Saturday, August 12, 2006

Yankee Notes: August 13th, 2006

A few random things from Game #2 of the Angels series, and more....

1. Jorge Posada is now 0 for his last 21, with 1 walk and 7 Ks. He is also 8 for his last 48 (.167) with 6 walks and 13 Ks. The summer months got to Jorge last year too, and it would seem the heat and rough schedule are affecting his bat. He's been good throwing out runners for the most part though. He's currently 5th among qualified Major League catchers in "caught stealing percentage". He's putting up a career best .389 in that department.

2. Ya think Robinson Cano was itching to get back into the everyday lineup? He was hot with the bat in his rehab assignment, and it's carried over in his return to 2B for the Bombers. Try 9 for 19 (.474) with 2 homers and 4 RBIs in 5 games. Talk about value over replacement player! How many homers and RBIs did Miguel Cairo have in his time at 2B while Cano was on the DL? Try 21 for 91 (.231) with no homers and 11 RBIs in 27 games. Welcome back Robbie!

3. Johnny Damon is quietly having one of his best seasons. He is on pace to break his personal best for home runs with the short porch at Yankee Stadium really helping him a lot. At the Stadium he's homering once every 21.5 ABs, while on the road his rate drops to once every 34 ABs. His numbers so far in pinstripes are very similar to what he did for the Red Sox over 4 seasons. This season he's 6th among all Major League CFers in VORP, and there are only 4 players at that position with more Win Shares. It seems that we're getting everything we paid for. It's also worth noting that Coco Crisp is 27th among CFers in VORP and is tied with Bernie Williams with 6 Win Shares in only 55 fewer plate appearances. In fact, Bernie's .747 OPS is 30 points higher than Crisp. Imagine Bernie Williams hitting lead off for the Yankees every day and you have Boston's current configuration under Francona!

4. Jaret Wright is tops among all Major League starters in HR/9, just ahead of Jared Weaver (who we see tomorrow), Roger Clemens, and Chien Min Wang! Although he doesn't go deep into ballgames, he's been quite good for a back of the rotation starter this year. He's stayed healthy (knock wood) and kept his ERA fairly low at 4.24, giving up only 3 runs over his last 17 IP! Outstanding. If he keeps it up, his ERA will be the lowest he's ever produced with the exception of his stellar 2004 season with the Braves.

5. Regular reader, jamie, asked me in yesterday's comments section about the man the Yankees signed to be their associate scout in Japan. Shoichi Kida was a player at the same high school that Daisuke Matsuzaka attended, and also briefly played in the Seibu system before retiring to scouting. The Yankees clearly hired Kida to be an in for the Yankees in Seibu/Matsuzaka negotiations. What effect he will have on the bidding process, and so on, is unclear. I'll give you my 2 cents on the posting of players from Japanese professional teams. Please take what I say with a grain of salt as I have never spoken directly with anyone involved in Japanese professional baseball administration, scouts, or officials of any kind. I know what I know from reading, listening to news and analysis over here, and from asking around.

The Japanese way of doing business is as much a system of insider/outsider positioning as anywhere in the world. There is a superficial side to things, where everything appears open and above board. Then there is the behind the scenes world where business is really conducted. I should say that I believe this to be the same everywhere, but the "good old boys" network in Japan is reserved VERY exclusively for insiders. If you're not in, it's highly unlikely you ever will be. The way you get "in" is to follow the path that everyone before you followed, and do things exactly as they did them. You pay your dues according to the strict set of cultural norms that exist in the business community you are a part of.

That's why I feel the Mariners actually have the upper-hand in dealing with Seibu. The former Chairman of Nintendo owns the Mariners, and his son-in-law is the face of the ownership's Board. You can't get more inside than that. The Yankees have the upper hand, perhaps, with Matsuzaka negotiations as Kida is his "sempai" or senior with both Yokohama High School and the Lions. Boras is a fan of big money and the Yankees are always willing to oblige him for his clients' services. Do the Yanks and their dollars have enough to penetrate the insider advantage that Seattle has? Will the Mariners have some kind of advantage in placing the highest bid to Seibu? Walls have ears after all. It's impossible to know.

That's all for now. The King of New York looks to bounce back from his off day against the ChiSox tomorrow. Tell the worms to wear their helmets. Go Yanks!


rabid stan said...

Matsuzaka would be wasted in Seattle. I really hate to think about it.

He should hate to think about it too. Seattle is too much like San Diego, but instead of playing in front of a relatively mellow fanbase cut off from the rest of the country by a desert, he'll be cut off by mountains and hundreds of miles of forest.

Don't end up like Ichiro! Come to New York! At least the Yankees have been contending since their salad days ended in 2001.

RollingWave said...

Seattle have the money and have the talent, but some bad signging have bad management have really been screwing with them so far.

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