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Archive for April 29th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

Over the winter, much was made about how Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox won the offseason, while Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees were left out in the cold. Well, after only one month, the tables have been turned. At least in April, it’s Cashman who is now winning the WAR.

WAR Comparison of Yankees’ and Red Sox’ Off Season Additions

  Yankees 2011 WAR  
Player B-Ref Fangraphs Average Salary*
Russell Martin 0.8 1.1 1.0  $        4,000,000
Bartolo Colon 0.6 0.6 0.6  $          900,000
Freddy Garcia 0.6 0.4 0.5  $        1,500,000
Andruw Jones 0.3 0.4 0.4  $        2,000,000
Eric Chavez 0.3 0.2 0.3  $        1,500,000
Pedro Feliciano 0.0 0.0 0.0  $        4,000,000
Rafael Soriano -0.4 -0.2 -0.3  $      11,666,667
Total 2.2 2.5 2.4  $    25,566,666
         
  Red Sox 2011 WAR  
Player B-Ref Fangraphs Average Salary*
Adrian Gonzalez 0.8 0.9 0.9  $      18,250,000
Matt Albers 0.1 0.0 0.1  $          875,000
Alfredo Aceves 0.2 -0.1 0.1  $          650,000
Dan Wheeler -0.2 0.0 -0.1  $        3,000,000
Dennys Reyes -0.1 -0.1 -0.1  $          900,000
Bobby Jenks -0.4 0.1 -0.2  $        6,000,000
Carl Crawford -0.9 -1.0 -1.0  $      20,285,714
Total -0.5 -0.2 -0.4  $    49,960,714

*Salary represents average guaranteed dollars owed to each player.
Source: baseball-reference.com, fangraphs.com and Cot’s Contracts

Theo Epstein was credited with winning the off season...

Despite spending half as much money as the Red Sox, the Yankees have enjoyed nearly three more wins above replacement from their offseason acquisitions. A good portion of that value has been contributed by Russell Martin, who has turned out to be one of the best steals of the offseason. In fact, according to fangraphs, only Jeff Francoeur and Lance Berkman have had higher WARs among position players who changed teams over the winter.

In addition to Martin, the Yankees have also had strong contributions from a group of players that most thought were better suited to an Old Timers team than a pennant contender. Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia have all seemingly turned back the clock 10 years by combining for approximately two wins above replacement. Even better, the quartet is only costing the Yankees $6 million.

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Lost amid the Yankees’ barrage of 12 runs and 13 hits in yesterday’s lopsided victory over the White Sox was a seemingly inconsequential pop fly double in the bottom of the eighth.

Catcher Roy Luebbe never got a hit in the majors.

The double, which landed safely because of a miscommunication between shortstop Alexei Ramirez and left fielder Mark Teahen, was Gustavo Molina’s first hit in six plate appearances. By reaching safely, the backup catcher not only became the last member of the team to fill the hit column, but also removed the “0-fer” from his Yankees career. With Francisco Cervelli rehabbing in the minors, last night’s at bat could wind up being Molina’s last in pinstripes, so the fortuitous bounce was almost like a parting gift.

Had Molina’s pop fly been caught, he could have joined a select fraternity of non-pitchers who never recorded a hit with the Yankees. In honor of his accomplishment, listed below are the names of the group that Molina managed to avoid joining.

Damned Yankees: Most Plate Appearances Without a Hit

Player PA From To G R RBI BB OBP Pos
Roy Luebbe 18 1925 1925 8 1 3 2 0.118 C
Gordie Windhorn 11 1959 1959 7 0 0 0 0.000 LF
Alex Arias 8 2002 2002 6 0 0 1 0.125 SS, 3B
Jay Rogers 8 1914 1914 5 0 0 0 0.000 C
Frank McManus 7 1904 1904 4 0 0 0 0.000 C
Slats Jordan 7 1901 1902 2 0 0 0 0.000 1B, RF
Bobby Estalella 6 2001 2001 3 1 0 1 0.333 C
Marshall Brant 6 1980 1980 3 0 0 0 0.000 1B, RF
Woodie Held 6 1954 1957 5 2 0 2 0.333 SS, 3B
Joe Harris 6 1914 1914 2 0 0 3 0.800 1B, LF

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Molina’s double was actually his sixth career hit (spanning five teams), so even if his stint with the Yankees remained fruitless, he would have still had a batting average upon which to fall back. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Roy Luebbe.

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