Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Genius Maker 10-29-11

Let’s have a little fun with CC opt out.  He has a 4 year deal worth $92 million ($23/year) that he can stay and accept.  I believe the question is what does as an excellent 31 year old pitcher who is very overweight, has logged 2364 innings and struggled the 2nd half of last year and in the postseason -Career 4.81 ERA) worth if he went on the open market? 

Let’s compare some pitchers.  Beckett, who is 31 has logged only 1721 inning, 643 less (about 3 years).  He is getting $15.75 mil a year for the next 3 years.

Cliff Lee got 5 years at the age of 31 and had only 1409 innings before signing a 5 year 120 mil deal. ($24/year).  He also received a $27.5 mil option if he pitches 200 in 2015 or 400 in 2014/15 combined.  There is a $12.5 buy out also. 

The Lee is the most recent deal and gives perspective, but what CC has is not far off and while CC is a horse and hasn’t had the down turns Lee (or even Beckett) has had, CC hasn’t had the dominance either.  Postseason CC has an ERA about 2 runs higher also…and while he is not a choker, his stuff is not as dominant.  He throws harder than Lee obviously, but Lee has better control and movement.

The Yankee will be a much worse team without CC.  This is without question, but the Yanks need to be careful with all the other bad contracts they have.  ARod’s is looking like it may be bad for 5 years right now, Tex’s isn’t looking too good either.  Jeter’s contract is also a bad value one as well.  Adding another one that ends up bad will tie the Yankees hands.  CC has thrown a ton of innings and with his weight (which will be harder to control) could start getting knee issues let alone mileage issues on the arm.  In terms of mileage some guys can throw a lot and perhaps CC won’t have any problems?  Hard to predict the exact issues but the Yanks have to think about who would give CC a lot of money?

CC loves NY and the Yankees and when he originally put in the opt out it was setup only to give CC an out if he didn’t like NY.  I think he should stay for the money which is in line with what he gets and the Yanks could “help him” with 2 one year options based on whether he pitches 200 innings the previous year.  The salary should be the same.  This way if CC is still effective he gets a 5th and possibly 6th year.  The dollar amounts should be remain in my opinion, but I hope the Yankees don’t bid against themselves again as there is risk here.

I know people say CC needs to take advantage of the situation, but it would be nice if people also had some loyalty in the process.  Jeter took some hits in my eyes the way he handled his negotiations and tried to make the Yankee look like the bad guys.  Jeter is an icon, but he surely is not worth what he is getting on the field (perhaps off the field maybe – but my feeling is that a winning team gets the fans to spend more)

I usually don’t ask for people to respond, but feel free to post a comment or email me.

Next up is Swisher...This is interesting because Beltran is available.   I think Beltran would play better than Swisher and has less holes in his swing to perform against the better pitching (in the postseason), but re signing Swish is not a bad move as he could be traded as he has some value at the price range (even if we chipped in a little money.  I don;t think it is bad to let him go either, but you need to have Beltran signed.  We really don't have any minor leaguers who we have seen who could take over.  Dickerson is mediocre and is more of a reserve. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Off Season #1

I am not sure why I feel I need to write this, but ARod is taking more abuse about this loss than I feel is justified. I am not an ARod apologist as I think he stunk this post season and last. But, the choke comments and all that BS are coming about and the comments like ARod just can't deliver when you really need him to are just off base. I made the comments about the people who say Jeter comes through when you really need him, yet Jeter was bad this postseason also and surely didn't come through when we really needed him. My point is that people have a bias about players they like and dislike and it clearly impacts their judgment. ARod has a postseason OPS of .884! This includes the terrible series this year and the poor ones last year. The year before he carried the entire team on his back to win the World Series, knocking in around 16 runs and walking around 12 times with 6 homers! He also did great against Minnesota and Boston until Boston won the 4 in a row. Overall, he has been good in the postseason...much better than most people who have any track record in the postseason. Jeter has been good also with an .839 OPS in the postseason.

The point is that ARod did stink, but a lot of other players did a poor job as well (Tex, Swisher and even Jeter). CC also didn't get it done for us and that might have been the biggest blow.

ARod has been good in the postseason for us, the real issue is this contract for the next 6 years will be an albatross; just as predicted when he signed it.  As I mentioned before, I would look into getting his contract voided or have a candid conversation with ARod so he can take the graceful way out of this because I think the steroids he did are making his body break down.  Man, I wish he could have that pitch he had with the bases loaded that he fouled straight to the fence behine him back as the inch he was too low would have changed the series and everyone's perception...until next year.


Just got back from the game and I am very disappointed in the offense. I felt that we had some very hittable pitches this series that we just didn’t get after. It is one thing when Verlander is throwing 101 and then dropping a good curve in there, but many 3-2 pitches that were very hittable.

Falling behind 2-0 set us back, but I would have bet a lot we would have scored more than 2 runs.

We ran into some tough breaks with Tex and Jeter hitting balls to the fence, but we didn’t get any big hits with the bases loaded and one out.

We left 11 men on base. We had 9 hits and 3 walks and scored only one run (the 10th hit was the HR).

Overall, I thought Girardi handled the pitching pretty well, but I would have let Hughes pitch a little more and was surprised he went to CC in the spot he did as it seemed like we should either let Hughes pitch or let Logan go another batter or so or bring in Wade against the righties. CC should have been used only if needed, not as just another guy. Not a terrible idea but CC didn’t look good again and he allowed the game winning run and didn’t do the job.

Using Soriano was good, but going to Rivera in the 8th would have probably been the smart move as Rivera would pitch the 8th and 9th and if we took the lead in the 8th he would close it out for the win. When Robertson came in, he definitely should have pitched the 9th also, but Girardi went to Rivera (which was very dumb). What if the Yanks tied it, you would want another inning out of Robertson…poor job there.

The big issue I had with Girardi was his lack of using Montero. In the 4th inning Martin was up with the bases loaded and 1 out and we are down by 2. I could see not pinch hitting there because it was so early, but in the 8th inning with 1 out, you MUST pinch hit Montero for Martin; this is a no brainer. As it turned out Martin got out and then Gardner got on. I will say the same thing I said previously, you have to use your best pinch hitter when you are in a tight game; you must shoot that bullet. Girardi failed to do it on all 3 losses.

I know Gardner didn’t go in Jeter’s previous AB, but he went on the first pitch with Benoit on the mound and Jeter needed to let him steal in that spot. Jeter did get that double but he struggled in the series with a .572 OPS.

ARod was terrible and while Tex had a good game today, he and Swisher were poor also. Martin had some walks, but only hit .176.

Jorge, Gardner, Granderson and Cano did well, but it was tough to overcome the very poor series from so many.

We outscored Detroit in the series 28-17!

The Genius Maker pitched to 4 batters and got all 4 out throwing 8 pitches that were all strikes!

I will make some updates and some more thoughts.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Don’t fall off your chairs, but Girardi managed the game extremely well! He did a great job having an incredibly short leash on Burnett, having Wade up in the first inning and then later with just a hint of trouble Hughes and then possibly even one batter earlier than I would have (although I also said I was fine with it) he took AJ out! Very good job Girardi.

Not as much to write about from a strategy standpoint in a game like this, but Joe also had Jeter bunt at the right time, although Jeter bunted terribly. Jeter did have the huge double that Austin Jackson just missed. Jackson has just missed about 4 balls and then we had Granderson make one good leap after a bad jump that was critical in the 1st inning…and then made a simply phenomenal catch after an even worse jump. I don’t know if he didn’t see the ball off the bat, but it was pulled and he reacted like it was almost at him. Regardless he closed and made as good a dive as you can make.

ARod was very solid in the field as well and Tex made a great scoop on a terrible throw by Jeter on the DP.

I didn’t like the home plate ump and felt we got the short end of calls, but we kept tacking on runs.

Great job by AJ, he really came through when we needed him! He had a good fastball and a good curve, but his change was worthless. Overall, a huge game giving us a chance to take the series at home. Girardi needs to keep a short leash on Nova as well as Robertson and Rivera could probably go at least the final 3 and Soriano who was very effective tonight could pitch at least an inning. All we need is 5 innings out of everyone else. Seriously, that should be the mindset.

A couple of other notes.

Detroit seemed like they left some plays in the field tonight.

Since when did Phil Coke throw 98 mph?

The TBS broadcast is simply awful…and their strike zone box is not even close to being correct. They should stick to drama. The announcers stink too.

Montero has never made an out in the postseason. Makes you think he might have helped one of the two losses 

Great job again AJ!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


While there were offensive players who did little, this game was lost by CC, Soriano and Girardi.

CC simply did not have good command of his pitches and he struggled all night. This was a night of our best against theirs and one would expect a close game and possibly one that would decide the series; Verlander was better.

Soriano did a good job in the 6th inning, but made the fatal mistake of throwing a first pitch fastball to a notorious first ball fastball hitter. Young poked it over the RF wall for the game winning HR.

Girardi had a lot of decisions and once again most were not correct. It might even be that none were correct if you don’t count bringing in Soriano (which worked as a good move) considering he was late at bringing Soriano in as CC probably should not have started the 6th, but Girardi sent him out anyway. After allowing a bunt single Girardi could have taken hi out, but he left CC out there to allow a double to Peralta to make it a 4-2 game. CC was left in to face Avila (which was probably why the Girardi made the wrong decision) and Avila sacrificed the runner over. After the damage, was done Girardi made the move to the well rested bullpen. Soriano did get out of the inning.

In the top of the 7th, Girardi was smart enough to realize what an idiotic move he made going to Chavez was and Gardner came through with an amazing 2 out 2 strike 2 run double! The inning was started with 2 outs on another good AB by Posada who worked a walk (he has been playing great). Jeter K’d with Gardner on 2nd to end the inning.

Adding on to the 3rd paragraph, it was a decision to let Soriano pitch after getting 2/3 of an inning out of him already. Honestly, I didn’t have any issue with it and I think the main issue was the pitch selection in giving Young the fastball, but Girardi could have gone right to Robertson there and it could not have been a bad move either.

I had a huge inning with how the Yankees handled the top of the 3rd inning when Gardner led off with a bunt single. You must steal, run and hit, hit and run or bunt, but under no circumstance should Jeter be swinging and Gardner not be moving. Of course, Girardi does not force anything and Jeter hits into a DP. I think this was a huge moment in the game. Verlander seemed to be struggling more from the stretch and we had an opportunity to either tack on runs or wear him down some more and neither was accomplished.

Also, one again Girardi does not go to Montero in the 9th with Martin up. I know Montero is there for the lefties but they are not about to allow the situation to happen where he will be used (maybe at all) against a lefty. Martin is not a real good hitter and you must pinch hit for him in the 9th. Ironically, Girardi allowed Jones to hit in the “Montero spot” last night and he hit the ball fairly well to RF and Martin did the same thing…either way, it was yet another move that didn’t work out. Why is Montero up if he won’t be used in those situations…when would you use him?

I will say that Girardi pinch ran for Posada in the 9th correctly and did get Nunez running, but I would think my 7 year old son would realize Posada is slow and should be run for.

The Yanks missed a lot of hittable pitches today; some were because they were 100 MPH, but they also just missed a few, especially on Valverde. Granderson had a good cut on a few. Swisher missed some very hittable pitches as did Tex who seems like he only wants to go to LF. He should be looking to drive and pull pitches when he is ahead in the count. Right now he is trying to do something he has not worked on and the results are horrific.

The ump expanded his strike zone late and Cano got called out on a fastball at the bottom of the letters. Overall the ump did not favor them though as Jeter really struck out twice to end the game. I was hoping I could make the joke that he always comes through when you REALLY need him.

If anyone cares here are our OPS numbers right now
Posada 1.417
Granderson 1.156 (2 RBI)
Cano 1.049 (6 RBI)
Gardner .844 (4 RBI)
Swisher .705 (he had a lot of pitches to hit tonight)
Martin .556
Jeter .533
Tex .348
ARod .231
Chavez 0-1
Montero (getting splinters)

Should make a line below Gardner and then again under Swisher.

At the end of the day I think 4 runs should have been enough to win this game…and while the outcome stunk (watching Valverde and his arrogant $%# cheering ticked me off) it was a great playoff game.

Time for a Burnett gem…If Girardi doesn’t have a quick hook he should be fired before the end of the day. If AJ is allowed to allow more than 3 runs he should be terminated. I would have Hughes ready to warm up in the first inning.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Our offense did not get the job done, but our skipper messed up and clearly limited our chances of winning this game. Before I go through the game and some of the issues I had with Girardi, it should be noted that Scherzer was a little lucky in his wildness (“effectively wild’). He missed his target an awful lot, but instead of being low and outside he hit the inside corner, instead of a fastball inside he painted the top of the strike zone with his fastball and on and on. The ones that are probably the easiest to remember are the two changeup strike outs he got on Swisher and Granderson, but this happened on at least 20 pitches. That was just unfortunate for us. That being said we didn’t swing the bats well at hittable pitches.

Garcia did OK, but the HR by Cabrera was just a great hitter doing enough to hit out at the small section of the field…it happens…but Girardi let Garcia stay in a little too long…more on this as I discuss Girardi doing a terrible job in the postseason again.

First to the 2 glaring mistakes Girardi made:

Pinch hitting for Gardner was just flat out stupid. There was no rhyme or reason to do it in that spot. The Yankees are down 4-0 with 1st and 2nd and one out. If the Yankees had the bases loaded and you wanted to take a chance on hitting a HR to tie the game, I could see that maybe you roll the dice, but Chavez is NOT a big HR guy for one, that should be reserved for Montero, but this was not the spot as you need base runners and to chip away at the lead. Gardner got the huge 2 out hit in game 1. This move was so bad because we didn’t gain anything with Chavez, Chavez could have been used later for either Martin or Jones who had to play LF (thankfully no balls got hit his way) and then came up in a crucial spot late in the game. It was really inexplicable to me as it didn’t help short term and hurt us all long terms a lot because this spot was going to come up again if we were going to win. The fact it didn’t work is not justification of anything except Joe making a terrible move and showing him he pushed the wrong button.

The 2nd glaring mistake was Girardi giving up on the game in the top of the 9th inning. He started Ayala which was questionable as Soriano and Robertson are almost too fresh, but once the guy is in scoring position (after Ayala hit the batter and then they sacrificed him over, you have to try and stop another run from scoring and keep the game at a 3 run deficit (it was 4-1 after Granderson homered). Girardi gave up on the game and Ayala allowed a single to put the game even farther out of reach.

Other Girardi issues…After Jeter made another lousy throw that tex couldn’t handle, but probably should have (this was one of those plays where he makes the dramatic scoop play and I just want the play made, it was pretty much a short hop that should be made most of the time), Garcia allowed a single to Ordonez (who was all over Garcia) and it was 1st and 3rd with nobody out. With the score 2-0, Garcia got Young to strike out. Now up came Cabrera, walking him is a possibility, but honestly as good as he his, that is a tough one because he is a DP candidate. The matchup is bad though and going to someone in the pen like Wade was a possibility as well. Joe had options and just decided to pitch to Cabrera (who had homered off of him). He got a single and made the score 3-0. I think it was now time to make move with Garcia as they had seen him enough times and it was time to use the huge bullpen we have in this series. Joe decided to stick with Garcia and once again pushed the wrong button, as he singled to make it 4-0. With the damage done and the lefty Avila coming up Girardi went to Logan, who got the job done with no further damage.

In the 9th, After a HR by Swisher and an amazing triple by Posada and a walk to Martin, up steps Andrew Jones. Here is where I could have seen pinch hitting for Gardner in trying to tie the game, but letting Gardner hit wouldn’t have been a terrible move either (the options are not great). However, because the move was made already you had Jones up and Chavez out of the game…I would have gone to Montero in this spot. Jones has been awful all year against righties and while he did end up hitting a nice drive to RF, it was on the type of pitch that Montero could have homered to right. If you are looking to hit a HR, how is Montero not stepping to the plate in that spot? Fastballs are what he hits best and Valverde was grooving them. Girardi once again pushes the wrong button and Jones gets out.

No more mistakes at this point by Girardi, but if it wasn’t Jeter stepping to the plate and it was someone else with Jeter’s numbers stepping to the plate, Montero could have pinch hit in this spot as well. In fact, Jeter’s swings were so feeble (not sure why as he hasn’t been swinging so badly) that we all said, I just hope when he makes an out he doesn’t hit into a DP (this is true). So the guy who “always comes through when you REALLY need him” strikes out. BTW, I hate when people say comments like that because they are simply not true…for anyone – Jeter has been great, but he isn’t better in clutch spots. Anyway, after a Granderson walk (and a lucky dropped popup) we had our best guy at the plate. Shockingly, Valverde gave him a lot of good pitches to hit, but Robbie couldn’t center them and then grounded out on a splitter to end the game.

It was shame that every big AB it seemed the rains were pouring down and outside of if the pitcher slips when he throws, it is a big advantage to the pitcher.

Last point was to reiterate I would have pinch hit Montero…the guy has a .996 OPS and all 4 of his homers have been against righties; I can’t believe that weapon was not attempted to be used. Jones OPS against righties was .709 this year and Montero’s .878. FWIW, Chavez’ OPS against righties is only .687…yes, Chavez is worse than Gardner (.738) yet Joe made the inexplicable move.

This team is so talented that we can overcome Girardi, but I would be on the phone talking to the X Boston manager to be at least a bench coach and maybe a manager…I like Francona…and Girardi rubs me the wrong way. Just to be clear, Girardi is not a horrible manager, but mediocrity is not what we want as a Yankee skipper.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I feel great this morning; first playoff win of the year and only 10 more until we reach our goal! The rain and cooler weather really makes it a shame that the most important games of the year are played in some of the worst weather. The year should be over before November in my opinion…but on to all the good…

First, while I would have rather the game be played after Verlander through 27 pitches in the first inning and CC looking sharp, (the HR was a cheapie) we caught a break that the lineup of Detroit had at least 2 platoon guys in the lineup who now had to face a righty. With only one lefty in the pen I would have made immediate changes to the lineup if I were Leyland and told the folks I was watching with this. Leyland should have listened as he ended up pinch hitting of Inge anyway after he got out after his first AB. This also underscores something I have said that is valid, especially in a 5 game series where you have more pitching than you need. If you had a pitcher who was better against one side but you really didn’t want him in the rotation (take Hughes as an example who is much better against righties); you start him and have the other team set their lineup with their platoon guy (of course you must be playing a team that has at least 2 guys they platoon with) and then you let him pitch until he allows 1 or maybe 2 guys on and that is it, you yank him and then put in the (in this case) lefty starter you wanted to put in. The idea is only that the other team has wasted moves or they have bad matchups with little or no hard to you. If I were managing that is what I would do at the right times.

Fister was impressive with an arsenal of good pitches, but we did an excellent job of hitting and we took advantage of less control than Fister usually shows. Cano’s almost HR gave us the 2-1 lead. Classic Cano driving a pitch the other way and in a warmer environment would have been gone. As it were, if the fan would have put his hands on to of the fence he would have caught a HR.

We fast forward to the 6th where Nova was still “pitching a shutout” even though he had a lot of balls where his release point was WAY off. Tex goes the other way for a double and Posada works a very tough walk. With one out, the Yanks had 1st and 2nd but after Martin weakly grounded out to SS it looked like we might squander another opportunity as we did with 2nd and 3rd and nobody out. In the 2nd and 3rd situation, Jeter had a horrible AB followed by Granderson who had 2 very hittable pitches, but he swung through them and then Cano grounded out. Back to now 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs. Gardner took 2 very good pitches and was in trouble at 0-2. But then took advantage of a curve ball that hung up and hit a hard grounder up the middle (2nd base side) for a huge 2 out 2 run hit! Now at 4-1 we looked to be in good shape. Gardner was on 1st and it was a clear time to steal and this time Jeter did something that I usually have to criticize him for and that is he took not only one pitch but two pitches to give Gardner time to steal…he did not though. This was an unselfish move by Jeter that did put him in an 0-2 hole. Gardner should have had a must steal on the next pitch but he didn’t and Jeter took ball 1. The next pitch Gardner did go and for some inexplicable reason Detroit had the 2nd baseman cover (they almost always have the SS cover on Jeter) and Jeter hit a very weak grounder through the vacated 2nd base hole – Gardner went on to 3rd. Granderson also fell behind 0-2, but Fister could not put him away and with Jeter stealing 2nd (this was a good move), as it helped Granderson work a walk (it appeared they pitched a little more carefully to him). Now up came Cano; I assumed a lefty would be brought in, but instead Detroit went to their unhittable stud Al Alburquerque to close the door on any more runs. First, I must say that in my previous blog I called him Detroit’s closer, and while his numbers would make one think that, it was not correct, he is just the best guy in their pen. Valverde is their closer and they also have Benoit. Anyway, if you didn’t read my long pre playoff post (which I did fix), Al has incredible numbers. To repeat what I wrote, “batters only hit .142 and had only ONE extra base hit all year off of him (a double). His slug against is (what might be a major league record) .149! That is not a misprint; .149 slug against is unheard of. He does walk guys though, walking 29 batters in 43 innings. Obviously, he has electric stuff and did not allow a single earned run after the all star break.” Welcome to the Bronx in playoff time Mr. Querque! Robbie Cano took a strike and then delivered the death blow to Detroit in game 1 with a towering Grand Slam! So much for that fantastic stretch by Al.

The rest of the game went in to cruise control until the 9th. I had a disagreement with the folks I was watching with that I would have taken Nova out for the 9th because I wanted him well rested for game 5 if needed. I know he had only thrown 80 pitches so clearly he could finish out with less than 100, but he was having some trouble with his release point and while his stuff was pretty good, honestly, Detroit didn’t swing the bats very well as they swung at a lot of balls. Take him out and let’s see if Cory Wade could be used in the postseason because they had 3 righties coming up. That is what I would have done, but I do understand the other side on this so I do not think it was a dumb move to start him in the 9th, but I would have done it differently. After getting Ordonez to ground out, maybe my concerns were wrong in this case. Then he took one off his butt and this was a good time to take him out and use the “injury” to bring in Wade. I like to give my young guys some experience and see how they handle things when less important; it gives you info for the future. Anyway, Girardi stuck with Nova and also got Mariano up to throw with Ayala. After walking Cabrera, Girardi still stuck with Nova and then after a walk to Martinez Ayala was brought in. Ayala got on out before allowing 2 singles and Girardi said let’s end this with the Genius Maker…Rivera did not disappoint as he threw 3 straight strikes for a K and game 1 on our quest to 11 is under our belt!

A couple of other notes, Posada swung the bat well but again showed why when you combine the slowest speed in the league with the worst instincts possible (a phrase I used to the folks I was watching with BEFORE his base running mistake) you get the worst base runner in the game. Posada did score on Gardner’s single, but I would have been tempted to pinch run for him (although in a 2-1 game the correct decision was made) but only tempted.

ARod was 0-5 but hit the ball on the nose a few times; the one he hit to deep center would have been gone with the ARod of old, but he did not look lost even though the results were not good. ARod will be key to us with teams being careful to pitch to Robbie; so I hope he gets it going.

The big question is whether the Yanks start CC tonight. My feeling is that he could without an issue, but I don’t think it means that much because we will still need someone to pitch game 4 and you might as well give him another days rest. The only reason I consider it is if the weather appears to look bad and if another game could get rained out it gives you CC for that extra game. I think I would speak with him and say “when would we expect you to be at your best” and start him then.

Let’s get number 2 tonight!