Tag Archives: Alexander

The minors, and trade deadline risks.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With the Yankees off yesterday, a look at the minors and a look at risks at the trade deadline.

AAA: SWB won 2-1 on a walkoff inside-the-park HR by CF Ben Gamel. Kyle Davies 7 IP, 1 unearned run. 3 h, 1 walk and 8 K.  Caleb Cotham two scoreless IP of relief. (W, 2–0, 1.07). Gamel also had a double. Besides Gamel, 1B Greg Bird and 3B Jose Pirela each had two hits.

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa won 4-2. LF Ericson Leonora a 2-run HR. Five others with two hits each. Jordan Montgomery 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 walks, 7 K.

A: Charleston off.

Funny how people are still complaining that the Yanks didn’t do a major splash at the trade deadline. I have a few thoughts on that.

For those who say that “the Boss” would have done something, face facts. The Boss, George Steinbrenner, has been dead for five years now. Accept that fact and accept that it is a new regime with his son Hal who isn’t his father. He will run things differently. Also, things weren’t always peaches and cream with George. Remember him trading away talents like Jay Buhner, Bob Tewksbury and Doug Drabek?

So for those who wanted a big deal, were you really going to trade away Luis Severino for what may turn out to be a two-month rental? As much as I would like the Yankees to win every year, you don’t want to sacrifice the future for a one-year quick fix. And don’t kid yourself. You can’t get something for nothing. The Yanks would have had to give up top talent like Severino to get something. You weren’t getting a David Price type talent for lower tier talent.

Here are examples of teams that went for it and paid for it.

8-12-87. The Tigers trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander goes 9-0 down the stretch for the Tigers. The Tigers make the playoffs as the AL East champ and lose the ALCS to the Twins. Alexander goes 14-11 in 1988 and 6-18 (leading the majors in losses) in 1989 then retires. The Tigers don’t make it back to the playoffs until 2006. Smoltz goes to the Braves, is in the playoffs every year from 1991-2005 (except for the 1994 strike) and goes to be a Hall of Famer.

8/30/1990: The Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen. Andersen goes 0-0, 1.23 as a two-month rental. Boston wins the division but loses the ALCS to Oakland. Bagwell goes on to hit 449 HR for the Astros. He played a lot in the cavernous Astrodome. Imagine him with the Green Monster at Fenway.

Is that what these people want?

Also, some people, upset with Stephen Drew, are wondering if the Yanks should pursue Chase Utley. I wonder if these people realize that Utley, although the greatest Phillie 2B ever (and JAWS has him ranked 12th best 2B all-time), has been worse than Drew this year.

Drew: 32, $5MM, free agent after this year. 94 g. .194-13-32, OPS+ 77.

Utley: 36, $15MM, 69 games, .190-4-28. OPS+ 55. Utley has had a far better career than Drew, and is a borderline Hall of Famer.  His vesting option ($15MM each of the next three years) will not kick in because he won’t make 500 plate appearances this year. But a lot of money for someone four years older who is having a WORSE year for even Drew. Utley WAS great. He no longer IS.

Really, do you want that?

Some local writers get an F in history.

First off, let me say this. I mean NO disrespect to Robin Roberts’ memory in this post.

After all, he was the second greatest righty pitcher in Phillies history.

That is right. Second greatest.

Unfortunately, if you read a lot of articles in my local area (I live about 60 miles from Philadelphia), they list him as the greatest righty pitcher in Phillies history, lefty Steve Carlton being the greatest.

Sorry, but I feel like a history lesson is needed here.  I won’t touch on Carlton, who I consider the second greatest pitcher  in Phillies history. That is right. Second.  

Let me give you some stats. I’ll give the Phillies years only.  

In a previous post, I commented on Roberts. 1950-1955. Let me give Roberts’ Phillies stats. First, his home ballpark. Shibe Park/Connie Mack Stadium (click on the link). It should take you to a diagram of the ballpark in 1956, when Roberts was 30 but on the way down. Nice dimensions. 334 down the line in LF, 329 in RF (with the spite fence). 447 to straightaway CF. It used to be 468 but was cut to 447 at that time (410 later). Back in 1956 the batting cage would be stored there.  Bold indicates league leader.

1948. 7-9, 3.19
1949 15-15, 3.69
1950 20-11, 3.02    304.1 IP 
1951 21-15, 3.03    315 IP
1952 28-7,   2.59    330 IP
1953 23-16  2.75    346.2 IP
1954 23-15  2.97    336.2 IP
1955 23-14  3.28    305 IP
1956 19-18  4.45    297.1 IP
1957 10-22  4.07    249.2 IP
1958  17-14, 3.24   269.2 IP
1959  15-17, 4.27   257.1 IP
1960 12-16,  4.02   237.1 IP
1961  1-10,   5.85   117 IP

14 years 234-199. Averages to roughly 17-14, 3.46. ERA+ 114. 

Now the guy I consider the  #1 pitcher in Phillies history. First, a look at the ballpark he pitched in. The Baker Bowl, which was an absolute joke. Click on the link. Notice something that seems to be missing? Like RF? How would you like to be a righty pitcher pitching there? Yet this righty put up THESE numbers. Granted it was the dead ball era. But look at that RF (or lack of it) again.

1911 28-13   2.57  367 IP         
1912 19-17   2.81  310.1 IP
1913 22-8,   2.79   306.1 IP
1914 27-15  2.38    355 IP
1915  31-10  1.22   376.1 IP   12 shutouts
1916  33-12  1.55   389 IP      A record never to be broken: 16 shutouts.
1917  30-13  1.83   388 IP 
1930  0-3      9.14 at the end of his career. 

Grover Cleveland Alexander. I didn’t list all the years he led the league in shutouts because it was the dead ball era. But he also led the league in 1911 (7), 1913 (9) and 1917 (8) while with the Phillies. Take a look at that lack of RF again.

In those 7 seasons of 1911-1917, Old Pete averaged 27 wins a year. ERA 2.18 or so. About 27-13, 2.18. Yes, dead ball era, but 27-13,  2.18 to Roberts’ 17-14,  3.46. Even if you add a run to Alexander’s ERA (adjustment from dead ball to modern era) and cut the # of decisions down to 31 as Roberts had (but keep the same winning pct.), Alexander would be 21-10, 3.18. Still better.

Hard to compare across eras. Roberts ERA+ (compared to his era) 114. Alexander’s compared to his? 135.  

For the sake of comparison, let’s look at Carlton.  Of course, Carlton had the ugly Vet to pitch in. While Alexander and Roberts broke in as Phillies, Carlton didn’t. He was in his prime, 27, when he Phils got him in a trade with the Cardinals after the 1971 season. Carlton’s 1972 was unbelievable. 27 wins for a team that won just 59. Carlton won four CYA’s. There were no Cy Young awards in Alexander’s time (Alexander’s rookie year was Young’s last), and Roberts’ last really great year was in 1955, the year Young died. The CYA wasn’t instituted until 1956.  

1972 27-10, 1.97   346.1 IP (8 shutouts, but did not lead the league). CYA
1973 13-20, 3.90   293.1 IP
1974 16-13, 3.22   291 IP
1975 15-14, 3.56   255.1 IP
1976 20-7    3.13   252.2 IP
1977 23-10  2.64   283 IP  CYA
1978 16-13, 2.84   247.1 IP
1979 18-11  3.62   251 IP
1980 24-9    2.34   304 IP  CYA (I believe the last pitcher to pitch 300 innings in a season.)
1981 13-4    2.42   190 IP (strike year cost 1/3 the season. At that pace? 19-6, 275 IP?)
1982 23-11  3.10   295.2 IP  CYA
1983 15-16  3.11   283.2 IP
1984 13-7    3.58   229 IP
1985 1-8      3.33   92 IP (missed about 1/2 the year. Nice ERA. Not nice record).
1986 4-8      6.18    83 IP    Phils released him about halfway into the season.

241-161 as a Phillie. 3.09 ERA, ERA+ 120.      Roughly 18-12 a year, 3.09.


Alexander (granted, dead ball era, whites only) 27-13, 2.18; In a park 280 down the line in RF, 300-320 in RCF. 373 career wins.
Carlton 18-12, 3.09. Full integration. 330 down the line in LF, 371 to LCF. 329 career wins.

Roberts 17-14, 3.46. Integrating slowly (the Phils first black player wasn’t until 1957, and look at the link. 5/1/51, the same day Mantle hit his first HR—against the White Sox, was the same day that the White Sox got their first black player in Minnie Minoso). 329 down the line. Normal dimensions to RCF (400 sign more towards the CF than direct RCF).  286 career wins.

For my money, Alexander is still #1. It’s too bad many Phillies writers seem to think Phillies’ history began with the Whiz Kids of 1950 and don’t know or look up history.

Grover Cleveland Alexander
Still the Phils #1 pitcher in my book.




Nomo and Towers? …and it looks like He Said, He Said.

3 p.m. It was nice to see a decent, competitive Orange Bowl last night. Mark Mangino reminds me of Rick Majerus in that if he would have went on the old TV show “What’s My Line”, no one would guess that he coaches physically fit athletes (not that I have an athlete’s build myself).

Hideo Nomo? Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings states that the Royals have signed Nomo to a minor league contract. Talk about a head-scratcher. Besides the fact that Nomo is 39, let’s look at what he’s done recently. Out of the majors in 2007. His 2006? out of the majors then too. 2005? 5-8, 7.24 (ERA+ 60) for Tampa Bay; 2004? 4-11, 8.24 for the Dodgers (ERA+ 50). Can you imagine the backlash in N.Y. if the Yanks or Mets would have made this signing?

5:15 p.m. The Rockies have signed pitcher Josh Towers. Towers will be 31 in December, and based on his last two years with Toronto, I would think that he will be kissing that humidor every time he pitches in Colorado. He was 5-10, 5.38 in 2007 (ERA+ 83) and an awful 2-10, 8.42 (ERA+ 53) in 2006. His career stats are 45-55, 4.96 (ERA+ 91).

So what have we seen lately? Reclamation projects like Prior and Clement signed, a 39-year-old pitcher who hasn’t pitched in the majors in two years and whose final two years were a combined 9-19, 7.75 (or thereabouts) signed to a minor-league deal, and another pitcher signed whose last two years have seen 7-20, 6.50. Think about that and then think of what Cashman has been trying to do with the young arms on the pitching staff.

In the comments to this previous post, I respond with what would happen in CF if the Santana deal went through. I discuss Corey Patterson and Mike Cameron, albeit Cameron in the terms of the Twins. Cameron, you may remember, is suspended for the first 25 games of 2008 due to abuse of the amphetamine policy. Well, according to Tyler Kepner of the Times, A-Rod has been endorsing Cameron (I thought he was getting close with Cano and Melky and “mentoring” them?). A-Rod and Cameron were teammates on the 2000 Mariner team that lost to the Yanks in the ALCS. Kepner’s article also discusses the “retirement” of George Steinbrenner and the differences between Hank and Hal (Hal being more financially prudent). Kepner also wisely reminds his readers that the Yanks are spending an extra 40 cents to the dollar for each dollar they spend because they are over the luxury tax limit—which could be problematic in signing another high-priced player, even for the Yankees. A $100 million free agent is $140 million to the Yanks—$40 million going toward the tax. For Kepner’s complete article, go here:


6:30 p.m. Oops. I was checking out MLB Trade Rumors to compare their hits and misses as far as where they thought certain free agents would wind up. I noticed something. They accurately pointed out that with 27 more wins that Greg Maddux would pass Christy Mathewson for 3rd all-time (behind Cy Young and Walter Johnson). What they didn’t mention is that in so doing he wouldn’t only pass Mathewson, but also Grover Cleveland “Pete” Alexander. Alexander, like Mathewson, wound up with 373 wins.

Maddux currently has 347 wins and is 7 behind Roger Clemens. With 17 more wins, he would pass Warren Spahn and become the winningest pitcher of all pitchers who pitched after 1930 (1930 was Alexander’s final season).

He said, he said. MLB.com reports that Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee have been asked to testify before the House Oversight Committee at a Jan. 16 hearing. Hmm, both under oath. Things are getting verrrrrrry innnnnteresting as Arte Johnson used to say on “Laugh-In.” Put it this way, as long as Congress concentrates on this, they won’t have the time to screw anything else up.

Cantu did indeed sign with the Marlins.

7:30 p.m. Now ESPN reports that Radomski, Pettitte and Knoblauch are asked to testify as well. Isn’t Pettitte’s admission enough? As for Knoblauch, why? The guy is retired, and if you want Andy and Knobby, why not just call everybody named in the report? Why do I have Judy Collins’ “Send In the Clowns” echoing in my brain right now?

Update, 11:30 p.m. Saw this elsewhere and Googled to see if accurate and it appears it is.

Andy Phillips signs a minor league deal with the Reds. AP will be 31 next year and hit .292-2-25 in 185 at bats last year for the Yanks (OPS+ 88). He has 479 ABs (roughly a full year) for his career and is .253-11-60 (OPS+ 76).


Matt DeSalvo has signed a deal with the Braves. DeSalvo is 27 and cracked the majors in 2007. In 7 games (6 starts) he went 1-3, 6.18. (ERA + 72).