Monday, January 26, 2009

Throwing good money after bad

So it turns out that the most appalling off-season largess ever doled out has just a little bit more to go. As if throwing $49 million at the top of the rotation wasn't enough, the Yankees announced today that their courtship of Andy Pettitte has been consummated. For the privilege of tacking the now barely serviceable Pettitte to the end of the rotation, the Yanks are on the hook for another $5.5 million, with incentive clauses that could mean another $6.5 million.

Are they kidding? Did anyone else notice Pettitte’s record after the All-Star break last season? In 13 starts, he went 4-7 with 5.35 ERA and a .302 opponents’ batting average. Pettitte is a mere shell of the pitcher he was before, and he's only getting older. (I guess the HGH is harder to come by these days.) Pettitte isn't worth $6,000 at this point, let alone $6 million. (Here's hoping that those incentives are based on more than just games started or innings pitched... not that he'll be hard-pressed to meet those, too.)

Let’s make sure that Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy get plenty of starts under their belts at AAA. That way, when they are inevitably pressed into service to take over Pettitte’s rotation spot, they’ll be ready. I only hope that Joe Girardi and the Yankees' brass keep a short leash on their latest Pettitte experiment. Like Yogi used to say, it gets late early around the A.L. East these days. Watching Pettitte self-immolate on the mound isn't going to be much fun with very little margin for error in arguably baseball's best division.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Some Hall of Fame Voters are Dicks

Rickey Henderson was voted into baseball's Hall of Fame today. That shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, it would be exactly five years after Rickey finally decided he was finished playing baseball (it took a while, but still) that he would become a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. But there's always gotta be a few cranks out there (present company excluded).

From the 539 eligible Hall of Fame voters, Henderson received 94.8% of the vote. That amounts to 511 ballots. That also means that 28 voters out there determined that Rickey Henderson, the greatest lead-off hitter of all time, wasn't good enough this go-round to be inducted. Well, there must have been some reason. Perhaps his career numbers were lacking?

  • 25 seasons, 3,081 games played (4th all-time)
  • 1,406 stolen bases (1st all-time)
  • 2,295 runs (1st all-time)
  • 2,190 walks (2nd all-time)
  • 3,055 hits
  • 1990 AL MVP
  • 2 World Series titles
Didn't think so. No, it comes down to the long-held, old school (very old school) notion that no one should be a unanimous selection. It's never happened, though Tom Seaver came the closest.

The real problem I have is that for the Baseball Hall of Fame, voting is anonymous. Votes are tabulated but the ballots are not released. Not one of the 28 holdouts has to explain himself, why a stupid "tradition" trumps simple logic, or why he thought Rickey Henderson didn't qualify for the Hall of Fame.