1. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Seemed like a good move at the time.

    With 20/20 hindsight AJ never even gets a sniff.

    Still get CC though.

  2. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Brock-very nice piece. :)

  3. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:08 am

    And if you really, really want to use that telescopic 20/20 hindsight we get Holliday.

  4. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:08 am

    And Haren.

  5. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I was against signing AJ because the contract was two to three years too long.

    CC was their best signing since Moose, and I really wanted Tex, but I didn’t think they would sign him. He needs to forget about hitting HR; just use the whole field and trust they will come with good contact.

  6. PacoDooley January 31st, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Definitely seemed like good moves at the time, though AJ was obviously an overreach, even then. But a championship takes the sting off any decline (though the A-Rod contract still looks idiotic, even if he was an important part of that championship).

  7. Yankee Trader January 31st, 2012 at 9:17 am

    Brock-

    Enjoyed your post. At the time Burnett was coming off a very good year with Toronto, with stellar numbers against the Yankees and Red Sox. The worry at the time was his injury history.

    The Braves could have had Burnett for a few more Million. It’s a shame that he’s turned out to be such a waste of talent.

  8. Benny Blanco January 31st, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I honestly didnt think AJ would be this bad. I was more concerned about his heath if anything.

  9. Yankee Trader January 31st, 2012 at 9:20 am

    And if you really, really want to use that telescopic 20/20 hindsight we get Holliday. And Haren.
    ——————————————
    Aroldis Chapman could have been that other lefty in the rotation.

    Oh well?

  10. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I agree with you guys. The knock on AJ was supposed to be his health.

    Life is just full of irony.

    :)

  11. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Given the way AJ pitched in game 2 of the 2009 WS compared with Tex’s underwhelming playoff performance and the relative cost of both players you can argue Cash would take a mulligan on Tex before AJ.

  12. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:23 am

    YT-

    We need that backwards looking telescope and the fountain of youth and we’re set.

    Keep working on them.

    ;)

  13. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I’ll buy that signing A.J. and Tex were possibly bad ideas. A.J. for sure, Tex maybe if his decline continues. But trying to assemble an argument that Sabathia has gotten any worse is crazy. In 2008, his walk year, Sabathia had the best season of his career – as we often see from players. Since then he’s done the following:

    230 IP, 19-8, 3.37 ERA, 3.39 FIP, 7.71 k/9, 2.62 bb/9
    237.2 IP, 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 7.46 k/9, 2.8 bb/9
    237.1 IP, 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 8.72 k/9, 2.31 bb/9

    I see no decline, in fact, 2011 was the best season Sabathia has had as a Yankee.

  14. randy l. January 31st, 2012 at 9:24 am

    “Even in retrospect, maybe – just maybe – it was the right move to go with all three.”

    89

    that’s the reason they signed three guys to that much long term salary.

    why did the yankees only have 89 victories?

    it was partially because they rushed three minor league pitchers hughes, kennedy, and chamberlain and didn’t have any real back up plan if they failed.

    not making the playoffs makes a team like the yankees do crazy things.

    having one out of three totally work out isn’t bad.

    teixeira was a half way good signing.

    burnett was a cost associated with gambling on three young raw rookie pitchers and losing that bet.
    they are still paying.

    in salary to burnett and in poorly developed pitchers in highes and chamberlain.

  15. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:25 am

    If signing A.J. wins you the world series in 2009 and not signing him means you don’t, which do you pick? A world series win with 4 extra years of crap or no world series but you aren’t stuck with a terrible contract?

  16. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 9:26 am

    LGY

    Would that also make Marte a better acquisition than Swisher?

  17. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:26 am

    With 20/20 hindsight would we get Tex or A-Gon, or Fielder, or Albert ?

    Who knows ?

    Ya’ gotta do what ya’ do with the cards you have in front of you at the time.

    Will Hamels or Cain be available ? Who knows.

    There is no crying in baseball.

    :)

  18. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:29 am

    patrick-

    I’d rather pass on the win myself.

    Each to their own.

  19. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I would have no interest in Pujols for 10 years because of his age, MTU.

  20. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:30 am

    With 20/20 hindsight would we get Tex or A-Gon, or Fielder, or Albert ?

    A-gon

  21. Yankee Trader January 31st, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Time to go.

    Predictions, as always subject to ridicule: :)

    Still feel that Cespedes will be signed by the Marlins, beating out the Cubs, and will flop in his first major league season. His only resemblance to Bo Jackson, is his bulked up body.

    Roy Oswalt will get his potential 10M deal from the Cardinals-7.5M guaranteed and 2.5M in incentives.

    The Yankees will go into ST with Hughes and Burnett as well as Garcia fighting for the 5th spot. Hughes wins and Burnett is told he’s going to the bullpen. AJ demands a trade and is willing to drop his partial NT. However the Yankees still aren’t willing to take on 25M of his 33M salary.

    The Yankees sign both Jorge Soler and the lefty Cuban-Gerardo Concepcion.

    Bobby Valentine wears out his welcome as the dysfunctional Red Sox are fighting the Orioles to stay out of last place in the AL East.

  22. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Rich-

    He was just one example. I agree. Just pointing out a few of the 1b guys who became available since the Tex trade.

  23. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I’d rather pass on the win myself.

    Each to their own.

    Wow really? You’d rather pass on the world series in 2009 with the benefit being you don’t have to deal with 5 years of A.J.? Honestly I’d rather have the win…

    I guess the counter argument is you spend that money on a better player and win world series in 2010 and beyond.. who is that player though?

  24. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Bobby Valentine wears out his welcome as the dysfunctional Red Sox…
    -

    Not this year, so I will take the over.

  25. Benny Blanco January 31st, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Tex will make me forget his last two years if he just hits for Avg this year.

  26. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Later.

  27. MTU January 31st, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Yeah Patrick. AJ has been epic bad in general.

    Gotta see a man about my horse.

    Later.

  28. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Yeah Patrick. AJ has been epic bad in general.

    But flags fly forever!

    Ok see you later :)

  29. Tackelberry January 31st, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Hard to ignore the job AJ did in game 4, saving the Yanks season, even though Granderson bailed him out in the first inning with that great catch to save diaster. He came out after that, settled down and pitched a great game, in an eliminiation game. Thats got to give him confidence coming into this season

  30. upstate kate January 31st, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Interesting post Brock

    There was not much to choose from when AJ was signed. He had a good record vs the Yankees and red sox. He helped win the WS in 2009, so yes, to me, he was worth it.

  31. Doc Iac January 31st, 2012 at 9:45 am

    schenectady ny…thats my stompin groundds!

  32. Doc Iac January 31st, 2012 at 9:47 am

    whoever said theyd rather trade back the 09 WS and not have Burrnett is an idiot…

    no WS is garenteed so u cant be like ‘they coulda got someone else in 2010 and won’

  33. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh – the Yankees signed Manny Delcarmen – he’s going to take away a roster spot that could have gone to a young player – why oh why are the Yankees scraping the bottom of the barrel for guys like this…I hate you Cashman!

    the preceding was intended to mock those who get bent out of shape whenever the Yankees sign retreads to minor league contracts.

    Thank you.

  34. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Gossip Tweet: Anniversary Edition :)

    DRob30 Thanks! RT @CJLow79: Happy 3rd anniversary to @DRob30 n @ERob3 hope u have many more wonderful years together, especially as a Yankee!!!

  35. ericns1 January 31st, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Nice post – was right thing @ time who new how good Montero would be in 12/08

  36. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 9:54 am

    <i.When things continued to unravel for A.J. in 2011, he became the most expensive late-season mop-up man in the history of the Majors.

    Drivel, pure unadulterated drivel.

    Pinch Hitters have been swinging and missing this year.

  37. blake January 31st, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Nice post…..not sure Sabathia has regressed at all though. He’s been everything they wanted and more ……they screwed him up last year because they refused to take AJ out of the rotation.

    Im sure Cashman would like a mulligan on AJ and maybe even Tex . …but that 2009 flag will fly forever

  38. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 9:56 am

    ID spitting the truth

    How quickly people forget one Barry Zito

  39. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 9:57 am

    swbyankeesTT Former SWB and NYY pitching coach Dave Eiland will be inducted into the International League Hall of Fame this year, league says.

  40. Mike Ri January 31st, 2012 at 10:00 am

    the bashing of AJ has gone WAY overboard !… enoughs enough… we had worse Pavano , Wright , ect ect.

    He HELPED win us a World Series .. and the man takes the ball everyday and doesn’t make excuses. ,,,,,

    Theres nothing we can do. He has alot of money on the contract and unless the Yanks want to eat 2/3 rds of the contract .. he aint going anywhere.

    He is ….. what he is ……. a number 5 starter .. . …. . . let it go already

  41. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:00 am

    AJ is the kind of pitcher who always gets teams in trouble. He’s got electric stuff (or at least he did) and so every pitching coach in the game thinks that he can be the one to harness it and take him to the “next level.”

    The fault with that logic is that now, at his age, Burnett is what he is, there’s no more progression in his game. From here on out he’s not an inconsistent pitcher with electric stuff, he’s an inconsistent pitcher with diminishing stuff. That’s part of the reason the Yankees can’t trade him – if he had the high 90s fast ball there would be pitching coaches telling their GMs, “you trade for this guy and I can figure out what’s wrong and make it better” but now the pitching coaches see a guy with slightly above average velocity, but nothing extraordinary that they crave to work with.

    Do I blame Cashman for signing him? Not at all. Do I think Cashman got carried away thinking that he was going to be a solid number 2 behind Sabathia and be the pitcher he was against the Yankees and Boston against everyone? Yes, very much so.

  42. blake January 31st, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Its true that there have been much worse contracts than AJ. He’s been bad the last two years…..but he’s helped them win a title and logged a ton of innings over the last three years …….that’s not what they paid for exactly……but it coukd have been much worse (see Pavano, Carl)

  43. Shame Spencer January 31st, 2012 at 10:03 am

    As long as it won you a World Series, it was worth it.

  44. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Mike- agreed

  45. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Mike Ri is right, A.J. isn’t as bad as some of the other big money pitchers the Yankees have signed. At the very least, he pitches every 5th day and hasn’t been injured (a big concern many had when signing him).

    However, I think the “electric stuff” comments need to end, his velocity has gone down over the last 2 years and is now pretty much average for a right hander

  46. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 10:07 am

    What was your 2008 free agent offseason wish list?

    I’ll start. CC and Manny.

  47. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:08 am

    when is old timers day this year?

  48. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Blake -

    And like the AJ signing I don’t blame Cashman for the Pavano signing or the Contreras signing or the first Javy trade.

    All of those moves, at the time they were made, were lauded as good pick ups for the Yankees. Yes, Brian has pulled some rocks (the second Vazquez trade, signing Jaret Wright and Kyle Farnsworth) but not all of his failures were the fault of anything other than bad luck.

  49. Tom in N.J. January 31st, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Flags Fly Forever…

  50. Joe from Long Island January 31st, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Chip – i agree about aj’s diminishing stuff, and how it’s harder to deal him now.

    as i recall from that time period – off season, 2008, there were many reports of yankee players recommending that cash to sign aj, given how he dominated their lineup in ’08. and, we have to remember that although cash is the most visible part of the yankees’ front office, he does not operate in a vacuum, but recieves input from a variety of sources, like eppler, oppenheimer, michael, livesy, etc.

  51. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:12 am

    LGY:

    CC, Tex, Sheets, Casey Blake and either Adam Dunn or Milton Bradley

  52. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:16 am

    i guess nobody knows…

  53. Tom in N.J. January 31st, 2012 at 10:18 am

    At the time, I wanted Lowe over A.J.. You have to remember the Yankees already had a healthy Wang, Pettitte and Joba in the rotation. And I thought Lowe would slip in quite nicely as the #4 guy behind CC, Wang and Pettitte.

    I thought A.J. was going to be hurt too much to warrant the money. And I wanted a consistent arm that was capable of 30 starts and 200 innings.

  54. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Tom in N.J. January 31st, 2012 at 10:18 am

    At the time, I wanted Lowe over A.J.. You have to remember the Yankees already had a healthy Wang, Pettitte and Joba in the rotation. And I thought Lowe would slip in quite nicely as the #4 guy behind CC, Wang and Pettitte.

    I thought A.J. was going to be hurt too much to warrant the money. And I wanted a consistent arm that was capable of 30 starts and 200 innings.
    ————

    See I wanted Sheets because he was coming off a good year and I figured the injuries were probably behind him.

    I also wanted Dunn or Bradley because Cano had come off a bad year and I wasn’t sold on him being a middle of the order bat.

    I probably also wanted a catcher who could split time with Posada better than Jose Molina.

  55. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:20 am

    there is absolutely no way to find out when Old Timers Day is this year. Amazing.

  56. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 10:23 am

    PitCChInFdn Big day in NJ this morning with @AmberSabathia and @CC_Sabathia speaking to 1,000 High School students. We’ll post pictures! #Yankees #MLB

  57. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:24 am

    mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:20 am

    there is absolutely no way to find out when Old Timers Day is this year. Amazing.
    ————–

    They probably haven’t scheduled it yet.

  58. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:24 am

    mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:20 am

    there is absolutely no way to find out when Old Timers Day is this year. Amazing.
    ————–

    They probably haven’t scheduled it yet.
    ———–

    My guess is that it will be in late June like it always is.

  59. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:25 am

    They probably haven’t scheduled it yet.
    ===================
    what are they waiting for?

  60. pat January 31st, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Tex doing infomercials on Twitter? shm.

  61. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    patrick- I have zero faith in CJ Wilson… I could see his contract turning Zito-esque.

    Burnett gets destroyed around here, but he has never lost so many games as to cause the team to miss the playoffs, and each year so far he has shown up in the playoffs when it mattered.

    what are they waiting for?
    mick – They have to reschedule a game start time for old timers day. Why do you feel that they owe it to you to have scheduled this already? It’s end of june/mid july every year, you haven’t figured that out by now?

  62. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    tex has gone hollywood…part of his problem.

  63. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:25 am

    They probably haven’t scheduled it yet.
    ===================
    what are they waiting for?
    ——————-

    As I don’t work in Yankee promotions I couldn’t tell you.

  64. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:29 am

    mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    tex has gone hollywood…part of his problem.
    ——————

    Tex does almost nothing – how do you see him “going hollywood”

  65. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Chip – Don’t bother, you’re talking to the person that comes here… asks a dumb question that could be answered with 2 seconds of Google search… and then gets angry when no one responds to him.

  66. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:30 am

    fans buy tickets looking for OTD, they should know, yathink?

  67. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    patrick- I have zero faith in CJ Wilson… I could see his contract turning Zito-esque.

    Burnett gets destroyed around here, but he has never lost so many games as to cause the team to miss the playoffs, and each year so far he has shown up in the playoffs when it mattered.
    —————-

    My guess is that for the sake of the clubhouse (and in part due to his contract) AJ will be the fifth starter out of spring training.

    That said, I could see him really doing well – almost reinventing himself Kerry Wood style – as a late inning relief pitcher.

  68. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:31 am

    … asks a dumb question that could be answered with 2 seconds of Google search…
    =====================
    dont see you finding the answer on google

  69. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Tex has “gone Hollywood”?

  70. Patrick January 31st, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Haha Curt Schilling’s video game company is releasing it’s first game in early February. It’s getting a lot of hype. I’m actually shocked he got that company off the ground and produced a legit game

  71. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Chip – I could see his Flyball rates drop and him turn out a good 200 inning season. :) I don’t think he needs to reinvent himself, he just needs to get those mechanics in line. Every time someone adjusts them he pitches great and then slowly regresses to his old bad habits. Hopefully this last bit with Rothchild trying to stop him from over-rotating sticks.

  72. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:34 am

    mick dont see you finding the answer on google

    When you search for “old timers day 2012″ and the first thing on the list isn’t “here’s the date”…. it’s not a big secret.

  73. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:35 am

    patrick- I feel strangely inclined to pirate that game :)

    Sadly, he’s a huge RPG fan and it’s probably going to be better than a lot of more mainstream titles.

  74. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:37 am

    mick – It’s the end of January, the only tickets the Yankees are concerned with selling are of the season variety. When single game ticket sales are opened up, they usually have it scheduled by then. At least from what I can remember… I never found myself wondering what day was old-timers day when it came time to actually purchase the tickets.

  75. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Chip – I could see his Flyball rates drop and him turn out a good 200 inning season. :) I don’t think he needs to reinvent himself, he just needs to get those mechanics in line. Every time someone adjusts them he pitches great and then slowly regresses to his old bad habits. Hopefully this last bit with Rothchild trying to stop him from over-rotating sticks.
    ———————

    I don’t expect AJ to be anything other than what AJ has been. A pitcher about whom the only consistent thing is inconsistency.

  76. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I don’t remember exactly what I wanted them to do with the rotation in 09. I know I didn’t want AJ but can’t remember my opinion on Lowe.

    I’m pretty sure I was comfortable going with CC-Wang-Pettitte-Joba-Hughes because I thought Joba was going to destroy the AL.

  77. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:42 am

    As a relief pitcher though AJ could just haul off and fire – get his fastball back up to the 97 – 98 range instead of the 93 – 94 he’s sitting now. He would only need that and maybe one other pitch in that role – so if he’s not feeling his slider he doesn’t have to use it – if he’s not feeling the curve/change he can dump those for a day

  78. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 10:42 am

    “tex has gone hollywood…part of his problem.”

    Considering Tex OPS’d 1.081 as a member of the LAA Angels, one can only hope.

  79. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:44 am

    A pitcher about whom the only consistent thing is inconsistency.

    So about as good as half the pitchers in baseball? :)

    I don’t care either way with Burnett… if he gets pushed to the bullpen, it likely means that the Rotation is looking pretty good :)

  80. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:44 am

    LGY January 31st, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I don’t remember exactly what I wanted them to do with the rotation in 09. I know I didn’t want AJ but can’t remember my opinion on Lowe.

    I’m pretty sure I was comfortable going with CC-Wang-Pettitte-Joba-Hughes because I thought Joba was going to destroy the AL.
    ———————-

    I remember wanting Sheets and thinking that Joba to Rivera was going to be Rivera to Wetteland all over again.

    I also probably waffled between that and a lower cost veteran like Freddy Garcia to challenge for a spot in the rotation to motivate Joba.

  81. 86w183 January 31st, 2012 at 10:46 am

    The biggest issue with Tex is that he’s become ridiculously pull-happy from the left side. If they can get him back to the guy who hit to all fields he’ll be part better against RHP in 2012.

    I wanted AJ or Lowe and it wasn’t close. First, you really don’t want two sinker ball pitchers in the rotation and second, Lowe was awful in the AL East just prior to his departure.

    Sure it was too many years and too much money. And exactly whose multi-year contract doesn’t fit that definition? Cano and Grandy maybe.

  82. randy l. January 31st, 2012 at 10:47 am

    yankees sign burnet after not making playoffs.

    red sox sign carl crawford after not making playoffs

    teams like the yankees and red sox have to be careful that they don’t overreact when they hit a bump in the road.

    the good news is that the yankees are so strong overall, they don’t hit two bumps in a row like the red sox did.

  83. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:50 am

    yankees sign burnet after not making playoffs

    And arguably made the correct choice between Lowe and Burnett…

    They were going to sign “someone” that offseason to pitch other than CC… it was just a matter of who. I don’t think missing the playoffs had anything to do with it. The regression/injury/failure to progress of Wang/Joba/Hughes/IPK made the rotation extremely uncertain going into 2009.

  84. mick January 31st, 2012 at 10:50 am

    anyone here think the yanks aren’t a better team than they were last year?
    it’s , of course, relative as they can win less games this year and still be a better team.

  85. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Considering Tex OPS’d 1.081 as a member of the LAA Angels, one can only hope.

    —————–

    Nice.

  86. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 10:54 am

    “teams like the yankees and red sox have to be careful that they don’t overreact when they hit a bump in the road.”

    Particularly considering their fanbases are so even-keeled and forgiving.

  87. dogface January 31st, 2012 at 10:54 am

    If they can get him back to the guy who hit to all fields he’ll be part better against RHP in 2012

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

    Can’t go back to hitting to all fields when you’ve never been a guy to hit to all fields in the first place.

  88. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:55 am

    mick – Their run differential should be better, so I’d agree they are probably a better team. More-so because I actually “expect” their run prevention this season, rather than them getting very lucky with Colon/Garcia/Nova last year.

  89. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 10:50 am

    yankees sign burnet after not making playoffs

    And arguably made the correct choice between Lowe and Burnett…

    They were going to sign “someone” that offseason to pitch other than CC… it was just a matter of who. I don’t think missing the playoffs had anything to do with it. The regression/injury/failure to progress of Wang/Joba/Hughes/IPK made the rotation extremely uncertain going into 2009.
    ———————-

    You also have to remember after 2008 they were coming off a year where IPK and Hughes flopped after being handed rotation spots in spring training, Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson combined to make 40 starts and Mike Mussina was retiring, Andy had a horrible 2nd half and Wang was coming back from injury.

  90. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Forget the “better team” stuff. The key is just making the Playoffs and being hot once the Playoffs start. That means Girardi Not sitting the regulars game after game in Sept. The lineups Girardi threw out there the entire month of Sept was ridiculous. As a result, I hear Tampa Bay is holding a Joe Girardi Day in 2012. DO NOT ask me what date it is on.

  91. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 11:09 am

    DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:03 am

    Forget the “better team” stuff. The key is just making the Playoffs and being hot once the Playoffs start. That means Girardi Not sitting the regulars game after game in Sept. The lineups Girardi threw out there the entire month of Sept was ridiculous. As a result, I hear Tampa Bay is holding a Joe Girardi Day in 2012. DO NOT ask me what date it is on.
    ———————

    I get wanting to give your players some time to heal up and recharge the batteries – but essentially playing spring training lineups against Tampa to make sure Boston didn’t make the playoffs was stupid. And you can’t tell me that didn’t have a large part to do with his decision making.

  92. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:11 am

    - CHIP -
    I agree. Girardi tanked those games with Tampa.

  93. Normando January 31st, 2012 at 11:16 am

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  95. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I’d temper expectations for a greater run differential. The Yankees +210 mark was tied with the 2007 Red Sox for best mark since 2002 (I didn’t look past that, it could be the best mark since ’98)

    Being over 200 is highly unusual.

    Weird thing is, if you’re a believer in run differential, as being the best predictor of success (there are many studies that make this case), you may look at the Detroit ALDS series in a different light.

    Here’s all the DS series last year.

    Tampa 21, Texas 16: +5 Tamp (4 games)

    Mil – 23, Ari – 25: +2 Arizona

    Phi 21, StL – 19: +2 Philadelphia

    NYY 28, Det 17: +11 Yankees

    Yankees had the best run differential (by a wide margin) in a DS series round that saw ALL four teams that scored the most runs in the series lose the series, 3 of them losing the decisive game at home.

    Yankees also scored the most runs by a wide margins and gave up the second fewest runs (by 1, to Tampa, who played one less game).

    If this doesn’t help lead you to the conclusion that the DS is a total crapshoot and you can’t roster-build towards it, you’re not paying close enough attention.

    Best an expectant Yankee can argue for is that the Yankees scored their 28 runs more evened out throughout the 5 games, which is pretty much in defiance of what we all know about the game of baseball.

  96. Howe Farr January 31st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Which team was the hotest going into the Playoffs?
    The Rays…not much creedence to that theory.

  97. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 11:25 am

    “Which team was the hotest going into the Playoffs?

    And they won the 1st game of the ALDS 9-0, on the road.

  98. upstate kate January 31st, 2012 at 11:26 am

    All the regulars started that last game vs Tampa. Did anyone really think they should have stayed in there for 12 innings? The pitching was a revolving door, but they were ok until Proctor.
    The game before that, Jeet was the only one who didn’t start. All regular pitchers, including D-rob and Mo.
    Fans may have wanted the sox out, but they were the weaker team as compared w/ the Rays.

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  100. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:28 am

    “whoever said theyd rather trade back the 09 WS and not have Burrnett is an idiot…

    no WS is garenteed so u cant be like ‘they coulda got someone else in 2010 and won’”
    __
    That also assumes that someone they signed instead of AJ wouldn’t have pitched well in the WS, which is unknowable.

  101. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Looking at run differential over a 5 game period is not particularly meaningful.

  102. 86w183 January 31st, 2012 at 11:31 am

    The post-season and regular season have little in common. About the only thing you can do to put together a roster made for the post-season is emphasize POWER arms, because power arms dominate in October generally speaking.

    But nothing is foolproof and nothing guarantees anything. That’s why I refuse to subscribe to the theory that any season that is short of a World Championship is a failure. That’s a terrible mind set and keeps you from enjoying accomplishments along the way.

    I DO believe that any season that doesn’t include post-season play is a failure, and that applies to all teams and all sports at both the college and professional level.

  103. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 11:31 am

    LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Looking at run differential over a 5 game period is not particularly meaningful.
    —————–

    Looking at anything over a 5 game period other than wins and losses is not particularly meaningful.

  104. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:33 am

    “About the only thing you can do to put together a roster made for the post-season is emphasize POWER arms, because power arms dominate in October generally speaking.”

    Having hitters that don’t have a rigid, swing from the heels approach regardless of the situation helps as well. That’s probably why Martin and Swisher were so bad.

  105. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 11:33 am

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  106. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 11:34 am

    “Looking at run differential over a 5 game period is not particularly meaningful.”

    Looking at anything over a 5 game period is not particularly meaningful, which is the underlying premise.

    Division Series is a roll of the die.

  107. austinmac January 31st, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Chip,

    I agree sitting the players too much before the playoffs and losing games is not the way to enter stiff competition. I said so at the time, and that is, in my opinion, a factor is not having the comptitive edge at playoff time.

    With respect to the Yankees outscoring the Tigers, that means nothing in the short term. Last year the Yankees had a poor record in extra innings and one run games. They had trouble all year in tight games. That is as a result of poor situational hitting. I remember all too well the Yankees losing game after game by not scoring in the late or extra innings.

    My new theory is, with no basis except logic and feel, is that teams who win close games and extra inning games during the regular season are more apt to succeed in the playoffs. Now, someone can shoot down by concept.

  108. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Yanks got through the Playoffs in “09″ due to A-Rod. He saved the Yankee bacon numerous times late in games.

  109. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Division Series is a roll of the die.

    ——————–

    So both teams have equal odds?

    Nonsense.

  110. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:33 am

    “About the only thing you can do to put together a roster made for the post-season is emphasize POWER arms, because power arms dominate in October generally speaking.”

    Having hitters that don’t have a rigid, swing from the heels approach regardless of the situation helps as well. That’s probably why Martin and Swisher were so bad.
    —————–

    Swisher – IMO – is always going to run into problems in the playoffs by nature of his approach.

    He’s a patient guy who takes a ton of pitches, but the pitchers you face in the post season are generally the 1, 2, 3 on good teams which means they’re not likely to be guys who miss that often. So by taking pitches Nick finds himself down in a lot of counts against very good pitchers. That’s not conducive to being productive.

  111. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Close games and extra innings = Bullpen.

  112. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 11:37 am

    “Having hitters that don’t have a rigid, swing from the heels approach regardless of the situation helps as well. That’s probably why Martin and Swisher were so bad.”

    Their badness didn’t stop the Yankees from scoring the most runs of any of the 8 PS qualifying teams in the Division Round including runs per game avg.

  113. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 11:40 am

    “So both teams have equal odds?

    Nonsense.”

    You got 16 years of results (that’s 64 series) to show otherwise.

    As someone very interested in learning new things, I’d genuinely welcome any evidence that shows what gives you an advantage in the division series.

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  115. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:41 am

    September 26th vs the Rays, the only regular with the day off was Tex. September 27th, Jeter was the only one with the day off.

    Girardi was actually largely criticized on here for playing too many regulars against the Rays in that final series.

    Even the last game of the season, Joe sent out a representative lineup.

  116. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “Swisher – IMO – is always going to run into problems in the playoffs by nature of his approach.”

    Martin is far worse.

  117. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 11:43 am

    hardwired7 January 31st, 2012 at 11:41 am
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    *******************

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  118. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:48 am

    “Their badness didn’t stop the Yankees from scoring the most runs of any of the 8 PS qualifying teams in the Division Round including runs per game avg.”

    That has nothing to do with my point.

  119. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:49 am

    You got 16 years of results (that’s 64 series) to show otherwise.

    As someone very interested in learning new things, I’d genuinely welcome any evidence that shows what gives you an advantage in the division series.

    ———————

    This level of thinking implies that every individual 3 game set of the season is just a toss up.

    Come on stuckey. You really think every playoff series is a 50-50 proposition?

  120. austinmac January 31st, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Donny,

    I think last years extra inning abysmal record is more attributable to poor hitting than bad bullpen. There were a number of games last year the Yankees were tied in late +/or extra innings and could not score. The bullpen would eventually give up a run. It seemed everyone ws trying to hit the game winning home run.

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  122. austinmac January 31st, 2012 at 11:55 am

    If all playoffs are 50-50 propositions the Yankees sure were lucky in winning so many titles in a short period of time.

    Better teams don’t always win, but I believe I will take my chances on the better team.

    Many would question whether the Yankees were better than the Tigers last year. There records were very similar, and the Tigers had some big time pitching while the Yankees only had CC.

  123. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 11:55 am

    austinmac January 31st, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Chip,

    I agree sitting the players too much before the playoffs and losing games is not the way to enter stiff competition. I said so at the time, and that is, in my opinion, a factor is not having the comptitive edge at playoff time.

    With respect to the Yankees outscoring the Tigers, that means nothing in the short term. Last year the Yankees had a poor record in extra innings and one run games. They had trouble all year in tight games. That is as a result of poor situational hitting. I remember all too well the Yankees losing game after game by not scoring in the late or extra innings.

    My new theory is, with no basis except logic and feel, is that teams who win close games and extra inning games during the regular season are more apt to succeed in the playoffs. Now, someone can shoot down by concept.
    ——————

    Austinmac –

    I agree – the run differential is meaningless in a short series.

    Team X can win Game 1 14-0
    Team Y can win Games 3, 4, 5 4-3, 5-4, and 1-0

  124. randy l. January 31st, 2012 at 11:56 am

    “So both teams have equal odds?

    Nonsense.”

    it’s an advantage for a lesser team or a lesser athlete to compete with a small sample or under bad conditions because it gives randomness a chance to enter into things.

    i once bet a guy who made it to the top ten in the remax national long drive competition on longest drive, but i said one swing.

    i had much more chance to win on one swing than ten because he was after all the long drive pro and i wasn’t.
    we tied on the first swing at about 335 yards.

    he beat me on the second by flying a 350 yard green.

    the yankees most years are the best team in baseball, but the format only gives them the equivalent of one swing.
    it’s another way of taking the yankees financial advantage away from them like revenue sharing and soft salary cap.

    the yankees really need to form another league takin the top ten big market teams with them and leave the baseball socialists to their own little watered down pansy baseball league.

  125. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:57 am

    - austin -
    Girardi is not into “small ball”, and your right concerning the Yankee “situational” hitting.

  126. randy l. January 31st, 2012 at 11:58 am

    “I agree – the run differential is meaningless in a short series.”

    the yankees learned that the hard way in the 1960 world series against the pirates.

  127. jpmatrixfan88 January 31st, 2012 at 11:58 am

    This pinch hitting post is alright, but it is laughable to just Sabathia declined. A 3.44 ERA in the second half is still VERY GOOD production. He had his best season as a Yankee last year. He is not declining in any way, shape, or form right now. Neither is Teixeria IMO, his power has remained the same, just needs to get his average up batting left handed, which he is working on. Burnett was not a good signing, no one will say it was all that great lol.

  128. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:58 am

    In this book, Silver and Perry found three things correlate with postseason success.

    1. A pitching staff with a high strikeout rate
    2. A dominant closer
    3. Great team defense

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....0465005969

  129. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 11:59 am

    This article found some more stuff with different methodology:

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....-playoffs/

  130. jpmatrixfan88 January 31st, 2012 at 11:59 am

    *to suggest

  131. DONNYBROOK January 31st, 2012 at 11:59 am

    If CC had even been mediocre, the Yanks woulda got by Detroit.

  132. Erin January 31st, 2012 at 12:00 pm

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  133. Chip January 31st, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 11:43 am

    “Swisher – IMO – is always going to run into problems in the playoffs by nature of his approach.”

    Martin is far worse.
    ———–

    Well yes but Martin’s not nearly the offensive player Swisher is in the regular season.

    I mean by that logic you could also say Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena are going to be bad hitters in the post season too – I assume that bad regular season hitters aren’t going to get better against top competition in the post season.

  134. randy l. January 31st, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “You really think every playoff series is a 50-50 proposition?”

    the yankees play the field the same way tiger woods used to play the field when he was at his peak.

    one guy each week out of 100 or lesser golfers would get hot and give him a run.

    7 other teams in baseball are the field. one of them will likely get hot.

    that’s just the way it is.

  135. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “If CC had even been mediocre, the Yanks woulda got by Detroit.”

    It wasn’t his fault that Game 1 would be suspended while he was pitching brilliantly

  136. Rich in NJ January 31st, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Well yes but Martin’s not nearly the offensive player Swisher is in the regular season.

    I mean by that logic you could also say Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena are going to be bad hitters in the post season too – I assume that bad regular season hitters aren’t going to get better against top competition in the post season.
    __

    No, you can’t because they don’t count on Pena or Cervelli. For some reason they over rely on Martin.

  137. stuckey January 31st, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    “This level of thinking implies that every individual 3 game set of the season is just a toss up.”

    No, of course it doesn’t. That’s a vast overreaction.

    But consider how different the regular season would in fact be if EVERY team had the talent level of 89-plus win teams, as most of the 8 teams in the DS generally have?

    The margins to try to made predictions would be greatly dulled. It’s a different thing to predict the outcome a 3 game series between the Yankees and the Rays rather than the Yankees and the Orioles.

    “Come on stuckey. You really think every playoff series is a 50-50 proposition?”

    Nope, more like 55-45 ish. Being the better regular season team has some marginal value. Home field has some marginal value. I’ve tried my best to read up on his subject. I’ve yet to see any analysis that suggests there is a way to build a team that give you an advantage in the PS. In fact, every study I’ve come across debunks this theory.

    Being the best team during the 162 game season is about the only significant thing you can do to prepare for the MLB postseason tournament, which in most cases in going to give you a 55-57% chance to move on, which I don’t consider statistically significant over a small time period.

    But again, I’ll always consider data in opposition to this conclusion.

  138. LGY January 31st, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    If you believe it’s 55-45 then why do you always refer to it as a roll of the die or a toss up?

  139. Irreverent Discourse January 31st, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    stuckey you should read those articles LGY just posted, the THT article specifically shows what individual aspects of baseball has bred success (meaning, world series victory) in the playoffs.

    If I remember correctly… and it’s been a while… if you wanted a 50% chance of winning a series of games, your probability of winning each game would have to be above 50%.

  140. Ace February 1st, 2012 at 9:09 am

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