Narcissism

We'll be honest here – we mean this post to be in somewhat antagonistic fashion. Not because we have personal dislike for anyone, but because we have serious questions for our readership about an issue and hope to antagonize debate. So here goes:
At what point does Andy Pettitte start getting a reputation for being a manipulative, selfish, pr*ck? When does the sports media start calling him out for the same BS for which they call out Brett Favre? At what point does an athlete trade his (somewhat tarnished) goody-two-shoes image in for that of a serially indecisive narcissist?
Serious question for everyone here. If we were a Yankee fan we'd be pretty infuriated with Pettitte's repeated antics at this point.

52 comments… add one

  • “…If we were a Yankee fan we’d be pretty infuriated with Pettitte’s repeated antics at this point….”
    that would be me sf…i’ve already expressed my frustration here a week or so ago…can’t remember what thread or exactly when, so just trust me on this one…i don’t know why he has to drag it out…it’s not like he didn’t know this decision was coming again when he decided to re-sign for last season!!!…sure, there may be some narcissism at play here, and there’s a little something in all of us that want people to want us to be with them, but i’m not sure it’s on the same level media-wise with favre…favre absolutely dominated 24/7 all sports media for the months leading up to his decision to return for another year…i heard that espn even considered converting either the espn.TO network or the espn.tiger network to the espn.favre network…didn’t espn dispatch special coverage of the farve courtship and resulting trip to vikings training camp?…to answer your question about why the media hasn’t treated pettitte the same as they have farve, it’s because they’ve decided football and farve are a bigger deal than baseball and andy pettitte…as for “calling out” farve, there might be equal parts disdain and fawning admiration…

    dc January 18, 2011, 10:53 am
  • Agree. This little game is getting old with Pettitte, but as a non-YF, I think it’s amusing.:)

    Brad January 18, 2011, 11:08 am
  • We realize that Pettitte, to his credit, doesn’t seek the camera quite like Favre. But the actions are close to the same, the wavering, the publicizing of the unknown future, the mild hostage-taking that this Hamletian decision-making process creates as collateral damage, if you will.
    So yeah, it doesn’t get the media scrutiny because AP doesn’t run to every red light. But it still strikes me the as recidivism, as narcissism.

    SF January 18, 2011, 11:19 am
  • While the song and dance has been annoying its so very different from Favre. Favre has called press conferences to announce his retirement on multiple occasions and has had all his decision making be so much more public than this. Pettitte has largely kept out of the press as much as he can control. I just dont see him as a diva like favre. Its impossible to tell of course but he seems genuinely conflicted about what to do each year.

    sam-YF January 18, 2011, 11:20 am
  • I share none of the sentiment of this post or your (dc) comment on it. Not a single iota.
    First re: differences from Favre:
    1. As per sam’s point, Andy Pettitte did not officially retire from the game only to come back. Favre did. Multiple times. If anything, Pettitte’s approach is much more mature – he’s not going to announce his decision until he has made it. If it is a problem for the Yankee FO, they can always put a deadline on him after which they won’t take his services. This is not a one-way relationship. The Yankees have a very clear policy: we won’t renegotiate with anyone until their contract is up. Andy Pettitte clearly has a policy: I won’t announce a decision until I’ve made it and I’ll make it some time before spring training. Indeed, this raises the second difference between the two.
    2. Pettitte has never sought special treatment — i.e. he never arrived late to spring training – delaying his decision so long that he does not partake in the same pre-season drills and preparation as the rest of his teammates. Favre did. Multiple times. he never asked to be freed up to fly home on non-pitching days a la Roger Clemens. If anything, these kinds of “special arrangement” are the most diva-like trait for an athlete and Pettitte has never gone there.
    3. As per Brad’s comment, he has avoided the spotlight. Indeed, he has bent over backward to express to the Yankees that they should go on as if he is NOT coming back. Remember that this runs a risk for him as well. If he decides just before pitchers and catchers report that he does indeed want to come back, he will go to them. They can certainly turn him down then. Or he will have run the risk that they will have filled his slot with others. But since he has asked them to go on without him for now, he has not in any way held them hostage. Favre never gave the Vikings the same consideration.
    As for the broader issue of why he hasn’t decided already, I am somewhat surprised that no one here reflects any understanding that decisions about whether or not to retire are simply not cut and dried. You go back and forth. You imagine what life will be like either way. You need T…I…M…E… Some people make lists of pros and cons. Other meditate or wait for inspiration to hit them. But whatever your method, these decisions are not like deciding which movie you want to go to tonight.
    I have zero problem – zero – with Pettitte’s behavior on this issue.

    IronHorse (YF) January 18, 2011, 11:48 am
  • agree sam, and while i’ve expressed my frustration, clearly pettitte is not on the same level as farve, who seems to adore the attention, good or bad…so far, pettitte’s worse crime seems to be indecision…i don’t think he intends to hold the yankees hostage…in fact, he even told them to move on as if he were not coming back…i don’t recall farve having said that in any of his retirement speeches…it was green bay who finally had enough and decided to move on without him, and took some heat for deciding to go with aaron rodgers…how’d that turn out?…then what did favre do?…like a petulant little child, he took his ball and went and ruined a season for new york…a year in exile while he waited to go to his first choice, the vikings, a hated rival of green bay, and then he got his coach fired in minnesota because the guy wouldn’t take his advice…i understand the similarities that sf is going for, but the differences between pettitte and farve on this issue are huge…

    dc January 18, 2011, 11:49 am
  • I think the comparison to Favre is a little off. Pettitte, other than not making a decision, has done nothing to bring attention to himself. No press conferences, he didn’t file the retirement paperwork, he didn’t go workout with a HS baseball team in Texas, he doesn’t have Ed Werder on speed dial. I really believe Andy Pettitte is one of those rare stars that really couldn’t care less about baseball. I don’t think he has that deep, driving love for the game. I think he plays because he’s been blessed with talent and because it keeps food on his family’s table. I also believe that his family and faith come first and I believe that this indecision stems mostly from that. I think ego (like in the Favre case) has little to nothing to do with this decision.
    I am not happy that this decision has taken so long but for a completely different reason. The Yankees (other than letting him go to Houston) have been very, very good to Pettitte. If there was ever a time to repay a favor for tolerating his indecision and in some cases being overpaid, it’s now. I know that it sounds naive or idealistic that in this day in age an athlete would bend to accommodate or help out a team, but it’s how I feel. I think he also owes it to Jeter, Mo and Posada. This is the end of the road for these guys, without him they are nowhere near being in the hunt for another ring, with him there’s a hope and a prayer. Again I admit it’s idealistic, but that’s what I am upset about.

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 11:50 am
  • not sure what part of what i said that you disagreed with IH…in fact we seem to be saying very similar things…the only difference of opinion might be that i am frustrated…with the delay…of a decision that he’s known was coming for a long time…doesn’t change my opinion that i think andy’s an upstanding guy, with the yankees [and of course his own] best interests in mind…that’s why he told them to move on…but i would love to have him back…one red flag though is that it’s rumored he hasn’t been following his “normal” offseason routines, so take that for what it’s worth…farve’s douchebaggery doesn’t need any debate…it’s a confirmed fact…

    dc January 18, 2011, 11:56 am
  • I agree that he’s not acting anything like Favre, other than the obvious similarities between star athletes retiring. For that matter, Pettitte couldn’t command Favre-like attention even if he tried. There’s no position on the diamond comparable to the quarterback in football, and Pettitte is not the slam-dunk future HOF superstar that Favre is. I would say Clemens would be a better comp for Favre, in both stature and demeanor. Not that ESPN would ever lavish the attention on baseball personnel transactions that it gives football and basketball (if Pujols became a free agent and called a press conference to announce where he would sign, would it get the ESPN Special treatment? Doubt it.)
    That said, it’s all well and good to tell the Yankees, “Don’t wait up. I’ll let you know.” But that doesn’t decrease the uncertainty for the fans or the organization, and in the end, not knowing whether you’re going to have your likely third-best starter back next year affects to some degree your ability to make other pitching-related moves. I understand how Pettitte saying the Yankees should act like he’s not coming back should work just fine in theory, given the Yankees’ payroll, but I’m not sure it’s so cut-and-dried.

    Paul SF January 18, 2011, 12:30 pm
  • Agreed Paul, except what could the Yankees be doing or have done differently if they knew Pettitte was going to retire? The remaining free agents (Millwood, Bonderman, Duchsherer, etc…) are all so similar would anyone (Yankees fans) get all up in arms if we missed out on one of them because we were waiting for a decision? I would say in a normal season you are correct, but due to the lack of impact arms being available via FA and through trades, it really doesn’t matter at this point. Just let us know before the entire list of interchangeable scraps signs and we should be just fine.

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 12:40 pm
  • “…But that doesn’t decrease the uncertainty for the fans or the organization…”
    i don’t agree…he unequivocally said…”proceed as if i’m not coming back”…that’s pretty cut-and-dried to me…my feelings not withstanding, the yankees should’ve assumed they’d enter ’11 without him…blaming him for the yankees uncertainty and the effect that may have on their ability to make other pitching moves is a cop-out…could they have planned better for the possibility of losing out on lee, pettitte’s indecision, and lack of a willing trade partner?…maybe…so what might be the “other pitching moves”?…when carl pavano is the next best available starter, there is no market…likely trading partners will want to ravage the yankee farm system…the yankees have all the money they “saved” by not blowing it on lee, so budgeting the money if he changes his mind shouldn’t be an issue even if they weren’t the yankees…

    dc January 18, 2011, 12:45 pm
  • and joba’s better than any of the options john just listed…in fact, calling them “options” is generous…

    dc January 18, 2011, 12:47 pm
  • I don’t think that this is a case of narcissism. I think this is a case of a man going through an agonizing decision. This is pure speculation as I haven’t read or heard this elsewhere, but it’s obvious enough that someone must have wrote it prior. I believe Pettitte’s reluctance to commit to another season is primarily due to Clemens’ indictment last August. Why would he want his last season to be one wherein Clemens’ perjury trial proceeds (or ramps up)? During the next year the hounding from the press and the distractions may be an unbearable thought to the man, especially since it is quite possible he may be called to testify. And relive the unending questions regarding and retelling of his admitted HGH usage.

    attackgerbil January 18, 2011, 12:59 pm
  • “…I don’t think that this is a case of narcissism. I think this is a case of a man going through an agonizing decision. …”
    well, maybe a little bit ag…the report that said he met with reporters on his front porch in his pajamas and played coy with them suggests he may be having a little bit of fun with the situation, as agonizing as i’m sure it must be…he’s a family man…i would have a hard time being on the road that much too, regardless of how much money they paid me…

    dc January 18, 2011, 1:39 pm
  • Sorry to hijack, but according to EEI, the Sox have reached agreement with both Papelbon and Ellsbury before going to arbitration.
    Pap: 12M
    Ellsbury: 2.4M
    That’s a huge raise for a guy who missed the entire flippin year.
    Back to Pettitte…

    Brad January 18, 2011, 1:42 pm
  • Brad that’s a $37M tied up in 4 OF’s. Wow.
    In comparison, the frugal Yankees ;)have just $17M in 3 OF’s.

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 2:00 pm
  • sorry dc – didn’t mean to overstate differences – I was reacting to your first comment, which you started by agreeing with SF’s “infuriated” remark and had not seen your second comment when I posted. Yeah, I think we’re in a similar place, though I think I have less of a problem with Pettitte’s delay than you’ve expressed.
    And yeah John – your point about what the Yanks would be doing differently is very much where I’m at. If Pettitte were the final piece to an otherwise secure rotation, it would be more of an issue (do they seek a starter or no?), but given that their rotation is at least 2 and more likely 2.5 guys away from stability, I think it makes no difference at all to their thinking or actions.

    IronHorse (YF) January 18, 2011, 2:44 pm
  • n comparison, the frugal Yankees ;)have just $17M in 3 OF’s.
    haha. Fair enough, though there isn’t one Yankee OF I take over any Sox one. Well, maybe Gardner for Cameron, but the then they’ll have two crappy little slap hitting CFers.:)

    Brad January 18, 2011, 3:39 pm
  • Well, Detroit just DFA’ed Gallaraga, so maybe Cashman has his piece to go get then.

    Brad January 18, 2011, 3:41 pm
  • Really? Crawford over Gardy no doubt. You’d take Ellsbury over Granderson in 2011? Drew over Swisher? I think it’s much closer than you’re letting on.
    Galaragga is better than Millwood lol…

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 3:53 pm
  • You’d take Ellsbury over Granderson in 2011?
    Yes, and I think Swisher/Drew are a push. At the end, they’ll be close to each other offensively, but Drew is much better with the glove, and I won’t have to put up the annoying stuff that he does (or ever hear a Sox fan say “swishalicious”)
    Granderson is the guy who “is gonna”, and has been for a few years now. He had a good year, but if we’re going on “is gonna’s”, I’ll take my odds with Ellsbury, I think. If we’re going on “what might”, I could easily say that Ellsbury is going to steal 70 bases and hit .300 this year (I mean, he’s done it, right?) so why on earth would I swap him and Granderson?
    I know it’s close, as you say, but there isn’t one of the Boston starters I’d surplant with a NY starter: there is no clear advantage other than what you pointed out – $.

    Brad January 18, 2011, 3:58 pm
  • I can remember the “Granderson is gonna hit”… over and over last year. Problem is, he didn’t. But then again this year, it’s the same stuff.
    I know he’s good, but there is a lot of “he might” and “he’s gonna” wrapped around his conversation and debate.
    Then, like always when a guy underperforms, a slight adjustment to his batting stance, or where he holds the bat, or what style jock he wears, or a million other things are supposed to change everything.
    I’ve seen what Ellsbury is capable of. Granderson, not so much. So if “he’s gonna” I’m going to stick with what I’ve seen. No slight on either player at all.

    Brad January 18, 2011, 4:02 pm
  • FYI, John:
    I don’t know if you’ve been there, but I was recently over at the Quinny hokey rink and new facilities up on the hill. Let me tell you this: It was very close to being in a professional athletic arena. It is flat out awesome. You have to make time to see it if you haven’t.

    Brad January 18, 2011, 4:05 pm
  • have zero problem – zero – with Pettitte’s behavior on this issue.
    I agree on this. In fact, and I’m not flamethrowing at all, I hope Pettitte does come back. It’s not like we’re talking about another CC. Yeah, Pettitte has his days, and sometimes like last year, he has a few of them in a row. But, we’re still talking about a guy with serious health issues, closer to 40 than is good for MLB pitchers, and will require big money.
    Plus, he hasn’t exactly “manned up” in the Boston games in a few, so I’m cool with him coming back: at least I know what he is. I have no idea about the youngsters.

    Brad January 18, 2011, 4:09 pm
  • In comparison, the frugal Yankees ;)have just $17M in 3 OF’s.
    Hehe, but of course, on the infield
    The Sox will be paying their four starting infielders $23.8 million if Scutaro is the starter (around $19.5 million if it’s Lowrie), which is more than $7 million less than what the Yankees will be paying their third baseman. :-D
    In fact, in the games Lowrie starts, the Yankees will have three players making more than the entire Sox infield combined. :-)

    Paul SF January 18, 2011, 4:44 pm
  • Paul is correct. The Yankees have an astonishingly highly-paid infield which will draw crowds for many years, but they also have an outfield that has to compete with Broadway.
    The Yankees Outfield is not awful, but at the same time, it used to be Legend.

    attackgerbil January 18, 2011, 5:34 pm
  • I’ll admit that A-Rod and Jeter are grossly overpaid. Not debating that. My point was that I was amazed just how much money the Sox have invested in their OF, that’s all. I associate the Sox with good, sound contracts (serious) and I think much like the Yankees infield vs the Sox infield the disparity in money being put out doesn’t match the overall performance output. The positive is (fiscally) that Drew comes off, Cameron comes of and presumably that number comes closer to the Yankees with the young OF talent they have coming up. Which means this spending in the same neighborhood as the Yankees could only be a one year thing.

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 8:23 pm
  • Along the same lines Oakland spending on BP vs position players…just thought provoking is all.

    John - YF January 18, 2011, 9:32 pm
  • I’ve always liked Pettitte (as much as any SF can like a Yankee) but he’s getting more and more of a reputation.

    Atheose - SF January 19, 2011, 7:16 am
  • i realize that most of this turned into tongue-in-cheek about who pays more for what, but it’s safe to say both teams have a lot of $ invested, and the debate about who’s overpaying for what never goes anywhere, because in the end, it doesn’t matter, because it’s largely a matter of perception…sure, it’s noble to put a team on the field that gets the most bang for it’s buck, but unfortunatley there’s a premium for star power, and that puts fannies in the seats…trust me, renewed interest in the sox, and continuing the dubious sellout streak, will largely be because of the high-priced acquisitions of crawford and agon, rather than guys like ellsbury and drew…if you need evidence of that, turn no further than this site… ;)
    brad, i understand your loyalty for your sox players, but with the exception of crawford, our outfields aren’t a whole different…sure styles are different, but talent, not so much…let’s see what ellsbury can do this season now that his ribs, and hopefully his hurt feelings are healed…i’d have to admit, granderson has been bit of a disappointment, to me anyway…i expected more from him, but he is a nice player, and i’ll take him…

    dc January 19, 2011, 9:10 am
  • “brad, i understand your loyalty for your sox players, but with the exception of crawford, our outfields aren’t a whole different”
    To which, I’ve said as much. But, I think the debate is better served hearing from Ellsbury and Granderson this year.
    If Ellsbury goes back to what he was the previous year, he’s the best deal on either staff – hands down. If Granderson does what “he’s gonna”, then it’s a different argument.
    I would also like to see Brett Gardner this year and get a better idea of what’s going to happen there in year two.
    But yes, right now with Ellsbury coming off a down year, and Gardner coming off a career one, they are more closely linked in projection than is arguable.
    I’m sure we’ll revisit it.
    You’re also not the only one Granderson has disappointed. The list includes several guys who expected him to rake (including me) last year in YS2, and more notably, Chicago.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 9:36 am
  • I also think that when analyzing the OFers on each team, you kind of have to look at them as a unit. With Ellsbury, Crawford, and Drew in the OF, it’s going to be real hard to find holes for the ball to drop. Nevermind the base paths. Unless you think that Crawford is going to be the same guy he was in Tampa while hitting cleanup, which remains to be unseen.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 9:38 am
  • Brad, I have not been up to the new arena yet. I hope to get up there for a basketball game this year. They have a few local NJ kids I’d like to see play. I have heard some really good things about it though. Two of my players are going there next year and they mentioned that they took them to the arena as part of the tour.

    John - YF January 19, 2011, 9:41 am
  • Yeah, John. Had that been there during recruiting ten years ago, I would have chosen there for sure. When I went, the guys were taking BP on the soccer field behind the dorms. haha.
    It’s awesome, man. Your kids will prosper there now, as they have a very good system in place. Gooley is a good coach.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 9:47 am
  • I think the Sox are basically paying market value for their outfield while playing well below market value for their infield (which will change somewhat next season when Gonzalez’s extension kicks in). Drew’s WAR has basically matched what he’s been paid (and I know there’s room for debate on that). Cameron is overpaid as a fourth outfielder, Crawford I think is fairly paid (some argue that he already is overpaid; others argue that he will be underpaid in the first years of the deal), and Ellsbury, barring another lost season, will likely be underpaid even with his nice raise in arbitration. And as John notes, Drew and Cameron will be gone next season, allowing Kalish to probably be criminally underpaid, almost regardless of how he performs (as long as he doesn’t suck completely), given that teams are paying $5 million per win on the open market.
    The Yankees are getting bargains in their outfield while overpaying in the infield. Jeter and A-Rod are overpaid, Teixeira is earning market value, while Cano is still well underpaid based on last year’s performance, even with his arb raise.

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 9:55 am
  • Erm, apparently Cano is not in arbitration. He signed an extension, so his raise is actually pretty minimal ($10 milion for 2011), which means he will really be underpaid in 2011, unless he suffers another 2008-style collapse.

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 9:57 am
  • I read somewhere that ARod makes 37M this year if he hits 47HR, which takes him to 660.
    It all balances out.:)

    Brad January 19, 2011, 10:04 am
  • “…But, I think the debate is better served hearing from Ellsbury and Granderson this year….”
    ok, we agree then…kinda why i hate projections…i probably came down a little too hard on ellsbury…he is a very good player, he’s proven that with a couple of very good seasons prior to last, so he could/should be a lot more productive than granderson or gardner…but we’ll have to see…they could finally have those breakout seasons…isn’t drew in his walk year?…he might put on a push for another contract…still rather have swisher… ;)

    dc January 19, 2011, 10:04 am
  • Yeah, this is his last year in Boston.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 10:08 am
  • but we’ll have to see…they could finally have those breakout seasons.
    I was under the assumption that Gardner had his breakout season last year, which was far and above anything he had ever done. If he produces exactly the same this year, the Yankees will be very happy, IMO.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 10:11 am
  • i guess so…i’m just hoping he continues to get better…wishful probably ;)
    is ops+ a good thing?
    granderson ’10 = 109
    ellsbury ’09 = 97 [best full season]
    gardner ’10 = 106
    drew ’10 = 109
    swisher ’10 = 130
    crawford ’10 = 134
    i’m not purposely cherry-picking, but it looks close to me from this particular perspective…

    dc January 19, 2011, 10:23 am
  • Again,
    It’s going to be interesting to see which players actually replicate what they’ve done. OPS+ is a good thing, for sure, but it’s also adjusted for park and (I think) team offense and defense, which skews each player somewhat. Paul?
    Just on OPS, the players career years are also close:
    09 JE: .770 (career best in a full year)
    10 BG: .762 (same)
    10 CG: .792 (right around avg for him)
    10 JD: .793 (one of his lowest ever)
    10 NS: .870 (career best)
    10 CC: .851 (career best)
    It’s going to be interesting to see which players improve, which ones regress, and which ones maintain.
    Free of bias, I think JE and BG stay where they are. I think Drew regresses and Swisher gets better. But, the major piece is CC. I think he gets significantly better in Boston’s lineup. He’ll take more pitches (lets admit it, he’s not the main piece of this puzzle, and will have protection he’s never had), have more extra base hits, and most likely, a lot more steals.
    Though, I could be wrong: wouldn’t be the first time. :)

    Brad January 19, 2011, 10:44 am
  • OPS+ is good for a lot of things, including thumbnail sketches of players’ offense. It’s adjusted by park and league, which means you can compare the raw offensive value of a player without having the question of, “Well he hits in Fenway, so that’s inflated,” etc.
    But… OPS+ is not so helpful in three ways, and it’s important to know what they are in case you’re dealing with players who fall into these categories:
    1. It weights OBP and SLG the same, even though OBP is nearly twice as valuable. That doesn’t come up very much, but there are high-OBP, low-SLG players who would be unfairly disadvantaged by a straight OPS/OPS+ comparison.
    2. It doesn’t take into account baserunning, which is an aspect of a player’s offensive skill. So a fast, highly successful baserunner could be severely penalized by looking only at his OPS/OPS+.
    3. It doesn’t adjust for position. A 100 OPS+ is still league average overall, but at catcher or shortstop that’s actually extremely valuable, whereas at first base or DH it’s a huge negative.
    Baseball-Reference splits WAR into its offensive and defensive components. If you don’t like/trust the defensive data that’s out there, you can use the purely linear weights-based offensive data, which is parks and league adjusted, properly accounts for the importance of reaching base and further includes baserunning as part of the data. It also includes the playing-time component, so a better offensive player who misses time will be dinged for it (or, rather, won’t accumulate as much).
    Using oWAR, here’s what we get for Ells/Grandy/Gardner:
    Ellsbury:
    3.2 oWAR (2009, career best)
    1.3 oWAR (2008, rookie season)
    Gardner:
    2.6 oWAR (2010, career best)
    1.5 oWAR (2009, rookie season in 284 PA)
    Granderson:
    5.9 oWAR (2007, career best)
    4.6 oWAR (2008)
    2.9 oWAR (2009)
    2.5 oWAR (2010)
    The components of oWAR are: batting, reaching on errors, grounding into double plays and baserunning. All these are expressed in runs above or below average based on linear weights (which calculate the expected runs in any given situation, look at what the hitter did, then calculate how many runs should be expected in the new situation and credit the hitter with the difference, positive or negative). It then includes a position adjustment and adds runs “above replacement” depending on how much playing time the player has.
    Granderson was worth three wins with his bat alone in 2007 and two with the bat in 2008. He’s about two or three runs above average in straight baserunning and doesn’t reach on errors any more or less than average. He’s generally avoided double plays between two and four runs better than average, but that fell to zero last year, and his injuries cost him a couple runs in 2010. He actually graded out as a better hitter in 2010 than in 2009, but went from four runs above average at avoiding double plays to zero, which pretty much wiped out the advantage. Except for 2007-08, Granderson’s entire career is basically average to slightly above with the bat with slightly above average baserunning and good defense (though that fell from +4 to -4 runs above average last year; could be a fluke). I wouldn’t expect much more at this point.
    Give Gardner the nine runs of playing time that he missed in 2009 that he got in 2010, and he would have had 2.4 oWAR, and his 2010 would have only been a marginal improvement. How? Well, first his bat improved by basically a full win, from -3 to +6. His running was basically the same, very good in both seasons (+4 to +5), but he, too, went from being good at avoiding double plays (+3 runs in 2009) to merely average (0 in 2010). Also, spending his time in left field means that his offense isn’t nearly as valuable as it was when he was in center. Position adjustment costs him five runs of value. So he gained 10 runs in batting and baserunning but lost eight in GDP and positioning. Gardner’s real value comes in his defense, where he was 14 runs above average in 2010, up from 1 in 2009. Again, we’ll see what 2011 says. Defensive metrics need three seasons of cumulative data before they have a large enough sample size to be trustworthy.
    Ellsbury in 2009 was exactly average with the bat (0 runs above average), but was +6 on the basepaths, the best baserunning season of any of the three players (though a difference of one or two runs I can’t really see as being predictive). He also was +2 on reaching base via error, gained two runs for playing center field and didn’t miss any time. He improved in every facet of his game from the year before, his rookie season, when he was -12 with the bat, +6 on the paths, -1 on errors, +2 on double plays and lost two runs because of the time he spent in left and right fields. His defense was rated as awesome in 2008 (22 runs above average) and terrible in 2009 (-10). Another wait-and-see on that one.
    Here is a straight-up comparison of Ellsbury’s 2009 with Gardner’s 2010:
    Ells 09: 0 Bat, +6 Bsrun, +2 ROE, 0 DP, +2 Pos, +22 Rep
    Gard10: 6 Bat, +5 Bsrun, 0 ROE, 0 DP, -4 Pos, +19 Rep
    DP and ROE are sort of hybrids, focusing on the player’s batting and running, but if we count them both as running ability (because no one really thinks of either as a positive hitting event), it breaks down like this:
    Ells 09: 0 Bat, +8 Bsrun, +2 Pos, +22 Rep
    Gard10: 6 Bat, +5 Bsrun, -4 Pos, +19 Rep
    Gardner was overall three runs better than Ellsbury with the bat, but he did it while playing mostly left field, where the offensive bar is higher, and he batted eighth or ninth most of the season, so he could not compile as much value over your typical replacement player as Ellsbury did batting leadoff.
    So at this pojnt, it’s way too close to call based on raw production in their respective breakout seasons, but if the Yankees continue to put Gardner in left field and bat him at the bottom of the order, it looks like they’ll be costing themselves basically a win of value, regardless of how well he performs at the plate.

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 11:46 am
  • Gardner was overall three runs better than Ellsbury with the bat,
    This is confusing. Gardner was at +11 combining hitting and baerunning in 2010, i.e., overall offensive output, while Ellsbury was at +8. That difference is erased by the fact that the Yankees put Gardner in situations that minimized his offensive value by 1. putting him at a defensive position where his bat is less valuable and 2. hitting him at a position that meaningfully affected his plate appearances compared to someone at the top of the order.
    Now, playing left field also likely increased his defensive value, and if the other eight players are all more valuable with the bat, his batting ninth makes perfect sense, so it’s not necessarily a knock on the Yankees. It’s just a statement that Gardner compiled less value on offense — basically a win’s worth — than he could have, given different placement on the field and in the order.

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 11:53 am
  • 2009-10 lines for the other three outfielders:
    2010:
    Drew: +6 Bat, 0 Bsrun, 0 ROE, 0 DP, -6 Pos, +18 Rep, 1.8 oWAR
    Swish: +23 Bat, -1 Bsrun, 0 ROE, 0 DP, -7 Pos, +22 Rep, 3.5 oWAR
    Craw: +26 Bat, +5 Bsrun, 0 ROE, 0 DP, -7 Pos, +22 Rep, 4.7 oWAR
    2009:
    Drew: +23 Bat, -2 Bsrun, -1 ROE, 2 DP, -6 Pos, +19 Rep, 3.5 oWAR
    Swish: +21 Bat, -1 Bsrun, -1 ROE, -1 DP, -7 Pos, +21 Rep, 3.2 oWAR
    Craw: +11 Bat, +4 Bsrun, -1 ROE, +3 DP, -7 Pos, +22 Rep, 3.2 oWAR
    That 1.8 oWAR from Drew was his worst since 2009, fwiw.

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 12:03 pm
  • Paul:
    Can you condense these last three into a top post? Great stuff to look at.

    SF January 19, 2011, 12:17 pm
  • I’ll give it a go this afternoon… :-)

    Paul SF January 19, 2011, 12:24 pm
  • Awesome stuff, Paul.
    As mentioned, it’s definitely close.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 2:04 pm
  • Personal opinion aside, isn’t this just backing up what my original statement was? The Yankees are getting more bang for their buck in the OF. Much like the Sox are getting more bang for their buck in the infield. Add to those three the $7.5M they are paying to Cameron and I don’t think my statement is all that shocking or crazy.

    John - YF January 19, 2011, 2:29 pm
  • I don’t think anyone says it was, John. I agreed right off the top.

    Brad January 19, 2011, 2:32 pm
  • most of latter part of this discussion came out my comment at 9:10 this morning john…with the exception of perhaps crawford, i didn’t see a big difference in our outfields [ignoring $]…even with crawford, the ops+ of our respective outfields is similar, and brad agreed…paul, the animal that he is, gave me the 101 on ops+ and included a whole bunch of other good stuff assessing the outfielders further [thanks paul]…bottom line, i think, is that my original conclusion holds up under further review…overall, you probably gotta give a slight edge to the sox because of crawford…i see paul added a new post to continue the discussion…

    dc January 19, 2011, 4:38 pm
  • C’mon, y’all… It’s so obvious. Pettitte will come back, but not until the middle of the season, to be announced in-game, Clemens-style… so that Suzyn Waldman can have another on air orgasm.
    I believe it’s in her contract that she gets to have at least two every ten years.
    /ducking

    Hudson January 19, 2011, 6:30 pm

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