Dayn Perry at Foxsports recently wrote an article about why the Yankees are still a third-place team. It was poorly written, he had weak arguments, and it showed his obvious bias against the Yanks. I have thought of Dayn Perry as the worst sportswriter around for a long time, and this article assures me that my assumptions are correct. I like most sportswriters, and trust them, but I am always confused as to why a news outlet that has great professionals like Ken Rosenthal would employ someone like Perry. YFSF didn't like the piece either, but I'm going to go into details as to why Perry's argument is extremely weak.
Worse for the mediocre New York attack is the fact that they had the oldest lineup in all of baseball in 2008 (average age of 31.3), and they haven't gotten measurably younger.
Seriously Dayn? Let's look at a few things.
Mike Mussina, born in 1968. AJ Burnett, born in 1977.
Sidney Ponson, born in 1976. CC Sabathia, born in 1980.
Bobby Abreu, born in 1974. Brett Gardner, born in 1983. (Or Melky Cabrera, born in 1984)
Jason Giambi, born in 1971. Nick Swisher, born in 1980.
In other words: Perry's argument is an Epic Failure.
As presently constructed, the Yanks have neither the offense nor the team defense to hang with Tampa and Boston. On the offensive side, last season the Yankees ranked seventh in the 14-team AL in runs scored.
Yeah. They ranked seventh. Boston, the Wild Card winner ranked 2nd, but the division champion Rays ranked 9th. Yeah, 9th. As in two spots behind the Yankees. Also, factor in that Jorge Posada only played in 51 games, while battling a shoulder injury, and that Hideki Matsui only played in 93 games, and there's your reason why the offense performed below expectations. Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez also missed some playing time, albeit not as much as Jorge and Hideki. Damon played in 143 games, A-Rod in 138. Sure the departures of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi will have an impact on the offense this upcoming year, but Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady aren't exactly terrible. Swisher is known for his great plate discipline. He had a tough 08 season, but he should improve for 2009, probably not to the point of replicating Giambi, but enough to help the offense. Nady, who had a break out year in 08, is going into his contract year. He's a Scott Boras client, meaning that a good season could lead to a huge payday. So Dayn, your argument against the offense fails as well.
Jason Giambi, one of their most productive hitters last season, is no more, and he's being replaced by Nick Swisher, who hit .219 in 2008.
Yes. Dayn Perry tried to make his entire argument against Swisher based on batting average. Come on Dayn. It is the 21st century. So many statistics are available. Use them. How about how Swisher's OBP was .332, in comparison to his .219 average. That shows ridiculously good plate discipline. If Swisher's average jumps back to his career average of .244, then we could see that OBP rise up to the high .300's. Swisher has hit at least 20 home runs every year since 2005. He is a huge improvement over Giambi defensively. And he is 9 years younger, and signed to a relatively cheap deal. Sure, Swisher is not as great a player as Giambi, but no one ever said he was. He is a cheaper, younger solution who will still help the offense. So again, Perry's argument skills are lacking.
They must hope that Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Swisher all have bounceback seasons.
Yes. We have to hope they have bounceback seasons. But, is there any real doubt by baseball executives that Cano and Swisher will bounce back? Swisher didn't particularly like Chicago and had to play CF instead of his more natural positions of first base and right field. Playing a comfortable position in the field can have extreme effects on a player's hitting. Cano spent significant time this winter working with Terrence Long on his swing and plate discipline, and that should help his offense immensely. Cabrera is a different case. He might not have a bounceback season, but there's also Brett Gardner competing with him for the center field spot, so he isn't the Yankees' only hope for center field.
The Yankees can't play defense. As with the offense, the Yankees' advancing age and lack of turnover among position players means that the defense is likely to be even worse in 2009.
So, replacing Giambi with Swisher does nothing for the infield defense? And having Nady in right instead of the wall-a-phobe Abreu won't help the Yanks at all either right? Sure, Jeter and Cano aren't the best defenders in the league, but it isn't like they aren't going to get to anything hit up the middle. A-Rod is above average at the hot corner, and Swish plays a decent first base. I'm excited that the Yanks won't have to make Wilson Betemit the back-up infielder. He wasn't particularly good with the glove at any position. Cody Ransom, or whoever else fills in, will most likely be a huge improvement on the defensive substitution front. Also, an outfield that has Johnny Damon in left, Melky or Gardner in center, and Xavier Nady in right isn't terrible. Damon still has the speed and range to play center, it's just his weak throws that have pushed him to left. I don't know the full report on Gardner, but I know that Melky has a cannon and that his presence in center makes runners think twice before going for an extra base. Nady isn't a gold glover, but he'll cover more area as he won't stay 20 feet away from the wall all the time like Abreu did. The Yanks aren't a gold glove team, but they can play some defense. Perry's argument isn't extremely strong, but I won't say it fails completely this time. But, you have to laugh when he talks about the Yankees' " lack of turnover among position players." Swisher in for Giambi, Nady in for Abreu, Posada in for Molina/Moeller, Damon in full time for Nady/Matsui, Ransom, or whoever, in for Betemit, and possibly Gardner in for Melky/Damon. That's a lot of turnover on who is playing each position. Perhaps Perry is referring to how the Yankees aren't moving perennial MVP candidate Alex Rodriguez, team captain Derek Jeter, or Robinson Cano, the second baseman, who not so long ago was projected to be a perennial competitor for the batting title.
And speaking of the rotation, it isn't as improved as you might think. There's no assailing Sabathia's excellence, but the Yankees may live to regret giving five years and more than $80 million to Burnett. Burnett's injury problems have been widely chronicled (just twice has he pitched 200 or more innings in a season),
I agree with Dayn that we will most likely regret the Burnett signing, but did he really just say the rotation wasn't as improved as we think? The 4 Yankees pitchers with the most starts last year were Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, and Darell Rasner. They only had 15 starts from Chien Ming Wang, and 12 from Joba Chamberlain. A full season of Sabathia is better than a full season of Mike Mussina. A full season of AJ Burnett is better than a full season of Andy Pettitte. Chien Ming Wang is better thanSidney Ponson. And a full season of Joba Chamberlain is better than a season of Darrell Rasner. How is that not improving? Sure, Burnett has a history of injury problems, but that doesn't mean there is no way he pitches a full season this year. Also Dayn, use a fact checker next time. Burnett has pitched at least 200 innings 3 times, not 2. He did it in 02, 05, and 08.
Certainly, his 2008 peripheral numbers were strong, but it bears repeating that the Yankee infield defense is going to hurt him. So what are Burnett's prospects for being healthy and putting up near-ace numbers in 2009?
Hey Dayn, guess what. Burnett doesn't have to be an ace there's actually this guy named CC who's going to do that. Also, the Yanks have this other guy named Chien-Ming who has been their ace for a while. And, they have this kid named Joba who is supposed to be an ace in the near future. He just has to be an above average pitcher. I'm not Burnett's biggest fan, and I think his ERA is not impressive at all, but, aside from his price tag, do you really think that a pitcher who had 231 K's in 08 is not a good addition to the team? Also, Burnett is great when playing against good teams. He had a 1.64 ERA, with 43 K's in 38.1 innings in the 5 games he pitched against New York. Against Boston he had a 2.60 ERA, with 24 K's in 27.2 innings over 4 starts. He had a 3.15 ERA, with 26 K's in the 20 innings he pitched against the Rays over his 3 starts against them. He pitched 7 shutout innings, with 7 K's, in his one start against the AL Central champion White Sox. A guy who can shut down Boston and Tampa is always a welcome addition to the team.
And let's not forget that the rotation will be without Mike Mussina's 200.1 innings and 3.37 ERA.
Dayn, those stats are being replaced with CC Sabathia's 2.70 ERA and 253 innings pitched.
no team in all of baseball needs Teixeira more than the Yankees do.
Ha ha. Are you serious Dayn? You think the Yankees need Tex's offense more than the Angels do? How about the Athletics, who have Daric Barton playing 1st? How about the San Francisco Giants and their team home run leader Bengie Molina, who hit 16 homers in 08? Dayn, don't be so ignorant.
If the Yankees make that move( Signing Teixeira), then you can make the case that they're the best team in the AL. If they do nothing more or merely address needs at the margins, then third place is where they're probably going to wind up.
So one player takes a team from third place in their division to the best in the league? Dayn, no player has that effect. Sure, Teixeira would improve the team, but they aren't going to be a third place team without him. I could see you saying that they would be if he goes to Boston, there is some merit to that argument, but if he ends up in Washington, then the Yanks are definitely just as strong as Boston and Tampa. You just can't say that a team with CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Chien Ming Wang, and Joba Chamberlain in the rotation is going to end up in 3rd. You can't say that an offense with Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posasa, Robinson Cano, and Johnny Damon isn''t going to compete. You can't say a team who's bullpen has the Great Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte and his career 3.29 ERA, Brian Bruney and the 1.93 ERA he posted over 32 games in 08, Jonathan Albadejo who hasn't allowed a run in 16 innings in the Puerto Rico winter league, Jose Veras and his 3.59 ERA over 57.2 innings in 08, Edwar Ramirez and the .215 batting average that opposing hitters had against him in 08, and Phil Coke who posted a 0.61 ERA over 14.2 innings in 08, is not going to even make second in their division.
Basically, Dayn Perry has an extremely flawed argument. I hope he will read this and think next time before he rights.