“I’d like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee”
– Joe DiMaggio
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“I’d like to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee”
– Joe DiMaggio
Roger Clemens is coming up for election into the Hall-of-Fame. To me it’s not question he is a Hall-of-famer. I would say the same about Barry Bonds too but this being a Yankee blog Ill leave the argument about only “the Rocket”. This isn’t going to be an argument about stats. We all know just based on stats, Roger is in on the first ballot. No question. This is going to be about the era of baseball that Roger excelled at. An era where hitters had video game stats and pitchers were gaining on their fastball in their 30’s. It was the STEROID era.
Roger was arguably the best pitcher in baseball. Winning Cy Young after Cy Young. When Sosa and McGuire were hitting 60+ homeruns because of steroids Clemens was dominating the American League. Baseball was filled with performance enhancing. Instead of trying to put asterisk on the stats we must leave them alone. Do we put an asterisk on pitching stats from the dead ball era? Where Curtis Granderson’s batting average could lead the league (im joking kinda). No we add a wing to the Hall called the Performance Enhanced era. We cannot differentiate for 100% certain who did or did not use. What we can see is you was the best from these years. One of the best was Roger Clemens. The Hall-of-Fame already has a black mark with omission of Pete Rose. Lets not add to him with Roger and the rest of the best from this era.
If Nick Swisher signs with the Indians for a reported 4 years for $52 million the Yankees will have again taken a step back for next season. There is no question that Nick Swisher is a better player than Ichiro. Swisher is in his prime while Ichiro is well past his. The only thing Ichiro has on Swisher is his speed and defense
Swisher has been in pinstripes since 2009 and he hasn’t disappointed. He was acquired to be the first baseman, then Mark Teixeira was signed. He was then positioned to be the backup in the OF and at 1B. In early April, Xavier Nady had to have Tommy John surgery and since then Nick has manned RF.
What Swisher does, Ichiro cannot. He battles at the plate. Meaning more pitches are thrown and better chance to get to bullpens. He has power, averaging almost 26 home-runs for each full season of his career. His defense is steady; he makes the plays he supposes to. He is a heads up base runner.
Ichiro has a simplistic approach at the plate. He doesn’t take pitches or get walks. He is the definition of a singles hitter, who is contingent on his 39 year old legs. He has little power. He is just a worse version of Brett Gardner*, but he gets paid more.
Losing Swisher and replacing him with Ichiro is turning the Bronx Bombers into the Bronx Bunters. Swisher reported salary would be easy to fit in the 2014 budget especially with the knowledge that Ichiro is getting a tax hit of between $6.5 million to $7 million. That makes Swisher projected $13 million very plausible and he is the clear cut better player.
Kevin Youkilis “the Greek god of walks” is now a New York Yankee. I feel I need a bath after writing this. The man, who represented Red Sox Nation more than anyone, will now have the privilege to shave his facial hair and don the pinstripes. The man who has seemed to be attracted to Joba’s fastball will now be sharing a locker room with him. Youkilis received a 1 year deal for $12 million. Reports stated that his choices were the Yankees and Indians who offered a 2 year $18 million deal until the Indians signed another third baseman. That 3b was Mark Reynolds and the deal was a one year deal for $6 million
The Yankees paid double for a player that may be equal what Reynolds is. Mark Reynolds just like Youk comes from a division rival, spending last season with the surprise Orioles. Here’s a blind comparison.
Player A is Reynolds and Player B is Youkilis. While both players had down season from their 2011 campaign Youkilis was more dramatic. Since 2009 Youkilis’ WAR (wins above replacement) has dropped with the 2009 high 6.3 to 2011’s 3.7 then last year’s 1.3. While Reynolds WAR has never been good representation of his stats his WAR has stayed relatively consistent. WAR has been estimated to be 1 WAR equals 4.5 million. So if Youkilis puts up below 1 WAR which tend indicates he will then he will be an overpay compared to Reynolds and is S6 million contract. Defensively speaking both players can play 3B and 1B but neither is winning any Gold Gloves. Same with steals as both are closer to Posada then Gardner in speed.
Another fact is Mark Reynolds is clearly the better power hitter. He has 181 homeruns since his debut in2007 while Youkilis over the same span has only 127 while also playing in the most right handed friendly park in baseball, Fenway Park. The old saying is “Chicks dig the long ball” and Reynolds is a power guy who will excite the Yankee stadium crowd.
Going into this off-season the Yankees had two important free agents that would be hard to replace. Nick Swisher in right field and Russell Martin behind home plate. With the trade of Jesus Montero last season and Austin Romine’s injury plagued season that limited his Triple A at bats, the Yankees are lacking a MLB caliber replacement on the roster. So with Martin’s signing with the Pirates for only 2 years and $17 million, Yankees fans are rightfully depressed. This leaves the Yankees most likely with the Opening Day catching tandem of Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli. Stewart can’t hit and Cervelli spent last season at Triple A because he was deemed worse than Stewart. So for the first time in recent memory the Yankees will go into the season with an automatic out in their batting order.
The Yankees brass is going to claim the 2014 budget is the cause of losing Martin. That is not the case. Martin’s tax hit will be 8.5 million for the Pirates. I’m under the assumption that Russell would pick the Yankees over the Pirates given similar deals. The Yankees could have given Martin a 2 year $20 million, but they structured the deal differently. The deal was first year salary of 15 million and 5 million for the second year with a limited no-trade clause. This would have allowed Martin to control is future a bit by eliminating teams he could be traded too.
A team like the Braves would gladly take the $5 million salary. By declining McCann’s $12 million player option and the 500K buyout, the Braves would have saved almost $7 million. The Yankees then would have received a borderline prospect such as Aaron Northcraft. Northcraft is a groundball pitcher who is ranked 11th in the Braves system by SB Nation’s Minor League Ball. So the Yankees would keep Martin for 2013, break in Romine as his back-up after the All-Star break and then receive a prospect in a trade. Instead, now the Yankees have one of the worst catching situations in baseball.
All contract info came from http://www.baseballprospectus.com/compensation/cots/
A) What the Yankees have done so far
B) What they could have done to make a better team and to fit under the 2014 budget
1.) A) go into to Spring Training with Cervelli, Romine, and Stewart at catcher
B) resign Russell Martin for 2 years 17 million
2.) A) sign Kevin Youkilis to a 1 year $12 million deal
B) sign Mark Reynolds to a 1 year $6 million deal
3.) A) sign Ichiro to a two year deal worth between $13-$14 million
B) resign Nick Swisher for 4 years and $52 million
4.) A) trade Phillip J. Hughes for future prospects
B) make a $30 million posting fee and sign Ryu Hyun-jin for 6 years and $36 million
5.) A) Allow Cano and Granderson play out their contract year
B) trade Cano to Cardinals and Granderson to a team in need of a CF such as Rangers, Reds, Nationals, Braves, Phillies / Trade for Nate Schirholtz to play LF with Gardner in CF and allow
6.) A) have Jayson NIX has backup 3B
B) sign Ian Stewart to a 1 year $2 million deal
7.) A) vacant backup middle IF
B) sign Japanese import Hiroyuki Nakajima
Positive moves that need no alternatives include the re-signings of Rivera, Pettitte, and Kuroda to 1 year deals
Each move will be further examined in upcoming posts
For class we have to start a blog as a final project. My choice is to do one on the New York Yankees. They are my favorite baseball team. I always read other blogs/articles about the team and feel I have thoughts that get lost if only in a comment section; arguing with someone who feels the Yankees need to have a $billion payroll. My inspiration for this Yankees blog is River Avenue Blues which i read ever day to get for Yankee fix.
For Class it’s going to be about the New York Yankees. Content is going to be how I feel about being a fan and what I would do if i controlled the team. After class I’m going to write on all my favorite teams and just sports in general.
“Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next.” – George M. Steinbrenner III