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  1. So moving foward you’d take the TB franchise over the nearly unlimited resources of the Yankees? I know they are close in ranking but you are intentionally choosing the Rays over the Yanks. I’m open to the idea but I just don’t see it.

    Comment by drew — March 26, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  2. The AL East is crazy… 1.2.3.. Too bad Boston is going to be #1 thanks to money

    Comment by Scarygood — March 26, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  3. Many people call the Yankees the Evil Empire buying all their talent in the free agent market. But as you mentioned, not many people talk about the excellent job they have done on the business side of things to generate the revenue they have. Of course, having a team in the biggest market in baseball helps, but they are doing one hell of a job there in the Bronx to reel in the cash.

    Comment by YC — March 26, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  4. I’d argue that Tampa’s system is so loaded right now that they could go out and trade for virtually any cost-controlled player they wanted to.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 26, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

  5. How is that??

    If money alone were enough, the Yanks would be on top.

    If smarts alone were enough, Oakland would be on top.

    Boston is a good mix.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  6. Yes, lets all applaud them for completely bending over the good citizens oF NY.

    In all seriousness, theyve done a great job with the business side.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 4:29 pm

  7. Just because you say that Montero won’t be a catcher doesn’t mean that it’s true. He made big strides last season.

    You also failed to mention Romine and Melancon.

    Comment by Rich — March 26, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  8. It’s not just Dave who doesn’t think Montero’s going to be a catcher. Keith Law’s been saying that for over a year, and I’ve heard it in other places, too.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 26, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

  9. I don’t know about being the “Wal-Mart of baseball.” Maybe the Microsoft?

    The Nationals would be the AIG, for certain.

    Comment by Walter Jones — March 26, 2009 @ 4:42 pm

  10. I definetely agree, but (and i’m still not 100% on all the reasoning used to grade these teams) if I wasn’t a Rays fan I would want to be a Red Sox fan because of the manner in which the team is run. But if money were not taken into consideration, both of these teams are similarly run in that they have been locking up their young players and use progressive analysis, both have similar ML talent levels, Rays have an advantage in the minors, but the difference to me is that the Sox can go out and patch holes if something happens, the Rays have to be dependent on their farm (where they have a big weakness when it comes to bats), but with a $60 mil difference in the wallet, I would definitely says that is where Boston tips the scales.

    Comment by Scarygood — March 26, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  11. When is comes to Jesus Montero and playing the catcher position, people seem to listen to Keith Law. Why is no one listening to his coaches, who have said he has been making great strides in improving his footwork and overall position ability. Montero seems very determined and people who work with him daily believe he can be a catcher.

    He’s only 19, plenty of time to grow (possibly out of his position I guess).

    Comment by Paul W. — March 26, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  12. Because anybody in the Yankee organization is probably more interested in maintaining Montero’s value than being objective, and if he comes up in a trade, he’s worth a hell of a lot more as a catcher than as a first baseman.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 26, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  13. I was going to say the BMW of baseball (consistently good, successful product at a high price), but I guess the people who don’t like the team might consider that too flattering.

    Comment by Blackadder — March 26, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  14. i bet if the yankees did not have a history of giving aging stars lengthy contracts for their declining years and ignoring the impact of defense, the yankees would be ahead.

    Comment by tom s. — March 26, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  15. By the way, for the sake of comparing the Yankee payroll to the rest of the league, it does not make sense to include luxury tax payments.

    Comment by Blackadder — March 26, 2009 @ 4:51 pm

  16. Its not just him. Its EVERYONE.

    NO ONE thinks Montero is a catcher. Kevin Goldstein from BP said (paraphrasing) “no one I’ve talked to who is paid for their opinion about baseball thinks Montero can play catcher in the big leagues.” He also said this included people he talked to IN the yankee organization!

    Great bat, but pretty much no chance of being a MLB catcher.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  17. Wow so a team who just got there first winning season is ranked ahead of the Yankees, that’s pretty shortsighted

    Comment by dynasty26 — March 26, 2009 @ 5:00 pm

  18. Why not? Luxury tax implications are considered by other teams when deciding on deals. I understand where that tax goes etc.etc. but they point is that including the luxury tax is the best way to show just how much larger a resource base the Yankees are working from.

    Comment by rwildernessr — March 26, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  19. Everyone really???

    First off, Hes only 19 and has much more room for improvement

    Secondly, He has a cannon arm and his glove work is not so bad, it’s his footwork that needs some fine tuning.

    Nobody thought Mauer would stick behind the plate and he’s bigger then Montero.

    Comment by dynasty26 — March 26, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  20. Everyone. Really.

    His glovework isnt good. He’s big and slow for a catcher.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  21. One the upside, I think his bat will play great at 1B. He’s a very advanced hitter with tons of raw power and a great approach.

    I just dont think he stays at catcher, and Ive yet to see an analyst I respect from BP, BA, Sickels, Law, ESPN, etc… who thinks he has a legit chance to do so.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  22. “He’s big and slow for a catcher.”

    Did you seriously just say that?? You know a lot obviously

    Comment by dynasty26 — March 26, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  23. Only Brian Cashman’s incompetence is keeping the Yankees from being ranked #1. I’ve always been completely baffled why it’s taken until this season for him to figure out that he should use the Yankees greatest strength — their unbelievable financial advantage over other teams. Why he even bothers hoarding prospects is beyond me — you can trade them for in the prime players (like Johan last season) and then just sign the best free agents every season — in other words use the rest of the majors to be your farm system.

    However, luckily for the rest of MLB’s competitive balance he hasn’t done that…yet.

    Still, I don’t see how the Rays can be ranked ahead of them. The fact that they can, and will, carry a payroll many times the Rays makes it seems more likely they will be better over the next 3-5 years (or whatever the time frame is).

    Comment by Tom — March 26, 2009 @ 5:11 pm

  24. Although I have disagreed with some of your selections and your logic in deriving at a few of your conclusions the series as a whole has been fantastic. Your final 3 was very predictable, but any other conclusions would have put a lot of doubt into the credibility of the series as a whole. Great job. After #2. Tampa and #1 Boston, you should continue the series by going in depth on Directors of Player Personnel/GM’s. It would be nice to see the best player evaluators in a series like this. Thanks for the rankings.

    Comment by JC May — March 26, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  25. From BP’s writeup:

    “[Montero improved slightly in 2008, but] as one scout put it, “that means he went from embarrassing to just plain bad behind the plate.” He’s big and sluggish, has problems blocking the ball, his arm is below average, and he has little carry on his throws.”

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8536

    Google it. You’ll find the same report everywhere. The operative words were “FOR A CATCHER.” He’s pretty athletic for a guy that size.

    & Lose the attitude.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

  26. Dave started this series by writing “The following list should be viewed as something like organizational health, top to bottom.”

    I have always assumed that that meant something like “if I were 35 and trying to win a ring in the next 2-3 years where would I sign at a (slight) discount.” In that situation I would probably rather go to the Rays or Sox because a young quality core is more conducive to winning now. If we are talking about success over the next decade I might still prefer the Sox to the Yanks, but would almost certainly have to bet that the Yankees would be more reliably competitive than the Rays. This is because quality ownership tends to be less mercurial than talent (on the field or front office).

    Obviously this process is highly subjective in its nature but I think if you just think of all these rankings as having an error factor of or 1-2 points then I don’t think there is too much to argue about.

    Comment by rwildernessr — March 26, 2009 @ 5:20 pm

  27. Here’s my only beef with the rankings…I don’t disagree with the idea that the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox are the class of baseball right now. However, if the point of this piece was to say who has the best chance of winning the World Series, wouldn’t the fact that one of those teams (at least) will be staying home this October (and subsequent ones) serve to push them down the list? Considering that the out and out “best” team doesn’t always win the World Series, I’d almost suggest putting the Indians #1, since if they are as good as advertised they should be in the playoffs every year.

    Comment by Zach — March 26, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  28. That’s like arguing if Matt Wieters were on the Twins, he wouldnt be the best prospect in baseball because he’s behind Mauer.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 5:24 pm

  29. Then the Sox are Apple?

    Wal-Mart would be something like the Astros, big pay-roll, crappy product.

    Comment by Nacho — March 26, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  30. “…[Cashman has] continually targeted the highest quality of players.”

    Carl Pavano, Tony Womack, Jaret Wright, the Yankees bench since 2001.

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  31. I guess it really depends on the time horizon that Dave is using, and his pick for Tampa over the Yankees kinda clues us in a bit that its not really any farther than the next five years or so (not that there is anything wrong with that). As Dave himself says, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere. The Rays are stacked with talent, but that talent will go somewhere eventually, eight year contract for Longoria or no. When Longoria leaves in eight years (to play for the Yankees) the Yankees will still be there. (To be clear: this is not a criticism of this article.)

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  32. Agreed, there’s no way that you can put three teams in the same division in the top 3 spots as most likely to win a championship in the next several years. The rays should be a few spots lower

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 5:41 pm

  33. The Yankees have a significant financial advantage and can easily overpay for veteran players. But the Rays have been able to counter that by building a stockpile of young, talented players at below-market rates who are going to be under club control for years.

    Comment by Steven — March 26, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  34. #30 was the Nats, and they said:

    “Today, we kick off the list with the franchise that has more work to do to get back on track than any other in baseball.”

    So…I would assume #1 would be the franchise that has the *least* amount of work to do to remain successful over the foreseeable future, whatever they decided that time frame was.

    I guess the Yankees, while it might not be considered difficult, still have to go out and sign FA after FA like they did this past offseason whereas Boston and TB don’t currently have to do that.

    I don’t even know if that made any sense. I’m going home.

    Comment by Boozer — March 26, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  35. The biggest was his blunder in not trading Hughes, Cabrera, Kennedy (or whatever the package was going to be) for Johan Santana last season. Not only would it have brought in the best pitcher in baseball, they wouldn’t needed to gamble on AJ Burnett. A rotation of Johan, Sabathia, Joba, Wang and Pettitte — that would have to be one of the best rotations in the past 25 years wouldn’t it?

    Comment by Tom — March 26, 2009 @ 5:51 pm

  36. Doesn’t Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira count as the highest quality players at the time when the Yankees acquired them?

    Comment by YC — March 26, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  37. Well, if they stay good they aren’t going to be able to draft in the top 5 year after year which is the best way of stockpiling young talent.

    I just doubt that they can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in the future — basically they need every single one of their prospects to pan out. I just don’t see that happening.

    Comment by Tom — March 26, 2009 @ 5:56 pm

  38. To be fair, that’s pretty much what business is all about.

    Comment by Terminator X — March 26, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  39. Come on guys, you’re letting some fanboy named “Dynasty26″ get you all bent out of shape?

    His name might as well be “I love the Yankees ‘cuz the Yankees are awesome and no one is better than the Yankees”

    You think he’s gonna say, “You’re right, I have a highly skewed view of my favorite team, and I suppose it’s fair for them to be ranked 3rd” ?

    I’m an A’s fan, and although I didn’t completely lose my mind when they came out 11th overall (5 spots behind the Brewers? COME ON DAVE!), I totally wanted to.

    Dynasty26 just doesn’t possess the pure Zen-like calm that I do.

    Comment by CH — March 26, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  40. I’m not sure this is quite the right website for you…

    Comment by Terminator X — March 26, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  41. Yes it does. It wouldn’t if every team had to pay an extra 40% on top of their salary, but only the Yankees do, and it’s a direct result of their exorbitant payroll spending. That money doesn’t just go nowhere.

    Comment by Alex — March 26, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

  42. You’re right. Since the Rays are projected to finish 3rd in the division this year, they should sell off all their players, blow up the stadium, and move to Costa Rica. There’s just no point.

    Comment by Alex — March 26, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  43. I definitely did overreact and am an extremely hardcore yankee fan, obviously not denying

    I did not know that it was rankings for who would be the best off for the next 2-3 years.

    I would agree that Tampa probably should be #1 with the huge amount of cost controlled players and many more in the minors

    Where I would disagree is with Boston being ahead. I just honestly think they have more question marks going into the next 2-3 years.

    Comment by dynasty26 — March 26, 2009 @ 6:23 pm

  44. I beleive it was extremely smart to not trade for Santana

    Hughes,Kennedy,Ajax,ect + CC>>>>>>Santana

    The Yankees would not be able to afford CC and Santana.

    Comment by dynasty26 — March 26, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

  45. Why do I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t believe in the Yankees?

    They have some serious holes.

    Let’s start with their rotation.

    It’s been called the best in baseball and on paper it probably is, but it’s got its problems. First, Sabathia has never pitched in NY and has shown a history of control problems when he is uncomfortable such as the 2007 and 2008 playoffs as well as last April. Burnett has a history of injuries and inconsistencies. Wang is a sinkerballer with a minuscule k-rate pitching in front of one of the worst infields in the league. Joba is also a big injury risk.

    Other than Rivera, the bullpen isn’t great and this year, Joba will likely be a starter the whole time, so he won’t be able to help set up.

    Then there’s the offense. Their best player is gone until May, maybe later. Jeter, Posada, Damon and Matsui are all well past their primes and likely in the decline. Swisher and Cano are coming off horrible years, and while bounce backs are likely to a degree, you can’t expect either to have a career year. Nady has never been much more than an average corner outfielder, and center field is a black hole. I see Tex as the only sure thing in the lineup.

    Finally there’s defense. Other than Tex, Damon, and Gardner, everyone is a below average fielder ranging from slightly bad to down right terrible.

    They will of course be able to spend their way out of any problem they have… next season. But how do they expect to do any better than 3rd this year?

    Comment by Paul — March 26, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

  46. Sure do. My quarrel is with the word “continually.”

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  47. “Where I would disagree is with Boston being ahead. I just honestly think they have more question marks going into the next 2-3 years.”

    Of course you do.

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  48. I don’t know if there is a Wal-Mart of baseball, but it’s certainly not the ‘stros. Wal-Mart is actually run well.

    Comment by Mark R — March 26, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  49. Paul, try doing the same thing with the Red Sox roster, it’s even easier.

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2009 @ 6:45 pm

  50. PECOTA does have the yankees winning 96 games this year … so while your concerns are valid, there’s an argument to be made in the other direction

    (and their bullpen even outside of Rivera was excellent last year)

    Comment by Glen L — March 26, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  51. One one team can win it all, but you can bet that two of the three in that division will probably be in the playoffs, and that one team from the AL East stands a good shot at making the World Series.

    What you cannot say is that those two teams will always be the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Rays are too good for that right now.

    Comment by Steven — March 26, 2009 @ 6:56 pm

  52. Enlighten us, Judy.

    Comment by Pat — March 26, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  53. I’m pretty sure the latest Pecota update has the Yankees winning 100 games this season, the Sox and Rays 95 each.

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

  54. Yeah, with a healthy CC, Burnett, A-Rod, Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes, Posada.

    Comment by Pat — March 26, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  55. You’d be wrong.

    Comment by Pat — March 26, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  56. True, I suppose I was thinking about what Wal-Mart has on the shelves.

    Comment by Nacho — March 26, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  57. Updated 3/25:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/fantasy/dc/

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  58. What was the sudden change? A-Rod’s out, and they gain 6-7 wins?

    Comment by Pat — March 26, 2009 @ 7:18 pm

  59. Red Sox with a good chance of spending significant time on the DL this season: Becket, Smoltz, Penny, Baldelli, Papelbon, Drew, Lowell, and Ortiz. Matsuzaka is going into year three so he is going to need to buck the trend of Japanese pitchers getting figured out in their first few seasons.

    Obviously that would be a worse case scenario but while there is high upside in Boston, a few bad breaks and this is a really long season for them.

    Comment by Rod — March 26, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  60. I agree their rotations is overrated. Lots of risk… and like usual, Cashman hasnt got quite the depth they needed (though Igawa looked great in ST). Sabathia is a stud, but was overworked last year. Burnett is a bit of a risk. Wang is coming off a major foot injury. Joba can only pitch about 130 innings. Tons of potential, and perhaps the best pitcher in the AL at the front… but a good amount of question marks. Much has been made of the question marks in Boston’s rotation, but I dont see that NY’s is THAT much less risky.

    On their pen… I have to disagree. This has the potential to be the best pen theyve had in a while.

    As for both the offense and defense… I would completely agree BUT for the signing of Teixeira. They still have a poor defense and their offense isnt as good as it is being made out to be… but this is still a very, very good team. Its not a perfect team, but its still probably a 90+ win team in my estimation.

    —————————————–

    Another major factor is that, IMO, the economic downturn is going to drop some very high quality players directly into the Yanks’ and Sox’ laps at midseason as teams rush to dump salary. Theo has talked about this and how theyve kept room for it.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  61. Uhh… is that a typo…?

    That pyth does not work out to 100 wins…

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 7:47 pm

  62. Pat, I don’t remember exactly, but I don’t think there’s been much of a change in the RS projections for either team, but I think the updates mainly lowered Yankees RA and raised the Red Sox RA.

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  63. Yet who has – or at least until the new Stadium and those $2500 seats had – the highest average ticket price. “Thank you sir, may I have another” isn’t just confined to NYY.

    Comment by nyyfaninlaaland — March 26, 2009 @ 7:50 pm

  64. Rod, you said “a few bad breaks and this is a really long season for them.” Of the eight players you named, the Sox could lose all of them except Ortiz and still be alright. And maybe Drew for a long period too would be bad assuming they don’t have Baldelli. I’m not saying they wouldn’t be affected, of course they would be, but they have the depth to ride through that storm, a point I have a hunch you’ll hear Dave make tomorrow.

    The point is the Yankees could never sustain a spate of injuries like that because they don’t have anywhere near that type of depth.

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

  65. Starters
    RH Josh Beckett — injury risk with his back spasms, started 27 games last year and was mediocre
    LH Jon Lester — huge innings jump last year, probably won’t repeat his 2008 performance
    RH Daisuke Matsuzaka — way too many walks, FIP didn’t match up with ERA last yea
    RH Tim Wakefield — OLD, projected 4.7-4.8 ERA
    RH Brad Penny — obvious question mark, pitched only 94 bad innings last year
    Bullpen — looks pretty good but about in line with the yankees, maybe a bit less risk involved
    RH Jonathan Papelbon
    RH Ramon Ramirez
    LH Hideki Okajima
    RH Takashi Saito
    RH Justin Masterson
    RH Manny Delcarmen
    LH Javier Lopez
    Lineup
    C Jason Varitek — aging fast, awful year last year
    1B Kevin Youkilis –probably won’t repeat career year
    2B Dustin Pedroia — again, probably won’t repeat career year
    3B Mike Lowell — big injury risk, average last year
    SS Jed Lowrie — young, no reason to think he’ll be very good
    LF Jason Bay — how will he do in a full year in the AL East?
    CF Jacoby Ellsbury — pretty mediocre last year
    RF JD Drew — injury risk
    DH David Ortiz — injury risk
    Bench — not significantly better than the yankees, baldelli probably can’t play much
    C George Kottaras
    1B Chris Carter
    1B Brad Wilkerson
    IF Nick Green
    OF Rocco Baldelli
    SS Julio Lugo (DL)

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  66. if the red sox lost beckett, smoltz and penny, what would their rotation look like exactly? probably not very pretty

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  67. The Yankees did sustain a spate of injuries like that last year, won 89 games anyway (with a Pythag at around 87, I believe), and got better this year.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 26, 2009 @ 8:17 pm

  68. I guess Buchholz and Masterson or Bowden would have to replace Beckett and Penny. Smoltz isn’t even really in their rotation yet to worry about how they’d replace him.

    Comment by Judy — March 26, 2009 @ 8:26 pm

  69. Smoltz and Penny are vying for the Sox fifth starter slot. Most teams don’t have aces as #5 starters, so losing either of those guys and having any number of highly touted minor league arms (Buchholz, Bowden, Masterson) replace them wouldn’t really be a huge problem.

    Losing Beckett is more problematic obviously, but Beckett didn’t pitch a whole season last year and the Sox made it to within a game of the World Series, so I imagine they’d find a way to handle it.

    Comment by mattymatty — March 26, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

  70. If they lost Smoltz, Beckett, and Penny?

    Jon Lester
    Daisuke Matsuzaka
    Tim Wakefield
    Clay Buchholz
    Justin Masterson

    And that’s if 3 starters get injured. What does the Yankees’ look like? Pettitte is coming off the worst season of his career. Burnett has spent half of his days on the DL. Wang has too. Chamberlain had tendinitis in his throwing arm despite being on a leash for most of the year. CC Sabathia has thrown about 500 innings in the last 2 years, and he doesn’t exactly have the ideal body type. Gotta figure he’s an injury hazard.

    So, what happens, if worst case scenario, the Yankees lose EVERYONE? It seems almost the entire rotation is an injury risk, so what happens if they lose 4 starters, let alone 3? Let’s assume the Yanks lose 3 as well, even though they’re more likely to than the Red Sox.

    Who comes up for the Yankees? They’ve got no one in the ‘penn that they can shove into the rotation. They’ll have to bring someone up; but who? Darrell Rasner? Jeff Karstens? Alan Horne? Phil Hughes? Do you see how incredibly pathetic the Yankee pitching staff suddenly becomes?

    Let’s say the three most injury prone pitchers for the Yanks DO get injured; Chien Ming Wang, AJ Burnett, and Joba Chamberlain. The rotation now looks like this:

    CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Darrell Rasner, Jeff Karstens.
    Anyone else see a problem? The Red Sox are able to put together a League-Average rotation despite 3 injuries; the Yankees, on the other hand, become arguably the worst rotation in baseball with 3 injuries (none of them would surprise me.)

    Comment by Albert — March 26, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

  71. Karstens is with the pirates now, and the Yankees have plenty of optinos ahead of Rasner. Aceves, Giese, and Coke all have major league success and could start for the Yankees without disasterous results. Kennedy is another option who has had great minor league results and could finally find success in the majors. Tomko has also had a good spring and would be a candidate. I have to think that Aceves, Hughes and Tomko could put up numbers comparable to those put up by Buccholz, Masterson and Bowden, especially considering that Buccholz was awful in the majors last year, Masterson projects as a reliever, and Bowden has pitched only 40 innings in AAA

    Also, I wouldn’t call Wang injury prone, he had a freak accident last year and has reported no discomfort this year.

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  72. Ironically, Drayton McClane lucked into his fortune because of Wal-Mart.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  73. Rasner is not with the organization any more either. He’s pitching in Japan this year.
    I think everyone can agree that there are question marks in every rotation. The team whose rotation holds up better over the course of the season will probably do better. We have no idea who is going to get hurt. Everyone can get hurt; no-one can get hurt. We’re just going to have to wait and see.

    Comment by Joe — March 26, 2009 @ 9:35 pm

  74. Alfredo Aceves has had 4 starts. Phil Coke has thrown less than 15 innings. Brett Tomko hasn’t had a quality season since 1997. Ian Kennedy does not have the “stuff” to make it in the Majors, and his control is overrated.
    Remember in ’07, when Kennedy had 3 solid starts and everyone was projecting him to be an Ace? It’s a little thing called small sample size, and just becauce Aceves and Coke have had success in their September call up doesn’t mean they’re major league caliber starters. In fact, Aceves was absolutely unimpressive in AAA all season.
    Dan Giese, I have to say, I don’t know about him. He’s a mystery, I think to more than just me. Guy is a journeyman pitcher for years, suddenly the Yankees pick him up and he puts up a <2 ERA at SWB at 31? I’ll give you the BOTD here, but everyone else, trash.

    Buchholz was awful in the majors, yes, and he has come back with a <0.50 ERA in several starts in the spring. I feel like he can bounce back; the big thing last year was his control problems, and he’s been painting corners all spring.
    Masterson is a reliever, yes, but only because we say he is. He was drafted a starter, and was only converted to reliever AFTER the ASB because the Sox bullpen was struggling.
    Bowden is still raw; I never mentioned his name. He’s going to be a solid #2 in 2010, but for now he needs more time/experience.

    Honestly, I don’t think you can compare Tomko/Aceves/Coke to Wakefield/Masterson/Buchholz. I understand that Buchholz is as much as question mark as any of the guys I put down, but he’s got 10* the upside and has shown it thus far in the Spring. Wakefield I think has been consistent enough to not need an explanation. And Masterson showed what he could do all of last year, even into the playoffs.

    Comment by Albert — March 26, 2009 @ 9:38 pm

  75. I’m positive.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  76. Seconded. It would be really nice to see some truly in depth analysis of team’s personal evaluations/decisions.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 9:42 pm

  77. Beckett was in no way mediocre. 3.24 FIP and accounted for more than 5 wins above replacement.

    There are also two things you failed to account for.
    1. The Red Sox are above average defensively at every position other than LF (maybe catcher but no data)
    2. The Sox are much deeper and have spread their risk around with Drew and Baldelli and about 10 possible starting pitchers.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  78. PECOTA also doesn’t have a fielding metric based on play-by-play data. This would really distinguish both the Rays and Sox, who have great defense, from the Yankee’s below average defense.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  79. Remember that the Red Sox are about 40 runs better than the Yankees on defense and the Rays are 80 runs better. That is significant and not a part of PECOTA.

    Comment by Nathan — March 26, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

  80. They were able to afford CC and Burnett. Santana would have only cost them a couple million more annually.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 26, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

  81. That defense shows up in the rate stats for pitchers. Although with Burnett and Sabathia (who have both come over from excellent defensive teams), it might skew there numbers a little bit. However, most of there staff has been on the team over the last 2 years, so the lack of defense would show up in there ERA and BABIP.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 26, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  82. Ahh..the big angry giant.

    I don’t really hate the Yankees as much as I used to since they’ve had trouble advancing in the playoffs the last several years. Still, they’re an amazingly impressive force to be reckoned with. What’s even scarier is even with that massive payroll they’re still a well-run organizaiton that’s not in any danger of colapsing under its own weight.

    Yea, and I figured ownership would be an A+. The Steinbrenners demand a winning product and there’s no financial excuse not to provide one. It’s almost having a cheat code for a game to unlock a mess-load of money.

    As if this needs repeating but the AL East is just ridiculous. And this is not even considering that the Orioles could enter the picture sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    Comment by ThundaPC — March 26, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  83. Fair enough Nathan, I was looking at Beckett’s 4 ERA and ignored his other statistics.

    I don’t know much about the Sox’s minor league OF options but Baldelli almost certainly could not fill in for 9 innings if Drew went down. The Yankees on the other hand have Swisher on the bench in case any of their outfielders are injured.

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

  84. You’re precious.

    Comment by Eric — March 26, 2009 @ 10:49 pm

  85. Aceves had 4 starts in the majors which were pretty uninspiring FIP-wise, had fairly good rate stats in AAA (8.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 8.7 H/9) and was outstanding in A and AA (although at age 25).

    Coke was great in a small sample size in MLB, but also was very impressive in AA and AAA (however, also 25 years old).

    Kennedy’s MLB failure was also in a small sample — 39 innings. He’s still only 23 and has dominated at every level of the minors, with a career minor league 6 H/9, about 10 K/9 and under 3 BB/9. Buccholz’s track record is actually surprisingly similar, although of course he has better raw stuff. Masterson never put up very impressive numbers in either MLB or the minor leagues — his 3.2 ERA last year was despite a 4.7 FIP.

    Finally, Tomko/Aceves/Coke is not the parallel to Wakefield/Masterson/Buccholz — Wakefield is in the starting rotation for boston whereas none of the three Yankees mentioned are. If you compare Aceves/Hughes/Coke to Masterson/Buccholz/Bowden, it’s probably more or less a wash, maybe with a slight edge to the Yankees based on Bowden’s lack of experience

    Comment by fangraphs — March 26, 2009 @ 10:58 pm

  86. “if the red sox lost beckett, smoltz and penny, what would their rotation look like exactly? probably not very pretty”

    Lester, DiceK, Wakefield, Buchholz, Masterson/Bowden.

    Still damn good.

    Comment by alskor — March 26, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  87. I originally agreed with those who thought that putting 3 teams from the same division at the top didn’t make sense, but the more I think about it, it really does. If you say that there’s an 80% chance that the wildcard will come out of the east, that puts all three teams at just over 50% chance of making the playoffs. I can’t imagine giving another team in the American League that good of odds of making the playoffs. The Indians might be close, but with 2, maybe 3 other real contenders in that division, I don’t think you can give them a 50% chance. I really don’t know enough about the National League to say for sure, but I’d imagine it’s pretty similar, with maybe the Cubs emerging with above 50% odds.

    Even if the Cubs, the Indians, or maybe the Mets have a better chance than the big 3 of making the playoffs, the 2 Al Easters would have a better chance of winning the world series than any of them, most likely cancelling out the advantage in making the playoffs.

    This is also just for next year, so the fact that all three of these teams are primed to do this for the next 4 to 5 at least makes it clear that they should be the top 3 on the list.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — March 26, 2009 @ 11:22 pm

  88. Sox beat out TB and NY because of their international presence you morons.
    Yes the money, ML talent, ownership, front office, and prospects are all their.
    But they have a business model that may be one of the better business models in the business world… not just the MLB.

    How do you all not see that?

    Comment by Andy — March 26, 2009 @ 11:50 pm

  89. for whoever thinks Yankees can buy all the talents, Rays tend to steal talents with keen eyes.
    Ask Twins and Mets fan.

    Comment by Kampfer — March 27, 2009 @ 12:01 am

  90. BA’s write-up on Montero:

    “He also has above-average arm strength and has made significant strides defensively. He’s so big and inflexible that he has trouble receiving balls down and to his right. His arm strength plays down because he has a slow transfer, and he threw out just 25 percent of basestealers in 2008. Montero has the bat and athleticism to profile as a first baseman or perhaps even a left fielder, but the Yankees see him as another Mike Piazza if he can remain behind the plate.”

    John Manuel is the writer and in the chat thought that Montero could make it at catcher early in his career because he works hard, but, not be very good, and repeated the Yanks comp to Piazza (he thought that it was dreaming but possible). What I really get from this, is that he believes that Montero will be a 1B, and if he starts out at catcher, it won’t last long.

    Comment by penguin — March 27, 2009 @ 12:02 am

  91. “They’ll have to bring someone up; but who? Darrell Rasner? Jeff Karstens? Alan Horne? Phil Hughes? Do you see how incredibly pathetic the Yankee pitching staff suddenly becomes?”

    One of these names is not like the others.

    The absurd thing about this division is that either of the two bottom-feeders would quite possibly be the favorites in both the Central and the West. They’d at least have a solid shot. Every day I wake up and thank sweet Zombie Jesus the Twins play in the central.

    Comment by cowdisciple — March 27, 2009 @ 12:13 am

  92. The Rays are projected to be in the low 90′s by most systems, whereas the Sox and Yanks are in the upper 90′s.

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 27, 2009 @ 12:54 am

  93. I don’t know Twins and Mets fan. Do you have his email address? I’d really like to know what he thinks about the Yankees buying all the talents.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — March 27, 2009 @ 12:57 am

  94. Yanks play in a huge media market but they were the first franchise to really figure out that owning your own network (YES which was introduced way back in ’02) was the key to being able to print money in baseball.

    People seem to conveniently forget that the Yanks weren’t far and away the biggest spenders in MLB during the early part of this decade. Even as recently as ’98, the O’s spent more money than the Yanks.

    Comment by MG — March 27, 2009 @ 1:17 am

  95. There money buys them an extra 5 wins

    Comment by vivaelpujols — March 27, 2009 @ 1:34 am

  96. Andy says:
    March 26, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    Sox beat out TB and NY because of their international presence you morons.

    i could find now evidence to support the above or disprove it other then some articles from right after the Sox won in 2004. I just can’t believe that the Sox are more popular the Yankees brand is just way too massive and popular.

    Comment by Jimmy — March 27, 2009 @ 6:15 am

  97. Also what is MLB going to do if the O’s step it up? After a few years of the Yanks, Sox, and Rays all winning around 90 games and one not making the playoffs (esp if its NY or Boston) people (Larry and/or George) will start to complain. Now add a decent O’s team in and take some wins away from the other three. We’ll have arguably 4 of the top 10 teams in one division with only one making the playoffs.

    Comment by Jimmy — March 27, 2009 @ 6:23 am

  98. Cowdisciple, I made a mistake. I don’t follow up on Yankees prospects, I just know that they haven’t got much beyond Hughes.

    Comment by Albert — March 27, 2009 @ 6:30 am

  99. I think the Rays will be #1.

    Comment by Judy — March 27, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  100. I wouldn’t stay up nights worrying about it. And if the Orioles win 90+, at least some of those would have to come from the 54 games they play against Boston, NYY and Tampa. I don’t think a division can sustain 4 90 win teams.

    Comment by Tom — March 27, 2009 @ 7:52 am

  101. “they have capitalized on that legacy more than any other team”

    Indeed — literally. Nice pun, Dave.

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — March 27, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  102. I think the Yankee ‘pen is underrated, because it’s basically Mo & some no-names. Well, Marte is known, but I actually don’t think all that much of him. They’ve improved the bullpen significantly. Sure, guys like Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, David Robertson, Phil Coke, Jonathan Albajedo (sp?), etc. all have their flaws, but that’s why they’re middle relievers. They also do some things very well. The Yankee bullpen was pretty darn solid last season. They’ve got a bunch of guys they can swap in & out of the ‘pen depending on who is doing well. In the past they would sign somebody like Farnsworth and say “ok, we’re set for the 7th inning!” Which is stupid, because relievers are typically volatile (praise be to Mo).

    Rotation depth – sure. Their front 5 is pretty sweet, though. Are there doomsday scenarios that involve Kei Igawa taking a regular turn in the rotation? Sure, I suppose. How many teams can say otherwise.

    Their defense isn’t great. But it’s also improved. They’ve made clear upgrades at 1B and RF. Check the numbers from last year – take out Abreu’s godawful “performance” and you have a league-average defense, IIRC. Nady is okish and Swisher is a plus defender. Tex is obviously an upgrade over Giambi. If they go with Gardner in CF, he should out-perform Melky (defensively, anyway). Granted, one can certainly predict worse numbers at SS (Jeter was suprisingly ok last season) and 3B. Offensively, they’re going to miss ARod for a month, definitely. The flipside is that 2009 Posada will > 2008 Posada (this isn’t hard), Matsui is likely to beat what he did last season (strictly DHing), and it’s hard to imagine Cano not bouncing back at least somewhat.

    Could they finish 3rd? Of course. The competition is fierce. They finished 3rd last year (4th if you go by run differential), because a whole lot went wrong. The thing is, that sort of thing happened to Boston in 2006. Boston was and remains an extremely well-run team.

    Comment by Rob in CT — March 27, 2009 @ 9:44 am

  103. Kei Igawa always looks good in spring training, unless my memory is failing me. Happily, he’s well down on the depth chart. I’d say the backup/fill-ins for the rotation go something like this:

    Hughes – likely the guy who takes the innings Joba won’t pitch, and maybe more if/when someone gets hurt.
    Al Aceves – he’s not what he looked like to some last year (the ERA was a smoke & mirrors job ala Aaron Small), but a 4.8 FIP isn’t exactly terrible. We’re talking about a 6th-7th starter here.
    Ian Kennedy – yeah, he got smacked around six ways from Sunday last year. Ok. But as a 7th-8th starter option? There’s worse.
    Phil Coke – available for spot start duty, and they keep talking about trying him as a starter, but I’m not sure I see it.

    Would I like to have a rehabbing Smoltz available (come May, right?)? Sure. I like Boston’s gambles with Smoltz and Penny (I have more faith in Smoltz, but what do I know?). The Yankees “gambles” are basically on Hughes, Aceves and maybe Kennedy. Far less risky than last year’s gambles, which had Hughes & IPK as the 4th and 5th starters to open the season.

    Comment by Rob in CT — March 27, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  104. I’m not sure I follow your logic on Brian Cashman’s genius. You say he constantly targets the highest quality players. How hard is that? He has unlimited resources. Why wouldn’t he? His signings are a collection of no-brainers and huge mistakes like Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright that anyone could see coming. You say he infuses the minor leagues system witch cash. Once again, how does that make him a good GM? Of course he does that. He would be stupid not to. If he used his resources with just a fraction of the efficiency that other teams do, the Yankees would be unstoppable.

    Comment by Zach — March 27, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  105. off topic, but people forget some major stats from last season.

    rasner + ponson = 9 wins in 37 starts
    kennedy + hughes = 0 wins in 17 starts

    so in 54 starts, we got 9 wins. that’s almost 1/3 of the season.

    and we still won 89 games.

    And… this is the worst assessment of the Yankees farm system I have ever seen. did you research it at all? This is the same AAA team that won the international league last season, and the same AA team that has won 2 years in a row now…

    You can’t fault the talent of the system just because they may not make it to the major leagues for the yankees. Prospects are just as valuable as trade bait, if not more.

    Comment by Tom B — March 27, 2009 @ 12:33 pm

  106. i’m sorry, but no one saw the pavano disaster coming, especially not the other 5 teams we outbid to sign him.

    Comment by Tom B — March 27, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  107. alksor

    While I agree with the sentiment, the analogy doesn’t really work. If Matt Wieters were a Twin, He, Joe Mauer, or Jason Kubel would definately be traded either this year or next. But the Yankees, Rays, and Sox can’t move to a different division.

    Also, the question wasn’t who is the best run team in Major League Baseball, it was who is the most likely to win the WS in the near future.

    So if there were no trades allowed in Major League Baseball, and the question was what prospect has the best chance of being a star in the near future, instead of who is the best prospect, I could see how you could rate him a tad lower. He still would be at or near the top, but you’d have to look at it a little closer.

    Anyway, as I said, I agree with the sentiment. As I posted below, I don’t think there is any way you can NOT put these 3 at the top of the list. The fact that they are all in the same division is close to cancelled out by the fact that there isn’t a decent wildcard contender in the American League.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — March 27, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

  108. Tom, while I agree that Ponson, Rasner, Kennedy, and Hughes were overall atrocious last year, in the GAMES THEY STARTED New York won more than 9 games. In fact, they won 21 (and lost 31) games when those four started. 52 starts, 21 wins.

    Comment by Chris — March 27, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  109. I know two teams that could say otherwise: The Rays and Red Sox. They both look different, but those pitching staffs are very deep. Guys like Igawa are someone else’s problem.

    Comment by TheJeffG — March 27, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  110. and that has a huge toll on the bullpen, and puts tons of stress on the batters.

    all i’m sayin there is that 5-10 games are easily made up this year over last years rotation. thats 94+ wins without anything else going better, like the offense producing more towards the mean.

    Comment by Tom B — March 27, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  111. Seriously? I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, but surely you get those references?

    Comment by TheJeffG — March 27, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  112. Actually, there was an article about that on this site. The new Yankees’ rotation projects to be +5 wins from last year’s.

    Comment by Kevin S. — March 27, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  113. The Yankees are more like the Home Depot of baseball, because there are so many tools on that team.

    Comment by Jim — March 27, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  114. Ok, Red Sox roster:

    Rotation:
    Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefield, Smolz, Penny, Bucholz.
    I really don’t see how this is any more ? filled than the Yankees. When healthy, Beckett is at least as good a pitcher as Sabathia. He will not be as durable, but I think he’s a lock for 170-180 innings of low 3s FIP. Lester increased the load last year, but he had a year off for cancer and has no history of arm trouble, he’s probably in for a bit of regression, but he’ll still be very good. Matzuzaka is erratic, and frustrating, but he is at that age where everything could click and he could be lights out. It’s a risk, but I’d take that over Wang. Wakefield is Wakefield. He’ll eat innings and be good at times and get lit up at others. He’s probably in the bullpen at seasons end. Smoltz is straight up nasty – still, and 2/3 of a season from Smoltz is going to be better than a full season from almost any other team’s 5th starter. Likewise a half season from Penny if he’s anything like he was a few years ago will be a real nice bonus. Bucholtz has been great all spring and could still go either way, but he’ll get the chance to prove it right away whereas Kennedy/Hughes/Igawa will be thrust into a start under a whole heap of pressure.

    In all I’d say the Yankee’s have the slight edge in starting pitching – at least until Smoltz returns.

    Bullpen.
    Papelbon, Okajima, Masterson, Delcarmen… oh and Saito. That sounds lights out to me. I’m not a big fan of Lopez as the other lefty, but if its the same Saito as 2006-2008, the Red Sox will be playing 7 inning games.

    Lineup.
    On paper, this is much better than the Yankees and I don’t see how it’s particularly close. Regressions are likely from Youk and Pedroia, but how much do you expect them to slide? I expect both to be among the best, if not the best at their position in the AL. You can almost be sure that they will get more out of catcher and third base than last year. If Varitek falls of a cliff, Epstein will go out and get somebody, and if Lowell can’t play, Youk will play 3rd and Carter will play first. Drew is usually good for 120 or so games of about .280/.390/.500, Bay is in a contract year, and will have a full season of playing at Fenway. Ellsbury should improve a bit and could breakout the way Pedroia did a year ago. Chone likes him for a .351 wOBA but .360 wouldn’t be out of the question. I really don’t know what to expect from Lowrie, but he’s the 9 hitter and if he can’t hack it, it’ll go back to Lugo.

    And then their’s Ortiz. I can’t imagine they will get less out of him than they did last year and likely will get a whole lot more. He could get hurt, but DH’s are easily replaceable, maybe not his level of production, but it won’t be like going from ARod to Ransom either.

    The Red Sox lineup poses some injury risks, but no regular that is currently injured. They are almost all on the right side of 35 and except for Varitek and can’t see any of them falling off a cliff.

    And then there’s defense which a lot of the predictions I’ve read fail to take into account.

    The Sox are very good at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, SS, Center, and Right. I also believe that Varitek is a superior catcher to Posada though I don’t have the stats to back it up. Bay is the weak link, but he’s the left fielder and will probably be subbed out for defense late in games. 7 above average and 1below aint bad at all.

    Comment by Paul — March 27, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  115. Frankly, they spend less of their revenues on talent than almost any other team even with revenue sharing and everything. They just roll in the money. But that is because they have about 11x the fan base of the Marlins (that fans base is the wealthiest in the country). In other words, the Yankees have tanks while most everyone is fighting with stones. Yet they still can’t make the post season. I feel this shows the Yankees are among the worst run franchises in the game. They draft terribly. They have zero eye for talent (Pavano). They basically do nothing well at all. They just have so much more resources (from dumb luck) that they can just keep buying players until by accident they win.

    Have to rank the Yankees a bottom 5 team for sure! Anyone who questions that is not a thinking man who understands fairness.

    Comment by Brian — March 28, 2009 @ 10:33 pm

  116. Vegas odds for AL pennant winners:
    New York Yankees: 7/5
    Boston Red Sox: 15/4
    Tampa Bay Rays: 11/2
    Los Angeles Angels 13/2

    (it’s Yankees, Cubs, Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, Mets, Rays for World Series odds)

    I’d say just because one of the top 3 is not going to make the playoffs doesn’t mean all three can’t be considered having the best chance. They each have about a 2/3 chance of making the playoffs, which is higher than many of projected divisional leaders. And even though the playoffs are more of a crapshoot than the regular season, you still would have to give these three teams the best chance of winning the World Series once making the playoffs.

    Comment by q — March 29, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

  117. I’m pretty sure The Hardball Times and Cliff Corcoran (Cliffs Big Red Blog) pointed out that the Pavano deal was a lousy one

    Comment by Raf — March 30, 2009 @ 10:10 am

  118. “Yet they still can’t make the post season.”

    Doesn’t change the fact that the Yankees have had a decent playoff run from 1995-2007

    Comment by Raf — March 30, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  119. You are completely ridiculous.
    The Yankees won 89 GAMES LAST YEAR.

    How many teams made the playoffs with less wins? How many of those teams started Ponson and Rasner?

    The Yankees spend 65% REVENUE TO PAYROLL, until other organizations match that level of commitment, you have no right to complain about how much money they spend.

    Comment by Tom B — March 30, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  120. Tom,
    Please read these responses in relation to the article written. Nobody is arguing the Yankees are a bad team. We are simply saying that given their immense resources, they are terribly inefficient and shouldn’t be considered to have one of the top front offices in baseball. Think about it this way. What is a team with 200+ million dollars pumped into their payroll doing starting Ponson or Rasner anyways? That’s exactly the inefficiency we are arguing.

    Comment by Zach — March 30, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  121. they are called injuries? and i was replying to Brian, try to follow the thread there ace…

    Comment by Tom B — March 31, 2009 @ 8:58 am

  122. Well, considering me and Brian are saying the same thing and you did respond to me earlier, I think I’m doing fine on this thread thing.

    Anyways, thanks for bringing up injuries. You have once again further proven our point. Injuries are exactly why you build depth and a farm system and the Yankees did not do a good job of that considering their huge payroll. 250+ million dollars and your main backup plans are Ponson and Rasner?? That’s not exactly efficient. Look at Boston and Atlanta. They are both loaded with 9 or 10 major league ready starters in case injuries hit. Why doesn’t Cashman built depth like that? It’s simply a lack of foresight.

    Comment by Zach — March 31, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  123. thank you for completely missing the point, again….

    they STILL WON 89 GAMES. This is not even a remotely bad season, especially when you lose 3 of your 5 opening day starters due to injuries/ineffectiveness. This is way above acceptable for 95% of all major league clubs. It’s not the Yankees fault that Tampa won 97 games last year… it’s the discounting attitude and people looking at last season and going “wow the yankees sucked they didn’t even make the playoffs!” that i’m contesting here…

    Why doesn’t Cashman count on losing half of his rotation? Are you serious? The Red Sox signing every aging pitcher under the sun to give the appearance of “depth” is just as inneffective as trying to roll out of ST with 2 rookie starters.

    Comment by Tom B — April 1, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  124. That is totally NOT the point. I am not saying they had a bad season last year so PLEASE stop telling me how they won 89 games, blah blah blah. We agree they had a good season. The point I’m trying to make is how can one GM get $250 million and win 89 games while another GM gets $40 million and wins 97 games. It’s called inefficient front office management. And I’m not just talking about last season, I’m talking about his entire tenure with the Yankees. You cannot keep a straight face and tell me that a team with the resources of the Yankees can go into a season with 2 unproven rookies in their starting rotation and Sidney Ponson as the #1 backup plan. That’s terrible planning, period. And yes, signing several pitchers with track records of success is a much safer method than the Yankees approach from last year.

    Comment by Zach — April 1, 2009 @ 9:28 am

  125. “while another GM gets $40 million and wins 97 games.”

    That is a strategy also known as “finish last for 10 years straight and draft in the Top 10 every year.” The very GM you are hinting at inherited a stacked farm system and a team full of excellent, young, cost-controlled players.

    I don’t think “efficiency” carries the same value you maintain it carries. If we were to judge by some sort of input vs. output metric, teams like the A’s and the Twins would be on top.

    Why did the Yankees go into 2008 with Hughes and Kennedy as their #4 and #5 starters? They were 2 of the top 3 pitching prospects in the Yankees farm system and put up decent September numbers, with Hughes standing out in his relief appearance in the ALDS against the Indians. To bring them both up at the same time was a risky move, but far from “terrible planning.”

    A team with 8-10 major league-ready starters on the 40-man or in the system is like Bigfoot: it doesn’t exist. A team with two or more ML-ready starters in their AAA club has exceptional pitching depth.

    Comment by Doug — April 1, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

  126. “That is a strategy also known as “finish last for 10 years straight and draft in the Top 10 every year.” The very GM you are hinting at inherited a stacked farm system and a team full of excellent, young, cost-controlled players.”

    Absolutely false and has been proven so in many different articles, probably a few of them written on this website. Of course it helps to draft high but they made several moves not related to their draft position that put them in a position to succeed.

    Can you seriously tell me that having Sidney Ponson as our #1 backup plan for 2 rookie starters is not a bad move? Really? I think calling it “risky” does it a major injustice. It was simply a poorly thought out roster planning. Of course you want to believe in your rookies but you have to be realistic. Rookie pitchers don’t often fare that well. With all the resources Cashman had at his disposal, he had no excuse for not having a decent backup plan.

    Comment by Zach — April 2, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  127. ponson was not the #1 backup plan, he was added mid season.

    actually, i dont know if there was a backup plan at all, but i ask you this. what better pitcher was available last year at the beginning of the season that made sense to sign as a backup? my guess is none.

    Comment by Tom B — April 3, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  128. Oh, my bad. So it was even worse planning than I thought. That’s just the icing on the cake. That fact is, he had the entire offseason to acquire pitching and he didn’t do a single thing.

    My honest opinion is he finally figured out that the Yankees were going to need to actually develop some talent in order to get back on top because other teams with big time payrolls (Red Sox, Angels) were pumping out big-time young players from their farm system when the Yankees had been neglecting theirs. Normally he would have traded prospects to improve the pitching staff but he felt pressure to build from within and simply went with the younger guys. His thought process was on the right track and they have strengthened the farm system since then but for him to think he could use that farm system to patch his holes was just another bad decision in a long line of similar decisions.

    Comment by Zach — April 3, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  129. I adore reading and I think this website got some genuinely useful stuff on it! .

    Comment by PS3 — April 8, 2011 @ 1:42 am

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