WTNYDecember 01, 2003
New MVP?
By Bryan Smith

So while I misreported Luis Castillo signing with the Marlins on Friday, it turns out the ESPN radio report I heard on Sunday was false as well. Instead of Criag Counsell, Lyle Overbay, Junior Spivey and Chris Capuano, ESPN.com writes the trade will not include Spivey and Capuano, but rather Jorge De La Rosa, whom the D-Backs got for Schilling.

If this is true, I like this deal a lot less for the Brewers. I thought Spivey would be a nice way to keep Rickie Weeks in the minors for the first few months, and then Doug Melvin could deal him at the deadline. And while De La Rosa is easily the better pitching prospect compared to Capuano, I'm not convinced there's that kind of difference. This means Bill Hall will battle Weeks for the second base job in Spring Training, with Hall likely winning the battle for about 45 games.

Another big signing has caught my interest, and I'd like to begin with a statistical comparison:

Player A: .330/.419/.604 39HR 132RBI 126R 18SB
Player B: .298/.396/.600 47HR 118RBI 124R 17SB

To me, despite the fact that Player B has an edge in home runs, the fact that Player A has advantages in every other category would make me think A is the more valuable player. Funny, because A is Gary Sheffield, and B is the 2003 AL MVP Alex Rodriguez. The New York Yankees will sign Gary Sheffield to a three-year contract between $36-38M this week, according to ESPN and Peter Gammons. The move will give the Yankees yet another bat, and give Mr. Rodriguez some company.

Here's a look at Sheffield's splits from last season:

Vs. RH: .327/.418/.585 Vs. LH: .341/.450/.675
Home: .317/.416/.597 Road: .343/.422/.613
Pre-ASB: .327/.423/.596 Post-ASB: .333/.413/.615

Well, those look to be very promising numbers. Sheffield prefers left-handers, although he hits right-handers as well as anyone in the American League. He was better away from Turner Field last season, which is generally referred to as a pitcher's park. Yankee Stadium isn't, and those should improve Sheff's numbers as well. Furthermore, Sheffield's power numbers increased after the break last season, another key indicator. While Steinbrenner may not be finished with his offense, this is currently what the Yankees are sporting:

C- Jorge Posada- S
1B- Nick Johnson- LH
2B- Alfonso Soriano- RH
SS- Derek Jeter- RH
3B- Aaron Boone- RH
LF- Hideki Matsui- LH
CF- Bernie Williams- S
RF- Gary Sheffield- RH
DH- Jason Giambi- LH

Right-Handers: 4
Left-handers: 3
Switch Hitters: 2

That's great balance, and definitely a World Championship-type lineup. It's very possible the Yankees sign a second basemen, move Soriano to center, Williams to DH, Giambi to first, and trade Johnson in a deal for Javier Vazquez. The team also will bolster their bullpen this week, as Peter Gammons reports the team has agreeed to sign Tom Gordon for two years, and $7M.

A look at Gordon's numbers (ERA, H/IP, K/BB):

Gordon: 3.16 57/74 91/31
vs. RH: .196/.281/.254 vs. LH: .231/.313/.334
Home: 1.96 24/41.1 50/10 Road: 4.68 33/32.2 41/21
Pre-ASB: 3.35 39/45.2 60/21 Post-ASB: 2.86 18/28.1 31/10

Very interesting signing. Gordon is a fantastic reliever, deadly to right-handers, and pitches well against left-handers. He seemed to heavily prefer Comiskey Park last season, although I doubt Yankee Stadium will provide a lot of troubles. He was a better pitched after the break, although Gordon's strikeout numbers were better in the first half. As a set-up man to Rivera, Gordon is best in the business, and he'll take off a lot of pressure Steve Karsay would have shouldered returning from injury. $3.5M is a very good price, and Gordon was obviously the Yankees first choice before LaTroy Hawkins, whose market diminished to the Cubs.

Finally, here's another interesting statistical comparison, of another player who was recently acquired:

Player C: .230BAA 1.05WHIP 2.95ERA 10.39 K/9
Player D: .247BAA 1.07WHIP 3.25ERA 6.90K/9

C is Schilling, and D is AL Cy Young Roy Halladay. I'm not saying Schilling and Sheffield will take the AL awards by storm next season, just proving the importance of the two moves these rivals have made during the last week. It's a short post today, but if you missed what I wrote on Sunday, check that out. Also, look forward to a Cubs Organization Meeting with Christian Ruzich this week, along with more rumors and analysis. God, I can't Wait 'Til Next Year!