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January 29, 2007 - Torre wants to give Bernie a chance
by SG

Yankees manager Joe Torre has told GM Brian Cashman that he'd like to give Bernie Williams a shot at making the team, according to a source close to Williams.

However, the Yankees' 40-man roster is full, and there appears little opportunity for Williams to contribute.

What are the odds that if Bernie gets a shot at making the team from Joe Torre, he doesn't make it? Please Brian Cashman, hold firm.

In some non-Yankee news, since a lot of Yankee fans seem to be overly concerned about Boston possibly picking up Todd Helton, I ran some more Diamond Mind simulations, swapping out Todd Helton for Mike Lowell and moving Kevin Youkilis to third base. This ended up being about a fairly decent offensive upgrade, but a five run or so defensive downgrade, and nets them out out as one whole win better in 2007. These are over 100 trials with the latest rosters using CHONE.

DIV and WC are division titles and wild cards over 100 trials respectively. StD W, RF, and RA are the ranges for wins, runs for, and runs against within one standard deviation of the mean.

This doesn't mean Helton can't outperform his projections with better health this season, or that Lowell doesn't underperform his which makes the difference more stark, but any Yankee fan panicking about Boston getting Helton is overreacting.

Update: Out of curiosity I decided to look at the Helton/Lowell swap numerically. Using their PECOTA offensive projections, here's how Lowell, Helton, and Youkilis project for 2007, in terms of batting runs above average by linear weights (not position adjusted).

Helton 33
Lowell 7
Youkilis 23

We have to park-adjust the batting runs accordingly. For Colorado the 3 year weighted average for runs is 1.24, for Fenway it's 1.04. So adjusting these we get these new values.

Helton 26
Lowell 7
Youkilis 22

Defensively, here's how they project using a weighted average of their zone ratings plus aging/regression.

Helton 1
Lowell 4
Youkilis -1 (at either 1B or 3B)

So combination 1 of Lowell at 3B and Youkilis at 1B combines for 29 runs of offense and 3 runs of defense above average, a total of +32.

Combination 2 of Youkilis at 3B and Helton at 1B gives 48 runs of offense and 0 runs of defense, or a total of +48.

So it's a 16 run net upgrade overall, or a win and a half. Not much different than the simulations.