Had a chance yesterday to speak to Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer about the draft. It was more about their philosophy than specific players they are targeting. Check out The Journal News on Sunday for the story.
I was impressed by how much time goes into preparing for the draft. Oppenheimer reviewed his Marriott account while we were talking and said he had spent 120 nights on the road since Feb. 1. And I thought I was on the road a lot.
The Yankees are gathering their top evaluators in New York today and tomorrow. There will be an invitation-only tryout at the Stadium tomorrow for a bunch of top prospects. “Just a chance for people to get their eyes on some players,” Oppenheimer said. “We’re lucky, we get a lot of players. They all want to come to Yankee Stadium.”
There will be another showcase at Steinbrenner Field on Sunday. The draft starts Thursday. Just a hunch, but I would bet they go for a college pitcher.
There is a notion out there that Hank Steinbrenner ordered the Yankees to start Joba Chamberlain.
Obviously doing research all the way back to last July is too troublesome for these folks.
When the Yankees turned Chamberlain into a relief pitcher last summer, Brian Cashman said without caveat that the move was temporary and that Chamberlain would become a starter again in 2008. Cashman has never once deviated from that. Joe Torre was on board at the time as was Joe Girardi when he became manager.
Chamberlain was shifted to fill a need and because he was close to his innings cap. Rather than have him make four more starts for Trenton or Scranton, they let him throw 24 innings in the majors.
Hank Steinbrenner was not a team executive at the time. These were the bygone days before every reporter had his cell number and called him every day to ask what he had for dinner.
Quite correctly, Hank has supported the idea of Joba joining the rotation. But the alternative would have been calling a hostage negotiation team to get Cashman out of his office.
It’s also funny how many of these same people think the Yankees are splitting atoms by moving the kid into a different role. The Dodgers did it with Chad Billingsley last season. The Twins did it with Johan Santana in 2002. It happens all the time.