Sox front office showing Yanks how it’s done

July 31, 2014 | 42 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

The Red Sox’ Reality-Based Front Office strategy is turning our heads. First of all, we tip our caps to them for getting all the basics right. Cherington and company acknowledged that a team with 48-60 Pythagorean record is a bad team and that they should be selling all their impending free agents. They did so by unloading Lester, Lackey, and Miller today. They understand the value in building a deep farm system in an era where young stars are getting locked up to long term extensions. To that end they somehow managed to unload a middle reliever in Andrew Miller for the Orioles’ #3 prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez (#65 on Baseball America’s preseason top 100 list). Kudos to Cherington not only for pulling off a great deal, but for overcoming the ridiculous and self-defeating taboo against trading within your own division. The Red Sox make their farm system better, and in doing so, they weaken the farm system of a division rival.

The Miller trade is a great example of a classic rebuild-for-the-future deal. In the Lester and Lackey deals, the Red Sox are pioneering a next level approach to selling at the trade deadline. By acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly, Boston has reloaded with players who are sure to help them compete next year. They address their glaring need for an outfielder by adding Cespedes’ strong bat and Go-Go-Gadget Arm, giving them a solidly above average player on a below market contract. They also address both their rotation and lineup depth by adding two more players in Kelly and Craig who project to be around league average next year, have some upside from there, and are under team control for years to come. They accomplish all this before having to commit any of their budget on the free agent market.

Compare this to your third-place New York Yankees. After wasting an immense opportunity to move an incomparably valuable trade chip in Cano last year, the Yankees will once again chart a course to a mediocre future by holding on to eminently tradeable assets Hiroki Kuroda and David Robertson. They once again will walk the middle course of trying to eke out a playoff appearance with an unexceptional team, neither going all in this year nor making sure next year will be better. We acknowledge that the decision to sell is much easier for Boston, as their actual W-L record puts them well out of the race. But, the Yankees’ expected W-L record (50-57) reveals that their team is in the same class as the Sox in terms of actual prowess. Look at the Rays- a better team than the Yankees (54-54 xW-L), who have about the same shot at sneaking into the playoffs. This expertly run franchise has taken a totally different tack- selling the league’s best pitcher for a young pitcher that will immediately help out next year and beyond, plus a top young prospect with years of team control. The Yankees, conversely, will be entirely dependent on a grim free market to fill huge gaps in their roster. Meanwhile the A’s, with less than half the Yankees budget, manage to compete year after year and now are going for it all with the league’s best team.

These franchises are universally respected among both SABR nerds and the old guard. They get impressive results in the standings and are all poised for a serious championship run in the near future. It can’t be ignored that they are doing things very differently than the Yankees. The closest analog to the Yankees strategy- keeping the embers of playoff hopes stoked by trading your near and long term future, and acquiring just enough now players to remain World Series long shots- is probably the Kansas City Royals. A sad, sad sentiment.

When two front offices get it

July 31, 2014 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Yahoo Sports:

The Oakland A’s on Thursday morning acquired Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester, the playoff-tough left-hander who can be a free agent at season’s end, in an all-in effort to win the AL West and make a deep October run, baseball sources told Yahoo Sports.

The agreed-upon trade will send Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the A’s. In return, the Red Sox, embarking on their second roster makeover in two years, receive outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and, critically, a competitive balance pick in the 2015 draft. Cespedes, 28, can become a free agent after the 2015 season.

The Red Sox acquired the second pick in what is known as “competitive balance round B,” which will come after the second round of the draft

Love the trade for both sides.

Oakland: As one of baseball’s elite teams this season, Billy Beane clearly knows he has a legit chance to win a championship and acquired one of baseball’s top pitchers. Also, the last thing Oakland wants is to end up in that one-game wild card matchup. Acquiring Lester helps them in their quest to hold off in the Angels in the division race.

Boston: Really just an astute move on their part. Knowing the team is clearly out of the race, they trade away a soon-to-be free agent for an above-average bat that will help them in 2015 AND they get a draft pick. Plus, they leave open the possibility of re-signing Lester in the offseason.

Makes you wonder what the Yankees could have received if they traded Cano last season.

If Cash wants to make upgrades, they should be of the very low cost variety

July 31, 2014 | 5 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Per Fangraphs, the Yankees have a 13.7% chance of making the postseason. We are already on record with our article “Know When To Fold ‘Em” that our preference is for the club to be sellers and trade away their soon-to-be free agents in Kuroda and David Robertson. It’s the same thing we said last year when we advocated the trading of Robinson Cano. This front office is trapped in a downward spiral of win-now mania and it needs to stop.

However, if the insanity must continue, we hope Cashman & Co have the common sense to not make a blockbuster acquisition and hamstring the future of the club. Chances are this team is not making the playoffs anyway no matter who they trade for. If Cash wants to trade for slight upgrades and give away cash or a C level prospect, then fine. Maybe the Yankees get lucky and sneak into the postseason by some Pythagorean miracle. But, we hope Cashman is looking at reality. The most prudent course of action would be to sell, but since this front office refuses to change its mentality, we hope any acquisitons don’t condemn this club to more seasons of mediocrity.

What’s to lose by trying it?

July 29, 2014 | 57 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Five days ago, Brian Cashman said that Triple-A second baseman Rob Refsynder would not be an upgrade over Brian Roberts. It was a bizarre comment to say the least. Why? Because Brian Roberts is terrible.

After going 0-3 in Monday’s loss against Texas, Roberts is now hitting a putrid .237/.300/.360, which is good for a wRC+ of 81 (19% below the average hitter). He’s a replacement-level scrub at this point (0.1 WAR).

Seriously, what is to lose by calling up Refsynder, who’s been killing minor league pitching all season and has a chance to figure into the club’s future?

We simply don’t understand the decision-making anymore. This is a club that waited two months too long to release Alfonso Soriano, and now has some sort of unexplainable affinity for Brian Roberts.

Yanks cooling off, drop 3rd in a row

July 29, 2014 | 17 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Brian McCann Frozen Disney NoMaas Yankees
.240/.292/.376

American Ninja Warrior

July 26, 2014 | 24 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

ichricobigi
Ichiro hits his first HR of the year in the 3rd
 

What has happened to you?

July 24, 2014 | 36 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Via Lohud / Brian Cashman on NoMaas-favorite, Rob Refsnyder:

Pretty cut and dry reason why he hasn’t called up Rob Refsnyder. “I don’t think we would be significantly upgrading at second base right now,” Cashman said. “… If you did see him, he would be probably more likely an outfielder for us.” Cashman said Refsnyder has a legitimate chance to be the big league second baseman next year, but they don’t feel he’s ready to do that right now. Cashman said he thinks the immediate impact would be much less than outsiders might expect. “It’s a super big jump to the big league level,” Cashman said.

Brian Roberts: .244/.307/.373 (86 wRC+), 0.3 WAR
Rob Refsnyder at AAA: .301/.401/.497 (151 wRC+)

Compare this to comments Cashman made in 2005:

“We have to get back to doing what made the Yankees so good for such a long period beginning in the ’90s,” said Cashman. “We’re in the position we’re in because we stopped developing our own young players.”

“… storm clouds are on the horizon if we keep just staying old,” Cashman said. “You’ve got to reinvent yourself with youth and mix them in with the veterans, instead of going all veterans.”

Yankees Get Decent Head

July 24, 2014 | 18 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

Better late than never…our Chase Headley trade analysis:

Before the trade news made it around World Wide Web, I received a disgruntled text from Sensei John Kreese (at an undisclosed location) notifying me that the Yankees had acquired Chase Headley. He was not excited that the Yankees had traded yet more young, team controlled players for a rental with an 88wrc+. But since The Sensei is, er, indisposed… you’re going to get my silver lining take on this deal.

Let’s start with the Official NoMaas Position: The Yankees have a bad team. They are unlikely to be able to trade their way out of this mess to create a playoff team, no less a legitimate World Series contender. Every move they make in that direction — trading young players for rentals, holding on to soon-to-be free agent sinstead of restocking the farm system — is driving this franchise deeper and deeper into the morass that began in 2012. The proper move for the Yankees right now would be to stockpile young players and trade away the few valuable assets they have to build for next year and beyond, not continue to sacrifice an already waning future in a hail mary attempt on this season’s team.

However… if the Yankees are going to pursue this reckless course, the Headley trade is about as good as you can ask for. We don’t like trading youth, but Cashman seems to have minimized any potential damage to the future in only giving up Solarte and De Paula. Solarte is debuting in his age 27 season. He projects as a below-average hitter the rest of the way and that’s likely where he’ll stay until he washes out of the majors. No tears will be shed over his loss.

De Paula is a bit of a different story. He’s still just 23 and is the type of guy that scouts like to say “has electric stuff” (science!). He’s dominated the lowest minor league levels, and he’s been a strikeout machine throughout. There’s potential there. That said, he’s not close to being major league ready, he was on nobody’s list of top ten Yankees prospects, and his ERA has stalled out at Class A+ ball.

In return, the Yankees get a piece that fits their puzzle very well. For all the talk about upgrading the rotation, it’s the lineup that needs immediate medical attention. Headley has been slowed by a BABIP that’s 45 points below his career average. Steamer and ZiPs project him to be ~10% above the average major league hitter the rest of the way. His wOBA is certainly going to see a boost going from one of the very worst ballparks for lefty batters to one of the very best. Even without a huge offensive rebound, Headley would provide the Yankees with value because of his defensive prowess (career 8.6 UZR/150). And all this at a position where the Yankees had a weak and unreliable set of players rotating in and out of the lineup.

Headley will be a steady hand at the hot corner and gives the Yankees a sure, if limited, boost in their blinkered quest to get bounced by the Tigers in the playoffs again.

Cut to the Chase

July 23, 2014 | 17 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

headlynewguy
Headley gets a walk off base hit in the 14th in his first game as a Yankee

“Bombers” now averaging less runs per game than in 2013

July 22, 2014 | 31 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

After Monday night’s two-run offensive outburst, the Yankees are now averaging 3.99 runs per game this season. That ranks 16th in MLB.

Even more startling is that this run production is now less than the 2013 club, which averaged 4.01 runs per game.

Simply mind-boggling.

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