Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pay Pettitte!

As Andy Pettitte's future with the Yankees hangs in contractual limbo, it seems as though the Yankees have forgotten the value of durability in a starting pitcher. Let's look at the Yankees starting staff, in terms of probability of making at least 30 starts and rank them on a scale of 5 question marks where Roy Halliday is a "?" and Carl Pavano is a "?????".

CC Sabathia - The signing of AJ Burnett has made everyone forget about the number of Sabathia pitches Sabathia threw at the end of last year (especially on short rest), and the fact that the guy has thrown 494 regular season, and 19 postseason innings in the past two years. He's been nothing if not durable, throwing at least 192 innings in every season of his career except his first, in which he threw 180, but one has to wonder how long that will hold up.

Rating: ??

Chein Ming Wang - Wang had a freak injury running the bases last year missing about half the season, and has dealt with some fingernail issues in the past. He's a pretty good bet to take the mound every 5 days, but the apparent disrespect he has been shown by the Yanks makes you wonder if they know something we don't.

Rating: ??

AJ Burnett - Burnett has quite the intimate relationship with the disabled list, making several visits for both elbow and shoulder issues. He also has the reputation of not wanting to take the ball unless he was 100%. At the press conference announcing he and Sabathia's signings he claimed that Roy Halliday taught him to be more professional and understand his body better. But the injury history speaks for itself.

Rating: ???

Joba Chamberlain - We have the least data on Joba, but the reason he fell to the 41st pick was his injury history. He didn't have any trouble when he was used out of the bullpen in accordance with The Joba Rules, but when I think of him as a starting pitcher, I can't get the image of him grabbing his shoulder in Texas out of my mind.

Rating: ???

Phil Hughes - Aside from his stellar minor league numbers and short spurts of adequacy at the major league level, he hasn't given any indications that he can stay healthy or effecitve enough to pitch a full major league season. If he wins a spot in the rotation, you will likely see more of Ian Kennedy or Alfredo Aceves than you want to.

Rating: ????

Which brings us back to Pettitte. He has made more than 30 starts in 12 of his 14 major league seasons. Despite pitching poorly in the second half of last season, he was still able to eat innings when he didn't ahve his best stuff. Over his last 12 starts, he averaged just under 6 innings a start while giving over 4.1 runs per start (a 6.25 ERA). After Wang and Joba went down, I believe Girardi used Pettitte to take some pressure off the bullpen, knowing that whoever took the ball after him had a much smaller chance of taking them into the 6th inning or later.

As the Yankees and Pettitte stand at this impasse, they need to ask themselves if an extra $2M or $3M is really worth not bring the lefty back for. I would give him "??" on the scale used above. The top 5 starters on the Rays started 154 of their games last year. Think that had much to do with their success?

Should the Yanks sacrifice some of their rotational stability over 1% or 2% of the payroll? Not offering arbitration to Pettitte in retrospect was probably a smart move, but with the amount of money being throw around this offseason, what's a couple million between old friends?

Girly NFL Stars

Despite being stars in the manliest league on the Earth, the following NFL players often behave like women.

10. Brady Quinn. He likes boys

9. Vince Young. “Mr. Invincible” himself reminds us of that psycho girlfriend who we are better off without.

8. Bill Belichick. He cheats.

7. Reggie Bush. Always hurt, his significant other Kim Kardashian could play inside linebacker for all 32 NFL teams.

6. Jason Taylor. At least in Bill Parcells’ opinion after spending his 2008 offseason winning “Dancing With The Stars.”

5. Eli Manning. His favorite hobby is ANTIQUE SHOPPING with his mother and wife!

4. Matt Leinart. Maybe this ballroom dancing, “Desperate Housewives,” “House Bunny,” “Punk’d” actor should focus on the NFL.

3. Jeremy Shockey. Badass tattoo notwithstanding, one cannot think of Shockey without an image of him flailing his arms at refs looking for a flag after he misses an important catch. Cried his way off a Super Bowl winning team. Cries on his new team. Gets hurt for pivotal games.

2. Terrell Owens. Despite going over the middle like no other receiver in the NFL, he cries for his QB. When he doesn’t get the ball he bitches like a 16 year old who doesn’t get a new car at her Sweet 16 party.

1. Brett Favre. The NFL’s all time “Ironman” (thanks in part to Vicodin and hydrocodones) is an attention whore, drama queen and his favorite word is “maybe.”

Boras Losing Some Shimmer?

This from Kat O'Brien, via River Ave. Blues:

Even Tuesday, hours before Teixeira agreed to terms, the Yankees were pessimistic about getting the 28-year-old slugger, the source said. Boras told the Yankees they needed a 10-year deal, with the last two years as player options. That got an absolute no from the Yankees, who had offered eight years and $180 million ($22.5 million per year).

Around midday Tuesday, Boras said Teixeira would agree to an eight-year contract, but only if the average annual value was $24 million per year, making the total contract value $192 million. The Yankees conferred, then told Boras no, that they had made a fair yet firm offer and would stand pat, the source said. Boras responded by saying that Teixeira likely would be a Red Sox.

The Yankees refused to budge from their offer, and 20 minutes later, Boras called back and said Teixeira would take their eight-year, $180-million offer.
Presuming this is accurate, it seems like GMs and owners have a much better idea of Boras' hand as the negotiations are playing out. John Henry also called Boras' bluff on the higher offer which was probably the same one he was pitching to the Yanks. Last year when A-Rod opted out, no one fell for the 10 year/$333 Million deal minimum that Boras was demanding.

Especially in this economy, there are going to be fewer Tom Hickses and more John Henrys. But, could the increased fluidity of information via the internet and email also be at work here? A team is far less likely to get suckered into a deal that is way higher than the next bidder, because there is increased communication around the league and in the media (especially writer's blogs which are updated constantly), which helps set a firmer market. If everyone has access to the same information, there is bound to be a greater consensus of what a player is truly worth.

This works against Boras in trying to maintain his nearly flawless super-agent persona. He's still probably the best in the game, but the gap is closing between he and guys like Casey Close, Randy Hendricks and Arn Tellum (although Tellum isn't looking so hot after the Furcal to the Braves debacle).

Are we approaching the point where the stigma of being a Boras client outweighs the extra money that a player makes by signing with him? Probably not, but we can dream can't we?