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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yanks tank: trade Chapman and now Miller for unproven minor league players.

Aroldis Chapman was traded July 25, 2016 for Adam Warren and three minor league players, euphemistically termed prospects by the recipient.

This morning Andrew Miller was traded for four minor league players.

I'm still holding out hope that Yankee general manager Brian Cashman is diabolical enough to flip some of these unproven players still working on their apprenticeships for an actual impactful major league player, maybe lefty starter Chris Sale of the White Sox. That would mean that the Yankees are not tanking and making the final 60 games meaningless.

Some Yankee fans are pleased even though they likely never heard of any of the seven minor league players before the trades and still have no idea how high they played in the minors or how well they have done. So, before you join the media people and congratulate Cashman on starting to clean up the mess he's made of the Yankees, look at the matrix below that I created and then think all this through.

The matrix contains the highest level of professional play and the (Plate Appearances (PA) and OPS) or (Innings and ERA) at that level. Even after a full season at AAA you'd expect a drop in the first major league season. Let's say 10%. So if the OPS is .800, the player would produce .720 ... maybe. And nothing impactful.

You may be in for a shock at their minor league accomplishments.

Aroldis ChapmanbirthdateAgePAOPSInnERA
Adam Warren8/25/1987283263.64major
Gleyber Torres12/13/199619456.761A+
Billy McKinney8/23/199421579.716AA
Rashad Crawford10/15/199322388.701A+
Andrew MillerbirthdateAgePAOPSInnERA
Clint Frazier9/6/19942121.571AAA
J.P. Feyereisen2/7/199323402.23AA
Justus Sheffield5/13/199620953.59A+
Ben Heller8/5/199124252.49AAA

Never trade a somebody for a bunch of nobodies. Saturday, August 1, 2015

Steinbrenner Kids, sell the damn Yankees! Apocalypse Now!

Everyone has succumbed to the ridiculous handicapping that is central to the publicity the major league receives from it's annual undermining of its own integrity as teams remake their rosters like scavengers.

For the first time the once dominant and might New York Yankees are on the bubble, tepidly trying to evaluate an obviously deteriorating team that never the less has a chance to qualify for the tournament. Since the introduction of the second wild card in 2012, those teams have qualified with as few as 88 wins, plus a division winner with 88. Obviously, 81 wins splits the season in half, so the threshold is low. The likes of Kansas City reaching the finals the last two seasons shows that non-dominant teams can prosper.

The Yankees have been just another team for years but the management people are dysfunctional and conflicted about what to do. Spend too much but not enough. Be a little bold but more often timid. Add more aging veterans but bring up the prospects.

The Yankees were surging after beating a wild card rival twice in Houston. But then the Astros won game three and the Yankees have now lost the first two games in Tampa against the lowly Rays and are on the verge of management pulling the plug and dumping as many players as they can in hopes of piling up lots of minor league players so that ...

What? Have plenty of fresh faces who won't make an impact for a major league team? Sell a bunch of them in exchange for the types of veterans who were just dumped? Just how does this work? We Yankee fans have not been on this end of it. None of it seems to make sense, especially if you already paid for tickets and now will watch players in Yankee uniforms you never heard of.

Which brings us to team ownership. George Steinbrenner died and left the team to his four adult children and the team has reached this state during their tenure. Maybe it's just bad timing but a fundamental change is needed.

Or they must become radical. Defy the common draft and sign any player you want. Let the league sue. Go into actual competition with the other teams, not collusion.

Any chance Hal Steinbrenner will try that? Right. So, just sell the damn Yankees. The meek may inherit the earth. They sure as heck inherited the New York Yankees.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dumping salary for prospects (nobodies) and tanking the season versus building for the future: how about ticket rebates?

Maybe if team owners had to rebate the cost savings they achieve by dumping salary for prospects (nobodies) and tanking the season, they'd think twice about it.

Aroldis Chapman: a somebody, traded for nobodies. Thursday, July 28, 2016

One final point that may have entered into this even for the Yankees: salary owed for the remainder of 2016 ...

... a net savings for the Yankee of about... $3.2 million. Subtract from that the peanuts that the Yankees will pay to the prospects and the Yankees are saving a pretty penny, probably more than three million dollars. Hey, you never know.


If a team is moving towards AAA quality, fans should pay AAA prices. Otherwise, stop this nonsensical never ending churning of rosters. How did these dumps from a year ago work for the dumper?

Traded for nobodies by teams that quit: Price, Cespedes, Cueto, Hamels, Kazmir. Saturday, August 1, 2015

Click and read the names of nobodies received. Only Detroit starter Michael Fulmer has performed well. The dumping teams didn't really give a damn about rebuilding. They were dumping salary and keeping the money they received from their fans who had been duped.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Alex Bregman: HOT prospect, ZERO for major league, but one to be coveted.

Alex Bregman is probably all that the Houston Astros hope him to be. Maybe a future All Star. The Astros brought him up from the minors to play against the Yankees three days ago. The Houston fans gave Bregman a standing ovation for his first plate appearance. Bregman is now zero for 9 plus two bases on balls.

Positions: Third Baseman and Designated Hitter
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0", Weight: 180 lb.
Born: March 30, 1994 in Albuquerque, NM (Age 22)
Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1st round (2nd pick) of the 2015 amateur draft.

Signed June 25, 2015.

Now Bregman is the type of prospect to get excited over. Bregman is the kind to be acquired, if not for a relief pitcher like Aroldis Chapman, then for a more substantial veteran. That's the type of transaction that would warrant praise, not the nonsensical praise of Yankee general manager Brian Cashman for his trading Chapman for one mediocre pitcher plus three prospects, the most important of whom we are told is a 19 year old shortstop in A ball.

Aroldis Chapman: a somebody, traded for nobodies.

Calling people nobodies is not nice but in this context it makes an important point.

Never trade a somebody for a bunch of nobodies. Saturday, August 1, 2015

I learned that from: Rickey Henderson

Born: December 25, 1958 in Chicago, IL
Inducted into the Hall of Fame by BBWAA as Player in 2009 (511/539 ballots).

The very next season Henderson was voted American League (AL) MVP...

Traded for nobodies by teams that quit: Price, Cespedes, Cueto, Hamels, Kazmir. Saturday, August 1, 2015 3:37 PM

Here are two conflicting views about the Chapman trade.

The Recent History of High-Profile Reliever Acquisitions
by August Fagerstrom - July 26, 2016 fangraphs.com

The Chicago Cubs paid one hell of a price to acquire Aroldis Chapman yesterday. Maybe the highest we’ve ever seen for a reliever; certainly the highest for a half-season rental.

Brian Cashman strikes out on Gleyber Torres in 2013, then trades Aroldis Chapman to make up for that failure. Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cashman said the Yankees coveted Gleyber Torres three years ago, calling him the premier international free agent at the time. Cashman added that he was “disappointed we swung and missed; he was definitely a target for us.”

Say what? Cashman probably threw that in to make his trading of Chapman for one major league pitcher and three prospects sound more plausible. But it raises the obvious question of why Cashman failed to sign the international free agent in 2013 and let the Cubs outbid the Yankees by offering $1.7 million. The Yankees couldn't afford that or was Cashman too inept yet again? Either way, it's another failure by Cashman.

Had Cashman already signed Torres, then he could have traded Chapman for other "assets", the current word for those, like Micheal Kay, trying to sound like they know stuff the rest of us don't.

Last night I watched Chapman's first appearance for the Cubs. It was in Wrigley Field Chicago where Chapman had pitched 20 innings in 19 games for the Cincinnati Reds. Even though they had already seen Chapman, he was now one of their own and Cubs fans went wild, reveling in the many fastballs thrown at speeds over 100 miles per hour.

The Aroldis Chapman trade bothers me on multiple levels.

1. It weakens the Yankees now with more than one third of the season remaining and the Yankees in the loss column only four games out of a wild card tournament spot.
2. It draws us into the nonsense of handicapping actual and potential player movements, which should not be allowed during the season.
3. Trades during the season undermine the integrity of the game more than anything other than players intentionally losing.
4. Chapman is a somebody who was traded for multiple nobodies.

The Yankees reacquired Adam Warren:
The other three players they received for Chapman are prospects. Most of us never heard of these prospects but now we are supposed to be orgasmic over their acquisition. Why? Because, maybe, at least one of them will one day play for the Yankees and even become a substantial major league player. None is expected to do that this season and probably not next season but maybe some day.

What? What the heck kind of logic is that? And prevalent for any of these types of trades, is a team swapping an established major league player for multiple potential players.

In Chapman's case, he was traded for four players, which suggests that each is much less valuable. Yet collectively, they supposedly represent increased value to the receiving team. And even that is likely to be in the future, not this season.

Part of the dynamic is that the team trading the veteran is committed to pay that veteran more than he is worth to them now. Or they made a mistake and valued him too highly, possibly when he was a prospect, and signed him for too many years and/or for too much money per year. Or the player will become a free agent and is unlikely to re-sign or the team does not want to pay what he could receive as a free agent.

The Cubs will have Chapman for only the final one third of the season, after which Chapman becomes a free agent. If the Cubs make a qualifying offer to Chapman then and he signs with another team, the Cubs would receive a draft pick from that team.

One final point that may have entered into this even for the Yankees: salary owed for the remainder of 2016:

Chapman: $11,325,000 divided by three equals about $3,775,000
Warren: $1,700,000 divided by three equals about $566,667. Money the Yankees will pay to the prospects offsets the money that would have been paid to the minor league players they replace.

That's $3,775,000 minus $566,667: a net savings for the Yankee of about $3,208,333, about $3.2 million. Hey, you never know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Earth to Micheal Kay and Yankee fans: call for Tyler Austin, not Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge is still hurt and yet Yankee announcer and Yankee fans speaking to him on his radio show, continue to dwell on six foot seven inch right fielder Aaron Judge, who has been injured and whose AAA numbers are not overwhelming. Meanwhile, ...

The Yankees have an uninjured AAA player who can play both right field and first base: 6'2" Tyler Austin. My fiend Paul alerted me to him a few days ago.

AAA in 2016:
Judge: 370 PA, 16 HR, .261 .357 .469 .825
Austin: 190 PA, 12 HR, .323 .421 .658 1.079

Included in Austin's numbers, today's 3 for 4, including homer 12.


Personally, I'd have been playing Carlos Beltran in right and Alex Rodriguez at DH. Mark Teixeira has started to hit and I think A-Rod would too if he batted regularly.

Does handicapping mid season trades tie into gambling on Draftkings?

The commissioner and owners probably think that all the attention leading up to the July 31 trading deadline is good, that there's no such thing as bad publicity. They seem oblivious to the possibility that all this speculation and actual player movement undermines fan loyalty to individual players on the home team.

Some teams loading up while other teams are giving up represents a fundamental lack of integrity that is essential in team sports. It's been done this way for several decades and like most things, people don't give it a second thought. We should.

The best and only solution is to ban trades during the season.

What? And give up all this free publicity and interest by fans and media? The interest is by fans of the loading up teams, not fans of the giving up teams. Those fans are likely devastated and duped. Over time that negativity takes it toll.

No trades during the season.

How the Yankees can reach 88 wins.

The Yankees have played 100 games with 62 to go. Their record is 52-48. That's a winning rate of .520. If they keep that up they will finish 84-78. That probably will not get them into the tournament.

In 2014 the Giants beat the Royals 4-3 in the finals. Their regular season win totals: 88 and 89.

Here are the lowest win totals to qualify in the wild card years:
2015 88 Texas (division champ)
2014 88 San Francisco and Pittsburgh (Oakland, too but did not qualify)
2013 92 Tampa, Cleveland, Dodgers (division champ)
2012 88 Detroit (division champ); more wins but did not qualify: Tampa 90, Angels 89

So 88 seems to be the minimum that is likely qualify a team. How could the Yankees add those four wins? Easy. Just continue to win at the rate since their terrible start.

The Yankees lost games 19 through 24 to drop their record to 8-16 on May 3. Since then their record is 44-32 (.579). That rate would produce 36 more wins in their final 62 games: 36-26. Final record: 88-74 (.543). Bingo.

88 wins is marginal but it certainly is both achievable and would give the Yankees a realistic chance of qualifying for the tournament.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Brian Cashman strikes out on Gleyber Torres in 2013, then trades Aroldis Chapman to make up for that failure.

Bash Cash? What again? Cashman is the incompetent who keeps on giving.

Yankees Trade All-Star Closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs
By BILLY WITZ JULY 25, 2016 The New York Times

The Yankees, with their enormous payroll and appetite for winning now, are not in the habit of trading away star players at their peak. But they did so Monday, sending closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs for a four-player package centered on the 19-year-old shortstop Gleyber Torres...

The main attraction for the Yankees was Torres, a Venezuelan who signed with the Cubs for $1.7 million in 2013 and hit .293 as the youngest player in the low Class A Midwest League last year. This season, he was hitting .275, with nine home runs, 47 R.B.I. and a .791 on-base plus slugging percentage, in the high-Class A Carolina League.

Cashman said the Yankees coveted Torres three years ago, calling him the premier international free agent at the time. Cashman added that he was “disappointed we swung and missed; he was definitely a target for us.”


Say what? Cashman probably threw that in to make his trading of Chapman for one major league pitcher and three prospects sound more plausible. But it raises the obvious question of why Cashman failed to sign the international free agent in 2013 and let the Cubs outbid the Yankees by offering $1.7 million. The Yankees couldn't afford that or was Cashman too inept yet again? Either way, it's another failure by Cashman.

Had Cashman already signed Torres, then he could have traded Chapman for other "assets", the current word for those, like Micheal Kay, trying to sound like they know stuff the rest of us don't.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Yankees should flip Cubs prospects for Chris Sale.

The Yankees traded Aroldis Chapman for Chicago Cubs prospects.

Chicago White Sox lefty starter Chris Sale is serving a team imposed five game suspension for insubordination. His contract is favorable to the team. With Dodger Clayton Kershaw injured, Sale may be the best lefty starter.

Using some of those newly acquired Cubs prospects, maybe with some of their own, the Yankees might be able to trade for Sale to pitch at the top of their rotation. That would make the Yankees a team opponents will not want to play in the tournament. It could lift a dormant .500 team into the tournament to make an unexpected run with these aging non-pitchers.

The Yankees just called up Luis Severino, their highly regarded righty starting pitcher. Severino might have to be included in a trade for Sale.

Playing their home games in the extremely non-symmetrical Yankee Stadium, the Yankees desperately need lefty starting pitchers. CC Sabathia is their only lefty starter and he's well past his prime. 1947 is the only year the Yankees won the championship without a lefty starter.

Make the deal.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Alex Rodriguez or Aaron Hicks?

There's blood in the water. Rumors resurfaced that the Yankees are considering cutting Alex Rodriguez. The current question is whether the Yankees should play Rodriguez or Aaron Hicks. The Yankees won't cut Hicks because he is making the minimum, a bit more than half a million dollars. Rodriguez is making $21 million with another $21 million owed to him in 2017. Let's lay out those numbers.

Hicks: $574,000 in 2016

Rodriguez: $21,000,000 (only $7,000,000 for the remainder of 2016) plus for 2017 another $21,000,000.

So, if the Yankees cut Rodriguez, they still owe him $28,000,000. That doesn't sound very smart but the Steinbrenner Kids are dumb and lazy. It's possible that they may yet determine that their 16 year incumbent general manager Brian Cashman has long since outlived his usefulness but who knows.

Neither Hicks nor Rodriguez is hitting. One reason Rodriguez is not hitting in recent games is that Hicks is taking his plate appearances and also playing the outfield. Rodriguez has hit well as recently as last season. Hicks has never hit well at the major league level, which is why the Twins gave up on him.

In three days Rodriguez will be 41 years old. Oct. 2 Hicks will become 27. Hicks has plenty of ball playing ahead of him but he's also had plenty of time to show what he can do and he has not shown much.

Rodriguez has 696 career home runs. Opposing teams still pitch carefully to him. They seem much less concerned about pitching to Hicks. Hicks can still run fast but Hicks has tried to steal twice and been thrown out both times. Rodriguez has three attempts and has been safe on all three.

2016 splits:
against right handed pitchers:
Rodriguez: 151 PA, .574 OPS, 6 HR
Hicks: 134 PA, .612 OPS, 2 HR

against left handed pitchers:
Rodriguez: 76 PA, .710 OPS, 3 HR
Hicks: 82 PA, .436 OPS, 1 HR

Whom would you play?

Cut Alex Rodriguez? What minor league batting stats justify major league playing time? Saturday, June 25, 2016

Why does the players union go along with trades during the season? Why do the owners?

The players union and the league will negotiate terms for a new multi-year contract. But there has never seemed to have been a discussion of trades made during the regular season.

Some players have no trade clauses, i.e., the player must approve, in their individual contracts. And there are general rules about players with a certain number of years in the league and/or with a team having similar rights to approve trades.

But none of this forbids trading players during the season. Why not?

Do the players think that it is an essential part of how a league must operate? Are they just lazy in their thinking?

On the other side, why do the owners think that it benefits them? Is there actual evidence that undermining fan loyalty to particular players is offset by some future improvement in team competitiveness? Does continuity and player loyalty impact performance?

And, of course, as has been emphasized here many times over the years, trades during the season undermine the basic integrity of the game far more than players using performance enhancing drugs (PED).

Oh, and as long as they're fixing fundamental problems, have the same number of players on the roster for the entire season, i.e., finally end the absurdity of expanding the rosters in September to accommodate meaningless call ups from the minor leagues.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ramifications of player contracts with the league, not a team.

That would resolve some issues.

It was tried in recent decades by at least one independent league. It would allow for operation like a big company. If someone is blocked from promotion in New York, that person might be offered advancement in Chicago. That type of thing.

Also, a company would not let one of its locations fail without taking action, which would include an influx of management help from successful operations and transferring people to bolster the "team".

And if that did not turn things around, the location would be closed or relocated.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Aroldis Chapman for Yasiel Puig?

Aroldis Chapman:
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Height: 6' 4", Weight: 215 lb.
Born: February 28, 1988 in Holguin, Holguin, Cuba (Age 28)

Yasiel Puig:
Position: Rightfielder
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2", Weight: 240 lb.
Born: December 7, 1990 in Cienfuegos, Cienfuegos, Cuba (Age 25)

Aaron Hicks:
Position: Centerfielder
Bats: Both, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 205 lb.
Born: October 2, 1989 in San Pedro, CA (Age 26)

Yankee general manager Brian Cashman acquired both Chapman and Hicks between the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Cashman had passed on Puig when he was available as a free agent. Initially that looked like a big mistake but Puig's hitting has become worse each season: OPS+ declined annually: 159, 145, 110, 90 (132 career). Which, of course, is why there are rumors that the Dodgers are willing to trade Puig. That and Puig's bad attitude and habits.

But at least Puig has done something as a pro. Hicks career OPS+ is 76 (51 with the Yankees in 2016). Hicks failed over three seasons with the Twins. There's a reason the Twins let him go.

Chapman may be the fastest pitcher of all time. Career ERA+  182 (194 with Yankees in 28 innings). 586 SO in 347 career innings. But the most work you'll get out of him on average is one inning, alternate games. So for August and September, that's about 30 innings max. The Yankees have two other guys who do that at about the same effectiveness: Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Yankee fans have seen Chapman's act but not Puig's. Chapman is a free agent after this season. Puig becomes a free agent in 2020.

As a Yankee fan, I'd make the deal. To paraphrase Branch Rickey when he was general manager of the Pirates in the 1950s when dealing with a salary demand by his home run hitting champion Ralph Kiner: the Yankees can be .500 with Chapman or without him. The Yankees are mediocre and boring. Puig would bring some pizazz.

Playing for the Yankees or just playing in New York might jolt Puig into becoming the professional ball player that his talent suggests. He's still young enough to make this a reasonable gamble. He is not free but has several million dollars owed to him.

YearAgeTeamSalaryServTm(OpnDay)SourcesNotes/Other Sources
201221Los Angeles Dodgers$3,714,000?
201322Los Angeles Dodgers$3,714,000?contracts
201423Los Angeles Dodgers$3,714,0000.119contracts
201524Los Angeles Dodgers$6,214,0001.119contracts
201625Los Angeles Dodgers$7,214,0002.119
201726Los Angeles Dodgers$8,214,000
201827Los Angeles Dodgers$9,214,000
Earliest Arb Eligible: 2019, Earliest Free Agent: 2020
I say do the deal.

And it's silly to wait around for wonder boy Aaron Judge (born April 26, 1992), who has ZERO plate appearances (PA) in the major league. Judge at AAA: 630 PA, OPS .765. It's amazing that so many people continue to tout this guy based primarily on his height: 6'7".

Puig is less than a year and a half older than Judge. "Worst" case: Yanks have both playing corner outfield positions in 2017 ... and maybe even hitting home runs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

100 Home Runs final three seasons of career: Dave Kingman.

Dave Kingman hit 100 Home Runs (35, 30, 35) in 1984-1986, then retired at age 37. Kingman is the only player to hit at least 30 HR in his final season. See previous post.

David Ortiz tonight hit number 23. Ortiz has 95 HR 2014-2016 and could pass Kingman's 100 in his final three seasons.​ Ortiz is 40 years old.

2013 30

2014 35
2015 37
2016 23

Ortiz might also have a record for most HR in his final four seasons.

Most home runs final season.

David Ortiz hit number 23 tonight, number 526 career. Dave Kingman hit the most home runs in his final season and almost hit his age. Ortiz is 40.

1 Dave Kingman 35 1986 37 OAK AL 144 604 561 70 118 19 0 94 33 3 126 3 0 7 16 3 3 .210 .255 .431 .686 *D/3H
2 Mark McGwire 29 2001 37 STL NL 97 364 299 48 56 4 0 64 56 3 118 3 0 6 7 0 0 .187 .316 .492 .808 *3/H
3 Ted Williams 29 1960 41 BOS AL 113 390 310 56 98 15 0 72 75 7 41 3 0 2 7 1 1 .316 .451 .645 1.096 *7H
4 Barry Bonds 28 2007 42 SFG NL 126 477 340 75 94 14 0 66 132 43 54 3 0 2 13 5 0 .276 .480 .565 1.045 *7H/D
5 Jermaine Dye 27 2009 35 CHW AL 141 574 503 78 126 19 1 81 64 2 108 5 0 2 15 0 2 .250 .340 .453 .793 *9/DH
6 Hank Greenberg 25 1947 36 PIT NL 125 510 402 71 100 13 2 74 104 73 4 0 16 0 .249 .408 .478 .885 *3/H
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/19/2016.