Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Big Hurt
2008-07-22 09:30
by Alex Belth

It's free week over at Baseball Prospectus, where Will Carroll weighs in on Jorge Posada's predicament:

Posada does not have a full-thickness tear (or rupture,) but according to sources there was significant damage in at least two of the four muscles, though there will be another set of images taken on Tuesday to gauge whether playing for the past few weeks has aggravated the issue. Most of the damage was focused in the subscapularis and was described as "moderate," a diagnosis that was agreed on by Andrews, David Altchek, and Yankees team physician Stuart Hershon. Posada is scheduled to see Dr. Altchek again after this imaging to make a determination about surgery. All indications are that that's what will be necessary, but there's still some question about whether he'll have it now and be ready for next season, or wait until after the season and put part of 2009 in jeopardy.

There continues to be some question about how Posada's situation has been managed. He appears to have tried to play through it, with Joe Girardi—the former Yankees backstop who started ahead of Posada earlier in his career—not 'allowing' Posada to play through pain. Yet Posada told the press that "it hurts to throw, and I can't catch like this" on Monday. He can hit, but if his or the team's insistence on catching has caused an exacerbation, it's clear that this was mismanaged. For a team willing to sign Richie Sexson, playing Posada at first base or designated hitter should have been an option. If Posada elects to have surgery, he should be able to return, though the impact on his throwing will be seen well into 2009, raising these same questions again.

 Most of the Yankee fans I've heard from agree: time to go under the knife, Jorge.

2008-07-22 09:49:17
1.   Schteeve
Yeah, put your pride in a box somewhere and get the surgery already.
2008-07-22 09:58:53
2.   RIYank
This is off-topic, but here

is a video clip of a press conference/interview with Alan Nathan on his analysis of Pitch f/X data. Here are two startling (to me) results.

First, a 'hanging curve' breaks as much as a good curve. The difference is in the release point. I find that absolutely shocking.

Second, when a fastball is thrown on the outside part of the plate, there is almost no difference in a batter's ability to hit a 95 mph heater and an 85 mph pitch. On the inside part, there's a big difference.

2008-07-22 10:00:53
3.   Sliced Bread
unless the medical arguments for sugery are overwhelming, and so far, I do not believe they are (but I'm no doctor), why not wait a week or two and see how he's feeling.
Po's bat, even diminished by his injury, is far too valuable to write off at this point in my opinion. Two weeks won't make a big difference in his recovery from surgery, but it could save his bat for this playoff run.
2008-07-22 10:27:37
4.   Shaun P
3 But Sliced, Posada's bat, diminished by injury, is good for ~ .250/.380/.370 (about what he's hit since he came back on June 5) - with just 2 HR. That's certainly better than Molina, but he can't catch, and those numbers don't fly at 1B or DH. Especially for a team that needs its offense to make the playoffs.
2008-07-22 10:34:21
5.   spudrph
2 That is interesting. I guess a hanger is more hittable because you can reach it, and still get the fat part of the bat on it. A good curve is gone-if you can reach it, the best you can hope for is a cue shot.

The fastball data is interesting. You would think that the 85 would be more hittable anywhere. Personally, I always felt like I could see an outside pitch better. Then again, I didn't even start on my high school team.

It must have something to do with the inside ball being closer to you-even if it's harder, you just have to be quick to get to it-there's less judging to be done. Maybe you just have to decide sooner on an inside fastball.

On "Georgie", he is the one Yankee, along with Captain Amazing, who makes my blood run cold with men on base in the late innings. As a Sox fan, I selfishly want to see him sitting next to Waldman and Sterling as much as possible-but realistically, as a baseball fan, I hope he can get well and get back out there. He's a classy dude.

2008-07-22 10:37:49
6.   mehmattski
2 RI Yank, we've been had!

Looks like ol Craig Breslow is remarkable only for his biochemistry and stem cell research, not for having one balk and two wild pitches in the same game...

2008-07-22 10:40:24
7.   Sliced Bread
4 good pernt about him not hitting recently, but maybe he just needs more rest. A couple of weeks, even if it's a month or so, could save his season. I wouldn't stick a scalpel in him yet.
2008-07-22 10:44:56
8.   Schteeve
7 Sliced, I wrote a post yesterday about how the lack of HR by the Yankees this year is shocking.

Posada isn't helping the team too much with his diminished bat, and I'd hate to see him risk portions of next year as well by postponing the surgery.

2008-07-22 10:50:01
9.   Sliced Bread
8 good stuff, Schteeve. shocking and distressing.

Get well now, Po. Damn.

2008-07-22 10:53:36
10.   Schteeve
Buster Olney is saying the Yankees are taking a long hard look at Jarrod Washburn.
2008-07-22 10:59:02
11.   RIYank
6 Awesome. Ken Tremendous would be proud!
2008-07-22 11:00:46
12.   RIYank
10 If only we still had Miguel Cairo to trade for him! The M's would surely part with Washburn in exchange for a solid DH.
2008-07-22 11:03:09
13.   Schteeve
12 When asked what it would take to get Washburn, Olney said "Igawa + lower level prospect." The Yankees would be taking on 13 to 14 million in salary, so the trade wouldn't be costly in terms of talent.
2008-07-22 11:05:27
14.   RichB
2 Very interesting post, thanks. I have to say, though, that I don't get it. Maybe the "hanging" curveball does break as much as the regular curveball, but I can't see why the release point explains how it gets crushed so regularly.

Toward the end of the clip, the Dr. seems to be saying (although he doesn't clearly and directly refer to the hanging curve, so maybe I'm mixing references) that the different release point allows hitters to recognize it better. But, I'd swear on a stack of bibles that I can tell a hanging curve from a regular one just from the centerfield camera shot, which doesn't show the release point at all. Maybe the break is the same, but the movement looks altogether different and seems like it should be easier to get good wood on.

Any explanations?

2008-07-22 11:06:53
15.   ChrisS
10 I don't think that's a bad thing, Washburn isn't an ace, but he's a lefty that eats innings. And I'm sure the Yankees are inquiring about a lot of players, but the sticking point that remains, as always, is that of cost.

Trading quality prospects for a lefty specialist out of the bullpen is a bad idea.

2008-07-22 11:09:52
16.   RichB
13 We can get rid of Igawa? Sounds good to me.
2008-07-22 11:10:07
17.   ChrisS
13 I'd do that in a heart beat. Give 'em Pope and Igawa and be done with it.
2008-07-22 11:14:37
18.   RIYank
Whoa, no wonder they're taking a good hard look.
Washburn is league-average at best, but way better than Igawa and not as reliant on magic pixie dust as our current #5 guy.
2008-07-22 11:14:45
19.   Shaun P
13 Igawa + filler is cheap, talent-wise . . . but that's an extra $10M on the books next year, and a roster spot spent on a 34-year-old who has 1 above-average season by ERA+ since 2002. Ugh.

The lefty reliever rumors are worse. Fuentes, at least, is a free agent, and so could bring a draft pick or two. But Mahay is 37, and under contract for 2 more years and $8M! With all the arms the Yanks have, what do they need Mahay for?

Ortiz is not that scary, o sportswriters of the world.

2008-07-22 11:25:25
20.   ChrisS
One other point is that as much as I want cheap fixes, I'd hate to try to make the '08 Yankees better by patching holes with too much "talent" from the '08 Mariners.

I saw one comment at USS Mariner about how the Yankees, in addition to Washburn, could use Ibanez and Johjima as well. And, I could see that trade happening and I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

2008-07-22 11:27:40
21.   RichB
19 Actually, since Igawa is owed another $14 million himself, the price is basically a wash. Plus, you free up 40-man spots and time wasted in Scranton for 2010 and 2011. Plus, you could probably package Washburn in the off-season to some team that over-values veterans (Torre needs him in LA) and actually get something back (okay, not a lot). It would be harder to get value for Igawa. The value of not wasting time on him seems good enough to me.
2008-07-22 11:28:01
22.   RIYank
19 It's not an extra $10M next year. It's about $6.3M (subtract Igawa's salary from Washburn's $10.35M).
If you think IPK and Hughes will be good pitchers next year, then the roster spot and the dough are bad. But it's not all that expensive and would be a nice insurance policy. I'm in favor.
2008-07-22 11:29:30
23.   RIYank
Good point, RichB, I wasn't including the extra money Igawa is owed down the line, money which we all figure is pretty close to pure waste.
2008-07-22 11:30:15
24.   cult of basebaal
yeah, how about britton and igawa for washburn?

that seems fair.

2008-07-22 11:36:09
25.   Shaun P
21 Hmm. When you put it that way, I'm on board. I didn't even think about getting Igawa's salary - or 40 man spot - off the books.

20 I don't think any GM in baseball (outside of maybe Ed Wade) is stupid enough to trade for Johjima.

Ibanez . . . maybe he isn't a bad idea. He's another lefty bat, but for whatever reason, has a reverse split this year. He's a free agent, and his salary the rest of the way would be < $2M, so if he didn't work out, the Yanks could easily DFA him . . .

2008-07-22 11:38:02
26.   Schteeve
I wonder if the Mariners would want us to eat some of Igawa's contract.
2008-07-22 11:40:39
27.   Sliced Bread
Washburn or Igawa?
Two unappealing choices at the GM barbeque: the burger that fell into the fire (Washburn), or the burger that fell into the sand before it was cooked (Igawa).

I'll take the charred ruins of a burger, I suppose. But can't we call it an even trade? I mean, in theory, Igawa has upside.

2008-07-22 11:42:56
28.   RichB
20 I don't think Cashman would touch Johjima, but Ibanez is interesting. His contract is done at the end of the year, so there's no commitment. He's been healthy, his OPS+ has been 115-125 the last 4 1/2 years, he's hit well with RISP, he plays the outfield corners, DHs and even plays 1B once in a while.

As long as they don't give up much talent, that would be great. Defense might not be a plus, but if Damon could play CF (big IF, of course), Ibanez in LF would certainly improve the lineup. The Mariners might take Melky.

2008-07-22 11:53:24
29.   williamnyy23
24 They can have Igawa, but not Britton. Maybe I am the last hold out, but I still think Britton could be a very solid reliever. Girardi has done a good job with the bullpen, but the irrational dislike of Britton seems to be the lone Torre hold over.

Also, worth considering is that even though Washburn is an upgrade over Rasner and his contract is canceled out by the Igawa money, there is the opportunity cost of not acquiring someone who is at least a little better.

2008-07-22 11:57:02
30.   williamnyy23
28 If Ibanez is available for cheap, it's a no brainer. Even though he is another lefty, he'd essentially be replacing Matsui.
2008-07-22 11:58:11
31.   JL25and3
29 Don't they have kinda a lot of guys who could be solid relievers?
2008-07-22 11:58:39
32.   cult of basebaal
29 which is why they can have britton. if girardi won't use him, he's useless to us and most likely a pretty useless trade chit. trading him clears a 40 man spot and, on a personal level, I feel for the guy and would love to see him traded and given a chance to prove that he can pitch in the bigs ...
2008-07-22 11:59:30
33.   cult of basebaal
30 as DH, right? 'cause he's a starting DH starting in LF.
2008-07-22 12:00:38
34.   rbj
I'd trade Igawa for Washburn. Once Ponson reverts to form Jerrod could fill in for him and would probably not suck as bad.

BTW, when do we get CMW back?

2008-07-22 12:02:05
35.   williamnyy23
31 There's always room for one more. Also, if Farnsworth leaves next year, I'd much rather pencil in Britton than sign another retread.

32 Right...if they refuse to use him, then you might as well trade him. I guess I am still holding out hope that Britton will get a chance.

2008-07-22 12:03:25
36.   Schteeve
34 2009?
2008-07-22 12:04:41
37.   Rob Middletown CT
Does anyone really think that Ibanez > Bonds? And Bonds doesn't require a trade. The illogic of this is really starting to piss me off. I grant that Ibanez might be somewhat useful... just less useful than BB.

Washburn... you know, I think I'd rather roll with Rasner, or yet another callup. I have to admit that Igawa + nobody important isn't much of a price to pay.

2008-07-22 12:05:26
38.   Rob Middletown CT
Regarding the injury... yeah, time for surgery. Jorge's bat hasn't been good since his return and playing - even just hitting - could always make the injury worse. Bite the bullet and get well, Jorge.
2008-07-22 12:05:34
39.   cult of basebaal
33 to follow up on that thought. SG has him at -11 for the year in LF.

No other LF is worse than -4 (raw not rate).

2008-07-22 12:07:38
40.   williamnyy23
33 Of course...I think Damon should be able to return to LF sometime soon.

34 Hopefully the way, I really hate Bobby Meacham.

2008-07-22 12:09:17
41.   williamnyy23
37 If only it were that is that easy. Frustrating isn't the word.
2008-07-22 12:25:18
42.   tommyl
28 Wait Damon in center and Ibanez in left, to go with Abreu in right? That might be the all time worst fielding outfield in the history of baseball. I'm not even exaggerating. Abreu is the worst RF in baseball right now, Damon lacks the arm and now the range to play CF and Ibanez is a statue. I don't even know if we'd record an out on a ball hit to the OF.
2008-07-22 12:31:43
43.   RichB
29 I'm all for valuing opportunity cost, but what's the opportunity? I haven't heard much in the way of rumors that any better starters are available. mlbtraderumors did a rundown a couple weeks ago and I don't see anyone on the list that seems like a great bet.

2008-07-22 12:37:16
44.   ChrisS
Seriously, I don't want anymore spare parts from the '08 Mariners. They're horrible for a reason.
2008-07-22 12:44:01
45.   RichB
28 Yeah, they would suck. But, the offense is soooo bad right now, with no relief in sight. Melky and Gardner are pouring gas on the fire and Christian is redundant. Not saying that Ibanez would spend all his time in LF, he could primarily DH to replace Matsui (33 ). But, Melky's bat is actively hurting the team. We need to get it out somehow.
2008-07-22 12:44:38
46.   RichB
whoops, meant to refer to 42 not my own post (28 )
2008-07-22 13:07:55
47.   Shaun P
37 41 If Bonds is your desire, sign the petition!

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