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


Cash and Hank: On the same page

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Apr 21, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

After seeing the comments in the New York Times today, Brian Cashman spoke with Hank Steinbrenner.

“We’re on the same page, 110 percent,” Cashman told The Journal News a few minutes ago. “He understands the situation.”

Cashman said Joba Chamberlain would remain in the bullpen for now. At some point (Page 1 of the Secret Plan), he will make the transition to the rotation.

How Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy or Mike Mussina pitches has nothing to do with it. The Yankees are primarily concerned with Joba’s development and health.

“If we need a pitcher or somebody gets hurt, we’ll go down below and get somebody,” Cashman said. “You can’t just suddenly put Joba in the rotation.”

There is no question in Cashman’s mind – none whatsoever – that Joba’s future is as a starter. He was drafted as a starter, paid a signing bonus as a starter and developed as a starter. His pitching in the bullpen has been a function of innings limits.

As for Hank’s comments that it was a mistake for Joba to pitch in relief last season, Cashman said he explained to the co-chairperson that Joba was about to reach his innings limit when that move was made.

“Hank wasn’t involved last season and he didn’t understand what we were doing at that time,” Cashman said. “I explained it to him and he had no problems with it.”

Whether or not Joba pitched in relief last season, Cashman said, had no effect on his availability as a starter this season.

What many people don’t understand (including some people who are on the radio) is that every starter in the Yankees organization has an innings limit. You don’t just take a 22-year-old kid and pitch him 200 innings. That’s irresponsible.

People know Joba because he was able to temporarily fill a need in the bullpen. Do you know how many starters would make great set-up men? A large percentage. Just because a player is good in one role doesn’t mean he should be limited to that role.

Here’s another way to look at it: Joba has been available to pitch in 15 games this season. He has appeared in five of those games for a total of 6.1 innings. That’s 19 outs.

If he were a starter, he would have appeared in three of those 15 games for about 20 innings. That’s 60 outs.

Why in the world would you want a player of that caliber to be used 69 percent less than he could be? It makes no sense.

One brush fire, extinguished.

 
 

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277 Responses to “Cash and Hank: On the same page”

  1. Westerner99 April 21st, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    Thanks for the update, Pete!

  2. jay destro April 21st, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    look at mr. big scoop!

  3. crawdaddie April 21st, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I hope the situation is diffused.

  4. emobacca April 21st, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Mike and the Maddog have been beyond idiotic with their pontificating regarding Joba

  5. Jeff NJ April 21st, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Great post Peter. Glad to see you come down on the right side in this issue.

  6. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    On your game today, Pete =D

  7. jimmy27 April 21st, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    You da man Joe – keep it up!

  8. jay destro April 21st, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    joe = epic fail

  9. Jeff NJ April 21st, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Joe = Mike Francessa

  10. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Joe = Probably just really bored.

  11. Steph April 21st, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    He’s in the bullpen and will be making the transition to the bullpen? Excellent!
    Anyway, I’m glad that Cashman has perhaps talked some sense into the elder Steinbrenner brother.

  12. mel April 21st, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    joe=middle school dropout

  13. Jeremy April 21st, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    If there were an award for Sanity in Sports Journalism, Pete would be a shoe-in for his writing on Joba.

  14. jimmy27 April 21st, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Rebecca
    How’s your Henry 7th paper coming along?
    Will you be done by the Scranton game?

  15. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Pete-

    Way to get the word out to the hardcore fans. Enjoy the rest of your night off.

  16. Mark April 21st, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    The real issue here is that Hank just needs to shut up. Jack Lemmon had a great line in “Glengarry Glen Ross” which was that “you don’t take a drink unless you know what the shot is”. Hank, once again, had his facts wrong, this time about the Joba decision in 2007, and was misguided in thinking they could put him in the rotation by this weekend. Yammerin’ Hank clearly does not understand baseball. It runs in the family.

    As for Mike and The Dog, I love those guys’ show, but do they forget that trading for and signing Santana would have pushed the Yanks’ payroll to $230 MILLION, $100 MILLION higher than ANY OTHER TEAM? Let’s take a breather.

  17. jose April 21st, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    i want everyone to know I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!!!

  18. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    mel-

    Never got back to you about the NBA playoffs.

    Should there be a change where in the playoff system where you are not guaranteed a playoff berth based on your zipcode?

    Golden State got the shaft, how is Hotlanta in the playoffs? I know why, but the rules should be changed so that a team 8 games under .500 gets in.

  19. mel April 21st, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Actually, that’s 110% Cashman/90% Hank. So it’s a non-issue? What will we talk about?

    How about Wang vs. Contreras. Don’t we like hitting against Jose?

  20. McLovin April 21st, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Just a update for the fans who booed LaTroy for wearing number 21.

    There will be a documentary on Roberto Clemente a true Hall of Famer and more imporatant Hero.

    Unlike the overrated Paul O’Neil who will never have his number retired by the Yankees.And the Paul O’Neil Squad Derek Jeter and POsada can go to every Yankee forcing them not to wear 21.

  21. Chris April 21st, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    He could also have appeared in 4 games, pitched 14 innings and have an ERA over 9. (See: Kennedy, Ian)

    Just because he has great ‘potential’ does not mean that he is guaranteed to be a great starter. Certainly he is not the answer to the rotation issues this year, as he would (and still will) likely struggle similarly to the way Hughes and Kennedy have struggled.

  22. S.A.-Phil Hughes is Saved and Joba will be a starter April 21st, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks Peter

  23. Dee April 21st, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    “Hank wasn’t involved last season and he didn’t understand what we were doing at that time,” Cashman said. “I explained it to him and he had no problems with it.”

    I’m surprised Cashman had never bother explaining this to Hank before today. Hank has the tendency to meddle and to make rash judgment without enough knowledge. Cashman should always proactively manage Hank.

  24. mel April 21st, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Buddy,

    A 50-win team not making it when sub-500 teams are in? Criminal. Strength of schedule favors the east, too.

    Maybe 6 division winners and 6 best records after that?

    Is Lord Baron Davis back? A lot was made of the tiff. But why WAS Davis on the bench?

  25. jyates29 April 21st, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    All of the Mike’s involved in NY sports radio should STFU. They don’t get paid to be accurate, they get paid for ratings, and ratings go up when controversy is stirred.

  26. mel April 21st, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    oops. 6 division and 10 best records after that.

  27. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    mel-

    Boom Dizzle will be back, not sure why he was benched. Isn’t this Nellie’s schtick though?

    I like your idea of 6 division winners & 6 best records afterwards.

  28. ANSKY April 21st, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Chris –

    Yes Kennedy (and to a slightly lesser extent, Hughes) has stuggled but one problem we experience here is that lots of people have been premature ejaculators with their immediate expectations and insistence to make a changes – like the first time a pitcher gives up a crooked number.

  29. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    oops. 6 division and 10 best records after that.

  30. Joe from Long Island April 21st, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Many thanks for following-up on this story, Pete.

    I find it interesting that supposedly Hank wasn’t aware of innings limits for the young pitchers. To me, this points out his own limited knowledge of the actual baseball operations. It might be that is truly is the case, as he referred to his “baseball people” in the original story in the Times, and how he depends on them, if I recall correctly. If so, then your post above is reassuring – assuming, of course, that what Cash told you is true. I sure hope so.

  31. Peter Abraham April 21st, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Chris:

    So because Joba could be poor, they should never try it? Why even play the game at all because everybody could underperform.

    I don’t understand that thinking. You have to at least try it. If after a year or two it doesn;t work out, move him back to the ‘pen.

    Not all three of them will work out. But you need to try them all to increase the odds of finding one good starter for the future.

  32. goohie April 21st, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Hank is impatient. Quite frankly I don`t blame him. He ave Cash all $$$ he needs and he still has only two true major pitchers in his rotation. Two young “guns” that Cash told Hank would be good enough to carry their weight, good enough to not trade for Santana.
    Why does Girardi not like Shelly?
    They could use him.

  33. Fran April 21st, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Hank is exactly like George used to be. Reacting without listening to his “baseball people”.

  34. Jeff NJ April 21st, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Hank > George > Joe (even though he was first)

  35. Joe from Long Island April 21st, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    If anyone’s interested – I was just checking out Chad Jennings’ SWB blog – and Darrell Rasner is continuing to do well, as is Brett Gardner. Shelley and Juan Miranda aren’t being slouches, either.

  36. Max April 21st, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    It was all premature in the first place. Joba plans remain the same, he’ll be a starter later than sooner. The only way the plan changes is if Hughes and Kennedy continuously regress. The only pitcher of real concern is Mussina.

  37. Jax April 21st, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    It’s amazing how many Yankee fans on the radio are dumping on Hughes and Kennedy.
    Forget that they’re in their first full year. They’re already bums cause they haven’t looked good so far. Fans are ready to run them out of town. I think it’s safe to say that lots of Yankee fans are impatient and would good nuts if they did happen to miss the playoffs.
    And some folks have the nerve to wonder why New York fans are labeled impatient and get mad when someone says you can’t rebuild in New York.

  38. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    jimmy: I am done with the thesis except for fixing citations and some grammatical errors. I have just one other, 7 page paper and one final draft to do–I’ll do both this weekend.

  39. Drew April 21st, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    You sure Cash didn’t see the comments in the blog first? ;)

  40. youngtimer April 21st, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    If you’ve been a Yankees fan for a long time, this is definitely amusing to watch.

    Thank heavens Cash is running the ship.

  41. Fran April 21st, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Rebecca – That’s gret. Congratulations on finishing your thesis.

  42. jimmy27 April 21st, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Rebecca-
    Cool, good luck.

  43. Walt April 21st, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    If not for their albatross contracts Giambi, Mussina, and Damon would be out of Yankee uniforms in a New York minute and replaced by the deserving Duncan, Rasner, and Gardner.

  44. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Fran and jimmy: Thanks. I defend on 5 May, you all should totally come watch ;)

  45. Fran April 21st, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    Don’t know if anybody saw this line but Hank had advice for Mussina also”

    “[Mussina] just needs to learn how to pitch like Jamie Moyer,” Steinbrenner told the newspaper, hinting that Mussina should stop relying on his fastball for results.

    How long before Hank really comes out and blasts Mussina?!

  46. Chris April 21st, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Pete -

    My point is that we need to temper our expectations with him. Specifically this year it should be assumed that any production you get out of him as a starter is a bonus. He needs the innings to continue to develop as a starter for the future, but you can’t assume that any of those innings will help the team this year.

    As for long term, you have to give him 2 full years as a starter before moving him to the bullpen permanently. Conveniently, this would match with when Mo’s contract is up if Joba flops as a starter.

  47. jimmy27 April 21st, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Anybody seen any good movies lately?

  48. Bob Glassberg April 21st, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    59% ???

    I get (60-19)/60= 41/60= 68.333% less.

  49. I make the champagne bottles pop...but the Yankees could do it in October (please, I'm dying here) April 21st, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Does anyone have a link to the most recent interior photos of Citi Field? I know its a little off topic but I asked in the last post but no one responded.

  50. Graig - Japan April 21st, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Joba ought to remain in the bullpen, and here’s why: Looking at how many innings he pitches and comparing it to a starter only accounts for part of the picture. Sure, he gets less time on the mound as a set up man, but the importance of the outs he gets outweighs that of the outs in the 1st inning. That is, if you don’t have a reliable setup man. I know this argument has been heard before, but I have to ask what is the good of getting 7 scoreless frames from Joba without a reliable bridge to Mariano. Until you can actually say who is going to fill Joba’s shoes in the 8th, he should stay there, regardless of how he was drafted.

  51. Brian Cashman is watching April 21st, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    From Joel Sherman: apparently Micah Owings was never available. Hopefully we can put that rumor to rest.

    Micah Owings is one of many things to love about the Diamondbacks. Manager Bob Melvin left Owings in to hit even though he was about to pull him from a game. He’s a .314 career hitter (with a .614 slugging percentage). The Yankees tried hard for Owings in Randy Johnson trade talks after the 2006 season, even offering to send Arizona a few million more if they’d include him. No go.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....mas/1.html

  52. RyanM April 21st, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I think what a lot of people don’t realize that Joba has been a starter his entire career. he came up through the minors as a starter and excelled as one. That is how he got recognition to be brought up to the majors. If Joba is not able to excel as a starter in the major leagues after a couple seasons, then I can see moving him down as Mariano’s replacement. Otherwise, starter all the way!

  53. CanIGetAMooseCall April 21st, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Pete, I’m not sure your argument really works. It seems like it just boils down to saying that the role of a starter is more important than the role of a reliever. Fine. But what about if a particular player (in this case Joba) performs much better in one role rather than the other? We need to take that into account. Joba is a genuinely dominant reliever. Do we know he’ll be a dominant starter at the major league level? No. I’m not opposed to forcing a switch in his role, but we should keep in mind that a player may not be equally good in different roles. Joba himself admitted in spring training that he threw more freely as a reliever rather than as a starter. These types of things all need to be factored into the analysis.

  54. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    “Not all three of them will work out. But you need to try them all to increase the odds of finding one good starter for the future”

    how can swami pete know that? all three could work out. it’s not likely, but it could happen. barring injury how is joba not going to be good? he’s already good. hughes looks like the real thing with a good fastball that has natural movement.

    kennedy is the one who’s marginal because he doesn’t have the natural stuff the other two have, and his composure is showing cracks that weren’t seen before. but he still has shown signs he could put it together.

  55. PvA April 21st, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    hehe

  56. robbb April 21st, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Anybody seen any good movies lately?

    The forbidden kingdom
    [see all together] Manhunter, silence of lambs, red dragon, Hannibal rising

  57. robbb April 21st, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    oh yeah, plus Leaving Las Vegas

  58. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    There is a reason why Pete is the best Yankee writer on the beat and this post is an example why.

    It would be so easy to fall into the pack mentality among the NY media and trumpet two clowns like Mike and the Mad Dog.

    It would get you radio time, which is good pub for the newspaper, and would place you in the “media elite” in town. Helpful to one’s career, on some levels. Even if you look like a fool in the process, as we see with Francesa and Russo on a daily basis.

    Instead, Pete rationally explains why this is not only not a controversy but, from a baseball perspective, isn’t even a story. He then gets direct quotes from Cashman diffusing this supposed “dust up”.

    As far as Hank and any percieved “issues” with Cashman, believe me, Brian Cashman has faced MUCH, MUCH worse working for George than this stuff! This isn’t even a blip on the radar.

    In his first day on the job, as an intern with the Yankees, George gave Cashman a job. Escort Jim Bowden (George had just fired him) out of the building, making sure he didn’t take anything that belonged to the Yankees (scouting info, arbitration evidence, etc.) and he better do the job correctly or he won’t have a Day 2 as an intern.

    Some of you younger posters have no idea, ZERO, what it was like to work for George Steinbrenner. The kindly older man we see now is nothing like George was in his heyday.

    Hank in full bluster mode can’t even come close to what George was like on a normal day. Let alone when he was fired up. In 20+ years of working for the Yankees, Cashman has seen it all.

    When you have break into baseball as “muscle” for the owner, its all downhill from there! lol

  59. jimmy27 April 21st, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks robb
    Seen the Harris movies liked them a lot except Hannibal rising (too over-the-top for me)
    Do you prefer Red Dragon or Manhunter?
    Forbidden Kingdom looks fun – but the kid looks like a poor man’s Shia Lebeuf.

  60. V April 21st, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    “CanIGetAMooseCall
    April 21st, 2008 at 8:08 pm
    Pete, I’m not sure your argument really works. It seems like it just boils down to saying that the role of a starter is more important than the role of a reliever. Fine. But what about if a particular player (in this case Joba) performs much better in one role rather than the other? We need to take that into account. Joba is a genuinely dominant reliever. Do we know he’ll be a dominant starter at the major league level? No. I’m not opposed to forcing a switch in his role, but we should keep in mind that a player may not be equally good in different roles. Joba himself admitted in spring training that he threw more freely as a reliever rather than as a starter. These types of things all need to be factored into the analysis.”

    What if he’s a dominant starter?

    What ifs are boring – his stuff is too good to waste in the ‘pen without giving him at least a year+ as a starter.

  61. hmmm April 21st, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    “I know this argument has been heard before, but I have to ask what is the good of getting 7 scoreless frames from Joba without a reliable bridge to Mariano.”

    you have to be kidding me.

    what good are getting 7 scoreless innings?

    so, the Yankees can get 7 scoreless innings in innings 1-7, and have Mo pitch the 9th, but should be worried about the 8th inning?

    did someone change the rules so that any runs in the 8th inning are worth triple?

    if the Yankees get 7 scoreless and a scoreless 9th, they will win 99.99% of these play.

    you could put a pitcher with an ERA of 9.00 in that role and he will only give up an average of 1 run each time.

    seriously, am i taking crazy pills?

  62. V April 21st, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    ““I know this argument has been heard before, but I have to ask what is the good of getting 7 scoreless frames from Joba without a reliable bridge to Mariano.”

    you have to be kidding me.

    what good are getting 7 scoreless innings?

    so, the Yankees can get 7 scoreless innings in innings 1-7, and have Mo pitch the 9th, but should be worried about the 8th inning?

    did someone change the rules so that any runs in the 8th inning are worth triple?

    if the Yankees get 7 scoreless and a scoreless 9th, they will win 99.99% of these play.

    you could put a pitcher with an ERA of 9.00 in that role and he will only give up an average of 1 run each time.

    seriously, am i taking crazy pills?”

    Totally agreed.

    I have absolutely NO idea why the 8th inning is so important. It’s not magical.

    The difference between a marginal starter and a good starter is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than the difference between Farnsworth in the 8th and Joba in the 8th.

  63. hmmm April 21st, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    “Instead, Pete rationally explains why this is not only not a controversy but, from a baseball perspective, isn’t even a story. He then gets direct quotes from Cashman diffusing this supposed “dust up”.”

    right, except this was only a few hours after Pete wrote an entry called “The Bronx Zoo: Open for Business”.

    don’t get me wrong, i am very grateful that Pete followed up on the story and got the facts, but let’s not pretend he is completely innocent of “stirring the pot”.

  64. jennifer April 21st, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Evening everyone. I uploaded some pictures from yesterdays game. enjoy

    http://public.fotki.com/yankee.....baltimore/

  65. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Another solid outing for Darrell Rasner so far tonight.

    He’s pitching a 1 hitter, has walked 1, 0 runs, 4K’s.

    Scranton is winning 1-0.

    He was 2-0 coming into the game and his ERA is now down to 0.78.

    That’s pretty impressive.

    He may be pitching himself into the conversation for a callup soon.

  66. robbb April 21st, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    I prefer Manhunter over Silence and both over the last two, which really are kind of jaded but still worth seeing. I hear that they’re considering re-making Manhunter with Hopkins. Not sure if this is a rumor or it is in the works. Forbidden Kingdom is just brainless fun – a good break for any depressed Yankee fan.

  67. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Hmmm,

    I’m giving Pete a pass on that one.

    Like a pitcher who throws a HR pitch, I think he may want that entry back! lol

  68. scorpio April 21st, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    WOW, some older posters here really like to see themselves in type, while telling others what they should be thinking, when really all that he/she is doing is stating the obvious.

    Note to the older folks: People know how to read between the lines. No need for a dissertation on the antics of the Steinbrenner clan. Young does not equal stupid.

  69. mommy April 21st, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Pete, great to see you in Baltimore! I hope you liked some fans yelling to you on the field during BP instead of the players!! Your job looks so fun! Well, okay, hanging out at BP looks so fun. I guess the other stuff can get tedious! Keep up the awesome job. I’ll be sure to give you shout outs at future BP’s.
    Fan from CT!

  70. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    i think the pressure on the yankees right now is that the red sox have won 9 of 10 in the last two times through the rotation staring with beckett’s start against the yankees in boston.

    with all due respect to cashman,i still don’t pay any attention to what he says about sticking to original plan with joba if the red sox lead goes to 7-8 games. last year there was a plan for hughes . cashman didn’t follow that when the red sox lead grew to dangerous levels.

    the biggest help would be for the offense to snap out of their funk. their offense is basically the orioles right now. they are not good. it would help hughes and kennedy if they had some runs to work with. when they were pitching in august and september they had an offense behind them.

    with the lousy starts the yankee offense has had in the last few springs, maybe april is not the best time to bring up rookies. igawa couldn’t have done any worse than hughes and kennedy. i’d rather he had to deal with the lack of support than the two kids.

  71. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    SJ: True story? Whoa man.

    I wasn’t even a factor in the cosmos when George started, probably a good thing he’ calmed down a tiny bit.

    But you can never say that he didn’t care about the team.

  72. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Rasner gets through 7 with the one hitter still in tact.

    1 hit, 1BB, 5K’s. 78 pitches, 55 strikes.

    Still 1-0 Scranton, bottom of the 7th.

  73. Judge Mills Lane April 21st, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Does anyone know if other teams have innings limits for the young’uns like the Yanks do?

  74. jennifer April 21st, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    This is off of newsdays site. It is a stupid choice. No one thinks (at least I hope not)that Joba would be taken and put in the rotation the next day.

    Maybe later this year, but it would be dangerous to do it right away. (502 responses)

  75. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    I believe Buchholz is on a cap.

  76. jennifer April 21st, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Probably so Rebecca, but it isn’t as much of a story.

  77. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Every team in baseball has their young pitchers on innings caps.

    They vary from team to team. Most do fall into the +30 innings per year standard used by the Yankees, Red Sox and several other teams.

  78. ANSKY April 21st, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Hmmmm … You have a good point there on the perceived chasm between the 7th (sometimes 6th) and the 9th. While the important ‘in between’ innings have been touch-and-go, especially if the starter is out by the 6th (meaning: trouble has already struck) this stretch seems to be greatly magnified to M&MD, chicken little and all their friends.

  79. jay destro April 21st, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    i freakin love micah owings, he is one of the biggest sleepers in fantasy baseball as far as pitching is concerned.

  80. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Micah Owings is cool.

    I have Justin Upton who is just as cool.

    The entire Diamondbacks roster, really, is sweet as sugar.

  81. jennifer April 21st, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Jay I picked him up!!

  82. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Rasner gave up a single in the 8th, then retired the next batter.

    2 hit shutout after his 8 innings of work thus far. 90 pitches, 63 strikes.

    2-0 Scranton, bottom of the 8th.

    FWIW, Brett Gardner is getting another start in LF tonight. That’s the third I know of in the last 10 days.

    Auditioning? Makes you wonder.

  83. Brian (Red Sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    Randy 1 – You’re right about the Yankees’ propensity towards reacting to the Red Sox, as surely as the Sox react to the Yankees. Both teams deny it, but it’s clear that it’s true. (“Hold your enemies closer.”) Hughes callup last year is a perfect example; it was obviously a reaction to the Sox’ quick start.

    Your comment about the Yanks’ offensive funk is valid. I was surprised to learn that the Sox are currently next to last in team ERA, but lead the AL in batting. Not a formula for long range success, but it has fueled a nice April run.

    But both teams had best achieve significant improvement in pitching. For the Sox, Bucholtz was solid today, and the gun had his fastball regularly in the mid-90s. I hadn’t seen that before, even during his no-no. So maybe the Hughes velocity, which I keep hearing about (but have never seen) will emerge also. If it doesn’t, I can’t see him being a dominant pitcher.

  84. whozat April 21st, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    “Hughes callup last year is a perfect example; it was obviously a reaction to the Sox’ quick start.”

    Bull. It was a reaction to the heinous pitching woes. Their rotation was an injury-ridden shambles. He was their best option to win ballgames. It wasn’t a reaction to the Sox…it was a reaction to losing. If it had been Toronto in first, they’d have done the same thing.

    “the gun had his fastball regularly in the mid-90s”

    Then the gun was juiced. The kid’s NEVER thrown that hard. Phil hasn’t either. He’s been 91-92 in his career, topping out at 94 when he reaches back for it. It’s not like Hughes is really missing much velocity. He’s either not trusting his stuff, or not getting his good movement for some reason.

  85. Brian (Red Sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Whozat …. Hughes callup was a reaction to the Sox AND a stopgap to their pitching woes. But, if the Yankees had outslugged the oppossition to the tune of a 5 game lead over the Sox, do you really think they would have called Hughes up? Do you really think they would have started him later in the year with a balky hamstring (which allegedly affected his velocity)?

    Re: Radar guns. The NESN gun is typically low, so I’m surprised at today’s readings. It might well be juiced. As I said, I’ve never seen Bucholz clocked this high (though some scouting reports had him in the mid-90s).

    But I’m quite sure that Hughes has always been billed as a mid-90s, fastball/curveball power pitcher. If this is all he’s got, Hank should have insisted on Santana.

  86. Glenn April 21st, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Are Rasner and Gardner making a case to be elevated ? Stay tuned tomorrow.
    Just let Mussina have another rocky outing in the Windy City on Wednesday and Rasner for one cannot be ignored.

  87. Tseng April 21st, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    I freaking love Chipper Jones right now in fantasy if he can stay healthy. It’s hilarious that two of the players I’ve traded for him have totally tanked so far and all of the players I’ve gotten in return have been stellar aside from that one disastrous start from Wang.

    Aaaand speaking of Chipper and the Braves, I hope they think they can’t afford Texeira and give us a shot at him so we can have a first baseman for real next year.

    SJ,

    Matsui and Damon aren’t that great defensively, but Matsui is swinging the bat ok and Damon isn’t a complete disaster yet. Do you think they’re benching one of them along with Giambi to stick him in LF and DH the other? Melky and Abreu have been pretty solid.

  88. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    You are making this judgment based on 4 starts this year?

    For the record, neither Hughes nor Buchholz have ever been “mid-90′s” guys with their fastballs.

    Among the most incorrect information running around the web re: Phil Hughes has been his velocity readings. He has never sat in the mid-90′s at any time as a professional.

    When I say, “sat in the mid-’90′s”, I am talking multiple fastballs in a row at that velocity.

    He has never been that type of pitcher.

    He’s always been 91-94 and his velocity has always increased as he went into the season.

    I wish folks would take a little time and go back and look at the first 4 starts of 21 year old pitchers around baseball.

    Guys like Santana, Clemens, Schilling, etc.

    If fans want to make a judgement on Hughes based on 4 starts, nobody can stop you.

    For members of the media to do so, people who are supposed to more in tune with the game they are covering, is laughable.

  89. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Scranton gets the win, 3-0 this evening.

    Jose Veras came on for Rasner in the 9th and struck out the side to earn his 5th save.

    Veras has had a very good start to the season. 9 innings, only 3 BB, 15K’s, 2.00 ERA and 5 saves.

    Another guy who may pitch himself into the mix for work in NY later in the season.

  90. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Can’t wait to see Scranton on Saturday now :-D

  91. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Matsui isn’t going anywhere. IMO, he will be the DH for most of the season.

    They will use him in LF and RF but, he will get most of his AB’s as a DH.

    Giambi? Its going to be a very interesting question as we go forward.

    I know very well the money involved. I also know there isn’t a team in MLB, including the Yankees, that can keep a roster spot for the entire season for a no field, .130 hitting first baseman.

    Unless he gets going soon, the question of “what to do with Jason Giambi”, may be one that is going to have to be answered sooner rather than later.

    Damon? I think they are going to give him every opportunity to get going because of what he means to the offense. Its a different offensive team when he is on his game.

    They also seem to be hedging their bets by having Gardner play LF in some of the games in AAA.

    Its like anything else. If you produce, you get PT. If the kids in the minors continue to play well, it may give the Yankees some internal options if the need arises.

  92. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    It would be great if once, just once, the Steinbrenner family would let Cashman do hi job.

    I’ve said it before and cited it numerous times:

    1. If it wasn’t for George, Vlad Guerrero would be patrolling RF right now, not Sheff for a few years then Abreu. Cashman wanted Vlad, and ol’ George went out and personally signed Gary Sheffield before the 2004 season.

    2. If it wasn’t for George, Beltran would be patrolling center. Carlos was a huge fan and idolized Bernie Williams. He went to the NYY and offered to take LESS money than what the Mets offered so he could be Berne’s replacement. Cashman again really wanted Beltran, but instead, George went out and got Randy Johnson, b/c I guess that was the winter of belt-tightening, and they couldn’t swing both.

    Now I know Cashman has made his goofs with pitchers (see: Pavano, Carl; Wright, Jarent; Igawa, Kei– we’ll blame Randy on King George!), but imagine if the OF was:

    LF Matsui, (Cabrera), CF Beltran and RF Vlad….

    Yikes. That would have been vicious from 2004 on through…

  93. Keith April 21st, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Hank is well aware that Cashman was given explicit instructions by George to get Giambi and Mussina but it doesn’t mean he has to be happy with their contributions in the last year. It’s only a matter of time before he makes his feelings known to both players later in the season even if they are coming off the books at the end of this year.

  94. whozat April 21st, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    “If this is all he’s got, Hank should have insisted on Santana.”

    Buchholz isn’t a power pitcher either. Should Lucchino have insisted the Sox flip him for Santana?

    And you missed my other point…It didn’t matter that the Sox were winning the division. It mattered that the Yanks weren’t. If it’d been Toronto five games up, they’d still have made the same moves.

  95. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Amen on Owings… Too bad his offense numbers don’t translate in my fantasy league, just his pitching.

    I also have Eric Byrnes and Mark Reynolds…

    My whole team is basically D-Backs and Yankees, with Derek Lee at 1b.

  96. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    bronxbomber: I see hat you mean, but I have to say, I’m glad with how things have shaed up so far. It’s far from perfect, obviously, but I love Melky and I love Bobby.

    (Yes, I admit I’m biased)

  97. Brian (Red Sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    SJ – I saw Clemens first 4 starts (and a lot more). Hughes has been compared to a young Clemens, but there’s really no comparison. Clemens threw strikes from the get-go, and he threw VERY hard. Hughes rarely makes batters miss with his 4-seamer; Clemens regularly did. All Clemens needed was consistency with what he had; Hughes needs better stuff (if he’s to be compared to a young Clemens).

  98. Joe from Long Island April 21st, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    SJ – Looks good for Rasner and Veras. However, before we go annointing them, we should remembe the caliber of competition they’re facing. Some of these hitters may not have a very good idea of the strike zone.

    Still, you can only face the competition that you’re facing. Their success can’t be ignored.

    And it is interesting about Gardner playing LF. Makes one wonder what might be planned. Remember, Cash can be very quiet.

  99. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    The great internal debate of the 2000 winter for the Yankees. What a hot stove that was. I thought FOR SURE Manny was coming to the Yankees.

    They had to choose between an AL East proven ace in his early 30s (Mussina) or a beast of a RH hitter in his late 20s (Ramirez).

    The Sox were all over Mussina too. They got Manny days after the Yankees signed the Moose…

    Ol’ Buster was a good beat writer for the NYT until ESPN came rolling in with their $$$ and stole away another good beat writer.

  100. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Rebecca…

    Bobby is a very patient hitter, and he should thrive in front of A-Rod in the batting order.

    BUT, he came into camp full of White Castles last year and it affected him for half the year.

    And the man is scared to death of the wall in the OF. That JD Drew HR last weekend should have been caught.

  101. Nick in SF April 21st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    People, people, this is a TEMPORARY problem. Right now we have Joba to handle the 8th inning, which is great because he’s one of the best ever in that role and we pretty much all agree that the winner of the 8th inning will usually win the game. No other inning comes close in importance.

    Still, bullied by the blustery owner, the Yanks’ so-called ‘baseball people’ want to MESS WITH WHAT’S WORKING (which you should NEVER DO) and insert Joba into the rotation, a role for which he is clearly unsuited (based on his success as Mr. 8th Inning). How long with this Job-speriment last? Knowing how stubborn Hank is, they could leave Joba to flounder in the rotation all the way through 2009, if not longer.

    So what can the Yanks brain(less)trust do to fill this coming GAPING HOLE in the bullpen? In the short term, nothing. By taking Joba out of the bullpen, they’re basically conceding this season (and possibly even welcoming the Curse of Joba).

    But there is a possible solution for 2009, should this folly persist. There is a pitcher who will be available for 2009 and beyong to fill what we now all recognize as the most crucial role on any major league roster. I submit for your approval the 2009 setup man, the bridge to Rivera, and the likely 2009 Cy Young and MVP winner: C.C. Sabathia.

    You’re welcome.

  102. SJ44 April 21st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Who is comparing him to a “Young Clemens”? The media? Fans?

    They are nothing alike. They don’t pitch the same way.

    You know who is a “Young Clemens”? Joba Chamberlain.

    You want to compare their credentials at a similar time?

    They pitch the same way.

    Just because somebody in the media compares a pitcher to a “Young Clemens” doesn’t mean a thing.

    How many, “He’s the next Jordan’s” have we heard about in the NBA?

    Its what the media does to draw buzz. It doesn’t make it a fact.

    Phil Hughes is a 21 year old kid scuffling like just about EVERY 21 year old starter has in the last 20 years in baseball, with the exception of Doc Gooden and a few others.

    It takes time to work things out. 4 starts isn’t “time”.

    Perhaps in NY, with a fickle fan base and media but, not in a baseball sense.

    I don’t know why folks feel the need to make a definitive judgment on Hughes (and also Kennedy) right now.

    No matter where you fall in the debate, you aren’t going to be right after 4 starts.

    Its something we aren’t going to know for sure for years, not weeks.

  103. hmmm April 21st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Damon is hitting the same amount of LD’s he always has, but his BABIP is only .235. he is seeing 4.0 pitches per plate appearance, which is the same as he always has.

    he’s drawing walks and has 7 XBH’s in 65 ABs.

    in other words, there is reason to think Damon has just been a little unlucky so far and once some more of those singles start falling in, his numbers will look pretty good.

    there is hope for Damon. same for Cano, who is also hitting lots of LDs that just aren’t falling in.

    Giambi on the other hand, i don’t know what they should do. i’d give him a little longer, but if he doesn’t get going, they will probably have to give Shelley a shot.

  104. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    bronxbomber: But I’d be scared of the wall, too!

    Also, you guys might be interested: Cubs had bases loaded, no one out, and now a strike out and pop fly later the Mets might get out of it without allowing a run.

    So it’s not just the Yankees that think RISP means Runners in Stranded Position

  105. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Or maybe not.

  106. Dan April 21st, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    “And the man is scared to death of the wall in the OF. That JD Drew HR last weekend should have been caught.”

    This is such nonsense. He didn’t make that catch because his back hit the wall in mid-jump. What on earth does that have to do with being “scared of the wall”?

  107. S.A.-Phil Hughes was saved and Joba will be a starter! April 21st, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Cubbies up 7-1 now

  108. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    “So maybe the Hughes velocity, which I keep hearing about (but have never seen) will emerge also. If it doesn’t, I can’t see him being a dominant pitcher.”

    brian (red sox fan)-

    you’ve been spending too much time in yalta. hughes has natural movement on his fastball that buccholz only dreams of and has been hitting 93-94 as the weather has warmed up. jim palmer the other night while watching hughes gave his enthusiastic endorsement of him. where was buccholz two years ago? hughes is two years younger. he’s the second youngest player in the major leagues.

    that’s really old news to everyone here but i thought i’d bring you up to speed since you were off your yalta vacation slacking off on baseball. rooting against hughes will be a losing battle in the long run.

  109. Papelboner April 21st, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    It comes back to trying to compete while relying on two kids to make 60 starts. If the Yankees weren’t trying to contend, these struggles would be a non-issue.

    You have to get ahead of batters. Good pitchers understand the importance of strike one. You cannot continue and continue to put hitters in good counts, they will murder you. It does not matter who you are. This is the bigs.

    Everyone said to be patient and here we are 20 games in going insane.

  110. Victor the Predictor April 21st, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    The ever stealth Cashman will make an announcement tomorrow. Nothing of major proportions but enough to cause increased banter on this board.

  111. Papelboner April 21st, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    I don’t think Hughes will ever be a true #1

  112. CB April 21st, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    The night Phil pitched at Fenway Joe Morgan actually made an interesting point.

    That night both Matsuzaka and Hughes were throwing at very similar velocities (92-94).

    But Morgan made a point that Phil’s fastball looked much faster and would be much more difficult for a hitter to handle than Matsuzaka’s because Hughes has a lot of late life and movement on his fastball while Matsuzaka does not.

    Now he had no command that night but his ball had a lot of movement (too much movement).

    No one knowledgeable about Phil’s stuff has ever said they were impressed by his raw velocity. What people have said about him having a plus fastball has always been related to that late life and his command.

    Last year even with all of the injury time he missed he was striking out 8/9 innings.

    You don’t strike out 8/9 if you’re not missing bats.

    The command is missing right now but when he gets his mechanics ironed out that’s going to return as will that late life inside the zone.

  113. Eugie April 21st, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “People know Joba because he was able to temporarily fill a need in the bullpen. Do you know how many starters would make great set-up men? A large percentage. Just because a player is good in one role doesn’t mean he should be limited to that role.”

    This should say, “Just because a player is good in one role doesn’t mean he’ll be good in another role.” Unless of course you think that Mariano Rivera would have still been one of the greats had he continued his career as a starter.

  114. Papelboner April 21st, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I got it!!!

    Hughes just needs to pitch like Jamie Moyer…

  115. Abepeter April 21st, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    I know I’ve been a Rasner supporter all year which hasn’t always been the way most on the board think, but its pretty hard to ignore what he’s been doing. He’s 3-0 in four starts with a 0.7 era.

    I’ve got to believe he would help the Yankees right now especially compared to Mussina… nothing left and Kennedy… will be good but simply needs more time in the minors

  116. Brian (Red Sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    SJ ….. I agree that Joba resembles a young Clemens; and, apparently, we both agree that Hughes does not.

    But I think that most Yankee fans thought that they Hughes was indeed a young Clemens when they clamored for the Yankees to retain him this winter. That was the hype (much of it driven/encouraged by the Yankees themselves).

    Joba’s stuff is eye-popping. Hughes’ stuff is, well, OK. He’s like one of those McDonald’s Basketball All-Americans (e.g. Felipe Lopez) who aren’t as impressive once you’ve seen them in person. You go back and re-check the magazines and wonder who the evaluators were talking about.

    And it has nothing to do with “just four starts.” His stuff has been pedestrian. Doesn’t mean he can’t be successful, but there’s no “WOW” factor with this guy.

  117. Rob NY April 21st, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    “Papelboner
    April 21st, 2008 at 9:51 pm
    I don’t think Hughes will ever be a true #1″

    I don’t think man has ever landed on the moon.

  118. Bronx Born April 21st, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    Kudos to Peter for having the guts to even correct himself and stop a controversy that was never even there except to a few media. He went after the actual information instead of just offering supposition. Yes he bought the initial story but he had the smarts to dig deeper and get it straight for us fans. That is what I like about Pete, he doesn’t let his own “think” get in the way but instead finds out what really happened.

  119. CB April 21st, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    “Unless of course you think that Mariano Rivera would have still been one of the greats had he continued his career as a starter.”

    1996 Mariano was a dominant set up man. One of the most dominant (if not the most dominant) set up man baseball had ever seen, especially with his ability to throw 2 innings in a row.

    I guess in 1997 they were just stupid to even think of changing him from that role given how dominant he was as set up man.

    They were just idiots for tampering with that kind of dominance in the set up role and taking a chance on the unknown.

    They made a major mistake moving Mariano to a new role – he was so dominant as a set up man they were never able to get anyone else to fill in and to be that good in that role ever again.

    Ever since they moved Mariano from that set up man role they’ve never ever found anyone even close to being as dominant (until joba I suppose…)

    What a mistake they made tampering with a given, messing around with dominant success.

  120. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    “But Morgan made a point that Phil’s fastball looked much faster and would be much more difficult for a hitter to handle than Matsuzaka’s because Hughes has a lot of late life and movement on his fastball while Matsuzaka does not.”

    jim palmer basically said the same thing. observations like that from morgan make me wonder why so many people think he’s so bad . i think he just talks too much about the mechanics of the game for a new generation that hasn’t played much and has no clue what he’s talking about.

  121. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    “If it wasn’t for George, Vlad Guerrero would be patrolling RF right now, not Sheff for a few years then Abreu. Cashman wanted Vlad, and ol’ George went out and personally signed Gary Sheffield before the 2004 season.”

    absolutely true.

    “If it wasn’t for George, Beltran would be patrolling center. Carlos was a huge fan and idolized Bernie Williams. He went to the NYY and offered to take LESS money than what the Mets offered so he could be Berne’s replacement. Cashman again really wanted Beltran, but instead, George went out and got Randy Johnson, b/c I guess that was the winter of belt-tightening, and they couldn’t swing both.”

    what a bunch of crap ! Bernie was still here and it was Brian who decided to go elsewhere George wanted Beltran and no offense but on Beltran I’m crying about that one.

    “Now I know Cashman has made his goofs with pitchers (see: Pavano, Carl; Wright, Jarent; Igawa, Kei– we’ll blame Randy on King George!), but imagine if the OF was:”

    goofs ? they were F… ups, but he learned through his mistakes

    “LF Matsui, (Cabrera), CF Beltran and RF Vlad….

    Yikes. That would have been vicious from 2004 on through…”

    true but get your facts right. Vlad has been hurt multiple times, so has Beltran and Matsui.

  122. Rob NY April 21st, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    Randy my problem with Joe MOrgan is his mistakes with facts, his obsession with himself, and his constantly ignoring what is happening on the field to hear himself speak. He is okay sometimes but for the most part he just goes on and on and on.

  123. Dan April 21st, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Joba has been a SP all his career and deserves the chance to perform at the ML level

  124. Dee April 21st, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    May I suggest that I think this blog would be more enjoyable for all if there is less yelling, scolding, ridiculing, and proclamation of the sky falling. Thanks!

  125. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    “This is such nonsense. He didn’t make that catch because his back hit the wall in mid-jump. What on earth does that have to do with being “scared of the wall”?”

    Dan, I couldn’t disagree more. Abreu is terrified of the wall. Trust me, I am not the first person to ever point this out. He has a great arm, he can hit for avg, steal a base or two, and jack some bombs. He is a patient hitter in what can and will be an awesome offense.

    But the guy is scared of the wall… Petrified may be the better word….

    Again, this isn’t news… This has been a knock against Abreu for quite some time. One of the reasons for his fall from grace in PHI (my father in law has been a season ticket holder for years) was Abreu being too timid in the OF.

    Not asking him to be Johnny Damon, circa 2002, or even a modern day Eric Byrnes and crash into every wall in each of the 30 parks….

    But geesh… Its like a mechanic being afraid of a muffler…

  126. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    gonna have some unhappy Mets fans tonight

    ManRam’s cousin hurt them and Ronny (..giggles) Cedeno

  127. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 10:10 pm

    Brandon… everyone gets hurt. Vlad was in his late 20s when the Angels signed him. Sheffield was mid-30s. Vlad won the MVp that year. Beltran has been a monster in NY. Sure, he misse dtime when crazy Mike Cameron and him smashed faces in that awful OF collision.

    Its kind of a moot point now anyway. It was the theory that counted. However, FWIW, IMHO, I’d take a healthy Matsui-Beltran-Vlad OF from 2004 thru 2007 over a healthy Matsui-Damon/Bernie/Cabrera – Abreu OF any day of the week and twice on Sunday!!!

    And Cashman was dying for Beltran, according to Buster Olney. Along with the rest of the NYY front office. Even Beltran was dying to don pinstripes.

    But George said one or the other, and he ultimately forced Cashman’s hand in getting Randy Johnson, a pitcher ol’ Steinbrenner had coveted since the 90s, a true, snarling ace that he felt the team was missing after Clemens departure.

    If you haven’t already (and I’m sure you have), pick up a copy of The Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty, by Buster Olney. Great book…

  128. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    “true but get your facts right. Vlad has been hurt multiple times, so has Beltran and Matsui.”

    And so has Damon, Abreu, and so on… Look what happened to Bernie for crying out loud…

  129. Eugie April 21st, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    ““Unless of course you think that Mariano Rivera would have still been one of the greats had he continued his career as a starter.”

    1996 Mariano was a dominant set up man. One of the most dominant (if not the most dominant) set up man baseball had ever seen, especially with his ability to throw 2 innings in a row.

    I guess in 1997 they were just stupid to even think of changing him from that role given how dominant he was as set up man.

    They were just idiots for tampering with that kind of dominance in the set up role and taking a chance on the unknown.

    They made a major mistake moving Mariano to a new role – he was so dominant as a set up man they were never able to get anyone else to fill in and to be that good in that role ever again.

    Ever since they moved Mariano from that set up man role they’ve never ever found anyone even close to being as dominant (until joba I suppose…)

    What a mistake they made tampering with a given, messing around with dominant success.”

    You’re right, you got me. Moving him from 1 inning of set up to 1 inning of closing equates the same as moving him from 1 inning of set up to 6-7 innings of starting.

  130. bronxbomber77 April 21st, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Talk to y’all later…

    Long drive tomorrow, going to buy a new ride… Infiniti QX4…

    But its all the way down in Mass… I live in Maine. Early bedtime.

    Night all…

  131. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    rob ny-

    morgan really knows the game. `i’m not looking for someone who can pass a multiple choice about baseball facts when i listen to a game on tv. for example when morgan talks about hughes late movement he’s not talking about facts. he talking about what hughes’ pitch is doing and the effect it has on hitters.

    he’s watching from the perspective of someone who’s played the game at the highest level. he’s thinking of how he would react to hughes. he’s thinking of how other hitters would react to hughes.

    when morgan talks about hitters and what they are doing , he knows he’s talking about. facts just don’t enter into those kind of insights. facts are great , but i’m more interested in insights about playing the game.

    a an aside, i wouldn’t mind seeing palmer teamed up with morgan sometime.

  132. Mike @ NYYU April 21st, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    From my blog post “Underage Pitching”

    http://nyyu.blogspot.com/2008/.....other.html

    In 1967, 22 year old rookie Tom Seaver pitched 251 innings. Seaver went on to pitch 200+ innings every season until 1980 when he was 35.

    1986, 23 year old Roger Clemens pitched 254. 1984, 19 year old Dwight Gooden, 218. 2005, Dontrelle Willis hurled 236 innings at 23. John Smoltz in 1989 checked in with 208 innings at 22 years old.

    So my question to the pitching department is when do the limits end? When will you let go of the leash and turn them loose? Between 25 and 30? Give me a number!

  133. LathamJoe April 21st, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I really wish Hank would keep his big, fat, loud, mouth SHUT and let the REAL Baseball people run the Yankee Team and its personnel decisions!
    Loudmouth Hank knows less baseball than anybody in the Organization, including the peanut vendors! Someone please tell Hank about building arm strength to avoid catastophic injuries to young pitchers and the fact that Joba WILL NOT have a “100-mile-an-hour” fastball once he is a starter.
    This is likely not the end of Hank’s mindless musings. A few more like this and Cashman will undoubtedly move on to a MLB owner who’s more appreciative of his talents!

  134. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    this is gonna be a long night, and some posters here are just…you give Chris Russo a run for his money :?

  135. Rob NY April 21st, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Yeah I know Morgan was a great player, and I really liked Palmer with the O’s telecast, but with Morgan its always about him, he doesnt let the game breathe at all. To each his own I suppose but he gets under my skin about 4 innings into a game.

    lol http://www.firejoemorgan.com/

  136. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    “Mike @ NYYU”

    Do you really want to include Dontrelle Willis on that list?

    Read up on the ’30 inning rule’. Honestly. It is relevant, except for -few- exceptions.

    ‘Babying’ pitchers is best for their long term health. Innings and pitch limits are there for a good reason – to prevent Joba from being the next Mark Prior/Kerry Wood/etc. Would you rather have 1-2 years of absolute dominance then complete and total flameout, or a 15 year career in pinstripes?

    Here’s an article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....index.html

  137. CB April 21st, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Eugie,

    The only point I was trying to make is that unless you try to move a player to a new role you will never, ever know if that player can succeed in a different role.

    And many, many people say that closing is very different from setting up. And there are a number of set up men who have failed as closers.

    They are definitely different roles. That’s generally agreed upon.

    And it’s not as if there is no precedent for Joba being a starter.

    That’s all he did his entire baseball career.

    The Dodgers used Chad Billingsley as a set up man last year to save him innings on his arm and then transitioned him during the year to starting and he was very good.

    But again, if you never try Joba as a stater you’ve created impossible conditions for him ever succeeding in any other role.

  138. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    And yes, Joba/Phil/Ian -will- be pitching 200+ innings. Just not this year. Joba will throw 150 this year, 180 next year, 210 in 2010. Rushing this is gambling with injury for little added payoff.

  139. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Hey guys, did you know Chase Utley has 9 HR already?

    That’s a little crazy, especially from a 2b!

  140. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    i respect joe morgan for being an outstanding player and for his occasional interesting insights in the game, but he gets on my nerves because he says so many illogical and silly things too. most recently in one of the Yankees Red Sox games this year, I think it was the game Hughes pitched, Hughes threw one of his only nasty pitches of the game to manny. it was a fastball that started middle in and had a late dive that just completely froze manny for strike 2. it was a great, great pitch. Morgan’s take on it? to paraphrase, ‘and that’s an example of how great a hitter Manny is- he got a pitch he couldn’t handle so he just took it.’ WHAT? he says that kind of crap a little too frequently for my liking.

  141. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    “April 21st, 2008 at 10:25 pm
    Hey guys, did you know Chase Utley has 9 HR already?

    That’s a little crazy, especially from a 2b!”

    He’s a damn good player – by far the best 2B in the game – he’s having a 2007 ARod month.

  142. Bob April 21st, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    How pathetic is it that ESPNews is running the Steinbrenner/Cashman Joba quotes non stop in their breaking news section?

  143. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    rob ny-
    we all have our preferences. if he bugs you he bugs you, but i think it’s a myth that he doesn’t know the game.

    i think” fire joe morgan” is basically a bunch of non african american ivy leaguers who like to make fun of the black guy. i think they are a good example of pompous elitism and yes rascism. i don’t think they’re funny.
    but hey that’s just me.

  144. Bob April 21st, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Chase Utley is probably the most underrated player in baseball.

  145. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Mariano Rivera would have been a great starter, probably among the best in the sport, and to think otherwise is foolishness. Stick Michael often says he had a great change coming up in the minors, but abandoned it when he became a reliever because, quite frankly, he didn’t need it. He broke it out a little last spring (striking out Ryan Howard with it in one memorable atbat) and I have no doubt he’d have found a way to mix in enough offspeed stuff to keep teams honest.

    Accepting that premise, does anyone really believe the dynasty years would have been the same with Mo in the rotation and say, Brian Boehringer closing games in the October crucible? I don’t.

    Every argument for Joba starting contains the implied belief that any tomato can can shut teams down in the eight inning of tight games in a pennant race. That’s just not true. A properly balanced staff has two of the best arms at the top of the rotation and two of the best at the back of the pen.

    For this year, I’ll take 100 innings of Joba, focused into the tighest games, over 150 innings in random starts, some of which will be blow outs anyway. Especially when the alternatives are named Farnsworth, Hawkins and Ohlendorf.

  146. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    Rebecca: Yeah, Utley really is something else. he hits for power and average and still plays great, great defense on top of that. i can only hope that Cano turns out to be almost like an American League version of him. Don’t be surprised if Utley makes it so the Phillies produce 3 different MVPs in 3 straight seasons. The Phillies fans around here are all about Utley too. everybody with a Phillies t-shirt or jersey i see has Utley’s name on it. You’d think there would be a Rollins or a Howard here or there. He’s like the Phillies’ Jeter in terms of his popularity.

  147. Rob NY April 21st, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I by no means am saying that Joe Morgan doesnt know baseball. I have to assume he knows more about the game than I do. Like I said I respect the ball player he was but I just dont think he is real good at calling a game. Can’t say i’ve read firejoemorgan extensively but thats the first time i’ve heard the racist angle for them.

  148. Bob April 21st, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    If he didn’t get hurt Utley would have been MVP last year.

  149. Mike @ NYYU April 21st, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    V…

    Who fills in for those innings that the kids don’t pitch?

    A suspect bullpen?

  150. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    “Who fills in for those innings that the kids don’t pitch?”

    if your asking that question then either your not watching Yankees baseball or know nothing about the farm system.

  151. Back Bench April 21st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    CB

    And that applies to other players on the NYY at other positions (see Rodriguez, Alex SS)

    And let me say for the umpteenth time, what a great blog this is. Thank you CB, SJ, Hmmm and Whozat for educating as well as advocating.

    The only negative – Whatever happened to Bobcat?

  152. Andrea April 21st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Everything I’ve ever heard, including from Mo himself, says that Mo was not a good starter. His minor league numbers as a starter were not good.

    Oh well.

  153. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    “Morgan’s take on it? to paraphrase, ‘and that’s an example of how great a hitter Manny is- he got a pitch he couldn’t handle so he just took it.’ WHAT? he says that kind of crap a little too frequently for my liking.”

    so you think manny should have taken a little weak defensive swing and hit a weak ground ball? what’s wrong with what morgan said. he gave hughes credit for a great pitch and manny for not swinging.

    i don’t see the problem.

  154. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    “Mariano Rivera would have been a great starter, probably among the best in the sport, and to think otherwise is foolishness”

    what ?……

    10 GS, 5.51 ERA, 67.0 IP, 71 H, 30 BB 51 SO

    what ? 4.03 BB per 9 IP

    call me foolish, plus he didn’t have a secondary plus pitch.

  155. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    “so you think manny should have taken a little weak defensive swing and hit a weak ground ball? what’s wrong with what morgan said. he gave hughes credit for a great pitch and manny for not swinging.

    i don’t see the problem.”

    i’m saying what Manny did was nothing spectacular. he was completely frozen on the pitch. so many other times you hear commentators say “fooled him on that one” with that sort of pitch. yeah he said “great pitch by hughes” and then gushed over how great manny was for being frozen by the pitch. i just don’t see that as a situation where you praise the hitter.

  156. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Andrea,

    Mo made 10 starts as a rookie in ’95 and went 3-3. He was bad in the three losses and was very good/excellent in the 3 wins, including a 2-hit, double digit strikeout, shutout against the Chisox. (If my memory serves correctly, Frank Thomas, who at the time was probably the best hitter in the sport, got both hits.) And he didn’t even have a cutter back then.

  157. Andrea April 21st, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Brandon–those are the numbers I was talking about.

  158. Papelboner April 21st, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Mariano should have been a center fielder

  159. Andrea April 21st, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    randyhater: his minor league start numbers aren’t very good either though.

    All I know is that Mo has always said he’s not a very good starter.

  160. Fredo Corleone April 21st, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    “if your asking that question then either your not watching Yankees baseball or know nothing about the farm system.”

    Well we do know two the gems of the system aren’t getting it done right now and that the one pitcher among the high levels who MAY have the positive impact is injured and not considered to be of the caliber of the aforementioned duo.

    I’m happy they’ve got some potential down on the farm, though those with the greatest potential seem 2-3 years away, but to think these guys, some of whom are frequently cited by many of us as the reason for last season’s early failures, are going a difference making impact this season is probably a tremendous stretch.

  161. YankeeJosh April 21st, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Brandon, we’ll never know. He struggled as a starter and reliever until July 1995, when he had a great month as a starter before being moved to the pen when the Yankees got David Cone.

    I tend to think he wouldn’t have been a great starter, but we’ll never know. He really came into his own in July 1995. I posted this earlier, and it’s very interesting:

    http://www.baseball-reference......;year=1995

  162. Jeff NJ April 21st, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Ok so Joba who pitched 115 or so innings last year should stay in the bullpen this year and possibly get 100 innings. In fact regressing in innings from last year, brilliant. Then next year when he can pitch 130 innings, he would have to relieve again.

    The proper plan is the one the Yankees are working, 140 innings made up of 30-40 in the pen and 100 as a starter. There is no other way to get his pitch count to 140.

  163. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    rob ny-
    i didn’t mean to get into a serious discussion about the ethics of them naming their site after someone they think represents baseball ignorance. they are all ivy league grads. they are all non african americans. you do the math. why didn’t they call their site “fire tim mcarver” ?

    i just think it’s an unfortunate choice of names for their website.

  164. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    “Chase Utley is probably the most underrated player in baseball.”

    Except in fantasy baseball ;-)

    Top three players are ARod (3rd base), Utley (2B), Hanley Ramirez (SS). Pujols (1B) is in the top 4 if no injury concerns.

  165. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    “V…

    Who fills in for those innings that the kids don’t pitch?

    A suspect bullpen?”

    Is this an argument as to why the Yankees shouldn’t limit their innings? The health of your players – especially players you have locked in for a minimum of 6 years – is worth more than an extra win or two.

    If it meant Joba was great this year, and the Cy Young next year, and the Yankees win a World Series both years, but his career is over in 2010, would you take that?

    I wouldn’t.

  166. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Brandon,

    All those starts were in his first year in the bigs. Like alot of guys, Hughes for instance, he ran hot and cold as a rookie.

    He has three plus pitches now and most importantly, spots them on a dime. The Hall of Fame is full of guys with less than that.

    He developed his cutter, as good a pitch as there is in the game, messing around in the bullpen with Petitte and Wells. I think he would’ve figured out a decent offspeed pitch.

  167. YankeeJosh April 21st, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    On Rivera:

    July starts in 1995:

    8 innings 0 runs
    6 innings, 3 runs
    6 innings, 1 run
    7 innings, 3 runs

    He was just so bad in his previous starts that the ERA was inflated. But for July 1995 he pitched to a 2.33 ERA as a starter before being moved to the pen. He was improving as a starter, but only had one more start afterwards.

  168. V April 21st, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    I am not concerned with our bullpen. Honestly, I am not. I think if Joba’s out, we’ll be fine. The bullpen will not lose us games if the starters can’t get it to them, and I’m not holding out hope on Mussina.

  169. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    brian from pa-

    i guess it’s debatable if manny was simply frozen or made the choice not to swing. with manny we’ll never know. it would have been a good question for a reporter to ask him after the game.

  170. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    V-

    Reyes is in the top 4, Pujols went in the 2nd round in three of my leagues.

  171. YankeeJosh April 21st, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Ooops, read that wrong, that last start in July was 5 innings 3 runs. So his ERA was 2.52 in July as a starter.

  172. CB April 21st, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    “He’s a damn good player – by far the best 2B in the game – he’s having a 2007 ARod month.”

    Utley is a great player who is having a great season so far.

    But if you believe in wins above replacement there wasn’t that much distance between Utley and Cano last year.

    Utley had a terrific wins above replacement of 9.8.

    Cano’s wins above replacement was 9.4.

    I still find that surprising.

    While Utley was the much better offensive player (VORP 68 vs. cano WARP 41).

    But at least according to baseball prospectus’s defensive statistics, Cano was a much better defensive second baseman.

    Cano saved 28 runs above an average defensive second baseman. Utley saved 4.

    That 24 run difference on defense made up a lot of the difference between their offensive production.

    I don’t know if I buy that given that other defensive stats sysems like Utley a lot more than BP’s.

    But when last season was finished I was really surprised to see them have such close wins above replacement as I always though Utley was a signifcantly better player.

  173. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    i guess a better way to explain why i felt the way i did about that comment by Morgan is the fact that, since he was a great hitter, he tends to go on and on way too much about the hitters. he spends so much of the game dissecting so much nonsense about every pointless little detail of the hitter’s perspective and a lot of what he says makes it sound like he doesn’t think pitchers have anything to do with the game. i’m not saying it isn’t interesting, he says plenty of interesting and insightful things, i just don’t like how most of the time (note, i’m not saying all the time) he seems to be oblivious to the impact good pitching has on the game. it’s like every once in a while he catches himself and says something generic to praise the pitching. i have to admit though when he was comparing the fastballs of hughes and matsuzaka i was surprised because he rarely discusses pitching beyond “that was a good pitch” or turing it back around to what the hitter is doing.

    in a lot of ways it’s the opposite of somethings that bothered me about Jim Kaat on YES. Jim Kaat a felt had a lot more redeeming qualities as a broadcaster than Morgan, but there were times when he just droned on and on about some trivial detail relating to a pitcher for 2 or 3 innings and it drove me crazy. also, his displeasure for slugfests was obvious. he always sounded a lot more enthusiastic about games that were pitcher’s duels.

    Again i’m not saying Morgan is “horrible”, he just bothers me more than he interests me.

    by the way i don’t think there is anyone worse than Tim McCarver either.

  174. Nick in SF April 21st, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    “Mariano Rivera would have been a great starter, probably among the best in the sport, and to think otherwise is foolishness.”

    Foolishness, you say? And your proof of this is…?

    “Every argument for Joba starting contains the implied belief that any tomato can can shut teams down in the eight inning of tight games in a pennant race.”

    Nice use of a straw man argument. Has anyone used the “any tomato can” theory in this or any other thread on this subject? Maybe you should have used the word “inferred” instead of “implied” there.

    “For this year, I’ll take 100 innings of Joba, focused into the tighest games, over 150 innings in random starts…”

    Ah, but aren’t the games in which Joba can be used in the 8th inning a little random too? How did Joba in the pen help in the 3 games in Boston? He could have helped if Wang had only been able to go 7 and he could have helped if Mussina and Hughes had kept the games closer, yet he went unused in all 3 games. Kind of random, no? Starts quite as random, they are usually scheduled every 5th game or so.

    “Especially when the alternatives are named Farnsworth, Hawkins and Ohlendorf.”

    You do know that there could be other alternatives by the time Joba moves into the rotation, right? Yes, I think you do.

  175. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    “Hughes has been compared to a young Clemens, but there’s really no comparison.”

    I’d say John Smoltz before I’d say Clemens, but honestly, who cares? These types of comparisons only serve the media to hype prospects and create buzz. Then people are shocked and disappointed when they don’t live up to that hype.

  176. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    V,

    You’re not concerned about a Joba-less bullpen? I wish I shared your optimism, but it was our biggest weakness last year and our biggest need at the deadline, and that was with Vizciano giving us 4 months of lights out production.

    Assuming Joba (with a strict pitch count) joins Hughes and Kennedy/Mussina in the rotation, that’s basically 3 5-inning pitchers each time around. That’s asking for miracles from a group that’s proven nothing so far.

  177. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    “Ooops, read that wrong, that last start in July was 5 innings 3 runs. So his ERA was 2.52 in July as a starter.”

    ok now tell me after July :D

  178. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    The only reasonable comparison between Hughes and Clemens i’ve ever noticed was how similar their motions are. other than that, i don’t understand why anyone would compare them.

  179. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    brian pa-
    i can see your point about morgan talking a lot about hitting as i agree he sees pitching from a hitters view.

    it’s kind of hard to get someone who sees it from both perspectives. maybe a catcher. i know i liked listening to girardi last year.

  180. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    lol, i’m doing an assigment for my educational psych class about classroom scenarios and i came across one that is kind of amusing and relevant to baseball. “you’re asked to hold an after school review session with the varsity baseball team before they leave for their tournament, so that they will be ready for their exam when they get back. however, the players just don’t seem to be getting the material as well as the rest of the class. in what ways might you reorganize your lesson plan to suit the learning styles of the players? is this a realistic scenario? explain what theories of learning might apply.”

    lol. according to my professor, baseball players are all stupid.

  181. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    CB/SJ44/Anyone….

    re: the 30 inning rule and Joba’s apx 140 inning limit

    I believe that playoff innings count towards the innings limit and some believe that playoff innings should be considered as more stressful innings in that equation. Do playoff innings count?

    If they do, how would that enter the equation should the Yankees appear to be playoff-bound come September and also if they do make the playoffs?

    Look at IPK last season – wasn’t he left off the playoff roster at least somewhat because of his innings? Or was that soley his back injury?

    The Red Sox are quite possibly going to send Buchholz down in a month, anticipating a possible if not probable playoff appearance in October, so that he won’t exceed his innings limit prior to the playoffs.

    I’m just curious how that enters the conversation with Joba.

  182. Jaewon April 21st, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    New York has gone farther than Boston/New England in the last two major sports’ playoffs!

    (Giants>Patriots, Rangers>Bruins)

  183. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    As I have stated before…

    Joe Morgan is far superior to Hawk Harrelson.

    http://www.heavethehawk.com

    I hope none of you have to listen to the Hawk this week during the 3 game series.

    -dennis

  184. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    p.s. (fingers crossed) Joba may throw upwards of 40IP in a playoff run. If the Yanks end up being playoff contenders, you can’t overlook that.

  185. Rob NY April 21st, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I’m gunna have to listen to “The Hawk” this week. I hope it isn’t as bad as you say.

  186. Brian from PA April 21st, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    yes hawk harrelson is a real ass. is there a bigger homer out there than him? he doesn’t even pretend to be unbiased.

  187. Jaewon April 21st, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    randyhater:

    We’re all concerned about a Joba-less bullpen.

    But we should be much more concerned about a Joba-less rotation (pending how Mussina/Kennedy/Hughes progress)

  188. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Nick in SF,

    “And your proof of this is?”

    Um, 12 uninterrupted years and counting of some of the most dominant pitching the sport has ever seen.

    Your proof that Joba will seamlessly transition into the rotation midseason, or that some unknown from the minors will burst onto the scene and dominate hitters down the stretch, in a pennant race, in the AL East, in NY?

  189. randy l April 21st, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    boston dave-

    hughes really doesn’t remind me of anyone from the past. he’s a very modern pitcher. it’s taken some time for me to warm up to him, but i’m enjoying watching him pitch as i’m beginning to understand the pitches he throws. i am excited by the swings and misses he gets on his fastball. when he gets his command, i think we’ll see the real phil hughes that people that followed him in the minors saw.

    maybe he’s going to set his own standard for the type pitcher he is. there’s some criticism that he’s not going to be a #1 starter. i don’t see how being a solid #2 is a bad thing. isn’t that what pettitte has been his whole career?

    200 wins for hughes right now sounds good to me. especially with joba as the yankee ace.
    i could live with that as a yankee fan.

  190. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Brian….

    Is there a worse, unprepared MLB announcer?

    It shocks me that the 3rd largest media area would put up with him?

    -dennis

  191. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    SI on Joba to rotation this year

    come on we all know it will happen later this season. :)

  192. Fredo Corleone April 21st, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Bos Dave:

    Buchholtz went about 150 last year, so 180 would be about right this year in theory. Not sure how sending him down slows his pace, as he’d be pitching someplace, be it AAA or MLB. I’d guess that when/if Colon is healthy, they will occasionally skip him or sit for two weeks.

    I wondered about whether postseason innings count as well when arriving at these caps. I assumed the answer is yes, but don’t know. Seen cases where they obviously don’t apply (see: Verlander, 2006) but others that do.

  193. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 21st, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    Jaewon: Please don’t remind me of the Rangers, it’s depressing! :(

    For those worried about the 8th inning: If you don’t have a rotation, the 8th inning really won’t matter.

    8th = matters when your team is up 3-2.

    Not so much if you’re down 7-0.

  194. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    randyhater,

    using that logic, shouldn’t the Tigers make Verlander their setup man, or even their closer?

    or the Mets? Heilman hasn’t been great. Santana would make a good setup man.

    Jeremy Accardo is off to a slow start in Toronto. Halladay in the 8th and handing off to BJ Ryan in the 9th?

    teams NEVER fix their bullpen by making one of their best starters a reliever. why should it work in reverse?

  195. YankeesTech April 21st, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    In what role can Joba make the most impact in playoffs

    As a starter or a reliever?? You dam well know it’s starting if he can pitch 1 decent game in a series with andy and wang we will be fine in the playoffs.

    As for the stubborn Mike Francesa zombies, if he fails as a starter he can always go back to the role he had as a setup man for mariano.

  196. Fredo Corleone April 21st, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    “Joe Morgan is far superior to Hawk Harrelson.”

    This is like picking the leper with the most fingers. They both stink. Hawk is a cartoon character. Morgan is dull and lacking in insight.

  197. YankeeJosh April 21st, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Brandon,

    My point was July 1995 was the only month Rivera was starting consistently. He had two more starts the rest of the year, but was basically working out of the pen from August onward. I’m not saying Mo would have been a great starter. I just think it’s unfair to say he failed there when he showed potential, then wa given the bullpen role.

  198. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    “In what role can Joba make the most impact in playoffs”

    making the game a 6 inning game or a 2 inning game. hmmm….. I’d take the starting role

  199. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Fredo.

    Agreed.

    It is truly like an eastern european beauty contest.

    -dennis

  200. CB April 21st, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    “I believe that playoff innings count towards the innings limit and some believe that playoff innings should be considered as more stressful innings in that equation. Do playoff innings count?”

    Playoff innings count. There is no easy way to handle this.

    It’ going to be a close race and I doubt the yanks will be able to coast into a playoff spot.

    For that reason there’s no way you can just bank away 30 of joba’s 140 innings for the playoffs. You’ll likely need those innings in the regular season and it’ll be premature to remove him pitching on the chance that they make the playoffs.

    I don’t know how they will handle it. I imagine that if it looks like they are going to make the playoffs they’ll start cutting his starts to 5 innings or something like that. Same with Phil.

    It’s not going to be easy.

    Fausto Carmona had a large jump in his innings from the year before. Part of that was the innings he threw in the playoffs.

    Same thing for Verlander in 2006.

    It’s not going to be easy managing these caps.

  201. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    CB.

    I disagree. I think the East will have tied up both spots by 9/15.

    -dennis

  202. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Thanks CB.

    Wouldn’t that factor, however, make it more likely that they’d wait further into the season to make the transition?

    It’s easier to manage if Joba has innings left when mid-August comes than having not enough.

  203. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    by further in the season, I mean @ the break.

  204. CB April 21st, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Dennis,

    I don’t know. Then are you assuming that the blue jays, tigers, and indians won’t challenge for the wild card past mid september?

    I’m not sure if all of those 3 teams will be out of the wild card by 9/15. Though I’d love if they were.

    I don’t think Seattle will challenge, especially with Bedard’s strange illness.

  205. Nick in SF April 21st, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    randyhater, thanks for the selective response. By your previous logic, neutral readers can draw the inference that you have no response to the other points I made, right?

    “Um, 12 uninterrupted years and counting of some of the most dominant pitching the sport has ever seen.”

    How does Rivera’s Hall of Fame career as a closer prove that he would have been “among the best” starters “in the sport”? Does this translate to other great relievers too, such as Dennis Eckersley and Goose Gossage? How about Trevor Hoffman? And was it a mistake to move John Smoltz from the closer role back to the rotation?

    Also, if great relievers equal great starters, does this mean Joba will be a great starter? And does this imply that what you’re really saying is that a great setup man is more valuable than a great starter, period?

    I guess in reply to your “proof”, I’ll just say that it’s pure conjecture on your part; neither of us can prove what Rivera’s career as a starter would have been.

    “Your proof that Joba will seamlessly transition into the rotation midseason”

    Another straw man argument; neither I nor anyone else that I’ve noticed on this topic has made the claim that Joba’s transition will be seamless, nor has anyone guaranteed that Joba will even be successful as a starter. There is no way to know, but everyone familiar with Joba’s background and his ‘stuff’ does seem to agree that he has the potential to be a successful starter and perhaps a great one.

    “or that some unknown from the minors will burst onto the scene and dominate hitters down the stretch, in a pennant race, in the AL East, in NY?”

    And yet another straw man, as no one has made that claim either. There are several candidates in the minors, as you know, and they’re probably more “known” at this point in the season than Joba was a year ago. Since Joba had always been a starter, he wasn’t being groomed or touted for the setup role.

  206. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 21st, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    wow Hanley Ramirez 8O .355/.430/.645 in 76 AB

  207. CB April 21st, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    “Wouldn’t that factor, however, make it more likely that they’d wait further into the season to make the transition?”

    Yes. But it looks like they are going to need Joba as a starter to get into the playoffs.

    The other thing they have to balance – say they leave him in the pen banking on making the playoffs. But then they don’t make the playoffs.

    Joba would then perhaps fall short of his innings cap – if you save 30 innings for the playoffs and move him to the rotation later and you don’t make the playoffs then he could wind up at 120 innings pitched.

    They could make up the difference in the Arizona fall league but that is not optimal. It’s generally major league innings that are thought to progressively build arm strength – the correlation with minor league innings and the 30 inning rule is much less strong.

  208. PAT M. April 21st, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Regardless of what motormouth Hank says, Joba will stay on schedule to hit the rotation right after Memorial Day…The problem is, can Mussina stay aomewhat effective until then…It doesn’t appear so…Hughes and Kennedy will be fine…..Ollie seems on tract to be inserted into the 8th inning slot…..A few solid starts by the boys and all this negative talk goes away……Damn demanding Yankee fans….

  209. randyhater April 21st, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    “It’s not going to be easy managing these caps.”

    Agree completely. Which is why Joba has to stay in the pen for the entire year.

    Hughes and/or Kennedy will right the ship and become a viable 3. I really belive that. If the other can hang around and pitch .500 ball, someone from Rasner, Karstens, Marquez, Horne, or a combination thereof, should be able to to piece together the 5th spot. (Mussina’s a lost cause and the best thing in the long run would be for him to get hammered his next few times out, followed by a swift and unceremonious goodbye.)

    If not, we have plenty to offer in trades down on the farm. Seeing as we have the greatest GM in history, or at least that’s what I keep reading, we should have no trouble picking up a useful arm at the deadline. Maybe old friend Shawn Chacon (who’s been lighting it up in Houston) has another miracle streak in him.

    Best bullpen will win in the end. We’ll argue about Joba’s role in ’09 after the parade.

  210. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    CB.

    I do not know either.

    I just believe the Yanks and Sox are built for a long season. The Jays have the best starting rotation in baseball when healthy. I have no faith that they will stay healthy.

    -dennis

  211. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    “I disagree. I think the East will have tied up both spots by 9/15.”

    My Yankee bias says the Sox won’t have it wrapped up by then if at all, but in reality, it’s a possibility. If the Sox bullpen holds up well, it’s a more likely possibility. I don’t think it’s a lock that it will.

    I do agree with CB that the wildcard is more likely to be a tight race til the end this season. There appears to be more balance of power than ever in the AL.

  212. Buddy Biancalana April 21st, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    CB-

    You think there is more to Bedard’s injury other than a sore hip?

  213. Boston Dave April 21st, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    randyhater,

    I respect your opinion, but do you realize that if Joba stays in the pen all year, he’d maybe throw 70 innings?

    If that’s the case, it becomes a virtual impossibility that he could be a starter for more than 12-15 games next season. Their hand would be forced.

    If they try out Joba as a starter for half of the season this year, they could technically elect to keep him as a fulltime starter in 09 OR move him back to the pen if he was a miserable failure as a starter. They’d have options.

    I’m ignoring whether starting is beneficial to the yanks success and strictly focusing on the ‘fringe benefits’ to him starting at least some games this season.

  214. CB April 21st, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    “wow Hanley Ramirez 8O .355/.430/.645 in 76 AB”

    Brandon,

    The 1.075 OPS Ramirez has put up so far is fantastic but this isn’t the true “wow” part of his season he’s having. Not even close.

    The most astonishing part of Hanley Ramirez’s season so far has been his defense.

    He has arguably been the worse defensive shortstop in baseball the past 2-3 years. Even worse than jeter. Last year he had the second to worse zone rating of any shortstop (only jhonny peralta was worse).

    One of the biggest surprises of this young season is the fact that Hanley Ramirez to date has the highest zone rating of any shortstop in baseball. Higher than even Troy Tulowitski.

    Ramirez has a .953 zone rating with a .988 fielding percentage. Last year he had a .773 zone rating and a .963 fielding percentage.

    I’m not saying he’s going to continue to be the best defensive shortstop in baseball. I know this is a very small sample that you can’t project the whole season on.

    Nonetheless, the idea that over any 160 inning stretch of the season you could say that Hanley Ramirez would have the highest zone rating in baseball is just unbelievable.

    If he’s even able to field at a .830 zone rating then he becomes an entirely different player. As great as he was before with the bat he becomes a much greater overall player because then he’d be playing like a true defensive SS instead of a 3rd baseman pretending to play SS.

    He puts up a .830 or so zone rating he joins ARod and Pujols as the best players in the game – in fact if he does that he might turn into the best player in the game given his production from up the middle.

  215. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 21st, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Boston Dave,

    I am not saying that the Sox/Yanks will have the division won by 9/15.

    I believe the AL is tremendous this year. Having said that I think everyone looked beyond the pitching depth of Det-Cle-Sea and so on..

    Both NY-BOS are in much better shape than most think…

    -dennis

  216. Rocco April 21st, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    Quote of the day from espn.com LOL

    Joba cannot be a successful starter. There is no way he will have the same command and control as a starter that he does as a setup pitcher. Moving him into the rotation would be a greeivous error that may not be correctable.

    If Joba wants to be a start, just hand him over to the red sox now. If he wants to be successful, then he should stay put and focus on getting better.

    Hank should be more concerned with the idiotic idea of keeping Mussina in the starting rotation. He is 3 years past the end of his prime. Hank should be more concerned that not one off season move was made to improve the starting rotation. Now that was idiotic!

  217. Nick in SF April 22nd, 2008 at 12:00 am

    One more thing, randyhater. You say that “someone from Rasner, Karstens, Marquez, Horne, or a combination thereof, should be able to to piece together the 5th spot.”

    So you’re handing a spot in the rotation from one of these “unknowns” but at the same time dismissing the possibility that a setup man/men can’t come from the same talent pool?

    Really?

  218. Rocco April 22nd, 2008 at 12:01 am

    sorry that was a conversation quote.

  219. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:02 am

    “It’s not going to be easy managing these caps.”

    Agree completely. Which is why Joba has to stay in the pen for the entire year.”

    No I completely disagree with just about everything you’ve said about Joba and in no way was I trying to suggest that the complexity of the innings cap was a valid reason for keeping Joba in the pen.

    There is absolutely no way IMO that he should stay in the pen all year. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

    Will the cap’s be complicated. Sure. Will they be manageable. Yes. That’s why they’re planning so carefully.

    They’ll have to figure it out because the priority is to get him into the rotation and then adjust his workload as much as you can to hit that innings target.

    No way I would keep him in the pen. None. Best chance they have of winning the world series is him starting games in the playoffs.

  220. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Dennis,

    for the Yanks sake, I hope you are right. I of course believe the Yankees will be fine and are in better shape, today, than everyone other than the Sox (who have questions of their own but are 14-7 despite Tokyo, so credit is due).

    I definitely think the AL is as wide open as its been in a long time. Health and mid-season trades (which teams will salvage the future for the now) will be as big as ever.

    The Yanks sudden depth bodes well.

  221. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:07 am

    “You think there is more to Bedard’s injury other than a sore hip?”

    Bedard does not have some run of the mill sore hip. He has some kind of problem that his causing inflammation in his hip – that’s why he’s having pain.

    I believe he’s had this before and they are now describing it as “chronic hip inflammation.”

    He is taking high doses of anti-inflammatory steroids (not the PED kind) to treat this – that’s a pretty extreme measure to take.

    Seattle traded a ton of talent for 2 years of Bedard (Adam Jones has the chance to be a great player). And now bedard is out with “chronic hip inflammation.”

    That’s the risk of trading multiple, young talented player for one pitcher, even if that pitcher has ace level talent and is only in his late 20′s.

    He goes down and the season is lost.

  222. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 12:08 am

    CB that is an amazing zone rating for Hanley Ramirez, I guess Joe Morgan wasn’t wrong on that part. Thanks for the info.

  223. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:09 am

    CB,

    If Papelbon were made a starter instead of left in the bullpen, do you care to make a prediction as to how you think he’d be doing? Ignore risk of injury for this one.

    I know he cannot be compared 1:1 with Joba… too many differences. However, it’s an interesting question.

    Papelbon has been amazing as a closer, to say the least. But could he have been an above average #2 starter? And if so, is it possible that he’d still be more valuable as a starter than as a dominant closer?

  224. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 22nd, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Boston Dave.

    The Sox have a ton of holes. I just think we are harder on our clubs as a fan base than anyone in MLB. Yanks will score close to 1000 runs and the Sox have a balanced team built for a long year.

    Central was way over-hypted going into the year…

    -dennis

  225. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Brandon,

    If that holds and Ramirez actually, out of the blue, turns into a real defensive short stop – that will be one of the major stories of this entire baseball season.

    Up until now he was just awful – just pretending to be a SS and getting away with it because the marlins are so bad.

    It was assumed that he’d have to move off SS at some point soon.

    If he turns into a real SS then he probably becomes the most valuable player in all of baseball when judged relative to how much better he is than other people playing his position.

    Last year in ARod’s career year he had an incredible WARP of 11.4. Ramirez had a WARP of 10 playing bad defense.

  226. PAT M. April 22nd, 2008 at 12:14 am

    The more difficult issue for Chamberlain’s move to the rotation will his 3rd & 4th pitches which he hasn’t been using…..A few longer relief assignments could ease him into the roation rather than any great duration of time in AAA…..

  227. Rob NY April 22nd, 2008 at 12:16 am

    That’s been my confusion with the nonsense coming from Russo and Francessa. Why is it that we need to lose Joba forr 6 weeks to the minor leagues as opposed to having him just stretch out as a long man on the major league team. Even let him go half and half with one of the young guys in order to limit them both.

  228. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 12:20 am

    “If Papelbon were made a starter instead of left in the bullpen, do you care to make a prediction as to how you think he’d be doing? Ignore risk of injury for this one.”

    he never was a SP until the Red Sox wrongly stretched him out

    NCAA 47.1 IP out of the pen
    minors A 32.2 IP 13 games only 6 starts. (somewhere around this time he learned the splitter it made the RS brass convert him)

    now think about it the kid never pitched as a SP prior to that year, how smart was that move ? 129.2 IP the next season then they wonder why he had arm & shoulder trouble

  229. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:23 am

    BD,

    On papelbon as a starter – that’s a question better aimed at Dennis.

    What do you think Dennis? How good a starter would Papelbon be?

    My two cents – he was a starter in college at Mississipi state and for most of his minor league career. He was a good prospect as a starter (#37 on BA’s top 100) – a step below Lester.

    I think he would have figured things out and been a very good starting pitcher. I really do. I know he didn’t have the usual well rounded repertoire but he has such great fastball command that I think he would have been very good.

    That said, I really don’t think his shoulder would have held up – or at least the risk of seeing if his shoulder could hold up over 200 innings was very high. I know there was a lot of confusion in boston over what the best thing for him medically would have been.

    The most he ever threw in the minors was 130 innings and then I think he had some arm problems.

    But that shouler subluxation due to a tired arm is really concerning.

    Ultimately I think he’s a considerably better closer than he would have been a starter. But the biggest reason to me tha he’ better off in the pen is his shoulder. That he pitched all year last year with no problems says that the workload and routine of closing fits him.

    I would have been nervous starting him for health reasons – and that’s one of the best reason to convert a starer to a closer.

  230. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:25 am

    thanks Brandon – its interesting because Papelbon is a major part of the Joba argument.

    I still wonder if he would have been a successful starter.

    We all pretty much agree that a starting pitcher is more valuable than a reliever, in general. I know it was discussed a few days ago, but what is the cutoff?

    For example, is an above average #2 starter more valuable than an all-star closer?

    How good would Papelbon have needed to be as a starter to justify removing him from the closer’s role?

    I think you know where this is going…

  231. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I meant to write that he was a closer at Mississipi state and a starter for most of the minors… sorry

  232. bigjf April 22nd, 2008 at 12:31 am

    It’s absolutely worth the look putting Joba in the rotation down the line, but don’t give me the whole 69% less usage or anything like that. How can you guarantee me that Joba will be even 69% as good as a starter as he is as a one-inning reliever at the Major League level? Even if he is, the setup man is an important role that will need to be filled once Joba has vacated it. Mariano stunk as a starter. There’s no guarantee that Papelbon would be as efficient as a starter, and the same goes for Joba.

    Now if he is great as a starter and we have another Josh Beckett on our hands, then great. But he has to prove that first. Meanwhile, Joba already has the potential to be a lights-out closer for 15 years after Mariano retires, just based on how well he has done out of the pen. That’s pretty crucial too and also not easy to find.

  233. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:31 am

    thanks CB.

    we’ll almost certainly never know the answer to that question – just my curious mind at work.

    I just find it interesting that not many even consider that Papelbon may have been capable of being a great starting pitcher.

    Since Joba doesn’t have the same injury concerns, the Yankees will have the luxury of finding out the answer to a question that will never be answered for Papelbon.

  234. Buddy Biancalana April 22nd, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Considering Papelbon’s ensuing arm issues, he probably wouldn’t have lasted too long as a starter to know how good or bad he would have been.

  235. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 am

    The way I see it, I don’t think it’s a question of whether or not Joba could be a successful starter. Maybe he could, maybe he couldn’t…we just don’t know yet… I do think that the ESPN quote-if it’s an accurate quote-is ridiculous,though. To see someone with the obvious gifts of a Joba Chamberlain and to categorically dismiss the possiblity that he’d make it as a starting pitcher is just absurd, but that gets me off the point…

    The problem I have with this whole thing is that we don’t have the luxury of finding out one way or the other-not this season anyway. Joba is simply too good in his role as a setup guy in the 7th and 8th to remove him from that job.

    If the accounts I’m hearing are correct, and it would take him a month or more to get ready for his new role as starter, what do we do over this next month? Won’t either Kennedy or Hughes have to pitch better anyway to help us keep pace with the Sox till Joba saves us in June?

    So, if one or both have to pitch better anyway, I’ll take my chances and keep Joba right where he is.

  236. Dennis-Costanza (sox fan) April 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 am

    CB.

    He is perhaps the best closer in the game right now. (10in 16k’s with 1 bb) He was a 3rd baseman the first 2 two years at MSU….

    Joba is the best talent in MLB right now. He has filthy stuff.

    Joba should start games as he is the delta between the sox and yanks when it comes to prospects..

    -dennis

  237. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:34 am

    “But he has to prove that first.”

    bigjf,

    hence, the Yanks plan to give Joba a shot at the rotation. If he can’t handle it, back to plan B.

    and it’s important to note that the bullpen has always been plan B. not plan A.

    it’s a nice “problem” to have.

  238. randyhater April 22nd, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Nick In SF,

    Would Eckersly have been a good starter? I think Boston tried that and had some success. 150 some-odd wins worth, including a 20 win season. Gossage probably would’ve blown his arm out and Hoffman has never really impressed me to be honest though I liked his work in the ’98 World Series and in that Sunday afternoon interleague game in ’04. Smoltz, if anything, kind of proves my point about a great talent being able to handle either job, but whatever.

    And yes, I think there’s a much better chance of this year getting a viable 5th starter out of Rasner, Karstens, Horne, or Marquez, than there is of getting a lockdown 7th and 8th inning guy out of Veras, Robertson, Melancon, or Cox. Don’t you?

    Boston Dave,

    Why can’t we get 100 innings out of Joba (like we got out of Mo in ’96) and 20 more in the post season? Then if the extra 30 are really that important, he can simulate games against the barn in Nebraska while shining his World Series ring. Again, my focus is the ’08 crown.

  239. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:36 am

    BD – the health issues with Papelbon were just strange. I know that they were thinking that starting might be easier on his shoulder but that was just a theory.

    He’s a closer for a number of good reasons – secondary pitches, health, and need.

    Also, he was already 24 when he came up to close. Working on secondary pitches would have made him even older before he’d be able to pitch in the bigs. 24 isn’t old but it’s no longer young and working on secondary pitches could have taken an extra 1-2 years.

    It all fit with him being a closer. It was the best place for him.

    I think something similar could happen to Andrew Brackman. I could see him being the next closer after Mo.

  240. CanIGetAMooseCall April 22nd, 2008 at 12:40 am

    “If he were a starter, he would have appeared in three of those 15 games for about 20 innings.”

    Great, so as a starter Joba will reach his innings limit by late August and will then sit on the bench for the final month of the season. Bad move.

  241. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Dennis – papelbon is the best closer right now. He’s in his prime and just fantastic.

    Both Papelbon and Joba’s fastball’s are very similar in that not only do both have great velocity but both also have great command. That’s what makes Papelbon so tough. He puts the ball where ever he wants it.

    I didn’t know he played 3rd his first two years at MSU. That explains a lot. Sort of like Buchholz and SS.

  242. Boston Dave April 22nd, 2008 at 12:42 am

    CB,

    I definitely think Papelbon is in the right spot – it was just maybe more of a thought experiment.

    I find your Brackman theory VERY interesting. I don’t think I’ve heard that one before but you may be on to something. I realize it’s just an idea, but potentially a good one… ala Humberto Sanchez.

    nite everyone..

  243. PAT M. April 22nd, 2008 at 12:43 am

    The Eck came up as a starter with Cleveland….Like Rigetti, he tossed a no-no then went to the pen,,,He was never that much of a starter after the no hitter…When he hooked up with Dave Duncan is when he learne dto pitch with outstanding control….The rest is history….

  244. Buddy Biancalana April 22nd, 2008 at 12:45 am

    CB-

    You think Bedard’s injury is more serious than they are letting on?

  245. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:45 am

    “Why can’t we get 100 innings out of Joba (like we got out of Mo in ‘96) and 20 more in the post season? ”

    Tell me how many set up men (not swing men relievers) since mo have thrown 100 innings out of the pen?

    The only reason Mo threw 107 innings that year was because of Torre. Torre just kept throwing him out there come hell or high water because it was working and he wanted to win in 1996.

    Torre wasn’t using Mo that year with any idea of preserving his arm for the future. Mo wasn’t anything special as a prospect and his arm wasn’t protected in any way.

    In retrospect they are lucky that Torre didn’t blow out his arm that year from over use. That’s the only reason he threw that absurd number of innings.

    That’s not a development model you’d ever want to follow with Joba.

    There is no way to get 100-120 safe innings out of the pen for Joba as a set up man. None.

  246. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Sanchez is my best bet to be a BP guy, he’s going to pump it up a bit more than 95 mph now that he is in the pen, and his curveball is heavy on bats. Brackman that would be scary to think of CB :lol: Melancon,Cox,Ohlendorf,Brackman,Sanchez and Mo…lights out :lol:

  247. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Buddy – yeah, it sounds pretty concerning. Chronic hip inflammation – that’s not you’re normal run of the mill injury. Chronic means they think it could come back.

    And on top of that he’s frequently hurt. It’s a strange situation there.

  248. jonathan April 22nd, 2008 at 12:49 am

    What you’re forgetting, Pete, is that not all outs are created equal. Some outs (those late in games, or with runners on base, or when the score is close) are worth more than others. The best statistic that captures the “value” of game situations and individual players’ contributions to winning games is “win probability added” (WPA). (www.fangraphs.com)

    The pitcher with the greatest WPA on the 2007 Yankees was Mariano Rivera (WPA = 2.24). That means that Mariano’s excellent performance in key game situations contributed to 2.24 extra Yankee wins above .500. Mariano’s WPA was higher than the Yankees’ best starter, Chien-Ming Wang, whose WPA was 2.15. In other words, Rivera contributed to more Yankee wins than Wang, even though Rivera pitched 64% fewer outs than Wang.

    Note: it’s typical for a stud closer’s WPA to exceed an ace starter’s WPA. In 2006, Papelbon’s WPA exceeded Beckett’s WPA. Colorado’s Corpas’s WPA exceeded Francis’s WPA. And so on.

    Why? Because closers pitch in important (the term of art is “high leverage”) situations. Starters do not. Outs that closers get improve a team’s chances of winning by a lot. Outs that starters get do not. It’s really that simple.

    All of this is not to say that Joba wouldn’t be more valuable as a starter than as a reliever. The proper comparison would be to compare Joba’s expected WPA as a reliever to his expected WPA as a starter. Right now, he’ll probably have a higher WPA as a starter, since Mariano will probably get the bulk of the most important (high leverage) outs at the end of games, reducing Joba-the-reliever’s WPA.

    What this analysis *does* point out is that comparing the raw number of outs is naive. Not all outs are created equal. A pitcher can contribute a lot to a team’s chances of winning even if he gets a relatively small number of outs, so long as those outs are in high-leverage situations.

  249. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 12:53 am

    I’d much, much rather Brackman succeed as a starter. I just think that with all of his issues – minimal college workload/experience, lack of a third pitch, TJ, need to work on mechanics, and major league contract that there’s a lot going on.

    Any one of those factors could have him wind up in the pen.

    I hope he doesn’t. Brackman profiles a bit like Joba in that he throws (or did throw) two pitches that would scout close to an 80- both his fastball and knuckle curve were grade 80 pitches. Sort of like Joba’s fastball and slider.

    We’ll see. If he sticks as a starter then just forget it. That would be some rotation.

  250. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 12:54 am

    “Why? Because closers pitch in important (the term of art is “high leverage”) situations. Starters do not. Outs that closers get improve a team’s chances of winning by a lot. Outs that starters get do not. It’s really that simple.”

    take Andy Pettitte and Josh Becckett away from the Red Sox and Yankees and those high leverage stats never come into play. The most important reason the Yankees haven’t won the WS is because they can’t shorten the game to 3 innings let alone 2. The Red Sox shortened the game from 1 to 2 innings w/ Beckett in the rotation.

    So in this case Ace SP over Ace CL

  251. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 12:56 am

    I agree there CB.

  252. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 22nd, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I Finished the THESIS OF DOOM.

    Now, to celebrate…. =D

    (Okay, so I still have to defend it, but that’s a minor detail. Just had to share it.)

  253. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 1:03 am

    “All of this is not to say that Joba wouldn’t be more valuable as a starter than as a reliever. The proper comparison would be to compare Joba’s expected WPA as a reliever to his expected WPA as a starter.”

    That’s not really the right analysis. Or at least it’s incomplete because it’ doesn’t consider trade offs of replacement innings thrown. It’s not considering the counter factuals.

    You have to consider the fact that if Joba is in the pen another starter has to throw those innings that would have gone to him (say Mike Mussina).

    Alternatively you have to consider if Joba was in the rotation who would throw his set up innings instead.

    Then you have to think about the quality of those replacement innings, accounting for the leverage of all those innings.

    Steve Goldman did this analysis (bit off the cuff but basically this same idea – and I think Goldman knows all about WPA).

    Every which way he looked at it Joba profiled to have a higher value as a starter than as a reliever for this year.

    (and all goldman assumes is that joba would be slightly above average as a starter).

    His conclusion:

    “So there is the brief. The Yankees think that Joba can be an above-average starter, and it seems to me that given the outs that get absorbed in that role, that would be more valuable than limiting him to 80 innings in relief no matter how strong. The Yankees would be left with a deficit of 100 innings in the starting rotation that are likely to be filled by someone else, someone of lesser ability: Mike Mussina or an Ian Kennedy who has been figured out by the league. In a close race, those innings will make a great difference to the outcome.”

    http://www.yesnetwork.com/news.....038;vkey=6

  254. Buddy Biancalana April 22nd, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Congrats Rebecca!

  255. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Rebecca,

    Congratulations! Great news. That’s a great weight off your shoulders.

  256. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 22nd, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Thanks! Just have one paper to write, one other final draft, one multiple choice final I probably won’t study for (because I’m lazy) and then I can…uh…try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life?

    :-D

  257. Andrea April 22nd, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Rebecca: the word document of my MA thesis is actually called “doom.doc”

    Funny how everyone has the same opinion about theses.

  258. randyhater April 22nd, 2008 at 1:15 am

    cb,

    So he pitches 80 regluar season and 20 post season innings. He can always pitch winter ball if its really that important. Plus by my calculations relief innings are more intense and should therefore actually equal 1.287439 starting innings, which wouldn’t put him all that far off the magical number of 150.

    Again, let’s do what’s best for ’08 and if that means bringing him along a little slower in ’09, mores the better for his future health.

  259. jonathan April 22nd, 2008 at 1:20 am

    CB,

    Agreed with a lot of your points.

    I just read Steve Goldman’s analysis, though, and he does not seem to know much about WPA.

    Near the end, he writes, “Conversely, if the reliever is used at an optimal level, pitching in the tough spots and shutting down the opposition, those outs may have extra value that should cause them to be weighted more heavily than the same outs gotten by the starter. I don’t really know if that’s true or not — an out is an out — but let’s say that it is.”

    “An out is an out” — is he kidding? No matter where you think Joba belongs, this is a ridiculous statement.

    A simple example:

    Visitors batting, top of 2nd inning, home team ahead by one run, runners on first and second, one out. If the pitcher (the starter) gets the next batter out, the probability that the home team wins increases by about 4%.

    Fast forward to the top of the 8th inning. Same situation: visitors batting, home team ahead by one run, runners on first and second, one out. If the pitcher (the setup guy?) gets the next batter out, the probability that the home team wins increases by about 10%.

    Never mind that the out in the 8th inning increased the odds of winning by 2.5 times more than the out in the 2nd inning. An out is an out, right?

    This is the kind of thinking that results in sub-optimal baseball decision making.

  260. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Mission 2708 April 22nd, 2008 at 1:23 am

    Andrea: That IS funny!

  261. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 1:24 am

    randyhater,

    You can’t just assume that a relief inning = 1.29 f a starting inning.

    In fact a number of set up innings are fairly easy. It’s a mater of the batting order that happens to come up.

    There are going to be many occasions where a set up guy (or closer) comes in to fact hitters 7-8-9. Those would be very low stress innings.

    That’s one of the real weaknesses in keeping him in the pen – some situations will be high stress. But others could very low stress.

    Plus if he only throws 100 innings total this season then they are in EXACTLY the same boat next year. This past season joba threw 112 innings. If he only throws 100 then he’s regressing in terms of arm strength.

    And it’s hard to know what to make of Arizona league innings. They don’t exactly correspond the other work load data and often times clubs are reluctant to send major league talent like Joba to winter ball. It doesn’t happen much at all for pitchers.

    IMO what’s best for 2008 (for both him and the team) is to make him a starter and to make sure he gets as close to 140-150 innings as possible.

    Your not factoring in things like his need to develop his third and fourth pitches (which are both good but need to be practiced in game situations). No reliever is going to throw 4 pitches on a regular basis (never mind one who has a 100mph fastball and 90mph slider).

    He really needs to start. I just don’t see anyway around that.

  262. The Fallen Phoenix April 22nd, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Jonathan,

    The problem with leverage, though, is that it is actually entirely dependent on what goes on for the first six or seven or eight innings prior to it.

    That is to say, if your starting pitcher keeps runs off the board for six or seven innings, of course those later innings are going to be higher leverage (presuming the opposing starter did as well a job limiting runs).

    Furthermore, the reason why leverage increases late in the game is precisely because you’re nearing the end of your time limit: you are running out of outs, so for the hitting team every out becomes worth more because there are that few to begin with. On the other hand, volume of outs counts for the pitching/defensive team, because you want to eliminate as many as possible by giving up as few runs as possible.

    But you need to get to those last outs somehow. I still take a starter who can eliminate twenty-one outs without giving up a run than the reliever who only needs to eliminate three to six outs.

    If your theory is correct, jonathan, that the last outs are the ones that matter, then why don’t teams start with relief pitching, and have their starters throw the last five-or-six innings? That way, starters (the team’s best pitchers anyway) will not only absorb more innings, but higher-leverage innings, too?

  263. Nick in SF April 22nd, 2008 at 1:34 am

    No offense, randyhater, but it just seems like your argument is a conclusion — Joba needs to stay in the bullpen — without any solid supporting evidence. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but the whole “this is how it is and you’re foolish if you don’t agree” method isn’t going to convince anyone who doesn’t already think the same way.

  264. CB April 22nd, 2008 at 1:42 am

    “I just read Steve Goldman’s analysis, though, and he does not seem to know much about WPA.”

    Jonathan you do know that Goldman works for Baseball Prospectus and is a big advocate of using win expectancy to evaluate reliever, right (win expectancy and WPA are very similar)?

    I think he was referring to the potential range of hypothetical situations a reliever may face.

    In general managers DO NOT use their best relievers in the most high leverage spots possible – no manager does so to somehow assume that a relief pitcher will be consistently and only pitching high leverage innings isn’t likely true. Set up men pitch to the 7-8-9 hitters with the bases empty all the time. That’s something you can assume statistically in a model but it’s not really an assumption that is supported by reality.

    I believe that is what Goldman was referring to. People often assume that ALL relief innings are high leverage and they are not. That was a big reason metrics like WPA were developed in the first place – people got sick of closer getting tons of credit for pitching the 9th inning regardless of the context of the ninth inning, especially after LaRussa changed the closer position with Eckersley making him exclusively a one inning guy, irrespective of whether he was needed to put out a fire earlier in the game.

    That was what WPA was really designed to do – put closers, middle reliever, set up guys on a more equal footing by looking at game context instead of just assuming that the 9th inning was always inherently more important or pressure packed than say the seventh.

    Using WPA to compare starters and relievers is confusing and I don’t think it’s the right metric. It’s comparing apples to oranges. Metrics like WPA and Win expectancy look at marginal probabilities for winning games based on context. In general those kinds of stats penalize starters because the game always starts 0-0 and starters rarely go past 7 innings in contemporary baseball.

    Heath Bell had a higher win expectancy than Jake Peavey last year. No way Heath Bell was more important to the Padres than Peavey. No way.

    Why is that – because the skill required to throw a quality start is much higher than the skill needed to throw 1-2 innings, even high leverage ones.

    Going through the line up the second or third time is very difficult an requires having a 3-4 pitch arsenal with command. WPA doesn’t adequately take that into account.

    You can find a Heath Bell off the scrap heap and it’s not that infrequent it happens (kevin towers is a master at it). You almost never, ever get a Peavy off the scrap heap.

    It really doesn’t consider the alternative trade offs that are related to fact that you have to replace a starters innings and that’s just very difficult to do.

    Brian Bruney or Ross Ohlendor may be able to pitch the 8th inning. No way either one of them could ever be successful as starters.

    Joba can replace Bruney’s innings. No way Bruney could replace Joba’s innigns as a starter. That’s the limitation to looking at metrics focused on marginal win probabilities.

  265. MoBoy April 22nd, 2008 at 1:52 am

    I believe he should go to the rotation but next year.You aren’t getting to the post-season or winning without Joba in the pen.You can survive with a bad rotation.The Yankees did it by using as many people as they can who can throw last year and we went to the post season.

    But you can’t piece together this bullpen this year with anybody from the minors or free agency to be a set-up man.To put Joba in the rotation half way in the season is stupid.Just hope Phil Hughes can piece it toegther by Post season.Then Let Joba pitch as a starter.No way Cashman is gonna risk Fransworth as our set-up man.

  266. jonathan April 22nd, 2008 at 2:08 am

    TFP,

    Good points.

    You write:

    “I still take a starter who can eliminate twenty-one outs without giving up a run than the reliever who only needs to eliminate three to six outs.”

    So would I. And so would WPA, I suspect. It’s not that early outs don’t matter. They do! Each early out, though, matters less than each high-leverage late out. But not at a ratio of 3.5 to 1 or 7 to 1. The ratio is much closer than that, in general.

    Thus, a starter who gives you 21 scoreless outs has a higher WPA and is worth “more,” in general, than a reliever who gets rid of 3 to 6 outs. WPA agrees with our intuition. There’s no disagreement here.

    You also write, “If your theory is correct, jonathan…”

    To be precise, it’s not my theory, and it’s not really a theory at all. It’s reality, based on actual data from decades of actual game situations. See my game-situation example at 1:20 a.m. (ugh!). I did not make those numbers up. Decades of real data are behind those probabilities and behind all WPA data.

    You continue:

    “…then why don’t teams start with relief pitching, and have their starters throw the last five-or-six innings? That way, starters (the team’s best pitchers anyway) will not only absorb more innings, but higher-leverage innings, too?”

    This is a very interesting question! And I confess I’m not sure how to answer it. Here are two possibilities.

    (1) What’s being done is actually optimal. If you used your “starters” for the last five or six innings, sometimes they’d be pitching in really high-leverage situations, but sometimes they’d be pitching in really low-leverage situations (when you’re winning or losing big). In those low-leverage situations, they’d be entirely wasted. Better to use your best pitchers (your starters) in more predictable, medium-leverage situations at the beginning of games. If the game remains close, and late innings are high leverage, bring in your stud relievers. But if the game is a blowout either way, and the innings are really low-leverage, use your scrubs. Seems like a pretty optimal use of pitching resources to me.

    (2) The current system is suboptimal, but hey, that’s the way we’ve always done it! Look, just because lots of people do something one way doesn’t mean it’s the right way. It wasn’t so long ago that managers would sacrifice bunt a runner into scoring position late in a game. But did you know that doing so can actually *lower* the bunting team’s chance of winning? (By the way, that’s not a theory of mine. That’s reality, based on decades of data.) So why did those managers insist on bunting? Tradition!

    ***************

    All this discussion is fascinating. But I hope it doesn’t distract from my main point tonight:

    All outs are not created equal.

    Pete is a lovely and smart man, I’m sure. But when he naively compares the number of innings Joba could pitch as a starter to the number of innings he’s pitching as a reliever, he’s forgetting that all outs are not created equal.

    Maybe Joba belongs in the starting rotation. But a convincing argument requires more than summing up innings and outs.

  267. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 22nd, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Now there’s a frightening thought…Farnsworth as a setup man. Imagine waiting for Joba to get ready in the Minors for a month or longer…during that month how many games do you think we would lose in the 7th or 8th? I wonder…

  268. no.27 April 22nd, 2008 at 2:24 am

    It seems like people are hoping for Mussina to fail and it’s something that doesn’t make any sense. He doesn’t have top of the rotation stuff, but he is a guy that can pitch 200 innings at the back of the rotation and give the team as good a chance to win as most 4 or 5 starters in the league.

    Blue Jays Game: The run in the 1st wouldn’t have happened if Giambi didn’t have that error. He gave up 2 runs on a homer to Wells and then he was 1 out from getting out of the 6th before giving up a single 2 more runs.

    Rays Game: I don’t think anyone would complain about getting through 6 innings on 82 pitches with 2 hits and 1 walk. The offense hadn’t produced much until he came out, so it was important for him to pitch well.

    Red Sox Game 1: Moose has had to play the best hitting team in the AL twice. In his first game, he had given up 1 run through 5 and 2/3 before Manny, the hottest hitter in baseball, hit that double. A lot of people think that should have been an intentional walk, but it is what it is.

    Red Sox Game 2: In his 2nd game against the Red Sox, he couldn’t get past the third inning against the best hitting team in baseball. In my opinion, this is the only bad start with expectations of a #4 or 5 starter.

    I don’t expect him to be a lights out pitcher this year, but he is adjusting his approach to pitching after more than 250 major league wins. Fans might as well give him a chance because he if he can be solid for us, it will go a long way with keeping pressure off of the young guys.

  269. no.27 April 22nd, 2008 at 2:27 am

    I meant to add that I agree with bringing up a long reliever, but Mussina is definitely not the guy to go. Farnesworth needs to be traded for anything we can get. He isn’t able to pitch for more than 1 inning per appearance or in back to back or in important situations. I don’t know how the Yankees justify having him on the team for any other reason than his salary. Trade him for ANYTHING and bring up someone else so, like many people have mentioned, Ohlendorf can get used to being the bridge to Mo.

  270. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 22nd, 2008 at 2:28 am

    The “all outs are not created equal” on closer scrutiny does not hold much merit…here’s why:

    In order to win you must record 27 outs-all of them count-it doesn’t really matter whether they are outs in the first inning or the ninth…

    The first innings are just as important as the later innings-I mean how many games are won early-or lost for that matter early, i.e. in games where there is a blowout in the 3rd for example. So I see all outs as equal…

    The critical thing is influence, that is how much influence do the particular pitchers have over the wins and losses that a team experiences over the course of a year.

    A starter only influences only those games he pitches-every fifth one or so…a reliever on the other hand, like Mariano Rivera is in there so often, he’s more likely to impact a greater number of games…

    Similarly if you have a 7th and 8th guy who’s in there every other day he’s actually going to impact many more games than if he’s a starter-and so the guys who pitch the 7th, 8th and 9th can’t just be good-they’d better be damn good!

    Bottom line: Joba is right where he belongs!

  271. Brandon (supporting the new movement "Alex being Alex") April 22nd, 2008 at 2:31 am

    and still makes no sense ^^^

  272. AndrewYF April 22nd, 2008 at 3:34 am

    Dynasty -

    A starter only impacts 1/5 of the games. But, he has 6 or 7 times the impact on that game than a reliever.

    A reliever impacts, say, 1/2 of the games. But, he has 1/6 or 1/7 the impact of a starter on each game.

    Therefore, a starter has more impact on games over the course of a year than a reliever. QED.

  273. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 22nd, 2008 at 4:03 am

    AndrewYF,

    But if your reliever or setup guys keep giving up runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th, and by your estimation they impact 1/2 of the games in a season-you’re in a bit of trouble no?

    1/2 of 162 is 81 games…would you really want to have poor setup men and closers adversly impacting that many games?

    A team can suffer a mediocre or even a below average starter-but of course they can’t all be sub par…so I’ll grant you that…but show me the team that can succeed with a gaping void in the 7th, 8th and 9th…

    This is not to say that starters are not valuable? Of course they are, but remember…you have 5 starting pitchers but only 1 closer.

    It’s hard to replace a good starting pitcher, but almost impossible to replace a good closer.

  274. Yankee Chris April 22nd, 2008 at 4:50 am

    The things people spew out of their mouth to keep Joba in the bullpen….Insane. While trying to come up with these random, one of a kind reasons for him to pitch the eigth, you ignore the obvious mountain of evidence for him to start. Also, he’s an upgrade over atleast 3/5 of our rotation right now!

  275. Joe G. April 22nd, 2008 at 4:55 am

    Dynasty is Destiny-

    What is the evidence that says it’s harder to replace a good closer than a starter? That’s stupid. Your best pitchers, which are starters, almost never go into relief during the prime of their careers. Of course it’s harder if you’re pulling from a group of low stamina, failed starters. If starters moved into relief, you’d see how easy it is. The most recent one, Myers from the Phillies, was very good right away. However, they made moves so he could go back to the rotation. Your point makes no sense.

  276. DYNASTY IS DESTINY! April 22nd, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Joe G.,

    I guess we’ll all see how stupid it will be in a few short years when they have to find a replacement for Mo…

    Yeah, it should be fairly easy to find someone with his lights out stuff who can be a dominant closer for a decade…

  277. Scott (Start Joba now!) April 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    I think this is the most fascinating argument I have heard in years. Simply amazing.


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