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The Greatest Game

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Villone to the Yanks? I don't think so Vinny 

Vinny, I totally agree with you that Scott Erickson has no right to be donning a NY jersey and pitching in the majors this year, but Ron Villone a Yankee? Come on! Sure, he's a lefty, and he had a decent year last year (in Astro Stadium, no less), but that was one of his very few and far between decent years in his career. The guy had a 1.90 K/BB ratio (48 BB, 91 K) last year and that was one of his best years in that stat. Plus, if you look at his splits last year, lefties hit him for an OPS of .817 compared to righties who hit him for an OPS of .701. Great, a lefty with a reverse split! Not something that Yankees need (though to be fair, his OPS splits for 2002 were more in line with what you'd think for a lefty pitcher - lefties: .634 and righties: .836 - but then again his ERA was 5.81 in 2002, too, so I'm not sure that proves all that much). All in all, I don't think he'd be a very good fit with the Yankees. Oh yeah, he's also 34 years old. Maybe as a mop-up swingman type pitcher, but can't we find a younger guy with some possible future to fill that role instead of an old, lefty retread? Let the Mets have 'em!
# posted by shawn : 1/31/2004 10:15:00 PM -

Friday, January 30, 2004

No change in the 3B news for the Yanks 

Nothing much has changes for the Yankees with concerns to their third baseman situation. The NY Post "citing industry sources" says the Yankees are looking for a "name" third baseman with the leading candidate being Adrian Beltre of LA. The NY Daily News says that they might go after a big contract like Alfonzo or Glaus. Unfortunately for the Yankees, both the Dodgers and the Giants are short on offense. And Beltre is in the last year of a reasonable contract. Alfonzo, on the otherhand, has several years still remaining and I wouldn't like for the Yanks to pick up a big contract like that at 3B considering some good third basemen will be free agents next year (i.e. Chavez).

It's all a waiting game at this point - the Yankees are still waiting for Boone's swelling to subside so they can get a better picture of what's going on in there, though it certainly seems pretty bad at this point.

And you can tell it's a slow news day when I'm just recapping this story AGAIN. Plus I'm waiting on my DBA to make some changes to my database so I can continue working! Hurry up already!
# posted by shawn : 1/30/2004 02:54:00 PM -

Thursday, January 29, 2004

IRod - Contracts with non-Insurance Insurance 

The Tigers are including a clause in IRod's contract that says if he injures his lower spine and he lands on the DL for more than 5 weeks then the Tigers can terminate the contract after the 2005 season. I'm guessing the Tigers' insurance company wouldn't insure IRod's contract if he had a lower back injury. This clause insures the Tigers without the help from the insurance companies. Pretty slick. I'm guessing that teams are going to be trying to include these kinds of clauses in contracts more often, if they haven't been trying already. I also wonder if the Players Union is going to complain about these clauses because it seems to get around the whole "guaranteed contract" that all baseball players get.
# posted by shawn : 1/29/2004 10:46:00 PM -

More Thank You's 

I'd like to thank a couple new people for pushing some traffic my way: Scott & Vinny at Yankees, Mets and the Rest, the attack dog that Aaron Boone didn't know he had at This Grand American Game, and Kevin at Diamond Daze. Thanks guys!
# posted by shawn : 1/29/2004 04:23:00 PM -

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Another Yankee 3B post - Fielding 

Just about everything that I've read about concerning the Yankees search for thirdbaseman has emphasized the offensive aspect of the replacement player. Rob Neyer has some nice numbers of potential thirdbasemen in his current column. What I'm also concerned about it fielding stats. Now we all know that fielding stats are sketchy at best, but here are some of the possible replacement players and a couple of their fielding numbers (please note that these are 2003 stats for thirdbase only):
              Games   Range   Zone
Played Factor Rating
Wes Helms 130 2.56 .751
Adrian Beltre 157 2.82 .790
Ed Alfonzo 133 2.46 .755
Miguel Cairo 12 2.46 .538
Geoff Blum 83 2.45 .758
Jeff Cirillo 85 2.32 .734
Robin Ventura 83 2.53 .771
Tyler Houston 74 2.27 .753
Mike Bordick 22 2.94 .884

Sheffield('93) 134 2.41 .681
OK, there they are. Out of all of those guys, Beltre really stands out as the best defensive player, and offensively he's not going to hurt your team nearly as much as the other guys. Of course, that's why it would be the hardest to get him and it would cost the Yankees the most.

For proper analysis, I'd have to post the offensive stats next to the defensive stats, and probably even the offensive splits to see if a platoon can be cobbled together (but that would involve another position on the Yankees' roster, which I'm not sure they'd be willing to do, unless the platoon involved Cairo or Wilson - OUCH! or if Wilson was waived to make room for the other thirdbaseman, which I'm not adverse to). Oh yeah, and I should probably take 3-year averages for their stats, too. Well, I'm at work right now and this is the best that I could do. ;)

- Addendum -
I added Bordick and his 22 games on the list just as a curiosity. He's retired, but he is a good fielder, even though he hardly played 3B in his career. Taking his numbers with a grain of salt, it's still easy to get excited about his high fielding numbers compared to the rest of the (mostly) sorry bunch.
# posted by shawn : 1/28/2004 03:46:00 PM -

Shef to 3B? 

By know we've all heard about the offer that Shef made to the Yankees for him to play 3B next season with Boone possibly out all season. Does this make sense? Not really. Of course it should be easier to find a replacement outfielder than it would a replacement thirdbaseman, but barring a trade for an OF, then it's not going to be easy. We don't want Bernie back playing the OF if at all possible. He'd end up in LF if Shef took over 3B and Matsui would probably end up in RF and Tony Clark would be the everyday DH, which would be quite scary. What we would need is to bring in a RF. Is there anyone left? Well, the only decent guy out there is Mondesi, and he is NOT going to be a Yankee any time soon. Too bad this didn't happen before Juan Gonzalez signed - he's tempermental and injury-prone, but he can smoke the ball (then again, so can Vlad...). So unless the Yanks can trade for a decent outfielder, their options are going to be Houston, Bordick, Ventura, Beltre, Blum, Coomer, etc. Definately an undesireable lot.

And for those people thinking that Jeter should move to 3B and then we should find a SS, there aren't any more SS out there than 3B. Of course Bordick is a SS, but I'm sure he's talented enough to man the hot corner (if he wants to come out of retirement).

Unless the Yankees can manufacture a trade by trading spare parts and barely-mediocre minor leaguers (and cash, of course), then they are going to have one unproductive position in their lineup. Which, by the way, is about 2 or 3 less unproductive spots than most teams. So we Yankee fans should thank our lucky stars that the rest of the team is good enough to pick up the slack left by the absence of, very possibly, our worst everyday player.
# posted by shawn : 1/28/2004 02:30:00 PM -

Tyler Houston to the Yanks 

Looks like, according to Lee Sinins and Newsday, that the Yankees signed Tyler Houston to a minor league contract. He can play thirdbase (not that well) and he can also play some firstbase. He's never been an everyday player, but the past few season it looks like his bat has been hovering around average, though declining - his OPS from 2001-2003 have been .815, .751, .722. Not a very good sign. I'd still much rather have a slick fielder like Bordick (if he can be coerced out of retirement). Houston almost never walks and doesn't play thirdbase very well - I wonder what the Yankees see in him.

- Addendum -
Cross Jose Hernandez off the Yankees' list - he just signed with the Dodgers.

- Addendum 2 -
Cross Todd Zeile off the Yankees' list - he just signed with the Mets.
# posted by shawn : 1/28/2004 10:30:00 AM -

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Player who was in gay porn video trying out for the Indian 

A Japanese player who is being shunned by all Japanese teams because he appeared in a gay porn video is trying out for the Cleveland Indians.
Is Tadano gay? Of course, in the real world it wouldn't matter. But this is baseball where there has never been an openly gay player. Apparently he has been well-received by players and has support from his potential teammates.

I think this great. He hasn't admitted that he's gay, but he's only one step removed from it. I think that gay players should be openly embraced in all sports, but that isn't going to happen right now. Just having the issue brought out in the open is a good thing. Hopefully good dialogue can come from this.
# posted by shawn : 1/27/2004 09:41:00 PM -

Monday, January 26, 2004

Boone Out 

Other bloggers have noted this, but I thought that I'd post a quickie on it. Aaron Boone may be out for the season with a knee injury playing basketball. It's an ACL injury, possibly a total tear. That would be a season-ending injury. And all the Yanks have is Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo to fill in. And Drew Henson who is already making noise about wanting to play football again.

David Pinto reports that Gammons says that IRod would be an intriguing pickup for a thirdbaseman, but of course he's one of the top catchers in the game so why would a team stick him at thirdbase while you keep an average catcher behind the plate. I don't see it happening. Boone was the only good fielder in the Yankees' infield, if they replace him with a below-average fielder then they'll have an even worse infield, and with Kevin Brown and Paul Quantrill being extreme groundball pitchers, that's going to even more painful.

And I found this quote from Newsday (AP Writer Ronald Blum):
Ouch! Now Boone may not even get his $5.4M from his contract. Not a smart move Boony.

The Yankees just have to make it through the year because included in next years' free agent list is Eric Chavez. He'd look fantastic handling the hot corner in Yankee Stadium.

- Addendum -
Sweet! Cliff at Clifford's Big Red Blog posted this indepth look at the Yankees' options at thirdbase. And he was up until 3am doing it. Thanks Cliff!!!
# posted by shawn : 1/26/2004 07:24:00 PM -

Sunday, January 25, 2004

No ARod for the Red Sox 

ARod was just made captain of the Rangers. The chance of him being traded just moved from "when monkeys fly" to "when pigs fly out my butt". Here is a not-so-heartwarming quote from ARod:
"Probably pretty sure" it'll work out??? What kind of non-committal answer is that? It sure doesn't sound like he's excited to be back, nor does it sound like the new "C" on his chest is going to smooth things over to much. I wonder what his teammates are thinking?
# posted by shawn : 1/25/2004 06:50:00 PM -

Fenway Park Factor 

I know I haven't been posting much this weekend since I've been really busy with a bunch of stuff going on. I'm going to try and recitfy the situation over the next couple of days. Thanks for sticking with me through this lull.

As any of you regular readers know, I find the Park Factor stat quite interesting. So what was I just doing? Looking at the Park Factor of Fenway Park. And what did I find? Since 1934, Fenway Park has only had 2 1/2 seasons of below average Park Factor, which translates into 68.5 out of 70 seasons of hitters' park in Boston. That's unbelievably consistent. The years that the park played better for pitchers are 1944, 1998 & 2002.

I'd love to compare all the baseball parks and see if any of them are more consistent than Fenway. Of course, there are so many new parks, so I'll have to use some of the historical parks to satiate my curiosity. Keep your eyes open for more park related facts.

Oh yeah, in case you didn't know why 1934 is an important date in Fenway Park history is because January 5, 1934 is when Fenway Park burned down.
# posted by shawn : 1/25/2004 06:00:00 PM -