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

Don’t be so quick to give up on a player

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Apr 29, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Player A first 60 games of his career:

170 ABs, 16 runs scored, 14 RBI, .218/.300/.329.

Player B first 60 games of his career:

186 ABs, 27 runs scored, 20 RBI, .226/.274./290.

Player A is Dustin Pedroia. Player B is Brett Gardner.

Gardner hasn’t hit yet and maybe he never will. Perhaps spring training was a fluke. Melky Cabrera is showing some life after a dismal 2008 and right now he’s the best choice to play center field.

But the Red Sox didn’t give up on Pedroia and he became the Most Valuable Player in the American League. Yes, yes, I realize they are different players. My point is that 60 games aren’t enough to make any decisions.

Perhaps the Yankees should consider that before they abandon their plans to give Gardner a shot in center field.





116 Responses to “Don’t be so quick to give up on a player”

  1. rmel April 29th, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Right now you have to play the hot hand…..Also Pedroia has much better bat control

  2. JK April 29th, 2009 at 10:06 am

    While I usually agree that people are too quick to dismiss young players (and then complain that we dont develop enough good players), I do think thats an unfair example. In the minors, Pedroia was viewed as a top prospect, while Gardner was viewed as a 4th outfielder at best. With Pedroia, you knew he would eventually hit, or at least that he had the potential. We don’t know that with Gardner.

  3. Mitch April 29th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Not giving up, but let’s be real here. Gardner continues to show little ability to hit MLB pitching. He is very average in CF. His ability to go back on a ball is lacking. This takes away from the advatages his speed provides to allow him to play shallow. Compare 2 strike counts between Gardner and Melky. Melky is showing the ability to foul off pitches and put the ball in play. Gardner wiffs 90% with 2 strikes. Right now Melky is the clear choice. Would rather see what Austin Jackson can do early in the year against MLB pitching. We’ve seen enough of Gardner to know what to expect.

  4. V April 29th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Gardner is 1% the prospect Pedroia was. Be real.

  5. eric in queens April 29th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Was Hughes really at 94 last night? I saw strikeouts on fastballs of 86, 88, and 92 on (highlights from the YES network). I obviously didn’t see the other 90 or so pitches he threw.

  6. Coach6423 April 29th, 2009 at 10:14 am


    never once complained about ticket prices. I make it to a couple games a year, just know that I will never be able to afford said seats and am ok with that.

  7. V April 29th, 2009 at 10:17 am

    “Was Hughes really at 94 last night? I saw strikeouts on fastballs of 86, 88, and 92 on (highlights from the YES network). I obviously didn’t see the other 90 or so pitches he threw.”

    Looks like he topped out at 94 in the 1st inning and was throwing 92-93 frequently. Average fastball gets skewed since he’s also mixing in an 88-89 cutter.


  8. V April 29th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Actually – looks like their ‘slider’ is probably his cutter.

  9. Rob NY April 29th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Eric — That was my question. I was watching the first few innings on Gameday and listening with my iphone and he was sitting 92-94 consistently. John Sterling was calling out 93 and 94 mph but YES said otherwise. It’s an inexact science IMO. Got home and there was 88-92 again. The only thing i’ll add is that they also had Veras throwing 91 on YES which, he doesn’t do.

    That said, who cares? He looked fantastic. Whether it was 94 or 91 he was rolling. The Detroit hitters could not square him up and he gave up next to nothing. When you realize the top of their order has Curtis Granderson, Maglio Ordonez, and Miguel Cabrera it makes it that much more impressive.

  10. V April 29th, 2009 at 10:19 am

    And you can tell from the strike zone graph that he was getting SQUEEZED. Look at all of the balls called IN the strike zone.

    His release point is amazingly tight, also.

  11. Rebecca-Optimist Prime April 29th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Difference is Pedroia has some pop in his bat.


  12. Doreen April 29th, 2009 at 10:20 am

    With Damon aching, Gardner and Melky will both get playing time. Gardner will have more opportunities, one would think. There’s a lot to like about him, and he doesn’t seem like the type of person to give up. If both he and Melky work it out, it’s only good for the Yankees, for as long as they need it.

  13. 86w183 April 29th, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Gardner will never have Pedroia’s power, but he has to learn to make better use of his legs. He should try to bunt at least once a game. He should be fined for every popup. He should stop taking fastballs right down the middle.

    I was never opposed to letting Melky and Brett fight it out for this season, but I didn’t see what Brett did to deserve the overwhelming majority of playing time at the start of the season.

    The difference in their productivity thus far is striking. Melky (.325/.413/.625) has been far superior to Brett (.220/.254/.271).

    The Pedroia comparison is interesting in part because the two guys (Pedroia, Gardner) has very similar final seasons in Triple-A — ’06 for Pedroia, ’08 for Gardner.

    However they are the same age (both turn 26 in mid-August), so Pedroia would naturally project to be better long term since he was as good at 22 as Gardner was at 24.

    Gardner will never match Pedroia’s power, but Pedroia can’t touch Gardner on the bases.

    Also you would expect yout CF to deliver more offensively than your 2B in most situations.

  14. Sox Fan April 29th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    If Hughes keeps this up and Wang can become even a shell of his former self, how can some of you want Joba to stay in the rotation? I don’t really understand it.

  15. Andrew April 29th, 2009 at 10:24 am

    CB’s post in the last thread is so on point, he should re-post it here because it covers how much of a jump Hughes has made since last spring extremely well.

    What’s interesting is that I think he was good enough to be successful in the majors even before he developed the cutter and put more time in on the change-up’s development, just based on the success he had as a 2-pitch pitcher when he was healthy in 2007 (pre-hamstring pull and then that September/October).

    Then last year he had both a crisis of confidence and another physical setback and his development got compltely thrown out of whack.

    But it seems like his stint in SW-B while he was trying to build up arm strength and develop other pitches, combined with the Fall League, have finally gotten him on the right track towards being all that the organization and us fans thought/hoped he would be. At this point it seems like it’s all a matter of health: if that doesn’t get in his way again, he should be in the rotation to stay this time. That’s not to say he won’t still have growing pains (i.e., a bad start once in a while), but he is now the #5 starter and I think his “bad” starts at this point would more resemble Joba’s (struggling with control and not lasting deep into games but not necessarily getting crushed) more so than Hughes/IPK’s stinkers of last April.

    And at this point, worrying about what to do with Wang is amazingly premature considering there’s no proof that he will get healthy, mentally or physically, as of right now. Going based off of who is healthy and available right now, Hughes is here to stay for the forseeable future, and I’m glad.

  16. Doreen April 29th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    V -

    The only graph I could remotely understand was the release point graph! :lol: (And I read it correctly, apparently, yay for me – :lol: ).

  17. Mark in Tampa April 29th, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I only got the Detroit feed, they had Hughes at 94 consistently on the 4-seam, 90-92 on the cutter or the two-seam; Edwin Jackson was hitting 96-98 consistently, which is his normal velocity, so I think their gun was pretty accurate.

  18. bdog375 April 29th, 2009 at 10:27 am

    They are both overrated. Pedroia was one of the worst MVP choices ever. Not the best 2nd baseman in his league (Kinsler), and not the MVP of his team (Youkilis).

  19. ANSKY April 29th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I see Gardner as not at his potential YET. Of course he’s playing his tail off. Right now his ability says ’4th OF’ because of his hitting. Part of why he’s playing in NY right now instead of AAA is the team’s overall weakness in the OF. But Gardner’s got exceptional speed, plays good defense, and the offensive side of his game could improve. I’d like to keep him around because he’ll mature into a better hitter than he is so far. How much better? Not predicting that he’ll become an all-star, but it could be worth seeing what he can make of himself in another year or two.

  20. Coach6423 April 29th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Sox Fan,
    Because Joba is a starting pitcher. He would be a starter in 29 other organizations. His value decreases tons if he is in the bullpen. If you are going to stick him in the pen, you might as well trade him, and get what you can in return.

    He is in the rotation for the long haul. Next year Pettite is gone. Then what, you go out and buy a new starter? If you put him in the pen this year, and intend to make him a starter next year, you are right back on an innings limit. This is a move for the long haul, not this year.

  21. Jeff April 29th, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Gardner was never thought of as highly as pedroia and he’s just not a major league hitter.

  22. The Stranger April 29th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Uggh, for the love of Jebus, can we just end the Brett Gardner experiment once and for all?

    He’s not a major leaguer. It’s like a hot chick: you know one when you see one.

  23. Zach in Port Jeff April 29th, 2009 at 10:32 am

    Anyone know a weather report for Detroit tonight?

  24. Rob NY April 29th, 2009 at 10:33 am

    “If Hughes keeps this up and Wang can become even a shell of his former self, how can some of you want Joba to stay in the rotation? I don’t really understand it.”

    Because Joba as a starter has the potential to be a top 5 starter in the league. Why not move Lester to the pen? A lefty who can pump mid 90s gas in the 7th-8th inning would give the Sox 6 inning games! If you give up a top 5 starter in the league to sure up the bullpen for one year you’re short sighted and should be fired. CB said it recently but if they move Joba back to the pen for no reason but to “sure up the pen” it’s an admission that they just aren’t very good at developing players.

  25. YbRessap April 29th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Pedroia was 22. Gardner is 25.

  26. Jeff April 29th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Ok true bdog but youre comparing him to two great hitters. He’s still very good.

  27. Andrew April 29th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    “They are both overrated. Pedroia was one of the worst MVP choices ever. Not the best 2nd baseman in his league (Kinsler), and not the MVP of his team (Youkilis).”

    Kinsler didn’t stay on the field all year. The MVP could have been Carlos Quentin as well before he broke his wrist.

    And, the voters had to take into account that Pedroia went from being a #2 hitter in front of one of the greatest 3-4 combinations in history, to eventually hitting 4th and being a big-time run producer in Papi’s absence and post-Manny, and pretty much carrying their offense (with Youkilis) into the playoffs.

    That’s not to say that I love the guy or anything, but it’s not as though he was undeserving of the MVP award. I definitely agree that Youkilis could have gotten it as well, but I really don’t think there is some great outrage in Pedroia getting it over him.

  28. Rebecca-Optimist Prime April 29th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Stat of the night from last night:

    according to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team had broken up a scoreless tie after the sixth with a 10-run inning since the Cincinnati Reds scored 10 in the top of the 13th against the Brooklyn Dodgers on May 15, 1919.

  29. Jason O. April 29th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Gardner’s primary weapons are his serious wheels, so as a pinch runner and a late game defensive replacement he should remain on the big club.

  30. Laura - There's nothing you have that I need, I can breathe! April 29th, 2009 at 10:42 am

    It’s too early to give up on Gardner. They haven’t even been playing for a month. Give the kid a chance at least through May.

  31. Cal April 29th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    When it comes to Gardner and Cabrera this is why I stated since Spring that it is good to have these guys pushing each other, you know that if you get hot, do the little things to contribute to the team, you will get playing time, if you don’t you will be on the bench. Its that simple.

    Right now Melky is playing better than Gardner and should get the starts until he struggles and Gardner gets his chance and so it goes. Neither is quality enough to be thought of as a full time starter who is given the benefit of the doubt to be slumping for extended periods of time. I mean we are not talking about Mark Teixeira here in either of these guys. As long as they push each other to be better that can only benefit the Yankees.

  32. Sox Fan April 29th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Rob and Coach,

    I see what you guys are saying but, I don’t know, I just think back to 2007 and what went through my head during a Sox/Yanks game. It was something along the lines of, “please let the Sox get a lead before the 7th, otherwise the game is over.”

    I’ll admit, I’m being a little too quick to judge Joba the Starter.

  33. Doreen April 29th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Rebecca -

    At last the Yankees are on the positive side of stat this year! :lol:

  34. ANSKY April 29th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Gardner doesn’t have to make himself a .320 hitter to be worth something on this team. That he probably should be in the minors now doesn’t mean he’s a career minor leaguer.

    I realize that to some people, any non all star player is no different than a career minor leaguer.

    If he can raise his batting average to the league average (something like Posada’s career average) and be patient enough to get on a little more with walks (hey, even Cano is walking more now) then he wouldn’t be as easy to dismiss.

    If he’s still not a good fit for this team by doing that, he should be worth something to an NL team who has a player more like what this team needs.

    Again, he may never be a .320/15HR hitter but improving his average 40-50 points to the league average isn’t impossible. He’ll put in the work … he needs time & experience. Maybe in a year or two.

  35. Cal April 29th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I must admit as a Joba as a starter fanboy the idea of a bullpen of Melancon, Bruney, Chamberlain, Rivera does give me goosebumps, think about that folks.

  36. five iron from fenway April 29th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    In my opinion there is 1 and ONLY 1 reason why Joba goes to the pen and that is health. If, like Papelbon, it is deemed he cannot stay healthy pitching 6-9 innings a game then he goes to the pen. Just because he has not been stellar this year is not a reason.
    He had the best start – results-wise from the Boston series. To me it is encouraging that he can do as well as he has without his best stuff and without command.
    Hughes last night to me was great. What a situation – stopper after 4 game losing streak, on the road, a very good hitting Detroit team, an offense that goes 6 innings without a run, and he shut them down. Some of those curves were absolutely nasty (with better command it is one sick pitch). He showed remarkable poise. He will get hit around occasionally like everyone, but this is why you do not give up too soon. Hughes, ironically, just proved why Joba stays in the rotation. A core of CC, AJ, Joba and Hughes can be unfair to the competition for years to come.
    Melancon, Dunn, Coke, Bruney, Robertson, Mo is also a fantastic core for the bullpen, and aside from Mo for years to come.

  37. Joey Vegas April 29th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Player A has poor swing mechanics and probably won’t be able to sustain his short-term success.

  38. Coach6423 April 29th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Sox Fan,

    The thing with that is, the only reason he was there is because he was going to get shut down anyway, and the bullpen sucked, so they put him there. If the bullpen had not Torreed, he would have simply just been shut down, and they would have went from there.

    Mark Melancon is going to be the Joba of ’07, and he really is a bullpen arm, not a starter.

    You would want the Sox to put, Beckett, Lester, or Dice K in the 8th inning?

  39. pat April 29th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    Melky is currently top 10 of all AL outfielders, not just CF, in BA, Slug%, OBP and OPS.

    Girardi has to ride the hot hand until it cools off or others ignite.

    Maybe the lesson Cano has learned about swinging at strikes is rubbung off just a little on his good buddy too.

  40. Wat April 29th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    trade for Mike Cameron. Yanks need a right handed outfielder with X out…then wait for AJAX

  41. Rob NY April 29th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Sox Fan — That’s certainly the valid point to be made. He was great as a reliever. But would you rather have Lester pitch the two innings before Papelbon to shorten games? Are those 70 innings a year worth more than 30 starts at 6+ innings per start on average? I can’t see it. PLUS would you rather pitch Beckett and Lester back to back to start a 5 game series or have Lester in the pen? It’s the same argument, the best pitchers start if they can.

  42. AeroFANatic April 29th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    May 7th is when we turn it around. A-Rod and Bruney back.

    When A-Rod comes back, Berorra goes down.
    When Bruney comes back, there will either be a trade to rid us of Veras/Ramierez, or Robertson/Albaldejo goes down.

  43. Cal April 29th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    To facilitate any move of Joba back to the pen would require that Chien-Ming Wang return to form real quick.

    I mean imagine Hughes pitched as many innings in one game as Wang did in all of his 3 starts combined, that is how bad Wang has been. I still can’t understand what went wrong for Wang. Like some have said, if Wang does return to form and the rotation has something like

    Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Wang, Hughes.

    then the pen could become

    Albaladejo or Ramirez, along with Marte ,Coke, Melancon, Bruney, Joba, Rivera

  44. Elyse April 29th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Maybe they should have considered that before they gave up on Melky!

  45. CB April 29th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    “His release point is amazingly tight, also.”

    Josh Kalk did a pitch f/x analysis on Hughes last year and one of his main conclusions was that Hughes release point is absurdly consistent. Much more so than even most good pitchers.

    He then went onto speculate (and this was pure speculation on his part – in the hypothesis generating mode…) that perhaps because his release point is so consistent maybe he’s not giving the hitters enough of a different look or that perhaps he’s allowing them to pick up on the ball through pattern.

    He was trying to explain hughes’ problems last year. Looks like it was much more related to the fact that he hadn’t pitched regularly in so long, needed to regain his leg drive, build arm strength and refine his arsenal.

    But that’s quite something – he repeats his mechanics so extremely well and has such a consistent release point that it’s unusual enough to be seen as a potential problem. He’s that much of an outlier with the consistency of his release point.

    He’s could be a very special pitcher.

  46. Ace April 29th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Pete – thank you for this post. It is completely logical and needed to be posted. Give Gardner a chance. You should also post Scott Brosious numbers in Oakland before he came to NY and won a World Series MVP.

  47. Realist April 29th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Gardner’s batting average is higher than the the 180 Million Dollar Man.

  48. Cal April 29th, 2009 at 10:58 am

    “May 7th is when we turn it around. A-Rod and Bruney back.
    When A-Rod comes back, Berorra goes down.
    When Bruney comes back, there will either be a trade to rid us of Veras/Ramierez, or Robertson/Albaldejo goes down.”

    Very true, but I have this belief that Cashman has a love afffair with Veras/Ramirez, because he wants to be seen as being brilliant for finding them from the scrap heap.

    with Arod back our lineup should go something like

    SS – Derek Jeter – R

    LF – Johnny Damon – L

    1B – Mark Teixeira – S

    3B – Alex Rodriguez – R

    2B – Robinson Cano – L

    C – Jorge Posada – S

    DH – Hideki Matsui – L

    RF – Nick Swisher – S

    CF – Melky Cabrera – S

    and the pen is

    Albaledejo or Ramirez and I hope not Vera$$, Marte, Coke, Melancon, Bruney, Rivera

  49. Melky boy April 29th, 2009 at 10:58 am

    If the yankees are winning right now and they still have A-rod and Nady in the lineup ,they might have patience to him. But they have too many holes now -Pena/berroa, Molina ,Gardner/Melky,and they are losing ,so they are panic. Later this seasonx if yankees are back to wining track, I think Gardner will be back ,because both Cash and Garardi like him,he will be given chanceagain,unless Melky being hot all season which I don’t think is possible.

  50. Sox Fan April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    Great points about Lester/Beckett.

  51. Tom B April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    just because pedroia won an MVP award doesn’t mean he deserved it.

    you can really only use that as a benchmark for the opinions of the idiot sportswriters in this country… they proved their worth with 2 words, Edinson Volquez.

  52. raymagnetic April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    A Sox Fan doesn’t understand why the Yankees would want a potential ace starting?

    Is anyone surprised at that?

  53. Jeff April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    wow people still judge players on batting avg?

  54. Rob NY April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    CB — Do you think that when we realize how much of a deep impact Hughes’ hamstring injury seemingly had on his pitching overall that we might draw a similar conclusion to Wang and his foot? I was clearly wrong to assume there was some nefarious attempts to change Wang and Hughes game last night just shows it may take longer than anybody expects to fully recover from such a serious injury. Maybe expecting Wang to be back to form anytime soon is a little optomistic.

  55. CB April 29th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    “I must admit as a Joba as a starter fanboy the idea of a bullpen of Melancon, Bruney, Chamberlain, Rivera does give me goosebumps, think about that folks.”

    How bad has the pen been the last two nights?

    Amazing how that works.

    The pen is horrific in boston when the staff doesn’t give them length.

    And then the following two games when the yanks get quality starts suddenly the pen does it’s job sufficiently so as to not be a problem.

    Remarkable how that works isn’t it?

    The Joba to the pen argument is really striking for the manner in which cause and effect are persistently confused.

  56. Fran April 29th, 2009 at 11:01 am

    The Yanks have no production from 3rd base right now (I remember seeing 0 HRs and 6 RBI), so they need to get production from the other positions. Melky is hot right now, so he needs to stay in the line-up.

  57. bru April 29th, 2009 at 11:02 am

    i agree but how does gardner get playing time with his lines??

    is he hurting us in cf especially against teams like the rs?

    maybe we play him if he gets hot and or against weaker teams?

    melky needs to play ft now with his numbers & if he crashes & burns again i say give up on him & look elsewhere.

    melky is old enough & has been playing for a few years.gardner hasn’t.

    i just don’t believe we can have a weak spot in cf if we are to win it all.everything needs to come together including cf.

  58. Matty C April 29th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    But Gardner sucks

  59. Sox Fan April 29th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    raymagnetic…you should be a comedian!

  60. YankeeRay April 29th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Melky need to be our CF until we find something better or Ajax is ready.

    As far as Wang goes, if Joba and Hughes both pitch well over the next couple of starts I would bring him back and work him out of the pen until nature takes its course. Either a starter will get hurt, Joba or Hughes will drop off or Wang will force his way back into rotation which at that point it will be a good problem to have. If Joba drops off then we can consider moving him to the pen.
    Maybe Wang will be effective in the long role and be kind of a Ramiro Mendoza type of pitcher for us. We are paying him so we might as well get use out of him until he shows us where he belongs.

  61. Damien April 29th, 2009 at 11:05 am

    Neither Melky or Brett are going to be the Yankee’s starting CF next season, and likely not even beyond the All Star break.

    Honestly, I think Austin Jackson will be in CF in the next month or 2. Beyond that playing time for Melky and Brett will depend on the health and production of Nady, Swisher and Damon.

  62. Tex's Friend (CC has it together, Hughes is the man) April 29th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Please give Joba a full year before the bullpen discussions come up. MOre than likely, he will be our closer after Rivera unless we need starters. If not we still have Melancon, but Melancon (8th), Joba 9th) would be nice.

  63. Jeter in LF April 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    The problem is Gardner’s swing. It’s completely different than it was in ST and it prevents him from having a chance to make solid contact and drive the ball. He’s not even swinging down on pitchers, which would be understandable for a player with his speed. He is uppercutting. He needs a remediation course in the minors.

  64. five iron from fenway April 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Cal – I agree 100% with the line-up. Melky and Gardner trade-off a bit. That line-up should carry a #9 hitter the vast majority of the time.
    Joba is in the rotation to me except if it is for health reasons.

  65. JoeyA April 29th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Re: Gardner vs. Pedroia

    If Gardner could learn how to drive the ball with his legs like Pedroia, with his speed, he could be a great asset to have.

    And I agree the guy needs to put the ball on the ground more. Make the opposing D work to get you out.

    Sometimes, with speedy guys like Gardner, it’s not always about hitting singles. Sometimes, the speed threat makes the other team’s D make mistakes and remain off-balance.

    Being a consistent bunt threat is much more helpful for Gardner than hitting line drives to the outfield. It makes the D have to make a play.

    Re: Joba

    All that matters with Joba and his role is, come playoff time, he is in the back of the bullpen.

    We all know he is much better served as a starter for the season, but, having a 8/9 inning tandem of Mo and Joba is scary.

    Plus, we have 4 other quality starters to throw out there, not to mention Hughes, if he can keep this up.

  66. Jeff NJ April 29th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Wang needs to go to the bullpen when healthy, not Joba. In fact, it may be a good way for him to comeback from the injury and build up strength with regular work.

  67. CB April 29th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Also, I wonder what all of the people who were so certain that Dave Eiland and the yankees had “changed” hughes mechanics and “ruined” him when he was in AAA are thinking right now?

    Mechanics looked pretty good to me last night.

    Maybe it was injuries, inability to drive off his back leg, and lack of arm strength from a near two year lay off between the ages of 20 and 22 that were the main problem rather than incompetent instruction?

  68. Tex's Friend (CC has it together, Hughes is the man) April 29th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Austin Jackson wont be here until september.

  69. ANSKY April 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Waht? Joba in the pen talk again? Yaaaarrrrrgh!

    As Five Iron said (although in different words) the only reason he should ever go back to the bullpen is if he shows recurring injury & durability issues as a starter.

    Going back & forth between the rotation & bullpen (independent of innings totals) can’t be good for anyone’s arm. The preparation, the mentality, the work/rest patterns (very important) and the rhythm you get into, is all different.

    The Sox could start Okajima if they used all their starters as 2-inning relief specialists leading up to Papelbon. And Schilling could make a comeback. But should they really do that?

    A hint for all those actually thinking about the practicality of such an approach and rationalizing that Houston once used 6 pitchers for a no-hitter:

    NO. Houston’s 6-man no-no was just ONE game out of 100+ years of baseball history. They weren’t onto some ingenious new pitching strategy. Their starter got hurt, they were desperate, ALL their guys stepped up at once, and the Yanks were dead that day.

    And Joba in the pen, short of a recurring durability issue, is an utter waste of his ability.

  70. m April 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Good Morning everyone!

    Still feeling the afterglow of a terrific win. A much needed shot in the arm. Most of us would’ve been satisfied with a win, but are any of you really surprised that Hughes stepped up? He’s always pitched well when needed (totally ignoring April ’08).

    Before last night, I was with Guiseppe. Hughes takes Wang’s starts, and goes down when Wang is ready. But I don’t think many of us were expecting last night’s Hughes to show up.

    Now, I know Hughes isn’t going to pitch like this on a nightly basis. But what if he pitches close to it, with flashes of brilliance at times?

    1. Send Hughes down to Scranton
    2. Joba to bullpen
    3. 6-man rotation skipping Joba’s starts once in a while to conserve innings for Joba (who would probably be a reliever for any postseason play).

    As you can see, neither one of those options are appealing at all. And we want and need Wang circa 2006-2007. What both Joba and Hughes do in the next couple of weeks will probably determine their fates for ’09.

  71. Rob NY April 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    JoeyA — That’s the one thing I ask myself about. You’re going to want CC and AJ to start games. Does Joba start game 3 or does Pettite? By game 4 you can have CC back again. So question is at that point, near an innings limit, is he best used in the bullpen. But we’re putting the cart before the horse as usual lol.

  72. MaineYankee April 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am


    I didn’t watch much of the game because of the Celtics playing at the same time but what I did see really gives reason to be encouraged.

    Even though you said he was having trouble with his curve what was impressive was the kneebuckling effect it had at times. If he can repeat that it will be a great weapon.

    Even though he wasn’t getting the call on it I really liked how he could consistantly locate his fastball on th corner.

    Alot to like from last nights performance.

  73. Clay Buchholz Loves Laptops - Latest Blog Entry: My Interview With Bill Gallo April 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Speaking of our bullpen. Perhaps we should sign Hideki Irabu. He’s making a comeback LOL.

  74. Tex's Friend (CC has it together, Hughes is the man) April 29th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    cannot do full 6 man rotation, particularly with CC. The more days he has to rest, the less effective he seems to be. He needs to pitch every 5th day no matter what.

  75. Bronx Jeers April 29th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    What’s Hughes inning ceiling?

    I doubt it’s more than Joba’s.

    Point being that I doubt Hughes is going to be able to immediately assume a full time spot anyway.

    Gardner had a short leash but you can’t ignore what Melky has done with his limited time. Melky always seems to “follow” Cano in performance. Might as well ride that phenomenon to it’s maximum effect.

    Tex has been not so good but is still getting on base. Once ARod slides into the cleanup spot Tex is going to get a whole lot of better pitches to do his thing.

  76. CB April 29th, 2009 at 11:12 am

    “The problem is Gardner’s swing. It’s completely different than it was in ST ”

    In spring training you see a steady and predictable diet of first pitch fastballs and a high proportion pitchers who are headed for the minors.

    Gardner’s swing is the same. Competition is different. That’s making the swing look different.

  77. Tex's Friend (CC has it together, Hughes is the man) April 29th, 2009 at 11:13 am


    Can you tell us what Tex’s April numbers were in past seasons compared to 2009?

    I know he is a slow starter, but .200? A guy with his talent shouldnt need a-rod hitting behind him to be successful.

  78. CB April 29th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    “Even though you said he was having trouble with his curve what was impressive was the kneebuckling effect it had at times. If he can repeat that it will be a great weapon.”

    If you didn’t get a chance to go watch Hughes’ strike out of Palanco.

    He threw him a curve ball that was directed at his shoulder and then swept into the zone.

    Polanco literally flinched and almost fell over. It was beautiful.

    He’ll get that pitch over and when he does that, commands his fastball and mixes in the cutter he’ll be very good.

  79. Yazman (aka David) April 29th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Anyone compare Pedroia’s AAA stats to Gardner’s? They’re pretty close:

    162 games
    .289 Avg
    .375 OBP
    .454 SLG
    10 HR
    74 RBI
    94 runs
    2 SB in 6 attempts

    139 games
    .284 Avg
    .391 OBP
    .391 SLG
    4 HR
    41 RBI
    105 runs (in 139 games!)
    58 SB in 70 attempts

    So in AAA, you give Pedroia the nod in power production, you give Gardner the nod in speed and run production. But they’re not far off anywhere (except SBs).

  80. ANSKY April 29th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Jeter in LF

    Gardner needs time to make that swing consistent. Right now he’s showing that he’s not ready to be a ML starter yet, but in ST he showed that he could be. Just not yet.

    That he’s got a spot on the roster right now is a result of his showing that in ST, as well as there being no better player in the organization right now to move up in his place now that he’s regressed.

    He could deserve the starting spot some day, just not yet. Until then, he’s a 4th OF who needs to keep working on that swing.

  81. Rishi April 29th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    new post

  82. Tom Gaffney April 29th, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Nice use of stats to make the point, Pete. Baseball is a game which requires patience, esp with young players. Should we have given up on Phil Hughes, too? Look at what he did last night. I don’t think he’ll ever be Pedroia, who put up pretty huge stat lines in the minors and in college, but I think he’s capable of being a plus player out there.

  83. bru April 29th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    21 & 22 year old pitchers are just too young & are still honing their craft.

    late 22,23 & beyond is when you can tell how good they are.

    look at felix hernandez.i think this is the right time for hughes.

    joba is still learning & needs to stay in the rotation.

    a pitching staff can thin out quick with a few injuries & all of a sudden our staff has 3 starters.

    you always find bullpen just happens by trying different pitchers & it always will happen if you look at every single team.

    if joba told girardi i wan’t to be in the pen or an injury is a concern then put him in the pen.other than that leave him as a starter & forget about him.

    we have bruney plus we will see if melancon is for real.

    we also have tons of prospects that we have no room for in the rotation going forward.

    there is at least one,probably more pitchers that will turn into a star for the 8th inning role and or closer role.
    it is just a matter of exposing them.

  84. MaineYankee April 29th, 2009 at 11:22 am


    It looks like Gardner has gone back to hitting with his upper body and not using his legs. I believe that was one thing they had worked with him on and that was why he was hitting better. Seems like he has fallen back to some bad habits.

  85. five iron from fenway April 29th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    M – I think Hughes will get his innings. Joba is targeted for I think 150. AJ should probably be given a mid-season breather. Maybe even Andy as well. Wang will be worked back into the line-up. Who knows how CC holds up after all the innings last year.

  86. Roger(the new amsterdam yankees ) April 29th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    Is this what they mean by letting statistics say whatever you want…??I know a lot of you guys like gardner but he just can’t hit.Pedroia was a big prospect and Gardner just isn’t…
    Gardner doesn’t have power,strikes out a lot,doesn’t walk and has a weak arm.
    Speed only comes in handy when you walk or hit…

    melky is younger,has a better arm and his hitting very very well.Recognize it and look at them objectively…it’s ridiculous to see that whenever gadrner has a base hit pete bring it up and when he plays poor we all should give him time…shouldn’t a journalist be more objectively?

    Stop with the team gardner and team melky stuff.Be on team yankees and recognize that the better player should play CF.And right now that’s melky

  87. Bostowned April 29th, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Melky = World Series Champion of April. He teases us every year. He didnt end up in AAA last season for nothing.

  88. Neil April 29th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I just don’t care for Gardner’s batting stance. He seems wound up tight as a drum.
    Too late to do much about it during the season. Kevin Long should have changed it over the winter.

  89. Roger(the new amsterdam yankees ) April 29th, 2009 at 11:51 am


    then he should play in april don’t you think…

    there a lot of players who had a poor last year.but you know what…last season doesn’t have anything to do with this year.Just look at cano….I’m not sayoing he’s as good as cano but he’s young and had a bad season.Don’t give up on him.He’s 24years old and is playing very well right now.Give him credit for it

  90. RC April 29th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Gardner has shown when given time at any level he will hit. Melky hit a few wind induced HRs so far, let Gardner play, he has the greater upside based upon his speed. Melky is a 4th outfielder.

  91. Andrew April 29th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    “Melky hit a few wind induced HRs so far”

    Not really, the game in NY where he hit 2 HRs, both of those balls were no-doubters right off the bat.

  92. ellen April 29th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    It’s one thing to prefer Melky in CF. It’s another thing to think he needs “more time.” He’s had time. The way he played last year is what got him sent down to Scranton. Then he came into ST and didn’t win the job back. You can argue that he’s got more upside than Gardner, but after all this time what you see is what you get from Melky. He is what he is.

  93. Yankeegirl49 April 29th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    The Joba to the pen thing is so ridiculous at this point (actually its been ridiculous for a long time).
    Why didn’t the Mets move Santana to the pen last season? Lord knows, they needed bullpen help. Why is there no talk of Price going to TB’s pen all over ESPN and MLBTV? He was great there in the post season.
    Teams can succeed with serviceable 8th inning guys. Bruney=serviceable, Melancon=serviceable, Farnsworth and Hawkins=NOT serviceable.
    Ace caliber pitchers do not grow on trees, which is why we gave boatloads of cash to CC and AJ.
    A guy that pitches 6 or 7 innings every 5 days and gets his team to the 8th with a lead is move valuable that a guy who pitches one inning with a lead every couple of days..always has been and always will be.
    Joba has ace type stuff and until he proves over a large enough sample, that he cannot start, that’s exactly what he should be doing.

  94. Fan Interference April 29th, 2009 at 12:46 pm


    Oh I get it, you’re joking right? Right?

  95. Fan Interference April 29th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Just to throw in my two cents on the Joba debate. We have had an even sampling of him as a starter vs reliever, and so far he has been more effective as a reliever. Just saying.

  96. KO April 29th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Melky is actually showing some patience at the plate, somehting he has struggled with mightily in the past. I was impressed with his bases loaded walk last night. However with 2 strikes, he is a complete and total sucker for even an OK curve ball low or in the dirt. It’s almost like 8 or 9 times out of 10, if he gets behind in the count 0-2 1-2, curve in the dirt he will swing it’s like clockwork

  97. Yankeegirl49 April 29th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Not when you look at the numbers. Both are small sample sizes, but in reality the numbers are not that far off. His ML ERA as a starter last year was under 3..IN THE AL EAST!! His ERA this year is still under 4..even with his control issues.

    However, a mediocre starter is still more valuable than a dominant reliever.

    Joba could have a 1.00 ERA as a reliever and a 3.50 ERA as a starter and I would STILL think he should start.
    Do you not think that 200 innings at 3.50 is better than 70 innings at 1.00?

  98. Fan Interference April 29th, 2009 at 1:04 pm


    So far IMO Joba has had more impact as a reliever. Now I would take 200IP & 3.50, but If I can get that from CC, AJ, Wang, Pettitte, & Hughes, Joba becomes a luxury in the rotation. Especially when we already know he can pitch lights out in the pen. Not every reliever can do what he did in relief. Look at the cast of jokers we have out there now? Imagine Bruney, Joba, and MO. That is a shutdown pen.

  99. bg90027 April 29th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I think Pete’s general point is valid. People are so quick to want to see prospects given a role and then so quick to dismiss them when they don’t succeed right away.

    I also don’t remember Pedroia being a sure thing, elite prospect. I can’t say I follow non-Yankee prospects that closely but my impression rightly or wrongly was that he projected to be a Mark Grudzalanek type not a MVP candidate. His AAA stats would seem consistent with that. Sometimes patience is rewarded.

    That said, I think most of us never expected Gardner to be more than a placeholder for Austin Jackson and then a reserve OFer thereafter. If you view him as a placeholder for a year, you’re obviously going to be less patient than you would be with someone you hope is going to pay dividends for years to come.

  100. Yankeegirl49 April 29th, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Well, personally..I dont think we have a “cast of jokers” out there now. I think their struggles are directly related to Wangs struggles and over use. The names are basically the same as last year and they did quite well last year. No reason to think they cannot do well this year.

    Its funny, before Bruney showed what he could do, the question was “omg, who’s going to pitch the 8th of Joba is starting?”. We find out that Bruney can and it becomes “OMG, whos going to pitch the 7th?”.
    For arguments sake, lets say Melancon dominates going forward and becomes the 7th inning guy, to Bruney’s 8th and Mo’s 9th…does the argument then become “let’s make it a 5 inning game and use Joba for the 6th”?

    We have an 8th inning guy and we have a closer. Middle relief is middle relief…most middle relievers are former starters that could not get the job done on a consistent basis. Joba has not shown that..and until he does I will never advocate him going to the pen, no matter how bad the pen may be.

  101. frankiedue April 29th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Gardner would be fine if he could just lay off the high fastballs. He’s always behind in the count because of that. I hope someone would drill that into his head.

  102. a learning opportunity April 29th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    At this point in the lesson, we might find it useful to ask the student to try to identify the potential criticisms of his own work and the flaws in his own logic, rather than spelling out the obvious for him. If he doesn’t learn to think critically on his own, how will he ever grow?

  103. Quidam03 April 29th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    An earlier comment was correct…….Gardner was never pegged as a “prospect” in the minors.

    He has speed going for him and little else.

    When he first came up he got a few walks…..then when scouting reports showed that he has absolutely no pop, no power pitchers began throwing strikes at him….daring him to hit the ball….usually an infield grounder. Gardner’s walks have become nonexistent and his strike outs keep going up…..and his hits…..what hits!!!

    While he can catch the ball in the outfield…..his arm does not compare to Melky’s.

    It does not matter how fast he is, or how many bases he can steal….if he cannot get on base.

    Gardner is the so called “forth” outfielder…..a late inning pinch runner or replacement for Damon when his legs are barking….

    Melky is the center fielder…..until Jackson demonstrates that he can take over (if that comes to be).

  104. GZA April 29th, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Are you saying that Brett Gardner might one day soon be AL MVP? HAHAHAHAHA.

    Gardner and Pedroia aren’t really that comparable. So far, Gardner’s struck out 20% of the time, with zero home runs to show for it. Through his first 60 games, Pedroia whiffed 7% of the time, yet displayed at least a little power with three homers.

    Gardner’s overmatched, pure and simple. The kid doesn’t belong in the majors. Even his doubles aren’t hard hit. And as “dismal” as Melky was last year, he was till better than AOBG.

  105. TheMelkyWayIsTheOnlyWay April 29th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    When ever I read this blog and it has anything to do with Gardner abd Melky, Melky is always made out to seem like the worse guy. I think that if Melky won the starting center fielder spot and he ended up hitting the way Gardner is, you would quickly jump to the conclusion that Gardner should replace him. The fact is that Melky Cabrera is doing better than Gardner at this point, and he deserves to have a chance to have more AB and starts. Why would you want a player hitting .325 sitting the bench all the time. Just like Melky had to learn, Brett will need to learn to sit on the bench and wait for his time to prove himself again. It’s as simple as that. I also think that comparing Brett Gardner to Pedroia is not right. I bet there are some other players that started out like Gardner and hit like Gardner that are better examples. Also a lot of people believe that Melky will stop hitting after April like last year, but everyone has a bad season. If everyone played the same every year, baseball wouldn’t be as fun. Melky seems like he is more serious, and that is ready to become the starting center fielder. I mean look at Cano, he didn’t do that good last year, but he is on fire now. Just give Melky a chance and believe in him for once.

  106. Fan Interference April 29th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    These are the “Jokers” in the pen, Veras, Ramirez, & Marte. I think Coke, Albaladejo, & Robertson have upside.

  107. Les Deux April 29th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I feel so bad for Melky Cabrera. He just can’t do anything right. He had EXCELLENT at-bats yesterday. He was 2-3 with two walks. Swisher had the same thing and people were all on his jock while Melky could have done better.

    Melky deserves better respect and some of you are truly imbeciles.

    I know Pete’s infatuation with Brett is clouding his judgment. Brett Gardner is just NOT a major league baseball player. I certainly don’t expect longevity in his career.

  108. Mike April 29th, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you, Roger and Les Deuz, for injecting reason and clarity in an otherwise stupid and asinine topic.

  109. New York Sports Jerk April 29th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    Dustin Pedroia hit at a bigtime college baseball program in the Pac-10 and absolutely tore up the minors.

    Brett Gardner went to SoCon and has been a pedestrian minor league hitter. Look at the strikeouts. Gardner struck out 76 times at AAA last year with no power.

    Pedroia struck out a total of 77 times in a three-year minor league career.

    Oh, and this is the exact absurd logic Mike Lupica used for a column a month ago.

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