Saturday, March 25, 2017

Brian Cashman management style: musical chairs, triangle offense, ...?

Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman has the team ranked 22 in center field. That's 22 out of 30 teams. The Yankees had a string of Hall of Fame center fielders: Earle Combs, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle. During the Jeter era, they had Bernie Williams. And Melky Cabrera on the last championship team in 2009.

2017 Positional Power Rankings: Center Field
by Dave Cameron - March 24, 2017

17. Mets

Though he’s currently projected to get the most playing time there, Curtis Granderson isn’t an optimal center fielder. He’s probably going to be more than serviceable on offense, as someone who gets on base and dumps baseballs into people’s beers in the right field seats. At 36, though, Granderson’s best days in the field are behind him. He’s much better suited to playing a corner, but with Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce being there, and Michael Conforto theoretically getting some time as well, he’s sequestered away in center. He shouldn’t kill the Mets there, and given the offensive production that they’re probably going out of this outfield, that’ll do just fine.

22. Yankees

When the Yankees were mostly mocked for giving Jacoby Ellsbury $153 million a few years back, I mostly defended the deal as a modest overpay of a better player than people were giving them credit for acquiring. That looked like a decent opinion for exactly one year, since Ellsbury was pretty good in 2014, but things have fallen apart the last two years, and now the Yankees are paying a lot of money to rank behind a team that plucked Leonys Martin off the scrap heap.

With Ellsbury and Hicks, the team’s defense in center field is okay, but there’s not a lot of bat here, and this contract has four years to go. At this point, it’s probably unlikely that Ellsbury makes it through all four years in New York; unless he figures out how to hit for some power again, it seems likely he’ll be playing his way out of the Bronx before they are done paying him.

Cashman deserves credit for getting Granderson but not for essentially replacing him in the outfield with Ellsbury for the 2014 season:

December 8, 2009: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Detroit Tigers to the New York Yankees. The Detroit Tigers sent Edwin Jackson to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The New York Yankees sent Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to the Detroit Tigers. The New York Yankees sent Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth to the Detroit Tigers.
October 31, 2013: Granted Free Agency.
December 9, 2013: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets.

M & M Boys, revolving door rosters, copy cat management and rooting for the laundry. Sunday, December 1, 2013

Curtis Granderson played four seasons for the Yankees: 2010-2013. Granderson joined Giambi as the only Yankee since Mickey Mantle to hit at least 40 homers in consecutive seasons. Granderson is now a free agent.

As a replacement for Granderson the Yankees are considering Carlos Beltran, a free agent who played most recently for the St. Louis Cardinals. I love Beltran and wanted the Yankees to sign him when he was a free agent the first time following the 2004 season. Beltran would have been the perfect replacement for Bernie Williams. The Yankees showed no interest then. Beltran instead joined the Mets and set the team record for home runs in his second season: 41. In his seventh season with the Mets they sent Beltran to San Francisco. Then on to St. Louis in 2012. Beltran will be 37 in 2014 and the Yanks want him because he might be willing to accept a short term deal.

How did we come to this? Copy cat management...

As a fan I'd like at least some core players to play most if not all of their careers with the team I root for. Having supplemental players is part of the deal but I'd like at least some of them to remain for at least 4-5 years. Despite their flaws I had gotten comfortable with Swisher and Granderson. I understand that the team needs fresh blood but I'm very concerned that all teams are entering a period when fan interest in individuals will receive very little consideration.

I wish that Carlos Beltran had been a Yankee the last decade but I don't really want him now that he is old and injury prone, not as a rent-a-player. I want to like the players on my team...

Despite what the Steinbrenner Kids may think we're not rooting for the laundry. And not for a cameo appearance. I don't want to see just anybody in a Yankee uniform, which is one reason I oppose the pending acquisition of Brian McCann.


Musical chairs Yankee style. Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hal, the Steinbrenner Kid who is running the Yankees these days, supposedly indicated that getting under the not very soft salary cap is a goal not a requirement, that he would be OK with exceeding the cap if needed.

Say what?

After all the junk that has occurred Yankee fans should be very upset if the Yanks panic and exceed the cap for 2014.  What a wimp.  Geez, set a policy and stick to it...

... when the free agent season began the only reliable every day players the Yankees had were:
CF - Brett Gardner
1B - Mark Teixeira
LF - Alfonso Soriano

Catching was a bit up in the air with no starter but with several serviceable veterans and prospects:
Francisco Cervelli
Chris Stewart
Austin Romine
J.R. Murphy
Gary Sanchez ...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013  Brian McCann: is he worth $17 million for each of the next five years? ...

The one position the Yankees did not need to fill was center field.  However, incumbent Brett Gardner is being replaced with Jacoby Ellsbury.  Both are good fielders, good base stealers and neither hits home runs, except for the 32 (15 home, 17 road) Ellsbury inexplicably hit in 2011, his only season in double figures.

Ellsbury: Born: September 11, 1983    OPS+ 108; 241 SB, 46 CS;  OPS+ 2013 114
Gardner: Born: August 24, 1983    OPS+ 97; 161 SB, 38 CS;  OPS+ 2013 108

Ellsbury is an upgrade but hardly one worth $153 million over seven years...

With so many holes to fill, why fill a non-hole? ...

In right field the Yankees obviously could have brought back Curtis Granderson who signed with the Mets for $15 million for each of four years.  Instead they signed Carlos Beltran for the same annual pay for three years.

Granderson born: March 16, 1981    OPS+ 117
Beltran born: April 24, 1977    OPS+ 122

Beltran will be 39 in his final Yankee season.  Granderson will be 37 in his final Met season.

Friday, December 6, 2013  Curtis Granderson: home run rate Detroit v. New York.

Granderson, Beltran and continuity v. winning. Monday, December 9, 2013

Carlos Beltran will be replacing Curtis Granderson in the Yankee outfield.  Beltran will join another new Yankee Jacoby Ellsbury who is coming from rival Boston.

What differentiates them?  Age, money and continuity...

Granderson played the last four seasons with the Yankees.  Had the Yankees given him the same deal that he signed with the Mets, Granderson would play eight seasons with the Yankees.  That's significant for a player who is not a star but a significant contributor and all around good guy...

The Yankees really did not need Ellsbury to play center field because they already had Brett Gardner ...

Did Yankee ownership and management consider continuity?  To me it makes about as much baseball sense for the team to have Granderson and Beltran for a total of seven seasons, than to have Ellsbury for seven seasons at significantly higher pay plus Beltran for another three seasons.

Ellsbury will achieve substantial status if he makes significant contributions and the team wins.  Beltran cannot because he is joining the team when he is too old to be much more than a rent-a-player.  It's an unfortunate way to describe such a good player but Beltran has put himself into that category by playing for too many teams...

Ellsbury is not really a home run hitter.  He has double figures only once: 32 in 2011.  But both Granderson and Beltran have hit 40 homers playing center field in New York.  Duke Snider did that five consecutive seasons playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Willie Mays did it twice: 41, 51.

Among Yankee center fielders:
Joe DiMaggio: 46
Mickey Mantle: 52, 42, 40, 54
Curtis Granderson: 41, 43.

Yankee players have hit 40 homers 30 times.  The only other Yankees to hit 40 homers multiple times:
Babe Ruth: 11
Lou Gehrig: 5
Mickey Mantle: 4
Jason Giambi: 2
Alex Rodriguez: 2
Curtis Granderson: 2

The only Yankees to hit 40 homers in consecutive seasons:

Granderson is in some pretty elite company but he's leaving after only four seasons.  Don't his achievements count for something other than a projection of his wins above replacement (WAR)? ...

Carlos Beltran is tied for the Met record.  Maybe Granderson will challenge that.  Has anyone even considered that?  The Yankees now have the Met home run king and the Mets have a Yankee who both equaled and exceeded the Met record.

Winning is the thing.  But when the mix of players is so arbitrary when do we value flesh and blood over laundry?  Is the current model of success used by Boston in 2013 with short term additions the immediate future?  If so, after a couple of years of that, how much will we care about the players and our team?

Triangle offense: Yankees copying Knicks? Monday, December 1, 2014

What's the plan, Cashman?  Maybe Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is taking a page from the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA): the triangle offense...

... the Knicks seem to have inspired the Yankees, if for no other reason the Knicks seem to have a plan.  A year ago the Yankees had a plan: get under the soft salary cap and free up about $100 million for use in acquiring future free agents.  However, the Yankees lacked discipline and focus and instead wasted lots of  money on Jacoby Ellsbury (CF, 31), Brian McCann (C, 31) and Carlos Beltran (RF, 37).  After spending on them the Yankees were on the salary cap bubble but smashed through the cap by signing pitcher Masahiro Tanaka...

The Yankees now seem content with emulating the Knicks and trying to ensure that the team qualifies for the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament, which is now also pretty easy with the addition of a second wild card in each conference...

So with that background why not suspect that the Yankees intend to implement a comparably bizarre baseball version of the triangle offense?  Maybe that's why the Yankees have gaping holes at second, third and short: to fill with the triangle offense.  Or maybe the Bermuda triangle.  Those same holes existed a year ago when the Yankees signed the aforementioned players for center, catcher and right.  Maybe they expected to fill the vacant infield spots by osmosis...

Then the question could change from what's the plan to who's on first?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Why is Gleyber Torres rated 7th best prospect by Old time scouting?
2017 Top 100 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen - March 13, 2017

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow
Scouting Summary
Torres is built like a late-60s Camaro and packs a similar wallop, possessing rare power on contact for a middle infielder. His defensive actions are sexier than they are effective at this point. While I think he’ll eventually be fine at shortstop, scouts are not unanimous in that regard, either because they want to see him tighten up fundamentally or think he’ll lack range at physical maturity. If that happens — or if New York employs a superior defensive shortstop — Torres’s bat still profiles anywhere and he’s a potential star at second or third base, too.

Born: December 13, 1996 (Age: 20 and 100 days) in Caracas, VE

A+ ball:
PA: 571
AB: 501
HR: 11
OPS: .757

"rare power"?

How the heck can Gleyber Torres be the seventh best prospect? Certainly not on his stats. It could only be on old time scouting. So, what the heck is doing promoting on that basis and melding scouting prospects with stats prospects and making no attempt to differentiate or explain?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Wladimir Balentien: 60 homers in Japan in 2013. How come he's not playing in MLB?

And Balentien hit one last night, and fourth of the tournament, for the Netherlands against Puerto Rico in the WBC semi-finals.

Japanese season home run record now held by four players. Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sadaharu Oh - ethnic Chinese, born in Japan

Tuffy Rhodes - American

Alex Cabrera - Venezuelan

Wladimir Balentien - Curacaon

Interesting mix.  Balentien just tied the record with his 55th home run and he still has many games to play.   These posts address the subject:

Friday, September 6, 2013
many of Balentien's HR were hit with the juiced baseball

Balentien went on to hit 60 home runs in 2013 in only 439 At Bats (AB) and, yes, some were hit with juiced baseballs. But after the baseball issue had been addressed by the Japanese leagues, in 2014 and 2016 in Japan Balentien has hit 31 HR each season in these AB: 366, 457.

Position: Outfielder
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-2, 220 lb
Born: July 2, 1984 (Age: 32 and 262 days) in Willemstad, CW

Balentien played in MLB for Seattle and Cincinnati: 559 PA, .655 OPS. Not terrible. Balentien played in the USA most recently in 2010 in AAA: 452 PA, .873 OPS.

AAA: 1,271 PA, .886 OPS

2016 in Japan: 537 PA, .885 OPS; 31 HR in 457 AB

So, what the heck, why not try the guy?

Teams have turned away from one dimensional players and are reluctant to do anything different. This is part of the current do something different thing, aka conventional wisdom. They're such chickens.

Joe Posnanski All-Time World Team omits Babe Ruth and Sadaharu Oh.

What's the deal with Roberto Clemente? He wasn't as good as Hank Aaron or Frank Robinson. Probably not even as good as Al Kaline or Carl Yastrzemski. Tony Oliva had a short career. And those are just contemporaries.

25 players, 25 countries: Baseball's All-Time World Team
By Joe Posnanski @JPosnanski March 19th, 2017

Why isn't Roberto Clemente on my team?

Read it for yourself. At first it seems interesting but quickly becomes silly at best. So just a few random comments, as I stopped reading pretty quickly.

On what team would Clemente start? Hardly any that's very good. Maybe all time Pirates. In what seasons was he the best RF in NL?

Glenn Hubbard (2B) born in Germany because his father was stationed there while in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Hahn AFB, West Germany. The country was not even united back in 1957. What the heck? What about someone born in East Germany? North Korea, which still exists?

Sadaharu Oh!? Wasting Japan on Ichiro? Put Clemente out there rather than Ichiro, king of the singles! Oh hit 868 home runs playing first base in Japan.

Miguel Cabrera played a lot more at 1B than 3B, where Posnanski has him: 8,407 innings to 5,907.

​Wasting USA on Barry Bonds, not Babe Ruth? Mega what the heck?

Oh, the humanity. I'm done.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Why is Clint Frazier rated 34th best prospect by How valuable are "prospects"?
2017 Top 100 Prospects by Eric Longenhagen - March 13, 2017

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Loganville HS (GA)
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
HitRaw PowerGame PowerRunFieldingThrow
Scouting Summary
Elite bat speed has long been the calling card for Frazier, who has hit and hit for power all the way up the minor-league ladder and whose batted-ball profile should play favorably in Yankee Stadium.
201419-2.5Lake CountyMIDWACLE12054247470126186135012656161.266.349.411.76119567141
201621-3.93 Teams2 LgsAA-AAACLE-NYY11952046375122275165513448122.263.335.447.78220783330
Minors (4 seasons)Minors416184616102654429219502054319189469.275.355.448.80472219229163
All Levels (4 Seasons)438194416992804679321532134722196496.275.355.448.80376120249163
AAA (1 season)Minors301291221928243700736.230.271.385.6574710000
OPS .657 at AAA is hitting all the way up the ladder?
50 homers in 1,610 AB is hitting for power? 3 homers in 122 AAA AB is hitting for power all the way up the ladder?

Excluding rookie and fall league ball, it boils down to:
2014 A: 542 PA, .761 OPS
2015 A+: 588 PA, .842 OPS
2016 AA: 391 PA, .825 OPS

Nice progression, right? It should be. The guy was drafted number five overall in 2013. NUMBER FIVE. It took him three years to reach AAA. THREE YEARS.

What the heck kind of prodigy is that? And Yankee general manager Brian Cashman stated before spring training that he expected Frazier to spend 2017 in AAA. That would mean that Frazier will make the Yankees no earlier than 2018 after being a pro four and a half years. FOUR AND A HALF YEARS.

That doesn't sound like anyone special. And Frazier is rated 34th best prospect by

Yanks tank: trade Chapman and now Miller for unproven minor league players. Sunday, July 31, 2016

Electric bat and dirty uniform: how Brian Cashman described his prize acquisition, Clint Frazier. Monday, August 1, 2016

Yankees from first round 2013 draft: Clint Frazier, Billy McKinney, Eric Jagielo, Aaron Judge, Ian Clarkin. Monday, August 1, 2016

Alex Bregman for Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller? Why didn't Brian Cashman bundle them? Monday, August 1, 2016

fangraphs rank of Brian Cashman's Magnificent Seven minor league players acquired for Chapman and Miller. Monday, August 1, 2016

Bozo look-alike contest: Yanks Clint Frazier is a 2017 contender ... if he makes the team. Monday, February 27, 2017