Trade is no slam dunk

January 16, 2012 | 476 comments | in Featured | by SJK

For the record, we like the deal. However, the level of enthusiasm we’ve seen from supporters of the deal is a bit overboard. Nearly overnight, Jesus Montero went from being the crown jewel of the farm system and future superstar to an easily replaceable DH. Michael Pineda went from being some kid who pitches for Seattle to a guaranteed ace-in-the-making.

There’s no denying Pineda’s talent, but there’s substantial evidence that pitchers develop differently than hitters do. Young pitchers don’t develop in a straight upward slope. There’s more ups and downs. They plateau sooner. There’s more injuries. They are less predictable.

Look at the lessons of Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, who we all believed were The Next Big Things. Look at guys like Francisco Liriano or Homer Bailey.

While Pineda has excellent potential and delivered a very impressive rookie season, there’s no guarantee he’ll become a sure-fire ace. In fact, the probability of Montero becoming an elite hitter is likely higher than Pineda becoming an elite pitcher — based on what we know about how hitters and pitchers develop.

The deal addresses the Yankees’ biggest area of need with a very exciting pitcher who has pedigree and initial success on the big league stage. Yet, it’s not the risk-free, slam dunk deal that some Yankee supporters are saying it is.

Brian “Sky” Cashman

The catcher of the future?

January 15, 2012 | 47 comments | in Featured | by SJK

6/30/11 — Yanks Senior VP Mark Newman speaks with NoMaas:

SJK: How do you view Romine with Montero blocking him?

MN: Romine will be a starting major league catcher. I really believe that. I wouldn’t say Montero is blocking him. Our manager went from Double-A to the big leagues as a catcher. We just don’t want them to play in the same place. Romine should be in Triple-A.

2007 18 Yankees Rk 3 1 1 .500 .667 1.000 1.667
2008 19 Charleston A 436 25 56 .300 .344 .437 .781
2009 20 Tampa A+ 481 29 78 .276 .322 .441 .763
2010 21 Trenton AA 497 37 94 .268 .324 .402 .726
2011 22 2 Teams AA-AAA 388 32 63 .279 .343 .368 .710
2011 22 Trenton AA 373 32 60 .286 .351 .378 .729
2011 22 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre AAA 15 0 3 .133 .133 .133 .267
5 Seasons 1805 124 292 .281 .333 .415 .748
AA (2 seasons) AA 870 69 154 .276 .336 .392 .728
A (1 season) A 436 25 56 .300 .344 .437 .781
Rk (1 season) Rk 3 1 1 .500 .667 1.000 1.667
AAA (1 season) AAA 15 0 3 .133 .133 .133 .267
A+ (1 season) A+ 481 29 78 .276 .322 .441 .763
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2012.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate

January 15, 2012 | 38 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

…was crucified, died, and was sent to Seattle.

When you lose a homegrown player, especially one of Montero’s potential, it feels like you got sentimentally kicked in the private parts. So with this, we say goodbye and good luck to Jesus.

On a less sentimental note, his departure to Seattle makes us wonder how much the organization values catcher defense. After all, Jorge Posada reportedly is retiring and he certainly had a reputation of being a poor defender. However, that’s not stopping the Hall of Fame discussion.

So either Montero is exponentially worse than Posada behind the plate or the organization has changed their view of a catcher’s defensive influence on winning games.

Don’t sleep on Kuroda signing

January 14, 2012 | 31 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Pineda is the sexy name here and people get caught up in the unknown of of a young guy’s ceiling (while too often losing track of his more humble median projection). But, this Kuroda signing is really fabulous. Over the past 3 years, Kuroda has been the 20th best pitcher by xFIP (3.51). He’s two spots behind CC Sabathia, and one ahead of the Red Sox nominal ace Josh Beckett.

Add on a quarter of a run for the move to the AL East (just a guess there) and knock off another little bit for getting a year older, and he’s still a top-50 pitcher. In other words, the Yankees got a solid 2-3 starter yesterday — for a very fair price and only committed to one season. Fantastic signing.

NoMaas on the radio, Sunday, 8:30 EST

January 14, 2012 | 6 comments | in Announcements | by SJK

NoMaas’ Sensei John Kreese will be on Mike Silva’s NY Baseball Digest this Sunday at 8:30pm EST. The Sensei will be talking to the Portuguese media tycoon about some small trade that happened on Friday, NoMaas’ apparently controversial article on the Yankees financial resources, and how he shaves his back with zero assistance from others.

Click here to listen live.

Cashman emerges from Crystal Lake, murders everyone

January 13, 2012 | 145 comments | in Featured | by SJK

On Friday morning, MLB.COM published an interview with Brian Cashman in which the Yankees GM praised Jesus Montero:

“People thought we were taking a step back on Montero when we got Russell Martin. We did the same thing with [Jorge] Posada. It was three or four years until we fully handed it over to him. When people saw Montero at the end of last year, they said, ‘Holy cow, that’s a middle-of-the-lineup bat.’

On Friday night, Jesus Montero was on his way to Seattle in a trade for one of the better young pitchers in the game:

The New York Yankees have traded top prospect Jesus Montero and right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for phenom pitcher Michael Pineda and righty Jose Campos, a source told’s Jayson Stark.

And just when you thought the killing had stopped, word came that former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda was inked to a 1-year, $10 million deal.

All this blood in just a mere couple of hours.

What does this all mean?

1. The Yankees obviously don’t believe Montero can catch. This is the biggest implication of the entire trade. We specifically pointed this out after the ALDS and it turns out our assessment of the organization’s opinion was correct.

If Montero can catch, this trade very likely doesn’t happen. It’s incredibly rare to find Montero’s bat at the catcher position. As a DH, he’s easier to replace.

2. In a heartbeat, the Yankees went from having an inadequate starting rotation to possessing a very good one — Pineda and Kuroda are two big additions.

In his rookie season last year at age 22, Pineda posted the following:
171 IP, 3.42 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, 3.4 WAR, 9.11 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 3.15 K/BB

It’s very unusual for a young pitcher to strike out that many people, while having such excellent command.

The 6’7″ righthander does not fit the mold of the groundball-types the Yankees have preferred recently. He only had a 36.4% GB rate in 2011, which can be haunting in Yankee Stadium. However, his peripherals against LHB were solid, as noted by his 3.49 FIP / 3.82 xFIP splits. Hopefully, this will help combat the short porch.

Kuroda is straight disciplined, Miyagi-style. Over the last 3 seasons, Kuroda has averaged 7.10 K/9, 2.11 BB/9, 3.36 K/BB, 3.54 FIP, 3.52 xFIP, and a 47.6% GB rate. He’s an above-average pitcher and a very nice pick-up, no doubt.

3. While nearly everyone came up with excuses for the front office when they thought the rotation would be Sabathia/Nova/Burnett/Hughes/Garcia, it turns out all the ballwashing was for nothing. It’s ok to drink something else besides Kool-Aid.

4. With the signing of Kuroda, the Steinbrenners siphoned off a sliver of the club’s monster revenue stream. With the pitchers that were available on the free agent market, there was no reason why this shouldn’t have happened. Obvious upgrades were available.

Who said Friday the 13th was unlucky?

The Yankees are cheap…seriously

January 11, 2012 | 209 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

We’ve all heard the MSM Newspeak before:

- The Steinbrenners will do whatever it takes to win.
- They will spend however much money is required to sign elite players.
- The owners will give Yankee fans the best possible team they can every year.
- Look at how much more money they spend on player salaries than everybody else!

It seems both journalists and fans have ceded to some serious groupthink, as they accepted this received wisdom even after watching the Yankees come up short on Cliff Lee. They accepted it even as the Yankees went into the 2011 season with a rotation that included Freddy Garcia, AJ Burnett, Ivan Nova, and a dead-armed Phil Hughes. And they’re accepting it again, as the rotation is laughable for a team with the Yankees’ resources.

Maybe it’s just us, but we find it amazing that deep into the offseason, the Yankees have added ZERO new players to their roster. ZERO.

Outside of Jesus Montero, this is a team with zero batters who are on the upward sloping part of the age curve and exactly one starting pitcher who can be counted on for an above-average performance. What in the world is going on here? How can a team with the Yankees’ resources have such blatant holes in their roster?

Well, we know what’s going on. We can see through the BS. You might not like what we have to say, but it’s the truth. Click some other website if you wish to remain one of the sheeple.

The bottom line is this — Yankee ownership is cheap. The Steinbrenners are extremely greedy. They pocket a higher percentage of the fans’ hard-earned money than most other owners in MLB.

Far from spending whatever it takes to field the best possible team, Yankee ownership is simply spending enough to field a team that is sufficient to keep their gargantuan revenue stream flowing in. Ownership knows that they only need to set a payroll budget that enables the Yankees to annually compete for a playoff spot, even though they could easily afford to make the club overwhelming favorites to win the World Series. They also know that this will keep millions of Yankee fans passing through the gates to buy hot dogs and beer (and now sushi and steak!), in spite of having to pay the highest ticket prices in all of baseball.

“How can this be?” you ask. “ESPN tells me that the Yankees have a bigger payroll than every other team.”

This is a true fact, but it’s not very meaningful until you put it in the context of team revenue. Imagine you have two uncles who give you a Channukah present. Uncle Shlomo, a small town public defender, knows you love books, so he uses a good part of his discretionary budget to buy you a $150 gift certificate to Amazon. Next, Uncle Randy tosses you his gift, a new cellphone: not the latest Android, but a pretty nifty, brand name 3G thing that set him back about $230. Flashing a wide grin, Uncle Randy says, “See how much more I love you than the rest of your family does?”

This is essentially the situation Yankee fans are in. Yes, ownership does spend more money than everyone else, and they do put out a team that makes the playoffs almost every year. That’s a luxury of which most MLB fans are jealous. However, the Yankees are in a position to do quite a bit more for their fans. According to Forbes, the Yankees spent $236 million on players in 2010 (including salaries, benefits, and bonuses). Compare that to the team that beat the Yankees in the ALDS — the Tigers spent $150 million on player expenses in 2010. The Yankees spent 57% more than the Tigers.

Now, let’s take a look at how much their respective fans are paying the clubs. After revenue sharing, the Yankees generated $427 million in stadium revenues for 2010. Detroit took in $192 million. The Yankees made 122% more than the Tigers just at the stadium. However, the Tigers reinvested 78% of the fans’ money directly back onto the field in the form of player salaries. The Yankees only put 55% of the fans’ money back into the team.

On this alone, Yankee fans should feel a bit slighted.

The situation is even more pathetic than the Forbes revenue numbers let on. That data only includes stadium receipts. Read a little more closely and Forbes shares this nugget:

The YES Network, the team’s 34%-owned regional sports channel, is the most profitable RSN in the country and had over $400 million in revenue last year. The Yankees own a stake in Legends Hospitality Management, which manages stadiums, and generates $25 million in operating income.

That gives the Yankees an extra $160 million to work with.

If we were to just ask the Yankees to match the Tigers’ commitment to winning and put 78% of their revenues into player salaries, the Yankees would have a payroll budget of about $460 million. We have to account for the luxury tax, which is currently 42.5% of every dollar spent over $178 million. In 2013, that will rise to 50%, so let’s use that figure. Under the 2013 luxury tax regime, the Yankees could comfortably afford to spend about $350 million on players and still net a profit margin that is the same as the Tigers in terms of rate, and much bigger in absolute terms.

Making proper use of the fans’ hard-earned money over the last two years, the Yankees could have signed Cliff Lee, CJ Wilson, and their choice of EJax, Kuroda, or Buehrle to fill in the rotation behind Sabathia. They could have inked Jose Reyes as the long-term replacement for Jeter instead of Eduardo Nunez. They probably could have even signed Albert Pujols. None of these signings would have guaranteed them a championship. However, they wouldn’t be in a pack of other teams with less odds to win the World Series than the front-running Philadelphia Phillies.

Should Yankee fans really demand that the Yankees match the Tigers in terms of budget to revenue ratio? That’s for you decide on your own. However, the Yankees used political back-channels to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from citizens to help finance their own personal stadium — a stadium which they then used to generate colossal revenues by gouging fans.

When the Yankees claim that they cannot make any significant additions to the team due to self-imposed budget limits, they are just trying to make fools out of fans.

Jorge Posada: Through the years

January 8, 2012 | 62 comments | in Featured | by SJK

For full size image, click here.

A NoMaasian look back at Jorge Posada

January 7, 2012 | 41 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

A selection of Jorge Posada images from the NoMaas archives…

From the weirdos who visit NoMaas, v3 (w/ possibly the greatest video of all-time)

January 4, 2012 | 48 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

A few weeks ago, we encouraged our readers to email us whatever they wanted and we’d post our favorites. Enjoy the third edition of “From the Weirdos Who Visit NoMaas.”

From Alfredo Griffin:

Possibly the greatest thing we’ve ever seen.

From Tight Sweatpants:

Back when they both played shortstop and actually liked each other.

From Brent:

How could we forget The Anthem!

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