January 30, 2008
Cash Vs. Theo Vs. Omar
Sure, it may just be conventional wisdom, but, at times, it seems like the Red Sox (and Theo Epstein) are always picking up pitchers like Curt Schilling, Bronson Arroyo, Hideki Okajima, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka, while the Mets (and Omar Minaya) are picking up pitchers like Johan Santana, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, John Maine and Oliver Perez, and, in Yankeeland, Brian Cashman is picking up pitchers like Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa.
But, it’s not really fair to just go by gut feeling and/or memory on something like this – and broad-brush paint the Mets and Red Sox as being better at picking up pitchers from outside their organization. I figured there had to be a way to look at this where facts will tell the true story. So, I reached out to Lee Sinins, the man behind the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, and asked him the following question:
Would it be possible to run a report, off the raw data behind the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, to determine the following:
Games, Innings Pitched, and Runs Saved Above Average totals for all pitchers on the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox, for the time periods “2004 to 2007” and “2005 to 2007” where the pitchers were acquired from outside the team prior to pitching for the Yanks, Mets, and Sox?
By this, I mean, anyone who came up through the team's farm system, and pitched with the team during those two groups of years, would be excluded. I'd be interested in seeing these stats - and I think some Yankees fans would too.
And, Lee did respond (thanks Lee!) with the following:
By working backwards, I was able to get the answers. First, I generated a list of the pitchers who debuted with the teams and, from there, I deleted their sums from the team totals in order to get the totals for those who were acquired.2004-07 G IP RSAA Yankees 1649 3726.2 -105 Red Sox 1900 4672.2 129 Mets 1779 4666.2 1052005-07 G IP RSAA Yankees 1205 2625.2 -62 Red Sox 1374 3398.2 -2 Mets 1251 3476.0 48
Pretty interesting, huh? Bottom line, this tells us that the pitchers who the Yankees have acquired, from outside their organization, as a whole, have not helped the team (and have hurt the team) over the last 3-4 years. And, this tells us that Minaya, since 2005, when Omar logged his first full year as Mets G.M., has done a good job (at least better than Cashman and Epstein) at picking up pitchers (from outside his system) who have gone on to pitch well for his team.
The Boston numbers are interesting too. I think this tells us that Schilling and Foulke were two huge pick-ups for Boston (and Theo) in 2004 – but, after that season, the Red Sox pitching acquisitions (even with Josh Beckett), on the whole, after 2004, have not been that stellar.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at January 30, 2008 05:48 PM
seeing as how Cash has been burned by these 'outside' pitchers over the last few years, i understand his view of wanting to stay 'in house' and not going for another big-name pitcher acquisition.
and since it has apparently worked for Omar, he thinks it will continue to in the future. both viewpoints come from their own experiences.
good stuff Steve.
any chance of getting these numbers from 2001 on?
Posted by: Travis G. at January 30, 2008 05:22 PM
Interesting numbers, but I would have liked to see the names broken out to see where the big plusses and minuses come from.
Also missing from the valuation is the cost to acquire the pitchers. For example, while Beckett probably was a huge net gain in 2007, what about the cost of H. Ramirez. If you don't give up a lot, it's easier to swallow the failures.
Finally, the Yankees have gotten a lot fewer innings from "outside" pitchers, so that needs to be factored in as well.
I'm not in front of my computer, so I can't run the numbers now (I'm using my new toy--an ipod touch--to write this).
I can get the numbers since 2001 either real late tonight or tomorrow.
Having fewer IP actually helps the Yankees, in the sense that it keeps the bad RSAA from getting worse.
Of course, that presumes that the extra IP would be of the same quality as the actual IP we've gotten from the acquired pitchers.
I can't blame cashman or credit theo for the Shilling trade.
The D-Backs basically deposed Angelos for acting more out of spite then in the best interests of the franchise in that trade.
The yankees offered Nick Johnson and I believe Juan Rivera (could be wrong on that one, but I remember Johnson clearly).
Angelos was so angry about the yankees signing wells (who he had an agreement in principle with) as a free agent that he took the red sox offer of Fossum, Delarosa, Lyon, and Goss.
Then, as in now, it was clearly the weaker deal, and the D-Backs basically fired the guy for making it and not taking the best offer possible.
Sorry not angelos, I meant Colangelo.
Cashman has admitted that he chose Vazquez over Schilling because of the age difference. Schilling himself (in a post at NYYFans) said that it was the same decision he would have made. It didn't work out, but it was the right move at the time it was made.
I remember when he did the vasquz trade, it came after the D-Backs rejected the yankees offer (they had wanted johnson and soriano, and cashman would only give johnson and rivera).
He went after Vaquez after that (and got him). That said, Jerry Colangelo's got into trouble for the whole thing. The other partners cited it as an example for his mismanagement and undermining the franchise in intentionally choosing an inferior deal because he let his emotions get in the way.
The sox have never stopped bragging that they ripped of the d-backs in that deal, and most of them when honest admit why that deal went through.
Never the less, The schilling offer from the yankees was rejected first, the sox deal then accepted, and then, after that, did the yankees pursue Vazquez.
~~~I can get the numbers since 2001 either real late tonight or tomorrow.~~~
Thanks Lee. Travis, what's so special about the cutoff, or, starting point, of 2001?
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at January 30, 2008 09:14 PM
FWIW, Schilling strongly denied that the D'backs asked for Johnson and Soriano. I have no idea whether or not he is correct.
Schilling had always denied thats what the D-backs were demanding, the yankees always claimed it was, and both teams acknowledged what the yankees final offer finally was.
I should point out Shilling did have a no-trade clause (this is what Jerry Colangelo tried to use to explain the trade when the partnership went nuts), but there was never any evidence that Shilling was going to use it to void any trade to the yanks at that time. He also did state that he never told the d-backs that he would veto a trade to the yanks.
Any quotes he has made about it since becoming a bosox would have to be taken with a grain of salt (someone told me that they remember him on the radio saying if the d-backs and yanks had pulled the trigger he would have shot it down, because he really really wanted to be a red sox, lol).
The reason I give Schilling's quotes any credence is that Cash had publicly stated that he wanted to make the team "younger and better defensively." I don't see how trading for Schilling would have been consistent with that plan.
2001 is the year Moose was signed and when the Yanks stopped winning titles.
Posted by: Travis G. at January 31, 2008 12:19 AM
Rich, I am not arguing with you.
Its the timeline, I remember the trade, and the stories when they happened.
I remember the yankee proposal, then the rejection and the immediate red sox acceptance.
When the season was over, Jerry Colangelo was basically horsewhipped, and forced to sell off his share, he fought it and lossed and this trade was one of the reasons that was cited.
I also remember Cashman, stating not just that he wanted to get younger and better defensively, but also more flexible.
Cashman made his offer (regardless of if he wanted to) and was rejected, the red sox offer, while inferior was taken, and in one of those rare moments of corporate turmoil, when all was said and done, this was a main example of why the managing general partner was forced out.
FWIW. I think this is when Cashman really started to gain juice, but it wasn't his fault that the red sox got Shilling and not the yankees, it was due to Colangelo holding a grudge against steinbrenner for interferring in an agreement.
To me, this changed the shape of 3 different organizations, and changed the futures of all 3 teams, for better or worse (actually 4 if you want to go into the aftermath and how this affected an NBA team, but then this starts getting weird in that really affected baseketball too, and no one cares about following something that far).
You mentioned that Cashman wouldn't give up Johnson and Soriano for Schill, one reason the deal was nixed. So we gave up Johnson for Vasquez and Schill went to the Sox. But what about the 'Soriano' that Cashman wouldn't give up?
He was flipped for ARod. So while this doesn't help the 'pitching stats' you posted, it certainly improved the team.
Also, it is 100% wrong to look back on trades and value them in hindsight. Right now, if I'm looking to get a player, I evealuate him based on his history. A GM's job is to try to use all the tools and stats to evaluate a player based on his history.
However, a GM can not take credit or blame for what that player does in the future. The Sox offered Pavano more then we did. In a bad FA group, he was about the best bet. Many others wanted him. Did they want him based on his being injured for the next 4 years? No. That was just bad luck.
Weaver was a young stud when we got him. It looked like a great deal at the time. Did people smarter then me know he would crap-the-bed once he got to NY?
Vasquez, while not quite a stud, looked to be a very solid guy. He was also highly sought after. He was very good for 6 months then fell off a cliff.
Brown and RJ were both gambles. I think Cashman crossed his fingers on these deals. As fate would have it, they both underperformed.
If you roll a pair of die and ask me to guess a number, I will say 7. It's a good guess. The best guess. I will defend my stance. In 36 rolls, it should come up sevens, 6 times. More then any other number. As a GM, guessing 7 means I did an excellent job. But that's it. It out of 36 rolls, due to the random chaotic nature of life, it only comes up seven once, and comes up five 8 times, well.... don't blame me. My decision was still a good one, even if the outcome wasn't.
You can not judge Cashman or any GM on the outcome, because that is out of their control. You have to look at the circumstances of the deal, at the time of the deal, and make your judgement based on analyzing the available data at the time.
While some of Cashmans deals were indeed questionable, Contreras, Weaver and Vasquez are all deals you would do again.
Look, was the Beckett trade a good one?
After 2006, it looked bad.
After 2005, it looked great.
But assessing deals AFTER the fact in not right. What Beckett does the next 3 years is out of Theo's control. We must judge deals based on the available data at the time of the deal, and whatever happens after is anyone's guess.
Yankees, acquired pitchers, 2001-2007--
The Cash hate here is getting to be ridiculous.
Really? Epstein has been better at getting pitchers? Too bad we didnt have Hanley Ramirez to trade for Beckett.
And draft Papelbon. And spend 60 mil to negotiate with Dice K.
I still to this day think getting Vasquez over Schilling was a good idea. I also think dumping Vasquez was one of the dumber things Cashman did. In 2004 Javier was outstanding in the first half, he was an all-star that year, then he fell apart the second half. I think if we had stuck with him he would have given us very good numbers over the next few years. Schilling is a better pitcher but Javy is no slouch.
Also giving Minaya credit for acquiring Pedro is insane. Pedro was a bad signing. He has given the Mets exactly one good year, and has been hurt and inconsistent the other two.
As far as Cashman's acquisitions of pitchers here is how I would rate them:
David Wells (second time)
Resigning Clemens (first time)
Brandon Claussen (trading away)
Damaso Marte (traded away)
Trading Lilly for Weaver (wish we had gotten Bonderman)
Resigning Clemens(second time)
Kevin Brown (though it did rid us of Weaver)
Estaban Loiaza (eww)
Signings/trades with unexpected results (aka I can't blame Cash):
Javier Vasquez (trading for)
That is pretty much every move worth mentioning I found. Overall the biggest critiques I have of Cashman as far as pitching goes:
-He has trouble building a bullpen. He signs too many guys with velocity and not much else. He would be better served using the Kevin Towers method of signing guys with plus control
-Judging the injury risk of pitchers.
Those are his two biggest issues (and they are big ones). Part of the problem with analyzing him though is he was working very constrained. Torre seems to like relievers who can take the ball every day and throw hard. Whenever Cash got a command and control guy Torre would ignore him or assume he was just a 6th inning reliever. Also Steinbrenner loves moves that got him on the back page of the post, I have a feeling a lot of the bad moves were a large part his fault, some of the ones I would think were Stein were:
-Igawa (signed in response to Dice-K)
-RJ (Steinbrenner loves hall of famers)
-Resigning Wells (Stein loves ex-Yankees)
So by my judgement Cashman should be debited for are Pavano, Wright, and Weaver. Those are his three worst moves. And you can see exactly what he was trying to do. He was trying to acquire young pitching. Throughout his reign he has tried (and often failed) at acquiring other teams young pitchers. I think it is this problem that has led him to investing so heavily in our own young pitchers, so he doesnt have to deal with other teams young guys.
I think overall Cashman is a good GM who has gotten smarter over the course of his run as GM. I also think if he ever writes a book it may be one of the most interesting reads ever.
I think Cashman wasn't the one pushing the Randy Johnson deal as much as Steinbrenner told Cashman do whatever is possible to make Johnson a Yankee. Even Johnson was sporadic to okay during his time as a Yankee, The Yankees gave up too much for Johnson.
What the Yankees need is depth in their middle relief, which failed them in close games like game 2 of 2007 ALDS, even if the Yankees played a pretty good game for 8 innings. If I were Joe Girardi, I would think of putting Mo Rivera as a set up man and Joba as the closer or alternate to see how it works, given that Mariano's cutter is no longer the most devastating pitch in the game, and doesn't break bats as it use to. They also need to get their 3-5 part of their rotation to work, or at least stabilized so they end up what happened in April-early June 2007.
Also Theo Epstein has made some really bad pitching trades, given he went hard after Carl Pavano, and Theo Epstein can only thank Carl Pavano's mom for saving his GM skin, given she wanted her son to sign with the Yankees. The signings of Boomer, Matt Clement, Wade Miller in 2005 and letting go o the sporadic Derek Lowe was probably not the best move, given Lowe can be very good when he is handled properly, given his no hitter in 2002 and his 2004 Game 7 of the ALCS.... Epstein was going to trade Lowe for Matt Clement in the 2004 Garciaparra deal, but didn't because he thought the defense will be better to handle a sinkerball pitcher with Orlando Cabrera at SS.
Epstein was on his hiatus when the Beckett trade went through, however to me, Epstein best trade by far for a pitcher was Okajima, better than the Schilling deal, IMHO. who is what every team needs a humble bridge to the closer. Okajima could be a closer for many clubs and perform the job pretty well.