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Why a Yankee Won’t Win MVP, Replay on Cervelli’s HR, Warthen’s Legacy of Failure, Val Pascucci Chant



By Mike Silva ~ September 7th, 2011. Filed under: Morning Digest.

We can debate the merits of Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano when it comes to the American League MVP award, but no Yankees player will win it. Why? It has nothing to do with Jose Bautista‘s stats or the fact that three Red Sox are having MVP-caliber years. Its institutional bias against the Yankees by the baseball writers. Take this quote from 2006. Remember, that was the year that Derek Jeter was robbed of the MVP and Justin Morneau wound up winning it.

Take this conversation between Charlie Steiner and Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer, Joe Christensen, as transcribed by XM MLB Chat:

Tues., Sept. 19, 2006, Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner on XM 175, Charley talks with Minneapolis Star-Tribune writer, Joe Christensen about the upcoming AL MVP Awards

Two members of the Twins are in the running and some have mentioned Derek Jeter as a possibility.

Along the conversation, Charley says to him, ”Well, I offer you Derek Jeter,” and gives a few reasons why. But, Christensen says no to Jeter, because he’s on a team of rich guys getting it done.”

Christensen offers a 2nd reason not to vote for Jeter. He says to Charley,”Well, they have Mariano Rivera like you said.

Christensen a minute ago was ready to put Rivera on a back burner, turns around and uses the guy’s presence on the team as  a reason not to vote for Jeter.

The ironic part about Christensen citing Rivera was that earlier in that interview he claimed that Trevor Hoffman was the better closer. He then uses Rivera as a reason not to vote for Jeter! He should have stopped at saying he won’t vote for him because “he plays on a team of rich guys getting it done.”

I understand that not every writer shares the views of Christensen, but I believe there is a great deal of institutional hate towards the Yankees and New York throughout the country. I wrote about this in 2009 when I debated Mark Teixeira vs. Joe Mauer for the MVP award. The outcry against me for suggesting such a thing was surprisingly over the top. If Teixeira played for the Texas Rangers in 2009, instead of the Yankees, would there be the same level of anger? They would have disputed the claim, yes, but I do not believe there would be the same level of animosity.

Christensen is still writing for the Star-Tribune. Maybe we will email him and ask him how he is going to vote for the MVP this year. Perhaps Joe Mauer has some intangible qualities that put him in the running?

***

Interesting how the umpires interpreted Francisco Cervelli’s home run last night versus Hunter Pence‘s fly ball in the Philadelphia game on Sunday. Here are pictures of each and tell me if you see a difference

Maybe the difference is the Yankees were the home team, and the Phillies were on the road?

Tough call, no doubt, but I think the fan at Yankee Stadium leaned over. David Brown over at Big League Stew blames the cameras at Yankee Stadium for not providing conclusive evidence. I disagree; I think this provides pretty conclusive evidence.

***

I found some interesting quotes coming from “Go Get Em” Dan Warthen in an article where he “gushed” about Johan Santana‘s recent bullpen session.

By some estimates, Santana is further along that track than anyone figured. Though most initial estimates had the left-hander returning to the big leagues by midsummer, multiple setbacks ultimately damaged that reality. Yet during his bullpen session Tuesday, Santana threw all his pitches and flashed what Warthen called “better stuff than he had last year,” citing the nagging back and knee injuries that derailed Santana’s season even before surgery.

Asked to clarify what he meant by “better stuff,” Warthen gushed over Santana’s bullpen session.

“Better velocity,” Warthen said. “The arm was in the same slot each and every time. He wasn’t searching for a place that didn’t hurt.”

Basically Manuel, Warthen, and company didn’t do anything about their ace who was hurting a year ago. To be fair, perhaps Santana wanted to pitch through the pain, but that statement tells me they had an idea about the severity of his injury. It’s his responsibility to protect the pitcher for the organization. He failed in that responsibility. Remember, Warthen is the same guy who was around for the Jenrry Mejia disaster. He is the same guy that ”brushed off” the abuse of Pedro Feliciano.

Check out this ridiculous quote by Warthen regarding Feliciano:

“They didn’t know that when they signed him? … He volunteered for the baseball every day. He was asked whether he was able to pitch. He said ‘yes’ every day — every day — and wanted to pitch more than we even pitched him.”

Regarding Cashman, Warthen said: “I feel badly that someone feels that way. That was part of the reason we decided to not re-sign him — because we knew we had used him 270-some times in the last three years.”

Who is in charge? The pitcher or the coach? We never heard Feliciano’s part of the story. I suspect if we did it might vary from Warthen’s. Of course, it could be that he is a habitual liar like John Maine. 

“I just didn’t think John Maine had enough to compete tonight… When he’s throwing that way (80 mph), then there’s got to be something incorrect in that arm, something has to be feeling bad.  John is a habitual liar, in a lot of ways, as far as his own health.  He’s competitor and a warrior and he wants to go out and pitch, but we have to be smart enough to know this guy is not right and the ball isn’t coming out of his hand correctly… John is always one who can step it up during the game.  Talking to him in the bullpen he convinced me he could go out and compete.  Watching him warm up pitches, and then watching the first hitter, I just wasn’t convinced… He’s angry… He is a warrior… but, we have to think of every one on the team.”

Warthen admitted to the media before Santana’s injury last year that he changed Johan’s mechanics in 2009 when he was battling through nagging injuries:

Pitching coach Dan Warthen believes that Santana’s issues are a result of injuries in 2009, which culminated in season-ending elbow surgery Sept. 1. “Last year he had a bunch of little nagging things,” Warthen said. “And because he’s the athlete that he is, he found a way to compete, and I think he made some mechanical changes to do that. This year has been about trying to get him back to where he was early last year.”

After his previous start, a loss to San Diego, Santana retreated to the video room with Warthen, and the two studied his pitching motion. According to Warthen, they “felt the arm was in the right slot, but we didn’t feel that he was loading the same way that he has in the past.”

Even worse, no one in the press is talking about the dubious job Warthen as done. You talk to the beat reporters and they defend him! Citing silly stuff like xFIP during his tenure.

Give Santana credit for grinding it out. In 2008 he pitched the last month of the season on a torn meniscus in his knee. The coaching staff and front office has to be more logical in protecting their ace. Now the Mets could potentially be left with dead money the last two years of his contract. The owner should be the one to fire him.

Yes, Warthen was trying to protect his job. Want to know what would impress me more and keep him employed around here? Being honest and protecting his ace. Don’t let the pitchers dictate the program. That would have been more impressive than his xFIP or whatever other nonsense you want to spew statistically.

But don’t worry! He is coming back. This is what Terry Collins had to say about Warthen on Sunday:

As for pitching coach Dan Warthen, the lone remaining member of the 2010 staff, Collins said: “Danny has done an excellent job. He gets them ready. He is sharp. It’s a good situation when the players like the coaches. They have fun. They laugh. They have great communication with each other. That helps a lot. … I do think they should all be back. They all did a great job, and there is something to be said for stability.” 

Great! The pitchers are laughing and having fun, but not improving. That is a sustainable process for future New York Mets success. He aided and abetted the Jenrry Mejia debacle, he looked the other way while his ace was dangerously changing arm angles, and he turned Pedro Feliciano’s arm and shoulder into a noodle. But they were ok with it according to Dan Warthen logic. Good job there “go get em” Warthen.

The process under Warthen stinks. I don’t care about the outcome. The media should start doing some investigation about this guy the last month. He does not deserve to come back despite what Collins says.

***

Another Dan Warthen prodigy, Bobby Parnell, had another spectacular outing last night in Miami.

Parnell continues to prove to me his bad pitching has nothing to do with luck. First, he looks scared on the mound. He falls behind hitters, walks too many, and his 100 mph fastball never appears overpowering. Mike Cameron, a lousy hitter, doubled to tie the game last night. That is the kind of hitter a good closer puts away. One inning, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts, another blown save, and only 18 of 33 pitches for strikes.

The Mets owe it to their veterans to try to balance winning and development. There is nothing that Bobby Parnell has shown me that makes me believe we will learn more about him in the closer role. You can’t reward this kind of pitching. It’s time to put him in the safe haven of the sixth or seventh inning where he belongs. Give the closer job to Stinson for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t matter because your closer is probably not currently on the roster. That is, unless you consider Mike Pelfrey or Johan Santana possibilities for the ninth inning, which I certainly do.

***
The Mets have made a habit of promoting these “Crash Davis” types of players the last couple of years. In 2010 it was Mike Hessman, who hit over 300 home runs in the minor leagues over 15 seasons.

This year is Val Pascucci, who last played in the big leagues in 2004 with the Montreal Expos. Ironically, he hit his first big league homer in Miami seven years ago, which is where he joined the Mets after his call up.

Pascucci has also played in the NPB for Bobby Valentine‘s Chibe Lotte Marines where the fans are “passionate” to say the least. Check out this video of the Marines fans cheering him on.

Any chance we can see someone try this at Citi Field before the year is out?

I am happy to see Pascucci make it to the big leagues for a month. He gets a big league salary and some service time for his pension. In 11 MILB seasons he’s hit 234 HRs and driven in over 800 runs. Even at the age of 32, you never know what can happen.

Remember a pizza delivery guy who wound up winning a playoff series for the Mets against Arizona in 1999?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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5 Responses to Why a Yankee Won’t Win MVP, Replay on Cervelli’s HR, Warthen’s Legacy of Failure, Val Pascucci Chant

  1. Stu B

    “I believe there is a great deal of institutional hate towards the Yankees and New York throughout the country.”

    What else is new? This has always prevented NY players from winning the MVP award. Think about the perennial conflict of best stats vs. player who helped his team win. In 1987, Andre Dawson had better stats playing on the last-place Cubs than Darryl Strawberry did for the close-second-place Mets, and Dawson won the award. The next year, 1988, Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds both had better stats than Kirk Gibson, but Gibson carried the Dodgers to the NL West title and won the award. I’ve always believed that the constant between the two votes was that enough writers consciously or unconsciously let their anti-NY sentiment sway them to whichever side of the conflict conveniently allowed them to vote for the non-NY player.

    This tendency is even more pronounced with the Yankees, given the tendency of many baseball fans to either love or hate them.

  2. Wes

    In regards to the Dan Warthen piece:
    I remember a quote from Jerry Manuel a few years ago saying that he really didn’t care about his pitchers’ health in the future because he was here to win now. I was very uncomfortable with that quote and it has come back to bite them hard. Santana will never be Santana again. Warthen does get a free pass from the papers. I don’t see the Mets pitching as being all that great – it’s a bunch of 3 and 4 starters.
    As far as Parnell, I love this guy, but that nice 100 mph fastball is flat and he doesn’t have the nastiness to close at this point. Maybe his niche is an 8th inning guy, but right now we can’t have him as closer. I agree that the 2012 closer is not currently on the roster. Maybe Santana, but no way Pelfrey.
    W

  3. Chuck Johnson

    Two replayed HR calls, which, after replay, the umpires STILL got them wrong.

    What’s the point of replay, then?

  4. Kevin W

    For the record, I am a Red Sox fan however I think Granderson is most deserving of the MVP award this year.

    That being said, of course I expect NY bias on a NY baseball blog, but going back to 2006 to use one writer’s bias against Jeter and using it to prove that there is an “instututional bias” against NY players is a bit of a reach, to say the least. Arod won in 2005 and 2007, so the bias can’t be that extreme.

    It’s possible that a Minnesota writer’s bias prevented Jeter from winning the MVP in 2006. However nothing compares to the 1999 vote, when Pedro Martinez had the greatest season ever by a pitcher, considering the era. That year, a New York writer left Pedro off the ballot entirely (which I’m sure wasn’t done to Jeter in 2006) because he allegedly didn’t believe pitchers should be eligible. Then he voted for Mariano Rivera. Biggest screw job in the history of the award…

  5. Ralph C

    To Chuck’s point on replay errors, this is my main problem with replay (other than the length of reviews). There are way too many instances in the NFL, NHL, and now MLB where the officials use replay and still get the call wrong, including many obvious calls. There is just an overall lack of competence in sports officials today.

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