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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pinch hitting: Yankees Etc.

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jan 18, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

January is usually a slow month for baseball news. So we’ve lined up a series of guest bloggers to entertain you. Next up is Travis from Yankees Etc..

Travis has been blogging the Yankees and Giants since the summer of ’05. A New York native, he went to school in Boston and now works in Philadelphia. He says his favorite players are Donnie, Paulie and El Duque and he has the Giants over the Patriots in the Super Bowl. But we’re letting him blog anyway and here’s his post:

It seems hardcore Yankee fans are looking forward to 2008 more so than any other season in years. Last season we saw that our top prospects were not over-hyped as Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy lived up to or exceeded expectations. Assuming none are traded, all will be important pieces of the 2008 team and well beyond. With their potential production for the next decade at stake, Yankee management is taking every precaution to ensure the Trio can and will contribute for as long as possible.

In what way should the Trio be used and in what way will they be used?

Management played it safe last year with the Joba Rules, even in the midst of a pennant race. Going by the “Rule of 30″ (supported by Rick Peterson, Will Carroll and Tom Verducci) none of the Trio will reach 200 innings in 2008.

Looking at their innings totals from 2007 and how much those increased from 2006, here’s what we can expect their limits to be:

Hughes pitched 72.2 with the Yankees, 5.2 in the playoffs and 37.2 in the minors = 116 total innings. That’s exactly 30 fewer innings than 2006 (due to injuries). Since he pitched 146 innings in 2006, it’s possible he could be stretched to 170 innings.

Joba pitched 24 with the Yanks, 3.2 in the playoffs and 88.1 in the minors = 116 total. That’s 11 fewer than 2006 when he threw 89.1 at Nebraska and 37.2 in the Hawaiian Winter League. He probably won’t be stretched beyond 150, but some put it up to 170.

Kennedy pitched 19 with the Yanks and 146.1 in the minors = 165.1 total. That’s almost exactly 30 more innings than in 2006 (101.2 at USC, 2.2 in the minors and 30.1 in Hawaii). We can reasonably expect 195 innings this year.

If we assume 200 each from Wang and Pettitte, who each topped 200 in ’07 (counting the playoffs), it would still require about 550 innings from the remaining starters (to match the AL average of 950 innings from starters).

Assuming that any or all of the Trio will outperform Mike Mussina (he of the 5.15 ERA), they can and should be used to their maximum innings limits. If they average six innings per start, that would allow the former duo to start at least 25 games each and Kennedy to start 33 games. Great – we get pretty much a full season from Kennedy and over two-thirds from Hughes and Joba. However, it still leaves about 50 starter innings unaccounted for, hence a number of spot starts will be needed from Mussina or the hot hand of the moment (e.g., Alan Horne, Steven White, Jeff Marquez, etc.). That would require a kind of five-man rotation, going something along the lines of:

Kennedy (due to a higher innings limit)
Joba (a 100% homegrown April rotation!)

Moose will need to fill in for Hughes and Joba (alternately) roughly twice for every four times through the rotation. However, with off days, it would drop to about eight starts throughout the season. This maximizes our best starters, minimizes our worst (sorry Moose), and keeps the trio within their individual innings limitations.

(Travis says to chech out his blog for more on this subject)





83 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Yankees Etc.”

  1. Peter Abraham January 18th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Thanks to Travis for posting. Good stuff.

  2. Giuseppe Franco January 18th, 2008 at 12:40 am

    Due to the innings-caps on the kids, I’ve been saying all winter that the Yanks are going to need Mussina more than the fans think.

    Don’t be surprised if he makes 20-25 starts in 2008.

  3. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 18th, 2008 at 12:42 am

    How do I chech his blog?


    Travis–Excellent post, well worth the read. I cannot tell you how much the sound of ‘home grown rotation’ is making me faun…

  4. Bronx Liaison January 18th, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Very good points Travis.

    Not to toot my own horn too much, but Clemens retained Bill Clinton’s lawyer for the upcoming Feb. congressional hearings:

  5. Bronx Liaison January 18th, 2008 at 12:47 am

    The fact that Kennedy can hit the 200 innings plateau seems to get overlooked a lot. Good job highlighting that fact.

    The damaging part of Hughes’ injuries were not just that he missed time in 2007, but it will force Phil to be capped in 2008 at a much greater limit than would have been planned had he pitched 150 innings last season.

    Winter ball would have helped, but I agree with the Yankees just wanting to give Hughes time off so his body can fully recover from his injuries.

  6. dan l January 18th, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Let’s hope they let the kids pitch more than six innings per start! The more innings pitched per start the better chance to win. If the kids help the Yankees get there starters 2 more outs per start they will win 95 plus games.

  7. NYhunter January 18th, 2008 at 1:13 am

    Moose will pitch more than we would like… I think 20 starts from him at least…

    Very well written, Travis! But you seems to forget Igawa. They might not let him rot in 3A for obvious reasons, and I don’t think he could be a reliever due to his poor command.

    And I would like to see if Horne could handle set-up duty, because I don’t trust both Farnsworth and Hawkins! So, except Marquez, who is absolutely unknown facing big league hitters, we might have to hope Igawa to have amazing turnaround this season, to show why he was a top-notch starter back in Japan if Moose blow again…

    PS: Although I don’t have high hope on Wang, he IS the only inning-eater in our rotation. We will have to have him pitching around 230 innings this season…

  8. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 1:16 am

    nice post.

    i was wondering if they consider spring training at all when they consider innings totals for a year for a pitcher, particularly, for the younger guys. anyone know? or is spring training pitching so much less intense that they really don’t figure into the logic as much?

  9. Whoever January 18th, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Spring training is not included just like the playoffs isn’t. Those innings really have to do with balls pitched so it is going to happen in times that they will go into 7 innings. On another note, Mark Texeira signed a one year deal for 12.5 million now that is only good news for Cano (considering that the yankees don’t want to give him a long contract) he’ll probably get something around 10 million.

  10. NYhunter January 18th, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Cano is NOT gonna get 10 mil in his FIRST year of arbitration!

    And for the real comparison, Huston Street just agreed with 3.3 mil today. This deal might have some implication with Wang. They both are in their 1st year of arbitration, although Wang is a “super 2″. Both have good records. The obvious difference is one is a starter and the other is a closer. Starter should have more value than closer…

    So my guess is that Wang gets 3.5 mil…

  11. NYhunter January 18th, 2008 at 1:34 am

    And Cano gets 4 mil…

  12. Bob January 18th, 2008 at 1:43 am

    This has NEVER been done on the major league level, as far as I know, but the same thing could be accomplished by putting Mussina on a three-four innings substitute, three-day rest rotation. When he came in for Hughes and Chamberlain, he would enter the game in the fourth inning, for Kennedy in the fifth, and for Pettite and Wang in the seventh. He would end up pitching in 40 games, and about 120 innings. He would cut out about 30 innings a piece from the workload of Hughes and Chamberlain, and about 20 or so for Kennedy. All five starters would keep to their regular rotation schedule, rather than skipping starts throughout the season. Of course, this is all theoretical, because it is virtually impossible that all six would be totally healthy all season long, but it is, in my opinion, a fascinating way to keep all of them on a regular rotation AND cut the innings of those on limited duty.

  13. Travis G. January 18th, 2008 at 1:43 am

    thanks for the kind words.

    3 quick things:
    i know Igawa could be in the mix for spot starts or relief, but i had to cut about 2/3 of my unabridged piece – his mention was a victim of that.

    by ‘former duo’, i’m referring to Hughes and Joba.

    the innings limits are definitely dependent on pitches/ip also. that’s part of the reason Wang jumped 70 innings from 05 to 06. im sure Cash, Joe and Co. will allow the kids to pitch more and deeper into games if they maintain low pitch counts.

    Pete, thanks for the opportunity!

  14. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 18th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    I think Girardi said the Yankees would NOT use a six man rotation.

    Am off to sleep, a pleasant evening all.

  15. NYhunter January 18th, 2008 at 1:54 am

    Thanks for clarifying, Travis… :-)

    I really think that Igawa is gonna be very important to us since we have 3 kid starters and 1 old & ineffective guy this season, although I probably will have some mental and physical disorders everytime when he’s on the mound…

  16. Evil Empire January 18th, 2008 at 2:06 am

    thorough post, i didnt realize april could be a homegrown month. im excited to see all these new kids come through the system and work with a new manager and still have eiland as pitching coach. im hoping for some big things. buck foston.

  17. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    January 18th, 2008 at 1:43 am
    “Mussina on a three-four innings substitute, three-day rest rotation. When he came in for Hughes and Chamberlain, he would enter the game in the fourth inning, for Kennedy in the fifth, and for Pettite and Wang in the seventh. He would end up pitching in 40 games, and about 120 innings. He would cut out about 30 innings”
    This makes very little sense. The idea is to reduce some of the innings, but increase their endurance in the game. Pitching starters for 4 innings does absolutely nothing to accomplish that. The idea of a modified 6 man rotation involving Hughes and Chamberlain, and on occassion, Kennedy or the other two starters is the only way to reduce innings while at the same time, building endurance. Mussina gets a fairly steady workload, while not overworking him. He can stay sharp by throwing some innings in relief on the rotations that he’s not scheduled to start. It will also lengthen the bullpen. You can expect Pettitte and possibly Wang to pitch a few times on their bullpen throw days, since their bullpen sessions those days simulate game situations.

  18. iYankees January 18th, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Nice stuff Travis. I’ve never really thought about this, but, if Moose can regain his 2006 form, I wouldn’t be opposed to him sliding into the final rotation spot. We can always utilize Kennedy as a long-man or maybe even a reliever? I haven’t really thought about it too much, but he could certainly excell in the role and then slot back into the rotation when Joba or Hughes hit their max (or if anything else occurs).

  19. Tommy January 18th, 2008 at 4:33 am

    You guys are totally overlookin Moose!

  20. Alan January 18th, 2008 at 6:07 am

    Mussina has spent his entire career as a front of the rotation starter with strict preparation routines. As a spot starter or possible long relief role changing things, can he do it ?

  21. Wiggum Fan January 18th, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Concerning the listing of Kennedy as number 3 due to his inning potential, that reminded me of something Neyer wrote years ago.

    He said he thought that the “inning eaters” (for lack of a better term) should be broken up to allow for better bullpen rest.

    Since he wrote that, and it might be about 3 – 5 years ago, I have never seen anyone study it.

    That would make the 2008 rotation something like:

    If anyone has seen research that Neyer was talking about, please pass it along.

  22. iYankees January 18th, 2008 at 6:26 am

    I honestly think he was still sort of hindered by his earlier injury issue. His 2006 was actually very good (even his K’s were up there) and I, for whatever reason, just cannot believe that he is totally done for.

    He did have his fastball moving around 89-91 though (maybe hitting 92, but rarely). Hopefully, if he can develop the strength necessary to pitch in that range for a full season, I still think he’s good enough to post some really solid figures.

  23. yanks-giants guy January 18th, 2008 at 7:15 am

    good post! thanks!
    as far as these 6 man schemes go, i still say no way a rookie pitching coach and manager go with some scheme that predetermines which inning a guy is going to be replaced in before the game starts.

  24. SAHM I Am January 18th, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Travis -

    Good post. Particularly exciting was, barring a trade, having that home-grown rotation in the spring.

    I think Moose will rebound a bit, and that will be helpful in getting the most out of the trio. I am anxious to see how Girardi and Eiland solve this little puzzle of how to maximize the effectiveness of the starting staff. Every good inning pitched by a starter is one less inning for the bullpen. It can’t be overstated how important a rested bullpen is. I also read in someone’s post the other day (I’m sorry I don’t remember who wrote it), that another reason for the bullpen’s ineffectiveness last season could be due to a by-product of overuse, which is overexposure to the same team in the same series. I absolutely agree with that.

    Posts like yours really start to stir the excitement for the new season, only a few weeks from now!

  25. Fran January 18th, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Good post. Even though Girardi is not using a six man rotation, the Yankees need six starters. The sixth (probably Mussina) will have to fill in and eat innings for the kids.

  26. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 7:56 am

    good post! this season, a long relief man is going to be really important. i dont think mussina can handle that role, having been a starter and being a ‘feel’ pitcher, so they are going to need igawa or karstens or someone step up and be ramiro mendoza (circa 1998)

  27. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 8:12 am

    mark my words, to start the season Moose will be in the rotation… there is no way Girardi moves Moose out of the rotation, as a veteran who might be pitching the last season of his career, for three rookies even if they have a better spring training.

    that isnt to say things would change as the season progresses, but IMO, its almost a lock that you’ll see Wang, Pettitte, Moose, IPK, Hughes as the starting 5 come March 31st, injuries aside, with Joba in the pen.

  28. John in Ohio January 18th, 2008 at 8:14 am

    They might consider something like penciling in Pettitte and Wang in for four days rest, and then filling in the gaps with a rotation of the other four.

    It’s a very unusual idea, I admit, and not likely to happen, but the idea of limiting three of your starters’ innings is going to call for something very creative.

  29. John in Ohio January 18th, 2008 at 8:14 am

    Can’t just shut all three down when September rolls around.

  30. Yanksrule57 January 18th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    All of you who have Mussina filling the role as a “super-sub”
    haven’t been paying attention to him the last 6 years.
    Now granted, in his twilight he may change and if he does more credit to him. However, every time Torre tried to mess with his routine he whined and it got reported in the press.

    I always wondered if it was Saint Joe who leaked this information to the press IOT motivate the player. Bobby V. used to do this all the time but the difference was the reporters would rat him out. Joe Torre I think was protected by some of the reporters on the team in this regard.

  31. Yanksrule57 January 18th, 2008 at 8:17 am

    “reporters covering the team”

  32. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 8:30 am

    I understand the innings caps, but I think a lot will depend on how many pitches they have to pitch each inning. I think that will help decide if they push the envelope on the innings caps. The more batters they have to face each inning can significantly increase the number of pitches they have to throw each inning. I think that while Innings pitched does have a good deal to with how many outings these kids will have, more important will be HOW they got those innings with the number of batters they face.

    I think another determining factor with all these starting pitchers will be how well the pen is doing. There could be a number of new faces from the minors who come up through the season to act as relief. Some will be showcasing to set up trade potentials, some will be to help develop the young arms more.

  33. Lori January 18th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    great points. The one thing that has me concerned, though, about using Moose for spot starts is this: he seemed to pitch better when he was on a regular schedule. Everytime he got bumped for whatever reason his performance more than usual.

  34. myrtlebeachfan January 18th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I’m with those making realistic statements about this issue.

    Moose WILL be in the rotation and he WILL be starting at least 20 games. It’s better to start out as a starter with Moose than to start out with a rookie who is unprepared.

    We should start Joba in the minor leagues and bring him up in late April or early May. Either that or we leave Hughes or Kennedy down for a little bit. Girardi will realize Mussina has lost most of what he’s got and will use him sparingly.

  35. Lori January 18th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    *his performance suffered more than usual

  36. AW January 18th, 2008 at 8:46 am

    This is all well and good, but you know someone’s going to be injured. The Yankees started the season last year with 7 starting pitchers (with Hughes waiting in the wings), and that still wasn’t enough.

  37. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    I don’t get the obession with the number of innings. A pitcher could pitch 3 innings in a game and it feels like he pitched a complete game, or he can pitch a complete game and it feels like he pitched 4 innings. To me it all depends on how hard they have to work.

    Obviously you have to have some loose guidelines, but it is by no means a lock that all he can pitch is 170 innings.

  38. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Yank’s rotation needs to be ready to go out of ST this season alot more than recent years. They yanks have one day off after opening day, then are scheduled the next 19 days. weather may well change this but they cant start the season with SP’s in extended ST like they have in recent seasons because of frequent days off in the inital 2-3 weeks of the season.
    they also might want to bring thier long johns as they start with YS, KC and Boston.

  39. SJ44 January 18th, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Moose is going to start the year in the rotation. Joba isn’t starting the year in the minor leagues and Girardi isn’t using a 6 man rotation.

    Say what you will about Moose but, the guy has a ton of pride. This is his last year in baseball. My guess is, he is going to look to go out with a bang.

    The problem isn’t his arm. Its his legs. If he spent the off-season strengthening his legs, he certainly is good enough to give them quality outings as a 4th or 5th starter.

    He just needs his hamstring to hold up.

    As we see every year, guys get hurt. You need 7-8 starting pitchers over the course of the season. Mainly because, the chances of everybody staying healthy over the course of a full season are nil.

    The more you analyize the innings issue, the more sense it makes to start Joba out in the bullpen.

    If he pitches 50-60 innings out of the bullpen the first half of the year (pitching 1+-2 inning stints), you would have him available for approx. 12-15 starts the second half of the year.

    That would put him at approx. 140-150 innings going into the post-season. You also get more use out of him in terms of pitching in more games/more meaningful situations.

    It all depends on whether or not he can handle it. Seems to me he can. But, ultimately, that’s Eiland’s, Nardi’s and Girardi’s call.

    Well written blog. Very good perspective Travis.

  40. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 9:06 am

    jennifer, it seems we are in agreement. Heck, last year we saw some pitchers pitch a whole game in two innings. At least it seemed that way.

    Wang typically goes deeper in games because he works less each inning, in most cases. Even when he gives up hits with his ground balls he gets a lot of double plays.

    Mussina had said that he found he benefited from having some time off last season. He was also reported to be working out with a personal trainer, something he had not done before, during the off season. Moose is a pretty proud person, I think he may still have struggles this season, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him keep what velocity he has instead of seeing it decline over the season.

  41. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 9:07 am

    “It’s better to start out as a starter with Moose than to start out with a rookie who is unprepared.”
    none of the young pitchers are going to be unprepared. unexperienced maybe but not unprepared.
    as for whether Moose is better than the rookies, Spring Training will tell us. I dont want them to go with Moose because of his experience if he’s throwing meatballs.

  42. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    imb, I think some of the old Yankee slow starts were from how Torre ran ST. I have a feeling that Girardi will not be quite as relaxed about it as Torre was.

    Different manager style may show up in the early part of the season.

  43. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 9:11 am

    I agree, I think Mike will come back with something to prove. He doesn’t to end an argueably possible hall of fame career on a bad note. I think Joe G will look to give him off an extra day here and there if it will benefit him. And I think he’ll pitch to a 4.25 era which with our line up should give him at least 10 wins.

  44. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    SJ, good post. the more i think about it, i’m guessing Joba will probably be in the pen the first half of the season as set-up man. it’ll also be good way to see who could emerge as the best option for 8th inning guy once Joba starts starting.

  45. Boston Dave January 18th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    so many fair weather fans in here… “Moose stinks”, “Damon is awful”, etc

    Players get hurt, have slumps and even down years. Moose may have lost a little but give the guy the benefit of the doubt for now.

    How did Mussina pitch after his extended rest at the end of the season?

  46. ken777 January 18th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    With all due respect.
    Putting Joba in the BP is not good, for many reasons. Will not use all 4 pitches. Needs the arm/legs to get and stay strong. Set up his work and prep schedule. A pitcher CAN NOT jump back and fourth between ST/BP. Also, he has always been a starter. He has much more value as a starter than as a BP pitcher.

  47. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    “Also, he has always been a starter. He has much more value as a starter than as a BP pitcher.”

    i am 99.9% sure that SJ44 was not arguing otherwise.

  48. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    “so many fair weather fans in here… “Moose stinks”, “Damon is awful”, etc”

    so true. it’s probably the worst part of this blog.

  49. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Old Goat:
    There is a logical reason for ptchers not getting enough work in spring training. Number one is the number of pitchers that are brought into camp by NY. The other reason is that you seldom see the Yankees schedule “B” games anymore. Scheduling “B” or split squad games would give all of the pitchers and the kids in camp a lot of game time experience that could benefit them and the Yanks during the season. This was not a Joe Torre call…this is a front office call. George Steinbrenner would go crazy at the thought of losing even a spring training game, so the split squad practice was curtailed in order to improve the team record and make George happy. This is the same reason that the Yankees don’t play the Mets during ST. They don’t play the Red Sox, either, but, that’s for other reasons. Most of the games they play are against NL teams.

  50. Hideki Balboni January 18th, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I agree with the responses that say Mussina is going to get more starts. If Mussina has a good spring, I bet Girardi gives him a spot in the rotation. And don’t forget, the Yanks haven’t yet made a decision on how to use Joba in 08. He may be in the pen, and then the Yanks will really need Mussina in the rotation.

  51. ken777 January 18th, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I am sure you are right. It just makes me get on edge when someone say Joba and pen in the same sentence. Thank you.

  52. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 10:01 am

    yeah, i dont think that is what SJ was saying either… we’re just trying to work under the assumption that Moose is guaranteed a spot in the rotation, which leaves 2 spots for the 3 young pitchers. Hughes you want in the staff for development reasons, and IPK is best able to give you the most amount of innings right away for the season.

    that leaves Joba, and oddly enough, i heard he had some success last season out of the pen…

    it really kind of falls into place when you break it down.

  53. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    “I am sure you are right. It just makes me get on edge when someone say Joba and pen in the same sentence. Thank you”

    i’m with you on this one. just didn’t want SJ’s remarks taken out of context.

  54. Say it ain't so January 18th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    People forget that Moose made a lot of terrific starts last season, so I’m not in the crowd that believes he’s lost all of his stuff. In fact, just before he went through that horrible stretch starting at the end of August, he rolled out several great starts in a row.

    If it had been Clemens that had those same three bad starts in a row, there was no way he would’ve been pulled from the rotation and then jerked around like Moose was.

  55. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    “They don’t play the Red Sox, either, but, that’s for other reasons. Most of the games they play are against NL teams.”

    they usually play the Red Sox in ST, no?

  56. whozat January 18th, 2008 at 10:11 am

    “they usually play the Red Sox in ST, no?”

    They are this year, once.

    They play the teams that are closest, so players don’t have to sit on a bus all the time.

  57. Pat January 18th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    GreenBeret7 you are wrong, the Yankees play the red sox in ST this year and they also have a split squad day as well.

  58. whozat January 18th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    The Mets are a three hour drive away, on the opposite coast. That’s why they don’t play them. The Sox aren’t that close either.

  59. Pat January 18th, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Red sox are about an hour away if I’m remembering correctly

  60. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 10:19 am

    Anyone think we’ll see more of Alex and Jeter et al at spring training games that are “far” away?

  61. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I think not playing the soxs has more to do with, that we play them 19 times already, why add to it. You don’t want to see your pitchers that often. etc

  62. SJ44 January 18th, 2008 at 10:23 am

    We all know Joba’s future is as a starter.

    We are talking about his present.

    Fact is, for the Yankees to get the most/best use out of him this season, he may have to start the year in the bullpen.

    By doing so, just as Johan Santana did early in his career, its a win win situation. They get the most out of Joba’s innings this year and it also makes the team stronger for 2008.

    Just because he is in the bullpen doesn’t mean he can’t use all his pitches. Toward the end of last season, he broke out the curveball in some of his relief outings.

    If the Yankees are only going to have him for approx. 150 innings next year, given the current makeup of the roster, seems to me Joba spending the first half of the year in the bullpen is the best way to go.

  63. whozat January 18th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    “Anyone think we’ll see more of Alex and Jeter et al at spring training games that are “far” away?”

    No. The games don’t matter…They’ve certainly earned the right not to have to sit on a bus to go play a ballgame that means nothing.

    Basically, for the chafey games, they set a number of legit 25-man roster guys (like…four or five) and then take volunteers, or maybe draw lots or something.

  64. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    The only concern I have over Joba starting in the pen is that it doesn’t give him longer outings. If he gets used to going out for 1 or 2 innings, then getting rest in between, how will that affect him when he then goes to 5 or 6 innings?

    I agree with the use of all the pitches, though I would guess that the majority of the pitches would be fastball.

  65. rodg12 January 18th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    The other considerations that must be taken into account is that you want your best pitchers strong for the playoffs. I think this means that you’ll want Joba and Hughes primed and ready to pitch in October with Pettitte and Wang. The more I look at this, the more I see Joba starting the season out of the pen (ala Billingsly last year, Liriano in ’06, Santana in ’03, etc.) and Hughes pitching out of the 5 hole (gives you the ability to skip him quite a bit early on). That way, you can maximize Joba’s innings started by putting them toward the end of the year and have him built up for playoff starting and accomplish something along the same line with Hughes.

  66. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 10:35 am

    SJ44 has the right idea. Joba should, and I believe will, start in the BP. IF our BP wasn’t so bad, and IF Joba wasn’t so damn good last year in Relief, they might toy with a 6 man, or modified 5 man rotation. Howver, the 6 man rotation is out because it takes starts away from Wang, Pettitte and even IPK. It basically weakens the entire staff to try and save Hughes/Joba innings.

    Here’s how it goes:
    1st half
    Wang —— 16 GS
    Pettitte — 16 GS
    IPK ——- 16 GS
    Moose —– 16 GS
    Phil —— 11 GS (approx 66 IPs)
    Spots —– 5 GS (Rasner/Iggy/Karstens/whomever)
    Joba —— 0 GS — BP 50 IPs, 10 APs/2 IPs – 10 APs/3 IPs

    2nd half
    Wang —— 17 GS
    Pettitte — 17 GS
    IPK ——- 16 GS
    Moose —– 2 GS (to begin the 2nd half)
    Phil —— 14 GS (approx 84 IPs)
    Joba —— 16 GS (approx 96 IPs)

    This gives Phil a total of 150 IPs, to be cautious AND have him relatively fresh for the PS
    This gives Joba a total of 146 IPs, to be cautious AND have him relatively fresh for the PS
    This allows Moose the consistance he needs for slightly more than a half year
    This vastly strengthens our BP the 1st half when it is most needed.
    Between Horne, Patterson, others kids, and a possible trade, our BP (NOT counting Joba) should be better in the 2nd half then the first.

    This makes for a consistant rotation and basically nullifies the fact that we have 2 guys on limited innings

    It is important that Joba and Phil are under their IPs cap going into the PS. We really won’t know who our ‘Top 4′ are until the end of the year. If IPK and Moose are bad, both Joba and Phil may both need to be SPs for the PS.

    In a series of (PS) ‘must win short series’ the BP takes on more importance. I would not be surprise to see Joba in the BP for the PS.

    If in the 18 starts with Moose/Spot starters we can play close to .500 ball (maybe 8/10), we are in fine shape.

    YES yes yes. We all agree Joba is a starter. He will pitch 1/2 year more in the BP (as he did last year) and then 15 1/2 years as a starter. This is NOT moving him back and forth. MANY SPs has started in the BP.

    Really, the only issue here is Moose w/18 GS. If he is really crappy, he will be hard. Realistically, to pitch .500 ball, he should be able to do this with a 5 ERA.

  67. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 10:36 am

    oops…. sorry about all that BOLD.
    PETE!!!!!!! EDIT SCREEN PLEASE!!!!!!!!

  68. wsr January 18th, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Do you think that Joba making the switch from bullpen to starting will be tough? It just seems to me that it would be begging for an injury. Also, I’d imagine there’d be an adjustment time, where he would have some rough games starting. If he goes from (hypothetically) relief appearances like last year to struggling as a starter, and if the person who takes over the 8th inning performs like most of the bullpen last year did in the 8th inning spot, I see there being a fair amount of pressure to put him back to the pen for good (or at least the rest of the year).
    Maybe I am just trying to look too far ahead, but I have a feeling that starting the year in the pen would end up just hurting his development.
    To be honest, I’d like to see Joba and Hughes split time in the minors, i.e. going into the season saying that one will be up for a couple of months, then they’ll switch, then reevaluate at a set point to gear up for a run into the postseason. granted, if there’s injuries, that may change things, but I’d rather they work to bring the young guys up to their potential sooner, rather than slow their development because of potential problems this year. Next year we’ll have to do some replacing of pitchers, so I’d like these guys to be ready to step up into full time spots, not have inning limits because of us getting greedy this year.
    Granted, I’m probably way off here, but it’s just what I’m thinking.

  69. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 10:41 am

    P.S. If Joba DOES start in the BP, it will be a lot more in line with ‘practicing to be a starter’ if he is NOT used for 1 inning appearances, but all 2 and 3 inning IPs. It is possible he could go 7,8 and 9th in games with a 2 or 3 run lead.

    He would certainly be nice in the 7th and 8th with Mo closing in close games. By having all longer appearances, it limits the number of times he warms up. He should be encouraged to use all his pitches, and NOT go full out in his 1st inning, but pace himself a bit.

  70. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 10:44 am

    if Joba does start in the pen, i think we would see more 2 or 3 inning appearances, maybe twice a week, vs. 3-4 one inning appearances.

  71. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    The Yanks Red Sox used to play 5-6 games each spring and wouldschedule about 8-10 split squad games also. I wasn’t looking at this year’s schedule, but, one of the reasons given was because of the number of games they play during the year and hitters getting overly familiar with the pitchers. I realize that Boston is no longer headquartered in Winter Haven and have moved about an hour and a half down I75 to Ft Myers, but, the Twins are also in Ft Myers. All I’m saying is that other teams play more than one split squad a year. New York has pretty much stopped playing “B” games for whatever reason. Starting pitchers used to get 25-30 innings during the spring, now they’re lucky to get 15 innings in. Last year, they had 4 pitchers that got 15-20 innings. That’s not much preparation. It’s just my belief that the extra games would benefit the pitchers and the kids.

  72. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    “P.S. If Joba DOES start in the BP, it will be a lot more in line with ‘practicing to be a starter’ if he is NOT used for 1 inning appearances, but all 2 and 3 inning IPs. It is possible he could go 7,8 and 9th in games with a 2 or 3 run lead.”


  73. rodg12 January 18th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Here’s specific examples the Yanks could use for Joba and their breakdowns:

    Chad Billingsley ’07
    Ended year with 147 IP, 3.31 ERA

    Johan Santana ’03
    Ended year with 158.3, 3.07 ERA

  74. SJ44 January 18th, 2008 at 10:55 am

    I don’t see how Joba starting in the bullpen hurts his development.

    In fact, as has been documented from other posters, not only have other pitchers done it, its actually helped their development. More importantly, its also helped their teams.

    The reality is, unless injuries hit, I have a hard time believing the Yankees are going to enter the season with 3 (basically) rookies in the starting rotation.

    They didn’t spend 400 million dollars this off-season to re-sign veterans to turn the starting rotation into the Rays.

    Could it end that way? Perhaps. However, starting out, barring injuries, I think its safe to say, Wang, Pettitte and Moose have 3 of the starting spots locked down.

    That leaves Kennedy and Hughes for the other two spots and Joba in the ‘pen.

    When you look at it that way, it really does give them their best chance to win.

    Joba can still develop, still use all his pitches and, as Turn Two said, we will see more 2 inning outings than last year.

    Under Girardi and Eiland I expect to see a lot more logical use of pitching. Especially out of the bullpen.

    I don’t think they will fall in love with one guy and run him into the ground.

    Obviously, Joba has to be able to handle it. But, after seeing him all last year, from Single A to the majors, there isn’t a helluva lot he can’t handle.

    I don’t think the Yankees are going to take any unnecessary risks with ANY of their young arms. I do, however, think they are going to examine every way possible to get the maximum amount of usage out of all of their young arms this year.

    2008 may be a rebuilding year for some but, its not for the Yankees.

  75. ken777 January 18th, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Travis good blog.
    I should have read you site before my comments. Good job!

    It is better to go from starter to BP than it is the other way around. If one goes from BP to starter, he would need time in the MIL to get the arm back up to par and the right mind set. As an old Eddie Lopat type pitcher, I did this. You would lose him for about 3 or 4 weeks(he would still have the innings count). I still think he needs to be in the rotation, for his and our sake.

  76. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 11:28 am

    ken, i think you arent taking into consideration the context under which you have to make the Joba decision.

  77. bodhisattva January 18th, 2008 at 11:33 am


    Since when is this Moose’s “last year in baseball”? It’s his last year under contract to the Yankees. He could very seamlessly get a couple of productive years out of going to the NL. I have never read quotes from Mussina or his agent declaring 2008 to be his final year. Have you?

  78. Marissa January 18th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I’ve been reading Travis G’s blog for a while now and it’s one of the good ones. I have it bookmarked and check it daily to read his updates and opinions (

  79. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Mike wants to pitch close to home. Home is Eastern Pa. I don’t see him moving his entire family to say Atlanta. I also don’t see him returning to Baltimore, espically after how he was treated by fans when he left there. And I’m not just talking booing and throwing money at him. From what I heard from other people, it was downright scary.

  80. Anthony January 18th, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    What is the Rule of 30?

  81. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    You would lose him for about 3 or 4 weeks(he would still have the innings count).
    Do you have any documentation for this.
    The players get 4 wks of ST to make up for 4 months of not playing at all. Why would it take 3 weeks to go from throwing 2 innings ever 3 days to throwing 6 innings ever 5 days???

  82. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    League average SPs are getting $10m these days. If Moose is close to that, and wants to play, I’m sure someone would offer him $5-8m as a #5 SP. Philly? The Mutts? St. Louis?

  83. ken777 January 18th, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Very easy. When you are in the BP you throw your best two pitches, sometimes mixing in your other pitches(but, not enough). Remember the curve, change are feel pitches. When you use only your two best the others seem to suffer big time. As one only starts every 5 days 3/5 starts = 2+weeks/4 weeks. Not documentation just experience. I could be wrong but we will see, if he starts in the BP.

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