Results tagged ‘ Derek Jeter ’
Since this was announced on Monday, which was April 1st (aka April Fool’s Day), it feels like this isn’t happening; however, after it was made official, giving a career .275/.342/.353 line an eight-year, $120 million seems like a nightmare, especially after the club was unwilling to give Josh Hamilton an extension or make the first offer when he hit free agency this winter. After allowing a player who has averaged a .305/.363/.549 line to leave for their biggest rival, they gave Andrus $15 million per season on an extension, all while Jurickson Profar waits for a position to open up in Texas.
Andrus is a fine player. Since arriving in 2009, he has posted a 13.0 WAR, which is sixth among shortstops during that time. He leads shortstops in stolen bases (123), he is second to Derek Jeter in runs scores (341), and he is 21st among shortstops in OPS (.695). TWENTY-FIRST.
Andrus provides a solid batting eye (8.4 percent walk rate vs. 13.2 percent strikeout rate) to go along with his solid speed, which allows him to utilize his skills on the base paths to score runs in a very potent offense. While he can get on base and score runs, his defense is where his true value develops.
Andrus’ UZR/150 rating is 7.8, fourth among shortstops since 2009 behind Brendan Ryan, J.J. Hardy, and Alexei Ramirez. His .971 fielding percentage is 15th among shortstops since 2009. Of the three players above Andrus in zone fielding who have higher fielding percentages than Andrus, only Alexei Ramirez has a higher OPS. If Ramirez can field better and post better numbers at short, is he worth $15 million or more per season?
Ramirez is 31 and doesn’t have the favorable upside that Andrus possesses, but we’ve seen speed become useless several times before. In 2004, Cesar Izturis had his best season at the age of 24:
While he didn’t post numbers close to what Andrus did prior to his age-24 season, he displayed solid gap power, speed, and, of course, impressive defensive skills. He won his first and only Gold Glove in 2004, posting a .985 fielding percentage and a 3.8 WAR.
Compare that production to Andrus’ career stats:
Is there a whole lot of difference in the abilities of these players, outside of the fact that Andrus’ had four seasons completed prior to his age-24 season, which will be the 2013 season? Certainly, Andrus is better than Izturis, but would anyone have paid Izturis $15 million per season if every one of his seasons had been as solid as his 2004 season?
Luis Castillo was an excellent second baseman early in his career for the, then, Florida Marlins. Sure, he wasn’t a shortstop, but he had the same type of skill-set, possibly better, with more speed and on-base skills, while Andrus seems to have more gap power. Once Castillo hurt his feet, though, his 50+ steals potential was also hurt, and he became a 20 stolen base, empty .300-hitting middle infielder. If Andrus gets hurt or loses speed, where is his value? He can’t cover as much ground defensively and his ability to create runs with his legs is gone, as well.
Shortstop is a very tough position, but the value of defensive metrics have taken over the player’s ability to help the club in other ways, specifically with their bat. Cal Ripken, Jr., Barry Larkin, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, and Miguel Tejada did a dirty, dirty thing to the position, allowing solid contribution across the board to become a reasonable expectation. Today, only Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes seem like those types of dynamic, offensive-minded shortstops, and for that reason, they appear to be worth exorbitant contracts.
The Rangers aren’t the only team that feels that defense is very important, though. When the Cincinnati Reds turned Didi Gregorius and Drew Stubbs into Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald in their trade with the Cleveland Indians this offseason, that was one thing, as Choo is a free agent after the 2013 season, but when the Indians flipped Gregorius to the Arizona Diamondbacks with Lars Anderson and Tony Sipp for Matt Albers, Bryan Shaw, and, potential ace, Trevor Bauer, the new value of shortstops in baseball was apparent. Slap-hitting, defensively skilled middle infielders now have quite a bit of value.
So, if Gregorius, a career .265/.317/.370 hitter in the minor leagues, had that sort of value, then what is Xander Bogaerts worth? Bogaerts, a Boston Red Sox farm hand, hit .307/.373/.523 with a 4.13 range factor and .959 fielding percentage as a 19-year-old over High-A and Double-A in 2012. Gregorius had a range factor of 3.96 and a .964 fielding percentage as a 22-year-old over Double-A and Triple-A in 2012.
Furthermore, if Elvis Andrus is worth an eight-year, $120 million contract, then shouldn’t Troy Tulowitzki fire his agent? His extension for the 2015 to 2020 seasons gives him roughly $19.67 million per season, which isn’t nearly enough considering Andrus can’t carry his compression shorts with cup, since jock straps aren’t used anymore.
The good news for Andrus is that he has an opt-out clause after the 2018 season, allowing him to reach free agency during his prime, potentially earning more money if he reaches higher levels of production; however, if he under-performs or gets hurt, the Rangers don’t have an opt-out clause. The question now is: Was this a good contract for the Texas Rangers?
With Ian Kinsler signed through 2017 (with a 2018 team option) and Andrus locked up, where does Jurickson Profar go? What if Kinsler has another poor season, as his .749 OPS in 2012 was the worst of his career? Can they trade him? There have been leaks of Kinsler getting moved to left field or first base, but what happen to Mike Olt, another Rangers prospect, who is blocked through 2015 at third (possibly 2016, since Beltre has a vesting option)? Can Kinsler hit enough to play left? Do the Rangers trade Olt? Does Profar move to center even though Leonys Martin is hoping to prove himself there in 2013? Should they trade Profar?
The Rangers have committed to defense by signing Andrus and they have committed to spending a lot of money on mediocre offense. After letting Josh Hamilton walk, not addressing their No.5 starter situation this winter, and building excellent talent that they seem to be unwilling to commit to from their minor league system, the Rangers, who have made three straight playoff appearances, seem to have no clear direction to their roster makeup going forward.
When the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, the hopes and dreams of ESPN died a little. How can they compare them to the 1995-1995 Bulls anymore? Why were they doing it in the first place is the bigger question. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, and Steve Kerr led the team to a ridiculous 72-10 record and an NBA title. They had a winning streak of 13 games and another of 18 games that season, which falls well short of the 27 straight wins that the Heat racked up behind LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, but the 1995-1996 Bulls have already shown that they were better. The Heat have lost 15 games this season and the Bulls lost three games in the playoffs (one to the Knicks in the semifinals and two to the Supersonics in the NBA Finals), finishing with a 87-13 record if you count the playoffs.
There is no need for this discussion. Certainly, the physique and game-play in today’s NBA and today’s athlete can leave one to wonder if LeBron could beat MJ in their prime, but I’ll take MJ’s six titles and be happy, while doubters of his greatness wait on James.
While thinking about this streak and the so-called greatness that went with it, it made me wonder which streak is the most impressive in sports. So, I’ve created my own list:
Joe DiMaggio‘s 56-game hitting streak: Ted Williams once said “I think without question the hardest single thing to do in sport is to hit a baseball “, but DiMaggio made it look easy. After this streak was snapped, he started another 16-game hitting streak. There just aren’t many who could live up to the media hype and pressure today, as the expectations and stress that go along with this type of greatness are unattainable in the pressure-cooker of today’s sports media. If the last person to hit .400 in a season can say that it’s the hardest thing to do in sports, and DiMaggio did it for as long as he did, how great is the player who does match or beat that number going to be?
Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 2,632 straight games played: With so many factors, like getting hit by a pitch or being taken out as a shortstop turning a double play, the fact that Ripken didn’t miss a game for nearly 16 years is absolutely crazy, especially when players today are getting “mental days” off when they are struggling, or they take a day game off after a night game on get-away days. The “Iron Man” doesn’t get enough credit for this record, nor the way that he paved the way for slugging shortstops like Barry Larkin, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez with his excellent career in the batter’s box.
Orel Hershiser‘s 59 consecutive scoreless innings in 1988: Nearly seven straight games games worth of innings without allowing a run led Hershiser to a 23-8 record and a 2.26 ERA in 1988, as he won the Cy Young Award and helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series that year. While it is arguable that this would be simple to match by having a pitcher go five or six scoreless each start before bringing in relief pitchers, that starter would have to go six scoreless for 10 straight starts to beat this record. Even in today’s coddled pitching era, this record doesn’t look likely to fall.
1972 Miami Dolphins/2007 New England Patriots/2010-2011 Green Bay Packers: Going 14-0 like the ’72 Dolphins is fantastic in the NFL, where parity, injuries, and weather play a role in the weekly battles. While the Dolphins are the only team to have a perfect season, they, too, won 18 games in a row, counting three playoff games (Browns, Steelers, and Redskins) and one game in 1973 (49ers), before their streak came to an end. The Patriots lost in the Super Bowl in 2007 to the New York Giants, but, shockingly, it’s the 2010-2011 Green Bay Packers, who won five straight, including the Super Bowl, in 2010, before winning 14 straight in 2011, who hold the record for the longest winning streak in NFL history. Perfect seasons seem to be overrated.
1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers, 33-game winning streak: If ESPN wants to compare the Miami Heat to anyone, why not the team with the longest winning streak in NBA history? Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, and Elgin Baylor led the club to 33 straight wins before winning the NBA title, finishing 69-13 that season…better than the 2012-2013 Heat, even with a declining Baylor.
Johnny Vander Meer‘s two straight no-hitters: When someone throws a no-hitter, they tend to have coverage by sports networks for each pitch, right until someone gets a hit in the top of the 1st inning, and then it is all over and forgotten. Vander Meer’s feat of pitching two straight no-no’s is nearly unbreakable, especially in an era where pitcher’s arms are babied by bullpens and pitch counts. Look at what happened to Johan Santana after his 132-pitch no-hitter on June 1, 2012 – just three quality starts over his next eight starts, while his ERA ballooned from 2.38 to 4.85 – and you’ll see why theories in today’s game management would prevent a pitcher from tossing two straight no-hitters.
Boston Celtics, 8 straight NBA titles, 1959-1966: Free agency, salary caps, and fan boredom in this type of dynasty would prevent this from happening in the NBA today, but that didn’t stop Red Auerbach, Bob Cousy, and Bill Russell from kicking butt and taking names for over a decade, winning 11 titles in 13 years, including eight straight. This is the group that the Miami Heat wanted to become when they threw their championship party after signing James and Bosh to play alongside Wade a few years ago. They aren’t there yet.
UCLA, 7 straight NCAA Men’s Basketball Titles, 1967-1973: John Wooden could recruit and coach like no man in the history of his sport. Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Wicks, and Jamaal Wilkes were a part of this era and legacy in UCLA basketball, but Wooden’s fingerprints still last today, where successful UCLA coaches can’t stick around long if they aren’t winning titles, as they just fired their 8th coach since he left the program after the 1974-1975 season.
There are many more, like: Wayne Gretzky’s 51-game points streak, A.C Green’s NBA 1,192 straight games played, Brett Favre‘s 297 straight games played, and Lance Armstrong’s sev- oh, he doped and that got taken away. Nevermind.
Major League Baseball has lost one of its true legends in Stan Musial, a Hall of Famer in every senese and a man who led a great American life. He was the heart and soul of the historic St. Louis Cardinals franchise for generations, and he served his country during World War II. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, Stan’s life embodies baseball’s unparalleled history and why this game is the national pastime.
As remarkable as ‘Stan the Man’ was on the field, he was a true gentleman in life. All of Major League Baseball mourns his passing, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, admirers and all the fans of the Cardinals.
It is amazing, in the age of recognizing immediate achievement over the long-term success of players, how quickly people turn away their focus from Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Albert Pujols, and David Ortiz for the next big thing. How quick were some voters to write-off Miguel Cabrera‘s performance in 2012, a Triple Crown season, because of the tremendous first season that Mike Trout produced.
Greatness in consistency is overlooked so often in baseball. Certainly, while Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa were off belting numerous home runs in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s, the names of Jeff Bagwell, Fred McGriff, and other non-juiced power-hitters (show me something that shows that they were), seemed to be forgotten, even in Hall of Fame voting today.
Stan Musial was consistently great, posting a career slash of .331/.417/.559, a career OPS of .976.
Did you think what Mike Trout did in 2012 was special? His .963 OPS was still lower than Musial’s CAREER OPS, which he put together over 22 seasons.
His 162-game average would leave him with 39 doubles, 25 home runs, 104 RBI, and 328 total bases. Using a WAR calculator, Musial’s average season was worth a 6.0 WAR and he would be worth $26.9 million in salary. Musial’s typical season was between All-Star and MVP level, which makes sense, as he appeared in 20 All-Star games and won three NL MVP awards.
Using WAR as a measuring tool for the value of a player may be relatively new, but it helps to put things into perspective over the long-haul. Taking a look at Musial’s career over the history of the game, WAR places “The Man” as the 12th best player of all-time. Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Barry Bonds, Walter Johnson, Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Roger Clemens, Tris Speaker, Honus Wagner, and Rogers Hornsby rank ahead of Musial, with Ted Williams sliding in right behind him. Taking away the two Steroid Era players would put Musial as the 10th best player of all-time.
Musial has 6.96 MVP shares, second only to Bonds and his 9.30. Musial had 6,134 career total bases, second only to Aaron and his 6,856. Looking at most statistics, Musial isn’t first in anything, but he is right there near the top:
- 7 NL Batting Titles
- .331 career batting average, 30th all-time
- .417 on-base percentage, 22nd all-time
- .559 slugging percentage, 19th all-time
- .976 OPS, 13th all-time
- 3,026 games played, 6th all-time
- 1,949 runs scored, 9th all-time
- 3,630 hits, 4th all-time
- 725 doubles, 2nd all-time
- 177 triples, 19th all-time
- 475 home runs, 28th all-time
- 1,951 RBI, 6th all-time
- 2,253 singles, 18th all-time
- 1,599 walks, 13th all-time
- 1,377 extra-base hits, 3rd all-time
Musial wasn’t the career leader in home runs, he doesn’t have the most MVP awards, and he isn’t recognized in the same breath as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams as the greatest hitters of all-time, at least not by many. In fact, my wife, who has become quite the baseball aficionado since succumbing to my strange fanaticism and obsession, didn’t know who Musial was, even after watching Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary.
Stan “The Man” Musial was one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. He served our country, missing the 1945 season (his age-24 season) while serving in the military, returning in 1946 to hit .365 while winning his 2nd MVP award. His career is an example of an elite talent, containing 22 years of tremendous success, with numbers that show remarkable skill with longevity.
Musial was a legend. A treasure to the game of baseball. An example of courage and determination. With his passing, it is necessary for those who didn’t know how special he was to take a second and put it all together.
It is time for baseball fans to take a glimpse out onto the field in the 2013 season and look at those aging players like Jeter, Ortiz, and Rivera, and know just how special they were during their great careers. While it is enticing to get caught up in the hype of the young talent in MLB, these players are gone so soon. Greatness on the diamond creates stories that can be passed down from generation to generation, allowing for all people to recognize the impact that a single player has on the game.
With Musial’s passing, fans need to commemorate the achievements of the legends that are immortalized in Cooperstown, focusing not on comparing Bryce Harper to Stan Musial, but just on how special Musial was.
Some writers for the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) have picked sides on whether certain players are worthy of the Hall of Fame based on their willingness, or lack thereof, to interview, how they were treated by the player, and whether or not the player did anything illegal during their playing days. While the Steroid Era players are eligible for the Hall of Fame in droves right now, how Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mark McGwire perform once ballot results are released will be very interesting news.
The point here, though, is that longtime shortstop Omar Vizquel shouldn’t ever be considered for the Hall of Fame.
Vizquel was a great defensive shortstop, posting an incredible .985 career fielding percentage over 24 seasons and 22,960.2 innings at short. Some, like NESN’s Tim Culverhouse, think that Vizquel is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. I disagree, and this is why:
- Vizquel played in 24 seasons and finished his career with 2,877 hits. He failed to reach the 3,000 milestone. Not that nearly 2,900 hits is a bad career, but the only players to participate in more seasons than Vizquel with 24 or more seasons were Rickey Henderson, Eddie Collins, Cap Anson, Ty Cobb, and Pete Rose, all of whom accumulated more than 3,000 hits. Vizquel only reached 2,877 due to his longevity and he only had that longevity on one tool – his glove – which wasn’t enough to make him an asset for at least the final seven years of his career.
- Vizquel only posted a WAR above two in 10 of his 24 seasons. Why is the number two important for WAR? Anything less than a two is considered a reserve and anything less than zero is a replacement level player. Vizquel posted 10 seasons below a two WAR and four seasons with a NEGATIVE WAR. He literally cost his team games, even with his stellar defense.
- Vizquel’s career WAR was only 40.5 over his 24 seasons. Barry Larkin, a 2012 Cooperstown inductee, had a 67.1 WAR and Alan Trammell, who also had a 67.1 WAR and won a World Series MVP, is still waiting and on his 12th ballot this year. His WAR7, which are his best seven seasons, was just 24.8, 61st among shortstops, below such stars as Tony Fernandez, Scott Fletcher, and the great Dave Concepcion (who should probably get in for accomplishing as much or more than Luis Aparicio and Vizquel).
- Vizquel’s career slash of .272/.336/.352 would leave him 16th out of 22 shortstops, if he were to be enshrined, in batting average, 17th in on-base percentage, and 20th in slugging percentage.
- Using Total Zone Runs (the number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made), Vizquel was the 5th best shortstop in baseball since 1951, when the stat started being used. He was behind Ozzie Smith (239), Mark Belanger (238), Cal Ripken (176), and Luis Aparicio (149), with his 134 mark. If defense is the deciding factor on the value that Vizquel provided, why isn’t Mark Belanger in the Hall of Fame? Because he hit .228/.300/.280 and posted a 37.6 WAR, not too far behind Vizquel’s 40.5, right?
- The only players with more hits than Vizquel who are not currently in the Hall of Fame are: Pete Rose, Derek Jeter, Craig Biggio, Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez. A couple of those guys are still active, obviously, and Biggio looks like the only inactive who is going to be a lock due to the asterisk-ridden nature of the Steroid Era and its players (Jeter will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, while others will rely on the whims of the voters from year to year).
- The only shortstop with a higher career fielding percentage is Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, whose .9851 fielding percentage is just a tick higher than Vizquel’s .9847. Vizquel’s 11 Gold Gloves are a bit more impressive than Tulowitzki’s two, but Tulo is just 27 and has several years left. Whether he maintains his fielding abilities is yet to be seen, but Vizquel was, clearly, one of the best, if not the best, defensive shortstops in the history of the game.
Omar Vizquel was a fine player and a great asset defensively; however, his longevity (24 seasons) was the only reason why he was able to accumulate so many hits.
Take, for example, Juan Pierre. The slap-hitting outfielder has a career .297/.346/.363 line with 2,141 career hits. If he plays 10 more seasons and retires after his age-44 season, receiving 300 at-bats per year and posting a .297 average, he’ll finish his career with 3,032 career hits. Is Juan Pierre a Hall of Famer due to longevity?
For all of the Gold Gloves and 2,877 hits, Omar Vizquel wasn’t special enough to be a Hall of Famer. If players who accumulated more statistics, championships, and glory aren’t in, why should Vizquel be?
Before Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra, and Barry Larkin, there were two shortstops who were dominating offensive forces: Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles and Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers.
Cal Ripken won the 1982 AL Rookie of the Year, he broke Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive games played streak, earned two MVP awards (1983, 1991), played in 19 All-Star games (consecutively), and was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 (98.5 percent vote…who were the eight voters that didn’t elect him?) in his first year of eligibility. Totally worthy…
However, after Barry Larkin was elected in 2012, his third year of eligibility, Trammell is the best shortstop eligible who is not in the Hall of Fame.
Alan Trammell was a six-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and a three-time Silver Slugger winner. He won a World Series and the World Series MVP in 1984, hitting .450 with two home runs and six RBI in the five game series against the San Diego Padres. In Trammell’s 20-year career, he only played in one more playoff series, losing to the Minnesota Twins in five games in 1987.
According to Baseball Reference and the JAWS system, which was created by Jay Jaffe and ranks players their career WAR averaged with their 7-year peak WAR, Alan Trammell is the 11th best shortstop in the history of baseball.
The average Hall of Fame shortstop, of which there are 21, has a career WAR of 63.1, a WAR7 of 41.0, and a JAWS of 52.1.
Trammell had a career WAR of 67.1, a WAR7 of 43.3, and a JAWS of 55.2.
The average shortstop WAR is also increased dramatically by the inclusion of Honus Wagner (126.2 WAR), which makes Trammell’s 67.1 WAR look more average than it really is, thanks to George Wright (24.2) and Phil Rizzuto (38.1) being a part of Cooperstown.
As statistical nerds rejoice at that last bit of information, keep in mind that Trammell had a higher career WAR than Ernie Banks (62.5), Pee Wee Reese (63.1), Luis Aparicio (51.7), Joe Cronin (61.9), Lou Boudreau (59.1), and Bobby Wallace (66.0), while posting the same WAR as Larkin (67.1). All of these players are in the Hall of Fame.
Voters have overlooked Alan Trammell for the last 11 years of Hall of Fame balloting. While Omar Vizquel and his 40.5 WAR are already getting attention for several years down the road and the Steroid Era influx hits the ballots, it is time for voters to open their eyes and look at the résumé of one of the greatest shortstops to have ever played the game…who is still not in the Hall of Fame, receiving a 36.8 percent of the vote in 2012, his highest yet.
Trammell is a Hall of Famer because of the statistics that he put up, the way that he recreated the offensive expectations of a single position, and for the longevity of his greatness (despite several years devastated by injury).
Even while playing more than 130 games over his final nine seasons just once, Trammell had more hits than 14 of 21 Hall of Fame shortstops, and he had more RBI than 12 of 21 Hall of Fame shortstops.
Trammell retired in 1996, one year after his double-play partner Lou Whitaker, at the age of 38. Whitaker won’t be a Hall of Famer, though he probably should have been considered, after getting just 2.9 percent of the vote in 2001, but Trammell deserves the vote.
Trammell would have only increased his credentials had he not missed 616 games over his last 10 seasons. His credentials, as they stand, are Cooperstown-worthy. With so many big names on the ballot, Trammell could, very well, be overlooked again. It would be a shame if he never makes it.
Keith Olbermann reported on his MLBlog on October 17 that the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins are already discussing a deal involving Alex Rodriguez once the season is over. This is big news due to the struggles of Rodriguez during the postseason, 3-for-23 (.103) with 12 strikeouts, and that fact that the quickly aging veteran is due another $114 million over the next five seasons.
Alex Rodriguez is taking a lot of heat for his struggles, as if he is the only player currently struggling during the club’s rotten postseason. Mind you, Robinson Cano is 3-for-36 (.083) and Curtis Granderson is just 3-for-29 (.103) with 15 strikeouts, so what is the deal with the hatred for the game’s highest paid player? The Yankees have bigger issues, including, how are they going to rebuild the franchise if the potential trade of Alex Rodriguez actually does happen?
Moving Alex Rodriguez would signify a possible change in philosophy. While the Yankees have spent many hundreds of millions in payroll over the last decade, could this be the end of “buying” the talent, all because of an apparent very quick regression in some of their talent?
The Yankees have some things to look at with their current roster:
- Ichiro Suzuki, Russell Martin, Nick Swisher, Mariano Rivera, Freddy Garcia, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and David Aardsma are free agents after the 2012 season.
- Robinson Cano ($15 million or $2 million buyout), Curtis Granderson ($13 million or $2 million buyout), and Pedro Feliciano ($4.5 million with $0 buyout) have options for 2013, with Cano and Granderson nearly guaranteed to be picked up, if only to allow for a trade to get value in return for those players.
- Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, and David Robertson are eligible for arbitration, so they will earn raises for the 2013 season.
- Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Clay Rapada, Eduardo Nunez, Chris Stewart, and Austin Romine are all pre-arbitration, so they could be renewed at or near the league minimum.
After that, the Yankees have some payroll concerns:
- Alex Rodriguez, as mentioned before, is owed $114 million over the next five years.
- C.C. Sabathia is due $119 million (counting his $25 million 2017 option) over the next five years.
- Mark Teixeria is going to make $90 million over the next four seasons.
- Derek Jeter will make $17 million in 2013 and either $8 million in 2014 or a $3 million buyout.
- Rafael Soriano is guaranteed $14 million in 2013.
The problem with trading Alex Rodriguez is that the Yankees would have to eat a huge portion of the $114 million that he is owed. Since 2007, A-Rod’s OPS has gone from 1.067 (his MVP season) to .965, .933, .847, .823, and finally .783 in 2012. At the age of 37 (turning 38 next July), why would anyone give anything of value for the declining future Hall of Famer?
Dealing Rodriguez to the Miami Marlins for Heath Bell and Logan Morrison would be a solid deal, even paying $50-70 million of his deal, so that the team gets more bullpen help and a potential replacement in an outfield corner with Swisher and Ichiro both headed to free agency. However, that deal probably would not sit well with fans.
Should the club let all of their free agents depart, will they go after Josh Hamilton in free agency? Could Hamilton’s previous off-the-field issues, which he still admits to battling, become a huge issue in the largest media market in the world?
Should the club trade Granderson and/or Cano on top of dealing Rodriguez, just to allow the franchise to make a fresh start, like the Boston Red Sox deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, which included the contracts of Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez?
For what it is worth, dealing Alex Rodriguez would open up third base in one of the weakest years for free agent third base in recent memory, including: Miguel Cairo, Mark DeRosa, Alberto Gonzalez, Brandon Inge, Maicer Izturis, Jose Lopez, Scott Rolen, Drew Sutton, and, if their options aren’t picked up, Ty Wigginton and Kevin Youkilis.
Would the club really go into the season with Eduardo Nunez at the hot corner? General Manager Brian Cashman would have to look in the mirror and commit to a potential rebuilding mode if that is the case.
While Alex Rodriguez has struggled and his value and stock has plummeted, the unfortunate facts are that the Yankees would be and will be better with him at third base in 2013 than they would be by making a trade. Unless the Bronx Bombers were able to trade Robinson Cano to Baltimore for Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado after trading Rodriguez, starting to make trades to change the structure of the team just does not make sense.
Cashman would have to make several trades involving star players and huge contracts, just to fill the several holes that would remain from the various deals. If you trade Rodriguez, he would need to trade for a third baseman. If he traded Cano, who would play second? If he traded Granderson, he could possibly get Hamilton, but what if the Red Sox or Rangers outbid him?
You can’t rebuild the New York Yankees. Brian Cashman is in a situation where he needs to win, in a market and a fan base that wants to win – see the attendance in the ALCS. The club will rebuild by reloading, like they have done, through free agency. They will acquire a top-tier or solid starting pitcher and a solid outfielder, and they will be right back where they were. They will probably have the veterans mentioned in potential deals, as well, because it is not worth the potential hassle of dealing the contracts and taking so much less in value, just to make a change.
Sure, they made it to the ALCS, but what is the deal with the New York Yankees? For the millions upon millions of dollars that they are paying their superstars, the team has scored just 13 runs since scoring seven in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles. They’ve played six games since then!
If you take away Jose Valverde‘s total implosion in the ninth inning on Saturday night, the Yankees have scored ZERO runs on 11 hits in the remaining 20 innings in the ALCS against the Tigers. The Yankees are hitting just .200 in 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position during the playoffs, including .167 in 18 at-bats against the Detroit Tigers.
While Alex Rodriguez is getting a lot of the negative publicity for the Yankees struggles offensively, he is not alone. Along with Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano, ARod is just a part of the larger problem. The three stars have combined to hit just .099/.161/.160 in 81 at-bats, with two doubles, one home run, five RBI and 30 strikeouts. The three are 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position (.111) with three RBI, all from Cano.
With Derek Jeter‘s devastating ankle injury, can Raul Ibanez carry this team? He has to this point, hitting a robust .438/.550/1.063 in just 16 at-bats, smashing three home runs and saving the Yankees against the Orioles in Game 4 of the ALDS, while helping extend the Game 1 loss to the Tigers on Saturday night. Mark Teixeira has walked seven times this postseason, while posting a .320/.469/.360 line, so will opposing pitchers continue to pitch around him and take their chances on the other struggling Yanks?
With so many Yankees possessing a great amount of postseason experience, the struggles that have been ongoing are quite worrisome for Yankee fans. The bigger question is, can ESPN sleep at night without their moneymakers giving them much to talk about? No worries…Tebow threw a pass on Sunday and actually got a first down. Gotta love New York!
The Second Annual Baseball Haven “I’m Always Right Before the Media Figures It Out” Awards are officially ready, just one day after the season. These guys may not win the awards below, but they certainly SHOULD.
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
.330/.393/.606, 109 R, 40 2B, 44 HR, 139 RBI, 4 SB
Cabrera gets the award because he won the first Triple Crown in MLB since Carl Yastrzemski won it in 1967, AND because he carried the Tigers into the postseason in September and early October, blasting 11 home runs, driving in 30 runs and posting a 1.071 OPS in 31 games. He moved to a position, third base, to accommodate the acquisition of Prince Fielder. No one ever said that he would make a difference there defensively, but his .966 fielding percentage was still better than the league average for third baseman, .952. Sure, his WAR was lower than Mike Trout, but Mike Trout is at home and Cabrera proved his worth in 2012.
NL MVP: Buster Posey, C, San Francisco Giants
.336/.408/.549, 78 R, 39 2B, 1 3B, 24 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB
Posey led MLB in batting average and OPS+, handling catching duties and occasionally playing first base to give his reconfigured knee together after a devastating injury in 2011. Posey’s absence from the Giants 2011 season may have had a lot to do with their inability to make the playoffs after winning the 2010 World Series over the Texas Rangers. Posey’s transformation from a collegiate shortstop to a top-level offensive catcher has gone about as smoothly as anyone could have anticipated. Even while playing in an extreme pitcher’s park, AT&T Park, Posey is one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers
17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 238.1 IP, 239:60 K:BB
Verlander’s statistics in 2012 were not as impressive as his totals in 2011, but that doesn’t make him any less impressive. Verlander was the lone consistent starter for most of the 2012 season for the AL Central champion Tigers, and he scored a relationship with Kate Upton on top of that. The man is just a winner. The filth that he possesses rivals only Larry Flynt.
NL Cy Young: Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
19-9, 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 217 IP, 170:49 K:BB
He pitches in an awful park for pitchers, he is on one of the best teams in the National League, and he has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons, so Cueto deserves this award. While he doesn’t pitch in a major market and he did have a few stretches where he seemed to “lose it”, Cueto finally tossed over 200 innings, and, after suffering through a rough spot, he dominated late in the season. If you put the ballpark factor into play here, Cueto would garner many more votes. He should win, but it is unlikely thanks to the New York bias and the cool story that comes along with R.A. Dickey.
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics and Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
Who says you can’t share an award? These two managers deserve some sort of plaque and a key from their respective city’s mayors for the work that they did this season. With the high spending Angels and Rangers out west for the A’s and the Red Sox and Yankees in the east with the O’s, the teams found creative ways to maintain a solid group of players on their rosters through trading and drafting well over the last several seasons. As both teams head into the ALDS, thanks to Friday’s victory over Texas for Baltimore, this could only be the beginning for one of these teams.
Honorable Mention:Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays; Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox;
NL Manager of the Year: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
With his All-Star outfielder banned 50-games for a positive drug test, his one-time ace, Tim Lincecum, posting a 5.18 ERA over 33 starts, and injuries to Pablo Sandoval throughout the season, Bochy managed to lead the Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. While you can question him for his lack of faith in Brandon Belt during most of the season, he seemed to make the right decision more often than not with his club.
Honorable Mention:Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds; Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals; Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates; Davey Johnson, Washington Nationals;
AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels
.326/.399/.564, 129 R, 27 2B, 8 3B, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB
A WAR of 10.7 in his rookie season, which led the league, shows just how special Trout is going to continue to be. Having just turned 21 years old in early August, the future is as bright as a supernova, as Trout’s power, speed, on-base skills, and fielding ability will continue to make him a perennial MVP candidate. You can certainly argue that he should win the award this season over Miguel Cabrera, but due to the Tigers landing in the playoffs and the first Triple Crown in 45 years, it has to go with the Tigers chubby third baseman.
NL Rookie of the Year: Todd Frazier, INF/OF, Cincinnati Reds
Frazier was a monster while the Cincinnati Reds went two months without their best player, Joey Votto. He finished the 2012 season with an .829 OPS was second to Colorado catcher Wilin Rosario amongst NL rookies…I see you thought I was going to say Bryce Harper there, but he posted an .817 OPS. While Harper energized his club upon his callup and had one of the best quotes of the year (“That’s a clown question, bro), it was Frazier’s bat and versatility that helped the Cincinnati Reds win the NL Central.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
2011: .289/.374/.399, 43 R, 28 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 44 RBI, 13 SB
2012: .286/.376/.498, 95 R, 31 2B, 2 3B, 31 HR, 115 RBI, 17 SB
Petco can put bats to sleep like the vets that work out of the back of actual Petco stores can do to your pet; however, Headley was one of the few bright spots for the rebuilding San Diego Padres, delivering MVP-like numbers for the Friars. At the age of 28 and with two years of arbitration eligibility, you have to wonder if the Padres are going to trade him this offseason for more prospects, especially after his surprising season and how often Headley’s name came up at the trade deadline.
Honorable Mention: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees;
Joey Votto has been one of the top players in MLB in 2012, posting an absurd .362/.485/.657 slash with 27 doubles, 12 home runs, 44 RBI, and a 49:52 K:BB in 213 at bats. Brandon Phillips is finally hitting, posting a .441/.472/.735 over his last eight games, with one double, three home runs, and nine RBI. In doing so, Phillips has increased his triple-slash from .259/.314/.392 on May 24 to its current .292/.338/.454 level. With Votto still mashing and getting on base and Phillips finally hitting, are the Reds capable of being the best team in baseball over the rest of the season?
Some will argue that the Detroit Tigers have the lineup to beat due to Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. Others say that the Yankees lineup with Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixiera, Robinson Cano, and Alex Rodriguez is the greatest of them all. Others will argue that it is Ike Davis and Jason Bay, and we will mock them ferociously; however, the Reds seem to have what it takes to win. The rotation can be thin at times with the inconsistencies at the back-end, but look at the front-end of that group…
Johnny Cueto has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball, compiling a 16-8 record, a 2.36 ERA, and a 1.12 WHIP over his last 37 starts. Mat Latos may not have great stats in 2012 (5-2, 4.64 ERA, 1.37 WHIP), but the Reds are 8-2 in his last ten starts. Latos is also in the middle of the season, especially from May to July, where he is now 21-6 with a 2.90 ERA over his career during the early summer months.
What does all of this mean? The Reds were as many as five games back and they were up as many as 3.5 games. Now, they are three games up on both the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds have gone 25-16 since April 15. It’s too bad they aren’t the Chicago Cubs because they are 17-8 in day games after Thursday’s 12-5 stomping of the Cleveland Indians.
The Reds have a solid rotation and enough offense to matter. The American League is filled with punishing offenses, but the National League has…good pitching? With the dramatic decline of the Philadelphia Phillies lineup, the Cincinnati Reds are in an elite class in the National League.
The Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Francisco Giants are the only other teams in the National League with the rotation and lineups that can match the Reds. Bryce Harper is the real deal and the Nats will, at least, ride Strasburg to the limits of his innings, not his talent. The Dodgers have had issues with injuries in the rotation and to Matt Kemp, but they’ve managed to hold on thanks to Andre Ethier’s redemption season and Chris Capuano’s best Clayton Kershaw impersonation. The Giants have had some success from their rotation and offense, definitely not from Tim Lincecum, though, and with the return of Pablo Sandoval from injury, they will be that much better.
However, if Votto and Phillips are clicking like they are right now and the Reds have the 1-2 punch of Cueto and Latos going, then they can sit back and hope that the likes of Zack Cozart, Devin Mesoraco, Todd Frazier, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake take the steps necessary to keep the team in contention while infusing youth in the every day lineup. With smart baseball, like Mesoraco plowing into Lou Marson for defensive interference and a free run (see here), and mediocre production from the spare parts, the Reds are a team to be reckoned with.
See the slideshow at Bleacher Report: