Arte Moreno: “Dumb owner of the year?” Um, no.

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Repoz at Baseball Think Factory is a renaissance man. In addition to being able to drop references to things no one has thought of since the Ford administration, he (a) has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Ass Ponys back catalog (I think he has “Mr. Superlove” on vinyl); and (b) manages to find all of the loony baseball commentary in existence. He does God’s work in this regard, really, because without him we would have no idea of half of the things that should outrage us so.

Anyway, today Repoz found a column by Clark Booth of the Dorchester Reporter talking about how Dumb Arte Moreno is for giving Albert Pujols all that money.  And that’s not me paraphrasing: he really calls him dumb. Gives him the “Dumb Owner of the Year” award and everything:

It’s simply astounding that none of this intelligence, available even to moronic fans in the daily newspapers, ever reaches guys like Moreno. A self-made multi-millionaire who rose up the industrial ranks out of nothing, Moreno presumably possesses deep business acumen. But these guys stash their wisdom in cold storage when Albert Pujols comes to town flexing his muscles. Maybe they just fall in love too easily.

I’m gonna allow for the possibility that Booth is actually being clever here and making the point that dudes like Moreno became rich precisely because they are not dumb, and that anyone who complains about the Pujols contract is totally underselling Moreno’s business acumen.

But I kind of don’t think that’s what he’s doing here. I think he really does think that the “moronic fans in the daily newspapers” have a better idea of how badly the Pujols contract is gonna hurt the Angels than Moreno does.  Because they have better access to the details of the $100 million annual raise in TV revenues the Angels are getting and which more than pays for Pujols’ deal, I guess.

Is it the best baseball contract ever? Nah. Like I’ve said, it’s gonna look bad on the back end.  But it’s certainly not “dumb.”  Not by a longshot.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.