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Interview With Mark Simon Part I

Mark Simon writes for ESPNNY, covering the Mets and Yankees. Simon also co-hosts the Baseball Today podcast, and his primary work is as a Baseball Research Specialist for ESPN Stats & Information.

Mark was kind enough to answer ten questions about the Yankees, stats, and more for us!

Brandon C.: Do you see the Yankees making a big trade this off-season?

Mark Simon: I think they have one big move in them this offseason, and then maybe some minor tinkering to have some third base insurance for A-Rod, maybe some outfield depth, and a lefty reliever. The big move almost surely would be a starting pitcher, unless they decided to jettison Swisher. I can't see any circumstance in which they'd have a different starting position player at any of the other spots.

BC Do you believe 2012 will be Mariano Rivera's last season?

MS: I'll say 2013, but 2012 wouldn't shock me. I think David Robertson will inherit the role when Mariano Rivera is done.

BC: If you're in charge of the Yankees, what moves do you make this off-season?

MS: I would either trade for an ace or build up starting pitching depth to the point of having 6 starters that you're really comfy with (right now, you probably have 4). I think if you can get a potential No. 2 starter (Garza or someone of his ilk) without giving up Montero, you should pursue.

I was kind of surprised that they signed Swisher. I thought they might try to start over in RF, but I guess Cashman assessed the market and realized it would be worthwhile to get another year out of him at that cost.

BC: Do you think the Yankees can make the playoffs with their current rotation? Win the World Series?

MS: Playoffs, yes, absolutely. Ask me about the World Series on Opening Day, once I can get a better look at the completed rosters for the Rangers, Red Sox, and Phillies.


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BC: Are there any stats that jump out at you about the Yankees that the average fan does not know?

MS: I suppose that depends on how you define average fan. Those of you who read my blog items on ESPNNY know that I like the defensive stats, and I'm guessing average fan would be surprised at how poorly Granderson ranked last season. That was written about a lot. What wasn't noted was that, at least statistically, CC Sabathia rates very poorly via the advanced defensivemetrics.

BC: Which stats do you use first when analyzing a player?

MS: That depends on who it is. Let me say this. Almost every statistic has some use, even batting average, which takes a lot of hits (no pun intended) from those who are sabermetrically-inclined. I look at a lot...his slashline, his power numbers, his situational performance (I'll usually look at both BA with runners in scoring position and a sabermetric stat like Win Probability Added to see if they jibe), his baserunning, his is funny though that I do find myself gravitating to WAR when I want to get the overall picture.

There are so many ways to statistically analyze a player. It can all be a bit overwhelming. It's nice to try to put the whole thing into one package, even if it isn't the perfect stat.

Thanks again to Mark Simon for answering the questions. Part II will be posted tomorrow at 10 AM.