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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:17 pm

YANKEES FINISHING 3RD? DON'T COUNT ON IT!

[quote]
http://baseballsavant.blogspot.com/2008/01/yankees-finishing-3rd-dont-count-on-it.html


My man Steve over at Was Watching has himself in a tizzy about the possibility of the Yankees finishing in 3rd place in 2008. I for one can't see it, but this is a good exercise in logic that should lead you to the idea that the Yankees have a whole lot better chance of finishing 1st than they do 3rd. It started with this post about Ken Rosenthal saying that the Blue Jays have a chance, albeit not a great one of finishing ahead of the Yankees. Mr. Lombardi concluded with:

Me? I guess I would have to say, now, that I would not be shocked if the Yankees finished third this year – I can see their bullpen and the question marks in their rotation being a potential downfall. But, part of me still thinks that Joe Girardi will find a way to make the Yankees into a team that will win 90+ games this season.

I can't say I disagree here. The two biggest questions facing New York this season are the question marks in their rotation and the bullpen. The bigger question in my mind is that I'm not sure those question marks can cause so much havoc that it renders the the offense virtually meaningless. Also, it's not like the entire pitching staff has question marks.

Steve then posted an entry entitled Yanks Taking Big Gamble With Pitching This Year? in which he constructed a red/yellow/green light sheet about each of the players New York will be featuring this season. If you read my 2008 Yankees Season Preview, you can see that I pretty much came up with the same conclusions that Steve did about the individual players. Steve concluded by saying:

Basically, this report tells us that the Yankees are fine offensively this season. The big areas of concern for New York are Mussina and the kids in the rotation - and the bullpen in front of Mariano Rivera.

Last time I checked, 60% of your starting rotation and 85% of your bullpen are not areas where you want to have a lot of uncertainty if you want to be a contending team.

Again, I'm not in completely disagreement here. The theme however is clearly the question marks facing the Yankees rotation involving Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy added in with a suspect bullpen behind Mariano Rivera. I'll dispute this in a minute based on comparisons to the 2007 Yankees and RS/RA numbers, but Lombardi has more for us.

Lombardi then writes a piece entitled Yankees Bullpens 2001-2007. Basically Lombardi looked at each Yankees bullpen from 2001-2007 and figured up their RSAA (Runs Saved Above Average) as a unit. Go to the link if you want to see individual numbers, but all you really need to know is that the Yankees had a great bullpen in 2001, a pretty good one in 2002 & 2003 and awful bullpens in 2004, 2005 & 2006. Lombardi points out that the 2007 bullpen actually looks a lot like the pretty good 2002 bullpen regarding RSAA, but he also notes that it's almost entirely the work of Joba Chamberlain that made it so. This is a pretty big part of the argument I want to make, so just remember that Chamberlain is a force out of the bullpen.

Lombardi then writes a piece entitled "Media Bloggers Share Opinion On Yanks Hurlers" where Lombardi asked some guys in the mainstream media who have blogs about their concerns with the 2008 Yankees. Again, click on the link to get the specifics statements, but the main thrust is that every MSM blogger Lombardi got to respond had questions about the bullpen and the youngsters in the rotation. Lombardi concludes with:

Notice, in everyone's feedback, the words "question" or "questions" or "question mark" come up - when referring to the state of the Yankees pitching staff for the 2008 season.

Sure sounds like a consensus here, huh?

This is why I suspect we could be seeing an end to that run of 1st or 2nd place finishes for the Yankees (since 1993).

Thirty-one years ago, Earl Weaver, perhaps one of baseball's best managers ever, was quoted as saying: "Nobody likes to hear it, because it's dull. But, the reason you win or lose is darn near the same thing......pitching."

Earl was right. And, nothing has changed since that time. If the answers to all those "questions" on the 2008 Yankees pitching staff turn out to be unfavorable for New York, it's going to be a long "last" season in the "current" Yankee Stadium.

Lombardi actually updated this post with a response from Mark Feinsand who blogs at Blogging the Bombers and Feinsand essentially says the pitching isn't as bad as people think and the big problem might be what would happen to New York in the postseason rather than the regular season. I'm certainly inclined to think this way too about the Yankees. The postseason is pretty wild but if you are going into October, the best thing you can have is a top shelf front of the line rotation, which Wang & Pettitte probably aren't when compared to the possible Beckett/Schilling, Sabathia/Carmona, Verlander/Bonderman, Halladay/Burnett, Lackey/Escobar or Santana/Liriano duos they are likely to face when reaching the postseason. The offense can cure a lot of woes, but that kind of pitching up front is almost impossible to beat. That's the crux of the postseason regarding regular season success.

Lombardi concludes his recent analysis of the 2008 Yankees with a post talking about how David Pinto of Baseball Musings thinks the Yankees will be just fine offensively and that they'll be in for another season of at least 900 runs scored.

SO LET'S PUT ALL THIS TOGETHER !

Let's deal with the runs scored first. Since the Yankees started their incredible run of playoff berths in 1995, their lowest runs scored total has been 749 in 1995, which actually was the lowest runs per game average too lest you think the total was due to the shortened season, while their most runs scored was the 968 runs they scored in 2007. From 1995-2007, the Yankees have scored 900+ runs in 4 times, in 1998, 1999, 2006 & 2007. They made the playoffs all 4 times and in 1998 & 1999 they won the World Series.

So a big theme throughout so far is the Yankees ability to score 900 runs. From 1996-2007, the biggest dropoff the Yankees had in runs scored was 67 runs from 2000 to 2001. In 2000 the Yankees scored 871 runs while in 2001 they scored just 801 runs. If we look at this from a worst case scenario perspective, then the Yankees at worst, if the trend holds, will see a dropoff of 67 runs from 2007 which puts their RS totals in 2008 at 901. Thus, even in a worst case scenario the Yankees are still going to score 900+ runs even if it's just by a single run.

However, let look at their run differentials from 1996-2007 and take the absolute value of each difference and average them out. Over the 12-years, the Yankees on average have had a run differential from year-to-year of 44 runs. The sum of the absolute value of run differences was 481 runs divided by 11-years gives you the 44 runs. I rounded up from 43.7273. If we think that 44 runs will be in the negative for 2008 then we'd expect New York to score 924 runs. Still behind their 2007 numbers, but over 900 runs which is what the general consensus says about the 2008 Yankee offense.

Here is where the math gets fairly interesting. If you use Pythagorean, we can figure up how many runs allowed the Yankees would have to give up if they scored 901 & 924 runs in 2008 in order for them to come out at 90-wins.

Keep in mind that if the Yankees were to finish the season 90-72 that would give them a winning percentage of .556 so that is the Pythagorean winning percentage we are going for. If the Yankees were to score 901 runs, they'd have to allow 805 runs to have a Pythagorean of .556 which would predict a record of 90-72 based on run differential. New York would score 901 runs & allow 805 runs.

To put that in perspective, during the 1996-2007 run, the Yankees have allowed only that many runs twice. Back in 2004, the Yankees allowed 808 runs and in 2000 the Yankees allowed 814 runs. Keep in mind that in 2000 the Yankees won their 4th World Series in 5-years and in 2004, the Yankees had a 3-0 lead in the ALCS against the Red Sox before the roof absolutely caved in. Just like Boston, I doubt the St. Louis Cardinals would have been much of a match for New York so we are basically looking at a team that won the World Series in 2000 and a team that had to have fate intervene at the extreme level to prevent them from winning yet another World Series title.

Keep in mind that last year everyone thought New York's pitching siutation was in disarray and that it couldn't possibly get any worse. The 2007 Yankees allowed 777 runs. If they did a repeat performance while scoring 901 runs, the Yankees would be predicted to finish with a 93-69 record. I don' think that would be a 3rd place finishing.

On the other hand, what if New York keeps up with the average run difference over the past 12 years? That would mean New York would score 924 runs which means they'd have to allow 829 runs in 2007 to keep pace with a .556 winning percentage to finish 90-72. The last time the Yankees gave up that many runs was 1930 when the Bombers allowed 898 runs en route to an 86-68 record and a 3rd place finish. I think it's fairly safe to say that the Yankees are going to be hard pressed to allow 829 runs in 2008. That would be roughly equivalent to the pitching staffs of Texas, Seattle, Chicago and Baltimore in 2007! Sure there are question marks about the 2008 Yankees pitching staff, but the questions aren't so big that the Yankees devolve into the Orioles or Rangers for crying out loud!

If the Yankees were to score 924 runs but hold steady at the 777 runs they allowed in 2007, then that run differential would earmark New York to finish 95-67. Another record that would hardly push New York to 3rd place in the AL East.

The bottom line is that whether New York scored 901 or 924 runs in 2008, it most likely will be the best offense in baseball and that goes a long way towards winning. Sure it's only 50% of the equation, but the next 50% of the equation is where it gets interesting because this is where all the question marks come up.

CAN THE 2008 YANKEES STAFF DO BETTER THAN THE 2007 YANKEES STAFF?

This is where I think Steve at Was Watching gets a bit nervous. I don't think you can look at the Yankees staff as they stand now and be that nervous. If we are observing New York on a continum, then we have to look at New York based on how we'll they'll do following up the performance they gave in 2007. Keep in mind that the 777 runs the Yankees allowed in 2007 ranked 7th in the AL. That isn't great, but it's not horrible either when your offense ranks 1st in the league. Ranking 1st in RS and 7th in RA virtually guarantees a playoff spot unless you are just horribly unlucky a la the 2006 Cleveland Indians.

The big question is to whether or not the Yankees can improve upon the numbers they put up in 2007? We know that Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang are going to be the bulldogs of the rotation. I think this is the first point that we have to think about. Both pitchers have to have 200IP+ seasons and both have to clock in for 34-36 starts this year. Both should reach 36 starts if Girardi went with the strict 4-days rest rotation intead of 4-games rest rotation. Who knows how that'll work, but if Girardi did this, then New York would be a lot better off. It would limit the IP of both Hughes & Kennedy and also limit Mussina's starts and give him a better shot at being effective over the cousre of the season.

But if Pettitte or Wang go down and can't pitch then basically all bets are off and New York is screwed. But after those two, it gets interesting. Let's take a look at how the starters outside of Wang, Mussina (I'll get to him later) and Pettitte did in 2007:

Clemens: 17GS, 98IP-98H-51R-45ER-30BB-67K-9HR, 4.13ERA, 1.306WHIP
Hughes: 13GS, 72.7IP-64H-39R-36ER-29BB-58K-8HR, 4.46ERA, 1.279WHIP
Igawa: 12GS, 61.3IP-73H-48R-47ER-33BB-47K-15HR, 6.90ERA, 1.729WHIP
Rasner: 6GS, 24.7IP-29H-14R-11ER-8BB-11K-4HR, 4.01ERA, 1.498WHIP
DeSalvo: 6GS, 27.7IP-32H-17R-16ER-16BB-10K-2HR, 5.20ERA, 1.733WHIP
Clipparrd: 6GS, 27IP-29H-19R-19ER-17BB-18K-6HR, 6.33ERA, 1.704WHIP
Karstens: 3GS, 7.3IP-16H-12R-12ER-6BB-2K-2HR, 14.79ERA, 3.014WHIP
Kennedy: 3GS, 19IP-13H-6R-4ER-9BB-15K-1HR, 1.89ERA, 1.158WHIP
Pavano: 2GS, 11.3IP-12H-7R-6ER-2BB-4K-1HR, 4.78ERA, 1.239WHIP
Wright: 2GS, 8IP-10H-7R-7ER-6BB-6K-5HR, 7.88ERA, 2.000WHIP
Henn: 1GS, 3IP-1H-1R-1ER-1BB-2K-1HR, 3.00ERA, 0.667WHIP

TOTAL: 71GS, 360IP-377H-221R-205ER-157BB-240K-54HR, 5.13ERA, 1.483WHIP
TOTAL RATIOS: 9.4H/9, 6.0K/9, 1.5K:BB, 3.9BB/9, 1.4HR/9

Counting Mussina, Pettitte, & Wang as mainstays in the rotation, you've got 11 guys trying to fill two slots and doing so poorly. If you add in Mussina's totals, then the numbers look like this:

TOTAL: 118GS, 508.3IP-558H-309R-290ER-192BB-330K-68HR, 5.13ERA, 1.476WHIP
TOTAL RATIOS: 9.9H/9, 5.8K/9, 1.7K:BB, 3.4BB/9, 1.2HR/9

We're looking at almost identical numbers here meaning the Yankees outside of Wang & Pettitte in the starting rotation was less than stellar. Let's take a look at the playoff teams and their starting pitching outside of their top-2 starters. We'll look at the ratios, ERA and IP numbers:

NYY: 508.3IP, 9.9H/9, 5.8K/9, 1.7K:BB, 3.4BB/9, 1.2HR/9, 5.13ERA (wang&pettitte)
BOS: 586.3IP, 9.2H/9, 5.8K/9, 2.0K:BB, 2.9BB/9, 1.1HR/9, 4.47ERA (beckett&dice-K)
CLE: 565.3IP, 10.4H/9, 4.8K/9, 2.0K:BB, 2.4BB/9, 1.1HR/9, 5.03ERA (c.c. & carmona)
LAA: 556.7IP, 10.7H/9, 6.6K/9, 2.3K:BB, 2.9BB/9, 1.1HR/9, 5.00ERA (lackey & escobar)
TOR: 607.7IP, 9.2H/9, 5.8K/9, 2.0K:BB, 2.9BB/9, 1.3HR/9, 4.58ERA (doc & burnett)
DET: 556IP, 10.0H/9, 5.3K/9, 1.4K:BB, 3.7BB/9, 1.3HR/9, 4.95ERA (verlander & bonderman)
SEA: 544.7IP, 11.3H/9, 5.3K/9, 1.6K:BB, 3.2BB/9, 1.1HR/9, 5.88ERA (king & washburn)

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:17 pm

These are the 7 teams that probably were the best 7 in 2007 or at least had playoff aspirations at one point in time. For clarity's sake I put in parentheses the pitchers I excluded as being the top-2 starters)

As you can see, it didn't work out so well for the Yankees. The only team with a higher ERA was Seattel and the Mariners were playing well over Pythagorean all season long so they were more mirage that substance last season. Another thing to notice is the number if innings pitched the other teams had relative to the Yankees. If we are going by number of pitchers used in the 3-4-5 slots, the Yankees used 11 different pitchers for the backend of their rotation. That was the most of any of the above 7 teams. The Yankees had more turnover and less IP meaning there was no firm rotation that the staff could get into a groove with and not only that, but the bullpen was being taxed a lot more heavily than you would like.

Here is something else to keep in mind regarding the Yankees bullpen. If you take out Chamberlain and Rivera, here is how the bullpen stacked up in 2007:

NYY: 434.3IP-423H-251R-230ER-242BB-327K-52HR, 4.77ERA, 1.531WHIP
NYY RATIOS: 8.8H/9, 6.3K/9, 1.4K:BB, 4.7BB/9, 1.0HR/9

Clearly that isn't great. But again we can look at the other teams and shutout their top two relievers. It gets tough for New York because Chamberlain was one of their best relievers and the Yankees only got him for 24IP. You can definitely tell what this does to a baseball team by looking at the 2007 Detroit Tigers who had to go through almost the entire season without Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. Let's take a look at the ratios again among the 7 teams:

NYY: 434.3IP, 8.8H/9, 6.3K/9, 1.4K:BB, 4.7BB/9, 1.0HR/9, 4.77ERA (joba & rivera)
BOS: 319.7IP, 8.2H/9, 6.5K/9, 1.6K:BB, 3.9BB/9, 0.8HR/9, 3.52ERA (papelbon & okajima)
CLE: 301.3IP, 10.1H/9, 7.7K/9, 1.9K:BB, 4.1BB/9, 1.0HR/9, 4.72ERA (betancourt & perez)
LAA: 314.3IP, 8.7H/9, 7.0K/9, 2.2K:BB, 3.2BB/9, 1.2HR/9, 4.64ERA (k-rod & shields)
TOR: 324.7IP, 8.4H/9, 6.9K/9, 2.1K:BB, 3.3BB/9, 0.7HR/9, 3.96ERA (downs & accardo)
DET: 403.3IP, 8.9H/9, 6.9K/9, 1.7K:BB, 4.0BB/9, 0.9HR/9, 4.40ERA (jones & rodney)
SEA: 366IP, 9.1H/9, 7.1K/9, 1.6K:BB, 4.5BB/9, 0.7HR/9, 4.48ERA (putz & green)

As you can see, the Yankees were thin here. What's amazing is how many innings the Yankees were getting out of subpar relievers. Even taking out everyone's top-2 relievers, the Yankees still have the worst ERA, the worst K/9, the worst K:BB, the worst control, and the worst ERA. Not only that, but New York was getting this from almost 100 more IP on average than the other teams, which goes back to the subpar performances from the backend of their rotations.

Just looking at these numbers, you can see massive pitching problems from the Yankees when compared to the other teams in the AL who were playing for playoff spots. Detroit's pen was regularly regarded to be in shambles for most of the year, yet their bullpen outside of Todd Jones & Fernando Rodney was better than New York's when taking about Chamberlain and Rivera.

When you have terrible backend of the rotation starters giving way to terrible middle of the bullpen relievers, then you aren't in for a very good ride. That the Yankees were able to go 94-68 with a Pythagorean record of 97-65 gives testament to just how good the offense was last year combined with 4 good pitchers in Pettitte, Wang, Rivera and Chamberlain, but keep in mind that Chamberlain didn't even get into a major league game until August 7th!

One more thing I wanted to point out about the 2007 Yankees is the stamina of their starting pitchers. We've already looked at the backend starters and the bullpen, but how well does Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang stack up to the other top-2 starters from the contending teams in regards to IP/GS?

Pettitte/Wang: 412.7IP in 64GS = 6.4IP/GS
Beckett/Matsuzaka: 405.3IP in 62GS = 6.5IP/GS
Carmona/Sabathia: 456IP in 66GS = 6.9IP/GS
Lackey/Escobar: 419.7IP in 63GS = 6.7IP/GS
Burnett/Halladay: 391IP in 56GS = 7.0IP/GS
Verlander/Bonderman: 376IP in 60GS = 6.3IP/GS
Hernandez/Washburn: 384IP in 62GS = 6.2IP/GS

That's not terrible for New York. They got more IP out of their top-2 starters than Boston, Toronto, Detroit & Seattle and had more IP/GS than both Detroit & Seattle. The outliers here are Cleveland & Toronto but Sabathia & Halladay are horses as is Burnett. The Blue Jays are exceptionally interesting when you give them a healthy Burnett & Halladay along with upstart Dustin McGowan. I can see where some think Toronto could finish in 2nd place, especially with that good bullpen they have, but I'm still concerned about the offense and who can predict the health of AJ Burnett or Roy Halladay for that matter. Either way, you can't come down too hard on Pettitte and Wang here. I would think those numbers need to go towards what the Angels got out of Escobar & Lackey though to protect the young arms and if the Yankees went on a 4-days rest rotation then those total IP numbers could reach what Cleveland got out of their top-2 easily.

OK OK WE GET THE NUMBERS! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR 2008?

Offensively I think it means good things. I agree that the Yankees should be in for 900+ runs. That should be good enough for best or 2nd best in the AL given the offense that Detroit has built! One thing is for certain is that both Detroit & New York look to have incredible offenses this season. I'm not so sure the offense will go down too much in the Bronx. I think you could see better years from Jeter, Cano, Giambi, Abreu & Matsui. You have to think Posada is going to regress a bit as will A-Rod, but again there is a lot of light shining on A-Rod and if he's comfortable, we all see what happened in 2007. A-Rod's legacy is cemented during the regular season and now his only real season comes in October.

That leaves the pitching staff. Frankly I just don't see it being as bad as people suppose it might be. Are there question marks? Absolutely, but thing about these few things:

1. The starting pitching is a lot more intact than in 2007

Wang & Pettitte are mainstays, but Kennedy & Hughes are now in the rotation fulltime. Last season Hughes probably had a blessing in disguise as his hamstring forced him on the DL, but don't forget that Hughes was regarded as the best pitching prospect in baseball heading into 2007. He pitched 73IP last season and him getting to 15oIP shouldn't be a problem. Hughes' rate stats were pretty good and remember that he only got two starts before being forced to the DL and then struggled with his arm being out of shape.

The other youngster is Ian Kennedy. Kennedy started out in the Florida State League and forced his way into New York where he made 3 starts and posted a 1.89ERA in his major league cup of coffee. Kennedy threw about 165IP in 2007 between the minors and majors so asking him to give 150-160IP at the major league level should be expected. Kennedy is going to be 23-years old so I think he's up for the challenge.

2. Can Mike Mussina be as bad as he was in 2007?

It's easy to forget that in 2006, Mussina went 15-7 in 197.3IP and posted an ERA+ of 129! He came off of that 2006 to post the worst season of his major league career in 2007! His 87 ERA+ was by far the worst of his career and his 5.15ERA was by far the worst too. The big question then becomes how Mussina can do moving forward in 2008. Can he possibly be as bad as he was in 2007? Steve from Was Watching gives us his prediction on Mussina for 2008 here. He's got Mussina with a 27GS, 157IP, 12-10 record and a 4.60ERA.



Essentially he's saying Mussina is going to have a year like he did in 2004-2005 but through 157IP. Lombardi asks if Yankees fans would be happy with this and I would have to say yes. I think the thing here is that Mussina simply has to be better. That projection would be better than the 2007 version. One thing about Mussina is that he's a competitor. At 250 wins and 39-years of age, Mussina theoretically needs 5 more years in the big leagues to reach 300 wins. I don't know if he wants it, but there isn't a better team to pitch in front of than the Yankees when it comes to run support so Mussina really needs to dig deep here to get the wins. Not only that, but this is Mussina's last year in New York and the goal of winning a World Series title in New York has yet to come true. It might not in 2008 either given the circumstances, but I really believe Mussina could be a lynch pin of this Yankees team. How well he does could take pressure off the young starters and give the bullpen some rest. I'm not saying he has to go out and throw 200IP, but if he can give New York quality innings during the time he's there, then that would give the pen another day to rest up for Hughes & Kennedy.

I don't think Mussina can be as bad as he was in 2007. I guess it could happen, but good grief!

3. The bullpen will get a full year of Joba Chamberlain instead of 2 months.

Obviously you can't say Chamberlain is going to throw 80IP of 0.38ERA the way he did over 24IP in 2007, but if the Yankees are serious in keeping his innings limited and are serious about Chamberlain becoming a starting pitcher, then there will be no problems getting Joba 80-90IP in 2008. Mussina has to show he can stay in the rotation to help Chamberlain be a mainstay in the bullpen all year long, but Chamberlain in the bullpen all year takes massive pressure off of everyone else and combines with Rivera to probably have the best 8-9 IP duo in all of baseball. The best part about Chamberlain in the pen is that it takes the other pitchers back a spot. Kyle Farnsworth isn't the bridge to Rivera anymore. Farnsworth & Hawkins can battle it out between the 6th & 7th innings and guys like Ohlendorf and Veras can be in there too. Guys like Brian Bruney, Tyler Clippard, Chris Britton, Jeff Karstens, and Darrell Rasner can battle it out for a spot in the pen, but with Ohlendorf & Veras probably making the team, the Yankees all of a sudden don't look horrible with Chamberlain in relief full time. That would give them a bullpen of potentially:

Rivera, Chamberlain, Farnsworth, Hawkins, Veras, Ohlendorf and somebody filling in the 7th spot in the pen!

THE BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line is that you can't get around the question marks in New York, but the talent is certainly not questionable. At the end of the day, will the bullpen be better with Chamberlain there full time Absolutely! Signing Hawkins isn't horrible and Ohlendorf gets another year under his belt along with Veras and the bullpen slowly gains experience while you have arguably the best closer and a couple of veterans in Hawkins and Farnsworth down in the pen. All New York really has to do is be better than in 2007 and it seems fairly obvious they've done this.

The other thought is that even with Kennedy, Hughes & Mussina at the backend of the rotation, it can't possibly be worse than the backend of the rotation for New York in 2007. At least if the youngsters stay healthy there will be some stability in the rotation and even if those 3 pitch to league average results over a full season, it'll be a big improvement over the 2007 rotation.

And that is what you have to keep in mind. Are the 2008 Yankees better than the 2007 Yankees? My thought is that they are. The 2007 Yankees won 94 games and were 3 under Pythagorean. If the 2008 Yankees can win 94 games and be 3 over Pythagorean then that's a 97-win season which won't come close to finishing in 3rd place in the AL East.

The only thing to worry about is injuries and that is a problem for every team. Right now, the talk should be about the potential for New York to add another championship rather than to finish in 3rd place.[/quote]

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:24 pm

kjsnyder, If we get Santana without having to give up more than one of the young starters (hughes, kennedy, Chamberlain) then we'll be ok....if not, then we roll the dice with a rotation of: Wang, Pettitte, and those three (or Mussina whichever represents a better number 5) and know that if we can't make the playoffs in 2008 it's because the Boss resisted Cashman's desire to build young talent (particularly pitching) from within (until recently). Now we have all three of these guys that don't have a ton of MLB experience at once, whereas if this was an ongoing policy (development from within) then we wouldn't have had to do a 'big bang' approach. Still, let's remember that the starting rotation for the Yanks last year was a mess and they still slugged their way to the post season....maybe even with the young guys we'll do as well or better and hope they have pick up some seasoning to bring us past the first round


I'm glad to see we have kept the D intact, but i'm a little sketchy going into the season with 3 guys with less than a yr experience. We have to bolster the starters if we are to compete with Boston. As far as first base. Dougie M is the best defensive option with Damon in left and Matsui D


Bulletin to ESPN: All the other sports outlets have been reporting for hours that he Yankees and Cano have already agreed to terms: A four-year, $30 million contract with two option years. One in 2012 for $13 million and the other in 2013 for about $15 million. The deal is actually for $28 million, but includes a two million buy-out, bringing the total to $30 million. My guess is it's also slightly back loaded for luxury-tax purposes this year. No problem ESPN. Just send me a check for breaking news for you.

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:35 pm

1. Jay Bruce, of, Reds (1)
2. Clay Buchholz, rhp, Red Sox (2)
3. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, Yankees (3)
4. Evan Longoria, 3b, Rays (4)
5. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers (5)
6. Mike Moustakas, ss, Royals (6)
7. Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals (7)
8. Cameron Maybin, of, Marlins (Cool
9. Travis Snider, of, Blue Jays (9)
10. Franklin Morales, lhp, Rockies (11)
11. Rick Porcello, rhp, Tigers (13)
12. Brandon Wood, ss/3b, Angels (14)
13. Matt Wieters, c, Orioles (15)
14. Angel Villalona, 3b/1b, Giants (19)
15. Fernando Martinez, of, Mets (23)
16. Matt LaPorta, of, Brewers (25)
17. Andrew McCutchen, of, Pirates (27)
18. Carlos Gonzalez, of, Athletics (28)
19. Jordan Schafer, of, Braves (31)
20. Jeff Clement, c, Mariners (32)
21. Chris Marrero, 1b/of, Nationals (35)
22. Elvis Andrus, ss, Rangers (37)
23. Adam Miller, rhp, Indians (38)
24. Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs (43)
25. J.R. Towles, c, Astros (47)
26. Chase Headley, 3b, Padres (50)
27. Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks (NR)
28. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies (NR)
29. Nick Blackburn, rhp, Twins (NR)
30. Aaron Poreda, lhp, White Sox (NR)

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:37 pm

Did anyone catch Olney’s latest comments about Johan? Curiouser and curiouser….

>>Buster Olney on Johan’s warning signs: I talked with evaluators and scouts with three other teams since then, and they all saw the exact same thing in Santana: diminishment in velocity, relatively few sliders thrown, subpar (for Santana) performances. But two of the three believe the regression could be attributed to the Twins not being in the race, Minnesota not playing in a high-adrenalin situation, and Santana coping with a cracked nail. The third evaluator wonders, too, if Santana is OK. “If a deal is made, you could see there would be a complete physical, given the money involved,” said the evaluator.


“Just read this q&a with Jim Callis. He has the Yanks missing the playoffs! Foo-ee!”

Every year these so called experts have the Yankees missing the playoffs, last year Olney was predicting they’d miss the playoffs along with a bunch of other ESPN pundits. Eventually one of them has to be right, it’s the law of averages.


BA had a debate about Joba/Clay in the prospect rankings. It was split down the middle, but two panelists were very vocal about their choices. Jim Callis was pro-Buchholz. His views may be more in line with Peter Gammons than the one or two guys who actualy look at the Yankees without a jaundiced eye.

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 2:38 pm

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2008/265522.html

If you have a question, send it to askba@baseballamerica.com. Please include your full name and hometown if you'd like your letter to be considered for use in an upcoming column. Also, please understand that we can't respond to every question.

By Jim Callis
January 25, 2008
E-mail Print

In case you missed it, Ben Badler unveiled an interesting breakdown of the hardest-throwing prospects, according to the reports in the 2008 Prospect Handbook. And if you'll allow me to plug another area on our site, our College Preview coverage is underway with our Top 25 rankings, even if the NCAA Division I season won't start until Feb. 22.

Now on to your questions . . .

Would you rank the No. 1 prospects for each team when all the lists come out? It would be interesting to see how they stack up, because obviously some teams' No. 2 and 3 prospects are better than other clubs' No. 1s.

Kevin Creagh
Glenshaw, Pa.

The new Prospect Handbook is in our hands (and hopefully yours, if you've ordered from us) and the issue with the American League West Top 10s has been sent to the printer, so now's as good a time as any. The rankings consider the No. 1 prospects in the systems as of today. For instance, Carlos Gonzalez was a Diamondback in the NL West issue and the Handbook, but he's an Athletic for the purposes of this list.

1. Jay Bruce, of, Reds (1)
2. Clay Buchholz, rhp, Red Sox (2)
3. Joba Chamberlain, rhp, Yankees (3)
4. Evan Longoria, 3b, Rays (4)
5. Clayton Kershaw, lhp, Dodgers (5)
6. Mike Moustakas, ss, Royals (6)
7. Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals (7)
8. Cameron Maybin, of, Marlins (Cool
9. Travis Snider, of, Blue Jays (9)
10. Franklin Morales, lhp, Rockies (11)
11. Rick Porcello, rhp, Tigers (13)
12. Brandon Wood, ss/3b, Angels (14)
13. Matt Wieters, c, Orioles (15)
14. Angel Villalona, 3b/1b, Giants (19)
15. Fernando Martinez, of, Mets (23)
16. Matt LaPorta, of, Brewers (25)
17. Andrew McCutchen, of, Pirates (27)
18. Carlos Gonzalez, of, Athletics (28)
19. Jordan Schafer, of, Braves (31)
20. Jeff Clement, c, Mariners (32)
21. Chris Marrero, 1b/of, Nationals (35)
22. Elvis Andrus, ss, Rangers (37)
23. Adam Miller, rhp, Indians (38)
24. Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs (43)
25. J.R. Towles, c, Astros (47)
26. Chase Headley, 3b, Padres (50)
27. Jarrod Parker, rhp, Diamondbacks (NR)
28. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Phillies (NR)
29. Nick Blackburn, rhp, Twins (NR)
30. Aaron Poreda, lhp, White Sox (NR)

The numbers in parentheses indicate where I ranked the players on my personal Top 50 overall prospects list in the Handbook. As you can see, four teams didn't put a prospect on my Top 50, though I agonized over leaving Jarrod Parker off and Carlos Carrasco narrowly missed the cut. If the White Sox hadn't made the Nick Swisher trade, Gio Gonzalez would have been 24th on the list, but he went from No. 1 in Chicago to No. 2 in Oakland.

The highest-ranking No. 2 prospect for a team was Reds righthander Homer Bailey, who came in at No. 10 on my Top 50. The top No. 3, 4 and 5 prospects were all Devil Rays: lefty Jake McGee (No. 17), righty Wade Davis (No. 18) and shortstop Reid Brignac (No. 26).

If a team has a top-five pick, it obviously has a lot of urgent needs to fill. Why then, would a team picking in the top five, or even the top 10, draft a high school kid? Chances are, the kid won't be ready for at least three or four years. Shouldn't a team with a top-five pick go after a college player who presumably should be ready for the majors sooner?

Tim Carroll
Richmond, Va.

I couldn't disagree more. If a team is picking near the top of the draft, it usually isn't in a quick-fix solution. What matters most is drafting the best available player and not worrying about how long it will take to get him to the majors.

There's also a misconception that college players rocket to the majors while high schoolers dawdle for years in the minors. That's just not true. Though the collegians are three or four years older than prepsters, they only get to the big leagues, on average, about 18-24 months quicker. The very best high school players advance very quickly.

In the 2001-05 drafts, 11 high schoolers went in the first five picks. B.J. and Justin Upton both reached the majors in the midst of their second full pro seasons. Delmon Young could have done the same had the Rays not decided to keep him from accumulating service time toward arbitration and free agency. Joe Mauer began his third full season in the big leagues. Gavin Floyd and Adam Loewen got there within three years of signing.

Upton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft and the only high schooler in the first nine picks. But the first round also included Cameron Maybin, who already has played in the majors, and Jay Bruce and Colby Rasmus, who could be Opening Day starters in 2008.

To be fair, there have been top-five prep picks who have disappointed, such as Floyd; Chris Gruler, Clint Everts and Mark Rogers, all pitchers who got hurt; and Chris Lubanski and Matt Bush, who were overdrafts. But there have been plenty of underachieving college top-five choices as well. That's just the nature of the draft.

Please explain to me why teams are given picks in this year's draft for failure to sign last year's draft choices? Isn't that a risk you take with each pick? Which rounds qualify for this? It makes no sense to me.

Dan Arace
El Dorado Hills, Calif.

MLB doesn't hand teams the compensation pick to give them a consolation prize. Rather, it's to strengthen the bargaining position of clubs, plain and simple. Otherwise, players and agents would have more leverage, as teams would have to make sure they signed their picks or else get absolutely nothing.

As I mentioned in the Jan. 13 Ask BA, the rule was a response to Pete Incaviglia's holdout in 1985. He didn't want to play in Montreal after the Expos drafted him eighth overall, and he signed only after extracting an agreement that he'd be traded immediately to the Rangers.

Starting in 1986, teams received a supplemental first-round choice in the next draft if they failed to land their first-rounder. That came into play immediately, as the Red Sox gambled with the No. 14 overall choice. They took Brockton (Mass.) High outfielder Greg McMurtry, who had a price tag of $225,000 (which would have set a draft record at the time) and a football scholarship from Michigan. McMurtry didn't sign, played both sports for the Wolverines and ultimately spent five years in the NFL as a wide receiver. Boston got the No. 32 choice in 1987 and selected Bob Zupcic.

As draft bonuses have continued to rise, MLB has looked for ways to give more bargaining power to the teams. Thus the compensation rules changed again, starting with the 2007 draft. Teams that don't sign a pick in the first two rounds now get the choice after the corresponding selection in the next draft. Clubs that don't get a deal done with a third-rounder get a supplemental third-rounder.

The new rules will result in six extra choices in the 2008 draft. The Braves (pick No. 69a) and Red Sox (No. 84a) failed to sign their second-rounders last year, while the Phillies (No. 106), Astros (No. 107), Padres (No. 108) and Angels (No. 109) couldn't lock up their third-rounders.

« Jan. 18 Ask BA

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 5:35 pm

AP Interview with Hankie Panky

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-thenewboss&prov=ap&type=lgns


Yankees boss Hank Steinbrenner promises patience (really), but team better win



TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Hank Steinbrenner sat behind his desk and looked out at empty Legends Field, where all was quiet and calm.

Over and over again, he emphasized his philosophy -- the New York Yankees' new doctrine -- of tolerance, of deliberation, of long-term planning. That, however, only goes so far.

He is, after all, a Steinbrenner.

"I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There's no question about that because I know how these players develop," he said. "But as far as missing the playoffs -- if we miss the playoffs by the end of this year, I don't know how patient I'll be. But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else."

Spring training was three weeks away, and the first warning had been issued.

ADVERTISEMENT
Meet the new boss. Not exactly the same as the old boss, but still a lot alike.

Since October's first-round loss to Cleveland, George Steinbrenner has stepped aside and turned management of baseball's most-storied team over to his two sons -- 50-year-old Hank and 39-year-old Hal.

George Steinbrenner, now 77, does show up at the office most days, hungry for World Series title No. 27. His health appeared to deteriorate after he collapsed in December 2003 during a memorial service for football great Otto Graham in Sarasota, Fla., and again in October 2006 while watching his granddaughter perform in a play at Chapel Hill, N.C.

He hardly spoke in public the last two seasons, preferring to issue grandiose statements through his spokesman.

"I got to spend a lot more time with him than the other kids. It's been tough for all of us, though," Hank Steinbrenner said. "As a father he was great, as a boss he was ..."

He paused and started to chuckle.

"Everybody knows how he was as a boss."

The standard for hyperactive, hyperventilating, hyper just about everything. No detail was too small to get involved in. No word was left unsaid.

Fire this guy! Trade that guy! Blast this one in the tabloids!

Steinbrenner grew up watching the show. He even traveled with the team for parts of the 1985 and 1986 seasons, learning under Lou Piniella, Woody Woodward and Clyde King, before getting out of baseball and concentrating on Kinsman Farm, the Steinbrenner thoroughbred stable in Ocala.

His dad repeatedly tried to lure him back to the Yankees, saying it was time to "let the young elephants into the tent."

Steinbrenner, like most people, didn't believe it.

"He just couldn't do it," he said. "It didn't matter to me. I was doing other stuff at the time. This is something that was just a necessity now.

"We're keepers of the flame, I guess," he concluded.

Steinbrenner has a spacious office on the third-base side of Legends Field, an autographed 1978 World Series ball next to a family photo on his desk, a poster of Babe Ruth on one wall and an Alex Rodriguez commemorative 500th home run bat mounted behind him. A miniature drag racer -- he drives -- is on the front of the desk, and a Fender Stratocaster guitar is on the floor near the door. He can walk out to a terrace every once in a while to catch a smoke.

Wearing a light blue polo shirt and navy blazer -- not his father's ever-present white turtleneck -- Steinbrenner spoke for two hours Thursday about his plans and goals for a team that figures to be different this year with Joe Girardi replacing Joe Torre as manager after seven seasons without a World Series title.

Steinbrenner has become more the voice of the Yankees than Bob Sheppard, speaking out on possible trades and signings, ruminating each week on the status of talks to acquire Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins.

"I don't particularly necessarily enjoy it. It was kind of thrust upon me. At some point, if you're going to be a leader, you've got to step up and you can't hide in the office," he said. "Unless it can directly affect negotiations, the fans do deserve to know what's going on. There's no problem with that. Whether other people have a problem with that, I really don't give a damn. They don't buy the tickets, all right?"

Brian Cashman, the general manager since late 1997, prefers not to comment on moves until they are finalized. Steinbrenner realizes that.

"There's a famous line from the movie 'Patton' where Patton has gotten himself in trouble again by saying something to the press. And he told his aide, his captain, 'The next time I start to do something like that stop me,"' Steinbrenner said. "Then the guy says, 'Well, I'll give you a gentle nudge.' And he says, 'No, you give me a swift kick in the ass.' So I told Brian that one time."

Sure sounds like his father there.

"Hal is more reserved than George," said Howard Rubenstein, the longtime family and Yankees spokesman. "Hank is really a pretty accurate reflection. When I first saw the pictures in the paper, I had to do a double take."

Like his father, Hank Steinbrenner will defend the Yankees against other teams envious of their winning and wealth. He was angered after the release of the Mitchell Report, which implicated 20 present and former Yankees in the use of steroids and human growth hormone. Some questioned whether the Yankees' run of four World Series titles in five years from 1996-2000 was drug-fueled.

"Don't make any mistake about it: Our team in the late 90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody," he said. "And they had just as many players doing stuff -- all the teams. I guarantee you go through every team in baseball, and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us. You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a ... break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else."

Although his father was an assistant college football coach, Steinbrenner's background is more soccer -- he played at Central Methodist and coached at Ocala Vanguard High.

In the early 1990s, the Yankees were approached to buy a 33 percent interest in England's Tottenham Hotspur for about $32 million. New York passed, a decision Hank regrets.

He'd be interested in purchasing Tottenham or maybe Nottingham Forest -- for the right price. He has no desire to add an NFL, NBA or NHL team to the Steinbrenner family holdings.

"The only thing would be a soccer team, a major soccer team in Europe, probably at this point preferably in the Premier League. That's always a possibility for me," he said. "We'll just have to see what happens."

Soccer passion aside, Steinbrenner admits there's a lot of his father in him. He went to Culver Military Academy in Indiana, a school four generations of Steinbrenners have attended. He loved history, just as his father and grandfather did, thought growing up that he'd want to be a senator, and mentions his admiration for Jefferson, Lincoln and Kennedy.

"If I didn't get my schoolwork done I'd be in study hall, but I'd be reading Churchill's memoirs or I'd be reading the racing form," he said. "You know -- sneaking."

He was 15 when his father led a group that bought the Yankees from CBS in 1973 for a net price of $8.7 million net price. Now, it's a business that took in $415 million last year.

His title is senior vice president of the Yankees, while brother Hal is chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, the holding company for the franchise and its approximately 35 percent stake in the YES Network. The duo will wind up as the team's two general partners, according to Hank Steinbrenner, who is leaving the titles up to the lawyers.

In the current structure, team president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost report to the brothers, with frequent conference calls. When player decisions are involved, Cashman joins in. George Steinbrenner is the elder counselor.

"Their strengths complement each other, and the philosophy and commitment that their father established and continues to advocate has not changed," Levine said. "No three people are identical. They all have their individual traits and qualities. George Steinbrenner is a historical figure, and I think with a little more experience, they can be everything their dad is."

Rubenstein has noticed a difference in the way decisions have been made. For years, Rubenstein would have to talk George Steinbrenner out of impetuous decisions and statements. The brothers don't adhere to their father's speak first, then think method.

"George was George. There was only King George," Rubenstein said. "Now there's a lot of discussion back and forth. I see there's a real consensus there."

After days of deliberation last October, the group decided to offer Torre a contract to return for a 13th season as manager -- with a paycut. When Torre rejected it, terming it "an insult," Hank Steinbrenner fired back and told the New York Post: "Where was Joe's career in '95 when my dad hired him?"

"I just, you know, lost my cool and probably said some things I shouldn't have said. But they were valid points. It's reality. But the bottom line is it was stupid," he said, looking back. "I don't want to criticize Joe. He was obviously an extremely effective manager for us. He was perfect for that team at that time."

On Cashman's recommendation, the team hired Girardi over fan favorite Don Mattingly, captain of those 1980s teams that always fell short.

Girardi's Yankees will be different than Torre's. Steinbrenner specifically mentions he will be excellent with his handling of young pitchers such as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy.

"I think he's got a little bit of fire to him," Steinbrenner said. "Hopefully a good cross between Billy Martin and Joe Torre, like right in the middle there somewhere."

It's clear Steinbrenner is a great admirer of Martin, the manager his father hired and got rid of five times from 1975-88. He wishes he would have had more time to speak with Martin, who died in a Christmas car crash in 1989.

He was impressed with Martin's knowledge of rules and strategy, and with his love of the pinstripes, calling him "the Bobby Knight of baseball."

"Billy, he could have had an 'NY' branded on his forehead and he wouldn't have minded. There was nobody that loved the Yankees more than Billy did or as much."

He's also a great admirer of A-Rod, saying he will be a leader of the Yankees in the next few years along with team captain Derek Jeter.

Still, if he had one player to send to the plate with the season on the line, it wouldn't be Jeter. It wouldn't be A-Rod. It wouldn't even be Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson.

Steinbrenner would send up Mattingly.

"I'm no super scout or super expert, but he's the greatest clutch hitter I've ever seen since we've owned the team, anywhere in baseball," Steinbrenner said. "Reggie was more just strictly home runs, though. A lot of strikeouts as well. I'm not so sure seventh game of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, if I wouldn't want Mattingly up there ahead of anybody else. The only other two would be Reggie and Brett, George Brett. But was far as getting any kind of hit necessary, Mattingly would be your guy."

Steinbrenner plans to be in New York a lot during the regular season. He'll stay at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, just like his father. He'll use his dad's office at Yankee Stadium.

And George Steinbrenner remains involved. Hank Steinbrenner said the job of consigliere suits him well.

"He's here every day usually. He'll take his time coming in, but he's here every day. He'll read his mail. He'll read the clippings. Then I'll go in, and we'll talk quite a bit about certain things," Hank said. "I don't want to get into what. Obviously, Santana is one."

He's uncertain how far to go for Santana. But he's content to head into the 2008 season going with the kids. Chamberlain might start the season as a setup man before moving into the rotation, but that's up to Girardi.

"There's no pressure from me. I don't care if Chamberlain or Hughes or Kennedy have four bad starts in a row," Steinbrenner said. "A lot of the fans seem to want to keep all our young pitchers, and that's great. I think that's fantastic. But they've got to remember that later on if these guys go through growing pains, don't turn against them all of a sudden."

Wait though. Even with that, there is the bottom line.

"You've got to win," he said. "Otherwise, there's no reason being in it."

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:11 pm

GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP


This is a pretty great line....

"There's no pressure from me. I don't care if Chamberlain or Hughes or Kennedy have four bad starts in a row," Steinbrenner said. "A lot of the fans seem to want to keep all our young pitchers, and that's great. I think that's fantastic. But they've got to remember that later on if these guys go through growing pains, don't turn against them all of a sudden."

I like this interview a lot.....Makes me like Hank just a little more.

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:18 pm

Giuseppe Franco in Procede Commercial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nDiGqloDSY

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:42 pm

Patriots will try to exploit Giants Safeties. I think Giants' weakness is their safeties.

They’re pretty good. They’re pretty good. They’re strong, they’re athletic. The two ends are real good and they’re good inside. [Barry] Cofield and [Fred] Robbins do a good job. [Justin] Tuck goes in there. They bring the linebackers up inside quite a bit, too, so you have to deal with them. One time you’re blocking a big, 300 pounder, the next play you could be blocking a real athletic, quick type of athlete in there, so it’s a real challenge for our linemen and certainly the two ends do an outstanding job in everything, not just the pass rush. They’re very good in the running game. [Michael] Strahan is… We could stand up here and talk about him all day. For a guy that’s not that big, he has exceptional power and he’s a great leverage player, good technique player, smart… He’s a hard guy to block. So is Osi [Umenyiora].

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:42 pm

Almost comical?

Hank's rise to power has been the most entertaining part of this off season so far. I can't wait until spring training when we'll get see him out on the field giving pitching advice to Mike Mussina and helping Cano perfect his swing.

Hank rules all.

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Re: sdc

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:43 pm

Another treasure trove of Hank quotes here....


QUOTE
Don't make any mistake about it: Our team in the late 90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody,'' he said. ``And they had just as many players doing stuff - all the teams. I guarantee you go through every team in baseball, and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us. You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a ... break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else.

QUOTE

``I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There's no question about that because I know how these players develop,'' he said. ``But as far as missing the playoffs - if we miss the playoffs by the end of this year, I don't know how patient I'll be. But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else.'

QUOTE

``I don't particularly necessarily enjoy it. It was kind of thrust upon me. At some point, if you're going to be a leader, you've got to step up and you can't hide in the office,'' he said. ``Unless it can directly affect negotiations, ( laugh.gif ) the fans do deserve to know what's going on. There's no problem with that. Whether other people have a problem with that, I really don't give a damn. They don't buy the tickets, all right?''


I can't get enough

LINK

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