Mussina’s Gold, Pena to the Bench (In a Good Way), and Free Agent Limbo

Good to see that Mike Mussina won his seventh Gold Glove Award this year, capping off an amazing year with a well-earned honor.  If 2008 was indeed his last year, Mussina made it a memorable one–20-9, 3.37 ERA, 1.223 WHIP.  Speaking of which, tell me that Mike Mussina doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame after looking at his career WHIP statistics.  Take a gander:

  • 1991: 4-5, 2.87 ERA, 1.118 WHIP (21 BB in 87 2/3 IP)
  • 1992: 18-5, 2.54 ERA, 1.079 WHIP (48 BB in 241 IP)
  • 1993: 14-6, 4.46 ERA, 1.235 WHIP (44 BB in 167 2/3 IP)
  • 1994: 16-5, 3.06 ERA, 1.163 WHIP (42 BB in 176 1/3 IP)
  • 1995: 19-9, 3.29 ERA, 1.069 WHIP (50 BB in 221 2/3 IP)
  • 1996: 19-11, 4.81 ERA, 1.368 WHIP (69 BB in 243 1/3 IP)
  • 1997: 15-8, 3.20 ERA, 1.117 WHIP (54 BB in 224 2/3 IP)
  • 1998: 13-10, 3.49 ERA, 1.115 WHIP (41 BB in 206 1/3 IP)
  • 1999: 18-7, 3.50 ERA, 1.274 WHIP (52 BB in 203 1/3 IP)
  • 2000: 11-15, 3.79 ERA, 1.187 WHIP (46 BB in 237 2/3 IP)
  • 2001: 17-11, 3.15 ERA, 1.067 WHIP (42 BB in 228 2/3 IP)
  • 2002: 18-10, 4.05 ERA, 1.187 WHIP (48 BB in 215 2/3 IP)
  • 2003: 17-8, 3.40 ERA, 1.081 WHIP (40 BB in 214 2/3 IP)
  • 2004: 12-9, 4.59 ERA, 1.324 WHIP (40 BB in 164 2/3 IP)
  • 2005: 13-8, 4.41 ERA, 1.369 WHIP (47 BB in 179 2/3 IP)
  • 2006: 15-7, 3.51 ERA, 1.110 WHIP (35 BB in 197 1/3 IP)
  • 2007: 11-10, 5.15 ERA, 1.467 WHIP (35 BB in 152 IP)
  • 2008: 20-7, 3.37 ERA, 1.223 WHIP (31 BB in 200 1/3 IP)

Those are pretty remarkable.  While 2008 was a milestone year for Mussina, winning 20 games for the first and perhaps only time in his career and taking home his seventh Gold Glove, his excellent WHIP was actually one of his higher WHIP seasons, seventh-highest out of 18.  For a pitcher who did not lack velocity for more than half his career, that’s even more amazing.  He never issued more than 69 walks in a season, and only four times yielded 50 or more.  That’s 1.983 BB/9 IP over his career.  Hall of Fame, no doubt about it.

In other Yankees news, they made a good move placing Tony Pena next to Girardi as bench coach, moving Rob Thomson to third base in a clear demotion and hiring Mick Kelleher to be the first base coach.  Kelleher, according to Pete Abraham, has been an infield instructor in the minors with the Yanks.  I like the move for a couple reasons.  Pena is a good coach with a very good reputation for working well with players.  He could be the kind of guy to keep things loose, or certainly looser than the somewhat high-strung Girardi.  Having a bench coach with some managerial experience isn’t a bad thing, either.  For whatever reason, Girardi didn’t seem to rely too heavily on Thomson, who could have been invisible for most of last year, honestly.  Most awake canines would provide better coaching at third than Meacham did.  Hopefully, Thomson is that pooch.  Though the Yankees could have pursued other options outside the organization for a bench coach, they picked a good one from within the organization in Pena.

Still awaiting word about some signings, though it’s early.  The Yankees will surely put out big offers, but the question is really still who will bite.  Joel Sherman of the New York Post is reporting that Jays officials remain confident that they will be able to keep Burnett for something around four years, $56 million.  Sherman also reports that the Yankees expect the asking price for Sabathia to be higher than Santana’s six-year, $137.5 million deal from the Mets.  I’ve mentioned before that I would also make a strong, early push to Teixeira to make him and the Angels respond, to show strong early interest.  He’d solve some serious offensive and defensive needs in one fell swoop.  My sense is still that the Angels wouldn’t have traded for him to let him go as a two-month rental, especially after tearing it up for them.  Still, it’s worth a shot.  Why not give roughly Giambi money to a player who is younger (29 in April) than Giambi was when the Yanks signed him (31 before the 2002 season), and who is far better defensively than Giambi ever was?  Push the issue, Cashman, please.

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Published in: on November 6, 2008 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. no doubt in my mind that he’s more than worthy of the hall of fame-he spent his entire career pitching the toughest division in baseball against juiced up hitters. end of story. when do i get to vote?

    i’m sure that the angels will make a huge pitch for tex, but there is no doubt that he will reach FA–that’s why his agent is boras. if the yankees want him, they can outbid to get him–there have been many stories floated around that he really would like to wear the pinstripes–

    i hope girardi will listen to pena–we can only hope. none of the coaching staff are girardi’s “guys” anymore save for harkey in the bullpen–so the message from on high has been sent down.

    in other news -here is a fun fact–the yankees made the fewset errors in the AL this year. 83. who knew ?


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