Dayn Perry: Yanks Still A Third Place Team

Dayn Perry doesn't think Sabathia and Burnett will lead the Yanks to the post-season:

It hasn't been enough.

The New York Yankees — flush, as always, with resources and resolve —
have been this winter's most active team. But it hasn't been enough.
They've coughed up almost $250 million in an effort to revamp the
rotation, and they still might bring back Andy Pettitte. Even then,
though, the Yankees will remain a third-place team in baseball's
toughest division. To be sure, the additions of CC Sabathia and (if
healthy) A.J. Burnett make the Yankees a better club, but they still
haven't caught up to the Rays and Red Sox. More must be done, at least
if the Yankees are serious about making the post-season.

Perry thinks that the Bombers should sign Teixeira to put them over the top:

The heartening news for Yankee fans is that the organization seems to be aware of these weaknesses. According to some reports, they're in the mix for Mark Teixeira,
and given their needs that makes tremendous sense. Teixeira would give
the Yanks a high-OBP, high-power hitter in the middle of the lineup,
and he'd also improve that harped-upon infield defense. It's going to
cost a shiek's ransom to bring him to the Bronx, but the Yanks have the
dough and are already "pot committed" for 2009 and beyond. Now's not
the time for belated penny-pinching. In fact, no team in all of
baseball needs Teixeira more than the Yankees do.

I'd like to see an article by Perry examining both Boston's and Tampa's current 2009 rosters. Is the assumption that both teams are going to remain basically the same, if not better, than they were in 2008? I'm not suggesting anything either way but it seems a lot of pundits are taking it for granted that neither team will take a step back. Paul, get on it! I commission a study of Boston's chances of regressing in 2009!

37 comments… add one
  • I’m going for the yfsf world record for most consecutive posts!

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 1:09 pm
  • Haha, be careful what you wish for. What do you think are the Yankee lineup’s chances for regression in 2009?

    Paul SF December 22, 2008, 2:21 pm
  • who cares what this guy has to say, he cant even spell his first name right!

    sam-YF December 22, 2008, 2:39 pm
  • If I’m being optimistic the Posada return to catcher is a big upgrade over a full season of Molina. But Nady is a downgrade from Abreu offensively, Matsui hopefully can match Giambi and Damon’s work at DH(but that’s not a given), Damon is likely to regress, the offense in center ain’t looking too hot right now but then again it would be hard to be as bad as it was last season, Swisher is a good bet to rebound and perhaps match the work of Giambi/Betemit, A-Rod will likely be better, Jeter could be better, and Cano has to be better. So, optimistically I think the Yanks will show incremental improvement. Then again, we could learn on April 1, that Posada isn’t catching this season…

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • Swisher has just as good a chance to not rebound as he does to rebound, so I’m not buying that yet.
    I think Posada will be fine (at least his career avg, not that crazy year), and will help them a lot.
    The key to that lineup is Damon. If he gets on, things go well for them, and A-Rod has incredible numbers, but I’m not buying the Swisher thing just yet. He’s nice bench guy for them right now unless they get Tex.

    Brad December 22, 2008, 2:58 pm
  • Neyer on Swisher’s chances of rebounding:
    “It’s nice to have a solid explanation for Swisher’s lousy (superficial) performance in 2008. Of course, even if we didn’t have his abnormally low BABiP, we might still conclude that Swisher was simply unlucky, based on his history.
    Previously in his career, Swisher had hit .251/.361/.464 with 118 OPS+. In 2006 and ’07 he was significantly better than that: .258/.377/.474, 126 OPS+. In 2008, Swisher was 27. Players don’t typically fall off the earth at 27.
    I believe that players like Swisher — power, walks, strikeouts: the Three True Outcomes — are simply more prone to fluky seasons. They’re putting relatively few balls in play, so there’s a greater chance that the law of averages won’t have time to flex its muscles.
    In 2003, Adam Dunn batted .215, and .266 the next year (today he’s a career .247 hitter). Also in 2003, Pat Burrell batted .209; the next year he batted .257 (and today he’s a .257 career hitter).
    Nick Swisher’s going to have a long and productive career. Today he’s a career .244 hitter, and I’ll be surprised if he’s not within 10 or 15 points of .250 in 2009. And when he’s hitting .250, he’s good enough to play for anybody.”

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 3:11 pm
  • Those are big words, Nick.
    We’ll revisit it when he’s searching for playing time over Gardner.:)

    Brad December 22, 2008, 3:48 pm
  • Maybe the Yankees are addressing the pitching this offseason as part of a long term plan, since I don’t really see how they are better than Boston with their lineup the way it is. Of course, maybe I am giving Boston too much credit.
    From the discussion about fireball starters in the postseason, perhaps the Yanks think they have what it takes to be at least win the wild card and be set up for the postseason instead of the other way around.

    DR December 22, 2008, 3:50 pm
  • Yeah, DR, I definitely think their emphasis on high k guys is related to their feeling about the post-season. There is data that supports the idea that all things being equal high k pitchers are more likely to dominate the post-season than other types.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 4:10 pm
  • I thought the consensus was that players who relied on batting average (Cano) are more prone to fluky seasons, since they seem to only put the ball in play.
    Indications are that Swisher had a very unlucky season. Most signs point to a healthy rebound, not an even chance to suck again.
    Of course, there is the off chance that Swisher suddenly lost the ability to play baseball. But, I wouldn’t count on it.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2008, 4:24 pm
  • Even if Swisher has what is considered a bounce back season, it seems that they are more relying on Rodriguez, Posada, Jeter, Cano and Damon to have all-star type seasons. There offense would be amazing if this was 2001. Sadly, I it isn’t. Ah. To be 23 again.
    They may just try to muddle through this season, restock offense next season and then go for it in 2010. Who knows. They just seem old.

    DR December 22, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • To call the Yankees, as currently constructed, a third place team is ignoring the reason they were a 3rd place team last season. If Pettitte does sign here’s the rotation with long men:
    That rotation is significantly better than last year’s rotation. Please don’t tell me about Moose and his 20 wins, that was due in part to a good offense. You also have depth, something last year’s team DID NOT have. Hughes as your 6, Aceves and IPK are your back up plans…That’s a better all around rotation. Added to that is a MUCH better, deeper bullpen than they started the season with in ’08.
    I am not going to compare the Sox to the Yankees, but look deeper at the Rays and you can’t tell me their (the Rays) offense is better on paper.
    C: Navarro Vs. Posada
    1B: Pena Vs. Swisher
    2B: Iwamura Vs. Cano
    3B: Longoria Vs. A-Rod
    SS: Bartlett Vs. Jeter
    LF: Crawford Vs. Damon
    CF: Upton Vs. Gardner
    RF: Joyce Vs. Nady
    DH: Matsui Vs. Floyd/Gomes (if he resigns with them)
    Other than CF where are the Rays significantly better than the Yankees, if at all?
    Look at the rotation:
    Kazmir Vs. Sabathia
    Shields Vs. Wang
    Garza Vs. Burnett
    Sonnanstine Vs. Chamberlain
    Price Vs. Pettitte
    Show me where there is a big differential? Please don’t tell me about Price, he is a SUPER talent, but he’ll be on an innings limitation and they won’t push him, so this won’t be the year he wins the Cy Young.
    The bullpen? Isn’t even close at the current moment. The Yankees have a large edge there.
    So after looking at all aspects of the teams where is the evidence that says the Yankees are NOT in a better position to at least better than 3rd place?

    John - YF December 22, 2008, 4:42 pm
  • I don’t think they’re thinking about reloading in 2010. I guess Austin Jackson might be ready by then, and Holliday will likely hit the market, but the signings this off-season point to the Yanks going for it all as usual. Last off-season might have been the one in which long-term goals overrode short term ones.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 4:43 pm
  • The Rays have a big advantage defensively, but I do think, in general, the Yanks are a little better.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 4:45 pm
  • I meant going for it and “rebuilding” (Yankee style of course). John has momentarily brightened my spirits. If they can’t be better than the Red Sox though, what’s the point?

    DR December 22, 2008, 4:54 pm
  • “They just seem old.”
    Where exactly are the Yankees “Old?” Maybe you mean “Old” as compared to the Rays, but they are not old as compared to the rest of the teams that will be in contention.
    Catcher is 37, Closer is 39 that’s old…Other than that the next oldest player is 35. Their rotation is: 28, 31, 28, 23, 22…(Until Pettitte signs) The Sox rotation is 28, 28, 24, 42, 24 (Clay?) Even if Pettitte replaces Hughes, seems pretty comparable.
    C: Varitek 36/Posada 37
    1B: Youk 29/Swish 28
    2B: Pedroia 25/Cano 26
    3B: Lowell 34/A-Rod 33
    SS: Lugo 33, Lowrie 24/Jeter 34
    LF: Bay 30/Damon 35
    CF: Ellsbury 25/Gardner 25, Melky 24
    RF: Drew 33/Nady 30
    DH: Ortiz 33/Matsui 34
    So when you say “Old” as compared to what team?

    John - YF December 22, 2008, 5:00 pm
  • They seem like old souls not meant for this cruel, modern age.
    A-Rod has frosted hair so I take 3 years off his age.
    Jeter’s exhausting copulation schedule probably means we have to add 2 years.
    Swisher looks like a smoker. He gets 5 years added.
    Cano’s immaturity get is reduced 9 years.
    Matsui is Godzilla and he has been around since silent movies. OLD.
    Melky has a baby face like my freshman year of high school. Minus 10 years.
    I suppose it all comes out in the wash.

    DR December 22, 2008, 5:06 pm
  • John, but looking at the Sox/Yanks age comparison, something stands out. Youk, Pedroia, Bay, and to lesser extents Ellsbury/Lowrie are all players who established themselves as above-average to great and they’re all 30 and younger. Compare that to the Yanks and you have the inconsistent Cano as our one 30 and younger established player (and is he established yet?). I guess Nady counts as well, but I worry that last year was an outlier for a player who probably should be a 4th outfielder.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 5:08 pm
  • DR, so you’re saying Cano’s and Melky’s peaks are in 15 years?

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 5:09 pm
  • We can only hope that Melky gets a peak. Having an awesome first name shouldn’t be followed by steady decline for the rest of your life.

    DR December 22, 2008, 5:14 pm
  • Both Ellsbury and Lowrie are well-below average.

    Juan YF December 22, 2008, 5:20 pm
  • by the way, there’s a new Manny article in Impacto Deportivo, The Trusted Translators post has been updated.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 5:23 pm
  • Please don’t tell me about Moose and his 20 wins, that was due in part to a good offense.
    Woah, woah, woah, they still count, don’t they? And if the offense had some measure to do with his 20 wins, didn’t also his 3.37 ERA, sixth-best in the league and good for a 132 ERA+ (which incidentally is far higher than A.J. Burnett’s full-season career high of 122 — in 2002).
    The Yankee rotation certainly projects to be much stronger than in 2008, but losing Mussina is a pretty mighty blow because that’s basically what you’d hope to get out of Sabathia. Burnett and Wang are somewhat comparable (not in style, but in results, given a reasonable expectation of 120 ERA+ out of both), so the big difference between Opening Day 2008 and O.D. 2009 isn’t the addition of Sabathia and Burnett, who take the spots of Mussina and Wang, it’s the return of Wang himself. That pushes the depth chart down and allows the Yanks to rely only on one or two youngsters (depending on Pettitte), instead of two or three, as they were entering last season. Of course, it’s all semantics anyhow. Without signing C.C. and A.J., Wang’s return wouldn’t be nearly as significant.
    I’m not looking forward by any stretch to facing the Yankees’ revamped pitching staff (though if they want to go ahead and re-sign Pettitte instead of going after Sheets, that will make me feel a LOT better), but I’ll repeat what I said earlier in the month: It simply isn’t the improvement everyone keeps arguing it is. They’ve replaced one ace (Mussina) with another (Sabathia), replaced one solid No. 2 (Wang) with an less consistent one (Burnett) and made an excellent upgrade at No. 3 (Pettitte to Wang). The other two will have to shake out, but if it’s Pettitte (98 ERA+ last season, .878 OPS allowed to Boston in the last two seasons) and Chamberlain (likely limit of 120-140 innings), that makes for a rotation that could be very imposing, or very disappointing.
    On the other hand, it’s not particularly weaker than Boston’s (where Clay Buchholz is the fifth at the moment), so in that sense, perhaps Cashman has done exactly what he needed to: Bring the Yankees back into the discussion for 2009.
    As for offense, a Teixeira signing makes the Red Sox that much younger, as John’s comparisons go from:
    1B: Youk 29/Swish 28
    3B: Lowell 34/A-Rod 33
    1B: Tex 28/Swish 28
    3B: Youk 29/A-Rod 33
    Which is why I view the Teixeira signing as so key. The Yanks’ rotation seems to be roughly even with the Sox’, and the Rays’ staff may or may not regress from being so good, so the Sox’ offense needs to be able to rake, which it failed to do for much of the last five or six weeks of the season, and signing Teixeira would not only assure that next season, it would anchor a young-but-proven lineup for the foreseeable future.

    Paul SF December 22, 2008, 5:52 pm
  • Both Ellsbury and Lowrie are well-below average.
    Jed Lowrie, OPS+: 90
    Average AL shortstop: 94
    Jacoby Ellsbury, OPS+: 87
    Average AL centerfielder: 98
    So “well below average” is not accurate, and given their age and track records, it seems they have a pretty bright future ahead. And, again, Lowrie played most of the season with a broken hand.
    Regardless, they don’t exactly compare poorly to their Yankee counterparts — which seems to be the point of the discussion:
    Derek Jeter: 102
    Melky Cabrera: 68
    Brett Gardner: 53
    If Lowrie and Ellsbury are “well below average,” where are Cabrera and Gardner?

    Paul SF December 22, 2008, 6:04 pm
  • Does new Typepad not take HTML tags? I tried italicizing both John’s and Juan’s quotes, and the tags failed to take.

    Paul SF December 22, 2008, 6:06 pm
  • I would say the Sox rotation isn’t particularly weaker than the Yankees’, but, that’s just nitpicking.
    You can’t call Wang last year’s number 2, he only pitched 100 innings. The progression should look as such:
    Mussina -> Sabathia (wash, with upside)
    Pettitte -> Wang (modest to significant upgrade)
    Wang/2 -> Burnett (likely upgrade, due to Burnett probably replicating the 4 ERA, but over more innings)
    Rasner -> Pettitte (humongous upgrade)
    Ponson/Hughes/Kennedy/Joba -> Joba(/Hughes/Kennedy/?) (another humongous upgrade, allowing health)
    It’s hard to say this is better than that because these group of pitchers haven’t actually done anything together yet, but no one should really be surprised if the Yankees’ rotation blows away Boston’s next year. At the worst, it looks to be a significant upgrade over last year’s horrorshow.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2008, 6:11 pm
  • Paul when you break it down that way it makes a heck of an argument…but as an opponent were you ever fearful of Mussina? Did you go into a game versus Moose thinking it’s going to take a special effort to win tonight? I think now any of the Yankees top 4 could (on paper) do just that. Also going into a series they stack up much better. In a big series you’re assured to face at the very least Wang, Joba, AP… That’s a drastic upgrade from last season. But yes by the numbers you make a VG point/argument.

    John - YF December 22, 2008, 6:22 pm
  • The Yanks have significantly more depth in their rotation than last season, significantly more arms that will give the team good innings as compared to last year.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 6:43 pm
  • Last year at this time I was reading how a rotation of Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Mussina and Kennedy, with the always dominant and reliable Joba in reserve, was the cats meow. ‘Hughes is that good! And IPK? OMG, the dude dominates AAA! Wang is a top starter; a stud, I tell ya! Pettitte = Mr. Reliable, and Pavano may be ready if/when Mussina starts getting torched!
    Humnph, and if they all fail our farm is loaded (loaded, I tell ya: Rasnor, Sanchez, Brackman!)’
    Then we all saw it for what it really was — catshit.
    Reading about the Yanks each winter is fun.

    Dirty Water December 22, 2008, 6:52 pm
  • They also have 4 guys who have averaged over 6.20 innings per start over their careers – which should help an already deep (if inexperienced) bullpen.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2008, 6:52 pm
  • sounds like Dirty Water is nervous.

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 6:54 pm
  • Not nervous. Apathetic is more like it.
    Wang, CC/Burnett, maybe Pettitte, maybe Hughes, maybe IPK, maybe Joba, maybe Aceves. Maybe that loaded farm system.
    Put me in the ‘either CC or AJ will not make it to May and the remaining rotation is just as thin as last years camp’. Mussina will be missed greatly.

    Dirty Water December 22, 2008, 7:12 pm
  • “Put me in the ‘either CC or AJ will not make it to May and the remaining rotation is just as thin as last years camp’.”
    That’s a camp?

    Nick-YF December 22, 2008, 7:14 pm
  • I’d call it a tent.

    AndrewYF December 22, 2008, 7:26 pm
  • At the beginning of the season, John, you’re right, I did not fear Mussina. By the end though, yes, I was more than a bit nervous when he was due to face the Sox. As I am when Burnett faces the Sox, and as I will be when Sabathia faces the Sox again. I know I should be nervous when Wang faces the Sox, but I just can’t get there, and Pettitte makes me salivate when I see his name up there. He’s just not the same pitcher, and the Yanks would be wise to stop hanging on to the memories and let him be respectable in a weaker division/league.

    Paul SF December 22, 2008, 9:22 pm
  • Let’s see Lowrie put up a 90 OPS+ over a full season (if he even gets that chance – Don’t they still owe Lugo $20 million?). A sub-700 OPS away from Fenway isn’t going to help. Nor is a sub-700 OPS against righties. He’s already been exposed. Ellsbury is also clearly well-below average. He also sports a sub-700 OPS on the road.
    Maybe the Sox can play Lowrie and Ellsbury only at home? It must be nice to have a home park where AAAA players can feel like they belong in the major leagues!

    Juan YF December 22, 2008, 9:54 pm
  • “…Perry thinks that the Bombers should sign Teixeira to put them over the top:…”
    check. thanks dayn

    dc December 23, 2008, 6:56 pm

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