Saturday, August 05, 2006

Some Thoughts on Red Sox/Yankees

The Yankees made some great deals prior to the MLB trading deadline, bringing in Bobby Abreu (filling their need for an outfielder since they are missing 2 starting outfielders, Sheffield&Matsui). As importantly, they added Corey Lidle, a starting pitcher with a career winning pct who immediately upgrades the Yankees pitching and gives them a veteran, reliable fifth starter. As I stated earlier, I tip my hat to the Yankees.

However, I am tired of reading/seeing/hearing Yankee fans and egotistical, arrogant, "homer" announcers like Michael Kay genuflect at the altar of the his Yankee paymasters, on his knees ready for a group blowbang of the entire roster, crowing about how the Red Sox were unable to accelerate their lead while the Yankees struggled with injuries. First off, 200 million dollar teams don't struggle with injuries, they may have to play some portion of their season with a very good team and not a superstar laden, 1-9 all star team, but the talent remaining is at an level many teams would still kill for, even after the injuries. Anytime you can trot out Derek Jeter (possibly this years MVP), Alex Rodriguez, (reigning MVP) Jason Giambi (former MVP), Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon, plus a pitching staff that contains Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, the Whanger, and quite possible the greatest closer of all time in Mariano Rivera, you are still a very good team.

Now I realize the Red Sox have plenty of talent as well. (Even with their paltry 120 million dollar payroll, which is about %60 of the Yankees) but let's not forget the amount of injuries the Red Sox had suffered throughout the first 100 games of the season.

The starting rotation was supposed to consist of Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement, and David Wells. Schilling and Beckett have been solid, even though Beckett worries me at times. They've been able to take the ball every 5 days and provided the Red Sox with a legitimate chance to win. However, Matt Clement has only provided 12 starts and he has been out since the middle of June. David Wells has given the Sox 3 starts! He started once in April, once in May, and once in July. Finally, Wakefield provided 19 starts, but he is currently out, with his last start on july 17. Add in the missing Coco Crisp and you begin to realize the Sox have struggled with injuries as well, including going most of the season with 2/5 of their starting rotation missing! So remember that when someone cries about Yankee injuries.


Da Old Man said...

The Yankees are good for baseball.
It is a team that everyone can root for. The Ultimate good guys. The role models for all other teams.
They are America's Team.

Don't be a hater.

Nikolai94 said...

Don't forget that the Yankees also missed SP Carl Pavano and Set-up guy Octavio Dotel. No crying here, just glad that bernie and Melky were able to raise their levels of play and filled-in nicely. Hopefully the frnchise has learned the true value of home-grown talent. The Yankees won Worl Championships with the Jeters, Wiliiams, Pettites, and Riveras as the core of the team. Can the Wanger be the next Pettite? Only time will tell. BTW stop crying about money, last I checked your team spent more than $150 million, too. Have fun with Javy "Not good enough to catch for the Orioles" Lopez.

Woody said...

Dude, there is a diminishing point of return with payroll. That is because 1) The difference between the best players at a certain position and the 5th or 6th best at a certain position is so close. Look at this way, the difference between batting .320 and .280 is 5 hits per 100 at bats or 25-30 hits over the course of a season and 2) even though a high payroll will get you players who will average better, that is only an average. They will have good days and bad days. Conversely, worse teams will have good days and bad days.

Therefore, even the worst teams can expect to win (excluding the Royals, who are pathetic) 70 games and an average team should win about 82. A great team, no matter how much or little they spend, will probably win no more than 100-105 games. So the difference between the best team and an average team, or the highest payroll and the median payroll, is so they can win those 20 extra games.

Therefore, payroll has a diminishing return. Every dollar yeilds less and less wins. The way I see it, Boston, with their payroll, should get about 92-95 wins. That means that the difference between the Yankees and the Sox, the $80 million extra the Yanks spend, is worth about 10 games. They are willing to spend $8 million per win for those extra wins to ensure a post season and success in the post season. And yes, the fact that the Yanks have it to spend is a HUGE advantage (even though Boston could spend more if they wanted to and close that gap a bit). So how can the Sox have a chance?

By taking advantage of the Yanks when they are down. I am not downplaying your injuries but look at what we had:

1) Matsui out
2) Sheff out
3) Cano out
4) Damon on and off for a while
5) A-Rod slumping, getting booed all over the place and even placed in Nick's van of death
6) Absolutely no 5th starter
7) An ineffective Randy Johnson
8) Sturtze out
9) A spotty Jared Wright

That is when the Sox should have put some distance between them and the Yanks. And you know what? They didn't. I understand we still had Jeter, Giambi, and some rookies and journeymen who filled in admirably (don't talk about A-Rod - he is not the reason the Yanks held in there), but the Sox didn't take advantage, period. And if you're going to say that it's because the role players stepped up, that only strengthens my argument about payroll not being as big a factor as you say it is...

So the Yanks weathered their storm and now the Sox have theirs (they have had injuries all season - we took our lumps all at once). Let's see what they do... But instead of blaming the system, start pointing some fingers at your own team:

1) Wells' health was shaky at best
2) Coco Crisp
3) Trading Arroyo

And I could go on.... If you are going to make payroll a factor, I say that with your payroll you should at least be a postseason team. Then you will have your shot which is the same as everyone else. For now, I will look at the Yankees in the driver's seat and be pleased. Because they earned it.

savvy said...

Woody, that is an excellent response. The only concern I have is the way you've minimized the Sox injuries over the season. However, I have been frustrated with Theo this season, especially re: the offseason Bronson Arroyo trade. You never trade pitching, especially for an unproven position player, and when you are counting on an old, fat pitcher like Wells.