Round 1-Yankees

For those of you wondering how the Yankees-Red Sox simulation came out, the results don’t come in until 8pm. Here’s a brief recap of all the games:


#1 seed 1927 Yankee team took a 2 games to 1 lead over the #8 seed 1923 Yankees. In the opener, Waite Hoyt threw 8 strong innings giving up a pair of runs in the first and that was all. The ’27 Yanks scored all 3 of their runs in the third with Babe Ruth knocking in 2 with a single. Game 2 saw the ’23 Bombers bounce back with a 5-1 win behind dominant pitching from Bob Shawkey who went 7 giving up 3 hits and one run. The ’23 Babe Ruth had two doubles and 3 RBI in the win. In the third game, the ’27 Yankees bounced back with a 5-0 shutout. Starter Urban Shocker went 8 and held the ’23 team scoreless despite 11 hits. 1927 Ruth hit his first homer with one on in the 5th and knocked in 3 total for the day.

#7 seed 1950 Yankees took 2 of 3 from the #2 seed 1998 Yankees. In game 1, David Wells (98) got shelled in 6+ innings, giving up 10 hits and 6 runs. The ’98 Yanks never recovered. The big blow was a 2 out, 5th inning, bases loaded triple by Billy Johnson. Game 2 saw the ’98 team bounce back in an 8-6 win. David Cone got the start and the win that saw both teams score 3 times in the last frame. Knoblauch knocked in 3 in the win with help from Jeter and Bernie Williams (two apiece). Game 3 saw the ’50 Yankees rough up Orlando Hernandez for 6 runs in 4 and 2 thirds innings pitched. Darryl Strawberry hit two homers in the losing effort and Bernie Williams added a two run shot. Ed Lopat pitched well enough for the win. Johnny Mize knocked in two while every 1950 Yankee had one hit.

#6 seed 2009 Yankees hold a 2 games to 1 lead over the #3 seed 1961 Yankees. CC Sabathia pitched ok in the first game to get the win over Whitey Ford who was shelled and took the loss. Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon all homered for the ’09 team. Roger Maris and Bill Skowron homered in the loss. Game 2 was also won by the ’09 Yankees 13-3 behind good pitching from AJ Burnett and Alfredo Aceves. Posado and Teixeira both went deep in the lopsided game. Game 3 saw the ’61 Yankees get a win behind Bill Stafford’s 8 and 2 thirds pitching. Roger Maris hit his 2nd of the series off of Mariano Rivera with one aboard for the win, 4-2.

#4 seed 1941 Yankees beat the #5 seed 1978 Yankees 2 of 3 to start the series. Game 1 featured a beautifully pitched gem from both teams as Marius Russo shutout the ’78 club on 9 hits. Loser Ron Guidry pitched a complete game himself, giving up only a single run in the first on a two out double to Joe Dimaggio. Game 2 was a dominating pitching outing as well as Red Ruffing shut out the ’78 Yankees 7-0 for the 2nd game in a row. Ed Figueroa gave up 7 runs in the loss. The ’78 Yankees avoided a sweep in game 3 with a 6-2 win behind Catfish Hunter’s 7 inning, 1 run game. RBI from Willie Randolph, Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent and Lou Piniella(2) led the way.

Personally, I am kind of shocked that the 1927 Yankees didn’t sweep and that the 2009 Yankees have the lead right now- I figured the 1961 Yankees would win easily. And how about the 1950 Yankees taking a 2-to-1 lead over the ’98 version? While pitching was never the strongest part of the ’98 team, who would have thought they would surrender 6 runs in each of the first three games?

Back tomorrow with the conclusion of round 1 and check out a detailed breakdown of the action at http://greenmonsta.weebly.com/. Email me at peter@yankeesredsox.com with comments or suggestions.

Andruw Jones On Board

The Yankees have signed Andruw Jones to a one-year/$2 million deal with incentives that could increase it to $3.2 million. I really like this deal.

Marcus Thames was a lot of positive things for the Yankees last year, but he wasn’t an outfielder. Putting him in the outfield was an adventure at best. Now Jones is not the outfielder he once was, but he can still play out there and play all three positions. Throw in his .256/.373/.558 line against LHP last year and he is a perfect fit for a team with two lefty-swinging outfielders.

With Jones’ addition, the Yankees pretty much have their roster set. I would imagine this is close to what they will come north with.

Catchers (3) Posada, Martin, Cervelli (Yup, if Posada is DH’ing every day they won’t just carry him and Martin)

Infielders (5) Tex, Cano, Jeter, ARod, Pena (pencil in Pena for now)

Outfielders (5) Garnder, Granderson, Swisher, Jones and Golson (pencil in Golson for now

Pitchers (12) CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova, Mitre, Rivera, Soriano, Joba, Robertson, Feliciano, Logan, Sanchez (pencil in Sanchez for now)

Obviously, the big question is the fifth starter and the Yankees could make a move there. I think they will open with Pena and Golson on the roster, but Nunez and Laird could change those plans. I still think that Nunez will open in AAA, just to keep him sharp, but if he really has a big spring, the Yankees could go north with him. For Laird it will really come down to showing he can handle big league pitching and the outfield. If he can do both, he would be more valuable than Golson.

Something Different

In the middle of an endless winter (at least in the Northeast) we thought it might be fun to try something a little different here at YankeesRedsox.com. Thanks to Steve, who goes by the name of Blmeanie on this site, we are going to spend the next few weeks running a simulation with the greatest teams from Red Sox and Yankee history.

From the Boston side we have the 1946, 1967, 1975, 1978, 1986, 2003, 2004 and 2007 Red Sox.

From the New York side we have the 1923, 1927, 1941, 1950, 1961, 1978, 1998 and 2009 Yankees.

The games will start next Monday and from there we will keep simulating until we have the greatest Red Sox team and the greatest Yankees team. Those two clubs will then face off in a seven game series commencing February 3rd.

We hope you will enjoy the series and participate in it. We will need some managers for later rounds and your comments are always welcomed. If you are interested in taking part in this, please email me at peter@yankeesredsox.com.

Insanity

One of the classic definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. With the news today that Brian Cashman considered bringing back Carl Pavano this winter, I am beginning to wonder if Cashman is actually insane.

I just don’t get it. Yes, I know Pavano has done well since leaving the Bronx, but after what happened here how could you ever bring him back? You would think that Javier Vazquez part 2 would have taught Cashman a lesson, but apparently not. Pavano is one of those guys who should never, ever, ever, wear pinstripes again, what was Cashman thinking?

Oh and to add a cherry to the sundae, check out this quote from Brian today:

“Joba’s a bullpen guy” . . . (Borat pause) “for the 200th time.”

I’m feeling depressed now.

The Soriano Saga

So, it sounds like the truth is that Hank, Hal and Randy Levine decided that they wanted Soriano and overruled Brian Cashman. I have no problem with that for a number of reasons.

1- I think Cashman was wrong about this decision. Yes, losing the draft pick is a downer, but this Yankee team is built for winning right now. Jeter, A-Rod, Mo, none of them are getting any younger. If the plan was to rebuild in 2011, Jeter and Rivera should not have been brought back. Since they were, I assume the plan is to go for a championship and Soriano helps them in that regard.

2- I think the Yankees structured this move brilliantly. People keep complaining about the opt-outs Soriano has because they make this a one-sided risk for the Yankees, but when is a free agent signing anything but a one-sided risk? What the Yankees have done is bet that Soriano will have a good 2011 and given him a way to cash in on that by opting out. Then the Yankees can offer arbitration and recoup the draft pick if Soriano signs elsewhere and would you expect a Scott Boras client not to opt-out if he could? Now, if Soriano gets hurt or sucks, the Yankees are stuck with him for at least another year, but that’s the risk with any free agent signing. (Not to open a different can of worms, but I am sort of plagiarizing myself here because I felt the same way in 2008)

3- Ultimately, this is their team. Cashman works for the Steinbrenners, not the other way around. I think people tend to see “Steinbrenner” and “overrule the GM” in the same sentence and think back to the reign of George. But these cats are different. Hal is not his father and he runs the ship. I see this as an anomaly instead of the start of a new (or old) way of doing business.

4- Jon Heyman pointed out in one of his stories that even with the signing of Soriano, the Yankees have $20 million left in their 2011 budget. Even if Andy Pettitte comes back, you have to figure they have money to spend. Now, just because they have money to spend, doesn’t mean they should spend it, but go back to point #1. This move made them better and they can afford it.

Let’s Hear From Brian

Buster Olney has reaction to the Soriano deal in his column today (subscription required) and it includes this bit of analysis:

The deal comes less than a week after general manager Brian Cashman declared that he would not give up the Yankees’ first round pick for any pitcher on the market — and now that’s exactly what the Yankees are doing. The shift suggests that there is a major divide of opinion on Soriano within the organization, and that Cashman’s autonomy in matters of baseball operations may have eroded.

Personally, I don’t mind losing the first rounder. Yes, it could be a big deal down the road, but the Yankees have the financial muscle to pay over slot wherever they pick and international players are free to go to the highest bidder. They did it with Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero a few years ago and they will almost certainly do it again. That’s the way you make up for the lack of a first round pick.

But, the part about Cashman’s autonomy in baseball operations eroding does concern me though I’m not sure I agree. Yes, Brian Cashman went out and said he would not give up a first rounder last week, but how do we know that he wasn’t simply lying? Remember, Scott Boras, the master of misdirection, is Soriano’s agent. Perhaps Boras was seeking five years and $15 million per for his client and Cashman issued his proclamation to back him off a number. We may never know the truth, but I will be very interested to hear Cashman’s answer when he is asked to reconcile his previous statement to this signing.

UPDATE Buster Olney tweets that this was more of an “ownership-driven” deal while Peter Gammons fingers Randy Levine as the force behind the signing.

What’s Next?

The addition of Rafael Soriano is a move the Yankees were smart to make. There was no one else in the marketplace who could make the same impact on the Yankees that Soriano will. By adding Soriano, the Yankees have locked down the 8th inning and provided themselves with protection if Mariano gets hurt or suddenly ages- but the real question is what do they do next?

If they are smart, they use Soriano’s presence on the roster as an excuse to move Joba back into the rotation. Yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments against this, but this to me determines whether or not signing Soriano was a smart move. Joba in the pen is now a complete waste, because Robertson-Soriano-Rivera should handle the 7th, 8th and 9th and you also have Feliciano and Logan to get out tough lefties. But, Joba in the rotation adds tremendous value because the Yankees need a 4th and 5th starter right now.

It’s pointless to rehash all the arguments, the comments, etc., about this but there is one critical fact to remember- the guy is still only 24. He isn’t a finished product yet. Put him in the 2011 rotation and you may get the 4.75 ERA and 157 innings you got in 2009. The Yankees won 95 games this past season with two guys putting up numbers much, much worse than that, so that wouldn’t be a disaster. But, you might also get something much better from Joba, perhaps he shows off the form that allowed him to compile a 3.58 ERA in his first 20 starts of 2009. The Yankees are linked to a lot of mediocre pitchers to fill out their rotation, why not go with a guy who 18 months ago was considered one of the best prospects in baseball?

Interesting Take

Bob Klapisch posted this article the other day speculating that Andy Pettitte is going to retire because of the upcoming Roger Clemens trial.

It’s an interesting theory and certainly worthy of consideration. Andy is going to have to admit to lying in his original statements about HGH when he is called to testify and he will have to confront his current/former friend Roger Clemens. If he is still an active player, he would then have to return and face the press in the clubhouse. As a private citizen he can certainly avoid a big chunk of that scrutiny.

Ultimately, we will probably never know the reasons, but it sounds like Andy Pettitte is finished. He hasn’t started throwing which is a pretty big sign and he said the other day “I really don’t want [the Yankees] to worry about me. I just want them to go, just go on.” That sounds like a guy ready to hang it up to me and the Yankees had better wake up to that possibility.

Happy New Year

Here we are on the eve of January 7th. That means approx. 38 days until the voluntary reporting date for pitchers and catchers. Being the fans we all are, we expect our pitchers, catchers, everyday players, coaches, trainers, equipment managers and food procurement employees to report on the voluntary reporting date.

For the Red Sox it was quite an off-season. In my opinion, it makes the Red Sox a target for most, if not all of major league baseball. The Red Sox spent a ton on Crawford and will certaily spend a ton on Gonzalez. Here’s what we know:

Line-up:

C – Saltalamacchia
1b – Gonzalez
2b – Pedrioa
3b – Youkilis
ss – Scutaro
lf – Crawofd
cf – Ellsbury
rf – Drew
dh – Ortiz

In no particular order I might add.

Bench:

UI – Lowrie (I think Lowrie should and will start at SS with Scutaro being the UI).
C – Varitek
OF – Cameron
OF – McDonald

Rotation:

SP – Lester
SP – Beckett
SP – Buchholz
SP – Lackey
SP – Matsuzaka

Bullpen:

RRP – Wakefield
RRP – Wheeler
LRP – Okajima
RRP – Jenks
RRP – Bard
RRP – Papelbon
RRP – Atchison

McDonald, Okajima and Atchison are hardly guarantees for the Opening Day roster, but as of now they look good. By signing Okajima, the Red Sox are giving Felix Doubront more time in the minors. McDonald and Cameron (or should I say the signing of Crawford and the presumed health of Ellsbury) should give players like Josh Reddick, Daniel Nava and Ryan Kalish more time to ferment in triple A.

This, is what I know as of now. More to come in 2011.