The Sum of All Fears

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This photo, with its torqued bodies in violent motion, looks like something Peter Paul Rubens might take up if he were to come back to life as a baseball fan. The play is from September 2005—perhaps you remember it; Jorge held on for the out and the Yanks won, 8-4. It’s posted here as it suggests what is surely the worst case scenario for either the Yanks or the Sox: the potential injury to their prized backstop. The red cross on Tek’s helmet seems almost prophetic.

When Yankee fans talk here about team MVP’s, the discussion usually comes down to Mo, Jeter, Alex. Their values are astronomical, but the truth is that the one player the Yankees can least afford to replace is Jorge Posada. The Bomber bullpen is stacked—even if Mo goes down, the Yanks will convert most of their save opportunities. Losing Jeter or Alex would be tough, especially with Cairo as the primary backup, but finding a replacement on the market at one of those slots is not an impossibility. If the Yanks lose a starter, their Triple-A rotation can easily fill in. But Posada? The drop between his production and that of his likely backup, Todd Pratt, is enormous. Every time Jorge’s involved in a play at the plate, it’s going to be a cringe-worthy experience. Frankly, it’s probably worth conceding all but the most crucial runs to protect his health. Varitek, who’s already shown more wear and tear than Jorge, is in a similar position on the Sox. He had a down year in 2006, and look what happened: Boston was passed by the Blue Jays. I certainly hope these two can stay healthy this year; it’s fun to watch great players play, and it’s great for the rivalry to have the best on the field. A la santé!

94 comments… add one

  • I agree with this post, for the most part. But last year the Sox were passed by the Blue Jays not because Tek was out and hurt (though that was certainly a factor), but because Wakefield got hurt, Clement got hurt, Beckett lacked consistency, Crisp got hurt and never met expectations, the bullpen was mediocre, etc. etc. The Sox had far deeper problems last year that would never have been covered by a solid year from their backstop.
    Nonetheless, we share sentiments about the importance of this position.

    SF February 27, 2007, 9:30 am
  • I too agree, with the exception of Tek’s showing more signs of wear. I think if we look back at 2005, we all said the same thing about Jorge, but he had a very nice rebound year last year. I think Tek’s due for one this year, having had plenty of time to get those batteries recharged.
    It is true however, that someone is going to have to step up at this position soon for both clubs. We’ve been so fortunate to have these two guys behind the plate in comparison with other teams. They are, in fact the gold standard outside of Pudge.

    Brad February 27, 2007, 9:33 am
  • oh, and nicely written, YF.

    Brad February 27, 2007, 9:34 am
  • Losing Jeter or Alex would be tough, especially with Cairo as the primary backup, but finding a replacement on the market at one of those slots is not an impossibility.
    This is an interesting statement. I wonder what the real replacement cost for guys like Jeter or A-Rod would be. Considering that Jeter had an MVP season with a VORP of 80 last year, replacing him with Cairo would seem to be a disaster, far worse than replacing Posada with a less-than-league-average catcher. I am not disputing that the loss of Posada would be severe, but for some reason, if I had to choose (and I don’t wish this choice), I’d rather Jeter go down with a long-term injury than Jorge.

    SF February 27, 2007, 9:43 am
  • I totally agree YF. This is also not just a problem for this season. There is a relative black hole of catchers with serious potential in almost the entire minor league system. Both clubs need to keep a keen eye out for young potential in the coming years, grab it and develop it.
    We’re in for some lean years regarding catchers.

    LocklandSF February 27, 2007, 9:57 am
  • For example, Jeter had a VORP (isolating this stat just for the moment) of 80, while Alex Gonzalez had a VORP of 3.2. Surprisingly, the defensive difference (where you might expect Gonzalez to make up ground on league-average) is not as striking. Jeter’s PMR (again, isolating one stat for the sake of the moment) is very poor, at 96, while Gonzalez’ is just above poor, at 101.
    If you told Yankees and Sox fans that in the case of a Jeter catastrophe they’d be able to replace him with a guy like Alex Gonzalez, I am guessing we’d all feel like, though there was a tremendous dropoff on the offensive side of things, that it could be far worse. In fact, it couldn’t. The numbers show that losing Posada wouldn’t be nearly as harmful as losing Jeter. The contrarian view presented by YF here, that losing Posada would be a more harmful loss than one to A-Rod or Jeter, is in my opinion, though sentimentally understandable, incorrect.

    SF February 27, 2007, 10:03 am
  • SF, is there a statistical measurement for the way a certain catcher affects the entire pitching staff? I’m asking seriously, I don’t know, but I do know that a really good catcher, game caller, in-game manager, etc, is viewed as very important by pitchers and position players alike. That alone must have some positive or negative affect on the game or season in general. I could be wrong though.

    LocklandSF February 27, 2007, 10:20 am
  • That’s a good point SF, but I’m not sure I agree. Let’s compare the 4 key players in this equation by their OPS+ from last year:
    Posada:127
    Pratt: 58
    Jeter: 138
    Cairo: 59
    So just by this stat, you’d be correct, but not by much, and when you consider that Pratt is an aging catcher, and that he would then need to be backed up every couple of days (and here the numbers really are bleak), and also the paucity of even league average catching on the market….well, it’s pretty frightening. And in any case, at catcher, Posada is at higher risk—which is a different issue, but worth noting at any rate.

    YF February 27, 2007, 10:20 am
  • Dunno, Lockland. It was argued last year that Varitek in fact hurt Beckett, calling for far too many fastballs, leading to JB’s monstrous home run total. I don’t think there’s any way to quantify the catcher’s effect, since by virtue of the small number of games played by a backup you’ll end up with a small sample size, and no significant data by which to measure the comparable value. It seems logical to assume that certain pitchers feel more comfortable throwing to certain guys, but I doubt that the performance difference is measurable by any sizable sample of information that would allow one to draw fair empirical conclusions.
    With the Sox, observation tells us that Mirabelli was barely competent last year on the offensive side last season. As for his defense, I didn’t notice any impact on the Sox’ pitching staff with my naked eye: the staff was hurting with Varitek, it was similarly hurting with ‘Belli.

    SF February 27, 2007, 10:25 am
  • I don’t disagree about the “frightening possibilities”, YF, at all. I am approaching this from a hypothetical angle, and one I do NOT wish for, which is “if you could pick one position player on the Yankees to have a season-ending injury, who would it be?”. I think I’d probably go with Jeter first, then A-Rod, then Posada, then Damon. Though Posada might be better second on the list, since he has more integration with the defense, and since league-average replacement is nearly impossible to find at his position, as you say. I still think it’s Jeter that should blow the knee out, though.
    Hypothetically, of course.

    SF February 27, 2007, 10:31 am
  • That hypothetical seems to be backqard, though, doesn’t it? Conventional wisdom suggests the most important positions to a world championship team are up the middle — C, SS, 2B, CF. For the Yankees, losing Doug Mientkewicz would certainly be preferable to losing Derek Jeter. For the Sox, of course, it’s a different story because we’re dealing with a brand new middle infield and essential unknowns (bounceback years, hopefully) at CF and C. So losing Lugo might be better than losing Youkilis, just because the Sox got no production out of SS last year anyway, and they have a competent backup in Alex Cora.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 10:47 am
  • That hypothetical seems to be backward, though, doesn’t it?
    Not sure I am following you, Paul. I suggest that losing any of the middle positions would be most damaging, save for A-Rod, which would be damaging just because he’s so f-ing good. The straight “up the middle”, geographically speaking, is too literal in this case, at least for me.

    SF February 27, 2007, 10:53 am
  • I think SF and Paul are looking it from a different perspective – SF is saying what would be “optimal” from a SF’s point of view, thus Jeter being most valuable to lose, while Paul’s looking it from a YF’s point of view..
    I love Posada though, but I think the Yanks have enough sluggers and not enough tablesetters. Maybe this year will be different, since Shef isn’t around anymore..

    Lar February 27, 2007, 11:08 am
  • Ah, thanks, Lar. I understand now. My bad. I was looking at it from a YFs POV, which might explain why I suddenly feel light-headed and nauseous.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 11:22 am
  • Wow, Paul, that’s serious method there. You’re a veritable DeNiro. Though I think even DeNiro would have been sent to Bellevue if he had to assume the character of a Yankee fan for any length of time.

    SF February 27, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • Let it never be said that I don’t give my all for YFSF. Now I have to go lie down…

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 12:40 pm
  • Actually, did DeNiro play an identifiable YF in “a Bronx Tale”?

    SF February 27, 2007, 12:43 pm
  • I just love the expectation that the two are even equal to begin with.
    The real question is: Could Varitek even carry Jorge’s jock?
    Varitek has consistently fluctutated between below average and above average.
    Jorge by contrast has been consistently well-above average and sometimes outstanding.
    The dropoff for the Yanks is much more severe because they have a catcher who has been top 3 in the game behind only Piazza and Pudge. And he’s held up better than both of them – both at and behind the plate.
    Unfortuntely the whole Yankee organization has been blind for the need of a legit backup for the last three years. The Sox at least had the foresight to pickup Kottaras very cheaply. He’s going to be very good as soon as this Fall if Varitek gets hurt again.
    By contrast, the Yanks have truly nothing.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 1:07 pm
  • I just love the expectation that the two are even equal to begin with.
    But YF never asserted that they were equal players, only that their importance to their respective teams is significant.

    SF February 27, 2007, 1:10 pm
  • If that was the point – then ‘no’ their importance isn’t even close to equivalent.
    First, the Sox have the better backup, as disgusting as that comparison even is.
    And second, the Sox have a legit propect who’s already shown to be a professional hitter and will be ready as soon as this year.
    Finally, Varitek is showing his normal consistency (between below average and above). Jorge, by contrast, is showing his consistency (above average to outstanding)with improved defense.
    Even if they’re both starting their downward slopes, Jorge still have much futher to fall.
    The Yanks have much more to lose and nothing close to insurance. Ugh.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • First, the Sox have the better backup
    Oof.

    SF February 27, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • I don’t think there’s any question the Yanks are in a more difficult situation. But while Kottaras is a good prospect, he hit just 211 in AAA last year. He’s been a consistent producer at every level below that, so you can assume his numbers will improve, but he probably needs a bit more time down on the farm.

    YF February 27, 2007, 1:44 pm
  • “By contrast, the Yanks have truly nothing.”
    False. Jesus Montero and he is going to be a S-T-U-D! He’s only 18, but future looks bright. So the cupboard isn’t bare.
    #1 How many teams would be ok if their starting catcher went down? White Sox, Dodgers, Brewers. Not many.
    #2 If Jorge’s injury was LT, don’t you think they would trade for a better option? I do.
    Good catchers are few and far between, not having a good backup is a little bothersome, but I wouldn’t lose sleep.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • somewhere….don slaughts phone just rang.

    sf rod February 27, 2007, 2:06 pm
  • “But while Kottaras is a good prospect, he hit just 211 in AAA last year.”
    Come on, YF, you know better. Sample size. Not to mention the fact that he played less than a full season at AA, where he raked so much the Pads decided, foolishly, to rush him up a level. Given a full AAA season’s worth of at bats, Kotteras could be one of the year’s most significant September callups, if you can consider a Sept. callup significant.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • YF –
    I love the Yanks dearly and on the catching issue I’ve driven alot of people crazy on other sites. If Jorge gets hurt to me, and no move is made to compensate (when prices will be really high) then I honestly think Cashman should be fired even as he wouldn’t be. The lack of a catching prospect for the last three years is just plain disgusting.
    But Kottaras is legit. Don’t base anything on those 100 AB’s and base everything on the 100 points of isolated discipline he’s consistently shown. The guy can hit and he’s going on year 24. The only question is if he develops power. But with that discipline, he probably will or least hit enough doubles for it not to matter much.
    The price paid for Kottaras is even more disgusting when you consider the Yanks traded a better, albeit overpriced, lefty and got four scrubs instead. The Dbacks should have heard “Montero or no deal” especially with the state of their rotation going into the season.
    Why is it Emperor Theo can pass through three legit catching prospects in one year and the Yanks couldn’t get one in the last three or four years? What the fuck?

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 2:08 pm
  • Talk to me about Jesus (not to be confused with Miquel in the DBack system) when he gets to A+ ball (which is two seasons away). Otherwise he doesn’t exist.
    And further, he’s not going to be a catcher – not at 6’3″ and 230 lbs and still growing. He better hit enough to be a DH/1B. If not, say goodbye to that idea.
    And that whole nonsense about “how many other teams” is just plain silly given the Yankee resources. A catching prospect, even if he’s no where close to Jorge’s number, is something they can easily afford and have plained for. And they didn’t.
    YF’s *should* all cringe at every play at the plate this year, and much more so than Sox fans. Indeed, by September they may be hoping that Varitek gets hurts and Kottaras take his place – especially if they continue with last year’s numbers and the pitchers continue to get hurt with Tek’s handling.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • “pitchers continue to get hurt with Tek’s handling”
    can we outright blame jorge for the sharp decline in RJ’s hall of fame career?

    sf rod February 27, 2007, 2:20 pm
  • especially if they continue with last year’s numbers and the pitchers continue to get hurt with Tek’s handling.
    not sure what you mean here, Jim. Varitek is consistenly thought of as one of the best game callers in the game. How is he hurting them?

    Brad February 27, 2007, 2:22 pm
  • Dude you are out of your mind. 4 teams have backups that could step in almost seemlessly FOUR! They don’t grow on trees. Cas inquired about Hall, he wanted no part of the Yankees. Who else was there?
    “got four scrubs instead”
    You are misinformed and extreme.
    Kottaras might be ok someday, but I wouldn’t go overboard. He’s a hitter, avg arm, below to avg mechanics behind plate and avg arm. Not even in top 10 minor league catchers so relax.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 2:23 pm
  • they may be hoping that Varitek gets hurts and Kottaras take his place
    must…not…respond…

    Brad February 27, 2007, 2:24 pm
  • Sorry Avg arm was said twice, my apologies.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 2:25 pm
  • That’s not my opinion but one I’ve seen bantered about by SF’s. But no, I don’t think Varitek is “one of the best game callers in the game” when your pitching staff continues to underperform expectations.
    Further, I think that’s something easy to say when there’s little else that makes a player stand out.
    Sorry, Varitek was a nice little player and all for a few seasons, but I’d be much more shocked by a 120 OPS+ than another season like last.
    The worrisome part, I think for Sox fans, is what happens if Varitek repeats last year. There’s no way they let Kottaras take over full-time in 2008 and at the Tek salary being wasted. So then do they squander GK’s development as a backup at the expense of an overvalued veteran?
    Sort of like what happened to Jorge.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • Jim Dean:
    Joe Mauer is 6 ft 4
    Brian McCann is 6 ft 3
    Michael Barrett is 6 ft 3
    A.J. Pierzynski is 6 ft 3
    Thank You.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 2:45 pm
  • Then after folks argue about how few teams have valuable backups, they argue that no good backups are available.
    1) The Yanks have had 3 or 4 years to get a catching prospect. And no Lance Parish Jr., Koyie Hill, Wil Nieves, and Ben Davis do not count.
    2) Arizona has two legit young catchers – one better than the others. There’s no reason one couldn’t be had ESPECIALLY because the DBacks had exactly Webb and Livan and prospects in their 2007 rotation. Instead, they Yanks got four players that upgrade them at exactly zero places in their organization and exactly zero roster spots on the 2007 team.
    3) Me, they go after Zaun hard right when he was available and with a rapidly exploding offer. Further, Zaun would have been a better RH 1B than anything they have there now. If that failed, they had to be prepared to go hard at Lieberthal.
    AND
    4) They trade for a catching prospect – overpay if you have to, but don’t wait four years and settle for Kelly Stinnett in November and call it “problem solved”.
    Todd Pratt is unbeleivably a step down from Fasano and Stinnett. That’s disgusting especially when the only other options are Nieves and Raul Chavez.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 2:48 pm
  • Are you dense, man? They were that size when they were 17 years old? And they weighed 230 lbs then too?
    Whatever, Jesus Montero means nothing for the Yankees that play in the Bronx until 2010 at the very least. I’d suggest you choose something else to feel giddy about until then – it’s a long wait.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 2:52 pm
  • Jorge Posada – 3 rings and had better numbers against overrated Former Seattle Mariners Jason Varitek
    Varitek – 1 ring and was awful at the plate last year
    enough said..
    Kottaras was traded for Chunky David Wells. Kottaras is not great but fringe catching prospect overhyping by Redsox Fans.

    Jyung Li February 27, 2007, 3:04 pm
  • well that settles that. nice work jyung.

    sf rod February 27, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • “The real question is: Could Varitek even carry Jorge’s jock?”
    Oh PUH-LEEZE. The idea that Jorge somehow is way better than Tek is laughable. Sure Tek had a lousy year last year, but it was pretty damned obvious that he was trying to play through injuries all season (first to his ass, then to his knee, IIRC).
    Posada gets a slight nod on offense. Tek’s career BA – .269. Posada’s – .270. If Tek didn’t try to come back from knee surgery in September, his career avg would be better than Jorge’s. In terms of power, over 162 games, Tek has averaged 20 HRs, Posada 25. Of course, Posada has had the benefit being surrounded by a much more balanced lineup throughout his entire career, thus seeing better pitches, more opportunities with men on base, etc. Still, I’ll give Jorge a slight edge on offense.
    But in regards to defense, it’s not even close. If you think Jorge is anywhere close to Tek’s league, you’ve seriously got to stop drinking the NYC tap water. Jorge is serviceable, and Tek is the man. The stats alone don’t tell how frickin good he is (sort of like Jeter). You have to actually watch the games and see him blocking balls in the dirt, blocking runners from the plate (i.e. Byrnes, Eric), diving for foul balls into the stands and onto batting circles. Moreover, he has the gold standard for preparation and game calling in the modern era.
    Nevermind that Tek gives Capn Jetes a run for the money in the department of “intangibles.” And that Tek is the all-time leader in gloves-to-the-faces-of-prissy-HOF-third-basemen.

    tommy February 27, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • Sorry man, but but I’m A YF and Kottaras is legit especially because he’s not yet 24 yo and has put up this career line through 4 mL seasons:
    .283 .383 .450 .833
    Discipline like that is hard to teach is projects very well becuase it’s hard to lose. If all he does is replicate those numbers in the majors, he’s one of the best hitting catchers in the game. And I think he can still develop more power.
    For shits and giggles: here’s Jorge who didn’t come up to the Yanks until he was 26 yo after six seasons in the minors.
    .258 .368 .436 .804
    Oh, and guess what – Jorge developed more power (career MLB numbers):
    .270 .375 .472 .847
    That all said, it was a fantastic trade for the Sox. But it still doesn’t make up for Bard and Cla for Belli – not even close.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 3:13 pm
  • is he your brother or something, Jim?
    I agree, Tommy. It’s laughable to me to agree with the philosophy that Posada is better than Varitek. Just look at the numbers over the careers of both players. I’ll agree that Tek has had some downtimes, but defensively, Jorge isn’t on the same level.

    Brad February 27, 2007, 3:18 pm
  • Jyung Li,
    By your logic. Kevin Millar, with one WS ring, is/was superior to Don Mattingly, who was apparently overrated.
    Enough said, indeed.

    tommy February 27, 2007, 3:30 pm
  • Wow, now I know why I don’t hang out around here more. SF’s throwing out AVG in support of their argument.
    Varitek sports a 105 OPS+ with a line of:
    .269 .348 .450
    Jorge, meanwhile sports a career 122 OPS+ with a line of:
    .270 .375 .472
    So for you SF’s who are a bit slow from fetal alcohol syndrome, I’ll put it into ordinary language:
    Varitek is just barely above average as a hitter. Jorge is just a smidge below very nice thanks for his position (Piazza = 143 OPS+; I-Rod = 113 OPS+).
    And while judging defense is tough, RATE (look it up) shows:
    Varitek = 100 career (high of 112 in 2001)
    Jorge = 103 career (high of 112 in 1998).
    I-Rod is at 111 for his career.
    Meanwhile, Varitek has been around average the last few years, even as Jorge had his second best year behind the plate last year (110 Rate).
    Again, plain english: If anything, it looks like Jorge is the better defensive catcher.
    On both sides of the plate, Jorge is probably still top 3 of all catchers in the game. By contrast, Varitek looks like he’s sliding ever closer to replacement level.
    I take Jorge and you can keep the intangibles.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 3:32 pm
  • varitek has been better overall than posada over the past several years…the facts support that…v has had more ups and downs, but overall, v gets the nod…the only thing i don’t like about him is not catching wakefield, but it does give him a day off, and i doubt jorge would want to catch wakefield either…

    dc February 27, 2007, 3:37 pm
  • What do all Sox fans ignore stats? Or does your head hurt too much when you have to think beyond “Dude” and “Wicked”?
    Jorge’s better defensively. Jorge’s much better offensively.
    And a Fisk-like finish and he may just enter the HOF with only other catcher who were ever better than him in his playing career – Pudge and Piazza – except Jorge was a better hitter than Pudge and a much better defender than Piazza.
    Varitek meanwhile will be forgotten as a nice little player for a one-time championship team.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • i just read your facts jim…can i change my vote?…actually i still understand why sf’s think v is better, and i’m ok with that…i save my energy for when they get wigged out on real bs comparisons…

    dc February 27, 2007, 3:41 pm
  • Aaaaand Jim falls over the edge.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 3:42 pm
  • I promised last timr I wouldn’t argue with Trolls, I am keeping my promise.

    Triskkaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 3:45 pm
  • awwwh. jim, how come yankee fans feel some entitlement to skew numbers to prove a point. it must be NY’s state scent “bum urine”, eroding their brains.

    sf rod February 27, 2007, 3:47 pm
  • What? Nothing suggests Jorge is going anywhere except his age. I’d say two seasons like the last one, or close, and he’s easily in the HOF discussion – easy.
    He’s a better hitter than Pudge and a better defender than Piazza. What’s not to love?
    Meanwhile, Varitek belongs nowhere near that discussion.
    BTW: Jorge’s most similar through age 34?
    One Carlton Fisk.
    His most similar overall?
    One Roy Campanella.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 3:50 pm
  • This is going to sound heretical, but Posada is better than Varitek, I have to say. I love Tek, to be honest. And, stupidly, I wouldn’t trade them for each other straight up (for the same reason Mo won’t come to the Sox – too much history). I like that Tek is tough (cue YFs complaining about him hitting A-Rod), that he plays hurt, that he’s a leader, that he’s been solid offensively and defensively. But Varitek is no gold glover (neither is Posada, frankly), and no silver slugger (though when playing well he’s certainly a nice hitter). Posada has a slight edge at the plate, and as he has improved defensively the last few years I’d say there’s a reasonable argument that he’s a better player overall, if only slightly.
    As for calling games, there’s just no way to quantify this. I do know that RJ refused to be caught by Posada, but is this because Posada can’t call a game or because RJ is a pr*ck? The Yankees have won the division for a decade with some good staffs, some not so good staffs. How bad a game caller can one consider Posada? Have his pitchers complained about him or do they universally go to the mat for the guy? This criticism strikes me as unfair, and if coming from SFs specifically seems like blind partisanship. Similarly, those who think that Varitek can’t carry Posada’s jock aren’t fully there, either.

    SF February 27, 2007, 3:52 pm
  • Jim, you on crack. Anyone who knows anything about the Sox would probably take into consideration the fact that Tek caught Wakefield for the first four years of his career and that the Sox have insisted on not using the “slide step” to hold runners on base. These result in more passed balls and more SB, which are the two factors most prominently considered in most assessments of C defense. (I couldn’t find RATE on line, a google search of “catcher defense rate” came up with 451,000 hits, and I’m just not that invested in this argument.) Point being, the statistics don’t bear out Tek’s defensive value.
    Seriously, and in plain english, if you consider Jorge anywhere near Tek in terms of defense, you either haven’t watched much baseball in the last ten years or you’ve got more issues than I can help you with in the context of this blog.

    tommy February 27, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • Then a funny thing happens when people lose dumb arguments – they go ad hominen.
    Keep up the great work Triskkaidekaphobia – maybe you’ve learned enough so next time you think before you type.
    And what numbers have I skewed? Just because you don’t agree with the facts Brad doesn’t change them.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 3:53 pm
  • well, really it comes down to the fact that the guys over that Bronx Banter have gotten so tired of jim’s BS about the catcher issue, that now all they do is make fun of him. Naturally, he’s chosen a new forum to take this argument to, and it happens to be YFSF.
    He loves Posada, and hates the fact that the Yanks have no BUC. It’s all he’s complained on for months now. For whatever reason, he refuses to give Tek the nod, even though most people, and even those with FAS, agree to do so.
    Jorge is an excellent catcher, but not to the tune of being called better than Varitek. Was he better last year – yep. Was their a reason – yep. The two are very comparable, and in some areas posada gets the nod. In others, it’s Tek. What’s so hard about admitting that, Jim?
    If you’re so pissed about the fact that your opinion isn’t the majority here, and you need to insult those of us who are able to read stats and come to a slightly different conclusion (including dc, who isn’t easy to side with sometimes), then stay away.
    Now, I’m joining Trisk.

    Brad February 27, 2007, 3:54 pm
  • Jorge was a better hitter than Pudge
    This is ludicrous. PosAda has half as many hits as Rodriguez (or are you referring to Fisk?), fewer homers, a lower career average. Though Posada has a higher OPS+, career-wise, Pudge Rodriguez may come close to cracking 3000 hits. As for Fisk, if that’s the Pudge to whom you are referring to, I can’t even go there. Fisk was my hero, so I can’t engage that debate with any kind of objectivity.

    SF February 27, 2007, 3:57 pm
  • facts
    What facts? What facts are you citing? Here, go to this place and look at the numbers.
    Varitek:
    http://snap.stats.com/premium/sfa/stats/playerstats.asp?id=5921&fn=Jason&ln=Varitek&tm=2&p=N&yr=Q
    Now Posada:
    http://snap.stats.com/premium/sfa/stats/playerstats.asp?id=5502&fn=Jorge&ln=Posada&tm=10&p=N&yr=Q
    Also, Trisk is a die-hard Yankee fan. It’s funny to me that you are arguing other Yankee fans.

    Brad February 27, 2007, 3:59 pm
  • http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?mode=viewstat&stat=143
    As for Varitek and Wake, I’ll grant you that for 1998-2000. In 2001 Tek had his best defensive year. Since? He’s been decidely average.
    Jorge has been too. Except for last year, when he showed he still has something in the tank – offensively and defensively.
    If anything they’re very close defensively. But I do know Jorge throws out more runners (30.3% to 25.7%).

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 4:03 pm
  • paul: yeah, kottaras at aaa is a small sample, that’s why i noted his excellent performance at lower levels, with the caveat that he would certainly improve. but though it’s a small sample, it’s not a meaningless sample. it seems likely the drop is also the result of the level jump. he probably needs to adjust, and will. but, as noted, he probably needs a little more time down under to ripen.
    meanwhile, anyone who saw the two play last year, has to know that jorge had a solid defensive year, and tek is becoming a liability.
    i think jim dean’s analysis here is generally pretty solid–if a bit exaggerated. tek is an excellent player; he and posada have been fairly equivalent for most of their careers (though, yes, jorge has had, overall, a better run). switch-hitting catchers who get on base with regularity; they have more in common than anything.
    the yanks failure to address the backup catcher situation is frustrating. but a firing offense? that’s crazy talk. even steve goldman gives cash something of a pass on this.
    montero is definitely a project, however promising.

    YF February 27, 2007, 4:05 pm
  • With all due respect, YF, Jim Dean does say this:
    “Varitek meanwhile will be forgotten as a nice little player for a one-time championship team.”
    I hardly think that is acknowledgment of Tek’s “excellence”, as you term it, but rather a comment of partisanship that does a disservice to whatever intelligent analysis might have preceded it.

    SF February 27, 2007, 4:09 pm
  • Right SF –
    Because raw numbers of hits, homers, and indeed avg alone tells us a ton about a hitter.
    career EQA (if you don’t like OPS+):
    Jorge = .298
    I-Rod = .283
    Varitek = .277
    By every objective measure that counts AB’s – Jorge was and still is the better hitter.
    At least I know where the rest of the Sox fans get their ignorance from. Their fearless leader cites AVG as indicative of something important. Ha!
    Last I checked, this was a thread about Jorge’s relative value or importance. And he’s much better than any catcher the Sox have known since Fisk left for Chicago.
    Varitek = a nice little player but try to leave your fanboy instincts aside for a moment of actual thought.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 4:13 pm
  • Because raw numbers of hits, homers, and indeed avg alone tells us a ton about a hitter
    Yes, in fact, they do. They don’t tell us everything, but they do tell us something. You’ve now picked fights with everybody on this site, whether YF or SF, and even those who agree with you to some extent. (me, an SF, ironically).
    I trust that your rhetorical style will damn you to the fate that you assign Jason Varitek: you’ll be forgotten.

    SF February 27, 2007, 4:18 pm
  • I think that’s gotta be the first and last time Tek will ever be referred to as “a nice little player.” For a zillion reasons.
    You made your points JD. No reason to go berzerkers about it.

    YF February 27, 2007, 4:20 pm
  • Anyone who says Jorge and Varitek are even close are being way too generous to the one wearing bloody sox.
    Jorge’s easily a much better hitter.
    Even if the defense is even, that still makes Jorge that much more valuable especially since he’s been doing it longer and looks like he will continue to.
    Varitek had a nice few years (2003-2005) but otherwise has not been all that great. Sad for Sox fans, but true.
    And where did all my partisanship show in my assessment of Kottaras? Shit, I wish the Yanks had gotten him for Unit in hindsight. You can’t pick and choose to call me biased.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 4:21 pm
  • Sorry man, the whole comparison drives me bonkers and even the mere suggestion in your post got me riled up.
    I’t a nice little fiction for Sox fans to help keep them warm at night (like Nomah and Jeter) but reality casts a harsh light.
    And me, I’ve got enought friends. I don’t need to worry about making pseudofriends based on baseball arguments.
    Don’t get me wrong, I appreicate what you kids do here. It’s a great niche in the landscape and that’s why I drop by from time to time. But I’m not going to back down from a good argument, especially when all the facts support my side.
    Kottaras – there’s room to argue a bit more. We’ll know by July. My bet is he makes the adjustment and puts up his career line.
    BTW: Just curious, but how would a SF’s spin the fact that “Jorge throws out significantly more runners” into their defensive fanstasyland?

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 4:29 pm
  • Did someone say something?

    SF February 27, 2007, 4:32 pm
  • Got your panties in a bunch, did I? I’m sure you have enough friends here to help dewedge them with their teeth. Shit, they’re already tossing your salad.

    Jim Dean February 27, 2007, 4:38 pm
  • Thanks for posting that, JD. Bye!

    SF February 27, 2007, 4:41 pm
  • Yes, yes, it’s been fun. Toodles.
    (Nice, try on the ban though :)

    Jim D February 27, 2007, 4:45 pm
  • Not much we can do about dynamic IPs, but you might want to take a gander at this, and the reconsider the method and tone of your participation here.
    http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2006/08/a_yfsf_code_of_.html

    SF February 27, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • What was that Jim said about knowing you’ve lost the argument?
    Oh, yeah…
    “Then a funny thing happens when people lose dumb arguments – they go ad hominen.”
    Guess we know who lost the argument then.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 4:57 pm
  • “How bad a game caller can one consider Posada?”
    Has anyone called Jorge a bad game caller? I think I’ve read most of the comments, and I haven’t seen it. Pointing out Tek’s rep around baseball as one of the best (for example, from Fox Sports – “Varitek is one of the most respected signal callers in the majors”) doesn’t say that Posada is lousy. But it’s fair to say he doesn’t have the rep of Tek.
    Comparing Posada and Fisk is laughable. If Jorge makes it another ten years, then we can converse, and then we’ll have to adjust their respective stats for their era.
    Last thoughts on Tek v. Posada. Don’t get me wrong, I think on paper Posada has the edge. I think I intially responded to Jim’s comment about Tek not being able to carry Jorge’s jock, and my comment was the the two are pretty damn comparable. Being a SF, obviously, I prefer Tek. In my mind, his true value lies not in his stats but in the intangibles. The man’s got gravitas. O’Neil had a similar presence, but I can’t think of anyone on the current Yanks who is comparable. I just don’t see Posada having it. Remember when Pedro pointed at Posada and then at his head? Posada whined and made a stink, but when the sh*t hit the fan, he let an old man go after Pedro in his stead. Maybe if Jorge had shown a little bit of cahones there, he’d get a few more points in “my” book of intangibles. But he didn’t, so he doesn’t.
    Ad hominem.

    tommy February 27, 2007, 4:59 pm
  • Don’t feed the troll. Don’t feed the troll. Don’t feed the troll. Just trying to calm my self down, ignore me.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • Jim Dean: I actually enjoyed your initial posting here; I think you brought some interesting facts to the table. I don’t think anyone here has too much of a problem with the substance of your argument (that Jorge is superior to Varitek); some of the posters here can disagree; that’s their right. But we do demand a certain degree of decorum here. SF appropriately pointed you to our rules of engagement. Follow them, and you’ll be welcome. I think that sums things up. I really don’t want to become a blogcop.

    YF February 27, 2007, 5:24 pm
  • Paul –
    Ad Hominen roughly translates to “against the man”. Nothing I said to SF did that. I was making an observation about SF’s feelings and the circumstance how things would turn out okay. Indeed you supported the theory nicely :)
    Tommy –
    Me, I’m not comparing Jorge to Fisk – the numbers do. Through age 34, Fisk is Jorge’s most similar comparison. That’s not opinion – that’s fact.
    YF –
    I’m just not that moved usually to argue with Sox fans so I don’t post. Today I felt the need becuase it’s an easy “similarity” to draw even though it’s flat wrong – just like Nomah and Jeter.
    I respect the need for good civil discourse. And I find it funny that a YF was the first one to call me a name. But IMHO a little bit of trash talk should be welcome here of all place – though I recognize repeated flameoffs should be discouraged.
    Thanks again for a great place. I’ll be reading and appreciating both sides – most especially when the Yanks win number 27.

    Jim D February 27, 2007, 5:39 pm
  • Of course, as we all know, Jim, Nomar with the Sox was far superior to Jeter during that same time period.
    And, please. That crap you spewed about SF, and about fetal alcohol syndrome earlier in the debate were textbook ad hominem, and you know it. No need to lie to try to get yourself out of your immature and disgusting comment.

    Paul SF February 27, 2007, 6:01 pm
  • JD:
    My feelings don’t get hurt here, so that’s a red herring. Your comments were nasty and undignified, as well as crude. No need to make excuses: they were what they were; they had nothing to do with making your case about Posada and Varitek, and everything to do with attack. Personally that doesn’t matter to me, but the overall dignity of the site, which I founded with YF, does. That’s the key. The oddest thing is that I, a Sox fan, vocally came down on the Posada side of things. But as soon as I disagreed with you, you started hurling retrograde insults.
    In any case, civil debate is what we encourage here, and if you’ve read the site you know what that is. We argue frequently, but argument (“debate”) shouldn’t be confused with name-calling, which is nothing but a distraction.

    SF February 27, 2007, 6:26 pm
  • Just a little bit of info on Catching prospects.
    2000’s Top 50 Players list had 2 catchers on the list Ben Petrick and Eric Munson.
    2001’s Top 100 (List expanded) Players list had 2 catchers J.R. House and Ryan Christianson.
    2002’s Top 100 Players list had 2 players Joe Mauer and John Buck.
    2003 had 4, Joe Mauer, John Buck, Jeff Mathis and Victor Martinez.
    2004 had 4, Joe Mauer, Guillermo Quiroz, Dioner Navarro and Jeff Mathis.
    2005 had 4, Daric Barton, Chris Snyder, Jeff Mathis and Guillermo Quiroz.
    2006 had 5, Russell Martin, Neil Walker, Jeff Clement, Kenji Jojhima and Jeff Mathis.
    Catching prospects as you can see by the above info are hit and miss. Many times the over hyped catchers, like Mathis and Petrick either take forever to pan out or never pan out at all. Which is why most teams go after veteran FA’s. 28 is really the age that catchers come in to their own (for example Michael Barrett). This year’s crop of FA’s was full of guys who wanted to start. Zaun was not coming to Yankees, Toby Hall said no interest. There was just nobody out there. Sandy Alomar Jr? Mike Lieberthal? It’s not the best of situations with Todd Pratt, but it’s not like the talent pool is flooded either. I think Cashman gets a pass on this one.

    Triskaidekaphobia February 27, 2007, 6:58 pm
  • I think the catcher position is becoming (or has become) the shortstop of old, counted on for defense primarily with offense a bonus.

    SF February 27, 2007, 7:19 pm
  • Heh, well, I see the smoke has cleared here. Why is it all the good discussions are pretty much wrapped up by the time I arrive home from work?
    As I scrolled through the comments, and as it became evident how the debate was evolving, I wondered to myself how long it would be before somebody would bring the Tek-ARod dust-up into the discussion and lo and behold, Tommy decided to trot that subject out and did so with such effect that the whole debate swung in Tek’s favor with Tommy’s cut-like-a-knife words, “and Tek is the all time leader in gloves to-the-faces-of-prissy-HOF-third-basemen.” Heh..that was really something.
    Just remember Tek accomplished this incredible face poking with his mask on, in full catchers gear, and when all was said and done, was in the bottom of the pile in an ARod headlock. Watch the video. And btw, when you fight in hockey, and leave your mask on, you receive a stiffer fine. It’s considered rather unfair, although not totally stupid if your not into a right-cross to the chops.
    Now don’t get me wrong here. ARod was wrong to make a big deal out of getting nicked by that little breaking ball that floated inside from Bronson. He should have just went down to first. Maybe he was in a bad mood. Heh. Who knows? But as for Tek, to listen to some Sox fans, he deserves a purple heart for pawing ARod in the mug with his glove. Hell, my sister could have done that. Actually, she probably would have knee’d him in the balls.
    One other thing I can’t let go by, and once again, Tommy is the culprit in his 4:59 p.m. post. This thing about Posada and Pedro, and Zimmer and that brawl. Well, I remember it well, and first of all, when Pedro was pointing and all, Posada was on the top step of the dugout yelling out at Pedro, and I mean, what was he supposed to do? Charge the mound and get tossed? In that game? And then later on when all hell broke loose, Posada was in the middle of the brawl, with Pedro hanging back close to the Sox dugout. So Zimmer sneaks around the action and runs at Pedro and gets thrown to the ground. Nobody had any idea Zim was going to sneak out there, but Tommy acts like Posada sent Zimmer out there to go after Pedro while Jorge went down into the clubhouse for a cold one. C’mon.
    Thing is Tommy, that’s some twisted horse shit your tossing out there trying to bad mouth Jorge. Your letting your hatred of the Yanks and your Tek-worshiping get in the way of your logic. If I was a Sox fan, I’m sure I’d think the world of Varitek too. But I wouldn’t be unleashing bogus bullshit comments to try to further my point and my feelings on the subject. You can do better.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 8:40 pm
  • WE:
    Nobody engaged the Tek/A-Rod crap or the Posada/Pedro stuff for a reason. Why bother? It had relevance.
    In reality, though, Tommy still gave Posada the edge over Tek, so the “Tek-worshipping” only goes so far, right?

    SF February 27, 2007, 8:45 pm
  • “Why bother? It had relevance”
    Well, that’s debatable SF. Any catcher would have done what Tek did in the ARod situation(protect his pitcher). That doesn’t make him a better catcher. And Tommy’s comments on Posada and Pedro had no relevance IMO, because they weren’t true. These observations may have just been ignored by the Yank fans that were present.
    And at the time, I think everybody here was a little preoccupied with Jim Dean.
    “the Tek-worshiping only goes so far, right?”
    Yeah, Tommy did give Posada the edge on offense, but did say Tek was way better on defense (Jorge was much better last year, before that, they were very close overall with an edge to Varitek), and then gushed on about Tek’s “intangibles” while basically saying Jorge was gutless and deserved no respect. Baloney.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 9:16 pm
  • Oy, I meant had NO relevance. Brainfart. Hence the “why bother?”.

    SF February 27, 2007, 9:17 pm
  • good to see this started to calm down a bit…it’s funny but it’ll be the end of the world as we know it if sf and i ever agree on anything, since i gave v the nod and he gave jorge the nod, but what the heck, it’s good we can appreciate each other’s players…
    i don’t mean to start another brouhaha, but in response to the decorum lectures, jd was way out of line, but you guys gotta be kidding right?…you have no demonstrable rules other than what the more decent among us take upon ourselves…here’s one of your published “rules”:
    “…Have respect for the YFSF community. If you disagree with an argument, by all means respond. But no matter how much you disagree, there’s no reason to insult your interlocutor as a person….”
    no insults…ha ha ha ha…if i’d actually been keeping track, i could produce scores of examples where i’ve been insulted as a person and for my comments, just for having an strong opinion contrary to the mainstream sf viewpoint…once it became obvious that the “rules” were just a bunch of hot air, i realized that to continue to participate, i’d just have to roll with it, have fun with it [which i have, it’s hilarious really to see some of you run out of arguments], and keep the high ground…the air’s better up here…i do love you guys and love debating with you, but the hypocrisy is stifling sometimes…

    dc February 27, 2007, 9:22 pm
  • Got your panties in a bunch, did I? I’m sure you have enough friends here to help dewedge them with their teeth. Shit, they’re already tossing your salad.
    So for you SF’s who are a bit slow from fetal alcohol syndrome

    With all due respect, dc, I think this kind of stuff is beneath this site. If you disagree, or find it “hypocritical” that I think that, that’s your right. But I stand by my sentiments.

    SF February 27, 2007, 9:31 pm
  • SF,
    OK, I took your first comment, minus the “no” to mean everyone was in agreement with those comments.
    BTW, I haven’t seen Tommy around here much before (am I right about that?), but he reminds me of someone, almost like someone here has an alter ego.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 9:33 pm
  • Yeah, I meant that the beehive poking that were those comments was irrelevant, hence they were ignored by the lot of us, YF and SF alike.
    And who might have the alter ego, WE? We want names…
    For the record, I think I have posted under another name three times. Once as “Ron Jeremy”, once as “Brian Cashman”, and maybe once as “Manny Ramirez”. I am happy to hide behind “SF”, for the most part. ;-)

    SF February 27, 2007, 9:45 pm
  • i’m with you guys on that one…hiding behind an alias is bs…i’m not ashamed of my comments at all…i did do it once as a joke though, and i can’t remember if it was “babe ruth”, or what, but i came clean in the very next comment…
    sf, come on man, i said that jd was way out of line…gimme a break will you?…don’t skew my comment by making it look like i agreed with him…i wish you had the same indignation when i was being insulted, but i don’t think you ever will because you don’t like me…if you knew me better i think you would because i’m not a bad guy, i just like some heated debate once in awhile with my sox buddies…my daughter in law loves me like a dad, but she’s a diehard sox fan…we tease each other a lot…

    dc February 27, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • …the difference is that she can take it…

    dc February 27, 2007, 10:06 pm
  • “we want names”.
    Ha, you make me laugh SF, in a good way.
    Uh, I’d wouldn’t want to say, and I may be wrong. Just a hunch. Heh.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 10:16 pm
  • “I’d wouldn’t want to say?”
    I was sitting here thinking I could use a good night’s sleep and there’s proof. My grammar/spelling is going to hell.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 10:25 pm
  • dc,
    IMO, you’re a valuable member of the Yankee community here and a lot of times, on the issues that arise spontaneously in the different threads, you’re the only voice we have. Keep up the good work.
    Time to go up to bed and read for awhile before lights out.

    Whatever February 27, 2007, 10:37 pm
  • dc:
    I have never had the instinct to ban you from commenting at this site. I rarely have that instinct with this community, such is it’s general intelligence and wit. But today, as you can see by this thread, there was a commenter who started us down a slippery slope, and he was happy to oblige my instincts by responding with profanity and insult,something that happens extremely rarely here, despite the heatedness of the debate. I could see this coming before it happened, frankly. I find this situation patently different from the disagreements that arise under normal circumstances at this site. I have, on occasion, asked some of my SF brethren to step back (these moments you may forget, but they have happened), so it’s not simply a circumstantial convenience.
    As for “not liking you”, I don’t know how to respond. I don’t really think about whether I “like” everyone who visits here, but I certainly value (most!) of the contributions from (most!) of the contributors, yourself included. I would hope you don’t mistake disagreement for dislike; they aren’t the same thing. There are moments, as you know, that I get extremely irritated, mostly over rhetorical methodology and the decontextualization or misrepresentation of assertions (I probably do this myself on occasion, but make every effort not to – it’s why I got SO pissed at YF the other day regarding my supposed Papelbon claims, which I knew to be wrong), and perhaps my standards aren’t realistic, or come off as self-aggrandizing. But they are sincere, no matter, so any accusation of “hypocrisy” directed towards the site stings. YF and I set those standards out as ground rules. We’re not police. We don’t write tickets and call out every instance of a violation of these guidelines, to make sure that our readership feels fairly protected. The site self-polices, to a great deal, and that’s something of which we are proud. We owe a great deal of the general success of that policy to our readership and commenters, frankly.

    SF February 27, 2007, 11:16 pm
  • WE, thanks…appreciate the vote of confidence…i enjoy your posts and wish you could check in more often…
    sf, we all get irritated with each other, and i realize that both of us have our hearts in the right place…i do have fun sparring with you, but i mean no harm, despite some of the harsh rhetoric…i promise you that i always try not to take comments out of context or misrepresent them because it is also my big pet peeve…it bothered me that you represented me as agreeing with jd, despite the fact that i clearly said just the opposite…lack of context happens in part because it’s not always practical to quote verbatim, but no harm is intended…as you can probably tell, i take great offense with personal attacks, and i was annoyed for you at jd’s bringing the conversation to a new low…he had a valid argument, but blew it when he got personal…we’re ok my friend…i enjoy the site, and i appreciate you giving it back to me, and for keeping me on my toes…

    dc February 27, 2007, 11:45 pm
  • Hello. I am not an alias, or an alter ego. I lurked here a bit last year (I don’t remember if I posted), and I saw a link here in the last couple weeks and started reading again.
    I don’t consider myself trollish but I do enjoy the fine art of discourse and I’m pretty passionate about my (our) Sox. If my temperment strikes y’all wrong, let me know and I’ll peace myself out. But in the meantime I’m enjoying the site.
    Whatever, I’m sorry I’ve offended. But contrary to your statement, I didn’t bring up the Jorge vs. Tek discussion, I responded to what I felt was an outrageous statement by JD at 1:07. I probably should’ve ignored him, or at least refrained from calling him a crackhead. But I felt he was slinging some BS and I responded. Sorry.
    As far as the Pedro-Posada-Zimmer thing goes, I wasn’t saying Jorge sent the Don after Pedro. My opinion of Jorge’s character, and of Tek’s character, is based upon their actions which I have witnessed, and FOR ME that is the defining character moment for Posada. Maybe if I watched him day in, day out, I’d have a better impression of his intangibles. But I don’t, and as I can’t really think of any other “character moments” outside of regular baseball activities, I see him as the guy who backed down from Pedro. I’m sorry if this bothers you. And I think of Tek as the guy who gets in the face of someone messing with his 5th starter. And I absolutely think character is relevant to a discussion of which catcher is more vital to their respective team, or whose loss would be more deeply felt, or whatever exactly it was that was being discussed.

    tommy February 28, 2007, 12:32 am

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