Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cashman's plan this off-season

I heard Cashman's interviews with Mike Francesa and Michael Kay yesterday. If you miss them, go to their websites to check them out. They can give you the sense of the state of Yankees so far this off-season. There are some important points I get from those two interviews.

1.Pitching remains the main focus this off-season. Keep upgrading pitching and defense still the main task for him. Main goal is to get at least 400 innings from free agent market(CC&A.J). It will be better to be able to get 600 innings.

2.Only some bad things happen to Mo or a strong show from Phil Hughes will create the chance for Joba back to the bullpen.

3.Last 4-5 seasons, Burnett pitches around 150-160 innings averagely. When he pitches, he pitches well. Cashman doesn't mind to fill up other 50 innings from youngsters in the farm system if necessary.

4.If Pettitte decides to take the offer, Yankees won't get more starting pitchers. However, there is no alternatives if Pettitte rejects the offer because Yankees don't prepare to give multi-year contracts to another starters that will block spots for youngsters in the farm system. So, If Pettitte rejects the offer, Yankees will go into the season with no.5 spot open and let youngsters compete for no.5 spot.

5.Cashman is aware of situation of offense. Of course, it will be nice to have another bat. However, he prepares to go into season with this lineup with the hope of healthy or rebound years from many players.

6.He is fine with Melky/Gardner for center fielder. On top of that, Cashman won't rule out the possibility of putting Damon in the center.

7.When was asked is there any more room financially for big ticket bat, Cashman doesn't want to comment on.

8.Yankees will lower their payroll this season and won't exceed certain number of payroll.

What I learn from interviews.....

1.If Yankees decide to add some offense, they are looking for adding a left handed hitter with high OBP within financial limitation. In Cashman's mind, Setting tables for middle order of lineup is much important than protection.

2.Cashman certainly doesn't give up his long term plan when he said he didn't want to sign one more multi-year contract to another starter because it will block spots for youngsters. Cashman wants to sign one more veteran starter who can eat another 200 innings for one-year deal. He certainly prefers to be Pettitte, so he will wait Pettitte to make a decision. If Pettitte rejects the offer or join another teams, he probably will wait out the market in order to get someone to sign one year deal at reasonable price.

3. There is certainly a possibility of adding a big ticket bat into the lineup.


Anonymous said...

Damon in center (or anywhere where he might have to throw the ball past his own elbow) scares me, as does relying on the "hope of healthy or rebound years". I'm OK with Melky/Gardner in center, but you have to shore up the other OF positions if you go that route.

And not to sound like a broken record, but "left handed hitter with high OBP within financial limitation" pretty much screams out Dunn, who is an extreme TTO guy. There's also another pretty good lefty batter who draws an obsecene number of walks that will play for the league minimum...

Anonymous said...

excellent post, as always..
I see you frequent wfan, and espnradio online! I listened live for once.. I heard them too. Nice synopsis. I'd love Pettitte to take the offer, but I wouldn't be upset to see a youngster compete for the final spot. I wouldn't even mind Joba out of the pen, if we got enough out of the younger guys.

Oh and Jessica..? Cashman was "fine" with Bubba Crosby in center a few years ago! Don't you remember!?

Anonymous said...

I like Dunn too. I've ranted about him a couple of times on a different forum. No one else likes the thought of it. I used to cringe at the name, and conjure up images of 200 K. But I was in a far more dismal mood, watching A-Rod and Jeter ground ball double play an extraordinary amount of times. Suddenly the strikeouts, coupled with 40 HR, 110+ RBIs, and a late 20 somethings guy..doesn't seem all that fucking bad

Anonymous said...

People seem to think that striking out often is the hallmark of a poor hitter, but batters strike out for different reasons. Sure, if you strikeout because you're undisciplined or you just can't hit at all, that's not a good thing, but you won't have much of a career in those cases anyway. Players who have longer careers despite high strikeout rates either balance their Ks with great power or strike out because they're very patient and will wait on a pitch they can drive (like Dunn). In fact, some of the best players in history accrued an awful lot of strikeouts.

I did a quick listing of the top 30 career strikeout leaders through 2005 (sorry, my CBE is a little outdated on this machine), with RCAA and OPS vs. the league as display-only criteria. There were only 2 players in the top 30 with a negative RCAA (Parrish at -15 and Gaetti at -126) and none (!) had an OPS below the league average.

Among the leaders (in order) : Reggie Jackson, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Willy Stargell, Mike Schmidt, Fred McGriff, Jim Thome, Bobby Bonds, Lou Brock, Mickey Mantle, Harmon Killebrew, Dwight Evans, Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Dick Allen, Willie McCovey, and Frank Robinson. That's some serious company for Mr. Dunn (currently about 250 Ks or less than two seasons shy of making this list).

Anonymous said...

Well.. if you either strike out, or hit a homerun in 40 something percent of your at bats, you're basically an all or nothing hitter. Is there any added value to a player that hits with more power, but puts less balls in play? For instance.. A Jeter vs. Dunn. What is more valuable? A higher chance of a ball in play, or a higher chance of a ball hit for extra bases? I'd say there is a void to be filled (in Giambino's absence)in the low average/high power department-- enter Dunn. Do we have a sabrematrecian here? Cuz I really don't understand much of it.. I do have a lot of respect for the statistical analysis. And absolutely cringe when someone is making an argument for or against a player, and the sole or main measurement for the argument is batting average.. lol

Jessica Lee said...

When I wrote the post, the first person came to my mind was Dunn as well. A left handed hitter with high OBP within financial limitation. Cashman also prefers to have someone set tables for middle order than protection. When you add the reason why Cashman and Yankees want CC so badly(personality-team first guy), it seems to me Manny won't be Cashman's choice. Dunn will give us another home run hitter with high OBP. However, it seems to me his defense is not so good.

Jessica Lee said...

There are so many "if" on offense, I still think Cashman will add some offense, bench and a no.4 pitcher for one-year deal. Of course, I don't mind to see Melky/Gardner in the center and youngers fight for no.5 spot.

However, I do remember Cashman say he doesn't mind Bubba Crosby in the center. I think this just means Cashman has some plans in play(trade), but he won't say anything because he is not sure that can happen.

Jessica Lee said...

By the way, It's a good way for me to get more information of MLB by listening to WFAN and ESPN Radio. However, a lot of stupid talking from hosts sometimes really drive me crazy.

Jessica Lee said...

It's a good argument between putting ball in play and striking out. I am not a stat person.

For me, I actually prefer players to put ball in play with higher batting average, even though this may mean less homeruns, walks. I understand the values of extra bases and walks. However, I always feel there are more good things can happen when players put ball in play.

Anonymous said...

Well, Dunn doesn't just strike out or hit a HR. He also walks at a huge rate. I think Dave Kingman is usually the model for a pure HR or strikeout hitter. As for the "better" way to hit, I don't think there necessarily is one.

Obviously, the main stats I use for evaluating general hitting ability are RCAA and OPS+. RCAA is Lee Sinins' modification to Bill James' RC (runs created). It's essentially the same formula, but park-adjusted and relative to the league average. RC itself has a lot of variations, but it is essentially on-base percentage times total bases. So, right in the formula, you can see that there has to be a balance between reaching base and slugging. It's the same way with OPS+. The major components are getting on base and hitting for power. And both stats are multiplicative, so a low output on either end will hurt the overall.

I do think there are advantages to being a Dunn-like player. If you're a Jeter, you're somewhat dependent on BABIP. That is, if you put the ball in play, there's a chance it will be fielded or you will be thrown out or another baserunner can make an out. If you walk or hit a HR, there is no outside influence (the "True Outcome" part of "Three True Outcomes"). On the other hand, striking out is the third of the "three true outcomes", though I disagree with that designation, since there is a small chance for a fielding error on a strikeout. Finally, Dunn doesn't strike out by being a wild swinger. He's very patient, which can drive up the pitch count. This was the hallmark of the late 90s Yankees teams.

On the high average, low slugging side of the argument, some would argue that a single is more likely to keep a rally going than a home run. I'm not sure if that is true (there's probably a study somewhere). I have seen studies that suggest strikeouts help pitchers out of jams more so than the other outs (except for GIDP), presumably because there is a lesser chance of runners advancing.

Now, some sabermetricians will use win shares or VORP (or other stats). I disagree with some of the fundamental assumptions involved in those stats, so if you want an analysis of the value of average over slugging in those cases, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Dunn's defense, purely anecdotally speaking, I think he can catch and throw OK, but he just has very limited range. It's not like he'd be replacing Keith Hernandez, though, so I don't see it as a deciding factor.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jessica.. the "stupid talking" or non-sports related things.. or joking around.. its all part of the entertainment in sports radio. Sports is entertainment.. lol.. please don't forget that. The personalities, are supposed to have fun..and well.. HAVE PERSONALITIES!! : ) I enjoy the first hour of mike francesa on the fan. And A little of Michael Kay on espn, and Steve Somers on the fan is pretty witty..pretty entertaining the tongue in cheek things he has to say about ny teams, and their rivals. Steve's great. Have to defend one of my favorite pastimes. Open up a book, and fire up ny sports talk online, or radio now that I'm back in the NYC area.

Anonymous said...

Hop.. you amaze me. Nice work with the analysis. I found a really nifty site within espn which grades out major league players a bit more in-depth. I think its called inside edge, or something like that. Its something you should check out. Can you recommend me a site or two?

Click my name for the 'inside edge' link, if you hadn't already heard of it. I want to make myself a more educated baseball And kill the hours that most people dedicate to having a social life :)

Anonymous said...

Oh.. and you might need to be an espn insider to access this.. If you need login details, let me know, it comes free with my espn magazine subscription, lol..

Jessica Lee said...

Thanks for analysis. It seems to me this argument similar to the difference between strikeout and ground out.

By the way, Do we need to worry about Dunn switching from National League to American League?

I don't know Dunn very well. It seems to me Dunn is Giambi-like player. Don't get me wrong. I like Giambi and he has been very productive. However, Giambi's low batting average sometimes kills me.

Of course, If players are more complete players like Teixeira, they will demand a huge contract.

Jessica Lee said...

Don't get me wrong. I like those entertainments on the radio show. That's why I like to listen. Of course, improving my English is another reason.

The stupid talking I talk about is I sometimes can't stand those silly/insane/wrong opinion on Yankees.

Anonymous said...

wfan is the station the mets are broadcast on, and naturally, most of the hosts are mets fans.