BP.com's original column launched in 1996, TA has been where Christina Kahrl ponders the implications of recent roster moves, their impact on managerial tactics or how they reflect organizational behavior. Plus a few too many references to things that have nothing to do with baseball.
Optioned RHP Kam Mickolio to Norfolk (Triple-A); recalled LHP Brian Matusz from Bowie (Double-A). [8/4]
Traded C-S Gregg Zaun to the Rays for a PTBNL or a cash settlement TBDL; purchased the contract of C-RChad Moeller from Norfolk (Triple-A). [8/7]
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The top and the bottom of the powerhouse division can build from within, leaving the AL East's middle class in an precarious spot.
This is the fifth of six-part preview of the impending off-season. I had been holding off on the two divisions involving World Series combatants until the games had concluded, but with the Series' hasty conclusion on Sunday--and Scott Boras' equally quick declaration that it's A-Rod Huntin' Season--now is the time to cover the AL East, where all five teams will have some very interesting decisions to make.
Jay takes a look at the legacy of the recently departed Yankee pitching coach.
Stottlemyre nearly didn't make it this far. In the season's first month, as the Yankees struggled along with a sub-.500 record, the unimpressive performance of the pitching staff renewed calls for his dismissal that had been heard at the end of last season. At the base of the complaint was an undeniable decline in the quality of the pitching staff's performance, one that appeared to have something to do with Stottlemyre's directive for the team's pitchers to rely less on their ability to strike hitters out in favor of putting the ball in play and subjecting it to the whims of a subpar Yankee defense.
ERA (rk) K/9 (rk) PIP (rk) DE (rk)
1996 4.65 (5) 7.12 (2) .677 (11) .683 (11)
1997 3.84 (1) 7.15 (3) .688 (10) .685 (8)
1998 3.82 (1) 6.67 (5) .697 (9) .713 (1)
1999 4.13 (2) 6.95 (3) .680 (12) .699 (3)
2000 4.76 (6) 6.57 (3) .690 (10) .693 (4)
2001 4.02 (3) 7.85 (1) .672 (12) .684 (10)
2002 3.87 (4) 7.04 (2) .706 (6) .690 (9)
2003 4.02 (3) 6.89 (2) .714 (6) .682 (13)
2004 4.69 (6) 6.60 (6) .707 (2) .688 (7)
2005 4.52 (9) 6.20 (6) .714 (7) .689 (10)
ERA and K/9 should be familiar enough. DE is Defensive Efficiency, the percentage of balls in play a team converts into outs. The numbers in parentheses are the relative ranks within the AL. Note that for all of the team's success, the defense has rarely even finished in the upper half of the league in doing so, placing the staff's ability to miss bats at a premium. PIP is the percentage of balls opposing hitters put into play, by the formulas:
Following up on yesterday's article, here is the definitive list of every transaction made at last weekend's Mock Winter Meetings in Chicago. The list of moves includes a blockbuster trade for Mark Teixeira, cheap contracts for Trot Nixon and Juan Gonzalez, and a surprise new home for Vladimir Guerrero.
It's official: Josh Beckett will start Game Six for the Marlins on three days' rest, with Carl Pavanoscheduled to do the same if the Fish can't put the Yankees away tonight. I strongly disagree with this decision. It's a move you make when you're down 3-2, not up 3-2. It's a decision you make when the difference between your best pitcher and the rest of the staff so large that going with anyone else in Game Six almost guarantees a Game Seven. Neither of those apply here. The Marlins need to win just one game to be champions, and they don't get style points for winning in six. The Marlins have at least one pitcher available, in Mark Redman, who was arguably their #3 starter during the season. They certainly have Dontrelle Willis available for at least a few innings, and Willis was lights-out for a good part of 2003 and has been tough on Yankee lefties in this series. Frankly, outside of Game Five starter Brad Penny and Beckett (assuming you hold him back), the Marlins have nine pitchers who can give them at least a couple of innings, and some of those are the better pitchers on the staff. It's Pavano's throw day, so even he can give the team a couple of innings. Deciding that you'd rather start someone--two pitchers, actually--on short rest rather than use those guys is an inexplicable vote of no confidence.
I strongly disagree with this decision. It's a move you make when you're down 3-2, not up 3-2. It's a decision you make when the difference between your best pitcher and the rest of the staff so large that going with anyone else in Game Six almost guarantees a Game Seven.