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Sunday, May 27, 2007


Is the Big Shakeup on the Horizon? 


自從 Joe Torre 接掌 Yankees 以來,我從來沒有看過這樣子的 Yankees。一開始四月的差勁表現主要的原因是先發投手受傷人數超過想像,接下來像滾雪球一樣連 bullpen 也跟著垮下去。這一段時間內的表現不佳是可以理解,同時可以原諒的。Cashman 和 Torre 都不應該也不需要為這個糟糕的四月負責,我那時候的想法是如果今年就因為四月而最後連季後賽都進不去,所有的人都值得 Steinbrenner 再給他們一個機會。

月曆翻到五月,先發投手們漸漸康復歸陣,王建民基本上表現不錯,雖然數字沒有去年看起來好,不過整體來講算是達到了他的應有水準。Pettitte 到現在還沒有受傷令我有些意外,他的成績維持這樣的高檔更令我意外 (這一部份他稍後會還回來的)。Mussina 年紀不小了,他需要多一點時間來調整,我們現在還不需要忙著對他下結論。雖然 rotation 仍然不完整,也還沒有我們所希望看到的表現,但是已經不像四月的時候那麼無助了。

然後問題轉到了打者。四月的時候他們得分是 AL 最高的,五月一下子掉到中段班。A-Rod 沒有四月那麼火熱,甚至沒有他的平常水準,Abreu 陷入生涯中最糟的低潮,Damon 因傷不能每天先發,Cano 和 Cabrera 的差勁演出已經不再能夠被 lineup 其他人的表現幫忙掩飾了。如果低潮的球員不能夠快一點回復他們自己應有的水準,這個球隊還會再往下跌。Mientkiewicz 五月份前半的表現幾乎像是 Yankees 抽到了一張彩券般的幸運,而 Jeter 和 Posada 的成績看起來也不像是能夠維持到季末的水準。萬一這幾個人在 Abreu, Cano 和 Cabrera 有進步前往下跌,那麼 Yankees 的打擊是可以落到後半班的。

雖然 Yankees 的得分在四月份是 AL 最高,那個數字有一點運氣的成份在裡面。四月份的時候 Yankees 的 OBP 排第三,落後 Boston 和 Toronto,而且差距極微。不過他們的 SLG 落後 Toronto, Tampa Bay 及 Boston,只排第四名 (.450, .434, .426, .421),他們得分高過 Toronto 和 Boston 多少得靠點運氣。單月表現不代表實力,只是那個月的表現而已。Toronto 應該沒有那麼好的打擊,而五月份他們也的確往下跌。這個月到現在 Yankees 的 OBP 和 SLG 各退一名,平均得分就退的更多一點,作為 "regress to the mean" 這句話相當好的註腳。

到了這個時候,有沒有人應該要負責?會不會有人要負責?

我們先談會不會這個問題。由於 Roger Clemens 還沒有歸隊,在那之前這支隊伍是『不完整』的。加上 Clemens 和 Torre 交情也頗好,簽下他又是 Cashman 談的,我相信 Steinbrenner 在那之前不會有動作。在那之後就很難說了,我目前的猜測是明星賽作為一個參考日期,在那個時候球隊看起來如果還沒有應有的水準,Steinbrenner 會砍幾個人。

在去年球季結束之後,看起來 Swindal 已經有接班架勢,而 Steinbrenner 要逐漸淡出了。由於 Swindal 和 Cashman 及 Torre 之間的關係不錯,我本來相信接下來廿年會有一個穩定的管理階層,而 Torre 可能會再度續約。沒想到這個猜測在 Swindal 和 Steinbrenner 的女兒離婚後完全煙消雲散,Steinbrenner 再度回到台面上來。雖然他不像以前那麼積極發表意見,讓大家懷疑他是否現在的健康狀況不佳,不過他現在介入球隊事務超過過去一年來 Swindal 介入的幅度是事實。George Steinbrenner 這幾年來動念要砍 Torre 已經不只一次了,如果連 Clemens 的加入都於事無補,Torre 這一次恐怕跑不掉。Cashman 的重建計畫在 stathead 眼中看來是正確的,不過他的做法在 Steinbrenner 眼中看來如何我就不敢肯定了。我給他 50-50 的機會。

打擊教練應該會跟著走,不過打擊層面大概到此為止。Guidry 和 Mattingly 這兩個是 Steinbrenner 不能動、不會動也不想動的。Bowa, Pena 和 Kerrigan 這三個前 manager 大概也不會動。新的 manager 在球團內部就有幾個可能人選:Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, Tony Pena 甚或 Larry Bowa。Girardi 看起來是合理人選,不過他去年跟 Marlins 的管理階層到底衝突有多嚴重可能超過外界想像,這從他今年居然連一個 manager 工作都沒有得到可見一斑。尤其是大家都認為適合他的 Cubs,根本就沒有認真考慮他是可能人選。球團之間會有一些消息不見得為球迷、甚至棒球記者所知。如果 Girardi 當 manager 情況那麼糟,他可能會再度被跳過。

從去年開始我不再對開除 Torre 這件事情像以往那樣強烈的反對。他的弱點現在看來比以往更弱,而優點也逐漸消失。以他今年的 lineup 排法,如果我是 Steinbrenner,他現在已經在家裡陪老婆小孩了。Torre 處理人際關係的長處,在去年處理 A-Rod 面臨的問題上面也讓人非常失望。Sheffield 的新書我沒有看,不過從我看到的報導透露出的訊息來看,他對 Torre 也有不少微詞。

新的 manager 並不預期會是個長期人選,這是我把 Girardi 的名字排在第一位的原因。正由於這可能不是長期人選,所以他應該不會帶太多自己人進來,今年的教練團人選不需要做大幅變動。

Torre 還未必會被開除,可是這十年來我從沒有像現在這麼覺得這件事情會發生,也從來沒有像現在一樣這麼不覺得這是可惜的事情。他將來會以這十一年多的成績進入名人堂(當然還要加上他先前在 Cards 和 Mets 的表現以及他球員生涯的成績),不過 Yankees 總有一天要跟他說再見,不能讓他會進入名人堂這件事成為他的免死金牌。Casey Stengel 為 Yankees 在 12 年之中贏得了十次 AL 冠軍,其中包括七次 WS 冠軍,最後仍然在 1960 那個令人心碎的 WS 失利之後離開。如果 Stengel 沒有免死金牌,Torre 當然沒有。

我認為除非 Clemens 能夠扭轉乾坤,否則 Torre 的工作應該在七月左右就可能有危險。當然從數據的角度來看 Clemens 一個人是不能造成戲劇化的改變,所謂的扭轉乾坤必須要所有低潮的球員一起配合才有用。這種事情當然有可能發生,不過我現在越來越不看好了。

一隻好的球隊和不好的球隊之間的差距不只是球員天賦的差距,更是實際成績的表現。好球隊可以贏高比分球賽,可以贏投手戰,也可以贏延長賽;壞球隊則是剛好相反。我並沒有拋棄我的一貫信念,我仍然不認為投手可以用輸贏來評價。但是球隊則不然,他們就算得分多於失分,贏的球沒有輸的多就是最後的判決。棒球也是一種生意,天底下沒有任何一個行業可以讓老闆只看過程中間的努力而不顧最後結果。

應不應該有人要負責則是另外一個問題。前面我盡量從老闆的角度來看他是不是會對 Torre 動手,其中雖然有少許我自己的評價,不過主要的決定還是要看 Steinbrenner 怎麼想。如果就以為現在球隊戰績欠佳這一點來看,我並不認為一定要有人負責。

這麼說吧,如果去年 Red Sox 在九月把 Terry Francona 開除掉,他們今年雖然仍然可能會有這麼好的開始,但是開除掉 manager 是必要的舉動嗎?我們從現實來看知道這是不需要的。如果今年 Red Sox 沒有贏得 AL East,那唯一的理由大概是有好幾個重要球員受傷,而且情況嚴重到 Theo Epstein 沒有辦法修補。Francona 在糟糕的去年下半球季之後,他用今年的成績證明他不管要不要為去年成績負責,他是能夠把球隊帶上來的 manager。如果讓 Torre 留下來,明年再給他兩年合約,他能不能像今年的 Francona 一樣?我不敢說他不能。

高階管理人員是留是走常常不見得是『公平』的,有的時候老闆會因為需要轉換氣氛而換人,而不是換上來的人理論上會有更好的成績。光是這一點就可以讓 Torre 走人了。若是再加上他逐漸消失的管理 bullpen 能力,大概今年我們就要跟他說再見了。

Comments:
之前看了Bryan Hoch那篇報導,
George Steinbrenner 表示現在該負責任的人是Cashman,不是Torre。
不過我懷疑他會這麼說的原因,
除了一小部份的程度是他也知道現在會打成這樣並不一定是Manager的錯(話又說回來,那干GM啥事?),
更大一部份恐怕是因為他知道球員是挺Torre的
(包括被他視為救星的愛將 Roger Clemens 都表示過他會回Yankees的原因之一是Torre在當總教練)。

至於您所提到的最後一段,讓我想到感冒而跑去看醫生的例子。
有時候會聽到有人感冒後,先看甲醫生、再看乙醫生、再看丙醫生,
然後等他吃完丙醫生的藥之後就變好了,
於是他就說丙醫生很棒;
但一般的感冒會好常常是因為自己的免疫力恢復了,所以才變好,而不是因為哪個醫生開的藥比較好。

當然不是說Yankees今年的情況就像感冒一樣,
他們的問題可能很嚴重,
Torre的領軍能力看樣子也是法寶用盡,
但是如果真的一路下滑到什麼都沒有,
看到Torre或Cashman在今年這樣的情況下離開,
恐怕會更令人難過。
 
從近年歷史記錄來看,Steinbrenner 放的話跟做的決定未必是一致的。

不過這也有可能是我自己的 "wishful thinking"。我個人的看法是 Cashman 的方向正確,而 Torre 什麼方向也沒有。
 
抓個小錯字,第二段Pettitte...高檔更"另"我意外.
 
我很同意你說“老闆會因為需要轉換氣氛而換人”這個說法,因為他不可能把所有表現不好的球員都換掉,也不能忍受坐在那兒啥也不做看著球隊一直輸球,至於對錯就見仁見智了,到時候如果戰績扶搖直上,那當然是老板英明,如果不見起色,我們就等著欣賞一堆事後諸葛的高見吧!
I am always one of Joe Torre’s big supporters. I admire his class and patience. But when a team, especially a very good and talented team, has been struggling for a certain period time and keeps loosing close games, it's hard for the manager to escape from all the blames. Players like Jeter, Damon, and some others still are defending Torre, claimed Torre is not the one playing the game. I agree. But a good manager finds different ways to win games, especially close games. When players struggle, it's manager's job to motivate them and create their winning desires. It’s manager’s job to try all different strategies for a victory. I know it's not easy, but that's what boss pays you for. If you can't do it, I am sorry; you are not doing your job. Torre is an expert to motivate players. I actually will give him a lot credits for Mientkiewicz’s recent improvements. Unfortunately, that’s just not good enough. We need more than just Mientkiewicz.
 
When things go bad, it just seems that everything collasp at the same time doesn't it.

I'm just not sure whats going to happen now, if you look at the standings, not only is Boston miles away, but Clevland/Detriot are almost just as far. it's goign to take a 1978 like miracle even at this point for this team to make it to the playoffs.

While the spotlight's been on Abreu, Giambi is actually been just as atrocious if not more in May. at this point might as well play him at 1B and play Phelps as DH or something. anything, we can't have our second highest paid slugger hitting .148 for the month and having a SLG even worse than Abreu. and what's worse is that if Abreu really lost it he's contract is only till the end of this year anyway, but Giambi is still ages away from finishing his contract.

Thsis feels like payign the debt for the 05 season or something, i felt that 05 was probably the year taht we should have bombed, but really 4 lightening in the bottle completely saved our ass that year. this year's team was built much more reasonablly than 05, but somethign everything just falls apart.
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
With his foot injury, right now Jason Giambi just can't play the field at all. Heck, even when he's healthy, he still can't play the field.

Right now, the Yankees have no production from 1B, 2B, and RF. Matsui seems to have found his swing back. But Johnny Damon is hurt though, and Melky has done next to nothing at the plate.

No wonder they've been losing.
 
To Cliffyeh,

錯字已修正,謝謝。

To j-train,

You forgot the DH, they didn't have much production from that "position" for a while. Jason Giambi hit .148/.352/.259 for the month, which is worse than Mientwicz, the hurting Damon, and arguably Cano and Cabrera (Giambi does have superior OBP than these two though). Since the big guy hits better when he fields, you might hear this kind of suggestion from time to time. I agree that he can't field, the problem is how to get his bat back. If some sacrifice on the 1B defense can get him back on track, it's the risk worth taking. I'm not convinced on that though. The risk might be too high to justify the potential benefit.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but 1B production did not hurt the Yankees so far. AL 1B hit .275/.349/.457, while Yankees 1B hit .270/.353/.467. They are pretty on a par with the average AL 1B. I think this will be a hole along the way, but not one already dug deep.

Torre should play Josh Phelps more and Cashman should find another backup catcher and backup 2B if there are young and cheap alternatives, any young and cheap alternatives. No one in the industry is gonna hurt the Yankees more than who they already have. I don't think Cabrera is that easy to be replaced, so we can forget about that. However, they can always give those Kevins a shot and send Melky down to find his stroke, if he has any.

Other than that, they can only sit on their hands and cross their fingers.
 
Mientkiewicz的WPA為-.86,Phelps的WPA為-.37兩個加以來為-1.23。即使這兩人合計的Production跟一個普通的AL一壘手差不多,但他們在球隊待得越久對球隊傷害也越大。
 
Yeah, but what are /were the alternatives? at 1B again? Shea Hillenbrand and Rich Aurillia both got fatter contracts than Doug Mientkiewicz but they are hiting at a ridiculas rate.

It's a by product of poor drafting and all, but it's not something that can be fixed on a whim, (normally anyway, there is of course the increiable Adrian Gonzlez and Tremmal Sledge for Akinori Otsuka and Adam Freakin Eaton trade, Otsuka's been good but a good closer on a losing team is pointless. and Eaton is just attrocious)

Right now the best Yankee 1Bs in the minors that's actually still rated as a prospect is still Eric Duncan, he's making progress (the K/BB ratio improved A LOT during the last 2 year), but no breakout yet. could he be a useful hitter in the big some day? there's a reasonable chance at least. but it's clearly not now.

by the way, the 1B crop after this season is almost as bad if not worse than last year, so the Yankees better seriously consider those Mark Teixira trade rumor and act now. normally i would think the Yankees can't trade for a guy like Teix, but this being Texas, and with last year's top pitching drafts all looking very good so far (check out Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain's line in A+... complete ownage Phil Hughes style ) there just might be a chance for the Yanks to pull it off.

I'm mixed but if the Angels could really take Giambi off the hook it just might be worthwhile even if we get nothing but ok bench players in return. roster flexibility is a major issue, this year is demonstrating it badly when we're stuck with 3 1B that can't field anyother position. at this rate i rather they let Matsui do most of the DHing next year and find some atheltic guys that can field over the pure OPS+ approach (this year's corner OF crop is bad too, Abreu and Dye... ack, threa re plenty of good CFs though, and Fukudome is a possibilty)
 
Alternative就是把Mientkiewicz這傢伙認賠坐板凳不玩platoon然後把Phelps放到場上直到他受傷為止。

還有把Shea Hillenbrand and Rich Aurilia拿出來是不恰當的,藍鳥跟巨人當冤大頭不代表Mientkiewicz不應該被強力譴責。特別是他對右投成績是.236/.302/.415。這在搞笑嗎?還讓他先發40場? 而且他的streak也只熱了十二三場球罷了。洋基1B的成績主要還是靠Phelps撐起來的。
 
補充一點,Josh Phelps的-.37WPA主要還是有十場的late inning pinch hit,WPA在比賽後面的加成比較大,假如說他先發比較多場,pinch hit少一點的話WPA應該會比較高。

洋基一壘從這幾年有試過Tony Clark, John Olerud, Tino Martinez, Nick Johnson, Andy Phillips, Craig Wilson其中只有03年的Johnson表現還可以以外,其他人都是打擊上的負擔。 今年一壘則是Mientkiewicz。 1B已經是不斷重複的老問題了。

Eric Duncan在小聯盟一場1B都沒打過,而且他到3A之後有一段撞牆期,他上來打1B的確不是這一季會發生的事。
 
黑貓, 但是在本季之前你能確信Phelps能打多好嗎?more over,你能確定Phelps一直上去後會一直下去嗎? 他五月打擊也不怎麼樣, 還比Mink差, 我沒說Mink打的多好, 但是當初洋基絕對不可能把唯一的希望賭在一個rule 5 pick 上, 而剩下的option只有那三個人, 而那三個人中Mink這個選擇算是不差了.
 
本季之前CCLU下過Josh Phelps的生涯成績仍然在這三個人之中對他有利的評語,四月份的文章找一下就有。 Phelps五月份的表現其實一部分可以歸咎於他上場時間過少,Mink 在五月打了26, Phelps在五月只打了14場。 Phelps的確是沒有得到他應得的上場機會, 當然上場時間多並不代表表現會比較好, 可是Torre應該給他應得的game time。
 
說實話,如果我們的打擊不振的關鍵是因為這兩人的話,期待明年的球季可能比較實際。cashman和torre在沒有其他選擇的情況下,mink用守備贏得了他的機會,phelps的防守我個人以為健康的giambi都比他強,起碼在接由三游傳過來的彈跳球,giambi是可以信任的。
我個人有個天真的想法願意提出來和大家討論。phelps與其和mink爭一壘倒不如加強在捕手方面的功夫,雖然無法成為專職捕手,這樣可以給torre在nieves外多一個選擇,也可以增加自己的上場機會。我相信他當年由捕手轉任內野必有原因,但是基本功夫應該沒問題吧!
 
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