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Is it the Christmas Meetings Yet?
2007-11-26 05:56
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

...While Waiting for the Alex Rodriguez contract to get done...

I'm sure you've heard some Johan Santana gossip over the weekend. Here is a bit of leftover Sunday Turkey from Buster Olney:

Our colleague Peter Gammons is hearing that the Twins want this three-player package from the Yankees, in any Santana conversation: pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielders Melky Cabrera and Austin Jackson. Given that the Yankees will probably be asked to pay Santana a deal of at least six years and $150 million to convince him to stay, I'd be shocked if they seriously considered that trade. Part of the equation for the Yankees or any other teams, as they make decisions about a possible Santana deal, is this: Even beyond the question of swapping promising young players like Hughes and Cabrera and Jackson, how much money does it save them to have cheap players on their roster? How much will it cost them to replace a Cabrera or Jackson? Without either Cabrera or Jackson, the Yankees might have to sign a veteran center fielder in his place in a year or two.

And it's possible that within three or four years, as Santana gets older and Hughes progresses, that Hughes might become something close to what Santana will be then. And you could say the same for Clay Buchholz.

Speaking of leftovers, check out this fun Yankee Thanksgiving article by Steven Goldman.

Comments (77)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-26 06:50:13
1.   mehmattski
Twins Fan: I think the Yankees should give us Cano, Hughes, Melky, and Joba for Santana.

Yankees Fan: No way! We'll give you Horne, Gardner, Eric and Shelley Duncan, and TJ Beam.

...and so on, and so forth, and scooby-dooby-doo...

2007-11-26 07:58:31
2.   kylepetterson
I heard that the Yankees tried to throw in Pavano, but that the Twins said that if they were going to take him, the Yankees would need to add IPK, Hughes, Joba, Cano, Melky, and Jeter. Still, it almost seems fair....
2007-11-26 08:06:18
3.   DadinIowa
mehmattski: What song is that from. It rings a bell.

I'm really tired of the Santana talk. With any luck, we don't get him and we get to keep the kids (including 2/5ths of our projected starting rotation and our starting center fielder).

I'll take my chances with possible free agency next year, and the development of Hughes, Jobba , Melky and the other youngsters.

For those of us who have seen the farm depleted year in and year out from efforts to get the reigning "superstar", it is scary to hear so many want to go back to that type of thinking.

2007-11-26 08:07:00
4.   DadinIowa
I think its from Sly....
2007-11-26 08:07:07
5.   Count Zero
The rumor mill has already passed the point of stupidity on Johan...I hate to say it, but I'm already bored with Santana stories.

Although in all fairness, Olney raised a good point with regard to the Twinkies' organization and its relationship with its fan base. I highly doubt this deal will get done right now unless someone overpays dramatically. I don't think I could stomach Hughes, Melky, Ajax and $150MM or so for Santana. He would have to be a CY candidate for the next five years to even begin to justify that.

2007-11-26 08:20:18
6.   AbbyNormal821
3 4 - Sho'nuff!
"Every Day People" by Sly & the Family Stone
Love that tune!
2007-11-26 08:24:54
7.   DadinIowa
Yep, it reminds me how old I am. :)

Keep the kids!

2007-11-26 08:53:19
8.   mehmattski
I just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to investigate the connection between the song and the infamous mystery-solving dog. Interestingly, the show Scooby-Doo Where Are You debuted in 1968, the same year that the Sly & The Family Stone was released. As some fellow evolutionary biologists might say: looks like we've got some convergence on our hands.
2007-11-26 08:59:08
9.   mehmattski
From Goldman:

LOU GEHRIG: I wish I had a better sense of his defense. In recent years, I've frequently had the thought that Joe Torre would have benched him for Doug Mientkiewicz. To paraphrase Paul Simon, "A man he sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest."

The truth hurts the most...

2007-11-26 09:05:20
10.   Ben
[8.] I awlays thought it was Shoobie-doobie doo. My track record for knowing the right lyrics is pretty bad, though.
2007-11-26 09:07:08
11.   mehmattski
BTW: Career RATE2 according to Baseball Prospectus:

Lou Gehrig: 100
Doug Mientkiewicz: 100
Jason Giambi: 90
Miguel Cairo: 92
Andy Phillips: 92
Josh Phelps: 84
Don Mattingly: 102

2007-11-26 09:17:28
12.   DadinIowa
Using old lyrics.... it reminds me of a 1968 song with the lyrics ..."if you knew, what I knew, what you knew....what I knew"

I think that is what $man is humming as he reads this blog. :)

2007-11-26 09:22:21
13.   JL25and3
3 This time around, the farm system wasn't depleted by trading away the youngsters. It was depleted by not having first-round picks; the few they had were poorly used.

You can't just say "don't trade youngsters for veterans." The trick is not to make bad trades. The last such trade I can think of was the Knoblauch deal, and I seem to remember that one working out OK.

2007-11-26 09:32:04
14.   bartap74
I don't want to see the Yankees mortgage the farm, but I'd pull the trigger if the Twins would accept Melky Cabrera, Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, perhaps with another low ceiling prospect thrown in - we're talking about getting an undisputed ace in return after all.
2007-11-26 09:43:51
15.   JohnnyC
8 The scooby-dooby-doo reference is not to the cartoon but to Frank Sinatra's 1966 hit, "Strangers in the Night." Sinatra's sui generis scat signature (derived albeit from Ella Fitzgerald)is famously used in the song.
2007-11-26 09:52:32
16.   DadinIowa
Very impressive, Johnny C!

Bartap74: How do you replace Melky in that trade? With another 30+ year old outfielder next year? Rowland at the cost of $10M or more per year?

2007-11-26 09:55:25
17.   mehmattski
It should be noted that swapping Santana for Kennedy in the Yankees' 2008 starting rotation doesn't solve the "Who's Gonna Pitch All Those Innings" problem. Given that the Yankees would like to see 1000 innings from their starting pitchers, it currently sit as:

Wang (220)
Mussina (170?)
Hughes (150)
Chamberlain (130)
Kennedy (180)

Which totals all of 870 innings, or only 5.1 IP per game.

I don't see this problem getting solved unless the Yankees convince Pettitte to return. Even then, it might be best to have either a six man rotation or have one day be JobaMoose: The Two Headed Monster in order to protect both the old fragile arm and the young prospect arm.

2007-11-26 09:57:49
18.   RichB
George King ended his column today (http://tinyurl.com/3a6amz) with this...

"Though the Yankees certainly have the money [...] they may not have the talent to land Santana. It generally is assumed throughout baseball that the Yankees won't include Joba Chamberlain in a deal. But will a package of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera, who could replace Torii Hunter in center, be enough to top other clubs?"

Whoa there George! Hughes and IPK? Santana better pitch 400 innings a year for that.

Anyone got any analysis that shows what 200 IP of Santana + 200 IP of pitcher du jour (Karstens, Igama, Rasner, whoever) averages out to?

2007-11-26 10:02:32
19.   mehmattski
18 I don't think you have to look much further than the 2007 Twins, who had Boof Bonser (173 IP, 85 ERA+) and Sydney Ponson (37 IP, 64 ERA+).
2007-11-26 10:16:31
20.   bobtaco
14 How about WANG, Melky Cabrera, and Austin Jackson? Would you do that one?
2007-11-26 10:16:58
21.   ms october
19 my eyes hurt looking at that.

and i agree with you in 17 - there are a lot of inning unaccounted for as it stands (and i believe even with pettitte).

2007-11-26 10:24:35
22.   JL25and3
17 If Pettitte returns, here's my modest proposal - which has zero chance of actually taking place.

Use a 6-man starting rotation, except that you pencil Pettitte and Wang in every fifth day and work the others around them. The rotation would look like this:

Pettitte, Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy,
Pettitte, Wang, Mussina, Hughes, Joba,
Pettitte, Wang, Kennedy, Mussina, Hughes,
Pettitte, Wang, Joba, Kennedy, Mussina,
Pettitte, Wang, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy,
and so on.

The kids (and Mussina) pitch on rests of 5, 5, 5, 7 days. (If it seems like a good idea, they could pitch an inning of junk relief during the 7-day rest.) That would give Pettitte and Wang 32 starts apiece, and the other 4 each get 24.

2007-11-26 10:25:13
23.   JL25and3
20 The Twins wouldn't touch that.
2007-11-26 10:25:22
24.   liam
20 get rid of wang? hes the only sure thing in our rotation!

i think the twins are in a pretty difficult bind- as buster olney says- how can you trade so much and pay so much when theres just a year to wait. i think that the teams involved keep circling their prey to make sure that the other vultures don't feast, but at the same time, no one eats.

2007-11-26 10:57:22
25.   mehmattski
22 You forgot the Mussina Whines Like a Little Girl Problem, regarding him and regular rest.

I say Moose and Karstens become league-average backups to the kids. They come in expecting to throw 2-3 innings every few days, rather than 5-6 innings every five days. This could work something like this:

Day 1: Wang (7+ IP)
Day 2: Joba (5 IP), Moose (2+ IP)
Day 3: Pettitte (7+ IP)
Day 4: Hughes (5+ IP), Karstens (2 IP)
Day 5: Kennedy (5+ IP) Moose (2 IP)
Day 6: Wang (7+ IP)
Day 7: Joba (5 IP), Karstens (2+ IP)

And so on. In addition to reducing the workload on JobaKenHughes, the rest of the bullpen becomes a whole lot more concentrated into the 7th and 8th innings. Some combination of Farsnworth, Britton, Edwar, and Ohlendorf should be able to bridge to Mo as needed, and none of them would be required to go on back to back days.

2007-11-26 10:57:31
26.   Shaun P
20 Wang is arbitration eligible now, so no. The penny-pinching Twins will prefer IPK (arb eligible in 2011) or Hughes (arb eligible in 2010).

22 Girardi seems to be a progressive enough thinker that he might be willing to try that. I still think Joba starts the year in the minors to stretch him out, but that just postpones the idea until June-ish.

2007-11-26 11:09:45
27.   OldYanksFan
13 You are correct in principal. But in this deal, if you consider the WINS we gain, and the WINS we lose, plus $35m+ to pay Santana and replace the other 2 players, it's not that tasty a deal.

Santana is tempting. But at what price? And I still think (1) He might be a FA next year (2) if not, Kazmir/Bedard/CC/Haren/Harden would be enough. Our rotation should be very good. Replace our #5 with one of the above, and we are in very good shape.. without lsoing any kids.

2007-11-26 11:11:44
28.   YankeeInMichigan
14 "Undisputed ace" works only in the past tense. The list of players who dominated from ages 23-28 and continued to dominate from ages 29-34 begins and ends with Greg Maddox. Santana will almost certainly regress. The question is by how much.

Melky + A-Jax = the present and future in center field. Not worth the risk.

2007-11-26 11:11:45
29.   bartap74
16 I don't think Melky is all that impressive. He's pretty good defensively but he's mediocre with the bat and hasn't shown signs of developing any power. We have three outfielders and a DH without him, and Tabata will arrive eventually. If the price for the best pitcher in the AL is dealing with a Rowland type acquisition, I'm still all for it.
2007-11-26 11:15:11
30.   JL25and3
25 I thought about the MWLALG problem, bu tI figured this plan would at least give him a regular pattern of use. Hopefully, that would satisfy his OCD - especially since the alternative is even more irregular.

JobaKenHughes - how about Cerberus, the three-headed dog?

26 Do we actually know that Girardi is a progressive thinker? In most ways, he seems like a good old-fashioned baseball man from the control-freak school. I would be very surprised if he'd do anything especially radical as a freshman manager.

2007-11-26 11:33:08
31.   Shaun P
30 Do we actually know that Girardi is a progressive thinker?

No, not for sure, but it looks like he is one.

A 6-man rotation could be made to seem un-radical. That team to the north is talking about using a six-man rotation; if they do, that will help a lot. And, if Joba starts the year in the minors, that can be the excuse: "Joba is ready to come back to the majors, but there is no one to bump from the rotation, so we are going to switch to a modified six-man rotation. This will help keep the older guys fresh* and not put stress on the younger arms**."

*Everyone is comfortable with that concept already

**Thanks to the Joba Rules, most everyone should be comfortable with that concept too

2007-11-26 11:40:10
32.   mehmattski
31 The next time someone suggests that the Yankees' Cerebus of Young Pitchers shouldn't be on innings caps, I will point them to the following web page:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/gl.cgi?n1=priorma01&t=p&year=2007

No data for this season. Sorry!

2007-11-26 11:50:57
33.   JL25and3
31 A 6-man rotation, perhaps. Having two pitchers on a 5-day rotation and the other 4 on a 6-day plan, much less likely.

In general, I think a 6-man rotation is a terrible idea. This is a special case, with 3 young pitchers being worked in simultaneously. But ordinarily, I'd rather see a return to a 4-man rotation. Rany Jazayerli over at BP has done lots of work showing that high pitch counts can abuse a pitcher - but he also advocates a 4-man rotation. (http://tinyurl.com/2mrxvj)

Weaver's Seventh Law: It's easier to find four good starters than five.

(Part 1 of the Jazayerli article is worth reading as well: http://tinyurl.com/3crzub)

2007-11-26 12:00:03
34.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Here's a question: when common practice switched from a 4 man rotation to a 5 man rotation, what was the reaction?
2007-11-26 12:22:03
35.   Raf
25 ,30 The Mussina problem isn't as big as you think.
2007-11-26 12:22:45
36.   Vandelay Industries
33 I agree. For that matter I've preached from the mountain top that a five man rotation is a bad idea. Most notably because there isn't a stitch of efficacious data out there that isn't team or player specific that provides any evidence that five man rotations lengthen careers or help statistically. It is hogwash today, was hogwash yesterday, and will be hogwash tomorrow. A five man rotation with each pitcher on an arbitrary pitch count not specific to that player's history and physiology is -- next to the NFL's use of its most talented and athletic players on only one side of the ball -- the most inefficient use of talent in professional sport.

It is nothing more than MLB teams allowing data that applies to the aggregate to dictate decisions arbitrarily without actually benefiting from the anticipated result.

If the Yankees had any guts they would start Joba, Hughes, Wang, and Kennedy, with a fifth starter used when consecutive games played makes it necessary to do so, and to provide some rest throughout the season. With Pettitte in the rotation, Kennedy becomes what used to be the spot starter back in the days of four man rotations. If it aint broke, dont fix it, and there never was anything wrong with a four man rotation, but treating each rotation and player individually was just too much for baseball people to wrap their little minds around, so they simply threw the baby out with the bath water.

34

Modern thought-That it would alleviate many injuries.

Traditional thought-That is was an overreaction to a limited number of injuries that were player specific rather than as to the whole.

It was wrong then and it is wrong now. I do find it rather amusing that the oldest and most effective pitchers in the league came up in four man rotations, and the oft-injured tend to be those who have been babied since little league.

There is no evidence that is any more than anecdotal that moving to a five man rotation has had any effect other than diluting each pitching staff and ultimately lowering the bar for pitchers (e.g. A 4.50 ERA defined as "Quality") -- especially through providing many pitchers who should never have stepped foot on a major league mound, jobs as fifth starters and relief pitchers -- in general, hurting the level of play in the game overall.

2007-11-26 12:25:20
37.   JL25and3
36 But there is evidence that IP should be limited for pitchers under 25 or so. That's why I'd still keep the kids on a longer rotation.
2007-11-26 12:27:27
38.   JL25and3
36 Another effect of the 5-man rotation is that it takes up a slot that could be used for another bench player. I hate the 12-man pitching staff.
2007-11-26 12:34:57
39.   Vandelay Industries
37 Agreed. Just so long as it is player specific, rather than arbitrary. That is why I believe that Mussina and Kennedy should be used to spell Joba and Hughes throughout the year, but that a four man rotation should be used, thereby alowing the team(s) to jettison what amounts to unqualified and well below average relief pitchers from the team, and from the league. The goal should be to use the fewest number of relief innings at season's end, rather than go into the season knowing you will put well over 100 games in the hands of pitchers who should not be recieving major league checks. How this has become accepted practice based on nothing more than baseball people's feelings of inferiority of those managing the "Studies" and fear to speak up and question the results, is beyond me. Why not just let the Doctors and Bill James write your lineup and design a computer model to dictate in-game decisions? Just think how much money teams could save without managers.
2007-11-26 12:36:53
40.   Vandelay Industries
38 Agreed. Trading a spot traditionally manned by at the very least a journeyman position player or PH for a well below average relief pitcher is lunacy.
2007-11-26 13:00:47
41.   tommyl
39 I'm a bit confused here. How does going to a 4-man rotation reduce the number of relief innings? If anything, wouldn't that increase them since said 4 starters would tend to tire a bit faster?
2007-11-26 13:17:55
42.   mehmattski
41 I'm going to assume he meant that Mussina and Kennedy can act as second starters and therefore reduce the need to have someone like Sean Henn in the major leagues.

But even so, how do the Yankees get innings that way? Bringing back the chart from 17 and updating for the rotation proposed in 39 :

Wang (260 IP)
Pettitte (260 IP)
Hughes (150 IP), Mussina (160)
Joba (130 IP), Kennedy (180)

Would give the Yankees' top six a total of 1140 innings pitched. I know that I wouldn't have as much of a problem with Wang coming in on three days rest, his sinker probably is better, and he's into the part of the career where he could be stretched. Pettitte, on the other hand (again for this exercise we're assuming he's back), has never thrown more than 220 innings in a season and who knows if his elbow can handle it.

The rest of the innings (about 300 of them) for the pitching staff would come relieving Wang and Pettitte, with Mo held out for the 9th inning of close games:

Rivera (80 IP)
Farnsworth (60 IP)
Britton (60 IP)
Ramirez (60 IP)
Ohlendorf (60 IP)

2007-11-26 13:20:45
43.   JL25and3
41 I don't think there's any strong reason to believe that pitchers will tire more quickly on 3 days' rest. Enough rest is enough rest; more than enough isn't necessarily better.

There is one way it might reduce relief innings. You're taking the games started by your fifth starter - presumably the worst of the bunch - and distributing them among four who can (one hopes) pitch a ilttle further into the game.

2007-11-26 13:24:12
44.   tommyl
43 See 42 . Its not the number of days rest I'm worrying about as much as the total number of pitches thrown.

As for getting rid of the Henn types, I'd think going to a 4-man rotation would open up a bench spot. I doubt they'd go to a 4-man and jettison a reliever in the process. In addition, you can have a 5-man and still get rid of an extra reliever, a 7 man pen is absurd and results in a) Having at least one crappy pitcher in there who is b) hardly ever used anyways. You can just go to a 6-man pen and forget about having a LOOGY or ROOGY or whatnot.

2007-11-26 13:25:22
45.   tommyl
42 That's a lot of innings from Wang and Pettite. I think banking on two guys to throw 250+ innings and not be dead by the postseason is a lot of wishful thinking.
2007-11-26 13:26:57
46.   tommyl
44 Following up, with a 6-man pen and our large number of guys in the minors, we could play the hot hand and just rotate through the last relief spot or two with the Dundler-Mifflin Infinity Shuttle (TM). Bring up Sanchez, he starts stinking, send him back down and bring up Beam, etc.
2007-11-26 13:30:54
47.   mehmattski
All of this is a great exercise in progressive (or in some cases regressive) thinking, but I doubt any of it will happen. The only thing I think we can count on is the innings caps for the rookies, and without Pettitte, it means rough times ahead for the Yankees.

Fans will see Joba leaving after the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead, and watch as TJ Beam coughs it up immediately. As the soft underbelly of the Yankees' pen gets exposed, there will be a push to forget about the innings caps. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, as I for one am willing to sacrifice a bit in 2008 to see all three of these guys pitching in pinstripes for a decade.

2007-11-26 14:20:15
48.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ok, I think the withdrawl is really starting to get to me: how many days til P&C?
2007-11-26 14:22:35
49.   Vandelay Industries
43 I agree. Remember, we are in the tiny minority holding this position.Arbitrary pitch counts are the norm. Injuries have not decreased to any significant degree since moving to a five man rotation. In fact, many believe it has decreased the number, while at the same time increased the severity of the injuries. I dont believe there is any reason that Joba and Hughes cannot throw 200+ innings next season if they have the physiology for it. However, unrealistic fear of injury will of course prevent it from happening. A team has to take that chance if it wants to win and take the game from the hands of bum relief pitchers. Hughes was hurt during his first start right? I remember at the time that some here attributed that to his high pitch count during the game, which of course is ridiculous and based on only conjecture. Teams cannot predict injuries nor can Doctors or trainers. An overabundance of caution has bred a new contingent of useless relievers and pitchers altering their style to fit into a fixed pitch count. Good training, excercise, and constant analysis of the shoulder, elbow and connective tissues will prevent more injuries than some arbitrary pitch count ever will. How many injuries do we see that could have been prevented had the pitcher been examined prior to the start? How many pitchers exacerbate injuries by staying in the game? Managers and owners are willing to leave pitchers in games once they comfort them by relaying that they are "ok." Managers and owners are willing to throw guys out there who havent been examined thouroughly in many weeks. But yet once the pitch count reached 100, you're out! If teams want to employ the horrible approach they now employ, at the very least they should be uniformly horrible. What we have now is a hodge podge of unrealistic caution and ridiculous risk. Hardly what one would expect from a professionally managed enterprise.
2007-11-26 14:39:41
50.   tommyl
49 See Prior, Marc. There's a good amount of data showing that increasing a pitchers workload drastically when they are under 25 is really bad for them long term. Maybe they'll be ok this year, but in a year or two their chances of breaking down are very high. For every anecdote of some young picther surviving a huge jump in workload there are many more of guys who were ruined. Why take chances for one year with guys who could be the anchor of your rotation for years to come? Not worth the gamble to me.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-26 14:41:02
51.   tommyl
49 Also, while on here and in the press they might say there is a hard innings cap, or pitch count, I'm sure the internal situation and rules are much more fluid. The Joba rules evolved. Just because Cashman doesn't come out and tell PeteAbe an elaborate formula for handling the young pitchers doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
2007-11-26 14:45:12
52.   markp
The 60s, among other things, gave a false impression regarding the 4-man rotation. If you go back a little further in history you see that staring around 1920, it was unusual for a lot of starters across the majors to have more than 33 starts in a season. There were pitchers who did so, but they were never in the majority. The 5-man rotation was been around well before the 70s.
2007-11-26 14:53:14
53.   Eirias
Why are we pencilling in Kennedy for more innings than either Joba or Hughes. I realize that Hughes was drafted out of high school, but he has been in the system longer than either Chamberlain or Kennedy. Given that, like Kennedy, Joba is also a college player, one with "significant" ML experience, wouldn't the innings order actually be Hughes > Joba > Kennedy?
2007-11-26 14:54:10
54.   Hocakes
I don't know why they're not going after Nathan, whose is rumored to be on the block, instead of Santana. The Yanks are going to have starting pitching; Pettitte, who I think will come back and Wang will provide the veteran stability and Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy will provide the magic and the tragedy of young pitching. It'll even out and they'll be fine for starting pitching, especially with Mussina and Horne to back them up. What they'll need is relief pitching. I'm not saying they're "one player away" because that's b.s. but if they could trade Melky(they could use the guy they're spending millions on in CF or call up Brett Gardner) and Jackson for Joe Nathan then, please, I dare you to tell me what the Yanks weakness would be next year. And save the first base arguments because the offense will be fine. Put me down for a Miranda/Duncan platoon at first. And if that last statement doesn't disqualify me from being taken seriously, I'll also comment on the fact that I've been hearing people comment, in relation to the Santana trade, that the Yanks need their own Josh Beckett. They need someone who can "counter" Beckett in a playoff series. It's the myth of the three-game-start, post season hero who can single-handedly win a championship. The myth that the Yankees chased with the Randy Johnson relationship. The implication is that Santana would be that guy for the Yanks; the Yanks answer to Beckett. Well, people are forgetting that Beckett "Becketted" the Yankees when he was a rookie. So why should the Yanks keep chasing the myth of the post season shut-down pitcher when they already have a few good hurlers who could give them a good chance to win in the postseason or even do a little becketting of their own. There's no reason why one or more of the Yanks young pitchers, Joba or Phil or Ian couldn't Beckett the shit out of the Red Sox or whoever next year in the postseason. Maybe then, next offseason we can hear the commentators comment on how the Angels "lost because they lack someone like Ian Kennedy, a guy who can keep hitters off balance..."
2007-11-26 14:55:20
55.   Shaun P
49 "Arbitrary pitch counts are the norm."

Not true. The data is quite clear on the dangers of a pitcher throwing over 120 pitches in a single start, and certainly in multiple starts.

As JL says in 37 , innings caps - particularly, not increasing the workload for a pitcher under 25 by more than 30 innings in a single season - are also clearly beneficial.

"Injuries have not decreased to any significant degree since moving to a five man rotation."

I don't know if this is so or not; but generally, keeping starters under 120 pitches/start and following the rule of 30 for pitchers under 25 is reducing the number of injuries.

"I dont believe there is any reason that Joba and Hughes cannot throw 200+ innings next season if they have the physiology for it."

Again, the data clearly suggests otherwise.

"Teams cannot predict injuries nor can Doctors or trainers."

Yet you advocate "constant analysis of the shoulder, elbow and connective tissues" - who do you think does such analysis? Those teams who utilize biomechanical analysis, conducted by doctors, may indeed be able to predict injury.

Look at the Red Sox and Buchholz. After his 115 pitch no-hitter, their docs did an eval on his motions and saw something they didn't like, so they shut him down. That's exactly how it should be.

2007-11-26 15:02:52
56.   Shaun P
53 Because IPK threw many more innings (165.3) than both Hughes (110.3) and Joba (112.3) last year. Note too that IPK is almost a year older than Joba and a year and a half older than Hughes, which makes him slightly less of an injury risk.
2007-11-26 15:05:42
57.   Eirias
56 Fair enough. Thanks for the answer.
2007-11-26 15:06:46
58.   Vandelay Industries
55 ""Arbitrary pitch counts are the norm."

Not true. The data is quite clear on the dangers of a pitcher throwing over 120 pitches in a single start, and certainly in multiple starts.

"I dont believe there is any reason that Joba and Hughes cannot throw 200+ innings next season if they have the physiology for it."

Again, the data clearly suggests otherwise."

I respectfully request you point me in the direction of this data.

"Yet you advocate "constant analysis of the shoulder, elbow and connective tissues" - who do you think does such analysis? Those teams who utilize biomechanical analysis, conducted by doctors, may indeed be able to predict injury."

My point there was that teams stick to what I still contend is an arbitrary pitch count while doing very little preventative analysis in conjunction with it. Your example, Buckholz, assuming the Red Sox are telling the truth about why he was shut down, illustrates my position. They did the analysis after his start, while very few if any clubs do preventative analysis of the arm and tissues any more comprehensive than so called "biomechanical analysis." I was saying that if you stick to arbitrary pitch counts, it doesn't make much sense to do so little analysis during the season of healthy pitchers, given how early medicine can catch potential problems.

2007-11-26 15:12:56
59.   Vandelay Industries
58 You would also have to look to the specific pitcher, and what types of pitches he throws. For example, sliders and curve balls tend to increase risk of injury, especially with bad mechanics, while fastballs and changeups tend to cause much less wear and tear and risk of injury with increased pitch counts. Again, the reason why I call most pitch counts used by MLB clubs wholly arbitrary.
2007-11-26 15:17:49
60.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Much of what is being suggested though relies on the pitcher himself to say how his arm/shoulder/elbow feels. With the exception of guys like Pavano (and even his history is actually mixed in this regard, see: the car accident) pitchers like to be seen - and perhaps are = gamers, and don't like the ball being taken from their hands or being perceived as soft. No?
2007-11-26 15:20:33
61.   markp
Shaun P: good posts.

To anyone suggesting Shaun provide links or direction to the data, I think that since MLB is using data they feel is useful, and that their data is (obviously) in line with what Shaun and others are saying, isn't it up to you to find the data that states otherwise?

After all, you're the ones saying the accepted data and its application (5-man rotation, innings limits, and pitch counts) are wrong.
You must have some pretty compelling evidence to stand against all of the doctors and researchers MLB employs.

2007-11-26 15:25:04
62.   ny2ca2dc
Vandelay, would you please reference the research that shows how one can, thru whatever miracle imaging or analysis or the "early medicine" you claim "can catch potential problems."

You're assuming perfect information, which just doesn't frigin exist. In its absence, one can either settle for what's can be learned by large samples, or continue to ruin the Priors & Woods of the world. Maybe we should find out exactly how many pitches Joba can throw in one outing by letting him throw until his fucking arm falls off?

2007-11-26 15:39:58
63.   Shaun P
61 Thanks. I liked your points on how the 4 man rotation is not necessarily the answer to all problems either.

58 100 pitches is certainly not a hard number, though there are some instances where a pitcher is clearly not as effective after 100 pitches (see Pedro, 2003). But its a neat round number.

For data on 120 pitches, go to baseballprospectus.com and search "pitch counts"; start with the updates to the PAP3 stat by Rany Jazayerli and Keith Woolner, and then read everything Will Carroll has written on the subject. See also Carroll's "Saving the Pitcher" book. For the "Rule of 30" stuff, start by searching the SI archives for Tom Verducci's annual piece on the topic; I think the first was 2004 or 2005.

If BP isn't your thing, I'd be shocked if BTF hasn't discussed pitch counts many times, but I don't frequent that place, so I can't say for sure.

2007-11-26 15:50:37
64.   Vandelay Industries
62 Proper use of biomechanical analysis, even absent more invasive tests, predicts and prevents inujuries fairly well when performed properly.

Again, my argument is that clubs should use all the tools avaialable, not do it half ass if you are going to use IP counts and pitch counts. How many times do you hear that a pitcher had "soreness" or "tightness" and notwithstanding that, are permitted to make their next start, sometimes leading to catasptophic injury? It happens pretty often. My position is that if you are going to pull a pitcher after some arbitrary pitch count or IP count, then how can you then justify starting a pitcher who had complained of soreness or tightness, knowing that soreness and tightness far and away bear the strongest correlation to future injury? My point is not that pitch counts and IP counts are arbitrary on their face, but the way in which they are used by most MLB clubs is in fact half assed and arbitrary.

2007-11-26 15:51:27
65.   Vandelay Industries
63 Thanks.
2007-11-26 16:14:42
66.   ny2ca2dc
64 "Proper use of biomechanical analysis, even absent more invasive tests, predicts and prevents inujuries fairly well when performed properly."

Prove it.

2007-11-26 16:48:57
67.   Vandelay Industries
66 There are several good articles here:

http://www.asmi.org/sportsmed/injury%20mechanism/poor_mechan.html

2007-11-26 17:25:33
68.   mehmattski
I remember seeing something back in 2003 that detailed how "perfect" Mark Prior's pitching motion was- from his windup to his arm slot to his follow through. The Cubs were using his motion to show other young pitchers what they wanted. Meanwhile, the Marlins were letting their young stud, Dontrelle Willis, keep his unorthodox pitching style. The difference, in this case, was that Prior went from 138 IP in his junior season at USC to 157 IP in the minors/majors in 2002 to a startling 211 IP for the Cubs in 2003. Four years later, Prior missed all of 2007.

Prior's a 21st century poster boy and a lesson for a lot of things: don't overuse young pitchers, and don't trust mechanics to solve everything. Those biomechanics folk would have "fixed" Willis' pitching style, which likely would have rendered him a less effective pitcher.

2007-11-26 18:52:54
69.   greenzo
BP also has a neat stat called Pitcher Abuse Points. It calculates the damage done to arms.

http://tinyurl.com/29rblv

Dice-K led the league, followed by Carlos Zambrano and A.J. Burnett. The third is perhaps the only surprising one, given the Jays' investment in Burnett and the fragility of his arm.

Kazmir was 21st, followed by Josh Beckett, who the Sox were fairly careful with.

Pettitte was 39th, well out of the danger range. That Yankee pitchers barely make an appearance in the upper regions of PAP is both a testament to Torre's quick hook and a credit to the organization's dedication to protecting its most valuable commodity.

2007-11-26 19:20:26
70.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
68 said "Those biomechanics folk would have "fixed" Willis' pitching style, which likely would have rendered him a less effective pitcher. "

I think he took care of that all by himself :D

I agree with your thesis though.

2007-11-26 19:20:57
71.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Uh oh! Hank is at it again - Fox Sports reporting trade talks heating up b/t Yanks and Twins for Santana...
2007-11-26 20:12:14
72.   Mattpat11
69 They really, really need to find a new name for that. I refuse to say "pitcher abuse points" out loud.
2007-11-26 21:12:41
73.   OldYanksFan
72 Please don't smear that name.
2007-11-26 21:17:05
74.   Mattpat11
I feel like the president of the A/V Squad
2007-11-27 04:07:27
75.   ny2ca2dc
73 So you're talking about Boston's closer now?
2007-11-27 04:25:39
76.   OldYanksFan
75 Things can get ugly here when there is not a lot of baseball news, eh?
2007-11-27 05:52:02
77.   joejoejoe
Does anyone know the dimensions of the new Yankee Stadium? I see in some of the stories about a possible Johan Santana trade they are touting his record in the existing stadium which is the best of any active pitcher - 3 starts, 1.17 ERA. That's nice...if the Yankees were actually going to be using that park beyond next year.

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