Saturday, January 03, 2004

David Wells decided to go home to San Diego. Getting the final word on George Steinbrenner, Wells said that now he expected never to hear from his former Boss again. But did Wells make the right decision?

To weigh the evidence takes looking at all sides of the decision. Wells is forty years old. He's already had a great career with 200 wins and World Championships. He's not the first player to go home. He's not even the first Yankee this winter to do so. And so going home seems to make sense.

To look at the other side, David's success as a Yankee far out distances his career anywhere else. With the Yankees, Wells was 68-28 which means he won as a Yankee 71 percent of the time. With everyone else, Wells is 132-100 or a 57% success rate.

Surely, you can make the arguments that the Yankees are a perennial winner and that it's easier to be a big winner there than anywhere else. Tell that to Jeff Weaver. Also consider that Mike Mussina won 64% of his games with the mostly lowly Orioles and in three years with the Yankees has won...64% of his games. Yup. Look it up.

Sometimes there is just a relationship to a man and a place. Wells was built to pitch for the Yankees. He pitched for the team for two years, left for three and came back to pitch two more years. His record in both of those stints was an identical 34-14. To look at some more of David's statistics with the Yankees, see the comparison chart below:

1st two years 2nd two years
Innings 432.1 419.1
Hits allowed 434 452
Walks 74 65
Strikeouts 319 238
Homers allowed 61 45
ERA 3.83 3.93

Wells gave up more hits this time around, but fewer walks and kept the ball in the yard more often. Other than that, you see the picture of Yankee consistency. But what is truly remarkable is that he won 71% of his games the first two years and 71% of this games the second pair. Wells was one of the best Yankee pitchers of all times.

It's hard to blame the Yankees for not being serious about signing Wells. They offered him a minor league contract. Who can forget that he couldn't go in one of the biggest games of his career? Who knows how that series would have gone if he could have pitched? And who knows if the Padres will get what they pay for? Wells just had his second back surgery and is forty years old.

The Padres will be happy to get 200 innings out of Wells with that 56% chance of winning so who can blame them either? The Fan and all fans can't blame him Wells. Guaranteed money and being home sounds like a good deal to me. But another season at 71% might have helped a Hall of Fame consideration, no?

Yankee fans won't forget Mr. Wells. With his top button open and pitch after pitch in the strike zone, he was a favorite and memories of his perfect game and World Series triumph will last a long time.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

It has been a quiet week in the baseball off season, but that is to be expected with the holiday week. When the big news of the week is that an owner fainted, it's a slow week.

The Boss did faint this week, but have no fear Yankee haters. Mr. Steinbrenner will not fade from your gun sights just yet. The big man just had too much sun or something but he's in good health. When it happened, the natural thought for fans was what impact the loss of King George would mean to the Yankees. If the Yankees could keep his money, I think the team would really take off and become the best baseball organization there is. For all his money and efforts, he short circuits his baseball men and strips them of prospects and continuity.

Isn't it amazing how the Tony Batistas of the world always seem to find a job until everyone smartens up and sees that he takes more away from a team than he adds in. Batista has hit under .250 four times in his career. He has a horrible .302 on base average for his career. He has a hundred more strikeouts in his career than homeruns. And he's never been much of a third baseman either.

But the Expos were fooled again, just like the Orioles, the Diamondbacks and the Blue Jays. Batista is a weird player who doesn't seem to try sometimes and I can't understand why anyone would want him.

On the other hand, Brian Jordan is a nice pickup for the Rangers. Jordan is a guy who has been held back by injuries in his career because he plays like a madman. But his play is inspirational and seems just the ticket for the Rangers who have been through some much surrealism this season.

I like the Red Sox pickup of Pokey Reese. The man is a wizard at second base and if he can have a career year and hit .300, look out A.L. East!

One more note from the perspective of a fan. I don't want Kenny Lofton to win the centerfield job in New York. He has always seemed like another player who turns it on and off at will and I don't think he adds as much as he detracts. There is a reason why his teams have never received the championship ring. And to throw six million at a guy who is at the end of his career is just plain stupid. Give me a gimpy Bernie Williams over Lofton any day of the week.