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Payroll and the Doc

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

The Yankees are cutting payroll?! What an unbelievable thought. Except, in reality, if the Yankees are going to go out and get a free agent starter then the amount they cut from the payroll will not really be significant at all. Just thought I would mention that.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated twittered that the Red Sox have the best chance to land Halladay. He also notes that the Blue Jays would want a combination Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Austin Jackson, and Jesus Montero from the Yankees. Combine that with the 20 million a year that Halladay will command for 4-5 years and unless the Blue Jays are willing to make a different deal it appears that the Yankees will not go that far to get the Doc.

After all who can blame them? You are talking about two of their best young pitchers who have both proven to be shutdown relievers and have, though Hughes more than Joba, potential to be great starters in the majors. Then you have two of the Yankees best prospects who are considered by many scouts to have MLB-ready bats. I ask, is giving up three of these players too much, even for a pitcher as dominant as Halladay?

Price for Doc Halladay Remains Too High

November 27, 2009 2 comments



Photo Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees would have to part with quite a bit if, as Peter Gammons reports (MLB Trade Rumors), the Red Sox would have to part with both Casey Kelley and Clay Buchholz. I can only imagine that the Yankees would have to give up Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy, and maybe one other prospect to get Doc and then an additional $20 million a year to keep him. That is a really hefty price to pay and while I do love the idea of having Doc in our rotation losing three top prospects is not easy to stomach. Add onto that the fact that the Yankees made three blockbuster deals last year and it seems a little unreasonable that they would need to sign Doc. The rotation is far from set but resigning Pettitte while tinkering with Hughes and Chamberlain as well as with a healthier Chien-Ming Wang sounds like a perfectly reasonable option. After all, the Yankees won the world series doing just that.

Would I love to have Doc? Absolutely. But is he worth giving up three top prospects and 20 million a year? If that is the case, Doc might not be the Yankees huckleberry, even if he wants to be.

Joba Back to the Rotation?

November 16, 2009 4 comments


Getty Images By: Nick Latham



It has not been more than a few weeks since the Yankees won the 2009 World Series but already the team well known for its off season acquisitions is making a splash in the free agent market. Rumors of pursuing John Lackey, Curtis Granderson, and Roy Halladay have permeated the rumor basins. These kinds of things are nothing new to any Yankee fan who has watched the team make major moves almost every off season this decade. The big announcement that I believe has the most impact on the team, however, is not the pursuit of big name players but Brian Cashman’s statement that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will be starters next season (NY Daily News). My question is, why?

Hughes for the most part of the season was nothing short of spectacular in the bullpen. He became the 8th inning guy that Chamberlain was before the experiment with Joba as a starter. Hughes had a stellar 2009 campaign in the bullpen, posting an ERA of 3.03, a WHIP of 1.12, and striking out 96 while walking only 28 in 86 innings pitched. If the Yankees resign Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang returns to be at least somewhat effective then Hughes’s presence in the starting rotation would not be absolutely necessary. But, if you absolutely had to put one of them back in the rotation it would be Hughes.

Joba simply isn’t cut out to be a starter with such stringent pitching limits. When he came up in the bullpen with the Yankees he was electric, energizing, and dominant. I watched his first save as a Yankee in a meaningless game against the Blue Jays late in the season a few years ago and the crowd went wild as Joba struck out the last batter on a fastball that clocked at 100 mph. His stretch as a starter ultimately ended with him traveling back to the bullpen so the Yankees management can say what they want but he was ineffective as a starter. Their unwillingness to pitch him during the playoffs speaks to that. Mariano cannot pitch forever and Joba is a better fit for being a closer than a starter with a pitch count.

If the Yankees go and get Halladay or even John Lackey putting Joba back out in the starting rotation would not be worth it if they were still going to protect him with a pitch limit. The only way it would make sense is if they simply let him pitch until his arm got tired the way Nolan Ryan has his pitchers work for the Texas Rangers. Otherwise he needs to be left in the bullpen where he is incredibly effective.

Plea to the Yankees: Tigers Edition

November 11, 2009 7 comments


There are reports coming out that the Detroit Tigers are considering trading Edwin Jackson and trading Curtis Granderson. If so, I plea, PLEA to the Yankees to trade for not one, but both of them.

Here is why:

Curtis Granderson would eliminate the Yankees need to re-sign Johnny Damon, or Hideki Matsui, and he would add pop to the lineup AND speed. Granderson, who hit .249 with 30 HR and 71 RBI, is only 28 years old. Granderson was signed to a five-year, $30.25 million deal with a club option for 2013 with the Tigers in February 2008. The Yankees could easily pay that contract.

Edwin Jackson was an all-star in 2009. He went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. The Yankees could use Jackson as their 3rd starter, which would eliminate the need to sign a John Lackey, or Jason Marquis type of pitcher. Jackson is being paid about $2 Million a year.

So the question remains: What would it take to get BOTH in a trade?

Here is my offer:

CC Sabathia, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Kidding.

Here is my REAL offer:

Melky Cabrera, Reegie Corona, Josh Schmidt, and Austin Romine for Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson.

Is that too much? Too little? Good trade? Bad trade? Explain in the comments!

UPDATE: 2:01 PM: Apparently I don’t know enough about prospects, as it seems like it will take either one of the Yankees big prospects (Hughes, Joba) and an additional prospect/OR a bunch of major prospects such as Zach McAllister, Ian Kennedy, etc.

How Things End

November 7, 2009 Leave a comment

When my wife and I got married, we’d only known each other for two and a half months. There were many skeptics. When I told my father the news, he said something that has stayed with me to this day: “these things,” he said “are not measured by how they begin, they are measure by how they end”. I think this is an appropriate criteria for the 2009 New York Yankees. To say that we had an inauspicious beginning is an understatement, I’m not much for hyperbole but consider the following:

  • Before the first pitch of spring training The Yankees had to deal with Alex Rodriguez’ steroid circus, the accusation, the mea culpa press conference, and concerns over A-Rod’s mental fortitude to deal with it all.
  • Then it seems that the universe was piling it on to A-Rod, books by Selena Roberts and Joe Torre painted an even dimer view of Rodriguez in and out of the locker room. He pulls out of the World Baseball Classic with a hip injury, has surgery, and misses the first few weeks of the year.
  • CC Sabathia labored during his first few outings
  • Teixeira had his infamous slow start in April
  • Going 0-for-8 against the Red Sox to start the season, were criticism of Girardi’s over-managing gained momentum
  • Chien-Ming Wang goes 1-for-6 with a 9.64 ERA, hurts his shoulder, then his foot

The Yankees were 8 back of the Red Sox before getting it together in June and turning their season around in a hurry to get to their 27th Championship. Everything came together for this team, the pitching solidified, the offense became more consistent, the defense was sharp, all things that can be attributed to talent and execution. But then we began to notice other aspects of their game develop, the kinds of things that make a team special or at least poised for something great.

Things that we notice which excite us a fans and makes us wonder aloud: this could be the year. Two-out rallies, numerous comeback wins, consistent contributions from the bottom of the lineup, scoring almost 1/2 of their runs after the 6th inning, poise at the plate, working the count, no desperation when loosing by a few runs, bullpen contributions. These characteristics are the result of more than talent and execution, they are the tangible result of team character and chemistry.

Even after winning 103 games, the most in the league, there were questions about the way that Girardi was setting up the pitching rotation, the Joba experiment, would A-Rod finally come through in the postseason, can Sabathia improve his postseason record specially when asked to pitch with 3 days rest, how can the Yankees loose Posada’s bat in order to accommodate AJ Burnett with Molina behind the plate, which Burnett would show up…but this team embraced a blue collar approach and was determined to work through any obstacles to be victorious at the end.

The Yankees did not hesitate in their approach to the job at hand, they did not shy away from challenges, they didn’t get too high or too low, and they did not allow for doubt to permeate their thoughts. They were clear in their purpose and continued to do what was necessary to become World Champions. No one in sports is under more pressure to finish the job than the New York Yankees, to whom much is given much is expected, and finish the job they did. This is how things end, not with a whimper, but with the bang of fireworks and the loud proclamation that the 2009 New York Yankees are World Champions.

Interview with Chad Jennings from The LoHud Yankees Blog

October 28, 2009 2 comments

The following interview was conducted by Brandon Cohen. Brandon along with the staff at The Pinstriper would like to express our gratitude to Chad Jennings for sharing his time for this interview.

Without further ado, here is the interview in its entirety:

1. In a recent blog post I debated whether I would prefer Ryan Howard or Mark Teixeira for this series….which would you take?

Right now I would take Howard. He’s as hot as anyone not named Alex Rodriguez, and he’s even getting Rodriguez a run for his money. I got to see Howard hit quite a bit in Scranton, and he’s more than just a pull-the-ball power hitter. He can go the other way. He can move runners. He’s not awful at first base. On the whole, though, I think Teixeira is a more complete player. Just hard to overlook what Howard’s done this postseason.

2. With Pedro Martinez starting game 2, do you think the Yankees or Pedro have the upper hand? (Which has the advantage in that matchup)

I think Pedro’s a little different pitcher than he used to be. He’s still mixing his pitches, but this isn’t going to be the same Pedro that Jeter and Posada and the rest remember from Boston. I’m not sure the experience against one another plays a huge role, but certainly this is going to be a tough place to pitch for Martinez and this Yankees lineup is awfully dangerous. I’ll take this Yankees lineup over an aging Martinez, but I’ll say that respectfully. The guy can still pitch. Just ask the Dodgers.

3. Do you think the Yankees will go with a 3 man or a 4 man rotation for the World Series? Which would you do?

Four man. That’s what I think they’ll do and that’s what I would do. I would pitch Sabathia in Game 4 and Gaudin in Game 5. That leaves a fully rested Burnett/Pettitte for Game 6, and the off day between 5 and 6 means the Yankees can burn through a ton of relievers without losing them for the next game.

4. Do you think the set-up man role is open right now? Girardi has stuck by Hughes, but if Hughes struggles?

I still think Hughes has the job, mostly because Chamberlain hasn’t been lights out. He’s allowed some hits of his own. I’m a huge Robertson believer, and I think the eighth inning might be his one day, but I’m not sure a few big outs by Robertson and a couple of bad innings by Hughes is enough to swap roles. Hughes earned this spot and I’m not sure anyone has done enough to take it from him.

5. Having covered the Phillies farm system in the past, can you give us some background on their core players?

Utley is the best player I ever saw in Scranton. He and I weren’t especially close — he was never particularly comfortable with the media back then — but he’s a terrific, terrific hitter. I touched on Howard, who can do more than hit home runs. He has a lot of power to left-center. Victorino isn’t so underrated anymore thanks to the all-star game, but he’s had a lot of talent for a long time. Good speed. Good power. Terrific arm. I’ve said before that I think Victorino is the kind of player the Yankees hope Austin Jackson becomes. Don’t count out Carlos Ruiz. His numbers aren’t good, but he’s a dangerous hitter and does good work behind the plate. He works great with pitchers. That’s why he’s remained an everyday catcher.

6. What do you think is the biggest problem for the Yankees going into the World Series?

I think there should be a little bit of concern about the middle of the order, outside of Rodriguez. Teixeira and Matsui got it done this season, but both have been a bit cold in the playoffs and I think the Yankees need both of them to break out oit.

7. For the Phillies?

The bullpen. The rotation has some question marks, but the bullpen is full of them. Brad Lidge has pitched really well this postseason, but I don’t know any Phillies fan who feels particularly comfortable with him in the ninth. And getting to him is hardly a sure thing.

8. Any bold predictions for the series?

Nothing too bold, but I’ll say Teixeira snaps out of it and Utley gives the Yankees more trouble than Howard.

Quick Questions:

  • Who wins, how many games? Yankees in six.
  • Best starter? Sabathia.
  • Best Hitter? Utley.
  • Best Reliever? Rivera, with Hughes getting back on course in the eighth.
  • World Series MVP? Jeter.

GAME RECAP: ALCS GAME 3

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment

The Angels beat the Yankees in walk-off fashion.

FINAL SCORE: YANKEES 4 ANGELS 5 (F11th)

SCORING PLAYS

  • Top of the 1st: Derek Jeters homers to left field (NYY 1, LAA 0)
  • Top of the 4th: Alex Rodriguez homers to left field (NYY 2, LAA 0)
  • Top of the 5th: Johnny Damon homers to right field (NYY 3, LAA 0)
  • Bottom of the 5th: Howard Kendrick homers to left field (NYY 3, LAA 1)
  • Bottom of the 6th: Bobby Abreu gets a 1 out single to left field, after Torii Hunter flies out to right field Vladimir Guerrero hits a 2 out homerun on a 2-2 count to even it up at 3 (NYY 3, LAA 3)
  • Bottom of the 7th: Maicer Izturis out on a sacrifice fly. Howard Kendrick scores (NYY 3, LAA 4)
  • Top of the 8th: After pinch runner Brett Gardner gets tagged out stealing second, Jorge Posada homers on a shot to center field (NYY 4, LAA 4)
  • Bottom of the 11th: After a Howard Kendrick single, Jeff Mathis doubles to center field. Howard Kendrick scores, game over (NYY 4, LAA 5)

STARTING PITCHING (from Yahoo Sports)

  • Andy Pettite: 6 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 BB, 2 SO, 4.26 ERA
  • Jered Weaver: 5 innings, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 BB, 4 SO, 5.40 ERA

KEY PERFORMER: Jeff Mathis, the backup catcher hit 2 doubles including the walk-off hit of the game.

COMMENTARY: The Angels had to be thinking when are we going to catch a break. After the speedy Gardner gets caught steeling 2nd base for the first out of the 8th inning, Jorge Posada responds with a long home run to center field that ties the game. In the bottom of the same inning, an overzealous Bobby Abreu gets tagged out at 2nd base trying to stretch a double into a triple. Then there was the bottom of the 10th. A throwing error by Mariano Rivera puts men on 1st and 3rd with no outs and the middle of the order coming up, but the Angels are unable to take advantage and go down on consecutive groundouts to 1st baseman Mark Teixeira.

But, after David Robertson makes quick work of the first 2 hitters in the bottom of the 11th, Joe Girardi decided to consult The Dangerous Book of Managers, how to over-manage in today’s game and figures on the statistical advantage of bringing Aceves to pitch to Howard Kendrick. The rest is history, Kendrick singles on a ground ball to center field and Jeff Mathis who has been dialed in gets his 3rd double of the series to give the Angels the win. To blame this loss on Girardi’s exploits is to ignore the missed opportunities: the Yankees went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, Teixeira who has been giving a clinic on how to play 1st base went 0 for 3 with a walk and is now batting .077 for the series, Joba Chamberlain gives up 2 hits and 1 run in a third of an inning posting an ERA of 13.50. Yet it is hard to overcome the fact that sometimes you have to ignore the numbers, as Girardi put it in his post-game conference “we have all of the matchups and all of the scouting reports. We felt that it was a better matchup for us. It didn’t work.” No it didn’t.