Saturday, December 13, 2003

    Sure, it's easy to look at the Yankees right now and assume that they're in full panic mode. It's fun to think that George Steinbrenner is yelling at everyone in his employ right now because he didn't get his way.

    But let's not get carried away.

    Andy Pettitte is a good left-handed pitcher, but he isn't exactly Whitey Ford. As I said in my blueprint for the Yankees offseason, it would be good for Andy Pettitte to remain a Yankee, but the team had to be careful not to overspend for him. The team almost did overspend for him, reportedly offering him something in the range of $13 million a year to stay in the Bronx.

    While Pettitte didn't take the bait (and I really didn't think he ever intended on re-signing with New York, and I think, deep down inside, the Yankees believed that too), the Yankees then went ahead and agreed to a trade that would bring Kevin Brown over to New York for Jeff Weaver, two unnamed minor league players, and $3 million.

    Despite what Andy Pettitte or the Houston Astros would like you to believe, Pettitte isn't worth $13 million a year, or even $10 million a year. He's got a career ERA around 4, has only led the AL in a statistical catagory twice (wins in 1996 and games started in 1997), and only came close to winning the Cy Young Award once in his career, eight years ago (losing to Pat Hentgen and finishing above middle reliever Mariano Rivera, who came in third).

    When Pettitte is discussed by those supporting him, two things are brought up; the fact that he wins games, and that he's a machine in the postseason. Winning games is reliant directly on the team that surrounds him. Chris George of the the Royals managed to win nine games in 18 starts despite having a 7.11 ERA. Would he be classified as a winner? Can Chris George walk into an arbitration hearing and explain to the judge that it was purely his ability that allowed the Royals to win games by scoring massive amounts of runs during games that he pitched, despite the fact that George, as an American League pitcher, doesn't get to bat (and therefore contribute to the offensive outburst) and when he is on the field, allow a run for every four outs the opposing team makes?

    This isn't to say that Pettitte was as bad as Chris George was last year, not by a longshot. But no one was talking about offering George $13 million a year, either. While Pettitte's 21 wins led the Yankees last season, one could easily argue that he wasn't the #1 starter in the Yankees rotation last year. In fact, one could argue that Pettitte was the Yankees _fourth_ starter last season, behind Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, and Jose Contreras, all of whom had better ERAs than Pettitte. With Mussina and Contreras returning and the retiring Clemens' spot replaced by Javier Vazquez (who by far was a better and more dominating pitcher than Pettitte last season), the Yankees were left with the possibility of giving $13 million dollars to a 4th starter.

    The Yankees are, however, giving $15 million to a 4th starter, it would seem, by aquiring Kevin Brown from Los Angeles. While Brown is going to be 39 years old during the 2004 season, he's had an ERA over 3 once in the last eight seasons; in 2002, where he struggled with an injury.

    Brown's contract may be cumbersome and a relic of the free-spending past, one forgets a key part of this deal: Jeff Weaver.

    While I've been a supporter of Weaver (and felt that he's a much better pitcher than he showed last year), getting rid of Weaver (and his contract) can be looked as nothing more than a positive. While getting out of New York and into the pitchers paradise that is Chavez Ravine expects to do wonders for Weaver, trading him for a bowl of soup would heva been in the Yankees best interest. Getting a All-Star caliber pitcher out of the deal is only a bonus. Factoring in Weaver's contract (which also lasts for two more years) and the money New York is sending to LA to complete the deal, Brown will cost the Yankees $11.75 million in 2004 and $5.75 million in 2005.

    A little less shocking now, isn't it?

    The loss off Pettitte, understandibly, was a shock to Yankee fans. This wasn't one of the playes that the Yankees picked up in a trade or free agency that decided to leave. Pettitte has only played in the Yankees system his entire career, and has pitched for the Yanks since 1995, having come up as a 23 year old and establishing himself in the Yankees rotation that season, just in time for the Yankees rise to dynasty-level. Pettitte, just like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and to a lesser extent Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, are the Yankees that were developed in the Yankee system which brought the team to the level where it could pull itself out of the quagmire that was the late 80s-early 90s and regain the Yankee legacy.

    But emotional ties have to be cut eventually, and reality has to set in. Who you like and who makes your team better can be two different things, and in these moves, the Yankees are coming off a lot smarter than everyone wants to think they are.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

    I would normally reserve this space for me blabbering on about how I know what's right for the Yankees, and how apparently Brian Cashman agrees (just read the article written 11/20, if you don't believe me), but I actually decided to put up some pictures in the pictures section. I've noticed that a lot of visitors to the site hit the pictures section and are eventually disappointed when they find nothing.

    Well, now I've got something to put up there, namely pictures of my future son. Most recent sonogram pictures were taken Wednesday, showing the child to be a boy. That came as a little bit of a surprise to us (I think we were convinced it was going to be a girl), but it's really cool to see. We're both very excited.

    I threw some other pictures up too, of me and my wife, so there's some other stuff there too if you're sick of seeing fuzzy black and white images and were ever curious who did this site. Feel free to check out the Pictures section and let the stuff load. Sorry if it takes a while, but that's why we have cable modems.

    More later.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

    My wife, from time to time, brings things to my attention.

    In this joyous time of year of holiday music, the popular "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" comes on the air. It's one of those cute-type songs sung from the child's point of view, seeing mommy kissing a man in a Santa Claus suit. While the child thinks it's Santa, we actually know that it's the child's father dressed up like Santa.

    "Listen closer," says my wife. The child was supposed to be sleeping, but instead woke up and saw this rendezvous. The child seems to take her mother's infidelity rather well, wondering what her father would say if he had seen this. We laugh to our naive selves as we know that the father already knows, because he's the man in the suit.

    OR IS HE?

    "Think about it," says my wife. If the child was sleeping, why would her father dress up like Santa? You might dress up like Santa if you expected to see a child, but if it's nighttime, the kids should be tucked away in their beds, and if you're a father bothering to use the cover of darkness and late night times to bring presents into your house, why bother to dress up in the suit? Maybe a fun cap, but the whole outfit? Who does this?

    There are only two explainations. Either it actually was Santa, or it was mommy's secret boyfriend paying a visit with the perfect disguise. Think about it. Daddy's working late on Christmas Eve. Mommy sees the perfect opportunity to unwrap a present of her own. If the kid happens to wake up and see this stranger (as it turns out happened), well, it's Santa! Mommy can get away with giving Santa a kiss! It's Santa! If it takes a kiss (or other things not fit for song) to get that DVD player or big screen TV on the list, then so be it. You know just about any 8 year old would sell out their parents for every present on their Christmas list. And who knows? It might be the way to get that little brother or sister on the list too.

    Yeah, I know. That was horrible. You were expecting fine journalism?

Monday, December 01, 2003

    First, a welcome to the number of you who stumbled across looking for your police test scores. They're not here. However, if you managed to read my article on taking the police exam, thanks. I'll take any readers I can get, and outside of the people looking for information about Joe Petrosino and people bitter about sports salaries, that test has been bringing people in.

    For the record, if you want your scores, this is the link.

    How did I do? Well, for the amount that I talked about it, you would have thought I would have done better. I passed, which is good, but just barely, and I'm not really sure if it's because I screwed up on the questions or didn't fit the "psychological profile" of what the county is looking for in a police officer. Either way, I'm pissed off at myself, because I do not like doing poorly on exams of any sort.

    I guess it turned out ok, though. I have a job now, and I'm not sure that I would have made a good cop. I felt that I would have been a decent detective and had good deductive reasoning, but you don't necessarily follow a different path for that. Cops start off as regular cops, and it takes a long time to get yourself noticed and promoted to do work like that. I probably wouldn't have been able to keep doing the low-level work at a high quality level with a smile on my face as people I felt were less qualified (and educated) that me got promoted above me solely because of time serves and who they knew. Then again, it's that attitude that keeps me from excelling at most professions.

    Thanksgiving turned out good, surprisingly enough. Everyone was great over the in-laws, we came back in time for the full meal back here, and I think in the end, everyone was satisfied with the arrangement.

    No psycological rambling today. I'll save that for tomorrow. And I will write tomorrow.