Welcome to the latest installment of Yankeeist’s “Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past” series. We previously covered the trading of Mike Lowell, the non-signing of David Ortiz, the non-signing of Andy Pettitte after the 2003 season, the non-signing of Vladimir Guerrero and the non-signing of Carlos Beltran.
On July 5, 2002, the Yankees were 54-31 and in first place, two games up on Boston. Though the team started the year with a rotation of Mike Mussina, David Wells, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Orlando Hernandez, injuries to both Pettitte and El Duque pressed 26-year-old lefthander Ted Lilly into starting duty in the 19th game of the season. Lilly stayed in the rotation for nine straight starts, followed by two relief appearances in mid-June, and then two more starts — the first of which was a complete game three-hit shutout of the Padres on June 22 — before being shipped to the A’s (along with Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin) in which the the Yankees received Jeff Weaver from Detroit and the A’s sent Franklyn German, Carlos Pena and Jeremy Bonderman to the Tigers.
Weaver, of course, turned out to be a spectacular failure in pinstripes, with his worst moment coming in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series against Florida. With a chance to take a commanding three games to one series lead, Joe Torre called on Weaver to preserve the tie in the bottom of the 12th (mind you, Mariano Rivera had yet to enter the game, being “saved” by Clueless Joe to protect a lead that would never come), and Weaver — who hadn’t pitched once in the playoffs up to that point — gave up a game-winning walk-off home run to Alex Gonzalez. The Yankees went on to lose the next two games (Game 5 was the David Wells one-inning start; Game 6 was the Josh Beckett shutout masterpiece) and the series, falling to the Marlins four games to two.
However, at the time of the trade, I recall having conversations with people who felt like it was a good deal for the Yankees (unfortunately this trade predates blogs). Weaver was a year younger than Lilly and had a more impressive track record. But the numbers for 2002 are closer than you might think: in 17 starts for Detroit, Weaver racked up a 133 ERA+; Lilly had a 130 ERA+, albeit in six fewer starts. Lilly was also more adept at keeping runners off base, with a 1.06 WHIP compared to Weaver’s 1.20. Let’s take a quick look at their respective career statistics pre-trade:
|Weaver ERA+||Lilly ERA+||Weaver FIP||Lilly FIP|
What really jumps out at me is Weaver’s 3.17 FIP for the Tigers in 2002. Based on this relatively limited data set, dealing Lilly for Weaver does seem like an upgrade.
And here are their seasonal numbers following the trade:
|Weaver ERA+||Lilly ERA+||Weaver FIP||Lilly FIP|
The career FIPs are closer than I would have guessed, but on the whole Ted Lilly — with the exception of the remainder of the 2002 season and 2005 — has been a superior pitcher to Jeff Weaver. I also had no idea Lilly had as good a year as he had this past season.
Moving on from what ended up being an unfortunate trade, back in the ’06-’07 offseason there were some who thought the Yankees should’ve re-signed the free agent Lilly. The Cubs wound up inking Lilly to a four-year, $40 million deal — it’s kind of amazing that a pitcher coming off a 106 ERA+ season was able to command such a pact (even Carl Pavano at least had the decency to have had a 137 ERA+ season in his walk year) — and so far have actually gotten $43.5 million of value out of him (according to FanGraphs) with a year still to go on the contract. It’s impossible to say whether Lilly would’ve lived up to his deal in the considerably more challenging AL East, but given his familiarity with both the Yankees and the division, it’s a decent possibility.
While nowhere near as head-scratching as the trading of Lowell in 1999, it’s interesting to think about how things might have been different for the pitching-challenged Yankee teams of 2004 and 2005 (not to mention Game 4 of the ’03 World Series) had Lilly remained in the Bronx.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
- Evon Znidarsic on Teixeira MRI Update, Babe Ruth Pitching In Pinstripes, And Jeter’s Gift Baskets
- Sacramento PC Repair on Yanks finally sign non-Yankee free agent in Russell Martin
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees