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Posts Tagged ‘Carl Pavano’

AJ Burnett‘s time in pinstripes seems to be approaching its end, and the cost to jettison the enigmatic righty looks to be around $13 million. While AJ failed to deliver on his $82.5 million contract, his biggest problem was never attitude or talent: it simply is that AJ remains as inconsistent today as when he first broke into the big leagues. While he certainly can’t be a signing that Brian Cashman considers a success, AJ is far from a total flop. After all, he did actually contribute to a World Championship, and his stand-up attitude and shaving cream pies were welcome additions to the clubhouse. No, the Yankees have made their share of horribly awful deals over the years and I thought it might be fun to remember some of them. Here are the five most miserable transactions, and excuses for baseball players, in Yankee history – at least during the Steinbrenner Era.

#1: Tim Leary (RHP, 1990-92). 18-35 record, 5.12 ERA. The skinny: Originally acquired in a trade from Cincinnati for Hal Morris, nobody expected Leary to be the staff ace. Nobody expected him to lead the league with 19 losses, either. The mystifying part is why, after that, the Yankees signed him to a 3 year, $5.95 million deal. He was so terrible that midway through the ’91 season, he was sent to the bullpen – and the boos were so loud at Yankee Stadium that he ceased pitching at home. Before the ’92 season was over, the “Six Million Dollar Man” was exiled to Seattle. In return, the Yankees received the utterly forgettable Sean Twitty, who never made an appearance in the majors. Morris, however, went on to  a 13 year career in which he hit .304, won Rookie of the Year and was a key member of the Reds 1990 Championship team. Oops.

#2: Steve Kemp (OF/DH, 1983-84). .264 BA, 19 HR, 90 RBI. The skinny: Steve Kemp is the poster child for why guaranteed contracts aren’t necessarily a good thing. A two-time All-Star who averaged 21 HR and 98 RBI from 1979-82, Kemp was supposed to bring a left-handed power bat to Yankee Stadium. After two seasons in which Kemp seemed happier striking out than hitting home runs, the Yanks sent him packing to Pittsburgh for Dale Berra and Jay Buhner (yes, that Jay Buhner). Of course, Kemp’s 5 year, $5.45 million deal was guaranteed, so for the next three seasons the Bombers paid him to ride the bench in Pittsburgh, San Diego and Texas. I realize that in today’s baseball economy, middle relievers make more than a million bucks a season, so the money may not sound outrageous. But this was in 1983 – Kemp’s deal was worth more annually than Dave Winfield’s.

#3: Dave Collins (1B/OF, 1982). .253 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 13 SB. The skinny: remember the Go-Go Yankees? Signed to a 3 year, $2.5M contract, Collins was supposed to team up with Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey at the top of the line-up and let the Yanks steal a WS title. After stealing 79 bases in 1980 for Cincinnati, Collins only ran 21 times for the Yanks (and got caught 8 times, a miserable 61% success rate). He was traded prior to the 1983 season to Toronto and the Blue Jays demanded Fred McGriff as ransom. George’s attempts at recasting the 1982 Yankees as the 1959 White Sox cost the team more than a lost year and $800,000. It also wound up costing 493 career home runs. And it led to the Yanks signing Steve Kemp.

#4: Kenny Rogers (RHP, 1996-97) 18-15 record, 5.11 ERA. A classic example of a guy who simply couldn’t handle Broadway’s bright lights. When he pitched in small markets, Rogers was a four-time All Star, 5 time Gold Glover and a fixture in the postseason. For the Bombers, the Gambler just couldn’t get the job done, and he and his 3 year, $15M contract were shipped off to Oakland after only two years for the infamous Player to be Named Later. At least the PTBNL turned into Scott Brosius, who was anything but a dud for the Yanks.

#5: Carl Pavano (RHP, 2005-08) 9-8 record, 5.00 ERA. When Pavano hit free agency after the 2004 season, teams were lining up for his services. The Yankees outbid everyone and landed the former Marlin for 4 years and $38 million. We all know how that turned out. Pavano only made 26 starts over those four seasons as a myriad of strange injuries kept him off the pitching rubber (including the now infamous bruised butt). He probably would be more fondly remembered if he had done anything memorable in those starts, but he spent most of his time getting his ego as bruised as his tailbone. Like Rogers, once he left for smaller pastures he became a decent pitcher again, averaging 13 wins and 214 innings over the last three years for the Twins and Indians.

There are some notable honorable mentions who didn’t make the cut; guys like Raul Mondesi, Doyle Alexander, Jeff Weaver and Roy Smalley. AJ Burnett will undoubtedly join this list as a player who failed to live up to expectations, but he is a long way from being considered a flop on this scale.

So, what do you think? Are there any glaring omissions – or would you include AJ in the top 5? Let us know in the comments below. Fire Away!

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Yankees (3-2) vs. Twins (2-3)

Pitching Matchup: 

RHP Freddy Garcia (0-0-, 0.00) vs RHP Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75)

Yankees Lineup

Gardner LF
Granderson CF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Chavez 3B
Nunez SS
Molina C

The game will take place at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY. It is scheduled to start at 7:05p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the YES Network. The game can be heard on the radio on WCBS 880. (more…)

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The Yankees open up a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Here are the pitching probables for the series:

Mon: RHP Ivan Nova (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Scott Baker (0-0, 0.00) 

Tue: LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 3.00) vs LHP Brian Duensing (0-0, 0.00)

Wed: RHP Freddy Garcia (0-0-, 0.00) vs RHP Carl Pavano (0-1, 15.75)

Thurs: RHP A.J. Burnett (1-0, 5.40) vs LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 8.31)

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As good as the AL East is, the opposite may be true of the AL Central. I don’t project any of the five teams to win 90 games – and two could lose more than 100. This is a division that is loaded with teams filled with mediocre talent. In fact, the most interesting team to watch may be the Royals, if only because they may actually have days where they start 9 rookies.

The best of the worst is, once again, the Minnesota Twins. Projected to win the Central by three games, they’ll win based on sound fundamental play, two star players (Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer) and because they’ll be able to bottom feed on 36 games with two of the worst teams since the St. Louis Browns. The starting rotation is suspect, featuring the injury prone tandem of Francisco Liriano and Carl “Strained Buttocks” Pavano. The strongest element of last year’s division winning team, the bullpen, was wracked by free-agent defections – meaning this year’s pen relies on the much-traveled Matt Capps and a not-quite-healthy Joe Nathan. In fact, injury carry-overs from last year could get the Twins out of the gate slowly, as nobody is quite sure if Morneau is sufficiently recovered from last season’s concussion to play first full time yet. If they do start slowly, the crown my well fall to Chicago.

The White Sox made quite a splash this off-season, re-signing Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski and landing Adam Dunn as their new DH. Unfortunately, they would have been better off looking for a starting 3rd baseman and a couple of outfielders, because the current line-up may be one of baseball’s worst group of defenders we’ve seen in a while. Which is a shame, because the Pale Hose have the makings of an outstanding pitching staff – perhaps the best in baseball. If Jake Peavy returns to form after his pectoral tear, they’ll have 6 quality starters and a bullpen that features a bevy of quality (if not nationally known) arms. But the offense will once again be a classic three-outcome type, as typified by Dunn: walk, strike-out or homer. Don’t expect much in the way of sustained rallies or guys flying around the bases at US Cellular Field.

The Tigers look destined for a distant third place finish. The best thing going for this team is that they’re managed by future Hall-of-Famer Jim Leyland. But the star player, Miguel Cabrera, is turning into baseball’s version of Charlie Sheen. Actually, Detroit’s middle of the order could feature some good players, with the addition of Victor Martinez joining Magglio Ordonez. The rest of the supporting cast, though, is supect, featuring such luminaries as Brandon Inge. The back of the bullpen could be solid, if Joaquin Benoit can prove last year wasn’t a fluke, Joel Zumaya can stay healthy and Jose Valverde can stop his decline. But both the starting rotation and middle relief corps are a mess. Aside from Justin Verlander, the Tigers are relying on converted relievers, reclamation projects and prayers.

The youth movement is in full swing in Kansas City. After their farm system was ranked #1 by Baseball America, they might as well give the kids a shot – nothing else has worked for the past 20 years. Yes, they traded away Zack Greinke and made a couple of curious signings in old friend Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francouer. But KC’s real aim this year is to see if youngsters Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Kila Ka’aihue and Eric Hosmer are ready for prime time.

Bringing up the rear is the Cleveland Indians. Once again, the Tribe is looking more like “The Mistake by the Lake” instead of a major-league team. They do have a bona-fide star in Shin-Soo Choo and a star in the making in catcher Carlos Santana. But otherwise, Cleveland is hoping Grady Sizemore shows enough that he can become a viable trade chip. I’m pretty sure Cleveland fans have to be wondering what they’ve done to deserve the Cavaliers, Browns, and this abomination of a baseball team.

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The One that Got Away

For those of you haven’t heard, Cliff Lee surprised just about everyone by deciding to sign with the Phillies. The move is an unqualified disaster for the Yankees and Brian Cashman, who had bet the farm (and the team’s immediate future) on signing the ace lefty. Combined with Boston’s wheeling and dealing, and Andy Pettitte’s possible (and likely) retirement, the Yanks may not be in serious contention for a playoff spot: Boston hasn’t only improved themselves, but so have the Tigers, Twins and White Sox. The Yankees look like they’re headed into the season with a two man rotation. (CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes),  a depleted bench and shaky bullpen. Ouch.

So, what to do now?

1. Trade for for a starter: use some of the Yankees minor-league depth to acquire a proven, front-end starter. Unfortunately, two best rumored to be available, Zack Greinke and Carlos Zambrano, are both head cases. Greinke is a former Cy Young winner. He’s rumored to want out of Kansas City. He’s young. He’s also had problems handling stress – and suddenly being cast as the “savior” of the 2011 season for the New York Yankees has a good chance of stopping his 2011 season before it starts. Not too mention that KC would want half of the Yankees farm sytem in return. Zambrano has top of the rotation stuff and the “Big Z” certainly has delivered both wins and quality starts in the past. But he’s also the poster child for petulance – and does anyone really think Larry Rothschild wants to be reunited with the Cubs ace?
2. Promote Ivan Nova and Hector Noesi: the last time the team slotted two rookies into the rotation was in 2008. Enough said on that idea. Although it may be the only option left.
3. Sign Carl Pavano: stopped laughing yet? Remember, this is the same front office that sent a popular outfielder and LH relief prospect to bring in a past failure who would eat innings, coming off a good season. That didn’t work out so well, but Cashman may well be considering the idea. After all, none of us thought he’d bring back Javier Vazquez, either.
4. Put Joba Chamberlain back in the rotation: no matter how much they say otherwise, this team loves jerking the kid around. He’s been everything from Mo’s heir to doghouse sitter so far. As much as they’ve been saying that Joba is in the pen for 2011, no doubt the brass has to be seriously reconsidering that idea at the moment.
5. Ride it out and wait for 2012: there are some big time prospects headed this way in 2012. Players like Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Austin Romine and Brandon Laird. It smacks of the late 80s Yankees, who kept buying stop-gap major leaguers while waiting for the farm to deliver. (Anyone remember how Roberto Kelly was going to save the franchise?)

6. Stockpile relievers, realizing that half of the team’s innings need to come from the ‘pen: great idea, except free-agent relievers rarely work out as intended. The only high-upside reliever left on the market is Rafael Soriano and it’s hard to see the Yankees singing another closer.

Then, there’s my personal favorite…

7. Bring in a player personnel guy. Cashman has proven astute on the business side of baseball and made the Steinbrenner family a ton of money, so its no wonder they love the guy. But his personnel moves leave a lot to be desired. Its simply insane that the team with the highest payroll has holes, and this one now needs a 4th and 5th starter, a set-up reliever, a 4th outfielder and utility infielder. When you look at the players he’s brought in versus who he’s let go, well… that’s a whole other post.

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During and after yet another playoff victory for the Yankees over the Twins, the main story line for TBS and ESPN wasn’t Andy Pettitte’s terrific pitching performance or Berkman and Granderson’s offensive production…no, instead it was the strike called ball to Berkman in the 7th inning before his go-ahead double. What TBS and most other media outlets failed to report is during that at bat, the first pitch called a strike was actually a ball and for most of the night Pavano benefited from a very friendly strike zone. Below is the strike zone from tonight’s game (via Brooksbaseball.net):

 

Hunter Wendelstedt had a bad night

 

(Each pitch is represented by a single dot. Green dots are balls and red dots are strikes. Pitches marked as belonging to a particular team (for example “min” or “nya”) are designated with different shapes. These teams represent the pitching team, not the batting team. So, a pitch marked “nya-Called Strike” was thrown by a Yankees pitcher)

  • Twins pitchers had 14 balls called strikes
  • Yankee pitchers had 2 balls called strikes
  • Twins pitchers had 6 strikes called balls
  • Yankees pitchers had 5 strikes called balls

So while the media won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, its clear the Yankees and not the Twins got the short-end of the strike zone stick last night.

Follow me on Twitter @eddieperez23

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On Wednesday, the real season begins: the postseason, that is. The Bombers will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Twins; first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 ET.

I realize many of you are still wondering what happened over the weekend, when the Yanks managed to lose the division (in what may be the craziest final weekend in memory) and haven’t had a chance yet to really focus on the task at hand. Most of you are probably still trying to figure out what a “Twins” might be.

The Twins finished the regular season 94-68 and won the AL Central by a very comfortable 6 games over the White Sox. Once again, Ron Gardenhire‘s crew of unknowns and cast-off’s won the division, even though most prognosticators had them pegged for no better than third place at the start of the year. During the season, the Yankees won the season series, 4-2, but these aren’t the same Twins that faced the Yankees in May. Here’s a quick breakdown on the team that will face off the with the Bombers.

Rotation:

Just like their better known opponents, the Twins face a conundrum regarding their starting rotation. Without a doubt, Francisco Liriano (14-10, 1.62 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) will get the ball in game 1, but after that it’s a crapshoot. Will game 2 go to Carl Pavano (17-11, 3.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP), Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) or Scott Baker (12-9, 4.49 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)? The smart money is on Pavano for several reasons: one, he pitched much better at home than on the road this year and two, the last thing Gardenhire seems likely to want is to pitch Pavano in the first game at Yankee Stadium. That makes Baker the probable starter in game 3 – if Duensing can’t get two starts, his best value to the Twins is as the ace left out of the pen. The big question for the Twins, like the Yanks, is do they go with a 3- or 4-man rotation? If they opt for a four man staff, expect game 4 to go to Kevin Slowey (13-6, 4.45 ERA, 1.29 WHIP). In short, this is a righty-heavy staff facing a Yankee line-up that mauls right-handers (.796 team OPS and 118 OPS+). The Twins bullpen looks to get plenty of work in games not started by Liriano. Edge: Yankees

Bullpen:

The Twins are pretty formidable if they have a lead going into the 8th inning, with the duo of set up man Jon Rauch (3-1, 21 SV, 1.30 WHIP) and closer Matt Capps (2-0, 16 SV, 1.18 WHIP). Capps was acquired in a deadline deal with the Senators, where he posted 26 SV and a 1.30 WHIP; the 42 combined saves are the principle reason the Twins made the move. Duensing was effective out of the pen before finding himself in the rotation, posting a 1.80 ERA and holding lefty-hitters to a .162 average. The Twins also figure to lean heavily on Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier, with Jose Merias being the other left-handed option in the ‘pen. Overall, the pen is the strength of this Twins team. Then again, it was the strength of last year’s team, too. Edge: Twins

Offense:

The Twins lost Justin Morneau mid-way through the season and with him gone, the Twins lost both their starting first baseman and premier power threat. As a team, they only have four players who reached double figures in home runs and nobody hit more than 25. Despite that, they still scored 781 runs – good for fifth in the American League. This is a team that gets by on creating rallies from doubles and smart baserunning. Yankee catchers look to catch a breather, as the Twins were last in steals and attempted steals this season, averaging one attempt every two games. The attack is anchored by reigning MVP C Joe Mauer (.327, 9 HR, 75 RBI), back-from-the-dead DH Jim Thome (.283, 25, 59) and always steady RF Jason Kubel (.249, 21, 92). Perhaps their most intriguing player is LF Delmon Young. After years of waiting for Young to turn his talent into a solid season, this seems to have been his breakout year (.298, 21, 112) – even if nobody outside of the Twin Cities noticed. The question surrounding Young is, will he continue to produce in the postseason or revert to his more pedestrian career numbers (career OPS .704)? Edge: Yankees

Defense:

Defensively, the Twins are once again a solid – if unspectacular – team. They ranked 2nd in the AL in fielding percentage, but overall, they’re range is not exceptional. In other words, they make the plays on the balls they get to – they just don’t get to as many balls as you would expect from a top-flight defense. This is a team that needs to play sound fundamentals – because they lack the ability to overcome errors with the great play (and the pitching staff, other than Liriano, lacks the ability to pick up their teammates with a strikeout). Edge: Yankees

Manager:

Gardenhire is consistently recognized as one of the game’s best managers, and with good reason. Every season, he brings a small market, mid-budget team that project to somewhere around 85 wins, figures out a way to win an extra 5-10 games a year and delvers Minnesota to the post-season. Once they get there, the Twins tend to get sent back home. But it’s not the manager’s fault. Edge: Twins

Other notes:

The Twins are opening their first post-season at Target Field, which figures to be not really cold for Wednesday’s opener (forecast: 63 degrees at first pitch). The Twins learned their new park pretty quickly. Mauer may complain about the stadium robbing home runs with its dimensions, but the Twins were still 53-28 at home. The +12 differential between home and away wins is the largest spread for any of the eight playoff teams.

Projection:

Once again, the Twins make the playoffs – and once again, they exit early with their hearts broken. On paper, they seem to match up well with the Yankees, and if this were a nine game series, the added depth in their rotation would probably be their greatest asset. But this is a five game series and the off days mean the Yanks don’t need to entrust a start to either AJ Burnett or Javier Vazquez. The Yankees superior front three and line-up depth should make this one Yankees in 4.

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There’s something wrong with A.J. Burnett. That news doesn’t come as any great shock to Yankees fans, or anyone else who pays any attention to baseball. But rarely can you find the exact point in a season when a player suddenly, mysteriously seems to lose the ability to play baseball. In Burnett’s case, we can.

Prior to May 5th, AJ was having arguably his best season. Since then, he’s having has worst. The delineation is so profound that I’m certain someone in the Yankee front office has noticed. How sudden is the drop-off? Before May 5th, the Yankees had an 83% chance of winning his starts. Since then, the team has only a 33% chance of winning. Looking at the conventional numbers shows how dramatic the performance drop is:

Win Prob IP H ER BB SO ERA WHIP

to May 5

83.3%

40.2

36

9

11

28

2.00

1.158

After

32.5%

110.2

130

78

52

85

6.34

1.644

If you’re more of a sabermatrician, the numbers get even uglier:

BA(a) TBA SP(a) OBA(a) OPS(a) K/9 BB/9 K/BB

to May 5

0.245

48

0.327

0.311

0.638

0.70

0.27

2.5

After

0.297

215

0.492

0.387

0.879

0.77

0.47

1.6

How does a guy go from less than a hit per inning to being hammered nearly every time out? Ordinarily, you would look for something physical. In AJ’s case, that isn’t the problem – he routinely hits the mid-90’s with his fastball, which is on par with his career velocity. The second most common cause is something mechanical – but AJ’s mechanics look to be the same now as earlier in the year. His pitches still have plenty of bite and movement. And he’s actually striking more hitters out per 9 now than in April.

That leaves something causing AJ to lose focus and concentration. If you don’t think that can serious problems for a pro athlete, ask Tiger Woods. Tiger is known as one of the most disciplined athletes ever, yet his personal life (and distractions) have caused his game to deteriorate to mere mortal status. AJ has always been an emotional guy; the kind of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve. If you’ve watched him lately, he seems robotic, emotionless; not the AJ Burnett we’re used to seeing. He’s gone from a pie-throwing, fun-loving #2 starter to an emotionless DFA candidate.

The Yankees know Burnett’s stuff is too good for him to be getting hit at nearly a .300 clip. Burnett does, too and I have to believe that deep down, his recent performance is tearing him up.  Whatever happened on May 5th that turned AJ’s season upside down, it behooves them to find out and see if it can be fixed. Not only won’t they win a pennant with AJ pitching like this, but they have him under contract for 3 more years. Before this turns into another Carl Pavano or Kevin Brown contract, they need to get AJ back on course.

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I ran a topic on Twitter…called: #ThingsYankeesFansHate and I got a ton of responses. It even became a trending topic in New York City. I thought I would share a bunch with some of you guys. I don’t agree with all of these, but I’ll let these fans speak out (so, don’t get offended). Here is a list in no particular order:

Things Yankees Fans Hate

  1. The Boston Red Sox and Red Sox Nation
  2. The Wave
  3. Dallas Braden and “His Mound”
  4. West Coast Night Games
  5. Fox, Joe Buck, Tim McCarver
  6. Fans who wear Yankees jerseys with a name on the back
  7. ESPN, ESPNNewYork.com, Joe Morgan, Jon Miller, John Kruk
  8. Morons who say Jonathan Papelbon is “the best closer in baseball”
  9. Playing in Anaheim
  10. Fair weather/Bandwagon fans
  11. Games televised on MY9
  12. The Rally Monkey
  13. “Rays Fans”
  14. Luis Gonzalez and his bloop single off Mariano & Game 7 of the ’01 Fall Classic
  15. Listening to Sterling & Waldman on the radio
  16. The Cleveland Indians drum
  17. The “Yankees Suck” Chant
  18. Joe West. You sir, are a disgrace to umpires everywhere
  19. The Zales Fan Marquee & people who actually pay money to be on it
  20. W.B. Mason Commercials
  21. The suits sitting in the expensive seats
  22. Mike Lupica, Ian O’Connor
  23. People who really believe you can buy a championship
  24. When girls say yes to marriage proposals at Yankee Stadium
  25. Carl’s Steaks with a 20-minute line and 67 hot dog stands with no line
  26. Outrageous facial hair
  27. Fans of other teams doing a roll call
  28. Curt Schilling, Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Millar, Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee
  29. Carl Pavano, Chan Ho Park, Hideki Irabu, Kyle Farnsworth, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, John Rocker, José Valverde
  30. Fans of other teams sitting in the bleachers
  31. Mascots
  32. John Henry
  33. Rainouts and off-days
  34. Flash doing commentary
  35. Michael Kay and his man-crush on Paul O’Neill
  36. Kate Smith’s rendition of God Bless America
  37. Josh Beckett’s Game 6 performance in the 2003 World Series
  38. Giuseppe Franco
  39. Yankee Stadium Parking Garages $
  40. Derek Jeter double plays
  41. Fans who really think Cervelli is Posada’s heir apparent
  42. Empty Legends seats
  43. The price of the Lobel’s Prime Rib Sandwich
  44. YMCA and Cotton Eye Joey
  45. Not being able to hit a pitcher we haven’t seen before
  46. People who bring gloves up in the grandstand
  47. Felix Hernandez, Edgar Martinez, Francisco Rodriguez
  48. The 2004 ALCS
  49. Pink Yankees hats
  50. Jimmy Rollins talking shit during the 2009 World Series
  51. The B Train
  52. Bill Mazeroski
  53. The Rays tank at the Trop, The Green Monster
  54. A-Rod (Pre-2009)
  55. Stupid Yankees Fans
  56. Losing
  57. Stub-Hub Saturdays
  58. Box Seats, according to the Bleacher Creatures
  59. ROGER CLEMENS IS IN GEORGE’S BOX AND ROGER CLEMENS IS COMIN’ BACK. OH MY GOOD–GOODNESS GRACIOUS! OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS–OF ALL THE DRAMATIC THINGS I’VE EVER SEEN, ROGER CLEMENS STANDING RIGHT IN GEORGE STEINBRENNER’S BOX ANNOUNCING HE IS BACK! ROGER CLEMENS IS A NEW YORK YANKEE!

Now, I’m sure you could come up with a lot more. If you want me to add more to the list, feel free to drop more in the comments section below.

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When the announcement that the Yankees had signed AJ Burnett and not Derek Lowe — My choice — I was a little disappointed. I was aware of his track record of being injured and I did in no way want another Carl Pavano type situation. However, shortly after the season started, I allowed myself to give him the benefit of the doubt and he generally did not let me down. He pitched well for the most part during the season and while he had bouts of wildness, historically with him its no big surprise as I came to learn. I was also pleasantly surprised (sans the 3 day rest game in the World Series) with AJ’s performance in the playoffs.

Looking Ahead to 2010: After a good year in 2009, AJ will likely keep the years of being injury free going with a third straight year of perfect health. However, it comes with a price as he will still be ‘effectively’ wild as he was in 2009, but that won’t bother fans as he will continue to baffle hitters with his wicked curve. In other words, expect a repeat of 2009.

2010 Projection: 15-8, 3.95 ERA, 201 K’s

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Continuing with our trend of analyzing various aspects of the Yankees since 1996, today we delve into to their top 10 biggest free agent busts since their return to glory. Now, without further gilding the lilly, let’s get to the topic at hand.

10. Roger Clemens – Contract 1 yr/$17.4 mil. This would be the Rocket’s last year (2007) pitching in the big leagues and he didn’t give the Yankees pitching staff the boost as expected. As a Yankee in 2007: 6-6, 4.18 ERA with 68 K’s in 99 innings.

9. Kenny Lofton – Contract: 2 yr/$6.2 mil. After seeing Juan Pierre in the 2003 World Series, Steinbrenner wanted someone of that mold and found Lofton. Lofton wasn’t exactly a great asset in his one year as a Yankee. As a Yankee: 7 SB, 3 CS in 83 games.

8. Octavio Dotel – Contract: 1 yr/$2 mil. Dotel only pitched 10 forgettable innings after coming back from Tommy John Surgery. As a Yankee: 14 games, 10.80 ERA in 10 innings.

7. Jaret Wright Contract: 3 yr/$20 mil. Wright was signed during the same offseason as Carl Pavano and was only moderately better than him, which isn’t a real compliment. As a Yankee: 16-12, 4.99 ERA, 118 K’s in 204 innings and a 1.6 WHIP.

6. Jose Contreras – Contract: 4 yr/$32 mil. Contreras never seemed to be comfortable in New York and he couldn’t pitch well against the Red Sox. After 36 games, he was playing for the White Sox. As a Yankee: 15-7, 4.64 ERA, 154 K’s in 166.2 innings and a 1.3 WHIP.

5. Rondell White – Contract: 2 yr/$10 mil. Looking at Rondell’s numbers up until this point, one would say this was a decent deal, until White stepped on the field. It became apparent that Rondell should have stayed in the NL. As a Yankee: .240 BA, 14 HR, 62 RBI, .666 OPS (Lowest of career to this point). (more…)

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Earlier this week we wrote an article about the Yankees’ hitting coaches since 1996. In baseball, you can’t hit if there isn’t anyone pitching to you, so, now we take a look at the Yankees pitching coaches since 1996…

Mel Stottlemyre

Year ERA H Runs HR BB SO WHIP
1996 4.65 1469 787 143 610 1139 1.56
1997 3.84 1463 688 144 532 1165 1.57
1998 3.82 1357 656 156 466 1080 1.56
1999 4.13 1402 731 158 581 1111 1.58
2000 4.76 1458 814 177 577 1040 1.52
2001 4.02 1429 713 158 465 1266 1.38
2002 3.87 1441 697 144 403 1135 1.50
2003 4.02 1512 716 145 375 1119 1.50
2004 4.69 1532 808 182 445 1058 1.49
2005 4.52 1495 789 164 463 985 1.53

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