Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Something To Consider When Considering McCann Or Choo

In my Carlos Beltran free agent profile post last week, I pointed out that one of his greatest strengths was being a switch hitter who hit both right and left-handed pitching well.  What I neglected to mention in the later posts about Brian McCann and Shin-Soo Choo was that they, as strictly left-handed hitters, don't offer that same flexibility.

McCann 2013 vs. LHP- .231/.279/.337, .296 wOBA in 111 PA
McCann career vs. LHP- .259/.319/.424, .326 wOBA in 1,300 PA

Choo 2013 vs. LHP- .215/.347/.265, .292 wOBA in 221 PA
Choo career vs. LHP- .243/.340/.341, .310 wOBA in 1,128 PA

McCann was better against lefties in years past, although there's always been a pronounced split when compared to righties.  But he was below-average in 2013 and has been trending downwards recently.  The dramatic split in BB rate against lefties (3.6%) and righties (12.0%) is particularly concerning.  Choo has been pretty crappy against southpaws since he came into the league.  If it weren't for his ability to maintain a high BB rate against them he would offer almost no value against left-handed pitching whatsoever.  He could still serve a purpose as a table setter at the top of a lineup against lefties, but that's about it.

Not saying either of these guys should be off the table because of their crummy platoon splits.  Just saying these are the type of things that deserve a closer look when you're talking about signing players in their 30s.

The One Where I Say Something Positive About Hal Steinbrenner

(Courtesy of the AP)

Anybody who reads my stuff with any kind of regularity know I'm not a Hal Steinbrenner fan.  I don't think he's a smart baseball guy, I don't think he's as smart of a businessman as he fancies himself, and I don't appreciate his lame attempts to try to convince the Yankee fanbase that his #1 goal is still to field a championship-caliber team when none of the decisions being made are in line with that declaration.  I find most of what he says to be incredibly insulting towards me as a relatively intelligent Yankee fan, and to me he's more like that meddling boss at your office who thinks he's an authority on everything just because he's in the position he's in.

All that said, I have to put my hatred aside and give credit where credit is due.  I have to give some props to Hal for what he and the front office team have already done this offseason.  It hasn't been much, but it's been enough to show that maybe, just maybe, there's more than the bottom line and luxury tax avoidance being considered here.

Tuesday Mid-Morning Food For Thought

Via Chad Jennings earlier this morning:

"Cashman mentioned that the Yankees need 'probably 400 innings' for the rotation."

- Hiroki Kuroda 2013 IP: 201.1
- Andy Pettitte 2013 IP: 185.1
- Phil Hughes 2013 IP: 145.1

- Total 2013 IP Lost: 532.0

Cash is saying he needs 400 innings next year and the Yankees lost over 500.  That number would have been closer to 600 if Hughes didn't devolve into a 4-5 inning pitcher in the 2nd half, but Cash's math gives some insight into what the Yankees are looking to do to revamp their rotation for next season.  We know CC and Nova will be there and we can assume from Cash's estimate that he's looking to add 2 starting pitchers to those 2 returnees.  That leaves 1 spot open at the back of the rotation for the Pinedas, Phelpses, Warrens, Nunos, and ManBans of the world to compete for.

Hard to argue with the logic of that strategy, as nobody in the crop of internal starting options is a good bet to replicate what Andy and Hirok did last season.  Now it's a matter of sorting out the best candidates for those 2 spots and staying aggressive in the attempts to sign them.

Here's An Idea, Ask Him

 Far be it for me to criticize or question the way Brian Cashman is doing his job, but I'm not sure I like him saying he still doesn't know what Hiroki Kuroda plans to do next year 6 weeks after the season ended.  How is that even possible?  I know Kuroda is a quiet guy, but is it really that hard to pick up the phone and put a call in to him or his agent to ask?  The Yankees have been gearing up to be aggressive on almost every other front this offseason and yet they don't know anything about their best starting pitcher's intentions?  That seems like a hole in the plan to me.

Last time I checked, the Yanks needed to replace 60% of their starting rotation next year.  If the season started today they'd be filling it with Michael Pineda, David Phelps, and Adam Warren, and I don't think anybody needs to be reminded how small an amount of the mustard that trio is going to cut.  Kuroda could be a safe, reliable 1-year stopgap for one of those open spots or he could be passed on for a younger FA option.  The only way the Yankees find out which option makes more sense for them is by first seeing what Hirok wants to do.  I'm all for giving a player time and letting him do his thing, but now that he's rejected the QO, it's time for Cash to get on the horn and start getting an idea of what Kuroda wants to do.