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Thursday, December 21, 2006


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I'm predicting that the predictions of Matzooka's ERA will mirror the predictions of his salary... Namely, it'll be lower than expected.

Ahh, I love lowered expectations for Yankees.

I remember well how Matsui made criticizers look absolutely foolish, and how Damon he's just as much, if not more, the player he was in Boston.

Not saying Igawa will have that kind of success, but combined with the fact that you're not relied on to do anything terribly important (being a platooned fifth starter for example), things seem to turn out better than people expect. And if that turns out to be a 4.30 ERA and 11 wins, well that's just fine by me, and by every rational person too. If Matsuzaka puts up those numbers, though, you can expect another gorilla suit leaving Fenway Park next November.

paul sf, thanks for sharing the predictions...can't really disagree with either prediction, based on their history, and with some thought given to the new set of variables they'll face in 2007...should be fun...

I'd say that projection on Igawa is close to a worst case scenario. A 4.97 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP is a bit high in my estimation. Consider that Kazuhisa Ishii posted a career 4.44 ERA over 4 seasons, and Masato Yoshii put up a 4.62, I'd say it's a bit unfair to expect a better pitcher than both of them to perform worse.

I've put Igawa at around a 4.20 with a 1.40-ish WHIP. I think he's about as good as Pettitte was last season.

Ishii and Yoshii both played for NL teams, and not in an insane AL East.. though it's always good that Igawa don't have to face the Yankees!

If Igawa puts up a sub-5 era I'll be satisfied. That would mean that he'd bested RJ's performance from last year. With Wang, Moose and Pettite as the top three (and all three are far, far more important that Igawa), having a 4.75-5 ERA guy as your #5 guy (with #4 being RJ, or if he's truely done, a smattering of other options, some of which could be far better than he) isn't a bad thing. It's not a great thing, either, but the Yanks didn't pay for a great thing (in this insane market).

Basically, my expectation is mediocrity.

i'm expecting an ERA close to 5.00 from igawa. hopefully he'll be closer to the projection above, but who knows?

(it was difficult to post in actual sentences. my brain was stuck in haiku gear for about an hour after i left work last night.)

Hey, Mike, thanks for dropping by. I agree with Lar, though, that you have to add an AL East premium when it comes to ERAs, especially comparing to NL-only pitchers.

I for one would be happy if Matsuzaka's ERA was 4 or below, and Igawa's was 4.70 or above.

Andrew, it sounds like you're a Yankee fan, like me, but I don't know why you think Damon was as good for us as he was for the Sox. Would the Sox have won in '04 without him? Would the Yanks have suffered with Jeter hitting first in '06? No and no, I'd say.

He's a good player, a good teammate, he played hurt when the team ran short of bodies and he had some big games. But I think he was a lot more valuable to the Sox in '04. And I'm sorry we won't be seeing Sori in centerfield for the Yanks.

Of course the amount of money Sori got makes Damon's contract look better in retrospect. But money's not the only reason it's nice to grow a lot of your own instead of raiding other teams.

It's probably time for us to all get over the idea of either the Sox or Yanks having a squad of homegrowners. We should all expect that both teams will mix a few guys from their own systems with a majority of players obtained via free agency and trade, trades which will involve young homegrowners with potential. This is the nature of the rivalry, and of modern baseball. The concept of a high profile and successful team built primarily on a lineup of farm team wunderkinds is dead. Though, as John says, it's a nice thought.

Even the recent Yankee dynasty, though heavy on "homegrowners", wouldn't have gotten to the top of the mountain without key pieces gathered through free agency and trade. Think Brosius, O'Neill, Wetteland, Boggs, Clemens, Knoblauch, etc.

You know it is a bit unfair to compare Pedro and Matsuzaka, but that includes the hype preceeding their arrival. You see, Pedro Martinez hype included a Cy Young the year before he arrived in Boston, which is an Award won in the Major Leagues, against Major League hitters.
Matsuzaka comes to Boston having won the previous years' WBC MVP.

So the hype around Pedro might have been slightly more justified. Also, they didn't pay $100 million dollars for Pedro.

There is a line somewhere between a team with a core of homegrown talent augmented by free agents/trades and a team with a core of talent acquired by free agency with a couple of homegrown types on the roster. I'm not sure where the line is. Right now, I'm ok with the mix on the Yanks, but obviously I'd prefer they get more from the system. Hence my hope that Melky is more than a 4th OF and that he stays with the team. And my hopes for Phil Hughes.

But yes, teams like the Yanks and Sox are always going to have quite a bit of talent acquired via free agency, precisely because they have the money to do it and their success tends to impair their draft picks (it also helps to know what the hell you're doing with what picks you have... and of course a little luck is best of all).

I think both predictions are fair, but really, any prediction is kind of absurd.

Out of curiosity though, what are Yankee fans expecting from Pettitte? ERA, WHIP, Wins?

I'm hoping 4.20 ERA, 15 wins, and 1.2-1.3 WHIP for AP.

I'm also hoping that we keep Melky..'s fair to say that pettitte will suffer the effects of pitching in the al east...i don't believe his prior experience there helps him at's not unreasonable to expect him to deliver 13 or 14 wins, with an era of 4.5 and whip of 1.4-ish, assuming he's healthy for the whole year...with the intangible being a strong game or 2 when "it really counts", say against the sox...also, he's more likely to be a leader for any young pitchers the yanks decide to employ, more so than rj or mussina...

Pettitte: 4.25 ERA, 17 wins, 1.25 WHIP, 10 minute standing ovation when he first takes the mound in the Bronx

...and 0 cameramen attacked...

Is Elias tracking that stat now?

Pettitte's had his share of big-game flops though. I think all pitchers do. It just seems foolhardy to be counting on him to stewp up big "when it counts," particularly if he's putting up high 4 ERAs all season long.

I do think Pettitte will deliver 14-15 wins with a 4.5 ERA. Not shabby in this division, for sure.

Sanity, I'm no economist, but I'm guessing $72M in 1998 is more than $100M in today's dollars/today's market. I think we've all agreed enough times that Matsuzaka 1. is not Pedro and 2. is not proven for you to avoid the unnecessary "piss-in-the-Corn-Flakes" behavior.

andy will hopefully put up above average numbers. you can't expect him to shut everybody down, but i hope to see a flash or two of the good ol' days along the way.

safe and happy holidays, people.
i'm off to friendlier territory. (NY)

Pedro/Dice comparisons are totally unfair. I won't even engage the idea.

Unless, of course, we are talking about Petey's failed efforts to land a stand-up gig at Caroline's reciting dirty nursery rhymes.

MIAMI -- Florida Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis was arrested Friday morning on a drunken driving charge along a Miami Beach street lined with nightclubs.
Willis An officer saw the former NL rookie of the year stop his black Bentley in the South Beach neighborhood, get out of the car around 4:30 a.m. and urinate in the street. Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said the officer noticed signs of intoxication as he approached Willis, who failed a field sobriety test.

With Pettite, health is the main concern. If he can pitch, he will likely put up something around a 4.25-4.50 ERA and rack up some wins (who the heck knows since that's a factor of run support, which can be flukey). But it's also possible his elbow bothers him and that limits his IP and his effectiveness.

I'll go with an optimistic prediction: 4.25 ERA, 16 wins.

Hopefully Igawa will keep the era and whip somewhere around 4.30-4.40 and 1.31-1.35. As a fourth or fifth starter I'd be happy with that.
Petit...if healthy, 4.18, 15-17 wins, 1.34 whip, and if my previous predictions are any indication, that will not happen.

First, In 2007 assuming that all things stay as they are the Red Sox will have less "Homegrown" players in their starting lineup. The Yankees will have as many as 4.

Secondly, Damon's value is only percieved to be higher in '04 because they won a championship. I was reluctant at first with Damon, but after seeing the way he plays the game for a full season, I am so glad they signed him. He's exciting. He is a professional hitter, hits the other way and on and on. Soriano is one dimensional and strikes out a ton! He has one swing and one swing only 100%, he will never cut it down for contact purposes or to move over a runner. I like what we have.

As for Igawa, I don't think anyone truly thinks he will outperform Dice-K. Kei's MLE's (Major League Equivalents) are 3.47, 4.64, 4.81 and 3.6p since 2002. He also is 8+ in K/9 (Yes I know this will drop in a much tougher hitting league). The Yankees and their fans know what they are getting a back of the rotation guy with potential to be as high as a #3. He has EXCELLENT control and 3 pitches, fastball, splitter and change. Finally why do people keep reporting he tops out at 88? He throws his fastball 88-92.

The Sox rotation on paper is better and I don't think we need anyone to tell us that.

The last time the Yankees won the WS, they had a $114 million payroll, a whole bunch of homegrown players, and guys like Justice and El Duque mixed in as needed. I think it was the Times that pointed out that no team (that means the recent Sox, Yanks and Mets) has won the WS with a payroll over $114 million.

I'm happy to see Justice and Sheff come over, as long as they're not the whole team -- without looking at the facts, I'd bet that no team has recently won the World Series without some good free agents. But it felt odd when Clemens came, and Damon was a good move but also a little odd. And it was noticable this year, that a lot of the best pitchers were young guys who came up through the system. Nobody can explain Kenny Rogers.

We almost thought of Paulie as homegrown, because we traded Roberto Kelly for him (which made room in center for Bernie), and because although he was good on the Reds, he really blossomed here and became as important to the team as anyone. If you lost the game with Paulie at bat, then better luck next time.

Who hasn't enjoyed seeing Melky and Cano, and Derek, come up? Our SS and 2B hit over .340 last year.

i saw it brought up earlier in the thread, but do YF's believe johnny damon had a good playoffs in '04? i know YF's remember the granny in game 7, but outside of that he was rather pedestrian. at that point in the series the yankees had already quit. he hit a whopping .177, and really didn't have much better numbers in the angels or cardinals series.

all this remembering has made me miss sheff. "fake tough guy's".

13- the caveat of starting lineup gives the yankees the edge on homegrowns but as far as rosters go, you may have some debate. schilling, pedroia, youk, lester, paplebon, and any number of young pitchers pushes the sox roster higher in homegrowns.

Schilling? That's a pretty loose definition of home-grown.

nick- i have the same reservations about calling chin ming wang homegrown, but for some reason people consider him a homegrown yankee.

paul, i think we agree, except for the stepping up part...if andy has learned anything from roger, i hope it's how to dial it up a notch for a big game...with those older guys it's about pacing yourself....doesn't make sense to overtax yourself in a game the yanks are way ahead, so you can have some gas when it's a tougher game...we'll see, but some of the pooh-pooh seems a bit unwarranted, especially since yf's are trying to be realistic...

sf rod, shilling has spent 90% of his career away from boston, and was traded young, so it's a stretch to call him home is too young yet to declare him "home-grown"...if he stays with the yanks for 10 years or so, i'd say it's fair to call him that...if the definition of home grown is "drafted by", and the development years are irrelevant, then ok, we have a different argument...

"Home-grown" is when they develop in your farm.. and came up through your farm.. that's probably reasonable..

What the hell is the obsession with what exactly constitutes "home-grown"? I never really understood the purpose of that debate. It's like some fans need their players to be "pure" or something. I could care less whether a player was originally drafted by the Yankees.

Of course, that's not to say that I don't care about the individuals on the Yankees. It's just that this argument over what exactly makes a player "home-grown" is silly. I think it's nice to be able to root for the same group of guys for a while, but am I proud that we drafted Melky Cabrera and that he played for AAA Columbus for a while? No.

I don't like Derek Jeter because we drafted him, I like Derek Jeter because he's a competitor, a leader, a good person, and he's been with the Yankees for a while, so I've been able to see him do some fantastic things in a Yankee uniform and see him grow up. Ditto for Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, and Bernie Williams.

For example, I really don't understand the hostility towards Alex Rodriguez for not being a "true Yankee". Who cares that we didn't draft him? When I got the news that we had acquired him, I was ecstatic. Alfonso Soriano was a swing-at-everything douchebag with a crappy personality and an inability to convey any of his feelings to fans beyond "I SO HAPPY YANKEES, HIT BALL, BLAHGLEMARF". Alex Rodriguez is a fierce competitor and is not afraid to show his emotion or speak actual truths to the media (an ability that even Jeter lacks). He loves being in New York because it offers him the opportunity to be in the national spotlight in the greatest city in the world and the ability to win a World Series ring, and somehow the only way some idiot Yankee fans can react to that is by booing him because he's not "home-grown".

As far as the Red Sox team, while David Ortiz certainly isn't "home-grown", how could you not consider him a true member of the organization? The Red Sox got him from the Twins, where he didn't accomplish much and wasn't given much of a chance, and now he's a perennial MVP candidate and a Yankee-killer. He's as much a true member of the Red Sox as any "home-grown" player is, and I'm saying that as a Yankee fan.

So stop this meaningless debate, please. Let's focus on real discussion, such as the fact that the Yankees have grossly out-maneuvered the Red Sox this off-season, and are in the process of crafting a leaner, more efficient ballclub that's gearing up for another dynasty run.

I agree 100 percent with Jordan. Jason Varitek and David Ortiz are both not home-grown, but they are key pieces of the championship team and the heart and soul of the ballclub. They were acquired for basically nothing and grew into the players they are while wearing Boston uniforms. So home-gown? No. But "home-grown"? Yes.

Same for the Yanks and Bernie Williams, Chien-Ming Wang, etc.

Haven't checked in in a while...Christmas parties and vacationing take up much valuable time. And yes, it's 4 am and I'm reading baseball body clock is just that f'd up. Anyway...New York has "grossly out-maneuvered" Boston? Counting our chickens a few months early, are we? Wouldn't it behoove us to wait and see what Matsuzaka and Co. do before we pass judgment on the 2006-2007 offseason?

Thing is...New York didn't really have many holes to fill. They tinkered around a bit, and continue to...but for the most part stood pat with the team they had. And that's fine; the 2006 Yanks were a solid club. Of course...we'll see just how many of last season's bullpen miracles work out. (Does Proctor's arm fall off? Brian Bruney, wha?) And if the Melky for Gonzalez trade goes through I'll die a little inside. (Get over it Melky-fans...Cabrera for Gonzalez is a steal. Period. His stock ain't getting any higher sitting on the bench next season, and let's face it...New York can buy their corner OF'rs when they need 'em) But anyway...what else could Boston have done this offseason? They needed a SS, RF, and SP...they got the best three available without giving up any of the arms they think will be ready late 2007-2008. Each new guy comes with question marks...but again...we'll see what happens.

Wanna make the argument that New York has out-maneuvered Boston from November 2004-October 2006, putting them in a position where they had fewer holes to fill and an easier 2006-2007 offseason? That'd be fair...and I'd have trouble arguing. And yeah, Boston still has bullpen problems...but it's pretty foolish to say that their lack of a closer completely negates the other moves they've made.

Anyway, if I had to grade, on paper, the moves both teams have made, I'd give NY a B-/B for making several low-risk, low-reward moves and sticking with what they already had-a pretty damn good team. As for Boston...hard to find anything wrong with the Okajima, Donnelly, or Romero deals. They were all cheap and come with good ceilings. But given that this offseason hinges on the play of Lugo, Drew, and Matsuzaka, huge question marks all...I'd say Boston gets an Incomplete. Got the potential to be anywhere from a D+ to an A. See you in July.

Hey again.

I think the differences between the AL East and the NL (anywhere) are settled by ERA+, and the ERA+ numbers for Yoshii are league average. Ishii was generally league average, with some poor performances mixed in. If Igawa is better than both of those guys, his ERA+ should be somewhere north of league average, which will buy 14 or 15 wins in a Yankee uniform, and is a good value for $9 million a season.

desturbd1, I guess I shouldn't have described my opinion on the Yankees' offseason relative to that of the Red Sox by saying "out-manuevered". I think the Yankees have had a better off-season because they've made LESS moves.

This off-season had many teams with plenty of money to throw around following record MLB revenues and a lot of money freeing up from previous contracts, but saw a very poor free agent pool.

I think the mega-contracts for Julio Lugo and JD Drew are insane. Drew is 31 years old, has hit 30 HR's in a season only once, has spent his entire career in the NL, and may have health issues. Julio Lugo is 31 years old and has a career line of .277/.340/.402. I truly believe the Red Sox would have been better off staying put this off-season and plugging in replacement-level types at SS and RF.

If Matsuzaka is Cy Young caliber, then his contract isn't bad at all. However, he's coming from a country that has yet to produce a superstar pitcher (though Nomo did have 2-3 stellar seasons). It's risky to put so much money into that deal, but like you said... see you in July.

Also, the Yankees DID have significant holes to fill - two starting pitchers. Mussina and Wang were the only certainties, and one would think you will probably have one semi-effective pitcher between either Johnson and Pavano, but you certainly can't count on both considering the past two seasons. Andy Pettitte and Kei Igawa (who offered the Yankees a chance to get out of some luxury taxes due to the bidding system) were two stellar choices.

jordan and d-1, i'll see you both in october...if it's one thing we've learned from the yankee/sox rivalry, it's that the season doesn't end in july...nobody outdid anybody until we actually play the games [all of them]...right now it's fun to speculate, but we can't do that with any for example, may be the next pedro, or the next irabu...time will tell...mussina wasn't a sure thing because he wasn't signed when the season ended...but, it does look like both teams improved themselves, with a few moves left to be made...

jordan, you are right about the home-grown obsession...thanks for pointing out its irrelevance...i'll stop talking about it too...

d-1, couldn't agree more that it's naive to expect last year's bullpen miracles to work out again this year: proctor, bruney "(Does Proctor's arm fall off? Brian Bruney, wha?)" [you left out papelbon, whose arm did fall off in september]...melky for gonzalez is only a steal if the guy is healthy...

Accorging to today's Times, the Angels have also paid more than $114 million, although not the year they won the WS: The Mets came the closest to the threshold this year without reaching it, finishing at $122,542,469. The Mets have never paid the luxury tax. Besides the Yankees and the Red Sox, the Angels were the only team that paid the tax during the agreement that expired last Tuesday. The Angels paid less than $1 million in 2004.

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