It’s good that Yankee fans were astute enough to make the greatest
pitcher athlete in Yankee known human history their player of the game yesterday. As was reflected by Al-Yankeezera’s broadcast team — without question one of the 30 best local broadcast teams in major league baseball — Joba’s performance was just unbelievably great. I mean, 5 2/3 innings, 4 runs — it’s like Walter Johnson came back to earth and we get to see him again! It’s truly something special.
Tag: "Yuck the Fankees"
It’s good that Yankee fans were astute enough to make the greatest
Obviously, Rivera is by far the greatest closer in major league history, but I’m not sure that should mean that for every six pitches you throw out of the strike zone three should be called strikes, which makes getting that last out a lot easier. (Admittedly, the Yankees had come contextual justification for their whining on the third-last pitch, as while it was certainly inside it was closer to the plate than the two previous balls that had been called strikes.)
None of which means that the Tribe’s failure to take advantage of another duff start from the greatest
pitcher athlete in Yankee known human history is the ump’s fault; when you send Vinnie Chulk out to protect a 1-run lead in the seventh you pretty much deserve whatever you get…
The only way this could have been any sweeter would have been for a pigeon to fly in right before the first pitch and relieve itself on Jeter’s cap.
I should mention, as Weiner has noted, that he looks right and I look largely wrong about last year’s Yankees/Pirates trade. Nady is right now an injured fourth OF, and will Marte is a better pitcher than he’s been as a Yankee, his value has to be in serious question. I’m still pretty skeptical about Tabata, but 1)he’s probably the most valuable property in the trade and 2)the players they traded have almost no value to them (and I suppose the crappy starters the Yankees throw in may be marginally better than the current alternatives.)
Oh, God, coverage of the now nearly-at-hand beginning of the baseball season will once again be dominated by the thoroughly uninteresting news that completely unenforced nominal rules against drug use were systematically violated, as they have been throughout baseball history except that it was cute when
most of the players were white players like Mickey Mantle may have routinely taken performance-enhancing amphetamines cute pills but were upstanding citizens who payed for the love of the game. I just regret that it wasn’t Jeter who was caught, not because I would care but because it would cause sportswriters to claim that it doesn’t actually matter and spare us the empty moralizing.
And just since it’s been a few days since the last flame war on the topic, I thought I’d throw in this from Bill James at his subscription site, which gets at the issue nearly perfectly:
Who was it exactly that said that Jeter was overrated? I don’t think it’s an issue of his being overrated exactly; it is more an issue of his being fawned over. Maybe I’m missing something, but I think most people acknowledge that he’s a great player. Bobby Abreu is a great player, too, but nobody feels compelled to tell you once an hour or so that he is not only a great player but a great team leader, a clutch hitter, a role model for children, a hero to firemen, the greatest baserunner since DiMaggio, has the work ethic of Bear Bryant, the courage of a Braveheart, the modesty of Ghandi, the footwork of Nijinski, the charisma of a movie star and the baseball instincts of John McGraw. But no Yankee broadcast is complete without at least three or four paeans to Jeter’s virtues. It’s unnecessary, it’s childish, and it’s embarrassing.
The one caveat is that he has been overrated as a defensive player, although not necessarily as a player over all (or, if he has been, it’s only because Babe Ruth wasn’t as good as Michael Kay makes Jeter out to be.) But Jeter certainly is a great player, and the way he’s treated by the media and broadcasters (and not just local ones) is utterly embarrassing (and may well have cost him 2 MVP awards he arguably deserved.) And incidentally, it’s weird that Abreu — similar to but somewhat better than Jeter as an offensive player, somewhat less valuable as a defensive player (below-average corner OF vs. really bad SS — how many runs is that?) can’t get a contract.
Good to see that the Yankees’ fleecing of the public fisc is attracting more attention, although in policy terms it’s almost certainly too little too late. In fairness, Thompson doesn’t seem to be considering the immense economic rewards that come from such subsidies; after all, without them, it’s hard to imagine that the South Bronx and Willet’s Point would be the engines of economic growth and vibrant culture that they are today…
There are a bunch of ways to analyze this. One is to compare the most similar players to Sabathia at the same age. The most similar is Dave McNally, who at the same point in his career had 70 wins left in his arm. So that would be about $2.4 million per win. But that’s actually one of the most optimistic comparisons for Sabathia’s hypothetical future. The most similar pitcher to Sabathia overall, without regard to age, is Freddy Garcia. The first eight years of Garcia’s career look uncannily like the first eight years of Sabathia’s. Garcia has won two games in the last two years and it’s unclear whether his career will continue. So that would be $85 million per win.
Another very similar pitcher is John Tudor: he had 22 wins left when he had thrown a similar number of innings. So that’s $8 million per win. Then there’s Alex Fernandez: he had 11 wins left in his arm. The list goes on: Denny McClain, Teddy Higuera, Jack McDowell . . . it’s a pretty grim set of stat lines for sinking $170 million into one player (the one really similar pitcher who would have been “worth” this kind of contract in current dollars is/was Greg Maddux).
Sabathia’s future is also clouded by the closely related “pitching 1000 MLB innings before you’re 25 rule” (the rule is that this is generally a very negative indicator for what a pitcher will end up doing once he starts approaching 30).
But hey it’s only money . . .
As some readers may remember, I have a friendly wager with frequent commenter Howard about whether the Yankees will make the playoffs and win the AL East. Thankfully, my affirmative wagers were wrong! Hence, according to my promise, I have donated $50 to the No On Prop 8 campaign. The importance of not allowing an initiative to nullify marriage rights for same-sex couples can scarcely be overstated, and this is looking like a close race, so it’s a cause worthy of your consideration.
And showing some flexibility since Howard is a jazz fan who’s been kind enough to enrich my own too-small collection several times, I’ve donated the other $50 to the highly anticipated recording project of the Secret Society. Darcy is a virtual and meatspace friend who has drawn deservedly fulsome praise from Ben Ratliff among others. In addition, my original proposed honoree, Planned Parenthood, won’t get stiffed — I’ll give to them this Christmas.
Readers should feel free, as Howard has, to match any donations of their choosing. Hmm, and maybe someone should make a reverse-hedge World Series bet with Atrios?
So I’m here about to conference in Boston, so I’m just seeing excerpts of the speeches. I’ve seen nothing that would contradict the positive-to-ecstatic reviews I’ve seen; all the major speeches look great. Clinton did his job beautifully, as one would expect, and while much less gifted Biden did exactly what he was hired to do.
[And, no, I don't share Philly Parisi's views; I just like the line. I especially can't be down on Boston given that their team finally delivered the de facto knockout blow tonight.]
Apparently it’s possible that greatest
pitcher athlete in Yankee recorded human history will be going on the D.L. Overhype aside, that’s a pretty serious hit, especially given their upcoming schedule. Maybe the Yankees will miss the postseason after all! Of course, I’m sure the Yankees will be able to come up with some complete stiff with no major league credentials to go 11-0 in his place anyway.
Detroit media outlets reporting Yankees have acquired Ivan Rodriguez. No word on what the Tigers got.
While obviously not close to the player he was in his prime, IRod is an exactly average AL hitter at this point, which makes him a better than average hitter for a catcher. Even though his defensive skills have deteriorated quite a bit from their once unparalleled height, he’s still a much better gloveman than Posada.
Hopefully Dave Dombrowski pried away a couple of good prospects, and this isn’t a salary dump (doesn’t seem likely as he’s a free agent at the end of the season).
BTW Rodriguez is only about 90 games away from the all-time MLB record for games caught.
Update: Sweet Jebus, apparently it’s a straight-up deal for Kyle Farnsworth. I’m a big fan of Dombrowski but if that’s accurate that’s ridiculous.
Further update: Just remembered that if anybody signs him as a free agent after this season the team that loses him gets two compensatory draft picks between the first and second round. So it looks like Detroit traded two months of IRod for Kyle Farnsworth and a couple of late first/early second round picks. I know Farnsworth has been decent this year but come on . . .
While picking up something at the hardware store today, I heard a talk radio guy complain that the Pirates were driving too hard a bargain on players who rightfully belong to the Yankees, boo-hoo. But when you’ve recently benefited from trades that seem to be crackpot talk radio caller proposals, why no expect to add useful parts without losing anything significant? So, right on cue, following Pat Gillick generously donating OBP machine Bobby Abreu and the late Cory Lidle to the Yanks two years ago in exchange for a 2-for-1 McDLT coupon, the Pirates gave the Yankees decent RH outfielder Xavier Nady and outstanding LH reliever Damaso Marte. In exchange, the only quality prospect they received is someone (admittedly only 19) who can’t hit AA pitching and already has wrist and hamstring problems. But he’s toolsy so he may learn to hit someday. Ehh. Moreover, they took this highly underwhelming package several days before the deadline despite several contending teams in the market for outfield and bullpen help. I’m tempted to say that nothing has changed in Pittsburgh, although in fairness if Littlefield was still there they would have received Pavano, Igawa, and the rights to Dave LaPoint instead of two of the prospects.
I’m tempted at this point to bet Howard a donation to the anti-Prop 8 campaign that the Yankees win the division outright. Not because the Sox didn’t hit tonight per se — two excellent pitchers combined with Foster’s Alice-in-Wonderland strike zone will do that — but because Ramirez may be hurt and Ortiz doesn’t look anywhere near 100%. With the bottom of the order having become a vast wasteland and the leadoff hitter looking almost equally atrocious, they can’t afford to have both of these guys out or in significantly subpar form, especially with Drew bound to cool off. Maybe Manny will be Manny tomorrow and Papi will shake off the rust more quickly than his performance tonight would indicate, but it wouldn’t be very surprising for the Yankees to outplay them by 3 games the rest of the way, especially with Cashman having addressed their weakness against lefthanders while giving up nothing they’ll miss.