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Series Wrap: vs. Tigers
2007-08-20 09:13
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Offense: The Yankees scored 6.25 runs per game against a Tigers team that had been allowing 6.70 runs per game over their previous 27 games. I'm going to call that disappointing, especially as they got a few lucky hops along the way.

Studs:

Bobby Abreu 8 for 16, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5 R, 2 BB, 2 SB
Andy Phillips, 6 for 11, 2B, 4 RBI, R, BB
Jason Giambi 4 for 13, 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, 5 K
Jorge Posada, 5 for 16, HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
Johnny Damon 4 for 11, HR, RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
Wilson Betemit 2 for 6, 2B, 4 RBI, 3 K

Duds:

Derek Jeter 3 for 12, 3 R, BB, 2 K, GIDP
Melky Cabrera 3 for 12, BB, 3 K, CS

Shelley Duncan struck out in his only at-bat of the series. Jose Molina did not appear.

Rotation: A solid showing with three quality starts followed Mike Mussina's stinker (5 IP, 7 R) in the opener. Andy Pettitte was again the best, holding the Tigers to one run on five hits and a walk over eight while striking out five. Roger Clemens and Chein-Ming Wang combined to strike out 14 Tigers in 12 innings, though they also allowed 19 hits. Clemens allowed two runs and walked no one. Wang allowed three, walked two, and also balked and bounced to wild pitches.

Bullpen: Farming out Jeff Karstens and Jim Brower and bringing back Edwar Ramirez has done wonders for a bullpen that had already benefited from replacing Scott Proctor with Joba Chamberlain. Sean Henn (who replaced Karstens) was the only reliever who didn't appear in this series and together the remaining six men allowed just one run and only five baserunners in 11 innings while striking out 14.

The Good:

Edwar Ramirez struck out three in two perfect innings in the finale. Joba Chamberlain faced the meat of the Tiger order twice and allowed just a single while striking out three in two scoreless innings. Kyle Farnsworth allowed just a walk while striking out two in two scoreless innings. Luis Vizcaino did the same replacing the walk with a single. Mariano Rivera pitched around a walk to earn the save in Saturday's game, striking out one.

The Bad:

Ron Villone struck out three men in his two innings in the opener, but also allowed a solo homer to Ivan Rodriguez. Then again, Rodriguez was Villone's only baserunner in those two innings.

Conclusion: If Joe Torre starts trusting Edwar Ramirez late in close games like he did in the finale, something he already does with Chamberlain, and Farnsworth can continue to succeed in the earlier innings (his two innings in this series came in the sixth on Thursday and seventh on Saturday), Vizcaino won't be overworked and can slot in either the middle or late innings as needed, and Mariano Rivera will get the rest down the stretch that he's seemed to need in recent years. That means that, save perhaps for swapping Villone out for Chris Britton, the bullpen is as fixed as the bench, which puts the onus now on the starting pitchers to perform up to their abilities and reputations. If that happens, this team could be unstoppable.

Comments (79)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-20 09:59:22
1.   ChrisS
mmmmm, unstoppable.

Also, there seems to be a meme starting in the media that Joba is/should be Mo's successor and that if the Yankees return him to a starting role, they will be stupid or inept (to paraphrase Jayson Stark). It's fun to watch Joba come out of the bullpen, but I'd still rather see him pitching every 5th day next season.

2007-08-20 10:05:50
2.   OldYanksFan
I believe the Sox have been dicking around with their rotation to set it up for the Yankees.

I'm not worried about Detroit. A split is the worst I would expect. If we take 2 of 3 from LA, then when LA and Seattle bump heads, we would benefit either way.

However, the only way to the Division title is to take at least 4 of 6 from Boston. They also have a soft September. If we split or lose to them, the Division becomes a real longshot.

I therefore, would work the rotation around those 6 games.

Anyone know our rotation for the first 3 against Boston?

2007-08-20 10:06:59
3.   SF Yanks
1 I hate that. Just because a pitcher is lights out in the bullpen means he should be kept there? So Pedro, Santana, Liriano, etc, etc. should still be in the pen then.

He belongs in the rotation where he will be just fine and will probably be as dominating as he is.

2007-08-20 10:07:42
4.   rsmith51
1 I am concerned about Joba becoming Papelbon. As long as the Yanks resign Mo, they probably won't do it and Joba will be in the rotation next year.
2007-08-20 10:09:27
5.   Jersey
The media is stupid or inept, to paraphrase Jersey. =)

The only way I'd like Joba as a reliever is if he's a failure as a starter; or if the Yankees rotation next year suddenly becomes

Wang
Hughes
Santana
Peavy
Webb

2007-08-20 10:13:29
6.   Cliff Corcoran
1 If the Yankees Papelbon Chamberlain it will be a colossal mistake. I was running an errand earlier and caught Max Kellerman on ESPN 1050. Kellerman sounds like your usual shouting blowhard on sports radio, but he's actually pretty bright and has his head in the right place on performance analysis and such. He said that if anyone on the team should be groomed to be the next Yankee closer it should be Ramirez. Joba goes back the pen and Ramirez and his changeup could be another Trevor Hoffman. I agree. Heck, Edwar's 26 this year, the same age Mo was in 1996, it's not that much of a stretch at all.
2007-08-20 10:15:17
7.   Cliff Corcoran
2 The Yanks will throw Pettite, Clemens and Wang against the Sox next week. No way that's gonna change barring injury as those are the big three anyway and there's only one off day between now and then.
2007-08-20 10:15:55
8.   Cliff Corcoran
6 Typo: "Joba goes back in the rotation"
2007-08-20 10:17:21
9.   ChrisS
4 Even if they resign Mo, I think Edwar is perfectly capable of being a dominant set-up man next year (and future closer) with that change-up. I really can't see him regressing into a crappy middle reliever just because he was once. Mainly because he wasn't throwing that change-up when he sucked. Add in a solid track record of replicating success at each level change, and I think you've got a future lights-out closer.

Joba and Hughes behind Wang next year is going to be a nice top three, Edwar as a bridge to Mo will be sweet.

2007-08-20 10:21:12
10.   ChrisS
6 Indeed.

9 And I'm 99% certain that Mo resigns with the Yanks.

2007-08-20 10:28:09
11.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
Anyone think that the Joba rules could be bent a little for the Boston Series? I personally don't think I would mind seeing him and Edwar pitch an inning per game, if necessary, especially if the Sux's lead is back up to 5 or 6 games.
2007-08-20 10:30:56
12.   Yankee Fan In Boston
11 bending bullpen rules that have actually been adhered to and seem to be working is a slippery slope that i would personally want to avoid.

as much as i'd love to see the kid come in and shut down the sox for a couple of innings in each game, i'd be happy to see him work his magic as he has been.

if it ain't broke...

2007-08-20 10:31:13
13.   rbj
11 Depends upon how close the Yanks are to Boston. If we're down only 2-4 games behind, then you gots ta throw everything at 'em to close the gap.
2007-08-20 10:33:32
14.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
I actually feel the opposite way...the bigger the gap, the more we gotta throw at 'em. The Sux have also never seen Joba.
2007-08-20 10:33:59
15.   OldYanksFan
So it looks like:
Dice-K vs. Andy
Beckett vs Roger
Schrill vs. Wang

Looks like the key game is the first one.

2007-08-20 10:38:10
16.   tommyl
6 Max Kellerman is a breath of fresh air. I caught him one day last week and he was discussing how the Yankees were so much better because Joba was being used in the highest leverage situations, and that in the modern usage of a BP a good "setup man" is more valuable than a good "closer" since typically closers come in with more than 1 run leads. He also discussed how using Mo for one of the games in the Cleveland series was perfect because he was brought in with a 1-run lead against the heart of the order. It just so happened to be the 9th inning.

He also talks about things like OBP and OPS being much more important than things like BA and lambasts idiot callers for citing RBIs or BA. He's not perfect, but compared to Mike and the Mad Dog or Kay, he's brilliant.

2007-08-20 10:39:24
17.   Bob B
I think the Yankees look good but not unstoppable and if you look at the remaining games, Seattle has a much easier schedule than the Yankees. The Yankees may have to be unstoppable to get a wild card ( I still don't think they can catch Boston, but hey, Why not if they're unstoppable).
2007-08-20 10:41:40
18.   cult of basebaal
one other thing i noticed yesterday that i think bodes well for the future, is that Edwar was also throwing a slider for strikes, a nice tight snapper he was using early in the count to get ahead ... it's not an out quality pitch, really, but anything he can do to get ahead of hitters while keeping them off balance and unable to just look fastball until he's ahead in the count just makes him a better pitcher ...
2007-08-20 10:42:19
19.   Yankee Fan In Boston
14 if never having seen joba is a plus, why would you want to give them more opportunities to see him within a 3 game span?

they have 3 more games in mid-september.

they could meet up in october, too.

that's just my thinking on it, but what do i know?

2007-08-20 10:43:38
20.   tommyl
I don't want to see the rules bent on Joba, not even a little bit. I'd rather him be healthy for next year than end up like Liriano and miss an entire season. Just think how good the Twins would be with a healthy Liriano this year.
2007-08-20 10:43:49
21.   OldYanksFan
Tek and IRod are both getting $11m+/-.
What will Jorge want? 3/$39? More? What would the FA market dictate? How about Mo? 3/$32? More? They will both wants 3 years, yes? And year 3 could be bad news for us, yes? Opinions?
2007-08-20 10:43:59
22.   cult of basebaal
seattle is also 34-34 this year against the teams they have to play from here on out, including 8-13 against texas and anaheim, who they play 13 (or 14) times from here on out ...
2007-08-20 10:47:52
23.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
I definitely think it's a double-edged sword, but it's time to stop kidding ourselves that the M's are going to collapse overnight. I also agree that the Sux have an easier sched down the stretch. Consequently, I think our focus has to be on the division, not the wild card. If we're down by more than four games going in to the Boston series, I think Torre has to at least consider doing everything to get a sweep. Even if it means overusing the young guns a bit and giving the Sux a good look at them.
2007-08-20 10:51:45
24.   Cliff Corcoran
19 The thing there is that Joba's good enough that exposure shouldn't matter. Look at what he did against Sheff-Maggs-Guillen in this past series. He got two of three out the first time he face them, then struck two of three out while retiring all three the second time he faced them. Joba doesn't fool anyone, he just throws unhittable pitches.
2007-08-20 10:54:11
25.   mayorkoch
I think I liked it better when there was so much to complain about earlier in the season. Bench - now solid. Torre's positional rotation - solid. Hitting - everyone hitting well or on the upswing. Starting pitching - keeping the team in most games, especially early (except Moose's latest), Bullpen management - Torre a genius since Proctor sent West and Bruney send to work at Dunder/Mifflin.

What is a critic to do?

This is what we are reduced to; should we trade Farnsworth if we get a decent offer no matter how well he is pitching? Is anyone willing to trust him again? It is not like we actually need him with others waiting in the wings.

This lack of topics drives the all the Santana speculation while what Cashman is really spending his time on is how to re-sign Rivera/Posada/Rodriquez within 10 days of the World Series and how to deal with a train-wreck of a 40 man roster in the off-season.

2007-08-20 10:54:22
26.   tommyl
24 "...he just throws unhittable pitches."

Can we get some more of those?

2007-08-20 10:55:54
27.   Bob B
I think Jorge could play First Base for three years so I think it's a no brainer. Elston Howard and Yogi Berra both switched and you could also use him to DH. His hitting is actually improving.
Mo, on the other hand, no longer looks anything like the player he was even two years ago. He's been a hall of fame reliever but do you think he'd be your go to guy in 2010?
2007-08-20 10:59:12
28.   tommyl
27 Maybe, maybe not. But even a declining Mo would likely be the best setup guy on the planet if he wasn't the closer.
2007-08-20 11:02:51
29.   Yanks Fan in Chicago
I like the idea of Jorgie doing a little catching, a little DH, and and a lot of 1B over the next few years. Particularly because it could extend his career into HOF territory. Sorry to be clueless, but do the Yanks have a good catching prospect?
2007-08-20 11:03:36
30.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 i definitely see your point, and agree that the division should be the goal. if they sway from the joba schedule/plan, they had better win it all and he had better not get hurt.

other than that, no pressure.

28 word.

2007-08-20 11:04:32
31.   Yankee Fan In Boston
29 no they do not have a C prospect. (it tugged at the proverbial heartstrings to type that.)
2007-08-20 11:05:05
32.   williamnyy23
17 23 It looks to me as if the Mariners have a pretty difficult schedule from here on out. They play 17 of their next 20 on the road, mostly against the Twins, Angels, Indians, Yankees, Tigers and Blue Jays. That looks pretty darn tough to me. Even the Texas series in that mix could be tough.

Then, once that stretch has concluded, the Mariners face Oakland, the Angels and Cleveland, leaving just 7 "easy games" against Tampa and Texas at home.

Finally, it should be noted that between August 17 and September 23, the Mariners have one scheduled day off (whereas the Yankees have 4). That kind of grueling schedule could really take its toll.

2007-08-20 11:07:58
33.   tommyl
31 Didn't they just sign someone from the Dominican?
2007-08-20 11:09:38
34.   Yankee Fan In Boston
33 i know that they signed some kid from china, along with a pitcher, but that the pitcher was the better of the two by a longshot. i am unaware of the C from the dominican. would he be MLB-ready any time soon?
2007-08-20 11:10:04
35.   williamnyy23
29 33 Yes...Jesus Montero, although the jury is still out on whether he'll remain behind the plate. Also, he is only 17!
2007-08-20 11:12:34
36.   williamnyy23
29 The Yankees also drafted two catchers: Austin Romine(2nd rd) and Richard Weems (6th Rd). I've read some nice things about Romine.
2007-08-20 11:19:08
37.   mayorkoch
Actually things are looking up for the Yankees in the catching area....in 2009 and beyond though.

The Yanks signed the top Venezuelan prospect last year, a catcher named Jesus Montero. He is in his first State-side season with the GCL Yankees and hitting OK.

The Yankees just signed two of their top draft choices in the 2007 draft, 2nd rounder C Austin Romine and 6th rounder C Chase Weems. They are a ways away but come with good reps.

At AA this year, PJ Pilitere did a great job of handling the pitching staff and did OK with the bat. He needs to hit better at AAA next year to be any use for the Yanks. At Tampa (High-A) Francisco Cervelli started out on fire with good BA and OBP but has tailed off as the season went along. He's on a little bit of an upsing recently to bring his average back into the .280s.

The Yankees are hoping one of this group accelerates his develop and makes it to the majors before Posada takes a full-time ride to 1st base/DH.

2007-08-20 11:23:14
38.   Yankee Fan In Boston
35 36 37 all good news.

i was aware of montero, but i figured he was a ways off, i thought he was around 19 though.

also, chase weems is a great baseball name.

2007-08-20 11:32:44
39.   Shaun P
27 Is Mo declining? Sure, probably. Is Mo in his decline phase still freakin' awesome? Damn skippy!

There are (at least) three teams in MLB who can readily afford to deal with giving a guy a three or four year deal, and watching him decline big-time in year 3. Because they have the resources, either $$$ or internally, to replace those parts. The Yanks are one of those teams. (IMO, the others are the Mets, who do it, and the Red Sox, who don't do it.)

25 I think seeing what happens with the 40-man roster in the offseason is going to be fascinating. There are so many guys who need a spot. I can't wait to see what Cashman does to make it all work.

2007-08-20 11:34:55
40.   pistolpete
6 16 Agreed - I catch Max in the morning on my 'late' days to work, and he IS a breath of fresh air - especially for us Yankees fans.

Even when they were seemingly dead in the water, Max was finding the positives in every game. And now he just looks that much smarter now that they're contending.

A few days ago I mentioned his analysis of what Torre was doing with Farnsworth in the blowout games - as in slowly building Kyle's Konfidence, inch by inch, so that he might be brought into a more crucial situation should we need him.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon and KK makes Sheffield look like a girlie man on some high cheese. I was absolutely LOVING it, and more so because I had the same hopes for Farnsworth that Kellerman did all these weeks since the trading deadline.

2007-08-20 11:36:34
41.   williamnyy23
39 There is a lot of fat to trim off the 40-man. That will be the least of Cashman's worries.
2007-08-20 11:45:24
42.   markp
I agree about Farnsworth. Just like when EDJV was getting bombed earlier this year, everybody starts completely writing them off. Historically set-up men are very inconsistent-it's part of the job description.
2007-08-20 12:03:29
43.   Shaun P
41 True - the issues will be re-signing Mo, Posada, and of course A-Rod.

Thinking about the roster got me thinking about next year's payroll.

Let's say the Yanks:

Re-sign Mo and Posada for $13M/year each.
Sign Betemit for one year at $3M, avoiding arbitration.
Pick up Abreu's option for $16M.
Replace Clemens's rotation slot with Joba.
Replace Villone with Britton.
Replace Joba's bullpen slot with Bruney.
And replace Vizcaino with Igawa (yeah, I know how loved Kei is, just go with me).

And keep the rest of the team the way it is.

Including pro-rated signing bonuses, He Who Must Not Be Named's salary, and payments made to minor leaguers (like Brackman), the Yanks 2008 payroll before A-Rod gets a cent comes to . . .

(Are you ready?)

(Are you sure you're ready?)

(Boy I hope I figured this right)

$157.8M

I am now convinced - there is no way the Yanks don't re-sign A-Rod. The money is there, even without Texas's help.

2007-08-20 12:11:27
44.   ny2ca2dc
Things must be good in Yankeeland, at least from a roster construction standpoint, if we (of all people) don't have much to complain about. Ditto on Edwar's potential, for as utterly, gutwrenchingly, disgustingly diminant Joba has been, Edwar has been close. That change up is really otherworldly, the boy hucks the shit outta that change, and it drifts in ever so slo... wow.

However, some food for thought might involve September call ups - might the Alberto Gonzalez make an appearance in an Andy Cannizaro role? Does his potential to be an UIF become irrelevant now that we have Betemit?

The big questions for next year must be what to do with Damon, and what to do about first base. What about a Shelly/Juan Miranda platoon for 1B? Shifting Matsui to 1B, and putting Damon in Left (or just Damon to 1B) has seemed like a good option since last winter... Even better now? Betemit has to be the best UIF in history, but he's not much for a 1B, and having him around would allow Jeter & A-Rod (and Cano really) some well deserved rest.

2007-08-20 12:12:18
45.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
17 23 Williamnyy23 32 is dead on.

Even given the difficulty of this coming road trip for us, the Mariners schedule looks much harder. Especially since the As, who the M's have ripped this season, are showing signs of playing better ball.

And even the minnows in the Seattle schedule, eg Texas, have played Seattle well (6-6).

Even if we drop off the .700 pace we've set since the break, say back down to .600 ball, we should still blow Seattle away.

(Of course, I don't think we'll need the wild card!)

2007-08-20 12:21:52
46.   cult of basebaal
44 I'd rather see a Betemit/Duncan platoon. Betemit can't hit LHP all that well, but he's put up 850 OPS+ the last 2 seasons against RHP and that's with getting jerked around with limited playing time.

He's not going to hit for the greatest average, but he's got the power and the patience to be a perfect fit for this lineup. He's already the best option we have at 1st base and he's only 25.

2007-08-20 12:46:28
47.   williamnyy23
46 Betemit clearly struggles against LHP, but I wouldn't consign him to being a platoon player just yet. Betemit only has 210 career PAs as a RH batter (versus over 750 as a lefty), so considering his age, I think he has room to approve. Betemit could become a super sub that gets 400+ PAs a season. If that happens, this trade could wind up being the best one of the deadline (unless Beltre becomes a star for Texas :)
2007-08-20 12:54:23
48.   cult of basebaal
47 i just see turning betemit into a "super-sub" a waste of his talent, just like making joba an 8th inning guy is a waste of his potential, no matter how awesome he is at the job

and ... unless your definition of "super-sub" means "starts almost all games at 1st base against RHP" i don't see how he'll get anything close to 400 abs in a year, barring significant injury

frankly, though, you're right, we don't know if he can't hit LHP, i'm all for putting him at 1stbase for 500+ abs next year and finding out

2007-08-20 13:26:12
49.   williamnyy23
48 The problem with starting Betemit every day at one of his traditional positions is named Arod, Jeter and Cano. So yes, the lionshare of his ABs would have to come from 1B. Of course, that would hinge on whether he can play the position effectively and continues to improve offensively. If Betemit were to become an everyday 1B, he'd have to hit better than his career 100 OPS+ and even his current season total of 114.
2007-08-20 13:34:01
50.   JL25and3
I wouldn't rush to judgment on Edwar yet, not as a future closer.

He's pretty much of a one-pitch pitcher; he can show a couple of other pitches, but he uses them to set up the change. It's got insane movement, and so far ML batters really haven't seen a pitch like it. But the question is, when ML hitters have seen him two or three times and they know the change is coming, will he still be able to fool them with it?

Mo has been able to do that with his cutter, and I want to wait and see what happens with Edwar.

Re: the discussion of whether Joba should be Mo. Remember, even Rivera only became a reliever after he failed as a starter. If Joba only had the fastball and slider, I could see making him a reliever. but since he apparently has more of a repertoire, put him in the rotation.

Finally, I think you really need to have one credible lefty in an ML bullpen.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-20 13:46:31
51.   ChrisS
49 , et al. I would bet more money that Betemit will likely be starting at 3B next year rather than first.

50 As mentioned earlier, Trevor Hoffman is a rather successful one-pitch pitcher (change-up). But, for the point of the conversation, I mainly agree with you.

I don't advocate not signing Mo just because Edwar is making hitters look foolish the first time around. That would be just folly. Mo has definitely earned his paycheck even if he just wants $15 mill/year to sun himself in the Yankee bullpen while dreaming of a retirement spent polishing his plaque in monument park and Cooperstown. Edwar can spend the next few years as set-up man and emergency closer, I think we'll have a decent sample size by then.

As for a lefty, think Kei Igawa.

2007-08-20 14:03:25
52.   Cliff Corcoran
51 Indeed, no one's saying "don't sign Mo." We're just looking down the road. In reality I think the organization is wondering if Humberto Sanchez can come back from his TJ surgery and develop into the next Yankee closer, but Edwar's fun to think about as well. And I do think that Igawa could be valuable as a lefty reliever thanks to his ability to strike guys out.
2007-08-20 14:13:15
53.   yanster
Why would anyone ever, under any circumstances, suggest using a starter in the bullpen if that pitcher would be equally good relative to peers in that position? Injury history is one good reason, fast fatigue rates another - but if neither of those have been demonstrated, what other reasons are there? I keep scratching my head...

Mo and Clemens have to be considered about equally as good (over their careers) in their respective roles (relative to their peers) right? Maybe Clemens gets because he's been at it longer, but it's close, right? (What I am not saying is that Mo is as good a pitcher as Clemens - I have no grounds for comparison on that question.)

So Clemens was valued at $28 million in what could only be a declining year and Mo got 10.5 (let's call it 13 to compare free agency years) also a similar declining year. This is obviously anecdotal, but clearly EVERYONE values a great starter more than a great closer.

Mariano: average ERA+ 194 over 13 years
Clemens: Average ERA+ 143 over 24 years

I would love to know the VORP of these two this year (where's that prospectus subscription?). Or their WXRL. Or average salary per pitching percentile determined by WXRL for starting and closing roles.

Seriously, how many wins do you lose by putting Clemens in the pen?

Unfreaking believable that someone would even consider keeping Joba in the pen next year. Unbelievable.

2007-08-20 14:18:31
54.   Eric
Has anyone seen the new Cingular "dropped call" commercial w/ Clemens playing golf and asking his wife if he should un-retire? It's quite funny. I guess he filmed it while he was serving his suspension.
2007-08-20 14:55:22
55.   Vandelay Industries
53 I would argue that the relative value of the closer is a result of changes in the game itself. If Mo were say, pitching two or three innings each save opportunity or appearance, I think his value would be at or near that of the best starters in the game. The fact that the best you can hope for is 80+ innings and 30-40 saves from your closer, has as much to do with value as anything. It also speaks to a level of professionalism in your craft. While a great starter must be able to throw at least three pitches with pinpoint control, a closer may need just two pitches to accomplish his task--Joba for example, rarely needs to or uses his curve and changeup in his current role, but would have to use those pitches effectively to be a top-tier starter. The value of a stud starter is also due to their relative scarcity in the game, while closers are easier to find. Francisco Rodriguez for example, wouldn't likely last very long as a starter, but as a closer he has huge value. Until closers pitch multiple innings, starters will always be more valuable, but its not something that is inherent in the two roles.
2007-08-20 15:06:33
56.   Vandelay Industries
Also, if a team is planning on carrying an "older" pitching staff, or has a manager like Torre who owns a very short hook, your starters are rarely going to get past the sixth inning, making a shut down seventh and eighth inning pitcher arguably more valuable than many starters.
2007-08-20 15:33:17
57.   cult of basebaal
56 of course, that would also make a stud starter who can carry his 97 mph heat into the 7th inning with ease relatively more valuable as well
2007-08-20 15:43:42
58.   Vandelay Industries
57 I agree. Now if there were only more than one or two of them acrossed the entire league :)

Be nice...I live in LA and have to listen to Rex Hudler tonight.

2007-08-20 16:05:31
59.   OldYanksFan
46 I just don't think we've (or Cashman) have seen enough of FrankenShelly to pencil him in, and consider a position spoken for. No offense, but he is considered at best, to be Giambi light.. without the OBP. No field, no run, no high OPS, just some good pop every now and then. They may be wrong, but it will take a Shelly a very good year to prove it.

They will not trade JD for a bag of balls. If they get decent value/decent price, yes. But by not having him as the everyday CF, there is a good chance he will stay healthy next year. I also think he will work harder this winter then ever before. He doesn't like sitting. If he can play 1st, we have a good offensive line up (with Melky, Abreu, Mats, JD and Giambi all everyday guys).

With JD at 1st/DH/LF and Jason at DH/little at 1st, Shelly at 1B/RF, Betemin and Phillips, we have tremendous flexibility... like we haven't seen in MANY years.

2007-08-20 16:09:46
60.   mehmattski
54 Yeah that was pretty funny. I also enjoyed his performance on Mythbusters a couple weeks ago.
2007-08-20 16:11:16
61.   yanster
55 56 I'm not really sure what you are saying. Are you saying that a role in which 80 innings are pitched per season can be more valuable than than a role in which 200 innings are pitched even if the pitchers are equally good (compared to their peers in the same role)? That doesn't seem plausible to me - but maybe you can explain.

Will leverage have that big of an impact?

2007-08-20 16:12:14
62.   OldYanksFan
49 While I agree, every year Jetes gets banged up and plays through it. What's wrong with resting him once ever 2 weeks if we have a decent guy like Betemin sub for him? I mean, we love that these guys are work horses, but does that necessarily mean we are getting the best out of them?
2007-08-20 16:16:22
63.   OldYanksFan
50 There is only one solution. Clone Joba.
Joba-A starts, Joba-B closes. With any luck, in 2009, Joba-C is our middle relief.
2007-08-20 16:24:34
64.   OldYanksFan
53 Just for argument sake... when Joba is 'matured' (no longer considered fragile) can he pitch 2 or 3 innings out of the BP for 60 appearences? How valuable would it be to bring him in the 7th in a close game and have him finish? And how much help would that be to the rest of the pen?

You right, 80IPs has limited value. But if SPs can go 200 IPs, how about a relieve going 120-130 ips?

But, of course, Joba has to start.

2007-08-20 16:32:46
65.   Vandelay Industries
61 I'm sorry if I didn't say what I meant clearly. I do that sometimes. I guess what I was saying is that so long as closers are never expected to pitch more than 80 or so innings, a closer will never be more valuable than a stud starter, even if that closer is Mo. However, if baseball returns to a better time when closers were used 145 innings give or take, then a stud closer would be of equal or greater value than the stud starter. But in today's game, a closer can never be more valuable than even a good 200+ innings starter.

I was using Joba as an example. If he pitched the seventh and eighth, or eighth and ninth and put in 140-150 innings, he could be more valuable to a team than a stud starter, especially in a time when starters are rarely expected to pitch more than six innings per appearance, and an ERA of 4.5 is percieved as "quality."

2007-08-20 16:40:50
66.   Vandelay Industries
64 That's what I was arguing. The problem is that it will never happen, even with ample evidence that it is more dangerous to pitch Joba every other day for an inning, than to pitch him two or three innings with two days off in between. I would say Lyle or Gossage and thier 100-130 innings as closers and set up men were as or more valuable to the Yankees than any starter. The most vulnerabe part of most any game are the sixth-eighth innings, as most middle relievers are garbage men at best. Having someone to close down the opposition there, and even close out the game is pretty darn valuable. It doesn't matter who starts the game if your bullpen has an ERA of 4.00+ after the sixth.
2007-08-20 16:42:24
67.   JL25and3
51 Oh, I agree completely. I wasn't saying that Edwar can't succeed with a changeup as his only plus pitch - as you point out, Hoffman's done just fine.

I haven't seen Hoffman enough to speak confidently about how he gets people out, but I have seen Mariano succeed as a one-pitch pitcher. But his pitch is so good that, even though ML hitters know it's coming, they still can't hit it.

So far, it's hard to tell whether Edwar's succeeding because his stuff is unhittable or because it's unique. (Has anyone ever seen a change that moves like that?) If it's the latter, ML hitters should figure it out eventually. That's my only point: I'm reserving judgment until they've seen him a few more times.

2007-08-20 16:46:09
68.   Vandelay Industries
67 I'm off to dinner, but had to throw my two sense in. I know it seems like even seasoned baseball people refer to Mo as having one pitch. This is purposfully misleading. A Two seemed fastball is not the same as a four seemed fastball which is not the same as a cut fastball, otherwise every fastball pitcher should be able to throw them equally well, which they cannot. For that matter a four seemed fastball is not the same as a splitter, which is actually not a fastball at all.
2007-08-20 16:46:52
69.   Vandelay Industries
68 Cents* Ugh!
2007-08-20 16:49:07
70.   cult of basebaal
58 no mercy from me i'm afraid, not when i have to listen to rex and co. as well ...
2007-08-20 16:51:20
71.   cult of basebaal
great ... Pip is starting at first again ... i guess Betemit would have to go 5-5 with 5 jacks and cure cancer to get 2 starts in a row ...

[/quibble rant]

2007-08-20 17:06:54
72.   RIYank
Now that Vandelay is gone, I'll take up his cause (half-heartedly).

A closer pitches far, far fewer innings than a starter, obviously. But balancing that are two factors. First, he pitches the most important innings of the season (if handled right). And you want your best pitcher throwing the most important innings. Second, he can throw harder for his fewer innings, so if he's the right kind of pitcher he can be absolutely dominant in a way that a starter never can. (I think this is true of Papelbon, for instance, and of Gagne a few years ago, and of Mo for years.)

That said, if Joba can be as good a starter as he is a relief pitcher, I do think the extra innings are more important and he should start.

2007-08-20 18:00:30
73.   Vandelay Industries
I come back and I have to see this garbage--Boston up 6-0 in the sixth and Seattle up 7-1 in the third.

Looks like another must win. Wouldn't it be something if we play .700 ball the rest of the way and still miss the playoffs? It is looking more and more possible every day.

And still no one yet to join me in my season long belief that Seattle is for real? At this point, we might be better off pulling for them and throwing some bad mojo at the Angels. Taking the division, which was a long shot all year, may actually be the only way we end up playing in October. I am just going to enjoy each game I get to watch for what it is and enjoy what is left of this baseball season, because playing well and being the odd team out is a real possibility, and I'd have to say an early struggling offense, and a few injuries will be to blame.

2007-08-20 18:31:17
74.   JL25and3
68 I could be wrong, but I think that either a two-seam or four-seam fastball can be cut. Mariano threw the four-seamer a lot when he was younger, and he's started to throw it more recently - but for several years at least, he relied almost exclusively on his two-seamer (which I think is the same as his cutter).
2007-08-20 18:43:11
75.   Vandelay Industries
74 They can both be cut, yes. But a two seam fastball and a cut fastball are not the same. A cut fastball is gripped asymmetrically, either by holding the ball off-center, or by gripping harder with one finger than the other. The asymmetric grip gives the ball some sideways spin in addition to its backspin, resulting in sideways movement similar to, but less than, a slider. The small sideways movement isn't enough to make the batter miss the ball, but may make him hit it away from the "sweet spot" of the bat for a weak hit and sometimes a broken bat.

A two-seam fastball is gripped with the fingers along the seams. It doesn't get as much lift as the four-seam fastball, which makes it drop more than the batter expects. That makes the batter tend to hit the ball downward for a ground ball. The difference in grip makes a two-seam fastball slightly slower than a four seamer.

A four-seam fastball is gripped with the fingers across the seams of the ball. Because the fastball is thrown with backspin, it gets some lift and won't drop as much as a smooth ball (or one with little spin) would. A four-seam fastball doesn't get enough lift to rise, but it may look as though it rises or "hops" to the batter. The movement is just enough to make the batter swing under the pitch for a fly ball or pop-up, or even to miss the ball completely.

They are not "one pitch." Again, if they were, everyone who could throw a good four seamer would be able to throw them, and they cannot. Mo's problem is that he has gotten away from his four seam fastball, and when he does, he struggles.

2007-08-20 19:16:51
76.   cult of basebaal
a little slow there by vladdy ... i'll take it though
2007-08-20 19:25:22
77.   cult of basebaal
i guess this is the sound of west coast games ... chirp ... chirp
2007-08-20 19:41:03
78.   cult of basebaal
well ... this has been an awesome inning so far ... meh
2007-08-20 20:10:12
79.   Hocakes
What's wrong with Robbie tonight?

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