Blog Entry

Ramifications of the Lackey Deal

Posted on: December 14, 2009 10:22 pm
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It appears evident that John Lackey will sign with the Boston Red Sox, which has made the Al East a race again. As a Yankee fan I was hoping he would resign with the Angels or somewhere in the national league, but you can’t have everything you wish for. I have heard Yankee Fans say haha red sox paid a huge amount of money for someone who is always on the Dl or he isn’t a number 1. True, Lackey has been notorious for trips to the DL but in the last 7 years the fewest amount of innings he has pitched in a season is 163.1 so he will be productive. Secondly the Angels are signing him for a #3 pitcher he probably is the best  #3 in the league. Here is how the Yankees pitching staff and the Red Sox pitching staff stack up.

CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett Advantage Yankees

Both of these guys are studs who have proven themselves in the regular and postseason. When either one is on they can be unhittable and are two of the most feared pitchers in the league. That said  in the last three years CC has been more valuable (20.6 WAR to Beckett’s 16.8), had a better season last year (6.0 WAR  to Beckett’s 5.3) and is more durable (230, 253, 241 innings for Sabathia to 212.1, 174.1, 200.2 for Beckett the last 3 years). If Beckett has a better season than Sabathia I wouldn’t be shocked (Beckett is in a contract year) but it’s a safe bet that Sabathia will slightly out perform Beckett has has done recently.

A.J Burnett vs. Jon Lester   Advantage Red Sox

In my opinion Jon Lester is one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball and may be perhaps the Red Sox best pitcher. Sure, most people know who he is and thinks that he is good, but in the last two seasons he has recorded a WAR of 5.1 and 6.2 good for 11<sup>th</sup> and 8<sup>th</sup> most valuable pitcher in the league. He is a terrific lefty and consistent. Not that A.J Burnett is a slouch but his effectiveness deviates tremendously year to year and game to game. There is no question when “good AJ” shows up he is as good a pitcher as anyone in baseball, unfortunately “bad AJ” shows up frequently and without warning. He had a great year two years ago (5.5 WAR) and was decent this year (3.1 WAR), but he is older than Lester and much less consistent. In one game, sure I’ll put my money on AJ and hope for his good side but Lester is getting better and better and has proved that he will put your team in a position to win more frequently than AJ and I will take that every single time.

 

Andy Petite vs. John Lackey Advantage Red Sox

For what AJ lacks in consistency Andy has. He is going to give you 200 innings (in the last 5 years his fewest amount of innings is 194.2) a solid FIB roughly between 3.7 and 4.2 recently (for those who don’t know what FIB it is an “era” that tells you how good the pitcher himself is regardless of fielders and circumstances he can’t control) and puts your team into position to win most days. The value of 200 inning quality eater guys I cannot stress and is why the Yankees were quick to give him a 11+ million dollar contract. Unfortunately John Lackey is just as consistent and more effective. He has 5 consecutive years of 10+   wins sub 4.00 era second to a guy you might have heard of named Roy Halladay (he has 7), a lower FIB than Petite recently ( Last five years he has been around 3.5) and has had a higher WAR than Petite since 2005 every year except 2008 where he was bad. Of course Andy is getting older and older while Lackey is several years younger even if he is no spring chicken himself.

Joba/Hughes vs. Dice-K/Clay  Advantage Red Sox

I won’t go into too much detail on the back end of the rotation as these are subject to change depending on moves made by both teams, but three of these pitchers have tremendous potential but haven’t proved themselves a consistent starter (that would be you Joba, Phil and Clay) so I will call those a wash. Dice-k though gives the Red Sox the advantage. If you disregard his 2009 season (A product of him prioritizing the WBC over the regular season) and the absurd posting fee Dice-K has been fairly solid in his two major league season (he had a WAR of 3.9 and 3.3 both better than AJ stats last year to put in perspective). Now that the WBC is over and he is focusing on the Red Sox again look for another productive year and dominance as a #4 pitcher.

As you can see the Red Sox rotation is better than the Yankees, but fret not Yankee fans the Red Sox still can’t hit. Though that is being slightly unfair as the Red Sox to have a solid core Jacoby Ellsbury (a young leadoff hitter who batted over 300 and had 70 stolen basses) Dustin Pedroia (I don’t really like him and he came back down to earth but productive none the less) Kevin Youkalis (ugliest player I know but can take pitches like no other and knows what he is doing with a bat) Victor Martinez (the guys is a money hitter and a good guy) Drew (no superstar but solid) and Ortiz (he won’t be a 50 homerun guy any more but I would bet against a 30 homerun season or at least 25) It is not quite the caliber of the Yankees mashers but 1 or 2 bats (Bay, Holliday or Gonzalez for example) and this team could win the Al. East.

Should be fun to see how the rest of the offseason unfolds.

 

PS. Hopefully this Derek Lowe trade is a bunch of bs. Nothing against Lowe he is a fine innings eater but unless Atlanta eats half of his 3 year 45 million contract which is more than doubtful it would hurt the Yankees. First, I think Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlin should be given a chance. If they falter a trade can be made midseason for some solid pitcher on a team that is looking to cut costs (that will happen). Secondly, next year is one of the greatest free agent markets ever for pitchers with Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay (the reliable one), Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb (back to back cy young runner up), Javier Vazquez (believe it or not he has the 7<sup>th</sup> highest WAR over the last 3 years and was filthy this year), Matt Cain, Rich Harden (option), Harang (option) and Chris Young (option). Not all of these pitchers will make it to the market but there will be plenty of quality and stars for the Yanks to grab up. So a narrow minded person might say but Derek Lowe makes the Yankees better this year (which is true) but it hampers the Yankees the next two years when they can’t bid on one of the ACES. (The yanks have plenty of money but I would find it hard to believe the Yankees would be willing to have 4 starting pitchers making 15+ in these economic conditions) That doesn’t mean I think the Yankees necessarily should stand pat. If I were GM I would take a flier on a high risk/ high reward guy like Ben Sheets. His shoulder has had a year off so it is fresh and he could very well break down, but he could be the biggest steal because when he is healthy he is dominate. A decent base salary with a lot of inning incentives sounds like a good idea. The Yankees will need 6 starters anyway as no team (except for the Florida Marlins one year I believe but could be wrong that no team has made it through the regular season with all 5 starting pithchers pitching 25+ games) so making a one year type deal which would allow the Yankees to bid on the stars next year and provide a little depth.

 

PS2. No the Yankees should not bid Holliday/Bay to strike back. The Yankees have plently of middle of the order guys with a bunch of pop (Granderson, Cano and Arod and Tex of course) but the two guys at the top (Jeter and Damon if he comes back) are agiing and eventually are going to need to be replaced. Bringing back Damon on a short term contract and than signing Crawford to lead off next year allows the Yankees to be younger and fill a more pressing need.

Wow that was a long entry, but those are my thoughts.



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