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December 19, 2006

Mark Loretta

From RotoWorld.com -

ESPN's Buster Olney says the Yankees have been in contact with Mark Loretta about their opening at first base.

The Yankees should note Loretta's home/road OPS split last year.

His OPS was .787 at Fenway and .622 on the road. Yes, an OPS of .622.

If you're going to play Loretta at first, you might as well use Andy Phillips instead.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at December 19, 2006 12:53 PM

Comments

Any idea what his road splits have been in other years? For someone who's been around as him I wouldn't fixate on the most recent year though it should be considered.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 01:43 PM

All right Steve...I think I read your blog too much...here's the text of an email I sent to another Yankee fan after I saw the Loretta piece:

I would be wary of Loretta - his year last year was pretty much all done at Fenway. I think his OPS away from home was .630 or something. On top of that, while he's decent in the field, his range has been steadily dropping and he hasn't played more than 10 games at first since 1999. I think you'd be better off with Phillips.

Great minds, Steve...

Posted by: James Varghese [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 01:46 PM

Rich,

I took a look at his splits in 05 when he played at PETco and surprisingly, he hit better at home then as well. Maybe he just likes home cooking.
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=5504&type=batting&year=2005

That being said, his line for the last two years have essentially been the same (.700 OPS) but you could make the case that his his batting eye & patience have deteriorated.

Posted by: James Varghese [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 01:52 PM

Rich, IIRC, in 2005 he had road woes too. Why? Who knows.

James - great minds, indeed!

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 01:52 PM

I like Andy Phillips as much as anyone, but can we really compare him to Mark Loretta? What has Andy ever done in the big leagues? Nothing. At least Loretta can lay claim to being a .300 lifetime hitter and putting up a few decent years.

Considering the options out there, a one-year deal with Loretta doesn't seem that bad.

The problem with Loretta is that he has zero power.

Maybe something about the excitement of Fenway and Yankee Stadium does something for him, because he hit well in both places. If the choices are Phillips, Loretta, Phelps or Doug Men-howeveryouspellhisname, I'd take Loretta.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:15 PM

Thanks James and Steve. I was curious if it was a one year blip or not.

I would consider him in this year's Cairo role but he wouldn't be much, if any, of an improvement stat-wise.

Posted by: RICH [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:18 PM

baileywalk - you don't want Miggy Cairo on the team, as a back-up, because he has no stick, but, you're willing to risk someone with an OBA of .300 and a SLG% of .300 at 1B full-time?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:31 PM

I would rather almost anyone instead of Andy Phillips playing first base next season and this is the reason why. I seem to remember and I might be wrong but it certainly appeared this way, that every time Andy Phillips had a chance to drive a runner home from third with less than two outs, he struck out.

Question Steve-
Is there a stat that measures how well a player did with a runner on third with less than two outs? If so, I would like to know how Andy Phillips did because in my mind he was completely worthless. I am sure Mark Loretta or Doug Mientkiewicz or Stu McQuoggle would do better than Andy Phillips at driving those runners home.

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:39 PM

Loretta was .285/.345/.361, which is fairly awful.

I didn't say I WANTED Loretta, what I SAID was "if the alternative is Doug M. and Phillips and Phelps, then I'll take Loretta." If it was up to me, Derrek Lee would be our first baseman. But he's not available. The Yankees need a stop-gap, one-year, low-cost first baseman (and they want a righty). If those four guys are the only people they feel they can get, Loretta is the best of the worst.

Phillips went .240/.281/.394. So I guess I should ask you the same question: you want an everyday first baseman with an OBP of .281?

If Andy didn't come from the Yankee farm system, would you even consider him? The Yankees announce they sign a one-year, $400,000 contract with a .228/.266/.391 career backup. Would you be happy?

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:43 PM

I would take Andy with the hope that he's young and would get better.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 02:56 PM

~~~Is there a stat that measures how well a player did with a runner on third with less than two outs? If so, I would like to know how Andy Phillips did because in my mind he was completely worthless.~~~

Last year, Phillips, when "Man on 3rd, <2 out" went 2 for 8 with 5 RBI.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:01 PM

Phillips will be 30 right around opening day,he is not young. That being said, Loretta is a bad choice. Wouldn't mind him as a utility guy instead of cairo, though.

Posted by: Gabe [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:01 PM

Steve

Andy Phillips is 29 years old. At the age of 29, a baseball player should already be in his prime. Those prime years last from 28-32 and than at age 32 most baseball players begin a slow decline that increases as they get older. If Andy Phillips' prime is .240/.281/.394 last year, he isnt going to get any better. He is not young anymore and even though he may be cheap, you know the old saying "You get what you pay for" well with Andy, we dont even get that much. Phillips should not even be a consideration for first base next year. He should be out of a job in baseball.

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:05 PM

2006

ML: .285/.345/.361 (34)
AP: .240/.281/.394 (29)
CW: .251/.314/.446 (29)

No way should they sign Loretta ahead of Wilson. Is he hurt? Insisting that he doesn't play here? I find it odd that the Yanks have written him off, and even more odd that he hasn't signed to play anywhere yet.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:13 PM

Steve

I meant is there a way to find out how many time she succeeded in getting the runner in from third by way of hit, sac fly or any other way with a runner on third with less than two outs. All of those five RBIs may have come on two hits if the bases were loaded when he got both hits. Or is that what you said, he got the runner home 2 out of 8 times?

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:21 PM

Chewie: He got the runner home 5 times. He got a hit 2 of the 8 times he was at bat.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:32 PM

That's a good point, Raf. I had forgotten all about Wilson. If you put those five names as the candidates -- Phelps, Phillips, Doug M., Loretta and Wilson -- I'll take Wilson.

The pickings are so slim this year you have to figure if Eric Duncan didn't hurt his back and underperform this year, he'd have a real shot of making the team.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 03:38 PM

runner on 3rd, <2 out

Loretta
22 ba, 15 rbi, 0 HR
68%

Phillips
8 ba, 5 rbi, 0 HR
63%

Wilson
12 ab, 7 rbi, 0 HR
58%

This is not many samples, but Loretta is slightly better than the others.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 06:04 PM

Loretta and Wilson have been in the majors for some time so it is unlikely they will develop.

Phillips was a rookie last year. Sure, he was an older rookie but was essentially blocked from advancement by veteran 1B players to back up Giambi (Travis Lee, Tony Clark, Tino Martinez, Jon Olerud, etc.).

In his first season he had 264 at bats.

Here is a link to his splits, if interested.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=phillan01

Nothing there too impressive but I think given regular play he is a thrifty answer for the year.

Short of acquiring Mark Teixeira I don't see any other more attractive alternative.

Posted by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 19, 2006 08:11 PM

Phillips was a rookie last year. Sure, he was an older rookie but was essentially blocked from advancement by veteran 1B players to back up Giambi (Travis Lee, Tony Clark, Tino Martinez, Jon Olerud, etc.).
==========
Still, if he was any good, the Yanks would've found a place for him in the lineup.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 20, 2006 10:00 AM