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


Hey, you, calm down

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Apr 19, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

A few notes for those of you on the ledge:

* The Yankees have played 18 straight days. Kids making shoes in factories in Third World countries don’t work 18 straight days.

* The following players have missed games because of injury: Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada, Jose Molina, Wilson Betemit

* The following players missed games because of suspension: Melky Cabrera, Shelley Duncan.

* The following players have so far forgotten how to hit: Jason Giambi, Robinson Cano.

* The following players have been away to care for critically ill fathers: Joba Chamberlain.

* The following managers missed games because of illness: Joe Girardi.

* Number of games at home: 9

* Number of games on the road: 9

* Number of games when it was warmer than 60 degrees: 5

* Number of new managers: 1

* Number of new coaches: 4

* Number of games against the defending World Champions: 5

* Number of starts by Andy Pettitte: 3 out of 18.

* Number of times Joba and Mo have pitched in the same game: 3

* Number of papal visits that have disrupted everybody’s schedule: 1

Do I need to go on? It’s somewhat of a miracle that the Yankees are 9-9 at this point given everything that has gone on. Did you really think Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy would be the next coming of Whitey Ford and Allie Reynolds right away?

Hughes is the second-youngest player in the majors and the youngest pitcher. Most of us were in college when we were 21 and trying to scrape enough money for beer. He’s the No. 3 starter for the Yankees. How about giving him a break?

Do I really need to remind people that the Yankees were 14.5 games out of first place last May and were driving around in a van picking up starting pitchers from homeless shelters and bus stations?

Try, just try, to be a little cognizant of the situation your team has been in so far. Some of the comments on the blog tonight appeared to be written by 8-year-olds after sucking down three Mountain Dews.

Brian Cashman didn’t promise you a wire-to-wire joyride. There’s a plan in place and there are going to be some bumps.

Brew some green tea, take a nice sip, put some jazz on your iPod and calm down. It’s April 19.

Comments

comments

 

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323 Responses to “Hey, you, calm down”

  1. Greg Cohen April 19th, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Great post Peter.

  2. G. Love April 19th, 2008 at 1:24 am

    No! No! No!

    *cracking open my 8th Mt. Dew of the night*

  3. Joel April 19th, 2008 at 1:26 am

    I am convinced that, as long as they are still in it in June, there will be some kind of trade for a starting pitcher. As in, see you later Ian Kennedy, Alberto Gonzalez and Austin Jackson, hello whoever can give us a quality start just about every time out. There’s gonna be one of those guys available this year, and the Yankees have the chips to get him.

  4. Pete Glass April 19th, 2008 at 1:27 am

    marathon not a sprint

  5. Ryan April 19th, 2008 at 1:28 am

    I’m ready to leave Moeller behind the plate as long as Posada has Damon’s cannon behind the plate.

  6. OptimiPesstic April 19th, 2008 at 1:30 am

    … you forgot to mention another important obstacle … the rest of BASEBALL – is just BETTER this year.
    Even the National League is greatly improved.

    The days of walking over the rays and o’s 35 times a year are over. These are much improved clubs.

    Look around baseball – especially, the minor leagues – the competition has finally caught up to the great expansion dilemma. You are seeing a lot of amazing talent starting to surface on an everyday basis. Lineups are now regularly four deep in power – AL and NL.

    not to mention the international competition that has emerged to make things even harder for a baseball player to make the majors.

    These guys are the BEST IN THE WORLD!!!!! .. and they ALL .. ALL want to beat the Yankees more than any other team.

    … they need to re-evalute the competition and realize that they need to do more than just show up now to win this thing.

  7. It is what it is April 19th, 2008 at 1:31 am

    DON’T TELL ME TO CALM DOWN !!

  8. It is what it is April 19th, 2008 at 1:32 am

    (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  9. Bronx Liaison April 19th, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Voice Of Reason makes an appearance at the blog.

    By the way, Phil’s velo readings on MLB Gameday and the Orioles telecast: sat at 92-93mph and hit 94 every inning or so.

    His stuff is getting there.. Not a great performance, but an A-Rod error away from possibly going 6innings and allowing 3 ER. Girardi will take that every time out, especially once the offense starts grinding

  10. Mike B April 19th, 2008 at 1:40 am

    I agree, the way people are acting you would think it was already September. I mean calling Hughes and Kennedy busts right now is damn crazy. I wonder if the watched baseball back when Mariano Rivera was just starting out saying bust. A youth movement does not jus thappen overnight, it takes time. People wanted Hughes to stay, and I think it was the right move, but you are not going to get instant results. People see Albrt Pujols hitting 40 HRs from the get go and automatically think that is how every great player starts out, it is not. Hughes pitching in the majors at 21 shows what kind of talent he has, just wait for him to bust out and show the world. It takes time.

  11. csano April 19th, 2008 at 1:42 am

    *clap clap* LET’S GO YANKEES!

  12. Rob April 19th, 2008 at 1:44 am

    Thanks peter, you are so right: a little perspective is in order. It’s as if half the people who view this blog have never watched a full baseball season. Joel: I hope you are wrong about a trade in june, there aren’t any arms out there worth trading either kennedy or hughes who haven’t been traded already (haren, santana). There is no guy in the league save an “ace” who will “give us a quality start just about every time out.” With that in consideration I for one would be reticent to make a trade. I mean it is only april, and the patriots were undefeated after 18 games… and thats football.

  13. vinny-b April 19th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    peter: thank you. You posted a healthy reality check.

  14. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 19th, 2008 at 1:48 am

    pete, best post I’ve seen you write since I’ve been reading.

  15. rob t. April 19th, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Yes, this is a good post by Peter. But look at the one he did a few hours before the game:

    a “big game” for Hughes

    “To say he needs to give the Yankees at least six good innings tonight is an understatement.”

    “[H]e clearly has to get back to the form he showed against Toronto on April 3 and that has to start tonight.”

    Which is it? I’m starting to think that the “calm down” post is directed at Peter himself.

  16. Go Terriers April 19th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    Very well said Pete. However, I think its futile to try to talk sense into some of the people who comment here. I’ll always read the blog, but all the negativity/idiocy on the boards caused me to stop reading the comments section altogether last season. Hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen this year. Anyone who pushes the panic button at this point in the season (especially with this team) knows nothing about baseball. Anyway, I like our chances to rebound tomorrow with Kennedy. He has shown a lot of improvement in his last two outings.

  17. It is what it is April 19th, 2008 at 2:19 am

    Some of us like living on the ledge. We experience the game – and life – more intensely than you non-ledge dwellers.

    We see more clearly both the jagged depths of despair, and the sun coming up over the horizon.

    While the rest of you lurk cautiously in the shadows, we step out boldly where no human has gone before.

    Sometimes, yes, we fall flat on our faces.

    Other times, we grab a handful of stars.

    We consider Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle fellow ledge-dwellers.

    And leave the rest of you to your embrace of Bill Buckner and Craig Biggio.

    And the comfort of your statistics.

  18. V April 19th, 2008 at 2:40 am

    “Some of us like living on the ledge. We experience the game – and life – more intensely than you non-ledge dwellers.

    We see more clearly both the jagged depths of despair, and the sun coming up over the horizon.

    While the rest of you lurk cautiously in the shadows, we step out boldly where no human has gone before.

    Sometimes, yes, we fall flat on our faces.

    Other times, we grab a handful of stars.

    We consider Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle fellow ledge-dwellers.

    And leave the rest of you to your embrace of Bill Buckner and Craig Biggio.

    And the comfort of your statistics.”

    Ledge dwellers OD on cocaine in their 20s. Saner people survive.

  19. It is what it is April 19th, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Just keep telling yourself that, son.

    While lurking cautiously in the shadows with those burning, envious eyes.

  20. Ramon2 April 19th, 2008 at 2:47 am

    Loser excuses from a small-time writer.

  21. mlb April 19th, 2008 at 2:48 am

    yeah, great post pete, now the Yankees will start winning.

  22. mlb April 19th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    “Kids making shoes in factories in Third World countries don’t work 18 straight days.”

    They don’t make millions of dollars either.

    They make what, maybe 50cent and hour, while these player fly in luxury planes around the country.

    Stop whining, the yankees will lose many more unfortunately.

  23. mlb April 19th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    50cent/hour*****

  24. Pinstripes April 19th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    No doubt Pete. Negative Nancys need to light up a nice fat…clove…and relax. It is really and truly April 19. We have played a tough schedule and our offense has been the biggest problem. We are in good shape if our pitching improves the way it should as the season progresses.

  25. Chris April 19th, 2008 at 3:12 am

    Great Post Petah, great post. The Holy Papal himself will restore order to the Holy Grounds and Christin the new stadium I’m sure.

  26. dougj1 April 19th, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Hey Pete- You say Cashman has a plan? How about letting us in on the PLAN?..Yanks starting pitching has the worst ERA in the A.L…Bullpen will soon explode…2 years without a good 1st baseman….I hear millions in payroll will be saved when the old men are not re-signed at season’s end.What will Cash do with all ths dough? Another Pavano or Brown?….Poor Girardi.He thought he was getting a championship caliber team, but all he got was a Johnny Keane bunch.

  27. McLovin April 19th, 2008 at 3:28 am

    I didn’t know this was a rebuilding team.

  28. Bobsy April 19th, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Anyone who jumps off the bus now is a bandwagon fan and should put that Ortiz jersey on

  29. Bobsy April 19th, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Whoever expected 21 yr old pitchers to dominate from day one is delusional. Now entrusting the #3 role to Moose was dumb. We all knew it. But paying 10 mill a yr for the Carlos Silvas is dumb too. We learned our lesson ie Pavano.

    Id rather watch talent improve all yr and we all know from scouts and actual stats Generation Trey is legit and the guys coming behind them are too.

    We are walking the tight rope. Trying to win a Series while breaking in 3 22 yr old starters.

    It would help if one of the minor league guys become Joba II but thats wishful thinking.

    Hes out Beckett. Which we all know we need. Wang as #2 is beyond compare.

    Its going to be a fun yr. Dont jump off the cliff after every bad loss. Relax!

  30. Bobsy April 19th, 2008 at 3:42 am

    dougj1:

    Cashmans plan is pretty obvious

    Build the system.

    Get high end, high talent pitching thats cheap and you have control over for yrs so you’re not overpaying or over trading for on the market.

    Reduce payroll of bloated long term contracts that hurt flexibility.

    Compete for a World Series.

    Is that an easy mandate? Rebuild and contend at the same time?? Hell no. Have the Yanks done it the past 3 yrs when the farm system was BARREN? Yes.

    Cashman deserves our trust. The past 3 yrs and this yr should be rebuilding yrs but we have a 90 win team. That aint easy to do.

  31. Patrick Bateman April 19th, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Pedro Abraham, kids in sweat shops in third world countries aren’t playing a game for 3 hours a day. They are putting laces on Nikes for 12+ hours straight. Terrible comparison.

  32. Jason Bateman April 19th, 2008 at 4:37 am

    I think Buster and GOB have no clue about any of this.

  33. Deidre April 19th, 2008 at 6:31 am

    Hi Peter,

    I really love your blog. Thank you for keeping us informed and putting all things in perspective.

    Best to you, Deirdre

  34. Deirdre April 19th, 2008 at 6:36 am

    My first time replying to a blog and I can’t even spell my own name right! LOL!
    Deirdre

  35. Motown Yankees Fan April 19th, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Bateman – Stop taking yourself too seriously. Pete’s just trying to point out the grind these guys have been going through. Not to belittle the terrible lives sweatshop workers have, but–these guys do more a day than play the game for three hours. They’ve been flying all over the place, arriving in the wee hours of the morning thanks to ESPN scheduling and do plenty of working out, running, etc. before the game. Getting paid millions of dollars doesn’t make it any easier for the Yankees to function well on no sleep.

  36. lulu April 19th, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Phil Hughes and IPK are unexpected to rotation of starter.

  37. EricNS April 19th, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Pete – tell that to some of colleagues who say they Yanks should have traded for Johan

  38. melancholykorean April 19th, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Still hurts. Oh, how it still hurts!

    Last night’s game was like the last girl I dated. Things are going well, she’s calling me back, I get a third date, we’re moving along nicely, getting to know each other slowly, Hughes keeping the game close, error by Giambi but nothing too serious, I even send flowers, hey maybe I really like you, and you seem to really like me, ok, nice, and then, boom, one email, out of the blue, the Orioles put up 7 in one inning, she’s doesn’t have time for a relationship, but I’m a great guy, and now I’m watching A-Rod forget how to throw and the Hawk, that goat, serve batting practice meatballs to these retreads.

    Oh yeah, perspective is important, I’m all for perspective, other fish in the sea, it’s only April and we’re still 9-9, but, man, oh man, it still hurts, you know what I mean?

  39. TKinDC April 19th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Hey Pete:

    Great post – any reason there hasn’t been any post game audio on the blog for a while? I thought you guys cleared that with MLB.

    Only 144 games left in the season to straighten things out and yet you are able to maintain your calm, dispassionate assessment. You are a tower of strength.

  40. Kyle April 19th, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Peter you are far to reasonable to be a Yankees beat writer. You need to work on the melodramatic doom and gloom stuff. ;)

  41. Richard C April 19th, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Oh Boy….another “Calm Down” post. It was well written and I enjoyed it, but, I am fine with people freaking out and getting emotional, panicky, whatever. Its all part of the fun.
    Peter, Let people express themselves.

  42. Jax April 19th, 2008 at 7:40 am

    So far the worst thing that happened to Hughes was the hamstring injury last year.
    He looks like a different pitcher. I don’t have a trained eye or anything but his mechanics do look different.

  43. cornhammer April 19th, 2008 at 7:41 am

    It’s all good baby….

  44. Will April 19th, 2008 at 7:54 am

    While lurking cautiously in the shadows with those burning, envious eyes.

    What are you talking about? Aren’t you embarrassed to even post stuff like this on a board for fans of a baseball team? If writing semi-coherent posts means “putting yourself out there, thereby I’m a better person and a better Yankees fan” you need to get a life. Getting emotional and panicky about your baseball team in the middle of April isn’t fun, it’s evidence of a short memory and a loss of perspective. I wonder what you guys were doing in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The sense of entitlement from certain segments of the Yankees fan population in the last five years is overbearing. Get a clue guys. It’s no coincidence that the dynasty teams were built over the rubble of those crappy Bucky Dent/Stump Merrill teams.

  45. the original SP April 19th, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Yeah Pete, don’t lecture. Some people just think the team stinks right now and they have to pick up the slack before they dig themselves a hole they can’t climb out of. Stop offering up excuses. Let’s hope we don’t hear Hughes blogging that the Pope’s visit is screwing the team up. Or Girardi saying “if only we didn’t get rained out on opening day then we would have only played 17 straight instead of 18.” And how many other teams have been playing in cold weather? Are the Yanks the only ones? Which team is using the trip to Japan as an excuse? Probably the one with the worst record. It’s ridiculous
    Nobody’s “on the ledge” so stop the patronizing and definitely stop rationalizing the mediocrity of a 210 million dollar team.
    Thank you kindly!

  46. bronxbomber77 April 19th, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Wow– I had to be at the bar last night, and I’m glad I wasn’t here for all the negativity and trollery… Geez…

    They are 9-9, it could be worse. I seem to remember the Saux in 2004, you know, the team that caught fire in August and didn’t slow down until Oct.30, when they won the WS?

    They were 40-42 at the All-Star break, that 2004 Red Sox team…

    Anyone who thinks the Wild Card is coming out of the Central is crazy. Witht he way the CHIsox and MIN have been playing, coupled with Detroit and CLE bad starts, they will all continue to beat up on each other. If the Yankees can pull off a 91-win season, IMO, they are in the playoffs.

    To all you writing them off so early, and you KNOW who you are, don’t come in here dropping confetti and ticker tape when they make the playoffs and ACTUALLY make it out of the first round this year in OCt.

    *************PREDICTION TIME***************************** (you heard iit here first)

    -Yankees slowly began to awaken, in the field, on the mound and at the plate. Call me crazy, but warmer weather night in and night out has something to do with it.

    -A few minor-tweak trades are made to shore up bullpen once Joba is moved to rotation. I could see Betemit getting traded for a reliever, no big name, a fill in guy. Think Shawn Chacon, era 2005, but in the bullpen, not ‘tation.

    -A call up or two. Aside from the ‘Die Hards’, who here at this time last year HONESTLY had ANY idea who Joba Chamberlain or Ian Kennedy was.

    -A non-eye-rising signing, such as Freddy Garcia, to add some starter depth.

    Just watch… heck, look back at the teams since 2004 that have made the playoffs. in 05, they started 11-19 and came back to win the division…

    Its April people. A-P-R-I-L !

    P.S. At least Johan isn’t 4-0 with an ERA of 1.25 and 48 Ks, or else we would have heard from Hammern’ Stammern’ Hank!

  47. NH Mike April 19th, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Great post Pete. It’s becoming a bore to listen to and read fans whine and complain about every flippin decision when the team made no promises when they started down this path.
    Anyone that expected the team with such an infusion of youth on the staff to dominate will be disapointed all summer because they won’t.
    I chalk this up to the internet and the invention of the message board. This allows all the panicking fans to vent their spleens when they get grief from fans of another team or watch the 45 replays of an Ortiz HR on Sportscenter.

    As fans, we should ignore the naysayers and allow the team to develop. It’ll be worth it.

  48. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    “Hughes is the second-youngest player in the majors and the youngest pitcher”‘
    “He’s the No. 3 starter for the Yankees”

    no, he’s one of three #5 starters on the team. the yankees don’t have a #3 or #4 starter.

    isn’t that wasting a year of alex rodriguez and derek jeter in their prime? wouldn’t the youth movement be better served if there wasn’t so much pressure on hughes and kennedy at this point in their development?

    don’t the yankees need an adult pitching in their # 3 spot ? hughes should not have the pressure of a number three on him at this point. he really should be at the end of the rotation just finding his way into the major leagues.

    i thought hughes looked fine last night for a twenty one year old rookie. maybe the smart thing is treat him like a kid though and quit while you are ahead at 4 or five innings. it’s not what you are looking for in a #3 in the rotation, but that maybe is what you’re looking for in a 21 year old #5.

    i’m not sure you want a kid like hughes experiencing failure for the first time in his life for too long on a team that always struggles out of the box. i’m thinking the yankees should be looking for a veteran #3.

    three more starts should tell which way to go

  49. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Only thing more comical than reading the some of the troll stuff are the trolls acting as if its their constitutional right to write such nonsense.

    This has always been a place for logical and fun baseball talk. Not a place for you to have stream of conscious, whiny comments over an April baseball game.

    Perhaps some blogs are put together for the purposes of such nonsense. That wasn’t, and isn’t, Pete’s reason for putting this blog together.

    Its why its the best Yankee blog in the business.

    You have issues? Take it up with your shrinks and keep it off the blog.

  50. Glenn April 19th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Good points by Peter but the fact remains that Joe Girardi will need to realize that he has a 22-man roster to work with because of the ineptness of Damon, Giambi, and Mussina who add nothing to the roster but declining skills.
    None of the 3 can be moved beginning with their contracts. Continuously sending them out there only drags the team down. To begin with, take Giambi out of the lineup completely to be replaced by Ensberg and Shelley.

  51. murphydog April 19th, 2008 at 8:39 am

    One of the biggest problems with blogoshpere is also its greatest appeal: the ability to make your words appear in a place where a lot of people will see them, for free. Too many people, however, don’t appreciate the fact that this is shared space, not somebody’s bedroom or dorm. As a result, cyberspace is littered with the virtual equivalent of belches, farts and snot rockets. Last night on this blog was a perfect example. I didn’t go anywhere near this blog last night. Too much like riding the subway right after the kids get out of school.

    Forget registration. Maybe we need “congestion pricing” on the Yankees lohud blog.

  52. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Randy,

    JMO but, this is exactly what Hughes needs.

    The kid has never experienced this type of struggle in his baseball life.

    Everybody has to struggle in this game. Its how you find out who can handle it and who can’t.

    Sending him to AAA, for example, and having him put up good numbers, really doesn’t tell us anything at this point.

    Guys like Igawa and Rasner go to AAA and put up great numbers. They come to the majors and they struggle.

    At some point, you have to learn on the job. That’s what is happening right now with Hughes and Kennedy.

    He pitched much better last night. He got done in more by Arod’s error in the 6th than anything.

    He’s going to be fine.

    Frankly, I’m more concerned about Damon and Giambi than I am with Hughes or Kennedy for that matter.

    Hughes and Kennedy are showing improvement. Just not seeing it with Damon and Giambi. Especially Giambi.

    Frankly, he looks as done as Moose. That’s a concern only because Shelley Duncan is tearing it up at Scranton and should be on this team right now.

    Damon? I’m willing to give it another 2-3 weeks. But, if he is hovering around .200 in Mid-May and Brett Gardner is still hitting over .300 in Scranton, I’d be real tempted to call him up and put him in LF. They need speed and a spark in the leadoff spot and that kid may be the answer.

    Re: Hughes, its just the ups and downs every young player, especially a pitcher, goes through as they find their way at this level.

  53. trisha - April 19th, 2008 at 8:44 am

    TO PETER ABRAHAM YOU ROCK!!!

    This was as tremendous and uplifting and FACTUALLY SOUND AND REPLETE WITH RATIONAL THINKING as any lead in to a blog I have read.

    Thank you thank you for the amazingly cogent perspective. I know that as much as I don’t need it to feel good about Yankee life, reading it helps to reinforce THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION even more.

    Thanks Pete. And keep up the great work. You do us proud.

  54. trisha - April 19th, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I am also convinced that the combination of the Pope meeting with the Rabbi in NY is going to bring something to that mass at the Stadium that will have us dancing in the streets once the Yanks are back home.

    We are being set up with these yukky losses just to be reminded of who is really in charge. :)

    I can deal with it! Go GOD!

    And happy Passover to my Jewish friends. I believe this catholic girl got the date right!

  55. Dee April 19th, 2008 at 8:52 am

    At the end of that list I was expecting “Priceless”.

    I’m not on a ledge, at least not regarding the pitching and I’m definitely patient and still optimistic about Hughes. In fact, I’m ok with this year being a rebuilding year to groom the younger guys for long-term success.

    But I’m annoyed with the offense especially some of the veterans. the young/cheap/AAA call-up guys are hitting, why aren’t they? We should not have to wait for this offense to get hot, the lineup is supposed to be the best in the league and certainly the most expensive. Sure it’s April, sure there have been injuries, but the same could have been said about Matsui who had knee surgery. Except he is hitting well, so there is no need for an excuse for him.

    The truth is it’s April for everyone else in the league too, and other teams have had injuries too. The 18 consecutive-day schedule is tough no doubt, I wouldn’t be able to do it, but that’s why I’m not a pro athlete. They are pro athletes, the schedule is part of the game, and they are supposed to know how to hit. I don’t want to keep waiting for Jason Giambi to learn how to hit unless he is willing to wait to cash his multi-million dollar pay check.

  56. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 8:52 am

    the red sox aren’t depending on ellsbury . if he struggles in making the adjustment to the major leagues, coco crisp is there. buchholz is the red sox clear #5. he has # 5 pressure on him. the red sox have tavarez who filled in adequately last year in that role when needed. bartolo colon is being brought along slowly as a possible low risk fill in for the #5 spot.

    the looming further collapse of mussina so far this season is what dooms the plan of moving two rookies into the rotation. joba could be moved into the rotation to see if he can be a #3, but there’s no guarantee he’s ready either. he’s a kid who’s going to be worried about his dad for probably this whole year. does he need the pressure of a new york yankees #3 on him this summer.

    i don’t go for the idea of writing off a year of arod’s and jeter’s prime on a youth movement that may, because of the pressure on the players to win,actually hurt the development of the young pitchers.

    youth movements are good. too much too soon, not so good.

  57. Andrew April 19th, 2008 at 8:53 am

    I think jim Leyland wrote this post…We’ll go out and win 3 in a row now don’t worry.

  58. TKinDC April 19th, 2008 at 8:56 am

    I wonder what goes on in the heads of people who just constantly whine and complain with every loss. They don’t seem to understand baseball. I have just stayed away from the in-game blogs once the game starts because there is too much knee-jerk screaming.

    Hughes was much better last night, although the O’s bats don’t have any pop to them. The inability to get the clutch hit when we 1st and 2nd, no one out killed the game.

    I am not as concerned about Giambi as a lot of other people are just because he seems to have good ABs, walks a lot, and still scares the opposing pitcher to some extent.

    Damon is more of a problem – stinking it up at the top of the order hurts us more than Giambi’s inconsistency. It is too bad because Girardi extended himself in spring training to Damon to tell him that he was an every day player. I don’t think he will be coming back next year if this bad play continues.

  59. NH Mike April 19th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Great observations as always SJ. It’s the team’s inability to score that killing them right now. The starters are being pressed because guys like Damon and Giambi are playing like washed-up vets and Cano is looking like a rookie at the plate. I have a feeling that the pitching staff would be much less stressed and more confident in their abilities to actually pitch if the offense would live up to it’s ability to score runs.

  60. TKinDC April 19th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Randy –

    If Buckholz is the Sawx #5, what is Lester? Their #6?

  61. JDnotDrew April 19th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Think it’s time to suggest Giambi go’s to AAA to work on hitting. That seemed to have gotten him going last year when they almost sent him down. Even if Duncan hits around .250 with a few home runs it’s better than Giambi stinkin things up.

  62. CB April 19th, 2008 at 9:02 am

    “don’t the yankees need an adult pitching in their # 3 spot ?”

    Randy is absolutely right that the problem with the rotation right now is the #3 spot – it’s not Hughes and Kennedy. They were slotted as #4 and #5.

    League average ERA last year in the AL for a #4 starter – 4.88.

    League average ERA last year in the AL for a #5 – 6.02.

    Those are the standards we need to compare Hughes and Kennedy to.

    Mussina may or may not be done – I think it largely depends on what done is. The issue for him is that he could probably be a #5 starter somewhere (NL west would be the bes place for him).

    But the Yankees need him to act as a #3.

    Now the problem is that it’s just not easy to find a #3 starter. No team is just going to trade one who doesn’t have serious baggage.

    And there were no #3 quality starters available in the free agent market (I’m not counting Hiroki Kuroda – I don’t think signing another japanese pitcher was an option).

    We can rehash the whole trade for an Ace issue.

    But think about where this team would be without Melky right now in center.

    Damon looks awful as a baseball player and one thing is very certain looking at him – his days of being able to play CF everyday are over.

    Besides Santana the other big name pitcher people were very hot on was Eric Bedard – he’s now on the DL with what sounds like a very significant hip injury.

    So how to stabilize the rotation?

    The best answer is moving Joba into the rotation. There is no chance they are going to find anyone even close to as good as he is on the outside.

    As Pete’s pointed out – Joba and Mo have pitched in 3 games together. In the 5 games against Boston Joba would have thrown a total of 1 inning (7th inning in the 15-9 game they won this week).

    Joba has thrown 5 innings in 18 games. Yes some of that is because of his father’s but ultimately if a team is playing .500 ball there just aren’t going to be that many leads to protect.

    Stabilizing the #3 spot in the rotation is a priority. That is what’s going to give Phil an Ian time to develop.

    The answer is Joba. He is in no way going to be an average rookie starter. His stuff is too good.

    The question is when?

  63. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 9:03 am

    sj-
    i don’t think hughes should go to triple a either. i watched closely last night for the first time with hughes and he looks like he belongs in the major leagues. i just think the weight of #5 should be on his shoulders, not as a #3 and the first line of defense after wang and pettitte.

    hughes made it to the fifth inning in great shape so that’s progress. he did pitch much more to contact, but after often getting quick strikes on the first pitch ,he went to three balls too often. i thought he did well.this start was a step in the right direction.

    and his fastball has life to it. i was impressed with the swing and misses. his 93mph is better than most 95mph’s.

  64. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 9:08 am

    TKinDC-
    good point about lester. so as you say he’s more of a #4b. he’s older, had the maturity of getting over cancer, and has had more experience around the red sox. for whatever reason, he’s not pitching with the pressure hughes has on him.

  65. Joe m April 19th, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Well said Peter

  66. pat April 19th, 2008 at 9:14 am

    Murphy and SJ are dead on. Last nights game thread was not enjoyable or informative and for the most part unreadable.

  67. NYPD113th April 19th, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Only 15 excuses? Is that the best you can do Pete?! :)

  68. gayle April 19th, 2008 at 9:17 am

    You know what injuries I think have hurt the most> posada and Molina not because of defensive purposes as Moller has been fine BUT with Jorge hurting and not hurting enough for a DL stint I guess and Molina hurt it has made it necessary to take Duncan away from time here and I believe time where he could have helped.

  69. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    “Now the problem is that it’s just not easy to find a #3 starter. No team is just going to trade one who doesn’t have serious baggage.”
    “The best answer is moving Joba into the rotation. There is no chance they are going to find anyone even close to as good as he is on the outside.”

    for the first time, i’m leaning towards this as the best idea. it may be better to find out now if joba is ready for a key rotation role. if he is , problem solved. if he’s not, we know he can pitch the 8th and 9th. he can always go back to that role.

    the problem i have with objectively thinking about mussina is that i absolutely hate his approach to pitching. if i were the yankee manager, i would give him the choice of either drilling the next batter in a nice safe but painful location , wearing a pin striped skirt when he pitches, or a nice spot at the end of the bullpen bench.

    those probably won’t be the choices girardi gives mussina, but i have a hunch he’s going to start losing a lot sleep over mussina which may cause him to come up with his own creative approaches to mussina.

  70. Doreen April 19th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Pete -

    In honor of the Pope’s visit, and with respect to your post, Amen and Alleluia!

  71. Jeff April 19th, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I did prepare myself before the season began that the playoff streak has a good chance of ending this season. In a strong AL (Indians and Tigers will both be better than they are now) and having the defending champs in your division, it would be hard regardless to make the playoffs. But what the Yanks are trying to do, compete for a championship while developing young starting pitching isn’t very easy. This definitely is a transitional season and as frustrating as that may be, it’s for the best of the future for this franchise.

    In an ideal world, Hughes would be sent down now to develop secondary pitches. Unfortunately, the Yanks don’t have that luxury and Hughes is going to have to develop up here. The guy will be very good one day, probably not this season at such a young age. I also really like Kennedy, but will have to take the growing pains with him as well. Ideally, Cashman would’ve signed an innings-eater in the offseason like Hernandez or Silva to help the bullpen but didn’t. Wang and Pettitte are fine. Mussina is done and thankfully will be gone at the end of the season. Someone this season eventually- maybe by Joba, Horne, Igawa, or by trade will take Mussina’s roster spot.

    Giambi needs to be taken out of the lineup. He is not an everyday 1B anymore, Girardi! Bring up Duncan and let him and Ensberg get the majority of the AB’s at 1B! The rest of the lineup is solid and will hit and we obviously need a healthy Posada to catch again so we can free up the DH spot. In the offseason, trade Damon or Matsui.

    Bottom line: making the playoffs would be a pleasant surprise, don’t make any panic trades and give up our future, continue to develop the farm system. This is the right way to build a team and it requires patience!

  72. Drive 4-5 April 19th, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I very much want to see the Yanks develop their own pitching and I’m willing to be patient.

    I agree that in the long run, Phil Hughes is going to be a competent major league pitcher. You can see the potential for him to have an Andy Pettitte like career. I disagree that, if major league hitters continue to hit .357 against Phil after another 4 or 5 starts, his best place to develop would be in the majors. Why ruin his confidence?

    I am not convinced at all about Ian Kennedy though. I base my opinion more on the 3 games I personally watched him pitch last year. My opinion on IPK hasnt changed this year at all. With less than average velocity on his fastball he has to be rely on near perfect control. That’s a tough way to consistently win at the major league level.It can be done, just look at Jamie Moyer or Ted Lilly.

    It’s one thing to be patient and another thing to be sold a line of thought that may or may not be true. Our patience with Hughes should be much,much longer than with Ian Kennedy. Pitchers with Kennedy’s repertoire are a lot easier to find than Hughes’. You would hope that the stable of Yankees’ pitching prospects throw the ball more like Hughes than Kennedy.

    Either way, it’s only April in their first big season and no one should make a long term judgement on either of them.

  73. yankee21 April 19th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    Last night was a lousy night for the Yankees, but in any loss, I try to look for the bright spots; I found a few:

    - Decent outing by Edwar, helps the BP get a break
    - Solid ABs by Melky, definitely a matured approach.
    - Respectible outing by Hughes, clearly the stats don’t back it up but if it weren’t for Giambi, Arod defense and poor pitching by Hawk, he could have pitched 6 and given up 3 ER.

    On another note, what a ballplayer Markakis is, he has superstar written all over him.

  74. Mark Alan April 19th, 2008 at 9:29 am

    We can always applaud Cashman’s rejection of the “WIN NOW AT ALL COSTS” philosophy in favor of the “WIN MAYBE IN A FEW YEARS IF THINGS WORK OUT RIGHT” method. It’s a perfect philosophy… for teams with the resources of the Pittsburgh Pirates or KC Royals.

  75. CB April 19th, 2008 at 9:33 am

    “the problem i have with objectively thinking about mussina is that i absolutely hate his approach to pitching. ”

    They had an eye opening analysis of mussina over at the replacement level blog the other day:

    “Mike Mussina has thrown 318 pitches so far in 2008. 212 of them have been strikes, which on the surface seems decent. But here’s the scary part. Of those 318 pitches, batters have only swung and missed at 11 pitches (5%). That’s an average of under 3 per game, and it’s going to make it very difficult for Mussina to have sustained success unless something changes.”

    5% swing and miss rate – that is very concerning, especially since Mussina is not a ground ball pitcher and the yankee’s defense (especially with Giambi at first) isn’t very good.

    http://www.replacementlevel.co.....ose_cooked

  76. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 9:38 am

    “That’s fine. Just understand that it’s going to be very difficult for the Yankees to make the playoffs and develop Hughes and Ian Kennedy at the same time. Right now, this is a team with two reliable starters.”– Pete Abraham, LoHUd Blogs, April 18, 9:27pm.

    If the Yankeees don’t make the playoffs, many fans won’t forgive Cashman, I include myself among them. Worse, the Steinbrenners won’t renew his contract.

    All good things must come to an end eventually however.

    Perhaps, a Spring cleaning in the general managers office should follow the one in the manager’s office anyway.

    I can’t believe that I would ever endorse anything Russ Salzberg said– or affirm, for that matter, anything a man with his diction said EVER– but I agree with what he said on yesterday’s post game: “IPK and Joba’s development would have benefitted from a rotation of Wang, Santana, and Pettitte.”

    Too bad, George is not well. As much as I admire Hughes as a man and a pitcher, this is one time I wish the Boss and Boss, Jr. had overruled their GM.

  77. murphydog April 19th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Giambi has always had a great eye, so there’s always a chance he will ignite. I go with Kenny Singleton of YES: give a batter 100 ABs and then panic. (He’s got about 57 left to prove himself). He can scoop with the best of them at 1st but he let a ball go past him last night, (ole!), showing that his glove is still a liability and he still doesn’t like to start the DP. It would be a real embarrassment for G to get released, but Cashman has the stones to do it if need be.

    Damon is a good LF, but his coldness at the top of the lineup is killing them. He’s swinging at anything now – he looks lost. Damon’s had 59 ABs so he’s got about 40 left under the Singleton Rule. It’s closer to time to panic about JD, (two weeks or so) but what to do? Do you start batting him 9th now and move Melky up top? Will that help Damon focus or make him lose it? Do you trade/release Betemit when he returns and bring up Gardner?

    Frankly, JD is looking more “Tony Womack” everyday.

  78. Rockin' Rich April 19th, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Jazz?

    Excellent suggestion.

    I recommend “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis and “Song For My Father” by Horace Silver to start.

  79. templeton_peck April 19th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I love the fact that the guy that calls Hughes “the franchise” is also telling everyone to keep their expectations in check.

    Also, excuses are like ass&$@% . . . everyone’s got one.

  80. dimagg5 April 19th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Great post, Pete.

    A lot of these people on the edge of the cliffs are kids who think real baseball is like XBox- they can go 150-12 and beat the crap out of teams. So when the real Yankees don’t do that, they are called failures.

    I’m willing to take some lumps this year because I know that in the bigger picture, we are going to be great.

  81. EricVA April 19th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Holy cow guys. I went to the game last night and, yes, it wasn’t pretty. But this comments section is uglier. “Many fans won’t forgive Cashman…” for what? For trying to created an amazing team in the coming years? Get over it. We have been LUCKY enough for the Yanks to make it to the playoffs for 13 years in a row. That’s unheard of! That’s insane! They will not make the playoffs every year from here until eternity.

    It’s a double-edged sword folks. You all yelled and screamed that we needed to sign big names to shore up the team. Then you yelled and screamed that we needed to develop young talent. Well, now we are at the end of the “throw money at FA’s” era and the beginning of the “develop young talent” era. Not an easy thing to juggle.

    Let Hughes and Kennedy struggle and learn how to pitch. I believe a big part of the reason we never have good AAA pitchers come up is because they get no chance to pitch in the bigs. Either they come up and are dominant or they struggle and get banished. Look at Fausto Carmona of Cleveland. Man I wish we had a pitcher like that! Oh wait, two years ago he was 1-10 with an over 5 era. Yet he got a chance to pitch in the majors and ended up with 19 wins last year. In 3 years we have a chance to have a rotation that all wins 15 games a year. That’s dominant. Give it time.

  82. EricVA April 19th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Templeton_Peck:

    Pete calls Hughes “The Franchise” because he’s the future ace of the team, not because he pitches like Walter Johnson right now. If you are going to insult somebody, get it right.

  83. Fran April 19th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Pete -awesome post. Another thing affecting the pitching staff is the injuries to the catchers. Usually a pitcher and a catcher get into a rhythm working with each other. They have not had that chance. Andy Pettitte has had 3 starts with 3 different catchers. I believe last night was Hughes first start with Moeller.

    The hitting will come around. It has already started. I think that the Yankees will be fine.

  84. Drive 4-5 April 19th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Cashman rolled the dice putting Hughes and Kennedy into the fire so soon. It may still work. My biggest concern is his decision to go with them and not have a long reliever/spot starter on the roster. It makes no sense. We’re already seeing the effect of this on the bullpen. The Yankees would be better off carrying 13 pitchers once Moeller is sent down than burn out Bruney,Ohlendorf and Hawkins.

  85. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 9:56 am

    cb-
    the abnormally low swing and miss rate for mussina means hitters like manny can let strikes that fool them go by and not fear getting behind in the count . hitters can even go to two strikes without much fear of striking out. once this gets around the league, if it already hasn’t, mussina’s decline could really snowball.

    i figure mussina has three more starts to improve before cashman is forced to scrap plan a and go to plan b. short of adding the unlikely quality #3 from another team, i’m on board with rolling the dice with joba in that role to see if he can do it.

    the problem the yankees have with joba is like a painter trying to paint a room that needs two gallons of paint when he only has one gallon. there’s only so much water he can add. at some point he has to go to the store and get another gallon of paint.

  86. G.R. April 19th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Great post, Pete! You said it all and very, very well!

    Lighten up people! You’ll never make it to October this way!

    Take a cue from Rebecca, the great Optimist, and other POSITIVE people. Your heart will thank you!!!

  87. Jaewon April 19th, 2008 at 9:58 am

    Peter: Amen.

    Hughes has had some bad luck, but 2 out of his 4 starts this season have been good (last night he pitched well, but was very unlucky.)

    Meanwhile, let’s go, Robbie Cano!

  88. dimagg5 April 19th, 2008 at 9:58 am

    People are complaining that the Yankees are getting old and then complain when they develop young players.

    What do you want? To keep signing guys like Pavano, Jaret Wright, Randy Johnson, etc.?

    I’ll take the growing pains knowing how good we can be for years to come.

    Cashman’s a genius.

  89. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 10:00 am

    Time is fine if you don’t have a 200 Million Dollar payroll and didn’t just spend $105 million dollars in the off season re-signing a 38-yr old closer and 36-year old catcher, two pillars of your franchise’s foundation.

    While, apart from 2B and CF, the rest of your team boasts a starting position player over 32 years of age.

    Ask Mo and Po whether they care about Cashman’s plan to build a great team “in the coming years.”

    Half the reason why a team amasses prospects is to trade them because not all of them will realize their promise.

    Some you keep; Some you trade. But when a team has the opportunity to acquire a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher like Josh Beckett or Johan Santana for prospects and still not deplete its system, a wise GM makes the trade.

    Like John Maynard Keynes said, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

  90. murphydog April 19th, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Only in Disney movies are 21 year old pitchers consistent, reliable, and dominating. Some folks just don’t get it: we are watching a talented young pitcher develop at the only level he has anything left to prove. There will be some bad days as he learns something new each time out. Progress is if he makes a new mistake every time out and stops making the same old ones. IMO, he’s still a “franchise” level talent.

    To a large degree the same is true about IPK and Joba except that they had a couple more years’ experience in college that Hughes lacks. IPK is a smart, control pitcher who has to figure out how to get the first two innings to go smoother. So far he and Hughes suffer from the same flaw, throwing too many pitches. Too much thinking IMO, too much trying to avoid mistakes and be too prefect instead of pitching. Perfectly natural as kid starters with the Yankees. That will ease up with time.

    We don’t know anything about Joba as a starter yet, except that he can probably hide many flaws with velocity. To be a successful starter, however, he will need to use his 3d pitch and if he really has a reliable 4th pitch he will eventually be outstanding. But once lineups see him for several innings at a time, instead of a peek here and there out of the bullpen, they will start to get a book on him. Expect even Joba the Great to have a rocky period once he gets into the lineup.

  91. Amanda from La. April 19th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    great post, couldn’t agree with you more. hughes did improve from his last start. the o’s hitters were watching his pitches very closely last night. but the thing to focus on is that is was better than his last start and he made it through more than 3 innings…he’ll come around. all the young guys will, cano included. when they do, people should be afraid of what we can do :)

  92. murphydog April 19th, 2008 at 10:08 am

    err.. the rotation. Once Joba gets into the rotation.

  93. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    BTW, Hughes impressed me last night. The Yankees bats lost him that game, as much as LaTroy Hawkins sealed the loss.

    If Cashman wanted Hughes and IPK in the rotation, then he should have assigned them the 4th and 5th slots and found a genuine 3rd starter to replace Mussina.

    It’s not fair to demand of Hughes, as Girardi did yesterday, the performance most teams expect of their 3rd starter.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Hughes was pressing as a consequence and trying to overthrow the ball.

  94. jason April 19th, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Phil’s fastball was much better last night but the reality is he’s a 2 pitch pitcher right now with no confidence in his change. His curve right now is more of a slurve and not a true power curveball. I’ve seen him have nice command of that pitch but right now it’s not a plus pitch and he really only has 1 pitch. You can tell hitters are not uncomfortible out there, they are not being fooled. I was one guy that was drinking the koolaid on Phil but the reality is that he should be in the minors working on his change and slider. He’s a couple years away which would make him 23 where Buchholz and Joba are now. The reality is that Daniel McCutchen is probably the best young pitcher we have right now outside of Joba. He’s 25 years old and ready to pitch in the big leagues. He throws 93-96 and has a nice curve/change combo. If he continues to dominant in double A and can do the same in triple A we will see him soon. He’s 4 years older then Phil and pitched in college at OU. I think we’re rushing Phil.

  95. We MIss Paulie April 19th, 2008 at 10:12 am

    I’m surprised at some of the irrational posts last night too, many of us are just too used to winning every day and when April gets off to another slow start, those people start whining. (Its really not that slow, compared to the past 2-3 years…)

    BUT…I don’t think Pete’s post last night helped either: “Just understand that it’s going to be very difficult for the Yankees to make the playoffs and develop Hughes and Ian Kennedy at the same time. Right now, this is a team with two reliable starters” Pete, if you want to have your opinions like that, just be prepared for the onslaught of ledge jumpers.

    Cvalm down everyone, its going to be fine. Cash is building an incredible team and if for some reason the playoffs aren’t on the agenda this year, so be it. There is a ton of money coming off the books after the season and then Cash’s final pieces will be in place. But hang in there, its a long season.

  96. CB April 19th, 2008 at 10:14 am

    “Like John Maynard Keynes said, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”

    KS,

    Last night you’re quoting yeats. Today Keynes – what are you trying to do add some high brow to our little echo chamber here?

    This teams problems right now go past having Santana or not.

    If Santana was pitching last night they still would have lost – they aren’t hitting with men on base.

  97. jason April 19th, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Also everyone needs to relax, we’re 9 and 9 and you know how it is every year. After 2 months Cashmen figures out where our weakness’s are and tries to find a way to fix them. The team that was the best team in baseball last year after the all star break was a very different team then the opening day roster. I think eventually Joba will slide into the rotation with Wang, Pettite. That’s a very good top 3 which is better then bostons. Also Boston has many of the problems we have. So everyone needs to chill and let them play the games. Lets see where we are at the All Star break. This year we have a very deep farm as far as pitching so we’ll have the ability to look from within instead of being raped in the trade market.

  98. Drew April 19th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Thank you Pete, that’s what I kept posting last night during the game.

  99. Rob in GA April 19th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    The best part is the whiners defending their whining. “But, we really ARE a bad team — we just KNOW it this time. Last season was SO last year, and we don’t want to hear about how we drove off the cliff in May 2007 only to look like spoiled little crybabies when the Yankees pulled it together late in the season. WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!”

  100. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    cb-
    after pondering your swing and miss stats on mussina, i’m reminded of al oliver. for those of you too young to remember, oliver hit .303 lifetime and had 2,743 hits . he rarely struck out more than 50 times in a year. sometimes he walked more than he struck out.

    why does mussina make me think of al oliver? oliver was one of the few hitters in baseball history who looked breaking ball away and reacted in on the fastball. he was so quick reacting inside he could do this.

    with his abysmal swing and miss rate, mussina is turning the whole league into al olivers. they can look breaking ball away and react in to the fastball. that may why he’s not fooling anyone.

    for 2007 and 2008 so far, the league hits about olivers life time average of .303 against mussina.

    turning a whole league into al olivers can’t be a good thing.

  101. CB April 19th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    “Look at Fausto Carmona of Cleveland. Man I wish we had a pitcher like that! Oh wait, two years ago he was 1-10 with an over 5 era. Yet he got a chance to pitch in the majors and ended up with 19 wins last year.”

    Carmona would have been pilloried and then buried by yankee fans and the new york media. He probably would not have survived New York as sad as that is to say.

    After blowing all of those saves and being so dreadful his first year – he would have gotten destroyed.

    And then you watch him dominate the Yankees last year in the playoffs as a second year pitcher…

    People who are unhappy with the choice to go with youth are making it sound as if this team has been a post season powerhouse the past few years.

    Either you get elite level pitching talent or the best you are going to do is lose in the playoffs.

    Neither Cash nor Hal wanted to acquire Santana. That’s done. I wish we could put that away now.

    Cleveland could have traded Carmona and gotten a better pitcher to help close in 2006.

    If they had a better closer they could have made the playoffs in 2006. But they didn’t and they wound up keepign one of the most promising pitchers in baseball.

    Eric Bedard is on the DL with hip inflammation and is taking high doses of steroids to treat it.

    Many people who wanted Santana were also pushing for Bedard.

    It’s done. Looking back at that juncture isn’t going to make this year or this team any better.

  102. Rocco April 19th, 2008 at 10:24 am

    I’ll be at the game tonight and tomorrow. I was at last night game too :)

  103. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 10:26 am

    I intended the Yeats post last more as irony than anything else in response to the post above me. He’d written “Everything is broken.” So I figured if you’re going to be morose, heck, do it right. Quote Yeats.

    In any case, last night’s comments pretty much reflected “the worst are full of passionate intensity”

    About Keynes though I’m serious. It’s one thing to admonish patience but quite another to begin extolling Cashman as a genius and well, to quote Yeats again, an incarnation of the Second Coming.

    Look, I disagreed vehemently with Cashman about the Santana trade, but I’ve recovered, or at least made it to the 10th step. In any case, you’re right, Santana, Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, you can’t win in the AL when you score 2 runs, both generated by your third-string catcher.

    My principal grievance with Cashman right now is about hughes and ipk’s development. If they’re in the rotation then the Yankees should have alloted the roles of 4th and 5th starter and acquired a genuine 3rd starter. Asking anything more of Hughes and IPK is unfair at best, and detrimental to their development, at worst.

    Why Cashman thought Mussina could fill the role of a 3rd starter is beyond me.

  104. murphydog April 19th, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Joba to the rotation may be the move to make, but, puh-lease. Joba is no silver bullet. He may have higher highs than Moose, but he will have lows to match. Not pessimism, just fact when it comes to rookies, even rookies with a 100 mph fastball. Curb your enthusiasm and don’t overburden this kid too.

  105. William Buckner April 19th, 2008 at 10:30 am

    CB, SJ,
    Good insight. How can anyone with a .500 record be written off on April 19th? This group has prooven to be slow starters. I’m not loosing sleep over Hughes or Kennedy. Neither for most of the position players, although I think it’s seriously possible both Giambi and Damon are done.

    I am warming to the idea of moving Joba to the rotaton sooner rather then later. It just seems to me it’s easier to find someone who can come up with 3 outs then someone who can get 18-21.

  106. jack April 19th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Pete,

    What about Hughes only getting 4 swings and misses?

    What about a single strikeout in 6 innings?

    All we want are flashes that Hughes will be the dominant number one starter he was talked about being. There was no point in keeping the guy if he’ll peak at a back-end of the rotation starter.

    And I don’t know what can happen to improve the bat-speed of Damon and Giambi, but they look VERY old. Players at that stage of their careers don’t all of a sudden get better…they just get progressively worse.

    BTW, Cano will always be a number 8 or 9 hitter and will never learn the plate discipline to be a productive guy with RISP………………

  107. William Buckner April 19th, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Remember too. Santana is 29. He’s hitting a decline point in a career. Some would be going nuts in 2010 when he was posting a 4.00 era in the AL East.

    Don’t believe me, some stats are already trending that way.

  108. Charles April 19th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    These are all cogent points but I still wonder how much longer ’til we stop making excuses for these guys?

  109. EricVA April 19th, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Charles,

    It’s not excuses. Damon and Giambi are hitting extremely poorly. Cano isn’t getting hits to drop. Hughes and IPK are young, inexperienced, and pitching averagely at best. Mussina is pitching less than average. Nobody is denying these facts.

    What we are saying is that you have to be patient with young pitching and temper your expectations. Plus, as bad as they are right now, Damon and Giambi won’t hit .100 all year.

  110. CB April 19th, 2008 at 10:38 am

    “Why Cashman thought Mussina could fill the role of a 3rd starter is beyond me.”

    I don’t think he did. I think he believes that Joba will fill that role.

    I don’t think that the yankees had any intention of keeping joba in the pen all year.

    I also think they thought he’d be able to slot into the #3 spot.

    Will Joba have rough spots? Yes. But I do think he’s ready to fill that #3 role now.

    And again – there were no #3 starters available on the free agent market. Carolos Silva? You want him for 4 yrs/ 48 million.

    Is it a huge risk to have 3 first year pitchers in the rotation? Absolutely.

    Is it a risk worth taking? That’s depends on how you see the trade offs.

    I think it’s worth the risk. That’s my caluculs. I think this staff is going to get better as the season progresses.

    What Keynes was referring to by “in the long run” is applicable to teams like the pirates – teams that perpetually live in a future that never arrives.

    I don’t think that’s what Cashman has done at all. I think it’s a way to turn the team around over the next 1-3 years.

    It’s not an indefinite future. The yankees haven’t changed that much!

  111. The New York Yankees April 19th, 2008 at 10:40 am

    what happened to Ben Sheets?

  112. CB April 19th, 2008 at 10:42 am

    “Joba to the rotation may be the move to make, but, puh-lease. Joba is no silver bullet. ”

    This is absolutely true.

    A league average #3 AL starter last year had an ERA of 4.45.

    If you look at the AL teams that made the playoffs last year their #3 starters had an average ERA of 4.12.

    That’s the neighborhood of performance we could use from Joba as a #3. He doesn’t need to put up a 2.2 ERA.

    4.1 would be very good as long as Wang and Andy stay healthy.

  113. 108 stitches April 19th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    All things considered, a respectable April thus far.
    The glaring problems can be corrected :

    - A .203 leadoff hitter with a slow bat needs to sit.

    - A 6th or 7th hitter with no run production and hitting .116 also needs to sit.

    - A struggling pitcher with an 86-88 MPH fastball has nothing to set up other pitches with. He’s added pressure on the bullpen.

    Solutions:
    The energy of Shelley Duncan cures one need at 1st base. Calling up Brett Gardner brightens the leadoff situation at the risk of having to send down Alberto Gonzales. Mussina freezes up a roster spot. Nothing can be done with him except having a 6-man bullpen staff and calling up the best possible starter from AAA.

  114. bigjf April 19th, 2008 at 10:50 am

    As far as I’m concerned, getting out of April with a .500 record should basically be the goal to open every season. It’s a realistic enough expectation for pretty much any team, and then you hopefully start to heat up with the weather. Those off days that are due to the team are going to be a real boost, and we’ve lucked out by not having any postponed games except for opening day.

  115. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 19th, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Many fans won’t forgive Cashman? That made me spit my drink.

    Okay, so it might be true, but the fans that won’t forgive Cashman? They are the ones that feel entitled every year, that pick the Spurs and the Patriots and the Red Wings as their other favorite teams.

    They are the ones that expect the team to go 162-0, and think if Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain aren’t 1-2-3 in Cy Young voting, it’s a major shame.

    Dude, guys, it’s 19 APRIL. Not 19 June. Or even 19 May.

    Have you learned anything from last year?

    Seriously, I’m not even looking at the standings right now–I worry about the Yankees winning games. Come June, July, take a look at the standings and if we’re 14 games under .500 (we won’t be), by all means, then freak out.

    Look, I’ve never played a game of major league baseball in my life (for certain obvious reasons), but if a one-weekend road trip to Boston leaves me exhausted, what about these guys that are playing 18-20 on the road?

    Phil and Ian will have their struggles. That’s understood. If you can’t accept that the next couple of months might be tough for them, especially for Phil who is only in his third year of professional baseball at all, then you’re in the wrong sport. This isn’t gymnastics; baseball athletes don’t peak at fifteen or sixteen.

    I would advise everyone even mildly concerned to check out John Smoltz’s numbers for his rookie year.

    Need I remind you that for Smoltz, it’s not a question of if he’s going to Cooperstown, it’s a question of when.

    Yes, Joe Girardi has made some moves that make you cringe a little. So did Joe Torre.

    Unlike Torre, however, Girardi has not ridden one guy in the bullpen–he’s done his best to spread the workload. Hopefully, with the offday Monday, the Yankees move Moose from the two spot in the rotation and put him or Pettitte in between Phil and Ian.

    Yes, Robinson Canò and Jason Giambi aren’t hitting. Canò will come around–he’s done every year so far–and I think Melky’s hot bat might help him. Giambi, I’m not so sure about, but if Giambi is hitting like this next month, we have Morgan and we have Shelley.

    Look.

    We have a THIRD-STRING catcher that’s been playing like he really wants to not go back to Scranton.

    We have a back-up infielder in Alberto Gonzalez, who, in the six games he played, played better than most of us expected.

    Derek Jeter? He’s the only regularly starting Yankee batter who does NOT have a home run yet.

    We’ve got a bullpen with guys like Bruney, Farnsworth and Hawkins, and, with few exceptions, they have done the job.

    If you’re panicking now, you really don’t know anything about this team. If you’re unwilling to give it time, you wouldn’t make a good baseball executive.

    Just think about this: Detroit’s traded their future away to “win now”. The 2004-2007 Yankees were “win now” teams. Win now doesn’t get you anywhere except to Hawaii by Halloween.

    Cashman has been rebuilding this team on the fly. Last year and this year it’s been primarily with the pitching, but over the next few years, it will be with the position players as well. Jeter, A-Rod, Posada will be hear a while, sure, but those are two first balloters and one borederliner. We’ll also have Canò, and Melky, who, so far, seems to be laughing in the face of everyone that thought it’d be a good idea to trade him for Santana (it might be a couple years before whether we really know it was a good idea or not).

    Yeah, Cashman’s made some dumb moves in the past. Name me a GM who hasn’t. But he’s also helped us get to the playoffs every year since he became GM in 1998, a claim no one else, not even the great Theo Epstein or Billy Beane, can make

    Seriously folks.

    The Yankees will be fine.

  116. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Was there really no 3rd starter available though via trade, CB? I know Billy Beane is impossible to deal with. For Blanton, he asked for Joba and IPK, according to Susan Slusser. But what about other GMs?

    Have the Yankees looked into when Freddy Garcia is likely to pitch this year or into his receptivity to a one-year contract? Was there no alternative free-agent pitcher willing to accept a one-year deal?

  117. NYY April 19th, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Pete,

    I first abt the kids in 3 World countries is racist. And by the way those kids in 3rd world countrie don’t make 33 Mil a year.

  118. yankee21 April 19th, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Rebecca, great post!

  119. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Rebecca, have you looked at Cashman’s record in regard to starting pitching? I’m sure I don’t have to recite the list of ignominy to you, but I’m happy to refresh your recollection of his follies, if necessary. One failure followed another.

    Given that record, I don’t know how anyone can place so much faith in his judgment in this regard. Sure, I agree with his overall grand design, to re-build the farm system– I applaud him for it– but I have no confidence in his ability to execute it.

    As for how Cashman compares to the competition. Well, all GM’s make mistakes but how many can boast Cashman’s record of futility in starting pitchers.

    In any case, when comparing Epstein and Cashman, it’s worth observing Epstein traded for Beckett, even though it cost Henley Ramirez and Anibel Sanchez. Cashman spurned a trade for Santana. Do I think Epstein is better GM than Cashman? I don’t know. But if Hughes and IPK don’t realize their potential, the comparative wisdom of the two GMs will be self-evident.

  120. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 19th, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Daily News is reporting that Farnsworth will be fined 2,000.00 and suspended 3 games. I do believe that he was trying to send a message. However, I do not believe a suspension is warranted. If the ball hits Manny than I see their point. This is to stop the shananigans prior to the July series.

    Have a good weekend.

    -dennis

  121. MMF April 19th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Not worried about Cano. But, how long does Giambi have to get into gear?

    50 abs?

    100 abs?

    If after 150 abs, he’s hitting a buck fifty, something is not working right. He’s 39.

    When does he begin lose significant playing time?

    I’m concerned that Girardi does not have the guts to bench 22m a year veterans.

  122. James April 19th, 2008 at 11:08 am

    Good discussion here from some of the actual baseball fans. Johan Santana had an ERA of 6.49 his first year out of the bullpen, he was 21. The next year his ERA was 4.74 at age 22. I bet the Twins fans were glad they didn’t give up on him. Let’s not give up on Phil yet. If you know anything about baseball you can tell the kid has talent. I’ll take the ups and downs if he turns into a fine pitcher for the Yanks, which I think he will. And I agree with SJ44 in that some of the rest of the team looks old and could use some more youth.

  123. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 11:09 am

    Incidentally, the post I wrote, was contingent upon the Yankees NOT making the playoffs.

    And should that eventuality transpire, with Mo and Po another year older entering 2009– NO I won’t forgive him because Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown, Hideki Irabu, Javier Vasquez, Jose Contreras, Esteban Loiza, Carl Pavano, Jared Wright, etc., etc. etc. are too fresh in my memory.

    And the one chance Cashman had to acquire a pitcher who departed from all the above because he was a proven future Hall of Famer and 29-yrs of age besides, he suddenly found religion and decided to forbear.

    Will I clamor for his dismissal. No, Of course not. But I certainly won’t forgive him. And trust me, I’m not alone.

  124. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 19th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Kill Schill, have you looked at Cashman’s record since he was given full reign to do as he wished?

  125. CB April 19th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    “Was there really no 3rd starter available though via trade, CB?”

    KS,

    I’ll flip that question around to you as it’s was you’re assertion that not acquiring a #3 from outside the organization was a mistake.

    It’s fine to site the problem but when you do it’s a lot more productive to say what the solution would be.

    As far as I can see, not one #3 quality reliever switched teams this off season.

    The only pitcher available who fit that role was Andy Pettite.

    I could be wrong but I follow hot stove pretty closely and I can’t think of a true #3 being acquired. I can think of some #1′s (santana, bedard), a #2 (haren) and a bunch of back end guys but not too many of the type of pitchers the yankees need.

    The only guy I can think of who fit that sort of description was the dodgers signing Hiroki Kuroda (who’s gone on to pitch well for the dodgers).

    But I did not want them to take a flier on Kuroda (who is 31 and wasn’t nearly as good in Japan as Igawa). Never mind a 4 year deal.

    Blanton is still on the A’s for a reason. Dealing with Beane is absurd.

    I have a feeling when all is said and done, besides the huge names who moved (Sananta, Bedard, Haren) the best pitchers acquired in the off season by new teams may be rookies – I’d guess that Edinson Volquez and Jair Jurrgens may be among the better pitchers who went to new organizations.

    The reds traded Josh Hamilton for Volquez. Atlanta traded Renteria for Jurrgens.

    Acquiring pitching from the outside is prohibitively expensive.

    But if you have more viable candidates that could have been feasibly acquired I’d like to hear.

  126. Rob in GA April 19th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Yankees have made the playoffs 13 seasons in a row.
    They’re 9-9.
    In April.
    They’re actually developing young talent, in the majors and minors.
    $90+ million comes off the payroll after the next two seasons, mostly pitchers and outfielders.
    The highest contentration of Yankees prospects likely to be ready to contribute over the next couple of seasons… pitchers and outfielders.

    Coming off the books after this season:

    1. Giambi – $23 million (!)
    2. Mussina – $11 million
    3. Pavano – $11 million
    4. Abreu – $16 million
    5. Farnsworth – $6 million

    Subtotal: $67 million

    Coming off the books after next season:

    1. Damon – $13 million
    2. Matsui – $13 million

    Subtotal: $26 million

    TOTAL: $93 million

    SUMMARY:

    It’s early in the season
    Young talent is coming, nicely aligned with the talent that’s exiting
    Yankees still have the most money in baseball, even more with the new stadium, and a TON of salary is coming off the books
    We’re 9-9 and have played like crap the last couple of games, and people are freaking

  127. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 19th, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Dennis: Ugh, yuck. The last thing we want is another ‘pen guy going down…

    MNF: Probably sometime in May. I think if the rest of the team starts clicking and he’s still not, then you’ll see action, but as long as Canò and Damon are struggling, they sort of protect Giambi.

  128. Bill Porter April 19th, 2008 at 11:12 am

    I love hyperventilating over the standings in April; it’s so meaningful.

  129. CB April 19th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    I meant to write “As far as I can see, not one #3 quality starter switched teams this off season.” (wrote #3 reliever)

  130. raymagnetic April 19th, 2008 at 11:14 am

    “Some of the comments on the blog tonight appeared to be written by 8-year-olds after sucking down three Mountain Dews.”

    This is perhaps one of the funniest things I have ever read. Pete when are you going to start writing for Leno and Letterman?

  131. hughman April 19th, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Phil wasn’t bad at all. Lotta singles, misplay on the grounder to A Rod, Latroy blew up. Mucg better than last 2, one where he was squeezed badly, another somewhat. He had a curve ball that shoulda ben a strike at one point last night as well. A lot of youngsters getting squeezed this year. Tons of walks.

    Giambi should pick it up too. Very low BABIP. That won’t last.

    Yankees do have some weak spots defensively and O has been spotty at best. Tough on the young pitchers.

  132. Drive 4-5 April 19th, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I dont know whats more amusing to read. The over-reators, the over- reactors to the over -reactors or the over -reactors to any post that doesn’t contain the statement “everything is fine”.

    It’s over-reacting to say the season is doomed.It’s not over-reacting to point out the Yankee’s weaknesses. It’s over -reacting to say Brain Cashman is a genius. It’s not over -reacting to question his decisions in an inteliigent manner. The same guy who is responsible for the strength of our minor league system and thinks Kennedy should develop in the majors is also the same guy who showed poor judgement in signing Kei Igawa and Kyle Farsworth.

    Let’s have fun and agree to disagree in an intelligent manner.

  133. CB April 19th, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Dennis,

    I don’t think Farnsworth should have thrown that pitch where it was. If it was directed at Manny’s back that’s one thing.

    But that pitch was close to his neck. At the very least it was possible that Manny could have ducked into the pitch and got hit in the neck or head.

    I have no problem with a fine and even a 1 game suspension. That would send enough of a message that if you’re going to brush someone back make sure it’s from the back down. I do think 3 games is too much, however given that he didn’t hit him.

  134. BoreSight.com April 19th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Remember, Pete, trends (lack of clutch hitting with RISP, struggles of starting pitching, etc.) set during the beginning of the season tend to continue throughout the season. Look at the last few years if you like for reference.

    Little reason to be optimistic. This team will have no October success.

  135. gargoyle April 19th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Relax.

    That is all.

    Respectfully, gargoyle.

  136. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Instead of saying, “Cashman should have found a #3 pitcher”, look around yourselves for that pitcher.

    Joe Blanton. You really think he is worth giving up Hughes or Kennedy AND Austin Jackson to acquire? Also, do you really think he is a #3 pitcher?

    Carlos Silva. Do you really think he is worth 48 million for his services?

    Honestly, do you think Brian Cashman sat on his butt on the and didn’t look at the possibilities around the league?

    Really, think about it for a minute.

    The guy looks 10 years older than he is. Do you think he looks that way working 40 hour work weeks?

    There is NO PITCHING out there. NONE!

    The Red Sox gave Bartolo Colon a shot. That’s how barren the pitching market is right now.

    Its why you develop your own pitching.

    If you don’t have the stomach to handle the growing pains, take time off from watching baseball until after the All Star Break. Then, as the team gets better, you can hop on the bandwagon and say you never lost faith.

    Let me let you in on a little secret. Neither Hank nor Hal Steinbrenner are ticked off at Brian Cashman for taking this route.

    BOTH were briefed on the positives and negatives of going in this direction and BOTH (yes, even Hank) signed off on it.

    Geez, with all that’s happening to the team, they are still better off than they were a year ago at this time. Let that sink in for a moment.

    They will be even better next year with the kids having a year under their belts and over 80 million dollars coming off the books.

    Cashman’s plan to get younger and develop the majority of their pitching is 100% the right decision.

    Its just not going to happen overnight.

    Nor is it a 3 or 4 year rebuilding project.

    If, by May 15, Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi aren’t hitting, they have Shelley Duncan and Brett Gardner in AAA ready to go.

    In the last 3 years, Cashman has not been shy about promoting younger players.

    2005: Wang and Cano
    2006: Cabrera
    2007: Joba and Chamberlain

    It will happen again this year.

    Folks just have to be a little patient.

    As CB and I have stated ad nauseum, they have a solution to their starting pitching issues sitting in Nebraska right now.

    Neither the Tigers, Mariners, Red Sox or Indians, 4 teams that are actively looking for starting pitchers, have a better option than Joba Chamberlain.

    Its just a matter of when they decide to make the move.

  137. Mark Alan April 19th, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Commenter Rockin’ Rich applauded Pete’s suggestion of spinning some jazz and recommended Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue. For what it’s worth, folks, the first song on that album is called: “So What?”

    Perspective? Could be.

  138. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 19th, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Drive: Why do I have a feeling that was partially directed at me? :-P LMAO

  139. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    “I would advise everyone even mildly concerned( about hughes) to check out John Smoltz’s numbers for his rookie year.”

    the braves record in 1988 was: 54-106

    the braves record in 1989 was 63-97

    hughes doesn’t have the luxury of the team not needing him. the yankees need hughes to win.
    big difference.

  140. gayle April 19th, 2008 at 11:22 am

    If Farnsworth is suspended that in my opinion is complete BS

  141. pat m in ct April 19th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Night and day on this blog. This morning has seen some terrific discussion between randy I, CB, SJ, Murphydog, Rebecca. That’s what a good blog, of any sort, should be. I learn a lot from reading this blog and I’ve been watching/listening/reading about this game for 35 plus years. People posting during the game should be reading these exchanges before going off the deep end.

    Somebody mentioned Jim Palmer last night. By the sound of it, Palmer thought Hughes was doing a good job gven his age. Palmer would know. He was pitching successfully at 21. Different era (higher mound, no DH,etc) but he’s a bright guy who’s been there and I suspect recognizes the differences between 1966 and 2008 . There’s been a handful of guys who succeeded at 21 in the last 25 years. Gooden and Saberhagen are the only ones who come to mind. Everyone else (Clemens, Cone, Pedro, Smoltz, Maddux) put it together at 23 or after.

    Damon is a bigger concern. As he goes, so do the Yanks. If he’s not getting on base regularly by memorial day, I think you try out Gardner. His speed alone might be the missing weapon that changes the look of this veteran heavy team.

    9-9 start with an unsettled rotation, inconsistent offense, bad weather, tough schedule?
    I’ll take it gladly.

  142. pat m in ct April 19th, 2008 at 11:24 am

    btw, loved the Al Oliver/Mussina post.

  143. Fran April 19th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    I think it is a little early to evaluate Hughes vs. Santana. We won’t know if the Yanks “made the right decision” for a long time. Today fans are ripping Hughes. If he won last night nobody would be complaining. Last week the fans at Shea booed Santana; this morning I am sure they are singing his praises.

    As for Cashman, this is the final year of his contract. He will have to answer to management at the end of this season.

  144. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 19th, 2008 at 11:26 am

    CB. Good Points that are well taken. I just do not want a hyper-sensitivity to the Rivalry by MLB..

    If the Yanks won 7-3 yesterday then this blog would be very positive on Hughes. Yesterday’s loss was far more about non patient at bats and a defensive blunder. Hughes improved and threw strikes and his velocity seemed up a tick or two. The kid is a stud however it will take some growing pains. ESPECIALLY in the best division in baseball.

    One last note….THe Chicago White Sox I believe are the biggest surprise to the upside thus far. I thought they would be horrible with Contreras, Danks, Floyd…however they have pitched well. It is early but they have played great.

  145. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 11:29 am

    Suspending Farnsworth is a joke. It really is.

    If you are going to get suspended for that, you might as well hit the guy the next time you face him.

    Just another overreaction by MLB.

    Nobody is saying Cashman is a genius. He also isn’t an idiot.

    If he was on the open market, he would have a job inside of 3 months.

    That’s how the industry feels about him.

    Its funny though, two years ago, Theo Epstein’s team didn’t make the playoffs.

    He made the famous statement that he can’t be a “Uber team like the Yankees”, when he didn’t acquire Bobby Abreu.

    Josh Beckett was awful. Hanley Ramirez was great. Annibal Sanchez pitched a no hitter. Red Sox Nation hated Theo.

    What happened last year?

    Take a look at the Red Sox now.

    They have two young pitchers (Lester and Buchholz) learning the ropes. So do the Yankees with Hughes and Kennedy.

    They have a young, speedy CF (Ellsbury). The Yankees not only have Melky, who is getting better everyday, they may have their own Ellsbury in Brett Gardner sitting in AAA right now.

    The Red Sox would KILL to have a Joba Chamberlain. Right now, aside from being a more pesky offensive team, Joba is the difference between the two teams as they re-tool on the fly.

    The Red Sox took one step back to move two steps forward. The absolutely correct way to retool on the fly.

    We have Yankee fans in full blown panic mode after 18 games. What a joke.

    Both teams are retooling on the fly. The only difference is, some Yankee fans have become as doom and gloom as the most pessimistic Red Sox fans can be.

    Personally, I could care less of folks commit suicide because the Yankees haven’t started out 16-2. It doesn’t change my enjoyment of the game one bit.

    It would be nice if the game threads weren’t filled with such idiocy. But, that’s out of my control.

    I just don’t want folks getting hernias when they hop back on the bandwagon in July.

    Patience people. Kneejerk reactions in April usually end up with crow eating in September.

  146. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I see, so we exonerate Cashman for every decision before 2005, even the one’s he owned to having rendered.

    Kyle Farsnworth’s signing was sheer genius, I’ll concede that much. Oh, and so was drafting CJ Henry instead of Clay Buccholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Craig Hansen.

    CB, as I suggested in my post. Freddy Garcia. Evidently, he will have completed his rehabilitation by June. Did the Yankees approach him about a one-year deal? Or inviting Colon as a non-roster invite and exploring a one-year contract with weight incentives?

  147. NYPD113th April 19th, 2008 at 11:30 am

    “I first abt the kids in 3 World countries is racist. ”

    –What a good liberal you are NYY.

    A little bout of the “white guilt”?

    Relax Francis.

  148. CB April 19th, 2008 at 11:31 am

    “hughes doesn’t have the luxury of the team not needing him. the yankees need hughes to win.”

    But by that reasoning then the Yankees will never, ever develop any young pitchers other than the next coming of Dwight Gooden circa 1985.

    It’s true that what the yankees are trying to do is difficult.

    But there’s no good alternative, IMO.

    Let’s look at it this way – the goal is to win the world series. Not to make the playoffs – to win the world series.

    I agree if your goal is to make the playoffs you orient the team in a different way – one that takes on less risk.

    But if your goal is to win the WS every year then you roll the dice and take the risk.

    If the yankees don’t make the playoffs this season you know where they’ll be?

    Exactly where they were last year in November. At home without a pennant or World Series Ring.

    But if this plan works it pays off in a a big way.

    If they do make the playoffs (which I think they still will) and they have a rotation of Wang, Pettite, Joba and Hughes that will be their best chance to WIN the World Series in nearly a decade.

    Going into this season there was one thing I was pretty certain about – the best new starting pitcher any team would acquire during the season was going to be the Yankees moving Joba from the pen to the rotation.

    I still believe that. Don’t undersell what an advantage that is.

    They’ll find someone to get 3 outs in the 8th inning.

    But if they aren’t patient now then they have very little chance of getting that goal – winning the World Series.

  149. NYPD113th April 19th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    “they may have their own Ellsbury in Brett Gardner sitting in AAA right now.”

    - HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!!!!!!!!

  150. TKinDC April 19th, 2008 at 11:36 am

    It is funny to me that last year at this time it seemed like the Yanks were running “Open Mound Night” promotions for the likes of DeSalvo, T Clipp, et al, Our lefty bats were catatonic, and hamstrings were popping like champagne corks on new year’s eve but we made the playoffs.

    The idea that by the end of this season the Yanks could have a starting rotation where 3/5ths are being paid

  151. johnny7 April 19th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    “There’s a plan in place and there are going to be some bumps.”

    Yeah, it’s straight from the 1965 template…

  152. John April 19th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Hey Pete, good post, but while it is only April I don’t think that there is NO reason to be concerned. I think there are some trends I have already seen that are disturbing. 1.) I think Jason Giambi is done. His bat looks slow, he hasn’t really been good for almost two years now, and he kills this team any time he is in the middle of the lineup. If he is done and Duncan isn’t the answer, this team has no first baseman 2.) Mike Mussina might be washed up, meaning that he could potentially be a liability, even as a fifth starter. I know a fifth starter is the LAST spot in the rotation, but you need someone who is at least decent there. You can’t have a guy who steps on the mound and is an automatic 5 or 6 runs in 4 or 5 innings. 3.) You have Mo and Joba in the bullpen. I like what I have seen from Bruney, but after that you asking for four run leads to become 8 run leads. Hawkins was a terrible signing. I don’t care if it was for one year. That still means he can KILL the team for one year. I know he had a nice outing against the Sox, but let’s face it, his ERA is gonna hover around 7 the entire year. Maybe two quality appearances, then three “explosion” appearances. 4.) The Yanks have two quality pitchers right now, which is something you have said in the past. I agree, you have to let these kids mature, but everyone seems to think that is done in a vaccum. If these kids DON’T mature this year, this year is toast. That’s it. So while it isn’t Phil Hughes fault that he has been put in this position, and he is the youngest pitcher in baseball, as he goes through his growing pains, along with Kennedy, this team will continue to lose games and won’t put winning streaks together. That could spell a lost year for this team. Not saying it will, but it could. This is the Yankees, with a $200million payroll and a manager with the #27 on his back. No one told me this was gonna be a throw away year. The Yanks put this kid in the #3 hole and told everyone the Yanks would win with that formula. If they don’t, it is disingenuous to then turn around and say “hey, what do you expect, these are kids.” Plus, what is even more troubling is what we have seen from Hughes already. Everyone, like you Pete, keep saying “he is going to be great” but so far what I have seen is a kid who has been very average. Now, don’t get me wrong, he could still be very, very good, but Hughes was “advertised” as a power pitcher, and yet he doesn’t throw that hard (the definition of a power pitcher, not necessarily a good pitcher), his curve ball is very good, but he has no third pitch, and guys seem to simply foul his curve off and then sit on the fastball and kill it. It seems to be that Hughes is much more of a “have to hit my spots” kinda guy than a power pitcher that can dominate a game with pure stuff. If he has control, he can be really good. If his control is off a little bit, unlike the big pitchers in the games that can still blow a fastball or hard slider by you, he is gonna not just get hit, but get pounded. Brian Cashman put all his eggs in the Phil Hughes basket. He didn’t trade for Santana because of Hughes. He basically handed him the third spot in the rotation. If this season is a lost season because of the kids growing pains, and we look up two years from now and Phil Hughes is simply a decent pitcher, a 3 starter let’s say, then Cashman set the organization back. Remember, NONE of this is done in a vaccum. If the Yanks don’t win this year, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera are all a year older. Andy Pettite might retire. This is the New York Yankees. Sitting around and waiting to win has NEVER been their motto.

  153. TKinDC April 19th, 2008 at 11:38 am

    apparently this blog doesn’t like lesser than signs – half my post disappeared.

    . . . being paid less than 1 Mill.

  154. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    No one’s panicking in April that has any bit of an historical memory.

    But so too, let’s not coronate Brian Cashman just yet either.

    Pete’s post yesterday has considerable validity: “Just understand that it’s going to be very difficult for the Yankees to make the playoffs and develop Hughes and Ian Kennedy at the same time. Right now, this is a team with two reliable starters.”

    I know how I would feel if that eventuality occurred. Unforgiving. Unforgiving for squandering another year of Posada, Rivera, Jeter, and the 34 yr old outfield.

    As unforgiving, in fact, as all Torre’s detractors were last year. As unforgiving as all those who wanted to pin the Yankees “failure to achieve their mission statement” on his head.

    When, as far as I’m concerned, if one must find a scapegoat, the place to begin looking is the front-office.

    But as I wrote above, renewing Cashman’s contract and harboring a grudge against him for his errors are not mutually exclusive. I’d do both.

  155. IO April 19th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    what happened to Ben Sheets?

    – 60 day DL (triceps injury)

  156. randyhater April 19th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Putting Joba in the rotation now is a white flag move and should be out of the question unless we’ve suddenly decided that his innings cap is now 200, or that 3rd place is acceptable.

    Even if he were to step in and dominate consistently (a huge, huge assumption) what are we going to do in mid-August when he’s out of gas? Slap him on the ass and say, “See you next spring.” And who fills the 8th inning void? Hawkins? Ohlendorf? The much-maligned Brian Bruney? Stop the insanity.

    Cashman has built this team to rise or fall based on what we get out of Hughes and Kennedy, or Kennedy and Hughes, in the 3 and 4 spots. And that’s assuming optimum health and productivity from Wang and Pettitte. (I would have bagged Santana, whatever the cost, but that ship has sailed.) Mussina’s a lost cause and should be jettisoned forthwith. Try Rasner, Karstens, Horne or Marquez as your 5 with the knowledge that a viable back of the rotation guy will be available at the deadline and we’ve got plenty on the farm to bargaign with.

    If the goal is still the ’08 World Series, punishing offense, lockdown bullpen, and a pieced together back of the rotation is the surest plan. I say stop the panic and stay the course.

  157. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Freddie Garcia is throwing 82 MPH. Every team in baseball has passed on him.

    Colon is hurt again. What good does having Bartolo Colon blocking the development of your young pitchers?

    The Red Sox signed him because they don’t have any young starters at AAA or AA (Justin Masterson is a bullpen guy at the next level) to help them this season.

    Weight clause? He’ still over 300 pounds! lol

    Craig Hansen? You can’t be serious.

    You really think Craig Hansen is worth 4.5 million dollars, the signing bonus he got from the Red Sox in 2005?

    They love him so much they are actively trying to trade him.

    He’s been as big a bust as CJ Henry. I take that back. He’s been a bigger bust because its cost the Red Sox 3+ million more than it cost the Yankees to sign Henry.

    Funny how you conveinently left out Austin Jackson when discussing that draft. He is one of the Top 4 CF prospects in the game right now.

    Its funny how folks like to cherrypick GM moves.

    How did it work out signing and keeping Wang and Cano instead of dealing either for Randy Johnson?

    How about getting Hughes, Chamberlain and Kennedy?

    How about signing Jesus Montero? Jose Tabata?

    How about keeping Melky Cabrera instead of trading him?

    How about making the playoffs every year since he has been GM?

    Since 2005, the Yankees went from 29th in baseball in their farm system to 4th. Take a good look at that Charleston team. They may be the best team in ALL of minor league baseball.

    He gets no credit for that because he signed Kyle Farnsworth?

    Oh by the way, he has 3 World Series rings and had to deal with the Tampa Mafia from 2001-2005.

    That’s not a good enough job from your GM?

    Well, I hope you have someone in mind whose done a better job in that timeframe.

    Every GM makes mistakes. Every one of them. If you are looking for perfection in that job, its a search that will come up empty.

  158. ANSKY April 19th, 2008 at 11:49 am

    RE: Hughes & Kennedy

    They will struggle from time to time. Look up Roger Clemens stats from is early years in Boston. He struggled a bit in the 2 seasons before the one in which he struck out 20 in a game and won 24 games.

    I’m not saying Kennedy are the 2nd & 3rd coming of the Rocket .. just that even Roger Clemens struggles at their ages.

    Hughes looked pretty good for several innings up to the one the O’s took the lead. Focus on that too.

  159. S.A.-Phil Hughes is Saved and Joba will be a starter April 19th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Fantastic post Peter

  160. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 11:51 am

    “Geez, with all that’s happening to the team, they are still better off than they were a year ago at this time. Let that sink in for a moment.”

    actually the yankees are only one game better than last year after 18 games: 8-10 vs. 9-9 this year.

    the red sox just haven’t opened up the 4 game lead they had at this point last year so that is helpful. if the yankees do hang in at .500 for this tough month they’ll be fine as sj says. the problem is there are a lot of games between now and may 1.

    i have come over to the side of getting joba into the #3 hole sooner than later. cb and sj wore me down. i see their logic now.

    mussina is a real problem. he’s on a countdown. three starts is all he’s going to get to prove he can still pull rabbits out of his hat. would it be against mlb rules if he pitched in a pin striped skirt? it would be kind of sexist if it was.

    i’m just thinking of ways to motivate him. he needs something to motivate him to reinvent himself. doing what he has been doing for the past year just isn’t going to work.
    he’s a smart guy, but really stubborn and set in his ways. if he doesn’t get more velocity, he’s got to try a different approach.

  161. joe b April 19th, 2008 at 11:54 am

    NOT THIS YEAR. NO PITCHING

  162. pat m in ct April 19th, 2008 at 11:55 am

    “Hey, you, calm down”

    someone tell that to Bob Watson. Suspending Farnsworth is overreacting.

  163. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Randy,

    I don’t think its a question of motivation for Moose. He just doesn’t have anything left, IMO.

    Also, when you have pitched one way your entire pitching life, its really hard to change.

    Pitching is as much muscle memory as it is anything else.

    Plainly put, the guy has always worked middle away, up/down in the zone.

    Now, despite his lack of velocity (hell, David Cone was pitching inside when he throwing 84), he has to pitch in and, sadly, he just can’t do it.

    Ideally, he is best as a 5th starter and swing guy at this point.

    Yes, he will have nights against free swinging teams that he can “smoke and mirror” it to a win.

    Against good hitting teams? Little or no chance unless they have an off night.

    Its why Joba needs to get transitioned to the rotation soon. Its much easier to find somebody to pitch 1 inning than it is to find somebody to pitch 6 or 7.

  164. CB April 19th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    KS,

    If you want to say Garcia and/ or Colon would be decent veteran guys as insurance policies for the #5 slot I’ll buy it.

    But neither one is even close to a #3 starter right now – not even close.

    The mets were desperate for starting pitching this off season – desperate. They passed on both of those pitchers as did the vast majority of teams.

    Insurance policies that you could sign to non-guaranteed minor league deals? Ok.

    But that’s nowhere near the #3 starter you wanted them to acquire.

  165. Fran April 19th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    A lot of posters this morning are preaching patience and giving Hughes and Kennedy a chance to develop. Pete has a quote from Derek in his article today:

    Even Derek Jeter, a player who usually judges games only by the final score, was left preaching patience.
    “There are older guys who are inconsistent, too,” he said. “I don’t think you can blame it on their age. Those guys know how to pitch. They’re going to have some problems when they struggle but that’s going to happen to everyone. The game is about adjustments, especially in your first or second year. We have to support them as best we can right now.”

  166. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    “How did it work out signing and keeping Wang and Cano instead of dealing either for Randy Johnson?”

    SJ, don’t forget the only reason why the Yankees didn’t trade Wang and Cano for Randy Johnson is because the Diamondbacks weren’t interested in them. If they had been, the Yankees would have included one or both in the deal. They each were on two of the list the Yankees submitted to the Diamonbacks.

    Then on the other side, when trading him back to the Diamondbacks, Cashman had an opportunity to acquire Micah Owings instead of Ohlendorf but he wouldn’t pay another 2-4 milion dollars of the Unit’s contract.

    Cashman does become bizarrely frugal, improvidently so, with the Yankee payroll at times.

    I wouldn’t dismiss either Freddy Garcia or Craig Hansen just yet. Freddy Garcia hasn’t recovered fully from surgery; he had labrum/rotator cuff surgery in August.

    And Craig Hansen, until recently, was suffering from Sleep Apnea, which in serious cases can be fatal. I’d give him another year before making a definitive judgment on his value.

  167. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 19th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    SJ44.

    Even in WS winning seasons GM’s make horrible blunders.

    How did the Gagne deal work out for us?

    Gabbard gave up two eanred runs in 6IP in his start Thursday night vs Toronto and David Murphy started in CF.

    Think Theo would take that one back?

    I have a soft spot for Cashman because he looks like the only other person on the planet that sleeps less than I do.

    -dennis

  168. Jake April 19th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    GREAT POST.

    Peter, you’ve done well yet again.

  169. raymagnetic April 19th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    “Have the Yankees looked into when Freddy Garcia is likely to pitch this year or into his receptivity to a one-year contract?”

    Even if they had signed Freddy Garcia he wouldn’t be pitching right now and therefore would be of now use to the Yankees. Not to mention the fact that he has a bum shoulder and will probably be a shadow of himself when he comes back.

  170. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    “Well, I hope you have someone in mind whose done a better job in that timeframe.”

    Nope, which is precisely why, in spite of my criticism of Cashman, I hope the Yankees renew his contract.

  171. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Micah Owings was never part of the Randy Johnson deal.

    Never. I know his agent and I asked him about it last year.

    He told me he was never part of the talks.

    That’s an urban legend without any foundation whatsoever.

  172. raymagnetic April 19th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    “what happened to Ben Sheets?

    – 60 day DL (triceps injury)”

    That’s unbelievable!

  173. Fran April 19th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    SJ – You talked about Moose having to pitch inside and not being able to do it. Well part of it is that Moose does not want to do it. He has always said that he does not want to pitch inside because he does not want to hit batters. He refers to the time he hit a batter, the batter charged the mound and a brawl broke out.

    He is very stubborn and set in his ways, refusing to make adjustments. Couple that with what he has lost on his pitches, and he is no better than a #5 at best.

  174. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    “don’t forget the only reason why the Yankees didn’t trade Wang and Cano for Randy Johnson is because the Diamondbacks weren’t interested in them. If they had been, the Yankees would have included one or both in the deal.”

    But then it’s really hard to give Epstein as much credit for the Beckett deal.

    Epstein (and most people in baseball) didn’t think Hanley Ramirez was a particularly special player?

    That’s why they traded him. If they had correctly scouted their own player, then they could have definitely done the Beckett deal without giving him up – he wasn’t traded as an elite prospect he was traded as a good prospect but a piece in a larger deal.

    They thought he was an good athelete, but not a top blue chip player.

    The Marlins on the other hand zeroed in on Ramirez like a laser. He was the guy they identified and focused on.

    So in that sense the Marlins out scouted the Sox on their own player.

    It was still a great trade for the Sox.

    But if you’re going to start getting into the evaluation process of the other team then you should do that for other trade proposals as well.

  175. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Well since I don’t know Micah Owings agent, SJ, I can’t argue with you.

    But the press certainly didn’t report it that way.

  176. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Ross Ohlendorf is a bad acquisition? He may end up being the 8th inning guy by the end of the year.

    At worst, he will be a solid 7th inning contributor to the bullpen as he goes forward.

    Gonzalez, Ohlendorf and one year of Vizcaino for a guy who has had 2 more back surgeries since the trade. Plus, you save 17 million?

    That’s not a good deal. that’s a great deal for any GM to make.

  177. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    “If they do make the playoffs (which I think they still will) and they have a rotation of Wang, Pettite, Joba and Hughes that will be their best chance to WIN the World Series in nearly a decade.”

    cb-
    when solving the #3 spot in the rotation is thought of as the biggest problem area, it becomes clearer how to proceed. it’s not whether 6 innings once every 5 days is better than 1-2 innings every other day. it’s that a playoff team needs a good third starter.

    if the yankees had one ,i’d lean to leaving joba in the bullpen . it’s fast appearing that they don’t, so the question is how to get him in that role. how soon can they do it and still keep his innings down to a healthy level ?

  178. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    But trading Cano and Wang for a 41-yr old Randy Johnson is hardly the same as trading Ramirez and Sanchez for a 26-yr old Josh Beckett, wouldn’t you agree?

  179. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Randy,

    I think one of the ironies of the whole Joba pen/rotation thing is that the ultimate goal is being clouded.

    The goal is to win the world series. So how do you maximize that chance?

    I can see some short term, utilitarian argument that the yanks best chance to make the playoffs is with Joba in the pen – I don’t agree with it but I can see it.

    However, i don’t believe that their best chance to win the world series is with him in the pen.

    Their best chance to get through the playoffs, into the series and to win it is with Joba in the rotation.

    A playoff rotation with Joba in it is much, much better than one without it.

    And I think there is a decent probability that Joba could throw a shut down game in the playoffs.

    No other pitcher in the staff can do that – even wang at his best will pitch to contact.

    But that’s what you need to win in the playoffs. I can’t be certain that will happen but I do believe Joba has the stuff to do it – he creates that possiblity.

  180. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 19th, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    CB.

    Tough to say the Sox were out scouted. Perhaps the Sox scouts knew that Lowell was going to break out and that Fneway would be a great spot given his swing? That was a great trade either way. Tough to to measure what a prospect is going to do. How did Tom Brady get drafted in the 6th freakin round?

    Also, I agree that Joba is the best option in MLB to have in the wings as a potential starter. I hope that fans are patient as that will be a legnthy transition. The guy has a once in a decade type arm. As a Sox fan I fear him far more as a potential starter.

    -dennis

  181. Betsy April 19th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Drive 4/5, if all Phil has is a competent major league career, I think all of us would be disappointed; …….that is, all of us who haven’t jumped off the bandwagon. Competent? Ugh – that’s a word I use for a mediocre pitcher. Now all of a sudden he’s not a potential ace? I’m not buying that at all. As one of Phil’s biggest fans, I admit that I am concerned with the lack of swing and misses he’s getting; where is that late life on his FB that he’s known for? I’m also concerned about his lack of command on his FB and curve ……but I’m hoping that that’s just the growing pains of a 21 year old who lost a whole year of development because he was (a) rushed and (b) injured. Andy Pettitte is a wonderful pitcher, but not a real stud in the true sense of the word and I’m going to be very disappointed if Phil doesn’t turn into the ace he was projected to be. He is only 21.

    As for Joba, I still don’t see him as the savior of this staff. I think anyone that doesn’t think he’s going to have his ups and downs is mistaken; it doesn’t mean I don’t think he should start, just that I think now expectations for him are ridiculously high.

  182. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    No, I didn’t say Ohlendorf was a bad acquisition, to the contrary. Ohlenfdorf, et. al., was a great acquisition.

    My objection is that Cashman finds thrift at the oddest times. For example, refusing to pay 2 to 4 million dollars extra for the Unit’s contract in exchange for substituting Owings for Ohlendorf, as the press reported.

    Which you tell me is an urban myth. Perhaps you’re right, in which case I can’t fault him for it.

  183. Betsy April 19th, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Kill Schilling, you are entitled to your opinion about Santana, but it is just an opinion and not proven fact that a “wise GM” would have made the trade. The Yankees are higher on Hughes than you are and they are looking beyond 2008. I guess if Cashman goes, you won’t have to worry about forgiving him or not, but if he does go, it will be because he wants to, not because Hank and Hal let him go.

  184. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    KS,

    Yes – I agree that is true as well. The talent they were getting back was in no way equal.

    My only point was on how teams can read/ misread their own talent.

    One of the things Branch Rickey used to do (I believe it was Rickey) was to scout his own organization more intensively than any other. He wanted to make sure he knew his players better than anyone.

    I agree with that philosophy. That’s one of the things John Scheurholz did so well in Atlanta.

    One thing on Wang – he truly became an entirely different pitcher during the 2004 season. That’s when he picked up his power sinker. So it wasn’t possible to really know what he was because he had changed what he was.

    It wasn’t clear by the end of 2004 what adding that pitch would mean.

  185. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Hindsight is a great benefit of the Beckett trade.

    How did people feel about the trade after the 2006 season?

    What if Hanley Ramirez becomes a Hall of Fame player for the next 15 years?

    Do you think Josh Beckett is going to pitch another 15 years? I don’t.

    That will probably be a trade that helps both teams. Sometimes that happens.

    I wouldn’t have traded Wang AND Cano for Josh Beckett. I don’t see how that makes the Yankees better.

  186. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    “My objection is that Cashman finds thrift at the oddest times. For example, refusing to pay 2 to 4 million dollars extra for the Unit’s contract in exchange for substituting Owings for Ohlendorf, as the press reported.”

    The Micah Owings rumors were false. This was largely an internet based rumor that had no basis to it. Got on the blogosphere and then the press started reporting it as a legitimate rumor.

    I read the blog where it first appeared – it’s not a credible source and the person who reported it was an awful writer.

  187. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Look at the Santana trade another way.

    Why didn’t the Red Sox do it?

    Frankly, why not trade Lester AND Ellsbury for him?

    If I was Theo, I’d have given them Lester, Ellsbury AND Jed Lowrie (who is a very nice prospect) for Santana.

    They have Coco Crisp to play CF.

    Jon Lester ain’t Johan Santana.

    Lowrie isn’t playing over Mike Lowell or Pedroia and his ceiling isn’t close to Hanley Ramirez and they dealt him.

    In Santana and Beckett, they would have the Koufax and Drysdale of this generation.

    Its not money. The Red Sox are swimming in cash.

    Why didn’t they do it?

    Its not like their team is so good nobody can beat them. They have the same issues the Yankees have this season.

    They didn’t do it because it makes no sense giving up 2-3 young players with high ceilings for a pitcher who then wants over 20 million a year.

    Think about it. Folks are ticked Cashman passed on the deal. But, so did Theo.

    If Theo did the deal, one could argue he shuts out the Yankees down for the foreseeable future. Yet, he didn’t do it.

    All I am saying is, there is a lot more to being a GM than just making deals fans think should be made.

    Every GM has hits, misses, and those in between.

    You can’t cherrypick the moves because things change from year to year.

    You have to look at the entire picture. Overall, Cashman has done a very good job as GM of the Yankees.

    Doesn’t make him a genius. It also doesn’t make him a dolt.

  188. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Dennis,

    Fair point. I’m not trying to knock the deal in anyway (trust me as a Yankee fan I know very well how much the distance between the organizations is Josh Beckett).

    The Beckett deal is going to go down as a historically great trade for the sox. One of the best deals of the decade probably.

    I was just trying to point out how difficult it is to evaluate talent and to be a GM.

    The Sox do a great job on evaluating talent. But that said, I do think it’s true that they didn’t truly see what they had on their hands in Ramirez.

    But for that matter neither did Baseball America, most scouts, etc, etc.

    But from what I’ve read Florida was absolutely in love with him. That might be incorrect but from what I understand Florida was much higher on him than the Sox were.

    I’m also pretty sure Lowell was added to the deal only as a salary dump – that was an unintended consequence that has obviously worked out great for you guys and goes a long way in making the deal even better for your side.

  189. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    pat m-
    i listened closely to what palmer said too. palmer has seen as much good pitching as anyone over his lifetime being with the orioles of the 70′s and 80′s, and he really likes hughes. to get his endorsement says a lot about hughes.

    glad you liked my al oliver reference. as a former pro player yourself, you know how hard it is to look off speed and react to inside heat. i was lucky enough to be a fly on the wall once when oliver was telling how he hit to hal mcrae and graig nettles. he was surprised when they said no one does that.

  190. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Well then I’ll defer to you guys about the Owings rumor. I can’t fathom why the Diamondback would have even entertained the possibility of trading him.

    Still, I’m very eager to see what the Yankees do this off-season in the free-agent market. If they continue the austerity kick, I’m going to be very unforgiving in my criticism.

    Recent estimates I’ve read, based on bond discloures, project the new ballpark will earn the team at least $100 million dollars in revenue every year.

    There’s no reason why the Yankees can’t build their farm system and acquire one choice free-agent an off-season, when available, besides.

  191. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 19th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    CB

    No doubt is was a salary dump. I agree about talent and how/if that translates to success in MLB.

    By the draft the last 3-4 years both our teams have done a great job scouting.

    All. Good chatting this AM. Some great posts to read. My wife and I are going to take a stroll to lunch. Good Luck at Yankee-Fenway Yards in Baltimore.

    I will not be on during our games but if the Yanks win I may slide over to read some posts.

    Take Care,

    -dennis

  192. CB April 19th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    “Still, I’m very eager to see what the Yankees do this off-season in the free-agent market.”

    I could be completely wrong here – but I do think that a key part of this entire plan moving forward was getting out from beneath all the piled up, bad free agent contracts.

    I think much of what they were planning on in terms of rebuilding while trying to win was contingent on getting rid of so many of these contracts and getting back some flexibility.

    I think they will most likely sign Texeira and have him hitting in front of or in back of ARod for many years to come.

    You have to wait to see what they do this off season before judging this whole rebuilding/ winning now program. Last year’s free agent class was abysmal.

  193. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    The Yankees will always spend money. That’s not going to change.

    However, you can’t spend money like a drunken sailor on leave just because you have money. You have to spend it intelligently.

    Everybody in baseball has money today. That means the financial advantage the Yankees have enjoyed over the years has lessened quite a bit.

    If Mark Teixiera wants to play in someplace other than NY, more than enough teams will offer him the money to do so. He won’t be short for suitors willing to go at or over the 100 million dollar mark for his services.

    That wasn’t the case 3-4 years ago.

    Players have options today they never enjoyed before because the game is awash with cash.

    Its why player evaluations are so important these days.

    You can spend a lot of money, which the Yankees have done for years. Over 1.2 BILLION dollars in salaries from 2001-2007 alone. However, if you have 1 or 2 (or more) bad contracts on the ledger, it messes you up for years.

    More and more good, young players are being taken off the market (by signing long term deals with their original teams) because of the money in the game. It lessens the amount of really good players in the free agent pool.

    Its why Cashman made the decision in 2005 to change the way the Yankees do business. It was the right decision.

    He has just had to play catch up because from 2001-2005, their farm system was barren.

    Its not barren anymore and that gives him a ton of options for present and future moves.

  194. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    sj44-

    i don’t know if you noticed it, but i haven’t bashed cashman about going with hughes and kennedy ( and not making the santana trade) like i usually do when i think cashman is wrong ( think nieves last year).

    i think he just made an acceptable calculated gamble that a rotation of wang,pettitte, mussina, hughes, and kennedy could get them through the first half of the year, but it appears mussina may be on the verge of imploding.

    if that happens what does cashman do? that’s really the question that’s looming. like i said, i think mussina has three starts to redeem himself. if not cashman needs to reassess his gamble and change his strategy.

    three mussina starts will put the yankees right around that may 1 target you’ve been saying is a key one for the yanks to be at .500. if the yankees and mussina can somehow do that , cashman gets to push back another three starts of having to make a decison about joba.

    i think this is all about how mussina pitches now.

  195. Drive 4-5 April 19th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Here’s a way to think of Hughes’ and Kennedy’s development.

    We’re hoping they get around 32 starts this year. Let’s break every 4 starts into groups as if they were school quizzes, not even tests. Grade tham as pass/fail so as to put less pressure on them. All we’re looking for is improvement over the year.

    They both failed their first quizzes. Big deal. Remember, all we’re looking for is improvement. They still hopefully have 7 more to go. If they fail 3 times consecutively, then in fairness to everyone, we may have to re-evaluate and think about what is in the best interests of both the players and the team in the short term.

  196. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Randy,

    We wore you down!!! lol

    On another note, I will be in the Cape in July. My nephew is playing in the Cape League this summer.

    You make a great point about Moose.

    I think Cash was/is hoping he can get 15-20 starts out of Moose. After that, I think he is hoping Mark Melancon (or Horne, McCutcheon, etc) is ready for bullpen work and they can transition Joba to the rotation.

    If some things don’t change, he will probably have to amend the plan.

    Honestly, I only have 3 concerns about the team.

    I’m not worried about Hughes or Kennedy. They will take their lumps. In the end, I think both will be solid ML pitchers.

    I’m worried about Moose, Giambi and Damon. Mainly because, I don’t see a lot of tread on their collective tires.

    Personally, if its May 15 and all 3 guys are still scuffling, you gotta pull the plug on them.

    Funny thing is, I think that’s a reasonable thing to happen because I don’t see any of those 3 guys on the Yankees next year. They won’t have “veteran standing” for any loyalty in the organization. You gotta go with the guys who will be here in the future.

    Moose becomes a long guy, Giambi and Damon to the bench.

    Joba to the rotation, Gardner to left and Duncan and/or Ensberg to first.

    If it doesn’t work, you can always put Damon and Giambi back in the lineup.

    Joba? He stays in the rotation. A year from now, nobody will be saying, “the Yankees don’t have an ace”, after Joba gets settled into the rotation.

  197. John April 19th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Great post Pete. I agree whole-heartedly, although unfortunately you did forget one other black hole in the Yankees lineup…Johnny Damon isn’t exactly on a tear yet, which means he’s not on base when the heart of the order comes up.

    Also, you have to admit that the Yankees have been blessed with and gotten more than capable replacements for Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada/Jose Molina in Alberto Gonzalez and Chad Moeller

  198. george April 19th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    good post by Pete.

    i especially can’t believe some of people’s comments about Hughes. He’s had 1 good start, 2 horrible starts in frigid weather he probably has never experienced, and 1 mediocre start. over the last 2 years, he’s shown plus stuff & poise.

    it’s more a matter of when than if for him, i think.

    i found it interesting to read the post about Jim Palmer liking Hughes, because historically, i think his 1966 Orioloes championship team represents the potential upside of the 2008 Yankees. look at the age of the starters – Palmer was 20, and the 3rd starter, Wally Bunker, was 21. Palmer’s ERA+ indicates he was league average. the O’s led the AL in runs, had above-average pitching – ace bullpen, fair-to middling starters:

    http://www.baseball-reference......1966.shtml

    the Yanks have the same potential.

  199. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Personally, I’d prefer to see the Yankees sign Sabbathia or K-Rod (if he’s willing to accept a set-up role for a year) than Teixiera.

    You know, about 12 years ago the Yankees suffered criticism for trading young cheap players– including a young pitcher the organization had developed and a third baseman they thought a future all-star– for a player they had to give a King’s Ransom, according to the going market rate, before the acquired player would agree to the trade.

    That trade worked out pretty well notwithstanding. The centerpiece whose contract they extended goes by the name of Tino Martinez and the other player included was named Jeff Nelson.

    Sorry, as much as I respect you guys, about Santana for (Hughes-Marquez-Melky-Hilligoss) we’ll have to agree to disagree.

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  201. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    K-Rod isn’t accepting a setup role for anybody.

    Setup guys average salary: $3 million a season.

    Top end closers salary: $9-11 million per year.

    You don’t go to the Hall of Fame as a setup guy.

    Its about saves for the Hall and there is no reason for KRod to accept a lesser role when he will have a dozen teams offering closer roles and closer money.

    Its just not how it works in baseball. See BJ Ryan as proof.

    CC? Not if he keeps pitching like he has so far this season. Its fools gold to invest that kind of money in a pitcher with his question marks right now.

    I think its best to take a wait and see approach with CC before deciding whether or not to plunge in those waters.

    The cornerstone of the Dynasty were the homegrown players. Bernie, Jeter, Andy, Mo, etc, gave the Yankees the options to acquire other players through trades, smart free agent signings, etc.

    However, the game has changed since 12-15 years ago. You have to factor that into the analysis.

    In 1994, the game generated 1 billion dollars in revenue. After this season, it may top 7 billion in revenue.

    In 1994, no revenue.

    In 2008, revenue sharing AND a luxury tax.

    The entire economic model of the game has changed. Meaning, more teams have money and are spending it.

    Fortunately, the Yankees are changing with it.

    That’s what will insure their future. Not just throwing a ton of money at every free agent that’s on the market.

  202. Kill-Schill(ing) April 19th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    About K-Rod. What if the Yankees offered him closer’s money and said to him he’d have to share the closer’s duties with Mo for ’09, and for ’10 at the latest, and then would succeed him.

    What do you think? The honor of succeeding the greatest closer of all-time wouldn’t carry any appeal for K-Rod? Is he the kind of guy who would welcome the challenge or shun it? No chance?

  203. trisha - April 19th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Personally, I’d leave the team the way it is and let things play out. By cracky, that is exactly what’s going to happen!!!

    While I have no question in my mind that the Yankees won’t be in the playoffs, the most ludicrous thing was seeing someone actually say Cashman would be gone in that case. Well DUH! Do you think that maybe the Yankee organization didn’t figure out that we were building for the future?

    How about this. Cashman’s job is very safe and some whining malcontent Yankee fans won’t be the deal breaker in whether Cashman stays or leaves. Because you see if that was the case, he would have been gone the third season in a row that the Yankees didn’t progress in the playoffs. But BRIGHTER MINDS prevailed, as they will again. Take this to the bank. Cashman will be re-signed with the Yankee organization as long as he wants his contract renewed next go round.

    People have to stop substituting their own inadequacies or inabilities to cope into what the Yankees will or will not do. Want to check out what the Yankees are going to do? Stop blithering and watch. And listen. If Girardi says that certain players aren’t going anywhere, check it out. They’re not. Unlike some Yankee fans, Girardi has been around the game of baseball long enough to know that there is a HUGE gap between what rabid fans demand and what flesh and blood human being players are actually able to produce.

    I love those Yanks! Every single last one of them. And I love that they are busting their butts trying to get the job done. They have my full fan support. Every single last one of them.

    GO KYLE!
    GO LATROY!
    GO JASON!

    Because I’ll be there cheering you on during the majority of the times over the course of the season that you excel and help the team, just the same way I am in your less productive times.

  204. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    No chance.

    He will be a closer for the Angels or another team.

    He’s not sharing the role with anybody or taking a lesser role.

    Nor should he.

    Its more of a challenge to him to close than to take over for Mariano.

    You don’t get those 2-3 years back when it comes time for HOF voting. That’s 100+ saves off your total.

    Its not how players roll these days.

  205. trisha - April 19th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I meant that the Yankees WILL be in the playoffs. I wrote it as two negatives making a positive instead of just a straightforward positive!

  206. randy l April 19th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    sj-
    yup, you and cb totally wore me down, and when manny’s homerun off mussina was on it’s way out of yankee stadium on it’s way to fenway park i figured that i might as well just make the switch to joba as a starter.

    it is curious about damon. he doesn’t look like he recommitted himself to a fitness plan over the winter as he said he was going to do. slow hands are really just a symptom of a slow body. hands by themselves don’t go fast. it’s the arms and the core rotation getting the hands up to speed. damon’s arms and core rotation do look slow, real slow.

    once the variable of cold weather goes by, it should be easier to see if one of the two of giambi and damon will get going. one would be enough. two would be good fortune. there’s time for some of these issues to play out. as long as there’s some kind of back up plan, i agree it’s too early to panic.

    funny you mentioned your nephew. i was going to ask you if he was going to play in the cape league. i looked up his stats at bc. pretty impressive. what team is he playing for?
    orleans is close to where i live and work so i’ll be sure to go see him.

    for anyone who hasn’t seen a cape league game, they are baseball as it was meant to be played- the best amateur players in the country playing with wooden bats in americana settings where the hat is passed around in the crowds often sitting on hillsides in chairs they bring to the game.

    my favorite cape league memory was watching over the shoulder of an oriole scout when his radar gun registered 97mph from a short lefty pitcher. the scout looked puzzled at the gun like there was something wrong with it. next pitch same thing. next pitch he was covering up so i couldn’t see, then the scout just left the game as if in a sudden rush to call someone. it was an unknown billy wagner’s debut coming to the cape from some division three school.

  207. Sudakis April 19th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    For the record, in the GM comparisons, Theo did NOT make the Beckett deal. He was in his brief “retirement” when that deal went down:

    By Chris Snow, Globe Staff | November 22, 2005

    With Theo Epstein off quietly living his life, and the general manager search reaching periodic points of inertia, the Red Sox last night were on the verge of acquiring Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett, a momentous move that would position the club with an ace around which to build its pitching staff for perhaps a decade to come.

  208. Buffalohead April 19th, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Excuses…excuses…wxcuses…please

  209. soapter April 19th, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Great Post Pete!! I couldn’t agree with you more… It’s too early to be worrying!! The Yankees are the best team in sports, they’ll find a way to win…they always do!!

  210. Rick April 19th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I hope someone soon admits the truth here. This team is not the same team that was put on the field even three years ago. It is turning old in position players. Damon, Giambi, and Mussina are gone. Giambi is making a fool of himself at first. Jeter is still good but is not the player he was. Posada has miles on him too and unfortunately they are showing right now. Matsui though he is still a decent hitter can’t play the outfield. Additionally, Abreu is afraid to go near a wall to catch a ball. They are becoming shadows of who they were. This has been going on for the last few years with the yankees and if you don’t see that you are looking at this team with rose colored glasses.

    And now they have a bunch of kid pitchers who need time to learn to pitch. That is fine but for fans who are use to winning this may not be the brightest move by Hal and Cashman especially when they charge 70 bucks for a loge seat and over 200 for a box seat.

    They have a few position players in the minors that could be good players. Jackson, Tabata, and Montero but none of them are ready to play on the major league level yet. Gardner and Duncan will not get a real chance because the over the hill gang is blocking their way.

    I have been a yankee fan for over nearly forty years and have been a fan in the good and bad and remain that way but let’s get realistic here. Realistically 85-90 wins is the number they can win. That will not get them into the playoffs. Unfortunately I must agree with Steve Phillips and people who look at this situation objectively.

    When they don’t make the playoffs, I will still be a fan in September and October. How many of the rest of you will be still here?

  211. Dave April 19th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    oh dear god please stop with the weather.. aside from the LA teams/ domed teams/ florida teams etc everyone has had to deal with the weather. Stop it, it’s silly.

  212. SJ44 April 19th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Steve Phillips counting the Yankees out of the playoff hunt in April? Wow, never heard that before from him.

    Randy,

    He’s playing for Yarmouth-Dennis this summer.

  213. Rob in GA April 19th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    I think the Yankees can sign Teixeira AND Sabathia. $67 million coming off the books this year and $26 million the next, + revenues rise from the new stadium, and I think the other impending holes can be plugged from within…

  214. Stephen April 19th, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t have time to read through all the comments, but your post is absolutely ridiculous, Peter.

    The Yankess’ payroll dwarfs those of clubs which aspire to .500 records. You call it a “miracle” they’ve gone 9-9?

    I’m not saying they won’t be fine and win 95 games, but to say, if they don’t, this team playing .500 ball is kosher because they’ve had so many hurdles is complete nonsense.

    There’s nothing wrong with a team spending like the Yankees do and expecting to win. There’s nothing wrong with that team’s fans (who pay for the tickets, the merch, the concessions, the parking and the YES network)to expect them to win. There’s something wrong with a beat reporter trying to lower that fan base’s expectations with ridiculous statements like the one made in this post.

    Be professional. Stop sticking up for the team. They are a big club and don’t need you to going to bat for them.

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