Offseason Questions For The AL East

You've laughed, cried, nodded, and shaken your head in disbelief as you read my offseason reviews for all 30 teams.  Now it's time to pose a question or two for each club, starting with the AL East.


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63 Comments on "Offseason Questions For The AL East"


5 years 4 months ago

Orioles – Did everything right, they added veterans for a short amount of time and no long term deals.

Boston – They really messed up, there offensive production was not what they expected it to be, but now with even less offensive production and a short stop who was really a one year wonder, an older centerfielder, they upgraded their pitching which was already great. They probably spent the money on the wrong things.

Yankees – Needed pitching, they got it. After not resigning Matsui and Damon, their offense will need help after Nick Johnson struggles against the powerful AL East pitching. Granderson was a good move, but left field is weak.

Rays – All good moves, they need their pitchers to step up if they want to make the playoffs.

Jays – Traded away Halladay, they’re rebuilding well.

BoSoxSam
5 years 4 months ago

As a Boston fan, I can’t wait to prove you wrong.

cookmeister
5 years 4 months ago

wait, how are you going to prove him wrong?

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

I disagree with everything you wrote about the Red Sox. I think they addressed their needs pretty well.

-They made their big move for a bat and a Varitek replacement last year by getting Victor Martinez. They can still make a run for Adrian Gonzalez if they need to make an even bigger move.
-They needed a decent defensive CF so they got Cameron.
-They needed a 3B who could move so they got Beltre.
-Improving the rotation is always a need. Adding Lackey did not block anyone and it certainly makes the Sox tougher over the short term unless he’s not healthy.

I also disagree with you about the Yankees’ offense. The offense will not “need help” as they made a major improvement in CF with Granderson (a name conspicuously absent from the article) and will have ARod in the lineup on opening day. It’s fair to question whether Johnson can stay healthy, but he demonstrated he can hit against AL East pitching when he was just 24. Abreu didn’t suddenly stop being an OBP machine when he went to the Yankees, I doubt Johnson will either.

5 years 4 months ago

The Red Sox had problems with offensive production for a large portion of last season (for any other team that would be good production, but to the redsox it wasn’t what they expected). Beltre was a good pick up especially in that ball park. You cant honestly tell me you expect Scutaro to be near as good as last year. After losing Bay, they basically got Cameron instead. THAT’S A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN OFFENSE. They could have had a still very strong pitching rotation without Lackey.
Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Bucholz, Dice K. That’s still a good rotation. Maybe not unbelievable but it’s fine.

In my post I talked about how Granderson was a good move.

“Granderson was a good move, but left field is weak.”

A Rod for a full year will help both Teix and the rest of the offense, but if Nick Johnson gets hurt, or stops getting on base this offense will struggle. They will have noone to bat 2nd, and their DH spot will be filled by either by Juan Miranda, or if maybe Montero tears it up in AAA, he can get called up. I would rather have had Matsui for basically the same price.

0bsessions
5 years 4 months ago

“You cant honestly tell me you expect Scutaro to be near as good as last year.”

Conversely, you can’t tell me you expect Scutaro to be anywhere near as bad as the Sox’ SS options were last year. Leaving the position unmanned would’ve effectively been addition by subtraction. Adding a league average defender improves the position, with or without him having a better than .250 bat.

“After losing Bay, they basically got Cameron instead. THAT’S A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN OFFENSE.”

What they lost in Bay to Cameron, they make up for in replacing Varitek with Martinez. While there’s no huge power threat in the lineup, there’s no glaring holes either. Last season, the bottom three were a joke.

The Sox were the #3 offense in the MLB last season. Anyone who watched them intently last season can tell you their two biggest problems were an abysmal defense and an incredibly inconsistent rotation, two things they attempted to resolve this offseason.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

“The Red Sox had problems with offensive production for a large portion of last season (for any other team that would be good production, but to the redsox it wasn’t what they expected).”

Yeah, and this spawned the myth that the Red Sox have a problem with offense. But it’s still a myth, so you shouldn’t be writing about it as if it were anything else.

The Red Sox have the third most prolific offense in all of baseball last year. Third. Forty fewer runs than the Yankees but only 11 fewer than the Angels at #2 — 65 MORE than the next AL team, Minnesota. And they had “problems with offensive production”? No, they didn’t. Let it go.

Even if Jason Bay’s production is not replaced — and it nearly will be when you account for the upgrades at other positions — the massive defensive upgrades and the progress of the rotation make them much, much tougher to outscore than last year. Another year of experience under the belts of Beckett, Lester, Lackey, & Buchholz — none of whom are near decline — plus a sophomore season for Buchholz and a full season of Matsuzaka. The Red Sox are more than okay. It’s cut & dry.

frankiecamp
5 years 4 months ago

I would consider a 31 year old starter, who was on the DL to start each of his age 29 and 30 seasons, on a decline. The Sox are petrified of Beckett’s shoulder. Beckett apparently is too, otherwise he wouldn’t be signing this extension. He could easily get a 6th year on the open market with a strong 2010. Matsuzaka can not be counted on. Wakefield is a 44 year old knuckleballer. He’ll win as many as he loses. Buchholz would be a good problem to have as a 5th starter, but not with so many other question marks. Lester is a stud. I wouldn’t worry about him at all

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

“I would consider a 31 year old starter, who was on the DL to start each of his age 29 and 30 seasons, on a decline.”

You’re a weird guy, then? His shoulder is fine; he’s had elbow issues. Shoulder strength is what people are concerned with when it comes to pitching decline over time. Moreover, Lackey isn’t a power pitcher. His shoulder strength is even less of a concern than most.

“The Sox are petrified of Beckett’s shoulder. Beckett apparently is too, otherwise he wouldn’t be signing this extension.”

Totally unfounded. Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander are clearly extremely concerned about their shoulders too, right?

“Matsuzaka can not be counted on.”

lol would mess up your little run here if he could, huh? Again, unfounded. None of his present “injuries” have anything to do with last season’s. The guy has not been $100m good, but he’s a #4 most teams would kill for.

“Wakefield is a 44 year old knuckleballer.”

Who will be their sixth starter.

“Buchholz would be a good problem to have as a 5th starter, but not with so many other question marks.”

Buchholz is a front-end starter in the making who will be in his second year in the bigs. He’s perfectly suited for the 5th spot behind three 15-20 game winners and a guy who has won 15 and 18 in his only two full seasons.

The only one with questions is you bro; and it’s all your head.

frankiecamp
5 years 4 months ago

HAHA. Dude. If you are a pitcher, and your getting hurt at 29 and 30, I would not be caught dead giving him 5 years and $80 million plus. Hasn’t thrown 200 IP since 2007. Watch out for Lackey.

How are Beckett’s shoulder worries unfounded? So many posts on MLBTR have shown links that the Sox are afraid to go further than four years in case he gets hurt early in a contract and they’re stuck with him. And btw, Felix and Verlander are younger, better, and not injured.

Matsuzaka can’t be counted on. You said it yourself. Two seasons. $100 million. Also, wins are a horrible stat in deciding if a pitcher is good.

Wakefield is not the 6th starter, since Matsuzaka will be starting the season on the DL, because he can’t be counted on.

A lot to say for someone who has yet to throw 100 IP at the ML level. Great potential. Don’t hand him th ekeys to the city yet my friend

Get off your Sox high horse.

BentoBox
5 years 4 months ago

Lackey is a huge injury risk. I mean throwing at least 150 IP for the past 7 years ?
(*in a more serious note however, I really hate the signing*)
The Red Sox weren’t willing to go 5 years for Beckett since it’ll be extremely risky to commit 5 years to 2 30 yr old pitchers.
(*ReverendBlack pointed that out in other threads*)
Also, yup Dice-BB is horrible. Agreed; wins are a horrible way to judge a pitcher.
Bucchholz already pitched more than 100 innings in ML.
92.0 IP in 09
76.0 IP in 08
22.2 IP in 07.
Your right though, the Red Sox are hoping Bucchholz can pitch to his ‘potential’.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Let’s keep this clear, since apparently I haven’t:

Lackey and Matsuzaka were bad signings. Bad, bad, bad. Do not like.

However, that doesn’t have anything at all to do with their probable performances in the immediate future. Which is what this has been about.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

“Dude. If you are a pitcher, and your getting hurt at 29 and 30, I would not be caught dead giving him 5 years and $80 million plus. Hasn’t thrown 200 IP since 2007. Watch out for Lackey.”

Me neither. I’ve been talking about the 2010 season and am not entirely sure how you missed that. He’s a legitimate injury risk over 4 or 5 years, just like every other pitcher that age.

“How are Beckett’s shoulder worries unfounded? So many posts on MLBTR have shown links that the Sox are afraid to go further than four years in case he gets hurt early in a contract and they’re stuck with him. ”

You won’t find any pitchers his age about whose shoulders a team offering long-term dollars wouldn’t be concerned. What I said is that they have no immediate or near-term concerns about his shoulder. Neither does he. The argument that he’s settling for this contract because he’s afraid that because of his shoulder he can’t have another good year in 2010 lacks anything resembling evidence.

“Matsuzaka can’t be counted on. You said it yourself. Two seasons. $100 million. Also, wins are a horrible stat in deciding if a pitcher is good.”

You’re a weird guy, ace. A weird guy. Matsuzaka has only pitched two seasons. 15 and 18 wins should not encourage any other team to sign him for big money because wins are not great indicators, no. But he’s not signing anywhere. He’s playing for the same team he won 15 and 18 for. Which makes it a lot easier to count on him. The money has nothing to do with whether he can be counted on. The money only makes it a dumb contract.

“Wakefield is not the 6th starter, since Matsuzaka will be starting the season on the DL, because he can’t be counted on.”

You’re right. I think Matsuzaka is on the 60-day DL with a missing leg, right? He’s done for the season.

“A lot to say for someone who has yet to throw 100 IP at the ML level. Great potential. Don’t hand him th ekeys to the city yet my friend”

I say he’s a perfect fifth starter with front-end potential, you agree about his potential but tell me not to give him the keys to the city. Right-o. And I must be the one with the axe to grind here, ya? Right.

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

I neglected to mention Scutaro. I don’t think he will be as good as he was last year, but neither do the Red Sox or Scutaro’s agent. The Sox signed him for just 2/$14 guaranteed. That’s a modest deal for a guy who put up a combined 7.3 WAR over the last two years. And again, in keeping with the theme of my comment, his signing filled a need. A declining Scutaro gives the Red Sox far more than Nick Green or whatever other crappy players the Sox have been running out at SS over the last few years.

Bay’s bat is nice but it comes with his awful defense. Cameron strikes out a lot but is a defensive asset. For whatever it’s worth, Cameron was the more valuable player last year by WAR, and he doesn’t come with nearly as big a contract.

Then there’s the question of where they would play another bat. They downgraded offensively in LF as you said, but there’s probably a good or great player at every other position. If Ortiz is cooked, he is gone after this year. Getting a new DH shouldn’t be too difficult.

By virtue of playing in the same division as a team that has Javier Vazquez as its no. 4 starter, the Sox should do nothing less than assemble an unbelievable rotation if they can. Plus, if their offense continues to disappoint, they can deal for a bat from a surplus of pitchers.

I saw you mentioned Granderson (and I agreed with your point), I thought it was strange that the article didn’t. Left field is definitely the weakest offensive position for the Yankees, but it’s the only area where the Yankees are playing a largely unknown commodity. If Gardner can get on base enough to utilize his speed and continues to field well, he will be one of the best bargains in the division.

We’ll never know the real reason the Yankees didn’t bring back Matsui, but I have to give them the benefit of the doubt and think it was either because (a) they had a pessimistic take on Matsui’s knees, or (b) the Angels offered him the opportunity to play the OF and the Yankees wouldn’t. In other words, they probably had a good reason for letting him go. In any case, both Matsui and Johnson are injury risks. If the Yankees re-signed Matsui and his knees went out, they would be in the same DH dilemma anyway. Besides, seeing what Montero can do in MLB wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

I think Montero should be in AAA for almost the entire year to work on his catching skills, September call-up at the earliest is what I’m hoping for.

BoSoxSam
5 years 4 months ago

*sigh* This is the argument I hear from every non-Boston fan, who doesn’t look very closely.

“After losing Bay, they basically got Cameron instead.”

Okay, seriously. This is the way I look at their offense:

Losses:
Bay

Gains:
Cameron
Scutaro
Beltre
V-Mart

Beltre is a close one for a gain, because there is still the possibility (as small as it looks right now) that Lowell will hit like usual and Beltre will repeat 09. Scutaro is still an upgrade, even if he regresses, although I will tell you that I honestly believe he won’t regress all the way back to what he was before 2009. Remember, 2009 was still his first full year, so even if he’s old and his other numbers don’t really show potential, there is the possibility he will at least get close to those numbers again with the starting job he has. Cameron is yes, a downgrade from Bay. With estimated basic stats for them at Cameron hitting 20hr, 80 rbi, and Bay hitting 35hr, 115 rbi, then we’re losing 15hr, 35 rbi. Yeah, that’s a decent chunk of offense. (and before you tell me about Cameron’s high K total, let me remind you that Bay strikes out just as well as the next guy.) But, it’s not HUGE. If you look at the upgrades that happened to other facets of the team, Scutaro can easily get 35 more rbi than the RS shortstops from last year, Ortiz looks like (although this again a gamble) he’ll hit 5 more hr’s, at least, than last year, V-Mart will be at LEAST a 10 hr gain from V-Tek…Beltre could potentially hit 30+ in Fenway.

And your point about the pitching: What’s wrong with wanting to go from a very good rotation to an unbelievable one? The way I figure it, Theo took some risks with the lineup, that hopefully will at least pan out to the same very good offense they had last year (but has potential to both do much worse, or much better), and he upgraded an already very good pitching staff to an unbelievable one. Also, he upgraded the horrible defense to a very good one. If you put grades on it, I would say 2009 would look something like:
Offense: B+
Pitching: B+
Defense: F

And his plan is to upgrade it to:
Offense: B+ (but with potential swaying from about a C+ to an A)
Pitching: A+
Defense: A

Looks like a good plan to me. With Lackey in there, that gives us three bona fide, reliable starters in Beckett, Lester, and Lackey. Wakefield, Buchholz, and Dice-K make up for a very exciting competition for the last two slots. Obviously, I think Buch and Dice-K will get the majority of the time there, but Wakefield will be their go-to guy as #6 starter. I figure he’ll still get 10-15 starts in.

Now, obviously, there are lots of gambles, and risks here, that we won’t know much about for at least another month. The offense is relying on a lot of If’s. If Scutaro is really that good, and only needed starting time to prove it; If Beltre will rebound in Fenway and hit 25, 30 home runs; If Cameron doesn’t lose a step to age, and continues with his consistent .800 OPS, 20 home runs, lots of K’s, great defense; If Ortiz rebounds and hits 35hr/120rbi. And then of course there are injury risks. And the possibility that improved defense won’t help them as much as they think. I myself, maybe just because I’m actually a Boston fan, like to look on the bright side of things. Beltre has hit well this spring, as has Ortiz. Lowell has not, which means it looks like Theo did the right thing there. Cameron has been himself, V-Mart is hitting, Scutaro was quiet at the plate but very strong on the field. Lackey is pitch-perfect. Again, I can’t wait for these guys to prove you wrong. I honestly believe that the Red Sox will give NY a run for its money in the division this year.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Boston could very well give NYY a run for their money this year. However, they need more “ifs” to break in their favor than the Yankees do. It wouldn’t be shocking for Boston to roll over the Yankees; but the odds are greater the Yankees skate to another easy pennant.

BoSoxSam
5 years 4 months ago

While I agree that Boston needs more breaks than the Yankees to make things work, I don’t think the Yankees will be getting an easy pennant any way you look at it. Even if things don’t all work out for Boston, they’ll be a very good team that will pressure NY to the end; the only scenario I see where NY gets an easy time of it is if nearly EVERY gamble Boston made flops. Plus, don’t forget Tampa Bay. This is their last year with players like Pena and Crawford; I expect to see them try and make the most out of it.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

I guess it depends on how you define “easy pennant”. Maintaining a 5-game lead from September 1st onward, at least in my book, is skating to a title.

Of course, I’m used to back-to-back Game 163’s…

BoSoxSam
5 years 4 months ago

Haha. Actually, yes it does depend on your definition then. After watching the Yankees come back from 5, 7, 9 games, and watching the Red Sox do similar things (maybe they only made it closer by the end usually, haha), yes, 5 games does not sound like skating to me. 😛 Obviously by the end there it got out of control, but all the way up to 8 games back or so, I had hope that Boston could catch up. When you look back, yes, maintaining that lead is impressive, but through the season I continually thought it would just take a couple losses by the yanks and wins by the sox, preferably on the same days, for us to catch up.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Nice & concise.

Truitalian9
5 years 4 months ago

how did the orioles trade their second round pick?

Jason_F
5 years 4 months ago

I’m pretty sure it was a second round pick they had to give up for signing Tejada, a type B free agent.

$1519287
5 years 4 months ago

Teams dont give up a 2nd round pick for signing a Type B FA. The team losing a Type B FA (assuming they offered arby and that player declined) picks up a supplemental pick between the 1st and 2nd round. I believe the O’s sent their 2nd round pick to the Braves for signing Mike Gonzalez

Jason_F
5 years 4 months ago

I knew that didn’t sound right after i typed it. Thanks!

$1519287
5 years 4 months ago

no problem. thats what i am here for lol

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

Yup. This is right. It was for Mike G

cookmeister
5 years 4 months ago

mike gonzalez

$1529282
5 years 4 months ago

They gave it up to sign Gonzalez (their first-rounder was protected).

And to answer the question, no, it didn’t. Unless Gonzalez gets traded at some point throughout the duration of this contract, I don’t get the thinking. Sure, he could net draft picks after 2011, but those picks won’t be around to help until 2013 or so, at the earliest. The O’s could contend sooner than that given their young core, but also probably not soon enough for Gonzalez to be a big part of that success.

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Os young core is in kind of a catch 22 point.

A large degree of their current wave hitting the majors is in pitching, both depth and quality. One of the biggest arguments you can make against the Orioles of the last decade has been the way they’ve badly rushed their pitchers. It resulted in young pitchers who weren’t ready, burdened with heavy innings, taking one for the team, who eventually went down with injuries, and the team collapses starting about August. The following year would be a new mix of the same basic set of questions concerning young overworked pitchers trying to rebound from injuries.

The current regime under MacPhail, for what it’s worth, has committed to changing this pattern. They’ve invested in cheap short-term options to fill slots until prospects earned their way to the majors. In the case of a bullpen I think MacPhail has shown a commitment to paying just enough for players capable of taking the load off of the young arms. The Os needed some kind of legitimate closer option. There wasn’t a true answer available in the market so, trading for it was a decent gamble. The top pick was protected so a 2nd rounder isn’t an awful price. If it means absolutely protecting young quality arms like Tillman, Arrieta, and Matusz for the longterm then I think it’s the kind of price that has a multiplier effect. In any case the Os have been drafting pretty well deep into the draft so I don’t think Os fans are that worried about that.

Just my 2 cents.

nelson_c
5 years 4 months ago

I think nearly every move the Orioles did is going to blow up in their face. Millwood has been pretty bad until last year. Atkins was horrible last year, can’t blame any injuries, and all his trends are going the wrong way. Gonzalez is already hurting and can only pitch 50 innings. Tejada will be an upgrade over Mora but that’s not saying much.

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

I’m fairly confident that if all 3 prospects in the Halladay deal flop, the trade can still be “justified:”. Hindsight’s 20/20..

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

Anderson is a stud tho. He could still flop, but any franchise would be happy to take him. Any team.

5 years 4 months ago

Not really sure why anyone would be happy with the Orioles offseason. The spent money and got league average, at best, players. Millwood simply isn’t good, neither is Hendrickson, Tejada is slowing down, Atkins is a mystery. Gonzalez is good but limited. The O’s obviously aren’t expecting this group to help them compete with the big boys but why spend that much money on stopgaps? Seems as though they’re trying to buy respectability when they should be trying to earn it by winning games.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

If the owner gives the GM $35m to go spend, he’d be a fool to give it back. So, that begs the question, what ALTERNATIVE signings should the O’s have made?

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Os are actually saving money for continuing the expansion of International Scouting dept that was started 2 yrs ago and their above-slot signing strategies. All that being said, I think one might also make an argument that the Os have been targeting Adrian’s possible departure of SD. The Os have a significant position player at or due to hit at every position except 1B. They have a ton of pitching prospects now. It seems like the franchise is zeroing in on a 1-2 yr due date of finally turning into a big rising team.

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

It’s pretty interesting because the Twins has always been one of those thrifty shrewd franchises that the Os used to be like when I grew up watching them play. Strong pitching, defense, fundamentals, and player development oriented franchise. I take it as a good sign that Twins fans are liking whatthey see in the Os. Maybe they return back to their true form. 😉

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Os young core is in kind of a catch 22 point.

A large degree of their current wave hitting the majors is in pitching, both depth and quality. One of the biggest arguments you can make against the Orioles of the last decade has been the way they’ve badly rushed their pitchers. It resulted in young pitchers who weren’t ready, burdened with heavy innings, taking one for the team, who eventually went down with injuries, and the team collapses starting about August. The following year would be a new mix of the same basic set of questions concerning young overworked pitchers trying to rebound from injuries.

The current regime under MacPhail, for what it’s worth, has committed to changing this pattern. They’ve invested in cheap short-term options to fill slots until prospects earned their way to the majors. In the case of a bullpen I think MacPhail has shown a commitment to paying just enough for players capable of taking the load off of the young arms. The Os needed some kind of legitimate closer option. There wasn’t a true answer available in the market so, trading for it was a decent gamble. The top pick was protected so a 2nd rounder isn’t an awful price. If it means absolutely protecting young quality arms like Tillman, Arrieta, and Matusz for the longterm then I think it’s the kind of price that has a multiplier effect. In any case the Os have been drafting pretty well deep into the draft so I don’t think Os fans are that worried about that.

Just my 2 cents.

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

Also, they subtracted about 33M from last year’s payroll. That’s why it says “less than $33M” above. Technically it isn’t a small market. It’s not ever going to be a Boston or NYC type of market but, it’s akin to a St Louis type of baseball market and fanbase. Technically they are saving money if you comparing it to 2009’s payroll.

kimofromkauai
5 years 4 months ago

The Rays are two bats short this year, either RF if Zobrist is at 2b, and DH. These positions, RF and DH, should have been easy to fill and rather cheap as well. The big mistakes were giving away Jackson (200 IP SP) for nothing that was beneficial in 2009 and probably 2010, and the two year deal for Burrell. Abreu signed for one year, as did several others, plus Abreu has some athletic ability – can still run and steal bases. Hammel was out of options and roster room in Tampa, same as Talbot this year. A decent AAAA bat was about all they could hope for with either pitcher.

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

I thought Sean Rodriguez was gonna be at 2B, or is he starting in the minors?

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Baltimore – They spent big money, but didn’t tie it up long term. Gotta love what they did. And if Matusz/Jones/Wieters can really step up, they may just be the Rays of 2008.

Boston – If Ortiz slumps again, they’re going to have a very mediocre offense, and be chasing the Yankees all season. If he doesn’t, they’ll be fine, and look smart.

Yankees – I still don’t see how they replaced Damon/Hideki’s production, and I don’t understand how an older Petitte or Javy outside the NL is anything to get excited about. But they kept the vast majority of their Champion roster together, so that in itself should be noteworthy. If they held off on making a big splash in hopes of making a run at Mauer/Crawford after this season… that may blow up in their face.

Rays – They be fine. As far as a 82-82 team goes.

Jays – I don’t mind the Gregg signing, assuming they’re just looking to flip him for prospects.

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

“Yankees – I still don’t see how they replaced Damon/Hideki’s production”

-Curtis Granderson
-Nick Johnson

“I don’t understand how an older Petitte or Javy outside the NL is anything to get excited about”

Having two pitchers who are good bets to turn in 200 IP with above-average ERAs as no. 3 and 4 starters might not be “exciting” per se, but it will certainly help the team win a lot of games.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

I think the Vegas over/under on Nick Johnson is about 200 ABs. And Granderson is gonna need to learn how to hit left-handers. They certainly have bigger question marks in those two players than they did in Damon and Matsui last year.

As for pitching, how’d the last go-round with Vasquez in the AL East work out? Take away one good NL season, and is there any reason to think he’ll be an above-average pitcher in Yankee Stadium? No. Petitte is 50/50 in my book. He could repeat on an above-average season, or start deteriorating. Both pitchers were dominant at one point in their careers – neither intimidates an opposing lineup any more.

The point is, they’re the New York Yankees. They’re EXPECTED to make a big splash every off-season, to make a major upgrade somewhere. They’re not notably improved this year. But, obviously, they don’t need to be. They can win by returning, essentially, the same team.

frankiecamp
5 years 4 months ago

Nick Johnson is the DH. Unless he gets seriously hurt by foulding a pitch into his leg and breaking a bone, or gets a concussion like David Wright last year, then he is fine. Damon can’t throw, and Matsui can barely walk. I’d take Nick Johnson and his .410 OBP any day over Matsui. Granderson effectively replaces Damon, providing more power and better defense at a more premium position.

Vazquez was actually an All-Star that year. And I will take 200 IP every year this decade (only starter in MLB to do that) out of my 4th starter. You’d be insane not to. But let me ask you this, how is a sub 3.00 ERA and 240ks last year not intimidating? Also Andy Pettitte is the all time winningest playoff pitcher and won all 3 clinching games last year. I’ll take that any day too.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Nick might perform, sure. But he’s got huge swaths of missed time in his career. He’s no Cal Ripken, to say the least. I love Granderson, don’t get me wrong, but he’s if you think he’s going to be a defensive stud, you haven’t seen him play enough, and the guy NEEDS to find a way to raise his average. They might match Damon/Matsui’s production, sure. I’m just saying, if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put big money on it.

Maybe Vasquez is actually a 2.87 ERA guy, who finally put it all together at age 33. Or maybe he’s a 4.19 ERA guy had a career-worst 4.91 ERA his only year in the AL East (and, incidentally, did NOT pitch 200 IP that year – admittedly just barely missing it). Even the 3.72 ERA projection on him matches his best-ever season in the AL. Do you think a 34-year old Vasquez improves?

As for Pettitte, he had a banner season in 2005 in the NL. He’s been a 4+ ERA guy ever since. It’s hard to find so much hype around a guy who’s been so painfully average for the past 5 years; Pettitte enjoys the NYY-centric media boost.

Hey, you guys like the Yankees. That’s well and good. And the Yankees are the favorites in the AL, no question. But don’t that doesn’t mean you have to overstate your players. Yankees held off on any meaningful upgrades this year with an eye to 2011 free agency. There’s no shame in that.

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

I think you’re overstating your case a bit. “No meaningful upgrades” is extreme – Granderson is a meaningful upgrade in CF. You write about him like he’s untested, but he’s produced at a good-to-great level since 2006 (even in his 2009 down year) and he’s going to a park that favors left-handed power hitters. He can exceed his 2009 high of 30 HR in YS2 and his numbers against lefties can’t be as bad as they were last year.

I’ll certainly be watching Granderson’s fielding, but Fangraphs pegs him as an above-average fielder in each of the last four seasons except 2008.

You note that Granderson and Johnson are flawed players, but you don’t mention anything negative about Damon and Matsui. They are both players in serious danger of sudden decline, which is why both got one-year deals. Johnson is an injury risk, but so is Matsui. Granderson does not pose nearly as big a decline risk as any of these other guys.

Pettitte has been durable throughout his career. Dismissing him as a “4+ ERA” guy is specious – an ERA in the low 4s, combined with about 200 IP, is very valuable in the AL East. I don’t care about the “hype” you mention, his numbers are very solid for a middle of the rotation starter. He might decline from last year, but there’s no reason to think he’ll suddenly fall of the cliff and not be anywhere near league average anymore.

If Vazquez puts up an ERA in the low 4s and pitches around 200 innings, which he can certainly do, he will also be very valuable. I don’t care about “hype” surrounding these players, just the numbers they’re capable of producing.

Pettitte and Vazquez are both one-year deals. They are not the future of the rotation, they are remarkably durable pitchers who are good bets to produce at league average or better. That would make them good additions to just about any staff.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

I think you’re mistaking my argument a bit; I’m by no means saying v2010 of Matsui/Damon will perform better than Johnson/Granderson. But what I am saying is it’s not very certain Johnson and Granderson will put up better numbers than Damon and Matsui did LAST YEAR. Both Granderson and Johnson have question marks – it’s not unthinkable for them to combine for a worse offensive line than Damon/Matsui did in 2009.

As for Pettitte and Vazquez, they’re both decent pitchers. Decent. Not spectacular (I don’t care what kind of nostalgia Pettitte inspires). Their numbers are uninspiring. The likelihood either has career-years is little to none (particularly in YS2). There’s something to be said for reliable workhorses, and maybe they’re a better option than the uncertainty Hughes brings to a rotation – but their upside sure doesn’t seem as big.

I’m just saying the Yankees, by their own standards, had an underwhelming offseason, which hinges on “hopefully Granderson can hit lefties again” and “hopefully Johnson remains healthy”, while “hopefully Vasquez doesn’t throw a 5 ERA like he did last time he was here (in YS1, in his prime, at that)”.

As a Yankees fan, I’d be disappointed. It’s hard to call it a successful offseason. But talk to me next year, when their relative silence this year allows them to bring in Crawford next year.

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

When comparing Granderson/Johnson to Damon/Matsui, I acknowledge that both sets of players have flaws. D/M could certainly outperform G/J. But Granderson is likely to be the best player out of that group based on his age and past performance. Granderson can play a good CF and hits righties with power. If his numbers against lefties rebound, he is among the most valuable CFs in baseball. Damon’s defense regressed badly last season, his arm is always terrible, and he hit poorly outside of YS2. That’s why no one lined up to give him the big offers he wanted.

Johnson and Matsui are essentially a wash at this point. If the Yankees re-signed Matsui on a one-year deal we would see lots of concern about his knees holding up. If the Angels truly signed him on promises that he would get to play the OF, then the Yankees did the right thing by letting him go.

I don’t get what you’re saying about Pettitte and Vazquez – I emphasized that they are valuable because they are durable and effective, and you make it seem like I called them “spectacular.” They are on one-year deals and are good bets to be worth their salaries – that’s all I’m saying. The Yankees already spent a lot more money on the two guys who lead the rotation.

I’m a Yankee fan and I’m pleased with the team’s offseason. About the only “big splash” the team could have made that would have made any sense would have been to sign Holliday, and I can understand why the Yankees decided to do without yet another mammoth contract, especially after seeing what the Cardinals gave him.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

You’re still caught up in G/J vs. D/M for 2010. But that’s only valid if you’re asking “were the Yankees better off getting G/J or retaining D/M?” The question is “will G/J replace the production of D/M”. So it doesn’t matter that D/M are deteriorating; the issue is whether the 2010 version of G/J will perform better than the 2009 version of D/M. How people perceive D/M in 2010 is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Pettitte and Vasquez are fine. I’m not saying they’re lousy, or implying you called them stellar. But “fine” is not on par with Boston’s #3-4 guys, and Vasquez doesn’t have a prayer of matching his 3.72 ERA projection (which, after all, was the question Tim posed).

BentoBox
5 years 4 months ago

Vazquez > Lackey
Pettitte >>>Dice-K

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Vasquez over lackey? Hilarious.

BentoBox
5 years 4 months ago

Vasquez’ 09 probably was a career year. Anyways ..
John Lackey –
2006 – 217.2 IP/ 3.35 FIP/ 2.64 K/BB/ 6.0 WAR
2007 – 224.0 IP/ 3.54 FIP/ 3.44 K/BB/ 5.6 WAR
2008 – 163.1 IP/ 4.53 FIP/ 3.25 K/BB/ 2.0 WAR
2009 – 176.1 IP/ 3.73 FIP/ 2.96 K/BB/ 3.9 WAR
Javier Vasquez –
2006 – 202.2 IP/ 3.86 FIP/ 3.29 K/BB/ 4.8 WAR
2007 – 216.2 IP/ 3.80 FIP/ 4.26 K/BB/ 5.1 WAR
2008 – 208.1 IP/ 3.74 FIP/ 3.28 K/BB/ 4.8 WAR
2009 – 219.1 IP/ 2.77 FIP/ 5.41 K/BB/ 6.6 WAR

Yankees420
5 years 4 months ago

I’ll give Boston the edge on #3 pitcher because Lackey will most likely outperform either Pettitte or Vazquez, but Dice-K being better? Really? Sorry but no, just no.

melonis_rex
5 years 4 months ago

I have a feeling that Mike Gonzalez is traded at the deadline…ala George Sherrill last year.

Two years under contract, relatively easy for O’s to eat 2010 salary… could very easily be the best LH reliever on the trade market… yeah.

RichMahogany
5 years 4 months ago

I hadn’t thought of that. Seems obvious now that you mentioned it.

basemonkey
5 years 4 months ago

True. Good call.

I don’t think it’s any accident that MacPhail has a tendency to stockpile lefty RPs every offseason who might be undervalued. I’d also keep an eye on Will Ohman. He had a track record of good vs. LHBs numbers. He was probably undervalued this offseason because of a injury-shortened 2009. The Os signed him for a minorleague deal. He’s been having a terrific Spring and looks like he’s fully recovered from the injury. Assuming he has a good year at the break, I don’t think he’d net a B+ to A prospect, but he might warrant a decent B prospect or two. That could be a pretty good get right there.

East Coast Bias
5 years 4 months ago

MLBTR should have done an April fools joke post with like Yankees voiding A-Rod’s contract. Or better yet, trading him to the Sawx! hahaa

0bsessions
5 years 4 months ago

There’s little fun in an April Fool’s Prank that is glaringly obvious as an April Fool’s Prank.

Something more like the Mets trading Reyes to the Dodgers for Kemp is ridiculous, but close enough to feasible to pause a few people not paying attention to their calenders.

5 years 3 months ago

The important factor no one has mentioned regarding the O’s offseason is that McPhail needs to win some games this year to keep his job. He doesn’t need to win the division by any stretch, but another 90+ losses may get him canned.
So adding some stop gap veterans like Millwood and Tejada, a closer like Gonzalez, and taking a gamble with Atkins probably gets him 10 more wins and keeps him around to continue the solid job he’s been doing rebuilding. And all of these guys are gone and off the books in time to make room for the young players who will be up by 2012.
Good moves all around by McPhail.

nelson_c
5 years 4 months ago

Kicking in the salary difference netted them better prospects. The Jays still saved ~$9MM by not paying Doc his salary this year.

Encarnacion's Parrot
5 years 4 months ago

I’m pretty certain the Jays kicked in $6-million so the Phillies could fit Halladay into their budget for the 2010 season. Of course, after the deal the Phillies signed Polanco.. Another possibility is Halladay’s 2010 contract was $6-million higher than Lee’s?

nelson_c
5 years 4 months ago

Roy sort of painted the Jays into a corner. He would only go to a very short list of teams and only a few of those could afford him. Anthopolous collected a pretty decent haul considering the position he was in.