FIRE JOE MORGAN: Al I Wanted for Christmas Was a Mike Celizic-Brand Hat

FIRE JOE MORGAN

Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

 

Al I Wanted for Christmas Was a Mike Celizic-Brand Hat

And instead I got, like, a shirt. And "The Wire: Season 2" on DVD. Which is awesome, but it's no Celizic Hat. And I'm angry.

For this reason, and also because Junior's last couple posts contained an unreasonably small amount of anger/swearing, I present some thoughts on Magic Mike's latest word-conglomeration, which is sub-titled, hilariously:

Bronx Bombers could have enough to being in Zito after dealing Big Unit

Like the Yankees couldn't pay for them both. Like they care if their payroll is $206 million or $222 million. Whatever. Let's see why ol' Mikey thinks the Yankees should deal Unit and pick up Zito.

The Yankees went into this offseason saying they wanted a leaner payroll and younger lineup in 2007. Word out of the team’s front office also was that Brian Cashman, the general manager who looks like Jeff Van Gundy, but without the sunny disposition, had wrested control of the team away from George Steinbrenner’s Tampa-based committee of crack baseball advisers.

I'd just like to say here that the patented Mike Celizic "...x is like y..." comparison used in this paragraph is actually not totally, completely terrible. Calling Cash a grumpy version of Jeff Van Gundy kind of makes me laugh. Maybe he's getting less hacky/boring with his jokes.

Experience has taught us to take such pronouncements with a grain of salt the size of the Matterhorn.

Nope. He's not. That's pretty hacky/boring.

Invariably, every Yankee long-range plan crumbles the moment an overpriced and superannuated superstar comes on the market. They couldn’t help themselves; it was the Steinbrenner way, and to expect them to behave any differently was like expecting a St. Bernard to swear off drooling.

And that one is just weird. In fact, it's fucking weird. (Take that, Junior.)

But this year, it’s been different...[excised discussion of Sheffield and Wright trades] And now, word is that the Yankees are shopping the Big Unit himself, Randy Johnson. Suddenly, the idea that the pinstripes have an actual plan that will not only keep them competitive but also build for a future that’s farther away than next March, isn’t so farfetched after all.

Read that last sentence. Savor its tangled syntax. St. Bernard-style drool over how hard it is to parse.

Can this mean the Yankees are about the join the Barry Zito sweepstakes? Yankee fans hope it does; Red Sox fans hope it doesn’t.

Huh. Red Sox fans hope the Yankees don't get Barry Zito, you say?

Barry Zito 3-Year Splits vs. Red Sox, 2004-2006

2-3, 6.45 ERA (7.20 at Fenway)
7 GS
38.2 IP
50 H
27 ER
30/22 K/BB
.309 BAA

Yeah. We wouldn't want that coming at us four or five times a year. Especially if it's instead of this guy:

Randy Johnson 3-year Splits vs. Red Sox, 2004-2006

7-1, 4.87 ERA
10 GS
61 IP
59 H
33 ER
64/32 K/BB
.252 BAA

Both relatively small sample sizes, obviously, but still.

Moving Johnson makes all the sense in the world for New York, which is another reason it is so surprising. This hasn’t been a team that’s made a lot of intelligent moves ever since its run of four titles in five years ended after the 2000 season.

Since then, they got: Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, Randy Johnson, and Bobby Abreu. They also kept: Chien-Ming Wang, Robby Cano, Melky Cabrera, and Phillip Hughes. There have been a bunch of high-profile disasters, absolutely. Lots of them. But don't tell me that these weren't intelligent moves.

Johnson is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant power pitchers of all time. But he’s 43, he’s coming off his second back surgery, his 2006 ERA was 5.00, and he’s got $16 million coming in salary next year. By some measures — 17 victories being the primary one he’s still a premier pitcher. But for $16 million, a team can buy a lot of replacement.

I don't get this. Yes, he is clearly old and passed his prime. No question. He might be worse next year than he was in '06. But he might be better. And even though he was hurt, he still threw 205 innings. And, best of all, after next year, he's off the books -- he's a one-year committment right now, to a team that doesn't care about money anyway.

Trading him might be a good move, depending on what you get back. But not because of his salary. They don't care about his salary. I promise, they don't.

So let's see what Mikey's plan is.

[$16 million] just happens to be the annual salary Zito, the premier free agent on the market, wants for each of the next six years...Zito is still on the good side of 30 and has never had injury problems. He’s not the same pitcher who won the Cy Young four years ago, but he’s still the best starter available and one of the best lefties in the game. In other words, he’s exactly the kind of pitcher the Yankees need to continue to control the AL East; exactly the kind of guy they’ve always pursued with the single-minded determination of a border collie chasing a Frisbee.

First of all, sweet metaphor. Second: Barry Zito wasn't the ace on his own team. His OPS-against over the last three years is basically idenitical to that of Mike Mussina, to whom you are about to refer as: ...39 and losing effectiveness. (He also has like 2.5 times as many BBs as Mussina in that time frame.) Zito's pretty good, but a #1? Seriously?

[The Yankees] aren’t going to win the World Series without a couple of top young arms in the starting rotation. Wright wasn’t it. Carl Pavano shows no signs of being the man, either. Johnson is old and very hittable. Chien-Ming Wang is a terrific number two or three starter, but he’s not an ace. Mike Mussina is 39 and losing effectiveness...[R]ight now, the Yankees need a number one. Zito could be that man. And if Randy Johnson can be made to disappear, the Yankees could have the money to sign him.

Wang is a way better candidate for a #1 than Zito right now. I don't know how he does it, with his like 0.04 K/IP, but he does it. That power sinker is something to behold. Zito is a flyball pitcher who walks a ton of dudes, and he'd be making 30% of his starts against the Sox and Blue Jays. And they'd have to sign him for 6 or 7 years.

Also, again, the Yankees have enough money to sign him regardless. They have enough money to sign anyone. That is not the reason to move RJ. And where is the section of this article where you discuss the oft-cited rumors that RJ wants out of NY? I mean, the guy has a no-trade, so in order for these discussions even to be happening, he kind of has to want out, right? And where's the obvious counter-point that if they do not pay Boras/Zito $100 million over 7 years, they would have that money, plus the RJ-off-the-books money to pay for Carlos Zambrano, a far better pitcher than Zito, when he becomes a free agent in 2007? Are you going to talk about that, Mike?

Mike?

He's gone.

Okay. Back to "The Wire."

Labels: , , , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:10 PM
Comments:
1. Not enough swearing.

2. I think Zito is a slightly better bet to pitch well in 2006 than Johnson. Not a lock, of course -- my guess is that RJ will lower his ERA a little from last year, and if Zito were to join the AL East you'd think his might go up. But still, Zito's had ERAs the past three years ranging from 3.83 to 4.48, and he'll probably end up somewhere in there. Unit, meanwhile, did post that ugly 5-spot last year and he's not getting any younger or healthier. (It is interesting to note that Zito's WHIP was 1.40 in 2006 and Johnson's was 1.24.) So if you think like I do that Zito will be overall a better pitcher, then yeah, I would rather the Yankees stand pat regardless of their numbers against the Sox, because he'd help them win more games over the course of the season.

3. Season 3 is the best. 2 seems almost like a different show from all of the other seasons.

4. Now HatGuy is on a dog kick (St. Bernard, border collie)? What happened to ice cream sundaes? Can we look forward to "Omar Vizquel ate up that baseball like a Weimaraner slurping up a banana split"?
 
"Moving Johnson"

Get it?
 
I've heard 3 is the best. Can't wait to watch it.

I think RJ's #'s will come down next year. As you pointed out, that 1.24 WHIP is nothing to compain about. And like I said, yes he is old, but he is also only a 1-year committment I look at Zito for 7/$100m and see an AL East mistake waiting to happen. He should go to Shea.

Junior: you remind me of Ziggy Sobotka.

dak: you remind me of Horseface.

Murbles: you remind me of Lester Freamon.

P.S. dak: I don't get it.
 
Ziggy Sobotka is by far my least favorite character in The Wire. Must be the revulsion of self-recognition. KT, I think you are Proposition Joe.

Well, Zito went to the Giants, so this conversation is moot now. 7/$126m is a pretty big overpay, but you just knew he was gonna get it in this market. I think he'll do well for himself in the NL. It makes you wonder what the Giants' long-term plan is. "Stay sort of okay for perpetuity"?
 
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