December 11, 2003

He's leaving on a jet plane, hoping for no more back (and elbow) pain. Maybe under the gun and under pressure from losing Pettitte, Steinbrenner sends Weaver, 2 prospects and $3m go west for Kevin Brown.

posted by jerseygirl to baseball at 03:34 PM - 44 comments

Great trade for the Yankees, Kevin Brown is going to win 20 this year.

posted by djacobs at 03:39 PM on December 11, 2003

I think the Yankees really oughta just hope Kevin Brown STARTS 20 this year...Though a good trade, especially with Pettitte probably gone, I would temper the expectations a bit.

posted by pivo at 03:58 PM on December 11, 2003

I was not happy about this when it first came up but given the circumstances and the market this is a fine deal for both sides. Weaver gets out of the pressure cooker and can excel again, though something also makes me worry that the socal surroundings will be a bit too conducive to the appeal of the stoner life. But he should be great for the Dodgers, at a lower cost. Brown is a big risk but with a great upside, and as long as he's healthy he's going to be as strong a pitcher as there is in the AL. If they can get him for the postseasons the next 2 years (even if he misses a half season, that's about expected) that will be great. And I'll go to war with a healthy Moose/Brown/Vasquez/Contreras/Wells-Leiber rotation any day. I'd still rather have Andy and Nick though. Now, can further stupidity be prevented in the outfield? Lofton would be a ridiculous mistake, they really ought to just swap Bernie and Godzilla and call it a day. I don't care if they sign Sheff or not. If he's being a jerk about money then hang him out to dry and let him go pout on a bad team again.

posted by Bernreuther at 04:04 PM on December 11, 2003

If the Sox do move Nomar, I'd love to see him go to the Dodgers and have Weaver come back in the package to haunt NY. Not that it would happen. Either part.

posted by yerfatma at 04:09 PM on December 11, 2003

Weaver: If he can't pitch in there, he can't pitch in here.

posted by jerseygirl at 04:12 PM on December 11, 2003

The very best part is getting rid of Weaver, the big dumb dope. As my dad put it during the playoffs, "We stayed up way too late and wasted a lot of perfectly good whiskey just to see that jerk throw a gopher-ball." Hee hee hee. I don't even care if he does excel in LA -- I think he pretty well demonstrated that he wasn't gonna do it in New York. And yeah, Bernreuther, I'd rather have Andy and Nick back too. Outfield: let's keep Bernie and Gojira, pleez!!!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:08 PM on December 11, 2003

Now as Neyer points out on the Yankees have upgraded their pitching staff from last year. Clemens gets replaced by Brown, and Pettite by Vazquez, and the Yankees just got better. Now, if they sign Vlad instead of Sheff then King George is not doing too bad, in fact, he'd have done a great job upgrading the Yankees. I hear the Yankee fans saying they want Nick and Andy back, hell, I want Paul, Tino, and the rest of the band of brothers from the late 90's back, but the Yankees have recieved quality in return for Nick, but Andy, fuck, I'll miss him greatly, he was awesome in the playoffs, ah, whatever.

posted by jbou at 05:47 PM on December 11, 2003

Cashman was on WFAN today. Sheff is a definite roadbump and Vlad was "unrealistic" according to Cashman. Because of those two factors, supposedly they have been looking at some free agent RFs. Are Yankee fans (here) concerned about Brown's back and elbow problems that have put him on the DL upwards of 6-8 times over the last 3 years? And although it's not entirely related to the Andy deal, it's rather telling about Steinbrenner taking over. Snippet of the WFAN/Cashman conversation (courtesy of SoSH) --- Dog: Admit it, you have a crazy old owner now making crazy decisions reacting to Schilling trade. Sign Lofton. Get Sheffield. Cash: He owns this club and will make the final decisions. I can give you a littany of things that he's done that have worked out. Bringing David Wells back. Ruben Sierra. Francessa: Was Aaron Boone his? Cash: It started with personnel (scouts) who we pay a lot of money to. Francessa: Are you on board for Sheff? Is that a good move? Cash: It's a situation that he (George) is handling. Dog and Francessa: Doesn't sound like you are on board. Cash: I think his bat would have an impact on all offensive lineups in baseball. If it's the right deal, I say "Yes."

posted by jerseygirl at 06:49 PM on December 11, 2003

More, on Pettitte and how it was handled: --- Francessa: But you didn't offer him a 4th year. You can't talk about home, when you didn't change your proposal. What did Colon get? Cash: 51mm for 4. Francessa: Well, Andy wanted 52 for 4. Cash: Andy is unique. Money isn't the only thing. Francessa: You turned down their proposal. Cash: It doesn't really matter. Francessa: It does matter. You can't use "home" when you didn't accept his offer. Are you telling me in the NYY hierarchy that no one said to OK 4 for 52? Cash: Yes. Francessa: Including Joe Torre. Cash: He wasn't on the call. Francessa: You didn't include Joe? Cash: We value his opinion greatly and his was the same as all of us: Keep Pettitte. Francessa: But the 4 for 52 wasn't run by Joe. "Joe, we're gonna let this guy leave the team..." Cash: We all expected him to take the AStros offer.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:51 PM on December 11, 2003

I don't know anything about Brown, but I know that 39 is getting up there to be playing any sport. You have to work hard AND be lucky to hold your body together to make it that far and to continue performing at the same level. Does he work out a lot? It would appear that Boomer has pitched into his 40s by eating cream puffs, but he's probably the exception, not the rule. I read an article once about Roger Clemens' workouts. I broke a sweat just reading about it. If Brown is what they say he is, and if he stays healthy, he'll probably be an adequate replacement for Pettitte for a year. But that second one is a pretty big "if".

posted by rocketman at 06:59 PM on December 11, 2003

From a red sox fan's perspective, I'm very pleased with the way the yankees have been 'upgrading' this off season. Here's hoping they'll continue to 'upgrade'. As fragile as Pedro is, I'll place my bets with him still pitching in the playoffs than I would 39 year old Brown.

posted by justgary at 07:19 PM on December 11, 2003

Who are the two prospects? I hope this is a decent trade for my Dodgers.

posted by jasonspaceman at 09:20 PM on December 11, 2003

jasonspaceman, It is a good trade for the Dodgers just from the financial standpoint alone, regardless of who the prospects are. They weren't going to do anything major with Brown, and with the money tied up in him they couldn't do anything else. Now as long as they don't take the money they saved and sit on it or make another Brown or Dreifort type deal, they should be fine.

posted by pivo at 09:31 PM on December 11, 2003

Note to the Yankees, bolt down furniture and other flyable objects in clubhouse. trust me.

posted by jasonspaceman at 09:48 PM on December 11, 2003

Heck, with $200 Million I'm pretty sure a management of dirty, stinking apes could build a team that'll make the playoffs. These moves aren't impressive; they're just willing to pick up salaries that other people can't afford. When the Yankees run out of M.L prospects to deal, they just go to the free-agency pool to buy their way to another team that is a disappointment if they don't win the World Series. In all honesty, it's really tough to say that Brian Cashman/Joe Torre are fantastic at their jobs because they are working on a whole other level than almost everyone else at this point. The resources at their disposal make it almost impossible to make a bad deal. Given the sheer number of star players they can put on one team, even if a trade is a flop, they still make the the playoffs with the rest of their stars. It's not rocket science. It's having a big pocketbook.

posted by oem at 07:28 AM on December 12, 2003

it's really tough to say that Brian Cashman/Joe Torre are fantastic at their jobs if you put into context what they put up with, dealing with the boss, the press and with the 25 superstar egos i think it's pretty easy to see that they're not only doing fantastic jobs.....they're excelling in an environment where many, many GM's/managers have either been disposed of (this is regardless of winning) or told the boss to stick it where the sun don't shine. it's been a long time since those 2 positions have had elongated tenures. (relatively speaking....even when the yanks were winning they were dispossing of GM's on the regular) having big pocketbook doesn't mean shit. for every gary sheffield there's a raul mondesi. for every expensive veteran past his prime there's a player to be had on the cheap. making the most of your advantages isn't rocket science, it just makes logical sense.

posted by oliver_crunk at 08:02 AM on December 12, 2003

I'll believe the Yankees have no advantage on the day they have to give up a good player strictly for monetary reasons. It has never happened. Think about how good your favorite team could be if it played by those rules. The big pocketbook of the Yankees means they can always spend their way out of bad mistakes. Most other wealthy teams can take a few big shots, but when they goof, they can't just sign someone else to compensate. Cashman and Torre deserve credit for maximizing the performance of their players, handling a difficult owner, and dealing with a huge media spotlight. However, it's a significantly different -- and in many ways easier -- challenge than the one faced by execs like Billy Beane in Oakland.

posted by rcade at 09:07 AM on December 12, 2003

well, i can't believe i'm defending the yanks....but here goes.... However, it's a significantly different -- and in many ways easier -- challenge than the one faced by execs like Billy Beane in Oakland. how so? cashman isn't even carrying out the duties of a typical GM. if anything, at least beane has more control over what players are on the field. it's a lot easier to be billy beane than it is to be brian cashman. beane doesn't have to defend moves he didn't want to make. i tend to think the beane's and ricciardi's have it a whole lot easier than brian cashman. they've been handed complete control over transactions and organizational goals. seems like a much easier work enviroment to me. I'll believe the Yankees have no advantage on the day they have to give up a good player strictly for monetary reasons if you believe the press reports i believe what happened yesterday was that day. the yanks couldn't fork over 52m and four years to a player most would rather take than kevin brown.

posted by oliver_crunk at 09:24 AM on December 12, 2003

People have speculated on some message boards that Steinbrenner was never too high on Pettitte for some reason, and I've read some press reports that Steinbrenner spent his time trying to woo Sheffield and virtually ignored Pettitte until the very last minute... practically taking for granted that Andy would just sign again. The Yankees can and have demonstrated a willingness to pay just about anything - cash and minor leaguers - and I have never seen any indication that money was an issue anywhere. And the Yankee fan in the office has started with the "Pettitte was a bum, I am glad he's gone" Jesus, even to a Sox fan, that's fucked up. Arguably one of the best lefties in the American League has just jumped ship in favor of a decent 39 year old (who also may be a clubhouse issue, according to jasonspaceman's link) and many are pondering how long he could be staying at the Hotel DL this summer. If I was a Yankee fan, I'd be concerned.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:25 AM on December 12, 2003

If I was a Yankee fan, I'd be concerned. But since you're a Red Sox fan, you're having a hard time concealing your glee.

posted by dusted at 11:00 AM on December 12, 2003

Really? Meh. Not impressed and/or threatened by Brown, but I also know that George isn't done... and neither is Theo. If it was the other way around, I'd be kind of concerned why there seems to be a push towards an older yankees team.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:07 AM on December 12, 2003

Brown, when he was on, was awesome- he got robbed of the Cy Young in the Marlins first championship season because the voters are too dumb to understand that wins are vastly less important that strikeouts and ERA. But that was a long time ago now.

posted by tieguy at 11:38 AM on December 12, 2003

Why are people not paying attention to Brown's last season? He was awesome, and may have been the Cy Young on a winning team. In fact, he was better than Mussina. He may be the Yankee's Ace next year!

posted by djacobs at 11:40 AM on December 12, 2003

If it was the other way around, I'd be very very happy I had sane owners instead of the blow-it-out-of-proportion and abandon all reason in overreaction type of owner. Under the circumstances Brown is the right move, and the team is looking OK again. My main concern is that it is just a team of guys brought in with money - no unity, togetherness, drive. It's just pressure from George's expectations. Cashman and Torre are good. Cashman was a lot better when he was left to his own devices and we saw that in the 96-2000 teams which weren't too extravagantly overpaid (compared to now) and were made up of a blend of homegrown talent with FA's brought in to fill in the pieces. Now it's just all reactions to mistakes, bringing in overpaid older people, elevating the payroll and depleting the minor leagues, and ruining things for years to come. The payroll will just keep going up and he'll get more and more pissed at losing, and he'll just spend more. In the meantime, what little young talent remains will never get a chance anyway because he won't have the patience for it. This is very, very bad, and I think it could be several years before the team even reaches another series. Playoffs are a given- no matter how bad it gets compared to the late 90s it's nearly impossible for these teams to miss the playoffs. But they're not championship material. I liked last year's team and was excited to add a starter and maybe a right fielder, and shore up the pen. Instead it's all been turned over, two very important pieces were lost, and we're taking big gambles in 4 slots in the roster, while the payroll will shoot up significantly.

posted by Bernreuther at 11:46 AM on December 12, 2003

Why are people not paying attention to Brown's last season? Because he's missed huge chunks of time the past few years. As someone who's watched 80% of Pedro Martinez pitching exceedingly well in the last few seasons, I feel safe in saying an ace isn't truly an ace if you know he's going to miss time every year. Playoffs are a given Wow. Maybe it's two decades of intense superstition, but I wouldn't ever do that.

posted by yerfatma at 11:46 AM on December 12, 2003

djacobs - because he's so fragile that it's unreasonable to expect that he'll be able to repeat that.

posted by Bernreuther at 11:47 AM on December 12, 2003

It's hard to ignore the back & elbow issues coupled with the age, mixed with the 6-8 times he's been on the DL in the last few years. and I found this stuff, which is a similar companion to jasonspaceman's link last night. Kevin Brown: "considered one of the worst in baseball history from a management standpoint despite his glorious talent." "well-known spectacular pain in the rump" "Brown has the personality of a rattlesnake." -- Newsday

posted by jerseygirl at 12:07 PM on December 12, 2003

kevin brown & gary sheffield. will the headaches be worth the production? let's see the saber/BP folks run those numbers!

posted by oliver_crunk at 12:10 PM on December 12, 2003

Rob Neyer: (1:01 PM ET ) (Chris is referring to my latest column, which I urge everybody to read now, if only to forestall a lot of questions that I've already addressed.) I'm leading with this question because my answer is the single thing I hope that people take away from this chat, and use . . . Andy Pettitte does NOT become imbued with magical powers when the calendar turns from September to October. Seriously. He just doesn't. Pettitte's career postseason record is 10-7, which is good but is essentially one decision better than .500. His career postseason ERA is 4.49, which is roughly half a run worse than his regular-season ERA (and about what you'd expect, considering that he's presumably facing better teams in October). This notion that Pettitte's a great big-game pitcher is simply nonsense. From the Rob Neyer chat at

posted by djacobs at 12:12 PM on December 12, 2003

This notion that Pettitte's a great big-game pitcher is simply nonsense. sure the numbers don't reveal a big game pitcher but anyone whose *watched* those games know what's up. do we need to just look at the past season? game 2 minnessota. he comes up with a must win masterpiece. game 2 boston. another must win masterpiece. game 6 marlins. great performance over shadowed by the incredible beckett pitching job. those three were some of the biggest games the yanks played in the post season....i'm not going to look at the stats but i'd guess he allowed 4 ER max for the total of those three games. i'm too lazy to go back through the previous post seasons but he's been doing it for quite awhile.

posted by oliver_crunk at 12:20 PM on December 12, 2003

Well, this is why some people run the teams and some people root for them.

posted by djacobs at 12:23 PM on December 12, 2003

All things considered, I'd still go with Pettitte.

posted by jerseygirl at 12:26 PM on December 12, 2003

I think what Neyer is saying, and I would agree with, is that Andy Petitte is a good pitcher who also pitches as well as one would expect him to in the postseason. Just that there is no magical switch he kicks on in the postseason. It's like "clutch" hitting. A .300 hitter is a .300 hitter, be it the first inning, in the 5th inning up by 7 runs, or in the 9th inning down by one. If they are so good in the "clutch situations" why don't they hit like that in the earlier AB's to avoid said situation entirely? To summarize: Andy Petitte is a great pitcher who remains Andy Petitte in the postseason. That's not such a bad thing.

posted by pivo at 12:47 PM on December 12, 2003

It's not Petitte vs. Brown. From a team perspective, it's Petitte & Clemens vs. Brown & Vazquez. And I think that's a clearer decision. I love baseball.

posted by djacobs at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2003

It should be pointed out Pettite's post-season record is actually 13-8. Even so, "anyone whose *watched* those games know what's up" is the great argument of baseball nowadays. Suffice it to say I disagree with the idea empirical evidence should overrule well-constructed hard data.

posted by yerfatma at 01:09 PM on December 12, 2003

so are you saying those three starts mentioned above don't translate into hard data? 13-8 playoff record. seems like you win more than you lose if you trot him out every fourth day. that's about all the hard evidence one needs. and it's hardly nonsense. that he's "a great big game picture".

posted by oliver_crunk at 01:23 PM on December 12, 2003

Except that Pettitte is only 3-4 in the World Series, which is probably a set of the "biggest games" you can find. So, in fact, he doesn't "win more than [he] lose" when you trot him out every fourth day in the World Series. Pettitte's "big game" legend is the same as Derek Jeter's "playoff clutch hitting" legend: the product of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver's air-time-filling ramblings on national TV.

posted by grum@work at 02:49 PM on December 12, 2003

so are you saying those three starts mentioned above don't translate into hard data? What? I was saying his W-L record was even better than Neyer originally quoted. Also, see above

posted by yerfatma at 03:10 PM on December 12, 2003

it's Petitte & Clemens vs. Brown & Vazquez. And I think that's a clearer decision. Yup, to this Yankees fan, it's a clear decision to wish we still had Pettitte and Clemens ("known") over Brown & Vazquez ("unknown"). Pettitte and Clemens were solid, durable and would be a 1-2 on many teams. Brown & Vazquez may be better OR may be worse OR may be on DL a lot.

posted by msacheson at 04:14 PM on December 12, 2003

From Redbird Nation by way of Baseball Prospectus comes this argument: Andy Pettitte was the luckiest pitcher in baseball last season. Is this just more mumbo-jumbo, or is Pettitte overrated? Oh, and I'm pissy that we can't trade Drew for Weaver now.

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:11 PM on December 12, 2003

Oh, and I'm pissy that we can't trade Drew for Weaver now. Interesting. How come? I know Drew wasn't the second coming of Babe Ruth, but Weaver's success streak was pretty short.

posted by yerfatma at 05:55 PM on December 12, 2003


posted by jasonspaceman at 08:52 PM on December 12, 2003

I wouldn't describe Kevin Brown as an unknown. He's a great pitcher who didn't flinch when paid ace-of-the-staff money or when playing for the Marlins during their buy-a-title year. Though his injuries in 2001 and 2002 are a concern, didn't Pettitte miss almost as much time in 2002 himself? I'd rather have Brown than Clemens at this point in their careers and could see Vasquez being preferable to Pettitte. As much as I'd like to think these deals hurt the Yanks, I'm beginning to think they'll be better.

posted by rcade at 09:22 PM on December 12, 2003

Yerfatma, you have no idea how frustrating having J. D. Drew has been. Redbird Nation has accepted that Rick Ankiel won't be coming back, and we feel sorry for him. We know that Bo Hart will probably flame out, but we'll still give him Joe McEwing love. And for some stupid reason, both Cardinal fans and the Cardinal management continue to think that Drew will eventually become this stud center fielder that will hit third or fifth in our lineup for 10 years. I guess he came with so much hype that we still can't let it go, and (this sounds sappy, but it's true) St. Louis fans take it really hard when someone they've adopted doesn't pan out. For God's sake, we still have people wearing Stubby Clapp jerseys to Busch.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:23 AM on December 13, 2003

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