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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: Random Musings

by Paul Semendinger

May 11, 2023

***

As writers, we share our positions, our thoughts, our hopes, or fears, and so much more. This is what fans do. We're all correct sometimes. Other times we're wrong. Sometimes, determining who is right and who is wrong isn't so easy. It often comes down to each person's own perspective on a trade, a situation, a player, etc... We can use statistics for any number of purposes to prove a point.


For example, a person could correctly state, "Harrison Bader is a great clutch hitter. He batted .333 with five homers in the post season last year."


On the other hand, someone else could answer, "It was just a hot streak. In Bader's post seasons with the Cardinals, he batted just .136 with no homers."


Both people in that argument are correct.


I remember reading that Billy Martin preferred acquiring Joe Rudi over Reggie Jackson before the 1977 season. Was Billy wrong? Maybe. Reggie, of course, helped the Yankees win the World Series in 1977 and 1978. But, with Reggie also came tons of controversy. If Joe Rudi had been a Yankee, might they have won even more, because there may have been less chaos? Who knows? Just like Jackson, Rudi had also been a winner with the A's...


Of course, Joe Rudi was a left fielder, and the Yankees already had an excellent left fielder in Roy White. If the Yankees had acquired Rudi, one of them would have had to move to right field. Between 1971 and 1979, Joe Rudi never played right field. That wasn't his specialty. Between 1969 and 1979, Roy White played in right field only four times. Most often teams don't move outfielders, at least not all-star caliber ones, from left field to right field (or from right to left). These are specialized positions. They might seem the same, but they aren't. The history of baseball seems to bear that out.


The Yankees toyed with the idea of having Aaron Judge play left field. I think moving Judge is a terrible idea. He's a right fielder. His specialty is in right field. Am I correct? I believe the history of baseball supports my claim. I think I am right. But, if Judge goes to left, and helps the Yankees win, well, then I might also be proven wrong.


This is the fun of talking baseball. We don't know. All we can do is speculate. Sometimes we'll be correct, sometimes not.


For the record, I think getting Reggie Jackson over Joe Rudi was, absolutely, the right move. I am almost always for the Yankees acquiring the biggest stars. Rudi was an excellent player, but Reggie was great.

***

Here are two stats. Who is the better player?


Player A: OPS+ (2019-2022) = 96

Player B: OPS+ (2019-2022) = 107


Player A over that period is slightly below league average.

Player B over that period is slightly above league average.


It's close. Over those years, one might say it's even, but, based on those stats, it would be difficult to argue that Player A is better.


Full disclosure - This was a trick question.


Player A is Harrison Bader.

Player B is Jordan Montgomery. He doesn't have an OPS+ (of course), that number is his ERA+. Both compare a player to the league average. Since Monty is a pitcher, I had to use a different measure...


Many people have said that Jordan Montgomery wasn't a very good pitcher as a Yankee I disagree. He's been better than a league average pitcher for his career.


Was the Bader for Montgomery trade a good one? I think not. I think the Yankees could use a better than league average lefty starter right now - and could have used one last year too after he was traded. I'm not wrong about that. The Yankees have needed left-handed starting pitching for a long time. And yet, they traded a solid, starter who was better than league average.


On the other hand, Bader has been fantastic this year (In limited time) and was great in the playoffs last year. And the Yankees needed a center fielder. The people who support the Bader trade are also correct.


This might end up being a trade that benefits both teams. Sometimes both sides can be correct.

***

And yes, Bader has been amazing. No one can deny that. At all. But, it does seem that many who have jumped on the Bader Bandwagon are the same ones who said that Jordan Montgomery's initial success in St. Louis after the trade was just a small sample size.


Bader's success has been a small sample too...

***

Mike Whiteman, a great person as well as a great writer here at SSTN, has disagreed with me about the Bader trade almost from the start.


We text back and forth often, but sometimes when he is in a rush and he types my initials into his phone, his quick baseball messages go to a colleague who has the same initials as I do. This has caused some confusion and some laughs at his office.


Mike decided to fix that problem by affixing an image to both of our profiles on his phone.


For my profile, he chose a picture of Harrison Bader.


Now that's funny!

***

When we give kindness, it most often comes back to us. Almost always...


The other day I was gifted some old Yankees yearbooks and scorecards. One scorecard was from 1965. It came from the first double header of Roy White's big league career. I passed that item on to him.


That item belongs in Roy White's collection, not mine.

***

One last item... I'm happy to announce this here first...


On June, we will be having a BIG free event where people can meet Roy White (and me) and listen to us talk about Roy's career, the book we wrote, and more.


Take a look:









11 comentários


lenjack
11 de mai. de 2023

With Boone & Cash at the helm, I wouldn't be stunned if they drop Bader and resign Hicks.

Curtir

yankeesblog
11 de mai. de 2023

Bader looks like he kills lefties which is borne out in his career splits (128 OPS+ vs 91 OPS+) and great since the Yankees were putting out some weak lineups against lefties especially when Judge was on the IL. I love his energy and hustle - he may have more bat than I though although we need to see a larger sample and how de does against the better right handed pitchers. As far as signing him as a FA well that's a decision that can wait until the off season.

Curtir

Robert Malchman
Robert Malchman
11 de mai. de 2023

I did not like Monty for Bader at the time. Since the trade, Monty 1.4 WAR, Bader 0.6 (which doesn't include his great post-season, though Monty also threw 2.2 scoreless innings when the Cards lost the NLWC). But if Bader a) stays healthy, and b) keeps playing like Ty Cobb transported to the live-ball era, I'm open to changing my mind.

Curtir

fuster
11 de mai. de 2023

i wonder whether the Yankees will choose to sign Bader to a new contract

and whether they will, during this season, terminate their connection to Hicks

Curtir
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
11 de mai. de 2023
Respondendo a

There is so much to unpack in this.

Luxury Tax caps.

Rodons health.

Monty has been healthy for years... Not Severino.

I'd always prefer the superstar, but I don't know if the Yanks would pay for another big name.

Curtir

Alan B.
Alan B.
11 de mai. de 2023

By bringing up the Monty for Bader trade, no one can convince me otherwise that the Marlins for whatever their reason, backed out of the deal that would've sent Torres to Miami for Pablo Lopez. And since it was the Yankees who got screwed, MLB did absolutely nothing. Remember, there still is an Aaron Judge only strike zone.

Curtir
Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
11 de mai. de 2023
Respondendo a

That was a big speculation at the time.

If that's the case, I can better understand trading Monty.

If that's the case... did Cashman do a poor job? Did he get fleeced?

Curtir
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